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Welcome to the 2015 Politics and Prose Holiday Newsletter. As we have in past years, we’ve tried to select the best—and most beautiful—recent books, fiction and nonfiction, to help you with gift-giving.

It’s also traditional to emphasize how difficult making these choices has been—it’s not just a matter of so many books, but of so many truly wonderful books. This year there’s been an especially impressive outpouring of short fiction and memoirs, but you’ll find bookseller favorites on all subjects here. Enjoy!

Pages

Like the legendary Silk Road, The White Road (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27) is a route of wonders. Edmund de Waal’s fifth book is about the “white gold” that is porcelain, and porcelain is about geology and alchemy, shards and ewers, Jesuits, emperors, and Swedenborg’s angels—it’s a rich, multi-faceted story that de Waal, a world-renowned ceramicist who “write[s] books, too,” follows from China to Versailles to Meissen to Plymouth. Along the way he charts where it darkens with exploitation, war, and the Nazis’ brand of figurines, but more often reports the efforts of craftsmen and apothecaries to perfect the balance of porcelain’s kaolin and other (often secret) ingredients, and to discover the best temperatures for firing the clay to its wondrous luminescence. This quest leads de Waal, like so many others, to develop a life-long case of porzellankranheir, “porcelain sickness”—a condition reminiscent of tulip-mania. As he did in his unforgettable The Hare with Amber Eyes, de Waal makes history personal; he is passionate about porcelain, and his exquisitely textured language brings you into the hearts, minds, and hands of some of the world’s most virtuosic—and colorful—artisans of the white clay.

The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374289263
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2015

The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250097323
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador USA - November 1st, 2016

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