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Horror may be the most unifying genre. Whereas some people don’t care for the sweetness of romance or the harebrained schemes of sci-fi, everyone gets scared, whether they like it or not. Not to mention the universality of horror’s tropes and traditions. The genre is communal, often literally, such as in the case of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Due to a copyright misstep in 1968, the movie became part of the public domain—a mistake that forever altered the horror genre. It meant that anyone can use zombies in their work, and if you’ve consumed any media ever, you’ll know that everyone has.

When you get goosebumps or have to avert your eyes, the horror storyteller has done their job. In these two collections, we see how dynamic the genre really is.

In Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers: 1852–1923, editors Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger collect significant pieces of horror and horror-adjacent (but nonetheless frightening) stories by women. “During the second half of the nineteenth century,” they write in the book’s introduction, “when printing technologies enabled the mass production of cheap newspapers and magazines that needed a steady supply of material, many of the writers supplying that work were women.” Given the historical context of the industrial revolution, the effects of which caused significant fear, it makes sense that this era would produce a deluge of literary fright and strangeness. People needed their discomfort to be validated (and syndicated).

Women throughout history have been the chroniclers and agents of change, and in these stories, presented chronologically, their fears about the world are limned with staggering detail. With stories from Louisa May Alcott, Emma Frances Dawson and Edith Nesbit (under her E Bland pseudonym), this collection shows a societal response to a changing world. It is crucial to recognize the status of these women at the times of these stories’ publication, as most of the authors wrote using fake names or just their initials. Weird Women gives the reader a real glimpse of horror, written by authors who experienced it in their own lives.

Horror has been around for a long time, but innovation in the genre is as alive as ever. In Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror, Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto prepare a healthy serving of fear to inject straight into your head, heart, limbs and viscera. The collection is organized in exactly that way, with each section meant to evoke a response in that particular area—an experiment that works with chilling effects. Each story here is under 1,500 words, and with contributions from the likes of Samantha Hunt, Iván Parra Garcia, Stephen Graham Jones and Kevin Brockmeier, the collection is a fusillade of fear.

The best horror explores issues that plague the real world, and with a wide stylistic range of vignettes, Tiny Nightmares is something like a sophisticated "Scooby-Doo," evincing the human aspect of the horror in our daily lives. The real fear that comes from reading this collection is an emphatic reminder that our society’s horrors are becoming increasingly scarier, such as in Jac Jemc’s story Lone, which finds an isolated camper having to face her greatest fear: men.

The brevity of these stories highlights the horror in our everyday lives, and the conclusions drawn by each author are varied, yet all terrifying. By taking a look at the state of horror today, we see the ways that nightmares are pulled from reality.

When you get goosebumps or have to avert your eyes, the horror storyteller has done their job. In these collections, we see how dynamic the genre really is.

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, it would be wise to have a plan in place. Perhaps most importantly, who would be on your team? We’ve picked our preferred partners—magical powers are allowed, but no dragons, bears or mythical beasts!


Edmond Dantès from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I have long resigned myself to my own lack of apocalypse survival skills. I can’t run without getting winded. I don’t have combat skills. I can’t farm or dress wounds or build shelter or tools. In truth, I would be among the first to go—unless I aligned myself with someone wealthy and powerful. Edmond Dantès is the perfect choice: rich, scrappy and weirdly fixated on avenging himself against those who have wronged him. We could quite comfortably wait out the apocalypse from inside his château. And if that fails, the man owns his own island. Everybody knows zombies can’t swim, so a quick yacht ride to the Island of Monte Cristo would solve our little army-of-the-undead problem.

—Christy, Associate Editor


Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix

Like many of my colleagues, my talents are perhaps better suited to rebuilding the world after the zombie apocalypse than surviving it in the first place. That’s why I need someone like Sabriel on my team, and not only because she possesses a bandoleer of seven magical bells with the power to send the dead back through the nine gates of death to their final rest, although I acknowledge that will come in handy. But Sabriel is also resourceful, adept at other forms of magic, brave and kind. As we make our way to a population-sparse area like—ha, as if I’d tell you my plans—I know she’ll leave me behind only if she absolutely has to, and if I get bitten, she’ll make my death swift and ensure I stay dead.

