PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST CELEBRITY TELL-ALLS OF THE YEAR (PART ONE)

Oh! We so love tattletales, books that reveal the underbellies of stars and singers and criminals and musicians and authors and frauds. Even if they are written the celebs themselves.
Our picks for the best of 2019 . . .


Since he never wrote his memoirs and seldom appeared on television, most people have little sense of Mike Nichols’ searching intellect or his devastating wit. They don’t know that Nichols, the great American director, was born Mikail Igor Peschkowsky, in Berlin, and came to this country, speaking no English, to escape the Nazis.
Life isn't everything: Mike Nichols, as remembered by 150 of his closest friends. They don’t know that Nichols was at one time a solitary psychology student, or that a childhood illness caused permanent, life-altering side effects. They don’t know that he withdrew into a debilitating depression before he “finally got it right,” in his words, by marrying Diane Sawyer.
In Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends (Henry Holt and Co., $30), Ash Carter and Sam Kashner offer an intimate look behind the scenes of Nichols’ life, as told by the stars, moguls, playwrights, producers, comics and crewmembers who stayed loyal to Nichols for years. This volume is also a snapshot of what it meant to be living, loving, and making art in the 20th century.


Why recommend Free, Melania (Flatiron Books, $27.99) about woman who’s to the most discipicable piece of scum in the world? She’s not stupid. She married the asshole because she got a green card and lots of moolah should he leave her for say, Stormy Daniels.
Free, Melania: The Unauthorized BiographyThis “First Lady” thinks she’s the “new” Jackie Kennedy, mainly because her Sugar Daddy buys her expen$sive duds she could never have afforded if she stayed back in Slovenia. Now that we think about it, use the book for kindling.


A Wild and Precious Life (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99) is remarkable portrait of an iconic woman. Queer Edie Windsor became internationally famous when she sued the U.S. government, seeking federal recognition for her marriage to Thea Spyer, her partner of more than four decades. The Supreme Court ruled in Edie’s favor, a landmark victory that set the stage for full marriage equality in the US. Beloved by the LGBTQ community, Edie embraced her new role as an icon; she had already been living an extraordinary and groundbreaking life for decades.
A Wild and Precious Life: A MemoirIn this memoir, which she began before passing away in 2017 and completed by her co-writer, Edie recounts her childhood in Philadelphia, her realization that she was a lesbian, and her active social life in Greenwich Village’s electrifying underground gay scene during the ’50s. She was also one of a select group of trailblazing women in computing, working her way up the ladder at IBM and achieving their highest technical ranking while developing software.


More notable queer writing: How We Fight for Our Lives (Simon & Schuster, a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Saeed Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.


Nikki Haley is widely admired for her forthright manner (“With all due respect, I don’t get confused”), her sensitive approach to tragic events and her confident representation of America’s interests as our Ambassador to the United Nations during times of crisis and consequence.
In With All Due Respect (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99), Haley offers a first-hand perspective on major national and international matters, as well as a behind-the-scenes account of her tenure in the Trump administration.
With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and GraceThis book reveals a woman who can hold her own―and better―in domestic and international power politics, a diplomat who is unafraid to take a principled stand even when it is unpopular, and a leader who seeks to bring Americans together in divisive times.


We never liked him when he shackled Princess Di. We never liked him when married a horse named Camilla. But we do like King Charles: The Man, the Monarch, and the Future of Britain (Diversion Books, $27.99). With exclusive interviews and extensive research, Robert Jobson debunks the myths about the man who will be king, going beyond banal, bogus media caricatures of Charles to tell his true story.
King Charles: The Man, the Monarch, and the Future of BritainJobson―who has spent nearly 30 years chronicling the House of Windsor, and has met Prince Charles on countless occasions―received unprecedented cooperation from Clarence House, the Prince’s office, in writing this illuminating biography.


Sir Ian McKellen has starred in more than 400 plays and films; he is that rare character, a celebrity whose distinguished political and social service has transcended his international fame to reach beyond the stage and screen.
Ian McKellen: A BiographyThe breadth of his career―professional, personal and political―has been truly staggering; add his tireless political activism in the cause of gay equality and you have a veritable phenomenon. Garry O’Connor’s Ian McKellen: A Biography (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) probes the heart of the actor, recreating his greatest stage roles and exploring his personal life.


Stan Lee was the most famous American comic book creator who ever lived. A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) presents the origin of “Stan the Man,” who spun a storytelling web of comic book heroic adventures into a pop culture phenomenon: the Marvel Universe.
A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan LeeHow he got to that place is a story that has never been fully told―until now. Danny Fingeroth’s  book attempts to answer some of those questions. It is the first comprehensive biography of this powerhouse of ideas who, with his invention of Marvel Comics, changed the world’s ideas of what a hero is and how a story should be told.


Princess Leia is gone, she flew off into the stars in 2016. In Carrie Fisher: A life on the Edge (Sarah Crichton Books , $30) Sheila Weller’s turns her talents to one of the most loved, brilliant, and iconoclastic women of our time: actress, writer, daughter and mother Carrie Fisher.
We follow Fisher’s acting career, from her debut in Shampoo, the hit movie that defined mid-’70s Hollywood, to her seizing of the plum female role in Star Wars, which catapulted her to instant fame. We explore her long, complex relationship with Paul Simon and her relatively peaceful years with the talent agent Bryan Lourd.
Carrie Fisher: A Life on the EdgeWeller sympathetically reveals the conditions that Fisher lived with: serious bipolar disorder and an inherited drug addiction. Still, despite crises and overdoses, her life’s work―as actor, novelist and memoirist, script doctor, hostess and friend―was prodigious and unique. We witness her startling leap―on the heels of a near-fatal overdose―from actress to highly praised, bestselling author, the Dorothy Parker of her place and time.


No one needs to say farewell to Sir Elton John since there are two fascinating book about the original rocket man. In Me (Henry Holt and Co. , $30), his first and only official autobiography, John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation to conquering Broadway.
Me: Elton John Official Autobiography All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade. In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing.
An ideal companion: Elton John by Terry O’Neill: The Definitive Portrait, With Unseen Images (Cassell, $34.99). John and O’Neill worked together for many years, taking more than 5,000 photographs.
Elton John by Terry O Neill: The definitive portrait with unseen imagesFrom intimate backstage shots to huge stadium concerts, the photographs in this book represent the very best of this archive, with most of the images being shown here for the first time. O’Neill has drawn on his personal relationship with John to write the book’s introduction and captions.


