“Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me”: This track has been circling my head for a year. Richard FariÃ±a’s cult 1966 novel about a 1960s lifestyle is also right for 2021. I mean, starting January 6, things that aren’t supposed to happen just happen like clockwork. For example, let’s say you have a deadly disease, call it COVID, and the white coats are developing a cure. Everyone’s on it in the blink of an eye, aren’t they? Well, no, actually.
The insane comments and positions of many elected officials? When did our national gene pool switch?
But we have good news on this wacky what can you count on? thing. The book industry has grown considerably stronger in this era of uncertainty. Independent bookstores, which have been on Deathwatch’s business lists for years, have particularly rebounded in the past two years. Times Associate Editor Brian Dowd wrote a prescient report (“‘November is the new December’ for buying books,” November 18) on this welcome national display of brand loyalty. Worth a read for a healthy dose of holiday cheer.
Unexpected surprises are a remarkably consistent feature in the book business, and 2021 was no exception. We had a handful of books by local authors worth reading, and perhaps rewarding readers more than the horrible political behavior we are learning from the torrent of revealing.
My favorite this year was ‘Leaving Coy’s Hill’, a fictional real-life version of Lucy Stone, vaguely remembered, a farmer from Massachusetts who literally paved the way for racial and women’s rights in the mid-years. 1800.
Longtime Islander writer Katharine A. Sherbrooke has proven that commitment to a task and overwhelming amounts of research can result in a page-turner like the story of Lucy Stone. We will probably hear a lot more about Sherbrooke.
West Tisbury resident John Hough Jr.’s latest novel “The Sweetest Days” shows us the success a writer in the fullness of his or her years can achieve by working outside of their comfort zone; Hough’s award-winning sweet spot has been historical fiction, but in “The Sweetest Days” he tells both an endearing love story as well as a 40-year-old backstory that creates a path to come together. the tragedy.
Jeff W. Bens’ “Mighty Oak” somehow bounced around the mailbox, rolled into our office, and stopped in front of us. Hmm. Bens is a Boston-area guy who runs college creative writing programs. âMighty Oakâ is a slice of life in Boston’s warrior blue-collar neighborhoods back in the days before millennials and their little dogs took over. Hockey, a true warrior sport, is the profession, and we advocate the personal resurrection of Tim O’Connor, known as “Oak”.
There is a relentlessness in the truth of Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates’ books on the racial history of the United States. Now speaking the public truth is not in fashion right now, so it is a welcome aspect of “Black Church., “ The latest from Gates, on the saving role the Black Church has played for its enslaved and then freed devotees over the past four centuries.
If you read Gates’ Stony the Road in 2020, the truths contained therein have probably stunned you. âBlack Churchâ is cut from the same fabric and is a companion to Gates’ four-hour PBS miniseries of the same name.
Speaking of the truth, island novelist Fred Waitzkin reminds us in “Strange Love” of the troubles we run into when we don’t tell the truth to ourselves or to others. His The fifth novel is both a strange and charming new novel. It’s a complex story, interspersed with threads of disillusionment, self-deception, and wacky, ironically funny twists and turns.
Speaking of unexpected twists and turns, Waitzkin reports that his iconic “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1988) returned to the NYT bestseller lists this summer, following the airing of “The Queen’s Gambit”, the drama series based on the Netflix Chess Written and Directed by Islander Scott Frank.
With âAtlantis: The Accidental Invasion,â Island resident Gregory Mone shows why he’s a New York Times young adult genre star. Mone reached bestseller lists with “Fish” a decade ago.
Atlantis is a futuristic story of teenagers, two from the underwater country of Atlantis and two from the post-climate change mess America has become. Wonderfully written, plotted, and researched, this one would make a great holiday gift. And keep an eye on it; you’ll want to read it when they’re done.