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February 18, 2011 Newsletter February 18, 2011

The Future of Bookshelves

In our ever-so-wired world, there has been a great hue and cry about the death of print books. I am now thinking about the future of bookshelves. Why is no one rallying on their behalf? What will become of bookshelves if eReaders conquer the world? Will they become just shelves? The futures market for decorative pieces might become one to keep an eye on!

As eReader devices become more prevalent, I got to thinking about what will happen to all the great covers. Those are the face of the book and are usually what makes the first impression. I know we’re all guilty of peeking to see what people are reading on planes and trains, in cafès or by the pool by looking at the covers, so what are we to do when more people are holding onto plastic tablets? How important is a cover when it’s a digital thumbnail in an online bookstore that is about one-inch square?

And how are we to display our prized books? Maybe in the future there will be high-resolution covers that can be an option when you buy a digital book. You can print the cover and hang it on a wall. You know the walls where the bookshelves used to be? Our walls in our New York office are bare mostly because I like to have some “quiet spaces” to look at that are not distracting. But I was thinking it might be really nice to do a wall of framed covers, all the same size, right next to each other. It could look pretty cool with all the covers next to each other.

All these thoughts started percolating this week when I opened two CDs I recently bought. Both of them had the most minimalist packaging. Remember how CDs use to have those security tabs that you would rip your nails opening? Well, since these were bought online, they quickly opened, and there was some cheap cardboard surrounding the disc. When you think about it, if people are buying everything as downloads, does packaging really matter? What’s the future of covers for books and music?

Those are my deep thoughts for the future on this sunny Friday afternoon. And yes, I said the word sunny. As I write this note, my office window is wide open, and I am loving the fresh air coming in. Looking at my handy dandy forecaster on my desk, I see this is not going to be a long-term weather pattern, so I am into soaking up today. And planning to remember to close the window when I leave my office.

I have been enjoying reading manuscripts on my eReader, which also means there is a lot less paper stacked around the house. I do miss the satisfaction that comes with finishing a stack of pages and piling them up. Just closing the screen out does not have quite the same effect, but I think I have saved a few trees or so, I keep telling myself. Wonder exactly how books get made from one tree.

This week we’re launching a One to Watch Author Spotlight for TIGER HILLS by Sarita Mandanna. I started reading this book last weekend, and just a few pages in knew I was going to love sharing it with all of you. It’s a love story set in India, and its protagonist is Devi, who is the first girl born into the Nachimada family in over 35 years. One night at a “tiger wedding,” she falls for a famous hunter and sets her sights on him. Her affections cause a rift in her friendship with Devanna, a boy who has been her childhood friend, and from there the seeds are sown for some future and devastating sadness.

There are some strong echoes of GONE WITH THE WIND here with Devi reminding me of Scarlett. The writing is rich and really lifts you up and over to the coffee plantation where the story is set; I can’t wait to finish it. I found myself reaching for it every free moments that I had this past week. In the coming weeks there will be lots of buzz about this one, and I’m glad we can be among the first to share it. We have 20 copies of TIGER HILLS, which will be in stores March 9th, to give away to readers who enter here by Friday, February 25th at noon ET.

Our One to Watch selection, THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain, is releasing on Tuesday! I have been waiting to share this book with you since I read it last summer. I cannot wait to hear what you think about it. And next week it will be my next Bets On pick!

We are running an ad on for MAKING TOAST by Roger Rosenblatt. Click the ad to watch a video that is so smartly done with Rosenblatt talking about the story behind it that you will find yourself wanting to get a copy of this very special memoir. And I am betting you will think of this book the next time you are doing something as simple as buttering toast.

Among our reviews this week is A WIDOW'S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates, which is about her husband’s sudden death in 2008. This is truly an emotional story about Oates coping in the aftermath of such an unimagined, unexpected tragedy. While reading about this, I immediately thought of THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion, but I have heard this is a very different book. Reviewer Jana Siciliano says, “A WIDOW’S STORY feels so immediate and yet so sure of its sadness and confusion that it literally will take your breath away as you read it.

