BOOKLINK

Mississippi Books and Writers

2000

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

Boy with Loaded Gun: A Memoir Boy with Loaded Gun: A Memoir

Nonfiction by Lewis Nordan

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 1565121996)

Publication date: January 2000

Description from Booklist:

In reading Nordan’s delightfully yarny but very moving memoir, one certainly recognizes the provenance of his delightfully yarny but very moving novels, including Wolf Whistle (1993), The Sharpshooter Blues (1995), and Lightning Song (1997). The author piles warm, humorous, and often poignant episode upon episode as he recalls his life. Nordan never knew his father, who died suddenly, and his father’s absence in Nordan’s life “has always been a significant blank spot in [his] imagination.” Nordan grew up in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and it is within that evocative Delta setting that his early remembrances are set, including the first time he ever saw a television set. Nordan’s mother remarried, and his stepfather occupies many pages of these recollections. When he was 15, he left home for the first time, taking a bus trip to Memphis; after that, Itta Bena couldn’t hold him. He left home for New York, did a stint in the navy, attended college, and got married. As he came into writing as his life’s purpose, darkness followed: a horrible car accident in which someone was killed, the suicide of a son, too much drinking, and divorce; remarriage and giving up alcohol have supplied the necessary light at the end of the tunnel. Nordan is a natural, honest, and widely appealing storyteller. —Brad Hooper

Game Plan Game Plan

A Novel by Charles Wilson

St. Martin’s Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0312253214)

Publication date: January 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Though 1993’s The Cassandra Prophecy featured mere murder and drug smuggling, ever-brilliant Wilson’s more recent thrillers have given their action sequences a titillating grounding in future science, as in Donor (nerve regenerating) and Embryo (Gestation outside the womb). The main gimmick this time out anticipates a recent New York Times article about future nannocomputers that can be reduced to the size of a blood cell and introduced into the human body. Wilson’s ever-active intelligence community has invented a tiny computer chip that can be implanted directly into the brain, allowing various recipients (whose new mental powers and funds of information have been increased exponentially) to be fully aware of what their fellow chippees are doing and thinking—creating a Monad, a minor mind of a God.

When five poorly chosen volunteer chippees (four men and one woman, all criminals) pool their resources, they come up with a game plan to take over the world powers and run things their way. The intelligence community, naturally, rises up in righteous indignation to fight these superpredators. The battle seems hopeless, with mere human researchers fighting the products of their best efforts. But as luck would have it, one chippee riding a motorcycle is hit by a truck, and he keeps waking and dying on his way to the morgue, alerting the medical pathologist who examines him to find a chip one quarter the width of a pencil in the dead man’s brain—which means, by thriller standards, the examiner must be murdered. These two deaths eventually involve young Dr. Spence Stevens, still another visionary who is working on an artificial retina for the blind. One wonders: Will the good Doctor Spence himself have to be implanted and engeniused to fight the villains? If so, what a wonderful battle. Smart, fast, and full of enough slaps on the cheek to keep you awake half the night. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The Brethren The Brethren

A novel by John Grisham

Doubleday (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 0385497466)

Publication date: February 2000

Description:

They call themselves The Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. And the third, for a career-ending drunken joyride. Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong.

Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich—very fast. And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam … while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt. A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips—and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For The Brethren, the timing couldn’t be better. Because they’ve just found the perfect victim….

A Calculus of Angels A Calculus of Angels

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 2

Del Rey (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0345406087)

Publication date: February 2000

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….

Deep South Deep South

A novel by Nevada Barr

Putnam (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0399145869)

Publication date: March 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews :

Though she loves her varied postings as a National Park Service ranger (Liberty Falling, 1999, etc.) and hates administration, Anna Pigeon’s not getting any younger or richer, so she puts in for promotion, and next thing she knows shes driving hell-for-leather alongside Mississippi mud and alligators en route to her posting as district ranger of the Port Gibson District. The area is fabulously fertile (new weeds spring from dead trees before their last leaves have fallen), obsessed with the past (Anna stumbles on a group of Civil War reenactors soon after her arrival), and about to become the site of an ugly murder (a prom queen is found bashed to death draped in a sheet, her neck in a noose that can’t help reminding Anna of the KKK the locals assure her is long dormant). As always in this rewarding series, the people, from Anna’s slyly insubordinate subordinates to a local sheriff who just happens to be an Episcopal priest, walk and talk and break the law with memorable authority, and Barr paints Port Gibson and its environs, natural and man-made and -unmade, in vivid strokes. But her decision to treat all rural Mississippi as Anna’s bailiwick, instead of concentrating on the individuality of one of the national parks Annas worked so brilliantly in the past, gilds the place a little too thickly with cultural mythsas if all Dixie were a biosphere for endangered species and lays bare the contrivances of her ingenious plot. Still, Barr’s many fans, eager to see her take on every federal property in the nation, will treasure her atmospheric presentation of Mississippi as the country’s biggest little town. —Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Fay Fay

A Novel by Larry Brown

Algonquin Books (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 1565121686)

Publication date: March 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

The search for love and family has seldom been portrayed with such harsh realism as in this almost literally stunning fourth novel by the highly acclaimed Mississippi author. Brown’s first substantial female protagonist, Fay Jones, is a 17-year-old virginal beauty who runs away from her mean and drunken father and impoverished family (migrant workers camped near Oxford, Mississippi) in a vividly detailed opening sequence that recalls the beginning of Faulkner’s classic Light in August. Fay is a complete innocent, can scarcely read, has never seen a movie or used a pay phone. State trooper Sam Harris finds her hitchhiking and brings her home, where his wife Amy (still grieving over the accidental death of their teenaged daughter) essentially adopts her. But a chain of bizarre coincidences ends this idyllic family relationship, and Fay is soon on the road again, now pregnant, and easy prey (as she moves south, to Biloxi) for a hard-bitten waitress who pushes her toward stripping, then for easygoing Aaron Forrest, who turns out to be an unstable drug dealer.

