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The Shelf: Burial for a King
Teresa Weaver on Georgia writers
Burial for a King
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After years of preparing for this delightful literary pilgrimage, William W. Starr spent his first hour on Scottish soil stuck on a traffic roundabout that kept taking him back to the Edinburgh Airport. Eventually, Starr made a 3,000-mile, seventy-two-day trek across the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, following the path—in reverse—that James Boswell and Samuel Johnson had taken more than two centuries earlier. In 1773, Johnson was England’s preeminent author, and Boswell would soon become a literary superstar in his own right. Starr, a native of Atlanta and longtime newspaperman, has been executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book since 2003. His boundless enthusiasm for all things Scottish—the castles, the single malts, even the famously soggy weather—is infectious, and his erudition is leavened quite nicely with self-deprecating wit. Wisely, he quotes his “brilliant companions,” Boswell and Johnson, liberally throughout.
Former Atlantan Karen Abbott follows up her brothel-busting Sin in the Second City with another irresistible slice of American history at its bawdiest. On the 100th anniversary of Gypsy Rose Lee’s birth, Abbott brings the upscale stripper to life, with a stellar supporting cast including Harry Houdini, Franklin Roosevelt, and Fanny Brice.
All That’s True by Jackie Lee Miles
In the latest novel by longtime Atlantan Jackie Lee Miles, set in the fall of 1991, thirteen-year-old Andi St. James’s brother dies in a freak hazing accident, her sister is left at the altar, her mother is drinking too much, and her father is having an affair with her best friend’s stepmother. Coming of age has never been so exhausting.
Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella
Laura Spinella, a graduate of the University of Georgia who now lives in Massachusetts, uses her college town as the setting for her debut novel, a graceful tale of young love, lost love, and recovered love.