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Above Top Secret: Uncover the Mysteries of the Digital Age

Jim Marrs

Disinformation, $19.95/paperback

According to abovetopsecret.com, nearly 150,000 site members generate more than 12 million page views per month discussing a variety of "alternative" topics stuff like the New World Order, UFOs and the like. In this collection of 19 hot topics gleaned from the site JFK, Roswell, peak oil, technology suppression, chemtrails Marrs profiles the who, what, when, where and why behind each of the conspiracy theories. Some chapters ("Is There a Nazi Base in Antarctica?" and "Is God an Alien?") offer a good chuckle. Others ("Is the Federal Reserve a Scam?" and "Was 9/11 an Inside Job?") read less like imaginative paranoia and pose seemingly valid, unanswered questions. Either you're a lock-step person who thinks it's all pulp nonsense and you'll enjoy it with a laugh, or you're an ex-X-Files fan willing to entertain some speculation, in which case you'll eat this up like candy. Ultimately, the truth is either out there ... or in here. Matthew Schniper


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Between the Covers

Margo Hammond and Ellen Heltzel

Da Capo Press, $16.95/ paperback

I love making lists. I also love reading other people's lists. So when Between the Covers: The Book Babes' Guide to a Woman's Reading Pleasures landed on our office shelves, I immediately grabbed it and started flipping through the 55 themed sections of books for chicks. Each 10-book list, with a brief synopsis of every suggested title, is tucked within a larger section, including "Babes in the World," "Babes Without Borders" and "Love, Sex & Second Chances." I knew I was a book slut, but to my amazement, I had read (or owned and planned to read) over half of the 500-plus fiction and non-fiction recommendations from veteran book critics Margo Hammond and Ellen Heltzel. On one hand, I was a little disappointed; I'd hoped this book would have a greater impact on my personal library. But on the other hand, perhaps I could be an honorary Book Babe? Kirsten Akens


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A Mercy

Toni Morrison

Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95/hardcover

More than 30 years after its release, I still believe Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon is one of the finest books I've read. So when a new title by the Nobel Prize-winning author arrives, I scoop it up hoping to find a new favorite. Morrison's latest, A Mercy, comes close, returning to familiar subject matter, but with a voice that grows more poetic, impressionistic and dreamlike with time. The thin tale (167 pages) is set in late-1600s America when the slave trade was young and the land untamed. At the story's center is an Anglo-Dutch trader, the young girl he reluctantly takes as payment for a debt, and the trader's wife, who grieves the loss of her own child. As the narrative jumps between these and other characters, the story occasionally grows confusing, but conveys the sense of disorientation and loss the characters experience as they struggle to make sense of their world. Jill Thomas

  • Above Top Secret, Between the Covers, A Mercy

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