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The Ohio State University Press, 2001

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The Jersey Shore Uncovered
A Revealing Season on the Beach
Genovese, Peter
Rutgers University Press, 2003

This is not your typical Jersey Shore book.

Yes, you'll find the obvious-beaches and boardwalks, lifeguards and lighthouses, fishing and food. But Peter Genovese will also take you off the beaten track for an insider's look at this famous (and infamous) 127-mile stretch from Sandy Hook to Cape May.

Birders, tiki hut builders, beach cleaners, wheel-of-chance operators, she-crab soup makers-they're all here. You'll check out an Airstream-only trailer park and visit a Point Pleasant Beach house where the music of Frank Sinatra plays nearly 24/7. Genovese will introduce you to the owner of the Stone Pony and to participants at the grueling Atlantic City Around-the-Island Swim as they describe their battles with tides, exhaustion, and face-stinging jellyfish. All of that, plus you'll find out why Ocean Grove residents write their names on their flowerpots.

Beach reading just doesn't get any better than this.

Spend a summer with Peter Genovese as he chronicles a typical wild and wacky, kitschy and classy season along the New Jersey coastline.

Lifeguards, surfers, beachgoers, birders, ice cream vendors, seashell sellers, banner pilots-they're all here. You'll be on the scene when Atlantic City's mayor officially begins summer by "unlocking the ocean," get a whiff of the state barbeque championship, watch the nation's longest-running all-women lifeguard competition, and even spend a weekend, Survivor-style, on a Barnegat Bay island.

The Ocean City Baby Parade, Clownfest, the state's hottest bikini contest, and the World Series of Surf Fishing are all covered. You'll also meet the folks at the Diamondback Terrapin Conservation Project, the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

Genovese introduces you to Little Miss Chaos and the King of Corn, the Jersey Shore Hot Dog Queen, and Lucky Leo. You'll go on patrol with the New Jersey State Marine Police, meet the man behind Big Mike's E-Z Bail Bonds, and find salvation at the Boardwalk Chapel.

The Jersey Shore Uncovered flawlessly depicts the timeless allure of New Jersey beach culture. Along with his stories, Genovese brings readers hundreds of color and black-and-white photos that brilliantly capture exactly what makes this 127-mile stretch of shoreline unique. Whether you've never been to a New Jersey beach or you're a Jersey native who spends your summers "down the Shore," you're certain to learn a thing or two from this book. So get settled in your beach chair, put on some suntan lotion, and enjoy.


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Mother in Summer
Susan Hahn
Northwestern University Press, 2002
Mother in Summer is a collection of poems offering candid, powerful insight into the grief of losing a parent.

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The Salt House
A Summer on the Dunes of Cape Cod
Cynthia Huntington
Dartmouth College Press, 2003
The Salt House is a beautifully observed and written memoir of a long summer's stay on the back shore of Cape Cod. Each chapter is like a prose poem, shedding increasing light on the challenge of finding "home" without the illusion of permanence, a quest based not on ownership but on affinity and familiarity with an area and its people. Cynthia Huntington expands her theme through images of the landscape, the shack, the new marriage. The shack, named "Euphoria," is built as a house set on stilts above the sand, to take the wind under it. Only a partial shelter, it is inhabited for only one season a year, yet it endures. The outer cape has the feel of a place for migrants and drifters -- for birds and other wildlife, and for people such as artists, fishermen, and coast guardsmen. A place where "year-round" often means several addresses. Similarly, her narrative describes improvised, fragile beginnings: a new marriage, learning to be at home in the world, becoming intimate with the natural world, without the necessity of settling down. The Salt House shares a world that is less natural history or memoir than it is neighborhood exploration -- the process of learning a place and becoming native to it.

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Seven Summers
A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West
Julia Corbett
University of Utah Press, 2013

Seven Summers is the story of a naturalist-turned-professor who flees city life each summer with her pets and power tools to pursue her lifelong dream—building a cabin in the Wyoming woods. With little money and even less experience, she learns that creating a sanctuary on her mountain meadow requires ample doses of faith, patience, and luck. This mighty task also involves a gradual and sometimes painful acquisition of flexibility and humility in the midst of great determination and naive enthusiasm.

For Corbett, homesteading is not about wresting a living from the land, but respecting and immersing herself in it—observing owls and cranes, witnessing seasons and cycles, and learning the rhythms of wind and weather in her woods and meadow. The process changes her in unexpected ways, just as it did for women homesteaders more than a century ago. The more she works with wood, the more she understands the importance of “going with the grain” in wood as well as in life. She must learn to let go, to move through loss and grief, to trust her voice, and to balance independence and dependence. Corbett also gains a better understanding of her fellow Wyomingites, a mix of ranchers, builders, gas workers, and developers, who share a love of place but often hold decidedly different values. This beautifully written memoir will appeal to readers who appreciate stories of the western landscape, independent women, or the appreciation of the natural world.