Lovers of Alan Bradley’s THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE will want to turn their attention to A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD, his latest featuring the plucky amateur sleuth. Reviewer Roz Shea says, "
Spunk doesn’t begin to describe the indomitable Flavia de Luce."

We also have a review of Deborah Harkness’s A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, a supernatural tale that includes elements of the Salem Witch Trials, a 1,500-year-old vampire, a reluctant witch and the long-lost tome that binds them all. Reviewer Amy Gwiazdowski says, “Deborah Harkness throws a lot into her novel --- witchcraft, love, vampires, daemons, secret covens, lost spell-bound books --- but she makes it all work, and very smoothly at that.” We also have an interview with the author here.

couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Karin Slaughter about an event she’s co-hosting with Kathryn Stockett and Mary Kay Andrews to benefit the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur, Georgia. You can visit the site for this event here. I’m happy to share this with all of you and hope our readers in that area will participate. Karin has been at the forefront of the movement and has been outspoken about the importance libraries play in communities, especially for young people. In September, Karin wrote a great op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal Constitution about this issue, which you can read here. I salute her for all her efforts and would love to hear of any similar events or initiatives happening in your area.

Also this week I received one of the daily emails from Unshelved, and after seeing some of their stylish new bookish-themed threads, I couldn’t help but share them with you. I love their new “onesie” with their now-famous “Read to Me” tagline on it. So cute! They’ll be available here starting March 1st. Also, as a music lover, I couldn’t help but admire their Beatles-inspired “All You Need is Books” shirt, which will be available here as well on March 1st. Very clever! You can check out more merchandise from Unshelved here.

Please consider this “last call” for our’s “Share Your 2010 Picks” contest, which ends Monday at 11:59PM ET. If you’re in a book group, just let us know what your selections were for 2010 and you’re automatically entered in a random drawing to win a set of one of our prize titles. You can check out the list of books up for grabs here and share your selections here.

To get you in an Oscar frame of mind (they are going to be held on Sunday night, February 27th), our poll and question this week are about movies. I love to see what you do when you are not reading!

I am more than ready for a three-day weekend. Maybe I’ll whip up a cherry pie to honor good old George Washington, or chop some firewood since my leveling a tree would just be too dangerous. As for honoring Lincoln…will spend some money with his face on it! Here’s wishing you all a great long weekend with an extra day for curling up with a book for some reading and relaxing. Enjoy!

Carol Fitzgerald (

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Now in Stores: A WIDOW’S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates

A WIDOW’S STORY: A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates (Memoir)
When acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates’s husband was diagnosed with pneumonia, they thought he would be released from Princeton Medical Center in a day or two. Instead, he died of a hospital-acquired infection, leaving Joyce with the stunning reality of widowhood. Here is her frank acknowledgement of a widow’s desperation --- and an unprecedented view of a fiercely private woman. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


Click here to read a review of A WIDOW’S STORY.

An Interview with Deborah Harkness, Author of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

A nationally known historian and a first-time novelist, Deborah Harkness is the author of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, the captivating tale of a reluctant witch who inadvertently unlocks a magical underworld of terrifying creatures when she stumbles across an alchemical manuscript in an Oxford library --- and finds herself unwittingly drawn towards a vampire geneticist. In this interview, Harkness addresses the similarities between herself and her spell-casting scholar, elaborating on her own interest in the study of magic and what led her to turn from writing serious nonfiction to fantastical narratives. She also gives the scoop on the real-life manuscript that inspired the one Diana Bishop discovers in her novel, speculates on the appeal of the paranormal, and hints at what’s in store for her star-crossed main characters.

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness (Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance)
Diana Bishop, a scholar known for her work in the history and science fields, is about to become famous for a discovery at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University --- a manuscript considered lost for 150 years that just happens to be under a powerful spell. What she doesn’t anticipate is the added interest from witches, vampires and daemons that are also searching for the book. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read a review of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Click here to read an interview with Deborah Harkness.

