Adam Rex is one of the craziest writers in children’s books. He has a tickle-your-funny-bone sense of humor, flavored with a bit of the ridiculous. His humor shines in picture books and middle grade novels, but my all time favorite was The True Meaning of Smekday (book from Disney-Hyperion and audio from Listening Library, 10 hours, 38 minutes, read by Bahni Turpin).
The recent snow and ice shut everything down, except my mind. I kept that active with two engrossing new mysteries.
Wilhelmina Johnson Hamlin was an ordinary person. She was just 26 years old when she died in 1930, remembered only by her family and friends. But through a combination of events, her story is now reaching a wider audience.
“Possibilities,” Herbie Hancock’s new memoir, bristles with, among other things, the kind of truth that one would not expect from Hancock. But that’s if one thinks he fits the traditional, and very tired, stereotype of the jazz musician.
Random House plans to publish a new collection of nonfiction from William Styron, “My Generation: Collected Nonfiction,” edited by Styron biographer James L.W. West III. Tentative publication date is June 2.
FORMER BARACK OBAMA BODY MAN AND BLUE DEVIL REGGIE LOVE ON THE PRESIDENT, SPORTS AND LIFE LESSONS
Reggie Love played football and basketball at Duke University, but became famous outside sports for his role as President Barack Obama’s body man, starting on the campaign trail in 2008. His memoir, “Power Forward: My Presidential Education” has just been published by Simon & Schuster and is a quick read of politics, basketball, North Carolina and what it’s like to be in arm’s length of the president.
A new Durham-based book festival has announced its inaugural dates and extended its application deadline. The Read Local Book Festival will be held May 16 and 17 at different venues in downtown Durham.
Isabel Quintero’s “Gabi, a girl in pieces” won the William C. Morris award for best young adult debut novel (book from Cinco Puntos Press; audio from Listening Library, approximately 8 hours; ages 14 and up).
I like A.J. Fikry, the curmudgeonly bookstore owner and main character in Gabrielle Zevin’s “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.” I share some of his prejudices about books, which he outlines to publishing company representative Amelia Loman during her first visit to his store on Alice Island in New England (reachable only by ferry).
Book No. 4 of second-grader version of Hank Zipzer, by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Jason Mott’s successful first novel, “The Returned” was a big success. Not only was it a bestseller with lots of critical acclaim, but it is the basis of an ABC television series, “Resurrection,” which completed its second 13-week series on January 25.
“Genius and Grace: Francois Boucher and the Generation of 1700,” from the Horvitz Collection, Ackland Art Museum, UNC Chapel Hill, through April 5.
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill recently published the paperback edition of Gabrielle Zevin’s novel “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” ($14.95). Zevin will read and sign copies of the novel at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill.
If you are planning to sit down with a good book Saturday afternoon, you can also participate in the first National Readathon Day.
Sarah Addison Allen’s sequel to ‘Garden Spells’ set in small town North Carolina