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Mississippi Books and Writers

1999

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be

Nonfiction by Myrlie Evers-Williams and Melinda Blau

Little, Brown & Company (Hardcover, $23.00, ISBN: 0316255203)

Publication date: January 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews (15 December 1998):

A poignant memoir by one of our nation’s most admired African-American women, written with the assistance of journalist Blau. Widow of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers who has herself served as chairwoman of the NAACP, Evers-Williams chronicles her own evolution and turning points, while offering practical advice to readers. Though her tone is occasionally preachy and her prose is a bit uninspired, she offers a glimpse into not only one woman’s struggles, but, indirectly, into those of a nation. When she first married Evers, she not only resented the time he spent away from her but didn't even share his “zeal for the cause.” For, raised by her paternal grandparents in a professional, middle-class setting, Evers-Williams had been largely sheltered from the poverty and discrimination that devastated the lives of many African-Americans. As the wife of an activist, however, she soon enough was exposed to the blatant racism that poisoned much of the South. At the height of Medgar Everss efforts, ominous phone calls and other harassments pervaded their family life. Following the murder of her husband, Evers-Williams fought the good fight as a single mother; her determination to raise her three children in a more humane environment led her not only to civil rights but to human rights in a broader context. Among her many personal triumphs was her success in seeing her husband’s assassin finally convicted decades after the murder. In her 60’s, while nursing her second husband in his final stages of prostate cancer, Evers-Williams rose to the number-one position in the NAACP, helping to save it from numerous financial and political disasters that plagued the organization. Crediting much of her success in overcoming adversity to her deep faith in God, she refers to herself as “still-growing, ... a work in progress.” Driven by passion, this book instructs and inspires. —Copyright © 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The Street Lawyer The Street Lawyer

A Novel by John Grisham

Dell (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0440225701)

Publication date: January 1999 (Reprint edition)

Description from the publisher:

He gave up the money. He gave up the power. Now all he has left is the law.

Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm. One step away from partnership, Michael has it all. Then, in an instant, it all comes undone. A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm’s plush offices. When it is all over, the man’s blood is splattered on Michael’s face—and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable. Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived—and where society’s powerless need an advocate for justice.

But there’s one break Michael can’t make: from a secret that has floated up from the depths of Drake & Sweeney, from a confidential file that is now in Michael’s hands, and from a conspiracy that has already taken lives. Now Michael’s former partners are about to become his bitter enemies. Because to them, Michael Brock is the most dangerous man on the streets....

Eight Habits of the Heart Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values That Build Strong Families and Communities

Nonfiction by Clifton L. Taulbert

Penguin (Paperback, $9.95, ISBN: 0140266763)

Publication date: January 1999

Description:

Clifton L. Taulbert is renowned for his poignant memoirs about growing up in the segregated South and for his lectures and programs in schools, businesses, and communities throughout the world. In this inspiring handbook he lays out eight basic principles he learned from his elders: a nurturing attitude, dependability, responsibility, friendship, brotherhood, high expectations, courage, and hope. With a new Introduction and exercises for reflection and practice, Taulbert shows how the Eight Habits can be utilized today to help strengthen relationships, families, and communities everywhere. This inspirational book stands alongside The Book of Virtues and Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families as a refreshing and meaningful guide to the spiritual core we, as a society, always seem to be seeking.

The Ties That Bind The Ties That Bind: Timeless Values for African American Families

Nonfiction by Joyce A. Ladner

John Wiley & Sons (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 0471199532)

Publication date: January 1999

Description from the publisher:

How do we strengthen our children’s souls?

How do we fortify them with a sense of obligation, hope, faith, trust, and a burning desire to achieve?

In this wise and important book, you will discover unlimited answers that are yours for the taking—the keys to raising children with strong values and a positive sense of purpose and identity.

Today’s children—many of them blessed with more material wealth and education than any generation before—greet the world with a sense of uneasiness at best, and, at worst, a sense of despair. In The Ties That Bind, Dr. Joyce Ladner, an eminent sociologist, shows how we can empower more children with the self-confidence that will sustain them throughout their lives.

Keeping the promise of her own tradition-rich Mississippi upbringing, Dr. Ladner passes on the timeless treasure of African American values. A leading scholar and activist, she reveals how each generation taught the next a vital set of lessons in values. Drawing insight from everyday heroes, family stories, and personal experiences as a mother of a growing son, she brings those lessons to life and shapes them for our times.

Step by step, she teaches the authentic principles of the historic black value system. Finally, she demonstrates how you can pass on this legacy in a way that children will absorb through dozens of simple, everyday activities for home, church, school, and community life.

The Ties That Bind will help you give your children the foundation they need through their growing years and beyond. Let this enriching book with its healing lessons guide and nourish your family.

The Testament The Testament

A Novel by John Grisham

Doubleday (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 0385493800)

Publication date: February 1999

Description from the publisher:

Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined to a wheelchair, and looking for a way to die. His heirs, to no one’s surprise—especially Troy’s—are circling like vultures.

Nate O’Riley is a high-octane Washington litigator who’s lived too hard, too fast, for too long. His second marriage in a shambles, he is emerging from his fourth stay in rehab armed with little more than his fragile sobriety, good intentions, and resilient sense of humor. Returning to the real world is always difficult, but this time it’s going to be murder.

Rachel Lane is a young woman who chose to give her life to God, who walked away from the modern world with all its strivings and trappings and encumbrances, and went to live and work with a primitive tribe of Indians in the deepest jungles of Brazil.

In a story that mixes legal suspense with a remarkable adventure, their lives are forever altered by the startling secret of The Testament.

Walking on Water: Black America on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century Walking on Water: Black America on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century

By Randall Kenan

Knopf (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 0679408274; Paperback, ISBN: 067973788X)

Publication date: February 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 February 1999):

A personal meditation in the guise of a search for the essential nature of the black community in America. Kenan, an award-winning writer (and author of the novel A Visitation of Spirits, 1992, etc.) travels across the country looking for what it means to be black. He interviews an eclectic assortment of people, interspersing the conversations with his own reflections, with discussions of relevant writings drawn primarily from the black intelligentsia, local history, and stream-of-consciousness observations about everything he confronts along the way. In the unlikely surroundings of Vermont and Maine, Kenan’s assumptions about black identity are challenged by Jack, an obviously white man who has grown up in and continues to live as a part of black culture. California would seem to be a more likely place to find the heart of the black community, and there, not surprisingly, Kenan confronts the movie industry. While his own reflections focus on the distortion of black reality represented on the screen, his conversation with Charles Burnett suggests more that distortion is a Hollywood reality across the board. This is a long book, and there are scores of such encounters with very interesting people. In the end, however, the interviews are sidebars; the presentation is first-person throughout, and as Kenan ultimately notes, what he presents is not a compilation of the thoughts of others, but rather “my personal history of the last five years.” What saves the volume from pretentiousness is that for the most part his personal musings merit reading and reflection. While his conclusion is predictable, it is also profound: there is no one element that defines the black American soul. Taking a close and serious look at black Americans unveil their essential individuality, Kenan ends up appreciating the diversity of black America rather than celebrating distinguishing characteristics. Definitely worth reading, even though its not always clear whether this is powerful introspection or self-indulgence. —Copyright © 1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Little Cliff and the Porch People Little Cliff and the Porch People