In The Bourbon King: life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition’s Evil Genius (Diversion Books, $27.99), Bob Batchelor breathes life into theThe Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius tale of George Remus is a grand spectacle and a lens into the dark heart of Prohibition. That is, before he came crashing down in one of the most sensational murder cases in American history: a cheating wife, the G-man who seduced her and put Remus in jail, and the plunder of a Bourbon Empire. Remus murdered his wife in cold-blood and then shocked a nation winning his freedom based on a condition he invented—temporary maniacal insanity.


JAY-Z: Made in America (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99) is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson’s decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced . . . as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he’s sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he’s been for so long.
JAY-Z: Made in AmericaThis book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z’s career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today.


Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in Janis: Her Life and Music (Simon & Schuster, $28.99), Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it.
Janis: Her Life and MusicShe was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.


 

PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST TOYS & GAMES OF THE YEAR

ThinkFun has  perfect name: They are the world’s leader in brain and logic games, wonders that make you think and have fun. Their gems develop critical skills and builds visual perception and reasoning skills through fun game play. This year we relish Heads Talk Tails Walk, a matching game that’s just as fun for parents as it is for kids.
Can you hop like a frog while clucking like a chicken? The hilarious sounds and movements you have to make to pay make this a great game to play together with your toddler, and a great gift for both parents and children.
We heard that Santa, his missus and 99.7 % of his gnomes howled over Invasion of the Cow Snatchers, whose nifty sci-fi cover promises a game in which players “mooove the magnets”.
The game comes with
a game grid, 60 challenge cards with solutions (that become increasingly difficult as you play through them), 6 magnetic tokens including a UFO, 4 cows, a bull, 9 walls, 1 silo, 5 crop circles and instructions. Got milk?

Players really think when playing Thinking Putty Puzzle in which you connect the same-colored dots by creating same-colored paths of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty without crossing different colored Thinking Putty paths. It’s unique play experience makes it one of the best gifts for boys and girls ages 8 and older. We promise!


And the Password is . . . “great”.  Based on the famous ’60s TV game show, Endless Games has resurrected and revived the classic TV game show. Teams of two square off to see who can guess the secret password first.
Communicate wisely because players can give only one-word clues . . . the fewer the clues the higher the score.
The game includes 50 Password cards, scoring indicator dial, score pad, 2 “Magic Window” Revealers and Instructions. For game nights, this family friendly game is perfect for kids, teens, and adults.


Get ready to play Endless Games’  AKA, the game that says the things you know but in other words . . . you know, also known as. You’ll guess people, place, and things from words that mean the same thing. Let us tease you: Do you know the Disney movie Also Known As The Tiny Fish Woman or the superhero Also Known As Arachnid Guy? Of course you do: The Little Mermaid and Spider-Man!
The rules are easy to learn and the game is difficult to stop playing. The game is AKA great family fun!


Everyone wishes for the chance to win a bundle on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. But face it: The odds of being chosen for the Big Time is, well, small. So we’re turning over the cards to show you a different way to enjoy the fun. Endless Games has had the brilliance to turn the game shows into card games.
With the Jeopardy! Card Game, each deck plays out like a full episode, complete with Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! rounds. How much will you bet?
Think of this one as a vowel movement. Shuffle the deck and flip your way through the Wheel of Fortune Card Game; then call out a letter and try to solve the puzzle in the puzzle deck. Just look out for that Bankrupt card.
Both make great
party favors, stocking stuffers and travel buddies.
There are also Junior Editions of each card game, ideal for those ages 8-12.


Forget Barbie. Meet Blaire, the 2019 American Girl of the Year. She’s a chef-in-training, party planner and chicken wrangler at her family’s farm and restaurant. The 18-inch doll has bright green eyes that open and close, curly red hair and movable head and limbs. She’s also a fashion doll: Blaire’s favorite dress features a bumblebee print and gathered tie; she has a sunny yellow bandanna bracelet she wears while gardening and there’s a nifty pair of purple platform sandals.
Want more exciting American Girl news? There are now Smart Girl’s Guide Kits made by American Girl. Each includes an advice book, whimsical extras and a mini American Girl Doll.
AMERICAN-GIRL-DOLL-SMART-GIRL-039-S-GUIDE-KIT-SPORTS-AND-FITNESS-NEW-NEVER-USED Our fave (so far) is Sports & Fitness; this kit features: Smart Girl’s Guide: Sports & Fitness book; American Girl water bottle; purple cinch bag; inspirational bracelets and a mini American Girl doll


 

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2019 GIFT GUIDE: THE YEAR’S BEST BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG-AT-HEART

From Advocate to Feminist, Grassroots to Queens, and Revolutionary to Zeal, The ABCs of AOC(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $13.99) introduces readers to values, places and issues that relate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s life and platform. A clear and engaging explanation of each term is paired with a stunning, contemporary illustration that will delight readers. This is an alphabet book, an  empowering and informative book, that’s the perfect conversation starter for young people interested in government and activism.

Just think! A trip to Down Under without the expenses or passport.  Outback: The Amazing Animals of Australia: A Photoicular Book (Workman Publishing, $26.95) uses Photicular technology that’s like a 3-D movie on the page, this book whisks you to the vast, remote world of wild Australia, where heat waves dance forever and animals, isolated by the vagaries of continental drift, are unlike those found anywhere else on Earth.
Each moving image delivers a rich, immersive visual experience—and the result is breathtaking. The kangaroo hops. A wombat waddles. The frilled lizard races on two legs across the desert floor. A peacock spider dances and shows off its vibrant colors. A superb experience!


Unearth a wealth of weird, wacky and wild facts about dinosaurs, told in Mike Lowery’s signature comic style with bright and energetic artwork, fresh framing devices and hilarious jokes in Everything Awesome about Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Beasts (Orchard Books, $16.99).
This will be the go-to book for dinosaur enthusiasts that kids will put in their backpacks and obsess over, bridging the gap between encyclopedic nonfiction content and lighter picture book fare, filling the need with a one-stop shop for the legions of 6-9 year-olds who want to know absolutely everything there is to know about dinosaurs. Everything.


