olks familiar with Fayetteville’s entertainment district — an eclectic group of businesses, bars, clubs and restaurants a stone’s throw from the downtown square and the University of Arkansas — will delight in the new 404-page volume “Once Upon Dickson: An Illustrated History 1868-2000” by Anthony J. Wappel and Ethel C. Simpson.
The book was published by Phoenix International Press in Fayetteville in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections Department. The book’s co-authors worked in Special Collections at one time or another. It’s being distributed by the University of Arkansas Press.
“Once Upon Dickson” is not just another boring city history. This book sets a standard for city history that few can match. The volume is carefully and lavishly decorated with old business posters, vintage photographs and historic details of the buildings and the people who worked, lived and played on Dickson Street over the 132-year history the book covers. The book is expertly researched and divides the street into a block-by-block style, each chapter reaching back into the archives of time. It’s a wonderfully put-together project well worth reading.
laying catch-up: Several Arkansas heavyweights have put out new books in recent months. St. Martin’s Minotaur released “Mummy Dearest,” number 17 in Fayetteville mystery writer Joan Hess’ Claire Malloy series. Malloy, for those unfamiliar with the series, is a bookstore owner, part-time sleuth and single mother who lives in the college town of Farberville, Ark. “Mummy Dearest,” as one might imagine, finds her in Egypt. The first chapter is available at us.macmillan.com/author/joanhess.
Arkansas’s other mystery queen, Charlaine Harris, is back with the eighth installment of her Southern Vampire series, “From Dead to Worse” (Ace Hardcover). Like all the books in the series, this one revolves around Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress living and loving with vampires in Bon Temps, La. Katrina has disrupted the vampire balance of power in “From Dead.” Plus, the King of Arkansas has died. Or been murdered? Read the first chapter at charlaineharris.com.
In poetry, Arkansas native C.D. Wright has moved past the “idiom Ozarkia” that dominated her early work, reviewers say. “Risking, Fall, Hovering” (Copper Canyon Press) finds her exploring the political in the personal in poems about Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and war-torn Iraq, notably the long title poem about a trip to Mexico at the beginning of the war. Look for a review in next month’s Book Notes.