This issue of "BookBrowse Previews" covers a wealth of new books publishing in February. Unless you're a librarian, bookseller or the most dedicated of book aficionados, I suggest you don't try to read this issue cover to cover - instead skim around for the genres or titles that catch your eye, and if you'd like to cut the selection down to just the highest rated books click "View Top Previews Only" at the top of the column on the left.
If you're interested in discovering new authors ahead of the crowd look out for the "Debut Author" graphic, and in particular these eight books which are receiving particularly strong prepub reviews:
Unlike our other ezines (in which we review books that we personally recommend) in our monthly Preview issues we simply summarize the available prepublication reviews in order to give you an overview of what's coming soon ahead of the crowd. If you're unfamiliar with our Preview issues, please
You don't have to wait for this monthly issue to see what's coming soon - you can check the "Publishing Soon" tab under "What's New" at anytime - this list is a constant work in progress as we update the listings with new prepublication reviews right up until we publish this monthly Preview issue. There's also a list designed with librarians and booksellers in mind that provides all the key ordering information in table format. This is updated on the 15th of each month.
A Cup of Friendship: A Novel by Deborah Rodriguez
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Description: From the author of the "big-hearted ... inspiring" (Vogue) New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Kabul and the women who meet there - each with a story and a secret that will lead them all to an extraordinary friendship.
Sunny is an energetic American living in Kabul, whose pride and joy is the coffee shop she runs for expats - and their stories that filter through her daily life. Yazmina is a young woman from a remote village; when she's kidnapped and left on a city street, pregnant and alone, Sunny gives her a home - but all Yazmina wants is to find a way to rescue her sister from the same fate. Into the coffee shop - and Yazmina's and Sunny's lives - come Candace, a wealthy American looking for a way to help, but who ends up needing help herself; Isabel, a determined journalist whose past secret might keep her from the biggest story of her life; and Halajan, the den mother whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules - and threatens to turn her own son against her. As these women gather together and discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they'll form a bond that will change not only their lives, but the lives of an entire country.
Reader Rating: 4 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 19 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Readers will appreciate in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen." - Booklist
"A craftsman and a storyteller, Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly..." - Publishers Weekly
"But this first novel is engrossing ... especially those with an interest in current events in the Middle East..." - Library Journal
"But ultimately her cozy sentimentality undercuts the elements of harsh realism, as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner." - Kirkus
Book Description: "The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts. Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales.
From the towns founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives. At the center of everyones life is a garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look. The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. In gloriously sensuous, suspenseful, mystical, tragic, and redemptive episodes, Hoffman subtly alters her language, from an almost biblical voice to increasingly nuanced and intricate prose reflecting the burgeoning social and psychological complexities her passionate and searching characters face in an ever-changing world." - Booklist
"Fans of Hoffmans brand of mystical whimsy will find this paean to New England one of her most satisfying." - Kirkus Review
"Starred Review. ... [A] compelling collection of fairy tales suffused with pathos and brightened by flashes of magic. Her fans ... will be enchanted." - Library Journal
"The prose is beautiful, the characters drawn sparsely but with great compassion."
- Publishers Weekly
"Each episode in The Red Garden is a marvel - there isn't a disappointing one in the bunch." - Entertainment Weekly
Book Description: In 1907 Edwardian Dublin is a city of whispers and rumors. At the Abbey Theatre W. B. Yeats is working with talented John Synge, his resident playwright. It is here that the author of Playboy of the Western World and Juno and the Paycock will meet an actress still in her teens named Molly Allgood. Rebellious, irreverent, beautiful, flirtatious, Molly is a girl of the inner-city tenements, dreaming of stardom in America. Witty and watchful, she has dozens of admirers, but it is the damaged older playwright who is her secret passion despite the barriers of age, class, education, and religion.
In 1950s postwar London, an old woman walks across the city in the wake of a hurricane. As she wanders past bomb sites and through the forlorn beauty of wrecked terraces and wintry parks, her mind drifts in and out of the present while she remembers her life's great love, her once-dazzling career, and her travels in America. Vivid and beautifully written, Molly's swirling, fractured narrative moves from Dublin to London via New York in language of luminous beauty and raw feeling that celebrates love and art. Ghost Light is a story of great sadness and joy.
Prepublication Reviews: "A tumultuous and tender account of a tortured romance, though some of O'Connor's stylistic choices ... impede narrative momentum and yield a reading experience that feels heavy and too hazy." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. An empathetic act of literary homage offering nuggets of emotional intensity." - Kirkus
"Although plenty of poetic license is taken in rendering this rumored love story, the emotional impact of the narrative rings true." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Forbidden love, humor, and O'Connor's attention to the sentence highly recommend this." - Library Journal
Note: Joseph O'Connor is the author of seven novels, including the international bestseller Star of the Sea, a New York Times Notable Book, and Redemption Falls. He lives in Dublin.
Book Description: Vernon L. Oliver, still a young man, lives in a six-by-ten cell in a Florida prison. He has chosen the needle over the chair, has no desire to smell burned flesh on the day the state snuffs out his life. When his attorney suggests he write an autobiography to generate funds to cover legal fees incurred during the appeals process, Vernon sits down to pencil and paper and begins his narrative.
Miracles, Inc., Forrester's debut novel, tells the story of a charismatic slacker in love with Harley Davidson motorcycles and Rickie Terrell, a beautiful woman who quotes poetry and will not discuss her past. They live in an RV, smoke weed and drink beer, play Scrabble late into the night. His boss, a brilliant businesswoman with a far-reaching vision, offers him the chance to make more money than he ever thought was possible. He buys into the faith-healing scheme without reservation, and so begins the journey that leads to the stunning event that changes his life forever.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Showing the push-the-envelope spirit of a Terry Southern, Forrester has the makings of a formidable talent." - Kirkus Reviews
"While alternating between Vernon's autobiography leading up to the act that lands him on death row and his life in prison is a structural choice that mostly pays off, the depiction of life in prison suffers compared to the inventiveness of Vernon's life as a sham faith healer." - Publishers Weekly
"T.J. Forrester has achieved with his debut novel a rare blend of suspense, satire, and flawed but sympathetic characters. More than just a literary page-turner, Miracles, Inc. asks important questions about religion, belief, and the exploitation of our nation's faithful that I'm sure to be thinking about for a long time to come." - Amy Greene, bestselling author of Bloodroot
"There are terrible deeds throughout the novel, but they are accompanied by comedy and moments of tenderness." - Booklist
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description: With an imaginative audacity and lyrical brilliance that puts him in the company of David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, Rana Dasgupta paints a portrait of a century though the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man in a first novel that announces the arrival of an exhilarating new voice in fiction.
In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer, who has two great passions: the violin and chemistry. Denied the first by his father, he leaves for the Berlin of Einstein and Fritz Haber to study the latter. His studies are cut short when his father's fortune evaporates, and he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreams - and it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrichs fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, the real and imagined, Solo is a virtuoso work.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Lucid prose and a narrative scheme both demanding and inchoate reveal a writer beginning to deploy his considerable powers." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Graceful and unpredictable, a daring and exceptional achievement." - Kirkus Reviews
"In Solo which is ultimately a meditation on what it means to measure success, failure and time itself Rana Dasgupta, a member of The Telegraphs "20 Writers Under 40 to Watch" list, has created a work that is both literary and compelling, a prize-worthy feat indeed." - The Globe & Mail (Canada)
"The fact ... remains that an otherwise lovely book has 150 pages of stodge - its whole length again tacked on at the end. It's very nearly something very special. But not quite." - The Guardian (UK)
"With an intriguing bifurcated storytelling device, this is a novel of dazzling ideas and emotion in which Dasgupta comes to astonishingly beautiful and original conclusions about love, loss, and aging..." - Booklist
Note: Rana Dasgupta was born in the UK in 1971 and grew up in Cambridge. As an adult he lived in France, Malaysia and the US before moving to Delhi in 2000.
His first book, Tokyo Cancelled, was published in 2005. Narrated by travelers stuck for a night in an airport, it is a cycle of folktales about our contemporary world of globalization, corporations, film stars and illegal immigrants. It was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Vodafone Crossword Award. Solo, his first book published in the USA, came out in the UK in 2009 and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
Book Description: The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline - their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a sophisticated competitor known as the World of Darkness. Ava, a resourceful but terrified twelve, must manage seventy gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief. Her mother, Swamplandia's legendary headliner, has just died; her sister is having an affair with a ghost called the Dredgeman; her brother has secretly defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their sinking family afloat; and her father, Chief Bigtree, is AWOL. To save her family, Ava must journey on her own to a perilous part of the swamp called the Underworld, a harrowing odyssey from which she emerges a true heroine.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Russell's willingness to lend flesh and blood to her fanciful, fantastical creations gives this spry novel a potent punch and announces an enthralling new beginning for a quickly evolving young author." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Russells archetypal swamp saga tells a mystical yet rooted tale of three innocents who come of age through trials of water, fire, and air." - Booklist
"Starred Review. A phantasmagorical tale of teens left on their own to battle their demons, mixed with a brief history of the Sunshine State, Russell's book will appeal to young adults as well as their folks." - Library Journal
"Quirky, outlandish fiction: To say it's offbeat is to seriously underestimate its weirdness." - Kirkus Reviews
Book Description: What if our pain was the most beautiful thing about us? In the aftermath of a fatal car accident, a private journal of love notes written by a husband to his wife passes into the keeping of a hospital patient, and from there through the hands of five other suffering people, touching each of them uniquely. I love the soft blue veins on your wrist. I love your lopsided smile. I love watching TV and shelling sunflower seeds with you.
The six recipients - a data analyst, a photojournalist, a schoolchild, a missionary, a writer, and a street vendor - inhabit an acutely observed, beautifully familiar yet particularly strange universe, as only Kevin Brockmeier could imagine it: a world in which human pain is expressed as illumination, so that ones wounds glitter, fluoresce, and blaze with light. As we follow the journey of the book from stranger to stranger, we come to understand how intricately and brilliantly they are connected, in all their human injury and experience.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Brockmeier's spectacular latest ... gives readers an inspiring take on suffering and the often fleeting nature of connection." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. ...Brockmeier is transcendent here ... This is a radiant, bewitching, and profoundly inquisitive novel of sorrow, perseverance, and wonderment." - Booklist
"A capable writer, Brockmeier succeeds in describing the depressing circumstances of the characters ... Some readers may find this uplifting and inspiring, but others will feel pained by the suffering the novel seeks to illuminate." - Library Journal
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Book Description: As 1944 comes to a close, nine-year-old Raj is unaware of the war devastating the rest of the world. He lives in Mauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, where survival is a daily struggle for his family. When a brutal beating lands Raj in the hospital of the prison camp where his father is a guard, he meets a mysterious boy his own age. David is a refugee, one of a group of Jewish exiles whose harrowing journey took them from Nazi-occupied Europe to Palestine, where they were refused entry and sent on to indefinite detainment in Mauritius.
A massive storm on the island leads to a breach of security at the camp, and David escapes, with Raj's help. After a few days spent hiding from Raj's cruel father, the two young boys flee into the forest. Danger, hunger, and malaria turn what at first seems like an adventure to Raj into an increasingly desperate mission.
This unforgettable and deeply moving novel sheds light on a fascinating and unexplored corner of World War II history, and establishes Nathacha Appanah as a significant international voice.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Appanah's descriptions are meticulous, and the heartbreakingly endearing Raj makes for an unforgettable protagonist." - Publishers Weekly
"Many readers will enjoy this lushly beautiful child's-eye tale of resistance to injustice simply as a universal fable of two boys thrown together in friendship and solidarity against a savage adult world. It also half-reveals an extraordinary episode from the Second World War, but through a lyrical mist that never clears away." - The Independent (UK)
"In this lyrical and quietly moving work ... [Appanah] offers a lovely little gem of a meditation on how humans can love and, inexplicably, hate." - Library Journal
"In poetic, occasionally rapturous prose, the novel extends beyond the Holocaust in its attempt to encompass the human condition." - Kirkus
A disturbing and extraordinarily sensitive story around the tragic odyssey of Jewish refugees." - Le Monde (Paris)
Note: Nathacha Appanah, a French-Mauritian of Indian origin, was born in Mauritius and worked there as a journalist before moving to France in 1998. Geoffrey Strachan is the award-winning translator of Andreï Makine.
Book Description: The first novel from acclaimed author Cate Kennedy is a compassionate and unswerving portrait of a broken family whose members go to extraordinary lengths to reclaim their lives and relationships from the mistakes of the past.
Fifteen years after their break-up, Rich and Sandy have both settled into the unfulfilling compromises of middle age: hes a late-night infomercial editor with photojournalism aspirations; she makes hippie jewelry for a local market and struggles to maintain a New Age lifestyle that fails to provide the answers she seeks. To distract themselves from their inadequacies, Rich and Sandy cling to the shining moment of their youth, when they met as environmental activists as part of a world-famous blockade to save Tasmania's Franklin River.
Their daughter, Sophie, has always remained skeptical of this ecological fairytale, but when Rich invites her on a backpacking trip through Tasmania for her fifteenth birthday, Sophie sees it as a way to bond with a father shes never known. As they progress further into the wilderness, the spell of Richs worldly charm soon gives way to suspicion and fear as his overconfidence sets off a chain of events that no one could have predicted.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A gripping debut." - Booklist
"Occasionally the narrative becomes bogged down by lengthy stream-of-consciousness paragraphs, but this is a minor flaw in what is otherwise a wise and graceful debut novel." - Library Journal
"The pitfalls of nostalgia and the disappointment of everyday life contrast sharply with the ravishing Tasmanian landscapes Kennedy is excellent at painting, along with interpersonal terrain, but the novel wants to be more profound than it actually is." - Publishers Weekly
"A very effective blend of social comedy and lyrically precise naturalism. ... Kennedy writes like an Antipodean Anne Tyler, wryly aware of the hearts internal contradictions yet slow to judge. Subtle allusions to the myth of Persephone add another level to this impressive tale of self-reliance and self-delusion." - Financial Times
"It's a bracing, unsentimental and often very funny full-length debut, and if the post-hippy aimlessness of Rich and Sandy is sometimes too soft a target, there is still spiky, uncompromising Sophie, forced to find reserves of strength and forgiveness for her two infuriatingly childlike parents." - The Guardian (UK)
"Cate Kennedy, celebrated for her short fiction, this year began her long-distance career with The World Beneath. To my mind, she enters the stadium a hundred metres in front of the next novice and with the best time for many years." - The Age (Australia)
"Written in precise and singing prose, [Cate Kennedy's] powerful first novel begins with three unlikable characters and blossoms into a work of mythic depth, lyrical description and gripping suspense." - Adelaide Advertiser (Australia)
"Cate Kennedy's ironic humor nails out-of-touch grandparents, flailing Baby Boomers and tech-head adolescents. The World Beneath is a treasure of a first novel by a prize-winning short story writer and poet. This is Australia calling. I loved it." - Good Reading Magazine (Australia)
"A stunning book with a heart-stopping climax." - Woman's Day (Australia)
"When the inner lives of ordinary people are made gripping and moving and enlightening, then you know you are in the hands of a great storyteller." - Sunday Mail/Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
"The World Beneath displays all the hallmarks of the short-story writer's art; acute observation and concise execution." - Courier Mail (Australia)
"Vivid and robust realism shading occasionally into satire, full of humour and drama, told through different and conflicting points of view ... In some ways it's reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas's The Slap: an unsentimental, beady eyed look at contemporary Australian middle age and its treatment of its children." - Australian Literary Review (Australia)
"This is a thought-provoking journey into contemporary Australia; an impressive debut novel." - Australian Book Review
"Kennedy has delivered an outstanding story." - Notebook Magazine, Pick of the Month (Australia)
"The World Beneath is an intelligent, equivocal, unusual and often amusing novel, one that comprehends the comfort of stereotypes and pushes beyond them, one that, in the words of its epigraph from Turgenev, sees that 'the heart of another is a dark forest.'" - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
"The World Beneath is a rare combination of a pacy, gripping plot with very real characters and spare, elegant writing. Beautifully observed, Kennedy's novel is painfully honest about the ways in which family members hurt - and heal - each other - Four stars." - Who Magazine (Australia)
"The World Beneath is the first novel by Cate Kennedy, often cited as Australia's queen of the short story. In the longer format Kennedy doesn't disappoint, delivering her characters with unnerving accuracy - the disdain of a teenager, the searing frustration of a man whose life has passed him by - while the Tasmanian wilderness looms as vividly as anyone else on the page." - Time Out Sydney (Australia)
Note: Cate Kennedys short story collection Dark Roots, was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and first serialized in The New Yorker. She lives in Victoria, Australia.
Book Description: Sixteen-year-old Nora Lindell is missing. And the neighborhood boys she's left behind are caught forever in the heady current of her absence.
As the days and years pile up, the mystery of her disappearance grows kaleidoscopically. A collection of rumors, divergent suspicions, and tantalizing what-ifs, Nora Lindell's story is a shadowy projection of teenage lust, friendship, reverence, and regret, captured magically in the disembodied plural voice of the boys who still long for her.
Told in haunting, percussive prose, Hannah Pittard's beautifully crafted novel tracks the emotional progress of the sister Nora left behind, the other families in their leafy suburban enclave, and the individual fates of the boys in her thrall. Far more eager to imagine Nora's fate than to scrutinize their own, the boys sleepwalk into an adulthood of jobs, marriages, families, homes, and daughters of their own, all the while pining for a girl and a life that no longer exists, except in the imagination.
A masterful literary debut that shines a light into the dream-filled space between childhood and all that follows, The Fates Will Find Their Way is a story about the stories we tell ourselves of who we once were and may someday become.
Prepublication Reviews: "Gracefully written by the winner of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, this elegiac portrait of an upscale community offers an interesting take on modern manhood." - Kirkus
"Starred Review. A debut novel sure to linger with readers ... Pittard leads the reader into a slew of possibilities spinning out from a 16-year-old girl's disappearance, in her intriguing, beguiling debut." - Publishers Weekly
... [S]imply tremendousa beautiful ... relentless exploration of a crime. It would be almost too sad to bear the implications of this story if it werent for the warmth, hope, and kindness of its haunting prose. - Patrick Somerville, author of The Cradle
"This debut from McSweeneys award winner Pittard is smart, eerie, and suspenseful and will appeal to fans of novels combining those elements." - Library Journal
Note: Hannah Pittard's fiction has appeared in McSweeney's, Oxford American, Mississippi Review, BOMB, Nimrod, and Story Quarterly, and was included in 2008 Best American Short Stories' 100 Distinguished Stories. She is the recipient of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and a graduate of the University of Virginia's MFA program. She divides her time between Charlottesville and Chicago, where she currently teaches fiction at DePaul University.
Publisher: Other Press
Book Description:Any man - or woman - who wants to hear nothing - or no more - about love should put this book down.
Anna and Louise could be sisters, but they dont know each other. They are both married with children, and for the most part, they are happy. On almost the same day, Anna, a psychiatrist, crosses paths with Yves, a writer, while Louise, a lawyer, meets Annas analyst, Thomas. Love at first sight is still possible for those into their forties and long-married. But when you have already mapped out a life path, a passionate affair can come at a high price. For our four characters, their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down by the deliciously inconvenient arrival of love. For Anna, meeting Yves has brought a flurry of excitement to her life and made her question her values, her reliable husband, and her responsibilities to her children. For Louise, a successful career woman in a stable and comfortable marriage, her routine is uprooted by the youthful passion she feels for Thomas.
Thought-provoking, sophisticated, and, above all, amusing, Enough About Love captures the euphoria of desire through tender and unflinching portraits of husbands, wives, and lovers.
Prepublication Reviews: "A touching and thought-provoking study of attraction, responsibility, and love." - Publishers Weekly
"Two love triangles that reveal much - or at least enough - about love Le Tellier examines the possibilities of love after 40, and he deals with this issue with patience, understanding and bemusement." - Kirkus Reviews
"Elegantly constructed, and with humor, wit, and touching honesty, Hervé Le Tellier tells a classic love story tweaked with a modern sensibility. I loved this intelligent and beguiling French novel, infused with that Je ne sais quoi and a pleasure to read from the first page to the last." - Katharine Davis, author of Capturing Paris
"A grab bag of luminous angles and viewpoints of the kaleidoscope of love." - Marie Claire (France)
"If there was to be only one quintessential 'French novel' this fall, it should be this one." - Elle
"A novel that's full of surprises and strikes out against banality, cliches, and platitudes." - Lire
Note: Hervé Le Tellier is a writer, a journalist, a mathematician, a food critic, and a teacher. He has been a member of the Oulipo since 1992 and one of the "papous" of the famous France Culture radio show. He has published fifteen books of stories, essays, and novels. His latest publications include a collection of poetry, Zindien, and a novel, Je m'attache très facilement, which earned him the Guanahani Prize.
Adriana Hunter studied French and Drama at the University of London. She has translated nearly forty books including works by Agnès Desarthe, Amélie Nothomb, Frédéric Beigbeder, Véronique Ovaldé, and Catherine Millet, and has been short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize twice. She lives in Norfolk, England.
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Book Description: Home-care nurse Emily Klein can't get out of her new assignment weekly prenatal visits to Pippa Glenning, a young Isis cult member under house arrest for the death of her daughter during a Solstice ceremony. But she takes her work seriously and plays by the rules, so Emily is determined to take good care of her high-profile and unconventional patient.
With two other cult members in prison, Pippa Glenning struggles to keep the household intact. If she follows the rules of her house arrest, she may be allowed to keep her baby; but as the pregnant woman in the family it's her duty to dance for Isis at the upcoming winter Solstice ceremony. To escape the house arrest without being caught, Pippa needs Emilys help.
Despite their differences, Emily and Pippa's friendship grows. Returning to Maine for her grandfather's funeral, Emily begins to grapple with her parents' activism a generation earlier and her fathers death in prison. Back home, as the Solstice and the trial approach, anti-cult and racist sentiment in the city escalates. Emily and Pippa must each make decisions about their conflicting responsibilities to their families and to each other decisions that put their lives, and Pippa's unborn baby in jeopardy.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Meeropol's work is thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums." - Publishers Weekly
"Although this first novel has awkward moments and telegraphs its ending, fans of Jodi Picoult's ethics-heavy suspense may find it a suitable readalike." - Library Journal
"What drives Ellen Meeropol's compelling debut is an essential moral question about what a family sacrifices when a parent lives according to higher political ideals. What keeps you reading are Meeropol's astutely observed diverse cast of characters who draw you into their dilemmas, their world, and most importantly their heartaches." - Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
"In this suspenseful, richly plotted novel, Ellen Meeropol explores the moral complexities of politics and medicine as they intersect with the private sphere of family. She is acutely sensitive to the nuances of long-suppressed sorrow and regret; with equal insight, she successfully immerses the reader in a wide range of characters. House Arrest is smart, provocative, and moving." - Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Widower's Tale
Note: A literary late bloomer, Ellen Meeropol began writing fiction in her fifties when she was working as a nurse practitioner in a pediatric hospital. Since leaving her nursing practice in 2005, Ellen has worked as the publicist and book group coordinator for an independent bookstore and taught fiction workshops. She is a founding member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and author of the script for their dramatic program "Celebrate," which has been produced in four cities, most recently in 2007 starring Eve Ensler, David Strathairn and Angela Davis. Drawing material from her twin passions of medical ethics and political activism, her fiction explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil and family life.
