Book Bites

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2001

''Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith'

(The New Press, 407 pages, $25.95) -- Studs Terkel

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel has made a distinguished career out of confronting divisive social issues. However, in his latest book, he tackles the one issue that unites everyone: death.

As in most of Terkel's books (''Working,'' ''The Good War''), his subjects are everyday men and women, the ''heroes of the ordinary.'' This collection of 62 conversations contains a few well-known names -- Ira Glass, host of National Public Radio's ''All Things Considered,'' novelist Kurt Vonnegut and actress Uta Hagen -- but its core is the nurses, paramedics, doctors, social workers, AIDS caseworkers, clergy, undertakers and others who deal with death every day. Although the interviews address people's fears about death and dying, and their belief (or disbelief) in the hereafter, ultimately, they focus on celebrating life.

In these moving, thought-provoking and powerful interviews, Terkel beautifully illustrates that this book may be about death, ''but only by living to the full its long prelude, life.''

-- By Julie Reed, Associated Press Writer

''The Shadow of the Sun''

(Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 325 pages, $25) -- Ryszard Kapuscinski

Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski first arrived in Africa more than 40 years ago at the dawn of the postcolonial era. He has witnessed a continent giddy with anticipation at independence, bloody from the turmoil of change and always, ceasingly impoverished, its people struggling through another day of survival. His latest work, ''The Shadow of the Sun,'' brings that struggle to life, giving voice to the masses otherwise silent in the shadows of the often bellicose leaders of African nations.

''The Shadow of the Sun'' is not a chronological account of his time spent in Africa. It is more an amalgam of that time. The painting is bold. Words hit the reader with the power of heavy brush strokes in brilliant colors. ''The Shadow of the Sun'' will consume a reader with its powerful writing and imagery and Kapucinski's unapologetic championing of Africa's masses.

-- By James Reindl, Associated Press Writer

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