PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR (PART ONE)

Doris Day once reminded us that “four legged animals are much nicer than the two-legged ones”. 
We have always agreed. And how we relish Extraordinary Dogs: Stories from Search and Rescue Dogs, Comfort Dogs, and Other Canine Heroes (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99), which portrays more than 50 working dogs, along with the police officers, firefighters, veterans and other trained volunteer handlers who serve side-by-side with them.
Extraordinary Dogs: Stories from Search and Rescue Dogs, Comfort Dogs, and Other Canine HeroesTheir moving stories and beautiful photographs are an unprecedented glimpse at Comfort Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs, along with bomb-detecting TSA dogs and canine ambassadors from across the United States.
Extraordinary Dogs is both a portrait of what love, hope, courage, and heroism look like in their purest forms and a tribute to the eternal and impactful bonds we forge with our furry friends.
We can’t be catty about What I Lick Before Your Face and Other Haikus By Dogs (Atria Books, $14.99), an adorable tiny tome that filled with picture-perfect photos of dogs as each  shares its innermost feelings in poetic form.
This book confirms what we’ve all long suspected: Inside every dog is the soul of a poet.

 


For a look at another dog, try MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part I (Quirk Books, $15.99). The clever satire, written in iambic pentameter in the style of Shakespeare, wittily fictionalizes the events of the first two years of the Frump administration.
MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part INo one thought that MacTrump—Lord of MacTrump Towers, Son of New York—would ascend to the highest position in the kingdom. Yet with the help of his unhappy but dutiful wife Lady MacTrump, his clever daughter Dame Desdivanka, and his coterie of advisers, MacTrump is comfortably ensconced in the White Hold as President of the United Fiefdoms, free to make proclamations to his subjects through his favorite messenger, McTweet.
MacTrump soon realizes he has no true allies. Will he be able to hold on to his throne? Only time will tell in this tragicomic tale of ambition, greed, and royal ineptitude.


We can’t wait to try Bull Penis Soup. That recipe (yes, it’s real, from Bolivia) is one of the tasty tidbits found in Bizarre World: A Collection of the World’s Creepiest, Strangest, and Sometimes Most Hilarious Traditions (Adams Media, $15.99), a survey of the most bizarre, creepy, and sometimes hilarious customs from cultures around the world.
Bizarre World: A Collection of the World's Creepiest, Strangest, and Sometimes Most Hilarious TraditionsJourney across the globe to understand how various cultures approach everything from grief, beauty standards, food, parenting, death, stress management, happiness and more. Try the soup. Delicious!


The Little Book of Outdoor Wisdom (Falcon Guides, $24.95) is a collection of all-new essays from legendary climber and outdoor writer John Long, an exploration of what connects us fundamentally to the outdoors and of why we return again and again.
Through evocative anecdotes and sketches, told in Long’s visceral yet poignant style, readers will rediscover their love for nature and glean a deeper appreciation for its rejuvenating effect.


Blending biology, chemistry, and physics basics with accessible—and witty—prose, The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show (Atria Books, $17) equips you with the scientific foundation to thoroughly understand Rick’s experiments from the hit Adult Swim show, such as how we can use dark matter and energy, just what is intelligence hacking, and whether or not you can really control a cockroach’s nervous system with your tongue.
The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth's Stupidest ShowPerfect for longtime and new fans of the show, this is the ultimate segue into discovering more about our complicated and fascinating universe.


Two mysteries that kept us up way beyond bedtime: Lieutenant Eve Dallas fights to save the innocent―and serve justice to the guilty―on the streets of New York in Connections in Death ( St. Martin’s Press, $28.99) the gritty and gripping new In Death novel from author J.D. Robb. Nope, we cannot give away anything else.
Connections in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 48)Everyone knows Mary Higgins Clark has superb skills at the cut and paste keys, but we enjoyed Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry (Simon & Schuster, $26.99). When investigative journalist Gina Kane receives an email from a “CRyan” describing her “terrible experience” while working at REL, a high-profile television news network, including the comment “and I’m not the only one,” Gina knows she has to pursue the story. But when Ryan goes silent, Gina is shocked to discover the young woman has died tragically in a Jet Ski accident.
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry: A NovelGina realizes someone—or some people—will go to depraved lengths to keep the story from seeing the light. Nope, we cannot give away anything else.


This Tender Land (Atria Books , $27) is a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression. The Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
This Tender Land: A NovelOver the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, William Kent Krueger’s tome is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.


In May 1974, as President Richard Nixon faced impeachment following the Watergate scandal, the House Judiciary Committee commissioned a historical account of the misdeeds of past presidents. .
The account, compiled by leading presidential historians of the day, reached back to George Washington’s administration and was designed to provide a benchmark against which Nixon’s misdeeds could be measured.
Yes Adolph Frump will be added.
Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to TodayOne reason why Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to Today (The New Press, $29.99) is a must. What the report found was that, with the exception of William Henry Harrison (who served less than a month), every American president has been accused of misconduct: James Buchanan was charged with rigging the election of 1856; Ulysses S. Grant was reprimanded for not firing his corrupt staffer, Orville Babcock, in the “Whiskey Ring” bribery scandal; and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration faced repeated charges of malfeasance in the Works Progress Administration.
Now, as the Asshole and his subordinates face an array of charges on a wide range of legal and constitutional offenses, a group of presidential historians has come together under the leadership of James M. Banner, Jr.—one of the historians who contributed to the original report—to bring the 1974 account up to date through Barack Obama’s presidency.
This new edition is designed to serve the same purpose as the original 1974 report: to provide the historical context and metric against which the actions of the current administration may be assessed.


