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june 2012

america’s book review

Crossing

Boundaries In Canada—his best novel yet— Richard Ford tells the haunting story of a Montana teen who finds himself after losing everything.

Southern Passion From the author of A Reliable Wife

Celebrate Dad From sports to grills we’ve got him covered

Our Top Picks

Listen up

it’s Audio Month!

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paperback picks PENGUIN.COM

Bed of Roses

Colters’ Promise

The Ideal Man

The Nightmare Thief

Wedding florist Emma Grant gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn’t ask for a better job. And her love life seems to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn’t found Mr. Right. And the last place she’s looking is right under her nose.

Lily was determined to move on from her tragic past and the three Colter brothers helped her do it. Now is a time for celebration, and what better way than with a long-awaited family reunion, a homecoming that will bring together the entire Colter family and a few surprises no one anticipated.

While jogging in a park nearby, Dr. Ellie Sullivan witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

When forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett encounters a suspicious group of men carting six sullen college kids to the woods for a supposed wilderness adventure, alarm bells ring. Jo takes a closer look, and winds up with an invite to Autumn Reiniger’s 21st birthday party—a party they may never leave.

9780515150889 • $7.99

9780425258620 • $7.99

9780451235138 • $7.99

9780451235961 • $7.99

The Paradise Prophecy

Silent Enemy

Tangle of Need

Valley of the Templars

Religious historian Sebastian LaLaurie knows that a series of horrific crimes are more than the work of a psychopath, and that investigator Bernadette Callahan is closing in on something she never bargained for. Now Sebastian must convince Bernadette to believe—in the power of fallen angels in disguise.

After takeoff, aircraft commander Michael Parson receives a message: the jihadists have placed bombs on planes leaving Afghanistan— and his is one of them. They are trapped in the air. And if they descend, they will die. The enemy is already closer than any of them can dare to imagine.

Two wounded souls promise each other no commitment, no ties, no bonds. Only pleasure. Adria, wolf changeling, and Riaz, a SnowDancer lieutenant, realize that they have more to lose than they ever imagined. Drawn into a cataclysmic Psy war that may alter the fate of the world itself, they must make a decision that might just break them both.

Retired Army Ranger John Holliday and his friend Eddie travel to Cuba in search of Eddie’s brother—and find themselves desperately trying to stop a shocking plot of a secret Templar cabal that has been growing for 500 years. Holliday must find Eddie’s brother before the secret horror of what lies in the Valley of Death is revealed.

9780451236784 • $9.99

9780425250280 • $9.99

9780425247563 • $25.95

9780451237156 • $9.99

New from Karen White, the New York Times bestselling author of The Beach Trees For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey that will transform her forever…. NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY A Penguin Group (USA) Company)

9780451236760 • $15.00


contents In the June and July issues of BookPage, look for this symbol for vacationworthy books perfect for your summer reading list!

JUNE 2012 w w w. B o o k Pa g e . c o m

18

BEACH READ

cover story

Richard Ford

Twenty years in the making, Richard Ford’s new novel Canada transports readers to 1960s Saskatchewan for the tale of a boy’s chaotic coming of age.

features

Cover photo by Robert Jordan

07 DEBBIE MACOMBER Why the best-selling author loves audiobooks

reviews

16 ROBERT GOOLRICK The author of A Reliable Wife recreates a true love story in the Valley of Virginia

20 Father’s Day Cool books for the modern family man

29 Patrice Kindl Keeping it real in a new Regency novel for teens

Subscribe to our free e-newsletters!

top pick:

15 DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK Meet the author of Porch Lights

GET MORE BOOKPAGE

22 Fiction

You Came Back by Christopher Coake

• BookPageXTRA • Book of the Day • Children’s Corner

also reviewed:

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter Capital by John Lanchester The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli Every Day, Every Hour by Natasa Dragnic Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Head to bookpage.com/newsletters

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20

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27

31

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27 NonFiction top pick:

The Mansion of Happiness by Jill Lepore

also reviewed:

31 Philip C. Stead Meet the illustrator of A Home for Bird

columns 04 AUTHOR ENABLERS

Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry The Cost of Hope by Amanda Bennett Buried in the Sky by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

30 Children’s top pick:

05 WELL READ

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

also reviewed:

06 AUDIO 08 ROMANCE 10 WHODUNIT

I Gotta Draw by Bruce Degen Diary of a Parent Trainer by Jenny Smith The Vindico by Wesley King My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

13 BOOK CLUBS 14 COOKING

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BookPage is a selection guide for new books. Our editors evaluate and select for review the best books published each month in a variety of categories. Only books we highly recommend are featured.

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A brand-new chilling, suspenseful and gripping thriller from bestselling author

Pamela Callow

SHE IS OBSESSED WITH TATTOOS. HE IS OBSESSED WITH HER.

columns TIME TO REGROUP Dear Author Enablers, I simply don’t know what to do. Schocken published my first novel here and Grasset in Paris. It got rave reviews in Le Monde and the New York Times Book Review. The last manuscript is stuck. A contract for it collapsed at the University of Nebraska Press. This has been going on for 10 years and I am afraid my poor book will never get out. Frances Gladstone Boston, Massachusetts

SLICES OF THE PIE

“Pam Callow delivers a complex and spine-tingling thriller. She is definitely an author to watch.” —USA TODAY bestselling author Julianne MacLean

4

by kathi kamen goldmark & Sam Barry

Practical advice on writing & publishing for aspiring authors

No matter how unfair it may be, the publishing world sometimes slams doors in an author’s face for no apparent reason. When this is the case, we believe an author must move in a new direction. Does this mean abandoning your book and starting a new one? Perhaps. Could it mean a complete rewrite? We don’t know. Another option might be to look into one of the many new alternatives that don’t involve traditional advances and contracts. This could mean a tiny press that will offer you no advance but higher royalties; or it may mean an experimental online format; or something else altogether. We do know one thing for sure— anyone in your position has to find a way to a fresh start. The old battles will only frustrate you and drain your creative energy.

Pick up your copy on May 29.

author enablers

Dear Author Enablers, I have just read your book [Write That Book Already!] with great interest. However, I wish you had included some more specific information about how royalties are determined by the publishers and what range of percentages of wholesale or retail price they are based on. Jorg Aadahl San Mateo, California There’s no real standard for domestic royalties. Hardcover royalties on the cover price usually range from 10 to 12.5 percent, with 15 percent for superstar and celebrity

authors. Paperbacks usually range from 7.5 to 10 percent. The remaining cost of the book goes toward production, overhead, booksellers and profits (if any) for the publisher. However, the eBook revolution is changing everything. Royalties for eBooks were set at 25 percent when they represented a fraction of book sales. As eBook sales climb, the question of royalties has become a contentious one, with many authors and agents arguing that the author should receive a higher percentage, since production costs have shrunk. We recommend that authors have agent representation so that they get a fair shake in the contract, or if they are unrepresented, at least have an attorney with knowledge in the field take a look at the contract. We also believe every author should become a member of the Authors Guild, an advocate for authors in the everchanging world of book publishing.

Craft of Writing Spotlight Meredith Maran’s latest book is A Theory of Small Earthquakes. Here she recommends a book that’s guaranteed to inspire writers of all genres: “You may never have heard of A Seahorse Year by Stacey D’Erasmo, but it’s the best book I’ve ever read. Period. It’s a prose poem of a novel that’s packed to bursting with psychological and social insights as well as, incredibly, action. Every character behaves badly and every character takes you down, hard. The day I finished it, awestruck by the power of fiction to change the reader and thereby, the world, I (a) positioned it permanently on my writing desk, and (b) started writing my first novel. Eight years later, it remains my go-to source for an envious sigh and a writerly kick in the ass.” Email your questions about writing to authorenablers@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown.


well read by robert Weibezahl

Literature: It’s a family affair Taking a writer’s background or intentions out of the equation when reading a literary work, as adherents of the once-dominant New Criticism suggested we do, can take much of the fun out of reading. Shouldn’t we know something about Tennessee Williams’ tortured relationships with his mother and sister if we want to fully appreciate The Glass Menagerie or A Streetcar Named Desire? Doesn’t knowledge of the accomplished, eccentric James family further our understanding of Henry’s nuanced fiction? Irish writer Colm Tóibín—who has won a passel of prestigious awards for his fiction, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Costa Novel Award— certainly believes so. In his new collection of essays, New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families, he looks at the domestic

affection and friction that shaped major writers and their works—from his countrymen Yeats, J.M. Synge and Beckett, to international masters Borges and Mann, to Americans Cheever, Baldwin and Williams. By focusing largely on major writers, Tóibín has guaranteed a certain familiarity with most of the work under discussion here. There are only three contemporary writers in the mix, all Irishmen: Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry and Hugo Hamilton. Some writers feature in more than one essay; others, like Brian Moore or Synge, have perhaps fallen outside the margins of what people are reading today. Despite its provocative title, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a serious, at times academic, book. Still, there is no dearth of compelling literary “gossip” between its covers. John Cheever, trapped in the misery of the

suburban family life he feels he must lead, buries his secret homosexuality just beneath the surface of his fiction. Yeats’ much-younger wife fakes an ability for “automatic writing” in order to reignite her spiritualist husband’s waning interest in her. The Mann family propensity for suicide and incestuous impulses rears its head often in the Nobel Laureate’s novels. The wayward, idle Beckett was “the sort of young man who was made to break his mother’s heart.” There is only one subject who writes strictly nonfiction: Barack Obama, a surprising choice. But Tóibín’s comparison of Obama to James Baldwin proves persuasive. “[T]heir stories began when their fathers died,” Tóibín writes. “[T] hey set out alone without a father’s shadow or a father’s permission.” The emphasis on fathers and sons, which also propels essays on James, Yeats, Mann and others, highlights the fact that, with the exception of

Jane Austen, the writers Tóibín probes are exclusively male. This is not a shortcoming per se, merely the book’s purview. But it does raise the tantalizing question of what this astute essayist might have to tell us about, say, Plath or Mary Shelley or Lessing or—well, you get the idea. Maybe someday we’ll find out.

New Ways to Kill Your Mother By Colm Tóibín

Scribner $26, 352 Pages ISBN 9781451668551 eBook available

LITERARY CRITICISM

New FroM the New York Times BestselliNg Author oF The Beach house

“Magical! Mary Alice Monroe’s writing is always sensitive and true, as inspiring as the natural wonder about which she writes.” –New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank

She felt it now. She was slipping into the insistent undertow of the past. There was no use fighting it. It was so easy to simply close her eyes. And relinquish. . . .

Pick up or download your copy today!

www.simonandschuster.com

5


columns

audio by sukey howard

Inside Chelsea General All doctors have human frailties, all doctors make medical errors and for the neurosurgical team at Chelsea General the 6 a.m. Monday morning meetings of the Morbidity and Mortality conference are where mistakes are admitted and dissected. And it’s these meetings that punctuate Monday Mornings (Hachette Audio, $29.98, 10 hours, ISBN 9781611135480), the debut novel by CNN’s chief medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta. This is his turf, these are the men and women he knows and these are the medical and emotional challenges real doctors encounter.

Bring Up the Bodies

Father’s Day

In a starred review, Booklist said the Wolf Hall audiobook left “fans clamoring for a sequel.” Bring Up the Bodies is that sequel and more.

A moving and uplifting memoir from the author of Friday Night Lights. Follow Bissinger’s cross country journey of discovery with his adult son, a savant who suffered brain damage at birth.

Macmillan Audio 9781427225825 • $39.99

Simon & Schuster Audio 9781442354166 • $29.99

Rather Outspoken

Spring Fever

A perfect Father’s Day gift, this very personal memoir written and read by one of the most pre-eminent journalists of our time also covers all the big stories from his decades of reporting.

New York Times best-selling author Mary Kay Andrews delivers the perfect beach listen about small towns, old flames and deep secrets.