Juvenile Literature by Clifton L. Taulbert, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Dial Books for Young Readers (Hardcover, $15.99, ISBN: 0803721749)

Publication date: February 1999

Description:

In a series of acclaimed memoirs, Clifton Taulbert has told of the nurturing community that raised him within the segregated Mississippi Delta of the 1950’s. Now the memorable characters from Eight Habits of the Heart, When We Were Colored, and Taulbert’s other popular works appear in his first picture book. Little Cliff’s great-grandmother needs a pound of butter to make her candied sweet potatoes. She sends Cliff off to get the butter and tells him to get home “lickety-split.” But all the front porches Cliff must pass are full today—full of neighbors who want to help him with his errand! This heartwarming story about intergenerational friendship is beautifully illustrated by artist E. B. Lewis’s light-filled paintings.

Embryo Embryo

A Novel by Charles Wilson

St. Martin’s (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0312968248)

Publication date: February 1999

Description:

In Mexico the charred remains of a medical clinic hold a clue to an experiment that can change the world. In Los Angeles a famous model, desperate to have a baby of her own, sends a detective to track down a legend and a doctor missing for twenty years. In Biloxi, Mississippi a little boy plays with matches and smiles. In a secret location the radical procedure begins, leading to a scientific miracle or the beginning of a nightmare.

What does the next step in hi-tech reproduction hold for humankind? In a tale as real as tomorrow’s headlines, a rich, successful woman takes a desperate gamble to have a child. A young lawyer discovers a fatal flaw in an unethical experiment. And a new life begins—a life that could signal a revolution in modern medicine or the end of us all.

Familiar Valentine Familiar Valentine

By Caroline Burnes (Carolyn Haines)

Harlequin (Paperback, ISBN: 0373225024)

Publication date: February 1999

Little Cliff and the Porch PeopleLittle Cliff and the Porch People

By Clifton L. Taulbert, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

Dial Books for Young Readers (Hardcover, $16.99, ISBN: 0803721749)

Publication date: February 1999

Description:

Sent to buy special butter for Mama Pearl’s candied sweet potatoes and told to get back lickety-split, Little Cliff is delayed by all his neighbors when they want to contribute their own ingredients.

D-Day, June 6, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II

Large Print Edition

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

G. K. Hall & Co. (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0783884699)

Publication date: March 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 April 1994):

A splendid, moving, and authoritative account of the most decisive day of WWII by Ambrose (History/Univ. of New Orleans), whose massive biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon have won widespread praise. Based on “the most extensive first-person, I-was-there collection of memoirs of a single battle in existence,” Ambrose moves easily between the strategy of each side and the individual recollections of the battle. He conveys not only the magnitude of the enterprise but its complexity. He also suggests some significant changes to the conventional interpretation of the war, most notably in the view hitherto taken about the respective quality of leadership and soldiers on each side. He contradicts the belief in the superiority of the German soldiers and says that the higher losses they inflicted against the Anglo-American armies derived from the necessity for the latter to take the offensive. The German army was, he writes, “inferior in all respects (except for weaponry, especially the 88s and the machine guns) to its allied opponents.” He call Rommel’s plan to stop the Allied invasion on the beach “one of the greatest blunders in military history,” and he compares the strategy to that of the French Maginot line. By contrast, he argues that Eisenhower’s judgment was generally right and that he not only inspired his subordinates but also showed courage in rejecting suggestions for an alternative strategy from Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. But most memorable in the account are the tales of individual heroism, from the 16-year-old French girl who, with a group of companions, paralyzed the German Second Panzer Division by removing the axle grease from its transporters and substituting an abrasive, to the Canadian soldier who threw himself down on barbed wire to enable his companions to use his body as a ladder. A brilliant account that blends perfectly the human and the strategic dimensions of this great battle. —Copyright © 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Liberty Falling Liberty Falling

A Novel by Nevada Barr

Putnam (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0399144595)

Publication date: March 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 February 1999):

What does National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon do on her own time? She goes to New York, of course, bedding down on Liberty Island, the speck of land the Statue of Liberty shares with thousands of tourists each day and has pretty much to herself each night. Staying with fellow ranger Patsy Silva in order to be close to her psychiatrist sister Molly, hospitalized at Columbia Presbyterian with pneumonia, a kidney infection, and more, Anna thinks her biggest headaches will be Molly’s grave illness and Anna’s need to deal somehow with FBI agent Frederick Stanton, the ex-boyfriend who deserted her for Molly. But darker trouble is already brewing. An unidentified 14-year-old girl who jumped to her death from the parapet around the statue’s base has sent James Patchett, the guard who was pursuing her, into deep depression. Why was the girl more willing to die than to have Patch, who thought she was a pickpocket, catch her? Why has her backpack disappeared? And why hasn’t anyone claimed her body? As Molly Pigeon shuttles in and out of Intensive Care, pausing only long enough to encourage Anna’s romance with surgeon David Madison, more casualties pile up on Liberty Island, including two who leave behind cryptic messages that Anna’s convinced would tie half a dozen mysterious portents togetherif only she were wise enough to decipher them. Though Barr works her customary magic with the eerily deserted nightscapes of Liberty Island, they’re just not as arresting as the Lechugilla caves (Blind Descent, 1998) or the wild scenes of any of earlier six adventures. Score a mere double this time for the Park Service’s answer to Mark McGwire. —Copyright © 1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Real Power: Lessons for Business from the Tao Te ChingReal Power: Lessons for Business from the Tao Te Ching

Nonfiction by James A. Autry and Stephen Mitchell

Riverhead Books (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 157322720X)

Publication date: March 1999

Description:

The Tao Te Ching is the world’s oldest leadership manual, written, according to legend, by the sage Lao-tzu in the sixth century B.C.E. In this book, premier business consultant James A. Autry and bestselling author and translator Stephen Mitchell present a modern-day guide to business leadership drawing on the age-old lessons of the Tao Te Ching. With simple, evocative essays, commenting on a selection from the Tao Te Ching, they show how its elegant wisdom can transform the workplace from a source of stress into a source of creativity and joyand make work, at any level of the corporate ladder, more fulfilling than ever before.

