How Movies Fool Your Brain

At our house, when we watch a movie that’s nothing more than an engaging time-waster, we think of it as brain-dead-movie time. But brains are most certainly not “dead” when watching a movie.

7 Hints for Making It as an Artist

Are you a weekend artist who putters and creates but longs for more time to pursue a career as a “real” artist?

Are Friends Really Worth That Much?

Have you ever reflected on the role of female friends in your own life? Do you maintain lifelong friendships? If not, do you wish you could?

5 Fixes for Conversations That Go Bad

My soon-to-be-ex-husband said in a therapy session, “I’m not blaming. I’m just explaining what she did wrong.” If only we’d both had copies of the new book Blamestorming with its wealth of help for conversations going wrong.

Why You Need a Book Doctor

Before I hired a book doctor or would take the idea seriously, two or three interested agents had to urge me to get editing help. A new guidebook answers some of the many questions I had about paying for such help.

10 Myths About Love, Exploded

These are some of my favorite things: the color blue, strawberries for dessert, and the emotion called love. But what exactly is love? Can you be in and out of it at the same time? Myths abound.

Is Diabetes Solvable?

Health books are fascinating to the degree that you have a personal interest in the topic. Diabetes has been a fact of life for my family for decades, so this new book held out hope.

The Many Hues (and Cries) of Noir

If you’ve ever spent a minute at a racetrack’s betting window, you’ll recognize the excitement of this accomplished thriller. Even if you haven’t, you’ll find yourself caring for the two main characters who share their journey seeking justice from a capricious world.

Here's Hoping Your Muse (Like This Author's) Is No Floozy

I’m not much into one-night stands, nor, for some of the same reasons, short stories. They don’t satisfy my craving to lose myself for an extended period of time in a new world. Still, the occasional short story manages to prove itself memorable...

Do People Feel More Pain Today?

“That hurts!” “No, it doesn’t.” “Yes, it does!” Who’s right? Depends on your social world and when in history you’re talking about pain. Pain’s history is fascinating, full of prejudice, ignorance, and misguided efforts at relief.

Eavesdropping on Famous Writers

Books about famed writers, or collections of conversations with them, are always seductive to writers. How open will this famous person be? What heretofore hidden thoughts or behaviors are going to be revealed?

When It Really Is All About You

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think their lives are too ordinary to fill a book, and those who understand that any life, carefully observed, can be the subject of a compelling memoir. Before you get too excited, learn more about the process.

How Novelists Blunder into Meaning

It’s great fun to create a new world of your own design. Even better for novelists is to discover–during writing and even after publication—how the little details of their creation dovetail in ways they hadn’t imagined.

3 Mysteries To Kill For

Whether you spread out these intriguing mystery thrillers over several nights, or watch each series straight through, I believe you’ll be as happily engrossed as I was. Their psychological depth only adds to the fun.

The True Story of a Journey to Bestsellerdom (Plus 9 Tips)

When his marriage and his teaching job ended, this would-be writer took off into the wilderness and came back with the raw material for what would become—after four unexpectedly long years filled with work, rejection, and self-discipline—a bestselling nonfiction book.

When Page Count Doesn’t Count

When the start and the end of a novel come many hundreds of pages apart, too many readers don’t even begin reading. Yet, chosen with care, a very long novel rewards time and attention many times over. Try these three.

7 Ways to Unchain Your Brain and Do More, Better

Hyperconnectivity and multitasking are so common today that most of us don’t realize there are other ways of working and being. But when we overdo either of them, we shortchange ourselves and limit our brain’s potential. Ponder these 7 insights.

Successful Artists Do It--Can You?

The steps anyone else took to becoming a successful creative person, possibly earning a living doing what he or she loves, isn’t going to be your personal recipe. But every little bit of information helps. These books have useful suggestions.

Exit Here, but Only if You Really Really Want to

What does a party supplies shop have to do with death? When the shop owner has become involved in supplying an easeful death to selected clients by way of helium, a plastic hood, and some tubing. With humor and sensitivity, this novelist tells an original tale.

Two New Novels to Twist Your Sympathies into a Knot

The craft with which these two new novels were written will have you imagining yourself in the shoes of a ruthless enemy.

So Many Hyper Kids, Such a Checkered History of Help

I once attended a support group for the parents of hyperactive/attention deficit kids. What I heard was extreme: their kids were uncontrollable and they, the parents, were at their wits’ ends. Have far have we come since then?

5 Artistic Ways to Get Your Creativity Unstuck

Whether you write, photograph, paint, sculpt, or welcome the muse some other way, you may enjoy collecting fresh techniques for inviting flow into your day. Here's a beautifully inspiring new book...

6 Superlative Stories You'd Be Sorry to Miss

Lose yourself in any of these six current novels by skilled authors. They’ll make you laugh at absurdity, learn about other times and cultures, and question your assumptions.

Why Atheists Need an Afterlife

Suppose you knew that, although you yourself would live a normal life span, the earth would be completely destroyed thirty days after your death... How would that affect the rest of your life?

Can You Be Faithful? (A Quiz)

Do you have the ability to stay true to your mate or could you be tempted into an illicit affair? Take this short quiz to find out how loyal you really are.

Can a Godless Parent Be a GOOD Parent?

When I reared my sons, did I think about the philosophical, economic, or political issues undergirding my own lack of religious belief and parenting style? Not so much. Dan Arel is different. He brings everything to his parenting, and thus to his first book, Parenting Without God.

Why Bother Claiming to Be Spiritual?

I read well-known atheist Sam Harris’s latest book with some skepticism. What’s he doing now, I wondered, jumping on the “spirituality” bandwagon?

The Writing Life: 8 New Tips

Most writers, whether committed amateurs or those who’ve been published many times, love to acquire books about writing. One or all of those reviewed here might be congruent with your voice and needs. Each can help you fulfill your passion.

Seeking Advice From Strangers

Nearly everyone likes to read question-and-answer columns by so-called experts. They’re easy to fake, though, whether they offer out-of-the-blue reassurance or rational reasoning.

4 Mind-Expanding Dramas for Sophisticated Tastes

For me, one of the most engaging aspects of travel in an English-speaking country is the chance to experience fresh scenery and an unexpected slant, what I think of as a slight turn of the prism, without becoming unutterably lost. These four non U.S. series with lovely settings, now available on DVD, are all worth a sojourn on the couch.