Tag Archives: St. Martin’s Press

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.

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

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 continue. . .

Herman and Joe Mankiewicz wrote, produced, and directed more than 150 pictures, including triumphs as diverse as the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business, Pride of the Yankees, the infamous Burton-Taylor Cleopatra and Guys and Dolls. But the witty, intellectual brothers spent their Hollywood years deeply discontented
and yearning for what they did not have, a career in theater.
The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (Hollywood Legends Series) Herman gambled away his prodigious earnings, got himself fired from all the
major studios, and drank himself to death at the age of 55. Joe was a
critical and financial success, but his philandering with stars like Joan Crawford and Judy Garland distressed his wives, one of whom committed suicide. He wrecked his own health using uppers and
downers in order to direct Cleopatra by day and write it at night, only to be very publicly fired by Darryl F. Zanuck, a humiliation from which he never fully recovered.
What lives! What stories! What delicious drama! It can be found in The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (University Press of Mississippi, $35).


Blue: The Color of Noise (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99) is the remarkable story―in pictures and words―of Steve Aoki, the superstar DJ/producer who started his career as a vegan straightedge hardcore music kid hellbent on defying his millionaire father, whose unquenchable thirst to entertain―inherited from his dad, Rocky Aoki, founder of Benihana―led him to global success and two Grammy nominations.
Aoki–also known for his outrageous stage antics (cake throwing, champagne spraying, and the ‘Aoki Jump’) and his endearing personality–recounts the epic highs of music festivals, clubs and pool parties around the world, as well as the lows of friendships lost to drugs and alcohol, and his relationship with his flamboyant father. Illustrated with candid photos gathered throughout his life, the book reveals how Aoki became a force of nature as an early social media adopter, helping to turn dance music into the phenomenon it is today.


Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi Moore battled addiction, body image issues and childhood trauma that would follow her for years―all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception.  As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress―and, always, if she was simply good enough.
As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In the deeply candid and reflective memoir Inside Out (Harper, $27.99),  Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life―laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness.


In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals, Face It (Dey Street Books, $32.50) upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, the book re-creates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City,
where Blondie–a band that forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time– played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Aesthetically dazzling, and including never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It brings Debbie Harry’s world and artistic sensibilities to life.


Rollicking but intimate, Still Here (Farrar, Straus and Giroux , $28) tracks one of Broadway’s more outlandish and direct personalities, Elaine Stritch.  We accompany Stritch through her jagged rise to fame, to Hollywood and London, and across her later years, when she enjoyed a stunning renaissance, punctuated by a turn on the popular television show 30 Rock. We explore the influential―and often fraught―collaborations she developed with Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams and above all Stephen Sondheim, as well as her courageous yet flawed attempts to control a serious drinking problem. And we see the entertainer triumphing over personal turmoil with the development of her Tony –winning one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which established her as an emblem of spiky independence and Manhattan life for an entirely new generation of admirers. I’ll drink to that, and one for Mahler!


With her second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years (Hachette Books, $30), Julie Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her years in the film industry, from the incredible highs to the challenging lows.
Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. Co-written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending and inspiring.


With candor, humor and warmth, Olivia writes about her life and career and cancer in the must-have Don’t Stop Believin’ (Gallery Books, $28). Available for the first time in the United States, this edition includes a new afterword by Olivia.
She speaks about her childhood, her father’s role in breaking German Enigma codes during World War II,  her feeling about about stardom,her beloved daughter Chloe, meeting the love of her life, and her passion and unwavering advocacy for health and wellness.
“I hope this story of my life from my early years up to today will bring some inspiration and positivity to the reader,” Olivia says. “We all share so many experiences in our own unique way.”
Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; the diagnosis “came the same weekend my father died of cancer, so you can imagine the shock”, she remembers. Learn more @ onjcancercentre.org.
Olivia has always radiated joy, hope and compassionate.
She continues to be a force for love, for goodness, for strength, throughout the world.
“I also  believe that when you go through something difficult, even something as dramatic as cancer, that something positive will come of it,” she says.
Don’t stop believin’.


As a young man Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.
Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot.
In Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster, $37.5), David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. This is an important, compelling biography, the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in history.


Condé Nast’s life and career was as high profile and glamourous as his magazines. Moving to New York in the early 20th century with just the shirt on his back, he soon became the highest paid executive in the United States, acquiring Vogue in 1909 and Vanity Fair in 1913. Alongside his editors, he built the first-ever international magazine empire, introducing European modern art, style, and fashions to an American audience. Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire (St. Martin’s Press, $32.50) was written with the cooperation of his family on both sides of the Atlantic and a dedicated team at Condé Nast Publications; here Susan Ronald reveals the life of an extraordinary American success story.


Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—reveals her surprising story with unflinching candor in Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, $30).
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late ’90s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years.
Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.


Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top: A raw Journey to Self-Love  (HarperOne, $27.99) uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.


Twyla Tharp is revered not only for the dances she makes—but for her astounding regime of exercise and non-stop engagement. She is famed for religiously hitting the gym each morning at daybreak, and utilizing that energy to propel her breakneck schedule as a teacher, writer, creator and lecturer. This book grew out of the question she was asked most frequently: “How do you keep working?”
Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life (Simon & Schuster,  $27) is a series of no-nonsense mediations on how to live with purpose as time passes.
From the details of how she stays motivated to the stages of her fitness routine, Tharp models how fulfillment depends not on fortune—but on attitude, possible for anyone willing to try and keep trying. Culling anecdotes from her life and the lives of other luminaries, each chapter is accompanied by an exercise that helps anyone develop a more hopeful and energetic approach to the everyday.


