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Queen of Air and Darkness CASSANDRA CLARE Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.
DIANE SETTERFIELD Magic and mystery on a midwinter night
BEST BOOKS OF 2018 Discover our editorsâ€™ 50 favorites
BONUS! HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE INSIDE
DISCOVER YOUR NEXT GREAT BOOK
BEST BOOKS OF 2018
Delightful tales for young explorers
Meet the author of Tony’s Wife
Guidance for spiritual seekers
Heartwarming tales of seasonal drama
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY
Galleries between the pages
Our editors pick the 50 best books of the year
Picks for pop culture junkies
A mysterious tale from the banks of the Thames
For lovers of furry friends
A murderous noir about the nature of beauty
What to get the cocktail connoisseur
The Shadowhunters face a deadly threat
Defeat the allure of screen time
ALICE ROBB The secrets that lie in our dreams
HOLIDAY PICTURE BOOKS Cherished traditions, beautifully illustrated
FRANK MORRISON Meet the illustrator of I Got the Christmas Spirit
book reviews 54 TEEN
t o p p i c k : The Museum of
t o p p i c k : Stronger, Faster, and
Modern Love by Heather Rose
More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton
4-23 Ideas for every
t o p p i c k : Dreaming in Turtle
reader on your list
by Peter Laufer, Ph.D.
columns 24 24 25 26
WELL READ COOKING AUDIO WHODUNIT
27 28 29
holiday gift guide
BOOK CLUBS ROMANCE LIFESTYLES
Michael A. Zibart
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FICTION Christmas by Accident
Christmas Cake Murder
In this meet-cute story set in a New England bookstore, an editor meets an uninspired insurance adjuster who has a tendency to embellish his accident reports.
Joanne Fluke, the bestselling queen of culinary capers, cooks up a recipe-filled holiday prequel to her beloved Hannah Swensen mystery series.
Retail Price $17.99 Club Price $16.19
Retail Price $20 Club Price $18
Get Cozy This Holiday Season... with charming Yuletide mysteries featuring amateur sleuths solving capers nuttier than a fruitcake! Retail Price $26 each Club Price $23.40 each
A Town Divided by Christmas A Christmas pageant sparks a squabble that divides a town for decades. Only love and forgiveness will heal the rift in this humorous, heartwarming holiday tale by Orson Scott Card. Retail Price $14.95 Club Price $13.45
A Cozy Chat with Lee Hollis, Co-author of Yule Log Murder What is your favorite holiday-themed novel? Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark.
Go-to holiday drink? I must admit, I hate eggnog! But there is something about the holidays that makes me crave mimosas—and plenty of them.
Which holiday dessert would you poison if you had to murder someone? Apple pie, because I do not like it. Why waste a perfectly good pumpkin pie on a murder?
Guaranteed to Lift Your Holiday Spirits! This Christmas season, you’ll want to give—and receive—these handselected, heartwarming reads. Retail Price $7.99-$20 Club Price $7.19-$18
Threads of Suspicion
The First Love In the summer of 1951, a young Amish woman is struggling with a debilitating illness but finds hope in the unlikeliest of places.
Perfect for the suspense lover on your list, this gripping coldcase thriller will keep you turning pages as stakes rise, danger intensifies and justice is served.
Retail Price $15.99 Club Price $14.39
Retail Price $15.99 Club Price $14.39
The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond In this captivating dual-time suspense novel, two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets of their town before it’s too late. Retail Price $15.99 Club Price $14.40
Stuff Your Stockings with These Heartwarming Stories! ’Tis the season for a great read— from an unexpected romance to a historic Southern novella and a holiday gift that Narnia lovers will treasure. Retail Price $12.99-$25.99 Club Price $11.69-$23.39
Have Yourself a Country Christmas!
Don't Miss the Holy Grail of Tolkien Texts! The final work of Tolkien’s Middle-earth fiction, The Fall of Gondolin, is also included in a beautiful boxed set that collects all three of the last novels of Middle-earth.
Get your jingle boots rocked this holiday season with page-turning books that celebrate the “home” in down-home. Retail Price $7.99 each Club Price $7.19 each
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Retail Price $30-$75 Club Price $27-$67.50
Lestat, rebel outlaw and vampire prince, tells the enthralling story of how he became ruler of the vampire world in the latest installment of The Vampire Chronicles.
America’s favorite storyteller returns to Clanton, Mississippi, in this powerful new legal thriller. John Grisham has written 39 consecutive #1 bestsellers, but he has never written a novel like The Reckoning.
Retail Price $27.95 Club Price $25.15
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This Scorched Earth
Nine Perfect Strangers
This moving story depicts a family’s journey from neardevastation in the Civil War to their rebirth in the American West.
From bestselling author Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies, comes her latest novel, in which nine perfect strangers wonder if 10 days at a health resort can really change them forever.
Her voice has always been one of reason, but she shall compromise no longer. The galaxy is about to witness something it has never imagined.
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The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
A Q&A with Mitch Albom, Author of The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
In this enchanting sequel to the bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Annie and her unforgettable journey.
Go-to holiday drink? Don’t drink, so it’s gotta be eggnog, sorry!
Retail Price $23.99 Club Price $21.59
What is your favorite or most unique holiday tradition? Sleeping in on Christmas morning, and only giving presents after coffee!
What is the ideal Christmas morning breakfast? Cocoa Puffs, milk and ice cubes! The whole box.
What is your favorite holiday movie? It’s a Wonderful Life.
Pachinko Through desperate struggles and hardwon triumphs, one Korean family endures questions of faith, family and identity. Retail Price $15.99 Club Price $14.39
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EVERYONE Give Yourself the Gift of Audio Whether you’re home for the holidays or heading out on the road, great storytelling on audio helps to make the season bright. Retail Price $35-$60
Club Price $31.50-$54
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die From fiction to poetry, science to science fiction, memoir to travel writing, biography to children’s books and more, James Mustich makes a passionate case for your next read.
Writers From Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Gabriel García Márquez and Toni Morrison, this lavishly illustrated book features more than 100 biographies of the world’s greatest writers. Retail Price $35 Club Price $31.50
Retail Price $35 Club Price $31.50
The Great American Read: The Book of Books This gorgeously illustrated keepsake is the companion to PBS’s series “The Great American Read.” Packed with images, revelations and sidebars, this book is perfect for a lifetime lover of reading. Retail Price $29.99 Club Price $26.99
The Gifts They'll Open Over and Over! These three new titles in the bestselling series will inspire, entertain and enlighten, making them the perfect gifts for the holiday season! Retail Price $14.95 each Club Price $13.45 each
Are You Scared, Darth Vader? Come face-to-face with Darth Vader, the most fearsome villain from a galaxy far, far away. But Darth Vader may not be as fearless as you think. Retail Price $17.99 Club Price $16.19
Who Will I Be? This inspiring debut picture book from “The View” co-host— and new mom—Abby Huntsman explores the value of service and the extraordinary power of giving back. Retail Price $18.99 Club Price $17.09
Elephant & Piggie The Complete Collection The award-winning Elephant & Piggie series is gathered in this complete 25-book collection—plus special metallic Elephant & Piggie bookends!
Santa Bruce New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins is back with another Bruce tale that’s perfect for the holiday season.
Retail Price $150 Club Price $135
Retail Price $17.99 Club Price $16.19
Sweetest Place to Travel
If your favorite part of the holidays are the desserts, fly over to Poland and check out the Museum of Gingerbread (pg. 66) in the city of Toruń. Toruń has been famous for its gingerbread since the 1880s, and visitors can bake their own sweet and spicy cookies at the museum.
—from The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide
The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid Illustrated in gorgeous and appropriately evocative full-color art, this book is a passport to a world of hidden possibilities. Retail Price $19.95 Club Price $17.95
A New Series for the Youngest Readers The new Terrific Toddlers series can help toddlers understand everyday troubles such as separation anxiety, minor cuts and scrapes and taking ownership of their belongings. Retail Price $8.99 each Club Price $8.09 each
Dinosaur Take a magical journey back to the time of the dinosaurs with unique Photicular technology. Retail Price $25.95 Club Price $23.35
Elbow Grease Based on superstar entertainer John Cena’s own experience growing up with four brothers, this story for young readers embodies ambition, dedication and heart. Retail Price $17.99 Club Price $16.19
An Anthology of Intriguing Animals
Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy
Children will discover the amazing stories and myths behind more than 100 animal favorites—from tigers to koalas—and pore over incredible photographs and beautiful illustrations.
A boy who hates bedtime gets a very chatty stuffed animal in this hilarious story from New York Times bestselling author Drew Daywalt. Retail Price $16.99 Club Price $15.29
Retail Price $19.99 Club Price $17.99
The Lightning Thief Illustrated Edition
Squint Losing his vision, Flint rushes to create a comic book of his life, and through his superhero, Squint, he finally sees his true potential.
Dramatic full-color artwork by series illustrator John Rocco splashes across the pages of Rick Riordan’s classic novel about the son of a sea god.
Retail Price $16.99 Club Price $15.29
Retail Price $39.99 Club Price $35.99
Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret Adventure and danger await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado at the Explorer Academy, where he and 23 kids from around the globe train to be the next generation of great explorers.
Disney Ideas Book Bring your love of Disney to life with more than 100 amazing projects and activities, from arts and crafts to party games, puzzles, papercraft and much more. © 2018 Disney/Pixar
Retail Price $16.99 Club Price $15.29
Why Not? 1,111 Answers to Everything
LEGO Star Wars Ideas Book
Curious kids have questions, and we’ve got answers—1,111 of them, in fact, along with top 10 lists, weird-but-true facts, cool activities and more.
Find a galaxy full of LEGO® Star Wars™ ideas to build—from activities and art, games and challenges to your very own inventions!
Retail Price $19.99 Club Price $17.99
Retail Price $24.99 Club Price $22.49
Retail Price $24.99 Club Price $22.49
Discover the World of Roblox!
TEENS Bridge of Clay
Jam-packed with everything you need to know about the world’s largest online platform for play, these books are a must-have for fans of all ages. Retail Price $9.99-$24.99 Club Price $8.99-$22.49
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New School Nightmare
With his first novel since the groundbreaking bestseller The Book Thief, Markus Zusak offers a complex family saga that spans three generations to culminate in a single miracle.
Dragonwatch #2: Wrath of the Dragon King The Dragon King declares war on humans but must become one to get the fabled dominion stone in the second book of the New York Times #1 bestselling sequel series to Fablehaven.
Buffy Summers is just like any other student—except that she’s also a secret vampire slayer. At last, the pop culture phenomenon is a middle grade novel!
Retail Price $26 Club Price $23.40
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Retail Price $13.99 Club Price $12.59
The Darkest Star
Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch
Jennifer L. Armentrout, the bestselling author of the Lux series, brings her trademark drama and intrigue to a new, swoon-worthy series.
The international bestseller about a teenage criminal mastermind and his battle against dangerous fairies is set to be a major motion picture from Walt Disney Studios in August 2019. Retail Price $8.99 Club Price $8.09
From bestselling author Holly Black comes the first book in a new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.
In the fifth book in Serena Valentino’s Disney Villains series, readers learn the origins of Mother Gothel from Tangled.
Retail Price $18.99 Club Price $17.09
The Cruel Prince
Retail Price $12.99 Club Price $11.69
Retail Price $17.99 Club Price $16.19
Muse of Nightmares
Dear Evan Hansen
Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Neil Gaiman will love Laini Taylor’s highly anticipated, thrilling sequel to her New York Times bestseller Strange the Dreamer.
From the creators of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen comes a novel inspired by the groundbreaking musical.
Retail Price $19.99 Club Price $17.99
Retail Price $18.99 Club Price $17.09
Ghouls Live Among Us This set includes all 14 volumes of the original Tokyo Ghoul series plus an exclusive double-sided poster. Retail Price $149.99 Club Price $134.99
Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts
RWBY Official Anthology, Vol. 1 Defeating monsters and stopping evil is a tough job, but Team RWBY is up for any challenge! Well, except for homework.
Horror comics with food themes by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose include illustrations from stellar artists along with recipes and a guide to the legends behind these tales.
Retail Price $12.99 Club Price $11.69
Retail Price $14.99 Club Price $13.49
Born to Dance
Paint by Sticker: Cats
Celebrate young, wellknown dancers as well as little future stars in this joyous collection of photographs.
The latest rage in adult activity books is now purrfect for cat lovers! Create gorgeous illustrations of felines one sticker at a time.
Retail Price $17.95 Club Price $16.15
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Behind Nintendo's Beloved Zelda Games Explore 30 years of Zelda history with rare art and character lore in The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia. Or dive into the newest chapter of Hyrule history with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Retail Price $39.99 each Club Price $35.99 each
My Hero Academia: Heroes and Villians Battle It Out Everywhere! Donâ€™t miss this #1 bestselling manga and its new spinoff series! Retail Price $9.99 each Club Price $8.99 each
books to EXPLORE
Stars and Icons Legends of stage and screen tell fascinating true stories in all their own words, from Sally Field, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Abbi Jacobson. Retail Price $28-$50 Club Price $25.20-$45
The Dogist Puppies
How to Be a Good Creature
This is an adorable, funny and endearing look at over 800 cuddly puppies from popular photographer Elias Weiss Friedman, aka the Dogist.
Sy Montgomery reflects on 13 friendly animals that profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic and lifeaffirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.
Retail Price $14.95 Club Price $13.45
In highly readable prose
accompanied by a wealth of pictures, How Do We Look
explores both the depiction and reception of ancient art . . .
Retail Price $20 Club Price $18
[Beard] is a plain-spoken, downto-earth guide, from the top of National Geographic Spectacle
Bob Langrish's World of Horses
This dazzling photo collection of natural and man-made wonders, unusual phenomena, amusing curiosities and epic spectacles highlights the miraculous beauty of our planet.
Dramatic, poignant and personal, Bob Langrish’s photos are a testament to the ancient and abiding relationship between horses and humans. Retail Price $40 Club Price $36
. . . And Then You Die of Dysentery Pack your wagons, it’s time to hit the Oregon Trail, 21st-century style! This quirky, nostalgic sendup of the computer game features hard-earned lessons from the trail. Retail Price $14.99 Club Price $13.49
Retail Price $40 Club Price $36
The Best Damn Answers to Life's Hardest Questions Full of illustrated flowcharts, lists and rants, this book mixes humor and invaluable advice, making it an uplifting gift. Retail Price $12.95 Club Price $11.65
her long, flowing gray hair down to her fashionable sneakers, which allow her to get up close and personal with a cavalcade of
Excerpt from our September 2018 interview with Mary Beard The Travel Atlas The ultimate world atlas for travelers makes it easy to plan adventures and discover remarkable places around the planet. Retail Price $50 Club Price $45
Where You Go
NEW nonfiction The Fifth Risk
Charlotte Pence offers a touching and personal portrait of her father, Vice President Mike Pence, and the most important life lessons he has taught her. Retail Price $26 Club Price $23.40
Accessory to War
Bestselling author Michael Lewis takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders.
Confronting Nazi Evil — New in the Mega-selling Killing Series
From the bestselling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry comes an exploration of the age-old complicity between sky-watchers and war-fighters.
Retail Price $26.95 Club Price $24.25
Retail Price $30 Club Price $27
How Do We Look
Black Flags, Blue Waters
From prehistoric Mexico to modern Istanbul, Mary Beard (SPQR) looks beyond the canon of Western imagery to explore the history of art, religion and humanity.
America’s golden age of piracy comes to life with tales of vicious mutineers, treasure and high-seas intrigue featuring Blackbeard, Captain Kidd and a young Benjamin Franklin.
Retail Price $24.95 Club Price $22.45
Retail Price $29.95 Club Price $26.95
Stop Mass Hysteria
Michael Savage provides his view of historical accounts of the many times that mass hysteria has gripped the American public and how it impacts the goals of conservatives.
The authors lay out their views of the bureaucratic pitfalls that have faced President Trump and his determination in the face of opposition.
Retail Price $28 Club Price $25.20
Retail Price $27 Club Price $24.30
This is the epic saga of the “Nazi hunters,” the brave men and women who tracked down SS fugitives and brought them to justice.
Retail Price $30 Club Price $27
Carla Hall's Soul Food From Carla Hall, a “Top Chef” fan favorite and the former co-host of ABC’s hit show “The Chew,” comes a celebration of soul food’s storied history, with 140 delectable recipes.
HOME Cooking with Scraps This innovative cookbook proves just how delicious and surprising the often discarded parts of produce can be. Retail Price $19.95 Club Price $17.95
Retail Price $29.99 Club Price $26.99
Home Cooking with Kate McDermott
The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs This is the cookbook that every young chef needs! For the first time ever, America’s Test Kitchen brings their expertise and know-how to young chefs. Kid-tested and kid-approved!
The author behind the award-winning Art of the Pie offers nourishing, unfancy and unfailingly delicious recipes for every day and every season. Retail Price $29.95 Club Price $26.95
Retail Price $19.99 Club Price $17.99
Perfect Gifts for All the Cookbook Lovers on Your List! These three gorgeous
Beer Hacks With these 100 tips and tricks, readers will learn the very best and most creative ways to serve, share, store and savor their favorite brews.
cookbooks are inspired by the tastes and traditions of the Southern kitchen, from modern updates on classic dishes to downhome favorites from country music star Martina McBride.
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Retail Price $30-$35 Club Price $27-$31.50
In this warm collection of personal essays and recipes, bestselling author Ann Hood nourishes both our bodies and our souls with her signature humor and tenderness.
This is an inspiring home design book from the New York Times bestselling author and Magnolia co-founder Joanna Gaines.
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Retail Price $40 Club Price $36
Cozy Minimalist Home You can have a warm, inviting home without spending tons of money! A cozy, minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationships and rest. Retail Price $24.99 Club Price $22.49
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Bookaroo Notebook Tidy Assorted Colors Retail Price $12.99 Club Price $11.69
The Really Tiny Book Light
Bookaroo Pen Pouch Assorted Colors Retail Price $9.99 Club Price $8.99
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Literary Letter Metal Bookmarks Retail Price $5.99 each
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inspired Top Books for All Ages These books should be on your family’s shelf!
Next Level Thinking Joel Osteen, bestselling author and pastor, invites readers to set aside their shortcomings and instead focus on achieving new levels of success. Retail Price $24 Club Price $21.60
Every Man's Bible With thousands of study notes, reallife application points and sound advice from leaders on myths and misinformation, this is a Bible for every battle every man faces. Retail Price $49.99 Club Price $44.99
Excerpt from Fervent “A prayer that’s seeking passion should not be about manufacturing a better feeling or jostling up a better mood. It’s simply about holding out your open hands—in thanksgiving first, in gratitude for God’s faithfulness and His goodness and His assured, accomplished victory over the enemy. Then asking. Asking for what He already wants to give you. Then waiting (expecting) to receive the promise of newness and freshness from His Spirit as you go along, more each day—praying until, as the prophet Hosea said . . . He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth. (Hos. 6:3)”
Retail Price $12.99-$49.99
Club Price $11.69-$44.99
LIVING In His Own Words
Great Holiday Gifts for the Whole Family
Readers can discover the true spirit and heart of Billy Graham, a powerful man of faith, through classic quotes, Scriptures he loved most and inspirational reflections.
