David Mas Masumoto has made a second career from writing philosophically about his life and those of his family as played out on their 80-acre organic farm in the San Joaquin Valley.
His “Epitaph for a Peach” (1996) recounted his battle to save an older variety of peach (the Sun Crest) that had been deemed obsolete by fruit wholesalers and retailers. It was the title of choice for the Sacramento Public Library’s inaugural One Book Sacramento program in 2005.
Now, after 40 years of working the land, Masumoto reflects on being a third-generation farmer on the verge of turning over the operation to his daughter in “Changing Season” (Heyday, $16, 192 pages). In his preface to the essay collection, he writes, “Sometimes the abundance of wisdom (learned while working the farm) is so large that laughter and tears seem like best friends.”
James Thurber gets Strand-ed
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Strand magazine managing editor Andrew Gulli recently discovered a previously unpublished story by “celebrated wit” James Thurber in the archives of Ohio State University. Gulli has a talent for finding and publishing lost writings by famous authors, including Joseph Heller, Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett.
“The Man From Aramie” is “a wonderful little story of the Western genre written when Thurber was 18, according to his biographer,” Gulli said. “It has all the key ingredients of a spoof, with an oddball sheriff, a few ruffians with wonderful names like Flowers McCall, and a rather belligerent bartender.”
Look for the quarterly Strand at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores ($6.95); www.strandmag.com; 800-300-6652.
One more ‘Girl’
There must be something about all those book titles with the word “girl” in them, as least four were best-sellers, two were made into movies and one is “in development” – “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (2014, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike), “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (due Oct. 7, starring Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett), “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll (in development), and “The Winter Girl” by Matt Marinovich.
Joining that mini-library is the new “The Last Good Girl” by former federal prosecutor Allison Leotta (Touchstone, $25, 304 pages). The story revolves around prosecutor Anna Curtis’ attempts to find a missing co-ed while bringing media attention to the subject of campus rape. Timely, tense and well-researched.