Displaying articles for: October 2012

The Truth about Style

What does style say about us? Stacy London, co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear, knows that behind each sartorial choice lies an emotional reality. Here she recounts her own troubled relationship with her physical appearance and how she achieved not only style but also serenity.

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The Twelve

Justin Cronin's The Passage introduced a post-apocalyptic world laid low by a bioengineered vampire plague, recalling the best of Stephen King and Michael Crichton. The Twelve propels his saga forward but also peers into the heretofore unrevealed origins of the virus.

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The Middlesteins

The heart of this surprisingly funny novel is a Midwestern Jewish family fracturing under the weight of neurosis and obsession. Its genius is author Jami Attenberg’s deep compassion for her subjects. Great for book clubs -- and everybody else.

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The Book of English Magic

Just in time for All Hallows' Eve, a wide-ranging survey of Britian's magical traditions from Stonehenge to 21st-century spellcasters. Philip Carr-Gomm, who has led the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids for twenty years, and Sir Richard Heygate conjure an invaluable resource for anyone curious about the Anglocentric arcane arts.

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On Saudi Arabia

Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Elliott House has spent three decades pondering the enigma that is Saudi Arabia. The paradoxes of a modern oil-producing nation still mired in many medievalisms, and the global impact of that curious blend of old and new attitudes, provoke insightful analysis of a country that is both an American ally and source of Islamist terrorism.

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Lidia's Favorite Recipes

Her full name is Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, but millions of well-fed fans know her simply as Lidia, the genius at the center of such shows as Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. Her latest cookbook offers her patented combination of simplicity, full-bodied flavor, and ease of preparation. "Ziti with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage" will quickly become one of your nightly staples whenever comfort food is in demand.

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The Guy Under the Sheets

Here we have autobiography as Munchausen syndrome, as comedian Chris Elliott fantasticates the rudiments of his life into a two-fisted, continents-spanning farce. Whether washing up as a castaway on Marlon Brando's private island or disposing of corpses for the Mafia, Elliott provides not only insights into his formative influences but also slabs of his twisted imagination.

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We Are What We Pretend to Be

Previously unpublished work by the esteemed novelist Kurt Vonnegut would be cause for rejoicing under any circumstance. But this pairing of some of his earliest fiction in manuscript with the final work left unfinished at his death is a particularly potent combination that gives his fans a rich juxtaposition of material to reflect upon.

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The End of Your Life Book Club

"What are you reading?" takes on added meaning in Will Schwalbe's poignant account of the lifelong conversation about books he shared with his mother, a conversation that evolved into the two-person book club of the title that helped both of them cope while she underwent treatment for cancer.

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My Brilliant Friend

In Elena Ferrante's hands, the story of two young girls growing up together in 1950s Naples becomes a sweeping family-centered epic that encompasses issues of loyalty, love, and a transforming Europe. This gorgeous novel should bring a host of new reader's to one of Italy's most acclaimed authors.

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Fortress Israel

Noting -- but hardly condoning -- the dominant role the armed forces play in crafting Israel's worldview, Patrick Tyler takes an in-depth look at how a "culture of toughness and militarism" has permeated the nation's foreign and domestic policies, for better and worse.

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The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days

Familiar to readers of The New Yorker, the Cursing Mommy's expletive-laden exploits have included such botched endeavors as circumventing expensive caterers by composing one's own disastrously elaborate cocktails. Now humorist Ian Frazier brings this hair-trigger matriarch to the pages of a novel packed with laughs and four-letter words.

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The Wild Duck Chase

Every year since 1934, artists have competed to design an official stamp that's used to confer duck-hunting privileges, with proceeds going to conservation programs. Martin Smith takes a droll and penetrating look at the 2010 contest, producing a strange-but-true story that will appeal to fans Christopher Guest's Best in Show.

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The Best Science Writing Online 2012

Have you encountered the internet slang TLDR yet? It stands for "Too Long; Didn't Read" and typifies the preference of web surfers for concise chunks of information. And yet, somehow, great longform articles continue to appear online. Editors Bora Zivkovic and Jennifer Ouellette herewith round up fifty-one of the finest pieces on subjects ranging from anthropology to cognition, ecology to physics.

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Ancient Light

An aging actor surveys the wreckage of his life: the first and only woman he ever loved, the daughter he can't understand, the memories that prove increasingly untrustworthy. Man Booker Prize-winning novelist John Banville pens a moving character study that goes deep below the surface.

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The Man Who Saved the Union

Ulysses S. Grant saved the Union twice, first on the field of battle during the Civil War, and then in the aftermath of the largely disastrous presidency of Andrew Johnson. Bestselling historian H. W. Brands offers a warts and all portrait of the 18th President in a work meant to restore a hero's maligned reputation.

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The Twenty-Year Death

The rebirth of prestige imprint Hard Case Crime seems to have inspired its founder, Charles Ardai, to offer bolder original novels than ever before, some for the first time in hardcover. Ariel S. Winter's debut is one such. The narrative comes in three parts, each paying homage to a different classic crime novelist.

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vN: The First Machine Dynasty

In a debut novel that's already being compared to Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Madeline Ashby provocatively addresses the perennial question of what makes a self-aware creature human. Her heroine is an artificial woman named Amy Peterson, who sets out on an arduous journey of self-discovery in a hostile world.

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Bill and Hillary

William H. Chafe traces a partnership in love and politics, from courtship at Yale Law through the crucible of the White House years and on to Hillary Clinton's own historic run for the presidency. A portrait of a uniquely American marriage, threatened by dysfunction but anchored in mutual respect.

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Phantom

Fans of Jo Nesbø's last two Harry Hole mysteries rejoice: the retired Oslo police investigator is back. When the son of an old flame is wrongfully accused of murder, Harry must return from Hong Kong and descend, once more, into Norway's underworld.

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The Shadow Scholar

Who knew plagiarism could be so profitable? For years, Dave Tomar earned $10 to $20 a page crafting academic essays to order for college kids. Alternately proud and repentant, he recreates the harried lifestyle of a professional paper-writer and examines the pressures that foster an environment wherein cheating is encouraged and rewarded.

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One Thousand Mustaches

The Walrus. The Van Dyke. The Handlebar. For something so simple, facial hair on a man's upper lip -- the mustache, or "Mo" -- is subject to infinite variations, limited only by the human imagination. Thankfully we have facial follicle fiend Allen Peterkin (The Bearded Gentleman) to provide an entertaining survey of the 'stache throughout history, culminating in its current renaissance.

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Lincoln's Hundred Days

With casualties from the Civil War mounting, President Lincoln turned his attention to a document that proved the cornerstone of his legacy. Louis P. Masur's comprehensive work of history captures the critical period between the issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the signing of the final, significantly altered, decree.

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April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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