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discover your next great book

america’s book review

nov. 2012

Books are always in


Books that make a statement

THE ART FORGER The literary thriller with a real-life twist

Brain on fire Gripped by a baffling medical mystery

183 Gift Ideas for Book Lovers See page 17

paperback picks PENGUIN.COM

Darkness Hunts

A Devil Is Waiting

Down the Darkest Road

Her Highness and the Highlander

Risa Jones, half-Aedh/half-werewolf, can see reapers, collectors of souls. What she can not yet see is the identity of a stranger murdering women and draining their blood. Now Risa must summon her gifts to find him, even if it means putting her own life in danger. But Risa needn’t look far. The killer knows who she is.

After a plan to assassinate the President emerges, a small band known as the “Prime Minister’s private army” are called in, along with an intelligence captain and Afghan war hero named Sara Gideon. She has her own deep contacts, but the more she investigates, the more she discovers herself in a very dark place indeed.

Leah is turning sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt. But as sheriff’s detective Tony Mendez and his team sift through the circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew…

As the danger increases with their pursuit by ruthless hunters, so does the desire that Princess Mercedes of Alden and soldier Laird Daniel MacKinnon feel for each other, until the two of them must face the greatest danger of all—falling in love.

9780451237125 • $7.99

9780425250570 • $9.99

9780451414960 • $9.99

9780451238436 • $7.99

Devil’s Gate

Prince of Ravenscar

Shadow Rising

V is for Vengeance

As the NUMA® team rushes to investigate a ship’s explosion, they find themselves drawn into the extraordinary ambitions of an African dictator, the creation of a weapon of almost mythical power, and an unimaginable, audacious plan to extort the world’s major nations.

Julian and Devlin must discover what really happened three years earlier when Julian’s first wife, Lily, was found dead. If they don’t find out the truth, their lives could be ruined. And there is another, even more perfidious danger that lurks in the shadows, waiting.

Meet the D’Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, halfFae ex-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Camille is a wicked-good witch with three sexy husbands. Delilah is a two-faced werecat and Death Maiden. And Menolly is a jian-tu turned vampire in love with a wildly hot werepuma. Unfortunately, life is about to get very, very nasty.

Private detective Kinsey Millhone is entirely in her element when she puts a stop to a brazen shoplifting spree. The case will reveal a big story behind a small crime and lead her into a web that connects a shadowy “private banker,” an angry trophy wife, a spoiled kid with a spiraling addiction, and a brutal killer without a conscience.

9780515151169 • $7.99

9780425250563 • $7.99

9780425246764 • $9.99

9780515151152 • $7.99

The stunning conclusion to the #1 bestselling Inn BoonsBoro trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, innkeeper Hope Beaumont is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss. While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him… BERKLEY

A Penguin Group (USA) Company

9780425246047 • $16


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



12 Ellen Forney

holiday catalog

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

Meet the author-illustrator of Marbles

13 B.A. Shapiro A real-life art heist inspired literary thriller The Art Forger

14 Cover Story: Fashion Wise words from the pillars of style

16 Susannah Cahalan

The search for a diagnosis in a month of madness

34 Gift Books: Festive Beverages Raise a glass to five books on brews and bubblies

36 Gift Books: Travel The best books for planning your next adventure

45 Jacqueline Kelly Return to the world of The Wind in the Willows

47 Henry Cole

reviews 37 Fiction

04 04 05 06 07 08 10 10 11

Well Read The author Enabler Book Fortunes Whodunit Book Clubs Romance Lifestyles Cooking Audio



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top pick:

Astray by Emma Donoghue also reviewed: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk Magnificence by Lydia Millet Hush Hush by Steven Barthelme The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan American Ghost by Janis Owens

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42 NonFiction top pick:

Meet the illustrator of Unspoken


Holiday catalog art © Cover photos ©, Sandra Cunningham/, tommaso lizzul/

Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham

also reviewed:

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King Friendkeeping by Julie Klam The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman Marmee & Louisa by Eve LaPlante Detroit City Is the Place to Be by Mark Binelli Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

46 Children’s top pick:

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed

also reviewed:

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver Otter and Odder by James Howe True Colors by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock Endangered by Eliot Schrefer Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

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well read

THE author enabler

by robert Weibezahl

by Sam Barry

A late bloomer, in letters: Vonnegut’s wit & wisdom


Reading Kurt Vonnegut’s newly published Letters, it is nearly impossible to progress more than a page or two without pausing again to admire another wry observation or nod in agreement with some pithy aphorism. It is abundantly apparent even in his casual writing that Vonnegut, who would be celebrating his 90th birthday on November 11, was a writer of sharp intelligence and inventive wit. Although early on he was pigeonholed as a science fiction writer, time has more accurately assessed him as equal parts fabulist and satirist—and 100 percent original. Like most originals, Vonnegut for many years struggled to find his audience. Although he began publishing widely while still After 20 years in his 20s, of writing, he was not Vonnegut finally embraced by a large became an readership underground until he superstar, thanks was past 40. That’s when to the 1960s the perfect counterculture. storm of 1960s counterculture figured out what this often zany writer was all about, crowning him something of an underground superstar. His masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five, published in 1969, sealed the deal. After years of struggle, Vonnegut at last had recognition and the money that came with it. Yet, as these selected letters—edited and introduced by Vonnegut’s good friend and fellow Hoosier, the novelist Dan Wakefield—make clear, achieving long-desired success did not necessarily guarantee happiness. Indeed, it is the earlier parts of this collected correspondence, which spans more than 60 years, that finds Vonnegut at his blithe best. The years of his first marriage have a warm and hectic feel, characterized by a house full of children. Later, remarried but with his children grown

Practical advice on writing & publishing for aspiring authors

and gone, the writer seems less content, even as he becomes the public face for important causes such as censorship or amnesty for persecuted writers around the world. The first—and most striking—letter in the book was written to his family from Le Havre, where Pfc. Kurt Vonnegut awaited transport home after being a German prisoner of war and surviving the firebombing of Dresden. That inferno, of course, would become the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five 20 years later, and this chilling, if typically unadorned account preserves a younger Vonnegut’s memories. Back stateside, Vonnegut pursued a typical GI’s path: marriage, graduate school, a public relations job with General Electric. But he was different from the start. The stories he wrote on nights and weekends began appearing in major magazines, and he started to forge the literary friendships that would sustain his career even in the dark times. There are many congenial letters to his legendary editors (Knox Burger, Seymour Lawrence), fellow writers (Norman Mailer, Gail Godwin—his student at Iowa), family back in Indiana and his beloved children. One comes away from these missives with an impression of Vonnegut as a benevolent man—father, teacher, colleague, friend—who lived by a simple creed of kindness, even as he lampooned and battled the barbarians at the gate.

LETTERS By Kurt Vonnegut

Edited by Dan Wakefield Delacorte $35, 464 pages ISBN 9780385343756 eBook available


STOP SHORT Dear Author Enabler, I’ve been writing my entire life as far back as I can remember. Now I am making an attempt at my first book. I lost my father at an early age, and I decided to write a satirical adventure about a boy growing up not having learned those basic lessons that fathers teach their sons and how he must learn those lessons himself (i.e., learning to shave, understand girls, basic manly traits, etc.). The problem is that now I believe I’ve told the story and I’m only at 31,000 words. While I realize that is too short for a proper novel, I know of books that are that length. I’m torn. Do you have any advice on where to go from here? John Earnhart Fairview Heights, Illinois There is a saying that “less is more.” While this is not true in all cases, it is certainly not good writing to add content solely to increase the word count. It’s possible that your book is complete as is. The term for a piece of fiction this length is “novella.” Basically a novella is too short to be considered a novel and too long to be considered a short story. At 31,000 words, your piece definitely qualifies as a novella. Often writers publish books of novel length that contain a novella and a number of short stories. Perhaps you should consider writing some short stories to complement your longer piece.

TUCKING CRAZY Dear Author Enabler, As a retired journalist I now spend a lot of time reading novels—about three or four a week. Recently I’ve noticed that in every book I read, at some point, someone tucks a lock of hair behind the ear of another character. Sometimes men tuck hair for women, sometimes moms and dads tuck hair of children, sometimes women friends tuck each other. What is going on? Is there now some kind of rule that EVERY novel has

to have a hair-tucking scene? Is there some superhair-tucking-editor somewhere who checks to make sure it’s there? It’s driving me crazy. Kathleen Winkler Pewaukee, Wisconsin I am so glad you brought this crisis to my attention. You are the Paul Revere of American readers, riding through the countryside warning us of an invasion of hair-tucking in fiction. And you are not alone in your concern: On May 25, Cyndi Tefft tweeted, “Almost every romance novel I’ve read has the guy tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear, yet men rarely ever do this.” There is an epidemic of hair-tucking going on in American novels, and it is up to us, the readers, to call attention to this imminent danger. I invite other readers to send in examples of hair tucking and other silly clichés so that we can shed light on this assault on the English language.

DO IT YOURSELF Dear Author Enabler, I am writing again for the first time in six years. I am not working so I don’t have a lot of money to put into the book. Can I do my own research or would it be better to find a way to hire a fact searcher for the book? Also, is it possible to have someone you know proofread your work, or should I find someone else? Donna Smith Dewitt, Virginia I think you should save your money and do your own research. Research is half the fun of the writing process and it is frequently a great source of inspiration and ideas. And there is nothing wrong with having someone close to you proofread your work, so long as they are qualified to do so and are willing to give your work an honest critique. Send your questions about publishing to Please include your name and hometown.

Book FortuneS by eliza borné

readable and relevant tale about a female American foreign service officer serving in the Balkh province of Afghanistan. I also enjoyed Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi, a graphic memoir about growing up in Iran. In BookPage, reviewer Becky Ohlsen called it “a blend of Persepolis and A Christmas Carol.”

Our crystal ball predicts your next great read Reader name: Gayle Hometown: Mapleton, IL Favorite genres: historical fiction from the Middle East, memoirs Favorite books: Stolen Innocence (Elissa Wall); fathermothergod (Lucia Greenhouse); The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls); Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See) Based on this information, I’d guess that Gayle enjoys memoirs about people who have overcome difficult childhoods—particularly childhoods influenced by extreme religious beliefs—to find happiness in adulthood. Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson would be a great pick in that category. It’s about growing up under the influence (make that under the revival tent) of evangelical preacher David Terrell, a man whom the author considered both stepfather and prophet. The heartbreaking and inspiring Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is another good choice. In this memoir, the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit reflects on a hardscrabble childhood, her sexuality, her fraught relationship with religion and her painful relationship with her adoptive mother. In the historical fiction genre, I think Gayle would like My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk, a story about art, love, religious conflict and conspiracy in Turkey of the late 16th century. Also recommended: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker, an enchanting love story set in Burma. Finally, there are a couple of books related to the Middle East that I’d put on any reader’s to-be-read list. Far­ ishta is the debut novel by onetime diplomat Patricia McArdle. It’s a

Name: Carol Hometown: Crystal Lake, IL Favorite genre: dystopian fiction Favorite author: Margaret Atwood I have had Margaret Atwood on the brain, as her novel The Handmaid’s Tale was recently chosen for Nashville’s first-ever “city-wide read.” But what should Carol read next if she’s already devoured this haunting tale? Though sometimes it seems like dystopian fiction is a new phenomenon (thank you, Hunger Games!), the genre is, of course, an evergreen; The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1985. If Carol hasn’t read Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (1993), she’ll appreciate this story of a diseaseridden United States circa 2025, in which an 18-year-old woman can feel other people’s pain. I also recommend The Children of Men by P.D. James (1992), a novel about human infertility set in 2021. One of my favorite new dystopian novels is When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, a reimagining of The Scarlet Letter set in a future where criminals are genetically altered so their skin turns different colors. Equally creepy is White Horse by Alex Adams, which was just published in April. It’s a thriller about what happens when a deadly terror is released to end humankind— a terrifying story that belongs in “the pantheon of post-apocalyptic thrillers alongside the likes of Justin Cronin and Stephen King,” according to BookPage reviewer Stephenie Harrison. For a chance at your own book fortune, email with your name, hometown and your favorite genre(s), author(s) and book(s). Also, visit to sign up for Book of the Day, our daily book recommendation e-newsletter.

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Whodunit by Bruce Tierney

SLEUTHING in the south of france Somewhere in the hinterlands, flanked by hard-boiled detective fiction on one side and cloying cozies on the other, exists a brand of mystery offering up the plot devices of, say, an Agatha Christie, but lacking the violence of, say, a Mickey Spillane. The authors eschew the cuteness of talking cats, sleuthing priests or nosy B&B proprietors, crafting instead a canny group of protagonists who survive primarily by their wits. Peter Mayle slots neatly into this category with his latest foray into the world of suspense, The Marseille Caper (Knopf, $24, 224 pages, ISBN 9780307594198). Rarely has the tone of a novel been better set with a first sentence: “Shock has a chilling effect, particularly when it takes the form of an unexpected meeting with a man from whom you have recently stolen three million dollars’ worth of wine.” Now, unrepentant insurance investigator/wine thief Sam Levitt faces the daunting proposition of having to work in some unsavory capacity for the very individual he so recently ripped off. Hijinks ensue (big time!), all set against the atmospheric backdrop of Mayle’s beloved Provence. Engaging and entertaining from its opening sentence, The Marseille Caper is do-not-miss fun!

DANGER AND DECEPTION Imagine a Zen koan-spouting Sam Spade, transported magically across time and space to the modern-day China/North Korea border—a setting easily rivaling Depression-era San Francisco in terms of noir. Then, you will begin to get an idea of what’s in store in James Church’s latest Inspector O adventure, A Drop of Chinese Blood (Minotaur, $24.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9780312550639). Until now, O has plied his trade— espionage—in his native North Korea. This time out, O is in a nearby Chinese border town, the guest of his nephew Bing, a minor Chinese functionary deeply embroiled in the

politics of the region. The introduction of the beautiful and dangerous Madame Fang into Bing’s life threatens the status quo, and her subsequent abrupt disappearance gives every indication of upending his apple cart completely. Reluctantly, the ostensibly retired Inspector O agrees to intercede on behalf of his hapless nephew—or is he acting in his own interests entirely? The Mysterious East is never mysteriouser than in Church’s novels, and his latest raises a rarely opened window on the inscrutable and hopelessly intertwined relationships of two of Asia’s most closed societies.