The story builds terrific momentum as things continue to go hopelessly wrong for Fay. She leaves Aaron, attempting to return to Sam, and the three converge in a skillfully deployed and violent finale that confirms Brown’s close kinship both with crime novelist Jim Thompson and with that underrated master of literate southern melodrama, Erskine Caldwell. The novel is probably too long, and it goes egregiously over the top at least once (in depicting an airplane pilot’s fate). But it’s filled with spare, precise, musical, observantly detailed prose and hair-raising extended scenes (an account of the effort to rescue a gas-truck driver from a flaming wreck is a piece of action writing few contemporary authors could match). Fay herself is an intensely real character, and Brown (Father and Son, 1996, etc.) tells her lurid, sorrowful story magnificently. Close to a masterpiece. —Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Even a Stone Buddha Can Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Japanese Proverbs Even a Stone Buddha Can Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Japanese Proverbs

Poetry and Provers compiled and translated by David Galef

Tuttle (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0804821275)

Publication date: April 2000

Description:

Ideal for both the casual and serious student of Japanese culture, Even a Stone Buddha Can Talk is the long-awaited sequel to the top-selling first volume, Even Monkeys Fall From Trees. With one hundred pithy new translations of insightful Japanese proverbs, each accompanied by a humorous illustration, this irresistible collection is both instructional and fun-a perfect taste of Eastern philosophy for the Western palate.

Beth Henley: Collected Plays 1990-1999 Collected Plays: Volume II, 1990-1999

Plays by Beth Henley

Smith & Kraus (Paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 1575252015)

Publication date: April 2000

Description:

This collection includes the plays Control Freaks, Signature, The Revelers, L. Play, Abundance, and Impossible Marriage.

The Cabal and Other Stories The Cabal and Other Stories

By Ellen Gilchrist

Little Brown & Company (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0316314919)

Publication date: April 2000

Description from the publisher:

“This is the story of a group of people who had a bizarre and unexpected thing happen to them. Their psychiatrist went crazy and started injecting himself with drugs. The most useful and dependable man in their lives became a maniac in the true sense of the word.”

So begins the The Cabal, the hilarious novella that forms the centerpiece of Ellen Gilchrist’s sparkling new collection of stories. Dr. Jim Jaspers’s patients include all the most prominent citizens of Jackson, Mississippi—wealthy businessmen, wealthy socialites, even the governor’s daughter. Unfortunately for them, their beloved psychiatrist suddenly goes mad himself, revealing their deepest secrets and embarrassing misdeeds to anyone who will listen. The whole town goes crazy: some want to lock him up or, failing that, arrange a convenient accident. Others try to protect him. The rest are busily revising their personal histories. The result is a hilarious, bitingly ironic tale, revealing that our deepest secrets invariably are those best known by others.

The five stories that follow are classic Gilchrist, including another witty and wise account of Miss Crystal by Traceleen. In one story, a happily married nurse finds herself pursued by an old high-school boyfriend. In another, a grandmother makes a cross-country pilgrimage from Kansas City to Mississippi to see her family. From a literary writer struggling in Hollywood to the mysterious appearance of thirty-six gold coins in a small Southern town, these stories will delight both old and new Gilchrist fans. With all the warmth, wit and humor her readers have come to expect from her, The Cabal and Other Stories.

The $66 Summer The $66 Summer

Juvenile Fiction by John Armistead

Milkweed Editions (Hardcover, $15.95, ISBN: 1571316264; Paperback, $6.95, ISBN: 1571316256)

Publication date: May 2000

Description:

It’s the summer of 1955, and George’s grandmother has hired him to work at her home in southern Alabama so he can earn money for a motorcycle. During the summer, 12-year-old George, who is white, reunites with two black friends, who work with George as a team to unravel a mystery underlined by racism and tragedy. The comfortably paced plot pulls readers in with plenty of intriguing characters, both despicable and poignant—among them, a disfigured old woman, a vicious attack-dog trainer, and a bewitching lunatic—who take on significant roles in the solid plot. Armistead is in expert control of both story and characters, and he creates emotional impact without sensationalizing or sentimentalizing the deeply sad, affecting events that have befallen the people in George’s small town. —Roger Leslie. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War

Fiction By Howard Bahr

Henry Holt (Hardcover; $25.00, ISBN: 0805059725)

Publication date: May 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A brilliantly woven Civil War story about the “jubilant” year (1865) following the supposed cessation of hostilities, from the author of the highly praised (and rather similar) debut novel The Black Flower (1997). The latter unfortunately all but drowned in the wake of the spectacular success enjoyed by Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. This time around, Bahr ought to nab the hosannas and prizes, for he has produced a stunningly imagined and lyrically written chronicle of the return home (to war-ravaged Cumberland, Mississippi) of Gawain Harper, a former schoolteacher (and an Arthurian seeker) who had reluctantly enlisted as an infantryman in the Confederate Army, in order to earn permission to marry his sweetheart, widowed Morgan Rhea. Morgan’s father, devout secessionist Judge Nathaniel Rhea, had demanded that all Southerners do their duty. Having done so, Gawain returns to find his own family decimated, the Rheas dispossessed and powerless, and to learn that the Judge has set him another task: to kill “King Solomon” Gault, a rabid white supremacist (“the gentleman farms without niggers”) and self-anointed leader of the vigilante rangers who had murdered Morgan’s sister and her husband, a Union sympathizer. But this is only prelude to a thrillingly articulated tragic romance that tells several convoluted stories, artfully juxtaposed, and creates a remarkably vivid cast, including Gawain’s fellow survivor, Harry Stribling, self-proclaimed “philosopher” and ironical observer of the South’s stubborn vision of its own “chivalry”; imperious, passionate Morgan and Gawain’s flinty Aunt Vassartwo of the strongest female characters in the whole range of historical fiction; Union Army officer Michael Burduck, haunted and driven by his memories of slavery’s horrors; hideously deformed, obsessed slave- catcher Molochi Fish; and the aforementioned Gault, an avenging demon whose thirst for slaughter precipitates a harrowing climax. The shadow of Faulkner looms over an intricate webwork of festering secrets, conflicting passions, and ancestral guilt. No matter. The Year of Jubilo is a triumphant giant step forward for Bahr. —Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Hannibal Hannibal

Fiction By Thomas Harris

Dell (Paperback; $7.99, ISBN: 0440224675)

Publication date: May 2000

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.

