Issue of January 31, 2010

Three books are featured in this week’s issue, one rather well-known, two relatively unknown, but all three are worthy reading. So strap on your seat belts for a trip into Literary Land. And don’t forget that you have an opportunity to win four of the books in Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s Sisters 8 series by entering the contest. Details are posted at the end of her column.

Zora Neale Hurston is probably better known to the African American community than to others, but her amazing work is kindling a resurgence among all readers. Nicki Leone’s long ago discovery of Hurston’s Men and Mules, a collection of black folk tales introduced Nicki to a new part of her interest in myths and folktales, and to a brilliant cultural writer in Big Ole’ Lies.

Is one’s culture the one grows up in? Can one be adopted into another to the point where it can overtake the original? Or will there always be a sense of being on the outside? Lindsay Champion shares one young woman’s experiences trying to replace a culture of pain with one of excitement and love in a new book of self- and cultural discovery in Bienvenidos a California.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted makes no secret of her passion for former president Bill Clinton. So when the book written by Taylor Branch appeared she wanted to talk about it, not in the sense of objectively reviewing it but as a admitted fan and admirer of the subject in Unabashedly for Clinton.

The fight started with a press event on Friday and ended Sunday afternoon with a whimper. But for three days it looked as if the big online kahuna of bookselling would enter the boxing ring with one of the largest publishers in the world. Who would win? Would there be a knockout? There was none. One participant conceded, but the parting speech indicates that the fight isn’t over yet, or says Lauren Roberts in The Fight That Fizzled.

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