The Age of Movies

The Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Edited by Sanford Schwartz

Library of America, $40


Witty, entertaining and often exhilarating, this wide-ranging collection of pieces captures the film critic at her best.

Alice James

A Biography

Jean Strouse, preface by Colm Tóibín


New York Review Books, $17.95 paper

The acclaimed biographer of financier J.P. Morgan chronicles the brief but brilliant life of the younger sister of William and Henry James.

The Almanac of American Politics, 2012

Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon

University of Chicago Press, $85, paper

A must for political junkies, the almanac offers timely narrative profiles of all 50 states and 435 House districts and profiles of every member of Congress.

And so It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut: A Life


Charles J. Shields

Henry Holt, $30

The first authorized biography of the writer who changed the conversation in American letters.

Back to Work

Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy

Bill Clinton

Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95

The former president offers a plain-spoken, personal picture of ways to revive our economy and get the U.S. “back into the future business.”


Backward Ran Sentences

The Best of Wolcott Gibbs From the New Yorker

Edited by Thomas Vinciguerra

Bloomsbury, $18. Paper

A collection of profiles, stories and criticism by one of the leading figures of the New Yorker’s early days.

Becoming Dickens

The Invention of a Novelist

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Harvard University Press, $29.95

How young Dickens overcame a difficult childhood and early obstacles to become one of the world’s greatest novelists.

Betty & Friends

My Life at the Zoo

Betty White

Putnam, $26.95

Along with acting, the actress shares another lifelong passion, animal welfare advocacy, in a book that celebrates zoos and the importance of caring for animals.

Blue Nights

Joan Didion

Alfred Knopf, $25

The acclaimed writer’s heartbreaking meditation on the death of her daughter at 39.


Travels in the New Third World

Michael Lewis

W.W. Norton, $25.95

Shrewd and lucid observations on countries where the financial tsunami has left the most damage.


A Life Sacred and Profane

Andrew Graham-Dixon

W.W. Norton, $39.95

The British art historian vividly recounts the Italian master’s tumultuous life and mysterious death.

The Caribbean

A History of the Region and Its Peoples

Edited by Stephan Palmié and Francisco Scarano

University of Chicago Press, $35

An illuminating work tracing the region from its pre-Columbian state through European colonialism and the economic turbulence of the 21st century.

Catherine the Great

Portrait of a Woman

Robert K. Massie

Random House, $35

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer returns to the Russian front with the story of the minor German princess who became Empress Catherine II.


The Four Voyages

Laurence Bergreen

Viking, $35

The glory — and tragic price — of Columbus’ history-making journeys to the New World.

Cool, Calm & Contentious

Merrill Markoe

Villard, $24

A collection of personal essays in which the Emmy Award-winning writer opines on narcissists, crazy mommies, camping, virginity and much more.

Deadline Artists

America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns

Edited by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis

Overlook Press, $29.95

Work by Hemingway, Winchell, Royko, Breslin, Hunter Thompson and Steve Lopez are all included in this broad collection.


An Actor’s Education

John Lithgow

Harper, $26.99

A highly articulate account of the actor’s upbringing in the American theater.

Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar

Stories of Food During Wartime by the World’s Leading Correspondents

Edited by Matt McAllester

University of California Press, $27.50

Tales well told of the challenges of eating well — or at all — in the combat zone.


The White House Years

Jim Newton

Doubleday, $29.95

This biography sets aside the familiar benign portrait of the 34th U.S. president (usually with golf club in hand) to give us a vivid glimpse of his political efforts and private world.

Emily Post’s Etiquette

Manners for a New World 18th Edition

Peggy Post, Anna Post, Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning

William Morrow, $39.99

Is it rude to tweet from a wedding? This book answers that question and offers advice on thousands more.

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

Edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40

The final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception.

Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone

The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson, edited and with an Introduction by Jann S. Wenner

Simon & Schuster, $32.50

This collection of Thompson’s pieces showcases his roller-coaster career at the magazine.

Five Chiefs

A Supreme Court Memoir

John Paul Stevens

Little, Brown, $24.99

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens reflects on five chief justices he worked with on the court.


A Story of Courage and Hope

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

Scribner, $26.99

A closer look at the story behind the harrowing ordeal of astronaut Kelly and his wife Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman nearly killed in a shooting earlier this year.

The Garner Files

A Memoir

James Garner and Jon Winokur

Simon & Schuster, $25.99

A candid accounting from the actor who reconstructed two Hollywood archetypes in “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.”

George F. Kennan

An American Life

John Lewis Gaddis

Penguin Press, $39.95

The authorized biography of the seminal U.S. Cold War diplomat, 30 years in the making.

Gun Fight

The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America

Adam Winkler

Norton, $27.95

Winkler, a UCLA professor, uses the landmark Columbia vs. Heller case as a springboard for a thorough examination of the gun control debate.

