As summer heads into the home stretch (unbelievable), there’s still plenty of heat left, and I’ve got loads of hot books you’re going to want. In fiction, there’s a Harlan Coben thriller, a book on drinking by Scott Fitzgerald (he was an expert), and a Goethe heartbreaker. Nonfiction includes three standards, plus a killer Ambrose Bierce collection, and an intimate photographic take on touring with Patti Smith.‚ Mike Rogers
Coben, Harlan. Miracle Cure. Signet. Sept. 2011. c.528p. ISBN 9780451234919. pap. $9.99. F
First released in 1991, this was Coben’s second novel. The plot follows a high-profile couple‚ she’s a TV news anchor, he’s a pro basketball player‚ who suspect that the death of medical doctor on the verge of curing AIDS was murder, not suicide. When other patients at the doctor’s clinic begin turning up dead, the couple come to believe that someone is trying to prevent the cure’s development. Coben has a huge following, and his many fans will be delighted to have this back again.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. On Booze. New Directions. June 2011. 96p. ISBN 9780811219266. pap. $9.95. F
Sadly, booze was something my old pal Scott knew all too much about. His unquenchable thirst was one of the great tragedies of his life and was what, ultimately, did him in at age 44 (being married to a nutcase didn’t help either). Drinking figures into many of his writings, and this slim volume gathers the nonfiction pieces “The Crack-Up,” “Sleeping and Waking,” “Show Mr. and Mrs. F to Number‚ ,” “My Lost City,” and selections from his letters. There is more to Fitzgerald than Gatsby, and these little breakout collections are wonderful reminders of how talented he truly was.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Sufferings of Young Werther. Norton. Nov. 2011. c.150p. tr. from German by Stanley Corngold. ISBN 9780393079388. $23.95. F
Here’s some old gold, emphasis on the old. Released in 1774, Goethe offers a love story full of pain and rejection‚ real fun stuff. To make sure the text was an accurate reflection of the original, Corngold, who has previously translated Kafka, used only English words common at the time of Goethe’s writing while maintaining, according to Norton, “a modern grace and flair.” Definitely more for the academics.
Jolley, Elizabeth. Foxybaby. 261p. ISBN 9780892553631.
Jolley, Elizabeth. The Sugar Mother. 210p. ISBN 9780892553624.
ea. vol: Persea Bks. 2011. pap. $15. F
Australian author Jolley scored big with her Vera Wright Trilogy. Foxybaby (1985) follows a group of overweight adults trying to shape up by enrolling in a local college’s Better Body Through the Arts program, which has them making a movie. When not working on the film, they’re having sex, stuffing their faces, and worse. Sugar (1988) introduces middle-aged college professor Edwin Page, who’s home alone while his obstetrician wife is off on a fellowship abroad. He offers refuge to his new neighbors, Mrs. Bott and her daughter Leila, who accidentally lock themselves out of their home. Once inside chez Page, they don’t want to leave. Bott eventually offers Leila to the childless professor as a surrogate mother. That turns out about as well as you imagine. Both these black comedies will be popular with Jolley’s fans.
Manfred, Frederick. Lord Grizzly. Univ. of Nebraska. (Bison Classic). June 2011. 281p. ISBN 9780803235236. pap. $18.95. F
Released in 1954, this was the second volume in Manfred’s five-book “Buckskin Man Tales” series. It follows Hugh Glass, a mountain man left for dead by his buddies after being mauled by a grizzly (with friends like those…). Still clinging to life, Glass crawls 200 miles to get revenge. By the end of his journey, he has shed his old identity and become Lord Grizzly. This is a natural for collections featuring western and frontier-type stories.
Bolles, Richard N. What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers. Ten Speed. Aug. 2011. 358p. illus. index. ISBN 9781607740100. pap. $18.99. ECON
It’s a vastly different economic world from when this book debuted 40 years ago, and Bolles here has updated his work to focus on how job hunting has become a survival skill. For 21st-century readers, he covers using social media like Facebook and Twitter to get your name out there. Given the current unemployment rate, you’re going to need a handful of copies to meet demand.
Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil’s Dictionary, Tales, & Memoir. Library of America. Sept. 2011. 880p. ISBN 9781598531022. $35. LIT
The poster boy for pessimism, Bierce is known for his dark humor, forged when he fought in some of the Civil War’s most horrible battles. This volume collects his greatest works, including “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and “Chickamauga” along with some autobiographical pieces, plus the usual extras of scholarly notes and a chronology of Bierce’s life. Everything you’ll ever need from this author between two covers: just marvelous.
Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. Our Bodies, Ourselves. Touchstone/Fireside. Oct. 2011. c.901p. ISBN 9781439190661. pap. $26. HEALTH
Since its publication 40 years ago, this book has become the bible of women’s health. This revised and updated edition contains new info on the HPV vaccine, changes in the healthcare system, cosmetic surgery, violence against women, 21st-century healthcare activism, and more. The book ties in closely with the group’s website. Essential for public and medical libraries.
Griffin, John Howard. Black Like Me. Wings Pr. Oct. 2011. 256p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780916727680. $24.95. SOC SCI
Needing no introduction, this 50th-anniversary edition sports a corrected text faithful to the original manuscript as well as Griffin’s 1976 epilogue and the essay “Beyond Otherness.” It also has a foreword by Studs Terkel, a new afterword by biographer Robert Bonazzi, and some previously unpublished photos. This definitive edition is for all collections.
Stipe, Michael. Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith. Akashic. Sept. 2011. 128p. photogs. ISBN 9781617750236. $23.95. PERFORMING ARTS
Photographer and R.E.M. frontman Stipe went on the road with Smith in 1995. During the two weeks he spent on the tour, he interacted with Smith, her band mates, and others including Allen Ginsberg, taking intimate, very behind-the-scenes photos of all. This 1995 volume also features an intro by William S. Burroughs. This could do double duty in photography and performing arts collections.
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