Common, the man who owns a Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe, follows up his best-selling memoir One Day It’ll All Make Sense with Let Love Have the Last Word (Atria Books, $26), an inspiring exploration of how love and mindfulness can build communities and allow you to take better control of your life through actions and words.
Common believes that the phrase “let love have the last word” is not just a declaration; it is a statement of purpose, a daily promise. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life. He explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love.  He knows there’s no quick remedy for all of the hurt in the world, but love, for yourself and for others, is where the healing begins.


As part of Motown’s legendary songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont Dozier is responsible for such classics as “You Can’t Hurry Love;” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch);” “Stop! In the Name of Love;” “Heat Wave;” “Baby Love;”  “You Keep Me Hanging On;” and on . . . and on.
After leaving Motown, he continued to make his mark as an influential songwriter, artist and producer with hits such as “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” “Band of Gold,” and “Two Hearts,” a chart-topping Phil Collins single that earned the pair a grammy and an Oscar nomination.
In How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse (BMG Books, $27.99) Lamont takes us behind the scenes of the Motown machine, sharing personal stories of his encounters with such icons as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. He reveals the moments that inspired some of his timeless songs—and pulls back the curtain on the studio secrets that helped him and his colleagues create “the sound of young America.”


P. T. Barnum is the greatest showman the world has ever seen. As a creator of the Barnum & Baily Circus and a champion of wonder, joy, trickery and “humbug,” he was the founding father of American entertainment—and as Robert Wilson argues in Barnum: An American Life (Simon & Schuster, $28), one of the most important figures in American history.
Wilson’s vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy and allure of the ebullient showman, who, from birth to death, repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States. He also suffered tragedy, bankruptcy, and fires that destroyed his life’s work, yet willed himself to recover and succeed again. As an entertainer, Barnum courted controversy throughout his life—yet he was also a man of strong convictions, guided in his work not by a desire to deceive, but an eagerness to thrill and bring joy to his audiences. He almost certainly never uttered the infamous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” instead taking pride in giving crowds their money’s worth and more.


Why shouldn’t we despise the asshole who’s about to be impeached? Protect your wives and daughters since Frump’s proclaimed his  seduction technique is to “grab ’em by the pussy.”  In Golden Handcuffs: The Secret of Trump’s Women (Gallery Books, $28), Nina Burleigh, explores his attitudes toward women by providing in-depth analysis and background on the women who have had the most profound influence on his life—the mother and grandmother who raised him, the wives who lived with him and the ugly daughter who is poised to inherit it all.
Has any president in the history of the United States had a more fraught relationship with women than Donald Trump? He flagrantly cheated on all three of his wives, brushed off multiple accusations of sexual assault, publicly ogled his eldest daughter, bought the silence of a porn star and a Playmate. The books proves is one sick motherfucker.


Winston Churchill called him World War II’s “organizer of victory.” Harry Truman said he was “the greatest military man that this country ever produced.” George Catlett Marshall was America’s most distinguished soldier-statesman since George Washington, whose selfless leadership and moral character influenced the course of two world wars and helped define the American century.
Long seen as a stoic, almost statuesque figure, he emerges in the pages of George Marshall: Defender of the Republic (Dutton Caliber, $34) as a man both remarkable and deeply human, thanks to newly discovered sources.
Set against the backdrop of five major conflicts—two world wars, Palestine, Korea, and the Cold War—Marshall’s education in military, diplomatic and political power, replete with their nuances and ambiguities, runs parallel with America’s emergence as a global superpower. The result is a defining account of one of our most consequential leaders.


In 1975 Andrew Ridgeley took a shy new boy at school under his wing. They instantly hit it off, and their boyhood escapades at Bushy Meads School built a bond that was never broken. As Wham!, R and George Michael, found themselves riding an astonishing roller coaster of success, taking them all over the world. They made and broke iconic records, they were treated like gods, but they stayed true to their friendship and ultimately to themselves. It was a party that seemed as if it would never end.
Wham!, George Michael and Me: A Memoir Hardcover And then it did, in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.
With WHAM!, George Michael and Me, (Dutton, $28), one half of one of the most famous bands in the world, tells the inside story of  his lifelong friendship with George Michael, and the formation of a band that changed the shape of the music scene in the early ’80s. Ridgeley ‘s memoir covers in wonderful detail those years, up until that last iconic concert: the scrapes, the laughs, the relationships, the good, and the bad. It’s a unique and one-and-only time to remember that era, that band, and those boys.


 

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.


 

Thank God for Andrew McCabe: Another reason to hate the racist scumbag, Adolph Frump

Does anyone hate Adolph Frump more than I do?
Oh, yes! More than half the nation!
On March 16, 2018, just 26 hours before his scheduled retirement from the organization he had served with distinction for more than two decades, Andrew G. McCabe was fired from his position as deputy director of the FBI.
In The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99), Andrew G. McCabe offers a dramatic and candid account of his career, and an impassioned
defense of the FBI’s agents, and of the institution’s integrity and independence in protecting America and upholding our Constitution.

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump

McCabe started as a street agent in the FBI’s New York field office, serving under director Louis Freeh. He became an expert in two kinds of investigations that are critical to American national security: Russian organized crime―which is inextricably linked to the Russian state―and terrorism. Under Director Robert Mueller, McCabe led the investigations of major attacks on American soil, including the Boston Marathon bombing, a plot to bomb the New York subways, and several narrowly averted bombings of aircraft. And under James Comey, McCabe was deeply involved in the controversial investigations of the Benghazi attack, the Clinton Foundation’s activities, and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

The Threat recounts in compelling detail the time between Frump’s November 2016 election and McCabe’s firing, set against a page-turning narrative spanning two decades when the FBI’s mission shifted to a new goal: preventing terrorist attacks on Americans. But as McCabe shows, right now the greatest threat to the United States comes from within, as President Trump and his administration ignore the law, attack democratic institutions, degrade human rights, and undermine the U.S. Constitution that protects every citizen.
Important, revealing and powerfully argued, The Threat tells the true story of what the FBI is, how it works, and
why it will endure as an institution of integrity that protects America.

