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November 13, 2015 Newsletter November 13, 2015
Talking to Myself!

As new ways to communicate constantly evolve, I am getting pretty grouchy about communication roadblocks that are popping up. Last Friday night, I decided to watch the pilot of "Z", based on the book by Therese Anne Fowler, on Amazon Prime. I grabbed the Logitech box I use to connect to the TV and learned that it would not work with Amazon Prime; seems it is a Google product and Prime cannot be reached via Google products. They listed a whole series of devices I could use, none of which I a) had or b) was interested in buying. Instead I watched --- and enjoyed --- the show on my laptop. Check it out if you have not done so already --- if you have Prime and a way to watch without using a Google device!

Sunday’s New York Times arrived with cardboard glasses that I could use to watch a virtual reality documentary that they had created about refugees. My engineer husband opened the glasses, which I promptly put on, upside down. He kindly corrected me. Idiotically, I thought I could watch this on the television or my laptop, but alas, this required downloading the Times VR App on my phone, which meant I needed to empty all kinds of files off my phone to make room for it. Then, luckily, Cory, my engineer son, was home to show me how to wrap the glasses around the phone so I could watch, all the time holding the glasses since there was no strap to attach them to my head. It was beautifully shot and visual, but the words I was supposed to read often seemed to be in the wrong spot, making me feel like I was doing one of those eye doctor tests for my peripheral vision. Cory played with it after me and pronounced it "cool," but had the same visual issues, proving this was not a generational thing.

In the past few weeks, I have learned that PDFs do not show up on AOL, and many times my Office 365 Outlook mail does not reach Apple recipients. Not all of the time, but some of the time. So I call to see if people have gotten the emails. I am waiting for the day that Verizon callers cannot reach those on Sprint or AT&T. And part of me thinks we should be better funding the FCC and FTC since there could be mega cases about how monopolies are influencing the way we talk to each other.

This made reading a book sooooooo lovely and simple by comparison. No screens I cannot access. No hardware to wear to use it. And the words showed up before me just the way I would have expected them to; it was relaxing to read!

Okay, it’s Friday the 13th, and who knows what communication snafu will strike now, so let me get to this week’s update.

Our Holiday Cheer feature and contests are back! The giveaways kick off at noon ET on select days in November and December, and run for just 24 hours, so you will have to check the site to see what is being featured. As always, we’ll be sending our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests. Click here to sign up for these email alerts. Our preview email with all the books to be featured will go out on Monday to those who have opted into the Holiday Cheer newsletter, and our first contest will go live on Tuesday at noon ET. Week one’s prize books will be DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber, A KNIGHTS BRIDGE CHRISTMAS: A Swift River Valley Novel by Carla Neggers, and LITTLE HOUSE LIVING: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life by Merissa A. Alink. We love the opportunity to share these titles with you!

Mitch Albom’s latest novel, THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO, tells the story of the greatest guitarist to ever live. Raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town, Frankie Presto is sent to America at the age of nine with only an old guitar. Propelled by his talent, he crosses paths with stars such as Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carole King and Wynton Marsalis, eventually becoming a pop star himself. But his gift comes with a price --- he soon realizes that he has the power to actually change people’s lives with the use of a magical string. Burdened by this power, Frankie disappears at the height of his fame, only to make a final, stunning appearance to change one more life.

Kate Ayers raves about THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO in her review: “My advice: Snuggle down into a chair surrounded with everything you’ll want for several hours of breathtaking and heartbreaking escape, and bring a box of tissues. Sink into this sad, tragic, magical and musical story. Albom blesses us with this epic tale that blends fable, parable, mystery, romance and fairy tale. And what a blessing. It is, quite simply, the most wonderful thing I’ve read in a long time.” We’re also featuring a discussion guide for the book on; check it out here.

We’re giving away THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO, along with ALL DRESSED IN WHITE: An Under Suspicion Novel by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke and TRICKY TWENTY-TWO: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich, in our Word of Mouth contest. Let us know by Friday, November 20th at noon ET the books you’ve finished reading for your chance to win all three novels.

