Given the glut of autobiographies, a provocative subject alone isn't enough to snag a reader's attention, although, admittedly, the title of Charles Rowan Beye's new memoir, My Husband and My Wives, is certainly arresting. It's Beye's charming raconteur's voice, however, and his refusal to bend anecdotes into the expected "lessons" that really make this memoir such a knockout.
Beye won me over in his "Introduction" when he admitted that, looking back at the long span of his life — he's now over 80 — the big question he still asks himself is, "What was that all about?"
Back to school means homework, sports, and often times, a barrage of invitations to birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks about how parents can best handle sticky social situations from gifts to guest lists. She speaks with moms Karen Grigsby Bates, Leslie Morgan Steiner, Dani Tucker and Aracely Panameno.
Set during Prohibition, Live by Night is Dennis Lehane's fast-paced chronicle of Joe Coughlin, son of a corrupt Boston police superintendent and self-described outlaw. The book follows Joe from his days as a small-time gangster in Boston through a hitch in prison, where he earns the friendship of an Italian mobster.
The best memoirs transcend the strictly personal. New York Times columnist Alex Witchel's book All Gone, about one of the hottest topics among baby boomers — caring for our aging parents — comes across as boomerish in a bad way: self-absorbed and immature, as if she's the first to suffer this sort of stress and loss.
The print newspaper industry may be struggling, but newsprint is alive and well on the walls of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The show is called "Shock of the News" — and it examines a century's worth of interaction between artists and the journals of their day.