Category Archives: Books

July 2015 Book List

Publisher’s Weekly

The Star Side of Bird Hall by Naomi Jackson (coming of age in Barbados)

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Paper Towns by John Green

A New Hope by Robyn Carr

Local Girls by Caroline Zancan

No Such Person by Caroline B. Cooney

Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas (one of the best novels of the year) by Christian Kracht

The Joy of Killing: A Novel by Harry N. Maclean

All this Life by Joshua Mohr

The New World by Andrew Motion (2nd book in trilogy – “cheeky reimagining of Stevenson’s Treasure Island”)

Miss Emily: A Novel by Nuala O’Connor (Emily Dickinson)

Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano trans. By Virginia Jewiss (international cocaine trafficking)

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango (thriller)

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

Death and Mr. Pickwick: A Novel by Stephen Jarvis (Charles Dickens)

The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera trans. By Linda Asher

The Cartel: A Novel by Don Winslow (sequel to The Power of the Dog)


Circling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain

Speak: A Novel by Louisa Hall

Confession of the Lioness: A Novel by Mia Couto, David Bradshaw

The Hand that Feeds You: A Novel by A. J. Rich

The Last Pilot: A Novel by Benjamin Johncock

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler

Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

The Gods of Tango: A Novel by Carolina De Robertis

The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka

You Don’t Have to Like This by Benjamin Markovits

Mystery and Thriller

Code of Conduct: A Thriller by Brad Thor

Armada: A Novel by Ernest Cline

The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

Among the Dead Men by Peter Lovesey

Fast Shuffle by David Black

Bradstreet Gate: A Novel by Robin Kirman

Independent Booksellers

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer

The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

Memory Man by David Baldacci

The Cartel by Don Winslow

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Tom Clancy Under Fire by Grant Blackwood

Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

The Green Road by Anne Enright

Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos

Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer, August Cole, Eamon Dolan

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

On My Kindle for 2nd half of July

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Memory Man by David Baldacci

Compiled by Nancy Brisson

June, 2015 Book List



Independent Booksellers

 Adultery by Paulo Coelho

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Memory Man by David Balducci

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

At the Water’s Edge Edge by Sara Gruen

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

Dry Bones by Craig Johnson

The Green Road by Anne Enright

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

Mislaid by Neil Zink

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Fateful Lightning by Jeff Shaara

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey

Dinner With Buddha by Roland Merullo

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Rock With Wings by Anne Hellerman

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry

Falling in Love by Donna Leon

Publisher’s Weekly

 The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Zodiac Station by Tom Harper

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (Plainsong, Eventide, The Tie That Binds)

The Border by Robert McCammon

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud (from the French)

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father. One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol (NF)

Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller

Tin Sky by Ben Pastor

Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen

American Meteor by Norman Lock

Crazy Mountain Kiss by Keith McCafferty

A History of Money by Alan Pauls (trans from Spanish by Ellie Robins)

The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert


 Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

Modern Romance by Eric Klinenberg, Aziz Ansari

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir by Etgar Keret

The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Our Souls at Night: A Novel by Kent Haruf

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, John Cullen

China Rich Girlfriend : A Novel by Kevin Kwan

The Shore by Sara Taylor

Mystery and Thrillers

The English Spy by Daniel Silva

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews

Day Four: A Novel by Sarah Lotz

Innocence by Heda Margolius Kovaly

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Compiled by Nancy Brisson

Euphoria by Lily King – Book

For several decades intrepid individuals with college degrees set out to study “primitives”, groups or tribes of people who lived in remote areas in mostly tropical climates. This field was called anthropology, but living, observing and documenting the details of these people’s lives was a new approach to a study that had previously been based on studies of artifacts. It was a very controversial approach, as are all procedures that try to improve on an established order.

Did the very fact that a scientist was present in the culture, living there, conducting interviews, and interacting affect the culture so much that any finding would be completely compromised? After Nell Stone published her controversial study describing the sexual behavior of children in Kirakira, and other important aspects of that culture, her book became an enormous success. (Think Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead.)

Nell Stone, an American, marries another anthropologist Schuyler Fenwick, an Aussie, and they are fleeing a rather aggressive native New Guinea group, giving up all their research because the tribe’s aggression makes Nell afraid. This group had been cannibals, surely enough to make anyone nervous, but the government did not allow cannibalism now. However, this tribal group had broken into two warring groups and so on Christmas Eve, 1938, Nell and Fen leave and make a stop for the night at a small hotel on their way to Australia. There they meet Andrew Bankson, who narrates the rest of this story.

Both Nell and Bankson stick to the protocol they have learned to use to keep their data as unsullied as possible. They are not with these people to live with them, but rather to observe them and record as many aspects of their culture as possible.

Bankson said: “how we believed we could be objective in any way at all, we who each came with our own personal definitions of kindness, strength, masculinity, femininity God, civilization, right and wrong.”

Nell said: “We’re always in everything we do in this world, limited by subjectivity. But our perspective can have an enormous wingspan, if we give it freedom to unfurl.

Fen does not actually follow the protocol of the objective observer. He learns languages easily and he dives right in and practically lives with the men. He takes his notes after the fact. Nell carries her notebook with her at all times and writes down everything. Fen focuses on religion and religious items, ceremonies and warfare genealogy. Nell focuses on economics, food, government, social structure and child-rearing. Bankson, with no partner, must do it all.

This book is dense with the details of a social science and the passion of native peoples, and a devastating romantic triangle. Fen has a temper. He is jealous, possessive and very competitive. He wants to earn a name and fame that will outshine that of his wife. By the end you may wonder who the savages are or if human interactions have become any less primitive under our coating of civilization.

Euphoria is the title of Lily King’s novel and the word also describes the feeling anthropologists get when they think they understand what makes the group they are observing tick. But there is more than one kind of euphoria happening in this little gem of a novel inspired by Margaret Mead and by the ethnographies which became everyone’s passion for a while, until there were no unknown peoples left to explore.

These anthropologists, while going through all the biological imperatives all young people experience did so in strange and dangerous corners of the world with a thin veneer of scientific method to keep them in line. They probably ended up exposing quite a lot about modern life to these primitive people. Often, when able to establish rapport these anthropologists discovered that these primitives were human in every sense of the word. They were simply isolated. This is not something we knew when the whole business started. Euphoria by Lily King made me euphoric. Truthfully, I didn’t even notice the writing; there was just the story. This kind of novel based on history makes it hard to guess what Lily King will tackle next, but I bet it will turn out to be another very good read.

By Nancy Brisson

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson – Book

Edward Todd, known as Ted or Teddy, was a pilot in World War II. At the end of Kate Atkinson’s previous novel, Life after Life, which centered on Teddy’s sister, Ursula, Ted’s plane crashed after he flew more missions that he ever should have and his family is informed that he has been killed. Teddy comes back to life, however, in this follow-up novel A God in Ruins. He was apparently in a POW camp.

Ted and his family grew up in the English countryside, although they were not farmers. Fox Corners offered an idyllic patchwork of wild and tamed nature. Although he couldn’t join the Boy Scouts (obviously a sore point) and had to spend his preteen days in the company of both girls and boys in Kibbo Kift, perhaps an English version of 4H, he loved his life at Fox Corners. He had a poetic and pastoral nature. Birds attracted him in particular, but he liked all of it; the fields the skies, the stars, the dogs that the families had, and the wide freedom of it. His mom, Sylvie and his dad, Hugh, were not quite aristocracy, but they lived comfortable lives with a cook and a housekeeper.

Teddy goes to private schools eventually. He wants to do things like drive trains and fly planes. As Hitler is marching across Western and Eastern Europe, Ted does get to fulfill his dream to be a pilot, but only as the pilot of bombers in wartime. He trains in Canada and he shepherds his flight teams through many successful missions and a few that are not so successful. In this second novel, A God in Ruins, Ted comes back from the POW camps and lives out his life.

I would have thought that the author would have given him a heroic life after the drama and terror of flying a plane full of bombs over hostile armies that tried to shoot planes out of the sky. However, perhaps the author wants us to understand the futility of the sacrifices made by these young men. After the war, she tells us (and she did a lot of research), analysts concluded that all this bombing did little damage to the German army, although hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, died and German cities were burned to the ground.

Do pilots bear the same guilt that the German people bear? How about the guilt of those in command who knew that the effects of all that bombing were not as great as you would think? How much of what those commanders ordered was a form of vengeance? What purpose does war serve? I think Hitler may be the only time we can give war a pass, although our guilt for killing innocents should remain, as it should remain for all who take part in warfare.

