It isn’t very often that a new Stephen King book isn’t the big release of the week, though we're sure Mr. King doesn’t wake up on New Book Day and fret about his position on the charts. In fact, he’s probably delighted to be overshadowed this week by Mr. Clemens. That’s right. Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens has a new book out. 

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is based on sixteen pages of handwritten notes found in the Mark Twain archive, and they appeared to be thoughts Twain jotted down after telling his daughters a bedtime story. Apparently, he had to tell a lot of stories at bedtime, and this one stuck in his head—not enough that he finished it, but enough that he sketched the shape of it to save for later. Of course, later never happened and now, The Purloining has been finished by Philip Stead and the book has been delightfully illustrated by Erin Stead. 

[Purists will fuss that someone else finished the story, but the Steads are ahead of that game, in that Twain wanders into the text at some point to comment on the direction the story has taken—a very William Goldman twist, as it were.]

Speaking of King, his new book is a collaboration with his son—the other son. In Sleeping Beauties, women all over the world become cocooned when they sleep. If this gauze layer is disturbed, they awake and become incredibly violent and feral. If the gauze isn’t disturbed, well, they don’t wake up. And that’s a problem because, you know, women are kind of imperative to the whole equation (regardless of what some dudes would like us to think). Naturally, there's at least one woman who doesn’t sleep well, and she gets caught up in a pretty gnarly battle for all the things. 

[Yep. “Pretty gnarly battle for all the things.” That’s our closer. We’re going to stick with that.]

Also out this week is The Last Castle, Denise Kiernan’s spectacular history of the Biltmore—the single largest private residence ever built in the United States. It’s only 175,000 square feet in size, with 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, 2 bowling alleys, a pool, and a library with 65 fireplaces. There are so many asides to make about these numbers, but we’re just going to focus on how immense that library must be if you need sixty-five (!) fireplaces to keep it warm. 

Also, do you know what you call a library that size? A good start. 

Kiernan’s last book was The Girls of Atomic City, who made a few lists and won a few awards, and so we’re excited to read her history of this immense (and thoroughly decadent) undertaking, especially in context with what was going on in the rest of the world while construction crews were endlessly fiddling with the east wing. 

And speaking of fiddling, how about Moorea Seal’s Make Yourself at Home? A new book from the author who brought us the 52 Lists books, Make Yourself at Home is all about working with both the inner and outer you to help discover your true self. Frankly, we hope there are some tips on how to stop fiddling with all the crap on our desks and actually get some work done, but we’re probably projecting and should stop now. [Ed note: Too late!] Anyway, with Make Yourself at Home you can learn about floral ice cubes and how to host a dinner party that is affordable, beautiful, AND memorable (along with gold-patterned glassware). Along with tips for hacking your desk and your deep sleep playlists and how to match colors that don’t make your cat vomit. Totally useful stuff. And when you’re done, we’ll come visit! (And get those snacks we tried to talk you into making a week or two ago.)

Anyway, one of the other books we are excited about this week is Kat Howard’s An Unkindness of Magicians, which is a delightful turn of phrase that even Mr. Lipton would appreciate. In Howard’s debut novel, a slightly askew New York City is suffering from a dearth of magic, and it’s up to young magician Sydney to fix it. The hitch, however, is that Sydney is kind of keen on ripping up the old to make way for the new. And is the new better? Well, that’s the other hitch. Sydney may be the villain . . . (Cue ominous music)

And over here, we have Claire Kendal’s The Second Sister, the story of a woman’s search for her missing sibling. A search that turns . . . (cue ominous music)  . . . dangerous and deadly. Which is a good thing, because if her sister just moved to South America to raise llamas, it wouldn’t be that much of a thriller. No, in The Second Sister, the key to finding the missing sibling (whose voice is always haunting the protagonist) may lie in the mind of a killer who is locked away in a psychiatric hospital, which means . . . (cue ominous music) . . . she’s going to have to . . . 

We’re not going to tell you! Read the book!

And to prove we’re not THAT cold-hearted, here’s a recent “business etiquette” book that might come in handy. 

Like it says on the cover. Really. But that doesn’t apply to us or you, naturally, because you’re going to invite us over for canapés and cocktails once you’ve found the inner you, and we’ll bring snacks because we’re gracious guests and we like you. Deal? Deal.

Meanwhile, Out in the Woods »»

GINGER: Did you build all of this yourself?

BOB: Some of it. My grandfather built the original cabin. My father and I used to work on it during the summers, and when he died, he left it to me. He hadn’t taken very good care of it, and so I’ve had to repair and update some things.

GINGER: It’s lovely. It’s really nice. 