John Irving returns to the themes behind his most beloved books with AVENUE OF MYSTERIES, a novel of fate and memory. Fourteen-year-old Juan Diego and his 13-year-old sister, Lupe, were born and raised in Mexico. For as long as Juan Diego can remember, his sister has been a mind reader of sorts. She can see what is coming to her and her brother, and can guess the pasts of strangers without them telling her. Although she is not always exactly right about the future, the burden of knowing what might happen to those around her is horrifying, particularly when she feels compelled to change it. In AVENUE OF MYSTERIES, an adult Juan Diego will travel to the Philippines, where his past in Mexico will violently collide with his future.

According to reviewer Roz Shea, “AVENUE OF MYSTERIES could serve as a master class of Irving’s writing. He tackles every writing style raised as a bugaboo to any beginning writer. Flashbacks: confusing unless handled with exquisite care. Foreign names and language references: annoying unless mercifully translated. Foreshadowing: clunky and confusing in the wrong hands. Perhaps Irving’s best tricks of the trade are his vivid characterizations sans caricature.”

Tony- and Emmy Award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker has penned DEAR MR. YOU, which combines letters composed to the men, both real and imaginary, who have shaped her life. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew to a beloved childhood priest, Parker composes heartfelt messages that communicate not only her memories, but her regrets and grievances as well. As Parker remembers former lovers, pays homage to unsung heroes and communicates with the uncle of her adopted daughter, readers are exposed to the full arc of her fascinating life.

Reviewer Jana Siciliano says, “Parker is clearly an actor with innate talent, and her writing reflects a thoughtful and intelligent brain to go with the attractive exterior. DEAR MR. YOU is filled with unique takes on everyday passages in all lives, and it brings a sense of camaraderie with the writer that most celebrity tomes do not. It is an easy and engaging read, perfect for holiday gift-giving.”

Return to the golden age of adventure stories with THE EXPLORERS GUILD: Volume One: A PASSAGE TO SHAMBHALA, an action-packed tale by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird, with illustrations from Rick Ross. Set during World War I, the book follows the titular Explorers Guild, a group of adventurers who risk their lives to discover the mysteries that occur beyond the boundaries of the known world. In the opening volume, the Guild takes on a quest for the Shambhala, the golden city of Buddhist myth. Their dangerous journey takes them all around the world, from the Polar North to Mongolian deserts, from underground Asian canals to the depths of the Himalayas, until they finally reach their mystical destination.

Amy Gwiazdowski advises, “If you have a penchant for adventure tales, THE EXPLORERS GUILD deserves a spot on your shelf. There’s something very wild and compelling about the story, and, at the same time, quite comforting in the way the adventure unfolds…. It’s a story to be enjoyed slowly and possibly shared with others.”

Highly acclaimed author Rupert Thomson tells the compelling story of an enigmatic girl in KATHERINE CARLYLE. Drawing upon the modern technique of IVF (in vitro fertilization), Thomson introduces readers to the eponymous Katherine Carlyle, a girl searching for personal meaning. Rocked by her mother’s death and isolated by her distant father, Katherine abandons everything and everyone she knows and disappears for an international adventure. Although her journey starts off as an attempt to punish her father, it soon takes on a deeper meaning as she comes to terms with the loss of her mother and begins to learn what it means to be an empowered woman in today’s world.

Rebecca Munro has our review and says, "It is rare that an author can create a protagonist so wholly original and flawed and still maintain the reader’s interest and attention. Thomson has truly outdone himself with this fascinating work." We’re also pleased to share a Q&A with the author, which you can read here. I had the pleasure of meeting Rupert a few weeks ago, which was just wonderful. We chatted about parent/children relationships, and in minutes I felt like I knew him forever. A colleague had him at her book group that evening, where he spoke with them for THREE hours. Even though he lives in the UK, we are trying to pull together a way for book groups to be able to chat with him. Stay tuned for more on this!

Esteemed author and historian Robert J. Norrell explores writer Alex Haley in his latest book, ALEX HALEY: And the Books That Changed a Nation. In a piece written exclusively for us, Norrell discusses the importance of autobiographies and memoirs, and how they allowed former slaves to preserve their histories. This tradition carried forth into Haley’s own writing, culminating in the release of ROOTS. Norrell explores the autobiographies that he believed shaped Haley’s writing of his own story.