Ellen holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. Her stories have appeared in Bridges, PortlandMagazine, Pedestal, Patchwork Journal, and The Womens Times. House Arrest is her first novel. She lives in Western Massachusetts.
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Book Description: From the critically acclaimed author of Standing Still comes a psychologically charged novel about the power and failure of family.
Prepublication Reviews: "Simmons...smoothly shifts between past and present in her complex and poignant second novel, told from the point of view of a courageous woman suffering from dementia." - Publishers Weekly
"Simmons's second novel (after Standing Still) is a great title for book groups that enjoy fiction with strong female characters. It may also appeal to fans of Lisa Genova's Still Alice." - Library Journal
"Moving back and forth between the present and the past, Ann struggles to tell her story to readers, her daughter, and herself. As Ann and her tightly wound daughter-in-law do an uneasy dance, they come to discover what they have in common and, in fact, what almost all mothers have in common." - Booklist
"Starred Review. ... Simmons' exposition is so sparing ... that the book's resolution is needlessly opaque. ... Hope at the bottom of the box, not least for more from this talented author." - Kirkus
Note: Kelly Simmons is a former journalist and advertising creative director specializing in marketing to women. This is her second novel following Standing Still. She lives with her family outside Philadelphia. She can be found at KellySimmons.com.
Publisher: Soho Press
Book Description: When Frances was twenty-two, she was drifting, scraping by giving English lessons in Mexico, when she met up with a glamorous group of vacationing Americans staying in a mansion on a private beach. Two decades later in rural England, she discovers a love letter from a younger woman addressed to her husband almost at the same time as she learns that shes facing a life-threatening illness.
As her contented existence begins to unravel and she tries to decide how and if she will confront her husband about his infidelity, Frances finds herself haunted by the memory of her heady desert encounter with the charmed circle of the Severance family. That summer in 1976 seemed, until now, like another lifetime. As she recalls this long buried episode from her past, she is forced to face for the first time her own role in an illicit romance and the betrayal and tragedy that marked its ending.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A riveting novel in which the deceptively clear narrative voice offers no easy answers." - Kirkus
"Unfortunately, Frances's contemporary situation comes up much weaker than her formative past...McKinlay's hand is sure around the restless rich." - Publishers Weekly
"A book of sweet, studied passion, The View From Here is both an escape into an ocean-side tale of splendid fun and a deep dive into the moral questions that can define lives and deaths." - ForeWord Reviews
Note: Deborah McKinlay has published half a dozen nonfiction titles in the UK, and her books have been translated into numerous languages. Her work has appeared in British Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire. She lives in South West England. The View from Here is her first novel.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He's always hungered for the love of the girls' self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu had been warned to never to let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself.
Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, but the girls' relatives refuse to care for them and abandon them to a terrifying group home. Even as they plot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn theyll never really belong anywhere or to anyonethat all they have to hold onto is each other.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled, by fear, by duty, to keep him close. Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet success.
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart.
Prepublication Reviews: "How both sisters live, from the squalor of an orphanage to the empty silences of suburban living, is all too believable and heartbreaking because there is no acceptable answer for how to deal with one's part, as living victim, of a horrible crime." - Sarah Weinman, LA Times 'Knock-Out Debuts'
"The author delivers unshakable truths at every turn...Meyers, in a remarkably assured debut, details how the sisters process their grief in separate but similarly punishing ways." - The Denver Post
"I would recommend this book as a great read for book clubs. The reason: there are several great jumping off points for a good discussion that in no way ruin the books ending...Violence, pathos, sorrow, empathy, love: these elements pack The Murderers Daughters' pages with hope." - BlogCritics.org
"A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughter is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart." - The Murderer's Daughter
"Meyers delivers a clear-eyed, insightful story about domestic violence and survivor's guilt in The Murderer's Daughters. It's an impressively executed novel, disturbing and convincing." - The Boston Globe
"Much like Janet Fitch's White Oleander or Jacqueline Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean, The Murderer's Daughter takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride....get out your handkerchief and prepare to care." - Library Journal
"Though the novel's sprawling time line and undifferentiated narrative voices...hinder the potential for readers to fall completely into the story, the psychologically complex characters make Meyers's debut a satisfying read." - Publishers Weekly
"Meyers's strength is in her descriptions of the heartbreak of the sisters' situation as children and their continued struggles as adults, as well as the clarity and individuality of their voices." - School Library Journal (reviewed for their high school/adult section)
"Eminently readable, despite some clunky phrasing and an excess of psychology, with affecting moments and insights." - Kirkus
Note: Visit the author's website for a discussion guide, excerpt and opportunity to invite the author to discuss her book with your book club - by phone or, if you're in the Boston area, in person.
The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel by Cathleen Schine
Book Description: Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husbands mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Annie, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. In Schines playful and devoted homage to Jane Austens Sense and Sensibility, the impulsive sister is Miranda, a literary agent entangled in a series of scandals, and the more pragmatic sister is Annie, a library director, who feels compelled to move in and watch over her capricious mother and sister.
A New York Times Best Seller and a New York Times Editors' Choice.
Prepublication Reviews: "Simply full of pleasure: the pleasure of reading, the pleasure of Austen, and the pleasure that the characters so rightly and humorously pursue .An absolute triumph - The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Schine's homage to Jane Austen has it all....A sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious, and deeply affecting new novel, her best yet ... Schine is clearly a writer who loves to read as much as she loves to write. And it is great fun to play English major with her." - Dominique Browning, The New York Times Book Review
"Schine has been favored in so many ways by the muse of comedy ... The Three Weissmanns of Westport is full of invention, wit, and wisdom that can bear comparison to Austen's own." - The New York Review of Books
"A clever, frothy novel Schine playfully probes the lies, self-deceptions, and honorable hearts of her characters." - The New Yorker
"Schine sets the Austen machinery in perfect forward motion, and then works some lovely modern changes, keeping the pace going at a lively clip ... Spotting the similarities and differences between the early 19th century and early 21st century stories is good sport, but the greater pleasure comes from Schine's own clever girls and their awkward attempts to find happiness." - The Boston Globe
"There is so much zest for life in this novel that you can only imagine how much fun Cathleen Schine had writing it." - Carol Memmott, USA Today
"Absolutely wonderful. You'll turn each page with anticipation, all the while wishing you could read it slowly in order to savor the deliciousness of Schine's particular sensibility .It will warm the center of your heart." - Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge
"Swap genteel nineteenth-century England for upscale contemporary Connecticut, add two sisters- one impulsive, one practical- and stir with lively doses of romance, domestic discord, sudden setbacks, and sublime surprises, and you get Cathleen Schine's homage to Jane Austen." - Elle
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale
Publisher: Twelve Books
Book Description: Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys - and most affecting love stories - in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human - to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.
Prepublication Reviews: "Bruno, having mastered speech, is quite happy to play with this new toy, going on philosophical riffs and speaking at length about art, and while his monologues are less tedious than you'd imagine, it's his quest for answers about the agonizing dilemmas of existence that is unexpectedly resonant." - Publishers Weekly
"An ambitious, enjoyable, and lengthy debut novel; much will be written about its more controversial aspects, but Hale's prowess as a storyteller should not be ignored." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. With its exuberantly detailed sex between species and its concept that human cognizance of death leads to superstition and religion, this novel is likely to offend some readers, while others will find it holds a remarkable, riotous mirror to mankind." - Booklist
"A less splendid debut than the hype would suggest, but a book of considerable merit all the same - and of high entertainment value..." - Kirkus
Note: Benjamin Hale is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he received a Provost's Fellowship to complete his novel, which also went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a security guard, a trompe l'oeil painter, a pizza deliverer, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.
Publisher: Reagan Arthur
Book Description: American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.
As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.
Prepublication Reviews: "[An] imaginative, sensual rendering of a Parisian woman's life..." - Publishers Weekly
"This gimmicky tale unravels somewhat when Stratton ... implicates himself in the history in which he's become so involved." - Booklist
"This wonderfully pieced together bit of time travel, history, and especially many types of love would be an excellent choice for a women's reading group." - Library Journal
"A creaky romance that lacks substance. But the book is an interactive-marketing goldmine: Readers can use codes to link up to the book's website." - Kirkus
Note: Elena Mauli Shapiro was born and raised in Paris, France, in an apartment below the real-life Louise Brunet's. She has a BA from Stanford University in English and French, an MFA in Fiction Writing from Mills College, and an MA in Comparative Literature from UC Davis. This novel was a finalist for the 2009 Bakeless literary prize.
Book Description: A sparkling debut novel set in the sixties about a boy's emotional and fantastical journey through alien worlds and family pain.
Against the backdrop of the troubled 1960s, this coming-of-age novel weaves together a compelling psychological drama and vivid outer-space fantasy. Danny Shapiro is an isolated teenager, living with a dying mother and a hostile father and without friends. To cope with these circumstances, Danny forges a reality of his own, which includes the sinister "Three Men in Black", mysterious lake creatures with insectlike carapaces, a beautiful young seductress and thief with whom Danny falls in love, and an alien/human love child who - if only Danny can keep her alive - will redeem the planet.
Danny's fictional world blends so seamlessly with his day-to-day life that profound questions about what is real and what is not, what is possible and what is imagined begin to arise. As the hero in his alien landscape, he finds the strength to deal with his own life and to stand up to demons both real and imagined. Told with heart and intellect, Journal of a UFO Investigator will remind readers of the works of Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem.
Prepublication Reviews: "While the science fiction talk may put off some, this heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a boy losing and finding his way in this and other worlds will resonate with many readers." - Publishers Weekly
"A thrilling romp through the domain of aliens and spacecraft, Halperins highly entertaining ... tale poses questions about the real and the imagined and suggests that fusing the two might be the only way to survive adolescence." - Booklist
"By the time readers have been to the moon and back, flown to Jerusalem at Danny's side and bumped into Danny's human/alien hybrid love child, they'll either be along for the ride or they won't." - Kirkus
"What's in this book? What isn't? History, mystery-even aliens, for God's sake. The most compelling and original coming-of-age story I've read in a long time." - Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
A wild ride-phantasmagoric, paranoiac, full of lust and insecurity, misplaced affection, and fear of closeness-exactly the mind of the teenage boy David Halperin is writing about. - Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
"Journal of a UFO Investigator is a remarkable book. Part science fiction, part novel of growing up, part surrealist voyage into the imagination, it is a disconcerting and satisfying experience." - Iain Pears, New York Times bestselling author
Note: David Halperin is a professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of many nonfiction books and articles about myth and religion.
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Book Description: This lively, intricately plotted, laugh-out-loud funny, and surprisingly touching family drama combines the wit of Carl Hiaasen with the southern charm of Jill McCorkle.
Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.
Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughters family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stumbling into.
Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and thats not all ...
Told from the varied perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters and written with the flair of a native Floridian, this dark comedy does not disappoint.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Glowing with dark humor ... [a] fabulously quirky second novel." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Mixing the suburban angst of Tom Perrotta with the snarky humor of Carl Hiaasen, Stuckey-French has written a page-turner that is thoughtful, amusing, and nearly impossible to put down." - Library Journal
"It's impossible not to love a novel that starts out with a 77-year-old woman planning cold-blooded murder, especially when the old lady in question is as charming and funny as Stuckey-French's Marylou Ahearn. As she steadily worms her way into the world and family of her intended victim, this fast-paced and witty book expands to create a big-hearted, hilarious and touching portrait of a community full of an amazing and vivid cast of characters. A true pleasure to read." - Dan Chaon, bestselling author of Await Your Reply.
"An often hilarious, always entertaining novel, but Elizabeth Stuckey-French has achieved much more. With remarkable wisdom and empathy, she has given us a profound meditation on what it means to be a family and the human hearts complex, sidling path toward forgiveness." - Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serenaand One Foot in Eden
"How wonderful it is to find a writer who perfectly captures the spirit of this crazy age: that bizarre and irreducible mix of high and low culture, of tragedy and comedy. This is no mean literary feat. And Elizabeth Stuckey-French achieves it brilliantly. Not only a wildly entertaining novel, an important one." - Robert Olen Bulter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hell and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Marylou Ahearn is serving up ice cream ... A dark, humorous portrait of a dysfunctional modern family." - Kirkus Reviews
Book Description: In the stirring tradition of The Secret Life of Bees and The Poisonwood Bible, Amaryllis in Blueberry explores the complexity of human relationships set against an unforgettable backdrop. Told through the haunting voices of Dick and Seena Slepy and their four daughters, Christina Meldrum's soulful novelweaves together the past and the present of a family harmed - and healed - by buried secrets.
"Maybe, unlike hope, truth couldn't be contained in a jar..."
Meet the Slepys: Dick, the stern doctor, the naive husband, a man devoted to both facts and faith; Seena, the storyteller, the restless wife, a mother of four, a lover of myth. And their children, the Marys: Mary Grace, the devastating beauty; Mary Tessa, the insistent inquisitor; Mary Catherine, the saintly, lost soul; and finally, Amaryllis, Seena's unspoken favorite, born with the mystifying ability to sense the future, touch the past and distinguish the truth tellers from the most convincing liar of all.
When Dick insists his family move from Michigan to the unfamiliar world of Africa for missionary work, he can't possibly foresee how this new land and its people will entrance and change his daughters - and himself - forever.
Nor can he predict how Africa will spur his wife Seena toward an old but unforgotten obsession. In fact, Seena may be falling into a trance of her own...
Prepublication Reviews: "Meldrum jumps viewpoints and shifts time and space creating a momentum that masks a lack of imagination. Yet her combination of coming-of-age and culture clash narratives has a seductive intensity." - Publishers Weekly
"Meldrum keeps the reader wanting to know more about the family through carefully intertwined story lines ... Readers will compare this work to Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible..." Library Journal
"Amaryllis in Blueberry will stay with readers long after its surprising and satisfying ending, and leave book clubs talking late into the night." - Meg Waite Clayton, author of the national bestseller, The Wednesday Sisters
"A gripping and satisfying read. First you'll race to the end, then you'll tell everyone you know to read it-partly for their benefit, partly so you'll be able to talk about it with someone." - Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward, Becoming Chloe, Jumpstart the World
"Christina Meldrum is a fresh, invigorating new voice in women's fiction. Amaryllis in Blueberry is a beautifully written, completely compelling novel that grabbed me from the very first page and wouldn't let me go. I especially loved the African setting." - New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah
Note: This is Meldrum's first novel for adults, following her young adult novel Madapple published in 2010.
Publisher: Random House
Book Description: "The past, if there is such a thing, is mostly empty space, great expanses of nothing, in which significant persons and events float. Nigeria was like that for me: mostly forgotten, except for those few things that I remembered with outsize intensity."
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation.
But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey - which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.
A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Coles Open City seethes with intelligence. Written in a clear, rhythmic voice that lingers, this book is a mature, profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Fascinating ... [an] intelligent and panoramic first novel ... engaged with the world in a rare and refreshing way." - Publishers Weekly
"One of the most intriguing novels youll likely read. ... [It] reads like Camus's The Stranger." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. A masterful command of narrative voice distinguishes a debut novel that requires patience and rewards it." Kirkus
"Readers who enjoy stream-of-consciousness narratives and fiction infused with politics will find this unique and pensive book a charming read." - Booklist
"Open City is not a loud novel, nor a thriller, nor a nail-biter. What it is is a gorgeous, crystalline, and cumulative investigation of memory, identity, and erasure. It gathers its power inexorably, page by page, and ultimately reveals itself as nothing less than a searing tour de force. Teju Cole might just be a W. G. Sebald for the twenty-first century." - Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector
"Open City is a meditation on history and culture, identity and solitude. The soft, exquisite rhythms of its prose, the display of sensibility, the lucid intelligence, make it a novel to savour and treasure." - Colm Toibin, author of The Master and Brooklyn
"The pages of Open City unfold with the tempo of a profound, contemplative walk through layers of histories and their posthumous excavations. The juxtaposition of encounters, seen through the eyes of a knowing flâneur, surface and then dissolve like a palimpsest composed, outside of time, by a brilliant master." - Rawi Hage, author of Cockroach andDe Niros Game, winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Note: Teju Cole was raised in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1992. He is a writer, photographer, and professional historian of early Netherlandish art. Open City is his first novel. He lives in New York City.
Book Description: July 1964. Chartwell House, Kent: Winston Churchill wakes at dawn. Theres a dark, mute "presence" in the room that focuses on him with rapt concentration.
It's Mr. Chartwell.
Soon after, in London, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress.
It's Mr. Chartwell.
Charismatic, dangerously seductive, Mr. Chartwell unites the eminent statesman at the end of his career and the vulnerable young woman. But can they withstand Mr. Chartwell's strange, powerful charms and his stranglehold on their lives? Can they even explain who or what he is and why he has come to visit?
In this utterly original, moving, funny, and exuberant novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr. Chartwell's motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they at first seem.
Prepublication Reviews: "Taking a hard look at the demons that haunt people, Hunt's story is an clever illumination of the suffering of so many, their status on the social scale offering no protection." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Already published in Hunt's home country, Great Britain, this debut novel cleverly combines historical detail, a marvelously subtle sense of humor, and the wit of J.K. Rowling to give readers a quirky assortment of characters they can root for with abandon." - Library Journal
"A witty, intelligent curiosity of a novel - less a story, more a recipe for mental health presented in light fictional form." - Kirkus
"[A] marvellously original, tender and funny debut novel ... Rebecca Hunt proves herself to be a gifted writer who has no need of fictional realism to deliver profound truths." - The Daily Mail (UK)
"Extraordinary ... Owing to Hunt's robust, intelligent style and the ingenuity and compassion with which she deals with her story, [Mr. Chartwell] is very good indeed." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"A clever, entertaining, and deliciously literary novel that literally personifies Winston Churchill's 'black dog' of melancholy. It is dark comedy at its finest." - Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, in Entertainment Weekly
"A real joy to read: funny, clever and original. A darkly comic debut that hits all the right notes." - Scotsman
"Hunt's concept is intriguing, and she paints a vivid picture of the symptoms of depression." - Sunday Times (UK)
"Offers a powerful evocation of depression. Brilliantly original and thought-provoking. She tackles a serious topic with humour and intelligence and marks herself out as one to watch." - Sunday Express (UK)
"A remarkable debut. These are some of the best evocations of depression youll read." - Observer (UK)
"Powerful and original. Rebecca Hunt is a name to watch." - The Bookseller (UK)
Note: Rebecca Hunt graduated from Central Saint Martins College with a degree in fine art. She lives and works in London. Mr. Chartwell is her first novel.
The Matchmaker of Kenmare: A Novel by Frank Delaney
Publisher: Random House
Book Description: "And there's a legend - she had only vague details - that all couples who are meant to marry are connected by an invisible silver cord which is wrapped around their ankles at birth, and in time the matchmaking gods pull those cords tighter and tighter and draw the couple slowly toward one another until they meet." So says Miss Kate Begley, Matchmaker of Kenmare, the enigmatic woman Ben MacCarthy meets in the summer of 1943.
As World War II rages on, Ben remains haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his wife, the actress Venetia Kelly. Searching for purpose by collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission, he travels to a remote seaside cottage to profile the aforementioned Matchmaker of Kenmare.
Ben is immediately captivated by the forthright Miss Begley, who is remarkably self-assured in her instincts but provincial in her experience. Miss Begley is determined to see that Ben moves through his grief - and a powerful friendship is forged along the way.
But when Charles Miller, a striking American military intelligence officer, arrives on the scene, Miss Begley develops an intense infatuation and looks to make a match for herself. Miller needs a favor, but it will be dangerous. Under the cover of their neutrality as Irish citizens, Miss Begley and Ben travel to London and effectively operate as spies. As they are drawn more deeply and painfully into the conflict, both discover the perils of neutrality - in both love and war.
Prepublication Reviews: "Though the novel's leisurely pace is at odds with the wartime plot... Delaney wrings the pulp out of a Jack Higginslike premise and turns it into something more satisfyingly literary." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Delaney re-earns his reputation for total reader engagement with his latest deeply thought-out novel...As artillery guns fire overhead, hearts ache: a compelling combination." - Booklist
"One of the best fictional wartime couples animates veteran Delaney's darkly wistful novel." - Kirkus Reviews
Book Description: 1974, Wales. Thirteen-year-old Petra and her best friend, Sharon, are in love with David Cassidy and obsessed with The Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz, a contest whose winners will be flown to America to meet their teen idol. 1998, London. Petra is pushing forty and on the brink of divorce. While cleaning out her mother's closet, she finds a dusty letter - a letter her mother had intercepted - declaring her the winner of the contest she and Sharon had labored over with such agony and bliss. Twenty-four years later, twenty pounds heavier, the girls reunite for an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to meet their teen idol at last, middle age - theirs and his - be damned.
Poignant, hilarious, joyful, profoundly moving and uplifting, I Think I Love You captures what girls learn about love through the universal experience of worshipping a teen dream. It will resonate with readers everywhere.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. It's Pearson's insights into friendship, celebrity worship from the inside out, and the knocks you take in life that create a winning novel of hope, lost and found." - Publishers Weekly
"The Briticisms and cultural references can be hard for an American reader to understand at times. And while the second half is well paced, the first half drags a bit." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. Witty and engaging ... [I Think I Love You] skillfully captures the overwrought emotions of youth, as well as their more subtle but no less ardent adult counterparts. Big-hearted exploration of the bittersweet pleasures of unrequited love." - Kirkus
"Pearson is at her best in capturing the way teenage girls use their romantic obsessions with celebrities to work out their fears about real relationships with the opposite sex." - Booklist
Note: I Think I Love You includes an afterward featuring Pearson's interview with a 54-year-old David Cassidy!
Publisher: Akashic Books
Book Description: Michelle LeBeau, the child of a white American father and a Japanese mother, lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin--a small town that had been entirely white before her arrival. Rejected and bullied, Michelle spends her time reading, avoiding fights, and roaming the countryside with her dog Brett. She idolizes her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, an expert hunter and former minor league baseball player who is one of the town's most respected men. Charlie strongly disapproves of his son's marriage to Michelle's mother but dotes on his only grandchild.
