Books

Holiday books guide

Books: A Holiday Gift Guide

Fiction

Between Heaven and Here

A Novel

Susan Straight

McSweeneys, $24

The death of a prostitute stirs memories in the tightknit multiracial community of Rio Seco, Calif.

Bring up the Bodies

A Novel

Hillary Mantel

Holt, $28

Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's vicious maneuverings continue in this Man Booker Prize-winning sequel to "Wolf Hall."

Blasphemy

New and Selected Stories

Sherman Alexie

Grove, $27

This anthology collects 20 years of dark, funny stories by a keen observer of Native American life.

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Animals

A Novel

Diana Wagman

Ig Books, $15.95 paper

A woman's humdrum L.A. existence is interrupted by a reptile-loving kidnapper.

The Devil in Silver

A Novel

Victor Lavalle

Spiegel & Grau, $27

A man wrongly locked in a psych ward rallies other patients to fight a hungry, nocturnal devil that roams the hallways.

Familiar

A Novel

J. Robert Lennon

Graywolf, $15

A middle-aged woman inexplicably slips from her life into one that is similar but not the same — or perhaps it's all in her head?

Magnificence

A Novel

Lydia Millet

Norton, $25.95

In this final volume of Millet's trilogy, a woman unexpectedly inherits a sprawling mansion, its taxidermy collection and a host of big questions.

The Middlesteins

A Novel

Jami Attenberg

Grand Central, $24.99

This multigenerational dramedy about a dysfunctional Chicago Jewish family features an obese mother and her eccentric adult children.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

A Novel

Robin Sloan

Farrar Straus & Giroux, $25

A young clerk tracks a mystery hidden inside a San Francisco bookstore's dusty volumes in this debut novel.

The News from Spain

Seven Variations on a Love Story

Joan Wickersham

Knopf, $24.95

Time, mortality and possibility link these love stories set in a variety of continents and centuries, from 18th-century Vienna to 1940's New York.

NW

A Novel

Zadie Smith

Penguin Press, $26.95

Four childhood friends from a poor neighborhood in London grow uneasily toward adulthood in this complex, tragicomic novel.

Panorama City

A Novel

Antoine Wilson

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24

From a hospital bed, a self-described "slow absorber" hopes to impart his cockeyed wisdom to his unborn son.

Telegraph Avenue

A Novel

Michael Chabon

Harper, $27.99

Partners in a doomed Oakland record store try to be better husbands, fathers and sons while celebrating the 1970s blaxploitation culture they love.

Silent House

A Novel

Orhan Pamuk

Knopf, $26.95

A Turkish family gathers on the eve of the 1980 military coup in this early novel by Nobel winner Pamuk, published in English for the first time.

This Is How You Lose Her

Junot Diaz

Riverhead, $26.95

A long-awaited collection of stories from Diaz centers on a young Dominican man's search for love.

The Yellow Birds

A Novel

Kevin Powers

Little, Brown, $24.99

In this debut novel, two young soldiers try to survive the horrors of war in Iraq.

Dear Life

A Prequel to Savages

Alice Munro

Knopf, $26.95

The latest collection from this Canadian master of short fiction focuses on a defining episode in each character's life.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

A Novel

Jonathan Evison

Algonquin, $23.95

After reaching a low point in his life, a novice caregiver goes on the road with his charge, an angry teenager with muscular dystrophy.

Swimming Home

A Novel

Deborah Levy

Bloomsbury, $14 paper

Levy turns the South of France novel inside out with this slim, adult tale of a poet whose family vacation — and life — is disrupted by a strange female fan.

Mysteries / thrillers

Art Forger

A Novel

B.A. Shapiro

Algonquin, $23.95

A struggling artist becomes entangled in the world of forgery and a decades-old unsolved theft of 13 paintings.

The Black Box

A Novel

Michael Connelly

Little Brown, $27.99

Now on the cold-case unit, Det. Harry Bosch searches for a piece of missing evidence to solve a crime that occurred during the L.A. riots.

Cutting Season

A Novel

Attica Locke

Harper, $25.99

A plantation-turned-tourist attraction is the setting for this mystery, where a contemporary murder leads to long-buried secrets.

