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Best Books of 2017 Our top 25 picks plus mystery & romance

Holiday Gift Guide Find the perfect gift for every reader

Life on the Prairie Caroline Fraser dishes on Laura Ingalls Wilder

Great Books The Lady with the Purple Hat

A Novel Otilia Greco

Bring Back Summertime Jeanne Starr Gater 978-1-5320-1321-8 Hardback | $26.99 978-1-5320-1319-5 Paperback | $13.99 978-1-5320-1320-1 E-book | $2.99 978-1-4567-4855-5 Hardback | $33.98 978-1-4567-4857-9 Paperback | $24.95 978-1-4567-4856-2 E-book | $10.99

Follow Daisy, hiding under the purple hat through hospital corridors to her husband’s room, hell-bent to speed his death by poisoning him, toward her uplifting change.

A true story of divine intervention. One woman's courage and faith against bitter odds, and one man's miraculous recovery!

Our Fated Century Grant Rodkey 978-1-5245-5817-8 Hardback | $29.99 978-1-5245-5816-1 Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5245-5815-4 E-book | $3.99 A kaleidoscopic scan of events and attitudes that have affected us and our fellow earthly travelers reveals insights during tumultuous period from 1917 to 2017.

Beloved Enemy

A Conflict of Love and Duty Sheila Munds - Belbin 978-1-4817-8351-4 Paperback | $19.76 978-1-4817-9267-7 E-book | $8.99 Beloved Enemy follows Allison, a woman in the British Women’s Army, on her riveting spy mission to seduce a German colonel, who works in intelligence.

2D Surgical Hospital

An Khe to Chu Lai South Vietnam Lorna Griess 978-1-5245-6305-9 Hardback | $29.99 978-1-5245-6304-2 Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5245-6303-5 E-book | $3.99 2D Surgical Hospital shares the story and experience of Lorna Griess living and working in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in South Vietnam.

How Grandpa Tata Caught a Ginormous Fish without a Hook Dhan Reddy 978-1-5320-0752-1 Paperback | $14.99 978-1-5320-0753-8 E-book | $3.99 One night, Grandpa and Dinesh go in search of a big fish. They don’t take a fishing pole and bait. No, Grandpa takes a piglet!

Fibonacci Tales

Knight Tales eLBe 978-1-5245-4671-7 E-book | $9.99 Fibonacci Tales are fiction written in the format of the Fibonacci sequence. It is for electronic book reading, with music callouts essential to the stories.

The Regime

Resurrection Andrew Iddon 978-1-4759-2987-4 Hardback | $23.95 978-1-4759-2985-0 Paperback | $13.95 978-1-4759-2986-7 E-book | $3.99 An ancient enemy intent on the destruction of humanity reappears. Can a young soldier stop the Nazis from finishing the job they started millennia ago?

The Body on the Lido Deck

A Toni Day Mystery Jane Bennett Munro 978-1-4917-9550-7 Paperback | $20.99 978-1-4917-9551-4 E-book | $3.99

Twin Falls pathologist Toni Day is vacationing on a Caribbean cruise. But when a body falls into the pool next to her, Toni investigates the murder.

Ni a Cubetadas Angélica González 978-1-5049-5892-9 Hardback | $26.99 978-1-5049-5890-5 Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5049-5891-2 E-book | $3.99 Ni a Cubetadas guides readers through several extreme and funny situations to deal with the tedious bath-time. This story promotes environment preservation and animal welfare.





Well Read The Hold List Cooking Audio Whodunit Book Clubs Romance Lifestyles

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EDITORIAL POLICY BookPage is a selection guide for new books. Our editors evaluate and select for review the best books published in a variety of categories. BookPage is editorially independent; only books we highly recommend are featured.

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Caroline Fraser Olaf Olafsson John-Bryan Hopkins Meet Melissa de la Cruz Christmas fiction Christmas picture books Meet Oliver Jeffers


Our 25 favorite picks of the year

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Moving on to the next chapter Whenever a commentator bemoans the dwindling appeal of books in our smart­phone culture, I’m tempted to introduce them to the BookPage audience. You, our loyal readers, are the book lovers for whom reading is more than a pastime, it’s a passion. Our recent reader survey shows that 53 percent of you read more than 60 books a year—an amazing figure! And a majority of our readers say they use BookPage as their ­number-one resource for finding new books to read. That’s a heady responsibility and one that we work hard to fulfill. Our team of editors searches each month’s new releases to find the books that will become reader favorites, popular book club selections and, in a few cases, beloved classics. I’ve been lucky to be part of that editorial team, and I’m grateful for the trust that our readers have given us. After working on more than 200 issues of BookPage, I’m retiring this month as editor and turning the reins over to the capable Stephanie Koehler. Exciting things are ahead as BookPage approaches its 30th anniversary in 2018 and our editors explore new ways to connect readers with great books. After retirement, I’ll look forward to having more time for yoga, walking my dog and—you guessed it!—reading. And, like you, I will confidently turn to BookPage for my reading recommendations.

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New & NOTEWORTHY Mustaches for Maddie

Caleb and Kit

“Maddie is a wonderfully thoughtful, creative and funny protagonist … this poignant and uplifting novel is a good read-alike for fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder.” —School Library Journal

In this powerful story of self-discovery, a magical friendship blossoms between a boy coping with a disability and the vibrant, free-spirited girl who shakes up his life.

Shadow Mountain



Just for KIDS Weird But True! Christmas

Running Press Kids

$16.99 9781629723303


Light up their holidays with this smart and silly stocking stuffer! It’s chock-full of smart and silly Weird But True facts about Christmas and the winter season.

National Geographic Kids $8.99

Shaken: Young Reader's Edition

My Journey to the Stars Astronaut Scott Kelly was an ordinary boy who grew up to do extraordinary things. This holiday season, discover Kelly’s aweinspiring journey in this fascinating picture book memoir.

Football champion and bestselling author Tim Tebow provides a firsthand look into both his struggles and triumphs and inspires young people to use their unique gifts to change their world.

Crown Books for Young Readers



$17.99 9780735289963



Little,Brown Books for Young Readers $18.99

Runny Babbit Returns

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

This is a heartstopping adventure that defies time and space—New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu calls it “an incredibly intricate, brilliantly paced, masterfully written journey.”


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history?

Disney-Hyperion $16.99

Timeless Runny Babbit, star of Shel Silverstein’s bestselling book, is back! Runny Babbit Returns, a neverbefore-published collection, features Runny and other woodland characters who speak a topsyturvy language all their own.


HarperCollins $19.99


Usborne Christmas Activities


Dress the dolls in beautiful outfits, and test your brainpower with entertaining puzzles in these festive activity books from Usborne. Fun activities will keep young hands and minds happily occupied this holiday season!

EDC $5.99


© & TM 2017 LUCASFILM LTD. Used Under Authorization.


Let's Find Pokemon! Special Complete Edition

The Most Dangerous Book: An Illustrated Introduction to Archery

Where is Pikachu? Find Pokémon in colorful pictures of Pallet Town, Celadon City and other scenic spots from the game! Three Let’s Find titles are collected in one book!


VIZ Media $16.99

This rich and lively illustrated history of archery turns into an actual bow that shoots paper arrows.






Remarkable Gifts Know your Wookiees from your Wampas, celebrate the world’s most cherished written works and teach kids everything they need to know from A-Z.



365 Classic Bedtime Bible Stories

The Boxcar Children: Fully Illustrated Edition

Kids age 3 and older will delight in this fully illustrated storybook that brings an entire year’s worth of read-aloud classic Bible stories to life for impressionable young hearts.

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s timeless novel, this beautiful, fully illustrated edition of The Boxcar Children will become a treasured gift for both first-time readers and longtime fans.

Barbour $19.99


Albert Whitman & Company $34.99


NEW FROM your F Discover the magic of believing and friendship with the long-awaited sequel to the New York Times bestseller Uni the Unicorn from beloved author Amy Krouse Rosenthal.



Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True

Good Day, Good Night

Hog Wild!

From beloved author Margaret Wise Brown comes a never-before-published story, featuring her signature word pattern from the classic Goodnight Moon, brought to life by bestselling illustrator Loren Long.

Sandra Boynton illustrated songbook features 11 musical tracks, in a dizzying array of dance styles, performed by artists such as Kristen Bell and Samuel L. Jackson.

Random House Books for Young Readers







New from Erin Hunter’s bestselling Warriors series


Gifts for smart and curious kids


Hey, Baby! Cuddle up with this sweet book, filled with pictures and poems, sayings and stories about adorable baby animals from all over the world. It’s cute overload for kids, moms and animal lovers of all ages.

National Geographic Kids




This collection of Animal Planet Adventures chapter books presents fun animal mysteries with information-packed nonfiction extras to bring the best of the animal world to young readers.

Liberty Street $5.95-$14.99

Dedicated fans can enjoy tons of adventure with audiobooks for Warriors #1-6, a new entry in A Vision of Shadows arc and a new Super Edition.


FAVORITE AUTHORS Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony

In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.

This picture book, based on the Pixar studios film Coco, pairs prose from Newbery-winning author Matt de la Peña with illustrations from artist Ana Ramírez.


Disney Press



The Book of Dust Bestselling author Philip Pullman returns with this first installment in his new series set in the world of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Knopf Books for Young Readers $22.99




$9.99 $9.99

$9.99 $12.99

Give what counts from American Girl ® This holiday season, give a gift that’ll last a lifetime and be treasured forever with books that encourage exploration, growth and most of all—fun!

American Girl


Rocco's Healthy & Delicious From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chef Rocco DiSpirito comes a beautiful cookbook featuring 250 craveable, mostly plant-based recipes for everyday life.

Harper Wave



Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook

What Can I Bring? Based on the popular feature in Southern Living magazine, Elizabeth Heiskell’s What Can I Bring? guides readers to greet any occasion life serves us with the perfect covered dish, sweet treat or gift from the kitchen.

Beloved chef and internationally bestselling author Jamie Oliver has collected 150 classic recipes in this allsinging, all-dancing holiday cookbook that guarantees you the best Christmas ever!

Oxmoor House




Flatiron $35

Homegrown Matt Jennings honors the iconic foods of his heritage and celebrates the fresh ingredients that have come to define his renowned, inventive approach to cooking.


Celebrate Every Season with Six Sisters' Stuff These bestselling cookbook authors have created the ultimate goto guide for celebrating every holiday in every month, plus ideas for creating new and memorable special occasions. Includes kidfriendly recipes.



Shadow Mountain



Good Housekeeping Kids Cook! Good Housekeeping has created the perfect cookbook for kids of all ages, who are eager to step into the kitchen. It features more than 100 fail-safe recipes accompanied by tempting photographs and basic how-tos.



David Tanis Market Cooking

How to Instant Pot Take advantage of the Instant Pot’s many virtues with this guide that includes over 100 creative recipes.

Workman $16.95 9781618372406


Discover the joy of seeking out the best ingredients, learning the qualities of each, and using the methods and recipes that showcase what makes each ingredient special—from all the world’s great cuisines.

Artisan $40


Life is Like a Musical

Veranda Inspired by Color

Tim Federle’s clever, inspirational self-help book, full of life lessons learned from his past career on Broadway, inspires readers to discover their own unique tune and become a “singular sensation.”

Running Press

From subtle tints to saturated hues, this stunning volume from Veranda showcases sensational uses of color in some of the world’s grandest homes. Spectacular photographs showcase expert designer secrets to creating warm, inviting rooms.




Hearst $60

Really Important Stuff My Cat Has Taught Me

Star Wars Stormtroopers

This full-color gift book is full of wise and unforgettable life lessons, each paired with the perfect photo of our feline friends. This book will delight every cat lover!

Just in time for the next blockbuster, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this unique and beautifully designed compendium with removable features traces one of the franchise’s most iconic characters— the stormtrooper.


Workman $12.95

Harper Design



© and TM 2017 LUCASFILM LTD.


You Are a Badass (Deluxe Edition)

A Book That Takes Its Time

With a new author introduction and twocolor interior design, this deluxe hardcover edition of the blunt, hilarious self-help classic will help you take the reins and create positive changes in your life.

This book literally inspires reflection and mindfulness. It’s like a meditation retreat between two covers!

Workman $27.50 9780761193777

Running Press



Ivy and the Inky Butterfly

S Is for Southern From the editors of Garden & Gun, the award-winning magazine known as “The Soul of the South,” comes an illuminating and entertaining compendium of Southern history and contemporary culture. Harper Wave $45

The gifts they’ll open over and over!

From coloring book queen Johanna Basford comes this gorgeous hand-illustrated, storybook for readers to color and cherish. It’s both an enchanting tale and a one-of-akind keepsake. 9780062445148

Penguin $17.95

From the New York Times bestselling series come three new titles that will inspire, entertain and enlighten. The perfect gifts for the holiday season! 9780143130925

Chicken Soup for the Soul $14.95 each

The Grumpy Gardener

Atlas Obscura Explorer's Journal


The same team that wrote the #1 bestseller Atlas Obscura brings us a traveler’s journal for every backpack, carryon and messenger bag—or for keeping notes for the next journey.

In his first book, Southern Living Garden Editor Steve Bender delivers valuable gardening tips in his signature cantankerous style. It’s the perfect gift for seasoned Southern gardeners, dirt-digging wannabes and plant assassins alike.


Oxmoor House





Explore the world in thrilling ways with Lonely Planet Aerial Geology

Whether you want to hit the road or explore from your armchair, Lonely Planet offers you amazing adventures. Featuring beautiful photography, detailed itineraries and expert advice, these gift ideas are perfect for all travelers.

Lonely Planet $35 $35


Go on a fantastic tour of North America’s 100 most spectacular geological formations with this book, which shares aerial and satellite photography, explanations on how each site was formed, and details on what makes each landform noteworthy.

Timber Press $29.95

Extreme challenges to complete and color! 9781604697124

An illustrated exploration of the universe— Perfect for all ages!

The Living Forest The Living Forest is an ideal blend of art and scholarship that immerses you deep into the woods. Celebrate the small and the large, the living and the dead, the seen and the unseen.

Timber Press $40

Grab your colored pencils, fill in the numbered shapes and free incredible images concealed on each page! Hidden gems include iconic landmarks, stunning creatures, amazing animals and more.

The breathtakingly illustrated third book in Theodore Gray’s Elements series is Reactions. He focuses reader attention on how elements form molecules that, when combined, build the reactions that foment life.

Barron’s Educational Series

Black Dog & Leventhal

$12.99 each

$29.99 each

The Radium Girls


This New York Times bestseller is the incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice.


Sourcebooks $26.99


What Unites Us


In a collection of wholly original essays, venerated television journalist Dan Rather celebrates our shared values and what matters most in our great country, showing us what patriotism looks like.

From the astronaut who spent a recordbreaking year in space comes a candid account of his remarkable voyage, his prior journeys off the planet and his colorful formative years.

