Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History, by Robert Hughes (Knopf). Hughes is one of our greatest art and cultural historians, and Rome is a fascinating, illuminating, and epic account of the city that Hughes clearly worships. With his usually abrupt and no-nonsense style, Hughes tracks the city’s social, political, and cultural histories, as well as his own personal affair with her, detailing how she’s been hopelessly besmirched by crass tourism. Insightful and revelatory, Rome is the perfect marriage of author and subject.
Philip Galanes writes the “Social Q’s” advice column every week for the New York Times Sunday Styles section, and his graceful irreverence has earned him a legion of fans. His new book, Social Q’s (Simon & Schuster), is the perfect stocking stuffer! Funny and fair-minded, Social Q’s addresses the everyday quandaries that folks stumble over. Faux-pas, weddings, relationships, work, play, love, and line-cutters are all addressed and resolved, Galanes-style. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll just be thankful you can turn to Philip to sort things out.
— Chris Avena