Recession, you say? No sign of a slump hereabout in the drafting of publishable words, or in the publishing of printed and bound general-reader books about Maryland or by Marylanders. How publishers and booksellers may have fared financially in 1991 is another matter, but authors and illustrators were as active as ever. Herewith, the annual attempt to list them all, joined to the annual apology to anyone overlooked (annex next month).
Fiction had a great year, what with two titles on the top-10 lists -- Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears" and Anne Tyler's "Saint Maybe" -- and big novels from three other local-campus notables: John Barth's "The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor," Madison Smartt Bell's "Dr. Sleep" and Stephen Dixon's "Frog," which was nominated for the National Book Award. Mary Cahill was the author of "Carpool," Lee Moler of "Baltimore Blues," a thriller. Barbara Mertz added "The Last Camel Died at Noon" to her Elizabeth Peters novels. For short stories, there was Sun reporter Rafael Alvarez's latest Story Co. paperback.
In romance fiction, Nora Roberts led the way as usual -- nationally, very likely -- with seven new titles out, two of them promptly on best-seller lists. Others with books out this year included Binnie Syril Braunstein (as Binnie Syril), Mary Jo Putney (three titles), Linda Shertzer (as Melinda Pryce), Louise Titchener (as Jane Silverwood, three titles), Chassie West (as Joyce McGill), Ruth Glick and Eileen Buckholtz (as Rebecca York, two titles), Kathryn Jensen (as Nicole Davidson), Ellen Rawlings and Mary Kirk.
Biography's bellwether was "The Man to See: Edward Bennett Williams, Ultimate Insider, Legendary Trial Lawyer," by Evan Thomas. Another big book, by Kenneth Silverman, was "Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance," the first present-generation biography; it joins Baudelaire in calling Poe's death here "almost a suicide." From two generations earlier: Caroline H. Keith's "For Hell and a Brown Mule: the Biography of Millard E. Tydings." William S. McFeely added to the literature on "Frederick Douglass." Arch Frederick Blakey did a life of "Gen. John H. Winder, C.S.A.," the prison camp head. Julie Roy Jeffrey's latest book was "Converting the West: A Biography of Narcissa Whitman."
The shelf of Johns Hopkins medical biographies ever grows: "Alfred Blalock: His Life and Times," by William P. Longmire Jr. Larry Warren's "Anna Sokolow: The Rebellious Spirit" profiled a dancer. And a mathematician from India fascinated reviewers of Robert Kanigel's "The Man Who Knew Infinity: a Life of the Genius Ramanujan."
Does the approaching end of a millennium arouse the history urge? The presence of war was what stirred the uniformed contributors to Kimberly Franklin's collection, "Dear America: Letters from the Gulf." From an earlier war, a graphic series volume: "Freedom: a Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861- 1867," edited by Ira Berlin and others. "The Origins of the Social Sciences" was by Dorothy Ross, "The Reign of Thutmose IV by Betsy M. Bryan.
In local history always a flow, never an ebb. "The Baltimore Book: New Views of Local History" (Elizabeth Fee, Linda Shopes, Linda Zeidman, editors) dared question the establishment version of events and trends. Neil A. Grauer's "Baltimore: Jewel of the Chesapeake" was the new decade's first big text-and-photos treatment. Thanks to "Baltimore's Cast-Iron Buildings and Ancient Ironwork," by Phoebe B. Stanton and David G. Wright (James D. Dilts and Catherine F. Black, editors), that part of yesterday will never entirely vanish. Carleton Jones did a similar service in "Streetwise Baltimore: The Stories Behind Baltimore Street Names." Mary Corddry's "City on the Sand" was the book for beach reading at its subject, Ocean City. For Chesapeake Bay boat reading: "The James Adams Floating Theater," by C. Richard Gillespie. Also the Bay: "Tidewater by Steamboat," David C. Holly's narrative of the old-time Weems Line. Word-true, picture-lavish and fine for Christmas giving: "Shorebirds: The Birds, the Hunters, the Decoys," by John M. Levinson and Somers G. Headley.
"Cumberland to Grafton, 1848-1991" was a stirring recall of railroading in the West End or mountain subdivision of the lamented Baltimore & Ohio. In "Robert Cole's World: Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland," Lois Green Carr, Russell R. Menard and Lorena S. Walsh relate what life was like for a 17th century planter. Margaret Law Callcott edited the early-1800s letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, the "Mistress of Riverdale." Jane Bromley Wilson read maps and deciphered headstones for "The Very Quiet Baltimoreans: a Guide to the Historic Cemeteries and Burial Places of Baltimore." Catherine Reef's "Baltimore" was a series guide for new arrivals. "A Guide to Newspapers and Newspaper Holdings in Maryland," fulfilling this state's obligation the U.S. Newspaper Project, cataloged 2,356 Maryland mastheads so far, among about 190,000 nationally, and aided scholars unnumbered.