Hachette Audio 9781611134247 • $34.98

Macmillan Audio 9781427221667 • $39.99

LISTEN UP! 6

becomes a master mixologist as he combines historical and fictional characters—including a beautiful, timeless, shape-shifting spirit called Bleu—and well-researched art history with frolicking fantasy and a somewhat serious consideration of artistic genius with the indefinable, ineffable influence of a muse. It’s great fun, and you get the feeling that the author enjoyed writing this clever caper as much you’ll enjoy hearing Euan Morton’s charming narration.

Top Pick in Audio

That being said, Monday Mornings is a juicy medical soap opera about five brain surgeons that unfolds in a mosaic of episodes. It’s like having “ER” back on TV—you’re plunged into life-and-death emergencies, into the dramas of the surgeons’ personal lives, into their trials and triumphs. If some of the characters are a tad stereotypical—a driven Korean surgeon whose own brain tumor brings back his humanity, an ex-football pro whose bulk and bravado belie his skill in running the ER—it doesn’t detract at all. Narrator Christian Rummel gives them all full voice and verve.

Musing on Muses Vincent van Gogh didn’t commit suicide, he was shot by a nasty, twisted creature known only as “The Colorman,” who’s been preying on great artists for centuries, perhaps even longer. And that’s just for openers in Sacré Bleu (HarperAudio, $39.99, 11.5 hours, ISBN 9780062097408), Christopher Moore’s latest romp set in fin de siècle Paris, when the Impressionists held sway and Le Moulin de la Galette thrived. Writing with his special brand of ribald wit, Moore

Nobody does it better. Nobody can conjure up the labyrinthine intrigue that shrouded the court of Henry VIII, the turmoil his marriage to Anne Boleyn fomented and the moral maelstrom surrounding her ruin as well as Hilary Mantel. And no one else could have reimagined the brilliant, accomplished, compelling Thomas Cromwell, who rose from scruffy, street-smart blacksmith’s boy to become Secretary to the King and the second most powerful man in England, as she has done in Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to her dazzling Wolf Hall. We all know the story, but hearing it described through Cromwell’s eloquent words and inner thoughts on power and ambition, his own included, make it new again, and riveting. Mantel’s language is extraordinary—it’s as though she’s channeled Cromwell from the beyond and burrowed into his mind—and Simon Vance’s impeccable reading is a perfect match. A wonderful way to celebrate Audio Month.

Bring Up the Bodies By Hilary Mantel

Macmillan Audio $39.99, 14 hours ISBN 9781427225825

HISTORICAL FICTION


celebrating audio month WHY I LOVE AUDIOBOOKS b y DE B B IE MACOM B ER

I

’m a person who likes to multitask. One of my favorite things is to travel in a car with my husband, knit and listen to an audiobook.

Illustration by Laura Ljungkvist

We enjoy listening so much that we’ve traveled beyond our intended destination just so we could finish a book. Wayne and I will often discuss the plot. There’s such an advantage in being able to share our enjoyment of a story together. I have audiobooks playing in practically every room of the house. There’s one in the kitchen to listen to while I prepare dinner. Nighttime finds me in the bathtub with an audiobook playing while I relax at the end of a long day. And there’s always a book in my car. Audiobooks have been a big part of my reading life since the early 1990s. I vividly remember the first book I listened to—Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides read by Richard Thomas. I was

mesmerized not only by the writing but by the reading performance. Audiobooks have played a big part in my career, too. It’s important for an author to keep current with what books are selling, but because I’m dyslexic (more about that later) I could never read all the books I need to stay up to date. Listening to a book gives me the opportunity to analyze what’s popular and look for ways to incorporate new ideas into my own writing. A good example of this is The Help. Because it was causing such a sensation, I purchased the audiobook. The listening experience was amazing. I sat enthralled, dazzled by both the writing and the audio performance. I’m also a fan of nonfiction books

and reading those can be difficult when they’re filled with facts and quotes, but listening gives me an entirely different perspective. What better way to learn than to sit and listen and knit all at the same time?  Another reason I find audiobooks so enticing has to do with being dyslexic. I struggled with learning to read and was 10 years old before I understood the mechanics of sounding out words. Because of this learning disability, I am a slow, thoughtful reader to this day. While I love books, it’s a challenge for someone like me to actually read.  Lastly, this is a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m terribly picky as a reader. I know too much. It’s sort of like an automobile mechanic riding in a car. While anyone else might assume everything is in perfect order, the mechanic knows that the timing is off on the third piston. As an author, I’m familiar with story structure and other nuances of writing fiction. If something’s the least bit off I can sense it immediately and

DEBBIE MACOMBER instead of enjoying the story, I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with the book. Not so with audiobooks. I can’t explain why that is, other than the fact that audiobooks are more than story. They are entertainment. They are performances. Okay, my friends, that’s it in a nutshell. I love audiobooks and now you know why. Best-selling author Debbie Macomber has more than 140 million books in print.

HEARD ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY? PL UG IN TO A N A U D I O B O O K

Visit www.RandomHouseAudio.com to hear clips of these and other great audio selections.

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by

Novel Reads

HARPERCOLLINS HarperCollins.com • AvonRomance.com Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross

A story of two brothers—one successful, the other outcast and troubled—Jay must put his family and life on the line to uncover the truth behind his brother’s son’s death, a dark and dangerous quest that threatens to bring up the secrets of the past once again . . . and plunge him over the edge into the depths of evil. 9780061656026, $9.99

Rescue Me

by Rachel Gibson The Texas homecoming of a former small-town beauty pageant participant and the sexy ex-Navy SEAL who’s on hand to complicate her life. She’s unmarried, and stuffed into a pink bridesmaid dress. He’s visiting his aunt, owner of the local Gas and Go. Maybe he’ll stick around Lovett. Maybe he’ll make a “go” of the Gas and Go. Maybe he’ll rescue Sadie out of that pink dress! 9780062070227, $7.99

columns Old scandals resurface in Parable, Montana, in Linda Lael Miller’s Big Sky Country (HQN, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9780373776436). Sheriff Slade Barlow is acknowledged by his father for the first time . . . in the deceased man’s will. Unfortunately, getting to share the family ranch means he’ll have to deal with his childhood nemesis and halfbrother, Hutch Carmody. There’s even more trouble for Slade when former high school beauty queen Joslyn Kirk returns to town—and he can’t quit thinking of her. Years ago, her stepfather cheated town citizens out of their savings, and some are ready to transfer blame to Joslyn.

by Elizabeth Boyle

A local curse prevents the female residents from wedding— a fact that cannot deter a plucky young heiress who needs to marry to inherit her fortune, as she strikes out for London to wed a rakish and unsuspecting duke. 9780062089069, $7.99

A Blood Seduction

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire. But here is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red. 9780062107497, $7.99

Hot for Fireman

by Jennifer Bernard Throw in a grizzled career criminal, a luscious-bodied barfly, a Bachelor Fireman bachelorette party, a flash-fire romance, and a million-dollar money pot, and suddenly playing with fire never seemed so much like falling in love. Look for The Fireman Who Love Me also by Jennifer Bernard, available now. 9780062088970, $5.99

Sanctus

by Simon Toyne Liv Adamsen, a young newspaper reporter, driven by the memory of her lost brother, uncovers a dark secret nurtured for 3,000 years by blood and lies by adherents of an ancient, unknown religion in a Vatican-like citadel hidden away for millennia from unwelcomed prying eyes. 9780062038319, $9.99

All available as eBooks Visit LibraryLoveFest.com for more great reading

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b y c h r i s t i e r i d g way

Small town secrets

Along Came a Duke

by Pamela Palmer

romance

But she’s determined to stay in Parable, despite ill feelings and the reluctant attraction she has for the sheriff. When the sexy and laconic man continues showing up at her door, she can’t keep deeper feelings from growing. But Slade’s got a stepdaughter to manage as well as the enmity with Hutch. Is there room for Joslyn in his life? The first in a series, this feel-good Western contemporary is sure to make Parable a happy destination for readers.

MAYAN ADVENTURE Elizabeth Lowell offers a chilling and sexy romantic suspense novel in Beautiful Sacrifice (Morrow, $25.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780061629860). Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Hunter Johnston contacts expert archaeologist Lina Taylor to recover some precious stolen artifacts. Hunter has been auditing Lina’s course on the Mayan belief that great change—perhaps the end of the world as we know it— will come on December 21, 2012, and he’s looking forward to getting closer to her. But when Lina, who is half-Mayan, sees the photographs of

the missing pieces, she realizes this is a very personal quest; the items appear to come from the part of the world where her family lives. As the mystery deepens and butchered bodies pile up, Hunter and Lina travel to the Yucatán Peninsula to determine the fate of the artifacts— and of their lives. A sizzling attraction between hero and heroine make this fast-paced and frightening adventure just that much hotter.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE Readers will race to return to Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling world in Tangle of Need, a novel of aching passion and pulse-pounding risk. After learning that his intended mate is married to someone else, heartbroken lone wolf Lieutenant Riaz has returned to the pack. There, he runs into Senior Soldier Adria— who acts upon their strong attraction by inviting him to her bed. But Riaz is determined to remain loyal to the mate he cannot have. The strong, accomplished Adria calls to him, however, and soon she learns about his pain; he learns about her last soured relationship. This closeness causes their bodies to come together even as they claim their hearts will not. They seem to be on their way to commitment and contentment when danger and new opportunities arise. Can they—and their feelings for each other—survive? Fans of the series will revel in rooting for the pack and the happy outcome of these two deserving lovers.

Tangle of Need By Nalini Singh

Berkley $25.95, 432 pages ISBN 9780425247563 eBook available

Paranormal Romance


New from the New York Times bestselling author of The Good German

is “an instant classic.”

*

“Kanon brilliantly marries suspense and historical fact....This isn’t just talent; it’s magic." —Olen Steinhauer, New York Times bestselling author of The Tourist

*“Evokes such classics as Casablanca, [and] The Quiet American…. Kanon shows off his gift for morally gripping themes, heart-stopping suspense and compelling characters.” —*KirKus reviews (starred review)

“no one writes period fiction with the same style and suspense—not to mention substance—as Joseph Kanon.” —ScOtt turOw

Pick up or download a copy today. | Also available in audio and ebook editions. Scan the tag to take a tour of Cold War Istanbul with Joseph Kanon

facebook.com/AtriaBooks

twitter.com/AtriaBooks

www.simonandschuster.com

9


columns

Whodunit by Bruce Tierney

A one-sitting read for international crime fans Fans of international crime fiction will be happy to hear that Rome police commissioner Alec Blume is back for his third adventure in The Namesake (Bloomsbury, $25, 368 pages, ISBN 9781608198450) by Conor Fitzgerald. This time he’s investigating the murder of Matteo Arconti, a salaryman who bears the same name as one of the government’s chief prosecutors of Mafia crimes. When Arconti’s corpse is deposited onto the steps of the court building that houses the office of his namesake, there can be little doubt that the Mafia has left a no-uncertain-terms memo of warning to the magistrate. Blume quickly identifies a suspect, but jurisdictional issues complicate the matter; thus, our hero resorts to a bit of clever subterfuge to reel in his prey. He alters a letter from the suspect’s wife to the magistrate, indicating that she is willing to make a confession of her

husband’s misdeeds; the confession, if true, would be an act of treason which cannot go unpunished. All that remains is to plant the letter somewhere it cannot be overlooked, and let things play out as they will. Blume’s stratagem takes on a life of its own, however, with unforeseen (and unforeseeable) consequences. Plotdriven to the nth degree, The Namesake is a one-sitting read, intricately plotted, swiftly paced and resolved in a totally unexpected fashion.

Standoff WITH A TWIST In hostage situations, the perpetrator usually conveys a set of demands to the authorities, typically money and some sort of escape mechanism. Not so in Mark Billingham’s latest thriller, The Demands

Splash into summer with a good read from AtlasBooks!

