Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Non-Fiction Books (Part Two)

In When Broadway Went to Hollywood (Oxford University Press, $29.95) Ethan Mordden directs his unmistakable wit and whimsy to these challenging questions and more, charting the volatile and galvanizing influence of Broadway on Hollywood (and vice versa) throughout the twentieth century. Along the way, he takes us behind the scenes of the great Hollywood musicals you’ve seen and loved, as well as some of the outrageous flops you probably haven’t. The first book to tell the story of how Broadway affected the Hollywood musical, When Broadway Goes to Hollywood is sure to thrill theatre buffs and movie lovers alike.

When JFK and Jackie took the White House in 1961, Jackie appointed famed designer and family friend Oleg Cassini, as her personal “Secretary of Style.” From classic pillbox hats to casually elegant daywear and A-line and empire dresses, Cassini created an enduring look for the stylish her, and the First Lady became a fashion muse for the ages. Jackie and Cassini: A Fashion Love Affair by [Marino, Lauren]Meanwhile, women across the country enthusiastically copied her look; one that endures today and that transformed Jackie into one of the most beloved style icons of all time. Jackie and Cassini showcases the fashions and details the collaborations of an extraordinary teaming of designer and muse.

The cat’s meow . . . of sorts. Gain a deeper understanding of your canine friends through these in-depth breed profiles that showcase how working dogs think. From familiar breeds like the Border Collie, Corgi, and Dachshund to the lesser-known Akbash, Puli, and Hovawart, Janet Vorwald Dohner describes 93 breeds of livestock guardian dogs, herding dogs, terriers, and traditional multipurpose farm dogs, highlighting the tasks each dog is best suited for and describing its physical characteristics and temperament. Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers, and Other Canine Working Partners (Storey Publishing, $26.95) also offers an accessible history of how humans bred dogs to become our partners in work and beyond, providing a thorough introduction to these highly intelligent, independent and energetic breeds. Purr-fect!

This Way Madness Lies (Thames & Hudson, $45) is a thought-provoking exploration of the history of madness and its treatment as seen through the lens of its proverbial home: Bethlem Royal Hospital, London, popularly known as Bedlam. Mike Jay’s book charts the evolution of the asylum through four incarnations: The eighteenth-century madhouse, the nineteenth century asylum, the twentieth-century mental hospital, and the post-asylum modern day, when mental health has become the concern of the wider community. Moving and sometimes provocative illustrations sourced from the Wellcome Trust’s exceptional collection and the Bethlem Royal Hospital’s archive highlight the trajectory of each successive era of institution. Each chapter concludes with a selection of revealing and captivating artwork created by some of the inmates of the institutions of that era.

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, a 12-story-high concrete structure just fifty miles north of Los Angeles, suddenly collapsed, releasing a devastating flood that roared 53 miles to the Pacific Ocean, destroying everything in its path. What caused this unexpected catastrophe, and why are the facts largely missing from history books? With research gathered over more than two decades, award-winning writer and filmmaker Jon Wilkman revisits the deluge that claimed nearly 500 lives in Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th-Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles (Bloomsbury, $28). Driven by eyewitness accounts and combining urban history, technological detective story, and life-and-death drama, Floodpath grippingly reanimates the reality behind noir fictions such as the film Chinatown.

Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true? And if so, what if there were clues left behind? Each week, hundreds of thousands of viewers tune in to the wildly popular Ancient Aliens television series to seek insight into those very questions and to become part of a thrilling, probing exploration of the mysteries at the heart of world civilizations. Ancient Aliens: The Official Companion Book (HarperElixir, $29.99) takes readers even deeper into the mysteries that have made the show a pop culture phenomenon. Filled with exciting insights and behind-the scenes stories from the show’s creators and leading experts in ancient alien theory, the book explores the key questions at the heart of the series: Who were they? Why did they come? What did they leave behind? Where did they go? Will they return? A perfect companion: The first official adult coloring book that ties into the hit series, brimming with 40 detailed illustrations of ancient artifacts, awe-inspiring archaeological locations and cultural phenomena, Ancient Aliens: The Coloring Book (HarperElixir, $9.99) immerses both the show’s fans and coloring enthusiasts in the wonder of these enigmas.

In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London’s Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens’ panic reached a fever pitch. With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Skip Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life in the sweeping The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer. (Henry Holt, $30).

Ask any fashioniosta, and she (he?) will always remind you all it takes is the right accessory to pull off a great look. And if that accessory happens to be handmade by you? All the better! In  Melissa Leapman’s Designer Crochet Accessories, the author shows you how to make more than 25 fresh and beautiful crocheted accessories for women. From winter warmers like cozy hats and scarves that make a statement to all-season wardrobe builders such as one-of-a-kind jewelry, colorful handbags, and stunning shawls. The projects include something for crocheters of all levels, from beginners to intermediate and advanced knitters. Crafters of all skill levels will find a a project to keep their fingers busy. Each project offers easy-to-follow instructions, stitch diagrams using international symbols, and a clear photo to illustrate the finished piece.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion from the Walt Disney television series of the late ’50s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film The Patriot, the real man bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him. In The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution (Da Capo Press, $26.99), we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution.  In  this first major biography of Marion in more than 40 years, John Oller compiles striking evidence and brings together much recent learning to provide a fresh look both at Marion, the man, and how he helped save the American Revolution.

 Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary (W.W. Norton, $27.95)  tells the exhilarating story of the four-month campaign that changed American politics forever. In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt came out of retirement to challenge his close friend and handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, for the Republican Party nomination. To overcome the power of the incumbent, TR seized on the idea of presidential primaries, telling bosses everywhere to “Let the People Rule.” The cheers and jeers of rowdy supporters and detractors echo from Geoffrey Cowan’s pages as he explores TR’s fight-to-the-finish battle to win popular support. Using a trove of newly discovered documents, Cowan takes readers inside the colorful, dramatic, and often mean-spirited campaign, describing the political machinations and intrigue and painting indelible portraits of its larger-than-life characters. But Cowan also exposes the more unsavory parts of TR’s campaign: seamy backroom deals, bribes made in TR’s name during the Republican Convention, and then the shocking political calculation that led TR to ban any black delegates from the Deep South from his new “Bull Moose Party.”

They are the band that created metal music . . . and they have defined it for more than four decades. Black Sabbath’s career spans 11 different line-ups and 19 studio albums in addition to the 28 solo albums of the original four members. In The Complete History of Black Sabbath: What Evil Lurks (Race Point Publishing, $35), Joel McIver explores the complete history of Sabbath, from the precursor bands to the release of the holy trinity of heavy metal . . .  “Black Sabbath” (the song) on Black Sabbath (the album) by Black Sabbath (the band) to the present. With more than 150 photos, a gatefold family tree tracing the development of the band, a complete discography, and a foreword by Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, this is where evil (and entertainment) lurks.

As an American student living abroad, Jennifer L. Scott found a Parisian mentor in her host mother, Madame Chic, who instructed her in the fine art of living. Now, Jennifer shares her lessons in the box set The Madam Chic Collection (Simon & Schuster, $55), including Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic, and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic. Based on what she learned from Madame Chic, Jennifer explains how to cultivate old-fashioned sophistication while living an active, modern life, teaching us to take pleasure in everyday routines, to dress presentably, perform household tasks with cheer, and how to conduct oneself both in public and in private.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Non-Fiction Books (Part One)

Everything old is new again. A Very Vintage Christmas (Globe Pequot Press, $24.95) embodies the nostalgia and sentimentality associated with the holiday season. Vintage ornaments, lights, decorations, cards and wrapping all conjure up happy memories of Christmases past and serve as tangible mementos of holidays shared with family and friends. In fact, finding these objects, decorating with them and sharing them with others brings an instant feeling of comfort and joy. Coupled with beautiful photographs, tips on collecting, and secret shopping haunts, A Very Vintage Christmas offers a look at holiday decor in America and gives suggestions on how to make vintage finds work for today’s audience. While each chapter of A Very Vintage Christmas is unique, there is a common thread that runs through them all: the love of beautiful holiday decorations, and the interest in their history, value, and preservation. Quite merry.

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana. Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina as a staff reporter for The New York Times. Four out of every five houses had been flooded. The deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the city’s water and sewer system. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforce—precisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. How could the city possibly come back? A decade later, Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting effects not just on the area’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities.

In 1535, William Tyndale, the first man to produce an English version of the Bible in print, was captured and imprisoned in Belgium. A year later he was strangled and then burned at the stake. His co-translator was also burned. In that same year the translator of the first Dutch Bible was arrested and beheaded. These were not the first, nor were they the last instances of extreme violence against Bible translators. The Murderous History of Bible Translations: Power, Conflict, and the Quest for Meaning (Bloomsbury, $28) tells the remarkable, and bloody, story of those who dared translate the word of God. Harry Freedman describes brilliantly the passions and strong emotions that arise when deeply held religious convictions are threatened or undermined. Can I hear an amen?

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners (Little, Brown and Company, $25) is a most deliciously scandalously guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood. Therese O’Neill opens the doors to everything we secretly wanted to know about the Victorian era, but didn’t think to ask. Knickers with no crotches? Check. Arsenic as a facial scrub? Check. The infrequency of bathing and the stench of the Victorian human body?  It’s silly, sinful and superb! And the photos!

Herbs are hot! And in Making Love Potions (Storey Publishing, $16.95), Stephanie L. Tourles shows you how to bring that heat into your bedroom. She playfully presents 64 easy recipes for natural body oils, balms, tonics, bath blends and sweet treats to share with your special someone.  With beautiful illustrations and engaging explanations of the power that herbs, flowers, and natural oils have over our physical bodies, this is the perfect gift for lovers everywhere.

Buzz! Listen closely. The international bee crisis is threatening our global food supply, but we have a secret fix. The user-friendly 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive (Storey Publishing, $16.95) shows what you can do to help protect our pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees that attract bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: Sow seeds for some plants—such as basil, rhododendron and blueberries—and simply don’t mow down abundant native species, including aster, goldenrod, and milkweed. This guide will empower homeowners, landscapers, apartment dwellers—anyone with a scrap of yard or a window box—to protect our pollinators.

