Skip to main content

June 5, 2009 Newsletter June 5, 2009
Authors Authors Authors!
Yesterday I was quoted in USA Today in a piece concerning the talk about digital content and digital devices at BookExpo America where I said that I felt "that too much attention is going to devices and formats and digitizing, instead of books and authors, which is what people care about." After a week where I got to meet a number of authors, saw others speak about their books and had another at the house for coffee, I realized that the excitement about books for me comes from talking about books and the stories behind them, not whether I read them on a screen or on pages.

Taking a look at my week in reverse chronological order, let’s start with Lisa Unger and her husband Jeff stopping by for coffee yesterday on the way to a signing at the Clinton Bookshop. Confession: I do not drink coffee, and I do not know how to make coffee, so inviting Lisa to the house for coffee was amusing. Before my husband left, I had him set up the coffeemaker so I could click the button like I was on a TV commercial and knew what I was doing. I know this is lame, but Lisa is a pal and she took all this in stride and amusement. It was great to see her, and we bring you our review of DIE FOR YOU written by Norah Piehl, where she says,
"Unger facilely handles the novel’s suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as new and surprising twists are constantly uncovered. At the same time, she relates the primary theme to the lives of all her characters, from Isabel’s own life to that of her sister and her brother-in-law, to her mother, even to the detectives investigating the case.”

Wednesday evening my son Greg and I were at B&N in Tribeca for a reading and signing by Norman Ollestad, whose book CRAZY FOR THE STORM has been spotlighted here these past few weeks as a One to Watch feature. I had met Norm for the first time at BEA last weekend and already had caught his appearance on "Good Morning America" that morning, thus this reading/signing was a bonus experience. CRAZY FOR THE STORM is my latest Bets On Pick. It’s the story of Norm’s relationship with his dad, who cultivated a daredevil survival streak in him that he credits with saving his life when he was in a charter plane crash on a mountain at age 11 that killed his dad, his dad’s girlfriend and the pilot. As he walked down the snowy icy mountain alone, he says he felt confident he would be okay and he never gave up. Parents often wonder what their children learn from them --- Norman’s takeaway from his 11 years with his dad infused him with a spirit of "
never give up" that has carried him through his life.

As I was reading the book, I liked the way the back story and the story of the crash alternate chapters. As the timing of the crash builds, the chapters get shorter and shorter as they come at you with almost a staccato beat. During Wednesday night’s Q&A, I asked Norm why he chose to write like this. He said originally he wrote the book as a straight chronological story, but then one night after he had sent his first query letters out, he realized the pacing was not right. And that night he took the manuscript and reworked it into the format that we read. I love stories like that where authors explore the craft of writing with readers. Given the theme of fathers and sons that is so strong in this book, I thought it was only appropriate to not just have a photo of Norman in the newsletter, but one with his son Noah, who is almost nine, and who looks uncannily like his dad did at 11. By the way, there also was a "Nightline" piece about this book, which you can see here. I spend a lot of time wondering how my boys will remember growing up, and have decided that if they have both confidence and humility, I will feel very good about my role as their mom.

I love books that make me laugh, and Wade Rouse’s memoirs have always done that for me. His latest, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM, hit stores this week. It’s the story of his adventures in the woods of Michigan as the Kenneth Cole shopping/Starbucks latte drinking/tanning salon junkie Wade discovers his inner Walden. As our reviewer, Harvey Freedenberg, said, "
It’s evident early in Wade Rouse’s memoir that he’s able to play a scene for laughs every bit as skillfully as David Sedaris, with whose work this book inevitably will be compared. Rouse’s journey isn’t an easy one, and for every step forward it seems he suffers a corresponding pratfall along the way." Wade can send a one-line email that has me laughing for hours.

Patti Callahan Henry stopped by the office last month, and we taped a quick video interview with her with my Flip camera. We hope to do more of these with authors who come by in the weeks and months to come. Patti’s book, DRIFTWOOD SUMMER, is now in stores, and we will have our review next week. Note that if you are in a book group, this interview will give you some nice background to the story.

