A Wolf at the Table
by Augusten Burroughs | [

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Memoirs about fathers and sons, says Burroughs, tend to be "advice or sports—towel-snapping things. Where's the book about the dad who didn't sit around with a Red Sox cap on, cheering with you?" That book is here, and it's an infinitely darker work than the author's previous takes on family dysfunction. Before his mother sent him to live with the loony shrink he immortalized in Running with Scissors, Burroughs was a kid at the mercy of a father he believes was a sociopath. "Dead," as little Augusten pronounced his name, showed so little affection for him that the boy made a stuffed dad with the real one's clothes and slept with it, secretly, for years. Through neglect—or worse—"Dead" killed his son's guinea pig and his dog. "Your father is dangerous," Augusten's mom warns; it rings true.

Burroughs' famous humor is mostly absent from this account, yet Wolf is not a grim book. How did he survive? Contemplating suicide at 12, he imagines the thrill of leaping from a cliff, then realizes that afterwards "there would be no chance to ... pull somebody aside and tell them what it felt like." Writing—luckily for him and us—helped save him.

by Louise Erdrich | [

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Erdrich reimagines two real-life North Dakota crimes so destructive that their effects were felt for generations to come: the 1911 murder of a white farm family and the resulting lynching of four innocent members of the Ojibwe tribe. In scenes of mesmerizing beauty, she shows how the lives of the victims and the lynch mob entangle decades later. There are some loose strings, but her powerful conclusion reveals brilliant plotting and makes the effort to get there completely worthwhile.

>WHAT WOULD AUDREY DO? by Pamela Keogh A tongue-in-chic guide to tackling life's dilemmas with Hepburn's moxie. Oversize sunglasses not included.

THE TEN-YEAR NAP by Meg Wolitzer The perennial mom dilemma—to work or not?—gets a fresh spin in this novel.

THE SUM OF OUR DAYS by Isabel Allende Allende's memoir of rebuilding in the years after her adult daughter's death.


• A favorite with stars including Eva Longoria and Heidi Klum, wedding planner Mindy Weiss shares the know-how in her first book. A few tips:

MAKE IT UNIQUE Bring your personality into it. At Avril [Lavigne]'s wedding, the favors were guitar picks engraved with "Avril picks Deryck" and vice versa. It helped make the wedding their own.

LET YOUR FIANCE JOIN THE FUN It's the start of your life together, and it should reflect both of you. Plus it's a great way to learn each other's preferences.

TEST DRIVE YOUR FOOTWEAR Don't be afraid to walk around in your shoes [beforehand]—put them on when you're doing laundry at home. And be sure to keep a comfy pair waiting under the chair at your reception.

DON'T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE Remember, this is you and your fiancé's big day. Stay positive.