Salvage the Bones

Selected by Jeanne Goodrich, executive director for the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

The 2011 National Book Award winner for fiction, Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA, $24), recounts 12 days in the lives of a poor, motherless, rural Mississippi family as Hurricane Katrina builds up and then hits their dilapidated home. The characters—including pregnant 14-year-old narrator Esch, her drunken father, feckless brothers, pit bull China and the unloving father of Esch’s baby—are deftly drawn and placed in a situation that would be trying for less imperfect people. Wrenching but worth it.

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A Las Vegan’s memoir of television success is for fans only.

Book Jacket

A Las Vegan’s memoir of television success is for fans only.

By M. Scott Krause

I really don't know what to make of Mr. CSI, the new memoir from the TV show's creator Anthony E. Zuiker. The book, which was written with Todd Gold, doesn't really know what it wants to be. Is it a straightforward memoir? A behind the scenes look at a modern television phenomenon? A scrappy self-help book? A primer on surviving your dysfunctional family? Mr. CSI: How a Vegas Dreamer Mad a Killing in Hollywood One Body at a Time (Harper, $27) contains elements of all those things, but despite its best intentions, it never transcends its mongrel pedigree.