Are you ready to swing? Discover the wonders of jazz with Welcome to Jazz (Workman Publishing , $24.95), an interactive swing-along picture book whose 12 sound chips will introduce readers to the instruments of jazz—the rhythm section with its banjo, drums, and tuba, and the leads, like the clarinet, trumpet and trombone.
And you’ll hear singers scat, improvising melodies with nonsense syllables like be-bop and doo-we-ah!
Along the way, you’ll learn how this unique African American art form started in New Orleans, and how jazz changed over time as innovative musicians like King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday added their own ideas to it.
Press the buttons to hear the band, the rhythms and the singer calling out: “Oh when the saints—oh when the saints. . . “


The Christina Starspeeder saga continues in Attack of the Furball (Scholastic Inc., $12.99) a laugh-out-loud epic from author Amy Ignatow and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka in the bestselling series, Star Wars: Jedi Academy.
As told through a mix of comics, doodles and journal entries, it’s a new year at Jedi Academy. Christina Starspeeder made it through her first year at the advanced Jedi Academy . . . barely.. And year two isn’t looking any easier.
When working on the planet Cholganna, Christina falls in love with a baby nexu, a cat-like creature who’s fluffiness is impossible to resist. But when she sneaks “Fluffernut” into the dorms, Christina slowly begins to realize why it’s never a good idea to take wild animals for pets.  Fluffernut begins growing and growing . . . she’ll eventually grow to be 14 feet long and 3 feet tall! Will this be the end of Christina’s Jedi Academy career?


The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Workman Publishing, $19.95) is a thrilling expedition to 100 of the most surprising, mysterious and weird-but-true places on earth.
For curious kids, this is the chance to embark on the journey of a lifetime—and see how faraway countries have more in common than you might expect.
Hopscotch from country to country in a chain of connecting attractions: Explore Mexico’s glittering cave of crystals, then visit the world’s largest cave in Vietnam. Peer over a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia, then learn how Antarctica’s Blood Falls got their mysterious color. Or see mysterious mummies in Japan and France, then majestic ice caves in both Argentina and Austria.  passports not needed.


Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom From Everyone’s Favorite Neighbor (Clarkson Potter , $15) is for the young . . . and young-at-heart.
With colorful illustrations and quotes that touch on themes of kindness, empathy, self-care, respect and love, this feel-good (re)introduces and reminds us that we are special, we must be generous with our gratitude, remember to have fun and feed the fish and that all kinds of feelings are okay.


He’s hot and hunky and waiting to be your boyfriend. Sort of. If Keanu Were Your Boyfriend: The Man, the Myth, the WHOA! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $13.00) is  part biography and part dreamlike narrative, an  imagination to dating the Internet’s boyfriend, Keanu Reeves.

Apparently, Keanu’s humility knows no bounds, just like our love for him. After all, the Keanusance didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s had an epic 40-year career that includes the heart-stopping John Wick, the heart-melting Always Be My Maybe, and the heart-pounding The Matrix. His generosity and kindness are legendary, and he remains an enigmatic mystery we’re dying to solve.


Paint by Sticker Kids includes everything you need to create twelve vibrant, full-color “paintings.” The images are rendered in “low-poly,” a computer graphics style that creates a 3-D effect.
As in paint-by-number, each template is divided into dozens of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular colored sticker.
Paint by Sticker Kids: Unicorns and MagicFind the sticker, peel it and place it in the right space. Add the next, and the next, and the next—it’s an activity that’s utterly absorbing as you watch a “painting” emerge from a flat black-and-white illustration to a dazzling image with color, body, spirit. The pages are perforated for easy removal, making it simple to frame the completed images. Workman has a slew of such artistic adventures.
Paint by Sticker Kids: Unicorns & Magic (Workman Publishing, $9.95) are recent addition to the bestselling series.  Theses boredom-busting activity books features a dazzling array of magical creatures including an enchanted cottage, a mystical wizard casting a spell, a sparkling mermaid, and more.
Paint by Sticker Kids: ChristmasAnd with Paint by Sticker Kids: Christmas ($9.95) the fun continues. From a sparkling Christmas Tree to a fluffy snowman, this activity book is packed with 10 playful illustrations that will get every kid in the holiday spirit.


How about a wild adventure? Venture around the world with Coyote Peterson with Wildlife Adventure: An Interactive Guide With Facts, Photos, and More! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $12.99).
Peterson teaches fans how to discover the animals in their own backyard before whisking them away to learn more about the desert, rainforest, savanna, even more epic locations.
Wildlife Adventure: An Interactive Guide with Facts, Photos, and More! (Brave Wilderness)Members of the Coyote Pack will be able to go on endless adventures through 10 photographic scenes that can be decorated with this guide’s hundreds of stickers. Jam-packed with animal facts, gear check-lists, write-in activities, Coyote Pack badges and much more, this guide is the perfect holiday gift for boys and girls of all ages. Be brave and stay wild.
A perfect companion: Epic Encounters in the Animal Kingdom (tk), Coyote Peterson, is back with the sequel to the bestselling Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World. Once again, Coyote and his crew voyage to new environments and encounter an even more eclectic ensemble of the planets’ animals.
From a slimy octopus to elusive tree climbing lizards to nomadic wolverines, this book promises to be another fast-paced, wild experience.

Ugh. The beginning of a new year means planning, rescheduling, cancelling and planning and rescheduling again. And again. And again.  Welcome Beth Evans’ nifty I Can’t Wait to Cancel This: A Planner For People Won’t Don’t Like People (Morrow Gift, $14.99), an undated monthly (un)planner featuring a dozen never-been-seen-before cartoons from the delightfully unconventional Evans.
I Can’t Wait to Cancel This includes 12 month sections that can be started anytime—just circle the appropriate month listed at the top of the section page—each illustrated with a never-been-seen-before cartoon, as well as four- week-long spreads broken down into seven-day slots. It also features a portfolio pocket on the inside back cover, an elastic closure and original cover art created by Evans.


Straight from the mind of New York Times bestselling author Nathan W. Pyle, Strange Planet (tk) is an adorable and profound universe in pink, blue, green and purple, based on the phenomenally popular Instagram of the same name.

The book covers a full life cycle of the planet’s inhabitants, including milestones such as The Emergence Day,  The Formal Education of a Being, Being Begins a Vocation, The Hobbies of a Being and The Being Reflects on Life While Watching the Planet Rotate.
With dozens of never-before-seen illustrations in addition to old favorites, this book offers a sweet and hilarious look at a distant world not all that unlike our own.