ALASKAN SUSPENSE Plucky half-Inuit, half-CFA (“comes from away”) Edie Kiglatuk returns to the printed page in M.J. McGrath’s second Arctic thriller, The Boy in the Snow (Viking, $25.95, 384 pages, ISBN 9780670023691). Far afield from her native Ellesmere Island, Edie is on assignment in Alaska, serving as support staff for a dogsled team running in the fabled Iditarod race. She is a believer in the “old ways,” and when she is confronted by a bear on a remote stretch of snowy road she takes it as an omen; within minutes she stumbles upon the body of a frozen infant, decked out in silken wraps and ensconced in a tiny coffin. She reports her findings to the police, naturally, but early on she gets the distinct impression that the fundamentalist Christian officer assigned to the case would like nothing more than to railroad a certain contentious religious cult member for the crime. Easily the equal of its predecessor (2011’s White Heat), The Boy in the Snow is a tautly plotted, truly satisfying suspense novel. One small

caveat: It helps to read these books in order, as there are a number of references to earlier events.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY One thing I really look forward to at this gig is killer (so to speak) debut novels. It’s a rare debut indeed that gets named Top Pick in Mystery, but that’s the case with David Mark’s suspenseful police procedural, The Dark Winter. The book offers up an exceptionally unusual premise: A killer seems to be targeting sole survivors of various tragedies, killing them in the way they “should have” died the first time around. A young African genocide escapee is brutally stabbed in her church; an elderly man who survived the sinking of a trawler many years ago is forcibly jettisoned from the deck of a supertanker—and these are but the beginning. Early on, Scottish cop Aector (pronounced like “Hector” with an opening phlegmy cough supplanting the “H”) McAvoy thinks he has uncovered the common thread, but there is precious little hard evidence to support his theory. Meanwhile, events both at home and at the station hint at a distinctly checkered past for our hero, leaving both his superiors and the reader wondering if he has the capability to stand up against such a formidable opponent. English critics have compared David Mark to the likes of Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. My prediction: It will not be long until new voices in the genre are hailed as the “next David Mark.”

the dark winter By David Mark

Blue Rider Press $25.95, 304 pages ISBN 9780399158643 eBook available


book clubs by julie hale

New paperback releases for reading groups

Wild Child Set in Alaska in the 1920s, Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child (Back Bay, $14.99, 416 pages, ISBN 9780316175661) is a story of stark realism with a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. Jack and Mabel struggle to eke out an existence on their farm as their marriage slowly disintegrates. She is lonely, and he is tired, and their prospects seem especially hopeless during the bleak winter season. One day, they build a child from snow—an act that changes their lives forever. The snow child disap-

pears overnight, but Jack and Mabel soon catch sight of a young girl in the woods. Named Faina, the girl knows how to live on her own in the wild. Jack and Mabel are fascinated by the magical, otherworldly child, but there’s more to Faina than they realize, and her sudden appearance in their lives has remarkable consequences. This is Ivey’s debut, but she writes with the assurance of a seasoned novelist. Offering up breathtaking descriptions of the Alaskan landscape, she has created her own type of fairy tale—a story that’s compelling from start to finish.

MISSING PERSON Lydia Millet’s spellbinding Ghost Lights (Norton, $15.95, 256 pages, ISBN 9780393343458) features an unlikely adventurer: an IRS employee named Hal. With a paraplegic daughter and an unfaithful wife, Hal—tired of work and life in Los Angeles—is ready for a change. When his wife’s boss, T., goes missing in Belize, Hal decides to find him. His quest turns out to be the trip of a lifetime—one that lands him in the wilds of Central Amer-



ica, where violence and political upheaval rule the day—and pulls Hal well out of his comfort zone. Millet’s book is a true page-turner. It’s dramatic and suspenseful, but it’s also a poignant portrait of a man in search of fulfillment. Exploring the ways in which growth and transformation can occur when they’re least expected, Millet has written an adventure novel that’s emotionally rich and psychologically penetrating. (Note: Millet’s latest novel, Magnificence, is reviewed in this month’s fiction section.)

best. Heartbreaking and uplifting,


appeal to anyone who believes in

What happens to a novelist when fantasy and reality coalesce? Helen Oyeyemi explores this question in her fourth book, Mr. Fox, which features a novelist named St. James Fox. A British author working in the 1930s, Fox consistently kills the heroines in his books—a habit that upsets Mary Foxe, the imaginary young woman who serves as his muse. When she comes to life and pays Fox a visit in person, she issues a proposition: The two of them will cook up a series of stories in which they both have roles. It’s an adventuresome game that kindles a romance of sorts—a fact that disturbs Mr. Fox’s real-life wife, Daphne. Oyeyemi spins this complex tale with the greatest of ease, presenting the narrative in a fascinating series of interconnected stories set in varying eras and locales. This is a delightfully provocative book that’s sure to charm lovers of literary fiction.

Mr. Fox By Helen Oyeyemi

Riverhead $16, 336 pages ISBN 9781594486180


“A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER OF THE FIRST ORDER”* They found a body. I know who it is…

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— Kristin Hannah

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Novel Reads

HARPERCOLLINS • Sin With a Scoundrel by Sara Bennett

“Sara Bennett delivers exciting, enthralling and satisfying reads. Prepare to be swept away.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens Richard Eversham finds the delightful Miss Smythe not only perfectly desirable, but perfectly suited to help him in his plan to entrap the man who killed his brother.

A Cowboy for Christmas

by Lori Wilde

It’s Christmastime in Jubilee, Texas, but Lissette Moncrief is having a hard time celebrating after she smashes her car into Rafferty Jones’s truck. Lissy’s not about to let herself get whisked away by his charming ways and words, only to watch him drive away in the end.

A Notorious Countess Confesses

columns Heroine Bronte Talbott of Megan Mulry’s A Royal Pain (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781402269974) never thought her adolescent obsession with British royalty would amount to anything. After all, as a career-driven New Yorker, she lives in a world far from those fantasies. But then a move to Chicago introduces her to sexy British doctoral student Max Heyworth, who has eight weeks left in the States. Bronte considers this the perfect scenario: A relationship with an end date means she won’t lose her heart . . . and Max is irresistible. Despite their bargain to keep things

“Julie Anne Long reinvents the historical romance for modern readers, delivering intense, passionate characters and high adventure. Her writing glows.”—Amanda Quick “You will LOVE the Pennyroyal Green series.” —Julia Quinn

The Scottish Witch

by Donna Fletcher

Trey MacAlpin can scarcely believe he has agreed to wed a stranger. But he knows the secret he is sworn to keep. Yet more than necessity binds Trey and Bliss—for the passionate fire raging in Trey’s heart insists that Bliss is not merely his bride …but his destiny.

Seducing Mr. Knightly

by Maya Rodale

“With wonderfully drawn characters, intrigue, and tantalizing passion, Rodale is certain to delight readers and keep them waiting, with baited breath, for more. —Publishers Weekly Advice columnist Annabelle Swift has loved Derek Knightly, editor-owner of The London Weekly, from a distance. Determined to finally attract her boss’s attention, she seeks advice from her loyal readers—who offer Annabelle myriad suggestions.

All available as eBooks Visit for more great reading


resemblance and a deep friendship between herself and the real-life Ria. When Ria dies and Lizzie is left alone in the world, she fulfills a promise to step into the woman’s life. The idea sounded fine at the time, but now—faced with reality and her feelings for Geoffrey—Lizzie is stymied. The conflicts seem insurmountable in this tender, kissesonly romance, but understanding and forgiveness forge a path for happiness.


Great New Read, Great Low Price

Wed to a Highland Warrior

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

FINDING A duke of her own

by Julie Anne Long

by Cathy Maxwell Harry Chattan is fighting for his family. For 200 years the Chattan men have been destroyed by love … and now he’s come to Scotland on the hunt for a witch to break the curse. Instead he finds himself bewitched by Portia Maclean. Harry has vowed to fight the demons that torture him. But will that battle destroy her as well?


casual, Max confesses how much he cares for Bronte—and that he’s not just a lowly graduate student, but also the Duke of Northrop. Will she go home to England with him? Stunned, the independent Bronte refuses, but promptly realizes she’s miserable without Max. Will she give their relationship a chance, despite financial differences, geographic disparity and Max’s disapproving mother? A modern love story fizzing with bubbles of Cinderella fantasy.

LOVE UNMASKED In An Heiress at Heart (Forever, $5.99, 432 pages, ISBN 9781455518937) by Jennifer Delamere, clergyman Geoffrey Somerville inherits a title and with it a brand-new life. Complicating matters is the surprise return from Australia of his brother’s widow Ria, whom Geoffrey has never met. Despite the mystery surrounding the woman, Geoffrey finds himself drawn to her. Life is no easier for Ria. In actual fact, she’s Lizzie Poole, who ran from scandal in London only to discover a near-identical

Former lovers reunite and their passion reignites in Scorched by Laura Griffin. The discovery of a wanted terrorist’s remains catapults forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn into danger, forcing her to run for her life. When her ex, Navy SEAL Gage Brewer, learns she’s missing, he sets out after her. Though Kelsey is afraid to involve him in her trouble—and afraid to get attached emotionally to Gage—she needs his help to determine what’s at stake. They take to the road, following clues and escaping bullets along the way. Togetherness causes sparks to fly, but the old obstacles are still between them: Gage’s love for his job and Kelsey’s fear for him while he’s doing it. But they both see their conflicts through new eyes as they race to prevent a deadly attack. A fastmoving plot with likeable, interesting characters creates a compelling read. Readers will root for Kelsey and Gage to save the day—and their love.

scorched By Laura Griffin

Pocket $7.99, 416 pages ISBN 9781451617399 eBook available

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ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN! • One (1) Grand Prize of a $300.00 Smithsonian gift card and a library of Smithsonian books published by DK (Total Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of Grand Prize = $370.00) • Ten (10) Runner-up prizes of a copy of Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style, published by DK (ARV of each prize = $50.00). No purchase necessary. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, ages 18 and older. Entries must be received no later than November 30, 2012, 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time. Winners will be selected on or about December 15, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. Go to and click on the Fashion Sweepstakes banner for complete details and Official Rules.




by joanna brichetto

b y s y b i l P RATT

an international trifecta

smart activities for kids Introduce kids to bird-watching with Sharon Lovejoy’s My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder (Workman, $21.95, 112 pages, ISBN 9780761165996), which includes a just-right guide and a windowmount feeder. The feeder, made of biodegradable plastic, is easy to fill and clean. The guide’s instructions for making homemade feeders and tips for turning your backyard into a bird haven will ensure even more bird traffic. The author’s joy in her subject radiates from sweet illustrations and enthusiastic guidance. She urges kids to look for clues: the shape of a beak, the sound of a call, the look of a feather, bird behaviors and even bird poop. Readers can

turn to the Bird Guide for simple descriptions, identification clues and fun facts for 34 of the most common species. But benefits of watching birds go beyond fun: In addition to developmental skills, bird-watching builds a love of the natural world and can foster a lifelong sense of environmental stewardship.



“Storytelling is the most perfect, most nourishing food for growing minds,” writes teacher and crafter Emily K. Neuburger, author of Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Story­ telling (Storey, $16.95, 144 pages, ISBN 9781603429887). The book is aimed at anyone who wants to help kids “begin, develop and play with storytelling.” According to Neuburger’s introduction, stories exercise creativity, expand emotional awareness and encourage children to see connections, practice communicating, solve problems and develop moral thinking. Children can start stories with visual prompts such as

story dice, then develop their tales with a puppet theater, a storytelling jar, memory cards and more. Activities are indoor and outdoor, structured and unstructured, solo or collaborative, gender-neutral and adaptable to any skill level. Photos of materials, projects and games are plentiful and inspirational.

TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun is a comprehensive program of boredom-killing activities for kids and their parents. From one digestible and graphically enhanced nutshell to the next, this veritable bible of self-reliance would have had Emerson dancing for joy at the assembled ingredients for a productive and well-examined life: You get what you want by understanding who you are, redefining what you want and learning to “create instead of consume.” Authors Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen (and many contributors from blogs and books) share ideas, activities, projects and resources in four main categories: You, Home, Society and Adventure. Crammed within these are convenient, two-page spreads such as: “Train Your Grownup to Geocache,” “Keep a Journal,” “Explode Things,” “Toaster Science” and “Decorate Your Sneakers.” The activities guarantee something for everyone, be it “indoors, outdoors, online and offline.” Many assume collusion with a willing (and strategically unobtrusive) grownup.

Unbored By Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen

Bloomsbury $25, 352 pages ISBN 9781608196418

craftS & Hobbies

Though we’ve become a global village, we still eat and cook in wonderfully diverse ways. Now three new, beautifully illustrated cookbooks take us on eye-opening, mouthwatering culinary journeys. Maricel E. Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin Amer­ ica (Norton, $45, 912 pages, ISBN 9780393050691), with more than 500 recipes that roam through the rich gastronomic landscapes of Latin America from Mexico to the tip of Argentina, is a feast and a fiesta. As you cook your way through adobos, sofritos, empanadas, tangy ceviches, “big” soups and little snacks, meat and poultry (grilled, roasted and braised), salads, condiments and

dulces, you’ll discover how the fusion of native and Iberian cooking customs has made la cocina Latina so deliciously complex. When it comes to conjuring up the splendors—edible and otherwise—of exotic places, nobody does it better than Naomi Duguid. With Burma: Rivers of Flavor (Artisan, $35, 384 pages, ISBN 9781579654139), she opens up the culinary culture of a country that’s long been a crossroads for traders and travelers from China, India and all of Southeast Asia. A celebration of place, people and traditional foodways in vibrant recipes, dazzling photographs and stories that reveal the heart of a land, Burma is a must, and a perfect gift, for cooks and travelers—armchair or actual. Leanne Kitchen (great name for a food writer!) takes on a varied, venerable cuisine in Turkey (Chronicle, $35, 272 pages, ISBN 9781452107707). With more than 100 recipes, and photographs that you’ll want to bite into, she offers an elegant cook’s tour of Turkey’s seven geographic regions, where

Mediterranean, Slavic and Middle Eastern influences mingle and where courtly Ottoman dishes share the Turkish table with more humble, hearty peasant fare.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS Whether you’ve cooked a ton of turkeys or are facing your first—Do Not Proceed without Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well, Sam Sifton’s charming, absolutely essential manual. Sifton, a former New York Times restaurant critic, spent many Thanksgiving Days as a guardian angel, answering the newspaper’s Thanksgiving help line, saving the desperate from all sorts of disasters. He not only knows his stuff (and stuffing), he loves and honors the tradition, its promise and its joyful indulgence. But he’s strict about the rules: You will make turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce (a nonnegotiable trio), offer more than one starch, more than one appropriate-to-the-season veg and classic desserts (not chocolate, not experimental), no salad, no appetizers, save a few briny oysters. Sifton says, “Thanksgiving ought to be the best holiday of the year,” and he gives the guidance, the indispensable recipes and the moral support you need to cook a great holiday feast (leftovers included) and not lose your mind!