The Revolutionary War as never told before







The Kinfolk Entrepreneur

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Pairing insightful interviews with striking images of the lives and companies of 40 creative business owners around the globe, this book makes business personal.

The story of how Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol rescued his career and revived our holiday spirits. Now a major motion picture.




$35 9781579657581


My Southern Journey

Sisters First

From Rick Bragg, the celebrated bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, comes a poignant and wryly funny collection of essays on life in the South.

Enjoy these funny and poignant personal stories and reflections from former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush.

Oxmoor House



Grand Central




The breathtaking latest installment in Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s megabestselling Killing series transports readers to the most important era in our nation’s history, the Revolutionary War. Told through the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Great Britain’s King George III, Killing England chronicles the path to independence in gripping detail, taking the reader from the battlefields of America to the royal courts of Europe. A must read, Killing England reminds one and all how the course of history can be changed through the courage and determination of those intent on doing the impossible.



The Rooster Bar

The Little French Bistro

Three friends go from debt-ridden law students to fugitives from the law at breakneck speed in John Grisham’s most clever, compelling thriller yet.

Nina George brings us another extraordinary novel about selfdiscovery and new beginnings. “A love story that reminds you what it is to be young again.” —San Francisco Book Review




$26 9780451495587


The Last Ballad

The Little Paris Bookshop

The author of bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with a new novel, set in 1929 North Carolina and inspired by actual events. A moving tale of courage in the face of oppression, The Last Ballad has the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena and Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day.

Monsieur Perdu can prescribe the perfect book for a broken heart. But can he fix his own? This heartwarming international bestseller is not to be missed.


Morrow $26.99




Enjoy the holidays with audiobooks! $22.50

The Monster Hunter Files


Sci-fi lovers will devour these new stories set in the Monster Hunter universe from the genre’s top authors: Larry Correia, Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Jody Lynn Nye and many more!

Baen $25 9781481482752

Edenbrooke and Heir to Edenbrooke Collector's Edition $27.50


Audiobooks are the best way to keep up with your reading. Listen while prepping for festivities around the house or while traveling with the whole family!

This gift edition pairs the bestselling book with the never-beforepublished prequel novella, told from the point of view of the dashing suitor.

Shadow Mountain $19.99 9781629723310

FICTION Favorites Oathbringer

The Princess Bride


The long‑awaited third novel in the Stormlight Archive series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson is here!

For the 30th anniversary of the film, this beloved tale of romance and adventure is given a stunning full‑color illustrated treatment.

Celebrated poet Yrsa Daley‑Ward presents herself as the subject in a poignant collection of poems about the heart, life and inner self.






$15 9781328948854



Children of the Fleet

The Indigo Girl

The Dark Lake

Return to the Ender universe! Read about the Fleet in space, a parallel story to the one on Earth told in the Ender’s Shadow series.

In colonial South Carolina, a 16‑old girl defies expectations to achieve her dreams and make history. This beautiful work of historical fiction is based on the true story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney.

In a suspense thriller to rival the work of Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of her high school.

Tor $25.99

Grand Central



$26.99 9780765377043



The Spark

The Worm and the Bird

The Orphan Keeper

In a violent world in which civilization has fallen and monsters roam, a young hero will rise. You’ll love this new standalone fantasy novel by science fiction master David Drake.

From award‑winning author‑illustrator Coralie Bickford‑Smith comes a beautifully illustrated tale about a worm, a bird and the importance of being present and appreciating what you have, wherever you are.

Based on a true story, this novel “taps into questions of coincidence and belief that have kept me in a state of wonder since I reluctantly closed its covers. Amazing.” —Huffington Post

Baen $25

Shadow Mountain $15.99

Penguin 9781481482769




A furry Merry Christmas for dog lovers!


Christmas Jars Collector's Edition This collector’s edition couples the original bestselling book with 20 true stories of people who have experienced the Christmas Jars phenomenon by giving or receiving an anonymous holiday donation of a coinfilled jar.

$15.95 $9.95

Santa Paws is coming to town! Brighten up the dog days of your holiday season with these cuddly Christmas novels or an inspiring story of a triumphant furry friend. 9781629723297


Shadow Mountain $17.99

Have yourself a cowboy Christmas Give the gift of a cowboy’s caress this holiday season with irresistible Christmas novels from the biggest names in Westerns and Western romance. They’ll knock your jingle boots off! $8.99

Kensington $7.99 each


Uplifting tales to rekindle your holiday spirit Everyone on your list will love these heartwarming Christmas stories about the power of family and the strength and love of our pets.


Give Fern for the holidays Don’t miss this special holiday hardcover novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels, or her annual Yuletide anthologies. They’re must-have gifts to give and receive.


$7.99 $22.95


Inspirational READS ’Tis the season… for a great new read!

Join Adam Hamilton as he examines Christmas through the eyes of Joseph

Sensing the Rhythm





The America’s Got Talent star shares her amazing journey, from losing her hearing to finding the faith to pursue her dreams.

Howard Books

From his beginnings as a humble carpenter to his all-important role as the earthly father of Jesus Christ, Joseph’s place in the nativity story is sometimes overlooked but contains valuable lessons for all of us. Join Adam Hamilton as he examines Christmas through the eyes of Joseph. As you read this book, you will understand how Joseph’s story is much like our own. In life, we encounter circumstances we would never have chosen for ourselves. Joseph provides us with a great example of humbly obeying God even when we don’t understand, and faithfully moving forward in the strength that God provides. Exchange your doubt for courage this Advent and Christmas season.


The House on Foster Hill


Stuff your stockings with these heartwarming stories of second chances, hope and love.

Thomas Nelson


Perfect for the suspense lover on your list, this gripping dual-narrative novel will keep you guessing as both the historical and contemporary heroines face danger, solve mysteries and find love.

Abingdon $19.99

Bethany House $14.99 9780764230288

Christmas hope and cheer

Inspired LIVING

These brand new releases from Zondervan by authors Eric L. Motley, Candace Payne (AKA “Chewbacca Mom”) and New York Times bestselling author Melanie Shankle are inspiring, captivating and sure to brighten your holiday season.

Zondervan $24.99 $22.99


Give hope this Christmas

Christmas bestsellers!

$16.99 $49.99










$3.99 $19.99



Books last a lifetime—they help pass the time during long commutes, travel in bags to summer vacations and rest on bedside tables for years. This Christmas, give a gift that lasts.


Add these inspiring and bestselling books, Bibles and storybook Bibles to your Christmas list today!


The Infographic Guide to the Bible

The Message Canvas Bible

Brush up on the Bible with this full-color guide to the Old Testament. Featuring infographics of key events such as the story of creation, the exodus from Egypt and more, The Infographic Guide to the Bible will entertain and educate!

Center your heart and mind on the story of God told in The Message’s vivid, contemporary language, as you color 300 handdrawn illustrations and Bible verses.








Be Inspired The CEB Wide-Margin Bibles for Journaling & Note-Taking have large, two-inch exterior margins and thicker-thanaverage paper. Two gorgeous covers and a ribbon complete the package—making them beautiful gifts!

Common English Bible $39.99 each

Explore the words and world of the Bible This Christmas, help kids better understand God’s Word with this fully illustrated Bible, dictionary and atlas. Each is designed to make Scripture come alive for kids age 8 to 12.

Harvest House $24.99



Creative Bibles make great Christmas gifts These unique single-column Bibles offer high quality paper and plenty of room for notes and journaling, perfect for the artistic or thoughtful person on your list.





Alexander McCall Smith PRESENTS T H E L AT E S T F R OM

© Chris Watt

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

The House of Unexpected Sisters

© Iain McIntosh

Precious, the indomitable Mma Makutsi, and the kind Mr. Polopetsi track down clues to a wrongful termination case—and stumble upon a secret very near and dear to Mma Ramotswe’s heart. Pantheon





Age ain’t nothing but a number, anyway Ursula K. Le Guin has long eschewed classification. Science fiction writer, feminist storyteller, novelist, poet, children’s book writer, social critic—she is all of those things, certainly. Yet, the words that best describe Le Guin might be thoughtful, engaging and engaged. At age 88, Le Guin is still writing and communicating with her readers, and for the last seven years or so she has done so through the 21st-­century medium of a blog. A selection of these online writings has now been gathered in No Time to Spare (HMH, $22, 240 pages, ISBN 9781328661593). Le Guin holds court with her trademark clear-sightedness and wit on topics ranging from the realities of aging and the art of narrative to eating breakfast and adopting a new cat. As the book’s title hints, these observations are offered from the perch of advanced age, and while Le Guin is hardly a curmudgeon, she certainly lays claim to some well-earned impatience. Disapproving of feel-good, inaccurate platitudes about the “golden years,” she writes matter-of-factly that “[o]ld age is for anybody who gets there. . . . Old age is for the healthy, the strong, the tough, the intrepid, the sick, the weak, the cowardly, the incompetent.” Looking unblinkingly at our growing cultural disconnect between the generations, she says, “In less change-oriented societies than ours, a great part of the culture’s useful information, including the rules of behavior, is taught by elders to the young. One of those rules is, unsurprisingly, a tradition of respect for age. In our increasingly unstable, future-oriented, technology-driven society, the

young are often the ones who show the way, who teach their elders what to do. So who respects whom for what?” Yet Le Guin has a lot more than growing old on her mind. She considers the thorny issue of the Great American Novel, wanders into the quagmire of literary awards and bemoans the overuse of swearwords in books and movies. She savors the pleasures of a Philip Glass opera and the ambiguities of Homer. She talks about problems like hunger and the lowering standard of living with righteous indignation: “Can America go on living on spin and illusion, hot air and hogwash, and still be my country?” she asks. “I don’t know.” And any diehard Le Guin fan knows from her Catwings series for young readers that she has an affinity for felines. Spaced through the book are eight episodes of “The Annals of Pard,” Pard being the latest four-legged addition to the Le Guin household. These charming entries about the “education” of cat and master capture Le Guin at her most guileless and These snippets inquisitive. No Time to from Le Spare is not a Guin’s life are major contribution to Le inarguably Guin’s impresdelightful. sive opus, but these short essays are sprinkled with enough doses of keen observations to keep the reading interesting and worthwhile. Le Guin is a natural storyteller, and these snippets from her life are inarguably delightful. She is certainly a lioness in winter here, as focused as she has ever been on the things that matter most to her. Old age is not for the young, she posits—and it is a slogan not intended as complaint, but rallying cry. Spend a little time with octogenarian Ursula K. Le Guin, and the prospect of growing old becomes a bit less daunting.

Each month, BookPage editors share special reading lists—our personal favorites, old and new.

For our favorite friends Each fall, the editorial team has a spirited internal debate on the best books of the year. While the battle for the top spot is hard won (and on page 30!), what is delightfully easy is picking books we love to give away. These are our favorites to pass along to friends, family and fellow readers.

SURVIVAL LESSONS by Alice Hoffman They say that nothing is certain except death and taxes. There’s a bounty of advice on filing your tax return, but it’s harder to choose a trusted book when helping a suffering friend or loved one. Drawing from her own experience with breast cancer, Hoffman created the practical and optimistic guidebook she longed for in her time of crisis. The result is a brief but honest and uplifting roadmap to living your best life.

EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer For your friend on the fence about vegetarianism or struggling with an ethical diet, we have the perfect book. This emotionally nuanced and gut-wrenching look at the industrialization of animal products is wrapped in a tender meditation on family inspired by the birth of Foer’s son. While a book won’t make a vegan out of a dedicated carnivore, this one offers most readers food for thought on the externalized costs of their next meal.

Top book club picks!



An old-money East Coast family faces the suspicious death of its patriarch and the unsolved theft of a Goya painting rumored to be cursed.

THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER by Junot Díaz In what is essentially a fiction handbook on how not to act in a relationship, reckless cheater and poetic idealist Yunior allows his bad habits and impulses to ruin nearly everything. Díaz elevates his train-wreck characters to artistic heights, and we are all better for it. We recommend sharing this searing, profane and irresistible story with everyone: exes, new partners, friends in bad relationships . . . the list goes on.

An illuminating look at one girl’s journey to find her way home. GINNY MOON Benjamin Ludwig

TENTH OF DECEMBER by George Saunders While Saunders is having a celebrity moment with Lincoln in the Bardo, it’s a good time to revisit his wonderfully bizarre and masterful short story collection. The titular story features a young, lonely schoolboy “with unfortunate Prince Valiant bangs” who encounters a dying man on a frozen lake. For millennials in a quarter-life crisis, fans of the tech dystopia “Black Mirror” and literary buffs alike, this gift says, “We are all strange and human. I love you.”

The perfect couple is the perfect illusion.

RULES OF SUMMER by Shaun Tan Children’s books make wonderful gifts for anyone. They are short and thus more likely to be read—what greater tragedy than a gifted book that lives untouched on a shelf? The best picture books are artistic, poetic and, in the case of Tan’s breathtaking work, downright transcendental. Adults and children alike have much to discover in Tan’s rich, detailed paintings as a young boy shares his surprising and fantastic life lessons.


Do we have a story for you!


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Wrap up a real treat

Awesome audio gifts

Jim Lahey, whose revolutionary no-knead bread liberated bakers with the publication of his first book, My Bread, has done it again. The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook (Norton, $35, 240 pages, ISBN 9780393247282), named for Lahey’s renowned New York City establishment, teaches bread lovers how to make flavorful loaves by using natural sourdough leavening. (Don’t worry, instructions and step-by-step photos for making the essential liquid starter are included.) Lahey shares his recipes for Pane Tuscano, Multi­ grain and many more of his legendary Sullivan Street breads and pizzas—plus recipes for his “Italian-ish” takes on breakfast eggs and cakes, slow roasts, salads and sweets—in this excellent cookbook.

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 19831992 (Macmillan Audio, 14 hours) is the kind of juicy memoir that only a brilliant, razzle-dazzle figure like Tina Brown could write. Taken from the actual diaries she kept while editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, it’s a candid, clever account of the bumpy, raucous, glitz-filled years when she turned VF into the buzz mag of its time. Brown’s rapid-fire reading mirrors her

EATING ELEGANTLY Need a gift for a fervent foodie? Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques (Clarkson Potter, $40, 288 pages, ISBN 9780553459760) will do the trick. Kish is young, adventurous and a former model, and her aesthetic eye is readily apparent in this elegantly styled cookbook. Kish is a strong believer in the power of mastering basic cooking methods and carefully coaches readers in everything from braising and blanching to poaching and pickling. Kish’s creations take time and concentration, but with recipes like Halibut in a smoky Ham Hock Sauce, Beef Rib Eye with Leek Fritters and Mustard Sabayon, and Sour Cream Pecan Cake with Malted Milk Crème Fraîche, it’s worth it.

