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Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009

The following reviews, interviews and features began running on on Friday, June 5th.

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

HOW SHOULD I TELL THE DOG: And Other Final Musings by Miles Kington
THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC by Richard Russo
EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo

Reviews and Excerpts
THE STORY SISTERS by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)
Alice Hoffman’s new novel charts the lives of three sisters. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE STORY SISTERS.

AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse (Memoir)
When was the last time you read a memoir that begins with an angry raccoon perched on the author’s head? That’s the opening scene of Wade Rouse’s new book and one of many, both hilarious and wise, that make this a memorable story about living your dreams and in the process discovering a new life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.
- Click here to read an excerpt from AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM.

THE STRAIN by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Horror)
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

DIE FOR YOU by Lisa Unger (Thriller)
Bestselling author Lisa Unger takes us on a nightmarish journey from bustling, glamorous New York City to the murky, twisted streets of Prague, seeking the answer to one bone-chilling question: What if the man you love, the one sleeping beside you, is a stranger? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MY FATHER’S TEARS: And Other Stories by John Updike (Fiction/Short Stories)
John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, MY FATHER’S TEARS finds the late author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign travel. American experience from the Depression to the aftermath of 9/11 finds reflection in these glittering pieces of observation, remembrance and imagination. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich (Fiction)
MERCURY IN RETROGRADE introduces three women whose lives intersect when they each decide to move into the same SoHo apartment building. As these disparate ladies become friends, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might have been the best thing that could have ever happened to them. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

It is the summer of 1950 --- and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that 11-year-old Flavia de Luce’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

STEP BY STEP: A Pedestrian Memoir by Lawrence Block (Memoir)
Bestselling mystery author Lawrence Block has written a memoir about walking --- or, more precisely, his participation in the sport of racewalking. In his late 60s, Block was traveling the country entering “ultra” marathons that challenged him to try to walk his age in miles within 24-hour periods. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters (Psychological Thriller)
This sophisticated ghost story from the award-winning author of THE NIGHT WATCH and FINGERSMITH does more than give you a fright. Psychologically acute and darkly alluring, it links the upheavals of post-World War II England to spiritual derangements in the life of one formerly glorious Warwickshire family. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

PERFORATED HEART by Eric Bogosian (Fiction)
In this diary novel, an aging novelist past his prime ruminates on life, death, fame and his lack of it while looking through journals of his life in the 1970s New York artistic underground. Guilt, regret and stymied desire frame this compelling portrait of a writer’s relationship with his work and considerable shortcomings. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

Author Interview
Norman Ollestad
In his memoir, CRAZY FOR THE STORM, Norman Ollestad chronicles his story of survival after a plane crash in the mountains leaves him the sole survivor at the age of 11, while giving credit entirely to his adventure-loving father's unusual parenting style. In this interview with's Norah Piehl, Ollestad explains how he was able to piece together his scattered 30-year-old memories in order to vividly describe that harrowing nine-hour ordeal, and reveals some of the difficulties he experienced revisiting those traumatic events. He also provides insight into his father's personality and outlook on life, discusses how their unique relationship has helped to shape the one he now shares with his own son, and names some of his biggest writing influences.

Author Talk
Patti Callahan Henry
Patti Callahan Henry is the bestselling author of six novels, including WHEN LIGHT BREAKS, BETWEEN THE TIDES, THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS and the newly released DRIFTWOOD SUMMER. In this interview, Henry describes how much of her own memories and experiences she drew upon to write this story about three siblings and attempts to shed light on the complex dynamic of sisterhood. She also explains why --- in addition to themes of familial relationships --- she chose to focus on the financial issues independent bookstores face in this day and age, and shares tips on how we can help support these small businesses.

Beach Bag of Books
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND by Jill Kargman (Fiction)
This is about the time of year that a book lover starts searching for those titles that will fill her beach bag, be dragged to the pool, hauled out on the boat and passed around at the playground. Just in time to fill all these requirements of a fun summer read is Jill Kargman’s THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

Fourth Annual Father's Day Contest
Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and inspired us. Why not show him your appreciation by inspiring him with a great book? From May 29th through June 12th readers will have the chance to win one of our five Father’s Day Tote Bag Coolers, which are stocked with handy and fun items for dad as well as one copy of all six of our featured titles. Whether he is a fan of suspense novels, uplifting stories --- or if he’s just looking for great summer cooking ideas --- has the perfect gift suggestions for the dad in your life.

Our featured Father’s Day titles are:

- THE BOOK OF DADS: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood, edited by Ben George
- DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson
- HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE: A Memoir, by Michael Greenberg
- NUDGE: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
- THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Books into Movies
This month's Books into Movies Feature includes:
The Stoning of Soraya M.
My Sister's Keeper

Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight
THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews
After her boss in a Washington PR firm is caught in a scandal, lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, a dilapidated, Pepto Bismol–pink victorian house he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house... and her life.
- Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’s Bio
- Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’s Bibliography
- Click here to read more about THE FIXER UPPER.

"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling 26-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. An enchanting, romantic tale of friendship and love in which a young American woman helps a group of lace makers change their lives --- and, ultimately, her own.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA.

Debut Suspense Thriller Author Spotlight
KILLING RED by Henry Perez
On death row, serial killer Kenneth Lee Grubb has six days to live and his last request is an interview with reporter Alex Chapa. What begins as a dream story soon turns into a nightmare for Alex. For amidst Grubb’s taunts and boasts lies the horrific claim that someone is carefully repeating his past crimes. When nine people suddenly turn up dead, Alex realizes Grubb is telling the truth. Now the copycat killer is ready to pay his ultimate tribute to his idol. He’s set his sights on Annie “Red” Sykes, the only survivor of his bloodlust fifteen years ago.
- Click here to read Henry Perez’s bio.
- Click here to read Henr Perez’s bibliography
- Click here to read more about KILLING RED.

Mystery Mayhem Author Spotlight
Witty, smart and always chic, Haley Randolph has it all: Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Coach, Burberry, and she’d kill for the newest Louis Vuitton handbag... but it seems she’s not the only one. When someone’s passion for designer purses leads to murder, Haley goes shopping for a killer and to clear her name.
- Click here to read Dorothy Howell’s bio.
- Click here to read Dorothy Howell’s bibliography.
- Click here to read more about HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.

Literary Fiction Author Spotlight
THE WONDER SINGER by George Rabasa
For freelance writer Mark Lockwood, landing the job as ghost writer for opera diva Mercè Casals is a dream. But when she dies in her bath and her agent wants to give the project to a renowned celebrity biographer, Lockwood makes off with the interview tapes to save his last best chance at writing success.
- Click here to read an excerpt from THE WONDER SINGER.

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