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paperback picks


On Lavender Lane

Nash can’t help but admire Kelly Moss’s confidence and beauty. But he’s forced to keep his distance because getting involved with Kelly could destroy his relationship with his newly discovered teenage halfsister, Tess. And Kelly has other reasons for keeping her distance—like the secret she knows Nash will never forgive.

After being publicly humiliated by a philandering husband, celebrity chef Madeline Durand returns to Shelter Bay to start a family business. Little does she know that the man who broke her heart years ago is already on the job—or that he’s determined to win her back.

9780425245743 • $7.99

9780451235435 • $7.99

One Rough Man Commissioned at the highest level of the U.S. government, the Taskforce operates outside the law. Pike Logan was the most successful operator on the Taskforce until tragedy permanently altered his outlook. He knows what the rest of the country might not want to admit: the real threat is one or two men in possession of a powerful weapon. 9780451413192 • $9.99

The Outlaws Just because Charley Castillo is out of the government doesn’t mean he’s out of business. And when a barrel of nightmarishly lethal material is shipped to an Army medical lab, Castillo knows that the people behind it are just getting started. 9780515150278 • $9.99

Red Templar

Restless Heart

Spirit Bound

Whispers in the Dark

Retired Army Ranger John Holliday learns of a long-lost sword called Aos—the companion to his own Templar sword. He quickly finds himself on a trail that will lead to the dark heart of Russia—where the ancient Templar Order has secretly wielded power for centuries.

Destiny Hart’s dream of becoming a singer has come true. But with the exhilarating rush of success comes a price—and a battle to recapture the traditions that were her foundation. Reconnecting with what matters most, Destiny is putting an unexpected new spin on her career that will redirect her life in ways she never imagined.

9780451236302 • $9.99

9780451230522 • $7.99

Lethally sexy undercover agent Stefan Prakenskii knows a thousand ways to kill a man—and twice as many ways to pleasure a woman. So he’s looking forward to his new mission: arrive in the coastal town of Sea Haven and insinuate himself in the life of Judith Henderson, an ethereal beauty with mysterious ties to his past.

Nathan is being held captive and is in agony. His saving grace is the voice of an angel who eases his pain and helps him regain enough strength to escape. When he does, she leaves him with a void that he can barely stand. When he escapes and returns to the KGI, he hears her again—and now she needs him.

9780515149562 • $7.99

9780425246108 • $7.99

Powerful, singular, and unforgettable, these stories will resonate deeply with readers and mark the debut of a new talent of tremendous note. Through fiction of dazzling skill and astonishing emotional force, Siobhan Fallon welcomes readers into the American army base at Fort Hood, Texas, where U.S. soldiers prepare to fight, and where their families are left to cope after the men are gone. They’ll meet a wife who discovers unsettling secrets when she hacks into her husband’s email, and a teenager who disappears as her mother fights cancer. There is the foreign-born wife who has tongues wagging over her late hours, and the military intelligence officer who plans a covert mission against his own home.



NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY A Penguin Group (USA) Company)

9780451234391 • $14.00


January 2012 w w w. B o o k Pa g e . c o m



05 mark levin Should America aspire to be a utopia?


new year, new you

Whether you’ve already made your resolutions, or you’re waiting for inspiration to strike, let these books be your guide to a new start

10 tom rob smith A satisfying end to a triptych of thrillers

12 neal baer and jonathan greene From prime time to the printed page

13 adam johnson Lifting the veil on North Korea

14 thrity umrigar Friendship and fundamentalism

26 healthy living Six books to get your body back on track

27 aging The best practices for mind and body

28 elizabeth george Meet the author of Believing the Lie

37 john green Giving back to his legions of fans

39 winter fun Celebrate snowy weather with three new books for young readers

39 alex beard Meet the author-illustrator of Crocodile’s Tears

reviews 29 Fiction

34 NonFiction

38 Children’s

top pick:

top pick:

top pick:

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney also reviewed: Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander; Dead Low Tide by Bret Lott; Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel; The Last Nude by Ellis Avery; How It All Began by Penelope Lively; The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant; Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron

The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow also reviewed: Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith; Fraternity by Diane Brady; In Our Prime by Patricia Cohen; Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul by John M. Barry; MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche; A Safeway in Arizona by Tom Zoellner

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler also reviewed: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate; True Brit by Rosemary Zibart; Cinder by Marissa Meyer









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book clubs audio whodunit lifestyles cooking romance



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NEW IN PAPERBACK A SWEEPING DEBUT “Duncan Jepson magically inhabits the life of a young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai. . . I thoroughly enjoyed this book.” — JA N I C E Y. K . L EE, author of The Piano Teacher

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Irresistible charm, rich

columns New paperback releases for reading groups

TIGER MOM’S TOUGH LOVE One of the most controversial books of 2011, Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Penguin, $16, 256 pages, ISBN 9780143120582), started an uproar when an excerpt portraying her structured approach to parenting ran in the Wall Street Journal. Recounting the story of how she raised her daughters to be super-achievers, Chua juxtaposes two different types of child-rearing—the strict Chinese approach and the more laissez-faire Western way. Chua, the child of Chinese immigrants, subscribes to the

descriptions, saucy wit and a lush atmosphere . . . a lyrical literary — Charleston Post and Courier

#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER a page-turning adventure.” — B RYAN ME AL E R, co-author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

FROM THE AUTHOR OF IF WISHES WERE HORSES A novel of long-buried secrets and self-discovery, showing us that what goes unsaid is more powerful than words.

EXCELLENT FOR BOOK CLUBS An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers



by julie hale

stark contrast to that of her parents, who separated when her mother fell for a hippie but didn’t divorce for decades. Musing on the current yoga craze, the trendiness of her hometown and the challenges of parenting, Dederer covers a lot of territory in this expertly crafted memoir, but the journey is wonderfully satisfying. Her perceptive reflections on how the past influences the present and the ways in which family history repeats itself will resonate with readers. Memoirs are a dime a dozen these days, but Dederer’s is a standout.


tribute to a place and time.”

“An inspiring story of service and

book clubs

former, scheduling her daughters’ days down to the minute. There’s not much time left for fun, and Chua’s whip-cracking style often backfires (Lulu cuts off her hair in rebellion, while Sophia literally chews on the family’s piano). Chua, meanwhile, insists that her parenting methods are worth it thanks to the girls’ achievements, which are indeed impressive. This is a compelling book that should elicit impassioned discussion among moms and dads of every parenting style.

FINDING HERSELF WITH YOGA In Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses (Picador, $15, 368 pages, ISBN 9781250002334), journalist Claire Dederer uses the ancient discipline as a lens for viewing her own life—and that of her parents. Raised in 1970s Seattle, a city she still calls home, Dederer turns to yoga after the birth of her children. The activity proves metaphorical as well as therapeutic, and yoga is used as a point of departure for reflections on work, family and motherhood. Dederer’s solid marriage stands in

Deborah Harkness’ hypnotic debut novel about vampires and witches draws on familiar themes yet feels fresh and authentic. A Yale academic who is the daughter of two witches, Diana Bishop is conducting research at Oxford when she discovers a most unusual volume. The book—150 years old and much coveted by witches and demons— contains supernatural secrets, and possession of it changes Diana’s life forever. Protecting her from those who would kill for the book is Matthew Clairmont, a 1,500-year-old vampire-scholar. As Diana’s alliance with Matthew blossoms into romance, she finds herself in an unforgettable battle with the forces of evil. Harkness moves among exotic locales—Paris, New York, Oxford— with the skill of a seasoned novelist, and the plot she spins is nothing less than mesmerizing.

a discovery of witches By Deborah E. Harkness Penguin $16, 592 pages ISBN 9780143119685




by sukey howard

b y BE T H E . W I L L I A M S


legal dreams and schemes John Grisham is such a good storyteller that it’s easy to forget how much you can learn about law and justice, with all “its flaws and ambiguities,” while listening to one of his legal thrillers. In The Litigators (Random House Audio, $45, 11.5 hours, ISBN 9780307943194), performed with verve and nuanced care by Dennis Boutsikaris, he seamlessly embeds the ins and outs of mass tort litigation in a can-a-young-lawyerleave-the-big-firm-and-make-it tale. The young lawyer is David Zinc, 32 and already burned out by the drudgery at his fancy, fast-track law office. After an alcohol-fueled day of

find yourself before you can find your mate. The three participants in this romantic tangle are Mitchell Grammaticus, clever and intrigued by Christian mysticism, who loves beautiful, WASPy Madeleine, who in turn loves brilliant-but-bipolar Leonard. The book follows them as they bumble through the months after their graduation in 1982, making mistakes and a few feeble moves toward adulthood. Narrator David Pittu does a fine job delineating each character.


soul-searching, he literally lands on the doorstep of Finley & Figg, a pair of ambulance-chasing, down-atthe-heels street lawyers always hoping for a big case to bail them out of boredom and near-bankruptcy. What unfolds thereafter, replete with David-and-Goliath encounters with corporations, evil and benevolent, and good courtroom drama, will have you rooting for the good guys, and a bit more legally savvy, too.

THE ROCKY ROAD TO LOVE The Marriage Plot (Macmillan Audio, $39.99, 15.5 hours, ISBN 9781427213082), Jeffrey Eugenides’ highly anticipated new novel, is, despite much talk of post-modernism and deconstruction, a mostly traditional novel, with bountiful backstories, a love triangle and the coming-of-age, coming-apart, coming-to-your-senses gyrations implicit in its resolution. If Eugenides was wondering whether “the marriage plot,” so successfully used by Jane Austen and Henry James, can be central in a 21st-century novel—he makes it clear that it can. He gives us a truly contemporary look at the vagaries of love and the need to

If you haven’t made a literary resolution yet, please listen to Nathaniel Philbrick read his wonderfully entertaining, enlightening invitation to a great American classic, Why Read Moby-Dick. Yes, I too resisted it (a mild euphemism) in high school— but now, older and much wiser for Philbrick’s brilliant explanation and easily understood exegesis of this whale of a book, I think I know why I didn’t get it as a teenager, what I’ve missed and what wonders lie ahead in the reading. Wearing his scholarship lightly, Philbrick puts Moby-Dick’s creation in the context of conflicted, pre-Civil War America; offers insights into Melville’s life as a seaman, husband and author whose greatest book was ignored in his lifetime; and turns Melville’s Moby-meanderings into fabulous finds for an attentive reader. But it’s Philbrick’s unflagging, infectious enthusiasm and love for both book and author that stays with you.

Why Read Moby-Dick? By Nathaniel Philbrick Penguin Audio $19.95, 2.5 hours ISBN 9781611760248



he concept of a utopian state is no panacea for conservative commentator Mark Levin, who sees promises of “hope and change” as a radical challenge to long-held principles of individual liberty.

Levin spells out the dangers of utopianism in his latest book, Ameritopia, on sale January 17 with a first printing of 1 million copies. The host of a nationally syndicated talk radio program, Levin has become known as a leading voice for conservatives since the 2009 publication of his previous book, Liberty and Tyranny, a #1 bestseller with 1.6 million copies in print. That book attacked what Levin described as a growing “statist” infringement on freedom. In Ameritopia, he turns his attention to the ideal of a utopian state, and the threat such a concept could present for America’s constitutional republic. Though President Barack Obama gets few mentions in the book (and isn’t named until the final section), his administration is clearly the impetus for Levin’s concern. And with Ameritopia set for release at the start of a presidential election year—when interest in politics traditionally surges—his publisher is hoping for another bestseller. Under a utopian system, Levin argues, “disparaging and diminishing the successful and accomplished becomes an essential tactic.” The rights of the individual are overriden by the demands of the state, which promises a “grand social plan” in return. Levin says utopianism has been around for centuries and “repackaged countless times” by such key thinkers as Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx. He contrasts their ideas with the philosophies of John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville, who believed that a key role of government should be to protect the rights of the individual. Levin says Locke, in particular, had a profound affect on America’s founders, and the Constitution reflects their distaste for utopianism and omnipotent authority. In the book’s concluding section,

MARK LEVIN he brings these historical arguments to bear on the current state of what he calls “Post-Constitutional America.” Levin gives examples of the growth in federal power with facts and figures on taxes, spending, debt and cumbersome regulations enforced by “an army of more than two million bureaucrats.” He includes a list of the many things the government now regulates, from washing machines and battery chargers to deodorant and dentures. “America has become a society in which the people are wise enough to select their own leaders, but too incompetent to choose the right lightbulb,” Levin writes.


By Mark Levin, Threshold, $26.99, 288 pages ISBN 9781439173244, audio, eBook available


Love blossoms where you least expect it…. New York Times bestselling sensation delivers three sweet and sexy tales of romance! se

First time in print!

“This is the perfect contemporary romance!” —RT Book Reviews on Undeniably Yours

Available now!



Sample it now at


by Bruce Tierney

Gruesome clues and a clever criminal In a city without a name, somewhere in Western Europe, atrocities are becoming the norm. At the opening of Donato Carrisi’s The Whisperer (Mulholland, $25.99, 432 pages, ISBN 9780316194723), the cops have found five left arms that appear to belong to five missing girls, buried in a clearing where someone would obviously find them. While the police scramble at the scene, the arm of a sixth girl emerges as well. Thanks to forensic evidence, it appears that this girl is different from the rest in one major respect: She may still be alive. Profiler Mila Vasquez and criminologist Goran Gavila race

Vikorn, who is corrupt to a degree almost unimaginable to Western minds. To refuse Vikorn would mean disgrace (and likely death), so Sonchai acquiesces rather more than he would like to. Vikorn’s latest scheme involves his personal political aspirations, and Sonchai is conscripted into the high-profile investigation of an illicit organ-trafficking operation. It really doesn’t matter whether Sonchai uncovers anything, though; he just has to make Vikorn look good for the voters. But things start to unravel when Sonchai is forced to strike a deal with the Vultures, a pair of beautiful and deadly Chinese twins whose perversity knows few bounds. Vulture Peak is insightful, disturbing, funny and bizarre—an excellent addition to a do-notmiss series.

CULT CLASSIC headlong against time, following obscure and elaborate clues laid out by a serial killer who seems almost prescient; whichever way the police turn, their quarry seems forever one step ahead, taunting them. Thanks to Carrisi’s intricate plotting, the criminal also keeps at least one step ahead of the seasoned mystery reader, ensuring a couple of major surprises as the novel draws to a close. The Whisperer has already won several literary awards abroad and has been a bestseller all over Europe. I predict no less for it here.

