In the stacks

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2001

This week's offering from Juneau Public Libraries is new non-fiction!

"The Olive Farm," by Carol Drinkwater, is the delightful true story of the purchase and eventual renovation of an olive farm in the south of France by two newlyweds. Carol and Michel cannot pass up the villa with 10 acres of fertile land, so, using their savings as a down-payment and Michel's daughters as extra laborers, they set about locating their water source, clearing lizards from the house and ivy from the pool, and creating a family.

"Our Alaska," edited by Mike Doogan, is a collection of stories about living in the North written by Alaskans from all over the state. There is something for everyone here, from humor to poignancy. Several of the writers are well-known (Dana Stabenow, for instance); for others, this may be their first publishing experience (Maeve McCoy). Juneau is well-represented by Bridget Smith (an ode to the ferry), Dan DeRoux ("Leaving in Alaska") and Gregg Erickson (homemade depth charges).

"Too Close to Call," by Jeffrey Toobin, analyzes the aftermath of the Bush-Gore election. Sorting out the trivial from the vital, and making it read like a legal thriller, Toobin manages to give each side evenhanded treatment. The result gives readers a better understanding of the 36 days that led up to the Supreme Court decision that gave us President George W. Bush.

"Best Friends, Worst Enemies," by Michael Thompson, discusses children and their social lives from infancy on. Thompson acts as interpreter for childhood conversations, points out the ways in which secure attachments help children form friendships, and discusses warning signs that a child may benefit from therapy or other forms of intervention.

"John Muir's Last Journey," edited by Michael P. Branch, is a collection of letters and unpublished journals chronicling Muir's 8-month journey to South America and Africa at the age of 73. Although Muir himself considered this last journey to be the most important of his life, this is the first time his journals from this time have been published. This is delightful reading: Sparse journal entries are interspersed with more witty and personal letters, and each section is introduced with a background essay by the editor.

"How I Play Golf," by Tiger Woods, is a richly photographed how-to by one of golf's youngest masters. Chapters cover the basics, from "how to start" and "how to swing," to "how to escape from sand," with plenty of attention paid to pacing and grip. Along with the technical details, Tiger adds his family's philosophies as they apply to golf and life, from the importance of practice sessions to weathering a bad game.

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