Skip to main content

November 4, 2016 Newsletter November 4, 2016
Two Messages: First, Enjoy Your Extra Hour…and Second, Vote!
It’s here folks! No, I am not talking about the election; I am dancing with unbridled glee and joy about the extra hour of sleep/read/knit/whatever time that we will gain on Sunday at 2am! Here’s to rising in daylight next week, though the drive home in the evening in the early darkness will be a drag. But, ah, that hour; I am ready to snatch it back!

Wow, I heard from MANY readers who wanted to join me in Miami for the Miami Book Fair. I was able to get my hands on a few more passes, so I will have more guests than I planned; I am waiting to hear confirmation from four readers each using a pair of tickets. I love this! Still looking to share our Sponsor passes? Then shoot me a note to be on the “wait list.” The Fair has 600(!) authors in attendance, including my author guest for my Book Group panel on Saturday morning, November 19th, Gayle Forman, plus many of my Bets On authors, including Ann Hood, Caroline Leavitt and Joyce Maynard --- and I am wrapping my weekend with Colson Whitehead. It promises to be a terrific weekend, and if you are planning to attend, let me know. As we have done for other events, we would love to have reader correspondents reporting for us; we’ll supply the questions to make it simple.

Speaking of which, are any of you attending the Texas Book Festival this weekend? If so, let me know. I will send you a set of questions to answer about that book festival, which is one I always have wanted to attend! Jani, one of our readers, attended the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August and just got around to reporting on it for us now. This is definitely an event for a reader’s bucket list!

Last weekend, I read THE NOWHERE MAN by Gregg Hurwitz, his second Evan Smoak book (the first was ORPHAN X, which I picked as a Bets On selection). I confess to a crush on Evan Smoak, who is just soooo cool. You may remember hearing me talk about THE NOWHERE MAN already as my husband pulled a few very late nights reading both books; the new one is in stores on January 17th and will be a Bets On title.

I woke up early today to finish WRECKED by Maria Padian, a YA title that was cited last week as a Young Adult Book You Want to Read. The novel looks at a frat party gone awry and a case of sexual assault on a college campus. It weaves the story from many different perspectives. It’s very well done, and there’s a riveting blog post here by Maria where she talks about the book. If you have a student in college, it’s chilling reading as it looks at this issue, as well as social responsibility and the role of social media on campuses.

I confess that, like many of you, baseball kept me away from my usual reading time this week. On Wednesday night, as we were watching, I asked Tom, “What if this is a tie and goes into extra innings?” His answer: “Do not even think that. I am so tired.” Then it started raining and I asked, “Wonder if the game will stop because of the rain?” A few minutes later, they hauled the tarp onto the field. After that, from the look he gave me, I knew I should not bring up any more ideas about game delays! The officials were watching the radar, saw where the storm was and predicted they could pick up the game at 12:15am. Before radar, what would they have done? Called the folks in another city and asked, ”Hey, how is it looking there?” In case you missed them, there were two great celebratory ads that ran after the game --- one from Nike and one from Budweiser. You can see them both here. Of course, the producer in me wonders about the “other commercials” that you know were booked in case the Indians won.

With Halloween behind us, it’s fair game to talk about Johanna Basford’s JOHANNA’S CHRISTMAS coloring book, which is in stores now. Here’s something you want to know: “This book is printed single sided onto my signature ivory paper, with a perforated binding so you can remove your coloring creations once complete. Perfect for framing or creating Christmas craft projects.” Click here to see some of the pages. The book is a gift-giving idea...and so would be a framed colored picture!

Speaking of crafts, I was blown away to get a present in the mail from Judy, one of our longtime readers, with a new homemade bookmark, which you can see above. "I do color my books with markers, and use them to wrap small gifts or to make my own stationery. Your bookmark is dated, and the theme is fall and love of reading. I didn’t have time to sew a swimming pool with you picking leaves from it, but that would not be very happy. You and are the best thing that has ever happened to my love of books.” What a lovely homemade gift that is wildly appreciated.

Now to this week’s update...

Linwood Barclay’s internationally bestselling Promise Falls trilogy comes to a spine-tingling conclusion with THE TWENTY-THREE. It’s Memorial Day weekend in Promise Falls, and the small town has found itself in the midst of an out-and-out calamity. Hundreds of people are rushing to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms --- and dozens have already died. Evidence points to a contaminated water supply. But who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town? Meanwhile, a college student has been murdered, and the killer’s handiwork is familiar --- harkening back to the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23. Investigating why will bring Detective Barry Duckworth closer to death than he’s ever been before.

