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compliments of your library

dec. 2012

america’s book review


make the best gifts GONE GIRL The breakout hit of the year

Best of 2012 Our editors pick the year’s top 50 books

Small town christmas Susan Mallery celebrates the magic of the season

The Casual Vacancy

The Forgotten Things get personal for Army Special Agent John Puller when he must investigate his aunt’s death in Florida. But this was no accidental death and Florida is far from paradise. Grand Central $27.99 9780446573054

Low Pressure

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

Twenty years after her sister’s murder, Bellamy must unearth her hidden memories of that deadly night to clear the name of her sister’s boyfriend—and to keep the killer from striking again. Grand Central $26.99



Alex Cross just wants to be with his family for the holidays, but first he must risk everything to stop a hostage situation before it spirals out of control. Little, Brown $28.99

The Art Forger


The Black Box

Back to Blood

Razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats readers to three centuries of forgers, art thieves and obsessive collectors. It’s about the secrets that lie beneath the canvas. Algonquin $23.95

A Memory of Light

Harry Bosch faces his toughest case yet when he links the bullet from a recent crime scene to an unsolved murder from 1992, revealing the dark truth behind a woman’s death. Little, Brown $27.99

Tom Wolfe sets his newest novel in Miami’s bad-to-thebone Biscayne Bay, where a high-energy cast of characters burst to life in a panoramic story of the new America. Little, Brown $30 9780316036313


Rowling’s first novel for adults delves into an idyllic English town fraught with tension. The death of a parish council member brings the town’s carefully constructed façade crashing down. Little, Brown $35

The riveting final novel in #1 bestselling The Wheel of Time® series will bring the decades-long battle against the Shadow to its ultimate conclusion.

Tor $34.99 9780765325952


The Panther Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and FBI agent Kate Mayfield head to Yemen to track down a highranking Al Qaeda operative known as the Panther.

From the author of Still Alice In a novel about motherhood, autism and love, Lisa Genova introduces two women on the verge of change, and the young boy whose unique wisdom helps them move on.

Gallery 9781439164686





Grand Central $29.99 9781455522590

The Racketeer

The Elephant Keepers’ Children A rollicking novel featuring nutty adults, wise children, cliffhanger chases, witty asides and religious tolerance by the great Danish author of Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Other Press $27.95


The suspense never rests in the newest legal thriller from #1 New York Times best-selling author John Grisham. It’s the perfect choice for holiday gift-giving and getaways. Doubleday $28.95


Angels at the Table



Flight Behavior From beloved author Barbara Kingsolver, a suspenseful and brilliant new novel about catastrophe and denial which explores the complexities that lead us to believe in our chosen truths. Harper $28.99


Cross Roads When egotistical businessman Anthony is left comatose from a cerebral hemorrhage, he finds himself in a surreal world that leads him on a hopeful path to redemption. FaithWords $24.99


In this whimsical holiday listen, bestselling author Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, delivering laughs, love and a charming dose of angelic intervention. Random House Audio $30

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society In this heart­ warming story, a woman from Boston shakes up the status quo when she starts a literary salon in 1960s Florida. Atria $15 9781451675238

Read the books before you see the movies! Two beloved classics will be featured on the big screen this winter: In November, see Life of Pi by Yann Martel, in 3D as directed by Ang Lee. In December, see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.




The Reason

The Time Keeper


From an author who’s inspired millions worldwide comes his most imaginative novel yet—a compelling fable about the first man on Earth to count the hours, the man who became Father Time. Hyperion $24.99



A milestone debut novel, The Reason opens with a blast and never lets up as it introduces us to everyday characters who are wrestling with one question: Where is God when bad things happen? The answer will astound readers while offering an unforgettable call to hope, to change, to believe. Thomas Nelson $12.99




The Christmas Quiet Book This Christmas companion to the award winners The Quiet Book and The Loud Book celebrates peaceful moments amid the holiday bustle with trademark warmth and humor. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children $12.99


Scholastic delivers

9780545416788 $16.99

holiday happiness!

9780794533281 $18.99

9780794533274 $9.99

Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure brings the epic saga to life, while How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? and How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? make Holiday Time, Dinosaur Time! 9780545416771 $16.99


9780545176163 $36.99

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons This collection of classic and new poems celebrates every day, every season and every holiday. Sweet introductions by Julie Andrews make this the perfect family read. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers $19.99



A beautiful depiction of the traditional Christmas carol about the gifts that the animals gave to Jesus at the Nativity. Includes a CD with two songs performed by Rebecca St. James. Zonderkidz $16.99





9780794529185 $13.99

Holiday activities & festive finds

Usborne’s fantastic festive activity books have something for everyone—doodling, games, stickers, decorations and more! They offer hours of hands-on fun and Little Children’s Christmas Music Book is sure to delight younger readers. They all make great holiday gifts!

My Brave Year of Firsts

The Friendly Beasts




The highly anticipated followup to the Jesus Storybook Bible. From Jago and best-selling author Sally Lloyd-Jones, a gorgeous and innovative collection of 101 simple, yet profound, thoughts on faith. Zonderkidz $16.99

9780794533212 $12.99

The 10th picture book by #1 New York Times best-selling author Jamie Lee Curtis and #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator Laura Cornell is a celebration of first times, the key moments in kids’ lives that shape who they are. Joanna Cotler $16.99


Star Wars® Origami

Optical Illusions

What could be cooler than transforming a piece of paper into Princess Leia, Yoda or R2-D2? Star Wars® Origami marries the fun of paper folding with the obsession of Star Wars.


Workman $16.95

Lift the flaps, pull the tabs, spin the thaumatrope and be confronted with amazing optical illusions that are fun for the whole family to enjoy! DK $19.99


The LEGO® Book

My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder

Explore and celebrate the fascinating story of LEGO® bricks and the history behind them in this newly updated edition of The LEGO® Book. DK $24.99

9780756666934 LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick configuration and the Minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2012 The LEGO Group. Produced by DK Publishing under license from the LEGO Group.

This full-color illustrated field guide and activity book with a custom-designed, sky-blue window feeder is a great way to introduce kids to the joys of bird-watching! Workman $21.95


Not for Parents Extreme Planet Go on a whirlwind tour of the globe and seek out the highest, deepest, widest, narrowest, coolest, hottest, scariest things on the planet. Includes quirky graphics and illustrations, perfect for kids eight and up. Lonely Planet $19.99


Books to give to family, friends & you






In The Bulldoggers Club, the Bulldoggers fib about where they caught a monster catfish—and learn how quickly a lie can get away from a fellow. The Immortal Von B. is a tender young adult love story about a relationship that spans two centuries. And in Crimes of Redemption, Sheriff Maynard faces a dilemma when the most important man in the county turns up dead.

Recycled Robots






This irresistible book and kit shows how to make 10 different robots­—that move!—out of ordinary things from around the house. A young crafter will become an inventor, designer and engineer— all in one. Motor included. Workman $26.95 9780761154662






9781609581008 $39.95

Give the books that make girls shine!


In Letters to a New Nurse, accomplished nurses share their best advice for new or returning nurses. Letters to a New School Teacher, Vol. 2 features advice from each state’s Teacher of the Year. It’s the perfect gift for a new teacher or a veteran looking for new ideas.

We have exactly what’s on her wish list—adventurous stories, doll-themed crafts, cute pets and more. Your favorite girl’s holiday is sure to sparkle with inspiring books!

The RoadRunner Press




Splendors and Glooms “Few books can be called both delightful and eerie—this novel is one. Utterly transporting.” ­—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal winner 9780763653804

“As mysterious and timeless as a fairy tale.” —Booklist (starred review) Candlewick $17.99


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

In the final battle between good and evil, a new hero emerges. The thrilling conclusion to the Giver quartet, from two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry.

Love is in the air— but what does that mean for Greg Heffley? Amulet $13.95



Houghton Mifflin Books for Children $17.99

Charles Sullivan is your average 15-year-old—until an unexpected encounter forces him to make some big decisions. Can a poor city kid change the world for the better? Whitman Publishing $16.95


9780794836191 9780753468746 9780753468487



An inventive, interactive picture book that will be embraced by kids who need glasses and even kids who don’t. They’ll learn from Arlo that wearing glasses is a lot of fun! Workman $15.95

Endless interactive discovery for all ages! Interact with pop-up pairs of opposite words, magically unfold the entire history of space travel, get out of tricky situations with a handy survival guide, visit with baby animals in their natural habitats, and satisfy the youngest of minds leaving no question unanswered.


9780753466247 9780753466544 $19.99


Jack and the Beanstalk 9781402784330 Hansel and Gretel 9781402783357 The Elves and the Shoemaker 9781402783340 Rapunzel 9781402783388 Puss in Boots 9781402784354 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 9781402783425 The Three Little Pigs 9781402784347 The Ugly Duckling 9781402784378

Arlo Needs Glasses

The Corporate Kid


Lavishly illustrated and lovingly retold, the Silver Penny Stories will find a cherished place in any collection. These tales have captured the imaginations and hearts of generations, and parents and children will enjoy reading them together over and over. They make the ideal gift set.

$3.95 each

© 2012 Wimpy Kid, Inc.


The classics in a new series





Lincoln’s Last Days


A gripping account of one of the most dramatic nights in American history, this book will have young readers—and grownups, too—hooked on history. Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s bestseller for adults, Killing Lincoln. Henry Holt and Company $19.99

The Kill Order From New York Times best-selling author James Dashner comes the prequel to the extraordinary Maze Runner series! Delacorte Books for Young Readers $17.99 9780385742887



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Fans of the greatest reindeer of all will have a double helping of Christmas fun with this collection, which includes the title story plus Rudolph Shines Again. AudioGo $9.95




The Diviners

Mystic City

Meet Evie O’Neill, a glamorous flapper girl in love with the bustle of New York City. When a girl is murdered, Evie’s secret power is the key to catching the killer. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers $19.99

Mystic City is full of forbidden passion, deep betrayals and dazzling magic! Aria Rose has gaps in her memory, but as she discovers the dark secrets causing this problem, she risks losing her one true love forever. Delacorte Books for Young Readers $17.99


The Fire Chronicle This highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Emerald Atlas includes even more adventure and thrills. A captivating listening experience for the entire family! Listening Library $37


The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive


Carnival of Souls

Listening Library Audiobooks = GIFTS Regardless of age or interest, audiobooks are the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

9780061659287 9780307746665






The ultimate gift for Twilight fans shares filmmaking secrets, never-before-seen candid photographs and exclusive tidbits from the stars themselves. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers $39.99

Bestseller Melissa Marr introduces a new world of danger and decadence as three teens are caught up in a deadly struggle for power in the exotic and otherworldly Carnival of Souls. HarperCollins $17.99



Listening Library






The weather outside is frightful, ThE BONE BED



A NOvEl Of ThE fAllEN ANgElS

The new Kay Scarpetta novel from the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.

Brand new in J. R. Ward’s #1 New York Times bestselling Fallen Angels series. Matthias’s soul is on the line...and so is Mels’s heart. Can their passion for each other overcome the evil that surrounds them?

Patricia Cornwell

PutNAm HArdcover 978-0-399-15756-1 $28.95/$31.00 cAN. ✱

J. R. Ward

New AmericAN LibrAry HArdcover 978-0-451-23801-6 $27.95/$29.50 cAN. ✱


A gripping new thriller from #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay. “The book is riveting, frequently scary, occasionally funny, and surprisingly, wonderfully tender.” —Stephen King New AmericAN LibrAry HArdcover 978-0-451-23790-3 $25.95/Ncr ✱

Patricia Briggs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’ werewolf novels come vividly to life in this collection of four comics based on Cry Wolf, the first book in the series. iNkLit HArdcover 978-0-441-01848-2 $24.95/$26.50 cAN.


Jennifer Chiaverini


Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Dirk Pitt returns in the thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author. PutNAm HArcover 978-0-399-16292-3 $28.95/$31.00 cAN. ✱

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s artful, inspiring novel imagines what good would come from practicing the holiday spirit each and every day of the year. duttoN HArdcover 978-0-525-95360-9 $26.95/$28.50 cAN. ✱

ThE TRUTh ABOUT STYlE Stacy London

Like the women she’s transformed, Stacy London has plenty of emotional baggage. The beloved co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear examines the universal obstacles all women—including herself— put in their way.


Daniel Klein

The witty and philosophical Daniel Klein returns with Epicurean enlightenment on growing old, compiled from his trenchant observations of the ancient Greek philosopher’s writing and of living septuagenarians and octogenarians in Greece. PeNGuiN books trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-14-312193-0 $20.00/$21.00 cAN. ✱

vikiNG HArdcover 978-0-670-02623-4 $32.95/$35.00 cAN. ✱


Simon Garfield

The bestselling, hugely entertaining, and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you? GotHAm books trAde PAPerbAck 978-1-592-40746-0 $16.00/$17.00 cAN. ✱


Stephanie McAfee

A brand-new Southern-fried adventure starring the sassy Ace Jones, from the New York Times bestselling author of Diary of a Mad Fat Girl. New AmericAN LibrAry trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-451-23805-4 $15.00/$16.00 cAN. ✱


Leonard Maltin

How ever to choose what to watch? Leonard Maltin is here to help, recommending the best movies for a first date, a cozy night in, or just a rainy day. PLume trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-452-29854-5 $22.00/$23.00 cAN. ✱

but these books are so delightful! ThE PERfECT hOPE




From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes the final novel of the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy, the story of three brothers bringing an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown—and finding love along the way.

Master storyteller Ken Follett’s brilliant new epic novel follows five linked families as they live out their destinies amid the tyranny and war of the mid-twentieth century.

Nora Roberts

Ken Follett

duttoN HArdcover/978-0-525-95292-3 $36.00/$38.00 cAN. ✱

berkLey trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-425-24604-7 $16.00/$17.00 cAN. ✱


Philip Greene


A bartender’s manual for Ernest Hemingway enthusiasts, this volume offers a unique take on Hemingway’s oeuvre that explores the tastes, smells, and colors of the cocktails he enjoyed and the drinks he placed so prominently in his stories.


Katie Quinn Davies

Renowned food photographer and blogger shares her favorite simple recipes, captured in sumptuous pictures.

PeriGee HArdcover 978-0-399-53764-6 $24.00/$25.00 cAN. ✱

vikiNG studio HArdcover 978-0-670-02618-0 $40.00/$42.00 cAN. ✱

DREAM MORE Dolly Parton

The legendary Dolly Parton shares for the first time her deeply held philosophy of life and her heartfelt hopes for everyone.


PutNAm HArdcover 978-0-399-16248-0 $19.95/$21.00 cAN. ✱

Scott Schuman

After the enormous success of The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman is back with The Sartorialist: Closer, a completely new collection of beautiful images of the well-dressed men and women who have caught his attention.


PeNGuiN books trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-14-312318-7 ANd 978-0-14-312321-7 $30.00/$31.50 cAN.

Sal Lizard with Jonathan Lane

A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic. GotHAm books HArdcover 978-1-592-40756-9 $20.00/$21.00 cAN. ✱


A brand-new edition of the beloved bestseller, now with 32 new pages! This illustrated book features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake- and messmaking abilities to fill the pages of the book (or destroy them).


RJ Smith

The definitive biography of the Godfather of Soul reveals James Brown’s life as a Civil Rights activist, an entrepreneur, and the most innovative musician of our time.

PeriGee trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-399-16194-0 $15.00/$16.00 cAN.

GotHAm books trAde PAPerbAck 978-1-592-40742-2 $18.00/$19.00 cAN. ✱



Jeffrey Zaslow

In The Girls from Ames, Jeffrey Zaslow used friendships to tap into the emotional lives of women. In The Magic Room, he turn his perceptive eye to weddings.

Ken Foster

Filled with inspiring stories and photographs, this heartfelt tribute to the pit bull celebrates one of America’s most popular yet misunderstood dogs.

GotHAm books trAde PAPerbAck 978-1-592-40741-5 $16.00/$17.00 cAN. ✱



PeNGuiN GrouP (usA) comPANies

vikiNG studio trAde PAPerbAck 978-0-670-02620-3 $17.50/$18.50 cAN. ✱

Bouchon Bakery In this dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, you’ll find recipes from the famed Bouchon Bakery, from Thomas Keller’s takes on childhood favorites like Oreos and chocolate chip cookies to all the French classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris: baguettes, macarons, mille-feuilles and eclairs.






You don’t have to be a professional chef to make a gorgeous, delicious meal. Learn how to become the MasterChef of your own kitchen! Rodale $26.99

One Dish at a Time offers an intimate look into Valerie Bertinelli’s kitchen, where she shares her favorite recipes, each one rooted in a deeply personal food memory. Rodale $30


The Layered Garden

Whiskey Opus

Food Lover’s Guide to the World Take a global food journey with recipes from more than 20 culinary regions and countries. Includes introductions from Saveur magazine’s James Oseland and the New York Times magazine’s Mark Bittman. Lonely Planet $39.99

One Dish at a Time

MasterChef: The Ultimate Cookbook

Frontera For years, fans have urged Rick Bayless to collect recipes for his prized margaritas, guacamoles and snacks in one book. Finally— here it is! Norton $24.95



Providing whiskey lovers everything they need to know to fully appreciate their favorite spirit, this book covers a range of distilleries with detailed tasting notes and tips for recognizing and appreciating each one. DK $40

David Culp has spent the last 20 years creating a majestic, yearround display at his beloved two-acre garden, Brandywine Cottage. Readers can bring the beauty home. Timber Press $34.95


Spend Christmas with Southern Living Christmas with Southern Living 2012 and Southern Living 2012 Annual Recipes offer inspiration for the holiday season. Pair these staples with Southern Living Home Cooking Basics (the ultimate kitchen companion) and Around the Southern Table (treasured meals and memories) for great holiday gifts.