The Obesity Cure George A. Scheele, M.D. Using a lifetime of scientific achievement and clinical insight, Dr. George Scheele explains how to use nature’s gift—Power Amino Acids®—to avoid “addictive taste disorders” and harness the body’s own feedback mechanisms to tame appetite, rebalance metabolism, and normalize body weight. 978-0-9825708-2-1 | $19.95

A whimsical rhyming “Ugly Duckling” story of a tattered but amiable moose named Ugly. He carries his animal friends to Momma and Poppa Bear’s house for a Christmas party which leads to a namechanging surprise ending. 978-0-9827982-1-8 | $14.99

The Jesus Book Britt Minshall

High Treason Samuel Oakes

A MOST unreligious book about a MOST religious man. The Jesus Book introduces the most peace-seeking man in history. Let’s end the religious-political-military-corporate memes that encourage us to fake the holy, while living in godless religions that are destroying humankind.

Young Amishman Enos Yoder faces the greatest crisis of his life when his father refuses to accept the compromises the Bishop has made, and his mother lies on her deathbed. A story of love, of bitterness, and of treason, rising up in the heart of a man and in the highest corridors of government.

978-0-9642773-4-2 | $17.50

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Legend of Chris Moose

The Ugliest - Most Beautiful Moose in the World Allen Northcutt

Available at your favorite bookstore, online at ATLASBOOKS.COM or by calling 1-800-BOOKLOG

978-0-9787987-5-8 | $14.99

(Mulholland Books, $24.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9780316126632). London convenience store owner Javed Akhtar has a different idea: He has taken policewoman Helen Weeks hostage to compel her colleague, detective Tom Thorne, to reopen the investigation into the murder of his

ibly, and the resolution is clever and satisfying. It is always a pleasure to read such a well-crafted debut; I’m looking forward to the sequel.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY

son. On the surface, the boy’s death seems to be the result of random prison violence, but as Thorne scrambles to find evidence that will satisfy Akhtar, he comes to believe that there is much more to the case. Thorne undergoes intense pressure from two directions: In his shop, Akhtar wields a gun and has demonstrated his willingness to use it; outside, the hostage negotiators champ at the bit to use lethal force to end the standoff. The Thorne novels are high-tension, lightning-paced reads; The Demands is a worthy addition to a fine body of work.

SHADY DEALINGS Two debut novels grace the Whodunit column this month, the first a taut political espionage thriller by Matthew Quirk, The 500 (Reagan Arthur, $25.99, 336 pages, ISBN 9780316198622). The title refers to the 500 most powerful movers and shakers in the country, most of whom are manipulated in some form by a consulting firm called the Davies Group. Harvard Law grad Mike Ford is the rising star of the firm’s newcomers, a onetime con artist gone straight—more or less. As he will come to discover, his skills at identifying a “mark” and the followup manipulation will prove useful in his new career, where “legal” and “ethical” can be extremely fluid terms. Ford is an engaging narrator, endowed with a liberal dose of humor, often at his own expense. The plot moves along quickly and cred-

Speaking of sequels, it’s difficult to imagine that there can be many in store for Buck Schatz, the octogenarian hero of Daniel Friedman’s Don’t Ever Get Old. Nevertheless, I hope I am wrong about that, as Friedman’s debut novel is one of the most original and entertaining tales I have read in many a moon. Schatz is a retired cop, a legend in Memphis law enforcement circles. Summoned to the deathbed of a WWII compatriot, Schatz discovers that a man he thought long dead, SS officer Heinrich Ziegler, in fact survived the war, having absconded with a wealth of gold bars stolen from concentration camp internees. Ziegler assumed a false identity and has lived under the radar for the past 60-some years. This does not sit well with the curmudgeonly Schatz, so, with the assistance of his tech-savvy grandson, he sets off in search of his onetime enemy and a small fortune in Nazi gold. Schatz is an anachronism: a chain-smoking Lucky Strike addict; a Luddite to a fault; cranky and crotchety at every juncture. He is also wickedly funny and full of pithy homilies. Don’t Ever Get Old is just about as good as debut mysteries get. It may, in fact, mark the beginning of a new suspense subgenre: Geezer Noir. Long may it live!

Don’t Ever Get Old By Daniel Friedman Minotaur $24.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780312606930 eBook available

Mystery


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A Stunning Portrait of Love, Loss, and Life Beyond The Last Lecture

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columns New paperback releases for reading groups

A LONER’S STORY A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Denis Johnson’s atmospheric novella, Train Dreams (Picador, $12, 128 pages, ISBN 9781250007650), is set in the early 1900s in the American West. Arriving in the Idaho wilderness as a young orphan, Robert Grainier comes of age, makes a living as a logger and slowly awakens to the changes of a new century. Grainier marries and becomes a father, only to lose his little family in a tragedy from which he never fully recovers. After the loss, he hunkers down in the wilderness, building a cabin

where he lives in solitude. The modern world intrudes at times in the form of airplanes and television, yet Grainier stubbornly adheres to a hardscrabble way of life. Adapting a lean, finely honed prose style, Johnson has fashioned a starkly beautiful portrait of a man struggling to find his place in the world. Brief yet visionary, this is a quiet classic from a master storyteller.

FAMILY MATTERS In her entertaining memoir, The Memory of All That (Broadway, $14, 288 pages, ISBN 9780307395894), novelist Katharine Weber gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at her funny—and famous—family. Weber’s maternal grandmother was Kay Swift, the Broadway composer who had a decade-long affair with George Gersh­win. At the start of their romance, Kay was married to James Paul Warburg, a banker and advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over the course of this fascinating narrative, Weber offers snapshots of her remarkable relatives, including well-known finan-

book clubs by julie hale

cier Paul Warburg and the famously odd art historian Aby Warburg. Weber’s own father, Sidney Kaufman, was a philanderer and filmmaker who brought smell to the movies for the first time using a method called AromaRama. With its rich cast of characters, unforgettable incidents and sly dialogue, Weber’s mesmerizing family tale has enchantments aplenty— enough to rival any piece of fiction.

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS J. Courtney Sullivan, author of the 2009 bestseller Commencement, offers a compelling and resonant family drama in her second novel, Maine. It’s summertime, and the female members of the Kelleher clan are gathering at their family home in Maine for a reunion that’s full of surprising revelations. Overseen by strong-willed grandmother Alice, who, most afternoons, enjoys a strong drink and a cigarette, the clan includes 32-year-old Maggie, who is secretly pregnant; Maggie’s mother, Kathleen, who dreads the summer get-together; and Ann Marie, Alice’s meek daughter-inlaw. As the summer unfolds, each woman comes to terms with herself and the family in ways she never expected. Writing with compassion and insight, Sullivan dramatizes female relationships in a style that is both original and illuminating. Her expertly crafted novel perfectly captures the atmosphere of the Kellehers’ transformative summer— a season fraught with change and growth.

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columns

cooking b y s y b i l P RATT

Martha does America in classic style Martha Stewart and her extraordinary lifestyle conglomerate continue to influence the way we cook, entertain, garden, decorate and get married. In Martha’s American Food (Clarkson Potter, $40, 432 pages, ISBN 9780307405081), the indomitable Ms. Stewart offers her classic

take, tweaked in Martha-esque style, on the American classics that define our cuisine as a whole and that celebrate our regional diversity. She’s selected 190 recipes for satisfying All-American stalwarts and local favorites from five distinct parts of the country. Almost every

dish, from Philadelphia Cheesesteak to Louisiana Bread Pudding, has its own fascinating foodie backstory. It’s a treat to have all these American pleasures in one colorful, carefully crafted collection.

Divine desserts Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts (Artisan, $25.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9781579653989), the title of Alice Medrich’s latest serenade to sweets, is definitely not an oxymoron. To prove that desserts can be delicious, sophisticated, luxurious, even decadent, without being complicated, she offers an array of forgiving, flexible, fabulously flavorful recipes, doable when time is short and skills are not professionally honed. With her unique blend of thoroughness, know-how and charm, Alice shows you how to dress up purchased ice cream, turn all manner of fruits into beguiling sweet endings and make

creamy-dreamy puddings. Using her crumb crusts and melted butter press-in dough will avoid “pastry panic,” and her one-bowl and food processor approach to cakes will make you a better, stress-free baker.

Top Pick in Cookbooks Ree Drummond, the “accidental country girl” who traded her black heels for tractor wheels and found love, family and fame as a blogger, Food Network star and best-selling author, is back in the saddle again with The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. This fabulous follow-up to her first cookbook is brimming with gorgeous, supersupportive step-by-step photographs and more than 100 recipes for soups, starters, sides and sweets, plus great ideas for breakfast, lunch and supper. Ree’s breezy, easy style informs these simple-but-scrumptious dishes, like her tried-and-true Cowboy Quiche (yes, real men DO eat quiche), light, lively Gazpa-

A harrowing tale of romantic suspense from

Natalie Jones is the survivor of an elusive killer who preys on young women. Since her ordeal, she’s remained paralyzed by fear and her failing vision. Special Agent Liam McKenzie has scars of his own. He’s desperate to ignore his growing attraction to Natalie, but he needs her help to catch a predator. Soon, they forge a fragile alliance— charged with desire.

Available in stores now.

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cho topped with grilled shrimp, Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork, WhiskeyGlazed Carrots and an outstanding Tres Leches Cake. Most of us can’t move to a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and marry the “Marlboro Man,” but at least we can cook his favorites for our own favorite partners and reap the frontier benefits.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my frontier By Ree Drummond

Morrow $29.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780061997181 eBook available

FAMILY COOKING


meet DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK

the title of your Q: What’s  new book?

Travels

with

by Robert Reid

ute ville

would you describe it in Q: How  one sentence?

the best quality you inherited from your mother? Q: What’s 

Q: W  hat should any visitor expect from a good Lowcountry hostess?

Q: W  hat is the best thing about living at the beach?

Q: W  hat are your favorite things to do when you’re not writing?

Q: 

What achievement are you proudest of?

Q: W  ords to live by?

PORCH LIGHTS Dorothea Benton Frank, who was born and raised in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, has chronicled the area in a dozen best-selling novels. In her latest, PORCH LIGHTS (Morrow, $25.99, 336 pages, ISBN 9780061961298), a daughter comes home to reconnect with her mother. Frank and her husband Peter divide their time between New Jersey and Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.

Enjoying America’s national parks In June 1864, Abraham Lincoln shifted his attention from the Civil War to sign a bill creating the world’s first public, governmentrun park: Yosemite. Eight years later, Yellowstone became the first national park, and in 1916 Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service. Lucky us. The national park system has been called “America’s best idea”—first by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner, and recently by the Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks. Considering an $80 annual pass (or a mere $10 lifetime for those over 62) gets you access to 395 natural and cultural highlights, who can argue? If you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for that outdoorsy dad, or planning to hit the road yourself this year, pick up a park pass and a copy of Lonely Planet’s beautiful new Discover USA’s Best National Parks ($24.99, 500 pages, ISBN 9781742204918) a full-color guidebook that offers all the essential planning tips for the best and most visited parks across the U.S.A. To get you in the national park frame of mind, read Andrea Lankford’s eye-opening, frequently hilarious Ranger Confidential: Living, Working and Dying in the National Parks (FalconGuides, $16.95, 256

pages, ISBN 9780762752638), which shows the reality of ranger life under those cute “Smokey the Bear” Stetson hats (actually made by Stratton now, I learned). Much of this quick read is light and often comical, but Lankford pulls no punches in illustrating a ranger’s real risks. She writes, “A park ranger is twelve times more likely to die on the job than is a special agent for the FBI.” She escapes that outcome during her career at several high-profile parks, but one of her colleagues does not. It would be criminal to talk about national park books without

including an inspirational pictorial. In the 1940s, photographer Ansel Adams created a timeless series of photos of national parks for the Department of Interior, an experience recounted in Ansel Adams in the National Parks (Little, Brown, $40, 344 pages, ISBN 9780316078467). The iconic black-and-whites of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons jump to mind when you think of Adams, but he visited more than 40 national parks in his lifetime and this book features hundreds of largely unknown photos from his explorations. Even better? Get out there and experience the American landscapes for yourself.

