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January 14, 2011 Newsletter January 14, 2011

My Travel Karma

For my trip to the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, I had great travel karma. I slipped out and back between snowstorms, and given the weather these past few weeks, I feel like I won some version of the weather lottery. The flights right after mine were cancelled going both ways. Flying over the country, it was amazing how much white was on the ground below. I have to say the Rockies looked stupendous, and I wish I had time for skiing. That said, I know the snow has made life miserable for many of you and has thrust real inconvenience to scheduling on many levels along the way. My sister lives in Atlanta, and her description of the icy roads there was terrifying.

Though there was no snow in San Diego, the weather there was not what I had expected. I swam outside one time, and I saw people out for morning walks with heavy jackets on while I pounded through a set of laps before hitting the hot tub to warm up. Can you tell that I was determined to swim?

The conference kicked off with a stellar author lineup, with Susan Vreeland (whose CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY we review this week), David Levithan, Stewart O’Nan and Armistead Maupin speaking on the topic of literary fiction. There was talk about what the difference is between literary fiction and most commercial fiction; the common dividing point is that literary fiction is more character-driven than plot-driven. Each author went on to describe his or her take on what influenced his or her work. Susan, who is best known as the author of GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, writes historical fiction, taking on the stories of famous artists. In CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY, she explores the notion that it was Clara Driscoll with the idea for the Tiffany leaded-glass lamp. She had a wonderful line about the renaissance of historical fiction these days. She sees that historical fiction is about how a common man or woman experienced that time in history. Historical fiction gives the voice of the inner character and is part of the fabric of our history. Our reviewer, Kathy Weissman, calls the book "an engaging mélange of art, feminism and Old New York (1892 to 1908)."

David Levithan has written THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY, a dictionary reflection of two years in a relationship. At the top of the page is a word, then the definition, and then something about that word that explores the bond between these two people. The pieces that were shared gave testimony to David’s quote that he loves writing words as an author much as he loves playing with them as an editor. Stewart O’Nan then talked about the importance of place in fiction. He has fallen in love with places that are often overlooked, and thus it’s important to get those places right. He also talked about trying to get inside people and spoke about how little we know about the people closest to us. There are a lot of private introspective moments in his upcoming book, EMILY, ALONE which revisits the world he explored in WISH YOU WERE HERE. Detail is important instead of being minimalist for him. But every detail impinges on his characters’ lives, and they must be there for a reason, or else they should be cut out. He also shed more light on the concept of literary fiction, saying that things popular in their day often are not literary.

For Armistead Maupin, tales of the city --- his home city of San Francisco --- are what he loves to write. Best known for TALES OF THE CITY, he began his work writing about the gay community in the '70s in a newspaper column that became this noted book. I sadly had to race from Maupin’s talk to an evening soiree with some graphic novel colleagues and missed the rest of his talk about his latest book, MARY ANN IN AUTUMN. Nice to spend time getting to know all of these authors a bit better.

When you attend an author talk with the words trauma, blunt, sharp, gunshot, fire and animal to describe how victims are killed, you have a feeling that Kathy Reichs is in the house. Her Saturday morning talk was stellar, and I learned about the difference between TV Tempe (I do loves "Bones") and Book Tempe. Kathy told great stories about her stint writing an episode of "Bones" last year; she does have a role of producer on each segment to ensure “the science is right.” She spent two weeks in the writer room breaking the story down in six segments for her episode, “The Witch in the Wardrobe”. Writing in a room with a group where you etch out every detail as a team is quite different from writing a novel alone in a room. She also shared the backstory about her new YA series called Virals, and its first installment, VIRALS. You will want to share with the young readers in your world. You can read more about it at By the way, the skeletons on the set are made of plastic and acrylic; no need to go for total realism on TV!

Of course the highlight of this conference was the announcement of the Youth Media Awards, which are headlined by the Newbery and the Caldecott. You can see the winners of all of these awards on our website here and here. On, we recommend adult books to teens that we think they will enjoy much the same as we recommend YA books to you. YALSA, the young adult library services division of ALA, announced their selections for the Alex Awards, a list of 10 adult books that YA readers may enjoy. Two books that we have given special attention to --- ROOM by Emma Donoghue and BREAKING NIGHT by Liz Murray --- are on that list, which may be seen here.

Monday afternoon I got to meet an author whose work I am looking forward to sharing with you next month, Paula McLain. I am just mad for her book, THE PARIS WIFE, which fictionalizes the story of Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. Paula read from the prologue of the book, and the story once again came alive for me. As I heard her, I wanted to go back and read the book again, as well as more by Hemingway. We’ll be featuring THE PARIS WIFE more in-depth on very soon, as well as over on Readers are in for a real treat with this one. See me pictured with Paula above right.

I also got to visit again with Conor Grennan, whose book LITTLE PRINCES will be in stores January 25th. His courageous work rescuing children in Nepal who are the victims of trafficking and reuniting them with their families is sure to get wonderful notice when it comes out.

Luanne Rice write characters filled with warmth and love --- and she embodies that spirit as well. I so enjoyed catching up with her in San Diego and vow to make more time to see her in NY. She told a story about her public library when she was growing up in New Briton, Connecticut, that had a fireplace. How lovely does that sound? In her next book, THE SILVER BOAT (due April 19th), she uses her fiction to explore something of her own life. Her mom became ill with a brain tumor, and when she died, she left their beloved summer family home to all three of her daughters. Luanne eventually bought her sisters out, and as she was the oldest, she took on the role of matriarch of the family. But what she realized was that the place was not the same without her mom. In this book, there is a gathering of sisters at a beach house where they find letters and old writing and a family secret about why their dad left early in their lives. I still am reading and enjoying it. I also got a picture with Luanne above left. You can read about her San Diego trip here.

I was happy I stayed an extra night in San Diego as I got to have dinner with Melissa de la Cruz (who has a new series for adults coming out this summer) and Beth McMullen, the author of ORIGINAL SIN, our recent Sneak Peek featured title. Melissa and I have met before, so this was a catch-up session. Beth, a debut author, was a new find for me. She was such fun to talk to, and there is certainly a lot of her spunk and spirit in her lead character, Sally Sin. While the book has great adventure and tension, the parts of the book that discuss the challenges of parenting a young child are just spot-on.

I am hoping my karma holds for next week when I head to Washington, DC for the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute. It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear more about spring/summer books and also catch up with independent booksellers. Which brings me to an important topic for booklovers. This week I heard the very sad news that The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood will be closing the end of this month. Each year, when I was in town for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, I would stop by this shop for their Friday night kickoff party, which always had a large turnout of mystery and thriller authors. The store cultivated many writers, did a number of events, and I could always count on Linda and Bobby to put a great book into my hands. I wish I had known this news before I left San Diego; I would have taken a trip up the coast to shop there one last time. Not only will I miss this store, but also I will miss their booth at the Festival as they always had terrific authors stopping by to see them.

This news reminded me that we all need to support the stores we love. Most small businesses rely on steady business to keep their stores alive. Weeks with horrific weather can take their toll on them. I urge you all to support the small businesses that you love by not just browsing, but buying, especially in weeks like this. Trust that if we move towards a moment where the only bookstore is represented by the box that arrives via FedEx, UPS and U.S. Mail, we will be very sad. End of sermon…message I really care about has been delivered!

So what’s happening on the site this week? We have reviews of the latest releases from two of the genre’s biggest names. Brad Meltzer’s THE INNER CIRCLE weaves around Washington D.C., as a young archivist stumbles upon a relic that holds a disturbing secret about America’s past. Reviewer Joe Hartlaub says “it’s nice to see Meltzer back doing what he does best.” We also have a special interview with Brad that you can read here. I was sorry that my flight back from San Diego kept me from seeing Brad when he was in New York. I need a clone. Joe also has our review of Robert Crais’s THE SENTRY, his latest Joe Pike novel. Joe Pike is quickly one of the genre’s most popular characters, and Robert truly brings Los Angeles and its neighborhoods to life. This time, Pike helps evacuees from Hurricane Katrina settle on the West Coast only to discover they’ve brought a murderous gang westward, too. Joe has high praise, saying, “This is dark, brilliant writing, crime fiction that transcends the genre and remains indelibly stamped in the memory long after the closing words are read.”

