For Maryland writers, a busy year

Books of the Region

December 07, 2003|By James H. Bready | James H. Bready,Special to the Sun

Here is the part of the annual attempt at a census of books written by Marylanders or related to Maryland. A second compilation is scheduled for next Sunday.

Art, Architecture

E. Francis Baldwin, Architect: The B & O, Baltimore and Beyond, by Carlos P. Avery (Baltimore Architecture Foundation, 149 pages, $22.95). Baldwin (1837-1916) and partners designed 400-plus Maryland buildings, including downtown City College, the Rennert Hotel, the B. & O. Warehouse, Mount Royal Station, Hutzler's Palace Building, the 1906-1950 Sun Building. A careful survey, with great pictures.

Richard Caton Woodville: American Painter, Artful Dodger, by Justin Wolff (Princeton, 208 pages, $39.95). A Baltimore blueblood (1825-1855), and realistic recorder of middle-class social rituals.

Menzel's Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth-Century Berlin, by Michael Fried (Yale, 320 pages, $55).

Biography, Autobiography

Frederick Douglass, For the Great Family of Man, by Peter Burchard (Atheneum, 240 pages, $18.95). Among modern books about the native 19th- century Marylander with the greatest national stature, here is perhaps the most direct, the most inspiring.

Crackpot, by John Waters (Scribner, 204 pages, $13). The obsessions of a word man (not just a filmmaker). The 118 magazines and seven daily newspapers he subscribes to.

Filling in the Dash, (The Wednesday Writers, 214 pages, $14.95). Memoirs of what has gone on in that interval on a writer's (future) gravestone, between birth and death.

The Silence of Snow, by Lynn Rosenberg (1stBooks, 208 pages, $17.50). A memoir of her son Hane, who had leukemia.

La Famiglia Americana-The American Family, by Paul M. Baker (Adeas, 236 pages, $19.95). A first-generation American fondly recalls people and moments in his Baltimore upbringing.

The Atheist: Madelyn Murray O'Hair, by Bryan F. LeBeau (New York University, 296 pages, $29.95). Including her Baltimore years, and her role in the 1963 Supreme Court decision that outlawed compulsory prayer in public schools.

A Disjointed Search for the Will to Live, by Shaka N'Zinga (Soft Skull, 240 pages, $13). A literate Afrocentric anarchist radical (the former Arthur Wiggins, convicted in a 1988 Baltimore murder and now in the House of Corrections), vents anger, desires, ideas.

Fiction

Little Edens, by Barbara Klein Moss (Norton, 294 pages, $23.95). Eight short stories on the theme of the small paradises we imagine we live in, until reality intrudes. In jail, an Iranian rug dealer mentally weaves a gorgeous rug; freed, he cannot reconstruct it.

The Language of Light, by Meg Waite Clayton (St. Martin's, 324 pages, $24.95). A young widow's difficulties, in the old-money hunt country north of Baltimore.

Sixty-six, by Barry Levinson (Broadway, 274 pages, $24). Baltimore in 1966 -- the Hilltop Diner, civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, hippies. The film director's first novel.

Walk Like a Natural Man, by M. Dion Thompson (BlackWords, 366 pages, $24.95). In 1939, a Texas orphan hops freights to Hollywood, hoping to go to Colored Actors School and be in the movies.

Children of the Storm, by Elizabeth Peters (i.e., Barbara Mertz) (Morrow, 400 pages, $25.95). The 16th novel so far about Amelia and Radcliffe Emerson, and archaeology in the 1920s amid the Nile Valley's pharaonic tombs.

Father of the Man, by Robert Mooney (Pantheon, 228 pages, $23). A man whose son never came back from Vietnam goes wild in his agony.

Simon Says, by Collen Dixon (Villard / Strivers Row, 336 pages, $12.95).

Requiem for a Summer Cottage, by Barbara Lockhart (Southern Methodist University, 280 pages, $22.50) Life on an Eastern Shore farm.

Ghosts in the Garden, by Eleanor Davies Tydings Ditzen (Dorrance, 140 pages, $14). Wealth, privilege and celebrity at Oakley Manor (read Oakington) in Harford County. And danger, not just from ghosts.

How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete, by David Spencer (Baskerville, 285 pages, $21). A coming-of-age story.

Cake: Stories, by Tristan Davies (Johns Hopkins, 156 pages, $15.95).

Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Algonquin, 307 pages, $23.95).

Nature

Birds of the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Where to Find Them, by John H. Rappole (Johns Hopkins, 288 pages, $21.95 ). From loons and shrikes to pipits and gnatcatchers.

Entering the Stone, by Barbara Hurd (Houghton Mifflin, 170 pages, $23). That is, exploring caves. And meditating on darkness, wetness, claustrophobia, humanity.

Chincoteague Revisited, by Dorothy Camagna (photos) and Jennifer Cording (text) (Oaklea, 112 pages, $32.95). Much is about Assateague Island.

Sugarloaf: the Mountain's History, Geology and Natural Core, by Melanie Choukas-Bradley (University of Virginia, 114 pages, $11.95).

Snakehead, A Fish out of Water, by Eric Jay Dolin (Smithsonian, 240 pages, $24.95). The nine-days-wonder in a Crofton pond.

History

The Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World, by Jill Jonnes (Random, 432 pages, $27.95). How much we owe them.

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