Heart of Things
Somehow director Steven Soderbergh makes it all look so easy. With a career that encompasses Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic and Out of Sight, his new book, The Philosophy of Steven Soderbergh, provides insight into an original mind.
Another true talent, Busby Berkeley gets the full once over in Jeffrey Spivak’s Buzz. The man behind some of Hollywood’s most lavish musicals lived a private life as interesting as his public one.
Flight of Heart
New in paperback, Amy Greene’s Bloodroot offers just the right amount of romance, magic and regional flavor. The perfect read for a weekend getaway.
Another saga, The Lake of Dreams indulges in the collective fantasy of uncovering long lost family secrets. Kim Edwards, the author of the popular The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, does it again, producing a page turning, moving work.
Allen Shawn writes mesmerizingly of an interrupted childhood with his autistic sister in Twin. The memoir throbs with the author’s ache when his sibling, with little notice, gets sent off to an institution at the tender age of eight.
Another memoir capitalizing on the popularity of “Hoarders,” Dirty Secret is writer Jessie Sholl’s tale of coming to terms, and trying to tackle, her own mother’s difficult disorder.
Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected reminds us what happens in life when the bubble bursts. Sarah Nickerson, a successful career woman and mother, must relearn how to live her life after a severe car accident and finds that taking the scenic route in life might be just what she needs.
If finishing The Hunger Games left a gaping hole in your life, Cameron Stracher’s The Water Wars aims to fill it. Set in a dystopian future where the lack of water trumps all else, this adventure tale will keep you turning pages far into the night.
As if looking in our soul’s mirror, Alison Espach captures adolescent angst with insight and wit in The Adults. The narrator’s eye for detail in a swiftly crumbling household chills to the bone.
Even if a Valentine’s vacay is a financial impossibility, Steve Heimoff’s A Wine Journey Along the Russian River is almost as good as the real thing. Read it with a loved one and a bottle of red.
For over a century, girls have treasured Little Women. Susan Cheever’s biography, Louisa May Alcott, reveals the person behind the timeless and affecting classic.
Another author who captivates generations of readers finds himself captured in Kenneth Slawenski’s J.D. Salinger. The famously reclusive writer emerges, fully human in this well-researched opus.
Cook your girlfriend a recipe from Jacques E. Haeringer’s Two for Tonight, and she’ll be putty in your hands. The chef of L’Auberge Chez François’ book bursts with mouth-watering recipes, like cinnamon mousse.
Patricia Meyer Spacks’ new annotated version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice illuminates every detail of the ultimate, swoony girl-meets-boy tale.
Skip a Beat
A tantalizing combination of sumptuous and informative, Designs on Film, by Cathy Whitlock, showcases a hundred years of art direction in cinema. Brimming with photo stills spanning from The Wizard of Oz to Edward Scissorhands, this book will enable your favorite movie junkie, in the best way.
Another terrific gift for your kid-at-heart boyfriend, J.W. Rinzler’s The Sounds of Star Wars combines memorabilia with gadgetry. This tome covers the wonky side of aural effects with all the charms of a toy, providing an actual speaker that plays the “star destroyer rumble” and the “father vs. son lightsaber duel.”
It may not be possible to buy the object of your affection an original work of art, but Bridget Riley: Flashback, a gorgeous survey of the artist by Michael Bracewell and Robert Kudielka is a terrific substitute for the visually inclined.
Zippy and nutritional, The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark gives personal favorites from the likes of Michel Gondry and Richard Linklater and sheds new light on old favorites, like The Godfather.
Warm the Cockles
One of those books that you can’t help but pass on to a friend, Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters injects wit and originality into the sibling genre. The eponymous sisters, each at a crossroads, struggle with relationships and each other while doing their best to grow up.
Loretta Lynn’s incredible but true autobiography of growing up in tiny Butcher Holler, getting married at 13, having babies and miraculously becoming a huge country star gets told to perfection in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Heart of Things