Beer. It’s a beverage for all seasons, a cold treat and a hot topic in the Richmond area, particularly with the impending arrival of Stone Brewing Co.
And you can chug or sip its local story in “Richmond Beer: A History of Brewing in the River City” (158 pages, The History Press, $19.99) by Lee Graves, a lifelong Virginian, a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Beer Guy columnist.
That history dates to the Colonial era, when English settlers brewed and enjoyed a pint or more, and it continues to this day as the craft-beer industry explodes across the nation.
Old-timers will remember such brews as Richbrau. Now, even more local beers are available, and Graves takes aficionados on an informative and entertaining tour, complete with an appendix that lists breweries, brewpubs, restaurants, taphouses, specialty shops and homebrewing resources.
Graves combines his expertise with lively prose. Folks who love beer, or Richmond, or both, will want to tap into this tasty and informative keg, which satisfies to the last drop.
Some call it America’s forgotten war. Neither as recent as Iraq and Afghanistan, nor as controversial as Vietnam, nor as deadly as World War II, the Korean War nevertheless spilled American blood and left uncertain the status of some American prisoners.
William Clark Latham Jr., course director at the U.S. Army Logistics University at Fort Lee, explores the history of those who fought and were captured in Korea in “Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea” (301 pages, Texas A&M University Press, $32 hardcover, $24.95 paperback).
Latham, also a military historian, uses memoirs, trial transcripts, debriefings, declassified government reports, published analysis, media coverage, conversations, interviews and correspondence with former prisoners to explore the topic.
He not only discusses the prisoners’ captivity — and the indoctrination and coercion they faced — but also offers insights into the conduct of prisoners in the hands of enemy captors and the rules that should govern their treatment.
In his 13 seasons as head football coach at Virginia Military Institute, John McKenna led the Keydets to six consecutive winning seasons, including an undefeated record in 1957.
Sports journalists Roland Lazenby and Mike Ashley tell his story in “Best Regrets: VMI’S John McKenna and the Lost Age of College Football” (242 pages, the VMI Keydet Club and Full Court Press, $24.57).
Lazenby, a 1974 graduate of VMI who played one year of football at the Lexington school, is the author of several sports books. Ashley, who lives in the Washington area, covers the University of Maryland’s athletic program and college sports for a variety of publications.
Ginger Warder, who grew up in Northern Virginia and who now splits her time between Richmond and St. Petersburg, Fla., tells the story of a Richmond landmark in “Linden Row Inn” (127 pages, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99).
The Greek-revival row houses that constitute the inn were saved from demolition in 1950 by purchaser and preservationist Mary Wingfield Scott, who donated them to the Historic Richmond Foundation in 1980. In 1988, under the foundation’s supervision, seven of the eight houses were renovated and restored to become the inn.
Virginia author Brad Parks has won the Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Novel, the highest annual honor given by the Private Eye Writers of America and one of the most prestigious awards in crime fiction.
Parks won for his 2013 book “The Good Cop.” He previously won the Shamus Award in the category of Best First Novel for his 2009 debut, “Faces of the Gone.” By following that up with this year’s award, he achieved a historic first: no former Best First winner had ever gone on to win Best Hardcover Novel.
*Tyler Scott explores issues of divorce and art in “The Excellent Advice of a Few Famous Painters” (278 page, CreateSpace, $10.50), a novel set in Richmond and focusing on the struggles of single mom Mary Page Willoughby. Scott lives in Richmond with her husband and daughter.
*Sharyn McCrumb, who lives in Southwest Virginia, continues her popular “Ballad” mystery series with “Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past” (160 pages, Abingdon Press, $18.99). The series is set in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
*Krista Davis, a former resident of Alexandria who now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has written “The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer” (320 pages, Berkley Prime Crime, $7.99), the second mystery in her Paws and Claws series set at the Sugar Maple Inn, a pet-friendly resort, in the fictional Virginia town of Wagtail.
*Among Virginia’s architectural treasures is the Pope-Leighey House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Alexandria. Architect, author and Wright scholar Steven M. Reiss discusses its history in “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House” (216 pages, University of Virginia Press, $35).
