A wheeled casket gives new meaning to the war cry, “Roll Tide!”

Alabama football fans call their team’s head coach Nick Saban “St. Nick,” as though he’d already died and been canonized. They make pilgrimages to a 9-foot-tall bronze statue him on the campus Tuscaloosa. They believe he earns his $9.7 …

A children’s book offers a timeless answer: ‘She studies, prepares, and works hard.’

You’re never too young to fall in love with Betty White: This is the appealing subtext of My Little Golden Book About…Betty White, an upbeat picture-book biography for ages 2 to 5.

Author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Margeaux Lucas stay faithful to the gentle spirit of the Little Golden Books…


The surprising reason why John Mortimer liked representing killers better than couples getting divorced

The actress Emily Mortimer once wrote a charming essay about her doting father, John, the novelist who created Rumpole of the Bailey, and why he liked defending murderers better than people who were divorcing. She said in part:

“I was brought up by a man who knew a lot of…

A New Year’s Eve tradition thrives — even if the pandemic requires livestreamed worship services

“Watch Night” church services on New Year’s Eve are a vibrant part of African American worship in my swath of the Deep South — or were, until Covid-19 forced the cancellation or livestreaming of many of them.

The tradition began on Dec. 31, 1862, the day before Abraham Lincoln issued…


What the author of ‘Middlemarch’ wrote after scandalizing London by living with a married man

In 2015 the BBC had the inspired idea of asking 82 critics from outside the U.K. to name the greatest British novel. George Eliot’s Middlemarch rightly topped the poll.

A quarter century earlier, at the dedication of her memorial stone in Westminster Abbey, her biographer Gordon Haight had suggested why…


‘Sex-crazed young people just aren’t as crazed anymore,’ a reporter found

In America more births occur in August than in any other month, pointing to a December conception, and September and October follow closely behind.

That pattern has led sex researchers to assume that Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day play a role in the seasonal baby boom. …

Liza Donnelly offers the ‘glimmer of hope’ we need this year

Maybe it’s because I live in the state the with the nation’s lowest vaccination rate, which makes a trip the Piggly Wiggly look like cause for updating your will. …

The original Golden Girls went off the air years ago, but we still don’t know how to talk about their stage of life

I live in one of those warm and palmy regions that attracts a lot of people who are — well, I’m not sure what to call them. Aging? Older? Mature? Elderly? Or — God forbid — “seniors,” as though we’re all stuck in our last year of high school?



He gave every soldier under his command a wallet-sized card that said the same thing

By the winter of 1944, Germany had all but lost World War II. But Adolf Hitler made a last bid for victory by attacking U.S. Army divisions in the snowy and forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium in mid-December. …

Janice Harayda

Critic, novelist, award-winning journalist. Former book columnist for Glamour and book editor of The Plain Dealer.

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