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In this March 6, 2014 photo, Colombian Nobel Literature laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez greets fans and reporters outside his home on his 87th birthday in Mexico City. Garcia Marquez died Thursday April 17, 2014 at his home in Mexico City. The author's magical realist novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America's passion, superstition, violence and inequality. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Garcia Marquez Was More Than Magical Realism

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a charmer. The great Colombian novelist, who died Thursday, called Mexico City home for much of his life, and it was there that I met him, at a chi-chi Mexican restaurant where he agreed to a sitdown with a half-dozen Los Angeles Times foreign correspondents and editors in 2004. Behind his thick glasses and looking frail …

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 …

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 …

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 …

More Teen Writers Recipients of Publishing Deals

Sunday, January 12, 2014

“My mom always screamed at me to read, but I never really enjoyed it,” says the 13-year-old, lacrosse-playing Maryland resident — whose debut novel just got picked up by Penguin. “A lot of middle school books are too babyish,” he says. “Almost Disney-like. They talk down to the …

Writers Offered Free Homes in Detroit

Sunday, January 5, 2014

There’s no such thing as a free lunch — but for select writers, there will be such a thing as a free house. Write a House, a new nonprofit based in Detroit, is hoping to expand the city’s burgeoning creative community by offering free houses to writers. The …

Fictionalizing a Slavery Hero

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Washington — The abolitionist John Brown launched his raid on Harpers Ferry in October 1859, when 20 men seized a Maryland arsenal and held it for 36 hours. Brown was captured, tried, and on the morning of Dec. …

Prejudice Against the Graphic Novel Persists in the Classroom

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A young girl, a primary grade-schooler with a well-worn library card, was enthusiastically reading a riveting memoir when a stern tone descended upon her. “What is that?” the teacher asked/accused. “It’s a graphic novel,” came the girl’s reply. Such works, the girl was told, were unacceptable for classroom …

Celebrating The Work Of an Earlier State Poet

Friday, January 3, 2014

In the community library presentations I’ve been giving since my appointment as state poet, I’m frequently asked which contemporary poets I like to read. It’s a funny thing how that question — obliquely akin, say, to what is my favorite Robert Frost or Elizabeth Bishop or Emily Dickinson …

Casting Light on Neglected Books

Friday, January 3, 2014

Every year, we in the media, with laxative regularity, trot out our Best Of lists. Best movies, books, music, restaurants, television, hotels, art shows, apps, spas, farmers markets: there is almost no artistic or commercial enterprise for which …

Poetic Sketches Evoke Solitude

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The most striking thing about the 44 images reproduced in Sylvia Plath’s Drawings may be how unpopulated they are. Produced during the two years the poet spent on a Fulbright fellowship at Cambridge — the same period in …

‘Unbound’ Explores, Reinforces Roth’s Standing

Sunday, December 29, 2013

If you’ve been tempted to dismiss Philip Roth as a misogynist, a self-hating Jew or simply an old white male dinosaur, Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books makes a strong argument for giving the …

Indie Bookstores Still Booking It

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Frederick, Md. — Bookstores are terminally ill. Borders? Dead. Barnes and Noble? Life support. Amazon is king. E-books are the present and the future. Have tablet, will read. But in downtown Frederick, Md., Marlene and Tom England are …