DANGER IN BANGKOK John Burdett’s string of thrillers featuring Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is one of the finest series in contemporary crime fiction. Sonchai is a strangely pure character, a devout Buddhist who finds it necessary from time to time to take convoluted detours off the Road to Enlightenment. Vulture Peak (Knopf, $25.95, 304 pages, ISBN 9780307272676), the fifth in the series, finds Sonchai once again at the whim of his boss, one Colonel

When I reviewed Taylor Stevens’ first Vanessa Michael Munroe novel, The Information­ ist, I said that it “pushed every one of my buttons: exotic locale, sassy and competent protagonist, crisp dialogue and nonstop action.” I’m happy to report there’s no slowdown in Stevens’ follow-up, The Innocent (Crown, $24, 352 pages, ISBN 9780307717122). If anything, the pace has been ramped up to borderline illegal levels, as the intrepid self-employed spy infiltrates a dangerous religious cult known as “The Chosen.” Her client is longtime best friend Logan, who for years has harbored a closely held secret: Although he is openly gay, he has a daughter, and she has fallen into the hands of The Chosen. Along with Logan and a handful of knowledgeable escapees from the cult, Munroe sets off for Argentina in search of the girl. Impersonating a supplicant, she hopes to breach the cult’s heavy security; what she doesn’t count on is the involvement of some of South America’s most ruthless criminals, an oversight that may torpedo not only the assignment, but her very

life. The Innocent is bound to appeal to fans of Lee Child, Robert Crais and Andrew Vachss. It is gritty, lightning-paced and oh-so-satisfying.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY Author T. Jefferson Parker has been in the Top Pick in Mystery winner’s circle more times than I can think of (see: Silent Joe and California Girl ); he can certainly claim time-share rights here! In fact, Parker took the honors in January of last year with The Border Lords, which featured L.A. Sheriff Charlie Hood, on loan to the ATF. Well, Hood is back with a vengeance in The Jaguar. In the story, beautiful singer-songwriter Erin McKenna has been kidnapped by notorious Mexican drug lord Benjamin Armenta; McKenna’s husband, a crooked sheriff, wants her back badly—and Charlie Hood stars in the rescue operation. Armenta’s ransom demands are simple, albeit pricey: one million U.S. dollars plus a narco­ corrido. The million is recompense for the trouble McKenna’s husband has caused the drug lord. The narco­ corrido, a folk ballad to be written about Armenta by Erin McKenna, will secure his position in the annals of Mexican outlaw history. That’s the plan, anyway. The plan does not, however, account for several twists, including: the hurricane, the loosecannon son of an outlaw, the pedophile priest or the derringer taped to the inside of McKenna’s thigh. Let the games begin!

This season’s biggest thriller makes the perfect gift!

“A psychological thriller of the first order.”

–DAVID BALDACCI “Masterful, unforgettable, gripping.”





The Jaguar


By T. Jefferson Parker Dutton $26.95, 368 pages ISBN 9780525952572 eBook available


The only safe place is in the mind of a murderer...

On Sale Now! Also available

Kensington Publishing Corp.





by joanna brichetto

b y s y b i l P RATT

getting Along in the world

New Ideas for home cooks

In Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? (Twelve, $24.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9780446557665), investigative humorist Henry Alford tries “to hold up a magnifying glass to unattractive habits that I stumble upon, be they my own or others’.” His piercing gaze is aided by etiquette experts like Miss Manners, Tim Gunn and Dr. Ruth as well as everyday folks: a cab driver, a librarian, a former prisoner and many others. What exactly are manners, these days? It depends: Cultural context is everything—and, as it turns out, extremely entertaining. Alford’s wry and nimble wit escorts readers to Japan, a Manhattan newsstand, restaurants, office cubicles, playgrounds and bathroom stalls, plus your smartphone, email inbox and Facebook wall. He also

If one of your 2012 resolutions is to make more home-cooked meals, you’re in with the in crowd. Here are two new cookbooks that will take you from Monday to Sunday, with easy weekday dinners and super weekend winners. Good Bite Weeknight Meals (Wiley, $29.99, 272 pages, ISBN 9780470916582) brings together 140 recipes by 16 food bloggers who are regulars on the popular Good Bite website. Every clearly explained recipe adheres to Good Bite’s mantra, “delicious made easy,” and each one was developed by a busy person beset with the same time/energy deficits we all share. These are simply and quickly prepared dishes (with a few slow-cooker favorites, too) that consistently serve up the answer

has a go at being an online etiquette coach, with mixed (and fascinating) results. Whatever the ideals may be, most of us can agree decent manners are a good idea. Thanks to this handbook, we stand a better chance of complying.




What’s a Homeowner to Do? (Artisan, $17.95, 432 pages, ISBN 9781579654337) starts with the generous assumption that “the average person can learn how to care for a home and handle its everyday problems.” This includes what we can do ourselves, what we can safely ignore and what will require professional help. Authors Stephen Fanuka, a DIY Network star, and Edward Lewine, a home-repair columnist for The New York Times Magazine, are the resident experts who explain these distinctions and the “442 things you should know.” The layout is clear and friendly, and nearly every entry adds a “trick of the trade” with

insider info, such as the invaluable phrase “righty tighty, lefty loosey,” which describes how to tighten and loosen “everything from screws to lightbulbs and faucets.” The book covers every aspect of maintenance and repair, inside and out, from the basics of a home toolkit to safety and security, and even gives advice on how to hire a contractor.

TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm is that rare thing: a parenting book that is a pleasure to read and doesn’t make you feel utterly substandard. Journalist and “curious mom” Mei-Ling Hopgood has an international background herself, and is a companionable guide for a tour of wildly disparate models of child-rearing, including common struggles with potty training, behavior issues, sleep problems, discipline, you name it. The point is not necessarily to persuade us to live without strollers (as they do in Nairobi) or feed toddlers fish eyes (like the Taiwanese) or advise dads to faux-breastfeed (believe it or not, de rigueur in the Aka pygmy tribe), but rather to glimpse how the rest of the world does the things we do. No doubt some details will be too enticing not to try, like recruiting the whole family for meal preparation and training young children to take responsibility for simple tasks. Ultimately, this absorbing assemblage of perspectives will help widen our own.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm By Mei-Ling Hopgood Algonquin $15.95, 304 pages ISBN 9781565129580 eBook available


to that nagging what-to-make-fordinner question—doable for beginners, but also appealing to the more experienced. This Monday, try the Mexican Polenta Casserole; Tuesday, Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onion and Sweet Pepper; Wednesday, restaurant-quality Salmon Wellington Puff Pastry Squares or Green Bean and Mushroom Risotto for the veggie-only eaters . . . and on it goes. Skip the takeout, save some money, spend more time with family and friends. But on Saturday and Sunday, when, magically, there seem to be more hours in the day, you might want to turn to The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends (Clarkson Potter, $35, 352 pages, ISBN 9780307590558). Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, co-creators of public radio’s longtime, muchloved food show “The Splendid Table,” consider weekends a time to entertain more serious cooking and a time to entertain with a dash of elegance. Instead of the work-

week rush to get dinner on the table, weekends offer the luxury of enjoying the process of cooking something splendid. One hundred recipes, seasoned with backstories, quips and history, celebrate this special part of the week. There are menus for a Mexican Comida, a festive Indian dinner, an Italian Renaissance dinner (don’t miss the delicate, unusually spiced lasagna) and more, plus ideas for turning leftovers into weeknight encores, “cook to cook” tips and interesting wine pairings.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS More than a blog,, started by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, has become a community of home cooks who have fun in the kitchen, produce great meals for their families and share their creativity with anyone interested. There’s a contest for the best recipe in a particular category every week; Amanda and Merrill test the entries and select the finalists, then the readers pick the best one. The Food52 Cookbook is their first collection of winners, and it’s a dazzler. Amanda and Merrill supply the lively, informative header notes, and the helpful tips and tweaks come from the Food52 community. I couldn’t find a dish I didn’t want to make, from a Savory Bread Pudding and a Leg of Lamb with Garlic Sauce (a fabulous riff on the traditional) to Sweet Potatoes Anna with Prunes and truly divine macaroons filled with Meyer Lemon Curd. It’s easier than ever to be a happy home cook.

The Food52 Cookbook By Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs Morrow $35, 448 pages ISBN 9780061887208

home cooking

romance b y c h r i s t i e r i d g way

A DEADLY CHASE While Karen Robards’ latest romantic suspense novel is titled Sleepwalker (Gallery, $25, 384 pages, ISBN 9781439183724), the word belies the story’s fast action. Heroine Micayla “Mick” Lange occasionally suffers from scary night escapades since a childhood tragedy, but by day she’s a kick-ass member of the Detroit police force. She goes into total cop mode when she surprises a man breaking into the mansion of a beloved family friend, Uncle Nicco. While attempting to apprehend the burglar, though, she discovers evidence of yet another crime—murders executed by that self-same family friend. Before she has time to process this news, she finds herself on the run with the robber to elude Nicco’s deadly secu-

rity team. A game of cat and mouse in the Michigan snow means Mick and her unwelcome cohort must learn to lean on each other—and that closeness leads to an explosive attraction. Nonstop thrills and chills will keep readers turning pages and rooting for these likable characters.

LOVE WINS OUT Virgin River is as magical as ever in Robyn Carr’s latest installment of her series, Hidden Summit (MIRA, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9780778313007), which gives glimpses of town life that will satisfy fans but not overwhelm newcomers to the books. After a confidencebusting divorce, Leslie Petruso relocates to Virgin River to reclaim her life. She begins working for an old friend’s construction firm and is shoring up her self-esteem when an attractive man joins the business. Conner Danson has a disappointing romantic past of his own, and finding love in Virgin River is not on

his agenda. At first, both he and Leslie are determined to enjoy their mutual attraction, but not take it too seriously. Of course, emotions aren’t so easy to control, and soon the two are tentatively talking about the future. But Conner is keeping secrets that put their relationship at risk, and he doesn’t know when to confess to Leslie (or if he should at all). Carr is a master storyteller, and her tale of two wounded people reaching for a second chance at love will touch readers’ hearts.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE Rousing adventure and great fun await readers of The Pleasure of Your Kiss by Teresa Medeiros. Ashton Burke owes his life to his brother Max—who then asks for payment in kind: to save Max’s fiancée, who was kidnapped and sold to a powerful sultan. Swashbuckling Ashton can’t resist, especially when said woman in need of rescue—Clarinda Cardew—is his own first love from long ago. Fortune favors bold Ash and he finds himself a welcome guest in the sultan’s palace, though there’s still the difficulty of freeing Clarinda, now set to become one of the harem wives. Political intrigue and undeniable passions create the perfect diversion for Ash and Clarinda’s getaway . . . but there’s no escaping the feelings they have for each other. Their past isn’t easy to resolve, especially because they both care for Max. Poignant glimpses into their history add another layer that warms the heart.

The Pleasure of Your Kiss By Teresa Medeiros Pocket Star $7.99, 528 pages ISBN 9781439157893 eBook available

historical romance


Novel Reads

HARPERCOLLINS • Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando

Jack Swyteck is shocked to discover that the client he’s been assigned to defend, a young man facing the death penalty for terrorist activities, is already wanted for the murder of his girlfriend and the permanent blinding of a police officer. Jamal’s alibi, that he was being held and tortured by government agents at the time of the girl’s death, seems far-fetched. But a subsequent rash of slayings suggests there may be some veracity to the young man’s story. 9780061840296, $9.99

Blood of the Reich

by William Dietrich

On the eve of World War II, under orders from SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, explorer Kurt Raeder sets out for the Tibetan mountains in search of a legendary energy source that could ensure the ultimate Nazi victory. Only American zoologist Benjamin Hood, together with aviatrix Beth Calloway, can stop Raeder and his team before the tides of history run red with blood. 9780061989193, $9.99

The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James

For Olivia Lytton, betrothal to the Duke of Canterwick—hardly a Prince Charming—feels more like a curse than a happily-ever-after. At least his noble status will help her sister, Georgiana, secure an engagement with the brooding, handsome Tarquin, Duke of Sconce, a perfect match for her in every way . . . every way but one. Tarquin has fallen in love with Olivia. 9780062021281, $7.99

Moscow Sting by Alex Dryden

Former British spy Finn is dead, poisoned by a Russian assassin, and his ex-boss, the chief of MI6, wants vengeance . . . and answers. Finn’s widow, Anna Resnikov, holds the key to the secrets to his death and to her motherland—but the onetime KGB colonel, who betrayed her country for love, vanished with their child shortly after Finn’s murder. Look for Red to Black also by Alex Dryden, available now. 9780062086259, $9.99

My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley

His brother warriors fear the Earl of Westwood has turned traitor, but Emily Harper knows this is impossible for the man she has loved since childhood . . . as impossible as a marriage between them could ever be—she, the gamekeeper’s daughter and he, a bold and adventurous nobleman. 9780062075918, $7.99

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Love In features A Nutshell


© Jerry Bauer

Ending the ‘Child 44’ trilogy


ne of the most exciting challenges in writing a trilogy of novels is trying to create connections that go beyond having a set of characters return. Of course, there are no rules to writing, but it strikes me that if you’re going to stipulate that there are three books rather than an undefined number, you need to make creative use of that decision.

Number-one bestselling author teams up with award-winning author to deliver a sparkling novel of romantic suspense, small-town antics, secretive sabotage, and lots and lots of beer.

Janet Evanovich

Dorien Kelly

Read by Lorelei King “Lorelei King may be only one person but she realistically creates all the diverse characters…Listeners will never be able to imagine anyone else narrating.” — on Sizzling Sixteen

Listen to excerpts at

Available on abridged and unabridged CD and for download Sne

ak P eek


As someone who enjoys wandering around old churches, whether in England or on my research trips to Russia, I’ve seen lots of triptych paintings. The form offers a way of presenting three images that can be viewed in any order, images which exist in their own right but which are at their most powerful when considered together. The number three has powerful signals for any writer—suggesting a three-act structure, implying that the books are telling an overarching story that will come to a satisfying conclusion. But a trilogy is not one enormous novel being split into three parts. The reader must be taken on a journey during each individual novel. Furthermore, since many readers will come to the novels in a different order, readers should be allowed to build the experience in their own way. It must be as fascinating for a reader to construct their relationship to the novels by starting at the end as it is for a reader who has followed them from the beginning. In the broadest sense, my three novels not only tell the history of the

Agent 6

home front

by KRISTIN HANNAH read by Maggi-Meg Reed


on sale January 31st

By Tom Rob Smith, Grand Central, $25.99, 480 pages ISBN 9780446550765, audio, eBook available

main character Leo Demidov, they tell the story of the Soviet regime, beginning with the Stalinist paranoia and fear, followed by the moral confusion that followed the dictator’s death, which is at the center of my second book, The Secret Speech, and ultimately ending with Agent 6 and the depiction of an empire in decay, expressed through the occupation and invasion of Afghanistan. Yet beyond historical and biographical chronology, the books within a fiction trilogy must reflect upon each other in some way. With Child 44, I wanted to use the criminal investigation to explore the society in which the crimes took place—not to concentrate on the forensic, or procedural, but to look at the way in which Communist Russia tried to claim there was no crime in its Utopian society at a time when a series of terrible murders were taking place. In a sense, it was about a reaction to the crimes, rather than crimes. It was about one man fighting against a political system that refused to allow him access to the truth. With Agent 6 I mirrored this approach, fascinated by the emotional impact of a brilliant and determined detective trying to solve the murder of someone he loves, in a time when geopolitics make it entirely impossible to reach the crime scene. How do you live with knowing that the investigation has been nothing more than a cover-up—and being unable to petition those responsible, unable even to set foot in the country where the crime took place? Once again detective Leo Demidov comes up against political obstacles in his attempt to solve the most important case in his life. Going further, I used the structural device of echoes and parallels across

the three books to take very different angles on similar ideas. In Child 44 Leo Demidov is an officer of the MGB, part of the secret police apparatus. Leo witnesses the brutality of the secret police, he is part of its brutality and he turns his back on it. In Agent 6, he is sent as a Soviet advisor to Afghanistan, where he is ordered to help create an Afghan secret police. He watches with dismay and despair as a young idealistic Afghan woman makes the same mistakes he did, becoming a State Security officer in order, she believes, to build a better country. It was fascinating to reverse the relationship that I created in Child 44. In similar fashion, the combination of characteristics that Leo embodies as a young man seen in Child 44 are found in the American Communist Jesse Austin, a character based on the singer and athlete Paul Robeson, in Agent 6. The two are a curious pair, similar on many levels, both passionate believers, yet whereas Leo’s idealism cracks, Austin’s remains unbreakable even when his career and wealth are taken from him, even when confronted with the awful truth of the Soviet regime. So, with the trilogy at a close, I hope I’ve created three books that not only stand on their own but also dance with each other.

