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A Hartford Refugee’s Dark Memoir Is Imbued With Elegance and Poetry

Books

Ocean Vuong’s startling, semi autobiographical novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” could have been a tragedy. It could have been simply the sorrowful tale of grandmother Lan, mother Rose and her son Little Dog, traumatized by war, airlifted out of Vietnam, refugees further broken by life in a gritty neighborhood in Hartford, Conn. It could have been the dark coming-of-age story of a slight, studious boy who is Vietnamese and gay, the bruised prey not only of the school bullies, but of his own mother, whom he refers to as a monster. 

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A Story Too Big to Cover Up

Books: ‘Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators’

Lamenting a lack of space in a book review is so boring I try never to do it, but in order to fully contextualize Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” I’d need a blackboard, several legal pads, a year’s worth of research, and probably my thesis adviser back. This is one of the decade’s most significant pieces of longform journalism.

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When Good Journalists Do Their Job

Books: ‘She Said’

Change doesn’t always happen because laws are written or suddenly enforced; this time, it happened because of journalism — thorough, responsible, scrupulous journalism. 
A roiling sea change in attitudes toward sexual harassment followed The New York Times’ publication of articles about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long history of alleged rape and abuse of women. These groundbreaking articles are compiled and explained in the new book, “She Said” by Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.  

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Solving Crime In 1920s Munich

Books: ‘The Good Cop’

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First Love’s Sequel

Books

The second creative act of André Aciman is a bit of magic, but so is the novel that has inspired it. A month after the 2017 theatrical release of the Academy-Award winning adaptation of Aciman’s slim literary paperback that had been passed around, quietly but affectionately, by word of mouth, “Call Me By Your Name” debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list for the first time — 10 years after its publication. 

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A Road Trip That Feels Familiar

Books: ‘Lost Children Archive’

Have you taken an awkward car ride recently? I’d bet most people have been stuck in a car with someone they would rather leave on the curb. The confines of the space and the unavoidable reality that both people need the car in order to get to a place where they don’t have to be together any more makes the experience pretty intense.

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‘Olive Kitteridge’ Author At Hotchkiss Oct. 17

Books

Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Olive Kitteridge” and its new follow-up, “Olive, Again,” will speak at The Hotchkiss School on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m., in a program sponsored with Oblong Books.
Joe Donahue from WAMC Northeast Public Radio will interview Strout onstage in the Walker Auditorium.
Tickets are $30 and include the cost of one hardcover copy of “Olive, Again.” Order online ahead of time at www.oblongbooks.com.

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Profound Thinking and Wonderful Storytelling

Books: ‘The Testaments’

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Tolentino’s Essays Cut Through the Internet’s Din

Books: ‘Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion’

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Little Publishes First Mystery

Books

Norfolk’s Christopher Little took a few moments to chat about his new book at the Blackberry River Baking Company last week. 
Little is best known as a photographer. He collaborated with William F. Buckley on three books about sailing (which is a little like saying “Moby Dick” stars a whale).

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