Thanksgiving By Sam Sifton

Random House $18, 160 pages ISBN 9781400069910 eBook available

holiday cooking


If you don’t count your blessings every day, you will after listening to Jonathan Kozol’s Fire in the Ashes (Random House Audio, $40, 11 hours, ISBN 9780449012598), read by Keythe Farley; and if you’re not affected by these true stories from the sordid, shameful inner city, better check for a pulse. For many decades and in many books, Kozol has given a voice to the voiceless: children who grow up in punishing poverty and their parents. He’s not an observer, but part of the fabric of their lives. Here, he tells the stories of young men and women who spent their very early years in the notorious Hotel Martinique, a hellish, filthy, drug-infested homeless

shelter right across from Macy’s on New York’s Herald Square, and were later moved to the poorest section of the Bronx. They’re grown now—the ones who survived—some terminally damaged, while some, with the aid of a few truly good people, including Kozol and a determined parent, found their way out, and found the spark that lights the fire. Listen—there’s much to be learned.

MURDER IN THE MONASTERY The Beautiful Mystery (Macmillan Audio, $39.99, 13.5 hours, ISBN 9781427226099), Louise Penny’s latest, brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his close comrade Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir to Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, a remote monastery deep in the Quebec wilderness, to investigate the murder of the choirmaster. Long hidden from the world, these cloistered monks have lived in quiet self-sufficiency, praising God in simple, glorious Gregorian chant for centuries. But now a recording made to raise much-needed money has become a global sensation—and one of the

monks has become a murderer. Gamache and Beauvoir find deep discord beneath the harmonious surface of the abbey and, in its devout solemnity, find themselves face to face with their own doubts, demons and insecurities. This is much more than a whodunit; Penny renders her characters with real depth and puts them in an unusually intriguing setting and situation. And Ralph Cosham’s excellent, empathetic narration enhances it all.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an epistolary novel, without epistles—at least, not the conventional kind. Instead, author Maria Semple weaves together emails, school report cards, police reports, FBI files, an emergency room bill, a psychiatrist’s notes, a fundraising letter and more. The only narrative is offered by 15-year-old Bee, one of the most charming teenagers I’ve met in ages. And Bee is not the only charmer. Bernadette—who, as you know from the title, does a disappearing act—is a fabulous creation: an architect who only built one house, won a Mac­Arthur “genius” grant, then gave it all up in a grand snit; an agoraphobic, Seattle-hating Seattleite who can quip with the best; and Bee’s mother, who cherishes her brilliant daughter. The other characters are drawn with the same wit, the subplots unleashed with an accurate, antic take on our world. Kathleen Wilhoite’s reading, lit by a range of voices, accents, cadences and emotions, is a true treat.

where’d you go, bernadette By Maria Semple Hachette Audio $29.98, 9.5 hours ISBN 9781478977353


VOICES OF les misérables


by sukey howard

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by Robert Reid


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



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

TRAVEL BY THE BOOK IN 2013 Every year Lonely Planet’s world-traipsing authors and editors produce travel recommendations for the year to come, and this year is no exception with Best in Travel 2013 (Lonely Planet, $14.99, 208 pages, ISBN 9781742209999). The picks for top destinations—the 10 cities, regions and countries that are the must-visits for travel enthusiasts— are always fiercely debated. Some are on the brink of discovery, others capture the zeitgeist, and some are already well known but worth a fresh look. For book lovers, here are three new books that transport the reader to some of Lonely Planet’s must-visit destinations for the new year. Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Random House, $27, 336 pages, ISBN 9780385342605), from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, hits two top under-the-radar destinations: the rapidly changing Addis Ababa in Samuelsson’s native Ethiopia, as well as Gothenburg, the Swedish city where he was raised after being adopted by a Swedish couple. Gothenburg is a Lonely Planet pick for one of the best value destinations for 2013—not cheap by some standards, but the most Scandinavia you can get for your krona. Samuelsson’s memoir is about more than just food; it’s a personal and thoughtprovoking trip through multiple cultures, weaving in discussions of family and race as well as cultural and culinary identity.


What’s closer to New York: San Francisco or Reykjavík, Iceland? (Hint: it starts with an R.) The success of Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo series cast a spotlight on the dark world of Nordic crime fiction and brought about a rush of new translations for English readers. Iceland, one of the top travel destinations for 2013, is also riding the wave, notably with the much-lauded Arnaldur Indridason, who added Outrage (Minotaur, $24.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780312659110) to his Inspector Erlendur series this year. The books are chock-full of Icelandic cultural detail. With big changes coming to San Francisco’s storied waterfront in anticipation of the 2013 America’s Cup, the city was a shoo-in for a

Q: A re true artists more likely to be “crazy”?

attended meetings of “Club Van Gogh,” which writers Q: Iand f youartists would you want to sit next to?

hat were the three best moves you made to get your bipolar Q: W disorder under control?

Q: Is your creative spark still burning brightly? must-see slot. But one great reason to visit the Bay Area isn’t even in SF itself: It’s the vibrant food and arts scene flourishing across the bay in Oakland and Berkeley. For an intro to the area, read Michael Chabon’s novel T ­ elegraph Avenue (Harper, $27.99, 480 pages, ISBN 9780061493348), which takes place between the two adjacent East Bay cities in a neighborhood he calls “Brokeland.” Locals will revel in the hyper-detailed depiction of the area, and unfamiliar readers will walk away feeling like they know the innermost secrets of an evolving cityscape.

Robert Reid is the U.S. Travel Editor for Lonely Planet and is still upset that other editors vetoed his Oklahoma pick as a top destination for 2013.

Q: W  ords to live by?

MARBLES Ellen Forney is a cartoonist who created the Eisner-nominated comics I Love Led Zeppelin and Monkey Food and illustrated Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award-winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Her memoir, MARBLES: MANIA, DEPRESSION, MICHELANGELO, & ME (Gotham, $20, 256 pages, ISBN 9781592407323) chronicles her experiences in dealing with bipolar disorder. Forney lives in Seattle.


B.A. shapiro By anne bartlett



rtist Claire Roth’s life is at a low ebb when a powerful, handsome gallery owner shows up unexpectedly at her Boston studio. Just emerging from a scandal that damaged her reputation, she’s eking out a living by copying great paintings for an online reproduction company. The gallery owner, Aiden Markel, has a proposition for Claire: Copy a certain painting for me, he says, and I’ll make your career. The work in question is a Degas that was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in a (real-life) 1990 heist, and has been missing ever since. Talk about tough choices. How does Markel know where this painting is? Isn’t there something a little odd about the painting that he shows her? And isn’t this all, well, illegal? Claire—talented, intelligent, not perfect—says yes, with considerable trepidation. Her decision sets in motion the intricate, intriguing plot of B.A. Shapiro’s The Art Forger, a compelling literary thriller. Mixing fact and fiction, Shapiro adeptly weaves together three stories: Claire’s present-day adventure, her disastrous love affair in the recent past with a prominent artist and the mysterious events in the 19th century that led to Isabella Gardner’s purchase of the book’s (invented) Degas painting, “After the Bath.” Along the way, the novel raises timeless questions about authenticity and the true value of art. Shapiro is the author (as Barbara Shapiro) of five psychological suspense novels, but like Claire, she is emerging from a tough run. She wrote three books that she was unable to sell to publishers, and The Art Forger seemed destined for the same fate. “Nobody wanted it because they couldn’t pigeonhole it,” she says in an interview from her home in Boston’s South End, not far from where she places Claire’s studio. Shapiro, married and the mother of two adult children, was on the verge of giving up as a writer—“I was actually thinking of being an artists’ representative”—when Algonquin Books stepped in. The result could well be Shapiro’s breakthrough to a wider audience, with a novel that takes her craft to a new level. The book’s impressive range in-

cludes the contemporary art world, forgery techniques, museum politics, Gardner’s travels in Europe to acquire her famous collection, even life in the juvenile justice facility where Claire teaches. Educated as a sociologist and more recently an adjunct teacher of creative writing at Northeastern University, Shapiro has always loved art, but has no training as an artist. “I had no idea an oil painting was made with layers and layers of paint,” she remembers. She did most of her research for The Art Forger through books and the Internet, but she also did about a dozen interviews with artists, gallery owners, museum experts and lawyers to get her Shapiro’s facts straight. exciting novel A niece in California raises some who works timeless in juvenile questions justice helped about her with the subplot about authenticity Claire’s work, and the true and Shapiro value of art. rewarded her by giving a character her name, Kimberly. Shapiro originally planned to center the book on Gardner, who was a passing character in her first novel. “I was fascinated by her as almost a modern woman at this time when women weren’t allowed to do much at all,” Shapiro says. The book eventually evolved into Claire’s story, but Gardner and Degas remain important, their relationship told through letters from Gardner to a (fictional) niece. Those letters were inspired by the real correspondence between Gardner and art historian/agent Bernard Berenson, but Shapiro had to make the style livelier for a modern readership. “Where she might have a sentence of 30 words and four of them would be 19th-century, my sentence would be 15 words

and only one 19th-century word,” she says. But Claire’s characterization is the heart of the book. “For every book I write, I have a different challenge. My challenge for this book was to create a character who does the wrong things, but is still likable,” Shapiro says. “I wanted her to be flawed because everybody is flawed. There aren’t good guys or bad guys. Everybody is both. . . . I really wanted her to be a complicated person who does the right things for the wrong reasons and the wrong things for the right reasons.” It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth draft of the novel, she says, that Claire “started to come together as a whole person.” For Shapiro, a fifth draft is barely the beginning of the process. She is a meticulous plotter who charted each of the three stories in increasingly detailed outline before starting her first draft. As she wrote and rewrote, she showed her work-inprogress to her writers’ group. She sought input for later drafts from other writers, readers whose opinion she trusts, an artist and a lawyer. She estimates she went through 20 drafts over about three years. The outcome is a novel that is by turns informative, sexy and exciting, with key plot twists that are genuinely unexpected. Even an art buff will have trouble figuring out what in the story is real and what is imagined. “I’ve heard from a lot of people that they spend a lot of time looking for the [Degas] painting online,” Shapiro says with a laugh. The particular Degas in the book is Shapiro’s invention, but the 1990 Gardner robbery is very real. Thirteen works, including Rembrandts, a Vermeer and five Degas drawings, were taken, and they’ve never been seen in public since. Does Shapiro have any theory

about the crime? She suspects, based on the relative crudeness of the crime and the complete absence of the works from the art market, that they were used as collateral for illegal purchases. Shapiro notes speculation that the IRA might have taken them to help buy guns. “I just hope that whoever has them is taking care of them,” she says. “I hope it’s solved in my lifetime.” Shapiro’s next project is a novel about the early years of the abstract expressionists, when many worked for the Works Progress Administration. Eleanor Roosevelt is a character. “I like to research. I have to make myself stop,” Shapiro says. “I keep reading even when it’s something I know I’m not going to need for the book.”

The art forger

By B.A. Shapiro

Algonquin, $23.95, 368 pages ISBN 9781616201326, audio, eBook available


cover story

style by jillian quint

Wardrobe Makeovers

Fashion changes, BUT stylish books endure


ashionable friends are the toughest to shop for. You wouldn’t dare buy them clothing and, anyway, their closets are already jam-packed. Luckily several chic new style books by both big-name connoisseurs and under-the-radar experts have recently hit the bookshelves—all great for gifting to the fashionistas in your life. From the glossy and gorgeous to the text-driven and probing, here are six of the best.

THE TRENDSETTERS Katharine Hepburn. Jackie Kennedy. Madonna. You know a style maven when you see one. And yet, their particular breed of je ne sais quoi is often difficult to pin down. Luckily, fashion historian and Parsons professor Elyssa Dimant has done the work for us in The Style Mentors: Women Who Define the Art of Dressing Today (Harper Design, $30, 192 pages, ISBN 9780061992186). Breaking down these trend­setters into eight signature looks, Dimant explains how the most stylish women approach their wardrobes and how burgeoning fashionistas can achieve similar success. From the icons (Coco Chanel, Cate Blanchett) to the mavericks (Isabella Blow, Daphne Guinness), bohemians (Veruschka, the Olsen twins), gamines (Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy), sirens (Marilyn Monroe, Beyoncé), minimalists (Donna Karan, Sofia Coppola), rockers (Debbie Harry, Gwen Stefani) and classicists (Wallis Simpson, Michelle Obama), The Style Mentors outlines the world’s greatest fashion role models, alongside lovely, illustrative photographs. In addition to the eye candy, Dimant’s book proves exceedingly useful. Learn why a bohemian never wears flats and how Dita Von Teese tailors vintage clothing to fit her famous curves.

Age-Old Trends


As anyone who has ever worn a cloche or coveted a bustle knows,

fashion is as much about looking backward as it is about envisioning the future. Fashion: The De­ finitive History of Costume and Style (DK, $50, 480 pages, ISBN 9780756698355) acknowledges this centuries-old journey, tracing some 3,000 years of high couture and humble duds—from the draped fabrics of ancient times through contemporary street style. Moving both chronologically and geographically through the ages, this stunning coffee table book — penned by Smithsonian consultant and Cooper-Hewitt curator Susan Brown—looks in on such clothing moments as Etruscan dancing garb, Flemish squirrel-skin kirtles and 17th-century baroque doublets. Somewhere between history lesson and fashion spread, Fashion is particularly adept at capturing the ways in which Western style was greatly influenced by design from around the world.

Vogue’s Heavy Hitters This fall marks the 120th anniversary of Vogue. In appropriately lavish celebration, the world’s most iconic couture magazine is re-

leasing a glamorous new volume chronicling the publication’s history as seen through the eyes of eight of its most memorable editors. Told via in-depth interviews with each of these visionaries, Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (Abrams, $75, 416 pages, ISBN 9781419704406) gives a glimpse into the process, proving that the magazine’s cutting-edge fashion spreads are as much about editorial point of view as they are about model-photographer-designer collaboration. Here, readers learn about Babs Simpson (fashion editor, 19471972), who traveled to Cuba to shoot Ernest Hemingway; Jade Hobson (1971-1988), an advocate for flattering power suits and the liberated career woman; and Phyllis Posnick (1987-present) who took a conceptual, provocative approach to the fashion narrative. Alongside these stories are iconic photos from Vogue’s own pages (from heavy hitters like Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz) as well as wonderfully telling behind-thescenes shots. An introduction by Anna Wintour adds an extra air of backstage insight.

As the co-host of TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” stylist Stacy London is a pro at helping regular women ditch frumpy sweaters and dated jeans to dress properly for their lifestyles and body types. Her new book, The Truth About Style (Viking, $32.95, 224 pages, ISBN 9780670026234), follows in this empowering makeover tradition (or what London calls “a startover”) while also incorporating the writer’s own history of selfdoubt and renewal. London’s struggle is all too familiar: When she graduated from Vassar at the age of 22, she weighed only 90 pounds, having devoted her senior year to both academics and anorexia. This battle with her weight stretched into adulthood, and it was only through her work helping women look their best that she learned to love herself. In The Truth About Style, London interweaves her own story with those of nine women desperately in need of a style startover—from a post-mastectomy cancer survivor to a busy mom who hasn’t bought new clothes in seven years. Working with each to construct a new wardrobe (and life) outlook, London deftly shows that the way we present ourselves influences the way we feel.