But Ted did not live a life any different from most other returning veterans (in fact his daughter was a real piece of work). He married his childhood sweetheart more out of inevitability than love. How did that turn out? Well, that’s the part I will not give away. But I will mention that there is a wicked twist at the end of this novel which is there for mainly philosophical reasons.

Kate Atkinson is an excellent writer who offers enough of the beauty that makes our lives bearable, and plenty of the seemingly purposeful banality, intentional and unintentional cruelty, and love that come along with our position as the most sentient species on earth at the moment. Kate’s “hero” Ted may have dropped a lot of bombs on unsuspecting humans, but we recognize that his is a lovely person and well worth getting to know. Atkinson also offers a depiction of the air wars over Germany spelled out in enough horrific detail as to make us think long and hard about ever waging war again. Is there a parallel here that she would like to make with using drones? (There is a whole Adam and Eve metaphor. How far we have come from the garden?) Kate Atkinson is, I believe, an important writer of our time, which, ironically, only time will confirm.

By Nancy Brisson

April, 2015 Book List

Here we have the book list for April, 2015 but I am months back, still reading books from earlier lists. Some of these titles are very tempting. I am really attracted to a couple of the nonfiction titles. The Essay book by Donald Revell looks so good that I put in the little blurb from PW to remind me. I am a T.S. Eliot fan so I think I would enjoy the biography about his early years. Jo Nesbo has a new book to add to the many I have enjoyed. Romances are hardly ever on literary best seller lists but PW tells us that Josi S. Kilpack has written a very good one called A Heart Revealed which I would like to check out. So many great books, so much dust piled up on the furniture. Sometimes you have to do housework. Those of us addicted to reading do the best we can. No white gloves please.


Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

So You’ve Been Publically Shamed by Jon Ronson

I Refuse by Per Petterson

TheChildren’s Crusade by Ann Packer

Mysteries, Thrillers, and Suspense

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger

The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

All Involved by Ryan Gattis

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes

Independent Booksellers

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis

Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne White

The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James

The Big Seven by Jim Harrison

The Shadows by J.R. Ward

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett

Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

The Beauty by Jane Hirshfield

Publisher’s Weekly

Simon v The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Odysseus Abroad by Amit Chaudhuri

Young Eliot: A Biography by Robert Crawford (NF)

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce De Silva

The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr

A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack

The American People: Vol. 1: Search for My Heart by Larry Cramer

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (NF)

The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer

I Refuse by Per Petterson

Essay A Critical Memoir by Donald Revell

Essay: A Critical Memoir by Donald Revell (Omnidawn) – Revell (Tantivy), in his 12th poetry collection (which is actually more of a hybrid essay/memoir/prose poem), reminds readers that “hesitation and delay must never be mistaken for rest.” At turns memoir and literary analysis, allegory and reenactment, this fragmented and deeply personal exploration of memory and literature’s place in the soul resembles a type of scrapbook book that asks, “Who’s crazy? Whose pomp is prophetic?” Revell’s prose is a contemplative, forceful incorporation of disparate elements: a dervish at half speed that absorbs and refigures Dante, Thoreau, Shakespeare, old photographs, the Vietnam War, and more into a love letter to reading, a pageant of deliberate contemplation and devotion. “Am I afraid to cross over the river without my Virgil—my allusions, my heralds and cross-references? I must read more. Am I afraid to die? I must love more.” Unable to contain itself, Revell’s work challenges and denies more than just its generic conventions; it takes to task the notion that reading and storytelling can be anything less than transformative—which therefore makes them essential.
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Cailin Alifirenka and Martin Garda (NF)

The Turner’s House by Angela Flournoy

The Buddha’s Return by Gaito Gazdanov

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

The Stranger Vine by M.J. Carter

Lulu Anew by Etienne Davodeau

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts by Tiya Miles

So You’ve Been Shamed by Jon Ronson

Ordinary Light by Tracy Smith (memoir)

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Compiled by Nancy Brisson

Index – Brissioni Blog – Books and Booklists – 2012



  1/6/12         Smokin’ Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovitch

 1/13/12        The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: a novel by Aimee Bender

 1/20/12        We the Animals by Justin Torres

 1/26/12        Last Man in Tower: a novel by Aravind Adiga

 1/30/12        State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

 2/16/12        The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

 2/21/12        The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

   3/1/12        The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst

 3/16/12        V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

 3/20/12        The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

  4/3/12         The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Anatomy of a Revolution

 4/14/12        The Litigators by John Grisham

 4/26/12        The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

 4/27/12        The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

 5/12/12        1Q84by Haruki Murakami

 5/26/12        Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

  6/2/12         Swanplandiaby Karen Russell

  6/8/12         The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

 6/15/12        The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

 6/30/12        I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

7/11/12         The House of Tyneford: a novel by Natasha Solomans

 7/14/12        Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

 7/18/12        The Pale King: an unfinished novel by David Foster Wallace

7/28/12         The Limpopo Academy of Private Detectionby Alexander McCall Smith

  8/1/12         Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

  8/4/12         The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  8/9/12         The Expats: a novel by Chris Pavone

 8/17/12        A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 8/18/12        behind the beautiful forevers: life death and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

 8/27/12        American Dervish: a novel by Ayad Akhtar

  9/1/12         A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

  9/6/12         The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

 9/21/12        A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

 9/24/12        French Lessons: a novel by Ellen Sussman

 9/28/12        Mission to Paris: A Novel by Alan Furst

 10/5/12        Miss Timmon’s School for Girls: a novelby Nayana Currimbhoy

10/10/12       Maineby Courtney Sullivan

10/26/12       The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

 11/2/12        Juliet: a novel by Ann Fortier

11/10/12       Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

11/26/12       A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

 12/5/12        In One Person by John Irving

12/14/12       A Feast of Crows by George R.R. Martin

12/19/12       Paris: A Love Story by Kati Morton

12/29/12       Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Lists

 1/18/12        Book List – January, 2012 – Books I Saw Around Town

 2/20/12        Book List – February, 2012

 3/15/12        Book List – March, 2012

 4/17/12        Book List – April, 2012

 5/15/12        Book List – May 2012 – Another trip to Barnes and Noble

 6/20/12        June Book List – 2012

 7/20/12        July Book List – 2012

 8/15/12        My August Book List, 2012

 8/23/12        Another August Book List, 2012 – (So Many Good Books)

 9/17/12        September 2012 – Book List

 9/22/12        September, 2012 – Book List Addendum

10/18/12       October, 2012 Book List

10/19/12       More October Books – Fiction

11/16/12       November Book List 2012 (also a few new Coffee Table Books)







November 2013 Booklist

Here’s the new batch of books on my November reading list that I probably will not get to until next November. Oh well, I love having a longer list of things to do than I will ever be able to finish. If there is no attribution for the summary of a book then it came from the library card catalogue (which is now actually a digital catalogue). I hope you find some tidbits here to lengthen your reading list also. These selections are all fiction.


Barnes and Noble

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich –New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in–not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because “just Stephanie’s luck” the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.

King and Maxwell by David Balducci – The teenage son of a U.S. MIA in Afghanistan hires Sean Kingand Michelle Maxwell–former Secret Service agents turned private investigators–to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler’s father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?

Cross My Heart by James Patterson – “James Patterson raises the stakes to their highest level, ever-when Alex Cross becomes the obsession of a genius of menace set on proving that he is the greatest mind in the history of crime. Detective Alex Cross is a family man at heart–nothing matters more to him than his children, his grandmother, and his wife Bree. His love of his family is his anchor, and gives him the strength to confront evil in his work. One man knows this deeply, and uses Alex’s strength as a weapon against him in the most unsettling and unexpected novel of James Patterson’s career. When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them. If he does anything to protect them, they will die. CROSS MY HEART is the most powerful Alex Cross novel ever, propelled by the ever-ingenious mind of James Patterson, the world’s #1 bestselling writer”– Provided by publisher.

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Ariana Trigiani – In The Supreme Macaroni Company, Adriana Trigiani transports readers from the cobblestone streets of Greenwich Village to lush New Orleans to Italy and back again while exploring the tricky dynamics between Old World craftsmanship and New World ambition, all amid a passionate love affair that fuels one woman’s determination to have it all. For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret. But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the hard reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: “A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything.” Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves–the bitter and the sweet of life itself. Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is a sumptuous feast of delights: an unforgettable narrative about family, work, romance, and the unexpected turns of life and fate.