For a new generation of homeowners and renters, the dual Domino books are the decor bible: a constant source of guidance, inspiration, and excitement. The Domino Decorating Books Box Set: The Book of Decorating and Your Guide to a Stylish Home Domino: The Book of Decorating (Simon & Schuster, $70) crack the code to creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders’ secrets from today’s premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual. The editors take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences. With an eye to making design accessible and exciting, this book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional and fabulous. Expert decorating tips, lush photography, and shrewd shopping strategies converge in straightforward guides. Maybe that sofa should be a bit closer to the window?

The Bible doesn’t call homosexuality a sin, and it doesn’t advocate for the one-man-one-woman model of the family that has been dubbed “biblical.” The Bible’s famous “beat their swords into plowshares” is matched by the militaristic, “beat your plowshares into swords.” The often-cited New Testament quotation “God so loved the world” is a mistranslation, as are the titles “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” The Ten Commandments don’t prohibit killing or coveting. What does the Bible say about violence? About the Rapture? About keeping kosher? About marriage and divorce? In The Bible Doesn’t Say That (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99), acclaimed translator and biblical scholar Dr. Joel M. Hoffman walks the reader through dozens of mistranslations, misconceptions and other misunderstandings about the Bible. In 40 short, straightforward chapters, he covers morality, life-style, theology, and biblical imagery explores what the Bible meant before it was misinterpreted over the past 2,000 years.

Is your handwriting simply scribble? In the digital age of instant communication, handwriting is less necessary than ever before, and indeed fewer and fewer schoolchildren are being taught how to write in cursive. Anne Trubek argues that the decline and even elimination of handwriting from daily life does not signal a decline in civilization, but rather the next stage in the evolution of communication. In The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting (Bloombury, $26), Trubek uncovers the long and significant impact handwriting has had on culture and humanity-from the first recorded handwriting on the clay tablets of the Sumerians some four thousand years ago and the invention of the alphabet as we know it, to the rising value of handwritten manuscripts today. Establishing a novel link between our deep past and emerging future, Trubek offers a colorful lens through which to view our shared social experience.

Give us a little Razzle Dazzle. Please. Michael Riedel’s book is a love letter to Broadway, both a splendid history of this American institution and a wonderful account of how art gets made. Filled with Broadway’s history and its myths—heroes and villains, ups and downs, dirt and dish—raise the curtain. Please. Razzle Dazzle:  The Battle for Broadway (Simon & Schuster, $17) builds suspense as Riedel chronicles productions from idea to stage to reviews to Tony Awards. A captivating gift to theater lovers. This narrative account of the people and the money and the power that turned New York’s gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way is perfect for Broadway buffs.

Did you know that Frank Sinatra was nearly considered for the original production of Fiddler on the Roof? Or that Jerome Robbins never choreographed the famous “Dance at the Gym” in West Side Story? Or that Lin-Manuel Miranda called out an audience member on Twitter for texting during a performance of Hamilton (the perpetrator was Madonna)? In Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Anecdotes (Oxford University Press, $19.95), Broadway aficionado-in-chief Ken Bloom takes us on a spirited spin through some of the most intriguing factoids in show business, offering up an unconventional history of the theatre in all its idiosyncratic glory. From the cantankerous retorts of George Abbott to the literally show-stopping antics of Katharine Hepburn, you’ll learn about the adventures and star turns of some of the Broadway’s biggest personalities.

Agates: Treasures of the Earth (Firefly Books, $19.95) is a comprehensive, easy-to-use identification guide for rock lovers. The book describes names of agates (mineralogical, geological, local, trade, trivial); properties of agates (color, wall-banded, level-banded, cracked, thunder eggs); sources of agates (eruptions, lava, sediment, limestone beds, fissures);
lapidary (sawing, grinding, sanding, polishing); imitations and forgeries of agates  . . . and much more. Amateur gemologists and agate collectors alike will find this informative and beautifully illustrated book to be an indispensable resource.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies (Part Two)

In Such Good Company (Crown Archetype, $28), Carol Burnett pulls back the curtain on the 25-time Emmy-Award winning show that made television history, and she reminisces about the outrageously funny and tender moments that made working on the series as much fun as watching it. Carol delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and improvisations that made The Carol Burnett Show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. While writing this book, Carol rewatched all 276 episodes and screen-grabbed her favorite video stills from the archives to illustrate the chemistry of the actors and the improvisational magic that made the show so successful. This book is Carol’s love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show. Get the best seat in the house for “eleven years of laughter, mayhem, and fun in the sandbox.”

Grammy and Academy Award–winning songwriter Carole Bayer Sager shares the remarkably frank and darkly funny story of her life in and out of the recording studio, from her fascinating (and sometimes calamitous) relationships to her collaborations with some of the greatest composers and musical artists of our time. While her professional life was filled with success and fascinating people, her personal life was far more difficult and dramatic.
In They’re Playing Our Song (Simon & Schuster, $28), Sager tells the surprisingly frank and darkly humorous story of a woman whose sometimes crippling fears and devastating relationships inspired many of the songs she would ultimately write. The book will fascinate anyone interested in the craft of songwriting and the joy of collaboration, but Sager’s memoir is also a deeply personal account of how love and heartbreak made her the woman, and the writer, she is.

Seventeen-time all-star; scorer of 81 points in a game; MVP and a shooting guard second only to Jordan in league history: Kobe Bryant is one of basketball’s absolute greatest players, a fascinating and complicated character who knew when he was a mere boy that he would be better than Jordan on the court. The debate about whether he achieved that is a furious one–but Kobe has surpassed Jordan on the all-time scoring list and has only one less championship than Jordan (5 to Jordan’s 6). He is set to retire after the 2015/16 season, just in time for Roland Lazenby’s Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant (Little, Brown and Company, $32) Provocative stories mixed with good old-fashioned basketball reporting make for a riveting and essential read for any hoops fan.

She inspired songs—Leon Russell wrote “A Song for You” and “Delta Lady” for her, Stephen Stills wrote “Cherokee.” She co-wrote songs—“Superstar” and the piano coda to “Layla,” uncredited. She sang backup for Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Stills, before finding fame as a solo artist with such hits as “We’re All Alone” and “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher.” Following her story from Lafayette, Tennessee to becoming one of the most sought after rock vocalists in LA in the ’70s, Delta Lady (Harper, $25.99) chronicles Rita Coolidge’s fascinating journey throughout the ’60s-’70s pop/rock universe. A muse to some of the twentieth century’s most influential rock musicians, she broke hearts, Delta Lady is a rich, deeply personal memoir that offers a front row seat to an iconic era, and illuminates the life of an artist whose career has helped shape modern American culture.

Call her a woman of letters. Mary Astor detailed her marital affairs as well as the many, many, many dalliances of some of Hollywood’s biggest names. The studio heads, longtime controllers of public perception, were desperate to keep such juicy details from leaking.  With the complete support of the Astor family and unlimited access to the Mary Astor estate, Joseph Egan has painted a portrait of a great film actress in her most challenging role; an unwilling but determined mother battling for her daughter regardless of the harm that her affairs and her most intimate secrets would do to her career, the careers of her friends, or even Hollywood. The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s ( Diversion Publishing, $16.99) is a look at Hollywood’s Golden Age as it has never been seen before, as Egan spins a wildly absorbing yarn about a scandal that threatened to tarnish forever the dream factory known as Hollywood.

“Casanova” is a synonym for “great lover,” Over the course of his lifetime, he claimed to have seduced more than 100 women, among them married women, young women in convents, girls just barely in their teens, and in one notorious instance, his own illegitimate daughter. Yet the real story of this remarkable figure is little known. He was intellectually curious and read forbidden books, for which he was jailed. He staged a dramatic escape from Venice’s notorious prison, the only person known to have done so. He then fled to France, where he invented the national lottery that still exists to this day. He crisscrossed Europe, landing for a while in St. Petersburg, where he was admitted to the court of Catherine the Great. He corresponded with Voltaire and met Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, assisting them as they composed the timeless opera Don Giovanni. A figure straight out of a Henry Fielding novel: Erotic, brilliant, impulsive, and desperate for recognition, Casanova was a self-destructive genius. Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius (Simon & Schuster, $32.50) is a witty, roisterous biography exposes his astonishing life in rich, intimate detail.

The curtain has gone up on the complete memoirs of playwright Neil Simon, now with a new introduction and afterword. Neil Simon’s Memoirs (Simon & Schuster, $35) combines Simon’s two memoirs, Rewrites and The Play Goes On, into one volume that spans his extraordinary five-decade career in theater, television and film. Rewrites takes Simon through his first love, his first play, and his first brush with failure. One touching section is as he describes his marriage to his beloved wife Joan, and writes lucidly about the pain of losing her to cancer. The Play Goes On adds to his life’s story, as he wins the Pulitzer Prize and reflects with humor and insight on his tumultuous life and meteoric career.
Now, with the whole story in one place, Neil Simon’s collected memoirs trace the history of modern entertainment over the last fifty years through the eyes of a man who started life the son of a garment salesman and became the greatest—and most successful—American playwright of all time.

Claude Monet is perhaps the world’s most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Monet intended them to provide an asylum of peaceful meditation. Yet, as Ross King reveals in Mad Enchantment (Bloomsbury, $30), his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, water and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life. The book tells the full story behind the creation of the “Water Lilies,” as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny, and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism.

It’s widely known that Oscar Wilde was precociously intellectual, flamboyant and hedonistic—but lesser so that he owed these characteristics to his parents. Oscar’s mother, Lady Jane Wilde, rose to prominence as a political journalist, advocating a rebellion against colonialism in 1848. She opened a salon and was known as the most scintillating hostess of her day. She passed on her infectious delight in the art of living to Oscar, who drank it in greedily. His father, Sir William Wilde, was acutely conscious of injustices of the social order. But Sir William was also a philanderer, and when he stood accused of sexually assaulting a young female patient, the scandal and trial sent shockwaves through Dublin society. As for Oscar, the one role that didn’t suit him was that of Victorian husband, as his wife, Constance, was to discover.  In a major repositioning of our first modern celebrity, The Fall of the House of Wilde (Bloomsbury, $35) identifies Oscar Wilde as a member of one of the most dazzling Irish American families of Victorian times, and places him in the broader social, political, and religious context.