This week we bring you the first week of three special author features. The first is a Women’s Fiction Spotlight with Mary Kay Andrews, whose book, THE FIXER UPPER, is a great summer read. This book has cost me money as I have been decorating my office at the house, and I was inspired by Dempsey Jo Killebrew’s decorating in the book! Also, we have a new Debut Suspense/Thriller feature for Henry Perez, whose new book, KILLING RED, is now in stores, as well as a new Mystery Mayhem feature for Dorothy Howell, whose novel HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE is now available in paperback. We'd love to send you a copy of these titles and hear your thoughts. Read on to find out how.

Our Summer Beach Bag of Books promotion continues this week with a second week of featuring THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND. Read more about the book and enter the contest here. Last week in the complete blur of getting to BEA, I did not flag our Father’s Day Contest, which closes June 12th. We highlight six titles that are part of the prize along with some "
manly gifts" that I had fun shopping for. We also have our advance reader comments for Kevin Wignall's PEOPLE DIE, which you may read here.

Over at we have launched a new feature, "
The Hottest Graphic Novels of Summer." John Hogan, our Editorial Director, honed titles for kids, tweens, teens and adults. If you have never read a graphic novel, this may be the moment to give one a whirl, or a page turn.

I came back from BEA and immediately read HOW SHALL I TELL THE DOG?: And Other Final Musings by Miles Kington. Kington was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in this memoir writes about the thoughts that come to him along the way as he muses his exit from this world. It’s snappy, witty and thought-provoking. As I am a girl who likes to make every day matter, this book brought me lots to think about --- and a lot of nods and smiles.

Quiet weekend on tap, which I am very happy about. I have started Richard Russo’s THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC, which will be in stores on August 4th, which I am enjoying. I liked EMPIRE FALLS and this has that same feel to it. Nice when you can hunker down with a writer and know you love his voice. Greg is off to Boston lighthousing. Yes, the same Greg who just got back from England. For those wondering about the cliffhanger, he did NOT do laundry abroad, and thus Sunday night the laundry baskets were filled. I tried not to think how often these clothes were, um, "
re-worn." All I know is that my luggage for four nights in the city equaled his for nearly three weeks in England. Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Norman Ollestad, Author of CRAZY FOR THE STORM,'s Latest "Bets On" Title
In his memoir, CRAZY FOR THE STORM, Norman Ollestad chronicles his story of survival after a plane crash in the mountains leaves him the sole survivor at the age of 11, while giving credit entirely to his adventure-loving father's unusual parenting style. In this interview with's Norah Piehl, Ollestad explains how he was able to piece together his scattered 30-year-old memories in order to vividly describe that harrowing nine-hour ordeal, and reveals some of the difficulties he experienced revisiting those traumatic events. He also provides insight into his father's personality and outlook on life, discusses how their unique relationship has helped to shape the one he now shares with his own son, and names some of his biggest writing influences.

CRAZY FOR THE STORM: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad (Memoir)
February 1979: Eleven-year-old Norman Ollestad is the lone survivor of a harrowing plane crash that kills his magnetic, adrenaline-addicted father, a man who stopped at nothing to mold his son into a fearless surfer and ski champion. Set amid the uninhibited beach culture of Malibu and Mexico, this story of an extraordinary father-son bond has been hailed by Susan Cheever as “a heart-stopping adventure” that asks “what it means to lead a life without limits.” Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read a review of CRAZY FOR THE STORM.
-Click here to read an excerpt from CRAZY FOR THE STORM.

Click here to read our interview with Norman Ollestad.

Author Talk: Patti Callahan Henry, Author of DRIFTWOOD SUMMER
Patti Callahan Henry is the bestselling author of six novels, including WHEN LIGHT BREAKS, BETWEEN THE TIDES, THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS and the newly released DRIFTWOOD SUMMER. In this interview, Henry describes how much of her own memories and experiences she drew upon to write this story about three siblings and attempts to shed light on the complex dynamic of sisterhood. She also explains why --- in addition to themes of familial relationships --- she chose to focus on the financial issues independent bookstores face in this day and age, and shares tips on how we can help support these small businesses.