Robert Reid is the U.S. Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. He lives in New York City, and his favorite national parks are Montana’s Glacier National Park and Texas’ Big Bend.

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interviews

ROBERT GOOLRICK by Eliza Borné

R

eaders who loved A Reliable Wife, the bestseller that titillated book clubs across the country, might be surprised to learn that Robert Goolrick’s warm second novel has a lush Southern setting—and is based entirely on a true story.

“Essentially, in every way, the story is true,” Goolrick says while sitting in BookPage’s office in Nashville. He is in town to preview the novel at Parnassus Books, author Ann Patchett’s new bookstore. “When I heard this story, I thought to myself, this is actually—absolutely—the best story I’ve ever heard,” Goolrick recalls. “There was something about it that fascinated me.” Goolrick, who is 63, heard the story after college, when he lived on a remote Greek island. In Heading Out to Wonderful, the setting has been changed to the town of Brownsburg, in the Valley of Virginia. But everything else—from the main character’s profession to the gasp-inducing climax—is the same.

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In Regency England, anything can happen, especially when a beautiful pianist sitting in at the annual Smythe-Smith musicale catches the eye of a haunted, hunted man in desperate need of redemption.

16

© ANDREW WATSON

Love and HEARTBREAK in the Valley of Virginia

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The novel opens in 1948, when Charlie Beale wanders into Brownsburg with nothing but a suitcase full of money and a set of fine knives. Brownsburg is a quiet town with a population of 538, a place where “no crime had ever been committed,” people believed in God, doors were never locked and “where the terrible American wanting hadn’t touched yet, where most people lived a simple life without yearning for things they couldn’t have.” Charlie soon finds work at Will Haislett’s butcher shop and is welcomed into his family. He becomes almost like a second father to Sam, Will’s five-year-old son, and grows attached to the Virginia countryside, which “just stole his heart at every turn of the road.” When a piece of land “made his heart beat in a certain way,” he would buy it, paying in cash. A Reliable Wife was something of a sleeper hit for Goolrick. His first book, a memoir called The End of the World as We Know It, met with positive reviews and modest sales. But his novel, about a woman who answers a wealthy man’s personal ad in rural Wisconsin in 1909, has sold more than a million copies. After he realized that “there was going to be a fuss made about A Reliable Wife,” Goolrick left his home in New York and moved to Virginia, where he was born. “I didn’t want to be one of those people who does nothing but go to literary cocktail parties all the time,” he says. Now he lives in an old farmhouse in White Stone, a town that’s home to fewer people than one floor of his New York apartment building. The author calls Heading Out to Wonderful his “love letter to Virginia,” and it vividly evokes the wild and gentle landscape that comforts Charlie’s soul. However, Charlie’s desire to own land stems from more than just a love of dirt and creeks. He is obsessed with a married woman, and he buys it all for her. As fans of A Reliable Wife will

remember, Goolrick is skilled at portraying passionate, encompassing love—and lust. Those skills are on display again when Charlie first sets eyes on Sylvan, the young and beautiful wife of Boaty Glass. Rich and fat, Boaty is despised by his fellow townsmen, not least of all because he purchased Sylvan by giving her hillbilly father $3,000 and a tractor. Sylvan reinvents herself as Boaty’s wife, commissioning fine clothing and longing for the kind of romantic love she sees in the movies. She finds that love with Charlie, but she realizes the reality of love is not the same as her fantasy. Their precarious relationship sets in motion the drama of the story and provides a sense of foreboding. To the people of Brownsburg, Charlie is a kind person. He butchers animals with humanity, agrees to coach a boys’ baseball team, gives Sam attention and love. But those good instincts are paralyzed in the presence of Sylvan, especially when Charlie decides to bring young Sam along for their secret liaisons, then swears him to secrecy. A reader once asked Goolrick if he thought love could make men crazy. The author responded, “Are you kidding me? It’s the number one thing.” And indeed, Charlie is helpless in front of Sylvan. Goolrick explains, “If you have that kind of passion and that kind of love, then all of the governors that you put on your behavior kind of fly away.” As much as Heading Out to Wonderful is a novel about a love affair, it is also a novel about childhood. One of Goolrick’s beliefs is that writers have an “essential truth they’re trying to get across in their work.” For him, that truth is “something about the nature of goodness and kindness and something about the nature of the innocence of childhood and how easily lost that is.” The author is reverent when he speaks about this tender part of life, which he calls “the most dangerous place of all.” For readers familiar

with The End of the World as We Know It, which details the history of abuse in Goolrick’s family, this deep feeling for “the predicaments of childhood” will not come as a surprise. The new novel’s most painful passages concern Sam’s abrupt loss of innocence. Though there are obvious differences between A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful—including setting and time period—Goolrick describes the most fundamental difference in simple terms: “A Reliable Wife was a novel about bad people to whom good things happen, and Heading Out to Wonderful is about good people who happen to have bad things happen to them.” It is also about the search for home and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, which Goolrick calls “heaven on earth.” Told in his lyrical prose, Heading Out to Wonderful is a pleasure to read—heartbreaking but inspiring and unforgettable.

HEADING OUT TO WONDERFUL

By Robert Goolrick

Algonquin, $24.95, 304 pages ISBN 9781565129238, eBook available


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cover story

RICHARD FORD

A NEW LIFE BEYOND THE BORDER

A

reader might speak of Richard Ford’s haunting and uplifting new novel, Canada, in terms of magic, mood and morality. But Ford himself talks about the novel he has been thinking about for 20 years mostly in terms of technique: diction, sustaining an illusion and obsessive devotion to the hard work of his craft.

“It’s hard for me not to fasten down on things,” Ford says during a call to his office at the University of Mississippi, where he is teaching creative writing this year. He has been good-humoredly describing how earlier in the day he stopped the HarperCollins presses to correct a few smallish errors in the book. “I’m dyslexic. So in order to function at all, I’ve had to teach myself to be extremely disciplined. I mean I don’t touch anything that it doesn’t get a mistake riven into it somehow. I mistype, I reverse letters. One of the odd things about dyslexia is that what your eye sees will not register in your brain. It’s a well-known phenomenon, but it has advantages, too, I will tell you. The need to so intensely concentrate on every word is good, because that is how you’d like to be responsible as a writer.” Of course, great powers of concentration and a keen sense of responsibility don’t come close to explaining how Ford has become one of America’s best contemporary fiction writers. But it’s a start. Ford gained widespread acclaim for The Sportswriter (1986), the first

Canada

By Richard Ford

18

Ecco, $27.99, 432 pages ISBN 9780061692048, eBook available

novel in his Frank Bascombe trilogy, and won a Pulitzer Prize for its sequel, Independence Day (1995). Canada, Ford’s 10th work of fiction, is, quite simply, his best book to date. Set in Montana and Saskatchewan in 1960, Canada tells the story of 15-year-old Dell Parsons, whose middle-class parents—an unlikely romantic combo and even more unlikely pair of criminals—rob a bank in Montana and are quickly arrested and imprisoned. Abandoned to their own devices, Dell and his twin sister Berner go their separate ways. The rebellious, sexually precocious Berner heads to San Francisco, almost though not exactly with flowers in her hair. Dell, whose tale this is, is spirited away from social-service authorities and taken to Saskatchewan by his mother’s friend, where he falls under the spell of a charismatic American ex-pat named Remlinger who turns out to be an embodiment of chaos and violence. Canada is ultimately about Dell’s consequential choice to make a decent life for himself. “I was sitting around in a little wheat prairie town called Dutton, Montana, waiting for my editor Gary Fisketjon to send me back the edited manuscript for Wildlife [1990],” Ford says of the origins of the novel. “Just twiddling my thumbs. So I rented a little room above a car repair, and I started writing a story about a kid who somehow or other was made to leave his parents and is somehow or another taken to Canada. Then after five or six days, here comes the edited manuscript, so I set the book aside.” But the idea didn’t go away. “I’m a person who for better or worse when I write a book I think I have basically written all I know on the subject. But then my mind

goes on playing over things. So 20 years later I come back to certain kinds of formal features, certain kinds of tonalities and I want to see if I can extend this whole thing further and better. In the intervening 20 years, I kept on squirreling away notes on this story, without ever going back and looking at it. And I wanted to write about Saskatchewan and I wanted to be able to tell it in the first person “ Suddenly and I wanted it life is broken to be more active, more antic and it goes another way, than Wildlife. I wanted guns to and you go off. I wanted never get to big actions come back to to take place. Henry James that again.” talks about the germ of a story. I had a whole phylum of germs.” From these seeds, Ford grows a story that seems to be heading in one direction until it veers sharply in another. It’s a shift that will cause readers to catch their breath. “I very much wanted the move from part one to part two to be abrupt and for the book to change. Because to me that’s consonant with the way kids sometime experience life. Suddenly life is broken and it goes another way, and you never get to come back to that again.” But as dramatic as its turn of events are for Dell, Canada is also

Laura Wilson

Interview by Alden Mudge

remarkable for Ford’s great descriptive powers. In Ford’s telling, the vast western landscape of the United States and Canada is both physically tangible and resonant with meaning. It’s a landscape Ford knows well. “Ray Carver and I used to go up to Saskatchewan and go goose hunting, so I have been all over that landscape for 20 years. You could say that was research, but more than research it was just living life. For me life comes first and writing comes second. I hardly ever go someplace with the intention of writing about it. But if I start to write about something and feel I don’t know enough about it, I’ll go look. I did that several times. I would take forays up there with my tape recorder and drive the roads that I knew would be in the novel and record what I saw and how I felt about the things I saw.” After these forays, Ford would return to a rather spare writing room, a former boat repair shop, on Linekin Bay in Maine to work on the book. Ford and his wife, Kristina Hensley, have lived in Maine since 1999. Ford, who is 68, was born in Mississippi and considers himself a


Mississippian, but he has lived all over the U.S. as Hensley pursued her career. Most recently she was head of city planning in New Orleans and then chief of staff for that city’s post-Katrina renewal project. Next year, if the logistics work, the couple will have a joint appointment at Columbia University. Ford and Hensley have been married 44 years. “She’s my first reader,” Ford says. “Always has been.” He has dedicated each and every one of his books to her. Returning to the new book, Ford says he found writing the end of part two, where Dell witnesses and is implicated in a gratuitous murder, “actually quite elevating.” Why? “Because it allowed me to take human behavior that was in some ways like any other human behavior—I mean people do rob banks, as Dell keeps saying. Kids do get abandoned. People do murder other people for completely stupid reasons—and have an opportunity to say provisionally, as all novels are provisional, what the human consequences of this are. We think conventional wisdom tells us what the human consequences are, and we rely on that. Yet to try to invent new consequences, to try to see the consequences through new eyes, made me try to take my book beyond the duff of just murders and bank robberies and abandonment.” Part of the magic of Canada is that it does indeed take a reader “beyond the duff” of plot and story into some new emotional and moral terrain. Canada is about a boy crossing all kinds of borders, physical and metaphorical, and coming to hard choices about how to lead life as a full human being. Ford seems reluctant to wear the label but he does admit that his type of realistic fiction does have a moral purpose. “Realistic fiction— and probably any art, whether it’s realistic or not—has as one of its moral goals to bring us closer to life and make us value it more and see it more clearly. And that is what I’ve grown to want to do.” The remarkable Canada achieves that goal.

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19


feature

father’s day By Martin Brady

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR DEAR Ol’ DAD

F

athers usually don’t expect much for Father’s Day—a simple hug is plenty. But you could also acknowledge dad with a gift book, which these days might span topics from engineering to sports to cooking. The following selection of new books has dad and his modern-day versatility covered.

REACHING FOR THE SKY From the publisher of last fall’s wonderful Mountaineers comes another richly illustrated volume that merges information on the lives of remarkable individuals with useful descriptions of their great achievements. Engineers (DK, $40, 360 pages, ISBN 9780756692643), edited by Adam Hart-Davis, focuses on familiar names such as Robert Fulton, Eli Whitney, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and other world-renowned innovators whose work dramatically changed human lives. But the coverage here—reaching back to the ancient world and through the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, all the way to the Space Age—also extols many lesser known originators of essential engineering feats. The subject matter is farranging—aqueducts, ships, steam engines, electricity, airships, the automobile, architecture—in other words, any discipline that falls under the book’s titular category. Besides its plentiful photos and drawings, the text is loaded with informative sidebars and timelines. The technically inclined dad will love it.