Beneath This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas –“ Jesse Ward drowned her with his intensity and blindsided her with his passion, but he kept her away from his dark secrets and broken soul. Leaving him was the only way Ava O’Shea could survive. She should have known that Jesse Ward is impossible to escape–and now he’s back in her life, determined to remind her of the sensual pleasures they had shared. Ava is equally determined to get at the truth beneath this man’s steely exterior. That means letting herself get close to the Lord of the Manor once more. And it’s exactly where Jesse wants her–within touching distance…” Goodreads (a romance)

Command Authority by Tom Clancy (out in Dec.) – There’s a new strong man in Russia, but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past, and the solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (out in Dec.) –Mickey Haller gets thetext, ‘Call me ASAP – 187,’ and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on thestraight and narrow path, he knows he is on thehook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey may have been the one who put her in danger.

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Retribution by Eric Van Lustbader – JasonBourne is back in this new novel in Robert Ludlum’s legendary series written by New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader”– Provided by publisher.

“”When Director Yadin learns of a mysterious connection between Ouyang Jidan, a senior member of China’s Politburo, and a recently deceased Mexican drug lord, he asks Jason Bourneto investigate.” –Provided by the publisher”


What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis A book for children and adults that gives the lyrics of the You Tube song of the same name. (me)

Let me Tell You a Story: A Memoir of a Wartime Childhood by Renata Calverley – Przemysl, Poland, 1939. Two-year-old Renata is woken by her Mamusia in the middle of the night and bundled into the basement. The peacock quilt she is wrapped in reminds her of a story about a giant who guards a mysterious place called the Underworld. She drifts back to sleep as the sound of thunder rages around them. No one has explained to Renata what war is. She knows her Tatus, a doctor, is in Europe with the Polish Army and that her beautiful Mamusia is not allowed to work at the university anymore. But, more than anything, she notices that their frequent visitors – among them Great Aunt Zuzia and Uncle Julek with their gifts of melon and lovely clothes – have stopped coming entirely. One morning Mamusia returns home with little yellow, six-pointed stars for them to wear. Renata thinks that they will keep them safe. June, 1942. Two soldiers in grey-green uniforms burst into their apartment carrying guns. Renata, Mamusia and grandmother ‘Babcia’ are taken to the Ghetto and crammed into one room with other frightened families. The adults are forced to work long hours at the factory and to survive on next to no food. One day Mamusia and Babcia do not return from their shifts. Renata is five years old. Utterly alone, she is passed from place to place and survives through the willingness of ordinary people to take the most deadly risks. Her unlikely blonde hair and blue eyes and other twists of fate save her life but stories become her salvation. A true story of the horrors of war, Let Me Tell You a Story is a powerful and moving memoir of growing up in extraordinary times, and of the magical discovery of books. Amazon

The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi – Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sandra is convinced it was anything but.

Launching her own inquiries, Sandra finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband’s murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows. (Goodreads)

Stop Hereby Beverly Gologorsky – Ava, Mila, and Rosalyn all work at Murray’s Diner in Long Island. They are friends and coworkers struggling to hold together their disordered lives. While Ava privately grieves the loss of her husband in the first Iraq War, Mila struggles to dissuade her seventeen-year-old daughter from enlisting in the second. Rosalyn works as an escort by night until love and illness conspire to disrupt the tenuous balance she’d found and the past she’d kept at a safe distance. The promise of a new relationship with a coworker soon begins to restore Ava’s faith in her own ability to feel, and Mila learns through wrenching loss that children must learn from their own mistakes. But ultimately it is love-for one another and for their wayward families-that sustains them through the pain and uncertainty of a world with no easy answers. With tender, unadorned prose and a supremely human sympathy for the triumphs and defeats of everyday life, in this long-awaited second novel Beverly Gologorsky delivers a moving and incisive story about loss, friendship, and healing in the shadow of a seemingly endless war.


Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson – I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She’s finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who steps between the armed robber and her son to shield the child from danger. Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god has his own baggage. When he looked down the barrel of the gun in the gas station he believed it was destiny: it’s been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know. Someone Else’s Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love and learning that things aren’t always what they seem–or what we hope they will be. It’s a story about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.


Rustication: A Novel by Charles Palliser – Christmas, 1863. Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by disturbing sexual desires, he finds temporary refuge in the creaking old mansion inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie, whose behavior grows increasingly bizarre. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among the local populace, where no one is quite who he seems and almost anyone can be considered a suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to . . . murder. Fans of Charles Palliser’s beloved The Quincunx and The Unburied-as well as readers of Sarah Waters and Michel Faber-will delight in this, the author’s first new novel in more than ten years. Hailed for fiction that is “mesmerizing, meticulous” (Entertainment Weekly), Palliser confirms his reputation as “our leading contemporary Victorian novelist” (Guardian).

At Night We Walk in Circlesby Daniel Alarcon – “The breakout book from a prizewinning young writer: abreathtaking, suspenseful story of one man’s obsessive search to find the truth of another man’s downfall. Nelson’s life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country and moved to the United States, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can’t seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, a legendary play by Nelson’s hero, Henry Nunez, leader of the storied guerrilla theater troupe Diciembre. And that’s when the real trouble begins. The tour takes Nelson out of the shelter of the city and across a landscape he’s never seen, which still bears the scars of the civil war. With each performance, Nelson grows closer to his fellow actors, becoming hopelessly entangled in their complicated lives, until, during one memorable performance, a long-buried betrayal surfaces to force the troupe into chaos. Nelson’s fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson’s story-and perhaps closer to it than he lets on. In sharp, vivid, and beautiful prose, Alarcón delivers a compulsively readable narrative and aprovocative meditation on fate, identity, and the large consequences that can result from even our smallest choices. “– Provided by publisher.

A novel set in an unnamed South American country”– Provided by publisher


The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and his Son by Pat Conroy – A memoir by the bestselling author of ThePrince of Tides about his father–the inspiration for TheGreat Santini–and areaffirmation that love can conquer even themeanest of men.

A Permanent Member of the Family by Russell Banks – Short Stories – A masterly collection of new stories from Russell Banks, acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone, which maps the complex terrain of the modern American family The New York Times lauds Russell Banks as “the most compassionate fiction writer working today” and hails him as a novelist who delivers “wrenching, panoramic visions of American moral life.” Long celebrated for his unflinching, empathetic works that explore the unspoken but hard realities of contemporary culture, Banks now turns his keen intelligence and emotional acuity on perhaps his most complex subject yet: the shape of family in its many forms. Suffused with Banks’s trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Familyexamine the myriad ways we try–and sometimes fail–to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. In “Christmas Party,” a young man entertains dark thoughts as he watches his newly remarried ex-wife leading the life he once imagined they would share. “A Former Marine” asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative “Veronica,” a mysterious woman searching for her missing daughter may not be who she claims she is. Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, A Permanent Member of the Family charts with subtlety and precision the ebb and flow of both the families we make for ourselves and the ones we’re born into, as it asks how we know the ones we love and, in turn, ourselves. One of our most acute and penetrating authors, Banks’s virtuosic writing animates stories that are profoundly humane, deeply–and darkly–funny, and absolutely unforgettable. Russell Banks is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.

Stella Bainby Anita Shreve – “An epic story, set against the backdrop of World War I, from bestselling author Anita Shreve. When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in. A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops aclinical interest in his houseguest. Stellahad been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield. In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation. “– Provided by publisher.

Red Sky in Morning: A Novel by Paul Lynch – A tense, thrilling debut novelthat spans two continents, from “a writer to watch out for” (Colum McCann). It’s 1832 and Coll Coyle has killed the wrong man. The dead man’s father is an expert tracker and ruthless killer with a single-minded focus on vengeance. The hunt leads from the windswept bogs of County Donegal, across the Atlantic to the choleric work camps of the Pennsylvania Railroad, where both men will find their fates in the hardship and rough country of the fledgling United States. Language and landscape combine powerfully in this tense exploration of life and death, parts of which are based on historical events. With lyrical prose balancing the stark realities of the hunter and the hunted, RED SKY IN MORNING is avisceral and meditative novel that marks the debut of a stunning new talent.” — Provided by publisher.

