Maryland authors filled the bookshelves with something for everyone


January 01, 1995|By James H. Bready Binnie Syril Braunstein and Mark Owings contributed to this listing.

Bong! The stroke of midnight, the end of 1994. Best wishes to the year's new or repeat Maryland authors, and to those $H anywhere who wrote about Maryland, all for the general reader. So now, the 41st annual listing -- apologies to anyone overlooked or out-spaced (addendum at month's end).

Fiction: From Maryland's three best-seller suspense artists came chronologically) "Debt of Honor," by Tom Clancy; Stephen Hunter's "Dirty White Boys"; and "Night Train to Memphis" by Barbara Mertz (as Elizabeth Peters).

The two Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars masters of the short story, Jean McGarry and Stephen Dixon, produced, respectively, Home at Last" and "The Stories of Stephen Dixon" (1963-1993). John Barth's 12th book was "Once Upon a Time: A Floating Opera," an autobiographical fiction.

Helen Chappell's op-ed page reports on Desiree Grinch, Miss Nettie, Ferrus T. Buckett et al, from somewhere on the Shore, were smilingly assembled in "The Oysterback Tales." Nora Roberts, queen of the romance novelists, went mainstream in "Hidden Riches." "The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals" was an imaginative foray by Michael Kernan. A big seller was Dennis McAuliffe's "The Deaths of Sybil Bolton." John Boland's latest crime novel was "Murder in Jerusalem." "Silent Son" was by Gallatin Warfield. "Mantrap" was another of Louise Titchener's thrillers set in Baltimore.

John Gregory Brown wrote "Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery." "The Rag Bone Man," about a New Age bookstore, was by Charlotte Lawrence, a New Age bookstore owner. "Deep Water" was a series novel by Pam Jekel. Eight stories by Richard Rabikoff were collected as "Tough Customers." "Sunrise" was a Chassie West mystery. Glenn Lawson defined his "Baykeeper" as ecofiction.

Romance fiction: At least 15 Marylanders published novels, many using one or more pen names: Cynthia Bailey-Pratt, Eileen Buckholtz, Helen Chappell (here writing as Rebecca Baldwin), Sonia Crowne, Barbara Cummings, Ruth Glick, Rhonda Harding-Pollero, Kathryn Jensen, Susan King, Loree Lough, Jo-Ann Power, Mary Jo Putney, Nora Roberts (four additional books), Linda Shertzer, Betsy Tunis, Linda Windsor.

Science fiction: Published authors included Ann C. Crispin, Charles Sheffield, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jack Chalker (two books), Brian Daley, James Luceno.

Biography, autobiography: "Mencken: A Life" was by Fred Hobson, the first biographer to have access to all this subject's writings. That included "35 Years of Newspaper Work: A Memoir by H. L. Mencken." Yet a third Mencken book: "Second Chrestomathy" (Terry Teachout, editor). Gerald Griffin, retired from The Sun, wrote "A Memoir." Jack Fruchtman Jr.'s "Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom" enlarged on an earlier study. For the centennial of James Thurber's mirth, Neil A. Grauer wrote "Remember Laughter." Ron Zaczek remembered Vietnam in "Farewell, Darkness."

James Lester honored a seminal jazz pianist in "Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum." Florence Martin's biography, "Bessie Smith," was written in French. In "My Great-Grandfather Was Stonewall Jackson," David Sawyer told "the story of a Negro boy growing up in the segregated South." "Father Joe: A Year of Wit, Wisdom and Warmth" was a collection of Catholic Review columns by the Rev. Joseph Breighner.

History: The Sun's Scott Shane bore witness to a 20th-century climax in "Dismantling Utopia: How Information Ended the Soviet Union." Carol Wilson reminded border-staters of an old stain in "Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America, 1780-1865." J. Matthew Gallman's subject was "The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front." World War II's D-Day anniversary occupied Paul L. Stilwell, who put together "Assault on Normandy: First-Person Accounts From the Sea Services." Carole R. McCann dealt with civilian combat in "Birth Control Politics in the United States, 1916-1945." Stephen Hughes' subject was "Crime, Disorder and the Risorgimento" in 19th-century Italy. Leslie Prosterman relived Midwestern county fairs in "Ordinary Life, Festival Days."

Local history: Robert I. Cottom Jr. and Mary Ellen Hayward collaborated on the Maryland Historical Society's illustrated "Maryland in the Civil War: A House Divided." In "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," John Sherwood profiled 66 people who "hang on to values and skills that are quickly disappearing" (with Edwin H. Remsberg's photos). David C. Holly wrote "Chesapeake Steamboats: Vanished Fleet (1813-1963)." "The Price of Nationhood" to Charles County, Jean B. Lee wrote, was less prominence after the Revolutionary War. A more recent upset: "Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmondson Village Story," by Edward Orser.

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