BOOKS

A photo from 2012 in Belfast, Maine.
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/dougtone

The writer Gregory Brown describes his novel "The Lowering Days" as a love letter to where he grew up in Maine. 

A photograph of a garden at Bill Noble's property in Norwich, Vermont. Bill Noble's personal garden is included in the Smithsonian Institution's Archive of American Gardens.
Image used with author's permission

Garden designer and author Bill Noble says gardening is about feeling connected and getting familiar with your chosen piece of earth.

Interior of Red Cross House and U.S. General Hospital No. 16 in New Haven, Connecticut, during the influenza epidemic in 1918 or 1919. The beds are isolated by curtains.
American National Red Cross photograph collection / Library of Congress / LC-DIG-anrc-02679

When an epidemic — or pandemic — strikes, the media becomes the frame for the public's understanding. These news narratives also serve as essential pieces of the historical record.

Norton Juster, who wrote "The Phantom Tollbooth," has died at 91.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

The well-known children's book author Norton Juster has died at age 91. Juster started out as a New Yorker, but spent the last few decades of his life in western Massachusetts.

Statues of Dr. Seuss and The Cat In The Hat in Springfield, Massachusetts.
elefanterosado / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/22233916@N03

Six Dr. Seuss titles — including a well-known children's book set on Mulberry Street in Springfield, Massachusetts — will no longer be published.

A new book sheds light on one of history’s most memorable art heists — and the woman behind it.

“The Woman Who Stole Vermeer” explores the life of Rose Dugdale — an aristocrat-turned-revolutionary. She became the first and only woman to pull off a major art heist.

WBUR’s Morning Edition spoke with Anthony Amore, the book’s author and director of security and chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum about the infamous art thief and Amore’s quest to recover the items stolen in the Boston’s museum’s own unsolved heist.

Gavel.
Joe Gratz / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/joegratz

For Efrem Sigel, serving on a jury was life-changing — and eye-opening. Sigel was one of 12 who sat in the jury box in 2017 and ultimately convicted Abraham Cucuta.

Hurricane Sandy demolished the Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, sending the Star Jet roller coaster and other amusements plunging into the surf.
Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen, U.S. Air Force

As a kid, author Eric Jay Dolin wanted to become the next Jacque Cousteau when he grew up. Today the Marblehead, Massachusetts, historian lives about a quarter of a mile from the sea, and said he still has that strong connection to the ocean.

Annye Anderson visits the site of her family home in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lived with Robert Johnson.
Preston Lauterbach / Used with permission

The first thing to know about Annye Anderson is unless you’re older than she is — and fat chance of that; she’s 94 — you better just call her Mrs. Anderson." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">

“People say, ‘Don't you have a first name?’” Anderson said from the couch in her living room in Amherst, Massachusetts. “I say, ‘Yes, I do.’ And they wait for it. But I tell them, ‘Mrs. Anderson will do just fine.’”

From "The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come" by Sue Macy.
Stacy Innerst / Simon and Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books 2019

The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book. 

Author and law professor Jennifer Taub of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Jill Greenberg / Courtesy Jennifer Taub

Unchecked crime and corruption, weak laws and ineffective enforcement are at the heart of a new release from Jennifer Taub.  

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell wrote "This Book Is Anti-Racist."
James Azar Salam / Submitted Photo

Northampton, Massachusetts, author Tiffany Jewell’s activity-driven book, "This Book Is Anti-Racist," lays out the work kids need to do before a lifetime of bias is instilled in them.

About 15 years ago, Zee Johnson opened what is one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in Massachusetts. She still does outreach work in the city for Springfield's Department of Elder Affairs.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Walking into Olive Tree Books-n-Voices on Hancock Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is like walking into someone’s home. It's one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in the state.

From "How To Be A Person" by Catherine Newman.
Karen Brown / NEPM

"How to Be A Person" takes readers through dozens of basic skills they should learn before they’re grown up – from doing the laundry and tying knots, to writing thank-you notes and managing money. 

Southborough, Massachusetts, author Jennifer De Leon.
Submitted Photo

The next selection in our Books For Young People series is "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From," a novel that is for and about high-schoolers. 

