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November 11, 2016 Newsletter November 11, 2016
Hamptons Book Store Tour...and More...

Last weekend, Tom and I spent a brilliant fall day in the Hamptons. We started off with a visit to Books & Books in Westhampton, which is a partnership with the Books & Books properties in South Florida and the Caymans. Walking in, I found myself looking at the store design as much as the books. It had architectural elements of the other stores and a fabulous selection of giant oversized art books, which I have loved so much in the Coral Gables and Bal Harbour stores. Tom browsed the history shelves and bought a book. After our stop there, I wandered into a local coffee shop and was happy to find Denise Berthiaume and Jack McKeown, who own this Books & Books, which was a lovely surprise.

I found a small yarn shop called Black Sheep Knitworks on Newtown Lane in East Hampton, which is run by a lovely woman named Christine. I had three yarn projects with me; I know, you can laugh. We were gone for the day, and I was packing projects like I was gone for a month. She shared advice on two of the projects that were stumping me, which is what happens when I use my imagination (why when I write “my imagination” do I think of that annoying purple dinosaur from when the boys were young) and go “off pattern.”

From there we walked over to BookHampton on Main Street, which had reopened in May. I wandered around doing my usual snooping on what people were looking at, and buying, as well as perusing the shelves for books that we had reviewed, and trying to see what we might have overlooked. I introduced myself to the folks behind the counter, including the store’s owner, Carolyn Brody, and Colin Bertram, the store’s manager, failing to capture the name of the third employee. They all said, “We read the Bookreporter newsletter,” which completely made my day. That led to lots more bookish conversation! You can see a photo of me with Carolyn above.

The rest of the day was walking on the bluffs in Montauk, stopping by our friend’s home in Amagansett and meandering around. A really lovely day.

Yesterday I went to a media lunch for Vaddey Ratner, whose book, MUSIC OF THE GHOSTS, will be coming out on April 11th. Her last book, IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN, which was published in 2012, was one of my Bets On selections. Back then, two copies of BANYAN arrived in the office. Greg grabbed one and read 100 pages on his train ride home and emailed me from the train to say, “This is an incredible book.” By the next day, he had finished it and was hounding me to read it so we could talk about it. I love when that happens with a book. I was so looking forward to catching up with Vaddey (you can see a picture of the two of us above; it’s been four years since we have been in contact) and hearing more about her new book.

Vaddey was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Four years later, having endured forced labor, starvation and near execution, she and her mother escaped, and in 1981 she arrived in the U.S. as a refugee. Now she travels to Cambodia at least twice a year, and over lunch she talked about how when she is there she does a lot of listening, not writing, hearing the stories of others told in their own voices --- voices that will infuse her own work. She told a story about a recent trip there, where the years of genocide are still fresh on people’s minds. She was in a cab, and her driver noted that he was a former Khmer Rouge soldier, sending chills through her. In her upcoming novel, Vaddey’s protagonist, Teera, is 37 and has returned to Cambodia after two decades, bearing the ashes of her deceased aunt, along with a letter from an elderly musician who claims to have known her father in a Khmer Rouge prison before he disappeared. I am only 20 pages into the book, but already Vaddey has tugged me into her writing.

We have a report from last weekend’s Texas Book Festival where longtime attendees Anne Glasgow and Kathy Bigelow shared comments about their experience.

Next Friday, I head to Miami for the Miami Book Fair. My sister-in-law Katie is meeting me there, along with her girls Kelly and Glynis. Also, I will be meeting up with a number of Bookreporter readers and one of our Teen Board members; it’s always fun to put a face to an email address! The lineup for the weekend is stellar, and will include many of the National Book Award finalists. The National Book Awards ceremony is Wednesday night, and Rebecca Munro from our Teenreads/Kidsreads sites and I will be on hand for the celebration. More on that next week. The Miami Book Fair programming kicks off this Sunday night. If any of you will be at events during this week, let me know as I would love a report on them!

Now to this week’s update...

Lee Child’s incomparable hero returns in his most explosive novel yet, NIGHT SCHOOL. It’s 1996, and Jack Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Two other men, an FBI agent and a CIA analyst, are in the classroom. A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor --- a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. 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 from whom? Reacher and his two new friends are told to find the American. Reacher recruits the best soldier he has ever worked with: Sergeant Frances Neagley. Their mission heats up in more ways than one, while always keeping their eyes on the prize: If they don’t get their man, the world will suffer an epic act of terrorism.

