Library features commitment-free literature

In The Stacks

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2003

The Juneau Public Library offers commitment-free fiction and non-fiction this week: short stories, poems and essays you can read for as long as you've got and still come away satisfied.

"The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002," edited by Joseph Parisi and Stephen Young "Poetry" magazine was founded in 1912 to give poets a forum, and has had the great fortune over the years of being the first to publish such now-classic poets as William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and Carl Sandburg. Virtually every significant poet of the 20th century has been represented in its pages, and now they are collected here in one volume for your enjoyment.

"Crossing into America," edited by Louis Mendoza and S. Shankar From the beginning of their journeys from their home country to their arrival in the United States, writers from the Philippines, Romania, Mexico and Kashmir document their lives. Writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Frank McCourt, Maxine Hong Kingston and Jamaica Kincaid give a human voice and experience to the flat immigration statistics we read.

"Among the Mansions of Eden," by David Weddle This is a behind-the-scenes look at the movers and shakers, eccentrics and wanna-bes, and the often-ugly underbelly of Beverly Hills. Each chapter explores an aspect of the area, from personalities like Milton Berle and Norm Zadeh, to the Persian community and Beverly Hills High School. Fascinating, gossipy and twisted.

"Meeting the Other Crowd," by Eddie Lenihan One of Ireland's master folklorists has collected fairy stories that show Ireland's "Wee Folk" in all possible lights. Whether they are punishing those who cross them, teaching those who please them or rewarding those who help them, the fairies in these stories are forces to be reckoned with. In the true tradition of folk tales, not all of these are child-suitable.

"Great Dream of Heaven," by Sam Shepard The stories in this collection have the clarity and absurd disconnectedness of dreams. And, like some dreams, images found here will stay with you for a long time. Whether it is two old friends driven apart by a Denny's waitress, a boy watching a fixer of bad horses do his job, or a short drama about a man, a woman, Proust and a bowl of cereal, these are exquisite looks at another world.

"The King in the Tree," by Steven Millhauser What if Don Juan went to England to continue his amorous adventures, only to find himself snared by the heart? Should a woman who puts her house up for sale after her husband's death be allowed to give his mistress a tour? And what of the story of Tristan and Ysolt - is it love or duty that brought them together to cuckold the king? No answers in this collection of three novellas, but plenty to wonder at.

"The Collected Stories of Greg Bear," by Greg Bear One of the biggest names in science fiction, Bear has collected 27 of his best stories for your enjoyment. All have been previously published, though some were in magazines and haven't, until now, been reprinted. Each one is accompanied by a new introduction. Bear's hallmark is well-researched speculative fiction, and several of his stories, bearing in mind the scientific knowledge of the time they were written, have become near-realities as our knowledge has increased.

"The Book of Spies," edited by Alan Furst The "literature of clandestine political conflict," as Furst describes this collection in his introduction, is widely varied and includes secret agents, terrorists, political assassins and more. In this collection of excerpts from famous and canonical writers in the genre such as Joseph Conrad, Maxim Gorky, John Steinbeck and Rebecca West, you'll find everything from raw anger to regret over what must be done, and yes, even some humor.

• If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalogue. Placing holds on items featured here is now even easier. The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalogue: simply look up the column, click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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