We continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus. If you believe local news is essential, please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Local authors release new books

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2019 10:00:19 PM
Modified: 10/3/2019 10:00:09 PM

In the mood for a murder mystery? A bit of escapism? Some tips for taking control of your health? The latest crop of books written by area authors or set in places familiar to Upper Valley readers includes a new Archer Mayor novel, a fly-fishing travelogue, a book of poetry by a prominent environmentalist and a doctor’s tips for combating stress.

Bomber’s Moon

by Archer Mayor;
Minotaur Books;
311 pages; $27.99

The bodies are piling up in Vermont again — at least within the pages of Archer Mayor’s new novel, Bomber’s Moon. The 30th novel in the acclaimed Joe Gunther series, the book tells the story of multiple murders connected by an unexpected force, and the mismatched pair of professionals who come together to unravel the story, sometimes finding themselves at odds with Gunther and his team on the Vermont Bureau of Investigation.

Mayor, who lives in Newfane, Vt., and works as a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, has a penchant for exposing and perhaps amplifying the uglier dimensions of the Green Mountain State. In Bomber’s Moon, the dramatic plot plays out across familiar locales: downtown Windsor, the Connecticut River (site of one of the murders), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, a fictional prep school that could be any of the elite institutions dotting New England and a gritty Brattleboro newsroom that resembles those of struggling community newspapers around the country: Mayor, known for his fact-based approach to the police procedural genre, also worked as a journalist earlier in his career.

A Doctor’s Dozen

by Catherine Florio Pipas; Dartmouth College Press; 224 pages; $22.95

Chronic health problems are the price our modern society pays for its worship of productivity, and perhaps no one knows this as well as the family doctor. That’s not just because doctors see and treat the ailments that plague the stressed-out, burned-out members of society; it’s because they suffer these ailments in high numbers themselves.

In her book A Doctor’s Dozen, family physician and Geisel School of Medicine professor Catherine Florio Pipas offers a concrete list of strategies for promoting wellness among both individuals and the community. The book’s primary audience is family physicians, the argument being that doctors must care for themselves if they are to provide quality care for patients, but its principles apply to anyone hoping to find serenity and purpose within their over-packed schedules.

Balancing scientific research with compelling stories from her 25 years in practice, Pipas first builds the case that our nation’s health outcomes are worsening due to stress and burnout, which lead to poor lifestyle choices, and that medical professionals are especially prone to burnout because of the demands of their careers. She then lays out a list of ideals such as “practice mindfulness,” “establish trusting relationships,” “embrace change” and “rewrite your story.”

While much of the wisdom treads familiar territory, Pipas’ stories of both fellow doctors and patients wrestling with challenges ranging from cancer to infidelity bring the lessons to life. Each chapter also includes a concrete task the reader can undertake in pursuit of the corresponding goal.

Storied Waters

by David A. Van Wie;
Stackpole Books;
216 pages; $29.95

The act of teasing a fish from the water and of teasing a tale from the pen are linked in ways that date back to Biblical times. Along with a body of “fish literature,” there’s a long list of writers who drew inspiration from fishing or from waters fabled for their fish. In Storied Waters, Lyme writer and outdoorsman David A. Van Wie ties these two contemplative pastimes together by visiting fly-fishing destinations around the United States where famous writers and artists cast lines or gleaned material.

The thematic destinations give structure to a narrative that meanders from Walden Pond to the Poconos to the Limestone Creeks of southern Wisconsin, luxuriating in the sensory details of the settings and the author’s catch in each body of water. Largely a chatty travel narrative, the book is also a literary tour of the settings, from the waters of the Catskill mountains, where Washington Irving set the first American fly-fishing story, The Angler, to the possible inspiration for John Irving’s fictional “twisted river,” where he set his novel, Last Night in Twisted River. The latter is “by no means a fishing story,” Van Wie writes. “And yet, Irving’s novel captures much of what I have sensed while fishing the Swift Diamond and Dead Diamond Rivers over the decades.”

The book, which explores several Vermont and New Hampshire locations and at least one Upper Valley body of water, Lake Mitchell in Norwich, is well stocked with glossy photos. Many of the chapters contain info boxes with background on the bodies of water and tips for fishing there. 

Van Wie will lead a reading and discussion at the Norwich Bookstore on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. and at the Converse Free Library in Lyme on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.

What We Have Instead

by Gus Speth;
Shires Press; 71 pages; $15

Gus Speth has had numerous influential platforms over the years, as dean of Yale’s school of environment and forestry, law professor at Vermont Law School, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute and head of the United Nations’ Development Program. Now, the longtime environmentalist, who splits his time between Strafford and South Carolina, is taking his message in a new direction, with a quiet, meditative book of poetry.

What We Have Instead, published by Shires Press of Manchester Center, Vt., is a collection of poems with themes chronicling scenes from everyday life, milestones both triumphant and tragic and musings on politics, history, aging and forgiveness.

Speth’s poetic style and structure vary, from spare, sometimes wry, free verse to rhyming quatrains. He brings an eye for telling detail and a unique outlook to well-known topics. In Holding It All Together, Speth conjures the futile fuming of the disillusioned masses:

I can’t imagine
the world working
when I’m gone
or if I just quit.

The guidance I give
shouting at the TV,
cursing in the yard,
advising friends what to think,
giving assignments to reporters,
holds the world together,
such as it is.

Coping is what it’s all about.
Pissing in the wind,
whistling past the graveyard,
these are life skills
learned in lesser times
and now invoked.

As the proper order of the world
seems rather threatened,
and the supplies of comity,
discretion, and common decency run short,
still, we will confound the world
with civility and thoughtful observation
while going berserk at home
where oaths echo
from wall to wall.

Perfectly Imperfect

by Ilene Kanoff;
30 pages; $11.99

This children’s book by a former math teacher at Strafford’s Newton School, tells the true story of a dog the author adopted from Jerusalem 11 years ago. Yedidee was hit by a car and left with a broken leg that local veterinarians couldn’t set properly. He was adopted by Kanoff’s family when they came to volunteer at the animal hospital where he was being cared for. What happens after that sets up a lesson on, as the title implies, accepting life as it is. The book, which is illustrated by Megan Martinez, is available in paperback through Amazon or in hardcover directly from the author: hitopmath@gmail.com.

Sarah Earle can be reached at searle@vnews.com or 603-727-3268.

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2020 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy