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Weekly Update

October 9, 2015 Newsletter October 9, 2015
Leaves are Falling: I Should Be Turning Pages
What a wild week of books and authors! When we left off last week, I was headed to the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association's Trade Conference for a breakfast where five authors presented their work to booksellers with a goal to entice them to order and sell them. Each was a terrific speaker, and I look forward to sharing their books with you as they come out. You can see a photo above of Simon Van Booy (FATHER’S DAY, April 26th); YA author Maggie Thrash (HONOR GIRL, in stores now; our review is here); Stacy Schiff (THE WITCHES, October 27th); Eric Weiner (THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, January 5th) and B. A. Shapiro (THE MURALIST, November 3rd).

From there, I zipped up to Morristown for their Book Festival. The weather was cold, dreary and windy, but the attendees were warm, excited and engaged. The panel I moderated --- where Dana Goldstein spoke about THE TEACHER WARS --- was standing room only. She was a fabulous speaker, and while we had only a 30-minute Q&A session, we easily could have done twice that. For those of you interested in education today and the history of public schools, I recommend her book. My mom, who is a former schoolteacher, was wowed by her. Our intern Rebecca Munro and reviewer Vivian Payton were there as well. You can read Rebecca's blog report on the Festival in next week's newsletter.

On Tuesday night, five members of the staff went to see an advance screening of the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s ROOM, which is scheduled for a limited release on October 16th before going wide on November 6th. I immediately selected it as a Bets On pick back in 2010; it was one of those books that grabbed me right from the start. I loved seeing it become a huge success. I confess that when the movie deal was announced, I could not figure out how the story could possibly be adapted into a film. Emma did the adaption herself, which is brilliant.

In late May, I was at a panel at BookCon in New York, where she spoke about the process of writing the screenplay. She was then joined on stage by Brie Larson, who plays Ma, and Jacob Tremblay, who plays young Jack. Brie shared that, to prep for the film, she kept herself homebound for two months in order to wrap her head around the role of Ma; she said that even though she knew she could leave at any time, unlike Ma, it still helped prepare her for the role. Jacob is adorable, and there was a real chemistry between them, so I had high hopes for the film.

After seeing it, all I can say is "WOW." I feel like I saw an Oscar film contender and two Oscar-caliber performances. Emma’s literary agent summed it up best when I caught up with her last week. She said the movie grabs you, brings you in and never lets go. Jacob steals the show and nails his performance. If he gets nominated and wins, it would make him the youngest Oscar winner ever; Tatum O’Neal was 10, and Jacob is only eight! If you have not read the book, be sure to do that before you see the movie, though it stands brilliantly on its own. You can watch a trailer here.

Tom and I rarely go to the movies together; I do not typically go unless it is for a screening, as I loathe crowds and waiting on line, and movie timing never seems to work with my schedule. That said, I really want to see The Martian (based on Andy Weir's sci-fi adventure of the same name). This summer, my friend Cathy was here for dinner and went on and on about the book. As much as I read, I confess I did not have it on my radar, though Stephen Hubbard had brilliantly reviewed it for us when it came out. Cathy described the protagonist as “MacGyver in Outer Space,” which I loved. I saw a really funny meme the other day that read “From Saving Private Ryan to Interstellar to The Martian, America has spent a ridiculous amount of money to retrieve Matt Damon.” Very amusing.

Room and The Martian are just two of the major motion pictures releasing in October. Others include He Named Me Malala, Steve Jobs, Goosebumps and Big Stone Gap. Check out all the movies, TV shows and DVDs based on books in this month’s Books on Screen feature here, which was curated and written by Emily Hoenig.

Yesterday, I got a BIG dose of pop culture when I attended New York Comic Con. The show was packed! How far this show has come since it first launched in 2006. I remember it sharing space at the Javits Center with another show; I also remember the fire marshals being called when fans showed up in droves. Now NYCC events are spread around the city, and it’s an entire week of pop culture events called Super Week. And, best of all, the new 7 train extension finally opened, which means the Javits Center is a brisk two-train trip from our office. We will have our NYCC event blog next week as we have a number of "correspondents on the ground."

This weekend, the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is being held in Raleigh. As I cannot clone and be there, we have a band of mystery writers and professionals assigned to the task of reporting back to us on what they see. We also will have that for you next week!