—Stephanie, Associate Editor


Frank Mackey from Faithful Place by Tana French

My biggest fear wouldn’t be zombies, as they are usually stupid. I’m more afraid of humans in a crisis, as they are, historically, the worst. And that’s why I want Irish undercover cop Frank Mackey on my team. First introduced in Tana French’s The Likeness, Frank becomes the central character in Faithful Place, which puts his ability to pursue multiple, sometimes conflicting objectives—while manipulating almost everyone around him—to the hardest test, as he has to do it to his own dysfunctional family. If he can do that and emerge (somewhat) in one piece, he’d easily survive the human chaos of an apocalypse. Frank is also funny as hell, so we’d have some laughs while trying not to die.

—Savanna, Associate Editor


Vasya from The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

To give myself a real shot at living through this, I need a partner with knowledge of mythical and otherworldly situations, as well as the powers to match—and I need her to live in the middle of nowhere. In Katherine Arden’s debut novel, headstrong young Vasya is an heir to old magic and has the abilities to protect her family from dangers that are plucked straight out of folklore. She’s got a great attitude—which I’ll appreciate when I get upset about the situation—and she excels at riding horses and saving people, so we’ll get along great. We’ll treat the apocalypse like it’s a long winter night, hidden away so deeply in the wilderness of northern Russia that we might not even notice when the end of the world is over.

—Cat, Deputy Editor


Captain Woodrow F. Call from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Genre-bending is prominent in today’s cultural landscape. From rock with hip-hop beats to Mexican-Korean fusion, the lines have dissolved. All of these hybrids make me think that a cowboy would feel right at home in the zombie apocalypse, and Captain Woodrow F. Call—brave, strong, levelheaded and loyal to the bone—is the paragon of cowboy-ness. Take, for example, when Call saves Newt, the youngest member of the Hat Creek Outfit, from a soldier harassing him. Call beats the man to a pulp until Gus McCrae has to lasso him off. The only explanation Call offers for this violent outburst: “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” Just imagine what the man would do to a zombie!

—Eric, Editorial Intern

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, it would be wise to have a plan in place. Perhaps most importantly, who would be on your team?

★ The Dutch House
Tom Hanks summons up a kind of nostalgic Americana in his reading of Ann Patchett’s new novel, The Dutch House, a modern wicked-stepmother fable that follows narrator Danny and his older sister, Maeve, throughout their lives. After Danny and Maeve’s mother abandons them, their father remarries a woman who has no interest in them. When he dies and leaves almost everything to their stepmother, including their grand house, the injustice of it guides the rest of their lives. Patchett effortlessly navigates through time, capturing the essence of her characters’ stories in a subtle portrait. Hanks truly transforms into Danny; after hearing his narration, I can’t imagine the book without it.

The Water Dancer
In The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ magical debut novel, readers meet Hiram, an enslaved man with special abilities. Through Hiram’s struggles and those of the people he encounters, Coates makes the emotional costs of slavery tangible, from the families who are separated to the free mother whose children are taken from her and sold. Coates gives his characters an original way of speaking that captures the ethos of the time without being confusing to the modern ear. He refers to the enslaved as the “Tasked” and the enslavers as the “Quality,” an intentional choice that encourages the listener to question the word slave and its denial of humanity. Hearing the words spoken in actor Joe Morton’s rich voice ties the book to the oral tradition and entrenches the story in legend. Coates brings his experience in journalism and nonfiction to ground the book in research, using history to create something new and wholly original.

Mythos
With endless British wit, Stephen Fry puts his own spin on classical Greek mythology in Mythos. The storylines stick pretty closely to the classics, while the added playfulness is all Fry. He fleshes out the gods, heroes and mortals, giving them more personality and filling in their interpersonal relationships. Their nutty antics play out in an absurd fashion. It’s what would happen if you handed Monty Python the keys to Mount Olympus. Fry has a strong love for the English language, which his narration reinforces as beautifully strung words slip over his tongue, and his dry delivery bolsters the comedy. It’s a good listen for families with teens, but a bit risqué for young children.

