Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Books

A look back at the Phillies and more

Private Life: A Novel. By Jane Smiley; Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95.
Private Life: A Novel. By Jane Smiley; Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95.
Private Life: A Novel. By Jane Smiley; Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95. Gallery: Books

Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition. (edited by Scott Gummer and Larry Shenk; Insight Editions, $50) This lavishly illustrated volume, supplemented with profiles and reproductions of memorabilia, is a pictorial tribute to a franchise that has gone from perennial pushover to perennial powerhouse. "If your memories of the Phillies start at Citizens Bank Park or even Veterans Stadium, this book will provide a fresh, revealing, and surprisingly intimate look at how this franchise and this city have been intertwined for 127 years," sportswriter Frank Fitzpatrick wrote in an Inquirer review.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. (By Isabel Wilkerson; Random House, $30) Between 1915 and 1970, millions of African Americans left the South for the cities of the North and the West in a huge silent migration that transformed the face of America. Isabel Wilkerson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing as a New York Times reporter in 1994, interviewed more than 1,000 people to tell the story of the migration. The result is a brilliant marriage of history and journalism.

Life. (By Keith Richards, with James Fox; Little, Brown, $29.99) For someone whose name has been a byword for substance abuse, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, 67, has a surprisingly good memory, and the result is a surprisingly good memoir, praised by Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca in a review as "compelling, endearing, insightful, action-packed, graceful, generous-spirited, unflinching, and funny." The book even includes recollections of a Philadelphia interlude in 1977, when Richards spent three weeks here and several more in Cherry Hill while authorities assessed the results of treatment for a heroin addiction.

Private Life: A Novel. (By Jane Smiley; Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95) Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley tells the story of a woman who marries a scientist/naval officer to escape spinsterhood in Missouri at the opening of the 20th century. The marriage turns out to be a stifling union with an ambitious man whose frustration at the world's failure to recognize his genius turns toxic. "Private Life is a story of immense originality and insight," novelist Sandra Scofield wrote in an Inquirer review. "It is served well by the fascinating era in which it is set, and most of all by Smiley's wit and erudition."

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  • Freedom: A Novel. (By Jonathan Franzen; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $28) Once again, Jonathan Franzen ranges with satiric brilliance over the slippery landscape of relationships and values as he tracks the marriage of a Minnesota couple against the backdrop of America's nasty family spat between liberals and conservatives. "A tour de force, Freedom should secure Franzen's reputation as one of the finest novelists of his generation . . .," wrote Inquirer reviewer Glenn C. Altschuler, professor of American studies at Cornell University.

    Michael D. Schaffer INQUIRER BOOKS EDITOR
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