Empire of Unreason Empire of Unreason

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 3

Del Rey (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 0345406095)

Publication date: May 2000

Description from Booklist:

In Keyes’ alternate-universe fantasy, The Age of Unreason, of which this is the third but not necessarily last book, Sir Isaac Newton discovered the rules of alchemy instead of the laws of nature, thereby releasing a flood of dark magic. Now, Indian and European armies are locked in a deadly struggle in North America. In Europe, intrigues abound, and palace revolutions seem to happen every Thursday, not all of them well enough developed by Keyes to enable readers to tell them apart. Evil angels hover over human folly, and behind everything lurk the perverse and powerful demons, the Malekin.

Keyes still is master of the details that make much of this universe believable, and the amount of action definitely makes the book exciting. But his gifts aren’t deployed to also make this book intelligible to those who haven’t read its predecessors, Newton’s Cannon (1998) and A Calculus of Angels (1999). On the other hand, they shouldn’t feel put upon to go back to the beginning. They won’t regret doing so. —Roland Green. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Moments with Eugene Moments with Eugene: A Collection of Memories

Edited by Rebecca Barrett and Carolyn Haines

Kalioka Press (Hardcover, $34.95, ISBN: 0966395417)

Publication date: May 2000

Description from the publisher:

For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing Eugene Walter, a brief synopsis of Eugene’s résumé is in order. Eugene Walter was a novelist, poet, essayist, humorist, artist, stage designer, lyricist, actor, master of the culinary arts, botanist, philosopher, sociologist, radio personality, Mobile, Alabama native, resident of Rome and Paris, and most importantly a friend and inspiration to fellow artists and writers. Inspiration, imagination, and encouragement were Eugene’s greatest gifts. Admiration was his greatest reward. Sadly, Eugene left us in March, 1998 at the age of seventy-six.

But Eugene Walter will never be forgotten. Editors Rebecca Barrett and Carolyn Haines have seen to that. For two years, Rebecca and Carolyn painstakingly solicited, collected, and massaged an unusual menagerie of stories written by Eugene’s friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. The result is a 310-page hardcover volume of photographs, squiggles, and mostly humorous, mostly true tales about Mobile, Alabama’s anointed renaissance man. A colorful character Mr. Walter was, that’s for sure. The extent of that color has now been brought out in Rebecca and Carolyn’s delightful book.

Perspectives on Richard Ford Perspectives on Richard Ford

Edited by Huey Guagliardino, with essays by William Chernecky, Edward Dupuy, Jeffrey J. Folks, Robert N. Funk, Fred Hobson, W. Kenneth Holditch, Priscilla Leder, Elinor Ann Walker, and the editor

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 1578062349)

Publication date: May 2000

Description from the publisher:

A comprehensive appreciation of the fiction written by this Pulitzer Prize author

This is the first book-length examination of the fiction written by Richard Ford, who gained critical acclaim for The Sportswriter, the story of suburbanite Frank Bascombe’s struggle to survive loneliness and great loss. That novel, published in 1986, struck a chord with readers and reviewers alike, and Ford, a little-known writer who had for a time considered giving up the writing of fiction, was suddenly hailed in Newsweek as “one of the best writers of his generation.”

The Sportswriter, along with its 1995 sequel Independence Day, which became the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, made Ford’s Frank Bascombe as much a part of the American literary landscape as John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom.

With three other novels, a well-received volume of short stories, and a trilogy of novellas to his credit, Ford is now firmly established as a major figure among writers of the post-World War II generation.

Perspectives on Richard Ford is the first collection of essays to study the body of Ford’s fiction. The nine essays demonstrate that Ford, like few other writers of his time, powerfully depicts what it feels like to live in the secular late-twentieth-century world, a dangerous and uncertain place where human relationships are impoverished and where human existence is often characterized by emptiness, solipsism, and, above all, by a sense of alienation. The contributors tend to view Ford’s narratives of alienation in a broad cultural context. His works dramatize the breakdown of the institutions of marriage, family, and community. His protagonists often typify the rootlessness and the nameless longing pervasive in a highly mobile, present-oriented society in which individuals, having lost a sense of the past, relentlessly pursue their own elusive identities in the here and now.

The collection, which concludes with a compelling conversation between Ford and the editor, will prove to be an essential companion to the work of one our most intriguing contemporary writers.

Huey Guagliardo is a professor of English at Louisiana State University at Eunice.

Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had

Nonfiction by Rick Bass

Houghton Mifflin (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 0395926181)

Publication date: June 2000

Description:

Colter was the runt of the litter, and Rick Bass took him only because nobody else would. Soon, though, Bass realized he had a raging genius on his hands, and he raided his daughters’ college fund to send Colter to the best schools. Colter could be a champion, Rick was told, but he’d have to be broken, slowed down. Rick “could no more imagine a slowing-down Colter than a slow-motion bolt of lightning in the sky,” and instead of breaking Colter he followed him. Colter led him into new territory, an unexplored land where he felt more alive, more intimately connected to the world, than he’d ever been before. In the course of telling us Colter’s story, Rick Bass also tells us of his childhood fascination with snapping turtles and dirt, and of the other animals—including people—that have shaped his life. Colter is an interspecies love story that vividly captures the relationship between humans and dogs. Like all of Bass’s work, it is passionate, poetic, and original.