After graduating from Cambridge, Tom Rob Smith spent time as a TV screenwriter before publishing his best-selling debut novel, Child 44, in 2008. In Agent 6, Smith’s Russian hero Leo Demidov takes on his most personal case yet—one that takes nearly 20 years to solve. Read a review of Agent 6 on

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“Emotional, intense, and engrossing, LEARNING TO SWIM is a terrific debut.” —Lisa Unger, author of Fragile

“ If I blinked, I would have missed it.

But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water... —from Learning to Swim

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LEARNING TO SWIM The riveting debut novel from Sara J. Henry

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Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene BY MICHAEL BURGIN

Suspense from two TV masters


eal Baer and Jonathan Greene have worked on popular shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “ER,” but Kill Switch marks their longform fiction debut. The novel centers on forensic psychiatrist Claire Waters and NYPD detective Nick Lawler. Troubled by a traumatic event from deep in her past, Waters finds herself at the epicenter of a serial killer’s rampage. We contacted Baer and Greene for the scoop on their brilliant new heroine and writing as a team. What do you think readers will like most about Claire Waters? Her courage and vulnerability. Readers will find that Claire’s quest for the truth evolves into a journey to discover her own truth, a deep look into her soul. In the face of severe adversity, her ability to finally tap into her fears is what eventually

leads her to not just solve the crime, but to begin to answer the question we all ask ourselves: “Who am I?” How we can live with a tragedy that shakes and perhaps scars our soul? You two have worked together for a long time. How does your collaborative process work? Nine years ago we developed an idea for a feature film, using all the characters in the novel. Years later, our book agent, Lydia Wills, asked us if we had a medical thriller and it so happens we had the movie outline, which ultimately became the outline for the novel. Our process is one of writing and constantly rewriting. We spend hours together talking

Liesel Albright always dreamed of starting a family. She never bargained on getting one already in progress. Or one so deeply damaged.

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through the plot points, writing and rewriting the outline and then writing the chapters. Jon wrote the first chapters and Neal rewrote them. In the last third we alternated writing and rewriting each other’s chapters. What was the biggest challenge you encountered in adapting a movie outline into a book? The biggest challenge is that an outline for a movie is based on scenes. What the characters think and feel, see and hear, is played out through dialogue and screen direction as interpreted by the director and actors. Writing a novel, however, was liberating. We were free to write what the characters are thinking—which of course you can’t do in a movie script, unless you rely on voiceover. In writing a novel, one has complete control over the characters—there are no actors, directors, cinematographers, art directors. Everything is presented through words. It’s a challenge, and it’s exhilarating to have the freedom to create a story for a medium that does not rely on others to carry out your vision. What kind of research did you do in order to write your book? Neal: As a pediatrician, I’m interested in medical ethics and the question of how far we should take biological research, especially as it allows us to do things that were once considered unimaginable. For instance, should we concoct viruses that combine the most lethal elements of, say, smallpox and ebola? Should we clone children? Where does research cross an ethical line? In light of these interests, I contacted Dr. Alfred Goldberg, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School,

which I attended, to help us better understand research in apoptosis or programmed cell death, a real area of burgeoning interest not only to biologists but also to physicians, because it may hold the answers in treating and curing cancer. Lawler’s character suffers from a relatively rare degenerative vision disorder. Did that come from any particular personal experience? Neal: Yes, I have a sibling with retinitis pigmentosa, so I’m well aware of the emotional and physical problems it poses, how it affects one’s life and the lives of loved ones. Are there any authors or series that you’d cite as inspirations for Kill Switch? Neal: I’m a die-hard movie fan so I am drawn to Hitchcock—any Hitchcock film, but particularly ­Vertigo—and film noir. You’ll find many allusions to these films, such as character names, quotes and even anagrams, in the book.

Read more from Baer and Greene on

kill switch

By Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene, Kensington $25, 288 pages, ISBN 9780758266866

adam johnson by Alden Mudge

© Tamara Beckwith

Pulling back the curtain on North Korea


dam Johnson’s five North Korean minders didn’t know what to make of him. They took him to the national museum in Pyongyang to show him room after room of paintings whose only subject matter was the glorification of Korea’s ruling family, the Kims. But Johnson wanted to know where the fire stations were. Later an assistant minder tried to tell Johnson about the Dear Leader’s (Kim Jong Il) thoughts on terrorism. But Johnson wanted to know why he didn’t see any mailboxes. How did people get their mail? Why was there no one in a wheelchair in the capital? Weren’t there any handicapped people in North Korea? “I asked all these verisimilitude questions that I don’t think anyone had ever asked them before,” Johnson says, recounting his strange, darkly funny experiences during a five-day visit to North Korea in August 2007. Johnson had gone to North Korea —no easy task for an American— about halfway through his sevenyear effort to complete his spellbinding new novel The Orphan Master’s Son. Part thriller, part love story, part tale of daring impersonation, part wrenching examination of repression and its toll on human nature, the novel is set in North Korea (with a side trip to Texas). “Most of the nonfiction about North Korea I found was about nuclear policy, economic theory or military history instead of human issues,” says Johnson, who lives in San Francisco with his wife, the writer Stephanie Harrell, and their children, ages 9, 7 and 5, and teaches in the creative writing program at Stanford University. “The more I looked to find what human life might be like there, the more elusive it became and the more I felt this was important to know. I can’t say I’m a big do-gooder. I wrote the book as an imaginative work for my own reasons. But I did feel I needed to go see the place to understand it.” But, as Johnson learned, it is illegal for an unauthorized North Korean to talk to a foreigner, a crime that would likely land the perpetrator in Korea’s gulag. “You’d walk down the street in throngs of thousands and thousands of people.

I’m six foot four and a half and 280 pounds. I’m a big guy. And these people weigh like 130 pounds. There are four shoe styles for men in North Korea; there’s one shade of lipstick for women; it’s so surreal to see the sameness of everyone. I would walk through these crowds of people and they wouldn’t dare to look at me. It was a risk. So it was really clear that not a single spontaneous thing could happen there. It was just too dangerous to look at the strangest human you’d ever seen.” Johnson manages to embed this sense of fear within the personal relationships of many of his characters. “The idea of what it would be like for a character to live under that fascinated me,” Johnson says. “It’s so surreal “I am a perto see the son who loves narrative, who sameness of teaches nareveryone. rative theory. I would walk In our stories through these in the West we crowds of believe every character is the people and they wouldn’t center of his or her own story. dare to look We believe at me.” every human is unique and valuable, has yearnings and desires. “But in North Korea there is a national script, conveyed through propaganda. There is one notion about who the people are and what the national goals are, and you as a citizen are conscripted to be a part of this national narrative. . . You have to relinquish your own personal desires.” The Orphan Master’s Son unfolds in two parts. In the first, we ­follow the travails of Pak Jun Do, who is born among orphans, the country’s most expendable creatures. As Johnson says, “Jun Do hews to the national script,” first assigned to live

in the ever-dark incursion tunnels dug beneath the border with South Korea, then tapped for kidnapping expeditions to Japan, then to serve as an English translator at a listening post aboard a vessel disguised as a fishing boat, where he “begins to become his own character,” and in so doing runs afoul of the authorities and ends up in a Korean gulag working in the mines. In part two, set a year after Jun Do disappears into the mines, we take up the story of Commander Ga, head of the nation’s mining operations and erstwhile friend of leader Kim Jong Il. One of Johnson’s most audacious acts of storytelling is to make the Dear Leader a central character in the book. “I felt I had to get the scriptwriter. There was a character who was making the entire reality of the world for these people, and I had to go take a look at him.” A number of the events described in the novel are clearly inspired by true-life incidents. And Johnson jokes that he actually had to leave out some of the wackier actions of Kim Jong Il because they would have interfered with his novel’s essential believability. But the dazzling virtuosity of Johnson’s storytelling makes The Orphan Master’s Son a work of far greater depth and range than a fictionalized panorama of life under the most repressive regime on Earth. Part two, for example, is told in an astonishing medley of voices and tonalities, ranging from a standard third-person point of view, to the chilling but also creepily comic voice of Propaganda, to a firstperson account from a state interrogator, all while the narrative swirls backward and forward in time. There are rapturous descriptions of the sea at night. There is the oftenfunny inverted dialogue of interrogators and their prey. And there are moving passages about the human need for intimacy, which in this

society can be a revolutionary act. Johnson, the author of the short story collection Emporium and one previous novel, Parasites Like Us, says dealing with this challenging subject forced him to grow as a writer. “My tradition is formal realism, but in North Korea what is real is in question. So I couldn’t try to cram this story into ways I was familiar with. Things that I had taken for granted about how characters work, stories unfold, and how plot, momentum, pacing, tension and withholding work had to be different here. I was really open to taking risks, trying new things.” He adds, “I didn’t set out to write a big North Korea book. I was very curious about this place where all the rules of storytelling seemed different. It made me write a very different book than I have written before. And in the end I feel like I got a pretty good book out of it.”

The Orphan Master’s Son

By Adam Johnson, Random House, $26, 464 pages ISBN 9780812992793, audio, eBook available



thrity umrigar by Katherine Wyrick



t’s a call that changes everything. Not the one to author Thrity Umrigar’s home in Cleveland—where she is associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University—but the one her character Armaiti makes in her compelling new novel, The World We Found. It’s a call across continents that launches a group of friends on a transformative journey. The story begins when Armaiti, divorced and living in America, reaches out to her college friends after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Her last wish is to be reunited with Laleh, Kavita and Nishta, all still in Bombay. During the late 1970s, as idealistic students and Communists, they’d been inseparable, but have since lost touch. The women are as diverse as India itself. There is Kavita, a successful architect, who struggles to live openly as a lesbian; Laleh, married to Adish (a Parsi) and a mother of two, who enjoys a life of privilege at odds with her activist past; and Nishta, whom none of them have heard from in years. When they finally find her, Nishta is clad in a burqa and living in a strict, impoverished Muslim neighborhood. It soon becomes clear that Nishta’s husband, Iqbal, a fellow university idealist turned fundamentalist, will be the biggest obstacle to fulfilling Armaiti’s final request. Now far from the exotic locale of her birth, Bombay, Umrigar explains how a chance meeting with an old friend became the genesis of the novel. “I spent a few months in India in 2008 and while there, ran into a

The World We Found


By Thrity Umrigar, Harper, $25.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780061938344, eBook available

friend whom I had not seen in 25 years. During our conversation, she mentioned how the Hindu-Muslim riots that occurred in Bombay in 1992-93 changed her forever. She realized the limits of political activism, after that event, and turned inward,” the author recalls. “The accidental meeting and conversation lingered with me, and it reminded me of what a seminal event those riots were.” Umrigar returned to her life in the U.S., ruminating on political and religious fundamentalism and how the young are particularly susceptible to it. Born to an affluent and close-knit Parsi family, Umrigar herself was a student at a time of political and social upheaval and remembers a different Bombay. “In the Bombay that I grew up in the ’70s, it was a beautiful time. It was very secular, very intellectually challenging; it was a good time to be a Bombayite. There was a lot of good energy. The Hindu-Muslim riots ended that for many of us.” Spurred by the memory of those events, Umrigar hoped to write about fundamentalism from the perspective of her homeland. “In the West, we often conflate Islamic fundamentalism with terrorism,” she says. “I wanted to write a novel that spoke of religious conservatism from a non-American, non-9/11 perspective, but one that still captured the anxieties of our age.” She does just that in The World We Found, exploring a divided India with great insight and tracing those fissions through history. Umrigar came to the U.S. in 1983 at the age of 21 to attend Ohio State University, where she received a master’s degree in journalism. She spent 17 years working as a journalist, first at a small newspaper near Cleveland and later at the

Akron Beacon Journal. After winning a Nieman fellowship in 2000, she completed her first novel, Bombay Time, and has since written three more critically acclaimed novels about the experiences of Indians and Indian-Americans, including The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven, as well as a memoir of her childhood in India, First Darling of the Morning. Her new novel, The World We Found, is above all else a characterdriven narrative, the story of friendship that Umrigar’s new transcends politics and novel tells the religion. powerful story Though some of a friendship aspects of that transcends the novel are uniquely politics and Indian, many religion. others are universal— the intimacies between couples, the vagaries of youth, the love of a mother for her child. Umrigar says, if that’s the case, she has succeeded. “I always share this advice with my writing students: Tell the story of one person so deeply and completely, that in the act of going deep into that one person, something magical happens, and it becomes a universal story.” Take Iqbal, for instance. It would have been easy to paint him onedimensionally as an oppressive Muslim husband, but Umrigar portrays him as both deeply flawed and sympathetic. “[Iqbal] happens to be Muslim in this book. He could have been anything—Parsi, Christian— and the same forces might have worked on somebody else,” she says. “For me as a writer, the most important thing is to get the emotional life

of a character right and to make it as true to form as possible.” The novel’s essence is perhaps best captured in a conversation between the dying Armaiti and her college-aged daughter, Diane. Armaiti tells her daughter, “These women gave me something. A sense of belonging to the world, but more than that. A sense that the world belonged to me. Do you understand? A belief that it was my world—our world. To shape it as we wanted.” Asked if she still believes she can change the world, Armaiti responds, “I don’t know if the world we dreamed of is an illusion . . . but I do know this—that my desire for that world was true. It was the truest thing I’ve ever felt, as true as my love for you. And—and I’d like to believe that means something.” Umrigar muses, “In a sense, Armaiti is trying to connect with the friends from her past, but she’s also trying to reconnect with that part of herself—that in some ways was the best part of her, was the best part of all of them. I don’t know if nostalgia’s the right word, but there’s this real yearning to go back to that pure self.” Each woman plots her own course in that search as she readies herself for the trip to America, and all arrive at life-changing revelations. In her melodious voice, Umrigar says, “This book is about journey. It’s about process. It’s not about destination. [At the book’s end] the revolution has already happened. The reunion has already occurred.”




Suzanne Woods Fisher S   R   S    

    

A family. A farm. A heart. All in need of repair. Life on Stoney Ridge farm hasn’t been the same since Julia Lapp’s mother died and her father’s heart worsened. But Julia holds on to hope for a bright future. She has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. But when Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding—again—she resolves to change his mind no matter what it takes. She also knows who is to blame for Paul’s sudden reluctance to wed. Can Julia secure the future she’s always dreamed of?

Connect with Suzanne on


“The Keeper is a keeper. From a fabric of likable and original characters, Suzanne has crafted a moving story of faith and loyalty, a story of hope shining out of the darkest places. A captivating read.” —Dale Cramer, bestselling author, Levi’s Will

Available wherever books are sold. Also available in ebook format.


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By Southern Living

How you eat affects your metabolism! Ramp it up with carbs and see results in these 150 easy recipes.

This go-to guide for the bride-to-be has everything to make her big day memorable—checklists, schedules and, most of all, inspiration.

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The CarbLovers Diet

You’ll love these easy-to-follow tips and nutrition facts that help you make the best choices for cutting calories, shedding pounds and even saving money!


