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The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin hardback). As a result of the great plow up of the Great Plains during the wheat boom in the 1920s, ambitious American settlers suffered the consequences of unknowingly destroying their climate. For the greater part of the 1930s, the land essentially threw up on its inhabitants. The dust was so bad people couldn't see their own hands two inches in front of their faces on a sunny day. Both people and livestock suffocated to death on the oppressive dirt. Pulitzer Prize winning Timothy Egan attempts to focus on the hardscrabble lives of Oklahoma panhandle farmers who chose to stay on their dried up lands year after disastrous year; but Egan gets lost in his copious research. He is unable to find a readable manner to present the material and jumps all over the place without a clear path. Still, getting lost in the dust might be worth it. Although he ventures off track into too many digressions and tangents, he manages to capture the pain and hopelessness, as well as the overall Zeitgeist of the times, in a way a history book cannot. ­Jared Neumark

So You Call Yourself A Man by Carl Weber (Kensington hardback). Carl Weber is an author who loves DRAMA! Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with a little drama from time to time, but Weber exceeds all expectations. In his highly anticipated new book So You Call Yourself A Man, the audience is invited on a journey through the lives of three best friends who find out the true meaning of love and try to live up to the title, Man. This book is like a day spent in bed watching my favorite soap. The vignettes all mirror the stories you've seen the likes of Erica Kane engaged in, or more currently the women of Wisteria Lane. There's a reason soap operas are still so popular. They give you the chance to glory in someone else's problems for a while. It's pure escapism that Weber is peddling in this book. And with the uncertainty facing the world-at-large, I think it's well earned. Branna Calloway

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