Beth Henley: Collected Plays 1980-1989 Collected Plays: Volume I, 1980-1989

Plays by Beth Henley

Smith & Kraus (Paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 0810150778)

Publication date: June 2000

Description:

This collection includes the plays Crimes of the Heart, Am I Blue, The Wake of Jamey Foster, The Miss Firecracker Contest, The Lucky Spot, and The Debutante Ball.

Mississippi Bridge Mississippi Bridge

By Mildred D. Taylor

Puffin (Paperback, $4.99, ISBN: 0141308176)

Publication date: June 2000 (reprint edition)

Description from Horn Book:

In Depression-era Mississippi, Jeremy Sims, a ten-year-old white boy, watches as black passengers on a bus are forced to leave to make room for white passengers. He reacts with dismay, but then witnesses an ironic tragedy as the bus spins out of control into the flood-swollen river. Taylor has again underscored a moral dilemma without losing her sure grasp of narrative development. —Copyright © 1991 The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Sherwood Bonner Sampler, 1869-1884 A Sherwood Bonner Sampler, 1869-1884: What a Bright, Educated, Witty, Lively, Snappy Young Woman Can Say on a Variety of Topics

By Katherine Sherwood Bonner McDowell, edited by Anne Razey Gowdy

University of Tennessee Press (Hardcover, $42.00, ISBN: 1572330678)

Publication date: June 2000

Description from Library Journal:

Born in Mississippi, McDowell (1849-83) traveled to Boston in search of both educational opportunities and employment. There she found the literary world she longed for and formed a lifelong connection with poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. As a teenager, she sold her first romance for publication to the Massachusetts Ploughman and New England Journal of Agriculture, and her short fiction was published in national magazines between 1875 and 1884 under the name of Sherwood Bonner. She is considered a preeminent writer of local-color dialect fiction by literary scholars.

In this hefty volume, Gowdy (English, Tennessee Wesleyan Coll.) has compiled a comprehensive collection of work by this unusual woman. Included are travel columns and letters; essays, profiles, and sketches; tales and stories; and poetry and lyrics. It is the life’s work of someone who loved to tell stories, loved to write, and loved observing the world around her and the people she met. Recommended for public and academic libraries with strong literature collections. —Cynde Bloom Lahey, New Canaan Lib., CT. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Familiar Obsession Familiar Obsession

By Caroline Burnes (Carolyn Haines)

Harlequin (Paperback, $4.00, ISBN: 0373225709)

Publication date: June 2000

Black Flower Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War

By Howard Bahr

Picador (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0312265077)

Publication date: July 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 February 1997)

Bahr makes an impressive debut with a haunting tale of a brief but bloody encounter on the road to Nashville, which helped put paid to the Confederate cause in the latter stages of America's Civil War. Although a university graduate, Bushrod Carter is a private soldier in the 21st Mississippi, a storied regiment in the battered Southern army commanded by General John Bell Hood. Scattered by Sherman's march to the sea, Bushrod and his fellow veterans (wearied by three years of unremitting combat) find themselves facing fresh Union forces outside Franklin, Tenn., in late November of 1864. Ordered to attack, they advance across an open field to meet their entrenched foe on a fine autumn afternoon. After a fierce battle (seen only through the eyes of women and children in the farmstead Rebel officers have requisitioned as a hospital), the real horrors begin. Bandsmen bearing wounded from the battlefield by the light of guttering torches find Bushrod (who's sustained a concussion and lost a finger) almost by chance beneath a pile of corpses, but his two best friends did not survive the engagement. Meantime, under cover of darkness, scavengers roam the killing ground stripping the dead of their valuables, and a former teacher crazed by the carnage prays that God will forgive the South. Apparently little the worse for wear, Bushrod eventually manages to locate and bury his dead mates. Assisting him in this sad business is Anna Hereford, a relative visiting the family that owns the farm. While nearly dehumanized by what he's been through, the young—and doomed—rifleman feels attracted to Anna, who warily returns his interest. He soon follows his fallen comrades, however, leaving Anna to grieve for what might have been. A bleakly effective and economical account of men and women caught up in a bestial conflict. —Copyright © 1997 Kirkus Associates, LP.

The Quiet Game The Quiet Game

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0451180429)

Publication date: July 2000

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, can’t 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.

Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover, $28.00, ISBN: 0684846098)

Publication date: August 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Acclaimed historian Ambrose (Comrades, 1999, etc.) takes on one of the biggest and most influential engineering projects in American history—the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ambrose begins his tale with the fascinating “bureaucratic” history of the railroad—the struggles to gain a federal mandate for the construction of the road and to fix starting points for it at a time when there was little going on in Washington except, first, the precursors to the Civil War and, later, the war itself. Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman are all shown to be “railroad men” and influential to the project. Ambrose then moves on to immense fiscal maneuvers necessary to finance the railroad, and to the ensuing Credit Mobilier scandal (regarding the financing of the railroad, and of the fortunes that were made, Ambrose makes a salient point when quoting historian Charles Francis Adams Jr., who claimed that “when the Pacific Railroad was proposed, [no one] regarded it as other than a wild-cat venture … those men went into the enterprise because the country wanted a transcontinental railroad, and was willing to give almost any sum to those who would build it”). It is when the human drama of the actual construction of the railroad begins that Ambrose’s narrative picks up speed. Although not many first hand accounts exist from railroad workers, what material he does have is woven skillfully into the whole to create a picture of various ethnic groups working together (and frequently warring with each other as well). A master historian and writer takes on another pivotal epoch in American history. —Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

24 Hours 24 Hours

A Novel by Greg Iles

Putnam (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0399146245)