According to reviewer Joe Hartlaub, “Barclay’s pacing here is perfect. There is never a point in this book (or in the previous two installments) when matters feel as if they are either dragged or rushed. Barclay switches perspectives frequently throughout and always with good purpose, moving the story along at warp speed.” We also have comments here from some of our readers, who were early readers of THE TWENTY-THREE. With all three books in stores, it’s time to binge the series! Linwood gives some tips about how to do this in his recent newsletter; scroll down on this page to read it. You'll have my Bets On copy next week, and we have a few binge-themed treats from Linwood planned for the next few weeks.

Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch novel, THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, is a sizzling thrill ride. A reclusive billionaire is nearing the end of his life and is haunted by one regret. When he was young, he had an affair with a girl he conceives of as his great love. But soon after becoming pregnant, she disappeared. Did she have the baby? And if so, where is it? Desperate to know if he has an heir, the dying magnate hires Harry Bosch, California's newest private investigator. As he begins to uncover the haunting story --- and discovers uncanny links to his own past --- Bosch knows he cannot rest until he finds the truth. At the same time, he finds himself tracking a serial rapist who proves to be one of the most baffling and dangerous foes he has ever faced.

Joe Hartlaub has our review and says that the book “contains, even at this stage of Connelly’s career, some of his best plotting and writing to date while bringing changes to Bosch’s life…. One of the interesting pluses of this book is watching Bosch juggle his responsibilities with regard to these two unrelated cases. Something has to give, and it does, though not in the way one might expect.” By the way, season three of the Amazon Prime show "Bosch" has started filming. You can see a trailer here. I love this show.

Alice Hoffman astounded us only last year with her poignant novel, THE MARRIAGE OF OPPOSITES. Now, she brings us FAITHFUL, a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself. Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night she’s struck by an extraordinary tragedy. Her best friend’s future is swiftly destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky?

Reviewer Jana Siciliano has much praise for Hoffman’s latest surefire bestseller: "The wise and wondrous way that Shelby weaves her story is a primer for how to write about difficult subjects, mining their very marrow for all the pain they have to offer, yet bringing to light all the ways in which the puzzle of this pain can be solved.... Hoffman should be commended for finding such a gentle and persuasive tone to keep us in love with this difficult and depressed young woman."

Other books we’re reviewing this week include TRUEVINE by Beth Macy, the true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and the mother who refused to give up hope that someday they would return; AND EVERY MORNING THE WAY HOME GETS LONGER AND LONGER, Fredrik Backman’s novella that chronicles an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories and his family’s efforts to care for him, even as they must find a way to let go; and THE MOTION OF PUPPETS by Keith Donohue, which our reviewer Ray Palen believes is “destined to be a dark-fantasy classic.”

We’ve updated our New in Paperback feature for November. Among the authors whose books are releasing in paperback this month are Jeffery Deaver, Joyce Maynard, Danielle Steel, Robert Crais, Lisa Lutz, Gregg Hurwitz, Carly Simon and Eric Weiner. Later in this newsletter, we’ll be spotlighting the paperback release of THE EXPATRIATES by Janice Y. K. Lee, whose debut novel THE PIANO TEACHER received glowing reviews when it released seven years ago.

Also new this month is our Books on Screen feature, which includes the feature film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (based on Ben Fountain’s award-winning novel) and the made-for-TV movie The Mistletoe Promise (based on Richard Paul Evans’ Christmas-themed love story), the latter of which premieres tomorrow night, Saturday the 5th, at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel.

If you know that a book is the first title in a series, do you read it, or do you wait for more in the series to be published? That’s our latest poll question, and we’re very curious to learn what you typically do. Click here to let us know!

Our previous poll question asked which bestseller lists you typically look at. Your top three go-to lists are the New York Times (55%), Amazon (45%) and Barnes & Noble (29%). 16% of you do not look at bestseller lists, while 13% named other lists they pay attention to that weren’t among our choices. Some of these include Library Journal, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle. Click here for all the results.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest to tell you about. Please let us know by Friday, November 18th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win two highly anticipated thrillers: NIGHT SCHOOL, Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel, and NO MAN’S LAND, a continuation of David Baldacci’s John Puller series.