DOWN-HOME DELICIOUS The charming Ree Drummond


is the quintessential “I-don’tknow-howshe-does-it” woman. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! (Morrow, $29.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780062225269) is her sixth bestselling cookbook, loaded with more than 120 recipes from Drummond’s repertoire that are perfect for busy home cooks. Each recipe comes with her step-bystep photos that ensure total success, whether it’s a breakfast bonanza, grab-and-go lunch, sheet-pan supper, slow cooker sensation or a glorious sweet.

COOKING TOP PICK A true son of New England, Boston chef Matt Jennings deeply appreciates the region’s iconic dishes, local heritage and produce. He’s a gifted culinary innovator, too, who delights in adding a revelatory tweak or an unexpected combination of ingredients in order to turn a superb New England classic like clam chowder or brown bread into something a little different and a little more interesting. In Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots (Artisan, $35, 352 pages, ISBN 9781579656744), Jennings’ gorgeously illustrated debut cookbook, he shares more than 100 recipes that are perfect for the home cook. Some of them are easy, like the super-comforting Farmstead Mac and Cheese, and some need more time, technique and energy, like his lavish Seafood Tourtière. But every recipe is infused with Jennings’ love of New England and his appreciation of fabulous food.

flamboyant energy and hard-driving style. He floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. He was one of the greatest boxers of all time— handsome, clever and as cocky as they come. Muhammad Ali was larger than life, and Jonathan Eig has written the sweeping, spirited biography he deserves. Ali: A Life (Recorded Books, 22.75 hours), read by Kevin Free with even enthusiasm, follows the arc of his amazing life. Born in the Jim Crow South, Ali became “the most famous human being on the planet.” Going from despised draft dodger to beloved hero, he used his celebrity to stand up for racial justice. A rebel unlike any athlete before him, he will be remembered as an icon of peace. Lisbeth Salander, in gritty avenging-angel mode, is back in The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Random House Audio, 11 hours), David Lagercrantz’s second addition to Stieg Larsson’s wildly bestselling Millennium series, and luckily for fervent fans, so is narrator extraordinaire Simon Vance.

While Lisbeth is serving a short jail sentence, her former guardian, now old and very infirm, treks to the prison to give her some new information about her disastrous childhood. Hackles up and hacking expertise at the ready, Lisbeth starts to dig and gets Mikael Blomkvist to help. What they uncover takes us into an intriguing subplot revolving around a twin study, nefarious researchers and revelations about Lisbeth’s past. By calling his exciting bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Blackstone Audio, 3 hours), Neil deGrasse Tyson, that exemplary explicator of the complexities of our universe, lets us ascribe our ignorance of the cosmos to our overscheduled lives. But knowing that we need all the help we can get, he provides us with a “foundational fluency” in the current understanding of the universe. Listen up and get smart!

TOP PICK IN AUDIO Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster Audio, 17 hours) is as magisterial as the creative genius it’s about, the rare kind of biography that acts as a magnet for well-deserved superlatives. Isaacson’s research is impeccable, detailed, and like his books on Einstein, Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin, it’s all wrapped in effortless prose and glorious storytelling. Through Alfred Molina’s elegant performance, Isaac­ son conjures up Leonardo, his insatiable curiosity and his world, making the man who painted the Mona Lisa and puzzled over woodpecker’s tongues so immediate, so human, that he becomes someone you know and cherish.



Crashing into a seriously cold case In Peter Lovesey’s latest Peter Diamond mystery, a wrecking ball exposes something completely unexpected during a home renovation: a remarkably intact skeleton dressed in clothing from the 18th century. Beau Death (Soho Crime, $27.95, 416 pages, ISBN 9781616959050) derives its title from speculation that the skeleton may be the remains of noted gadabout Beau Nash, one of the most famous historical denizens of Bath, England. The clothes are certainly suitable for the age’s most notorious dandy, and then the autopsy results come in: death by stabbing. Despite the age of the crime, both these results and the concealment of the body trigger a new investigation into what may be the defining case of Diamond’s career, and easily the coldest. Or is it all a big hoax, with a much more contemporary corpse than first suspected playing

the key role? One thing is certain: Lovesey’s signature understated humor, often historical and at times hysterical, finds its way onto pretty much every page.

ICELANDIC NOIR Siglufjörður is a small fishing

village near the northernmost tip of Iceland. In Ragnar Jonasson’s newest crime novel, Nightblind (Minotaur, $25.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9781250096098), the murder rate



Photo © Thron Ullberg


Read them all now! Vintage Crime/Black Lizard


in the village has started to garner some attention, having become rather disproportionate to the minuscule population of 1,300. Set about five years after the closing of his debut, Snowblind, Jonasson’s latest finds officer Ari Thór Arason investigating the murder of

a colleague that took place in the boondocks of an already remote country. As is normal in any police procedural, several cases compete for Officer Arason’s attention. Further complicating matters is the fact that the seemingly endless Scandinavian winter is approaching, with its long hours of darkness threatening to obscure whatever meager clues there are to be found. Jonasson’s book offers a nod to the locked-room mystery popularized by Agatha Christie; in a town the size of Siglufjörður, there are a limited number of suspects, motives and opportunities. This is a unique Nordic noir of the first order.

MAN ON A MISSION Harry Dolan can be counted on to craft seamless thrillers, and his latest, The Man in the Crooked Hat (Putnam, $27, 368 pages, ISBN 9780399157974), featuring dogged detective Jack Pellum, does nothing to break his streak. Pellum is a man obsessed. Two years back, his wife was strangled to death, and the killer has never been identified. Pellum subsequently left the police force and became a private investigator, with himself as his primary client. He means to find the man in the fedora who was loitering around his neighborhood shortly before his wife’s murder, the man he is sure (albeit perhaps irrationally) is responsible. And when Pellum’s former partner

passes along some information regarding a recent case, there are similarities too striking to ignore. A writer who committed suicide shortly after his own wife’s death has left a cryptic message painted on the wall: “There is a killer, and he wears a crooked hat.” Pellum, reinvigorated by this news, attacks his investigation with renewed fervor, but the more he chips away, the more he begins to realize that he has exposed only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY Timothy Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty series has been a mainstay of my personal and professional reading list for years now, and his latest, Fools’ River (Soho Crime, $26.95, 368 pages, ISBN 9781616957506), ups his always high-level game. For those unfamiliar with the series, Poke is the Bangkok-based author of a series of counterculture travel books. He’s got a knack for unearthing trouble, and on the odd occasion when he cannot find trouble, it finds him. This time out, his adopted Thai daughter, Miaow, has a friend who hopes to elicit Poke’s help in finding his missing father. The dad in question, something of a ladies’ man, has a small harem of “aunties” with whom he spends his time, but none of them has seen him in several days. To make matters worse, burglars have broken into the family home and stolen checkbooks and credit cards, suggesting that the father is being held hostage somewhere while his accounts are systematically drained. As has been the case with all the Poke Rafferty books, I am only able to scratch the surface of the plot here. Masterful subplots and nuances abound in Fools’ River, and the relationships between Poke and his Thai family and friends lend a unique angle to this series that will inspire readers to consider booking the next flight to Bangkok.

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This is your life Wally Lamb explores the ways in which the past impacts the present in his moving novel I’ll Take You There (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 272 pages, ISBN 9780062656308). Felix Funicello is a film buff who hosts a weekly movie event in an old cinema. One night in the theater, Felix is visited by two ghosts: Lois Weber, a pioneering silent-film director, and Billie Dove, who starred in one of Lois’ movies. The two spirits invite Felix to observe chapters from his past by watching

them on the theater’s screen. The scenes feature the women who have most influenced him, including his daughter, aspiring writer Aliza, and his adopted sister, Frances. Initially, Felix is unsettled by his interactions with the ghosts, but he begins to anticipate their visits. Lamb uses the movie screening as a powerful narrative device—it’s an effective way of exploring Felix’s personal history—and his ghosts from the bygone days of Hollywood are wonderfully convincing. This is a rich and powerful novel that’s sure to satisfy Lamb’s many fans.

A HOUSE OF STRANGERS A finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, Amos Oz’s poignant novel Judas (Mariner, $14.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781328745491) takes place in Jerusalem in the 1950s. A young scholar in search of himself, Shmuel Ash is recovering from a breakup when he goes to work as a live-in attendant to gruff, elderly Gershom Wald, a former schoolteacher. Atalia Abravanel, an older woman whose late father was a Zionist organizer, also lives in Gershom’s apartment. Shmuel is captivated by Atalia, who remains

elusive to him despite the close quarters. As time goes by, the three housemates—all very different, all trying to make sense of the past—learn more about one another and the connections that bind them. Oz delivers a timeless story of love, identity and the search for self in this beautifully rendered novel. Presenting fascinating insights into the nation of Israel—his home country—while taking inspiration from the traditional story of Judas, Oz constructs a multilayered narrative that’s provocative and rewarding.

Your December

Book Club Picks Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

“For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society comes another terrific epistolary historical novel that is simply unputdownable.” —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

“A subtle, emotionally layered novel about the ways art and other objects of beauty can make tangible the invisible, undocumented moments in our lives.” —New York Times Book Review

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS The Keeper of Lost Things (Morrow, $15.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780062473554), the impressive debut novel from British author Ruth Hogan, is a stirring exploration of love, the passage of time and the experiences—and objects—that inform everyday life. Anthony Peardew is filled with regret after he misplaces a gift he received from his fiancée, Therese. When she unexpectedly dies, he begins collecting abandoned items—gloves, umbrellas, buttons—and writing stories inspired by them. After 40 years of collecting, Anthony, now an elderly man, bestows his home and assemblage of objects upon his assistant, Laura. Single and somewhat at loose ends, Laura finds a new sense of purpose when she takes over Anthony’s estate, where her duties include returning Anthony’s items to their original owners. A beautifully crafted novel from a promising new writer, this is a narrative that holds many surprises. It’s a delightful read that’s just right for December.

The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

“I loved it. Escaping into a world of art, beauty and heartbreaking history, I was caught on page one and didn’t put it down until I finished it.” —Liz Fenwick, bestselling author of The Cornish House

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

“A beautiful story of love, loss, and the redemptive power of friendship.” —Catherine Hall, author of The Proof of Love



William Morrow

Book Club Girl




Meet you under the mistletoe


here’s something special about love stories set during the holidays. Maybe it’s the sparkling lights, maybe it’s the cozy fires—maybe it’s the spiked eggnog—but this season’s crop of romances can warm even the coldest heart.

Christmas doesn’t come without danger in The Gift (Avon Inspire, $12.99, 272 pages, ISBN 9780062469144) by Shelley Shepard Gray. The Amish Schwartz family has moved to a new farm and is eager to settle in for the holiday. But oldest sister Susanna gets into a buggy accident—instigated, she believes, by gunshots. When she

but Darcy wonders if Ben is really interested in someone else—until a heavy storm snows her in at his cozy cabin. Through shared meals and her genuine interest in his work, their feelings grow from deep, mutual understanding to love. But what’s a very private artist to do with a gregarious, family-loving woman? Can they get past their

doesn’t like all that much, waiting for her. She sneaks away undetected, but as the days count down to the 25th, she begins to see him in a new light, while Jayson finds himself torn between two women—his mystery pen pal and the charming worker in his office. When the mistaken identities clear up, can Jayson get over his feelings of be-

league, and physical therapist Emma has a new opportunity that would take her across the country. The pair tries to cool things off, but their desire for each other doesn’t abate. Ash doesn’t want to hurt Emma, but he can’t see himself making a commitment. Yet he can’t let her go. What’s a hockey hunk supposed to do? This is a sizzling story for readers who want some spice in their holiday reading diet.


learns that the purchase of their farm was only possible because of the financial woes of the family of Neil Vance—the very man who saved her during the buggy incident—she wonders if their new home will be a happy place. As more dangerous occurrences pile up, Neil puts aside his resentment in order to help the Schwartzes, in particular the pretty Susanna. As they attempt to uncover who is menacing the family, the two grow closer. Will they discover the culprit before Christmas, or will their burgeoning love be the final victim? The Gift is a tender story that melds mystery, faith and the importance of forgiveness.

SNOWED IN The last Shaughnessy sibling finds love in Holiday Spice (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781492616375), the final book in Samantha Chase’s series about the close-knit family. Darcy Shaughnessy takes a temp job with wood sculptor Ben Tanner in the wilds of Washington state. Their attraction is immediate,


differences to make a relationship work? As Christmas approaches, it seems impossible, and both are heartbroken. Is there a way to heal the breach and for both to get what they want, even with the complications of family expectations, past hurts and geographical differences? Expect to shed a tear or two into your hot chocolate while reading this warm and charming tale.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL Jayson Bright has no time for seasonal cheer in Merry and Bright (Ballantine, $20, 272 pages, ISBN 9780399181221) by Debbie Macomber. With an important work project on deadline, he’s expecting his employees to work extra hours, including lovely temp Merry Knight. Little does he know that Merry is the woman he’s been chatting with on an online dating site. Intrigued by her photo (she chose the Knight family dog in lieu of her face), he reached out to her as “Jay.” Both look forward to their evening exchanges, but when they agree to meet in person, Merry is horrified to see her boss, a man she

ing played? And will Merry give the business exec a chance to prove his Christmas spirit? Macomber’s latest holiday romance is as sweet as a plate of holiday cookies and sure to please romance lovers of all ages.

HOT AND COLD Maybe This Christmas (Forever, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781455594924) by Jennifer Snow finds two best friends (with benefits) at a crossroads. After years of casually hooking up with NHL star Asher Westmore, Emma Callaway realizes she’s in love with him, but is afraid to ask for a more serious relationship. When Ash is laid up in their hometown after an injury, it affords them unexpected weeks together, and he begins rethinking what he wants. Will pursuing a real future ruin the pleasant present they already enjoy? Change is difficult, and there are dynamics at play in both their families that would complicate an already difficult transition. Then there are their careers to consider—Ash isn’t ready to give up his spot in the

Kieran Kramer rings in the season with Southern charm in Christmas at Two Love Lane (St. Martin’s, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781250111043), the first book in her sweet new series set in the American South. Macy Frost runs a matchmaking service from a beautiful old home in Charleston, South Carolina. She welcomes the chance to add New York tech entrepreneur Deacon Banks to her client list, until he explains that he’s after some serial dates, not a soul mate. Deacon’s a short-timer in town and wants to please his beloved aunt by appearing to pursue true love over the holidays. Though this plan goes against Macy’s sensibilities, she agrees to take him on as long as he realizes she intends to convince him that love can be found, and that she’s the one to find it for him. Both are surprised, however, when the matchmaker and the man begin to develop feelings for each other. Macy knows he’s only a temporary resident, and Deacon knows that committed, real romance isn’t his thing, but they both begin to question what they’ve always assumed about themselves—and wonder whether this could be the perfect match. Christmas at Two Love Lane is fast-paced fun with a fabulous sense of setting, and the quirky, intriguing secondary characters add even more sparkle to a delightful holiday story.