A children's book by Shirley Jackson Whitaker focuses on building confidence in girls who are Black.
Shirley Jackson Whitaker / Courtesy bornblackandlucky.com

Shirley Jackson Whitaker says her recent children's book, "I Did Not Ask To Be Born Black. I Just Got Lucky," is a way to help little girls who are Black have positive self-images. And it's a way to celebrate their beauty. 

Author Andrea Hairston.
Micala Sidora / Courtesy Andrea Hairston

In her creative life, Andrea Hairston covers a lot of ground. She teaches theater and Africana studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She’s a playwright, theater director, screenwriter and novelist. 

Hairston’s forthcoming book, "Master of Poisons," is a fantasy novel about a world facing destruction. 

Writer Tochi Onyebuchi of New Haven in 2017.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

In "Riot Baby" — a new novel from New Haven writer Tochi Onyebuchi — a young Black girl named Ella discovers she has powers that can help rid the world of police brutality and structural racism. 

Debra Jo Immergut just published her third novel, "You Again."
Joseph Marks / Courtesy Debra Jo Immergut

Author Debra Jo Immergut describes her third novel, "You Again," as part mystery, part thriller, part literary fiction.

Downtown Northampton, Massachusetts.
Carol Lollis / The Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

The characters in Holyoke, Massachusetts, writer Sara Rauch's short stories largely live and work around western Massachusetts. But also in Vermont and California, and New York City after 9/11.

In her new collection, "What Shines from It," some characters make art. Some grapple with pregnancy. Others cheat on their partners — or get cheated on. They drink too much, get hurt and try to figure out life.

Eric Giroux, whose novel "Ring On Deli" is about a grocery store in an old Massachusetts mill town. Decades earlier, it had a pig farm, and now feral boars occasionally appear downtown.
Courtesy Eric Giroux

For his first novel, “Ring On Deli,” Eric Giroux used a bit of his own teen experience working at the local Market Basket, a family-owned New England grocery chain. 

Author Jennifer Rosner of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Solaka / Courtesy Jennifer Rosner

Kicking off our annual summer ficiton series: a novel about a mother-daughter connection and the role of creativity and beauty in human survival. 

Nicole M. Young in Northampton, Mass.
Courtesy of Nicole M. Young / Samm Smith Design & Photography

Black Writers Read, live and online June 19th, is the brainchild of several western Massachusetts writers. The event began as a response to a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally scheduled for the same day. June 19 is Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery in the U.S. 

New Haven author Tochi Onyebuchi.
Christina Orlando / Courtesy of the author

June 1: Penguin Random House tweeted from their verified account, “We stand against racism and violence toward the black community. And we commit to listening—to our readers, to our authors, and to our teams—as we work toward becoming part of the change.”

Inside The Recorder office in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 2017.
Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo. Recorder Staff / The Recorder / recorder.com

Richie Davis has more than four decades of stories behind him reporting for The Recorder newspaper in Franklin County, Massachusetts. He's now retired and has a new book out, a compilation of newspaper stories called "Inner Landscapes: True Tales From Extraordinary Lives."

A memorial in Ireland for the victims of the Doolough Tragedy, an event during the Irish Potato Famine.
Sludge G / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/sludgeulper

Americans have come to expect the opportunity to provide donations and other assistance when natural disasters strike. But the humanitarian concept was entirely new during what came to be known as the Irish Potato Famine. 

Connecticut author, Paul Hensler, with his book about the WTIC broadcaster, Bob Steele.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

The longtime radio broadcaster Bob Steele was born and raised in Kansas City, got his start in Southern California, but made his name in Connecticut. 

Laurie Loisel.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

In 2012, Laurie Loisel’s father Paul took his own life in a violent act — he used a gun in a police station parking lot. Two years later, Loisel’s friend Lee Hawkins, at 89, planned a gentler end to her life: she stopped eating and drinking, surrounded by friends and family.

A view inside a bookstore in New Haven, Connecticut.
Aaron Gustafson / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/aarongustafson


This coming Christmas will be my third without my father, and I still miss him terribly. But it was during the first Christmas season without him, while I was shopping in one of my favorite bookshops — fantasizing about which book to give to which person — that I found myself feeling surprisingly giddy. I thought, “Oh good! Dad's gone!”

French software developer Assaf Urieli.
Courtesy of the Yiddish Book Center

New software for searching words in digitized Yiddish books — many originally written in the 19th and early 20th centuries — is about to be unveiled.

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