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Henning Mankell this week, following a battle with lung and throat cancer. Mankell was the acclaimed author of 11 mysteries featuring Kurt Wallander, which have been published in 40 countries, topping bestseller lists in several European countries. Mankell’s commitment to his creation also resulted in several film and television adaptations, as well as other works of fiction for both children and adults.

Also, Paul Prudhomme, the legendary Louisiana chef, passed away yesterday at 75, after a brief illness. I still remember making blackened redfish for the first time, courtesy of his technique. I may need to reprise that to honor him!

George R. R. Martin adds to his ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire, with the publication of A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, featuring illustrations from Gary Gianni. Set nearly a century before the events of “Game of Thrones,” the book compiles the first three official prequel novellas to provide a rich history of Westeros’s most famous families. These stories portray an age when the Targaryen family reigns from the Iron Throne and dragons are not so long gone. Through the characters of Dunk and Egg --- one of whom will become known as Aegon Targaryen --- Martin provides tales of intrigue, exploit and adventure.

Sarah Rachel Egelman has our review and says, "A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS offers the best of Martin's Westeros: noble heroes, conflicted loyalties, humor and a hint of magic. As these stories were written before the later series, and because they are character-driven, they work quite well as stand-alones. But for readers entrenched in the series, they offer a terrific peek at the past and some captivating foreshadowing of things to come."

Picking up where THE LAST MAN left off, THE SURVIVOR reunites readers with Mitch Rapp for his fiercest battle yet. In this novel --- which was completed by Kyle Mills following the death of Vince Flynn, who started it --- the CIA is stunned when golden boy Rick Rickman pulls off an elaborate betrayal, taking off with an extraordinary amount of classified documents. Fortunately, CIA director Irene Kennedy has a dangerous weapon on her hands: elite covert operative Mitch Rapp. Although Rapp is quick to catch and dispose of the traitorous Rickman, the CIA continues to receive tip-offs about hidden data all across the world. With Pakistanis and Americans both searching desperately for Rickman’s accomplices, it is up to Rapp to protect his country from his deadliest enemies yet.

According to reviewer Joe Hartlaub, “Rapp’s personality is informed with a grim gravitas that suits him and the seriousness of his missions well. Mills perfectly treads the line of bringing his own considerable talent and style to the table while being respectful of the source material and seemingly channeling Flynn’s own voice.” By the way, the two titles of these books seem apt as Mills completed Flynn’s work. I still cannot believe Flynn is gone.

Kate Clifford Larson goes beyond the glamorous surface of the Kennedy family to investigate the daughter few ever knew in ROSEMARY: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. As the daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy, Rosemary attended exclusive schools, met famous dignitaries and traveled the world. But she also had a fiercely guarded secret: she was intellectually disabled. Drawing upon Rose Kennedy’s diaries, letters from school officials and doctors, and exclusive family interviews, Larson highlights both the Kennedys’ love for their daughter and Joe’s decision to have her lobotomized at the age of 23. As Larson tracks the family’s efforts to reunite with Rosemary, she reveals how Rosemary’s journey inspired them to fight for the disabled.

Carole Turner has our review and says, “Though her life was a tragedy caused by errors, poor decisions often made with the best of intentions, and the misjudgments of others, [Rosemary's] legacy is undeniably huge.” We also have a Q&A with the author, which you can read here.

Following last week’s review, my latest Bets On pick is Sandra Dallas’ new historical novel, THE LAST MIDWIFE. Click here to see why I’m betting you’ll love this book.

Our Fall Preview contests return next week! Our prize books will be PLAYING WITH FIRE by Tess Gerritsen, TWAIN'S END by Lynn Cullen, and VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar (a Bets On pick when it released in hardcover), with the first contest of the week being announced on Tuesday, October 13th at noon ET.

VANESSA AND HER SISTER is one of many books we’re featuring in this month’s New in Paperback roundups. Others include AFTER THE WIND: Tragedy on Everest --- One Survivor's Story by Lou Kasischke (watch for a Q&A with Lou in the October 23rd newsletter following its October 20th paperback release), THE INNOVATORS: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson, LILA by Marilynne Robinson, and WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys by Thomas Maier.

In the past month, have you been reading hardcovers, paperbacks, eBooks or audiobooks --- or a combination? Click here to let us know in our latest poll. We love getting to know you better in these polls.

