Service and Style
by Jan Whitaker (St. Martin’s)
A cultural history of (and wistful elegy for) the American department store and the sunnily paternalistic function it served in teaching the middle class how to recognize and outfit itself.
by Gary Giddins (Oxford)
A wide-ranging collection of essays on music, film, and books from the celebrated Village Voice jazz critic (and Bing Crosby biographer).
edited by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler (FSG)
A tenth-anniversary greatest-hits anthology from the pages of Bitch, the leading post-postfeminist culture-crit ’zine. Topics under discussion include television, sexuality, parenting, and the conversational utility of the word like.
The Essential Chaplin
edited by Richard Schickel (Ivan R. Dee)
Introducing this new anthology, Schickel makes the case for the “kinetic genius” of the Little Tramp, recognizing Chaplin as the performer who made cinema intellectually respectable (even if his own efforts at high-mindedness often fell flat). Winston Churchill, Graham Greene, Theodor Adorno, and others offer their assessments as well.
The New Faces of Christianity
by Philip Jenkins (Oxford)
A leading religious scholar examines Christianity as it is experienced in the global South. Fundamentalist as many of these believers’ biblical interpretations may be, Jenkins observes, they also contain a liberating ecstasy absent from the faith as practiced in the North.
A History of the End of the World
by Jonathan Kirsch (HarperSanFrancisco)
A close reading of the book of Revelation, from its authorship to its various afterlives. Ultimately it’s hard to say which perpetual belief is more surprising: that the end is imminent or that salvation is just around the corner.
by George Vecsey (Modern Library)
A brief, conversational history by a veteran New York Times sportswriter. Although the aromas of Cracker Jack and cut grass hang heavy over the proceedings, Vecsey stops just short of intolerable sentimentality and convincingly portrays the game’s reliable monotony as a source of constancy and national comfort.
The Return of the Player
by Michael Tolkin (Grove)
The continuing adventures of Griffin Mill, murderous protagonist of The Player, here concerned mainly with midlife career change, private-school admissions, and an exhausting love triangle. The book also features a winning cameo by one William Jefferson Clinton.
The Last Town on Earth
by Thomas Mullen (Random House)
In 1918, a small Washington logging town quarantines itself against the influenza outbreak raging outside. (Yes, one of the epigraphs is from The Plague.) Haunted by a distant war and an acute fear of outsiders, the plot is clearly meant to echo the present.
Rise and Shine
by Anna Quindlen (Random House)
Two sisters—one an unassuming social worker, the other a high-powered morning-show anchor—have their daily routines upended after the latter accidentally works blue on the air.
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
by Irvine Welsh (Norton)
The new novel from the man behind Trainspotting finds a debased Edinburgh restaurant inspector searching for his long-lost father and engaged in mortal combat with a workplace rival.
The Slow Moon
by Elizabeth Cox (Random House)
A small Tennessee town is racked with suspicion and intrigue after the vicious beating of a teenage girl. Secrets, it is revealed, have a way of disclosing themselves against the will of their keepers.
by Dennis Lehane (William Morrow)
A new collection of stories from the author of Mystic River.
by Frederick Forsyth (Putnam)
A British special-forces operative tries to infiltrate al-Qaeda in order to avert a terrorist attack of 9/11-like scale.
The Interpretation of Murder
by Jed Rubenfeld (Holt)
Sigmund Freud tours New York in 1909 and turns his analytical powers to solving high-society crimes. Although the plot is fictional, the author, a Yale law professor, drew extensively on Freud’s letters and published works in writing his dialogue.