According to reviewer Joe Hartlaub, “Child displays some of his best plotting and writing to date.” He goes on to say, “Regardless of whether NIGHT SCHOOL is a harbinger of further exploration of Reacher’s early adventures or a momentary fancy, it is, as they used to say, a crackling good read.” And here is a great piece from The New Yorker in which John Lanchester takes an interesting look into the character of Reacher.

We’re giving away NIGHT SCHOOL, along with David Baldacci's latest John Puller thriller, NO MAN’S LAND, in our Word of Mouth contest. Let us know by Friday, November 18th at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and three of you will be awarded both novels.

Fans of THE NIGHTINGALE, SCHINDLER'S LIST and ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE will appreciate Armando Lucas Correa’s ambitious new novel, THE GERMAN GIRL. The book explores 12-year-old Hannah Rosenthal’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion. Before everything changed, young Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they’ll meet it together. Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage out of Germany. But soon ominous rumors from Cuba undermine the passengers’ fragile sense of safety, and the ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom. Seven decades later in New York City, on her 12th birthday, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents will inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past.

Sarah Jackman has our review and says, “Both narratives speak beautifully of the tragedy, devotion and hope that accompany losing all that one has and growing up underneath the weight of the world. Armando Lucas Correa tells the fate of the St. Louis’s passengers with care and respect, trying his best to do justice to those caught in the dishonesty and turmoil that was the world’s landscape at the outset of World War II.” I devoured THE GERMAN GIRL last weekend, and it will be a Bets On pick; you can read my commentary in next week’s newsletter.

Other books we’re reviewing this week include memoirs from Phil Collins, Wayne Gretzky and Tippi Hedren; BLACK WIDOW, Christopher Brookmyre’s latest thriller featuring rogue reporter Jack Parlabane; and UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN by Keigo Higashino (who made his US debut in 2011 with THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X), a mystery that centers on a 20-year-old murder, two teenagers linked by the crime and a detective’s obsession to finally uncover the truth.

THE TWENTY-THREE, the conclusion to Linwood Barclay’s Promise Falls trilogy, is my latest Bets On title. Click here to find out why I give it such a strong recommendation. And may we suggest that you binge read the trilogy? The first two books in the series are BROKEN PROMISE and FAR FROM TRUE, both of which were also Bets On selections when they released in hardcover. It’s fun to line up the books and escape into a series like this. As you may recall, we have 23 readers doing this, with their reports due at the end of November. Eight readers have their comments in, and I snagged a look at one this morning from Sue that said, “Thank you for allowing me to read and review this trilogy. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read them all back-to-back because I don’t think I could have waited months in between books! All his past novels are going on my reading list as well as future ones. Cannot believe what I’ve been missing.”

Speaking of series, our latest poll question revolves around series books, specifically the opening installments. 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? Click here to let us know what you do. It’s been very interesting seeing your feedback on this question.

It’s that time of year again: 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 CITY ON EDGE by Stefanie Pintoff (a thriller set against the backdrop of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), THE HEART OF HENRY QUANTUM by Pepper Harding, and JOHANNA’S CHRISTMAS: A Festive Coloring Book for Adults by Johanna Basford.

For all you audiobook lovers out there, you won’t want to miss out on your chance 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 be one of two winners in this month's Sounding Off on Audio contest, all you have to do is submit comments about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to. The deadline for your entries is Thursday, December 1st at noon ET.

News & Pop Culture

Reader Mail:

Jean wrote, “While I would love to attend a book fair, they are typically held too far from where I live. But there is an alternative way to meet writers here –-- at talks sponsored by the local library and university. Through these venues, I have met Michael Connelly, Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiaasen, John Barth and more. Audiences are usually 150 people or less, making it possible to speak with the writers one on one. Most notably this weekend, I met Allan Gurganus, author of OLDEST LIVING CONFEDERATE WIDOW TELLS ALL. He is a delightful, charming man who spoke movingly about the importance of writing and gave tips to inspire the audience of aspiring writers. It was an honor to talk with him. Encourage your readers to seek out similar events wherever they live.”

Kathryn shared, "On reading a series, yes, I read them as they are published. But I've always kept a book journal, with a 1- or 2-page synopsis of the book. That way, I can look back to refresh myself. Also, this is great when one of my past books gets added to one of my book club's list, or a friend asks for a recommendation."

