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February 6, 2009 Newsletter February 6, 2009
The Pleasure of Talking to Readers...and a Good Book
My last two weeks have been more hectic than I want to think about. If I think about them too much, I may need a nap. But each day I still have found time to read before I fall asleep. I gave some thought this morning as to why this happens, because with me everything has to have a reason, and came up with this. Reading before bedtime allows me to escape into a world with characters who have their own stories to share. And for a lovely few moments, minutes, hours, I am able to drop into their lives and mine fades away. And then I can sleep. These past weeks I have been grabbing my nighttime book in the morning as well, reading a few pages before my day gets started. I like starting the day with a book as much as I liked ending it this way. I wonder how many of you have ever found yourselves doing the same thing.

Ever realized how there is a sheer joy in talking to people about books --- those you have read and those you want to? I had that experience a number of times this week in conversations where I heard excitement from people about books they were reading --- or a backlist title that had struck their fancy. And when we realized that there was a title that we all had read and loved --- that we had tucked away in our memories --- the conversation rivaled any chatter about sports at the water cooler. I was in one office for a meeting on Wednesday, and in the course of a conversation about online marketing, we got into chatting about backlist titles that we loved. In two moments the colleague I was meeting with had plucked a book from his shelf and talked to me about the night in 1995 when he had first gotten to New York and spent the night reading it.

I often look at my shelves and see those sames stories. I don’t just see the books, but rather where I was when they came into my life. And when I do this it’s like seeing old friends.

I have been on a great reading roll, meaning one great book after another has been coming my way, making reading even more of a pleasure than usual. We have reviews of some of those titles this week. Kristin Hannah’s TRUE COLORS is a story of the powerful bond of sisterhood. Just as she so beautifully spoke about the joys of girlfriends last year in FIREFLY LANE, she now captures the emotional ties of sisters and how they caretake one another even amongst the squabbles and the growing pains that push and pull them apart. I read an advance copy floating in a pool this summer and have looked forward to sharing this. Here is what our reviewer Norah Piehl had to say about it: “With strong, complex characterizations of these primary characters, rich descriptions of their breathtakingly beautiful surroundings and an unfailingly romantic atmosphere, TRUE COLORS is the kind of novel that will have sisters recognizing themselves and their relationships in its pages.” You can read her full review here.

I closed VERY VALENTINE, Adriana Trigiani’s new one, last night, and I wish I knew Valentine in real life. Ah, when a book is good, what do readers want? The next one! Lourdes Orive, our reviewer, wrote as soon as she finished it, gushing with praise. Read here for more on what she had to say.

Speaking of great books, THE HELP by debut author Kathryn Stockett, is in stores Tuesday the 10th. I have written/raved/obsessed about this one in the past two months, and okay, I will give you a heads up that next week it’s going to be one of my “ Bets On” titles. I am very bad at holding back when I am enthusiastic about a book like this. Next up on my personal reading list is CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese. A few weeks ago I shared the story of his talk at a librarian conference that I attended, and immediately I recalled his memoirs, which were brilliantly done. I look forward to looking at his first foray into fiction, which is just out this week.

Throughout January, we ran a contest celebrating the release of ECSTASY, Jacquelyn Frank's newest paranormal romance. We are pleased to announce our 10 winners, who are listed here. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Our advance readers enjoyed reading WICKED GAME by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush. Click here to read their comments. Also, Kevin O’Brien, author of FINAL BREATH, shares some more insight about his newest thriller as well as his current writing projects in his responses to our advance readers’ questions, which you can read here.

This weekend I am attending New York Comic Con at the Javits Center, which promises to be a ton of fun. A number of friends from around the country are in for this, again assuring me that I will have a wonderful time talking to readers. At a time when snow, cold and other four-letter words like that are so pervasive, it’s nice to have something that is indoors and incredibly energizing to attend.