Our contest for Michel Bussi’s AFTER THE CRASH continues. In anticipation of its January 5th release, we’re offering 35 lucky readers the chance to win an advance copy and share their comments on it. Already a bestseller in Europe and a book slated to be a Bets On selection, this psychological thriller tells the story of a tragic plane crash and its sole survivor, a baby girl. Two decades later, Lylie and detectives are still unsure of her heritage, as there were two baby girls aboard the plane. As Lylie tries to determine whether she is the beloved grandchild of a hardworking woman or the heiress of a powerful family, it becomes clear that someone knows --- and will do anything to keep Lylie’s past a secret. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, November 19th at noon ET.

In this month’s Sounding Off on Audio contest, we’re giving away audio versions of both BOYS IN THE TREES: A Memoir written and read by Carly Simon and YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person written and read by Shonda Rhimes. Let us know by Tuesday, December 1st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you’ll have the opportunity to win these two prizes. Shonda was all over town this week doing interviews. Watch her on "Good Morning America", "Nightline", "Ellen" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert", and listen to her interview on NPR's "All Things Considered".

There are so many notable memoirs (many of which are written by celebrities) and other nonfiction books releasing this month that it’s the subject of our latest poll question. Which of the 14 titles that we list are you most looking forward to reading? Click here to let us know; of course, the Carly Simon and Shonda Rhimes memoirs are among the choices.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Mary wrote that they were handing out martini shots and serving martinis at her local theater showing Spectre. Sounded like fun!

Vanity Fair on "Z" : More on Zelda, and Christina Ricci who plays her.

Lauren Groff's FATES AND FURIES is Amazon's Book of the Year: See what else scored here.

Adele: New record 25 hits stores on the 20th. Here’s a fun piece on her from Rolling Stone.

Daniel Craig on "Ellen": Watch this adorable story about a young Bond fan in 2014 and then this piece where he finally meets Daniel Craig. Total heartwarmer. Seriously! I loved it.

American Writers Museum: Read about plans to open this in 2017. Another reason to visit Chicago.

USA Today: An interesting piece on how to spot fake online reviews.

Wall Street Journal Piece: Publishers hope the holidays bring cheer. Read how here.

"The Affair": I previewed Sunday night’s episode. There’s a book party, so WHO will be the well-known author at the party? You must watch to find out. Will be very amusing for those of us in publishing, though they take it a tad over the top. As in, not sure this would happen on Thanksgiving. Told from Alison and Cole's POV this week.

"The Good Wife": I agree with our reader Heather that the new investigator is very interesting and, okay, hot. But I do not like the ageist storyline with Howard or the one about Eli’s office.

Debates: I stay away from politics on this site, but will observe that these past weeks' debates are as regularly scheduled as sitcoms or dramas. I never remember this many.

I have found the secret to seeing a blockbuster movie in an uncrowded theater --- live where we do out in the country. We went to see Spectre on Saturday, and I was concerned about getting tickets, so we got to the theater early. We bought tickets and then walked around the town, hitting a farmer’s market where I was able to buy eucalyptus, which had been an obsession of mine. Things there were winding down, so I was able to grab the last two bundles for $7.

When we got back to the theater, we worried about getting good seats. But --- ha! --- we were alone in the theater. About five minutes before the film started, or, more accurately, before the previews started, a woman walked through the row in front of us. We looked at each other and then bore looks into the back of her head hoping she would not settle in right in front of us. Luckily she was five seats to the right. Whew! Enjoyed the almost private screening; not my favorite Bond film, but enough action and enough Daniel Craig to make me smile.

I got home, and there was enough eucalyptus for four large vases, two of which you can see above. The house does smell wonderful! Also, the Christmas cactuses are on their own agenda, already blooming! They are stress-inducing, reminding me that I am very not ready for the holidays, or even ready to make a list! I love these pops of color from plants that we bought the first year we were married...30 years ago. We have four of them! The photo of the holiday bear above made Greg and me smile this week. In the drugstore next to our office, they have the bears lined up. Every time we walk by, a new one has fallen. Last week, they all were in a heap in the window. I am ready to hand them Velcro or duct tape.

