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October 14, 2016 Newsletter October 14, 2016
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

A sudden cool snap hit the New York area earlier this week, prompting me to do some hasty herb replanting so we could bring them inside. Also, I decided to grab the geraniums and other hearty-looking flowers to shelter them from a possible freeze, which my local nursery, Malanga’s, noted is different from a frost, but could be harmful as well to the plants and just covering them would not be enough. Reading was on my agenda for Monday, not plant rescue, but I quickly rallied for this mission, the results of which you can see above.

As I was paddling around the pool in my wetsuit, including the gloves and socks, on Monday (the water temp was down to 58), I realized I have just a weekend or two left to enjoy the pool before I fear it will need to be closed. The latest I ever swam was Halloween in 2010 (we went trick or treating that night); that was the same year that we got a gas bill that was $500 higher than usual, which squelched that little extravagance for the future. During my staycation this summer, I read SWIMMING IN THE SINK by the long-distance, cold water swimmer Lynne Cox. You may remember her as the author of SWIMMING TO ANTARCTICA. In this latest book, she talks about losing her parents and then her diagnosis with atrial fibrillation (AFib). It’s a memoir about her journey back to health and to the sport she loves. As I contemplate closing the pool, I think I need to think about getting a deep sink. Read it, and you will see why!

This short week was a swirl of publisher previews (where we get a look at upcoming books) and author visits. On Tuesday, I went to a luncheon where Lisa See shared background on her upcoming book, THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE, which is set to release on March 17th. I am about 90 pages in --- and am loving it. It opens in rural China in 1988 where a young woman lives with her family. They grow and harvest tea, living in a world that is so primitively shocking that there were moments when I had to check the date, as it did not feel like these customs could have taken place less than 30 years ago. It felt like this was a culture from 1888. The story will continue until just about the present day exploring the issue of Chinese adoption through the lens of a mother and daughter. I look forward to getting back to it to read more. There is something that happens during a birth at the start of this book, which will have readers just as shocked as they were with the foot binding in SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN.

That evening, Lisa and I had dinner at a tea shop, which was just two blocks from our office. She handled the ordering, and the selections of tea and Chinese foods were wonderful. How I have not been to this place in the 20+ years that we have been in our offices astounds me! Three hours later, I raced to the airport to pick up Greg, who came back from Switzerland bearing a wonderful tin of handmade chocolates for me. I am allowing myself just one a day!

That same evening, our staffer, Rebecca Munro, attended an event to kick off the publication of Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, which is one of my favorite books of the year. You can read Rebecca’s commentary about the evening here. In SMALL GREAT THINGS, Ruth Jefferson is an African-American labor and delivery nurse. During her shift, she begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told minutes later to step away: the baby’s parents don’t want her anywhere near their child, as they are white supremacists. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. What happens next will have potentially life-changing repercussions for Ruth as she is arrested and charged with a serious crime.

Katherine B. Weissman has this to say in her review: “The title of this novel…is fitting, for it is not always in the grand drama of the trial that Picoult’s characters see racism in action (and, potentially, make room for change), but in everyday gestures and encounters.... SMALL GREAT THINGS makes it clear that inclusiveness requires a commitment from us all. Nothing could be more important.” This book has been getting a swell of great buzz, especially with book groups (click here for the discussion guide we recently posted on We have a blog post from longtime reader Denise Neary, who read the book with her group and comments on it. We also have a video from the recent Random House Open House, where early readers gathered to share their thoughts and feedback, and here is a website where you can see more about the book and find some social media assets to share. I will have my Bets On commentary about it next week.

Maria Semple was celebrated for her sensitive, hilarious novel, WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. Now, she delivers equally witty and heartfelt work with TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT, which explores a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, who resolves to tackle the little things. But before she can put her modest plan into action, life happens. Her son, Timby, has decided to play hooky so he can be closer to her. Meanwhile, her husband, Joe, has failed to tell her he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague ensures that they indeed do.

Jana Siciliano has our rave review. Here's a preview: "It is with utter adoration and also jealousy that I recommend TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT to my fellow readers and friends, the same way that I recommended WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE to everyone who would listen, reading and rereading it at a pace I had only ever reserved for FRANNY AND ZOOEY, MADAME BOVARY and BELOVED."

