Bartlett, Rosamund. Tolstoy: A Russian Life. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2011. 544p. ISBN 9780151014385. $35; eISBN 9780547545875. LITERARY BIOGRAPHY
A scholar of Russian cultural history (her books include Wagner and Russia and Chekhov: Scenes from a Life), Bartlett has set herself the challenge of conveying the mighty (and mightily complex) Tolstoy. The British reviews suggest that she has mostly succeeded (she gets a rave from A.N. Wilson, himself a Tolstoy biographer), but Tolstoy is such a huge mountain to climb that it would be best to take a hopeful wait-and-see approach. Doubtless this will be much discussed; with a four-city tour to New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Cascio, Frank. My Friend Michael: Growing Up with the King of Pop. Morrow. Nov. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780062090065. $25.99. MEMOIR/MUSIC
Cascio was only five years old when he met Michael Jackson, who became a sort of surrogate big brother during frequent visits to Cascio’s New Jersey home. At 18, he became Jackson’s assistant; later, he graduated to manager. For the remainder of Jackson’s life, Cascio also considered him a friend. So his book should offer an intimate view of the real Michael Jackson, and, indeed, revelations are promised (especially about those accusations of child molestation). As a result, there’s a one-day laydown on 11/15/11 so that all the news will hit at once. A 75,000-copy first printing.

Denmead, Ken. The Geek Dad’s Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists: The Coolest Experiments and Projects for Science Fairs and Family Fun. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2011. NAp. ISBN 9781592406883. pap. $18. PARENTING
First there was Geek Dad. Then The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun. Now here’s a book for dads eager to show their kids how to grow crystals and extract their own DNA for gene-decoding purposes. The first two books were huge best sellers, and with books on science-fair projects in demand, this should boom, too.

Dick, Philip K. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2011. 1056p. ISBN 9780547549255. $49; eISBN 9780547549279. MEMOIR/LITERATURE
The author of 36 sf novels and 121 short stories, the much-revered Dick turned metaphysical as he grew older, spending the last eight years of his life trying to understand what he called 2-3-74‚ an experience of the universe transformed into information. He devoted thousands of pages of notes, journal entries, and sketches to this effort, packing some of his thoughts into his final VALIS trilogy. Pamela Jackson, who devoted her dissertation to 2-3-74, and novelist Jonathan Lethem have edited Dick’s vast material to create this final Exegesis. And if you really want to understand what I just attempted to say, you need to read the book. A blockbuster for all fans of speculative literature.

Garner, Joe & Bob Costas. 100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2011. 368p. ISBN 9780547547985. $35 with DVD; eISBN 9780547548012. SPORTS
From great catches to great quarterbacks to lasting football dynasties‚ and a few butterfingered moments to keep things in perspective‚ here is a collection of the best moments in NFL history. Best-selling author Garner and multiple Emmy Award winner Costas team up again (see And the Crowd Goes Wild), even providing a ten-part documentary on DVD that comes with the book.

Gorenberg, Gershom. The Unmaking of Israel. Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780061985089. $25.99. CURRENT EVENTS
Yes, we’ve heard discussion about the growing extremism in Israel, and Jerusalem-based Gorenberg faces the issue head-on. A high-profile commentator on the Middle East who has published several books (e.g., The Accidental Empire), appeared frequently on U.S. television (e.g., Dateline, Sixty Minutes), and written for numerous publications (e.g., the New York Times Magazine), he has spent years reporting on Israel’s policies in the occupied territories and is concerned about what the shift in power in Israel might mean for democracy. Likely to stir debate.

Harrison, Kim. The Hollows Insider: New Fiction, Facts, Maps, Murders, and More in the World of Rachel Morgan. Harper Voyageur. Nov. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780061974335. $23.99. LITERATURE/URBAN FANTASY
Harrison’s Hollows series is black magic all of its own; the books always end up on the New York Times best sellers list. Replete with maps and illustrations, this guide gives in-depth background on characters and settings and‚ listen up, fiction buyers‚ a new story tying it all together. Cool for true fans; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Beyond Religion: Ethics for the Whole World. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2011. 192p. ISBN 9780547636351. $24; eISBN 9780547645728. ETHICS
The author himself concedes that a book about secular ethics‚ that is, an ethics based on universal rather than religious principles‚ seems odd coming from the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. But as he says, Of the world’s six billion and more inhabitants, only a minority are what I would consider sincere religious practitioners. So, building on his Ethics for a New Millennium, he aims to spread teachings that instill respect for the human community without reference to God and an afterlife. I can’t believe how many books this man writes; obviously, there’s an audience.

