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Books

Thomas Powers in his South Royalton office in 2012. Powers has immersed himself in the American intelligence community, a subject he will give a talk about at Vermont Law School on Feb. 3, 2016. (

Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

America’s Secret Life

Friday, January 29, 2016

The writer Thomas Powers has spent the past 40 years thinking about the American intelligence community, beginning with articles he wrote for Rolling Stone on the CIA and its director Richard Helms, who served as director from 1966 to 1973, which led to his book The Man Who Kept the Secrets , published in 1979. Over his career Powers has …

Book Review: Bill Bryson Takes a Turn for the Worse

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson; Doubleday (380 pages, $28.95) The world is always in decline if you want it to be. In the 1880s, the English experienced an intense collective wistfulness for the period before 1850, which was the year that railroads had finally …

Vermont Poet Laureate Torch Passes Down Conn. River Valley

Friday, January 29, 2016

In November, I was succeeded as Vermont poet laureate by the more-than-worthy Chard de Niord of Westminster West, on whom I wish a tenure as full of rewards as mine proved. I visited over 100 community libraries as laureate, and more often than not, I used the following poem by James Wright as an instance of what lyric can do, perhaps better than …

Author’s Essays Examine Life in Baltimore

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The author D. Watkins floats between two worlds, adept at maneuvering through both though perhaps not fully comfortable in either. The hard part isn’t so much the physical journey from the boarded-up rowhouses and roach-infested refrigerators and cracked-asphalt …

Author Helps Teacher Get a Kidney

Sunday, September 13, 2015

If Brad Meltzer tried to write a novel about helping his high school history teacher get a new kidney, his editor would reject the manuscript for being too far-fetched. But the South Florida writer — author of 10 …

Female Rockers Crank the Volumes

Friday, September 11, 2015

It’s an all-girl supergroup like no other: Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde, Jamaican-born singer Grace Jones, Sleater-Kinney guitarist and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, folkie Jewel, punk poet Patti Smith and 1970s icon Carly Simon. Only these women aren’t reviving …

Author Traces the Colebrook Shootings in Nonfiction Account

Friday, September 11, 2015

On Aug. 19, 1997, a northern New Hampshire man named Carl Drega living near Colebrook, N.H., went on a shooting rampage, killing four people who included a local judge, the editor of the daily Colebrook News and Sentinel …

Sandra Brown’s Latest Thriller ‘Friction’ Delivers on Formula

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The title of Sandra Brown’s new book finally offers a proper term under which to file the majority of her novels. They’re fiction, yes, but mystery, suspense, romantic thriller and various other labels are applied to the Texas …

Authors’ Lives Fodder for Rom-Coms

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A film company is hoping to turn the life of author Jane Austen into a romantic comedy. They couldn’t have picked a worse subject. Austen is a classic novelist, one whose books Emma, Sense and Sensibility and the beloved Pride and Prejudice have themselves been turned into delightful …

‘Purity’ Isn’t Franzen’s Best

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jonathan Franzen’s career offers a cautionary narrative — for us as much as him. As far back as 1996, with Perchance to Dream, his long essay published in Harper’s on the state of contemporary fiction, he has filled …

Felicia Day Loves the Internet, Despite Trolls

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Felicia Day is well aware that not everyone knows who she is. Those are the people who aren’t immersed in the gaming culture, who haven’t spent wide swaths of their lives playing World of Warcraft, or watching her …

National Gallery’s Show of Photobooks Follows in Footsteps of Robert Frank

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Washington — From the earliest days of photography, images were collected in albums, the way a botanist might save pressed flowers. All that changed in 1959 with the publication of Robert Frank’s photobook The Americans. With this collection …

Didion Bio Offers Little Beyond Her Own Writing

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty; St. Martin’s Press (752 pages; $35) Someday someone will write a biography worthy of Joan Didion, an author known for her razor-sharp insights and crystalline style. …