Publication date: August 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A tepid thriller from bestselling Iles (The Quiet Game, 1999, etc.) in which an upscale family falls victim to a not-so-typical kidnapping masterminded by a psychopath with more than money on his mind. Dr. Will Jennings is on his way from Mississippi to a medical meeting in New Orleans, leaving behind his loving, if somewhat resentful, wife Karen, who quit medical school when she became pregnant, and their precious, precocious five-year-old daughter, Abby. Life is a mixed bag for the doctor. He’s flying his own plane to the convention where he’s presenting a breakthrough anesthesia drug that could make him a very wealthy man. But he suffers from debilitating arthritis, and Abby is a juvenile diabetic who requires insulin injections. The whole house of cards comes tumbling down when the child is snatched by kidnapper extraordinaire Joe Hickey, assisted by his abused spouse, a former drug-addicted lap dancer, and his devoted, mentally challenged, 300-pound cousin Huey. The devious trio’s carefully orchestrated plan, which they’ve refined over five previous capers, divides the story into three scenarios, each redneck villain paired with a member of the genteel Jennings family. Hickey’s motto, “The kid always makes it,” is endangered by Abby’s insulin needs, the Type-A personalities of the Jennings clan, and the search for revenge. Should Will call in the authorities? Should he and Karen submit to the kidnappers’ bizarre personal demands? How far will they go to save their daughter and still keep their self-respect? And by the way, have they missed the truly important things in life? The clever plot generates some heat, but veteran Iles’s clunky prose (“Hickey’s words cut to the bone, but something more terrible struck Will like a hammer”), hackneyed psychological “insights,” and tedious medical details send this thriller into a tailspin. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate selection. —Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Hymning & Hawing About America Hymning & Hawing About America: A Few Symbol-Minded Essays

By Frank Trippett

Xlibris (Hardcover, $31.99, ISBN: 0738822388; Paperback, $21.99, ISBN: 0738822396; Ebook, $8.00, ISBN: 0738888419)

Publication date: August 2000

Description:

This collection of essays, by award winning Time magazine essayist Frank Trippett, is a brilliant look in the rearview mirror at the American scene during the 20th century. The author’s incisive, lyrical, and often wry observations touch on salient truths about American culture, politics, and history.

Hymning & Hawing About America is an engaging, challenging, occasionally iconoclastic, and highly recommended collection of forty-two essays by Frank Trippett on American culture, politics and history. The pieces range from the psychology of gambling to an analysis of flag burning. Trippett writes with an easy wit and an engaging wisdom that readers will find as informed as it is informative, as thoughtful as it is thought provoking.” —Midwest Book Review

“Frank Trippett had a stylish elegance; a calm capable of rage at the right moments; and a wit that could at once floor you and leave you smiling.” —Roger Rosenblatt, Editor-at-Large at TIME Inc.

“Frank Trippett was one of the liveliest, funniest, and wisest writers. In his essays, you hear a touch of the preacher, a lot of the story-teller and satirist.” —Lance Morrow, Essayist

“I read Frank Trippett’s novel Child Ellen and found it moving and full of Faulknerian insights. His essays were models of stylish restraint.” —Stefan Kanfer, Author and former Time Books Editor

“Frank Trippett was one of the really mind-blowing talents of his generation as a journalist, essayist, and story teller. He always dealt with the most dangerous commodity around—truth.” —Bill Emerson, former Editor-in-Chief, The Saturday Evening Post

Shakespeare's Trollop Shakespeare’s Trollop

By Charlaine Harris

Minotaur (Hardcover, ISBN: 0312262280)

Publication date: August 2000

Description from Booklist:

Lily Bard studies the minutiae of the people whose houses she cleans in Shakespeare, Arkansas. A horrific episode in her own past keeps her wary and private, so she is even more than normally chastened by finding the body of Deedra Dean, naked and violated, in a car in the woods. Deedra was free with herself, and nearly every male in Shakespeare had taken from her, but it’s too easy to focus on her taste for male companionship in seeking her murderer, especially when rumors of videotapes and sex toys surface.

Lily, meanwhile, is trying to resolve not only Deedra’s death but also its resonance in her own psyche and her need, barely acknowledged but deep as water, for Jack, the man in her life.

Lily is a terrific character with dark shadings and stark fears, but learning strength and cleaving to it. A supporting cast of quirky characters fully rendered in quick strokes will hold readers as surely as the complex resolution in this cozy on the bleeding edge of noir. —GraceAnne A. DeCandido. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

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

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Touchstone Books (Paperback, $11.00, ISBN: 0743200748)

Publication date: September 2000

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.

Beach Walks II

By George Thatcher

Quail Ridge Press (Hardcover, $9.95, ISBN: 189306221X)

Publication date: September 2000

Description: from the publisher:

The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories

Stories by Frederick Barthelme

CounterPoint Press (Hardcover, $20.00, ISBN: 1582431159)

Publication date: October 2000

Description:

Two decades of stories from one of the premier writers of American fiction.

Twenty years ago Frederick Barthelme began publishing stories that turned readers’ expectations on their heads. In The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, and elsewhere he published story after story that confounded the prevailing literary assumptions, treating our very ordinary lives with a new kind of careful and loving attention and imagination. He wrote intimate, funny, odd, detailed, laugh-out-loud stories about relationships that almost happen and ones that almost don’t, about the ways we look at each other when we mean things we cannot bring ourselves to say.

Before there were slackers, or kids in parking lots, or stories that took the mundane seriously, there were these prescient stories by Frederick Barthelme. He took a post-ironic stance before the post-ironic had a name. He took fiction where few were then willing to go, took as his subject small romances, private fears, suburban estrangement, office angst, cultural isolation, apparently insignificant humiliations, and the growing information surplus (CNN is a sociological novel, he once remarked). He wrote-and continues to write-with a laser-surgery precision that stuns and delights both readers and critics. If he arrived at the new-literature party a little earlier than the other guests, he has not left early, and is thus well represented in The Law of Averages, with old and new stories side by side, ready to give up their abundant pleasures.

