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Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, May 8th.

Also mentioned in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

THE PHOTOGRAPHER by Emmanuel Guibert
ALAN'S WAR by Emmanuel Guibert
KNUCKLEHEAD by Jon Scieszka
BURNT SHADOWS by Kamila Shamsie

Reviews and Excerpts
ANNIE'S GHOSTS: A Journey into a Family Secret, by Steve Luxenberg (Memoir)
ANNIE’S GHOSTS recounts Steve Luxenberg's search for the aunt he never knew he had. In trying to find out what he could about Annie Cohen, he learns a great deal about his family, especially his parents, and is challenged by the realities of mental health, social pressures, and the history of violence and oppression that culminated in the Holocaust. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman and excerpted.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ANNIE'S GHOSTS.

LOSING MUM AND PUP: A Memoir, by Christopher Buckley (Memoir)
Losing both parents in less than a year can’t be easy. It’s even more difficult when they’re well-known people and you’re the only child. This puts your life, as well as theirs, in the spotlight even more. Christopher Buckley, the son of William F. Buckley, Jr. and Patricia Taylor Buckley, shares his thoughts and memories as he coped through the last year of their lives. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

PATHS OF GLORY by Jeffrey Archer (Fiction)
George Mallory once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, “because it’s there.” On his third attempt in 1924, at age 37, he was last seen 600 feet from the top. His body was found in 1999, and it still remains a mystery whether he ever reached the summit. PATHS OF GLORY tells Mallory’s story like a fairy tale of adventure, desire and passion for achieving what no man had yet to accomplish. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE VISIBLES by Sara Shepard (Fiction)
Sara Shepard, previously best known for her Pretty Little Liars series for young adults, crosses over to adult literature with aplomb in THE VISIBLES, a unique coming-of-age novel about a young woman making the transition to independent adult life. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

DEVIL’S GARDEN by Ace Atkins (Historical Thriller)
San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel, complete with girls, jazz, bootleg hooch…and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict. But what really happened? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NOT BECOMING MY MOTHER: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way, by Ruth Reichl (Memoir)
Ruth Reichl embarks on an investigation of her mother’s life, piecing together the journey of a woman she comes to realize she never really knew. Looking to her mother’s letters and diaries, Reichl confronts the painful transition her mother made from a hopeful young woman to an increasingly unhappy older one, and realizes the tremendous sacrifices she made to make sure her daughter’s life would not be as disappointing as her own. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

LIFE IS LIKE A SAILBOAT: Selected Writings on Life & Living from The Philadelphia Inquirer, by John Grogan (Essays)
John Grogan, an observer of suburban life and living for The Philadelphia Inquirer and author of the popular bestseller MARLEY & ME, is back with a collection of 84 newspaper columns on such vital issues as Internet spam, the evils of smoking and the evolution of the backyard treehouse. His range of subjects is as wide as a suburban lawn, his prose flows nicely and his viewpoint is whimsical. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

ABOUT FACE: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon (Mystery)
Environmental concerns become significant in Commissario Guido Brunetti’s work when an investigator from the Carabiniere, looking into the illegal hauling of garbage, asks for a favor. His father-in-law needs help and a mysterious woman comes into the picture. Brunetti soon finds himself in the middle of an investigation into murder and corruption more dangerous than anything he’s seen before. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WALKING DEAD by Greg Rucka (Thriller)
In this explosive new thriller, Greg Rucka, the acclaimed author of SHOOTING AT MIDNIGHT and PATRIOT ACTS, sets bodyguard-turned-international-fugitive Atticus Kodiak on a one-man crusade where being willing to die for your ideals isn’t enough. You have to be willing to do much worse.… Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

IN THE COURTS OF THE SUN by Brian D'Amato (Science Fiction Thriller)
This is an imaginative, offbeat science fiction thriller that tells the story of Jed DeLanda, a 21st century descendant of the ancient Mayans. As an “adder,” Jed was born with the unique ability to foretell the future via a Mayan sacrifice game. When he learns that scientists have successfully translated an ancient tome called the Codex, Jed uses the sacrifice game to foretell the meaning of the Codex and confirms a prediction for the end of mankind from a catastrophic event on the date 12/21/2012. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

Author Talks
Mahbod Seraji
Mahbod Seraji's debut novel, ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN, is a coming-of-age tale and love story set in 1970s Iran. In this interview with his editor, Seraji sheds light on little-known facts about Persian history and attempts to clear up cultural misconceptions about his home country. He also talks about some of the challenges of assimilating he faced shortly after emigrating to the United States, muses on cultural differences between America and Iran, and shares details about a book he's working on now.

