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October 10, 2014 Newsletter October 10, 2014
Three-Day Weekend!
I, like many of you, love three-day weekends. There is something marvelous about the prospect of an extra day to just enjoy, especially when there is no special meal or entertaining to be done. We always close the office for Columbus Day since I think there is a huge gap of time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and the staff can use an extra day to themselves!

My days are busy and often start out with an ordered plan that unravels as serendipitous moments come along. Yesterday was one of those days. I headed over to New York Comic Con in mid-afternoon planning to spend a few hours there. My friend, David Nudo, notes that with NYCC it’s “like Halloween arrives in New York early.” The costumes always stun me. When my sons were young, I got creative for Halloween, but those efforts are dwarfed by some of the ingenuity that I see at comic conventions.

After a few hours of enjoying the conference, seeing new work and catching up with old friends --- and no, I did NOT see George Clooney as he crashed the Tomorrowland movie panel (ah, the way stars spend their honeymoons) --- I met up with my literary agent friend, Judy Hansen, with a plan to just check in and say hi. She mentioned she was off to an event at the McNally Jackson bookstore in Soho and invited me to come along. I'm so glad I did. It was a fabulous program where children’s graphic novel creators drew for the audience based upon clues that they were given --- and lucky attendees won the art signed by the illustrators. I loved watching the faces on the children in the audience who had books in hand to be signed and watched with rapt attention.

The night did not end there. Judy proposed dinner, and six of us headed off for margaritas and Mexican food, and lively conversation. Kazu Kibuishi shared some great stories about illustrating the special edition cover art for the 15th anniversary of the Harry Potter series. Frank Cammuso talked about how he listens to audiobooks as he draws and colors his work. I hope to interview him about that in the week ahead. Suddenly it was after 11, and I was smiling at the twists and turns my day had taken, all of which were rolling into another memorable day.

Staying on the subject of pop culture for a moment, here’s something I have been giving thought to as the television season has kicked in and some have rebooted their storylines, often too much, and spoiling the viewer’s comfort level with stories running off the rails. Thus far, while I loved the season opener of "Homeland" (and I have previewed this week’s episode, and it is strong as well), to me both "Scandal" and "The Good Wife" are not off to stellar starts, especially "Scandal." I am trying to think of a book series that had characters veering off course with the next book in a series. I welcome hearing from you about book series that you think went off the rails like this. I keep thinking that some characters are so different that it would be like Jack Reacher renting an apartment and finding himself with a closet full of clothes….and how that would never work! Your comments are welcome.

And now on to our robust lineup for this week….

Acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson returns with THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. This revealing history tells the story of the men who created the computer and the Internet. Beginning with Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s (a surprise to me, too), Isaacson examines the talents that allowed certain inventors to turn their ideas into realities, their creative leaps, and their successes and failures. Turning to our current digital state, Isaacson profiles Alan Turing, Doug Engelbart, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, showing readers how these entrepreneurs collaborated and worked together to reach their goals.

Jana Siciliano has much praise for THE INNOVATORS in her review: “Isaacson’s mass-media practice of telling a straight-ahead story without a lot of ruffles at the edges keeps THE INNOVATORS moving along at a rapid pace. It’s amazing how much information he’s able to plow through in this exhaustive but easy-to-read volume.” Nikki, Emily and I all heard Issacson present at BookExpo America (BEA) in what we all said was hands down the best presentation that we attended. He spoke about how he put his manuscript out on a few Internet sites to get comments and feedback --- in effect, crowdsourcing his research, though the final writing was his. You can read more about this here. We all spend time connected these days, but how we got to this point is very interesting, as well as how he connected to tell his story. This is high on my “to read” list.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley introduces an engrossing new trilogy with SOME LUCK. Spanning three decades, each chapter of this opening installment covers one year in the life of the Langdon family, beginning in 1920 at the close of World War I and ending in the 1950s with the country on the brink of enormous social and economic change. Throughout it all, Iowa residents Rosanna and Walter Langdon strive to raise their five children with the values they feel are most important. As the Langdons spread out across America, their personal stories highlight the effects of history through laughter, tears and boundless admiration.

Reviewer Sam Glass has this to say about SOME LUCK: “Fiction generally presents an enhanced version of life, but in this book, Smiley attempts to make magic from the petty conversations, trips to the store and moments of solitude that make up the vast majority of every person’s time here on earth. It’s an ambitious undertaking, and many writers would not be able to pull it off. But Smiley does.”