Hodgman, John. That Is All. Dutton. Nov. 2011. 352p. ISBN 9780525952442. $25. HUMOR
Published in 2005, Hodgman’s The Area of My Expertise was a big hit, even though it was essentially contentless: it was a compendium of made-up facts. More Information Than You Require soon followed. Now here’s the third in this trilogy of Complete World Knowledge, which really does pick up where its predecessor left off, opening on p. 596. Where else can you find noninformation on the secrets of great conjurers and how boats work? If it works for you.

Humm, Daniel & Will Guidara. Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. Little, Brown. Nov. 2011. 372p. ISBN 9780316098519. $50. COOKBOOK
This year’s winner of a James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant, Eleven Madison Park is one terrific Manhattan watering hole‚ I know, because I’ve eaten there several times, though never on my dime. The chef focuses on seasonal produce to delicious effect, as the 150 recipes here should show. Buy wherever you have sophisticated cooks, particularly in the metropolitan New York area. The 11/11/11 pub date is propitious.

Keller, Timothy. The Meaning of Marriage: Finding Happiness in Your Most Profound Relationship. Dutton. Nov. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780525952473. $25.95. CD: Penguin Audio. SELF-HELP/RELIGION
Pastor of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, where Sunday attendance measures in the thousands, and a best-selling author to boot, Keller here discusses how tough marriage can be and how best to keep it going. Buy where self-help with a religious slant is in demand.

Kellow, Brian. Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark. Viking. Nov. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780670023127. $27.95. BIOGRAPHY/FILM
Features editor of Opera News, Kellow is also author of Ethel Merman: A Life and The Bennetts: An Acting Family, an interesting background for someone writing about one of the most influential film critics ever. Note that the Library of America will simultaneously publish The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael (750p. ISBN 9781598531091. $35).

Moore, Charles with Cassandra Phillips. Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched an Obsessive Quest To Save the Oceans. Avery: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9781583334249. $26. ENVIRONMENT
Ships rarely traverse the nearly windless North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. But in 1997, having completed a transpacific race, Moore took a shortcut across the gyre to return home from Honolulu. There he and the crew found themselves cruising through a mass of plastic waste (the area has since become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), where plastic outnumbered the ocean’s all-important zooplankton by a factor of six to one. Moore now campaigns against environmental pollution, focusing on the dangers posed by plastic, whose tiny molecules can easily pass through the skin and cause numerous ailments. Important for environmental collections.

Moorehead, Caroline. A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France. Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9780061650703. $27.99. HISTORY
Students, teachers, housewives, an opera singer, and more; these were the women who belonged to the French Resistance during World War II. In 1943, 230 of them were rounded up, imprisoned outside Paris, and then sent to Auschwitz, where only 49 survived. Moorehead, whose books have been in the running for Costa (formerly Whitbread) and National Book Critics Circle honors, should effectively relate the story of all these women; she even spoke to four survivors. Not the biggest November title, this book could still get some attention for its coverage of a topic heretofore ignored, and it sounds both poignant and bracing.

Polly, Matthew. Tapped Out: Rear Naked Chokes, the Octagon, and the Last Emperor; An Odyssey in Mixed Martial Arts. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9781592405992. $26. MARTIAL ARTS
Originally scheduled for March 2011, as reported here, this book relates the author’s experiences as he takes up martial arts at the advanced age of 36. Polly is the author of the popular American Shaolin.

Raab, Scott. The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James. Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2011. 272p. ISBN 9780062066367. $25.99. SPORTS
No, not a biography of basketball great LeBron James, though we do hear about the folks who influenced him along the way. Esquire writer Raab, a Cleveland native, travels between the city James jilted and tropical Miami in an effort to understand his appeal, the deep feelings of betrayal he left behind when he signed with the Miami Heat, and the very concept of loyalty. Should interest sports fans with a reflective streak; 50,000-copy first printing.

Sharon, Gilad. Sharon: Portrait of a Leader. Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2011. 416p. ISBN 9780061721502. $29.99. lrg. prnt. BIOGRAPHY
Youngest son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, to whom he was particularly close, the author here undertakes to write his father’s biography. He focuses on Sharon the politician, drawing on the notes his father kept as prime minister, as well as diaries, correspondence, war directives, and more, to give what should be an intimately detailed portrait. Those interested in biography or the Middle East will want; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Weil, Andrew, MD. Spontaneous Happiness. Little, Brown. Nov. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9780316129442. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD/Downloadable: Hachette Audio. MENTAL HEALTH
Health guru Weil’s last book, Spontaneous Healing, explained how to use the body’s innate capabilities to maintain physical health. Here he explains how to use those capabilities to achieve a sense of well-being, advising lifestyle changes that can be effected through techniques from Ayurveda to mindfulness training. His audience? Anyone from the moderately depressed to mildly flustered wanting peace of mind. Given Weil’s 50,000 Facebook and 100,000 Twitter followers and his 15 previous New York Times best sellers (he has ten million books in print), you can bet that this will be in demand. With a five-city tour to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Phoenix.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.