Doug Wilson (St. Martin’s Press)

This thoroughly researched biography of one of Baltimore’s most beloved sports figures features a chorus of voices testifying to the fact that Brooks Robinson was the best fielding third baseman in history and one of the nicest guys to ever put on a uniform. As such, it isn’t the most compelling read, but it does occasionally inspire interest that, unfortunately, goes unsatisfied, because Robinson’s voice is largely absent. He chose not to cooperate with Wilson.

Gilbert Byron: A Life Worth Examining

Jacques T. Baker Jr. (The Talbot County Library Foundation)

This homespun biography of Gilbert Byron, a Thoreau-like writer from the Eastern Shore (and author of the 1957 classic The Lord’s Oysters), includes enough fascinatingly archaic info to make it a satisfying paean to our fading native customs. It also makes abundantly clear that Byron, who passed away in 1991, had the Chesapeake in his blood, thanks to his seafaring father and a philosophizing grandfather, who lived on a “little ark” anchored on the Chester River.