When my sister and I arrived at the final room of Madame Tussaud’s Time Square, I saw her: Marie Tussaud. She wears a simple white dress with a subtle blue floral pattern and she’s been sculpted later in life, not the woman in her twenties and early thirties who occupies the pages of Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud. But I knew her instantly. She tilts her head to one side while holding out a hat, as if she’s about to set it upon icy Napoleon who’s standing a few feet away from her. Her expression is proud and peaceful, a woman who has overcome incredible hardship.

Calling all Jean Auel fans! Last week we launched our video review series – now we want to hear from you! Be among the first to read the highly anticipated The Land of Painted Caves. To receive a free advance copy, record a short video review (three minutes max) of your favorite book in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children® series. Hold up the book in your review, and tell us what makes it your favorite!

I approach editing as a kind of carpentry: first a rough cut, then assembly, and then the finishing with finer and finer grades of sandpaper until the work is well-constructed, feels right to the touch. An editor suggests, asks, cajoles, demands, and pushes a writer as much as he can get away with. Editing a memoir, so deeply personal, can be even trickier. (Hey, about that chapter about your grandfather. I think we should cut it…) I warned Sean early on that I expected him to be sick of me by the time we were done. But he displayed great patience with my demands all the way through. In many regards, I think the book was a continuation of the vigil and companionship with his mom.

It’s an amazing privilege to be able to introduce you in various media to this country I’ve come to love; perhaps you’ll be inspired to visit, although I know the cost and time involved with that make it difficult. Armchair travelers are most welcome here; there’s no place like where you are right this minute. Truth be told, what’s most remarkable about being able to visit and learn about another land is that ultimately, in the end, we all want the same things: safe shelter, clean clothing, good things for our family, love.

Are you reading a book and loving it? Film a short video book review and send it to us so we can share it with the Read It Forward community! If we feature your review, we’ll send you a great read with our thanks! Watch my video review of Radio Shangri-La to find out why I can’t wait to tell all my friends who loved Eat, Pray, Love about Lisa Napoli’s memoir. It’s got that sense of adventure and personal discovery, and Lisa’s writing is just beautiful.

As someone who knew Bobby Fischer from the time he was quite young, I’ve been asked hundreds of times, “What was Bobby Fischer really like?” This book is an attempt to answer that question. But a warning to those who turn these pages: Paradoxes abound. Bobby was secretive, yet candid; generous, yet parsimonious; naive, yet well informed; cruel, yet kind; religious, yet heretical. His games were ?lled with charm and beauty and significance. His outrageous pronouncements were ?lled with cruelty and prejudice and hate. And though for a period of decades he poured most of his energy and passion into a quest for chess excellence, he was not the idiot savant often portrayed by the press.