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Sonoran Desert Summer
John Alcock
University of Arizona Press, 1990
What could seem less inviting than summer in the desert? For most people, this prospect conjures up the image of relentless heat and parched earth; for biologist John Alcock, summer in Arizona's Sonoran Desert represents an opportunity to investigate the wide variety of life that flourishes in one of the most extreme environments in North America. "Only very special plants and animals can survive and reproduce in a place that may receive as little as six inches of rain in a year," observes Alcock, "a place where the temperature may rise above one hundred degrees each day for months on end." Yet he and other biologists have discovered here startling signs of life hidden in plain view under the summer sun:

- male digger bees compete to reach virgins underground during the early summer mating season;
- the round-tailed ground squirrel goes about its business, sounding alarm calls when danger threatens its kin;
- the big-jawed beetles Dendrobias mandibularis emerge in time to feast on saguaro fruits and to use their mandibles on rival males as well;
- Harris's hawks congregate in groups, showing their affinity for polyandry and communal hunting;
- robberflies mimic the appearance of the bees and wasps on which they prey;
- and peccaries reveal the adaptation of their reproductive cycle to the desert's seasonal rains.

The book's 38 chapters introduce readers to these and other desert animals and plants, tracing the course of the season through activities as vibrant as mating rituals and as subtle as the gradual deterioration of a fallen saguaro cactus. Enhanced by the line drawings of Marilyn Hoff Stewart, Sonoran Desert Summer is both an account of how modern biology operates and a celebration of the beauty and diversity that can be found in even the most unpromising places.

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Suds Series
Baseball, Beer Wars, and the Summer of '82
J. Daniel
University of Missouri Press, 2023
In Suds Series, J. Daniel takes readers back forty years, telling a story that is part baseball history, part urban history, and part U.S. cultural history, the narrative weaving together the develop­ment of the Midwest cities of St. Louis and Milwaukee through their engagement with beer and baseball. As the National and American League champions squared off for the 1982 Fall Classic, the St. Louis Cardinals, owned by Anheuser-Busch, took on the Milwaukee Brewers, so named by owner Bud Selig in homage to the city’s baseball and brewing past.

Even nominal baseball fans will enjoy reading about legend­ary players, teams, and personalities that emerged in the 1982 season: the year Ricky Henderson stole 130 bases; Reggie Jackson led the league in home runs; and Cal Ripken Jr. began his remark­able playing streak. Readers will also enjoy the cultural references, including the Pac-Man craze, a chart-topping album by Rush, and the “Light Beer Wars” waged by Anheuser-Busch and the Miller Brewing Company through a series of humorous TV commercials featuring well-loved professional sports figures.


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Summer of Caprice
Vladislav Vancura
Karolinum Press, 2016
Summer of Caprice, a captivating comic novel first published in 1926, is a classic of Czech literature, yet it is little known elsewhere. Commonly considered untranslatable due to the complexities of the text, which is characterized by a playful narrative and an exceptional mastery of language, and its profound cultural context, it is rendered here in English that beautifully captures Vladislav Vančura’s experimental style—or, as the author himself called it, his “poetism in prose.” Mixing the archaic with the innovative, raw colloquialisms with biblical quotations, Summer of Caprice opens an uproarious window onto the Czech spirit, humor, and way of life.

front cover of Summer of Caprice
Summer of Caprice
Vladislav Vancura
Karolinum Press, 2006
Summer of Caprice, a captivating comic novel first published in 1926, is a classic of Czech literature, yet it is little known elsewhere. Commonly considered untranslatable due to the complexities of the text, which is characterized by a playful narrative and an exceptional mastery of language, and its profound cultural context, it is rendered here in English that beautifully captures Vladislav Vančura’s experimental style—or, as the author himself called it, his “poetism in prose.” Mixing the archaic with the innovative, raw colloquialisms with biblical quotations, Summer of Caprice opens an uproarious window onto the Czech spirit, humor, and way of life.

front cover of The Summer of Her Baldness
The Summer of Her Baldness
A Cancer Improvisation
By Catherine Lord
University of Texas Press, 2004

"No eyebrows. No eyelashes. When it rains the water will run straight down into my eyes," Catherine Lord wrote before her hair fell out during chemotherapy. Propelled into an involuntary performance piece occasioned by the diagnosis of breast cancer, Lord adopted the online persona of Her Baldness—an irascible, witty, polemical presence who speaks candidly about shame and fear to her listserv audience. While Lord suffers from unwanted isolation and loss of control as her treatment progresses, Her Baldness talks back to the society that stigmatizes bald women, not to mention middle-aged lesbians with a life-threatening disease.