Where the Dreams Cross Where the Dreams Cross

By Ellen Douglas

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $15.95, ISBN: 080712639X)

Publication date: October 2000 (Reprint Edition)

Description:

In a review in the Delta Democrat Times, fellow Mississippi writer Walker Percy wrote, “Ellen Douglas attacks with unladylike power and gusto, with a style at once cheerful and sardonic, with a kind of black-hearted good humor, and with an inventiveness which puts some outlandish folk up to some wondrous doings…. She has ventured beyond the strictures of the Southern Novel [and] she wins handily and in the stretch even brilliantly.”

Mauvila Mauvila

By Jay Higginbotham

Factor Press (Hardcover, ISBN: 1887650318)

Publication date: October 2000

Description:

 

Buried Bones Buried Bones

A novel by Carolyn Haines

Bantam (Paperback, $5.99, ISBN: 0553581724)

Publication date: October 2000

Description:

Private investigation isn’t on the list of a southern belle’s most desirable accomplishments—but it’s saved Sarah Booth Delaney’s Delta homestead. Now all she has to cope with is its bossy antebellum ghost who is determined to save Sarah—from spinsterhood. Then comes the perfect social occasion: Lawrence Ambrose’s dinner party….

The Petticoat Affair: Manner, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson's White House The Petticoat Affair: Manners, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson’s White House

By John F. Marszalek

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $16.99, ISBN: 0807126349)

Publication date: October 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

From Marszalek (History/Mississippi State Univ.; Sherman, 1992, etc.), a vivid evocation of a dramatic episode that preoccupied and temporarily crippled the Jackson administration. More than 160 years before Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers, America’s first sex scandal, the Peggy Eaton affair (1829-31), rocked the White House. Newly elected Andrew Jackson was a controversial figure and no stranger to scandal; he’d killed a man in a duel, wedded another man’s wife before her divorce was final, executed two British civilians in an extralegal military action in Florida, and massacred hundreds of Indian women and children in frontier battles. Marszalek shows how Jackson’s frequent encounters with scandal had made him proud, rigid, and quick to take offense. His wife Rachel’s death soon after the 1828 election, thought to have been brought about by the vicious attacks on her character, filled the grief-stricken Jackson with righteous anger, and when Washington gossips snubbed the vivacious young Peggy Eaton, wife of Jackson’s secretary of war, Jackson vigorously sprang to her defense. Peggy, the widow of a navy purser who allegedly consorted with John Eaton while her husband was at sea and married him before the requisite mourning period expired, was thought to have low morals, although Marszalek argues that her real offenses were her low social origins and her unfeminine, “forward” behavior with men. What began as an act of social ostracism ultimately polarized the Jackson cabinet, resulted in a fatal estrangement between the president and vice president (Calhoun’s wife led the ostracism of Peggy), and caused the resignation and reorganization of Jackson’s cabinet, leaving the presidential aspirations of Calhoun a shambles and positioning Martin Van Buren to succeed Jackson.

Marszalek’s absorbing narrative illuminates how much, and how little, Washington and American society have changed: The small-mindedness and sexism of Washington’s matrons, and the punctilious protectiveness of the president, would be inconceivable today, but the vicious nature of political rumormongering and scandal in Washington remains. —Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Escape from Heart Escape from Heart

By Lynette Stark

Harcourt, Brace (School & Library Binding, $17.00, ISBN: 0152023852)

Reading level: Young adult

Publication date: October 2000

Description:

Heart Colony, founded as a Mennonite community striving to be close to God and nature, becomes a place of fear, denial, and injustice under the cruel and evil direction of a new leader, Hezekiel Whittenstone. Sarah Ruth Heart wants one simple thing—to compete in the countywide spelling bee—but her uncle Hezekiel refuses to allow it. Sarah Ruth struggles with her desire to attend school and compete in the spelling bee, to be attractive to the boy she secretly likes, and to overstep the boundaries dictated by the repressive Hezekiel. Her secret rebellion brings danger to herself and her family, and Sarah Ruth is forced to make difficult decisions about her future—with consequences that are more far-reaching than she ever could have imagined.

Lynette Stark has taught high school and junior high school for sixteen years. She lives in Mississippi. Escape from Heart is her first novel.

My Mississippi

Nonfiction by Willie Morris, Photographs by David Rae Morris

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $40.00, ISBN: 1578061938)

Publication date: November 2000

Description from Booklist:

The distinguished Mississippi writer Willie Morris (who died last year) was editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine in the 1960s, a period he wrote about in his fascinating memoir New York Days (1993). He was also the author, more recently, of a pair of sensitive pet books, My Dog Skip ( 1995) and Spit McGee (1999). Regardless of the time Morris spent away from Mississippi, it was a place that always remained in his heart. His last book, written in his characteristically limpid, lyrical prose, offers a heartfelt appreciation of his home state, a place often dismissed as poor and backward by “outlanders,” Morris’ term for non-Mississippians. This is not a defensive recitation of Mississippi’s virtues nor is it a whitewash of its less-than-attractive features. First, Morris wants the reader to understand the state’s beauty—“physically beautiful in the most fundamental and indwelling way, [in that] it never leaves you.” Then, with both pride and understanding, he brings into sharp focus Mississippi’s peculiar tensions and ambivalence and also its passions—“we are a singular people,” he says of his native folk. The second half of the book is an album of full-color photographs taken by Morris’ son, a professional photojournalist. These shots informally capture ordinary moments in the lives of Mississippians, from a young couple standing next to their truck with their new baby in their arms to a group of local citizens hanging out in front of the main store in a small town. Together, the text and the photographs showcase Mississippians doing what they do best—being themselves completely without artifice. —Brad Hooper. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

My Cat Spit McGee

Nonfiction by Willie Morris

Vintage Books (Paperback, $11.00, ISBN: 0375706933)

Publication date: November 2000

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.