Gone Girl

A Novel

Gillian Flynn

Crown, $25

A marriage goes terribly wrong on its fifth anniversary when the wife disappears and husband becomes a suspect in this propulsive thriller.

Live By Night

A Novel

Dennis Lehane

Morrow, $27.99

A cocky Irish-American son of a cop opts for the gangster life during Prohibition, moving up through the mob's ranks (and falling in love) in this noir epic.

Phantom

A Novel

Jo Nesbo

Knopf, $25.95

The master of the Scandivian thriller brings back Inspector Harry Hole, a hard-drinking Oslo detective who must prove the boy he helped raise is not guilty of murder.

The St. Zita Society

A Novel

Ruth Rendell

Scribner, $26

Secrets lurk upstairs and downstairs on an upscale London street, where servants' attempts to band together produces deadly consequences.

Twenty Year Death

Ariel Winter

Hard Case, $25.99

Three interlocking crime novels, each set in a different decade and in the style of a different author (Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler), tell a single, chilling story.

Science Fiction / Fantasy

Dark Currents

Agent of Hel

Jacqueline Carey

Roc, $26.95

The author of the "Kushiel" books launches a new fantasy series focusing on a half-human half-demon heroine who serves as liaison between the paranormal world and the police in a small midwestern town.

The Dog Stars

Peter Heller

Knopf, $24.95

In the wake of a flu pandemic, a pilot and his dog go in search of a voice he heard on the radio in this evocative post-apocalyptic debut.

Stormdancer

The Lotus War Book One

Jay Kristoff

Thomas Dunne, $24.99

This vivid dystopian steampunk epic is set in feudal Japan, where hunters of the imperial court are ordered by their Shōgun to capture a mythological thunder tiger.

The Unreal and the Real

Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth

Selected Stories Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands

Ursula K. Le Guin

Small Beer Press $24/volume

The National Book Award winning author selected the tales in this two-volume collection, which showcases five decades of her realistic fiction and magic realism.

The Weird

A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Tor, $29.99

An omnibus with 110 of the most peculiar stories from the past century includes writers William Gibson, George R.R. Martin, Haruki Murakami, China Mieville and Neil Gaiman.

The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M. Banks

Orbit, $25.99

In the eight-book in Bank's Culture series, the Gzilt civilization is imperiled.

The Rise of Ransom City

Felix Gilman

Tor, $25.99

Two factions struggle for power in a reimagined steampunk-wild west in the sequel to "The Half-Made World."

This Book Is Full of Spiders

Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It

David Wong

St. Martins, $25.99

In this fun sequel to the online-turned-book horror cult classic "John Dies at the End," a pair of slackers battle spider-like creatures that may or may not be turning people into zombies.

The Folly of the World

Jesse Bullington

Orbit, $15.99

A 1421 flood devastates Holland and spawns gruesome, unusual alliances, including one between a madman, a con man and a swimming girl.

The Silvered

Tanya Huff

DAW, $24.95

A werewolf and a mage trek to enemy territory to rescue five women in this new fantasy novel by the author of the "Blood" series.

Poetry

A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon

New (Soma)tics

CAConrad

Wave Books, $18

An electric, edgy combination of poems and writing exercises that push the creative envelope.

Bewilderment

New Poems and Translations

David Ferry

University of Chicago Press, $18

Octogenarian Ferry won the 2012 National Book Award with this intimate, subtle collection.

Later Poems

Selected and New 1971-2012

Adrienne Rich

Norton, $39.95

Influential feminist poet Adrienne Rich died in March [2012]; this collection includes her last unpublished poems.

Thrall

Natasha Tretheway

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23

The new U.S. Poet Laureate mixes personal and political histories of race and inheritance.

Useless Landscape, or A Guide For Boys

Poems

D.A. Powell

Graywolf, $22

Don't be confused by the title: Powell, the winner of Claremont's prestigious Kingsley Tufts Award, writes rollicking poetry for adults.

The Auroras

New Poems

David St. John

Harper, $24.99

A provocative triptych set in California that showcases the range and skill of St. John, a National Book Award Finalist.

Pity the Beautiful

Poems

Dana Gioia

Greywolf, $15

Emotionally resonant poems with a dose of humor make up Gioia's first collection since stepping down as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Place

Poems

Jorie Graham

Ecco, $15.99

Generational and geographical visions of change and the unknown from a Pulitzer Prizewinner.