Design on the move Foster Huntington was a cubicle-contained worker in the fashion industry when he began wistfully scoping out Volkswagen vans on the internet. His obsession led him to purchase a rare VW T3 Synchro and set out on a two-year journey through North America, during which the now-famous hashtag #VanLife was born. In his

are always rich in sumptuous detail, with many furnishings designed by Nahem himself. Modernist lines and shapes show up frequently, but Nahem seamlessly blends these with other period pieces. Ample text for each project gives the reader just enough background into these splendid spaces.

new book, Van Life (Black Dog & Leventhal, $24.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9780316556446), Huntington shares some of the best photos of vehicles people have made into homes, many vintage and retro­ fitted, including not just vans but also school buses, small RVs and truck campers. Go ahead, flip through the breathtaking landscapes on these pages and start planning your next road trip. It’s fascinating to see how homey and well equipped a van or truck can be with kitchenettes, cabinets, beds, live plants and even space for a surfboard. This book may inspire you to find a way to make an epic journey of your own.


STUNNING HOMES In the interior design work of Joe Nahem, contemporary artworks are not simply placed among carefully chosen furnishings; the two speak to each other, influencing the viewer’s perception of both art and setting. In his introduction to Fox-Nahem (Abrams, $60, 272 pages, ISBN 9781419726538), a study of 20 of Nahem’s design projects, author Anthony Iannacci describes how he sees “the distinctions between decorator and curator” and how they can be combined in Nahem’s interiors. “[W]hat Joe is doing goes beyond the role of decorator as enlightened shopper,” he writes. Nahem’s spaces feel both lavish and airy, are both neutral and emboldened with color, and

Photographer Miguel Flores-­ Vianna traveled across four continents to visit the 20 homes pictured in Haute Bohemians (Vendome, $65, 312 pages, ISBN 9780865653399), a stunning display of interiors that invoke history, world culture, sophistication and the residue of time. The homes in these pages are those of artists or leaders in the design world, and their studios and works are as much on display here as their idiosyncratically appointed dwellings. Of the homes he has captured, Flores-Vianna writes that it is “the ‘geography of a life’ that renders them unforgettable because they, like unforgiving mirrors, reflect who their owners are in a most personal way. They are like maps of their desires and like images of how they see themselves. All the houses in these pages are poetry.” Flores-Vianna has an eye for unique a ­ ssemblages of items on mantels and other surfaces, and an appreciation of the real, lived texture of these interiors. I was delighted to find that if there’s one element—besides bold color and pattern—connecting many of these interiors, it’s books: bookcases overflowing, books stacked on tables and benches and chairs. How utterly unlike anything found in most home design tomes! Haute Bohemians is a gift-worthy, fascinating visual journey.

Willie and Dante know they’re playing with fire in the magical moonlit city of Venice. Their common quest could compromise them both…or lead them to happily-ever-after.

Join the

Lady Travelers Society in their latest romantic misadventure, from #1 New York Times bestselling author

Victoria Alexander

Also available

Pick up your copies today!

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Frontier grit and determination from Laura Ingalls Wilder


aroline Fraser’s endlessly fascinating biography, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, honors the 150th anniversary year of Wilder’s birth.

Fraser, who has written for publications including The New Yorker and The Atlantic, has been immersed in Wilder’s world for years, having edited the Library of America edition of the Little House books. On the desk of her home in Santa Fe, she keeps a program from the 1937 Detroit Book Fair, where Ingalls gave what Fraser calls “her most important statement about why she wrote the books.” Wilder said in her speech, “I understood that in my own life I represented a whole period of American history,” specifically, the settling of the American frontier.

Carrie, Mary and Laura Ingalls Fraser’s goal with Prairie Fires was to meld the “great story” of Wilder’s life with American history. “While there are good biographies of Wilder available,” she explains, “I felt that the history really merited a closer look.” Like generations of young readers, Fraser was fascinated by the Little House books as a child, especially because her maternal grandmother’s family emigrated from Sweden to Duluth, Minne-




sota. But what ultimately drew her into years of research was an interview she heard with William Holtz about his 1995 biography of Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, whom he claims essentially ghostwrote her mother’s books. “I just thought really,” she remembers. “That was such a surprise.” Lane was a well-traveled reporter and celebrity biographer who had publishing connections that were vital to her mother’s success. “If she had not,” Fraser says, “I don’t know that [the books] would have ever seen the light of day.” However, Fraser’s research reveals a more balanced collaboration between mother and daughter, one that she says “brought out the best part of both of them.” Wilder began writing about her childhood as early as her late teens, although those manuscripts haven’t survived. Over the years she wrote for newspapers and farming magazines, also penning a gritty manuscript titled Pioneer Girl, which remained unpublished until 2014, well after Wilder’s death in 1957. Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932, when Wilder was 65. After years of financial instability, her books about her poverty-stricken childhood finally brought her wealth. In the introduction to Prairie Fires, Fraser calls the feat “a profound act of American myth-making and self-transformation,” as she “reimagined her frontier childhood as epic and uplifting.” The Little House series “has all of Laura’s stoicism and her grit and determination,” Fraser says. “I think Rose made it more accessible for children at times―to kind of gentle down some of the harsher

realities of what her mother was writing. She polished some of that and brought out the high points, the cheerfulness, the love in the family.” Still, questions linger. At the Detroit Book Fair, Wilder firmly stated, “All I have told is true but it is not the whole truth.” Not quite, as it turns out. “Laura and Rose would take factual material and transform it into fiction,” Fraser asserts, “and then claim it was factual, and have no problem with that. Rose cut her teeth in yellow journalism. Insofar as she had any training, it was in the yellow press. It was the real fake news.” Wilder aptly described her books as “a long story, filled with sunshine and shadow.” The privations she and her family suffered, however, were much harsher than what was described in the books. The family’s only son died at 9 months, and Wilder’s sister Mary went blind. Years later, Wilder’s husband, Almanzo, suffered a stroke early in their marriage, making farm work difficult, and their only son died as an infant. A short time later, their house burned down. Wilder, her husband and daughter finally left South Dakota in 1894 to settle in the Ozarks, on a farm they called Rocky Ridge. After their departure, Wilder didn’t see her beloved father again until years later, when he was on his deathbed. After that, she didn’t see her mother or sisters for years and wasn’t able to attend her mother’s funeral. Fraser says Wilder’s “exile” from her family was critical to her writing, adding, “I think

all those years added up to a very intense yearning and nostalgia for her family, which resulted in her wanting to recapture and revisit her childhood in these books.” Fraser notes that readers cherish the Little In recounting House books for their her pioneer “incredible childhood, sense of the closeness of Wilder and the family.” her daughter The paradox, blurred the she says, is that lines between Wilder and her daughter never fact and had that. Lane fiction. suffered from depression and described her childhood as a “nightmare.” “It says something about the extraordinary nature of literature that a relationship as fraught as that between Laura and Rose was able to produce this amazing testament to the American family,” Fraser says. In recent years, many have criticized the series for its racist attitudes toward Native Americans. For example, in Little House on the Prairie, Wilder begs her father to let her adopt a Native American baby whom she sees passing by. Fraser

notes that while the young girl’s statement may seem “innocent on the surface,” it embodies “a perfect image in American literature of what white settlement was all about, and the acquisitive nature of the people who came to the West and wanted to take everything that belonged to somebody else.” Nonetheless, in 1894 Wilder wrote in her diary, “If I had been the Indians I would have scalped more white folks before I ever would have left [the wilderness].” “It’s a very bold statement,” Fraser says. “I really think it’s one of the most extraordinary statements that she ever made and a really astonishing one for a woman of her era to make. Many other people were just terrified or overwhelmed by the kinds of experiences she had. She remembered the terror, she remembered being overwhelmed, but it did not affect how she felt about the land, and that, to me, is extraordinary.” Despite the controversies about the Little House books, Fraser believes they will have an enduring legacy. “I certainly hope that people continue to read them, because I do think that they are really important, not only as children’s literature, but as American history,” she says. “They deserve a place among the classics of American literature.”



By Caroline Fraser

Metropolitan, $35, 640 pages ISBN 9781627792769, eBook available


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best books of 2017 to the powerful love his parents had for each other and for their son.


This unforgettable memoir offers a heartbreakingly funny look at an award-winning poet’s unconventional Catholic upbringing.



fter much discussion and determined lobbying for our personal favorites, the editors of BookPage have reached a consensus on the year’s best books. These are the books we can’t forget—and can’t stop sharing with readers wherever we go.


In the privileged community of Shaker Heights, wealth and comfort crumble in the firelight of Ng’s brilliant storytelling.


The incomparable winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize is a heartbreaking, funny, strange reflection on grief after loss.


This hilarious debut pulls no punches in depicting the absurdity of campus life and the particularly awkward magic of early adulthood.


Spiced with unexpected magic, this imaginative love story follows a young couple who join a wave of migrants as their city collapses.


In a riveting riff on The Great Gatsby, Watts’ first novel focuses on the residents of a down-on-its-luck North Carolina town.


Addicting and powerful, this superb novel follows four generations of a Korean family carving out a life in Japan despite racism and war.


During World War II, one woman


becomes the first female diver at the Brooklyn docks. Hold your breath and sink in deep.


Isaacson delves into Leonardo’s life and pulls back the curtain of genius on one of the most brilliant men who ever lived.


The Pulitzer Prize-winning author offers a richly detailed, uncommonly compelling biography of Ulysses S. Grant.


At the heart of Alyan’s debut are enormous themes of time and family, grounded by piercing insight and striking, poetic language.


This intricately layered story with supernatural elements offers a brutal view of racial tensions in the modern-day American South.


Beloved humorist Sedaris shares 20 years of observations in this collection of diary entries that toe the line between hilarious and weird.


With levity and bittersweetness amid the worst moments, Riggs’ account of living with cancer is feisty, uplifting reading.


Already optioned for film, this bewitching thriller follows an intrepid journalist as she uncovers her family’s darkest secrets.


After spending a year in space, veteran astronaut Kelly has returned to Earth to tell us what life is like among the stars.


Don’t trust just anyone to break your heart, but do trust Alexie and this unconventional memoir of his relationship with his mother.

Shamsie’s confident, dreamy reimagining of Antigone grasps a throbbing heart of love and loyalty.


Two best friends and successful cartoonists navigate the creative process in this heartfelt debut.


A daughter attempts to come to terms with her mother’s murder in this emotional true-crime memoir.


The granddaughter of Latvian refugees pieces together her history.



• Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough • The Dry by Jane Harper • The Force by Don Winslow • Glass Houses by Louise Penny • A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré • The Long Drop by Denise Mina • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz • Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper • UNSUB by Meg Gardiner



Nine superb, understated stories from the Pulitzer Prize winner find characters stretched between cultures, countries and desires.

The most notorious hate crime in American history receives the insightful, fearless inquiry it deserves.


Hansen’s investigation into U.S. involvement abroad is a compelling look at the consequences of interventionist foreign policy.


Ford’s memoir is a gentle testament

• The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean • The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare • An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole • Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai • Knight on the Texas Plains by Linda Broday • A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran • Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson • One More Kiss by Samantha Chase • Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh • White Hot by Ilona Andrews



Best bets for the book obsessed


et ready to wrap! We’ve assembled a stack of picks for the bibliophile on your shopping list. These outstanding anthologies and coffee table-worthy titles will give serious readers an extra reason to celebrate the season.

Check your bookshelves—you’re bound to own at least one volume with a cover designed by Chip Kidd. Maybe you’ve got David Sedaris’ Naked, with its white boxers on the front. Or Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, which bears the image of T. Rex in silhouette. The associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf, Kidd has been producing mini-masterpieces like these for more than 30 years. His visionary designs, along with a wealth of sketches, mockups and ephemera, are beautifully presented in Chip Kidd: Book Two: Work: 2007-2017 (Rizzoli, $60, 320 pages, ISBN 9780847860081). This big, bold collection—the follow-up to Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006—includes Kidd’s lively commentary on the creation of covers for Oliver Sacks, Jill Lepore, Haruki Murakami and other world-class authors. He observes, “no matter what form a book takes, its author wants the work to be visually represented—in as interesting and memorable a way as possible.” Kidd has turned this task into a fine art. Here’s to another 10 years.

were arranged by Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who often uses poetry to celebrate nature and to explore humankind’s place within it. Featuring more than 200 poems in a variety of forms and moods, this radiant survey showcases Oliver’s versatility as an artist. In “Flare,” from The Leaf and the Cloud (2000), she writes that a poem “wants to open itself, /like the door of a little temple, /so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed, /and less yourself than part of everything.” It’s a fitting description of what readers will experience when they dip into Devotions. This wide-­ ranging collection is a wonderful introduction for those who aren’t familiar with Oliver and a great gift for readers who already love her.


Questions regarding the creative process are among those most often posed to eminent writers. When faced with a blank page (or screen), how does one begin to work? Is the act of composition ruled by logic or magic? Insights into these and other hair-tearing THE GIFT OF VERSE issues can be found in Light the Providing sustenance for the sea- Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspison to come, Devotions: The Seration, and the Artistic Process lected Poems of Mary Oliver (Pen- (Penguin, $17, 352 pages, ISBN guin, $30, ISBN 9780399563249) is 9780143130840). perfectly suited to the winter weeks Edited by Joe Fassler, Light the that lie ahead and an excellent pick Dark brings together the best of his for the introspective literature lov- By Heart author interview series er. The poems in this exhilarating from The Atlantic. In this revealing collection span five decades and anthology, Roxane Gay, Billy Col-

lins, Viet Thanh Nguyen and others share craft-related anecdotes and excerpts from works they find most inspiring. Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Junot Díaz says, “altered my personal and creative DNA.” For Walter Mosley, reading Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye was a “one-two combination punch” that brought home to him the power of language. For artists in need of a creative fix, Light the Dark is as good as a visit from the divine muse. Well, almost.

TREASURED TALES Illuminating the path that brought us to where we are now as a nation, The Annotated African American Folktales (Live­ right, $39.95, 752 pages, ISBN 9780871407535) features almost 150 stories of African American lore, some famous, others obscure, all timeless and telling. Edited by Maria Tatar and Henry Louis Gates Jr., this meticulously assembled anthology brings together an astonishing range of ballads, myths, fairy tales and oral narratives, along with contextual essays and breathtaking imagery. Featuring stories of the African shapeshifter Anansi, tales of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit, and legends of Creole and Caribbean lineage, this playful and profound volume will make readers re-evaluate traditional African literature. Selections from Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking book of folktales, Mules and Men, are also included, along with contributions

British Library Board photo from Remarkable Books.

by notable folklorists such as Sterling A. Brown and William Owens. This is a landmark collection and a necessary addition to the study of America’s heritage.

