Adept at spinning historical events into gripping narratives, Erik Larson couldn't resist the storytelling potential of the Lusitania.
Gretchen Rubin worries that she’s becoming a bit of a happiness bully. “I don’t want to be a bore that everyone runs away from!” she says from her apartment on New York’s Upper East Side. “It’s very hard for me not to overwhelm everyone with research and suggestions and thoughts. That I find effortless. Not talking about it—that I find hard. I have such strong ideas.”
In an interview some years ago, Erik Larson, author of such bestsellers as The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, called himself “an animator of history” rather than a historian. Indeed, he has always shown a brilliant ability to unearth the telling details of a story and has the narrative chops to bring a historical moment vividly alive. But in his new book, Larson simply outdoes himself.
In 1895, 11-year-old Stanley Slater and his mother must move to a logging camp for her job. Now he has to live with his grandmother—who is 99.9 percent evil—and put up with his cousin Geri.
When Mimi Baird was 6 years old, her father, prominent Boston dermatologist Perry Baird, didn’t come home. In that moment, Baird effectively disappeared forever from his daughter’s life, for her mother told her only that he was “away.” Baird saw her father once in the 15 years between his disappearance and his death in 1959.
New Orleans-based writer Tom Cooper’s The Marauders is a debut novel that does nothing in half measures. It isn’t afraid to take risks, dabble in darkness and skirt the edge of ruin, and this is what makes it such an exciting read.
Grandparents who love their only grandchild fiercely, but haven’t spoken since their divorce 50 years ago, incite her urgent question: What happened? As she writes in A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France, Miranda Richmond Mouillot hopes to recreate a fairy tale of love found, and somehow lost, amid the turmoil of World War II. But her grandparents, Armand and Anna, are growing frail and their memories of fleeing Nazi-occupied France are painful.
Twelve-year-old Mel isn’t expecting Christmas to be exciting. His family life has recently come apart, so he and two other classmates are spending the holidays at their posh boarding school, where they’re known as “the Left Behinds.” When a history teacher escorts the trio to a Christmas Day re-enactment of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, things go strangely haywire, and Mel, Bev and Brandon inexplicably find themselves thrust back in time to December 25, 1776.
Give the jokester in your life something to laugh about this holiday season by wrapping up one of these hilarious books. Because what’s better than the gift of laughter?
Cleopatra, Nefertiti: These are the names that come to mind when thinking of the legendary female rulers of ancient Egypt. In her highly engrossing The Woman Who Would Be King, Egyptian scholar Kara Cooney shines a spotlight on Hatshepsut, Egypt’s largely overlooked, longest-ruling female pharaoh, who led her country through a period marked by peace, prosperity and architectural achievement.