Holidaze cheer pops up with Star Wars: A Merry Sithmas Pop-Up Book (Insight Kids, $15.99). Color and create festive 3D paper models during an enchanting journey through the galaxy. This gem includes removable paper pieces, more than two dozen stickers and step-by-step instructions to construct and color holiday-themed 3D pop-ups.
Each pop-up is easy and fun to build, from Darth Vader and a gingerbread Boba Fett, to Chewbacca and a collection of caroling porgs—plus more—for the ultimate Star Wars holiday celebration.

 

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2019 GIFT GUIDE: THE BEST FOOD & COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR

Nothing is tastier than serving up out picks for the best books of all things food. We tasted several tomes from several publishers. Here are our choices to eat up. Seconds anyone?

We actually tingle and mingle whenever Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix releases a new book.
Such us the wonder with Holiday Jubilee: Classic & Kitschy Festivities & Fun Party Recipes (Prospect Park Books, $29.95) in which Phoenix mixes and mingles spectacular vintage Kodachrome slides of New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with his eye-popping, original recipes for epic edible centerpieces and party pleasers from his colorful Test Kitchen. Oh! We’d love to move to Phoenix!

Almost every health study published in recent years has proven that eating a more plant-based diet improves body weight, blood pressure and blood sugar, and shows that having at least one meat-free day a week is essential for anyone wishing to enjoy a healthy life.
The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (Kyle Books, $22.95), based on the trend launched by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney in 2009, shows how simple it is to eat less meat by including irresistible vegetarian menus for every week of the year,  two main dishes, plus four other ideas for each meal of the day.
Packed with recipes such as Fruity Quinoa, Mexican Cornbread, Warm Halloumi, Apple and Radish Salad, Double Choc Crackle Cookies and Gingerbread Cake, as well as vibrant spring soups, inventive summer salads, appetizing autumn bakes and comforting winter stews, the book includes contributions from Paul and Stella, as well as from celebrity and chef supporters, such as Mario Battali, Yotam Ottolenghi, Kevin Spacey, Pink and Woody Harrelson. It really is the perfect recipe book for anyone who cares about their health, the environment and seriously delicious food.


Using easy-to-find ingredients, Indian in 7 (Kyle Books, $24.99) is packed full of dishes that anyone can effortlessly pull together any night of the week.
With years of experience teaching students howto make tasty and authentic Indian food, award-winning chef and food historian Monisha Bharadwaj shows that cooking mouthwatering Indian meals doesn’t require a cupboard stocked full of spices or a long list of obscure and unpronounceable ingredients. The tome is packed with 80 irresistible recipes, including delectable desserts as  Black Rice Pudding and Mango & Pistachio Mug Cake.


Though Foxfire Living: Design, Recipes, and Stories from the Magical Inn in the Catskills (Harper Design, $45) is a gorgeous full-color
field guide to the innovative neo-vintage design style that is the hallmark of Foxfire Mountain House, the magical inn in the Catskills, and not a true cookbook, the 30 recipes are awfully tasty. Have no reservations about making dinner and then make reservations for an overnight stay.


There’s nothing better than peppering your cookies with ginger. The wonders are found in Gingerbread Wonderland: 30 Magical Cookies, Houses & Bakes(Kyle Books, $12.99).
Packed with fun cookies and sticky gingerbread cakes, plus handy tips on how to avoid mistakes, create edible glue and utilize templates that are included, the tasty tome includes all the traditional Christmas favorites; perfect treats to slip into lunch boxes, serve up to friends at tea, give as gifts, or show off as your holiday centerpiece.


Steven Raichlen has a helluva piece of meat. In The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World’s Most Epic Cut of Meat (Workman Publishing, $19.95),
the grill master shares more than 60 foolproof, mouthwatering recipes for preparing the tastiest, most versatile and most beloved cut of meat in the world—outside on the grill, as well as in the kitchen. The recipes are overwhelming delicious: Raichlen even teaches how to bake brisket into chocolate chip cookies.


In Cookie Class 120 Irresistible Decorating Ideas For Any Occasion (Harper Design, $24.99), Jenny Keller shares her no-fail, easy tried-and-true recipes for cookies and a basic buttercream icing that can be turned into a variety of different treats with just a few tweaks and adjustments.
Each cookie decoration is easily achievable following Jenny’s simple step-by-step photographs and practical advice. Even the most inexperienced bakers can create cookies that look like they came out of a bakery case.


America’s Test Kitchen once again brings their scientific know-how, rigorous testing and hands-on learning to kids. In The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs (Sourcebooks Explore, $19.99), they will easily learn how to make  soft pretzels, empanadas, brownies and pies. Step-by-step photos of tips and techniques will help young chefs feel like pros in their own kitchen.
By empowering young chefs to make their own choices in the kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen is building a new generation of confident cooks, engaged eaters, and curious experimenters. Bravo!


Gooseberry Patch has released a new must-have for every kitchen: Foolproof Christmas ($17.95). We found the more than 230 recipes shared by home cooks across the country indeed foolproof . . . easy to make dishes such as Mashed Potato Cake, Holly Jolly Party Mix, Chicken Parmesan Soup and Mrs. Claus’ Microwave Fudge.
Readers also share Sweet Christmas Memories, true-life recollections that made us laugh an cry. Simply delicious!


New York Times bestselling author and Food Network star Hannah Hart is back with her biggest book ever: My Drunk Kitchen Holidays! How to Celebrate and Savor the Year: A Cookbook (Plume, $28). In a world where everyone is looking for some good news and something to celebrate, Hart is there with nearly 50 ideas, arranged into 12 months of themes and recipes for how to celebrate with family and friends.
A collection of recipes, activities and suggestions about hilarious and joyous ways to celebrate with family, friends, pets, even your entire community, the book features a fabulous celebration of Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Christmas that is inclusive and incredibly hilarious.


In Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts (White House Historical Association , $65), Roland Mesnier, pastry chef to five presidents, recalls the stunning desserts he created for White House State Dinners, formal events and family celebrations.
For the first time, he reveals the secrets of mold making and sugar work and shares recipes, all adapted for home kitchens. Of special interest are descriptions and illustrations of the dozens of molds now in the chef’s collection. Here, Mesnier and his assistant Mark Ramsdell help make professional desserts possible for cooks of all abilities and offer insights into the concerns and accomplishments of the White House pastry kitchen.


In Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $30), James Beard Award winner and bestselling cookbook author Ellie Krieger shows you how to create a meal in a single pot, sheet pan, baking dish or skillet . . . no additional gadgets or tools required.

Divided by main ingredients (meat, poultry, seafood, vegetarian, dessert) and further separated into sheet pan, baking dish, skillet and pot-cooked meals, the 125 nutritionally complete dinner recipes (plus healthy desserts) can each be prepared simply. Yum!


Michelle Lopez has figured out how to have her cake and eat it too. In Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule, (Simon & Schuster, $35), Lopez shares recipes for drool-worthy confections, along with charming stories and time-saving tips and tricks.
From everyday favorites like “Almost No Mess Shortbread” and “Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies” to showstoppers like “a Modern Red Velvet Cake” and “Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie” (it’s vegan!), she reveals the secrets to baking on a schedule.


 

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2019 GIFT GUIDE: THE BEST COFFEETABLE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

We’ve said it once, we say it again. Jeanine Basinger is the best (read:  insightful, pithy, fun) film historian.
With her trademark wit and zest, the whole story of the Hollywood musical is told in the most telling, most incisive, most detailed, most gorgeously illustrated book of her long and remarkable career.
Welcome to The Movie Musical (Knopf, $45).
From Fred Astaire, whom she adores, to La La Land, which she deplores (me too!), Basinger examines a dazzling array of stars, strategies, talents, and innovations in the history of musical cinema. Whether analyzing a classic Gene Kelly routine, relishing a Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald operetta, or touting a dynamic hip hop number (in the underrated Idlewild, trailer below), she is a canny and charismatic guide to the many ways that song and dance have been seen and heard on film.

As Al Jolson (whom she profiles) might say: “You ain’t read nothin’ yet”!


From Anything Goes to Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter left a lasting legacy of iconic songs including “You’re the Top,” “Love For Sale,” and “Night and Day.” Yet, alongside his professional success, Porter led an eclectic personal life which featured exuberant parties, scandalous affairs and chronic health problems. The Letters of Cole Porter (Yale University Press,  $35) features an extensive collection of letters (most of which are published here for the first time) dates from the first decade of the twentieth century to the early ’60s and features correspondence with stars such as Irving Berlin, Ethel Merman and Orson Welles, as well as his friends and male/female lovers.
Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh complement these letters with lively commentaries that draw together the loose threads of Porter’s life and highlight the distinctions between Porter’s public and private existence. This book reveals surprising insights into his attitudes toward Hollywood and Broadway, and toward money, love, and dazzling success.


teNeues continues to publish books so lavish, so brimming with breathtaking photography that they will impress you again and again . . . no matter how many times you pick them up.
Our picks for this year’s best:
Lions ($55)
In this new photo book, French photographer Laurent Baheux journeys across Africa to capture the lion in all its intricate facets. The result is a sensitive and intimate photo portrait that shows the big cat in all its nuance: at once powerful, fragile, and tender. His stunning black-and-white lion photographs show this feline animal with the precision and texture of a studio portrait—its many different movements, postures, behaviors, and expressions captured with startling intimacy.
Playing among the pride, out hunting its prey, or eyeing us directly from the page, Baheux’s lion photography is as much a tribute to the lion’s character, power, and feeling as it is a haunting reminder that this most impressive of animals is also among the most endangered wildlife on earth.

Have you ever wondered what your cat would look like if he or she were human? What clothes would they want to wear? Turn to a most purr-fect gem: Cats ($35).
Cat: Portraits of eighty-eight Cats & one very wise Zebra From simple animal photos, self-styled cat whisperer and graphic Tein Lucasson creates high-quality digital images that capture our feline friends in different outfits: whether an elegant Siamese cat in a cashmere sweater, a proud Persian in an aristocratic uniform, or the characterful house cat in a top hat.

Golf: The Ultimate Book ($65) introduces the most exclusive, sophisticated and spectacular golf resorts in the world. These are golfing holiday destinations that score not only with sophisticated layouts in charming landscapes—whether against alpine mountain scenery or tropical sandy beaches—but also with wonderful rooms, outstanding food and comprehensive wellness offers.
Golf: The Ultimate BookEach prestigious golf resort is presented with an expert review, covering its benefits on and off the fairways and greens. The sections on resorts are interspersed with background information and amusing anecdotes, capturing the history and contemporary world of golfing.  And the color photos! Up to par and then some.

Stefan Rappo’s nude photography strikes an intriguing note between intimacy and distance. At first, the viewer feels a certain distance, and in the next moment they are entangled in the picture’s tangible tensions and emotions. A longtime assistant to Peter Lindbergh and a renowned portrait photographer, Rappo has found his own nude pictorial language that focuses on the female form—at times drawing on the studio tradition and at others reveling in the body in motion. Nude ($55), Rappo’s first publication, brings together some of his favorite nude photographs, indispensable for those who love nude photography.


Armchair travelers with savor the 25 great expeditions explorer and survivalist Ed Stafford curates in Expeditions Unpacked: What the Great Explorers Took into the Unknown (White Lion Publishing, $45). Through carefully curated photographs and specially commissioned illustrations we witness the scale, style and complexity of the items taken into the unknown by the greatest explorers of all time, and the impact each item had on their journey.  Conquering fears and mountains, adversity and wild jungles, each item these explorers flew, pulled or hauled played a crucial role in their ambitious and dangerous missions to find out a little more about our world.
Expeditions Unpacked: What the Great Explorers Took into the Unknown Some of the items packed (and unpacked) by the famaous folk include Roald Amundsen who, on his race to the Pol, took snowshoes, a Primus stove, a piano, a violin and a  gramophone; Tim Slessor, on the first overland from London to Singapore, took machetes, a crowbar, z typewriter, a Remington dry shaver and tea); Nellie Bly, who, on her historic trip around the world in 72 days, packed Mumm champagne, an accordion, a silk waterproof wrap and dark gloves).


Vogue is still in vogue. Big time, just like the lavish and oversized  (six pounds!) slipcased 1950s in Vogue (Thames & Hudson, $95). Illustrated by fashion’s greatest photographs of the era when the magazine became the cultural force it is today. It’s a stunning tribute to Jessica Daves, one of only seven editors in chief in American Vogue’s history; it is she who first catapulted the magazine into modernity.
1950s in Vogue: The Jessica Daves Years, 1952-1962Organized in multifaceted, thematic chapters, 1950s in Vogue features carefully curated photographs (more than 200), illustrations and page spreads from the Vogue archives (with iconic images as well as lesser-known wonders), and unpublished photographs and letters from Daves’s personal archives. Revealing a fascinating and hitherto little-explored moment in Vogue history, 1950s in Vogue is a must-have reference for lovers of fashion, photography, and style.