By Ellen Kunes & F. Largeman-Roth Based on scientific discoveries about how what you eat affects your metabolism, this book lets you use pasta, whole grains and even chocolate and cheese, which shift metabolism into a super burning state. Retail Price: $18.95 | With Card: $17.06

Bossypants By Tina Fey Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before Sarah Palin, Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through the airport by her middle-school gym teacher. Retail Price: $15.99 | With Card: $14.39

Sexy Forever By Suzanne Somers Whether you have just a few pounds to lose or are battling more, this new plan from health pioneer Somers will give you the knowledge you need to become healthy and sexy . . . forever. Retail Price: $15 | With Card: $13.50

Worth Fighting For By Lisa Niemi Swayze For the first time, Patrick Swayze’s widow shares the details of his 21-month battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and ­describes his last days. Retail Price: $24 | With Card: $21.60

The Life You Want By Bob Greene Oprah’s most trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke and nutritionist Janis Jibrin to zero in on common barriers to weight loss success. Retail Price: $16 | With Card: $14.40

Greedy Bastards By Dylan Ratigan Ratigan has compiled brash and fresh solutions for building a new and better America, and with this book he has started the debate America deserves. Retail Price: $25 | With Card: $22.50

THE IT LIST: New & Notable suspense Kill Switch

10th Anniversary

By Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene

By James Patterson & M. Paetro

Haunted by a disturbing childhood incident, Claire has been drawn to those rare “untreatable” patients who seem to have no conscience. But one shocking case could make or break her career.

Det. Boxer's wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: A teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby missing.

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Covert Warriors

Agent 6

By W.E.B. Griffin

By Tom Rob Smith

By the time they finish connecting the dots, Calisto and his team will be on the hit lists of the Kremlin, the Cubans and the drug cartels—and totally on their own.

Leo Demidov is no longer a member of Moscow’s secret police. But when his wife and daughters are invited on a “Peace Tour” to New York City, he immediately becomes suspicious.

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Down the Darkest Road By Tami Hoag Hoag returns once more to Oak Knoll for the third installment of this best-selling series set during the early days of forensic police work. Retail Price: $26.95 | With Card: $24.26

Shadows in Flight By Orson Scott Card The Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity, in days to come.

fiction A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty By Joshilyn Jackson A powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Retail Price: $25.99 | With Card: $23.39

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Lothaire Halo: Primordium By Greg Bear In the wake of apparent self-destruction of the Forerunner empire, two humans— Chakas and Riser—are like flotsam washed up on very strange shores indeed.

By Kresley Cole Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire plots to seize the crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth, the key to his victory. Retail Price: $25 | With Card: $22.50

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Gideon’s Corpse By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child A top nuclear scientist turns homicidal, taking an innocent family hostage at gunpoint. Gideon is called in to talk the man down. Retail Price: $26.99 | With Card: $24.29

Love in a Nutshell By Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired from her position as a magazine editor and the only place she wants to go is to her parents’ summer house in Michigan. Retail Price: $27.99 | With Card: $25.19

THE IT LIST: Write it Down jjuosutr n fo ar l s k fi d o sr a l l 21 Days: A Financial ­Awareness Journal This functional, guided journal has a durable, flexible cover, an elastic band closure and a wristband to remind you of your goals.

Spending Log Jotter Having trouble keeping your budget on track? Jot down your daily inward and outward flow of cash in this spending log. Retail Price: $7.99 | With Card: $7.19

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Gratitude Jotter

Food Diary Jotter

What are you grateful for? Keep track of your blessings in this durable, flexible journal.

Log what you eat in the palm of your hand! The flexible cover is super durable and has an elastic band closure, so this journal can go anywhere.

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21 Days to Make or Break a Habit Journal

Internet Password Jotter

Whether you want to get physically fit, financially sound, more prayerful, or change a habit, the 21 Days Journal will take you there. A new you is just around the corner!

We know, you have a gazillion sticky notes and paper scraps with all your internet usernames and passwords scattered everywhere. End the chaos—jot ’em all down in this journal.

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21 Days: Healthy Living

My Future Listography

Get in the habit of being healthy! For 21 days, you’ll track your diet, exercise regularly and change your lifestyle.

Encouraging users to envision future goals and aspirations, this journal includes more than 70 thought-provoking list topics that range from the practical (places to visit, habits to break, good deeds to perform) to the more whimsical.

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21 Days: A Spiritually Healthy Life If you crave spiritual renewal, you need to strengthen your relationship with God. Investing that time must become a habit. Here’s how. Retail Price: $14.99 | With Card: $13.49

Love Listography Don’t just whisper sweet nothings, write them down in this journal created especially for romantic list-makers. Including a heart-pounding collection of list topics ranging from sweet (favorite love songs, best dates) to cringe-worthy. Retail Price: $16.95 | With Card: $15.26

Visit for up-to-date reading guides.

This Month’s PICKS

original Proof of Heaven By Mary Curran Hackett

The quest to find a dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven. Retail Price: $14.99 | With Discount Card: $13.49

NEXT MONTH Sunflowers By Sheramy Bundrick In July 1888, in a public garden in Arles, France, Vincent van Gogh meets a young woman who will change his life forever. But will Rachel find the strength to stand by a man she has come to care for deeply, even as he spirals into darkness?

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literary Great House By Nicole Krauss

Acclaimed author Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss. Retail Price: $14.95 | With Discount Card: $13.46

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close By Jonathan Safran Foer With humor, tenderness and awe, Foer confronts the traumas of our recent history with the story of a young boy whose father was killed on September 11. Now a major motion picture.

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faithpoint The Chair By James L. Rubart When an elderly lady shows up in Corin’s antiques store and gives him a chair she claims was crafted by Jesus, he scoffs. But when a young boy is miraculously healed after sitting in the chair, mayhem erupts. Retail Price: $14.99 | With Discount Card: $13.49

nonfiction Bloody Crimes By James L. Swanson Preparing for the most magnificent funeral pageant in American history, soldiers placed Lincoln’s corpse aboard a special train to Springfield, Illinois. Along the way, several million mourners watched it roll by. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29

Not a Fan By Kyle Idleman

Are you a follower of Jesus? Don’t answer too quickly. In fact, you may want to read this book before you answer at all. Consider it a “Define the Relationship” conversation.

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The Fall of the House of Zeus By Curtis Wilkie Dickie Scruggs was arguably the most successful plaintiff’s lawyer in America—until his spectacular fall, when he was convicted for conspiring to bribe a Mississippi state judge.

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teen It’s Kind of a Funny Story  By Ned Vizzini Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness, which is now a feature film. Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99

kids The Red Pyramid By Rick Riordan Two siblings embark on a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead By Julie Anne Peters After a lifetime of being bullied, Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair. She has tried to kill herself before, and is determined to get it right this time.

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The Warrior Heir By Cinda Williams Chima One day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger and more confident than ever before. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth: He is part of a magical world—and he must choose which of two feuding houses he will fight to support.

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new year, new you



ith the excess of the holiday season behind us, many of us are now resolving to get our lives back on track and more in line with who we want to be. No matter your goal this year, the variety of approaches in the following books will help you become the best version of yourself. 52 Small Changes By Brett Blumenthal AmazonEncore $14.95, 380 pages ISBN 9781612181394 eBook available



Happy New Year! Time to shake off that hangover and hit the treadmill for an hour a day! Woo-hoo! OK, maybe not. How about: Instead of the annual festival of overdoing your resolutions, then stopping cold and backsliding, why not make a series of small tweaks here and there? Author Brett Blumenthal has 52 Small Changes all picked out with your future health and happiness in mind. From easy health fixes (up your water intake, become more label-savvy, start stretching) to attitude adjustments (build your optimism, find time for yourself ), this book has got you covered. There’s a lot to like about 52 Small Changes. Each week’s project is broken down into easy steps, and the reasons why it’s a worthy undertaking are spelled out in detail. Rather than a simple “Eat more vegetables,” you get a chart breaking down the specific health benefits of several

veggies along with ideas to help you incorporate more of them into your daily diet. If you’re already a master at that week’s change, there are “extra credit” ways to go beyond, such as logging your exercise regimen if you already keep a food journal. Of course, you can also take a bye week and concentrate on what you’ve learned so far. The book has great templates to help you start a food journal, make a budget or track medical appointments; there are also websites listed throughout where you can do the same. Fifty-two small changes may seem like a lot, but taken one week at a time, there’s nothing here you can’t tackle . . . and the potential results are limitless. —Heather Seggel

Be the Miracle By Regina Brett Grand Central $22.99, 288 pages ISBN 9781455500338 Audio, eBook available


Regina Brett, author of the New York Times bestseller God Never Blinks, now has a wonderful new

collection of short essays, Be the Miracle. There’s a wealth of inspirational stories here with titles like “Dream Big,” “What You Think About You Dream About,” “Believe in Abundance” and “Carry as You Climb.” There’s a sprinkling of the spiritual, a bit of Dale Carnegie and some very practical advice on how to function more compassionately and be a bit of a miracle yourself. The real charm of the stories in these pages is that they are alive with regular people who just happen to be amazing. They could be our parents, our neighbors or our co-workers. They include Terrence, the student who wouldn’t give up on his dream of being a neurosurgeon, even though he couldn’t attend high school; Edvarda, who fought insurmountable odds and dire poverty to send her children to college; and 17-year-old Chance Riley, who gave every penny of the prize money he got for his Grand Champion Pig to the victims of a steam engine accident because “it was the obvious thing to do. We’re all family.” “Everyone is either your student or your teacher. Most people are both,” Brett concludes. Be the Miracle is a book that will give you a boost, teach you how to breathe and open your mind to the miracles happening all around you. —Linda Leaming

The Willpower Instinct By Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. Avery $26, 272 pages ISBN 9781583334386 eBook available


Ever wondered why you just can’t seem to make yourself get to the gym? What is the science behind your inability to pass by a plate of cookies or finally clean out your closet? The Willpower Instinct will help you figure out the answers to these questions of will. Using both science and real-life stories, Kelly McGonigal tells us

exactly what willpower is and how we can use it more effectively. Based on her popular psychology course at Stanford University, this book uncovers some common misconceptions about willpower that plague most people. For instance, did you know that too much self-control can sabotage your goals? That willpower is more like a muscle than a virtue that some are born with? McGonigal explains the science behind these facts with easy-to-understand language and examples. This is not a book to rush through in a weekend. McGonigal asks readers to treat the book as an experiment. There are assignments in every chapter aimed at identifying how readers currently operate, and new strategies will help them practice better willpower. These assignments are accessible and easily adapted for whatever habits a reader would like to break or cultivate. Refreshingly easy to read and peppered with stories of people who have successfully used its methods, The Willpower Instinct is a new kind of self-help book. Using science to help explain the “why” and strategies for the “how,” McGonigal has created a book that will appeal to those who want to lose a few pounds as well as those who are eager to understand why they just cannot seem to get through their to-do list. A must-read for anyone who wants to change how they live in both small and big ways. —Elisa Muñoz

The Prosperous Heart By Julia Cameron with Emma Lively Tarcher/Penguin $25.95, 240 pages ISBN 9781585428977 eBook available

PERSONAL finance

Despite writing more than 30 books of fiction and nonfiction, author Julia Cameron is best known for one: The Artist’s Way, the iconic bestseller that guided millions of readers to improved creativity. With The Prosperous Heart, Cameron

new year, new you brings some of the same techniques to bear on an area many people would rather leave unexamined: money. The book outlines a 12-week program that calls for honesty and strict accountability to develop a healthy relationship not just with your bank balance but with your life as a whole. Some of the methods proposed here will be familiar to readers of Your Money or Your Life and the literature of Debtors Anonymous; tracking every cent in or out, refusing to take on more debt and keeping a personal inventory are hallmarks of the genre. But The Prosperous Heart distinguishes itself through the stories Cameron tells about her own life and times. Offered up with humor and humility, these examples support her central thesis: that “every person is creative, and can use their creativity to create a life of ‘enough.’ ” She adds, “I myself have worried about money—and found that having money does not end this worry.” The exercises here, including the “morning pages” made famous in The Artist’s Way, can offer meaningful help. Pick up a pen and blank notebook and start working through the exercises, and it might just change your outlook. The program takes 12 weeks, but recognizing that you’re better off than you think is a result that pays long-term dividends in every area of your life. Cameron measures prosperity in terms of faith, not finances; this book should improve the way you think and feel about both. —Heather Seggel

Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life By Paul Hammerness, M.D., & Margaret Moore Harlequin $16.95, 272 pages ISBN 9780373892440


You can be forgiven for being distracted these days. It is a sign of the

times, according to the authors of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, a how-to book that manages to be both entertaining and rooted in current brain science. They write, “There was a time when you weren’t always so reachable . . . when you weren’t always being bombarded by so much stimuli, whether in the form of e-mails or texts, Twitter posts or whatever new technology may emerge . . . well, any minute now.” Paul Hammerness, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, and Margaret Moore, a wellness coach and cofounder of the Harvard Institute of Coaching, call this “the distraction epidemic”—and it’s more than just occasionally misplacing your keys. Disorganization and distraction can snowball into information overload, poor work habits, clutter and strained relationships. But Hammerness and Moore offer simple ways to harness organizational abilities that already exist in our brains. I suspect that anyone who is in dire enough straits to need an organizational book may just skip to the appendix, where the authors lay out the six “brain skills” one needs to master in order to organize their mind—but don’t do it. Hammerness and Moore make neuroscience fun (really) and use case studies from their own work to illustrate their points. In the chapter on “applying the brakes,” for example, we meet Deborah, a soccer mom in her mid30s who, despite all her energy and good intentions, can’t quite seem to finish what she starts. She heads out to the garage for a quick tidying up, and four hours later is still kneedeep in old sports equipment. She just can’t apply the brakes. In brainscience talk, this is called “exercising inhibitory control.” The authors offer easy, common-sense ways to build this skill—for example, applying the STOP tool (step back, think, organize your thoughts, proceed). This is a must-read if you could use less stress and more order in your life. Log off Twitter, put down your cell phone and pick up this book.

David Finch knew his marriage needed saving. He just didn’t know why—or how. In The Journal of Best Practices, his thoughtful, wellwritten account of his battle with Asperger syndrome and his struggle to rescue his marriage, he deals with his fight to overcome his personal demons and rekindle his wife’s love, and he also offers instructive lessons for anyone in a meaningful relationship. Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder typified by repetitive behaviors, obsession with objects or subjects and the inability to interact socially. Finch displayed all the characteristics, from needing to eat eggs and cereal for breakfast every morning, to circling the floor in a counter-clockwise pattern while repeatedly checking to make sure the doors were locked. Then there was the increasing lack of communication with his wife, Kristen. Frustrated and concerned about her dying marriage, Kristen leads her husband through a 200-question online quiz, which results in a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, later confirmed by a doctor. Finch isn’t really stunned by the discovery, as much as he is relieved. The revelation inspires him to manage his affliction while taking steps to mend his marriage. His simple chapter titles, such as “Be her friend, first and always” and “Just listen,” detail how Finch reconnects with his wife, and offer tips that any earnest reader can use to do a better job in his or her relationships. So while The Journal of Best Practices is about one quirky character, it really offers instructions on how we all can overcome our own quirks and habits to improve our relations with others.

Lee Lipsenthal’s life changed in one bite. The medical director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, his life’s work had been helping others work through their fears about death and live more joyfully. In July 2009, when a bite of BLT caused him abnormal discomfort, he already suspected the worst. Diagnosed with esophageal cancer, Lipsenthal found that everything he had taught others paid dividends when he needed them most: He was not afraid to die. Enjoy Every Sandwich shares what he learned along the way and commemorates his life, which ended in September 2011. Making peace with death didn’t make life a picnic. His wife Kathy was angry at his apparent willingness to “give up,” and his children— and parents—were devastated. There were certainly hard days. But Lipsenthal kept his focus on what he could do, and used the same techniques he promoted in his job—meditation, gratitude, humor—to guide his path. His family and friends, including one pal who made hilariously convoluted plans to score him an introduction to Sir Paul McCartney, prompted him to observe, “I no longer have a bucket list. I have love in my life.” The book’s title comes from an exchange between the late musician Warren Zevon and David Letterman, during a final interview when it was clear Zevon would not survive his own cancer diagnosis. It’s a lovely message, and it’s hard to read Enjoy Every Sandwich without coming to like Lipsenthal a lot, and grieving the loss of someone who helped so many. How sweet, then, that the book exists to make his legacy available to us all.