Stag's Leap

Sharon Olds

Knopf, $16.95

Separation, sex, sorrow and freedom intertwine in this collection by the always-candid Olds.

Antigonik

Anne Carson, illustrated by Bianca Stone

New Directions, $24.95

Carson's translation/ retelling of Sophokles' tragedy includes hand-lettered text and illustrations on vellum.

Current events

The Oath

The Obama White House and the Supreme Court

Jeffrey Toobin

Doubleday, $28.95

The New Yorker staff writer explores the relationship between the Obama administration and the current Supreme Court as well as recent cases and their momentous implications for the near future.

Our Kind of People

A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope

Uzidinma Iweala

Harper, $24.99

This stunning inquiry into the HIV/AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa makes the epidemic personal through a series of character portraits, primarily from the author's native Nigeria, where 3 million people live with the disease.

The Outpost

An Untold Story of American Valor

Jake Tapper

Little, Brown, $29.99

A gripping, detailed history of the doomed Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, site of a deadly Taliban attack, written by ABC's senior White House correspondent.

Plutocrats

The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else

Chrystia Freeland

Penguin Press, $27.95

Forget the 1%: this new book offers a glimpse at the lives of an even more elite group while also painting a sobering picture of the widening gap between the working class and filthy rich.

The Signal and the Noise

Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don't

Nate Silver

Penguin Press, $27.95

A cult figure thanks to his presidential election forecasts, Silver explains how we can all interpret data to make better predictions.

A Wilderness of Error

The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald

Errol Morris

Penguin Press, $29.95

The award-winning documentary filmmaker digs into the notorious case of a man convicted for brutally murdering his wife and young daughters in this mesmerizing book, turning the facts inside out in his quest to prove Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald's innocence.

Far From the Tree

Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

Andrew Solomon

Scribner, $37.50

This National Book Award-winning author interviewed more than 300 families for an ambitious exploration of how parents deal with raising children who are different in some way, whether disabled, schizophrenic or transgender.

The Generals

American Military Command from World War II to Today

Thomas E. Ricks

Penguin Press, $32.95

This intensive study analyzes the performance of Army leaders from Pearl Harbor to Iraq and Afghanistan - and finds many recent generals lacking.

This Machine Kills Secrets

How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information

Andy Greenberg

Dutton, $27.95

WikiLeaks cofounder Julian Assange is one of several stars in this lively reported history of politically motivated computer hackers who have chosen to reveal classified materials and leak state secrets.

On Politics

Seven Variations on a Love Story

Alan Ryan

Liveright, $75 boxed

A monumental two-volume history of Western political thought that suggests how great thinkers such as Plato, Hobbes and Marx reflected their times and what they offer us now.

Science

Hallucinations

Oliver Sacks

Knopf, $26.95

In this revelatory "anthology of hallucinations," Sacks uses medical case studies and his own youthful experimentation with drugs to explore illusory sensations and what they tell us about being human.

The Particle at the End of the Universe

How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World

Sean Carroll

Dutton, $27.95

A scientific detective story, this saga of the search for the Higgs boson particle (known as the "God particle") traces the international cooperation that enabled this amazing discovery, driven by a fundamental need to understand: What is the nature of the universe?

Tubes

A Journey to the Center of the Internet

Andrew Blum

Ecco, $26.99

An in-depth look inside the Internet's physical infrastructure, chronicling how it developed and peeking at the real objects and places, such as fiber-optic cables and massive data centers, that keep the Internet whirring.

Why Does the World Exist?

An Existential Detective Story

Jim Holt

Liveright, $27.95

Hoping to understand the origins of the universe, Holt interviews an engaging bunch of philosophers, theologians, scientists and writers, grounding it all in his own experiences and sense of wonder.

Birthright

People and Nature in the Modern World

Stephen R. Kellert

Yale University Press., $32.50

Personal anecdotes combine with scientific study as well as literary and spiritual examples in this exploration of humanity's reliance on and connection to the natural world.

What's a Dog For?

The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend

John Homans

Penguin Press, $25.95

Using his own dog as a starting point, Homans delves into the evolution of the human-canine relationship, from wild animals to coddled family members.