Southern Living PAGE 10



9780848736545 $29.95

9780848736552 $34.95





The End of Your Life Book Club


The inspiring true story of a son and his mother who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. A profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life. Knopf $25


The hilarious host of “The Colbert Report” takes on hot-button subjects such as healthcare, the economy and food to help make our perfect America even perfect-er. Grand Central $28.99

Dancers Among Us



Readers encounter eight wild animals that come alive! Using an innovative lenticular-based technology, each image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid, immersive visual experience. 9780761163800



The Chronicles of Downton Abbey

Tracing the evolution of fashion—from ancient times to the catwalk couture of today—this illustrated guide looks at 3,000 years of shifting trends and innovative designs. DK $50

Produced in association with the Smithsonian

Every script, every episode of the innovative, hilarious and absurd Monty Python’s Flying Circus is included here, plus behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, photographs, drawings and Terry Gilliam’s iconic artwork. Black Dog & Leventhal $50

SAFARI is a magical journey

Celebrate life through stunning photographs of professional dancers in everyday situations. No photoshopping, no tricks. Just a photographer and the serendipity of what happens when the shutter clicks. Workman $17.95



Monty Python’s Flying Circus

America Again


James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters

The official inside story of the history, characters and behind-thescenes drama of Season 3, when Downton Abbey enters the exciting world of the 1920s. St. Martin’s Press $29.99

9780756698379 007 (Gun Logo) and related James Bond Trademarks © 1962-2012 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved. 007 (Gun Logo) and related James Bond Trademarks are trademarks of Danjaq, LLC, licensed by EON Productions Limited.

Featuring a gallery of rare and sought-after posters, as well as spectacular unused concept artwork, this gorgeous collection of images defines cinema’s most famous superspy. DK $50

9780756698386 $50

9780756698416 $50



Military History covers the iconic weapons, armor, equipment and battles that have defined war through the ages. Modern History in Pictures offers unique insight into the century that has so keenly shaped our own modern world. Universe is a must-have for both students and astronomy enthusiasts.






Acclaimed writer Benjamin Anastas’s searing, utterly moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity, and the first, cautious steps taken towards piecing a life back together. “The failure is real, the voice is raw, the story is haunting.” —Jonathan Franzen

3995 054791






“Marshall’s matter-of-fact memoir is a must-read for one reason: IT’S HILAROUS.” ­—Marie Claire


The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life builds upon Timothy Ferriss’s internationally successful 4-Hour series by transforming the way we cook, eat and—most important—learn.


From her humble roots in the Bronx to Laverne & Shirley and her unlikely ascent in Hollywood, the beloved actor and director tells the story of her incredible life— she’s in a league of her own!


627 $26

This British debut novel is brilliant, comically surreal entertainment about a housesitting gig gone terribly, hilariously wrong. “A strikingly original debut.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


564 $24





Give the gift of music Treasures of the Who takes you along with the band as they conquered the world, with removable memorabilia throughout the hardcover book. The memorabilia level gets even higher with Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book. It includes examples of handwritten lyrics, as well as rare photos of Jimi to accompany every song. 


Hal Leonard


The Last Headbangers

The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax


Lomax’s camera was a constant companion, and his images of both legendary and anonymous folk musicians complement his famous field recordings. Norton $35

The inside story of the most colorful decade in NFL history—pro football’s raging, hormonal, hairy, druggy, immortal adolescence. Norton $26.95 9780393080162

The Last Lion


Discover the steadfast courage and military brilliance of Winston Churchill during his years as Prime Minister, when he alone faced the threat of Nazi Germany and vowed to “never surrender.” Little, Brown $40

Our Sarah: Made in Alaska




A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy

Sarah Palin’s dad and brother— along with contributions from friends and colleagues—share intimate stories of Sarah’s life in frontier Alaska outside the political arena. Center Street $24.99

In the follow-up to mega-best-selling Killing Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly, anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor,” recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president, but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

Henry Holt and Company

The John Lennon Letters

The Rolling Stones 50 Curated, introduced and narrated by the band themselves, The Rolling Stones 50 is the only officially authorized book to celebrate their 50th anniversary, with many rare, unseen materials from the band’s history. Hyperion $60



A lifetime of letters from one of the greatest songwriters the world has ever known are collected for the first time, revealing an unknown, intimate side of John Lennon. Little, Brown $29.99






9780849946158 $16.99

The Beginner’s Bible SuperDuper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book

The Beginner’s Bible SuperDuper Mighty Jumbo Activity Book This fabulous activity book provides children with mazes, dot-todots, word puzzles and more, using beloved characters and stories from The Beginner’s Bible. Zonderkidz $5.99


Children can bring Bible characters to life in this 384-page coloring book, depicting favorite stories and characters from The Beginner’s Bible. Faith and fun for kids! Zonderkidz $5.99



The hope of heaven Heaven Changes Everything, the follow-up to the international bestseller Heaven Is for Real, guides readers through a 50-day devotional. Along with Heaven Is for Real for Kids, these books offer to keep the hope of heaven in your life­—heaven truly is real and it changes everything!

Thomas Nelson


Celebrate the season!



9781609260309 $29.99





From inspiring true stories and faith-filled fiction to seasonal books and a brandnew children’s Bible, we’ve got the perfect gifts for the holidays.

Abingdon Press















Best-selling women’s author and conference speaker Angie Smith gets to the heart of beauty in brokenness; the cracks that show in our lives don’t stop us from making a difference and magnifying God. B&H $14.99

Written by internationally regarded Tolkien scholar Devin Brown, this approachable, witty and highly entertaining book will spark fresh perspectives for fans of The Hobbit. Abingdon Press $14.99


Lead Me, Holy Spirit

And Then Came the Angels

The Holy Spirit wants those who know Him to hear when He speaks to their heart, soul and spirit. He wants believers to enter into the relationship with God they yearn for, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to them.

College freshman Richard “Gip” Gayle, shot in the head in a hunting accident, wasn’t expected to survive. His dramatic real-life story will renew your faith in humanity—and miracles.

Harvest House $14.99

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

The Christian World of The Hobbit

When best-selling skeptic Rhoda Janzen starts dating a churchgoer, she begins a surprising journey of faith and love as she explores organized religion outside her Mennonite upbringing.

Grand Central $24.99


Jesus is calling . . . are you listening?

Whitman Publishing $19.95





Three great books to give Gift-giving can be tough, but we make it easier. These books, offering everything from a compelling life story to parenting advice, will satisfy every reader on your list.






$17.99 9780800721220 $13.99





Following her success with Jesus Calling, beloved missionary Sarah Young shares another spiritual journey in Jesus Today. Supplement your own journey with the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. Children can also grow in grace with a 365-day devotional and the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook.

Thomas Nelson




Grace There’s more to grace than we have ever imagined. New York Times best-selling author Max Lucado encourages readers not only to receive grace but be changed by grace, shaped by grace, strengthened by grace. Max challenges readers to explore not only what grace is, but what it does.


Thomas Nelson $24.99


Red Letter Revolution Walk with bestselling authors Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo to find out if Jesus really meant what He said. In this project, the authors mine the words of Jesus—the “red letters” of scripture— and ask . . . What if we lived out the stuff He said? Thomas Nelson $22.99





In this powerfully simple new book, Francis Chan challenges readers to rethink what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Multiply is designed to help you think through your role as a disciple maker, and to give you a simple resource that you can use to begin making disciples. David C. Cook $14.99

Daily Readings from Every Day a Friday

I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life

Learn to enjoy every day of the week— not just Friday— with these 90 devotionals based on the #1 New York Times bestseller Every Day a Friday. FaithWords $19.99

The nationally beloved pastor encourages readers to declare one blessing each day for a month. The 31 Scripture blessings range from health and family to finances and decision-making. FaithWords $21.99






Draw close this Christmas Draw close and hear Abba Father’s heart and spend time in His presence. Challenge yourself and begin an exciting new journey with God while exploring Cindy Trimm’s 40 Day Soul Fast and T.D Jakes’ classic, Woman, Thou Art Loosed! $15.99










Destiny Image

More inspiration from The Shack Readers who loved The Shack will find even more encouragement in Wm. Paul Young’s 365-day devotional and in C. Baxter Kruger’s deeper look into Young’s powerful book.





Live on common ground








Take a fresh look at the Bible while experiencing a new translation. The Common English Bible combines a commitment to both accuracy and readability. The result is a new version of the Bible the typical reader is able to understand with ease. Available in a variety of formats for all audiences.

Common English Bible

9781609260149 $24.95







The Daily Bible


The much-loved Daily Bible (more than a million copies sold) is arranged chronologically into 365 daily readings. Devotional commentary provides helpful historical and spiritual insights. Also available in a hardcover edition. Harvest House $24.99

KJV Study Bible


This remarkably in-depth Bible has 15,000 study notes with photos and maps. The beloved KJV is paired with the innovative design and reader helps of the ECPA Christian Book Award-winning HCSB Study Bible. B&H $49.99

Enjoy these Bibles­— perfect gifts for all ages! The Bible comes alive in two dynamic editions. The Gaither Homecoming Bible includes insightful devotions, gospel songs and poetry from Bill and Gloria Gaither. The Voice Bible recaptures the passion and beauty of Scripture that is too often lost in translation.

Thomas Nelson







The New York Times bestseller that America is talking about and the long-anticipated Spiritual Warfare Bible Could God be sending America a warning? Find out in the New York Times bestseller The Harbinger, a book that blends biblical prophecy, historical events and an actionpacked story that you won’t want to put down. Prepare yourself for all your spiritual battles and confront demonic strongholds with The Spiritual Warfare Bible and these inspirational books on prayer, fasting and spiritual warfare.

Charisma House




paperback picks PENGUIN.COM

City of Exiles

The First Prophet

The Friday Night Knitting Club

Heart of Atlantis

A notorious gun runner has been murdered at his home in London. When a second victim is found under identical circumstances, the ensuing chase plunges FBI agent Rachel Wolfe and her colleagues into a breathless race across Europe, a secret war between two ruthless intelligence factions, and a hunt for a remorseless killer with a deadly appointment in Helsinki.

A team of FBI psychics whose powers cannot be denied are feared by a cabal of conspirators who hope to blind the psychics to the evils all around them. Months ago Sarah Gallagher woke from a coma with psychic abilities she couldn’t control. They changed her life and cost her the man she loved. And now, someone is playing games with Sarah’s mind.

Happy to escape the demands of her life, Georgia looks forward to her Friday Night Knitting Club, where she and her friends exchange knitting tips, jokes, and their deepest secrets. But when the man who once broke her heart suddenly shows up, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, Georgia’s world is shattered.

Alaric has made a vow to Quinn, the woman he loves and the leader of the Resistance: to save her friend Jack before his last bit of humanity has been drained. Should Alaric succeed, there’s one intimate danger: he may lose Quinn to the love of the man whose life he saved. But he’s willing to put Quinn’s wishes first, regardless of the consequences.

9780451238788 • $9.99

9780515152883 • $9.99

9780425265260 • $7.99

9780425245774 • $7.99


Sweet Surrender

Time of Death

Unnatural Acts

Jamys Durand has survived being made an immortal Darkyn, horrific torture, and years of grueling warrior training. But he has no future to offer Chris, the mortal woman he loves, without his own territory. When he learns of a lost Templar treasure, Jamys vows to possess it and win his lady’s heart.

Dallas cop Gray Montgomery wants only to find the guy who killed his partner and bring him to justice. What he’s found so far is a link between the killer and Faith—and if Gray has to get close to her to catch his man, all the better. She’s everything Gray desires in a woman, but he suspects she’s playing games.

J. D. Robb’s In Death novels have been praised as “Law & Order: SVU—in the future” (Entertainment Weekly). Now, together in one volume are three stories that spotlight Lieutenant Eve Dallas doing what she does best: solving crime with skill, integrity, and passion.

A hedge fund billionaire hires Stone Barrington to talk some sense into his wayward son. But as Stone and his erstwhile protégé, Herbie Fisher, probe deeper into the case—and an old one comes back to haunt him—he realizes that even he may have underestimated just how far some people will go to cover up their crimes—and commit new ones.

9780425259214 • $7.99

9780515152807 • $7.99

9780451238771 • $9.99

9780451238795 • $7.99

Molly Caldwell Crosby once again brings forgotten history to vivid life in an absorbing account of crime and deduction in the early days of the twentieth century… In the summer of 1913, under the cover of London’s perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds are pitted against each other—a celebrated gentleman thief and a talented Scotland Yard detective—in the greatest jewel heist of the new century. An exquisite strand of pale pink pearls, worth more than the Hope Diamond, has been bought by a Hatton Garden broker. Word of the “Mona Lisa of Pearls” spreads around the world, captivating jewelers as well as thieves. In transit to London from Paris, the necklace vanishes without a trace. In the spirit of The Great Train Robbery and the tales of Sherlock Holmes, this is the true story of a psychological cat-and-mouse game set against the backdrop of London’s golden Edwardian era. Thoroughly researched, compellingly colorful, The Great Pearl Heist is a gripping narrative account of this little-known, yet extraordinary crime. BERKLEY

A Penguin Group (USA) Company

9780425252802 • $25.95


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




holiday catalog

From thrilling and inspirational reads to cozy cookbooks and family stories, the gift ideas in this special section will help you give more joy this season!

Meet the author of A Fool’s Gold Christmas

28 BEST BOOKS OF 2012 BookPage editors’ top 50 books

29 Gillian Flynn

Holiday catalog art ©

Gone Girl is the Breakout Book of the Year

30 Jacob Tomsky

The hilarious, grim truth about your hotel room

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33 for Guys

• BookPageXTRA • Top 10 • Book of the Day • Children’s Corner

34 Literary

31 Richard Russo Sorting out unfinished family business

32 Christmas Fiction Stories that capture the spirit of the season

32 Christmas Nonfiction True tales of holiday cheer

44 Holiday Picture books Create new reading traditions

36 Inspiration

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36 Christianity 37 Home Design 38 Music 39 Art & Photography







40 nature 41 Pets

47 Renata Liwska Meet the illustrator of The Christmas Quiet Book

46 For Children


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42 Fiction top pick:

The Heat of the Sun by David Rain

also reviewed:

A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto

43 NonFiction top pick:

Brothers by George Howe Colt

also reviewed:

The Last Lion by William Manchester and Paul Reid Empress of Fashion by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart

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THE author enabler

by sukey howard

by Sam Barry

THE SOUNDS OF GREAT GIFTS Wild (Random House Audio, $40, 13 hours, ISBN 9780307970299), Cheryl Strayed’s vibrant, boldly honest, best-selling memoir, grabs you from the very first lines, and you’ll get to know her before, during and after her intense, difficult, soul-saving hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed started this wilderness trek to take herself out of her own wilderness, out of being as “low and mixed-up” as she had ever been, out of her overwhelming grief for her mother’s untimely death and the nagging sorrow of her failed marriage. It’s a breathtaking, mesmerizing adventure, so well told that you feel her blisters and bruises, her trials on the trail and her hardwon realization of who she is and who she’ll be. Narrator Bernadette Dunne does a great job, capturing every emotional nuance, every step of the way.


On February 14, 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death for writing The Satanic Verses. It plunged Rushdie into 12 years of living a strange, strained, sequestered life under an assumed name, where the covert became the ordinary and the ordinary vanished. What it felt like, how he survived and how he maintained any semblance of his old self is superbly unfolded in Joseph Anton (Random House Audio, $60, 27 hours, ISBN 9780449807811) and superbly read by Sam Dastor. It’s a brilliant memoir, written in affecting, but unaffected, prose, detailing his daily anxieties, daily triumphs, friends (and wives) who helped, friends (and wives) who disappointed. It’s a long tale, but uniquely fascinating. The Iraq war with its physical and psychological horrors becomes brutally immediate and intensely

close in Kevin Powers’ powerful debut novel, The Yellow Birds (Hachette Audio, $26.98, 5.5 hours, ISBN 9781619690325). His language is extraordinary, his images and insights searing as he witnesses young soldiers losing limbs, life, humanity and their moral compass. The fog of war isn’t lifted, the confusion of homecoming is still painful, but, seeing it all through Powers’ prism, we can begin to understand these “boys” and the effect of the incomprehensible violence they experienced just a little bit better. Compellingly read by Holter Graham.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO When you read Junot Díaz, you fall straight into the desire-drenched machismo of Díazlandia—that fabulous fusion of New York, New Jersey and Santo Domingo—and are bowled over by his brilliant torrent of inyour-face prose, spiced with the sounds of the barrio. And when Díaz narrates, as he does here for his new short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her, the effect is even stronger. He gives his main character, the swaggering, stumbling, very Díaz-like Yunior, not just voice but life as he lusts, loves, cheats on his girlfriends, suffers the consequences over and over and brings all his baggage along as he moves from the ’hood to the ivory tower.


Penguin Audio $29.95, 5 hours ISBN 9781611761108

short stories

Practical advice on writing & publishing for aspiring authors

ALL IN THE FAMILY Dear Author Enabler, For about six years I have been writing children’s stories that were only for the benefit of my son, who is now 8 years old. I would like to publish them and share them with other children. I am wondering how I should go about doing that. Can you please help me? Janny Gédéon Jamaica, New York It’s wonderful that you created these books for your son, but selling them is a different process from the creative act. You will want to get a literary agent, and before you get an agent or sell directly to a publisher, you need to select the strongest example of your work. You will require some help making that decision, and I suggest you get it by joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ( This nonprofit group offers conferences, information and support. Become involved and seek guidance about what work to shop and where and how to shop it.

LONG STORY SHORT Dear Author Enabler, I have just completed a 4,200word children’s short story. What is the market for these types of stories— not really picture books or chapter books—and how good is the market? Are they also suitable for literature books for short stories in classrooms? Also, does a writer have to write the query letter to an agent? Laura Ohio, Illinois Congratulations on finishing your story—not everyone is able to accomplish the first, important goal of completing a manuscript. When it comes to selling your book to an agent or publisher, you are better off settling on a category than saying your book is something in between. Based on your brief description, I’d call it a short chapter book, meaning it’s aimed at 6- to

8-year-olds. My understanding is that the market for these books is lukewarm right now, but you shouldn’t take my word for it; you’re better off talking to an agent who knows the children’s book market well. As for the classroom question, don’t get ahead of yourself—you need to sell the book first. This brings me to your last question, which is really the most important one. Yes, you should try to get an agent by writing a wellcrafted query letter. Be sure to pay attention to each agent’s submission guidelines, which should be listed on their website.

