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Gift I deas f Book Lor over s
TOP TION PIC K
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ERS N AT U R E L O V
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Mary Engelbreit’s Christmas col lection rings in the holiday with classic Christmas carols, the story of Jesus’ birth and poems that cel ebrate the season with her beloved and engaging il lustrations.
Christmas activities These engaging craft and activ ity books from Usborne are full of fun ideas for the holiday season. Whether it’s dottodot, doodling or creating your own cards and gift tags, there is something for everyone! Each title contains stickers.
Peace on Earth
Santa Claus is going to town! Marrying the magic of Scan imation with the universally beloved figure of Santa Claus, Santa! is a holiday book unlike any other.
The Perfect Christmas Pageant
I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love
The popular Every day Zoo series by beloved bestselling author Joyce Meyer continues with a heartfelt and hu morous story about the true meaning of Christmas.
With over five mil lion books sold, Nancy Tillman proves once again that celebrating love in families strikes a chord with parents and chil dren everywhere.
Feiwel and Friends $17.99
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Extra Sweet Edition A special edition of the classic picture book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, featur ing stickers and gift tags. 9780062305947
Make the season shine bright for little ones Give her a gift to last a lifetime. Each heartwarming tale in the new Bitty Baby picture book collection helps little girls shine bright by encouraging curiosity, generosity, confidence and kindness.
9781609583491 $32.99 9780618756612
Balzer + Bray $16.99
From the three time Caldecott medalist, a fan tastical wordless adventure star ring a haughty feline—who discovers the ultimate cat toy when tiny aliens crashland in his living room. Clarion Books $17.99
Hang on to yer hat, Cowboy Best-selling author, songwriter and acclaimed artist Sandra Boynton brings you Frog Trouble, a terrific CD and illustrated songbook of her new and wildly original Country songs, featuring performances from some of the biggest names in Country music.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
North of Nowhere
Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is his life destined to be just another hard luck story?
From the New York Times best-selling author of the Emily Windsnap series comes a captivating adventure about family, friendship and the bonds that bridge time.
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett
The Carpet People An epic tale, set in a miniscule world. The best-selling author’s first novel—complete with his own full-color illustrations—is now updated with revised text and exclusive content!
The next episode in the best-selling Origami Yoda series is sure to inspire a new legion of devoted readers. Instructions for making origami Jabba and Ewoks are included in the book. Amulet $12.95
Candlewick Press $15.99
Clarion Books $17.99
Give books children will always remember In How I Became A Ghost, a Choctaw boy recounts 9781937054533 $18.95 his tribe’s exodus to the American West and how it led him to become a ghost. The Bulldoggers get stranded on a road trip with tornadoes threatening in The Tale of the Tainted Buffalo Wallow. It’ll take all their resources to ride out the storm. And, May Finds Her Way is the tale of a little sled dog trying to find her way home when lost during the Iditarod race.
The RoadRunner Press
Build your collection
Travel through the LEGO® Star Wars ® galaxy with Yoda; learn fun and interesting facts about your favorite LEGO® minifigures; or unlock your imagination and build your very own LEGO creations. Do all of this and more with these three new LEGO titles from DK!
9781465408686 $18.99 © 2013 The LEGO Group. © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization.
L L A S E G A
In the brutal world of The Testing, itâ€™s not enough to pass the Test. You have to survive it. Who will be chosen to lead? The best? The brightest? Or the deadliest?
Teardrop is the first book in a new series from #1 New York Times best-selling author Lauren Kate, about love, betrayal and epic consequences. Delacorte $18.99
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children $17.99 9780385742658
The Real Wonders of the World
The timeless book that started it all, by P.L. Travers, the author featured in the new movie Saving Mr. Banks. December also marks the 50th anniversary of the classic film!
The time has come for dogs to rule the wild! This is the action-packed third novel in the New York Times best-selling Survivors series, from #1 nationally best-selling author Erin Hunter. 9780062102645
Survivors 3: Darkness Falls
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children $16.99
Discover the most awesome places on the planet from a kidâ€™s perspective. Intriguing facts and amazing graphics will allow kids (and adults) to see the wonders of the world like never before.
Lonely Planet $19.99
Listening Library Audiobooks = GIFTS Regardless of age or interest, audiobooks are the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Blockbuster reads from best-selling authors Brandon Sanderson and James Dashner! 9780385741392 $18.99
9780385743563 $18.99 9780449015131 $30
Steelheart is jam-packed with suspense, mystery and pulse-pounding action. The Eye of Minds is set in a world of hyper-advanced technology and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares. 9780804122801 $50
The First Phone Call from Heaven A masterful storyteller at the height of his powers, Mitch Albom has written an instant classic. Part mystery, part allegory, this is a heart-racing pageturner and a soulfulfilling tale of faith, hope and love.
N O I T FIC 9780062294371
The Road from Gap Creek
Someone Else’s Love Story
The Road from Gap Creek is a moving and indelible portrait of people and their world in a time of unprecedented change from writer Robert Morgan.
Shandi Pierce fell hard for William Ashe almost the first minute she saw him in a gas station minimart. She landed bang in the middle of a love story—but it wasn’t her own.
Algonquin $25.95 9781616201616
Enjoy the simple things Stirring stories of healing, hope and the love of family are sure to please this Christmas.
The Longest Ride
Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks is back with two converging love stories that remind us that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys to the furthest reaches of the human heart.
J.J. Abrams, the man behind “Lost” and “Alias,” teams up with acclaimed writer Doug Dorst to create a multifaceted reading experience like no other in this dazzling novel of love and mystery.
Grand Central $27
Little, Brown $35
Three great books to give
9781250027658 $27.99 9780764211713 $15.99
From New York Times best-selling author Mary Kay Andrews comes Christmas Bliss, a novella that celebrates love, the holidays and antiques. Best-selling author Rainbow Rowell brings us Fangirl, a coming-of-age tale of family, first love and fan fiction. Edgar Award-winner Lisa Scottoline returns to the Rosato & Associates law firm in her new novel, Accused.
St. Martin’s Press
From New York Times best-selling authors
This Christmas, give the reader on your list one of the latest novels from the top names in Amish fiction and inspirational romantic suspense—Beverly Lewis and Dee Henderson! 9781250030955 $18.99
The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
Little, Brown $30
Burial Rites Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm in Iceland to await execution.
Little, Brown $26
King and Maxwell
The Gods of Guilt
The October List
David Baldacci brings back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell— former Secret Service agents turned private investigators—in their most surprising, personal and dangerous case ever.
Defense attorney Mickey Haller returns with a haunting case that could mean his ultimate redemption or proof of his ultimate guilt in the gripping new thriller from #1 New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly.
In this mind-bending novel with twists and turns, #1 best-selling author Jeffery Deaver has created a masterful race-againstthe-clock mystery that’s told in reverse, unfolding from its dramatic climax to its surprising beginning.
Grand Central $28 9780316069519
Little, Brown $28
Grand Central $26
Guests on Earth
Guests on Earth is a mesmerizing novel about a time and a place where creativity and passion, theory and medicine, fact and fiction, are luminously intertwined.
Dawson Scott, a wellrespected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan, is drawn into the mystery surrounding the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the son of a pair of terrorists.
A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.
A story of murder and moonshine from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and his wife, Pushcart Prize-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly.
The latest novel from the New York Times best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club: a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity.
The Valley of Amazement
In this electrifying sequel to A Time to Kill, Jake Brigance returns to the courtroom in a dramatic showdown as Ford County, Mississippi, again confronts its tortured history. Doubleday $28.95
The Tilted World
Grand Central $26
Doctor Who: The Vault
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson: Mistborn, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, all together in one boxed set.
Packed with a staggering amount of data and photographs, these reader-friendly volumes on “Doctor Who,” “Star Trek” and KISS are presented in a lively, engaging style that invites perusing at any point within the books.
Tor Books $23.97
HarperDesign $39.99 9780804147996 $32
The Mistborn Trilogy: Boxed Set
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design The ultimate insider look at the filmmaking process of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, packed with more than 200 pages of spectacular visuals.
The ultimate visual celebration of 50 years of the BBC cult hit “Doctor Who,” filled with iconic photos, artwork and materials from the official, previously untapped BBC archive and from private collectors.
Look what’s new in the FAQ series
A Christmas Story Treasury
Honoring the 30th anniversary of A Christmas Story and featuring stories, mementos, full-color photos and even sound, this is the ultimate salute to America’s favorite holiday movie. Running Press $24.95
9780804127097 $30 289 $35 9780307939
No time to read during the holidays? Listen, instead!
Here is a collection of select audiobooks to listen to on long car rides, while baking those holiday cookies, or when finishing up your last-minute craft projects. They make great gifts, as well!
Packed with beautiful, breathtaking, full-color photographs and stories of incredible friendship, compassion and insight, Unlikely Loves is a celebration of love between animal species. Workman $13.95
n onON I T C I F
Five Days in November
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion
The New York Times best-selling authors of Mrs. Kennedy and Me share the stories behind the tragic days surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination for the 50th anniversary of his death. Gallery Books $30
“Smart and vivid writing, innovative organization and insightful analysis . . . will appeal to the literate novice and the seasoned Civil War history reader alike.”—The Civil War Monitor 9780307594082
Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World
A Field Guide to American Houses This fully expanded, updated and freshly designed edition of the most widely acclaimed guide to American houses is perfect for anyone interested in domestic architecture. 9781400043590
The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes An illustrated retelling of the bicycle’s 200-year story by looking at 50 of its most important and interesting models.
The third book in O’Reilly’s best-selling history series, Killing Jesus delivers the story of Jesus’ crucifixion as it’s never been told before Millions of readers have enjoyed Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s best-selling Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln. Now the anchor of “The O’Reilly Factor” details the events leading up to the execution of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth.
This lavishly produced pictorial includes sublime photography of our planet’s spectacles: fiery volcanic eruptions, windsculpted icebergs, magnificent wildlife and other natural wonders. Lonely Planet $39.99
Combine the world’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries with born storyteller Brad Meltzer and you have History Decoded, a riveting, interactive literary adventure featuring removable facsimile documents. Workman $24.95
From DK and the Smithsonian Take an extraordinary, in-depth look at our planet, the history of music and a historic timeline of scientific discovery and technology with DK and the Smithsonian Institution.
9781465414373 $50 9781465414366 $50 9781465414342 $40
The Southerner’s Handbook
Come Home to Supper is a heartfelt celebration of family dinners—the comforting, delicious food that memories are made of—by Christy Jordan, the new doyenne of Southern cooking. Workman $16.95
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook The Fabulous Beekman Boys present mouthwatering, delectable recipes in the must-have dessert cookbook of the year.
Artisan $25.95 9781609615734
Holiday baking with Betty Crocker Whether you’re looking for inspiration for homemade culinary gifts or entertaining for the holidays with baked sweets and savories, celebrate the season with Betty Crocker.
The perfect gifts for holiday cooks Southern Living 2013 Annual Recipes and Southern Living Best-Loved Christmas Classics offer mouth-watering inspiration for the holidays. For delicious dishes year-round, pair these staples with Cooking Light Lighten Up, America!, healthy versions of cherished dishes, and Southern Living No Taste Like Home, a regional guide to Southern cooking.
Come Home to Supper
In One Good Dish, the New York Times food columnist David Tanis offers 100 utterly delicious recipes that epitomize comfort food, Tanis-style.
One Good Dish
A guide to the mastery of essential Southern skills and traditions with contributions from the South’s finest writers, chefs and craftsmen, The Southerner’s Handbook is a guide to living the good life.
Timber Press $29.95
Remodelista Remodelista decodes the secrets to achieving a clearly defined aesthetic —classic pieces trump trendy and transient designs—through an in-depth look at the remodeling process.
Don’t just stop to smell the roses, see them! Seeing Flowers highlights 343 popular flowers through stunning photographs, accompanied by illuminating essays that will forever change the way you look at flowers.
idays l o H y Happ
This addictively readable day-byday literary companion and guide from a former bookseller and eight-time “Jeopardy” champion is like candy for any book lover.
In this powerful and intimate memoir, the beloved best-selling author of The Prince of Tides and his father, the inspiration for The Great Santini, find some common ground at long last.
In the tradition of Gladwell’s previous bestsellers, David and Goliath draws upon history, psychology and powerful storytelling to shape the way we think of the world around us—this time, about obstacles and disadvantages.
This illuminating biography of Dale Carnegie details how his understanding of psychology gave rise to the self-help movement in America and informed his groundbreaking bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
From Randi Zuckerberg, technology expert and former marketing director at Facebook, comes a welcome and essential guide to understanding social media and technology and how both influence our lives online and off.
Other Press $29.95
I Am Malala
Shot at point-blank range after speaking out about her right to an education, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai made a miraculous recovery. Her story will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.
Rediscover the beauty in life, even during the toughest times. In this honest, wise and upbeat guidebook, Alice Hoffman shares thoughtful advice to help readers reenvision happiness and recognize what matters most.
This special memorial edition of the #1 bestselling memoir by the late Chris Kyle, the deadliest American sniper of all time, includes a new epilogue, remembrances and tributes from family and friends, plus additional photos.
Little, Brown $26
The Death of Santini
David and Goliath
Little, Brown $29
A Reader’s Book of Days
Good Tidings and Great Joy
Chickens in the Road
The President’s Devotional
Following her two New York Times bestselling books, Sarah Palin defends the right to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas while also sharing family Christmas stories and memories.
Blogger and former romance writer Suzanne McMinn leaves her city life behind and returns to her West Virginia roots in search of love, strength and sustainable living in this memoir.
Named President Barack Obama’s “Pastor-in-Chief” by Time, former White House staff member Joshua DuBois has provided a daily meditation for his boss since he was a junior senator.
The Brick Bible: The Complete Set Now The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament and The Brick Bible: The New Testament are available in a box set— with two handsome hardcover books and a colorful, two-sided poster.
Chronological Life Application Study Bible
The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible
The Chronological Life Application Study Bible, KJV combines the Life Application Study Bible with a chronological format and brand-new resources to bring God’s story to life.
The Berenstain Bear family is learning new lessons and exploring the Bible! Kids will take a journey through the Bible in this deluxe edition, with audio narration on CD to follow along.
Gifts for every woman We all need some encouragement and inspiration. Let these wonderful writers offer words of wisdom and hope to all of the amazing women in your life.
#1 Bible for kids now in full color
9780800718763 $17.99 9780801015700 $17.99
Encourage your child to explore the Bible with the full color NIV Adventure Bible and a year’s worth of fun and inspirational devotions in the NIV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions. A great pair for the new year!
The Love Dare for Parents
Break Out! Every person has seeds of greatness planted within by the Creator. In Break Out!, Joel Osteen provides practical steps and encouragement for readers to “break out”—to let nothing hold them back and live without limits. 9780892969746
Authors of the international bestseller The Love Dare apply their 40-day journey technique to parenting, challenging Everyone can use some wise advice, a little parents to understand, sound science and an inspirational story. practice and communiGive a gift that can change a life cate Christ-like love to this holiday season. their kids.
Gifts for everyone on your list
B&H Books $14.99
Baker Publishing Group
A Look at Life from a Deer Stand Devotional
Great gifts from Howard Books
A perfect gift for hunters! Each devotion invites you to join in the thrill of the pursuit, the celebration of nature and the joy of God’s presence. Harvest House $14.99
Whispers of Hope Best-selling author Beth Moore guides readers through the process of offering Scripture-saturated prayer to God in response to a daily Bible reading. Includes 70 devotionals. B&H Books $14.99 9781433681097
Happy Women Live Better
Praying the Attributes of God
Valorie Burton reveals 13 happiness triggers—choices that can boost your joy right now, even in the midst of the busyness and stress of daily life. Unlock the secret to your happiness today!
Learning the attributes of God is like drawing water from a deep well—the kind that can refresh and invigorate your faith. God is far bigger and better than you think .
Harvest House $12.99
Whether you’re buying for a down-home gourmet, someone who loves to laugh or a fan of inspiring fiction, Howard Books has the perfect present for everyone on your Christmas list.
Living faithfully is a daily challenge for Christians in all seasons of life. With this selection of Christian living titles, you are sure to find the ideal books to encourage your loved ones who seek to grow their faith.
A Little Bit of Oomph!
Frog Trouble . . . and Eleven
Throw your heart into whatever
Other Pretty Serious Songs
A Scanimation® Picture Book
you’re doing and try just a little bit
Giddy-up, Cowboy! Bestselling author Sandra Boynton goes
Santa Claus is going to town in a gift
harder—because with a little extra
Country in a fully illustrated songbook and CD that features
book that marries the magic of
effort and a lot of oomph, you can
an amazing roster of Country artists, including Dwight
Scanimation with the universally
make anything beautiful.
Yoakam, Alison Krauss, and Ben Folds.
beloved figure of Santa Claus.
My Mommy’s Tote
My Granny’s Purse
GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
My Mommy’s Tote (with real fabric handles)
My Granny’s Purse (with die-cut handles perfect
A stunning introduction to graphic design by
will keep kids busy as they learn their ABC’s and
for little hands) reveals a delightful story told
Chip Kidd, the “closest thing to a rock star”
1, 2, 3’s—new features include an illustrated blue
through Granny’s treasures and features a new
(USA Today) in the design world.
handkerchief and a bag of healthy snacks.
banana with a joke and also a smartphone.
WORKMAN is a registered trademark of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. SCANIMATION is a registered trademark of EyeThink, Inc.
paperback picks p p PENGUIN.COM
Kinsey and Me
Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse
As two of the world’s superpowers move ever closer to a final confrontation, President Jack Ryan must use the only wild card he has left— The Campus. But with their existence about to be revealed, they might not even have a chance to enter the battle before the world is consumed by war.
In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced Kinsey Millhone. Today, Kinsey is an icon of detective fiction and her creator is at the top of her form. This collection is both a look at Sue Grafton’s own early life in the guise of the character Kit Blue, and a fascinating glimpse of Kinsey Millhone in nine tales.