Hild: A Novel by Nicola Griffith – A brilliant, lush, sweeping historical novel about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages: Hild Hild is born into aworld in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of abright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world–of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next–that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable–until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future. Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age–all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world–and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby–to vivid, absorbing life”– Provided by publisher.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks – “When young man about town Bertie Wooster, nursing a broken heart, agrees to help his old friend Peregrine Woody Beeching, whose own romance is failing, hilarity and chaos ensue as Jeeves, the very epitome of the modern manservant, steps in to save Bertie from himself.” Card Catalog

“With theapproval of the Wodehouse estate, acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks brings Bertie and Jeeves back to life in a hilarious affair of mix-ups and mishaps. Bertie, nursing a bit of heartbreak over the recent engagement of one Georgiana Meadowes to someone not named Wooster, agrees to “help” his old friend Peregrine “Woody” Beeching, whose own romance is foundering. Almost immediately, things go awry andthe simple plan quickly becomes complicated. Jeeves ends up having to impersonate one Lord Etringham, while Bertie plays the part of Jeeves‘ manservant “Wilberforce”–and this all happens under the same roof as thenow affianced Ms. Meadowes. From there theplot becomes even more hilarious andconvoluted, in a brilliantly conceived, seamlessly written comic work worthy of the master himself”– Provided by publisher.

Ade: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker – “Story of the power of love and the limitations of the human heart. When Farida, a sophisticated college student, falls in love with Ade, a young Swahili man living on an idyllic island off the coast of Kenya, the two plan to marry and envision a simple life together–free of worldly possessions and concerns. But when Farida contracts malaria and finds herself caught in the middle of a civil war, reality crashes in around them. The lovers’ solitude is interrupted by a world in the throes of massive upheaval that threatens to tear them apart, along with all they cherish.”

Havisham: A Novel by Ronald Frame – Catherine Havisham was born into privilege. Handsome, imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer, and lives in luxury in Satis House. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall — Havisham. A reminder of all she owes to the family name and the family business.

Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family’s new money. But for all her growing sophistication, Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything–her heart, her future, the very Havisham name–is vulnerable. In Havisham , Ronald Frame unfurls the psychological trauma that made young Catherine into Miss Havisham and cursed her to a life alone, roaming the halls of the mansion in the tatters of the dress she wore for the wedding she was never to have.

Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel by Martin Cruz Smith – “In Tatiana, Martin Cruz Smith, ‘the master of the international thriller’ (The New York Times) creates the most compelling heroine of his career and the most realistic, damning portrait of modern Russia in contemporary literature. One of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, Arkady Renko — cynnical, analytical, and quietly subversive — has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, Martin Cruz Smith’s most ambitious novel since Gorky Park, the melancholy hero finds himself on the trail of a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia herself. The fearless investigative reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire, Grisha Grigorenko, is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. No one makes the connection, but Arkady is transfixed by the tapes he discovers of Tatiana‘s voice, even as she describes horrific crimes hidden by official versions. The trail leads to Kaliningrad, a Cold War “secret city” and home of the Baltic Fleet, separated by hundreds of miles from the rest of Russia…

Death of the Black-Haired Girl by Robert Stone – “Robert Stone is a vastly intelligent and entertaining writer, a divinely troubled holy terror ever in pursuit of an absconded God and His purported love. Stone’s superb work with its gallery of remarkable characters is further enhanced here by his repellently smug professor, Steve Brookman, and the black-haired girl’s hopelessly grieving father, Eddie Stack.” — Joy Williams In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences. As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters–always complicated, always compelling–wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them. Death of the Black-Haired Girl is a powerful tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.

Independent Booksellers

The House Girl by Tara Conklin – “The lives of two remarkable women who are separated by more than a century unexpectedly intertwine in Conklin’s unforgettable debut novel.”

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – “In this novel, Picoult explores the lengths we will go to in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan – Violet Minturn, a half-Chinese/half-American courtesan who deals in seduction and illusion in Shanghai, struggles to find her place in theworld, while her mother, Lucia, tries to make sense ofthe choices she has made and the men who have shaped her.

S. by JJ Abrams, Doug Dorst – “Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand.”

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith – “Modern ideas get tangled up with traditional ones in the latest installment in the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg – “A hilarious new comic mystery by the bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.”

Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming – “A powerful new Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mystery by the bestselling author of One Was a Soldier.”

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro – a book by our newest Nobel Laureate in case you would like to read them all – me

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – “1987. The only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life … June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and that this unexpected friend just might be the one she needs themost”–P. [4] of cover.

Life After Life by Jill McCorkle – Award-winning author Jill McCorkle takes us on a splendid journey through time and memory in this, her tenth work of fiction. Life After Life is filled with a sense of wonder at our capacity for self-discovery at any age. And the residents, staff, and neighbors of the Pine Haven retirement center (from twelve-year-old Abby to eighty-five-year-old Sadie) share some of life’s most profound discoveries and are some of the most true-to-life characters that you are ever likely to meet in fiction. Delivered with her trademark wit, Jill McCorkle’s constantly surprising novel illuminates the possibilities of second chances, hope, and rediscovering life right up to the very end. She has conjured an entire community that reminds us that grace and magic can and do appear when we least expect it.

The Hitby David Baldacci – CIA assassin Will Robie must bring in rogue agent Jessica Reel — dead or alive. But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye.

A Long Way from Verona by Jane Gardam – Growing up in the middle of World War II and attending an all girls local school, Jessica, an aspiring writer, has difficulty dealing with authority.

In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helprin – Can love and honor conquer all? Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping novel springs from this deceptively simple question, and from the sight of a beautiful young woman, dressed in white, on the Staten Island Ferry, at the beginning of summer, 1946. Postwar New York glows with energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, has returned home to run the family business. Yet his life is upended by a single encounter with the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, as they each fall for the other in an instant. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood and eventually threatens his life. In the end, it is Harry’s extraordinary wartime experience that gives him the character and means to fight for Catherine, and risk everything. Not since Winter’s Tale has Mark Helprin written such a magically inspiring saga. Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.

Runaway by Alice Munro – Another book by our Nobel Laureate that you might want to add to your list. (me)

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield – Killing a bird with his slingshot as a boy, William Bellman grows up a wealthy family man unaware of how his act of childhood cruelty will have terrible consequences until a wrenching tragedy compels him to enter into a macabre bargain with a stranger in black.

The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron – “While nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh’s Colorado home. But Josh can’t resist Lucy’s soulful brown eyes, and though he’s never had a dog before, he’s determined to do the best he can for Lucy–and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies. Soon in over his head, Josh calls the local animal shelter for help, and meets Kerri, a beautiful woman with a quick wit and a fierce love for animals. As Kerri teaches Josh how to care for Lucy’s tiny puppies and gets them ready to be adopted through the shelter’s “Dogs of Christmas” program, Josh surprises himself by falling for her. But he’s fallen even harder for his new furry family, which has brought incredible joy into Josh’s life. He barely has time to sit down, between chasing after adventurous Sophie and brave Oliver, but when he does, his lap is quickly filled by the affectionate Lola. And Rufus and Cody’s strong bond makes Josh wonder about his own relationships with his family. With Christmasand the adoption date looming, Josh finds himself wondering if he can separate himself from his beloved puppies. At odds with Kerri, Josh isn’t willing to lose her, but doesn’t know how to set things right. Can a surprise litter of Christmas puppies really change one man’s life? The Dogs of Christmas is a charming and heartwarming holiday tale that explores thepower of love, trust, and a basket full of puppies”– Provided by publisher.

The Quest by Nelson DeMille – AUTHOR’S NOTE: An earlier, shorter version of The Quest was published in paperback in 1975. In 2013, I rewrote The Quest and doubled its length, making it, I hope, a far better story than the original, without deviating from the elements that made the story so powerful and compelling when I first wrote it. In other words, what made The Quest worth rewriting remains, and whatever is changed is for the better. I was happy and excited to have this opportunity to rewrite and republish what I consider my first “big” novel, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I first wrote it. BOOK DESCRIPTION: A sweeping adventure that’s equal parts thriller and love story, Nelson DeMille’s newest novel takes the reader from the war torn jungles of Ethiopia to the magical city of Rome. While the Ethiopian Civil War rages, a Catholic priest languishes in prison. Forty years have passed since he last saw daylight. His crime? Claiming to know the true location of Christ’s cup from the Last Supper. Then the miraculous happens – a mortar strikes the prison and he is free Old, frail, and injured, he escapes to the jungle, where he encounters two Western journalists and a beautiful freelance photographer taking refuge from the carnage. As they tend to his wounds, he relates his incredible story. Motivated by the sensational tale and their desire to find the location of the holiest of relics, the trio agrees to search for the Grail. Thus begins an impossible quest that will pit them against murderous tribes, deadly assassins, fanatical monks, and the passions of their own hearts. THE QUEST is suspenseful, romantic, and filled with heart-pounding action. Nelson DeMille is at the top of his game as he masterfully interprets one of history’s greatest mysteries.