Eudora Welty: A Tribute

Edited by Pearl A McHaney; contributions by Barry Hannah and Willie Morris

Hill Street Press (Hardcover, $17.95, ISBN: 1892514168)

Publication date: April 1999

Blind Descent Blind Descent

A Novel by Nevada Barr

Avon (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0380728265)

Publication date: April 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews (15 January 1998):

When Mesa Verde National Park dispatcher Frieda Dierkz, on an avocational expedition to explore and survey the Lechuguilla cave in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, is trapped 800 feet beneath the earth’s surface by a head injury and a shattered leg, the person she asks authorities above to send after her is her friend Anna Pigeon. Following a week’s worth of deep breaths, Anna, together with Carlsbad cave specialist Oscar Iverson and Underground Resource Coordinator Holden Tillman, undertakes a nine-hour journey she compares to "an expedition into outer space" toward Frieda and the five other members of her crew—only to hear from Frieda that her accident was no accident at all. Before the rescuers can return with Frieda to the surface, another disastrous "accident" heightens the mystery. Then the grueling tour de force of the novel’s subterranean first half is matched by violence aboveground as well, and by unwelcome revelations suggesting that several of Frieda’s companions—a former lover, his jealous wife, a veteran caver whose sister was killed on Frieda’s watch—may have had good reason to kill her. With all the irresistible force of nightmare, Anna’s pulled back on a return visit to Lechuguilla, where she’ll find much more than she bargained for. Barr’s superbly unerring eye for natural setting and human conflict has made Anna’s five earlier adventures (Endangered Species, 1997, etc.) as distinctively memorable as the National Parks themselves. This installment is the most suspenseful of all, even though claustrophobes are well-advised to stock up on Prozac before turning the first page. —Copyright © 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Enemy Within Enemy Within

A Novel by Phillip Thompson

Salvo Press (Paperback, $11, ISBN: 096645202X)

Publication date: April 1999

Description:

After a successful career as a Marine Corps officer, Wade Stuart, an ATF special agent, finds himself working undercover in his home territory, the Mississippi Delta, infiltrating a militia unit with lofty goals. When Stuart uncovers a plot to assassinate the governor of Mississippi and take over the state as part of a people’s revolution, Washington plans to send in the 2nd Marine Division to attack the militia. Stuart sees a bloodbath coming, begs for more time to quash the plan, but the president sees this as a good opportunity to set an example. Isolated and unsure of the decision out of Washington, Stuart must race to shut down the militia before the military arrives. Enemy Within rushes forward at breakneck speed, and only one man can stop these domestic terrorists Wade Stuart!

Clifford's Blues Clifford’s Blues

A Novel by John Alfred Williams

Consortium Book Sales & Dist. (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 1566890802)

Publication date: April 15, 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A first novel (sic) by journalist Williams (If I Stop Ill Die: The Comedy and Tragedy of Richard Pryor, 1991), portraying the travails of a black musician imprisoned in Dachau. Prison camps have hardly been places, conventionally, to catch up with ones diary. Here, though, the solitude, boredom, and seemingly endless stretches of they time serve to make our central character quite introspective indeed, even though this person is the gregarious and feckless as Clifford Pepperidge. A gay pianist from New Orleans, Cliff made the scene in Harlem in the 1920s, playing alongside the likes of Ellington, Ma Rainey, and Miss Bessie Smith. When a Russian impresario decides to take a jazz band on tour through Europe, Cliff jumps on board and eventually winds up in Berlin, where he becomes one of the stars of the cabaret years of Weimar. Arrested during one of the Gestapos periodic roundups of gays, Cliff is taken (in spite of his U.S. citizenship) into Protective Custody and sent to Dachau. Upon arrival, hes recognized by Dieter Lange, a gay SS officer with a secret passion for jazz who used to frequent Cliffs nightclubs. Dieter makes Cliff his calfactor (houseboy) and gets him special treatment in exchange for sex and music (all the other Nazis apparently love jazz as much as Dieter, and Cliff helps Dieter win favor with the brass by playing at parties for them). And since Dieters young wife Anna is (not surprisingly) far from satisfied by her husband, it soon becomes part of Cliffs duties to take care of her as well. How much degradation is enough for a man? Cliff has no illusions: Good men who are strong don't last here. But if you want to make it, you can put up with just about anything and Cliff’s diary shows how he does just that. A worthwhile variation on a grim and lamentably familiar story. The tone veers toward the disconcertingly light, but, even so, things remain a long way from Hogan’s Heroes. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Newton's Cannon Newton’s Cannon

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 1

Del Rey (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0345433785)

Publication date: April 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

First of a new fantasy series: In this alternate 1715, both science and alchemy work; young Ben Franklin, apprenticed to his printer brother James in Boston, begins to study the various alchemical devices—lights, weapons, faxes, and so on—that Isaac Newton has invented. Ben accidentally intercepts a communication on the “aether-schreiber”’ and helps solve the mathematical problem posed therein by an unknown scientist.

Soon, however, Ben’s being haunted by a weird, insubstantial demon that demands he cease his researches. Britain and France, meanwhile, fight a war using alchemical weapons. In France, Louis XIV, having taken an immortality serum and survived an assassination attempt, has been taken over by a demon, or malakus, like Ben’s. Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, a vengeful ex-student of Newton’s, uses Ben’s formula to alchemically attract a comet from space towards London. Scientific genius Adrienne de Montchevreuil, forced to become the king’s mistress, and helped by a secret society of women, labors to discover what Fatio has done.

Ben, threatened by his malakus, flees to London to warn Newton; the latter, preoccupied with unmasking a traitor, can’t stop or divert the comet. London is annihilated after a hasty evacuation, Ben becomes Newton’s apprentice, and Louis’s malakus moves on to beguile Czar Peter of Russia.

Keyes’s yarn (The Blackgod, 1997, etc.) is colorful, intriguing, and well handled, if somewhat difficult to swallow: Its hard to see how alchemy and science could both work. —Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

A Calculus of Angels A Calculus of Angels

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 2

Del Rey (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 0345406079)

Publication date: April 1999

Description:

1722: A second Dark Age looms. An asteroid has devastated the Earth, called down by dire creatures who plot against the world of men. The brilliant—some say mad—Isaac Newton has taken refuge in ancient Prague. There, with his young apprentice Ben Franklin, he plumbs the secrets of the aetheric beings who have so nearly destroyed humanity.

But their safety is tenuous. Peter the Great marches his unstoppable forces across Europe. And half a world away, Cotton Mather and Blackbeard the pirate assemble a party of colonial luminaries to cross the Atlantic and discover what has befallen the Old World. With them sails Red Shoes, a Choctaw shaman whose mysterious connections to the invisible world warn him that they are all moving toward a confrontation as violent as it is decisive….

Sherman's Other War Sherman’s Other War: The General and the Civil War Press

By John F. Marszalek

Revised edition

Kent State University Press (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 0873386191)

Publication date: April 1999

Description from the publisher:

Marszalek traces the roots of Sherman’s hostility toward the press and details his attempts to muzzle reporters during the Civil War, culminating in Sherman’s exclusion of all reporters from his famous March to the Sea.

Despite the passage of over a century, the question of press rights in wartime situations is very much today what it was during the Civil War. Marszalek finds a recurring movement toward repression of the press, with Sherman’s attitudes and practices only one of the most obvious examples. He also finds that press rights during wartime have often been governed by reactions to specific circumstances rather than treated as a constitutional issue.

