Has it started snowing yet? We’ve been too busy looking at books to check, but rumor has it winter is creeping in on us this week. Probably a good time to nip down to the bookstore and get some holiday presents as well as some reading material to tide you over these next few weeks. 

The coloring book craze continues, and now the comic book industry is getting into the fun. IDW has recently put out a couple of titles that are basically uncolored pages that have been drawn and inked by rather talented folks in the industry. We’ve got John Bryne’s Stowaway to the Stars, a Danger Girl coloring book with art by J. Scott Campbell, and a Locke & Key coloring book with art by Gabriel Rodriquez. Space adventure, sassy spy girl hijinks, or creeping small town dread: take your pick! Get to coloring!

Speaking of rarified color palettes, IDW has also released a trade edition of the late Darwyn Cooke’s adaption of The Man with the Getaway Face and The Outfit, two of Richard Stark’s classic Parker novels. Mark and Ken will talk your ear off about Stark’s Parker novels, and Cooke’s graphic novel version of these anti-hero noir classics is a master class in minimalist illustration and storyteller. 

Speaking of minimalist illustration, Kat Yeh and Chuck Groenink’s The Friend Ship is a delightfully illustrated children’s book about Hedgehog’s quest to find some friends. He gets on a boat and sails across the ocean. Along the way, he picks up a bevy of interesting animals, and eventually figures out the distinction between the journey and the destination. While this book probably won’t get your kids to stop asking “Are we there yet?,” it might provide them some understanding about how that question is the wrong one to be asking. 

And speaking of asking questions and divining answers, Tim Ferriss is back with Tools of Titans, a hefty doorstop of a book that collates the tactics, routines, and habits of All Those Folks Who Are Doing Really Amazing Stuff All The Time. For instance, Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance, says that it is essential to get lost every once in a while, because when your plans get jammed, that’s when the truly creative and innovative solution will emerge. 

And speaking of creative, how about Lost in Translation, a box of note cards of untranslatable words from around the world? What better way to express that combination of gratitude, surprise, and “I like you but don’t want to overdo my enthusiasm” than a card that says “Kilig,” which is—as you know—the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic or cute takes place.

And speaking of romance stories, Small Beer Press has put out a new edition of The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, which is supposedly one of the foundation texts of the Rosicrucian movement of the 17th and 18th century. This version has been tweaked, footnoted, and otherwise tuned by John Crowley, who has written a number of fantastic contemporary novels that readily slip into the mysterious and otherworldly. Designed by Jacob McMurray, this two-color edition is also illustrated by Theo Fadel, who is noted as being the eleventh great grandniece of Robert Fludd, who actually defended the Rosy Cross manuscripts in 1616 (when the original Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz was purportedly written), and was known as a bit of an alchemist himself. 

And speaking of alchemy, Michael Lewis is back with The Undoing Project, a non-fiction book about the friendship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, the two psychologists who revolutionized modern thinking about the human decision-making process. We know. Even typing that last sentence almost put us to sleep, but Lewis is the guy who make baseball statistics sexy (Moneyball) and the catastrophic collapse of the housing market a page-turner (The Big Short), so we’re inclined to give him a bit of leeway with The Undoing Project. And, in this day and age, any discussion about how we started believing algorithms more than our own intuition and understanding of history is probably worth reading. 

And speaking of worthy reading, we’ve got Secrets of Surveillance, a Professional’s Guide to Tailing Subjects by Vehicle, Foot, Airplane, and Public Transportation. Because, you know, it’s important to know how to not be seen. Don’t be like these guys. 

Though, as anonymous holiday costumes go, they’ve got that sorted out. 

And speaking of anonymous contributors, Dava Sobel has written The Glass Universe, a history of the contributions of the women volunteers at the Harvard Observatory. Over a decade or so in the late nineteenth century, photographic plates taken of the night sky were examined and catalogued by a group of women whose observations were critical in our understanding of how the universe works. Previously, Sobel has written fascinating scientific exposes like Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, and we’re keen to read about this notable part of the history of astronomy. (And timely, too, as Hidden Figures, a movie about three black women who were an integral part of NASA's efforts to get us into space, is coming to theaters very soon.)

Overheard At The Store »

ALICE: It’s getting colder, Bob. I think it’s time to plan our winter vacation. Where are you going to take me this year?

BOB: I thought we’d go out to the cabin for a few days and—

ALICE: Not this year, dear. It’s a little chilly. 

COLBY: You should take a cruise to the Bahamas.

BOB: Quiet, marmot. You’re not helping. 

ALICE: Oh, no cruise. Too many people. And besides, you have to ride a boat. 

COLBY: I thought you liked boats, because, you know . . . 

ALICE: When you cook all day for a living, do you want to cook when you get home?

COLBY: Uh, not really, I suppose. 

ALICE: It’s like that with boats, for me. I don’t want to be on one when I’m on vacation. Too much like work. 

BOB: I thought you were retired from all that. 

ALICE: One does not simply “retire” from a pirate’s life, you silly bearded man. 

BOB: Okay, okay. No boats. I get it. 

COLBY: Maybe you two should take a tour of the great toilets of the world. 

BOB: The what?

COLBY: World-class shi—

ALICE: Language, marmot. 

COLBY: Poop houses.

BOB: I should take this lovely lady on a tour of the world’s most outlandish toilets? 

COLBY: Uh huh. I can sell you a guidebook. 

ALICE: Maybe we'll just take a copy of the Atlas Obscura instead. 

COLBY: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders? Excellent choice. 

BOB: You do realize he maneuvered you into a book that is three times the price of the Toilets book.

ALICE: No, I'm buying this book because you're going to take me to all these wonderful places. 

COLBY: Lot less pages in the Toilets book, Bob. Fewer destinations . . . 

BOB: Nice try, marmot. 

ALICE: Let's start with the American Southwest, Bob. It's warmer there right now, isn't it? 


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