Whether they’re for a family member, friend or yourself, these titles are sure to bring holiday cheer to all who receive them.
Retail Price $14.99 Club Price $13.49
Believe It MVP quarterback Nick Foles shares his path to victory, his challenges and the faith that has guided him. This bestseller is perfect for the pro-football fan on your gift list! Retail Price $26.99 Club Price $24.29
Excerpt from Daily Guideposts 2019 “...In my mind’s eye, Jesus listened, nodding now and again as I spoke. I mentioned the book I was currently writing and sought His wisdom and guidance as I do with all my novels. Then a strange thing happened—Jesus turned, looked at me, smiled, and said, as clearly as if He’d spoken the words out loud, Debbie, I have the most wonderful books for you to write . . . in heaven. Lord, it thrills me to know there are plots waiting for me in heaven! Thank You for Your unending gifts.”
—Debbie Macomber Retail Price $16.99-$29.99
Club Price $15.29-$26.99
Begin each day knowing that God is watching over you with these beautiful and inspiring devotionals. The simple act of giving God a few minutes each day will give you a jump start on living with strength and faith. Retail Price $4.95-$27.99 Club Price $4.45-$25.19
The Perfect Gift for the Faithful These beautiful Bibles make wonderful gifts and are perfect for daily devotionals and in-depth study. Choose from a variety of translations and styles, including giant print and indexed versions. Retail Price $39.99-$49.99 Club Price $35.99-$44.99
Engagement Calendars Donâ€™t miss out on the important things in life! These attractive engagement calendars are here to help keep your schedule in order. Itâ€™s easy to find one that appeals to any lifestyle. Retail Price $16.99-$18.99 Club Price $15.29-$17.09
In Your Pocket! Start the new year off in style or give the gift of organization with these adorable pocket planners. Retail Price $3.99 each Club Price $3.59 each
Daily Planners Ready to plan? These beautiful Daily Planners will help you keep your week straight. Perfect to grab and go and get your day done! Retail Price $9.99-$14.99 Club Price $8.99-$13.49
2019 Wall Calendars Plan your best year yet while gazing at tranquil shorelines, adorable puppies and kittens or hauntingly beautiful locales with these fabulous wall calendars. Retail Price $14.99 each Club Price $13.49 each
Daily Wisdom Devotionals These deluxe devotionals are full of encouraging refreshment and feature a unique twocolor interior design with a ribbon marker. Retail Price $15.99 each Club Price $14.39 each
Cooking with the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond provides cooks with her very best make-ithappen dishes, pulled from her own non-stop life as a devoted wife, mother of four, food lover and businesswoman. Retail Price $24.95-$29.95 Club Price $22.45-$26.95
Slow Cooker Cookbooks
Combine the convenience of your slow cooker with your vegan or ketogenic lifestyle with these new cookbooks.
Learn how to heal yourself from the inside out with these thoughtful guides on four centuries-old practices.
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What Lies Ahead Is in the Cards
The Woman’s Herbal Apothecary Every woman’s lifelong guide to herbal remedies for common health concerns, The Woman’s Herbal Apothecary shows novice herbalists and advanced practitioners alike how to naturally treat the complete spectrum of women’s concerns.
These beautiful tarot card kits will give insight into the mysteries of life with stunning illustrations and indepth explanations of the art of tarot. Retail Price $24.95 each Club Price $22.45 each
Retail Price $14.95 Club Price $13.45
Protect your deck of tarot cards with these luxurious velveteen bags in blue or purple. Each has a drawstring top and a beautiful metallic design, and can also be used to store crystals, runes or other precious items.
These books will help you achieve your best self. Whether through the use of tarot cards, astrology, chakras or dream interpretation, these will guide you to find whatever inner truth you are seeking.
Crystals help heal physical ailments, fight off bad energy or absorb goodness into your life. These books will aid anyone wondering where to start on their crystal journey.
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Retail Price $9.95-$15.95 Club Price $8.95-$14.35
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Body, Mind, Spirit
Timeless Christmas Stories
These three heartwarming holiday books will get the whole family in the Christmas spirit! Retail Price $10-$14.95 Club Price $9-$13.45
The Essential Book of Useless Information The useless information never ends in this latest cornucopia of amazingly pointless facts and figures. Trivia buffs will marvel at all the things they never needed to know. Retail Price $6.95 Club Price $6.25
A Redbird Chirstmas
A Christmas Carol
New York Times bestselling author Fannie Flagg’s enchanting Christmas story of faith and hope is a modern classic for all ages. Signed copies also available!
Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghostly visitors is now available in two different slipcase gift editions—each a beautiful holiday gift that will last year after year.
Retail Price $18 Club Price $16.20
Retail Price $12.95-$14.95 Club Price $11.65-$13.45
The Art of War
Feast Your Eyes Explore a nation’s wild heart in America’s National Parks with astounding photographs of the nation’s natural beauty. Then travel the globe with Wonders of the World, which displays ancient wonders, architecture and nature’s incredible gifts.
The most comprehensive anthology of Asian military strength, philosophy and technique ever published is illustrated with exquisite full-color art and photography.
This one-volume edition of two classic works from the brilliant mind of Stephen Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction.
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Never Stop Saving
The Patriot’s Reference
The Maxwell Daily Reader
Get organized and save money with this trendy coupon organizer, which makes a great gift.
This accessible collection of foundational American documents, speeches and sermons sheds light on what it means to think, believe and act “like an American.”
John Maxwell offers 365 days of insight to help develop the leader within you and influence those around you.
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Engaging Storybook and Toy Activity Kits
Parents still tuck their children into bed on Christmas Eve with these classic Christmas stories of cheer and wonder.
My Busy Books offer full-page illustrations, a story, 12 figurines and a playmat that bring your favorite characters to life and ignite your child’s imagination.
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Facts and Fiction Give your youngest readers soothing, short bedtime stories and fairytales as well as fun facts for developing their curious minds. Retail Price $9.97 each Club Price $8.97 each
I Want to Be a Jedi Discover what it takes to become a Jedi Master in one great book. Read the Jedi’s amazing story and then learn all about your favorite heroes and villains with fascinating character profiles. Retail Price $12.95 Club Price $11.65
Faith First Introduce young readers to the stories of the Bible with these childfriendly versions of the Bible, the tale of Noah’s Ark and a Bible activity book. Retail Price $5.95-$12.95 Club Price $5.35-$11.65
Explore Our World
For Future Scientists
Help kids answer their burning questions about everything from prehistoric earth to the modern-day dinosaurs of the sea—sharks!
Brilliant young minds need the coolest, most informative encyclopedias to keep them entertained! Kids can discover the domain of dinosaurs, the vastness of space and the great big world of science with these definitive guides.
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Science for Kids
The World of Dick and Jane See Dick and Jane and all their friends in this unique collection of three original best-loved readers. Includes the titles Guess Who, The New We Come and Go and The New We Look and See. Retail Price $9.95 Club Price $8.95
Playsets for Reading Fun Young readers will love the adorable plush pets that accompany these classic stories in the perfect carry-along gift box. Retail Price $19.95 each Club Price $17.95 each
Enjoy a fun approach to early learning and reference material that will delight children while teaching them facts about the world in which they live. Retail Price $10.95-$12.95 Club Price $9.85-$11.65
The Book Is Better!
Neil Gaiman Boxed Set Bestselling author Neil Gaiman takes you on a journey from a secret realm below London to the enchanted lands of Fairie, from the cliffs before Creation to an America of gods old and new. Retail Price $30 Club Price $27
No matter how thrilling the movie may be, ravenous readers know that nothing beats a really good book. These blockbuster favorites have even more to offer when youâ€™re flipping the pages. Retail Price $24.95 each
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The Poetry of Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson’s poetry is regarded as among the greatest examples of American writing. This celebratory gift edition with silk cloth, lovely full color illustrations, foil blocking and slipcase is the perfect gift for every Emily Dickinson lover.
Time-honored Classics They’re classics for a reason! These beautifully packaged tales will appeal to every reader. Retail Price $18 each Club Price $16.20 each
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Tales as Old as Time Love, revenge, creation and death—these are the themes that cross time and culture in six stunningly illustrated collections of the world’s greatest legends, myths and fairy tales. Retail Price $24.95 each Club Price $22.45 each
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Perennial Picks Both seasoned readers and those new to the classics are sure to enjoy these tried-andtrue books that have stood the test of time. Retail Price $24.97 each Club Price $22.47 each
BY ROBERT WEIBEZAHL
BY SYBIL PRATT
Rethinking a classic
The old stories stay with us— ancient legends, fables and fairy tales provide the fodder and archetypes for today’s fantasy fiction, superhero movies and Disney musicals. The story of Aladdin is one of the best loved and most adapted of those tales (there are dozens of film and TV versions of the story in English alone), yet its origins are clouded. As professor Paulo Lemos Horta points out in the introduction to Aladdin (Liveright, $24.95, 144 pages, ISBN 9781631495168), a sparkling new translation of the tale by poet Yasmine Seale, the story was introduced to the West via 18th-century France as part of the wildly popular One Thousand and One Nights, translated by Antoine Galland, who claimed the story came from a manuscript given to him in 1709 by a Maronite Christian traveler from Aleppo. Scholars were long suspect of this origin story, until the recent discovery of the memoirs of Syrian adventurer Hanna Diyab, which validate Galland’s version of events. Whatever its provenance, the story has been adapted, altered, bowdlerized and Robin Williamized over the centuries. Salman Rushdie even uses it in The Satanic Verses. Seale’s elegant new translation of Aladdin restores the tale to its roots. Tapping into her own Syrian-French background, Seale has worked from both Arabic and French sources to produce her captivating translation. Aladdin, told here with the deceptively simple cadences of classic storytelling, is the tale of a poor tailor’s son who lives with his widowed mother “in the capital of one of China’s vast and wealthy kingdoms.” (This intriguing Chinese connection often has been lost over the years—most film and stage adaptations seem to set the story against an Arab-influenced,
Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s first cookbook, Zahav, was named the Best International Cookbook in 2016 by the James Beard Foundation. Now the pair is back with Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious (Rux Martin, $35, 384 pages, ISBN 9780544970373), an appreciative deep dive into iconic Israeli food, and its release is perfectly timed for Israel’s 70th anniversary. With fabulous photos of
Middle Eastern or vaguely Mogul backdrop.) The young Aladdin has developed wild tendencies, and though he is on the cusp of manhood, he still embraces the indolent ways of a street urchin. One day, a Maghrebi magician pretends to be his uncle, and under the guise of showing his nephew the beautiful gardens outside the city walls, he takes Aladdin to a remote room hidden beneath a stone. Giving him a magic ring, the magician sends Aladdin into the room to gather treasure, after which he intends to leave the boy for dead. But Aladdin outwits the magician and takes the jewels he finds, as well as a magic lantern he discovers, and escapes back home. Slowly, Aladdin’s good fortune begins to dawn on him and his mother. When he spies on the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Badr al-Budur, he vows to marry her. With his newfound wealth and the power of the jinnis who inhabit the ring and the lantern, Aladdin is able to win her hand and build a great palace. But the magician— and his equally nefarious brother—will resurface to cause Aladdin all manner of trouble. Some aspects of the story will be familiar to lovers of the tale, while others may surprise. Seale crafts a delightful narrative that taps This new into the simple translation wonders of the story, evoking of Aladdin the mesmeris steeped in izing voice magic. of Shahrazad who, of course, is telling this cliffhanger-filled yarn to her sultan husband in order to keep herself alive. This new translation of Aladdin, steeped in magic and stripped of some of the phony adornments that have diluted its essence over the centuries, is a delightful retelling of the dreams and adventures of the wily young peasant boy who matures to become a beloved ruler.
food and people, plus instructive, step-by-step photos, Israeli Soul is a home cook-friendly culinary tour of the dishes brought to Israel by immigrants and shaped by cultures “both ancient and modern.” Solomonov and Cook’s exuberant narrative details their “soul odyssey,” searching market stalls, restaurants, street carts and bakeries in big cities and remote villages for the best versions of gastronomic go-to’s like hummus, pita, shawarma and falafel, plus sabich, salads, soups, stuffed veggies, kebabs and sweets. It’s an irresistible invitation to enjoy the legendary soul food of Israel.
MANGIA BENE! National Geographic and America’s Test Kitchen have combined their prodigious talents to produce the lusciously extravagant Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey (National Geographic, $40, 384 pages, ISBN 9781426219740). With over 100 recipes, 300 photographs and 45 maps, it’s the perfect gift for Italophiles. It’s a wonderful coffee table book and top-notch cookbook, but it’s also a travel guide to Italy’s 20 regions, filled with vibrant, full-color photos and explorations of the edible treasures that make each area unique—cheese, wine, cured
meats, produce and so much more. Brimming with tradition and tested to the nth degree, these recipes showcase the robust regional food that makes Italy a mosaic of magical flavors. Whether it’s Venetian Seafood Risotto, aromatic Tuscan White Bean Soup, Umbrian Sausage and Grapes, golden Roman Gnocchi or a light and bright Sicilian Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad, each dish takes you into the authentic heart of la cucina Italiana.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS ’Tis the season for baked sweets, and Christina Tosi, the two-time James Beard Award-winning baker, mastermind maven and chef/ owner of Milk Bar, will amp up your cake-making capabilities. The wildly innovative Tosi, who found most cakes to be boringly blah, decided to find ways to give them the verve and variety her sugary sensations are renowned for. The remarkable results are all in All About Cake (Clarkson Potter, $35, 288 pages, ISBN 9780451499523). These winners—from bundts and a Strawberry Layer Cake to cupcakes, sheet cakes, fancy layer cakes, cake truffles (yes, you can turn out a Cake Truffle Croquembouche for Christmas), microwave mug cakes and a Banana-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crock-Pot Cake—tell flavor stories with creative fillings, craveable crunches, hidden gems of texture and Tosi’s signature unfrosted sides. Having at your side a wonderfully opinionated pro like Tosi who can’t— and shouldn’t—curb her enthusiasm and instructional fervor for all things baking is an unbeatable, delectable treat.
CASSANDRA CLARE BY SAVANNA WALKER
Sins of Shadowhunters past
fter the gut-wrenching finale of Lord of Shadows (2017), fans await Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness with anticipation—and more than a little apprehension. A secret organization of magical warriors, the Shadowhunters are able to slay demons because of the angelic blood flowing through their veins. They also keep the other inhabitants of the supernatural world in line, preventing vampires, faeries, werewolves and warlocks (known collectively as Downworlders) from harming unsuspecting humans. With so many foes to face, there has always been drama and trauma aplenty in Clare’s wildly popular Shadowhunter Chronicles, but devastating character deaths have been few and far between. The demise of a beloved character at the end of Lord of Shadows was a particularly horrifying twist in a series that’s been growing darker with each subsequent installment. And there may be more deaths to come. The Dark Artifices series has had a distinctly ominous tone from the very beginning, with even fan-favorite, cornerstone characters such as Magnus Bane and Clary Fairchild experiencing apocalyptic dreams and frightening omens. And Clare has gone on record saying that the series following the Dark Artifices will be the last of the Shadowhunters books. The darkness of this latest series is nevertheless fitting, as Clare has shown an increasing willingness to critique the established powers of her own universe. Discrimination against the Downworlders has been present from the very beginning, and in the Dark Artifices, Clare turns her attention to the ways in which the Shadowhunters themselves are hurt by their austere, overly traditional society. Having lived separately from the mortal world, Shadowhunters have no knowledge of modern pop culture or social advances. Mental illness and homosexuality are looked on with disdain, and most
nonmagical medicine is unavailable. Things begin to change when a new recruit joins the Institute, as the Blackthorns learn that 15-yearold Tiberius is autistic, and that there are proven ways to make his life easier. They also learn that their mentor Diana, despite her skill and devotion, will never be allowed to become head of the Institute because she transitioned to female via modern medicine. This theme reaches its greatest expression in Annabel Blackthorn, a recently resurrected Shadowhunter who was imprisoned, tortured and killed because she fell in love with a warlock. A casualty of the Shadowhunters’ traditions, Annabel has quite literally risen from the dead to haunt them, and her reappearance sets in motion a chain of events that may end their way of life as they know it. If the ending of Queen of Air and Darkness rocks the Shadowhunter world to its core, it may be because a better, more progressive world is rising to take its place.
QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS
By Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry, $24.99, 912 pages ISBN 9781442468436, audio, eBook available Ages 14 and up
AUDIO BY SUKEY HOWARD
Strike four After completing the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling started writing a mystery series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. And happily, her virtuosic talent as a spinner of stories with intricate plots and singular characters is front and center again. Lethal White (Hachette Audio, 22.5 hours) is the fourth in the Cormoran Strike series, and it’s perfectly narrated by Robert Glenister, who can ace a wonderfully wide
range of British accents. In Lethal White, Strike, a London private investigator with a reputation for unraveling high-profile cases, and his able, lovely (yes, their attraction thrums below the surface) assistant, Robin, are in the thick of it, investigating political blackmail and the murder of a Tory minister, all wrapped in a blur of populist politics, replete with a wild cast that includes radical lefties, conservative snobs and a mentally ill young man who desperately wants Strike’s help. After this 22-hour treat, I can’t wait for Strike five.
FINAL CHALLENGE Henry Worsley was 13 when he read Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic, which detailed Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic in the early 20th century. Worsley fell under Shackleton’s spell, and the book shaped his own future as an explorer. The White Darkness (Random House Audio, 2.5 hours), originally published in The New Yorker, is David Grann’s cogent, intensely drawn portrait of Worsley, his fascinating life, his lifelong obsession with the Antarctic and his relentless passion to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps and succeed where he didn’t: crossing Antarctica on foot, alone. Only two and a half hours long, The White Darkness is one of the
most powerful audios of the year, made so by Grann’s deftly crafted prose and Will Patton’s unwavering performance, delivered with conviction and calm urgency. Worsley eventually made two successful Antarctic expeditions with teams in 2008 and 2011 and went back for a fateful third expedition alone in 2015. You’ll feel the icy cold, his exhaustion, courage and formidable will as he battles the “obliterating conditions” on his transcontinental quest. Perhaps you’ll come to understand what drove him and the brave few among us to challenge frontiers, regardless of risk.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO In her new book, These Truths: A History of the United States (Recorded Books, 29 hours), Jill Lepore writes, “The past is an inheritance, a gift, and a burden. . . . There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.” To make our past more knowable, Lepore has penned an astonishingly concise, exuberant and elegant one-volume American history that begins with Columbus and ends with Trump. Lepore questions, as Alexander Hamilton did, “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice.” Lepore tells us upfront that much historical detail is left out; this is a political history, an explanation of the origins of our democratic institutions, and it lets history’s vast array of characters speak in their own words when possible. It also makes clear that slavery is an intimate, inextricable part of the American story. This is the past we need to know. Listen closely as Lepore reads with unexpected pizazz.