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2018 GIFT GUIDE: LAST-MINUTE PRESENTS WITH PRESENCE, PART THREE. SANTA, TAKE NOTE.

How we love Stormy weather.
How we hate Adolph Frump.
He fucked Stormy Daniels. And She now fucks him. Hard.
St. Martin’s Press spotlights Stormy with Full Disclosure ($27.99), Stormy Daniels’ memoir. She and the book will really fuck the bastard:  The book will be published simultaneously in the UK, Australia, South Africa and India, and in hardcover, ebook and audio formats.

Now the woman referred to in The New York Times opinion pages as “Stormy Daniels, Feminist Hero” and “Joan of Arc,” and in Rolling Stone as “the hero America needs,” tells her whole story for the first time. In Full Disclosure, she shares everything about how she came to be a leading actress and director in the adult film business, the full truth about her journey from a rough childhood in Louisiana onto the national stage, and the events that led to the nondisclosure agreement and the behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate her.


Has any president in the history of the United States had a more fraught relationship with women than Adolph Frump? He flagrantly cheated on all three of his wives, brushed off multiple accusations of sexual assault, publicly ogled his eldest daughter, bought the silence of a porn star and a Playmate, and proclaimed his now-infamous seduction technique: “grab ’em by the pussy.”

Nina Burleigh’s Golden Handcuffs (Gallery Books, $28) is a comprehensive and provocative account of the women who have been closest to Trump—his German-immigrant grandmother, Elizabeth, the uncredited founder of the Trump Organization; his Scottish-immigrant mother, Mary, who acquired a taste for wealth as a maid in the Andrew Carnegie mansion; his wives—Ivana, Marla, and Melania (the first and third of whom are immigrants); and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, groomed to take over the Trump brand from a young age. Also examined are Trump’s two older sisters, one of whom is a prominent federal judge; his often-overlooked younger daughter, Tiffany; his female employees; and those he calls “liars”—the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.


Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was a beginning, not an end. In his new book, Where Do We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99), America’s most popular political figure speaks about what he’s been doing to oppose the Trump agenda and strengthen the progressive movement and how we go forward as a nation.Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance by [Sanders, Bernie] This is the man who should be handling the US, not the sick lying sex addict, homophobe, racist, xenophobe, misogynistic scumbag with fake orange hair.


Following a series of Top 10 hits that became instant American standards, the Weavers dissolved at the height of their fame. Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America (Da Capo Press, $27) details the remarkable rise of Pete Seeger’s unlikely band of folk heroes, from basement hootenannies to the top of the charts, and the harassment campaign that brought them down.

Exploring how a pop group’s harmonies might be heard as a threat worthy of decades of investigation by the FBI, Wasn’t That a Time turns the black-and-white ’50s into vivid color, using the Weavers to illuminate a dark and complex period of American history. Using previously unseen journals and letters, unreleased recordings, once-secret government documents, and other archival research, Jesse Jarnow uncovers the immense hopes, incredible pressures, and daily struggles of the four distinct and often unharmonious personalities at the heart of the Weavers.


Before the emergence of prohibition-era gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, there was the Black Hand: An early twentieth-century Sicilian-American crime ring that preyed on immigrants from the old country. In those days, the FBI was in its infancy, and local law enforcement were clueless against the dangers—most refused to believe that organized crime existed. Terrorized victims rarely spoke out, and the criminals ruled with terror—until Inspector Frank Oldfield came along.

In 1899, Oldfield became America’s 156th Post Office Inspector—joining the ranks of the most powerful federal law enforcement agents in the country. Oldfield was finally able to penetrate the dreaded Black Hand when a tip-off put him onto the most epic investigation of his career, culminating in the 1909 capture of 16 mafiosos in a case that spanned four states, two continents—and ended in the first international organized crime conviction in the country.

Hidden away by the Oldfield family for one hundred years and covered-up by rival factions in the early 20th century Post Office Department, this incredible true story is told in Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society: America’s Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective who Brought Them to Justice (Touchstone, $26) out of America’s turn-of-the-century heartland will captivate all lovers of history and true crime.


For more than ten 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (Harper,  $27.99)—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.


Barking up the right tree: The hilarious, heartwarming and rebarkable true story of Guy the Beagle, Duchess Meghan Markle’s rescue dog, His Royal Dogness, Guy the Beagle: The Rebarkable True Story of Meghan Markle’s Rescue Dog (Simon & Schuster, $17.99).
Like all good stories, Guy the Beagle’s begins lost in the woods of Kentucky. But his fortunes change when he’s rescued by none other than Meghan Markle. Practically overnight, Guy goes from wags to riches. But does this backwoods beagle have what it takes to be welcomed into the royal family? Guy’s story of finding acceptance in an exceptional family will have readers of all ages barking with laughter.


In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, (Harper Design, $40), Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instill in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.


Dick Gregory has been an unsparing and incisive cultural force for more than fifty years: A friend of such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, Gregory is an unrelenting, lifelong activist against social injustice, whether he was marching in Selma during the Civil Rights movement or organizing student demonstrations to protest the Vietnam War, participating in rallies for Native American and feminist rights or fighting apartheid in South Africa.Gregory’s Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies (Amistad, $15.99) teaches readers how to laugh . . . and live.


The League of Regrettable Sidekicks: Heroic Helpers from Comic Book History (Quirk Books, $24.95) affectionately spotlights forgotten helpers like Thunderfoot (explosive-soled assistant to the Human Bomb), super-pets like Frosting (polar bear pal of space hero Norge Benson), fan favorites like Rick Jones (sidekick to half of the Marvel Universe), and obscure partners of iconic heroes (Superman Junior’s career barely got off the ground). Included are pernicious profiles of henchmen and minions, the sidekicks of the supervillain world. Casual comics readers and diehard enthusiasts alike will relish the hilarious commentary and vintage art from obscure old comics.