By the way, the online Bookaccino reunion (see last week’s newsletter opener for details) had 75 attendees. I was hosting a Super Bowl event at my house and thus did not drop by online, but want to get to another event. I honed my typing skills trying to keep up with the folks in Bookaccino. My kids tease that I am one wicked IMer. They both grew up with a mom who had a laptop on her lap most nights. I always feared that when they drew a picture of their family, I would have a monitor or laptop attached somewhere.

The Valentine’s Day contest winners will be announced next week. Until then, if you need something for your valentine, consider our terrific suggestions here.

Here’s hoping you all find a good book, or a bookish conversation, to get you jazzed this week. Read on....

Carol Fitzgerald (

Our Review of THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham
THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham (Legal Thriller)
With THE ASSOCIATE, John Grisham has returned to a story reminiscent of his second novel, THE FIRM. A young lawyer in a large, powerful law firm faces extortion, murder and industrial espionage. This is the recipe for yet another page-turning legal thriller from the international bestselling author. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ASSOCIATE.

Click here to read a review of THE ASSOCIATE.

Now in Stores: TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah

TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)
Kristin Hannah's bestselling 2008 novel, FIREFLY LANE, was a sweeping, decades-long exploration of the changeable, tumultuous but sustaining friendship between two women who came of age during the 1980s. Now Hannah follows the success of that book with TRUE COLORS, which will do for sisterhood what FIREFLY LANE did for women's friendships. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TRUE COLORS.
-Visit Kristin Hannah’s official website,


Click here to read a review of TRUE COLORS.

Now in Stores: VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani (Fiction)
Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. VERY VALENTINE is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world. Reviewed by Lourdes Orive.

-Click here to read an excerpt from VERY VALENTINE.

Click here to read a review of VERY VALENTINE.

Author Talk: Jamie Ford, Author of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET
Jamie Ford's debut novel, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, is both a love story and a cultural examination that is set against the backdrop of Japanese internment during World War II. In this interview, Ford explains how true events from his father's childhood initially inspired him to write this story and traces its slow evolution from a vignette to a full-length work of fiction over the course of several years. He also discusses similarities between himself and his protagonist, talks a bit about his fascination with Seattle's history and its role in the 1940s jazz scene, and shares his thoughts on possible parallels between the treatment of Japanese Americans during the war and attitudes toward people of Middle-Eastern descent during this current political climate.

Henry Lee comes upon the Panama Hotel in Seattle, where the new owner has found a treasure trove of belongings that were left there by Japanese families who were taken to internment camps during World War II. Henry, who is of Chinese heritage, reflects back on a young Japanese woman, Keiko Okabe, with whom he had an innocent but profound love. He searches the hotel looking for anything that may remind him of Keiko's family. His reminiscences as well as his internal conflicts create a beautiful story of hope, forgiveness and the power of love. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET.
-Click here to read an excerpt from
-Click here to view the reading group guide for HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET.
Click here to read an interview with Jamie Ford.'s Valentine's Day Feature: Books to Fall in Love With
The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! Stuck on what to buy your Valentine? Our featured titles have the bookish answer. From January 23rd through February 6th, readers had the chance to win one of our five Valentine's Day Baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of our featured books. Thanks to all who entered and told us which character in a book they would want to share a Valentine moment with. We had some great responses! We will announce the winners on Monday.

Although the contest has ended, we encourage you to visit our Valentine's Day feature. Whether you are looking for a humorous tale, a heartwarming love story or an escape into the world of paranormal romance, our Valentine's Day suggestions are sure to satisfy whatever you’re craving to give on this holiday.

Our featured Valentine’s Day titles are:

-NIGHT'S PLEASURE by Amanda Ashley
-ONE TRUE THEORY OF LOVE by Laura Fitzgerald
-VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

Click here to see our Valentine's Day suggestions.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Linda Fairstein, Author of LETHAL LEGACY
New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. In her newest Alex Cooper novel, LETHAL LEGACY, Fairstein takes readers on a breathtaking ride through the valuable first editions, lost atlases and secret rooms and tunnels of the great New York Public Library. LETHAL LEGACY will be available in stores on February 10th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LETHAL LEGACY.
-Click here to read Linda Fairstein’s bio.
-Click here to see Linda Fairstein's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LETHAL LEGACY.
-Visit Linda Fairstein's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.