Higher Gossip

Essays and Criticism

John Updike

Alfred A. Knopf, $40

Perhaps best known as a novelist, Updike’s essays and criticism show his masterful touch in those forms as well.

Holidays in Heck

P.J. O’Rourke

Grove Atlantic, $24

The celebrated political humorist on the road with his family makes him wish he were under artillery fire again.

Hollywood Left and Right

How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics

Steven J. Ross

Oxford University Press, $29.95

Ross challenges the conventional belief that Hollywood is the seat of liberalism in this evenhanded accounting of the industry’s political history.

Howard Cosell

The Man, the Myth and the Transformation of American Sports

Mark Ribowsky

W.W. Norton, $29.95

Reviled by many but never boring, Cosell was a groundbreaking figure in American television.

In My Time

A Personal and Political Memoir

Dick Cheney

Threshold Editions, $35

The outspoken former vice president’s accounting of the Bush Administration’s War on Terrorism.

Instant City

Life and Death in Karachi

Steve Inskeep

Penguin Press, $27.95

A vibrant portrait of the one of the world’s fastest-growing, politically complex cities by the co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition.

Into the Blue

American Writing on Aviation and Spaceflight

Edited by Joseph J. Corn

Library of America, $40

This collection includes essays by Benjamin Franklin, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Chris Jones, who recalls being marooned on the International Space Station.

It Calls You Back

An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing

Luis J. Rodriguez

Touchstone, $24.99

The author of “Always Running” chronicles his journey from gang member to his place as a noted figure in Chicago literature and American letters.

I Want My MTV

The Uncensored History of the Music Video Revolution

Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum

Dutton, $29.95

An oral history of the pop culture phenomenon that now plays everything but popular music.

Jack Kennedy

Elusive Hero

Chris Matthews

Simon & Schuster, $27.50

Kennedy loved courage but never wanted to be alone, never to be bored. Matthews offers a new assessment of the 35th president.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss

Hyperion, $60

Shortly after her husband’s assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven interviews on her life with JFK. Now, 50 years after his inauguration, the material has been released on CDs with accompanying transcripts.


The Biography

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Alfred A. Knopf, $35

A rich account of how the small, remote town became the Holy City and the key to peace in the Middle East.

John Huston

Courage and Art

Jeffrey Meyers

Random House, $30

The acclaimed biographer of Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart, among many others, turns to the filmmaker best known for “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

Killing Lincoln

The Shocking Assassination That Changed America

Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

Henry Holt, $28

TV host and commentator Bill O’Reilly teams up with bestselling author Martin Dugard to describe the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The Language Wars

A History of Proper English

Henry Hitchings

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28

An examination of the rules of grammar, regional accents and political correctness in the battlefield that is the English language.

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, 1907-1922

Edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon

Cambridge University Press, $40

This first volume of Hemingway’s letters reveals a more complex person than his tough-guy public persona suggested.

Life Upon These Shores

Looking at African American History, 1513-2008

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Alfred A. Knopf, $50

A richly illustrated book tracing the African American experience from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.

The Long Night

William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Steve Wick

Palgrave/Macmillan, $27

An American journalist’s firsthand encounters with the Nazis after starting, in the 1930s, the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow’s CBS News.

The Magic of Reality

How We Know What’s Really True

Richard Dawkins

Free Press, $29.99

The world’s leading evolutionary biologist explains a wide range of natural phenomena.

The Man Who Couldn’t Eat

A Memoir

Jon Reiner

Gallery Books, $25

The author explores our complex and often-contradictory relationship with food as he tells the story of his agonizing battle with Crohn’s disease.

Mrs. Nixon

A Novelist Imagines a Life

Ann Beattie

Scribner, $26

The novelist wonders what it was like to be married to a hugely ambitious and flawed man.

My Song

A Memoir

Harry Belafonte with Michael Shnayerson

Alfred A. Knopf, $30.50

A forthright memoir that traces the singer’s career and his larger concerns with racial justice.

The New Deal

A Modern History

Michael Hiltzik

Free Press, $30

The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter sheds light on the origins, legacy and genius of Roosevelt’s plan to combat the Great Depression.

No Higher Honor

A Memoir of My Years in Washington

Condoleezza Rice

Crown, $35

The former secretary of state tells the story of her time as President George W. Bush’s most influential foreign policy advisors.

Norman Granz

The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice

Tad Hershorn

University of California Press, $34.95

A pioneering figure in the music business, Granz defied racial and social prejudice to bring jazz to audiences around the world.

Pauline Kael

A Life in the Dark

Brian Kellow

Viking, $27.95

The first biography of the legendary film critic for the New Yorker.

Physics on the Fringe

Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything

Margaret Wertheim

Walker & Co., $26

Through the story of Jim Carter, a trailer park owner in Washington state, Wertheim examines a group of men without formal scientific training who have tried to change the face of physics.