This fragile peace is threatened when the expansion of the local clinic leads to the arrival of the Garretts, a young black couple from Chicago. The Garretts' presence deeply upsets most of the residents of Deerhorn--when Mr. Garrett makes a controversial accusation against one of the town leaders, who is also Charlie LeBeau's best friend.
In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, A River Runs Through It, and Snow Falling on Cedars, Revoyr's new novel examines the effects of change on a small, isolated town, the strengths and limits of community, and the sometimes conflicting loyalties of family and justice. Set in the expansive countryside of Central Wisconsin, against the backdrop of Vietnam and the post-civil rights era, Wingshooters explores both connection and loss as well as the complex but enduring bonds of family.
Prepublication Reviews: "Gripping and insightful." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starred Review. Revoyr writes rhapsodically of a young girl's enthrallment to the natural world and charts, with rising intensity, her resilient narrator's painful awakening to human failings and senseless violence...Revoyr drives to the very heart of tragic ignorance, unreason, and savagery." - Booklist
Note: Nina Revoyr is the author of three previous novels, The Necessary Hunger, Southland, and The Age of Dreaming. Southland was a Book Sense 76 pick, won the Lambda Literary Award, and was a Los Angeles Times "Best Book" of 2003. The Age of Dreaming was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Revoyr is currently a visiting professor at Pitzer College and vice president of a large non-profit children's organization. She lives in Los Angeles.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description: Carsten Jensen's debut novel has taken the world by storm. Already hailed in Europe as an instant classic, We, the Drowned is the story of the port town of Marstal, whose inhabitants have sailed the world's oceans aboard freight ships for centuries. Spanning over a hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War, and from the barren rocks of Newfoundland to the lush plantations of Samoa, from the roughest bars in Tasmania, to the frozen coasts of northern Russia, We, the Drowned spins a magnificent tale of love, war, and adventure, a tale of the men who go to sea and the women they leave behind.
Ships are wrecked at sea and blown up during wars, they are places of terror and violence, yet they continue to lure each generation of Marstal men - fathers and sons - away. Strong, resilient, women raise families alone and sometimes take history into their own hands. There are cannibals here, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, forbidden passions, cowards, heroes, devastating tragedies, and miraculous survivals; everything that a town like Marstal has actually experienced, and that makes We, the Drowned an unforgettable novel, destined to take its place among the greatest seafaring literature.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. By the time readers turn the final page, they will have come to intimately know this town and its sailors who tear out across an unforgiving sea." - Publishers Weekly
"Starting off slowly, Jensen's novel builds momentum and becomes quite thrilling and engaging on many levels ... It may not appeal to a large audience, but it won't disappoint those willing to make the effort." - Library Journal
"An elegant meditation on life, death and the ways of the sea." - Kirkus
"This is a great hamper of a novel, and some of what is packed into it for instance, the rogue ship laden with Melanesians as fodder for cannibals fits in only with difficulty alongside its more sober stories. That is possibly the point. Life is not tidy, just as seas can always turn wild, bringing the deaths their measurelessness symbolises. Every day gives us cause for fear and sorrow but, as on the celebratory one with which the novel concludes, we can defy them by 'dancing with the drowned' because 'they were us'." - The Independent (UK)
"There is brutality and sin galore: lashings, blood, guts, humiliations, betrayals and horrible death on practically every page. Yet the language is all you could hope for in a sea novel: sinewy and simple, often surprisingly beautiful, often full of tongue-in-cheek laughter." - The Times (UK)
"The Odyssey, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Moby-Dick, The Old Man and the Sea, Rites of Passage and now We, The Drowned. The canon of great seafaring literature just got bigger by a book." - The Scotsman
Note: As a boy in Marstal, Denmark, Carsten Jensen sailed on his fathers boat, a 220-ton freighter named the Abelone. In 2000, he returned to Marstal to write We, the Drowned (Vi, de druknede, 2007). He has also worked as a literary critic and a journalist, reporting from China, Cambodia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan.
We, the Drowned won Denmark's most important literary prize, while also being selected by readers of a major daily newspaper as the best Danish novel of the last twenty-five years. It was a bestseller throughout Scandinavia and in Germany, and has also been published in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France.
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Book Description: Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State's rugged Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience - it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town's founders circa 1890 and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.
An exposition on the effects of time, on how something said or done in one generation keeps echoing through all the years that follow, and how mistakes keep happening and people keep on trying to be strong and brave and, most important, just and right, West of Here harks back to the work of such masters of Americana as Bret Harte, Edna Ferber, and Larry McMurtry, writers whose fiction turned history into myth and myth into a nations shared experience. It is a bold novel by a writer destined to become a major force in American literature.
Prepublication Reviews: "Fans of Jess Walter and Jim Lynch will be thrilled to find another author whose love for the Pacific Northwest and its people shines through with humor and clarity." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. A big novel about the discovery and rediscovery of nature, starting over, and the sometimes piercing reverberations of history, this is a damn fine book." - Publishers Weekly
"Intelligent, insightful, poignant, funny, endlessly entertaining and perpetually thought-provoking, West of Here announces Evison as a major new voice in American fiction." - David Liss, author of Whiskey Rebels
"Evison bravely sets out to conquer big stories and big themes, and the result is a daring, gorgeously structured and deeply satisfying expedition of a novel." - James P. Othmer author of The Futurist
Note: Jonathan Evison is the author of All About Lulu, which won the Washington State Book Award. In 2009, he was the recipient of a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. He lives on an island in Western Washington.
Book Description: After foster-parenting four young siblings a decade ago, Summer Wood tried to imagine a place where kids who are left alone or taken from their families would find the love and the family they deserve. For her, fiction was the tool to realize that world, and Wrecker, the central character in her second novel, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in most unexpected ways.
It's June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker's birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she's in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he's shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he's scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.
For readers taken with the special boy at the center of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wrecker will be a welcome companion.
Reader Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 25 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Wood (who was inspired by her own fostering experiences) succeeds with surefooted prose; a lush, earthy California backdrop; and a sensitive story of nurturing and family." - Publishers Weekly
"Wood...moves her characters gracefully through trying times, both cultural and personal." - Kirkus
Summer Woods remarkable novel carves its way, sentence by gorgeous sentence, into the great complexity of love and family and community. Her dialogue is so natural and full we feel as though we are illicitly eavesdropping on these complex, flawed, and full-hearted characters." - Meredith Hall, author of Without a Map
"Wrecker is a wonderful portrait of a California long lost, but still alive here. Wrecker will wreck your heart and then put it back together again, with the big heart of a chosen family." - Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and Take One Candle Light a Room
Note: Summer Wood is also the author of Arroyo. In 2007 she was awarded the Literary Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation for her work on Wrecker. She teaches writing at the University of New Mexico's Taos Summer Writers' Conference, and in 2009 she directed the first annual NEA/Taos Big Read. She is currently the director of the Young Writers' Mentorship Program and has lived in Taos for the past twenty years.
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Book Description: A long-estranged family discovers that blood is thicker than water in this hilarious and moving domestic comedy.
It's been a couple of decades since Nick cast off his impossible, contentious, embarrassingly working-class parents: gruff, stingy, explosive Ken and June, who seemed to revert to a primal state of nature after a divorce that both of them managed to blame on Nick. Enjoying the life of the country gentleman that he's made for himself with impeccably turned-out Astrid and her teenage daughter, Laura, Nick has kept only the slenderest family connection to his brother, Dave, who's stuck with the role of ambassador in a family that's long settled into cold war.
But then Ken decides that the year of his death has arrived, and thus kicks off an ill-conceived quest to reunite his family before he meets his fate. Bringing to this tinderbox just the spark it needs, Louise Dean sends up the whole clan, each of them fatally flawed yet saved by hidden grace, and illuminates with her incomparable acuity their clashes of generation, gender, class, and temperament, in a riotous and compassionate conflagration.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Dean, with her superb ear for language and class nuance, gives readers the essence of contemporary British life in this touching and funny family portrait." - Publishers Weekly
"Dean mercilessly sends up the working class to hilarious effect even as she compassionately reveals, in fresh and vivid language, the primal desire to return home." - Booklist
"This novel's pitch perfect dialog, sparkling wit, and sharp observations of life, love and mortality make it a winner." - Library Journal
"The rural working-class British dialect may be difficult for American readers to comprehend, but the tartly sweet rewards are worth the challenge." - Kirkus
Book Description: No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view - that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."
Reader Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 20 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Colorful details of the expat life in Jazz Age Paris, combined with the evocative story of the Hemingways romance, result in a compelling story that will undoubtedly establish McLain as a writer of substance." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. An imaginative, elegantly written look inside the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson." - Kirkus
"The Paris Wife is mesmerizing. Hadley Hemingway's voice, lean and lyrical, kept me in my seat, unable to take my eyes and ears away from these young lovers. Paula McLain is a first-rate writer who creates a world you don't want to leave. I loved this book." - Nancy Horan, bestselling author of Loving Frank
"...[A] vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre...The historical figure cameos sometimes come across as gimmicky, but the heart of the story - Ernest and Hadley's relationship - gets an honest reckoning..." - Publishers Weekly
"After nearly a century, there is a reason that the Lost Generation and Paris in the 1920's still fascinate. It was a unique intersection of time and place, people and inspiration, romance and intrigue, betrayal and tragedy. The Paris Wife brings that era to life through the eyes of Hadley Richardson Hemingway, who steps out of the shadows as the first wife of Ernest, and into the reader's mind, as beautiful and as luminous as those extraordinary days in Paris after the Great War." - Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer and songwriter
"Despite all that has been written about Hemingway by others and by the man himself, the magic of The Paris Wife is that this Hemingway and this Paris, as imagined by Paula McLain, ring so true I felt as if I was eavesdropping on something new. As seen by the sure and steady eye of his first wife, Hadley, here is the spectacle of the man becoming the legend set against the bright jazzed heat of Paris in the 20s. As much about life and how we try and catch it as it is about love even as it vanishes, this is an utterly absorbing novel." - Sarah Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress
Note: Paula McLain was born in Fresno, CA in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of foster homes for the next 14 years. Eventually, she discovered she could - and wanted to - write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and since then has been a resident at Yaddo and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a much-praised memoir called Like Family (2003), and one previous and well-received novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her family. Visit her online at www.ParisWife.com
Book Description: Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.
Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? When the Killing's Done will offer no transparent answers, but like The Tortilla Curtain, Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Narrative propulsion is laced with delicious irony in this winning novel." - Kirkus
"Starred Review. Boyle's animating conflict is tense and nuanced, and his sleek prose yields a tale that is complex, thought-provoking, and darkly funny..." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. ...[Boyle] creates magnetic characters and high suspense, culminating in a piercing vision of our needy, confused, and destructive species thrashing about in the great web of life." - Booklist
"Whether we regard this work as environmental fiction or a philosophical treatise on land ethics, Boyle has delivered yet another quandary to ponder." - Library Journal
Publisher: Atria Books
Book Description: Fifty-year-old Marcy Taggarts life is in shambles. Two years ago, her twenty-one-year-old daughter, Devon, perished in a canoeing accident. Her body was never found in the icy waters of Georgian Bay, and as a result Marcy has never fully accepted her death. She continues to see the young womans face in crowds and has even stopped strangers on the street, certain she has finally discovered her long lost daughter.
Now in Ireland, on what was originally intended to be a celebration of her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary - if, that is, her husband had not left her for another woman - Marcy yet again thinks she sees her daughter, casually strolling past her on the sidewalk. So begins Marcys desperate search to find Devon, to find herself, and to find the disturbing truth that might, in the end, be her only salvation.
Now You See Her vividly displays Fieldings rare talent for creating the kind of tension, suspense, and compelling heroines readers crave. Riveting from start to finish, its one fans wont want to miss.
Prepublication Reviews: "Though some of the coincidences and developments stretch believability, Fielding succeeds in creating a winning heroine; indeed, Marcy's need for emotional release ends up being a more compelling plot driver than the unlikely craziness involving her charismatic new friends and the hunt for her daughter." - Publishers Weekly
"Despite Fieldings weakness at creating dialogue and her rote attempts to add local color and history, which read like theyve been cut and pasted from a Fodors guide, Marcy is one appealing character." - Booklist
Book Description: A masterwork from the famed Hungarian novelist Sándor Márai, Portraits of a Marriage is in fact a portrait of a triangle - three passionate, single-minded lovers fighting over the marriage at the center, each of them bearing the capacity to love irrationally to an irreparable degree.
A wealthy couple in bourgeois society, Peter and Ilona appear to enjoy a fine union. But each of them loves someone or something different. For Ilona, it is Peter. For Peter, it is their child but also the servant, Judit. And for Judit, it is her very future. The result is a vortex of love, sacrifice, and self-preservation from which there is no escape.
Set against the backdrop of Hungary between the wars, Portraits of a Marriage offers further "posthumous evidence of [Márais] neglected brilliance" (Chicago Tribune).
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Suffused with nostalgia and regret, the book evokes and examines both the nature of longing and the decline of a great empire." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. With this phenomenal novel, our conviction...is confirmed: he ranks as one of the twentieth centurys greatest novelists...Portraits of a Marriage is the last word on the effectiveness of the triple-voice technique. - Booklist
Note: Sándor Márai was born in Kassa, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1900, and died in San Diego, California, in 1989. He rose to fame as one of the leading literary novelists in Hungary in the 1930s. Profoundly antifascist, he survived the war, but persecution by the Communists drove him from the country in 1948, first to Italy, then to the United States.
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Book Description: Georgia Bottoms is known in her small community of Six Points, Alabama, as a beautiful, well-to-do, and devoutly Baptist Southern belle.
Nobody realizes that the family fortune has long since disappeared, and a determinedly single woman like Georgia needs an alternative, and discreet, means of income. In Georgia's case it is six well-heeled lovers - one for each day of the week, with Mondays off - none of whom knows about the others.
But when the married preacher who has been coming to call (Saturdays) decides to confess their affair in front of the whole congregation, Georgia must take drastic measures to stop him. In Georgia Bottoms, Mark Childress proves once again his unmistakable skill for combining the hilarious and the absurd to reveal the inner workings of the rebellious human heart.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Sharply observant, unrelentingly honest, and downright hilarious - and his Georgia peach is the freshest bad girl to rise from the South since Scarlett O'Hara." - Publishers Weekly
"Childress ... is a master of regional detail - his portrayal of shallow, narcissistic Georgia (she's annoyed that 9/11 derails her annual ladies' lunch) is an amusing tale of small-town naughtiness that should please most readers." - Library Journal
"Georgia Bottoms is one of my favorite characters in recent years, a lovingly drawn woman ... rich in charm and denial and insight ... This is Childress's best book yet." - Anne Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds
A sparkling novel ... Mark Childress once again proves himself the master of American comic fiction. Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
"Mark Childress has written yet another laugh-out-loud Southern classic ... Try to stop laughing." - Fannie Flagg, author of I Still Dream About You
Note: Mark Childress was born in Monroeville, Alabama. He is the author of six previous novels and three books for children. He has lived in Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, California, Costa Rica, and currently lives in Key West, Florida.
The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel by Amy Franklin-Willis
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Book Description: With enormous heart and dazzling agility, Amy Franklin-Willis expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working-class family. Driven by the soulful voices of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints of Tennessee journeys from the 1940s to 1980s as it follows Zekes evolution from anointed son, to honorable sibling, to unhinged middle-aged man.
After Zeke loses his twin brother in a mysterious drowning and his wife to divorce, only ghosts remain in his hometown of Clayton, Tennessee. Zeke makes the decision to leave town in a final attempt to escape his pain, throwing his two treasured possessions - a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and his dead brothers ancient dog - into his truck, and heads east. He leaves behind two young daughters and his estranged mother, who reveals her own conflicting view of the Cooper family story in a vulnerable but spirited voice stricken by guilt over old sins and clinging to the hope that her family isnt beyond repair.
When Zeke finds refuge with cousins in Virginia horse country, divine acts in the form of severe weather, illness, and a new romance collide, leading Zeke to a crossroads where he must decide the fate of his family.
"Starred Review. Poignant...Franklin-Willis plumbs the depths of family dynamics, compassionately depicting her characters as they struggle with situations over which they have no control." - Library Journal
"Franklin-Willis has endless compassion for her working-class southern characters...[An] uplifting story of one man's attempt to make a better life for himself and his family." - Booklist
"The gifted novelist, Amy Franklin-Willis, has written a riveting, hardscrabble book on the rough, hardscrabble south, which has rarely been written about with such grace and compassion. It reminded me of the time I read Dorothy Allison's classic, Bastard out of Carolina." - Pat Conroy
"The Lost Saints of Tennessee is a joy - a wonderful, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting story about the unbreakable bonds of brotherhood and the human will to survive. I was deeply moved by it and equally impressed." - Elizabeth George, author of the bestselling Inspector Lynley series
"Franklin-Willis has grace on the page." - Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina
"Amy Franklin-Willis has given us a first novel full of great love, pathos, and change. A rich and compelling tale of a large family and the complexities of the human spirit, you will not want to put The Lost Saints of Tennessee down. It is a completely satisfying read." - Jeanne Ray, author of Julie and Romeo and Eat Cake
Book Description: 1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge: they say Jerusalem is haunted by Mrs. Whichcote's ghost. Frank Oldershaw claims he saw her in the garden, where she drowned. Now he's under the care of a physician. Desperate to salvage her son's reputation and restore him to health, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts, an attack on the existence of ghostly phenomena. But his powers of reason have other challenges. Dreams of his dead wife and Elinor, the Master's wife, haunt him. At the heart of it all is the mystery of what happened to Sylvia Whichcote in the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. [A] sophisticated period puzzle, which takes an intriguing look at the age-old question of the reality of ghosts." - Publishers Weekly
"The engaging premise and the evocative setting are weighed down by the overstuffed plot, but fans of Rebecca Stotts leaner ghost-mystery Ghostwalk (2007) will want to give this one a try." - Booklist
"While the supernatural element is used more as a mechanism to weave the mystery rather than being the focus of the story, the result remains a successful piece of compelling suspense literature and sophisticated historical crime fiction." - Library Journal
Note: Andrew Taylor has won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award twice for The Office of the Deed and The American Boy.
Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer by Wesley Stace
Book Description: England, 1923. A gentleman critic named Leslie Shepherd tells the macabre story of a gifted young composer, Charles Jessold. On the eve of his revolutionary new operas premier, Jessold murders his wife and her lover, and then commits suicide in a scenario that strangely echoes the plot of his opera which Shepherd has helped to write. But as Shepherd renders the composers life from his neophyte years as a composer to his ultimate ghastly demise a shadow is soon cast on Shepherds role in the tragic events. This ambitiously intricate novel is set against a turbulent moment in music history, when atonal sounds first reverberated through the concert halls of Europe, just as the continent readied itself for war. What if Jessolds opera was not only a betrayal of Shepherd, but of England as well?
Wesley Stace has crafted a dazzling story of counter-melodies and counter-narratives that will keep you guessing to the end.
Reader Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 19 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Stace's versatility makes this one just about irresistible." - Kirkus
"Wesley Stace's tale of music and murder is a baroque intellectual thriller, wittily erudite and psychologically astute." - Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise
"This is one of the few novels I have read that is truly musical. Wesley Stace is a brilliant and intensely original writer and this is his most unusual book yet." - Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
"This clever, entertaining novel will appeal to music and opera buffs and literary-historical fiction fans." - Library Journal
"Stace (Misfortune) succinctly explores obsession and the relationship between art and life in this satisfying historical." - Publishers Weekly
Note: Educated at Cambridge, Wesley Stace (also known as John Wesley Harding) cut short his Ph.D. studies to pursue a music career. He has released 8 solo albums and toured as the opening act for The Mighty Lemon Drops, Michelle Shocked, and Bruce Springsteen. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
The Tudor Secret: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles by C. W. Gortner
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies.
Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king's brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth's protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.
A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and an audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.
Reader Rating: 4 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 43 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction." - Publishers Weekly
"An exciting, vividly rendered story of intrigue and espionage." - Booklist
"A brilliantly executed plot and three-dimensional characters ... this is historical fiction, and very well done at that; very highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review, Editors' Choice
"C.W. Gortner weaves a fast-moving tale of espionage and suspense ... The dazzling cast of characters includes the father of modern intelligence work, as well as one of England's greatest statesmen, and at its heart, the brilliant and enigmatic Elizabeth. Never have spy and counterspy been more challenged, villains more duplicitous, and life for those in power--or hoping to be--more dangerous. A haunting look at the velvet peril of Tudor England." - Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII
The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel by Michael David Lukas
Book Description: Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives who arrive just minutes before her birth. "They had read the signs, they said: a sea of horses, a conference of birds, the North Star in alignment with the moon. It was a prophecy that their last king had given on his deathwatch." But joy is mixed with tragedy, for Eleonora's mother dies soon after the birth.
Raised by her doting father, Yakob, a carpet merchant, and her stern, resentful stepmother, Ruxandra, Eleonora spends her early years daydreaming and doing houseworkuntil the moment she teaches herself to read, and her father recognizes that she is an extraordinarily gifted child, a prodigy.
When Yakob sets off by boat for Stamboul on business, eight-year-old Eleonora, unable to bear the separation, stows away in one of his trunks. On the shores of the Bosporus, in the house of her father's business partner, Moncef Bey, a new life awaits. Books, backgammon, beautiful dresses and shoes, markets swarming with color and lifethe imperial capital overflows with elegance, and mystery. For in the narrow streets of Stamboula city at the crossroads of the worldintrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. Eleonora's tutor, an American minister and educator, may be a spy. The kindly though elusive Moncef Bey has a past history of secret societies and political maneuvering. And what is to be made of the eccentric, charming Sultan Abdulhamid II himself, beleaguered by friend and foe alike as his unwieldy, multiethnic empire crumbles?
The Oracle of Stamboul is a marvelously evocative, magical historical novel that will transport readers to another time and placeromantic, exotic, yet remarkably similar to our own.
Prepublication Reviews: "The backdrop is nicely done, but Lukas can't quite get his characters to pop or the plot to click...it's well intentioned, but flatly executed." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review.The exotic sights and sounds of nineteenth-century Turkey spring vividly to life in Lukas promising debut." - Booklist
"This first novel by a promising young writer is both vivid historical fiction and a haunting fable." - Library Journal
"A lyrical debut A passionate novel that beautifully conveys the flavor of Turkish culture..." - Kirkus Reviews
"An enchanting, gorgeous read Lukas captures the scents and sounds, the vivid beauty, the subtle intrigue and simultaneous naivety, of the Ottoman Empire unaware of its imminent demise." - Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men are Gone
Note: Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary scholar in Tunisia. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, and his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. Lukas lives in Oakland, less than a mile from where he was born. When he isn't writing, he teaches creative writing to third- and fourth-graders.
Book Description: The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire ... but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.
Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Maries museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king's sister is so impressed that she requests Marie's presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse--even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than shes ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, theres whispered talk of revolution.... Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Certain to be a breakout book for Moran, this superbly written and plotted work is a welcome addition to historical fiction collections. The shocking actions and behavior required of Tussaud to survive the revolution make the novel a true page-turner and a perfect reading group choice." - Library Journal
"This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times." - Publishers Weekly
"Well-plotted...Mannered and elegant; reminiscent in many ways of novels of days long past, particularly the Baroness Orczy's swifter-paced Scarlet Pimpernel." - Kirkus
"Moran's latest is an excellent and entertaining novel steeped in the zeitgeist of the period. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review, Editors' Choice
"Madame Tussaud...is brought to life in this well-crafted, fast-paced novel by the talented Michelle Moran...Michelle Moran has done what few novelists have been successfully able to accomplish, and that is to depict the full range of the swift political changes that occurred in the few years from the fall of the Bastille to the beheading of the king. Madame Tussaud promises to be a breakout book for this talented writer - a novel that is both a gripping fictionalized biography of an intriguing woman and a well-paced, illuminating chronicle of the French Revolution." - New York Journal of Books
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: When eight-year-old Virginia "Sissy" Clemm meets her handsome cousin, Edgar Allan Poe, he seems the very image of the make-believe husband she conjures up in childhood games. Hes thirteen years her elder, but kind, soft-spoken, brooding, and handsome. Eddy floats in and out of her life as he fails his way through West Point and then the army. Each time he returns to Baltimore, their odd friendship grows, and her understanding of the moody, troubled writer deepens. As Sissy prepares for a career on the musical stage, her childhood crush turns to love. When she is 13, Eddy proposes marriage, swearing to care for her forever. Yet even child brides eventually grow up, and it's really Eddy who needs caring for, who leans on her. She gains his complete devotion, true -- yet also must endure his abrupt disappearances, strange moods, and the aftermath of alcoholic binges. Then, when she falls ill, Poes greatest fear that hell once again lose a woman he loves drives him both to near-madness, and to his greatest literary achievement.
This provocative novel explores the mysterious and confounding relationship between Poe and Sissy Clemm, his great love and constant companion. Lenore Hart, author of Becky, explores love, loss, the afterlife, and American literature's most haunted and demonized literary figure, by imagining the real, beating heart of the woman who loved and inspired him and whose absence ultimately destroyed him.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. This is an impressive, original work that illuminates its subject." - Publishers Weekly
"A supernatural element frames the narrative, providing readers a satisfactory conclusion to a tragic tale. Highly recommended for fans of the slightly spooky and historical." - Library Journal
Note: Lenore Hart's novels include Waterwoman, Ordinary Springs, The Treasure of Savage Island and Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Wilkes Univesity, and at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Cape Cod. She lives in Virginia with novelist David Poyer and their daughter, Naia.
Fire the Sky: Book Two of Contact: The Battle for America by W. Michael & Kathleen O'Neal Gear
Publisher: Gallery Books
Book Description: An itinerant trader and outcast from his tribe, Black Shell was swept into the Spirit World and returned a transformed man. Now, carrying his white-feathered trader's staff, he devotes his life to a sacred mission that only the tall, beautiful Pearl Hand - his lover, confidant and wife - truly understands. Black Shell has seen what the incomprehensibly violent, shining-armored invaders are capable of doing to his world and knows that if his people are to survive, he and his "Orphans," a small band of fierce warriors, must kill as many Kristianos as they can.
After being fought to a standstill by the courageous Apalachee Nation, de Soto has changed his tactics. He will employ promises of peace to accomplish what cannot be achieved by violence alone. Lured by a young man's tale of gold and aided by an arrogant princess's treachery, he makes his way through the beautiful southeastern landscape. One by one, the ancient Nations fall victim to his lies as rulers and commoners alike are tricked into enslavement. In spite of the price de Soto has placed on his head, Black Shell shadows the Kristiano advance and finds that his own legend precedes him. Some will heed Black Shell's strategies of sacrifice and deception. Others will ignore him - and suffer unspeakable horrors as a result.
In this moving, vivid portrait of a lost American civilization and a powerful love between a man and a woman, the Gears illuminate a little-understood time in our history, as this bloody conflict between two peoples hurtles toward an apocalyptic battle that may change the course of the war forever. ...
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Historical accuracy and deliberate parallels with present-day events lend additional drama to scenes of domesticity, politics, and battle." - Publishers Weekly
"The adept Gears embed a large amount of fascinating historical, anthropological, and cultural information into the narrative, illuminating another forgotten chapter in Native Americana as they leave readers eagerly anticipating the next episode in the compelling saga." - Booklist
Note: W. Michael and Kathleen O'Neal Gear have written 23 international bestsellers which have been translated into 21 languages. Their novel People of the Raven won the Golden Spur Award in 2005. Separately and together they have written over 40 books. In addition to writing both fiction and non-fiction, the Gears operate an anthropological research company called Wind River Archaeological Consultants, and raise buffalo on their ranch in northern Wyoming.
Book Description: A gripping novel of love and adventure on the high seas that introduces an unforgettable young heroine.
Growing up on the Bay of Fundy in the 1860s, Azuba Galloway is determined to escape the confines of her town and live at sea. When she captures the heart of Captain Nathaniel Bradstock, she is sure her dreams are about to be realized, only to have pregnancy intervene. But when Azuba becomes embroiled in a scandal, Nathaniel must bring his young family abroad to save his reputation. Azuba gets her wish, but at what price?
Alone in a male world, and juggling the splendor of foreign ports with the terror of the open seas, Azuba must fight to keep her family together. Blending the high-tension drama of missed chances and unexpected twists of the sort that made A Reliable Wife a bestseller with the pluck and spirit of a heroine in the vein of Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Sea Captain's Wife will captivate readers and critics alike.
Prepublication Reviews: "Powning deftly details life at sea, but the incidents she unfolds are unerringly bleak, making the reader feel adrift in the doldrums with no way out, and not until the end does happiness swell in Azuba's direction." - Publishers Weekly
"An exciting, adventurous story about a womans hidden strength." - Booklist
"This is a compelling historical novel with a strong female protagonist and an exciting plot. Sure to appeal to fans of women's historical fiction." - Library Journal
"Powning is an extraordinary writer. ... Her people are as real as personal friends, neighbours or compelling strangers. ... The writing rings true to its period without ever sounding like a device. ... The book is clearly thoroughly researched, yet never reads as written research but as lives fully and panoramically lived." - The Globe and Mail
Publisher: Free Press
Book Description: In nine strikingly perceptive stories set miles and decades apart, Laura Furman mines the intricate, elusive lives of mothers and daughters - and of women who long for someone to nurture. Meet Rachel, a young girl desperate for her mother's unbridled attention, knowing that soon shell have to face the world alone; Marian, a celebrated novelist who betrays the one person willing to take care of her as she is dying - her unclaimed "daughter"; and Dinah, a childless widow uplifted by the abandoned, century-old diaries of Mary Ann, a mother of eleven.
The Mother Who Stayed is an homage to the timeless, primal bond between mother and child and a testament that the relationships we cant define can be just as poignant, memorable, and inspiring as those determined by blood. Tender and insightful, Furman's stories also bravely confront darker realities of separation and regret, death and infidelity - even murder. Her vividly imagined characters and chiseled prose close the gap between generations of women as they share their wisdom almost in chorus: Although our lives will end, we must cherish the sanctity of each day and say, as did Mary Ann ages ago, "I done what I could."
Prepublication Reviews: "A nicely hewn collection of new stories...Furman's prose ambles sinuously, in unexpected directions, and has a quiet, sure effect." - Publishers Weekly
"Although time's passing and the losses it brings are prevailing themes, the stories are also suffused with a deep sense of what abides." - Booklist
"These are dazzling stories, deeply felt and elegantly written. As I read them, I kept thinking I was reading Alice Munro but, no, I was reading Laura Furman." - Lily Tuck, author of the National Book Award-winning The News from Paraguay
Note: Laura Furman was born in New York, and educated in New York City public schools and at Bennington College. Her first story appeared in The New Yorker in 1976, and since then her work has been published in many magazines, including Yale Review,Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Scholar,Preservation, House & Garden, and other magazines. Her books include three collections of short stories, two novels,and a memoir. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Dobie Paisano Project, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received grants in residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in 2009 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. She taught for many years in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Series editor of The PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories since 2002, Furman selects the twenty winning stories each year. She lives in Central Texas.
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Book Description: Geoff Ryman writes about the other and leaves us dissected in the process. His stories are set in recognizable places - London, Cambodia, tomorrow - and feature men and women caught in recognizable situations (or technologies) and not sure which way to turn. They, we, should obviously choose what's right. But what if that's difficult? What will we do? What we should, or ...?
Paradise Tales builds on the success of his most recent novel, The King's Last Song, and on the two Cambodian stories included here, "The Last Ten Years of the Hero Kai" and "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter."
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Often contemplative and subtly ironic...readers of all stripes will appreciate these thoughtful tales." - Publishers Weekly
Note: Geoff Ryman is the author of the novels The King's Last Song, Air (a Clarke and Tiptree Award winner), and The Unconquered Country (a World Fantasy Award winner). Canadian by birth, he has lived in Cambodia and Brazil and now teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester in England.
Book Description: What is death and how does it touch upon life? Twenty writers look for answers.
Birth is not inevitable. Life certainly isn't. The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death. In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, proposing a new way of punctuating dialogue in the face of a family history of heart attacks and decimation by the Holocaust; Mark Doty, whose reflections on the art-porn movie Bijou lead to a meditation on the intersection of sex and death epitomized by the AIDS epidemic; and Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about the loss of her husband and faces her own mortality. Other contributors include Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Peter Straub, and Brenda Hillman.
Prepublication Reviews: "Often poetic and at times funny or gruesome while exposing raw grief, the writers...tackle the subject of death with honesty and courage." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. A wonderfully speculative patchwork quilt on the meaning of life and death." - Kirkus Reviews
World Tree: Pitt Poetry Series by Professor David Wojahn
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Book Description:World Tree is in many respects, David Wojahns most ambitious collection to date; especially notable is a 25-poem sequence of ekphrastic poems, "Ochre," which is accompanied by a haunting series of drawings and photographs of Neolithic Art and anonymous turn of the last century snapshots.
Wojahn continues to explore the themes and approaches which he is known for, among them the junctures between the personal and political, a giddy mixing of high and pop culture references, and a deep emotional engagement with whatever material he is writing about.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Oscillating between epistles, nocturnes, homage, 'web prayers,' and ekphrastics, Wojahn demonstrates his formal mettle across a range of subjects as diverse as the poems they inhabit." - Publishers Weekly
Note: According to Wikipedia an ekphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic description of a visual work of art.
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Book Description: The poems in Nikky Finney's breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina.
Finney's poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother's wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president's final State of the Union address.
Artful and intense, Finney's poems ask us to be mindful of what we fraction, fragment, cut off, dice, dishonor, or throw away, powerfully evoking both the lawless and the sublime.
Prepublication Reviews: " [Finney] earns her withering assessment of others by turning her sharp gaze toward herself, too." - The Washington Post, Elizabeth Lund
"This fourth collection from Finney should prove hard to forget. Against other black poets' interest in congregations, Finney is drawn to defiant individualists, to black women who let no one tell them what to do. Several long sequences animate, or answer, public figures, from Rosa Parks to Strom Thurmond to President George W. Bush and Bush adviser Condoleezza Rice..." - Publishers Weekly
"Nikky Finney has been a fine poet much too long to say that this latest treasure is her promise coming into being. She exploded with so much talent with On Wings Made of Gauze and beautifully matured with Rice, yet Head Off & Split takes the promise of youth with the control of adulthood to bring her greatest exploration. Honest, searing, searching. We all, especially now, need this book of poems; we all, especially now, need this poet." - Nikki Giovanni, author of Bicycles
"Nikky Finney takes the reader to a wonderfully alive world where the musical possibilities of language overflow with surprise and innovation. Finney has an ear to go along with the wild-ness of her imagination, which sweeps through history like a pair of wings. Her carefully modulated free verse is always purposeful in its desire to move the reader in a way that allows us intimate access to necessary observations about ourselves. These poems, in other words, have the power to save us." - Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us
"With Head Off & Split, Nikky Finney establishes herself as one of the most eloquent, urgent, fearless and necessary poets writing in America today. What makes this book as important as anything published in the last decade is the irresistible music, the formal dexterity and the imaginative leaps she makes with metaphor and language in these simply stunning poems. This is a very, very important achievement." - Kwame Dawes, author of Hope's Hospice
Note: Nikky Finney was born at the rim of the Atlantic Ocean, in South Carolina, in 1957. The daughter of activists and educators, she began writing in the midst of the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. With these instrumental eras circling her, Finney's work provides first-person literary accounts to some of the most important events in American history.
In 1985, and at the age of 26, Finney's debut collection of poetry, On Wings Made of Gauze, was published by William Morrow (a division of HaperCollins). Finney's next full-length collection of poetry and portraits, RICE (Sister Vision Press, 1995), was awarded the PEN America-Open Book Award, which was followed by a collection of short stories entitled Heartwood (University Press of Kentucky, 1998). Her next full-length poetry collection, The World Is Round (Inner Light Books, 2003) was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award sponsored by the Independent Booksellers Association. In 2007, Finney edited the anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press/Cave Canem), which has become an essential compilation of contemporary African American writers. Her fourth full-length collection of poetry, Head Off & Split, is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press (2011).
Finney and her work have been featured on Russell Simmons DEF Poetry (HBO series), renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson's feature The Meaning of Food (a PBS production) and National Public Radio. Her work has been praised by Walter Mosley, Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Naylor and the late CBS/60 Minutes news anchor Ed Bradley. Finney has held distinguished posts at Berea College as the Goode Chair in the Humanities and Smith College as the Grace Hazard Conklin Writer-in-Residence.
Finney is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University Kentucky. She is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.
Publisher: University of California Press
Book Description: Srikanth Reddy's second book of poetry probes this world's cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. Drawing its name from the spacecraft currently departing our solar system on an embassy to the beyond, Voyager unfolds as three books within a book and culminates in a chilling Dantean allegory of leadership and its failure in the cause of humanity. At the heart of this volume lies the historical figure of Kurt Waldheim--Secretary-General of the U.N. from 1972-81 and former intelligence officer in Hitler's Wehrmacht--who once served as a spokesman for humanity while remaining silent about his role in the collective atrocities of our era. Resurrecting this complex figure, Reddy's universal voyager explores the garden of forking paths hidden within every totalizing dream of identity.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. [A] highly ambitious book of political poetry that speaks hauntingly of our world." - Publishers Weekly
"Reddy's book of nuanced yet piercing inquiries into matters of conscience and ambition, truth and power, peace and war emulates its astonishing namesake, arcing across time and space to cast light on mysteries of cosmic significance." - Booklist
"Through Reddy's 'erasures' and the negative capabilities of his excavated text we feel, even if we cannot see, what's missing, what's gone--into outer space, into self-denial, into the ironies of history and of the role between the wielders of pens and of swords. We find ourselves--culpable, impressionable, alive--in the human space he has created." - Chronicle of Higher Education
Note: Srikanth Reddy is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago and the author of a previous collection of poetry, Facts for Visitors.
Shot Through Velvet: A Crime of Fashion Mystery by Ellen Byerrum
Publisher: Signet Classics
Book Description: Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian is touring a failing velvet factory in Virginia on its final day of operations - and finds one of the factory owners dead, lashed to a spool of velvet and soaked in blue dye. The workers are delighted, since they blamed the "Blue Devil" for killing their jobs.
But when another nickname, the "Velvet Avenger", makes the rounds, and ribbons of blue velvet start popping up, it could be more than Lacey's job at stake - it could be her life...
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A serious look at the decline of the U.S. textile and newspaper industries provides much food for thought." - Publishers Weekly
Note: This is the seventh Crime of Fashion mystery starring Washington, D.C., fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian.
Book Description: Tai Randolph thinks inheriting a Confederate-themed gun shop is her biggest headache - until she finds a murdered corpse in her brother's driveway. Even worse, her supposedly respectable brother begins behaving in decidedly non-innocent ways, like fleeing to the Bahamas and leaving her with both a homicide in her lap and the pointed suspicions of the Atlanta PD directed her way. Suddenly, she has to worry about clearing her own name, not just that of her wayward sibling.
Complicating her search for answers is Trey Seaver, field agent for Phoenix, an exclusive corporate security firm hired to investigate the crime. Trey is fearless, focused, and - much to Tai's dismay - utterly impervious to bribes, threats and clever deceptions. Still in recovery from the car accident that left him cognitively and emotionally damaged, Trey has constructed a world of certainty and routine. He has powerful people to answer to, and the last thing he wants is an unpredictable stranger "detecting" on Phoenix turf.
Tai's inquiry leads her from the cold-eyed glamour of Atlanta's adult entertainment scene to the gilded treachery of Tuxedo Road. Potential suspects abound, including violent stalkers, vengeful sisters, and a paparazzo with a taste for meth. But it takes another murder - and threats to her own life - to make Tai realize that to solve this crime, she has to trust the most dangerous man she's ever met.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Mystery fans will welcome wisecracking characters that aren't trite and a twisting plot that isn't tired." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. In this exciting series debut, Whittle provides not only an original, well-constructed plot but also a cast of unforgettable characters all somewhat flawed by life." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. Tai's next adventure cant come soon enough. She's adorable, Trey is worthy of her and Whittle's first foray into crime fiction is noteworthy." - Kirkus Reviews
Note: Tina Whittle is a mystery writer working in Statesboro, Georgia. Her short fiction has appeared in The Savannah Literary Journal, Alfred Hitchcocks Mystery Magazine, and Gulf Stream, which selected her story "Lost Causes and Other Reasons to Live" as the 2004 winner of their Mystery Fiction contest. She is a columnist and feature writer for The 11th Hour, a local alternative newspaper, and also works as a professional tarot reader.
A Decadent Way To Die: A Savannah Reid Mystery by G. A. McKevett
Book Description: Plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid prides herself on cracking even the toughest cases. But her latest investigation is leaving her hungry for answers as she tries to unmask the identity of a cunning, would-be killer. His prey? A famous octogenarian with a fortune in the bank and a target on her back. . .
As the creator of the world-famous Helene doll, legendary designer Helene Strauss is equally well-known for her exquisite taste and her brassy, take-no-prisoners style. While Helene's business acumen made her a huge success, it also made her a quite a few enemies. So when the feisty 80-year-old has several suspicious brushes with death, Savannah Reid is hired to find out why.
Once on the case, Savannah quickly learns that tensions within the Strauss family have been raging for years. To Helene's chagrin, her niece and arch nemesis, Ava, has managed to claw her way to the helm of the family doll company, steering the business in a seedy new direction. Their latest creation--a sexy fashion doll replete with oversized lips and an over-the-top boob job--has Helene particularly rankled. . .leaving Savannah to wonder if the family ties that bind the Strauss' are tight enough to kill.
With the help of her friend, Detective Dirk Coulter, Savannah discovers that Ava isn't the only one with a motive to do Helene harm. In fact, the Strauss matriarch seems to be surrounded by friends and family bent on inheriting her fortune by any means necessary. Before long, Savannah is sure she has a handle on the case. But when two key players turn up dead in Helene's sizzling hot Jacuzzi, Savannah will have to start from scratch--and question everything she thought she knew about the Strauss's twisted family tree. . .
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. In addition to a delightfully surprising happy ending, McKevett supplies an author's note about domestic abuse with a list of helpful resources and contact information for those who may be victims of such abuse." - Publisher Weekly
"Starred Review. Unsuspecting readers will need tissues on hand ... fans of Diane Mott Davidson will appreciate this one." - Library Journal
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Book Description: Winner of the prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel the equivalent of the National Book Award.
Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko's next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.
When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko's manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there's something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.
Reader Rating: 4 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 23 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. In this brutally laconic translation, cold logic battles warm hearts throughout this elegant proof of the wages of sin, in which everyone suffers and no one can ever win!" - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. this literary psychological thriller is a subtle and shifting murder mystery. It will make readers redefine devotion and trust in an otherwise complete stranger." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. The Devotion of Suspect X will make readers redefine devotion and trust in an otherwise complete stranger." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. This character-driven mystery by the prolific Higashino has much to recommend it, including a droll Columbo-like sleuth and a great surprise ending." - Kirkus Reviews
"What's in an alibi? In The Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino weaves a web of intellectual gamesmanship in which the truth is a weapon that leads both police and readers astray. The ingenious conclusion is so unexpected that is difficult to imagine anyone seeing it coming. Smart, smart characters." - Jacqueline Winspear, New York Times bestselling author of Maisie Dobbs Mystery series, including The Mapping of Love and Death
"The Devotion of Suspect X has all the brilliant intricacy of the best Golden Age mysteries - puzzle within puzzle, twist after twist - with a modern sensibility. It is a wonderful, fresh take on the classic mystery's intellectual struggle between protagonist and antagonist, adds to it all the right amounts of tension and pacing, places it in a fascinating setting, and gives of all of this plenty of heart - enough to make me hope we haven't seen the last of Yukawa and Kusanagi." - Jan Burke, New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author of Kidnapped and Bones
"Japanese crime writers excel at many things: one is the slow tightening of the noose that's at the fast-pounding heart of the police procedural. The Devotion of Suspect X is a terrific book in that tradition and it's about time American readers got a crack at it." - SJ Rozan, Edgar Award winning author of On the Line
"The Devotion of Suspect X is elegant and spare and gripping and vivid. Most of all, however,
it is deeply moving, and this is what sets it apart!" - Jesse Kellerman, bestselling author of Trouble and The Executor
"Irresistible! A mind-twisting story that will have readers plunging in to try to solve the crime before
the math genius, the physics professor, or the cop get there first." - Nancy Pickard, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning and The Virgin of Small Plains
Note: About the Author
Born in Osaka and currently living in Tokyo, Keigo Higashino is one of the most widely known and bestselling novelists in Japan. He is the winner of the Edogawa Rampo Prize (for best mystery), the Mystery Writers of Japan, Inc. Prize (for best mystery) among others. His novels are translated widely throughout Asia. This is his first major English publication.
About the Translator
Alexander O. Smith has translated a broad variety of novels, manga, and video games, for which he has been nominated for the Eisner Award, and won the ALA's Batchelder Award (for his translation of Miyuki Miyabes Brave Story). He lives with his family in Vermont.
Though Not Dead: A Kate Shugak Novel by Dana Stabenow
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Book Description: In the newest entry in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series, Kate and the rest of the Park rats are stunned by the death of Old Sam, Kates eighty-seven-year-old uncle and foster father. In his will, he leaves almost everything to Kate, including a homestead deep in gold mining country that no one knew he had and a letter that reads simply, Find my father.