We’re also pleased to tell you about November’s Sounding Off on Audio contest; this month’s prizes are the audio versions of Wally Lamb's I'LL TAKE YOU THERE, performed by George Guidall, and Michael Chabon's MOONGLOW, performed by George Newbern. Submit your comments about the audiobooks you’ve listened to by Thursday, December 1st at noon ET, and you’ll have a chance to win both audio titles.

The winners of the Kirkus Prize were announced this week. THE SPORT OF KINGS by C. E. Morgan (Fiction), IN THE DARKROOM by Susan Faludi (Nonfiction), and AS BRAVE AS YOU by Jason Reynolds (Young Readers' Literature) all took home the Prize.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Betty write to share her praise for BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, saying, “I loved this book by B.A. Paris. I have loaned my book to four other women and they all say the same --- 'could not put it down.'"

From Margie: “In your latest Bookreporter, you mention the USA Today article on yarn stores. Two weeks ago, my daughter had to go to Toronto for work and I tagged along. While she was working, I went on a yarn store crawl. I was finally able to see and feel yarns I've only read about or seen online. Anyway, my point is how surprised I was to see the article in USA Today when I got home. The Purple Purl, the second store I visited, was named in the article. This was a small store in comparison to others I've been to, but it couldn't have been more welcoming. And because of this, I spent a lot of money there. Thanks for your wonderful newsletter.”

From Bobbie: “You know when I find an exceptional Audible listen, you are one of the first people on my list I want to share it with. RED NOTICE by Bill Browder is not a new book. It is the author's true story, and it reads (listens?) like a thriller. There were many OMG moments in this book, and if you are looking for a different type of memoir, I think you and Greg would really enjoy this on your commutes into and out of work! Let me know if you do listen. Would love to know what you think!”

"What Knitting Can Teach Us About Parenting": Written by Perri Klass, MD, whose writing I enjoy.

Really interesting article by Emily St. John Mandel about exploring why are there so many books with “girl” in the title.

A MAN CALLED OVE: The aforementioned Fredrik Backman’s book is among his country’s most popular literary exports since THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Here he talks about rejection.

One more fun Grisham piece: He thinks he has lost $6 million on his first book. See why!

"Good Girls Revolt": Based on the book by Lynn Povich, it is now airing on Amazon Prime Video. Nicole in our office gave it a rave, and I have it lined up for weekend watching.

Thoughtful Piece by Dani Shapiro: 7 People You Will Lose in Your Life — and How to Cope

Last week, I showed you some luscious yarn that I had bought from StevenBe. I bought a pattern to knit it in and magically found some yarn that I thought would substitute nicely for what he recommended. And then I decided to make up my own pattern doing a scarf instead of a shawl. The result is above…before I “un-knitted” or “reverse knitted” it. Which is what I spend at least half of my knitting time doing! It ends up my substitute yarn was “thick and thin” and thus not right for the edge. So I am hatching up a new plan. During the rain delay in Game 7 of the World Series, I asked Tom his opinion on adding in a new third color of gold mohair. His look sent me back to asking baseball questions.

The pool is closed; I grabbed one final swim last Sunday. Actually it was more like I motored around the pool as a human leaf collector. But the water was 50 degrees, and the wetsuit kept me toasty, so that temperature promise from the manufacturer of keeping me warm at 50 degrees proved right.

For a change of pace, Tom and I are going to take a drive out to the Hamptons for the day tomorrow. I love going out there when the crowds are gone. We’re going to do some exploring and hopefully hit some bookstores. I loathe traffic "during season" and thus never leave our friend’s house to explore when we are there! Greg is headed up to Cooperstown for the weekend for some off-roading. Cory bought a drone; he will drop by at some point and fly it around the house!

Next up on my reading list is THE GERMAN GIRL by Armando Lucas Correa. It’s in stores already, and we will have our review next week. Armando will be at the Miami Book Fair, and I want to read it before I go.

I stay away from politics on this website, but I will say this: Please vote on Tuesday. It’s a privilege, and there are millions of people around the world who would kill (literally) to have a chance to vote. You have that right. Exercise it. And read up on the issues that may be on the ballot (the language on some of these are written in such a convoluted way that you'll want to take a look before you are standing in the voting booth), as well as the people running, and vote on those too. End of sermon.

