This week is all about dogs and dinosaurs. As some of you may recall, last year the new Dog Man book came out, like, hours before Christmas, which caused a great deal of panic in parents. "Do you have a copy?" "When are you going to get a copy?" "What if it snows and the passes close?" "Can I get it gift-wrapped too? Heck, can you bring it by my house?" 

This year, Scholastic yanked the calendar slightly, and the eighth Dog Man book—Fetch-22—is out this week instead of, you know, Christmas Eve.  

But wait? Wasn't there another Dog Man book out in August? Why, yes, there was. One for going back to school and one for Christmas-time. Scholastic knows how to suck money out of your wallet. That should be well-evident by now, right? 

Speaking of that sound money makes as it whooshes out of your wallet, we'd like to remind you that we have copies of the Nordic Cook Book and the Nordic Baking Book. In case you lusted after them earlier this year, but managed to dash off before throwing money at us. Stop by. Try to be strong again! We'll root for you! We won't be too sad when you cave. It's okay," we'll say. "The pictures are sooo pretty. The food is sooo tasty. We understand." 

"And stay way way downwind when you make that rotten fish recipe," we'll say pleasantly after you've gone.  

And speaking of all the cheerful feelings this holiday season, where's a book that will bring you back down to a more reasonable level. Lucas Riera's Extinct is an illustrated exploration of animals that have . . . uh . . . wandered off. And no, it isn't comprehensive; also, no, it's not volume one, but it probably should be. And, yes, it's artfully designed and adorbs, but . . . yeah . . . 

Meanwhile, we also have Dinosaurs—The Grand Tour. This second edition is more colorful! Filled more factoids! More unpronounceable names for things that would eat you for a snack if they weren't, you know, extinct. Like the California grizzly bear. Or the Persian tiger. 

Hey, did you know we have a shelf of Not Your Usual Christmas stories? We do. Some of them are scary (like Brom's Krampus). Some of them are iconic (like the Die Hard version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas). Some of them are funny (like Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel and that one book by that one guy who is never here when you want to come by and harass him about where is the next book in the [INSERT BOOK SERIES TITLE here]). 

Okay, now that we're done with all the pandering and tears, it's time to talk about diet books. We're on the cusp of a new year and a new decade, which means it's time to redo ourselves. Taller! More starry-eyed! Able to go to space! Able to wear disco pants without embarrassment! So many things we want to do in the next decade. And to kick off our endlessly recursive revitalization of ourselves, we have Michael Greger's How Not to Diet, a follow-on to his bestselling How Not to Die

Greger, in much the same fashion as he did prior, seeks to teach us about our bodies and how they operate. Along the way, he dispenses with some of the fad in the fad diets and most of the flab in the flabby diets, leaving nothing but cold hard truths and rock-solid abs. Who doesn't want the truth (We can handle it!) and an impressive set of abs? 

Speaking of impressive abs, Max Adams is here with The Viking Wars, chronicling those tumultuous years between 789 and 954, when the Scandinavians were goin' a-vikin' quite often. The residents of the British Isles put up with it for a long time, and then a leader named Alfred said, "You know what? This is [REDACTED]. We should put aside our regional differences and forge ourselves into a unified people." And the people said, "Sure, it can't be worse than getting raided all the time." And so they did, and huzzah! No more Vikings! And everyone cheered, and then they made Alfred king. He wasn't quite sure what to do for an encore, and so he brought everyone to the bookstore, where they all lived happily every after. 

Well, Max has a more nuanced take on this period of history, but we think we got the basic bits right. 

And speaking of roaming around the British Isles, how about Marc Hamer's How to Catch a Mole? This is one of those idiosyncratic books that magically appears fully formed. "So, ah, I've written a memoir about my life as animal catcher, but since I spent most of my career outdoors, it's more of a natural history narrative. Oh, and I'm a bit of a poet, like all itinerant folk-tellers, and so it's Thoreau meets W. B. Yeats meets Edward Abbey. But about moles. Kind of." 

Sells itself, doesn't it? 

And speaking of things that sell themselves, Brandon Sanderson has released Starsight, the sequel to last year's thrilling Skyward. Spensa's a pilot now, and she's made it to space, where she has discovered that everything is upside down, backwards, and not nearly as true as she was told. Naturally, she has to figure which way is up, which side is the front side, and what's really true about father before the galaxy explodes in a big explodey light showy thing. Naturally, lots of things blow up, lots of drama happens, and Sanderson will probably leave you shaking your fist at the cliff-hanger ending. 

You're welcome. 

And finally, we've got Jason Mankey's Witch's Wheel of the Year, a collection of ritual circles for every period of the year. Whether you are gathering everyone close for Yule, or opening your arms and embracing everyone with Beltane, the Witch's Wheel of the Year will spin you right round (like a record) and get you centered and grounded for the next season.

Overheard At The Store »»

SERRA: Well, I'm glad Podge has been rescued. That was scary for awhile. 

COLBY: Oh, he would have come down eventually. 

SERRA: Like a balloon? 

COLBY: Yes, like a balloon. 

SERRA: . . . 

COLBY: What? 

SERRA: It's sad that balloons have to come down. 

<SFX: A metallic thing. Sort of like a ragged anchor, dragging across the wooden floor of a sea-scarred shipwreck.>

SERRA: . . . 

COLBY: . . . 

COLBY: Where are you going with that typewriter, Rollo?

ROLLO: Eep. 

<SFX: More dragging noises. Like a wrecked imaginarium, being hauled across the wind-ravaged ribs of an ancient titan.>

COLBY: Rollo used to float, you know. 

SERRA: Did he? 

COLBY: He did. I had to tie a string to his foot when he first started reading. Otherwise he would have floated off. 

SERRA: Which would have made it hard to read all the books. 

COLBY: Yes, that it would. 

SERRA: And look at him now. 

<SFX: Still more dragging noises. Like eighty pounds of broken swords, carving a path across a faded and chipped mosaic memorial of a forgotten civilization.>

COLBY: Would you like some help, Rollo?

ROLLO: Eep. 

COLBY: Okay, carry on. 

<SFX: Like the grinding noise of tectonic plates, churning new mountains.>

SERRA: I'm going to help.

COLBY: Yeah, that's probably a good idea. 


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