DRIFTWOOD SUMMER by Patti Callahan Henry (Fiction)
Three sisters --- responsible Riley, vivacious Maisy, and fun-loving Adalee --- reunite to save the family’s beach-community bookstore. But summer also marks the return of Mack Logan, whose choice of Maisy over Riley years ago destroyed the special closeness between the sisters.

Now Riley, a single mom, is hiding a shattering secret about their mother. Maisy, a California designer, still blames Riley for ruining her one true love. And Adalee resents the family’s intrusion into her summer plans. All three will be forced to confront the conflicts that tore them apart and the bounds of love and loyalty that still draw them together.

-Click here to read more about DRIFTWOOD SUMMER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from DRIFTWOOD SUMMER.
-Visit Patti Callahan Henry's official website,
-Click here to watch Carol Fitzgerald's interview with Patti Callahan Henry.

Click here to read an interview with Patti Callahan Henry.

AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse (Memoir)
When was the last time you read a memoir that begins with an angry raccoon perched on the author’s head? That’s the opening scene of Wade Rouse’s new book and one of many, both hilarious and wise, that make this a memorable story about living your dreams and in the process discovering a new life. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM.
-Visit Wade Rouse’s official website,


Our Summer Beach Bag Contest: Spotlight This Week on THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND by Jill Kargman
Whether your "beach" is on sand, your backyard deck or a grassy meadow in the country, the summer months mean it's time for "beach reading." is celebrating the lazy days of summer reading with our Fifth Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

During select weeks from May 22nd through September 4th, a different title or collection of titles will be featured with a contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with the featured book(s) and summertime essentials. Five FABULOUS beach bags will be given away each week, as well as five copies of the featured book(s) to additional winners.

This week, we’re spotlighting THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND by Jill Kargman, a hilarious, deliciously scathing novel about the ultra-rich, ultra-ambitious hedge fund set. In a pink and orange hobo-style beach bag, winners will find a pink, orange and yellow oversized block towel, pink flamingo-shaped towel clips for your lounge chair, a pair of black, white and pink sandals, an inflatable beach float, flip-flop-shaped drink coasters and a package of colorful wine rabbits, as well as a copy of THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND. We have five to give away, as well as five additional prizes of copies of THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND.

To enter, fill out this form and answer the following question by Thursday, June 11th at 11:59PM. You can find the answer by reading the excerpt here.

According to the narrator, what is one of the drawbacks to her extravagant lifestyle?

THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND by Jill Kargman (Fiction)
This is about the time of year that a book lover starts searching for those titles that will fill her beach bag, be dragged to the pool, hauled out on the boat and passed around at the playground. Just in time to fill all these requirements of a fun summer read is Jill Kargman’s THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND. Reviewed by Jamie Layton.

-Read more about Jill Kargman and THE EX-MRS. HEDGEFUND here.

Click here to read all the details of our Summer Beach Bag Contest.'s Fourth Annual Father's Day Contest: Best Books for Dad

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and inspired us. Why not show Dad your appreciation by inspiring him with a great book? From May 29th through June 12th, readers will have the chance to win one of our five Father’s Day Tote Bag Coolers, which are stocked with handy and fun items for Dad as well as one copy of all six of our featured titles. Whether he is a fan of suspense novels, uplifting stories --- or if he’s just looking for great summer cooking ideas --- has the perfect gift suggestions for the dad in your life.

Our featured Father’s Day titles are:

-THE BOOK OF DADS: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood edited by Ben George
-DIAMONDHEAD by Patrick Robinson
-HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE: A Memoir by Michael Greenberg
-NUDGE: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
-THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Click here to read all the contest details.

New Featured Women's Fiction Author: Mary Kay Andrews, Author of THE FIXER UPPER
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed books, including DEEP DISH and SAVANNAH BREEZE. In THE FIXER UPPER, which will be available on June 23rd, Andrews offers a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house...and her life.

We have 10 finished copies of THE FIXER UPPER 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, June 12th.

-Click here to read Mary Kay Andrews’s bio.
-Visit Mary Kay Andrews’s official website,
-Click here to watch a video in which Mary Kay Andrews discusses THE FIXER UPPER.