Hands down, Handful of Stars: A Palmistry Guidebook and Hand-Printing Kit (Harper Design , $39.99)  is a beautifully illustrated, step-by-step guide to the ancient art of palmistry with a novel twist. Pre-printed perforated sheets designed by hand analyst Helene Saucedo especially for the book—along with a a nontoxic ink pad, ink roller and gel pen—enable readers to create a palm print and record notations on a single sheet of paper.
This unique volume, housed in a deluxe slipcase box,  appeals to novice hand analysts and makes a great gift for inquisitive minds of all ages.


When you think back to Christmases past, what (if anything) made it magical? Looking towards the future, what would your perfect Christmas be? What would you change? What should we all change?
Last ChristmasLast Christmas (Quercus Publishing, $26.99) is a beautiful, funny and soulful collection of personal essays about the meaning of Christmas,  featuring the writing of such people as Meryl Streep, Bill Bailey, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Caitlin Moran, Richard Ayoade and Emily Watson. This gem of a book, introduced and curated by Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, celebrates the importance of kindness and generosity, acceptance and tolerance, and shows us that these values are not just for Christmas.


Adam Savage—star of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters and one of the most beloved figures in science and tech—shares his golden rules of creativity, from finding inspiration to following through and successfully making your idea a reality.
Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make ItAs he says: “Every Tools a Hammer (Atria Books , $27) is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you. This book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques and materials that I use most often. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.”


For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner are collected in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers (Quirk Books, $19.99), a charmingly illustrated treasury. 
From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom from Everyone's Favorite NeighborA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister RogersThrough these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are.
A second fun book: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom from Everyone’s Favorite Neighbor (Clarkson Potter, $15) that shows how the wisdom of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is as relevant for adults as it is for children.
Revisit some of Mister Rogers’ greatest guidance that we learned alongside Daniel Tiger, X the Owl, King Friday the XIII and Henrietta Pussycat.


In the Carnival days leading up Mardi Gras, Detective Caleb Rooney comes under investigation for a murder he is accused of committing in the line of duty, as a Major Crimes detective for the New Orleans Police Department. Has his sideline at the Killer Chef food truck given him a taste for murder?
While fighting the charges against him, Rooney makes a pair of unthinkable discoveries. His beloved city is under threat of attack. And these would-be terrorists may be local.
As crowds of revelers gather, Rooney follows a fearsome trail of clues, racing from outlying districts into city center. He has no idea what-or who-he’ll face in defense of his beloved hometown, only that innocent lives are at stake.
The Chef (Grand Central Publishing, $16.99) is James Patterson at her bet. And most thrilling.

Based on Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir, the gorgeous Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice (Clarkson Potter, $19.99) features an intimate and inspiring introduction by the former First Lady and more than 150 inspiring questions and quotes to help you discover—and rediscover—your story.
Printed on cream writing paper, with a grosgrain ribbon, foil-stamped cover and removable half-jacket, the journal includes thought-provoking prompts designed to help you reflect on your personal and family history; your goals, challenges, and dreams; what moves you and brings you hope; and what future you imagine for yourself and your community.
Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
Writes Mrs. Obama in the Introduction to the Becoming journal, “I hope you’ll use this journal to write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment. . . . We don’t have to remember everything. But everything we remember has value.”


Elvis has not left the building. The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show (Simon & Schuster, $28), Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history.
Elvis’ 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star.


In an age when living in a modern society often equates to comfort and ease, why is it that we are so interested in these primal aspects of being human when they are no longer really necessary? Why are we still so fascinated with making fire or stone tools in this social media-driven digital age? Why are we urging our children to run back out into the wild?
The answer to all of these questions—to why we seek out the natural world—can be found Primal (Falcon Guides, $18.95), and stares us in the mirror every day: We long to fulfill our natural destiny as upright-walking hunter-gatherer-nomads. It’s who we are.
Primal: Why We Long to Be Wild and Free PaperbackFrom the telling of anecdotes and stories from author Nate Summers’ 20 years as a survival specialist to conversations with world-renown survival and human nature specialists to digging into the rewilding and free-range parenting trends, Summer explores how humans have—and continue to—pursue “survival” situations to fulfill their deep, soulful longings.


A book about trash . . . for holiday giving? And why not Much has been written about landfills and the monumentality of rubbish, but little attention has been paid to “litter,” the small trash that soils the urban pavement, like the bits of chewing gum that some artists decorate.
Talking Trash: Cultural Uses for Trash (Yale University Press, $35) looks at refuse in its early stages, when it is still tiny and unassuming, still lives in the city, and has yet to grow, leave the metropolis, and accumulate in landfills.

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