A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik scores again with his latest effort, Angels and Ages. Entering Sarah Vowell territory, Gopnik explores the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin linked by the same date of birth, Feb. 12, 1809. With humor and a deft touch, Gopnik reveals the profound changes that occurred over the course of these two great men’s lives.
What could be finer than The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952, by Charles M. Schulz? With over 300 pages of comic strips from 1950 to 1952, Charlie Brown fans everywhere can rejoice in this comprehensive collection. An interview with the author rounds out this superb edition (The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 will be available April 29).
Also available: Gary Indiana’s latest, The Shanghai Gesture. The author of Do Everything in the Dark returns to form in this social satire about a small seaside town.
Artist Alex Boies and writer Tim Hodapp team up on Itty Bitty Kitty Ditties to create a sort of children’s book for adults with amusing odes and whimsical drawings about the feline persuasion.
Equally adorable, Frenemies, written by Christine Montaquila, with photographs by Kim Levin, features, not Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, but rather unlikely pairings of cats and dogs.
Phaidon’s gorgeous book, Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton, provides a comprehensive look at Peyton’s contributions to the art world from 1993 to the present. Peyton’s singular vision helped resurrect portraiture from the doldrums and her contemporary spin on celebrities, like Pete Doherty and Kurt Cobain, dusted off the stodginess of figurative painting.
A novelty item for the poetically inclined, Poem in Your Pocket, with selections by Elaine Bleakney, presents itself like a wall calendar with removable pages. Easily torn out, and thus portable, the poems can be thrust in a pocket or folded into a purse and perused at your leisure.
“The perfect gift for curious minds,” James Innes-Smith’s Hew, Screw + Glue (available May 1), provides anecdotes and trivia about a wide variety of items – the subjects ranging from bowling balls to condoms to peanut butter.
A book for someone you really love, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, by David Tanis, transcends the cookbook genre by nearly being a work of art. Throw in The New American Olive Oil by Fran Gage, and you won’t know whether to frame these pages or rush into the kitchen and attempt to create the recipes.
For anyone dealing with an awkward or painful roommate situation, Oonagh O’Hagan’s I Lick My Cheese: And Other Real Notes From the Roommate Frontlines will hit the spot.
Londoner Rob Ryan managed to take his obscure hobby of paper cutouts and turn it into a gold mine in his new book, This is For You. Much like the snowflakes I used to make in grammar school, the artist’s creations take a simple sheet of paper and turn it into a delicate confection complete with images, words and even poetry.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz already promises to be remembered as one of the first classics of the 21st century.
If He’s Just Not That Into You left you wanting more, why not delve into Helen Fisher’s Why Him? Why Her? With an intriguing twist on the relationship genre, the author posits a theory that there are four basic personality types and once you know your type, you can narrow down the search for what would best suit you.
Not for the scientifically feeble, Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible, provides a passport into the world of “phasers, force fields, teleportation and time travel.” For those tangled up in the web of “Lost,” this book explores the tangible realities of a future filled with science fiction.
For the environmentalist trapped in each of us, but too preoccupied to escape, comes the much-needed The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget by Josh Dorfman. Brimming with simple tips on saving the planet without blowing a gasket, Dorfman breaks down the possible from the impossible.
Well, maybe more like pseudo-science, Stephanie Gailing’s Planetary Apothecary uses astrology to give advice on health and wellness.
Recommended Spring Reading: Dust Off Your Mind