Get a head start on celebrating the holidays with MR. MIRACLE by Debbie Macomber. Guardian angel Harry Mills is on a mission to help 24-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track. Posing as a teacher at a local college, Harry is ready to help Addie as she moves back home to earn her degree. But neither of them expects her to run into Erich Simmons, her old next-door neighbor who teased her relentlessly while they were growing up. When the two are forced to spend Christmas together, they realize that they have more in common than they thought. You’ll want to read this charming novel before it debuts as a Hallmark Channel original movie on December 6th!

According to reviewer Michele Howe, “Macomber cheerfully presents a holiday story that combines the winsomeness of a visiting angel (similar to Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life) with the more poignant soulfulness of A Christmas Carol to bring to life a memorable reading experience.”

Hank Phillippi Ryan’s multi-award-winning Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series continues with TRUTH BE TOLD. Reporter Jane Ryland is investigating a series of heartbreaking foreclosures when she uncovers a deadly scheme backed by powerful players. Meanwhile, police detective Jake Brogan has the killer responsible for a 20-year-old cold case on his hands --- or does he? While his colleagues believe the man’s confession, Jake is not so sure.

Truth be told, Joe Hartlaub loved this book, as evidenced in his review: “Jake’s dogged investigative prowess, Jane’s reporting tenaciousness, their somewhat delicate relationship, and the mysteries that form the heart of the plot combine to make TRUTH BE TOLD one of Ryan’s best works to date.” I remember reading Hank’s first series; I knew she had writing chops back then!

Explore the history and culture of China in I STAND CORRECTED: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson by Eden Collinsworth. Eden’s career moved her all around the world, but no country fascinated her like China. After numerous interactions with Chinese businessmen, she realized they were uncomfortable with their Western peers and decided to write a Western etiquette guide. In I STAND CORRECTED, Eden tells the story of the year she spent writing the book, learning about both Chinese and Western practices, and even herself.

I have known Eden for years, and this book is packed with her signature candor and humor. When she is in New York and comes by the office, she has wonderful stories to tell about her travels --- and her work. I still marvel at how she packs one small carry-on for travel and yet still always looks chic and fabulous! As our world expands and people slide around the world to conduct business, the importance of knowing cross-culture awareness has skyrocketed. Sarah Rachel Egelman has our review of I STAND CORRECTED and says, "This is more than a cozy book about manners. There is much to learn about contemporary China here, and even more to learn about American perceptions of China and, indeed, the larger world."

This week, I’m naming A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel as my latest Bets On selection. In this brilliant narrative-driven investigation, Richtel explores the timely issue of “distracted driving.” To examine the impact of technology on our society, he includes the case of Utah college student Reggie Shaw, who killed two scientists while texting and driving. Click here to see why I’m betting this book will strike a chord with you and why you’ll want to share it with as many people as you can. (Read on about this being a Fall Preview title for next week.)

Interested in seeing what books I plan on making Bets On titles in the weeks and months ahead? Then click here to take a look at my upcoming selections and learn more about them. Be sure to check back regularly for additional titles!

Our new “Sounding Off on Audio” feature, where we talk to listeners about their love of audiobooks, continues this week with TWO interviews. One is with Jean Hanff Korelitz, author of ADMISSION and YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN (who will be one of the authors in attendance at Hachette’s Book Group Brunch on Saturday, October 18th). We had lunch a few weeks ago, and she spoke about her love of audiobooks. I am so glad she had time to share her comments with us. The other is with reader and audiobook enthusiast Bobbie Cloud. Bobbie owns a home on the Outer Banks, and while we have tried to meet there for years, we never seem to be there at the same time. I loved getting to know her better in this interview. If you are an audiobook aficionado and would like to be interviewed, then drop me a note at with the subject line "Audiobook Lover." We’re already lining up folks for the weeks ahead!

One more thing: Jean is running a program called “Book the Writer” where book groups in the New York area can pay to have an author at their book group discussion. You can see the entire list of authors available here. She also is running a number of pop-up book group events where you can buy a single ticket to participate and meet the author in a small setting for a book discussion. Sheila Weller (THE NEWS SORORITY), Emma Straub (THE VACATIONERS, a Bets On selection) and Chris Pavone (THE ACCIDENT) are among the “pop-up” authors being offered now.

Speaking of book groups, take a look at our latest update. In addition to a plethora of new guides, we have four new contests for book groups to enter! Not in a book group? Then take some time to peruse discussion titles for books that you have read and get another perspective on the work.

We’ve updated our New in Paperback feature for October. Among this month’s releases are THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN by Mitch Albom, STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS by Anna Quindlen, THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE by Ann Patchett, ANDREW'S BRAIN by E.L. Doctorow and NEWTOWN: An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak.

