Books on CD

Dan Brown’s follows the smashing success of Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code with The Lost Symbol, mining similar territory with the recurring character of Robert Langdon and another mystery to be solved. This time the setting is Washington, D.C. Can another Tom Hanks movie be far behind?

My Life in France, Julia Child’s memoir as written with Alex Prud’homme, fills in the blanks the film Julie & Julia didn’t have time to tell. As delightful as the movie and the chef herself, listening to My Life in France will have you running to your kitchen for snacks, as well as opening your cookbooks and attempting an impossible recipe.

After the terrific Under the Banner of Heaven and Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer can do no wrong. He makes another touchdown with Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, another riveting telling of a great tale. Krakauer proves again that he knows how to pick ’em.

College and Beyond

For the jokers, Party Thru College is a complete manual on how to waste your student loans on a four-year, self-indulgent journey to nowhere, and WTF? College offers advice on How to Survive 101 of Campus’s Worst F*#!-ing Situations. Those who are more serious will want to check out Y’s Up: 85 Tips from the Trenches to Help You Succeed in Today’s No-Guarantees Job Market.


As Jane Austen fever shows no sign of abatement, but rather a thirst beyond reason, writers are finding new ways to riff on Austen’s slim oeuvre. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters, continues Winters’ quirky take on the revered writer’s favorites, picking up where Pride and Prejudice and Zombies left off – utterly kooky and delightful.

One of America’s best writers, Richard Russo’s strengths lies in his ability to capture characters and families like no other. That Old Cape Magic, his latest novel, matches the success of his previous works, Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs, as Russo illuminates the Griffin family on a unique journey.

Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You treads similar ground to Jonathan Franzen’s popular The Corrections. Both books follow tragi-comic dysfunctional families in an intelligent and well-written manner that takes the “chick” out of chick-lit both literally and figuratively.

The Wrong Mother, by Sophie Hannah, rips into pure adrenaline mode from the first page. Murder, kidnapping and a well-plotted mystery keep this thriller moving at a rapid clip that makes it near impossible to put down.


Clear-eyed and brilliant, Gwen Ifill’s thoughts on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and George Stephanopoulos’ roundtable cut through the usual bull. Her book, The Breakthrough, not surprisingly, pulls no punches. Studded with insights into race and politics in the Obama Age, Ifill stays current with an updated chapter on the President’s notorious beer summit.

Essays, by Wallace Shawn (the incomparable Vizzini from The Princess Bride [inconceivable!]), gives the reader a rare glimpse into the workings of an original mind. Following the writer’s unique train of thoughts on topics as varied as the Iraq War to “Writing About Sex,” this collection will both entertain and inform.

The rare memoir that inspires on a deeper level than your average sob story, My Father’s Paradise, by Ariel Sabar, transcends its genre. Topical and fearless, the book tells the nearly-forgotten story, through the eyes of an American born descendent, of a small group of Kurdish Jews living in Iraq for nearly 3,000 years.

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire comes with a diamond-studded pedigree. Recently turned into a Sundance Award-winning film, produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, the movie's unlikely success story mirrors the protagonist's trajectory of defying the odds and finding her way.

With an astounding 70 years under its belt, the film version of The Wizard of Oz has not lost an inch of its allure. But what about the creator, L. Frank Baum? Rebecca Loncraine’s The Real Wizard of Oz provides insight and information on the man behind one of the best-loved movies in the world.

Picture Books

Yes we can – look at 150 full-color illustrations of Obama collected by artist Shepard Fairey and Jennifer Gross in Art for Obama. Relive the campaign with these collages, paintings, photo composites, prints and computer-generated pieces, encompassing the country’s desire for change. Read the President’s personal thank-you note to Fairey for his “HOPE” portrait. All of the author’s profits will be donated to Americans for the Arts.

Echoing Woody Allen’s Zelig, or even Waldo from the children’s book series, comes Paul Guinan’s Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. Following the fictional adventures of the world’s oldest robot, Guinan places Boilerplate in photos throughout time and history from the Old West to turn of the century China.

Two gorgeous books that work nearly as well as a time machine, Historic Photos of the Brooklyn Bridge and Historic Photos of Brooklyn, by John M. Manbeck, overflow with images of the romantic New York borough. Beginning in the 1850s and running through to the 1980s, Manbeck’s captions and reflections will make you wish you were there and may even inspire you to take your next vacation to Manhattan’s rival in all things cool.

Kanye, oh, Kanye. You make it hard to love you, but we still do. Glow in the Dark presents images by Nabil Elderkin from his 2008 tour of the same name side by side with his own personal sketches, costume designs from his opening act, plus a CD of previously unreleased instrumentals, including “Jesus Walks” and “Touch the Sky.” Billed as a photographic ride through his life, on and offstage, no doubt this will be wacky and well worth it. Leave it to Kanye to show everything, including images of him being stretched out by his trainer, Harley Pasternak, the “Trainer to the Stars.”

Looking to relive the glory days of grunge? Flip through Grunge, with intimate photos by Michael Lavine and text by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, to see never-before-published pictures of Mudhoney, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Boss Hog, along with portraits of the genre-defining grunge kids. When Sub Pop Records reigned, photographer Lavine was there to capture the look and spirit of the grunge movement. Especially nice are several loving photos of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love circa 1992.

Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Donahue’s Ultraviolet has chosen 69 of the very best black-light posters from the ’60s and ’70s. These pages actually glow under blacklight! Fellow BK-dwellers MGMT contribute the foreword.


Julie & Julia has launched a frenzy of kitchen newbies looking to master Beef Bourguignon and Bruschetta. Enter French Feasts, a mouth-watering collection of 299 classic French recipes from Stéphane Reynaud, owner of Villa 9 Trois in Montreuil, near Paris, and author of Pork & Sons and Terrine.

Got extra time on your hands? Pick up Quilting For Peace, by Katherine Bell, that includes 15 charity projects and 25 inspirational stories of those who quilt for others in need, or Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt, featuring 25 whimsical sewing projects.

Everyone has done it; turned trash into treasure. In Wary Meyers’ Tossed & Found, John and Linda Meyers map out 45 imaginative projects so you can turn cast-offs and refuse into raw material for household furniture.