Who invented rock-and-roll? Peter Guralnick, the justly esteemed biographer of Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke, calls his richly immersive new book Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll (Little, Brown, 748 pages, $32). Phillips was the owner of Sun Studios in Memphis, where many of the early greats recorded.
The U.S. Census Bureau says only about two million Americans are 90 or older, so why do I always seem to get behind one when I'm in a hurry? Luckily, I've learned to be more tolerant of these old-timers after reading Roger Angell's 2014 essay "This Old Man," written for the New Yorker when he was 94.
In fiction, the outcome of the plot must surprise readers, but at the same time, it should seem inevitable. Australian novelist Kate Morton achieves this balance in her latest offering, The Lake House. This highly articulate book is a perfect read for the dark winter evenings ahead. Divided between the 1930s in Cornwall and 2003 in Cornwall and London, the narrative explores the relationships of three sisters among one another and with Eleanor, their beleaguered mother.
Nonverbal intelligence can be a slippery subject in a work composed in words. So can communication failure, particularly across cultures. Serious writers have been confronting these challenges for generations, to varying degrees of success, but Mary Gaitskill's The Mare may be among the best contemporary efforts we have.
On Aug. 26, 1944, after the surrender of German troops and police in Paris, the leader of the Free French movement stood at the top of the Champs-Élysées and addressed about two million people. "As far as my eye could see," he would write, "there was nothing but this swell of humanity in the sunshine, beneath the tricolor."
Rowling: Snape capable of love Oh that snidely Severus Snape! He was a backstabbing evildoer who killed Albus Dumbledore!
Peggy Noonan seems up for a dare. On a recent episode of the delightful Real Clear Politics video blog "Changing Lanes" (bit.ly/1HU3nME), the Wall Street Journal columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan discussed politics, writing, and her new book of essays, The Time of Our Lives, while driving around with journalist Carl M. Cannon. She seemed to be having so much fun I apologized that we couldn't do our own interview while driving around.
Revisionist fairy tales have become so popular that younger generations are likely to grow up knowing them better than the originals. The YA bookshelves are full of them, as are cinemas (Frozen and Maleficent, to name only two). On TV, we have Once Upon a Time and Grimm. On stage, we have Wicked, based on Gregory Maguire's pop twist on The Wizard of Oz.
'In a hotel setting," declares one overnighter, "narrative exposition is your enemy." He isn't talking about prose. No, the subject is "adult movies," and the speaker proves funny, talking about porn as though it were Proust. He admits to enjoying the XXX stuff himself when he's alone on the road. His high-toned remarks turn shamefaced. He confesses to both the "halfhearted pleasure" and "the surge of despond."
The question comes late in the final installment of Jane Smiley's "Last Hundred Years" trilogy, after a funeral, in the dark of a hotel room: "Do you think that we've lived through a golden age?"
Whether it's Laurel and Hardy or Bird and Magic, duos have an amazing potency. And duos, too, have had a way of bringing sports into a cultural dominance far beyond balls, fields, and scores.
I've read scores of crime novels in which the protagonist is a cop, a crook, or a crime reporter - but a pro football player, let alone a punter? That's the case in Bill Syken's Hangman's Game, set against the backdrop of Philly professional football. Syken, a staff reporter and editor at Sports Illustrated and a Philadelphia resident, knows both football and Philly.
The eight novels in this Library of America collection fall into at least five categories, judging from the jacket copy. The authors, all women writing in the United States in the 1940s and '50s, created crime fiction (according to the collection's title) and suspense (according to its subtitle).
You cannot do better. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the publication of one of the most famous poems in history, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." Poet and critic David Orr has gone through Frost's explosive first three books - A Boy's Will (1913; 1915), No
No other medieval engagement has a "greater cultural legacy" than the Battle of Agincourt, according to Anne Curry, professor of medieval history at the University of Southampton. Shakespeare's Henry V, and popular lore before and after, has por
Adele's new album, titled 25 (ColumbiaAdvance ) is . . . wait for it . . . drum roll . . . everyone listening? . . . very good, a deserving follow-up to 21, one of the greatest-selling albums of all time. There must have been overwhelming pressure on Adel
Millions have marveled at the high-wire act John Irving pulled off in 1978 with his omniscient narration of The World According to Garp. Subsequent best-selling novels, including The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, continued to build his fame.