When single mother, Victoria Meese, meets Brandon Ferringer, she suddenly finds something to believe in again. But Brandon’s search for answers surrounding his father’s mysterious disappearance is about to turn dangerous, threatening their growing connection—and their very lives.
Newly appointed as Territorial Marshals, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are traveling by train on a mission to escort Mexican prisoners to the border. But when the Governor of Texas climbs aboard with his wife, daughters, and $500,000 in tow, the journey becomes a lot more complicated.
9780425262306 • $8.99
9780425267790 • $9.99
9780451465566 • $7.99
9780425267707 • $9.99
The Lost Testament
Heart of Obsidian
Police detective Chris Bronson and historian Angela Lewis arrive in Egypt to take on the case of identifying a mysterious document, but quickly find themselves as targets, pursued by assassins. Stalked across North Africa and Europe, Chris and Angela must decipher the parchment’s tantalizing message before time runs out.
Two unexpected invitations may be the first clues in an intricate puzzle that will lead Stone Barrington deep into the rarified world of European ultrawealth and privilege, where billionaires rub elbows with spies, insider knowledge is traded at a high premium, and murder is never too high a price to pay for a desired end…
In the remote African wilderness, a rainforest is dying. But something else has come to life: A newly evolved predator that has survived the depredations of mankind, only to emerge from its natural habitat faster, stronger, and deadlier than anything humanity has ever faced.
From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career— one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.
9780451466457 • $9.99
9780451414397 • $9.99
9780425269497 • $9.99
9780425264003 • $7.99
“Bourne for the new millennium.” —James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Eye of God
Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows—to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry. But now, Whitlock is a free agent who has been directed to terminate his fellow student of death. He knows how his target thinks, how he moves, and how he kills. And he knows the best way to do the job is to make Gentry run for his life—right up until the moment Dead Eye finally ends it…
Penguin Group (USA)
9780425269053 • $16.00
deceMber 2013 b o o k pa g e . c o m
Give the gift of great books with a little help from our holiday catalog, packed with inspirational and thrilling reads.
Meet the author of Kissing Under the Mistletoe
best bOOKs Of 2013 BookPage editors’ top 50 books
Cover and holiday catalog art © iStock.com/ma_rish
28 MarK nixOn Sweet (and creepy) teddy bears
29 dean KOOntz A haunting new thriller from the master of supernatural suspense
tOM aMbrOse How the bicycle changed history
christMas fictiOn Stories with seasonal spirit
Jennifer a. bell Meet the illustrator of My Pen Pal, Santa
columns 18 18 19 20 21 22 22 24 26
the authOr enabler well read library reads whOdunit bOOK clubs lifestyles cOOKing rOMance audiO
31 32 34 36 37 38 39 40 41 41 46
literary anthOlOgies Miscellany fOr girls fOr guys entertainMent art & phOtOgraphy nature histOry inspiratiOn fOr children
Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
The Apartment by Greg Baxter Hild by Nicola Griffith
43 nOnfictiOn TOP PICK:
My Mistake by Daniel Menaker
Lynn L. Green
Elizabeth Grace Herbert
Angela J. Bowman
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Hilli Levin
GIFforT IDEAS book lovers
First novels from promising debut authors
A lush new tale
CK MATTHEW QUI gs From ‘The Silver Lininng Playbook’ to riveti n teen fictio
BRIDE THE GHOST A haunting trip down RS the aisle FIRST-DAY FEA Books to calm the s back-to-school jitter Helen Fielding
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• Pat Conroy • Martin Cruz Smith Mitch Albom • • Donna Tartt • Wally Lamb • Ann Patchett Anita Shreve • Adriana Trigian Diane Setterfield i • Lee Smith • 1 Eric Carle • and more …
The Heir Apparent by Jane Ridley To the Letter by Simon Garfield
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Tales to share with little ones
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The perfect gift for readers on your list!
THE author enabler
by Sam Barry
by robert Weibezahl
Practical advice on writing & publishing for aspiring authors
Three questions Dear Author Enabler, I have written almost all of a novel. Of course, I am still working to complete it. My questions are: 1) When I submit the novel to a publisher, should I submit the entire novel or just the first few chapters? 2) Should I attempt to have the novel edited before it is submitted, or will the publisher edit it if the novel is considered? 3) In determining which publisher to contact, is it good to contact the publisher of a novel that is the same type as mine? Joan Tallahassee, Florida
You are asking good questions. I’d like to focus on the second one, regarding editing. Your first, essential task is to complete a good novel. I recommend that unpublished novelists have a completed manuscript in hand before submitting anything to an agent or publisher. Since it is the quality of the writing that will sell your work, you want to make sure it is in the best possible shape. A skilled editor can definitely improve the writing—every author benefits from editing, including those with a long record of success. (Most authors gratefully recognize the help of their editor and other pre-publication readers in their acknowledgments.) However, the time and effort of a good editor costs money. It’s definitely worth the expense if you are really ready to take your manuscript to market, but I am not certain you are there yet. Are you part of a writing group, or do you have one or two trusted readers who could give you an honest assessment of your writing? A smart, good read by a friend or relative might help you tighten up the work before you spend the money on an editor. But I still recommend hiring a good editor, if you can swing it, budget-wise. Once the manuscript is in tiptop shape, your next task is to find an agent, or to find a smaller, less traditional publisher who will accept submissions without an agent. Finding an agent still seems like the best bet for an unpublished novelist. It isn’t easy—good agents are overwhelmed with submissions—
but the effort is definitely worth it. A good agent will know the publishing houses and imprints that will be most likely to take an interest in your kind of book. This, by the way, is the answer to your third question: Yes, it is best to try and sell your work to publishers who handle books that are similar to yours. If you’re working without an agent, you will need to do your homework to find the right publisher.
Autobiography advice Dear Author Enabler, I am 90 years old, and I have written my life story. Can you help me to get an agent and publish my book? Bernice “Bee” Page Novato, California Autobiography/memoir is a crowded field and not easy to sell, unless the author is already famous. As I mentioned above, getting an agent is not easy, but it is usually worth the trouble. However, in some cases I think it may not be the route to go, and I think your book might fall into this category. You’ve written your autobiography, and you are ready to get it into print. Rather than going through the trouble and potential disappointment of trying to acquire an agent, why not publish it yourself? First, have someone edit your manuscript for errors and misspellings. You can either pay for this, or have a trusted friend or family member do it—if he or she has the necessary skills. Once this step is completed, you have a choice to make: You can have the pages photocopied and bound by a local printer/copier and sell or give them to your friends, relatives and other interested folks; or you can do a more formal version of selfpublishing, using something like the Ingram Spark program. Then you can see if your local bookstore will stock the book. Have a book release party. Enjoy the ride. No matter what route you choose, congratulations on writing the book! This marks the final installment of The Author Enabler column, which has provided advice on writing and publishing to BookPage readers for almost a decade. Many thanks to Sam Barry for his humor, heart and wisdom.
A complete collection of Neruda’s odes This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, whom Gabriel García Márquez has called “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” Such blanket assessments are subjective, of course, and impossible to support, but there is no denying that Neruda is that rare modern poet whose work achieved a global reach—nearly as popular in translation as in the original Spanish. One explanation could be the overall accessibility of Neruda’s writing, which, unlike that of some of his contemporaries, is structurally straightforward. Indeed, Neruda often worked in traditional forms, notably the sonnet and ode. Neruda wrote 225 odes (of the some 2,500 poems he published) from the 1920s until his death in 1973. In the 1950s he took on a monumental project, accepting a commission by the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional to publish an ode a week on the condition that the poems run in the news section rather than the arts pages (a tribute to his fame, certainly, but also to the avowed Communist’s political influence at the time). Surprisingly, Neruda’s complete odes have never appeared together in one book, in Spanish or any language, but that oversight has now been remedied by esteemed scholar and translator Ilan Stavans. All the Odes is a commanding bilingual volume that presents every one of Neruda’s odes in English translation juxtaposed with its Spanish original. The ode, dating back to Ancient Greece, is a lyric poem, usually sung, and written to praise or glorify something or someone. As Stavans notes, Neruda “democratized the ode by using it to celebrate the mundane. His topics are a veritable catalogue of the quotidian: a chair, an onion, a pair of shoes, a train station, the dictionary, a town theater, a lover’s hands. . . . In other words, he championed the significance of insignificance.” But Neruda also wrote odes to significant figures, including Lenin, Paul Robeson and, perhaps most poignantly, his martyred friend and fellow poet Federico García Lorca: “If I could weep for fear in a lonely house, / if I could tear my eyes out and devour them, /
I would do it, for your voice of mourning orange trees / and for your poetry that emerges uttering cries.” Stavans translated many of the odes himself but also tapped the talents of an impressive fleet of translators to render these poems into English—some for the first time—including Margaret Sayers Peden (known for her translations of Carlos Fuentes and Isabel Allende) and many major poets, including W.S. Merwin, Philip Levine, Jane Hirshfield, Paul Muldoon and Mark Strand. Seeing their versions side by side with the originals, we see that some adhere closely and more literally to Neruda’s work while others have taken a freer hand in translating. Readers fluent in Spanish have the added advantage of judging these reinventions more closely. Rather than a chronological or thematic arrangement, Stavans has opted for an alphabetical one, which was Neruda’s preferred order. This choice means that some of the finest odes are interspersed among some of the weakest (those with political subjects seem the most dated and didactic). Taken as a whole, these odes provide a good measure of Neruda, both the poet and the man—lover, activist, liver of life. “Neruda isn’t a minimalist as much as an essentialist,” Stavans says. “What he wants most is to be natural, confessional, and pleasurable.” It is this uncanny ability to observe the world and distill its fundamental nature into simple, though not simplistic, poetry that accounts for the enduring, universal appeal of this great writer.
All the Odes By Pablo Neruda Edited by Ilan Stavans
FSG $40, 896 pages ISBN 9780374115289
“[A] delightful debut, readers will hope death returns soon to Kurland St. Mary.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Death Comes to the
d A Kurland St. Mary Mystery h
A December 2013 • Indie Next Selection!
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.— America’s Independent Publisher
Begin reading at kensingtonbooks.com • catherinelloyd.com
by Bruce Tierney
The madness and chaos of murder Early on in Steve Mosby’s serial killer thriller, The Murder Code (Pegasus, $25.95, 368 pages, ISBN 9781605984889), Detective Inspector Andy Hicks makes this observation about murder: “It does help to think of it like a building. You have the boardroom, the bedroom, the bar and the basement. Murder always originates in one of those rooms. Always. People kill each other for money; they do it out of jealousy or desire; they get angry and lose control. Every once in a while, a killer has something wrong with him underneath it all—down in the basement—and grows up malformed.” All signs point to a “basement” serial killer this time around, and the only commonality from one murder to the next is the savage disfiguring of each victim’s face. A taunting note to the investigation team suggests that there is a code—one that could lead them straight to the killer. Hicks thinks the note may be a fake, as there is nothing in it that could not have been gleaned from news reports, but when the second note arrives with images of mutilated bodies stacked like cordwood, there is no longer any doubt. Not for the faint of heart or stomach, but for the rest of you, The Murder Code heralds the American debut of a major new voice in crime fiction.
NUCLEAR MELTDOWN A wounded soldier and an inquisitive rector’s daughter uncover bedlam in a quaint village with sinister secrets...
James W. Hall’s longtime protagonist, Thorn, grows more crotchety with each passing adventure. At this juncture of his life in Going Dark (Minotaur, $25.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9781250005007), he wants nothing more than to live off the grid, tying fancy and expensive fishing flies for sport fishermen. It is not to be, however, as Thorn is drawn into an ecoterrorist plot involving two people he cares about strongly: a young woman he befriended back when she was a troubled teenager, and his newly discovered son, the result of a fleeting liaison 20-some years back. It quickly becomes evident that the eco-warriors are operating on wildly different agendas: One faction wants only to demonstrate how woefully inadequate security
measures are at a South Florida nuclear facility; the other is perfectly amenable to blowing the place sky-high, a disaster to outstrip both Chernobyl and Fukushima. It will be down to Thorn to put a monkey wrench into their plans and to save his son—no easy feat with his hands cuffed behind his back and a bullet in his thigh. Going Dark has cinematic action all the way through and a couple of fine surprises saved for the final few pages. Nicely done, indeed.
CENTURIES-OLD SECRETS There is so much going on in Donato Carrisi’s latest thriller, The Lost Girls of Rome (Mulholland, $26,
432 pages, ISBN 9780316246798), I scarcely know where to start. Three disparate plotlines open the book: First, paramedics arrive at the home of a middle-aged coronary victim. When they open his pajamas to massage his heart, they are shocked to see the words “Kill Me” carved into his chest. A further chilling discovery in the room leads one of the paramedics to strongly consider following that directive. Second, a pair of Vatican investigators look into the disappearance of a college girl, a possible harbinger of the return of True Evil to Rome. And third, a young forensic expert burns the midnight oil following the tragic death of her reporter husband. After a cryptic phone call from an Interpol investigator, she begins to believe that his death was no accident and launches a clandestine investigation. The intersection of these plotlines is a given; the seamless manner in which they do so is masterful. With each chapter, The Lost Girls of Rome jumps from one plotline to the next, back and forth between the present and one year ago. Carrisi uses this device to full advantage, building suspense to almost unbear-
able (and perhaps supernatural) levels, all the way to a truly surprising ending.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY “Lincoln Lawyer” Mickey Haller is back in Michael Connelly’s superb new legal thriller, The Gods of Guilt. Haller is in fine fettle from the getgo, engineering a slick maneuver to force a mistrial of his indubitably guilty client. He barely has time to bask in the afterglow of this success before receiving a call to represent a murder suspect, an Internet pimp who puts a new twist on the second-oldest profession. Andre La Cosse designs websites for call girls, arranges their assignations and collects a tidy fee for his services. Now he stands accused of having murdered one of his clients, a woman from Haller’s checkered past. It should be a conflict of interest, but Haller is not the sort of lawyer to let a thing like that stand in the way of a fat fee—especially when paid in gold bars. Haller’s modus operandi is to bite off more than he can chew, and he does so in short order, mixing it up with a defrocked lawyer even shadier than Haller himself and a violent drug lord with a vendetta to pursue, a vendetta in which Haller figures prominently. Connelly has been BookPage’s Top Pick in Mystery pretty much every time he has put pen to paper, and with 400 pages of nonstop suspense, The Gods of Guilt is guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.
the gods of guilt By Michael Connelly Little, Brown $28, 400 pages ISBN 9780316069519 Audio, eBook available
‘Tis the Season for Great Reading!
by julie hale
LOOKING FOR LOVE In A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Love Stories (Picador, $16, 304 pages, ISBN 9781250037855), best-selling author Sebastian Faulks spins five very different yet closely linked stories into a larger, moving narrative. Set in different eras, each story focuses on a lone character adrift and in need of love. During World War II, Geoffrey, a British prep-school teacher turned soldier, falls for a French woman who deceives him. Jeanne, an illiterate maid in 19th-century France, leads a work-filled life with few distractions, but she’s also on a remarkable
makes about Amelia—her questionable friendships, her membership in an exclusive girls’ club at school— reveal the stresses from which her daughter suffered. This chilling novel is narrated by both Kate and Amelia, whose Facebook posts and emails flesh out the story. McCreight writes with sensitivity about everrelevant topics like grief, the mother-daughter bond and bullying. A hypnotic mystery from a promising new writer, this is a timely book about the dangers of being a teen in today’s technology-oriented society.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
spiritual quest. Elena, a neurobiologist whose story is set in the future, is able to recall scenes from the other stories in the book and find solace in them. Each richly developed narrative stands on its own even as it illuminates and enlarges its companion pieces. Faulks moves effortlessly between eras and locales to create a breathtaking mosaic—a narrative about our innate need for connection and the ways in which the past influences the future.
The AVIATOR’S WIFE
“Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author
The enthralling story of Pride and Prejudice’s middle sister — an enchanting modern sequel to the beloved classic. “Five out of five Regency Stars!” —Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Austenprose.com
The latest complex mystery in Charles Todd’s New York Times bestselling series “There’s a grand design to Charles Todd’s period novels featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge....elegant mysteries.” —Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review
A harrowing tale of suspense from debut author John Burley “Riveting, disturbing and complex, John Burley’s The Absence of Mercy is impossible to put down.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence
By Melanie Benjamin
Bantam $15, 448 pages ISBN 9780345528681
PERFECT FOR BOOK CLUBS @WilliamMorrowPB
William Morrow Paperbacks
Book Club Girl
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In her much-praised debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780062225443), Kimberly McCreight builds a powerful story around a mother’s worst nightmare. Kate, a single mom, is heartsick over the apparent suicide of her 15-year-old daughter, Amelia. Staff at the private academy Amelia attended tell Kate that her daughter was depressed because she’d been caught cheating and jumped off the school roof. But when Kate receives an anonymous text that indicates otherwise, she sets out to redeem her daughter. A career-driven lawyer, Kate is persistent in her quest, and the troubling discoveries she
Melanie Benjamin, the bestselling author of Alice I Have Been, offers a fictional portrayal of an intriguing real-life figure in her new novel, The Aviator’s Wife. The fascinating heroine is Anne Morrow, the introverted daughter of a millionaire diplomat and the woman who captured the heart of Charles Lindbergh. The two meet in Mexico City in 1927, not long after Lindbergh’s famous flight across the Atlantic Ocean. When they marry, the union makes headlines around the world. Although she becomes the first female glider pilot to earn a license in the United States—one of her many accomplishments—Anne is always perceived as the wife of a famous adventurer, and she struggles to find an identity of her own. Benjamin brings her protagonist to vivid life, recounting the major events that marked her marriage, including the kidnapping and murder of her baby. She also convincingly probes Anne’s emotional interior, giving readers a sense of what might have made this extraordinary woman tick.