There are only a few days left to enter our final Holiday Cheer contest where we’re giving away a full set of my 2010 Bets On picks. There are 13 books in total, all but two in hardcover, at a value of over $300. We’ll randomly select a lucky winner soon, so enter here by Tuesday, January 18th at noon ET. Good luck!

Also, if you haven’t taken our Millennium Series Survey yet, please do! Not only do we want your feedback about Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling smash series, we also have three editions of the Millennium Trilogy boxed set to give away to lucky winners. The boxed set includes special hardcover editions of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. Also included is ON STIEG LARSSON, a special collection of essays and correspondence about and by the author. We hope you’re enjoying our special Millennium tribute site and all its features as we celebrate THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST as our Book of the Year and the Millennium trilogy as our Series of the Decade.

If you’re in a book group, we invite you to enter's "Share Your 2010 Picks" Contest, where your whole group could win a set of book group-perfect titles, most of which will not be available until later in the year. All you have to do is enter your group’s month-by-month choices on our entry form here, and we’ll pick some winners next month. You can check out the full list of prize books here.

When I get back from Winter Institute, I plan to head over to the Vogue Knitting Conference at the New York Hilton next Saturday. Most of the instructional sessions are sold out, but I still want to get to spend some time shopping the marketplace, ostensibly just to look, but I do have a weakness for yarn.

This week, besides Luanne’s book, I have been reading THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE by Helen Schulman, which is coming in August. I heard about this one at an event on Saturday and pulled it from my “book suitcase,” which was overpacked for some plane reading since I knew I was going to be too tired to write. It’s the haunting story of what happens to a family when a boy gets an inappropriate video of a young girl and forwards it on. I am so involved in this story that I feel like I should call the wife to tell her how sorry I am about what happened. You all know books like that and why you love them.

Take some time to think about the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend. He helped change so much of the face of the America we know today. I am looking forward to three days home before I travel again and time to catch up on the books I have picked up over the last couple of weeks. Happy reading, and here’s to more great travel karma.

Carol Fitzgerald (


An Interview with Brad Meltzer, Author of THE INNER CIRCLE

Brad Meltzer is the bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed thrillers, including his latest, THE INNER CIRCLE, which follows a young government archivist who stumbles across a long-lost treasure, only to find himself caught in a deadly web of deception, conspiracy and murder --- one that leads to a secret dating back to the birth of America itself. In this interview, Meltzer gives the scoop on the conversation with a former President that inspired his new novel, elaborating on national security issues and George Washington’s top-secret civilian spy group --- which may or may not exist today. He also shares the story of how he got to hold the Declaration of Independence (and why he deliberately left it out of THE INNER CIRCLE), reveals how he got several ex-Presidents to help him with his research, and explains why he believes that our everyday choices are the most important ones we make.

THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer (Political Thriller)
As an archivist, Beecher White has always been a keeper of stories…until he accidentally discovers a priceless artifact. Caught up in a web of conspiracy and murder, Beecher and his childhood crush must find the truth behind this national treasure. Their search will lead them to a disturbing secret --- one that some believe is worth killing for. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of THE INNER CIRCLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE INNER CIRCLE.


Click here to read an interview with Brad Meltzer.

Now in Stores: THE SENTRY by Robert Crais

THE SENTRY: A Joe Pike Novel by Robert Crais (Thriller)
After fleeing Hurricane Katrina, Dru Rayne and her uncle face a different danger. When Joe Pike witnesses Dru’s uncle being beaten by a protection gang, he offers his help. But Dru and her uncle aren’t who they seem. A vengeful and murderous force from their past catches up to them…and only Pike and Elvis Cole stand in the way. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SENTRY.

Click here to read a review of THE SENTRY.