LET’S GET COOKING It’s hard to imagine cooking as an extreme sport, but that’s what we find in Daniel Duane’s How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession (Bloomsbury, $24, 224 pages, ISBN 9781608191024). Duane is a Bay Area surfer-dude and writer whose entry into the world of fatherhood inspired him to play adventur-

20

ous chef to his wife and two daughters. He embraces haute cuisine like an ancient warrior, inspired mainly by cookbook author and restaurateur Alice Waters, who happened to be Duane’s preschool teacher many years before. Duane eventually encounters Waters again when she hires him as a writer, but that episode is tangential to his epic crusade through thousands of recipes over an eight-year period. Specific food preps are recounted in some detail, but what Duane does with, say, duck fat, turnips, wild truffles or a whole cow stashed in his freezer is secondary to his fanatical Zen-like food rap and its effects on those around him. The book’s unexpected highlight: the description of a simple egg dish Waters whips up for Duane on the fly—served with a glass of Domaine de Fontsainte rosé.

THrEE OF GOLF’s GREATEST Veteran golf writer James Dodson’s American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf (Knopf, $28.95, 384 pages, ISBN 9780307272492) blends social history with biography, focusing on the game’s somewhat shaky mid-20thcentury status, when its growth was hampered by the Depression and World War II. Golf’s saviors emerge with Snead, Nelson and Hogan, each born in 1912 and all achieving superstar status, their lively competitions helping to sustain the game’s popularity and eventually spurring a postwar period of prosperity in

which tournaments became more plentiful and the purses much larger. Dodson makes the case that this trio provided the historical bridge to the ever-more-prosperous eras of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. More so, his authoritative prose profiles three distinctly different individuals—the gentlemanly Nelson, the maverick Snead and the somewhat misunderstood Hogan—whose love of the game was complete and whose career paths were unavoidably intertwined.

LONG DISTANCE JOURNEY Scott Jurek is an ultramarathoner whose exploits were profiled in the 2009 bestseller Born to Run. Now this amazing runner tells his own story in Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramara­thon Greatness (HMH, $26, 288 pages, ISBN 9780547569659). With co-writer Steve Friedman, Jurek charts his difficult early life in rural Minnesota, where his mother was ravaged by multiple sclerosis and family dynamics were always challenging. Yet somehow he soldiered on, finishing college, becoming a physical therapist and, most importantly, finding fulfillment as a runner. Achievement in “shorter” marathons led to success in more grueling races, chiefly the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile trek that Jurek won seven straight times. While his personal story is inspiring, the book also focuses on Jurek’s transition to a completely vegan diet. Recipes are included, as are training tips for

amateur runners who want to step up their game.

RIDING HIGH Humorist Dan Zevin, a 40-something father of two, finds himself totally digging his new wheels in Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad (Scribner, $24, 240 pages, ISBN 9781451606461). “Have I told you my minivan has a built-in DVD player?” he gushes, as he embarks on his Brooklyn-based “Mr. Mom” phase. That’s a term Zevin strenuously objects to, but when your wife’s a New York City publishing bigshot and you’re the one hiring nannies. . . . Anyway, Dan’s a modern guy and a very funny writer—so as he narrates the family trip to Disney World, relates his experiences learning tennis and the guitar, relives his court date when he’s cited for not cleaning up after his dog, etc., other dads (and moms) will find plenty of humor in his misadventures. Besides philosophizing on changing priorities and other midlife concerns, Dan also has some endearing moments with his own dad, and those passages are justification enough for this entertaining volume’s Father’s Day relevance.

SUPERHERO TRIVIA Finally, we have Brian Cronin’s Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? (Plume, $15, 288 pages, ISBN 9780452297845), which should prove a popular gift for anyone who ever curled up with a comic book. From Batman and Robin to Archie and Jughead, comic book characters have a unique pop history that spans generations. Superfan and blogger Cronin pays homage through dozens of entertaining lists of names (e.g., “Fifteen Alliterative Comic Book Names Created by Stan Lee”), storylines (e.g., “Five Most Iconic Panels in Marvel Comics History”), cultural impact (“Six Bob Dylan References in Comic Books”), TV and movie trivia (“Four Interesting Ways That Actors Lost Out on Superhero Roles”) and more. If it all sounds deliciously geeky, it is.


rev up his engines

Feed his creative side

And mAke him

feel like A

kid again

© 2012 Marvel & Subs. & Copyright © 2012 DC Comics. All related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics. (s12) TM

has Father’s day covered Discover more us.dk.com


reviews

FICTION whether to see that as depressing, hopeful or merely human nature. —Becky Ohlsen

You Came Back

Grief, love and ghosts Review by Ian Schwartz

Ghost stories, more than most other tales, are at heart love stories. At their core is the fact that someone, on this side or the other, just flat out refuses to let go. In You Came Back, the compelling debut novel by award-winning writer Christopher Coake, there is no shortage of love. There is the love Mark Fife has for his fiancée, Allison. There is his stubborn, somewhat obsessive love for his ex-wife, Chloe, the college sweetheart who left him. And there is the mountain of love he and Chloe both shoulder for their young son, Brendan, whose death in terrifyingly mundane circumstances will send chills down the spine of every parent. It is seven years after Brendan’s death. Mark is 38, no longer drinks and is on the verge of conquering his misgivings and proposing to Allison. Despite occasional nightmares and the feelings for Chloe he By Christopher Coake sometimes has to push away, he is sure that he will be happy again. Grand Central, $24.99, 432 pages Then he is paid a visit by the woman who lives in the house where ISBN 9781455506705, Audio, eBook available he, Chloe and Brendan lived together, and where Brendan died. She tells him that her fourth-grade son has seen Brendan’s ghost, and that the ghost has been calling for his daddy. Mark initially wants nothing to do with the woman. But as the boy’s story evolves into something more believable, both he and Chloe are drawn in, and toward each other. For Mark, it is heartbreakingly tantalizing: Can he get it back? Have Chloe, the love of his life, and Brendan, whose death he still feels responsible for? Coake, named by Granta in 2007 as one of the 20 best young American novelists, received the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers for his collection of short stories, We’re in Trouble. His first novel is a wrenching journey through the human heart. You Came Back isn’t a book to start the night before a workday. It reads like a suspense novel and will keep you turning pages longer than is good for you. Afterward, it will leave you lying in bed in the dark, contemplating its surfeit of pain and beauty.

BEACH READ

Beautiful Ruins By Jess Walter

Harper $25.99, 352 pages ISBN 9780061928123 eBook available

fiction

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Lost opportunities, found art, stories both true and false—these ideas bind the disparate threads of Jess Walter’s new novel, Beautiful Ruins. Walter has always been a versatile writer. His 2005 novel, Citizen Vince, put an ex-criminal in witness protection in glamourless Spokane, Washington (where the author lives). The Zero, a 2006 National Book Award finalist, was a darkly inventive, almost surreal look at a cop’s unraveling after 9/11. And in 2009 Walter satirized the recession-era struggle

toward the American Dream in The Financial Lives of the Poets. So, even if we call this novel a romance, anyone who knows Walter knows it’s more complicated than that. For one thing, the book spans 50 years and two continents. It opens in 1962 in a small Italian fishing village. A tragically beautiful Hollywood actress arrives for a stay at the Hotel Adequate View, Pasquale Tursi’s humble pensione. The actress has cancer; she’s here to meet her lover, who will take her to a specialist in Switzerland. This, at any rate, is the story Tursi has been told. The actress’ stay is brief but electrifying, utterly transforming his life. Meanwhile, in modern-day Holly­ wood, a young producer’s assistant despairs over the cynical deals her boss has been making. She’s on the verge of quitting her job when a remarkable story wanders into her office. Also meanwhile, in Edinburgh, a 40-something musician

risks one last effort at touring, blows it completely and calls his aging mother for rescue. These stories and others soon reveal themselves to be one big story, a web of human weaknesses and noble sacrifice. Each character wears a facade that hides his or her true self; what drives the story is when and how those false fronts crumble. As ever, some of these folks are deeply sympathetic and some are exasperating. But, importantly, they (nearly) all learn and change and grow. If Beautiful Ruins has a weak point, it’s a slightly awkward section with the actor Richard Burton (ironic how a character who’s a real person comes across as less real than the others). But generally, Walter’s control of tone and the various voices is solid. The multiple storylines culminate in a last-chapter pastiche that distills the book’s view that every story is a pitch—and it’s up to readers

Capital By John Lanchester Norton $26.95, 528 pages ISBN 9780393082074 eBook available

literary fiction

In 2010, novelist and journalist John Lanchester published I.O.U, Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay—a timely, approachable and anecdotal look at the fiscal crisis in Britain and beyond. In his latest, Capital, he once again explores the unraveling economy, this time through the lens of fiction. The novel revolves around the homeowners of Pepys Road, an imagined street in the South London neighborhood of Clapham, initially developed to provide housing for lower income families. Though some of the original homes remain, the street has been transformed, both by gentrification and lavish renovations, and the real estate is now worth millions. And in 2007, so are its residents, who include a banker and his label-hungry wife; a Pakistani shop owner and family; and a widow dying of a brain tumor. The many and varied narratives are woven together by a mysterious, anonymous campaign of postcards and DVDs sent to the residents with the simple, repeated message: “We Want What You Have.” The thread works effectively as glue for the epic cast of characters, often bringing them together on a literal level, but it also functions well as a dramatic device. As the novel moves into 2008, the fiscal crisis takes shape, and life for the people of Pepys Road begins to fall apart in conjunction with the global economy. The ominous and ever-present phrase taunts the characters, and in different ways, forces them into selfexamination. The story is peopled by engagingly flawed, fully realized characters, drawn into a harmonious


FICTION narrative by taut, fluid prose. Though Capital is a big, broad, multicultural cross-section of one street in a specific neighborhood of one city, Lanchester speaks of matters—a troubled economy; prevailing notions of class and race—that are all too universal. —Clare Swanson

BEACH READ

The Chaperone By Laura Moriarty

Riverhead $26.95, 384 pages ISBN 9781594487019 Audio, eBook available

HISTORICAL FICTION

The challenges of historical fiction are plentiful—how to freely imagine a person who really lived, how to impart modern sensibility to a bygone

era, how to do your research without exactly showing your research. And yet, when this feat is achieved artfully (we’re talking Loving Frank or Arthur and George artfully), it can transport a reader to another time and place. Laura Moriarty’s new novel, The Chaperone, falls into this category. The story of silent film actress Louise Brooks’ first trip to New York, The Chaperone has the trappings of a typical fictionalized biography. But what makes this book so interesting is that Brooks is not the star. Rather, we are drawn into the world of Cora Carlisle, the middle-aged, midwestern woman who chaperones the wild and irreverent Brooks on her 1922 Manhattan adventure. At the novel’s start, Cora is living a remarkably vanilla life in Wichita, Kansas—land of sexual prudishness, Prohibition fervor and Klan enthusiasts. What we quickly learn, however, is that Cora’s past is much more colorful: She was born in New

York and raised in the Catholic-run “Home for Friendless Girls.” She has no idea who her birth parents are and no claim to “moral legitimacy.” Thus, when she agrees to chaperone the 15-year-old Brooks during her summer training with a prestigious New York dance company, it is as much to investigate her own history as it is to play babysitter. As one might expect, the flirtatious and black-bobbed future starlet gives Cora a run for her money, and when the “adult” attempts to tame the “child,” she finds herself at the center of her own moral and romantic awakening. It is, of course, impossible to discuss The Chaperone without mentioning The Artist, this year’s cinematic tribute to the silent film era. Much like the Academy Awardwinning film, Moriarty’s book explores the challenges of a changing world. Progress cannot be stopped, she seems to say, and the survivors

are the ones who agree to move along with it. —J i l l i a n Q u i n t

Visit BookPage.com for a Q&A with Laura Moriarty.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. By Nichole Bernier Crown $24, 320 pages ISBN 9780307887801 eBook available

DEBUT FICTION

Frequent Elle, Condé Nast Traveler and Self contributor Nichole Bernier takes a step away from nonfiction and arrives on the literary scene with an engrossing debut novel, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

Prepare for heart-racing suspense by thirty of the best writers in the business! Bodyguards, vigilantes, stalkers, serial killers, women (and men!) in jeopardy, cops, thieves, P.I.s, killers—these all-new stories will keep you thrilled and chilled late into the night.