He’s best known for his wistful movie scores, with “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” from the Toy Story soundtrack leading the pack. He’s been nominated for 20 Academy Awards, and has twice won Oscars for Best Original Song. But Randy Newman was also a quintessentially American pop powerhouse before he turned his formidable talents to scoring films. A songwriter since the age of 17, his earliest compositions were recorded by ’60s luminaries like The Fleetwoods, Gene Pitney, Jackie DeShannon and the O’Jays. Yet very little has been written about his personal life, including his marriages and his diagnosis with Epstein-Barr virus. Maybe I’m Doing It Wrong: The Life of Randy Newman (Overlook, $28.95) is a primer for newcomers to his work and a rewarding handbook for the aficionado.

Yes, it’s her, again. Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep (Harper, $26.99) explores her beginnings as a young woman of the ’70s grappling with love, feminism and her astonishing talent. Michael Schulman brings into focus Meryl’s heady rise to stardom on the New York stage; her passionate, tragically short-lived love affair with actor John Cazale; her marriage to sculptor Don Gummer; and her evolution as a young woman of the 1970s wrestling with changing ideas of feminism, marriage, love, and sacrifice.Featuring eight pages of black-and-white photos, this captivating story of the making of one of the most revered artistic careers of our time reveals a gifted young woman coming into her extraordinary talents at a time of immense transformation, offering a rare glimpse into the life of the actress long before she became an icon.

Mary Martin was one of the greatest stars of her day. Growing up in Texas, she was married early to Benjamin Hagman and gave birth to her first child, Larry Hagman. She didn’t make a dent in the movie industry and was lured to New York where she found herself auditioning for Cole Porter and his new show “Leave It to Me!”. After she sang the bawdy “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, she ended up on the cover of Life magazine. Six years later, she became the Toast of Broadway. Her personal life was just as interesting: In NYC, she met and married Richard Halliday, a closeted upper-class homosexual who adored her and interior decorating. There were rumors about Martin, too, being in a lesbian relationship with both Janet Gaynor and Jean Arthur.  Savor the stuff in David Kaufman’s Some Enchanted Evenings (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)

Still known to millions primarily as the author of The Lottery, Shirley Jackson has been curiously absent from the mainstream American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense and psychological horror, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America more deeply than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright, $35). Placing Jackson within an American Gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on “domestic horror.” Based on a wealth of previously undiscovered correspondence and dozens of new interviews, the tome―an exploration of astonishing talent shaped by a damaging childhood and turbulent marriage―becomes the definitive biography of a generational avatar and an American literary giant.

On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining, independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theatres. Conceived, written and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, Star Wars reinvented the cinematic landscape, ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. And if that wasn’t game-changing enough, Lucas went on to create another blockbuster series with “Indiana Jones,” and completely revolutionized the world of special effects, not to mention sound systems. His work and legacy have led to a rash of innovation and democratization in film and television. Brian Jay Jones does a splendid job detailing Lucas’ fame and fortune in George Lucas: A Life (Little, Brown and Company, $32).

Why were Americans so attracted to John F. Kennedy in the late ‘50s and early ’60s . . . was it is glamorous image, good looks, cool style, tough-minded rhetoric and sex appeal? As Steve Watts argues in JFK and the Masculine Mystique: Sex and Power on the New Frontier (Thomas Dunne Books, $29.99), JFK was tailor made for the cultural atmosphere of his time. He benefited from a crisis of manhood that had welled up in postwar America when men had become ensnared by bureaucracy, softened by suburban comfort, and emasculated by a generation of newly aggressive women.  By examining Kennedy in the context of certain books, movies, social critiques, music, and cultural discussions that framed his ascendancy, Watts shows us the excitement and sense of possibility, the optimism and aspirations that accompanied the dawn of a new age in America.

For too long Tippi Hedren’s story has been told by others through whispered gossip and tabloid headlines. In Tippi: A Memoir (William Morrow, $28.99), she sets the record straight, recalling how a young and virtuous Lutheran girl from small-town Minnesota became a worldwide legend as one of the most famous Hitchcock girls, as an unwavering animal activist, and as the matriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty that includes her movie star daughter Melanie Griffith, and rising star Dakota Johnson, her granddaughter. Hedren digs deep into her complicated relationship with the man who discovered her talent, director Alfred Hitchcock, the benefactor who would become a repulsive and controlling director who contractually controlled her every move. She speaks openly about the dark pain she endured working with him on their most famous collaborations, The Birds and Marnie. Filled with 16 pages of beautiful photos, Tippi is a rare and fascinating look at a private woman s remarkable life no celebrity aficionado can miss.

In a career that has spanned more than 60 years, Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. I Loved Her in the Movies (Viking, $tk) is his intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made as actresses as well as the choices they made as women. Among Wagner’s subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John.  As fun and entertaining as RJ himself.

Was it magic? In Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster, $26),  Penn Jillette tells how he lost 100 pounds with his trademark outrageous sense of humor and biting social commentary that makes this success story anything but ordinary.  Topping 330 pounds and saddled with a systolic blood pressure reading over 200, he knew he was at a dangerous crossroads: If he wanted to see his small children grow up, he needed to change. And then came a former NASA scientist and an unconventional innovator, Ray Cronise, who saved Penn Jillette’s life with his wild “potato diet.” Penn describes the process in hilarious detail, as he performs his Las Vegas show, takes meetings with Hollywood executives, hangs out with his celebrity friends and fellow eccentric performers, all while remaining a dedicated husband and father. Presto is an incisive, rollicking read.

We have never forgiven Maggie Smith for stealing Liza Minnelli’s Oscar (look it up), but Michael Coveney’s biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades. From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggie’s path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights, and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton, answering back to Laurence Olivier, or playing opposite Judi Dench in Breath of Life, her career can be seen as a “Who’s Who” of British theater. The book, written with the actress’ blessing and drawing on personal archives as well as interviews with immediate family and close friends, is a portrait of one of the greatest actors of our time.

Born a Crime: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Spiegel & Grau, $28) is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. His name is Trevor Noah. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty.

Felix and Oscar? No way. The oddest couple was Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor. Donald Bogle skillfully recreates the moving narrative of Taylor and Jackson’s experiences together and their intense emotional connection, without shying away from the controversies that swirled around them. Through interviews with friends and acquaintances of the two stars, as well as anonymous but credible sources, Elizabeth and Michael: The Queen of Hollywood and the King of Pop―A Love Story (Atria, $26) emerges as a tender, intimate look at this famous odd couple and a treasure to their millions of fans.

The first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993—a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture. My Own Words (Simon & Schuster, $30) offers Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker.

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began. Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor and originality found in his songs. Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $32.50) will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.

Unlike The Boss, Stephen Foster still has no (real, true) fame. The subtitle of a new bio,  The Life and Songs of Stephen Foster: A Revealing Portrait of the Forgotten Man Behind “Swanee River,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” and “My Old Kentucky Home”  (9Rowman & Littlefield, $45) says it all. He died in poverty, in New York’s Bellevue Hospital, three days after falling in his Bowery bathroom and severely cutting his throat on the broken basin. His last words? “I’m done for.” A friend found his alcohol-ravaged body at the local morgue, a body whose purse contained 38 cents and a scrap of paper on which the words “dear friends and gentle hearts” were written . . . possibly the opening line to a new song.

Cerphe’s Up:  A Musical Life with Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, CSNY, and Many More (Carrel Books, $34.99) is an incisive musical memoir by Cerphe Colwell, a renowned rock radio broadcaster for more than forty-five years in Washington, DC. Cerphe shares his life as a rock radio insider in rich detail and previously unpublished photographs. His story includes promotion and friendship with a young unknown Bruce Springsteen; his years at radio station WHFS 102.3 as it blossomed in a new free-form format; hanging out with George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, John Entwistle, Jackson Browne, and many more; testifying on Capitol Hill with friend Frank Zappa during the “Porn Rock” hearings; and managing the radio syndication of both G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Stern.

In 2015, the U.S. women’s national soccer team won its first FIFA championship in 16 years, culminating in an epic final game that electified soccer fans around the world. It also featured a gutsy, brilliant performance by team captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd, who made history that day, scoring a hat trick—three goals in one game—during the first 16 minutes. But there was a time when Carli almost quit the sport. In 2003 she was struggling, her soccer career at a crossroads. What Carli lacked were fitness, mental toughness and character. Despite all the naysayers, the times she was benched, moments when her self-confidence took a nosedive, she succeeded in becoming one of the best in the world. The candid When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26) candid reflection on a remarkable turnaround will take readers inside the women’s national team and inside the head of an athlete who willed herself to perform at the highest levels of competition.

To have been alive during the last 60 years is to have lived with the music of Paul Simon. The boy from Queens scored his first hit record in 1957, just months after Elvis Presley ignited the rock era. As the songwriting half of Simon & Garfunkel, his work helped define the youth movement of the ’60s. On his own in the ’70s, Simon made radio-dominating hits. He kicked off the ’80s by reuniting with Garfunkel to perform for half a million New Yorkers in Central Park. Five years later, Simon’s album “Graceland” sold millions and spurred an international political controversy. And it doesn’t stop there. Peter Ames Carlin’s Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon  (Henry Holt, $32) is a revelatory account of the life of beloved American music icon, a story replete with tales of Carrie Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Shelley Duvall, Nelson Mandela, drugs, depression, marriage, divorce and more.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies (Part One)

After he died in the backseat of a Cadillac at the age of 29, Hank Williams, a frail, flawed man who had become country music’s first real star, instantly morphed into its first tragic martyr. Having hit the heights with simple songs of despair, depression, and tainted love, he would, with that outlaw swagger, become in death a template for the rock generation to follow. Mark Ribowsky’s Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams (Liveright, $35) examines Williams’ music while also re-creating days and nights choked in booze and desperation. Ribowsky traces the miraculous rise of this music legend from the dirt roads of rural Alabama to the now-immortal stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and finally to a sad, lonely end on New Year s Day, 1953. But unlike those other musical giants who never made 30, no legacy endures quite like that of the “Hillbilly King.”

Bram Stoker, despite having a name nearly as famous as his legendary undead Count Dracula, has remained a puzzling enigma. Now, in Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright, $35), David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who conjured an undying cultural icon. Stoker was inexplicably paralyzed as a boy, and his story unfolds against a backdrop of Victorian medical mysteries and horrors: Cholera and famine fever, childhood opium abuse, frantic bloodletting, mesmeric quack cures, and the gnawing obsession with “bad blood” that informs every page of Dracula.