This week in our Fall Preview contests, we gave away NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain (which is the Target Book Club pick for October), along with the aforementioned I STAND CORRECTED and TRUTH BE TOLD. Next week, we’ll be featuring three 24-hour contests and giving away the following books: DIRTY ROWDY THING by Christina Lauren, THE REMEDY FOR LOVE by Bill Roorbach, and the aforementioned Bets On title, A DEADLY WANDERING. We’ve been sending a special newsletter to announce each day's title; if you’re not signed up yet to receive the Fall Preview newsletter, please do so here. If you have problems signing up, please send a note to, and he will handle this for you. Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday the 14th at noon ET.

Now that the quiet days of summer are officially in our rearview mirror, things can get pretty hectic. We want to know what you do to relax. Click here to take our poll.

Our current Word of Mouth contest continues. Let us know what you’ve finished reading, and you’ll have an opportunity to win LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult (which we’ll be reviewing next week), along with the aforementioned THE INNOVATORS and SOME LUCK. Enter by Friday, October 17th at noon ET for your chance to be one of five winners.

Over on, we’re so excited to have completed six REAL TALK Publishing interviews with fascinating people from all corners of the book world. Our Editorial Manager, Shara Zaval, conceptualized this feature as a way to give our readers insight into the publishing industry. Through interviews, guest posts and sometimes sneak peeks inside their offices, she’s given our readers an opportunity to learn more about the book industry --- and the work that goes into creating some of the world's best written word. Click here to check out all the interviews Shara has conducted thus far, with many more to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai on winning the Nobel Peace Prize; I thought she should have won last year. For those of you who have not yet read I AM MALALA: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, I encourage you to do so. And right now, I so regret that I was unable to meet her at the Clinton Book Shop’s event featuring her this summer. Growl that I missed that opportunity!

French author Patrick Modiano was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2014. Peter Englund, the Nobel Academy’s permanent secretary, says: “Patrick Modiano is a well-known name in France but not anywhere else. He writes children’s books, movie scripts but mainly novels. His themes are memory, identity and time. His best known work is called MISSING PERSON. It’s the story about a detective who has lost his memory and his final case is finding out who he really is: he is tracing his own steps through history to find out who he is.”

I am looking forward to the return of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” on Sunday with the start of its fifth season. The popularity of this series was evident at Comic Con. I am fascinated by those who spend time making themselves up to be zombies!

Speaking of books on screen, who rushed to see Gone Girl last weekend? Rolling Stone called David Fincher’s film the “date-night movie of the decade." Were you as pleased with the film adaptation? Please email me with your thoughts! And no, I have not seen it yet. Some who have read the book spoke about anticipation as they watched, as they knew what was going to happen.

Lots of construction work happened at the house last weekend, and I am hoping we make some more progress on the guest room this weekend. I am into what clearly will be a long-term project of cleaning out our attics and basement. I need more bookshelves. But what else is new? Some will be added to the guest room! Also, I want to finish up knitting a summer scarf; yes, I know my timing is WAY off. My reading pile is calling my name, and I am looking forward to finishing BEAUTIFUL RUINS on audio.

Happy Columbus Day! And whether Columbus did go here or the Caribbean, I am all in favor of honoring him with a day off. Read on, and have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Now in Stores: THE INNOVATORS by Walter Isaacson
THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson (History/Technology)
What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail? In THE INNOVATORS, Walter Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Doug Engelbart, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Larry Page. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley
SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley (Historical Fiction)
On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children. Each chapter in SOME LUCK covers a single year, beginning in 1920 and going up through the early 1950s. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, the personal and the historical merge seamlessly. Reviewed by Sam Glass.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: MR. MIRACLE by Debbie Macomber
MR. MIRACLE: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help 24-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track and help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store when Addie and her polar-opposite next-door neighbor, Erich, are forced to spend Christmas together. However, Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought --- and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to visit Debbie Macomber’s official website.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DEADLINE by John Sandford
DEADLINE: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford (Thriller)
In Southeast Minnesota, a school board meeting is coming to an end. The board chairman announces that the rest of the meeting will be closed, due to personnel issues. The proposal up for a vote before them is whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter. The vote is four to one in favor. Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found --- and the victim is a local reporter. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: TRUTH BE TOLD by Hank Phillippi Ryan
TRUTH BE TOLD by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Thriller)
In digging up the facts on a heartbreaking story about a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home, reporter Jane Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Meanwhile, Boston police detective Jake Brogan has a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous 20-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake’s colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: I STAND CORRECTED by Eden Collinsworth
I STAND CORRECTED: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson by Eden Collinsworth (Memoir/Cultural Studies)
In I STAND CORRECTED, Eden Collinsworth tells the entertaining and insightful story of the year she spent living among the Chinese while writing a book featuring advice on such topics as the non-negotiable issue of personal hygiene, the rules of the handshake, and making sense of foreigners. Scrutinizing the kind of etiquette that has guided her own business career, Collinsworth creates a counterpart that explains Chinese practices and reveals much about our own Western culture. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to visit Eden Collinsworth’s official website.
Click here to read a review. Bets On: A DEADLY WANDERING by Matt Richtel
A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Matt Richtel (Social Science/Technology)
I heard Matt Richtel speak about A DEADLY WANDERING: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention last May, and the storyline intrigued me. Reggie, a teen, was driving to work one early morning. He crossed the yellow line into the other lane, more than once, and that precipitated an accident that killed two prominent rocket scientists who were fathers and husbands. Prior to the accident, it was learned that the teen was texting, though he does not remember doing this. Texting for him is something he did all day, not thinking about how it distracted him.