Tim Gunn’s Tutorial What Stacy London is to the styleimpaired, Tim Gunn is to aspiring designers, having served for 12 seasons as the ultimate mentor on the hit reality show “Project Runway.” In Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet (Gallery, $28, 288 pages, ISBN 9781451643855), the coolly collected clothing authority goes beyond styling advice (or pleas to “make it work”) to tell the quirky and often downright strange

histories of just about every article of clothing or accessory ever worn. Readers are treated to factoids like how a man’s politics used to inform his necktie choice, why there was once historical concern with making pants difficult to remove and what the connection was between World War II prudence and the rise of the bikini (hint: It involves fabric rationing). With the same dry humor and anecdotal joy Gunn fans have long admired, his Fashion Bible proves both a useful reference book and a fun read.

20th-Century Style Cameron Silver began his career in the theater, and it’s easy to see how this flair for drama informed his work at Decades, the L.A. vintage boutique he opened in 1997. Decades: A Century of Fashion (Bloomsbury, $60, 320 pages, ISBN 9781596916630) is Silver’s gorgeous, oversized love letter to the style eras that comprise his collection. Beginning with the Edwardian hats and John Singer Sargent silhouettes of the turn of the 20th century, and moving through 1990s Kate Moss cool and deconstructed minimalism, Decades explores the designers, models and overarching looks that defined each period. At every point in history, Silver is careful to detail conflicting aesthetics, concluding that fashion is always about dichotomy. Take, for instance, the 1970s’ simultaneous attention to sporty all-Americanism (Cheryl Tiegs) and disco danger (Bianca Jagger), or the complicated crossover between Grace Kelly’s and Bettie Page’s mid-century appeal. Silver attributes a different “it designer” to every decade, but perhaps more emblematic of the times are the photo plates he inserts between chapters—pictures of gowns taken at extreme closeup, such that the material, stitching and color come into vibrant, telling view.






he thought she had mono. Then she decided she was bipolar. To her disgust, a famed New York City neurologist told her that she simply worked too hard and drank too much.

Susannah Cahalan’s mix of Google-search self-diagnosis and hit-and-miss expert opinion might have been comical if her situation hadn’t been so dire. At the age of 24, Cahalan, a reporter for the New York Post, began feeling less and less herself, then had a seizure, and then ended up in the hospital for a month, out of her mind for most of that time, while a small army of doctors and medical researchers tried to figure out what was wrong with her. “It was one of those things that wasn’t completely obvious at first,” Cahalan says, remembering the onset of her mystifying disease during a call to the apartment in Jersey City she shares with her boyfriend Stephen, one of the heroes of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, her book about this harrowing experience. “Maybe if I had been working a more stable or less exciting job, I would have been more aware of what was going on. But because I was working at the New York Post and there are so many highs and lows to journalism, I wasn’t aware of the fluctuations.” Stephen (her boyfriend of just six months at the time and a colleague at the Post, where she had begun working as a “copy kid” at 17) and her estranged parents, however, had become increasingly alarmed by

Brain on fire

By Susannah Cahalan


Free Press, $25, 288 pages ISBN 9781451621372, audio, eBook available

her behavior just before her seizure. Later they would all become key informants as Cahalan tried to piece together what had happened to her during her month of madness. “It’s so hard for me to get to that person again,” Cahalan says. “I did a lot of yoga trying to access these hallucinations and these lost memories. . . . I wrote by hand, which I thought would maybe help me better access these things. I do remember things, but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve spent so much time writing about them that I’ve created these memories.” So Cahalan’s efforts to write Brain on Fire became an attempt both to reconstruct how she became the crazy person she briefly was and to understand the science that led eventually to a successful diagnosis. Early drafts of the book, Cahalan says, were very “science-y.” The published book tends—reluctantly, she says—more toward memoir. Readers will likely find it a swift read, an intriguing mix of scientific detection and personal story. Cahalan includes excerpts from her medical records, from videos of her bizarre behavior in the hospital, and from her follow-up interviews with the two doctors at the University of Pennsylvania—Dr. Souhel Najjar and Dr. Josep Dalmau—who cracked her case. Diagnosing her illness required a battery of sometimes redundant tests including CAT scans, blood tests, MRIs and a gruesome-sounding brain biopsy. Eventually, Cahalan became only the 217th person to be diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor autoimmune encephalitis, a rare form of autoimmune disease. Cahalan says one of her hopes is that Brain on Fire will in some measure help people with undiagnosed conditions and raise awareness about autoimmune diseases. “The brain gets all the attention,” she says. “But when I was researching the science for the book, I realized we

are just at the beginning of understanding how important the immune system is. Auto­ immune disease is an amazing, emerging field of study. Right now 50 million people in the United States have an autoimmune disease. They’re especially common in women, which is a mystery. The research that’s being done now is basically blurring the lines between immunology, neurology and psychiatry. It’s very exciting.” Treatment for Cahalan’s disease was considered “People who experimental don’t have a at the time. diagnosis have It involved to be their own a regimen of nearly 20 advocates. It’s intravenous important immunoglobulin to question (IVIG) medical injections authority.” at $20,000 a pop. The total cost of her hospitalization and treatment? Something to the north of $1 million, she says. In the final section of Brain on Fire, the section Cahalan found most challenging to write, she describes her long recovery and reflects on the physical and emotional challenges she faced after she left the hospital. On the plus side, she has grown closer to her father, who was distant from her after her parents’ bitter divorce. For the length of time she was in the hospital, her parents united to become her chief advocates. “People who don’t have a diagnosis have to be their own advocates. It’s important to question

medical authority. I couldn’t be my own advocate in the hospital because I couldn’t be there for myself. But my parents were.” Cahalan’s boyfriend Stephen was her “rock in the hospital. The fact that he came every day when we’d only been dating about six months was amazing.” But trouble loomed when she came home to recover. “I was dead set on moving ahead. I was getting better. I was back at the Post. Everything seemed fine, but he knew I still wasn’t 100 percent. It was a scary experience for him. I think it changed him and he became a different person. Now it’s been three and a half years since I was in the hospital and we’ve worked that out.” Still, the question of how fully she has recovered remains. When her doctors finally reached the correct diagnosis, they told her that treatment would bring her back to about 90 percent of normal. “It’s hard for me to say if I’m 100 percent recovered,” Cahalan says. “I know I’m different from the person I was before and I know that has something to do with my illness because it was a huge life experience that I think about every day. But I was 24 then, I’m 27 now. I don’t know how much of my change is due to getting older and being in different life circumstances and how much of it has to do with surviving this illness.”

Turn the page for 183 gift ideas for book lovers

The Casual Vacancy

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

Low Pressure

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

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



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

The Art Forger


The Black Box

Back to Blood

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

Tor $34.99 9780765325952


The Panther

From the author of Still Alice

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

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

Gallery 9781439164686

Grand Central $29.99

$26 9781455522590




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

A Memory of Light

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

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


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

The Racketeer

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


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


Angels at the Table



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


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


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

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

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




The Reason

The Time Keeper


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



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




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


Scholastic delivers

9780545416788 $16.99

holiday happiness!

9780794533281 $18.99

9780794533274 $9.99

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


9780545176163 $36.99

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

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



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





9780794529185 $13.99

Holiday activities & festive finds

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

My Brave Year of Firsts

The Friendly Beasts




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

9780794533212 $12.99

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


Star Wars® Origami

Optical Illusions

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


Workman $16.95

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


The LEGO® Book

My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder

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

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

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


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


Books to give to family, friends & you






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

Recycled Robots






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






9781609581008 $39.95

Give the books that make girls shine!


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

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

The RoadRunner Press




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

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


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

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

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



Houghton Mifflin Books for Children $17.99

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



9780753468746 9780753468487



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

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


9780753466544 $19.99


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

Arlo Needs Glasses

The Corporate Kid


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

$3.95 each

© 2012 Wimpy Kid, Inc.


The classics in a new series






Lincoln’s Last Days


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

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



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




The Diviners

Mystic City

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

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


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


The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive


Carnival of Souls

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

9780061659287 9780307746665






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

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



Listening Library






The weather outside is frightful, ThE BONE BED



A NOvEl Of ThE fAllEN ANgElS

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

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

Patricia Cornwell

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

J. R. Ward

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


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

Patricia Briggs

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


Jennifer Chiaverini


Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

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

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

ThE TRUTh ABOUT STYlE Stacy London

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


Daniel Klein

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

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


Simon Garfield

The bestselling, hugely entertaining, and revealing guide to the history of type that asks, What does your favorite font say about you?

GotHAm books trAde PAPerbAck 978-1-592-40746-0 $16.00/$17.00 cAN. ✱


Stephanie McAfee

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


Leonard Maltin

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

but these books are so delightful! ThE PERfECT hOPE




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

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

Nora Roberts

Ken Follett

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

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


Philip Greene


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


Katie Quinn Davies

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

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

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

DREAM MORE Dolly Parton

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


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

Scott Schuman

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


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

Sal Lizard with Jonathan Lane

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


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


RJ Smith

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

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

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



Jeffrey Zaslow

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

Ken Foster

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

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



PeNGuiN GrouP (usA) comPANies

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

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






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

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


The Layered Garden

Whiskey Opus

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

One Dish at a Time

MasterChef: The Ultimate Cookbook

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



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

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


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

Southern Living PAGE 10



9780848736545 $29.95

9780848736552 $34.95





The End of Your Life Book Club


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


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

Dancers Among Us



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



The Chronicles of Downton Abbey

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

Produced in association with the Smithsonian

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

SAFARI is a magical journey

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



Monty Python’s Flying Circus

America Again


James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters

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

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

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

9780756698386 $50

9780756698416 $50



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






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

995 547913






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


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

59 9780547884

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


627 $26

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


564 $24





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


Hal Leonard


The Last Headbangers

The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax


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

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

The Last Lion


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

Our Sarah: Made in Alaska




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

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

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

Henry Holt and Company

The John Lennon Letters

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



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






9780849946158 $16.99

The Beginner’s Bible SuperDuper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book

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


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



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

Thomas Nelson


Celebrate the season!



9781609260309 $29.99





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

Abingdon Press















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

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


Lead Me, Holy Spirit

And Then Came the Angels

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

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

Harvest House $14.99

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

The Christian World of The Hobbit

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

Grand Central $24.99


Jesus is calling . . . are you listening?

Whitman Publishing $19.95





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






$17.99 9780800721220 $13.99





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




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


Thomas Nelson $24.99


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





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

Daily Readings from Every Day a Friday

I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life

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

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






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










Destiny Image

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





Live on common ground








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

Common English Bible

9781609260149 $24.95



583 9781599792



The Daily Bible


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

KJV Study Bible


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

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

Thomas Nelson







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

Charisma House




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Seeking justice and confronting evil in her suspenseful new novel, The Round House

A mother and son bond through reading Halloween books that go bump in the night

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festive beverages by eve zibart

Books to pair with bottles of all sorts


he book, or the bottle? That’s the question that arises when considering holiday gift books for partakers of particular potables.

All sorts of spirits are the subject of increasingly elaborate tomes arranged by region, style, historical influence and even literary reference. And inevitably we wonder: Would our friends rather have the potion than the prescription? (And isn’t a coffee table book about whiskey a contradiction in terms?) Nevertheless, here are a handful of offerings, from savvy to showy and pert to practical. As to bottle vs. book, we recommend giving both: With luck, your friends may share.

Suds and stems Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont each have a number of previous books under their belts, and their latest, The World Atlas of Beer (Sterling Epicure, $30, 256 pages, ISBN 9781402789618), is an unusually successful hybrid of travelogue and catalogue. Styles of beers (ales, porters, stouts, et al.) and their brewing are explained in detail but not exhaustively; brewery maps of regions around the world spotlight prime examples of styles; and a fairly remarkable number of beers are profiled and taste-tested. Though you may have to travel (or live in a very metropolitan importing area) to taste many of these brews, the book includes tips for travelers about local mores in each beer’s region of origin. There’s also a succinct list of food-tobeer matches, from hamburgers and IPA to foie gras and golden ale. Wines of the Southern Hemi­ sphere (Sterling Epicure, $24.95, 592 pages, ISBN 9781402786259) by “World Wine Guys” and journalists Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, covers New World wines by country and region, major varietals and producers. While most wine drinkers will be generally familiar with the wines of Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, the chapters on Chile, Brazil and Uruguay might spark a treasure hunt at the wine store. (As with beers, availability could be problematic.) The book occasionally falls into the

TV talk show “we had lunch with” trap, but the tasting notes, though vintage-specific, are very good.

High-end tastes Whiskey Opus (DK, $40, 300 pages, ISBN 9780756698331), a catalogue of the “world’s greatest distilleries” by longtime spirits writers Gavin D. Smith and Dominic Roskrow, devotes 120 of its pages to the whiskys of Scotland (which, despite that country’s preference, are referred to by the authors as ­“whiskeys”). But as the brown-spirits market in the United States continues to expand, and bars offer more small-batch and cult labels, it can be fun to discover (before your other friends) how many countries around the world—Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Lichtenstein, etc.—produce fine versions. The histories are occasionally over-detailed, but the tasting notes are good, and of course, as with most DK titles, the visuals are excellent: With its comprehensive photo collection of bottles and labels, this book almost demands a ready-forframing ad poster. To those of the retro (rather than neo) cocktail generation, Lesley M.M. Blume’s Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition (Chronicle, $18.95, 208 pages, ISBN 9781452108261) offers a mix of anecdotes, speculations, wordplay and recipes. Subtitled “A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras,” and decorated with Ed-

wardian typography and the odd woodcut, it seems a sure bet to resurrect the grenadine industry. Blume sometimes gets so involved in the decorative bits that she shorts the useful stuff (several recipes refer to French and Italian vermouths, older terminology which may be confusing to amateur mixmasters); but there is humor of all degrees of subtlety, so it’s an easy pick-me-up.

Alcohol optional There’s even a treat for the teetotalers on your list: The Artisan Soda Workshop (Ulysses Press, $14.95, 144 pages, ISBN 9781612430676), a cheery little paperback that aims to turn your seltzer bottle into an oldfashioned soda fountain (and health bar—no high fructose corn syrup or preservatives here). Although the 75 recipes require a little effort (boiling and straining, mostly), author Andrea Lynn has come close to reproducing many old standards, such as Coke and Dr. Pepper, cream sodas, root beer and cherry cokes, while also creating some lovely herb and fruit concentrates and seasonally flavored fizzes and tonics—all of which could, of course, easily be topped off with a little alcohol. Visit for recipes  from Let’s Bring Back and The Artisan Soda Workshop.