—Amy ScribneR

—j o h n t. s l a n i a

—Heather Seggel

the journal of best practices

Enjoy Every Sandwich

By David Finch Scribner $25, 240 pages ISBN 9781439189719 eBook available

By Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. Crown Archetype $22, 224 pages ISBN 9780307955159 Audio, eBook available





healthy living By Deanna Larson



ew books on healthy living emphasize workouts and eating plans for different lifestyles and goals—whether you want to lose inches fast, make better choices at the drive-thru or simply minimize stress.

SHORT, EFFECTIVE WORKOUTS Women’s Health and Men’s Health magazines are known for their bold design, clean layouts and solid information. The Women’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts (Rodale, $26.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9781609617370) and The Men’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts (Rodale, $26.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9781609617356) are chunky little powerhouses that feature those same elements while promising “433 ultra-effective exercises, 1 hard body: yours!” Recent research shows that brief workouts can be just as effective as pounding away at the treadmill or spin class for hours at a time; these books are packed with 85 superfast workouts and hundreds of exercises that banish boredom and maximize results. Each exercise is clearly described with step-by-step photos that make it easy to achieve good form. From the Super-Fast Weight Loss System Workout and Cardio Interval Training to exercises for Healing, Sports Training and Better Sex, these books target every possible fitness goal a man (see: Iron Glute, Deltoid Definer, Six-Pack Abs, The Flat Butt Fix workouts) or woman (see: Hourglass Body, Pushup Bra, Belly Pooch, Michelle Obama Arms workouts) could ever desire.

BETTER EATING ON THE GO The influential Eat This, Not That! franchise introduced readers to the nutritional disasters hidden


in supermarket aisles and behind restaurant menus, and the small swaps that promote better health and lower calories without dieting. The updated and expanded 2012 edition of Eat This, Not That! The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution (Rodale, $19.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781609610654) features still-shocking entries in the Not That category (The Cheesecake Factory’s sautéed spinach side has the fat equivalent of 14 strips of bacon). However, it also includes new Eat This items offered by restaurants, thanks to shaming and pressure from antiobesity crusader David Zinczenko, who co-authors the books with Matt Goulding. Back are the compact, color-coded spreads with product and menu-item comparisons in categories like fast food, chain restaurant and supermarket foods. Also included are Holidays and Special Occasions; foods marketed to kids; and an excellent Cook This section, with recipes for healthier versions of restaurant favorites. Zinczenko also shares Eat This success stories and a list of America’s 20 Worst Foods. While the best approach to eating healthfully is cooking from scratch, the book arms a typical American— who grabs breakfast from the drivethru, lunch at a chain restaurant and dinner from the freezer most days of the week—with vital information they can use to find the health bonanzas and bombs.

GOOD STRESS AND BAD Dr. Mehmet Oz and his sidekick Dr. Michael Roizen, authors

of the best-selling You series (You on a Diet, You Staying Young) are back with You: Stress Less (Free Press, $8.99, 96 pages, ISBN 9781451640748). This brief, useful and easily digestible book looks at good stress and bad stress—and provides tips beyond chocolate and bubble baths to minimize its destructive effects so you can live a happy, healthy life. Starting with the science behind stress, the docs take readers through healthy lifestyle basics including recipes for delicious healthy food, or “nature’s best medicine.” Stress management techniques are covered in sections on activity, relationships, pain management, good communication, managing anger, workplace stresses and the “Big Picture” of spirituality and giving, ending with a guide for developing your own stress plan—making this slim volume a mini-doctorate in preventative health care.

A SPUR TO GET ACTIVE Working Out Sucks! (And Why It Doesn’t Have To): The Only 21-Day Kick-Start Plan for Total Health and Fitness You’ll Ever Need (Da Capo, $14.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9780738215693) is an audacious approach to the challenges that keep people from getting fit. “Working out is a chore that ranks somewhere behind window washing, gutter cleaning and dog poop scooping,” writes author Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, a chain of 1,600 health clubs across America. Aided by colleagues Brian Zehetner, a

registered dietitian, and Rebecca A. DeRossett, executive coach and owner of Stillwater Psychological Associates, Runyon lays out the connection between good health and exercise, and the reasons the average person should develop fitness goals. Less a workout book and more an entertaining, kick-inthe-backside companion, Runyon “deprograms” fitness “brainwashing” of bad information, destructive attitudes and habits. His good-natured rants are followed by a section on changing defeatist attitudes, plus a 21-day kick-start plan including daily meal and workout suggestions. “While vanity may provide the initial motivation,” Runyon writes, “it’s the internal reward—the regular dose of accomplishment and pride—that turns regular people into fitness addicts.”

DANCE-INSPIRED FITNESS The Physique 57® Solution (Grand Central, $25.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9780446585330) isn’t for sissies, but the subtitle does promise “A Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body.” Authors and dancers Tanya Becker and Jennifer Maanavi were devotees of the Lotte Berk Method, a strengthening and stretching technique created by Russian ballerina Lotte Berk. After her studio closed, the pair adapted her methods as Physique 57®, a combination of interval training, isometric exercises and orthopedic stretches that aims to lengthen and sculpt muscles for a lean body. Aimed at women with a promise to help them “lose up to 10 inches fast,” the regimen uses a process called “Interval Overload” to bring muscles to the point of fatigue—“where it starts to burn and shake”—to provide “the greatest possible stimulus” for greater results with fewer reps. The book’s 57-minute workouts are illustrated with black and white photographs, and the exercises are followed by a “kitchen diva” section with nutrition tips and recipes for a “macronutrient-rich approach to weight loss.” Those familiar with Pilates and other dancer-inspired workouts won’t shy away from this challenging path to an enviable body.

aging By Martin Brady



ith the nation’s population aging at an unprecedented rate, three new books help seniors (and near-seniors) get a jump on the physical and emotional challenges of growing older. Alzheimer’s disease is undoubtedly the affliction of aging that scares people the most. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center, offers a proactive approach to dealing with this concern in The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life (Workman, $24.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9780761165262), co-written with his wife Gigi Vorgan. The text offers an overview of Alzheimer’s research and the physiology of the disease. Yet the main focus is on physical regimens and mental exercises designed to promote good overall health, to reduce stress and, most critically, to strengthen mem-

ory and reinforce mental acuity in ways that might help to stave off the Alzheimer’s threat. The book also includes diet recommendations, tips about drug interaction and handy health-related Q&As. According to the authors, “this program will . . . help you feel better and delay Alzheimer’s disease longer.” Given the stakes, it’s certainly worth a try. A potential companion volume for the age-conscious is The Baby Boomer Diet: Body Ecology’s Guide to Growing Younger (Hay House, $27.95, 435 pages, ISBN 9781401935450). Nutritional consultant Donna Gates aims to combine the best ideas from conventional

medicine with alternative therapies, and in this ample guidebook she tailors her already established Body Ecology Diet to the needs of older folks. The coverage is inclusive, with information on everything from teas, wines and water to cancer-fighting grains and “healing” condiments. Gates also addresses issues such as cooked foods versus raw, the dangers of fat, the truth about iodine and the importance of certain fruits as antioxidants. Overall, Gates’ recommendations encourage restorative effects on the digestive, immune and endocrine systems, though sticking with the program would be a timely (and costly) pursuit for the average person. A pertinent shopping list is included, with recommendations of specific brand-name products.

For social worker Wendy Lustbader, the glass is half-full where aging is concerned. Her Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older (Tarcher, $25.95, 256 pages, ISBN 9781585428922) is a sensitively written collection that stresses the liberating aspects of aging. Lustbader’s observations are divided into sections—loss, spirituality, courage, etc.—and each anecdote illustrates a perspective on living enhanced by the passage of time. Lustbader’s goal is to present aging as a challenging and invigorating adventure, and she succeeds in inspiring seniors to move forward with confidence.

HE MAY BE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN KEEP HER SAFE.… Pick up the latest book from international bestselling author





27 11_375_BookPage_Burning.indd 1

12/6/11 4:58:39 PM

Kick the New Year off with a good read from AtlasBooks!


‘Great White Poindexter’

How Deconstructing the American School System Will Reconstruct the American Dream Rosanna Pittella Ph.D. Can a child-centric school be designed that actively addresses the needs of all American children? 978-0-615-55294-1 | $25.99

Do You See What I See? A Collection of Photo-Hooliganism


the title of your new Q: What’s  book?

would you describe the Q: How  book?

James Sallie An inimitable amalgamation of photography, art & humor, subtlety blended to create unique twists on everyday situations. Without limits, this book teems with creative genius. 978-0-9871904-0-6 | $70.00

is the 17th outing for Inspector Lynley. What is the one Q: This  quality you most admire in this extremely popular character?

White Man Red Road Five Colors James Graywolf Petruzzi

Cross Walk An Amazing Journey of Faith

Carol Cruise

This book follows the spiritual journey of one man, which is really the journey of all people. As you experience the pleasure, pain and growth of Jim’s walk, you will find ways to apply what you read to your own Journey. 978-0-9846532-0-1 | $19.95

A story of faith and obedience. Carol Cruise lost a leg to amputation, but was determined to complete a walk around the entire perimeter of the continental United States, placing crosses along the way. Her adventure makes a compelling story. 978-0-9846488-1-8 | $21.95

Available at your favorite bookstore, online at ATLASBOOKS.COM or by calling 1-800-BOOKLOG

have a special fondness for England’s Lake District Q: Dwhere  o youthis novel is set?

a cameo role in one of the BBC adaptations of the Q: IInspector f you hadLynley series, what character would you like to be?

World Book Night A night of giving the joy of reading!

Q: If you weren’t a writer, would you make a good detective?

April 23, 2012 World Book Night is a new event designed to share the joy of reading with as many new, underserved readers as possible.


volunteer book givers

achievement are you proudest of? Q: What 

Q: W  hat is your #1 resolution for the New Year?

will be chosen to go into communities and give free books to those who may not have access to books or are infrequent readers.

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April 23 is also UNESCO World Book Day, an international event to promote reading and publishing.


Inspector Thomas Lynley is joined by two returning series favorites, Barbara Havers and Deborah St. James, in the 17th Lynley mystery, Believing the Lie (Dutton, $28.95, 624 pages, ISBN 978052595289). Author Elizabeth George writes the best-selling British mystery series from her home near Seattle.

reviews The Invisible Ones


GHOSTS FROM A GYPSY PAST Review by Karen Ann Cullotta

Like many a literary gumshoe before him, private investigator Ray Lovell has a weakness for women, strong liquor and hard-luck tales. Thus, the tortured hero of Stef Penney’s luminous second novel, The Invisible Ones, finds himself swept up in the mystery and mayhem of a pack of traveling Gypsies when he is hired to find a young Romany woman, Rose Janko, who has disappeared from northern England without a trace. To those with a penchant for Romany-themed literature—books like Colum McCann’s Zoli, for example—The Invisible Ones is sure to prove enchanting. For this reader, it was absolutely impossible to put down. From the opening chapter, when Ray awakens in a London hospital bed, stricken by hallucinations and paralysis, Penney’s formidable literary gifts will hypnotize readers. The tale is told as a dual narrative, in chapters that By Stef Penney, Putnam, $25.95, 416 pages alternate between the musings of middle-aged private investigator Ray ISBN 9780399157714, eBook available and the angst-drenched reflections of an adolescent boy, JJ. Torn between his love and loyalties for his Gypsy/Romany family and his fervent desire to assimilate with his gorjio—nonRomany—peers at school, JJ portrays his plight with a young boy’s curiosity, wit and idealism. Ray, who is half Romany himself, finds himself forced to reckon with ghosts from his past as he investigates the Jankos. Simultaneously smitten by and wary of the inhabitants of this mystical netherland of hardscrabble trailer homes, Ray forges a friendship with JJ, providing the youngster with a much-needed male role model, and himself with a sense of fatherhood. While the novel’s rich subplots are brimming with romance, family pathos and details of Romany culture, The Invisible Ones remains a mystery at heart. Author Penney, who lives in Scotland, won the Costa Award for Book of the Year with her 2007 debut, The Tenderness of Wolves, set in 1860s Canada. Her very different but equally absorbing second novel is sure to mesmerize readers from page one until its shocking, albeit deeply satisfying, ending.

Hope: A Tragedy By Shalom Auslander Riverhead $26.95, 304 pages ISBN 9781594488382 eBook available

LIterary fiction

What if, instead of dying in Auschwitz, Anne Frank had lived, spirited away to America to spend the next 60 years huddled in an attic, tapping out a book she hopes will equal the emotional power of her Diary? Shalom Auslander’s absurdist comedy explodes from that outrageous premise to take on nothing less than the meaning of our tenuous existence and the painful fragility of our most cherished dreams. With his wife and son, Solomon

Kugel has moved to a farmhouse in the town of Stockton, New York, looking for refuge from a city “filled with danger and disease.” One evening an unbearable odor emanating from the attic leads to a bizarre discovery. As much as he wants to be rid of the strange woman who resides there, he must wrestle with a most disturbing question: Would a Jew turn in Anne Frank? And Kugel has other problems. His dying mother, who’s moved into the household to live out her final days, claims she’s a Holocaust survivor and insists that Kugel’s grandfather resides in a lampshade that’s made in Taiwan. Preoccupied with his unwanted guest and petrified that his farmhouse is next on the list to be torched by a serial arsonist, Kugel eventually loses his job with the area’s “largest residential composting company.” He’s obsessed with collecting the last words of the

famous and ponders which of his neighbors would shield him and his family when the new Holocaust his mother incessantly claims is imminent arrives. Kugel’s gloomy worldview is shaped by his counselor, Professor Jove, who’s convinced the only thoughtful response to humanity’s plight is despair. Yet Kugel struggles against that grim conclusion, clinging despite the evidence to the idea that life has meaning. In these musings, Auslander strives for something more than a series of black comic riffs, and largely succeeds. Many of his protagonist’s observations are as acid-etched as the ones that made Auslander’s memoir, Foreskin’s Lament, such an outrageous reading experience. But there’s an essential sweetness at Kugel’s core, demonstrated in his solicitude for his young son Jonah and in a tender, moving scene when he encounters a

deer dying by the roadside. There are echoes of Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth and even Franz Kafka in this wildly original novel. And yet with Hope: A Tragedy, Auslander has created a story that’s uniquely his, with something in it to offend, enlighten and ultimately touch just about anyone. —Harvey Freedenberg

Dead Low Tide By Bret Lott Random House $25, 256 pages ISBN 9781400063758 Audio, eBook available