Other books we’re reviewing this week include ORDER TO KILL, a new Mitch Rapp thriller from Kyle Mills, who has taken over this popular series from the late Vince Flynn; MY OWN WORDS, the first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993; A LIFE IN PARTS, Bryan Cranston's memoir (I've been listening to the audiobook, read by Cranston himself, and the opening scene is incredible; it draws you in, recalling a scene from "Breaking Bad"); and two titles that were Buzz books at this year’s BookExpo America --- THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett, a debut novel, and ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge, a book that still haunts me.

Paul Simon turned 75 yesterday, and Joe Hartlaub reviews HOMEWARD BOUND, a biography of Paul by Peter Ames Carlin, which is interesting reading for casual and devoted fans. In late September, the Grammy Museum presented an intimate evening with Paul. Here’s a terrific interview with him and another here, and you can see a career-spanning set from him here.

We received a rave review of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD by Caroline Leavitt last week, and this week I’m proud to be making it my next Bets On pick. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this book as much as I do.

Also reviewed last week was Paulette JilesNEWS OF THE WORLD, a National Book Award finalist. We follow up our review and discussion guide with a Q&A from Jiles, in which she reveals what draws her to write about the Civil War era, the research she conducted for her latest novel, and her love of the Texas landscape.

Our Sneak Peek contest for I FOUND YOU continues. Lisa Jewell’s forthcoming novel centers on a young bride, a lonely single mother and an amnesiac man of dubious origin. The book doesn’t release until April, but we’re awarding an advance copy to 25 readers who can commit to reading and sharing their feedback on it by Friday, December 9th. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, October 20th at noon ET. I read an early manuscript of I FOUND YOU and immediately started reading Lisa’s backlist. You are going to be hearing a lot about her in the months to come, so you want to read this now!

Also continuing this week is the very special contest on that we told you about in last week’s newsletter. We’re giving away audiobooks to nine book groups: three groups will win Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, read by Prentice Onayemi; three will win the aforementioned SMALL GREAT THINGS, read by Audra McDonald (with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos); and three will win Colson Whitehead's THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, read by Bahni Turpin. To enter, all you have to do is fill out this form by Wednesday, November 2nd at noon ET. In order to qualify as a winning group, your group must be able to commit to listening to and discussing your audiobook and sharing your feedback with us by Friday, January 27th.

You’ll have another chance to win the SMALL GREAT THINGS audiobook in this month’s Sounding Off on Audio contest, along with the aforementioned THE MOTHERS, read by Adenrele Ojo. Let us know by Tuesday, November 1st at noon ET what audiobooks you’ve finished listening to, and you could be the winner of both audio titles.

We’re looking for feedback from you! A major publisher would like to learn more about the newsletters that you read that focus on book-related information, advice and commentary. Thus they have asked us to share with you a survey that focuses on your book newsletter reading preferences and habits. Once you complete it (which should take no more than three minutes; we know because we gave it a whirl), you may then enter for a chance to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards. Click here to take the survey. Many thanks in advance for your participation!

Our final Fall Preview contest will be up and running this Monday, October 17th at noon ET. At that time, we’ll be giving away VICTORIA: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird, which will be on sale November 22nd. I got to meet Julia a few months ago, and she spoke about her detailed research for the book.

Tasha Alexander is the bestselling author of the beloved Lady Emily series. The latest installment, A TERRIBLE BEAUTY, is now in stores and takes Lady Emily and her husband to the intriguing landscape of Greece. There, mysteries mount, and the past --- both ancient and not-so-ancient, in the form of Lady Emily’s first husband Lord Ashton --- rises to haunt them. To celebrate its release, Tasha was kind enough to share this piece with us, where she discusses her inspiration, her desire to write about context and social change, and Lady Emily’s future. You can also read our review of A TERRIBLE BEAUTY here.

Let us know by Friday, October 21st at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith and THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict (a future Bets On pick), courtesy of our Word of Mouth contest.

Our poll continues to ask which fiction titles releasing this month you are planning to read. Click here to get voting!

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail:

Betty wrote, “Anxiously awaiting Tuesday when sometime that day Jodi Picoult's new novel will be delivered to my door. Seems I have had it on pre-order for ages. Also recently read BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris and FOLLOW YOU HOME by Mark Edwards. Both were very suspenseful. Loved them. I saw The Girl on the Train today and loved it! It follows the book pretty closely.” Betty, be sure to post about those books on Word of Mouth!

Speaking of Word of Mouth, Patricia wrote, “Please keep the Word of Mouth entries so others may read. I check that out to find new books I will enjoy. I love your reviews of the new books as well!” Trust us, Patricia, Word of Mouth is here to stay!