“A A wonderful book about wonderful books THE #1 INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER PICK

and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them. Like the printed volumes it celebrates, this story will stay with you long after the last page.” —MITCH ALBOM , author of Tuesdays with Morrie

“GRADE ‘A’ …A graceful, affecting testament to a mother and a life well lived.” —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“TWO LOVE STORIES IN ONE…TENDER AND TOUCHING and beautifully done.” —STACY SCHIFF, author of Cleopatra

“THIS IS AN ASTONISHING, pertinent, and wonderfully welcome work.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“WILL SCHWALBE’S BRAVE AND SOULFUL ELEGY to his remarkable mother [is] a timely reminder that one exceptional person, or one exceptional book, can be a torch in the darkness.” —J.R. MOEHRINGER, author of The Tender Bar

“I WAS SO MOVED BY THIS MARVELOUS BOOK …It is a true meditation on what books can do.” —EDMUND de WAAL , author of

The Hare with Amber Eyes


Also available as an eBook and audio



TRAVEL by heather seggel

Christmas at the White House Jennifer Pickens Foreword by Laura Bush Christmas at the White House beautifully documents the lavish public and private Christmas decorations, celebrations, themes, and traditions spanning half of a century inside the world’s most famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Fife and Drum Press 978-0-615-28764-5 | $49.95

find some travel inspiration for the holidays


he holiday season can mean long hours stranded in airports while trying to shuttle around the country and connect with family. This year, go farther: These four books can inspire the adventure of a lifetime, or provide a perfect armchair getaway for those who’d rather keep their feet on terra firma. Pets at the White House Jennifer Pickens Foreword by Barbara Bush Pets at the White House is a spectacular view into one of the most historic homes in the world and all of its four-legged, beaked, and pawed inhabitants. With charm, wit, and compelling photographs, Pickens reveals how pets have played an important role at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue throughout the decades. Fife and Drum Press 978-0-615-58063-0 | $49.95

Broken Promises Donna M. Zadunajsky A Novel of Murder, Deception and Lies Mind gripping, heart aching, sitting on the edge of your seat Novel. A Suspense that will keep you guessing down to the very last page. Little T’s Corner 978-1-938037-14-6 | $15.95

MAKING A LIST The folks at National Geographic don’t mince words: World’s Best Travel Experiences: 400 Extraordinary Places (National Geographic, $40, 320 pages, ISBN 9781426209598) lays out several lifetimes’ worth of amazing locales, from the hill country of Texas to Lake Titicaca. Themed sections (exotic locales, open spaces, urban centers) are broken up with top 10 lists (best romantic getaways, religious pilgrimages, paintings you have to see in person), along with stunning photos, maps and the occasional observation from the likes of Bill Bryson and Anna Quindlen. Experienced travelers will love to read and quarrel with the lists here; surely we each have our own top 10 favorite bungee-jumpable volcanoes, right? Dreamers will find inspiration, and maybe motivation to renew that passport after all.

weekend getaways The Founders’ Plot Frank M. Victoria When the governor of California pushes through a tough immigration law, the U.S. Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional. But the decorated Vietnam veteran refuses to accept the ruling, igniting a clash between federal, state, and judicial power. 978-0-9846559-0-8 | $14.95

Order online at ATLASBOOKS.COM or call 1-800-BOOK-LOG


For more detailed ­itineraries, anyone who longs to experience Paris, Berlin, Göteborg or Tbilisi will happily spend hours leafing through the suggested sights in 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe (Taschen, $39.99, 640 pages, ISBN 9783836526401), a collection of columns from the New York Times’ popular “36 Hours” travel feature. Both wellknown tourist attractions (London’s Tate Modern, the Cologne Cathedral) and smaller, quirkier spots (such as Sziklakorhaz, a museum of the Cold War in Budapest) get the Times’ treatment, in brief

sections jampacked with everything you’ll need to make the most of your time in Porto, Zagreb, Copenhagen, Genoa. . . . Use this book to plan a quick weekend jaunt, to find new ideas for your next trip to a favorite destination, or just to savor the thrill of a continent full of possibilities.

WANTED: INTREPID EXPLORERS Great Adventures (Lonely Planet, $39.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781742209647) offers an exciting collection of once-in-a-lifetime trips. Combining maps, must-do experiences, travel specs and a fun “armchair” section, this book will kickstart your next vacation. The photography is astonishing, often begging a double- or triple-take to absorb, for example, prayer flags streaming in the wind atop Annapurna. The writing combines history, travel pointers and unexpected humor. (Would Handel be flattered to hear his “Water Music” described as a “chillaxing masterpiece”?) Sections on diving, mountain biking, climbing, rafting and sailing, often through high-risk terrain, offer a new appreciation of nature’s power. Utah’s Paria Canyon is starkly lovely and packed with historical significance, but flash flooding killed explorers there in 2005 and 2008.

Pick up Great Adventures and let yourself get truly lost in a book.

ON BEING THERE Those who would rather be immersed in one adventure at a time will gravitate to The Condé Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys, Volume II (Penguin, $16, 448 pages, ISBN 9780143121473). At 83, Martha Gellhorn explores Belize and finds even cursory exploration “opened up to me vast vistas of my ignorance.” Calvin Trillin wanders the streets of Cuenca, Ecuador, and eats nearly everything that crosses his path, proving to readers it’s possible to laugh out loud while your mouth waters. Russell Banks goes mountain climbing in Quito, eats mostly Pop-Tarts and comes home with a broken collarbone. These pieces all appeared in Condé Nast Traveler magazine, which maintains a distance from the travel industry so writers can offer a portrait untainted by an excess of complimentary shampoos. It seems to work, as when Robert Hughes claims Leningrad’s prostitutes are supermodel-lovely but for the bad teeth and heavy hand with the blusher. Make a pot of coffee, curl up with ­Unforgettable Journeys and plot your next great escape.

reviews ASTRAY


traveling with emma donoghue review by lauren bufferd

Since her first novel in 1994, Emma Donoghue has taken her readers through centuries and back and forth across the Atlantic, from a tender coming-of-age (and coming-out) story in 1970s Ireland (Stir-Fry), to a love triangle among an elite group of artists and writers in 18th-century London (Life Mask), to the powerful story of a young child and his mother whose whole world is a single room (Room). Her wide-ranging imagination continues its peregrinations in Astray, a collection of 14 stories peopled by runaway slaves, emigrants, counterfeiters and animal trainers who have wandered far from home. With its varied characters, time periods and settings, this collection is sure to please old fans who appreciate Donoghue’s historical writing, while demonstrating the breadth of her abilities to new readers who may have found her through the best-selling Room. The stories work best when the characters cross more than just a geoBy Emma Donoghue graphic boundary. The woman who gives her daughter up for adoption Little, Brown, $25.99, 288 pages in “The Gift” never stops writing to the New York Children’s Aid Society, ISBN 9780316206297, audio, eBook available demanding her return, even as the girl grows to adulthood, marries and moves out of state. “The Lost Seed” describes a Puritan troublemaker, whose accusations of his neighbors’ sexual indecencies gradually focus inward in a paroxysm of guilt. Some plot points are difficult to believe, such as the slave and the owner’s wife who conspire to run away together in “Last Supper at Brown’s,” set in Civil War-era Texas. Yet each story is followed by a brief endnote describing its base in historical sources. Donoghue, who has a degree in 18th-century literature from Cambridge and further honed her research skills through years of writing historical fiction, has a gift for picking out the salient detail in newspaper clippings, documents and original correspondence, and transforming these archival scraps into fully fleshed-out tales. Donoghue has also included a short essay on her own experiences as an immigrant twice over, first leaving Ireland for England as a student and then moving to Canada, where she now lives with her family. Perhaps her experiences created the empathy and insight found in two of the finer stories in this collection. “Counting the Days” is drawn from correspondence between an Irish married couple during the Potato Famine. “Onward,” set in Dickensian London and based on an anecdote from Dickens’ own life, concerns a poverty-stricken pair of siblings weighing their options between staying in London and emigrating. Despite their brevity, these stories go deep into the psychological experience of leaving home and what is lost and gained in the process.

FLIGHT BEHAVIOR By Barbara Kingsolver

Harper $28.99, 448 pages ISBN 9780062124265 Audio, eBook available


It often seems that an MFA in creative writing is a prerequisite for published authors today. However, Barbara Kingsolver has a different educational background fueling her works: Prior to trying her hand at fiction, she majored in biology and

then completed a master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. Kingsolver’s concern for the earth has never been so palpable—or so passionate—as in her latest novel, Flight Behavior, where global warming causes things to heat up in small-town Tennessee. Flight Behavior begins with a breathtaking image: On the way to throw her good life away, Della­ robia Turnbow is stopped dead in her tracks when she glimpses a lake of fire up in her family’s hills. Dellarobia believes her vision is a warning from above that she must mend her traitorous heart and put an end to her sinful ways. When the reality of what she has witnessed is revealed, the church announces that

they are experiencing a modern-day miracle; but before long, scientists are swooping in to offer a darker, more sinister explanation for what is happening up on the mountain. Dellarobia soon finds herself embroiled in a battle between fact and faith—and her marriage, her family, her standing in the community, as well as her very conception of the world, hang in the balance. Inspired by actual environmental events in Mexico, Kingsolver uses Flight Behavior as a platform to deftly enrobe the mounting evidence for climate change and its devastating effects in a satisfying narrative cocoon, an example of literary activism at its finest. Though Kingsolver’s agenda is far from

subtle, it is a testament to her skill that the story never loses its way or its heart, and never seems pedantic. Melding the religious aspects of her breakaway hit, The Poisonwood Bible, with the ecological concerns documented in Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, this feels like the book that all of Kingsolver’s previous novels have been leading up to. The end result is a delicate symbiosis between the sacred and the scientific in this richly rewarding novel that will both entertain and incite its readers. —Stephenie Harrison

the secret keeper By Kate Morton

Atria $26.99, 496 pages ISBN 9781439152805 Audio, eBook available

popular FICTION

At only 16 years old, Laurel Nicolson sees a person she has known as loving and gentle commit murder in cold blood. The authorities claim the murder was an act of self-defense, but Laurel knows better. She will spend the next 50 years of her life keeping the secret and wondering why it happened in the first place. But the need to know the truth becomes urgent: Soon after the book opens, we learn that the murderer is now dying after a very long and mostly happy life. The Secret Keeper alternates between the present day, where Laurel, now an Academy Award-winning actress, is trying to beat the clock, and the time of the London Blitz, those days in 1940 and 1941 when London and other British cities were under continuous nighttime bombing by Hitler’s Luftwaffe. In the midst of this horror we’re introduced to two young women—Dorothy and Vivien—and their men. Dorothy, then called Dolly, is a dreamy girl whose family was wiped out in the notorious Coventry bombing. She is engaged to Jimmy Metcalfe, a war photographer. Vivien, whose own family tragedy happened years before, is an Australian émigré married


reviews to a wealthy, much older, monstrously cruel writer. Their losses have driven both girls a little mad. Dolly has delusions that the cranky old dowager she works for will leave her a fortune, though we understand that the dowager only thinks of her as a servant. Vivien, who blames herself for the loss of her family, believes she deserves the punishment her husband, and the world, metes out. Though the women barely know each other, Dolly’s delusions quickly come to envelop Vivien as well. Best-selling author Kate Morton takes her time unraveling this story, which begins with one secret, then leads to another the reader really wasn’t expecting. In addition to the plot’s clever twists and turns, the characterizations are also pleasing. There’s not only the tragic Dolly and Vivien, but the dogged and somewhat queenly Laurel, her sisters and their absent-minded professor of a younger brother. A long book that

The devil is awake in paradise ... where evil has an all-too-human face…and the deadly ingredients of the apocalypse are suddenly for sale to the highest bidder.



FICTION passes quickly, The Secret Keeper is a study of war and other tragedies, what they can do to people, and how their repercussions can carry on for decades. —Arlene McKanic

the stockholm octavo By Karen Engelmann

Ecco $26.99, 432 pages ISBN 9780061995347


The “Octavo” is a set of eight cards that, when dealt by an expert, provides all the clues the subject will need in order to chart a successful path through life. One such expert is the visionary Mrs. Sparrow, who runs the Octavo for her well-heeled friends (including King Gustav himself ) in the upper room of her famous Stockholm tavern. One fateful night, the subject of the Octavo is neither aristocratic nor regal, but the book’s dashing, scrupulous narrator, Emil Larsson. A customs official for Stockholm’s great port, Emil is doing his best to climb the complex and intrigue-ridden social ladder of 18th-century Swedish society. Mrs. Sparrow has had an urgent vision: She must lay out Emil’s Octavo immediately. The future of the nation itself is hiding somewhere in his cards. Even the most stalwart fans of the genre would admit that historical fiction often relies on stereotyped characters. In The Stockholm Octa­ vo, debut author Karen Engelmann turns a nifty card trick, transforming this convention into her novel’s supreme virtue. The Octavo encompasses every conceivable type, each one fixed in place within the mystical pattern: The central Seeker, the obscure Companion, the crafty Teacher, the suppliant Prisoner, the all-important Key, etc. Right at the start, through the medium of Mrs. Sparrow’s dealings, Engelmann literally lays her fictional cards on the table. The fascination of the

cards’ unfolding gives way to even greater narrative magic, when Emil must wield all his intelligence and resources to identify the actual persons who embody the eight figures of his Octavo. With flawless instinct, Engelmann conflates mystery and romance, as circumstances conspire to withhold from Emil the cards’ real-life counterparts. Most elusive of all—and most page-turning for the reader— is the identity of the woman he is meant to love and to wed. Misstep follows upon misdirection; it is not even clear which Octavo position his beloved will assume. The only certainty is that if Emil does not act quickly, the treasonous element in King Gustav’s court will have its dark way, sending Sweden, like France, into its own revolutionary nightmare. Is this historical, or is it fiction? The answer—the ace up Karen Engelmann’s sleeve—is yes. —Michael Alec Rose

Visit for a Q&A  with Karen Engelmann.

