360 Sound Sets Story of Lives, and Columbia Record's History, to Music

Sean Wilentz is hardly your Quaaludes and vitriol music critic. That may be why the Bob Dylan in America author was commissioned to write the definitive history of one of America’s truly great record companies. Mr. Wilentz is also the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln.

Remembering Home, and Elsewhere

Vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard is a Russo family tradition. “I’m trying to remember the first time we took my daughters to the Vineyard, but I know they’ve been coming every year since they were 10 or 11, maybe even earlier,” said novelist Richard Russo, who in 2002 won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his book Empire Falls.

West Coaster Goes Native to Write Life of New England WASP Family

Maggie Shipstead was not yet 30 when she finished her first novel, Seating Arrangements. The story, as she described it in a recent interview, is about “an ever-so-slightly dysfunctional Waspy family holding a shotgun wedding on a resort island.”

Ms. Shipstead has never been to the Vineyard before. It is of Nantucket that she speaks, naturally.

Hip Hop Graffiti Novel Celebrates Lasting Legacy of Ephemera

Best-selling author Adam Mansbach claims that he’s “really bad” at not working. He has spent a lifetime of summers at his family’s longtime home in Chilmark, times full of idyllic pleasures — bodysurfing, grilling fish from Larsen’s, living in a house overlooking a beach — that anyone would find enviable. But Mr. Mansbach cites his time on the Vineyard as his most productive as a writer.

In Her Education, It's Never Too Late to Learn You Should Have Known Better

There is a large group of literature in the American canon referred to as “coming of age.” Though Susan Choi will discuss her new book, My Education, at a Saturday afternoon panel at the Harbor View Hotel entitled Coming of Age, she says it only partially belongs there.

Finding Your Voice in the Faltering Silence

Someone once told me that writers are peoplwho have failed at other careers. That’s not always true, but it is for me. I went straight from college to work as a union organizer in Mississippi. This was perhaps the worst career choice you could make in 1981, when Ronald Reagan took office and promptly busted the air traffic controllers union.

Approaching Wine Appreciation With Full Body, Brain and Heart

When Eric Asimov visits the Island for the book festival it will be his first time on the Vineyard in 30 years. His last trip was marked by trying his first farm-fresh egg. He was in college at the time, sleeping on a friend’s floor, and for breakfast one morning they went to the neighbor’s next door to fetch the eggs for breakfast.

No Woman Is an Island, No Islander Alone in Tale of Accidental Purpose

For a parent, a child’s teenage years can be a frustrating time, when adulthood and independence start to rear their twin heads. Most parents, though, have the benefit of knowing the ins and outs of their child, having raised them since birth. But what if you were to skip the younger years entirely and suddenly find yourself a first-time parent to a 15 year old?

New Novel Explores the Island From an Immigrant's Perspective

It’s every seasonal resident’s worst nightmare. What happens to your summer home when no one is around?

Consider, for example, this passage from A.X. Ahmad’s new novel, The Caretaker.

The Naked Truth on Historical Fiction

In 1040 AD a Danish king by the name of Harthacnut took control of the English throne through a massive display of military force. He then sustained his power as king by re-instituting an oppressive war tax, called the “heregeld.” The heregeld drove England into poverty and, when towns around the country began to revolt against the tax, he ordered his vassals to destroy these towns and murder their own people.