Steve Luxenberg
Steve Luxenberg, an associate editor at The Washington Post, recently published his first book, ANNIE'S GHOSTS, which chronicles his search to uncover a family secret kept hidden for over half a century. In this interview conducted by author Laura Wexler (FIRE IN A CANEBRAKE: The Last Mass Lynching in America), Luxenberg discusses the two roles he plays in the narrative --- one as a journalist, and the other as the son of one of his subjects --- and the importance of incorporating both equally in order to fully tell the story. He also describes the challenges of writing the book in a style that combines three different genres, recalls his experience visiting a European city that significantly impacted his family's history, and shares the discovery that brought him comfort in spite of the tragic events he was able to bring to light. Bets On...
ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN by Mahbod Seraji (May 5th)
Set in Tehran in 1973, ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN drops you into the world of Pasha and Ahmed, who while away their summer hours on the roof. They are in that in-between year --- not still a child, but not quite an adult --- where they are feeling their way to the next thing. They play games, mull the future --- and think about girls. Pasha has a secret crush on Zari, the fiancé of a local boy named Doctor, who is older. But beyond this world on the roof, Tehran is explosive with the SAVAK running around the city looking for those who are outspoken against the Shah and the government. One night on the roof, a look from Pasha turns their world upside down --- and the fallout will change everyone’s lives.

This story of friendship reminded me of THE KITE RUNNER, as did the vivid descriptions of the time and place. The pacing is wonderful, the characters are vivid, and the entire book will take you somewhere that you will think about long after you leave it. It’s a book you will long to talk about after it’s been read.
- Click here to read an excerpt from ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN.
- Click here to see the reading group guide for ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN.

One to Watch Author Spotlight
CRAZY FOR THE STORM by Norman Ollestad (Memoir)
From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared “Boy Wonder,” as his father called him, to become a fearless champion --- and ultimately saved his life.
- Click here to read a second excerpt from CRAZY FOR THE STORM.

Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
WICKED PREY by John Sandford (Thriller)
The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stickup men who’ve spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system. All that’s headache enough for Lucas Davenport --- but what’s about to hit him is even worse.
- Click here to read a third excerpt from WICKED PREY.

PEOPLE DIE by Kevin Wignall (Thriller)
Fast, efficient, and deadly… JJ is the best hit man money can buy. His clients are international. His targets never see it coming. His only rule: never get emotionally involved. But in the assassination game, everything can change with a single bullet. When a hit goes down in a Moscow hotel and JJ lets a beautiful young woman walk away carrying her clothes and a package, he knows he’s broken his ultimate rule…
- Click here to read an excerpt from PEOPLE DIE.

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
UNSEEN by Nancy Bush
Gemma La Porte wakes up in a hospital and knows her name and where she lives, but there are blank spaces in her memory. When released, she senses she’s being watched but thinks she's overreacting. As the days pass, Gemma begins having blackouts, waking up and having no idea where she's been or what she's done, especially when she finds blood on her hands. Has she committed murder?
- Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for UNSEEN.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
Two decades ago, at a private women’s college in upstate New York, a student was brutally attacked in her dorm room, but her assailant was never found. Sue Barlow arrives at Wilbourne College twenty years later. When a classmate disappears, Sue thinks it’s an isolated incident until two other girls vanish. As fear grows on campus, Sue begins to sense she’s being watched, and as the body count rises, she soon realizes that a twisted psychopath is summoning her to play a wicked game.
- Click here to read Advance Reader Comments for ALL THE PRETTY DEAD GIRLS.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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