Sue wrote to share, "I wish to thank Bookreporter for the wonderful book IRON LAKE by William Kent Krueger. It was a nice surprise to find it in my mailbox and realize I had been a winner in the contest. I am enjoying it...the literary style, the characters and the mystery of the book. I will add Cork O'Conner to my list of favorite characters and purchase the rest in the series. I have only read ORDINARY GRACE by Krueger in the past and loved it. Many thanks for the book and your weekly newsletters.” So glad to see how much Sue enjoyed this book!

Linda wrote, “I always love getting the Bookreporter newsletter, but it certainly seems that Fridays are getting closer together. That's good, because there's another newsletter, and bad --- another list of books to add to my TBR!”

The Nobel Prize in Literature: This year's recipient is Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Originally scheduled for November 8th, Simon & Schuster will release an annotated and updated version of THE LYRICS: 1961-2012 a week earlier on November 1st. First published in 2014, it's a comprehensive volume of Dylan’s lyrics, from the beginning of his career through the present day, along with his edits to dozens of songs.

THE GERMAN GIRL: We have a trailer for you for THE GERMAN GIRL, which is coming out on Tuesday. This debut novel is from Armando Lucas Correa, the publisher of People Espanol, and centers on the untold stories of those who were on the SS St. Louis --- including the lucky few who made it safely to Cuba. I look forward to reading this.

"Amanda Knox": The Netflix documentary about her is worth checking out; it’s very well done.

"This Is Us": Three episodes in, and it is some of the best television writing I have seen in years. This could be a book. Watch and see the pacing, and you will see what I mean. Picture reading it!

"Divorce" on HBO: Wanted to like it more than I did. Felt the first episode was wildly uneven. Will give it another episode this week.

While it was nice to have the house to myself last weekend, it’s great to have Tom and Greg both home. While I am a good cook, when home alone I am wont to eat things like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, with extra rice and pizza on English muffins. Last weekend, as I hunkered down here at the house when the rain came through, I did not have English muffins on hand, so I resorted to pizza on naan and on leftover garlic bread. Both were excellent, confirming to me that the canned pizza sauce and fresh mozzarella were more key than the dough base.

I got through about 1/10 of my plan for sorting papers/reading/knitting for the weekend. Tom jokes that I have no sense of how long things actually take; I will explain what I want to do in a weekend, and he will roll his eyes and say, "That is enough for a month." And shockingly he is right, most of the time.

Tomorrow I am headed to the Hillsborough Library in New Jersey for the first-ever Somerset County Book Lover's Tea, which I am thrilled to share is sold out, with a waiting list. I am going to present 30 books in 30 minutes. I am looking forward to this, and I have my tea cup all ready to go!

The rest of the weekend is about finding some mums for the front porch, decorating for Halloween and repotting more plants to bring inside! And reading...lots and lots of reading.

Read on, and have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

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

Featured Review: SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult --- a Bets On Title
SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Audra McDonald with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders, or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Reviewed by Katherine B. Weissman.

SMALL GREAT THINGS will be a Bets On selection. Read Carol's commentary about the book in the October 21st newsletter.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the discussion guide.
-Click here to visit the book's official website.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: ORDER TO KILL by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
ORDER TO KILL: A Mitch Rapp Novel by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by George Guidall
CIA operative Mitch Rapp finds himself chasing false leads from continent to continent in an effort to keep Pakistani nukes from falling into the hands of terrorists. Together with friend and colleague Scott Coleman, Rapp struggles to prevent the loss of these lethal weapons, particularly because Russia is also interested in the nukes, though not for the same reason as Rapp and Coleman. It soon becomes alarmingly clear that the forces in Moscow are bent on fomenting even more chaos and turmoil in the Middle East, and Rapp must go deep into Russian territory, posing as an American ISIS recruit. There, he uncovers a plan much more dangerous and insidious than he ever expected. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT by Maria Semple
TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT by Maria Semple (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Kathleen Wilhoite
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action, life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office, but not Eleanor, that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir, the dramatic tale of which threatens to reveal a buried family secret. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Sneak Peek Contest: Enter to Win an Advance Copy of I FOUND YOU by Lisa Jewell and Share Your Comments on It
Our latest Sneak Peek Feature spotlights I FOUND YOU by Lisa Jewell, a suspenseful drama about a young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin. The book doesn’t release until April 25th, but we have 25 advance copies to give away to readers who can commit to previewing it and sharing their comments on it by Friday, December 9th. To enter, please fill out this form by Thursday, October 20th at noon ET.