New Featured One to Watch Author: Sarita Mandanna, Author of TIGER HILLS

Sarita Mandanna's ambitious debut novel, TIGER HILLS, traces a love triangle over three decades on the sprawling plantations of southern India, underscored by beautiful prose, a rich setting and delicate pacing.

We have 20 copies of TIGER HILLS, which will be in stores March 9th, 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, February 25th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TIGER HILLS.
-Click here to read critical praise for TIGER HILLS.
-Click here to read Sarita Mandanna’s bio.

More about TIGER HILLS:
As the first girl born to the Nachimada family in over 60 years, the beautiful Devi is the object of adoration of her entire family. Strong-willed and confident, she befriends the shy Devanna, a young boy whose mother has died under tragic circumstances. The two quickly become inseparable, until Devi meets Machu the tiger killer, a hunter of great repute, and a man of much honor and pride. Soon, they fall deeply in love, an attraction that drives a wedge between Devi and Devanna. It is this tangled relationship between the three that leads to a devastating tragedy --- an event that changes their fates forever and has unforeseen and far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

Click here to read more about Sarita Mandanna and TIGER HILLS.

Now in Stores: A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD by Alan Bradley

A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Mystery)
When Flavia de Luce had her fortune told, she didn’t think she’d find the poor soul bludgeoned in her own caravan. Was this an act of revenge by those convinced that the soothsayer abducted a local child? Flavia understands revenge, but not the connection to the missing baby. And as the red herrings pile up, she untangles dark deeds and dangerous secrets. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

Click here to read a review of A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD.

Now in Stores: THE TERROR OF LIVING by Urban Waite

THE TERROR OF LIVING by Urban Waite (Thriller)
Phil Hunt has lived in Washington State for 20 years, wanting only to make a living and taking the occasional illicit job to do so. But his last delivery goes horribly wrong. Now Hunt is on the run from two men: Drake, the deputy sheriff who intends to catch him, and Grady, the vicious hitman who means to kill him. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read a review of THE TERROR OF LIVING.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens, Authors of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU

After scoring a hit with 2010's YOU CAN'T STOP ME, Max Allan Collins and collaborator Matthew Clemens take the tension up a notch with NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU (in stores March 1st), which has the cast and crew of "Crime Seen!" racing to stop a killer before he strikes again.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.
-Click here to read critical praise for NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.
-Click here to read Max Allan Collins’s bio.
-Click here to read Matthew Clemens’s bio.
-Visit Max Allan Collins's official website,
-Click here to see the winners of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

The first video arrives by email. An unidentifed man. A naked woman. Her scream caught in a freeze-frame. The producers of TV’s “Crime Seen!” can’t believe what they’re witnessing --- an all-out sadist “auditioning” for a starring role in reality television. And if he doesn’t get it, he’ll kill again. To meet the demented demands of the self-proclaimed “Don Juan,” former sheriff and TV host J.C. Harrow has no choice but to spotlight him along with another ruthless maniac who has captivated millions of viewers. Now two killers are locked in a bloodthirsty competition. For fame. For notoriety. For victims.

Click here to read more about Max Allan Collins, Matthew Clemens and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Featured One to Watch Author: Paula McLain, Author of THE PARIS WIFE

Paula McLain revisits the Jazz Age in her beautifully written novel, THE PARIS WIFE, an account of the troubled relationship between legendary author Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. THE PARIS WIFE will be in stores on February 22nd.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read Paula McLain’s bio.
-Click here to see Paula McLain’s backlist.
-Visit Paula McLain’s official website,

-Click here to see the winners of THE PARIS WIFE.

More about THE PARIS WIFE:
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, THE PARIS WIFE captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness --- until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group --- the fabled “Lost Generation”--- that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, THE PARIS WIFE is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Click here to read more about Paula McLain and THE PARIS WIFE.