From his time as a session guitarist in the ’60s, working with legendary rock groups like The Kinks and The Who, to his time with the Yardbirds and his eventual founding on Led Zeppelin and his post-Zeppelin career, No Quarter (Overlook, $35) is a rich, insightful telling of Jimmy Page’s story. It has all the sex and drugs you’d expect from a rock icon, but Page is widely considered to be a mysterious figure and Martin Power’s biography will shed light on the man who made music.

Historian Betty Boyd Caroli spent seven years exploring the archives of the LBJ Library, interviewing dozens of people, and mining never-before-released letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson. The result? Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage that Made a President (Simon & Schuster, $18) They married with a tacit agreement: This highly gifted politician would take her away, and she would save him from his weaknesses. The conventional story goes that Lyndon married Lady Bird for her money and demeaned her by flaunting his many affairs, and that her legacy was protecting the nation’s wildflowers.
But Caroli shows that she was also the one who swooped in to make the key call to a donor, to keep the team united, to campaign in hostile territory, and to jump-start Lyndon out of his paralyzing dark moods.

Described by his friend Richard Burton as “the most original actor to come out of Britain since the war,” Peter O’Toole was also unpredictable with a dangerous edge he brought to his roles and to his real life. With the help of exclusive interviews with colleagues and close friends, Peter O’Toole: The Definitive Biography (Thomas Dunne Books, $28.99), paints the first complete picture of this complex and much-loved man. The book reveals what drove him to extremes, why he drank to excess for many years and hated authority, but it also describes a man who was fiercely intelligent with a great sense of humor and huge energy. Giving full weight to his extraordinary career, this is an insightful, funny and moving tribute to an iconic actor who made a monumental contribution to theatre and cinema.

On August 16, 1952, Ian Fleming wrote to his wife, Ann, “My love, This is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold.” He had bought the golden typewriter as a present to himself for finishing his first novel, Casino Royale. “It marked in glamorous style the arrival of James Bond, agent 007, and the start of a career that saw Fleming become one the world’s most celebrated thriller-writers. And he did write golden words. Before his death in 1964 he produced 14 best-selling Bond books, two works of non-fiction and the famous children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Fleming’s output was matched by an equally energetic flow of letters. He wrote constantly, to his wife, publisher, editors, fans, friends and critics; his letters also reflect his friendship with such contemporaries as Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward and Somerset Maugham. Enjoy The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters (Bloomsbury, $30).

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Palmer and his yellow lab, Mulligan, riding around his home in … what else? a golf cart!

Arnold Palmer is considered the most important golfer in history. As a follow-up to his 1999 autobiography, Palmer takes stock of the many experiences of his life in A Life Well Played (St. martin’s Press, $22.99), bringing new details and insights to some familiar stories and sharing new ones. He offers advice and guidance, sharing stories of his career on the course, success in business and the great relationships that give meaning to his life. This book is Palmer’s gift to the world–a treasure trove of entertaining anecdotes and timeless wisdom that readers will celebrate and cherish.

Breaking bad, reading well. In his riveting memoir A Life in Parts (Scribner, $27), Bryan Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany, and beyond, to mega-stardom and a cult-like following, by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played. With great humor, and much humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular, trying to learn the ropes and the politics of show business on the fly. Discussing his failures as few men do, describing his work as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about innate talent, its benefits, challenges, and proper maintenance, but ultimately the book is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.

Derailed in the ’70s by mental illness, drug use and the shifting fortunes of the band, Brian Wilson came back again and again over the next few decades, surviving and thriving. In I am Brian Wilson (Da Capo Press, $26.99), he weighs in on the sources of his creative inspiration and on his struggles, the exhilarating highs and the debilitating lows. Whether he’s talking about his childhood, his band mates or his own inner demons, Wilson’s story, told in his own voice and in his own way, unforgettably illuminates the man behind the music, working through the turbulence and discord to achieve, at last, a new harmony.

This is the story of the Beatles’ harrowing rise to fame: Focusing on that seven-year stretch from the time the boys met as teenagers to early 1964, when the Fab Four made their momentous first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. From the boys’ humble beginnings in Liverpool, to the cellars of Hamburg, When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top (Running Press, $24.95) includes stories never before told, including the heartbreaks and the lucky breaks. Included are an eyewitness account of that first meeting between Lennon and McCartney, the inside story of how Ringo replaced Pete Best, an exploration of the brilliant but troubled soul of manager Brian Epstein, and the real scoop on their disastrous first visit to Germany and the death of Stu Sutcliffe.

Amy Winehouse died at 27. With a worldwide fanbase and millions of record sales to her name, she should have had the world at her feet. Instead, in the years prior to her passing, she battled addictions and was often the subject of tabloid headlines. Amy’s mother, Janis, knew the real Amy as no one else did. In Loving Amy: A Mother’s Story (Thomas Dunne Books, $26.99) Janis reveals the full story of the daughter she loved. As the world watched the rise of a superstar, then the freefall of an addict to her untimely death, Janis simply saw her Amy, the girl she’d given birth to in 1983; the girl she’d raised and stood by despite her unruly behavior; the girl whose body she was forced to identify two days after her death-and the girl she’s grieved for every day since.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best from PBS Distribution

A Downton Abbey fan? That’s number 567,340,027. This holiday season will be the ultimate celebration for those millions. PBS Distribution has released two all-new complete box sets of the series, as well as a stocking full of officially licensed Downton Abbey merchandise. Visit shoppbs.org for deals that will dazzle fans.

First we tease you with a clip. How many times have you seen this episode?

Downton Abbey: The Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set is the ultimate gift. All six seasons–52 episodes–of the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG-winning program are offered. The set contains 13 hours of bonus content including 5 all new hours as well as exclusive collectible keepsakes that lovers of the series will cherish forever. This is the ultimate Downton Abbey box set and a must-have for every fan.download
The beautiful gold keepsake box contains a working Downton Abbey pull-bell, ready to hang on the wall or stand on a shelf. There’s a collectible set of six elegant cork-based coasters featuring the official Downton Abbey crest. There’s The Costumes of Downton Abbey, an exclusive photo-filled booklet featuring a forward from executive producer Gareth Neame. Then there’s a collectible hardcover book with 22 discs featuring the 52 episodes, including each season finale Christmas special, video extras from each season, full color photography and favorite quotes from iconic characters.

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection
Led by Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith, the acclaimed ensemble cast brings to life all the drama and intrigue of the inhabitants of Downton Abbey, the lavish English country manor, home to the Earl of Grantham.22409e5a802cdc22a0635db35c15d72e This complete collection set, available just in time for the holidays, includes all 52 episodes of the series of this Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy-winning series, following the Crawley family and their servants through all of the splendor and romance, desire and heartbreak, scandal and rumor that Downton Abbey viewers across the globe have grown to love.

Downton Abbey Resin Castle Ornament
Honor the history and elegance of the grand architectural style of Downton Abbey (actually Highclere Castle) withppbs3-16163847reg this beautifully detailed ornament made of high-quality resin that will allow you to enjoy Downton Abbey’s classic style for years to come. It stands 3.5 inches tall.

 

Downton Abbey Trio Pull Bell Ornament
Whether you spent your days upstairs or down, the ringing of bells was a constant sound. This replica of the trio pull bells used by the family and staff of Downton Abbey will help you ring in the holidays year after year.0fe9d670-fc4b-4816-a7dd-d15a695ae81b_1-50d68b43b789808346331535f9f509f2

Downton Abbey Rotating Musical Glitter Dome
This elegant glass glitter dome features a detailed look at the castle and with the flick of the wrist you can see the magic at Downton. This collectible is perfect for every fan in the family.ppbs3-21792925reg

Downton Abbey Porcelain Teacup LED Night Light
This stylish teacup and saucer night light will illuminate your hallway or any room with its bright LED light and easy ppbs3-24064145regon and off switch. It’s the perfect gift for tea enthusiasts and Downton Abbey fans alike.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Coffeetable Books (Part Two)

Something so hot it’s Frozen! Featuring nearly 20 pop-ups from bestselling artist and pop-up guru Matthew Reinhart, Frozen: A Pop-Up Adventure (Disney Publishing, $40), is an eye-popping work of art revisits the enduring story of FrozenElsa and Anna’s remarkable adventure lives on in a magnificent display of paper engineering and artistic devotion. Frozen Pop-Up is a vibrant tribute to these beloved characters and teaches readers of all ages to let it go.


Audrey: The 50s
(Dey Street, $45) is a 
stunning photographic compilation showcasing Hepburn’s iconic career in the ’50s, the decade that solidified her place as one of the world s greatest stars in film and fashion. The tome is crammed with photos during the early days of her career, and in fashion photo shoots by top photographers who adored and immortalized her. Also on call: Beautifully restored advertisements, fan magazine layouts, international film posters and lobby cards.

X marks the spot. Again. Celebrate the return of one of the greatest sci-fi shows of all time with a new, revised edition of The Complete X-Files (Insight Editions, $39.99), a detailed guide featuring exclusive material from the brand-new season. Returning after more than a decade off the air, the 10th season of The X-Files promises to be one of the most anticipated television events of 2016. The book takes readers into the show’s creator Chris Carter’s never-before-seen archives with explanations of unsolved plots, breakdowns of popular episodes, a discussion of the FBI’s paranormal investigations bureau and other insider information.

The Art of Archer (Dey Street Books, $29.99) is a comprehensive, fully illustrated and highly visual guide to everything behind-the-scenes of the award-winning animated series. Bonus!
There’s a foreword by Christian Slater. Featuring concept art, exclusive interviews, script excerpts and the never-before-released original pitch for the series, this amazing collection offers an utterly unique view of the Archer creative process.

For the first time in more than 40 years, the United States Military Academy has authorized a new military history series that will bear the name West Point. That text has been updated repeatedly, but now it has been completely rewritten and The West Point History of the Civil War (Simon & Schuster, $55) is the first volume to result in a new series of military histories authorized by West Point. The book combines the expertise of preeminent historians commissioned by West Point, hundreds of maps uniquely created by cartographers under West Point’s direction, and hundreds of images, many created for this volume or selected from West Point archives.