The seemingly bucolic setting of South Carolina’s Low Country reveals its seamier side in Bret Lott’s latest novel, a follow-up to 1999’s The Hunt Club. Lott continues the story of Huger Dillard, now 27, a college dropout living with his parents, and still clueless as to his calling in life. Lott paints his main character layer by layer, slowly filling in the details of why he calls his blind father Unc, why he dropped out of UNC at Chapel Hill, and why he and his girlfriend Tabitha separated (she is now a postdoc at Stanford). Injected into this somewhat convoluted domestic drama is a woman’s body, discovered as the novel opens by Huger and Unc as they arrive by boat at the members-only golf course attached to their posh community of Landgrave Hall in the middle of the night—the only time Unc can practice his swing without being embarrassed. The discovery of a woman’s partially eaten body in the pluff mud, just as Huger is about to set anchor, is horrific enough, but it’s complicated by the fact that Huger is also observed wearing illegal night-vision goggles by two officers at the Naval Weapons Station half a mile away. How Huger obtained those goggles (actually, Unc won them in one of his Thursday night


reviews poker games) is just one of the many backstories Lott introduces one by one, each part of his tale of long-buried family secrets, terrorists housed in the local Navy brig and sleeper cells patiently waiting to exact their carefully planned revenge. Dead Low Tide is being labeled a “literary thriller,” which typically is a hard role to fill. It may not be erudite enough for fans of Le Carré, or suspenseful enough for followers of Nelson DeMille. But Lott’s timely premise—the possibility of terrorist sleeper cells existing for years in unlikely places, waiting for the word to unleash their pent-up hatred—is both shocking and plausible enough to garner its own niche of readers. And the way in which Lott weaves this dark subplot into past events, revealed slowly to both Huger and the reader, makes the conclusion of this portrait of Charleston’s darker side even more satisfying. —Deborah Donovan

Lunatics By Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel Putnam $25.95, 320 pages ISBN 9780399158698 Audio, eBook available



Scriptwriting guru Syd Field is said to have honed the three-act structure down to a few simple sentences: “Get your protagonist up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Then get him down.” In Lunatics, authors Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel impose their distinctive mutation onto that formula. They get their protagonists up a tree. They throw rocks at them. Then they fire automatic weapons at them. Then they lob hand grenades in their direction. Then they chop the tree down, feed it through a wood chipper and pursue their protagonists with flame throwers and a colony of rabid vampire bats . . . you get the idea. One would expect no less from a

FICTION duo that styles itself as the “League of Comic Justice.” Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist who (along with the likes of Stephen King, Amy Tan and Scott Turow) is a member of the celebrated all-author band The Rock Bottom Remainders. Alan Zweibel is an Emmy- and Thurber Prizewinning author who spent a halfdecade writing for “Saturday Night Live” during what is considered the show’s golden era. Putting one in close proximity to the other is sort of like juggling torches while walking a wire over a vat of kerosene; sooner or later, there’s gonna be a big, big bang. Lunatics starts off innocently enough. Mild-mannered pet shop owner Philip Horkman, refereeing a youth soccer match, calls back a game-tying goal, claiming the forward was offside. Her father, a highly belligerent (and aptly named) forensic plumber named Jeffrey Peckerman, begs to differ, at some volume. One might presume that the match’s conclusion would be the end of the matter, but oh, no. When Peckerman mistakenly shows up at Horkman’s pet shop and absconds with the owner’s favorite lemur, who soon thereafter slips his cage and pilfers the plumber’s drunken houseguest’s insulin pump, the stage is set for international hijinks that involve (among others) the Mossad, Sarah Palin, Chuck E. Cheese, Donald Trump and a black ops squad so tough that they refer to Navy SEAL Team 6 as “the Campfire Girls.” Like The Defiant Ones on a threeweek bender, adversaries-turnedabrasive-and-reluctant-allies Horkman and Peckerman manage to stay, astonishingly, one shaky misstep ahead of catastrophe. At every turn, just at the exact moment you think things can’t possibly go further off the rails—they do, in a whitewater-swift cascade of errors, goofs, foul-ups, bad luck, dumb luck, happy accidents and miraculous flukes. Through it all, Barry and Zweibel bring on the funny in a rocket-fueled romp whose pages practically turn themselves. —T h a n e T i e r n e y

The Last Nude By Ellis Avery Riverhead $25.95, 320 pages ISBN 9781594488139 Audio, eBook available


“Scintillating” and “titillating” are two words that barely begin to describe Ellis Avery’s beautifully written, erotically charged second novel, The Last Nude. Avery—previously acclaimed for her historical novel set in late 19th-century Japan, The Teahouse Fire—now successfully takes her readers to Paris in the roaring ’20s. There, she fictionalizes the true story of sensational Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka and her rapport with 17-year-old model Rafaela, the inspiration behind one of the century’s most famous nude paintings, Beautiful Rafaela. The Last Nude opens as Rafaela— an Italian Jewish immigrant from New York City—prowls the infamous Bois de Bologne neighborhood, in search of “financial aid.” We learn that Rafaela has escaped her strict Italian family with mere pennies in her pocket; she has been resorting to prostitution in order to make ends meet. Instead of a man, though, she encounters the extravagant Lempicka, a deposed Saint Petersburg countess who is currently raising her young daughter in France. Lempicka convinces Rafaela to model nude for her, and it is there in her salon that Lempicka’s best work is produced, along with the burgeoning of a passionate—and somewhat hidden— love affair. Avery weaves historical fact with electrically charged narrative, creating scenarios in which Lempicka and Rafaela cavort with Sylvia Beach (owner of Shakespeare & Company, Paris’ famous English bookstore), Beach’s partner Adrienne Monnier (co-publisher of Joyce’s Ulysses), and boxer-turned-Nazi-collaborator Violette Morris (to name a few). As Lempicka’s paintings generate buzz in the art world, Rafaela finds herself

falling deeper for the unobtainable, recently divorced painter who is hiding a few secrets of her own. Though the book’s final section (told from Lempicka’s point of view) feels like something of an afterthought, it is fascinating to observe the once-powerful painter, now in her 90s and obsessed with memories of Rafaela. Filled with fabulous literary anecdotes and characters that seem to leap off the page, The Last Nude is a novel perfect for lovers of the 1920s, of Paris or simply of love stories. —Megan Fishmann

How It All Began By Penelope Lively Viking $26.95, 240 pages ISBN 9780670023448 eBook available

LIterary fiction

Penelope Lively has built a career on pushing the boundaries of the novel; indeed, her books are usually a special alchemy of meta-fiction and provocative storytelling. How It All Began proves no exception. While the leading lady of her recent tale may be waging war against the pitfalls of growing old, at 78 years old, Lively herself shows no signs of slowing down and proves she is still a writer in her prime. How It All Began is populated with striking and dynamic characters, but it is also a novel of ideas. Putting her own spin on the “Butterfly Effect” of chaos theory, Lively examines the notion that one small event can have dramatic, far-reaching ramifications. In the traditional example, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could ultimately result in a tornado in Texas, but here, the catalyst is retired schoolteacher Charlotte Rainsford getting mugged on the streets of London. The resulting tumult not only disrupts Charlotte’s life, but also wreaks havoc on an expansive cast of characters, many of whom are not even aware of Charlotte’s existence. Relationships will be tested, the

FICTION economy will crash, some characters will realize their dreams while others will find them shattered—all because of one old woman. In essence, How It All Began is the business of life scaled to fit within the pages of a novel. What sets it apart is the way Lively constantly prods her characters to reflect upon the sum of their choices and the random machinations of which people are generally unaware, in order to take stock of their lives. One recurring theme in Lively’s novels that reappears here is the idea that life is random. It is only in retrospect that the human desire for meaning prompts us to impose a narrative structure on events. We like clearcut explanations for why things happen as they do and for events to hold meaning; this is why we crave stories and find them wherever we look. But here, Lively gamely demonstrates that in reality, the flow of cause and effect is gnarled and convoluted, and that we could all so easily be living another life. Heavy stuff for a slim novel, yet the tone is never overly philosophical and the narrative is spritely. This is a book so vital, you will feel its heart thrum alongside your own as you read, its spell lasting long after its close. —Stephenie Harrison

The Night Swimmer By Matt Bondurant Scribner $25, 288 pages ISBN 9781451625295 Audio, eBook available


The Night Swimmer is about a young American couple who move to Ireland and open a pub in a small coastal village outside of Cork. But Matt Bondurant’s suspenseful third novel is more Hitchcock than A Year in Provence. Like his second novel about bootlegging in North Carolina, The Wettest County in the World (soon to be a major movie starring Guy Pearce, Shia LaBoeuf and Mia Wasikowska), The Night Swimmer

tells a familiar, almost archetypal story of an outsider trying to adapt to an impenetrable and violent rural community. Soon after 9/11, Elly Bulkington and her husband Fred move to the West Coast of Ireland where Running an they have won Irish pub a village pub, The Nightjar, in is less than a contest. Both idyllic for Bulkingtons Americans leave trouble Elly and Fred. behind; Elly’s parents are obsessed with the destructive life of her older sister Beatrice and Fred is consumed by the guilt of surviving the devastation of the Twin Towers, when so many of his colleagues did not. Elly, an open-water swimmer, looks forward to exploring the coastal waters, especially those off of the small neighboring island, Cape Clear. As Fred labors to fix up the pub, Elly moves to the island part time, baffling the locals with her interest in navigating the rough tides and lengthy night swims in the frigid waters. She becomes involved in the island community’s conflicts, especially those of an enigmatic organic goat farmer and the Corrigan family, who have controlled the island for centuries. Fred faces similar problems on the mainland, and soon the native resistance to these well-­meaning outsiders puts their relationship, their pub and even Fred’s sanity in jeopardy. The intensity of Fred and Elly’s experience is more than matched by Bondurant’s vivid descriptions of the Irish coast with its icy waters, rolling hills and merciless storms. Unfortunately, their problems can’t always compete with the grandeur of the setting and the richness of the Gaelic culture; the gradual unraveling of their marriage is almost lost in the Gothic details of the feud. But when Bondurant explores what it is like to push yourself to the brink, whether with physical activity, drugs and alcohol, or lust, he captures an intensity of experience the reader won’t soon forget. —Lauren Bufferd

Running the Rift By Naomi Benaron Algonquin $24.95, 304 pages ISBN 9781616200428 Audio, eBook available

international fiction

Many people think of the Rwandan genocide as a single, inexplicable eruption of violence that came out of nowhere, and ended with close to a million people being slaughtered within a matter of weeks. Most of the victims were from an ethnic group called the Tutsi. They were butchered, often at close range, by neighbors, former friends and even family members. Why? Because. In Running the Rift, Naomi Benaron demonstrates that the genocide came slowly, over years, through the eyes of a young Tutsi man named Jean Patrick Nkuba. All Jean Patrick wants to do is run in the Olympics. He doesn’t want to start cutting people up with a panga because of some ideology no one understands. After all, the Belgians imposed the Tutsi and Hutu designation on the Rwandan people, many years before. Now they can only be told apart by ethnicity cards that everyone must carry. Benaron’s focus on this one young man is part of the book’s brilliance. Our fear for Jean Patrick begins early and builds as we identify with him more and more. Had Benaron concentrated on too many people, the reader’s dread would have been too diffuse. Even as he’s roughed up, discriminated against and forced to pass as a Hutu just to fulfill his passion for running, Jean Patrick still refuses to believe that his country will descend into madness. Of course not—none of us would. What will happen in Rwanda, whose beauty Benaron rapturously describes, is incomprehensible in a society that thinks of itself as even a little bit civilized. The harassment will pass, Jean Patrick believes, and when he wins the Olympics and people find

out he’s a Tutsi after all, the ridiculous prejudice against his people will be gone forever. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way. But before the horror becomes inescapable, Jean Patrick lives his life. Benaron writes beautifully about the pain and exhilaration of being an Olympic-level runner (she’s a triathlete), of the friends Jean Patrick makes at school, of his savvy and taciturn coach, his loving mother and uncle and beloved brothers and sisters, the nutty white American professor he meets who insists on taking pictures of everything. Even the death of a cousin from malaria is sad, but ordinary. How can these good people know that in the months to come they’ll look back on such quotidian deaths with something like nostalgia? It’s unbearable; Benaron’s genius is that we read on despite it. —Arlene McKanic

“Martini knows how to spin a tale…he unpeels the story onionlike—a boon to readers.” —Washington Times





this month’s top publisher picks

Out of Oz Gregory Maguire The thrilling world of Oz comes full circle in Gregory Maguire’s amazing fourth and final novel in his transformative, New York Times best-selling series The Wicked Years. [William Morrow] 9780060548940 $26.99 Every Day a Friday Joel Osteen Combining his personal experiences with scriptural insights and principles for true happiness, Joel Osteen shows how every day can hold the same promise and opportunities for pure joy that is experienced at five o’clock on Friday. [FaithWords] 9780892969913 $24.99 Cemetery Girl David Bell In this thrilling novel, a missing teenager is found alive four years after her disappearance. When she refuses to testify against the suspect, her father takes up his own investigation—but nothing can prepare him for what he discovers. [New American Library] 9780451234674 $14

Zero Day David Baldacci David Baldacci introduces a brand-new series and its hero, an Army Special Agent fighting a one-man war against America’s darkest crimes. [Grand Central] 9780446573016 $27.99

The Prayer Chest August Gold and Joel Fotinos Joseph Hutchinson embarks on a life-changing journey when he discovers a mysterious wooden box hidden in his attic, containing the Three Secrets of Prayer. [New World Library] 9781608680498 $13.95

Fire in the Henhouse Frances Grote “With razor-sharp wit, Grote takes the reader on a rollercoaster of a ride.”—The Boston Globe A debut novel full of humor, mystery and redemption. [Rule Bender Press] 9780983334101 $19.95

Make Mine a Double Gina Barreca Bottoms up! This landmark celebration pours together a collection of witty, intelligent and provocative pieces about women and their beverages of choice. [University Press of New England] 9781584657590 $00.00

Tintin: The Complete Companion Michael Farr A fully illustrated guide to the world-famous comic character Tintin. This well-researched overview follows Tintin through the complete series of 23 adventures. "Addictively browsable." —Daily Telegraph [Last Gasp]

9780867197549 $35 New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens Kim Knox Beckius New England’s history comes to life through this richly illustrated collection of the region’s 36 most storied houses and the influential Americans who called them home. [Union Park Press] 9781934598085 $23.50

A History of the World in 100 Objects Neil MacGregor Handsomely designed, with more than 150 color photographs throughout the text, A History of the World in 100 Objects is a gorgeous book that makes a great gift for anyone interested in history. [Viking] 9780670022700 $45

The Drop Michael Connelly Michael Connelly’s 15th novel featuring Harry Bosch finds the homicide detective juggling two cases of murder and political corruption, tracing back to the police department. [Little, Brown] 9780316069410 $27.99 The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry Rita Dove, Editor Dove does not merely choose the “best” poems from the canon of American poetry through the 20th century, but carefully addresses questions of critical/cultural impact while balancing important poems with significant periods of each poet. [Penguin] 9780143106432 $40

The Exultant Ark Jonathan Balcombe In more than 130 striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. [University of California Press] 9780520260245 $34.95 Comfort ComfortFood FoodFix Fix Ellie EllieKrieger Krieger New NewYork YorkTimes Timesbest-selling best-sellingauthor authorEllie EllieKrieger Krieger presents presentsaahealthy healthytake takeon onclassic classicAmerican American comfort comfortfoods foodswith with150 150soul-satisfying soul-satisfyingrecipes, recipes, each eachfeaturing featuringnutritional nutritionalinformation, information,mouthmouthwatering wateringfull-color full-colorphotos photosand andtips tipsfor foreating eatingwell. well. [Wiley] [Wiley] 9780470603093 9780470603093 $29.99 $29.99 Cook This Now Melissa Clark The New York Times columnist and awardwinning author of In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite offers recipes by the calendar using seasonal, local ingredients. [Hyperion] 9781401323981 $29.99 Violent Earth DK Publishing A spectacular reference for the entire family, Violent Earth is a stimulating and visually arresting exploration of the dramatic forces that are constantly shaping our planet—often without warning and with devastating results. [DK Publishing] 9780756686857 $40

