When Evelyn Waugh’s first son, Auberon, was born in 1939, the congratulations flooded in. Evelyn’s reply? “Many thanks for your telegram. The midwife speaks highly of the baby.” For much, much more of the same, see Alexander Waugh’s fascinating four-generation saga, Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $27.50).
Lydia Davis is famous for writing stories as short as haiku and as pithy as koans. This one, “Hand,” is from her new collection, Varieties of Disturbance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $13): “Beyond the hand holding this book that I’m reading, I see another hand lying idle and slightly out of focus—my extra hand.”
In his review of George Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm in London’s Sunday Times (www.timesonline.co.uk), Max Hastings quotes “Crow’s Law,” which was propounded by R.V. Jones, the head of scientific intelligence for the British Air Staff during World War II: “Do not think what you want to think until you know what you ought to know.”
Beach reading with a twist: In Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound (PublicAffairs, $26.95) Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb tell a hair-raising tale of privilege and power in mortal combat with the proponents of renewable energy. A wind farm where the Kennedys like to sail? Not if Mitt Romney can help it.