Tag Archives: Thomas Dunne Books

Barbara! Rosie! Star! Meredith! Whoopi! Elisabeth! “The View” was hardly a Joy

Here’s to the ladies who lunch.

Oops! Wrong drama.

When Barbara Walters launched The View, network executives told her that hosting it would tarnish her reputation. Instead, within 10 years, she’d revolutionized morning TV and made household names of her co-hosts: Joy Behar, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But the daily chatfest didn’t just comment on the news.

It became the news.

And the headlines barely scratched the surface.

Based on unprecedented access, including stunning interviews with nearly every host, in Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View (Thomas Dunne Books, $28.99) award-winning journalist
Ramin Setoodeh takes readers backstage where the stars really spoke their minds.

Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of "The View"

Here’s the full story of how Star, then Rosie O’Donnell, then Whoopi Goldberg tried to take over the show, while Barbara struggled to maintain control of it all, a modern-day Lear with her media-savvy daughters. You’ll read about how so many co-hosts had a tough time fitting in, suffered humiliations at the table, then pushed themselves away, feeling betrayed―one nearly quitting during a commercial. Meanwhile, the director was being driven insane . . . especially by Rosie.

Ladies Who Punch uncovers the truth about Star’s weight loss and wedding madness. Rosie’s feud with Adolph Frump. Whoopi’s toxic relationship with Rosie. Barbara’s difficulty stepping away. Plus, all the unseen hugs, snubs, tears―and one dead rodent―to show why The View can be mimicked and mocked, but it can never be matched.

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

The stories these great books tell!
And now we tell you. Save money and buy these at amazon.com; Christmas delivery is guaranteed.

Simply the best book of the year: Becoming (Crown, $40). As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.


Back to Amy (Octopus Publishing, $24.99) boasts nearly 100 photographs of Amy Winehouse when she was on the cusp of fame, including many never-before-seen images. Charles Moriarty shows Winehouse as you’ve never seen her before: Consisting of two shoots spread across London and New York in the lead-up to the release of her debut album Frank, these photos capture a sense of fun, mischief and style, giving an early glimpse of a star in the making.


Susan Shumsky spent 20 years travelling the world with The Beatles’ spiritual guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who inspired many of the songs) and lived in the Indian Ashram where The Beatles wrote the White Album.

Now it’s time to welcome Shumsky’s Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles’ Guru (Skyhorse Publishing, $26.99).The book not also reveals the unknown meanings and inspiration behind the album’s lyrics, but is bursting with new material on the scandals, rows and breakdowns that erupted during this dramatic episode.


From the Mod revolution and the British Invasion of the ’60s, through the psychedelic era of the ’70s, and into the exuberance and excesses of stadium rock in the ’80s, Kenney Jones helped to build rock and roll as we know it. He was the beat behind three of the world’s most enduring and significant bands.

He wasn’t just in the right place at the right time. Along with Keith Moon, John Bonham and Charlie Watts, Jones is regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time, sought after by a wide variety of the best-known and best-selling artists to bring his unique skill into the studio for the recording of classic albums and songs―including, of course, the Rolling Stones’s “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It).” Finally, he tells his story with humor and pathos in Let the Good Times Roll: My life in Small Faces, Faces and The Who
(Thomas Dunne Books, $29.99).


“It’s taken me three years to unpack the events of my life, to remember who did what when and why, to separate the myths from the reality, to unravel what really happened at the Holiday Inn on Keith Moon’s 21st birthday,” writes Roger Daltrey, in Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story (Henry Holt, $30). the powerhouse vocalist of The Who. The result of this introspection is a remarkable memoir, instantly captivating, funny and frank, chock-full of well-earned wisdom and one-of-a-kind anecdotes from a raucous life that spans a tumultuous time of change in Britain and America.

Amidst all the music and mayhem, the drugs, the premature deaths, the ruined hotel rooms, Roger is our perfect narrator, remaining sober (relatively) and observant and determined to make The Who bigger and bigger. Not only his personal story, this is the definitive biography of The Who.


Despite Emily Dickinson’s fame, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication―Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham―has remained in the shadows of the archives. A rich and compelling portrait of women who refused to be confined by the social mores of their era, After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet (W.W. Norton, $27.95)explores Mabel and Millicent’s complex bond, as well as the powerful literary legacy they shared.