Missed the red-hot exhibition on the visionary work and fervent imagination of director Guillermo del Tor? Fret not. Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks and Collections  (Insight Editions, $29.99) is the perfect accompaniment to the exhibition, which focuses on del Toro s creative process, including the well-defined themes that he obsessively returns to in all his films, the journals in which he logs his ideas, and the vast and inspiring collection of art and pop culture ephemera that he has amassed at his private man cave, Bleak House. Filled with imagery from the exhibit, including favorite pieces of art that del Toro has chosen for the exhibit, and pertinent journal pages, the book will further delve further into the director s world through exclusive in-depth interviews and commentary from notable figures in the art world.

Since its founding, West Point has taught its cadets the history of warfare, and since 1847 it has done so through a singular text, The West Point History of Warfare. That text has been updated repeatedly, and now through a unique partnership with West Point graduates, the text has been completely rewritten. Volume 1 concluded with the midpoint of World War II in 1942; now the  latest edition The West Point History of World War II, Volume 2 (Simon & Schuster, $55) begins, covering all aspects of the war.  As with previous volumes, the book boasts rich, full-color illustrations with unique tactical maps created by expert cartographers in collaboration with West Point’s military historians, as well as dozens of graphics uniquely created for this volume and hundreds of historical images, many of which are from the West Point archives.

Explore the greatest art from over two decades of Marvel’s Deadpool comics with the Deadpool: Drawing the Merc with a Mouth  (Insight Editions, $45), a nifty (and deluxe) book celebrates more than 20 years of Deadpool comic art, showcasing iconic covers, stunning panels, and other amazing art from the Marvel Comics archives. 91pyas30ehlFilled with stunning art that showcases Deadpool’s off-the-wall comics career, from his origins in the pages of The New Mutants to his outlandish adventures with the Deadpool Corps and his team-ups with Marvel Comics A-listers such as Spider-Man and Wolverine, this book is a visually striking journey into Wade Wilson’s bizarre world. The book also comes with an exclusive print of the Reilly Brown cover art.

A New History of Animation (Thames & Hudson, $85) guides readers through the history animation from around the world. Topics covered include optical toys and magic lanterns; early cinema, magic, and the foundations of the animation industry; the relationship of comics to early animation; animation as a modern art in ’20s Europe; the emergence of the major US studios; animation style at Disney, Fleischer, and Warner Bros., types of comedy; animation during wartime; stop-motion; working directly on film; youth audiences and animation in the ’60s; early television animation; Book Coveradvertising; games; animation from Eastern Europe; the Disney renaissance; creator driven television series; the development of college programs; short films and festivals; the rise of computer-generated animation;  franchising; Hayao Miyazaki and others in the Japanese animation industry.  The book contains 460 color illustrations, ranging from studio productions to independently produces shorts, visual effects, paintings, studio documentation and more.

A beautiful, comprehensive volume of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, from the beginning of his career through the present day—with the songwriter’s edits to dozens of songs, appearing in The Lyrics: 1961-2012 (Simon & Schuster, $60) for the first time.
The Lyrics is a comprehensive and definitive collection of Dylan’s most recent writing as well as the early works that are such an essential part of the canon.41rib8fmsl Well known for changing the lyrics to even his best-loved songs, Dylan has edited dozens of songs for this volume, making The Lyrics a must-read for everyone from fanatics to casual fans.

The star and stunning beauty whose adventurous life and mysterious death still keeps the public searching for answers gets her just due in Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life (Running Press, $35), the first family-authorized book on the actress. Featured are original writings by Natalie’s husband Robert Wagner and daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner; reminiscences by Natalie s friends and fellow celebrities;51eckyrfhjl informative essays on the star’s most important films; and a Natalie Wood Fashion Timeline, showcasing Wood s embodiment of each major fashion trend from the mid-’50s to the early ’80s. Most illuminating of all is a lengthy excerpt from a never-before-published text entitled Private Person: Public Property that Natalie hand-wrote in 1966, revealing the star s own thoughts on life, love, family, and her films.

It’s time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura (Workman, $35), celebrates more than 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. Talk about a bucket list: Here are natural wonders the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia; Turkmenistan’s 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell; a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh;917e6bdwegl eccentric bone museums in Italy; or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England. The book revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. It is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer. Anyone can be a tourist.

No sounds of silence in this delightful book boasting the lyrics of Paul Simon. Welcome Lyrics 1964-2016 (Simon & Schuster, $35). Consequently, this presentation of all Simon’s songs in chronology (fortunately including all the numbers from Simon’s musical The Capeman, on which he collaborated with 71n1xwghvfl-1Nobel laureate Derek Walcott) is a pleasure to read straight through, like a novel or a biography, although it isn’t autobiographical, for quite often the singer of a song isn’t Paul Simon. Perhaps it’s you?

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Coffeetable Books (Part One)

Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees (Abbeville Press, $49.95) Staking out some of the world’s last dark places, photographer Beth Moon uses a digital camera to reveal constellations, nebulae, and the Milky Way, in rich hues that are often too faint to be seen by the naked eye. 61fkf2c-dxl
These magnificent images encounter great arboreal specimens, including baobabs, olive trees, and redwoods, in such places as South Africa, England and California.

 

This tome will fit you to a T.  The World Atlas of Tea (Firefly Books, $35) covers tea from the ground up, including why the soil in China makes different tea than the soil in India. Tea mixologist Krisi Smith explains what a tea drinker needs to know to appreciate teas of all descriptions. 81ht-jfnkylShe follows tea from the plantation to harvesting and processing to how to make the perfect cup. The book is illustrated throughout with beautiful color photographs taken in the field. Another savor sip:  Black tea is the most popular but green tea sales are growing rapidly–more than 60 percent in ten years–driven by its proven health benefits.

There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about her. Indeed, Minnie Mouse is a friendly (and constant) reminder to girls of all ages to live confidently and express themselves. In the luscious volume The Art of Minnie Mouse (Disney Publishing, $40), Disney artists, designers, illustrators and animators from around the world reimage their favorite MM styles and portray them in a variety of mediums. Minnie’s earliest incarnation, her classic red polka-dot look, and trendy modern styles are all newly incarnated in water color, pastel, oil paint, colored pencil, mixed media, and computer graphics pieces that range from the traditional to the unconventional. The book also features a never-before-published comprehensive filmography of Minnie’s animated appearances as well as a visual timeline of her career milestones.

All life depends on water and we are running out of it, but where exactly is the water and where is it going? Water: Exploring the Blue Planet (Firefly Books, $49.95) is essentially a map of water. It features astonishingly detailed photographs that reveal the watery health of the Blue Planet. The photographs are produced by the highest caliber satellite and remote-sensor imagery that current technology allows.

You can’t hurry love. Nor can you hurry through the music that defined an era. From The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross and the Supremes; from Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and his right-hand man, Barney Ales, built the most successful independent record label in the world. Motown not only represented the most iconic recording artists of its time and produced countless global hits, it created a cultural institution that redefined pop, and gave us the vision of a new America. In Motown: The Sound of Young America (Thames & Hudson, $60), the first official visual history of the label, new research, a dazzling array of images and unprecedented access to the archives of the makers and stars of Motown lend new insight to the legend.

There’s not a prayer of a chance book lovers, art aficionados and fans of fans could dismiss the importance of The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World (Thames & Hudson, $95). For two millennia the Bible has inspired the creation of extraordinary art. Within this history illuminated biblical manuscripts are among the best tools for understanding early Christian painting and artistic interpretations of the Bible. This extensively illustrated new book, compiled and written by two internationally renowned experts, transports readers, by way of 45 featured manuscripts, across the globe and through 1,000 years of history. Passing chronologically through many of the major centers of the Christian world. Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle shed light on some of the finest but least-known paintings from the Middle Ages, and on the development of art, literature and civilization as we know it.

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Saint Sebastian Jusepe de Ribera, a Prado treasure

The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum; it houses one of the world’s finest collections of European art, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and is unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works.
Can’t afford a trip? Opt for the lavish and hefty The Prado Masterpieces (Thames & Hudson, $125). This magnificent book is the first of its kind to be published in association with the Prado, covering the collection from ancient sculpture to the nineteenth century.

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist born in 1760 whose legacy remains, some 150 years after his death, as important as ever. His work influenced Impressionism and Art Nouveau, and a range of contemporary artists working today. Realized in jewel-like colors, Hokusai’s simple views of everyday scenes in Japan, his sense of balance and harmony, and his highly stylized but ever-changing techniques seem to capture the spirit and traditions of his homeland. Hokusai Pop-Ups brings this stunning art to life. The six pop-ups will delight and dazzle!

Havana. Just saying the name evokes images of bright Caribbean colors, American cars with fins from the ’50s, and once-glorious buildings fallen into ruin. Now that this socialist island country is open once more, this picture will soon change. Now is the time to pause for a moment and take a closer look at Cuba’s capital city with Havana (teNeues, $65). Bernhard Hartmann starts on the streets, showing us cafes, shops, and boxing clubs, but he also takes us behind the facades of the mansions, whose well-worn charms immediately captivate the viewer. Crumbling plaster, cracked walls, worn stair treads―we see all of this in the pictures, and yet these places are vibrant and alive. Traces of bourgeois life, dignified and stylish, survive despite the adversity, masterfully captured in brilliant photographs.

Enriched by extensive photographs, drawings and diagrams, Paul Farrell’s exploration of the history and function of tugboats ranges from river to harbor to sea, from the first steam-powered craft to contemporary, hyper-specialized vessels. With clarity and clear affection, Farrell illuminates how physics, design, and experience intersected as both boat and purpose were refined. From the deck layout of a nineteenth-century sidewheel tug to the mechanics of cable towing to the operation of an anchor-handling supply vessel, Farrell offers a comprehensive tribute to these beloved workhorses of the sea. All aboard Tugboats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship (W.W. Norton, $49.95).

The legacy of Frank Sinatra’s work stands apart from many of his contemporaries, who essentially based their performances on an extension of a core character type. Sinatra also respectfully challenged contemporary ideals of acting technique. While being humble enough to learn from his peers, he kept his acting style fresh and instinctual, and earned an Oscar at a time when many actors were either classically trained or coached in the “Method.” In The Cinematic Legacy of Frank Sinatra (St. Martin’s Press, $35), David Wills pairs more than 200 first-generation photos with reflections on Sinatra from co-stars and work associates, and including contributing essays by his children Nancy Sinatra, Tina Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. 