In our previous poll, we wanted to know how long it typically takes you to read a book that’s between 350 and 400 pages. 26% of you said “Less than a week,” while 22% need a full week and only 1% said “More than a month.” Click here for all the results.

In a book group? Our poll asks, “If you have read an author with your group, are you likely to read another book by her/him in the future?” Click here to let us know.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest to share with you. Let us know by Friday, October 23rd at noon ET what books you’ve finished reading, and you’ll be in the running to win CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg, LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell, and SEE ME by Nicholas Sparks.

This month’s Sounding Off on Audio contest continues. What audiobooks have you finished listening to? Let us know by Monday, November 2nd at noon ET, and you’ll have the chance to win the audio versions of both Robert Galbraith’s CAREER OF EVIL: A Cormoran Strike Novel, read by Robert Glenister, and FIND A WAY, written and read by Diana Nyad.

Congratulations to Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” Alexievich is the 14th woman to win the literature prize. Read more about Alexievich and the Nobel Prize here.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail: Got this nice note from Cherry from Texas, who had been hoping to meet up with me at the Morristown Book Festival after a vacation to the Berkshires before her plans were waylaid: “I've convinced myself we would be besties, if we lived in the same place sharing books we love. That's what happens when you share your family and books each week. Reading your newsletter has become the beginning of my weekend and I eagerly await the newest books you have to offer. Because of you I got the first audio copy of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE from my library, thoroughly enjoyed it, bought it and passed it on to all the people I love. It was my book club choice, and I crowed a bit that I knew how wonderful it was before the world. Well, not really. It was a book I wouldn't have read without you. I've come to trust the recommendations I get each week. My only problem? I don't have time to read all the books I want when I add my favorite authors in the mix. Thank you for sharing your love of books with me.” If it makes Cherry feel better, I have the same problem reading everything I want!

And I got this from Mary Lou, who has been with us since our AOL days: “After taking a hiatus from the newsletter --- largely due to trying to end my relationship with my AOL email address, which I have had for almost 20 years, and getting this gmail address up and running --- I am so glad to be receiving it again, and reading about all your bookish goings on. I have missed it.”

CITY ON FIRE: This book releases Tuesday and has been getting lots of buzz, all 900 pages of it! Here’s a book trailer to give you a flavor and feel of it.

Patrick Kennedy on "60 Minutes": His memoir, A COMMON STRUGGLE (now in stores), focuses on his relationship with his father, as well as his struggles with alcoholism, bipolar and anxiety disorders, and rehab. Read more about it here.

Nicholas Sparks: Announced this week that he is working on an ABC comedy series titled "The Next Chapter." According to the Hollywood Reporter, it’s about "a top-selling romance novelist Ben Diamond, who goes through a divorce and not only begins to question his belief in love, but must also learn to date again and live on his own --- all while dealing with the pressures of his public persona as the world’s most foremost 'expert' on love." Yes, it is based on his life.

Paul Simon: His 74th birthday is on Tuesday the 13th, and the "Paul Simon: Words and Music" exhibit opens at the Baltimore Museum on the 11th. Previously, it spent 11 months at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s there until January 18th and then goes on the road.

Mercury Retrograde Update: Mercury moved out of retrograde today at 9:57am Eastern time. For those unfamiliar with the perils of this astrological phenomenon, click here to learn more about it. Brace yourselves, as next year there will be FOUR periods of Mercury Retrograde: January 5 - January 25; April 28 - May 22; August 30 - September 22 and December 19 - January 8, 2017. You heard it here. Mark your calendars.

Tomorrow, I am headed to Toms River in South Jersey with my mom. I am presenting a list of book group-friendly titles at the Ocean County Library System’s Book Leaders Tea, an invitation-only event. I will be sharing titles from the Fall/Winter Preview that was presented at BEA, which you can see here. On the drive back, I want to swing by Knit-a-Bit, which has opened in a new location in Fanwood, NJ. They are having a Shibui yarn tasting. I love this line of yarns, and these tastings give you an opportunity to try on their samples and knit with the various fibers. Tom and my dad will be playing golf, so everyone will be happy!

Greg is in Florida this weekend for a short vacation visiting lighthouses in the Keys and the Dry Tortugas; he is sure to come back with some amazing photos. Cory is coming home this weekend, and I look forward to hearing about his trip to Montreal. He had a great time! Our offices are closed on Monday for Columbus Day. I like giving the staff a long weekend break between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. I think it’s time to close the pool; I have not been in it in weeks due to way too many weekday and weekend commitments. Somehow it’s easier to close it when I have not been enjoying it every day. I do wish I had noted my “last swim,” though it usually makes me really sad. Maybe I will don my wetsuit for one more swim session!