BOB: Thanks. 

GINGER: I like the modern kitchen. 

BOB: Well, just because you’re in the woods doesn’t mean you can’t have a decent cup of coffee. Or a cold beer. 

GINGER: The view is amazing. All those trees. 

BOB: Yeah, I like that too. You can go out on the deck, if you like. Smell the air. 

GINGER: Okay. Oh, wow. That’s—OhMyGOD!

BOB: What? What is it?

GINGER: There’s a moose!

BOB: A moose? Oh, that’s Glom-Glom. 

GINGER: It has a name?

BOB: He. Yes. Glom-Glom.  

Glom-Glom: Glom.

BOB: Yeah, no, her head’s not on fire. You don’t need to worry. 

GINGER: What? 

BOB: He thought you were on fire. You know, with the red hair . . .

GINGER: He—the moose—said that?

BOB: Yeah—oh, right. You don’t understand moose. 

GINGER: No. No, I don’t. Most people don’t. 

BOB: It's mostly one syllable with a lot of inflection. It's not that hard to learn. 

GLOM-GLOM: Glom-glom-glom.

BOB: No—stop it. She’s not calling you dumb. 

GINGER: I—what? No. I’m—this is weird. 

BOB: Yeah, well. This is the woods. The woods are . . . Look, it’s just a moose. He doesn’t come into the house. 


BOB: He DOESN’T come into house. 


BOB: Oh, don’t sulk. 

GINGER: He’s sulking? 

BOB: Yes. 

GINGER: Because . . . you won’t let him in the house? 

BOB: He’ll stare at you when you sleep. 

GINGER: Okay. Good point. 

BOB: I’m going to get us some drinks. You good? 

GINGER: Yeah, yeah. I’ll be okay. I think. 

GLOM-GLOM: Glom glom. 

GINGER: What did he say?

BOB: He says he’ll be fine too. 

GINGER: Well, that’s a relief. We can’t have both of us freaking out. 

BOB: Okay, so a beer for me—


BOB: Yes, a beer for you, and what would you like, Ginger? 

HODGE: I’ll have a beer too, good sir! 

BOB: What? Excuse me? 

GINGER: Uh, that’s an otter, right? 

BOB: Yes. Yes, it is. Where did you come from? 

HODGE: The river. Where all otters come from. Are you daft? 

PODGE: Don’t insult the good man, Hodge. He won’t bring us beer. 

HODGE: Oh, right. I say, good neighbor, could you spare a cup of the brown hoppy stuff? 

GINGER: There’s two of them. Are they, uh, can you understand them? 

BOB: Sort of. That one has a strange accent. 

HODGE: I’m a natural born native. You, sir, are the one who speaks the outlandish tongue outlandishly. 

PODGE: Horribly, is what he’s saying. Like with a mouth full of marbles. 

HODGE: River stones, Podge. 

PODGE: Right, river stones. Sorry. Not marbles. Not the smooth and shiny pretties. No, no, not those. We don’t put those in our mouths. Not that we put stones in our mouths either—


BOB: Oh, so you told them about the beer? 

GLOM-GLOM: Glomglom. 

BOB: Well, it’s a good thing I bought a six-pack. 

PODGE: Oooh! Can I have the cap? Is it a twist-off? I need it for my collection. 

HODGE: Really, just one glass is fine. Podge isn’t having any. 

GINGER: They seem friendly. A little talkative. 

BOB: That they are.

GINGER: Do they have names? 

BOB: Yeah, that one is, uh, ‘Hodge’ and—

PODGE: I’m Podge. He’s Hodge. 

BOB: Sorry. That’s Podge, and that’s Hodge. 

GINGER: They’re cute. 

HODGE: You hear that, Podge? I’m adorable. 

PODGE: We both are, you nincompoop. She can’t tell the difference between us. 

HODGE: Barn owls and bushwhacks! She most certainly can! 

GINGER: So, uh, Hodge—

BOB: Podge.


GINGER: Sorry, Podge. 

PODGE: Oh my fidgety goodness. We are not that alike! 


BOB: I have to agree with the moose. You are a little bit alike.  

PODGE: Well, I—do we need to teach you the rhyme? 

BOB: There’s a rhyme? 

GINGER: A what? 

BOB: Apparently, there’s a rhyme. So that we can tell them apart. 

GINGER: Oh. That sounds helpful. 

PODGE: Fine fingers, lean whiskers / Pocket Podge, that’s him!

HODGE: Fat whiskers, full fingers / Hefty Hodge, that’s him! 


BOB: Uh, I think we just wandered into a Kipling story or something . . . 


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