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Cover to Cover

Cover to Cover is a monthly P&P Staff Pick, the book we’ve all been reading & recommend, cover to cover.

Should your ideal book be best described as ‘peculiar’ or perhaps ‘containing tentacles’ then Preparing the Ghost is for you. This book is the real-life story of Harvey Moses, who, in 1874, obtained a dead giant squid from some fishermen and paid them to deliver it to his house. He draped the squid over his bathtub and a local photographer took the first known photo of what until then had been largely considered a mythical creature.
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$22.95
ISBN-13: 9780871402837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 7/2014

Pat's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Crime Novels & Historical Fiction
  2. Cultural Analysis & Connections
  3. Film History, Analysis & How-To
  4. The Creative Process
  5. Sentiment > Sentimentality

click here to see more of my recommendations.

What makes you happy? You’re bound to find something in Amy Schwartz’s new picture book, 100 Things That Make Me Happy (Abrams Appleseed, $16.95). Using simple rhymes and vibrant illustrations, Schwartz shares her favorite things, from city lights and starry nights—each of which covers an entire page—to pony rides/shiny slides and submarines/jelly beans, playing across a single page. Children will enjoy this colorful tribute to many things they recognize, and look forward to visiting their favorites again and again. Ages 2-5. HWP

Pat
$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781419705182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Appleseed, 10/2014

Picture Books

Hannah's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Mystery
  2. Drama
  3. History
  4. Fantasy/Kids
  5. “Classics”

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Whether it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, or being the person we would have had to invent had she not existed, Coco Chanel defined an era, one that would be impossible to imagine without her. Poised at the dawn of a new way of life, Chanel changed not just fashion but the very fabric of women’s lives during the tumultuous early years of the 20th century. But at what price? Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History (Random House, $35) is the first book to fully examine Chanel’s relationship with the world around her. While other worthy biographies have explored her personal life or the darker side of her industry in the 1940s, Rhonda K. Garelick, also the author of Rising Star and Electric Salome, gives real historical weight to the life of a woman who experienced more triumph and tragedy than one life should hold. Meticulously researched and written with genuinely infectious curiosity, Mademoiselle is an excellent read for a wide audience; fashion lovers and historians unite!
Hannah
$35.00
ISBN-13: 9781400069521
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House, 9/2014

2014 Holiday Newsletter, Biography & Memoir, Fashion

Alan's

Literary

Top 5

  1. DC-Area Playwrights!
  2. Tony Horwitz
  3. Bertrand Russell
  4. Sherman Alexie
  5. Orson Scott Card T Cooper

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If Graham Greene were writing his boozy, pointed, and insect-infested thrillers in a post-9/11 world, they would be like The Laughing Monsters (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25). The novel tells the story of a veteran spy with fluid affiliations and fickle loyalties attempting to monetize instability in Central Africa. Operating in a socio-political atmosphere defined by sectarian interests and a War on Terror, Denis Johnson’s spy must navigate both this new paradigm and his feelings for his partner/target/fixer’s fiancée. As in his previous work, notably Tree of Smoke and Train Dreams, Johnson demonstrates lyricism and emotional agility, coupling his elegant prose with a plot soaked in grimy realism. The Laughing Monsters provokes as it entertains; this is a literary journey not to be missed.
Alan
$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780374280598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 11/2014

 
2014 Holiday Newsletter, Fiction, Overseas

Laurie's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Poetry
  2. Genre-defying books
  3. NYRB Classics
  4. Art Exhibit Catalogs
  5. Remainders

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Forget stereotyped images of the alienated, aloof hacker—but keep the passion that drives the computer-obsessed to extreme lengths of sleep deprivation, poor diet, and perfectionism. As both a novelist and computer programmer, Chandra is less a tech geek than a language geek, and his essays are as fluent about Sanskrit as they are about Java and C+. This is one of those amazing books that has both a specific focus and a wide range of subjects; while musing on logic gates and the infinite suggestiveness of poetry, Chandra discusses the history of women in computers, Tantric practices, circular writing, Western and Eastern views of the poet (one is a maker, the other a seer/revealer), and the experience of writing fiction, commonly agreed upon by writers as “hell,” from which Chandra finds coding software, difficult as it is, a relief.

Laurie
$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781555976859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press, 9/2014

Literature & Essays

Anton's

Literary

Top 5

  1. science fiction and fantasy
  2. Russia, USSR, and the Cold War
  3. Buddhism and meditation
  4. learning live, dead, or simply unconscious languages
  5. bacon! (the presence of an exclamation mark can either mean I am excited about bacon, or it can indicate that this is the factorial function of bacon—you decide).

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No matter what you think of Amanda Palmer, read her memoir and be moved by its daring and honesty. It's as bold and raw as her music, and a great read even if you are not a musician strapped for cash.The Art of Asking is about being unafraid to ask for help, showing vulnerability, and about being a woman trying to have a career her own way.
Anton
$27.00
ISBN-13: 9781455581085
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing, 11/2014

Music, Self Help

Mark L's

Literary

Top 5

  1. Books complex or confounding enough to spur discussion
  2. Literary fiction, whatever that means
  3. Cookbooks and foodie books
  4. Discovering new voices—poetry and prose—fiction and non
  5. Denis Johnson, Barry Hannah and other mad scientists

click here to see more of my recommendations.

In addition to her Cromwell novels, both of which focus on the same protagonist, Hilary Mantel’s work shows off a range of styles and a rich diversity of subjects. Consistent throughout, however, is a commitment to quality. Her new collection of short fiction, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (Holt, $27), is as dazzling as her previous work. The opening story, “Sorry to Disturb,” is a complex sketch of an English woman living in Saudi Arabia. She is frustrated and bored by the strictures of Saudi customs and the complications that arise when simple courtesy encourages unwanted advances. The story “How Shall I Know You?” recounts the overnight adventure of an author who agrees to speak before a neighborhood literary society; Mantel describes how expectations crash into reality with very funny results. These fictions are rich in predicament and flawless in execution.
Mark L.
$27.00
ISBN-13: 9781627792103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co., 9/2014

2014 Holiday Newsletter, Electrifying Short Fiction, Fiction