TRIAL AND ERROR Dear Author Enabler, I am currently working on a novel and frequently encounter a problem where it takes me a great deal of time to produce a small amount of writing. As a result, I view my work sessions as drudgery. To deal with this, I sometimes simply force myself to write whatever comes to mind, just to get some words on the page and quicken the pace of production. On the other hand, this approach can result in proportionately more rework than if I take my time and find Flaubert’s “mot juste.” So, my question is: To which side of this conundrum should I lean? Michael Mackey Chicago, Illinois It’s just one writer’s opinion, but I think you should continue producing work every time you write, even if some of it is of lesser quality. I have no doubt that there are authors who get in a zone and produce beautiful prose right off the bat, but most of my time is spent improving my work via rewrite and edits, and I think that is true for the majority of writers. I’d also suggest you join or form a writing group; writing for other thoughtful readers might help to inspire your best work. Send your questions about writing to

well read

Storytelling magic from the beloved author of

by robert Weibezahl

The House on Mango Street

A multifaceted look at Madeleine L’Engle The family, which came to include three children, divided its time between a (by all accounts) monumentally large Upper West Side apartment and a house in Goshen, Connecticut. Madeleine became deeply immersed in theology, an active member of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and a spiritual advisor to many. Her religious beliefs would seep into much of what she wrote, but so, too, would her fascination with science and mathematics. She also became an ardent activist for other writers and their rights, a foe of censorship and a well-traveled speaker. The portrait one gets from Listening for Madeleine is largely favorable, but happily this is no hagiography. We see a woman more nurturing with other children than her own, a compulsive writer who needed the strong hand of an editor (and was usually, if not always, willing to accept sage editorial advice), a generous spirit who nonetheless could hold a grudge (particularly toward the many editors who rejected A Wrinkle in Time). The most striking fault, perhaps, was that this great fabulist of the page was also a seasoned fabulist in her own life, reinventing the truth and covering over the darker realities of her childhood, marriage and motherhood. The content of these interviews is repetitive at times, which does serve to verify certain truths, but overall Listening to Madeleine provides a satisfying trip deep into the life of a grandly original writer.

Listening for Madeleine By Leonard S. Marcus

FSG $28, 384 pages ISBN 9780374298975 eBook available


A deeply moving, richly illustrated fable for grown-ups about a woman’s search for a cat that goes missing in the wake of her mother’s death.

“A gently soul-stirring meditation on the universality of grief, and the healing power of community and nature.” —SEATTLE TIMES Illustrations by Ester Hernández

Refracting a person’s life through the subjective lenses of family, friends and colleagues is an inspired form of biography. Leonard S. Marcus uses this multifaceted approach in Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices, a collection of some 50 interviews he conducted with people who knew the iconic writer. Published as the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of A Wrinkle in Time—winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal—Marcus’ fascinating portrait of the artist as a complex woman clarifies some of the myths and half-truths surrounding this beloved, larger-than-life writer. From these interviews, which vary greatly in length and include the observations of both intimates and those who knew her casually, we come to see that L’Engle was an amalgam of seeming contradictions: generous and prickly, intellectual and religious, extroverted and private. She began her adult life as an actress, and she drew on an innate theatricality in shaping her public persona: the confident doyenne of children’s literature. But, as is usually the case, the truth is more complicated and more interesting. The only child in a genteel family (Marcus aptly describes her as a “poor-little-not-quite-rich-girl”), young Madeleine spent her childhood in New York City, Europe and the South, shuffled about by her parents’ wanderlust. Her father was a sometime journalist and mystery writer, her mother a classically trained pianist. Madeleine was often sent away (unhappily) to school— one story mentioned more than once in the book concerns a time in Europe when Madeleine’s parents told her they were going for a ride and then dumped her without warning at a Swiss boarding school—or fobbed off on relatives in Jacksonville. She went on to Smith, then to New York to try her hand at acting. There she met her husband, the actor Hugh Franklin, and eventually turned her focus to writing.


“Lasting nourishment…This book will surely be pressed into many hands.” —SAN FR ANCISCO CHRONICLE

“A fable for grown-ups… unique and colorful.” —CNN KNOPF



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by Bruce Tierney

A mystery within a mystery There is little I can say to add to the legend that is Ruth Rendell: today’s doyenne of the mystery novel in the British Isles, check; multiple Edgar Award winner, check; spiritual heir to Dame Agatha Christie, check. The Child’s Child (Scribner, $26, 320 pages, ISBN 9781451694895), Rendell’s new work, written under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, spins the unsettling tale of a pair of adult sibs—a brother and sister—who jointly inherit a stately London manor. As the two have always gotten on well, they decide to move in together. At first, all goes swimmingly. Then Andrew brings home a new boyfriend, the arrogant and much too handsome James Derain, with disastrous consequences. Concurrently, in a clever novel-withina-novel twist, sister Grace becomes entranced with an unpublished novel from 1951. Its protagonists, a gay man and an unwed mother, seem to foreshadow the lives of Andrew and Grace to an uncanny degree. That Vine brilliantly carries off this intricate construction is a given, but she deserves special mention for her insightful portrayal of society versus its taboos, both in 1951 and 60 years hence.




Oslo’s Inspector Gunnarstranda could best be described as “unprepossessing.” Late 50s, barely 5-foot-2, sporting a threadbare suit and a wispy comb-over atop a shiny pate—you get the picture. But like his disheveled American analog, Lt. Columbo, Inspector Gunnarstranda is not a man to be trifled with. In K.O. Dahl’s latest thriller to be released stateside, Lethal Investments (Minotaur, $26.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9780312375720), the rumpled cop investigates the murder of a beautiful young woman who was stabbed to death in her own apartment scant moments after a late-night tryst. There is no dearth of suspects: the sensual fellow she picked up in a

bar earlier that evening; the jilted ex-lover filled with rage; the elderly voyeur who eyed her every move through binoculars from his vantage point across the street. Trouble is, the suspects start turning up dead, sending Gunnarstranda and his team back to the starting block again and again. I’ll just say: You are better at solving mysteries than I am if you can guess the perpetrator before Dahl is ready to identify the guilty party!

SMALL-TOWN SUSPENSE There is a homespun sweetness about Margaret Maron’s Deborah

Knott mysteries—but this quality doesn’t detract from the edginess of the Southern-inflected books upon which Maron has built a successful career. I offer this as a compliment, not a criticism, because Maron maintains a difficult balancing act achieved by few authors; Alexander McCall Smith and Peter Mayle jump to mind. In The Buzzard Table (Grand Central, $25.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9780446555821), the latest installment of the popular series—18 and counting!—an eccentric English ornithologist takes up residence in sleepy Colleton County, North Carolina, where Knott is a judge. He is ostensibly gathering data on turkey vultures and supplementing it with expertly rendered photographs. However, some of his copious photos appear to depict the strange goings-on at the local airport, a rumored CIA rendition center where suspected terrorists are shipped out to countries less scrupulous about the use of torture than the United States is supposed to be. Then the suspicious deaths start taking place . . . and I guarantee that any thought you might have had about Colleton

County being a modern-day Mayberry will get blown away like a leaf in the wind.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY For a homicide detective with the case-clearance rate of Harry Bosch, an unsolved crime is bound to stick in his craw, particularly when the victim is a heroic and beautiful journalist cut down in her prime. The case dates from 1992, when the riots following the Rodney King verdicts reverberated like an earthquake through South Central Los Angeles. The LAPD was stretched thin, and Bosch was unable to devote much time or energy to the homicide, which was generally considered to be just one more riot-related killing. Now, 20 years later, Bosch gets a second bite at the apple as a coldcase detective in Michael Connelly’s gripping new thriller, The Black Box. It is no easy feat investigating a 20-year-old crime: Witnesses have moved away or died; chains of evidence have been broken past repair. Nonetheless, Bosch is able to unearth some coincidences that seem a little too pat to be plausible, and he begins picking at threads. There are powerful forces hard at work to thwart Bosch, some of them from within his own department—a fact that seems only too clear when he finds himself crouched in a barn, handcuffed to a pillar, waiting to die. The Bosch books just keep getting better and better—they are cleverly plotted, swiftly paced and populated with characters both valiant and flawed. Not to be missed!

the black box By Michael Connelly

Little, Brown $27.99, 416 pages ISBN 9780316069434 Audio, eBook available


book clubs by julie hale

New paperback releases for reading groups

CROSSING PATHS Penelope Lively’s latest book, How It All Began (Penguin, $16, 240 pages, ISBN 9780143122647), is a masterfully crafted novel that explores the interconnectedness of human lives. After she’s attacked on a street in London, Charlotte Rainsford recovers at the home of her daughter, Rose. Trapped in a lackluster marriage, Rose serves as assistant to Lord Henry Peters, a pompous historian. With Charlotte on her hands, Rose is forced to take time off—a hiatus that causes Lord Henry to enlist the aid of his niece, Marion.

An interior designer, she joins him on a trip that turns out to be fateful for everyone involved. Several cleverly woven plot strands demonstrate how a seemingly isolated incident can have incredible repercussions. Lively has been writing first-class fiction for nearly four decades, and this shrewdly observed narrative finds her at the top of her powers.

DIVE RIGHT IN First-time novelist Barbara J. Zitwer tells a stirring story of friendship and the power of connection in The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society (Marble Arch, $15, 288 pages, ISBN 9781476718736). The novel’s heroine, Joey Rubin, is a successful New York architect who travels to the Cotswolds to supervise renovations on Stanway House, the majestic manor that served as home to J.M. Barrie while he wrote Peter Pan. Joey’s experience at Stanway is far from magical, thanks to a crotchety caretaker and unfriendly locals. But when she discovers a gang of elderly women enjoying a swim in a lake on the manor grounds in the middle of winter, she’s intrigued. Known

as the J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society, the group adopts Joey as one of their own, leading her on an extraordinary journey of growth and personal evolution. Zitwer writes from the heart about Joey’s search for fulfillment and the importance of pursuing dreams, and she has a gift for depicting relationships. Her debut is a charmer from start to finish.

CELEBRATE THE SEASON WITH GREAT READING Experience the Magic of an Amish Christmas “A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming.” —USA Today

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS In The Paris Wife, a magical mix of fact and fiction, Paula McLain tells the story of Hadley Richardson, the reserved Midwesterner who married Ernest Hemingway in 1921. A bit of a spinster, Hadley is 28 when she first encounters the budding novelist in Chicago. Eight years older than Hemingway, she’s sensible and stable—an unlikely match for the moody writer. But she throws caution to the wind, marries him and travels to Paris, where they join a group of alcohol-loving expatriates that includes F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. Not quite at ease in her bohemian surroundings, Hadley struggles to establish a home. Hemingway, meanwhile, works on The Sun Also Rises, develops an interest in bullfighting—and flirts openly with other women. When he betrays Hadley, their marriage crumbles, and she makes some critical discoveries about herself. McLain’s portrayal of Paris in its prime is spot-on, and in Hadley, she has created a character of subtlety and nuance.

The Final Volume in the Wicked Years “[A] masterwork. Hilarious, heart-wrenching and extremely poignant.” —Washington Post

The New York Times Bestselling Novel of World War I —Now Available Again Before there was Downton Abbey, there was Abingdon Pryory…

The Paris Wife By Paula McLain

Ballantine $15, 352 pages ISBN 9780345521316

historical FICTION



William Morrow Paperbacks

Book Club Girl




by joanna brichetto

b y s y b i l P RATT



Country Living: Deck the Halls (Hearst Books, $19.95, 192 pages, ISBN 9781588169235), edited by former Country Living executive editor Katy McColl, is a “practical how-to holiday guide dedicated solely to the fun stuff.” The goal is to help readers celebrate the season with “simple recipes and stylish DIY projects” in a way that doesn’t overburden to-do lists or budgets. You can’t get much easier than the 90 pull-out pages full of sturdy place cards, tags, notes, stickers, labels and decorations. Color photos demonstrate how to decorate, make and wrap gifts, and set a table with designer panache. The end results are gorgeous, but it won’t take tons of time to get there,

For the gourmets and novices, everyday toilers and weekend superchefs on your holiday hit list, cookbooks are the answer to the perennially perplexing present problem. If you or your giftee bake or have baking aspirations, Bouchon Bakery (Artisan, $50, 400 pages, ISBN 9781579654351) is an absolute must. Written by the extraordinary Thomas Keller, perhaps America’s most important chef, and Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller restaurant group, it’s their homage to the universal appeal of bread and pastry and to the joy of baking, and it’s a knockout. In large format, with 250 color photos, Keller and Co. translate their

and the projects do not demand an unreasonable pitch of craft enthusiasm and skill. Flipping through the handy recipes (what, it’s this easy to make a fancy gingerbread cottage?) and ready-made tree trimmings (birds, keys, old-fashioned silhouettes) feels like an early Christmas present in itself.




At some point, most of us have to face up to the fact that it’s in our magpie nature to turn our nests into a heap of (more or less) shiny junk. Danny Seo’s Upcycling Celebrations (Running Press, $18, 272 pages, ISBN 9780762444663) takes all the accumulated “lemons” in our lives and turns them into artful “lemonade”— in the process adding style and pep to a host of occasions and holidays. Say you’ve got: sheets of environmentally distressing Styrofoam; a box of Fruit Loops from the Pleistocene Era; your kid’s forgotten LEGO set; unread coffee-table books; and empty plasticized potato-chip bags you feel guilty about sending to the landfill. Thanks to Mr. Seo—the CEO of reusability—you’ll soon have:

carved Styrofoam hearts that look like pussy willow stems in a vase; a string of Fruit Loops arranged into a birthday gift topper; a nifty LEGO chess set; a sturdily bound-up chair to sit and read upon; and shiny party balloons. The book includes 100 projects in all, with a helpful visual index.

TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES Knit the perfect gift in “a half hour or less” with 30 Min-Knits by Carol Meldrum, a collection of 60 miniprojects that can be dashed off while you’re waiting for appointments or riding to work. Creations range “from whimsical toys to practical pieces,” so there is something for nearly everyone, and not a dud in the bunch. The author is a designer at Rowan, the revered handknitting company, which means readers can take creativity and aesthetics for granted. The projects range from easy to intermediate. For babies, knitters can whip up sweet buntings, booties, mittens and a pixie cap. Young children might receive tiny toy critters, finger puppets, a crown and a teddy bear hat. Wearables for any age include bow hairpins; flowery and leafy headbands and grips; and scrumptious warmers for arms, ears and necks. Key rings, a mug cozy, a pencil case, a phone cover and little ornaments for the home are good gifts regardless of gender, but the prize for most versatile (and surreal) goes to the ready-to-wear Salvador Dalí mustache.

30 min-knits By Carol Meldrum

Barron’s $16.99, 128 pages ISBN 9781438001296

craftS & Hobbies

perfectionist, professional approach to baking into more than 150 recipes that we mere mortals can follow and replicate. From baguettes, boules, brioches and bouchons to cakes, cookies, tarts, turnovers, pâte à choux and pastry cream, you’re baking with the best. Carnivores get their day and their due in The Great Meat Cookbook (HMH, $40, 640 pages, ISBN 9780547241418) by Bruce Aidells, who’s become the Mr. Meat of the cookbook world. If you care about sustainability; want to learn all about cuts (including the “underappreciated”), cure your own bacon or make sausages, pâtés and rillettes; or if you’re simply looking for new ways to spice up your meat mains, just turn to Bruce. Every recipe is tagged so that you can see at a glance if it’s a dish you’d serve for a family meal or a company dinner, whether it comforts, reheats or freezes and whether it leaves you with lovely leftovers or falls into that much-needed “cheap eats” category. From simple chops to ethnic extravaganzas, you’ll find it all in this hearty, hefty tome.

There can’t be a holiday cookbook roundup without a contribution from the South—and this is a lovely one that comes with the estimable imprimatur of Southern Living magazine. Rebecca Lang, steeped in the gracious traditions of the South, grew up in a small Georgia town where cooking was a way of life. And here, in Around the Southern Table (Oxmoor House, $29.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9780848736538), she invites us to pull up a chair and enjoy 150 cherished, classic recipes, with gorgeous full-color photos, that move from sunup to the ringing of the dinner bell, with ample helpings of breads, biscuits, sides and salads—and, of course, desserts luscious enough to satisfy a Southern sweet tooth.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS You can never go wrong with Ina. And, fortunately for givers and getters, Ina Garten serves up her latest, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, just in time. It’s pure Ina: inspiring, totally trustworthy, confidence-building, packed with full-page photos and generously seasoned with tips for getting everything planned, prepped and plated. Oh, did I forget the recipes? There are nearly 100, from cocktails to confections, so elegantly easy that you won’t want to skip a single one. The divine Ina has done it again!


Clarkson Potter $35, 272 pages ISBN 9780307464873 eBook available

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Love is the best gift of all


ive yourself a feel-good gift this December! Here we’ve highlighted six romantic holiday stories that are sure to add joy to your season.