WHODUNIT BY BRUCE TIERNEY
Big-name suspense to end a year of thrills December isn’t typically the strongest of months for new book releases, but this year, what is lacking in quantity is more than made up for in quality, with books from four of the finest contemporary suspense writers from North America, Europe and Japan.
A BOGGLING MYSTERY It’s 1944, the closing days of World War II. Two men dig feverishly in a peat bog in Scotland
Night (Little, Brown, $29, 448 pages, ISBN 9780316484800). Ballard first showed up in 2017’s The Late Show as a solo act, but she and Bosch work exceptionally well as a duo, investigating the unsolved 2009 murder of a young runaway. The case holds a personal component for Bosch, as the mother of the murdered girl is staying at his house. There aren’t many clues available after the passage of so much time, but Bosch is dogged
Kaga’s Zen approach to crime solving is at odds with conventional police procedures, but it would be hard to find fault with his results. One by one, he interviews shopkeepers, neighbors and denizens of the streets, and he begins to create a picture of a homicide that has an entire neighborhood of potential suspects. Kaga, a modern-day Hercule Poirot, thinks even further outside the box than his Belgian predecessor, to the great delight of mystery aficionados.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY to create a hole large enough to accommodate a pair of American motorcycles. Fast-forward to current day, when the granddaughter of one of the men decides to unearth the motorcycles. The first motorcycle has survived its lengthy incarceration beautifully, but there’s a dead body where the second should be. Enter Karen Pirie, cold case detective (because, hey, cases don’t get much colder than this), in the fifth installment of Val McDermid’s popular Karen Pirie series, Broken Ground (Atlantic Monthly, $26, 432 pages, ISBN 9780802129123). Things take a turn for the weird(er) when the body, supposedly buried for some 70 years, is discovered to be wearing a pair of Nikes. McDermid’s books are relentlessly excellent, with sympathetically flawed characters, well-crafted storylines, a clever twist or two and crisp dialogue. It’s no wonder she is considered the queen of Scottish crime fiction.
A NEW CRIME DUO
Cold cases are a running theme this month, as Michael Connelly pairs series stalwart Harry Bosch with Renée Ballard in their first (but hopefully not their last) adventure together, Dark Sacred
in his pursuit, and his personal creed—everybody counts or nobody counts—gets a run for its money this time out. Connelly does an exceptional job of giving voice to both his protagonists. They share a bit of an outsider’s perspective—respected for their work but not always liked by their peers—and this is what makes them such a formidable team. My favorite Connelly books pair Bosch with protagonists from his other books, like Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer, and this latest pairing is truly inspired.
NEIGHBORHOOD SECRETS Keigo Higashino is one of Japan’s best-known suspense authors, and he has begun to carve a niche for himself in the rest of the world thanks to The Devotion of Suspect X, Malice and his latest Detective Kaga novel, Newcomer (Minotaur, $27.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781250067869). Since we last saw Kaga, he has suffered a demotion from the Tokyo Police Department’s Homicide Division to a more local role in the quiet neighborhood of Nihonbashi. But his homicide experience soon gets him assigned to the team investigating the death of a woman found strangled in her apartment.
Louise Penny’s novels are unique for how seamlessly they straddle the line between charming small-town mysteries and big-city police procedurals. As Kingdom of the Blind (Minotaur, $28.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9781250066206) opens, protagonist Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Québec, receives a strange invitation to an abandoned farmhouse, and an even stranger request to act as executor of a will crafted by someone he never met. It is something of a wacky will, with bequests that suggest that the writer was not playing with a full deck of cards. And then a body turns up, and the document takes on a decidedly darker aspect. Meanwhile in Montreal, a huge drug shipment is about to hit the streets, in part because Gamache allowed it to slip through the cracks as part of his plan to bring down the cartels. Most of the drugs were rounded up—except for one large shipment that threatens to destroy many lives, perhaps including Gamache’s. Each Gamache adventure (we are now at the 14th) displaces the previous one as the best in the series. I have read each one twice—first as a one-sitting page turner, and then shortly afterward as a leisurely reread in which I revel in the artistry of the prose, the characterizations, the locales. It’s not to be missed!
BOOK CLUBS BY JULIE HALE
New in paperback In the electrifying memoir The Only Girl in the World (Back Bay, $16.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780316466639), Maude Julien looks back on her nightmarish upbringing in France. Raised by her unaffectionate mother, Jeannine, and conspiracy-theorist father, Louis, to become what he called a “superior being” who could survive under any circumstances, Julien is often confined to the rat-inhabited cellar of their home
at night and told not to move. When she gets sick, her parents won’t send for a doctor, and when she’s abused by the family’s oddjob man, they do nothing. Julien lives in isolation, without proper food, heat or hot water. But thanks to books and the animals she encounters on the family property, Julien manages to cultivate an inner world that sustains her. Now a psychotherapist, Julien gives an unflinching account of the horrors of her home life and eventual escape in this brave and probing book. In making sense of her own past, she offers an unforgettable story about the enduring need for human connection.
AFTER THE FALL Named a best book of 2017 by NPR, Owen Egerton’s novel Hollow (Counterpoint, $16.95, 256 pages, ISBN 9781640091610) tells the story of a religious studies teacher in Austin, Texas, and his painful coming to terms with life’s harsh realities. Once an esteemed professor, Ollie Bonds has fallen on hard times. His home is a shack behind a beauty parlor, and he is grappling with the loss of his young son. As a hospice volunteer, Ollie’s connection with a
dying man named Martin has unforeseen consequences. As Ollie tries to atone for his mistakes, the details surrounding the death of Ollie’s son and the path that led to his present circumstances are revealed gradually. Bringing levity to the book is Lyle Burnside, a rather convincing member of the Hollow Earth Society—a group that’s organizing a trip to the North Pole. Egerton has created a beautifully realized, rewarding and poignant narrative about loss and mercy that’s sure to stimulate emotional conversation among readers.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS Anna Quindlen’s shrewdly observed novel Alternate Side (Random House, $17, 304 pages, ISBN 9780525509875) chronicles the lives of the Nolan family in the wake of a violent episode in their close-knit Upper West Side neighborhood. Investment banker Charlie Nolan is contentedly married to Nora, the director of a museum, and savors his good luck when he lands a coveted permanent space in the parking lot near their apartment. Quindlen presents a detailed portrait of the Nolans’ affluent, settled lifestyle, only to shatter that image when lawyer Jack Fisk attacks handyman Rick Ramos because his van is obstructing the entrance to the parking lot. In the aftermath, the neighborhood is never the same, and long-percolating questions about race and class erupt. In this perceptive novel, Quindlen delivers a rich exploration of social dynamics and the nature of marriage. It’s a book that captures the tenor of the times.
FRESH BOOK CLUB READS
for the winter I’LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY by Marisa de los Santos A captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love.
THE WILD INSIDE by Jamey Bradbury “The Wild Inside is an unusual love story and a creepy horror novel—think of the Brontë sisters and Stephen King.” —John Irving
HIDDENSEE by Gregory Maguire From the author of the beloved New York Times bestseller Wicked, the magical story of a toymaker, a nutcracker, and a legend remade…
ONCE A MIDWIFE by Patricia Harman “Patricia Harman...brings to life the impact of the First and Second World Wars upon the people of early 20th century rural America.” —Alicia Bay Laurel, New York Times bestselling author @Morrow_PB @bookclubgirl William Morrow Book Club Girl
ROMANCE B Y C H R I S T I E R I D G WAY
Romances to melt even a scrooge’s heart
t this point, holiday-themed romance is a yearly institution. And like most holiday traditions, it can all get a bit overwhelming. But never fear! Whether you’re in the mood for small-town sweetness or an old-fashioned Christmas ball, these five romances are the season’s best. Another member of the Westcott family finds true love in Mary Balogh’s Someone to Trust (Berkley, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9780399586101). The setting is
small town of Twilight, Texas. Consumed with guilt for his part in a fellow soldier’s death, Mark Shepherd is on a mission to return an heirloom key to the young
the Bow Street Runners, London’s first police force. He and Regina indulged in a flirtation in the not-too-distant past, but Daffin doesn’t accept her inde-
she meets the Walker family and enters into the gleeful antics of this Christmas-crazy part of the country. Sheriff’s deputy and single dad Cash Walker doesn’t trust the tough loner at first, with her blue hair and tattoos, but soon he sees beneath the surface to find the warm woman with a big heart. Readers will enjoy the description of a holidays-gone-wild town that sponsors everything from a Turkey Trotter race to an Elf Auction to a Kissmas Cam. There are two unusual pets and a plot with some zany moments, but the characters are good, caring people who deserve to find everything their hearts desire under the tree.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE snow-covered and the company jolly, but two people at the holiday family gathering are feeling gloomy. Widow Elizabeth Overfield, at 35, wonders if now might be the time to find another husband and try for children. Eligible bachelor Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, is 26 and contemplates doing his duty in the New Year and beginning the business of finding a wife. The pair enjoys each other’s company and feels an undeniable attraction, but the age difference makes them incompatible—or does it? Colin and Elizabeth bring out the best in each other, but on the way to a happy-ever-after they must confront ugly gossip, societal expectations and manipulative relatives. The quiet, authentic intensity of the characters’ emotions is a hallmark of Balogh’s work, and it is a pleasure to experience each heart-wringing moment in this romance made for warming a winter night.
MISSION OF LOVE In Lori Wilde’s The Christmas Key (Avon, $7.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780062468277), a soldier with PTSD reluctantly experiences the annual celebrations in the
man’s family. Upon meeting the Luthers, he’s astonished to find that Naomi Luther is straight out of his dreams—as in, he’s literally dreamed about her. Naomi doesn’t let on at first, but she’s dreamed about Mark, too. Are they soul mates? There are obstacles aplenty to real romance—from Naomi’s out-of-town sweetheart to Mark’s need to address his childhood and wartime experiences. The events surrounding Christmas ensure the two have plenty of time together, and as their feelings grow, so do the issues lying between them. Questions of destiny and faith are explored, and readers will cheer when the couple finds their way to forgiveness and love. The Christmas Key is a romance brimming with holiday spirit.
cent proposal. Embarrassed by his rejection, Regina thinks she wouldn’t mind never seeing him again, but after she experiences some frightening attempts on her life, the lawman is forced to stay near the tempting Regina to solve the puzzle of why someone wants to harm her. Scorching romance and enjoyable mystery twine together in this charming story of a hero and heroine battling strict class expectations. Regina is no wilting flower, and her determination to direct her own life makes her an admirable partner for the oh-so-honorable Daffin (who wields his handcuffs in some very decadent ways). Bowman’s latest is a sparkling holiday tale.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
Holiday, Texas, goes all-out for Christmas in Cowboy Christmas Jubilee (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9781492662648) by Dylann Crush. Jinx Jacobs doesn’t expect much out of life and hasn’t experienced a great deal of love. The holidays have never meant a thing to her, but that’s about to change when her broken motorcycle strands her in the small rural town, where
It’s Yuletide in London in Kiss Me at Christmas (St. Martin’s, $7.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781250147523) by Valerie Bowman. Lady Regina Haversham is looking forward to the holiday season because she’s decided to gift herself a man. A particular man: the dashing and roguish Daffin Oakleaf, a member of
HOLIDAY HIGH JINKS
Susan Fox sends an arrow to the heart with Sail Away with Me (Zebra, $7.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781420145984). Family obligations bring successful musician Julian Blake back to Destiny Island in the Pacific Northwest. He ran from the island as a teen, under the shadow of a terrible secret. But now he must manage his complicated emotions concerning the island in order to return and help his injured dad. Iris Yakimura, the introverted local bookseller, acts as a balm to Julian’s soul. They build a friendship, albeit one that has a limited shelf life, since he’ll be returning to his career and she believes she’s island-bound forever. But they both find hidden strengths—Julian exposes the man who sexually abused him, and Iris faces up to her near-crippling shyness. This is no saccharine Christmas tale, though there’s sweetness to be found in the courageous actions of the characters. The discussion of the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II adds another dimension to this wonderful story of finding love in the midst of hardship and pain. Prepare for tears and smiles, and have tissues at the ready.
LIFESTYLES B Y S U S A N N A H F E LT S
Become a ’Gram master If you have an Instagram account, it’s almost certain you’ve wondered about the ways of Instagram “influencers,” people who make a living by mastering this photo-sharing social media service. Tezza (née Tessa Barton) demystifies it all in Instastyle (Alpha, $19.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9781465476685). Total newb to Instagram? Tezza is here with the absolute basics on setting up an
account and photography 101 tips. But she also digs deep into concepts like weekly workflow, creating grid layouts, the art of the “flat lay,” writing captions, running contests, editing tools, styling food for photos and more. (Sample tip: Odd numbers appeal to the eye.) It might all seem, humorously, a little much to those of us who casually document our pets, babies and the occasional vacation. But I found this peek into the high-stakes influencer game fairly fascinating—and I can’t help but imagine that a few decades from now, after technology has marched on, this book will surely be a wonderful “how we lived then” relic. Right now, it’ll make a great holiday gift for the budding ’Grammer in your life.
THE ARTISTS’ WAY In Artists’ Homes: Live/Work Spaces for Modern Makers (Thames & Hudson, $40, 288 pages, ISBN 9780500021323), photographer and author Tom Harford Thompson lets the smallest details in the homes and workspaces of U.K.-based artists do the work of telling their stories. For this project, Thompson insisted on no styling, staging or “tidying up,” and the resulting images hum with quiet authenticity. “Some may dismiss these details as just so much clutter,” he writes, “but they
often tell us more about the people who live there than their choice of sofa or new car.” The artists and makers include a potter, a sculptor, a classic-car dealer, a journalist and many more. Tidbits of backstory are tucked into thoughtful captions surrounding photos, so people, rather than places, are the real subjects here. This book feels less intended as design inspiration and more as an unfiltered peek into creative lives.
‘Tis the season for fireside reads!
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES A similar approach can be found in famed stylist Wendy Goodman’s May I Come In?: Discovering the World in Other People’s Houses (Abrams, $65, 272 pages, ISBN 9781419732461). Like Thompson, Goodman, driven by curiosity, makes a study of the interiors of artistic individuals. “[T]he most captivating rooms exist where decoration is a by-product of a person’s passions in life,” she writes. But Goodman’s quest is fueled by A-list access, and the spaces she explores belong to figures like Richard Avedon, Donatella and Gianni Versace and Todd Oldham. The homes on display here are sometimes quite posh and ornate, and other times more modest but rip-roaringly colorful, bursting with aesthetic whimsy. Goodman’s introductory essays are wonderful soupçons of observation; of Gloria Vanderbilt, she writes, “Nothing better illustrates her originality, or instinct for design, than the bedroom she created on East Sixty-Seventh Street, where she covered every inch of the room— walls, floor, and ceiling—with a collage of cut-up quilts.” Come, settle in for a look at the living quarters of the cultural elite.
A Wyoming rancher finds love where he least expects it in this heartwarming second-chance romance!
Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their little town, making anything seem possible… maybe even a second chance at first love.
Pick up your copies today. Available in print and ebook.
29 9/14/18 10:19 AM
Looks are everything
he darkly comic events of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel unfold as briskly as a classic noir, but with a contemporary tone in a setting unfamiliar to many American readers: modern-day Lagos, Nigeria. Our narrator is the prickly Korede, a highly regarded but unpopular nurse at a Lagos hospital. Lonely, she confides her dreams and secrets to a coma patient in her ward. But one of her secrets could have dangerous repercussions: Korede’s charming younger sister, Ayoola, has murdered three of her boyfriends. She hasn’t been caught—yet—because Korede meticulously cleans up after her. After they dispose of the most recent victim, Ayoola drops by Korede’s hospital for a visit. When Korede’s doctor crush, Tade, is instantly smitten by her sister’s beauty, Korede must decide what to do. Should she intervene? Or let her sister’s madness take Tade’s life as well? Unassuming, self-assured and with an infectious laugh, Braithwaite explains her style in a call to her home in Lagos. “I’ve always been drawn to dark subject matter,” she says. “One of my first stories took place in the woods and was told from the point of view of the trees and plants, observing as a girl wandered into
MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER
By Oyinkan Braithwaite
Doubleday, $22.95, 240 pages ISBN 9780385544238, audio, eBook available
a clearing and then killed herself. To me, it was a wildly romantic tale of nature and a beautiful stranger walking to her death. But my parents were concerned and thought maybe I’d experienced a trauma they didn’t know about. I was completely oblivious to what was upsetting them—I thought something was wrong with them!” For My Sister, the Serial Killer, it’s no surprise Braithwaite had a “black widow” motif on her mind. “I’ve always been fascinated by black widow spiders and the idea of women killing their mates,” she says. This darkness is balanced by Korede’s matter-of-fact, almost deadpan observations and the author’s sly, skillful wit—but it is the interdependence of the two sisters that brings a more sinister tone. The reader learns about the sisters’ childhood, their abusive, now deceased father and the mother who failed to protect them. It’s easy to wonder if the sisters’ twisted connection has roots in their father’s brutality and to speculate over what really caused his untimely death. But Braithwaite keeps some things a secret—even from herself. “It’s fun to keep it as much a mystery to me as it is to the reader,” she says. “I’ve come to terms with what I think happened, but I don’t know for sure.” The sisters’ relationship is so complex that readers may wonder which sister is the heroine and which the villain—or if it’s even possible to discern between the two. Like femme fatales in a noir thriller, their machinations are so wild and engaging that it becomes easy to cheer them on. Braithwaite agrees, stating with her characteristic laugh, “I suppose they are villains, I mean, they are killers. But honestly, I just found them adorable.” The novel is also notable for its melding of the thriller genre with
satirical commentary on beauty and femininity. “This may be a Nigerian thing, but people are very outspoken here about looks,” Braithwaite says. “With my sister and I, people feel free to let us know which of the two of us they think is more attractive all the time, saying, ‘Oh, you were the fine one before, I don’t know what happened, but your sister is the more attractive one now.’ I imagine Korede and Ayoola and how after years of hearing “I’ve always been fascinated something like this, they by black widow couldn’t help spiders and the but be affectidea of women ed by it.” In a novel killing their filled with mates.” references to Instagram and social media, Braithwaite also drew inspiration from internet culture—and the way “beautiful people” are treated both in real life and online. “Did you ever hear about ‘Prison Bae’?” the author asks, referring to Jeremy Meeks, a convicted felon whose mug shot went viral on Facebook. “People were going crazy about him because he was so good-looking. . . . I don’t think people even cared what crimes he committed. People were willing to excuse anything because of his good looks.” The disconnect between the chaos of real life and the online presentation of an attractive, curated life gives the novel a crisp, up-to-the minute appeal. “I am fascinated by the facetiousness of social media,” Braithwaite admits. “It almost feels like people go out
© STUDIO 24
INTERVIEW BY LAUREN BUFFERD
of their way to create an online life that isn’t even remotely true. I think it’s dangerous.” So is the case with the two sisters. Some of the novel’s most humorous moments are when Ayoola needs to be constantly reminded to not post selfies with her new boyfriend immediately after her previous boyfriend (deceased and disposed of) has disappeared. Braithwaite’s references to social media are so seamless that it’s a surprise to know she grappled with including them. “It felt so new and different,” she says. “I was hesitant at first. I grew up on the great books—my favorite novel is Jane Eyre, and obviously none of [those books] had social media in them. I don’t know, it almost seemed unrefined. But once I got into it, I realized how well it helped tell the story.” With the movie rights already sold, My Sister, the Serial Killer is poised to be a big hit, but Braithwaite is quick to admit that a skyrocketing career was not what she was expecting. “I always wanted to be an author, and there were so many ways I imagined it would go,” she says. “I was a little bit scared when things started to happen so quickly with this book. It doesn’t seem quite right, almost like I skipped a few steps. But I’m so grateful at the way everything has turned out.”
THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY. AND EVERY PERSON. “ Filled with unexpected twists.” —Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Wife Between Us
“ More cleverly plotted than The Girl on the Train.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books
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Mysterious matters of life and death
iane Setterfield has captivated readers around the world with her intricately woven tales, but the bestselling British novelist admits that creating them has affected her in unexpected ways.
Most recently, with the publication of her third book, Once Upon a River, she’s been seeing rivers everywhere, even when looking at things like leaf patterns or cracks on a wall. “When you’ve been focusing on something so intently for a time,” she says, laughing, “the whole world seems made of rivers. You get slightly bonkers after novel writing.” The river in question is the Thames, and Setterfield’s focus became so complete that a few years ago she moved to a home near its banks in Oxford. “I can leave my front door and be down there in a couple of minutes,” she says by phone from her home. “I think it’s one of those mysterious ways in which a life where you spend several years intensively imagining something seems to create change in the real world for you.” Once Upon a River, begins on the dark night of the winter solstice in 1887, when a photographer pulls a 4-year-old girl out of the Thames’ icy waters and delivers her apparently dead body to an inn, the Swan at Radcot.
ONCE UPON A RIVER
By Diane Setterfield
Atria, $28, 480 pages ISBN 9780743298070, audio, eBook available
When the child miraculously revives, the mystery deepens as various families begin to argue about her identity. One couple rejoices that their daughter, kidnapped two years ago, has finally been found, while a local farmer believes the girl to be the offspring of his estranged son. And defying any sort of logic, a hardscrabble woman named Lily announces that the girl is her sister, who drowned decades ago. In the meantime, others whisper that she is the child of a phantom ferryman named Quietly. The girl herself remains mute, offering no clues to her identity. As Setterfield writes: “A body always tells a story—but this child’s corpse was a blank page.” And oh, what a story it turns out to be, as Setterfield enlivens her pages with a broad cast of colorful characters, all with their own stories to tell. “What I longed for,” she says, “was a room with great big walls where I could just put everything on the wall, and I could physically re-create the themes and the character lines and the chapters of the novel all around me.” The story’s vast roots stretched back to Setterfield’s own childhood in the 1960s, when her 2-year-old sister, Mandy, was diagnosed with a heart defect. Doctors told their parents that Mandy couldn’t be operated on until she was older and bigger. From that point on, Setterfield recalls, “Family life became very, very different. I can remember having terrible nightmares as a child, and when I look back, the nightmares I had were always about my sister: losing my sister, my sister falling down into a hole in the ground and I couldn’t get her out. I was much more aware than most children are of what sickness is and what dying means.” About that time, young Setter-
field heard about an American boy who “drowned” in a lake but subsequently came back to life. Thrilled, she told her grandmother, “We must tell Mandy that if she died, she just might come back. And then it will be all right.” That’s not how it works, her grandmother informed her. Years later, when Setterfield was in her 20s, she read about a similar incident in Scotland, in an article that explained the science behind the mammalian “While I dive reflex— was writing the body’s response to the book, I submersion in found myself chilled water thinking a that accounts lot about the for such survival. pleasure of Happibeing a child ly, Mandy when your outgrew her mum or your heart problem without needdad reads a ing surgery story to you.” and is “absolutely fine now.” (Setterfield dedicates Once Upon a River to Mandy and their other sister, Paula.) Yet despite the real-life storybook ending, the remnants of Setterfield’s childhood nightmares linger, which made writing the sections about Lily and her guilt about her sister’s death paralyzingly difficult. “There came a time,” she admits, “that I had to look myself straight in the face and say, ‘Diane, what are you avoiding?’” One of the novel’s central premises is “the different ways human beings create stories to
© SUSIE BARKER
INTERVIEW BY ALICE CARY
explain something miraculous or impossible or unlikely.” As a result, setting the book in the latter part of the 19th century made immediate sense, Setterfield says, because “science had just gotten started explaining human beings to themselves,” and she could contrast these scientific theories with prevailing notions of superstition, folklore and gossip. Not surprisingly, as its title suggests, Once Upon a River is a book about storytelling, in which the narrator occasionally addresses readers directly. “While I was writing the book, I found myself thinking a lot about the pleasure of being a child when your mum or your dad reads a story to you. This is a story for adults, and it’s not specifically to be read aloud, but I thought if I can just have a few little moments that will be reminiscent of what it’s like to be in a comfortable, safe place and someone you trust is telling you a story, then that would just be a lovely thing to do,” Setterfield says. Setterfield hasn’t always been a storyteller, having first been an academic in England and France. She left teaching and burst onto the publishing world in 2006 with her hit debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, a modern gothic novel about a dying writer. That’s about the time when she began to have what she calls “a distant sense of
a book” about a drowned girl who comes back to life. Exhausted and exhilarated by the publicity tours for The Thirteenth Tale, Setterfield spent a two-week holiday along the banks of the Thames, taking what she calls “a discovery walk” of about 180 or so miles, from the river’s underground source all the way to London. Without having any plot or location specifics in mind, she says, “I just wanted to drink in the general feeling of being by the river.” As she fondly describes the journey, reminiscing about how at first she found it quite easy to wander off from the initial narrow, bramble- and mud-covered path, she has a sudden realization: “Here’s a metaphor very much like the early stages of writing a novel!” Continuing with that thread, she adds, “And then, the longer you follow it, the stronger the current is and the more certainty you have. Wow!” Setterfield took notes while making her river journey, but she tucked them away in her office for a long while and wrote another novel, Bellman & Black. After that, she finally tackled the river story. At times, she despaired of ever being able to wrestle it into shape. Now that she’s done, she’s monumentally relieved, and still in the “honeymoon phase” of writing her next book. “You should really talk to writers when they’re right in the thick of it,” she suggests with a cheerful chuckle, “and then it would probably be a very different interview.” One reward for her perseverance has already materialized: A TV series of Once Upon a River is forthcoming from the team that created “Broadchurch” and “Grantchester.” Meanwhile, Setterfield continues to contemplate the river. Although she can’t see the Thames from her house, she says, “I’m pretty sure that if I could put a window in the roof space of the attic, I’d be high enough to see over the streets to the river. I think about it so many times, you’d be amazed. Every time I go up there, I stand there, almost as if I’m trying to see through the roof, but I’m just imagining that window so hard. I may just have to ring up a few architects.”
50 best books of 2018 #1 CIRCE BY MADELINE MILLER
The infamous witch from Homer’s Odyssey is now just plain famous thanks to Miller’s lush and empowering reimagining of the Greek myth. Follow her richly detailed journey, and fall under the spell of your new favorite heroine.
#6 SEVERANCE BY LING MA
HOUSE OF BROKEN #11 THE ANGELS
A post-apocalyptic office novel might not sound like it would appeal to everyone, but Ma’s debut is a ravishing, masterful millennial tale, complete with zombies that are trapped in an endless loop of their former lives.
THERE #2 THERE BY TOMMY ORANGE
#7 WARLIGHT BY MICHAEL ONDAATJE
This fierce, original voice ripped through our reading list, offering shattering revelations about contemporary Native American life through multiple storylines leading up to a catastrophic powwow in Oakland, California.
The protagonist of this haunting novel looks back at his childhood to understand the mysterious actions of his mother, whose secret life flutters on the edges of Ondaatje’s vivid prose and then, all at once, comes into the light.
OVERSTORY #3 THE BY RICHARD POWERS
MARRIAGE #8 ANBY AMERICAN TAYARI JONES
The canopies high above you will never look the same after being swept up in this epic literary tree opera from National Book Award winner Powers.
MARS ROOM #4 THE BY RACHEL KUSHNER Kushner cut us down at the knees with this captivating book about a woman serving two consecutive life sentences. This novel is like a wild animal in a cage, tense and vibrating but contained through to the end.
#5 TRANSCRIPTION BY KATE ATKINSON The latest from bestselling author Atkinson is a traditional World War II spy novel that’s a pure delight to read— but it doesn’t hold back from raising questions about changing worlds and the nature of truth.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy seem to have a charmed life as up-and-coming professionals in Atlanta. But when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Celestial is forced to reckon with the struggle of moving on.
VIRGIL WANDER BY LEIF ENGER
Everyone’s a little worse for wear in the small Minnesotan town of Enger’s new novel, but they’re making the most of it. After reading this uplifting, bittersweet tale, you’ll be dreaming of kite flying and skipping your way to the movies.
WASHINGTON BLACK BY ESI EDUGYAN
An 11-year-old slave in 1830s Barbados finds adventure and (eventually) freedom in a hot air balloon alongside an eccentric naturalist and abolitionist.
BY LUIS ALBERTO URREA
A dying patriarch hosts his mother’s funeral and his own final birthday party —all in the same weekend—in this touching Mexican-American family saga brimming with joy, humor and sorrow.
#12 FRESHWATER BY AKWAEKE EMEZI
Emezi’s startling debut follows a Nigerian girl born with multiple supernatural personalities, plunging the reader into a symphonic, poetic depiction of a soul being slowly torn apart.
GREAT BELIEVERS #13 THE BY REBECCA MAKKAI
In a story that shifts from 1980s Chicago to present-day Paris, Makkai traces the impact of the AIDS epidemic, as one woman discovers how greatly the disease has shaped her life.
#14 LITTLE BY EDWARD CAREY
This macabre and quirky historical novel follows a small orphan girl through the streets of 18th-century Paris as she discovers her immense talent for lifelike waxwork—and grows up to become Madame Tussaud.
CLOCKS #15 RED BY LENI ZUMAS
There have been quite a few femalefocused dystopian novels this year, but none are as impressive as Zumas’ novel of five women living in a society obsessed with motherhood.
Best mystery & suspense
WITCH ELM #1 THE BY TANA FRENCH
#2 THE WORD IS MURDER BY ANTHONY HOROWITZ
#5 A NECESSARY EVIL BY ABIR MUKHERJEE
In French’s brilliantly tense first standalone novel, an oblivious male protagonist investigates two crimes— and confronts whether he is, in fact, the hero of his own story.
#3 KINGDOM OF THE BLIND BY LOUISE PENNY
#6 THE INFINITE BLACKTOP #9 SUNBURN BY SARA GRAN BY LAURA LIPPMAN
#4 LETHAL WHITE BY ROBERT GALBRAITH
#7 BABY TEETH BY ZOJE STAGE
#8 DARK SACRED NIGHT BY MICHAEL CONNELLY
#10 THE 7½ DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE BY STUART TURTON
BY THE EDITORS OF BOOKPAGE
#1 EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER
Westover’s remarkable memoir revisits her isolated and astonishing upbringing as the daughter of survivalist parents. She stepped into her first classroom at age 17, where she discovered an entire world she didn’t know existed.
WILL BE NO #2 THERE MIRACLES HERE BY CASEY GERALD
In his electrifying memoir, Gerald reflects on growing up in a poor, Evangelical household, where he spent his youth in conflict with himself and the American dream.
THE FEATHER THIEF BY KIRK WALLACE JOHNSON
This fascinating true crime tale delves into a bizarre heist, in which a 20-yearold flautist breaks into the British Museum of Natural History and makes off with hundreds of rare bird specimens.
DOUGLASS #4 FREDERICK BY DAVID W. BLIGHT
LIBRARY BOOK #6 THE BY SUSAN ORLEAN
From the author of The Orchid Thief comes a riveting account of unsolved arson—the disastrous Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986.
#7 DOPESICK BY BETH MACY In this impeccably researched and heartbreaking book, Macy traces the devastating path that opioids have carved through every avenue and back road of America.
DOWN THE HAUS #8 BURNING BY TIM MOHR
A giddy and electrifying look at the underground punk scene of 1980s East Germany, Mohr’s history tracks how a youth movement evolved into a revolutionary and ultimately successful force for change.
LAST PALACE #9 THE BY NORMAN EISEN
Blight’s biography is a fitting tribute to the brilliant Frederick Douglass, presenting this titan of American history in all his complexity and letting his powerful words speak for themselves whenever possible.
In this stunning book that makes European history sing, Eisen views the world through the lens of the spectacular palace he resided in as a U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, weaving in the story of his Jewish Czech-American mother, who fled her home country as a young woman.
#5 CALYPSO BY DAVID SEDARIS
PRISON #10 AMERICAN BY SHANE BAUER
Sedaris’ latest satirical dispatches come from his offbeat South Carolina beach house. Fans won’t be disappointed with his wry and hilarious look at the pains and pleasures of aging.
Take an unfiltered look inside the private for-profit prison industry that has taken over the American criminal justice system in this searing report from an undercover journalist.
BERRIES #11 HEART BY TERESE MARIE MAILHOT
This vulnerable, clear-sighted memoir places Mailhot’s account of her childhood abuse and subsequent suffering from mental illness within the context of modern Native American womanhood.
LINE BECOMES A RIVER #12 THE BY FRANCISCO CANTÚ
This hard-hitting look at U.S. immigration from former Border Patrol agent Cantú is indispensable reading for any American today. His insider story is shocking, and he carefully unpacks how difficult immigration can truly be.
WIDOWER’S NOTEBOOK #13 THE BY JONATHAN SANTLOFER
After the sudden death of his wife of 40 years, Santlofer must rebuild his understanding of his life and future. This beautiful memoir—buoyed by unexpected humor—is an inspection of grief and the way forward.
SUN DOES SHINE #14 THE BY ANTHONY RAY HINTON
Hinton spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. His memoir recounts his rage and pain at this injustice, yet the real focus is Hinton’s incredible ability to find hope and joy in impossible circumstances.
ME MORE #15 TELL BY KELLY CORRIGAN
In this honest, inviting memoir, Corrigan explores 12 phrases—such as “Yes” and “I was wrong”—that have made her relationships and life richer.
Best romance KISS QUOTIENT #1 THE BY HELEN HOANG
#2 THE BRIDE TAKES A GROOM BY LISA BERNE
#5 THE PROPOSAL BY JASMINE GUILLORY
#8 THE DUKE I TEMPTED BY SCARLETT PECKHAM
Deliciously sweet with a natural, slow-blooming sensuality, Hoang’s debut offers all the joys of the genre while also telling a vital, affirming story of life on the autism spectrum.
#3 SOMEONE TO CARE BY MARY BALOGH
#6 A NOTORIOUS VOW BY JOANNA SHUPE
#9 INDECENT EXPOSURE BY TESSA BAILEY
#4 MY ONE AND ONLY DUKE #7 A DUKE BY DEFAULT BY GRACE BURROWES BY ALYSSA COLE
#10 JOSH & HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING BY CHRISTINA LAUREN
THE IT LIST: Great gift ideas The Point of It All
This Will Only Hurt a Little
By Charles Krauthammer
By Busy Philipps
Created and compiled by the influential columnist before his death, this is an intimate collection of his most important works.
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Queer Eye From the the beloved hosts of Netflix’s hit show ‘‘Queer Eye’’ comes a book that is at once a behind-the-scenes exclusive, a practical guide to living your best life and a symbol of hope. Retail Price: $29.99 | With Discount Card: $26.99
The Archive of Magic By Signe Bergstrom In this full-color companion volume to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, readers are transported behind the scenes of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Retail Price: $50 | With Discount Card: $45
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told By Megan Mullally & Nick Offerman Mullally and Offerman reveal the story of their epic romance in a series of intimate conversations that include photos, anecdotes and the occasional puzzle. Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
My Squirrel Days By Ellie Kemper The comedian and star of ‘‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’’ delivers a hilarious and uplifting collection of essays about one pale woman’s journey from Midwestern naïf to Hollywood semicelebrity. Retail Price: $26 | With Discount Card: $23.40
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THE IT LIST: Holiday fiction Alaskan Holiday
Christmas with You
By Debbie Macomber
By Nora Roberts
Macomber brings us to the Alaskan wilderness for a magical Christmas tale about finding love where it’s least expected.
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Christmas Cake Murder By Joanne Fluke When she was younger, Hannah Swensen wished to become the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but as she finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder. Retail Price: $20 | With Discount Card: $18
Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners By Gretchen Anthony A formidable matriarch learns the hard way that no family is perfect in this witty, sparkling debut novel. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
The Dogs of Christmas
Season of Wonder
By W. Bruce Cameron
By RaeAnne Thayne
This is a charming and heartwarming holiday tale that explores the power of love, trust and a basket full of puppies.
When a retiring Haven Point veterinarian offers Dani a chance to take over his practice, she jumps at it. But adjusting to the charming mountain community isn’t easy.
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Christmas on the Island
The Noel Stranger
By Jenny Colgan
By Richard Paul Evans
Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world, and join the welcoming community of Mure for a Highland Christmas you’ll never forget!
This powerful new holiday novel from Evans explores the true power of the season, redemption and the freedom that comes from forgiveness.
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The Christmas Star
By Elin Hilderbrand
By Donna VanLiere
Raise one last glass with the Quinn family at the Winter Street Inn.
From the bestselling author of the Christmas Hope series comes another heartwarming, inspirational story for the holidays.
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THE IT LIST: The world of J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, but his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep. Retail Price: $14.99 | With Discount Card: $13.49
The Fellowship of the Ring By J.R.R. Tolkien Frodo Baggins must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. Retail Price: $14.99 | With Discount Card: $13.49
The Two Towers By J.R.R. Tolkien Frodo and Sam continue the journey alone down the great River Anduinâ€”alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien This deluxe pocket-size boxed set contains all four of Tolkienâ€™s epic masterworks, each with a leatherette cover and stamped title. Retail Price: $49.95 | With Discount Card: $44.95
The Great Tales of Middle-earth By J.R.R. Tolkien Just in time for holiday gift-giving, this is a beautiful boxed set of the final novels of Middle-earth, packaged together for the first time. Retail Price: $75 | With Discount Card: $67.50
The Fall of Gondolin By J.R.R. Tolkien A beautiful elven city comes under threat from an ancient evil in one of the first Middle-earth tales ever written. Retail Price: $30 | With Discount Card: $27
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The Return of the King By J.R.R. Tolkien As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures, all while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.