The Lawgiver By Herman Wouk

Simon & Schuster $25.99, 240 pages ISBN 9781451699388 Audio, eBook available

epistolary FICTION

the people trying to tell it. When an Australian billionaire sets out to finance a new big-screen epic telling the story of Moses, he approaches Wouk (a character in his own novel) to put his stamp of approval on any screenplay the effort produces. Wouk and his wife of more than six decades, Betty Sarah, find themselves embroiled in an often chaotic Hollywood production that includes demanding producers, mercurial actors, forceful financiers and a young director fighting to prove herself. The entire tale is told in the form of dialogues and monologues. Emails, memos, transcripts of phone conferences and Skype meetings are included in every chapter, creating an immediacy and sense of voyeurism that makes every page crackle. Within the story, as each character mulls the life of Moses, we find the elements of an Old Testament epic—romance, deception, power versus determination—all wrapped up in a modern journey into the heart of Hollywood. It’s an intriguing and ultimately enchanting juxtaposition. Wouk wrings meaning and emotion from the cynicism of the movie industry, and reveals yet again that he is still capable of astounding feats of storytelling. —Matthew Jackson

back to blood By Tom Wolfe

For half a century, while he built a reputation as one of the great novelists of his generation with works like Marjorie Morningstar and The Winds of War, Herman Wouk chased what he called “the impossible novel”—a story based on the life of Moses. He never found the key to making the book work. Until now. The Lawgiver is in many ways a culmination for Wouk. Delivered near the end of his life (he is 97), it recalls the spirit of his earlier work, and realizes a dream that he held close for his entire literary career. The result is a surprising, refreshing and dynamic novel that explores the story of Moses through the lives of

Little, Brown $30, 720 pages ISBN 9780316036313 Audio, eBook available

literary fiction

Tom Wolfe never met a culture clash he didn’t like. Whether he’s cataloging the social strata of Wall Street (The Bonfire of the Vanities), slicing and dicing race, money and morals in the New South (A Man in Full) or studying the mating rituals of college students (I Am Charlotte Simmons), this unlikely reporter in the unsullied white suit excels at creating fiction from friction.

FICTION In Back to Blood, his first novel in seven years, Wolfe embraces yet another multicultural zeitgeist, this one in Miami, a mélange of displaced dreamers and brazen schemers worthy of his hyper-punctuated prose. The “blood” of the title refers to bloodlines, which in Wolfe’s tale serve as an innate GPS by which his diverse characters attempt to navigate a New World urban jungle overflowing with immigrant fever dreams. Forget melting pot; Miami here most resembles an upset stomach after the early bird buffet. Our Everyman on this jet-boat ride through the Big Orange is novice Miami police officer Nestor Camacho, a buff yet tender CubanAmerican who wants nothing more than to ditch the baggage of his heritage, win over his anglo superiors and live the American dream. When his daring rush-hour maritime rescue of a Cuban refugee backfires, Nestor winds up on probation, an outcast from his Cuban elders and fair game for an enterprising young investigative reporter who shares his career goals. Their ensuing adventure pings like a pinball through an extended cast of Miami archetypes: the upwardly mobile Haitian professor, the ex-Noo Yawk “active adults,” the sexaddicted billionaire, the psychiatrist and his Latin arm candy, the arrogant Cuban mayor, the goodhearted black police chief and the Russian con men with bogus art for sale. While we’ve met these characters before in the works of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey, not to mention on “Miami Vice” and “The Golden Girls,” Wolfe’s omniscient narration attempts to give them substance by taking us inside their minds, where their hopes and dreams make a cockeyed kind of sense. Despite its 700-odd pages, Back to Blood is a surprisingly swift if sometimes dodgy reading experience, owing to the extended cast and plot lines involved. But those who have never experienced Wolfe’s hyperkinetic narrative style will behold within these pages ample measure of the man in full. —J ay M a c D o n a l d


Norton $25.95, 256 pages ISBN 9780393081701 Audio, eBook available

literary FICTION

Late in her new novel, describing the pronouncements of a woman with early dementia, Lydia Millet writes, “With Angela what was familiar frequently became strange, the near withdrew into the far distance and then came close again.” You could say the same of Millet herself. She’s interested in the molecular and the global, and in the mundane middle distance only as seen from a perspective that makes it wild and terrifying or glorious and unreal. Magnificence—about a woman who inherits a mansion filled with taxidermy—is the third in a trilogy, though you don’t need to have read the others to enjoy it. In all three books, Millet forces you instantly and fully into the mind of someone you might not ordinarily like at all: a money-obsessed developer (T., in How the Dead Dream), an IRS man (Hal in Ghost Lights), and here, Hal’s adulterous wife and T.’s employee, Susan. But Millet does like them; she takes an interest, so you do, too. Turns out, up close, they’re not at all what you thought. They are the familiar made strange. Susan, for example, probably looks from afar like any aging wife. But she is seriously cracked. Of course, she’s cracked in that particularly off-kilter, calm, sardonic Millet way. She’s the type who slides the word “technically” (also the word “pederasty”) into a description of the weather at a funeral. Her husband’s funeral. She can have a breakdown and ironic insights simultaneously, seamlessly. She is at least as funny as she is haunted. Like its predecessors, though, the novel has weight as well as hilarity. One of Millet’s obsessions is how massive we are, as a species; globally, we take up so much room. We steam-

roller the earth, not noticing until it’s too late the rarity of everything we’ve trampled. The centerpiece of this book, Susan’s inherited house, becomes a museum of lost and trampled things. When she finds it, she is lost herself, and it’s almost too perfect for her to believe: “The universe showed off its symbolic perfection; the atoms bragged.” Gradually the house fills with other lost souls, lost minds, lost loves. And up close, or from very far away, they start to seem less lost than found. —Becky Ohlsen

sweet tooth By Ian McEwan

Nan A. Talese/ Doubleday $26.95, 320 pages ISBN 9780385536820 eBook available


Ian McEwan’s new novel is a stylish and sexy morality play set in the world of British espionage of the early 1970s. If it doesn’t have quite the intensity of Atonement, it’s still a smart, entertaining story that explores the boundary between truth and fiction, in both life and stories. Recruited by an older lover into little more than a glorified clerical job with MI5, Serena Frome is a young Cambridge grad whose indifference to the mathematics she studied there is matched only by her love for reading. It seems fitting that she’s enlisted in the “Sweet Tooth” program, posing as the representative of a foundation that encourages unsuspecting writers to produce stories that portray the Soviet Union and its allies in a negative light. Serena is assigned to recruit journalist and aspiring novelist Tom Haley into that group. Unsurprisingly, their business transaction quickly evolves into an intense love affair. The ethical conundrum that lies at the heart of the story comes into focus when Tom’s dystopian, anti-capitalist novel brings him a prestigious prize. Serena is caught between her handlers’ distaste for Tom’s literary

product and her fear that the truth of what brought them together will be exposed, disgracing him and abruptly ending her career. As she gropes for a way out, it becomes clear she’s as much a creator of fictions as her lover, a reality McEwan highlights in the satisfying twist that concludes the novel. Alongside his engaging plot McEwan does a capable job sketching a portrait of Britain’s bleak economic and political circumstances in this era. The country reels from the shock of the Arab oil embargo, the damage compounded by labor unrest in the coal-mining industry. To conserve scarce energy Serena’s work week is reduced to three mindnumbing days in a damp, chilly office. McEwan also pokes gentle fun at the desiccated quality of the spy game of the time, reduced long before the fall of the Berlin Wall to little more than bureaucratic wrangling, while the looming threat of terror-

“Spellbinding …” —Winston Groom

Part arresting historical fact, part ‘Blakeian imagination,’ this is the story of London Bridge’s most glorious—and most gruesome—past.

London Bridge in Plague and Fire: A Novel by David Madden 9781572338708 | $29.95

University of Tennessee Press


reviews ism is glimpsed dimly at best. In her reading, Serena longs for “characters I could believe in,” hoping “to be made curious about what was to happen to them.” McEwan has supplied a worthy collection of such characters in Sweet Tooth, a spritely portrait of the malleability of fact and fiction. —Harvey Freedenberg

the middlesteins By Jami Attenberg

Grand Central $24.99, 288 pages ISBN 9781455507214 eBook available

popular fiction

Richard Middlestein showed his future wife incredible compassion on their first date, a setup. Rather than take her out to a showy dinner, Richard sat beside Edie at her sick father’s bedside, laughing and entertaining the pair over pizza in the hospital. But now Edie is the one who’s sick, facing debilitating diabetes and other problems that accompany her obesity. Richard can’t handle it. Edie has been nitpicking him for years, and quite frankly, he can’t bear the idea of living the rest of his life without sex. He leaves his wife and endures his children’s wrath as Edie’s downward health spiral continues. Robin is the baby of the family, and though her father dotes on her,

The Guardians by Richard Williams AuthorHouse • $16.99 ISBN 9781434376633


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

FICTION she is withdrawn, dark and moody. It’s been years since she has shared things with her mother—in fact, not since the death of one of Robin’s close friends at age 15. That separation endures 16 years later, but as Edie’s health deteriorates, Robin is by her mother’s side.
That’s due, in part, to encouragement from her sister-in-law, Rachelle. Rachelle married Benny Middlestein after he knocked her up in college. Despite their somewhat rushed entrance into marriage, the couple appears to have everything together. But Edie’s weight problems become a wedge between Rachelle and Benny as she obsesses over how to help her mother-in-law. The Middlesteins are a normal, dysfunctional American family. Through their story, author Jami Attenberg (The Melting Season, The Kept Man, Instant Love) examines how families relate, the ways in which they shoulder each other’s burdens and whether they share responsibility for each other’s struggles. The result is a vivid, compelling portrait of human interaction. —Carla Jean Whitley

hush Hush By Steven Barthelme

Melville House $16.95, 208 pages ISBN 9781612191591

short stories

highly resonant pieces of flash fiction and more substantial, intimate narratives. Bailey Long is down a thousand dollars to his ex-girlfriend, who has moved on to a younger man—“breeding stock,” as Bailey sees it—and must decide when to quit as he goes on a roll with the loan money at a Biloxi casino. And so it goes with a lot of Barthelme’s characters, many of them gamblers of one sort or another, all of whom are willing to take the big risks in matters of the heart. Risk is a familiar theme in Barthelme’s writing, most notably explored in the memoir Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss, which he co-authored with his brother Frederick. Both brothers work at the University of Southern Mississippi, where Steven is a professor and director of the Center for Writers. But in Hush Hush his fiction cuts more sharply at the truth. The stories are a brilliant mixture of high-flying antics and tender reflection, his prose terse and his dialogue alive with recognition. Like in the unusually patterned “Good Parts” where the narrator tells us, “Bill bought a gun, .38 caliber. It smelled good. Maureen returned it and got his money back. $199.95.” What Bill planned to do with that gun, or what Maureen thought Bill planned to do with that gun, is left to the reader’s imagination, but also intimated by the rest of the story. Because like a good poker face, it’s what Barthelme doesn’t say that makes it all the more compelling. — W . S . Ly o n

The characters in Hush Hush, the latest story collection from Steven Barthelme, are drawn directly from life, with a precision that leaves sentences ringing in the reader’s ear. They seem to inhabit some infinitesimal space between the past and the present, and yet they are never trapped, always willing to move forward and try again in spite of the flaws that define them. “Claire” is the most sympathetic story and perhaps the most richly imagined; it won a Pushcart Prize in 2005 and acts as a centerpiece for the book, which alternates between

american ghost By Janis Owens

Scribner $25, 288 pages ISBN 9781451674637 eBook available

Southern fiction

Janis Owens’ Southern Gothic American Ghost is equal parts mystery and thriller, populated with slippery characters inhabiting

a backwoods swampland hamlet forever haunted by a Depression-era lynching. Indeed, Owens based her fourth novel on the infamous 1934 lynching of Claude Neal in Marianna, Florida. Still, while the novel is rooted in a real-life incident, it remains a pure work of fiction in the best sense: a rich portrayal of a small town where the lines between black and white become blurred—not only in regard to race, but in the Hendrix code of honor, too. Readers are taken through this mesmerizing tale by its teenage heroine, Jolie Hoyt, who, like Owens, is the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher. When the story begins, Jolie appears destined for a sad, small life punctuated by poverty and hopelessness in her hardscrabble hometown of Hendrix, Florida— until she falls hard for a visiting anthropology student, Sam Lense. Hailing from a Jewish family in Miami that holds its own bitter secrets, Sam claims to be researching the history of Hendrix’s indigenous Indian tribes, but his true agenda is far more personal, and hinges on the town’s racist past. When the couple’s hasty, albeit heartfelt, engagement is shattered by violence, the young lovers are torn asunder. Still, the heart of the story is the decades-old lynching, which remains incendiary for survivors on both sides. Owens writes powerfully of Jolie’s epiphany as to the magnitude of the horrors that continue to haunt her hometown: “In the darkness she could imagine it precisely: the tree and the dust, the press of the crowd and the shouting. If she closed her eyes, she could almost smell the stink of the slaughterhouse—the blood and skin and rot of decomposition that Kite must have foreseen himself, being raised on a farm.” Despite its dark subject matter, the novel is infused with light and hope—no small feat, given that the novel gracefully weaves everything from anti-Semitism and hate crimes to first love and family loyalties into the story. American Ghost is sure to resonate with readers long after its stunning final pages. —Karen Ann Cullotta

Connect with Lis:

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Twitter: @LisWiehl

Lis Wiehl is a Fox News Legal Analyst

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and New York Times bestselling author.


reviews thomas jefferson


power, politics and public life Review by roger bishop

Thomas Jefferson’s eloquent writings have made him revered as the nation’s premier spokesman for democracy. A man of the Enlightenment, he pursued an extraordinary range of interests and served in the nation’s highest offices; a man of contradictions, he cultivated the image of a philosopher who was above the political fray. And yet, as Pulitzer Prizewinning biographer Jon Meacham demonstrates in Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, our third president was as much a man of action as he was of ideas. Meacham’s Jefferson, at his core, was a politician who eagerly sought office where he could work toward the future he envisioned for his country. In his meticulously researched and very readable book, Meacham writes, “The closest thing to a constant in his life was his need for power and By Jon Meacham control. He tended to mask these drives so effectively . . . the most astute Random House, $35, 800 pages observers of his life and work had trouble detecting them.” ISBN 9781400067664, audio, eBook available Once in office he emphasized one overarching political concern: the survival and success of popular government. More than George Washington or John Adams, he believed in the possibilities of human beings governing themselves. Like all effective politicians, he articulated the ideal but acted pragmatically, as in the case of the Louisiana Purchase. The philosophical Jefferson thought there first should be a constitutional amendment authorizing the president to purchase new territory. But when it seemed Napoleon might change his mind, the realist Jefferson immediately went ahead with the deal without an amendment. His personal political style was smooth, although he relied on his allies to be more confrontational. Indeed, Meacham believes Jefferson led so quietly that popular history tends to downplay his presidential achievements. The book also examines Jefferson’s hypocrisy on slavery. He knew slavery was morally wrong but he could not bring himself to sacrifice his own way of life on an issue whose time, as he saw it, had not yet come. After attempts early in his career to limit slavery, he gave up trying, concluding that to pursue it would end whatever future he might have in public life. Jefferson comes alive in this discerning and elegant biography, surely one of the best single volumes about him written in our time.

Bruce By Peter Ames Carlin

Touchstone $28, 512 pages ISBN 9781439191828 eBook available



Still selling out stadiums, arenas and small halls after more than 30 years, Bruce Springsteen continues, night after night and album after album, to deliver rollicking performances and straight-ahead rock and roll, as well as biting songs that both celebrate the glory of being born in the USA and indict our misguided political and social policies.

Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair as you travel with Peter Ames Carlin down Springsteen’s thunder roads in Bruce, his captivating biography of The Boss. Drawing extensively on interviews with Springsteen himself and his family and friends—including the final interview with his beloved friend and saxophonist Clarence Clemons—Carlin chronicles Springsteen’s life from the day he got his first guitar to the teenage Bruce’s conversion to rock and roll the night he sat spellbound watching Elvis on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1957. As a teenager, Springsteen had already developed into a hard-working rock guitarist, driving his bands to play tighter and tighter sets. His doggedness paid off when one of his

early bands, the Castiles, snagged a semi-regular gig at Cafe Wha?, New York’s famous rock venue. Carlin moves rhythmically from these formative years through Springsteen’s glory days, when he moved from the shadows of Asbury Park to the light of international fame, and into Springsteen’s latest tour and his new album, Wrecking Ball. Carlin also plumbs Springsteen’s darker moods, his craving for a better understanding of his father, whose vacant stares during Springsteen’s youth troubled him more than his father’s lectures or criticisms, his deep passion for music and his desire to give his fans the very best performances he can give them. Because this admiring, yet unflinchingly honest portrait of The Boss allows Springsteen to speak

in his own words and convey his own ideas about music and life, this definitive biography leaves all other Springsteen books in the dust of its roaring engines, taking us into the shadows of the man that rock critic Jon Landau once called “the future of rock and roll.” —Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

Leonardo and The Last Supper By Ross King

Walker $28, 352 pages ISBN 9780802717054 Audio, eBook available


When you read Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King, you can’t help but think of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Both books deal with Leonardo Da Vinci and his famous painting, “The Last Supper”; but where Brown’s book relies on suspense, the strength of King’s book is in its scholarship. Still, having read The Da Vinci Code only added to my enjoyment of Leonardo and The Last Supper. There is much mystery behind this masterful painting, in part because of Leonardo’s reputation as a heretic, but also because the faded fresco contains the spectral images of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles, allowing us to interpret their placement at the table, their gestures and their facial expressions. This is what makes any book on “The Last Supper” so enjoyable, and King’s book doesn’t disappoint. First, we learn about Leonardo’s life. By the time he began working on “The Last Supper,” he was suffering a sort of midlife crisis. His work on a 75-ton bronze horse was suspended when the bronze was melted and made into cannons to help Italy thwart an invasion by France. The commission to paint “The Last Supper” on the wall of a Dominican convent seemed like small compensation at the time. But Leonardo forged ahead, taking three years to complete what would become a master-

NONFICTION piece equal in acclaim to his “Mona Lisa.” As for the mysteries within “The Last Supper,” King has a good time exploring Leonardo’s use of mathematics and geometry to bring symmetry and perspective to the painting. And for Dan Brown fans, King spends considerable time delving into the “clues” contained in the placement of the Apostles at the supper table, their facial expressions, the shape and location of their hands and the type of food and drink being served. Among his conclusions: Two of the Apostles were modeled after Leonardo himself, and the food reflects the artist’s vegetarian leanings. One of the most delightful chapters in the book is King’s playful debate with The Da Vinci Code’s claim that one of the disciples in “The Last Supper” was actually a woman—Mary Magdalene, to be exact. I won’t spoil things by giving away his bold conclusion. I highly recommend Leonardo and The Last Supper, whether you are a serious scholar of art, history or religion, or a casual reader who happens to enjoy all of the puzzles and mysteries that lie behind Leonardo and “The Last Supper.” —J o h n T. S l a n i a

Friendkeeping By Julie Klam

Riverhead $25.95, 240 pages ISBN 9781594488061 eBook available


Julie Klam admits from the outset of Friendkeeping that she is a middle-aged person who uses the term “BFF” without irony. In other words, she takes her friendships very, very seriously, and tends to them like the treasures they are. It is significant that her most meaningful friendships date back to “prehistoric times, when people had big Michael Douglas Wall Street cell phones, with no texting and no personal computing or e-mail, IMing, tweet-

ing or Facebooking. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; in order to communicate, we actually had to pick up the phone and call each other.” This book is about what makes friendships work or fail, and why they are as essential to This book is our happiabout why ness as love, friendships are or chocolate, as essential to or “Dallas” our happiness coming back on TV. Klam as love, or is funny. chocolate, Not cute or amusing, or “Dallas” but laughcoming back out-loud, on TV. borderline too-muchinformation funny, whether she’s writing about what to do when you hate your friend’s boyfriend or reminiscing about the time she, er, needed a hand in the restroom during her wedding reception. When she recalls how she and her friend Jancee stood in the toilet stall, laughing so hard no sound came out of their mouths, you will likely be doing the same. Klam also is not above admitting to her occasional less-than-friendly moments, which keep the book nicely balanced. When her aggressively vegetarian friend visits, “she walks into my kitchen, she picks up every box, can, or package and scans the ingredients, shaking her head and slapping her forehead, tsking, muttering in Yiddish,” Klam writes. “Sometimes if I know she’s coming over I’ll stop at the deli and get a box of pink Hostess Sno Balls just to give her a little something to do.” It seemed Klam had found her niche as an essayist with two fine collections (2010’s You Had Me at Woof and 2011’s Love at First Bark) that were ostensibly about dogs, but were really about life, love and purpose. With Friendkeeping, Klam proves that she is no one-trick pony (or pooch). —Amy Scribner

The Antidote By Oliver Burkeman

Faber & Faber $25, 256 pages ISBN 9780865479418 eBook available


Journalist Oliver Burkeman cheerfully guides us through the power of negative thinking in his new book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. Culled from his popular Guardian column, this book’s central insight is that positive thinking doesn’t make anyone happier. In fact, chanting affirmations and focusing on success may undermine our happiness by reminding us how we fall short of it every day and in every way. So what is the “negative path” to happiness? Mining a long and venerable philosophical tradition, Burkeman introduces us to a variety of approaches that encourage us to detach from our relentless pursuit of betterment. His epigraph from Alan Watt evokes the central paradox of this way of thinking: “When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float.” From the negative visualization of Greco-Roman Stoicism to the detachment of Buddhism, these schools of thought remind us that although we may not be able to control what happens to us, suffering is optional. Although Burkeman dives into more contemporary New Age-y waters in his hilarious character assassination of The Secret, he admits to finding himself drawn to bestselling author Eckhart Tolle. Tolle’s philosophy, like much of contemporary Buddhism, encourages us to stop identifying with the self, if by “self” we mean those endless chattering voices in our minds. One of Tolle’s techniques that Burkeman finds himself using in daily life is the simple question: Do I have a problem right now? This reminds us that much of our anxiety concerns a future that hasn’t happened yet. In other fascinating chapters,

Burkeman looks at how goal-setting may have contributed to the tragic deaths on Mount Everest in 1996; how our post-9/11 preoccupation with security may be making us less safe; and how embracing failure, false starts and uncertainty may help us move forward in our lives. Burkeman’s book is indeed a witty antidote to the shelves of self-help books that don’t seem to help anyone but their authors; but it also has a serious purpose. Embracing uncertainty and detaching from our monkey-minds may help us become happier. —Catherine Hollis

Marmee & Louisa By Eve LaPlante

Free Press $26, 384 pages ISBN 9781451620665 Audio, eBook available


In one of the most disturbing scenes in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the saintly Marmee says to her daughter Jo, “I have been angry nearly every day of my life.” Eve LaPlante’s new biography of the “real” Marmee—Louisa’s mother, Abigail May Alcott—provides ample reason for her fictional counterpart’s daily rage. LaPlante, herself a descendant from the Alcott family tree, traces Abigail May Alcott’s life from early

Last Laughs by Everett Mattlin Two Harbors Press • $14.95 ISBN 9781936401345 “Will make you think, laugh, smile, and wonder …a humorous and honest account of life.” —Fran Lewis, Book Marketing Network


reviews childhood through death. We hear about Abigail’s relationships with her siblings, including her older brother, who would become a famous progressive (it is because of him that women were admitted into Cornell, for example). We learn about Abigail’s love of writing, her chronic bad health and her love match with philosopher A. Bronson Alcott. The last of these was, in LaPlante’s view, the cause of much of the trouble in Abigail’s life. The Alcotts were perpetually in debt and moved more than 30 times. LaPlante’s chapter titles, often pulled from Abigail’s writing, reveal her subject’s despair: “Sacrifices Must Be Made,” “A Dead Decaying Thing,” “Left to Dig or Die.” Into this disheartening scene came Louisa, a daughter LaPlante convincingly argues had much in common with her beleaguered mother. Louisa vowed early on to become rich, pay off her family’s debts and give her mother a comfortable room. The strain between Louisa’s parents very much shaped her passion to write for money, which was why she wrote Little Women in the first place. The narrative about Marmee’s life will be of interest to anyone who enjoys mother/daughter stories, American history or literary studies. Readers of the last category, however, may find that in fact, this “untold story” is already familiar, and may take issue with some of the author’s interpretations, particularly her obvious distaste for her subject’s husband. Still, the long and vital quotations from primary

A Patient’s Perspective by Patricia Cyr • $14.95 ISBN 9781463648800


Get the high-quality health care you deserve! “An indispensable guide.” —Kirkus

NONFICTION documents (some of them newly uncovered) and LaPlante’s careful research more than compensate for the book’s limitations. Especially as we move into the winter season, when many of us will cue our DVD players to the opening scene of Little Women, Marmee & Louisa is well worth a read. — K e l ly B l e w e t t

Detroit City Is the Place to Be By Mark Binelli

Metropolitan $28, 336 pages ISBN 9780805092295 eBook available


hoods have become havens for creative types, but the changes brought by this influx “were miniscule in comparison with the problems facing the rest of the city,” Binelli reports. The American auto industry has created some noteworthy cars in recent years, but the unions are in the middle of a slow, endless death. Binelli actually lived in Detroit while writing the book, and he talks to dozens of residents. It feels like he’s invested in Detroit’s future, not just reveling in the relevancy. He wants to understand what happened and what will happen. By looking beyond the troubling headlines and promises of politicians, Binelli discovers what determines a city’s fate: people who care. Detroit has more than you might expect. —Pete Croatto

Everyone can think of a grim anecdote about Detroit—the highest murder rate in the country, 70,000 abandoned buildings—that they saw in a magazine article or in a news report. The city is an easy punch line, a convenient example to use when citing how America’s good fortune is running out. There’s a larger truth. A city does not reach this state without a story behind its decline. And what about the thousands who live and work in Detroit, who must grow tired of being viewed as targets of pity or weary subjects for magazine features? Rolling Stone contributing editor Mark Binelli’s Detroit City Is the Place to Be is part history, part explanation and part profile of a city he knows intimately—he grew up in the Detroit area. Sounds complex? It is, and it should be. The city doesn’t need any more labels or quick summaries. It needs someone to put a face on Detroit, to show that it’s not rolling over and playing dead. Binelli proves he’s up to the task in this refreshing, intriguing work. What’s most apparent in Binelli’s thorough reporting is that Detroit is in constant battle mode. With so much unused land in the city, urban farming has become popular, but there are also those who want to make this neighborhood unifier into a corporate endeavor. Neighbor-

Hallucinations By Oliver Sacks

Knopf $26.95, 352 pages ISBN 9780307957245 Audio, eBook available


What seems to be there, but isn’t? As Dr. Oliver Sacks explains in Hallucinations, his latest collection of absorbing essays, “Hallucinations, beyond any other waking experience, can excite, bewilder, terrify, or inspire, leading to folklore and the myths (sublime, horrible, creative, and playful) which perhaps no individual and no culture can wholly dispense with.” Hallucinations, which differ starkly from dreams and imagination, are often associated with wild visions induced by fever, madness or drugs. They come in much greater variety, however, and include hearing voices, music or noises, feeling things or smelling odors—none of which exist. This multitude of illusions has a grand litany of causes, including injury, illness, migraines, trauma, epilepsy and more. As always, Sacks, the best-selling author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, de-

scribes a fascinating cast of patients, starting with a blind, elderly woman named Rosalie, who suddenly began seeing a parade of people in colorful “Eastern” dress and animals, and later a group of somber men in dark suits, and finally, crowds of tiny people and children climbing up the sides of her wheelchair. These crowded, complex visions rolled before Rosalie’s unseeing eyes like a movie, sometimes amusing, and at other times boring or frightening. Sacks diagnosed Rosalie with a fairly rare condition called Charles Bonnet syndrome, which causes visually impaired people to hallucinate. In addition to Rosalie, he shares stories about a patient who keeps hearing Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” play repeatedly, a Parkinson’s patient who watches a group of women trying on fur coats in her doctor’s waiting room, a man who feels peach-like fuzz covering everything he touches and a narcolepsy patient who sees the road rise and hit her in the face as she drives. Hallucinations, we learn, can range from terrifying to inspirational, from annoying to entertaining. One of Sacks’ elderly patients greatly looked forward to her visit each evening from “a gentleman visitor from out of town.” In these 15 essays, Sacks clearly explains and categorizes an amazing assortment of hallucinations, trying to make sense of phenomena that seem to defy logic. He shares his own tale of a voice he heard when alone on a mountain and suffering from a dislocated knee. Just when he was tempted to lie down and sleep, a voice commanded, “You can’t rest here—you can’t rest anywhere. You’ve got to go on. Find a pace you can keep up and go on steadily.” No doubt his many avid readers are deeply grateful that the good doctor followed the orders of this life-saving hallucination. —Alice Cary