Over  the course of his near-decade at HGTV, Vern Yip has counseled thousands of people on beautifying their homes on limited budgets. He has become a trusted advisor for people wanting to create functional and beautiful living spaces. In Vern Yip’s Design Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home (Running Press, $27.50), his debut design book, Vern introduces his design by the numbers approach,  revealing the optimal measurements that are integral to making a room feel right. Discovering these simple standards will help every reader bring flow and balance to a home, and give them confidence to develop a personal aesthetic. Vern’s key design principles will make any house a true home.

Ten years ago, an unknown 16-year-old released a self-titled debut country album. A decade later, Taylor Swift has reached record-breaking, chart-topping heights. A 10-time Grammy winner, Swift has been hailed for her songwriting talent, crossed effortlessly from country to pop, and established herself as a musician who can surprise, delight, and inspire, all while connecting with her fans in a way that only she can. Taylor Swift: This Is Our Song (Simon & Schuster, $28), a fan-generated celebration of Swift’s first decade as an artist, collects the best writing and images from the past ten years in one gorgeous volume.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best DVDs and Box Sets (Part One)

Rock ‘n roll! Pin-up girls! Hot rods and hotter fashion! Welcome to the documentary It’s a Rockabilly World (Virgil Films). Directed by the award winning Brent Huff, the film focuses on the vibrant scene known as “rockabilly” and the people who follow this subculture religiously.unnamed-2 The term dates back the mid-’50s, where it was coined to describe the rock ‘n roll played by hillbillies, by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The flick details its humble beginnings to the global sensation it is today, not only in the United States but in Europe, South Africa and Japan. The colorful cast brings you right onto the rockabilly scene-describing how and why they fall in love with this cultural phenomenon.

The action of Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: Complete Season One (Disney) begins after the events of The Empire Strikes Back and before Return of the Jedi and follows a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from battle debris strewn throughout the galaxy. Recycling runts!s-l1600-6 When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact—the Kyber Saber—his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. The Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters and learn the meaning of family. Relive all 13 action-packed episodes in one nifty set. And no, you;re not hearing things: The voice of Lando Calrissian is that of Billy Dee Williams, reprising his role from the original film series.

RuPaul has his queens. And the Kingdom of Avalor has theirs. After saving her enchanted kingdom from an evil sorceress, Princess Elena must now reign as Crown Princess until she’s old enough to become Queen. s-l1600-7She has help: With her sister Isabel, magical flying jaquins, and her friends Naomi, Royal Wizard Mateo and Royal Guard Gabe by her side, this empowered Princess will do her best to rule Avalor with bravery and compassion. Disney’s most inspiring new leader embarks on a heroic journey to restore her kingdom to greatness and prove she’s ready to rule. Such is the wonder of Elena of Avalor (Disney).

We know the story well: Ben-Hur is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army. The story’s highlight still remains the chariot race: Both the 1925 silent film version, starring gay icon Ramon Navarro as Ben-Hur, and the 1959 blockbuster remain memorable with Biblical proportions. (Three were two other adaptations of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace: The 1907 silent film starring Herman Rottger and the 2003 animated film with Ben-Hur voiced by Heston.) ben-hurA new version hit theaters earlier this year, starring Jack Huston in the title role. The breathtaking action-adventure,from Paramount Home Media Distribution, is a great adventures, especially on Blu-ray!

If you missed the critical acclaim (think applause, then more applause) director Andrew Neel’s gripping drama Goat received at its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, ask Santa for the Paramount Home Media Distribution DVD. goat-2016-hollywood-full-movie-dvdrip-1-4gb-download Based on Brad Land’s memoir, the film follows a 19-year-old Brad (played by Ben Schnetzer), newly arrived to college and desperate to belong.  Taking a cue from his older brother Brett (Nick Jonas), Brad decides to pledge a fraternity.  At first, it’s all parties and girls, but as Brad enters into the final stretch of the pledging ritual—known as “hell week”—things take a violent, humiliating turn.  What occurs in the name of ‘brotherhood’ tests both boys and their relationship in brutal ways.

True cinephiles crave everything Cohen Film Collection releases. Trust us and check out the wide array of flicks at cohenmedia.net. Santa will get a long list. One must-have: Merchant Ivory’s undisputed masterpieces Howards End, in a gorgeous new 4k restoration on Blu-ray and DVD. This adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic novel won multiple prizes including three Academy Awards, with Emma Thompson picking up Best Actress.unnamed-1 A saga of class relations and changing times in an Edwardian England on the brink of modernity, the film centers on the interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, the beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformist values.

Only producer Lorne Michaels could make our Saturday nights live with laughter. Witness: Brother Nature (Paramount Home Media Distribution), the outrageous new comedy about family, friendship and fish.  Roger, a straight-laced politician, has big plans to propose to his dream girl at her family’s lake house. But everything goes awry when he meets his potential brother-in-law Todd: A full-time camp counselor with a heart of gold and a wild sense of fun, pining to be Roger’s best friend, and ultimately catapulting him into a series of unfortunate events.brothernature-570x300
As Roger tries to take a stand amidst outrageous fishing excursions, propulsive water jetpacks and American history-themed musicals, he realizes that being a part of a new family may be more difficult than he’d thought.

Perhaps the most touching and important film of the year: When two pregnant cows were trapped in an over-turned rig on the 210 Freeway in March, the City of Los Angeles’ SMART, a specialized mobile animal rescue team, was called in to save them. The team, the first of its kind in the United States, is a uniquely trained unit within the Animal Services division that risks life and limb to rescue domestic and wild animals in the most precarious situations. An award-winning documentary film, SMART: Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (Cinema Libre Studio), captures the heart and soul of this team as they battle to save LA’s animals.

Since SMART’s formation in 2009, the self-trained team has saved nearly 1,000 animals . . . domestic, wild, and abused animals of all kinds. The team of 12 Animal Control Officers, represent the cultural melting pot that is this city, and has a 100% save rate. Due to SMART’s distinctive training, it can respond to calls that other emergency responders and Animal Control Officers are not equipped to handle, as seen in the film when they are called in to help Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) after a buck gets trapped in his backyard.
In the last seven years, team members have spent almost $80,000 dollars of their own money to assist with expenses not covered by the department’s budget. Says Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette, SMART’s role is “to show people that the impossible is possible.”
A truly remarkable team and their story.

Based on the phenomenal bestselling book series by acclaimed author James Patterson, Maximum Ride has landed on DVD
from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  Patterson’s book series spent 144 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than 20 million books worldwide and has spawned 11 Manga comics. 91ze3jndmyl-_sl1500_ The film brings to life the extraordinary journey of six DNA-enhanced young orphans with the ability to fly who are on a mission to rescue the youngest of their flock while discovering the diabolical, scientific secrets of how they came to exist.  Their leader is Max, wise beyond her years, who must summon all her courage and acumen to outmaneuver the brutal half-human/half-wolf creations known as “Erasers”, confront her own inner demons and ultimately face a stunning betrayal.

Time Life is releasing several new-to-retail collections of episodes from the first five years of her  show with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes–Classic Carol. This must-have series, unveiled by Time Life in 2015, features original, uncut broadcast episodes from Seasons 1-5 (1967-1972), unseen by the public in more than 40 years–no reruns, streaming video, DVDs or any other format. Until now.   Fans  will have the opportunity to restore their CB connections and tune in to rediscover what made the program tick and stick around as one of the best hours on TV.
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The 6-disc set  features 14 episodes, as they originally aired on television, and showcases some of the most acclaimed and beloved moments from “The Carol Burnett Show” including classic sketches “The Old Folks,” “Carol and Sis,” “The Ham Actors,” and “As the Stomach Turns;” TV spoofs including the ever-popular commercials; movie parody presentations from Tearjerker Theatre, Insomnia Theatre, and The Early Early Show; and guest stars including Lucille Ball, Ken Berry, George Carlin, Ray Charles, Cass Elliot, Robert Goulet, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Reynolds and Lana Turner. There’s also a 3-disc set (features seven episodes) and the single disc  that includes three episodes.

Specially-created bonus features are also available on both the 6-disc and 3-disc sets and include “A Writers’ Roundtable: A Conversation with The Carol Burnett Show‘s Writers” and interviews with show dancer and choreographer Randy Doney and ballet dancer Edward Villella.  The 6-disc collection also features several bonus shows, including “The Garry Moore Show” episodes featuring the original “Accidents” and “Princess of Morovia” sketches.

Your favorite pizza-loving heroes return in an epic new adventure loaded with wall-to-wall laughs. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Paramount Home Media Distribution), the Heroes in a Half-Shell also will be available in a limited edition two-movie Blu-ray giftset with collectible metal lunchbox. Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo are back to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones.152bc4ff-842d-4ee6-879c-6a3c4af5e87e_1-26522b32e3088bd56cb2b1bf0f1f9643 After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop and Rocksteady, to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater threat with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

We cannot stand hip-hop or rap or any other such noise. But we did find the miniseries Streets of Compton (Lionsgate) fascinating as we witnessed the rise of West Coast hip-hop. Produced and narrated by rapper The Game, this miniseries brings unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to hip-hop’s origins, exploring the rise of music legends like NWA and Dr. Dre told through the eyes of its current and former residents. unnamed-1Compton is a place most people have never seen and the truth isn’t always pretty. Streets of Compton tells the story of how a city overrun by gangs and violence became a cultural powerhouse. Hip-hop superstar The Game takes us on a dark yet redemptive journey into the heart of his city.

We got out kicks from Kicks (Universal Studios Home Entertainment). In Justin Tipping’s feature debut, nothing is as simple as it seems. Fifteen-year-old Brandon longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy; assuming that merely having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone — even his best friends.a17ne5ymmgl-_sl1500_ Working hard to get them, he soon finds that the titular shoes have instead made him a target after they are promptly snatched by local hood, Flaco. Seemingly the embodiment of menace, Flaco harbors complexities of his own that will be revealed when Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers with his two best friends in tow.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Recipe and Food Books (Part One)

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a steak hitting a perfectly seasoned cast-iron pan. No beefing here. Chef Rachel Narins demystifies the caring for cast iron with Cast-Iron Cooking (Storey Publishing, $12.95) a friendly, accessible introduction to the properties, perks and full range of possibilities that come along with this classic cookware.922676cookingcastiron_cover From stove top to oven to campfire to grill, this affordable, long-lasting material is unmatched in its versatility and the tasty tome will teach readers how to take full advantage of it,  from breakfast to dinner to dessert. Full-color photos bring the recipes to life, and tips for outdoor cooking make this a book that will travel to many a campsite or hunting cabin. Narins will leave readers confident and eager to pull their pans off the shelf and get cooking.

