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Heads in Beds

by Jacob Tomsky |

REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

People PICK

MEMOIR

For those of us who’d rather live in good hotels than in our own homes, oh Lordy, is this ever a horrifyingly good time. It’s sort of the equivalent of WebMD for hypochondriacs: You know you’re learning way more than is good for you, but you just can’t stop reading. Tomsky, who may be an even better writer than a hotelier (and he’s a damn good hotelier) has worked every job and every shift; he takes us into the bowels (sometimes literally) of the hotel business, with all the pomp and circumstance, the hidden filth, and the fears and aspirations and secrets of guests and staff alike. We get the great VIP stories: the former teen star with the bags of pills who traveled with his “nutritionist” and insisted on eating cereal out of the hotel’s silver potpourri bowls; the top executive whose traveling companion was a blow-up doll; and the famous actor who paid one housekeeper not to clean his room (he felt she was overworked). Along the way Tomsky teaches us a few things too, like why a guest need never pay for the items in that “fridge of joy” (a.k.a. minibar) and how all bellmen hate the guy who invented suitcases on wheels. The best tip: You want the upgrade, the perks? Never be shy about handing over cash to the front desk. Ever.

Help, Thanks, Wow

by Anne Lamott |

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NON-FICTION

Livin’ on a prayer takes on new meaning in the latest from best-seller Lamott (Operating Instructions). With her signature blend of neurotic humor and blunt soul-searching, she delivers a quirky primer on how to commune with a higher power-even if you aren’t sure who or what you’re praying to. All you need, Lamott argues, are three basics: prayers for assistance (Help), prayers of gratitude (Thanks) and prayers expressing awe (Wow). Nothing here will change a doubter’s mind, but readers with a spiritual tug will say amen.

Married Love

by Tessa Hadley |

REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

STORIES

A teen marrying her 64-year-old professor, World War I-era cousins in love, a pair of students stunned by each other’s class backgrounds. British author Hadley excels at the poignantly comic scene and the dangling ending that somehow still satisfies. These 12 touching tales showcase her gifts.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com