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Dartmouth College professor Don Sheehan in a 1997 portrait. (Courtesy of Dartmouth College Library)

On Poetry: Former Dartmouth Professor Was a Man of Orthodox Faith, but Unorthodox Humility and Insight

Friday, May 22, 2015

This column is distinctly different from any of its predecessors. In it, I will try to sell you on a book called The Grace of Incorruption, written by a great man and a great friend who died in 2010. When I tell you that the book’s subtitle is The Selected Essays of Donald Sheehan on Orthodox Faith and Poetics, you’ll see why I imagine a challenge to my efforts. Not all readers will share even my radical-Protestant Christian vision; still fewer, I’m sure, will share the late author’s Eastern Orthodox Christianity. As one who himself instinctively recoils from the very notion of “orthodoxy,” whether religious, …

Book Review: Vivian Gornick and the Ghosts of New York

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir by Vivian Gornick; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (176 pages, $22) Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City is a book of ghosts. Ghosts of the past; ghosts of New York, which is for her both home and character; ghosts of a lifetime of reading, intentional and covert. These ghosts emerge when Gornick least expects …

Book Notes: Valley Native Wesley McNair Wins Award for New Book

Friday, May 8, 2015

After years of boiling down memories of his Upper Valley childhood hardships into poetry, Wesley McNair this spring harvested acclaim for exploring through verse what his mother endured growing up in the depths of the Great Depression. In April, the New England chapter of the PEN America association of writers conferred its award …

2014 in Review: The Commonplace Was a Common Thread in the Year’s Books

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What was the upshot of my year in reading, the ideas, the through lines that most stirred or provoked me in 2014? The dominant thread was what we might call that of common experience, work that finds significance …

Publisher Releases Torture Report

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Washington, D.C. — What better to give someone this holiday season than a paperback copy of the Senate’s report on the U.S. government’s torture practices. Wait, what now? Well, we’re not exactly sure what people are planning to do with the Senate Torture Report, but it appears that …

Fan Fiction Begets Publishing Success

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It starts with a familiar name, but then takes a turn. Jay Gatsby actually faked his death, and is now reunited with Daisy. Scandal’s Olivia Pope is somehow working on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. And a member of the boy band One Direction is falling in love on …

Danish ‘Cartoon Crisis’ Editor Reflects in Book

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Amid the murder threats and security alerts and thrown axes, Flemming Rose is not, he says, confrontational by nature. Rose is best known as the Danish newspaper editor who — in reaction to what he saw as increasing self-censorship by visual and verbal artists — nearly a decade …

Kirk Douglas Publishes Poetry Book

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kirk Douglas may be one of the biggest actors of his era, with starring roles in 1960’s Spartacus, 1949’s Champion and 1951’s Ace in the Hole. But on a recent crisp morning, he was having a grand time simply reciting his poetry by heart for an audience of …

A Legacy In Letters and on the Land

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It’s Nov. 21, 2014, about 10 a.m., and I’m heading up the Bill Hill trail in Thetford Center. The morning has been cold and squally, and right now fat snowflakes ride ripples of the shifting wind, settling onto …

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. …

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 …

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, …

‘War’ Details Rising Military-Internet Link

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A thought commonly attributed to George Orwell holds that good people can sleep at night only because rough men are awake and ready to protect them. But in the modern world, two other groups are also vital to a sound sleep: software engineers and computer geeks. That’s the …