Bethesda, Md. — Did Pope Pius XII, the leader of the Catholic Church during World War II and the subsequent decade, suppress a landmark Vatican document that his predecessor, Pius XI, had commissioned, a document that would have unambiguously criticized racism and anti-Semitism? And did that document — an encyclical, in Vatican parlance — actually exist?
When Alexander Stille’s mother died in 1993, she left few papers behind — just some letters, photographs and remnants of the lists she maintained to organize her life. Everything was in its proper place; her bills were paid and her will was signed.
Early on in Jodi Picoult’s new novel “The Storyteller” (Atria), Josef Weber comments that Sage Singer doesn’t say much in their grief support group, but when she does speak up, she’s a poet. She answers firmly that she’s no poet, but a baker.
Edie Middlestein loves fast-food sandwiches, potato chips with onion dip, and Chinese dumplings stuffed with spicy seafood. She likes devil’s-food cookies too, and once, late at night, while everyone at home was sleeping, ate two boxes of them to see what would happen. She didn’t feel a thing.