Critical Massby Sara Paretsky – V.I. Warshawski’s closest friend in Chicago is the Viennese-born doctor Lotty Herschel, who lost most of her family in the Holocaust. Lotty escaped to London in 1939 on the Kindertransport with a childhood playmate, Kitty Saginor Binder. When Kitty’s daughter finds her life is in danger, she calls Lotty, who, in turn, summons V.I. to help.


his blog post is also available at


October, 2013 Booklist


First of all I have to note that Tom Clancy is dead and we are bereft. His books are the kind of spy stories and thrillers that are difficult to put down, that make you rig up a way to read a book and do dishes at the same time. They are the kind of stories that, if you took time-lapse photos of someone reading you would see them carrying the book with them in their travels through the house, reading at the kitchen table, on the porch or the deck, standing on one foot at the kitchen counter, and, in every photo they would have their nose buried in that book. We are sorry to lose you, but you left a body of work a person can be proud of. Rest in Peace.

My list of new and interesting novels is not quite so long this month. Of course I want to read every book on every one of my lists and I am working on it, but, when I finish the book in my Nook and the book in my Kindle, I think I will read all of the Jo Nesbo books next, although that depends on whether or not I can put my hands on his books. I may get so tempted by another title that I abandon Nesbo temporarily, but I do enjoy his stories which usually star Detective Harry Hole, and I think they would make Fall an engrossing season.



Thank you for your service by David Finkel – From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of “The Good Soldiers,” a profound look at life after war The wars of the past decade have been covered by brave and talented reporters, but none has reckoned with the psychology of these wars as intimately as the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel. For “The Good Soldiers,” his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous “surge,” a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever. In Finkel’s hands, readers can “feel “what these young men were experiencing, and his harrowing story instantly became a classic in the literature of modern war. In “Thank You for Your Service,” Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16–but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like–not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done. The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. “Thank You for Your Service “is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson – Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summerof 1927 when America‘s story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.

Provence, 1970by Julia Fisher – MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and the Reinvention of American Taste.

The Night Guest by Fionna McFarlane – “An elderly Australian woman lets a mysterious and possibly sinister caretaker into her beach-side home and into her life”– Provided by publisher.

 The Circle by Dave Eggers – “The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from DaveEggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award. When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge”– Provided by publisher.

The Family: Three Journeys into the Twentieth Century  (NF) – The author of the “The Children’s Blizzard “delivers an epic work of twentieth century history through the riveting story of one extraordinary Jewish family With cinematic power and beauty, bestselling author David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the twentieth century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations. A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshivatown at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise. The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads. One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation. In tracing the roots of this family–his own family–Laskin captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. “The Family” is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

The Luminaries: A Novel by Eleanor Catton – epic novel about the New Zealand goldrush – shortlisted for the Man Booker prize

The Tilted World: A Novel by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly – In 1927, as theMississippi River threatens to burst its banks and engulf all in its path, two federal revenue agents investigate thedisappearance of two fellow agents on thetrail of a local bootlegger.

The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo, Silvester Mazzerella – GQ (Italy) called Davide Longo, “the most talented and intense Italian novelist of his generation.” In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic literary novel, Italy is on the brink of collapse: borders are closed, banks are refusing to distribute money to their clients, the postal service is shuttered, and food supplies are running short. Armed gangs of drug-fueled youth rampage through the countryside as the nation descends into chaos. (Summary from Goodreads)

Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III – A collection of short stories examining the lives of suburbanites seeking solace and gratification in food, sex, work, and love.

Mysteries and Thrillers

Identical by Scott Turow – Based loosely on the myth of Castor and Pollux, this is the story of identical twins Paul and Cass Giannis and the complex relationships between their family and their former neighbors, the Kronons. The novel focuses principally on events in 2008, when Paul is a candidate for Mayor of Kindle County, and Cass is released from the penitentiary, 25 years after pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Athena Kronon. The plot centers on the re-investigation of Athena’s murder, carried out together by Evon Miller, an ex-FBI agent who is the head of security for the Kronon family business ZP, and private investigator Tim Brodie, 81, a former homicide detective. The complex web of murder, sex, and betrayal-as only Scott Turow could weave-dramatically unfolds, and the chilling truth is revealed: people will believe what they want to believe.

Sycamore Rowby John Grisham – “John Grisham takes you back to where it all began . . .” John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history. Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row? In “Sycamore Row,” John Grisham returns to the setting and the compelling characters that first established him as America’s favorite storyteller. Here, in his most assured and thrilling novel yet, is a powerful testament to the fact that Grisham remains the master of the legal thriller, nearly twenty-five years after the publication of “A Time to Kill.”

Police by Jo Nesbo – The police urgently need Harry Hole . . . A killer is stalking Oslo’s streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical. But this time, Harry can’t help. For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone–least of all himself.

Storm Front by John Sandford – In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat. In Minnesota, Virgil Flowers receives a message telling him that he’s about to get a visit from an Israeli cop. She’s tailing a man who’s smuggled out an extraordinary relic. As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don’t care who’s in the way or what they have to do to get it.

Inherit the Dead: A Novel by Lee Child – TO FIND AN ANGEL, HE MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL. Pericles Perry Christo is a PI with a past a former cop, who lost his badge and his family when a corruption scandal left him broke and disgraced. When wealthy Upper East Side matron Julia Drusilla summons him one cold February night, he grabs what seems to be a straightforward (and lucrative) case. The socialite is looking for her beautiful, aimless daughter, Angelina, who is about to become a very wealthy young woman. But as Christo digs deeper, he discovers there s much more to the lovely Angel than meets the eye. Her father, her best friend, her boy-friends all have agendas of their own. Angel, he soon realizes, may be in grave danger . . . and if Christo gets too close, he just might get caught in the crossfire. This classic noir tale twists and turns down New York s mean streets and along Hamptons beaches and back roads during a bitterly cold and gray winter where nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to hide. In an inventive storytelling approach, each writer brings his or her distinctive voice to a chapter of “Inherit the Dead,” building the ten-sion to a shocking, explosive finale.

The Case of the Love Commandos: from the files of Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator by Tarquin Hall – IN THIS CONTEMPORARY ROMEO AND JULIET STORY SET WITHIN INDIA S CASTESYSTEM, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR VISH PURI BECOMES EMBROILED IN A HIGH-STAKES MYSTERY INVOLVING ONE OF INDIA S MOST CONTROVERSIAL COMMODITIES: LOVE. Critics hailed “The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken,” the last installment in the Vish Puri mystery series, as Tarquin Hall s best yet, saying that each book has raised the stakes subtly (“The Huffington Post”) and provided readers with a gently humorous take on life in contemporary India (“The Christian Science Monitor”). Now, in “The Case of the Love Commandos,” Hall has upped the ante yet again, throwing more twists, turns, and surprises at India’s Most Private Investigator than ever before. When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman s parents are dead set against the union. She’s from a high-caste family; he s an Untouchable, from the lowest stratum of Indian society. Young Tulsi s father locks her up and promises to hunt down the loverboy dog. Fortunately, India s Love Commandos, a real-life group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. Just after they liberate Tulsi, Ram is mysteriously snatched from his hiding place. It falls to Vish Puri to track down Ram and reunite the star-crossed lovers. Unfortunately, Puri s having a bad month. Not only did he fail to recover a stolen cache of jewels, but his wallet was filched and he has to rely on his Mummy-ji to get it back. To top it all off, his archrival, suave investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. In the daring race to find Ram, Puri and his team must infiltrate Ram s village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices. With wildly entertaining prose, outsize characters, and a perfect sense of place, this modern tale of star-crossed lovers transports us deep into Indian history and culture. And as ever, Tarquin Hall s gormandizing Punjabi detective is never short of a good curry.

Science Fiction

Parasite(Parasitology) by Mira Grant – A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives . . . and will do anything to get them.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch – Lynch continues his acclaimed Locke Lamora series as the thief extraordinaire’s mysterious lost love returns to challenge him for primacy among thieves.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside by Greg Sistero, Tom Bissell – My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

Norman Mailer: A Double Life by J. Michael Lennon – Biography

Just what kind of mother are you? by Paula Daly – (a more complete summary) – Lisa Kallisto is one of those overworked, overscheduled mothers who never secure enough sleep at night. After getting her three kids off to school, working all day as the manager of a charitable animal shelter and taking care of her household, she’s lucky to get a few minutes to herself. So when her daughter’s friend Lucinda turns up missing after she was supposed to spend the night at Lisa’s home, Lisa is full of blame and self-loathing. And she’s not the only one who finds herself at fault: Most of Lucinda’s family, the police and even her own husband, Joe, think Lisa should have paid more attention to what the two young teens were doing. Now, it looks like the kidnapper, who has already abducted one other girl, is at it again, and Lisa is trying to put the pieces together. So is Joanne Aspinall, an investigator with the local police in the small English town where both Lisa’s and Lucinda’s families live, and Joanne’s finding that things are growing more and more curious as the pieces to the puzzle refuse to fit together.

