Hanlon’s observations are as gently propulsive as the rhythmic stroke of a swim fin.

SWIMMING TO THE TOP OF THE TIDE

FINDING LIFE WHERE LAND AND WATER MEET

A fluently rendered ode to tidal creeks and salt marshes and to a life in their embrace.

In this celebration of the Great Marsh, New England’s largest remaining continuous stretch of salt marsh, painter and writer Hanlon melds the sensibilities of a Southern California childhood with those of a 40-year resident of coastal Massachusetts. She also compares this complex ecosystem to those of the vastly larger Mississippi Delta and a Bahamian reef. Science is a key element in the book, but the narrative is viewed best as an account of the experience of four seasons of immersion in the flora, fauna, and tides of extensively protected marsh. Her realm may at times be turbid, but her prose is clear—graceful in its descriptive power though allowing for the occasional tributary into lyricism. The first half of the book is about exploring the same landscape repeatedly year-round, accreting knowledge of an estuary: its cycles, processes, and patterns. Hanlon provides a biologic (and microbiologic) cross section of the salt marsh habitat, the grasses that fortify it, and the fauna that subsist on its largesse. In the second half, the author reflects a need to understand “something of our current cultural and evolutionary moment, with both its tragedies and its possibilities.” Hanlon understands how our moral imagination exerts a profound influence on our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, and her various warnings on the rising threats facing vital marshlands nationwide are no less important for being familiar. Also coursing through this tale are the currents of her marriage and shared passions with her husband, also an artist, with asides on their custom wood furniture business, children, and grandchildren. Readers not especially enamored of the idea of swimming in tidal creeks and rivers day after day may find portions of the book a bit monotonous—but not if they appreciate the theme of deep human integration in the natural world.

Hanlon’s observations are as gently propulsive as the rhythmic stroke of a swim fin.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-942658-87-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

THE BASEBALL 100

Longtime sports journalist Posnanski takes on a project fraught with the possibilities of controversy: ranking the 100 best baseball players of all time.

It would steal the author’s thunder to reveal his No. 1. However, writing about that player, Posnanski notes, “the greatest baseball player is the one who lifts you higher and makes you feel exactly like you did when you fell in love with this crazy game in the first place.” Working backward, his last-but-not-least place is occupied by Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose valiant hitting rivaled Pete Rose’s, mostly a base at a time. As for Rose, who comes in at No. 60, Posnanski writes, “here’s something people don’t often say about the young Pete Rose, but it’s true: The guy was breathtakingly fast.” Thus, in his first pro season, Rose stole 30 bases and hit 30 triples. That he was somewhat of a lout is noted but exaggerated. Posnanski skillfully weaves statistics into the narrative without spilling into geekdom, and he searches baseball history for his candidate pool while combing the records for just the right datum or quote: No. 10 Satchel Paige on No. 15 Josh Gibson: “You look for his weakness, and while you’re looking for it he’s liable to hit 45 home runs.” Several themes emerge, one being racial injustice. As Posnanski notes of “the greatest Negro Leagues players....people tend to talk about them as if there is some doubt about their greatness.” There’s not, as No. 94, Roy Campanella, among many others, illustrates. He was Sicilian, yes, but also Black, then reason enough to banish him to the minors until finally calling him up in 1948. Another significant theme is the importance of fathers in shaping players, from Mickey Mantle to Cal Ripken and even Rose. Posnanski’s account of how the Cy Young Award came about is alone worth the price of admission.

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982180-58-4

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

UNGUARDED

The Chicago Bulls stalwart tells all—and then some.

Hall of Famer Pippen opens with a long complaint: Yes, he’s a legend, but he got short shrift in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, The Last Dance. Given that Jordan emerges as someone not quite friend enough to qualify as a frenemy, even though teammates for many years, the maltreatment is understandable. This book, Pippen allows, is his retort to a man who “was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.” Coming from a hardscrabble little town in Arkansas and playing for a small college, Pippen enjoyed an unlikely rise to NBA stardom. He played alongside and against some of the greats, of whom he writes appreciatively (even Jordan). Readers will gain insight into the lives of characters such as Dennis Rodman, who “possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ,” and into the behind-the-scenes work that led to the Bulls dynasty, which ended only because, Pippen charges, the team’s management was so inept. Looking back on his early years, Pippen advocates paying college athletes. “Don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou student-athlete nonsense,” he writes. “These young men—and women—are athletes first, not students, and make up the labor that generates fortunes for their schools. They are, for lack of a better term, slaves.” The author also writes evenhandedly of the world outside basketball: “No matter how many championships I have won, and millions I have earned, I never forget the color of my skin and that some people in this world hate me just because of that.” Overall, the memoir is closely observed and uncommonly modest, given Pippen’s many successes, and it moves as swiftly as a playoff game.

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-19-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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