On Aug. 28, 2011, tropical storm Irene lashed Vermont, the Berkshires, and the Catskills, causing billions of dollars in damage in just eight hours.
The emotions and community spirit that came to the fore in the storm’s aftermath is the beating heart of “Good Night Irene” (Surry Cottage). Co-authors Craig Brandon, Nicole Garman, and Michael Ryan have gathered stories and photographs from survivors in hard-hit communities.
Mame McKee, who has talked to more than 200 survivors in her work with Rebuild Waterbury in Vermont, has the last word: “Everybody whose life has changed has a different perspective. There is a deep psychological impact and things will never be the same. People need to tell their stories. They need to cry a bit.”
Hoist a pint
Porter Square Books knows how to turn beer lovers into customers: Invite them to a beer tasting with the price of admission being the purchase of a book. The Cambridge bookstore’s Read Local, Drink Local series kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. with a Slumbrew tasting and a talk by Norman Miller, author of “Beer Lover’s New England: Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Beer Bars” (Globe Pequot).
Edgar Allan Poe only lived in Boston for about a year but he had no shortage of opinions about Bostonians: “Their hotels are bad. Their pumpkin-pies are delicious. Their poetry is not so good.”
Yet in recent years a campaign to celebrate this famously prickly writer has coalesced around the idea of installing a statue of Poe at Boylston and Charles streets, two blocks north of where he was born in 1809. In August the Boston Art Commission gave preliminary design approval to sculptor Stefanie Rocknak’s plan to create a life-sized bronze figure of Poe accompanied by an oversized raven. Fund-raising for the proposed $156,000 public art project has already begun.
Under one initiative, Paul Lewis, chairman of the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston, will lead 90-minute walking tours exploring Poe’s connections to the city beginning at 1 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 30 and Oct. 14 and 28. Meet at the proposed site for the statue. Tickets are $15. Proceeds benefit the statue project.
In “Never Back Down” (Godine), novelist Ernest Hebert, a working-class son of Keene, N.H., and an English professor at Dartmouth College, asks: “What if?” What if he hadn’t gone to college? In his most autobiographical novel to date, Hebert introduces Jack Landry, a promising high-school baseball player growing up in Keene in the 1950s who dreams of playing for the Red Sox. “I lived half of Jack’s adventures,” Hebert writes in the acknowledgments, adding that he’s been a lot luckier in love, having enjoyed a happy marriage for more than four decades.
■ “Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice: A Jesse Stone Novel”by Michael Brandman (Putnam)
■ “The End of Men: and the Rise of Women”
by Hanna Rosin (Riverhead)
■ “A Wanted Man” by Lee Child (Delacorte)
Pick of the week
Jean-Paul Adriaansen of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, N.H., recommends “The Map of the Sky” by Félix J. Palma (Atria): “Either Palma is a reincarnation of H.G. Wells or Wells is a time traveler who took Palma’s identity. This top-shelf historical science fiction is full of twists and turns, from the Arctic to Mars, with heroic chaps, wonderful ladies, and a nasty enemy. What remains constant throughout is the Victorian sense of respect for the intelligence of the reader.”