History

The Black Count

Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

Tom Reiss

Crown, $27

This biography uncovers the amazing life story of Gen. Alex Dumas, father of the famous novelist; born to an African slave, Dumas' swashbuckling life took him from servitude to glory in the French Revolution to a doomed encounter with Napoleon.

Iron Curtain

The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

Anne Appelbaum

Doubleday, $35

A revelatory chronicle of how Communism took over and transformed Eastern Europe in the years after World War II by this Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, using newly opened archives and personal accounts of the regime's effect on daily life.

The Story of America

Essays on Origins

Jill Lepore

Princeton University Press $27.95

These engrossing essays, many published in the New Yorker, offer alternative angles from which to study American history, tackling topics that include George Washington, voting rights, Paul Revere and inaugural speeches.

The Last Lion

Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

William Manchester and Paul Reid

Little, Brown and Co., $40

The long-awaited final volume of this trilogy takes on the last 25 years of Winston Churchill's life, from 1940-65.

38 Nooses

Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End

Scott W. Berg

Pantheon, $27.95

Drawing on memoirs and contemporary reports, this remarkable history chronicles the 1862 skirmish between young Dakota Indian warriors and white settlers that left five whites dead, an act that would reverberate, leading to mass execution and war.

The Liberator

One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

Alex Kershaw

Crown, $28

The battlefield odyssey of Felix Sparks and his infantry unit as they fought over 500 days to liberate Europe in World War II.

Round About the Earth

Circum- navigation from Magellan to Orbit

Joyce E. Chaplin

Simon & Schuster, $35

This compelling history tracks the many brave souls who attempted to travel around the Earth, from early explorers like Magellan and Cook through the technologically dizzying present day.

Biography / Memoir

The Distance Between Us

A Memoir

Reyna Grande

Atria, $25

Grande's memoir of her childhood as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico in Los Angeles is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of the Latino-American experience.

In the House of the Interpreter

A Memoir

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Pantheon, $25.95

The second volume of the Kenyan novelist, poet and playwright's memoirs depicts his emergence as a writer and conveys an intimate view of the epic cultural and political shifts that created modern Africa.

Life After Death

Damien Echols

Blue Rider Press, $26.95

As one of the West Memphis Three, wrongly convicted of murdering three 8-year-olds as a teenager, Echols spent half his life on death row before being released last year; now he recounts his harrowing side of the story.

The Richard Burton Diaries

Edited by Chris Williams

Yale University Press, $35

Written between 1939 and 1983, these diaries offer a delightfully unvarnished glimpse at the actor's life, from his reading habits and jet-setting to his tumultuous relationship with Elizabeth Taylor.

All We Know

Three Lives

Lisa Cohen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30

A fascinating biographical study of three largely forgotten women — Madge Garland, Esther Murphy and Mercedes de Acosta — whose lives intersected in the close-knit lesbian networks of the early 20th century.

Brain on Fire

My Month of Madness

Susannah Cahalan

Free Press, $25

A 24-year-old reporter inexplicably descends into madness — and then chronicles her experience in a book that is part memoir and part neurological detective story.

Elsewhere

Richard Russo

Knopf, $25.95

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist's memoir recounts his upbringing in working-class upstate New York and his intense relationship with his indomitable mother.

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story

A Life of David Foster Wallace

D.T. Max

Viking, $27.95

This thoroughly researched first biography of the late author charts his torments and triumphs, his struggle to write in the face of addiction and depression.

Joseph Anton

Salman Rushdie

Random House, $30

The author's memoir harks back in great detail to the years of the fatwa when he was in hiding under British government protection, trapped in a clandestine life with a wife who didn't want to be there, moving from house to house while trying to maintain a social life and continue to write.

The Scientists

A Family Romance

Marco Roth

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23

A literary critic looks back at his formative years, growing up in the 1980s and '90s with a scientist father who suffered from AIDS.

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

Timothy Egan

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28

An enlightening biography of Edward Curtis, an influential photographer who captured Native American life.

The Voice Is All

The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac

Joyce Johnson

Viking, $32.95

A Beat insider explores Kerouac's journey to becoming a writer in this engrossing biography.

Wild

Cheryl Strayed

Knopf, $25.95

After the death of her mother and her marriage, a writer embarks on a 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and lives to tell the tale.