It’s a bit tough to talk (and write) about any Mary Higgins Clark book without spilling the beans. All the murders and mayhem and myriad of mysteries! here’s what we will tell you: You Don’t Own Me (Simon & Schuster, $26.99)is the perfect, exhilarating follow up to the bestselling Every Breath You Take. The “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke have devised another riveting page-turner.


She is famous throughout the world, but how many know her name? You can admire her figure in Washington, Paris, London, New York, Dresden, or Copenhagen, but where is her grave? We know only her age, fourteen, and the work that she did—because it was already grueling work, at an age when children today are sent to school. In the 1880s, she danced as a “little rat” at the Paris Opera, and what is often a dream for young girls now wasn’t a dream for her. She was fired after several years of intense labor; the director had had enough of her repeated absences. She had been working another job, even two, because the few pennies the Opera paid weren’t enough to keep her and her family fed. She was a model, posing for painters or sculptors—among them Edgar Degas.

Drawing on a wealth of historical material as well as her own love of ballet and personal experiences of loss, Camille Laurens’Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The True Story Behind Degas’s Masterpiece(Other Press, $22.95) presents a compelling, compassionate portrait of Marie van Goethem and the world she inhabited that shows the importance of those who have traditionally been overlooked in the study of art.


When Marie Colvin was killed in an artillery attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age 56, the world lost a fearless and iconoclastic war correspondent who covered the most significant global calamities of her lifetime. In Extremis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28), written by her fellow reporter Lindsey Hilsum, is a thrilling investigation into Colvin’s epic life and tragic death based on exclusive access to her intimate diaries from age thirteen to her death, interviews with people from every corner of her life, and impeccable research. A devastating and revelatory biography of one of the greatest war correspondents of her generation that must be read.


When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, David Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.Calypso by [Sedaris, David]

With Calypso, (Little, Brown & Company, $ 28) Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

PETRUCELLI’S PICKS: 2018 GIFT GUIDE: THE YEAR’S BEST CELEBRITY (AUTO)BIOGRAPHIES, PART FOUR

She was black and a woman and a prosecutor, a graduate of Smith College and the granddaughter of slaves, as dazzlingly unlikely a combination as one could imagine in New York of the 1930s―and without the strategy she devised, Lucky Luciano, the most powerful Mafia boss in history, would never have been convicted. When special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey selected 20 lawyers to help him clean up the city’s underworld, she was the only member of his team who was not a white male.

Her name was Eunice Hunton Carter, the author  Stephen Carter’s grandmother. Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster (Henry Holt, $30) is moving, haunting and as fast-paced as a novel, Invisible tells the true story of a woman who often found her path blocked by the social and political expectations of her time. But Eunice Carter never accepted defeat, and thanks to her grandson’s remarkable book, her long forgotten story is once again visible.


Literary icon Edmund White made his name through his writing but remembers his life through the books he has read. For White, each momentous occasion came with a book to match: Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, which opened up the seemingly closed world of homosexuality while he was at boarding school in Michigan; the Ezra Pound poems adored by a lover he followed to New York; the biography of Stephen Crane that inspired one of White’s novels. But it wasn’t until heart surgery in 2014, when he temporarily lost his desire to read, that White realized the key role that reading played in his life: forming his tastes, shaping his memories, and amusing him through the best and worst life had to offer.

Blending memoir and literary criticism, The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading (Bloomsbury, $28) is a compendium of all the ways reading has shaped White’s life and work. His larger-than-life presence on the literary scene lends itself to fascinating, intimate insights into the lives of some of the world’s best-loved cultural figures. With characteristic wit and candor, he recalls reading Henry James to Peggy Guggenheim in her private gondola in Venice and phone calls at eight o’clock in the morning to Vladimir Nabokov–who once said that White was his favorite American writer.


From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in his revelatory biography, Robin (Henry Holt, $30), Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt. Itzkoff shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression—topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews—-and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.


Though best known for the fictional cases of his creation Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was involved in dozens of real life cases, solving many, and zealously campaigning for justice in all. In The Man Who Would Be Sherlock: The Real-Life Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle (Thomas Dunne Books, $28.99), author Christopher thoroughly and convincingly makes the case that the details of the many events Doyle was involved in, and caricatures of those involved, would provide Conan Doyle the fodder for many of the adventures of the violin-playing detective. A great read, elementary my dear!


Hunter S. Thompson is often misremembered as a wise-cracking, drug-addled cartoon character. Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism (PublicAffairs, $28) reclaims him for what he truly was: a fearless opponent of corruption and fascism, one who sacrificed his future well-being to fight against it, rewriting the rules of journalism and political satire in the process.

This skillfully told and dramatic story shows how Thompson saw through Richard Nixon’s treacherous populism and embarked on a life-defining campaign to stop it. In his fevered effort to expose institutional injustice, Thompson pushed himself far beyond his natural limits, sustained by drugs, mania, and little else. For 10 years, he cast aside his old ambitions, troubled his family, and likely hastened his own decline, along the way producing some of the best political writing in our history.


Who knew? Across almost 50 years, Winston Churchill produced more than 500 paintings. His subjects included his family homes at Blenheim and Chartwell, evocative coastal scenes on the French Riviera, and many sun-drenched depictions of Marrakesh in Morocco, as well as still life pictures and an extraordinarily revealing self-portrait, painted during a particularly troubled time in his life. 

In his introduction to Churchill: The Statesman as Artist (Bloomsbury, $30), David Cannadine provides the most important account yet of Churchill’s life in art, which was not just a private hobby, but also, from 1945 onwards, an essential element of his public fame. The first part of this book brings together for the first time all of Churchill’s writings and speeches on art, not only “Painting as a Pastime,” but his addresses to the Royal Academy, his reviews of two of the Academy’s summer exhibitions, and an important speech he delivered about art and freedom in 1937.

