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February 20, 2009 Newsletter February 20, 2009
Reminiscing About a Friend Leads to Bookish Thoughts....

As I was gathering notes for this newsletter last night, a close friend sent word that my very first boss, Nonnie Moore, the fashion director when I was at Mademoiselle magazine, had passed away at the age of 87. Nonnie was a legend in the fashion business and worked at Harper's Bazaar and GQ as well as Mademoiselle. She was so much fun to be around as she had this marvelous energy that surrounded her, an enthusiasm for life that was contagious and a smile that lit up the room. Now I was not a fashionista --- unlike most of the women in the fashion department --- so when I started there I had a very funny epiphany. In many conversations, Nonnie, Edith Raymond Locke, the editor in chief, and Sandy Horvitz, the senior fashion editor, would talk about Willi, Perry and Ralph. I thought these were their husbands. No, they were designers Willi Smith, Perry Ellis and Ralph Lauren. And, oh, sometimes they threw in Calvin, you know Klein, in there just to mix things up.

Nonnie always had wonderful coffee table books about fashion in her office and art books (when she retired, she did so to have time to paint, a true passion of hers). She would share a picture that meant something to her or show me where a designer had gotten an inspiration for a line from a photo or a piece of art. She was one of those people who embraced life and had an endless curiosity about things that just energized everyone. I realize now that in that time of my life while I was a reader, I was not talking books in quite the same way. I was buying a ton of books, reading on my commute and loving reading, but I was not talking books with anyone. Instead, I was trying to keep designers straight, which is pretty tough when every white blouse looks the same to you.

Nonnie loved fashion, but, as someone who was quoted in her obit said, she never got caught up in the “silliness” of it. To her, fashion was an art that had its own special inspiration, and those books that were always around were a way that she shared her love of art and fashion. We would talk for hours, and she taught me a ton about fashion, the business --- and life. She was crazy about her husband and her boys, and she never let the insane fashion world compromise her life with them.

Thinking about Nonnie last night, I went back and read a piece in the Times about her son, Peter, who is an architect, that had run last summer. He built four loft spaces in a building downtown where Nonnie had a space as well as his family, a nice way for them to once again share a home. The piece talked about how he had built walls for his books...."thousands of them including rows and rows of Penguin Classics, their pages toast-colored and crumbly, books being the only possessions worth carting around he said, besides a good pair of shoes and his wife's paintings." Reading that made me smile since I could picture the space. And knowing those books were in his space gave me a bridge between the mother and the son in a way I might not have thought about. Yes, the world will be a lot less fun with Nonnie gone. While we had not seen each other in a few years, I have the most marvelous memories of her. And that is a really nice gift. I wish I had done one more lunch with her.

I contrast those days with my world now. Books and bookish conversation so define my world now that I am always asking people what they are reading. Last Saturday I was at a dinner party where the hostess was someone to whom I feed books. She just finished AMERICAN WIFE, which is just out in paperback, and she was chatting it up. I loved hearing her talk about what she enjoyed about it. Another woman said she was not a reader, but then talked about two Emily Giffin books she had read and enjoyed last summer. Another is addicted to her Kindle and was counting the days until her new one comes and was chronicling what she had on hers already. 
By the way, I enjoyed the many notes you sent about why you agreed with my thoughts about not wanting a Kindle. Two other things I have realized. My office in New York and most rooms in my house are decorated with books. Seriously. Those would be missing if all my books were on a Kindle, and I might have to shop for things to put on them! Also, when you walk down the aisle of an airplane or walk along a beach, you never get to see what others are reading if they are reading on a Kindle, thus missing the moment of finding a compatriot just by seeing what they are holding in their hands. Just a point to ponder.

Reading through this week’s reviews, I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm that our reviewers are expressing about the titles they are sharing with you. From Jamie Layton on CUTTING FOR STONE to Joe Hartlaub on both THE SILENT MAN and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE to Norah Piehl on THE SWEET BY AND BY and, well, read on for the rest --- it’s quite a wonderful lineup. May you find something you love that takes you somewhere.