Cheryl wrote, “I'm sitting here reading your newsletter...loving it as always. As I read about you and Tom taking a trip to the Hamptons in the 'off-season', it brought a smile. Here in Southwest Florida, we are 'hibernating' as the snowbirds are filling the area for the winter ahead. Year-round residents spend more time around home, reading and entertaining rather than venturing out into the crowds. The one great thing about every season is the availability of good books! Thank you! P.S. Loving THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE!"

Maleen asks, “It has crossed my mind several times in the last year to ask you about series writing --- why is there so much of it today? To keep readers interested in 'the next book'? I believe that is much of it. Maybe, too, these authors just have such a BIG story --- like Greg Iles and the Nachez series. Many, though, are only loosely connected by their character, like Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache, William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor, Gregg Hurwitz's Evan Smoak, etc. This reminds me of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew. Is that why I am attracted to series reading? Because, as a young girl, I ran to the store every time Keene had a new release? I guess my other real question is: How important is it to read these series in order? Obviously, you would know the character better as you went along, BUT does it matter? I am prompted to write today because of these lines from this week’s newsletter.”

Let me start answering by saying there is a reason that shows like "Law & Order," "NCIS" and "CSI" are big hits. You know what you are getting when you watch them. When an author writes a strong series, you feel the same way --- you know what you are getting with the characters and the setting. If the character and storyline are strong enough, a publisher can project future sales, which is helpful for them investing in promotion to help a series grow. Most authors try to write their series books so there is enough back story in each book for those who are picking up in the middle. I always ask a publisher if a book reads well on its own. Sometimes during a series, pivotal things happen, which change the course of a storyline, and those books contain story elements that are not found elsewhere. Do they matter? Well, if a character is killed off, it does. Beyond that, I am not sure. I welcome hearing from others with their thoughts about series reading. Shoot me an email with the subject line “Series Reading".

"The Affair": Previewed the first episode of Season Three, which will air on November 20th. We pick up three years after where Season Two ended. It’s amusing how a student and a fellow professor are quoting from Descent, Noah’s novel. The first two seasons were about Noah’s affair and the unraveling of two marriages. This season looks to be about repercussions for all, including Noah dealing with some PTSD from his prison days.

Leonard Cohen: So sad to hear of his passing. Jesse Kornbluth has a wonderful tribute here, and there was a brilliant profile of him in The New Yorker a few weeks ago.

I am listening to Jennifer Weiner read HUNGRY HEART: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. It’s a collection of short essays, which are perfect for quick stints of listening.

To all our veterans, I salute you and thank you for your service. My dad is at the house today helping Tom with a project. He is a veteran and joked that he should get time and a half today for working on a holiday!

I have a quiet weekend on tap with just a birthday dinner for our friend, Moe, on Sunday night. I leave for Miami on Friday (I'm determined to pack for that this weekend), and I have so much to get pulled together as the following week I am hosting Thanksgiving (is it too early to set the table and tick that off my list?). Over the summer, my mom kindly organized all my printed recipes for me by subject. Now I realize that I need to sort through these to find my Thanksgiving recipes. I emailed myself the menu last year, so I have that as a start!

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: NIGHT SCHOOL by Lee Child --- a Prequel to the Jack Reacher Series
NIGHT SCHOOL: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Dick Hill
It’s 1996, and Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Two other men are in the classroom: an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor --- a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. 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 are told to find the American. 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: THE GERMAN GIRL by Armando Lucas Correa --- a Bets On Title
THE GERMAN GIRL by Armando Lucas Correa (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Joy Osmanski
In 1939, barred from places that once felt like home and stripped of their possessions, Hannah Rosenthal and her best friend Leo Martin make a pact: Come what may, they promise to have a future together. A chance to have that future appears in the form of the St. Louis, a transatlantic liner that can supposedly provide Jews safe passage to Cuba. Seven decades later, Anna Rosen receives a package from Hannah, a great aunt she has never met. She and her mother travel to Havana to meet her, and learn the story of how Hannah and Leo honored the solemn pact they made. Reviewed by Sarah Jackman.

THE GERMAN GIRL will be a Bets On selection. Read Carol's commentary about the book in the November 18th newsletter.

