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October 21, 2004 Newsletter

October 21, 2005

This Week on

We're 1,100,000 Readers Strong Talks to Morag Joss, Author of HALF BROKEN THINGS

Author Talk: Bruce Feiler, Author of WHERE GOD WAS BORN

Now in Stores: 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL by Jane Smiley


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: David Morrell, Author of CREEPERS

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of PRIVATE WARS

Just in Time for the World Series --- Our Annual Fall Baseball Roundup

Now in Stores: THE AVERAGE AMERICAN by Kevin O'Keefe -- Take a Quiz to See if YOU are The Average American

Check It Out --- has Launched a Community Message Board

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Listening to Authors
Question of the Week: Logging in, Listening up
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Question of the Week: If you wrote a memoir, what would it be about?
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Summer Beach Bag Promotion

We're 1,100,000 Readers Strong

The BIG news this week is that in September, The Book Report Network (the parent company of had more than 1,100,000 unique visitors. This has real significance to me since before I started I was at Mademoiselle magazine where our circulation was 1,100,000 readers. Pretty cool to see how this happened in just nine years. Actually we more than doubled our circulation in the past year! So to all of you, thank you for reading and telling your friends about us. My new goal is....2,000,000 readers.
Fridays I never go into the office in New York. I hate the traffic commuting home on a Friday night when everyone in the city heads to their "country house" and vowed when I started this company I never would do this again. The three times in the last nine years that I broke this promise to myself, I was miserable. Instead, Fridays today find me writing in my home office since this is the place where I write best. I wear jeans and a white T-shirt in spring, fall and winter with something synchilla as the temps drop; jean cutoffs and a white T-shirt in summer. I stay barefoot til it gets too cold for me to stand not wearing socks.
If there is one habit that I have, this is it. Fridays, I write. My office has a huge window that overlooks the street. It's great for waving at the boys as they come off the school bus. I never thought about people looking "in." It amused me a few years ago when we had a party for neighbors and they all asked to see the room upstairs with the window where the computer is. Clearly they were watching me when I was not watching them!
Today as part of my writing, I wrote a new blog, as my older son told me I needed to be more au courant with this writing. It's all about my being a book concierge for my friends. I think you'll get a kick out of it.
I spend a lot of time when I am writing thinking about our readers. I try to wrap myself around the kind of stories and features that you would enjoy. A book came across our desks recently that amused me called THE AVERAGE AMERICAN. It looks at what's average through a number of scenarios like whether you prefer smooth or chunky peanut butter. We have a link to a quiz where you can see how average you are. Read on for details.
It's supposed to rain here this weekend. One weatherman last night said that we are seeing the effects of Wilma. I was wondering if he was confusing this with just plain rain since anyone with any familiarity with a weather map knows that New Jersey/New York are pretty far from Cancun! For the record, I am waiting for some headline or news caption that links Wilma to the old familiar line of Fred Flinstone --- Yabba Dabba Doo. I figure we are just 24 hours of cable broadcasting away from hearing this. Rain means no baseball for my little one and maybe time to start organizing my bookshelves.
This weekend the Quill Book Award show will be airing in the following markets on NBC: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Jose/San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington, Miami, San Diego, Hartford, Raleigh, Columbus, Birmingham and Providence. We'll be watching Saturday night at 7 in our neck of the woods. Consult your local listings in yours.
Have a great week....

Carol Fitzgerald (


List of titles reviewed and featured on October 21st

List of titles reviewed and featured on October 14th Talks to Morag Joss, Author of HALF BROKEN THINGS's Carol Fitzgerald and Joni Rendon interviewed Morag Joss, author of the acclaimed Sara Selkirk mystery series, about her first stand-alone work of fiction, HALF BROKEN THINGS. Joss discusses elements of the human condition conveyed through the novel's protagonists, such as the unrelenting search for and the perpetual absence of love, the role of fate, and the effects of desperation. She also examines the stylistic techniques of fiction-writing that she employs and reveals details of her upcoming project.   

Click here to read our interview with Morag Joss and a review of HALF BROKEN THINGS.


Author Talk: Bruce Feiler, Author of WHERE GOD WAS BORN

In this interview, Bruce Feiler --- author of WALKING THE BIBLE and ABRAHAM --- discusses his latest book, WHERE GOD WAS BORN, and how it arose from his need to explore the fluctuating role of religion in society. He recalls how his family's attitudes toward their spirituality impacted his own, reflects on the importance of words in mending cultural and faith-based rifts, and even shares an amusing anecdote about a religiously symbolic dessert to be served at book club discussions.

WHERE GOD WAS BORN: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion by Bruce Feiler (Religion/Current Events)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestsellers WALKING THE BIBLE and ABRAHAM, travels ten thousand miles through the heart of the Middle East --- Israel, Iraq and Iran --- and examines the question: Is religion tearing us apart...or can it bring us together?

Click here to read an interview with Bruce Feiler and a review of WHERE GOD WAS BORN.