★ The Dutch House Tom Hanks summons up a kind of nostalgic Americana in his reading of Ann Patchett’s new novel, The Dutch House, a modern wicked-stepmother fable that follows narrator Danny and his older sister, Maeve, throughout their lives. After Danny and Maeve’s mother abandons them, their father remarries a woman who has no interest […]

STEINBECK'S CAMELOT
Unexpected gems whether rediscovered works or reissued classics are welcome surprises, and John Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is just such a treasure. Christopher Paolini, wunderkind author of the bestsellers Eragon and Eldest, has written a foreword for this little-known Steinbeck work, and included in this edition are letters from the author to both his literary agent and the book's original editor.

Steinbeck, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, began writing The Acts of King Arthur in 1958, but as Paolini writes, he stopped working… sometime in late 1959, just as he seemed to hit his stride. Nine years later, he died. It would be his last work. The book's genesis began in Steinbeck's childhood, that time of life when influence is key for many artists. Parents with less than eager readers should take heart: In his introduction, Steinbeck writes that as a child, "words written or printed were devils, and books because they gave me pain, were my enemies." When an aunt gave him a copy of Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, "fatuously ignor[ing] my resentment toward reading," antagonism changed to fascination. He was drawn in, hooked by the language and the storytelling. Translating the legend's magic to future generations of children became his intent, but for numerous reasons, completing the task proved a challenge. What he did accomplish, however, is enchanting all the same. Its handsome dust jacket, its shadowy and vintage-esque illustrations, Steinbeck's prose: King Arthur and his noble knights are as dramatic and marvelous as ever here.

THE TOLSTOY HOUSEHOLD
Song Without Words: The Photographs and Diaries of Countess Sophia Tolstoy by Leah Bendavid-Val is one of the more beautiful books published in time for the holidays. In September of 1862, Sophia Behrs married Count Leo Tolstoy in Moscow. The ceremony was opulent, Bendavid-Val writes, the countess shy and a little afraid. During the course of her 48-year marriage, the Countess Tolstoy bore 13 children (seeing only eight live to adulthood), ran a lively household, managed the day-to-day business affairs on their estate, Yasnaya Polyana, 60 miles outside Moscow, meticulously hand-copied her husband's prodigious literary output and still found time to write daily entries in her diary and take more than a thousand photographs, most of these during the 25-year span from 1885-1910.

Divided into chapters with simple categorization The Family, Servants and Peasants, Artists, Illness and Marriage the book is a fascinating glimpse into not only Russia during the 19th century, but also life as an aristocrat during that time. The photographs are stunningly elegant: landscapes of the verdant pond and bathhouse at Yasnaya Polyana, informal self-portraits of the countess with her family or alone by a window, tending to her plants in the soft light of a winter day. Her marriage was a demanding and passionate one, but she viewed her husband as a genius and took countless photographs of the iconic writer.

Her style is forthright and unsentimental, never heavy-handed. She worked with an accomplished eye, one imbued with a tender love for its subjects. In addition to the publication of this book, a traveling exhibition of her work is planned for 2008. The countess was a woman devoted to her family and her role within it, but she was also a highly creative and fierce individual. As her great-grandson writes in the foreword, "you were a worthy Lioness."

SHORT AND SWEET
Packaging, presentation and of course, highly crafted fiction, are the obvious draws inherent in McSweeney's intriguing One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box. That which comes in miniature often goes hand-in-hand with cute, but this boxed set of short fiction leans less toward precious and more toward captivating. Comprised of three small books, it comes in a slipcase with cover art designed by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson. His black-and-white illustrations are highlighted with the occasional fleck of shimmery gold, and as they wrap and curve around the corners of the case in endless detail, they tell a story all their own. The books inside, though, are as clever as their covers are beautiful. Each is a collection of short fiction by a different author Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape by Sarah Manguso, Minor Robberies by Deb Olin Unferth and How the Water Feels to the Fishes by McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers and no one story runs longer than 500 words. Also referred to as snap fiction or flash fiction, short-shorts are poetry magnified. There's no room for error. A reader's attention can't stray. The writer must capture immediacy and intimacy in a matter of words. The art of the short story is made purer if not more finely wrought when distilled down to the essence of its form. The folks at McSweeney's get this, hence, One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box. Stories to slide in your back pocket, slip in your purse, carry with you throughout the day. Perfect as a gift for those who love quirky, new-style fiction, this collection will also appeal to readers with short attention spans.