A Middle-earth Traveler By John Howe This illustrated guide features lavish art showing the many locations and characters Tolkien described in his classic novels along with notes on their importance to the world. Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
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The Silmarillion By J.R.R. Tolkien Tolkien considered this collection his most important work, and these tales and legends clearly set the stage for all his other writing. Retail Price: $14.95 | With Discount Card: $13.45
The Lord of the Rings Deluxe Edition By J.R.R. Tolkien This new edition includes the 50thanniversary fully corrected text setting and, for the first time, an extensive new index. Retail Price: $30 | With Discount Card: $27
THE IT LIST: What to read after The Nightingale Sarah’s Key The Nightingale
By Tatiana de Rosnay
By Kristin Hannah
De Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode of history.
This unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
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The Paris Architect
The Alice Network
By Charles Belfoure
By Kate Quinn
This extraordinary novel follows a gifted architect who reluctantly begins a secret life devising ingenious hiding places for Jews in World War II Paris.
Two women—a female spy in France during World War I and an American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947— are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
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Those Who Save Us By Jenna Blum Combining a passionate, doomed love story and a poignant family drama, this is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive the legacy of shame. Retail Price: $15.99 | With Discount Card: $14.39
The Women in the Castle By Jessica Shattuck Set at the end of World War II in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to German high society, this is a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
We Were the Lucky Ones
By Georgia Hunter
By Martha Hall Kelly
Inspired by the true story of one Jewish family determined to survive—and to reunite—after being separated at the start of World War II, this novel is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom and second chances.
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The Dutch Wife
By Ellen Keith
By Jodi Picoult
Set in the Netherlands and Argentina, this historical novel braids together the stories of three individuals who are entangled in two of the most oppressive reigns of terror in modern history.
In this searingly honest novel, Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go to in order to keep the past from dictating the future.
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THE IT LIST: The best in fiction Of Blood and Bone By Nora Roberts They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life, but beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed. Retail Price: $28.99 | With Discount Card: $26.09
Firefly: Big Damn Hero By Nancy Holder Don’t miss the first original novel that ties into the critically acclaimed and muchmissed “Firefly” series from creator Joss Whedon. Retail Price: $22.95 | With Discount Card: $20.65
Tom Clancy Oath of Office By Marc Cameron Jack Ryan has devoted his life to protecting the United States. What if this time, he can’t? Retail Price: $29.95 | With Discount Card: $26.95
Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud By Mike Lupica Private investigator Sunny Randall is back, and the stakes are higher than ever as she races to protect her ex-husband—and his Mafia family—from the vengeful plan of a mysterious rival. Retail Price: $27 | With Discount Card: $24.30
The Enemy of My Enemy
By Justin Cronin
By W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV
In an apocalyptic world, one girl must flee a shadowy government and walk alone on her quest to face a dark and violent future that only she has the power to change. Soon to be an original series on Fox. Retail Price: $18 | With Discount Card: $16.20
Pet Sematary By Stephen King The makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets holds chilling secrets in the town of Ludlow, Maine. Soon to be a major motion picture!
Special agent James Cronley Jr. fights exNazis and the Soviet NKGB in this dramatic new novel about the birth of the CIA and the Cold War. Retail Price: $29 | With Discount Card: $26.10
My Favorite Half-Night Stand By Christina Lauren This fresh romantic comedy is a laugh-outloud romp through online dating and its many, many fails. Retail Price: $16 | With Discount Card: $14.40
Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
A Dog’s Way Home
No Traveller Returns
By W. Bruce Cameron
By Louis L’Amour & Beau L’Amour
This remarkable novel about one endearing dog’s journey home after she is separated from her beloved owner is soon to be a film starring Ashley Judd.
As the shadows of World War II gather, a ship’s crew must make a perilous journey carrying barrels of highly explosive material in the cargo hold.
Retail Price: $14.99 | With Discount Card: $13.49
Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
THE IT LIST: The best in fiction Tony’s Wife
The Corporation Wars Trilogy
By Adriana Trigiani
By Ken MacLeod
Love, ambition and the consequences of both lie at the heart of this spellbinding epic of two working-class kids who become a successful singing act during the big band era of the 1940s.
This action-packed space opera takes place against a backdrop of interstellar drone warfare, virtual reality and an A.I. revolution. Retail Price: $19.99 | With Discount Card: $17.99
Retail Price: $28.99 | With Discount Card: $26.09
Kingdom of the Blind
By Louise Penny
By James Patterson & Andrew Bourelle
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Retail Price: $28.99 | With Discount Card: $26.09
Once Upon a River By Diane Setterfield This richly imagined, powerful new novel asks questions about how we explain the world to ourselves and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious. Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
Verses for the Dead
In this white-hot Western thriller, a Texas Ranger fights for his life, his freedom and the town he loves as he investigates his exwife’s murder. Retail Price: $15.99 | With Discount Card: $14.39
Pandemic By Robin Cook New York Times bestselling author Cook takes on the cutting-edge world of gene modification in this pulse-pounding new medical thriller. Retail Price: $27 | With Discount Card: $24.30
A Delicate Touch
By Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
By Stuart Woods
After an overhaul of leadership at the FBI’s New York field office, the famously rogue agent Pendergast must work with a partner.
In Stone Barrington’s latest case, he’s caught between a rock and a hard place, and his only options are to play it safe to the detriment of others, or see justice done and risk fatal exposure.
Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
Undaunted By Helen Hardt Breaking into a cemetery isn’t anything Dante Gabriel ever thought he’d do, but he must recover his father’s body so he can claim his estate. Retail Price: $15.99 | With Discount Card: $14.39
Retail Price: $28 | With Discount Card: $25.20
Siege of Stone: Sisters of Darkness By Terry Goodkind A sorceress must lead a battle against hundreds of thousands of half-stone soldiers from the ancient past that have awakened. Retail Price: $31.99 | With Discount Card: $28.79
THE IT LIST: Kids & Teen Dog Man #6: Brawl of the Wild By Dav Pilkey The heroic hound is sent to the pound for a crime he didnâ€™t commit, but while his pals work to prove his innocence, Dog Man struggles to find his place in the world.
Queen of Air and Darkness By Cassandra Clare Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in the final novel in the New York Times bestselling Dark Artifices trilogy. Retail Price: $24.99 | With Discount Card: $22.49
Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99
Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse: The Junior Novel
Penguin Minis: John Green Box Set
By Steve Behling
By John Green
In this companion to the upcoming film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, readers are introduced to Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as he juggles high school life with the infinite possibilities of the Spider-Verse.
Four critically acclaimed, award-winning modern classics from the blockbuster young adult author are now available in this compact boxed set.
Retail Price: $6.99 | With Discount Card: $6.29
The Grinch: The Deluxe Junior Novelization This new hardcover edition is a complete retelling of the wonderful holiday story, featuring eight pages of full-color scenes and a poster. Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99
Retail Price: $48 | With Discount Card: $43.20
The Darkest Minds Series: Boxed Set By Alexandra Bracken With gorgeous, fresh designs and exclusive bonus short stories from the perspectives of fan-favorite characters Liam, Vida and Clancy, this collection will delight loyal fans and new readers alike. Retail Price: $39.99 | With Discount Card: $35.99
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms By Disney Book Group Complete with illustrations and neverbefore-seen details, this novel will have readers eager to step back into the resplendent world of The Nutcracker.
A Twisted Tale Collection: A Boxed Set By Liz Braswell Reintroduce Disney fans to their favorite worlds and characters with these stories that feature game-changing twists. Retail Price: $27.99 | With Discount Card: $25.19
Retail Price: $12.99 | With Discount Card: $11.69
Mary Poppins By P.L. Travers This collectable new picture book is sure to become a favorite of Mary Poppins fans old and new. Retail Price: $17.99 | With Discount Card: $16.19
Mortal Engines By Philip Reeve Two teens must run for their lives through the wreckage of a dystopian world and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of humanity. Soon to be a major motion picture! Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99
Visit www.booksamillion.com/bookclubs for up-to-date reading guides.
THIS MONTH’S PICKS
original Secrets of Southern Girls By Haley Harrigan This tender yet thrilling suspense novel follows a young woman who uncovers devastating secrets that will resurrect the people she lost and the lies she buried. Retail Price: $15.99 | With Discount Card: $14.39
literary The Twelve-Mile Straight By Eleanor Henderson In this audacious American epic set in rural Georgia, Henderson combines the intimacy of a family drama with the staggering presence of a great Southern saga. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
faithpoint Unshakable Hope By Max Lucado Lucado unpacks 12 of the Bible’s most significant promises, equipping readers to overcome difficult circumstances and maintain their wellspring of hope. Retail Price: $22.99 | With Discount Card: $20.69
nonfiction Code Girls By Liza Mundy Mundy reveals the riveting and vital true story of the 10,000 women who served as codebreakers during World War II. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
teen Mortal Engines By Philip Reeve Two rough-and-tumble teens are on a mission to save the world from a dangerous weapon in Reeve’s epic city-eat-city adventure. Soon to be a major motion picture! Retail Price: $9.99 | With Discount Card: $8.99
kids Artemis Fowl By Eoin Colfer Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl must navigate a secret world of armed and dangerous fairies. Soon to be a major motion picture from Disney! Retail Price: $8.99 | With Discount Card: $8.09
NEXT MONTH Still Me By Jojo Moyes Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, but can she embrace this adventure and keep her new relationship alive across thousands of miles? Retail Price: $16 | With Discount Card: $14.40
The Other Einstein By Marie Benedict Einstein’s wife was a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contribution to the special theory of relativity is examined in this touching historical novel that’s perfect for fans of The Paris Wife. Retail Price: $16.99 | With Discount Card: $15.29
Choosing the Extraordinary Life By Dr. Robert Jeffress In this inspiring book, Jeffress reveals seven secrets from the life of Elijah that result in a life marked by satisfaction and success. Retail Price: $22.99 | With Discount Card: $20.69
The Templars By Dan Jones Jones goes back to historical sources to bring the dramatic tale of socalled holy warriors to life in this authoritative and compulsively readable account. Retail Price: $18 | With Discount Card: $16.20
An Enchantment of Ravens By Margaret Rogerson Isobel, a skillful artist, is whisked away to the land of the fairies by a powerful young prince in order to paint portraits of the fair folk, but her work stirs up a dangerous secret. Retail Price: $10.99 | With Discount Card: $9.89
Mary Poppins By P.L. Travers From the moment the mysterious and magical Mary Poppins arrives at Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. Retail Price: $6.99 | With Discount Card: $6.29
DRINKS BY EVE ZIBART
A toast to good tidings and holiday cheer
hen it comes to this year’s wine and spirits books, everything old is new again, retasted and retold. After all, there are few subjects with more history behind them than booze. These five books touch on nostalgic and historic high points with some odd and entertaining side trips into potions, pot stills and poetry.
Blotto Botany: A Lesson in Healing Cordials and Plant Magic (Morrow Gift, $17.99, 128 pages, ISBN 9780062740618) by herbalist and blogger Spencre L.R. McGowan is a sweet-natured throwback—a hippie-dipso catalog of restorative concoctions and medicinal cordials. These 40 recipes are sorted by season and include handy plant facts and trivia. Homebrewing with botanicals requires real dedication and may necessitate some specialty shopping, but luckily, McGowan’s colorful, collage-filled book with handwritten notes is a refreshing tonic itself. Recipes include a lilac-infused wine with the optional addition of rose quartz, an elderberry brew and various syrups, tonics and infused waters. Here’s a holiday tidbit for our toasters: Amethyst got its name, which essentially means “sober” in ancient Greek, because its winelike color was thought to counter alcohol. Good luck with that, merrymakers!
EDIT SOBER A Sidecar Named Desire: Great Writers and the Booze That Stirred Them (Dey Street, $19.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9780062696380) by artists Greg Clarke and Monte Beauchamp is a sort of Bartlett’s of imbibing anecdotes and illustrations, mixing tales of the great and powerful word wizards—F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and Truman Capote, Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker and Charles
Baudelaire and more—with recaps of the evolution of the great spirits and a dash of recipes. Hemingway claimed to have popularized two cocktails—the Bloody Mary (probably not) and the Papa Doble (perhaps)—but then, he was always something of a braggart. Many of these inebriated authors created surrogate characters whose habits they knew all too well, and for whatever reason, guzzling gumshoes and sipping spies were a popular conduit—think Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and, of course, James Bond. This is an
pumpkin-spice craze (love it or loathe it) followed the long custom of autumnal pumpkin beers, not the other way around. Despite the traditional admonition “beer before wine, mighty fine, beer after whiskey, mighty risky,” Holl embraces “cross-drinking,” by which he means dabbling in beer, wine and even cocktails in order to enjoy their various virtues. But be warned, Holl is a pro—not everyone should try this drinking style at home. Inspired by the BBC’s “Sherlock” and Holmes’ description of a “mind palace,”
entertaining little book for those whose love of literature is paired with a love of elicit elixirs.
Holl suggests a “mind pub” to help you identify and remember the characteristics of beers you like.
SIP UP TO THE BAR
In Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint (Basic, $26, 272 pages, ISBN 9780465095513), longtime beer critic John Holl evocatively writes, “I once had a beer made with caramel malts and almond extract that reminded me of the cookies served by our local Chinese restaurant after dinner. It had been years since I’d eaten that dessert, and the taste of the beer took me down an unexpected memory lane of family gatherings.” Holl goes on to fearlessly debunk beer snobbism, pointing out that the
Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland (Quercus, $29.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9781681441078) by Clay Risen is perhaps the most serious-minded book in the gift bag. The followup to his bestselling American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye, Risen’s beautifully illustrated book pays homage to the flavors, aromas and aging of 330 bottlings from more than 100 fine Scottish single malt whisky distilleries. (For those a little confused by spellings, “whisky” without the “e” is how Scottish, Japanese and Canadian spirits are
spelled; Irish and American whiskies, including bourbon and rye whiskey, use the extra vowel. Perhaps we need the oxygen.) Risen is an editor at the New York Times, and his book’s introductory material on the brewing, fermentation, blending and barreling of Scotch whisky is clear and blessedly short on jargon. His equally brief and unpretentious explanation of Scotch whisky’s history—especially the market balloons and busts, reform movements and wartime strictures—is sharp and instructive, and his descriptions of labels, flavors and more are insightful and concise.
FINE VINTAGE The delightful Wine Reads: A Literary Anthology of Wine Writing (Atlantic Monthly, $28, 320 pages, ISBN 9780802128836) is an anthology of short pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, about discovering, delving into and debauching on wine. Bestselling novelist and wine columnist Jay McInerney (who includes an article of his own in the book, a Tom Wolfe-ish nip at “Billionaire Winos” that begs for a film adaptation featuring Leonardo DiCaprio) has assembled more than two dozen stories that are worth reading for pleasure, presumably with a glass in hand. Some of these pieces and persons are delicious to rediscover: the original wine critic, George Saintsbury, author of the 1920 Notes on a Cellar-Book, who dissed tasting notes as “wine slang”; a chapter from Rex Pickett’s novel Sideways, which was adapted into a film that gave pinot noir a boost and merlot the boot; “Taste,” a classic Roald Dahl story written for The New Yorker; and so on. A bit of synchronicity: Both “Taste” and McInerney are mentioned in A Sidecar Named Desire.
BY JULIE HALE
BY LINDA M. CASTELLITTO
For the animal aficionado
Spotlight on shining lights
o you know someone who likes animals a lot more than they like people? We’ve rounded up a gaggle of delightful books that celebrate creatures great and small.
hese three books offer peeks behind the scenes of our favorite on-screen entertainment, making them the perfect gifts for the TV aficionados and cinephiles among us.
Award-winning naturalist and author Sy Montgomery has visited remote regions of the world to study some of nature’s most uncommon creatures. She looks back on what she’s learned from them about communication, sensitivity and kindness in How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals (HMH, $20, 208 pages, ISBN 9780544938328), beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Green. In this funny, moving book, Montgomery recounts transformative episodes with beasts both domesticated and exotic. “Being with any animal is edifying,” she writes, “for each has a knowing that surpasses human understanding.” From Clarabelle, a “pretty and elegant” tarantula, to the playful, 40-pound Pacific octopus Octavia, the animals in Montgomery’s book have unique dispositions that align them with humankind. Montgomery’s writing is rich and lyrical, her insights invaluable. And as all animal lovers know, “Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways.”
Much like RuPaul himself, GuRu (Dey Street, $25.99, 208 pages, ISBN 9780062862990) defies easy categorization. There are 80 beautiful photos of the author in his many drag guises, plus life advice on everything from conquering childhood pain to style. These highlights of RuPaul’s journey from hardworking unknown to influential and successful multihyphenate are at once fascinating, funny and inspiring. RuPaul urges readers to “stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out” and offers insight into how drag has allowed him to express himself and feel truly seen. With multiple records, books, Emmys for his show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and more under his flatteringly waist-cinching belt, he’s no stranger to sharing his message. This scrapbook of his life so far is another example of the power of authenticity, no matter what it looks like.
HONORING THE ANIMALS A touching tribute to the creatures we let into our hearts and homes, Love Can Be: A Literary Collection About Our Animals (Kirkpatrick Foundation, $19.95, 240 pages, ISBN 9780999699300) brings together contributions from a remarkable lineup of authors. Susan Orlean, Lalita Tademy, Rick Bass, Joyce Carol Oates, Alexan-
der McCall Smith and Juan Felipe Herrera are among the 30 writers spotlighted in this excellent anthology. Standout selections include a moving essay by Delia Ephron about the bond between pets and humans; Dean Koontz’s remembrance of his golden retriever, Trixie; and an ingenious cat-inspired poem by Ursula K. Le Guin. Literature fans will love the photos of authors and their animal companions that accompany each piece. In keeping with the spirit of the season, proceeds from sales of the book will go to animal charities. This is a heartwarming, hopeful anthology.
PAMPERED POOCHES In Puppy Styled: Japanese Dog Grooming: Before & After (Countryman, $12.95, 96 pages, ISBN 9781682681763), Grace Chon celebrates dog grooming the Japanese way, with hand-scissoring techniques to create cuts that play up the personalities of canine clients. For this irresistible volume, Chon—an acclaimed pet photographer—snapped nearly 50 pups as they transitioned from scruffy to smart. She writes that Japanese dog grooming “has one objective: to make the dog as cute as possible!” Cuteness undoubtedly abounds in the book, along with fresh ideas for turning your frowzy mutt into a chic chien. Check out Rocco, a Yorkshire terrier whose bangs get lopped into an asymmetrical ’do, or Bowie, a bichon frise whose wayward tangles are trimmed to form a fluffy nimbus. From start to finish, Puppy Styled is crammed with tailwagging glamour.
