“This Will Be Difficult To Explain: And Other Stories”
By Johanna Skibsrud
(W.W. Norton, paper, $14.95)
Nova Scotia-born poet Skibsrud, who is set to join the University of Arizona English faculty in 2014, is the winner of the Scotiabank Giller prize for her book of poetry, “The Sentimentalists.” The prize is described by her American publisher as “Canada’s most prestigious literary award.” The nine short stories collected for this slender volume are filled with information and open to a reader’s interpretation. Most of them hinge on slowly accumulated insights. In “The Electric Man,” one of the most accessible stories, a young girl working at a Swiss summer resort discovers that a disagreeable guest was “badly wounded in one of the wars.” And she learns how he copes with it. In “Fat Man and Little Boy,” a woman whose father helped to produce the atomic bomb visits Hiroshima.
“Love by Drowning”
By C.E. Poverman
(El León Literary Arts, $24.95)
Val Martin, Harvard grad and former lawyer, is now an elementary school art teacher in a Sonoran Desert town. However, upon the death of his father, Martin leaves behind a patient wife and a troubled teenage son to take up temporary residence near his former East Coast home. His aim is to consider his relationships with his father, his deceased younger brother and a woman with ties to his past that seem unfathomable and unbreakable. Critically acclaimed, Poverman’s latest — he is a retired member of the UA creative writing faculty — is told in several voices and is part examination of family dynamics and part mystery.
Read more about Poverman and “Love by Drowning” in next Sunday’s Home + Life section.
“Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,”
Volume 1, 2nd Edition
By Brad Lancaster
(Rainsource Press, $29.95)
This is a revised and expanded edition of Volume 1 of Lancaster’s comprehensive, three-volume work on water conservation. Landscape designer Lancaster has 20 years of experience in conserving water. In 280 pages of directions, photographs and drawings (plus an index) he introduces homeowners or renters interested in water conservation to systems that can bring the reward of a shady garden in the Sonoran Desert.
By Jay McCall
(Gladrin Graphic, $10)
The subtitle to this booklet tells it all: “providing venue for networking and leadership sources.” It is a part of the “Tucson Success Network.” It appears to be a good introduction to networking.
of the Worry Bird”
By Phyllis Hoag
When Bronx-born Hoag showed her memoir to various friends and family members, they promptly told her she had it all wrong. Deciding to publish anyway, she labels it “a fictional memoir.” It is entertainingly honest as she sets down the details of her life as she remembers it. She begins with the disappointing arrival of her baby sister when Hoag was 4. Baby sister was no playmate. All she did was suck up time and attention. Hoag then goes through parents’ lives as well as those of assorted relatives, husbands and lovers — never, well rarely, sugarcoating a thing.
She concludes with the news that her current significant other is a Korean Buddhist. Possibly more to come.
By Eugene Sierras
(Trafford Publishing, $20.74 paper; $30.24 hard cover)
Native Tucsonan, UA graduate, 26-year Navy veteran Sierras has combined military activity in the Middle East, the possibilities of mental telepathy and healing by transference with romance and religious commitment. His protagonist is a charismatic Navy flier, Michael Canseco, who manages to deal with it all.
By Sharon Sterling
(Changing Lines Press, $9.99)
When Allie Davis, a counselor working in the Verde Valley, learns that Montezuma’s Well, the National Park Service’s monument in Central Arizona, contains lethal elements, she understands how some of her clients are planning to do away with a hated pedophile. It then becomes a contest to see if she can thwart illegal plans and still help her clients.
“Elemental: A Romance of the American West”
By Therese M. Handley
Beginning in Nevada in the 1930s “Elemental” reaches back to the heyday of silver mining and ranching. Errant passions erupted, lives were wrecked and guilty secrets formed. Young Isabel Heath, orphaned in St. Louis and taken in by an aunt in Nevada, learns about it upon her arrival.
By Larry Bramblett
Larry Craig is a man of many talents, multilingual, tough on his enemies but sympathetic to the small tribes of natives he finds in Vietnam, where he is fighting in the U.S Army. He is superstitious: “Giong,” not “going,” we learn, means odd in Vietnamese.
Craig is also superstitiously fond of odd numbers. He is also humble (no OCS for him), a loyal friend to comrades, attractive to women, a sometime Buddhist.
So, why, when the reader first meets him, is he apparently a hit man raising orchids on a secondhand barge in a scruffy Florida backwater? The backstory with answers comes from an anonymous “storyteller” who served with him in Vietnam.