The Page Boy

Attack of the Theater People
Marc Acito
Broadway Books

“Now fly, little bird, and be free!” A lovely admonition, except that in this case, the admonished, Edward Zanni, is being pushed not so gently from his class for having “hands too jazz for Julliard.” Edward first appeared in Marc Acito’s How I Paid for College, which detailed how he got to Julliard in the first place—tactics that involved himself and crew of highly idiosyncratic friends in blackmail, fraud, and impersonating Frank Sinatra (we’re in the mid-’80s). Edward, with the same zany cast, works as a “party motivator” at bar mitzvahs, and becomes embroiled in insider trading with a hunky sleaze named Brad. Will Edward find himself back at Julliard, or just find himself?

The Compassionate Carnivore
Catherine Friend
DaCapo Lifelong

Catherine Friend tackles a problem that confronts many readers: We like meat, but don’t want to consider what it went through to get to our plate. Her first book, Hit by a Farm, told the story of Friend and her partner starting their own sheep farm, where they continue to raise and sell animals—and eat their own meat. Compassion is the operative word: Friend details what it takes to raise and slaughter animals humanely. She guides the reader through the linguistic thicket that surrounds our food—“organic,” “factory farm,” “grass-fed,” etc. Friend convincingly demonstrates how it is possible to be both compassionate and a carnivore.

Great Expectations
Charles Dickens—Adapted by Richard Geary
Papercutz (Classics Illustrated)

The Wind in the Willows
Kenneth Grahame—Adapted by Michel Plessix
Papercutz (Classics Illustrated Deluxe)

Many of our older readers will remember with fondness the great Classics Illustrated stories from 1941 to 1971. Papercutz has taken up the banner, reissuing these classics, not as reprints, freshly told. If these two are any indication of what’s to come, then the graphic novel will acquire a most welcome addition. Michel Plessix’s The Wind in the Willows is stunningly beautiful, rendered in exquisite detail with nuanced color wash. He manages to incorporate the silliness of Toad, that epitome of hangdog-cum-pomposity, and the humanness of the other animals. Richard Geary’s well-known darker style and heavier line do justice to Dickens’s Great Expectations.

The Water Garden
Leslie Geddis-Brown

Before you go start your yard work, put a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge, and set this book out on the sun porch. Afterward, supine on the couch, sipping your iced tea, page through The Water Garden’s sun-dappled and wisteria-scented pages. Let Geddis-Brown lead you on a worldwide tour of water as an artist’s tool, a jeweler’s gem, enriching landscape and architectural settings. Merrell has published many fine volumes on gardening, but this is one of its most achingly beautiful. Geddes-Brown’s text is both learned and entertaining, with notes on plants; public gardens; and, should you decide to forego doing it yourself, garden designers.

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