WE WERE ON A BREAK Readers who had “the Rachel” haircut, can sing all the words to “Smelly Cat” and have celebrated “Friendsgiving” are the natural audience for journalist Kelsey Miller’s I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends (Hanover Square, $26.99, 304 pages, ISBN 9781335928283). However, even those who didn’t immerse themselves in the 1990s television phenomenon “Friends” will appreciate her perspective on how it influenced pop culture. Miller was 10 when “Friends” debuted, and “its enormous impact was baked into my DNA like radiation.” When she recently found herself timing her workouts to “Friends” reruns
on her gym’s TV, Miller decided to explore why the show still resonates so strongly (16 million Americans watch reruns every week, she notes). The book is a delightfully mixed bag: Miller shares the players’ origin stories and gives insight into how TV shows are made. She also considers the show’s impact on everything from advertising to fashion to coffee culture and thoughtfully examines the show’s fatphobia, lack of diversity and depictions of gay characters. It’s an entertaining read for fans of all ages.
COMPLETELY COEN Adam Nayman’s The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together (Abrams, $40, 320 pages, ISBN 9781419727405) is a colorful, comprehensive tribute to the movie-making duo. The author, a Torontobased film critic, is intrigued by the interconnectedness of the Coens’ work, which spans some four decades. He asserts that, while their films may seem to be wildly different, “nothing in the brothers’ vise-tight, magisterially engineered movies could be happening by accident.” And so, from 1987’s Raising Arizona to 1996’s Fargo to 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis, et al., Nayman sets out to identify “some Grand Unified Theory of Coen-ness.” Readers can follow along on this quest, or they can flip around and dive into specific movies, read interviews with Coen collaborators or page through the photos and illustrations. Even if there’s no singular answer to what makes a Coen film a Coen film, this detailed compendium is a cinephile’s delight.
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIE HALE
A feast for the eyes
or the visual aesthete, a gorgeous book is always a great gift. If you’re shopping for a gallery-goer, an artist or someone who could use a creative boost, check out one of the bright selections below.
During a 23-year career that has taken her to 70 countries, PulitzerPrize winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario has documented the turmoil in hotspots like Libya, Pakistan and Iraq. Twice kidnapped in the line of duty, she delivers a spectacular retrospective of her work with Of Love & War (Penguin Press, $40, 272 pages,
bearing witness to conflict is part of what drives her work. Photography is “proof,” she says. “There is no disputing an image.” And there is no disputing the impact of this revelatory collection.
SURVEY OF AESTHETICS
Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh formed the New York design firm Sagmeister & Walsh in 2012, and they’re quite a team. He’s from Austria; she’s a native New Yorker. He’s created album covers for David Byrne and the Rolling Stones; she’s a website-design whiz who’s worked with Barneys, Levi’s and Jay-Z. Together, they’ve produced an intriguing new volume, Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty (Phaidon, $39.95, 280 pages, ISBN 9780714877273), an in-depth exploration of a timeless topic. Drawing upon the work of philosophers and scientists, the authors evaluate the complex power of beauFrom Oliver Jeffers. Copyright © 2018 by Oliver Jeffers. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Rizzoli. ty and its effects on our emotions and actions. They also take stock of the cultural ISBN 9780525560029), a majestic landscape, with a look at develcollection that captures the drama opments in advertising, fashion of everyday existence in war zones and architecture, and the ways in around the world. With chapters which aesthetics factor into their chronicling Afghanistan under impact. With an elegant slipcase, Taliban rule, the refugee crisis and innovative graphics and page after women in the military, the volume page of stunning imagery, this is is a testament to the endurance of a book you can judge by its cover. humanity. Excerpts from Addario’s diaries and personal correspondence, along with essays by war correspondent Dexter Filkins and others, provide context for the images. Addario explains that
From start to finish, Beauty lives up to its title.
A CREATIVE SISTERHOOD During her art-student days, Danielle Krysa noticed that her textbooks were decidedly slanted toward male artists. She turns the tables with A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women): Profiles of Unstoppable Female Artists—and Projects to Help You Become One (Running Press, $25, 320 pages, ISBN 9780762463794). In this inspiring volume, Krysa—a painter, collagist and founder of the art website the Jealous Curator—spotlights an international roster of women working in a range of mediums. Polish crochet artist Olek uses yarn to cover everything from a life-size train to the bull that stands on Wall Street. Bunnie Reiss designs whimsical murals that reflect her Eastern European background. Along with breathtaking visuals, each chapter contains a thoughtful exercise that can help readers turn their creative aspirations into realities. “Every artist is a storyteller in some way,” Krysa writes. Whether you’re a dedicated maker or a part-time dabbler, this book can show you how to access and share your own special story.
MASTER OF MANY MEDIUMS Words fail to do justice to the genius on display in Oliver Jeffers: The Working Mind and Drawing Hand (Rizzoli, $55, 242 pages, ISBN 9780847862993). A native of
Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jeffers is an acclaimed artist and author. Now 41 and based in Brooklyn, he’s given TED talks, collaborated with U2 and produced an astonishing body of work, with drawings, collages, installations, paintings and picture books that range from surreal to playful to politically pointed. Jeffers’ new volume offers a wonderful sampling of this output. His singular vision shines forth in works that tweak cultural icons (Lady Liberty holds aloft a tiny match instead of a torch in the drawing “New Liberty”) and address social issues (guns grow on a tree in the collage “Land of Plenty”). Throughout, Jeffers provides input on his working methods and milestone projects. With an intro by Bono, this magnificent volume is a must for the art lover.
A VIEW OF HUMANKIND In Civilization: The Way We Live Now (Thames & Hudson, $60, 325 pages, ISBN 9780500021705), curators William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell have assembled a captivating visual chronicle of contemporary life across the globe that features images by today’s top photographers, including Thomas Struth, Larry Sultan, Lauren Greenfield and Cindy Sherman. The book was inspired, Ewing writes, by “an appreciation of the phenomenal complexity of civilization, and a curiosity to see how different photographers have dealt with it.” Indeed, Civilization presents a mosaic of moods, textures and techniques. The volume is organized into eight sections that address unique aspects of modern culture, from the cities we’ve constructed to the technological wonders we’ve conceived. Intimate portraits and teeming crowds bring home the diverse nature of humanity. Capturing the multiplicity of lived experience in an era of accelerated change, this provocative collection is a classic of its kind.
for EVERYONE on your HOLIDAY LIST! “Highly accessible and great fun.”
#1 New York Times Bestseller
In an oversized format with more than 400 fully annotated entries
The #1 Bestselling Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy, now in a boxed set
“Once again, Harris has brought history to life with exceptional skill.” —The Washington Post
Now a major motion picture directed by Barry Jenkins, Oscar® winner for Moonlight “One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all.”
Now a major motion picture starring Hugh Jackman “Compelling.... Bai’s superb book provokes many questions.” —The New Yorker
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
ALSO AVAILABLE IN EBOOK Read excerpts, print reading group guides, find original essays and more at ReadingGroupCenter.com
RELIGION BY HARVEY FREEDENBERG
For the spiritually curious
ich in material for spiritual seekers, this diverse selection of titles invites Christians, Jews and Muslims to explore aspects of their own faiths, while allowing them—and curious students of religion in general—to look outward at the beliefs of other traditions.
Rooted in her own Christianity, Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything: Notes on Hope (Riverhead, $20, 208 pages, ISBN 9780525537441) can be read through the lens of any, or no, faith community. Inspired by the wish that her late father had “written down everything he had learned here, whose truths he was pretty sure of,” Lamott boldly sets out to share “almost everything I know.” In the 14 essays that compose the book, she veers from the intensely personal to the philosophical, highlighting some of the ways joy and pain are close companions in life. Lamott is nothing if not ecumenical, drawing on sources that include the medieval German mystic Meister Eckhart, a Coptic minister in Cairo and the Dalai Lama. Her breezy, self-deprecating style, as when she refers to her “nice Jesusy beliefs,” makes her insights simultaneously memorable and easy to appreciate. But don’t mistake Lamott’s casual tone for a lack of seriousness. She’s not afraid to grapple with some of life’s most tragic aspects and profound mysteries, as she does in the moving essay “Jah,” the story of her friend Kelly’s lifelong battle with alcoholism. Anyone reading with an open mind and heart will come away with more than a few nuggets of useful wisdom.
A SURVIVOR’S MORAL LEGACY Before his death in 2016, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel produced a large body of work exploring themes of faith and doubt, much of it shadowed by his experience as a Holocaust survivor, which he chronicled in his memoir Night. Rabbi and scholar
Ariel Burger had the privilege of a close personal and professional relationship with Wiesel spanning 25 years, including time as his teaching assistant. Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom (HMH, $26, 288 pages, ISBN 9781328802699) is the account of their relationship and the changes it wrought in Burger’s life. In chapters organized around memory and activism, Burger describes
teachings to a new generation of students.
his experience observing Wiesel’s classroom discussions, in which he drew on classic works of literature from writers like Dostoevsky, Kafka and Camus to challenge and gently shape his students’ thinking. Wiesel the literary scholar, as portrayed in these pages, is both wise and compassionate, but Burger is quick to point out that his mentor’s mild demeanor should not be mistaken for passivity. Time and again, Wiesel returns to the importance of “reading literature through an ethical lens,” intending, through this process, to awaken his students and inspire in them the moral clarity and courage to speak out against oppression and injustice. “Listening to a witness makes you a witness” becomes almost a mantra in Wiesel’s tutelage. Burger leaves little doubt of his own commitment to transmit Wiesel’s
(Ecco, $27.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9780062368539), she brings to bear that scholarship to help narrate the tragic story of losing her young son and husband—one to a chronic illness and the other in a mountain-climbing accident— within the space of barely a year. Born with a heart defect, Pagels’ son, Mark, developed pulmonary hypertension, an invariably fatal condition at the time, and died at age 6. Some 14 months later, while hiking a familiar trail near the family’s Colorado vacation home, Pagels’ husband, Heinz, an eminent physicist, plunged to his death when the path beneath him gave way. Either one of these tragedies would have been sufficient to upend Pagels’ life, and the doubled nature of these events devastates her. In this memoir, she describes an eclectic and personal religious history that exposed her to everything from evangelical
A STORY OF FINDING SOLACE Elaine Pagels, a distinguished professor of religion at Princeton University, is best known for her scholarship on the Gnostic Gospels, the secret religious texts discovered in Egypt and the Dead Sea region in the 1940s. In Why Religion?: A Personal Story
Christianity to Trappist monasticism. In the face of these painful events, Pagels has an extraordinary, dawning realization that the texts to which she has devoted her professional life might also spark a personal exploration. As she notes, it “compelled me to search for healing beyond anything I’d ever imagined.” All this is summed up in a moving and transcendent final scene, as Pagels receives an honorary doctorate from Harvard, her alma mater, and finds spiritual peace.
AN OUTSIDER ON ISLAM In books like his Pulitzer Prize-winning God: A Biography, Jack Miles has shown he’s willing to tackle big subjects. God in the Qur’an (Knopf, $26.95, 256 pages, ISBN 9780307269577) is the third in a trilogy of books about holy writings. Despite identifying himself as a practicing Episcopalian, Miles, who currently teaches at Boston College, approaches these works “not as a religious believer but only as a literary critic writing quite consciously for an audience crowded with unbelievers.” Above all, he’s determined to puncture the myth that every Muslim is a terrorist-in-waiting simply because they honor the Qur’an as sacred scripture. In each chapter, Miles engages in a detailed textual comparison of a familiar story from the Qur’an and either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. One chapter examines Moses and the account of the Exodus. In the biblical version of the well-known Passover narrative, Miles points out the emphasis on the drama of the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage and the start of their journey to the land promised to them by Yahweh. The Qur’an’s version “mutes the centrality” of that story, stressing instead Allah’s concern for Moses’ role “principally as a prophet of the eternal, unchanging message of Islam.” Miles’ book should inspire curious readers to engage with this sacred Muslim text.
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ALICE ISN’T DEAD By Joseph Fink
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE
Harper Perennial $19.99, 336 pages ISBN 9780062844132 Audio, eBook available
The saving grace of art
REVIEW BY ANNIE PETERS
Arky Levin, a 50-year-old film score composer, has reached a strange moment in his life. Recently separated from his wife under disconcerting circumstances and estranged from his only child, Arky finds himself alone in a new apartment in New York and purposefully cut off from friends. This should provide the silence he craves to write his latest film score, but instead he just feels lost. In this frame of mind, he visits the Museum of Modern Art and discovers a performance piece called The Artist Is Present, based on a real 2010 performance by renowned artist Marina Abramović. In this piece, Abramović sits for 75 days at a table as throngs of visitors stand for hours to take turns sitting across from her, still and silent. Using Abramović’s seven steps for creative projects—awareness, By Heather Rose resistance, submission, work, reflection, courage and the gift—as an Algonquin, $15.95, 304 pages organizational device for her novel, author Heather Rose details the ISBN 9781616208523, audio, eBook available performance’s almost mystical effect on Arky and an array of other LITERARY FICTION characters as they return to the piece day after day. Other characters include Abramović herself, a young Ph.D. student from Amsterdam, a recent widow from the South, a radio personality and even Abramović’s late mother, each of whom brings his or her own unique experiences and responses to the piece. Already a winner of several literary prizes in Australia and short-listed for the Australian Literary Society’s 2017 Gold Medal, The Museum of Modern Love is an engaging, multifaceted meditation on the meaning of life and art. Rose sets this exploration in the context of one man’s compelling midlife search for direction as he observes Abramović’s fleeting art, which the novel intriguingly brings back to life. This is a brilliant find for any reader who enjoys grappling with the larger questions of life and literature, and it is an excellent choice for book clubs seeking thought-provoking discussion.
THE WESTERN WIND By Samantha Harvey
Grove $26, 304 pages ISBN 9780802128287 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION
Samantha Harvey’s new novel is a carefully paced mystery that takes place during the four days before Lent in the small medieval British village of Oakham. When the town’s wealthiest and most worldly resident, Tom Newman, is reported missing, rumors fly. Was it murder, a suicide or an accidental drowning? The townspeople share their theories in the makeshift confession box of Oakham’s resident priest, John Reve, who balances his
own grief with the growing discontent around him. He is not helped by the prying ears and eyes of the local dean, who is determined to uncover village secrets and find the person responsible for Newman’s disappearance—or is he a spy for the local monastery, whose monks would like nothing better than to swallow up Oakham and take the land for their own? Harvey plots her story in reverse, a chapter per day, beginning on Shrove (Pancake) Tuesday and working back to the previous Saturday. With each day, the reader learns more about the villagers, the clergy and the intriguing Newman, whose continental travels and interests threatened Reve’s established order. Though Oakham is described as a dump of a town populated by outcasts and exiles and cut off from the surrounding countryside by an unbridgeable
river, Reve believes in his role as shepherd of his flock, however wayward they may seem. The Western Wind is filled with the rich details of rural medieval life, but the unique structure of the story gives the novel a fresh and modern sensibility. In addition, Oakham’s remoteness and parochial village church is contrasted with the spiritual changes coming to both England and the rest of Europe, bringing to mind contemporary issues such as Brexit and the refugee crisis. Harvey, whose previous novels have been nominated for a range of prizes including the Man Booker, has written a densely packed historical novel that never seems dusty or precious, relishing in the psychological intricacies of power and faith but still crackling with suspense and intrigue. —LAUREN BUFFERD
“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.” So prefaces Joseph Fink’s gonzo parable of anxiety, evil and the monsters they can spawn. When we meet Keisha Taylor, she is trying to enjoy a sandwich at a truck stop—but neither the sandwich nor the ambiance is making it easy. At the booth next to her, a gelatinous blob of a man leers and grunts at her as he shovels eggs into his mouth with his hands. The situation devolves from unsettling to terrifying when the blob drags another customer outside and eats him alive—as the other diners act like nothing is amiss. Keisha wasn’t always a trucker. She once lived with her loving wife, Alice, until Alice disappeared and was presumed dead. Six months after the funeral, Keisha begins seeing her wife on the scene of live news broadcasts from around the country. Alice isn’t dead after all. On little more than instinct and a sparse set of clues, Keisha gets a trucking job and sallies forth to solve the mystery of Alice’s disappearance. But what Keisha uncovers is far more sensational than one woman’s wrecked marriage: She discovers a country haunted by cannibalistic ghouls, wandering oracles and a malevolent wraith in a police uniform. What are these creatures, who is protecting them, and why are most people so intent on ignoring their existence? Fink, co-creator of the cult sensation podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” evokes his own experiences with anxiety through the character of Keisha. His revelations about the nature of the disorder are as delicately limned as his action scenes are jarringly gory. Bracingly candid and unabashedly epic, Alice Isn’t Dead is indeed a wild road trip that backs up
reviews Keisha’s hard-won philosophy that “the only way out is through.” —K AT H R Y N J U S T I C E L E AC H E
THE DAKOTA WINTERS By Tom Barbash
Ecco $26.99, 336 pages ISBN 9780062258199 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION
Tom Barbash surveys the New York City of The Dakota Winters through 23-year-old Anton’s eyes. We glimpse the country during the transitional moment of 1979, with Ted Kennedy’s bid for the Democratic nomination, the transit and sanitation strikes, the serial killers and the underground clubs. We also get an inside view of celebrity culture through Anton’s father, Buddy Winter, a late-night talk show host who recently snapped and walked off set during his monologue. As the book opens, Anton has just returned home from the Peace Corps to heal from a case of malaria. Inadvertently joining his father’s attempt to re-enter the late-night game, Anton serves as Buddy’s “second brain” as he begins to prepare new material for an upcoming show. This role validates Anton professionally and troubles him personally, fueling a line of questions that will lead him to step into adulthood outside his father’s exuberant shadow. Barbash at times leans too heavily on the specifics of his richly drawn New York setting, and ultimately, Anton’s story is eclipsed by references to the era’s celebrity culture. Anton operates behind the scenes of this culture, and because he exists neither within nor outside of it, he’s able to disappear at will. His moments of growth happen away from the city, such as when he takes a sailing trip with family friend John Lennon and tests his mettle during a wicked storm in the Gulf Stream. Even then, Anton’s sense of self takes second chair to his adoration of Lennon. Throughout this colorful novel,
FICTION questions loom of where Anton fits into the picture and how he can build a life apart from his father without rejecting the vibrant city he grew up in. —T O M E I S E N B R A U N
emergence of women holding candles at nighttime, “a wavering line of fireflies,” as they sing a Muslim mourning chant. All the Lives We Never Lived is an affecting tale of loss, remarriage and rediscovery. —MICHAEL MAGRAS
Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Tom Barbash.
