Book Report

Our staff's selection of good reads

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The Names of Things: A Passage in the Egyptian Desert by Susan Brind Morrow (Riverhead, $25.95).
In this understated memoir, Morrow deftly blends her passions for language and adventure to take us within her sometimes tortured love affair with Egypt and its people. -- Craig Cox

Playing Indian by Philip J. Deloria (Yale, $25).
Deloria traces white America's romance with Native American rituals and dress, in spite of frequent hostility toward actual Indian people, from the Boston Tea Party to the spiritual dabblings of the New Age. -- Jeremiah CreedonP>

Letters to a Young Feminist by Phyllis Chesler (Four Walls Eight Windows, $18).
Maybe struggling young women today need, instead of Prozac, a new point of view. Chesler doesn't pull any punches in explaining why the feminist legacy must be rediscovered by each generation. -- Andrea Martin

Carrying Water as a Way of Life: A Homesteader's History by Linda Tatelbaum (About Time Press, $9.95; 207/785-4634).
Tatelbaum bailed on academia to live off the land in rural Maine. These wise, funny essays about jars, beans, trash, and other everyday realities illuminate the changing complexities of a simple life. -- Cathy Madison

Rimshots! photographs by James R. Dean (self- published, 17010 Norman Road, Avon, MN 56310; 320/356-9267, $19.95 plus shipping).
A fascinating tour of American culture through snapshots of backyard basketball courts. -- Lynn Phelps

Tracking the Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents by Janine Pommy Vega (City Lights Books, $12.95).
An evocative memoir of self-discovery by a poet with a knack for living on the edge. -- Hugh Delehanty

A Whole Other Ball Game: Women's Literature on Women's Sports edited by Joli Sandoz (Noonday, $13).
Esteemed women writers -- from Marge Piercy to Mariah Burton Nelson to Adrienne Rich to Ellen Gilchrist -- write about sports and their impact on the lives of women and girls. It should be required reading for teachers, coaches, parents, and concerned citizens. -- Andy Steiner