Where the Sea Used to Be

A Novel by Rick Bass

Houghton Mifflin (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 0395957818)

Publication date: May 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

In sensuous descriptive prose whose incantatory rhythms invite comparison with both Lawrence and Faulkner, Bass tells a take of familial, sexual, and in a way, fraternal conflict among four uneasily related characters who are, simultaneously, denizens, preservers, and destroyers of Montana’s north country near the Canadian border. Old Dudley is a veteran oil driller who sends Wallis, a young geologist in his employ, to that wilderness to seek oil. It’s an expression of Dudley’s power, as is well known by his 40ish daughter Mel, a schoolteacher and naturalist who “follows” the lives of wolves, and by Wallis’s predecessor (and Mel’s former lover) Matthew—and as will be learned by Wallis, a young Texan still mourning the deaths of his loved ones. Though the wary relationship of Wallis and Mel (his host, and mentor in this strange new world) is delineated with great skill, and though the story of their slowly developing closeness is punctuated by vividly rendered episodes (digging a limousine out of the snow, observing a summer drought and an ensuing forest fire), the story is essentially an extended meditation on the prickly, necessary interrelationship of man and the natural world. Variety is provided by a handful of lively townspeople (reminiscent of TV’s Northern Exposure) and by lengthy excerpts from old Dudley’s notebooks (as Wallis reads them), which comprise an almost mystical interpretation of how the earth’s physical features were formed (“It’s kind of like the Bible,” Dudley explains). But one reads this novel for such descriptive passages as this: “Flaming trees and burning snags and limbs...falling like swords with whiffs of sound like the cutting of paper with sharp scissors.”

The story’s drama builds not through action per se, but from the intensity of its characters’ observations of themselves and of the exterior world that nutures, tests, and reshapes them. Read it slowly, and it won’t let go of you.

The Oxygen Man

A Novel by Steve Yarbrough

MacMurray & Beck Communication (Hardcover, ISBN: 1878448854)

Publication date: May 1999

Description:

Steve Yarbrough’s first novel, The Oxygen Man, has already earned high praise. James Lee Burke said, “…The Oxygen Man is a stunning novelistic debut…. Yarbrough is a major talent….”

A Pirate Looks at Fifty

Nonfiction by Jimmy Buffett

Fawcett Books (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0449223345)

Publication date: May 1999

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The breezy pop craftsman of “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” famously spends most of his time sailing, trotting out 1970s chestnuts on the summer tour circuit—and writing. Buffett’s bestselling Tales from Margaritaville (1989) and Where Is Joe Merchant? (1992), among other books, created a world of sun-baked characters whose doings bore some resemblance to those of their author. This memoir draws back the curtain between fact and fiction, and genially takes stock in a manner likely to appeal to the Me generation. Though he rambles, repeats himself and may even raise hackles (“I have been too warped by Catholicism not to be cynical”), Buffett is earnest and unapologetic in his hedonism, seeing his mock pirate’s life as the antithesis of the conformity foisted on him as a child in Alabama. In a series of loosely chronological vignettes, Buffett quickly takes us from his bar-band beginnings to a brush with death when he crashes one of his fleet of seaplanes. A lower-latitude voyage with his family (in a newer, bigger plane) to celebrate his 50th birthday makes up the bulk of the book, and takes them from Florida to the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Colombia and the Amazon. The diaristic logbook that Buffett keeps along the way provides endless opportunities to muse on the music business; his older, wilder ways; navigation and, on the horizon, approaching mortality. Buffett’s prose won't itself win him more “parrotheads” (as his fans are called), but those with enough patience or reverence to wade through long descriptions of beloved gear, favorite books or “fucking tikki pukki drinks” will find beneath these amblings a disarmingly direct character. Simultaneous audio, CD and large-print edition; author tour.

—Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Winter: Notes from Montana

Nonfiction by Rick Bass

Peter Smith (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 0844670154)

Publication date: June 1999

Description:

In a celebration of winter in the last valley of Montana without electricity, Bass describes the wildness and freedom of valley people, the slow-motion quality of life, and the physical dangers of wilderness life. He also describes the anguish and pitfalls of being a writer and the living and dead writers with whom he feels a kinship.

The Southern Writers Quiz Book The Southern Writers Quiz Book

Nonfiction by Patti Carr Black

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $8.00, ISBN: 1578061490)

Publication date: June 1999

Description:

Here in a quiz book pinpointing twentieth-century Southern writers are questions (and answers) that inquiring minds need to know. What do Southern writers care about? What fabulous characters inhabit their pages? What Southern titles should be on every reading list? The Southern Writers Quiz Book is full of tests for those who know and know they know Southern literature.

Read more about this title at this University Press of Mississippi web page.

Comrades: Brothers, Fathers, Heroes, Sons, Pals Comrades: Brothers, Fathers, Heroes, Sons, Pals

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover, $21.00, ISBN: 0684867184)

Publication date: June 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A disappointingly sentimental celebration of male friendship that reveals almost nothing about the emotional lives of men. Bestselling historian Ambrose (Undaunted Courage, 1996, etc.) is a brilliant chronicler of public events, but his exploration of male friendship is exasperatingly shallow. How do young men become friends, according to Ambrose? They might “join the same fraternity, date the same or similar girls from the same sorority, play on the same [sports] teams, all things that lead to genuine connection.” As a University of Wisconsin freshman, Ambrose befriends a fraternity brother because “[w]e liked beer, we liked to sing when drunk, we liked girls” and enjoyed the outdoors. This hardly exhausts the infinite variety of male friendship. Ambrose portrays men as “comrades” in the public arena of sports, politics, and combat, but says little about the private roles men typically playas nurturing fathers, perhaps, or supportive husbands. In Ambrose’s estimation, men bond by sharing a goal. The friendships Ambrose has chosen to celebrate are largely forged in wartime: soldiers hitting the beaches on D-Day, George Armstrong Custer and his brother Tom dying together at Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse and his warrior friend He Dog slaughtering Custer’s men, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton working side by side to destroy the Nazi war machine. Ambrose recycles a lot of material from his previous books and throws in a few anecdotes about his own lifelong friendships. None of it plunges much below surface platitudes. We learn, for example, that Patton and Eisenhower “both had a deep interest in tanks and armored warfare.” But where are the men who simply enjoy each others company? A vaguely nostalgic and disorganized exploration meant, no doubt, as a Father’s Day gift book. Not Ambrose’s finest hour. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Hannibal Hannibal

Fiction By Thomas Harris

Delacorte Press (Hardcover; $27.95, ISBN: 038529929X)

Publication date: July 1999

Description:

You remember Hannibal Lecter: gentleman, genius, cannibal. Seven years have passed since Dr. Lecter escaped from custody. And for seven years he’s been at large, free to savor the scents, the essences, of an unguarded world. But intruders have entered Dr. Lecter’s world, piercing his new identity, sensing the evil that surrounds him. For the multimillionaire Hannibal left maimed, for a corrupt Italian policeman, and for FBI agent Clarice Starling, who once stood before Lecter and who has never been the same, the final hunt for Hannibal Lecter has begun. All of them, in their separate ways, want to find Dr. Lecter. And all three will get their wish. But only one will live long enough to savor the reward.

