Books

Silly books can make for some great read-alouds. Here we have three board books perfect for sharing, playing and laughing.

Recent poetry collections often defy the ballyhooed trend of authors writing concise pieces in order to reach more readers on social media.

When I started writing this column weeks ago, I appreciated the diversion of audiobooks. Now, they are a lifeline: a portal to worlds without news bulletins, a link to other voices in this suddenly lonely, shelter-in-place, social-distancing world. With gratitude to Libro.fm for enticing me to listen, I recall when I "converted" from "real books only," and my phone became a portable bookshelf.

Now more than ever, I enjoy cooking, especially in the colder months: hearty soups, crumbly scones, buttery scrambled eggs (with endless cups of tea). Last July, though, I moved into a studio apartment during an unusually hot Boston summer. After weeks of takeout, stovetop huevos rancherosand ready meals from Trader Joe's, I needed some new kitchen inspiration.

There's so much bad news I almost wish I hadn't decided a month ago to write this column about mortality, but here goes. I've been thinking about the subject a lot since reading that a very early draft of Jenny Offill's brilliant book Weather (Knopf) had the working title Learning to Die.

In the shadow of another thwarted attempt to see the first woman elected as United States president, it's more important than ever that young women witness other women in a wide array of career fields to prove the reality of their social equality. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your reading have been to you like the blast of triumph out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John, and Paul." Though the term may be unfamiliar, Emerson was urging readers to create a "commonplace book," a collection of meaningful gleanings from one's reading. I've done so since 1983, and recommend three useful sources to inspire you.

The history of music is a history of women in music. But for anyone looking for an avenue into women's contributions to the rich legacy of American popular music, start with the thought-provoking and entirely fascinatingShe Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Atria, $24). Author Joan Morgan examines Hill's incredible and complex impact--still going strong--on the landscape of both hip-hop and popular culture.

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