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October 8, 2004 Newsletter October 8, 2004
This Week on
Meeting A Mega Number of Authors Talks To S.E. Hinton, author of HAWKES HARBOR
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH Now Has 1,500+ Discussion Guides
Baseball Books: Hit a Home Run With These
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Quotations In Books
Question of the Week: What is your favorite quotation?
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE Prizes!
On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: Have you found yourself reading more books about politics this year?
Past Question of the Week: Which political book have you enjoyed most and why?
Read more about COOKING WITH MY SISTER here. Read more about PAGES here. Read more about ALL THAT MATTERS here.
Meeting A Mega Number of Authors
Greetings from Toronto. I arrived here Wednesday for the Bouchercon Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Conference. The past few days have been a flurry of events, panels and passings in the hallway with authors. Who's here? 350 authors and 850 readers. Among the authors are Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, and Ian Rankin, and to my delight some authors who we have featured in our suspense/thriller feature like Joseph Finder, William Lashner (who is up for a Shamus award tonight), M.J. Rose and Raelynn Hillhouse. What's fun about this conference is that is a fan conference. I end up learning about a lot about authors and books from readers as I walk the halls and attend panels!

Last Tuesday I had lunch with Jan Goldstein, the author of a treasure of a book called ALL THAT MATTERS. We hosted a contest about this book on last month where readers shared their reactions to an excerpt that we provided. Their comments inspired me to read it. It is one of those books that packs a message and gets you coming back to the story as you walk through the day thinking about what matters to you. In a line, it's a story about a depressed young woman who spends time with her grandmother after her suicide attempt and learns the meaning of life and living. It's not a long read, but it's one that will stay with you. And I am betting you will find yourself thinking of at least three other people you will want to share it with. Click on the cover to see more about it.

I love to cook. I find it relaxing. I unwind when I make a great dinner. I enjoy planning menus and have been told that I read cookbooks like they are inspirational novels. That is why it was great fun to open COOKING WITH MY SISTERS, a new cookbook that has been written by one of my favorite novelists, Adriana Trigiani, and her sisters. What a treat of a book! It's a collection of their family-loved and passed down recipes laced with commentary about life in a large Italian family. Note: Are there any small Italian families? The recipes include notes like "Serves 4 (If Everyone Eats 2). Those of you who loved Trigiani's Big Stone Gap Trilogy, or LUCIA, LUCIA, or THE QUEEN OF THE BIG TIME will relish this one about cooking Italian. May we suggest you tuck away one...or a few...for holiday gifts? May we also suggest a dinner party event to celebrate it?

This week's lineup of reviews includes some of the books that we have been hearing about for months and have been looking forward to sharing with you. Your reaction to our including covers last week was so terrific that we are going to feature seven covers this week. This means we are taking away links to Author Bibliographies (go to the home page of to see those) and a couple of other features you can get to from the home page of, but we think it's worth it.

More on Bouchercon next week. One funny story now. When I got here I was IMing with my older son. I told him there was a huge building outside my window that was so interesting. At the same instant he asked if I had seen the CN Tower. I did no research before this trip, which is quite unlike me. So he proceeds to explain that this is the tallest building in the world and that I should have dinner there. Which I did. I do love that in this age of technology my son in New Jersey was explaining to me what I was seeing outside my window. I had fabulous dinner at the rooftop restaurant there last night with M.J. Rose and Richard Montanari. The restaurant turned 360 in 72 minutes; we saw Toronto from a lofty height and it was lovely. Note that Montanari is the author of THE ROSARY GIRLS that is due in stores on February 15th. I am enjoying my advanced reading copy of this one and look forward to sharing it with you as he is an upcoming Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight author.

Have a great week.

--- Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks To S.E. Hinton, author of HAWKES HARBOR
Cindy Lynn Speer and Wiley Saichek of interview bestselling young adult author S.E. Hinton, who has written a novel for an adult audience titled HAWKES HARBOR. Hinton talks about the fictional town in which the book is set, why she chose to write a tale that features a vampire and her decision in the 1980s to take a break from fiction writing.
Read the interview with S.E. Hinton here.
Read our Fantasy feature here.
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Stephen R. Donaldson is back with the latest in his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series after a hiatus of 21 years. Six books were previously published. Four are planned for this continuation of the series.

