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March 26, 2010 Newsletter March 26, 2010

Report from the Northwest...and Headed to Carolina...

For years, I have heard that Seattle and Portland are wonderful book towns --- and the past 10 days have confirmed this for me. I spent last Friday touring downtown Seattle, where I was lucky enough to experience Elliott Bay Books in its location in the Pioneer Square neighborhood before they begin their move next week to Capitol Hill, where they will reopen by April 14th. I loved the atmosphere in the store, which really had a “if these walls could talk” kind of feel to it. The creaking steps, the bookshelves that held well-culled selections, and the board where author appearances were announced all told such a rich bookish story. The café there has a fabulous menu, and I learned that, although the store is moving, the café will remain there as well as in a new location at the new store.

For the record, I had no idea where either location was until last week, but thanks to my friend Lourdes’s tour, I now have a real perspective on Seattle. We walked downtown for about three hours (ah, the hills) where Lourdes pointed out many details that only a native would know, and then we drove all over the outer neighborhoods that I was reminded were STILL Seattle. At one point, at Pike Place Market, I looked up and saw someone coming towards me who I recognized. It was none other than Mimi Hynd from The Needle Lady yarn shop in Charlottesville; she had recognized me by my sweater! We joked that, though neither of us were attending the Virginia Festival of the Book that weekend in Charlottesville, we still were getting to catch up. Such is my world!

Saturday we took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island, where I got some terrific pictures of the skyline of Seattle and then got to grab a cup of tea with Kristin Hannah and talk with her about the recent success of WINTER GARDEN. Then I met up with Eileen Zimmerman Nicol, one of our reviewers, for lunch. It was wonderful to catch up with Kristin and finally get to meet Eileen, both giving me the kind of moments I wanted from this trip.

I also spent time in the bookstore there, Eagle Harbor Books, where again I got to talk about my favorite books and learn about some others that were seeing success there. I then walked across the street and bought some wonderful Japanese yarn called Puppy Love from a store called Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, as well as three huge "basketball size" balls of yarn. There was more than one yarn shop where yarn and tea were paired this trip, making me wonder why I do not see that in more places. We headed up the coast to Port Townsend, where there were a number of bookstores that included used bookstores and those for collector editions. While we were short on time to shop them, I was impressed to see the number of bookstores per square mile in every place we visited. I did find some wonderful Indian sari yarn that I had to have. Books and yarn are my souvenirs from these trips. I will look up at my shelves and remember what I bought where, and when I look in my closet, the sweaters, tank tops and scarves always tell a story of my travels.

All too soon I left Seattle and flew down to Portland. There as planned, I got down to see my old friend Elinor, and we had a memorable visit. She walked me through her apartment where I saw photos of her and her children through the years, as well as her many awards for volunteer service. There is no one I know who is more giving like this than Elinor! Through the years she has touched so many people, including me. She shared the books she has been reviewing and so many other mementoes. We then went to dinner with her daughter Bev and went out to her son Merritt’s house; I had never met Bev or Merritt before, though I had heard about them through the years. As I was leaving, she joked that I should not take 39 years to see her again as she is now 89. Though she IS planning to hang around that long. Very funny moment that put some real levity on my leaving. I got notes from so many readers who loved hearing the story of how we had been friends all these years; it really is a special friendship.

I had time to tour Portland and do some meetings before the library conference started on Wednesday. I got out to Milwaukee to see the folks at Dark Horse Comics, who have wonderful streetfront offices. Mike Richardson, who owns the company, used to shop in a comic store on the corner where their offices now sit. Loved that story. I spent that afternoon touring yarn shops and made a few treks to FedEx to ship out “my finds.”

I spent Tuesday at a conference day about graphic novels where I was thrilled that three librarians referenced as a great resource. Considering that site has been around for just about 15 months now, that made my day. That evening I made a pilgrimage over to Powell’s, where the shopping experience is even more special than I would have thought. I love a bookstore that has a printed directory lest you get lost shopping. For those of you who may never get to Portland to experience Powell’s, this virtual tour may give you an idea of the experience. I got back there Thursday afternoon to explore it further (yes, I needed the extra time), and in getting the lay of the land I saw that each format of a book is shelved together --- new, paperback and used --- so the customer can decide which to buy. I like this model.