Available May 29 23 12_115_BookPage_Thriller3.indd 1

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reviews This exquisite and honest portrait of friendship and motherhood unfurls a suspenseful plot whose jaw-dropping surprise ending is one that readers will be sure to discuss long after the book has been finished. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. introduces readers to Kate Spenser, a mother balancing her career as a chef while simultaneously processing her grief over the loss of her friend Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s death in a freak plane accident means Kate has been bequeathed a large stack of journals chronicling Elizabeth’s life. Elizabeth’s instructions request that Kate “start at the beginning” and figure out how best to deal with them once she has finished reading the complete set. It is with this heavy load that Kate retreats to her vacation rental home on Great Rock Island. While spending the summer with her children, she must decide if she is going to return to the restaurant trenches while also attempting to uncover the secret behind Elizabeth’s request. With an absent, working husband who travels continuously overseas as a hotel scout, Kate becomes more and more immersed in Elizabeth’s confessions, realizing that perhaps she never really knew her friend at all. And what is supposed to be a relaxing summer fills with tension as Elizabeth’s widowed husband pressures Kate to reveal his wife’s secrets, and Kate struggles to uncover what her own husband is hiding from her. Bernier successfully explores how women manage to balance so much in their everyday life and the complicated emotions (guilt, frustration, fear) that go along with being a working mother. As Kate realizes there is more to Elizabeth than meets the eye, she is given the chance to uncover the truth not only about their friendship but also about herself. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. is an important read for anyone who dares to ask just how well we really know our friends and neighbors, and what those discoveries mean about us. —Megan Fishmann

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Visit BookPage.com for a Q&A with Nichole Bernier.

FICTION BEACH READ

Into the Darkest Corner By Elizabeth Haynes

Harper $25.99, 416 pages ISBN 9780062197252 eBook available

suspense

Every woman has an ex-lover she would rather forget. Catherine Bailey knows the feeling all too well: Prior to Lee Brightman, Catherine was carefree, with a tight circle of friends, and enjoyed frequent nights out on the town filled with dancing, drinking and the occasional tryst. When she attracts the attentions of sexy and captivating Lee, she cannot believe her luck. But as their relationship deepens, Lee’s dark side begins to emerge, leaving Catherine unbalanced, alone and fearing for her life. Years after their relationship has violently ended, Lee has made indelible marks on Catherine’s body and her mind. Suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder wrapped in a layer of post-traumatic stress disorder, she is ruled by constant anxiety and compulsive behaviors that keep her locked away from the rest of the world, chained down better than any torture Lee could have devised. Catherine has long felt that no matter how far she runs, she will always carry Lee with her and that it is only a matter of time before he finds her. Elizabeth Haynes has made quite an entrance into the world of literary thrillers: Into the Darkest Corner was named Amazon U.K.’s Best Book of 2011 and the film rights have already been purchased. The acclaim is well earned, as Haynes is a master at building tension to unbearable heights, and her thorough and thoughtful exploration of the psychological fallout of abuse adds a unique layer to the story. Having worked as an intelligence analyst for the police, Haynes mines her extensive experience to write with an authority and vividness that makes the story frighteningly real. Readers, take heed: This novel does not pussyfoot around the reality of domestic

violence, but instead pays testament to it in exceedingly graphic detail. Dark and twisted, Into the Darkest Corner is a terrifying thriller, and the only breaks you’re likely to take while reading it will be to triple-check the locks on your doors and windows. —Stephenie Harrison

Visit BookPage.com for a Q&A with Elizabeth Haynes.

The Last Kind Words By Tom Piccirilli

Bantam $26, 336 pages ISBN 9780553592481 Audio, eBook available

suspense

In his latest gripping crime novel— the first in a series—Tom Piccirilli introduces the Rands, a family of smalltime thieves and card sharps who frequently run up against the law but are seldom prosecuted . . . and who seldom resort to violence. Until five years before the novel opens, that is, when Collie Rand (family members are named after dog breeds) goes on a bizarre rampage one evening and murders eight people, including a family of five vacationing in a mobile home, a gas station attendant and an elderly woman. Since then, Collie’s brother Terry (short for Terrier) has gone straight— moving out West, working on a ranch, and trying to deal with the shame, guilt and rage that still haunt him daily. But just days before Collie’s scheduled execution, the family summons Terry home, telling him that the brother with whom he has had no contact since that horrific night wants to see him. Collie wants Terry to help prove that Collie is innocent of the last of the murders for which he was found guilty—the strangulation of a young woman in a park. Not only does he want to be absolved of that one crime, he also worries that the real murderer may still be at large. Piccirilli has won two International Thriller Writers Awards and been nominated for the Edgar Award,

considered the most prestigious award in the mystery genre. With The Last Kind Words, he deftly blends the mystery element of a possible serial murderer with the relationships within this unique family, where criminal dexterity is passed on from one generation to the next like athletic prowess or a talent for music. Each worries that any one of them could suddenly be overwhelmed by “the underneath,” as Collie was that one unfathomable night. Full of atmosphere and featuring a fascinating cast, this is a true find for lovers of literary mystery. —Deb Donovan

Every Day, Every Hour By Natasa Dragnic Viking $25.95, 272 pages ISBN 9780670023509 eBook available

international fiction

In a small seaside town in Croatia in 1964, a little boy and little girl meet. They are stunned by the sight of each other; the boy, Luka, faints, and the girl, Dora, wakes him with a kiss. This scenario might touch your heart, but maybe you’ll roll your eyes. I did, especially since Dora is only two. But soon you will be convinced. Arrested. Intoxicated. Natasa Dragnic’s debut, Every Day, Every Hour, is a beautiful, intense little book. Dora and Luka become inseparable despite their three-year age difference. They spend every minute they can together, often on their special beachside rock while Luka paints the sea. Their first heartache comes when she is six and he is nine: Dora’s family moves away to Paris. Their connection and this separation are life-shaping events, and while they each pursue their passions—Luka’s art, Dora’s acting—the feeling that something is missing is palpable. Their chance reunion comes when Luka exhibits his work in Paris, and the beginning of their love as adults is nothing short of wondrous. But fate has other ideas: When


A daughter’s devotion. A mother’s betrayal. The summer that changed everything.

The Book of Summers Emylia Hall

“Elegantly written and intensely intimate. A moving, poetic debut.” —Marisa de los Santos, bestselling author of Love Walked In

On sale now. 25


reviews

FICTION

Luka goes home to see his family, there is his old girlfriend, whose acquaintance he had recently made again, before Paris. She is pregnant. So begins more than two decades of stubbornly obtained and refused love, yearning and loss. Dora’s star rises in Paris while Luka’s talents languish in a hotel desk job supporting his wife and child. He does not love the wife at all, and his choices and weaknesses are nearly as frustrating for the reader as they are for Dora. But the pair never lose their need for each other. It permeates them, and that’s a potent spell. The tenderness with which Dragnic paints her characters in both happiness and pain leaves one breathless, even in tears. (I cried. A lot.) Her words have a hooking rhythm, and the novel’s structure is like a song, with verses and repeating choruses: events repeat, entire passages resurface with small changes, and it is reassuring, entrancing, even as it

makes you ache. “Who has ever loved as we do?” Luka quotes Pablo Neruda. Indeed. Hopeless romantics will love this book. It deserves a chance from others, too. Pick it up; let it work its magic. —Sheri Bodoh

Bring Up the Bodies By Hilary Mantel

Holt $28, 432 pages ISBN 9780805090031 Audio, eBook available

historical FICTION

Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel’s sequel to the spellbinding Wolf Hall, is one of the most anticipated books of the season. A uniquely told and utterly absorbing study of Thom-

as Cromwell, who rose to prominence from humble beginnings, Wolf Hall concluded with Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Bring Up the Bodies plunges the reader back into the royal court just a few years later. Again, it is to Mantel’s credit that she makes this familiar story not only fresh, but a page-turner. Though he fought for seven years to marry Anne Boleyn, by the spring of 1536, Henry was disenchanted with his new wife. Not only was Anne unable to provide him with a male heir, but the demure Jane Seymour had caught his eye and her family was moving into position as the next powerful clan. Cromwell, who masterminded the King’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon and bedding of Anne, is charged with managing another separation. Mantel vividly paints the machinations integral to the undoing of the royal marriage. As one character remarks, “what was done can always

be undone,” but this time the personal stakes are bloodier. Shorter than Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies is also more concentrated, covering the tumultuous actions of a few months with a tight focus (the conclusion to the trilogy will take the story to 1540). Like the previous novel, it is told in the present tense and from Cromwell’s perspective, which brings an extraordinary immediacy to the storytelling. Readers will remember Cromwell as an intriguing mixture of tenderness and ruthless politicking. His common origins and love of family make him a sympathetic character, even when the events he helps to bring about are heinous in nature. Watching Cromwell meet and even anticipate the cruel demands of his monarch, we are privy to the full strength of his political skills as well as the sense of wistfulness and loss that shadows his every move. — l a u r e n b u ff e r d

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

is back with another book in the acclaimed The Raines of Wind Canyon series

Millions of lives are on the line. But for him, only one truly matters. “Ms. Martin has struck the mother lode…even Die Hard can’t hold a candle to this brilliantly written series.” —Romantic Crush Junkies

Pick up your copy on May 29! 26 12_122_BookPage_AgainstSun.indd 1

12-04-27 2:54 PM


NONFICTION The Fish That Ate the Whale By Rich Cohen

The Mansion of Happiness

FSG $27, 288 pages ISBN 9780374299279 eBook available

ASKING THE BIG QUESTIONS review by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

In the modern board game of Life, players come to a fork in the journey very early on: get a job or go to college. If they choose college, they might find a higher-paying job in the long run, but they’ll have to take out loans and pile up debt before ever collecting a paycheck. Players might start a family along life’s road, but whichever fork they choose, unlike real life, always leads to retirement and never to death. The Mansion of Happiness—the prototype for Life—was the most popular board game in 19th-century Britain, and while it was more moralistic than its later American counterpart, it raised many of the same questions about this journey called life. With her characteristically vivid storytelling, New Yorker writer Jill Lepore uses this British game to embark on a stunning meditation on three questions that have dominated serious reflection about human nature and culture for centuries: By Jill Lepore How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? Knopf, $27.95, 320 pages Lepore proceeds by exploring the stages of life from before birth, ISBN 9780307592996, audio, eBook available infancy and childhood to growing up, growing old, dying and life after death. For example, she examines 17th-century physician William Harvey’s discovery that human life begins with an egg (as opposed to the long-held belief that humans germinated from seeds), and illustrates the ways that such an idea came to have significant political consequences for women by the latter half of the 20th century. She focuses on the Karen Ann Quinlan case to show how the definitions of life and death—once the province of religion—were suddenly decided not in a hospital or a church but in a courtroom. Through these stories, Lepore demonstrates how the contemplation of life and death moved from the library to the laboratory, so that scientific narratives of progress now promise a different sort of eternity—right up to the vague idea that one day, when the Earth dies, humans will simply move to outer space. In The Mansion of Happiness, Lepore’s refreshing and often humorous insights breathe fresh air into these everlasting matters.

