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March 6, 2009 Newsletter March 6, 2009
Diamonds, Watchmen and Flipping Through Time

Tuesday I was the emcee at a fundraiser luncheon for the National MS Society. The guests were the co-authors of THE NECKLACE, a really interesting story of 13 women in California who all share a very expensive diamond necklace that they purchased together; something none of them could afford on their own. What has evolved among them is a story with a lot more substance than glitz. Through this venture they have become best friends, comrades and advocates for one another.

I am not a girl who is into diamonds. I have a collection of rather interesting Native American jewelry that I love, but I have never coveted something like a diamond tennis bracelet. Thus I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed the moment when they asked if I would like to wear the necklace for the event. It became more than a piece of jewelry. It instead signified that for those few hours I had a place in their circle. When I first heard about this book, all I could think was that this was a group of pampered self-involved women. As I read, I saw they, who call themselves The Women of Jewelia (pronounced "Julia," which is their name for the necklace), were anything but. Moments like this are quite lovely, and the audience clearly appreciated their story.

We are launching a new Suspense/Thriller feature for award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, whose new novel, LOOK AGAIN, will be in stores on April 14th. You know how you get those postcards in the mail all the time that say, “Have you seen this child?” Well, what if you recognized the child on that postcard as someone who looks a lot like the child you had adopted? That is the problem facing Ellen Gleeson, a journalist, when she looks at the mailing that mirrors the face of her three-year-old son in Scottline’s book, and it has me turning the pages FAST. We have 20 copies of LOOK AGAIN to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, March 20th.

This book actually spurred our latest poll and question. As I was reading I kept saying, “just one more chapter.” Why? The chapters were not that long, so I would flip ahead and say “a few more pages.” Thus we ask if you prefer books with short chapters, and then we go to the other extreme, asking readers what the longest book was that they ever read. I think mine might be HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

Sunday evening "
60 Minutes" will have a piece with Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, the co-author of PICKING COTTON: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, her brilliant book about how she identified the wrong man as her rapist, how he went to jail for 11 years for this mistake and then how they came to not just meet, but become friends. We review this absolutely riveting story this week.

Tuesday night I went to a preview of Watchmen. I typically read a book before I see a movie that is based on it.
This time I purposely did not since I went with John Hogan, the Editorial Director of our website,, who is an uber WATCHMEN fan. We wanted to gauge his reaction against mine. I left feeling like the movie is a primer to WATCHMEN that made me want to read the book since I got a taste, and it gave me enough groundwork to want to fill in the pieces and see what I might have wanted to have unfold differently. I give the movie somewhere around 3.5 stars, but it gets a 5 for making me want to read. We have a WATCHMEN Contest running over on See details about it later in this newsletter.

Also, note that the New York Times has started three new bestseller lists for graphic novels: Hardcover, Softcover and Manga. They will run in the Thursday Arts section, not the book review section.

Two groups of nominees for awards announced this week: the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the American Booksellers Association's inaugural Indies Choice Book Awards. You can see them here.

Regarding my note last week about hoping that the weather would come in like a lamb, I got a fun note from a reader that said, “How about 12 Inches of SNOW and wind up to 30mph For Central Massachusetts --- the lion ate the Lamb.” Very funny. We have a lot of clever readers, and I really enjoy your notes! Okay, last week we had the lion, this week we have a clock change giving us one less hour this weekend. But we know what to faster. We also have 60-degree weather on its way to the New York area. Gee, it makes me think about opening the pool. Read on...quickly.

Carol Fitzgerald (


Author Talk: Jodi Picoult, Author of HANDLE WITH CARE 
Following bestsellers like NINETEEN MINUTES and CHANGE OF HEART, Jodi Picoult's most recent family drama, HANDLE WITH CARE, examines the complex circumstances, the moral ambiguities and the "what-ifs" that arise when the parent of a child with a debilitating genetic disease seeks out a controversial means to give her daughter the best life possible. In this interview, Picoult talks about the article that inspired the plot of her latest novel and sheds light on the physical and emotional difficulties of those who suffer from OI (osteogenesis imperfecta) and their loved ones. She also discusses why she chose to narrate her story in the second-person voice, likens her readers to members of a jury and reveals what she enjoyed the most about her "fact-checking" process.

HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
A family is torn apart by the very thing they most desired: a baby. This child, so wanted, has a disease so debilitating that the mother is convinced to bring a malpractice suit. But who can say whether they would have been better off had the child not been born? Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read a review of HANDLE WITH CARE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HANDLE WITH CARE.

Click here to read an interview with Jodi Picoult.

Books into Movies/Books into Movies on DVD for March

March's Books into Movies feature has just two offerings, but luckily they just so happen to include one of the most highly anticipated movies of the season, as well as a critically acclaimed TV series based on a set of hugely popular international bestsellers. March 6th marks the release of Watchmen, the big-screen, live-action adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s groundbreaking graphic novel about a band of retired superheroes attempting to uncover a plot against them in an alternate 1985. Directed by Zack Snyder --- whose 2006 adaptation of Frank Miller’s comic 300 broke box office records --- this larger-than-life, action-packed thriller is sure to draw in huge crowds and bring out the fan boys and girls in all of us.

To celebrate the film's release,, the newest addition to The Book Report Network, is offering you the chance to win one of three sets of Watchmen books from Titan Books that delve into the magic behind the movie! Click here for all the contest details.

If vengeful superheroes just aren't your cup of tea, then starting March 29th, you can spend your Sunday evenings with the women of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." This new HBO series based on Alexander McCall Smith's charming novels revolves around Precious Ramotswe,
Africa's very own Agatha Christie, and her (mis)adventures solving other people's problems in her Botswanan village.

New on DVD this month are some of last year’s favorites, like Twilight and Marley & Me, along with the heart-wrenching Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and the French drama A Secret.


Click here for more details about March's films.

Now in Stores: PICKING COTTON by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, with Erin Torneo
PICKING COTTON: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, with Erin Torneo (Memoir)
Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment. Her positive identification of Ronald Cotton as her attacker was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After 11 years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face --- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.

-Click here to read an excerpt from PICKING COTTON.

Click here to read a review of PICKING COTTON.

Now in Stores: TERMINAL FREEZE by Lincoln Child
TERMINAL FREEZE by Lincoln Child (Thriller)
A breathtaking discovery at the top of the world by a crew of scientists sets them on a terrifying collision course between modern science and Native American legend. In this riveting new thriller, Lincoln Child weaves together a stunning Arctic landscape, a frightening mythic creature and a pervasive mood of chaos --- and fear. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TERMINAL FREEZE.
Click here to read a review of TERMINAL FREEZE.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Lisa Scottoline, Author of LOOK AGAIN
Lisa Scottoline is the Edgar Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of 16 books, including LADY KILLER, DADDY’S GIRL and DIRTY BLONDE. In LOOK AGAIN, her new novel releasing on April 14th, a reporter’s life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a photo of a missing child who is identical to her adopted son.

We have 20 copies of LOOK AGAIN to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, March 20th.

-Click here to read Lisa Scottoline’s bio.
-Visit Lisa Scottoline’s official website,

More about LOOK AGAIN:
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops --- the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Everything inside her tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won't be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth.

Click here to read more about Lisa Scottoline and LOOK AGAIN.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kyle Mills, Author of LORDS OF CORRUPTION
Kyle Mills is the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including DARKNESS FALLS and THE SECOND HORSEMAN. Over the years he has consistently impressed critics with his insightful and entertaining contemporary political thrillers. In LORDS OF CORRUPTION, his new novel releasing on March 24th, Mills delivers a pulse-pounding, yet sophisticated, examination of the political turmoil in Africa.

