06/22/15 6:00am
06/22/2015 6:00 AM

On a May day, 70 years ago, World War II ended in Europe. Myriad books have been written, among the best “The Liberation Trilogy” by Rick Atkinson, which take us across Africa to Tunisia, into Sicily, through Italy and on to the Normandy beaches and Berlin. Atkinson clearly details the strategies, the tactics, the battles, but his gift lies in humanizing those who participated, those who were there. (The trilogy’s titles are “An Army at Dawn,” “The Day of Battle” and “The Guns at Last Light.”) (more…)

04/19/15 6:00am
04/19/2015 6:00 AM

April Fools’ Day was a while back so I’m writing about April Foolishness. If you find anything serious in this, call the authorities.

Blond guy answers the phone, listens and says, “It certainly is” and hangs up. Seconds later the same thing happens: “It certainly is,” he says again. After the third time his wife asks what’s going on. He says, “Someone keeps saying, ‘It’s a long distance from Seattle.’ ”  (more…)

12/21/14 7:00am
12/21/2014 7:00 AM

Christmas is next week, a holy and joyful day filled with memories of the past and dreams for the future. An early memory for me is midnight Mass in the convent on the corner of University Avenue and the Washington Bridge — long gone, replaced by public housing. It was a magical service, highlighted by the cloistered nuns, hidden from sight, chanting and singing in their high-pitched voices. I’m not going to dwell on religion, though, mine or yours. Joy is the theme, and the laughter that joy can bring.

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10/19/14 6:00am
10/19/2014 6:00 AM

There aren’t many books you can buy in three different weights — the 100-pound version, the 30-pounder or the three-pound bantam weight — but the Oxford English Dictionary would be one. The 10-volume set requires a sturdy bookcase; the two-volume (four photographically reduced pages to a page complete with magnifying glass) is handier; and the entire immense work, on several CDs, would slip right into a knapsack.  (more…)

09/21/14 5:00am
09/21/2014 5:00 AM

FNL

Baseball season is coming to a close and football is now upon us. I’ve done columns about baseball books — the classics, like Malamud’s “The Natural,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Wait Till Next Year,” “Summer of ’49” (David Halberstam), “Bang the Drum Slowly” (Mark Harris). There are lots to choose from, but football books? Not all that many, although …  (more…)