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New England Literary News

New insights into Waterloo

“Attacking the Prussians in Plancenoit in the Battle of Waterloo” by Adolf Northen.

New insights into Waterloo

From a world of blood and guts, historical novelist Bernard Cornwell has fashioned a publishing empire. His book sales in the United States alone number 5 million, and he’s even more popular in the United Kingdom. His marquee Richard Sharpe series about the Napoleonic wars stands at 21 novels.

The British-born Cornwell started writing books after he moved to the States with his American bride and needed to make a living without the benefit of a green card. In the 34 years since his first novel was released, HarperCollins has published over 50 more. Of the top seller, “Agincourt,” the Washington Post wrote: “This is a book for those who like nonstop action, preferably drenched in blood, mud and bad language.”


Now Cornwell, who lives in Chatham from May to November, has written his first nonfiction book, “Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles” (HarperCollins), published last week. When it was published last year in the United Kingdom, The Independent wrote, “Readers new to the Waterloo campaign could hope for no better introduction, and veterans will find fresh insights.”

As he has for years, Cornwell will take to the stage this summer acting in productions at Chatham’s Monomoy Theatre. He’s been cast in three plays, including Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Boston Literary District

One of the forces behind transforming New York’s Bryant Park from a haven for drug users to a neighborhood jewel hopes to work some literary magic at South Station. At the invitation of Daniel A. Biederman’s Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, the Boston Literary District has organized a weekly author series through June 19. At 1 p.m. on Fridays, an author will give a talk under the destination board at South Station. Novelist Henriette Lazaridis is on tap this week.

On May 22, pediatrician Lisa Wong will not only talk about her book “Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine” (Pegasus), she will also play the viola as part of a string trio. Subsequent weeks will bring authors of books about D.W. Griffith’s controversial film “Birth of a Nation,” the art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a theft of rare maps, and the history of the Omni Parker House. Visit www.bostonlitdistrict.org for more details.


Mobile book collection

The Bibliocycle, a pedal-powered book trailer, is launching its second season with a stop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Franklin Park’s Kite and Bike Festival. In the mobile collection of up to 50 books, expect to find some new releases, bestsellers, children’s books, cookbooks, and a bike repair manual. A joint project of the Boston Public Library and Boston Bikes, the Bibliocycle will be at the farmers market in Roslindale on June 13, at the Roxbury Crossing T station on June 23, and in South Boston on June 29. Organizations can request a visit by the Bibliocycle; the schedule is at www.bpl.org.

Coming out

 “The Forgotten Room” by Lincoln Child (Doubleday)

 “The Book of Aron” by Jim Shepard (Knopf)

 “A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope” by Tom Brokaw (Random House)

Pick of the Week

Bob Smith of UConn Co-op bookstore in Storrs, Conn., recommends “The Wonder Garden” by Lauren Acampora (Grove): “This collection of interlinked short stories is one of the best I’ve read in years. Acampora explores what is going on inside our neighbors’ houses — the hopes, dreams, arguments, perversities, and disappointments. Though set in affluent, suburban Connecticut, the stories’ deeper themes are universal — think Chekhov and Cheever. These intelligent and well-written stories are often dark, sad, and funny.”


Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.