Wednesday started with Nancy Pearl moderating a series of booktalks from four publishers where titles for summer and fall were discussed. I was scribbling notes making lists of what I want us to cover. From there I met up with Kate Ayers, another of our reviewers. We zipped off to lunch at the Cadillac Café in her bright yellow Smart Car, which was a blast to ride in. We picked up in what felt like midsentence, and though we had never met before, we talked books and authors for hours. I yarn shopped some more with Amy Alessio, who, besides being a knitter and a terrific YA librarian, also has an amazing collection of vintage cookbooks and has created a series of Vintage Cookbook programs that you can read more about here. While we were shopping, she was ordering a caramel cake for her book talk about foods to pair with THE HELP book discussions, which sounds like it will be a great event. After spending time on the exhibit floor, I raced to dinner with a group of librarians and their author guests organized by the fabulous Robin Beerbower.

Thursday was more events at the convention center, including a breakfast with speakers who included Lisa Grunwald (THE IRRESISTIBLE HENRY HOUSE), Leila Meacham (ROSES), Mary Roach (PACKING FOR MARS: The Curious Science of Life in the Void), Mahbod Seraji (ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN), Phillip Margolin (SUPREME JUSTICE), Kristin Hannah (WINTER GARDEN) and Mary Alice Monroe (LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA). Lots more meetings and panels, and then there was the audiobooks dinner with Chelsea Cain, Marcia Muller, Judy Kaye (who reads Sue Grafton's books) and Sue Grafton. Each speaker was terrific, but Sue was really over-the-top funny.

Friday morning is a mystery author panel that I reorganized my schedule to catch, and then I am running for the plane, so there will be a report on that next week.

One thing that has been suffering this trip has been my reading time. While there was time in Seattle to finish Anna Quindlen’s EVERY LAST ONE, which was hauntingly wonderful, coming out April 13th, and THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt, which is a brilliant YA novel coming in September, work/touring/meetings and an annoying but necessary thing called sleep got in the way. I am completely frustrated that I have now read page three of Scott Turow’s upcoming book, INNOCENT (out May 4th), 10 times without having time to get to page four.

That WILL be remedied next week at the beach as I head to the Outer Banks. That said, the past 10 days flew by way too quickly, and I already am plotting a return trip to the Northwest; there still is so much that I want to see here! For almost the entire time the weather was spectacular, and the cities both shone even on rainy days. I have a number of pictures to be downloaded and will have a photo gallery up with some highlights from the trip next week. As always, you can keep up with our daily Facebook postings in this weekly roundup, and become a fan here.

Here's wishing our Jewish friends Happy Passover...and to all of you who, like me, are indulging in Spring Break, enjoy this time kicking back. Thanks, as always, to our amazing staff who kept the train on schedule as I spent time a few times zones away. I tip my hat to them. Have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Max Allan Collins, Co-Author (with Matthew Clemens) of YOU CAN'T STOP ME

YOU CAN’T STOP ME, the latest thriller from Max Allan Collins, follows a small-town sheriff turned private eye/reality show host in search of a serial killer who wants to be caught on national television. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, Collins explains which real-life figure his protagonist, J.C. Harrow, is partly modeled after, and names some of the famous criminals of the past century who have sparked his interest while researching this novel. He also discusses his collaborative work with co-writer Matthew Clemens, as well as his wife, Barbara Collins, and mentions a few of his favorite projects from his prolific writing career.

YOU CAN’T STOP ME by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens (Thriller)
Small-town sheriff J.C. Harrow made headlines when he apprehended a would-be presidential assassin --- only to come home that night and find his wife and son brutally murdered. This tragic twist of fate launched his career as the host of reality TV’s smash-hit, "Crime Seen!" But while media star Harrow tracks down dangerous criminals coast to coast, a killer with a twisted agenda is making his own bloody path to fame. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
-Click here to read an excerpt from YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
-Click here to read Max Allan Collins's bio.
-Click here to read Matthew Clemens's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
-Visit Max Allan Collins's official website,
-Click here to see our finished copy winners.


Click here to read our interview with Max Allan Collins.

