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Our Bodies, Ourselves Will No Longer Be Published

The Free Press WV

The most recent new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves will be the last. The organization that publishes the iconic book announced last week that it can no longer afford to update the book and put out new editions. Instead, it will transition to a volunteer-led organization “that will mainly advocate for women’s health and social justice.“ Our Bodies, Ourselves was “revolutionary” when it was released in the 1970s, educating women about their anatomy and sexuality at a time when many of the subjects it addressed were taboo, NPR reports.The last revision was released in 2011.

Review: ‘The Balcony’ is riveting debut fiction

The Free Press WV

“The Balcony” (Little, Brown and Co.), by Jane Delury

A limestone manor, surrounded by fields and forests not far from Paris, is the main setting for “The Balcony,” a subtly crafted and richly rewarding debut book of fiction by Jane Delury.

With a servants’ cottage tucked nearby, the once-grand estate emerges as a central presence in the narrative, looming large in the passions and destinies of a changing cast of characters that own it or visit it over a century.

Delury’s book unfolds in 10 separate stories, each with its own title. While they work as compact, remarkable tales in themselves, they connect through characters and events — and the manor and its environs — to create a riveting free-form novel.

This narrative structure — stand-alone stories woven around a central figure — is reminiscent of “Olive Kitteridge,” Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of stories built around the title character. It is no stretch to mention Delury and Strout in the same sentence: Delury’s debut book, with wise observations, intriguing twists and indelibly drawn characters, is filled with reading pleasures.

A possible flaw is Delury’s change of stylistic gears in the final story, “Between.” It echoes themes of the book’s first, “Au Pair,” with a young married woman finding a lover on the side, but it is told in a stilted framework that may be confusing and jarring to the reader.

The other stories, related in spare but evocative prose, offer fresh looks at human appetites — sex, love, money, art, culture — while exploring the ups and downs of childhood, family, friendship and aging, mostly in France but with American and other foreign touches flecking the narrative.

One story, “Ants,” is a gentle and superb beach drama framing a young teen girl’s coming-of-age experience. Another, “The Pond,” is a gripping, very different coming-of-age story about two young brothers, a secret and courage.

“The Balcony” is an American’s love letter to France — a bit prickly, for sure, and a compelling saga spanning France’s past century, a period in which the manor, ravaged by wars and time, survives as a silent witness.

You Can Buy Mike Pence’s Bunny Book. Or You Can Buy John Oliver’s

John Oliver did a segment on Mike Pence during Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, focusing mostly on all the positions the vice president holds that Oliver finds distasteful—among them his opposition to women in the military, abortion rights, and LGBT rights. But Oliver promised Pence supporters he’d say at least one nice thing about Pence before the segment was over, and that he did: “I kind of like his rabbit. I really, genuinely do.“ The Pences have a pet rabbit named Marlon Bundo, and that rabbit “is the most likable thing about an otherwise unlikable man,“ Oliver said. “Like how George W. Bush is a perfectly fine painter. Or how Bill Cosby raised Americans’ awareness of pudding. Or how Roger Ailes is dead. Sometimes you can’t deny that there’s one thing you like about someone.“ But Oliver quickly turned that one thing on its head.

It seems Marlon Bundo has a new book released Monday, Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President (actually written by Pence’s daughter and illustrated by his wife). And in “a complete coincidence,“ Last Week Tonight has published a competing book about the bunny, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. Not only was the book released a day before Pence’s book, but it features Marlon Bundo falling in love with another boy rabbit, and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to AIDS United and the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth. The book can be purchased in hardcover, e-book, or audiobook form (the audio version includes the voices of Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and RuPaul, among others) at Amazon or the easy-to-remember BetterBundoBook.com.

Book: Cecil the Lion’s Death Marked by ‘Incredible Cruelty’

The Free Press WV

When Cecil the lion was killed in July 2015, animal lovers around the world mourned. Andrew Loveridge had a heightened reason to be distraught: The Oxford University researcher had spent eight years studying the animal in northwestern Zimbabwe, and he’s now sharing what the Washington Post calls the “first detailed account of Cecil’s last hours” in a new book, Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil and the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats. It’s out April 10, but National Geographic offers an excerpt. Loveridge writes that the hunting party used an elephant carcass, “presumably [dragged] behind a Land Cruiser” to the proper spot, to lure Cecil, who was then shot with a bow and arrow by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer from a hunting blind set up in a nearby tree. Death did not come quickly.

Using GPS data from the tracking collar Cecil was wearing, Loveridge determined that he was likely shot between 9pm and 11pm on July 1. Between 11pm and 7am the next day, he moved about 500 feet. Two hours later, the lion was reportedly “finish[ed] off” with a second arrow. Loveridge writes, “He most definitely did not die instantly ... Cecil suffered incredible cruelty for at least 10 hours, severely wounded and slowly dying. ... Clearly, although the wound was severe, the arrow had missed the vital organs or arteries that would have caused rapid blood loss and a relatively quick death.“ Loveridge’s excerpt offers more details of “anomalies in the case that carry a heavy whiff of impropriety,“ including an oddity regarding how Cecil’s carcass was treated, HERE.

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