Zadie Smith has always had a penetrating eye and a sharp wit, both of which are as much at work in Changing My Mind (Penguin Press, $26.95) as they were in her novels, White Teeth and On Beauty. In this volume, we are granted entry to Smith’s inner world, learning what she thinks about writers, the craft of writing, travel, and politics. Showcasing her best essays and criticism, the collection proclaims Smith as a cultural and intellectual powerhouse from whom we can continue to expect great things.

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117957
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - October 26th, 2010

I think of Hallie Ephron’s The Bibliophile’s Devotional (Adams Media, $16.95) as an amuse bouche of books: each day it offers a small bite of something good.  Ephron’s hope is that these tidbits (she calls the book a “tasting menu”) will tempt you to run to your favorite (local independent) bookstore and get one of the books she describes.   There are many ways to enjoy this book; you can treat it like a true devotional, reading one page a day, or you can look up significant dates in your life and see which book corresponds.  (My birthday is The Hobbit.)  You may want to use it to learn about interesting books you’ve never gotten the chance read (so many books so little time!). Or follow it as a ready-made list of must-reads.

The Bibliophile's Devotional: 365 Days of Literary Classics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781605501055
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Adams Media - October 18th, 2009

Can attaining “classic” status be the kiss of death for a book? Ulysses And Us (W.W. Norton, $28.95) is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable tour of Joyce’s masterpiece by a guide dedicated to showing readers they can tackle the novel on their own. Declan Kiberd, an Irish literature professor, removes the book from the Empyrean clouds and puts it back where it belongs, in the Dublin of 16 June 1904. He reminds us that Joyce wrote about ordinary people for ordinary people, that he was a socialist and felt more at home among workers than intellectuals. His narrative unfolds through mundane errands, pub chats, jokes, a funeral, a cuckolding, and plenty of drink. The characters observe the goings-on and the passers-by, and out of this modern welter of activity Joyce conveys the dignity and wisdom of everyday life, intending his story to offer a few chuckles and help people cope. Now, what’s so intimidating about that?

Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393070996
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 28th, 2009

Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393339093
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 22nd, 2010