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: THE TWENTY-THREE by Linwood Barclay --- the Conclusion to the Promise Falls Trilogy and a Bets On Title
THE TWENTY-THREE: A Promise Falls Novel by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Richard Poe and Brian O'Neill
It’s May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms, and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town? Meanwhile, a college student has been murdered, and Detective Barry Duckworth has seen the killer’s handiwork before --- in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE TWENTY-THREE will be a Bets On selection. Read Carol's commentary about the book in the November 11th newsletter.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for our series feature.
-Click here to see advance readers’ comments.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE by Michael Connelly --- Book #19 in the Harry Bosch Series
THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE: A Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Titus Welliver
One of Southern California's biggest moguls is nearing the end of his life and is haunted by one regret. When he was young, he had a relationship with a Mexican girl, his great love. But soon after becoming pregnant, she disappeared. Did she have the baby? And if so, what happened to it? Desperate to know if he has an heir, the dying magnate hires Harry Bosch, California's newest private investigator. As he begins to uncover the haunting story --- and finds uncanny links to his own past --- Harry knows he cannot rest until he finds the truth. At the same time, he finds himself tracking a serial rapist who is one of the most baffling and dangerous foes he has ever faced. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

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

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: FAITHFUL by Alice Hoffman

FAITHFUL by Alice Hoffman (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Amber Tamblyn
Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls --- including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Now Available in Paperback: THE EXPATRIATES by Janice Y. K. Lee

THE EXPATRIATES by Janice Y. K. Lee (Fiction)
Janice Y. K. Lee’s New York Times bestselling debut, THE PIANO TEACHER, was called “immensely satisfying” by People, “intensely readable” by O, The Oprah Magazine, and “a rare and exquisite story” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, in her long-awaited new novel, Lee explores with devastating poignancy the emotions, identities and relationships of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong.

Click here to read more about the book.
Featured Review: TRUEVINE by Beth Macy
TRUEVINE: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy (History)
Audiobook available, read by Suzanne Toren
George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day, a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever. Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume. Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars, or in poverty at home? Reviewed by Dunja Bonacci.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Audiobook available, read by David Morse
Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. As they wait together there, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, and what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her. Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father; in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond. Grandpa, Grandma, Ted and Noah all meet in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Coming Sunday, November 13th: The 2016 Miami Book Fair
The Miami Book Fair, now in its 33rd year, is an eight-day event that kicks off Sunday, November 13th 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 18th, 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, November 18-20th, 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 T.C. Boyle, Geraldine Brooks, Jade Chang, Eoin Colfer, Armando Lucas Correa, Alan Cumming, Edwidge Danticat, Gayle Forman, Emily Giffin, Nathan Hill, Ann Hood, Caroline Leavitt, Lois Lowry, Joyce Maynard, Jay McInerney, Trevor Noah, Amor Towles, Colson Whitehead, Gene Luen Yang, and many, many more. Click here for the full list.
Click here for more information about the 2016 Miami Book Fair.
November's New in Paperback Roundups
November’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes 15th AFFAIR by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, a Women's Murder Club thriller that finds Detective Lindsay Boxer chasing an elusive, possibly very dangerous suspect --- her husband, Joe; Joyce Maynard's UNDER THE INFLUENCE, a poignant novel about the true meaning --- and the true price --- of friendship; THE PASSENGER by Lisa Lutz, the story of a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past; and ORPHAN X, the opening installment of Gregg Hurwitz's series that introduces readers to Evan Smoak, aka the Nowhere Man, whose personal mission it is to help those with nowhere else to turn.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are Carly Simon's memoir BOYS IN THE TREES, which reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, and ultimately delving into her meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain"; THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, which finds Eric Weiner traveling the world to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times; and THE RISE OF GERMANY, a masterful book by James Holland, who draws on his many years of research to reconsider the strategy, tactics, and economic, political and social aspects of the Second World War.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of October 31st, November 7th, November 14th, November 21st and November 28th.
November's Books on Screen Feature
Despite appearances to the contrary, November 2016 is no turkey. It's the perfect month for movie lovers to get in some serious watching before Peak Prestige Season™ hits. With an assortment of entertainment as vast and delectable as a Thanksgiving dinner, there's plenty to be thankful for this month --- that is, if you love Books on Screen.

Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch get a special treat this month with Marvel's latest, Doctor Strange, about a neurosurgeon who --- after losing the use of his hands in a tragic accident --- finds himself on the front lines of an epic battle between good and evil. Early reviews claim the movie goes for style over substance, but sometimes a good old-fashioned detox is in order. And speaking of style, luxury designer Tom Ford's sophomore effort, Nocturnal Animals, hits theaters later this month. It stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as a divorced couple who are hiding dark secrets from each other and themselves.

If you haven't been satisfied by a movie since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 came out in 2011, I have some good news for you: the Rowling brand is back in theaters with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which takes us back in time to the 1920s with a magical mystery, an ominous threat, and a cagey Colin Farrell.

On TV, Hallmark Channel has a steadfast, if a little premature, offering of holiday movies, kicking off with The Mistletoe Promise early this month. If you haven't already binged "Good Girls Revolt" on Amazon, office intel claims this is the one to watch. And if you're looking for something a little more transgressive, "Good Behavior" premieres on TNT, starring Michelle Dockery as a con artist trying (and failing) to go straight.
Click here to see all the movies and TV shows featured in November’s Books on Screen.
More Reviews This Week
THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS by Mark Frost (Supernatural Thriller)
Audiobook available; read by Mat Hostetler, Len Cariou, Mark Frost, Michael Horse, David Patrick Kelly, Robert Knepper, Kyle MacLachlan, James Morrison, Chris Mulkey, Amy Shiels, Russ Tamblyn and Annie Wersching
THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS enlarges the world of the original series, placing the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale. This supernatural thriller is the perfect way to get in the mood for the upcoming Showtime series, which is set to debut in 2017. Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge.

FILTHY RICH: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffery Epstein by James Patterson and John Connolly, with Tim Malloy (True Crime)
Audiobook available, read by Jason Culp
Jeffrey Epstein rose from humble origins to the rarefied heights of New York City's financial elite. A college dropout with an instinct for numbers --- and for people --- Epstein amassed his wealth through a combination of access and skill. But even after he had it all, Epstein wanted more. And that unceasing desire --- especially a taste for young girls --- resulted in his stunning fall from grace. From Epstein himself, to the girls he employed as masseuses at his home, to the cops investigating the appalling charges against him, FILTHY RICH examines all sides of a case that scandalized one of America's richest communities. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Biography)
Audiobook available, read by Gildart Jackson
Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child. Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition, his childhood was an isolated one. Afraid to leave his bedroom, he would plan great voyages, using railway timetables to plot an exact imaginary route across Europe. So how did this fearful figure become one of the most respected film directors of the 20th century? As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press's portrait of him, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. In this quick-witted portrait, Ackroyd reveals something more: a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE FALL GUY by James Lasdun (Psychological Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Charles Constant
Charlie, a wealthy banker with an uneasy conscience, invites his troubled cousin Matthew to visit him and his wife in their idyllic mountaintop house. As the days grow hotter, the friendship between the three begins to reveal its fault lines, and with the arrival of a fourth character, the household finds itself suddenly in the grip of uncontrollable passions. THE FALL GUY is a complex moral tale as well as a gripping suspense story, probing questions of guilt and betrayal with ruthless incisiveness. Who is the real victim here? Who is the perpetrator? And who, ultimately, is the fall guy? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

EL PASO by Winston Groom (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Robertson Dean
Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early 20th century, bestselling author Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this episodic saga set in six parts. Pitting the legendary Pancho Villa against “the Colonel,” a thrill-seeking Bostonian railroad tycoon whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, EL PASO opens during a time of dramatic upheaval in Mexico --- its government being squeezed on one end by Villa’s revolutionaries and on the other by “filthy” American capitalists. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

CROSSTALK by Connie Willis (Science Fiction/Romance)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mia Barron
In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal --- to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don’t quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely --- in a way far beyond what she signed up for. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love --- and communication --- are far more complicated than she ever imagined. Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds.