Gloria Steinem is 81. Her seventh book, My Life on the Road, is part memoir, part political meditation with the authority of gospel truth. Forget Howard Zinn - this is Gloria Steinem's History of the United States.
Breaking up is sad business. But It Ended Badly, an odd but intriguing book, suggests that instead of eating carbs, sleeping around, or running to a nunnery, today's castoffs should feel grateful they haven't been beheaded, jailed, or stabbed in the heart with a penknife.
Wait a minute . . . what? . . . Dark matter may have helped kill off the dinosaurs? Maybe. That theory is part of Lisa Randall's new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe (Ecco, 432 pp., $29.99). Randall is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University and a wonderful writer about science. She appears at the Free Library at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
In 1973, fans of beloved newsman Walter Cronkite were shocked and appalled when his broadcast of the CBS Evening News was disrupted by a long-haired youth who ran onto the set with a yellow sign that read, "Gays Protest CBS Prejudice."
In Grant Park, Leonard Pitts Jr.'s latest novel, celebrated newspaper columnist Malcolm Toussaint tries to explain why he would single-handedly wreck his career. He says: "I just got tired."
The title poem comes first in this collection - winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry - and it signals that the locale is Marin County, Calif., crowned by Mount Tamalpais, graced by Phoenix Lake. This is upscale territory.
Unbridled optimism reigned in Detroit as 1963 rolled in. The Big Three auto companies were about to enjoy their greatest-ever sales year. The city's native music was taking over the world through Motown Records. It was thought to be a front-runner for the 1968 Summer Olympics.
Michel Houellebecq, enfant terrible of France's genteel literary scene, delivers in Submission a novel with the futuristic, outlandish, and politically incorrect premise that his country faces wholesale Islamization.
Their life together reads much like fiction, but of a different genre from their page-turning crime novels that frequent the New York Times best sellers list.
Scholastic Press is targeting Edwidge Danticat's new novel, Untwine, at readers 12 and older. But this tale of grief and resilience should appeal to people who also love Danticat's adult fiction, such as Breath, Eyes, Memory, and Claire of the Sea Light.
Historical fiction reveals as much about its author as it does about the past - perhaps even more. She walks a fine line between accurately reflecting how people viewed life long ago, and violating contemporary assumptions about what human beings are "really" like. Skillfully crafted, such stories allow us to create an emotional bond with long-dead heroes who have risen to archetype status.
I fell in love with Jenny Lawson's writing when her husband forbid her to buy (more) towels. So she went out and got a six-foot-tall metal rooster she named Beyoncé, placed it in front of the door of her Texas home, and rang the bell. Knock-knock.
Postapocalyptic novels are hardly new, but they have become exceptionally popular over the last decade. And now Claire Vaye Watkins, who won the prestigious Story Prize with her first book, Battleborn: Stories (2012), has entered the arena. With Gold Fame
Blame it on Keith Richards and the inexorable passage of time. Since the Rolling Stone's memoir Life became a million-selling sensation in 2010, book publishers have been keen to get music celebrities to bare their souls and tell lewd and licentious tales about their creative heydays.
The dark and vibrant best-seller Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is part memoir, part jeremiad, and part prose poem, written to his son Samori about the world in which African Americans live, a world of constant threat to the African American body. Coates reads at the Free Library at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Some writers stick to one genre: mysteries or illustrations or scripts. Margaret Atwood has no such boundaries. At 75, she has produced poetry, comic strips, and children's books. She had a cameo in the fitness app Zombies, Run! and is working on a graphic-novel version of her epic The Handmaid's Tale. (A stage version is running at West Philadelphia's Curio Theatre.)
Brief Candle in the Dark, Richard Dawkins' sequel to his 2013 Appetite for Wonder, is a jam-packed memoir by a brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. The seventysomething Dawkins writes of his fascinating life from the 1970s to the present as a professor, scientist, writer, documentarian, husband, loving father, and atheist with humor and occasional hints of humility.
Nobody skewers college football better than Gilbert Gaul, not with bombast but with a financial spreadsheet he began compiling as an Inquirer reporter. In his absorbing new book, Billion-Dollar Ball, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner uses statistics, interviews with college administrators, and his own bulldog tenacity to make a stinging indictment of a sport gone mad.