Falling Through Space: The Journals of Ellen Gilchrist

By Ellen Gilchrist

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 1578062918)

Publication date: November 2000

Description from the publisher:

Ellen Gilchrist has amassed a nationwide following, and her readers eagerly anticipate each new short story collection and novel. The sassy and moving commentaries she recorded for National Public Radio were a large part of the original kindling for this intense interest.

In Falling Through Space the spark that first attracted this audience flashes again in fifty-eight short essays drawn from those enormously successful broadcasts. To update and continue the dialogue she has always maintained with her fans, Gilchrist has added fifteen new essays.

Originally published in 1987 by Little, Brown and Company, Falling Through Space provides a funny and intimate diary of a writer’s self-discovery. Author of more than a dozen books and winner of the National Book Award, Gilchrist is a beloved and distinctive southern voice whose life and memories are every bit as entertaining as the wild and poignant short stories for which she is famous.

The short essays that anchor this book vividly explore the Mississippi plantation life of her childhood; the books, teachers, and artists who influenced her development; and her thoughts about writing and life in general. Coupled with forty-two pictures from Gilchrist’s youth and adulthood, these slices of life create a running autobiography.

In new essays, originally published in such magazines as Vogue, Outside, New Woman, and the Washington Post Sunday Magazine, Gilchrist reveals her origins, influences, and the way she works when she writes. Required reading for any fan, this book is Ellen Gilchrist at her funniest and best. For her readers it confirms her spontaneity and her talent for finding life at its zaniest and brightest.

Ellen Gilchrist is the author of several collections of short stories and novellas including The Cabal and Other Stories, Flights of Angels, The Age of Miracles, The Courts of Love, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Victory Over Japan (winner of the National Book Award), Drunk With Love, and I Cannot Get You Close Enough. She has also written several novels, including The Anna Papers, Net of Jewels, Starcarbon, and Sarah Conley. Her 1994 novel, Anabasis: A Journey to the Interior, was published by University Press of Mississippi. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Mississippi River Country Tales: A Celebration of 500 Years of Deep South History

By Jim Fraiser

Pelican (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 156554787X)

Publication date: November 2000

Description:

Mississippi River Country Tales is a historic journey through the river towns of the Deep South, beginning with De Soto and early settlement of the area, through stories of land pirates, steamboats, and scoundrels, right up through the Civil War and the struggle for civil rights. The book is further accented by nearly fifty black-and-white photographs that give natives and non-natives alike a taste of this compelling history.

The Oxygen Man

A Novel by Steve Yarbrough

Scribner’s (Paperback, $12.00, ISBN: 0743201655)

Publication date: November 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A superb first novel, about a doomed Mississippi family, by the author of three story collections (Family Men, 1990, etc.). The “oxygen man” is Ned Rose, a checker of oxygen levels in stocked ponds maintained by fish farmers in the vicinity of his hometown, Indianola, Mississippi. We first meet him (following a dreamlike Prologue) in 1996, when Ned’s employer and former high-school football teammate Mack Bell is scheming to punish the underpaid “niggers” he suspects of vandalizing his ponds. A heritage of bitterness and violence that continues to shadow not just Ned and cronies but his older sister Daisy (“Daze”) is then deftly revealedin a consistently suspenseful narrative juxtaposing the events of Daze and Ned’s adolescence (attending a segregated private “academy” their family can’t afford) in 1972-73 with the downward momentum of their middle years, when Daze, fearful she’ll relive her “trashy” mother’s loveless sexual adventuring, hesitantly considers the attentions of a much older widower, and Ned, dogged by spasmodic eruptions of the murderous rage he knows is his nature, numbly surrenders to the “force out there … that had the potential to come and sweep everything and everybody away.”

Yarbrough’s story abounds with generously detailed characterizations (malicious good-ole-boy Mack is a fine creation, as is Daze’s ill-fated high-school boyfriend Denny Gautreaux), gritty detail (Indianola is a convincingly dreary snake-infested backwater), and sharply realized scenes that resonate strongly: a macho coach whipping teenaged footballers into foulmouthed frenzy; a laconic duel of wits between Ned and a car dealer who tries to unload a broken-down Mercedes; Red’s moving conversation with his vagrant “Daddy,” an itinerant housepainter unable to keep himself at home. A wrenching, compassionate portrayal of wasted lives in explosive conflict. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The Selected Letters of Tennesee Williams, Volume 1: 1920-1945

By Tennessee Williams, edited by Albert J. Devlin and Nancy M. Tischler

New Directions (Hardcover, $37.00, ISBN: 0811214451)

Publication date: November 2000

Description from Booklist:

It is fascinating to watch a major artist emerge—the first flashes of talent, the false steps, the distractions of friends, lovers, and family. It is doubly fascinating when the artist is someone as seductive and determined to capture attention as Tennessee Williams. This volume of his letters begins with a note, riddled with spelling errors, from the eight-year-old Williams at his grandfather’s house to his mother and ends with a flurry of excited letters dating from the weeks following his first Broadway success, The Glass Menagerie. In between, we see Williams in several phases: distracted student; defensive college dropout; money-begging pathetic case; outraged, rejected writer; high-potential low achiever drifting through New Orleans, New Mexico, and New York. At times, especially during the period when he attended, in succession, the University of Missouri, Washington University, and the University of Iowa without ever quite finding his calling, it seems miraculous that he ever did pull it together. Each letter in this addictively readable collection is accompanied by some biographical text that places it in context in Williams’ life and explains the obscurer and more personal allusions he makes. —Jack Helbig. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures

By Sylvia Higginbotham

John F. Blair (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0895872277)

Publication date: November 2000

Description from the publisher:

Southerners have always been proud of their heritage, and there is no place where this pride shows more than the restoration of historic homes.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Southern landowners built lavish testaments to their wealth. After the Civil War, many of these once-wealthy planters found themselves struggling financially. As a result, some of these architectural treasures were lost.