Independent Booksellers

Spider Woman’s Daughter by Annie Hillerman – “Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her. With the victim fighting for his life, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations forbidding eyewitness involvement. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is in charge of finding the shooter. Bernie and Cheediscover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Digging into the old investigation, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth– andcloser to a killer determined to prevent justice from taking its course” — from publisher’s web page

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – “Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her. With the victim fighting for his life, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations forbidding eyewitness involvement. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is in charge of finding the shooter. Bernie and Cheediscover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Digging into the old investigation, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth– andcloser to a killer determined to prevent justice from taking its course” — from publisher’s web page

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford – Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday, William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. … BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place — provided by publisher.

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini – Pledging her loyalty to theNorth at the risk of her life when her native Virginia secedes, Quaker-educated aristocrat Elizabeth Van Lew uses her innate skills for gathering military intelligence to help construct the Richmond underground and orchestrate escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison.

The October Listby Jeffrey Deaver – “New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver’s next blockbuster thriller”– Provided by publisher.

“”Gabriela McKenzie’s daughter has been kidnapped. In exchange for her safe return, her abductors demand two things: $400,000 in cash, and a document known only as the October List.”–Provided by publisher.


A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra ­- In a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor Akhmed harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter ofa father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series ofwounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.

Three Can Keep a Secret by Archer Mayor – Archer Mayor’s New York Times bestselling Joe Gunther series returns with a complex case involving two corpses, one escaped mental patient, and a long-held secret that binds them together “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” –Ben Franklin Joe Gunther and his team–the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI)–are usually called in on major cases by local Vermont enforcement whenever they need expertise and back-up. But after the state is devastated by Hurricane Irene, the police from one end of the state are taxed to their limits, leaving Joe Gunther involved in an odd, seemingly unrelated series of cases. In the wake of the hurricane, a seventeen year old gravesite is exposed, revealing a coffin that had been filled with rocks instead of the expected remains. At the same time, an old, retired state politician turns up dead at his high-end nursing home, in circumstances that leave investigators unsure that he wasn’t murdered. And a patient who calls herself The Governor has walked away from a state mental facility during the post-hurricane flood. It turns out that she was indeed once “Governor for a Day,” over forty years ago, but that she might have also been falsely committed and drugged to keep her from revealing something that she saw all those years ago. Amidst the turmoil and the disaster relief, it’s up to Joe Gunther and his team to learn what really happened with the two corpses–one missing–and what secret “The Governor” might have still locked in her brain that links them all.

The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King – Paris, France: September 1929. Private investigator Harris Stuyvesant, on the hunt for amissing twenty-two year old woman from Boston, must descend into the darkest depths ofperversion to find a killer hiding in the Theatre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre.

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally – “Naomi and Sally Durance are daughters of a dairy farmer from theMacleay Valley. Bound together in complicity by what they consider a crime, when the Great War begins in 1914 they hope to submerge their guilt by leaving for Europe to nurse thetides of young wounded. They head for the Dardanelles on thehospital ship Archimedes. Their education in medicine, valour and human degradation continues on the Greek island of Lemnos, then on theWestern Front. Here, new outrages – gas, shell-shock – present themselves. Naomi encounters the wonderful, eccentric Lady Tarlton, who is founding a voluntary hospital near Boulogne; Sally serves in a casualty clearing station close to the front. They meet the men with whom they would wish to spend the rest oftheir lives. Inspired by the journals of Australian nurses who gave their all to the Great War effort and themen they nursed” — from Random House web site.

Dear Lifeby Alice Munro – Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature – Alice Munro writes short stories which I usually don’t include on my lists, but now I am curious and will read some Alice Munro. You can see a nice short summary of her life and work so far on The Daily Beast.


The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood – On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with theglamour of Jackie, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless but secure marriage or to follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituarywriter, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand thedevastation of her own terrible loss. Thesurprising connection between these two women will change Claire’s life in unexpected and extraordinary ways.

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris – The tantalizing sequel to the blockbuster New York Times bestseller Chocolat Even before it was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Joanne Harris’s Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate. Now, at last, Chocolat ‘s heroine returns to the beautiful French village of Lansquenet in another, equally beguiling tale. When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to return to Lansquenet, where she once owned a chocolate shop and learned the meaning of home. But returning to one’s past can be a dangerous pursuit, and Vianne and her daughters find the beautiful French village changed in unexpected ways: women veiled in black, the scent of spices in the air, and; facing the church; a minaret. Most surprising of all, her old nemesis, Francis Reynaud, desperately needs her help. Can Vianne work her magic once again?

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks – Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience, have their lives converge. (summary from Indie Booksellers)

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton – Grafton’s latest bestseller is full of betrayals, misunderstandings, and outright murderous fraud. And Kinsey Milhone, through no fault of her own is thoroughly compromised. (summary from the Indie Booksellers)

Publisher’s Weekly

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal – On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.

Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can. ( Summary from Goodreads)

Jo Nesbo titles:

The Redeemer (6)

The Leopard (8)

The Snowman (7)

Phantom (9)

Police (10)

The Devil’s Star (5)

Nemesis (4)

The Redbreast (3)

Headhunters (2)

The Bat (1)

Order of publication is shown in parentheses.





September, 2013 Booklist, Part ii

Here are the suggestions from Publisher’s Weekly and from the Independent Booksellers (who are very good at picking good reads) (that’s who I forgot to consult this time, Goodreads.) (I’ll check them out and see if they have anything these book experts don’t have and if they do, I’ll do an addendum.) Some of these book titles may be repeats.

Publisher’s Weekly

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday/Talese). The final entry in Atwood’s brilliant MaddAddam trilogy roils with spectacular and furious satire. The novel begins where Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood end, just after most of the human species has been eradicated by a man-made plague.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly (Grove). This emotionally complex tale of teenage abduction takes place in England’s Lake District, where economic hardship persists amid the striking landscape. Protagonist Lisa Kallisto balances her need to support her friend, whose daughter is missing, with a scrupulous sense of culpability in Daly’s distinctive first novel.

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer (S&S/Atheneum). Farmer’s 2002 novel The House of the Scorpion won the National Book Award (and received Newbery and Printz Honors); at last, readers can discover the fate of 14-year-old clone Matt, who has be-come the Lord of Opium following the death of the drug lord El Patrón.

NF Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissanceby Carla Kaplan (Harper). The acclaimed Zora Neale Hurston biographer is the first to tell the story of Miss Anne, a collectively named group of white women who supported the Harlem Rennaisance. Kaplan shows how Miss Anne set the stage for contemporary ideas about race, class, and gender.

NF The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation by Mollie Katzen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Rux Martin). Even more than Katzen’s innovative Moosewood Cookbook, this fresh bunch of recipes illuminates the potential and importance of vegetables. Whether considering one of Katzen’s vegan or meat-accompanied dishes, it is vegetables that will capture the imagination.

Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton (Atlantic Monthly). Lawton kicks off a crafty new series of spy novels centered on Joe Wilderness, a former British airman sent to Berlin after WWII to find former Nazis. From Kennedy’s 1963 Berlin visit to the nitty gritty of the divided city’s black market, this thriller is chock full of early Cold War history and rich fictional characters.

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (Quercus/MacLehose). Lemaitre’s first installment in a trilogy begins with a kidnapping of a beautiful woman in Paris. Despite a lack of clues, a short but wily investigator volunteers for the case in order to reckon with his wife’s death. Ingenious (if insubordinate) police work ensues, along with genuine suspense and plot twists.

Someone by Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The latest novel from National Book Award winner McDermott (Charming Billy) takes us on a seemingly ordinary woman’s journey of self-discovery. We first see Marie Commeford as a seven-year-old squinting through glasses, and as her life takes its course we share her insight into what she had so often failed to see.

The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton (Minotaur). Known for her true crime writing (Perfect Victim, Disturbed Ground), Norton’s first novel is not only a gripping thriller but an insightful tale on the lives of kidnapping victims in the media-fueled aftermath. Surviver Reeve LeClaire helps to counsel a rescued 13-year-old girl while her kidnapper remains at large.

