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Sir Walter Scott

First Nighter: DiDonato, Brownlee Lift Heavy 'La Donna del Lago' at the Met

David Finkle | Posted 12.14.2015 | Arts
David Finkle

Since opera is first and foremost about the music -- and that certainly applies to Gioachino Rossini as much as or more than many composers -- it frequently means that the quality of any given production is secondary. Sometimes, however, that doesn't obtain.

Damsels in Distress

George Heymont | Posted 12.10.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Much of the dramatic conflict in two recent Bay area productions was caused by the fallout from an arranged marriage that seemed destined to please a lot of people. Unfortunately, the bride was not one of them.

What's New with Novels?

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 08.27.2014 | Books
Evan Gottlieb

From its start in the early 18th century, the novel as a genre has always resisted easy definition. Samuel Johnson, literary critic and author of the first comprehensive English dictionary, defined the novel in 1755 as "a small tale, generally of love."

Forgotten Books, Discovered

Nina Sankovitch | Posted 11.05.2013 | Books
Nina Sankovitch

Pacing through the website of Forgotten Books, an online library with hundreds of thousands of titles, is like walking through the aisles of a favorite bookstore.

(Don't) Finish What You Started: In Defense of Not Reading Cover to Cover

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 08.04.2013 | Books
Evan Gottlieb

If after 50 pages I find my mind wandering to other things I could be doing, especially other books I could be reading, I usually tell myself it's alright to put this one aside.

Historical Fictions: Stranger than Truth?

Evan Gottlieb | Posted 04.30.2013 | Entertainment
Evan Gottlieb

This awards season, several movies that contended for Best Picture prizes came in for an unusual degree of scrutiny regarding their historical accuracy -- or lack of it. But playing fast and loose with history is nothing new.

Book Titles That May Not Be Ideal

Dave Astor | Posted 09.25.2012 | Books
Dave Astor

If you can't judge a book by its cover, can you judge a book by its title? I ask that because there are some novels with a title character who is not the most prominent or interesting person in the book.

Is It Best to Buy or Borrow Books?

Dave Astor | Posted 11.28.2011 | Books
Dave Astor

Now stepping into the ring: buying books vs. using a library! That bout might never make pay-per-view, but it's a contest often on the minds of avid readers.

Anonymous Scott

Carolyn Vega | Posted 11.15.2011 | New York
Carolyn Vega

Recently, I read Scott's letters to the Marchioness of Abercorn. Their correspondence began in 1806 (with a letter, incidentally, that contains the earliest surviving reference to his work on The Lady of the Lake), and for a number of years they wrote each other frequently.

Who Says Jane Austen Was a Popular Novelist?

Lev Raphael | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Lev Raphael

Given Jane Austen's ubiquity, and the fact that anything with her name on it will sell, you might think she's always been a sensation. But you'd be wrong.