Even as double lives go, Rose Eytinge's was unusual. A leading actress best known for her portrayal of a "bibulous prostitute" in the stage production of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Eytinge nonetheless needed extra income to supplement her extravagant lifestyle. Her solution: smuggle silks, sat
Here's the news: W.W. Norton, driven by editors Ann Goldstein and Robert Weil, has collected the writings of Primo Levi, the Italian novelist, poet, memoirist, and concentration camp survivor - introduced by Toni Morrison and translated by writers such as Jenny McPhee and Jonathan Galassi - and created a boxed set of three wonderful books.
Individual lives lend themselves well to book-length fiction. If you're lucky, you'll have a long life, like a novel, and even the most typical lives feature a staggering number of turns. But it takes a transcendent imagination to write a life that reads as if it actually happened, in our own world, and not too long ago. We're lucky to have one such imagination working now, that of Italian novelist Elena Ferrante.
Ron Rash had me at hello. More specifically, he had me at: "Though sunlight tinges the mountains, black leather-winged bodies swing low. First fireflies blink languidly. Beyond this meadow, cicadas rev and slow like sewing machines. All else ready for night except night itself."
Thomas Mallon's Finale depicts the chaotic-yet-consequential Reagan administration, with countless characters - real and fictional - linked in some way with it. The novel is another installment in Mallon's chronicle spanning American history from Lincoln to Watergate. If the excellence of his 1994 novel, Henry and Clara, in which he renders the tragedy in the presidential box at Ford's Theater, has not been matched by his subsequent fiction, Finale comes close.
In Radiant Angel, Nelson DeMille's latest thriller, John Corey targets the resurgent Russians, in a change of pace from the usual Middle Eastern terrorists. Corey, a tough, wisecracking, and irreverent retired NYPD homicide detective turned contract feder
Joyce Carol Oates opens the door of her Princeton home and says, "Come in. It's very warm." It's also a day of arrivals. Copies of her new book, The Lost Landscape, a collection of autobiographical essays, are here ("I haven't actually seen it yet," she says, taking one out of the box). So is a new kitten. Princeton professor, novelist
Here's a too-short list of some titles to look for in the autumnal months.
In an interview posted on Wikipedia, author Jonathan Franzen said: "I've let go of the illusion that I'm a writer of 150-page novels. I need room to let things turn around over time and see them from the whole lives of other characters, not just the single character. For better or worse, one point of view never seems to do it for me."
LOS ANGELES, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Jackie Collins, the best-selling author of dozens of steamy novels who depicted the boardrooms and bedrooms of Hollywood's...
So many readings, panels, discussions, and events are happening this fall we couldn't possibly list them all. Here's a broad-ranging taste of 10 highlights:
Students file in and out of high schools year after year, rarely looking back to thank a teacher who made a positive impact on their lives. Matthew Quick, who grew up in Oaklyn, Camden County, and taught English literature and film to South Jersey high school students, would know a thing or two about that. In his latest novel, Love May Fail, the author best known for Silver Linings Playbook explores interconnected lives and how the actions of one can reverberate on others. It is a well-told tale of how, through will or force, even the most broken people can sometimes be repaired.
As a child, Anshel Brusilow put on 78-r.p.m. records in his home in West Philadelphia and pretended he was Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. His ambitions eventually led him directly to Ormandy and the role of concertmaster of one of the greatest orchestras in the world.
This welcome, overdue publication of the Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector fills a hole in our literary history that many of us didn't even know existed. These 86 stories may very well serve as creative stepping-stones between the intensity of Franz Kafka and the unflinching clarity of Alice Munro. Yet Lispector's idiosyncratic voice, incredibly brainy and accessible, owes no obvious debts. Her fiction is comparable only to itself.
Hardcover For the week ended Aug. 30, compiled by Nielsen BookScan © 2015 the Nielsen Co. Fiction 1. X Sue Grafton. Putnam/Wood. $29
He's a hero and he's great at his job, but "Star Trek's" Captain Kirk did abandon his son.
