Suzanne DeGaetano Macâ€™s Backs Books on Coventry Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (Viking, 9/09) David Byrne of Talking Heads fame rides a bike in New York City and brings a folding bicycle with him on his worldwide travels. This book is a commentary and meditation on various global urban issues, illustrated with lots of postcard style photos. Andrew Matson from the Seattle Times wrote that reading Bicycle Diaries is like having a beer with a philosophy professor. Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City by Anthony Flint (Random House, 7/09) This book is a fascinating account of how Jane Jacobs, author of Life and Death of Great American Cities and one of the founders of the new urbanism movement, built a coalition to prevent Robert Moses from building an expressway through NYC neighborhoods in the 1960's. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (Viking, 8/09) Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking and other books has written a thought provoking history of how people come together to help each other cope during disasters, looking in depth at Katrina, 9/11 and the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, among other events. The question the book raises is how can we find these better selves when we are not experiencing calamity? More Things Like This by Editors at McSweeney's (Chronicle, 10/09) "289 Drawings with Funny Words also on the Same Drawing"just about sums up this art book created by cartoonists, illustrators, writers and musicians. Some contributors include David Mamet, Leonard Cohen and Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Darger. Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain (Arsenal Pulp 9/09) Beautify your city with textile street art! This full color DIY guidebook also has interviews with yarn bombers coming soon to a neighborhood near yours. Map as Art by Katharine A. Harmon (Princeton Architectural Press, 9/09) Katherine Harmon's previous book, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination was irresistible and so is this latest endeavor.This book contains 360 full color works of map-related art. The Cave Man by Xiaoda Xiao (Two Dollar Radio, 12/09) I read an excerpt of this novel in Book Forum and it still haunts me. A wrongly imprisoned man is placed in solitary confinement in a very small space for nine months. After surviving this torture he must integrate into the prison population and ultimately into society. The author spent seven years in jail and labor camps after tearing a picture of Mao in 1971. He now lives in Massachusetts. The Boat by Nam Le (paperback publication Vintage, 8/09) This book was the choice of many as one of the best books published in 2008 and it is now out in paperback. Nam Le was born in Vietnam and raised in Australia. This is an astounding collection of short stories. The first story in the book, "Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice" transports the reader to the trenches of the My Lai massacre. Unforgettable. An Expensive Education by Nick McDonnell (Atlantic Monthly Press, 8/09) This book is a pitch perfect intrigue, flawlessly executed. A Harvard professor has just won a Pulitzer Prize for her book profiling Hatashil, an African freedom fighter. Meanwhile, other powerful Harvard alumnae are trying to discredit her and destabilize Hatashil's country while a Harvard intelligence operative is trying to sort it all out. Compelling and very hard to put down. McDonnell is the author of Twelve, published to much acclaim in 2003 when the author was only 17. Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (Ballantine 8/09) Dan Chaon is a hometown favorite and this novel would be my pick even if he wasn't a Clevelander. Await Your Reply is an extraordinary literary thriller that expertly weaves together three story lines. Artful, compelling and suspenseful, the book has received terrific reviews. Janet Maslin in the New York Times wrote: "Like the finest of his storytelling heroes, Mr. Chaon manages to bridge the gap between literary and pulp fiction with a clever, insinuating book equally satisfying to fans of either genre." Two more just for fun: I Saw You edited by Julia Wertz (Three Rivers Press, 2/09) is a collection of comics inspired by the Missed Connections ads placed on Craigslist. Also, 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry by Henrik Lange (Nicotext, 3/09) Each classic told in 4 cartoon panels, one page each. Very apt and funny.Both books like catnip at the counter. Nicotext is the publisher of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye--- the book's US publication was blocked by J. D Salinger.