The Granta Book of the American Long StoryThe Granta Book of the American Long Story

Edited by Richard Ford

Granta Books (Hardcover, $27.50, ISBN: 1862072396)

Publication date: July 1999

Description:

In this collection, Pulitzer prize-winning author Richard Ford brings together 11 of the finest examples of American long stories or novellas. Selecting at least one story from each decade since the 1940s, this anthology includes “June Recital” by Eudora Welty; “The Long March” by William Styron; “Goodbye, Columbus” by Philip Roth; “A Long Day in November” by Ernest J. Gaines; “The Old Forest” by Peter Taylor; “The Age of Grief” by Jane Smiley; “I Lock My Door Upon Myself” by Joyce Carol Oates; and “Hey, Have You Got a Cig, the Time, the News, My Face?” by Barry Hannah.

 

Winter: Notes from Montana Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on Art and Activism

Nonfiction by Rick Bass

Milkweed (Hardcover, $20.00, ISBN: 1571312277; Paperback, $12.00, ISBN: 1571312242)

Publication date: August 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Bass (Where the Sea Used to Be, 1998, etc.) identifies the triangulate elements used to chart the course of his life and writing. The Bassian motivational universe is hardly a national secret, even to those most fleetingly acquainted with his work: In fiction and nonfiction, it is cut of a cloth, in praise and in defense of those wild places left on earth. One of his three essentials is thus place, in particular the Yaak valley of northwest Montana, his home, inspiration, solace, and love. On that place runs the brown dog, Bass’s pointer, as graceful in the natural world as Bass would like to be. His dog, as irreducible as an element, goes lost, and his valley is imperiled by the same forces that rob wildness everywhere. What happens, Bass asks, when the durable falls away, when vital tethers are severed? “What kind of stories do we tell, as we are falling? How do we live our lives?” Two more guiding stars appear in his firmament: activism and writing. Both he considers as shadows compared with the real—a rock is real, a wolf, a fir tree, his dog—but activism is the tool our political culture affords those who are fiercely protective of the real, and no matter how tedious or against the grain, it must be deployed, and it must be done artfully. Writing as well can touch the wild, “having protected, kept alive, or even enhanced the shape” of the landscape’s gifts. For Bass, these three anchors are also sanctuaries, one of which he will choose as a place where he can hide from the other two; each also opens up experiences left untouched by the others, to be explored as one might a strange house, room to room. Bass is an eloquent essayist; he somehow avoids sermonizing while lecturing, though he too often writes of things better seen and not said, like “starlight on the fur of sleeping wolves,” which sounds awfully mawkish. Pleasant, but Bass’s credo didn’t need a separate book to clarify; none of his works skirt the issue. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The Impossible Marriage

A play by Beth Henley

Dramatists Play Service (Paperback, $5.95, ISBN: 0822216973)

Publication date: August 1999

Description:

 

Bittersweet Bittersweet

A novel by Nevada Barr

Bard Books (Paperback, $13.50, ISBN: 0380799502)

(Originally Published 1984)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Library Journal:

This is a novel of power and vitality that will grip the reader… The author’s skill in writing lively, often humorous dialogue and in developing strong, unique characters in a setting described with authenticity is impressive.

Of Home and Family: Art in Nineteenth Century Mississippi

Nonfiction by Patti Carr Black

Mississippi Museum of Art (Paperback, $15.00, ISBN: 1887422048)

Publication date: September 1999

Description:

Of Home and Family: Art in Nineteenth Century Mississippi is a perfect example of the Mississippi Museum of Art fulfilling its mission of documenting and presenting the art and artists of Mississippi,” says Museum Director R. Andrew Maass. “Guest Curator Patti Carr Black has drawn together an exquisite exhibition presenting the beauty, spirit, vitality and depth of artistic creativity in the urban and rural environments of nineteenth century Mississippi. From painting and photography to popular arts, this exhibition illustrates the state’s visual richness so often taken for granted.”

The Quiet Game The Quiet Game

A Novel by Greg Iles

Penguin (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0525937935)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Preposterous, but eminently suspenseful, legal procedural about a Mississippi river town’s buried secrets, by the author of Mortal Fear (1996), etc. Penn Cage, once a Texas prosecutor, now an infinitely wealthy bestselling lawyer-novelist, cant get over the recent cancer death of his wife, and is just a bit troubled about death threats from the brother of a demented white supremacist he put on death row. After a vacation in Disney World with his daughter Annie, Cage embarks on an extended visit with his parents in Natchez, Tennessee, where he finds that Ray Presley, a white-trash former cop is blackmailing Penn’s saintly physician father. It seems that Presley filched a gun from the good doctor, then used it in an unsolved murder. Now, Penn buys back the gun from Presley with a mountain of cash, and later sits down for a famous author interview with the young, rich, beautiful, and brainy Caitlin Masters, the Pulitzer-crazed publisher of the local newspaper, during which he mentions, in passing, a 1968 racially motivated murder of Del Peyton, a young, black factory worker that both the police and the FBI failed to solve. Masters prints her interview, stirring up old animosities all over, including a rancorous legal dispute between Cage’s father and Judge Leo Marston, a local powerbroker who was a district attorney at the time. Peyton’s widow suddenly appears and asks the famous writer to find who killed her husband. Penn reluctantly agrees, then runs into his old girlfriend, Livy Marston, Leo’s flawless, southern-belle daughter. Livy mysteriously ditched Cage 20 years ago, but now can’t wait to stoke the old fire. Meanwhile, FBI Director John Portman, Cage’s old nemesis, weighs in with nasty threats as Cage braves bullies, dodges bullets, rides down icy rapids, and prepares for a courtroom battle. Breezy, Grisham-style read that tweaks the conventions of southern gothic. (Author tour) —Copyright © 1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Black CrossBlack Cross

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451185196)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews :

Iles (Spandau Phoenix, 1993) delivers a swift historical thriller of such brutal accomplishment that it vaporizes almost every cliche about the limits of the genre. It’s 1944, and American pacifist Dr. Mark McConnell is recruited from his Oxford chemistry lab by a cagey Scotsman, Brigadier Duff Smith, to undertake a potential suicide mission into Nazi Germany. The Reich possesses horrifying weapons that the Allies suspect Hitler will use against their D-Day invasion forces: Sarin and Soman, nerve gases of unprecedented deadliness. Forbidden from assigning Brits to the mission, but with Churchill’s secret blessing, Brigadier Smith pairs McConnell with Jonas Stern, a militant Zionist of German descent, and ships the reluctant duo off to the Scottish Highlands for a crash course in commando skills before parachuting them into Germany. The objective: Release an Allied version of Sarin, code named “Black Cross,” on Totenhausen, the very death camp that serves as the Nazi’s crucible for further gas research—a camp where Jews are the subjects for the grisly experiments of the sadistic pederast Dr. Klaus Brandt.

If the plan succeeds, Hitler will be deterred from deploying his gases on the Normany beaches. But there’s a catch: No one gets out alive (even though Smith has arranged a submarine escape, he expects his operatives to perish with everyone else). That outcome fails to captivate either McConnell or Stern, and it is their decision to tinker with strategy, and the consequent improvisations, that pumps the story so full of runaway-train excitement.