I spend a lot of time in my car. I spend a lot of time on the phone wearing this headset like I am a receptionist from the 1950s or my Bluetooth. I do not text as I drive; I barely text when I am not driving. But as I drive down the road each day, I see people actively doing it. A friend told my husband recently that he is considering giving up riding his motorcycle (one he fitted to have a way to carry his golf clubs to the course when he plays). The reason: people texting. He said there is nothing so scary as sitting at a light on his bike, looking in a mirror and seeing a car hurling towards him from behind with the driver looking down, clearly texting.

As I drive down the highway, I frequently am behind someone who is speeding and slowing. As I pass them, I realize that they are holding a phone. So clearly the subject here had my attention.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here to read more of Carol’s thoughts on the book.
One to Watch Author Spotlight: A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein
A SUDDEN LIGHT by Garth Stein (Supernatural Mystery)
In the summer of 1990, 14-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel --- who is flickering in and out of dementia --- to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read Garth Stein’s bio.
-Click here to read our interview with Garth Stein.
-Click here to visit Garth Stein’s official website.
-Connect with Garth Stein on Facebook and Twitter.
Click here to read more in our One to Watch Author Spotlight.
October’s New in Paperback Roundups
October’s roundups of New in Paperback fiction titles include THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN by Mitch Albom, which tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife; STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS by Anna Quindlen, a wry and knowing portrait of a photographer who discovers that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life; COMMAND AUTHORITY, the final published book by Tom Clancy, who passed away in October 2013 at the age of 66; and STARRY NIGHT by Debbie Macomber, in which a reporter may have to choose between a significant career move and a relationship with the love of her life.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE, a memoir by Ann Patchett that examines her deepest commitments --- to writing, family, friends, dogs, books and her husband; LITTLE FAILURE, the all-too true story of an immigrant family betting its future on America, as told by a lifelong misfit (Gary Shteyngart) who finally finds a place for himself in the world through books and words; and NEWTOWN: An American Tragedy, Matthew Lysiak's examination of the facts surrounding Newtown --- not only of that horrific day, but the perfect storm of mental instability and obsession that preceded it and, in the aftermath of unspeakable heartbreak, the controversy that continues to play out on the national stage.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of October 6th, October 13th, October 20th and October 27th.
Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks
As we continue to explore the world of audiobooks, we bring you our newest feature, “Sounding Off on Audio,” where we interview listeners about their love of audiobooks. Find out what they listen to, who their favorite narrators are, why they enjoy audiobooks, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned listener of audiobooks or have only a passing curiosity, we hope that you find these interviews to be fun and informative --- and perhaps come across a title or two that you can add to your audiobook listening list. Whenever possible, we will try to provide samples for your listening pleasure as well.

This week, we have
TWO interviews to share with you.

First up is Jean Hanff Korelitz, the author of ADMISSION and YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, who explains why she started listening to audiobooks, and how her listening habits changed (or didn't) when she moved from the suburbs to New York City.

-Click here to read our interview with Jean Hanff Korelitz.

Our second interview is with reader and audiobook enthusiast Bobbie Cloud
, who talks about what kinds of books she likes to listen to and where she prefers listening (spoiler: pretty much anywhere, if she’s up to a “good part”).

-Click here to read our interview with Bobbie Cloud.’s Fall Preview Contests and Feature

Fall is known as the biggest season of the year for books. The titles that release during this latter part of the year often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. To celebrate the arrival of fall, we are spotlighting a number of outstanding books that we know people will be talking about in the days and months to come.