-Click here to read an excerpt from LORDS OF CORRUPTION.
-Click here to read Kyle Mills's bio.
-Click here to see Kyle Mills's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for LORDS OF CORRUPTION.
-Visit Kyle Mills's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

When Josh Hagarty is recruited by an obscure charity to manage a farming project in a war-torn region of Africa, he is eager to sign on and atone for a past he regrets. However, before he can even settle into his new life, he begins to suspect that his new employer may not be the philanthropic organization it portrays. Josh tries to lose himself in his work, but soon the precariousness of his situation becomes impossible to ignore.

Click here to read more about Kyle Mills and LORDS OF CORRUPTION.

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 a third excerpt from FAULT LINE.
-Click here to read Barry Eisler's bio.
-Click here to see 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 now available in stores, Sherriff Emily Kenyon, who were were introduced to in  must stop a serial killer who is targeting young women.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from HEART OF ICE.
-Click here to read Gregg Olsen's bio.
-Click here to see 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.

Author Talk: Christina Sunley, Author of THE TRICKING OF FREYA
Christina Sunley's debut, THE TRICKING OF FREYA, is a coming-of-age novel that was partly inspired by real events experienced by her grandfather in Iceland over 130 years ago. In this interview, Sunley shares some of her rich family history and describes how it has influenced both the plot and the characters of her story. She also recounts her research trips to Iceland and Canada, and elaborates on the importance of coming to terms with our past.

THE TRICKING OF FREYA by Christina Sunley (Fiction)
Freya Morris grows up in a typical American suburb. But every summer, she enters another realm entirely when she visits her relatives in Gimli, a tiny village in Canada settled by Icelandic immigrants. Here she falls under the spell of her troubled but charming aunt Birdie, who thrills her with stories of exotic Norse goddesses, moody Viking bards, and the life of her late grandfather, the most famous poet of "New Iceland." But when Birdie tricks Freya into a terrifying scandal, Freya turns her back on everything Icelandic and anything that reminds her of the past. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read a review of THE TRICKING OF FREYA.

Click here to read an interview with Christina Sunley.

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:

-Change of Heart
-Buzz for LITTLE BEE
-Judith Ryan Hendricks: So...What's Your Novel About?
-The Magic of Book Clubs
-Book Clubs in the News
-Hard-to-Find Book Club Selections Part I
-Hard-to-Find Book Club Selections Part II
-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures: The Latest Chapter, January 2009
-Joshua Henkin's Book Club Adventures: The Latest Chapter, January 2009 Part II
-Oscar Worthy Reading
-Owen Sheers: The End

The following guides are now available on

THE BIG LOVE by Sarah Dunn
BRIDA by Paulo Coelho
THE CRADLE by Patrick Somerville
CROSSING THE HUDSON by Peter Stephan Jungk
DEEP DISH by Mary Kay Andrews
THE FORGERY OF VENUS by Michael Gruber
A GIFT FROM BRITTANY: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the French Countryside by Marjorie Price
THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE by David Cristofano
THE GURU NEXT DOOR: A Teacher's Legacy by Wendy Dolber
HATS & EYEGLASSES: A Memoir by Martha Frankel
HEART AND SOUL by Maeve Binchy
THE ITALIAN LOVER by Robert Hellenga
LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman
MEN, MONEY, & GOLD DIGGERS by Je'Caryous Johnson
MURDER AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS®: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery by Joan Rivers with Jerrilyn Farmer
RED, WHITE AND BLUE: America Series, Book 2 by Laura Hayden
SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn
THE SOUND OF HOPE: A True Story of an Adoptee's Quest for her Origins by Anne Bauer
THE SUSPICIONS OF MR. WHICHER: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
SWAY by Zachary Lazar
TERRA INCOGNITA: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani

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

THE EXPEDITIONS by Karl Iagnemma
RESISTANCE by Owen Sheers
THE TEN-YEAR NAP by Meg Wolitzer

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

BREACH OF TRUST: Call of Duty Series, Book 1 by DiAnn Mills
THE DESIRES OF HER HEART: Texas: Star of Destiny, Book 1 by Lyn Cote
MICHAL: The Wives of King David, Book 1 by Jill Eileen Smith
SHE'S IN A BETTER PLACE: The Fairlawn Series, Book 3 by Angela Elwell Hunt
WIND OF THE SPIRIT: The American Patriot Series, Book 3 by J. M. Hochstetler

Click here to visit's Grab Bag of Books Giveaway
Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven’t been released yet. This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of DOPE SICK by Walter Dean Myers, NO MORE US FOR YOU by David Hernandez and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: THE RETURN: NIGHTFALL by L. J. Smith.