Now in Stores: CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY by Susan Vreeland

CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY by Susan Vreeland (Historical Fiction)
Tiffany glass --- those gorgeously colored turn-of-the-century lamps and other collectibles --- was, it turns out, often designed and produced by a band of unsung female artisans. Their leader, Clara Driscoll, emerges from obscurity in another art-themed historical novel from the author of GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE and THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY.

Click here to read a review of CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY.

font size="4">’s End-of-the-Year Contest --- Win a Collection of the 2010 Bets On Picks!
As we ring in the new year, we take a look back at some of the standout books of 2010 with our special End-of-the-Year Celebration. We’re giving away all 13 of our Bets On titles, our very favorite books from last year. One lucky winner will be chosen to win the full collection, which is valued at over $300! The contest is open until noon ET on Tuesday, January 18th.'s 2010 Bets On titles are:

-ALICE I HAVE BEEN by Melanie Benjamin
-THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans
-HEALER by Carol Cassella
-ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
-REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly
-RICH BOY by Sharon Pomerantz
-ROOM by Emma Donoghue
-SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman (paperback edition)
-STILTSVILLE by Susanna Daniel
-UP FROM THE BLUE by Susan Henderson
-THE WAVE: In Search of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

-Click here to see the Bets On titles from 2010.

Click here to read all the contest details.’s Book of the Year and Series of the Decade --- and the Millennium Series Survey and Contest!
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, the third volume in Stieg Larsson’s international bestselling Millennium series, is’s Book of the Year. This is just as much a celebration of the book as it is Larsson’s trilogy, which includes THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. There was no denying the series’ global impact upon the release of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. A copy of one of Larsson’s books seemed to be everywhere you turned --- in cafés, trains, buses, airports, pools, parks, and so on.

We hope you enjoy this special feature and tribute to the crusading journalist and his cyberhacking sidekick who have captivated readers and book lovers all over the globe. Here you will find information about all three novels, as well as the special deluxe boxed set, including reviews, reading guides, the official film trailers, and links to articles and information of interest to fans of the serie

In honor of this feature, we are giving away three boxed sets of The Millennium Trilogy. All you have to do is take our Millennium Series Survey, answering a few questions to share your thoughts on the series, and you are automatically entered in the random drawing to win one of three boxed sets. The survey will be open through Monday, January 31st at 11:59PM ET.

-Click here to take the survey and enter the contest.

Click here to see our special feature for The Millennium Trilogy.

Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Mary Burton, Author of SENSELESS

Romantic suspense author Mary Burton returns with SENSELESS, a taut tale of a woman trying to move past the tragic events that plagued her since her college days, and the detective who's wondering if he should be protecting her or investigating her.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from SENSELESS.
here to read Mary Burton’s bio.
here to see Mary Burton’s backlist.
-Visit Mary Burton’s official website,

-Click here to see the winners of SENSELESS.

More about SENSELESS:
The vicious burns scarring the victims’ flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it’s time for the bloodshed to start again…

Ten years ago, Eva Rayburn and her sorority sisters were celebrating the end of the school year. That party turned into a nightmare Eva can’t forget. Now she’s trying to start over in her Virginia hometown, but a new nightmare has begun. Every victim is linked to her. And Detective Deacon Garrison isn’t sure whether this mysterious woman needs investigating --- or protecting…

Click here to read more about Mary Burton and SENSELESS.

Featured One to Watch Author: Sherri Wood Emmons, Author of PRAYERS AND LIES

Sherri Wood Emmons has crafted a lyrical and touching coming-of-age story in her debut novel, PRAYERS AND LIES, which focuses on a young woman coming to grips with her less-than-perfect family in her small coal mining hometown.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to read critical praise for PRAYERS AND LIES.
-Click here to read Sherri Wood Emmons’s bio.
-Visit Sherri Wood Emmons’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of PRAYERS AND LIES.

When seven-year-old Bethany meets her six-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it’s the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. For Bethany’s mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she’d hoped to escape. But her loving relatives, and Bethany’s friendship with Reana Mae, keep them coming back.

But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life in this small, close-knit community is not as simple as she once thought --- that the riverside cabins that hold so much of her family’s history also teem with scandalous whispers, and that those closest to her harbor unimaginable secrets.

