FAYE DASEN: Nonfiction From Ghost Tales to Pirates
I want to call the following nonfiction books to the attention of our readers. They are varied in subject matter, so there should be something to interest everyone.
For those who enjoy ghost tales, Randy Russell's "Ghost Cats of the South" (John F. Blair, 2008, $19.95) should fill the bill. Who would have ever thought there were so many ghost stories relating to cats -- and all set in the South?
Some of these cats are really creepy; others are of a more benign nature. All of the stories are intriguing, but I'll leave it up to the readers as to whether or not they are fact or fiction.
Russell, who lives in Asheville, is also the author of "Ghost Dogs of the South: The Granny Curse" and "Ghost Stories and other Tales of Western North Carolina."
Cylin Busby and her father, John Busby, have teamed up to write a most interesting memoir titled "The Year We Disappeared" (Bloomsbury, 2008, $16.99).
John Busby was a police officer in Cape Cod, Mass. The night before he was to testify in the trial of a local tough guy, he was shot in the jaw and left for dead.
The entire family was under armed guard for a long period, causing all sorts of stress. Finally, it appeared that the perpetrator was not going to be arrested, so the family decided to leave Cape Cod and "disappear," almost like the witness protection program.
Cylin was 9 years old at the time of the incident and says that all of the pain of that time resurfaced as she and her father talked while writing this book.
It's a good read.
Helene Cooper, who is the diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times, tells the story of her childhood in "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood" (Simon & Schuster, 2008, $25).
Cooper was born in 1966, and her parents were descendants of two Liberian dynasties -- the freed American slaves who colonized Liberia in the 19th century.
Cooper tells the story of those years growing up in a 22-room house on the Atlantic Coast of the country, and about what happened when the conditions in Liberia changed -- and not for the good.
This was a fascinating account of a situation that many readers may not realize existed.
For history buffs, there's Eleanor Herman's "Mistress of the Vatican" (William Morrow, 2008, $25.95). Subtitled "The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope," this is another book that relates a story most readers probably didn't know.
In the 17th century, Olimpia, through Pope Innocent X, made international policy -- and lined her purse with gold from the Vatican.
Herman did a great deal of research in the Italian archives as she researched this book.
Those readers who love a good pirate tale will be interested in taking a look at "The Republic of Pirates" (Harcourt, 2008, $15), by Colin Woodard.
Through his research, Woodard discovered documents that answered the question of where Edward Teach (Blackbeard) disappeared to at the peak of his career.
Woodard reveals the lives of Teach and other pirates, using information obtained from the archives of England, Spain, and the Americas.
Contact Faye Dasen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 693-2475.
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