Share the List of What Your Book Group Read in 2010 --- And You Could Win Books for Your Group! Contest Ends Monday! is interested in gathering a collective list of what groups read in 2010, so we want to know what books your book group discussed in 2010. Click here and give us a list of what your group read month by month. If you did not meet in a particular month, just write “Did Not Meet” in that slot. Also, you do not need to have attended the group discussion --- or read the book --- to add it. After all, we know many people’s schedules are hectic, and they may miss a month or two. Just include on the list what your group read each month.

Besides getting an opportunity to see the Most Discussed Titles in 2010, which we will release in late February or early March, we will be awarding prizes. Thirty-three participating groups will be eligible to win 12 copies of a recently published or soon-to-be published book that is “book group perfect.” You can see the entire list of books here. Note that prizes will be selected at random. This opportunity will be available until Monday, February 21st at 11:59PM ET, but may we suggest you click here now to list your titles? Please note that only U.S. and Canada residents are eligible to enter.


Click here to share your book group's 2010 year-end selections.’s Ultimate Reading List Has Been Updated!

One of our goals each month on is to inspire teens to read --- and to keep reading. We have found that required reading lists for school --- especially summer reading lists --- are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List --- close to 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list.

How did we create our list? We compiled entries from readers who weighed in with their selections, and we also asked our staffers for suggestions. Titles range from young adult books to adult books that we think would be enjoyed by teens. As part of our commitment to staying current and keeping on top of the latest trends, we’ve recently overhauled the entire list. Books that we’ve added since our last update include a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, plus graphic novels and manga titles, and a few never-before-featured classics.


Click here to see's updated Ultimate Reading List for teens.

What’s New on

Featuring top reviews of new and classic graphic novels, covers the world of comics and manga like no one else. Our expert reviews help parents, teachers, librarians, and all readers find the best books with appropriate content. Plus, interviews with comics pros and leading insiders give you rare insights into both the creative and business sides of the industry. If you love graphic novels or are just interested in learning more about this fast-growing segment of publishing, has all the information you need. Check out our reviews, news and opinion pieces today!

Our latest update includes interviews with creators Joe Staton and Charles Santino, details on the upcoming New England Comic Arts in the Classroom conference, and reviews of the best new fiction for adults, teens and kids.


Click here to visit

This Week’s Reviews

THE MATCHMAKER OF KENMARE: A Novel of Ireland by Frank Delaney (Historical Fiction)
Heartsick Ben MacCarthy is still searching for his lost wife years after she went missing, when he meets Kate Begley, known as the Matchmaker of Kenmare. Together, they endure the perils of World War II in order to find Kate’s husband, while Ben holds out hope of finding his wife. The bond they form will transcend even the best of friendships. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

POSER: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer (Memoir)
Ten years ago, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding her baby daughter. Told to try yoga by everyone from the woman behind the counter at the co-op to the homeless guy on the corner, she signed up for her first class. She fell madly in love. But to her surprise, Dederer found that the deeper she went into her poses, the more they tested her most basic ideas of what makes a good mother, daughter, friend and wife. Reviewed by Joy Held.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for POSER.

A HEARTBEAT AWAY by Michael Palmer (Medical Thriller)
A biological terrorist attack occurs during the State of the Union address, and President James Allaire is forced to quarantine the entire Capitol building. The only hope for the future of the U.S. government and the hundreds who are trapped is a virologist who is currently in solitary confinement, having been accused of terrorist attacks himself. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THOUGH NOT DEAD: A Kate Shugak Novel by Dana Stabenow (Thriller)
When Old Sam Dementieff dies, the residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned. He and his niece, private investigator Kate Shugak, were especially close, but Kate is surprised when he leaves everything to her --- including a letter instructing her to “find my father,” who’s a bit of a mystery. Three days into her search, Kate gets threatened --- and worse. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

GONE by Mo Hayder (Thriller)
When murder detective Jack Caffrey interviews the victim of a carjacking, he is horrified by what he hears. In the back seat was an 11-year-old girl who is still missing. Before long, the carjacker starts communicating with the police, convincing Caffrey that he will take another car. And another child. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL by Michael David Lukas (Fiction)
THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL is an impressive debut that is both versatile and interesting. Any and all readers out there who typically enjoy history, fiction or fantasy should take a good look at this charming and distinctive story about a Jewish child from the 1800s who possesses unusual abilities. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL.