The biggest impact of all was from "Homicide," the you-are-there account by Sun reporter David Simon of a year in the lives of the Baltimore Police Department's homicide squad detectives. A somewhat parallel book was Bill Hall's "Turnout: a Firefighter's Story." Behind them, the lawyers: in "A Venerable Assembly: the History of Venable, Baetjer and Howard, 1900-1991," Arthur H. ,, Machen Jr., long a partner in this top law firm, offered a look at power-structure doings.
As to public affairs: Stephen R. David's "Choosing Sides: Alignment and Realignment in the Third World" analyzed shifts of allegiance as "omnibalancing." Lester M. Salamon's name as editor was on three books, particularly "Human Capital and America's Future: an Economic Strategy for the '90s," edited by David W. Hornbeck and Salamon. "Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part" was by Andrew Cherlin and Frank J. Furstenberg Jr. Nina Tassi addressed "Urgency Addiction," suggesting "How to Slow Down Without Sacrificing Success."
Science is a variable -- from Eastern Shore to Western Maryland, as in "Between Ocean and Bay: A Natural History of Delmarva," by Jane Scott, and "Green Glades and Sooty Gob Piles," a painstaking survey of the coal region by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. There was lots of marine Miocene in "Fossil Collecting in the Mid-Atlantic States," by Jasper Burns. And two Goucher faculty members, Larry Bielawski and Robert Lewand, in "Intelligent Systems Design," surveyed efforts to introduce artificial intelligence into the real world.
Commentary was represented by an anthology of Jonathan Yardley's newspaper columns, "Out of Step: Notes From a Purple Decade"; "The Impossible H. L. Mencken" (a selection of his newspaper pieces, edited by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers); David Bergman's "Gaiety Transfigured: Gay Self-Representation in American Literature"; and Stephen Vicchio's "Ordinary Mysteries: More Chronicles of Life, Love and Laughter." Larzer Ziff's latest book was "Writing in the New Nation: Prose, Print and Politics in the Early United States." In "Theater, Theory, Speculation," Rainer Naegele examined the critic Walter Benjamin's writings on German drama. Avram Fleishman's topic in "Narrated Films" was the movies' storytelling techniques. Music and philosophy in the ancient world were Robert W.
Wallace's subject in "Harmonia Mundi."
In sport, the book for Memorial Stadium's last Orioles year was "The House of Magic, 1922-1991: 70 Years of Thrills and Excitement on 33rd Street," edited by Robert W. Brown. "Double X: Jimmie Foxx, Baseball's Forgotten Slugger," by Bob Gorman, did homage to Maryland's top right-handed hitter.
The big local art book was "Aaron Sopher: Satirist of the American Condition," by Peter Hastings Falk. "New Perspectives on Charles Willson Peale" shed light on his Maryland years. Bennard B. Perlman, historian of the Ashcan School, focused on its leader in "Robert Henri: His Life and Art."
Poetry was pulsing and pondering: "A History of the Color Black," by Michael Fallon; "Quilting," by Lucille Clifton; "Boy on the Step," by Stanley Plumly; and "Heroes in Disguise," by Linda Pastan, Maryland's new poet laureate.
Prominent among cookbooks were Nancy Baggett's "International Chocolate Cookbook" and "Skinny Soups," by Nancy Baggett and Ruth Glick.
Younger readers were indeed a growth industry, led by the story by Sun features writer Linda Lowe Morris of growing up on a Harford County dairy farm, "Morning Milking"; Nancy Patz's latest, "To Annabella Pelican From Thomas Hippopotamus"; "Pumpkin Art," with photos by Maddie Levine and verse by Philip Macht; Margaret Meecham's "The Secret of Heron Creek"; "Stepping on the Cracks," by Mary Downing Hahn; "The Chester Town Tea Party," by Brenda Seabrooke; "Speak Up, Chelsea Martin," by Becky Thomin Lindberg; Elizabeth Howard's "Chita's Christmas Tree"; "Gypsy Bird Song," by Susan L. Roth -- and two by Mary-Claire Helldorfer, "The Mapmaker's Daughter" and "Sailing to the Sea."
Last, sometimes best, the miscellany, e.g., "Avalon, Tin Men and Diner: Three Screenplays" from among Barry Levinson's Hollywood triumphs; Carroll Swarm's seasonal "Designing for Christmas"; Rob and Lucy Wood's "The Art of Dried Flowers"; "New Paradigm Interviews, Vol. II," by Zohara and Robert Hieronimus; "Baltimore-Annapolis, 1990-1991: A Comprehensive Directory of the Area's Major Institutions and the People Who Run Them" (John J. Russell, editor); "Introduction to Civil War Photography," by Ross J. Kelbaugh. Voices from the mean streets gained a hearing in "Cry of the Invisible" (Michael A. Susko, editor). "Collected Books: the Guide to Values," by Allen and Patricia Ahearn, itemized standard rarities. Gene and Katie Hamilton's "How to Be Your Own Contractor" was "The Complete Guide to Hiring and Overseeing Painters, Carpet Installers, Plumbers, Tree Movers . . ." And "The Guide to Living With HIV Infection," by John G. Bartlett and Ann K. Finkbeiner, a book about coping, as developed at the Johns Hopkins AIDS Clinic, came out in June; it already is in its third printing.