ALL THE LIVES WE NEVER LIVED By Anuradha Roy
Atria $26, 288 pages ISBN 9781982100513 Audio, eBook available
—T R I S H A P I N G
WOLVES OF EDEN By Kevin McCarthy
WAYS TO HIDE IN WINTER By Sarah St. Vincent
Melville House $25.99, 240 pages ISBN 9781612197203 Audio, eBook available LITERARY FICTION
To learn facts about one’s parents from their younger days can be a sobering experience. But discoveries might be especially painful if the facts concern a mother who abandoned her child. Anuradha Roy explores this dynamic in her perceptive new novel, All the Lives We Never Lived. In 1992, Myshkin Chand Rozario is in his mid-60s. He still lives in his childhood home in the Indian town of Muntazir, where he works as the superintendent of horticulture, “a glorified gardener,” as he puts it. Myshkin has received a large envelope from someone in Vancouver. The contents of the package pertain to his mother, Gayatri, which prompts Myshkin to recall the events of his childhood in 1937, when India was still under British rule and his mother yearned for a more fulfilling life. Into this picture come two real-life figures: Walter Spies, a German painter who met Gayatri years earlier, and Beryl de Zoete, an English dancer who horrifies young Myshkin with pronouncements like, “I eat little boys baked in the oven. With extra salt.” Inspired by Spies’ philosophy that “there is music in everything, beauty everywhere,” Gayatri leaves her family for what she hopes will be a more exciting and artistic life. If the novel goes off on too many tangents, Roy is nonetheless a thoughtful writer who creates beguiling scenes, such as the
Winter makes it clear that you can hide for a season, but spring thaw will catch up to you eventually.
It’s often said that there are two types of stories: A person goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. In her debut novel, Sarah St. Vincent goes with option two: Ways to Hide in Winter opens with the arrival of a mysterious man in the Pennsylvania wilderness. Both hunting season and tourism season are well over when the man, Daniil, stumbles over the snowy threshold of the hostel where Kathleen works. It’s obvious he’s not from the region, but Kathleen, who has chosen her job partly for its isolation, isn’t interested in prying into someone’s past. At 26, she’s been a widow for more than four years and is still recovering from the car accident that killed her husband. She also holds secrets about their marriage that she’s unwilling to reveal. As she gets to know Daniil, Kathleen grows curious about what caused him to leave Uzbekistan. As she learns about the country’s troubled history, she finds herself unable to continue to compartmentalize her own past. Both Daniil and Kathleen carry the guilt of secrets and betrayal—but do they deserve to? Can you move on from your past after causing or enduring suffering? St. Vincent, a lawyer who has worked with the Human Rights Watch, has vast experience with these questions, and readers unfamiliar with Uzbekistan’s human rights history (likely most of them) will find this novel especially eye-opening. Ways to Hide in
Norton $25.95, 304 pages ISBN 9780393652048 eBook available WESTERN
Just after the Civil War, a crime brings together four men searching for peace and justice in Kevin McCarthy’s gripping Wolves of Eden. Failing as farm hands following the war, Irish immigrant brothers Michael and Thomas O’Driscoll enlist in the Union Army and are sent to help build the new Fort Phil Kearny. Lieutenant Molloy and his right-hand man, Corporal Kohn, are also sent to the fort to investigate a triple murder of the secretary of war’s sister, her husband and his assistant. As the soldiers struggle to defend the fort against Sioux attacks—based on the real Battle of Red Cloud (186668)—battles between good and evil rage on a more personal level as well. The book dramatizes the ironies of war by contrasting these two sets of men. The storylines are out of sync, adding to the novel’s suspense, and alternate between entries from Michael’s journal and a third-person perspective focused mainly on Kohn. Throughout the novel, grim violence is offset by Kohn’s staunch devotion to Molloy, Thomas’ love for a Sioux prostitute and the brothers’ camaraderie with a camp photographer. At the moment of truth surrounding the crime at the heart of the novel, the details add up to a tense jumble of passions and uncertainty. This Westerninspired historical war novel deserves recognition alongside the works of Patrick O’Brian and Hilary Mantel for its dynamic exploration of the depths of human depravity and compassion. —MARI CARLSON
HOLIDAY FICTION BY BARBARA CLARK
Deck the halls with drama
n two new works of popular fiction, determined characters search for answers to evergreen questions of fate and choice.
Josie Silver’s One Day in December (Broadway, $16, 416 pages, ISBN 9780525574682) begins and ends during holiday seasons, spanning a decade as three young people come to terms with the choices they’ve made. While waiting to depart for holiday travel, 22-year-old Laurie stares through the window from her seat on a London bus and glimpses the face of a stranger standing outside in the crowd. Their eyes meet, but the doors swing shut and the bus pulls away. Over the next year, perhaps lured into that age-old trap of wanting the impossible, Laurie, aided and abetted by best friend Sarah, searches everywhere to try and locate her elusive “bus boy,” but to no avail. Fast-forward to the next holiday season, when in an ironic turn of fate, Sarah introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend. This is how Jack, the bus boy, reappears in Laurie’s life, though neither Laurie nor Jack thinks the other remembers the bus encounter, and both pretend this is their first meeting. Time passes, and there’s a marriage or two, along with deceptions and revelations that alter all of their lives. What sounds like a gardenvariety romance takes shape as an impeccably written novel. The charm’s in the telling as Laurie and Jack struggle with their private thoughts and yearnings . . . and there’s that accidental late-night kiss. Each will have to decide how—or if—they’ll be able to square their dreams with reality.
The holiday greeting advanced in a yearly letter provides the title of Gretchen Anthony’s Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners (Park Row, $16.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9780778307860), a rambling, funny and often poignant look at how one family disintegrates, copes and flourishes, then carries on with life. Violet needs structure, certainty and, above all, advance plans. But what’s a deeply loving and controlling mother to do when her daughter, Cerise—happily partnered up with a woman named Barb— becomes pregnant? The father’s name is known only to Cerise and Barb, and they’re not telling. This is hard to take for Violet, whose controlling arm is long. However, leave it to this determined lady to find a way to return order to her world. She’s used to micromanaging events at home and at the Faithful Redeemer Church holiday fair, as well as the ongoing issues in her friend Eldris’ life, so what could go wrong here? What’s a little fraud, some missing eyeglasses, an early labor, an unfinished family tree and a food fight with roast lamb, among friends? Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is a charming, often hilarious story about people whose sticky jealousies, insecurities and small joys are remarkably similar to the ones that mark our own lives. Anthony offers readers a chance to savor and appreciate the joys of the commonplace as well as that strange but remarkable pride we have in our own family bonds.
meet ADRIANA TRIGIANI
the title of your new book? Q: What’s
Q: Describe the book in one sentence.
has been the biggest influence on your work? Q: What
music inspired you while writing this novel? Q: What
your favorite holiday tradition? Q: What’s
is your favorite thing to do in New York City? Q: What
to live by? Q: Words
TONY’S WIFE A talented pair of working-class Italian-American kids meet, fall in love, pursue their dreams and build a life together in Tony’s Wife (Harper, $28.99, 496 pages, ISBN 9780062319258). Follow Tony and Chi Chi from New Jersey to Hollywood and beyond as they make music, find success and struggle to balance ambition with family. Trigiani is the bestselling author of 18 books, including The Shoemaker’s Wife. She lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
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reviews DREAMING IN TURTLE
The surprising allure of the turtle REVIEW BY BECKY LIBOUREL DIAMOND
Most people only know a few basic facts about turtles: They are slow-moving, egg-laying, cold-blooded reptiles. Yet as journalist Peter Laufer (The Dangerous World of Butterflies) notes in his new book, Dreaming in Turtle, “everybody has a turtle story.” Laufer focuses on a variety of these stories, making connections in a voice that is both engaging and scientific. Structured as a series of vignettes, this eclectic, informative book touches on a huge number of turtle species and their habitats, ranging from desert tortoises in the southwestern U.S. to olive ridley sea turtles in Gabon, Africa, and a Yunnan box turtle breeding project in China. His thorough reporting features interviews with people as widely diverse as herpetologists, conservationists, pet owners and even turtle poachers and smugglers. This colorful dialogue is interspersed with illustrative facts and statisBy Peter Laufer, Ph.D. tics, while humorous stories involving Laufer’s own pet turtle, Fred, Metropolitan, $28.99, 336 pages provide comic relief. ISBN 9781250128096, audio, eBook available Laufer explains that for millennia, turtles have been trapped, fished SCIENCE and hunted, as they are revered in many cultures for their purported medicinal value, such as the belief that turtle eggs and meat heighten sexual performance and satisfaction. Others prize flavorful turtle meat not only for the taste but also for the “perceived exclusivity and conspicuous consumerism.” This concept also applies to the use of turtle to make pretty things such as tortoiseshell combs and jewelry and the smuggling of turtles to sell as expensive pets to collectors of the exotic. Unfortunately, as Laufer finds, the general public isn’t typically concerned with these “mysterious, cold animals” and the threat of extinction they face due to man-made circumstances such as habitat loss, pollution, climate change and illegal trafficking. Turtles just don’t receive the same level of attention as cute and cuddly species like pandas. But after reading the enlightening and well-researched Dreaming in Turtle, hopefully more people will be moved to sit up and take notice of the importance and allure of these fascinating creatures.
BARKING WITH THE BIG DOGS By Natalie Babbitt FSG $26.99, 272 pages ISBN 9780374310400 eBook available ESSAYS
Natalie Babbitt’s career in children’s literature began with a picture book, The Forty-Ninth Magician, which her husband, Samuel, wrote and she illustrated. After Samuel, a college president, became too busy to collaborate on books, Babbitt began writing and illustrating children’s books on her own, resulting in more than
a dozen works. Her 1970 novel, Knee-Knock Rise, won a Newbery Honor, and her beloved children’s novel Tuck Everlasting (1975) was twice adapted for film and also became a musical. It’s no surprise that Babbitt, who died in 2016 at age 84, wrote and spoke extensively about children’s literature during her life. Barking with the Big Dogs: On Writing and Reading Books for Children compiles Babbitt’s speeches and articles spanning 34 years, and in many cases the work addresses the “big dogs,” the writers and critics who focus on work meant for adults. “There is no reason why children’s authors should have to serve up the sherbet of the literary feast and be forced to apologize to our colleagues in the adult world
because our creations melt on touch,” Babbitt writes, bringing up a theme she revisits repeatedly in this collection. Some adults are prone to reducing children to a single, monolithic audience. They deserve better, Babbitt argues: “The children I remember had precious little in common.” Children’s books often tackle big questions in a way that’s accessible to still-developing minds. Babbitt knew that; Tuck Everlasting, for example, examined the ever-present shadow of time and the appeal of immortality. Throughout the timeless essays in Barking with the Big Dogs, Babbitt dissects these concepts for her adult audiences. Regardless of the reader’s age, imaginative work can invite people to step out of themselves
and their everyday lives to explore other possibilities. As Babbitt wrote in 1986, “In these terrible days of uncertainty and fear not just for our own individual lives but of the life of our lovely, lonely planet, we need our fantasies more than ever, especially our fantasies of hope.” —CARLA JEAN WHITLEY
BREAKING NEWS By Alan Rusbridger FSG $30, 464 pages ISBN 9780374279622 Audio, eBook available JOURNALISM
What is journalism today? Who should do it, and is there a general agreement on standards and approaches? What about ethics? Technology has dramatically changed how journalism is produced and consumed, and the public often learns about what’s happening (or what allegedly is happening) first from digital devices. Alan Rusbridger, the greatly respected editor-in-chief of Britain’s The Guardian from 1995 to 2015 and a very successful pioneer in internet journalism, was in the thick of this journalistic and technological transformation. Rusbridger’s Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now is a vivid and compelling insider’s account of how he and other journalists, including those in the United States, coped with these changes. “The ultimate defense of journalism is that it remains a public good,” he writes—but how do we measure or value that? Rusbridger was at the helm of The Guardian during rapid changes in the journalistic landscape, and there were no examples to follow. Social media was attracting the users, the technology and the money, leading Rusbridger—and journalists and editors everywhere—to question whether to focus on print or digital output and readerships. How does an
editor bridge these two worlds of print and digital? Most editors like to be in control of their content, but on the internet, no one is in control. The Guardian was, at the time, a tiny organization trying to play in a very big league, yet it still managed to consistently win major awards for both its print edition and its website. Breaking News details how The Guardian managed to land major scoops, including the truth about phone hacking perpetrated by London tabloids and the disclosure of U.S. diplomatic cables. The Guardian received a Pulitzer Prize for the revelations of Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency files, which were first reported on by Glenn Greenwald, who was definitely not a “proper reporter.” Rusbridger asserts that the truth about journalism is, as the late political reporter David Broder wrote, “Partial, hasty, incomplete . . . somewhat flawed and inaccurate,” or as Carl Bernstein, who worked with Bob Woodward to break the Watergate scandal, said, journalism is “the best obtainable version of the truth.” As he concludes his important memoir of a great editor’s experience, Rusbridger acknowledges that no one knows what is going to happen in the news business in the future, but, he writes, “Trust me, we do not want a world without news.” —ROGER BISHOP
WHY WE DREAM By Alice Robb
Eamon Dolan $27, 272 pages ISBN 9780544931213 Audio, eBook available SCIENCE
The science of sleep and its importance to our health seems to be in the news almost every day. But the science of dreams? Not so much. However, though it may lag behind the research on sleep, dream research is catching up; it
turns out that our dreams affect our well-being, too, as Alice Robb writes in her lively, immersive Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey. She writes, “Dreams play a crucial role in some of our most important emotional and cognitive systems, helping us form memories, solve problems and maintain our psychological health.” In Why We Dream, Robb reminds readers that for most of history, dreams were viewed through a spiritual lens. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that sciPaying closer entists tried to attention to study dreams. Some of the our dreams first dream-recan allow us search disto understand coveries were what we may made by be ignoring in nontraditional outsiders; the the daytime. scientist who first documented REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and who connected REM cycles to dreaming, is largely forgotten. Other early dream researchers tried without much success to study dream telepathy and whether dreams could predict natural disasters. Robb neatly uses her own and others’ dream experiences to introduce current research, including how dreams help us learn and remember, recover from trauma and stay mentally healthy. Poor dream recall or lack of dreams can be a risk factor for depression, and middle-aged people who act out their dreams may be at higher risk for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The book also offers a brief guide to lucid dreaming (in which dreamers know they are dreaming), with an entertaining portrait of a lucid-dreaming conference in Hawaii. Paying closer attention to our dreams can allow us to understand what our brains are processing— and what we may be ignoring in the daytime. Robb offers a range of suggestions for better attention to dreams, from keeping a dream journal to starting a dream group. —SARAH McCRAW CROW
ALICE ROBB BY SARAH McCRAW CROW
lice Robb’s book Why We Dream explores the science behind dreams and what we can learn from them.
What was the biggest surprise for you as you wrote Why We Dream? I knew that sifting through the vast amount of dream research that’s been done—and figuring out what was truly scientific and what wasn’t—would be a challenge, but the surprise was that I couldn’t always draw a clear line between the two. One scientist I met has done important research, but he is also open to the idea that dreams can predict the future. The psychologist who developed the method of dream groups that I’ve seen to be effective also did a lot of studies on dreams and telepathy. I found that I had to be open-minded. What is it about lucid dreaming that draws people to conferences to learn about it? In a lucid dream, you are aware that you’re dreaming and might be able to exercise some control over what happens in the dream. I think part of the appeal of lucid dreaming is that it’s an opportunity to experience an unusual state of consciousness in a completely natural way. And you have to sleep anyway! Why We Dream describes how dreams can give us insight into personal problems, as well as ideas for creative projects. But in order to get those insights, we first need to remember our dreams. What do you suggest to improve dream recall? Keeping a dream journal is an easy and effective way to remember more of your dreams. When people start to keep a dream journal, their dream recall skyrockets, even those who think they never remember their dreams. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I write up my dream in the notes app on my phone, just some bulleted notes to help me recall and write about later. I also keep a long-running document on my computer with many thousands of words. Other people speak their dreams into a voice recorder or use a pen-andpaper journal. The other advice I’d give is when you go to bed, think about how you’re going to write in your journal the next morning. Setting the intention will reinforce the habit of remembering and writing. What has changed for you since you began working on this book? I always had pretty vivid dream recall, which made me interested in dreams in the first place, but now I remember dreams pretty much every night, and overall my ability to recall dreams has improved a lot. One thing I wasn’t anticipating: I used to have pretty bad insomnia, and although I still wake up sometimes, I feel much more calm about it. This is partly from learning about how sleep patterns have varied over the centuries; the idea that we need one eight-hour chunk of sleep to be rested is new. Where does Sigmund Freud fit in to the way we understand dreams? Freud is so highly associated with dreams in the popular imagination. When I told people I was writing a book about dreams, Freud would often be the first name to come up. Freud is almost a bridge between old and new; he did help bring dreams into a scientific paradigm, but a lot of his ideas have not been supported and have become cliches. Some of his work probably ended up being detrimental to the field of dream research.
reviews T PI OP CK
STRONGER, FASTER, AND MORE BEAUTIFUL
Stories that move you. Stories that inspire you.
By Laura E. Weymouth
HarperTeen $17.99, 368 pages ISBN 9780062696878 Audio, eBook available Ages 13 and up HISTORICAL FANTASY
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REVIEW BY HILLI LEVIN
The teen years can be taken over by impossible ideals of beauty informed by images of airbrushed bodies that inundate popular media, as well as rigorous college applications that demand impeccable transcripts, off-the-charts test scores and athletic prowess. As genetic science advances—specifically with the experimental protein known as CRISPR that can “cut” chunks of DNA and essentially edit the strands—and with the rising popularity of plastic surgery among teens, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a chilling, necessary look at a near-future world where the quest for human improvement runs amok. Structured like the popular sci-fi Netflix series “Black Mirror,” Arwen Elys Dayton’s novel unfolds in a series of six vignettes that each follows a different young protagonist. In one story reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro’s wrenching classic Never By Arwen Elys Dayton Delacorte, $18.99, 384 pages Let Me Go, a 15-year-old twin wrestles with allowing the heart of his ISBN 9780525580959, audio, eBook available beloved, dying sister to be fused with his own failing organ in order to Ages 14 and up create a “super-heart.” Another story examines the societal repercussions of using biomachinery to save gravely injured trauma patients. SCIENCE FICTION Those who have had their vital organs and limbs rebuilt become targets of intense scorn and hate crimes, while religious pushback against the procedures spirals violently out control. We can’t put the proverbial genie back in the bottle in terms of scientific discovery, but as Dayton proves in these thrilling and often poignant stories, we can, and we should, seriously consider the constraints of what makes us human and the dangers of chasing an ideal.
THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS
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As bombs pelt World War II London, a group of young siblings are transported to another world. Once there, they befriend magical creatures, fight a war, grow into adults and finally, via a majestic stag, return home at the exact moment they departed. If it feels like you’ve read this story before, rest assured The Light Between Worlds still has some surprises in store. Evelyn hasn’t been the same since she abruptly returned from a magical land called the Wood-
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lands six years ago. Each night, she sneaks out of her boarding school to wander the woods, seeking a way back to the world of her heart. Evelyn’s older sister, Philippa, has long been her main source of support, but Philippa’s become so interested in chasing popularity that Evelyn barely recognizes her. Surrounding herself with a swirl of activities has become Philippa’s defense and coping mechanism against her own sadness. When an unexpected development leads Philippa to take a job in the conservation department at the National Gallery, she meets a young man with his own reasons for wanting to repair damaged treasures. The unspoken presence of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia pervades Laura E. Weymouth’s debut novel. How might travelers feel upon finding themselves children again after living half a lifetime in
another world? What could explain a teen’s defection from fantasy, turning instead toward seemingly spurious concerns? And what can someone do when their heart calls them home to a different world? Fans of Narnia and contemporary interpretations like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians will relish The Light Between Worlds. —J I L L R A T Z A N
THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE By Rebecca Barrow HarperTeen $17.99, 400 pages ISBN 9780062494238 eBook available Ages 13 and up FICTION
Dia, Jules and Hanna, the three members of the band Fairground,
TEEN may have been high school students when their music was getting noticed, but Hanna’s addiction and Dia’s unplanned pregnancy broke up the act along with their friendship. When a big music contest announces a $15,000 prize for the winning act, they consider reuniting in order to enter. Hanna’s sober now, but a return to the scene could be triggering. Dia is haunted by ghosts of what could have been with her child’s dad. And Jules might be in love with a near-perfect girl, but she’s distracted by her overblown expectations. Author Rebecca Barrow (You Don’t Know Me but I Know You) uses the contest’s tight timeline to force her characters to reckon with the past, which unfolds in flashbacks. Each young woman has her own issues at home, work and school, and the future and its uncertainty hang over each of them. It’s a pleasure to follow them as they navigate the old hurts and grudges and try to make a new start together. This Is What It Feels Like is a punched-up power chord of a book. Readers will be reminded that it’s possible for friends to grow apart, find their way back together and be stronger than before. — HEATHER SEGGEL
THE DISASTERS By M.K. England
HarperTeen $17.99, 368 pages ISBN 9780062657671 eBook available Ages 14 and up SCIENCE FICTION
In M.K. England’s The Disasters, the Ellis Station Academy is an elite training program for Earth’s next generation of intergalactic pilots, programmers and politicians. Unfortunately for four students, their studies are over before they even begin. Nasir “Nax” Hall is a Muslim farm boy, wannabe pilot and self-proclaimed screw-up. After a disastrous first day at the acad-
emy, he is unceremoniously kicked out along with three other students: Case, a straight-laced genius; Zee, a Kazak footballer with medical training; and Rion, a snarky Brit with a keen sense for diplomacy. But before the teens can be shuttled back to Earth, the academy is attacked and the foursome must make a daring escape. Forced to crash land on a colonial planet called al-Rihla, they discover that they’re being framed for the devastating terror attack. If the four are caught, they’ll surely be executed. With help from a colonial girl, this ragtag group of academy rejects must hide from the authorities while simultaneously trying to prove their innocence. If Nax and his new friends can’t clear their names, then they’re going to die trying. England has created a fastpaced sci-fi adventure story with a diverse cast of likable but flawed teenage heroes. Told through Nax’s point of view, the action is heart-pounding and immediate as these wayward heroes run from one disaster to the next—but there’s also a dash of romance as Nax takes time to consider his attractions to both Case and Rion. Although the most ardent science-fiction fans might balk at the novel’s world building, which resembles Earth a little too closely, readers seeking humor, heart and good storytelling will find it within the pages of The Disasters. — K I M B E R LY G I A R R A T A N O
GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE By Natasha Ngan
JIMMY Patterson $18.99, 400 pages ISBN 9780316561365 Audio, eBook available Ages 14 and up LGTBQ FANTASY
A deft portrayal of female friendship and sexuality, Natasha Ngan’s new novel, Girls of Paper and Fire, is a satisfying tale told almost exclusively through the eyes of strong and courageous young women.
Seventeen-year-old Lei lives in Ikhara, an empire with a caste society that’s based on how much animal-demon blood a person possesses. Lei is part of the lowliest group: the fully human Paper caste. Above her are members of the Steel caste (those with a mix of both human and animal features) and Moon caste (those who are fully demon, and whose members appear to be animals but possess human intelligence and extraordinary strength and abilities). While Lei and her father live in a remote province, the cruel regime has directly touched their lives; Lei’s mother was taken during a raid. Now, years later, Lei is shocked when a caravan of animal-demon soldiers comes to take her to the Demon King’s court as one of his annual batch of concubines known as Paper Girls. Terrified and furious, but knowing that compliance will keep her family safe, Lei enters into the pampered yet horrific life of a Paper Girl imprisoned inside the Hidden Palace. Among the girls, Lei allies with sweet Aoki and graceful Chenna while also making a couple of enemies. But it’s the beautiful and mysterious Wren who most sparks Lei’s interest, and as the two girls become closer, Lei falls into a web of love, intrigue and danger. A touching (and refreshingly steamy) lesbian romance is at the core of this thrilling fantasy, and it adds emotional weight to an otherwise familiar plot. The sexual violence experienced by Ngan’s characters is portrayed as exactly that: traumatic violence, with a range of emotional and physical responses from the victims and no redeeming arc for the male perpetrator. Lei is a compelling narrator because she is so refreshingly commonplace. She’s not a magical chosen one, nor a long-lost heir, nor a sleeper agent. She is simply a young woman whose bravery and passion will be relatable and recognizable to readers of Girls of Paper and Fire, despite the fantastical world that surrounds her.
Printz Honor-winning author Andrew Smith returns with Rabbit & Robot, another audaciously bizarre and bewilderingly funny YA novel. At first glance, Cager Messer is not your normal teenager. He has a manservant. He’s also hopelessly addicted to Woz, a futuristic drug. But in this disquieting future world, where the U.S. has just entered into its 30th simultaneous war, pretty much everyone’s addicted to Woz. That and “Rabbit & Robot,” a television program that keeps children merrily distracted while teaching them all about coding and firearms. But like most teenagers, Cager feels neither normal nor adequate. Luckily, he has two people looking out for him—Rowan, his manservant, and Billy, his one and only true friend. To break his Woz addiction, Rowan and Billy trick Cager into boarding the Tennessee, an interstellar cruise ship staffed by robots so advanced they’re coded with human emotions. Unfortunately, the robots are only so advanced. They tend to have one overriding emotion that informs their character. There’s the perennially enraged Captain Myron; Milo, the despondent yet dutiful maitre d’, who constantly bemoans the sad absurdity of life; and Maurice, a French bisexual giraffe who’s just, well, weird. To make things stranger still, a blue worm has crawled aboard the Tennessee and is disrupting the robots’ codes, turning them into robot cannibals. Part satire, part dystopia and as wholly unique as all of Smith’s previous novels, Rabbit & Robot is one of the strangest and funniest books in recent memory.
—J O N L I T T L E
RABBIT & ROBOT By Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster $18.99, 448 pages ISBN 9781534422209 eBook available Ages 14 and up SCIENCE FICTION
HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR KIDS
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HOLIDAY PICTURE BOOKS BY JULIE HALE
Sweet treats to celebrate the season
ecember is a month for sharing time-honored family traditions, making new memories and—of course—snuggling up with a special story. These celebratory picture books are filled with warmth and holiday cheer.
In The Broken Ornament (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9781416939764, ages 4 to 8), author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi tells a delightful story about the meaning of the holidays. Jack, a wide-eyed lad, can’t get enough of Christmas. “I want more decorations,” he tells his father. “That way Santa will see our house first.” On Christmas Eve, Jack is excited to find a final tree decoration that needs hanging. When he upsets his mother by accidentally breaking the ornament, which turns out to be a heirloom, his hopes for a bright Yuletide are equally shattered. Luckily, enchantment arrives in the form of a winged
pixie named Tinsel—who brings along a few other special guests. With their help, Jack is able to put his Christmas dream back together. Young readers will be entranced by Tinsel, who’s the centerpiece of DiTerlizzi’s glowing illustrations. This beguiling tale is just right for a Christmas Eve read-along.
TREASURED TRADITIONS Jacqueline Jules provides a winning introduction to the rituals of Hanukkah in Light the Menorah!: A Hanukkah Handbook (Kar-Ben, $18.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781512483680, ages 4 to 10). Through eloquent poems and accessible prose, Jules explains the significance of the menorah, looks at the ancient story of Hanukkah and shares advice for celebrating the Jewish holiday. While the menorah candles burn each evening, Jules suggests that families gather for games or an interlude of quiet reflection: “This moment / is a feather-shaped flame / shining in the sacred space / between yesterday /and tomorrow,” she writes in the lovely poem “Fifth Night.” Throughout the book, she stresses the importance of cultivating an open heart and mind. Kristina Swarner’s softly rendered illustrations feature family members young and old, historical scenes and plenty of flickering candles. Recipes, songs and craft
projects make this a book that the kiddos will want to return to year after year.
DECEMBER IN THE WOODS
coaxes her out with a gingersnap and eases her anger. Together, the two of them light the menorah, and when the family gathers for dinner, all is well. Based on Sydney Taylor’s classic tales of Jewish life on the Lower East Side, this heartfelt family story features artwork by Caldecott-winning illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky, whose intriguing artwork captures the spirit of the city’s tenements at the time. With a glossary, a note on sources and a yummy latke recipe, this tale is sure to endure.
Tom Booth’s This Is Christmas (Jeter, $17.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781534410909, ages 4 to 8) A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY captures the spirit of the season through a story of charming woodMaudie Powell-Tuck’s Last Stop land creatures. On Christmas Eve, on the Reindeer Express (Doua wee chipmunk and his mother bleday, $17.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781524771669, ages 3 to 7) is a gather acorns in the forest, where holiday preparations are underway. “What is Christmas, Mama?” the chipmunk asks. “Christmas is many things, little one,” she says. They see beetles with gifts wrapped in blades of grass and hear geese Illustration from Last Stop on the Reindeer Express © 2018 by singing carols Karl James Mountford. Reproduced by permission of Doubleday. overhead. “Will I ever know Christmas?” the chipmunk wonthrilling holiday adventure. Mia ders at bedtime. When he awakens made a special card for Grandpa, to a snow-covered world and joins but he’s too far away to receive it his animal friends for a frolic in in time for Christmas. When she the drifts, he finally discovers the discovers an unusual mailbox with essence of the holiday. Booth’s a door, she steps inside and finds illustrations bring the forest fesherself in the Reindeer Express, tivities to vivid life, and his mother an enchanted, snow-filled realm and son chipmunks have loads of where a reindeer awaits her. Carappeal. This tender little story is a rying Mia on his back, the beast flies over sea and land until they charmer from start to finish. reach their destination: Grandpa’s A TIMELESS HOLIDAY TALE house! Artist Karl James MountSet in 1912 New York City, Emily ford’s dazzling illustrations include Jenkins’ All-of-a-Kind Family Haornate ornaments, cheery Yuletide nukkah (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, trees and elaborate cityscapes, 40 pages, ISBN 9780399554193, which Mia passes over on her ride ages 3 to 7) brims with old-fashthrough the sky. The interactive elioned warmth. Four-year-old ements that appear throughout— Gertie is all set to assist her including doorway flaps that open mother and sisters with Hanukkah and a holiday card—will pique preparations, but she’s forbidden young readers’ interests. With sparto help in the kitchen. Upset, Gerkle aplenty and a plucky heroine, tie hides under a bed until Papa this Christmas tale is a triumph.
YOUNG READERS BY ALICE CARY
Put the world in their hands
ive these gifts, and see young readers’ faces fill with glee. Below, find six picks that encourage hands-on learning, stereotype-free thinking, the power of imagination and more.
Calling all Indiana Jones wannabes: Now there’s a kids’ version of Atlas Obscura, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Workman, $19.95, 112 pages, ISBN 9781523503544, ages 8 to 12), which highlights 100 jaw-dropping places to visit around the globe. Authors Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco chronicle sites like Antarctica’s Blood Falls, an underground town in China built by Mao Tse-tung in the 1960s as a military bunker in case of nuclear attack, a small island in Brazil that’s home to between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead snakes, and the world’s largest model-train setup in Hamburg, Germany. This lively, large-format guide brims with colorful illustrations by Joy Ang, maps and all sorts of geographical excitement.
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD Children who love to build and create will enjoy Discovery Globe (Candlewick, $22.99, 48 pages, ISBN 9780763697488, ages 8 to 12), a step-by-step build-your-own spinning globe kit. With slotted cardboard pieces, wooden dowels and plastic connectors, there’s no glue required here, and once assembled, young builders can spin their globes while paging through the accompanying World Explorer’s Guide (written by Leon Gray), which is filled with fun facts, a glossary, colorful illustrations from Sarah Edmonds and trivia ques-
tions for young globe-trotters.
the likes of Robert Frost (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” A DINOSAUR DELIGHT makes a pitch-perfect appearLearning cool facts about dinoance in January) and less familiar saurs is more fun with Build Your gems like a translated Mescalero Own Dinosaur Museum (Lonely Apache song, this is a celebration Planet, $18.99, 24 pages, of all sorts of weather ISBN 9781788681285, and its impact on ages 6 to 8). Inside is the lives that dwell a “crate” of five fosin biomes such sil exhibits waiting as oceans and to be unpacked forests. Frann and matched Preston-Ganwith the correct non’s big, exhibition. bold and Pretend pacolorful leontologists mixedmust assemble media illusthe color-coded trations are dinosaur fossil what truly pop-ups by slotgive this colting the pieces tolection its wow gether (again, no factor. Readers glue) and inserting will be drawn the finished skeletons right in, whether right into the pages they’re poring over of this fun, a wild ocean Illustration from Power to the Princess © 2018 fact-filled book, storm in April by Julia Bereciartu. Reproduced by permission which looks like or a brightly of Lincoln Children’s Books. the museum of a blazing Noyoung dinosaur lover’s dreams. vember fire. In the introduction, Nosy Crow publisher Kate Wilson A DAILY DOSE OF VERSE explains that this project grew out While Sing a Song of Seasons: A of her desire to re-create her own Nature Poem for Each Day of the favorite childhood book, which Year (Nosy Crow, $40, 336 pages, caused her to fall “in love with ISBN 9781536202472, ages 7 and poetry, with rhyme, with rhythm, up) is a weighty tome, it’s filled with the way that poetry squashed with a wonderful variety of short big feelings, big thoughts, big poems selected by Fiona Waters, things, into tiny boxes of brilliance making each day’s read a welcome for the reader to unpack.” Sing a treat. With beloved poems from Song of Seasons makes a great
read-aloud as well as an enticing treasury for older children.
PROJECT PRINCESS There’s good reason to be a princess if you’re reading Power to the Princess (Lincoln, $17.99, 96 pages, ISBN 9781786032034, ages 8 to 12), written by Vita Murrow and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu. Cast away the old stereotypes, and make room for these smart, independent heroines who span the globe, many of them young women of color. Little Red Riding Hood saves her grandmother and helps relocate those hangry wolves, while Rapunzel becomes a creative architect at her firm, A Braid Above, and designs buildings that people like blind Prince Gothel can navigate. While the social consciousness in these stories can be a bit excessive, they’re an overdue antidote to those outdated princess roles of yore.
MOWGLI RETURNS Billed as a companion to Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel The Jungle Book, Into the Jungle: Stories for Mowgli (Walker, $24.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9781536205275, ages 8 to 12) contains five original stories about Mowgli, Baloo, Kaa and more. Rest assured, this ain’t your Disney Jungle Book, and these tales have a more modern, enlightened outlook as well. They’re created by award-winning children’s writer Katherine Rundell, who spent her childhood in Africa and Europe and whose prose is exciting and exquisite. Icelandic artist Kristjana S. Williams’ plentiful illustrations are colorful collages created with Victorian engravings. A cloth ribbon bookmark takes the appeal of this gorgeous volume over the top.
TEEN BY JILL RATZAN
The gift of less screen time
ooks are easy to use (no charging or downloading required) and will always be in vogue. For the age group that’s the most difficult to buy for, we’ve got reads for musical lovers, Hunger Games fans and DIY crafters.
The Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen, which follows the eponymous teen’s struggle with social anxiety, has taken Broadway by storm. Now, the creators of the show offer another way for fans and newcomers alike to experience Evan’s story through Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel (Poppy, $18.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9780316420235, ages 12 and up). Written in a light, breezy narration, the novel tells the story of how Evan, a teenage loner, takes his therapist’s advice and begins writing letters to himself each day in order to deal with his anxieties and insecurities. But when one of his private notes lands in the wrong hands, Evan accidentally becomes a social media sensation after the note resurfaces at the scene of a classmate’s suicide. Like the musical upon which it’s based, Dear Evan Hansen tackles serious themes—like isolation, mental health, friendship, love, community and the difficulty of telling the truth, even to yourself—in a sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious way that is sure to connect with today’s teens.
A WORTHY TRIBUTE Suzanne Collins’ acclaimed Hunger Games series—perhaps one of the most popular and well-loved YA series of all time—is now available in a gift-ready new package. The Hunger Games:
Special Edition Box Set (Scholastic, $38.97, ISBN 9781338323641, ages 12 and up) celebrates the 10th anniversary of this actionpacked series with new paperbacks that feature luxe foil covers and lots of great bonus material. Fans will relish the longest published interview with Collins to date, a conversation between Collins and the late author Walter Dean Myers, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the series and a timeline of Hunger Games-related events from 2008 to the present.
GET STICHIN’ For crafty teens, there’s Australian embroidery expert Irem Yazici’s Tiny Stitches: Buttons, Badges, Patches, and Pins to Embroider (Roost, $19.95, 128 pages, ISBN 9781611806632, all ages). This guide lays out necessary materials and sewing techniques for needlework newbies, and there are plenty of illustrated examples and step-bystep instructions for projects like pins, patches and buttons. From outdoorsy scenes to cutesy snack items, young readers will be sure to find a pattern to love. Traceable templates allow the budding crafter to immediately deck out their best denim.
I GOT THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT Written by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Frank Morrison, I Got The Christmas Spirit (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 32 pages, ISBN 9781681195285, ages 3 to 6) beautifully shares a little girl’s experience as she traverses the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Morrison’s kinetic illustrations bring the joy of the holidays to life. The Morrisons live in Atlanta, Georgia, with their five children.
Find the perfect cards for the moments that matter. Visit the greeting card department today! For holiday ideas and inspiration, visit sendholidaylove.com
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Author interviews, Book reviews, Holiday gift guide