THE POWER OF POETRY
Poetry Speaks Expanded is the newest edition of the 2001 bestseller Poetry Speaks. Like its predecessor, it takes a traditional form (poetry) and adds a 21st-century twist (audio). Poetry is meant to be heard and not just read. Poetry Speaks Expanded takes 47 poets and, across the span of three audio CDs, features them reading selections from their work. There are 107 poems total, each presented in written form alongside a short, biographical sketch of the author. Critical essays by well-known writers add to the anthology's comprehensive scope. In more ways than one, it's a hefty collection.

Nineteenth-century poets like Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Walt Whitman are represented, as are 20th-century greats like Elizabeth Bishop, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes and Wallace Stevens. Anne Sexton's here, as is Ezra Pound and e.e. cummings. New additions to the anthology include Jack Kerouac and, in the biggest coup of all, James Joyce. Previous difficulties with securing the rights to his work prevented his inclusion in 2001, but now readers can listen in awe as he reads from Anna Livia Plurabelle in Finnegans Wake. Poetry is the oldest of art forms. It's fitting, then, that here its voice rings louder and ever more true.

STEINBECK'S CAMELOT Unexpected gems whether rediscovered works or reissued classics are welcome surprises, and John Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is just such a treasure. Christopher Paolini, wunderkind author of the bestsellers Eragon and Eldest, has written a foreword for this little-known Steinbeck work, and included in this edition are […]

Best-of collections and one-of-a-kind compilations are as abundant as twinkling lights this time of year, and we’ve rounded up a few of the best new volumes. Mysteries, poetry, witticisms, mythology and more—there’s something for all kinds of readers.

Whether writing about the intrusiveness of email or the futility of the war we all wage against aging, Nora Ephron infused her essays with a confidential tone—a comforting, we’re-all-in-this-together quality that made the reader feel select. Ephron, who died last year, was a writer of extraordinary range, a journalist, novelist and author of screenplays who also blogged regularly for The Huffington Post. Her many dimensions are generously represented in The Most of Nora Ephron, an expansive new collection that, once dipped into, quickly becomes addictive.

Along with choice cuts from her acclaimed collections I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing, the book includes Ephron’s best-selling novel, Heartburn; the never-before-published play Lucky Guy; and the complete screenplay of When Harry Met Sally. . . . What’s not to like about this terrific anthology? As a compassionate commentator on the absurdities of everyday experience, Ephron is unrivaled. To read her is to love her.

MERRY LITTLE MYSTERIES

Otto Penzler, the prime minister of crime fiction, delivers the goods once again with his latest anthology, a collection of holiday whodunits that’ll have you eyeing the department-store Santa with suspicion. The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries is the 12th discerningly curated collection from Penzler, who owns the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City.

The book features 60 Christmas capers, including a number of forgotten and hard-to-find chestnuts. Penzler has sorted the stories into clever categories—pulpy, scary, classic, uncanny . . . the list goes on (who knew that Christmas was such a prime time for crime?)—and the result is a well-rounded anthology that represents the many facets of the mystery genre. There are old-fashioned tales of Sherlockian sleuthing, dark noir dramas and unsettling yarns along the lines of A Christmas Carol. With contributions from Agatha Christie, Damon Runyon, Donald Westlake and Mary Higgins Clark, Penzler’s new compilation is a future classic. Can you crack these Christmas cases? We dare you to try.