Now in Stores: 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL by Jane Smiley

13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL by Jane Smiley (Books & Reading)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
Charm and enthusiasm mark Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley's study of the novel, which includes her thoughts on 100 novels she has read, her own habits and the secrets of her craft, her experiences in publishing a recent novel, and priceless advice to aspiring novelists.

-Click here to read an excerpt from 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL.
-Click here to read the guide for 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL.

Click here to read our review of 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL.


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BOOK SENSE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKS: 240 Favorites for All Ages Recommended by Independent Booksellers compiled by Book Sense (Reference)
With today's ever-growing publishing industry, the number of children's books on the market grows exponentially as each year passes. The dizzying volume of new titles on bookstore shelves can quickly transform the usually enjoyable task of finding the perfect book for your child into an overwhelming, at times even bewildering, ordeal. Book Sense, the trade organization and advocate of the independent bookseller that brought us the reading group resource favorite BOOK SENSE BEST BOOKS, lends another helping hand with BOOK SENSE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

Click here to read more about BOOK SENSE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKS.


Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: David Morrell, Author of CREEPERS

New York Times bestselling author David Morrell, who has written FIRST BLOOD, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE, THE FIFTH PROFESSION and EXTREME DENIAL, is our newest featured Suspense/Thriller author. CREEPERS, Morrell's new thriller, hit bookshelves on September 6th and is sending chills down the spine of Morrell's longtime fans and new readers alike with its dark storyline.

New This Week:
-Read a new excerpt from CREEPERS here.
-Watch a video of Morrell talking about CREEPERS here.
(Quick note here: the video is on Yahoo and they air a fast commercial before it. Just sit back and wait for the's worth waiting for.)

Previous Weeks:
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.
-Read Fast Facts about David Morrell here.
-Read an essay by David Morrell about exploring abandoned buildings here.
-Learn more about David Morrell by visiting his website at
-Visit CREEPERS online at
-Read David Morrell's thoughts on writing CREEPERS in real time here.
-Click here to play the "Be A Creeper" Game for a chance to win some chilling prizes.

Read more about CREEPERS here:
On a cold October night, five people gather in a run-down motel on the Jersey shore and begin preparations to break into The Paragon Hotel.  Built in the glory days of Asbury Park by a reclusive millionaire, the magnificent structure, which foreshadowed the beauties of Art Deco architecture, is now boarded-up and marked for demolition.
The five people are "creepers," the slang term for urban explorers: city archeologists with a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their dying secrets. CREEPERS, David Morrell's gripping joy-ride of a thriller, depicts every harrowing second in eight hours of relentless suspense. It will haunt readers for many nights to come.

Click here to read more about David Morrell and CREEPERS.

Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight: Greg Rucka, Author of PRIVATE WARS

Greg Rucka, author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME, A FISTFUL OF RAIN and the QUEEN & COUNTRY graphic novel series, has been making a name for himself in both the suspense and graphic novel genres for several years. His newest title PRIVATE WARS hits bookshelves October 25th, reuniting readers with the edgy, explosive and sexy spy Tara Chace.

New This Week:
-Read a new excerpt from PRIVATE WARS here.
-Read Advance Reader Comments about PRIVATE WARS here.

Previous Weeks:
-See our Advanced Copy Winners here.
-Read Fast Facts about Greg Rucka here.
-Read Greg Rucka's bibliography here.

Read more about PRIVATE WARS here:
Tara Chace was once the most dangerous woman alive. And now that the international spy network thinks she's as good as dead, she's even more dangerous than ever. Combine a thriller that defies every expectation with a heroine for whom nothing is out of bounds, and the result is PRIVATE WARS, a suspense novel so explosively realistic, it should be classified.


Click here to read more about Greg Rucka and PRIVATE WARS.

Just in Time for the World Series --- Our Annual Fall Baseball Roundup






Fans of America's pastime tend to get a bit down in the dumps as October draws to a close. They know it will be a cold, dark winter until the next season rolls around. Perhaps the books that our baseball enthusiast Ron Kaplan discusses in his Annual Fall Baseball Roundup will help drive away the chill as they wait for the reunion of spring training.

Also, Ron 
interviewed Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Oliphant about PRAYING FOR GIL HODGES, his bittersweet memoir about growing up as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the joy of celebrating their only World Championship in 1955. Oliphant, the Washington columnist for the Boston Globe, discusses what the team meant to the Flatbush faithful, what Jackie Robinson meant to America, and why intellectuals gravitate to the national pastime.

Click here to read our 2005 Baseball Roundup.


Now in Stores: THE AVERAGE AMERICAN by Kevin O'Keefe -- Take a Quiz to See if YOU are The Average American

THE AVERAGE AMERICAN: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen by Kevin O'Keefe

John Q Public. Plain Jane. The average Joe. We know the type but we've never met the person, until Kevin O'Keefe took matters into his own hands. Kevin hit the road on a a nationwide search from New Hampshire to Hawaii and every in between to find The Average American. He looked closely at what is often overlooked: the especially ordinary, the remarkably everyday, the extraordinarily average. 

