Hidden Art Insights in One Book, Open Visual Wordplay in Another


AMERGIN AGAIN. By Joe Eldredge. hUMILITY pRESS, West Tisbury, 2009. $15, softcover.

The Lives Beyond the Legends

For the first few pages of Paul Schneider’s Bonnie and Clyde, The Lives Behind The Legend, we see tall, willowy, sultry Faye Dunaway as the infamous gangster moll, Bonnie Parker, and we picture tall, broad-shouldered Warren Beatty as her outlaw boyfriend, Clyde Barrow. It doesn’t take long for the author to get the real people back in focus: Bonnie is petite (under five feet tall), more adorable than sultry, and Clyde also is short but a head taller than his energetic pip-squeak girlfriend.

Action is Between the Lines in Tale of Love, Loss, Politics

EXILES IN THE GARDEN. By Ward Just. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. July, 2009. 288 pages. $25.

Anyone who has spent time in London, Paris, Tokyo or any other major capital inevitably is dissatisfied in Washington, D.C.

Chosen by compromise, built atop a swamp, and provincial to its core, it offers some of the nation’s most appalling architecture (e.g., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, or the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building) and weather to match.

Intrigue Every Inning: Thriller Has Curves Beyond Usual Pitch

James Grippando’s Intent to Kill is fixed firmly in the thriller genre, but with more twists than most. The lead character, Ryan James, is a baseball star who has suffered tragic loss with the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident — and not handled it as well as he might.

Author Enters Existential Life of Tragic Idol, Albert Camus

CAMUS, A ROMANCE. By Elizabeth Hawes. Grove Press. July 2009. 304 pages. $25 hardcover.

As an undergrad, Elizabeth Hawes became fascinated with Albert Camus and embarked on an exploration of not only the work but also the world of the brilliant, handsome and charismatic writer and philosopher. Although she was physically half a world away and metaphorically a universe away from her subject, she was determined to somehow enter her idol’s world.

Sports Agent Shows You the Money

NEGOTIATE LIKE THE PROS: A Top Sports Negotiator’s Lessons for Making Deals, Building Relationships, and Getting What You Want. By Kenneth Shropshire. McGraw-Hill. October, 2008. 224 pages. $19.95.

Professor Kenneth Shropshire is a former all-state athlete who grew up in inner city Los Angeles and attended Stanford on a football scholarship. He is a sports fan who can discuss ESPN news with enthusiasm and will knowledgeably forward his opinions on shady college recruitment practices and sports agent scandals.

A Few Words from the President

Believe me, being a college president is dauntingly difficult. Better yet, read Steve Trachtenberg’s perceptive and stimulating discussion of his 30 years on the hot seat. Eleven of those years were at the University of Hartford and nineteen at George Washington University. He was a great success at both institutions, which may account for his conclusion that, despite the frustrations, his career was rewarding. The reader of Big Man on Campus will come away not only with a more subtle understanding of the complexities of university leadership, but also with a sense of why Trachtenberg was good at it.

Poetry Collection Evokes Potent Memories of Vineyard Summers

The poems in Portrait of a Reading Woman convey the tapestry of a life richly lived and richly told. Originally a Bostonian, Helen Gorenstein has spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard for over 40 years. Drawing on memories from her childhood in the 1930s, her marriage, and her “long summers” on the Island, she retraces her steps from childhood into her seventh decade.

Inspirational Healing: Doctor Describes Year in Life of Addict

THE ADDICT: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year. By Michael Stein. William Morrow. March, 2009. 275 pages. $25.99.

A medical license is a license to ask questions. Ordinary conversation disappears quickly in my office. Business has to be taken care of.”

Martha’s Vineyard Railroad Had a Very Short Ride

For 21 years — from the late summers of 1874 through 1895 — a passenger train chuffed along a route that looks inconceivably imposing to us today: from what’s now the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf, over the very sands of State Beach, through the fairways and greens of the Edgartown Golf Club, perpendicularly across Upper Main street, along the border of not one but two cemeteries and into what are now the subdivisions and farmlands of Katama before terminating at two dead ends: the dunes of South Beach and a hotel at Mattakessett whose ugliness was rivaled only by its windswept isolation and self-evident vulnerability to fire.