Shelf Life

An explosion on the set of 'Bedazzled,' from Kevin Conley's new book about movie stuntmen and -women, 'The Full Burn.' An explosion on the set of "Bedazzled," from Kevin Conley's new book about movie stuntmen and -women, "The Full Burn." (
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Jan Gardner
June 29, 2008

Tragedy and tributes
Wolfgang K. Vorwerk, Germany's consul general in Boston for the past four years, made it his mission to reach out to Jewish community leaders and Holocaust survivors throughout New England.

In May 2005, he was the first German consul general to address the annual Holocaust Commemoration at Faneuil Hall. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of German-Jewish dialogue groups in Boston. At his recommendation, the German consulate this fall will co-sponsor a concert of music by Edwin Geist, who died in the Holocaust.

As a tribute to Vorwerk, 14 of his speeches have been gathered in the new book "In Gratitude and Hope" (Ibbetson Street), edited by Susie Davidson, a writer and Holocaust activist.

In a talk this spring, Vorwerk asked, "What do I tell my 20-year-old son? Can we ever come to terms with our past? No, we cannot. . . . We must accept it for what it is: unprecedented, incomparable, and unparalleled. It will tarnish our history and that of mankind forever."

After Vorwerk's term ends tomorrow, he and his wife, Heide, will return to Germany, leaving behind their son Alexander, who is majoring in international affairs at Northeastern University.

A new address
The five-year-old Pazzo Books, managed by brothers Tom and Brian Nealon, moved from Roslindale to West Roxbury last weekend. The used-book store, now at 1898A Centre St., next to the Irish Cottage, specializes in fiction, graphic novels, and scholarly histories. A rent increase prompted the move to a smaller store. Alas, there is no room for the skeeball table that graced the shop in Roslindale.

Horn Book honors
"The Wall," Peter Sis's account of growing up behind the Iron Curtain, and "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie, are this year's nonfiction and fiction winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, presented annually since 1967.

"At Night," Jonathan Bean's tale of a city that never sleeps, is the winning picture book. Shaun Tan's "The Arrival," a wordless graphic novel about immigrants, earned a special citation. The awards ceremony will be held Oct. 3 at the Boston Athenaeum.

Extreme acting
Kevin Conley, who has written for GQ and Sports Illustrated, entered the world of an elite corps of daredevils for his new book, "The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge With Hollywood Stuntmen" (Bloomsbury).

Conley, who lives in Old Lyme, Conn., learned the business from the inside out. He watched stuntwoman-turned-actor Zoe Bell hang on to the hood of a speeding car for Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" and endured the scariest ride of his life with stuntman Rhys Millen. Near the end of the book, Conley is set aflame for the stuntman rite of passage known as the "full burn" - not once but three times.

Coming out

  • "Fisherman's Bend," by Linda Greenlaw (Hyperion)

  • "The Condition," by Jennifer Haigh (Harper)

  • "The Black Death: A Personal History," by John Hatcher (Da Capo)

    Pick of the week
    Mary Cotton of Newtonville Books, in Newton, recommends "The Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living," by Michael Dahlie (Norton): "The . . . Fitzgeraldian narrator of Dahlie's first novel is besieged by divorce, the dissolution of the family business, and a stolen heirloom, and wrestles with whether or not to 'show a little stick' in the face of his many trials. You will root for this winsome, unique narrator to the very end."

    Jan Gardner can be reached at

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