New This Week:
Read a third excerpt of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Read what Publishers Weekly and Booklist had to say in their reviews.

Here is the story so far:

In the original series, Thomas Covenant is transported to a fantastic world in which a battle for the soul of the land is being waged, and he is forced to accept his role as savior of the Land. In THE RUNES OF THE EARTH, Linden Avery comes home one day to find her child building images of the Land with blocks. She never thought that she would be summoned to the Land again or see her beloved Thomas Covenant, who was killed ten years earlier. But in the Land, evil is unmaking the very laws of nature.
Read more about Stephen R. Donaldson and THE RUNES OF THE EARTH here. Now Has 1,500+ Discussion Guides
We now have more than 1,500 discussion guides available on and I am thrilled to announce that last month we had more than 111,000 visitors to the site. This month we add guides for THE FIRST DESIRE by Nancy Reisman, THE ROMANOV PROPHECY by Steve Berry, YOU REMIND ME OF ME by Dan Chaon, RIFT ZONE by Raelynn Hillhouse and 16 other titles. Even if you are not in a book club, you may want to explore this website's discussion questions to see what questions are posed for the books you have read. I always find it interesting to see what is mentioned that I may have not thought about. Do note that most guides should not be read before the book is finished since they often have spoilers in the questions.
Click here to explore
BEFORE YOU KNOW KINDNESS by Chris Bohjalian (Fiction)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
For ten summers, the Seton family --- all three generations --- met at their country home in New England to spend a week together. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family --- and the convictions that just may pull it apart.

Win Reading Group Time with Chris Bohjalian
Visit, read an excerpt, and then enter to win an hour long call for your reading group with Chris Bohjalian. While you're there, listen to an audio exclusive about the importance of reading groups, and sign up to receive a free bookplate signed by the author.
Click here to read a review of BEFORE YOU KNOW KINDNESS and more about the Chris Bohjalian's contest for book clubs.
Baseball Books: Hit a Home Run With These
One of the most heated rivalries in all of sports is between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. When these two teams face off against each other, emotions run high and the action on the field is positively riveting. Last year's American League Championship Series was no exception, as a huge brawl resulted in Don Zimmer being thrown to the ground by Pedro Martinez and Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game Seven broke the hearts of Red Sox fans (again).'s Ron Kaplan addresses this rivalry as he discusses three books that will be of particular interest to New Yorkers and New Englanders, and one volume that true baseball fans --- who never want the season to end --- will especially appreciate.
Read our baseball feature here.
Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
THE DARK TOWER VII: THE DARK TOWER by Stephen King (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The Dark Tower series began in 1982 with the release of THE GUNSLINGER. Now, more than twenty years later, Stephen King has written the seventh and final installment in this epic tale of Roland the Gunslinger and his quest to reach The Tower.

THE KNOW-IT-ALL: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, by A.J Jacobs (Memoir)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), THE KNOW-IT-ALL chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z.

MAGICAL THINKING: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs (Memoir)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
From the number-one bestselling author of RUNNING WITH SCISSORS and DRY comes Augusten Burroughs's most eagerly anticipated collection yet: true stories that give voice to the thoughts that we all have but dare not mention.

COOKING WITH MY SISTERS by Adriana Trigiani and Mary Yolanda Trigiani (Cooking)
Reviewed by Jill McAfee
For the Trigianis, cooking is a family affair --- and the kitchen is the heart of their home. Here you'll find a collection of beloved family recipes that they have been enjoying for generations, along with hilarious family anecdotes, poignant letters, and exquisite color photographs.

CHRONICLES, VOLUME ONE by Bob Dylan (Memoir)
Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth
In this first installment of a three-volume memoir by one of the greatest musical legends of all time, Bob Dylan explores critical junctures in his life and career.

AMERICA (THE BOOK): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, by Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show (Humor)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
From the brilliant and twisted minds of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" comes AMERICA (THE BOOK), not to be confused with America (the country) or America (the rock band). Designed like a high school history or civics textbook, it is irreverent, funny and smart, and comes just in time to inject humor into the current tense political climate.