After her boss in a Washington PR firm is caught in a scandal, lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left broke, unemployed and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, a dilapidated, Pepto Bismol–pink Victorian house he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. The delightful New York Times bestselling author returns with a hilarious novel about one woman's quest to redo an old house...and her life.

Click here to read more about Mary Kay Andrews and THE FIXER UPPER.

New Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Henry Perez, Author of KILLING RED

Henry Perez has been a reporter for The Chicago Herald for the past eight years. In his debut thriller novel, KILLING RED, a reporter’s dream story --- an interview with a notorious serial killer --- leads to a frightening race again time. KILLING RED is now available in stores.

We have 10 copies of KILLING RED 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, June 12th.

-Click here to read Henry Perez’s bio.
-Visit Henry Perez's official website,

More about KILLING RED:
On death row, serial killer Kenneth Lee Grubb has six days to live, and his last request is an interview with reporter Alex Chapa. What begins as a dream story soon turns into a nightmare for Alex. For amidst Grubb’s taunts and boasts lies the horrific claim that someone is carefully repeating his past crimes. When nine people suddenly turn up dead, Alex realizes Grubb is telling the truth. Now the copycat killer is ready to pay his ultimate tribute to his idol. He’s set his sights on Annie “Red” Sykes, the only survivor of his bloodlust 15 years ago.


Click here to read more about Henry Perez and KILLING RED.

New Featured Mystery Mayhem Author: Dorothy Howell, Author of HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE

Now available in paperback, HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE is the first novel in Dorothy Howell’s Haley Randolph Mystery series. When a fashion-obsessed salesclerk finds her boss dead, she must team up with the store’s head of loss prevention to search for the killer. The second novel in the series, PURSES AND POISON, will be in stores on June 30th.

We have 10 copies of HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE 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, June 12th.

-Click here to read Dorothy Howell’s bio.
-Visit Dorothy Howell’s official website,

Witty, smart and always chic, Haley Randolph has it all: Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Coach, Burberry, and she’d kill for the newest Louis Vuitton handbag...but it seems she’s not the only one. When someone’s passion for designer purses leads to murder, Haley goes shopping for a killer and to clear her name.


Click here to read more about Dorothy Howell and HANDBAGS AND HOMICIDE.

Featured Literary Fiction Author: George Rabasa, Author of THE WONDER SINGER
Throughout his career, George Rabasa’s work has been met with critical acclaim and recognized by numerous awards, including The Writer’s Voice Capricorn Award for Excellence in Fiction, the Minnesota Book Award for Short Stories and Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. Now available in paperback, Rabasa’s novel THE WONDER SINGER is an operatic literary caper about one grandly beautiful life and one young writer’s manic attempt to expand his world by capturing it.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WONDER SINGER.
-Click here to read George Rabasa’s bio.
-Click here to see George Rabasa's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE WONDER SINGER.
-Visit George Rabasa’s official website,
-Click here to listen to George Rabasa’s radio interview with Minnesota Public radio, October 3, 2008.
-To pay your respects to Ms. Casals, we invite you to check out the Diva’s fan page on Facebook.
-To hear opera selections that inspired this story, please click here.
-More about Mark Lockwood, his series for teens and his work with the Diva can be found at Unbridled Books and Facebook.
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

George Rabasa’s novel, THE WONDER SINGER, is an entertaining literary caper, often funny, beautifully told and rich with history.

For freelance writer Mark Lockwood, landing the job as ghost writer for opera diva Mercè Casals is a dream. But when she dies in her bath and her agent wants to give the project to a renowned celebrity biographer, Lockwood makes off with the interview tapes to save his last best chance at writing success.

Click here to read more about George Rabasa and THE WONDER SINGER.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Heather Barbieri, Author of THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA
Heather Barbieri has won international prizes for her short fiction. Her previous book, SNOW IN JULY, was a Book Sense Pick, a Glamour Magazine Riveting Read and a Library Journal Notable First Novel. THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA, her new novel releasing on June 23rd, is an enchanting tale of love and friendship in which a young woman journeys to Ireland to mend her broken heart, and helps a group of local lace makers change their lives --- and ultimately her own.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA.
-Click here to read Heather Barbieri’s bio.