Leonardo by Leonardo (Callaway Arts & Entertainment, $125), a landmark publication on Leonardo da Vinci written by Martin J. Kemp, one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, presents an astonishing gallery of the master’s 27 existing paintings, as well as the preparatory drawings that formed the basis of his masterpieces. Martin J. Kemp’s narrative is accompanied by extensive written reflections by Leonardo, and is further highlighted by perspectives from his contemporaries.
Leonardo by Leonardo: Leonardo da VinciKemp takes us inside the world of each masterwork: the artist’s relationship to his patrons; how and why the works were commissioned; their iconography and symbology; the experimental painting techniques he applied; stories of how the paintings survived and changed owners across the centuries; restoration and condition; and finally, the unsolved puzzles that remain to this day.
The utmost care and state-of-the-art digital capture technology has been applied to the new photography of the artworks presented in this collection. No expense has been spared to reproduce the artworks with the highest fidelity to color, tone, and surface. The quality of imaging, ultra-fine resolution printing, archival paper, and binding has produced a book like no other. The result is a power and intimacy between artist and viewer that takes us inside the artist’s mind, eye and spirit.
Truly the most lavish and important coffeetable book of the year.


Women (National Geographic , $50), a powerful photography collection, drawn from the celebrated National Geographic archive, reveals the lives of women from around the globe, accompanied by revelatory new interviews and portraits of contemporary trailblazers including Oprah Winfrey, Jane Goodall and Christiane Amanpour.
Women: The National Geographic Image CollectionNow, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, this bold and inspiring book mines 130 years of photography to showcase their past, their present and their future. With more than 400 stunning images from more than 50 countries, each page of this glorious book offers compelling testimony about what it means to be female, from historic suffragettes to the haunting, green-eyed “Afghan girl.” The ultimate coffee table book, this iconic collection provides definitive proof that the future is female.


What better way to celebrate, on the 20th anniversary of the seven-time Emmy-winning animated TV series, than with Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History (Dey Street Books, $34.99), a fully illustrated, full-color visual guide honoring its reign. From storyboards to character sketches to script excerpts to cast and crew interviews, tome gives that huge family of fans exclusive access behind the scenes.
Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated HistoryThere are also exclusive interviews with crew and cast members, including Seth MacFarlane (who wrote the book’s intro), Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein, and Mike Henry. The world of Family Guy and its memorable characters has never been revealed in such gorgeous detail before.


Few wine books can be called classic, but the first edition of The World Atlas of Wine (Mitchell Beazley, $65) made publishing history when it appeared in 1971. It was recognized by critics as the essential and most authoritative wine reference work available. Drink in the eighth edition, a guide that brings readers, both old and new, up to date with the world of wine.
The World Atlas of Wine 8th EditionTo reflect all the changes in the global wine scene over the past six years, the Atlas has grown in size to 416 pages and 22 new maps have been added to the wealth of superb cartography in the book. The text has been given a complete overhaul to address the topics of most vital interest to today’s wine-growers and drinkers.


Let us steer you to the perfect companion of all things die-cast and delightful. Hot Wheels: From 0 to 50 at 1:64 Scale (Motorbooks, $24.99) shares the inspiring journey of the teeny vehicles that started out as a new twist on toy cars and became a worldwide phenomenon. Officially licensed with Mattel, this in-depth retrospective reveals what makes these cars unique, how the models are designed, and all the work that goes into the play to ensure Hot Wheels maintain their position as the greatest toy cars ever made.
This special commemorative book is lavishly illustrated with rare design drawings and prototypes from Mattel’s archives, fantastic photos of all of the great Hot Wheels vehicles from across their 50-plus year history, and a feature gatefold illustrated with rare Hot Wheels catalog art. It’s the perfect vehicle for Hot Wheels fans of all ages!


You know his name, proudly listed among film credits for dozens of M-G-M classics. Cedric Gibbons, Hollywood’s most famous art director, was the supervisor in charge of the art department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios from its inception in 1924 until Gibbons chose to retire in 1956. Lavishly illustrated with over 175 pristine duotone photographs (the vast majority of which have never before been published), MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of the Golden Age of Hollywood (Lyons Press, $45) is the first book to trace Gibbons’ career.
MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of the Golden Age of HollywoodAt its height in the late ’30s and early ’40s, he was regularly acknowledged by his peers as having shaped the craft of art direction in American film; his work was recognized as representing the finest in motion picture sets and settings. Gibbons championed the notion that movie decor should move beyond the commercial framework of the popular cinema. And he did, brilliantly so, over and over and over . . .


It’s easy to say Supreme Glamour (Thames & Hudson, $40) is a supreme book.  Sumptuously illustrated, engaging and insightful, Mary Wilson charts the glittering story of The Supremes, who became synonymous with glamorous, elegant, coordinated ensembles .
The book presents founding member Mary Wilson’s unparalleled collection, showcasing 32 of the group’s most eye-catching gowns, meticulously reassembled and photographed on the Grammy Museum stage.
Detailed captions accompany each photograph, providing information about the design, fabric, and embellishments of each ensemble, as well as the occasion on which each was first worn. Packed with anecdotes and insights, Wilson also tells the complete story of The Supremes, both on- and off- stage. Wait! Sssh. Listen closely. I think I hear a symphony.


On a Thursday in 2019, a small army of photographers and videographers scattered across the globe to capture what goes on beyond those tantalizing “Cast Members Only” Disney doors. All the photos in One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe (Disney Editions, $50) were taken on that single day, beginning early in Tokyo and following the sun around the world through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, the Bahamas, Costa Rica and dozens of places throughout the United States. More than 40 hours after it began, the day ended as the sun set on the Aulani resort in Hawaii.
One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe (Disney Editions Deluxe)

On that day, some 80 cast members agreed to open up their workshops, dressing rooms, kitchens, cubicles, TV studios, labs, locomotive engines . . .  and some even more surprising and diverse work spaces. They also shared their stories: childhood dreams and chapters, career pivots and triumphs, workaday hurdles and joys. It was just a day in the life, as extraordinary as any other day at Disney. As any Cast Member can tell you, a Disney job is less a destination than a limitless journey. And for just One Day at Disney, we can all tag along for the ride.