Featured Women's Fiction Author: Sandra Dallas, Author of WHITER THAN SNOW
Bestselling author Sandra Dallas follows the success of PRAYERS FOR SALE with her latest novel, WHITER THAN SNOW, which releases on March 30th. This time, Dallas chronicles the lives of residents in a small Colorado town following a devastating avalanche that forever affects the town and its people.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from WHITER THAN SNOW.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for WHITER THAN SNOW.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for Sandra Dallas's books.

-Visit Sandra Dallas's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

WHITER THAN SNOW opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four children survive.
Click here to read more about Sandra Dallas and WHITER THAN SNOW.


Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Gayle Lynds, Author of THE BOOK OF SPIES

An intelligence officer teams up with a rare books curator in THE BOOK OF SPIES, the latest globetrotting thriller from Gayle Lynds, which releases on March 30th. This unlikely duo finds itself in a race against time to recover the mythic Book of Spies before it falls into the wrong hands.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE BOOK OF SPIES.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE BOOK OF SPIES.
-Click here to read Gayle Lynds's bio.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE BOOK OF SPIES
-Visit Gayle Lynds's official website,
-Click here to see our advance copy winners.

For centuries, emperors, historians and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible's magnificent Library of Gold. Now one of its volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the secret book club that owns the fabled library. They form a cabal of the globe's most powerful men --- men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. An intelligence officer and a rare books curator now must do what other global agencies can't --- find the library and stop them.
Click here to read more about Gayle Lynds and THE BOOK OF SPIES.

Now in Stores: CAUGHT by Harlan Coben

CAUGHT by Harlan Coben (Thriller)
Harlan Coben’s latest novel tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this story --- or the motives of the people around her.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from CAUGHT.

Click here to read a review of CAUGHT.


Now in Stores: SHATTERED by Karen Robards

SHATTERED by Karen Robards (Romantic Suspense)
When Lisa Grant comes across the cold case file of a missing family while working at the County DA's office, she never dreams that a long-lost connection to them will threaten her life and bring her the greatest love she's ever known, all at the same time. Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SHATTERED.
-Visit Karen Robards’s official website,


Click here to read a review of SHATTERED.


Now in Stores: MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes

MATTERHORN: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes (Historical Fiction)
Written over the course of 30 years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, MATTERHORN is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from MATTERHORN.
-Click here to watch an interview with Karl Marlantes.


Click here to read more about MATTERHORN.

Now in Stores: THE THINGS THEY CARRIED: Twentieth Anniversary Edition, by Tim O'Brien

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED: Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Tim O'Brien (Historical Fiction)
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, which burst onto the literary scene 20 years ago, is a groundbreaking meditation on war, memory, imagination and the redemptive power of storytelling. The novel depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O'Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of 43.

-Click here to read a review of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.


Click here to read more about THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.


Now in Stores: THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH by Jacqueline Winspear

THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Historical Mystery)

In the latest installment of Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Maisie Dobbs must unravel a case of wartime love and death --- an investigation that leads her to a long-hidden affair between a young cartographer and a mysterious nurse. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

Click here to read a review of THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH.

Now in Stores: KNOWN TO EVIL by Walter Mosley

KNOWN TO EVIL: A Leonid McGill Mystery by Walter Mosley (Mystery)
Walter Mosley brings back Leonid McGill in this second novel about the crooked New York private eye struggling to go straight. McGill is hired by a powerful, shadowy political fixer to check up on a mysterious young woman and walks in on a double murder for which he just might end up taking the fall. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

-Click here to read an excerpt from KNOWN TO EVIL.

Click here to read a review of KNOWN TO EVIL.

Now in Stores: SO MUCH FOR THAT by Lionel Shriver
SO MUCH FOR THAT by Lionel Shriver (Fiction)
The subject is death, health-care costs, and entrapments and escapes of all kinds. What a fun read! Well, actually, it is, in the hands of this clever, edgy, ever-surprising novelist, best known for THE POST-BIRTHDAY WORLD and Orange Prize winner WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.
Click here to read a review of SO MUCH FOR THAT.


Calling All Middle Graders and Teens! Answer Our 5-Minute Survey --- and You Can Win a Prize!

Our websites are continually committed to bridging the gap between our readers and the publishers and authors behind the books we love.

