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Short Takes: July 2010 

Joseph Wallace
Simon and Schuster, 2010, $16
Inspired by the true story of Jackie Mitchell, a 16-year-old girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931 and was banned from baseball, Wallace imagines a female pitcher whose life has a different trajectory, landing her among legends. Supporting her two orphaned nieces and fending off Prohibition gangsters between no-hitters, Ruby is a pip. Reading at Pawling Book Cove, 7/10 at 1pm.


Mary-Beth Hughes
Black Cat, 2010, $14
Gallatin author Hughes follows her acclaimed debut novel Wavemaker II with a story collection praised by Mary Gaitskill, with whom she shares an affinity for sharply etched explorations of human behavior. These 11 stories bristle with unsentimental emotion and telling detail. Reading at Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, 7/16 at 7:30pm.

Louise Shaffer
Ballantine Books, 2010, $15
The bond between writers and dogs is unshakable. After the breakout success of her canine-centric first novel, Shaffer’s heroine faces hideous writer’s block and a divorce. But she gets the dog, and her Act Two is full of surprises in this breezy page-turner. Reading with Akiko Busch & Katherine Russell Rich at Maple Grove, Poughkeepsie, 7/18 at 3pm.

Marshall Karp
St. Martin’s, 2010, $24.95
The bestselling author of The Rabbit Factory and Flipping Out returns with another roller-coaster ride: murder most foul, laced with hilarity. Detectives Lomax and Biggs wisecrack their way through a scrapbook-themed maze of high-profile killings with aplomb. Only Karp could have imagined this particular species of mayhem, and it’s irresistible fun.

Barbara Pokras and Fran Pokras Yariv
Syracuse University Press, 2010, $19.95
These paired novellas by two sisters, an Emmy award-winning Woodstock film editor and a West Coast screenwriter, offer insight into the complex emotions and logistics of caring for elderly parents. Calling on their experience with their own mother, the authors bring a welcome light touch to a difficult subject.

Lee Kravitz
Bloomsbury, 2010, $25
When former Parade editor Kravitz lost his job, the self-proclaimed workaholic devoted a year of his life to redressing past wrongs and reconnecting with estranged family and friends. His spiritual bucket list, taking him from a Clinton Corners Little League field to a refugee camp in Kenya, will inspire those seeking to turn lemons into lemonade.

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  • Take one of these books to the ballgame, the beach, or wherever life takes you this summer.


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