Author Archive

Is Life Imitating John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl?

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Navigating through the hairpin twists and turns in le Carré novels is always fun and almost always challenging. In his Cold War novels, such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the plot is a subtle game of cat and mouse. The Little Drummer Girl was a change of pace.

Understanding Team Mom in The Joy Luck Club

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Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club is more than a book about mothers and daughters, although it's easy to choose sides while reading the generational 1989 novel.

Looking Back at Bright Lights, Big City

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The New York Times was not impressed with Bright Lights, Big City when it first appeared in 1984. “A clever, breezy--and in the end, facile documentary,” was what they said.

Communists and Cassoulet: Julia Child on Dried Herbs, Dull Knives and Joseph McCarthy

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If Julia Child and Avis deVoto were here today, they’d be great Facebook friends. Julia and Avis bonded over food—buying it, cooking it and eating it. But since they were without technology, they wrote letters, which Joan Reardon collected into a book titled As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis

The Two Holly Golightlys

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Sometimes a movie is adapted from a well-known novel that entirely eclipses the original material. Characters and plot points get rewritten then cast with A-list stars to take on a life of its own completely apart from the book. The result is two similar but separate works that each

Island Time with The Durrells

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Somewhere between Downton Abbey, Little House on the Prairie, Arrested Development and The Swiss Family Robinson are The Durrells in Corfu. The Durrells is based on the first book of classic semi-autobiographical trilogy "My Family and Other Animals," by conservationist Gerald Durrell.

Books and Cleverness: Hermione Granger and the Glass Ceiling

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We must thank Hermione Granger for the new trio of e-books from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling available for download on September 6. The books are called Short Stories from Hogwarts and provide a user’s manual for poltergeists, politics, heroes and even a guide (although unreliable) to the venerable

The Bitter Southerner’s New Song of the South

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"Sometimes you just gotta show people," writes Chuck Reese, founder and editor of The Bitter Southerner, an online magazine of writing, photography and music from and about the South. Reese, like many natives, grew tired of the clichés about the South as a region of yahoos.

Whit Stillman and Jane Austen: Together Again for the First Time

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Everybody from P.D. James to your best friend's sister seems to be writing Jane Austen fan fiction but the only fanfic I'm really excited about right now is Whit Stillman's reimagining of Lady Susan, an early epistolary novella.