Angel Fire L.A. Weatherly In Book Two of L. A. Weatherly’s wildly romantic, action-packed trilogy, the angels are back with a vengeance . . and they don’t have heaven in mind. [Candlewick] 9780763656799 $17.99

When WhenYou YouWish WishUpon UponaaStar Star Judy JudyCollins Collins This Thisclassic classicsong, song,beloved belovedby byall, all,isisvividly vividly depicted depictedthrough throughluminous luminouspaintings paintingsand and the thecaptivating captivatingvoice voiceof ofthe thelegendary legendaryJudy Judy Collins. Collins.Includes IncludesCD. CD. [Charlesbridge] [Charlesbridge] 9781936140350 9781936140350 $17.95 $17.95 Otis and the Tornado Loren Long Otis and his friends are playing follow-theleader when the day turns frightening: It’s a tornado! All the animals are safe but the bull is still locked in his pen! Otis must save the day. [Philomel Books] 9780399254772 $17.99

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon, Editors Presenting immediate accounts of events and relationships that profoundly shaped his life and work, The Letters of Ernest Hemingway collects all the surviving correspondence of an American master. [Cambridge University Press] 9780521897334 $40

The Lexicon of Real American Food Jane and Michael Stern For foodies, wordsmiths and anyone who loves to eat, an illustrated guide to authentic American fare from the beloved Roadfood team, Jane and Michael Stern. [Lyons Press] 9780762760947 $19.95

Paradise Kitchen Daniel Orr Chef Daniel Orr unleashes the flavors of the islands with his inspired dishes and invites home cooks to savor the culinary joys of the Caribbean. [Indiana University Press] 9780253356086 $29.95

Animal Planet Incredible Journeys Showcasing the migration of a wide variety of amazing creatures from African wildebeest to the American monarch butterfly, readers uncover the secrets behind these animals' astounding survival instincts. [Kingfisher] 9780753467268 $19.99

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor Seventeen-year-old Karou’s search for her true identity reveals a supernatural history that places her on the brink of an otherworldly war. [Little, Brown Books for Young Readers] 9780316134026 $18.99

Dinosaur vs. the Library Bob Shea A-roar-able! Little Dinosaur is back, facing his mightiest foe yet—the library! A perfect read-aloud for parents and their little dinosaurs, and a fun celebration of the joys of reading. [Disney Hyperion] 9781423133384 $15.99 If You Give a Dog a Donut Laura Numeroff From the best-selling team that brought you If You Give a Mouse a Cookie comes a delicious new picture book! You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie. But what happens if you give a dog a donut? [HarperCollins Children’s Books] 9780060266837 $16.99


reviews The Magic Room


Making magic on Main Street R e v i e w b y H e n r y L . C a rr i g a n J r .

Since 1934, more than 100,000 brides have traveled to a store at the end of a tired-looking block on Main Street in Fowler, Michigan, in search of the perfect wedding dress. Occupying a former bank building, Becker’s Bridal stocks more than 2,500 wedding dresses, a “blizzard of white” squeezed tightly onto three floors of crowded racks. On the second floor, in the former bank vault, sits a room where floor-to-ceiling mirrors cover each wall. In this “Magic Room,” brides stand atop a tiled, circular pedestal in soft lighting as they reflect on the moments that have led them to this place and finally decide on which dress might be the one. When best-selling author Jeffrey Zaslow (The Girls From Ames) visits the store, his fascination with the lives of its customers catches fire. Weaving the stories of the women who built and nurtured the store with those of By Jeffrey Zaslow, Gotham, $27, 304 pages several brides-to-be, he captures the powerful allure of Becker’s and the ISBN 9781592406616, audio, eBook available hope and optimism that women bring with them to the Magic Room. Among others, we meet Danielle DeVoe, a social worker whose challenging family life led her from a young age to dream of the power and magic of love, and Julie Wieber, standing on the pedestal for the second time, accompanied by her daughters and recalling through tears the memory of her late first husband, Jeff. The present owner, Shelley Becker, has been looking into the 90-year-old mirror in the front of the store since she was a little girl; it reminds her of her grandmother, Eva Becker, who ran the store with a firm hand. When she looks into the mirror, she also wonders about the lives of the brides who have stood in front of it. Whose marriages have dissolved? Whose have grown richer as the years have progressed? She wonders if her own daughter, who now works there with her, will join the long line of Becker women who have run the store. In The Magic Room, Zaslow captures the joy, hope, love and magic in the hearts of these women, and in the hearts and lives of the Becker family, who have made it possible for generations of young women to experience the magical moment of becoming a bride.

Elizabeth the Queen By Sally Bedell Smith Random House $30, 688 pages ISBN 9781400067893 Audio, eBook available



In the midst of Britain’s phonehacking scandal, well-known biographer Sally Bedell Smith’s solidly traditional new life story of Queen Elizabeth II is a great pleasure. Smith approaches the Royals the right way, with hundreds of interviews with friends and associates, personal observation and thorough research into the historical record. The effort has produced in Elizabeth the Queen a book that ably blends a chronological account of the 85-year-old queen’s life with an

inside look at her household, personality and private interests. One theme emerges with great clarity: Elizabeth Windsor was thrust willy-nilly into her full-time job when she inherited the throne, but her true passion is horse breeding and racing. Corgis aside, she has always spent as much time as possible, given her circumstances, at stable and horse track, with considerable success. If you want to break through the queen’s reserve, ask her about yesterday’s most exciting race at Ascot. More seriously, Smith convincingly describes a remarkable woman—not flawless, certainly, but with the discipline, intelligence, emotional balance and physical stamina to shine at a dauntingly tough job. Whatever their preconceptions about the monarchy, every one of her 12 prime ministers, from Churchill to Cameron, has come to

admire her brains, knowledge and sound counsel. Elizabeth’s record as matriarch of her own family is, of course, more checkered, and Smith doesn’t whitewash it—though her view of the queen’s various predicaments is sympathetic. Elizabeth accepted bad advice about her sister Princess Margaret’s romance with Peter Townsend. To some extent, she neglected her children to focus on her job and her husband (who emerges in the book as a more interesting person than one might have realized). And from beginning to end, she mishandled Princess Diana. But she was capable of learning along the way, and seems to be a more successful royal grandmother than she was a royal mother. As Elizabeth approaches her Diamond Jubilee—60 years on the throne in 2012—Smith is able to make an overall judgment about this

second Elizabethan Age, and her assessment is positive. Elizabeth has weathered the storms; the monarchy is as popular among the British as it has ever been. And that, says Smith, can be credited to the queen’s “steadfast determination and clarity of purpose.” —Anne Bartlett

Fraternity By Diane Brady Spiegel & Grau $25, 256 pages ISBN 9780385524742


Echoing loudly down the corridors of history, several events in 1968 and the years just before it rang incessantly in the ears of Americans, and African Americans in particular. The passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 fostered both hope and frustration: hope for the future, and frustration that progress came so slowly. Then, in April 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., coupled with the rise of the Black Power movement, lent urgency to the cause of civil rights. Along with concerns about the military draft, racial inequalities in the American education system stirred many of the nation’s largest and most vocal protests. While debates over integration fueled the fires of protests on many college campuses, the evidence of integration at those same schools was indeed scant. In spite of the formal end to racial segregation in schools in 1954, most of the nation’s top colleges and universities remained strongholds of white privilege in 1968. In the fall of that year, however, a group of diverse AfricanAmerican students—including Clarence Thomas, the novelist Edward P. Jones, the football player Eddie Jenkins and lawyers Ted Wells and Stanley Grayson—arrived at College of the Holy Cross, a small Jesuit college in central Massachusetts.

“Finally, the book that puts you in charge of your healthy brain.”


—Henry S. Lodge, M.D., coauthor of NYT bestseller Younger Next Year


The prospect of middle age, a period with no universally established timeframe, is shrouded in clichéd assumptions. Around age 40, it seems as if Americans are legally required to lose their way. Everyone is a gray hair away from buying sports cars, dumping their spouses or dyeing their hair. Middle age is a years-long punchline, but why? And is there any truth to this unraveling? More than an exhaustive history, Patricia Cohen’s In Our Prime illuminates an evasive truth: Middle age is an ever-evolving concept.

—Pete Croatto

ith Alzheimer’s, prevention is the cure, and it takes only seven days to get started. Written by the New York Times bestselling authors of The Memory Bible, the new Alzheimer’s Prevention Program will show you how to: Master the easiest memory techniques to overcome everyday lapses Incorporate the top 10 brain-protecting foods into your diet, including the surprising Indian spices Cross-train your brain, exercising both the right and left hemisphere

By Patricia Cohen Scribner $25, 320 pages ISBN 9781416572893 eBook available


In Our Prime


—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

What once was debilitating is now empowering. There are innumerable benefits to being over the hill. “Middle age can bring undiscovered passions, profound satisfactions, and newfound creativity,” Cohen writes. “It is a time of extravagant possibilities.” The concept of middle age originally developed as a byproduct of the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor, a time management pioneer who “roped modern man to the clock” starting in the 1880s. Taylor’s workplace doctrine of breaking tasks down into individual parts trickled down to “psychologists, educators, and doctors [who] dissected a single life into separate phases: childhood, adolescence, middle, and old age.” Of course, the glittery promise of youth became the most desirable phase, a notion supported by a “burgeoning marketplace [that] was able to exploit the fascination with the body. . . . A cult of youth seized the popular imagination after World War I and has kept a grip on it ever since.” According to Cohen, the theories and research that freed middle age from its death sentence-like associations didn’t take shape until the 1950s. Researcher Bernice L. Neugarten recalls that in the early 1950s students in her graduate course “were amazed at the idea that no one developed throughout life.” As it turns out, people do evolve over time. The “world’s largest study on middle age,” spearheaded by Bert Brim, dispelled the typical notions of midlife crisis when results were released in 1999. Menopause was no big deal; an empty nest provided parents with independence, not grief. Things are still not perfect. What Cohen deems the Midlife Industrial Complex is bent on creating conditions for men and women to fix through surgery or cosmetics. But what remains clear throughout Cohen’s fascinating work is that the middle years should be anticipated and savored. In Our Prime will inspire a lot of people to enjoy middle age—and save countless trips to Porsche dealerships.

As journalist Diane Brady points out in Fraternity, her moving chronicle of the times and the lives of these men, such an event might not have happened if not for the passionate commitment of the Reverend John Brooks to King’s ideals of equality and social justice. The 44-year-old priest convinced leaders of the college that the school was missing out on an opportunity to help shape an ambitious generation of black men growing up in America, and he received the authority to recruit black students and offer them full scholarships. Of course, racial prejudice and slurs didn’t disappear once Jones, Thomas and the others entered Holy Cross. Brady nicely weaves Brooks’ forceful support of the black students and their goals with the stories of the students themselves and their discomforts, their struggles and their eventual triumphs. As Brady offers heretofore unseen glimpses into the early lives of this fraternity of African Americans, she also brings to our attention for the first time an unsung hero of the civil rights movement.

Develop habits that will protect brain health for the rest of your life


A healthy brain shows no sign of inflammation or decline.


The kind of aging shown in this brain was believed to be normal, but in fact shows signs of inflammation and decline.

With its whole-mind, wholebody approach, based on the latest comprehensive research into Alzheimer’s disease, and especially the critical connection between lifestyle and susceptibility, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program shows how to develop habits that will protect your brain for the rest of your life.

“Dr. Small is unmatched in his ability to synthesize the latest scientific anti-aging breakthroughs.” —P. Mur ali Dor aiswa my, M.D., Senior Fellow, Duk e Universit y Center for the Study of Aging

Available wherever books are sold. WOR K M A N |


reviews Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul By John M. Barry Viking $35, 480 pages ISBN 9780670023059 eBook available



When Roger Williams was born in England, probably in 1603, the feudal system was dying, capitalism was being born and the country was in the midst of religious turmoil. Within a 25-year period, England went from Catholic rule to Protestant, then back to Catholic and back to Protestant. Parliament’s Act of Uniformity required all subjects to attend weekly worship at their parish church; failure to attend was a crime and a subversive act. Widely praised historian John M. Barry, author of the best-selling The Great Influenza, states at the outset of his magnificent new book that it is “a story about power.” Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul is the absorbing narrative of the personal and intellectual journey of the scholarly and pious Puritan minister who became a tireless advocate for the separation of church and state. Exiled into the wilderness for his beliefs, he established Providence as a haven for those persecuted for their religious beliefs and created the world’s first democracy. Barry uses extensive excerpts from the writings of Williams and his contemporaries to illustrate their various points of view. He shows, for example, how conformity was in many ways at the heart of John Winthrop’s famous sermon that refers to “a city upon a hill.” Massachusetts was a purpose-driven society and its purpose was to advance God’s interests on the earth. Before any major decisions were made, the governor and other leaders listened to the opinions of the leading ministers. Massachusetts tolerated private dissent but it demanded public conformity to the perceived will of God. It is important to emphasize that

NONFICTION Williams and Winthrop shared the same theology and the same devotion to Christ. But Williams was not one to conform; he believed a society could not advance without asking questions. In his greatest work, The Bloody Tenent, he proposed not just “Soul Libertie,” the essence of individual freedom, but went beyond that to a theory of the state that leads to a democratic society. This was written at a time when neither church leaders nor members of Parliament were advocating democracy. In the same book Williams made his original and revolutionary claim that it was the people who were sovereign. This rich work by a master historian enlightens on every page. —Roger Bishop

MWF Seeking BFF By Rachel Bertsche Ballantine $15, 384 pages ISBN 9780345524942 eBook available


Rachel Bertsche is a 20-something freelance writer and editor who, after following her husband to Chicago, found herself in need of a new best friend. Or several of them. So she did the 21st-century thing and started a blog, MWF Seeking BFF, setting herself the task of going on 52 “friend-dates” in a year. One year later, mirabile dictu, she’s found new friends, strengthened her marriage and landed a book contract. We should all be so lucky (or energetic). Apart from documenting her “year of friendship,” Rachel’s memoir (I feel like we’re on a first-name basis) is also a charming exposition of the latest research on social connections. Anthropological research suggests that humans are capable of maintaining 150 social relationships, so Rachel figures out that she’s got openings for 20 new friends. Although she’s happy in her marriage, and close with her family, these good things are no substitute

for real female friendship. Female friendship, we learn, is characterized by a face-to-face dynamic: Imagine two women sitting across from one another at brunch, chatting. Male friendship is more typically characterized as a side-by-side dynamic: two men sitting on the sofa watching the game. Gender stereotypes aside, this is one explanation for why women happily married to men may still feel lonely; there’s a conversational dynamic potentially missing from their primary relationship. Indeed, recent research shows that married people are as likely as single people to feel socially isolated: A spouse may be a best friend, but we need more than one best friend to feel connected to the world around us. MWF Seeking BFF reads like an extended personal essay in O: The Oprah Magazine, where Berstche was an editor. It combines personal narrative and social research in an upbeat and approachable manner, and has clearly hit a nerve with female readers in the 25-40 age group, who keenly feel the loss of youthful friendship in the years devoted to building a career and/or a family. If this describes you, I’d recommend reading it at the gym, so you can pass your copy on to the woman at the next elliptical machine. It may be the start of a beautiful friendship. —Catherine Hollis

A Safeway in Arizona By Tom Zoellner Viking $26.95, 288 pages ISBN 9780670023202 Audio, eBook available


That tragedy may befall us regardless of how sensibly we conduct our lives is a reality almost too unsettling to contemplate. So we instinctively try to rationalize random catastrophes. It is this need to find a cause for every horrifying happening that gives rise to Tom Zoellner’s A Safeway in Arizona,

which examines the circumstances leading up to (although not necessarily responsible for) the January 8, 2011, massacre near Tucson that left six people dead and U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded with a bullet through her brain. Zoellner is a longtime friend of Giffords, whom he met when he was reporting for the Arizona Republic and she was beginning her first term in the Arizona House of Representatives. After leaving the newspaper, Zoellner campaigned for Giffords in her successful runs for Congress. He wonders here if there is something about his home state that inspired and enabled 22-year-old Jared Loughner to clash so violently with Giffords that chilly morning at the Safeway supermarket. Did it have something to do with Arizona’s institutionalized enthusiasm for guns, the apocalyptic rants of its politicians, its economic “starvation” of publicly funded mental health services—or could it be attributed solely to Loughner’s paranoia? While Zoellner arrives at no single and satisfying explanation of why the shooting occurred, he does provide an insider’s view of Arizona’s peculiar appeal to people eager to re-invent themselves (among them Giffords’ grandfather, a Lithuanian Jew who changed his name from Akiba Hornstein to Gif Giffords and then made a fortune selling tires). Zoellner also dwells on the tendency of Arizonans to insulate themselves from each other instead of striving to form cohesive communities. And he spotlights such disruptive, largerthan-life personalities as Joe Arpaio, the hard-nosed, publicity-seeking sheriff of Maricopa County; Tucson talk-show provocateur Jon Justice; and Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration law. (Pearce was voted out of office in a special election after this book went to press.) Compelling as his probing of the Giffords shooting is, Zoellner’s greatest service here is illuminating the darkest corners of this sun-drenched seedbed of rugged individualism. — E d w a r d M o rr i s

A signature move pays off


t would be completely understandable to discover, upon meeting John Green, that he’s tired and hoarse and must sleep with his hands elevated on the softest of pillows every night.