We will be hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days in September and October, so you will have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, October 14th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
PARIS MATCH: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Thriller)
Stone Barrington has returned to Paris to attend to some business concerns, and finds himself embroiled in high-stakes trouble on both sides of the pond. An old enemy is still in hot pursuit, and this time he might have a powerful local resource on his side: a gentleman with his own ax to grind against Stone. In the US, the swirling rumor mill threatens to derail a project of vital importance. Though Stone is no stranger to peril, never before has he faced threats from so many directions at once. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE SILENT SISTER by Diane Chamberlain (Fiction)
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister, Lisa, committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over 20 years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina, cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

DR. MUTTER’S MARVELS: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (Biography/Medicine)
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz chronicles the life of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, a Philadelphia plastic surgeon who revolutionized the face of American surgery and founded a museum of medical oddities. An eccentric innovator, Mütter pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed. DR. MUTTER'S MARVELS offers both a biography of this unconventional doctor and a revealing portrait of 19th-century medicine. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

-Click here for the reading group guide.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Ruth Rendell (Psychological Thriller)
In the waning months of World War II, a group of children discover an earthen tunnel in their neighborhood. The subterranean space becomes their “secret garden,” where the friends play games and tell stories. Six decades later, beneath a house on the same land, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands. The friends come together once again to recall their days in the tunnel for the detective investigating the case. Is the truth buried among these aging friends and their memories? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SPARK by John Twelve Hawks (Thriller)
Jacob Underwood is a hired assassin. Suffering from a condition that causes people to believe they are dead, Jacob perceives himself as nothing but a Shell with no emotion and no sense of right or wrong. Jacob's handler assigns him the task of tracking down an associate who has disappeared and neutralizing her. But as his new assignment draws him inside a labyrinthine network of dark dealings, Jacob finds himself up against something he is completely incapable of understanding. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

SAVING SIMON: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion by Jon Katz (Memoir)
When Jon Katz got a call from an animal control officer about Simon, a neglected donkey who had been found on a failing farm, he wasn't expecting to take him in. But when he made the trek out to meet Simon, he couldn't help falling in love with the skinny, mangy donkey, and ended up taking him into his home. Simon listened in the fields as Jon read and discussed philosophy, forcing Jon to confront the most difficult parts of life and bringing him to a new understanding about mercy and compassion. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE BOY WHO DREW MONSTERS by Keith Donohue (Psychological Thriller/Horror)
Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, 10-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, he spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. While those around him are haunted by what they think they see, only Jack Peter knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

FIGHTING CHANCE: A Gregor Demarkian Novel by Jane Haddam (Mystery)
Gregor Demarkian grew up in the Armenian-American enclave in Philadelphia known as Cavanaugh Street. When Father Tibor Kasparian, his best friend and the most genuinely gentle soul he has ever met, is arrested on murder charges, it tears at the very foundation of Demarkian’s world. Demarkian is now a man possessed, and his one goal is to find out what really happened and who really is responsible for the murder with which Father Tibor is charged. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE FALL: A Father's Memoir in 424 Steps written by Diogo Mainardi, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Memoir)
THE FALL’s 424 short passages match the number of steps taken by Diogo Mainardi's son Tito as he walks, with great difficulty, alongside his father through the streets of Venice, the city where a medical mishap during Tito's birth left him with cerebral palsy. As they make their way toward the hospital where both their lives changed forever, Mainardi begins to draw on his knowledge of art and history, seeking to better explain a tragedy that was entirely avoidable. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

REUNION by Hannah Pittard (Fiction)
Five minutes before her flight is set to take off, Kate Pulaski, failed screenwriter and newly failed wife, learns that her estranged father killed himself. More shocked than saddened by the news, she reluctantly gives in to her older siblings' request that she join them --- and her many half-siblings, and most of her father's five former wives --- for a final farewell. As Kate battles with family secrets and lies, she discovers that she has more in common with her late father than she ever had expected. Reviewed by Donna Smallwood.
Our Latest Poll: What Do You Do to Unwind?
Which of the following activities do you do to relax? Please check as many as apply.

Arts and crafts
Watching television
Going to the movies
Browsing the Internet
Working out/walking/jogging
Doing yoga/Pilates
Swimming/water sports
None of the above
Click here to answer the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from October 3rd to October 17th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson, LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult and SOME LUCK by Jane Smiley.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the books you write about, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

Please note: You must enter your full address, using correct capitalization and filling in all fields if you would like to be eligible to win this prize.

Also, we realize that many times, your opinion of a book will change as you get further along into the story. Thus, to ensure that your comments and ratings accurately reflect your entire reading experience, your review WILL NOT be posted if you have not finished the book.

One important technical note: If you're using an iPad or another iOS device to access the Word of Mouth page and you would like to enter the contest, you must wait for the page to fully load before you can rate your book. Only then will the stars be clickable.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
Click here to enter the contest.

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