I FOUND YOU by Lisa Jewell (Psychological Suspense)
In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, 21-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night, she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable --- and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

-Click here to read Lisa Jewell's bio.
-Connect with Lisa Jewell on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our Sneak Peek Feature and enter the contest.
Complete a Survey About Your Book Newsletter Reading Habits --- and Enter for Your Chance to Win a $50 Visa Gift Card!
A major publisher wants to learn more about the audience for newsletters that focus on book-related information, advice and commentary. Since you subscribe to one or more newsletters of this type, we’d love to learn about your reading preferences and habits.

This quick and easy survey should take less than three minutes. Once completed, you may enter for a chance to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards.

Thank you for your input!
Click here to complete the survey and enter to win a $50 Visa gift card.
Featured Review: MY OWN WORDS by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams
MY OWN WORDS by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (Political Science)
Audiobook available; read by Linda Lavin, with a preface and archival original recordings read by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
MY OWN WORDS offers Ruth Bader Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. Justice Ginsburg has written an introduction to the book, and Hartnett and Williams introduce each chapter, giving biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted. Reviewed by Jane Krebs.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: A LIFE IN PARTS by Bryan Cranston
A LIFE IN PARTS by Bryan Cranston (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Bryan Cranston
In A LIFE IN PARTS, Bryan Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany, and beyond, to mega-stardom and a cult-like following. He accomplishes this by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played, on camera (astronaut, dentist, detective, candy bar spokesperson, President of the United States, etc.) and off (paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, son, brother, lover, husband, father). With great humor and much humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular to a recurring spot on “Seinfeld,” and gives a bracing account of his challenging run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett
THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Adenrele Ojo
Mourning her mother’s recent suicide, 17-year-old Nadia Turner takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is 21, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. The pregnancy that results from this teen romance --- and the subsequent cover-up --- will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA by Gary Younge
ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge (Current Affairs)
Audiobook available, read by Mirron Willis
On an average day in America, seven young people aged 19 or under will be shot dead. In ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA, award-winning Guardian journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during the course of a single day in the United States. It could have been any day, but Younge has chosen November 23, 2013. From Jaiden Dixon (9), shot point-blank by his mother’s ex-boyfriend on his doorstep in Ohio, to Pedro Dado Cortez (16), shot by an enemy gang on a street corner in California, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of 24 hours to reveal the powerful human stories behind the statistics. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review. Bets On: CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD by Caroline Leavitt
CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD by Caroline Leavitt (Historical Fiction)
Caroline Leavitt always brings a fresh approach to her writing. From the moment that I open one of her books, I know I am going to be in for something special and unexpected. CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD is set in the early '70s. Lucy is 16 when she runs away from home with William, one of her teachers, to live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. It’s all about love, until it’s not. Her much older half-sister, Iris, who she knows as her aunt, and her teenage sister, Charlotte, are frantic to find her. Love, loss and longing all figure into the story, which is written in Caroline’s signature style that pulls apart everyday lives and finds the deeper stories in them by getting into her characters' hearts and heads. Each page begs you to read another.

The characters are so well-formed that you can see them --- and ache for them when you are not cheering them on. Love comes close, then flees so many times. You want to reconstruct the dialogue to keep the emotional unraveling from happening across the generations, but Caroline tugs you in another hopeful direction, only to then spin you again.

One quick note: A reader wrote to ask about the commas in the title on the spine of the book (we have not seen them referenced in reviews or copy online, but be sure to note them on the spine). I asked Caroline about them. She said, “I just liked the look of the title better with commas and also the sound of it with pause, and also I am deeply superstitious and all my titles now have to be three words!” I look forward to her next three-word-titled book.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.'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 are 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 are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our final prize book will be announced on Monday, October 17th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

Click here to read all the contest details and learn more about our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
PRECIOUS AND GRACE: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (17) by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
Audiobook available, narrated by Lisette Lecat
Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE GENERAL VS. THE PRESIDENT: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War by H. W. Brands (History/Politics)
Audiobook available, read by Scott Brick
At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, "The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has." This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done. Two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

A TERRIBLE BEAUTY: A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander (Historical Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Bianca Amato
On a quest to distract her lifelong friend Jeremy from his recent heartbreak, Lady Emily organizes a holiday in Greece. As a lover of all things Greek, she quickly finds herself occupied with tours of ancient ruins, lively debates with Margaret, a devoted Latinist, and slightly more scandalous endeavors with her dashing husband, Colin Hargreaves. But the pleasantries are brought to an abrupt halt when a man long believed dead greets the party at their island villa. Lord Philip Ashton, Colin's childhood best friend and Emily's first husband, has returned. But can Philip really be who he claims, even if he has the scars and stories to prove it? Where has he been for all this time? And will his undying love for Emily drive him to claim what's his? Reviewed by Amie Taylor.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Tasha Alexander's blog post, "Lady Emily Confronts History, Ancient and Modern."

