arts >
Books
Arts & Culture

Kate Morton’s ‘Clockmaker’s Daughter’: An over-wound tale that ends right on time

The author of "The Lake House" and "The Distant Hours" weaves a ghost story replete with old mansion, old family mysteries, and, yes, a pretty interesting ghost. The clockworks threaten to wind down after a while in this twisty, overwrought novel, but the ending is satisfying, bringing together many of the book's characters and subplots.

Knausgaard’s final book of ‘My Struggle’: Reality hunger, middle-class life, and epic passion

The Norwegian novelist finishes his 3,600-page, six-volume, lightly fictionalized autobiography, at great cost to himself and his family, but at great benefit to us all. It's striving for unadorned, direct truthfulness, without any veils of media interference, its concrete sense of life as so many of us live it, make "My Struggle: Book 6" worth the epic struggle.

Knausgaard’s final book of ‘My Struggle’: Reality hunger, middle-class life, and epic passion

The Norwegian novelist finishes his 3,600-page, six-volume, lightly fictionalized autobiography, at great cost to himself and his family, but at great benefit to us all. It's striving for unadorned, direct truthfulness, without any veils of media interference, its concrete sense of life as so many of us live it, make "My Struggle: Book 6" worth the epic struggle.

Murakami’s ‘Killing Commendatore’ gets the balance between magic and realism right

The great Japanese writer grew famous writing about the melancholy of youth. Now he turns to middle age, with a simple tale of a painter that gets almost, but not quite, hijacked by crazy incursions of odd characters and strange beings. In the end, the novel gets the balance between the crazy and the realistic just right, serving up humble but persuasive lessons about the times of our lives.

Murakami’s ‘Killing Commendatore’ gets the balance between magic and realism right

The great Japanese writer grew famous writing about the melancholy of youth. Now he turns to middle age, with a simple tale of a painter that gets almost, but not quite, hijacked by crazy incursions of odd characters and strange beings. In the end, the novel gets the balance between the crazy and the realistic just right, serving up humble but persuasive lessons about the times of our lives.

Jesmyn Ward’s ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing,’ a tale of history, violence, and identity, is the featured selection for 2018-19 One Book, One Philadelphia program

It's a bold choice, a decidedly adult book, encompassing drug abuse, violence and death, the prison-industrial complex, and broken familial relationships.

Jesmyn Ward’s ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing,’ a tale of history, violence, and identity, is the featured selection for 2018-19 One Book, One Philadelphia program

It's a bold choice, a decidedly adult book, encompassing drug abuse, violence and death, the prison-industrial complex, and broken familial relationships.
More Stories

John Kerry’s ‘Every Day Is Extra’: Skimming the surface, with lack of insight

The former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate is often interesting in this autobiography, but he avoids the deeper questions about his upbringing and the state of politics today — with the exception of his service in Vietnam, where he writes vividly and with outrage at his detractors.

‘Big Game’ by Mark Leibovich: Scathing hit on football by a lifelong fan

The author, the chief national correspondent of the New York Times Magazine and an ardent fan of American football, takes aim at the exhaustion and self-absorption so evident throughout the sport, and wonders how much time is on the clock for this enormous entertainment industry.

Mimi Swartz’s ‘Ticker’: The astonishing half-century quest for an artificial human heart

Mim Swartz recounts more than 60 years of innovation, risk-taking, and breakthroughs in medical heart devices and surgery. Today, we are closer than ever to a truly viable, long-term machine that can take over for the human heart. Swartz's book is astonishing and full of amazing stories and information.

‘Car Trouble’ by Robert Rorke: A 1960s Irish-American family in Brooklyn, and the shadow of ‘Himself’

Our appealing narrator is the son of an Irish boozehound who is father and husband in a family in 1960s Brooklyn. The author handles the familial tensions with delicacy and restraint, and the protagonist is simpatico, but the novel shows many of the tensions of the memoir-made-into-a-novel.

'The dog doesn't care if you mess up some words'

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Read with a Dog! program invites those of any age to come out and practice their reading skills in front of a friendly dog. The goal is to create a comfortable, judgment-free zone that encourages excitement around literacy.

Nelson Díaz on a lifetime of being ‘the first Latino’

Pennsylvania's first Latino judge talks about his new autobiography, "Not from Here or From There/No Soy de Aquí ni de Allá," which he's bringing to the Free Library on Oct. 9.

Here’s the best guide to Philly you’ve never heard of

The guide has a raft of fun historical tidbits that you likely won't find anywhere else. Not in Fodor's. Not in Michelin. Not in nobody: "In 1863, the city's first instance of ticket-scalping occurred when a scalper bought 500 tickets to the sold-out play, 'Virginius.'"

Boston museum exhibition celebrates Winnie-the-Pooh

Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin star in "Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic," a new exhibition at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts that continues through Jan. 6

‘Coddling of the American Mind’: Parents raising children to be fragile

The authors warn that parents and schools are encouraging children to amplify their personal feelings rather than preparing them to respond to risk,. challenge, and pain in the real world. They see these patterns as recipes for the failure of a whole generation.

Sarah Weinman’s ‘The Real Lolita’: A girl is kidnapped in Camden, and a great novel is written

In the gripping and heart-rending "The Real Lolita," Weinman paints a vivid picture of the notorious Sally Horner case and a wholly empathetic portrait of young Sally Horner. Weinman also connects the Horner case to Vladimir Nabokov's provocative 1955 modernist novel, "Lolita." Sally Horner of Camden may have been the "real" Lolita, or at least an important shaping influence.

In a turbulent time, Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about ‘Leadership in Turbulent Times’

Famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has just released "Leadership in Turbulent Times," examining the tenures of four presidents — Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson — who had to make enormous decisions under enormous pressure. It's a book for our turbulent moment. She's speaking on Monday, Sept. 24, at the National Constitution Center.

Sarah Weinman, author of ‘The Real Lolita’: In search of the real Sally Horner

Sarah Weinman, author of "The Real Lolita," has renewed the connection between a notorious 1948 abduction/rape in Camden and Vladimir Nabokov's modernist classic "Lolita."
SPECIAL REPORTS
Investigative reports, featured series, and guides to living in the Philadelphia region, brought to you by The Inquirer.
WHAT ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT?
Send us your burning questions, or vote on other readers' questions that pique your interest. Our journalists will work to answer them.