In a recent The New Yorker - the one with a Harry Truman-esque Kanye West holding up a newspaper headlined TRUMP DEFEATS KANYE on the cover - there's a lengthy "Letter From The Vatican" by Alexander Stille about Pope Francis' efforts to "sh
Within the first few pages of this entertaining debut novel, readers of Kitchens of the Great Midwest are already immersed in both J. Ryan Stradal's particular voice - a forward rush of plot and wit - and the Midwestern Lutheran mise en scène. In this Min
Christine Clark, the heroine of Fran Ross' outrageously funny novel Oreo, creates a form of self-defense she calls the Way of the Interstitial Thrust, or WIT. "WIT was based on an Oriental dedication to attacking the body's soft, vulnerable spaces or
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis first meet as 8-year-olds in a Miami hospital. Rachel, "born with a broken heart" - tricuspid atresia, to be specific - is recovering from major surgery. Andy, who is visiting Florida with his mother, has a broken arm. Rachel and Andy form a bond that for the next 30 years strengthens and frays.
With her third novel, Chantel Acevedo, born in Miami, has achieved a rich and engrossing portrayal of life in her ancestral Cuba. Against a background of rich human interaction, horrific suffering frequently threatens any kind of normal living.
Hardcover For the week ended Aug. 9, compiled by Nielsen BookScan © 2015 the Nielsen Co. Fiction 1. Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee. Harper. $28
The genius' need to transform might be the salient detail of Lewis Carroll's working life. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst makes that plain in The Story of Alice.
The tour rider is a window into old-school rock star success.
Following the work of military historian John Keegan, in Men of War Anthony Rose studies how individual troops reacted in conflict in three of the "most iconic" combat situations in American history. He does a superb job of presenting the story of individual troops along the fence, in the trenches, and facing the enemy at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, answering the difficult question, "What's it like to be in battle?"
Steve Earle & the Dukes. The roots-rock troubadour brings his vast catalog and Terraplane, a new album of Lightnin' Hopkins-inspired Texas blues, to town. 8 p.m. Tuesday at World Cafe Live.
SOMETIMES you make grand plans, and then life happens, as former Daily News reporter Sheila Simmons can attest. When I met her, back in 1991, she was a business reporter and Miss "It" around town, active in such organizations as the Urban League Young Professionals and also the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. The bashes she threw were famou
'Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?" I didn't pick up Kate Atkinson's new novel, A God in Ruins, expecting to be reminded of "Do You Realize," the turn-of-the-century Flaming Lips summer jam for melancholy existentialists, but here we are. "You realize that life goes fast/It's hard to make the good things last."
James Wood appreciates books. Narratives move him emotionally as well as intellectually, and he can hear the music of good prose. Readers of the New Yorker will recognize his well-wrought meditations on writers from V.S. Naipaul to Penelope Fitzgerald. When not essaying, he's teaching at Harvard, urging his students to read like writers. Wood advocates "writer's criticism," and that's not theory, it's art.
I was a frequent visitor to the Philippines while serving as an 18-year-old sailor aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War in 1971. On one of my shore leaves, I traveled to Manila, and the Manila Memorial Cemetery, where more than 17,000 Americans and Filipinos who died fighting Japanese forces during World War II are buried. I was impressed by the cemetery's mosaic wall maps of many great battles. One such battle was the raid on Los Baños.
With a certainty that's rare anywhere, much less on Broadway, Al Hirschfeld's drawings accompanied the opening of most major New York shows for a showbiz eternity - the 1920s to his 2003 death at age 99 - drawing viewers into that world with a veracity photographs rarely touch.
Eventually, the controversy surrounding Go Set a Watchman may fade, but as we set out to read the novel for the first time, it is impossible to ignore - nor should we.
Among America's titans of industry, none has left a legacy quite like Milton Hershey. In 1909, he and wife Kitty endowed an orphanage for boys with hundreds of acres of dairy farms in Pennsylvania's Lebanon Valley. Over the years, the Hersheys, who were childless, added the earnings of the chocolate company to the mix.
One morning a few days before I started reading philosopher Susan Neiman's new book, I found in my daily calendar of New Yorker cartoons this gem by Joe Dator.
Jimmy Carter has sometimes been called "one of our great ex-presidents," which may be both a backhanded slap at his tenure in the Oval Office and admiration for his accomplishments since he left there in 1981.
Writer E.L. Doctorow, who wryly reimagined the American experience in such novels as "Ragtime" and "The March" and applied its lessons to the past and the future in fiction and nonfiction, has died. He was 84.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind County Theater, Doylestown, 7 p.m. Thursday. Steven Spielberg's iconic sci-fi film (Richard Dreyfuss' mashed potatoes! The five-note sequence from the spaceship! François Truffaut!) is on the County's "Hollywood Summer Nights" lineup. The 1977 aliens-among-us odyssey should be revisited at least once a decade.