*Randolph Thomas, who grew up in western Virginia and attended Radford University, examines loss and the ability to go on in “Dispensations” (158 pages, New Rivers Press, $15.95), a collection of short stories. Thomas, also a singer, songwriter and guitarist who has performed solo and in folk and rock bands, teaches at Louisiana State University.
*Virginia Beach native Joe Tennis details the melding of railroad history with travel opportunities in “Virginia Rail Trails: Crossing the Commonwealth” (256 pages, The History Press, $19.99). Tennis is a graduate of Tidewater Community College and Radford University.
*Aviation expert Roger Connor looks at the commonwealth’s flight history in “Virginia Aviation” (127 pages, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99). A curator and historian at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, Connor holds master’s degrees from George Mason University and George Washington University and is completing his doctorate at George Mason.
*Richmond native Randi Wolf Lauterbach reflects on the December 1974 death of her mother — which left her an adult orphan at age 22 — in “Matzo Balls and Christmas Trees” (104 pages, Belle Isle Books, $14.95). A graduate of Virginia Tech who went on to be a sixth-grade teacher, a Realtor and a computer-systems trainer who worked in the information-technology field for 30 years, she lives in Glen Allen with her husband, Spencer, and their dog, Jake.
*Whitfield Scott, a native of Saxe in Charlotte County, has written “A Focus on the African American’s History of Enslavement, Contribution to the Growth of the Nation, and His Struggle to be Free” (100 pages, Trafford Publishing, $11.65). Scott is pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Scottsburg and Organ Hill Baptist Church in Drakes Branch.
*Pamela Carter-Cousins, who has taught students in Powhatan County ranging from kindergartners to adult inmates, is the author of “Southern Belle Rocks” (112 pages, Strategic Book Publishing, $29), about a native New Yorker who moves to North Carolina as a 22-year-old.
*Northern Virginia author Danielle Ellison has written a dystopian young-adult novel, “Follow Me Through Darkness” (369 pages, Spencer Hill Press, $9.95), the opening book in her projected “Boundless Trilogy.” This is Ellison’s third book.
*Sandy Green, a poet and choreographer who lives in Northern Virginia, brings her competitive Irish dance and classical ballet background to the role of novelist with her young-adult book, “No One’s Watching” (306 pages, Astraea Press, $13.99), which asks the question: If you aren’t following your dreams, whose dreams are you following?
*Elle Cosimano, who grew up in and still lives in Northern Virginia, marks the debut of her young-adult thriller, “Nearly Gone” (400 pages Penguin Books for Young Readers, $17.99), an urban murder mystery with a math-science twist.
*Native Richmonder Clay McLeod Chapman, creator of the award-winning theater production “The Pumpkin Pie Show,” has written a middle-grade novel, “The Tribe, Book 2 Camp Cannibal (A Tribe Novel)” (320 pages, Disney Hyperion, $16.99), which sees the return of hilarious protagonist Spencer Pendleton in a comical ode to “Lord of the Flies” and “The Call of the Wild.” The first book, “Homeroom Headhunters,” is now out in paperback.
*Doris O’Brien, an artist who lives in Henrico County, has written and illustrated “March of the Veggies” (14 pages, Tate Publishing, $6.99) for children ages 2-6. The book aims to get kids to eat vegetables by talking and reading about them, and to learn colors in the process.
*Thomas F. McLoughlin, a geologist and coal-mine inspector who lives in Norton, is the author of “A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia” (121 pages, Trafford Publishing, $47.39).
*The American Revolution Roundtable of Richmond has chosen two books as the first winners of what it plans to be its annual book awards: “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire” by Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, a history professor at the University of Virginia; and “The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America’s War of Liberation in Canada, 1774-1776” by Mark R. Anderson, a retired Air Force officer and now a civilian military planner for the federal government who lives in Colorado.
*Vermont writer Jodi Lew-Smith has won James River Writers’ inaugural contest for best self-published novel for her book “The Clever Mill Horse.” JRW will conduct the contest in alternating years.