Beyond that, I need time to sort through books here at the house. Spring 2016 titles are coming in! I still have lots of fall reading to do, so I need to get organized. And READ! My husband read SATURN RUN by John Sandford and Ctein, which released this week. He has been a Sandford fan and loved this collaboration, which took his work in a new direction. We will have our review soon!

Read on, and have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald (

P.S. For those of you who shop online, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!
Now in Stores: A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS by George R. R. Martin and Gary Gianni
A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS written by George R. R. Martin, illustrations by Gary Gianni (Fantasy/Adventure)
Taking place nearly a century before the events of "Game of Thrones," A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: THE SURVIVOR by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
THE SURVIVOR: A Mitch Rapp Novel by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills (Thriller)
When a former golden boy of the CIA steals a massive amount of the Agency’s most classified documents, Mitch Rapp is called to help. However, eliminating the traitor doesn't solve all of the CIA’s problems --- in fact, mysterious tip-offs are appearing all over the world, linking to the potentially devastating data that the thief managed to store somewhere only he knew. It’s a deadly race to the finish as both the Pakistanis and the Americans search desperately for accomplices and for the confidential documents they are slowly leaking to the world. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
An Interview with Kate Clifford Larson, Author of ROSEMARY

Kate Clifford Larson is the author of three critically acclaimed biographies, each interested in revealing the life of a historic American woman and her role in shaping our national identity. In her latest book, ROSEMARY: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, she investigates the inspiring and tragic story of Rosemary Kennedy, the spirited daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy, whose intellectual disability was long kept secret by her powerful family --- even after a misguided medical procedure rendered her physically and mentally incapacitated. In this interview, Larson explains what drew her to Rosemary, what makes this book stand out from the multitudes of tomes written about the Kennedys, and why Rosemary’s story is still relevant --- even crucial --- today.

ROSEMARY: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson (Biography)
Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter, Rosemary, attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled --- a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early 20s. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.

Click here to read the interview.
Now in Stores: FURIOUSLY HAPPY by Jenny Lawson
FURIOUSLY HAPPY: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (Memoir/Humor)
In FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are --- the beautiful and the flawed --- and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
TWO YEARS EIGHT MONTHS AND TWENTY-EIGHT NIGHTS by Salman Rushdie (Fiction/Magical Realism)
Once upon a time, in a world just like ours, there came “the time of the strangenesses.” A simple gardener began to levitate, and a powerful djinn raised an army composed entirely of her semi-magical great-great-great-grandchildren. A baby was born with the ability to see corruption in the faces of others. The ghosts of two philosophers, long dead, began arguing once more. And a battle for the kingdom of Fairyland was waged throughout our world for 1,001 nights --- or, to be more precise, for two years, eight months and 28 nights. Reviewed by Rebecca Munro.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: DEEP SOUTH by Paul Theroux
DEEP SOUTH: Four Seasons on Back Roads written by Paul Theroux, photos by Steve McCurry (Travel/Memoir)
Paul Theroux has spent 50 years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his 10th travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America --- the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation’s worst schools, housing and unemployment rates. It’s these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux’s keen traveler’s eye. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read a review. Bets On: THE LAST MIDWIFE by Sandra Dallas
THE LAST MIDWIFE by Sandra Dallas (Historical Mystery)
Sandra Dallas is a writer who never disappoints me. Each book is fresh and satisfying. With THE LAST MIDWIFE, she delivers a story set in the 1880s in Swandyke, a rural town in Colorado. Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in town; she has coached many women in the town with their births and kept tabs on them after delivery. For first-time mothers, she is a coach as much as a midwife, sharing advice and encouragement.

But things change when a baby is found dead and Gracy is suspected of murder. Shaken to the core, she plods on with her tasks, pulling herself together even as these events shatter her reputation. She knows many of the secrets in the town, and some of those secrets could be harmful if they were shared. But she must learn the truth to ensure that she can remain free.