Vanessa Kelly offers a sensual and sweet treat with His Mistletoe Bride (Zebra, $6.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9781420114843). At the request of her grandfather, the Earl of Merritt, American Quaker Phoebe Linville sails to England to be reunited with family. Upon arrival, she discovers her grandfather is dead and a distant relation, Lucas Stanton, has inherited his estate. Saddened, Phoebe

now dead, Pierce feels compelled to make the journey, despite his great resentment toward his family. His mood darkens upon discovering the illness a ruse; it was concocted by his mother’s pretty companion in hopes of prompting a reconciliation between mother and son. But the servant, Camilla Stuart, refuses to give up on the idea, and Pierce’s fascination with her makes him

intends to return to America—until family members persuade her to prolong her visit, and Lucas admits he promised to look after her, even to the point of marriage. While Phoebe is attracted to the gruff man, she’s certain he’s an unsuitable match. Yet circumstances dictate a different path, and Phoebe finds herself a Christmas bride. Lucas enjoys his pretty wife, though he doesn’t think he’ll come to love her; he distrusts the emotion. But Phoebe wants it all, and this gentle pacifist is willing to fight to get it. A charmer.

reluctant to return to London. Can the earl and the woman he finds so appealing bridge the class gulf between them? After all, it is Pierce’s closed heart that keeps Camilla from giving hers. This is a touching story of love, forgiveness and new beginnings.



An earl goes home for the holidays in ’Twas the Night After Christmas (Gallery, $19.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781451642469) by Sabrina Jeffries. Twenty-three years after being barred from his family estate, Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, is summoned to visit his ill mother. With his unfeeling father

A CHRISTMAS MARRIAGE A Regency lady finds a man who truly appreciates her in Grace Burrowes’ Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight (Sourcebooks, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9781402268632). Louisa Windham, the eldest unmarried daughter of her close family, decides to quit the husband hunt. Her intelligence and outspokenness are not appreciated—except by neighbor Sir Joseph Carrington. Though the former soldier doesn’t consider himself the equal of a duke’s daughter, when scandal threatens Louisa, he steps forward to offer a marriage of convenience. Louisa acquiesces de-

spite a shocking secret she dares not share. Joseph has secrets of his own, but he marries his lady right before Christmas and hopes theirs will be a happy union. Then blackmail letters arrive for husband and wife, and exposure might be imminent. Can the couple trust each other enough to tell the truth? Burrowes has crafted a witty, sophisticated and sparkling story.

ANGELS OVERHEAD Debbie Macomber’s angels are up to their well-intentioned antics in Angels at the Table (Ballantine, $18, 240 pages, ISBN 9780345528872), a sweet, kisses-only story. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy take apprentice angel Will on a training exercise to Times Square on New Year’s Eve. But once surrounded by the excitement, the three Prayer Ambassadors are sidetracked, leaving the novice alone. When midnight strikes and people are hugging and kissing, Will feels compelled to nudge two who are alone in the crowd . . . two whom God had not intended to meet for several more months. Chef Lucie Ferrara is bowled over by Aren Fairchild, the handsome journalist she bumps into. They spend several magical hours together, but while both feel a magnetic attraction, they’re cautious. When circumstances prevent their second date, the intrepid angels have work to do. Then it’s up to Lucie and Aren to give themselves another chance in this lighthearted, warm-as-cocoa read.

SOUTHERN SWEETNESS The holidays come to Last Chance, South Carolina, along with a heroine on a mission in Last Chance Christmas (Forever, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9780446576079) by Hope Ramsay. Photojournalist Lark Chaikin arrives in town to scatter her father’s ashes. But before the deed is done, police chief Stone Rhodes interrupts—and also discovers that Lark is ill. While

convalescing in town, she learns of the dislike some citizens have for her father. Curiosity piqued, Lark begins investigating the past, stirring up prejudices and fears. Her attraction to widower Stone only complicates matters, because he still grieves for his wife and Lark is a short-timer in Last Chance. Angels, old scandals and a dead body add obstacles, and it looks as if Lark will fly away before Christmas—or will she? Both poignant and humorous, this story will be a seasonal favorite.

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE In Robyn Carr’s My Kind of Christmas, Angie LeCroix escapes family pressure with a visit to Virgin River—but there will be no escaping romance. Upon arriving, her glance lands on Patrick Riordan, a Navy flyer on leave. Like Angie, he’s trying to figure out his future after a traumatic experience. Unlike Angie, he’s certain that a short-term fling won’t help. But their fierce attraction means they’re soon spending days and nights together. Still, Angie can’t avoid her family’s concerns and their certainty about her future. The only thing that feels certain to Angie is her growing affection for Patrick, though she knows his obligations mean he’ll be out of her life by Christmas. Patrick battles himself over his next right step, even as he’s falling for Angie. Can they find a way to be together? My Kind of Christmas is another fabulous read from an author deft at mining deep emotion.

My Kind of Christmas By Robyn Carr

MIRA $7.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780778313854 Audio, eBook available

contemporary romance


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


Novel Reads

HARPERCOLLINS • would you describe the Q: How  book in one sentence?

The Key

by Lynsay Sands Return to the wild beauty of Scotland in The Key. If you love the quirky, loveable heroines of Julie Garwood’s historical romances, then you’re going to love New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands. Featuring Sands’s trademark humor and sexy alpha hero, The Key is a sensual historical romance you won’t want to miss!

Q: W  hat’s the best part of writing love stories?

Wild About You by Kerrelyn Sparks

one thing your readers would be surp ised to learn Q: Tabout  ell usyou.

New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks pens the next installment in her witty Love at Stake series, featuring a band of vampires and shape-shifters—and those who dare to defy them, or desire them! In Wild about You, a warrior on a mission of revenge encounters the woman who may just be the key to his survival. Too bad the beauty who could save him is also the last woman he should fall in love with.

Kiss of Surrender by Sandra Hill


 he town of Fool’s Go is obsessed with Christm s. What gets T you into the holiday spirit?

If you could kiss anyone under the mistletoe,

o would it be?

What romance reader can resist a hero who is both Viking and vampire? In the second installment of the exciting Deadly Angels series, Nicole Tasso, Navy SEAL is powerless to resist the “vangel” in her midst. Filled with Sandra Hill’s trademark combination of smoldering sensuality and laugh-out-loud humor, Kiss of Surrender will leave paranormal and urban fantasy romance fans hungry for more from this New York Times bestselling author.

The Importance of Being Wicked

by Miranda Neville

“Miranda Neville is one to watch!” —Lisa Kleypas

Q: W  hat’s the key to a real-life happily ever after?

Miranda Neville’s new series set in lusty Georgian England is sure to satisfy. The men are reckless, the women daring, and the hero and heroine in The Importance of Being Wicked are no exception. He’s a duke who needs to marry a society wife. She’s the troublemaker who’s going to show him a thing or two about love. The solution: a marriage of convenience rife with powerful passion!

How to Deceive a Duke by Lecia Cornwall

a fool’s gold christmas Susan Mallery is the best-selling author of romance and women’s fiction that explores relationships with humor, heart and passion. Her latest book, A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS (HQN, $16.95, 320 pages, ISBN 9780373777020), is part of a popular series set in a fictional California town where miracles sometimes happen. Mallery lives in Seattle with her husband and their toy poodle.

How to Deceive a Duke is a captivating Regency romance featuring a lady who stands in for her runaway sister as the Duke of Temberly’s bride—a deception the duke will exact a passionate price for from his new wife! Writing in the tradition of bestselling authors such as Lorraine Heath and Elizabeth Hoyt, Lecia Cornwell is sure to satisfy fans of sensual and smart historical romance.

All available as eBooks Visit for more great reading


BookPage Top 50


1. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz 2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed 3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 4. May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes 5. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan 6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 7. The Round House by Louise Erdrich 8. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain 9. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel 10. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman 11. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver 12. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan 13. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson 14. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers 15. Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham 16. The Mansion of Happiness by Jill Lepore 17. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 18. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty 19. Love’s Winning Plays by Inman Majors 20. Broken Harbor by Tana French 21. Home by Toni Morrison 22. NW by Zadie Smith 23. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens 24. The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger 25. You Came Back by Christopher Coake 26. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe 27. Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie 28. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub 29. San Miguel by T.C. Boyle 30. Coming to My Senses by Alyssa Harad 31. Arcadia by Lauren Groff 32. The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin 33. Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick 34. Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins 35. Canada by Richard Ford 36. By the Iowa Sea by Joe Blair 37. The Cove by Ron Rash 38. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 39. Winter Journal by Paul Auster 40. Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh 41. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones 42. In One Person by John Irving 43. Capital by John Lanchester 44. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson 45. A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer duBois 46. A Good American by Alex George 47. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling 48. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan 49. Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung 50. Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

best of 2012


emo to the Pulitzer board: 2012 has been a year full of great reading, especially when it comes to fiction.

When our editors finished stumping for their personal favorites and the votes were counted, our top 10 included three notable debuts, a few familiar names and one beautifully written memoir. Though reading choices—and rankings!—are intensely personal, we think our top 50 has something for every reader. Read on for a few highlights from the list.

#1: This is how you lose her Junot Díaz’s second collection of short stories is like a downed power line, sparking and twisting as good love goes bad again and again. At the heart of the collection is Yunior, a reckless cheater and idealist searching for love whose inability to change is born from the skewed relationship dynamics of his family and his Dominican culture. With its irresistible mix of sardonic, slangy language and painful bursts of vibrant imagery, This Is How You Lose Her is a triumph.

#5: The Lifeboat Part 12 Angry Men, part Lord of the Flies, Charlotte Rogan’s unforgettable debut is a haunting tale of survival. It’s 1914, and Grace Winter is sailing to America with her new husband in high style. But when the ocean liner sinks, she’s just one of many in an overcrowded lifeboat. How far will she go to survive? How far should one go? More than just a compelling “what would you do?” story, The Lifeboat is an acute psychological drama that fearlessly confronts existential questions without letting up on the suspense.

#9: Bring up the bodies

editors’ picks

voices of Leah, Natalie, Nathan and Felix echoing in your ears.

#25: you came back

Hilary Mantel is a genius, full stop. Sequels often disappoint, but Bring Up the Bodies, which follows charismatic Thomas Cromwell through the waning years of Henry VIII’s ill-fated marriage to Anne Boleyn, is as spellbinding as its groundbreaking predecessor, Wolf Hall. In a remarkable act of literary ventriloquism, Mantel has created a singular hero: a man wholly of his time who is nonetheless relatable in ours.

Christopher Coake explores the agony and the ecstasy of love and parenthood in You Came Back. Seven years after his son’s tragic death, Mark Fife is finally getting his life back on track . . . that is, until he learns that the boy who lives in his former house has seen the ghost of his son. Is there any possibility that there’s truth to the boy’s outrageous claim? This wrenching novel reads like a thriller, but bring the Kleenex. (Catharsis is a good thing, right?)

#18: The Chaperone

#27: Joseph Anton

Laura Moriarty takes an intriguing historical thread—the rise to fame of real-life silent film star Louise Brooks—and spins a compelling story about family, personal identity and love in The Chaperone. The focus in this fine novel isn’t really on the glamorous young Brooks but on the title character, a corseted Wichita housewife named Cora who shepherds the future star on her first trip to New York City in 1922. Even those who aren’t typically drawn to historical fiction will be pulled in as Moriarty reveals the surprising details of Cora’s past—and future.

In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini called for Salman Rushdie’s death for his “blasphemous” novel The Satanic Verses, a move which not only forced Rushdie into hiding for over a decade, but also stirred vigorous debate over the unconditional right of free speech. The vast span of this memoir chronicles years of flight, the paths taken toward writing The Satanic Verses— and every juicy opinion Rushdie kept bottled up until now.

#22: NW In her fourth novel, Zadie Smith links the narratives of four childhood friends in northwest London who are now making their way in the world as adults—some with more difficulty than others. A master of dialogue, Smith is able to sketch astonishingly detailed portraits of her characters through their conversations. Spend a few hours with NW and you’ll find the

#43: capital John Lanchester’s latest has been called “the British Corrections” and though Capital focuses on the varied residents of a London street, rather than a single family, this closely observed, socially aware novel earns the comparison. Set just before the 2008 economic crash, this engrossing, Dickensian tale takes on terrorism, immigration and the nouveau riche with aplomb. Visit for more “best” coverage.

breakout book of the year interview by amy scribner


going, going, gone: 2012’s runaway hit


hen Gillian Flynn learned in June that her new novel, Gone Girl, had debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list, it was not exactly a glamorous moment in publishing. “I was in Scottsdale by myself,” Flynn recalls. “I got the phone call while wading in the hotel pool.”

A second chance for a proper celebration came on the Fourth of July, when she found out at home in Chicago that her book had reached the top of the list. “We went out on the back porch—our neighbors are very fond of illegal fireworks, so we popped open champagne and watched,” she says. Flynn experienced modest success with her first two novels, 2007’s deeply creepy Sharp Objects and 2009’s aptly named Dark Places. But Gone Girl is a bona fide phenomenon, selling 1.8 million copies to date and spending 20 consecutive weeks (so far) on the New York Times bestseller lists, including eight weeks in the number-one spot for hardcover fiction. It’s the word-ofmouth hit that book lovers everywhere have been reading, talking about and gushing over. For these reasons, BookPage has named Gone Girl the Breakout Book of the Year. Flynn spoke to BookPage from her home in Chicago, still sounding slightly stunned by the book’s astonishing performance. “This one’s so different from the other two, just wildly different and incredibly unexpected,” she says. “I thought it would do incrementally better, like the first two. It was thrilling to see it take off like that.” In Gone Girl we meet Nick and Amy, happy newlyweds living in New York. The inspiration for her parents’ popular series of children’s books, Amy has a healthy trust fund that partly supports their Manhattan life. Then they are both laid off from their magazine jobs, and her parents’ unwise investments drain Amy’s bank account. Nick and Amy move to Missouri to care for his sick mother and start over. After they settle in a gloomy subdivision filled with empty foreclosed homes, the

cracks in their marriage quickly appear. Those cracks soon become gaping crevasses, and then Amy disappears, leaving Nick as the prime suspect. But is Amy the golden girl everyone thought she was, or is there something much darker there? And that’s really all you can say about this deliciously strange “I’m smart story without giving away too enough to acknowledge much. It’s hard to that I’m a pinpoint why good writer, Gone Girl has captured but this is the popular lightning in imagination a bottle.” so thoroughly. It’s perhaps in part because America is still a place where we are most comfortable with women fitting the very specific role of selfless caretaker. Flynn doesn’t write about that kind of woman. “I really fight against the idea that we’re natural nurturers,” Flynn says. “It belittles us and our fight to be a good person.” Flynn is warm and funny on the phone, a far cry from the deeply damaged heroines of her novels. It’s hard to understand how Flynn, who grew up in a happy two-parent home in Kansas City, Missouri, spins such wickedly eerie stories. “It may be that’s why I’m able to go to those darker spots and always been attracted to that,” Flynn says. “My dad is a film professor and he loved to share movies, particularly with his daughter. I loved to watch horror movies, loved to wander around my house imagining things in the closets. I still remember Dad putting a tape in the big VCR and saying, ‘It’s time to watch Psycho.’ ”

It seems pretty inevitable, then, that after earning a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern, Flynn would become a writer for Entertainment Weekly. “We were charter subscribers,” she says of her family. “Entertainment Weekly was an iconic thing in our house.” Flynn worked her way up to TV critic (for the record, she currently is watching “Parks and Recreation,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Homeland” and “30 Rock,” but maintains that the best TV series of all time is still “The Wire”). When the economy tanked and magazines had to trim budgets, Flynn was among those laid off. “It gave me the freedom to walk around and feel sorry for myself for a few months,” Flynn says with a laugh. “I spent my days watching movies and playing video games.” Dark Places came out just months later, though, and Flynn made the transition to full-time novelist. She writes in the “weird little basement area” of the old Victorian house in Chicago she shares with her husband, a lawyer and fellow pop culture junkie, and their toddler son. Right now, her writing is focused on drafting the Gone Girl screenplay. Reese Witherspoon has signed on to produce and star as Amy. (No word at press time on who will play the handsome but cagey Nick, although Internet opinion seems to lean toward Bradley Cooper or Ryan Gosling.) With so much of the novel taking place inside Amy’s and Nick’s heads,

writing a screenplay is a unique challenge. “I’m trying to find a way to externalize that dialogue,” Flynn says. “I think of Trainspotting, Fight Club and Election—I can’t imagine those without voiceover.” Once the screenplay is delivered and the publicity for Gone Girl is done, Flynn will have to focus on her next book. She admits to feeling the pressure of what she calls her own “Greek chorus” to produce another runaway bestseller, but tries to focus on the work rather than the result. “I’m smart enough to acknowledge that I’m a good writer, but this is lightning in a bottle,” she says. “You just do the good work and write what you want to write.”


