Mass Bookshelf for February 2015

Here are the titles published by Massachusetts authors this month. Did we miss your book published in February 2015?  If so, email bookawards@massbook.org with the information.  Thanks!

CHILDREN/YOUNG ADULT

Time and Tithe is LJ Cohen’s second book in the Changeling’s Choice series, in which two near-stranger sisters must work together to keep everything from unraveling and save the mortal world.

In Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11, “Griffin uses humor to tackle issues most children grapple with at some point, and Hindley’s loose b&w sketches play up the madcap energy at Rebecca Lee Crumpler Elementary School. Smashie’s … positive energy and determination are impressive. Readers will be learning and laughing heartily as Smashie dons her ‘Investigator Suit’ and uses ‘thinking power’ to try to prove herself.” (Publishers Weekly)

Matt Tavares’ Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues “is as much an homage to the love between brothers as it is a biography…” (Booklist)

FICTION

Holly LeCraw’s new book, “The Half Brother is a complex, thoughtful book, perfect for reading away a snowy evening.” (Deb Baker, NewHampshire.com)

Get in Trouble is Kelly Link’s first collection for adult readers in about a decade, of which The Boston Globe writes, “Ridiculously brilliant . . . and entertaining as heck . . . These stories make you laugh while staring into the void.”

Susan Snively lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Her first novel – The Heart Has Many Doors – explores a love affair between Dickinson and Judge Otis Phillips Lord, her father’s best friend.

The Huffington Post describes Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing (his follow-up to The Girl with a Clock for a Heart) as “A wicked tale full of wicked characters… Sublime writing and more than a few sit-up-straight surprises.”

Laura van den Berg’s debut novel, Find Me, tells the story of a young woman trying to find her place in the world; she is presented with a unique opportunity to do so when a sickness sweeps the country to which she is immune. “van den Berg has a style, humor and grit that is all her own.” (Salon)

NONFICTION

Frederick Logevall (author, Embers of War) notes of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity “How did the long and bitter struggle in Southeast Asia influence Americans’ sense of themselves? Christian Appy’s penetrating and lucid account helps us make sense as few books have of this difficult chapter in the nation’s history.”

Screening Room: Family Pictures is author Alan Lightman’s memoir of Memphis from the 1930s through the 1960s and his powerful grandfather’s movie theater empire. “In Lightman’s hands, this story of a family becomes a meditation on the fleeting nature of our lives and the precious flashes of love and communion that illuminate them.” (Knoxnews)

Bill McKibben calls James McGregor’s Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World from Prehistory to the Present “A fascinating reappraisal of the ecological history of the cradle of Western traditions. Its conclusions are hopeful—perhaps our war with nature is less deeply rooted than we thought.”

The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth is a volume of essays by scholars from an array of disciplines, edited by Orlando Patterson. “This pathbreaking book examines an essential topic that men and women in the street discuss but that social scientists too often ignore: the contrast between the economic and social plight of black youth, on the one hand, and their cultural creativity, on the other.”  (Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles)

Mara Prentiss’ Energy Revolution: The Physics and the Promise of Efficient Technology, is “A surprisingly optimistic analysis of the world’s unsustainable, wasteful energy consumption…”(Kirkus Reviews)

The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care, by Angelo Volandes, argues for a good end to a life well-lived. “Volandes has done more than anyone to translate the incomprehensible and the unimaginable into clear visual terms for real human beings trying to decide how they want to be cared for in the future. (Diane Meier, MD, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care; Professor of Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

Jeffrey Sachs (The Price of Civilization) describes Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman’s Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet as “A remarkable book on climate change,” noting that “Climate Shock is deeply insightful, challenging, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and sheer fun to read. It will help you to think clearly and incisively about one of the most important issues of our generation.”

 POETRY

Nearly twenty years after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Dream of a Unified Field, poet Jorie Graham returns with From the New World: Poems 1976-2014, which includes selections from almost four decades of her work, including previously unpublished work.

— Compiled by Kirstie David, Mass Center for the Book.

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