Sandra is a beautifully descriptive writer, who draws a strong sense of character and place. She writes strong women very well, giving them enough vulnerability to be real. Mysteries lie at the heart of the story, and their careful layering makes it a read you want to stay with from the first page. I love when someone is such a strong storyteller that she is able to blend and meld to create a compelling plot like Sandra does.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.
October's New in Paperback Roundups
October’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes LILA, which marks a return to Gilead for Marilynne Robinson, who tells the unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe and wonder; VANESSA AND HER SISTER by Priya Parmar, a spellbinding story of the inseparable bond between Virginia Woolf and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family; and Christmas-themed novels from Debbie Macomber (MR. MIRACLE), Mary Kay Andrews (CHRISTMAS BLISS), Sandra Dallas (A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS) and Elin Hilderbrand (WINTER STREET).

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are THE INNOVATORS, Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet, and a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative; WHEN LIONS ROAR, the first comprehensive history of the deeply entwined personal and public lives of the Churchills and the Kennedys, and what their “special relationship” meant for Great Britain and the United States; and DON'T GIVE UP, DON'T GIVE IN, a powerful and inspiring book in which American hero Louis Zamperini shares his wisdom, values, lessons, secrets and other insights gleaned from his remarkable experiences.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of October 5th, October 12th, October 19th and October 26th.
October's Books on Screen Feature
Welcome to our Pumpkin Spice edition™ of Books on Screen! You didn’t think we’d miss out on October’s bestselling rebrand, did you? This month, we’ll be evaluating the top books on screen based on their Pumpkin Spice Rating (PSR), which is just as silly and delicious as it sounds. Toss your regular old latte, because we’re about to go full fall!

Here's a tasty sampling:

He Named Me Malala: Some of the Bookreporter staffers went to a screening of Malala and were blown away by the teen activist’s powerful message. Surprisingly, some of the most engrossing parts were the fascinating history of Pakistan’s lush Swat Valley, the area in which Malala grew up. You’ll be moved by the interviews with the Yousafzai family, now in exile in England, as they rally together in support of Malala’s cause.
PSR: Four pumpkins (girls’ education is our jam) and some spice (Malala can throw down with the best of 'em)

The Martian: It seems Matt Damon did not learn his lesson from Interstellar; he’s stuck in space once again, although this time it seems he’s handling it with a bit more humor. The movie, based on the Andy Weir sci-fi novel of the same name, has been getting rave reviews and marks Ridley Scott’s triumphant return to space.
PSR: Three pumpkins (we love a feel-good stuck-in-space movie as much as the next guy) and a dash of spice (Matt Damon is doing some Brady-level press tour fumbling)

Room: Here’s another one we were lucky enough to see at an early screening. Whether or not you’ve read the monster-hit book by Emma Donoghue (and, let’s face it, you probably have), this movie is a stunner from start to finish. Brie Larson gives a moving performance as the increasingly desperate Ma, but it’s Jacob Tremblay who steals the show as five-year-old Jack, the precocious little boy whose whole universe is contained in an 11x11 foot room.
PSR: Five pumpkins (I couldn’t stop crying) and a pinch of spice (there was something in my eye, I swear)

Steve Jobs: Danny Boyle directing a movie scripted by Aaron Sorkin and starring Michael Fassbender based on the Walter Isaacson book about complicated Apple CEO Steve Jobs? Sure. Whether or not you thought we needed another movie about Jobs, this latest biopic is can’t-miss theater fare. Fassbender succeeds where others have failed, and the film successfully captures the wily man who basically created the world as we know it.
PSR: Three pumpkins (we’ll be walking and talking about this one for a long time to come) and some freshly ground spice (Fassbender knows how to wear a turtleneck)
Click here to see all the movies, TV shows and DVDs featured in October’s Books on Screen.'s Fall Preview Contests and Feature
Fall is known as the biggest season of the year for books. The titles that release during this latter part of the year often become holiday gifts, and many are blockbusters. To celebrate the arrival of fall, we are spotlighting a number of outstanding books that we know people will be talking about in the days and months to come.