In this irreverent and moving memoir, Lord draws on the e-mail correspondence of Her Baldness to offer an unconventional look at life with breast cancer and the societal space occupied by the seriously ill. She photographs herself and the rooms in which she negotiates her disease. She details the clash of personalities in support groups, her ambivalence about Western medicine, her struggles to maintain her relationship with her partner, and her bemusement when she is mistaken for a "sir." She uses these experiences—common to the one-in-eight women who will be diagnosed at some point with breast cancer—to illuminate larger issues of gender signifiers, sexuality, and the construction of community.


front cover of The Summer the Archduke Died
The Summer the Archduke Died
On Wars and Warriors
Louis D. Rubin, Jr.
University of Missouri Press, 2008
When World War II erupted, fifteen-year-old Louis Rubin pedaled his bike down to the Charleston harbor to see whether a German freighter might have come there to escape British warships, as had occurred in 1914. Although he went home disappointed, young Louis never lost his fascination with matters military.
Now one of America’s most esteemed literary scholars, Rubin again turns his thoughts to history—particularly military history—by sharing his lifelong interest in the First World War and its aftermath. The Summer the Archduke Died offers essays, beginning with the outbreak of the Great War in Europe in 1914 and covering events of subsequent years, that examine historical issues in a fresh way. These essays take in a panoramic view of German militarism, the American role in the war, and British and American politics and politicos. They convey the impact of the war on writers and include a critical review of Theodore Roosevelt’s life and legacy.
Rubin brings a keen eye for controversy to such matters as the battle of Jutland and Churchill’s stance on the war with Hitler. In a provocative essay on the New British Revisionism, he not only debunks recent criticism of Churchill but also examines the decline of the British class system. In “Ladies of the British Establishment,” he contrasts the politically notorious Mitford sisters with Violet Bonham Carter, who used her social position to advance the status of women in public life.
Ranging from the outbreak of the Great War to “A Certain Day in 1939” when European peace was shattered once more, Rubin’s lively pieces are rendered with the literary craftsmanship for which he is renowned. As informative as it is entertaining, The Summer the Archduke Died will appeal to aficionados of history and fine writing alike.

front cover of A Summer with Pascal
A Summer with Pascal
Antoine Compagnon
Harvard University Press, 2024

From an eminent scholar, a spirited introduction to one of the great polymaths in the history of Europe.

Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) is best known in the English-speaking world for his contributions to mathematics and physics, with both a triangle and a law in fluid mechanics named after him. Meanwhile, the classic film My Night at Maud’s popularized Pascal’s wager, an invitation to faith that has inspired generations of theologians. Despite the immensity of his reputation, few read him outside French schools. In A Summer with Pascal, celebrated literary critic Antoine Compagnon opens our minds to a figure somehow both towering and ignored.

Compagnon provides a bird’s-eye view of Pascal’s life and significance, making this volume an ideal introduction. Still, scholars and neophytes alike will profit greatly from his masterful readings of the Pensées—a cornerstone of Western philosophy—and the Provincial Letters, in which Pascal advanced wry theological critiques of his contemporaries. The concise, taut chapters build upon one another, easing into writings often thought to be forbidding and dour. With Compagnon as our guide, these works are not just accessible but enchanting.

A Summer with Pascal brings the early modern thinker to life in the present. In an age of profound existential doubt and assaults on truth and reason, in which religion and science are so often crudely opposed, Pascal’s sophisticated commitment to both challenges us to meet the world with true intellectual vigor.


front cover of The Thieves of Summer
The Thieves of Summer
Linda Sillitoe
Signature Books, 2014
Set in Salt Lake City at the height of the Great Depression, Linda Sillitoe’s last novel opens with three little girls, eleven-year-old triplets, skipping in front of their house at 1300 South, across from Liberty Park. They giggle lightly as they chant: 

Prin-cess Al-ice in Liberty Park
Munch-es ba-nan-as ’til way after dark.

Princess Alice is an elephant the children of Utah purchased by donating nickels and dimes to a circus. The girls don’t know this, but her handler takes the mammoth princess out on late-night strolls around the park when the moon is out. What they do know is that the elephant sometimes escapes and goes on a rampage, crashing through front-yard fences and collecting collars of clothesline laundry around her neck, a persistent train of barking dogs following behind. The girls’ father is a police officer who is investigating a boy’s disappearance. As the case unfolds, the perception of the park, with its eighty acres of trees and grass, will change from the epitome of freedom to a place to be avoided, even as Princess Alice moves to a secure confinement at a new zoo at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. The story is loosely based on the exploits of a real live elephant that lived in Liberty Park a decade before Sillitoe’s childhood in the neighborhood.  

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