Churchill, The Life (Firefly Books, $29.95) uses his words, personal documents and photographs as well as private and public memorabilia to commemorate the private, military and political man who many consider “the greatest Briton of all time” and the best friend the United States ever had. Many of the items are published here for the first time.


Publishers continue to fill the air (and book shelves) with must-read, must-have books about singers, composers, legends and legacies. Some that hit all the right notes:
The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir (St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.99)
Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. He’s the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration, and his chart-topping career has, so far, lasted 50 years, most recently with a Kanye West rap hit and a new classical nocturne. Here, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970, from the proverbial humble beginnings into a moneyed and manic international world of beautiful women, drugs, cars and planes. One question remains: What was that cake doing in the rain?

Did you ever wonder what goes into the creation of some of the best music ever recorded? And how someone becomes an iconic music professional who is universally admired? Al Schmitt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music reveals answers to these questions and more. In this memoir of one of the most respected engineers of all time, you’ll discover how a very young boy mentored by his uncle Harry progressed through the recording world in its infancy and, under the tutelage of legendary engineer and producer Tom Dowd in his heyday, became one of the all-time great recording engineers.

Michael Jackson All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track (Cassell, $50) is the only book that tells the story behind every single song that the King of Pop ever released – from his formative years with the Jackson Five to his incredible and much-loved output as a solo artist. More than 200 songs, videos and revolutionary dance moves are analyzed, uncovering the fascinating stories around their creation and allowing fans the chance to truly understand the artistry behind them.

This is Morrissey as you’ve never seen him before. Featuring many previously unpublished photographs, Morrissey: Alone and Palely Loitering (Cassell, $39.99) is a portrait of Morrissey at his creative peak. Journey through hundreds of Kevin Cummins’ renowned, era-defining images, taken over a ten-year period in locations all over the world, accompanied by recollections from the author on his time with Morrissey and the artistic process of collaborating with him. Intimate, creative and surprising, this is a document of an artist at the height of his powers.

Funny, revealing, self-aware, and deeply moving, Matters of Vital Interest: A Forty-Year Friendship with Leonard Cohen (Da Capo Press, $27) is an insightful memoir about Eric Lerner’s relationship with his friend, whose idiosyncratic style and dignified life was deeply informed by his spiritual practices.

Lerner invites readers to step into the room with them and listen in on a lifetime’s ongoing dialogue, considerations of matters of vital interest, spiritual, mundane, and profane. In telling their story, Lerner depicts Leonard Cohen as a captivating persona, the likes of which we may never see again.

Queen in 3-D (Shelter Harbor Press, $45) is the first book ever to be published about legendary rock band Queen by a member of the band. And certainly the first book of its kind in the world. It s a unique collection of original, highly personal snapshots of Queen in Three Dimensions, from the band s inception in the early ’70s right up to the present day, accompanied by the exclusive recollections of founding member and lead guitarist, Brian May.

The book is illustrated with more than 300 photographs; these shots of Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian himself, on and off stage all round the world, spring into life when viewed with Brian’s patent OWL viewer (supplied free with the book). Through the eyes of Brian s camera you are transported back in time to experience Queen’s miraculous 46-year journey as if you were actually there . . . whether in a dressing room, in a car, on a plane, or on stage at Madison Square Garden.

More Queenmania can be found in the rock journalist Martin Popoff’s Queen: Album By Album (Voyageur Pres, $30). He convenes a cast of 19 Queen experts and superfans to discuss all 15 of the band’s studio albums (including their soundtrack for the 1980 film Flash Gordon). Panelists include Queen experts, rock journalists, musicians and record industry figures. The results are freewheeling discussions delving into the individual songs, the circumstances that surrounded the recording of each album, the band and contemporary rock contexts into which they were released, and more.

Petrucelli’s Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies, Part Three

It’s a shame many still don’t know his name. Or his genius.
Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His scientific discoveries made possible X-ray technology, wireless communications, and radar, and he predicted the Internet and even the smart watch. Today, he is hailed as a visionary by the likes of Elon Musk (whose electronic cars bear his name) and Larry Page, the founder of Google. His image appears on stamps, the Encyclopedia Brittanica ranks him as one of the ten most interesting historical figures, and Life magazine lists him as one of the one hundred most famous people of the last millennium. And yet, his contemporaries and fellow inventors Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi achieved far greater commercial success and popular recognition.

In Tesla: Inventor of the Modern (W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95), Richard Munson asks whether Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius. Ultimately, he delivers an enthralling biography that illuminates every facet of Tesla’s life while justifying his stature as the most original inventor of the late nineteenth century.


Harvey Sachs’s Toscanini: Musician of Conscience (Liveright, $24.95) recounts the 68-year career of conductor Arturo Toscanini, an artist celebrated for his fierce dedication, photographic memory, explosive temper, impassioned performances and uncompromising work ethic. Toscanini collaborated with Verdi, Puccini, Debussy, and Richard Strauss; undertook major reforms at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera; and eventually pioneered the radio and television broadcasts of the NBC Symphony.

His monumental achievements inspired generations, while his opposition to Nazism and fascism made him a model for artists of conscience. In this persuasive and compelling new biography, Sachs illuminates the crucial―the central―role Toscanini played in our musical culture. Set against the roiling currents of twentieth-century Europe and the Americas, Toscanini is a “necessary” portrait of this “complex, flawed, but noble human being and towering artist” (Wall Street Journal) whose peerless influence reverberates today.