When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors.

Click here to read more about Linda Fairstein and LETHAL LEGACY.

Coming Tuesday, February 10th: THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett (Fiction)
In THE HELP, Kathryn Stockett creates three unforgettable women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women --- mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends --- view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor and hope, THE HELP is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Click here to read more about Kathryn Stockett and THE HELP.

Now in Stores: SIMA'S UNDERGARMENTS FOR WOMEN by Ilana Stanger-Ross

SIMA'S UNDERGARMENTS FOR WOMEN by Ilana Stanger-Ross (Fiction)
Sima Goldner runs an underground bra shop in an Orthodox neighborhood of Brooklyn where women come in search of laughter, love and support. When Timna, a young Israeli with enviable cleavage, becomes the shop’s seamstress, Sima finds herself drawn into the girl’s life of romance and adventure, and a 40-year-old secret comes unhooked.

-Click here to view the reading group guide for SIMA'S UNDERGARMENTS FOR WOMEN.


Click here to read more about SIMA'S UNDERGARMENTS FOR WOMEN.

Enter to "Dine and Dish" with Carl Weber, the Prince of Literary Drama!
Book Club Members: enter to win a private dinner and book chat with #1 Essence® bestselling author Carl Weber! Enter now!

Non Book Club Members: you’re invited to the table too! Enter to win a Sunday brunch basket (from Gullah Gourmet of Food Network fame) which includes FOUR signed 1st editions of Carl Weber’s UP TO NO GOOD! Enter now!

by Carl Weber
Are you up to no good? Think you can keep your secret hidden forever? Think again! You think you know someone, only to find out they have a scandalous secret...and sometimes the shocking secret is yours.

New York Times bestselling author Carl Weber introduces you to a deliciously dysfunctional family in a drama-filled, straight-up novel with the right blend of sex, scandal and humor. There’s always someone up to no good.

Don’t miss your chance to "Dine and Dish" with the Prince of Literary Drama! Visit today!

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for February

Love (or something like it) is in the air this month, as February’s Books into Movies feature offers a few excuses to work a trip to the theater into your Valentine’s Day plans. Releasing just in time for the big day with that special someone are He’s Just Not That Into You, inspired by the bestselling relationship guide from “Sex and the City” writers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and featuring an all-star cast boasting the likes of Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connolly and Scarlett Johansson; and Confessions of a Shopaholic, a madcap romantic comedy that follows unlikely heroine Rebecca Bloomwood as she conquers life, love and looming credit card debt in the big city. Sure to be a big draw with teen audiences is Youth in Revolt, starring Juno and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’s Michael Cera as a sex-obsessed 16-year-old wooing a girl he can’t have.

For some alternatives to these chick-lit and teen-angst movies, be sure to check out Neil Gaiman’s Coraline --- a delightfully creepy animated film à la The Nightmare Before Christmas fit for the whole family --- and the highly acclaimed
Gomorrah, which won big at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and depicts real-life organized crime in modern-day Naples.

And those who prefer to enjoy movies from the comfort of their own homes will be thrilled with the plethora of films available on DVD this month. They include Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Secret Life of Bees, Nights in Rodanthe, The Midnight Meat Train, Choke, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Body of Lies, Sex Drive and What Just Happened.


Click here for more details about February's films.

