Book Beat: New releases from local authors

As visions of empty bookshelves dance through your sugar-plummy head this holiday season, it's always a fun idea to spread good cheer by supporting local authors. While we have lots of "big publishing house" and legitimate national bestselling writers in the neighborhood, there are also plenty of authors in our region who have self-published or released new books through small and independent houses. In the latter context, here are some titles of interest to local readers - and odds are good you might just find an ideal gift among them.

"Sheppard of the Argonne" by G. William Weatherly (iUniverse, $30.95 hardcover, $20.95 paperback, $4.99 eBook) - A revisionist history naval thriller, this novel imagines what might have happened if the Washington Navy Treaty of 1922 - an attempt to discourage post World War I arms-race madness - had never happened. Weatherly is the pen name of George W. Jackson, a Salem, Conn.-based retired Navy captain who skippered three submarines and whose last job was as chairman of the Joint Naval Operations Department at the Navy War College. Weatherly will sign copies at the Sub Base Exchange in Groton from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 12, 13 and 14.

"The Way Back" by Jeff Turner (Page Publishing, $12.90 paperback, $7.99 Kindle) - Debut novel by a Mitchell College professor and longtime Waterford resident. Jack Elliton, a career-track professor and successful author, suddenly has an incredible run of bad luck that shatters his family and secure reality. His wife is having an affair, he faces untrue harrassment charges at school, and his son is a victim of bullies. Set familiarly in several local towns, "The Way Back" is a story of death, redemption and learning to accept human flaws.

"The Path Smoke Follows" by David P. Jetmore (Amazon Digital Services, $3.99 Kindle) - The story of a young Sicilian woman's journey from Italy to Brooklyn and ultimately New London - as written by a New London native who worked for the City of New London.

"My Two Italies" by Joseph Luzzi (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23 hardcover) - The author, a professor of Italian at Bard College, has written a much-lauded memoir that includes a detailed account of his childhood in Westerly.

"Whirlwind & Storm - A Connecticut Cavalry Officer in the Civil War and Reconstruction" by Charles E. Farnsworth (iUniverse, $23.95) - A biography of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Farnsworth, a Connecticut cavalryman in the Union Army - and the author's grandfather. Farnsworth was "fiery, ambitious and bold ... in combat, in business ventures, and in a fateful river crossing." Source material for the book includes actual diaries and letters.

"The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile and Return" by Kenan Trebincevic (Penguin, $10.21 paperback, $7.99 Kindle) - The author fled Bosnia with his family and settled in Westport, and this account of the genocidal conflict in his native land was a bestseller and a "Book of the Week" pick on Oprah.com.

"Artist in a Pixelated World" by Jean-Yves Solinga (Little Red Tree Publishing, $18.95 paperback) - Solinga is a Gales Ferry-based poet and this is his latest collection from the New London publishing house.

"Three Knots to Nowhere" by Ted E. Dubay (McFarland, $29.95 paperback) - The author is a Nuclear Technical Specialist III at the Millstone Power Station and a longtime resident of East Lyme. This autobiography offers "a fresh perspective" on the secret world of submarine life.

"Saving the World's Deciduous Forests - Ecological Perspectives from East Asia, North America, and Europe" by Robert A. Askins (Yale University Press, $35 hardcover) - A Ledyard resident and the Katherine Blunt Professor of Ecology at Connecticut College in New London, Askins writes about the grim threats on three continents facing forests consisting of maples, hickories, oaks, birches and so on. The book also addresses various conservation strategies and practices.

"Machines We Have Built" by Gian Lombardo (Quale Press, $15 paperback) - A collection of prose-poems inspired by free-ranging song remnants and subsequent speculation during the author's two-hour commute between his home on the southeastern Connecticut shore and his job as Publisher-in-Residence at Emerson College. A list of the songs that inspired the works is available at www.quale.com. It's also fun to note that the cover painting was done by Waterford artist Don Eccleston.

"Terror in Brooklyn" by Anastasia Goodman (Ocean Breeze Press, $20 paperback) - The latest Sasha Perlov novel by a Russian-born resident of New York City. Ocean Breeze is a publishing house operated by Westerly's Harriet Grayson.

"Broken" by Traci L. Slatton (Parvati Press, $16.99 paperback) - The Manhattan-based author grew up in Groton. "Broken" is a historical novel set in occupied Paris during World War II and asks the question, "Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?"

"The Christmas Santa Did Not Wear a Hat" by Daniel Hyland (Amazon Digital Services, $0.99 Kindle) - This is the latest Yule-themed book from Hyland, a former Westerly Sun photographer - and there's a nice display featuring "The Christmas Santa Did Not Wear a Hat" in the lobby of Washington Trust in downtown Westerly. Very seasonal.

"Martin Shapiro's 2039" by Martin Shapiro (CreateSpace, $13.15 paperback, $4.99 Kindle) - It's a very different America in this dark, dystopian novel, and Norwich citizens Jonathon and Ida Kadish are fed up and plan to escape to Canada. But Orwellian members of the government aren't pleased, particularly considering Jonathan's status as a senior engineer in the submarine industry. The author is a past president of the Norwich Rotary Club.

"Osprey Point" by David Reinhart (Cardinal Press, $11.64 paperback, $7.99 Kindle) - The author is a former Waterford resident and this, his debut novel, is a murder mystery centered around a fictionalized version of the Millstone Power Station.

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