January 2008 Archives

Oprah has chosen Eckhart Tolle’s 2005 self-help guide, A New Earth, as her latest book club selection. Oprah made the announcement today on her talk show, which also featured novelist Ken Follett, author of her previous book club pick, The Pillars of the Earth.

A New Earth

"Being able to share this material with you is a gift and a part of the fulfillment of my life's purpose," Oprah said on the show. "It was an awakening for me that I want for you, too."

She's so dedicated to the cause that she's going to co-host, with Tolle, a series of live, interactive classroom discussions via the Internet. Each discussion in the free, 10-week program (March 3-May 5) will focus on a specific chapter theme. (To pre-register for the class, click here.)

According to a press release issued by Harpo Productions ...

Dear Private Diary...

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The Associated Press reports that Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries series) has teamed up with the American Library Association to encourage young people to start writing in personal journals — with a pen — rather than online, where there is no privacy.

Cabot, whose latest book, Princess Mia, came out last month, will host Teen Journal Writing Workshops across the country, where teenagers will be able to decorate their own journals and learn about writing from a best-selling author, who has used her own teenage diaries as fodder for her own books.

Princess Mia

Here are Cabot’s five tips for teens starting offline diaries...

Just plain fun to look at

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"Out of picture" is a term used for anything that's cut from a movie. It is also the title of a lush, new book put together by the animators at Blue Sky Studios, the folks behind "Ice Age" and "Robots."

In Out of Picture, Volume 1: Art From the Outside Looking In (Villard, 160 pages, $19.95), the Blue Sky artistic team was let loose to put their individual stamps on their own graphic stories. The result is one of most interesting books I've ever laid eyes on. I highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of literary taste. I'm not a big graphic novel reader but I was mesmerized by this book.

Out of Picture

Costa Book of the Year

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LONDON (AP) — Scottish writer and standup comedian A.L. Kennedy has won Britain’s Costa Book of the Year Award for her novel about a World War II veteran whose work as an extra on a war film forces him to confront his past.

Kennedy, 42, will receive $50,000 for her novel Day (Knopf, 288 pages, $24), which the chair of the judging panel, author Joanna Trollope, called ‘‘perfectly, beautifully written.’’


‘‘[It’s] very witty, very lyrical, it’s quite dark,’’ Trollope said this week. ‘‘Her style is arresting. There’s a shadow of James Joyce in it.’’

You, too, can catch criminals

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Anthropologist David Givens has decoded the body language of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein for the Department of Defense and now he's written a book to help the average person do the same thing.

In Crime Signals: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim (St. Martin's, 210 pages, $24.95), Givens gives real-life examples of crimes and survival.

Crime Signals

Insanity loves company

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In Robert Leleux's author's note at the beginning of his debut, The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy (St. Martin's, 272 pages, $23.95), he quotes, "A hat's not a hat till it's tilted," to inform readers to expect embellishments throughout:

The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy

Newbery, Caldecott awards announced

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The American Library Association announced its annual awards for children's books while meeting in Philadelphia this week.

Baltimore librarian Laura Amy Schlitz has won this year's John Newbery Medal for best children's book for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village (Candlewick, 96 pages, $19.99).

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

The book began as a project Schlitz worked on with fifth-graders studying the Middle Ages in the early '90s...

Cheapskate millionaire

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If one of your New Year's Resolutions is to save more money or to get your finances in order or to be your own boss, you might want to check out Alan Corey's A Million Bucks By 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire Before (Or After) Turning Thirty (Ballantine, 223 pages, $13.95).

A Million Bucks By 30

If you can stand Corey's motormouth writing style, you'll be able to get through the book and probably learn something, too...

Whistling Dixie

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I picked up today's book book with a little hesitation. Books featuring animals — in this case, pets — are a little too precious for my taste. And the author's name, Blaize Clement, conjures an aging Southern belle who could no sooner put together a compelling sentence than go out of the house without her hair and nails done.

But, one page into Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues (Thomas Dunne, 248 pages, $23.95), I was not only pleasantly surprised by the writing, but also I wanted to keep reading.

Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues

'Eat food. Not much. Mostly plants.'

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We're still early enough in January that some folks may still be following their resolution diets, so here's another book about food. It's not so much a diet book as a health book. Author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) calls for a return to traditional eating in his new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (Penguin, 256 pages, $21.95), which will appeal to dieters as well as people who are just sick and tired of processed foods, fast food and convenience meals.

In Defense of Food

Here's a review ...

Living it up with the dead

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Today's book is Do Dead People Watch You Shower? And Other Questions You've Been All But Dying to Ask a Medium (HarperCollins, 288 pages, $13.95) by Concetta Bertoldi, whose bio lists her as a full-time medium who consults reguarly with members of Britain's royal family, American celebrities and politicians.

Do Dead People Watch You Shower?

In answering the title question, Bertoldi writes: "Sure they do! They see us in the bathroom and they see us in the bedroom! But who cares? They're dead! Who're they gonna tell?"

Polly want a cracker?

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Brandeis University scientist Irene Pepperberg, whose famous African gray parrot, Alex, died last fall, will pen a memoir chronicling her 30-year relationship with the bird that could count to six and identify colors, shapes and 50 objects.

So, in Alex's honor, I went to the Book Room looking for a book on or about an animal — any animal — and to my astonishment there was a book about parrots. No joke. Today's selection is Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots (Firefly Books, 125 pages, $24.95) by Greg Glendell.

Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots

When nerds rule the world...

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The book title and the cute little boy playing chess on the cover are what drew me to Nerds: Who Are They and Why We Need More of Them (Tarcher/Penguin, 253 pages, $24.95) by David Anderegg.


In his attempt to change our thinking about long-standing stereotypes that start affecting our children and younger and younger ages, Anderegg, a psychology professor and child psychologist, dissects the terms "nerd" and "geek" — a uniquely American stereotype, by the way — in a way that is engaging and understandable. Just check out some of the chapter titles...

A new year, a new you

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In my Sunday Books column, I wrote about a couple of weight loss books — among the heaping pile of such books that make their way into the Book Room this time of year — that I thought were actually worth reading. There is one more I didn't include because it came out last year. It's just now out in paperback, and it's new to me, so here it is: The Incredible Shrinking Critic: My Excellent Adventure in Weight Loss, 75 Pounds and Counting... (Avery, 276 pages, $13.95).

The Incredibly Shrinking Critic

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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