By Gillian Flynn

Crown, $25, 432 pages ISBN 9780307588364, audio, eBook available



jacob tomsky b y ly n n g r e e n



mployees of the hospitality industry—hotel clerks, restaurant workers, valet parkers—have a unique view of two things: how hotels operate and what hotel guests are really like. After 10 years in the business, in jobs ranging from front desk agent to housekeeping manager, Jacob Tomsky offers a peek behind the counter in an eye-opening, often hilarious new book, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality. We checked in with Tomsky to find out more about annoying guests and the risks of drinking from mini-bar glasses. Why did you decide to turn your experiences into a book? There was a salient moment, as I stood still one afternoon in the center of my hotel’s lobby, watching everyone around me—people checking in, storing luggage, getting cabs, asking for upgrades, demanding to speak to a manager, disputing the bill, having their credit cards declined—and I realized I understood every single thing that was happen-

The clock is ticking …


Look for The Black List Available 12/26


ing, all the nuances of every issue, in full detail. Then I realized that if more people had a broader perspective, some of these problems could be eliminated and we could all be happier and stop misunderstanding each other. And I was pretty sure I could make it funny, too. Tell us three things you learned about human nature from working in hospitality. One: People can be horrible to those they consider subservient. And as a hotel wishes to create a sense of home in a traveler, it can, in turn, make the guest believe that the hotel workers surrounding them are in fact servants in their own home. So some people, since they probably don’t get the chance to berate a servant in normal life, and love watching “Downton Abbey,” seem to relish the opportunity. Two: Everyone is cheating on everybody. Three: Money might shape the soul. Those who have a lot of it expect the world to bend around them like wind. People who have little of it are fully prepared for the world to bend around them like a door to the face. But rich or poor, those who are generous are usually deeply kind in other aspects. Those who are tight will rarely accept just an apology or give you the benefit of the doubt. What’s the #1 thing guests should never touch in a hotel room? Whenever possible, float through the room like a zero-gravity astronaut. Further, to avoid towel contact, allow yourself one hour to air dry after showering. That, or don’t worry about it. I would honestly bet that a hotel bathroom is cleaner than your own bathroom. In the book I do mention most housekeepers’ only option is to clean the minibar glasses with shampoo or even zesty lemon Pledge. Knowing this,

what do I do when I’m thirsty and in need of a glass? Rinse it out in the sink and use it anyway. I try not to care. What’s the worst “jerk move” a guest can make? Blaming and yelling at Person A for Person B’s honest mistake—that’s an Olympicquality jerk move. A guest who accuses a housekeeper of stealing her dog’s lame toy. A guest who accuses the front desk agent “Whenever of deliberately possible, float canceling a reservation. But I through the am basically OK room like a zero-gravity with jerk moves. Jerks, and their astronaut.” moves, are part of the job. What are the most annoying words a guest can say to a front desk agent? Well, maybe: “Come on! You must remember me!” If you have to ask then we certainly do not. But I will totally pretend to, if you’re really hellbent on me remembering. I will put on a screwy face and say, “Wait! I do remember you!” while hoping to god this charade ends quickly. Funniest part is, even if you force me to pretend I remember you, next time, I will still not remember you. With your experience in the industry, do you still stay in hotels? You kidding me? I love staying in hotels. If you’re tearing tickets at a movie theater all day, imagine how much you’d enjoy leaning back into a plush seat and letting a movie entertain your day away. Being surrounded by people on vacation means that when I get the opportunity to check in as a guest, I toss myself face first onto the soft bed, peer excitedly into the mini-bar, and strip down to rock that robe as soon

as possible. After working in housekeeping, I couldn’t enter a hotel room without checking the cleanliness of the baseboards or dragging a finger for dust along the top ridge of the bed’s headboard. That was professional curiosity, but it’s out of my system now. If you’re traveling for the holidays, which is worse: staying at a hotel or staying with family? I suppose it depends on the family. But there is nothing better than pushing into your empty hotel room at the end of a long day with family, arming yourself with a candy bar and relaxing on top of the cool bedspread, watching crap on TV you’d never watch at home. But I’m lucky to have a wonderful family and when I’m in town I prefer to stay with them. It’s just a bringyour-own-candy situation.

heads in beds

By Jacob Tomsky

Doubleday, $25.95, 256 pages ISBN 9780385535632, eBook available


richard russo By alden mudge


and well-researched


trek through a

ovelist Richard Russo had no doubt that he should write a book about the close and emotionally complicated relationship he had with his mother. The question was, should he publish it?

“I had to write the book because after my mother’s death she was very much in my waking thoughts and haunting my dreams as well, which suggested to me there was some unfinished business,” Russo says during a call that reaches him at the apartment he and his wife Barbara own in Boston. Most of the year the couple lives in Camden, Maine. Russo travels frequently for book tours, lectures and his scriptwriting work, and he’s found that it’s much easier to fly out of Boston. In fact, the morning following our conversation, he will fly from Boston to Helsinki to speak at opening ceremonies for the U.S. State Department’s new library there. “My mother’s story seemed important both in terms of the private, intimate mother-son story and in terms of its broader cultural and political context,” Russo says. “She was part of the World War II generation and what happened to her is very much an American story and a story about the changes that were taking place in America as she grew into her maturity. That’s why this book is so much about Gloversville.” In a beautifully evocative prologue to Elsewhere: A Memoir, Russo tells us that, in its prime, the upstate New York town of Glovers­ ville produced 90 percent of the dress gloves sold in the world. Russo’s mother and father grew up there, married young and separated when he was a little boy. By the time Russo was a teenager, most of the glove-making work had been shipped overseas and the toxic residues of processing leather were left for the dwindling local population to deal with. “By the time I graduated from high school in 1967,” Russo writes, “you could have strafed Main Street with an automatic weapon without endangering a soul.” Russo’s mother, as the book’s title implies, had conflicting feelings about her hometown. “What

she thought about Gloversville depended on whether she was there or elsewhere,” Russo says. “It was the central dilemma of her life and in some ways it has been the central dilemma of my artistic life as well. There is the actual physical place, which fills me at times with the visceral loathing that I learned from my mother. Then there’s the Gloversville that’s been transformed into Mohawk [1986], Empire Falls [2002 Pulitzer Prize winner] and Thomaston [Bridge of Sighs, 2007]. In all those places I am free to love the fictional avatars of Gloversville with my whole heart and whole soul, and my mother’s opinion of the place doesn’t enter into it because those places are drawn from my imagination.” Much of Russo’s fiction has explored his relationship with his mostly absent father. “All those charming, feckless men that turn up in my novels—from Sam Hall in The Risk Pool straight through to Max Roby in Empire Falls—are rooted in some way in my own father,” Russo says. “As I write in Elsewhere, I became closer to my father when I became of legal drinking age in New York, which at the time was 18.” An only child, the young Russo had an extremely close relationship with his mother. In an early chapter of Elsewhere he vividly describes traveling with his mother on a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, where he begins to perceive that, yes, he is her anchor but he is maybe also the millstone around her neck. Fiercely independent, Russo’s mother was also very needy. Even into adulthood, when Russo, his wife and two daughters moved about the country for his academic appointments, they brought his mother to live nearby. Russo and Barbara, a person of heroic patience and empathy, often joked mordantly that they were so bound to his mother that they “never went anywhere for longer

“A fast-paced medical mystery to a hard-won

recovery.” —Publishers Weekly

than it took for her milk to spoil.” Through writing Elsewhere, Russo has come to believe that his mother suffered from a probably treatable mental disability in a time when such a disability was impossible to acknowledge. “Writing Elsewhere did provide me with answers to the questions that I had posed to myself about my life and my mother’s life,” Russo says at the end of the phone call. “But in terms of closure, I still haven’t shaken that sense of betrayal and self-doubt because she’s not here to defend herself. I wanted to feel vindicated in having made the right choice to tell this story and I don’t quite feel that. . . . But after consulting with Barbara and my daughters it became clear to me that this book might actually help somebody else feel less alone in the world.”


“A mesmerizing story of a promising young writer’s rapid descent into madness...[and her] return to the world she left behind wiser, stronger, and very much alive.” —Mira Bartók, author of The Memory Palace

By Richard Russo

Knopf, $25.95, 256 pages ISBN 9780307959539, audio, eBook available

Also available as an eBook


features Christmas fiction


f your holiday wish is to curl up with a cup of tea and a novel about the spirit of the season, you’re in luck. The usual best-selling suspects—and a few surprises—are ready with festive new releases.

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury Howard, $19.99, ISBN 9781451647013 The latest book from Kingsbury features a Christmas miracle and a reunion of long-lost lovers, against the backdrop of Nashville.

Eleven Pipers Piping by C.C. Benison

Delacorte, $24, ISBN 9780385344463 Vicar Tom Christmas of Thornford Regis, England, must solve the mystery of a poisoned bagpipe player with the help of his bookworm daughter in the latest installment of this charming series.

The Book of Neil by Frank Turner Hollon

MacAdam/Cage, $20, ISBN 9781596923850 What does a returned Messiah have to do to get noticed in today’s world? Rob a bank, of course. This refreshing dose of satire will appeal to fans of Christopher Moore’s Lamb.

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Waterbrook, $14.99, ISBN 9781400072170 Two stranded travelers help each other heal past wounds in this touching romance set in Victorian Scotland, the first Christmas novel from veteran inspirational writer Higgs.

The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd

Morrow, $16.99, ISBN 9780062236999 Todd, an acclaimed mystery writer, sets his first holiday tale in the early days of World War I, when Lady Elspeth becomes stranded in France just as the German invasion begins.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Little, Brown, $28.99, ISBN 9780316210683 It wouldn’t be Christmas without a crisis for Alex Cross. This time, he must negotiate a hostage situation that puts an entire family at risk.

A Christmas Garland by Anne Perry

Ballantine, $18, ISBN 9780345530745


In her 10th holiday novel, Perry sweeps readers away to 1857 India, where William Pitt’s future boss gets his first assignment: defending a young orderly against a murder charge.

christmas stories true tales of christmas joy by Heather Seggel


hese three books about Christmas have little in common, which should come as no surprise. We each observe the season in different ways. There is one common thread between these books, though, and it’s not jolly old Saint Nick: Each features an absolutely hair-raising drive through a holiday blizzard. Read, enjoy—and don’t forget your snow chains. Julia Romp’s The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas (Plume, $15, 288 pages, ISBN 9780452298781) gives away the story’s end in the title, but once you’ve met single mother Julia and her son George you’ll still cheer. For years, neighbors and teachers complained about George’s disengaged and combative behavior, but nobody knew what was wrong or how to fix it. One day mother and son took a stray cat to the vet. When they came to check on the animal, George began to open up to it, speaking in a high voice, making eye contact and almost instantly warming up. They adopted “Ben,” and he became a lifeline for George, who by now had been diagnosed with autism. When Ben runs away, George regresses, turning his rage on his mother. But Julia applies the same persistence to finding Ben that she had to caring for George, and things end well. Romp tells a hard story, and it’s easy to sympathize when she asks for help repeatedly and is instead viewed as a potential child abuser. Her love for her family—son and cat both—shines through, and if you’ve put off microchipping your pet, this story will encourage you to make that appointment.

Behind the beard Sal Lizard was just a working stiff with a bushy white beard when someone asked him to play Santa as a one-time gig. Being Santa Claus (Gotham, $20, 208 pages, ISBN 9781592407569) details Lizard’s journey into work as a full-time Santa, working in malls, making home and hospital visits, and loving the job. As one might expect, bringing cheer to terminally ill children is heart-wrenching work, and the hospitals he worked at had designated areas where employees could cry without the patients seeing. The hard times were offset by a job that let him bring joy to old and young alike, and Lizard seems made for the task. He’s playful with older kids who

doubt Santa is real, and willing to get on the floor and play with younger kids who are scared by him (to the consternation of mall staff). Lizard tells his story with the help of Jonathan Lane, who interviewed him extensively and collected his best stories here. It works well; reading the book feels like being entertained, possibly over milk and cookies, by a relative overflowing with heartwarming anecdotes.

The spirit of the season Joseph Bottum’s The Christmas Plains (Image, $14.99, 224 pages, ISBN 9780770437657) is considered a memoir, but it’s as much about Christmas, language and landscape as it is his personal history. Moving his family to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he lived as a boy, to reclaim a sense of fixed geography for his daughter, Bottum muses about his childhood holidays and considers the works of Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton and Dylan Thomas, and the ways in which they have influenced our experiences and recollections of Christmas. Bottum has a fresh take on the perennial complaint that Christmas is too commercial, pointing out that the inflatable snowmen and profusions of tinsel come from a knowledge that “a real thing comes toward us in December, and they layer it over with whatever fake or genuine finery they can find—not to hide it but to honor it.” His spare descriptions of the desolate Western plains alongside the hustle and bustle of New York City at Christmas are lovely, and his gentle insistence on the spiritual amid the commercial is a welcome tonic.


for guys By martin brady

Great books for the men in your life


istory, football, humor, architecture, hunting—all are subjects that fit into the general scope of gifts for guys. This year’s picks offer a bounty of visual fare (men are visual, right?), but informative texts are also a big part of the picture.

Kicking off the coverage is The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book (Grand Central, $34.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9780446583961). This handsomely produced tribute to the history of American football, edited by sports historians Joe Horrigan and John Thorn, is part of the celebration of 50 years of the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, itself a town steeped in the lore of the early days of the game. The text offers a colorful—if more sepia-tinged—rundown of the sport’s formative years in the late 19th century, filling in much history that probably eludes the average fan. Later, the text provides coverage by decade, with sections authored by journalists such as Peter King and Dave Anderson. Scattered throughout are quotes aplenty from Hall of Famers themselves, who share career reflections and insight into what sparked their determination on game day. Otherwise, the volume is a treasure trove of photos: reproductions of old contracts and important correspondence, pictures of bygone equipment, jerseys and helmets worn by the greats, action shots from big games and more.

GLORIOUS ARCHITECTURE No less a photographic windfall is Great Buildings (DK, $30, 256 pages, ISBN 9780756698294), a marvelous showcase of 53 of the world’s most striking structures. The photos are often flat-out spectacular, with the coverage ranging from the ancient (Great Pyramid of Giza, Parthenon, Colosseum) to the modern (Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum in Kochi, Japan). Each entry includes a description and useful historical sidebars by British author

and architectural maven Philip Wilkinson, along with a visual tour that breaks down each building into its component parts, with a focus on style and construction. Armchair travelers and architecture buffs will be blown away by the views of, say, Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, Spain’s Alhambra, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and India’s Taj Mahal. Another fabulous project from Dorling Kindersley.

CONTEMPLATING CUSTER Many a young lad has been captivated by the legend surrounding George Armstrong Custer, the dashing Civil War officer who later earned his place in history when he and his 7th Cavalry troops were defeated in 1876 by Lakota and Cheyenne warriors at Montana’s Little Bighorn River. Custer’s infamous “last stand” loomed as a heroic event for years, but revisionist thought pretty much set the record straight: The impetuous Custer made broad command mistakes, and there was nothing noble about his outcome. Yet the Custer story will never die, and in the new Custer (Simon & Schuster, $35, 192 pages, ISBN 9781451626209), Pulitzer Prizewinning author Larry McMurtry provides a compactly incisive text that recalls the Custer myth and resets its context within America’s late 19th-century military adventurism on the Plains and the fate of the Native American tribes. Accompanying McMurtry’s words are hundreds of photos and reproductions of paintings, maps and other illustrative material. This is a wonderful gift item for any “Custer guy.”

Image at top reprinted from The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives. Copyright © 2012. Published by Grand Central Publishing.

Knowledge (Little, Brown, $29.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9780316133265), in which the Onion editors serve up a fractured A-to-Z compendium of important people, places and things. There are plenty of photos and illustrations here—e.g., Alan Greenspan clubbing with hot chicks!—but the emphasis is on zany lexicon-like entries that overturn all logic and expectation in search of a knowing chuckle.



Guys who like to laugh will gravitate to two new volumes representing iconic American humor franchises. First up is Totally MAD (Time Home Entertainment, $34.95, 256 pages, ISBN 9781618930309), which celebrates MAD magazine’s 60-year-old legacy while also featuring excerpts from some of its most popular features. Current MAD editor John Ficarra oversees the coverage, which includes background on late, longtime publisher Bill Gaines, the history of Alfred E. Neuman, MAD lawsuits and more. The graphics are great, including pictures of every MAD cover ever published and samplings of the parodies, satires and cartoons from contributors like Al Jaffee, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Sergio Aragonés and Don Martin. Less browsable but rich with wit is The Onion Book of Known

Finally, we have Meat Eater (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 256 pages, ISBN 9780385529815), a hunter’s tribute to the natural world and the value of providing your own food. This lively memoir recounts the outdoors life of Steven Rinella, a nature writer and cable TV host. Rinella grew up in the Midwest learning to hunt and fish under the strong influence of his father and brothers. “As a nation, we have swapped the smelly and unpredictable pungency of the woods in exchange for the sanitized safety of manicured grass,” Rinella writes. He details his exploits—from Michigan, to the Missouri Breaks, to Mexico and beyond—as he pursues muskrat, mountain lions and other game, all the while espousing his deep regard for hunting’s social traditions and its rightful place in the natural order.



literary by julie hale

Top-of-the-stack selections for the serious reader


iterature lovers have cause to rejoice this holiday season, with riches aplenty in the way of new releases. Need a gift that will impress your favorite bibliophile? Here’s your cheat sheet for holiday shopping!

Since its debut in 1953, The Paris Review has served as a platform for outstanding fiction. A terrific new collection pairs gems from the journal’s archives with expert analysis. For Object Lessons (Picador, $16, 368 pages, ISBN 9781250005984), 20 of today’s top authors picked their favorite stories from the review and composed introductory essays

Jack Kerouac never seems to lose his allure. Yet, as Joyce Johnson demonstrates in her thoughtful new biography, The Voice Is All (Viking, $32.95, 512 pages, ISBN 9780670025107), there’s more to the Kerouac myth than meets the eye. Beneath his reckless exterior was a committed artist who took his craft seriously. A former flame of Kerouac’s, Johnson

brief interviews with the participants, who discuss the significance of their picks. “I derive strength from these books,” Jennifer Egan says of her selections, which include Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy—both narratives that demonstrate “how flexible the novel form is.” Photographer William Wegman chose titles he loved as a kid—science texts, encyclopedias, a Hardy Boys mystery. “These books are nostalgic for me,” he explains. “That’s the spell.” Jane Mount’s stylish illustrations of the selected titles—spines colorfully rendered, typefaces faithfully reproduced—underscore the allure that books possess as objets d’art. My Ideal Bookshelf is a treat from cover to cover.

Letters from a literary life

about each work. The contributors—including Wells Tower, Ali Smith and Jonathan Lethem—offer critical praise and sterling insights into the craft of fiction writing. In his essay on James Salter’s “Bangkok,” Dave Eggers describes the story as “an eight-page master class in dialogue.” For Jeffrey Eugenides, the Denis Johnson classic “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” succeeds in part because of the author’s instinct for “knowing what to leave out” of the narrative. Object Lessons will appeal to both aspiring writers and lovers of the short story form.

King of the road, and more


Author of On the Road, the 1957 novel that immortalized the edgy, uninhibited nature and questing sensibility of the Beat Generation,

had rare access to her subject, and she draws on personal recollections, important Beat writings and newly available archival materials to create a compelling portrait of the author’s early years, the factors that shaped him as a writer and his quest for an authentic authorial voice. “Jack’s voice was his center,” Johnson says. “Outside that center was chaos.” The Voice Is All is an invaluable biography that gives an icon of cool some welldeserved critical validation.

