Shania Twain 2017

Photo: Scott M. Lacey

Wrap Star

Clarence Claus is coming to town. He's the invention of Jacquelyn and Shaun Rodgers, a Raleigh, North Carolina, couple who wanted to wrap their son's Christmas gifts in paper that reflected his own family. After a search for brown Santas came up short, the Rodgerses created Clarence to make their holidays a bit more jolly. When we head to Oprah's for Christmas, I know what my favorite son's and favorite daughter's presents will be wrapped in! ($7.50;
Long Way Down


In Long Way Down, 15-year-old Will Holloman sets out to kill his brother's murderer. Most of the tale takes place during a 60-second elevator trip. The man behind the thriller: Jason Reynolds, a National Book Award nominee who read more poetry than fiction growing up. That might explain why his novel looks like a collection of poems but is actually one continuous, riveting story.
taylor swift

Photo: Mert & Marcus.

Joyful Noise

Taylor Swift's single "Look What You Made Me Do" settled many of her scores and declared the old Taylor dead and gone. After one listen, I knew she meant business. Her sound: less pop, more bite. Her look: less cutesy, more edgy. But the question remains: Will her new album, Reputation , live up to its reputation? We'll find out soon enough.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images

Live TV

Nobody throws a party like Bruno Mars. The Grammy winner has entertained audiences all over the world, and now he's strutting his stuff at the iconic Apollo Theater in New York City. On November 29, his first primetime TV special, Bruno Mars: 24K Magic Live at the Apollo, premieres on CBS. I was at the taping, and I promise you're in for a treat. Expect to see Bruno and his band dancing on top of the theater's marquee and jazzing up the streets of Harlem. Just take a few deep breaths before the show starts—because once Bruno gets going, he's a runaway train!

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.

Stay Tuned

What do Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, and Martin Lawrence have in common? They all launched their careers on HBO's Def Comedy Jam. The Russell Simmons–created show shook things up when it debuted in 1992, featuring little-known black comedians who went on to become megastars. Twenty-five years later, Russell is reviving the sidesplitting series with a new title (All Def Comedy), a new host (Tony Rock, younger brother of Chris), and a new roster of talent. On December 1, I expect to laugh all night long.