| Apr 27, 2008
By Richard Rayner
Off the southwest coast of Finland are more than 80,000 small islands left by the retreating ice 10,000 years ago. Some of the islands are mere rocks, washed by the cool waters of the Baltic, but many are covered in pine and fir trees...
| May 4, 2008
Playing With the Grown-Ups
Doubleday/Nan A. Talese: 272 pp., $24
"She does have children, you know," Kitty's magisterial grandfather would tell potential suitors who called looking for Kitty's beautiful mother, Marina. Kitty grew...
| Jun 22, 2008
Edward Anderson had a strange and sad career. He was born in Texas in 1905 and grew up in Oklahoma, serving his apprenticeship as a journalist on a small paper in Ardmore, Okla. Restless, he worked as a deckhand on a freighter, plied his fists as a...
| Sep 20, 2009
When I was in my early 20s, living in Berkeley and drifting toward a PhD in Russian literature, I started writing poetry. It was a completely unexpected development. I definitely hadn't been one of those kids in high school who worked for the literary...
| Oct 14, 2009
Tad Friend's "Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor" is a memoir of growing up in the once unassailable American ruling class -- and of a long personal struggle to shed some of the emotional baggage such a lineage conferred....
| Jun 13, 2009
Harold Norse, a San Francisco poet often associated with the Beats, who was mentor or peer to many of the greatest talents in 20th century American literature, including Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski, has died....
| Jun 29, 2009
As elegies go, it wasn't W.H. Auden. But one had to imagine that Billy Mays, the booming TV infomercial pitchman, would have appreciated the YouTube comment that, despite its misspellings, merged a farewell with yet another testimonial for one of his many...
| Aug 9, 2009
Bloomsbury: 222 pp., $18
Travel writing is a category filled with subsets and divisions, but there are two principal modes. The first is that of discovery -- a voyager sets out to find a place that he or she has never...
| Mar 29, 2009
Translated from the Spanish
by William O'Daly
Copper Canyon Press: 96 pp., $15 paper
"World's End," originally published in Spanish in 1969, toward the end of the career of the great poet Pablo Neruda (he died in 1973, soon...
| Apr 5, 2009
For most people, spending time with a violent, Tabasco-guzzling Oregon anarchist, a teenage member of the Aryan Brotherhood, opera-loving lawyers whose dog fatally mauled an innocent woman and an eternally wired, drugged-out Hollywood agent would not be...
| Jun 2, 2005
The perfectly clipped hedges at Montecito's Val Verde estate still bristle with authority, impossibly long lines of them, not a breach in sight. The 110-year-old camellias haven't stirred from their posts beside a reflecting pool, and the citrus trees are...