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October 20, 2006 Newsletter

October 20, 2006

This Week on

Funny Engaging Talk, Breast Cancer Awareness and Reading Ahead

Now in Stores: THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham

Now in Stores: THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci

Now in Stores: THIRTEEN MOONS by Charles Frazier

GODLESS by Ann Coulter: Two VERY Different Reviews

Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE RISING TIDE

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Authors of CAPITAL CRIMES

Books Into Movies Spotlight: Flags of Our Fathers

Coming Soon: Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Promotions and Our What to Give/What to Get Suggestions

2006 Fall Baseball Roundup

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog Poll: Keeping Books

Question of the Week: Books that "Define" You
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
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Historical Fiction Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Books Into Movies
Bestseller Lists

10th Anniversary Page and Pictures

Funny Engaging Talk, Breast Cancer Awareness and Reading Ahead

Monday I went to a luncheon where Nora Ephron was the featured speaker. As you know, I loved her latest book, I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK, finding her writing both witty and dead on. The room was packed for her talk and she was humorous, irreverent and smart in her comments. One of my favorite lines was what her mom told her when she was growing up when she would come home upset about something --- "Everything is copy," meaning that you can use everything that happens to you in life at some time or another. I realized how true this is. Some of my most "tragic-at-the-time" moments have gone on to give me some of my best story material. When I tell my kids about some of my "not fun" high school moments I can make the moments where people made me just insane sound pretty funny. Who knew? Think of this the next time you are somewhere and you are not feeling so great about life.
I am getting more into listening to podcasts where authors talk about their work. I never have enough time to attend readings and talks with the authors who I enjoy, and thus these audio moments give me time to listen while I am doing other things. If you are interested in more of what Ephron had to say there's a terrific podcast that she did with Arianna Huffington (they are great pals) that you can listen to here. It's excerpted from their talk at the 92nd Street Y, which you also can listen to in its entirety here.
Here's something you probably know. When an author pulls together a talk for a tour, it usually stays pretty much the same the entire tour. Thus catching a podcast can often get you a front-row listen to an author chat in the comfort of your own listening environment. I am considering adding a podcast listing area on to get you some easy access to some of the more interesting podcasts that I listen to. I would love to hear what you think about that. I have found that I appreciate an author's work in a new way once I hear them talk about it. I think it's the same kind of an awakening many readers feel when they participate in a book club and hear others sharing feedback on a common title.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as such, we wanted to spotlight two books for you. The first is CANCER VIXEN by Marisa Acocella Marchetto, a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Glamour, who learned she had breast cancer three weeks before her wedding. She chronicles her experience in a series of cartoons that will make you think --- and yes, even laugh. The bold and brazen drawing on the cover sums up the spirit of the book. The second book is WHY I WORE LIPSTICK TO MY MASTECTOMY by Geralyn Lucas, which has been made into a Lifetime movie that airs on October 23rd. I read this book two years ago and Geralyn's story stayed with me. Trust that you'll never look at your lipstick the same way after watching this one.
On a personal note, I got a letter recently from a young woman in our neighborhood whose mom had beaten breast cancer ten years ago. She was writing to ask for donations for her participation in Race for the Cure. She is running for her five female cousins and hopes to raise $5,000. You see, her aunt was diagnosed this summer and she again realized the risk her cousins and she are at. It was a very sobering and very passionate note that really moved me to click and donate.
I started John Grisham's new one, THE INNOCENT MAN, this morning. It's interesting to see him writing nonfiction instead of fiction. So far, the voice and the pacing are very different. You can read our review by Stuart Shiffman here. A bit of Trivia here. Grisham was a very good friend to about six months after we launched the site giving us his first online interview and the first opportunity to excerpt one of his books online, which got us a lot of attention from readers when we were just starting out. This is something I still thank him for.
I also have been "reading ahead." I know, I know, there are a ton of great books out NOW, but I am giving you one to note for future reading --- DAMAGE CONTROL by Robert Dugoni, which will be in stores on February 14th. I met Dugoni at Bouchercon and he sent me an advance copy, which I devoured last weekend. We first fell in love with his work with THE JURY MASTER last year and thus I was so pleased to see his second effort to be just as noteworthy. For the record, I do hold my breath a lot when I read a second book by an author I love. It's nice when I am a chapter or two or three in and I can exhale and realize there's another winner in my hands.
Fall this year has one of the "biggest" lineups in years. Each week we seem to be serving up more books by well-known bestsellers than ever before, along with titles from other authors we think you also need to know. It's been interesting watching the bestseller lists from independent booksellers across the country to see how each of these books are faring with readers. The story does change region by region, which is why you may want to check out what's happening in your neck of the woods.
I fear this weekend is all about bringing in the lawn and patio furniture. I am going to leave the hammock in place, just in case there are still some good days for reading and swinging. Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