What writers are reading For bibliophiles, this is bliss: My Ideal Bookshelf (Little, Brown, $24.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9780316200905), an irresistible new anthology, features the favorite literary selections of more than 100 artists and writers. Providing a peek at the private libraries of David Sedaris, Junot Díaz, Rosanne Cash and other notables, the volume includes

While she was editing material for Selected Letters of William Styron (Random House, $40, 704 pages, ISBN 9781400068067), Rose Styron, widow of the acclaimed author, had a revelation about her husband: “I realized that half the endless hours I thought he was working on novels . . . he was actually writing letters.” Spanning almost six decades, the book is an intriguing chronicle of one writer’s interaction with his peers, including Henry Miller, Philip Roth, George Plimpton and Robert Penn Warren. Styron, who died in 2006, earned numerous honors for his fiction, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Confessions of Nat Turner and a National Book Award for Sophie’s Choice. The letters document his student days at Duke University, his steady artistic ascent and his path as a world traveler. They’re studded with classic anecdotes— the stuff from which literary legends are spun. Styron spots T.S. Eliot on a London subway, engages in a verbal brawl with Norman Mailer and locks horns with Harold Bloom, whom he refers to as “a foolish ass of a Yale professor.” Offering an indepth look at the esteemed author,

this collection proves that letterwriting is indeed an art.

A criminal collection Mystery aficionados will be captivated by Books to Die For (Emily Bestler Books, $29.99, 560 pages, ISBN 9781451696578), a spinetingling anthology edited by two masters of the genre, John Connolly and Declan Burke. In this one-of-akind collection, today’s crime pros offer insights into their favorite works of suspense. The collection kicks off with essays on books that were foundational to the genre (such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), then moves on to the the heyday of hardboiled crime fiction with contributions from David Peace, Michael Connelly and Laura Lippman on classics like Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister. Moving decade by decade, this expansive anthology offers plenty of surprises. Pieces on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (contributed by Minette Walters and Tana French, respectively) underscore the breadth of the mystery genre and the ingenuity of its practitioners. With essays from 119 authors, Books to Die For will thrill any mystery enthusiast.

new life for Classic tales They’ve been in circulation for two centuries, yet the Grimms’ fairy tales feel more vital than ever. Now, in Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (Viking, $27.95, 400 pages, ISBN 9780670024971), Philip Pullman, himself a spinner of fabulous stories, retells 50 time-tested favorites. In his hands, the simple magnificence of stories like “Cinderella” and “Rapunzel” shines through. He successfully channels the unsettling mix of innocence and perversity, horror and delight for which the tales are famous. In addition to the standards, Pullman shares less prominent stories, including two spellbinding little selections whose startling titles speak for themselves: “Godfather Death” and “The Girl with No Hands.” Beguiling from beginning to end, Pullman’s skillful retellings will surely enchant the book lover on your gift list.

Books — The Perfect Stocking Stuffers!



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b y k e l ly b l e w e t t

b y k e l ly b l e w e t t

heartwarmers with star power


hat do Tony Bennett, Dolly Parton and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life have in common? They’re each the focus of new books that are guaranteed to inspire, advise and entertain. Tony Bennett’s Life Is a Gift (Harper, $28.99, 272 pages, ISBN 9780062207067) will be a hit with anyone who loves anecdotes about famous people (and, let’s admit it,

that’s all of us!). From Cary Grant to Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, Bennett’s famous friends span the century, but readers will recognize them all, and his stories about them have the ring of someone who truly cares. Subtitled “The Zen of Bennett,” the book also offers nuggets of advice on many topics, including maintaining good relationships, insisting on a quality product and having fun. There are also a few surprises: Did you know that Bennett is an accomplished painter whose work is hanging in the Smithsonian? Did you know it was Bob Hope who coined Bennett’s stage name? This book is full of joyful appreciation for the life Bennett has lived and the audiences he’s served. His loving and happy at-

The Guardians by Richard Williams AuthorHouse • $16.99 ISBN 9781434376633


Two shelties lead their masters back to the path of God’s love. These special dogs have the ability to speak, but their unusual talent is a closely guarded secret. Available on Kindle and Nook.

titude will linger in your ears like the sweet notes of his treasured music. Dolly Parton keeps Dream More (Putnam, $19.95, 128 pages, ISBN 9780399162480) short and sweet— and very funny. There are four core pieces of advice the “Dolly Mama” (as she sometimes calls herself) offers: dream more, learn from everything, care for everyone and be more. These principles also guide the Imagination Library, an organization she founded that provides free books to children, first in the Smoky Mountains and now across the country. This book makes you want to cheer for Parton. For instance, she doesn’t just give books away to lower-income kids, but rather to any child in a participating community who signs up. She knows from experience that charity only directed to the poor can make the receiver feel “less than.” Parton dedicated this book to her father, who, as she puts it, “never learned to read and write, paid a dear price for that, and inspired me not to let it happen to others.” Speaking of everyday heroes, Bob Welch’s new book celebrates one of America’s favorites, George Bailey, whose life forever changes his hometown of Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life. From this classic Christmas film, Welch pulled 52 Little Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life (Thomas Nelson, $15.99, 224 pages, ISBN 9781400203932). Be prepared to find morals in moments you might not even remember, like the transformation of George’s mother-in-law. These lessons are cut from the same life-affirming cloth as the film itself, and stitched lovingly together by an author who is clearly an affectionate fan.

spiritual reading material


hether interested in religious history or prayer, heaven or the Holy Land, readers will find in these four books a wealth of information and personal stories to enrich their own spiritual journeys.

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers (Riverhead, $17.95, 112 pages, ISBN 9781594631290) is a book for just about anyone who has felt compelled, at one point or another, to raise her eyes to the heavens and murmur some words to a Higher Power. Never one to get caught up in religious specifics, Anne Lamott offers a variety of hilarious titles by which her friends have referred to God, such as “Howard,” “Mother” and “H.P.” She celebrates the divine, and poetically explains why we frail humans are in such desperate need of it. Of the three essential prayers, help seems to be the one closest to Lamott’s heart. Fans of her previous books such as Bird by Bird will again enjoy candid conversation from a writer who feels like a friend. While Lamott’s book may be characterized as a book about faith for doubters, Heaven Changes Everything (Thomas Nelson, $15.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9780849948411) by Todd and Sonja Burpo is a book about faith for believers—and a followup to the best-selling Heaven Is for Real, which related the story of their four-year-old son’s visit to heaven. Here the Burpos share more about Colton’s miraculous experience and what it’s been like for their family since making it public. Organized into 40 short, devotional-style readings that open with a quote from Colton and close with an action point, it is sure to please readers eager for the next chapter in the Burpos’ story. In What Would Jesus Read? (FaithWords, $16.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9781455508143), Joe Amaral takes readers through the Scripture in the way Jesus might have read it: in short portions that combine a selection from the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible) and the prophets (a number of Old Testament books). Each week,

Amaral assigns a portion of the Bible and offers daily insights on the reading. These insights are very brief, conversational and theologically non-denominational. As a Christian who lives in Israel and guides tour groups through the Holy Land, Amaral is in a unique position to help American readers understand the perspective of the Middle East and the traditions of the ancient Jewish world. For readers interested in learning more about the world of Jesus, In the Footsteps of Jesus ($40, 368 pages, ISBN 9781426209871) is another good place to begin. Published by National Geographic, this fullcolor and visually impressive book offers a more scholarly perspective on the world Jesus walked through and how we experience it today. The scope of the book—which combines political history, anthropological context, biography and an exploration of the contemporary Holy Land—is truly ambitious. Illustrations include photographs of artifacts, paintings, pull-out quotations and richly detailed maps. This worthy book could be read alongside the Gospels or could stand alone as a historical work.

home design By eliza borné

there’s no place like home


ome may be where the heart is, but what living space—no matter how beloved—couldn’t use a little sprucing up? From quick-fix projects to complete overhauls, these five books provide inspiration and guidance for adding style to your abode.

Sherry and John Petersik, the upbeat couple behind the popular blog, cheer on DIY-ers in Young House Love (Artisan, $25.95, 336 pages, ISBN 9781579654788). Filled with the Petersiks’ goofy humor and constant encouragement, this idea book is filled with “243 ways to paint, craft, update and show your home some love.” Even if you’ve never picked a paint color in your life—let alone undertaken a transformation of your entire house—you’ll feel bolstered to head to the nearest hardware store and get to it. Easyto-browse, photo-filled chapters include suggestions for every part of your home, exterior included. The projects range from free (rearrange your living room); to inexpensive (make your own headboard); to pricier but worth the impact (hang wallpaper on a focal wall). Many of the projects are appropriate for apartment dwellers and renters, and decorators on a budget will appreciate the ideas for repurposing what you already have (the Petersiks are self-proclaimed cheapos). DIY newbies will gain confidence from this young couple’s advice to “embrace what makes you happy.”

HEART OF THE HOUSE Canadian interior designer Candice Olson, host of “Divine Design” on HGTV, turns her eye toward what may be our most lived-in rooms in Candice Olson Family Spaces (Wiley, $19.99, 224 pages, ISBN 9781118276679). Olson showcases

a series of “challenges” and “solutions” to demonstrate how she took lackluster, cluttered and dated family rooms and turned them into stylish, highly functional spaces. And if you don’t happen to have a large basement lair just waiting for a makeover—or the budget to gut a room or buy custom cabinetry—Olson’s suggestions are still food for thought. (Organize a multipurpose space into zones; turn two stacked and slip-covered twin mattresses into a daybed, which can double as guest beds at night.) Some of her ideas are downright ingenious; I was stumped on how to configure a playroom/guest room/ weight room until I saw the “after” picture of this particular re-do. (The clever solution involves panel doors that partition off not-kid-friendly weights.) This is a great guide if you want to organize your family room and give it some oomph.

HOMEY AND HIP Uber-hip design team Robert and Cortney Novogratz—parents to seven children, successful house flippers, HGTV stars, proponents of a “vintage modern” aesthetic—give you the tools to capture their style in Home by Novogratz (Artisan, $35, 320 pages, ISBN 9781579654993). The cheerful narration takes readers from the Pioneer Woman’s ranch in Oklahoma (where the designers redecorated an attic bedroom) to sunny Trancoso, Brazil (where they built

a Swiss Family Robinson-​inspired tree house). The pages burst with color in this cool and friendly tome, which pays homage to both highend furniture and quirky thrift store gems. One of the book’s handiest elements is the budget analysis at the end of every project; the tallies will help you know what you’re up against before you start planning your dream home. And if you’re not in the market for an updated urban pad—or beach cabana, as the case may be? You’ll still love the eye candy and the doable how-tos that would add flair to any home.

remind us of the good times and the rough patches, and everything in between that’s made us who we are.”

DESIGN AMERICANA Thom Filicia found fame as one of the “Fab Five” on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and in American Beauty (Clarkson Potter, $45, 224 pages, ISBN 9780307884909) he further showcases his decorating chops. In 2008, Filicia passed a “for sale” sign in front of a house near Skaneateles Lake in central New

OBJECTive art Part memoir, part encyclopedia of objects, The Things That Matter (Spiegel & Grau, $35, 336 pages, ISBN

9780679644316) by designer Nate Berkus is a passionate exploration of the stuff that gives life meaning. From a restless childhood in Minnesota, to his first job, to the nightmare of vacationing in Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami hit, Berkus describes his life—and his evolving philosophy of design. He also takes readers into the beautiful homes of 12 other people (along with his own), all the while telling the stories of the possessions that add spark to these knockout spaces. Because, as Berkus writes in his introduction: “The truth is, things matter. They have to. They’re what we live with and touch each and every day. They represent what we’ve seen, who we’ve loved, and where we hope to go next. They

York. He knew it was impractical to buy a property more than four hours from Manhattan, but Filicia recognized love when he felt it. He bought the Colonial-with-potential and embarked on fixing it up. This book—an ode to the Finger Lakes region and a testament to American design—chronicles that journey, empowering readers in the midst of their own renovations. Filicia’s enthusiasm for learning the provenance of his house and using local vendors for materials and furnishings is infectious; the tips on making smart design choices are useful. His ultimate message rings true: “All the time and effort spent collecting and purchasing is just the beginning. The design is in the living.”

Image at top reprinted from American Beauty by Thom Filicia. Copyright © 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter.




by Robert Reid


music b y HENRY l . c a r r i g a N j r .




Japan and a journey with his dad Travel often begins in an armand brother to visit the tomb of a chair—sitting back and poring Hasidic mystic in Ukraine. over atlases, photo books and I’ve always wanted to see more travelogues of journeys past and competition between destinapresent. And dreaming. I used to tions. That’s one of the reasons I spend hours poking at maps and responded to the playful, artistic plotting out road trips to towns showdown between the world’s with funny names, or flicking two greatest cities in Vahram through National Geographic and Muratyan’s Paris Versus New York dreaming of experiencing those (Penguin, $20, 224 pages, ISBN places myself. The good news is 9780143120254) with 50 sidethat 2012 has been a great year for holiday gift fodder for the bud- by-side visual comparisons (e.g., baguette or bagel). In addition to ding traveler or world-wise reader. the original book, there’s also a The Longest Way Home (Free fun postcard version. New York? Press, $26, 273 pages, ISBN Paris? Can there be a tie? 9781451667486), the first book Sometimes it’s the photos that by Brat Pack actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy, does double duty, sharing both the behind-thescenes reality of a writer on the transport a reader. Lonely Planet road while also showing how the Pretty in Pink actor comes to terms released several new photo-filled coffee table books this year. My with his notion of “home” in the favorite—and the one with the weeks before his Irish wedding. most “Really?” moments—is It’s quite a read, particularly as the Great Adventures ($39.99, 320 insular McCarthy opens up to expages, ISBN 9781742209647), pats, travelers and locals in some which offers lore and logistics as of the world’s most varied destinawell as stunning images of the tions (including Baltimore), and, world’s greatest journeys. Trek up most importantly, to his readers. Those observers who lament the Chile’s Torres del Paine, raft the disappearance of the “pilgrimage” Nile, go baboon-spotting in Ethiopia—all from your armchair (if you in travel in recent years will treacan restrain yourself). sure Gideon Lewis-Kraus’ A Sense of Direction (Riverhead, $26.95, 344 pages, ISBN 9781594487255). This engaging and often funny travelogue follows Robert Reid, the U.S. Travel three historic pilgrimEditor for Lonely Planet, still age routes: the Camino gets inspired by planning de Santiago in Spain, a trips, often drawing up itineraries with crayons on 900-mile temple-hopping graph paper. trek in pure solitude in

hether through letters, lyrics or rare photos, a number of this season’s books capture the magic of the music we love so much.

Acclaimed Beatles biographer Hunter Davies has gathered, for the first time, all of John Lennon’s correspondence in a groundbreaking collection. The John Lennon Letters (Little, Brown, $29.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780316200806), published on what would have been Lennon’s 72nd birthday, includes almost 300 letters, notes, doodles, handwritten Beatles set lists, grocery lists and lyrics to never-recorded songs. Ranging from 1951 to Lennon’s reclusive years with Yoko Ono in the late 1970s, this fascinating volume contains thank-you notes to family and friends; love notes to Cynthia, his first wife (including a homemade card that celebrates their first Christmas together); a page from a homemade book, A Treasury of Art and Poetry, that he wrote when he was 11; and letters to record executives and other Beatles. With affection and insight, Davies provides elegant introductions to each of the book’s sections, setting each of the items into the fuller context of Lennon’s life and times.

Shine a light Fifty years after they kicked off their rollicking and raucous career at The Marquee Club in London, the Rolling Stones continue to prance across stages with their hard-driving anthems celebrating sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The band marks the anniversary with The Rolling Stones 50 (Hyperion, $60, 352 pages, ISBN 9781401324735), by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. More than 1,000 il-

lustrations from the archives of the Daily Mirror chronicle now-legendary events in the Stones’ career— from the band’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show to the 1969 concert at the Altamont Speedway. Captions from band members accompany the photographs; in a concert photo of the Stones in the Brighton Ballroom in 1964, packed with fans screaming, fainting and fist-fighting, Jagger remarks that “it was getting to be the same old thing, night after night. There was every chance that someone would get seriously hurt if this kept up.” Because it contains many rare and neverbefore-seen photos, this essential collection is a perfect gift from the Stones to their fans.

