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On the first page of Maria Semple’s novel, you learn that 15-year-old Bee’s mom has disappeared. On the last page, you know where she ended up. But that’s not what matters: In this clever story of family dysfunction, the real ride is the 334 pages in between, in which Bee realizes through emails, faxes, and FBI papers how eccentric her mom really is.
Available at amazon.com, $15.
Dear Santa: All we want for Christmas is a folksy Coen brothers’ movie, another buzzy performance from Jennifer Lawrence, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese in a pear tree. P.S. Note the One to Watch tags. They’re new and mark our Oscar hopefuls.