After the release of his acclaimed debut album, Grace, in 1994, Jeff Buckley quickly established himself as one of the decade’s most defining talents in pop music: a singer, guitarist, and songwriter with a multi-octave range whose tastes took in rock, blues, jazz, hardcore, Qawwali music, even show tunes. Hailed by the likes of Bono, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, Grace showcased Buckley’s voice, passion and influences and pointed to an inordinately promising future. Three short years later, at the age of thirty, he tragically drowned in Memphis.
Jeff Buckley: His Own VoiceFor much of his life, Buckley diligently kept journals recording his goals, inspirations, aspirations, and creative struggles. These diaries amount to one of the most insightful life chronicles any musical artist has left behind. Jeff Buckley: His Own Voice (Da Capo Press, $40) marks the first-ever publication of Buckley’s handwritten account of his journey from his days in Los Angeles in the late ’80s through shortly before his passing. Combined with reproductions of other memorabilia, including letters, notes and unpublished lyrics, the book takes readers and fans deep into Buckley’s mind and life.


The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Come From Away tells the remarkable true story of a small town that welcomed the world. On September 11, 2001, 38 planes and 6,579 passengers were forced to land in the provincial town of Gander, Newfoundland. The local residents opened their arms to the displaced visitors, offering food, shelter and friendship. In the days that followed, cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.
Come From Away: Welcome to the Rock: An Inside Look at the Hit MusicalCome From Away: Welcome to the Rock (Hachette Books , $40) is the volume to the musical, featuring the book and lyrics, backstage stories and the real history behind the show’s events, character design sketches, and songs that ended up on the cutting room floor.
The narrative by theater historian Laurence Maslon details the events of that memorable and challenging week and also traces the musical’s development from the ten-year reunion of residents and airline passengers in Gander, where the idea for the musical was born, to the global phenomenon it is today.


Quentin Tarantino: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work (White Lion Publishing, $35) examines the entirety of Tarantino’s work, including his early writing on screenplays such as True Romance and Natural Born Killers, his break-out directorial debut Reservoir Dogs and the career-defining Pulp Fiction, as well as his later iconic films, such as Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Quentin Tarantino: The iconic filmmaker and his workYou’ll also go behind the scenes of Tarantino’s latest epic, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. As you make your way through Tarantino’s incredible career, discover what inspired him, his working methods, and the breadth of his talent.


Can’t afford a XKR-S? Opt for the stunning Jaguar: The Art of the Automobile ( Mitchell Beazley , $50). Known for elegant design as much as for pushing the limits of speed, the brand has always been at the cutting edge of mechanics without sacrificing aesthetics.
Jaguar: The Art of the AutomobileThis massive volume celebrates Jaguar’s most legendary models and dives into Jaguar’s archives for stunning photography and detailed reports of its most memorable models, including many never-before-seen images, showcasing celebrated cars such as the E-Type, XK120, XJS and XKR-S.


Bowie by O’Neill: The Definitive Collection With Unseen Images (Cassell, $50) is the breathtaking result of iconic photographer Terry O’Neill’s creative partnership with David Bowie that spanned over many years.
Bowie by O'Neill: The definitive collection with unseen imagesContaining rare and never-before-seen photographs, their work together includes images from the last Ziggy Stardust performance, recording sessions for Young Americans and the renowned studio portraits for Diamond Dogs, plus live shows, film shoots, backstage moments and more. With more than 200 photographs, this is the ultimate portrait of an inspiring and ever-changing artist.


Rodney Hilton Brown’s  Iwo Jima Monuments: The Untold Story (War Museum, $45) is a must for history buffs, a lavish book filled with great photos and published in time for the 75th Anniversary of World War II’s bloody legacy (one third of all Marines who fought on Iwo Jima were killed or wounded on Iwo Jima).
IWO JIMA MONUMENTS: The Untold Story (UNTOLD STORIES)Brown’s homage is the first comprehensive study of all of our nation’s Iwo Jima monuments, beginning with the little-known original 1945 monument (unveiled in front of the old Department of the Navy Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC.); the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial, those erected at Marine Corps bases and many lesser-known others from coast-to-coast. Of course, the flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima has become one of the most powerful images of the 20th century and is  regarded as one of the most recognizable images in the world.


Interviews, anecdotes and photographs document the seminal magazine “Melody Makers”

Holy high notes! A new bible will be rocking and rolling into musical history when Cleopatra Entertainment release Melody Makers, a chronicle of the birth of music journalism from the world’s oldest and longest standing seminal music magazine. Melody Makers is not just another music documentary; through a series of interviews from artists and journalists of the time, the film tells the true story of the rise and fall of the world’s most influential music publication and uncovers an era of tremendous creative freedom.

The gem is from venerable and respected Canadian award-winning filmmaker (and Female Eye Film Festival founder/director) Leslie Ann Coles. The immensely entertaining and insightful documentary will screen at the Arena Cinelounge on November 29 and run through December 4. There will be a Q&A with Coles on December 2 at 6:30 . . . and she’s bringing along a musician who’s featured in the film. We promised not reveal his/her name, but we will tell you that some of the musicians appearing in Melody Makers include Eric Burdon, Ian Anderson,  Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Dave Cousins, Judy Dyble, Pete Agnew, Dan McCafferty and Steve Abbott.
In tandem with the theatrical release of the film is the perfect companion: Melody Makers Companion Apple Book.
This is one helluva immersive experience, an interactive book that takes users from  the rise of Melody Maker magazine through a series of rock trivia games, photo puzzles, embedded interviews.
At the heart of the story is the iconic photographic archive of legendary musicians during the birth of the rock ‘n roll era by the magazine’slong-time main photographer  Barrie Wentzell. Along with his journalist colleagues, Wentzell gained unprecedented access to bands and musicians that would go on to become the legends of rock n’ roll.  His photos are the touchstone of this documentary as the photographer and others recount the many untold stories from behind the pictures. Barrie recalls a Peter Townshend telling him about an idea he had for a rock opera when Tommy was a concept. Journalist Chris Charlesworth recalls when the magazine tried to expand into the U.S. market without paying off the mobsters who controlled magazine distribution; PR Keith Altham shares an anecdotal story about a publicity stunt gone awry involving  notorious drummer, Keith Moon and a hovercraft.   and a photographic gallery full of Barrie Wentzell’s Legends Series culled from his iconic rock photographic archive (1965-1975).
Musical  memories are truly resurrected and relived.

