Alejandra Dubcovsky took a difficult road to reach authorhood. The former Davis resident and UC Berkeley grad is now a professor at Yale University, where she teaches early American history.
Her sociology-centric “Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South” is a fascinating study (and lesson for the digital age) of how the European and African denizens of the region set up an oral “information highway” in the 17th and early 18th centuries to literally find some context in their new world and by gathering vital news (Harvard University Press, $40, 304 pages; on sale April 4).
Remember, there were no printing presses or mail system in that time. The network involved “scouts, traders, missionaries, hunting parties, Indians, shipwrecked sailors, captured soldiers and fugitive slaves.” Their network helped found the oral tradition that is a hallmark of the South to this day.
Titles for your reading list
“The Drifter” by Nicholas Petrie sets up the situation of an impaired Iraq war veteran who returns home and wants to do a favor for the widow of a deceased brother-in-arms. At her house, he discovers a hidden suitcase full of cash. That’s when the trouble starts.
Every serious golfer is familiar with “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime In Golf.” Its author was a pro who coached a multitude of future Hall of Fame golfers. Kevin Robbins explores Penick’s life and times in “Harvey Penick” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 368 pages; on sale April 5).
In “The Loving Push,” Debra Moore, a past president of the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association, and Temple Grandin add their expertise to the how-to books that address strategies for helping children and teens on the autism spectrum (Future Horizons, $20, 280 pages). In well-organized chapters in straightforward language, the two Ph.D’s offer guidance to parents, teachers and counselors, reinforced with eight case studies.
Catriona McPherson will host a launch party for “Quiet Neighbors” at 7:30 p.m. April 7 at Avid Reader, 617 Second St., Davis, 530-758-4040 (Midnight Ink, $25, 360 pages).
In this thriller, an endangered woman flees her home for the refuge of an old bookstore in a remote village. Then the secrets begin to reveal themselves and danger comes to town.
McPherson temporarily left her multi-title “Dandy Gilver” series for this seventh stand-alone.