Recommended Paperbacks: How Babe Ruth Changed the Game of Baseball, Cat Health, Murders in Florence, and Why We WriteFriday, April 26th, 2013
Why We Write edited by Meredith Maran (Plume, $17)
Veteran writer and book critic Meredith Maran contacted twenty award-winning and bestselling writers to find out why they write. The results were candid, sometimes surprising and occasionally filled with never before shared secrets. This collection is an absolute must for avid readers who are curious about what makes their favorite writers tick, and how they do what they do.
The contributors include such literary heavy-hitters as Sue Grafton, Armistead Maupin, James Frey, rick Moody and Michael Lewis. As David Baldacci observed, “If writing were illegal I’d be in prison. I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion.”
Anyone who has ever considered writing as a profession or even a hobby will find just how exhilarating and, yes, heartbreaking writing can be through the crisply written and focused essays in this insightful book.
Hidden Cities: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises by Moses Gates (Tarcher/Penguin, $16.95)
Moses Gates is an urban planner, licensed New York City guide, and visiting assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute.
In his compelling new book, Gates reveals sites not found in the typical guidebooks. For example, he shares such intriguing obscure areas as a forgotten limestone quarry under Odessa which was the former home to the city’s WWII Partisan fighters. In Naples, he describes the ancient Sottosuolo, a vast and underground city. In London, Gates serves up one of London’s “lost rivers,” buried since the Victorian era. He even documents a semi-abandoned power plant in Niagara Falls.
As an urban planner, Gates states that his love for cities triggered his curiosity and after his arrival in New York City he wanted to truly explore the Big Apple. He did and encourages others to get off that couch and go somewhere, be someone and accomplish something. Even though there might be occasional boundaries, Gates is convinced they should be tested and overcome, if possible.
This is an engaging guide for anyone with an itch to travel, especially along the less traveled paths of the world.
The Monster of Florence: A True Story by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi (Grand Central Publishing, $14.99)
In 2008, when I first reviewed this book, I described it as “a riveting true story involving murder, suicide, rumor, poisoning, body parts sent by mail, prosecutorial and even satanic sects…a true account of this case as an indictment of the overzealous prosecutors who, by manipulating the truth, shielded a cold-blooded murder.” In re-reading “The Monster of Florence,” I discovered it still retains its original shock value.
Issued this week in paperback, this edition has a new afterword on the shocking link to the Amanda Knox case and proves that the truth is often more bizarre and stranger than fiction.
This meticulously researched story spent 14 weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list and deservedly so.
The House that Ruth Built by Robert Weintraub (Back Bay Books/Little, Brown & Company, $16.99)
Robert Weintraub, a frequent contributor to The New York Times sports pages, and author of “The Victory Season,” reconstructs the 1923 baseball season and shows how it changed the game that year and every year that followed.
Before that pivotal year, the Yankees were New York’s shadow franchise. They hadn’t won a championship and didn’t even own their own field. In fact, they had to rent the Polo Grounds from their heated rivals, the New York Giants.
In 1923, the Yankees played their first season in “Yankee Stadium,” a newly built field in the Bronx. The field was a big gamble and all bets were on Babe Ruth who was coming off the most disappointing season of his career. After Babe took to the field, everything changed including even the sport of baseball.
This is one of the most exciting books about baseball to be published in recent years. With wonderful detail and a crisply written narrative, this should be one everyone’s summer reading list.
The Complete Book of Home Remedies for Your Cat: A Concise Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy – for Life by Deborah Mitchell (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99)
This comprehensive guide is a must-have for cat owners looking for safe and reliable home remedies to combat the most common feline health problems. Whether you want to ward off fleas, ear mites, and intestinal parasites or ease feline arthritis or relieve symptoms of diabetes, the answers are to be found in this collection of natural home cures, healing foods, and healthy tips for the cat that shares your home.
Deborah Mitchell, a widely published health journalist who has written more than three dozen books on related topics, shares the best and safest treatments using simple home remedies, herbal therapies, and chemical-free options, while taking dosing into careful consideration. The main point of her book is to keep the family cat safe, happy and healthy.
The Book of Nice: A Nice Book About Nice Things for Nice People by Josh Chetwynd (Workman, $8.95)
This quirky little book is filled with trivia, popular culture, and history including such tidbits as the curious history of blowing a kiss, why we serve wedding cake, how Cary Grant inspired a hotel pillow mint, and 161 other nice signs, practices, and expressions we often take for granted.
Josh Chetwynd, based in Denver, Colorado, is the author of “The Secret History of Balls: The Stories Behind the Things We Love to Catch, Whack, Throw, Kick, Bounce and Bat.” He is a former reporter for USA Today and U.S. News & World Report. His new book is more than just a collection of facts, it reveals positive things about the way we live today.