Easier said than done, since Sam's father is something of a mystery: an outsider who disappeared shortly after learning about Sam's existence, he took with him a priceless tribal artifact, a Russian icon. During the first three days of Kate's search, she gets shot at, whacked in the head, and run off the road in deep snow and left for dead.
Interspersed with flashbacks from Sams fascinating life, including scenes from major events in Alaskan history, Kate does her best to fulfill Sams last wish - as various people follow her every move, in search of the icon, Old Sams gold, or possibly some other secret remnant of his long, mysterious life.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Kate is at her butt-kicking best as she and Mutt, her inseparable half-wolf, half-husky companion, deal with murder, theft, and deception." - Publishers Weekly
"Though longer than many of Stabenow's previous books, this one holds readers' interest with fascinating tidbits of Alaskan history from 1918 to 1965 as seen through Old Sam's eyes." - Library Jounral
"Starred Review. A standout entry in a consistently good series, though best appreciated by readers who have met Shugak already." - Booklist
Publisher: Putnam Books
Book Description: In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation.
Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic, centuries-old mystery, and discovered his own role in the life of this remote town.
Prepublication Reviews: "This is a staunchly old-fashioned story, taking fully 100 pages to get moving, and by the time things pick up, the gist of the narrative will be obvious ... a gruel-thin story." - Publishers Weekly
"Evocative, atmospheric, and mysterious, Mosses ghostly tale is the perfect diversion for a chilly winter day." - Booklist
"Although Mosse's third novel isn't spooky enough to recommend to die-hard ghost story fans, finely drawn characters and an evocative setting make this a fine choice for lovers of historical and literary fiction." - Library Journal
"Mosse's prose has a gossamer quality well suited to the fantasy she spins." - Kirkus Reviews
"She plays a very simple, formulaic trick to bring the lives and remotely terrible deaths of ancient Pyrenean people very close to 21st-century English folk. And one is left feeling genuinely haunted as though one of Mosses 13th-century peasants might at any moment pass through your house and casually remind you youve left the lid off the pickle." - The Telegraph (UK)
"The satisfying trademarks of Mosse's fiction are all in place in this romantic ghost story..." - The Guardian (UK)
"The Winter Ghosts, which began life as a novella for the Quick Reads campaign to encourage adult literacy, sees Mosse engaged in a more succinct mode of storytelling. This works particularly well in the opening chapters [but when] Mosse's interest in spirits, rather than spirituality, takes the upper hand that the link between the fallen of the Somme and long-ago heretics starts to feel a little far-fetched." - The Independent (UK)
Note: Kate Mosse is the author of the New York Times bestselling Labyrinth and Sepulchre and the cofounder and honorary director of the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in England and France.
A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Book Description: Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishops Lacey - mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard.
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse - that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luces drawing room.
Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession - a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?
As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Outstanding...[a] marvelous blend of whimsy and mystery." - Publishers Weekly
"Whether battling with her odious sisters or verbally sparing with the long-suffering Inspector Hewitt, our cheeky heroine is a delight. Full of pithy dialog and colorful characters." - Library Journal
The Highly Effective Detective Crosses the Line: Teddy Ruzak mystery series #4 by Richard Yancey
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Book Description: In this fourth installment of the Teddy Ruzak mystery series, our earnest detective is faced with an impossible dilemma when a vicious psychopath targets his beloved Gal Friday. Can he save her without sacrificing everything he believes in?
Prepublication Reviews: "Less than successful...the ending makes it unclear what direction the next installment will take, but despite the dip in quality, fans will want to see more of Ruzak." - Publishers Weekly
"Readers of the previous three series entries will note that Yancey continues to develop Teddys character and his various neuroses and compulsions; readers new to the Ruzak novels will have a great time and be eager for more." - Booklist
"Teddy continues to grow and deepen as he charts a developmental path like no other in the genre. - Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Book Description: November in the West Country. Evening is closing in as murder detective Jack Caffery arrives to interview the victim of a car-jacking. He's dealt with routine car-thefts before, but this one is different. This car was taken by force. And on the back seat was a passenger. An eleven-year-old girl. Who is still missing.Before long the jacker starts to communicate with the police: 'It's started,' he tells them. 'Andit ain't going to stop just sudden, is it?' And Caffery knows that hes going to do it again. Soon the jacker will choose another car with another child on the back seat.Caffery's a good and instinctive cop; the best in the business, some say. But this time he knows something's badly wrong. Because the jacker seems to be ahead of the police every step of the way
Prepublication Reviews: "Hayder expertly brings to life the claustrophobia of Flea's dives and the emotional burden of the case on Jack." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. The meticulously crafted plot is heightened by Hayders skillful evocation of mood as she summons the specter of a highly intelligent criminal who is taking great satisfaction from every parents worst nightmare. A captivating thriller." - Booklist
"Readers who can tolerate some graphic descriptions of violence (or skim past them) will be rewarded with a complex, fast-paced, well-written mystery with interesting characters fighting personal and external demons." - Library Journal
"First-rate mystery that takes full advantage of the wintry, moonlit West Country and the unusual skills of its lady diver." - Kirkus Reviews
Fatal Error: An Alison Reynolds Novel by J.A. Jance
Book Description: New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance delivers another pulse-pounding tale of suspense where no one is safe from a ...Fatal Error.
Ali Reynolds begins the summer thinking her most difficult challenge will be surviving a six-week- long course as the lone forty-something female at the Arizona Police Academy - not to mention taking over the 6:00 AM shift at her family's restaurant while her parents enjoy a long overdue Caribbean cruise. However, when Brenda Riley, a colleague from Ali's old news broadcasting days in California, shows up in town with an alcohol problem and an unlikely story about a missing fiancé, Ali reluctantly agrees to help.
The man posing as Brendas fiancé is revealed to be Richard Lowensdale, a cyber-sociopath who has left a trail of broken hearts in his virtual wake. When he is viciously murdered, the women he once victimized are considered suspects. The police soon focus their investigation on Brenda, who is already known to have broken into Richard's home and computer before vanishing without a trace. Attempting to clear her friend's name, Ali is quickly drawn into a web of online intrigue that may lead to a real-world fatal error.
Prepublication Reviews: "Spread over several months, the plot never stalls and leads to a logical and exciting finale." - Publishers Weekly
"This sixth outing in the series (after Trial by Fire, 2009) offers an entertaining mix of sleuthing and human relationships." - Booklist
"Formulaic, but as always main character Ali manages to disarm." - Kirkus Reviews
Heaven Is High: A Barbara Holloway Novel by Kate Wilhelm
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Book Description: Barbara Holloway is a low-key attorney in Eugene, Oregon who left her father's high powered firm to handle small legal problems for local residents and ponder her own next move. But while trying to sort out her own future, two people, desperate for help, show up on her doorstep: former pro football player Martin Owens and his wife Binnie. Binnie, who is mute, met her husband when she snuck aboard his boat while it was docked in Haiti and smuggled herself into the U. S.
Now Immigration is seeking to deport her back to Haiti, which would be a death sentence. Born to a woman from Belize who was kidnapped and enslaved by pirates, Binnies only hope is to prove her and her mothers real identity. With only days to find the truth and protect Binnie, Holloway sets off for Belize. But what she knows is only the tip of the iceberg in what turns out to be one of her most complex, compelling and dangerous cases yet.
Prepublication Reviews: "[A] solid 12th legal thriller...in spite of this far-fetched scenario, Wilhelm manages to keep everything on course." - Publishers Weekly
"This volume, given its change in setting and freestanding plot, stands alone in the long-running Barbara Holloway series, which means new readers can easily dive in and enjoy a complex story." - Booklist
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Book Description: Phil Hunt is in deep trouble.
Hunt is on the run from two men: Drake, the deputy sheriff who intends to catch him, and Grady, the vicious hitman who means to kill him.
For twenty years Hunt has lived in Washington State, raising horses with his wife on his small farm. He's tried to stay out of trouble, wanting only to make a living and taking the occasional illicit job in order to do so.
Then his last delivery goes horribly wrong, and the chase is on from the mountains down into the Puget lowlands. To have any chance of rescuing his quiet life, Hunt will have to deal with deputy sheriff Bobby Drake, a good man determined to make up for his father's tainted legacy and Grady Fisher, a very bad man intent on making a name for himself in the most violent ways. With a fondness for blood, Grady takes pleasure in the use of knives, taking Hunt's life apart piece by piece, all the while leaving a trail of victims across the state.
Relentless and gorgeously written, with original characters and a vividly powerful sense of place, The Terror of Living heralds the arrival of a writer who will be compared with the great suspense novelists.
Prepublication Reviews: "Waite eloquently depicts men in turmoil for whom the choice isn't necessarily between right and wrong but where to draw the line." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. . In a blood-spattered chase that winds from the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington to Seattle and back again, first-novelist Waite never eases the throttle, but even at high speed, its the interplay between the characters that gives the novel its power. An outstanding debut." - Booklist
"Parts of the book are somewhat obvious. But the meticulously calibrated prose, rushing narrative and sympathetic protagonists mark Waite as a rewarding, promising writer." - Kirkus
"A hell of a good novel, relentlessly paced and beautifully narrated. There's just no let-up. An auspicious debut." - Stephen King
"The Terror of Living opens with gentle beauty, calm before a bloody storm, before building intensity with swift, jarring, and confident storytelling power. A fine debut from a writer of obvious and substantial talents. Readers - including this one - will certainly be following Urban Waite for years to come." - Michael Koryta, author of So Cold the River
"In the tradition of No Country for Old Men, Urban Waite has written a nail-biter that takes off from the get-go and never stops, a book chock full of memorable characters and kick-ass writing. Clear your calendar before reading this one, folks, because once you start there's no stopping until the end, which arrived much too quickly for this reader. A smashing debut." - Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Note: Urban Waite, 30 years old, grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He went on to study writing at Western Washington University and Emerson College and now lives in Seattle with his wife.
Publisher: William Morrow
Book Description: Ex-FBI Steve Vail is visiting Kate Bannon, the Assistant Director at the FBI, for what he thinks is a well-earned and romantic New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C., when he quickly finds himself knee-deep in a very complicated and unusual case.
A man known simply as Calculus, an intelligence officer at the Russian embassy, has approached the FBI claiming he has a list naming several Americans who are supplying confidential information to the Russian secret service. All he asks in exchange for the list is a quarter of a million dollars for each traitor the FBI nabs. But then Calculus informs the FBI that he's been suddenly recalled to Moscow, and the Bureau suspects the worst: the Russians are onto Calculus, probably have access to his list, and will be targeting the traitors soon unless the FBI can find them first.
The FBI knows they have to find Calculus and everyone on the list before the Russians do, but, without knowing exactly who is on the list, they also have to keep the operation quiet. Only one man can do the job: rogue, ex-agent Steve Vail. But finding Calculus and his list of turncoats isn't going to be easy. In fact, it's going to be downright deadly.
Reader Rating: 4.1 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 23 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "In the course of a long and convoluted plot, Boyd, a former FBI agent, offers little about the inner workings of the agency or its investigative techniques." - Publishers Weekly
"Not as strong as The Bricklayer, but fans wont want to give up on the series yet." - Booklist
"A three-ring carnival of counter-espionage, game-playing and summary justice whose many beautifully choreographed action sequences will make you forget how obvious its premise is, and how absurd its details" - Kirkus Reviews
Note: Noah Boyd is a former FBI agent who spent more than twenty years working on some of the Bureau's toughest investigations, including the Green River Killer case and the Highland Park Strangler case (which he's credited with solving). He currently works on cold cases when he's not writing. He lives in New England.
The Secret Soldier: A John Wells Novel by Alex Berenson
Publisher: Putnam Books
Book Description: John Wells may have left the CIA, but it hasn't left him. A mysterious call brings a surprise meeting with the aged monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah. "My kingdom is on a precipice," he tells Wells. "Powerful factions are plotting against me, and my own family is in danger. I don't know who I can trust, but I'm told I can trust you."
Reluctantly, and with the secret blessing of the CIA, Wells goes undercover; but the more he learns, the more complicated things become, and soon he, too, is unsure whom to trust, in Saudi Arabia or Washington. One thing, however, is clear: If the conspirators prevail, it will mean more than the fall of a monarch - it may be the beginning of the final conflagration between America and Islam.
Prepublication Reviews: "The plot unfolds along predictable lines in a story arc that Tom Clancy readers or viewers of TV's 24 will find old hat." - Publishers Weekly
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Book Description: Richard Kilmer is in love, and after proposing to Jennifer Ryan, she takes him on a drive up to Kendrick Falls. Rumor has is that no man has ever gone to the falls with Jen and come back the same, and Richard is no exception. Halfway up the mountain, Richard loses control of his car, and it rolls. Richard is shaken, but Jen is gone, completely missing. He can't find her, and neither can the police once they're on the scene. In fact, no one in Richard's life will even confirm Jen's existence. But where could she have gone?
Has Richard lost his mind or is someone else behind it all? David Rosenfelt's stunning new thriller about an ordinary man who is forced to play a terrible game will have readers holding on tight.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. ...may strike some as contrived, but all will marvel at the way Rosenfelt builds suspense while keeping the plot line from veering too far into the kooky and hokey." - Publishers Weekly
"[A]long the way to a solution, a couple of significant holes in the storys infrastructure appear. Never mind. The novel still works a spooky turn on the old chestnut, and readers will enjoy being mystified one more time." - Booklist
"Starred Review. This bald plot summary fails to do justice to Rosenfelt's skill at throwing one baffling curve ball after another in a gripping thriller driven by questions of identity, the reliability of memory, and the difficulty of distinguishing between reality and fantasy. " - Library Journal
"Starred Review. The creator of dog-loving attorney Andy Carpenter serves up another stand-alone with an absolutely irresistible hook." - Kirkus
Book Description: On the eve of Hitler's Olympics, Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner, a half Jew, has been forced out of the Kriminalpolizei. Luckily, Hoffner's focus is elsewhere. His son Georg is missing in Spain, swept up in the sudden outbreak of the civil war. He has already lost Sascha, his elder son, who is fully entrenched in the Nazi regime. But Georg is not what he appears to be, and when Hoffner discovers this, he is determined to save the one son he can.
The Second Son is the eagerly awaited final installment in Jonathan Rabb's Berlin trilogy, set between the two world wars. In Harpers Magazine, John Leonard called the first, Rosa, "a ghostly noir that could have been conspired at by Raymond Chandler and André Malraux." The second, Shadow and Light (2009), garnered rave reviews - in The Washington Post, Wendy Smith praised its "atmosphere" and "brilliantly plotted narrative." Now, nearly ten years after the events of Shadow and Light, Hoffner finds himself tossed into the chaos that is Spain - where he quickly meets anarchists, Soviet and British secret agents, and a female doctor called Mila Pera - as he follows a trail of clues left by Georg.
Prepublication Reviews: "Rabb's gripping conclusion to his Berlin noir trilogy...fans of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr will be rewarded." - Publishers Weekly
"The best-selling success of Furst and Kerr has shown there is an audience for 1930s noir novels, and Rabb's well-written historical thriller will not disappoint." - Library Journal
"The well-researched Civil War details elbow aside the family drama, to the novel's detriment." - Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: On the night of the State of the Union address, President Max Hilliard expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself "Genesis" has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building.
No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its developmenta team headed by Hilliard, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Hilliard offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.
Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitolevery person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the "Designated Survivor" for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments and time is running out.
Prepublication Reviews: "Readers with a low tolerance for the hyperbolic are advised to give this one a pass." - Publishers Weekly
Note: Michael Palmer is the author of fourteen previous novels of medical suspense, all international bestsellers. In addition to his writing, Palmer is an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lives in eastern Massachusetts.
Publisher: Atria Books
Book Description: A journalist is murdered in the frozen white landscape of a northern Swedish town. Annika Bengtzon, a reporter at a Stockholm-based tabloid, was planning to interview him about a long-ago attack against an isolated air base nearby, and now she suspects that his death is linked to that attack.
Against the explicit orders of her boss, she begins to investigate the event, which is soon followed by a series of shocking murders. Annika knows the murders are connected. At the same time, she begins to suspect that her husband is hiding something, and nothing can counteract the loneliness that has crept into her life.
Behind everything lurks the figure of the Red Wolf, a cold-blooded killer with the soul of a lover. In the end, she must discover the truth not only about the murders but also about the lies that are destroying her own family.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Superb...[Marklund] imbues Annika with a fierce intensity without sacrificing her vulnerability." - Publishers Weekly
"This excellent addition to the Nordic crime scene will also appeal to readers who enjoyed her outing this summer with James Patterson in The Postcard Killers." - Library Journal
"Things get too talky down the home stretch. Still, this is a solid thriller from a Swedish novelist looking for a breakout in the United States." - Kirkus Reviews
Note: Liza Marklund is an author, journalist, columnist, and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She is also the co-owner of the publishing house Piratf Örlaget. Since her debut in 1995, Liza Marklund has written ten novels and one nonfiction book. Her crime novels featuring the gutsy reporter Annika Bengtzon instantly became an international hit, and Marklund's books have sold 9 million copies in 30 languages to date. Today, Liza Marklund lives in Marbella in southern Spain with her family.
This is the fifth volume in Marklund's series, which a bestsellers in a number of markets, but it is the first one to be published in the USA:
Series Order to Date Paradise (2000) The Bomber (2001) Prime Time (2002) Studio Sex,
aka Studio 69 (2002)
Red Wolf (2003) Exposed (2011)
Night Vision: A Doc Ford Book #18 by Randy Wayne White
Publisher: Putnam Books
Book Description: A lot is going on in the trailer park known as Little Guadalajara, inhabited principally by illegal laborers. The park manager is the hired gun of a financial syndicate that wants to develop the property, and he's prepared to do whatever it takes - but he can't figure out what to do about the teenage girl, the one the laborers believe has some sort of gift.
When she witnesses him killing a man, though, and runs, there's nothing left to figure: He's got to find her fast and shut her up good. Her only hope for survival: a marine biologist (and sometimes more) named Doc Ford, who along with his friend Tomlinson, must undertake a search through an underground, invisible nation...and just hope he reaches her first.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. White balances the sordid criminal activities with plenty of intriguing wildlife lore." - Publishers Weekly
"White handles the action scenes superbly, writing with both precision and dramatic flair, but he gets inside the heads of his characters, too, not only Ford, the conflicted warrior, but also Tula, who sees herself as Joan of Arc, and even the steroid freak, who just may have an inner life beneath his biceps." - Booklist
"Much of the enjoyment depends on the reader's reaction to the idea of a really, really proactive saint." - Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: Bantam Books
Book Description: Pekkala: He was the Romanovs' most trusted investigator. Now hes Stalin's greatest fear.
He operates in the shadows of one of history's most notorious regimes. He seeks the truth in a nation where finding it can mean death--or worse. His name his Inspector Pekkala, and this time he's taking on a case with implications far deadlier than anything he can imagine: a shattering revelation that was never meant to be unearthed.
Its official name is T-34, and this massive and mysterious new weapon is being developed in total secrecy in the Russian countryside, a thirty-ton killing machine. Its inventor, Colonel Rolan Nagorski, is a rogue genius whose macabre death is considered an accident only by the innocent.
And Josef Stalin is no innocent. Suspecting assassins everywhere, he brings in his best - if least obedient - detective to solve a murder that's tantamount to treason. Answerable to no one, Pekkala has the dictator's permission to go anywhere and interrogate anyone. But in Soviet Russia that's easily a death sentence. The closer Pekkala gets to the answers, the more questions he uncovers - first and foremost, why is the state's most dreaded female operative, Commissar Major Lysenkova, investigating the case when she's only assigned to internal affairs?
Pekkala is on a collision course not only with the Soviet secret police but the USSR's deepest military secrets. For what he is about to learn could put Stalin and his Communist state under for good - and bury Pekkala with them.
Brilliantly researched and rivetingly plotted, Shadow Pass is a superb story of suspense in a series growing only richer - and with a detective getting only better.
Book Description: Nick Platt is a British lawyer working in Moscow in the early 2000s - a place where the cascade of oil money, the tightening grip of the government, the jostling of the oligarchs, and the loosening of Soviet social mores have led to a culture where corruption, decadence, violence, and betrayal define everyday life. Nick doesn't ask too many questions about the shady deals he works on - he's too busy enjoying the exotic, surreally sinful nightlife Moscow has to offer.
One day in the subway, he rescues two willowy sisters, Masha and Katya, from a would-be purse snatcher. Soon Nick, the seductive Masha, and long-limbed Katya are cruising the seamy glamor spots of the city. Nick begins to feel something for Masha that he is pleased to think is love. Then the sisters ask Nick to help their aged aunt, Tatiana, find a new apartment.
Of course, nothing is as it seems - including this extraordinary debut novel. The twists in the story take it far beyond its noirish frame - the sordid and vivid portrayal of Moscow serves as a backdrop for a book that examines the irresistible allure of sin, featuring characters whose hearts are as cold as the Russian winter.