List of titles reviewed and featured on October 20th.

List of titles reviewed and featured on October 13th.

Click here to read more about CANCER VIXEN.

Now in Stores: THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham

THE INNOCENT MAN: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham (True Crime)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, may be his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. THE INNOCENT MAN forces readers to take a probing look at and ask some serious questions about a legal system that, in important criminal cases, appears to be malfunctioning in every corner of our nation.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE INNOCENT MAN.

Click here to read a review of THE INNOCENT MAN.

Now in Stores: THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci

THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci (Thriller)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
In this sequel to David Baldacci's 2005 thriller, THE CAMEL CLUB, a quartet of self-appointed government watchdogs uncovers a ring of killer opportunists when one of them discovers a body. When they learn of a connection to another death, the stakes become higher --- a matter of their lives. 

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE COLLECTORS.

Click here to read a review of THE COLLECTORS.


Now in Stores: THIRTEEN MOONS by Charles Frazier

THIRTEEN MOONS by Charles Frazier (Fiction)
Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
In Will Cooper, Charles Frazier has brought to life a narrator and protagonist whose life story gathers many of the forces that shaped our nation in the 19th century: greed, ambition, shrewd intelligence, romance and racism. THIRTEEN MOONS manages to be both a crowd pleaser and an historical illumination, all in one nearly century-spanning novel.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THIRTEEN MOONS.


Click here to read a review of THIRTEEN MOONS.


GODLESS by Ann Coulter: Two VERY Different Reviews

GODLESS: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter (Current Affairs)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and Jesse Kornbluth Co-Founder Jesse Kornbluth and Senior Writer Joe Hartlaub, who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, offer divergent opinions on Ann Coulter's latest book, in which she compares liberalism to a religion and attempts to expose what she believes are the contradictions inherent in the gospels according to the "liberal evangelists."

-Click here to read Joe Hartlaub's review.
-Click here to read Jesse Kornbluth's review.


Featured Historical Fiction Author: Jeff Shaara, Author of THE RISING TIDE

We are so excited to be launching a NEW Feature --- Historical Fiction --- and Jeff Shaara is the perfect inaugural author. A modern master of the historical novel, Shaara has painted brilliant depictions of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and World War I. Now he embarks upon his most ambitious epic, a trilogy about the military conflict that defined the twentieth century that begins with THE RISING TIDE, which comes out November 7th.

-Click here to see our Advance Reader Copy Winners.
-Click here to read a new excerpt from THE RISING TIDE.
-Click here to read Fast Facts for Jeff Shaara.

THE RISING TIDE begins a staggering work of fiction bound to be a new generation's most poignant chronicle of World War II. With you-are-there immediacy, painstaking historical detail, and all-inclusive points of view, Shaara portrays the momentous and increasingly dramatic events that pulled America into the vortex of this monumental conflict.

More than an unprecedented and intimate portrait of those who waged this astonishing global war, THE RISING TIDE is a vivid gallery of characters both immortal and unknown: the as-yet obscure administrator Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose tireless efficiency helped win the war; his subordinates, clashing in both style and personality, from George Patton and Mark Clark to Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery. In the desolate hills and deserts, the Allies confront Erwin Rommel, the battlefield genius known as "the Desert Fox," a wounded beast who hands the Americans their first humiliating defeat in the European theater of the war. From tank driver to paratrooper to the men who gave the commands, Shaara's stirring portrayals bring the heroic and the tragic to life in brilliant detail.