We are hosting a series of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days in September and October, so you have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter to win. We also are sending a special newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Tuesday, October 13th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include:

Click here to read all the contest details and see our featured titles.
More Reviews This Week
THE GAP OF TIME by Jeanette Winterson (Fiction)
In THE GAP OF TIME, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of THE WINTER’S TALE (one of Shakespeare’s “late plays”), we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time; of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

A SONG OF SHADOWS: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly (Thriller)
Still recovering from his life-threatening wounds, private detective Charlie Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to regain his strength. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker (Historical Fiction)
Maviah, the Queen of the Outcasts, is a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

GOLD FAME CITRUS by Claire Vaye Watkins (Fiction)
Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most “Mojavs,” prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs squat in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

GHOSTLY: A Collection of Ghost Stories introduced and illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger (Horror/Short Stories)
From Edgar Allan Poe to Kelly Link, M.R. James to Neil Gaiman, H. H. Munro to Audrey Niffenegger herself, GHOSTLY reveals the evolution of the ghost story genre with tales going back to the 18th century and into the modern era, ranging across styles from Gothic Horror to Victorian, with a particular bent toward stories about haunting. Every story is introduced by Niffenegger with some words on its background and why she chose to include it. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS: Stories by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Fiction/Short Stories)
Bonnie Jo Campbell is a keen observer of life and trouble in rural America, and her working-class protagonists can be at once vulnerable, wise, cruel and funny. The strong but flawed women of MOTHERS, TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS must negotiate a sexually charged atmosphere as they love, honor and betray one another against the backdrop of all the men in their world. Such richly fraught mother-daughter relationships can be lifelines, anchors, or they can sink a woman like a stone. Reviewed by Megan Elliott.

YOU ARE DEAD by Peter James (Mystery)
Two events --- the disappearance of Logan Somerville and the death of a young woman years before --- seem totally unconnected to Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and his Major Crime Team. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing and another body from the past surfaces. At the same time, a strange man visits an eminent London psychiatrist, claiming to have a piece of information on the missing woman, Logan, that turns out to be wrong --- or so it seems. It is only later that Roy Grace makes the chilling realization that this one thing is the key to both the past and the present. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE DEAD STUDENT by John Katzenbach (Psychological Thriller)
Timothy Warner, a PhD student who goes by the nickname “Moth,” discovers his uncle lying in a pool of blood. The police pronounce the death a suicide, but Moth refuses to believe that his uncle would take his own life. Devastated and confused, he calls on the only person he thinks he can trust: his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Martine. Each battling their inner demons, Moth and Andy travel into dark, unfamiliar territory, intent on finding out the truth about Ed’s death and circling ever closer to a devious mind that will flinch at nothing to achieve his own goal of revenge. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

QUIXOTE: The Novel and the World by Ilan Stavans (Cultural History)
The year 2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the complete DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA. The novel has spawned ballets and operas, poems and plays, movies and video games, and even shapes the identities of entire nations. In QUIXOTE, Ilan Stavans explores these many manifestations. Training his eye on the tumultuous struggle between logic and dreams, he reveals the ways in which a work of literature is a living thing that influences and is influenced by the world around it. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE SLAUGHTER MAN by Tony Parsons (Thriller)
On New Year's Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community, their youngest child stolen away. The murder weapon leads homicide detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard's Black Museum devoted to a mass murderer who, 30 years ago, was known as The Slaughter Man. But The Slaughter Man has done his time and is now old and dying. Is he really back in the killing game? And was the slaughter of a happy family a mindless killing spree, or a grotesque homage by a copycat killer, or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE RIGHT WRONG THING by Ellen Kirschman (Mystery)
Not long after joining the police force, Officer Randy Spelling mistakenly shoots and kills a pregnant teenager. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, she is desperate to apologize to the girl’s family. The results of her attempt are catastrophic. Police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff plunges herself into the investigation, despite orders from the police chief to back off. Her refusal to obey orders jeopardizes not only her career but her life as well, as she enlists unlikely allies and unconventional undercover work to expose the tangled net of Officer Spelling’s disastrous course. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.
Our Latest Poll: Book Formats
In the past month, which of the following book formats have you read? Please check as many as apply.

  • Hardcover
  • Trade paperback
  • Mass market paperback
  • eBook
  • Audiobook (CD)
  • Audiobook (digital)
Click here to vote in the poll.
Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!

Tell us about the books you've finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from October 9th to October 23rd at noon ET, five lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg, LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell, and SEE ME by Nicholas Sparks.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the books you write about, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For rules and guidelines, click here.

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

Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!
Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from October 1st to November 2nd at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both Robert Galbraith’s CAREER OF EVIL: A Cormoran Strike Novel, read by Robert Glenister, and FIND A WAY, written and read by Diana Nyad.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

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

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