Air-frying is the hottest trend in the kitchen . . . fantastic fried taste and texture with up to 80% less fat! Although they are called air fryers, they also roast and bake, making them an indispensable kitchen appliance. Camilla Saulsbury brings her extensive recipe development skills to 175 Best Air Fryer Recipes (Robert Rose, $24.95), and has created recipes exclusively designed for and guaranteed to perform
in an air fryer. airfryeradvancecoverBy cooking with circulated super-heated hot air, you’ll create an amazing variety of recipes—from classics to modern-day favorites. From Classic French Fries and Beer-Battered Fried Fish to Buttermilk Fried Chicken, you’ll get all the fantastic flavor without the fat. Imagine being able to enjoy Old-Fashioned Cake Donuts and Coconut Shrimp without the guilt! Not to mention being able to indulge in desserts like Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Cake and Bananas Foster.

Knives & Ink (Bloomsbury USA, $24) is as sharp as a butcher’s knife and as fresh as some hand-grown radicchio. Chefs take their tattoos almost as seriously as their knives; from gritty grill cooks in backwoods diners to the executive chefs at the world’s most popular restaurants, it’s hard to find a cook who doesn’t sport some ink.9781632861221 Bestselling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and book editor Isaac Fitzgerald reveal the stories behind the tattoos that chefs proudly wear, along with their signature recipes. Like the dishes these chefs have crafted over the years, these tattoos are beautiful works of art. Knives & Ink delves into the wide and wonderful world of chef tattoos and shares their fascinating backstories, along with personal recipes from many of the chefs.

The French way to savor dessert? It’s a petite treat: Two delicious bites, just a taste, of a sable, madeleine, petit four, nougat, caramel or other dessert that packs a sweet punch. With the tiny desserts featured in Les Petits Sweets: Two-Bite Desserts from the French Patisserie (Running Press , $18), you can have a dessert-tasting party to try them all. _35Classic French techniques explain each recipe from start to finish, and lots of variations yield nearly infinite flavor combinations, all illustrated with full-color photography. Go ahead, have dessert first. Oui!

There’s always something sweet in the oven at Honey & Co., the tiny restaurant in London where the day is marked by what comes out of the pastry section. In the morning, sticky buns are stuffed full of cherries and pistachios; loaves of rich dough are rolled with chocolate, hazelnuts, and cinnamon.s-l400 Lunch is a crisp, crumbly shell of pastry filled with spiced lamb or burnt eggplant, and at teatime there are cheesecakes and fruitcakes, small cakes, and massive cookies-so many treats that it’s hard to choose one. And after dinner? Poached peaches with roses, something sweet and salty drenched in orange blossom syrup, or maybe even a piece of fresh marzipan. Dig in and taste the treats that fill Golden: Sweet & Savory Baked Delights from the Ovens of London’s Honey & Co. (Little, Brown and Company, $30).

Bestselling author, vegan goddess and comfort food queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz is back with The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion (Little, Brown and Company, $32) to prove that making festive vegan food for any occasion can be easy, delicious . . . and superfun. 91g8kyvjlvlGone are the days of stressing over how to please family and friends with different dietary needs. Isa provides everything you need to get your party started, from finger food and appetizers to casseroles, roasts, and dozens of special sides. Then comes a throng of cakes, cookies, cobblers, loaves, pies, and frozen treats to make you feel like the best dang vegan cook in the world.

Prepare a feast fit for a warchief with World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook (Insight Editions, $35), a delicious compendium of recipes inspired by the hit online game from Blizzard Entertainment. s-l400-2Presenting delicacies favored by the Horde and the Alliance alike, this authorized cookbook teaches apprentice chefs how to conjure up a menu of food and drink from across the realm of Azeroth. Featuring food pairings for each dish, ideas for creating your own Azerothian feasts, and tips on adapting meals to specific diets, this otherworldly culinary guide offers something for everyone. Each chapter features dishes at a variety of skill levels for a total of more than one hundred easy-to-follow recipes for food and brews.

Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South (Little, Brown and Company, $40) is a great cookbook, a perfect pictorial storybook and a a hefty tome that could help you keep in shape between cooking. 61xlr7h3islVivian Howard, star of PBS’s A Chef’s Life, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina’s coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories, proving that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina—Vivian’s home—is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level—from beginners to confident cooks—Deep Run Roots features time-honored simple preparations alongside extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer. Home cooks will find photographs for every single recipe. Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy, anyone? A perfect bookend: Season 4 of A Chef’s Life (PBS Distribution), in which Vivian wrangles up sweet spring onions with special help from The Avett Brothers, and then turns a roster of watermelon, sunchokes, field peas, and more into new-fashioned fare. She even cooks up rabbit, which she calls ‘the meat of the future’ makes the menu. That’s all folks!

Grab your friends and get cooking in the land of Ooo with Adventure Time: The Official Cookbook (Insight Editions, $29.99), featuring recipes from all your favorite characters and kingdoms. In the Founders’ Island Library, Finn discovered the remains of an old cookbook filled with dishes such as “lasagna” and “boiled eggs.”919poqkywzl And he was pretty sure that the cookbook had belonged to his mom at some point. Weird. So Finn took it upon himself to fill up the book with as many crazy delicious food ideas as he could. And since that only filled around six pages, he recruited Jake, Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, and the other citizens of Ooo to help complete the cookbook. There was pouring! There was mixing! There was a pasta-related Wizard Battle!

Is there anything more romantic that the primal rush of slurping a raw denizen of the sea? With yummy text by Rowan Jacobsen and lavish four-color photos throughout by renowned photographer David Malosh, The Essential Oyster (Bloomsbury USA, $35) is the definitive book for oyster-lovers everywhere, featuring stunning portraits, tasting notes, and backstories of all the top oysters, as well as recipes from America’s top oyster chefs and a guide to the best oyster bars. _35Spotlighting more than a hundred of North America’s greatest oysters, the book introduces the oyster culture and history of every region of North America, as well as overseas. There is no coastline from British Columbia to Baja, from New Iberia to New Brunswick, that isn’t producing great oysters. For the most part, these are deeper cupped, stronger shelled, finer flavored, and more stylish than their predecessors. Some have colorful stories to tell. Some have quirks. All have character.

We won’t clam up about another nifty book about oysters: Oysters: A Celebration in the Raw (Abbeville Press, $24.95) is true to its title from start to finish. Chapter One is a primer on all things oyster. Chapter Two introduces readers to legendary oystermen and women from around the country.71f6zqvauol Chapter Three offers exquisite photographs of more than fifty varieties of North American oysters, along with flavor profiles and ”merroir.” The book concludes with highlights from the oyster timeline, depictions of oysters in art through the ages and stories of oysters as aphrodisiacs, and parses oyster myths and metaphors. The book also features an oyster glossary and resource list. It is the only book of its kind—a definitive visual companion to this iconic, much loved mollusk.

True rye bread―the kind that stands at the center of northern and eastern European food culture―is something very special. With over 70 classic recipes, The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America  (W.W. Norton, $35) introduces bakers to the rich world of rye bread from both the old world and the new. 616cmhxfgglAward-winning author Stanley Ginsberg presents recipes spanning from the immigrant breads of America to rustic French pains de seigle; the earthy ryes of Alpine Austria and upper Italy; the crackly knäckebröds of Scandinavia; and the diverse breads of Germany, the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia. Rounding out this treasury are reader-friendly chapters on rye’s history, unique chemistry, and centuries-old baking methods.

Damn Fine Cherry Pie: And Other Recipes from TV’s Twin Peaks (Harper Design, $24.99) is a damn fine collection of 75 mouthwatering recipes, inspired by iconic scenes and characters from David Lynch’s groundbreaking cult classic series Twin Peaks—returning to television in 2017 with 18 new episodes on Showtime.  81rsin8i6zlThe show has also impacted popular culinary traditions; there are Double R Diner copycat diners, pop-up dining experiences, doughnut-eating contests, and David Lynch’s signature coffee. Now, fans hungry for a Twin Peaks fix can sate their appetite with this quirky cookbook that pays homage to the show. Lindsey Bowden, the founder of the Twin Peaks festival in the UK, has gathered dozens of recipes inspired by its most memorable scenes and characters, including Percolator Fish Supper, the Log Lady’s Chocolate and Chestnut Roulade, and the Double R Diner’s famous Cherry Pie.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best in Music, CDs, Vinyl and Spoken Word

Simply put, the best box set of the year has nothing to do with music. Or singers. Or orchestrations.ssssssssssssssssssssssss Decca has released Shakespeare: The Complete Works, an unabridged collection of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, performed by The Marlowe Dramatic Society and Professional Players. In addition, there are all of the 154 Sonnets combined with the four narrative poems comes together to create an ultimate collection in one box set.

The recordings feature celebrated actors such as Sir John Gielgud, Richard Pasco, Dame Prunella Scales, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Trevor Nunn, Peggy Ashcroft, Patrick Wymarck and many others. It’s big and heavy and could also serve as a murder weapon. Just in case.

The ideal gift for those who want to keep the “Christ” in Christmas. Bill Gaither’s Homecoming Hymns is a true blessing from Time Life. This must-have 10-disc set is packed with 150 inspirational performances, a bonus 20-song CD and a collectible 48-page hymns book with lyrics.  Bonus content also includes extended conversations with Bill and Gloria Gaither, Behind the Scenes featurettes about the “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” DVDs, and an exclusive, new interview with Bill  talking about hymns.gaitherehyms
Since his early days with the Bill Gaither Trio, Bill  has enjoyed a love of hymns. That love has grown stronger over the years, and these sacred gems have reached new levels of popularity during the last 20 years of Homecoming concerts featuring stars of country and southern gospel music.  Time Life invites fans of gospel and Christian music to enjoy an unforgettable collection of the world’s most beautiful hymns personally selected by Bill himself.  The tunes are enlivened by guest performers including George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys, Larry Gatlin, Marty Stuart and Alabama. The set is only available currently through TimeLife.com or by calling 800-950-7887.