HOMEWARD BOUND: The Life of Paul Simon by Peter Ames Carlin (Biography)
Audiobook available, read by Adam Grupper
The grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, Paul Simon has not only sold more than 100 million records, won 15 Grammy Awards and been installed into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame twice, but has also animated the meaning --- and flexibility --- of personal and cultural identity in a rapidly shrinking world. He has lived one of the most vibrant lives of modern times --- a story replete with tales of Carrie Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Shelley Duvall, Nelson Mandela, drugs, depression, marriage, divorce and more. Peter Ames Carlin's HOMEWARD BOUND is the first major biography of one of the most influential popular artists in American history. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE KID by Ron Hansen (Historical Fiction/Western)
Audiobook available, read by Mark Bramhall
Born Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid was a diminutive, charming, blond-haired young man who, growing up in New York, Kansas and later New Mexico, demonstrated a precocious dexterity at firing six-shooters with either hand --- a skill that both got him into and out of trouble and that turned him into an American legend of the old West. He was smart, well-spoken, attractive to both white and Mexican women, a good dancer, and a man with a nose for money, horses and trouble. His spree of crimes and murders has been immortalized in dime westerns, novels and movies. But the whole story of his short, epically violent life has never been told as it has been here. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

WITHOUT MERCY: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (Mystery/Thriller)
Audiobook available, performed by Tom Stechschulte
Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent 25 years solving brutal murders, but none so bizarre and merciless as his latest case. A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found chained to a tree on a remote mountainside. As Brockton and his assistant, Miranda, dig deeper, they uncover warning signs of a deadly eruption of hatred and violence. But the shocking case is only the beginning of Brockton’s trials. Mid-case, the unthinkable happens: The deadliest criminal Brockton has ever foiled --- the sadistic serial killer Nick Satterfield --- escapes from prison, bent on vengeance. But simply killing Brockton isn’t enough. Satterfield wants to make him suffer first, by destroying everything he holds dear. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE 7th CANON by Robert Dugoni (Legal Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by James Patrick Cronin
In San Francisco’s seamy Tenderloin district, a teenage street hustler has been murdered in a shelter for boys. And the dedicated priest who runs the struggling home stands accused. But despite damning evidence that he’s a killer, Father Thomas Martin stands by his innocence. And attorney Peter Donley stands with him. But a ruthless DA seeking headlines and a brutal homicide cop bent on vengeance have their own agendas. Now, as he unearths the dirty secrets surrounding the case, Donley must risk his neck to save his client’s life --- and expose the face of true evil. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS: A Memoir by Tara Clancy (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Tara Clancy
Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender and first-generation author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. From scheming and gambling with her force-of-nature grandmother, to brawling with 11-year-old girls on the concrete recess battle yard of MS 172, to holding court beside Joey O’Dirt, Goiter Eddy and Roger the Dodger at her dad’s local bar, Tara leapfrogs across these varied spheres, delivering stories from each world with originality, grit and outrageous humor. Reviewed by Allison Sharp.

-Click here to read an excerpt.

THE HEART OF HENRY QUANTUM by Pepper Harding (Fiction)
Audiobook available; read by Kirby Heyborne, Madeleine Maby and Candace Thaxton
Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important --- specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes on the morning of December 23rd. Henry sets off that day in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. His wife, meanwhile, is hiding a secret of her own. And Daisy, who has made the unsettling choice of leaving her husband to strike out on her own, finds herself questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

BILL CLIFTON: America's Bluegrass Ambassador to the World by Bill C. Malone (Biography)
The most atypical of bluegrass artists, Bill Clifton has enjoyed a long career as a recording artist, performer and champion of old-time music. Bill C. Malone now pens the story of Clifton's eclectic life and influential career. Born into a prominent Maryland family, Clifton connected with old-time music as a boy. He made records around earning a Master's degree, 15 years in the British folk scene, and stints in the Peace Corps and Marines. Yet that was just the beginning. Clifton altered our very perceptions of the music --- organizing one of the first outdoor bluegrass festivals, publishing a book of folk and gospel standards that became a cornerstone of the folk revival, and introducing both traditional and progressive bluegrass around the world. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on October 18th

Below are some notable titles releasing on October 18th that we would like to make you aware of. We will have more on many of these books in the weeks to come. For a list of additional hardcovers and paperbacks releasing the week of October 17th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

THE BOY IS BACK by Meg Cabot (Romance)
A scandal brings Reed Stewart back home to the small town, crazy family, and first love he left behind. Now Reed and Becky Flowers can’t avoid one another --- or the memories of that one fateful night.

