One title on the list:
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, by Ron Schick, hardcover, 224 pages, Little, Brown and Company, list price: $40Read about another book on Cheuse's list.
Back to a more placid America. It turns out the artist Norman Rockwell painted from photographs. Some of the 18,000 photographs he made to jump-start his canvases are collected here, in Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, by Ron Schick. The images range through the entire carnival of plain-vanilla American life: beauty parlors and ice-cream shops, ball-parks and living rooms, America at peace and America at war.
The photographs and the paintings they led to stand side by side in these pages, making a wonderful case for a paradoxical Rockwell as the artist of the everyday, for whom reality wasn't quite enough. This is a book about one of our great homespun artists that will make you laugh, and also make you think. It's a real treasure.
Also see the Independent's list of the fifty best winter reads.