Click here to read more about Sherri Wood Emmons and PRAYERS AND LIES.

Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Daniel Palmer, Author of DELIRIOUS

Some of the suspense/thriller genre's biggest authors --- including Steve Berry, Lee Child and Tess Gerritsen --- are giving rave reviews to Daniel Palmer's debut, DELIRIOUS, about a technology mogul whose life begins taking strange and violent twists and turns. This new voice is sure to turn heads in 2011!

-Click hereA> to read a second excerpt from DELIRIOUS.
here to read critical praise for DELIRIOUS.
-Click here to read Daniel Palmer’s bio.
-Visit Daniel Palmer’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of DELIRIOUS.

More about DELIRIOUS:
Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup company to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now a senior director. With his dog, Monte, at his side, Charlie is treated like a VIP everywhere he goes.

Then one day, everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong. His prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every sign, every shred of evidence, points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon Charlie is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction, or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack.

Click here to read more about Daniel Palmer and DELIRIOUS.

What’s New This Month on

With more than 3,100 discussion guides now available, continues to be the leading place for book clubs to find all the resources they need on the web.

Our Blog continues to be a big hit among our readers. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Is Your Book Club an Ophiuchus?
-The Pulpwood Queen is at it again...

-5 Short Story Collections to Consider
-RGG Talks to Kim Edwards
-We Talk to an Author Who Wants to Talk to You!
-A Wild & Crazy Book Club Pick
-Take Some Time to Explore
-Resolve to Read More

The following guides are now available on

CAVEAT EMPTOR: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
by James J. Kaufman
by Brigitte Goldstein
JOY FOR BEGINNERS by Erica Bauermeister
THE ORCHID AFFAIR by Lauren Willig
PLANTING DANDELIONS: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life
by Kyran Pittman

POSER: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer
PRAYERS AND LIES by Sherri Wood Emmons

TERRA INCOGNITA: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
y Sean Manning
WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta

The following new guides are now available for Christian book groups:

ANGEL SISTER by Ann H. Gabhart
FATAL JUDGMENT: Guardians of Justice, Book 1 by Irene Hannon
LADY IN THE MIST: The Midwives, Book 1 by Laurie Alice Eakes
THE SEARCH: Lancaster Country Secrets, Book 3 by Suzanne Woods Fisher
STARS COLLIDE: Backstage Pass, Book 1 by Janice Thompson

Click here to visit

Share the List of What Your Book Group Read in 2010 --- And You Could Win Books for Your Group! is interested in gathering a collective list of what groups read in 2010, so we want to know what books your book group discussed in 2010. Click here and give us a list of what your group read month by month. If you did not meet in a particular month, just write “Did Not Meet” in that slot. Also, you do not need to have attended the group discussion --- or read the book --- to add it. After all, we know many people’s schedules are hectic, and they may miss a month or two. Just include on the list what your group read each month.

Besides getting an opportunity to see the Most Discussed Titles in 2010, which we will release in late February or early March, we will be awarding prizes. Thirty-three participating groups will be eligible to win 12 copies of a recently published or soon-to-be published book that is “book group perfect.” You can see the entire list of books here. Note that prizes will be selected at random. This opportunity will be available until January 31st at 11:59PM ET, but may we suggest you click here now to list your titles? Please note that only U.S. and Canada residents are eligible to enter.


Click here to share your book group's 2010 year-end selections.

Calling All Teens! Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2010 for the Children's Book Council's Teen Choice Book of the Year

Have a teen in your house? If so, we have something they may want to explore. In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is giving teen readers a very special opportunity to share their five favorite books of 2010. The five titles that receive the most “votes” will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2011 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once this first round of nominees is ready, we will have more information on where teens can vote for the winner, which will be announced in May. This opportunity will be available until Monday, January 31st at 11:59PM ET.

Click here for all the details.