THE AVERAGE AMERICAN is lively, fun, and thought-provoking, packed with interesting facts, and, as readers will discover, more moving than one could have any right to expect. With an ending --- a final destination and a final Average American --- that surprised even Kevin to no end, he found that sometimes average is not just okay; sometimes it's amazing.

And yes, there IS an Average American! He or she will be revealed both in the book and on Martha Stewart's morning show on Monday, October 24th.

-Take a quiz to see if YOU are the Average American and send an e-card to your friends to see if they are Average as well.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE AVERAGE AMERICAN.
-Click here to read a note from the author.
-Click here to visit the official THE AVERAGE AMERICAN website.

Click here to read more about Kevin O'Keefe and THE AVERAGE AMERICAN.

Check It Out --- has Launched a Community Message Board

We have launched a message board on where book club members can post messages for other book club members.

-Looking for new members for your group? Then post a listing.
-Looking for a new group to join? Post a listing.
-Tell us what your group is reading.
-Share how you choose books
-Give us your tips for leading a discussion
-Share your book club story
-Tell us some fun and interesting ideas for book clubs
-Post recipes and serving ideas

Please Note: To post on the Message Board you will be asked to register a username and password. Simply follow the directions in the registration window that pops up the first time you post. After that you will be able to create new discussion topics and reply to others' discussions whenever you are logged in.

Click here to go to the Message Board.

This Week's Reviews and Features

SCHOOL DAYS by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Tom Callahan
In Robert B. Parker's 33rd Spenser novel, a wealthy lady hires the Boston PI to investigate her grandson's alleged involvement in a school shooting. Although it appears to be an open-and-shut case, the grandmother is convinced of his innocence, while the young man himself doesn't seem to care if he goes to prison for a crime he might not have committed.

THE AMBLER WARNING by Robert Ludlum (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
With the help of a sympathetic nurse, former Consular Operations agent Hal Ambler manages to escape the clandestine psychiatric facility where he's been residing as a patient. His immediate goal is to determine who caused him to be hospitalized, and why. But he faces an identity crisis of epic proportions, as the world he returns to isn't the one he remembers.

ANGELS IN THE GLOOM by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The third entry in Anne Perry's World War I series (NO GRAVES AS YET, SHOULDER THE SKY) continues the saga of the Reavley family, more specifically the Reavley siblings --- Joseph, Matthew, Judith and Hannah --- all of whom are involved in primary or secondary roles in the British military effort during the early days of the war.

VERONICA by Mary Gaitskill (Fiction)
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
In her latest novel Mary Gaitskill, author of BAD BEHAVIOR and TWO GIRLS, FAT AND THIN, explores the gritty places in 1980s culture and finds, beneath the glamour, loneliness and sickness as well as the hope of salvation.

Reviewed by Jane Van Ingen
Tom Bailey has written a unique and engrossing first novel, infused with a deep sense of foreboding. Alternately narrated by members of the Hazen family (whose patriarch is a respected forester and hunter) and their neighbors in Lost Lake, this story perfectly captures the enduring rhythms of life in a rural town.

MARLEY & ME: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan (Memoir)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
When John and Jenny Grogan decide to test their nurturing instincts before starting a family, they bring home a Labrador retriever pup. What they get is Marley, a whirling dervish of a dog who destroys their house, flunks out of obedience school --- and ultimately steals their hearts.

CREATING MAGIC IN MIDLIFE: 101 Questions and Answers to Reinvent Your Work, Relationships and Life! by Karla Freeman, MSW, LCSW (Self Help/Psychology)
Reviewed by Elinor Nuxoll
Written with a fresh and personal voice, this book gives Baby Boomers options, compassion, and concrete help. 101 questions and answers on vital areas including work, relationships, money, passion, health and well-being make this an essential guide to understanding and empowering men and women

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

October 21st Entry:
My Role as a Book Concierge to My Friends
Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
Click here to read the blog.
Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Listening to Authors
Would you like to listen to online audio interviews of authors talking about their books?

I already have listened to online audio interviews of authors and enjoyed the experience.
Yes, I would be interested in this.
No, I would not be interested in this.
I have listened to online audio interviews of authors, but I did not enjoy the experience.

Would you be interested in listening to up-and-coming authors as well as bestselling ones?

I would prefer listening to new authors.
I would prefer listening to established authors.
I would be interested in listening to both new and established authors.
I am not interested in listening to audio interviews of authors.
Have you ever listened to a podcast?

I have no idea what a podcast is.
I have no idea what a podcast is, but I hear about them all the time and I am curious about them.
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Logging in, Listening up

Name up to five authors you would like to hear give online audio interviews.

Please note: Our question of the week will update November 4th.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO 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 THE CAMEL CLUB by David Baldacci and ORDINARY HEROES by Scott Turow.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on November 4th. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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 (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. We were forced to move to this format after we were inundated with SPAM at the other address. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Quick observation --- we have noticed that many of you have been changing your Internet providers in the past month. If you do, please be sure to "take us along" by signing up for the newsletter in your new name!

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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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