In Print : Cozy up with a good book
One of the nicest ways to share our Island with friends and loved ones during the holidays is to give them books about the Vineyard or by authors who live here. Dozens of Vineyard-related books that were published in 2008 would make nice additions to any library.
Island photographers are inspired by both land and sea, as displayed in several books new this year. Vineyard Haven photographer and gallery owner Louisa Gould, herself an accomplished sailor, has published "Wooden Boats on Martha's Vineyard," a handsome tribute to an Island industry.
Christopher Bonney's new book, "Vineyard Impressions," is filled with sumptuous harbor shots, houses, boats, and water views. Robert and Lynn Gatchell offer companion catalogues of Vineyard Victorian architecture in "Painted Ladies, Corbels & Gingerbread" and "Painted Ladies, Balusters and Columns."
Although not focused exclusively on the Vineyard, Kim Knox Beckius, who covers New England for about.com, offers a fresh look at the region in her new book, "New England Coasts," with photographs by William H. Johnson.
Cape Cod master gardener C.L. Fornari has turned her talents to the Vineyard for her new book, "A Garden Lover's Martha's Vineyard," with helpful pointers and lush photographs by the author.
In the nonfiction category, the most literary new Vineyard book this year is the late William Styron's "Havanas in Camelot," a collection of personal essays, including one about walks with his dog and another about his Vineyard Haven home. Tom Dresser has dug up the dirt on a vintage Island crime case in "Mystery on the Vineyard: Politics, Passion and Scandal on East Chop."
Holly Nadler, who leads haunted house tours on-Island in the summer, serves up the lowdown on Martha's Vineyard's paranormal happenings in "Vineyard Supernatural: True Ghost Stories from America's Most Haunted Island." Phyllis Meras has paired up with photographer Betsy Corsiglia to produce "Martha's Vineyard: Quiet Pleasures," a collection of essays matched with color photographs that depict Martha's Vineyard's natural beauty.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Vineyard Haven resident Tony Horwitz has a new book out this year, "A Voyage Long & Strange: Rediscovering the New World." The author of several nonfiction books that take a hands-on approach to history, including "Confederates in the Attic," Mr. Horwitz uses his latest one to explore the earliest contacts between Europeans and native Americans.
For those interested in Martha's Vineyard's environment, Alan Keith, Stephen Spongberg, and Dr. David Patterson have authored "Island Life: A Catalog of the Biodiversity On and Around Martha's Vineyard." Susan Whiting and Barbara Pesch's "Vineyard Birds II: Where and What to See on Martha's Vineyard" offers a detailed guide to Martha's Vineyard's winged population, with many illustrations.
Cookbooks are always welcome gifts. The Library Friends of Oak Bluffs have produced "Tastes of Cottage City from Near and Far," filled with recipes from Island residents, year-round and summer. This fundraising follow-up to their first cookbook, "A Taste of our Island," is a handsome ring-bound edition with a section containing ethnic recipes from Martha's Vineyard, including Brazilian and Armenian dishes. It is available at the Oak Bluffs Library, Edgartown Books, Phillips Hardware, and Rainy Day.
An Island classic, "Martha's Vineyard Cookbook" by Louise Tate King and Jean Stewart Wexler has reappeared this year in a fourth edition, full of Vineyard lore and recipes. Carol McManus, the owner of Edgartown's Espresso Love Café, has written "Table Talk: Food, Family Love, a Cookbook" to celebrate home cooking.
It was published last year, but photographs by Martha's Vineyard's own Alison Shaw continue to make "Raising the Salad Bar: Beyond Leafy Greens" by Catherine Walthers a kitchen necessity for many.
New this year is collection of verses by West Tisbury's poet laureate, Daniel Waters, accompanied by his black-and-white linoleum prints. "Robert Frost's Answering Machine" will charm poetry lovers.
Fans of the late Philip R. Craig will want to read his last Vineyard mystery, "Vineyard Chill," before wrapping it up and giving it away. Cynthia Riggs's latest mystery, "Death and Honesty," won't be out until the spring, but Vineyard Stories reissued two of her earlier, out-of-print novels in 2007 as the one-volume "Double Murder in Martha's Vineyard."
Other new novels this year include Sue Guiney's "Tangled Roots" (reviewed in The Martha's Vineyard Times on December 4), about a physicist and his free-spirited mother, and Susannah Sturgis's "The Mud of the Place," which gives the inside scoop on Vineyard year-rounders from a lesbian perspective.
Kate Feiffer recently published her second children's book, "Pennybaker for President," about a boy who drops out of school to run for president. Two more books by the author are in the pipeline this spring. In his first-time attempt doing both the writing and illustrating, Vineyard artist Paul Carrick has produced a new children's book, "Watch Out for Wolfgang" in which a family of young robots have to watch out for Wolfgang the Recycler. It can be preordered, but it won't be out officially until February. A recently published early reader to look out for is "Malcolm Meadowmouse," by Oak Bluffs resident Norman S. Reed.
Award-winning poet and children's book author Richard Michelson, who summers in the Oak Bluffs Campgrounds, has three new children's books out this year. "A Is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet" is particularly appropriate as a Hanukah present for young children.
Popular children's book author Judy Blume, who summers on Martha's Vineyard, has published two new chapter books this year. A companion book to "Soupy Saturday," "Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One" includes seven stories about brother and sister Jake and Abigail. "Going, Going, Gone!" a follow-up to "Cool Zone," contains a story based on the West Tisbury Agricultural Fair.
Two other children's books use the Vineyard as a backdrop for their storytelling. Robert Holland's "Amok!" is part of the Charles Oliver Jones trilogy for boys, and Jenny O'Connell's newest novel for teenaged girls is "Local Girls, An Island Summer Novel."
Look for these titles at Edgartown Books, The Bunch or Grapes, and Riley's Reads.
Brooks Robards writes on books, film, and art for The Martha's Vineyard Times.