Click here to read more about Jeff Shaara and THE RISING TIDE.


New Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Authors of CAPITAL CRIMES

Our newest Suspense/Thriller feature spotlights the powerhouse husband and wife literary team of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, whose new page-turner is CAPITAL CRIMES. The book hits shelves November 21st and, with two thrillers in one, is bound to be a runaway bestseller.

We have 20 advance reading copies of CAPITAL CRIMES by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. A description can be found by clicking the link below. If you are interested, please send your name and mailing address to by Friday, October 27, 2006.

Internationally bestselling husband and wife Jonathan and Faye Kellerman team up for a powerful one-two punch with CAPITAL CRIMES, a gripping pair of original crime thrillers.

Some of progressive state representative Davida Grayson's views have made her unpopular. Although her foes are numerous no one suspects that any buttons Davida might push could evoke deadly force.

But now Davida lies brutally murdered in her office, and Berkeley homicide detectives Will Barnes and Amanda Isis must unravel Davida's complex, before the killer pulls off a repeat performance.

Baker Southerby was a child prodigy performer. But something leads him to become a Nashville cop. His partner, Lamar Van Gundy, is a would-be studio bassist who earned himself a detective's badge. As part of Nashville PD's elite Murder Squad, they catch a homicide that's high-profile even for a city where musical celebrity is routine.

CAPITAL CRIMES is page-turning, psychologically resonant suspense ---- just what we've come to expect from two of the world's most successful crime writers.

Click here to read more about Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and CAPITAL CRIMES.

Books Into Movies Spotlight: Flags of Our Fathers

Storming theaters nationwide today is Flags of Our Fathers --- the film adaptation of the searing and unforgettable novel by James Bradley and Ron Powers.

Clint Eastwood directs an all-star cast in his exploration of the story behind one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had been immortalized.

But the surviving flag raisers had no interest in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory.

To celebrate the release of the film, Bantam has published a movie tie-in edition of the original FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. Click here for more about the book.

-Click here to visit the official website of Flags of Our Fathers. 


Click here for more details about the film in our Books into Movies feature.

Coming Soon: Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Promotions and Our What to Give/What to Get Suggestions

We may no longer have sand between our toes and sunburned noses, but we're keeping the spirit of our wildly successful Summer Beach Bag Contest alive with our upcoming Holiday Basket Contests on and Mark your calendars.

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest kicks off November 3rd and features a different title each week for seven weeks. Each week, five readers will win a basket that includes two copies of the featured book of the week (one to keep and one to give), wrapping paper and a bow, and holiday-themed items such as Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix, gourmet vanilla marshmallows, Chewy Peps candy, an Illuminations scented candle, and more!

Have a teen in your life? Our Holiday Basket for Teens kicks off November 21st. Five winners will each receive a basket that includes up to 10 books, along with holiday-themed items such as snowman playing cards, a kit to make a gingerbread house, a snow globe, and more! 

Stumped on what to get for all the people on your Holiday List? Get a jump on holiday shopping with our What to Give, What to Get Holiday Gift Guide, which spotlights books in a host of popular categories such as cookbooks, humor, sports, games, stocking stuffers, fiction, mysteries, and more. It will be live on Friday, November 10th. It also includes holiday gift ideas for kids and teens!


2006 Fall Baseball Roundup

Baseball books are divided into several subgenres, including team histories, overall histories, biographies and statistical analyses. Each year offers one from each group that stands apart from the rest. As the 2006 Major League season dwindles down to a precious few days of postseason play,'s Ron Kaplan spotlights a few titles that will help keep fans warm until spring training gets underway in 2007.


Click here to read our Fall Baseball Roundup for 2006.


This Week's Reviews and Features

MY FATHER, MY PRESIDENT: A Personal Account of the Life of George H. W. Bush by Doro Bush Koch (Memoir)
Reviewed by Robert Finn
The only surviving daughter of the elder President Bush ("Bush 41") provides a highly personal account of her father's career, focusing as much on family matters and personality as on political topics. He is largely viewed from across the dinner table rather than the conference table. Her book understandably aims to humanize a man some considered cold and uncharismatic.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MY FATHER, MY PRESIDENT.

