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Books

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. Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift The Lid a collection of his own stories, as well as experiences from funeral directors across …

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, the former Massachusetts Democratic representative had plenty of material to work with. The only problem …

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. But in his new book, The Case Against the Supreme Court, he says he regrets …

Spinning a Publishing Mystery

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith; Mullholland Books (464 pages, $28) If J.K. Rowling had as much fun writing The Silkworm as I did reading it, she had a blast. As the woman who created Harry Potter, Rowling became …

Bio of Flying Ace Rickenbacker Reveals His ‘Enduring Courage’

Sunday, June 29, 2014

World War I fighter ace Eddie Rickenbacker and the internal combustion engine came of age together. Rickenbacker was a pioneering race car driver who relentlessly pursued faster speeds. He helped develop new technologies. And he survived the “world’s …

‘Second Amendment’ History on Target

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Second Amendment is just 27 words long: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But in that single, awkwardly constructed sentence, Michael Waldman suggests in The Second …

Kellie Martin: Actor to Writer

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pasadena, Calif. — Actress Kellie Martin was celebrating the best role she’d ever had. Even though she’d starred on shows like Christy and Life Goes On, she was co-starring on ER, a cosmic hit on television. But Martin’s …

Authors and Alcoholism

Friday, June 20, 2014

Our culture has a way of romanticizing the booze-addled scribe, the rakish writer quick with a quip: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, Tennessee Williams, Raymond Carver. These were masters of American letters. These were also incorrigible …

Poet Laureate Charles Wright Can Be Hard To Reach

Friday, June 20, 2014

Charles Wright once said, “I want to be the anonymous author.” But for 44 years this modest Southerner has been publishing poetry, and the accolades have kept arriving: a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book …

‘My Struggle’ Traces a Long Quest for Meaning in Daily Life

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Struggle: Book Three: Boyhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett; Archipelago (428 pages, $27) Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle is the buzz book of the moment — or more accurately a certain kind of buzz book, for a certain kind …

Young Adult Novels Are Not for Old Adults

Friday, June 20, 2014

Since The Fault in Our Stars barreled into theaters this month virtually guaranteed to become a blockbuster, it can be hard to remember that once upon a time, an adult might have felt embarrassed to be caught reading the novel that inspired it. Not because it is bad …

‘Hard Choices’ an Easy Read

Sunday, June 15, 2014

She hasn’t decided yet. Or if she has, she’s not telling. But if Hillary Rodham Clinton does run for president in 2016, her new book Hard Choices, a chronicle of her four years as secretary of State, leaves …

Ghosts of the Great War

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Americans know about World War I is probably nothing to brag about. How it started may be a mystery to many. Why the United States got involved, just as befuddling. Baby boomers may know something about the …