BIBLIOPHILE’S DELIGHT The title says it all: Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works (DK, $30, 256 pages, ISBN 9781465463623) showcases more than 75 archival gems, from ancient papyric manuscripts to Penguin’s first paperbacks. The works are arranged chronologically, giving readers a sense of how advances in book production have paralleled the progress of human thought. In addition to groundbreakers such as the Gutenberg Bible and Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language, readers will find literary rarities like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s handwritten draft of Le Petit Prince. Stunning photos provide an intimate look at illuminated manuscripts, detailed woodcuts and engravings, and examples of innovative typography while capturing the genius at play in each creation. Brimming with bibliological trivia, the volume is a stunning celebration of the book as both achievement and objet d’art. For the bibliophile, it doesn’t get any better than this.




From Playstation to acclaimed fiction


sked what he’s reading now that work on his psychologically compelling fifth novel is complete and the book will soon arrive in bookstores, Olaf Olafsson says he is rereading the novels of his father, the award-winning Icelandic novelist Olafur Sigurdsson. “My dad passed away in 1988,” Olafsson explains during a call to his home in Manhattan’s Carnegie Hill neighborhood, where he and his wife—now parents of two adult sons and a teenage daughter— have lived since 1989. “We were very close. It’s strange, in that his voice is so clear in his writing. It’s like he’s here again.” Those close paternal ties are certainly not shared by Magnus, the central character of Olafsson’s latest novel, One Station Away. Magnus, a New York-based neurologist, grew up in England, the only child of a narcissistic mother who believes the world has ignored her great talents as a pianist and a hustler father who lovingly caters to and promotes his wife’s injured ambitions. Without musical talent or creative interest, Magnus is largely rejected by his parents, whom he is expected to call Margaret and Vincent, rather than Mom and Dad. No wonder then that Magnus’ research interest involves another kind of alienation, the separation of mind from body. Magnus and


By Olaf Olafsson

Ecco, $25.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780062677488, eBook available



his scientific colleagues search for consciousness in people who are believed to be brain dead, with unexpected repercussions. “I came upon an article years and years ago about a British neuroscientist who had begun to search for consciousness in people who were believed to be ‘vegetables,’” Olafsson says of the origin of the novels. “To me this state of being fully conscious but unable to communicate at all is the definition of hell.” Olafsson, who seems to be drawn to conjoined themes and multiple plotlines, also read about a British pianist named Joyce Hatto, “who got involved with her husband in a fraudulent exercise” to pass off the recordings of other musicians as her own work. Olafsson used quite a bit of Hatto’s story to fill in the love-deprived background of his nonmusical central character. The result is a novel that braids together these seemingly disparate themes and thus raises as many profound questions about personal relationships and love as it answers. “Needless to say, I like gray,” Olafsson says. “Everybody will come to different conclusions. I want my characters to be complicated.” Olafsson wrote his first work of fiction as an undergraduate studying physics at Brandeis University in an international scholarship program. “I grew up reading a lot of literature, so when I came here, I wanted to study something else.” His first collection of stories was published in Iceland in 1986 to critical acclaim. “My physics professor had a higher opinion of me as a physicist than I do,” he says with a laugh. “And he wanted me to finish my Ph.D. I said I didn’t think so because I didn’t have the passion for it, and I was writing my first book. To make a long story short,

he introduced me to a former student of his who was supposed to persuade me to continue in physics. That gentleman had just left science and was the CEO of Sony. When he couldn’t help my professor convince me to spend my life doing physics, he offered me a job. “It never occurred to me that I would go into business. I thought I’d try it for a couple of years. At least I’d learn something that I could use in a book.” To his surprise, Olafsson became an exceptionally successful businessman. He worked first on a brand new technology “Needless called the to say, I like CD-ROM, and gray. . . . I want then led the my characters introduction of the Sony to be Playstation in complicated.” 1995, for which he is viewed as a sort of demigod in some quarters. About this gaming legacy, Olafsson demurs, “Back then there was the hope that this form of storytelling would mature and develop and stop being a toylike activity. I don’t follow it very closely now, but I think it’s still pretty rudimentary. It just looks better. And sounds better. I’ve always looked at technology as a set of tools. It serves a purpose, but you can’t be a slave to it. What I was interested in then was introducing a new product and building a business, which I enjoyed back then. And then I left it.” Since 1999, Olafsson has worked as an executive at Time Warner. Yet he has somehow continued to write fiction. “If there’s one thing



I’m decent at, it’s discipline with time,” he says. “If I can write two or three hours before I go to the Time Warner offices, I’m happy.” He writes mainly in an office at the top of his house in Manhattan, but also in outbuildings at the family retreats in Iceland and on Long Island. Today Olafsson, who along with his wife remains an Icelandic citizen, is executive vice president of Time Warner. “I have a green card. I’m what you call a resident alien,” he says, laughing. “At Time Warner, I’m in charge of corporate strategy. Time Warner has a lot of different businesses so my job is basically to figure out the right composition of assets within the company. So I guess my work is predicting how the world is going to evolve.” So how is the future looking? Olafsson laughs. “The media landscape is changing enormously. At dinner with my wife and my publisher last night, we were saying that we’ve been through all kinds of technology changes. But the smartphone? The only thing to call it is a revolution, because of the behavioral changes it has brought through the years. But my hope is that the future is also looking good for books. Needless to say, for me personally, that’s the thing I care about most.”

Noteworthy Novels for the Holidays Weaving a tale of mystery and romance, this promising author’s debut is a dual-time narrative about an abandoned house and the two women changed by the secrets it holds. “With sharp dialogue and plenty of scares, this is a gripping tale that never loses sight of the light.”—Foreword Reviews The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The top author of inspirational Regency romance delivers the second T F I H. Booklist says this “heartwarming new series . . . delivers everything fans of gentle historical-romance novels could ever want.” The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen T F I H 

A Division of Baker Publishing Group

Available at your bookstore or by calling 1-866-241-6733

How Seeing the World through

e Lens of Personality Changes Everything

Anne Bogel, blogger at Modern Mrs. Darcy and host of the What Should I Read Next? podcast, helps you discover what makes you uniquely you, what makes the people in your life uniquely them, and why it all matters. In Reading People she collects, explores, and explains the most popular personality frameworks and shares the life-changing insights that can be gained from each, along with practical applications across all facets of life.

Visit to learn more and take the “What’s Your Reading Personality?” quiz!


Available wherever books and ebooks are sold.



A nostalgic celebration of food


espite the title, John-Bryan Hopkins’ Foodimentary: Celebrating 365 Food Holidays with Classic Recipes isn’t quite a calendar or a cookbook. The first entry is “Peanut Butter Lover’s Day” on March 1, and from there the book covers everything from the Aztecs and Incas to health-food pioneer Dr. John Kellogg to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

The January 1 entry, many chapters later, is not about black-eyed peas, soba noodles or lentils but a specialty concoction for “Bloody Mary Day.” It is one of many holidays that Hopkins shamelessly admits to having personally anointed. “I looked up all sorts of recipes going back to the 1910s and ’20s,” he says. Ultimately, Hopkins makes his Bloody Mary with vodka, for those into such spirited debates. Foodimentary—inspired by Hopkins’ popular blog,—is what he calls a celebration, a daily indulgence and an appreciation of food, culture and nostalgia. It’s also an evocation of Hopkins’ own story, “fleshed out” with recipes, vintage photographs and delightful trivia. “It’s how I wanted to tell my tale,” says the Birmingham native, “with as much layering as I could bring to it.” It’s comfort food in both senses, a hometown story alongside his favorite dishes. Hopkins, whose blog began in


By John-Bryan Hopkins

Wellfleet, $28, 352 pages, ISBN 978157715153 Available nationally January 1



2005, came up with the Sherlock Holmes-inspired name during a freewheeling and slightly inebriated post-dinner conversation. Ironically, he had a mild bias against blogs because he felt they tended to be about the blogger, not the subject. He styles himself more as the wizard behind the delicious and decadent curtain. When he discovered the word “foodimentary” was free and clear of copyright, he took it as a sign. Hopkins’ goal is to lead his readers to their own food-inspired “A-ha!” moment: “When you learn a fact about a food or recipe you think, oh, that makes sense!” For Foodimentary, Hopkins originally tested 176 recipes, which have been whittled down to a few dozen highlights. Some are personal favorites; others, such as Eggs Benedict, are classics. There’s also his own “personal best” dish, an extra-savory take on grilled cheese featuring sun-dried tomatoes, arugula and sautéed mushrooms on baguette slices. Altogether, Hopkins estimates he’s introduced the world to around 150 national food holidays. So many, in fact, that one of his proudest achievements is that Google has taken up his food calendar. Foodies can sign up for his daily alerts that include food trivia along with fun historical facts, like his salute to bologna and its Italian origins. Some holidays are comparatively serious (September 25 honors the multitude of waiters, busers, servers, dishwashers, chefs, etc. in the food service industry) while others are more akin to guilty pleasures. We have “Cheez Doodle Day,” March 5; “Pizza and Beer Day,” October 9; and “Whiskey Sour Day,”

August 25 to name a few. This reviewer is looking forward to both the soft and hard taco days, October 3 and 4, respectively, though it seems like October 5 should probably be Alka-Seltzer Day instead of “Apple Betty Day.” While the ubiquitous and beloved fall flavor, pumpkin

spice, is seasonally celebrated on October 1, sometimes Hopkins eschews tradition in favor of his own agenda. For example, August is famously among the months when it is considered inadvisable to eat oysters. Perhaps flaunting the all-season convenience of our modern age, he has assigned Oyster Day to August 5. Adding to the nonstop fun are the trivia questions in the sidebars. The word “zucchini” may translate from Italian into “small squash,” but a full-grown fruit can grow the size of a baseball bat—no doubt thanks to the same food science that allows us to eat oysters yearround. Peanuts have more anti-

oxidants than either green tea or spinach; Brits like to enjoy pigs in a blanket on Thanksgiving; ramen noodles were taken into outer space; Italy is the world’s largest exporter of caviar. This is a book that could easily be displayed in the kitchen or on a coffee table for visitors to leisurely graze. One of the more intriguing elements of Foodimentary is that the illustrations are by four different artists, one for each season, which are harmonious without being identical. “I wanted each season to have a slightly different feel as you travel through the book,” Hopkins, a former interior designer, says. “I didn’t want the concept just to be about a series of days, I wanted [the nostalgia] to visually rise up under a seemingly simple premise.” Now that his whimsical almanac has gone public, Hopkins is stirring up ideas for a second book. He envisions a more serious reference title, though still accessible: “Need a quick substitute in a recipe? Don’t go to Google, go to Foodimentary.” He managed most of his first book’s text in six weeks, so followers may not have to wait too long. Speaking of whimsy, Foodimentary begins with March because spring is Hopkins’ favorite food season. He says it’s the “best time to me to celebrate food.” Hey—it worked for the Romans.



Eat, drink and be merry


his year’s holiday banquet includes a spread of books that are fit for feasting: two gorgeous coffee-table extravagances, a fascinating window into the culinary culture of 1940s Paris and a pair of visually appealing stocking stuffers. Barton Seaver’s American ­ eafood: Heritage, Culture & S Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea (Sterling Epicure, $50, 528 pages, ISBN 9781454919407) is a stunner. Seaver, a fine chef who was at the forefront of the sustainability movement, has published multiple cookbooks. His latest encyclopedic tome is part cookbook; part photo-journal studded with a variety of vintage ads, black-and-white photos and gorgeous full-color images; and, above all, a paean to the fishers and harvesters of one of America’s major food sources. Seaver, who lives in a Maine fishing village, makes a strong case for treating seafood and its procurers with the same respect as farmers and their heirloom tomatoes. The ancestors of these frontiersmen of the seas made the British settlement of the first American colonies possible. The two-page discussion of the often dissed catfish alone will convince you of Seaver’s passion for the ocean and its bounty.

areas such as Epernay and Reims but also the small villages and single vineyard producers. A former critic for Wine & Spirits magazine, Liem goes through the history and mechanics of champagne production (biodynamics, tank fermentation and crayères, the astounding chalk cellars 100 feet below ground dug out by the Greeks and Romans and now used for aging) and then dives into appreciating individual blends, vintages and their blenders. Liem doesn’t limit himself to the expensive sparklers, either; his evaluations range in price. As an extra bonus, the box set includes seven reproductions of vintage maps of the regions, the sort you could frame or decoupage onto the wine bar—or put travel pins in, if you’re really showing off.


Justin Spring’s The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy (FSG, $30, 448 pages, ISBN 9780374103156) is an erudite, exTOAST OF THE TOWN tensively researched evocation of a Peter Liem’s Champagne (Ten moment in time when a half-­dozen Speed, $80, 328 pages, ISBN brilliant Americans converged in 9781607748427) is for those who France in the mid-20th century are seriously enchanted by the bub- and illuminated the culture of bly elixir. Billed as “the essential French cuisine for audiences back guide to the wines, producers, and home. terroirs of the iconic region,” this Spring’s subjects are a fascinatis an armchair oenophile’s delight. ing group: the already corpulent Liem provides a detailed descripWorld War II correspondent A.J. tion of the best champagnes from Liebling; the secret CIA spy and not only the better-known French cooking icon Julia Child; the

gluttonous $4,000, 31-course meal, replete with caviar and song birds, eaten by New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne in Paris in 1975 to the criticism of many.

COCKTAILS AND CATS Around the World in 80 Cocktails (Hardie Grant, $19.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9781741175189) by Australian bartender and writer Chad Parkhill packs in more fascinating historical trivia than most of the season’s cute cocktail book offerings, and the retro travel post-

self-effacing M.F.K. Fisher; the artist-turned-rustic food chronicler Richard Olney; the opportunistic Alexis Lichine, who was raised in Paris but had based his wine business in New York; and Alice B. Toklas, the longtime partner of Gertrude Stein who was, in a way, the liaison between these five characters and the famous Lost Generation of writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Toklas’ knowledge Reprinted with permission from Distillery Cats, copyright © 2017 of food had perhaps by Brad Thomas Parsons. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the most poignant Penguin Random House LLC. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Julia Kuo. beginning, because er-style illustrations by Alice Oehr it was rooted in the shortages of are a real pleasure. Head to Spain the war and her straitened cirfor a fruity Sherry Cobbler, which cumstances after Stein’s death; makes a cameo in a Charles Dickher cookbook was in part a task ens novel, or read about Bolivia’s to shake off grief. It’s notable that national spirit, the floral singani, none of the six figures featured while sipping a llajua cocktail. This here, with the arguable exception would be a fine gift for a holiday of Lichine, were food snobs; they host or well suited for placing atop celebrated regional, homey and a home bar tray. haute dishes with equal relish. More whimsical, and certainSpring has also layered in smart ly more unusual, is Distillery and pointed profiles of other Cats: Profiles in Courage of the writers, critics and contemporary World’s Most Spirited Mousers celebrities, looking back on this (Ten Speed, $14.99, 112 pages, period as a short-lived love affair ISBN 9781607748977) by James between Americans and French Beard Award-winning writer Brad fare that was curtailed by political Thomas Parsons, who offers up unrest, new ethnic fads and, curithe tales of the felines who guard ously, an infamous, unabashedly the grains in distilleries around the world, with lovely sketches of the cats courtesy of Julia Kuo and 15 delicious cocktail recipes as well. What is particularly sweet is the number of the cats that are strays, rescues and self-appointed welcoming committees. If you choose to pick up a bottle from one of the 31 American artisanal distilleries and breweries listed, you will have a first-rate feline host to greet you.