THE BANCROFT STRATEGY by Robert Ludlum (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
In the tradition of such Ludlum classics as THE CHANCELLOR MANUSCRIPT and THE ICARUS AGENDA, THE BANCROFT STRATEGY is a compelling novel of intrigue, where two figures find themselves facing a shadowy organization working to twist global politics to their own unsavory ends.

Reviewed by Roz Shea
Bill Bryson has delighted his readers for over a decade with his laugh-filled travel adventures. The book that quite literally set his feet on the bestseller trail was A WALK IN THE WOODS, his frolicsome and misguided adventures on the Adirondack Trail with his dysfunctional high school buddy, Stephen Katz. In this utterly hilarious memoir, we learn a great deal more about Bill and his friends and how he started his worldwide meanderings. 

WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER by Elizabeth George (Mystery)
Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
A kind of prequel to Elizabeth George's last book, WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS, this new release by the author of sophisticated, addictive mysteries is not the usual cup of aristocratic British tea. Set in a defiantly un-posh London neighborhood, it traces how a smart, sensitive, unlucky boy found himself on a tragically murderous path.

KABBALAH: A Love Story by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (Fiction/Religion & Spirituality)
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg
In this thought-provoking parable, noted theologian Rabbi Lawrence Kushner offers an intriguing meditation on the branch of Jewish mystical theology known as Kabbalah. Neither a straightforward literary novel nor a spiritual tome, the book mixes both in a unique blend that brings a fresh approach to this esoteric spiritual discipline.

VICIOUS CIRCLE by Robert Littell (Thriller)
Reviewed by Colleen Quinn
Ferociously suspenseful and brilliantly topical, Robert Littell's VICIOUS CIRCLE is a thriller that, like THE COMPANY before it, exposes the heart of an entire culture of violence by probing the corrupted consciences of the men and woman ensnared within it.

THE STORIES OF MARY GORDON by Mary Gordon (Fiction/Short Stories)
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Acclaimed author Mary Gordon explores the dark, hidden bits of ordinary lives and personalities in this collection. A reader may well discover personality quirks and emotions here that are all too familiar, serving to make these finely-wrought tales both discomfiting and fascinating.

THE HARROWING by Alexandra Sokoloff (Horror)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The fortunes of the horror genre have waned in recent years, for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the work itself. There have been indications though that this unfortunate state of affairs may be due for a welcome reversal. One such indication is the publication of THE HARROWING, an impressive, fear-inducing debut novel

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

October 6th Entry:
-Bouchercon 2006 --- A Prairie Escapade

September 8th Entries:
-What I Did On My Summer Vacation
-Reflecting on 9/11: The Books

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. Poll: Keeping Books

How do you shelve your books?

Alphabetically by author
Alphabetically by author, separated by fiction and nonfiction
Alphabetically by title
Alphabetically by title, separated by fiction and nonfiction
I have no system.
I don't buy books.
Do you have enough bookshelf space?

Yes, because for each book that comes in, one moves out.
No, I always am buying more shelving.
No, and as a result there are stacks of books everywhere.
I am not sure.
Answer the Poll here.

Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here Click here to visit our 10th Anniversary Page.
Question of the Week: Books that "Define" You

What five books would "define" you?

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 two great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of LISEY'S STORY by Stephen King and THIRTEEN MOONS by Charles Frazier.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on November 3rd.


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 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 October 31, 2006 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE COLLECTORS by David Baldacci, ECHO PARK by Michael Connelly, FAREWELL SUMMER by Ray Bradbury, THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham and MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich. Last month's winner was Judy from Marshaltown, IA, who won THE BOOK OF FATE by Brad Meltzer, FOR ONE MORE DAY by Mitch Albom, FRAGILE THINGS: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman, THE GUY NOT TAKEN: Stories by Jennifer Weiner and THE TESTAMENT by Eric Van Lustbader.

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

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