Why “Goodwill Industries” proves they are not good nor have a true will. Read on!

Let me tell you a story that about the stupidity, rudeness and blatant unprofessionalism that Goodwill Enterprises has demonstrated. You will then understand why “Good” is a misnomer. and “will” actually means “indifference”.

I sell on eBay. I have sold, quite successfully, for the past 24 years. I also write books. In-between books and yearning for a good story, I answered a Goodwill ad for a position as an “e-commercer” in their North Versailles, Pennsylvania. I figured that if my eBay store makes me oodles of money, I could help Goodwill make money.

Take note: This was in June.

Right.

On a Friday afternoon, a “man” left a message on my voice machine, asking me in I was “still interested” in the position. I returned his call . . . when his phone answered, he did not identify himself nor state the business.

Weird.

No return call.

Weird. I call several more times, and I kept getting the clandestine message.

What’s a well-known author to do?

I sent an email to David Tobiczyk, who identifies himself as “Vice President, Marketing and Development at Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania”.

This was the email:

As a press member (Google my name if you don’t believe me), I am hoping you give me an honest answer to a perplexing dilemma.
I applied for a part-time e-Commerce position in North Versailles. My cover letter stated that I am quite successful with my eBay shop (I make at least $1,000 a month). I received a phone call from a nameless man. He left a message on my machine asking if I was “still interested” in the job.
This was on a Friday, late afternoon. I called back, and a machine answered, giving no name or company name. I left a message stating that I was still interested in the position.
I call again the next day. Same thing.
I called on Monday. Same thing. This time I said “the position is obviously filled, and if it opens, please have the courtesy to call me.” I mentioned my skills and success with eBay.
Today, I spoke to someone who no longer shops at this store because of its “filth” and “employee rudeness.”
I do not want the job, but I deserve transparency: Was this a legitimate call? Why was the person who called so rude and unprofessional by not returning my calls, even if it was to say, “We found someone.”
I am sure you are aware that the reviews of the store are pretty negative.

Days passed, and he never answered the email. Seems rudeness runs rampant. I sent him a second email.

Instead of answering my email, he forward my email to Keith Magill, the nameless “man” who initially called me. The one with the cryptic message who refuses to return calls.

That email read:

I wanted to reach out to apologize for any breakdown in communication that has occurred. Unfortunately, I did not receive your return calls or voicemail after my call to you on July 19th. The e-commerce associate position is still open and I would gladly schedule an interview with you if you are still interested.
Thank you,
Keith Magill, E-commerce Manager

Yep. I contacted him by phone and email . . . days later he answered an email. We set up an interview.

He was maybe 16 years ago, and offered me a “tour” of the place. He was accompanied by a woman who seemed much more interested in the mucus-encrusted on her nose ring than answering questions.

This “interview” and “tour” tour lasted as long as a hand shake. Magill told me he would “get back” to me.

There was enough material for a story.

I didn’t want the position, especially because of the stupidity, rudeness and blatant unprofessionalism. And I don’t know if I can handle mucus-encrusted nose rings.

But today, November 25, I received this grammatically incorrect email:

6/24/2019
Alan
Thank you for your interest in the E Commerce Sales Associate (Part Time) North Versailles, PA. position with Goodwill.  However, I am sorry to inform you that the job posting is now closed.

Note the last email was sent five months after the ”
interview” and “tour”.

Told you: Stupidity, rudeness and blatant unprofessionalism.

“Strange But True” Arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. Hardly strange, but true.

It’s hardly strange.
But definitely  true.
Based on the acclaimed novel by John Searles, Strange but True had just arrived on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and Digital October 22 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.
Produced by Academy Award nominee Fred Berger and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, the film stars Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Amy Ryan, as well as Nick Robinson, Margaret Qualley, Mena Massoud, Golden Globe nominee and Primetime Emmy winner Blythe Danner, Golden Globe nominee and Primetime Emmy winner Brian Cox, and Daytime Emmy winner, Academy Award, Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominee Greg Kinnear in a riveting tale of a family facing an unlikely truth that unravels a web of lies and deception.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
A family is caught in a web of lies, fears, and suspense after the ex-girlfriend of their deceased son appears five years after his death—and tells them she is carrying his child.

Mark Hamill, iJustine and Ron Perlman are all washed up . . . that’s a compliment!

Fishing for some family fun?
Try Go Fish, a fun, heartwarming under-the-sea journey for the entire family,  that arrives on DVD, Digital and On Demand November 19 from Lionsgate.
Winner of the Dove Seal of Approval for all ages and featuring the voice talents of iJustine, Mark Hamill and Ron Perlman, this delightful film about friendship, adventure and helping the environment “teaches kids how humble wisdom can make you” (The Dove Foundation). The will include a music video for “Go Fish (Side by Side)”–an original song performed by pop singer Kate Steinberg– and a digital comic book.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
All his life, plucky parrotfish Alex has dreamed of being a superhero. He gets his chance when a mysterious flood of black goop erupts near his coral reef. As Alex and his pals—a sea horse, an eel and a blowfish—swim off to confront the menace and save their home, they face a sunken ship with hidden treasure, an abandoned airplane, angry sharks and an undersea volcano.

“Angel of Mine”: A thrilling treat and oodles of tricks

Halloween is a day away.
And a few screams as well.
Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, and Luke Evans star in the tense psychological thriller Angel of Mine, which just landed on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.
Directed by Kim Farrant and written for the screen by Luke Davies and David Regal, Rapace gives an “Oscar-worthy performance” (The Weekend Warrior) as a woman on the edge who believes the daughter of a neighbor, played by Strahovski, is actually her own. The Blu-ray and DVD  includes a “making-of featurette” and cast/crew interviews.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Noomi Rapace stars as Lizzie, a woman who, having suffered a tragic loss years earlier, is trying to rebuild her life when she suddenly becomes obsessed with a neighbor’s daughter, believing the girl to be her own child. As Lizzie’s shocking, threatening acts grow increasingly dangerous, they lead to an explosive confrontation with the girl’s angry, defensive mother (played by Strahovski).
Indeed, a treat full pf tricks.

Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some