SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF GOODMAN
Sara James Mnookin, Harper Design, $39.99
Not many department stores feature in New Yorker cartoons by Victoria Roberts. But Bergdorf is an icon. A documentary is due soon, and this book is the accompaniment. Jackie Kennedy bought her inauguration ball gown here, Grace Kelly her wedding stationery. One anecdote recounts Yoko Ono buying 70 fur coats one Christmas Eve. The book is a marvel of tasteful design, but something is missing - maybe heart.
THE VANISHING POINT
Val McDermid, Little, Brown, $32.99
Val McDermid, what a diva of crime! She is best known for The Wire in the Blood series, but this is a stand-alone. Stephanie is a ghostwriter assigned to Scarlett Higgins, famous for being common. The two become friends. There are elements here of the real-life Jade Goody, as Scarlett develops cancer. Stephanie escorts Scarlett's son on holiday - and the boy vanishes from a US airport terminal. An acute and credible thriller.
A BIT OF DIFFERENCE
Sefi Atta, Spinifex, $24.95
We see too little writing from Africa, particularly from women. Prize-winning author Sefi Atta shows here how a small difference can go a long way. Deola is Nigerian, fortysomething and bored with her job at a London aid agency. She is also caught between African and Western expectations. She takes a trip back to Africa and gets pregnant - with the fear of AIDS. This novel is about the clash of cultures, but also the hybrid self that results. Strong stuff, and well told.
BOOK THAT CHANGED ME: Anthony Hill
WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG
I first read the Christopher Robin poems as a child and loved them. I'd recite The King's Breakfast and Vespers to anyone who would listen. Then I forgot them for half a century - until I bought a copy for my granddaughter and realised with a shock how deeply Milne's rhythms had influenced my own writing style.
Anthony Hill is a journalist, speech writer and author of 17 books for children and adults. His latest book is a biography of Australia's youngest prisoner of war, The Story of Billy Young (Viking, $29.99).