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“I cannot live without books” — Thomas Jefferson
Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth and Future of the Mustang
By Dave Philipps (W.W. Norton $27.95)
The wild horse is so ingrained in the American imagination that even those who have never seen one know what it stands for: fierce independence, unbridled freedom, the bedrock ideals of the nation. From car ads to high school mascots, the wild horse–popularly known as the mustang–is the enduring icon of America. But in modern times it has become entangled in controversy and bureaucracy, and now its future is in question. In Wild Horse Country, New York Times reporter David Philipps traces the rich history of wild horses in America and investigates the shocking dilemma they face in our own time.
Afterglow (A Dog Memoir)
By Eileen Myles (Grove Press $40)
In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and their connection instantly became central to the writer’s life and work. During the course of their sixteen years together, Myles was madly devoted to the dog’s wellbeing, especially in her final days. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief. Moving from an imaginary talk show where Rosie is interviewed by Myles’s childhood puppet to a critical reenactment of the night Rosie mated with another pit bull, from lyrical transcriptions of their walks to Rosie’s enlightened narration from the afterlife, Afterglow (a dog memoir) illuminates all that it can mean when we dedicate our existence to a dog.
By Jennifer Egan (Simon & Schuster $28)
Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished
Alone: Britain, Churchill and Dunkirk: Defeat Into Victory
By Michael Korda (W.W. Norton, $29.95)
An epic of remarkable originality, Alone captures the heroism of World War II as movingly as any book in recent memory. Bringing to vivid life the world leaders, generals, and ordinary citizens who fought on both sides of the war, Michael Korda, the best-selling author of Clouds of Glory, chronicles the outbreak of hostilities, recalling as a prescient young boy the enveloping tension that defined pre-Blitz London, and then as a military historian the great events that would alter the course of the twentieth century. For indeed, May 1940 was a month like no other. The superior German war machine blazed into France, as the Maginot Line, supposedly “as firmly fixed in place as the Pyramids,” crumbled in days. With the fall of Holland and Belgium, the imminent fall of Paris, the British Army stranded at Dunkirk, and Neville Chamberlain’s government in political freefall, Winston Churchill became prime minister on this historical nadir of May 10, 1941. Britain, diplomatically isolated, was suddenly the only nation with the courage and the resolve to defy Hitler.
Sisters First: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Lives
By Jenna Hager Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush (Little Brown $28)
Funny and poignant personal stories and reflections from former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush. Born into a political dynasty, Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in the public eye. As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father’s side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years being trailed by the Secret Service and chased by the paparazzi, with every teenage mistake making national headlines. But the tabloids didn’t tell the whole story of these two young women forging their own identities under extraordinary circumstances. In this book they take readers on a revealing, thoughtful, and deeply personal tour behind the scenes of their lives, with never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that fulfills them.
The Edge of the World: A Visual Adventure to the Most Extraordinary Places on Earth
By Editors of Outside Magazine (Falcon Press $26)
The Edge of the World is a stunning collection of the best photography ever published by Outside magazine, the leader in outdoor adventure photography and journalism. Covering Outside’s most compelling stories from throughout the years, it offers readers an inside look through the lens of the world’s top adventure photographers. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.
The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism
By John U. Bacon (Harper Collins $29.99)
After steaming out of New York City on December 1, 1917, laden with a staggering three thousand tons of TNT and other explosives, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc fought its way up the Atlantic coast, through waters prowled by enemy U-boats. As it approached the lively port city of Halifax, Mont-Blanc‘s deadly cargo erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT–the most powerful explosion ever visited on a human population, save for HIroshima and Nagasaki. Mont-Blanc was vaporized in one fifteenth of a second; a shcokwave leveled the surrounding city. Next came a thirty-five-foot tsunami. Most astounding of all, however, were the incredible tales of survival and heroism that soon emerged from the rubble.
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery
Scott Kelly (Penguin Random House $29.95)
The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both life-threatening and mundane: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the catastrophic risks of colliding with space junk; and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home–an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on a previous mission, his twin brother’s wife, American Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space.
Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, Sharp
By John Medina (Pear Press $27.99)
Brain Rules for Aging Well is organized into four sections, each laying out familiar problems with surprising solutions. First up, the social brain, in which topics ranging from relationships to happiness and gullibility illustrate how our emotions change with age. The second section focuses on the thinking brain, explaining how working memory and executive function change with time. The third section is all about your body: how certain kinds of exercise, diets, and sleep can slow the decline of aging. Each section is sprinkled with practical advice, for example, the fascinating benefits of dancing, and the brain science behind each intervention. The final section is about the future. Your future. Medina connects all the chapters into a plan for maintaining your brain health.