Stumbling across ardent co-conspirators and enemy sickos at almost every turn (from a friendly German nurse to a deludedly romantic Nazi major), McConnell learns to kill, terrorist Stern acquires an awkward compassion, and both men take a harrowing wartime ride straight to the century’s moral heart of darkness. With time as, alternately, ally and adversary, the good guys struggle to deal their crippling blow to the Nazi war machine. Good enough to read twice. —Copyright © 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Spandau PhoenixSpandau Phoenix

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451179803)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews :

Long but largely rewarding first thriller in which the apparent suicide of imprisoned Nazi Rudolf Hess sets the KGB, the Stasi, the CIA, Israelis, South Africans, and the Berlin police to chasing each other and some embarrassing paperswhich may or may not have been written by Mr. Hess, who may or may not have been Mr. Hess. It’s the late 80’s, and the cracks in the Eastern bloc are just starting to show. Berlin is still controlled by the WW II Allied powers, who’ve spent millions to keep Hess locked up in Spandau Prison. It was Hess who made the mysterious flight to England at the beginning of the war, supposedly to seek a separate peace through negotiations with sympathetic aristocrats. Now, the prisoner has hung himself. Or has he? He’s certainly dead, but it may have been murder. There has always been doubt about his identityand the Russians have always been strangely adamant about paroling the old fascist. Then, as Spandau is being razed, Hans Apfel, a young German policeman, finds a hidden sheaf of papers written in Latin by the old prisoner, a document that, if released, will prove immensely embarrassing to a number of people, including the British royal family, a good hunk of the British aristocracy, and far too many German policemen on both sides of the Iron Curtain. A long line forms to try to get the papers back from Apfel, who wants to sell them, and his pretty wife Ilse, who wants to turn them in. Things become terribly violent terribly quickly, and Hans has to accept help from his estranged father, the best cop in Berlin…. The central mystery, why Hess went to England and why so many people don’t want the truth to get out, isn’t quite interesting enough to last the great length here. It’s up to a few heroic, middle-aged policemen to hang onto the reader. They’re usually successful. —Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell

By Ellen Douglas

Plume (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0452281024)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Earnest, searching inquiry into family and regional history “and the pivotal but mutable role memory plays in both” by one of the true grand dames of southern letters. Douglas, author of seven books of fiction (Can’t Quit You Baby, 1988; A Lifetime Burning, 1982; The Rock Cried Out, 1979;) turns to nonfiction, though her musings on the connections between life and art demonstrate how unsatisfactory genre classifications can be. As the narrative moves backward in time (each selection exploring an earlier period than the preceding one), the style changes from fiction to personal essay. “Grant,” about a terminally ill uncle who moved in with Douglas’s family, is a textbook example of the short story form. “Julia and Nellie” is a long, convoluted (and sometimes confusing) exploration of the tangled allegiances among small-town Southern families. The book is a kind of owning up: Douglas tells stories that, for reasons from personal shame to a need to protect relatives, she couldn’t tell as a young woman. Striving to settle accounts, to discover a personal or historical truth, she runs up against her instincts as a novelist “an urge to extract meaning by fictionalizing, to imagine the cause of events” which clash with her desire to record or discover what really happened. In some instances she’s able (even willing) to invent. Mulling over the “ancient romance” at the heart of “Julia and Nellie,” she dreams up several explanations for the scandalous common-law marriage of distant cousins, then rejects them as too romantic. In others (“Hampton” and “On Second Creek,” in which she strives to understand the 1861 massacre of slaves belonging to her family), neither her fictionalizing nor the spotty family record is enough to fill in the missing links. Slightly more valuable for its insight into Douglas’s fiction than for what it says about history’s subjective biases. —Copyright © 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The Peddler's Grandson The Peddler’s Grandson: Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi

By Edward Cohen

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1578061679)

Publication date: September 1999

Description from Booklist:

Cohen grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1950s and 1960s. In a city of 100,000 people, mostly Baptists, he was one of about 300 Jews. His immigrant grandparents settled there, coming from Romania, Russia, and Poland. Cohen remembers that the only Jewish institution in town was Temple Beth Israel, located next door to the state women’s club, which didn’t allow Jews, and down the street from his high school, which did allow Jews but not blacks. Farther north was the Jackson Country Club, which allowed neither. Cohen’s grandfather and great uncle founded a clothing store in Jackson, where his father worked all his life and where the author worked every Saturday for much of his childhood. Cohen describes how he left Mississippi for college (the University of Miami), where he met northern Jews and felt again like an outsider because of what he termed his southerness. This thoughtful and beautifully written memoir is a revelation about the allure of assimilation and the evasiveness of identity. —George Cohen

Witness to America: An Illustrated Documentary History of the United States from the Revolution to TodayWitness to America: An Illustrated Documentary History of the United States from the Revolution to Today

Nonfiction edited by Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley

Harper Resource (Hardcover, $39.95, ISBN: 0062716115)

Publication date: October 1999

Description:

In this newly revised and updated edition, two of our most distinguished historians, Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, bring together a stunning collection of eyewitness accounts and illustrations that chronicles the American experience from the perspectives of those who participated in its making.

Originally edited in 1939 by Henry Steele Commager and Allan Nevins, Witness to America includes more than 150 works drawn from more than two hundred years of American history, from the first shots of the Revolutionary War to the closing of the Twentieth Century. From Patrick Henry’s rousing “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, to John Brown’s stand at Harper’s Ferry; from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s promise of a New Deal to Neil Armstrong’s account of walking on the moon, this sweeping volume brings the milestones in American history vividly to life.

Here are unique and revealing selections from such historical figures as John Adams, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, as well as influential individuals including Booker T. Washington, Charles Lindbergh, Ernie Pyle, Rosa Parks, and Betty Friedan. While many of the selections come from notable citizens, most are from ordinary Americansschoolteachers, students, homemakers, pioneers, and soldierswho describe the everyday events that have epitomized American life over the course of its history.

Witness to America sweeps across the vast territory that is our nation, illuminating the movements, ideas, inventions, and events that have shaped and defined usfrom the Pony Express to the PC; from the frontier to the rise of suburbia; from farming to modernization and the information age. Within these pages discover the art of whaling, learn about survival on the gold rush trail, experience the glory and trauma of war, and glean new insight on the great leaders. Here are debates and speeches, diary entries, letters, memoirs, court records, and moreincluding many first-person accounts that make history come alive as never before, such as a powerful description of the atomic explosion from a correspondent on the Enola Gay, and a young student’s evaluation of the changing roles of women at her high school. The selections explore the diverse facets of America’s cultural and political heritage and the constant shift and flux of everyday life, indelibly demonstrating both the variety and vitality of the American character.

Illustrated with spectacular photographs, drawings, and paintings and featuring a 74-minute audio CD with actual clips and dramatizations of many of the entries, Witness to America is a fascinating, highly readable, and entertaining collection that shows us what America isand where it may go as it enters the next century.