The poignant, coming of age tale from New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard is now a major motion picture
New paperback releases for reading groups
by joanna brichetto
b y s y b i l PRATT
Gourmet gifts, part II
When textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin lucked into a big, bright Brooklyn studio space, she invited some of her favorite artists to use it for teaching their own classes. Lena Corwin’s Made by Hand (STC Craft, $29.95, 176 pages, ISBN 9781617690594) is the book version of this concept, wherein 13 of Corwin’s colleagues share techniques for a satisfying variety of homemade projects, from jewelry to olive oil soap, fabric arts to beeswax birthday candles. The 26 delightful projects are scrumptiously photographed as step-by-step tutorials,
With The Scarpetta Cookbook (HMH, $35, 288 pages, ISBN 9781118508701), Scott Conant, celebrity chef and creator of Scarpetta, a many-starred New York restaurant with affiliates in four other cities, offers you the chance to recreate 125 of his acclaimed signature recipes. Some are simple, like Warm Olives with Garlic and Herbs; others are truly worth the effort, like SausageStuffed Fried Olives Ascolane. There are dishes with many components that take planning. Go for the whole thing, or just choose the parts you can’t resist. The instructions are de-
wood, plus plastic wrap salvaged from the recycle bin—all of which can be combined in seemingly endless variations. Each of the 26 toys and accessories hums with the catchy Yellow Owl Workshop vibe. Simplicity is key. Take the supereasy Alphabet Block Rubbing: Line up the blocks that spell your kid’s name, cover with paper and rub with colored pencils to make instant wall art that’s ready to frame. Other projects include a tooth fairy pillow, a woodland mobile and a custom baby blanket.
Top pick in lifestyles
creating the impression that we, too, are in the light-filled studio among the generous and pleasant makers. The thread that connects each project is a need to maintain the balance between control and serendipity: Can we attend to technical details while remaining receptive to the unexpected? And can we have fun along the way? Of course we can. As Corwin advises, “It’s best to keep an open mind about your end result and enjoy the imperfect nature of the process.” All of these carefully curated projects will result in products that are perfect in their own unique way, each one a blend of beauty and utility.
To kids, with love
Every project in Yellow Owl’s Little Prints (Potter Craft, $21.99, 176 pages, ISBN 9780770433635) is about sharing our hearts with the babies and kids we love. Artist and author Christine Schmidt asks us to “use this book to create pieces that will deepen the bond between you and the children in your life—first to brighten their every day, then to be cherished for many years to come.” What sorts of pieces? The subtitle lists the trinity of techniques at hand: Stamp, Stencil, and Print Projects to Make for Kids. But image transfer and decoupage are represented, too. The extensive range of materials includes papers, tote bags, clothing, pillows, containers and
“Gallimaufry,” says my dictionary, is “a confused jumble or medley of things.” It’s also the word McSweeney’s chose to describe its own marvelous mess, The Goods: Games and Activities for Big Kids, Little Kids, and Medium-Sized Kids. What makes The Goods marvelous is the lineup of contributors from the world of children’s literature: dozens of authors and illustrators with unfair advantages in imagination and skill (including some Caldecott Honor winners). Every page of this oversized activity book is sliced into asymmetrical sections and marginalia blaring “tiny word searches, massive ready-to-draw monsters, average-size chickens, a recipe for hero milk, and more.” It’s a visual treat and assault at the same time. I haven’t located the hero milk yet, but the Cook with Your Face recipe is fabulously gross, and I prognosticate many quiet moments with paper and pencil thanks to the semaphore secret message key. Here’s an idea: Turn off the smartphone and tablet on the next car trip and give your favorite kid a brain-stretching, boredom-busting break.
The Goods By McSweeney’s
Big Picture Press $22.99, 96 pages ISBN 9780763668945
signed for home cooks, but not simplified. What you make will reflect Conant’s quest for “sophisticated yet soulful” flavors.
California cuisine Manresa, an elegant restaurant nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and its chef/owner, David Kinch, are California cool and red-hot (dining destination-hot, not jalapeño-hot). Kinch’s devotion to perfection and to food that creates a deep sense of place has made him one of the most celebrated chefs in the country and a practitioner par excellence of using world-class local products seasonally. His gorgeously illustrated debut cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection (Ten Speed, $50, 336 pages, ISBN 9781607743972), is as much a “lookbook” as it is a cookbook. It’s a great gift for foodies, wannabes and serious ponderers of “modernista” cuisine. These are not easy, everyday recipes—just consider a Tartine of Unripe Tomato, Nori and Duck Liver, Sesame. So, read, dream and cook what you can.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME To Kelly Alexander, all hometown food is special, but “Southern hometown food is extraordinary.” With the aid and expertise of Southern Living and their top-notch test kitchens, she’s collected the best hometown recipes from six South-
ern regions, from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian Mountains, in Southern Living No Taste Like Home (Oxmoor House, $27.95, 320 pages, ISBN 9780848739621). This is real food from real folks—chefs and celebrities included. Just one bite of Watts Grocery-Style Spoon Bread, Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Brisket, Lowcountry Red Rice, ChocolateBourbon Pecan Pie or a Crab Cake Hush Puppy is guaranteed to take you home again, wherever you’re from. Along with solid cooking instructions, this book shares lots of local lore and colorful Southern characters.
Top pick in cookbooks Sweet treats are welcome anytime, but they’re super-special for holiday parties and presents. So the arrival of Valerie Gordon’s Sweet is sweet, indeed. The 115 recipes, adorned with 120 eat-the-pageluscious photographs, range from sumptuous pedestal cakes, “everyday plate cakes” that are anything but everyday, pies, tarts, cookies and bars to divine chocolates and confections, soft desserts served in bowls, jams, marmalades and breakfast goodies. Silken Winter Luxury Pie or Tiramisu Trifle for Christmas dinner? Champagne Cake for New Year’s Eve? Raspberry Truffles in gaily wrapped gift boxes? A feather-light Carrot Cake for your next birthday party? Sophisticated, grown-up winners, all; you can’t go wrong.
sweet By Valerie Gordon
Artisan $35, 344 pages ISBN 9781579654689 eBook available
The Season’s Best Reads Now in Paperback The New York Times bestselling novel is now available in paperback! “This will be the book-club book of the year.” —Marie Claire
New in paperback from book club favorite Kristina Riggle, author of Real Life & Liars “Love, loyalty and the murky nature of the truth, are at the fracturing heart of this astonishing novel about culpability, desire, and the ways we choose to see our world. Just breathtakingly good.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is this Tomorrow
Christina Baker Kline’s powerful New York Timesbestselling novel of upheaval and resilience “A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful.” —Ann Packer, New York Times bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier
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Book Club Girl
romance b y c h r i s t i e r i d g way
can be gone in an instant. From her own difficult past experience, Noelle understands the tenuousness of life but chooses to reach for every possibility. Can Christmas and the love of a good woman change the doctor’s mind? This hopeful tale will leave readers smiling.
’Tis the season for love
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eading a festive holiday romance—like these six feel-good love stories—is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.
Two wounded people discover love’s healing power in Miracle Road (Ballantine, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9780345542281) by Emily March. Lucca Romano arrives in Eternity Springs after a career-ending tragedy. A former star collegiate basketball coach, Lucca doesn’t want anything to do with sports or mentoring young people. That doesn’t stop his next-door neighbor, teacher Hope Montgomery, from trying to pull him out of his shell. First there’s antagonism between them; then there’s attraction, and after they open up to each other about their personal misfortunes, a close friendship blossoms. That closeness leads to intimacy, though both expect merely a temporary affair. But as they strive to help each other, they are each helped. Just when Lucca agrees to coach again and Hope begins to believe in new possibilities, circumstances force them to face their very real fears. Both wrenching and wonderful—a fabulous book for the season.
Second chances A failed marriage gets a second chance in Lily Dalton’s Never Desire a Duke (Forever, $6, 416 pages, ISBN 9781455524013). Months ago, after his wife, Sophia, learned of his sordid past and then lost their baby, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, left London on a diplomatic mission. Now he’s back, determined to revive their once-happy union. Stunned by her yearning upon her husband’s return, Sophia resolves to protect herself and flees to a family estate, but Vane follows—just in time for them to be stranded together in a snowstorm. While Vane thrills
at the opportunity to have her to himself, Sophia remains wary. Can she trust his wild past won’t intrude again? The long days and nights allow them to share passion and shed light on some of the mysteries of Vane’s past. The new relationship is still fragile, however, and Sophia’s doubts take it to the brink of ruin. Vane must use the magic of the season to once again win over his love. A delightful confection!
Hope for the holidays Susan Mallery plucks every heartstring in Christmas on 4th Street (HQN, $16.95, 336 pages, ISBN 9780373777822). World-weary Army doctor Gabriel Boylan travels to small-town Fool’s Gold, California, for the holidays. Though he’s not close to his family, it seems a good time to get reacquainted, because Gabriel has an important decision to make: whether or not to re-enlist. Right away he meets shopkeeper Noelle Perkins. When the attractive blonde mentions she needs help at her Christmas-themed store, Gabriel volunteers. He likes to keep busy, and he likes the looks of Noelle. As the holiday draws closer, so does the pair. They work together, attend town events together, and Noelle finds herself falling for Gabriel. But he claims to be disinterested in love—he knows that good things
Family matters Sherryl Woods delivers a sweet, kisses-only story in A Seaside Christmas (MIRA, $16.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9780778315117). It’s the holidays, and songwriter Jenny Collins returns to Chesapeake Shores to reconnect with family and get over the man who cheated on her, country superstar Caleb Green. But what Jenny wants is harder to achieve than she imagines. She feels like an outsider now that her mother has a new husband and son. Then Caleb comes to town, leading Jenny to realize that she’s never stopped loving him. Now a recovering alcoholic, Caleb knows he did wrong and wants to move his life in the right direction—with Jenny at his side. With
gentleness, determination and not a small amount of charm, he begins to rebuild her trust. On the advice of her close-knit community, Jenny is close to making a leap of faith when new information raises old fears and doubts. A warm tale about understanding, forgiveness and the persuasive power of love.
A wolf tale The holidays get a paranormal twist in A SEAL Wolf Christmas (Casablanca, $7.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781402284083) by Terry Spear. Lone alpha wolf and retired SEAL Bjornolf Jorgenson’s attraction to sexy undercover operative (and gray wolf) Anna Johnson leads him to join her on a job on the Oregon coast. There, in the days before Christmas, they agree to play newlyweds and look after an orphaned teen werewolf who suspects murder at the Christmas tree farm where
he works. During their mission, Bjornolf and Anna get closer, though each is cautious. For different reasons, both are unfamiliar with the season’s joys—and also unfamiliar with feeling so much for another wolf. But their natures overcome their fears, and once they are mated, the obstacles to a happy future arrive in the form of a more lethal danger. Exciting suspense spices up this story of two lovers coming to appreciate holiday traditions.
Top pick in romance Both poignant and passionate, Cindy Gerard’s The Way Home will have readers reaching for tissues. Four years after her Army husband’s death, Jess Albert is still coming to grips with the loss. Once a nurse, she’s now running a small general store when her predictable life is upset by the return of a man she met 18 months ago. Ty Brown, a retired Navy helicopter pilot, hasn’t forgetten beautiful Jess and is determined to woo her. Half a world away in Afghanistan, an injured man who doesn’t remember his past or his name is being hidden from the Taliban and healed by a lovely Pashtun woman, Rabia. Upon recalling his name, hope flares, but there remains so much to overcome—and he still remembers nothing before his last deployment. A dangerous rescue is launched to bring the warrior home. Will these two deserving couples find happiness? Taut, tender and peopled with noble men and women.
The Way Home By Cindy Gerard
Gallery $19.99, 336 pages ISBN 9781476735207 eBook available
meet bella andre
q: What’s the title of your new book? would you describe the book q: How in one sentence?
NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
L A U R A K AY E
HARD as it GETS A Hard Ink Novel
q: What do you admire most about the Sullivan family?
is a special time for the Sullivans. What’s your q: Christmas family’s favorite holiday tradition?
q: What do you want Santa to leave under your tree?
has been the best part of achieving phenomenal success q: What as a self-published author?
q: What’s your advice for living happily ever after?
A self-published sensation who landed a deal with Harlequin MIRA after selling more than a million copies of her eBook romances, Bella Andre has wowed readers with touching, irresistibly romantic stories about the members of the Sullivan family. In Andre’s holiday novel, Kissing under the Mistletoe (MIRA, $16.95, 384 pages, ISBN 9780778316930), mom Mary Sullivan remembers the love that started it all. Andre and her family live in Northern California.
Five dishonored soldiers, former special forces. One last mission… These are the men of Hard Ink.
“Laura Kaye is synonymous with great, sexy romance.” — Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author www.LauraKayeAuthor.com
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Kissing under the MistletOe
SE!” J.R. OF SUSPEN LL FU D AN , “EDGY, SEXY
audiO by Sukey hoWard
A captive ﬁnds hope in the struggle as a photojournalist that led to her naive, dangerous decision to go to Mogadishu. As reality becomes a living hell, she maintains her sanity by going inside herself, rallying strength from the good she had known, and finding a deeper humanity than she knew she had. Hearing Amanda’s voice as she reads makes it all more immediate, more moving and more redemptive.
In August 2008, Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped by Somali militants and held for ransom. It was 460 days before she and her Australian companion Nigel Brennan were released. A House in the Sky (Simon
MOthers, sisters, slaves & Schuster Audio, $39.99, 13 hours, ISBN 9781442367548), written with Sara Corbett, is her account of what she endured—and how she endured it. It’s a powerful story of captivity, survival and human resilience, told with honesty and clarity and without tabloid-esque hype. Amanda puts herself in context—her rough childhood in rural Canada, her years of backpacking in more than 50 countries, the desire to make it
The Wedding Gift (Macmillan Audio, $39.99, 10.5 hours, ISBN 9781427232977), Marlen Suyapa Bodden’s compelling debut novel, is set on an antebellum Alabama plantation where cruelty and unwanted intimacies were the norm. The intertwined stories are told by Sarah, a slave and the illegitimate daughter of plantation owner Cornelius Allen, and Theodora, Allen’s genteel, long-suffering wife and mother of Clarissa, Sarah’s half-sister, with whom Sarah grows up and to whom
she is given as a wedding present. Their separate strivings for freedom and dignity twist into a suspenseful spiral with a jolting finale. Jenna Lamia’s and January LaVoy’s nuanced narration validate these women and their tales.
tOp picK in audiO If you’re steeped in New Testament scholarship and the “quest for the historical Jesus,” much of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan’s best-selling, much-discussed biography, may not be as riveting as it is for the rest of us. Aslan’s account focuses on Jesus the man, the illiterate Jew from a tiny Galilean village who called on his brethren to fight the Roman occupation and corrupt Jewish Temple priests. He was one of many firstcentury Palestinian “messiahs” proclaiming the “end of days” and the coming of the Kingdom of God, and one of many who were crucified for sedition. Whether or not you agree
with Aslan’s intriguing interpretation of what the gospels, Paul’s epistles and the few historical references yield, Zealot provides a full-color, cinematic picture of tumultuous first-century Jewish life, full of opression and rebellion. As good a reader as he is a writer, Aslan’s narration is well-paced and provocative.
zealOt by reza aslan
Random House Audio $35, 8 hours ISBN 9780804192576
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r e a d m o r e at b o o k pa g e . c o m
“Accused is a scorcher of a story.” —Linda Fairstein
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READ BY BILL O’REILLY
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Visit macmillanaudio.com to listen to excerpts • Available on CD and for download
best of 2013
very few months there’s a media report bemoaning the state of literature: hand-wringing over e-readers; fearing for the future of the bookstore; issuing dire warnings about Amazon and Apple.
But while technology is certainly changing how we read, anyone looking back over this year in books should feel confident that it hasn’t changed the quality of what we read. Here are the 50 books that most entertained, thrilled, moved and impressed us over the course of 2013. See the full list at right—and a few highlights below.
time her heroine, Ursula Todd, dies, she is reborn on the same snowy day in 1910. With each iteration of Ursula’s life, the reader becomes more and more invested in her fate—even as we are led to ponder the nature of destiny and reality itself. Life After Life is a remarkable achievement from one of today’s best storytellers.
lOve affairs #13 the Of nathaniel p.
Donna Tartt’s hefty new novel is something of a rara avis: a book that is both exquisitely written and excruciatingly suspenseful. Like the work of art it centers on—Carel Fabritius’ 1654 painting “The Goldfinch”—the novel’s vivid detail and creative spark combine to create a masterful work of trompe l’oeil, one that just might surpass her now-classic debut, The Secret History.
#5 the sOn
Think J.R. Ewing and “Dallas.” Think Lonesome Dove. Think Faulkner. This stunning second novel from Philipp Meyer (following his critically praised debut American Rust) combines epic storytelling, Texas tragedy and raw, powerful writing. Tracing the rise to power of the McCullough clan—from the birth of patriarch Eli in 1836 to the 20th-century struggles of great-granddaughter Jeannie—Meyer reveals more about Texas and its violent past than any history book ever could.
#10 life after life
Kate Atkinson takes a detour from her popular Jackson Brodie books with a daring novel that has a premise more familiar to players of video games than readers of literary fiction: Every
The brilliance of Adelle Waldman’s debut novel is subtle, not flashy. You might think that a voyeuristic peek into the mind of a 30-something male writer as he navigates the Brooklyn literary and dating scenes would be salacious or titillating, as the “affairs” of the title suggests. Not so. Waldman’s nonjudgmental, unsentimental narrative allows readers to determine for themselves whether Nate is sincere (if oblivious at times) or a fickle cad—or a mixture of both.
