Without a doubt, our favorite (read: best) holiday book of the year. The 1942 Sears Christmas Book (Dover Publications, $19.99) is a faithful facsimile of the retailer’s 1942 Christmas edition . . . weeks after first “reading” it, I am looking forward to reliving those bygone years again and again.
The 1942 Sears Christmas Book also provides an interesting look at how merchandise has evolved over the years. In 1942, Sears shoppers could purchase toys as well as housewares, clothes, furniture, candy, and gifts to send to servicemen (all at prices that now seem astonishingly low). The wartime catalog even includes information about the importance of saving scrap metal for munitions and encourages readers to buy war bonds.
Nostalgia has never been nicer!
Picking this book as one of the year’s best is easier than picking a guitar. Guitar: The World’s Most Seductive Instrument (Workman Publishing),s an obsessive, full-color book presented in an irresistible slipcase, features 200 instruments in stunning detail.
Get thisclose to Prince’s Yellow Cloud; Willie Nelson’s “Trigger”; Muddy Water’s Thunderbird; and “Rocky,” lovingly hand-painted by its owner, George Harrison. Met historic instruments—Fender’s Broadcaster; Les Paul’s “Log”; the Gibson Nick Lucas Special, the very first artist model—and stunning acoustics from a new wave of women builders, like Rosie Heydenrych of England, who’s known to use 5,000-year-old wood retrieved from a peat bog, and quirky one-of-a-kind guitars, like Linda Manzer’s Pikasso II, a musical marvel consisting of four necks, 42 strings and a thousand pounds of pressure.
War sucks. Yet Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy (Simon & Schuster, $35) tells the full story of the last stronghold of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River. It prevented the Union from using the river for shipping between the Union-controlled Midwest and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Union navy tried to take Vicksburg, which sat on a high bluff overlooking the river, but couldn’t do it. General Grant moved his army south and joined forces with Admiral Porter, but even together they could not come up with a successful plan.
At one point Grant even tried to build a canal so that the river could be diverted away from Vicksburg.is year-long campaign to win the city.
Donald L. Miller brings to life all the drama, characters, and significance of Vicksburg, a historic moment that rivals any war story in history.
Cute book, clever design. The Queeriodic Table: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Culture (Summersdale , $13.99) plays on the periodic table to celebrate all aspects of the culture in small, easy-to-digest sections.
Celebrate the richness of modern queer culture and its vast history with this fascinating introduction to all the essential elements that helped sculpt the queer community up to the present day.
Stephen King calls the book “one hell of a suspense novel.” We couldn’t agreed more. ?—Stephen King
Linwood Barclay’s Elevator Pitch (William Morrow, $26.99) begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.
Right to the bottom of the shaft.
It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.
You expect us to give more away?
Take the elevator to the bottom floor and go get your copy!
People from all over the United States visit Nantucket Island to celebrate Christmas in a charming Early American setting. From the Christmas Stroll along cobblestoned Main Street to the Festival of Trees held each year at the historic Whaling Museum, Nantucket celebrates the holiday season with traditions and decorations that transform the island into a winter wonderland.
Can’t make it this year? Opt for Lesley Linsley’s Christmas on Nantucket (Globe Pequot, $29.99) as she takes readers on a holiday tour through this picturesque island, offering her own ideas for recreating a quaint Nantucket-style Christmas along the way.
The Wild Bunch has been named one of the greatest Westerns of all time by the American Film Institute. With good reason. Sam Peckinpah’s film is the story of a gang of outlaws who are one big steal from retirement. When their attempted train robbery goes awry, the gang flees to Mexico and falls in with a brutal general of the Mexican Revolution, who offers them the job of a lifetime. Conceived by a stuntman, directed by a blacklisted director, and shot in the sand and heat of the Mexican desert, the movie seemed doomed. Instead, it became an instant classic with a dark, violent take on the Western movie tradition.
In The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film Bloomsbury Publishing, $28), W.K. Stratton tells the fascinating history of the making of the movie and documents for the first time the extraordinary contribution of Mexican and Mexican-American actors and crew members to the movie’s success. The Wild Bunch is an authoritative history of the making of a movie and the era behind it.
Written in Gary John Bishop’s irreverent, in-your-face style that resonated with the hundreds of thousand of fans who read his Unfu*k Yourself, Stop Doing That Sh*t: End Self-Sabotage and Demand Your Life Back (HarperOne, $22.99) reveals our deepest subconscious machinery, with a real-world approach to powerfully translate our most negative thoughts and behaviors into a vitalizing, sabotage-free future.
Think you’ve unfucked yourself? Yet why do you act the way you do? Do you ever feel like you get stuck in destructive cycles that hold you back from living the life you really want? In a dynamic, compelling and aha-filled journey, the book helps you connect the dots of your “stuff” all the way from your past to the present. You’ll make sense of yourself as you uncover how to interrupt those destructive cycles of yours and make the kind of profound shift needed to get your life on track.
Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen ( W. W. Norton & Company, $25.95) is a charming account of Mary Norris’s lifelong love affair with words (pencils and punctuation kept her busy in The New Yorker’s celebrated copy department) and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo.
Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, goes searching for the fabled Baths of Aphrodite, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris’s memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine―and more than a few Greek men―Greek to Me is the Comma Queen’s fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.
Since the moment we first entered Downton Abbey in 1912, we have been swept away by Julian Fellowes’ evocative world of romance, intrigue, drama and tradition. Now, in 1925, as Downton Abbey prepares to close its doors for the final time, Jessica Fellowes leads us through the house and estate, reliving the iconic moments of the wonderfully aristocratic Crawley family and their servants as they navigate the emerging modern age.
St. Martin’s Press has released two scumptions books that fans will relish. Downton Abbey A Celebration: The Official Companion to All Six Seasons ($22.99) is crammed with in-depth cast interview, as well as a complete episode guide for the first five seasons and a teaser for the sixth.
Downton Abbey: The Official Film Companion (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) brings the world and the characters of our favorite fictional country house to life.
Featuring spectacular photographs from the production, interviews with the cast and crew, and a look into the historical and geographical backdrop of the film, this official guide to the film is made to be treasured and loved by fans across the globe.
The film revolves around the King and Queen making an official visit to Downton in 1927, and not only sees the return of all the main cast from the final television series, but also introduces some great British actors to the world of Downton, as we meet the royal family and their retinue. The accompanying book is lavishly illustrated with stunning shots from both behind and in front of the camera, which capture some wonderful off-guard moments during filming, as well as the original costume illustrations.
Did you know that one of the world’s sharpest and most forensic minds inhabited the persona of an attractive old lady, with pink cheeks and blue eyes and a gentle, rather fussy manner? Discover the secrets of Miss Marple in Murder, She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple (William Morrow, $16.99).
It’s a tiny tome of her quotes and sayings, and an essay by Agatha Christie (the Queen of Crime who created MM) appearing for the first time in any book.
Experience the work of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest painters, inventors, and scientists of all time, in a brand-new way. Courtney Watson McCarthy has crafted many brilliant pop-up books, and Leonardo Pop-Ups (Thames & Hudson, $34.95) is the most dynamic.
Featuring many of Da Vinci’s most enduring artworks, both as illustrations and pop-ups, including The Vitruvian Man, The Last Supper, and, of course, the Mona Lisa, Leonardo Pop-Ups also includes Da Vinci’s self-portrait, an overview of his architectural designs, and inventions such as a flapping ornithopter.
Spanning every episode of Game of Thrones across all eight seasons, Kim Renfro goes deep into how the show was made, why it became such a phenomenon and explores every detail you want to know.
The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones is the perfect book to look back at all you may have missed or to jump-start you on a second viewing of the whole series. Valar morghulis!
We would not have honey without honeybees. Without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not pollinate. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of Independence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larva can clean difficult wounds; flour beetle larva can digest plastic; several species of insects have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil. They pollinate flowers, including crops that we depend on. They provide food for other animals, such as birds and bats. They control organisms that are harmful to humans. Life as we know it depends on these small creatures.
With ecologist Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson as our capable, entertaining guide into the insect world, we’ll learn that there is more variety among insects than we can even imagine and the more you learn about insects, the more fascinating they become. Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects (Simon & Schuster, $26) is an essential introduction to the little creatures that make the world go round.
Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille’s blistering thriller The Deserter (Simon & Schuster, $28.99) is and features a brilliant and unorthodox Army investigator, his enigmatic female partner, and their hunt for the Army’s most notorious—and dangerous—deserter.
When Captain Kyle Mercer of the Army’s elite Delta Force disappeared from his post in Afghanistan, a video released by his Taliban captors made international headlines.
But circumstances were murky: Did Mercer desert before he was captured? Then a second video sent to Mercer’s Army commanders leaves no doubt: The trained assassin and keeper of classified Army intelligence has willfully disappeared.
And we ain’t telling you anything else: Why spoil the read?
1973 was the year rock hit its peak while splintering―just like the rest of the world. Ziggy Stardust travelled to America in David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. The Dark Side of the Moon began its epic run on the Billboard charts, inspired by the madness of Pink Floyd’s founder, while all four former Beatles scored top ten albums, two hitting #1. FM battled AM, and Motown battled Philly on the charts, as the era of protest soul gave way to disco, while DJ Kool Herc gave birth to hip hop in the Bronx. The glam rock of the New York Dolls and Alice Cooper split into glam metal and punk. Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite was NBC’s top-rated special of the year, while Elton John’s albums dominated the number one spot for two and a half months.
Just as U.S. involvement in Vietnam drew to a close, Roe v. Wade ignited a new phase in the culture war. While the oil crisis imploded the American dream of endless prosperity, and Watergate’s walls closed in on Nixon, the music of 1973 both reflected a shattered world and brought us together.
Celebrate the year with 1973: Rock at the Crossroads (Thomas Dunne Books, $29.99). You will be glad you did.