September 17, 2013
HE MAY be unassuming and bookish, but Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood is a rock star. His 2008 article about a black White House employee who served under eight U.S. presidents inspired the hit movie "The Butler," starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. I'm in awe of Haygood because of what he has accomplished: By telling the story of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler at the White House under eight administrations for three decades, Haygood pays homage to all the nameless people in service industries who for decades toiled in obscurity, often enduring the worst kind of racial indignities, while making things happen in the halls of power.
September 9, 2013 |
BOILING SPRINGS, Pa. - Long before her words would inspire millions of children to experience the outdoors, a young Jean Craighead was poking around her backyard at her family's summer home, alongside the crystalline waters of the Yellow Breeches Creek. Spending more time outside their sprawling Victorian house than in, she and her brothers embraced nature in all its forms: studying plants and insects, befriending raccoons and mice, and training hawks and owls. From her small green desk in her bedroom overlooking the creek, Jean scribbled notes and sketched pictures, sometimes slipping out her window and down the heavy cable holding the rooftop lightning rod. Those childhood memories from the 1920s and '30s would become the germs of story ideas that launched her writing career under her married name, Jean Craighead George, that lasted half a century and produced 100 books steeped in nature, including the award-winning titles Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain . Today the house in Cumberland County is vacant and suffering from decades of neglect.
July 26, 2013 |
FOUR AUTUMNS ago, two sports writers were weaving through a sea of people in a crowded South Philly sports complex. At the same time the Phillies were hosting the Yankees in the 2009 World Series at Citizens Bank Park, one of the world's most popular rock bands, Pearl Jam, was playing for 4 straight nights across the street at the Wachovia Spectrum. "I was staying out by the airport and Paul [Hagen] said he'd give me a ride out there . . . but it was a hike to get to the car," said longtime Toronto Sun sports writer Bob Elliott.
July 26, 2013 |
The image of the writer funneling the muse's whisperings onto paper has tickled the imagination for decades. Books about the creation of books and biopics about great poets are a cultural mainstay. So it's no surprise a TV show would be devised about the creative goings-on at some of today's most lauded series. Hosted by Jim Rash - the Academy Award-winning cowriter of The Descendants - Sundance Channel's The Writers' Room , which premieres Monday, takes us to the heart of the creative process behind six current shows, including HBO's Game of Thrones , Showtime's Dexter , and FX's American Horror Story . The season premiere features a roundtable discussion with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, series star Bryan Cranston, and more than a half a dozen of the show's writers.
July 18, 2013 |
YOU WOULDN'T THINK that a writer of children's books would be inclined to write about "the worst kids in the whole history of the world. " Or about a girl whose brother measures worms. But these and other off-the-wall characters and stories made Barbara J. Robinson one of the most prolific and best-selling children's writers in the country. In fact, the story about the worst kids in the world and the way they celebrated Christmas, entitled The Best Christmas Pageant Ever , has sold more than 3.3 million copies and was adapted by her for the stage and television.
July 17, 2013 |
RIO DE JANEIRO - Edward Snowden has highly sensitive documents on how the National Security Agency is structured and operates that could harm the U.S. government, but has insisted that they not be made public, a journalist close to the NSA leaker said. Glenn Greenwald, a columnist with the Guardian newspaper who first reported on the intelligence leaks, told the Associated Press that disclosure of the information in the documents "would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it. " He said the "literally thousands of documents" taken by Snowden constitute "basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built.
July 12, 2013 |
SOME OF the most resonant details in "The Way, Way Back" involve the boozy seaside laxness of vacationing adults, off their working-world leashes. How did writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash get the scene so right? "Probably because we grew up around it," confesses Rash, the "Community" star who co-wrote the movie with fellow Groundlings vet Faxon. "You spend your childhood wondering why your parents are that way, and then you become a parent, and you think, 'Oh, that's why,' " laughs Faxon.
July 4, 2013 |
More than 200 years of Philadelphia literary greats were at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday. On the walls of the international Terminal A-East. The exhibit, "Philadelphia's Literary Legacy," will display for one year the photographs, book covers, and biographies of 50 authors, playwrights, and poets from the time of the Declaration of Independence to the present day. It may be the only place where Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine will rub shoulders with Louisa May Alcott, Pearl S. Buck, Lorene Cary, Robert Crumb, W.E.B.
June 21, 2013
Vince Flynn, 47, who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series and sold more than 15 million books in the United States and millions more overseas, died Wednesday in Minnesota after a more than two-year battle with prostate cancer. Mr. Flynn was tending bar when he self-published his first novel, Term Limits, in 1997 after getting more than 60 rejection letters. After it became a local best-seller, Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed him to a two-book deal - and Term Limits became a New York Times best-seller in paperback.
June 12, 2013
Iain Banks, 59, who alternately wowed and disturbed readers with his dark jokes and narrative tricks, died early Sunday. In April, he announced that he was terminally ill with gall bladder cancer and that his soon-to-be released novel, The Quarry, would be his last. A message on a website set up to provide updates quoted his wife, Adele, as saying the death "was calm and without pain. " Mr. Banks had parallel literary careers: one as a general-fiction author whose twisted plots are sprinkled with brutality, the other as a science-fiction writer whose imaginative universes spawned a fanzine and spun out a devoted online following.