Tag Archives: Paul Simon

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


 

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 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?