In this spirit, we are looking for a group of middle graders and teens aged 8-18 to answer some quick and easy questions about what they read, their perceptions of different genres, and their thoughts on publishers and imprints. This is an exciting opportunity for them to share their opinion and influence.

They can take the survey here.

Those participants who are within our age criteria will be able to complete this online survey, which is expected to take no more than 5 minutes. The survey will be open through Thursday, April 1st at 11:59PM ET. Participants who complete the survey will have the opportunity to enter a random drawing to be eligible for a prize.


Click here to answer our 5-Minute Survey.

This Week's Reviews
THE SHEEN ON THE SILK by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Bestselling author Anne Perry, made famous for her terrific Victorian mysteries, takes a bold departure into the realm of historical fiction with this stand-alone novel of murder amidst the backdrop of 13th-century Constantinople, where a woman must live a lie in her quest to uncover the truth. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

212 by Alafair Burke (Thriller)
A college girl fears for her life, but the NYPD says they can do nothing about it. When she’s found murdered, detectives discover a link to a months-old homicide and a missing roommate. Now it’s a race against time to find the killer before they have another body on their consciences. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson (Social Science)
Marilyn Johnson celebrates libraries and librarians, arguing that the work they do is more important than ever. She follows a new breed of visionary professionals --- cybrarians --- who use the web to link people and information, and bridge the gulf between those who have the tools and resources they need and those left behind by economics, education, or the latest computer upgrade. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

APPETITE FOR AMERICA: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West by Stephen Fried (History)
The legendary life and entrepreneurial vision of Fred Harvey helped shape American culture and history for three generations and still influence our lives today in surprising and fascinating ways. Now award-winning journalist Stephen Fried recreates the life of this unlikely American hero, the founding father of the nation’s service industry, whose remarkable family business civilized the West and introduced America to Americans. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

DOWN TO THE WIRE by David Rosenfelt (Thriller)
Mystery fans may be familiar with David Rosenfelt and his series of novels featuring attorney Andy Carpenter, which is a light-hearted journey through courtrooms and police stations across the land. Rosenfelt’s new book represents a far different atmosphere, where tension is the main ingredient and is present in large quantities. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

THE CREATION OF EVE by Lynn Cullen (Historical Fiction)
Sofonisba Anguissola is a female Renaissance painter, a rare feat for a woman of the 16th century. While studying in Rome, she finds not only her talent for painting but also a love she cannot have. In the following years, she sees just how devastating love --- and her art --- can be. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE CREATION OF EVE.

STILL MIDNIGHT by Denise Mina (Thriller)
On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected? Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE JOURNAL KEEPER: A Memoir by Phyllis Theroux (Memoir)
THE JOURNAL KEEPER is a memoir of six years in writer Phyllis Theroux’s life. A natural storyteller, she swings easily between subjects that occupy us all: love, loneliness, growing old, financial worries, spiritual growth, and watching her remarkable mother prepare for death. As Theroux invites us to walk along with her, the path brings new friends, worries and revelations. Reviewed by Marge Fletcher.

LIGHTING OUT FOR THE TERRITORY: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain by Roy Morris, Jr. (History)
Historian Roy Morris, Jr. has taken a gently humorous look at Mississippi riverboat pilot Sam Clemens’s five-plus years out west during the Civil War and shows in sprightly prose how Clemens reinvented himself as Mark Twain, perhaps the greatest and folksiest humorist America has ever produced. Reviewed by Robert Finn.
Click here to read this week's reviews.

Poll and Question of the Week: "TBR" Lists

Do you keep lists of the books you want to read?

Yes, all the time
Yes, sometimes
No, but this is a good idea
Not sure

-Click here to answer our poll.


Name the top three books on your “to be read” list.

-Click here to answer our question.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
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 CAUGHT by Harlan Coben, THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear and SHATTERED by Karen Robards. Tell us what you are reading and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, April 2nd 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, 2010 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: CAUGHT by Harlan Coben, HELL GATE by Linda Fairstein, HUSH by Kate White, SHATTERED by Karen Robards and THINK TWICE by Lisa Scottoline. Susan from Westmont, IL was last month's winner. She won font>BRAVA, VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani, FANTASY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb, LAST SNOW by Eric Van Lustbader, SPLIT IMAGE: A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker and WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah.

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

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