Edna O'Brien's new book, The Love Object: Selected Stories, includes stories from the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, and the early 2000s. The collection is honest, daring, thoughtful, eloquent, restless. O'Brien is, apparently, an extrovert - many of her stories are set at parties, and so they let us peer through the keyhole at how the privileged comport themselves. Her female protagonists are usually not married, and often finished with or about to begin illicit affairs with married men.
Forgiveness, redemption, and society's need to rise above vengeance and retribution are the themes of Mario Marazziti's 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty.
Hardcover For the week ended June 28, compiled by Nielsen BookScan © 2015 the Nielsen Co. Fiction 1. The English Spy Daniel Silva. Harper. $28
In the biggest storm of anticipation in years, hearts are racing and breaths held throughout the literary world. As Monday turns over into Tuesday, publisher HarperCollins will release Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. She is the author, now 89, of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, perhaps the most successful U.S. novel ever (40 million-plu
Harper Lee's highly anticipated novel will be celebrated in the tri-state area.
"Go Set a Watchman," the much-anticipated second novel by "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee, is the most pre-ordered print title on Amazon.com since the last book in the "Harry Potter" series, Amazon said on Thursday.
"Amen Amen Amen: The Essential Collection," by the Swan Silvertones. Sublime Sunday-morning music from one of the great vocal groups of all time. Featuring the divine falsetto of the Rev. Claude Jeter, an enormous influence on Sam Cooke, Al Green, and Smokey Robinson, this set collects 24 recordings for the Specialty and Vee-Jay labels from 1950 to 1963. On Rock Beat Records.
Serial storytelling is a wily enterprise that by definition aims for forever. The characters feel alive between volumes, and the readership, though often niche, tends to skew obsessive. In the case of the autobiographical sensation My Struggle, Karl Ove K
The Princeton University Press has some nifty book series going. My favorite is Writers on Writers, in which contemporary writers offer short, personal reflections on famous figures in literature. Each writer is given a long leash to be "creative," to explore, to go where s/he wants. That stamp of the personal makes this series singular. The volumes I've read so far - including the one at hand, On Elizabeth Bishop by Colm Tóibín - are exhilarating.
Few World War II stories are better known than that of Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's daring bombing raid against Japan in April 1942, just a few months after Pearl Harbor.
The villain gets the juiciest role in this sex-drenched novel about two women and the young Yankees star over whom they're waging all-out war.
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Happy ending, right? Especially when boy happens to be the Prince of England? Not quite, at least not in The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, which uses the real-life relationship of Prince William and Kate Middleton as a springboard.
Only real music nerds can tell you the names of the writers behind hit songs, but there are some everybody knows. Take "Don't Know Much," which should be playing in your head, in Aaron Neville's voice, right about now. Or "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," which is, incredibly, the most-played song of the 20th century. Both of these, plus hundreds of others, were written by a woman named Cynthia Weil.
It's not often you read a historical romance in which the heroine faces danger of ruin beyond the usual romantic indiscretion. Isabella Bradford's latest book touches on some surprisingly heavy subjects. A Sinful Deception is the second book in the Breconridge Brothers trilogy by Bradford, a pseudonym of Susan Halloway Scott, who lives in Chester County.
Neal Stephenson's palindromic Seveneves demands your attention from the first sentence: "The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason." This opening may sound absurd, but readers can count on Stephenson to deliver credible science and satisfying narrative.
'PY!", a voice called from within the crowd. "PM!", the audience screamed back.
Drawn and Quarterly: 25 Drawn & Quarterly Press, 776 pp., $49.95. "Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels" is the subtitle of this truly voluminous survey of some of the finest artists and authors working in the
Hardcover For the week ended June 7, compiled by Nielsen BookScan © 2015 the Nielsen Co. Fiction 1. Radiant Angel Nelson DeMille. Grand Central. $28
These very different collections have a couple of things in common. Each displays an acute awareness of how much the world has become a place of instruments and gadgets - whether in the emergency room or just tooling along McKinley Avenue in Mishawaka, Ind. But each also gives the sense of a presence in the world of something greater and more vital, something strictly personal.
John Prine never had a breakthrough hit for himself in the 1970s. Since the release of his self-titled debut album in 1971, though, he has enjoyed a career of lasting achievement. His songs have staying power and continuing relevance, be the theme a veteran's struggle to adjust to stateside life in "Sam Stone," the loneliness of senior citizens in "Hello in There," or teen pregnancy in "Unwed Fathers."
For more than 45 years, the unsolved murder of Penn State graduate student Betsy Aardsma has haunted the university community in State College.
From dissections of slang words to lyrical meditations on supposedly untranslatable foreign-language terms, Slip of the Tongue, Katie Haegele's delightful collection of personal essays on language, gave me page-turning hours of sheer word-pleasure.
A contemporary master painter and one of the greatest painters of all time, jewelry made in accordance with an ancient tradition and jewelry made millennia ago by a people nearly forgotten, the records of life set in stone-these are just some of what is featured in this season's selection of books designed for both reading and display. They're all worth their price tags.
Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design Jan-Christopher Horak (Kentucky Press, 512 pp. $40). Think the title sequences of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and North By Northwest, of Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder, and Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch, and you
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is set to delight fans by releasing a new story based on franchise villain Dolores Umbridge just in time for Halloween.
The imminent departure of 10,000 Maurice Sendak books, manuscripts, and original art from the Rosenbach of the Free Library may raise civic hackles, and this is absolutely the healthy response - the arts, heritage, and business communities coming together
Nearly half a century ago, the Rosenbach Museum and Library began building a relationship with the young author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who very quickly started using the townhouse museum on Delancey Place as a repository for his original drawings, manuscripts, proofs, and rare editions.
A graphic novel called ‘Beyond: Edward Snowden’ is set for release in late May. The biographical comic will explore Snowden’s motives behind leaking classified NSA documents in 2013.
On November 26, 1986, Philadelphia resident Gary Heidnik dragged 25-year-old Josefina Rivera into the basement of his Tioga home, beginning what would become nearly a year of intense physical and psychological torture. Now, for the first time, Rivera has addressed the events that transpired in her book, Cellar Girl.
More than 50 years ago, legendary sci-fi author and humanist Isaac Asimov predicted what life in 2014 would be like for an op-ed in the New York Times. As it turns out, his accuracy is stunning.
Stephenie Meyer will do a free book signing in Philly
Authors at the Free Library Author appearances at the Free Library of Philadelphia are held at the Central Library, 1901 Vine St., unless otherwise...
“Pretty In Pink” co-stars Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald take the literary world by storm -- and so are several of their fellow John Hughes alums
Photos: Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of the beloved children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 83.
One Book, One Jewish Community has picked Martin Fletcher 'The List' as its next selection. Fletcher will read in Maple Glen on Oct. 30
Novelist and scholar Umberto Eco will read at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Nov. 10. Advance tickets required.
The publishing world has been waiting with bated breath for J.K. Rowling's announcement about her latest project, "Pottermore." It can exhale: "Pottermore" isn't more Potter, as in an eighth book in the wildly successful series. It's a...web-based scavenger hunt.
Live chat: Haddonfield's Robert Strauss, author of "Daddy's Little Goalie: A Father, His Daughters, and Sports," discusses raising young athletes, NOW!
In his autobiography, the former champion speaks of being sexually abused as a teen by a boxing coach.
Human rights activist John Prendergast talks about the summer he lived at 6th and Tasker and brought three African American boys from D.C. to stay with him. (Amy Rosenberg/Inquirer)
The show-biz whiz (comedian, actress, writer, producer) grew up in Upper Darby and graduated in 1988 from Upper Darby High. "Saturday Night Live" led to her NBC series "30 Rock" and a string of movies. She then received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November 2010, and has subsequently authored a book titled, "Bossypants."
Dave on Demand: Homegirl Tina Fey returned to Philly Tuesday night for an appearance promoting her new humor book, "Bossypants." The event sold out the auditorium at the Parkway Central Library.
Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition. (edited by Scott Gummer and Larry Shenk; Insight Editions, $50) This lavishly illustrated volume, supplemented with profiles and reproductions of memorabilia, is a pictorial tribute to a franchise that has gone from p
Tasting Freedom is a marvelous historical feast for lovers of Afro-American, Philadelphia, and American history alike. Centered on the life of Octavius Catto, a mid-19th-century black Philadelphia educator and militant leader, the book reaches far back in time to Catto's grandparents' life in slave- and agrarian-dominated South Carolina and forward to an industrializing Philadelphia in the 1870s.