Are You Experienced? An entire generation of guitarists grew up imitating Jimi Hendrix’s blazing guitar solos. Yet, as Hendrix’s sister, Janie, illustrates so forcefully in her lovingly crafted collection, Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book (Backbeat, $40, 304 pages, ISBN 9781423492689), Hendrix excelled as much at lyrics as he did at licks. Published in time for what would have been Hendrix’s 70th birthday, this collection of handwritten lyrics, some scribbled on hotel stationery, offers powerful insights into Hendrix’s passionate imagination and lyrical genius. Photos accompany each song, bringing to life Hendrix’s enduring legacy and his ability, in his sister’s words, to build a “bridge from past to present to future.”

art & photography © Lisa Hardaway + Paul Hester

by alice cary

Images of beauty, truth and the absurd


urround yourself with the creative vision on display in a variety of new art books. Curl up with essays likely to change or challenge your outlook, or dip into survey books for old favorites and new discoveries. As photographer Elliott Erwitt explains, “It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception.” Start with a new edition of The Art Book (Phaidon, $59.95, 592 pages, ISBN 9780714864679), a massive A-to-Z collection first published in 1994 and now updated with 70 new artists and 100 new artworks. The volume’s large format and 600 color illustrations make it a joy to peruse, a fun, informative juxtaposition of classic and contemporary, with everything from Da Vinci and van Gogh to Warhol’s “Marilyn.” The latest additions are varied and eyecatching, such as Thomas Demand’s “Kitchen,” a photo of a life-size cardboard reconstruction of the farmhouse kitchen where Saddam Hussein was found hiding in 2003. The Art Book is indeed a grand anthology, featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, performance art and installations. Each page or spread spotlights a work of art and its artist. Brief glossaries define technical terms and artistic movements; there’s also a list of museums and galleries where the works can be found. This diverse assortment is guaranteed to fascinate and provoke a variety of art lovers.

through the lens Also comprehensive, yet more narrowly focused, is another massive volume, Roberto Koch’s Master Photographers (Flammarion, $125, 448 pages, ISBN 9782080201331), filled with 20 game-changing artists from the 20th century. Editor Koch devotes 22 pages to each photogImage at top is Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch. From Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Houses, reprinted with permission of Abrams Books.

rapher, including an introduction, short biography and a collection of phenomenal photographs with brief commentary. The artistic range is broad, from the joyful humanity captured by Elliott Erwitt to the iconic Depression portraits by Walker Evans. Englishman Martin Parr “has made supermarkets, country fairs, and working class beaches his own personal trenches,” brilliantly capturing, for instance, a woman biting into a burger at Disneyland in Tokyo. In stark contrast are the haunting political statements by James Nachtwey, such as the brutally scarred face of a Rwandan death camp survivor, the dying body of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan or the horrific sight of a skeletal famine victim crawling through dirt in the Sudan.

a TRAINED EYE Two new books will help art lovers fully appreciate the artistic world’s vast array of styles and goals, the first being John Updike’s Always Looking: Essays on Art (Knopf, $45, 224 pages, ISBN 9780307957306). The prolific novelist published two companion books before his

2009 death (Just Looking and Still Looking), and this new collection is accompanied by more than 200 color reproductions. Most of these exhibition reviews first appeared in The New York Review of Books. Updike’s noted treatise, “The Clarity of Things,” tackles the question, “What is American about American art?” in a discussion exploring artists such as John Singleton Copley and Winslow Homer, along with more modern names like Joseph Stella and Mark Rothko. Reading these insightful essays feels like wandering through notable galleries with Updike as your docent, leaving his audience informed and fulfilled.

PAST MADE PRESENT For a more lighthearted but no less valuable learning experience, dive into Will Gompertz’s What Are You Looking At? The Surprising, Shocking and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art (Dutton, $28.95, 436 pages, ISBN 9780525952671). A former director of the Tate in London and now BBC arts editor, Gompertz explains his hope to offer “a personal, informative, anecdotal and accessible book that takes the chronological story of

modern art (from Impressionism to now) as the basis for its structure.” In these highly readable essays, Gompertz calls Cézanne “the greatest artist of the entire modern movement,” and his description of Duchamp’s creation of his famous urinal (called “Fountain”) reads like a short story, concluding, “It is Duchamp who is to blame for the whole ‘is it art’ debate, which, of course, is exactly what he intended.” His final chapter, “Art Now,” makes mention of Shepard Fairey’s Pop Art treatment of a 2008 Barack Obama poster and British street artist Banksy. Gompertz writes, “I suspect if Marcel Duchamp were alive today he would be a street artist.”

AMERICAN LANDSCAPE For an in-depth look at one artist, try Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Houses: Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu by Barbara Buhler Lynes and Agapita Judy Lopez (Abrams, $50, 256 pages, ISBN 9781419703942). This absorbing book shows how O’Keeffe’s two New Mexico homes and their surroundings affected her art, comparing, for instance, a photograph of a patio and door with the painting that it inspired, “Black Door with Snow.” When O’Keeffe purchased Ghost Ranch in 1940, she wrote her husband, Alfred Stieglitz: “I would rather come here than any place I know. It is a way for me to live very comfortably at the tail end of the earth so far away that hardly any one will ever come to see me and I like it.” Five years later she purchased Abiquiu and restored it, using that house in winter and Ghost Ranch in summer. This book is filled with photographs, art reproductions and numerous anecdotes about O’Keeffe and the luminous art she produced in these special places.



nature b y ALICE CARY

life on the pale blue dot


mid the rush of daily life, it’s easy to forget the marvels that exist in nature. Some are far away, like the swirling blue meltwater that laps the edges of a glacier, while others lurk just under our feet, like an ant waving a leaf like a victory banner. These new nature books are filled with hundreds of such phenomena, discussing everything from backyard birds to the edges of the cosmos.

LAST LOOKS Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers (Rizzoli, $50, 288 pages, ISBN 9780847838868) is truly a book like no other. In 2007 author/photographer James Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), which currently uses 27 cameras at 18 glaciers around the world, from Alaska to Nepal, to record chilling changes every half hour. These efforts are the subject of an Academy Awardwinning documentary, Chasing Ice, and now this gorgeous book. As Balog explains, “Ice matters. It’s the place where we can see and hear and feel climate change in action.” If you’re wondering about the nature of ice photos, he explains, “Glaciers are alive, evolving, bestial. Glaciers respond hourly, daily, monthly, yearly to air and water around them.” These stunning shots capture the gleaming ice of the Khumbu Glacier near Mt. Everest, as well as otherworldly images such as deep blue ice formations on Greenland’s ice sheet, the artful sea-green swirls of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier and diamond-like fragments from Iceland. In this amazing volume, read-

The Ishango Bone by Paul Hastings Wilson Blue Atlas Press • $15.99 ISBN 9781470059828


A brilliant and enigmatic woman dares to solve the greatest mystery of the mathematical world.

ers experience both the big picture of giant glaciers as well as up-close views of this precious commodity.

CREATURE LOVE A sense of wonder is key in the best nature books. As animal photographer Tim Flach explains, “When I began photographing animals, my inspiration came, in part, from a sense of wonderment in nature—something I have felt since childhood and that still informs my imagery today.” After publishing Equus and Dogs, his latest endeavor is More Than Human (Abrams, $65, 312 pages, ISBN 9781419705526), a book of animal photographs guaranteed to dazzle viewers with their color, detail, clarity and, most of all, their uncanny “humanity.” Flach’s portrait of a turkey seems full of wisdom, certitude and grace, like that of a wizened old warrior. A series of close-ups of fruit bats brim with personality, as though these strange, sly creatures were runway models in a Ralph Lauren ad. A comb jellyfish swirls like a piece of modern art, its neon colors shining like an underwater rainbow. There are cute animals within these pages, but this is by no means a book of cutesy animal photos. More Than Human is an art book, pure and simple, full of elegance, drama and beauty.

ON THE WING On a much more practical level is the Bird Watcher’s Bible (National Geographic, $40, 416 pages, ISBN 9781426209642). Rather than a

field guide, this book is a wide-ranging compendium of birding lore, with chapters Image from More Than Human by Tim Flach, reprinted with permission of Abrams. on such topics as bird anatomy; book, the photographs and artwork how birds live, fly and migrate; and are fully featured, including antique the science of their evolution. Hisillustrations, historical photographs torical discussions tackle the mania and the colorful photos for which for feathered hats in the early 20th NatGeo is so well known. century and the 19th-century trend to shoot and stuff bird specimens. THE STARS ABOVE A variety of fun facts are sprinkled liberally throughout the book, under Similarly informative and enterthe heading “Bird Brain.” There are taining is Martin Rees’ Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide (DK, $50, 528 pages, ISBN 9780756698416), a new edition of an earlier visual guide to outer space, including constellations and planetary charts with positions until 2019. Encyclopedic in breadth, this updated volume discusses both the beginning and possible fate of the universe (Big Crunch? Big Chill?), star motion, astronomy, the Milky Way and everything from the sun and our planets to comets, meteors and space exploration. Amid the science and data are a entertaining lists as well, such as the variety of short profiles, such as a Top 10 Most Common State Birds sidebar on Carolyn Shoemaker, who and the Top 10 Words for Bird Contook up astronomy at age 51 and has gregations. A number of sidebars since discovered more than 800 asmake for engaging reading, such teroids and 32 comets. A multitude as a discussion on the hobby and of charts, diagrams and illustraimportance of egg collecting, and a tions help clarify the many topics profile of a talking African gray pardiscussed in this vast volume, such rot named Alex whose speech skills as the age-old question: Is anybody were studied for 30 years. or anything else alive out there? As with any National Geographic



e humans sure do love our pets. When we’re not cuddling, thinking about or talking to them, we love to read about our favorite animals.

It’s impossible to look at Under­ water Dogs (Little, Brown, $19.99, 144 pages, ISBN 9780316227704) without smiling, whether at the wild grin on the face of Buster the Cavalier King Charles spaniel or the cautiously inquisitive snout of Comet the golden retriever, as seen from photographer Seth Casteel’s perspective under water. Casteel’s splashy pictures, which went viral earlier this year, strike a happy chord: Dogs dive in enthusiastic pursuit of tennis balls; the photographer captures them in all their bulging-eyed, floppy-tongued glory. Canines of all shapes, ages and sizes appear here, but Casteel’s message is universal: “[Dogs] teach us that if you just jump in, you might have fun along the way.” This delight-inducing book makes an excellent argument for taking a plunge, watery or otherwise.

FASCINATING FELINES The Life & Love of Cats (Abrams, $50, 216 pages, ISBN 9781419704048) is filled with gorgeous color photos of domestic and wild felines: Russian blues, Siamese, lions, leopards, Bengal tigers and more. In accompanying essays, Lewis Blackwell shows us why cats have so many admirers and delves into the history of “the cat-human/ human-cat relationship.” He notes that an archaeological dig revealed a cat’s skeleton from 7500 BCE carefully buried alongside a human grave—“an indication of a cat that was a highly treasured part of society”—and that, over the centuries,

the role of the cat was elevated, then devalued, then raised up again. Today, there are 600 million pet and stray cats roaming the world. Blackwell offers much to ponder, whether the eternal question, “What does the cat think of us?” or the physical beauty of precious kittens, impossibly fluffy cats and calmly regal white tigers.

UGGIE, AUTHOR Oh, Uggie, he of the bowties, pretty brown eyes and career success that most humans would envy, never mind dogs. He’s done it again: While many of us have been embroiled in a daily struggle to find the darn car keys, the Jack Russell terrier has gone and written a book, Uggie: My Story (Gallery, $15, 240 pages, ISBN 9781476700168). He told—er, barked—it to Wendy Holden, and reassures readers, “Where human conversations cannot be remembered precisely, I have recreated them to the best of my canine ability.” One would expect nothing less from Uggie, who, like many Hollywood sorts, had a bit of a rough start as a hyperactive puppy. He was taken in by Omar von Muller, a veteran trainer who got Uggie’s unfortunate impulses under control. Uggie shares lots of behind-thescenes dish on his rise to fame and his work on movies like Water for Elephants and The Artist. Adorable, often hilarious photos appear throughout, and Uggie lets readers know what it’s really like to be cute and in demand.



by linda m. castellitto

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reviews The Heat of the sun


an explosive story of friendship review by ian schwartz

Australian writer David Rain debuts with a rather American novel, a sensitive, intelligent snapshot of a watershed moment in our country’s history. Woodley Sharpless and Ben “Trouble” Pinkerton meet as teenagers in boarding school just after World War I. Woodley is an orphan with a significant limp acquired when he was hit by a car, while Trouble is the son of the powerful Senator Pinkerton, a man who some people think will be the next president. Trouble is consciously different, a James Dean loner who fascinates the other boys. Woodley, an outcast because of his limp and his dubious sexuality, naturally gravitates toward him. When Trouble’s stay at the school abruptly ends, the boys begin a pattern of losing touch and rediscovering each other that continues for decades.Their paths cross at key points: in 1920s New York City, where Trouble learns that he is half By David Rain Japanese, an illegitimate child of the senator; in violently nationalistic Holt, $26, 304 pages 1937 Nagasaki; and back in America, where both become involved in ISBN 9780805096705, eBook available the Manhattan Project. As the project races toward its conclusion, it becomes clear that as the bomb explodes, so will the lives of both men. The Heat of the Sun is a sequel of sorts to Puccini’s famous opera, Madame Butterfly, which ends with the forsaken Japanese wife killing herself and leaving her young son to his father, Pinkerton, a former American naval officer who left her. Rain’s worthy novel is a touching, often searing tale of friendship, betrayal and love. His flawed characters are staggering beneath the weight of the past, which they carry like burdens even beyond the book’s chilling, operatic conclusion.

A Possible Life By Sebastian Faulks

Holt $25, 304 pages ISBN 9780805097306 eBook available

LIterary fiction


Sebastian Faulks is best known for rich historical novels like Charlotte Gray and Birdsong. In his new work, A Possible Life, history is used as a backdrop to explore what connects us, suggesting that there are certain commonalities of thought, feeling and experience despite differences of time and place. This beautifully written novel is actually five selfcontained character studies moving from 19th-century France to 2027 Italy, with several stops in between. A Possible Life begins with Geoffrey, a British schoolmaster who volunteers to go to France as part

of a special unit during WWII. He is captured by the Nazis and sent to a death camp in Poland, where he is put to work assisting with the incineration of men, women and children. He is changed by this experience—even, he suggests, at a molecular level. The final and longest story follows the career of Anya King, a Joni Mitchell-like singer/songwriter in the late ’60s/early ’70s, told from the point of view of a man who falls deeply in love with her. Each of the five characters in A Possible Life is searching for a connection with others and for meaning in their lives. With each choice, there is an awareness of a life not led and a crisis survived, often leading to a renewal of the spirit. One could quibble over whether this is really a novel or a collection of stories, but that may be missing the point. A Possible Life is a gathering of distinct expressions that together make up a satisfying whole. —Lauren Bufferd

The Confidant By Hélène Grémillon

Penguin $15, 256 pages ISBN 9780143121565 eBook available

debut fiction

Hélène Grémillon’s debut novel, The Confidant, begins with an air of tragedy. In 1975 Paris, Camille is mourning the death of her mother, opening condolence letter after condolence letter. She discovers an unusual letter in the pile from a man named Louis, who tells the story of his first (and perhaps only) love, Annie. The two met in preWWII Paris, and fell in love—until Annie abruptly cuts him out of her life. Camille, a publisher, initially believes that this must be a manuscript from a professional writer.

But the letters keep coming. Eventually Annie’s side of the story is revealed—and Camille realizes she might be receiving the letters for a reason. Told cleverly, and in several different voices, The Confidant— which won its author France’s Prince Pierre Literary Prize—builds a rhythm of passion, tragedy and revenge, leading readers to the startling, satisfying conclusion. —Meg Bowden

Eight Girls Taking Pictures By Whitney Otto

Scribner $25, 352 pages ISBN 9781451682694 eBook available

LIterary fiction

From the best-selling author of How to Make an American Quilt comes another tour de force, Eight Girls Taking Pictures. This exquisitely written novel-as-linkedstories is an impressive ode to feminism as Whitney Otto follows the lives and careers of eight daring female photographers—most based on real-life figures—staking their ground as artists throughout the 20th century. Spanning several decades and various romantic settings such as Paris, Berlin, San Francisco and Mexico, Otto’s novel highlights the challenges these women face as they attempt to balance career with family life. Whether they are encountering anti-Semitism, sexism or homophobia, the women risked everything to snap the perfect shot. Like a master portraitist, Otto focuses on the details, describing studio settings as if she were staging a photograph herself. Although fans will notice that some of these women have appeared in Otto’s pages before, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is a chronicle of the difficulties female artists face in claiming all their possible titles: mother, lover, wife, but, most importantly, artist. —Megan Fishmann

NONFICTION empress of fashion By Amanda Mackenzie Stuart


sibling rivalry and revelations Review by edward morris

Ever since Cain and Abel, societies have been shaken and shaped by brothers who competed with, supported or blithely ignored one another. George Howe Colt, the second-born of four brothers, has plowed through history to describe these powerful and perplexing sibling dynamics. He does so within the framework of recounting the ups and downs of fraternal relationships that prevailed inside his own family. While Colt’s personal accounts of growing up and finding his place in the pecking order are the most vivid and psychologically revealing, he interlaces them with extended close-ups of brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth; John and Will Kellogg (of Kellogg cereal fame); Vincent and Theo van Gogh; John and Henry David Thoreau; and Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo Marx. He found that brothers tend to heighten certain By George Howe Colt qualities in each other—good and bad—that might have lain dormant if Scribner, $30, 480 pages not for that incessant grind of proximity. ISBN 9781416547778, eBook available George’s older brother, Harry, first served the role of hero. Then, when they were at Harvard together, Harry’s seriousness as a student became a living reproach to George’s harddrinking, devil-may-care ways. More readjustments lay ahead as younger brothers Ned and Mark came along to fight for their own identities. As the author tells it, harmony now reigns among the Colts. Harry became a doctor, George a writer (whose 2004 book The Big House was also a family history), Ned a reporter for NBC and Mark, “the least competitive of the brothers,” a recycling coordinator at a school for the blind. Brothers is meant to charm with its stories, not to be a template for predicting behavior. “Over the past three decades,” Colt writes, “studies of intelligence, personality, interests, attitudes, and psychopathology have concluded that siblings raised in the same family are, in fact, almost as different from each other as unrelated people raised in separate families.” Maybe so, but at least they’re around when you need someone to play catch with.

the last lion By William Manchester and Paul Reid

Little, Brown $40, 1232 pages ISBN 9780316547703 Audio, eBook available


Many have proclaimed Winston Churchill the greatest statesman of the 20th century. His determination and inspiring speeches played a key role in saving Britain and even Western civilization in the darkest hours of WWII. He was a complex man: demanding, insensitive, ruthless, yet at times generous and apologetic, with a natural affinity for children and animals. He was interested in science and technology but in many ways remained an upper-class Englishman of the late 19th century. He is, in short, a biographer’s dream.

