The Musical Theater: A Celebration, Alan Jay Lerner (McGraw-Hill). "A fine introduction . . . Lerner knows exactly what was new, and when and why. He distills the essence of each major figure's contribution" (Vincent Curcio).
Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, Umberto Eco, translated by Hugh Bredin (Yale), "engages us in conversation with some of the most stimulating minds of the period . . . a model of what a historical survey should be" (Richard J. Morris).
Celebration, Mary Lee Settle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "Touching, uniting and resolving," these six separate histories are compacted into a novel "by sheer force of the author's will" (Elaine Kendall).
The Flight of the Cassowary, John LeVert (Little, Brown). "A remarkable young adult novel . . . LeVert sets off powerful shocks of recognition in the reader. We laugh and ache and wince at first dates, after-school fights, shopping mall trips (and) classroom antics" (Robert Cormier).
The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes (Knopf). A "fast, amazing (and) . . . tremendously satisfying" book about the origins of the Australian penal system from 1788 (Carolyn See).