Reader Rating: 4.1 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 21 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Most readers will not be so easily duped, and Nick's oft-repeated I-should-have seen-it-comings undercut any suspense that might remain, though there are interesting bits to be found in the travelogue-style writing about the new Russia." - Publishers Weekly
"A lesson in the art of self-delusion and the dog-eat-dog society of post-Soviet Russia, its sure to be an instant success. Essential for committed readers of fiction and a discussion feast for book clubs." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. A mesmerizing tale of a man seduced by a culture he fancies himself above, Miller's novel is both a nuanced character study and a fascinating look at the complexities of Russian society." - Booklist
"Good local color, but nothing much to care about here." - Kirkus Reviews
"An electrifying tour of the dark side of Moscow, and of human nature..... the novel is multi-layered; subtle rather than strident, and imbued with a bruised beauty...Miller is masterful at capturing small details....a gorgeously crafted story of a man hurtling into love.....Snowdrops, in a different way, assaults all your senses with its power and poetry, and leaves you stunned and addicted." - The Independent
"The wonderfully evoked corrupt atmosphere of modern Moscow, a dangerous mix of extreme poverty and decadent wealth, of simple old-fashioned values and unrestrained debauchery reads like Graham Greene on steroids ...Tightly written, with fascinating insider detail gained in three years as The Economist magazine's Moscow correspondent, Miller's complex, gripping debut novel is undoubtedly the real thing." - The Daily Mail
"AD Miller's elegant and compact literary thriller...offers an alluring yet chilling portrait of the city...the pleasure of Miller's first novel is divining the precise nature of the deceptions, and self-deceptions, taking place. A superlative portrait of a country in which everything has its price, Snowdrops displays a worldly confidence reminiscent of Robert Harris at his best." - Financial Times
"AD Miller's engrossing debut...offers an entirely believable portrait of a man complicit in Moscow's moral freefall...Miller brilliantly showcases the city as his novel's strutting, charismatic star...rendered with intoxicating vitality. It is a bravura setting for a study in morality...disturbing and dazzling." - Sunday Telegraph
"A deeply atmospheric, slow-burning examination of the effects of modern Russia on the soul of foreign visitors, and of one man's subtle but inexorable slide into moral decay...beautifully drawn and mirrored in several ingenious subplots...Miller is absolutely wonderful at evoking the seediness and cynicism of Moscow...The Russian seasons, from the sadistic winter to the sweltering summer, are evoked with scintillating clarity." - Independent on Sunday
"Strips away the layers of life in the Russian capital with subtle, pitiless grace ... Paced almost ideally, with an atmosphere that scintillates with beguiling menace, Snowdrops deserves...to enjoy substantial popular success." - Literary Review
"A lesson in the art of self-delusion and the dog-eat-dog society of post-Soviet Russia, it's sure to be an instant success. Essential for committed readers of fiction and a discussion feast for book clubs." - Library Journal
"Superbly atmospheric....elegantly written, and spot on in detail." - London Observer
"Riveting tale....it is his insider knowledge of the city [that] makes this one stand out." - The Bookseller (UK)
"A tremendously assured, cool, complex, slow-burn of a novel and a bleak and superbly atmospheric portrait of modern Russia." - William Boyd,
author of A Good Man in Africa and Ordinary Thunderstorms
"Snowdrops is a beautifully written tale, a confession of evil done not in bloodlust, but in the near passivity of muddling through, of squinting to keep from seeing, and whistling to keep from hearing. By the end of this extremely engaging book, you may almost want to forgive its narrator for all the damage his posture of willful innocence has inflicted upon the world. It's in the awful weight of that 'almost' that A. D. Miller shows his brilliance." - Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
"A chilling first novel about the slide from relative innocence into amorality. I love the honesty of the writing, and the way the furious cold of a bitter Moscow winter gradually emerges as a character in its own right." - Julie Myerson, author of Something Might Happen
"Snowdrops is an irresistible, sophisticated and compelling thriller of darkly delicious Russian corruption and decadence by a writer who truly understands where the corpses lie buried under the pure Russian snows." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Sashenka and Young Stalin
"Anybody who has spent any time in Moscow will instantly recognize the city's infamous decadence as well as its attraction in this extraordinarily evocative book - and anybody who has never been there will experience both the lure and the horror of modern Russia." Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag
"This is an impressive debut. Millers taut narrative is a deft mixture of suspense, intrigue and human tragedy. Romantic love, bad faith, self-delusion, cupidity and corruption are fatally entwined in a novel that brilliantly conveys the tawdriness of life in the underbelly of modern Moscow." - Jonathan Dimbleby, author of Russia: A Journey To The Heart Of A Land And Its People
Note: A. D. Miller studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton, and worked as a television producer before joining the Economist. He has served as the magazine's Moscow correspondent and is currently an editor in its London office. Snowdrops is his first novel.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Book Description: At twelve, Gideon Crew witnessed his father, a world-class mathematician, accused of treason and gunned down.
At twenty-four, summoned to his dying mother's bedside, Gideon learned the truth: His father was framed and deliberately slaughtered. With her last breath, she begged her son to avenge him.
Now, with a new purpose in his life, Gideon crafts a one-time mission of vengeance, aimed at the perpetrator of his father's destruction. His plan is meticulous, spectacular, and successful.
But from the shadows, someone is watching. A very powerful someone, who is impressed by Gideon's special skills. Someone who has need of just such a renegade.
For Gideon, this operation may be only the beginning ...
Prepublication Reviews: "[A] tired and predictable story line isn't helped by a protagonist lacking the quirks of the authors' popular series hero, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. The entertaining and engaging plot showcases Crew's sarcastic wit, impulsiveness, and unpredictable luck....a treat for adventure/thriller fans." - Library Journal
"This novel ...isnt as elegantly written or constructed as the authors popular Special Agent Pendergast novels, but it doesonce you get past the backstoryhold the readers interest, and Gideon is undeniably a big-shouldered character, capable of supporting a series." - Booklist
"While the fun is, for the most part, worth the outlandish coincidences, exceedingly stupid adversaries and/or superhuman feats, it is not worth it by a large margin. Still, Crew is a great character, and this series holds promise." - Kirkus Reviews
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.
This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.
Prepublication Reviews: "The grim reaper gets a shiny cool makeover in Jones's blazing hot debut, a paranormal romantic thriller." - Publishers Weekly
"The author's sarcastic sense of humor is at first annoying but grows on the reader as the story progresses. Jones skillfully establishes the novel's setting and keeps up the pace with plenty of action. And let's be honest--the sex is pretty hot, too." - Library Journal
Note: Darynda Jones lives in New Mexico, with her husband of more than twenty-five years and two beautiful sons.
While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Book Description: Smart, whimsical, and often scathing, the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut influenced a generation of American writers - including Dave Eggers, author of this volume's Foreword. In these previously unpublished gems, Vonnegut's originality infuses a unique landscape of factories, trailers, and bars - and characters who pit their dreams and fears against a cruel and sometimes comically indifferent world.
Here are stories of men and machines, art and artifice, and how ideals of fortune, fame, and love take curious twists in ordinary lives. An ambitious builder of roads, commanding an army of bulldozers, graders, and asphalt spreaders, fritters away his free time with miniature trains - until the women in his life crash his fantasy land. Trapped in a stenography pool, a young dreamer receives a call from a robber on the run, who presents her with a strange proposition. A crusty newspaperman is forced onto a committee to judge Christmas displays - a job that leads him to a suspiciously ostentatious ex-con and then a miracle. A hog farmers widow receives cryptic, unsolicited letters from a man in Schenectady about the indefinable sweet aches of the spirit. But what will she find when she goes to meet him in the flesh?
These beautifully rendered works are a testament to Vonnegut's unique blend of observation and imagination. Like a present left behind by a departed loved one, While Mortals Sleep bestows upon us a shimmering Kurt Vonnegut gift: a poignant reflection of our world as it is and as it could be.
Prepublication Reviews: "While these early stories show an author still testing the boundaries of his craft and obsessions, Vonnegut's acute moral sense and knack for compelling prose are very much on display." - Publishers Weekly
"Tightly and crisply written...these stories, while clearly seminal, constitute a worthwhile contribution to the authors oeuvre." - Booklist
"Though not adding significantly to Vonnegut's legacy, this is an appealing glimpse of a young writer learning his craft. It deserves an audience among general readers as well as Vonnegut completists." - Library Journal
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel by Deborah E. Harkness
Book Description: A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
Prepublication Reviews: "Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Try suggesting the novel to readers of literary mysteries like Lauren Willigs Pink Carnation series, as well as to those who enjoy ... including Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and Jacqueline Careys Kushiel novels." - Booklist
"Destined to be popular with fantasy and paranormal aficionados...Harkness is an author to watch." - Library Journal
"Harry Potter meets Lestat de Lioncourt...Entertaining, though not in the league of J.K. Rowlingor even Anne Rice." - Kirkus
Note: Deborah Harkness is a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She has received Fullbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and her most recent scholarly work is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. She also writes an award-winning wine blog, goodwineunder20.blogspot.com.
Publisher: Random House
Book Description: One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that Peter Ackroyd in The Times of London calls "energetic and magnificently researched" - a book from which "a true picture of Salinger emerges." Filled with new information and revelations - garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records - J. D. Salinger presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.
Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger's privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as "a Jewish boy from New York." Here too are accounts of Salinger's first broken heart - Eugene O'Neill's daughter, Oona, left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin - and the devastating World War II service ("a living hell") of which he never spoke and which haunted him forever.
J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author's early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire.
Whether it's revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion, which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity, J. D. Salinger is this unique author's unforgettable story in full - one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A close study of Salingers roots [that] admirably redirects attention to his writing and thought instead of his self-imposed exile." - Kirkus
"Starred Review. As a critic, he suffers from a mix of too much affection, a graduate-student style, and a bad case of symbol-hunting. Still, Slawenski's life of Salinger makes at least speculative sense of a seemingly unknowable story, one that has beguiled readers for more than 50 years." - Booklist
"Starred Review. An invaluable work that sheds fascinating light on the willfully elusive author." - Publishers Weekly
"The text lacks grammatical and stylistic polish, many factual statements are without source, and letters are cited without reference to a collection or archive...." - Library Journal
"A first-rate book which is especially good on the links between Salinger's fictions and their thematic developments ... The passages on Salinger's own war show that Slawenski can be an excellent storyteller himself, as he follows his subject through the thick of the horrors from D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"A welcome trove of information. Partly through exhaustive biographical research (especially into the early years) and partly through porings over almost unknown, uncollected stories, Slawenski enthrallingly illuminates what turned Salinger into an extraordinary literary phenomenon." - The Sunday Times (UK)
"Slawenski sets about his task with such unblushing love and zest that his book is as irresistible to me as Salinger himself... . Slawenski has a priceless humility and a sympathy with his subject which is unstinting though not unqualified. As a result, I think you get from him a rather better idea of what Salinger was really like and why he lived his life as he did than you might from a biography which is licensed to describe itself as 'scholarly' or 'authorised.'" - The Spectator
"Diligent, respectful, resolute in its refusal to include gossip, always ready to acknowledge the point at which evidence ends and speculation begins." - The Mail on Sunday (UK)
Note: Kenneth Slawenski is the creator of DeadCaulfields.com, a website founded in 2004 and recommended by The New York Times. He has been working on this biography for eight years. Slawenski was born in New Jersey, and has lived there all his life.
The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker by Sami al Jundi
Publisher: Nation Books
Book Description: As a teenager in Palestine, Sami al Jundi had one ambition: overthrowing Israeli occupation. With two friends, he began to build a bomb to use against the police. But when it exploded prematurely, killing one of his friends, al Jundi was caught and sentenced to ten years in prison.
It was in an Israeli jail that his unlikely transformation began. Al Jundi was welcomed into a highly organized, democratic community of political prisoners who required that members of their cell read, engage in political discourse on topics ranging from global revolutions to the precepts of nonviolent protest and revolution.
Al Jundi left prison still determined to fight for his people's rights - but with a very different notion of how to undertake that struggle. He cofounded the Middle East program of Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence, which brings together Palestinian and Israeli youth.
Marked by honesty and compassion for Palestinians and Israelis alike, The Hour of Sunlight illuminates the Palestinian experience through the story of one mans struggle for peace.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. [A] remarkable story...the authors successfully convey al Jundi's joys and sorrows, the triumph of his endurance, the complexity of the conflict, and the necessity of dialogue." - Publishers Weekly
"Rooted in the experience of one fighter-peacemaker, this is sure to spark intense debate." - Booklist
Note: Sami Al Jundi has spent the last two decades working toward peace and a nonviolent end to Israeli occupation. He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and four children.
Jen Marlowe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, playwright, and human rights advocate. Her writing can be found online at The Nation, TomDispatch, and WorldFocus.
A Box of Darkness: The Story of a Marriage by Sally Ryder Brady
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: In the tradition of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, comes a poignant memoir about a marriage that was as deep and strong as it was mysterious and complex.
Upton and Sally Brady were a rare breed: cultivated and elegant, they lived a life of literary glamour and high expectations. Sally a debutante; Upton a classics major from Harvard, they met at the Boston Cotillion. He was articulate, witty, and worldly, and he danced like Fred Astaire. How could she resist? Despite raising four children on Uptons modest wage as the editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Monthly Press, theirs was a world of champagne, sailboats, private islands, famous writers, family rituals, and ice-cold martinis. They lived life on their terms. But as time wore on, Upton, the charming and brilliant husband, the inventive, beguiling partner, grew opinionated, cranky, controlling, and dangerous.
When Upton died suddenly one evening in their Vermont cottage, Sally began uncovering secrets. As she went through his papers, she discovered that her husband of forty-six years had desired the love of other men. Her riveting, charismatic husband was not quite the man he appeared to be, and a year of mourning became for Sally a time to unravel the dark and unexpected web he had left behind. Hers is a moving and powerful story of coming to terms with what cannot be changed. It is also a story of great love.
Reader Rating: 4.3 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 22 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Readers will be captivated...her memoir is as searing and tender as the life she describes." - Publishers Weekly
"Bradys engrossing chronicle of how she faced both the facts and mysteries of her husbands concealed homosexuality offers generous and enlightening testimony to the true meaning of love." - Booklist
"Sally Brady's lively and candid memoir reminds us that long marriages are not always tranquil, and that sometimes their longevity both amazes and charms." - C. Michael Curtis, senior editor, The Atlantic Monthly
"A Box of Darkness can be appreciated for the beauty of the prose alone. Or for going on the wild ride that this marriage was, with its alternating heady romance and abject cruelty... . I loved this book." - Elizabeth Berg, New York Times bestselling author of Home Safe
"Sally Brady has written a tremendously affecting account not just of her marriage - at once painful, beautiful and profound - but also of a particularly evocative and important era in American letters. The writing is clear and simple and dazzling, and the story is impossible to put down." - Sebastian Junger, international best selling author of The Perfect Storm
"This remarkably candid exploration of straight-girl-marries-secretly-gay-man reveals the layers of frustration, adoration and joy layered into a 47-year marriage. Buy two copies - one for yourself and one for your best friend." - Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of the New York Times bestseller Crazy Love
"A Box of Darkness is passionate in its comprehension that the greatest of human loves is never only a romance novel but also, inevitably, a mystery play ..." - Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
"Much like Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, this moving memoir is an absolute page-turner. Full of secrets and some tragedy, it also sings with glamour and romance. Ultimately, this is a story of love and redemption." - Laurie Horowitz, author of The Family Fortune
Note: Sally Ryder Brady, a writer, agent, teacher, and editor, is the author of a highly successful novel, Instar (1976), an illustrated book of adult humor called Sweet Memories, and two books of non-fiction, A Yankee Christmas, Volumes I and II.
Publisher: Grove Press
Book Description: In a fly-blown bar in West Africa, British war reporter James Brabazon found himself being briefed on covert military plans to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea by one of Africa's most notorious mercenaries - his friend Nick du Toit. The Byzantine plot, its farcical execution and its tragic consequences led to Simon Mann and a host of celebrated guns-for-hire falling victim to their own avaricious plans, Machiavellian scheming and ruthless double-crosses.
In a twist of fate, James Brabazon remained free. His mercenary friend wasn't so lucky. Nick du Toit was sentenced to serve thirty-four years in Black Beach prison, Africa's most notorious jail - a sentence which James could have been serving alongside him. Their unlikely friendship began two years earlier on the bloody battlefields of the Liberian civil war. With Nick as his bodyguard, James was the only journalist to film behind rebel lines. Establishing him as a brave and talented filmmaker, the war tested James's physical and moral boundaries to the limit - and opened a door on to a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies and violent regime change. My Friend the Mercenary recounts James's courageous journey into the Liberian war, and tells the inside story of the most infamous coup attempt in recent history.
Through this gripping narrative, James Brabazon explodes the myth of the modern mercenary, and paints a moving portrait of an extraordinary friendship. It is a brutally honest book about what it takes to be a journalist, survivor and friend in the morally corrosive crucible of war.
Prepublication Reviews: "It's both a seductive paean to and a harsh exposé of the mercenary ethos that fattens off of Africa's travails." - Publishers Weekly
"Because of the subject and the author's lucid writing, the book is both a gripping adventure and a valuable account of a West African tragedy." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. As clear a picture of the murky world of postcolonial Africa as the readers are likely to get...A haunting memoir and tribute to an extraordinary comrade-at-arms." - Kirkus Reviews
Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli
Publisher: Crown Journeys
Book Description: Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan - said to be one of the happiest places on earth.
Long isolated from industrialization and just beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people - in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.
Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutans first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutans rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well - and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.
In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place - and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.
Reader Rating: 3.6 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 23 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Napoli's adventures at home and abroad, in nature and career and spirit, will delight readers." - Publishers Weekly
"A refreshingly uplifting book." - Kirkus Reviews
"Napoli's fluid, elegant, and vivid prose draws readers into this special geographical place and illustrates the value of soul searching." - Library Journal
"In a lot of ways, Lisa Napolis Radio Shangri-La reminded me of Deborah Rodriguez's 2007 bestselling Kabul Beauty School. Only better, if for no other reason than the writing here is just so sharp and terrific.
"Radio Shangri-La is a beautiful, touching and deeply compelling memoir by a well-known public radio reporter who arrived in the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan to help establish the nation's first radio station and, as important, to further her own mid-life assessment of a life that felt full of missteps. The book is delightful reading--honest, moving and quietly spiritual as it offers both an intimate portrait of a country only halfway to modernity and a soul in quest of meaning." - Scott Turow, author of Innocent
"Radio Shangri-La grabs you by the heart and takes you on a winding dual journey - into the self and into a fairy tale kingdom known for measuring happiness as its gross national product. Charming, illuminating, and often ironic, this memoir is a continuous discovery of myths and realities in finding deeper personal meaning." - Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club and Saving Fish from Drowning
"Radio Shangri-La has shades of Pico Iyer and Bruce Chatwin and a similar genius for parachuting the reader into a strange land and culture. Bhutan has long fascinated me and Radio Shangri-La is the perfect vehicle to get there." Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone.
Note: Lisa Napoli is a journalist whose last staff job was on the public radio show Marketplace. An early chronicler of the dawn of the World Wide Web as a columnist at the New York Times CyberTimes, she has also been the Internet correspondent at MSNBC. She began her career at CNN, worked in local news in North Carolina, and has directed several documentaries about Southern culture. More about the book including photos from Bhutan can be found at www.LisaNapoli.com
Book Description: "The lessons that these animals taught me have been subtle, startling, and inspirational, playing a small but vital part in helping to shape the person you see with the stethoscope around his neck." - Dr. Nick Trout
New York Times bestselling author Nick Trout has captivated readers by taking them behind the scenes into the heartwarming - and sometimes heartrending - world of veterinary medicine. In Ever By My Side, Nick turns the lens inward to offer a funny, moving, and intimate memoir about how the pets he has had throughout his life have shaped him into the son, husband, father, and doctor he is today. Using his relationships with those beloved animals to tell his life story, Nick shares the profound lessons he's learned about friendship, loyalty, and resilience. The result is a moving story that speaks not just to animal lovers, but to any reader who appreciates the bonds we have with our loved ones, be they animal or human, and the lengths to which we go to nurture those bonds.
Nick waxes nostalgic about his boyhood in a working-class British suburb, where a large German shepherd named Patch was the perfect companion to a scrawny, bookish boy in a neighborhood full of bullies. He writes about his relationship with his father, the man who nurtured Nick's dream of becoming a vet, even though he couldnt have imagined the career would lead his only son 3,000 miles away. He describes wooing his future wife and stepdaughter and (perhaps most difficult of all) their ornery cat. And he offers a poignant chronicle of his daughter's devastating diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and how a little yellow Labrador retriever played an important role in bringing joy to their family when they needed it most. Alongside Nick's warm reflections, the pets in these pages come alive as irresistible characters in their own right and showcase the power of animals to offer a lifetime of consolation, guidance, and abiding affection.
Tender, wry, and ruminative, Ever By My Side is a tribute to the power and beauty of ordinary life and a celebration of how pets make it all the sweeter and richer.
Reader Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The 42 BookBrowse Members who posted advance reviews loved this book!
Read the reviews.
Note: Nick Trout is a staff surgeon at the Angell Animal Medical Center and lives near Boston, Massachusetts. He is also the author of Tell Me Where it Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon and Love is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles. Visit Nick on Facebook
Book Description: Susan Conley, her husband, and their two young sons say good-bye to their friends, family, and house in Maine for a two-year stint in a high-rise apartment in Beijing, prepared to embrace the inevitable onslaught of new experiences that such a move entails. But Susan cant predict just how much their lives will change.
While her husband is consumed with his job, Susan works on finishing her novel and confronting the challenges of day-to-day life in an utterly foreign country: determining the proper way to buy apples at a Chinese megamarket; bribing her little boys to ride the school bus; fielding invitations to mysterious "sweater parties" and tracking down the faux-purse empire of the infamous Bag Lady; and getting stuck in an elevator, unable to call for help in Mandarin.
Despite the distractions, there are many occasions for joy. From road trips to the Great Wall and bartering for a "starter Buddha" at the raucous flea market to lighting fireworks in the streets for the Chinese New Year and feasting on the worlds best dumplings in back-alley restaurants, they gradually turn their unfamiliar environs into a true home.
Then Susan learns she has cancer. After undergoing treatment in Boston, she returns to Beijing, again as a foreigner - but this time, its her own body in which she feels a stranger. Set against the eternally fascinating backdrop of modern China and full of insight into the trickiest questions of motherhood - How do you talk to children about death? When is it okay to lie? - this wry and poignant memoir is a celebration of family and a candid exploration of mortality and belonging.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. [A] luminous memoir...Conley's writing is at once spare and strong, and ...pulls the reader into her world like a close friend." - Publishers Weekly
"Beautifully written and insightful on many levels." - Booklist
"A straightforward tale of how China won over an American family." - Kirkus
"The Foremost Good Fortune is a moving and exhilarating ride, as well as a deep meditation on family, belief and mortality. Conleys keen eye captures small moments in gorgeous detail that offer a wider perspective on the whole they create. Conley resets the bar for the memoir with her humor, sensitivity, and stunning sentences. Lily King, author of Father of the Rain
"From its endearing and at times comic tableau of an American family abroad in the new, proliferating China of todays headlines, to the heartrending news that narrows Conleys whole world to survival, The Foremost Good Fortune is told by an intrepid traveler who has found her voice in a daunting, exhilarating cultural wilderness...and has found it with wisdom and grace and wonder." - Michael Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain
The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes
Book Description: We think the way we do because Socrates thought the way he did; in his unwavering commitment to truth and in the example of his own life, he set the standard for all subsequent Western philosophy. And yet, for twenty-five centuries, he has remained an enigma: a man who left no written legacy and about whom everything we know is hearsay, gleaned from the writings of Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Now Bettany Hughes gives us an unprecedented, brilliantly vivid portrait of Socrates and of his homeland, Athens in its Golden Age.
His life spanned "seventy of the busiest, most wonderful and tragic years in Athenian history." It was a city devastated by war, but, at the same time, transformed by the burgeoning process of democracy, and Hughes re-creates this fifth-century B.C. city, drawing on the latest sourcesarchaeological, topographical and textualto illuminate the streets where Socrates walked, to place him there and to show us the world as he experienced it.
She takes us through the great, teeming Agorathe massive marketplace, the heart of ancient Athenswhere Socrates engaged in philosophical dialogue and where he would be condemned to death. We visit the battlefields where he fought, the red-light district and gymnasia he frequented and the religious festivals he attended. We meet the men and the few womenincluding his wife, Xanthippe, and his inspiration and confidante, Aspasiawho were central to his life. We travel to where he was born and where he died. And we come to understand the profound influences of time and place in the evolution of his eternally provocative philosophy.