#23 night filM
Marisha Pessl’s sophomore effort is a shadowy, tightly wound thriller. Readers follow Scott McGrath, a journalist who watched his career crumble after leveling a threat against Stanislas Cordova—an elusive cult filmmaker. But when Cordova’s daughter is found dead, McGrath sees a chance to salvage his own name while perhaps exposing Cordova’s dark side. Pessl writes with power and authority while inviting readers to “explore their darker selves.”
astrOnaut #29 the wives club
On April 9, 1959, the world was introduced to the Mercury Seven—
instantly turning America’s first astronauts into mega-celebrities. Along for the ride were their wives, swept up in a whirlwind of swanky parties, LIFE magazine photo shoots, even tea with Jackie Kennedy. Lily Koppel turns the spotlight on these women, interviewing more than 30 of them to craft a fascinating and touching account of the good, the bad and the ugly of their extraordinary lives.
encOunters #34 brief with the eneMy Within these brilliant, often bizarre short stories, 20-something blue-collar boys seek escape from their stagnant lives by turning to an unnamed foreign war. Never political but rather introspective and familiar, Sayrafiezadeh’s fiction debut is truly a collection, as these eight stories capture the voice of a generation of young men and build a portrait of a nation where war colors every thought and action.
Ocean at the #42 the end Of the lane
Neil Gaiman’s latest adult novel reaches into his now trademark territory of fable and myth, but this time the story is frightening and deeply intimate all at once. When our middle-aged narrator returns to his childhood home of Sussex, he becomes entangled in the memories of his past—the catalyst for his magical adventure. Despite its short length, this is a philosophical and emotional heavyweight you won’t easily shake. visit bookpage.com/bestof2013 for more best books coverage.
bOOKpage tOp 50
1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 2. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 3. Tenth of December by George Saunders 4. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward 5. The Son by Philipp Meyer 6. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler 7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 8. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri 9. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne 10. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson 11. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 12. Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois 13. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman 14. The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell 15. & Sons by David Gilbert 16. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink 17. Longbourn by Jo Baker 18. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer 19. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King 20. The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy 21. Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen 22. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra 23. Night Film by Marisha Pessl 24. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid 25. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill 26. The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson 27. Big Brother by Lionel Shriver 28. Schroder by Amity Gaige 29. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel 30. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker 31. Book of Ages by Jill Lepore 32. Flora by Gail Godwin 33. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert 34. Brief Encounters with the Enemy by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh 35. At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón 36. Drinking with Men by Rosie Schaap 37. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 38. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown 39. Going Clear by Lawrence Wright 40. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 41. Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw 42. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 43. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo 44. Ecstatic Nation by Brenda Wineapple 45. Ghostman by Roger Hobbs 46. The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler 47. Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones 48. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld 49. Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda 50. Gulp by Mary Roach
Mark nixon b y LYNN L . GREEN
Childhood treasures, loved to pieces
hen Irish photographer Mark Nixon created portraits of cherished stuffed animals—“the more loved, unwashed, and falling apart the better”—and posted photos from the exhibit on his website, he was unprepared for the reaction. People around the world were transfixed by Nixon’s tender, haunting—and sometimes downright creepy—photos of bears and bunnies with shredded ears, missing limbs and piercing plastic eyes. For each viewer, it seems, the portraits brought back childhood memories of their own beloved animals, “repositories of hugs, of fears, of hopes, of tears.” As interest in Nixon’s exhibit skyrocketed, Abrams Books came calling with a publishing deal. Much Loved, released this fall, collects 60 full-page photos of well-worn stuffed animals, along with the story behind each one. We contacted Nixon at his Dublin studio to find out more about this unusual project. What inspired you to begin photographing these stuffed animals? It started nearly three years ago while watching my son Calum with his Peter Rabbit. I was struck by how close he was to it, how he squeezed and smelled it and couldn’t sleep without it. So I thought I’d make a portrait of Peter for him. Were you surprised by the reaction when you posted the photos on your website? I couldn’t believe how it spread all over the world so quickly. I had a great time checking every few days
Gerry the Giraffe from Much Loved.
what new countries and sites were featuring it. China, Iceland, Peru, France, Israel, Argentina, Holland, England, it went on and on. Some asked permission, but most just took them from other sites. I didn’t mind. With this project, I decided to send it out there and see what happened. There were 6.5 million hits on my site in a few months. Why do you think these pictures strike such a chord? I have met so many adults who still love their teddies, still sleep with them, take them on trips and those who are still very angry with a parent who threw theirs away. I think for a lot of people, it’s a very strong emotional bond that is established at a formative stage of development. How did you find stuffed animals to photograph? After photographing Calum’s, I thought it might make a good exhibition for my studio, so I had a day where people could bring their teddy to be photographed for possible inclusion in the exhibition. Then a radio show interviewed me about it, and I was sent more. Then when the exhibition opened and it went online, I was inundated with requests from around the world to photograph people’s teddies. The main problem was when they realized they would actually have to send their precious bear to me, a lot of them wouldn’t, but some did, and some of those are in the book. Some of the animals look quite fragile. Did you have difficulty posing any of them to get your shot? There were a few that I had to be very careful with. Open Ear on page 38, whose skin or coat, whatever you want to call it, was hanging by a thread. Rabby on page 118, who had no shape at all, it was just like a long string of wool, but I managed to arrange it into some kind of shape. There were a few others with bits of stuffing falling onto my floor, that I either put back in or handed it to their owners, who were well used to it. Did any of the stuffed animals creep you out, even a little? Only one and probably not one
you would think. It was nighttime and everyone had gone home and all of a sudden when I looked at this quite large teddy, I got a little scared. I won’t say which one out of respect for the owner, but I don’t think you would pick that one. I am amused by the ones that other people are creeped In a self-portrait, photographer Mark Nixon holds a bear that belongs to out by—I think U2 lead singer Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson. it says more about them than these adorable the ones that freaks people out, but creatures. he’s got such a lovely little face with Tell us about the oldest stuffed a smile and long lashes. animal in the book. What’s been your favorite part of It belongs to Melissa, the lady who the whole project? runs the Dolls Hospital and Teddy Every step of the journey has been Bear Clinic in Dublin. She acquired so enjoyable. Just as I think, that’s it, it from a woman who was worried it’s over, done, something new and that her two sons would fight over it unexpected happens, like Abrams when she died, so Melissa gave her emailing to ask if they can make a two very nice Steiff bears in exbook of it. change. Edward is 104, probably 105 now. It’s funny—Melissa showed me MUCH LOVED lots of photos of bears she had repaired, and I had to be honest and tell her I thought she’d ruined them by making them new again. I notice she hasn’t fixed Edward’s nose! Is Gerry the Giraffe really only 10 years old? Yes, Gerry was one of the first batch I photographed on my Teddy Day. Little Sophie had him tucked inside her coat and was very reluctant to give him to me while she waited for me to photograph him. I had to arrange him in a way to show his face, and when I gave him back to her, she said to her Daddy By Mark Nixon he didn’t look the same—oops! But Abrams Image, $17.95, 128 pages ISBN 9781419710124, eBook available she forgave me, and they both came to the exhibition opening, Gerry PHOTOGRaphy tucked inside her coat. This is one of
Dean Koontz b y j ay m ac d o n a l d
Finding hope in life’s dark side here are three things you may not know about free-range thriller writer Dean Koontz, who has sold hundreds of millions of books during his rise to the publishing stratosphere: his books. It was a celebratory lunch because he had a new novel coming out. Some of the moments were very vivid and in color, and I don’t dream in color ordinarily. I couldn’t wait to start putting the story on paper.” The resulting chase-packed love story between societal outcast Addison and fugitive Gwyneth is just the sort of left-brain/right-brain head-scratcher that Koontz fans love to tackle. Growing up in Everett, Pennsylvania (pop: 4,000), was anything but a dream for Koontz, who suffered beatings and abuse from his alcoholic father, Ray. The author credits his knack for horror and suspense, as well as the unapologetic optimism in his fiction, to his early exposure to the dark side. “If my father hadn’t been a violent alcoholic who held 44 jobs in 34 years, I might not have the career I have,” he says. “I’m not thankful that that was my childhood, but it wasn’t a bleak one by any means because I was determined that it wouldn’t be.” Unfortunately, Koontz’s dark past followed him west. Shortly after he and his wife, Gerda, relocated to California in 1976, circumstances brought his father into their care. The couple supported Ray in psychiatric care facilities for the remaining 14 years of his life. He was ultimately diagnosed as a sociopath. That kind turn almost cost Koontz his life—twice in one day. “The care center called one morning because [Ray] was down on the lobby floor shouting at people,” Koontz recalls. “I found out later he had developed a tolerance to his anti-psychotic medication and had honed his fishing knife into essentially a switchblade.” Koontz talked his father back to his room, but Ray’s agitation worsened. “He kept pacing the room, opening and closing a dresser drawer, until finally he pulled out his knife. We struggled into the hallway, where all these people were returning from lunch. I managed to get the knife away from him without being cut and asked staff to call 911,” Koontz recalls. It turns out the staff had already
called the police. Unfortunately, when they arrived, it was Koontz who was holding the knife. “The police yelled, ‘Drop the knife!’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not me, it’s him; I took the knife away from him!’ They both drew their guns and yelled, ‘DROP THE KNIFE!’ I finally realized I was going to get shot and dropped the knife. They made me lay face-down on the floor until they got the situation straightened out. It was a memorable day.” As was the day before, when Koontz encountered one of only two unexplainable experiences in his life (the second he’s saving for full novel treatment). “The night before my father pulled a knife on me, the phone rang. I picked it up, and this woman’s voice said, ‘Be careful of your father,’ and I swear it was my [late] mother; I recognized the voice. She said that twice and was gone,” he says. “The very next day, if I had gone in there unaware instead of edgy about that call, he probably would have succeeded. I often wonder about that.” Reconciliation was not in the cards for this father and son. “A sociopath is never going to change and they’re not going to see that any of the problems in their life have been of their own making,” Koontz says. “It’s a very sad thing to never have a relationship with your father, but there was no way to have one.” As for happiness? Well, that’s another matter. “Happiness is a choice,” Koontz
insists. “That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not. Readers over the years say what they love about my books is that they’re full of hope, and that’s the way I see life. If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past, it’s almost hopeless. So I just don’t dwell.”
By Dean Koontz
r e a d m o r e at b o o k pa g e . c o m
1. His new thriller, Innocence, a paean to nonviolence, was inspired by a dream about a long-dead bestselling author; 2. His abusive alcoholic father tried to cut short his literary career with a homemade switchblade; and 3. The night before the attempt on his life, his mother called from beyond the grave. And true to the one-man genre that is Koontz, the mild-mannered 68-year-old golden-retriever fancier manages to find wonder, humor and hope in all of it. Few authors have managed to produce so many novels (I lost count at 120) under so many pen names (10 that I know of ) across so many genres with as much success as Koontz. Since breaking in as a science fiction writer with 1968’s Star Quest, the one-time Pennsylvania English teacher has turned out as many as eight titles a year by cross-pollinating suspense, horror, romance, fantasy, space opera and even comedy. Along the way, he became one of only a handful of authors to top the New York Times bestseller list 14 times. Genre? Koontz don’t need no steenking genre! “I started out sneaking comedy into my suspense novels, and as I moved around genres, I realized that I have a low boredom threshold,” he says by phone from his home in Newport Beach, California. “If I’d had to write the same thing book after book, I would have quit long ago.” Case in point: Innocence, a fantasy/thriller/love story about star-crossed outliers, has something for everybody. What sets Innocence apart from his past works is its poetic use of language and the fact that Koontz dreamed up the story— literally. “For years, fans have asked me if I get a lot of ideas from dreams and I always said no, I’ve never had an idea from a dream,” Koontz recalls. “But early last year, I sat up in bed at 4:00 in the morning from a very odd and vivid dream. I was having lunch with [actor-turned-best-selling author] Thomas Tryon [The Other]. I never knew him but I’d read a few of
Bantam, $28, 352 pages ISBN 9780553808032, audio, eBook available
tom ambrose by alden mudge
Rolling through history on two wheels
om Ambrose considers himself “a newcomer to cycling.” True, as a youngster in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, he owned and rode a number of bicycles. And now, as a grandfather, he pedals around the countryside near his home in rural Suffolk on a Dawes, which he calls “a sporting amateur’s bike.” But until recently, Ambrose had never written a word about cycling. That changed with the publication of his well-designed, richly illustrated and informative new book, The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes. It’s a volume that racers, hipsters on fixies, families with cargo bikes and occasional cyclists in their seemingly endless contemporary varieties will want to add to their collection.
Great Gift Ideas
Louisa May Alcott
Little Women: An Annotated Edition will delight both new and returning readers, young and old, male and female alike: beautifully illustrated in color and richly annotated with running commentary. Belknap University Press
Touching America’s History Meredith Mason Brown
From a piece of Hitler’s toilet bowl to a letter from George Washington, Meredith Mason Brown uses 20 family artifacts to tell America’s history across 400 years. Indiana University Press
from University Presses
In brisk, short chapters, Ambrose flow of working-class life. “The covers the technological advances of bicycle really did offer reasonably the bicycle, from the first foot-powlow-cost commuting. Of course ered bikes like the so-called Hobby that enables your workforce to Horse through the development of come in from farther afield. You gears and derailleurs, carbon fiber, have all these factories of the Inbike lights and such advances as dustrial Revolution sucking peoJohn B. Dunlop’s inflatable tire and ple into the cities, and the bicycle James Starley’s wire spoke, innovawas very useful for that. Later, as tions that were necessary to the prosperity spread, you have the later development of automobiles interesting thing of people being and aircraft. He relates captivating borne into the city for work puranecdotes from bike racing’s early poses then using the bicycle as a days to the present, means of escape.” including cheatAmbrose adds, ing scandals from with a sort of virtual the earliest Tour wink, “And the bicyde France comcle was probably a petitions. And he good sexual vehicle introduces readers as well. Cycling to the wide array of clubs sprang up and inventive, competiencouraged young tive and sometimes men and women to cantankerous pergo off bird watching sonalities who have in the countryside shaped and been and things like that, shaped by bicycles. but the real purBut Ambrose’s pose, of course, was TOM AMBROSE chief interest, to get to know one one that mostly another.” murmurs quietly just beneath the “The invention of the bicycle was surface of his narrative, is what he the greatest contribution to human calls the “social aspects” of bicyhealth because it enlarged the gene cling, its social history. The topic of pool,” the author says. “Young men the bicycle’s relationship to women’s from villages in France or Britain or emancipation, for example, is one the USA could then court girls from that percolates through several more distant villages. They would chapters in the book. ride two or three miles instead of “The bicycle became a viable being confined to a breeding pattern means of transport at the time within their own community.” when—in the 19th century— Ambrose’s text on the history of you’ve got a developing women’s biking is accompanied by extensive consciousness about equality and photos and other depictions of women’s rights,” Ambrose explains. bikes. These include photographs or “A woman never had anything of period illustrations of each bicycle, her own in terms of wealth, and she as well as many of the inventors and depended on men for everything, bike racers. including transport. As women got There are also close-up views of ideas that they wanted more social technological innovations like the liberty, this became irksome. So the Lucas bike lamp, an early oil lamp coming of the bicycle gave them this that made nighttime cycling safer great freedom. In a sense you could and more convenient. And there say that the lady’s bicycle is probare completely unexpected images, ably the emblem of female emancisuch as one showing overloaded, pation.” camouflaged bicycles used by the Likewise, Ambrose observes the North Vietnamese army to transimpact of the bicycle on the ebb and port supplies without detection
An 1897 advertisement from The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes.
during the Vietnam war. “That was a major demonstration of using a Third World technology to defeat a First World power,” Ambrose says, returning to his interest in the bicycle’s impact on history. Ambrose, who became a full-time writer after a career in filmmaking and advertising, thinks we are now witnessing “a third kind of revolution or effect of the bicycle as it has become an urban vehicle. Yes, it’s still a major sporting vehicle. But bicycling allows you to smartly maneuver in crowded and congested cities. So it’s the city dweller who has taken over the bicycle in many ways.” To which this citified cyclist says: Ride on!
the history of cycling in fifty bikes
By Tom Ambrose
Rodale, $25, 224 pages ISBN 9781623361310
SPORTS AND RECREATION
literary by robert weibezahl
Unique offerings for the devoted book lover
f you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for the bibliophiles on your list, here’s a collection of notable new releases that includes books about books, artwork made from books, a richly illustrated classic and more. Because books really do make the best gifts!
The singular mind of Umberto Eco takes readers on a tour of fabled places in literature and folklore in The Book of Legendary Lands (Rizzoli Ex Libris, $45, 432 pages, ISBN 9780847841219). In this lavishly illustrated book, Eco explores “lands and places that, now or in the past, have created chimeras, utopias, and illusions because a lot of people really thought they existed or had existed somewhere.” From Atlantis to Camelot, 21B Baker Street to Dracula’s castle, he contemplates why these places are invented and why our imaginations have embraced them. The more than 300 color illustrations range from the canvases of Bosch, Rossetti and Magritte, to illustrations by Arthur Rackham and N.C. Wyeth, to movie stills and book jackets. At once intellectually stimulating and visually stunning, The Book of Legendary Lands is a distinctive gift for the serious reader.
Books into Art Some book lovers may shudder at the prospect of their precious books being “altered, sculpted, carved, and transformed” into something other than, well, books, but there can be no denying that the creations made by artists and displayed in Laura Heyenga’s Art Made from Books (Chronicle, $27.50, 176 pages, ISBN 9781452117102) are dazzling to behold. Twenty-seven artists who use books as their primary material have fashioned everything from jewelry to chess sets out of all different kinds of books. Some, like Cara Barer, transform the books themselves into sculptural objects, while others, such as Jennifer Collier, make mock household items like shoes and knives. Alex Queral carves celebrity faces into phone books. Better seen than described, Art Made from Books is whimsical and inspirational, and begs the question—could any of these gorgeous artworks be made with e-readers?
Illuminating the Darkness
Tale of a beloved Garden Beatrix Potter’s first and most famous book originally bore the longer title of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s Garden, and as Marta McDowell makes abundantly clear in her lovely book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life (Timber Press, $24.95, 340 pages, ISBN 9781604693638), the lure of the garden was an essential aspect of the writer’s life. Potter bought her beloved Hill Top Farm, in England’s Lake District, when she was nearly 40, and in time transformed it into her own version of paradise. This volume is a cornucopia of delights for anyone who shares Potter’s love of gardening, as well as those who simply love her enduring work. McDowell provides a congenial biography of Potter as observed through the prism of her gardens, and follows her through a year in the garden. There is valuable information for travelers planning to visit not only Hill Top, but also other English gardens that shaped Potter’s horticultural passions, and an appendix that details all of the plants Potter grew and those she featured in her books. Copiously illustrated with photographs and Potter’s own drawings, this charming work is a must for the book-loving gardener or garden-loving bibliophile.
