Books

On Prose: For a Writer, What Isn’t in a Name?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the first “On Prose” column from Lyme novelist, essayist and story writer W.D. Wetherell. Intended as a companion to Sydney Lea’s “On Poetry” columns, “On Prose” will appear semi-regularly on the Valley News Books page.  Let’s start things off with a surprise quiz. What do the following all share in common? Tommy Traddles. Hannibal Chollop. Sissy Jupe. Peepy Jellyby. Sir Tumley Snuffin. Sim Tappertit. Ned …

Big Success for Author of ‘Wild’

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The big checks started coming in about nine months after Wild hit bookshelves and started its climb to the top of The New York Times best-seller’s list. To Oprah’s Book Club. And, as of this coming week, to movie theaters nationwide. The first thing author Cheryl Strayed bought was a $2,000 piano for …

Books to Buy for Fans of Felines

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Los Angeles — The felines are fighting back — on the bookshelf. Cats outnumber dogs in the U.S., but in bookstores, dog titles reign, the American Pet Products Association says. Fans insist felines are getting more popular as they ride the coattails of Internet sensations like Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and Nora, the piano-playing cat. For the cat lovers on your holiday list, …

Amtrak Announces First Writers in Residence

Friday, October 3, 2014

In the 1930s, hobos illicitly rode the rails; nowadays, authors are being invited onto trains thanks to Twitter and a new writers residency program launched by Amtrak. On Sept. 24, Amtrak announced the first class of resident writers, 24 authors who will ride its long-distance routes over the …

Laugh After Death: California Mortician Shares Funny Funeral Industry Stories in New Book

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Signal Hill, Calif. — When it comes to death, mortician Ken McKenzie says people are far too serious. After creating a “Men of Mortuaries” calendar featuring buff, shirtless morticians wielding shovels in 2007 and releasing Mortuary Confidential in 2010, the California mortuary owner has a new book out. …

Ex-Rep. Frank Takes on Harvard

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cambridge, Mass. — After retiring from Congress at the end of 2012, Barney Frank sat down to write a political memoir. As one of the first openly gay members of Congress, and a lifelong fighter for LGBT rights, …

Academic v. High Court: Making a Case

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Erwin Chemerinsky has made an exemplary career out of teaching, writing and lecturing about the U.S. Supreme Court. And though he has strongly liberal views, he is widely admired for his ability to explain the work of the court in a way that is thoughtful, clear and fair. …

Watching Them Swim: Book Captures Puppies Underwater

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The blue eyes of Brando, an 8-week-old pit bull puppy, are open as he calmly watches air bubbles stream out of his nose. By contrast, the enormous brown eyes of 6-month-old Monty look wild and excited as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel chases a tennis ball through the …

Project Turns Film Scripts Into Books

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lyme author and publisher Ed Gray sees a future in dime novels. Well, not literally dime novels, but more like written movies, short e-books and paperbacks drawn from never-produced screenplays that will play in your head like a …

Writing a World to Explore

Friday, September 26, 2014

When readers pick up S.S. Taylor’s latest book, The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton’s Lair, she has a few goals in mind for them: To be engaged, to have fun and to sympathize with the characters. …

Lahr’s Biography Doesn’t Give Tennessee Williams His Literary Due

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr; W.W. Norton (765 pages, $37.95) One day a comprehensive literary biography of Tennessee Williams will be written that won’t resemble a psychiatric case study. Until then let’s savor …

‘Three Cups’ Author Plans To Return

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bozeman, Mont. — Greg Mortenson doesn’t want to talk about his best-selling Three Cups of Tea book, but everybody else does — including his own charity. Three years ago, 60 Minutes and author Jon Krakauer alleged that Mortenson fabricated much of the book and mismanaged the charity he …

Books Offer Taste Of a Juicy History

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apples of Uncommon Character, by Rowan Jacobsen, Bloomsbury, 311 pages, $35 Apples of New England: A User’s Guide, by Russell Steven Powell, Countryman Press, 214 pages, $19.95 Some years ago, I drove up to the Northeast Kingdom to …