Please Please Read These 

If you don't, you're missing out.

Looting wrecked ships was a way of life for those canny scavengers exposed in The Wreckers (Houghton Mifflin, $25), Bella Bathurst's bracing history of bygone Britain's salty version of Dumpster divers. ... Cartoon legend Will Eisner's last work was a graphic novel tracing the true sleazy history of a hateful forgery that refuses to die: With an introduction by Umberto Eco, The Plot (Norton, $19.95) unravels that ever-popular anti-Semitic classic, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. ... Tonsillectomies, hotel keys, and sanitary-napkin belts: Blasts from the past go kaboom in Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson's Going Going Gone (Chronicle, $18.95), an achingly nostalgic illustrated guide to vanishing Americana. ... Cremains clog the nostrils and a bobbing-head Scooby-Doo doll guards a child's grave -- all in a day's work for witty Shannon Applegate, who became the sexton of a small cemetery in 1997. Her memoir Living Among Headstones (Marlowe, $24) shines a warm human light on a chilly topic. ... Blondes aren't having more fun -- they're having their throats slit in River of Darkness (Penguin, $8), Rennie Airth's rich, multilayered mystery featuring a World War I-vet detective whose wounds run deep. ... Gods, dragons, and jewels all work wonders in Ellen Steiber's A Rumor of Gems (Tor, $25.95), a savvy, sassy fantasy whose characters swig espresso and use the same slang you do -- which makes her lustrous pearl-and-amethyst-charmed world all the more credible.


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