THE CLASSICS + GRAPHICS

There’s no denying it: College skirmishes with the masterworks of modern literature left many of us permanently scarred. Fortunately, a corrective has arrived. An extraordinary anthology of art inspired by prime pieces of literature, The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest will make readers forget old grievances and contemplate the classics anew. 

This remarkable anthology—the third in a series created by visionary editor by Russ Kick—focuses on 20th-century literature and features art by more than 70 contributors. It contains graphic adaptations of both time-tested works (“The Waste Land,” Ulysses) and contemporary fare (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). High points include Dame Darcy’s hallucinatory take on Blood Meridian: stark, black-and-white drawings that accurately capture the fever-dream quality of Cormac McCarthy’s classic; and selected scenes from Infinite Jest, a group of colorful, in-your-face outtakes by Benjamin Birdie that serve as teasers for David Foster Wallace’s monumental work. A heady trip through the land of high literature, this mad, inspired anthology is sure to lure new readers to the canon while arousing curiosity in those already acquainted with it. 

AN AMERICAN COLLECTION

The latest entry in the much-praised poetry series that started 25 years ago, The Best American Poetry 2013 is a can’t-go-wrong-with-this gift for the literature lover on your list. Guest editor Denise Duhamel, herself an acclaimed poet, chose 75 pieces for this powerful new collection, and many of them articulate unmistakably native mindsets. Stephen Dunn’s bull’s-eye observation that Americans “like to live in the glamour between exaltation and anxiety” is one of many revelatory moments in his poem “The Statue of Responsibility.”

Other selections evoke a distinct sense of place. Emma Trelles’ vivid “Florida Poem” describes the humid, overripe environment of her home state: “ Gardenias swell, / breathing is aquatic and travel / is a long drawl from bed to world.” War—perhaps unsurprisingly—is also a recurring theme in the book. Sherman Alexie’s chilling “Pachyderm” features a Vietnam veteran confined to a wheelchair that’s “alive with eagle feathers and beads and otter pelts” and who has lost a son in Iraq.

A contemporary chronicle of the American experience, this visionary collection also includes poems by Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Louise Glück, James Tate, Kevin Young and the late Adrienne Rich.

Here’s to another 25 years of amazing poetry!

ANCIENT STORIES REBORN

In the intriguing anthology xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Kevin Wilson and a host of other notable writers re-imagine timeless tales from around the world. Edited by Kate Bernheimer, the collection presents ingenious retellings of a wide range of archetypal narratives, from ancient coyote myths to the story of the Trojan Horse to the tale of Sinbad the Sailor.

Newly interpreted, these classic stories take on fresh resonance for the reader. In “Demeter,” Maile Meloy modernizes the well-known myth, setting it in present-day Montana and giving the heroine a pharmaceutical habit and an ex-husband named Hank. Joy Williams spins an unforgettable yarn from the perspective of Odysseus’ loyal dog in “Argos,” while Elizabeth McCracken updates the terrifying Greek tale of a child-eating demon in “Birdsong from the Radio.” This one-of-a-kind collection serves as a testament to the open-endedness and staying power of great stories—and also to the world’s enduring hunger for them.

Best-of collections and one-of-a-kind compilations are as abundant as twinkling lights this time of year, and we’ve rounded up a few of the best new volumes. Mysteries, poetry, witticisms, mythology and more—there’s something for all kinds of readers. Whether writing about the intrusiveness of email or the futility of the war we all wage against […]

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for the bibliophiles on your list, here’s a collection of notable new releases that includes books about books, artwork made from books, a richly illustrated classic and more. Because books really do make the best gifts!

The singular mind of Umberto Eco takes readers on a tour of fabled places in literature and folklore in The Book of Legendary Lands. In this lavishly illustrated book, Eco explores “lands and places that, now or in the past, have created chimeras, utopias, and illusions because a lot of people really thought they existed or had existed somewhere.” From Atlantis to Camelot, 21B Baker Street to Dracula’s castle, he contemplates why these places are invented and why our imaginations have embraced them. The more than 300 color illustrations range from the canvases of Bosch, Rossetti and Magritte, to illustrations by Arthur Rackham and N.C. Wyeth, to movie stills and book jackets. At once intellectually stimulating and visually stunning, The Book of Legendary Lands is a distinctive gift for the serious reader.