America’s fascinating past and present


ow has the United States changed over the past 250 years, and how has it remained the same? Here are five gift ideas for readers with a serious interest in where we’ve come from, how we got this far and just how far we have left to go. The word “frenemies” wasn’t around during the founding of the United States, but it could certainly be applied to the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, which is detailed by Gordon S. Wood in Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (Penguin Press, $35, 512 pages, ISBN 9780735224711). The acerbic Adams and the idealistic Jefferson were divided by geography and social standing in addition to temperament. Yet they forged a friendship in the early days of the nation before later falling out over issues large and small as the years rolled by and both served presidential terms. The rift was healed with the help of a mutual friend in their later years, providing a heartwarming ending to the intertwined biographies of two men who famously both died on the Fourth of July, 1826. Their differences remained to the end, but as Wood shows—with the help of the numerous letters between the pair that survive—the combatants’ jousting took on a mutually respectful tone. A 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner for The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Wood is a skillful guide to Revolutionary-era principles, both profound and personal.

EMPIRE STATE OF MIND Historian Mike Wallace is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his co-authorship of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, and he has now produced the second volume in the series, Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 (Oxford University Press, $45,


1,196 pages, ISBN 9780195116359), and it’s a worthy sequel packed with insight and information. Organized by topic, it can be read straight through (just not all in one sitting) or approached as an encyclopedia, jumping from section to section while savoring the photos and illustrations. If you want to start with dessert, flip to the Cultures section, with its histories of Broadway, the Bronx Zoo, Coney Island and more. But don’t overlook the more serious fare, most notably the excellent explanations of the rise of Manhattan’s skyscrapers and the history of the island’s famous tunnels and bridges. Through it all, Wallace holds to a historian’s tone that maintains an easy appeal with the casual reader.

WE HAVE HIT BOTTOM If anyone ever appeared to be eminently qualified to be president of the United States, it was Herbert Hoover. A self-made millionaire largely untainted by politics, Hoover had a long history of rolling up his sleeves and getting important work done when he was elected to the job in 1928. So how did things go off the rails,

ending with his defeat by Franklin Delano Roosevelt four years later? Kenneth Whyte tackles that question and more in Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (Knopf, $35, 752 pages, ISBN 9780307597960). While no apologist for the man who became synonymous with the Great Depression, Whyte details how Hoover was up against worldwide economic forces that he had no way of controlling and points out that the hard times continued long into Roosevelt’s presidency. Just as interesting, however, are Whyte’s accounts of Hoover’s early life, from his rise from orphanhood to world-traveling problem solver, and his post-presidency attempt to restore his image and regain his place among the 20th century’s most admired people.

A KEN BURNS COMPANION Another Ken Burns PBS series? Delightful! And with the series comes the companion book, The Vietnam War: An Intimate History (Knopf, $60, 640 pages, ISBN 9780307700254), by Burns and historian Geoffrey C. Ward. Burns’ style has proven irresistible over

the years: It’s straight history inter­ spersed with personal vignettes and peppered with photographs. The iconic images from the war are here, of course, but look for the lesser-known shots, such as President Lyndon B. Johnson watching television coverage of the war in bed with his wife, Lady Bird, or an overhead shot of the famed Ho Chi Minh Trail, which continued to be used despite multiple American airstrikes. Still, the personal stories—from all sides—will grab the reader most tightly, as individual soldiers are followed from enlistment to, in one case, the day an obituary appears in a hometown newspaper.

RACE AND DEMOCRACY The winner of the 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates has produced a new book of essays—some new, some previously published in The Atlantic—titled We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (One World, $28, 400 pages, ISBN 9780399590566), which refers to a quote from a Reconstruction-era congressman but also, of course, to President Barack Obama’s two terms as president. Coates, a black man, was astonished by Obama’s election, and in a scathing epilogue, sees his successor, Donald Trump, as a return to the natural order of things. Indeed, Coates views him as the nation’s “first white president,” because “his entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.” But it’s not all presidential politics with Coates—two of the most thought-provoking essays included in the book are “The Case for Reparations” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”


Guides for spiritual seekers


or many, the holidays are a season for reflection. For gifts that deliver an uplifting message or daily direction for practicing your faith, consider these inspirational new releases.

Perfect as a gift for yourself or a friend, Becca Stevens’ Love Heals (Thomas Nelson, $15.99, 208 pages, ISBN 9780718094553) outlines a path to healing, peace and forgiveness through love. Stevens, an Episcopal priest and founder of the Nashville nonprofit community Thistle Farms, has been widely recognized for her work with women who’ve faced horrific circumstances. She has focused on the healing power of love as the guiding principle for both her personal faith and her 20 years of working with survivors of addiction, trafficking and prostitution. Using her own experiences and those of Thistle Farm residents, Stevens shows how love can help us regain strength, power and purpose in our lives. “Healing may mean finding peace after trauma, feeling hope in the midst of grief, forgiving after being hurt, or just relief from the daily wear and tear of living in a broken world,” she writes. She intertwines personal stories with scripture, poetry, prayers and step-by-step advice to help readers step out of their comfort zones and take action to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

DIVINE GUIDANCE In God: A Human History (Random House, $28, 320 pages, ISBN 9780553394726), bestselling author and former CNN host Reza Aslan asks readers to reconsider what they believe they know about God and where their ideas originate. With extensive knowledge of biblical Greek, theology, history and philosophy, Aslan takes readers on a journey through time, from the theory of creation to the present. He contends, “The entire

history of human spirituality can be viewed as one long, ever-evolving, and remarkably cohesive effort to make sense of the divine.” He questions why we have diminished the greatness of the divine by assigning human characteristics to a nonhuman entity when we so desperately want to have faith in the

those who fear growing old, Moore addresses not only the aging soul but also the aging body and mind. How can we deal with anger and loneliness as we age? How can we make the most of our retirement years? Moore answers these questions and more, and offers a guide to growing old and accepting who

unknown. Aslan’s accessible prose and well-researched arguments invite readers—whether atheists or believers—to dive in and consider his theories on the humanization of the divine.

we are while seeking joy, contentment and fulfillment in our final season of life.

AGING GRACEFULLY For some of us, the process of aging is traumatic, while others appear to handle their advancing years with grace. In Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy (St. Martin’s, $26.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9781250135810), Thomas Moore, author of the bestseller Care of the Soul, inspires readers to approach their later years with purpose and dignity. Moore argues that aging is not a matter of years, but of experiences—the events and decisions that form our very core—and we have the ability to age while “becoming a full, rich and interesting person.” With empathy toward

GOING UP Tyler Perry offers readers a glimpse into his spiritual life with his second book, Higher Is Waiting (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 224 pages, ISBN 9780812989342). Known for his success in film, television and theater, as well as his strong faith, Perry presents personal journal entries that illustrate how his difficulties have led him higher and closer to God. Writing in a conversational tone, he shares stories, scripture and questions to inspire deeper reflection. A Tree of Life metaphor infuses this collection, which is divided into four parts: Planting the Seeds, Nourishing the Roots, Branching Out and Harvesting the Fruit. Perry walks readers through the difficulties of his childhood, including his father’s alcohol

abuse, and shows how faith was revealed through his spiritual role models—his mother, Maxine, and his Aunt Mae. His introspection pushes us to contemplate how our own “soul-filled experiences” can teach us that lessons can be found in disappointment. Perry explains how to depend on the strength of our branches of faith and the people who raise us up. Finally, he advocates moving toward a life of gratitude, not only for what we have but also for what we can give to others.

DAILY REFLECTIONS God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life (Viking, $20, 400 pages, ISBN 9780735222090), written by Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller with his wife, Kathy Keller, offers a yearlong daily devotional for following

God’s path, with entries drawn from the book of Proverbs. In the book’s introduction, the Kellers explain how this new volume differs from their 2015 bestseller, The Songs of Jesus, a devotional based on the book of Psalms. While the Psalms tend to push us gently toward faith in God, they write, the book of Proverbs is a wake-up call to do God’s work in the world and to live as God calls us to live. Each section of the book highlights a different area of our lives—from friendship and parenting to justice, wisdom and foolishness—and shows how the Proverbs can help us develop a stronger relationship with God. Each daily entry includes scripture, reflection, opportunity for journaling and prayer. Through the Kellers’ beautifully written devotionals, readers will be inspired and motivated to practice what they read “in thought, word, attitude or deed.”




Glitzy gift books from La La Land


his season’s Hollywood-themed offerings shine a spotlight on golden age stars, a timeless Italian beauty, an iconic ’60s film and an atlas of cinematic favorites.

We’ll start with the cleverly titled Cinemaps (Quirk, $29.99, 160 pages, ISBN 9781594749896), which delineates the physical settings, plotlines and the comings

came a box office hit, made Dustin Hoffman a star and earned an Academy Award for director Mike Nichols. Seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Algonquin, $24.95, 304 pages, ISBN 9781616206161) traces the film’s journey to cultural benchmark with savvy insight and scholarly acumen. Author Beverly Gray utilizes special collections and open access to Hollywood producer Lawrence Turman and his papers in order to chart his hunt for financial backing, the script, the director and stars. Finalists for the plum role of Benjamin included Robert Redford and Charles Grodin, but Hoffman, who couldn’t envision himself as a romantic lead at the time, won the role. The fact that this all happened during the seismic shake-up From Grace Kelly, an MGM portrait used to promote The of the ’60s makes the film’s Swan, 1952. Courtesy MPTV. Reprinted with permission ambiguous ending all the from HarperCollins. more compelling. and goings of characters from 35 FAMOUS FRIENDS beloved films. Scott Eyman’s Hank and Jim: This stylish coffee-table book The Fifty-Year Friendship of offers guides to films such as King Henry Fonda and James Stewart Kong (1933), Star Wars, Terminator (Simon & Schuster, $29, 384 pages, 2 and Pulp Fiction. Artist Andrew ISBN 9781501102172) reveals that DeGraff, who previously gave us the legendary actors were best Plotted: A Literary Atlas, explains buddies, despite their disparate his work in captions. The maps for Raiders of the Lost Ark reference the views and lifestyles. Stewart was a staunch Republican; Fonda was a film’s “frantic, fast-paced nature.” The circular cemetery in The Good, lifelong supporter of liberal causes. Stewart married late (at 41) and for the Bad and the Ugly is akin to “a life; Fonda married early, then four gladiatorial arena attended by an audience of the dead.” Accompanying essays by A.D. Jameson remind us why these films have endured.

TO YOU, MRS. ROBINSON Speaking of endurance, it’s been 50 years since moviegoers first lined up to see The Graduate. Anticipated to be a small art house film, the story of Benjamin Braddock—just out of college and facing an uncertain future—be-


more times. Stewart’s image was warm and welcoming; Fonda’s was chilly and remote. Still, theirs was an unshakable 50-year friendship. They met while working on the stage in the 1930s and later shared a New York apartment that Fonda called “Casa Gangrene.” Both went on to have roles in enduring classics: Fonda as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, Stewart as George Bailey in the perennial holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life. Eyman interviewed the pair’s family members—including famed Fonda kids Jane and Peter—friends and industry folk, and mined existing sources to deliver an endearing portrait of their intersecting lives and careers. The friends’ devotion lasted until Fonda was on his deathbed, with Stewart making daily visits. This detailed account of Fonda and Stewart off camera is a testament to the power of friendship.

STYLE AND GRACE A salute to a woman who was as disciplined as she was determined, Grace Kelly: Hollywood Dream Girl (Dey Street, $45, 288 pages, ISBN 9780062643339) offers what authors Manoah Bowman and Jay Jorgensen call an “alternative story” by focusing on her Hollywood years. More than 400 photographs, some never before seen, accompany the eloquent text, which takes us from her work on TV to her success on the big screen. She co-starred with the era’s biggest actors (having affairs with a num-

ber of them, including Clark Gable and Ray Milland) and worked with leading directors. She made three films for Hitchcock—Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief—which the authors credit with transforming her into a glamour girl. The show-stopping Hitchcock chapters include wardrobe test shots, behind-the-scenes candid photos and pages from campaign manuals (which were sent to exhibitors). Of course, it all wraps up with her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco—though Hollywood remained close to her heart. For die-hard Kelly fans, or those angling for an introduction to the gal from Philadelphia who became a real-life princess, this beautifully designed book is a must-have.

AN ICONIC DIVA Sophia Loren: Movie Star Italian Style (Running Press, $35, 288 pages, ISBN 9780762461318) is a largely pictorial celebration of the Italian diva and her six decades in the spotlight. Cindy De La Hoz, who has authored similarly lavish tomes on icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner, offers a mini-biography followed by a compendium of Loren’s film roles. Loren made popular films such as Houseboat opposite Cary Grant, with whom she had an affair. But it’s the Italian entries, largely unknown to American audiences, that are the highlights of this book. Loren won a Best Actress Oscar for Two Women (1960), and was the first performer from a foreign film to win in that category. Now a proud grandmother, Loren remains a head-turner. As critic Bosley Crowther put it, “[T]he mere opportunity to observe her is a privilege not to be dismissed.”


Look not with the eye, but with the heart


east your eyes on color, composition and personalities galore in these photography and art books, which include a landmark offering from Annie Leibovitz, a collection of artful fiction, never-before-published photos of Julia Child in France, as well as William Wegman’s charming, artsy dogs. Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 20052016 (Phaidon, $89.95, 312 pages, ISBN 9780714875132) is both breathtaking and mind-blowing, a journey unlike any other. Gorgeous, mesmerizing, fascinating— words don’t fully encapsulate the vitality of Leibovitz’s photographs. The sheer heft of this volume will ensure that you sit with it a while—as well you should—to appreciate the variety and versatility of Leibovitz’s subjects, which include celebrities, artists, writers, politicians and more. The book’s large scale renders the images nearly life-size, drawing you in to the many faces: Stephen Hawking gazes piercingly from his wheelchair, Johnny Depp drops a hint of a smile, a sun-drenched African mother fills a bedroom with her loving warmth as she works to prevent babies from being born HIV-positive. Time after time, Leibovitz captures hearts and souls, bringing viewers right there with her as she snaps her shutter. In a short essay, Leibovitz writes, “I often wish that my pictures had more of an edge, but that’s not the kind of photographer I have

come to be. There are all kinds of circumstances that determine the outcome of a single shoot. The edge in my work is probably in the accumulation of images. They bounce off one another and become elements in a bigger story.” It’s a very big story indeed.

