February 2012

February 29, 2012

Blood, Guts, and Plenty of Heart in Conn Iggulden’s Genghis: Birth of an Empire

If you've seen that old "Star Trek" movie where Ricardo Montalban plays Genghis Khan and thought to yourself, "Hey, I might like to be a Khan," well, you might want to think again. In the Central Asian Plateau of the late 1100s there wasn't much to do but freeze, starve, and protect oneself from the elements, and we get a front-row seat to it all in Conn Iggulden's fictional biography of Genghis Khan, Genghis: Birth of an Empire.

February 28, 2012

The Power of Habit … and How to Make It Work for You

New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg first became interested in the study of habits eight years ago in Baghdad and has, in his book The Power of Habit, applied his research to everything from the military to corporate strategy to personal health.

February 27, 2012

Personal Finance 101: The Money Class by Suze Orman

Orman's latest book, The Money Class, is a remarkably straightforward guide to making good financial choices. She explains her principles with clarity and conviction. Go ahead, see for yourself.

February 26, 2012

Great (Upcoming) Adaptations: 11 Book-Based Films to Watch in 2012

Oscar parties and predictions as to which movies of 2011 will sweep the 84th Annual Academy Awards are upon us, but after the razzle and dazzle of the evening ends, film lovers will want to know what's coming next to the silver screen.

February 25, 2012

Rewind to Love in the '80s: Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot

In his latest novel, Jeffrey Eugenides’ constellation of bright young things features several newly hatched adults as they enter and navigate the universe of the "real world." Though some might believe that the post-collegiate-love-triangle course has already been charted, Eugenides finds fresh emotional frontiers to tackle in his journeys into the heart's dark matter.

February 24, 2012

An Object of Beauty: Steve Martin Tricks Us Into an Art Lesson

Steve Martin’s latest novel, An Object of Beauty, the renaissance man’s third to date, is at face value the story of young, attractive, ambitious Lacey Yeager, a gallerista working her way up through the ranks of New York’s societal art scene.

February 23, 2012

The Classic Behind the Film: John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

He is a small, middle-aged man, podgy and thickly bespectacled, drably dressed. He endures an early retirement. His aristocratic wife cheats on him regularly. Hardly the rough material for a hero of an espionage thriller. And yet this man is the greatest British spymaster of them all: George Smiley.

February 22, 2012

The Golden Compass: A Step Into Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy

Philip Pullman’s series, His Dark Materials -- comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass -- is already hailed as a young adult classic, a mere fourteen years after the first book was published, and with good reason.

February 21, 2012

The Perfect Remedy for Downton Abbey Withdrawal: Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker

Once I started the irresistible novel The Dressmaker, I simply could not pry myself from the couch until I was done. Kate Alcott seamlessly weaves little-known facts about the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic with not only a love triangle but, just for good measure, she throws in an early twentieth-century version of a “Devil Wears Prada” boss.

February 20, 2012

A Post-9/11 Journey: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Events of catastrophic magnitude leave such an indelible mark on our psyche, and as cliché as the question might sound, we can’t help but ask, “Where were you when…?” In his remarkable novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer explores one brave child’s experience of this tragedy and his resulting incredible journey.

February 19, 2012

Experience an Epic Adventure in Stephen King’s The Talisman

When I look back at all the King books I’ve read -- and believe me, I’ve read many -- there is one moment, one scene, if you will, that most strongly stands out in my memory. It is a moment from The Talisman.

February 18, 2012

The Jerk You Hate to Love in Zoe Heller’s Everything You Know

To put it politely, Willy Muller is a jerk. He is also a drunk, a deadbeat, a hack writer, a lousy son, a lousier father, and a murderer (more or less). He is a great character, the antihero at the diseased heart of Zoe Heller's recently re-released debut novel, Everything You Know.

February 17, 2012

From the Funny Files of Tina Fey: Bossypants

We miss the Tina Fey days on “Saturday Night Live” -- but now we tune in to “30 Rock” religiously, where she plays geeky, wise-cracking Liz Lemon, head writer on a sketch comedy show. With all of this art-imitating-life business, it’s time to get to know the real Tina Fey, and her hilarious memoir, Bossypants, allows us just this opportunity.

February 16, 2012

The History of Debt in America: Borrow, by Louis Hyman

What's in YOUR wallet? It's almost impossible to imagine modern life without credit cards, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, car loans, or student loans. We take the ability to borrow for granted, but it comes with tremendous economic, political, and social consequences -- and yet, most of us know shockingly little about it. Louis Hyman's brief and extremely readable new book, Borrow, is an attempt to change that.

February 15, 2012

Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number: A Fairy Tale for the Digital Age

People often bemoan the effects of the digital age on human relationships, but maybe it’s time to accept the ways in which the digital age can help form new types of meaningful human relationships. This notion is what Sophie Kinsella takes on in her newest novel, I’ve Got Your Number, a fun romp through the possibilities for romance in the digital age.