From Art Made from Books, reprinted with permission.
Collecting the Collective A Circus of Puffins? A Shiver of Sharks? What lover of words doesn’t relish the cleverness of collective nouns? A band of four friends who form Woop Studios (two of whom were graphic designers on the Harry Potter movies) offer the dazzling, richly colorful A Compendium of Collective Nouns (Chronicle, $35, 236 pages, ISBN 9781452108230). From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras—and everything in between—they have compiled some 2,000 examples. Full-page, full-color illustrations with a cheery retro feel are supplemented with dozens of smaller pictures scattered throughout the text. A Charm of Words to delight logophiles, for sure.
What the Doctor Ordered As a reader, you probably already know that books can be good for what ails you. Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin have taken this notion to the logical next step with The Novel Cure (Penguin, $26.95, 432 pages, ISBN 9781594205163). Modeled on a home medical handbook, this witty compendium prescribes just the right book—751 different remedies in all—to combat both physical and psychological disorders. Lost your job? Read Bartleby, the Scrivener or Lucky Jim. Nauseated? Try Brideshead Revisited (if not for Sebastian’s nausea, the authors point out, Charles Ryder would never have gone to Brideshead). The Debt to Pleasure will help the gluttonous, and Crime and Punishment will help assuage guilt. For ailments without a simple cure—the common cold, fear of flying, snoring— the authors supply lists of the 10 best books to get you through.
r e a d m o r e at b o o k pa g e . c o m
From its very title, Joseph Conrad’s masterwork, Heart of Darkness (Tin House Books, $24.95, 232 pages, ISBN 9781935639664), conjures the murky jungle of the Congo and Marlow’s dark passage deep into the human psyche. But, in the arresting artwork by Matt Kish in this new illustrated edition of the classic (a followup to his art-enhanced edition of Moby-Dick), there is as much light as darkness. When he was
contemplating how to convey the story pictorially, Kish realized that “Conrad’s Africa, the scene of so much death, so much killing, so much horror, would not be a dark place in the literal sense.” The 100 drawings are awash with bright acid greens, diseased yellows and blood reds. The haunting images have a Day of the Dead quality, with skeletal figures and skull-like faces. The effect is at once unsettling and compelling, inviting readers to consider a fresh interpretation of this ageless, seminal work.
by julie hale
est-of collections and one-of-a-kind compilations are as abundant as twinkling lights this time of year, and we’ve rounded up a few of the best new volumes. Mysteries, poetry, witticisms, mythology and more—there’s something for all kinds of readers.
Whether writing about the intrusiveness of email or the futility of the war we all wage against aging, Nora Ephron infused her essays with a confidential tone—a comforting, we’re-all-in-this-together quality that made the reader feel select. Ephron, who died last year, was a writer of extraordinary range, a journalist, novelist and author of screenplays who also blogged regularly for The Huffington Post. Her many dimensions are generously represented in The Most of Nora Ephron (Knopf, $35, 576 pages, ISBN 9780385350839), an expansive new collection that, once dipped into, quickly becomes addictive. Along with choice cuts from her acclaimed collections I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing, the book includes Ephron’s best-selling novel, Heartburn; the never-before-published play Lucky Guy; and the complete screenplay of When Harry Met Sally. . . . What’s not to like about this terrific anthology? As a compassionate commentator on the absurdities of everyday experience, Ephron is unrivaled. To read her is to love her.
anthology, a collection of holiday whodunits that’ll have you eyeing the department-store Santa with suspicion. The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (Vintage Crime/ Black Lizard, $25, 672 pages, ISBN 9780345802989) is the 12th discerningly curated collection from Penzler, who owns the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. The book features 60 Christmas capers, including a number of forgotten and hard-to-find chestnuts. Penzler has sorted the stories into clever categories—pulpy, scary, classic, uncanny . . . the list goes on (who knew that Christmas was such a prime time for crime?)—and the result is a well-rounded anthology that represents the many facets of the mystery genre. There are old-fashioned tales of Sherlockian sleuthing, dark noir dramas and unsettling yarns along the lines of A Christmas Carol. With contributions from Agatha Christie, Damon Runyon, Donald Westlake and Mary Higgins Clark, Penzler’s new compilation is a future classic. Can you crack these Christmas cases? We dare you to try.
Merry little Mysteries
the classics + graphics
Otto Penzler, the prime minister of crime fiction, delivers the goods once again with his latest
There’s no denying it: College skirmishes with the masterworks of modern literature left many of us permanently scarred. Fortunately, a corrective has arrived. An extraordinary anthology of art inspired by prime pieces of literature, The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest (Seven Stories, $44.95, 576 pages, ISBN 9781609803803) will make readers forget old grievances and contemplate the classics anew. This remarkable anthology—the third in a series created by visionary editor by Russ Kick—focuses on 20th-century literature and features art by more than 70 contributors. It contains graphic adaptations of both time-tested works (“The Waste Land,” Ulysses) and contemporary fare (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). High points include Dame Darcy’s
Tribute to Valor and Courage - Narratives of American Men and Women During World War II by Eric S. Lee Branden Books • $28.95 ISBN 9780828324854
Hear survivors’ accounts from Pearl Harbor to the invasion at Normandy Beach.
hallucinatory take on Blood Meridian: stark, black-andwhite drawings that accurately capture the fever-dream quality of Cormac McCarthy’s classic; and selected scenes from Infinite Jest, a group of colorful, in-your-face outtakes by Benjamin Birdie that serve as teasers for David Foster Wallace’s monumental work. A heady trip through the land of high literature, this mad, inspired anthology is sure to lure new readers to the canon while arousing curiosity in those already acquainted with it.
an aMerican cOllectiOn The latest entry in the muchpraised poetry series that started 25 years ago, The Best American Poetry 2013 (Scribner, $16.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9781476708133) is a can’t-go-wrong-with-this gift for the literature lover on your list. Guest editor Denise Duhamel, herself an acclaimed poet, chose 75 pieces for this powerful new collection, and many of them articulate unmistakably native mindsets. Stephen Dunn’s bull’s-eye observation that Americans “like to live in the glamour between exaltation and anxiety” is one of many revelatory moments in his poem “The Statue of Responsibility.” Other selections evoke a distinct sense of place. Emma Trelles’ vivid “Florida Poem” describes the humid, overripe environment of her home state: “ Gardenias swell, / breathing is aquatic and travel / is a long drawl from bed to world.” War—perhaps unsurprisingly—is also a recurring theme in the book. Sherman Alexie’s chilling “Pachyderm” features a Vietnam veteran confined to a wheelchair that’s “alive with eagle feathers and beads and otter pelts” and who has lost a son in Iraq. A contemporary chronicle of the American experience, this visionary
collection also includes poems by Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Louise Glück, James Tate, Kevin Young and the late Adrienne Rich. Here’s to another 25 years of amazing poetry!
ancient stOries rebOrn In the intriguing anthology xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (Penguin, $18, 576 pages, ISBN 9780143122425), Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Kevin Wilson and a host of other notable writers re-imagine timeless tales from around the world. Edited by Kate Bernheimer,the collection presents ingenious retellings of a wide range of archetypal narratives, from ancient coyote myths to the story of the Trojan Horse to the tale of Sinbad the Sailor. Newly interpreted, these classic stories take on fresh resonance for the reader. In “Demeter,” Maile Meloy modernizes the well-known myth, setting it in present-day Montana and giving the heroine a pharmaceutical habit and an exhusband named Hank. Joy Williams spins an unforgettable yarn from the perspective of Odysseus’ loyal dog in “Argos,” while Elizabeth McCracken updates the terrifying Greek tale of a child-eating demon in “Birdsong from the Radio.” This one-of-a-kind collection serves as a testament to the open-endedness and staying power of great stories—and also to the world’s enduring hunger for them.
“Dive in and you might even forget to watch Downton Abbey.” —O Magazine
n r u o b Long • BY
• r e k a B Jo
Book C lub B LI S S
“Masterful … From the same stream that fed Jane Austen’s literary imagination …something entirely new and fresh.” —Miami Miami Herald
“A work that’s both original and charming, even gripping … Delightfully audacious. ” —Diane Johnson, New York Times Book Review
“A witty, richly detailed re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice.” —People
“This is a masterful twist on a classic which stands on its own as a fine work of fiction.”
“The result is a triumph: a splendid tribute [and] a joy in its own right … An intoxicating love story.”
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• SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
ooking for a novel that reflects the spirit of the season? The usual best-selling suspects—and a few surprises—are ready with some exciting and festive new releases.
miscellany by heather seggel
Stocking stuffers and mind expanders
A homeless boy leads Spenser into the case of a lifetime in this new adventure, completed by Parker’s longtime literary agent and friend Helen Brann.
f you’re reading BookPage, it’s a safe bet that at least someone on your holiday shopping list will be unwrapping a book this season, but it can be hard to match the perfect selection to its ideal reader. For your consideration, here are a few fascinating and quirky books that are sure to delight the right recipient.
By Robert B. Parker & Helen Brann Putnam, $24.95, ISBN 9780399157882
By Debbie Macomber Ballantine, $18, ISBN 9780345528896 When a successful gossip columnist comes upon the scoop of a lifetime in small-town Alaska, she must decide between her career or her heart.
The Christmas Candle
By Max Lucado Thomas Nelson, $16.99, ISBN 9781401689940 It’s Christmas in the Cotswolds, and a humble candle maker is visited by a mysterious angel who gives him a dubious gift: The ability to grant one Christmas miracle.
By Mary Kay Andrews St. Martin’s, $16.99, ISBN 9781250019721 Savannah antiques dealer Weezie Foley would enjoy Christmas a lot more if she weren’t trying to juggle a wedding and a pregnant maidof-honor.
Time For Me To Come Home By Dorothy Shackleford & Travis Thrasher NAL, $19.95, ISBN 9780451468376 A big-time country superstar realizes that the only place he wants to spend Christmas is at home in Oklahoma in this heartwarming tale by the mother of real-life superstar Blake Shelton.
The Dogs of Christmas By W. Bruce Cameron Forge, $15.99, ISBN 9780765330550
When Josh finds an abandoned, pregnant dog on his doorstep, he inadvertantly becomes the patriarch of a very furry family—and gets a chance at love with a beautiful shelter employee.
A Christmas Hope
By Anne Perry Ballantine, $18, ISBN 9780345530752
A boring holiday gathering with the haute ton turns into something more when a prostitute joins the party—and turns up dead—in Perry’s 11th Christmas mystery.
Photographer Christopher Boffoli places tiny human statues amid food and creates a world unlike any other in Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food (Workman, $12.95, 249 pages, ISBN 9780761176411). Each photo is offset by a caption that’s funny, thoughtful or both. The cover shot of a woman using a push mower to cut lengthy strings of peel from an orange takes on emotional zing inside the book: “It was so like Patty: right idea, wrong execution.” On other pages, impatient commuters wait for a late bus on a stalk of celery, and tourists marvel at a Stonehenge made of Rice Krispies treats. Organized into six courses, from breakfast through dessert plus drinks and a snack, Big Appetites blends the creative spark of single-panel comics with sculpture and photography to create something new and lively. You’ll have cause to laugh and think, and almost surely do a double-take the next time you open the fridge.
VINTAGE PLAYTHINGS As a kid did you obsessively save your allowance to spend it on My Little Pony accessories? Crack open a Magic 8-Ball to see if the fluid inside was Windex? Or were you obsessed with the board game Mousetrap and its infuriatingly breakdown-prone 3-D board? If any of this rings a bell, you’re going to love Toy Time! (Three Rivers, $15.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9780385349123). Author Christopher “The Toy Guy” Byrne highlights toys from the 1950s through the ’80s, looking at how they worked, what drove their popularity, and where they ended up. Many, from Crayola crayons to Play-Doh, LEGO blocks and Silly Putty, have endured and are still beloved. Some toys fell out of favor due to user injuries that may have been real, but might also have been the stuff of urban legend. While plastic “clackers” likely did cause a number of bruises, Byrne notes that there are still places to buy them online. (He covers himself by adding, “If you go there, you’re on your own.”) The gorgeous layout and glossy photos on retro pastel backdrops make every page pop, and Byrne’s thorough research and gum-snapping take on these treasures make for a fun time. Read it to your G.I. Joes on a frosty afternoon while baking something tiny in your Easy-Bake Oven.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS The Secret Museum (Firefly, $35, 352 pages, ISBN 9781770852570) takes readers into museums the world over, but not the parts that are open
to the public. The treasures on display here are archived out of public view, but author Molly Oldfield gained access and got the skinny on these “secret” items. A Gutenberg Bible printed on vellum (calfskin) in New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum seems a sensible thing to keep out of harm’s way, but why is the New York Public Library bogarting a letter opener made from the paw of Charles Dickens’ cat? Oldfield, host of the BBC program “QI” (Quite Interesting), turns to the experts to place these items in historical context. As a result, The Secret Museum is chockablock with fun facts and trivia about everything from native Brazilian religious customs to Queen Victoria’s dental fetish. It’s a world tour and gazetteer in one, and a fine place to get lost for a day or two.
BURNING QUESTIONS Would you rather read a book that educates and entertains, or one that provokes serious contemplation? If the latter is your cup of tea, here’s good news: The Book of Questions (Workman, $8.95, 312 pages, ISBN 9780761177319) is back, in a revised and updated edition. The basic format’s the same—it’s literally a book with a question on each page—but the ethics and morals probed now reflect the impact technology has had in the 25 years since the book’s first appearance. Author Gregory Stock includes follow-ups below some questions for deeper rumination; after asking about the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done, there’s this: “Do you wish you’d been more or less cautious in your life?” The Book of Questions is a quick icebreaker when passed among new friends, but it can also take established relationships much deeper. You can read the book in order, tackling a question each day, or simply open at random and see where it leads you.
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GIRLS by Cat acree
Who runs the world?
his holiday season, make her laugh, make her cry or make her think. But certainly make her curl up with a great book.
“High priestess of fashion” Diana Vreeland may have transformed Vogue into the bible of contemporary American style, but she is also known for her way with words. In Diana Vreeland Memos (Rizzoli, $55, 288 pages, ISBN 9780847840748), Vreeland’s grandson Alexander has collected more than 250 memos and letters from her nine years as Vogue editor-inchief to reveal the woman through her own voice. Nine chapters focus on Vreeland’s strengths and passions, from her management style to her vision of the future. Each chapter opens with notes from Vogue editors who worked with Vreeland, and images from Vogue complement the text. There is humor here, as in one particularly concerned note: “The sticky situation with fringe is,
Give the Gift of Romance This Holiday Season
of course, extremely serious.” There is poetry as well, as in a short memo on the world’s “hidden anger,” manifesting itself on our skin and in our hearts. Who would have thought that glorified Post-Its would be this interesting? Memos is surprisingly appealing as an intimate look into the frivolity, vision and creativity of Vreeland’s Vogue.
NOT SUGAR AND SPICE From the “shiny happy ladies” of Jezebel.com comes The Book of Jezebel (Grand Central, $27, 304 pages, ISBN 9781455502806), an encyclopedic guide to “lady things,” providing insightful and hilarious commentary on pop culture, politics, history and just about everything relating to women. This A-to-Z compendium of feminist “fact and opinion” contains more than a thousand entries ranging from abortion rights to zits, and is accompanied by funny, often shameless photographs and illustrations. There are also full-page taxonomies of nice guys and famous spinsters, the Periodic Table for your period, a brief history of pants and quite possibly the most accurate depiction of a tube top in all of recorded history. This book is serious fun, whether you’re flipping quickly for a snort-worthy one-liner (from the definition for librarian: “[I]n popular culture, a quiet brunette with glasses, hiding a slammin’ body and a libido set to eleven under that cardigan and tweed skirt”) or want to dig into the bio of a fearless performance artist.
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Knitting is no longer Granny’s game. Writes Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and editor of Knitting Yarns (Norton, $24.95, 304 pages, ISBN 9780393239492): “Knitting is hot, and shows no signs of cooling.” During a period of great loss, Hood found a way to cope with her grief through knitting’s calming, steady rhythm. But that’s only Hood’s story, and in Knitting Yarns, she has collected original essays (and one poem) from 27 best-selling and beloved writers. Some are practical, like Sue Grafton’s “Teaching a Child to Knit,” while others tell
stories of pain and hope, like Ann Patchett’s “How Knitting Saved My Life. Twice.” Others trace the bonds between mothers and daughters, as with Joyce Maynard’s “Straw into Gold.” And after reading, you can knit some super-cute fingerless gloves using one of the six knitting patterns included in the book.
LADIES OF LITERATURE We all remember the first time we read about Catherine Earnshaw falling irreparably in love in Wuthering Heights or about Edna Pontellier approaching the water in The Awakening. We remember how our favorite female characters transformed us, terrified us and enchanted us. Painter Samantha Hahn shares her own vision of 50 of literature’s most beloved heroines in Well-Read Women (Chronicle, $19.95, 112 pages, ISBN 9781452114156). Hahn’s watercolor paintings, each accompanied by hand-lettered quotations, evoke the tragedy, fierceness or innocence of characters ranging from Anna Karenina to Jane Eyre. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables holds the reader’s gaze, while Little Women’s Jo March couldn’t be bothered to put her shoes on. Other women nearly vanish into the soft bleed of watercolor, as with Middlemarch’s Dorothea Brooke, who is little more than the silhouette of her chin and one clever eye. Both a collection of striking artwork and classic quotations, Well-Read Women is a visual and literary delight.