A book about Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, as a beach read? Absolutely. And much more entertaining than, say, a collection of Peanuts. In President Carter: The White House Years (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, $40) Stuart E. Eizenstat presents a comprehensive history of the Carter Administration, demonstrating that Carter was the most consequential modern-era one-term U.S. President. The book is behind-the-scenes account of a president who always strove to do what he saw as the right thing, while often disregarding the political repercussions.


Adventures of a Young Naturalist–The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Quercus, $26.99) is the story of voyages taken by David Attenborough. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. Don’t take our word for it: Says Barack Obama of Attenborough: “A great educator as well as a great naturalist.”


Immortalized by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked murderer, Richard III is one of English history’s best known and least understood monarchs. In 2012 his skeleton was uncovered in a UK parking lot, reigniting debate about this divisive historical figure and sparked numerous articles, television programs and movies about his true character. Richard III: England's Most Controversial King by [Skidmore, Chris]In Richard III: England’s Most Controversial King (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)  acclaimed historian Chris Skidmore has written the authoritative biography of a man alternately praised as a saint and cursed as a villain. Was he really a power-crazed monster who killed his nephews, or the victim of the first political smear campaign conducted by the Tudors?


In Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History (Liveright, $28.95) Yunte Huang recounts the peculiar, and often ironic, rise of Chang and Eng from sideshow curiosity to Southern gentry—an unlikely story that exposes the foibles of a young republic eager to tyrannize and delight in the abnormal. Famous for their quick wit (they once refunded a one-eyed man half his ticket because he “couldn’t see as much as the others”), Chang and Eng became a nationwide sensation, heralded as living symbols of the humbugged freak.  Their unrivaled success quickened the birth of mass entertainment in America, leading to the minstrel show and the rise of showmen like P.T. Barnum.

And it is here that we encounter a twist. Miraculously, despite the 1790 Naturalization Act which limited citizenship to “free white persons” (until 1952), Chang and Eng became American citizens under the Superior Court of North Carolina. They then went on to marry two white sisters—Sarah and Adelaide Yates—and father 23 children despite the interracial marriage ban (in place until 1967). They owned 18 slaves and became staunch advocates for the Confederacy, so much so that their sons fought for the South during the Civil War. Huang reveals that it was perhaps their very “otherness” that worked for them: they were neither one individual, or quite two.


Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at 32, Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. Following a decade of research, dozens of rarely seen photographs, and more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family and friends, Bruce Lee: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $35) breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and delivers a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

The book  explores Lee’s early years: his career as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction; his troublemaking teen years; and his beginnings as a martial arts instructor. Polly chronicles the trajectory of Lee’s acting career in Hollywood, from his frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup, to his eventual triumph as a leading man, to his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband. Polly also sheds light on Bruce Lee’s shocking end—which is to this day is still shrouded in mystery—by offering an alternative theory behind his tragic demise.


Marion Ross’ warm and candid memoir, My Days: Happy and Otherwise (Kensington, $26), brims with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran. The actress shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.


Writing The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations (Simon & Schuster, $30)  while confronting a mortal illness, John McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy.  McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of Frump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the evil Frump.


Remembered primarily as America’s leading, most influential physician, Benjamin Rush led the Founding Fathers in calling for abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, improved medical care for injured troops, free health care for the poor, slum clearance, citywide sanitation, an end to child labor, free universal public education, humane treatment and therapy for the mentally ill, prison reform and an end to capital punishment. 

Using archival material from Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Philadelphia, as well as significant new materials from Rush’s descendants and historical societies, Harlow Giles Unger’s Dr. Benjamin Rush: The Founding Father Who Healed a Wounded Nation (Da Capo Press, $28) restores Benjamin Rush to his rightful place in American history as the Founding Father of modern American medical care and psychiatry.


In 1929, 30-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago’s underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, “Scarface” became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine’s Day Massacre transformed Capone into Public Enemy Number One, the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a 27-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as “The Untouchables,” Ness set his sights on crippling Capone’s criminal empire.

Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago (William Morrow, $29.99) draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves. Authors Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface’s downfall. Together they have crafted the definitive work on Capone, Ness, and the battle for Chicago.


Arthur Fellig’s ability to arrive at a crime scene just as the cops did was so uncanny that he renamed himself “Weegee,” claiming that he functioned as a human Ouija board. Weegee documented better than any other photographer the crime, grit, and complex humanity of mid-century New York City. In Flash, we get a portrait not only of the man (both flawed and deeply talented, with generous appetites for publicity, women, and hot pastrami) but also of the fascinating time and place that he occupied.

So we finally have the first biography of the man with the camera in Christopher Bonanos’Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous (Henry Holt, $32). Weegee lived a life just as worthy of documentation as the scenes he captured. With Flash, we have an unprecedented and ultimately moving view of the man now regarded as an innovator and a pioneer, an artist as well as a newsman, whose photographs are among most powerful images of urban existence ever made.

Petrucelli Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Best Food & Cookbooks of the Year

Nothing is tastier than serving up out picks for the best books of all things food.

We tasted several tomes from Kyle Books. What wonders!
In Five Seasons of Jam ($24.99) Lillie O’Brien proves why jam cannot be rushed. Five Seasons of Jam by [O'Brien, Lillie]These preserving recipes may be short on the page, but they’re designed to stretch time, from when you first find and organize the ingredients, to when you stir the pot slowly and lovingly, then spread it on toast, and take the first magical bite.

Sudie Pigott’s Flipping Good Pancakes: Pancakes From Around the World ($16.99) proves that you don’t have to wait till the weekend to enjoy pancakes. Taking inspiration from countries all over the world, this dynamic collection of recipes shows how versatile and easy pancakes can be.  Chinese Rice Flour Pancakes with Shitake and Sugar Snap Peas anyone?

With step-by-step photography, detailed instructions, specialist advice and Vanessa Kimbell’s indispensable encouragement, The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread ($24.99) celebrates the timeless craft of artisan baking. Pass the butter. Please.

