It's that time of the year: Time for the annual holiday torture rituals, games like "Name that drug the nephew is on," "Who can make LK cry at Christmas dinner," and "Guess who owes the IRS!" Okay, I exaggerate (after all, I am a writer of fiction.) Still, when traveling in the dead of winter to St. Louis, it is vital to select books that make one feel as if one is traveling anywhere else but St. Louis in the dead of winter. This year I chose one nonfiction and one fiction, and they're both lifesavers. Jonathan Harr's A Lost Painting details the finding of a long-lost masterpiece by Caravaggio. While not as intense as A Civil Action (Harr's first nonfiction book), A Lost Painting is engrossing and takes you to such romantic places as Rome, London and Dublin. This book got me through a cancelled flight and a long delay in Phoenix. My second book is two novels by Nancy Mitford: The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate. I just started the first novel, which begins: There is a photo in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea table at Alconleigh. Perfect escapism, Aunt Sadie, her six children and me, round the tea table at Alconleigh. In case I don't get back to the blog before the holidays, a merry one to you, your family and friends!