Frontier ChildrenFrontier Children

Nonfiction by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

University of Oklahoma Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0806131616)

Publication date: October 1999

Description from Booklist:

Probably one of the most neglected subjects relating to the American frontier is the children. This is surprising in that children were as integral a part of frontier life as adults, and to a large extent they were a major incentive for many of the families seeking a better future there. Written records and journals are a necessary component of historic research, but in the case of children, especially Indians and African Americans, such resources are virtually nonexistent. Despite this limitation, the authors have been able to reconstruct stories of children on the frontier from later-life memories and from oral history transcripts. They have wisely verified, when possible, the accuracy of their sources, for such reports are often heavily filtered through the passage of time and thus misleading. Excellent use is made of photographic evidence, which is quite extensive. Reproduced in this volume are more than 200 vintage photographs as well as several line illustrations. All of the many facets of the frontier experience are examined in relation to how they affected the world of children. —Fred Egloff

Outside ChanceOutside Chance

By Louisa Dixon

Genesis Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 1885478631)

Publication date: October 1999

Description:

With the aid of a psychotic highway patrolman, the Governor’s right-hand man fakes his own death, and murder follows murder in a rollercoaster ride of suspense served up Southern-style in this second novel in the Laura Owen trilogy.

Pilgrims: Sinners, Saints, and ProphetsPilgrims: Sinners, Saints, and Prophets: A Book of Words and Photographs

By Marty Stuart

Rutledge Hill Press (Hardcover, $29.99, ISBN: 1558537732)

Publication date: October 1999

Description from the publisher:

Marty Stuart, one of the most popular country artists, portrays well-known and not-so-well-known pilgrims through spectacular photographs and well-written words. Marty portrays in the book “a life that ain’t easy, but one that I understand.”

Novels 1926-1929 Novels 1957-1962: The Town, The Mansion, The Reivers

By William Faulkner

Library of America (Hardcover, $35.00, ISBN: 1883011698)

Publication date: October 1999

Description:

William Faulkner’s fictional chronicle of Yoknapatawpha County culminates in his three last novels, rich with the history and lore of the domain where he set most of his novels and stories. The Town (1957), the second novel of the Snopes trilogy that began with The Hamlet, charts the rise of the rapacious Flem Snopes and his extravagantly extended family as they connive their way into power. In The Mansion (1959), the trilogy’s conclusion, a wronged relative finally destroys Flem and his dynasty. Faulkner’s last novel, The Reivers: A Reminiscence (1962), distinctly mellower and more elegiac than his earlier work, is a picaresque adventure that evokes the world of childhood with a final burst of comic energy. Novels 1957-1962, like previous volumes in The Library of America’s edition of the complete novels of William Faulkner, has been newly edited by textual scholar Noel Polk to establish an authoritative text, that features a chronology and notes by Faulkner’s biographer Joseph Blotner.


Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss

Nonfiction by Frederick Barthelme and Steven Barthelme

Houghton Mifflin (Hardcover, $24.00, ISBN: 0395954290)

Publication date: November 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Neither Frederick (Bob the Gambler, 1997, etc.) nor Steven (And He Tells the Little Horse the Whole Story, 1987, not reviewed) has tried his hand at an extended work of nonfiction before, but this grim tale of compulsive gambling and personal disaster should present no problems apart from the ones built into their subject. Rick (as Frederick is called) and Steve were transplanted Houstonians, now teaching writing at Southern Mississippi, when they discovered the casinos moored in the Mississippi [Sound] in Gulfport, an hour’s drive from them. The sons of an eccentric but highly regarded architect and a former schoolteacher and actress, they plunged into the timeless, neon world of the casino with abandon. When the death of their parents brought them a substantial inheritance, they began to gamble with a feverishness that resulted in their loss of over a quarter of a million dollars over some two years. In the end, they found themselves indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud their regular casino, allegedly in cahoots with a dealer they barely knew. The memoir that results from this spiraling journey into darkness is strange in the extreme. Although neither of the authors denies he has a serious problem, their narrative all too often reads like the series of rationalizations a compulsive gambler gives before he runs out of excuses. Rick and Steve describe a sort of sealing off of emotion as a family trait, one that became a dangerous safety valve in the casinos, where their studied uncaring made it possible to withstand the batterings of repeated loss. Regrettably, that sealing off comes into play in their own writing, giving it an eerily disembodied quality that makes for depressing reading far beyond the darkness of the subject matter. A queasy, uneasy mixture uniting confessional autobiography with arch literary navel gazing. (16 b&w photos) —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

My Cat Spit McGee My Cat Spit McGee

Nonfiction by Willie Morris

Random House (Hardcover, $18.95, ISBN: 0375503218)

Publication date: November 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

The pleasurable confessions of a dog man gone ailurophile—that is, become a cat man—from Morris (The Ghosts of Medgar Evers, 1997, etc.). Morris, who died last month, was an inveterate dog lover—he had even made a tidy boodle off a book and film about his dog, Skip—who underwent a conversion. His fiance had already warned him she wanted a kitten: “Her announcement, as you can only fathom, struck me in my inmost sinews.” Then, into his life, without warningand “unwarranted,” as he put it—strode an abandoned kitten, a gift from his stepson. He couldn’t very well get rid of it, so he made do, naming the cat Rivers Applewhite. Now R.A. slowly became joy enough to Morris, but nothing akin to Rivers’s son, the Spit McGee celebrated here, a cat that Morris coaxed life into when his young mother blew an emotional gasket during the birth and rejected the litter. It’s the kind of tie that binds, as Morris discovered. Through a series of linked cat tales, Morris tries to get a grip on why he became a menial to this cat and in the course of his attempt draws a deeply affectionate picture of the evolution of their friendship. The stories flash with humor, but the best also tap into Spit’s veil of mystery, when Morris attempts to decipher the cat’s interest in the telephone, or his arcane eating habits, his seemingly psychic facilities, his communicative gestures (many of which have to do with the language of the tail), and why he slept on his back, four feet to the sky, a figure of habitude like a dead cockroach. Spit goes so far as to offer Morris an insight into the music of the spheres: “Without wishing to sound histrionic, the birth of Spit … evoked for me a reserve of continuity, of the generations, of life passing on life, of the cycles.” From a man who was owned by a cat, a tender, melodious tribute. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Deep Sleep Donor

A Novel by Charles Wilson

St. Martin’s Press (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0312970285)

Publication date: November 1999

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Murder, migraines and mambos mix messily in this latest from veteran thriller writer Wilson (Extinct; Direct Descendant). At the South Louisiana Sleep Disorders Institute, a young woman lies strangled while obese accountant Henry Womack, another patient, has disappeared into the bayou. Nearby, the parents of a celebrated local freak named Boudron are found butchered, and Boudron is discovered hiding behind a screen of voodoo amulets.