The Goodness of Honey: 40 Healthy Sweet and Savory Recipes ($12.99) offers vibrant recipes packed full of goodness. From Baked Energy Bars to Honeyed Carrot Cupcakes, and from Foolproof Root Vegetables to a Fig, Nectarine, Burrata & Prosciutto salad, these delicious recipes will allow you to embrace your love for honey without the guilt.


On a 10-year journey to seek the origins of wine,  Kevin Begos unearths a whole world of forgotten grapes, each with distinctive tastes and aromas, as well as the archaeologists, geneticists, chemists—even a paleobotanist—who are deciphering wine down to molecules of flavor.

In Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine ( Algonquin Books, $26.95), we meet a young scientist who sets out to decode the DNA of every single wine grape in the world; a researcher who seeks to discover the wines that Caesar and Cleopatra drank; and an academic who has spent decades analyzing wine remains to pinpoint ancient vineyards. Science illuminates wine in ways no critic can, and it has demolished some of the most sacred dogmas of the industry: for example, well-known French grapes aren’t especially noble.

Begos offers readers drinking suggestions that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants.


Think outside the crust: Slab pie is just like regular pie . . . only better and bigger! Instead of crimping and meticulously rolling out a round crust, slab pies are an unfussy twist that are perfect for a potluck or dinner party or just a family dinner.

Baked on sheet pans, slab pies can easily serve a crowd of people dinner or dessert. Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies (Grand Central Life & Style, $28) includes 75 foolproof recipes, along with inventive decoration tips that will appeal to baking nerds and occasional bakers alike. And this fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will surely pique the interest of those who have previously been reluctant to take out their rolling pin.


Just when you thought you knew everything about a cup o’ Joe… The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing — Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed (Firefly Books, $35)  takes readers on a global tour of coffee-growing countries, presenting the bean in full-color photographs and concise, informative text.

It covers where coffee is grown, the people who grow it and the cultures in which it is a way of life. It also covers the world of consumption—processing, grades, the consumer and the modern culture of coffee. Organized by continent and then country or region, The World Atlas of Coffee presents the world’s favorite brew in color spreads packed with information.


The first official cookbook from the beloved world of Margaritaville features laid-back favorites like the explosively good Volcano Nachos and the heaven-on-earth-with-an-onion-slice Cheeseburger in Paradise, alongside more sophisticated options that will wow your guests. With its combination of recipes, stories, and gorgeous full color food and lifestyle photographs throughout, it is sure to put you in a Margaritaville state of mind!

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and no vacation is complete without a cocktail―preferably a margarita, of course! Margaritaville: The Cookbook: Relaxed Recipes For a Taste of Paradise (St. Martin’s Press, $32.50) is loaded with drink recipes to inspire your blissful island cocktail hour―from Jimmy’s Perfect Margarita and Paradise Palomas to Cajun Bloody Mary’s and the quintessential Key West Coconut and Lime Frozen Margarita.


With detailed explanations of Middle Eastern foods, and suggestions on the best way to build up a home pantry of staples, you’ll discover a world of flavor. Once you begin cooking from Tahini & Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics Made Irresistibly Vegan (Da Capo Lifelong Books , $24.99), you’ll find yourself experimenting with pistachios and pomegranate syrup–and, of course, tahini and turmeric.


For this sumptuous cookbook, restaurateur Yann de Rochefort and Executive Chef Marc Vidal tell the story of Boqueria, which has now spread to four New York City locations as well as to Washington, D.C. While the recipes-all deeply rooted in Barcelona’s culinary culture-take center stage with phenomenal food photography, Boqueria: A Cookbook, from Barcelona to New York (Bloomsbury, $35) also swings open the kitchen doors to reveal the bustling life of the restaurant, and offers exciting glimpses of the locales that inspire it: the bars, markets and cervezerias of Barcelona. 

Boqueria’s recipes are delectable variations on authentic Barcelona fare, but more than that; along with their origin stories, these recipes inspire a bit of the Boqueria experience-the cooking, the conversations, and the connections-in your own home.


Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg shocked the baking world when they proved that homemade yeast dough could be stored in the refrigerator to use whenever you need it. Now, they’ve done it again with Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Sweet and Decadent Baking for Every Occasion (St. Martin’s Press, $35), a cookbook with savory, sweet, healthy and decadent recipes for every occasion.

In 100 clear and concise recipes that build on the successful formula of their bestselling series, Holiday and Celebration Bread will adapt their ingenious approach for high-moisture stored dough to a collection of breads from the four corners of the globe.


In Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $30) , Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau share 150 recipes that pay homage to the meals and market produce that have been farmed, sold, and prepared by Caribbean people–particularly the women–for centuries. Caribbean food is often thought of as rustic and unrefined, but these vibrant vegetarian dishes will change the way we think about this diverse, exciting, and nourishing cuisine. The pages are spiced with the sisters’ fond food memories and fascinating glimpses of the islands’ histories, bringing the region’s culinary past together with creative recipes that represent the best of Caribbean food today.


Derived from the Turkish word “keif” meaning “feeling good,” kefir is a tart, tangy cultured milk, low in sugar and lactose free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, and B vitamins. Originating from a grain that dates back two thousand years to the Caucasus Mountains of Europe, it is also one of the healthiest natural foods available—scientifically shown to help boost immunity, improve gut health, build bone density, fight allergies, and aid the body’s natural detoxification.

The Kefir Cookbook: An Ancient Healing Superfood for Modern Life, Recipes from My Family Table and Around the World (HarperOne, $29.99) offers more than 100 globally-inspired sweet and savory recipes, as well as unique spins on classic recipes, while introducing contemporary flavors and textures to inspire you in the kitchen every day.


We always savor the cookbooks published by Robert Rose.

