Hot Books on Hold (and Ones You Don’t Hold)

If you look up libraries on Wikipedia, you’ll learn that a golden age arose from 1600 to 1700 when cities all over the world had to erect a big, baroque building for books. If there’s ever been a new claim for a golden age, it’s right here, right now, involving our Island libraries, all of them, where circulation is up as never before (25 per cent at the Edgartown library alone), and community participation is off the charts.

Eat, Fish, Love: Shore Up on Wild Food

FOUR FISH: The Future of the Last Wild Food. By Paul Greenberg. Penguin Press, New York, N.Y. July 2010. 304 pages. $25.95, hardcover.

The title is too narrow. Don’t think for a moment this is a book only about salmon, cod, bass and tuna. The book goes beyond the history and plight of four fish, to our hunger for fresh fish of all kinds. For anyone who wonders where the swordfish went, how we emerged from the collapse of the whale fishery, or simply which fish is safe to order at the restaurant, Four Fish offers much.

Biography of the Sea Highlights Human Story, for Better or Worse

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, by Simon Winchester, HarperCollins Publishers, 496 pages, illustrated. $27.99.

It would be hard to live on the Vineyard and not have an interest in the Atlantic Ocean. So much of the Island has been colored and shaped by the sea. You can smell the ocean here and feel it all around you.

A new book, Atlantic, is a biography of the ocean. What is most striking about this long book is its scope.

Children’s Imagination Runs Wild in Animals A-Z

Once children begin connecting with the natural world, it can be hard to stop them. Perhaps that is why the lovely new book by the young artists of Featherstone Center for the Arts, called Animals A-Z, has 49 paintings despite the potentially limiting 26 letters of the alphabet.

Sleuthing in Vineyard Settings, Cozy, Scenic and Psychological

TOUCH-ME-NOT. By Cynthia Riggs. Minotaur Books, $24.99.

Camp Ground Where Holy Meets Happy-Go-Lucky

Circle of Faith,> The Story of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting, By Sally Dagnall, Vineyard Stories, Edgartown, Ma. 2010 $24.95.

T here is no other place quite like Oak Bluffs — the color and charm, the hustle and bustle, the beaches and parks and fireworks and festivals, open and free and inviting. And to think it all started as a religious retreat.

Social Networks Without Screens: Take Time, Turn Off Technology

One spring day a few years ago, alone on his boat off Cape Cod, writer William Powers fouled his propeller on a mooring line. He leant overboard to free it and fell in, drowning his mobile phone.

Being a man used to constant electronic contact with the world, Mr. Powers first considered this a “disaster.” But actually, it was an epiphanous moment.

Margo Datz Illustrates A Child’s Magical Night

By LIZ DURKEE

NIGHTTIDE ON A VINEYARD FARM. Lyric by Patty Schaal, Illustrations by Margot Datz. Vineyard Stories, Edgartown, 2010. $21.95, hardcover.

Sadly, I am no longer a child. Far from it. I may act like one at inappropriate times, but that’s a skill that probably hinders rather than helps write a children’s book review.

But I’ll have at it. Reviewing other people’s artistic creations is far easier than creating one’s own.

Four-Line Lessons in Life, Art from a Linoleum Knife

By LIZ DURKEE

LIFE LESSON, The Verses of D.A.W., Volume 3. By Daniel Waters. The Indian Hill Press, Martha’s Vineyard, 2010. 35 pages. $15, in paperback.

Honestly, what’s not to love about the verses of Daniel Waters? He takes a passing thought, an offhand observation, a grand world view, and cooks up four or more lines of hilariously insightful poetry.

Cases in point:

Valentine’s Day

“The more you ignore it,

Lovable and Winning Dog Tale Is New Work by Susan Wilson

If there’s such a thing as a literary Rocky, in other words, a writer with a solid professional record, yet missing that big knockout punch that lands him or her the championship, then our Island’s own Susan Wilson is that phenomenon.

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