Marie Antoinette’s Head:

One of the final humiliations Marie Antoinette suffered, after languishing in a filthy prison cell, waiting for her execution, was to have her hair chopped off in order to offer a clean surface for the blade of the guillotine. Practical  ...

Modigliani: A Life

Modigliani: A Life By Meryle Secrest387 pages, with photos and platesKnopf, $35 (hardcover)March 2011 Meryle Secrest attempts what many art historians have considered impossible: a substantive, comprehensive biography of the life of Amedeo Modigliani. His short, tragic life  ...

MFA in a Box: A Why to Write Book

John Rember, the writer, dispenses writing advice in "MFA in a Box."Photo from mfainabox.com 'MFA in a Box: A Why To Write Book' By John RemberDream of Things, 2011262 pages; $16.95 John Rember’s “MFA in a Box: A Why  ...

Sal Mineo: A Biography

Sal Mineo (left) with James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" Sal Mineo: A Biography By Michael Gregg Michaud384 pages, plus photosCrown Archetype, $25.99, hardcoverISBN 978-0-307-71868-6 Sal Mineo was one of the most promising new stars of the 1950s,  ...

The Celluloid Activist

Larry Kramer (right) comforts Vito Russo in his California home several months before he died.Photo from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration website La Dolce Vito "Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo"By Michael SchiaviUniversity of  ...

Kook

Peter Heller, author of "Kook"Photo by Eric Weber Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life and Catching the Perfect Wave By Peter HellerFree PressJuly 2010304 pages There are worse ways to indulge a midlife crisis than to take  ...

Good Books for Hard Times

Good Books for Hard TimesReprinted with permission from  the author, San Francisco Chronicle. Sunday, March 8, 2009    "In a democratic society, where every individual opinion counts, [literature's] incomparable ability to instruct, to make alternatives intellectually and emotionally clear, to  ...