AT HOME WITH LAUDER Luxury and comfort blend perfectly in the gorgeous Beauty at Home (Potter Style, $60, 240 pages, ISBN 9780770433611). Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estée, takes readers into her office and her homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons to share classic inspiration from every inch of her life. Books this beautiful often feel dominated by the
fantasy—who has the time or the money? But with Beauty at Home, Lauder tempers her extravagance with down-to-earth suggestions for mac’n’cheese and hostess gifts. Her boys’ rooms look refreshingly livable, with their artwork proudly displayed on the walls. After all, Lauder is a working mom, and while she clearly lives in a dream world, she still provides readers with the sense that clean simplicity can be incorporated into any woman’s life,
no matter how busy. Lauder is as inspiring and savvy as her grandmother, but with a contemporary twist.
DANGEROUS HOUSEWIVES The original bad girls of psychological suspense come together in Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin, $16, 384 pages, ISBN 9780143122548), an anthology of 14 short stories edited by Sarah Weinman. From the 1940s through the ’70s, long before thriller fans fell in love with haunting tales by Gillian Flynn and Tana French, a generation of now-unknown female writers turned the male-dominated crime fiction genre into a stomping ground for stifled wives exploring their desperate domestic situations. Weinman introduces the stories with a fascinating history of female mystery writers and their connections to both the feminist movement and the evolution of the genre. These writers transformed ordinary life and “pesky women’s issues” into slow-burning thrillers that not only entertained but also announced a voice for the women of the mid-20th century.
GUys by martin brady
Books make the man
he 2013 holiday season brings a choice selection of gift books that appear tailor-made for basic male interests. Football? Comic books? Bikini-clad supermodels? Somebody’s dad, brother, husband or uncle is going to be very pleased this year. The only gift item here devoid of pictures is The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man (Picador, $16, 288 pages, ISBN 9781250047762). Curated by novelist Colum McCann, the editors of Esquire and Narrative 4—a literary nonprofit launched last spring—this collection features fairly offbeat, often unbelievably terse contributions that aim to shed light on male identity and behavior. Most of the writers are men—some well known, others not so much—but women are represented as well. The latter group includes Amy Bloom, who serves up a charming slice-of-life tale about a white man of modest means in romantic pursuit of a black jazz singer 20 years his junior. James Lee Burke, Salman Rushdie and former NYPD cop Edward Conlon are just a few of the many male contributors, with material touching on sexuality, war, ethics, race and the manly struggle for emotional growth.
MY HERO Any guy who’s been keeping an eye on the PBS series “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle” will doubtless be enthralled by its companion volume, Superheroes! Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture (Crown Archetype, $40, 304 pages, ISBN 9780385348584). This rich history of the rise and development of the American comic book industry is written by NYU arts professor Laurence Maslon in collaboration with the documentary’s filmmaker, Michael Kantor. The book features interviews with the artists and writers responsible for conceiving and crafting comic books through the decades—especially in the popular superhero genre. Plus, there are hundreds of full-color illustrations that lead the reader through the Depression-era origins of the art form and on to its expanding pop culture importance. There’s also a good deal of material on how comic book art has changed with the times, reflecting war, social upheaval and shifting artistic tastes.
FOURTH AND GOAL Produced under the auspices of the Library of Congress and with sharp text by writer Susan Reyburn, Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game (Abrams, $30, 256 pages, ISBN 9780810997622) takes its place as an essential popular sports history. A surefire gift idea for that couchpotato football guy, this book deftly
melds social history with a super-fan’s sensibility about great modern-day players and auspicious moments on the field. Coverage is comprehensive, from the sport’s nascent development in rural Colonial times, to its growth in colleges in the late 19th century, through its eventual explosion as a billion-dollar professional pursuit. The feast of archival From Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People, reprinted with permission. material includes phoGrammy Award. Text by Eric Celeste tos, drawings, reproduced magazine provides background on these oldand newspaper excerpts, cartoons, school industries and explains how advertising and more. This one the work is actually done. should be under the Christmas tree just in time for the NFL playoffs.
MADE BY HAND Even in our highly computerized modern world, there remains a deep respect for hands-on craftsmanship. With that in mind, photographer Tadd Myers set out for mostly rural outposts where dedicated men and women still rely on manual labor to achieve great things. The result is Portraits of the American Craftsman (Lyons Press, $29.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9780762790036), a rare pictorial journey across America, with Myers visiting 30 small studios and workshops where handmade items such as hats, pipes, surfboards, knives, rifles, gun holsters, banjos, boots and brooms are lovingly produced by old-fashioned artisans. Small-town Texas and Vermont get paid multiple visits, as do Chicago and Nashville, and one surprising journey takes Myers to Colorado, where Billings Artworks metallurgy shop hand-renders each and every
Finally, there is Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful (Sports Illustrated, $50, 304 pages, ISBN 9781618930811), a doorstopper of a volume that is loaded with personal testimony and historical narrative about Sports Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issues, as told by the editors, photographers and models who made it happen. It’s no surprise, however, that the engaging text is blown away by the gorgeously printed photos, which capture the moments when cover girls such as Cheryl Tiegs, Elle Macpherson and Heidi Klum moved from mere models to international icons. A subsection focuses on athletes as models (Danica Patrick, Lindsey Vonn), including husband-wife teams, notably golfer Phil Mickelson and his bikini-clad better half, Amy, in a charming 1998 shot that predates Phil’s rise as PGA great and the couple’s heroic, public battle with Amy’s breast cancer. The ladies emerge as timeless stunners, but so does this richly designed book, which celebrates glamour photography and SI’s commitment to doing it with class for half a century.
r e a d m o r e at b o o k pa g e . c o m
Photographer Matt Hoyle’s Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People (Chronicle, $40, 204 pages, ISBN 9781452125381) is one of the most appealing photo books in recent memory. After drawing up a wish list of his favorite comedians, Hoyle invited each of them to collaborate in a creative photo shoot that produced animated, often hilarious portraits. Ninety comedy icons are represented, including Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Conan O’Brien, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Mindy Kaling, Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell, plus legendary vets like Don Rickles, Joan Rivers and Mel Brooks. There’s also a welcome shot of the late, great
Jonathan Winters. Produced in close studio quarters, these portraits capture less about the comedians themselves and more about their individual comedic styles.
entertainMent b y pat h . b r o e S k e
And we’re rolling
orget visions of sugar plums. This holiday season, a roster of Hollywood-themed entries summon up lingering images from beloved movie classics, among them The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach and Wuthering Heights, as well as from kooky cult favorites, including TV’s wonderfully eccentric “Doctor Who.”
Of course, some cult films go on to become classics. In development for a decade, A Christmas Story was released in November 1983 with little fanfare and to mixed reviews. Ticket sales were surprisingly solid, but MGM pulled the movie from theaters after only five weeks—before Christmas—to make way for Barbra Streisand’s Yentl. No offense to Babs, but over time, it’s the modest tale of Ralphie Parker and family that has triumphed. It’s now an annual tradition that brings in an estimated 50 million viewers. A Christmas Story Treasury (Running Press, $24.95, 64 pages, ISBN 9780762448579) celebrates the little movie that could. This is an interactive book with sound buttons that trigger eight famous quotes— delivered by the film’s narrator and writer, Jean Shepherd—and a packet of ephemera, including a “Merry Christmas from the Parkers” greeting card. Author Tyler Schwartz produced the documentary Road Trip for Ralphie, and he’s also affiliated with the Cleveland-based A Christmas Story House & Museum.
Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker ISBN 978145821194 • Soft Cover ISBN 9781458211927 • Hard Cover ISBN 9781458211910 • eBook
Five Fallen Soldiers of wars past go home to bring closure to their unfinished lives.
So, yes, he’s a fan, and his book is for those who share his love for this holiday staple. I triple-dog-dare you to dislike this book.
fantastic Mr. andersOn Cult film maestro Wes Anderson—whose oddities include Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom—is the subject of The Wes Anderson Collection (Abrams, $40, 336 pages, ISBN 9780810997417), featuring film-byfilm conversations between Anderson and critic Matt Zoller Seitz.
Seitz has been interviewing Anderson intermittently since 1993, when Seitz was a rookie film critic for the Dallas Observer and Anderson was making a 12-minute, 8mm movie called Bottle Rocket, which he co-wrote with then-unknown Owen Wilson. Seitz calls this book “a tour of an artist’s mind, with the artist as guide and amiable companion.” Included are nods to Anderson’s influences (such as Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and the film Sex, Lies, and Videotape), his favorite music, his filmmaking habits (he heavily annotates his frames and, à la Hitchcock, does detailed storyboards) and more. With an introduction by Michael Chabon and clever Andersonian artwork by Max Dalton, this coffeetable book is also heavily illustrated with stills from Anderson’s films. The stars are familiar—including Owen and Luke Wilson, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Anjelica Huston—but if the titles aren’t, this book may prompt you to add a few of them to your Netflix queue.
gOlden age For lavish production it’s hard to top Majestic Hollywood: The From the wes anderson collection, reprinted with permission. Greatest Films of 1939 (Running Press, $22.95, 224 pages, ISBN wind,” as is the style of filmmaking 9780762451562), which features that made 1939 a year to remember. sumptuous production stills and tiMey wiMey behind-the-scenes candids from For time travel fans, and for those some of the greatest movies ever who follow the exploits of the ecmade, starring some of the greatest centric Time Lord known simply as stars Hollywood has ever known. the Doctor, there’s Doctor Who: The Author Mark A. Vieira, who speVault (Harper Design, $45, 320 pages, ISBN 9780062280633). The BBC-produced series is watched regularly in the U.S. by 2 million viewers; worldwide, there are 77 million. Not bad considering the show’s shaky beginnings. After a rocky period of pre-production, it cializes in celebratory books about debuted in November 1963, one day after the assassination of JFK. Hollywood’s Golden Age, looks at Author Marcus Hearn enjoyed 50 films of a landmark year. They enviable access to the BBC’s “Doctor include Gunga Din, Stagecoach and Who” archive and to those of private Wuthering Heights, as well as star collectors. The result is a beautifully vehicles such as The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle starring Fred Astaire produced chronicle of the series. In the last 50 years, 11 actors and Ginger Rogers, The Roaring have portrayed the Time Lord—the Twenties with tough guys Humresult of his ability to “regenerate.” phrey Bogart and James Cagney, In various incarnations, the Doctor and Ninotchka with the legendary has been jokey, earnest, gray-haired, Greta Garbo. Let’s not forget Basil a youthful 26 and so on. He travels Rathbone as the ultimate sleuth in in a TARDIS (Time and Relative The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Dimension in Space), which usually or young Shirley Temple in the teary resembles a 1960s British police box. The Little Princess. And then there All this is explained in depth by was The Wizard of Oz, which had Hearn, who looks at the costumes, already gone through 10 writers, weapons, monsters and promothree directors, two witches and two tional items of the series. There are tin men when director Victor Flemaccounts of the comings and goings ing came aboard—and the rest is history. As for the cherry on top, that of writers, directors and producers; differences over storylines and would be Gone with the Wind. Each film merits production high- programming approach; and movies that influenced the series, including lights and critical reaction—and the Frankenstein and classic Westerns. aforementioned production stills Should the phenomenon have from master photographers such as passed you by, don’t pass up the George Hurrell. That kind of artistic book. The Doctor will see you now. photography is now “gone with the
art & photography by alice cary
A century’s worth of artistry
rt and photography are wonderful windows to the world through which we are able to see things in new, often unexpected ways. These five books all contain intriguing stories about a variety of artistic visions and are certain to delight any lucky recipients this holiday season.
A GLOBAL VISION Sometimes a photograph becomes so embedded in our brains that we yearn to know the rest of the story. Award-winning photojournalist Steve McCurry takes readers on an amazing global journey in Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs (Phaidon, $59.95, 264 pages, ISBN 9780714864624). In 1978, McCurry left his job as a photographer at a Philadelphia newspaper and headed to India with a one-way ticket, his camera and film. Before long, he found himself dressed in native garb and sneaking over the
border into war-torn Afghanistan. The rest of his journey has been prolific, earning him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for exceptional courage and enterprise in photographic reporting from abroad. McCurry is best known for his portrait, The Afghan Girl, taken of a green-eyed schoolgirl in a refugee camp in Pakistan, used on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985. The child’s piercing gaze is haunting, and it became one of the most recognizable photographs in the world. One chapter of this book tells the story of that particular expedition, and a remarkable follow-up in 2002, when McCurry returned to Pakistan to find his memorable subject, now married and a mother. This is a book suitable for both browsing and focused reading. Other chapters recount, for instance, McCurry’s September 11 experiences in New York City, as well as trips to Tibet, India, Kuwait, Kashmir, Cambodia and more. Portraits of Tibetan children are intensely beautiful, and McCurry is haunted by his experiences in Vietnam, where he traveled in 2007 to photograph a father suffering from AIDS and tuberculosis in a remote village. McCurry reflects: “I hope my photographs will inform people and inspire them, and in some way help those people who have been gracious enough to allow me into their lives.”
ARTISTIC TREASURES Art Is . . . (Abrams, $18.95, 384 pages, ISBN 9781419711251) is a little book in which the Metropolitan Museum of Art tries to tackle a big question: What is art? Nearly 200 artworks from the museum’s collection are paired with simple observations about the nature of art. For example, the words Art is advertisement are paired with a colorful 1880s ad for baking powder that features circus elephants and a clown. Art is woven is exemplified by a 15th-century tapestry of a unicorn. John Singer Sargent’s striking portrait of Madame X shows that art can be provocative. People of all ages will enjoy browsing through these lovely pages, and the small format makes the book all the more inviting—and the perfect stocking stuffer.
AMERICA’S ARTIST For many, Norman Rockwell’s paintings represent the epitome of American homespun goodness: moments big and small, sad and triumphant, filled with Boy Scouts, policemen, soldiers, doctors, grandmothers and all sorts of grinning, gangly kids. Biographer and art critic Deborah Solomon has written a comprehensive new biography of the master artist, American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (FSG, $28, 512 pages, ISBN 9780374113094). Ten years in
A LIFE OF BEAUTY & DESIGN Equally comprehensive is Eva Zeisel: Life, Design, and Beauty (Chronicle, $50, 256 pages, ISBN 9781452108520) by Pat Moore. Less immediately recognized than Rockwell, Zeisel (1906-2011) was a highly influential ceramicist whose stylish designs revolutionized American dinnerware in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Hungary, she evolved from a pottery artist into an industrial designer when a German manufacturer hired her to design tableware in 1928. After being unjustly imprisoned for 16 months in Russia after a colleague falsely accused her of being part of a conspiracy to assassinate Stalin, Zeisel immigrated to the U.S. in 1938. The works from Zeisel’s long, prolific career are not only beautiful, but also practical and useful. Her line of “Museum” dinnerware was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946, the institution’s first show devoted to a woman designer. Crate and Barrel has sold her designs, and her ceramics, furniture, rugs and lighting can be found in a variety of museums around the world. Zeisel was a pioneer in bringing well-made, well-designed and affordable items to the marketplace. This volume is a loving look at both her life and her work, with stunning photographs that beautifully showcase Zeisel’s creations.
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You can’t help but cheer for Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York (St. Martin’s, $29.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9781250038821), a book that has drawn lots of recent attention. In 2010, after losing his job as a bond trader, Stanton decided to become a photographer, despite his lack of formal training. When the Georgia native went to New York City for the first time, he started an online photo album called “Humans of New York” (HONY). His album eventually morphed into a popular Tumblr blog, as he began pairing his portraits with brief stories or quotations from those he encountered. This book, a compilation from his blog, is a fascinating tapestry of Big Apple personalities. A sveltely dressed defense lawyer holds his dog and says, “I always work my dog’s name into my closing argument.” A teenage boy in shorts says, “A kid wore shorts to school yesterday and the headmaster got really mad, so today the whole class wore them.” An incredibly frail man in a wheelchair turns out to be Banana George, who at age 92 set a world record as the oldest person to waterski barefoot. Stanton presents a colorful panorama of fashion and style, tattoos, wild shoes, Rollerblades, bikes, skateboards, hand holding, kisses, costumes, undying family devotion, babies, kids, old folks, visitors from afar, dancers, artists, dogs, performers and more.
the making, the book is a fascinating look at a man who was himself depression-prone, anxiety-ridden, obsessive and lonely, despite his three wives and three sons. Though Rockwell wasn’t an athlete himself, he seemed to prefer the company of physically strong men, a topic that Solomon delicately explores. Born in New York City in 1894, Rockwell was likely dyslexic and immersed himself in his drawings at an early age. His first cover for the Saturday Evening Post was published in 1916. It was well received, and he became a regular contributor. Sadly, the happy scenes he painted weren’t from his own life. In 1948, for instance, he painted a cover called Christmas Homecoming, in which all five members of his family appeared. In reality, he was living in Hollywood for a few months while his wife was in Vermont. Rockwell is a beloved figure in American art, and Solomon’s compelling portrait offers the attention and insight that this complex man deserves.
nature’s glOry by alice cary
What a wonderful world
his summer my family and I had frequent visits from a ruby-throated hummingbird that would peer quickly into our large kitchen window. More recently, I was lucky enough to be hiking in the Colorado prairie, surrounded by a vista of distant mountains. Nature can be equally mesmerizing whether viewed from up close, from afar or from an armchair. These books will take you on quite the tour around the world, offering glorious glimpses of natural wonders big and small.
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What does Earth look like from very far away—from space? Not only is the view breathtaking, but the perspective also offers valuable insights about the fragile state of our planet. This is the premise of Earth from Space (Abrams, $50, 256 pages, ISBN 9781419709623), from Yann Arthus-Bertrand, one of the world’s leading aerial photographers and the founder of GoodPlanet, an environmental foundation. This unique volume features more than 150 satellite photos coupled with interviews with scientists and activists, and is a natural follow-up to Arthus-Bertrand’s wildly successful Earth from Above. At first glance, some of these images resemble beautiful abstract works of art, such as the intricate, ink-like swirls on the opening and end pages. These mysterious views capture, for instance, a forest fire in Siberia, the rising waters of Venice and the sandbanks and algae sculpted by waves in the Bahamas. Chapters address issues such as world hunger, climate change, pollution, urban sprawl and disasters, explaining the challenges we face and how satellites help us monitor these issues. Earth from Space gives readers an opportunity to understand and visualize global issues in a tangible, intriguing way.
