Like a rider at the top of a roller coaster’s first hill, our planet sits on the pinnacle of light and darkness, before plunging headlong into the next season. Summer is on its way, but before it arrives, we have a moment to look out over what awaits.
RHETORIC & POETRY
Is there anything more stereotypically spring than reciting poetry in a field of wildflowers? Or grinning at the orators on Speakers’ Corner? Bloomsbury has released two new books about the art of persuasion and the foundation of verse.
Rhetoric defines the common characteristics of persuasive writing and speaking. Each page highlights a concept, giving (often amusing) examples and using delightful illustrations. Often, the reader will discover a practice that they recognize but didn’t know there was a formalized term for it.
English majors will recognize many of the terms in Poetic Meter and Form. It’s a glossary of terms likely to be on any exam. The page explaining “dactyl”:
Drawing from classic poetry, likely to be familiar to most readers, it pulls examples of rhyming schemes, stanza types and even a bit about their typical usage.
The ghazal is a poetic form originating in North Africa and the Middle-East around the 6th century. In the 12th century it spread to South Asia and India via Sufism. Its theme is unrequited love, either because the love is forbidden or, especially within Sufism, the unobtainable beloved is God or a spiritual master.
I’ve never heard of a ghazal before but now I want to find one.
Thanks to Sarah for the review copies, and providing the page scans.
BLACK RABBIT HALL by Eve Chase
I should have liked this one more than I did. A young couple is about to get married and they are in search of the perfect venue. A rainy afternoon in Cornwall leaves them lost and looking for the elusive estate that now hosts events. The bride-to-be is obsessed with finding it but she can’t quite explain why she is so drawn to it.
A dual storyline novel, that eventually meets in the end, it moves back and forth between present day and the idyllic childhood summers of the 1960s. Until tragedy strikes.
But when Lorna starts ascending the steep shaft of the tower’s stairwell — dark, tightly-enclosed, its exits unclear — she realizes that her father might be onto something. It really would be quite easy to get lost in Black Rabbit Hall. To think you were going in one direction but be heading entirely in another. ~Pg. 60
I found the main narrator a bit annoying. It was difficult to get into her head and disappear. Despite comparisons to Daphne du Maurier and Dodie Smith, I didn’t find any of the maturity of those writers.
Thanks to Putnam for the review copy.
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (February 9, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
STEALING GAMES by Maury Klein
Spring training is underway and Opening Day is not far away. On the brink of a new season, anything seems possible for a beloved team. In 1911, manager John McGraw adapted his New York Giants to a changing game. With the advent of the cork-centered ball, play on the field changed.
Klein places this season within an era. He collects facts and figures to help the reader understand what life was like then. He compares the average wages to the price of an average baseball and a ticket in the stands.
He also weaves in anecdotes that make McGraw’s Giants come alive.
On the twenty-eighth, while the Giants were warming up prior to their game with the Cardinals, a gawky individual dressed in his Sunday best abled onto the field and asked to speak with McGraw. Directed to the manager, he spun a tale of how he had come from his native Kansas to win the pennant for New York. At the state fair in Kansas a fortune-teller had convinced him that he was destined to pitch for the Giants and help them win the championship. Given the weather and his shortage of pitchers, McGraw figured he had nothing to lose. “Well, that’s interesting,” he said. “Take off your hat and coat, and here’s a glove. I’ll get a catcher’s miss and warm you up, and we’ll see what you’ve got.” The stranger gave his name as Charles Victor Faust, food enough for any superstitious person. ~Pg. 197
Brimming with stories, box scores, and dozens of vintage photos, this is an incomparable look at a pivotal season in the game of baseball and in America’s history.
Thank you to Anthony at Bloomsbury for the review copy.
Imprint: Bloomsbury Press
Illustrations: 1 x 16 page b/w insert
Dimensions: 6 1/8″ x 9 1/4″
List price: $28.00