What do four of Sweden's most celebrated crime novelists share, other than international success, a fistful of prizes, and a hectic tour schedule?
Adrian Hyland says he is drawn to Osip Mandelstam's view of the writer as " 'a stealer of air' who works in the way that lace makers work to make a design that is 'air, perforation and truancy,' or the baker of doughnuts who puts as much care into the hole as he does to the dough."
A fist to the jaw carries with it an intimacy that a bullet to the gut just can't match, not to mention the possibility that attacker and victim can share a chat after they clean themselves up.
From its start, America was a westward-leaning country. The notion that a person could always head west to pursue his dreams, find himself, or start over is a basic tenet of American myth and tradition.
IHAVE A confession to make. Part of me really doesn't want to read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." I know it's shocking, because I am nothing if not a true fan. I've lost track of the number of times I've read and re-read the adventures of the boy wizard and his faithful sidekicks Ron and Hermione as they attend the witchcraft school Hogwarts and battle against evil foe Lord Voldemort.
'Tis a gift to be clever, and Patricia Marx is exceptionally clever. She is clever on virtually every page, resulting in so much dog-earing that the devoured novel expands to twice the size.
According to recent marketing studies, the princess fantasy is alive and well among the female populace. Sales of princess dolls and crinolines are booming. Record numbers of little girls are dressed in tiaras for Halloween by mothers dreaming of princesshood for themselves.
Martin Amis is admirably concerned that the colossal atrocities inflicted upon Russia by the Soviet regime not be forgotten. Koba the Dread (2002), his meditation on the evil works and pomps of Stalin, while replete with a detailed litany of the horrors the paranoid Georgian set in motion, also established that "Uncle Joe" was simply continuing - on a far grander scale, of course - homicidal policies already well-established by Lenin and Trotsky.
It has been such a comfort, such a pleasure, to have had this book at elbow the past few weeks. You can read a book of poems from cover to cover, if you want - there are no rules, no police. You find yourself reading large stretches, then revisiting some poems, dipping in here or there, reading the page that chances to fall open.
'In the last few years," Jonathan Raban wrote in a Guardian editorial last year, "most of us - even instinctive technophobes like me - have become practiced in the dark art of surveillance." The English expatriate, who lives in Seattle, went on to describe how Google enables us to give our dates a thorough background check. He expressed disbelief that the NSA's wiretaps of domestic phone calls caused so little outcry in America. We would pay for this erosion of our privacy, he warned.
If you fall down while sprinting with a crowd of folks along a narrow, fenced-off street in front of a herd of ferocious, 1,400-pound bulls, stay down, advises management consultant Tim Irwin.
On Nov. 8, 2006, Democrats won control of the House of Representatives. It was an important political moment, one that had both immediate and long-term implications for everything from Iraq to gay marriage to immigration to how our country would act and be perceived on a global scale. And the big headline in the New York Post?
David Hiltbrand is a well-known name in Philadelphia circles, as his movie reviews, entertainment reporting and weekly column, "Dave on Demand," have appeared regularly in The Inquirer. But he has also branched out into writing novels that make good use of his entertainment background.
No American novelist dreams in celluloid quite like Paul Auster. Many of his characters discover that the mind is just an elaborate director's studio, memory the editor's booth. In his tremendous 1982 memoir, The Invention of Solitude, Auster proved how powerful this metaphor could be as he reflected on the losses that made him a writer, jump-cutting from one part of his life to the next. Now, 24 years later, he has produced a companion piece to that book: a short, brisk, odd little fable called Travels in the Scriptorium.
Richard Powell's novel The Philadelphian has suffered a peculiarly Philadelphian fate: undeserved obscurity. Consider a parallel example: Not many people nowadays remember N.W. Ayer & Son, America's first advertising agency, founded in 1869, and coiner of such immortal slogans as "When it rains it pours," "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," and "A diamond is forever." But they probably would if the agency's city of origin had been someplace besides Philadelphia.
Israel Armstrong is not your typical mystery hero. He's overweight, clumsy, and not even funny - at least not intentionally. He doesn't have a glamorous day job or detective agency, let alone an office on Baker Street. He's a librarian. Sometimes. When he can find work.