Pop culture

The Big Screen

The Story of the Movies

David Thomson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35

Film guru Thomson takes a passionate, idiosyncratic tour of the history of movies and the transformative role they play in modern life.

The Gershwins and Me

A Personal History in Twelve Songs

Michael Feinstein

Simon & Schuster, $45

Popular singer Feinstein pays tribute the songwriters in this illustrated account, told through 12 of their classic songs.

How Music Works

David Byrne

McSweeneys, $32

The former Talking Heads frontman explores the creative aspects of making and listening to music in fascinating detail.

Marvel Comics

The Untold Story

Sean Howe

Harper, $26.99

This well-researched book traces the byzantine histories of the colorful personalities and behind-the-scenes melodrama of the publisher that created superhero comics.

Bruce

Peter Ames Carlin

Touchstone, $28

An intimate portrait of the Boss from his working-class childhood in New Jersey to worldwide stardom.

The John Lennon Letters

John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies

Little, Brown, $29.99

An annotated collection of some 300 personal letters from the late musician, sometimes illustrated, offers a glimpse of the late Beatle.

The Lands of Ice & Fire

George R.R. Martin

Bantam, $40

A boxed collection of 12 maps from the fictional fantasy books and TV series "Game of Thrones."

Life Is a Gift

The Zen of Bennett

Tony Bennett

Harper, $28.99

The crooner's enlightened lessons on how to succeed in music and life.

The Rolling Stones 50

The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood

Hyperion, $60

Filled with more than 1,000 illustrations, this tome looks back at the phenomenal, epoch-defining career of the Rolling Stones.

Waging Heavy Peace

Neil Young

Penguin, $30

A memoir from the rock musician reveals creative doubts and fears.

Sports

Dream Team

How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever

Jack McCallum

Ballantine, $28

The story of the famed 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team, recounted by a Sports Illustrated staff writer.

Hell-Bent

Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga

Benjamin Lorr

St. Martin's, $25.99

A lively, startling first-person exploration of the competitive and sometimes controversial world of Bikram yoga.

The Last Headbangers

NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s — The Era That Created Modern Sports

Kevin Cook

Norton, $26.95

Pittsburgh Steelers Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" is just one highlight from the glory days of the NFL between 1972 and 1982.

The Secret Race:

Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs

Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

Bantam, $28

Olympic gold medalist and former professional cyclist Hamilton contributes to this detailed chronicle of Lance Armstrong and the doping culture inside the world of professional cycling.

A Father First

How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball

Dwayne Wade

Harper, $26.99

How single fatherhood has transformed the NBA star.

The Good Son

The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini

Mark Kriegel

Free Press, $27

The tragic downfall of the boxing great after the death of his opponent in the ring 30 years ago.

Jewish Jocks

An Unorthodox Hall of Fame

Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy

Twelve, $26.99

This collection pays homage to Jewish athletes' accomplishments and foibles, from Sandy Koufax to Hank Greenberg to Mark Spitz.

Muck City

Winning and Losing in Football's Forgotten Town

Bryan Mealer

Crown Archetype, $25

The story of the impoverished town of Belle Glade, Fla., and its legendary high school football program.

Paterno

Joe Posnanski

Simon & Schuster, $28

The life of the late Penn State football coach, and the scandal that tarnished his legacy.

The Queen of Katwe

A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster

Tim Crothers

Scribner, $26

The inspiring story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda.

Stanley Cup

120 Years of Hockey Supremacy

Eric Zweig

Firefly, $49.95

Controversial playoff moments, personal stories and illustrated details of every championship team since 1893.

Sweetness

The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton

Jeff Pearlman

Gotham, $20

A revealing look at the professional life and personal struggles of the Hall of Fame running back.

Kids

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Philip C. Stead, illustrations by Erin Stead

Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, ages 2-6

A bear tries to tell a tale to his animal friends who are busy preparing for winter.

Charley's First Night

Amy Hest, illustrations by Helen Oxenbury

Candlewick, $15.99, ages 3-6

The first night at home for a boy and his new puppy.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Mo Willems

Balzer + Bray, $17.99, ages 3-7

A new take on the classic fairytale starring hungry dinosaurs.