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin Press). A new book from Pynchon is a reason to celebrate. Bleeding Edge situates a fable of increasingly sentient computers in, naturally, 2001. Of course, the year 2001 means something besides HAL and Dave now, and Pynchon spirits us through “that terrible morning” in September–and its “infantilizing” aftermath–with unhysterical grace.

NF Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy by Sudhir Venkatesh (Penguin Press). Sociologist Venkatesh’s richly reported profiles of sex workers, johns, and drug dealers are novelistic in the best way. Like a classic New York novel, this book combines cool distance with empathy, bringing the author’s subjects closer to home than one might expect.

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NF Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident by William Ayers (Beacon). At times in Weather Underground cofounder Ayer’s new life as a socially-integrated college professor, his name has carried just as much notoriety as it did when he was on the lam. This lively, sometimes mischievous follow-up to Fugitive Days sets the record straight in the wake of Palin and other opponents.

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Knopf). The servants of the Bennett estate manage their own set of dramas in this vivid re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice. While the marriage prospects of the Bennett girls preoccupy the family upstairs, downstairs the housekeeper Mrs. Hill has her hands full managing the staff that keeps Longbourn running smoothly: the young housemaids, Sarah and Polly; the butler, Mr. Hill; and the mysterious new footman, James Smith, who bears a secret connection to Longbourn

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking). Travel and self-discovery, central themes in Gilbert’s memoir work, are now brought to historical fiction. Narrated by a botanist who comes of age the early 19th century, the novel moves through many settings and points in time, with much to delight in along the way.

Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis (Twelve). Co-authored by two Texans, this book marks the 50h anniversary of JFK’s assassination by rendering the climate of hate in Dallas and the pressures Kennedy faced in Washington with a new level of intensity. Minutaglio and Davis craft a thrilling and unnerving story from events that took place in Dallas in the three years before the assassination.

The Abominable by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown). Lovers of Simmons’s blend of alternate history, mystery, and myth will appreciate this three-act thriller set in the interwar years. Young American alpine climber Jake is invited on a “recovery” mission to find Percival Bromley, a British lord who vanished on Mt. Everest., The Independent Booksellers

The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison – “A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers. Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, thekiller, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept” — from publisher’s web site.

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny – Inspector Gamache mysteries are gaining popularity

Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt – Jerene Jarvis Johnston and her husband Duke are at the center of Charlotte, North Carolina’s burgeoning society, where old southern money and the secrets behind it meet the new wealth of bankers, real estate speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy whose promising political career ended mysteriously, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War expert and re-enactor. Jerene’s brother Gaston is an infamously-dissolute bestselling historical novelist who has never managed to begin his long-dreamed-of masterpiece titled Lookaway,Dixieland, and her sister Dillard suffers from a nervous ailment that has rendered her a near-recluse.As the four Johnston children – smart but reckless Annie, good-boy minister Bo, might be gay but that’s okay Josh, and damaged, dangerous Jerilyn – flounder in their adult lives, Jerene must take action to preserve her legacy and Duke’s fragile honor. And she will stop at nothing to keep what she has, while holding her own terrible past at bay. In Lookaway, Lookaway, Wilton Barnhardt has written a full-bore, headlong, hilarious narrative of a family coming apart, a society changing beyond recognition, and an unforgettable woman striving to pull it all together.

The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee – Separated from his mother as a passenger on a boat bound for a new land, David is a boy who is quite literally adrift. Thepiece of paper explaining his situation is lost, but a fellow passenger, Simón, vows to look after the boy. When theboat docks, David and Simón are issued new names, new birthdays, and virtually a whole new life. Strangers in a strange land, knowing nothing of their surroundings, nor the language or customs, they are determined to find David’s mother. Though the boy has no memory of her, Simón is certain he will recognize her at first sight. “But after we find her,” David asks, “what are we here for?” An eerie allegorical tale told largely through dialogue, The Childhood of Jesus is a literary feat-a novel of ideas that is also a tender, compelling narrative. Coetzee’s many fans will celebrate his return while new readers will find The Childhood of Jesus an intriguing introduction to the work of a true master”– Provided by publisher.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When her town falls into German hands, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws theeye of the new Kommandant. As his obsession deepens, she will risk everything in the hope of seeing Edouard again. Nearly a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Then a chance encounter reveals its true worth . .

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – Inspector Gamache mystery

Still Life by Louise Penny – Inspector Gamache mystery

I n Falling Snow: A Novel by Mary-Rose MacColl – A bestselling Australian writers American debut and a heart-wrenching novel of World War I Iris Cranes tranquil life is shattered when a letter summons memories from her bittersweet past: her first love, her best friend, and the tragedy that changed everything. Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist. But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women–a decision that will change her life. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris’s granddaughter in 1970’s Australia. Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love.

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama – A powerful new novel about an ordinary family facing extraordinary times at the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution China, 1957. Chairman Mao has declared a new openness in society: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Many intellectuals fear it is only a trick, and Kai Ying’s husband, Sheng, a teacher, has promised not to jeopardize their safety or that of their young son, Tao. But one July morning, just before his sixth birthday, Tao watches helplessly as Sheng is dragged away for writing a letter criticizing the Communist Party and sent to a laborcamp for “reeducation.” A year later, still missing his father desperately, Tao climbs to the top of the hundred-year-old kapok tree in front of their home, wanting to see the mountain peaks in the distance. But Tao slips and tumbles thirty feet to the courtyard below, badly breaking his leg. As Kai Ying struggles to hold her small family together in the face of this shattering reminder of her husband’s absence, other members of the household must face their own guilty secrets and strive to find peace in a world where the old sense of order is falling. Once again, Tsukiyama brings us a powerfully moving story of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with grace and courage.

Sweet Thunderby Ivan Doig – After inheriting a fixer-upper, newlywed Morrie Morgan returns to 1920s Butte, Montana, to fight a rival newspaper and help the miners working for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls – Two motherless sisters–Bean and Liz–are shuttled to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in thedecaying mansion that’s been in their family for generations. When school starts in the fall, Bean easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz becomes increasingly withdrawn. Then something happens to Liz and Bean is left to challenge theinjustice of the adult world.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride – Fleeing his violent master at theside of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

& Sons by David Gilbert – A famous reclusive writer and his three sons find their bond tested by the weight of long-held secrets and a cumbersome legacy shaped by boarding school, Hollywood, and the elite circles of the publishing world.

The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson – “Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she’s leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of theparty, not to mention the rich fare, did her in. But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking. When a colleague– a woman who resembles Goldy– is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is themain course on a killer menu. With time running out, Goldy must roll up her sleeves, sharpen her knives, and make a meal out of a devious murderer, before that killer can serve her up cold” — from publisher’s web page.

The Returnedby Jason Mott – When their son Jacob, who died tragically at his 8th birthday party in 1966, arrives on their doorstep, still 8 years old, Harold and Lucille Hargrave must navigate a strange new reality as chaos erupts around the world as people’s loved ones are returned from beyond.

More September books from Publisher’s Weekly

A Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski by Samantha Germer and Lawrence Silver – NF – tell-all memoir of girl/woman who had sexual relations with Roman Polanski for over 30 years starting at age 13

A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam – NF – social dynamics of great apes within cages of a Florida research institution

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales – 16-year-old escapes one life to complicate her life even more

Simon’s Cat vs. the World by Simon Tofield (drawings)

Sea of Hooksby Lindsay Hill –  Sea of Hooks is a novel structured to reflect the interweaving of the two worlds inhabited by its main character, Christopher Westall. Christopher holds the spheres of ordinary days and weeks in precarious balance with the shifting field, of images and voices, that lies behind it. A series of traumas shatters this balance and propels him toward great danger but, also, the possibility of spiritual revelation. Sea of Hooks recounts the parallel narratives of Christopher’s youth in San Francisco, where he struggles within the icy Victorian household of his mother, and his quest, in Bhutan, for answers to the questions that haunt him. The book is comprised of the shattered fragments of Christopher’s world and is driven by the forces that compel him to reassemble it at any cost.

Let Him Go by Larry Watson – N 1951 North Dakota, years after losing her son in a horse riding accident, Margaret Blackledge seeks to retrieve her grandson from the daughter-in-law who ran off with another man but finds her efforts challenged by her reluctant husband and the boy’s stepfamily.

NF Breaking Out: An Indian Woman’s American Journey by Padma Desai

Blackmore: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson – Having decided she will never marry, Kate Worthington plans to escape her meddlesome family by travelling to India. Her mother agrees on the condition that she gets–and rejects–three marriage proposals. To fulfill her end of the bargain Kate travels to the manor of Blackmoore in northern England, where her plans go awry.

