A Super Bowl week of mysteries – Part 4

Is pro football not a violent enough sport for you? Do you covet real mayhem on the field? More than a third of a century ago, sci-fi writer Gary Wolf came up with what you’d enjoy watching in his novel, Killerbowl. He was writing in 1975 and set his story in 2005. The game is [...]

A Super Bowl week of mysteries – Part 3

Of all the Super Bowl mysteries you can read, Thomas Harris’s Black Sunday in the best . . . in my opinion. This book, Thomas’s first novel, goes way back. Putnam issued it in 1975. Black Sunday should properly be classified as a thriller. A crazed American Vietnam vet and a PLO terrorist team up [...]

A Super Bowl week of mysteries – Part 2

Fran Tarkenton’s mystery, Murder at the Super Bowl, is an old one and a not very good one, said a reviewer for Publishers Weekly at the time. The time was 1986. Tarkenton earned fame as the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings (1961-66, 1972-78) and the New York Giants (1967-71). He had written two “as told [...]

A Super Bowl week of mysteries – Part 1

John Feinstein, a sterling sportswriter, has also written a stack of nonfiction sports books and novels, including six mysteries shot at a young adult audience. This series features teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, who in Feinstein’s 2007 book, Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl, stumble on a Super Bowl scandal . . [...]

The Lion’s Head Tavern

Frank McCourt came from a family of drinkers. It was what men in Limerick – in all of Ireland – did. And so did he. He had his first beer in Limerick at age 16. At age 19, when he arrived in New York in 1949, he and an Irish priest, who came over on [...]

“My Life” essays save a teacher

High school students are masters at fobbing off teachers, to get out of doing any work – get out of reading an assignment, get out of discussing an assignment, get out of taking a test. Frank McCourt’s students at his first teaching job at McKee Vocational and Technical High School on New York’s Staten Island [...]

The immigrant and Chicago Fire

I admit it. I’m hooked on “Chicago Fire.” It’s not as stylish as “Downton Abbey,” but it’s every bit as good a soap. In reading Frank McCourt’s second memoir, ’Tis, I was reminded why I like the NBC show. Now remember McCourt was writing in the late 1990s about a memory from the early 1950s [...]

Libraries, where anyone can read

In one section of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt tells how the librarians in Limerick, Ireland, where he grew up, jealously guarded the few books that had been placed in their charge. If you were a poor kid in dirty clothes, the librarians were likely to throw you out. These books weren’t for you. When he [...]

Reflecting on Martin Luther King Day

We celebrate Martin Luther King Day for King’s leadership in advancing the civil rights of black Americans by means of nonviolent protest. Ended in the 1950s and ’60s was segregation on buses and trains, segregation in public schools, colleges and universities, segregation in movie theaters, restaurants and hotels, segregation at swimming pools, on beaches and [...]

A week of Hal Holbrook – Part 5

Hal Holbrook’s life was not an easy one in his early years. His mother ran off to New York City, to become a dancer in several Broadway shows there. She then disappeared, and the family lost all track of her. Holbrook’s father did such a lousy job of looking after Holbrook and his two sisters [...]