A MUSEUM OF FICTION Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired (Pegasus, $25.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9781681775616) offers a unique armchair gallery tour, but one warning: You’ll probably never look at these paintings the same way again. Last year, Lawrence Block edited a surprise hit, In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper. This year’s follow-up is every bit as intriguing, with a slightly different spin, allowing writers to use any painting as a springboard for a short story. The paintings are wonderfully varied, including Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Norman Rockwell’s “First Trip to the Beauty Shop” and even a sculpture, Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. There are many blockbuster writers as well: Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child and Michael Connelly. The fun comes in seeing how each author makes use of his or her artistic inspiration. Alive in Shape and Color is a funfest of surprises.

WHO’S A GOOD DOG? It’s ironic but fitting that a new book of more than 300 photo­ graphs of Weimaraners is titled William Wegman:

Service officer. Julia called him “the Mad Photographer”; his work is in the Museum of Modern Art, and he seriously considered becoming a professional artist or photojournalist. Prud’homme calls the book “a visual extension of Julia’s memoir, an extension that lets Paul’s imagery take the lead.” And while Paul’s arresting, artful images offer a fascinating glimpse of the couple’s life in France between 1948 and 1954, it’s the photos of Julia that are strikingly intimate: Julia kneeling near her cat in the couple’s apartment;

Being Human (Chronicle, $24.95, 352 pages, ISBN 9781452164991), but few would argue the choice after seeing Wegman’s soulful, evocative, always imaginative and often hilarious portraits. Photography curator William A. Ewing showcases old favorites alongside new images from Wegman’s personal archives, spanning five decades and featuring a variety of his dogs, including, of course, Man Ray and Fay Ray. The book is divided into 16 Lin-Manuel Miranda, New York City, 2015. From Annie Leibovitz: categories, such Portraits 2005-2016. © Annie Leibovitz. as the delightful “Masquerade” and the artful her nude silhouette in front of a “Nudes.” All are wonderful, but sunlit window in Florence; Julia the “human” categories (“People talking on the phone, with only her long, outstretched legs visible, but Like Us,” “People We Like”) tug at readers in unforgettable ways, like her warm, hearty laugh so easy to in “Night Man,” as a Weimaraner imagine. wearing bib overalls and pushing a broom looks weary but resigned to BIG, NATURAL ART English artist Andy Goldsworhis task. Don’t miss the brief essays thy has been making large-scale, at the end in which Wegman disenvironmental art exhibits around cusses his work and his dogs. the world since the mid-1970s, FOOD, FRANCE AND JULIA and you’ll get to see how his work France Is a Feast: The Photounfolds in Andy Goldsworthy: graphic Journey of Paul and Julia Projects (Abrams, $85, 368 pages, Child (Thames & Hudson, $35, 208 ISBN 9781419722226). These pages, ISBN 9780500519073) lives large, beautiful photographs show up to its name, presenting a rich Golds­worthy’s varied earth-movtreasure-trove of photography, biing processes in great detail, from ography, history and culinary lore. beginning to end, which is as fasHere’s your chance to page through cinating as the completed projects. the photo albums of Paul Child, A few of the many works discussed narrated by his great-nephew Alex include clay houses in Maryland, Prud’homme, who co-authored My Five Men, Seventeen Days, Fifteen Life in France with Julia and wrote Boulders, One Wall in New York The French Chef in America. state, a leaf house in Scotland and Paul was a gifted artist and a cairn in Mallorca. You’ll just wish you could see them all in person. photographer as well as a Foreign


meet MELISSA DE LA CRUZ spotlight

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

Q: Describe the book in one sentence.

Q: What’s your favorite love story?

holiday tradition? Q: Favorite 

was your inspiration to adapt Pride and Prejudice? Q: What 

actors would you cast as Darcy and Luke for a movie? Q: What 

Q: Words to live by?

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND MISTLETOE From the bestselling author of Witches of East End comes a gender-swapped, holiday-themed twist on Jane Austen’s classic in Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (St. Martin’s, $18.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9781250141392). Sparks fly when the successful and brilliant Darcy Fitzwilliam meets the sardonic slacker Luke Bennet at a family Christmas bash in Pemberley, Ohio. Melissa de la Cruz’s quick-witted, charming adaptation is sure to delight.



Two turtledoves


oliday preparations flood our hearts with the warmth of Christmases past—or the echoes of family dinners best forgotten. Wherever your memories lie, two debut works of Christmas fiction are sure to lighten your spirits.

First-time author Francesca Hornak has found the perfect recipe to sweeten our holidays. Seven Days of Us (Berkley, $26, 368 pages, ISBN 9780451488756) stirs together the problems of one family who makes half-baked attempts to reconcile when they’re forced to spend seven days together after years of chilly relationships. Each of Hornak’s well-developed characters narrates the week from his or her perspective, alternating chapters until secrets are divulged and lives are changed. The Birches, a British family spending Christmas in their country home, are quarantined together on the estate when daughter Olivia returns from treating a life-threatening epidemic. Her affair with a fellow doctor won’t sit well with her family—or officials—since the couple dangerously breached a strict policy. Phoebe, Olivia’s materialistic younger sister, has as much patience for Olivia’s altruism as Olivia has for Phoebe’s chatter. Mother Emma spends the week preparing perfect meals and embracing her role as peacekeeper, and she is determined to keep her serious health concerns under wraps. Emma’s husband, Andrew, nurtures a chip on his shoulder about sacrificing his career as a war journalist to become a restaurant critic. Andrew spends his days writing sarcastic columns, but his life could change after he receives some shocking emails. Sparks fly throughout the whole week, from the Birches’ first meal together until a surprise literally falls through the door. Can the chill in the air begin to warm before the

New Year? Or will the Birches end their holiday as unhappy as ever?

THE SPIRIT OF SCROOGE Christmas celebrations and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol have gone hand in hand for almost 175 years. Scrooge’s tale asks us to reconsider our lives and get our hearts ready for the season. In Mr. Dickens and His Carol (Flatiron, $24.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9781250154040), Samantha Silva dives into Dickens’ life a month before his Christmas book is due. Dickens is in debt, publishers are at his door, a brood of children is constantly begging him for presents and his wife is demanding a grander Christmas party than ever before. As the great author searches for a muse to cure his writer’s block, Silva evokes a Dickensian mood and takes readers on a stroll through 1840s London. Known for walking miles through his city’s streets in search of inspiration, Dickens finds the revelation he needs from a mysterious woman named Eleanor Lovejoy. Charmed by her provocative questions, Dickens spends a few days figuring out the meaning of his life, where he has been and where he is going. Silva explains in an author’s note that she is not a Dickens scholar; there are liberties taken here. But her admiration for Dickens is obvious, and for readers who know Dickens’ story, her reimagining will not disappoint. In this exceptional work uncovering the grime and glitter of 19th-century London, readers will find another framework from which to examine their hearts before Christmas.

reviews T PI OP CK



This house is a home REVIEW BY DEBORAH DONOVAN

The third novel by Australian author Ashley Hay is an engrossing and insightful portrait of two women living in Brisbane, Australia: Elsie, now in her 90s, a widow of 40 years and recently relocated to an assisted living facility by her children; and Lucy, a 30-something mother of a 2-year-old and wife to Ben, a journalist. Elsie has just sold her home of 60 years to Lucy’s young family. Throughout the novel, Hay moves back and forth through Elsie’s years, giving the reader introspective looks into her life: from her days as a vibrant, adventurous young woman to her years mothering her twins, Elaine and Don; from the time she stepped out of her ordinary life to have her portrait painted to the present day, when she looks into her By Ashley Hay mirror at “the facility” and says to herself, “I have no idea who you are Atria, $26, 304 pages or why you’re here.” ISBN 9781501165139, audio, eBook available Lucy’s chapters revolve around the difficulties of new motherhood— the crying, the late nights, the sudden, obstinate behavior of her young LITERARY FICTION son. She increasingly takes out her frustrations on her husband, whom she sees as blissfully removed from most of the childrearing as he enjoys his daily routine at the newspaper and his frequent work-related trips abroad. Numerous scenes in this thoughtful novel will linger in the reader’s memory—like Elsie’s husband, Clem, graciously reaching out to an old neighbor who divorced and moved away, but could be found “wandering around his old neighborhood, looking for his past.” Or the night when Clem dies in his sleep at age 54, when Elsie realizes that “suddenly all the plans they’d thought of making were too late.” A lyrically written portrayal of the lives of two women tied together by memories and the house they share, A Hundred Small Lessons is sure to be enjoyed by readers of Kate Morton, another Brisbane author.


Dutton $27, 448 pages ISBN 9781101985205 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION

The story of our digital age is sadly lacking in its inclusion of prominent women. One notable exception is Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace. The daughter of the iconic poet Lord Byron, Ada played a critical role in shaping public perception of one of the first computing devices: Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. In her richly detailed Enchantress of Numbers, Jennifer Chiaverini presents a vivid portrait of Ada’s too-short life while illuminating the significance of her professional

accomplishments. Narrated in her keenly intelligent voice, Ada’s story is one of conflict between the two sides of her genetic and cultural inheritance: the fiery, artistic temperament of her father, who chafed against polite society’s constraints; and her mother’s desire for order and control, rooted in the conventions of England’s 19th-century nobility. Ada’s true gift is her ability to marry the sensibility of a poet to the keen mind of a scientist. Enchantress of Numbers expertly balances scenes in royal salons and English country houses with Ada’s reflections on the mathematical principles that helped her push the potential of Babbage’s invention beyond expectations. Chiaverini’s latest will appeal to readers who enjoy 19th-century historical fiction and want a glimpse into the dawn of a technological revolution. —HARVEY FREEDENBERG


Bloomsbury $27, 384 pages ISBN 9781632869951 Audio, eBook available WORLD FICTION

Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve begins sharply, as Peri, a wealthy, middle-aged Turkish woman, makes her way to a dinner party. Suddenly, Peri finds herself face to face with a mugger, who takes her purse and shakes free its contents, including a cherished Polaroid. Watching the Polaroid flutter to the ground, Peri recalls her early days at Oxford University, a time of personal uncertainty about the existence of God. She and the two women from the photograph—the devout Mona and the skeptical

Shirin—are “the three daughters of Eve,” and together they take a seminar on God. Peri is instantly smitten with the mysterious professor, and as he pushes her to question her beliefs, she falls deeper for him—and begins to panic. The novel alternates between the present—as Peri encounters snobby members of Istanbul’s middle class at the dinner party—and her traumatic memories of what happened with her professor. In striking, lovely language, Shafak considers Islamophobia, teacher-student relationships and terrorism of many kinds. Fresh and timely, this is an approachable novel of big ideas. —HANNAH PHILLIPS

POISON By Galt Niederhoffer

St. Martin’s $26.99, 304 pages ISBN 9781250085290 Audio, eBook available THRILLER

Life is nearly perfect for Cassandra Connor. She’s been through heartache—her first husband died, leaving her the single mother of two children—but she has found love again with Ryan Connor. After the birth of a third child, life seems too good to be true—and it is. The Connors’ marriage begins to dissolve, slowly at first, with hints of an extramarital affair. As Cass’ suspicions grow, Ryan becomes increasingly defensive. In a moment of drunken madness—or perhaps clarity—Ryan declares his desire to see Cass gone. He no longer seems to be the man she fell in love with, but instead a homicidal monster. Galt Niederhoffer’s Poison is a resounding condemnation of modern society’s treatment of women. As Cass’ suspicions about her husband grow, she feels increasingly isolated, as the justice system seems designed to distrust women. In a world where women’s rights are increasingly at the fore of national conversation, Poison aims to raise awareness of everyday injustice. —CARLA JEAN WHITELEY





THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD By Maude Julien Translated by Adriana Hunter


An aristocrat turned war hero REVIEW BY DEBORAH MASON

Step aside, James Bond. There’s a new sexy spy hero in town, and this one has the advantage of being real. His name is La Rochefoucauld, Robert de La Rochefoucauld, and his career as a résistant in Nazi-occupied France is the subject of Paul Kix’s The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando. La Rochefoucauld, the carefree second son of one of France’s most distinguished families, was an unlikely hero. A bit of a ne’er-do-well, La Rochefoucauld was in no way the exemplary son that his beloved elder brother was. But La Rochefoucauld inherited the same sense of duty that had marked generations of his family, and at the age of 19, when France capitulated to Germany, he was determined to continue the fight against the Nazis. After rigorous—and downright dangerous—training in England, By Paul Kix La Rochefoucauld parachuted into France and began his spectacuHarper, $27.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780062322524, audio, eBook available lar career as a saboteur of Nazi operations. Captured, tortured and condemned to death by the Germans, La Rochefoucauld managed to BIOGRAPHY escape from certain doom time and time again. If this were fiction, the plot would be fantastical; as a work of nonfiction, it is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the human spirit. Kix’s sharp, well-paced writing is perfect for telling La Rochefoucauld’s story. But this is more than a gripping yarn of daring-do. La Rochefoucauld was a complex character, and Kix’s portrait is nuanced and moving. We are introduced to La Rochefoucauld when he is about to testify in the trial of an accused war criminal and collaborator—for the defense. Obviously, this is not your stereotypical resistance fighter, and Kix’s book poses the big questions: What is duty? What is courage? What is loyalty? Like many veterans of his generation, La Rochefoucauld rarely spoke about his experiences to his family. We are fortunate to have Kix’s richly detailed book so we can remember the remarkable courage of an extraordinary man.

BUNK By Kevin Young

Graywolf $30, 480 pages ISBN 9781555977917 Audio, eBook available HISTORY

Poet and scholar Kevin Young offers a history of the hoax and a chilling indictment of our current moment in this ambitious book. Bunk opens in the 19th century— the days of P.T. Barnum, Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe—as Young pulls back history’s curtain to reveal hoaxes, humbug and circus tents with a sideshow of spiritualism and sensationalism.


But Young is not content to remain in the sepia-toned past. “If all of this sounds familiar,” he writes, “it is because the transformative advent of the penny press most resembles the current change demonstrated, if not caused, by the internet.” Shifting effortlessly from the 19th century to the 21st, Young draws connections between words like swindler, diddling and confidence man and contemporary buzzwords like plagiarism, truthiness and fake news. In both eras, a disenfranchised racial other haunts the discourse. “The exotic other, the dark double” is a key player in historical and contemporary hoaxes, from the colonialists who donned redface to confuse the British during the Boston Tea Party to Nasdijj, a white man who co-opted a Navajo iden-

Little, Brown $27, 288 pages ISBN 9780316466622 Audio, eBook available MEMOIR

tity in order to publish a variety of written work in 1999 and the early 2000s. Nasdijj was exposed the very month that James Frey admitted to grossly misrepresenting the facts of his life in his bestselling book A Million Little Pieces. More than simply recounting these incidents and dozens more, Young uses them to facilitate his larger goal: a theory of the hoax itself and the fantasies that it reveals. Like a joke that brings down the house, a hoax unites a cunning speaker with a crowd that wants to be fooled. And today the stakes are higher than ever. Young examines the effects of deception on American politics, literature and everyday life. Long-listed for the National Book Award in nonfiction, Bunk is a powerful, far-reaching read.

