The Steal

by Rachel Shteir |

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REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

NON-FICTION

Murder, we get. In every culture it is bad-a crime against humanity, even if we sometimes understand why it happens. Shoplifting is more of a shape-shifter. It's become the great American crime, and just about everyone has done it at least once. In this intelligent, sometimes startling book, Shteir looks at the history of lifting (from Eve-that apple-to Moll Flanders to Winona Ryder) and our manifold motivations, from raw need to sheer thrills; as Philip Roth memorably put it, "The not paying for things is intoxicating." Is shoplifting a crime, a mental condition, a legitimate protest against modern materialism? Whatever it is, it's interesting to consider how we can despise the petty thief at the mall, yet laud the Robin Hoods and Butch Cassidys of literature. And remember how Ryder's cool-hipster stock rose after her troubles? As one scholar of thievery observed, "People secretly applaud those who do not play by the rules."

Turn of Mind

by Alice LaPlante |

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REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

FICTION

For Dr. Jennifer White, becoming the prime suspect in the death of her closest friend will never make a lasting impression. The 64-year-old retired hand surgeon has Alzheimer's, and her short-term memory, her identity and her whereabouts when the body was discovered-with four fingers surgically removed-are all mutable realities. Told in Dr. White's voice, this poignant debut immerses us in dementia's complex choreography. By turns brilliant, hallucinatory and heartbreakingly vulnerable, Dr. White may fail to recognize her adult children, but in the next moment she effortlessly describes the "neurofibrillary tangles [that] proliferate" inside her brain. As her memories roam the decades, she is revealed as a fiercely unsentimental woman who might indeed be capable of taking a life. Turn of Mind has been described as a mystery, but the police case is only one piece of LaPlante's lyrical mosaic, an indelible portrait of a disappearing mind.

Before I Go To Sleep

by S.J. Watson |

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THRILLER

Imagine drifting off every night knowing that your memories will be wiped away by morning. That's the fate of Christine Lucas, whose bewildering internal world is rendered with chilling intimacy in this debut literary thriller. Waking each day with a stranger who says he's her husband, Ben, Christine is patiently told about the rare amnesia she suffers, the result of an accident. She also receives a daily call from Dr. Nash, a psychologist who directs her to a hidden journal she must read to rediscover her identity. But why has she written on the first page "Don't Trust Ben," and why has she recorded events that he keeps concealed? Is Ben trying to protect her fragile mind, or does he have more sinister motives? You'll stay up late reading until you know.

Witches of East End

by Melissa de la Cruz |

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REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

NOVEL

Centuries after the practice of magic was forbidden, Freya, Ingrid and their mom struggle to restrain their witchy ways as chaos builds in their Long Island town. A bubbling cauldron of mystery and romance, the novel shares the fanciful plotting of Blue Bloods, the author's teen vampire series. Though Witches loses its tongue-in-cheek charm when it goes full-on fantasy, it's still breezy fun.

Hedy Lamarr ACQUITTED

Winona Ryder CONVICTED

Lindsay Lohan PLEADED NO CONTEST

FINDING SARAH

by Sarah Ferguson

Can Dr. Phil and Suze Orman help the royal outcast reform? A companion to her OWN show.

STARTING OVER

by La Toya Jackson

Michael's big sister shares memories and unconvincing theories about his death. Includes fun family photos.

NOT AFRAID OF LIFE

by Bristol Palin

All about her Wasilla youth, the campaign trail and that scoundrel Levi. His side of the story's due in September.

A cockatoo cozying up to a cat? An orangutan walking a dog? Three new books celebrate surprising inter-species love.

FRIENDS

by Catherine Thimmesh

Humbug the baby badger and Lulu the baby fox frolic and cuddle together at the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary in England.

SURYIA & ROSCOE

by Bhagavan "Doc" Antle with Thea Feldman

After meeting orangutan Suryia at a South Carolina wildlife preserve, stray dog Roscoe never left. The two enjoy swimming, wrestling and playing a deux.

UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS

by Jennifer S. Holland

When Bramble, a baby great horned owl, found shelter at a bird-of-prey conservation center in England, Sophi the spaniel fell hard, licking Bramble's beak and getting love pecks in return. Sometimes they'd fall asleep cuddling.

Keanu Reeves's literary debut, Ode to Happiness, isn't really all that cheery. (First line: "I draw a hot sorrow bath ...")

HOW DID THE BOOK COME ABOUT?

One night in my kitchen a friend was listening to depressing music and enjoying it. I started to paint a picture of that moment when you have the blues and you go on a journey to make yourself feel better, but it's wrapped in all these unfortunate feelings. It made us laugh.

SO YOU DECIDED TO GET IT PUBLISHED?

My friend took it to Alexandra Grant, who made the drawings. It was a gift they gave me. Everyone who saw it said, "Wow, that should be a book."

DO YOU ENJOY WRITING?

I'm not a writer per se, but I love words and have ever since I was a wee lad. We want to do another book called Haikus of Hope.

OTHER PROJECTS IN YOUR FUTURE?

The writers from the Bill and Ted films are writing some drafts. Bill and Ted at 50. It could be funny!