Since Santa already brought us an Instant Pot, we sampled two delicious treats: The Complete Indiana Instant Pot Cookbook: 130 Traditional & Modern Recipes ($24.95) and 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Cookbook: 150 Easy, Quick & Delicious Recipes ($19.95).

The recipes are as easy as A-B-C, the photos are glorious and, well, we’re getting hungry for another Ham and Cheddar Egg Muffin . . .

Petrucelli’s Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies, Part Two

We always knew how brilliant she is. Now the 2 people who have never heard of her need to listen up.

Stevie Nicks (as a solo performer) will be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks (St. Martin’s press, $18.99) details her rise into stardom; author Stephen Davis details her her equally sexy work and life, unearthing fresh details from new, intimate interviews and interpreting them to present a rich new portrait of the star.


Rose McCowan’s Brave (HarperOne, $27.99) is her raw, honest and poignant memoir/manifesto—a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multi-billion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be Brave.


Every Day Is Extra is John Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington.

Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for fifty years. Every Day Is Extra shows Kerry for the dedicated, witty, and authentic man that he is, and provides forceful testimony for the importance of diplomacy and American leadership to address the increasingly complex challenges of a more globalized world.

If he’d only run for President . . .


When Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment on tk, her younger sister Lee Radziwill wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s 38-page will was read. Lee discovered that substantial cash bequests were left to family members, friends and employees—but nothing to her. “I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime,” read Jackie’s final testament.

Drawing on the authors Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberge’s candid interviews with Radziwill, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee (Harper, $28.99) explores their complicated relationship, placing them at the center of twentieth-century fashion, design and style. For the first time, here is the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters.

Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now 84, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour.


The relationship between Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, superbly portrayed in Terry Golway’s Frank and Al: Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance That Created the Modern Democratic Party, is one of the most dramatic untold stories of early 20th Century American politics. It was Roosevelt who said once that everything he sought to do in the New Deal had been done in New York under Al Smith when he was governor in the 1920s.

It was Smith who persuaded a reluctant Roosevelt to run for governor in 1928, setting the stage for FDR’s dramatic comeback after contracting polio in 1921. They took their party, and American politics, out of the 19th Century and created a place in civic life for the New America of the 20th Century.


John Wayne predicted that Michael Caine would become a star. He was right, and Caine, now 85, has made more than 100 films in his six-decade career.  In Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life (Hachette Books, $28), Caine shares wisdom and stories from his remarkable career.

We love his take on aging: He bittersweetly acknowledges that many of his pals are dead; truths that keep Caine going. Even the dishy dirt is told with charm, the charm that still can be heard in his accent.


it seems like there’s no place anymore for optimism, integrity and good old-fashioned respect. Enter “America’s Dad”: Tom Hanks. Whether he’s buying espresso machines for the White House Press Corps, rewarding a jovial cab driver with a night out on Broadway or extolling the virtues of using a typewriter, Hanks lives a passionate, joyful life and pays it forward to others.

In The World According to Tom Hanks: The Life, the Obsessions, the Good Deeds of America’s Most Decent Guy (Grand Central Publishing, $26), Gavin Edwards takes readers on a tour behind the scenes of Hanks’s life: from his less-than-idyllic childhood, rocky first marriage, and career wipeouts to the pinnacle of his acting career and domestic bliss with the love of his life, Rita Wilson. Hanks is, indeed, the role model we all crave.


Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein IIstand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!Carousel, South PacificThe King and I and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, R&O had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play. Their songs and dance numbers served to advance the drama and reveal character, a sharp break from the past and the template on which all future musicals would be built.

Todd S. Purdum’s portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and young lovers wherever they are.


Lorraine Hansberry was a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work—until now.

Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Imani Perry’s Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (Beacon Press, $26.95) is a tad academic, but it’s a powerful insight into Hansberry’s extraordinary life—a life that was tragically cut far too short. (She died at 34.)


In the revelatory Arthur Ashe: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $37.50), Raymond Arsenault chronicles Ashe’s rise to stardom on the tennis court, but much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, writer, businessman and celebrity. In the ’70s and ’80s, Ashe gained renown as an advocate for sportsmanship, education, racial equality, and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa.

From 1979 on, he was forced to deal with a serious heart condition that led to multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, one of which left him HIV-positive. In 1988, after completing a three-volume history of African-American athletes, he was diagnosed with AIDS, a condition he revealed only four years later. After devoting the last 10 months of his life to AIDS activism, he died in February 1993 at the age of forty-nine, leaving an inspiring legacy of dignity, integrity, and active citizenship.

Based on prodigious research, including more than 100 interviews,  Arsenault’s insightful and compelling biography puts Ashe in the context of both his time and the long struggle of African-American athletes seeking equal opportunity and respect.

Donna VanLiere’s “The Christmas Star” is a warm, wonderful gift

Prolific New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Shoes, Donna VanLiere has another incredible story to wrench and warm reader’s hearts. Published to coincide with the Hallmark Channel production of VanLiere’s previous title, The Christmas TownThe Christmas Star (St. Martin’s Press, $17.99) is a moving and uplifting story about repairing the fragile pieces of a broken heart with the help of a child and a little Christmas magic.

Thirty-two-year-old Amy Denison volunteers at Glory’s Place, an after school program where she meets seven-year-old Maddie, a precocious young girl who has spent her childhood in foster care. Unbeknownst to Amy, Maddie is a mini-matchmaker, with her eye on just the right man for Amy at Grandon Elementary School where she is a student. Amy is hesitant–she’s been hurt before, and isn’t sure she’s ready to lose her heart again–but an unexpected surprise makes her reconsider her lonely lifestyle.

As Christmas nears and the town is blanketed in snow and beautiful decorations, Maddie and the charming staff at Glory’s Place help Amy to see that romance can be more than heartache and broken promises.

A wonderfully warm gift.