December 16, 2009 Weighing in at a fat four pounds, Bulb is the ultimate eye candy, just as the author intended. "Wherever the pages fell open," writes Anna Pavord, "I wanted the bulbs to sing out: 'You've got to have me. You can't live without me.'"
December 16, 2009 "Consider yourself warned," writes Amy Stewart. "Within the plant kingdom lurk unfathomable evils." Bram Stoker meets Agatha Christie in this sophisticated little brew of botanical boogiemen. Fatal fungus, suicide trees and deadly nightshades are the characters in Stewart's cleverly designed overview of poisonous plants.
December 16, 2009 John Greenlee's The American Meadow Garden, is a paen to grassy, no-mow landscapes that shiver, shimmer and wave. Greenlee's spent decades in revolt against "the madness of lawn culture" with its abuse of resources and chemicals. His book is an invitation to experiment with region-specific grasses in colors from chartreuse, purple and ochre to metallic blue.
December 16, 2009 The name says it all: Edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara Ellis and Ellen Phillips, Rodale's revised and updated classic is an "Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener."
December 16, 2009 Novella Carpenter's Farm City is a cheeky manifesto on homesteading. She farms in Oakland, Calif., "on a dead-end street in the ghetto." Her field of dreams is the vacant lot next door. Carpenter's addictive prose is wickedly irreverent and unabashedly big-hearted.
December 15, 2009 Alice Munro's latest book of short stories is peopled with flawed human beings in compromising, even desperate situations. In all the stories, people who seem to be living ordinary lives do unexpected, sometimes disturbing things.
December 15, 2009 Robert Goolrick's novel is a tale of murder, madness and passion. A lonely, wealthy man with dark secrets in his past requests a mail order bride, but the young woman who comes to live with him has a dark past of her own — and a sinister plan for the future.
December 15, 2009 Padget Powell's book is like none other: it is composed entirely of questions. Wildly ridiculous and laugh-out-loud funny, it can suddenly turn serious, even profound, as Powell's questions begin to provoke memories of the past and fears of the future.
December 14, 2009 In twelve humorous, self-deprecating essays that cover a year of personal challenges, author Melanie Gideon explores a nagging dissatisfaction with her life, a lack of wholehearted appreciation she finds all the more distressing because she recognizes how fortunate she really is.
December 14, 2009 Author Elizabeth Hawes channels her lifelong ardor for Albert Camus into a rich, unusual hybrid of a book that is part biography, part personal memoir. Hawes' admitted bias and reflections on the biographical process add intriguing dimensions to this intellectually stimulating literary portrait.
December 14, 2009 Diana Athill, a longtime British editor, writes a frank and inspirational memoir about growing old and facing death. With neither religion, children, nor lavish funds to support her, the prospect of potential infirmity is sobering, but Athill concentrates — inspiringly — on "how to get oneself through the present."
December 11, 2009 In Susan Kandel's latest Cece Caruso mystery, the middle-aged fashionista and part-time sleuth is about to hit the bottom. Her love life is a shambles, her biography of Alfred Hitchcock is over deadline, and to top it all off, she's just been accused of murder.
December 11, 2009 Gerry Fegan has a lot of ghosts — 12 to be exact. When Fegan, a former IRA hitman, cannot escape his past, he decides the only way to free himself is to kill the men who used to be his leaders. The novel is the debut of author Stuart Neville.