September-October 2021

Book report

New works by Bethesda-area writers

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Daniel de Visé briefly considered a career in music but instead became a journalist, author and obsessive music buff. The Garrett Park resident traveled from Memphis to Las Vegas, interviewing dozens of people in B.B. King’s inner circle to chronicle the musician’s improbable journey from humble beginnings to global fame in King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King (Atlantic Monthly Press, October 2021). De Visé says King deserves credit for being a pioneer in creating a musical voice through his beloved guitars, all of which he named Lucille: “[King] actually codified this language of solo guitar that dominated pop music for a couple of successive generations. I want people to know that, and for that to be his claim to history.”


Potomac chef Jenn Segal is out with her second cookbook, Once Upon a Chef: Weeknight/Weekend: 70 Quick-Fix Weeknight Dinners + 30 Luscious Weekend Recipes (Clarkson Potter, September 2021). “It includes weeknight recipes that are helping us get through the week, survive the rush and anchor our families at the table every night,” Segal says. “But it also has weekend recipes, where you can really enjoy cooking and putter around the kitchen.” Among the speedy meals: Eastern Shore crab soup, and pecorino and rosemary crusted chicken. For weekend cooking, the most popular recipe on Segal’s website is her five-star beef stew, which is also in the book along with the strawberries and cream layer cake she makes for her husband’s birthday.


Working on the young adult novel Fade into the Bright (Delacorte Press, April 2021) was emotional for Bethesda resident Alyssa Embree Schwartz and her writing partner and best friend, Jessica Koosed Etting, who lives in Los Angeles. “We laughed. We cried. We became incredibly attached,” Schwartz says of the story they crafted about two sisters who struggle with a decision to be tested for Huntington’s disease, a rare inherited disorder that leads to the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. For readers ages 12 and older, the book “raises questions about life, how you live it and if you’d live it differently if you knew something about the future,” Schwartz says.


After years of writing about retirement for magazines and newspapers, Bethesda journalist Harriet Edleson pulled together the advice she’s learned in 12 Ways to Retire on Less: Planning an Affordable Future (Rowman & Littlefield, May 2021). She encourages readers to create a budget, consider the best time to claim Social Security, and carefully review housing options—which will likely be their biggest expense. “People are fearful of running out of money in retirement,” says Edleson, who is a regular contributor to Marketwatch.com and The Washington Post. “If you plan, then you will be more likely to know what you have coming in, how much you are spending, how much you are earning, what is your guaranteed income, and you can sleep better.”