DAY OF HONEY: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo (Memoir)
When Annia Ciezadlo traveled to Beirut to meet her boyfriend's family, little did she know that she would spend six years in Baghdad and Beirut --- or that her experiences there would change her forever, eventually providing a rich feast of an enlightening and absorbing tale for readers. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

INHERENTLY UNEQUAL: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903 by Lawrence Goldstone (History)
In 1875, the most comprehensive civil rights legislation in the nation’s history granted all Americans "the full and equal enjoyment" of public accommodations. Eight years later, the Supreme Court overturned the Civil Rights Act. Examining celebrated decisions and those often overlooked, Lawrence Goldstone shows how the Court turned a blind eye towards racism and legalized the brutal prejudice of the Jim Crow era. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

TOURQUAI by Tim Davys (Mystery)
In the Tourquai neighborhood of Mollisan Town, Superintendent Larry Bloodhound rules the streets. However, there’s a cadre of wealthy elite who live above the law. So when Oswald Vulture is found headless in his ornate office, Bloodhound knows he must take special care. But this may be the perfect crime…and finding the truth means facing his own weaknesses. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read this week's reviews.

Young Adult Books You Won’t Want to Miss

As you may or may not know, our company, The Book Report Network, has a number of websites about books and authors in addition to Throughout the year, features adult books on, our site for young adult readers, that we think will have definite appeal to a teen audience. In the spirit of sharing, we are now spotlighting a selection of titles each month from that we believe are great reads that you might enjoy.

Here are our latest featured titles:

BLOODY TIMES: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis by James L. Swanson (History)
In this special adaptation for young people, James L. Swanson tells the intertwining stories of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession and Jefferson Davis’s manhunt during one of the bloodiest times in U.S. history. Complete with rare photos, newspaper clippings and eyewitness accounts, BLOODY TIMES is not to be missed. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

CRYER'S CROSS by Lisa McMann (Paranormal Thriller)
Kendall Fletcher’s world consists of her family farm; her best friend and sort-of boyfriend, Nico; soccer; dance; and her obsessive-compulsive disorder. When two classmates disappear, her rigid routine is disrupted by search parties, worry and grief. When she starts hearing voices, Kendall wonders if she’s completely losing her grip on reality, or if the missing students are reaching out to her for help. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

DEATH CLOUD: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins by Andrew Lane (Mystery)
In 1868, 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes prepares to head home from boarding school for summer break. Instead, his brother Mycroft ships him off to live with their uncle and aunt. Sherlock’s summer vacation is shaping up to be lackluster --- until he discovers a body on his uncle’s grounds. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver (Dystopian Fiction)
DELIRIUM begins Lauren Oliver's worthy dystopian trilogy about a much-changed world where personal choice is forbidden and love is a crime. Everyone in this civilization will eventually receive the cure for the disease "amor deliria nervosa," and suspects displaying early symptoms will be arrested and face immediate surgery. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.


Click here to see all the young adult books you won't want to miss.


Poll and Question of the Week: Let’s Head to the Movies!


Which of the following movies have you seen or do you plan to see? Please check as many as apply.

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Fighter
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
The Green Hornet
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

None of the above.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What was your favorite movie that was based on a book, and what was your biggest disappointment?

-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 EMILY AND EINSTEIN by Linda Francis Lee, LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner and SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, March 4th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.


Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: FADEAWAY GIRL by Martha Grimes, HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain, IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine: A Memoir by Wade Rouse, THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain, and TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb. Rosalie from Sarasota, FL was last month's winner. She won DAMAGE by John Lescroart, FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber, THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer, THE RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman, and SEPARATE BEDS by Elizabeth Buchan.

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

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