I wanted to remind you that Linda Fairstein’s newest thriller, LETHAL LEGACY, is now available in stores. We received some great feedback from our advance readers, which you may see here. I am reading an upcoming book by Jilliane Hoffman, whose debut novel, RETRIBUTION, was a favorite of many of yours. PLEA OF INSANITY will be in stores in April, and reading it I am loving the way she sets up a story and writes her protagonist. 

One more funny note. I made a shawl two weeks ago with some big chunky yarn. I play with color and yarn like it’s art...since I cannot paint worth a whit. It looked cool, but I got an idea to make it into a poncho by knitting a back on it, which even the gals at the yarn store thought was a good idea. I finished it and decided to use leather laces to close the sides. Sounds great, looked AWFUL. The boys both told me in their oh so blunt way that it was "not working." They were not wrong. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror I saw myself looking like an explorer heading out to hunt whales for their blubber since I looked like I should be leading the expedition. Sometimes things just do not work out. The poncho is now a shawl again. Luckily I am not allergic to ripping out. I just consider it a form of editing. 

Here’s to a great week. Do something that inspires you…and read something that makes you think, laugh or just plain relax.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky
WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky (Fiction)
Molly Snow has mixed feelings about her sister and roommate, Robin. Robin has always been a star and a bit of a slob, and Molly resents both qualities. But Molly's life is turned upside down and inside out when Robin suffers a heart attack and ends up in a coma. The Snow family implodes as secrets unfurl and difficult decisions must be made. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read an excerpt from
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS.
Click here to read a review of WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS.

Author Talk: Jacqueline Winspear, Author of AMONG THE MAD

Jacqueline Winspear's most recent publication, AMONG THE MAD, is the sixth novel in her award-winning and bestselling Maisie Dobbs series about a female psychologist and investigator in post-World War I London. In this interview, Winspear recalls some of her first-hand experiences with psychiatric disorders, which figure greatly in the book, and discusses her fascination with the fine line that separates madness from "normal" everyday behavior. She also draws parallels between 1930s England and today's political and economic climate, reveals surprising statistics about women during the early decades of the 20th century, and hints at what's in store for Maisie in the next installment of the series.

AMONG THE MAD: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Historical Mystery)
Jacqueline Winspear has created an indomitable and unique sleuth in Maisie Dobbs. Her combined professions of psychologist and detective surely precede what would now be called a psychological profiler. Maisie uses her hard-wired intelligence and highly developed intuition to aid her in solving cases between World War I and World War II England. AMONG THE MAD, the sixth book in Winspear's historical mystery series, is set in London during Christmas 1931 through New Year’s 1932. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

-Click here to read a review of AMONG THE MAD.
-Click here to read an excerpt from

Click here to read an interview with Jacqueline Winspear.

Author Talk: Todd Johnson, Author of THE SWEET BY AND BY
Todd Johnson's debut novel, THE SWEET BY AND BY, chronicles the unlikely friendship formed among five women in a North Carolina nursing home. In this interview, Johnson credits his visits with his grandmothers as indirect inspiration for this story and explains how he came up with the book's poetic title. He also discusses the link between religion and Southern culture, mentions his writing influences, and recalls his experiences working as a musician in New York.

THE SWEET BY AND BY by Todd Johnson (Fiction)
Among the longleaf pines and family farms of eastern North Carolina, days seem to pass without incident for Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes until they discover each other in a friendship that will take them on the most important journey of their lives. Rich with irresistible characters, THE SWEET BY AND BY is a testament to the truth that the most vibrant lives are not necessarily the most visible ones. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of THE SWEET BY AND BY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from
-Visit Todd Johnson's official website,

Click here to read an interview with Todd Johnson.

Now in Stores: CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese
CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese (Fiction)
I’ve been telling everybody to read this superb novel from Abraham Verghese. It is refreshing on every level --- from the setting (Ethiopia) to its characters (Indian medical workers, twin boys borne of a nun) to a complex web of storylines that covers every emotional base. This is one of those books you will not want to see end and that will leave you hungry for more. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CUTTING FOR STONE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for CUTTING FOR STONE.

