summer wanes it’s time to stop and notice the autumn beauty our
state offers, and to sit on the porch and read.
Robert Monahan probably never
imagined just how realistic his novel, Bad Blood (Rebel
Publishing, $14.95), would become when he started writing it four
years ago. This fictional tale follows Nashville equine research
scientist Dr. Meredith Pehlagrem to the United Arab Emirates to
open an equine research center. Meanwhile, thoroughbred foals in
Kentucky are mysteriously stillborn or dying within a few days of
birth. Can Dr. Pehlagrem link this mystery killer with Arab
royalty? Or can Lexington microbiologist Dr. Gwendolyn Gardot
uncover a strange medical reason for these deaths? This book is
uncanny in its similarity to Kentucky’s actual foal death mystery
this past spring. Several Lexington area horse farms, as well as
the University of Kentucky, are parts of the setting.
For fans of Janice Holt Giles’
work, her new novel, Act of Contrition (University Press of
Kentucky, $25.00), will be a pleasant surprise. This romance novel
was written by Giles in the 1950s. She was never able to get the
work published, however, due to the rebellious nature of the main
character, Regina, against society’s rules and attitudes. Giles’
daughter saved the manuscript and managed to finally get it
published now, 22 years after her mother’s death. In the story,
Regina Browning is a college librarian. She discovers Dr. Mike
Panelli one afternoon while painting the stream where he is
fishing. A relationship develops, but not without obstacles. Dr.
Panelli’s wife has left him for someone else, but never ended the
marriage. Since Dr. Panelli is Catholic, divorce does not seem to
be an option. Mike loves Regina enough to give up ties with both
his family and his church. Regina loves Mike enough to realize she
may have to let him go.
James Still was probably known
to most for his fiction writings. However, before he wrote
fiction, Still wrote many poems. In From the Mountain, From the
Valley (University Press of Kentucky, $20.00), the complete
collection of Still’s poems is arranged in the order he wrote
them. Still, named Kentucky’s Poet Laureate, had a lyrical style
while writing about things near and dear to his heart. Living most
of his life in Appalachian Knott County, Still used the people and
land around him as the subjects of much of his work.
For short-story lovers, a new
anthology edited by Morris Allen Grubbs is a must-have. Home
and Beyond (University Press of Kentucky, $38.00) is a
collection of 40 stories by Kentucky authors. Many familiar names
are included in this compilation, such as Bobbie Ann Mason,
Barbara Kingsolver, Jesse Stuart, Wendell Berry, and Robert Penn
Warren. The title comes from the universal themes of the longing
to leave home to explore what is beyond the familiar, then the
yearning to go back to those familiar and comforting roots.
A Place On Earth, by
Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, $14.00), is not necessarily a new
work, but an improvement by the author. Originally written in
1960, the book underwent its first revision in 1983 with many
changes. Now in 2001, Berry has made even more revisions to make
the book agree geographically with his other books about Port
William, the fictional Kentucky town.