SHOULDER THE SKY by Anne Perry (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When an arrogant war correspondent named Eldon Prentice is found dead, it becomes clear to Army chaplain Joseph Reavley that Prentice was not a casualty of war but the victim of a deliberate act of murder. Meanwhile, the mystery of the man known as The Peacemaker, introduced in NO GRAVES AS YET, deepens within the pages of this mesmerizing novel.

CALIFORNIA GIRL by T. Jefferson Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
When the body of the lovely and mysterious Janelle Vonn is discovered, three brothers --- with different occupations --- each try to find Janelle's killer in their own unique way.

'SCUSE ME WHILE I WHIP THIS OUT: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents and Other Troublemakers by Kinky Friedman (Humor)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
In this collection of twisted takes on life, Kinky Friedman gives us funny, irreverent, and insightful looks at people he has known --- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan --- and those he has known in spirit --- Moses, Jesus, Jack Ruby and Hank Williams.

ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT by Susan Isaacs (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Amy Lincoln was a baby when her mother deserted the family. She yearns for the truth about her missing parent. Has Amy, longing for children, inherited some "bad parent" gene? The mystery of her vanished mother haunts Amy, who searches for her past and present home in this excellent read.

THE RED QUEEN by Margaret Drabble (Fiction)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
The life of a Korean crown princess who lived two hundred years ago intersects with that of a modern British academic in this brilliantly original ghost story.

GRAVE ENDINGS by Rochelle Krich (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Rochelle Krich's third novel featuring crime reporter Molly Blume begins with the question of who murdered Aggie Lasher, Molly's best friend. After six years, the case finally seems to be solved when a locket that she had given Aggie is found on the body of a dead man. But the more Molly learns about the alleged murderer, the more she suspects that someone else is guilty.

I, FATTY: A Novel by Jerry Stahl (Fiction)
Reviewed by Brandon M. Stickney
In 1921 popular silent film star Fatty Arbuckle was accused of the rape and murder of actress Virginia Rappe. Although he was acquitted, the speculation by the press ultimately destroyed Arbuckle's career for good. In this Kafkaesque masterpiece, Jerry Stahl tells the story from Fatty's own perspective.

WHERE SHALL WISDOM BE FOUND? by Harold Bloom (Literary Criticism)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
One of America's most erudite and influential literary critics examines works ancient and modern that he feels can lead us to lasting truths.

THE DOGS OF BEDLAM FARM: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me by Jon Katz (Memoir)
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna
Why would a man in his mid-fifties leave a comfortable suburban existence for the daunting task of reinvigorating a run-down farm in a remote corner of upstate New York? For Jon Katz, there are three reasons: Orson, Homer and Rose.

HEART FULL OF LIES: A True Story of Desire and Death by Ann Rule (True Crime)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
A family camping trip turns deadly, leaving a man dead and his wife fleeing in the dark hours of the early morning. Did he try to kill her, or was it a carefully plotted scheme dreamed up by a woman wanting to get rid of her husband?
Read the reviews and features here.
Poll: Quotations In Books
Many novels have quotations at the beginning or at the beginning of chapters to inspire the reader or to enhance a story. Those quotations spur this week's poll question.

When you are reading a novel and you see a quotation at the beginning of the book or a chapter, do you:

Read it and try to figure out what it means to the context of the story
Read it and not try to figure why it's there
Glance at it and keep right on reading
Ignore it completely

What kind of quotation gets your attention most?
Something from the Bible
Some lines of poetry
Something from a popular song or movie
Something from great literature.
I am not sure.
I do not look at quotations.
Answer the Poll here.
Browse through forthcoming books here. Read about books that have won awards here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Question of the Week: What is your favorite quotation?
What is your favorite quotation?

Our next question update will be on October 15th.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL here. Read more about DOUBLE HOMICIDE here. Read more about LIGHT ON SNOW here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE Prizes!
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, DOUBLE HOMICIDE by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and LIGHT ON SNOW by Anita Shreve.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 15th.
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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