Deeply informed and vibrantly written, combining historical inquiry and storytelling élan, The Hemlock Cup gives us the most substantial, fascinating, humane depiction we have ever had of one of the most influential thinkers of all time.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. An invigorating, tremendous work of scholarship." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starred Review. The brilliant cultural historian Hughes...has again produced an intriguing and entertaining biohistory of one of the most important individuals in the ancient world." - Publishers Weekly
"This, then, is not only a lively and eminently readable biography of Socrates the man but also a vivid evocation of Athens, the city-state on the cusp of originating many of the greatest precepts of modern Western civilization." - Booklist
"Hughes does a wonderful job of offering the reader a new and insightful look into Socrates' life and philosophy. The writing is engaging and will appeal to academics and general readers who are interested in Socrates and life in ancient Greece." - Library Journal
Note: Bettany Hughes is a cultural and social historian, writer, and television presenter. She received degrees in ancient and medieval history at Oxford University and has carried out research in the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. She has presented numerous documentaries and historical series for the BBC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel, and also writes pieces on popular history for several newspapers and magazines.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Description: From the moment Judi Dench appeared as a teenager in the York Mystery Plays it was clear that acting would be her career. Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama it was her performance in her twenties as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's memorable Old Vic production that turned her into a star. In the theatre since she has played every classic role from Titania (three times, most recently in 2010) to Cleopatra. She first became a household name via television, thanks initially to a sit-com, A Fine Romance, in which she played alongside the actor Michael Williams, whom she married in 1971. She has since made nine series of another sit-com, As Time Goes By (with Geoffrey Palmer), as well as plays and classic serials such as Cranford. In the cinema her films have ranged from Ladies in Lavender (opposite Maggie Smith) through Notes on a Scandal with Cate Blanchett to Shakespeare in Love, in which she played Queen Elizabeth, a role which gained her a Hollywood Oscar. But it is her role as 'M' in six James Bond films beginning with Goldeneye in 1995 that has gained her worldwide recognition.
This book is, however, much more than a career record. Her marriage (Michael Williams died in 2001), their daughter, and her impish sense of humour contribute vividly to her account of more than half a century as Britain's best-loved actress.
Prepublication Reviews: "A delightful visit with a rare actress, definitely worth reading even for those acquainted with Miller's works*." - Library Journal
"She's been one of our favourite actresses for five decades, and now ...And Furthermore gives an insight into her sensational career and how she coped after losing her husband to cancer in 2001." - Good Housekeeping (UK)
"The much-loved star of stage and screen delves into the story of her life. The professional side spans her emergence as a teenage actress to the Hollywood days as Bond's M and Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love; on the personal front, there's the love of her husband of 30 years and his death in 2001." - Sainsbury Magazine (UK)
"What you will find in this light, readable, amusing book are the ins and outs of Dame Judi's sense of humour." - The Observer (UK)
"Her generosity of spirit, whether to her fellow players or to the wider public, leaps off the page, as it does from her performances. It is this, together with her extraordinary talent, that has made her the most popular as well as the greatest actress of her age." - The Lady (UK)
"Dame Judi's memoir is packed with anecdotes." - Daily Mail (UK)
"[A] vivid and engaging memoir." - Woman and Home (UK)
"And Furthermore is charming and chatty, and the company of our greatest theatrical dame is always pleasant." - The Times (UK)
Note: *John Miller coauthored Judi Dench Scenes from My Life with Ms Dench; and is the author of Judi Dench: With a Crack in Her Voice and Darling Judi: A Celebration of Judi Dench
House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home by Mark Richard
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Book Description: Called a "special child," Southern social code for mentally - and physically - challenged children, Richard was crippled by deformed hips and was told he would spend his adult life in a wheelchair. During his early years in charity hospitals, Richard observed the drama of other broken boys' lives, children from impoverished Appalachia, tobacco country lowlands, and Richmonds poorest neighborhoods. The son of a solitary alcoholic father whose hair-trigger temper terrorized his family, and of a mother who sought inner peace through fasting, prayer, and scripture, Richard spent his bedridden childhood withdrawn into the company of books.
As a young man, Richard, defying both his doctors and parents, set out to experience as much of the world as he could - as a disc jockey, fishing trawler deckhand, house painter, naval correspondent, aerial photographer, private investigator, foreign journalist, bartender and unsuccessful seminarian - before his hips failed him. While digging irrigation ditches in east Texas, he discovered that a teacher had sent a story of his to the Atlantic, where it was named a winner in the magazine's national fiction contest launching a career much in the mold of Jack London and Mark Twain
A superbly written and irresistible blend of history, travelogue, and personal reflection, House of Prayer No. 2 is a remarkable portrait of a writer's struggle with his faith, the evolution of his art, and of recognizing ones singularity in the face of painful disability. Written with humor and a poetic force, this memoir is destined to become a modern classic.
Prepublication Reviews: "Fascinating memoir...throughout, there's a grace to even his darkest tales." - Publishers Weekly
"Mark Richards memoir, House of Prayer No.2, is the finest book he's ever written. No one writes like him. His prose style is both hammerblow and shrapnel. He has written the book of his life." - Pat Conroy
"In this unconventional memoir, we see the yearning of the artist transfigured into faith - an authentic faith that is both struggled for and struggled against in the midst of ceaseless and necessary doubt. Mark Richard says important things about finding one's way, about love in action, about being a father, and he does so with the precision and grace of an artisan from another time. This is some of the finest writing you will ever read." - Amy Hempel
Note: Mark Richard is the author of two award-winning short story collections, The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Charity, and the novel Fishboy. His short stories and journalism have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Vogue, and GQ. He is the recipient of the PEN/Hemingway Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Foundation Writer's Award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three sons.
The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir by Chil Rajchman
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Book Description: Certain to become a cornerstone of Holocaust historiography - a devastatingly stark memoir from one of the lone survivors of Treblinka.
"Before me sits a young woman. I cut off her hair, thick and beautiful, and she grasps my hand and begs me to remember that I too am a Jew. She knows that she is lost. 'But remember,' she says, 'you see what is being done to us. Thats why my wish for you is that you will survive and take revenge for our innocent blood, which will never rest.' She has not had time to get up when a murderer who is walking between the benches lashes her on the head with his whip. Blood shows on her now shorn head. That evening, the blood of tens of thousands of victims, unable to rest, thrust itself upwards to the surface." - from The Last Jew of Treblinka
Why do some live while so many others perish? Tiny children, old men, beautiful girls. In the gas chambers of Treblinka, all are equal. The Nazis kept the fires of Treblinka burning night and day, a central cog in the wheel of the Final Solution. There was no pretense of work here like in Auschwitz or Birkenau. Only a train platform and a road covered with sand. A road that led only to death. But not for Chil Rajchman, a young man who survived working as a "barber" and "dentist," heartsick with witnessing atrocity after atrocity. Yet he managed to survive so that somehow he could tell the world what he had seen. How he found the dress of his little sister abandoned in the woods. How he was forced to extract gold teeth from the corpses. How every night he had to cover the body-pits with sand. How ever morning the blood of thousands still rose to the surface.
Many have courageously told their stories, and in the tradition of Elie Wiesel's Night and Primo Levis Survival at Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved, Rajchman provides the only survivorsi record of Treblinka. Originally written in Yiddish in 1945 without hope or agenda other than to bear witness, Rajchmanis tale shows that sometimes the bravest and most painful act of all is to remember.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A Holocaust testament of heart-rending immediacy." - Kirkus Reviews
"His memoir, originally in Yiddish, is a hellish, heartbreaking account, as expected...at times, his descriptions are clinical and curiously detached; at others, rage at his oppressors surfaces." - Booklist
Note: Chil Rajchman was born in Lodz, Poland, where he was an active member of the Jewish community. He survived for a year in the notorious Treblinka death camp and was part of the Treblinka workers' revolt. Rajchman was also a key witness in the prosecution of a Treblinka guard known as "Ivan the Terrible" during a war-crime tribunal in Germany. He emigrated to Uruguay, where he passed away in 2004.
And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road by Margaret Roach
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Book Description: Margaret Roach worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for 15 years, serving as Editorial Director for the last 6. She first made her name in gardening, writing a classic gardening book among other things. She now has a hugely popular gardening blog, "A Way to Garden."
But despite the financial and professional rewards of her job, Margaret felt unfulfilled. So she moved to her weekend house upstate in an effort to lead a more authentic life by connecting with her garden and with nature.
The memoir she wrote about this journey is funny, quirky, humble--and uplifting--an Eat, Pray, Love without the travel - and allows readers to live out the fantasy of quitting the rat race and getting away from it all.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. A moving, eloquent and joyously idiosyncratic memoir." - Kirkus
"Readers may appreciate her candid, stream-of-consciousness style in this memoir, but it is too unstructured and inchoate to be as satisfying as her other work." - Publishers Weekly
"Roach limns a reflective odyssey for affirmation and acceptance that blends Zen-like wisdom with zany escapades." - Booklist
"And I Shall Have Some Peace recounts her transformation from urban routines to bucolic simplicity. A fine read for Walter Mitty rural folk." - Barnes and Noble
Note: Margaret Roach has been a columnist at the New York Times, fashion editor at Newsday, the first garden editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine, and the editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. In 2008 Roach left New York City for her home upstate, where she is a consultant and avid gardener, keeping fans up to date on her blogs "A Way to Garden" and "The Sister Project". Roach is the author of A Way to Garden, named Best Garden Book of the Year by the Garden Writers' Association of America, and Groundcovers, part of the Burpee American Gardening Series, and co-authored The Natural Habitat Garden.
Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer
Publisher: Bantam Books
Book Description: With The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Ship of Ghosts, James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America's World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal.
Neptune's Inferno is at once the most epic and the most intimate account ever written of the contest for control of the seaways of the Solomon Islands, America's first concerted offensive against the Imperial Japanese juggernaut and the true turning point of the Pacific conflict. This grim, protracted campaign has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy's sacrifice--three sailors died at sea for every man lost ashore--Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of "Ironbottom Sound." Here, in brilliant cinematic detail, are the seven major naval actions that began in August of 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. But at Guadalcanal the U.S. proved it had the implacable will to match the Imperial war machine blow for violent blow.
Working from new interviews with survivors, unpublished eyewitness accounts, and newly available documents, Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who took on the Japanese in America's hour of need: Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, who took command of the faltering South Pacific Area from his aloof, overwhelmed predecessor and became a national hero; the brilliant Rear Admiral Norman Scott, who died even as he showed his command how to fight and win; Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan, the folksy and genteel "Uncle Dan," lost in the strobe-lit chaos of his burning flagship; Rear Admiral Willis Lee, who took vengeance two nights later in a legendary showdown with the Japanese battleship Kirishima; the five Sullivan brothers, all killed in the shocking destruction of the Juneau; and many others, all vividly brought to life.
The first major work on this essential subject in almost two decades, Neptune's Inferno does what all great battle narratives do: It cuts through the smoke and fog to tell the gripping human stories behind the momentous events and critical decisions that altered the course of history and shaped so many lives. This is a thrilling achievement from a master historian at the very top of his game.
Prepublication Reviews: "[A] masterful synthesis of technical analysis, operational narrative, and tales of courage." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. And as in his first two books, the authors narrative gifts and excellent choice of detail give an almost Homeric quality to the men who met on the sea in steel titans." - Booklist
"A masterpiece of 20th century naval history, it's time to declare James Hornfischer a national treasure, a member of the distinguished band of brothers--Stephen Ambrose, Shelby Foote, Ken Burns, Spielberg and Hanks--whose sacred mission has been vital to America's journey, preserving the stories of our fathers and grandfathers for future generations, before those stories fade forever out of our consciousness into the shadows of time." -
Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner, author of The Immaculate Invasion
"Hornfischer has produced an account that is visceral, yet technical; sweeping, yet personal. Its a terrific read, and an important new addition to the literature on this most important naval campaign in the Pacific." - Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
"Hornfischers accounts of naval combat in the Pacific are simply the best in the business." - Ian W. Toll, author of Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
Note: James D. Hornfischer is a writer, literary agent, and former book editor. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, his first book, won the 2004 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and their three children.
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
Book Description: In recent years, a growing body of work - based on the principles of quantum mechanics, cosmology, and string theory - has been steadily converging around a proposal that our universe is actually only one of many universes. In fact, research supports a number of different models of parallel universes in which our world appears: for instance, as one of many "bubbles" in a rapidly growing bath of universes, or as one of numerous cosmic slabs separated from one another through additional spatial dimensions.
Brian Greene, with his trademark impartiality, "multiverse," taking us on a journey grounded firmly in science, and limited only by our imaginations.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review ...Greene presents a lucid, intriguing, and triumphantly understandable state-of-the-art look at the universe." - Publishers Weekly
"The result is that rare accomplishment in science writing for a popular audience: a volume that explains the science and its consequences while stimulating the imagination of even the uninitiated." - Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011
Note: Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, was appointed to a full professorship in 1995, and in 1996 joined Columbia University, where he is professor of physics and mathematics. He has lectured at both a general and a technical level in more than thirty countries, and on all seven continents, and is widely regarded for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory. His first book, The Elegant Universe, was a national best seller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, was also a best seller. He lives in Andes, New York, and New York City.
The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick
Book Description: As presented in this pivotal history, the prime movers of the 17th century scientific revolution were men of their time, yet against it. Newton, Leibniz, Galileo, and Kepler all lived in a Europe wracked by war, plagues, savage religious conflict, and economic upheaval; yet each constructed cosmological theories in which the universe ran with clockwork perfection. As Edward Dolnick (The Forger's Spell; The Rescue Artist) notes, these seminal deist thinkers believed that God had created flawless mechanisms that they were laboring hard to understand. Dolnick's The Clockwork Universe places these eccentric, tormented geniuses within the contexts of their radically tumultuous age. Editor's recommendation.
Prepublication Reviews: "Penetrating portraits of the geniuses of the day...[He] has an eye for vivid details in aid of historical recreation, and an affection for his subjects...[An] informative read." - Publishers Weekly
"A concise explainer, Dolnick furnishes a fine survey introduction to a fertile field of scientific biography and history." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Those interested in the history of science or even just in exploring how the times in which someone lives shape his thought processes should find this volume fascinating." - Library Journal
"A lively account of early science. ... Colorful, entertainingly written and nicely paced." - Kirkus Reviews
Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age by Susan Jacoby
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Book Description: Susan Jacoby, an unsparing chronicler of unreason in American culture, now offers an impassioned, tough-minded critique of the myth that a radically new old age - unmarred by physical or mental deterioration, financial problems, or intimate loneliness - awaits the huge baby boom generation. Combining historical, social, and economic analysis with personal experiences of love and loss, Jacoby turns a caustic eye not only on the modern fiction that old age can be "defied" but also on the sentimental image of a past in which Americans supposedly revered their elders.
Never Say Die unmasks the fallacies promoted by twenty-first-century hucksters of longevity - including health gurus claiming that boomers can stay "forever young" if they only live right, self-promoting biomedical businessmen predicting that ninety may soon become the new fifty and that a "cure" for the "disease" of aging is just around the corner, and wishful thinkers asserting that older means wiser.
The author offers powerful evidence that America has always been a "youth culture" and that the plight of the neglected old dates from the early years of the republic. Today, as the oldest boomers turn sixty-five, it is imperative for them to distinguish between marketing hype and realistic hope about what lies ahead for the more than 70 million Americans who will be beyond the traditional retirement age by 2030. This wide-ranging reappraisal examines the explosion of Alzheimers cases, the uncertain economic future of aging boomers, the predicament of women who make up an overwhelming majority of the oldest - and poorest - old, and the illusion that we can control the way we age and die.
Jacoby raises the fundamental question of whether living longer is a good thing unless it means living better. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth.
Prepublication Reviews: "Her portrait of the emotional, physical, fiscal, and mental problems debunks popular myths about life in our 80s and 90s, 'the worst years of lives.'" - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Drawing on research, personal experience, and anecdotes, she offers an important reality check for Americans enamored of the images of healthy, active seniors featured in advertisements." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. Drawing on research, personal experience, and anecdotes, she offers an important reality check for Americans enamored of the images of healthy, active seniors featured in advertisements." - Booklist
"Providing a compelling, convincing account of current reality, Jacoby simultaneously demolishes the overly optimistic scenarios of the baby boomer generation A cogently argued and well-written corrective to 'the fantasy of beating old age.'" Kirkus
"Warning: This book is heretical. Susan Jacoby, one of our most perceptive public intellectuals, examines the current myth that it is possible to transcend the vicissitudes of old age by living right. In this fascinating look at the new old age, she shows that it is pretty much like the old onemarked by declining health, loss of independence, and often dementia. It is no service to older Americans to demand that they conform, or pretend to conform, to current notions of a serene, wisdom-packed, if passionless, old age. We need to deal with it as it is, not as we would like it to be." - Marcia Angell, M.D., Senior Lecturer in Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
"Susan Jacoby, a sworn enemy of irrationality of every form, has some shockingly bad news: We will all die, and most of us will get old firstnot 'older' but actually old. In this beautifully crafted book, she punctures the promises that aging will eventually be 'cured' either by a wonder drug or though positive thinking. The good news is that if we wake up from our delusions we may be better able to grow old with dignity." - Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America
"For those of us who are old, Susan Jacoby's candor about old age is bracing; for those not yet old, Never Say Die should provide an unsentimental education for the years to come." Philip Roth
Note: Susan Jacoby is the author of nine books, most recently The Age of American Unreason, Alger Hiss and the Battle for History, and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism. She writes The Spirited Atheist blog for On Faith, a website sponsored by The Washington Post. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.susanjacoby.com.
Book Description: More than a decade ago, Sara Wheeler traveled to Antarctica to understand a continent nearly lost to myth and lore. In the widely acclaimed, bestselling Terra Incognita, she chronicled her quest to find a hidden history buried in Antarctica's extreme surroundings. Now, Wheeler journeys to the opposite pole to create a definitive picture of life on the fringes. In The Magnetic North, she takes full measure of the Arctic: at once the most pristine place on earth and the locus of global warming.
Inspired by the spiraling shape of a reindeer-horn bangle, she travels counterclockwise around the North Pole through the territories belonging to Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, marking the transformations of what once seemed an unchangeable landscape. As she witnesses the mounting pollution concentrated at the pole, Wheeler reckons with the illness of the whole organism of the earth.
Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, shadowing the endless Trans-Alaska Pipeline with a tough Idaho-born outdoorswoman, herding reindeer with the Lapps, and visiting the haunting, deceptively peaceful lands of the Gulag, Wheeler brings the Arctic's many contradictions to life. The Magnetic North is an urgent, beautiful book, rich in dramatic description and vivid reporting. It is a singular, deeply personal portrait of a region growing daily in global importance.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. Fantastic ... Readers are whisked away on an incredible, multifaceted tour of a region still unknown ... This fact-filled narrative is nearly impossible to put down." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. An eloquent, important book. Recommended for all readers." - Library Journal
"A wise, provoking and zestful chronicle, poetic, often tragic and always engaging. Wheeler, a prolific raconteur of distant places, has created the finest book on the Arctic since Hugh Brodys The Other Side of Eden ... She has mapped a remarkable journey." - The Sunday Times (UK)
"The Magnetic North proved irresistibly attractive. I loved ... Terra Incognita, and this was an equally coddling hoosh of personal travelogue, historical anecdotage and speculative thinking - all the better because Wheeler began her series of Arctic travels, if not a climate change skeptic, then unconvinced about its anthropic cause, and ended up unable to deny the meltwater on the ground." - Will Self, New Statesman (UK)
"A book that deserves to stand alongside Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez's classic account of life above the tree line. Indeed, more than once I made the comparison in Wheelers favour. She's funnier, and her writing, while brilliantly evocative, is never overblown ... If you are lucky you might get to travel in the Arctic yourself; if you dont, this book is the next best thing." - Erica Wagner, The Times (UK)
"The Magnetic North offers a fascinating tour of a disappearing world. Sara Wheeler is an eloquent and intrepid guide." - Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Note: Sara Wheeler is the author of two biographies - Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton and Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard - and three books of travel writing: Evia: Travels on an Undiscovered Greek Island, Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile, and the bestselling Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica. She lives in London.
Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage by Douglas Waller
Publisher: Free Press
Book Description: He was one of Americas most exciting and secretive generalsthe man Franklin Roosevelt made his top spy in World War II. A mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated, Wild Bill Donovan was director of the Office of Strategic Services (the countrys first national intelligence agency) and the father of todays CIA. Donovan introduced the nation to the dark arts of covert warfare on a scale it had never seen before. Now, veteran journalist Douglas Waller has mined government and private archives throughout the United States and England, drawn on thousands of pages of recently declassified documents, and interviewed scores of Donovans relatives, friends, and associates to produce a riveting biography of one of the most powerful men in modern espionage.
William Joseph Donovans life was packed with personal drama. The son of poor Irish Catholic parents, he married into Protestant wealth and fought heroically in World War I, where he earned the nickname Wild Bill for his intense leadership and the Medal of Honor for his heroism. After the war he made millions as a Republican lawyer on Wall Street until FDR, a Democrat, tapped him to be his strategic intelligence chief. A charismatic leader, Donovan was revered by his secret agents. Yet at times he was recklessrisking his life unnecessarily in war zones, engaging in extramarital affairs that became fodder for his political enemiesand he endured heartbreaking tragedy when family members died at young ages.
Wild Bill Donovan reads like an action-packed spy thriller, with stories of daring young men and women in his OSS sneaking behind enemy lines for sabotage, breaking into Washington embassies to steal secrets, plotting to topple Adolf Hitler, and suffering brutal torture or death when they were captured by the Gestapo. It is also a tale of political intrigue, of infighting at the highest levels of government, of powerful men pitted against one another. Donovan fought enemies at home as often as the Axis abroad. Generals in the Pentagon plotted against him.
J. Edgar Hoover had FBI agents dig up dirt on him. Donovan stole secrets from the Soviets before the dawn of the Cold War and had intense battles with Winston Churchill and British spy chiefs over foreign turf. Separating fact from fiction, Waller investigates the successes and the occasional spectacular failures of Donovans intelligence career.
It makes for a gripping and revealing portrait of this most controversial spymaster.