-Click here to see Heather Barbieri's backlist.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA.
-Visit Heather Barbieri’s official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling 26-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. An enchanting, romantic tale of friendship and love in which a young American woman helps a group of lace makers change their lives --- and, ultimately, her own.

Click here to read more about Heather Barbieri and THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA.

Now in Stores: EXPOSURE by Brandilyn Collins
EXPOSURE by Brandilyn Collins (Suspense)
Someone is watching Kaycee Raye. But who will believe her? In Kaycee’s newspaper column she’s known for writing of her paranoia and fears. Is the new danger real --- or is she going crazy? In this story of terror, twists and desperate faith, the startling questions pile high. But Kaycee’s descent to answers proves even more frightening.

Click here to read more about EXPOSURE.

What's New This Month on

With more than 2,600 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:

-Mahbod Seraji: Thank You, My Friend
-Julia Gregson: About EAST OF THE SUN
-David Ebershoff: Character Inspiration
-Marie Brenner: Sibling Relationships
-Dori Carter: Money, Satire and Edith Wharton's Mother

The following guides are now available on

THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE by Shannon Hale: A very different kind of fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale.
THE ANGEL'S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafón comes THE ANGEL'S GAME --- a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.
BEGINNER'S GREEK by James Collins: BEGINNER'S GREEK is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again.
CENSORING AN IRANIAN LOVE STORY written by Shahriar Mandanipour, translated by Sara Khalili: From one of Iran’s most acclaimed writers, a dazzlingly inventive novel about what it’s like to live, love and be an artist in today’s Iran.
THE COMPASS by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis: THE COMPASS is a life-transforming novel that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.
AN ELEGY FOR EASTERLY by Petina Gappah: Set in the chaos and confusion of everyday life in Zimbabwe, Petina Gappah’s debut collection, AN ELEGY FOR EASTERLY, is full of verve, wit and compassion.
THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING by Joshilyn Jackson: “A vivid, smartly calibrated achievement...a ghost story, family psychodrama, and murder mystery all in one.” -- Entertainment Weekly
THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX by Sally Koslow: Exploring the bonds of fidelity, family and friendship, THE LATE, LAMENTED MOLLY MARX is a hilarious, deeply moving and thought-provoking novel that is part mystery, part love story and all heart.
THE LIKENESS by Tana French: With her richly nuanced characters and deep psychological insight, Tana French explores themes of self-invention, deception and the ways truth can emerge from even the most convincing disguises.
MADE IN THE U.S.A. by Billie Letts: The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home.
THE NINE LESSONS: A Novel of Love, Fatherhood, and Second Chances by Kevin Alan Milne: August Witte is firmly against having children. But after seven years of marriage, his wife is delighted when she realizes she is unexpectedly pregnant.
OXYGEN by Carol Cassella: OXYGEN is a riveting new novel by a real-life anesthesiologist, an intimate story of relationships and family that collides with a high-stakes medical drama.
PERFECTION: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz: PERFECTION is the story of coming to terms with painful truths, of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood.
THE ROAD HOME by Rose Tremain: In the wake of factory closings and his beloved wife's death, Lev makes his way from Eastern Europe to London, seeking work to support his mother and his little daughter.
A THREAD OF TRUTH by Marie Bostwick: Marie Bostwick’s new novel A THREAD OF TRUTH weaves together new beginnings, old friends, and the rich, varied tapestry of lives fully lived. It’s the perfect pick for books clubs as diverse and yet connected as sewing circles.
THE UNIT written by Ninni Holmqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy: When Dorrit Weger turns 50, she is checked into the Unit. She is single, childless, and considered “dispensable” to society. But what happens when Dorrit falls in love inside the Unit? What will she do to get out?
WHAT WE REMEMBER by Michael Thomas Ford: Award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford's ambitious new novel will appeal to his core readership, but also fans of Julia Glass, Chris Bohjalian and Jodi Picoult.

