There’s a wide range of choices for different tastes and different ages in this new winter batch of recently published books. One recalls a childhood decades ago, another has growing-up lessons for children now.
Two novel series are represented, one with a tale set around the food industry and a supermarket family; a second sets another string of mysterious doings in Wellfleet. There’s a book of poetry that came to light after two high school classmates reunited after decades, and a book that shows how determination helped a local man to walk again. See what catches your eye:
“A Boy Called Tommy: Growing Up in Sudbury,” by Tom Brewer (2021, independently published)
Brewer, a self-proclaimed “washashore,” moved to East Falmouth three years ago, though he visited many times then vacationed annually until retirement. His memoir of him recalls what it was like to grow up on a farm in a small country town in the 1950s and ’60s and what he calls “the freedom of those days.” It was, he says, “a time that children could travel all around town and not worry about getting into any major trouble. In those days, we all looked after each other and were welcome to enter anyone’s house. … We rode our bikes without a care in the world, all over town and even down the railroad tracks.” The heartbreak side of the story is that he grew up in a foster-care situation, with his mother away working and only visiting occasionally. Brewer says he felt he grew up without a mother or father figure; his father had died in World War II.
Coming soon:‘The owl is like me’: Sandwich mom’s book represents children who have ‘differences’
“Strike,” by Daniel Harris (2021, Page Publishing Inc.)
“Strike” is the final installment in Harris’ trilogy focusing on Russell Riley, a 30-year food industry veteran, following “Checked Out” and “Blood Feud.” Harris, a part-time Mashpee resident whose family has owned the Coonamessett and Popponessett inns, sets this story as Riley, CEO of Food Basket stores, is offered the opportunity to buy Galetti Supermarkets. The saga of the Galetti family food wars continues as this new situation is complicated by visits from old friends, a tenacious reporter, a workers’ strike, and the Massachusetts governor and attorney general looking to Riley for answers to an economic crisis. Plus there are two murders of people connected to the escalating situation.
“Sidelong Glances,” by Dennis Rivard (2021, Wrinkled Sea Press)
The story behind this book of poetry is as much about the publisher as the author. In high school, Orleans resident Gerry Grenier said he was “thunderstruck” by a poem Rivard wrote in his 1971 yearbook. Enough, in fact, that Grenier read the poem that presented a dystopian view of Christmas each holiday season for 50 years and shared it widely. When Grenier retired in December 2020, he tried to find out what happened to Rivard, a member of the “cool crowd.” Grenier found Rivard in an assisted-living facility in White River Junction, Vermont, diagnosed with pre-Alzheimer’s disease. They swapped life stories, and Rivard showed Grenier 700 poems he’d written over the course of his life. That inspired Grenier to found Wrinkled Sea Press, in his Cape home, and he worked with poet Paul Cordeiro of South Dartmouth to select 100 poems for this book.
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“I Wiggled My Toes … Hallelujah!: An Unforeseen Journey of Recovery from Brain Surgery,” by Joseph C. Salvo (2021, Westbow Press)
Salvo, who lives in Mashpee, had an operation in March 1999 to remove an orange-sized brain tumor. After a 12-hour operation, he says, he was totally paralyzed on the left side of his body and partially paralyzed on the right side. Medical staff told him he could hope to use a walker down the road, but that would be the most mobility he would have. This book is the story of how he beat those odds, walking out of a rehabilitation home three and a half weeks later after “working every waking moment” to walk. Salvo is hoping his story of him could inspire others in a similar situation, and also says he is willing to speak or meet with anyone who needs help.
“A Day of Surprises,” by Auralie Catherine Currier (2021, independently published)
Currier, who grew up in Wellfleet, now works as a clinical oncology nurse/oncology nurse practitioner and says she has “a passion for prevention, survivorship and healing.” She says she wrote this first children’s book with a hope to “inspire young children and their parents to live a life with abundant good health, starting when they are young.” In the book, young Haley and Matthew live on a farm and are surprised when they are asked to take care of their aunt’s puppy while she recovers from being sick in the hospital. They learn how to not only take care of the puppy but also how they too can stay healthy and strong. Currier includes a worksheet at the end to help kids to think about their good, better and best health habits, including wholesome foods, exercise and sleep. The book is best for ages 1-7, but Currier says ages 27-107 would enjoy it, too.
Lots of choices:Cold-weather reading: 5 new books by Cape Cod authors
And one sequel (well, two)
“Searching for Icebergs” and “Letters from Santa: Be the Right Spark,” by James P. Holmes (2021 and 2022, independently published)
In August, I described Holmes of East Falmouth as a prolific author because he had published three books in 2021. But he wasn’t done — he’s since published two sequels. “Searching For Icebergs” is the second book in the The Mailbox Mystery series, and finds hero Jack Harrington, back in Wellfleet after a tour in Afghanistan, sought after for the skills he learned in military intelligence. Jack discovers what is described as “an ugly reality that has tentacles reaching around the world.” Holmes also recently submitted for publication “Be the Right Spark,” the “Letters to Santa” sequel to his book about a Wellfleet girl who asks Santa to not visit her home for fear of passing on COVID-19, and the effort to prove that Christmas magic is stronger than the pandemic. Look for that holiday-oriented sequel soon.
Are you a Cape Cod author with a new book? Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at email@example.com to be considered for future book columns.