Common Reading

It sounds like a bad joke, except the punchline is really funny. A politician, a playboy, and a philosopher walk into a bookstore, and are asked to pick the book they remember most warmly from their childhoods.


If you ask me, there is no better evidence of the shared culture of books than the fact that when Newt Gingrich, Hugh Hefner, and Noam Chomsky were asked the question by the Little Auction That Could (more on that below), they expressed a fondness for the same characters and the same imaginative world. Go ahead, try to guess. We'll provide the answer on November 23, by revealing the other half of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich's illustration celebrating the unexpected communion of spirit exhibited by Misters Gingrich, Hefner, and Chomsky.



The Little Auction That Could is a celebrity book auction to benefit Florida's Hibiscus Children's Center, working with abused and neglected children on the Treasure Coast of Florida. The proceeds of the auction will build a fund to support and maintain the Center's library and educational center. The prominent figures who have contributed signed books to the auction include President Obama, Tiger Woods, Jimmy Buffett, Steve Martin, Jane Goodall, John McCain, Noam Chomsky, John Glenn, Jack Nicklaus, Kenneth Cole, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, and Carl Hiassen, who will be hosting the gala auction event on November 20. To learn more about the auction -- and to bid on some of the signed books -- visit


To help the Hibiscus Cause with your Barnes & Noble purchases, shop here:


And check this space on November 23 to discover what Gingrich, Hefner, and Chomsky have in common.




April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.