Saturday night will be dinner with friends with the boys; I need to whip up a dessert. Ideas welcome! I need to split some firewood (why do I think of the ax in The Shining as I write that?). Beyond that, maybe cleaning out another closet and more book organizing. I made lots of progress on the latter last week and want to do more after reading this piece about cleaning up clutter.

And it is time to plot Thanksgiving dinner.

I am reading two books; it’s always two books, did you notice that? First is ALL THINGS CEASE TO APPEAR by Elizabeth Brundage, which will be in stores on March 8th. I still remember reading her first book, THE DOCTOR’S WIFE, which I loved; this one promises to have its own twists and turns as I am 50+ pages in and loving it. The second is REDEMPTION ROAD by John Hart, which will be published on May 3rd. John is in the city next week, and I look forward to catching up with him. I read the prologue and a couple of opening chapters here and thought Wow!

Read on, and have a great week!

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who shop online, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

Audiobook available, performed by Mitch Albom and a full cast
At nine years old, Frankie Presto --- a war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town --- is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 20th century. Frankie becomes a pop star himself but soon realizes that, through his music, he can actually affect people’s futures. At the height of his popularity, Frankie vanishes. Only decades later does he reappear --- just before his spectacular death --- to change one last life. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the reading group guide.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: CRIMSON SHORE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
CRIMSON SHORE by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Rene Auberjonois
Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast, together with his ward Constance Greene, travels to the quaint seaside village of Exmouth, Massachusetts, to investigate the theft of a priceless wine collection. But inside the wine cellar, they find something considerably more disturbing: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton. Pendergast and Constance soon learn that Exmouth is a town with a very dark and troubled history, and this skeleton may be only the first hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years. But they will discover that the sins of the past are still very much alive. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: AVENUE OF MYSTERIES by John Irving
AVENUE OF MYSTERIES by John Irving (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Armando Duran
Fourteen-year-old Juan Diego, who was born and grew up in Mexico, has a 13-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she is a mind reader. Regarding what has happened as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you. What might a teen girl be driven to do if she thought she could change the future? As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Announcing's Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. This year’s Holiday Cheer titles include books that you want to give and get, as well as a “hot” 2016 title or two. The contests kick off at noon ET on select days in November and December, and run for just 24 hours, so you will have to check the site to see what is being featured. As always, we’ll be sending our special Holiday Cheer newsletter on the days when there are contests. Click here to sign up for these email alerts.

Our first prize book will be announced on Tuesday, November 17th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
Special Contest: Win an Advance Copy of AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi and Share Your Comments on It
We are celebrating the January 5th release of AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi with a special contest that will give 35 readers the opportunity to win an advance copy of the book and submit their comments on it. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, November 19th at noon ET.

AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi (Psychological Thriller)
Hailed as "a novel so extraordinary that it reminded me of reading Stieg Larsson for the very first time" (Sunday Times, UK), a near-million copy bestseller in Europe --- centered on a tragic plane crash in the Alps and the mystery surrounding its only survivor, an infant girl.

After nearly two decades, the old detective has to admit defeat: he cannot unravel the mystery of Lylie. The only survivor of a devastating air accident, she has never known who she truly was: the beloved grandchild of a hardworking country woman, or the heiress of a powerful family. Now 18, Lylie is herself conflicted, tortured by not knowing. But someone knows. Someone’s found out. And someone may kill to preserve what happened after the crash...

