Paging Mr. Right

Acknowledging that "finding—and keeping—a partner is the single most important challenge in gay life today," psychiatrist Martin Kantor (Problems and Solutions: A Guide to Psychotherapy for the Beginning Psychotherapist) offers a nine-step program for connecting with a mate. My Guy: A Gay Man's Guide to a Lasting Relationship covers many aspects of romance, from avoiding Mr. Wrong to identifying a potential partner's emotional needs. Even if many of the friendly suggestions (like "be flexible about type" and "don't compare yourself to others") transcend homosexual relationships, this handbook will serve as an optimistic yet realistic assistant for gay men. (Sourcebooks, $15 paper 256p ISBN 1-57071-967-5; June)

Controversial author Laura Doyle (The Surrendered Wife) turns her attention to singletons in The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide to Attracting and Marrying the Man Who's Right for You. Doyle claims that since the perfect man does not exist, women need to settle. In 27 succinct chapters, she explains how to find intimacy with a man by letting go of inhibitions about the way things are "supposed" to happen. Although many will perceive Doyle's approach as extreme and overly submissive, some of her tips are effective, e.g., "treat yourself as well as you want a man to treat you" and "every romance starts with a smile." (S&S/Fireside, $13 paper 304p ISBN 0-7432-1789-6; May)

Lives in Brief

Two men who towered over the 19th century are the subjects of new Penguin Lives biographies coming in May. Novelist Jane Smiley's Charles Dickens aims to give a new perspective on the Victorian author, who, she says, was perhaps "the first true celebrity in the modern sense." Instead of giving a chronological account of his life, Smiley (The Age of Grief) presents the man as his contemporaries would have known him, addressing more intimate issues, like his painful childhood, only as they come up in his novels, and showing how he crafted his public persona as carefully as he did his literary creations. Smiley offers her own readings of many of his works. 5-city author tour.(Viking/Lipper, $19.95 208p ISBN 0-670-03077-5; on sale May 13)

The career of a different kind of celebrity hound is examined in historian Paul Johnson's Napoleon. Johnson (A History of the American People) contends that Bonaparte sowed the seeds of the devastating warfare and totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Stressing that the Corsican general was motivated by opportunism alone, Johnson traces his rise to power and expansionist bids, arguing that the most important legacies of his rule were the eclipse of France as the leading European power and the introduction of such enduring institutions as the secret police and government propaganda operations. (Viking/Lipper, $19.95 208p ISBN 0-670-03078-3; on sale May 13)

May Publication

John Hunwick (Shari'a in Songhay) and Eve Troutt Powell (A Different Shade of Colonialism) have gathered (and briefly annotated) primary sources—from the Koran, Islamic historians and theologians, non-Muslim anthropologists and others—to end "the silence surrounding the experience... of African slaves in the Islamic Mediterranean." Though this "other" slave trade spanned nearly 10 centuries, no definitive history exists; The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam offers scholars and students insight into the relationships between the brutal culture of slavery and the rich traditions of the Islamic world. Illus. (Markus Wiener [], $38.95 302p ISBN 1-55876-274-4; paper $18.95 -275-2)

April Publication

Hoping to rescue the Egyptian queen from "clichés that have been spread by... [a] complaisant literature," not to mention by Elizabeth Taylor vehicles, French Egyptologist Michel Chauveau (Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra) offers Cleopatra: Beyond the Myth. In this concise biography based on the few surviving Greek, Latin and Egyptian texts that mention her, Chauveau, former member of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale and current director of studies at L'École Practique des Hautes Études in Paris, shows how the lack of sources (as well as Cleopatra's own attempts to mythologize her reign) has allowed romantic legends to flourish. He disputes the claims of other biographers on such subjects as the trajectory of her affair with Mark Antony, and points out biases in the accounts of Plutarch and other Roman historians. (Trans. from the French by David Lorton. Cornell Univ., $22.50 128p ISBN 0-8014-3867-5)

March Publication

Architect Frank Gehry, multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, physicist Brian Greene and Progressive Insurance chairman Peter Lewis are among the luminaries who share their thoughts on creativity in New Ideas About New Ideas: Insights on Creativity from the World's Leading Innovators. Author Shira P. White, a painter and the president of SPWI, a firm consulting on new product development, weaves together dozens of interviews to describe the creative process, from the first glimmering of an idea to practical implementation. Her subjects—among them former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling—discuss their success and failures in detail, explaining how they cultivate a state of consciousness conducive to fresh ideas. (Perseus, $26 352p ISBN 0-7382-0535-4)