New Book Rekindles Lore of 1884 Shipwreck off Aquinnah
Mark Alan Lovewell

It is 128 years since the worst maritime disaster in these waters, yet the story of the sinking of the City of Columbus, one half mile off Aquinnah, gains new life by the release of a book by Thomas Dresser.

Shipwrecks and the events that surround them never seem far from the public eye. Last month, there was observance of the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. And in January, there was the sinking of the 952-foot cruise ship Costa Concordia, a story that is still unfolding.

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Fleshing Out the Softer Side of Iago
Holly Nadler

No contest, Iago, the evil genius of William Shakespeare’s Othello, is the most brutal villain in any of the bard’s productions. The play was first presented in 1604 during what literary historians have deemed Shakespeare’s period of despair, when the struggle for good and evil in the human soul preoccupied him.

But what made Iago so ruthless yet so ostensibly above-reproach that he could win a loving and well-bred wife like Emilia and the trust and promotion of a great general such as Othello?

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Spare the Humor, Spoil the Father
Liz Durkee

Leave it to Boomer; A Look at Life, Love and Parenthood by the Very Model of the Modern Middle-Age Man, by Jerry Zezima, iUniverse, Inc., New York, Bloomington, 2010, 154 pages (paperback, $15.95)

Jerry Zezima is a funny guy. You may have read some of his columns in the Vineyard Gazette over the years. In his first book, Leave it to Boomer, he traces his life as a middle-age father and husband. When someone tells his wife and daughter that Jerry is “very witty,” they both respond: “We just ignore him.”

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Book Profiles Post Civil War Era Architect
Holly Nadler

Robert Taylor (1868-1942) graduated from M.I.T. in 1892 with a professional architecture degree, becoming the first fully accredited black architect in America.

His father, Henry Taylor, a freed slave from Wilmington, North Carolina, had turned his expertise with naval supplies into a thriving business that led to his reputation during the era immediately following the Civil War as “the wealthiest black landowner in the state.” His success enabled him to send all five of his children, girls and boys, to college.

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Carly Simon Biography, Talent and Determination
Bill Eville
Carly Simon, especially for those who live on or visit Martha’s Vineyard, is a bold-faced name. In fact, she has been famous for so long it is as if she were born famous; biding her time in the womb, say, by humming the first bars of Anticipation. Such is the price of fame, this distorted view by those on the outside looking in. We see only the finished product, the glamorous stage presence, so natural, again as if she had rocked her own delivery room with a chorus of You’re So Vain. But this is a false picture, one that does not include the shy stutterer who achieved her success the old-fashioned way, with a lot of very hard work.
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