Plastic Ocean

How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips

Avery, $26

The environmentalist and researcher details his discovery of a great garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean where plastic outweighs zooplankton.

The Puppy Diaries

Raising a Dog Named Scout

Jill Abramson

Times Books / Henry Holt, $22

Part owner’s manual, part memoir, the recently appointed executive editor of the New York Times recounts her first year with her golden retriever Scout.

Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin

Forty Years of Funny Stuff

Calvin Trillin

Random House, $26

The best of Trillin’s humorous pieces arranged by themes, including “Life Among the Literati” and “English and Some Languages I Don’t Speak.”

Rin Tin Tin

The Life and the Legend

Susan Orlean

Simon & Schuster, $26.99

The story of a a dog who never died in the public consciousness. At one time, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywood’s top-ranking box office star.

The Rogue

Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

Joe McGinniss

Crown, $25

The author presents a scathing chronicle of the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate as an individual, politician and cultural phenomenon.


A Cultural, Visual and Personal Journey

Robert Hughes

Alfred A. Knopf, $35

Hughes finds God in the details as he traces the city’s history through its art.


Carrie Fisher

Simon & Schuster, $22

The actress explains that even though shock therapy may be wiping out her memory, she’s becoming addicted to the treatments.

Seriously … I’m Kidding

Ellen DeGeneres

Grand Central Publishing, $26.99

Another memoir from the comedian and new daytime queen of talk television.

Spencer Tracy

A Life

James Curtis

Alfred A. Knopf, $39.95

A fully formed look at the stage and screen career of one of America’s great acting legends.

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

Simon & Schuster, $35

The authorized biography of the co-founder of Apple who was one the most admired men in America.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends

An Autobiography

Rob Lowe

Henry Holt, $26

A funny, moving account of a Hollywood life—from teen idol to TV and movie star—lived almost entirely in the public eye

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes

My Life in Music

Judy Collins

Crown Archetype, $26

A broad recollection of the singer’s life in music in the tumultuous ‘60s and the high cost it exacted in her personal life.

The Swerve

How the World Became Modern

Stephen Greenblatt

W.W. Norton, $26.95

This year’s National Book Award winner in nonfiction describes the world-changing rediscovery of a lost Latin classic.

10 Mindful Minutes

Giving Our Children and Ourselves the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress for Healthier, Happier Lives

Goldie Hawn

Putnam, $24

The actress offers tips on teaching children how to cultivate an attitude of mindfulness in spite of countless daily distractions.

That Used to Be Us

How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28

The authors look at the challenges facing America in globalization, energy consumption, information technology and chronic deficits, and offer a call to action.

Then Again

Diane Keaton

Random House, $26

The actress writes about her mother and the strong bonds that forged both their lives.



Allister Sparks and Mpho Tutu

HarperOne, $29.99

An unapologetic fan biography of the Anglican archbishop who was the moral voice of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement.

Three Famines

Starvation and Politics

Thomas Keneally

PublicAffairs, $27.99

The author looks at three food shortages in the 20th century and points an accusing finger at the authorities in charge.

The Time of Our Lives

A Conversation About America

Tom Brokaw

Random House, $26

“What happened to the America I thought I knew?” asks Brokaw as he offers insights into how America can achieve greatness.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30

The Nobel laureate offers a master class on the human mind and how we think about our personal and professional lives.


A Russian Life

Rosamund Bartlett

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35

The first new biography of the lifelong rebel and genius to use post-glasnost Russian sources.

The Unquiet American

Richard Holbrooke in the World

Edited by Derek Chollet and Samantha Power

Public Affairs, $29.99

A collection of essays on Holbrooke, one of the leading figures in late 20th century American diplomacy.

Unreal Estate

Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles

Michael Gross

Broadway Books, $30

A social history of the wealthy in the City of Angels told through the prism of high-end real estate.

The Untold Civil War

Exploring the Human Side of War

James Robertson

National Geographic Books, $40

The enduring impact of the Civil War is detailed in 30 self-contained stories on surprising, little-known and fresh aspects of the struggle.

Van Gogh

The Life

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Random House, $40

The most extensive biography of the Van Gogh to date offers a new theory on the circumstances surrounding his death.


The General Who Lost Vietnam

Lewis Sorley

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30

Sorley’s biography suggests that William Westmoreland’s strategy of attrition failed to understand the realities of the Vietnam War.

West by West

My Charmed, Tormented Life

Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman

Little, Brown, $27.99

One of the greatest figures in NBA history as a player and executive offers a candid accounting of his challenging life.


Patti Smith

New Directions, $18.95

A memoir by the National Book Award–winner and musician that recollects the poignant experiences, real and imagined, of her early life.

You Will See Fire

A Search for Justice in Kenya

Christopher Goffard

W.W. Norton, $27.95

The death of an American clergyman, despised by Kenya’s tyrannical leader Daniel arap Moi, is ruled a suicide until the truth is uncovered.

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