Enter Mark French, a deputy just back on duty after a three-year hiatus following his botched attempt to rescue three hostages from a crazed gunman in New Orleans. Spooked by offers of help from the blatantly sinister institute head, Shasha Dominique, a secret voodoo priestess, Mark and his colleagues vacillate between fingering the one-armed Boudron and the plainly zombified Womack. But when Womack and Boudron both turn up dead, it’s clear that the bad guys are still on the prowl, even with a surfeit of good guys trying to apprehend them—including Mark’s love interest, forensic psychologist Kelly Dalton. Someone is evidently manipulating the institute’s so-called “lucid dreaming” technique to persuade innocents to carry out crimes through hypnotic suggestion.

To the author’s credit, there are one or two unforeseen twists to the otherwise humdrum plot. By the time its dastardly dynamic is exposed, however, most readers will long since have lost interest. Cut-up paragraphs and touristy descriptions of voodoo practices litter the pages without much pattern, and the prose ranges from wooden to downright leaden. —Copyright © 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Them Bones Them Bones

A novel by Carolyn Haines

Bantam (Paperback, $5.99, ISBN: 0553581716)

Publication date: November 1999

Description:

If only I hadn’t kidnapped the dog … but the ransom paid the mortgage…. Now I seem to be a private eye…. I shouldn’t have listened to that ghost….

Meet Sarah Booth Delaney … an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi … if it doesn’t make her the deadest. No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state—or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash.

But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself … and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.

Shakespeare's Christmas Shakespeare’s Christmas

By Charlaine Harris

Dell (Paperback, ISBN: 0440234999)

Publication date: November 1999

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

But its neither Shakespeare nor Christmas, actually, since Lily Bard, the most formidable cleaning woman in Shakespeare, Ark., leaves her adopted hometown in the opening chapter to return to her family’s queasy bosom in Bartley for her sister Varena’s wedding, a Christmas Eve affair that’s bound to upstage the usual round of holiday festivities.

What it doesn’t upstage is a long-unsolved kidnapping—the snatching of newborn Summer Dawn Macklesby from her family’s porch eight years before, a crime that springs to alarming life again courtesy of an anonymously donated newspaper clipping announcing that Summer Dawn is one of the three eight-year-olds pictured.

The candidates: Varena’s next-door neighbor Eve Osborn, her minister’s daughter Krista O’Shea, and Anna Kingery, daughter of Varena’s intended. Lily, who’s herself the survivor of a brutal abduction and would rather be working than socializing anyway, isn’t about to back down from this challenge, particularly after she and Varena stumble on the bodies of Dr. Dave LeMay and his nurse Binnie Armstrong—a powerful reminder that the Macklesby kidnapping has yet to be laid to rest.

The detection is routine (Lily snoops around as she cleans the suspects’ houses), and bucolic Bartley is no Shakespeare. Only Lily herself, in full attack mode, carries the day. —Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

A William Faulkner Encyclopedia A William Faulkner Encyclopedia

Edited by Robert W. Hamblin and Charles A. Peek

Greenwood Press (Hardcover, $99.95, ISBN: 0313298513)

Publication date: November 1999

Description from Booklist:

The year 1997 was the centennial of the birth of William Faulkner, and the editors, both professors of English, chose this opportunity to begin work on an updated analysis of one of the masters of twentieth-century literature. This encyclopedia is not so much about Faulkner’s personal but his literary life, with entries covering primary influences and major themes, works, major characters, family members, and critics. All entries are signed and have further reading lists included. The length of the entries varies from a long paragraph to three pages. Arrangement is alphabetical.

Examples of entries on primary influences include Impressionism; Joyce, James; Paris; and Shakespeare. Examples of major themes include Religion, Slavery, and Sport. Entries that analyze Faulkner’s writing include Point of view and Stream of consciousness, along with those for individual novels, short stories, screenplays, and other works. More than 50 contributors from a wide variety of colleges and universities were selected to participate in this study; and although this variety of well-known and newer Faulkner scholars allows for a multitude of opinions and voices, the editors admit that there is a wide range of writing styles. The volume concludes with a selected bibliography and an index.

The editors’ stated goal was to “apprise an already literate reader of what constitutes the main body of Faulkner’s work and to demonstrate why the critical estimation of that work is so secure and still growing.… Ideally, the volume will encourage in all its users further exploration of the varied issues and circumstances that situate Faulkner’s work for readers.” Aimed at an audience already familiar with Faulkner or one ready to do research, this title is best suited for academic and larger public libraries, as well as high schools with Advanced Placement American Literature classes.

Trip trip

Text by Frederick Barthelme, photographs by Susan Lipper

powerHouse (Hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 1576870510)

Publication date: December 1999

Description:

trip is celebrated Grapevine photographer Susan Lipper and distinctive prose stylist Frederick Barthelme’s new, conceptually ambitious artists’ book: an assembled narrative of a fictional road trip in America, destination and starting point unknown. Adrift.

The date is the present, but only slightly so. The viewer is cast without aid amongst snatches of text and vernacular objects, staged or found, that render the landscape neither familiar nor foreign. Semiotic interplay is introduced with seemingly objective signs and symbols, readable in a traditional sense, yet what meanings do they serve here?

Re-appropriating the documentary tradition of road photography, Lipper and Barthelme’s “trip” is a new American narrative, perfectly suited for our hyper-mediating times, and is by turns arcanely sophisticated, solipsistically funny, resolutely urbane, and grammatically hokey. An accessible joyride on many levels, trip is destined to become a landmark photography book.

trip will be the subject of an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art in November, 1999.

Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Johns Hopkins University Press (Paperback, $15.16, ISBN: 0801862930)

Publication date: December1999 (Reprint edition)

Description:

First published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1966, Stephen Ambrose’s Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point is now available in paperback for the first time, with a new afterword by former West Point superintendent Andrew J. Goodpaster which brings the story of the U.S. Military Academy from the mid-1960s up to the present.

The Testament The Testament

A Novel by John Grisham

Dell Island Books (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0440234743)

Publication date: December 1999

Description from the publisher:

Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined to a wheelchair, and looking for a way to die. His heirs, to no one’s surprise—especially Troy’s—are circling like vultures.

Nate O’Riley is a high-octane Washington litigator who’s lived too hard, too fast, for too long. His second marriage in a shambles, he is emerging from his fourth stay in rehab armed with little more than his fragile sobriety, good intentions, and resilient sense of humor. Returning to the real world is always difficult, but this time it’s going to be murder.

Rachel Lane is a young woman who chose to give her life to God, who walked away from the modern world with all its strivings and trappings and encumbrances, and went to live and work with a primitive tribe of Indians in the deepest jungles of Brazil.

In a story that mixes legal suspense with a remarkable adventure, their lives are forever altered by the startling secret of The Testament.

Familiar Christmas Familiar Christmas

By Caroline Burnes (Carolyn Haines)

Harlequin (Paperback, ISBN: 0373225423)

Publication date: December 1999

The Supreme Court under Edward Douglass White, 1910-1921 The Supreme Court under Edward Douglass White, 1910-1921

By Walter F. Pratt, Jr.

University of South Carolina Press (Hardcover, $39.95, ISBN: 1570033099)

Publication date: December 1999


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