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Former President Jimmy Carter hands a copy of his new book "A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety," to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Friday, July 10, 2015, at the Free Library in Philadelphia. Carter, a Nobel peace laureate who turned 90 last year, left office in 1981 and has had the longest post-presidential life in American history. He also is a prolific post-presidential author, with more than 20 books, including memoirs, poetry and policy books. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Jimmy Carter Holds Ideals Close at 90

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jimmy Carter let me down. Not with his book A Full Life: Reflections at 90 — a warm and detailed memoir of his youth followed by a clear-eyed assessment of the issues he tackled as president and afterward — but with his response to the question “Does the arc of history bend toward justice?” “I’m not sure about that,” said …

Scout’s Adult Conscience

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When I was 12, in the 1970s, I went on a trip to Alabama, my first trip to the Deep South. The occasion was a visit to a well-to-do family, connected distantly through marriage, that had made their fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in timber and the railroads. Two …

‘Watchman’ Reads Like A First Draft

Friday, July 17, 2015

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee; Harper (278 pages, $27.99) It would be a mistake to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman as a sequel to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it takes place a generation after the earlier book, involving a visit from Scout Finch — now 26 and using her given name, Jean …

Deep, Clear Memories: Writing Courses Spur Thetford Woman’s Memoir

Friday, February 27, 2015

While assembling the first volume of her memoirs in 2013, Thetford Center resident Virginia “Ginnie” Davenport ventured several times through the countryside of Middlesex, Vt., in search of remnants of the farm where she’d spent childhood summers with …

On Poetry: The Moral Force of Jean Connor’s Poems

Friday, February 27, 2015

It has been almost two years since I celebrated one of Vermont’s literary treasures, Jean Connor, a poet who, after a long career as a librarian in upstate New York, now lives at Wake Robin in Shelburne, Vt. Here I offer such celebration again, for no especial reason …

‘What Pet Should I Get?’ New Dr. Seuss Book Due Out in July

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another recently-discovered manuscript is coming to summer reading lists, this time in the form of a new Dr. Seuss book. The manuscript by the late author Theodor Geisel, a 1925 Dartmouth College graduate known to readers as Dr. Seuss, is coming out in July-the same month as the …

Romance Writers Get Some Love

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Washington — Who among us, even in the dyspeptic climate of Capitol Hill, does not yearn for the HEA? For the cool of heart and the calculating of temperament, the Happily Ever After is the delicious denouement expected …

Stewart Helped Books Prosper

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tuesday night, when Jon Stewart announced that he would be stepping down from The Daily Show, millennials across the country were shocked and saddened. But book publicists were crushed. In an increasingly fractured market, The Daily Show has …

Book Notes: Thetford Author Brings a Fable Back Into Print

Friday, February 13, 2015

Once upon a time, before many of us were living so much in cyberspace, Thetford author Dean Whitlock wrote a fable imagining the origin of the kite for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. And while he …

On Prose: A Short Story Can, and Should, Contain a Big Moment

Friday, February 13, 2015

My friend Hortense Calisher could never resist a good aphorism, particularly if she could add to it her own humorous spin. And so, when young writers asked for a useful definition of the short story, she would hesitate, smile mischievously, then bring it out: “A story is a …

Sequel to a Masterpiece

Friday, February 13, 2015

I first encountered Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade. Like so many others, I was struck not just by the book’s vivid narrative of racial justice, but also by its nuance: The inner life of …

An Open Book

Saturday, February 7, 2015

At 96, Emma Mosher has had enough stuff thrown at her by life to fill a novel, maybe two novels. Mosher was married at 18, had six children, saw the marriage fail, raised the kids by herself for …

Has America Killed Off Satire and Turned Into a Spoof of Itself?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Did postmodernism kill literary satire? I’ve been wondering about this in the wake of the terror attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, known for its caricatures of the prophet Muhammad; one appears on the cover of the first issue after the attack, brandishing a placard that …