books to note

 Contents: UU World Back Issue

Novels by UU authors

by Kenneth Sutton

The fall fiction lists from major publishers include five novels by Unitarian Universalist authors:

Michelle Huneven sets Jamesland (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003; $24) in the community in and around a Unitarian Universalist church in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. Helen Harland, a former prison guard, is the minister; Pete Ross, who’s decidedly down on his luck, shares an apartment with his mother, who is on leave from a Carmelite monastery to care for him; and Alice Black, a great-great-granddaughter of William James, struggles to bring her relationships with men into order. Huneven is a member of the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena, California.

In His Mother’s Son, a psychological thriller by Cai Emmons (Harcourt, 2003; $25), young Cady Miller, the protective older sister of Varney, has somehow become Jana Thomas, an emergency room doctor and the struggling mother of six-year-old Evan. Gripping tension from the start draws the reader into a discovery of what lies behind the transformation. Emmons, a writer for stage, film, and television, is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Oregon. This is her first novel.

Jacqueline Sheehan’s Truth (Free Press, 2003; $24) transports us into the life of the slave girl Isabella, whom we better know by the name she took as an adult, Sojourner Truth. Written in the first person, this ambitious debut novel has a smooth, poetic style. Sheehan, a practicing psychologist, is a member of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, Massachusetts.

Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction by Robert J. Begiebing (University Press of New England, 2003; $24.95) introduces a mysterious young artist with an uncanny and frightening talent. Set in eighteenth-century New England, this volume completes the author’s trilogy of historical novels begun in The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin and The Adventures of Allegra Fullerton. Begieging is director of creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University and a member of the South Church–Unitarian Universalist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The Miracle: A Visionary Novel by Michael Gurian (Atria Books, 2003; $13) also begins with an uncanny child and a mystery, but rapidly moves into a world of the supernatural. The publisher describes it as “part old-fashioned mystery, part new-age revelation.” Gurian, the author of sixteen books, is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, Washington.

Kenneth Sutton is manuscript editor of UU World.

Books by UU Authors

To submit your book for this column, send a copy along with information about how to order it and your UU affiliation to UU World, 25 Beacon St., Boston MA 02108. Due to volume, we cannot include every title and cannot return books. Preference will be given to books of general interest; self-published titles will be included selectively.

The Boston Religion: Unitarianism in its Capital City. By Peter Tufts Richardson. Red Barn Publishing, 2003; $29.95 plus $3.50 postage from the author, 22 Mechanic St., Rockland ME 04841. This handsomely produced and illustrated cloth-bound volume provides both a brief overview of Unitarian history in Boston and comprehensive historical sketches of the ministers and meeting houses of the seventy-four Unitarian churches that have existed in Boston. The Rev. Peter T. Richardson retired in 2002 after thirty-seven years serving congregations in Ohio, Texas, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified. By Richard Wolfson. W.W. Norton, 2003; $24.95. By chapter two, Wolfson has summarized the theory of relativity as “the laws of physics are the same for all.” He cautions that while this basic principle makes sense, some of its logical consequences seem not to. Explaining these consequences fills the rest of the book. Wolfson, a physicist at Middlebury College, is a member of the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society in Middlebury, Vermont.

Necessary Numbers: An Everyday Guide to Sizes, Measures, and More. By Mary Blocksma. Portable Press, 2002; $12. A fascinating compendium. The entries beginning with “F” are representative: fertilizer; Fibonacci sequence; film; financial indexes; firearms; firewood; food (energy values); food grading; food labeling. Blocksma, a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, is also the author of Great Lakes Nature and What’s on the Beach: A Great Lakes Treasure Hunt.

Victory or Death! Stories of the American Revolution. By Doreen Rappaport and Joan Verniero. Illustrations by Greg Call. HarperCollins, 2003; $25.99. Children’s stories for ages eight to twelve about heroic but sometimes uncelebrated Americans. Joan Verniero, a highly-regarded children’s book author, is a member of the Unitarian Church of Westport, Connecticut.

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
: 66-67

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