This Is Not My Hat

Jon Klassen

Candlewick, $15.99, ages 4-8

A darkly comical story of a little fish who steals a bowler hat.

Unspoken

A Story From the Underground Railroad

Henry Cole

Scholastic Press, $16.99, ages 3-7

A farmer's daughter discovers runaway slaves in her barn during the Civil War.

Each Kindness

Jacqueline Woodson, illustrations by E.B. Lewis

Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99, ages 5-8

Watercolor paintings illustrate a lesson on how to treat others.

Hang Glider & Mud Mask

Jason Jägel and Brian McMullen

McSweeney's McMullens, $14.95, ages 4 and up

A fun fold-out book links two sides of the same story.

H.O.R.S.E.

A Game of Basketball and Imagination

Christopher Myers

Egmont USA, $18.99, ages 5 and up

A celebration of the old-school shooting hoops challenge.

A Perfect Day

Carin Berger

Greenwillow, $16.99, ages 4-8

The joy and excitement of a snow-filled day.

When I Was Small

Sara O'Leary, illustrations by Julie Morstad

Simply Read, $16.95, ages 4-8

"When I was small...I slept in a mitten" is one of a mother's exaggerations in this delicately illustrated Thumbelina-like fantasy.

Safari

Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann

Workman, $24.95, ages 4-8

Photicular technology makes animals leap from the page in this 3D-like safari ride through Kenya.

Tweens

Liar & Spy

Random/Lamb, $15.99 ages 9-12

Viking, $27.95

Two self-appointed 12-year-old spies track a mysterious upstairs neighbor.

The Mighty Miss Malone

Christopher Paul Curtis

Random/Lamb, $15.99, ages 9-12

A young girl and her family search for their father, who left to find work during the Depression.

The Peculiar

Stefan Bachmann

Greenwillow, $16.99, ages 9 and up

A fantastical tale about a pair of impoverished kids living in fairy slums with a child snatcher on the prowl.

The Spindlers

Lauren Oliver, illus. by Iacopo Bruno

Harper, $16.99, ages 8 and up

A girl ventures into a secret underground to save her brother from soul-sucking spiders.

Who Could That Be At This Hour?

All the Wrong Questions

Lemony Snicket, illus. by Seth

Little, Brown, $15.99, ages 8 and up

A young Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship in this book, the first in a new series.

Bomb

The Race to Build — and Steal — the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Steve Sheinkin

Roaring Brook/Flash Point, $19.99, ages 10 and up

A history of the plotting, spying and treachery behind the building of the atomic bomb.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The Third Wheel

Jeff Kinney

Abrams/Amulet, $13.95, ages 8 and up

A Valentine's Day dance turns Greg's world upside down in the latest volume of the popular series.

Drawing from the City

Teju Behan

Tara Books, $35.95, ages 8-14

Intricate, hand-screen-printed drawings illustrate this self-taught artist's journey from a poor childhood in rural India to the rich inner world of art.

Hilda and the Midnight Giant

Luke Pearson

Nobrow Press, $24 Ages 10 and up

Fantastical creatures, tiny elves and a giant who comes out at night fill a young girl's isolated life in a hillside cottage.

Iron Hearted Violet

Kelly Barnhill, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Little, Brown, $16.99, ages 8-12

This fairytale goes against the grain with its tale of a prickly princess and the last dragon in existence.

Will Sparrow's Road

Karen Cushman

Clarion, 16.99, ages 10-14

A runaway boy joins a traveling troupe of oddities in the rowdy world of market fairs in Elizabethan England.

Young adult

Colin Fischer

Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

Razorbill, $17.99, ages 12 and up

An amateur teen detective with Asperger's investigates an incident at his high school.

The Diviners

Libba Bray

Little, Brown, $19.99, ages 15 and up

Young New Yorkers in the 1920s investigate occult-based murders.

Days of Blood & Starlight

Laini Taylor

Little, Brown, $18.99, ages 14 and up

The war between the angels and the chimera continues in this sequel to "Daughter of Smoke and Bone."

Pirate Cinema

Cory Doctorow

Tor, $19.99, ages 13 and up

After illegally making movies on his computer a teen runs away to fight a bill criminalizing internet creativity.

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

Scholastic Press, $18.99, ages 13 and up

The teenage daughter of psychic parents finds herself in a paranormal love triangle.