Sugar by Jenna Jameson with Hope Tarr (Regency romance



September, 2013 Booklist, Part i

I am picturing myself in a comfortable chair surrounded by towering piles of books. I will, of course, never read all of these books, but I do like knowing what is new out there, mostly in the world of the novel, but the occasional nonfiction book also catches my eye. There is really no structure or particular order to my reading. I sort of choose from my current and past lists whatever strikes my fancy when I am ready for new books to read. Sometimes my psyche gets really jerked around if I read books that are too different from each other in theme and tone, but it’s probably good mental exercise. Perhaps some of these books will catch your eye and get added to your list for future reading.

Fall Preview – Amazon

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (9/24) – Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. An extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: the best-selling author of The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth.

We Are Water: A Novel by Wally Lamb (10/22) – Annie Oh–wife, mother, and artist–has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. The two plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But this provokes mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s box of toxic secrets–dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives. Told in the alternating voices of the Ohs–nonconformist Annie; her psychologist ex-husband, Orion; their do-gooder daughter Ariane and her rebellious twin, Andrew; and the free-spirited youngest Marissa–We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb: a compulsively readable and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways we search for love and meaning in our lives.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (10/22) – The author of the classic bestsellers “The Secret History” and “The Little Friend” returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friends family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, “The Goldfinch” is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (10/15) – With her hotly anticipated third installment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy , Fielding introduces us to a whole new, enticing phase of Bridget’s life, set in contemporary London, including the challenges of maintaining sex appeal as the years roll by, and the nightmares of drunken texting, the skinny jean, the disastrous e-mail cc, total lack of Twitter followers, and TVs that need ninety buttons and three remotes to simply turn on.  An uproariously funny novel of modern life, Bridget Jones:   Mad About the Boy is a triumphant return of our favorite Everywoman.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (11/5) – Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign “Shanghailanders” living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II. A deeply evocative narrative about the profound connections between mothers and daughters, The Valley of Amazement returns readers to the compelling territory of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic insight and humor, she conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and stubbornness of love.

Dissident Gardens: A Novel by Johnathan Lethem (9/10) –  A dazzling novel from one of our finest writers–an epic yet intimate family saga about three generations of all-American radicals At the center of Jonathan Lethem’s superb new novelstand two extraordinary women. Rose Zimmer, the aptly nicknamed Red Queen of Sunnyside, Queens, is an unreconstructed Communist and mercurial tyrant who terrorizes her neighborhood and her family with the ferocity of her personality and the absolutism of her beliefs. Her brilliant and willful daughter, Miriam, is equally passionate in her activism, but flees Rose’s suffocating influence and embraces the Age of Aquarius counterculture of Greenwich Village. Both women cast spells that entrance or enchain the men in their lives: Rose’s aristocratic German Jewish husband, Albert; her nephew, the feckless chess hustler Lenny Angrush; Cicero Lookins, the brilliant son of her black cop lover; Miriam’s (slightly fraudulent) Irish folksinging husband, Tommy Gogan; their bewildered son, Sergius. These flawed, idealistic people all struggle to follow their own utopian dreams in an America where radicalism is viewed with bemusement, hostility, or indifference. As the decades pass–from the parlor communism of the ’30s, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, ragged ’70s communes, the romanticization of the Sandinistas, up to the Occupy movement of the moment–we come to understand through Lethem’s extraordinarily vivid storytelling that the personal may be political, but the political, even more so, is personal. Brilliantly constructed as it weaves across time and among characters, Dissident Gardens is riotous and haunting, satiric and sympathetic–and a joy to read”– Provided by publisher.

The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert (11/1) – A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed In The Signature of All Things , Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia….

Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley (8/6) – “From acclaimed author Susan Conley, a novel that gives us a luminous emotional portrait of a young woman living abroad in Paris in the 1980s and trying to make sense of the chaotic world around her as she learns the true meaning of family. When Willie Pears agrees to teach at a Parisian center for immigrant girls who have requested French asylum, she has no idea it will utterly change her life….

Who Asked You by Terry McMillan (9/17) – Now, in her eighth novel, McMillan gives exuberant voice to characters whoreveal how we live now-at least as lived in a racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. Kaleidoscopic, fast-paced, and filled with McMillan’s inimitable humor, Who AskedYou? opens as Trinetta leaves her two young sons with her mother, Betty Jean, and promptly disappears. BJ, a trademark McMillan heroine, already has her hands full dealing with her other adult children, two opinionated sisters, an ill husband, and her own postponed dreams-all while holding down a job as a hotel maid. Her son Dexter is about to be paroled from prison; Quentin, the family success, can’t be bothered to lend a hand; and taking care of two lively grandsons is the last thing BJ thinks she needs….

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion (10/1) – An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love. Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical–most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent–and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Dons Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie–and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper. “The Rosie Project” is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Enon: A Novel by Paul Harding (9/10) – A grieving Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers protagonist George Washington Crosby) attempts to come to terms with the death of his daughter, Kate, and the subsequent dissolution of his marriage.

The Affairs of Others: A Novel by Amy Grace Loyd (8/27) – This is the author’s debut novel about a young woman, haunted by loss, who rediscovers passion and possibility when she is drawn into the tangled lives ofher neighbors….Here the author investigates interior spaces, of thebody and the New York warrens in which her characters live, offering a startling emotional honesty about the traffic between men and women. This is a story about the irrepressibility of life and desire, no matter its sorrows or obstacles.

Quiet Dell: A Novel by Jayne Anne Phillips (10/15) – In Quiet Dell , Phillips re-imagines a gruesome crime in a tiny West Virginia community not far from where she grew up. In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, the family are dead. Emily Thornhill, one of the few women in the Chicago press, covers the case and becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family, particularly to the youngest child, Annabel, an enchanting girl with a precocious imagination and sense of magic. Bold and intrepid, Emily allies herself with the Chicago banker who funds the investigation and who is wracked by guilt for not saving Asta. Driven by secrets of their own, the heroic characters in this magnificent tale will stop at nothing to ensure that Powers is convicted. A mesmerizing retelling of a harrowing crime, Quiet Dell is a tour de force of obsession and imagination.

The Fountain of St. James Court of Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman: A Novel by Sena Jeter Naslund (9/26) – Is it a crime to live? To create happiness for yourself through your own work?” How do writers and painters get their ideas? And what are the hard realities of such seemingly glamorous and romantic lives? In her groundbreaking new novel, New York Times bestselling author Sena Jeter Naslund explores the transformative power of art, history, and love in the lives of creative women….In this, her compelling and intimate ninth book, Sena Jeter Naslund presents the reader with an eye-opening alternate vision of The Artist: not an angry young man but a woman of age and hard-won experience who has created for herself, against enormous odds, a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.

The Last First Day: A Novel by Carrie Brown (9/17) – “From the author of “The Rope Walk,” the story of a womans life in its twilight, as she looks back on both a harrowing childhood and the unaccountable love and happiness that emerged from it. Ruth has always stood firmly beside her upstanding, brilliant husband, Peter, the legendary chief of the Derry School for boys. The childless couple has a unique, passionate bond which grew out of Ruths arrival on his family doorstep as a young girl orphaned by tragedy. And though sometimes frustrated by her role as lifelong helpmeet, Ruth is awed by her good fortune in Peter. As the novel opens we see the Derry School in all its glorious New England fall colors and witness the loosening of the aging Peters grasp–he will soon have to retire, and Ruth is wondering what they will do in their old age, separated from the school into which they have poured everything, including their savings. As the novel unfurls, it takes us back through their days and years, revealing the explosive spark and joy of their love–undiminished now in their seventies–and giving us a deeply felt portrait of a woman from the generation that quietly put individual dreams aside for the good of a partnership, twinned with the revelation of the surprising gift of the right mans love, which keeps giving to the end.

Mother, Mother: A Novel by Koren Zailckas (9/17) – Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarchs determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasnt been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison. Resentful of her sisters newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in the psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother Will shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Recently diagnosed with Aspergers and epilepsy, hes separated from the other kids around town and is homeschooled to ensure his safety. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of the bottle–an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the familys impeccable facade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed. Written with the style, dark wit and shrewd psychological insight that made SMASHED a bestseller, Zailckass first novel is unforgettable. In the spirit of classic suspense novels by Shirley Jackson and Daphne DuMaurier, MOTHER, MOTHER is the terrifying and page-turning story of a mothers love gone too far, and the introduction of a commanding new voice in fiction.

A book about books – nonfiction

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin (9/26)