Prepublication Reviews: "Exhaustively researched but not exhaustively written, this will probably stand as the definitive biography of a seminal figure in the history of American intelligence." - Booklist
"Entertaining history...As [Waller] amply shows, Donovan was a combination of bold innovator and imprudent rule bender, which made him not only a remarkable wartime leader but also an extraordinary figure in American history." - The New York Times Book Review
"Contemporary history is seldom as relevant and engaging as Douglas Waller's new biography, Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage, which is - by turns - fascinatingly instructive and thoroughly entertaining." - L.A. Times
"Wild Bill Donovan, the founding father of American espionage, jumps off the page in Douglas Wallers superb biography of one of the nations most important and least understood leaders of the 20th Century. " - James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
" In Wild Bill Donovan, Douglas C. Wallers impressive research and riveting writing bring the Father of American Intelligence to life, drawing the reader into one of the most thrilling and remarkable periods in American history." - Lee H. Hamilton, former Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
"This superb, dramatic yet scholarly biography, tells a great deal about the man who built a far-flung intelligence organization from scratch in the midst of World War II." - The Washington Post
"In this fast-paced, entertaining and engrossing biography, the author delivers a portrait of a hard-driving, Type A extrovert willing to take on political enemies A well-calibrated assessment of Donovan and the impact of the OSS on the war The book is replete with fascinating anecdotes ...and tales of derring-do." - Associated Press
Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World by Maya Jasanoff
Book Description: At the end of the American Revolution, sixty thousand Americans loyal to the British cause fled the United States and became refugees throughout the British Empire. This groundbreaking book offers the first global history of the loyalist exodus to Canada, the Caribbean, Sierra Leone, India, and beyond. Following extraordinary journeys like the one of Elizabeth Johnston, a young mother from Georgia, who led her growing family to Britain, Jamaica, and Canada, questing for a home; black loyalists such as David George, who escaped from slavery in Virginia and went on to found Baptist congregations in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone; and Mohawk Indian leader Joseph Brant, who tried to find autonomy for his people in Ontario, Libertys Exiles challenges conventional understandings about the founding of the United States and the shaping of the post-revolutionary world.
Based on original research on four continents, this book is at once an intimate narrative history and a provocative new analysisa story about the past that helps us think about migration, tolerance, and liberty in the world today.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. This superb study of a little-known episode in American and British history is remiss only in largely ignoring the Loyalist community in Spanish West Florida and the War of 1812 as a continuation of the earlier conflict." - Publishers Weekly
"Combining compelling narrative with insightful analysis, Jasanoff has produced a work that is both distinct in perspective and groundbreaking in its originality. Strongly recommended for both students of the Revolutionary Atlantic world and British Empire generalists." - Library Journal
"Losers seldom get to write the history, but the American loyalists have at last got their historian with Maya Jasanoff...No one has told this story before, and Jasanoff tells it with uncommon style and grace." - Joseph J. Ellis
"[We] have had to wait too long for a history of the Loyalists who fought against the American Revolution, and lost....I can think of few books published in the past thirty years that shed more brilliant and revelatory light on the events of the revolutionary era than Libertys Exiles. It is more than just a work of first-class scholarship on a par with Linda Colleys Britons. It is a deeply moving masterpiece that fulfils the historians most challenging ambition: to revivify past experience." - Niall Ferguson
"Liberty's Exiles is a book which in scope and originality, global reach and research, intellectual curiosity and sheer provocative panache-- upturning in its wake whole applecarts of unchallenged assumptions-- can sustain comparison with Linda Colley or the young Simon Schama. The truth is that Maya Jasanoff is not just a very good writer, an indefatigable researcher and a fine historian, she is also a bit of a genius." - William Dalrymple
Note: Maya Jasanoff was educated at Harvard, Cambridge, and Yale, and is currently an associate professor of history at Harvard University. Her first book, Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 17501850, was awarded the 2005 Duff Cooper Prize and was a book of the year selection in numerous publications including The Economist, The Guardian, and The Sunday Times (London). She has recently been a fellow of the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the American Council of Learned Societies and has contributed essays to the London Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Review of Books.
The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World by Laura J. Snyder
Publisher: Broadway Books
Book Description:The Philosophical Breakfast Club is a rich work of biography and history in the tradition of Richard Holmes's bestselling The Age of Wonder. Laura Snyder, an expert on Victorian science and culture, has written what is, in a sense, a sequel to Holmes's book, showing how a small group of men working in the early nineteenth century made a number of significant discoveries and, together, brought about a scientific revolution.
The four principles--Charles Babbage, John Herschel, William Whewell, and Richard Jones--are relatively unknown today though their signal achievements are remembered. Charles Babbage was a mathematical genius who invented the modern computer; John Herschel mapped the Southern Hemisphere and contributed to the invention of photography; William Whewell not only invented the word "scientist" but also found the fields of crystallography, mathematical economics and the science of tides; Richard Jones shaped the science of economics.
The four principals of the "Breakfast Club" met as undergraduates at the University of Cambridge in 1812. The Philosophical Breakfast Club tells the story of these extraordinary men, exposing the political passions, religious impulses, friendships, rivalries, and love of knowledgeand powerthat drove them.
Drawing upon the voluminous correspondence between the four men over the fifty years of their campaign, the book shows how friendship worked to spur the men on to greater accomplishments, and how it enabled them to help create the modern world, in which science plays a starring role.
Reader Rating: 4 out of 5
This book got generally positive reviews from the 35 BookBrowse Members who have posted reviews.
Read the reviews.
Prepublication Reviews: "Each of the four figures is a worthy subject in his own right, and by combining their stories Snyder provides the right balance of biography and science." - Publishers Weekly
"The author skillfully weaves together the lives of her four principals with the science of their day." - Kirkus Reviews
"Snyder weaves a compelling, if occasionally meandering, tale of the transformation of science in the Victorian era....she leaves the reader with an inspiring sense of just how influential these men were in shaping our world and laying the foundation for major science and technological changes, especially in three different areas." - The Daily Beast
"In The Philosophical Breakfast Club she draws an endearing - almost domestic - picture of four scientific titans, and shows how - through their very 'clubbability' - they created the scientific basis on which the modern world stands." - Judith Flanders, author of Inside the Victorian Home
"The four busy geniuses who inhabit Laura Snyder's wonderfully engaging book did not invent friendship or science, but by combining those pastimes in their 'philosophical breakfasts,' they managed to invent much else, from the very word 'scientist' to versions of the computer and the camera." - Joyce E. Chaplin, James Duncan Phillips Professor of History, Harvard University
"By tracing the careers of the four members of the Philosophical Breakfast Club,
Laura Snyder has found a wonderful way not just to tell the great stories of 19th-century science, but to bring them vividly to life." - Tom Standage, author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses
"In this elegantly written book, Snyder has brought to life four of the most important British scientists of the first half of the nineteenth century [She] tracks the intertwined lives of these four figures...while casting light on every facet of British science during their lifetime." - Bernard Lightman, Professor of Humanities and Director, Institute of Science and Technology Studies, York University
"Who would not want to be invited to breakfast with the young philosophers and scientists that Laura Snyder portrays so vividly and with searching imagination?... Science and the personalities who created it spring to life in Snyder's compelling biographical depictions." - Robert J. Richards, Morris Fishbein Professor of the History of Science, University of Chicago
Note: An expert on Victorian science and culture, Fulbright scholar Laura J. Snyder is also the president of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science. She is an associate professor of philosophy at St. John's University and the author of Reforming Philosophy: A Victorian Debate on Science and Society.Visit Laura on Facebook.
The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War by Ben Shephard
Book Description: A groundbreaking book that offers a radical reassessment of the aftermath of World War II.
As newly formed relief organizations began to grapple with the recovery effort in Europe in 1945, they were confronted by an entire starving and uprooted continent. And while they were only beginning to grasp the atrocities that would come to be known as the Holocaust, more than twenty million people who had been expelled from their homes and homelands - "Displaced Persons," as they were called - constituted an immediate refugee crisis, the largest in Europes history.
This commonly ignored aspect of the war is brought to extraordinary life by acclaimed historian Ben Shephard through a trove of personal accounts and major new sources - including memoirs, essays, and oral histories - discovered during the course of his exhaustive research. Weaving together the observations and experiences of those who organized the postwar relief efforts and those who waited for their futures to be decided long after armistice was declared, The Long Road Home tells the epic story of how millions redefined the notion of home amid painstaking recovery.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. His masterful account mixes history, colorful personalities, and moving individual stories." - Publishers Weekly
"Shephard has provided a depressing but valuable examination of a largely neglected aspect of WWII." - Booklist
"In this excellent history, Shephard unforgettably conveys the post-war refugee crisis and its aftermath. Even today, thousands of DPs remain unaccounted for or, in the Red Cross parlance, 'dispersed'. The Long Road Home speaks for them by proxy and with proper sympathy." - The Telegraph (UK)
"This is a complex story and Shephard does not always recount it with crystal clarity. But his research is meticulous. He writes well with a keen eye for detail. His judgements are trenchant and he dishes out praise and blame with an even hand, commending Britain for feeding Germany by rationing bread at home and condemning the 'sheer hoggery' of the US military for starving Europe of grain." - The Independent (UK)
"A good story or a bad one for mankind? In the end, more good than bad but full of awful warnings. And, from Shephard, a riveting and often entirely fresh story, shrewdly assembled, very well told." - The Guardian
Note: Ben Shephard was born in 1948, studied history at Oxford University, and is the author of the critically acclaimed A War of Nerves and After Daybreak. He was producer of the U.K. television series The World at War and The Nuclear Age, and has made numerous historical and scientific documentaries for the BBC and Channel Four. He lives in Bristol, England.
River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon by Buddy Levy
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Book Description: From the acclaimed author of Conquistador comes this thrilling account of one of historys greatest adventures of discovery. With cinematic immediacy and meticulous attention to historical detail, here is the true story of a legendary sixteenth-century explorer and his death-defying navigation of the Amazon - river of darkness, pathway to gold.
In 1541, the brutal conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro and his well-born lieutenant Francisco Orellana set off from Quito in search of La Canela, South America's rumored Land of Cinnamon, and the fabled El Dorado, "the golden man." Driving an enormous retinue of mercenaries, enslaved natives, horses, hunting dogs, and other animals across the Andes, they watched their proud expedition begin to disintegrate even before they descended into the nightmarish jungle, following the course of a powerful river. Soon hopelessly lost in the swampy labyrinth, their numbers diminishing daily through disease, starvation, and Indian attacks, Pizarro and Orellana made a fateful decision to separate. While Pizarro eventually returned home barefoot and in rags, Orellana and fifty-seven men, in a few fragile craft, continued downriver into the unknown reaches of the mighty Amazon, serenaded by native war drums and the eerie cries of exotic predators. Theirs would be the greater glory.
Interweaving eyewitness accounts of the quest with newly uncovered details, Buddy Levy reconstructs the seminal journey that has electrified adventurers ever since, as Orellana became the first European to navigate and explore the entire length of the worlds largest river. Levy gives a long-overdue account of the native populations - some peaceful and welcoming, offering sustenance and life-saving guidance, others ferociously hostile, subjecting the invaders to gauntlets of unremitting attack and intimations of terrifying rituals. And here is the Amazon itself, a powerful presence whose every twist and turn held the promise of new wonders both natural and man-made, as well as the ever-present risk of death - a river that would hold Orellana in its irresistible embrace to the end of his life.
Overflowing with violence and beauty, nobility and tragedy, River of Darkness is both riveting history and a breathtaking adventure that will sweep readers along on an epic voyage unlike any other.
Prepublication Reviews: "Levy provides enough descriptive detail and pacing to differentiate between the various native groups and aspects of the river. He also addresses the new archeological research that is changing our understanding of the cultures of the pre-Columbian Amazon Basin." - Publishers Weekly
Morning, Noon, and Night: Growing Up and Growing Old with Literature by Arnold Weinstein
Publisher: Random House
Book Description: From Homer and Shakespeare to Toni Morrison and Jonathan Safran Foer, major works of literature have a great deal to teach us about two of life's most significant stages--growing up and growing old. Distinguised scholar Arnold Weinstein's provocative and engaging new book, Morning, Noon, and Night, explores classic writing's insights into coming-of-age and surrendering to time, and considers the impact of these revelations upon our lives.
With wisdom, humor, and moving personal observations, Weinstein leads us to look deep inside ourselves and these great books, to see how we can use art as both mirror and guide. He offers incisive readings of seminal novels about childhood--Huck Finn's empathy for the runaway slave Jim illuminates a child's moral education; Catherine and Heathcliff's struggle with obsessive passion in Wuthering Heights is hauntingly familiar to many young lovers; Dickens's Pip, in Great Expectations, must grapple with a world that wishes him harm; and in Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical Persepolis, little Marjane faces a different kind of struggle--growing into adolescence as her country moves through the pain of the Iranian Revolution.
In turn, great writers also ponder the lessons learned in life's twilight years: both King Lear and Willy Loman suffer as their patriarchal authority collapses and death creeps up; Brecht's Mother Courage displays the inspiring indomitability of an aging woman who has "borne every possible blow... but is still standing, still moving." And older love can sometimes be funny (Rip Van Winkle conveniently sleeps right through his marriage) and sometimes tragic (as J. M. Coetzees David Lurie learns the hard way, in Disgrace).
Tapping into the hearts and minds of memorable characters, from Sophocles' Oedipus to Artie in Art Spiegelman's Maus, Morning, Noon, and Night makes an eloquent and powerful case for the role of great literature as a knowing window into our lives and times. Its intelligence, passion, and genuine appreciation for the written word remind us just how crucial books are to the business of being human.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. From familiar works to those not so well-known, Weinstein expertly extracts their timeless lessons." - Kirkus Reviews
"Weinstein focuses on literary figures ensnared in maddening ambiguities, omitting from his study luminous figures such as Shakespeares Prince Hal and Prospero, who triumph over transitional hardship. Still...readers will find much to praise in sobering reflections that free literature from the lethal grip of academic theorizing by connecting it again with real life." - Booklist
"If at some level novels are 'instructions for living,' no one does a better job of revealing and clarifying those instructions than Arnold Weinstein. I have delighted in and learned so much from his previous books and his memorable lectures, but Morning, Noon, and Night tops them all--an exploration of what it is to have time go by, to have power start to slip from our hands, and how, if we are lucky, we discover early that only love endures." - Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
Note: Arnold Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University and the author of A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life and Recovering Your Story: Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, Morrison. His other books include Vision and Response in Modern Fiction; Fictions of the Self: 15501800; The Fiction of Relationship; Nobodys Home: Speech, Self, and Place in American Fiction from Hawthorne to DeLillo; and Northern Arts: The Breakthrough of Scandinavian Literature and Art, from Ibsen to Bergman. His lectures on world literature are produced in DVD and CD format by The Teaching Company. Professor Weinstein divides his time between Brown University, Block Island, Stockholm, and Brittany.
Book Description: A young boy must come to terms with the moral prejudices of his small town in rural 1950s Ontario when he befriends the daughter of a young widow who moves in next door. Gracie is unlike anyone Luke has ever met fun, charming, imaginative and full of life. But when the townsfolk discover that her mothers past is less than completely honourable, they set out to isolate both mother and daughter. This striking new novel from Valerie Sherrard explores themes of friendship, loyalty, hypocrisy, and forgiveness.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. This haunting depiction of small-mindedness will leave readers wondering, as Luke comes to, about Gracie's true nature: heavenly childor angel? Ages 10+" - Kirkus
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Alternate History
Delirium: Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Book Description: Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.
Prepublication Reviews: "Oliver's nightmare future lacks a visceral punch, primarily because of the weakness of the world-building. Her America has undergone a seismic shift, but the economic, religious, and cultural ramifications are all but ignored." - Publishers Weekly
"The story bogs down as it revels in romance - Alex is standard-issue perfection - but the book never loses its A Clockwork Orangestyle bite regarding safety versus choice. Grades 9-12." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Strong characters, a vivid portrait of the lives of teens in a repressive society, and nagging questions that can be applied to our world today make this book especially compelling and discussable." - School Library Journal
Note: Lauren Oliver is the author of Before I Fall, which ALA Booklist called a "compelling book with a powerful message [that] should not be missed." A graduate of the University of Chicago and the MFA program at New York University, Lauren is now a full-time writer and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Delirium is her second novel.
Publisher: Knopf Children's Books
Book Description: When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.
Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfound cousin. Prickly, sarcastic, and gifted, Araene has a secret of her own ... a dream a girl cannot attain.
Trei and Araene quickly become conspirators as they pursue their individual paths. But neither suspects that their lives will be deeply entwined, and that the fate of the Floating Islands will lie in their hands.
Filled with rich language, and told in alternating voices, The Floating Islands is an all-encompassing young adult fantasy read.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. The author delineates complex characters, geographies and societies alike with a dab hand, deftly weaves them allalong with dragons of several sorts, mouthwatering kitchen talk, flashes of humor and a late-blooming romanceinto a suspenseful plot and delivers an outstanding tale that is self-contained but full of promise for sequels." - Kirkus
"Complex and memorable characters, lush imagery, and a vividly constructed setting make this fantasy adventure soar. Ages 12up." - Publishers Weekly
Note: Rachel Neumeier is the author of several fantasy novels, for both adults and young adults, including Knopf's The City in the Lake. The Floating Islands is her second YA book.
Book Description: Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.
Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact - plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.
In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.
Prepublication Reviews: "Starred Review. This will capture the hearts and minds of sports loversand just about everyone else as well. Grades 6-9." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Gourlay spins slender threads of wishes and prayers, magic and miracles, desires and redemption and weaves together an impressively sweet and rich tale. Ages 9-13" - Kirkus
"Gourlay weaves just enough magic into this moving family reunion to deliver an emotional punch. Ages 10 up." - Publishers Weekly
Note: Candy Gourlay was born in Manila during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After working as a journalist for some years, she moved to the U.K. in her twenties. Candy is now a full-time writer across a range of mediums: short stories, blogs, Web sites, journalistic features, and radio programs. Tall Story is Candy's first full-length published novel. Visit her on the Web at CandyGourlay.com.
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Book Description: The ineffable nature of grieving and belief inspires a tender, gritty, and breathtaking work of graphic storytelling from the creators of The Savage.
"Slogger, man," I said. "Your dads dead."
"I know that, Davie. But its him. Hes come back again, like he said he would."
Do you believe in life after death? Slog does. He believes that the scruffy man on a bench outside the butcher shop is his dad, returned to visit him one last time. Slog's friend Davie isn't so sure. Can it be that some mysteries are never meant to be solved? And that belief, at times, is its own reward? The acclaimed creators of The Savage reunite for a feat of graphic storytelling that defies categorization. Eerie, poignant, and masterful, Slogs Dad is a tale of astonishing power and complexity.
Prepublication Reviews: "A very touching graphic novel." - The Bookseller
"Starred Review. McKean's images are edgy and startling, helping to create a stunning match of them with the words. Ages 7up." - Publishers Weekly
'This is every bit as powerful, as moving, as magical as The Savage... Slog's Dad is an incredible work." - Forbidden Planet
"The sad, evocative story is mostly told through Almonds prose, but McKeans pictures dont just illustrate the events in the story. Rather, they amplify and add to them, bringing an extra dimension of meaning to a story already packed with emotion." - The Irish Times
"This extraordinarily beautiful and sensitive book by the award-winning team of Almond and McKean almost defies description its a stand-alone story with stunning graphics that expand the book's heart-rendering message Simply stunning." - Daily Mail
"I was left captivated by this little story... The story, however, was far too short. But still, I would love to see more of David Almond and Dave McKean books in the future. Longer ones." - FlutteringButterflies.com
Note: David Almond is known worldwide as the Michael L. Printz, Carnegie, Whitbread, and Smarties awardwinning author of Skellig, Clay, and many other novels, stories, and plays, including The Savage, also illustrated by Dave McKean. He lives in Northumberland, England.
Dave McKean is a world-renowned artist, designer, and film director who has illustrated several books for children, including The Savage by David Almond, and Coraline, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and The Wolves in the Wall, all by Neil Gaiman. Dave McKean lives in England.
To Come and Go Like Magic by Katie Pickard Fawcett
Publisher: Knopf Children's Books
Book Description: Twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney has never been outside of her small Appalachian town. Momma says Mercy Hill, Kentucky, is her true home, but Chili longs to see the worldto have the freedom to leave and to explore.
So when Miss Matlock is brought in as the 7th grade substitute teacher, Chili and her classmate Willie Bright are thrilled. Everyone knows Miss Matlock has traveled around the globe. Why shes come back to her childhood home after all this time is a mystery, but Chili and Willie are eager to befriend her despite the rumors. As the three spend time together, Chili learns about the jungles and deserts and cities of the world. But she also discovers that theres more to Mercy Hill than she thought: beauty, in the people and places shes known all her life, and secrets, sometimes where theyre least expected.
Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, To Come and Go Like Magic is a heartwarming and hopeful debut novel about family, friendship, and the meaning of home.
Prepublication Reviews: "Told in beautifully crafted vignettes, Fawcett's debut is a story of smalltown Appalachian life in the 1970s and finding the courage to leave home. Ages 10+." - Publishers Weekly
"Reluctant readers will find an engaging, lyrical story that excites their sense of wonder, and discover that though they may venture forth, home will never be far away." - Booklist
"A lively story that will appeal to a variety of readers." - Children's Literature
"The longing and despair hang in the air of every page, but there is also hope and quaint tales to amuse. It may be a hard sell, but it is a rich exploration in language, imagery, and storytelling." - VOYA
"Alas-little magic here. Ages 10-13." - Kirkus
Note: Katie Pickard Fawcett grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and spent two years as a social worker in Appalachia. She has counseled and tutored students in the Washington, D.C. area, written ads for Peace Corps and VISTA, and worked for the World Bank writing about development projects in Third World countries. Her personal essays have been published in several magazines, and her favorite diversion is travel and the different cultural experiences it brings. She lives with her husband and son in McLean, Virginia.
All books are hardcovers unless otherwise noted. On-sale dates have been verified within the last few days based on USA publication dates.
However, books are often delivered to stores ahead of time, and therefore might be available before the date shown.
In all cases,
descriptions have been lifted directly from the book jackets (although usually abbreviated). When available, a range of reviewer opinions
have been included - each whittled down to represent the essential opinion of the reviewer.
If no reviews are shown it is because none were
found at the time of publication. If no "critics' consensus" rating is shown it is because less than two media reviews were available at publication - sometimes this is
because the book has received little review attention and occasionally because it is embargoed until publication.
We always appreciate hearing from you. If you have any suggestions, questions or comments please use the
Unfortunately with so much spam coming in, it is very easy to miss genuine email message but messages from the feedback form should be
automatically prioritized in our mailbox. You may also find the FAQs page to be useful.
BookBrowse's website and emails include information provided by 3rd parties, including, but not limited to, advertising,
excerpts, reviews, reading guides, author biographies, interviews and book synopses. As such, content at BookBrowse.com and sent by BookBrowse does not
necessarily represent the views of the owners of BookBrowse, BookBrowse LLC, and is not endorsed by BookBrowse LLC. BookBrowse.com links
Copyright BookBrowse LLC, 1997-2013. PO Box 2157, Saratoga, CA 95070.