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

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: NOT DEAD YET by Phil Collins

NOT DEAD YET: The Memoir by Phil Collins (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Phil Collins
NOT DEAD YET is Phil Collins’ candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

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

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: 99: Stories of the Game, by Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day

99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day (Sports/Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Mike Chamberlain
From minor-hockey phenomenon to Hall of Fame sensation, Wayne Gretzky rewrote the record books, his accomplishments becoming the stuff of legend. Dubbed “The Great One,” he is considered by many to be the greatest hockey player who ever lived. No one has seen more of the game than he has --- but he has never discussed in depth just what it was he saw. For the first time, Gretzky discusses candidly what the game looks like to him and introduces us to the people who inspired and motivated him: mentors, teammates, rivals, the famous and the lesser known. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: TIPPI: A Memoir, by Tippi Hedren
TIPPI: A Memoir by Tippi Hedren (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Tippi Hedren
For decades, Tippi Hedren’s luminous beauty radiated from the silver screen, enchanting moviegoers and cementing her position among Hollywood’s elite. For too long Hedren’s story has been told by others through whispered gossip and tabloid headlines. Now, Hedren sets the record straight, recalling how a young and virtuous Lutheran girl from small-town Minnesota became a worldwide legend --- as one of the most famous Hitchcock girls, as an unwavering animal activist, and as the matriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty that includes her movie star daughter Melanie Griffith, and rising star Dakota Johnson, her granddaughter. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review. Bets On: THE TWENTY-THREE by Linwood Barclay, the Conclusion to the Promise Falls Trilogy
THE TWENTY THREE: A Promise Falls Novel by Linwood Barclay (Thriller)
THE TWENTY-THREE is the final book in Linwood Barclay’s Promise Falls trilogy, following BROKEN PROMISE and FAR FROM TRUE. I love that this is a contained series where you can binge the three books and grab a very satisfying and complete story. I recommend reading them in order to allow the story to build for you, so you can pick up on the nuances of the many characters, each of whom is fully fleshed out and has a great back story.

At the start of the book, people are becoming ill, and it’s quickly traced to the Promise Falls water supply. It was mysteriously poisoned on May 23rd. Yes, the 23rd, and Linwood is dropping tons of other “23” clues to keep readers engaged. People are dropping like flies, and the clock is ticking to find out what’s in the water. Your thoughts zig, then zag, as the plotting throws you curve balls that you never saw coming. Bottled water or tap water? What you drink determines your fate.

I think this is the strongest of the three books probably because all were written at the same time, allowing Linwood a chance to drop red herrings throughout, and then allowing time to ramp this story up more as the first two were sent off to production.

If I passed a road sign for Promise Falls, based on what I now know, I would keep on driving. Actually, I probably would floor it and hightail my way up the highway fast. That said, I loved the opportunity to drop in there for a while on these pages and immerse myself in the story.

One quick note: One storyline is not wrapped up at the end; I will leave you to discover which one that is. But I did not feel one bit cheated. In fact, I loved being able to write my own ending for that character. If you want to see what our readers had to say about THE TWENTY-THREE, click here.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for our series feature.

Click here for more books we’re betting you’ll love.
Announcing's Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we kick off the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, on select days in November and December, we will spotlight a book and give five lucky readers the chance to win it. You have to visit the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter the 24-hour contest. As always, we will send 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 15th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and learn more about our featured titles.
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.
New Feature on Book Group Checkup
Schedule a time to pause and evaluate what’s going on with your book group with a Book Group Checkup. It gives your group an opportunity to do a self-check to be sure its goals are still being met. Pick a month that you are going to do this and make it an open forum where people discuss a number of questions, or you can have people write their comments anonymously. Here are some topics that we have come up with to include:

  • How happy have we been with the selections we have read this year? Rate them.
  • How are our meetings structured, and what do we want to keep the same or change up?
  • How do we think we can improve our discussions?
  • Should members attend the meeting if they have not read the book?
  • Should every member be expected to contribute to the discussion, or are “just listeners” okay?
  • How can we better discipline ourselves to stay on track during the meeting?
  • What do we want to try differently in the months ahead?
  • Does everyone still want to be a part of the group?
  • Or is everything running just fine?
We want to share feedback from you on Email me your ideas with the subject line “Book Group Checkup.”
Click here for readers’ feedback about their book groups.
More Reviews This Week
BLACK WIDOW: A Jack Parlabane Thriller by Christopher Brookmyre (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by Angus King and Scarlett Mack
Diana Jager is a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism in medicine. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing. Then she meets Peter. He is kind, generous and knows nothing about her past. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident. Peter's sister, Lucy, tasks rogue reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling the Black Widow. Still on the mend from a turbulent divorce, Jack's investigation into matters of the heart takes him to hidden places no one should ever have to go. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN by Keigo Higashino (Mystery)
In Osaka in 1973, the body of a murdered man is found in an abandoned building. Investigating the crime, Detective Sasagaki is unable to find the killer. 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. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

