Author Enters Existential Life of Tragic Idol, Albert Camus

CAMUS, A ROMANCE. By Elizabeth Hawes. Grove Press. July 2009. 304 pages. $25 hardcover.

As an undergrad, Elizabeth Hawes became fascinated with Albert Camus and embarked on an exploration of not only the work but also the world of the brilliant, handsome and charismatic writer and philosopher. Although she was physically half a world away and metaphorically a universe away from her subject, she was determined to somehow enter her idol’s world.

Sports Agent Shows You the Money

NEGOTIATE LIKE THE PROS: A Top Sports Negotiator’s Lessons for Making Deals, Building Relationships, and Getting What You Want. By Kenneth Shropshire. McGraw-Hill. October, 2008. 224 pages. $19.95.

Professor Kenneth Shropshire is a former all-state athlete who grew up in inner city Los Angeles and attended Stanford on a football scholarship. He is a sports fan who can discuss ESPN news with enthusiasm and will knowledgeably forward his opinions on shady college recruitment practices and sports agent scandals.

A Few Words from the President

Believe me, being a college president is dauntingly difficult. Better yet, read Steve Trachtenberg’s perceptive and stimulating discussion of his 30 years on the hot seat. Eleven of those years were at the University of Hartford and nineteen at George Washington University. He was a great success at both institutions, which may account for his conclusion that, despite the frustrations, his career was rewarding. The reader of Big Man on Campus will come away not only with a more subtle understanding of the complexities of university leadership, but also with a sense of why Trachtenberg was good at it.

Poetry Collection Evokes Potent Memories of Vineyard Summers

The poems in Portrait of a Reading Woman convey the tapestry of a life richly lived and richly told. Originally a Bostonian, Helen Gorenstein has spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard for over 40 years. Drawing on memories from her childhood in the 1930s, her marriage, and her “long summers” on the Island, she retraces her steps from childhood into her seventh decade.

Inspirational Healing: Doctor Describes Year in Life of Addict

THE ADDICT: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year. By Michael Stein. William Morrow. March, 2009. 275 pages. $25.99.

A medical license is a license to ask questions. Ordinary conversation disappears quickly in my office. Business has to be taken care of.”

Martha’s Vineyard Railroad Had a Very Short Ride

For 21 years — from the late summers of 1874 through 1895 — a passenger train chuffed along a route that looks inconceivably imposing to us today: from what’s now the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf, over the very sands of State Beach, through the fairways and greens of the Edgartown Golf Club, perpendicularly across Upper Main street, along the border of not one but two cemeteries and into what are now the subdivisions and farmlands of Katama before terminating at two dead ends: the dunes of South Beach and a hotel at Mattakessett whose ugliness was rivaled only by its windswept isolation and self-evident vulnerability to fire.

Teen Dream Gets Dose of Real Suspense

REALITY CHECK. By Peter Abrahams. HarperTeen, April, 2009. 336 pages Hardcover $16.99

If you can get past the not so germane title, Peter Abrahams’ Reality Check can be a spine-tingling teen thriller you won’t put down. Witty and clever, the novel secures Abrahams’ mastery over effortless storytelling, while taking the reader on wild goose chase that is both intuitive and startling.

Narcoleptic Detective is Smokin’ in Debut Novel of the Neo-Noir

THE LITTLE SLEEP. By Paul Tremblay. Holt Paperbacks, March, 2009. 288 pages. $14.

His first novel, Paul Tremblay’s The Little Sleep debuts as a one-of-a-kind of neo-noir. Eager to mix a little bit of magic into a standard recipe, Tremblay hits the spot with a thrilling detective story underscored by his expertise with horror fiction and fantasy.

Finding in Science What Slave Trade Had Erased, Stories Grow from Roots

IN SEARCH OF OUR ROOTS: How 19 Extraordinary Americans Reclaimed Their Past. By Henry Louis Gates Jr. Crown. January, 2009. 424 pages. $27.50.

Robots Charm in New Children’s Book

Paul Carrick wrote and illustrated Watch Out for Wolfgang. And it’s a keeper.

To have illustrated and written his first children’s book is obviously very exciting for Mr. Carrick. “There’s something magical about seeing it neatly bound together in a complete package,” he said. “It was a special experience to be involved in all aspects of its design: I got to pick the book’s dimensions, the typefaces — everything.”