After all, the award-winning, bestselling author lets nary a day go by without updating his Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook and blog. And all the while, he’s writing books, too—including his latest novel for teens, The Fault in Our Stars, which goes on sale January 10. Still, Green was energetic and smooth-voiced (and, because “it’s all about keyboard positioning,” carpal tunnel syndrome-free!) when he spoke with BookPage from his home in Indianapolis, where he lives with his wife and son. This despite having recently added a significant undertaking to his daily routine: He signed his name for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for about a month. Why 400 hours of writing “John Green,” Sharpie marker in hand? “I came up with the idea to sign all the pre-orders of The Fault in Our Stars,” he says. “I kept thinking about all the kids who live in North Dakota or Guam, places I’m never going to go on tour. It seemed unfair that people who live in major metropolitan areas could get a signed book, but people who don’t, can’t.” He adds, “It became clear that the only way to do it was to sign the entire first printing, because of the nature of book warehousing—150,000 [autographs], plus an extra 2,000 in case of spoilage.” After Green announced plans for the signing last summer, pre-orders shot the novel to #1 on bookseller websites. Of course, Green posted progress videos of the signing on his website and—despite getting a bit wild-eyed, mussy-haired and tensearmed—he says, “It was sort of fun in a weird way. I got to watch lots of Ken Burns, ‘MythBusters,’ a show I didn’t even like called ‘Pawn Stars’ and listen to lots of audiobooks. In the end, it was a privilege, honestly. It felt very much like a gift given back to me by my readers.” Green’s willingness to undertake

the task is but one indication of his connection with his fans, who call themselves Nerdfighters. Other authors may have a social media platform; Green has a loving, vocal community that works toward common goals and has its own lexicon. While Green’s fan base has been growing since his first book (2005’s Looking for Alaska), the Nerdfighteria community was born during a project he started with his “It was sort brother, Hank. of fun in a During 2007, the weird way,” two communiGreen says of cated only via signing more YouTube videos. than 150,000 Their VlogBrothers YouTube books. channel now has 607,000 subscribers, and they’ve launched VidCon, an annual conference for creators and fans of online video. “I’m ultimately much more passionate about writing and books, but I really love YouTube and the community that’s built up around our videos,” Green says. One example: “We’re one of the largest groups that donate to Kiva, a microfinance website that makes loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. We’ve loaned more than $100,000 in the last six months. Books are great, but you can’t have a visceral connection to changing the world, and doing stuff that makes you feel better about being a person. It’s a different kind of work.” The Fault in Our Stars has already developed a following; at presstime, two chapters had been released online, plus video readings by the author. No spoilers here, but we can say this: Green’s trademark grace, wit and creativity have resulted in a story that will stir the Nerdfighters to even greater adoration. Sixteen-year-old Hazel Lancaster is the narrator, and the heart, of The

john green i n t e r v i e w b y L IN D A M . C A S TE L L ITT O

Fault in Our Stars. Diagnosed with incurable thyroid cancer at age 13, Hazel left school, but got her GED and now attends community college. She gets around all right, oxygen tank in tow— and dreads going to a weekly support group attended by a “rotating cast of characters in various states of tumordriven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.” Hazel’s matter-of-factness doesn’t go untempered by fear or sadness, but she and her cohorts are nothing like the saintly, heroic, very quiet sick people who populate so many books and movies. The creation of un-saintly characters was essential, Green says, to the genesis of The Fault in Our Stars. “After I graduated from college, I spent five months working in a children’s hospital. Immediately after I left, I started writing a story. . . . I was trying to write about sick kids that were like the sick kids I’d known in the hospital, not these fountains of wisdom, and not a sentimental story about poor little kids. Everything I wrote was crap. I couldn’t . . . imagine them as people outside of their illness.” All that changed when he encountered another young cancer patient. “I met Esther Earl in 2008. I never thought about her as inspiration for the story—it’s the one I’ve been waiting to write pretty much my whole career—but I wouldn’t have been able to write it if I hadn’t known her. She was so funny and thoughtful and normal. I was able to find another way into thinking about illness and lives that are shorter than they ought to be.” Esther’s was: She died of thyroid cancer in 2010, at age 16. Green dedicated the novel to her. “To be frank, I think it’s extremely difficult not to be nihilistic when faced with the reality that children die,” Green says. “That’s the real reason I couldn’t write The Fault in Our Stars until I knew Esther: I couldn’t reconcile myself to looking at it honestly, and being hopeful. [And] reading should be fun; I wanted to

© Ton Koene

children’s books

write something that was funny and evocative of life and embraced life. That was important to me.” Throughout his career, Green has been a vocal proponent of the importance of books and reading. Speaking of change in the industry, he says, “I really believe in publishers and publishing, [and that] publishers serve a tremendously important role in literature in the U.S. Even if that’s not a statement in favor of print, hopefully it’s a statement about quality. I don’t care if people use e-readers, I just want them to read books.” Green’s doing his part to keep people turning those pages, and they’re clearly responding. In fact, the Nerdfighters’ enthusiastic pre-ordering resulted in an earlier release date for The Fault in Our Stars (it was moved from May 2012 to January). Now that shows the power of the people—especially those who really, really want John Green’s autograph.

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green, Dutton, $17.99, 336 pages ISBN 9780525478812, ages 14 and up


children’s books why we broke up


Painting the breakup blues Review by Heather Seggel

It should not shock you to learn that Why We Broke Up doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s the story of a breakup, told through the items Minerva Green collected while dating Ed Slaterton, which she has boxed up to return to him. The novel is Min’s letter to Ed, with each chapter centered on one item in the box and a story about how it came to be there. Daniel Handler provides the words, and Maira Kalman’s paintings of each item introduce the chapters; the two fit together to create a perfect mood, both magical and heartbreaking. Min is a classic film-obsessed café denizen who shops at vintage stores that are only open for an hour and a half one day a week, but hates being pigeonholed as “arty” or “different.” Ed is co-captain of the basketball team and about as far from “different” as it gets, with his jocky earnest By Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman ways and string of exes. Can these two star-crossed lovers overcome their Little, Brown, $19.99, 368 pages pasts and their separate groups of friends to throw an epic birthday bash ISBN 9780316127257 Audio, eBook available, ages 15 and up for an 88-year-old stranger who may or may not be a film star from days of yore? Yeah, probably not. Handler’s prose gets inside Min’s head and jumbled hormones; when she’s ultimately betrayed we’re ready to throw the box of stuff right in Ed’s stupid face (despite still kind of liking him). And Kalman’s paintings give us not just the thing-ness of the things left behind, but some of the magic that made them worth saving. Anyone who has had a broken heart and sifted through the detritus left behind will find Min’s collection extremely relatable. If that’s not you yet, just wait; Why We Broke Up is a beautiful story, but also soul food for dark times. Don’t miss it.

The One and Only Ivan By Katherine Applegate HarperCollins $16.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780061992254 eBook available Ages 8 to 12



In Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan, the story is told by Ivan, a silverback gorilla who is the main attraction at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. Ivan doesn’t miss the jungle much, not since Mack gave him a TV and showed him how to create art inside his “habitat.” Ivan also has lots of friends—Stella, the elephant who lives next to him; Bob, the stray dog who sleeps on Ivan’s belly at night; and George, who brings his daughter Julia each night when he cleans the mall. Ivan is content— that is, until a new baby elephant is brought to the mall, and changes forever the way Ivan thinks about the cages in which they all live.

The One and Only Ivan is a simple story whose power lies in the raw, unchecked emotions that pour from Ivan, Bob, Stella and Ruby, the new baby elephant. It is both heartbreaking and uplifting to journey along with Ivan as he attempts, for the first time, to venture outside the safety of his cage. This brave, moving story is perfect for anyone who loves animals and has ever wondered what they think about life inside a cage. —kevin delecki

true brit By Rosemary Zibart Kinkajou Press $12.95, 212 pages ISBN 9781932926187 eBook available Ages 10 to 14

middle grade

When there’s no end in sight to the nightly rain of Nazi bombs

over London, 12-year-old Beatrice Sims is sent to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with public health nurse Clementine Pope. Armed with a trunk of proper dresses and a little red notebook to record her observations, Beatrice finds herself unprepared for life in the Wild West. First shocked by New Mexico’s centipedes and other creatures, Clementine’s unladylike trousers and attending school in everyday clothes—and with boys, no less— Beatrice soon finds herself in awe of the region’s vast beauty. She enjoys the freedom of expressing her own opinions and the excitement of befriending cute classmate Esteban. The girl’s (and readers’) true eyeopening experiences come when she accompanies Clementine to an impoverished Indian pueblo, where she realizes that the battle against poverty and disease is just as important as the war back home. What makes Rosemary Zibart’s True Brit most engaging is the attention to detail, from descriptions of mud homes and piñon trees to

“A-okay” American slang. Beatrice’s journal entries add more insight into her evolution from a privileged girl to the beginnings of a modern woman. The first in a series, this fresh take on the era will continue with more stories about displaced children during World War II. —Angela Leeper

cinder By Marissa Meyer Feiwel and Friends $17.99, 400 pages ISBN 9780312641894 Audio, eBook available Ages 12 and up


Just when you think that every possible approach to fairy-tale retellings has been heavily trod, along comes Marissa Meyer, who boldly sends her retelling of Cinderella into a futuristic new realm. Meyer’s Cinder is a cyborg, only 64 percent human, her other 36 percent reconstructed from robotic parts after a horrible childhood accident. She was adopted soon after, but her beloved stepfather has died from the plague that is ravaging New Beijing, and her stepmother is nowhere near as sympathetic. Now, on the eve of the ball sponsored by Prince Kai, Cinder’s beloved stepsister Peony has succumbed to the deadly disease, and Cinder herself has been conscripted as one of the cyborg guinea pigs for the scientists trying to find a cure. But Cinder’s artificial parts might be hiding a secret from her past—and perhaps also the key to her future. Meyer cleverly includes enough elements of the original Cinderella story to keep fans of fairy tales happy, but she simultaneously makes the story entirely her own, constructing a futuristic, dystopian world that is complex enough to stand on its own. The good news is that Cinder is just the first in a projected Lunar Chronicles quartet, with futuristic takes on the tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White still to come. —Norah Piehl

winter fun b y A l i c e Ca r y




y March my friends are usually ready to shoot me, because I never get tired of snow. There’s so much fun to be had, as these new picture books confirm.

PLAYGROUND BATTLES Barbara Reid’s Perfect Snow (Albert Whitman, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780807564929, ages 6 to 9) does just what its title suggests, by beautifully capturing the joyful rush of newly fallen snow. Reid’s sharply written text begins with the utter glee of kids waking up to snow, and their growing excitement as recess approaches. Reid’s unique artistic approach adds a three-dimensional quality to her illustrations that makes readers feel as though they, too, are out amid the icy drifts. She molds figures out of Plasticine, a modeling clay, and combines these creations with ink and watercolor panels. The resulting scenes are colorful and lively, such as a bird’s-eye view of a schoolyard filled with kids, and the words, “The recess bell set off a stampede. Kids swarmed the snow like ants on a dropped ice cream cone.” This playground becomes the scene of possible conflict: Jim is determined to build a “totally massive, indestructible Snow Fortress of Doom,” while Scott labors to make a team of snowmen. Happily, when Jim’s resulting “blizzard of destruction” threatens to destroy Scott’s creation, Jim deftly steps in and saves the day.

ALONG FOR THE RIDE Preschoolers will enjoy Lita Judge’s Red Sled (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781442420076, ages 2 to 5), the story of a little girl who lives in a mountain cabin and leaves her red sled out on her front porch. A curious bear approaches one night and decides to take the sled for a joy ride, and soon finds himself zooming with wild abandon down the snowy slopes. Before long

the bear is joined by a menagerie that includes a rabbit, moose, possum, porcupine and mouse. Judge deftly illustrates the fun as the animals bask in their growing speed. Her text is nearly wordless except for onomatopoeic words that parallel the animals’ adventures: “alley-oop,” “gadung gadung,” “whoa,” and finally, upon landing, “fluoomp......ft.” Parents and kids will enjoy this sweet, energy-filled tale, and will be amused to see what happens once the little girl discovers that her sled has been “borrowed.”

SAYING GOODBYE The fun always comes to an end, and Alison McGhee’s Making a Friend (Atheneum, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781416989981, ages 4 and up) addresses the inevitable cycle of falling and melting snow. A little boy carefully makes a snowman, but later wonders where his beloved friend goes after it melts. As spring arrives, the boy observes, “Look. He is in the falling water / and the rain upon the ocean.” In what becomes a gentle meditation not only on snow, but on the changing of the seasons and the cycle of life, the text repeats the message, “What you love will always be with you.” The boy enjoys summer and fall, and finally, winter returns, as does his snowman. Marc Rosenthal’s illustrations add resonance to the book’s message, managing to be wistful, meditative and yet concrete, focusing on the transforming elements of this youngster’s world. After a cold winter’s day, grab one of these books, a steaming cup of cocoa, and let it snow!

CROCODILE’S TEARS An artist with a special interest in the plight of endangered animals and their habitats, Alex Beard has written and illustrated two previous animal tales, The Jungle Grapevine and Monkey See, Monkey Draw. In his latest picture book, Crocodile’s Tears (Abrams, $17.95, 48 pages, ISBN 9781419700088), a rhinoceros and a tickbird try to solve the mystery of an unhappy croc. Beard and his family live in New Orleans.


Books-A-Million BookPage January 2012  
Books-A-Million BookPage January 2012  

book reviews, author interviews