Books That Charm | Wyatt’s World

Call it quirky, iconoclastic, cool, or just irresistible, there are some books that gain their allure from the very idea of them. Of course, what is delightful will vary by reader, but here are five contenders, either already published or coming out soon. sarahstyle100314

  • Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Crown Archetype, Oct.).
    Perhaps just the idea of getting one’s hands on a choose-your-own story again is seduction enough, but based on the snippets available online, Harris will also offer readers a hip, wry, ironic, and self-aware sensibility (as well as added tidbits, magic tricks among them) in this riff on celebrity memoirs.
  • Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson (Harper, Nov.).
    Taking readers deep into the mucky, dangerous, and mesmerizing world of contemporary archaeologists, Johnson provides a field guide to the newest discoveries and introduces experts who devote their lives to the exploration of the past. It is a rich, lively, and intriguing account, full of finds, lore, and—despite the romantic and thrilling image of Indiana Jones—reality.
  • What Galileo Saw: Imagining the Scientific Revolution by Lawrence Lipking (Cornell Univ., Oct.).
    What Galileo understood when he gazed upon the night sky had no frame of reference in his experience. He had to imagine it. The great minds of the scientific revolution each had to envision a world in which what they discovered or theorized could make sense. Lipking’s history of science explores how they did it.
  • The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker (Viking).
    A leading cognitive scientist teaches us how to write. The craft is not just about the comma splice and the sentence fragment, it is about the processes of the mind. Pinker makes a compelling guide to the art of writing; his work is complete with explications and examples.
  • Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson (Gallery: S. & S., Nov.).
    The allusive (at least for U.S. audiences) Canadian designer with an eye for color and pattern play—and who pops up occasionally on HGTV—is finally publishing a book of her work. Full-color spreads usher readers, room by room, through flawless, detailed, and inspiring decorating.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at