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for critical praise.
-Click here to read Michel Bussi’s bio.
Click here to enter the contest.
Now in Stores: DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker
DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker (Memoir/Letters)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mary-Louise Parker
DEAR MR. YOU renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE EXPLORERS GUILD: Volume One: A PASSAGE TO SHAMBHALA written by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird, illustrated by Rick Ross
THE EXPLORERS GUILD: Volume One: A PASSAGE TO SHAMBHALA by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird, illustrated by Rick Ross (Historical Fantasy)
The Explorers Guild, a secret society of adventurers who journey to hidden worlds seeking out myths and uncovering legends, has but one mission among its members --- to go beyond our known boundaries and seek the truth. With the mystical city of Shambhala in the Guild’s sights, an epic adventure awaits. When several members set out in search of the veiled city, what was once an undertaking to seek truth quickly turns deadly and more complicated than anyone involved first believed. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
An Interview with Rupert Thomson, Author of KATHERINE CARLYLE
Rupert Thomson is the author of 10 acclaimed novels --- including THE INSULT, which was selected by David Bowie as one of his 100 Must-Read Books of All Time --- and one boldly honest memoir. His latest book, KATHERINE CARLYLE, is the story of a young woman who, unmoored by the death of her mother, abandons the set course of her life and goes on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. In this interview, Thomson reveals how thinking beyond “genre” has contributed to the success of his work and why he feels compelled to live his books as he writes them (although his strategies vary from draft to draft). He also discusses what inspired the unique circumstances of his protagonist’s conception via IVF (in vitro fertilization) and how he understands her story on a deeply personal level.

KATHERINE CARLYLE by Rupert Thomson (Fiction)
Unmoored by her mother’s death and feeling her father to be an increasingly distant figure, Katherine Carlyle abandons the set course of her life and starts out on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. Instead of going to college, she disappears, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scène for a courageous leap to true empowerment. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
Click here to read the interview.
Robert J. Norrell on Alex Haley and the Roots of Autobiographical Storytelling in African American Culture
Professor Robert J. Norrell has held the Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence since 1998. He writes mainly about American race relations, including his most recent biography, ALEX HALEY: And the Books That Changed the Nation, which focuses on the rise to national celebrity and great literary influence of Haley. In this piece written exclusively for, Professor Norrell discusses the roots of autobiographical storytelling in African American culture --- it was one of the very first genres embraced --- and the earlier works that he believes had the greatest impact on Haley’s writing and his struggle to tell his own story.

ALEX HALEY: And the Books That Changed a Nation by Robert J. Norrell (Biography)
It is difficult to think of two 20th-century books by one author that have had as much influence on American culture when they were published as Alex Haley's monumental bestsellers, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X (1965) and ROOTS (1976). They changed the way white and black America viewed each other and the country's history. This first biography of Haley follows him from his childhood in relative privilege in deeply segregated small-town Tennessee to fame and fortune in high-powered New York City.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read Robert J. Norrell’s piece on Alex Haley.
Coming Sunday, November 15th: Miami Book Fair International 2015
The Miami Book Fair International, now in its 32nd year, is an eight-day event that opens Sunday, November 15th with the popular Evenings With… series, featuring six nights of readings and discussions with noted authors from the United States and around the world.

On Friday, November 20th, the Street Fair gets underway. The highlight of the Street Fair is the Festival of Authors, with more than 450 authors reading and discussing their work, including the Latin American and Spanish authors who participate in the IberoAmerican Authors Program. Thousands of South Florida schoolchildren will help kick off the Street Fair, making the trip downtown Friday to hear authors and participate in Children’s Alley activities, including theater, arts-and-crafts, storytelling and readings by children’s book authors. Comics and graphic novels are once again featured, and a new section just for kids and teens, as well as presentations over the weekend by renowned graphic novelists and illustrators.

During Street Fair weekend, more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibit and sell books, with special features like the antiquarians, who showcase signed first editions, original manuscripts and other collectibles.

Authors attending the event this year include Mitch Albom, Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Belfoure, Bill Clegg, Ann Hood, Paula McLain, Garth Risk Hallberg and Amy Tan. See the full list here.
Click here for more information about Miami Book Fair International 2015.
More Reviews This Week
CORRUPTED: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel by Lisa Scottoline (Legal Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Kate Burton
Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a 12-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn't free Jason, and to this day it's the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn't been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth --- and justice. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE MURALIST by B. A. Shapiro (Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Xe Sands
When Alizée Benoit, a young American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her arts patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends and fellow WPA painters. And, some 70 years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who, while working at Christie’s auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now-famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE THEORY OF DEATH: A Decker/Lazarus Novel by Faye Kellerman (Mystery)
Audiobook available, performed by Richard Ferrone
Former LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker is relishing the quiet and slow pace of his new job with the Greenbury police department. But then the body of a nude man is found deep within the woods. The death appears to be a suicide, but until the coroner’s ruling, the scene must be treated as a suspicious crime. Decker’s investigation takes him and former Greenbury colleague Tyler McAdams to Kneed Loft College, where they must penetrate enigmatic formulas and codes to solve a dark, twisted crime devised by some brilliant and depraved masterminds. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