-Click here for previous winners.
Click here to read all the contest details.

This Week's Reviews
CREAM PUFF MURDER: A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes by Joanne Fluke (Mystery)
When cookie maker extraordinaire Hannah Swensen decides to get in shape, she figures the worst thing she will encounter are sore muscles. Instead, she discovers the feisty, flirty and widely despised fitness instructor Ronni Ward floating face down in the health club Jacuzzi and a list of suspects as long as her list of delicious cookie recipes. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

ABOVE THE LAW by Tim Green (Thriller)
When an illegal Mexican immigrant is shot on a ranch outside Dallas, it makes the news, not because of the immigrant, but because of the shooter, Senator Tucker Dean. It looks like a hunting accident, and the well-loved young Senator spins the disaster artfully with his tearful press conference --- until the sister-in-law of the victim steps forward with another tale. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THAT WENT WELL: Adventures in Caring for My Sister by Terrell Harris Dougan (Memoir)
This true story of two sisters compares and contrasts their lives. And there are much more differences because the older sister leads what would be considered a "normal" life while the younger one is mentally handicapped. Older sister Terrell has written a book that is painfully honest, humorous and sad by turns, and yet full of hope. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE SECOND OPINION by Michael Palmer (Medical Thriller)
Michael Palmer has created a cat-and-mouse game where one woman must confront a conspiracy of doctors to uncover an evil practice that touches every single person who ever has a medical test. With sympathetic characters and twists and betrayals that come from the most unlikely places, THE SECOND OPINION will make you question…everything. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

GHOST AT WORK by Carolyn Hart (Mystery)
In this charming cozy whodunit, Bailey Ruth Raeburn turns into a detective after she dies by becoming an emissary of the heavenly Department of Good Intentions. The rector's wife in Bailey Ruth's old hometown has just found a corpse on her front porch. Can the spirited (and spirit of) Bailey Ruth find the true murderer? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE WOMAN BEHIND THE NEW DEAL: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience by Kirstin Downey (Biography)
During the 12-year presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frances Perkins probably ranked second only to FDR’s wife Eleanor as the most admired --- and reviled --- woman in the nation. Journalist Kirstin Downey has attempted to rescue Perkins from undeserved obscurity in a biography that highlights her profound influence on FDR’s sweeping New Deal reforms and penetrates some distance into the private life that Perkins tried to hide from public view. Reviewed by Robert Finn.

UNCOMMON: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker (Self-Help)
Tony Dungy believes that his primary job as a coach is to build men worthy of being role models to a nation of boys who look up to them: Men of character, integrity and courage. Men with both confidence and humility. Men who know the value of family and faith as well as career. In a culture that defines success by the size of your salary or by the media frenzy surrounding you, Dungy offers valuable insights on achieving uncommon success and real significance. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll and Question of the Week: Short Chapters and Long Books

Do you try to stop reading at the end of a chapter?

Not sure

Do you prefer books with short chapters?

Yes, I like this.
No, I do not like this.
This does not matter to me.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What is the longest book you ever read?

-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 APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE! by Elizabeth Kelly, THE LAST DICKENS by Matthew Pearl and LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on March 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 March 31, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: HANDLE WITH CARE by Jodi Picoult, ILLEGAL by Paul Levine, LIFE SENTENCES by Laura Lippman, LONG LOST by Harlan Coben and PURSUIT by Karen Robards. Joanne from Tuckahoe, NY was last month's newsletter winner. She won 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.

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

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