THE CHRISTMAS TOWN by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her. Now 20 years old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. One night, she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

CRIME PLUS MUSIC: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir edited by Jim Fusilli (Mystery/Noir Anthology)
CRIME PLUS MUSIC collects 20 darkly intense, music-related noir stories by world-renowned mystery authors. Edited by novelist and Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli, the book exposes the nasty side of the world of popular music, revealing it to be the perfect setting for noir.

ESCAPE CLAUSE: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford (Thriller)
The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Then there’s the homefront. Virgil Flowers’ relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but the situation will get a lot more complicated.

A GAMBLER'S ANATOMY by Jonathan Lethem (Fiction)
Alexander Bruno travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur “whales” who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon. But after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore and Berlin, he is given a depressing diagnosis. His only hope is to return to Berkeley and undergo experimental surgery paid for by the scheming Keith Stolarsky.

THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith (Historical Thriller)
Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. A fisherman named Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia, on the run due to her Jewish heritage, rather than hand her over to the Nazis.

IQ by Joe Ide (Mystery)
Someone in East Long Beach has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the LAPD can't or won't touch. They call him IQ. This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic.

MISTER MONKEY by Francine Prose (Fiction)
“Mister Monkey” is a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee. Margot knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She’s settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part until the day she receives a letter from an anonymous admirer and later has a shocking encounter with Adam, the 12-year-old who plays the title role.

THE NEXT by Stephanie Gangi (Fiction)
Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over Ned McGowan, her much younger ex. Joanna falls from her life into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right --- makes Ned pay --- so she can truly move on.

THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Thriller)
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead. Sick with grief, Pendergast's ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive --- only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past. Proctor, Pendergast's longtime bodyguard, springs to action.

THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict (Historical Fiction)
In 1896, Mileva “Mitza” Maric is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. For her, math seems like an easier path than marriage, until she falls in love with fellow student Albert Einstein. Albert promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, is there room for more than one genius in a marriage?

PARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIES by Jojo Moyes (Fiction/Short Stories)
Nell is 26 and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away before. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone --- including herself --- wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid.

THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt (Mystery)
Andy Carpenter’s long-time friend, Martha “Pups” Boyer, takes in stray puppies, raises them until they’re old enough to adopt, and then finds good homes for them. When one of Pups’ neighbors reports Pups to the city, Andy happily takes Pups’ case. But things get more complicated when the neighbor turns up dead.

Click here to see the latest "On Sale This Week" newsletter.
Our Latest Poll and Word of Mouth/Sounding Off on Audio Contests

Which fiction titles releasing in October are you planning to read? Please check all that apply.

  • BRIDGET JONES'S BABY: The Diaries, by Helen Fielding
  • THE CHRISTMAS TOWN by Donna VanLiere
  • CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD by Caroline Leavitt
  • ESCAPE CLAUSE: A Virgil Flowers Novel, by John Sandford
  • THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith
  • HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles
  • THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • ORDER TO KILL: A Mitch Rapp Novel, by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
  • PRECIOUS AND GRACE: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (17) by Alexander McCall Smith
  • SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult
  • THE TERRANAUTS by T.C. Boyle
  • THE TRESPASSER by Tana French
  • TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: A Christmas Novel, by Debbie Macomber
  • TWO BY TWO by Nicholas Sparks
  • THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD by Jade Chang
  • THE WHISTLER by John Grisham
  • WINTER STORMS by Elin Hilderbrand
  • None of the above
-Click here to vote in the poll.

Word of Mouth:

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 October 7th to October 21st at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith and THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict.

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

Sounding Off on Audio

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 October 3rd to November 1st at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Brit Bennett's THE MOTHERS, read by Adenrele Ojo, and Jodi Picoult's SMALL GREAT THINGS, read by Audra McDonald with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos.

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

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