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Helen Taylor Davidson and her husband Richard Davidson at their home in Palinfield, N.H., on April 7, 2014. They  worked together on deciphering her great-grandmother's diary.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Imagining Adeline: Family Diary Inspires Plainfield Woman’s Novel

Friday, April 11, 2014

In 2009, Helen Taylor Davidson of Plainfield sat down with the diary of her great-grandmother Adeline Elizabeth Hoe with the intent of transcribing it. That would have been ambitious enough, but she went a step further. She dove into the deep end of imagination and wrote a novel that begins where her great-grandmother’s diary leaves off. Both the novel and …

An Atheist Grapples With a Mystical Encounter

Friday, April 11, 2014

Barbara Ehrenreich never meant to write a memoir. “It seems very self-involved,” she says by phone from her home in Arlington, Va. “I have anxiety about it.” That anxiety is heightened at the moment because her new book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything (Twelve, $26), is as personal a piece of writing as she has …

Matthiessen: Best Fiction ‘Will Always Matter’

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86 of complications from leukemia, was complex, even contradictory, in the most compelling sense. Born into privilege, he attended Hotchkiss boarding school and Yale and founded the Paris Review in 1953 with George Plimpton and Harold L. Humes. Yet he later became a Zen monk and in his own fashion was something of an ascetic. He …

Art in The Age Of Data

Friday, January 31, 2014

“Orfeo” by Richard Powers; W.W. Norton ($26.95) It’s tempting to read Richard Powers’ 11th novel Orfeo through the filter of the present: surveillance, genomes, government control. The story of a 70-year-old composer named Peter Els, who becomes known …

Sue Monk Kidd’s ‘Invention of Wings’ Opens Eyes

Friday, January 31, 2014

“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd; Viking ($27.95) Oprah hasn’t had much time for reading lately, it seems; it’s been a year since her last Book Club pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. Now Sue Monk …

Elegy For a Good Man

Friday, January 31, 2014

It’s been a sad season in our household. My beloved wife lost her brother, who was also among my dearest friends, just before Christmas. Carol Shults-Perkins, the huge-hearted director of Central Vermont Adult Basic Education, whose board I chair, lost her husband shortly thereafter, and then, shortly following, …

A Poet’s View: ‘Closely Observed, Deeply Felt’

Friday, January 31, 2014

If, in Wallace Stevens’ adage, the “poet is the priest of the invisible,” then Phyllis Beck Katz has spent her life paying attention to the ephemera many of us miss or choose to ignore. In Migrations, her second …

Books Go From Page to Screen and Back Again

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The memoir 12 Years a Slave was published in 1853, a year after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Now Solomon Northup’s personal narrative is a bestseller — 161 years after it first came out — through a tie-in to the celebrated movie version of his memoir. …

TV’s Would-Be Kingmaker Roger Ailes: Is the Book Fair and Balanced?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weeks before its release, The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country set the media universe popping and fizzing. And no wonder. The unauthorized biography of …

A Couple Made in Young Adult Genre

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Santa Monica, Calif. — Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi spend their days in Santa Monica, sitting side by side at a shared desk in identical chairs in their backyard office, wearing headphones, working at their laptops. Across a cool green expanse sits their Spanish-style house, hidden behind a …

E.L. Doctorow Challenges Readers With ‘Andrew’s Brain’

Friday, January 17, 2014

he writer, tall and owlish, a sly grin on his face, ambles in soft-soled shoes down the hall of his roomy Upper East Side apartment. His office is a tad disorderly, he says by way of apology, but …

Lessons of the Woods: A New York Writer Moves to Woodstock to Find Her Way

Friday, January 17, 2014

In 2008, the writer Lynn Darling fled New York for Vermont, buying a ramshackle, off-the-grid house in Woodstock. Holed up with an English Lab pup named Henry as her only companion, Darling intended to take stock of who …

Book Review: Gates’ ‘Duty’ Is Compelling, if Contradictory

Friday, January 17, 2014

“Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War” by Robert M. Gates; Alfred A. Knopf (640 pages, $35) During 41/2 years as secretary of Defense under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Robert M. Gates was widely lauded as a shrewd national security mandarin who had seen it …