About a Boy, a Boat, and a Love of All Things Old and Wooden
Mark Alan Lovewell

SLOOP: Restoring My Family’s Wooden Sailboat, An Adventure in Old-Fashioned Values. By Daniel Robb. Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y. 2007. 318 pages with photographs. $25.

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Page-Turner, Eye-Opener in One: Stephen Carter Maps Black Elite
Holly Nadler

PALACE COUNCIL By Stephen L. Carter. Knopf, New York, N.Y. July 2008. 528 pages. $26.95 hardcover.

There are some thrillers — The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon come to mind — where the plot is never going to make much sense, but for the reader to bog down on this point is to miss a jolly good ride. Stephen L. Carter’s new novel, Palace Council, is just the sort of book that keeps you turning pages — all 500-plus of them — until the clock blinks 3:28 a.m. in digital pixels and you force yourself to turn out the light.

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Book Notes for Smaller Readers to Plug Into, Cuddle Up With
Holly Nadler

WIRED. By Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Paul Carrick. Charlesbridge, $6.95. This book, now out in paperback, is an excellent insight into how electricity works, particularly as it pertains to the energy dancing beneath our fingertips as they tap along a computer keyboard, and as it flows or, just as importantly, pauses, at the outlet under our desk. Ostensibly Wired is a learning tool for the elementary school student, but anyone of any age could benefit from it, for who among us outside of M.I.T.

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Perceptive Author Matches Odd Couple
Jim Kaplan

David Lebedoff is a Minneapolis attorney, political figure and writer known for provocative thinking. In the interest of full disclosure, he is also an old friend.

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Vineyard Birds II Tracks Island’s Avian Changes
By ALLAN KEITH

VINEYARD BIRDS II: Where and What to See on Martha’s Vineyard. By Susan B. Whiting and Barbara B. Pesch. Vineyard Stories, Edgartown, Mass. 2007. 152 pages, photographs and illustration. $19.95, softcover.

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Find Simple Pleasures, Perfectly Formed
Holly Nadler

MARTHA’S VINEYARD QUIET PLEASURES. By Phyllis Meras with photographs by Betsy Corsiglia. Globe-Pequot Press, Guilford, Conn. 96 pages, $16.95 hardcover.

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How Daughters See Mothers, at Start and Finish
Holly Nadler

Is there any relationship more complicated and, when it works, more rewarding, than the mother-daughter bond? Two authors with strong Vineyard ties have approached this essential kinship from both sides, from the formative years, and during the final years.

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Tangled Fish Tales Echo in History
Mark Alan Lovewell

THE UNNATURAL HISTORY OF THE SEA. By Callum Roberts. Island Press/Shearwater Books, Washington, D.C. 2007. 436 pages. Hardcover, $28.

Last spring when the herring started showing up in Island coastal ponds, I got a call from a fisherman asking, “Where are the mackerel?”

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America’s Middle Class, Listen Up
Mike Seccombe

The litany of complaints of the squeezed middle class is familiar.

Three million jobs gone overseas this decade. People working all their lives on the promise of pensions they don’t get. Declining availability of health care. Parents believing, for the first time in U.S. history, that their children will not do as well as they did.

“Everyone knows that recitation,” said Philip Dine.

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Beatles Book Follows Fab Four From Liverpool to Abbey Road
Holly Nadler

It’s irresistible to start this review of Vineyard author Tom Dresser’s new book about the Beatles, It Was 40 Years Ago Today, by saying it’s a Magical Mystery Tour of the Fab Four who Please Pleased [Us] through a Hard Day’s Night lasting six years, spanning the spectrum of I Feel Fine, to wanting to give each other A Ticket to Ride, all of them — and us —– trailing apart in a mood of benediction, Let It Be.

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