This Week’s Reviews

THE BORDER LORDS: A Charlie Hood Novel by T. Jefferson Parker (Thriller)
ATF agent Sean Ozburn is undercover supporting the sicarios of the Baja Cartel, when he goes completely dark --- his only communications being a series of haunting digital videos. Now Charlie Hood must find out if Oz is just in deeper than anyone has gone, or if he has broken permanently with his mission --- and his moral compass. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE OUTLAWS: A Presidential Agent Novel by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Military Thriller)
Even though Charley Castillo's secret unit has been disbanded, he isn’t out of business. A mysterious package arrives, bearing photos of barrels of some of the most dangerous biohazards on earth --- all of which were supposed to be destroyed. Who has them, and what do they want? Castillo doesn’t think he’ll like the answers. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

BIRD CLOUD: A Memoir by Annie Proulx (Memoir)
BIRD CLOUD, Annie Proulx’s first nonfiction book in over 20 years, is the story of her house --- a house in harmony with her work and her character. Built on 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie-punctuated 400-foot cliffs, its story is also an enthralling natural history and archaeology --- and a family saga that dates back to riverboat captains and Canadian settlers. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

HELL’S HORIZON by Darren Shan (Horror/Urban Fantasy)
The privileged guards of the villainous Cardinal are no strangers to a life of crime. Yet when a girlfriend of the Cardinal's guard is found mutilated and viciously murdered, the boss becomes enraged and unsettled about the unordered killing. Grieving her death, young Al Jeery finds himself instantaneously removed from duty and assigned to hunt down her killer and discover the truth. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

PICTURES OF YOU by Caroline Leavitt (Fiction)
Two women fleeing their marriages collide on a fog-shrouded Connecticut road. A nine-year-old boy, his father, and the woman who killed their mother and wife are left behind to deal with the repercussions of that tragedy that spread outward like ripples on a pond. That premise teems with possibilities, which Caroline Leavitt explores with deftness and consummate sensitivity in her ninth novel. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

THE EMPTY FAMILY: Stories by Colm Tóibín (Fiction/Short Stories)
In this collection of captivating stories, Colm Tóibín delineates lives of unconscious longing, of individuals willingly cast adrift from their history. From the story of a young Pakistani immigrant to an Irish woman’s reluctant return to Dublin, each tale contains a whole world --- of fleeing and going home, of family ties lost and regained. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

KHAN: EMPIRE OF SILVER: A Novel of the Khan Empire by Conn Iggulden (Historical Fiction)
By 1230 A.D., Genghis is dead and the Mongolian Empire rests in the hands of Ogedai Khan, his son. A hardened warrior and careful thinker, Ogedai is as bloodthirsty as Genghis and consumed with the same dreams of conquest. Over the 12 years that follow, the Empire will enjoy a promising future under Ogedai's rule, and the Mongol hordes will look to the West to conquer the World. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

THE METROPOLIS CASE by Matthew Gallaway (Fiction)
With only Richard Wagner’s masterpiece opera, Tristan and Isolde, apparently linking them, four diverse people come together in a very unlikely way through a sad yet wondrous event, forever changing their lives --- and their deaths. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.


Click here to read this week's reviews.


Poll and Question of the Week: Owning eReaders


Do you own an eReader? Please check as many as apply.

I own a Kindle
I own an iPad.
I own a Nook.
I own a Sony eReader
I own another eReader.

I own an eReader now, but plan to buy a new one.
I plan to buy an eReader and know which one I want.
I do not plan to buy an eReader at this time, but am interested in them.
I have no interest in an eReader.

-Click here to answer our poll.


If you have an eReader, what were the first three books you downloaded? Also, if you are contemplating an eReader, what would you download first? Name up to three books.

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of THE BOOK OF TOMORROW by Cecelia Ahern, DEEP DOWN TRUE by Juliette Fay and THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, January 21st to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by January 31, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: DAMAGE by John Lescroart, FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber, THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer, THE RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman and SEPARATE BEDS by Elizabeth Buchan. Michael from Fort Collins, CO was last month's winner. He won OF LOVE AND EVIL: The Songs of the Seraphim, Book Two by Anne Rice, RESCUE by Anita Shreve, SECRETS TO THE GRAVE by Tami Hoag, UNBROKEN: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, and WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS by Dean Koontz.

Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

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