Too Much Money
by Dominick Dunne
As a journalist, Dominick Dunne became famous for covering the lives and trials of celebrities, and his career in crime writing began after he attended the trial of the man who killed his daughter, Dominique. The author of several books, Dunne also produced films for Hollywood and worked as a special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine for 25 years, covering the trials of O.J. Simpson and William Kennedy Smith, among others. His final novel, Too Much Money, was published after his death in August 2009. Based on Dunne's real-life experiences, Too Much Money is a skewering comedy of Manhattan's elite in the Bernie Madoff era.
288 pages, $15, Ballantine Books
An Illumination Of Hans Christian Andersen's Classic 'The Little Match Girl'
by Gregory Maguire
When NPR asked writer Gregory Maguire to compose an original story with a Christmas theme for broadcast in 2008, he chose to reinvent the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl." The new version was published as the illustrated gift book Matchless last fall. While audiences in mid-19th century England likely interpreted the Little Match Girl's dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven as metaphors of religious salvation, Maguire uses them to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit and the continuity that links the living and the dead.
112 pages, $12.99, Harper Paperbacks
End The Fed
by Ron Paul
When Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) ran for president in 2008, his supporters burned dollar bills while chanting "End the Fed!" His book by the same name proposes that the U.S. abolish its central bank and return to a private banking system based on the gold standard in order to avoid inflationary monetary policy and what Paul characterizes as the excesses of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. End the Fed reached a high of No.6 on the New York Times best-seller list.
224 pages, $14.99, Grand Central Publishing
When The Game Was Ours
by Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson with Jackie MacMullan
The modern NBA would not be what it is without the rivalry between Hall of Famers Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics and the Lakers' Earvin "Magic" Johnson — superstars of the 1980s who, along with their teams, dominated professional basketball during that golden era. In When the Game Was Ours, Bird and Johnson detail their love and hate for each other over the years. "People wanted to see us play against one another," Bird tells NPR's Michele Norris. "If you like competition you want to play against the best, and that's what we wanted to do."
368 pages, $15.95, Mariner Books
The War That Killed Achilles
The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War
by Caroline Alexander
Homer's epic poem The Iliad dates back thousands of years, but author Caroline Alexander says its themes, especially that deal with war, still ring true today. "It commemorates a war that established no boundaries, won no territory and furthered no cause. And yet, it's the greatest war story ever told," she writes. The Iliad speaks to the soldier's dilemma that war is not always a personal cause, and to the widow's hope that closing her ears can prevent her husband's death. Yet Homer "no more rails against war than he rails against mortality," Alexander tells NPR's Guy Raz. "They both seem to be tragic facts of our existence."
320 pages, $16, Penguin Books
by David Byrne
Art rock icon David Byrne may be best known as the singer/songwriter of the Talking Heads, but he's also an avid bicyclist. In his book Bicycle Diaries, Byrne shares the thoughts, adventures and observations he's experienced while cycling through some of the world's major cities. Bike riding is, Byrne writes, "faster than a walk, slower than a train and slightly higher than a person." It's a perspective from which he's viewed the world, from Berlin to Baltimore.