AND STILL I RISE: Black America Since MLK - An Illustrated Chronology by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin M. Burke (History)
Beginning with the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, AND I STILL RISE explores the last half-century of the African American experience. More than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the birth of Black Power, the United States has both a black president and black CEOs running Fortune 500 companies --- and a large black underclass beset by persistent poverty, inadequate education and an epidemic of incarceration. Harvard professor and scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. raises disturbing and vital questions about this dichotomy. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MICKEY ROONEY by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes (Biography)
In THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MICKEY ROONEY, authors Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes present Mickey’s nearly century-long career within the context of America's changing entertainment and social landscape. In addition to material from Mickey’s own diary, they chronicle his life story using little-known interviews with the star himself, his children, his former co-author Roger Kahn, collaborator Arthur Marx, and co-star Margaret O’Brien. This Old Hollywood biography presents Mickey Rooney from every angle, revealing the man Laurence Olivier once dubbed “the best there has ever been.” Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

HOSTAGE by Kristina Ohlsson (Thriller)
Shortly after a crowded New York-bound Boeing 747 takes off from Stockholm, a bomb threat is found in one of the aircraft’s lavatories. Police superintendent Alex Recht teams up with the energetic and often abrasive Eden Lundell from the security service’s counterterrorism unit to deal with the hijacking. Fredrika Bergman, who is currently working at the Justice Department, returns to the police force to act as a liaison between the government and the police. The investigation team soon realizes that the plot behind the hijacking is far more complex than they initially thought. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (Mystery)
Faced with the violent death of his own father, Assistant Superintendent David “Kubu” Bengu, the smartest detective in the Botswana police, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? Kubu's frustration grows as his boss, Director Mabaku, bans him from being involved in the investigation. The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

GUMSHOE by Rob Leininger (Mystery)
For nine long days, the mayor and district attorney of Reno, Nevada, have been missing. Enter Mortimer Angel, Reno’s newest gumshoe, a private-eye-in-training at his nephew’s detective agency. Just four hours into his new career, Mort finds the mayor --- make that, the mayor’s head --- in the trunk of Mort’s ex-wife’s Mercedes. As events begin to spin out of control, Mort realizes that things have been out of control since the night before he started his new career, the night he found the unknown naked blonde in his bed. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.
Our Latest Poll: Anticipating November Nonfiction/Memoirs: Which Will You Want to Read?
Which of the following nonfiction titles/memoirs releasing in November are you planning to read? Please check all that apply.

  • ALEX HALEY: And the Books That Changed a Nation, by Robert J. Norrell
  • AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE: A Marvelous Memoir, by Stan Lee, Peter David and Colleen Doran
  • AND YET… : Essays, by Christopher Hitchens
  • BOYS IN THE TREES: A Memoir, by Carly Simon
  • BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME: A Memoir, by Burt Reynolds and Jon Winokur
  • DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker
  • DESTINY AND POWER: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, by Jon Meacham
  • GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks
  • JOHN LE CARRE: The Biography, by Adam Sisman
  • KNITTING PEARLS: Writers Writing About Knitting, edited by Ann Hood
  • MAKE 'EM LAUGH: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends, by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway
  • PETTY: The Biography, by Warren Zanes
  • WOODY: The Biography, by David Evanier
  • YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes
  • None of the above
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!

Tell us about the books you've finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from November 6th to November 20th at noon ET, five lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of ALL DRESSED IN WHITE: An Under Suspicion Novel by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO by Mitch Albom, and TRICKY TWENTY-TWO: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich.

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 rules and guidelines, click here.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!
Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from November 2nd to December 1st at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both BOYS IN THE TREES: A Memoir written and read by Carly Simon and YEAR OF YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person written and read by Shonda Rhimes.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, 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.

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

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