Beginning in 1858 with the chartering of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Southerners began to preserve and restore their grand homes. Organizations such as the Daughters of the Revolution, the Colonial Dames, and the Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as historic foundations all rallied to preserve what Sherman’s March to the Sea and America’s march toward progress had not yet discovered.

In Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures, you’ll find 132 historic homes, eight gardens, and thirteen living villages of historic districts. These sites are located throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Some of the mansions were the homes of famous men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. Others were home to less-known men who poured their heart, soul, and fortune into their property. Certain houses may seem less grand than others at first glance, but they all played important roles in the history of their home states.

Whether you’re interested in architecture, interior decorating, antiques, and history or simply looking for a way to spend an enjoyable day, this book will expose you to some of America’s most lasting treasures.

A Pirate Looks at Fifty

Nonfiction by Jimmy Buffett

Ballantine (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 0449005860)

Publication date: November 2000

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.

The Brethren The Brethren

A novel by John Grisham

Dell Island Books (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0440236673)

Publication date: December 2000

Description:

They call themselves The Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. And the third, for a career-ending drunken joyride. Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisce about old court cases, dispense a little jailhouse justice, and contemplate where their lives went wrong.

Or they can use their time in prison to get very rich—very fast. And so they sit, sprawled in the prison library, furiously writing letters, fine-tuning a wickedly brilliant extortion scam … while events outside their prison walls begin to erupt. A bizarre presidential election is holding the nation in its grips—and a powerful government figure is pulling some very hidden strings. For The Brethren, the timing couldn’t be better. Because they’ve just found the perfect victim….

Prescription for Murder Prescription for Murder

A novel by James R. Kelly

1stBooks Library (Paperback, $18.67, ISBN: 1588203956)

Publication date: December 2000

Description:

The Last Ride The Last Ride

By Glen “Pee Wee” Mercer with Patrick D. Smith

Sea Bird Publishing (Hardcover, $18.00, ISBN: 1886916071)

Publication date: December 2000

Description:

 

Game Plan Game Plan

A Novel by Charles Wilson

St. Martin’s Press (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0312974434)

Publication date: December 2000

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Though 1993’s The Cassandra Prophecy featured mere murder and drug smuggling, ever-brilliant Wilson’s more recent thrillers have given their action sequences a titillating grounding in future science, as in Donor (nerve regenerating) and Embryo (Gestation outside the womb). The main gimmick this time out anticipates a recent New York Times article about future nannocomputers that can be reduced to the size of a blood cell and introduced into the human body. Wilson’s ever-active intelligence community has invented a tiny computer chip that can be implanted directly into the brain, allowing various recipients (whose new mental powers and funds of information have been increased exponentially) to be fully aware of what their fellow chippees are doing and thinking—creating a Monad, a minor mind of a God.

When five poorly chosen volunteer chippees (four men and one woman, all criminals) pool their resources, they come up with a game plan to take over the world powers and run things their way. The intelligence community, naturally, rises up in righteous indignation to fight these superpredators. The battle seems hopeless, with mere human researchers fighting the products of their best efforts. But as luck would have it, one chippee riding a motorcycle is hit by a truck, and he keeps waking and dying on his way to the morgue, alerting the medical pathologist who examines him to find a chip one quarter the width of a pencil in the dead man’s brain—which means, by thriller standards, the examiner must be murdered. These two deaths eventually involve young Dr. Spence Stevens, still another visionary who is working on an artificial retina for the blind. One wonders: Will the good Doctor Spence himself have to be implanted and engeniused to fight the villains? If so, what a wonderful battle. Smart, fast, and full of enough slaps on the cheek to keep you awake half the night. —Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Collected Stories Collected Stories

By Ellen Gilchrist

Little Brown & Co. (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 0316299480)

Publication date: December 2000

Description from Booklist:

Gilchrist’s celebrated writing life began with a book of short stories, In the Land of the Dreamy Dreams (1984), and her second collection, Victory over Japan, won the 1985 National Book Award. She has switched back and forth between novels and short stories ever since, and her dulcet yet tensile voice has become an integral part of American literature.

Gilchrist has now selected 34 of her favorite stories from seven collections to create a potent and pleasingly cohesive volume that showcases her deep sense of place and, the most salient feature of her work, her lusty, unpredictable, and unapologetic heroines. Gilchrist’s women have refused to be contained within single stories. No matter how often she finds someone new to write about, and how far away she moves from the settings she knows best, and which she so affectionately yet critically portrays, such as Fayetteville, Arkansas, and New Orleans, her feisty and outspoken heroines track her down and insist on continuing their lives.

Here, readers first meet the fearless and competitive Rhoda Katherine Manning as an ambitious third-grader and follow her through an elegant adulthood of extravagant gestures and determined independence. Nora Jane Whittington, a self-declared anarchist, leaves New Orleans for San Francisco, where she wins the adoration of the heroic Freddy Harwood, learns all about earthquakes, and becomes the mother of twin girls. And then there’s Miss Crystal and her sharp-eyed maid, Traceleen. In each intriguing tale, Gilchrist brilliantly illuminates some quirky aspect of human nature, whether it’s the territorial instinct at work in a snooty tennis club, the need for poetry and music, marital friction, the complexities of race, or the mysteries of love, all the while granting readers the boon of her humor, wisdom, and beautifully crafted prose. —Donna Seaman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

For Love of the Game: The Holy Wars of Millsaps College & Mississippi College Football

By Jim Fraiser

Mississippi Sports Council (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 0970552106)

Publication date: December 2000

Description:

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

Nonfiction by Joyce A. Ladner

John Wiley & Sons (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 0471199532)

Publication date: December 2000

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.

 


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