Most Excited For

More books I’m really excited for: this collection from one of the great, and greatly overlooked New Yorker writers St. Clair McKelway.  McKelway specialized in true crime stories about the underbelly of 1930s-60s New York: junkmen, con men, counterfeiters, FBI agents, good cops and bad.  Plus, he endured five marriages and divorces, and “sometimes debilitating mental illness”, according to the flap copy (who didn’t back then?).  The book also contains a great Introduction by current New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik.

Next: a book on taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom.  Why?  Because I grew up surrounded by stuffed pheasants and antlered deer heads on the wall (hunting and fishing childhoods are the best, thank you very much).  I’ve always believed that taxidermy is an underappreciated art, and one of Milgrom’s aims is to reveal the interesting ways in which it intersects with the history of natural science, and collecting.

Then: “Happy Now?” by Katherine Shonk, about a dollhouse builder who marries a psychologist, who kills himself on Valentine’s Day (got that?).  Great title, great jacket, and I have a special fondness for Chicago writers.  And, Shonk’s first book, “The Red Passport” was superb.

Last but not least: “He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back: The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR’s Feudin’, Fightin’, Good Ol’ Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map” by Mark Bechtel.  Did I mention growing up in a place where hunting and fishing took priority over, well, just about everything?  NASCAR was pretty big there too.

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