Click here to read a review of CUTTING FOR STONE.

Now in Stores: HANDS OF MY FATHER by Myron Uhlberg
HANDS OF MY FATHER: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love by Myron Uhlberg (Memoir)
By turns heart-tugging and hilarious, Myron Uhlberg’s memoir tells the story of growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents --- and his life in a world that he found unaccountably beautiful, even as he longed to escape it. HANDS OF MY FATHER is filled with stories about growing up not just as the child of two deaf people but as a book-loving, mischief-making, tree-climbing kid during the remarkably eventful period that spanned the Depression, the War and the early 1950s. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HANDS OF MY FATHER.

Click here to read a review of HANDS OF MY FATHER.

Now in Stores: RANSOM MY HEART by Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis, with help from Meg Cabot
RANSOM MY HEART by Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis, with help from Meg Cabot (Historical Romance)
Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia and star of Meg Cabot's #1 New York Times bestselling Princess Diaries books, has "penned" her first historical romance novel --- with help from Cabot. Mia has always been an outspoken animal-rights activist and committed environmentalist. In keeping with Mia's true spirit, Cabot will be donating her worldwide proceeds from RANSOM MY HEART to Greenpeace. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RANSOM MY HEART.

Click here to read a review of RANSOM MY HEART.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Barry Eisler, Author of FAULT LINE

CIA agent-turned-novelist Barry Eisler is the bestselling author of the John Rain novels, which have won the Barry and Gumshoe Awards and have been translated into nearly 20 languages. In his first stand-alone thriller, FAULT LINE, Eisler delivers a fast-paced story in which two estranged brothers --- one a Silicon Valley lawyer, the other an undercover military operative --- must put aside decades of resentment and hurt to thwart a deadly techno-conspiracy. FAULT LINE will be available in stores on March 10th.

-Click here to read an excerpt from FAULT LINE.
-Click here to read Barry Eisler’s bio.
-Click here to read Barry Eisler's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for FAULT LINE.
-Visit Barry Eisler’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about FAULT LINE:
Silicon Valley: the inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in what seems to be a drug deal gone wrong. Istanbul: a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic e-mail from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes that he’ll be the next victim.

A full-throttle thriller that is both emotionally and politically charged, FAULT LINE centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and onto the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped by only three people --- three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they’ll first have to survive one another.


Click here to read more about Barry Eisler and FAULT LINE.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gregg Olsen, Author of HEART OF ICE

A New York Times bestselling author, Gregg Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child. As a journalist and true crime author, Olsen has received numerous awards and much critical acclaim for his writing. In HEART OF ICE, his new thriller releasing on February 24th, Sherriff Emily Kenyon must stop a serial killer who is targeting young women.

-Click here to read an excerpt from HEART OF ICE.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen’s bio.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for HEART OF ICE.
-Visit Gregg Olsen’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

More about HEART OF ICE:
Cherrystone, Washington is the kind of small town where strangers are few and gossip is plentiful. Sheriff Emily Kenyon is investigating the murder of a pregnant young woman whose husband is the prime suspect, yet nagging doubts remain. Immersed in uncovering the truth, Emily doesn’t realize she’s become involved in something much bigger --- a case both dark and horrifying, one that will pit her against a killer whose vengeance knows no limits, and whose next target is chillingly close.


Click here to read more about Gregg Olsen and HEART OF ICE.

Enter the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Sweepstakes, Sponsored by PARADE Magazine
Hey Book Clubs! Join the Circus!

Enter the WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Sweepstakes, sponsored by PARADE Magazine, for a chance to win an exciting trip for you and your book club (maximum five members). You could be whisked off to a mountain getaway weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, where you'll meet and dine with author Sara Gruen. The prize includes two nights lodging at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, round-trip airfare to Asheville, dinner with the author, and signed copies of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS! The sweepstakes ends on March 6, 2009.