MuseuM treasures Another remarkable offering awaits in Extraordinary Birds: Essays and Plates of Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library (Sterling Signature, $50, 144 pages, ISBN 9781454906599). The perfect package for bird lovers, it consists of a sturdy, book-like box containing 40 frameable prints from the museum’s Rare Book Collection, plus a paperback book of accompanying essays by Paul Sweet, collection manager of the ornithology department. Sweet offers a history of ornithology and explains the significance of each print. This book is a follow-up to Sterling’s popular 2012 release, Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library. For both collections, editors spent hours in the museum’s vault, carefully selecting prints for inclusion. Certainly the editors must have lost track of time as they worked, and it’s easy to get lost in these pages. Each print represents its own story of adventure. For example, two are by Edward Lear, better known today for his nonsense poems, but at age 18, he was hired as a draftsman for the Zoological Society of London. His Red-capped Parrot is stunning; his Eurasian Eagle-Owl is formidable. Readers also learn about the excellent artist Elizabeth Gould, who drew 2,999 plates for her naturalist husband, John, without receiving any credit! At least she got her own species, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, named in her honor.
intO the wild How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life by Roman Krznaric BlueBridge • $22.95 • Cloth ISBN 9781933346847 Krznaric explores twelve universal topics— including love, family, and empathy; work, time, and money—and shows what history can teach us about the art of living.
Biologist and photographer Paul Nicklen provides plenty more armchair adventures with Bear: Spirit of the Wild (National Geographic, $35, 208 pages, ISBN 9781426211768). He grew up on Baffin Island, Canada, and has traveled the globe, spending bone-chilling hours submerged in icy water photographing polar bears, boating up the Yukon in search of
grizzlies and trekking the Great Bear Rainforest to observe spirit bears. As two bear experts write in the book’s epilogue: “To roam the last corners of the Earth where wild creatures still thrive is a privilege reserved to only a select handful.” Luckily, with this book, readers get to tag along. The result is a truly dazzling display of photographs: a white spirit bear chomping on salmon while relaxing on a mossy green carpet in the forest; a young grizzly splashing through a river like a torpedo; a pair of polar cubs peeking over their mother’s back. Essays by Nicklen and other environmentalists offer perspectives on various bears’ habitats and the threats they face. Nicklen is also a contributor to The Masters of Nature Photography (Firefly, $45, 224 pages, ISBN 9781770852594), a compilation of winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition sponsored by BBC Worldwide and the British Natural History Museum. Portfolios of 10 photographers are included, along with an artist profile and discussions of each photograph. Here, for example, is Frans Lanting describing his glorious shot of a herd of bull elephants in Botswana: “For a short time, a group gathered across the water from me, just as the full moon started to rise, with the pink light of the dying sunset reflected back onto the landscape and the elephants�a primeval scene of ancient Africa. To capture the full reflection of the elephants, I had to wade waist-deep into the water. That was tricky, as a bull coming
behind me could have put me in an uncomfortable position.” Reading anecdotes like this makes these wildlife masterpieces all the more impressive and enjoyable.
awe-inspiring landscapes In celebration of the travel publisher’s 40th anniversary, Lonely Planet offers its own photography collection in Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World, ($39.99, 224 pages, ISBN 9781743217177). Here are more than 200 large-format glimpses of places both familiar and remote. A supercell storm near Alvo, Nebraska, forms over grasslands with unimaginable force and fury. Green turtles
swim amid a sea of brilliantly colored fish in the Galápagos. Antlered red deer in London’s Richmond Park peer ahead like enchanted beasts of long ago. This is a book chock-full of photographs, with no text except a short introduction that describes how the beauty of Yosemite Valley “can make you catch your breath.” The editors continue with a valuable message that applies to all of these books: “The world is full of places like that. But we don’t see them every day and sometimes we need to be reminded that they are there.”
by Pete croatTo
by heather seggel
New perceptions of the past
hree newly released books remind us that history is more than just a series of big moments. It resides in the small details and in unexpected places.
Bill Bryson’s best-selling At Home: A Short History of Private Life is now available in an illustrated edition (Doubleday, $40, 560 pages, ISBN 9780385537285). In it, the veteran author embarks upon a detailed exploration of his house, a Victorian parsonage in southern England. We are so immersed in our daily lives that we often fail to see that a back story exists to everything around us. Plumbing this notion could be a daunting task for a writer, but Bryson gracefully transitions from room to room and anecdote to anecdote with a sharp, playful intelligence. New readers will be enthralled; returning readers will be re-enthralled and appreciate the accompanying illustrations. There’s a joy to Bryson’s writing, as if he’s tickled and astounded by his discoveries. Take his discussion of salt: It’s a coveted and essential mineral, but the absence of salt, Bryson observes, “awakens no craving. It makes you feel bad and eventually it kills you . . . but at no point would a human being think: ‘Gosh, I could sure do with some salt.’” His infectiousness will propel readers through the book.
The longest day
Story of a nation In many ways, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects (Penguin, $50, 784 pages, ISBN 9781594205293) by Richard Kurin is the ideal coffee-table book. Featuring a thoughtfully curated selection of objects from the Smithsonian’s vast collections—including Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Thomas Edison’s light bulb and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet—the book boasts an abundance of stunning photos and short, info-packed chapters that make it easy to dive in at any point and come away with something useful. Gawk at a photo of Julia Child’s kitchen, and learn that her mainstream success was partially set up by Jackie Kennedy. Gaze upon Abraham Lincoln’s trademark stovepipe hat, and discover that most clothes in pre-industrial America were made specifically for an individual. What also becomes apparent in perusing the pages of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects is that items we might dismiss as merely stuff may end up being part of our nation’s history. Fifty years from now, an iPhone could be a relic that represents a culture gradually seeing the world through mobile technology. History is in the objects all around us—not just in books.
ooking for unique and inspiring gifts for friends or family? This bouquet of motivational books has something for everyone close to your heart.
When Candy Chang covered an with face-lifts as needed. Nothing abandoned house with chalkboard came easy to Child except money— paint and stenciled “Before I Die I she used roughly 300 pounds of Want To . . .” on the wall, she had no flour while adapting French bread idea what, if anything, would hapto the American kitchen, and often pen. Not only did her New Orleans worked tireless 12-hour days. But neighborhood become a safer place she loved the journey as much as (her project brought people outthe end result, in every area of her side and together), she spawned life. So stick to it, whatever your “it” an international art movement. is, and enjoy the learning process. Oh, and the house was saved and is TIMELESS ADVICE once again a home. Before I Die (St. Martin’s Griffin, $24.99, 304 pages, In Everything I Need to Know I ISBN 9781250020840) features Learned From a Little Golden Book photos from the original wall and (Golden Books, $9.99, 96 pages, its spin-offs, and collects a global ISBN 9780307977618), longtime sample of people’s Golden Books editodreams, which range rial director Diane from practical (“grow Muldrow pairs ada salad”) to dreamy ages for adults with (“eat a salad with an illustrations from the alien”). Taking your classic children’s sebucket list public ries. The book extols connects you with the virtues of simple your neighbors, who pleasures, but the are there dreamcautionary messages ing alongside you, are a riot. After “Work and may inspire you hard” (a man in a to live your fantasy foundry) and “Play sooner. The book also hard” (dogs, cats and includes a breakdown a rabbit running riot) of materials needed to comes the warning, From Everything I Need to Know I “But not too hard,” create your own wall, Learned from a Little Golden Book, along with a two-page so if that’s your dream, reprinted with permission. spread of animals you’ve got no excuses. who have invaded a WHAT JULIA SAID picnic and popped a cork or two: A boa constrictor is eating a galosh, a You could be forgiven for thinkstork pours pink liquid from a can ing there wasn’t a single jot of into the pouch of a pelican, and marrow left to be mined from the there’s some inter-species snuggling legacy of Julia Child. We’ve read going on in the background. With ilher letters, watched her cook on lustrations by Margaret Wise Brown, TV and cooked along or done so Richard Scarry and other titans vicariously via blogger Julie Powell. of kiddie lit, Everything I Need to Along comes Karen Karbo with Julia Know I Learned from a Little GoldChild Rules: Lessons on Savoring en Book reminds us that nothing Life (skirt!, $24.95, 240 pages, ISBN recommended here has ever gone 9780762783090), and it’s as if we’re out of style. It’s hip and wholesome, meeting Child for the first time. This and a great deal of fun. collection of biographical tidbits and advice endorses a life of adventure and indulgence within reason, hard work coupled with as much play as possible, and self-acceptance
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Illustrator Joe Sacco’s The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme (Norton, $35, 54-page hardcover with 16page booklet, ISBN 9780393088809) is a panoramic, 24-foot-long, black-and-white drawing of World War I’s signature (and gruesome) battle. On that day, some 20,000 British soldiers—not knowing that a weeklong strategic artillery
bombardment had failed to wipe out German machine-gun emplacements—essentially marched to their slaughter. Another 40,000 were wounded. We see the soldiers proceeding as if they’re going to work, laughing and yawning and waiting. Then, there’s a wave of uninterrupted terror. Men shout and wear masks of grave concern. Bodies lie in immobile stacks. Each panel is packed with the aspects of war we prefer not to see. The final one, where soldiers dig rows of graves, is a grim reminder of the misery that remained even after the battle died down. Sacco’s astounding depiction of that day is overwhelmingly moving because he captures the little strokes among the epic chaos.
Learning to savor the journey
fiction Hild By Nicola Griffith
someone else’s love storyl
FSG $27, 560 pages ISBN 9780374280871 eBook available
Review by Arlene McKanic
The folks in Joshilyn Jackson’s sixth novel, Someone Else’s Love Story, are in all kinds of trouble, but they don’t know it right away. The catalyst for self-knowledge turns out to be a botched robbery at the local Circle K—a gas station, for those of you who aren’t in the Atlanta metro area— attempted by a snaggle-toothed little punk who is promptly brained by one of his hostages. That hostage is William Ashe, and his fellow hostages include a young woman named Shandi Pierce and her 3-year-old son, Natty. Most of the book is narrated by Shandi, the product of a mixed marriage of a fundamentalist Christian mother and Jewish father. Her son is the product of what she wants to believe is an immaculate conception; she didn’t lose her virginity till after Natty was born by C-section, when she begged her longtime best friend, Walcott, to perform the defloration. The trauma of the robbery forces Shandi to realize that her son’s conception could not have been what she thought it was. It also makes her believe she’s in By Joshilyn Jackson love with William, her savior. Morrow, $26.99, 320 pages The robbery causes William to realize a few things as well. A scientist ISBN 9780062105653, audio, eBook available who looks rather like a Nordic lumberjack, he’s a touch autistic. The contemporary FICTION robbery happens on a painful anniversary, and he’s spent a year trying to push the memories of his now-destroyed family out of his head. Like Shandi, William, too, will find his attempts to avoid reality increasingly difficult. The reader can’t be blamed for at first finding Shandi’s insistence that her lovely, brilliant boy is the product of parthenogenesis somewhat ridiculous. But as Jackson slowly reveals the truth about Shandi, we warm to her—and to weird, heartbroken William, his tough-as-nails best friend Paula, forbearing Walcott and even the dope who held up the Circle K. There are scenes that will make you gasp, pause or even tear up as Jackson’s characters fumble toward imperfect enlightenment. Someone Else’s Love Story will delight and surprise with its unexpected compassion, empathy and humanity.
the apartment By Greg Baxter
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Twelve $24, 208 pages ISBN 9781455574780 Audio, eBook available
An unnamed narrator spends a snowy pre-Christmas Saturday in an unidentified European city. He’s in the company of a young woman, a native who’s helping him find an apartment so he can abandon the cheap hotel where he’s been living. That’s a fair summary of the action in the foreground of Greg Baxter’s slim first novel—so you may guess that plot is not its strength. But if your taste runs to novels that deeply and methodically explore the workings of one character’s mind amid an
intensely realistic atmosphere, add The Apartment to your reading list. Saskia, the narrator’s companion, works at an economics research institute by day and “takes a lot of pills and goes to gigs and attends parties that last three days.” She’s someone with whom he’s “fallen into a swift intimacy of pure circumstance,” but there’s nothing sexual about their liaison; if anything they’ve transcended that to connect on a deeper plane. Although Baxter’s novel is rooted in the streets of the gray, urban setting, his narrator, in his early 40s, spends almost as much time rooting through a past he says he tries not to think about as he does describing his intermittent success at acculturation. At the midpoint of his life, he’s served as a submarine officer, moving on from there to service in Iraq, where he had “assigned death from a distance,” only to return to Baghdad as a private contractor, engaged, he says, in a computer surveillance business that “made me a fortune.”
All these experiences fueled his “hatred of the kingdom of ambitious stupidity, of the loud and gruesome happenstance of American domination.” The novel features effortless time shifts, including one especially moving encounter with the mother of a deceased high school friend. Sandwiched between the narrator’s encounters, present and past, are discourses on subjects as diverse as Renaissance architecture, perspective in art, Bach’s “Chaconne” and the history of the violin, all of which add texture to the story. In an interview, Baxter observed that he “wanted to write . . . something profoundly simple in its conception but that could achieve a level of complexity, suspense, and purpose through details, subtlety, and suppressed intensity.” He’s succeeded in doing that here. As hushed as the snow that blankets the city through which its characters move, this meditative story should find an audience of thoughtful readers.
In the tradition of Mary Renault, Sigrid Undset and, more recently, Hilary Mantel, novelist Nicola Griffith recreates the past in Hild, a lively look at the girl who would become Saint Hilda of Whitby, one of the key figures of early Christianity. Hild was born in 614, the niece of one of England’s most powerful tribal kings. Little is known about her early life, though the story is that her mother was told in a dream that she would give birth to the light of the world. Hild was part of the king’s court when the entire household was baptized as Christians in 627. Twenty years later, she became the abbess of one of the most notable religious communities in Europe, counselor to kings and a teacher of bishops. The novel begins with the death of Hild’s father when she was three, and ends when she is 19, well before she became an abbess. Griffith’s young Hild is perceptive, canny and thoughtful. Fulfilling the prophecy of her birth, she becomes a seer and advisor to her uncle. She is quick to understand the value of literacy, the impact of trade routes and the power behind the new religion. Her observations of the natural world lead her to understand what motivates those around her. She forms relationships easily with the common folk, developing networks of loyal followers. Medieval England was a complex landscape of warring dynasties and vicious politics, and is probably less familiar to the reader than the court of Henry VIII or even Alexander the Great’s Macedonia. Griffith has clearly immersed herself in this world to bring it to life for the reader—the politics, languages, occupations as well as the food, dress and drink—and this extensive research occasionally threatens to overtake the characters. But the details are engrossing, and her depiction of a young woman whose actions would change history is a compelling one.
— L a u r e n B u ff e r d
NONFICTION To the Letter By Simon Garfield
An editor’s twists and turns REVIE W BY ED W ARD MORRI S
How’s this for an opener? “My godfather investigated my father for the FBI and had a scar on the palm of his left hand from a machine-gun bullet shot by Baby Face Nelson. My uncle had ‘Frederick Engels’ for first and middle names. My father went to Mexico and spied on Trotsky for the Communist Party of the United States.” If you don’t find this introduction to Daniel Menaker’s memoir a spur to keep reading, then the rest of the book holds nothing for you. But those of us possessed of a normal curiosity have by this point already embarked on a wild ride that will provide insider glimpses of the New York publishing world from 1969 onward, with the author serving as one of the scene’s principal participants and sharpest observers. Menaker first acquaints us with his colorful family and the luminaries who come within its orbit. His mother is an editor at Fortune, where she By Daniel Menaker crosses paths with such talents as John Kenneth Galbraith, Walker Evans HMH, $24, 256 pages and Dwight Macdonald. As a son of ardent leftists, Menaker dutifully atISBN 9780547794235, eBook available tends the fabled Little Red School House in Greenwich Village. He goes on to earn degrees at Swarthmore and Johns Hopkins, teach English at two memoir ritzy private schools and take a job as a fact-checker for the New Yorker. His tenure at the magazine, bumpy at first, lasts for 26 years, during which time he serves at the pleasure (and occasionally the displeasure) of editors William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb and Tina Brown. His description of the microscopic attention devoted to each article the magazine publishes is enough to make a run-of-the-mill copy editor weep. Never quite at ease after Brown takes the helm of the New Yorker, Menaker accepts the offer of an editorship at Random House, where one of the first books he publishes is the blockbuster political novel Primary Colors. Later, as editor-in-chief, he offers TV’s Diane Sawyer $5 million to write a book. She declines. And so it goes. While the glittery gossip is fun to read, the book’s most moving passages deal with the death of Menaker’s beloved older brother and his own struggles with lung cancer. Not easy to pigeonhole, this is an amalgam of autobiography and cultural history at its best.
The Heir Apparent By Jane Ridley
Random House $35, 752 pages ISBN 9781400062553 eBook available
Anyone who feels a bit sorry for Prince Charles because he has been opening flower shows for decades while his mother reigns as queen should consider the case of his ancestor: Britain was very lucky indeed that Albert Edward, eldest son of Queen Victoria, inherited the throne when he was nearly 60 instead of, say, when he was 30. As a young man, King Edward VII, known to family and friends as “Bertie,” was a gambler, glutton and
scandal, he sent in the heavies to intimidate and smear them. Ridley recounts episode after ugly episode. Then, against all odds, he became a responsible king, usually more sensible than his prime ministers. Those prime ministers subsequently badmouthed him, downplaying his contributions. Ridley cuts through the politicians’ betrayals to show that the king was a moving force behind the Entente Cordiale with France and Russia, and did his best to deter his volatile nephew Kaiser Wilhelm from belligerence. Even more importantly, Ridley argues, King Edward came to terms with the modern constitutional monarchy in a way Queen Victoria never did. He influenced but did not take sides. He put on a unifying public pageant without ever pretending that the Royal Family epitomized middle-class values. Some of his descendants might take note.
