Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Arrivals: Larks, Termites and Loony Bins

Now that the holidays are over, what better way to start the new year than with a new book? While winter is a relatively slow time in the publishing world, new works do continue to appear. Here are a few of the latest now on the shelves at Accent on Books (hardcovers, unless otherwise noted).



Lark & Termite, by Jane Anne Phillips. The first book in nine years from this wonderful writer. It's a novel set in the early 1950's, with a narrative that alternates between West Virginia and wartime Korea. The title characters are sister and brother, part of a most unusual family.



Things I've Been Silent About, by Azar Nafisi. This new book by the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran provides background and context for the earlier work, which inspired and fascinated countless readers. Here, the focus is on her childhood and her family, a group of brilliant but flawed individuals dealing with both the richness and the compromises of life before, during and after the Islamic revolution in Iran.



Promises of Change, by Joan Medlicott (paperback). The eighth book in the ever-popular Covington series, by the Barnardsville writer who has developed a national following. Change indeed is in the air when Max's estranged son Zachary arrives in Covington from India with his pregnant wife, Sarina. Medlicott's many fans will find their favorite characters challenged in new and intriguing ways.



Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin. "Autism made school and social life hard, but it made animals easy." This quote from Temple Grandin sums up the fascination and admiration she inspires as a person with autism who has become one of the nation's most renowned and respected experts on animal behavior. Her latest book is an eminently practical volume about how to treat animals -- pets, farm animals, wildlife -- in ways that respect their needs and well-being rather than just our own.

Voluntary Madness, by Norah Vincent. Three years ago, this intrepid journalist created a sensation with Self-Made Man, her chronicle of disguising herself and living eighteen months as a male. While the experience produced a bestselling book, it also led to a deep depression, and a "year lost and found in the loony bin" (to quote this book's subtitle). Vincent recounts her experiences of that year and her encounter with mental health care in America, both as a patient and as an observer.

Eclipse, by Richard North Patterson. Patterson has long been known as a writer of intelligent and politically engaged thrillers, and his latest is no exception. It's the story of a California lawyer who travels to Africa to defend the leader of a protest movement against murder charges. Nationalism, geopolitics and the world's dependence on oil all come into play in a book full of both ideas and page-turning excitement.

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