WINTER'S CHILD: A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel (Mystery)
Myra and Eldon Little Shield found an abandoned baby on their doorstep. Five years later, no one has come back to claim the little girl now known as Mary Anne Little Shield. But now that she's old enough to start school, her foster parents fear social services will take their white child away from them. Determined to adopt Mary Anne, the Little Shields hire lawyer Clint Hopkins, who wants Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden as co-counsel on the case. But before their meeting can take place, a black truck deliberately runs Hopkins down in the street. Enlisting Father John O'Malley to help investigate who would kill to stop the child's adoption, Vicky unravels a connection between the girl and a missing alcoholic Arapaho wanted for robbery. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI: Lieutenant Putnam and the Barbary Pirates by James L. Haley (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Paul Boehmer
It is 1801, and President Thomas Jefferson has assembled a deep-water navy to fight the growing threat of piracy, as American civilians are regularly kidnapped by Islamist brigands and held for ransom, enslaved or killed, all at their captors' whim. The Berber States of North Africa, especially Tripoli, claimed their faith gave them the right to pillage anyone who did not submit to their religion. Young Bliven Putnam, great-nephew of Revolutionary War hero Israel Putnam, is bound for the Mediterranean and a desperate battle with the pirate ship Tripoli. He later returns under legendary Commodore Edward Preble on the Constitution, and marches across the Libyan desert with General Eaton to assault Derna --- discovering that the lessons he learns about war, and life, are not what he expected. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

FIELDS WHERE THEY LAY: A Junior Bender Holiday Mystery by Timothy Hallinan (Hard-boiled Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Peter Berkrot
Junior Bender, divorced father of one and burglar extraordinaire, finds himself stuck inside the Edgerton Mall, and not just as a last-minute shopper. The murderous Russian mobster who owns the place has decided it takes a thief to catch a thief and hires Junior --- under threat --- to solve the mall's shoplifting problem for him. But Junior's surveillance operation doesn't go well: as Christmas Eve approaches, two people are dead, and it's obvious that shoplifting is the least of the mall's problems. To prevent further deaths, possibly including his own, Junior must confront his dread of Christmas --- both present and past. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

BRONX REQUIEM by John Clarkson (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Peter Berkrot
Paco "Packy" Johnson spent a lifetime in the system --- starting in juvie at age 10, then prison for most of his adult life. But he managed to make some real friends in prison, friends who helped him get parole, a place to stay, and plans to help him adjust to a life outside prison after 17 years behind bars. But only 17 hours after he was released, he was found dead in the streets of the Bronx. James Beck can't save Packy any longer --- but he can try to find out what happened to him and exact a measure of justice. But what at first appears to be a simple, if tragic, street killing quickly becomes something much more difficult and complex. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

STORY OF A SOCIOPATH by Julia Navarro (Psychological Thriller)
Thomas Spencer, the black sheep of his family, harbors only resentment toward those closest to him for what they have more of: good looks, good cheer, good social graces. But what Thomas may lack in charm, he makes up for in cunning. And it is this that will serve him best when he trades in his glittering world of privilege for a chance to claw his way to the top --- on his own terms, and at any cost. As Thomas achieves fame and success as an ad man, he becomes ever more deeply entrenched in an insidious underworld of media, politics and women, and an astonishing picture emerges of a complex, destructive personality who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE ABANDONED HEART: A Bliss House Novel by Laura Benedict (Gothic Thriller/Horror)
In Old Gate, Virginia, stands a grand house built by Randolph Bliss, a charming New York carpetbagger who, in 1878, shook off dire warnings to build his home elsewhere. For the ground beneath Bliss House is tainted with the kind of tragedy that curses generations, seeping through the foundation and sowing madness in its wake. THE ABANDONED HEART is the prequel to CHARLOTTE'S STORY and BLISS HOUSE, forming a trilogy of southern Gothic novels in which one haunted house begets haunted lives that echo over centuries. A haunting so powerful that even Bliss House's destruction cannot kill it. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

COSTLY AND CUTE: Helpless Infants and Human Evolution edited by Wenda R. Trevathan and Karen R. Rosenberg (Anthropology)
Scholars have long argued that the developmental state of the human infant at birth is unique. COSTLY AND CUTE expands that argument, pointing out that many distinctively human characteristics can be traced to the fact that we give birth to infants who are highly dependent on others and who learn how to be human while their brains are experiencing growth unlike that seen in other primates. The contributors to this volume take a broad look at how human infants are similar to and different from the infants of other species, how our babies have constrained our evolution over the past six million years, and how they continue to shape the ways we live today. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on November 15th

Below are some notable titles releasing on November 15th 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 14th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

ABSOLUTELY ON MUSIC: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa written by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin (Music)
Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more.

