14 Booklist October 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
demand for instruction for this particular style
is likely to extend to most public libraries.
Sports & Recreation
The Hardmen: Legends and Lessons from
the Cycling Gods.
By The Velominati.
Nov. 2017. 256p. illus. Pegasus, $27.95
Imagine sitting in a pub with a pint among
devoted cyclists and raucously debating top
racers. That describes the tone and style of
Hardmen by the authors of a cycling community (not a blog) called The Velominati:
Keepers of the Cog. This follow-up to the
group’s debut title, The Rules: The Way of the
Cycling Disciple (2014), features profiles of
38 iconic cyclists who are divided by five
categories: Rouleurs (all-around racers with
speed, who can climb); Grimpeurs (climbers);
Klassiekers (one-day classics); Domestiques
(team workers); and Velocisti (sprinters). Each
was selected for inclusion based on his or
her accomplishments, heroism, or panache.
Among them are icons like Eddy Merckx,
Bernard Hinault, Marco Pantani, and Jens
Voigt, as well as Americans Andy Hampsten
and Tyler Hamilton and six female cyclists
including Olympian Marianne Vos, Paralym-pian Megan Fisher, and Beryl “BB” Burton,
who earned seven world titles. Humorous,
opinionated, and entertaining, this collection
serves as a useful guide to the sport’s leading
competitors and top events—and it’s sure to
launch debates among passionate fans as to
who was overlooked. Includes an amusing
glossary and a shortened version of The Rules.
The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and
Madness of Ezra Pound.
By Daniel Swift.
Nov. 2017. 320p. illus. Farrar, $27 (9780374284046);
e-book (9780374709587). 811.
Poet, genius, fascist, traitor. Few writers
have earned a reputation as controversial as
Ezra Pound’s. One of the twentieth century’s
most influential authors, he was an architect
of modernist verse, an outspoken anti-Semite,
a sympathizer of Mussolini’s, and a broadcast-
er of anti-American sentiments over Italian
radio. In this engrossing biography, Swift
draws the final chapter of Pound’s life into
focus, highlighting the decade Pound spent
confined to St. Elizabeths Hospital, during
which he was brought up on charges of trea-
son that were subsequently dismissed due to a
hotly debated finding of insanity. In building
this nuanced portrait of a complicated man,
Swift assembles an immensely fascinating
archive of notebooks kept by visiting literati
like Charles Olson, Elizabeth Bishop, and
William Carlos Williams, medical records
that seem to contradict the official diagnosis,
and files prepared by the FBI and the Depart-
ment of Justice. In correspondence with Allen
Ginsberg from 1967, long after his discharge
from St. Elizabeths, Pound apparently apolo-
gized for his “stupid, suburban prejudice of
anti-Semitism,” suggesting that, even to the
end, Pound continued to be a compelling,
contradictory figure. —Diego Báez
Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur
Ambles through Philosophy.
By Michael Perry.
Nov. 2017. 240p. Harper, $25.99 (9780062230560).
While recovering from the agony of kidney stones, memoirist and novelist Perry
(Danger, Man Working, 2017; The Jesus
Cow, 2015; Visiting Tom, 2012) discovered
the philosopher Michel de Montaigne,
who happened to suffer the same affliction
five hundred years prior. More parallels followed this painful coincidence, and Perry’s
interest grew. “Montaigne composed essays
while ensconced in a castle tower overlooking his vineyards. I typed that sentence while
ensconced in a room above the garage overlooking a defunct pig pen.” Joking aside,
the two share thoughts on aging, anxiety,
sex, and marriage. Perry, a down-to-earth
midwesterner, and Montaigne, a French
nobleman, both confront guilt, shame,
faith, and death. The two writers are clearly
long-lost comrades, separated by centuries.
Perry reflects, “The guy would write about
anything”—which will remind readers of
Perry himself, tackling issues with sincerity and humor, analyzing life, and evolving
from self-exploration to self-improvement.
“You read Montaigne, you feel like you have
a friend.” Perry’s readers will say the same of
him. —Melissa Norstedt
No Time to Spare: Thinking about What
By Ursula K. Le Guin.
Dec. 2017. 240p. illus. HMH, $22 (9781328661593).
The word blog, Le Guin writes, “sounds like
a sodden tree trunk in a bog or maybe an ob-
struction in the nasal passage.” But then she
discovers the blog written by José Saramago
and, inspired, decides to begin blogging her-
self. A generous collection of the results makes
up this eclectic volume. Written from 2010
through 2015, her blogs address a variety of
subjects loosely arranged in four parts that
range from meditations on old age (Le Guin
is now well into her eighties) to those she calls
“Rewards,” a section that includes one of the
best entries in the book: her contemplation of
a lynx she discovers in a museum. But then
Le Guin seems to have a particular fondness
for cats; three of her subsections deal with her
beloved cat Pard, posts that provide a feast for
feline aficionados. To Le Guin, though, what
truly matters are the words she thinks about,
rigorous in her examination. Her expression
of these thoughts reads more like mini-essays
than blog posts and invite close reading,
which always reaps rich rewards, the true gift
of this lovely book. —Michael Cart
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams
of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
By Caroline Fraser.
Nov. 2017. 640p. illus. Holt/Metropolitan, $35
The sesquicentennial observance of the
birth of the author of the celebrated Little
House books ( 65 million copies sold in 45
languages) has been the catalyst for the publication of a spate of books, now including this
magisterial biography, which surely must be
called definitive. Richly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is the compelling,
beautifully written story of
a life whose childhood and
early years of marriage were
beset by incredible economic
privation and disaster: poverty, hunger, fire, blizzards,
invasions of locusts, and
more, enough to seemingly
eclipse the biblical plagues
of Egypt. Somehow, Laura Ingalls Wilder
survived it all and grew up to record her experiences in the pages of her Little House books,
which—as Fraser documents—are a genial
mixture of truth and fiction. Confronting
allegations that Wilder’s books were actually
written by her daughter, author Rose Wilder
Lane, Fraser evidences those claims’ untruth,
carefully demonstrating that the books were,
instead, a sometimes uneasy collaboration of
the two women, Wilder laying the foundation, Lane doing the editing and occasional
embellishing. One of the more interesting
aspects of this wonderfully insightful book
is its delineation of the fraught relationship
between Wilder and her deeply disturbed,
often suicidal daughter. But it is its marriage
of biography and history—the latter providing such a rich context for the life—that is
one of the great strengths of this indispensable book, an unforgettable American story.
YA: Teen fans of the Little House books
will be captivated by this remarkable
You Can’t Buy Love like That: Growing
Up Gay in the Sixties.
By Carol E. Anderson.
Oct. 2017. 214p. She Writes Press, paper, $16.95
(9781631523144); e-book, $9.95 (9781631523151). 813.
Every week, Anderson endured threats of
hell and damnation from the pulpit of her
Fundamentalist Baptist church. Her minister
emphasized not God’s love but God’s wrath.
Told to choose heaven or hell, at the young
age of 12, she accepted Jesus Christ as her
personal savior. Everything was fine, she told
herself, “until I developed my first crush” on
an older girl. Despite her sexual predilection,
she tried to conform by dating members of
the opposite sex and even came close to marrying a young man. But this only led to bouts