Books, those quaint relics of the age of print, still find their way to the Cleveland Jewish News office, sparking interest in such topics as romance in the digital era, a career in cosmetics sales, the Cleveland Indians, the love and culinary expertise of a favorite aunt, and the follow-up to “Gussie and Luther,” the debut novel Aaron Fox published in 2012 at age 87.
Let’s start with Alexandra Sukhoy’s “Diary of the Dumped,” the Lakewood author’s diary about being jilted online. Subtitled “30 Days from Break Up to Breakthrough,” it’s a readable, alternately rueful and defiant account of Sukhoy’s travels in the land of dating. Packed with local color, rife with insight into electronic (mis)communication, it’s Sukhoy’s brain- and heartfelt testament to getting over it.
Beachwood resident Marlit Polsky brings color, anecdote and personality to “Rouge Hags,” her memoir of cosmetics counter work at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains, N.Y. and Dillard’s in Beachwood Place Mall. Polsky tells stories of customers trying to con those counters out of free cosmetics, scheming sales associates, managers who plunder scarce samples inventory – and clever, winning sales tactics. Lots of dish, lots of insider info, lots of fun.
Scott H. Longert’s “The Best They Could Be: How the Cleveland Indians Became the Kings of Baseball, 1916-1920,” chronicles the fevered fortunes of an American League standby that lacked money, charisma and management until new owner James C. Dunn beefed up the roster and managed the team back to prominence. The Beachwood author paints a vivid picture of a volatile team during World War I, a simpler, more black-and-white time, tracking the Indians from collapse to winning the 1920 World Series – which included the only World Series triple play.
Honey Lazar’s “Loving Aunt Ruth: Recipes for a Life Well-Lived,” a book about the relationship between the author and her aunt, Ruth Moss, is out, years after the East Side fine arts photographer launched the project. The oversized book is above all a work of photographs. Lazar’s large, handsomely presented pictures track Aunt Ruth as she sits on her bed, makes nice with babies, shares holidays with friends, deftly applies makeup – and adjusts to aging. The depth of the imagery makes the book kindly and clear-eyed rather than sentimental.
Auburn Township writer Aaron Fox focused on Cleveland’s inner city in “Gussie and Luther,” but this time out, his terrain is Squirreltown, W. Va., a hardscrabble burg riven by a union dispute. Edited, as usual, by Fox’s wife Ruthanne, “Shoe Shine Lady” affirms Fox’s talent for character development and narrative. The book stars Belle Reinker, a sexy, salty dame who goes into business with a shoe shine stand when her husband loses his job at the mill. Fox’s affinity for the working class rings loud and clear.