Artfully recreating 19th century supernatural suspense, The Seance offers a near total immersion into a haunted Bloomsbury world.
“If my sister Alma had lived, I should never have begun the séances.” Constance Langton was only five when her life changed irrevocably. With the death of her younger sibling, the Langton household descended into a deep melancholy. To relieve her mother’s sorrow, Constance resorts to a common Victorian nostrum: spiritualism. That decision leads to more tragedy, plunging the young woman into a borderline world where apparitions, possession, and murder hover in the air. This evocative tale by the International Horror Guild Award-winning author of The Ghost Writer is a perfect fit for readers of G.R. James and Wilkie Collins.
A witty cosmological narrative about a pint-sized planet that got “lost.”
Pluto had a seventy-six year run as a planet, until it was demoted in August 2006. Though now relegated to “dwarf planet” status, this cosmological runt still maintains its huge fan base, especially in the United States. In fact, some American scientists continue to fight an uphill battle to get the celestial body reinstated and recent straw polls show that Pluto remains the favorite planet among American elementary students, perhaps because its name sounds like that of a cartoon character. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s delightfully diverting The Pluto Files tracks the weird history of this extraterrestrial underdog and its irrepressible popularity.
Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a CountStatus: Featured Selections
Ralph Truit wanted a wife, a reliable wife. Stubbornly averse to frills or compromises, this successful businessman did what came naturally: He placed a small advertisement in a Chicago newspaper. Catherine Land, the woman who answered his classified ad, had an equally simple, though certainly more devious plan: She would marry Truit and eventually kill him. In Robert Goolrick’s first novel, set in the early 20th century Midwest, both these plans come awry in the course of quite human events. This subtle, passionate psychological novel snares and keeps your interest because its characters and our feelings about them change before our eyes. Readers will never forget what happens to the mail-order mates during their first harsh Wisconsin winter together.
When Brown University student Kevin Rouse applied to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, he wasn’t just a liberal Ivy Leaguer slumming in a fundamentalist “Bible boot camp.” As The Unlikely Disciple demonstrates, he was making an honest leap across a giant gaping cultural and religious chasm. What he learned in his “sinner’s semester” at this stern Christian institution (no sex, no kisses, no protracted hugs) should convince would-be warriors on both sides of the great divide that they can learn something from other viewpoints; but even if you read this book as just a brave anthropological experiment, it’s worth your time and its price.
A talented journalist taps the latest research in neuroscience and behavioral economics to explain what we now know about human decision-making.
Each of us makes thousands of decisions a day; so many, in fact, that we make most of them without much forethought or rational reflection. But, as Jonah Lehrer proves in this persuasive book, making “rational decisions” about even the most consequential matters isn’t always the wisest strategy. Drawing on cutting-edge studies, he describes how our minds evaluate incoming data and why the optimal mix of feeling and reason depends on the problem at hand. Packed with surprises, How We Decide brims with counterintuitive advice: New Yorker contributor Lehrer argues, for instance, that it’s best to emotionally “feel out” major purchases such as buying a house before making the jump. Stimulating reading for fans of Malcolm Gladwell.
In an age of constant text messaging and perpetual cell phone calls, eating alone almost seems shameful or a weird anachronism. Fortunately, Deborah Madison knows better. In What We Eat When We Eat Alone, she offers comfort and recipes aplenty for those of us who actually prefer to sometimes munch solo. We knew the recipes would be good; the author of Local Flavors would never let us down; but the stories are diverse and decisive proof in my mind that solitary eaters are the last great culinary individualists.
A revelatory view of a genius creator, his wives and his lovers…
In this dazzling historical novel, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright comes alive through the words of four women he loved. Their voices are radically dissimilar: Montenegrin ballerina Olgivanna Milanoff; tempestuous Southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; his free-spirited, tragically fated mistress Mamah Cheney; and Kitty Tobin, his artist first wife. In The Women, adventurous novelist T.C. Boyle (The Road to Wellville; The Inner Circle) exposes Wright’s deep-seeded resistance to convention in every arena of his life.
A specially gifted “animal translator” shares fascinating insights and observations on how we can treat other creatures in ways that are more truly humane.
The culmination of more than thirty years of work with other species, Temple Grandin’s Animals Make Us Human delivers on the assertions of both its title and subtitle. Drawing on keen, hard-won observations, the author of the bestselling Animals in Translation and Thinking in Pictures draws on her experiences as an autistic woman to describe core emotion systems shared by humans and other creatures: a need to seek; a sense of rage, fear, and panic; feelings of lust; an urge to nurture; and an ability to play. Her detailed examples encompass much of the animal kingdom, including dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wild creatures, and captives of zoos. An engaging nature book that spells out how we can make animals happy.
This unconventional history justifies Jeffrey Toobin’s description of it as “[a] compelling intellectual detective story, one that illuminates the present as much as the dusty past.”
On a frigid February day in 1650, René Descartes was buried in the frozen ground of Stockholm, far from his French homeland. Sixteen years later, a French government official surreptitiously unearthed the philosopher’s remains and returned them to the country of his birth. That, however, was only the beginning of the posthumous journeys of “the Father of Philosophy. In this refreshingly heterodox history, Russell Shorto follows Descarte’s bones over three centuries and six countries, showing how the battle over his body and most especially his skull exemplifies a far more significant war between faith and reason. Descartes’ Bones deserves to be read by anyone who ever puzzled over mind/body problems.
"Behind us lay Atlanta smoldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in the air and hanging like a ball over the ruined city." -General William T. Sherman
For most Americans, Atlanta blazed most memorably in Gone With The Wind, but the real-life Civil War siege and destruction of the Georgia city possessed far more drama and lasting significance than can be witnessed in any single movie or bestselling novel. Carefully written and adeptly written, Marc Wortman's narrative history of the "hundred days' battle" and the double burning of Atlanta presents its still controversial events from the points of view of their participants, albeit victors or victims; generals or slaves. Like the conflagration itself, The Bonfire cuts through to the marrow of experience. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson writes, "Marc Wortman's vivid narrative proves that war is indeed hell."
If there was ever a book to take to dinner, this is it. In Catching Fire, biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham proposes a startling new scientific theory, but he does it in such a lively, engaging way that you never once feel that you're in the presence of a ponderous "great thinker." Wrangham maintains that it was cooking that enabled our evolutionary leap from chimp-like primates into smaller gut, bigger brained humans. His theory is complicated and, of course, highly controversial, but he makes it with fascinating examples and a clarity that should make other scientists envious. And, let's face it; is there a more important subject than what makes us human?
You could call Outcasts United a sports book, but that would be telling only one tenth of the truth. Warren St. John’s book is the story of a Georgia soccer team (three squads actually) that consists of young refugees from a full roster of world trouble spots: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Kosovo…. Somehow, under the mentoring of a gentle female coach, these frightened strangers in a strange land become a band of brothers and, in their best moments, a pretty decent soccer team. Finally though, St. John’s story isn’t about athletes or sports victories; ultimately, you find yourself rooting for the Fugees and their families as real people. We must admit; we never wanted this book to end.
The best answers available to one of life’s core questions: How can I survive danger?
Even when we’re in the safest of situations, we humans worry and wonder about survival. Whether we’re imagining how we would escape from a burning building or plane; avoid a deadly wild animal attack; or stay alive as a psychopath’s hostage, we all know that surviving is the bottom line. Los Angeles Times journalist Ben Sherwood traveled the world to learn the secrets that helped real men and women stay alive in moments of extreme physical crisis. The stories are gripping; the lessons could be life-saving.