BOOKS INTO ART

Some book lovers may shudder at the prospect of their precious books being “altered, sculpted, carved, and transformed” into something other than, well, books, but there can be no denying that the creations made by artists and displayed in Laura Heyenga’s Art Made from Books are dazzling to behold. Twenty-seven artists who use books as their primary material have fashioned everything from jewelry to chess sets out of all different kinds of books. Some, like Cara Barer, transform the books themselves into sculptural objects, while others, such as Jennifer Collier, make mock household items like shoes and knives. Alex Queral carves celebrity faces into phone books. Better seen than described, Art Made from Books is whimsical and inspirational, and begs the question—could any of these gorgeous artworks be made with e-readers?

ILLUMINATING THE DARKNESS

From its very title, Joseph Conrad’s masterwork, Heart of Darkness, conjures the murky jungle of the Congo and Marlow’s dark passage deep into the human psyche. But, in the arresting artwork by Matt Kish in this new illustrated edition of the classic (a follow-up to his art-enhanced edition of Moby-Dick), there is as much light as darkness. When he was contemplating how to convey the story pictorially, Kish realized that “Conrad’s Africa, the scene of so much death, so much killing, so much horror, would not be a dark place in the literal sense.” The 100 drawings are awash with bright acid greens, diseased yellows and blood reds. The haunting images have a Day of the Dead quality, with skeletal figures and skull-like faces. The effect is at once unsettling and compelling, inviting readers to consider a fresh interpretation of this ageless, seminal work.

TALE OF A BELOVED GARDEN

Beatrix Potter’s first and most famous book originally bore the longer title of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor’s Garden, and as Marta McDowell makes abundantly clear in her lovely book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, the lure of the garden was an essential aspect of the writer’s life. Potter bought her beloved Hill Top Farm, in England’s Lake District, when she was nearly 40, and in time transformed it into her own version of paradise. This volume is a cornucopia of delights for anyone who shares Potter’s love of gardening, as well as those who simply love her enduring work. McDowell provides a congenial biography of Potter as observed through the prism of her gardens, and follows her through a year in the garden. There is valuable information for travelers planning to visit not only Hill Top, but also other English gardens that shaped Potter’s horticultural passions, and an appendix that details all of the plants Potter grew and those she featured in her books. Copiously illustrated with photographs and Potter’s own drawings, this charming work is a must for the book-loving gardener or garden-loving bibliophile.

COLLECTING THE COLLECTIVE

A Circus of Puffins? A Shiver of Sharks? What lover of words doesn’t relish the cleverness of collective nouns? A band of four friends who form Woop Studios (two of whom were graphic designers on the Harry Potter movies) offer the dazzling, richly colorful A Compendium of Collective Nouns. From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras—and everything in between—they have compiled some 2,000 examples. Full-page, full-color illustrations with a cheery retro feel are supplemented with dozens of smaller pictures scattered throughout the text. A Charm of Words to delight logophiles, for sure.

WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED

As a reader, you probably already know that books can be good for what ails you. Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin have taken this notion to the logical next step with The Novel Cure. Modeled on a home medical handbook, this witty compendium prescribes just the right book—751 different remedies in all—to combat both physical and psychological disorders. Lost your job? Read Bartleby, the Scrivener or Lucky Jim. Nauseated? Try Brideshead Revisited (if not for Sebastian’s nausea, the authors point out, Charles Ryder would never have gone to Brideshead). The Debt to Pleasure will help the gluttonous, and Crime and Punishment will help assuage guilt. For ailments without a simple cure—the common cold, fear of flying, snoring—the authors supply lists of the 10 best books to get you through.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for the bibliophiles on your list, here’s a collection of notable new releases that includes books about books, artwork made from books, a richly illustrated classic and more. Because books really do make the best gifts! The singular mind of Umberto Eco takes readers on a […]

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