What's New This Month on
With more than 2,500 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:

-Book Clubs in the News
-2009: A Year of Change
-Adriana Trigiani on the Today Show
-You Could Dine with Sara Gruen
-"So... What Should We Read Next?"
-Field Trips for Book Clubs
-Join Us on Facebook
-Bleeding on the Page
-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures: The Latest Chapter, December 2008
-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures: The Latest Chapter, December 2008 Part II

The following guides are now available on

BETWEEN HERE AND APRIL by Deborah Copaken Kogan
THE BISHOP'S DAUGHTER by Tiffany L. Warren
COAL BLACK HORSE by Robert Olmstead
CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese
THE END OF MY ADDICTION by Olivier Ameisen, M.D.
THE LAWS OF HARMONY by Judith Ryan Hendricks
LETHAL LEGACY by Linda Fairstein
MUDBOUND by Hillary Jordan
A PIGEON AND A BOY by Meir Shalev
ROCK BOTTOM by Michael Shilling
THE SLIDE by Kyle Beachy
SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN by Karen Kingsbury
WE TAKE THIS MAN by Candice Dow and Daaimah S. Poole
THE WILDERNESS by Samantha Harvey

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

AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld
KILLER HEAT by Linda Fairstein
THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
A VERSION OF THE TRUTH by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

AGAINST ALL ODDS: Heroes of Quantico Series, Book 1 by Irene Hannon
AGE BEFORE BEAUTY: Sister-to-Sister, Book 2 by Virginia Smith
EVE: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott
KISS ME IF YOU DARE: A Patricia Amble Mystery by Nicole Young

Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: Stories by Ray Bradbury (Fiction/Short Stories)
From one of the most celebrated fiction writers of our time comes a new collection of previously unpublished stories. From space travel to radio personalities to nighttime golfing, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS will please a variety of readers, no matter their familiarity with the author. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

DELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS: And Other Stories by Lauren Groff (Fiction/Short Stories)
THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON, in which Lauren Groff adroitly reimagined her hometown of Cooperstown, New York, and the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, was one of the most widely acclaimed debut novels of 2008. Now Groff follows up its success with DELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS, a collection of bittersweet short stories exploring the lives and loves of a wide range of women. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Charlie Huston has a style that is razor sharp, an eye that never shies from the gritty details, and a taste for stories that simultaneously shock, disturb and entertain. His latest novel, THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH, is the type of story --- swift, twisted, hilarious, somehow hopeful --- that only he could dream up. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NEMESIS by Jo Nesbo (Thriller)
Grainy closed-circuit television footage shows a man walking into an Oslo bank and putting a gun to a cashier's head. He tells the young woman to count to 25. When the robber doesn't get his money in time, the cashier is executed, and two million Norwegian kroner disappear without a trace. Police Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE LEISURE SEEKER by Michael Zadoorian (Fiction)
John and Ella Robina have shared a wonderful life for more than 50 years. Now in their 80s, Ella suffers from cancer and has chosen to stop treatment; John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, they kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who seem to run their lives to steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

HEROES AMONG US: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices by John Quinones (Memoir)
HEROES AMONG US reminds us all of the courage and dignity it takes to stand up for oneself and those around us. By chronicling such bravery, veteran journalist John Quiñones captures America's can-do spirit and shows that through the slightest good deed, each one of us harbors a hero within. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

MRS. LINCOLN: A Life by Catherine Clinton (Biography)
Just in time for the bicentennial celebration of the birth of Abraham Lincoln comes MRS. LINCOLN, in which Catherine Clinton draws on important new research to illuminate the remarkable life of his wife, Mary, and at a time when the nation was being tested as never before. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Spreading the Word

When you love a book, do you readily talk about it with others?

Yes, if they are readers
Yes, whether or not they are readers
I’m not comfortable doing this.
I’m not sure.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is the one book you recently read that you couldn’t stop talking about?

-Click here to answer our question.

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 three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of BLOOD AND BONE by William Lashner, THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett and VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on February 20th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.
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 February 28, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: BLOOD AND BONE by William Lashner, PROMISES IN DEATH by J. D. Robb, TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah, VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky. Harriet from Cherry Hill, NJ was last month's newsletter winner. She won THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham, ECLIPSE by Richard North Patterson, ON THE GRIND: A Shane Scully Novel by Stephen J. Cannell, PLUM SPOOKY: A Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers Novel by Janet Evanovich and STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova.

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