Book Review | James Thurber explores timeless captivity through humor in “The Thurber Carnival”

This is the book I’d want with me if I were ever stranded on a desert island. “The Thurber Carnival” is a collection of essays, cartoons, short stories and illustrated poems and fables by the late humorist James Thurber. Written between 1931 and 1945, most of the pieces were originally published in magazines or books. […]

Radio Free Vermont asks: would Vermont be better off independent?

Bill McKibben’s new book “Radio Free Vermont” hooked me immediately with its description of determined Vermonters ambushing a Coors Light delivery truck. Not a Coors fan by any means, I had to know why. Was someone finally taking a stand against overpriced, watery, mega-brewery beer? Yes, indeed a stand was being taken, but things got […]

That’s What She Read: Novel explores questions of personhood, survivor’s guilt

“Little Sister” by Barbara Gowdy is definitely one of the weirdest novels I’ve read lately. Rose Bowan owns and runs the local movie hall with her mother. She has a placid, uneventful life and a placid, uneventful boyfriend. Her mother is in the early stages of dementia, but that is the only cloud on Rose’s horizon. […]

That’s What She Read: Novel explores sexuality, gender and class

“Mrs. Fletcher” by Tom Perrotta. Poor Mrs. Fletcher. After her husband leaves her for a younger woman and her only son goes off to college, she’s feeling a bit lost and lonely. Mrs. Fletcher runs into time for reevaluating her life and ponders how she will spend her newfound free time now that she is not shuttling her son […]

That’s What She Read: Books to fall for

The summer reading round-up continues with “Grief Cottage” by Gail Godwin. Eleven-year-old Marcus goes to live with his reclusive Aunt Charlotte after the sudden death of his mother. Aunt Charlotte is a painter who lives on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. Fiercely independent, prickly and secretive, she nonetheless steps up to shelter […]

Novel centers on struggles of family grief

“Rabbit Cake” went from being a book that I almost didn’t read to one I’m pestering my friends to give a try. While I was not initially intrigued by the story – it centers around a young and precocious protagonist and deals with a tragic death among a quirky family and community – I was hooked immediately after reading an excerpt. The […]

Murder mystery ties in messages of opportunity and class privilege

Disturbing. Compelling. Upsetting. Masterful. I could go on and on about how amazing this novel, “So Much Pretty” by Cara Hoffman, is. The plot is deceptively simple. Wendy White, a cheerful, well-liked young woman disappears in rural upstate New York. Months later, her remains are found and a drifter is accused of her abduction and […]

Chef captures culture of Harlem in cookbook: ‘The Red Rooster Cookbook’

Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s new cookbook “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem” is a delightful mélange of recipes, essays, history and photographs celebrating Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City long associated with black culture.  Owner of Red Rooster in Harlem and best-selling author of “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” and other books, Samuelsson takes […]

‘Good as Gone’ doesn’t live up to ‘Gone Girl’

Thirteen year-old Julie was abducted from her home at knifepoint. She was never found and there were no suspects for her abductor. Police suspected that Julie knew her abductor, because there were also no signs of forced entry in her home. Eight long years later, Julie’s parents, Anna and Tom Whitaker, and younger sister Jane have rebuilt […]