Ask the Passengers

A.S. King

Little, Brown, $17.99, ages 14-17

A young girl struggling with her sexuality can confide only in passengers flying in the planes overhead.

Reached

Ally Condie

Dutton, $17.99, ages 14 and up

Cassia, Ky, and Xander return to battle the Society in this conclusion to "The Matched" trilogy.

Son

Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin, $17.99, ages 12 and up

The conclusion to the dystopian series "The Giver" presented in three interlinked novellas.

The Turning

Francine Prose

HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up

Is a tiny island off the grid causing a high school boy to go mad is this pseudo-adaptation of "The Turn of the Shrew."

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Katherine Marsh

Hyperion, $16.99, ages 12 and up

A dwarf ventures out into late-16th century Europe to find his fate.

Graphic novels

The Carter Family

Don't Forget This Song

Frank M. Young and David Lasky

Abrams ComicArts, $24.95

This illustrated biography gets inside the lives of early country music legends the Carter Family.

Dal Tokyo

Gary Panter

Fantagraphics, $35

This volume collects Panter's scifi comic strip, interconnected stories that launched in the LA Reader in 1983, set in a dystopic future.

Drawn Together

The Collected Work of R. and A. Crumb

R. Crumb and A. Crumb

Liveright, $29.95

The autobiographical collaborations of the pioneering underground comics couple are gathered in this collection.

Heads or Tails

Lilli Carré

Fantagraphics, $22.99

A collection of striking and gothic short stories in comics form from the author of "The Lagoon."

The Hive

Charles Burns

Pantheon, $21.95

The graphic novelist offers a second volume of the graphic horror trilogy that started with "X'ed Out."

Marbles

Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir

Ellen Forney

Gotham, $20

An irreverent graphic memoir about the artist's battle with depression.

The Nao of Brown

Glyn Dillon

Abrams, $24.95

A half-English, half-Japanese young woman struggles with OCD and violent urges in this lush and literate graphic novel.

New York Drawings

Adrian Tomine

Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95

A decade of the artist's comics, drawings, illustrations and New Yorker covers are gathered in this volume.

Saga, Vol. 1

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $9.99

Vaughan ("Y the Last Man") spins an epic, adult space tale of lovers raising their baby on a war-torn planet.

Sailor Twain

Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson

Mark Siegel

First Second, $24.99

A moody, historical love story about a riverboat captain who rescues a mermaid from the Hudson River.

Coffee table books

20th Century World Architecture

The Phaidon Atlas

Editors of Phaidon

Phaidon Press, $200

An overview of 750 of the world's architectural icons and regional masterpieces.

Angels

From Dante Rosseti to Paul Klee

Ruth Langenberg

Prestel, $19.95

The evolution of angelic depictions as painted by master artists through the early 20th century.

At the Fights

Inside the World of Professional Boxing

Howard Schatz

Sports Illustrated, $75

256 sumptuous photos of star fighters, trainers and promoters provide a unique look at the sport.

Cabinets of Wonder

Christine Davenne & Christine Fleurent

Abrams, $45

An illustrated history of curiosity cabinets showcasing oddities and treasures, now back in style.

Classic Hollywood Style

Caroline Young

Frances Lincoln, $29.95

Iconic looks like Rita Hayworth's strapless dress in "Gilda" and Faye Dunaway's "Bonnie and Clyde" beret influenced American style.

Hello Kitty, Hello Art!

Sanrio Company LTD., Roger Gastman

Abrams, $35

Sanrio's popular feline infiltrates contemporary art with interpretations by artists such as Gary Baseman, Ron English and Yosuke Ueno.

The James Bond Archives

Paul Duncan

Taschen, $200

This collection celebrating 50 years of 007 features thousands of previously unseen stills, storyboards, posters and designs from every James Bond film.

Love Looks Not with the Eyes

Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen

Anne Deniau

Abrams, $75

Lush, previously unpublished backstage photographs from many of the late designer's provocative fashion shows.

Punk

An Aesthetic

Jon Savage, William Gibson and Linder Sterling

Rizzoli, $55

Posters, zines and ephemera, drawn from public and private archives, illustrate the punk aesthetic's influence on contemporary graphic art and design.

