The Big Poster Book of Hindu Dieties by Sanjay Patel (Chronicle Books, 2011,12 pp., $24.95)
Patel, a Pixar animator and storyboard artist who lives in Oakland, gives oversized life to 12 iconic Hindu deities in his latest poster book of double-sided prints — a very clever concept. Bold, angular graphics and bright, rich colors define his artistic style, while a sense of humor and deft aptitude for compelling cliffhangers mark his accompanying prose. Patel’s working sketches, completed images and stories of the mythological characters are equally thoughtful and endearing, from lucky Ganesha and ferocious Kali to compassionate Durga and loyal Hanuman. This is the perfect companion to the author/illustrator’s 2005 book, The Little Book of Hindu Dieties. These 12-by-14 prints are suitable for framing, too.
Lunch Bucket Paradise, A True-Life Novel by Fred Setterberg (Heyday, 2011, 245 pp., $15.95)
Another Oaklander, Setterberg sets his tale of the mid-century American dream in suburban California with colorful characters named Little Slick (an earnest boy and the main character), Joe Louis (a dachsund) and Uncle Win (a Navy vet). Betty Crocker, Jell-O, Dacron, Trix and La-Z Boy recliners make their way into this coming-of-age story about the postwar working class. Black-and-white photos of GIs, tract-house yards, construction workers, kids in confirmation garb and Boy Scouts create the perfect backdrop for the idealistic and innocent telling of growing up in what were prosperous times. This is a nostalgic traipse through recent history that people of a certain age will be certain to relish.
Casey’s Slip, A Novel by Richard L. Wren (PoorRichardPublishers.com, 2011, 342 pp., $10.95)
Oaklander Wren, a retired insurance exec who knows his way around The Town, has completed his first mystery book, which stars Casey, a 20-something sailboat bum caught up in a mysterious murder after delivering a boat under somewhat curious circumstances. The scenery is all Oakland, Alameda and the East Bay, right down to West Marine and Latitude 38. This yarn has a cranky motorcycle gang leader, crooked cops and corrupt pols plus a touch of romance and plot twists and turns. What more could you want for a little pleasurable reading? Kidnapping, blackmail, arson? You got it, so get it and enjoy the read.