BORN A CRIME: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Memoir/Essays)
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of “The Daily Show” began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white father and a black mother at a time when such a union was criminal. BORN A CRIME is the story of a boy who grows into a man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist.

CHAOS: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Thriller)
Dr. Kay Scarpetta begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. When the 10th poem arrives exactly 24 hours after a murder, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible.

CITY ON EDGE by Stefanie Pintoff (Thriller)
What at first looks like an assassination attempt on New York City’s Police Commissioner might in fact be a smokescreen for the abduction of his teenage daughter. Or is it a larger conspiracy? Eve Rossi and her team of ex-cons race the clock to save a child’s life and thwart a massive terrorist threat.

THE CLOTHING OF BOOKS by Jhumpa Lahiri (Literary Criticism)
In this deeply personal reflection, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri explores the art of the book jacket from the perspectives of both reader and writer. Probing the complex relationships between text and image, author and designer, and art and commerce, Lahiri delves into the role of the uniform.

I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses by Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman (Memoir)
Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES is his intimate and revealing account of the charisma of notable women on film.

THE MISTLETOE SECRET by Richard Paul Evans (Romance)
Thinking no one is reading, a blogger who calls herself LBH writes about her most personal feelings and longs to know how it would feel if one person cared about her. Alex Bartlett cares. He’s reading her posts in Daytona Beach, Florida. He ultimately tracks down LBH. How can he tell her that he knows her secret? What’s holding him back?

NEST by Terry Goodkind (Thriller)
NEST is an explosive mix of action and suspense, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Terry Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

NO MAN'S LAND by David Baldacci (Thriller)
John Puller's mother, Jackie, vanished 30 years ago. Military investigators reveal that Puller Sr. has been accused of murdering Jackie. Aided by his brother Robert Puller, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him into his own past, to find the truth about his mother.

OUR REVOLUTION: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders (Politics/Memoir)
In OUR REVOLUTION, Bernie Sanders shares his personal experiences from the campaign trail, recounting the details of his historic primary fight and the people who made it possible. For him, the political revolution has just started. The campaign may be over, but the struggle goes on.

RULER OF THE NIGHT by David Morrell (Historical Mystery)
In 1855, England's first train murder occurs. In the next compartment, the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his quick-witted daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. They join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, to pursue the killer back into the fogbound streets of London.

SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY by Anna Kendrick (Humor/Essays)
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird and “10 percent defiant.” In SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and ordinary stories with candor and wry observations.

SETTLE FOR MORE by Megyn Kelly (Memoir)
In the two and half years since her show “The Kelly File” premiered on the Fox News Channel, Megyn Kelly has cemented her reputation as one of the most respected and hardest hitting journalists in America. Now in her debut book, Kelly traces the values and experiences --- both good and bad --- that landed her in the anchor chair.

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY KILLER by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Mystery/Thriller)
Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her fiancé 15 years ago and claims she’s innocent. Her story attracts the attention of Laurie Moran and the “Under Suspicion” news team. It’s Casey’s last chance to finally clear her name, and Laurie pledges to exonerate her.

SWING TIME by Zadie Smith (Historical Fiction)
Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early 20s, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

TWENTY-SIX SECONDS: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film by Alexandra Zapruder (Memoir/History)
Abraham Zapruder didn't know when he began filming President Kennedy's motorcade on November 22, 1963 that his home movie would change not only his family's life but American culture and history as well. Now his granddaughter tells the whole story of the Zapruder film for the first time.

TURBO TWENTY-THREE: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich (Mystery)
Stephanie Plum is hot on the trail of Larry Virgil, the big-rig hijacker, when he strikes again, leaving an 18-wheeler full of ice cream and a dead body --- frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans. Stephanie will have to go undercover at the ice cream factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice.

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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.
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  • 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.
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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.

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