PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS
By Paul F. Boller Jr., Harcourt, $25

This informal, anecdotal history of the nation’s inauguration galas gives history a human element, providing informal details about these very formal affairs, from JFK slipping away from his wife’s side to attend Frank Sinatra’s A-list party to Reagan sleeping in on inauguration day. Boller
truly knows how to make American history a fun read.

DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS
By P.D. James, Knopf, $25

Scotland Yard Commander Adam Dalgliesh returns to the scene to investigate a murder on a theological college campus. James, still a master crime writer at age 81, weaves a richly detailed, page-turning tale with a cast of complex and intelligent characters.

FAMILY: A CELEBRATION OF HUMANITY
Packaged by M.I.L.K. Publishing, William Morrow, $50

In time for Mom’s Day, this collection of photographs, the first in a trilogy created by M.I.L.K. (the acronym for Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship), beautifully captures the essence of families. Often warm and tender, or intimate and emotional, the images remind us that the bonds shared by families are much the same throughout the world.

HORSE SENSE FOR PEOPLE
By Monty Roberts, Viking, $24.95

The “Horse Whisperer” also, apparently, listens to people. What he preaches for interacting with our equine friends he also preaches for dealing with humans. In particular, Roberts calls for a gentle, nonviolent approach to every human relationship. And hey, if mice chasing cheese can teach corporate America how to handle change, why can’t a man who listens to horses teach us how to handle people?