As a connoisseur of memoir, I thought I had read it all: stunningly dysfunctional families, toxic relationships, addictions. But I have never read a memoir as terrifying as Maude Julien’s The Only Girl in the World. Newly translated into English, this is the must-read memoir of the season for those who, like me, have read them all. Today Julien is a French psychotherapist specializing in patients who are recovering from extreme psychological and behavioral control, such as cult victims. Julien had the misfortune of being born to a completely unhinged father who was able to disguise his insanity from the outside world. A high-ranking Freemason, he believed that his daughter would become a “supreme being” as long as she was raised under his control in complete isolation. Julien’s father had previously adopted, raised and “trained” her mother, and he turned their remote château in the French countryside into a chamber of horrors. As a child, Julien was introduced to unthinkable trials designed to toughen her up: meditations on death in a rat-infested cellar, being forced to hold onto an electric fence. Written in a childlike first-person voice, this memoir brings to life Julien’s horrifying experiences and her subtle rebellions against her parents as she refuses to be broken. The reader, too, is trapped and riveted by her story. An epilogue, written from her adult perspective, explains Julien’s theory of the cultlike psychological and behavioral control she was subjected to, and how it continues to shape her dreams and fears. This is a truly fascinating and intense read, and highly recommended.

— K E L LY B L E W E T T




Eyes all aglow for magical picture books


re your little elves brimming with Yuletide cheer? To help them (and you!) survive till Santa arrives, try curling up together with a holiday story. We suggest one of the merry books below. Ho, ho, ho!

Patricia Toht captures the thrill of one of the best parts of the season in the warm, wonderful Pick a Pine Tree (Candlewick, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780763695712, ages 3 to 7). In buoyant, rhymed stanzas, Toht recounts one family’s holiday preparations, from selecting the perfect pine to placing a special

from start to finish.


A young girl has an unforgettable adventure in Nicola Killen’s The Little Reindeer (Paula Wiseman, $15.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781481486866, ages 4 to 8). On Christmas Eve, Ollie is awakened by a tinkling sound. Determined to find out where it’s coming from, she slips outside and sleds into the woods, where she finds a collar with bells hanging on a tree. Ollie is astonished when a reindeer—one of Santa’s own— emerges from the forest to claim it. The From Pick a Pine Tree. Text copyright © 2017 by Patricia Toht. Illustrations magical creacopyright © 2017 by Jarvis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, ture surprises Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London. Ollie when he takes her for a ride through a sky star at the top of the tree. It’s a community affair, as friends arrive filled with stars. Killen’s illustrations feature fun cutouts that give to untangle the tinsel and unpack ornaments: “Jolly Santas. / Dancing readers a peek of what’s on the next page. This jolly tale delivers a elves. / Wooden reindeer. / Jingle sleighful of Christmas charm. bells.” Capturing the merriment of the occasion, Jarvis’ illustraTHE GREATEST GIFT tions feature wide-eyed children, Lezlie Evans’ Finding Christmas mischievous pets, an electric train (Albert Whitman, $16.99, 32 pages, with teddy bear passengers and ISBN 9780807524336, ages 1 to 3) is lots of twinkling lights. Filled with a stirring little story about the iminfectious joy, Toht’s book is a gift

portance of giving. It’s Christmas Eve, and Hare, Mouse and Squirrel are celebrating in their cozy burrow. Hare is trimming the tree, while Squirrel is baking cookies. In need of a gift for Hare, Mouse heads out into the woods, where she finds a helpless swallow lying in the snow. The three friends bring the bird home and nurse her back to health using the gifts they were planning to give each other for Christmas. The presence of their new friend makes the holiday extra special. Yee Von Chan’s delicate illustrations add plenty of appeal to this touching tale. Little readers will want to spend the holiday with Evans’ sweet creatures.

THEATER ENCHANTMENT Elly MacKay’s wordless picture book, Waltz of the Snowflakes (Running Press, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780762453382, ages 4 to 8), sparkles with the magic of Christmas and the allure of the stage. On a wet December night, Gran takes her unwilling granddaughter to see The Nutcracker ballet. The young girl doesn’t want to go out in the nasty weather (or wear a dress!), but at the theater, she falls in love with the spectacle of the performance. The book is divided into two acts, with an intermission, and by the time the curtain falls, the girl has befriended a young boy in the audience. In intricate illustrations that have depth and texture, MacKay’s paper-cut figures stand out against colorful backdrops. Dancers-to-be will ask for encores

of this enchanting book.

SUGAR PLUM Set during the Harlem Renaissance, T.E. McMorrow’s The Nutcracker in Harlem (HarperCollins, $17.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9780061175985, ages 4 to 8) is an inspired re-envisioning of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story. Marie is excited about the holidays but shy around the people who show up for her Uncle Cab’s Christmas party. When she falls asleep beneath the Christmas tree with the nutcracker Cab gave her, she dreams of an army of mice fighting against a group of soldiers. In Marie’s dream, the nutcracker is a brave young officer who partners her in a dance. Artist James Ransome adds 1920s-era touches to the story through vibrant watercolor illustrations that brim with the mystery of Christmas. This is a holiday gem that readers of all ages will treasure.

COME IN, COME IN The sweet, seasonal book A Christmas for Bear (Candlewick, $16.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9780763649234, ages 5 to 9) is the latest entry in Bonny Becker’s popular Bear and Mouse series. Cranky as ever, Bear is preparing for his first proper Christmas party, but his ideas for celebrating (eating pickles and reading poetry) aren’t quite what Mouse, his little guest, has in mind! Hoping for a present, Mouse explores the house high and low. Meanwhile, Bear—bluffing— insists that gifts are “unnecessary hogwash.” When Mouse finally discovers his present from Bear, the festivities really begin. The opposing personalities of timid Mouse and grumpy Bear shine in Kady MacDonald Denton’s expressive illustrations. This playful story is sure to become a holiday favorite.




Unwrap and get busy: Hands-on gifts for little ones


fter a wild Christmas morning of unwrapping, there’s nothing better than the silence of children who are completely absorbed in their new gifts. With these books, kids can create, build, bake, imagine and marvel all year long.

Kids and adults alike will want to try out Oscar Sabini’s alluringly creative Paper Monsters: Make Monster Collages! (Thames & Hudson, $19.95, 20 pages, ISBN 9780500650967, ages 4 to 9). Following on the heels of Paper Zoo, Italian illustrator and educator Sabini presents a variety of templates to make a menagerie of unbelievably cute critters. Cardstock and colorful paper are included, so all that’s needed is glue to follow his simple instructions for assembling a collage and slipping it into a pocket with a monster-shaped window. Add a few eyes, noses and teeth, and the creatures come to life. Sabini notes that any paper can be used, such as newspaper and even stamps. This self-contained art class will appeal to a wide variety of ages and act as a springboard for future collage projects. Believe me, you’ll want to try this yourself!

PINBALL WIZARDS Open this ingenious box and have fun exploring Pinball Science: Everything That Matters About Matter (QEB, $24.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781682971994, ages 7 to 10) by Ian Graham and Owen Davey. Inside you’ll find an instruction book and all the components needed to build a retro, science-themed pinball machine. There are no electronics here: Just insert and fold the tabs of 63 pieces of cardboard (a sturdy box slips out of the package to form the base of the pinball machine), and you’re ready to play. Meanwhile, there are accompanying lessons about gravity, force and acceleration—everything that matters when that pinball rolls out of its starting gate. In addition to instructions and science lessons, the book contains suggestions for very simple science projects using


common household items. Budding scientists will have a ball.

FOR THE LITTLEST SOUS-CHEF Roll up your sleeves and get out the oven mitts for Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love

asks prolific children’s author Jane Yolen. “Read it aloud. Let it melt in your mouth. There is magic between the mouth and ear when a story is involved.” Yolen has

Animals Build (Lonely Planet Kids, $18.99, 24 pages, ISBN 9781786576637, ages 8 to 12). There are fun facts and lifting flaps galore in this lively compendium, with entire pages that unfold to reveal a bunny warren and a beehive, the many animals living in one tree and the wonders of a coral reef. Paired with Tim Hutchinson’s illuminating illustrations are brief discussions of everything from a naked mole rat’s burrow to the nearly five-foot wide nest of a European white stork. Readers also learn about some extreme builders, like two orb spiders who traveled to the International Space Station. This nicely laid out book will engage a variety of ages and interests.


to Bake! (Storey, $18.95, 144 pages, ISBN 9781612128559, ages 8 to 12). This colorful, spiral-bound guide, presented by the aptly named kids’ cookbook writer Deanna F. Cook, features easy instructions paired with helpful pictures. There are eye-catching recipes for crispy cheese squares (think Cheez-Its) and brownie pizza, plus adorable bread art (bake an octopus or a snail) and cake and cookie decorating ideas, all rated for difficulty using a scale of one to three rolling pins. Who knew you could put designs and initials on toast using foil shields? A section on the basics gets young bakers started, and additional bonuses include stickers, bake-sale tags and design stencils to use with confectioner’s sugar.

READ AROUND THE WORLD “How [do you] love a story?”

assembled a wonderful collection of more than 30 short folk tales for preschoolers, Once There Was a Story: Tales from Around the World, Perfect for Sharing (Paula Wiseman, $19.99, 160 pages, ISBN 9781416971726, ages 4 to 8). Old favorites (“The Gingerbread Man,” “The Ugly Ducking”) mix with little-known offerings, such as “The Little Old Lady Who Lost Her Dumpling” from Japan and “Plip, Plop,” a rabbit tale from Tibet. Yolen partners with longtime collaborator Jane Dyer, whose softly colored illustrations bring these stories to life. This enriching, thoughtful collection is sure to be a bedtime favorite.

NATURE’S BUILDERS “Welcome to nature’s very own super-clever construction world,” writes Moira Butterfield in How

Somehow kids never tire of fun facts and trivia, especially when they’re alongside eye-popping photos. Middle school and older elementary readers will find plenty of tidbits to entertain everyone in the family with 13½ Incredible Things You Need to Know About Everything (DK, $24.99, 176 pages, ISBN 9781465461124, ages 8 to 12). Each of the book’s twopage spreads has a theme, such as “Blood Rush” (circulation), “Medical Marvels,” “A Way with Words” (language) and “On the Ball” (sports). In “Making Movies,” we learn that not everyone eats popcorn at the movies. In Norway, movie snacks can include reindeer jerky, while Indians might eat samosas, Japanese love dried sardines, and South Koreans munch on chewy dried cuttlefish. Each spread contains 13 facts, plus a “½” fact, which addresses a halftruth or misconception, such as: “Whales and dolphins don’t squirt water out of their blowholes—they use them to breathe. The stream of water vapor often seen shooting out is the result of the warm expelled air condensing when it meets the cold outside air.” Get ready for a trivia smackdown.

BURNING QUESTION: How can you stay forever young? ANSWER: With hot YA from FIREreads! ENTER TO WIN A RETRO SLUMBER PARTY FUN PACK! Visit to enter!

No purchase necessary. Contest begins on December 1, 2017 and ends December 31, 2017.

TEN ENTRANTS will win this collection of books and advance copies of the authors’ new books! ONE GRAND-PRIZE WINNER will receive this collection of books and a retro slumber party prize pack, including teen movie favorites from every generation, snacks, and more! This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


The New York Times Bestseller! “A compelling, brutal story…of bravery, love, and loss.” —Book Riot

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

“Chupeco delights us with a fascinating world.


The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

“RELATABLE… about finding happiness and purpose in a complex, often contradictory world.” —BookPage

The Cellar by Natasha Preston


The New York Times Bestseller! “A completely absorbing nail-biter of a book.” —Bookish



Expand their horizons


rom inspirational feminist essays to illustrated fairy tales and an interactive journal, three new books provide material for teen readers to savor during winter’s long nights. Thirty-eight women and girls, from high school students to bankers to professional authors, write about the opportunities and struggles of being female in ­Because I Was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages (Holt, $18.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9781250154460), edited by bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz. Some contributors were discouraged from their chosen careers. Others have dealt with being the only woman in their offices, labs or studios. Some pieces rile the reader’s anger while others are laugh-outloud funny. But all of the women featured have gone on to carve their own niches and find their own voices. Timelines of major events in the women’s rights movement are interspersed among short biographical sections, making Because I Was a Girl a great choice for either reading in batches or appreciating as an entire work.

TALES TO TREASURE Everyone thinks they know the stories: the Minotaur in the labyrinth, the gingerbread cookie come to life and the sea princess with the beautiful voice who exchanges her mermaid’s tail for a pair of legs. We also know that an illustrated book pairs images with words to tell a story—but what if these ideas were inverted, turned inside out and presented in new and unexpected ways? In The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Imprint, $18.99,

228 pages, ISBN 9781250122520), author Leigh Bardugo and illustrator Sara Kipin collaborate to do just that. Five short stories and a novella, all set in the world of the author’s Grisha trilogy, subvert readers’ expectations of what, exactly, constitutes a happily-ever-after. The story forms through both words and pictures, as each page adds one more element to the mostly monochromatic, illustrated borders. Bring tissues: Some of these tales are total tearjerkers!

GET CREATIVE Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, is back with a new book made for creative scribbling. As readers pencil in the titular shape in The Line (Penguin, $14, 224 pages, ISBN 9780143108467), they’re invited to explore patterns, navigate obstacles and participate in everything from revelation (“The answers are contained in the line itself. The line may reveal them to you, but only if you are ready to hear them.”) to destruction (invitations to cut, fold and otherwise mutilate the pages). The reader’s line meanders across shapes, words, blank spaces and black-and-white photographs as its adventures build to a crescendo. Like Smith’s previous books, The Line can be devoured in a single sitting, or each page’s activity can be completed one at a time. This is a great gift (especially when accompanied by an exquisite pencil) for teens who love art, journaling and introspection.


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

would you describe Q: How  the book?

has been the most exciting thing to share with Q: What  your son about planet Earth?

was the scariest? Q: What 

do you love most about Earth? Q: What 

is the best way to take care of the Earth? Q: What 

Q: What artists inspire you?

to live by? Q: Words 

HERE WE ARE Inspired by the birth of his son, Harland, Oliver Jeffers’ new picture book, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth (Philomel, $19.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9780399167898, ages 3 to 7), introduces readers to our world—from the sky above to the people around us. Originally from Northern Ireland, Jeffers lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son.


BookPage December 2017  
BookPage December 2017  

Book reviews, Author interviews