Full Body Burden By Kristen Iversen

Crown $25, 432 pages ISBN 9780307955630 Audio, eBook available

memoir

On its surface, Kristen Iversen’s childhood in suburban Denver was idyllic. She and her three younger siblings had horses to ride, a local lake and a neighborhood filled with kids. But just under the surface lurked dangers that Iversen doesn’t fully understand until she is much older. Her Scandinavian parents believe in a stiff upper lip. They rarely acknowledge Iversen’s father’s alcoholism, even after he flips the family car on the way to a horse show. Only

after years of chronic pain does Iversen discover the incident broke her neck: Her parents never took her to a doctor after the wreck. Perhaps even more sinister than the Iversen clan’s demons is the threat just upwind from their home: Rocky Flats. Most local families believe Rocky Flats is a factory for household cleaning supplies. The truth is that Rocky Flats is a U.S. Department of Energy facility churning out plutonium “pits” for the thousands of nuclear weapons assembled during the Cold War. Even a tiny speck of plutonium ingested in a human body can lead to cancer, immune disorders and other long-term health problems. Unbeknownst to those who live downwind from Rocky Flats (and, indeed, to many of the thousands of Rocky Flats employees), the plant is careless in both producing the plutonium pits and handling the resulting radioactive waste. Thousands

BIOGRAPHY

of leaking barrels of waste seep into the soil and drinking water. Regular fires at the plant—some intentional—release plutonium particles and other toxic material into the air. Yet from the 1950s through the 1970s, public health officials insist Denver and surrounding communities are safe, even as children and adults in Iversen’s neighborhood develop testicular cancer, brain tumors and other health issues. With meticulous reporting and a clear eye for details, Iversen has crafted a chilling, brilliantly written cautionary tale about the dangers of blind trust. Through interviews, sifting through thousands of records (some remain sealed) and even a stint as a Rocky Flats receptionist, she uncovers decades of governmental deception. Full Body Burden is both an engrossing memoir and a powerful piece of investigative journalism.

According to author Rich Cohen, a corporation “tends to have a life span, tends to age and die.” Remember United Fruit, which at one point controlled 70 percent of America’s banana market? It was the U.S. Steel of easily bruised produce. The man behind its success was Samuel Zemurray, a Russian immigrant who turned $150 worth of bananas into a $30 million fortune. He was one of the most powerful men in America, the embodiment of immigrant industriousness. Zemurray has since fallen into irrelevance, but in The Fish That Ate the Whale, Cohen resurrects the memory of America’s Banana King in a rollicking, colorful tale that proceeds with a spy novel’s pace. You swallow the prose in big, greedy gulps. That partly has to do with Zemurray’s life, a mixture of hustle, power and philanthropy. His hands-on approach—he planted banana fields in Honduras, he loved the rhythms of the docks—helped turn his company into a model of efficiency. When shifts in government policy in Honduras and Guatemala threatened United Fruit, Zemurray helped stage government overthrows. But he also donated to Tulane University, founded an agricultural school in Honduras and was instrumental in securing votes to partition Israel. Cohen, displaying the rhythm and keen introspection that made his Sweet and Low so good, knows when to delve into Zemurray’s psyche. His stylistic touches enhance the story of a man propelled by “righteous anger.” Zemurray may be fading from the country’s entrepreneurial lore, but Cohen says America would be wise to follow his example: “As long as you’re breathing,” Cohen says, “the end remains to be written.”

—Amy Scribner

—Pete Croatto

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reviews BEACH READ

NONFICTION

People Who Eat Darkness By Richard Lloyd Parry

FSG $16, 464 pages ISBN 9780374230593 eBook available

TRUE CRIME

If you went near a British tabloid in the fall of 2000, chances are you followed the disappearance of Lucie Blackman with curiosity. Richard Lloyd Parry, Tokyo bureau chief for The Times (London), covered the mystery as it unfolded, following each scrap of hope, disappointment and depravity with bated breath. His new book, People Who Eat Darkness, is the fascinating culmination of a decade of research, as well as a probing look into the depths of evil. Parry begins with a cursory explanation of the case: Insecure, blonde

21-year-old Lucie Blackman disappears from the streets of Tokyo in the summer of 2000. Her dismembered remains are found buried in a seaside cave the following winter. Other writers might have opted to leave her survival a mystery, and in refusing to do so, Parry makes it clear that his book is not your typical true-crime thriller. It’s immediately clear that Lucie’s fate was in some way tied to her job as a Roppongi district “hostess,” chatting up lonely businessmen in dark bars. Lucie’s father and sister arrive on the scene, organizing news conferences and soliciting support from Tony Blair. But the Japanese investigation is frustratingly inept. Parry masterfully guides readers through a maze of red herrings and sinister subplots (think charlatan PIs and hidden sex dungeons). Eventually, the police find the probable killer—a man with a history of abducting and raping hostesses. But even this revelation yields little reso-

lution, as the killer staunchly refuses to confess his crime. It would be wrong to call this book “enjoyable.” But it is both utterly engrossing and brilliantly crafted—a glimpse into the heart of darkness we hope never to know first-hand. —J i l l i a n Q u i n t

The Cost of Hope By Amanda Bennett Random House $26, 240 pages ISBN 9781400069842 eBook available

MEMOIR

While on assignment in China, journalist Amanda Bennett met and fell in love with a complicated man. They married, moved back to the U.S., created a family, and had their reality turned on its ear when her

husband, Terence Foley, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He lived for several years before the cancer metastasized and claimed his life. Throughout his illness, Bennett’s health insurance covered virtually all related expenses. It wasn’t until after his death that she realized the costs came to over half a million dollars, and she began to question where the money went. What exactly is The Cost of Hope? Bennett’s book is both a memoir of a marriage and a sharp piece of investigative journalism. Physicians disagreed not only about the type of cancer Foley had, but also about his treatment. At one point Bennett asks, “So what’s the box score on the tumor?” and runs down a list including six pathologists, four oncologists and “at least” four hospitals. “The outcome? Nearly four years after his death, I still don’t know what kind of cancer Terence had. Everyone is convinced he is right.” Bennett finds that different

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hospitals charge different amounts for the same procedure. She points out that if the cost were spelled out along with the purpose of the procedure, patients might not be so quick to sign off on invasive tests. Bennett doesn’t harbor regrets about trying to prolong her husband’s life; with The Cost of Hope she has not only memorialized him artfully, but turned his experience into a probing look at modern medicine and the choices it forces upon us. —Heather Seggel

BEACH READ

Buried in the Sky By Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Norton $26.95, 304 pages ISBN 9780393079883 eBook available

SPORTS

Fast-paced and well-researched, Buried in the Sky tells the story of the tragic events of August 2008 on K2, “the world’s most dangerous mountain,” from the point of view of the Sherpa porters. Eleven people, both Sherpa and Western climbers, perished after an ice fall took out the ropes that help guide climbers through K2’s notorious “bottleneck” section. Balancing differing versions of what went wrong, authors Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan have come up with a terrifying account of the tragedy. Sherpa climbers face a double bind: Hired to help others reach the summit, Sherpa sometimes have to go against their better judgment if their clients insist. By focusing on the stories of two Sherpa climbers in particular, Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, Zuckerman and Padoan draw the risks and rewards of this career into knife-sharp focus. Traveling to remote villages in Nepal and Pakistan, the writers offer the often anonymous Sherpa a chance to voice their own stories. Their narrative is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the people and politics of high-altitude mountaineering. —Catherine Hollis

patrice kindl INTERVIEW b y LINDA M . CASTELLITTO

A HEROINE WITH MONEY ON HER MIND

T

here are many reasons an author might have a tough time meeting a deadline, from writers’ block to family drama to, say, a hurricane hitting her house even though she lives hundreds of miles inland. Despite Hurricane Irene’s unlikely arrival at Patrice Kindl’s rural upstate New York home last August, the author kept things moving along on her YA novel, Keeping the Castle, albeit from an office not her own, because her usual writing spot was thoroughly waterlogged. “It’s been a difficult seven months,” she says by phone from her home, during a break from lugging ruined furniture to the curb. “There was eight feet of water outside and four inside. It was a major blow.” Another, longer-term challenge for Kindl was an illness that led to a decade-long pause in her writing career (she published four YA novels from 1993-2002, including the critically lauded Owl in Love). Fortunately, “major surgery a couple of years ago resolved the worst problems,” she says. Keeping the Castle represents her return to writing, as well as the author’s own pursuit of truth in fiction: She was motivated to create her own Regency novel because, she says, “I’d read one too many historical fictions in which the heroine is totally opposed to getting married and goes off to London and becomes a detective. They didn’t do that!” In fact, she says, during the early 19th century, “Women got married because they had to; there were just

Keeping the Castle

By Patrice Kindl

Viking, $16.99, 272 pages, ISBN 9780670014385 eBook available, ages 12 and up

so few choices, aside from becoming a governess, which is one step up from a servant, or a hat maker or dressmaker. These were very dependent positions with no security, so marriage was the best option— unless, of course, they were in the unusual position of being independently wealthy. A woman in control of her own money was very rare.” And another thing: Kindl’s a bit indignant about writers who shirk Regency conventions. She “looove[s] Jane Austen” and doesn’t understand “why writers want to take a period and violate all the rules and conventions of society at the time. Half of the ones I’ve read, women had sex outside marriage. That’s something they just didn’t do. It would’ve had serious repercussions. I wanted to do something appropriate for the genre, and it’s nice having the framework, like with a sonnet or haiku—you know the rules.” Thus, Kindl’s heroine, 17-year-old Althea Bears, doesn’t swan about the countryside while pondering which glamorous career will suit her, should she feel like having one. Instead, she worries every day about whether she can find a financially solvent husband in time to save the elegant yet crumbling castle in Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, where she lives with her widowed mother, stepsisters and young brother. She also feels responsible for the fate of their servants—a devoted, resourceful bunch who gamely help Althea engage in social subterfuge as a means to preserving the family’s we’re-doing-just-fine facade. Althea’s worries are especially timely, and some young readers will find themselves identifying with her money-centric concerns. But even those who are blissfully unaware of financial matters will find themselves caught up in the humor, suspense and moral dilemmas Kindl has conjured up. For example, Althea may seem

© 124 RIVER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

children’s books

a bit mercenary, but is it wrong to think of marriage as a means to an end first, an opportunity for love second, if it means saving her family from ruin? Creating a protagonist with such mature (and, it must be said, often hilarious) concerns is another departure from Kindl’s previous books. She says, “One of the limitations of doing a romance with a 14-year-old is there can’t be any closure. You’d be surprised how many kids write to me and ask, ‘Did they get married?’ So, doing a 17-year-old in this time period is fun, because I get to marry her off. It’s satisfying.” Another reason Kindl enjoyed Althea’s story arc: “I am definitely pro-marriage. When it works, there’s nothing like it, and I’m in a position to know,” says the author, who has been married to her husband, Paul, for 35 years. She adds, “I do think any time you give women power in society, divorces are going to go up because [women] don’t have to put up with creeps anymore . . . but that doesn’t mean marriage isn’t going to work. You have to be lucky, and it’s not something everyone is going to be able to achieve, but I do think it’s a worthy goal.” The author’s current goals include doing more hurricane cleanup and continuing Althea’s story. The manuscript for book two is under way, and readers will delight in catching up with the goings-on in Lesser Hoo. As Kindl notes, “no one at [Althea’s] age realizes how long life lasts,” but it’s going to be fun following along as she figures it out.