The first two volumes of William Manchester’s biography of Churchill were widely acclaimed. Manchester died in 2004, but not before tapping award-winning journalist Paul Reid to finish the third volume in the trilogy. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 covers Churchill’s first days as Britain’s prime minister (and his return to the office in 1950), the Second World War, the beginnings of the Cold War, the writing of his memoirs and his death. When Churchill became prime minister in 1940, he had prepared for the moment in many ways for six decades. Yet it is important to remember that his selection was not a popular choice. He was aware of his reputation for changing sides on issues and his history of questionable strategic judgments, so he moved quickly toward reconciliation as he made his choices of War Cabinet officers. In the early days of the war, he reached out many times for help

Harper $35, 432 pages ISBN 9780061691744 eBook available


from the United States and received nothing but a sympathetic ear. Even after the U.S. entered the war, it was Churchill who made special efforts to keep the “Big Three” working, more or less, together. Churchill had no fondness for war. He hated the carnage and regarded the glorification of war as a fraud. But, the authors write, “War’s utility was altogether another matter.” Churchill once told his private secretary, John Colville, that those who say that wars settle nothing were talking nonsense because “nothing in history was ever settled except by war.” As the authors put it, “Churchill did not simply observe the historical continuum; he made himself part of it. . . . He did not live in the past; the past lived on in him.” This third volume of Manchester’s trilogy took almost 20 years to write, but the narrative never falters. It is a triumph and definitely worth the wait.

Diana Vreeland launched herself at Harper’s Bazaar with the column “Why Don’t You?”: “Why don’t you rinse your blonde child’s hair in dead champagne to keep its gold, as they do in France?” Such love for the superficial and luxurious may have been out of step with the austerity of the 1930s, but it foretold the direction of much of 20th-century American fashion. As fashion editor at both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue—where she was an early promoter of “youthquake” trends in the 1960s—and later as curator of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Vreeland’s professional influence was as eccentric as her personal style. Rail-thin with severe black hair and a distinctive, crane-like ­profile, Vreeland’s style developed as compensation for her perception that she was unattractive. In the insightful new biography Empress of Fashion, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart shows how Diana’s debutante mother rejected her “ugly” daughter in favor of her more conventionally pretty sister. This hurt Diana, but she did not allow it to shape her life. Reinventing herself as “The Girl”—immaculate, stylish and positive—led to five decades of fashionforward professional success. Stuart uses Vreeland’s vulnerable roots to create a sympathetic portrait of Diana, and also to explain her notorious lies about her background, such as her stories about growing up in Belle Époque Paris instead of New York City. She believed in telling the best story possible; if that meant gliding over the hurt of being an unloved daughter, so be it. Diana Vreeland’s life story is oddly inspiring. Why don’t you give a copy of Empress of Fashion to your favorite fashionista this holiday season?

—Roger Bishop

—Catherine Hollis


children’s books

holiday stories By robin smith

’round the Christmas tree


hen our kids were little, one of the traditions of the Christmas season was unpacking the ornaments and books. Yes, books. These books were only for December and were as important to the season as the plastic icicles and handmade tree skirt from Aunt Dee Dee. We added new books every year and, if I still had little children living in my house, I would add several new ones from this year’s crop.

Those looking for books that reflect the biblical Christmas story will not be disappointed. Three veterans are back with their take on the Nativity. Tomie dePaola’s tender, simple tale will delight young children with a bird’s-eye view of the big day in The Birds of Bethlehem (Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780399257803). Talking among themselves, the birds tell of the unusual, strange, spectacular, awesome and miraculous event they see. These adjectives are unveiled as the story develops, building a sense of quiet drama. DePaola’s respectful but accessible illustrations add to the story, making this a book that will be enjoyed over and over again. When he was bouncing along the roads in Africa, Ashley Bryan thought of Mary and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem and wrote a simple poem that examines the question of Who Built the Stable? (Atheneum, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781442409347). Lushly illustrated in gouache and tempera paints, this


special volume will encourage readers to imagine some of the lesser players in the story. Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrator Stephen Alcorn collaborate for the gentle Mary’s Song (Eerdmans, $17, 32 pages, ISBN 9780802853974). On one hand, this is a love song to new motherhood and, on the other, it’s the familiar story of baby Jesus and his family. Alcorn’s oversized illustrations in cross-hatched mixed media set the perfect tone as the young mother Mary looks for quiet time with her baby boy. Ahh.

A holly, jolly Christmas Christmas is also about presents and Santa and reindeer—and there are many new books that celebrate this part of the holiday, too! One of the sweetest is Just Right for Christmas (Nosy Crow, $15.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780763661748) by Birdie Black, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. After finding a sumptuous bolt of red fabric, the king has a lovely cloak sewn for his daughter.

From Just Right for Christmas, reprinted with permission of Nosy Crow/Candlewick.

The sewing maids leave the scraps outside on the steps where they are found by the kitchen maid, who uses the material to make a jacket for her mother. The scraps are passed on and on until the last little bit is used as a scarf for a mouse. This celebration of generosity and making things by hand feels “just right” for the holidays. Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have a small cottage industry going with books about dinosaurs. Their two newest are sure to become family favorites: How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? (Blue Sky Press, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780545416771) and How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? (ISBN 9780545416788). It’s fun to see how Yolen and Teague make connections between these two books (mom is knitting in both, the dinosaurs all kiss their grandparents, etc.) but still give each holiday’s traditions its own spotlight. As always, these dinosaur books are more humor than lesson and are the perfect way for little people to laugh at naughtiness. Another fabulous dinosaur series is Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs., which pits a red dinosaur against such adversaries as “bedtime” and “the potty.” This time it’s Dinosaur vs. Santa (Hyperion, $15.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781423168065). The dinosaur

is like an energetic preschooler, just learning to control himself. It’s impossible to read this book without laughing. I mean, the dinosaur is wearing all varieties of Christmas sweaters and pajamas! But, of course, that’s not all. Dinosaur growls and roars his way through the joys and jobs of the season: writing to Santa, decorating the tree, being extra good and even going to bed on Christmas Eve. When Dinosaur sneaks downstairs to investigate the sounds of jingle bells, readers will worry right along with him: “Did Santa see you? Will he put you on the Naughty list?” The final reassuring turn of the page answers these important questions.

Young Santa Santa from Cincinnati (Atheneum, $16.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9781442429932), written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, has the feel of a classic tale that could become a family favorite. Barrett (of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fame) cleverly imagines the childhood of Santa Claus, told as a remembrance from Santa himself. In a scene from the hospital nursery, there is smiling baby Claus, wrapped in a bright red blanket, his nose round and red. Every page holds a treat for children who know the story of the grownup Santa. Here we see baby Santa playing with a reindeer and snowman mobile, and later we see family pictures celebrating his first words (“ho, ho, ho”), first steps (in dad’s big black boots) and favorite snack (cookies). It’s hard to imagine a Christmas-crazy kid not falling hard for this one . . . and imagining the childhoods of other holiday icons.

’Tis the season to be reading!

“A new Narnia for the tween set.” —The New York Times

“A glorious exploration Discover how it all began— of the nature of friendship, from Newbery Medalist tenacity, fear, and … kindness.” Lois Lowry. —The Huffington Post

“Rich in wisdom and wit.” —Entertainment Weekly

One of the best Over 2.5 million copies sold! reviewed books of the year— Have you read it? Seven starred reviews!

Scan for more great gifts— perfect for everyone on your list.


children’s books

GIFTS by alice cary



ere’s a variety of snappy, fun-filled gift books designed to keep young friends and family members happily entertained for hours. Children’s gift books seem to be getting better and better every year, with amazing feats of paper engineering and creative activities designed to appeal to all ages.

Sleepy Time


Are the kids going haywire with excitement? Open up either of these two collections before the holidays if your young preschoolers are in desperate need of some calming activity. A great value, The Family Bedtime Treasury (HMH, $18.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780547857862) contains eight complete books in a large, colorful format, as well as a variety of poems and a CD containing an hour’s worth of classical music. The large format brings these stories alive, showing off a lively variety of children’s artists and writers. The unifying theme is sleep, that often elusive state for the preschoolers for whom this book is meant. Story titles include such classics as Don and Audrey Wood’s The Napping House; one of Eileen Christelow’s perennial favorites, Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed; the (hopefully) suggestive title, The Quiet Book; and the bound-to-bea-favorite The Goodnight Train. Despite the “sleepy” theme, there’s plenty of bed-jumping action, and the book is sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike, night after night. Both young and slightly older children will enjoy dipping into a year of poems with Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year (Little, Brown, $19.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9780316040518). The poems are arranged into monthly themes, along with several bonus sections celebrating such occasions as birthdays and new babies. The authors include such luminaries as Robert Frost, Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, Emily Dickinson and E.B. White, all accompanied by colorful, lively illustrations by Marjorie Priceman. These pages

will brighten any day, as Priceman’s energetic art swirls across the page with a zooming skateboarder, a swooshing bicycle or a canoe floating downstream. This is the sort of gift book children can enjoy for years, first as a read-aloud and later as an anthology to explore on their own. Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, have done a good job of combining lighthearted verses about childhood with those by renowned voices such as Langston Hughes and Billy Collins.

Explore! Elementary-aged children are likely to spend hours with the information-packed visual treat My PopUp World Atlas (Templar, $18.99, 16 pages, ISBN 9780763660949). Did you know, for example, that the largest lake in Australia, Lake Eyre, is almost dry for part of the year? This is just one of the many geographical tidbits presented here in easily digestible form. Starting with a spread of the world, the book contains pop-up spreads for each continent, filled with flaps, information wheels, pullouts and a “Fact File” for each. Budding geographers will find much to devour, as each map is jam-packed with illustrations and facts. Adults as well as elementary students will be mesmerized by the striking Legendary Journeys: Space (Kingfisher, $19.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780753468487), which bills itself as “the Slide-Out, Lift-Up, See-Through Story of the Greatest Voyages in

pages, ISBN 9781423133100). Perfect for advanced preschoolers (there’s some reading to be done) and young elementary students, its perforated pages are packed with Willems’ wonderful humor, along with games, mazes, coloring, puzzles and things to build. Since this isn’t just any pigeon, this activity book is more creative than most. Seven- to nine-year-olds will also stay busy with Dan Waddell’s How To Be a Detective (Candlewick, $19.99, 24 pages, ISBN 9780763661427), which comes complete with a magnifier, an ink

Space.” This historic overview is well organized and full of visual appeal, discussing the first rockets, early space pioneers, moon voyages, the space shuttle and modern missions, including missions to Mars. In addition to tracking the “big picture” of space exploration, the book offers a variety of entertaining minutia, such as a brief discussion of spiders that traveled into space, or photographs of the first television images broadcast by satellite Telstar on July 23, 1962. The book’s From How To Be a Detective, reprinted with permission of Candlewick. pull-out flaps allow for expansive visualizations of, for pad for fingerprints and a periexample, the solar system as well as scope-making kit. This engaging the Saturn V rocket with its many book serves as a nice introduction to stages. Diagrams and flaps are Sherlock Holmes, who’s mentioned fun and focused, accompanied by throughout. Jim Smith’s cartoon-like photographs that bring the subject illustrations add personality and to life. Readers can’t help but enjoy humor to these pages, with thuggish these sophisticated tidbits, which suspects who look bug-eyed and fujump off the page like an intriguing rious, while a sweet grandma sweats museum exhibit. nervously in a police lineup. This guidebook explains things Play & Learn like fingerprints, surveillance and Mo Willems’ pigeon is an irrepressible character, the star of a beloved series that began with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! So what better guy to direct the fun-filled Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book (Hyperion, $19.99, 272

GIFTS handwriting analysis, with activities on every page. Once these pages have been studied, “graduates” are ready to tackle the mysterious case of a missing painting, complete with fingerprints and handwriting samples for each suspect. Kids will love diving into their own CSI world. Clear a good-sized workspace for mechanical-minded kids who want to Make Your Own T. Rex (DK, $24.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780756697884). The good news is that there’s no need for glue, tape or scissors; this three-foot model is made of 71 heavy cardboard bones that get slotted together, along with a base upon which the skeleton model stands. An accompanying booklet gives step-by-step instructions, along with plenty of dinosaur facts and photos. The finished product looks fierce and on the prowl, with a mouthful of teeth ready to bite. It’s impressive how much kids can learn with Super Science: Matter Matters! (Templar, $18.99, 18 pages, ISBN 9780763660963), part of a superb new science series written by TV producer and science expert Tom Adams. Who knew a pop-up model of the element boron could be so appealing, or that Jell-O is so wobbly because it’s a colloid? This book contains fabulous flaps to pull and turn, along with a variety of simple experiments to try at home. Thomas Flintman’s bold illustrations immediately grab readers’ attention, pulling them into the informative text, which explains, for instance, that hot water freezes faster than cold, and that scientists aren’t sure why. The

text is simple, yet never simplistic, touching on a variety of important topics, including surface tension, the periodic table, and acids and bases, all presented in an appealing way (think “Killer Chemicals!”).

meet  RENATA LIWSKA of: Q: Illustrator 

would you describe Q: How  the book?

Pop-Up Treats Star Wars fans of all ages will be overjoyed by the intricate paper engineering in Matthew Reinhart’s fantastic Star Wars: A Galactic PopUp Adventure (Orchard, $36.99, ISBN 9780545176163). Rein­hart is a superstar in the field, having created previous Star Wars pop-ups and partnered with paper engineering legend Robert Sabuda on projects like Encyclopedia Mythologica. The book’s five wondrous spreads tackle the themes of planets, beasts, enemies, technological wonders and finally, Darth Vader. Each spread contains one giant pop-up that leaps out of the pages, along with many flaps and smaller pop-ups, like a wonderful box of secret treasures. This is pop-up at its artistic best, exploring the characters, creatures and wondrous worlds of the Star Wars universe, even including a color-changing, light-up saber for the 3-D Darth Vader. As readers open the page, they first see the face of Anakin Skywalker, which is then replaced by that of Darth Vader in a nearly magical transformation. On a much calmer note, preschoolers will squeal with delight at the pop-up version of Itsy Bitsy Spider (Atheneum, $19.99, 12 pages, ISBN 9781416998952). Despite the smaller scale, however, this book also features true paper engineering, complete with a clear-paned window that opens and closes above the waterspout. Caldecott-winning artist Richard Egielski injects new life into this simple rhyme, creating an imaginative storybook village that springs to life on every page. Youngsters will be thrilled by the rush of rainwater shooting the heroic spider out of the drain spout, and cheer on the valiant little hero as he dries himself off and completes his mission.

has been the biggest influence on your work? Q: Who 

was your favorite subject in school? Why? Q: What 

was your childhood hero? Q: Who 

books did you enjoy as a child? Q: What 

your favorite thing about Christmas? Q: What’s 

message would you like to send to children? Q: What 

THE CHRISTMAS QUIET BOOK A native of Warsaw, Poland, Renata Liwska has been drawing for as long as she can remember. Since her picture book debut in 2005 as illustrator of Nikolai, The Only Bear, she has written and/ or illustrated several acclaimed books. Her latest, THE CHRISTMAS QUIET BOOK (HMH, $12.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780547558639), written by Deborah Underwood, is a follow-up to the bestseller The Quiet Book. Liwska lives in Calgary, Canada.



By the editors of Merriam-Webster

MAKE SOME NOISE Dear Editor, I came across an unusual word some time ago: charivari. Can you tell me what it means and where it comes from? S. G. Fayetteville, Arkansas In some places, a tradition once existed that a newly married couple’s wedding night would be celebrated by a gang of revelers, who would deliver a mock serenade outside the happy couple’s home, accompanied by loud noisemaking such as banging on pots and pans. This “serenade,” called a charivari, is known to date back as far as the 14th century in France. The custom was brought by French settlers to Canada and to Louisiana, whence it spread throughout rural America. The variant spelling shivaree approximates the pronunciation of the word by English speakers. English borrowed charivari from French; the word’s history prior to that point is obscure. Two wildly different theories are that it comes

from the Late Latin caribaria, meaning “headache,” or the Hebrew chaverim, meaning “comrades.” Since the 19th century the meaning of charivari has broadened considerably. In addition to its original use, it can now refer to any babel of discordant noises or to a confused mixture of incongruous elements.

ON THE ROAD Dear Editor, My son recently had the word trivial in a list of vocabulary words with the prefix tri-, meaning “three.” The dictionary said it comes from a Latin word for “crossroads.” So does the tri- in trivial mean “three,” and how did it come to mean “ordinary”? T. A. Warwick, Rhode Island The modern senses of trivial— “commonplace, ordinary” and “of little worth or importance”—descend from the Latin word trivium. Literally, trivium (from tri-, “three,” plus via, “way, road”) means “a crossroads” or “a place where three roads meet.” The adjective trivialis,

which might be translated literally as “pertaining to a crossroads,” was used in Latin to mean “common” or “ordinary.” Presumably this meaning came from the belief that things found at such a public place as a crossroads are generally common things. The notion that people often stop where roads meet to pass the time of day with small talk may also have influenced the development of this sense, which gave us our modern English meanings of trivial.

RABBIT SURPRISE Dear Editor, One of our family’s favorite dinners is a dish we call Welsh rabbit: melted cheese mixed with beer and seasonings and served over toast. It was with some surprise, then, that I noticed this same dish listed in my cookbook as Welsh rarebit. Have I been getting it wrong all these years? J. P. Sacramento, California Both you and your cookbook are correct. Although the dish you describe is now most frequently

referred to as Welsh rarebit, you’ll be glad to learn that the spelling Welsh rabbit is by no means uncommon, and is in fact the older variant, dating back at least to the early 18th century. The phrase seems to have originated as a jocular appellation, much like Scotch woodcock (buttered toast spread with anchovy paste and scrambled eggs), Cape Cod turkey (codfish) or Arkansas T-bone (bacon). Later, when Francis Grose defined it in his 1785 work, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, he erroneously indicated that rabbit was a corruption of rare bit. Whether or not this mistake originated with Grose is unclear. Regardless of the source, however, Welsh rarebit soon became established as a synonym of Welsh rabbit. Today, both names are considered standard, although rarebit appears with slightly greater frequency.

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BookPage December 2012  
BookPage December 2012  

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