Utilizing hundreds of overlooked letters and diaries to weave together the stories of three unstoppable women, Dobrow explores the intrigue of Dickinson’s literary beginnings


GuRu (Dey St., $26.99) is a  timeless collection of philosophies from renaissance performer and the world’s most famous shape-shifter RuPaul, whose sage outlook has created an unprecedented career for more than thirty-five years. The thin yet hefty tome is packed with more than 80 photographs that illustrate the concept of building the life you want from the outside in and the inside out. And Jane Fonda’s introduction is anything but a drag.


In Jarmila Novotná: My Life in Songeditor William V. Madison brings Novotná’s own English-language version of her best-selling memoir to readers for the first time. The memoir details how, following her debut in 1925 at the National Theater in Prague, her fame quickly evolved into a tremendous musical career at a time of unprecedented political upheaval.Novotná provides eyewitness accounts of the Nazi takeovers of Germany and Austria, the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, as well as her extensive travels in the United States during and after World War II.

And the stories about her time in Hollywood (what she recaalls as an “unending stream of parties”)! Tales of Louis B. Mayer, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower.


The title says it all: Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) is a  rich biography of the legendary figure at the center of the century’s darkest secrets—the untold story of golden age Hollywood, modern Las Vegas, JFK-era scandal and international intrigue.

The last protégé of Al Capone, the Mob’s “Man in Hollywood” introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the biggest extortion plot in history. A man of great allure and glamour, Rosselli befriended many of the biggest names in the movie capital―including studio boss Harry Cohn, helping him to fund Columbia Pictures–and seduced some of its greatest female stars, including Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe.

Following years in federal prison, Rosselli began a new venture, overseeing the birth and heyday of Las Vegas. Working for new Chicago boss Sam Giancana, he became the gambling mecca’s behind-the-scenes boss, running the town from his suites and poolside tables. Based upon years of research, Lee Server has written with compelling style and vivid detail.


With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Sally Field’s In Pieces (Grand Central Publishing, $29) brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother.

Powerful and unforgettable (even the cover’s photo is haunting), the book is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century. Simply riveting.


 

Wake up America! Jeff Nesbit’s “This is the Way the World Ends” paints a call-to-arms

Adolph Frump doesn’t believe in life.

Yet we are facing down the end of the world as we know it. Previous director of public affairs for two federal science agencies and current executive director of Climate Nexus, Jeff Nesbit offers a “nonpartisan call-to-arms” (Publishers Weekly) to face the environmental challenges humans have created with This is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves, and Hurricanes Are Converging on America (Thomas Dunne Books, $29.99).

This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America

The world itself won’t end, of course. Only ours will: our livelihoods, our homes, our cultures. And we’re squarely at the tipping point. Longer droughts in the Middle East. Growing desertification in China and Africa. The monsoon season shrinking in India. Amped-up heat waves in Australia. More intense hurricanes reaching America. Water wars in the Horn of Africa. Rebellions, refugees and starving children across the globe. These are not disconnected events. These are the pieces of a larger puzzle that environmental expert Jeff Nesbit puts together, check this out: Facts from TIHTWE

Unless we start addressing the causes of climate change and stop simply navigating its effects, we will be facing a series of unstoppable catastrophes by the time our preschoolers graduate from college. Our world is in trouble . . . right now. This Is the Way the World Ends tells the real stories of the substantial impacts to Earth’s systems unfolding across each continent. The bad news? Within two decades or so, our carbon budget will reach a point of no return.

But there’s good news. Like every significant challenge we’ve faced—from creating civilization in the shadow of the last ice age to the Industrial Revolution—we can get out of this box canyon by understanding the realities, changing the worn-out climate conversation to one that’s relevant to every person. Nesbit provides a clear blueprint for real-time, workable solutions we can tackle together.

How good is the book? Says Senator John Kerry:  “With This is the Way the World Ends Jeff Nesbit has delivered an enlightening—and alarming—explanation of climate challenge as it exists today. Climate change is no far-off threat. It’s impacting communities all over the world at this very moment, and we ignore the scientific reality at our own peril. The good news? As Nesbit underscores, disaster is not preordained. The global community can meet this moment—and we must.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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