TOP• from the editors of BookPage


children’s books

jacqueline kelly interview by linda castellitto

old and new friends on the riverbank


acqueline Kelly has had a mole, a badger, a rat and a toad in her head for 50 years. But not to worry—it wasn’t due to anything frightening or medically improbable. Rather, the four are the charming protagonists of The Wind in the Willows, one of Kelly’s lifelong favorite books. Kelly, a 2010 Newbery Honoree for her first book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, told BookPage in an interview from her Austin, Texas, home that she was eight years old when she first turned the pages of Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale (which was first published in England in 1908). “I was in bed with the flu, and [the book] immediately transported me to the riverbank,” she says. “I loved everything about it, and reread it over the years. The characters never went away.” And now, she’s set them free in Return to the Willows, a charming sequel that’s faithful to the original book while adding creative touches of her own. Some might suggest that Kelly’s got a lot of moxie for writing a sequel to a beloved classic—and adding new characters, to boot—but, she says, “It didn’t occur to me that people would think that. I’m just being a worshipful fan of the original, my favorite book when I was a child.” She is aware there are other sequels out there, and says, “When I started writing, I didn’t know about them, and was rather dismayed when I learned they existed. I made the decision I wasn’t going to read

return to the willows

By Jacqueline Kelly

Illustrated by Clint Young Holt, $19.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780805094138 eBook available, ages 8 and up

them. . . . I still haven’t.” When she began to write her sequel, Kelly says it was because she “felt compelled to do it. The characters were being insistent!” Judging from the hilarious and heartwarming result, Kelly (and those char“I’m just acters) made being a the right decision. Return worshipful to the Willows fan of the is an engaging, original, my imaginationfavorite book stimulating read when I was a for longtime fans and firstchild.” time visitors to the River, Wild Wood and Toad Hall. The author’s adoration shines through in the book’s tone and rhythm; reading Grahame’s book, then Kelly’s, does feel like a continuation, rather than a re-interpretation. She attributes that to the sounds and words of her youth: “My childhood was in Canada, and kids there read more British-based literature than kids in the States do, so I heard that sort of language and tone at an early age. Plus, my family is from New Zealand. . . . It’s easy for me to hear an English accent in my head while I’m writing.” For American readers who might be puzzled by phrases like “bib and tucker” or words like “tittle” (that’s “best clothing” and “little bit,” respectively), Kelly included footnotes. “I wrestled with it,” she recalls. “Do I keep the British terms? If I convert to American terms, wouldn’t the text look very strange? So I thought I could deal with it by using footnotes, and try to make them entertaining.” And of course, as a devotee of the book (and author—she’s a member of the Kenneth Grahame Society), she carefully considered things like new technology and those new

characters. “I did contemplate—for about two seconds!—giving them computers and cell phones. But I just couldn’t see it. I’m too old-fashioned to see these characters texting each other,” she says. Kelly decided that new additions would serve the story well, so readers will meet Matilda, a lovely and clever rat, and young Humphrey, the intelligent (and adorable) nephew of Toad. “I thought Matilda needed to be added for contemporary girl readers,” Kelly says, “and Humphrey would be a good foil for Toad, who’s not so smart.” Speaking of the irresponsible yet irresistible Toad, readers needn’t fret: He’s just as wacky and daring here as he was in Grahame’s original. In Kelly’s story, his new mode of delightful destruction is a hot-air balloon (which is, of course, not unrelated to his own propensity for gassing on). He also sustains a head injury that transforms him into a genius with a seat at Trinity College in Cambridge, where his smarts (and Kelly’s sly humor) know seemingly no bounds. He does the Sunday Times crossword in pen; publishes a scientific paper called “Jam Side Down: A Discourse on the Physics of Falling Toast”; and casually memorizes the score to Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore . . . which comes in handy when he serves as a virtuoso last-minute replacement for the female lead. There are river excursions, giant explosions, swimming lessons and an all-out animal-on-animal war, too; adventures, friendships, dramatic plots and all sorts of excitement abound (not to mention

Deanna roy

references ranging from Austen to Shakespeare to a certain Disneyland ride). The striking realism of certain events was aided by consultations with Kelly’s husband, who attended Cambridge and has connections there—and with the explosives experts who work in the federal building in Austin where Kelly practices medicine part-time. That’s right: Kelly went to medical school, then law school (she no longer practices), and then began to write when she was in her mid-40s. “I always wanted to be a writer, from the very beginning, and I took these long divagations along the way,” she says. “I’m very grateful now . . . this is how I want to spend my time.” Thanks to Kelly, readers certainly will enjoy spending their time catching up on old friends and meeting new ones along the riverbank. Clint Young’s illustrations add much to the experience; his artwork is masterfully done, with detail, depth and plenty of emotion. Return to the Willows will inspire us to respect nature, be kind to our friends, be open to change, embrace hilarity . . . and perhaps take another, closer look at any furry or amphibious creatures we encounter.


children’s books twelve kinds of ice


memories of an icy wonderland Review by alice cary

Step back into the glorious days of childhood with Ellen Bryan Obed’s lovely, lyrical tribute, Twelve Kinds of Ice, a book whose 64 pages can be easily devoured in one sitting and enjoyed by both children and adults. Who knew there were so many types of ice, starting with “The First Ice,” a fragile sheet that appeared in a barn bucket when Obed was a girl growing up on the family farm in Maine. “The Second Ice” was a bit thicker, becoming a plaything that could be held, admired, then shattered into shiny shards. In each short chapter, excitement builds as the author remembers how she, her siblings and friends began each season by skating on a neighbor’s field, then on a frozen stream, and later in the middle of a lake, accelerating “to silver speeds at which legs, clouds and sun, wind and cold, raced together.” The icing on this icy cake was the family’s annual ice rink, known as By Ellen Bryan Obed Illustrated by Barbara McClintock “Bryan Gardens,” which was built with boards and filled with a garden HMH, $16.99 hose. “It was our Boston Garden,” Obed writes, “our Maple Leaf Gardens, ISBN 9780618891290, ages 6 to 9 our Montreal Forum. . . . It had just about everything that the great arenas had except a roof. But Bryan Gardens had the sky, and to us, that was the best roof of all.” Barbara McClintock’s enchanting illustrations bring this winter kingdom to life, her graceful lines showing the skaters’ wonderful whirls and spins atop the many kinds of ice. She catches the thrilling runs of skaters heading downhill, zigzagging through an apple orchard on the magical day that a heavy crust of ice on snow turns the world into a rink. McClintock’s final spread is a whimsical creation, showing how these dreamy thrills live on throughout the year, after all the ice has melted. Warm up some hot chocolate and cookies, light a fire and gather ’round on a cozy winter eve to read aloud Twelve Kinds of Ice. Then be sure to have everyone’s skates sharpened for your own outing.

the spindlers By Lauren Oliver

Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno Harper $16.99, 256 pages ISBN 9780061978081 eBook available Ages 8 to 12

middle grade


He looked the same: the same space alien pajamas, the same holey socks, the same way of descending the stairs on his rump. But Liza knows this boy in front of her at breakfast is not her brother Patrick. He’s too quiet, too polite, and his eyes are strangely vacant. Liza knows what has happened: the spindlers. The spiderlike creatures have stolen her brother’s soul and taken it to their underground lairs, leaving his body to crumble to dust and release thousands of new

spindlers to wreak havoc on unsuspecting humans. Liza’s a willful girl, so she sets off through a hole in the basement wall and, like a famous soul sister named Alice, falls into a strange new wonderland of a world. Teaming up with a rat named Mirabella, Liza meets troglods, nids, the Lumer-Lumpen, the lovely nocturni and the awful scawgs. Readers will be right there with Liza on her odyssey, who proves her strength and resourcefulness at every turn in the fascinating world below. Oliver has crafted a thoroughly engaging, fast-paced novel that will remind fans of Suzanne Collins’ Gregor the ­Overlander (2004). Besides an exciting story full of terrible and marvelous creatures, this is an ode to the power of stories and the attachments to home. Young readers will be as caught up in the story Oliver spins as souls are trapped in the spindler queen’s web. —Dean Schneider

otter and odder By James Howe

Illustrated by Chris Raschka Candlewick $14, 40 pages ISBN 9780763641740 Ages 6 to 10

picture book

Otter is just looking for dinner when he finds love—with a fish. Focusing on her beautiful eyes, Otter no longer sees Myrtle as a food source. Myrtle feels a tug in her own heart and returns his affection as they play hide-and-seek and watch the stars. The story should end there, but the other pond animals find Otter, who’s always been a little odd, even odder with his new love interest. Some even call it unnatural. Otter comes to his senses (according to the neighboring naysayers, that is) and resigns himself to living

alone. Chris Raschka’s deceptively simple, childlike artwork, rendered in watercolor washes and thick colored pencil, evokes both Otter’s budding romance and crushing loss. After swimming by Beaver’s dam one day, Otter’s spirit is renewed, as Beaver helps Otter realize that love can take many paths, “that there is the way of the otter and there is the way of the heart.” Choosing the latter, Otter and Myrtle resume their lives—and love—together. James Howe expertly crafts this modern fable to be read on many levels. Although adults may read more into the muddied relationship, even young children will recognize the strength of staying true to oneself. Otter’s reflective tale gives hope and validity to love everywhere. — ANGELA LEE P ER

true colors By Natalie KinseyWarnock

Knopf $15.99, 256 pages ISBN 9780375860997 eBook available Ages 8 to 12

middle grade

Blue, all three pounds of her, was discovered in a copper kettle in December 1941 and adopted by the generous and caring Hannah Spooner. Now Blue is going into fifth grade and spends many of her waking hours wondering about her birth mother. Was she Amelia Earhart? A movie star? Why did she desert Blue? Set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont against the faint backdrop of the Korean War, True Colors is a gentle page-turner, filled with secrets, mystery and history. Blue’s farm life is simple, if difficult: There are weeds to be pulled and cows to be milked. Blue is in charge of delivering the breads from Hannah’s small bakery and listening to the stories each recipient tells. Blue is on the verge of puberty, but her best friend, Nadine, seems to have already grown up. It’s a confusing time, made more confusing by other changes. Why is Nadine’s

reviews father absent this summer? Why are the farm animals disappearing? Natalie Kinsey-Warnock envelopes the reader in the world of the early 1950s, where divorce is a terrible scandal, being in trouble means making difficult choices and family secrets are respected by the community as private. Blue’s 10-year-old voice is especially effective here. She has a lot to think about, but she sees the world clearly through her young eyes. True Colors is a real keeper. — RO B IN SMITH


meet  Henry Cole

bond between a human and an ape. Sophie begins as a fragile Congolese-American girl, unsure of her place in either country; by the end, she has found meaning in a cause that goes far beyond herself. —Brooke Allen

ask the passengers By A.S. King

Little, Brown $17.99, 304 pages ISBN 9780316194686 eBook available Ages 15 and up


By Eliot Schrefer

Scholastic $17.99, 272 pages ISBN 9780545165761 eBook available Ages 12 and up


Set in the dark jungles of Congo, Endangered chronicles 14-year-old Sophie’s accidental mission to save a group of bonobos when the country is overtaken by civil war. When she arrives in Congo for the summer, Sophie feels unenthusiastic about the mandatory visit to her mother’s bonobo sanctuary. But when she saves a near-death young bonobo from the streets, she becomes an adoptive mother to the ape, called Otto. When a minor government upheaval turns into a war, Sophie and Otto are forced to take refuge in the jungle with the bonobo pack. Bonobos are quite possibly our closest relative in the animal kingdom, and unlike chimpanzees, they form close-knit, protective family groups. Nevertheless, gaining acceptance isn’t easy for Sophie and Otto, and they soon discover the jungle provides little protection from bullets. Sophie’s only hope is to seek the safety of the bonobo release site on the other side of the country. With Otto by her side, she begins to cross a slew of rebel-filled villages. Endangered is a thrilling adventure that explores the transformative

In the second decade of the 21st century, some might argue that there shouldn’t be a need for young adult novels exploring the angst and liberation of coming out as gay. However, as long as teens still seem deeply in need of initiatives like the “It Gets Better” project, novels like Ask the Passengers—especially one as compassionate and complex as this one—will be essential reading for all people, regardless of how they label themselves. Astrid Jones is a senior in high school, a brainy, wordy girl whose favorite hobby is lying on the backyard picnic table, sending her love to the airplane passengers overhead: “It feels good to love a thing and not expect anything back,” she thinks. Astrid and her family have recently moved from New York City to a small town in Pennsylvania, where they may always seem like outsiders and a “fog of gossip” seems to surround everything they do. Keeping secrets is hard in a small town, and Astrid has plenty—both her own and other people’s. When Astrid’s secret comes to light, she must decide whether and how to start telling the truth, and to whom. Like A.S. King’s previous novels, Ask the Passengers can hardly be considered a “problem novel”; instead, it perfectly blends philosophy, emotion and even a little magical realism in a smart, sympathetic story that is as relevant and compelling as ever. —Norah Piehl

UNSPOKEN Henry Cole grew up in Loudoun County, Virginia, where he first heard stories about the Civil War. His new wordless picture book, UNSPOKEN (Scholastic, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9780545399975), tells the moving story of a girl who finds a runaway slave in her family’s barn. A former elementary school teacher who has illustrated more than 80 books, Cole now lives in Florida and Virginia.



By the editors of Merriam-Webster

WHAT A MESS Dear Editor, Can you please tell me why in the military the cafeteria is called the mess hall? P. V. Kalamazoo, Michigan You are probably most familiar with the word mess meaning “a state of confusion or filth,” but this is actually a relatively new sense of the word. When mess first entered English it meant “a quantity of food.” Later it came to mean “a group of persons who regularly eat together” or “a meal eaten by a group,” and then “a place where meals are regularly served to a group.” Mess originally entered modern English in its “quantity of food” sense via the Middle English word mes, which in turn came from Middle French. The source of the French word was the late Latin word missus, meaning “a course at a meal,” which in turn evolved from mittere, meaning “to put” or “to send.” In addition to the definitions given above, another sense of mess

developed early in its history as an English word, as it came to mean “a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together.” In his 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster recorded a related but somewhat more general definition: “a medley; a mixed mass.” The use of mess to mean “a disordered state” evolved as a natural progression from the “mixed mass” meaning.

TO B OR NOT TO B Dear Editor, My dictionary defines gubernatorial as “of or relating to a governor.” Why is it spelled with a b instead of a v? That would make it look more like its root, govern. L. A. Durham, North Carolina The b in gubernatorial is older than the v in govern. It was present in the source of the English words, kybernan, a Greek verb meaning “to steer.” The b survived through Latin, in which the word was gubernare, meaning “to steer” or “to govern.”

The v is found in the Old French word governor, and government came to English via French about 600 years ago. Gubernatorial seems to have come to English directly from the Latin gubernatus, the past participle of gubernare, in 1734. So the b predates the v in general, but the v is older than the b in English.

A CULT BY ANY OTHER NAME Dear Editor, Some stories in the news lately have got me wondering about the word cult. What can you tell me about it? P. B. New Orleans, Louisiana Cult entered English from the French word culte, which derived from the Latin cultus, meaning “care or adoration,” the past participle of colere, “to cultivate.” The earliest sense of cult referred to formal religious veneration or worship, and its first known appearance in print was in 1617. The sense of cult meaning “a sys-

tem of religious beliefs and ritual” first appeared, to our knowledge, in the writings of religious reformer and colonialist William Penn, who was born in London in 1644. At 21, Penn committed himself to the largely unpopular Quakers and was imprisoned for a time in the Tower of London for his advocacy of his beliefs. The first known use of the word cult to mean a particular form of religious worship appeared in Penn’s “An address to Protestants upon the present conjuncture” in 1679: “Let not every circumstantial difference or Variety of Cult be Nicknamed a new Religion.” Penn went on to found the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which became a refuge from persecution for Quakers and other religious nonconformists. In our own time, the word cult has acquired negative associations. It now usually refers to a religion that is generally regarded as unorthodox or spurious. Send correspondence regarding Word Nook to: Language Research Service P.O. Box 281 Springfield, MA 01102

BookPage November 2012  
BookPage November 2012  

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