Our staff's selection of good reads


| November/December 1999

The Best American Poetry 1999, with guest editor Robert Bly and series editor David Lehman (Scribner, $32). Searching the little magazines for poetic 'heat' and finding a scene on fire, Bly has assembled the best proof yet that modern poetry is hot as hell.
--Jeremiah Creedon

Holy Clues: The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Kendrick (Pantheon, $21). A fascinating look at the common ground shared by detective fiction and the spiritual quest, in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary sleuth proves fully worthy of his enduring worldwide appeal.
--Andrea Martin

The Friendly Jane Austen by Natalie Tyler (Viking, $24.95). A fine companion for all your videos and glossy new editions of Emma and Persuasion, this book presents a respectful and humorous look at the life and work of the Mighty Miss Jane. A great read for both lifelong and recently converted Janeites.
--Andy Steiner

Believing Cassandra: An Optimist Looks at a Pessimist's World by Alan AtKisson (Chelsea Green, $16.95). In this lighthearted but well-documented analysis of our global environmental crisis, the former editor of In Context magazine explains why no one pays any attention to the ecological horror story we're collectively writing--even as he convincingly argues that the final chapter might still be revised.
--Craig Cox

Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future by Neil Postman (Knopf, $24). A refreshing antidote to the current mania for starry-eyed futurism, Postman's book reminds us that Goethe and Voltaire, among others, might be better guides into the 21st century than Bill Gates or Alvin Toffler.
--Jay Walljasper



Long Life, Honey in the Heart by Martin Prechtel (Tarcher/Putnam, $25.95). Set against the backdrop of civil war in Guatemala, this riveting memoir looks deep into a Westerner's quest for spiritual meaning--and the Mayan lifeways of the simple village where he ultimately finds it.
--Mark Odegard