Puppyhood

Life-size Portraits of Puppies at 6 Weeks Old

J. Nichole Smith

Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95

Photographs of 25 breeds of adorable puppies taken at 6 weeks old.

Reporting the Revolutionary War

Before It Was History, It Was News

Todd Andrlik

Sourcebooks, $39.99

Private correspondence and battlefield letters accompany newspaper clippings documenting America's fight for independence.

Variety

A decade-by-decade account of the last century of show business as reported by the daily trade paper.

Tim Gray

Rizzoli, $50

Young New Yorkers in the 1920s investigate occult-based murders.

A World in One Cubic Foot

Portraits of Biodiversity

David Liittschwager

University of Chicago Press, $45

A photographic experiment demonstrating how various ecosystems live in one cubic foot.

360 Sound

Columbia Records Story

Sean Wilentz

Chronicle, $45

After illegally making movies on his computer a teen runs away to fight a bill criminalizing internet creativity.

The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation

Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials

Charles Solomon

Chronicle, $45

A visual history and in-depth look at the making of Peanuts specials from 1965 to 2011.

Audubon's Aviary

The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America

Roberta J.M. Olson

Skira Rizzoli, $85

The original masterpieces painted by John James Audubon tells the story of their creation.

The Book of Mormon

The Testament of a Broadway Musical

Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone

Newmarket Press/It Books/HarperCollins, $45

Behind the curtain of the creation of the hit Tony Award-winning musical.

Drawing Surrealism

Leslie Jones

Prestel, $60

This volume, accompanying the LACMA exhibit of the same name, argues for drawing as a central facet of the movement, alongside collage, photography and paintings.

Hollywood Unseen

Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation

Robert Dance

Antique Collectors Club Dist, $75

Jimmy Stewart playing with his dogs, Ingrid Bergman fishing and Burt Lancaster playing tennis are just a few of the hundreds in this collection of candid shots from Hollywood's Golden Age.

Diane Keaton

House

Diane Keaton & D.J. Waldie

Rizzoli, $85

Antiquated buildings and decaying structures transformed and redefined through innovative design and repurposing.

The Lost Christmas Gift

Andrew Beckham

Princeton Architectural Press, $29.95

A lost package arrives 60 years late containing a handmade book filled with maps and photos from an adventure a boy had with his father before he left for the war.

Stay Up

Los Angeles Street Art

G. James Daichendt

Cameron + Company, $35

Murals, graffiti, wall paintings and wheat-pasted works are crammed into this book showcasing L.A.'s vivid street art scene.

Steve Schapiro

Then & Now

Steve Schapiro

Hatje Cantz, $70

Memorable portraits of Robert Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr. are featured alongside rare of-the-cuff moments from the set of "Taxi Driver" and "The Godfather."

Steven Spielberg

A Retrospective

Richard Schickel and Steven Spielberg

Sterling, $35

Photos and analysis of the Oscar-award winning director's 40-year career highlighting every film from "Jaws" to "Lincoln."

Surfers Blood

Patrick Trefz

powerHouse, $29.95

The latest collection from the surf photographer reveals the passion behind the sport.

Whole Larder Love

Grow Gather Hunt Cook

Rohan Anderson

powerHouse, $35

An culinary adventure illustrating how to live off the land.

Audio books

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't

Stephen Colbert

Hachette Audio, $25.98

"The Colbert Report" isn't enough for you? Let Colbert's own voice (along with a few readers) lead you through his satirical guide to fixing America.

Beautiful Ruins

Jess Walter

Harper Audio, $19.99 Hyperion

The tangled love story in this novel spans 50 years from Hollywood to the Italian coast, masterfully performed read by Edoardo Ballerini.

The Casual Vacancy

J.K. Rowling

Hachette Audio, $49.98

British actor Tom Hollander reads Rowling's first adult novel about petty hypocrisies stirred up in a small English town.

The Racketeer

John Grisham

Random House Audio, abridged $32

A Grisham thriller about a jailed former attorney who hopes to win his own freedom by helping to solve the murder of a judge, as read by J.D. Jackson.

The Time Keeper

Mitch Albom

Hyperion Audiobooks, $24.95

"Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens reads this bestseller about the inventor of the world's first clock, who must teach humans the true meaning of time.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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