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

APPLES AND ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found by Marie Brenner
COST by Roxana Robinson
FRIDAY NIGHTS by Joanna Trollope
ONE IN A MILLION by Kimberla Lawson Roby
THE OTHER by David Guterson
POPE JOAN by Donna Woolfolk Cross

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

COME SUNDAY by Isla Morley: COME SUNDAY, set in the hills of Hawaii and the veldt of South Africa, is that joyous, special thing: a saga that captivates from the very first page, breaking our hearts while making our spirits soar.
FORSAKEN by James David Jordan: What would it take for you to renounce your faith in Christ? Author James David Jordan confronts readers with this challenging question in his new book, FORSAKEN.
LOVE FINDS YOU IN TREASURE ISLAND, FLORIDA by Debby Mayne: Can Amanda, whose mother and sister refuse to grow up, and Jerry, primary caretaker of aging parents, find the treasure of unconditional love?
TALKING TO THE DEAD by Bonnie Grove: In this tender, quirky novel about embracing life, Grove patiently walks readers through the depths and mysteries of extreme sorrow after the death of a loved one.
THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN by Eva Marie Everson: Every family --- and every house --- has its secrets. Jo-Lynn Hunter isn't sure she wants to know the truth, but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.


Click here to visit

This Week's Reviews
THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Horror)
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE STORY SISTERS by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)
Alice Hoffman’s new novel charts the lives of three sisters. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE STORY SISTERS.

DIE FOR YOU by Lisa Unger (Thriller)
Bestselling author Lisa Unger takes us on a nightmarish journey from bustling, glamorous New York City to the murky, twisted streets of Prague, seeking the answer to one bone-chilling question: What if the man you love, the one sleeping beside you, is a stranger? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

MY FATHER’S TEARS: And Other Stories by John Updike (Fiction/Short Stories)
John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, MY FATHER’S TEARS finds the late author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign travel. American experience from the Depression to the aftermath of 9/11 finds reflection in these glittering pieces of observation, remembrance and imagination. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich (Fiction)
MERCURY IN RETROGRADE introduces three women whose lives intersect when they each decide to move into the same SoHo apartment building. As these disparate ladies become friends, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might have been the best thing that could have ever happened to them. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

It is the summer of 1950 --- and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that 11-year-old Flavia de Luce’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

STEP BY STEP: A Pedestrian Memoir by Lawrence Block (Memoir)
Bestselling mystery author Lawrence Block has written a memoir about walking --- or, more precisely, his participation in the sport of racewalking. In his late 60s, Block was traveling the country entering “ultra” marathons that challenged him to try to walk his age in miles within 24-hour periods. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters (Psychological Thriller)
This sophisticated ghost story from the award-winning author of THE NIGHT WATCH and FINGERSMITH does more than give you a fright. Psychologically acute and darkly alluring, it links the upheavals of post-World War II England to spiritual derangements in the life of one formerly glorious Warwickshire family. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

PERFORATED HEART by Eric Bogosian (Fiction)
In this diary novel, an aging novelist past his prime ruminates on life, death, fame and his lack of it while looking through journals of his life in the 1970s New York artistic underground. Guilt, regret and stymied desire frame this compelling portrait of a writer’s relationship with his work and considerable shortcomings. Reviewed by Max Falkowitz.

Read this week's reviews here.

Poll, Question and Word of Mouth


In the past six months, have you been browsing in bookstores as much as you had in the past?

Yes, I still am a big browser.
No, I have been browsing a lot less.
No, I never browsed, but rather just went to the store knowing what to buy.
I am not sure what I am doing.

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name a book (up to three) that you discovered just by browsing in a store.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth:

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 THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM by Wade Rouse and THE BOURNE DECEPTION by Eric Van Lustbader. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon on June 19th 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 June 30, 2009 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, THE BOURNE DECEPTION by Eric Van Lustbader, THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews, KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson and THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Dan from Andover, NJ was last month's newsletter winner. He won GONE TOMORROW: A Reacher Novel by Lee Child, ROAD DOGS by Elmore Leonard, THE SCARECROW by Michael Connelly, SHANGHAI GIRLS by Lisa See and THE SIGN by Raymond Khoury

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107