See official rules and enter today at

Become a Fan of on Facebook! now has a fan page on Facebook! Since January, we have been joined by over 400 fans. Here we will feature our daily blogs and put out questions for discussion. We would love you to share pictures of your groups as well as comments on the books that we suggest. While we have a very vibrant message board on the site, we know that many of you like to share your thoughts via Facebook. Note that our daily blogs are linked onto our Facebook page, and each month when we do an update we will list our new guides and features there as well! We look forward to seeing you as fans of on Facebook.

Click here to view's new Facebook page.

What's New on
We are pleased to share that, the newest addition to The Book Report Network, is quickly becoming the premier destination on the web for everything related to graphic novels --- news and reviews, interviews with writers and artists, behind-the-scenes peeks at the creative process, podcasts and videos, a blog and more. was updated with new content last week, including exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in the comics industry. Gerard Way, author of the bestselling Umbrella Academy series, as well as the frontman of the band My Chemical Romance, talks about his plans for the award-winning series, how the characters inspire him and what it was like to record a song for the upcoming Watchmen movie. Then, check out our interview with Dean Motter. It's been 25 years since Motter unveiled the legendary comics character of Mister X, and in this career-spanning retrospective, Motter talks about the character's influence, as well as working on other major comics works, such as The Prisoner adaptation and Batman.

We continue to bring you the latest graphic novel and manga reviews. They're grouped into convenient categories, so you'll be able to find good new reads for kids, teens and adults. This week's crop of reviews includes Joker, Saga of the Swamp Thing, Cowa!, Orange, The Death of Captain America and many others.

All that, plus news about comics, updates on new releases, details about upcoming comics-related movies and much more, are on the site now. Visit us and find some great new graphic novels to read!

Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Thriller)
A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, murdering the powerful and the arrogant. His message is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences. For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror. Only one man can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Mike Bennett. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.

THE YANKEE YEARS by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci (Sports)
The former manager of the New York Yankees --- and one of its most successful --- teams up with Sports Illustrated’s senior baseball writer for this unique and somewhat baffling presentation. Although Joe Torre gets top billing as the nominative author, the reader will get the impression that Tom Verducci is telling the story, since the narrative is written in the third person. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.

FIRE AND ICE by Julie Garwood (Romantic Suspense)
When sexy Chicago FBI agent Jack MacAlister, the one with the “bad boy smile,” meets beautiful ice maiden Sophie Rose, the chemistry is instantaneous. Sophie has an acute aversion to FBI agents, and Jack soon realizes he must rely on his player instincts to get the attention of the woman who just “knocked the air out of him.” Reviewed by Hillary Wagy.

THE SILENT MAN by Alex Berenson (Thriller)
It’s been a rough few years for CIA agent John Wells: the undercover work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the attack on the United States, the Chinese plot that could have led to war. Wells is exhausted, and his nights filled with disturbing dreams. But he knows he has no time for that. He has made many enemies, and the world won’t stay quiet for long. Nevertheless, Wells is not prepared for what is about to happen. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE RENEGADES by T. Jefferson Parker (Thriller)
Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they’re strapped all the same. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ALL THE COLORS OF DARKNESS by Peter Robinson (Mystery)
When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. But when his older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot begins to think differently. Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Once on the investigation, Banks finds himself plunged into a case where nothing is as it seems. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A MAD DESIRE TO DANCE by Elie Wiesel (Fiction)
A man of mysterious wealth and traumatic background is handed from one psychoanalyst to another. It is hoped that, because she shares culture with him, the new doctor can help the patient better. But the case of Doriel Waldman turns out to be more complicated and difficult than Thérèse Goldschmidt had realized it would be. Using Freudian theory, she attempts to understand and heal him, but her work is thwarted by his non-compliance: he insists he is just mad. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Book Shopping

What is the most books you ever bought in one trip?

More than 10
I do not buy books.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Share a memorable moment of shopping for books.

-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 HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult, THE SWEET BY AND BY by Todd Johnson and WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS by Barbara Delinsky. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on March 6th 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.

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

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