Dear Simon Garfield, I’m writing to tell you how delighted I was to read your new book, To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing. Your book artfully captures my appreciation for old-fashioned letter writing and my concerns for the future of the posted dispatch in this age of emails, texts and Tweets. I am not one to criticize how we communicate in the digital age. I can’t tell you the last time I took out pen and paper, addressed an envelope, licked a stamp and walked a letter to the mailbox. But that is the point of your book. You gracefully summarize the theme with these words: “It is a book about what we have lost by replacing letters with email—the post, the envelope, a pen, a slower, cerebral whirring, the use of the whole of our hands and not just the tips of our fingers.” Indeed, To the Letter is part history lesson, part sociological study, part forecast of the future. You explore the beginnings of letter writing, including the epistolary works of Cicero, Seneca and Pliny the Younger. You muse over the letters of Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll and Virginia Woolf. You even devote space to the sad tale of Charlie Brown and how he never received a valentine in the mail. Among the things I enjoyed the most about To the Letter were the photographs of important, quirky or sentimental letters written over time by the famous and not so famous, including a poignant series of letters between a World War II soldier and his sweetheart back home. To the Letter has taught me to appreciate the thoughtful traditions of letter writing, and given me pause as I dash off my next email. I know that other readers will enjoy the book as much as I did. Perhaps they will be inspired to write you as well. Your humble reviewer,
J o h n T. S l a n i a
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womanizer. He was hardly a saint when he became king in 1901, but he had matured into a better man by then, and was a surprisingly good monarch. Historian Jane Ridley was given unrestricted access to Bertie’s papers and has used them to produce a marvelously comprehensive and witty biography, The Heir Apparent. Ridley acknowledges that she found it “hard to warm” to the young Bertie. His bad behavior was explicable enough: His royal parents were brutally hard on him, always carping and disappointed. His subsequent rebellion was almost a given. But the details of his scandals still make for shocking reading. At his best, Bertie was affable, cosmopolitan and had an unerring instinct for saying the right thing. He was a generous and loyal friend to his former girlfriends—as long as they kept their mouths shut. But when they threatened public
Gotham $27.50, 464 pages ISBN 9781592408351 eBook available
christMas stOries by alice cary
Gather ’round for holiday fun
ight the fire, grab a mug of hot cocoa and cozy up with the kids for some holiday reading. You’re sure to find magic in a fine Christmas picture book— the best of which will earn a place in your heart and become a treasured part of your family traditions. That special magic is brilliantly captured in The Christmas Wish (Random House, $17.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9780449816813), a family project that involved photographer Per Breiehagen, his wife Lori Evert and their young daughter, Anja. Just imagine the warmth and Nordic charm of Jan Brett’s The Wild Christmas Reindeer. Now envision a book
whooshes away on skis to head to the North Pole, fearlessly plunging into the deep wilderness snow. Breiehagen’s photographs take readers on a journey up and down mountains, through Northern Light vistas, past frozen waterfalls and across the northern tundra. Along the way, Anja is guided by a cardinal, a giant horse, a musk ox, a polar bear and a reindeer, until she finally reaches the North Pole and sees the big man himself. This unique tale makes readers feel like they’re a part of Anja’s exhilarating journey.
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pOOr little santa
that uses breathtaking photographs instead of illustrations to tell its story, and you have The Christmas Wish. Breiehagen grew up in the mountains of Norway, and a photo he took of Anja with a reindeer inspired his stylist wife Evert to write this holiday story. The result is an exciting tale about a Scandinavian child who dreams of becoming one of Santa’s elves. We first see Anja in her cozy home and at school, tackling holiday chores while contemplating her heart’s desire. One day she simply
Children will also enjoy Jon Agee’s Little Santa (Dial, $17.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780803739062), an amusing tale about Santa’s childhood. In contrast to the photographic opulence of The Christmas Wish, this story features minimalist illustrations that spin a yarn about a down-ontheir-luck family living a dreary life at the North Pole. Young Santa lives in a drab cabin with his parents and six brothers and sisters, all of whom hate the winter chill and dream of moving to Florida. Santa, on the other hand, adores winter fun and can’t stop baking gingerbread cookies and sliding down their chimney. Just as the family prepares to move, a blizzard buries the house and traps the Claus family. Santa is sent up the chimney to get help. He encounters a buried reindeer, and together they fly to a house that happens to be jam-packed with elves. Little Santa is a lively romp in which elves say things like “Holy Snowflake,” and young Santa saves
From an Otis christmas, reprinted with permission.
the day, meeting a gang of friends who will obviously become his North Pole mainstay.
tractOr trOuble Kids will clamor for An Otis Christmas (Philomel, $17.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780399163951), Loren Long’s fourth story about a spunky little tractor who lives on a hillside farm. Everyone there is happily preparing for Christmas, and Otis is thrilled when the farmer presents him with a shiny new horn on Christmas Eve. Otis’ sense of holiday cheer quickly turns to dismay, however, when Doc Baker is desperately needed for a horse in labor. Unfortunately, a blinding snowstorm makes his arrival seem impossible, until our trusty tractor sets out bravely into the dark, stormy night, “with snow up to his chin.” Plenty of excitement awaits as Otis chugs up a steep hill and comes to the edge of a cliff, shining his headlights into the abyss. Long’s gouache-and-pencil illustrations are full of heartfelt charm, yet never stoop to cutesiness. His wonderful Otis series provides a classic new option for vehicle and adventure lovers alike.
christMas cats I’m not a cat person, but Fuddles completely wins me over. A Very Fuddles Christmas (Aladdin, $15.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781416991564) is the second book about this charismatic cat, written and illustrated by Disney animator Frans Vischer and based on his family’s pampered, fat cat. Spoiled “endlessly,” Fuddles thinks Christmas is just for him. He lights up at the sight of a fancy turkey dinner, a gingerbread house and a twinkling Christmas tree. He has a rude awakening, however, when he knocks the tree over and flees in dismay, only to find himself stranded outside in the cold.
Vischer adds humor every step of the way, both to text (“Like a pioneer frontiersman, Fuddles bravely faced the elements”) and to his endearing depictions of Fuddles’ escapades. His illustrations practically leap off the page with energy and imagination. Rest assured that Fuddles does find his way back inside, arriving via a dramatic holiday route. On a very different note, Maryann Macdonald was inspired to write The Christmas Cat (Dial, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780803734982) when she saw Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing “La Madonna del Gatto,” showing young Jesus holding a cat. What if Jesus had a cat, she wondered. In Macdonald’s fresh take on the Nativity story, she begins: “Jesus was beautiful, like all babies. And like all babies, he cried.” Baby Jesus is inconsolable, in fact, until a curious kitten begins to nuzzle him and purr. Thus a friendship is born, and later, when Mary, Joseph and Jesus flee Bethlehem to escape into Egypt, this faithful kitten saves the day when danger is near. Softly evocative illustrations by Amy June Bates enhance this gentle biblical tale.
MOve Over, gOldilOcKs After watching polar bears frolic at the Central Park Zoo, Maria Modugno went home and wrote Santa Claus and the Three Bears (HarperCollins, $17.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780061700231), a Yule-themed take on Goldilocks. These three polar bears live in a Nordic cottage filled with Scandinavian decor, and everything is picture-perfect until a hungry, sleepy Santa drops in and makes himself at home. After all is said and done, Santa, of course, has the last word of the day, saying: “Sorry about the chair. I’ll bring you a new one next year.” Preschoolers will relish this festive spin on a beloved tale, illustrated by award-winning artist Jane Dyer and her daughter Brooke Dyer.
The Time Has Come for a NEW Holiday Tradition! this hilarious parody of Santa’s elvish spy is a story that will make you laugh and remember the true meaning of christmas. ““This This very funny spoof of the bestselling Elf on the Shelf phenomenon offers a dose of holiday Sanity for families beleaguered by Santa’s evervigilant, shelf-dwelling lackey.” —Publishers Weekly
Book and Plu sh gif t Set
On Sale Now dwarf in the drawer
children by joanna brichetto
Making spirits bright with clever books
ooking for great gift books for children, selections that will encourage creativity and curiosity? We’ve combed through publishers’ offerings to find these 10 irresistible choices for kids of all ages, from tots to teens.
r e a d m o r e at b o o k pa g e . c o m
fOr little Ones
Avast, toddler and preschool pirate fans, here’s a pop-up book and play mat all in one. Playbook Pirates (Nosy Crow, $24, 12 pages, ISBN 9780763666064), written by Corina Fletcher and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, is a take-along adventure set starring a cute crew (boys and girls, and with a range of skin tones) and colorful critters. Read the book from either end: One side is a pop-up tale with cheerful pirates searching for buried treasure and navigating sharks, a shipwreck and a mermaid tea party. The other side shares scenes from a pirate’s busy life, including parentpleasing evidence that pirates “have to keep the ship clean and tidy!” The clever design unfolds into a large, pop-up play mat equipped with free-standing characters ready for uncharted adventures. Here’s a wish: that kiddies will grow up loving and remembering Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and author Paul Galdone. The Folk Tale Classics Treasury: Six Cherished Stories in One Keepsake Volume (HMH, $18.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9780544052475) is a core curriculum of the earliest kid lit, including The Little Red Hen, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears and The Gingerbread Boy as retold and illustrated by Galdone. Each story has a perfect ratio of word to fabulous image, “just right for reading aloud and reading together.” Who can forget the “TRIP, TRAP, TRIP, TRAP” of the third Billy Goat Gruff across the
troll’s bridge? Hopefully, no one. This beautiful collection, designed for ages 4 to 7, includes a downloadable audiobook of all six stories.
MOving parts Pop-up master Robert Sabuda pays big homage to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (Little Simon, $29.99, 12 pages, ISBN 9781416960805) in this spectacular three-dimensional edition. Those of us who only know the Disney
a Car Move (Running Press, $19.95, 24 pages, ISBN 9780762447268) by Nick Arnold. Children aged 7 and up can build 10 basic car mechanisms with pegboard, cardboard bits (gears, strips, cams, etc.), rubber bands, plastic bolts and wing nuts. What they’re really building is a hands-on, working knowledge of stuff like valves, brakes and windshield wipers. Running timelines provide historical
From animation studio, reprinted with permission.
version or abridged picture book variations will be surprised by plot details and the emotional depth of Andersen’s story. It is hardly simple, sweet goodnight fare. Sabuda spins the drama with towering, intricately engineered eruptions on every spread, as well as within sequential booklets—with pop-ups of their own—in the margins. We are hooked from the very first page, when the sea king’s castle—a paper sculpture teeming with merpeople, studded with doors shaped like water drops—rises far larger than the book itself. Best for ages 6 and up. Ever hear the phrase “rack and pinion steering” on car commercials and wonder what it means? Ask a kid to show you with this nifty kit: How Cars Work: The Interactive Guide to Mechanisms That Make
context, while adorable illustrations by Allan Sanders make instructions easy and fun to follow.
creature teachers Nat Geo goes interactive with the Animal Creativity Book (National Geographic Kids, $12.99, 80 pages, ISBN 9781426314025), stuffed with animal photos and facts, plus stickers, stencils, games, crafts and other neat things to do. Make a pop-up card for a friend, featuring one of the world’s longest living animals: a giant tortoise. Play Baby Animal Match-Up with colorful cards ready to cut out, or Build a Bear, a game of chance where players compete to assemble a paper panda model. More highlights: a cut-out 3-D lion mask (with a mane made of paper
strips) and Animal Artist, a step-bystep, super-easy method for drawing dogs and cats. For ages 6 to 9. A cell phone or digital camera is all a kid (ages 8 to 12) needs to make amazing animated films with the awesome boxed set of Animation Studio (Candlewick, $19.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780763667016) by Helen Piercy. We’re talking “stop-action” movies, where every incremental movement is caught “on film” and then combined at speed to look real. Movies can feature 2-D action, such as simple drawings on a whiteboard or paper, or 3-D subjects like clay and more complex models. The kit includes a fold-out stage, props, sets and storyboards, all with irresistible artwork, plus some cool tools from animation history: a zoetrope drum and a thaumatrope. The colorful handbook gives storytelling tips, advice on editing and complete how-tos. Dinosaurology: The Search for a Lost World (Candlewick, $19.99, 30 pages, ISBN 9780763667399) is a facsimile of the 1907 travel journal of Raleigh Rimes, a (fictitious) young explorer on a secret journey to a “lost island” in South America where indigenous humans and “living, breathing dinosaurs” coexist in the shadow of a grumbling volcano. Yellowed pages studded with notes, maps, drawings and lift-the-flap extras detail the boy’s adventures and bring to life many prehistoric creatures, remains and encounters. This fictional account is an entertaining way to learn a lot of facts, including a brief history of paleontology, dinosaur characteristics and behavior, plus a great deal about popular prehistoric creatures not classified as true dinosaurs, such as the Megalodon, Ichthyosaurus and Pterodactyl. For ages 8 to 12. The Animal Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of Life on Earth (DK, $24.99, 304 pages, ISBN
9781465414571) is an “amoebas to zebras” reference destined to pique the interest of young readers and provide years of homework help for ages 8 to 12. A super simple (and thus memorable) Tree of Life graphic starts the book, dividing
meet Jennifer a. bell
Prehistoric Life, Life, Science and Technology, and History, presented in an inviting question-and-answer format. For example: How do volcanoes erupt, how did the dinosaurs die out, and how does nuclear power work? Each question and answer
From the folk tale classics treasury, reprinted with permission.
all living things into Plants, Fungi, Microscopic Life and—the main attraction—Animals, with invertebrates and vertebrates branching out from there. The goal is a comprehensive, at-a-glance guide illustrated with brilliant color photography, accompanied by facts that prove to be easily digestible. A nice bonus is the little silhouette “scale” graphic tucked beside each gorgeous spread, giving kids a better sense of how each specimen relates to other species and to themselves. How the World Works (Kingfisher, $18.99, 160 pages, ISBN 9780753471197), by Clive Gifford, promises young readers (ages 8 to 13) they can “know it all, from how the sun shines to how the pyramids were built.” “All” means “the systems, processes and phenomena . . . that make up the workings of the world,” organized into five headings: Earth and Space,
fits onto two adjoining pages, which gives kids plenty of information via illustration and description without being overwhelming.
rOOKie grOws up Rookie is on online, independent magazine with writing and artwork from and for teenage girls. (Check it out at Rookiemag.com.) Rookie Yearbook Two (Drawn & Quarterly, $29.95, 352 pages, ISBN 9781770461482), edited by Tavi Gevinson, compiles highlights from Rookie’s thrilling second year of life, including pieces by Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling, interviews with Emma Watson and Carrie Brownstein, and tons of thematic content from dozens of talented young contributors. Themes like Play, On the Road, Freedom and Paradise give scope to memoirs, essays, fiction, photos and other creative responses. Funky DIY projects are paired with step-by-step photos, like the denim jacket tutorial which, according to a reader’s whim and materials on hand, can involve spray bleach, tie-dye, vintage fabrics and even googly eyes. This compilation would be a welcome gift for the hard-toplease teen on your list.
My pen pal, santa Jennifer A. Bell has illustrated more than a dozen children’s books, including the charming new holiday story My pen pal, santa (Random House, $9.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780375869921), written by Melissa Stanton. Bell lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son and their cranky cat.
By the editors of Merriam-Webster
SOMETHING’S FISHY Dear Editor: Every Sunday for brunch, I fix myself bagels and lox, and it has inspired me to wonder where the words bagel and lox come from. I’m particularly interested in lox—it seems like such an unusual term for smoked salmon. W. M. Stony Brook, New York Our English word bagel, which we first saw used in print in 1932, was borrowed from Yiddish, where it takes the form beygl. Beygl is apparently derived from bougel, an assumed derivative of bouc, meaning “ring,” in Middle High German (a form of German in use from about 1100 to 1500). Bouc in turn can be traced to Old High German and is related to the Old English words beag, also meaning “ring,” and bugan, “to bend.” For such a recent addition to our language, bagel has a long history. Lox first appeared in English even more recently than bagel—our earliest evidence dates from 1941.
It followed a path of development very similar to that of bagel. Most recently, it was taken from the Yiddish word laks, which is derived from Middle High German lahs, meaning “salmon.” Lahs in turn comes from Old High German and is related to the Old English word leax, which also means “salmon.”
LIGHTEN UP Dear Editor: There is no question about it—my son takes after his father. I am darkhaired, but my husband is blonde and our baby has pale, almost white hair. Everybody calls him a towhead. Why? A. N. Bakersfield, California Towhead is used as a nickname for a blonde for the same reason carrot top is used as a nickname for a redhead—it is descriptive. MerriamWebster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, defines towhead as a person with “a head of hair resembling tow especially in being flaxen or tousled.”
Tow is a short or broken fiber used to make yarn, twine and other products. Nowadays tow may be synthetic, but for centuries it was usually made from hemp or flax fibers. When those plants are beaten or combed, the plant stems separate into woody fiber called tow. The color of tow made from flax ranges in shades of yellow, the finest being almost a creamy white. Thus, a person with very pale blonde hair can be called a towhead.
HOOTIN’ AND HOLLERIN’ Dear Editor: Recently I attended a show that was called a hootenanny. What exactly makes a performance a hootenanny? D. A. Woodbridge, New Jersey The word hootenanny is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, as “a gathering at which folksingers entertain often with the audience joining in.” There is also an older sense of the word meaning simply “gadget.”
Hootenanny first appeared in 1925, but according to available evidence, it was not used to refer to a musical entertainment until about 1940. Hootenanny appears to be a coinage of the midwestern United States, but its exact origins are unknown. That hasn’t stopped people from suggesting a few theories. Perhaps the most interesting explanation came from Woody Guthrie, the great American folksinger and frequenter of hootenannies. As reported in Time magazine on April 15, 1946, Guthrie related the story of a woman named Annie who, at folk shows, would outshout everybody else. As he told it, “people got to call her Hootin’ Annie but the name got spread all over and so out there when they are going to have a shindig they call it Hootenanny.” The fact that the word had another earlier meaning, however, makes this appealing explanation unlikely.
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