Displaying articles for: December 2012

A Dickens of a Christmas

Dickens did not quite "invent" Christmas, as it is sometimes claimed, but, ever since A Christmas Carol was published in 1843, Scrooge's Yuletide nightmares and joyful Christmas morning have become as much a part of the popular idea of the season as Christmas trees and endless, maddening renditions of "Jingle Bells." A little searching yields about 1,700 different editions of A Christmas Carol for sale, and theatrical performances are an annual tradition.

 

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Best of 2012: Booksellers Select

Demanding and discerning readers on your gift list?  Fear not!  Not only have the BN Review editors selected their favorite Fiction and Nonfiction of the year, today Barnes & Noble and NOOK announced their booksellers'  selections for the Best of 2012 in six essential categories.

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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Do not imagine that you have understood the concept of "antifragility" right away, merely because the neologism might readily bring to mind the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who formerly explored unpredictability in refreshingly unpredictable fashion in The Black Swan, demolishes -- or at least fruitfully unpacks -- that stale rubric in just one of the myriad pithy, ideationally rich, hand grenade-style mini-chapters that constitute his new book, which is a bathyscaphe-deep descent into an unexplored sea of contrarian wisdom.

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"None of Us Give or Receive a Perfect Love": A Q&A with Ayana Mathis

The Discover Great New Writers selection committee readers aren't the only ones who fell in love with Ayana Mathis's terrific debut The Twelves Tribes of Hattie -- this sweeping story of quiet heroism and imperfect family love is the second pick of Oprah’s Book club 2.0®. In this exclusive Q&A with Barnes & Noble, Ayana discusses the profound changes brought by The Great Migration, what it feels like to be alone in a crowd, and her "hard to love" character, Hattie Shepherd.

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The Cocktail Waitress

For the uninitiated, Hard Case Crime, founded in 2004, is a stellar line of pulp fiction masterminded by publisher Charles Ardai. This ongoing celebration of the low-rent, lowbrow genres of crime, suspense, thrillers, and general all-round dangerous down-and-dirty realism has to rank as one of the greatest accomplishments of twenty-first-century publishing. Surely James M. Cain's long-lost, never-before-published, final composition, The Cocktail Waitress, -- the outcome of some arduous archaeological sleuthing and delicate editorial finessing, as described by Ardai in an informative afterword -- represents a new high-water mark for the firm.

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July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.