SHIRLEY JACKSON’S "THE LOTTERY": The Authorized Graphic Adaptation by Miles Hyman (Graphic Novel)
Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” continues to thrill and unsettle readers nearly seven decades after it was first published. This graphic adaptation by Jackson’s grandson, Miles Hyman, allows readers to experience “The Lottery” as never before, or to discover it anew. He has crafted an eerie vision of the hamlet where the tale unfolds and the unforgettable ritual its inhabitants set into motion. Hyman’s full-color, meticulously detailed panels create a noirish atmosphere that adds a new dimension of dread to the original story. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth for

BLOOD AND SAND: Suez, Hungary, and Eisenhower's Campaign for Peace by Alex von Tunzelmann (History)
The year 1956 was a turning point in history. Over 16 extraordinary days, the twin crises involving Suez and Hungary pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear conflict. BLOOD AND SAND delivers this story in an hour-by-hour account through a fascinating international cast of characters: Anthony Eden, the British prime minister, caught in a trap of his own making; Gamal Abdel Nasser, the bold young populist leader of Egypt; David Ben-Gurion, the aging Zionist hero of Israel; Guy Mollet, the bellicose French prime minister; and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American president, torn between an old world order and a new one in the very same week that his own fate as president was to be decided by the American people. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

THE MOTION OF PUPPETS by Keith Donohue (Fantasy/Horror)
Audiobook available, read by Bronson Pinchot
In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. Late one night, she fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside. The next morning, her husband Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

DIE LAUGHING: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks by William Novak (Humor)
Growing older can be unsettling and surprising. (How on earth did this happen? Where did the years go?) So what better way to deal with this new stage of life than to laugh about your new reality? DIE LAUGHING includes more than enough jokes (not to mention cartoons!) to let that laughter burst out. Whether it’s dealing with doctors, dating in one’s 70s, or unexpected bodily changes (not to mention funny noises), some things are easier to face with a smile of recognition. That’s why DIE LAUGHING is the perfect gift for your parents, anyone celebrating a significant birthday, or any boomer with a sense of humor whose age begins with a six or higher. Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth for
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on November 7th and 8th

Below are some notable titles releasing on November 7th and 8th 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 November 7th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

November 7th

NIGHT SCHOOL: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Thriller)
It’s 1996, and Reacher is still in the army. A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.” For what? And who from? Reacher and his two new friends --- an FBI agent and a CIA analyst --- are told to find the American.

November 8th

THE CHEMIST by Stephenie Meyer (Thriller)
She was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now, when she’s offered a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back.

LIVING OUT LOUD: Sports, Cancer, and the Things Worth Fighting For by Craig Sager with Craig Sager II and Brian Curtis (Memoir)
Craig Sager is one of the most beloved and recognizable broadcasters on television. So when the sports world learned that he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), there was an outpouring of support over his fearless decision to continue doing the job he loved. In LIVING OUT LOUD, Sager shares stories from his career and chronicles his battle.

THIS WAS A MAN: The Final Volume of The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer (Fiction)
Harry Clifton sets out to write his magnum opus, while his wife Emma receives an unexpected call from Margaret Thatcher offering her a job. Meanwhile, Lady Virginia sees another opportunity to clear her debts and finally trump the Cliftons and Barringtons. One of the Cliftons receives a shocking diagnosis that will throw all their lives into turmoil.

UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN by Keigo Higashino (Mystery)
In Osaka in 1973, Detective Sasagaki is unable to solve a murder. Over the next 20 years, through the lens of a succession of characters, Keigo Higashino tells the story of two teens, Ryo and Yukiho, whose lives are most affected by the crime, and the obsessed detective, Sasagaki, who continues to investigate the murder, looking for the elusive truth.

WHERE MEMORY LEADS: My Life by Saul Friedländer (Memoir)
Forty years after his acclaimed, poignant first memoir, Saul Friedländer returns, bridging the gap between the ordeals of his childhood and his present-day towering reputation in the field of Holocaust studies. This memoir led Friedländer to reflect on the events that induced him to devote 16 years of his life to writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece.

Click here to see the latest "On Sale This Week" newsletter.
Our Latest Poll: Reading Series Openers
If you know that a book is the first title in a series, do you read it, or do you wait for more in the series to be published?

  • I will read the book and anticipate the next installment.
  • I prefer to wait until more books in the series are released before reading the first installment.
  • It depends on the author. If it is an author whose work I know, I may start reading right away. If the author is someone new to me, I am more inclined to wait.
  • I do not read books that I know are part of a series.
  • Other (Please specify)
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Two 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 4th to November 18th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of NIGHT SCHOOL: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and NO MAN’S LAND by David Baldacci.

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 1st to December 1st at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Wally Lamb's I'LL TAKE YOU THERE, performed by George Guidall, and Michael Chabon's MOONGLOW, performed by George Newbern.

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.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

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

The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107