Since he made his Billboard chart debut in 1964, Hank Williams, Jr. has amassed one of the most prolific catalogs in the history of the music business. Curb Records now celebrates that legacy with the release of Hank Williams, Jr: A Country Boy Can Survive, a four-disc box set that stands as one of the most comprehensive Williams sets ever released.
Focusing on his superstar era that kicked off with 1979’s “Family Tradition,” 29 of his 30 Billboard Top-40 Country hits from 1979-1990 are featured on the collection, which also includes nine of his ten number one hits (including his first 1970’s “All For The Love Of Sunshine,” with The Mike Curb Congregation.)hankjrsetThe set also contains fan-favorite album cuts, such as ‘”Outlaw Women,” “Dinosaur,” “The Blues Man” and concert favorite “My Name Is Bocephus,” which originally appeared on his million-selling 1986 set Montana Café. The fourth disc of A Country Boy Can Survive focuses on Williams’ legendary live show, including performances of such classics as “I’m For Love” and “If Heaven Ain’t A Lot Like Dixie,” as well as the iconic title cut–which will celebrate its’ thirty-fifth anniversary in 2017.
The set is available at Walmart, flyt.it/HankJr

With the holiday season in full swing, UMe has several new Christmas collections sure to get you in the spirit and to soundtrack all your yuletide festivities. With classics on vinyl, new CD and digital compilations and an official Spotify playlist, there’s truly something for everyone in every format preferred by you or the ones on your good list.

In honor of Capitol Records’ 75th anniversary, A Capitol Christmas presents some of the most cherished holiday classics from Capitol’s vast catalog and legendary artists. Available now digitally, on CD and as a double LP housed in a gatefold package, the 24-track album brings together beloved Christmas songs from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and many more. Liner notes by compilation producer Jay Landers tell the story of each song in beautiful detail. Order and stream A Capitol ChristmasUMe.lnk.to/ACapitolChristmas

xmas-cdsThe album that started an international movement is now available back on vinyl. Released 29 years ago in 1987, A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1 brought together some of the biggest musicians of all time for a holiday album to support the Special Olympics and their mission. Founded by David Geffen, the first in the AVSC series featured a who’s who of artists including Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Madonna, John Cougar Mellencamp, Alison Moyet, Stevie Nicks, The Pointer Sisters, The Pretenders, Run–D.M.C., Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, U2 and The Eurythmics contributing a variety of seasonal staples along with original songs. With their iconic covers by Keith Haring, the A Very Special Christmas album series has become a perennial favorite on the radio and for holiday celebrations over the years.
Since 1987, the A Very Special Christmas album series has changed lives through generating over $123.4 million in royalties in direct support of Special Olympics programs, thanks to the generosity of top internationally acclaimed recording artists. Since its inception, more than $70 million has helped support 159 countries and territories resulting in more than five million new athletes participating in and benefiting from Special Olympics year-round sports training and competition programs. Each successive album in the series has honored the quality of its predecessors with timeless recordings of holiday music by some of the most influential and talented artists of their time.  Order and stream A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1UMe.lnk.to/AVerySpecialXmasVol1PR

NOW That’s What I Call Music!’s festive new holiday collection, NOW That’s What I Call Merry Christmas, brims with 20 evergreen holiday favorites spanning more than 60 years, from Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby & David Bowie, and Elvis Presley to Wham!, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Pentatonix, Justin Bieber and Josh Groban. Order and stream NOW That’s What I Call Merry Christmasnow.lnk.to/MerryChristmasPR

For more music to get you in the mood for the holiday season, UMe has you covered with the ideal Christmas playlist. The 70-song collection features some of the biggest songs and artists in the holiday music canon and pairs timeless classics from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Vince Guaraldi Trio with modern staples from Michael Bublé, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Diana Krall, Dave Koz, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige and many others for an eclectic and festive playlist sure to be the perfect soundtrack for your holidays. Stream the playlist on Spotify: smarturl.it/UMeXmasPlaylist

And so the music is flowing, from A to Z, with the emphasis on Z . . . as in “Zappa.” Following this month’s release of three new Frank Zappa albums, the Zappa Family Trust and UMe are continuing their extensive reissue campaign by releasing five iconic works of the musical innovator on vinyl for the first time in decades: zappaCruising With Ruben & The Jets, Joe’s Garage, Lumpy GravyWeasels Ripped My Fleshand We’re Only In It For The Money. The albums spanning Zappa’s incredibly fertile late ’60s-late ’70s period will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Talk about rockin’ around the Christmas tree!

Jimmy Buffett has a brand new Christmas record guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood. Tis The SeaSon, released on Mailboat Records, features many classic Christmas favorites, as well as three new songs written especially for the album.
61ux-3alphl-_ss500-1The 13-track record also includes an updated Parrothead version of “The 12 Days Of Christmas.” Be warned.

What verve! On Sarah McLachlan: Wonderland McLachlan sings classic Christmas songs including Winter Wonderland, O Come All Ye Faithful, Let It Snow, Silver Bells and more. Her signature voice and gorgeous arrangements make this a perfect holiday album.saragmc

The reissue of the  2-disc Christmas With Pavarotti (Decca) features some of the most beloved Christmas recordings from star tenor Luciano Pavarotti, including “O Holy Night,” “Panis Angelicus,” “Oh Tannenbaum,” among other arias and songs.pavarotti

Christmastime in New Orleans is a new album featuring some of the Big Easy’s finest jazz musicians in custom instrumental arrangements of holiday includingneworleans “Silver Bells” & “Jingle Bells,” the latter given a slinky, finger-snapping treatment like none other.

Breaking stereotypical expectations of a ‘seasonal’ album, Voces8’s new Decca release Winter paints a portrait of the season through a sparse and powerful aural landscape, invoking a meditative, inspiring feeling of solitude and union. voicesThe CD includes four world premiere recordings, notably a brand new work “Winter”, written exclusively for the album by award-winning composer Rebecca Dale.

A film as enigmatic as Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth is always going to conjure up mysteries in its wake and one of the biggest for the past four decades has been the fate of its much-talked-about soundtrack. Long sought after and highly celebrated by fans, the soundtrack of the David Bowie-starring film, has up until now never been available as a body of work. In celebration of the film’s 40th Anniversary and Studiocanal’s 4K theatrical release, UMe is releasing for the very first time the original movie soundtrack, featuring seminal and original pieces by Stomu Yamash’ta and John Phillips, who composed specifically for the film. fellfromearthThe full 25-track soundtrack is available now digitally and on CD. On December 16, a 19-track vinyl edition of the soundtrack featuring just Yamash’ta and Phillips’ score will be released as a double LP. For the collectors, a limited edition dual format deluxe box, which pairs the vinyl and CD releases with a 48-page hardback book with rare photos.  Order and stream The Man Who Fell To Earth: UMe.lnk.to/TMWFTE A limited collector’s edition arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Digital HD) January 24 from Lionsgate Home DVD.

Theatre queens, die-hard fans of show music and those who simply cannot listen, not even for one more second, rap, rock or hip . . . enter Broadway Records. Van Dean is the mastermind behind masterful CDs, especially his series of evenings taped live from Studio 54/Below (which also goes under the name of the highly overrated MF). Santa baby, if you cannot bring us the inimitable Charles Busch Tony nominee and drag legend (so brilliant in Auntie Mame), then we’ll take Charles Busch–Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below. On the CD, Busch brings his unique blend of songs both contemporary and from the pas. sdsdsdsdsdsdsdsdsdsdaAs our pal, New York Times critic Stephen Holden, raves “He has the gift of comic gab like few other entertainers. Innately funny, endearing and acutely intelligent, he also has claws. For an audience, the possibility of being scratched, although remote, lends his humor a bracing edge.” PS) Charles returns to Feinstein’s/54 Below on New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. Hey, Santa . . .

Carmen Cusack’s debut album, If You Knew My Story, is brimming with the deeply emotional stories and songs that brought her to Broadway. Carmen has been widely recognized for her sensitivity to past pains and joys during each moment onstage. After her time on London’s West End as Fantine in Les Misérables and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Carmen toured as the leading lady of both Wicked and South Pacific before arriving on Broadway as Alice Murphy in Bright Star, earning her a Tony Award nomination for her Broadway debut. ddddThe album includes songs cut from Bright Star, as well as duets with Katie Rose ClarkJoe JungPaul Telfer and Grammy Award winner Edie Brickell

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp celebrate their 20-year friendship with Acoustically Speaking: 20 Years of Friendship–Live from Feinstein’s/54 Below. The intimate unplugged show feature songs that have influenced their lives. ttttttttttRecorded over eight nights in October 2016, Adam and Anthony strip down songs fans know and love, while also offering new and familiar stories of their lives, careers and friendship. Featuring songs from MemphisSweeney ToddCabaretHedwig and the Angry InchOnce and much more, Acoustically Speaking is the perfect celebration of two decades  of friendship.

Two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz (and star of Netflix’s acclaimed series, Bloodline) has followed  up his critically lauded first album Memory & Mayhem–Live at 54 Below with Girls, Girls, Girls (Live at 54 Below), a live album of the show that The New York Times hailed as “brilliantly audacious . . . deeper and richer than any conventional Broadway musical.” 61loopkvxkl-_ss500Inspired by Greek female deities, the show illustrates the treatment of women in classical myth and contemporary society. The song selections range from Loretta Lynn and Elvis Costello to Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Johnny Cash.

Set in the wildest decade ever, Disaster! delivered earthquakes, tidal waves, infernos and unforgettable ’70s hits like “Knock on Wood,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Sky High,” “I Am Woman” and “Hot Stuff”–plus, and outrageous cast of Tony winners. Audiences and critics went wild for this hilarious homage to the era of bell-bottoms, platform shoes and the hustle.91mvtdemwrl-_sl1500_ From the moment the glitter ball started spinning, there was dancing in the seats . . . and rolling in the aisles.

Jay Armstrong Johnson blew the roof off of Feinstein’s/54 Below with his personal eclectic solo show. Broadway Records has released Jay Armstrong Johnson–Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his debut album capturing the electric show, featuring songs from Broadway to radio pop to gospel, with fresh arrangements, a full all-star band, and duets with Todrick Hall, Lindsay Mendez and Billy Lewis Jr. Expect everything from Sondheim to Dixie Chicks.

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