'The Smoke Jumper'
By Nicholas Evans
Delacorte Press, $26.95.
The author, famous for his first novel "The Horse Whisperer," (1995) which was made into a movie starring Robert Redford, has written another novel about the heroics of firefighting in the wilderness and front-line photojournalism. This is the story of two best friends, Connor Ford and Ed Tully, and the woman they love, Julie Bishop.
When a mountain fire forces Julie to choose between them, all three lives are changed forever.
The book covers ground from the forests of Montana to the killing fields of Africa, as the author tries to capture the wonder of the untamed wilderness. — Dennis Lythgoe
'New York: An Illustrated History'
By Ric Burns, James Sanders with Lisa Ades
This magnificent, giant paperback book has just been released at a time when our reverence for New York and its history and culture is at its zenith. It includes numerous essays coupled with impressive photography to tell the story of what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. calls "The world's first city."
It is based on the TV documentary of the same name, and it contains interesting contributions by such competent historians as Kenneth T. Jackson as well as CBS correspondent Mike Wallace. The pictures are both in black and white and color, and there is a plethora of maps, as well.
E.B. White said, "The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines."
Unfortunately, the last 25 years are covered in shorthand — and ironically, there are several chapters to be added, beginning with the destruction of the Twin Towers, Sept. 11, 2001. — Dennis Lythgoe
'Purity and Passion'
By Wendy Watson
This is a book attempting to deal with marital intimacy among Mormons. It is written by a professor of marriage and family therapy at BYU. The aim of the book is to tie marital intimacy with spirituality, always a difficult call. The author even compares physical intimacy with the partaking of the Sacrament.
Although the table of contents mentions the term "intimacy" frequently, the text is more concerned with quoting scripture and LDS religious leaders. A major theme is that there are certain unnamed sexual practices that should not be considered appropriate in marriage. On the whole, the author attempts to walk all around the ideal of sexual intimacy without ever stopping on the subject. For books about sex, it's the oldest problem in the world. — Dennis Lythgoe