People PICK

Waiting for Sunrise

by William Boyd |

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REVIEWED BY HELEN ROGAN

NOVEL

Set in 1913, Boyd's latest densely plotted escapade centers on a diffident English actor named Lysander Rief. Plagued by physical difficulties "when I engage in lustful activity," as he puts it, Rief heads to Vienna for help and finds himself in a giddy world of sensuality, intrigue and European worldliness. He's soon cured-thanks to a combination of pioneering psychotherapy and the ministrations of one Hettie Bull, an artist who, he suspects, is as dangerous as she is alluring. "I think I am in serious trouble," he reflects. "I know I am. But what can I do?" Rief lingers on in Vienna as the continent slides into war, only to find himself trapped into becoming a secret agent. Always a smooth and expert storyteller, Boyd (Any Human Heart) effortlessly combines historical detail with a sexy, galloping narrative that proves irresistible. No surprise, then, that the Ian Fleming estate has selected him to write the next James Bond novel, due to be published late next year.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

by Anna Quindlen |

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MEMOIR

With this thoughtful memoir, novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Quindlen, 59, joins the ranks of baby boomers fretting aloud over their stage in life. Wistful and a little apprehensive, she dissects career and family, faith and feminism, the comforts of friendship and the physical changes of aging, and comes away determined to hang onto the feeling of possibility that defined her generation. It's familiar terrain, but some of her observations will have you smiling in solidarity.

The Gods of Gotham

by Lyndsay Faye |

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REVIEWED BY RICHARD EISENBERG

THRILLER

As a member of New York City's first police force in 1845, former bartender Timothy Wilde isn't quite sure how to be a cop. But his Sherlockian instincts soon lead him to the discovery that a group of poor children has been brutally murdered. His morphine-addled brother, also on the force, tries to throw him off the scent, while the police chief wants to keep the crimes quiet or they'll "rock the city." Wilde's crush, the angelic Mercy, has a few secrets of her own. With echoes of Gangs of New York, Faye's taut, intelligent thriller mesmerizes.

These Girls

by Sarah Pekkanen |

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REVIEWED BY LISA KAY GREISSINGER

NOVEL

People migrate to big cities seeking more: more fame, more distance, more anonymity. Cate, one of three girls sharing a Manhattan apartment in Pekkanen's third novel, longs to prove herself as features editor at a women's glossy. Renee, a size 12, is desperate to become the beauty editor, but fears her full figure will hold her back. And Abby, a former nanny, has fled D.C. with a secret she longs to forget. As their friendships deepen, the city comes through for all three, if not quite in the ways they'd imagined. These Girls doesn't tread new ground, but it's a pleasure.

THEN AGAIN

by Diane Keaton

As this deliciously witty, honest memoir shows, there's more to Woody Allen's onetime muse than "la-dee-dah."

THE FAMILY FANG

by Kevin Wilson

Wilson's ingenious novel conjures a whole new form of child abuse: making your kids the stars of your performance art.

DEAR CARY

by Dyan Cannon

The actress looks back on falling in and out of love (and dropping acid-who knew?) with her leading-man husband, Cary Grant.

CAROLE KING

HER LITTLE BROTHER SPURRED HER TO GREATNESS

He is deaf and intellectually disabled; King's "way of dealing," she writes in her new memoir, "was to strive for excellence."

SHE WAS A TEEN MOM LIKE NO OTHER

She married songwriter Gerry Goffin at 17; they became parents the next year. Ten months later their song "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (by the Shirelles) hit No. 1.

SHE OWES HER SINGING CAREER TO JAMES TAYLOR

They met at one of his shows (he seemed like "a long-lost friend who also happened to be an angel"); Taylor later pushed her to "transition from sideman to performer."

SHE'S A SURVIVOR

King was abused by her third husband Rick Evers: "Externally I appeared to be going about my work ... but inside I had become a small distant creature wrapped in fear."

SHE REALLY IS A NATURAL WOMAN

King, two of her kids and her boyfriend spent more than a year living in a cabin in Idaho with no electricity, running water or phone: "I was grateful to wake up every morning hundreds of miles away from the fast lane."

Actress Marilu Henner-one of a few people in the world with "superior autobiographical memory"-explains her rare gift.

WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING A STEEL-TRAP MIND?

I didn't realize it was anything special until after high school. But long before the Internet, I was the person my friends called to fact-check things.

IS IT DIFFERENT FROM PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY?

It's more than that. I can go back and see a past experience-it's like reliving a scene from a film in the first person.

DOES IT IMPROVE YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE?

When you fully explore your past, it's possible to stop making the same mistakes again and again.

CAN REGULAR PEOPLE IMPROVE THEIR MEMORIES?

Yes, by living a more conscious life. Pay attention to what's around you, then each night as you brush your teeth, relive your day.

HAS YOUR INCREDIBLE MEMORY EVER BEEN A BURDEN?

Never. Except to my husband!