29


children’s books The Year of the Book

reviews

Turning a new page Review by Angela Leeper

If only fourth-grader Anna Wang could read My Side of the Mountain, A Wrinkle in Time and her other beloved books all day long instead of worrying about making friends. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t own matching sweater sets like some of the “whispering” girls in class, that she’s ashamed to admit that her Chinese mother cleans apartments, and that she has to waste time each weekend at Chinese school, learning words she’ll never remember. In the softly affirming The Year of the Book, it’s time for Anna to open up to more than a book. When classmate Laura’s separated parents argue dangerously, the girl must spend time with Anna’s family for Chinese New Year. Together they discover a mutual love for reading, sewing fabric bags and wanting to feel connected. Soon the once reserved Anna finds friends all around, from her chatty crossing guard and observant teacher to fellow Chinese By Andrea Cheng American Camille, who could use Anna’s help to pass the fourth grade. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin Abigail Halpin’s small sketches—as sweet as Anna herself—add to the HMH, $15.99, 160 pages, ISBN 9780547684635 charm of her expanding world. In addition to making new friends, she eBook available, ages 6 to 9 relishes her classroom writing assignments and finds gems of happiness all around, whether in the paper airplanes she makes with her “ABC” (American Born Chinese) father and brother, the tiny cereal boxes her father brings home from the convenience store or the Chinese characters she’s finally beginning to understand. And somehow Anna’s mother doesn’t seem as clueless about American culture anymore. Just as Anna’s favorite books take all forms, so too do her Chinese culture and community. Sentimental without being cloying, The Year of the Book will create a new chapter in young readers’ own lives as they see the connections among reading, family and friendship.

I Gotta Draw By Bruce Degen

HarperCollins $16.99, 40 pages ISBN 9780060284176 Ages 5 to 9

picture book

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“The pup with the pencil, the mutt with the marker, the dog with the drawing pad, the chap with the chalk.” Charlie Muttnik is a persistent pooch who has gotta draw. Just like his real-life counterpart, authorillustrator Bruce Degen, Charlie constantly searches for a place to draw in his family’s cramped Brooklyn apartment. He manages to find ways to draw in his neighborhood until summer ends and school begins with a strict new teacher, Miss Rich. Now that his days are spent sitting in class with hands folded, Charlie has little time left for drawing, so he scribbles where he can, on spelling tests and fractions, until

Miss Rich can’t tell his numerators from denominators. With exasperated parents and suffering grades, the young dog turns in a visually detailed report that gives his teacher a change of heart. Soon Charlie is allowed to draw during the school day while calling out his spelling words. The effect spreads until all the children become artists and participate in an art show. And Charlie’s grades not only improve, he finally earns respect for his drawing passion. Adorable as ever, Degen’s mixedmedia illustrations intensify with color as art is welcomed into his classroom. The beloved illustrator of Jamberry and the Magic School Bus series incorporates plenty of humor and expression to highlight both Charlie’s enthusiasm and dilemmas. As a reminder that abilities come in all forms, parents, teachers and librarians alike should keep the delightful I Gotta Draw on hand to encourage creativity and simple fun in our increasingly structured world. —Angela Leeper

BEACH READ

Diary of a Parent Trainer By Jenny Smith

Random House $15.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780375990359 eBook available Ages 10 and up

MIDDLE GRADE

Katie Sutton (parent trainer extraordinaire) offers up a comprehensive manual for effective handling of grown-ups in this delightful novel. Thirteen-year-old Katie knows quite a lot about Grown-Up Studies, since she’s had to pay particular attention to the effective control of her mom, a widow who has just begun dating. Katie and her two siblings live with their mom in Brindleton, a sprawling English town with posh houses—and public housing units like the one where the Suttons live. Katie’s manual takes the form of a

summer journal, and the impetus for completing her Users’ Guide to Grown-ups is Stuart, her mum’s first boyfriend since her husband died. “I suppose my main problem with Stuart is that he’s turned up in our lives at all,” admits Katie. And with Stuart’s strong environmental values (including no logos on T-shirts), Mum has every intention of keeping him around. The situation calls for drastic action from Katie and her sister Mandy. Added to this decidedly unwelcome summer romance are Katie’s own tribulations in matters of the heart. First published in the U.K., Diary of a Parent Trainer is a story of love, friendship and family that arrives in the U.S. just in time for summer reading. But a word to the wise: Parents, watch out! Your young reader may apply some of the information in this manual to ensure your optimum performance as a Grown-Up. —Deborah Hopkinson

The Vindico By Wesley King

Putnam $16.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780399256547 eBook available Ages 12 and up

TEEN

The League of Heroes would be out of a job if there were no supervillains for them to vanquish, and the Vindico have played that role for a long time now—too long. With an eye toward retirement, they kidnap five teenagers to train as their replacements. Giving kids the capacity to mind-meld and shift matter: What could possibly go wrong? Author Wesley King strikes a balance between superhero action and humor in The Vindico. It’s a little like Lish McBride’s horror-humor mashup Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, only the laughs here come from the consequences of giving teenagers superpowers. When flaky ladies’ man Hayden spies a chamber to trap and destroy the Vindico, it’s only natural that he’d neglect to check the “destroy” function until


reviews after the archvillains are trapped. Needless to say, chaos ensues. The five teens fight, form alliances, switch sides, pair up, split up and fight some more, all of which can get confusing. But the yin-yang symbiosis of the good and bad guys is neatly rendered, and each character gets enough backstory to make them distinct. The fight scenes are winners, too, frenetic and fantastical. The Vindico is good (and evil!), action-packed and a very good time. —Heather Seggel

BEACH READ

My Life Next Door By Huntley Fitzpatrick

Dial $17.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780803736993 eBook available Ages 12 and up

TEEN

There’s nothing like the simple, delectable pleasure of getting lost in a book on a summer’s day—as author Huntley Fitzpatrick understands. Her debut novel, My Life Next Door, follows Samantha Reed during her 17th summer, when she falls for the most unlikely candidate imaginable: the boy next door. Samantha lives in a coastal Connecticut town with her mother and older sister, Tracy, in a house so pristine her mother has been known to vacuum behind the girls as they walk out the door in the morning. It’s quiet, clean and, Samantha must admit, a bit boring and lonely. No wonder she’s been watching the large, boisterous family next door for years. Her mother has forbidden Samantha from playing with the Garretts, but despite the scattered toys, unkempt lawn and Mrs. Garrett’s habit of breastfeeding yet another new baby, something about their messy life appeals to her. Then she meets Jase Garrett and everything changes. Samantha is drawn into Jase’s life and grows comfortable with the entire family. When something terrible and unexpected happens, Samantha faces a heartbreaking decision that tests her love for her family and her own

meet  Philip C. Stead

sense of right and wrong. Samantha and Jase embark on their romance not in a vacuum, but as real teens who balance family responsibilities, work, worries about friends and questions about their futures. Fitzpatrick, a mother of six, captures the magic of family and love in this impressive debut. —Deborah Hopkinson

Shadows Cast by Stars By Catherine Knutsson

Atheneum $17.99, 464 pages ISBN 9781442401914 eBook available Ages 12 and up

TEEN

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra, her twin brother Paul and their father have always lived by the Old Way, even before the government forces them to move from the concrete Corridor to the sanctuary of an island populated by a band of their people, the Métis tribe of Western Canada. Unlike other newcomers, Cass and her family know how to live without the Corridor’s technology. And although she’s ordinarily indifferent to boys, Cass finds herself attracted to Bran, son and potential heir of the band’s missing chief. Madda, the local medicine woman, takes Cassandra on as an apprentice, helping her develop talents she’s always possessed but never studied. Cassandra can heal wounds, see the invisible animal shades that accompany her people (similar to the dæmons of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy) and travel into the spirit world. But she cannot see her own shade, cannot help Paul find peace from the ghosts that haunt him and cannot convince various jealous factions to welcome her into their community. In Shadows Cast by Stars, debut author Catherine Knutsson, herself a member of the Métis tribe, blends a contemporary feminist sensibility with Arthurian legends, Greek mythology and Native traditions to create a rich and captivating story. —J i l l R a t z a n

A HOME FOR BIRD Philip C. Stead is the author of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for his wife, illustrator Erin E. Stead. Philip Stead has also illustrated several of his own books, including his latest, A HOME FOR BIRD (Roaring Brook, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781596437111). The Steads live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a 100-year-old barn.

31


WORDNOOK

By the editors of Merriam-Webster

CADMUS THE DRAGON SLAYER Dear Editor, Many years ago, my chemistry teacher told us how the element cadmium got its name from Greek mythology. Unfortunately, like much of what I learned in that class, I have forgotten it. Can you refresh my memory? P. N. Stowe, Ohio In Greek mythology Cadmus was the founder of the city of Thebes. His most celebrated exploit was his battle with a man-eating dragon. After slaying the monster, he removed its teeth and shoveled some of them in the ground. From these sown teeth sprang up a company of armed men. Cadmus surreptitiously struck them with stones; the men, suspecting one another, began a mutual slaughter until only five remained. With these five men Cadmus founded his new city of Thebes, whose ancient citadel was named Cadmea in his honor. It was in this Greek city that the

ancients first discovered the substance known to us as zinc oxide, for which they used the Latin word cadmia, after Thebes’ legendary founder. In 1817 the German chemist Friedrich Stromeyer discovered the presence of another metal in a zinc compound, which in this case happened to be zinc carbonate. Stromeyer called this new discovery cadmium, the old name for any zinc-rich ore.

AFTER THE DANCE Dear Editor, Please tell me the origin of the phrase to pay the piper. Who is the piper and why do we have to pay him? D. G. Cranston, Rhode Island To pay the piper is an old saying that means “to bear the cost of something.” Especially in the U.S., it can also mean “to pay money or suffer in some way because of something you have done.” The expression is actually a shortened version of such sayings

GOOD OMENS Dear Editor, Why do we call the installation of our new president an inauguration? W. J. Colorado Springs, Colorado

so set that alarm and practice those s sounds!

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1 Volvo rival 5 “ My Heart in San Francisco” 10 BTW 13 Rio liquid 14 Portal player 15 Charged particle 16 Deadly nap? 18 Soak 19 Holy Roman emperor, 962–73 20 Like some markets 22 Number that may be signed or unsigned: Abbr. 24 Red emperors who are embarrassed of their accomplishments? 27 Crushing defeat 29 What you might do to Jeeves

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Graph Yearly Transportation secretary beginning 1993 What one might call James II’s daughter’s little black book? Marilyn Monroe’s 16 Number of angry men, perhaps Snow Dogs vehicle You may talk it off Knocked off Militant vegan’s platform? “Anchors Aweigh” grp. Movie about a scarlet letter “ the news today, oh boy” In the style of Result of the Rosenbergs being in the sun for too long? What Queen Latifah’s character in Chicago deserves for “what she’s got to give” Plumber who always gets the girl On Birth control pill Passport, e.g.: Abbr. Santa’s landing pad

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1 Mineo of Exodus 2 Grow older 3 What one might do to the news 4 Thai money 5 Inuit home 6 “Well pin a rose on your nose!” 7 Genre of softcore punk music that “requires” its enthusiasts to have hair that covers at least 3/5 of the face at an angle

Send correspondence regarding Word Nook to: Language Research Service P.O. Box 281 Springfield, MA 01102

Inauguration means not merely the taking of an office, but connotes

I T ’ S H IP T O B E S Q U A R E W I TH C ROS S WOR DS F R OM

yousnoose, you loose

all the ceremonies and solemnities appropriate to that occasion. The word derives from the Latin verb inaugurare, meaning “to practice augury.” Augury is divination from omens, portents or chance events. In ancient Rome, a member of the highest class of official diviners was called an augur. The augur’s job was to interpret omens in order to determine whether the gods approved or disapproved of a proposed course of action. The determination was made based on observations of the behavior of animals, particularly the flight of birds, and on examination of their entrails. The augur interpreted the signs and told whether they boded good or ill fortune. Such rites were performed before the installation of a new ruler. Predictions of the future are still a feature of modern inaugurations, of course, but fortunately they no longer involve examining any entrails.

as Who pays the piper, calls the tune and Those that dance must pay the music. Its first known figurative use dates back to Thomas Flatman’s “Heraclitus Ridens” in 1681: “After all this Dance he has led the Nation, he must at least come to pay the Piper himself.” These phrases originated from the act of paying the piper or flutist who played the music for English rustic dances. Since fiddles usually furnished the music for American dances, we also have to pay the fiddler. The musician’s payment was typically nothing more than thanks and the hospitality of the master of the house, in particular all the wine the player could drink—hence the expressions drunk as a piper and drunk as a fiddler.

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BookPage June 2012