If Black Friday has come and gone and you haven't finished all your holiday shopping, we suggest books--especially books about New England. Plenty of good reads about the region were published in 2011 that should engage active and armchair travelers alike. We'll be highlighting a few in the coming weeks, and here's the first one: Cape Cod Noir (ed. David L. Ulin, Akashic Books, New York, $15.95).
New York-based Akashic Books started publishing anthologies of original noir short stories set in specific locales in 2004. In 2011, the editors turned their attention to Cape Cod to produce a collection almost devoid of Kennedys, prepsters, steamed clams, topsiders, whale watchers, and kite-flyers. Instead, it's a book full of cries in the dark, heavy drinking in the thin gray light of winter, and other dark poses. In other words, the stories sneak in the back screen door of those summer cottages after Labor Day, after all the tourists have gone home and Cape Codders of the authors' imagination drop their masks and their guards. It's a fun read, a little like tracing the shoreline of a not-quite-familiar coast.