Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
Quite a Year for Plums
Bailey White's tale of some highly literate oddballs in south Georgia—plus her engagingly hoarse delivery—makes the listener want to investigate the region's flora and fauna firsthand. (Random House, $25)
A Night Without Armor: Poems by Jewel Or, love me, love my doggerel. The author declaims. (Harper, $12)
A Patchwork Planet Gently world-weary, David Morse's is the perfect voice for Anne Tyler's 30-year-old protagonist, whose métier is doing odd jobs for denizens of Baltimore, not all of whom realize they are entertaining an angel unawares. (Random House, $24)
Notes from a Small Island A ramble through Britain provides author-narrator Bill Bryson with material for observations that are usually wry (on a monstrous seaside landlady, for instance) and sometimes eccentric (he appears not to care for Oxford). (Bantam Doubleday Dell, $25)
Bridget Jones's Diary Helen Fielding's thirtysomething hero knows that if she gives up booze, cigarettes and some avoirdupois, she'll develop inner poise, find a fabulous bloke and live happily ever after. Does she succeed? Yeah, right! Tracie Bennett's performance makes what is funny to read deliciously funny to hear. (Random House, $18)