Everything old is new again.
Wayne A. Rebhorn’s new translation of The Decameron (W. W. Norton & Company, $49.95] is the first American translation in 30 years, and has been released on the 700th anniversary of Bocaccio’s birth. The stories in this stunning new translation run the gamut of medieval genres—romance, tragedy, comedy, and farce—and are rich with wit, earthiness and bawdy irreverence. These iconic tales have been a source and inspiration for countless other storytellers (think Dante) over the centuries. Boccacio’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest authors rests entirely on this singular, overflowing work.
Another anniversary celebration: The 164th anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s death was October 7, a perfect time immerse yourself in Mrs. Poe (Gallery Books, $26). Lynn Cullen has penned this story of a little known part of Poe’s life as historical fiction, but the tale is rooted in facts and historical significance, written in the dark, macabre style of Poe himself. Mrs. Poe is based on historical details and texts linking Poe to Frances Osgood, telling the story of their long-speculated love affair and the obsessive hold it takes on Poe’s fragile wife Virginia. Closely based on authentic details of Poe’s life and writings,the tome is set among the literati world of 1845 New York City, and cleverly peppered with background appearances from Poe’s circle such as Walt Whitman and the Astors. While a voyeuristic peek into the enigmatic literary figure, Cullen also explores the themes of artistic express, social standing the 1800s and the self-ownership of women.
Just in time for Halloween, Quirk Books is releasing the e-book exclusive Suburban Legends ( $14.99), a collection of true stories that unveils the dark side of life in the "burbs"—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. Consider:
§ The Soccer Mom¹s Secret Meet Melinda Raisch of Columbus, Ohio. She¹s the wife of a dentist. A mother of three. A PTA member. And she has enough murderous secrets to fill a minivan.
§ Noise Pollution More than 100 residents of Kokomo, Indiana, claim their small town is under attack by a low-pitched humming sound that erodes health and sanity. Too bad they¹re the only ones who can hear it.
§ Death Takes a Holiday Inn There¹s nothing more reassuring than a big chain hotel in a quaint small town---unless it¹s the Holiday Inn of Grand Island, New York, where you¹ll spend the night with the spirit of a mischievous little girl.