Tell My Horse

Zora Neale Hurston

“Hurston was a novelist, folklorist and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage are unparalleled… As a first-hand account of the weird mysteries and horrors of voodoo, Tell My Horse is an invaluable resource and a fascinating guide. Based on Hurston’s personal experiences in Haiti and Jamaica, where she participated as an initiate rather than just an observer of voodoo practices during her visits in the 1930s, this travelogue into a dark world paints a vividly authentic picture of ceremonies, customs and superstitions of great cultural interest.”

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 311 pages

KGB: The Inside Story

Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky

There have been a number of books written about the KGB, but this one is genuinely informative and loaded with rare photos as well. The book is remarkably well written, and the chapters on Stalin and the Cold War are unique and provocative. For those with an interest in the Rosenberg case, many new details have been provided by this well-informed author. Captivating and difficult to put down once you begin to sink your teeth into it, with intrigue, treachery, double-crosses and betrayals. JB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 776 pages

Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Christopher R. Browning

This is a genuinely disturbing book, written by one of the leading Holocaust historians of our time. By narrowing his focus to examining the activities of one Nazi police battalion, the author provides a chilling portrait of men whose humanity is torn from their very souls. This book would seem to have served as the catalyst for Daniel Goldhagen’s controversial book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners. JB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 231 pages

The Carpenters: The Untold Story

Ray Coleman

Death has always been a sure-fire tonic for flagging pop-music careers, but few have reaped benefits as great as the Carpenters. Singer Karen’s 1983 death from anorexia nervosa did more than boost their CD sales; it bestowed the squeaky-clean duo with a posthumous hipness (albeit tinged with irony) that eluded them during Karen’s life.
Here is the first in-depth look at these Nixon-era songsters. Unabashedly an authorized biography, Coleman traces Richard and Karen’s career from their humble New Haven roots to their triumphant years ruling the Top 40 all the way through their slow decline in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Mindful of who his sources were, Coleman unstintingly praises their music (even “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”!) and trashes the media for dismissing the C’s in their heyday. Naturally, no mention is made of Todd Haynes’ underground film Superstar, a bizarrely brilliant dramatization of the Carpenters story enacted with Barbie dolls.
Nonetheless, there are enough warts to keep the book out of the hagiography section. Between descriptions of Karen’s eating disorder, Richard’s Quaalude problem, and mother Agnes’ domineering tendencies, Coleman delivers plenty of reality to offset such saccharine exercises as “Top of the World” and “Sing.” Some of the best parts are Richard and Karen’s romantic travails. The real Carpenter love life was closer to “Rainy Days and Mondays” and “Superstar” than “We’ve Only Just Begun.” One of Karen’s few promising relationships was quietly scuttled on orders of high-ranking Carpenter management (Herb? Agnes?), while Richard’s dates were always running afoul of his parents and sister. You can only imagine the stuff that’s between the lines. It may not be Carpenter Babylon, but it’s vital reading for anyone who’s ever fallen (no matter how guiltily) under the spell of Karen’s haunting voice. JM

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 352 pages

Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg

Barry Williams

It is probably a sad testament to the X Generation that a book about being a Brady Bunch cast member is so damn wanted—as if they were The Generation That Aspired To Be White People.
Well, cocktail party irony aside, Williams has put together an entertaining, informative, and intelligent book about the experience. Rather than revising the role of the Brady kids so that they are archetypes of a generation, he lovingly deflates the balloon of mythology, concentrating instead on the experience of growing up on a Paramount backlot and in public. While a little too human to be a serious piece of reference, this book will probably prove to be meaningful to a whole lot of people who came of age with these six little bastards being irrepressible on the small screen. SH

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 349 pages

Here on Gilligan’s Isle

Russell Johnson and Steve Cox

Who could resist the tale of this fateful trip? And it ain’t no three-hour tour! Written by Russell Johnson (the Professor), Here on Gilligan’s Isle is a 235-page treasure trove full of everything anyone’s ever wanted to know about Gilligan’s Island and lots more: original interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes gossip and trivia, original prototype sketches of the Professor’s wacky inventions (attention, alternative-science fans!), candid backstage photos and a complete episode guide. Now you too can know why and when the lyrics to the theme song were changed from “and the rest” to “the Professor an’ Mary Ann.” And why the later version was performed by a different group than the first! DB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 320 pages


Jane and Michael Stern

The highway bible to America’s sleeves-up eateries. “How to find the restaurants that serve the most succulent barbecued ribs, the crustiest skillet-fried chicken, four-star hot fudge sundaes and blue-ribbon apple pie-in small towns, in city neighborhoods and along the Interstate.” Visit Pink’s Chili Dogs in Hollywood: “Step right up and meet a hot bow-wow every street food scholar ought to know: Pink’s chili dog, an all-beef wiener topped with mustard and onions, then a load of chili sauce. This dog is a beaut, steamed until it seems ready to burst out of its crackling skin. It is normal-size, so you won’t likely see it beneath all the topping. It tastes great, just garlicky enough to have some punch but not overwhelm the rest of the package. It is muscular, juicy, a rewarding chew.” State-by-state reviews of more than 400 steak joints, oyster dives, chicken houses, waffle pits, BBQ huts and other roadside diners. GR

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 489 pages

Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger

Bill Landis

One might imagine that the author of the Hollywood Babylon books would have reason to shudder at the thought of his own biography seeing print. This book is, however, a loving tribute. Anger’s films are described in lavish detail, and some sense is conveyed of how much impact each film made. Anger is lauded for his work with the Kinsey Institute. This is an important document for anybody with an interest in the development of the American underground film movement. It illustrates the struggles involved when working outside of the mainstream, and the consequences of swimming against the current of Hollywood protocol. SA

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 290 pages