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October 1, 2004 Newsletter October 1, 2004
This Week on
Recognizing Our VERY Sharp Readers... Talks to Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Books Into Movies
THE KILLING HOUR by Lisa Gardner is Now in Paperback
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
Poll: Quotations In Books
Question of the Week: What is your favorite quotation?
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE Prizes!
On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Poll: Have you found yourself reading more books about politics this year?
Past Question of the Week: Which political book have you enjoyed most and why?
Read a review of NOT FADE AWAY here. Read more about PLAYING WITH BOYS here. Read more about THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB here.
Recognizing Our VERY Sharp Readers...
I wanted to share three very different books with you this week. The first is a book that I first read in manuscript --- the New York Times Bestseller NOT FADE AWAY by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It's now out in paperback. Instead of sharing what it is about, I am going to suggest that you read my interview with Shames and our review by clicking on the link above. I will tell you that everyone I know who has read this book has told me it had a huge impact on him or her. When I need a laugh I turn to Sophie Kinsella. SHOPAHOLIC & SISTER is the latest in her Shopaholic series where Sophie finds that she has a long-lost sister. But how can they be relatives when her sister loathes SHOPPING, a "sport" in which Sophie has a Black Belt? Read what Roberta O'Hara has to say about it in our review this week. About a year ago there was a lot of news about Alicia Valdes-Rodriguez, whose book THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB was a bestseller. Her new one is PLAYING WITH BOYS and again it has energy, bite and humor that were her signature in DIRTY GIRLS. Here the story revolves around three Latina women in the entertainment business in L.A. We love when a well-loved first novelist delivers a second book worth reading.

A few weeks ago our Poll question asked if readers read dedications in books. 93.7% of the 529 readers who responded said that they did. Proof of that came this week when TWO readers in two separate letters --- Colleen and Elaine --- wrote asking us about the dedication at the beginning of Robert B. Parker's new book, MELANCHOLY BABY. Parker's books always are dedicated to his wife, Joan. This one was dedicated to Jean. We immediately wrote Parker's longtime publicist, Michael Barson, to see what he had to say. Here's his reply: "It was a mistake and will be changed in later editions. But the good news is, Bob told me [from his hotel room on book tour] this morning that Joan Parker has agreed to change her name to Jean, to get with the program!" So for all you Parker fans, there's your update.

There are times that we get it right, and there are times that we get it...wrong. I got this note from a reader this week about our current poll about quotations in books. "I started to take your survey on quotations at the start of chapters in books, but discovered that my approach to them is not reflected in your options so I opted out of the survey. My approach to quotations is to read them, try to figure out what they mean in and of themselves, then keep them in the back of my mind as I go on to read the book. You can't figure out how they relate to the chapter until you've read the chapter! Insofar as which type of quotation gets my attention, they all do equally. You seem to be forcing your survey takers to say they pay more attention to certain types of epigraphs more than others, which is probably not true for most serious readers." I thanked this reader for sharing feedback with us. I always try the polls out on a few people, but sometimes we miss things!

One more reader note from this week that I want to address. If you choose to remain anonymous in our Word of Mouth, Question of the Week and other features where you can be identified by name, please just let us know when you send in your reply. We recognize you may be reluctant to have your name "out there."

This weekend the annual New York is Book Country Book Festival is taking place in the city. After 25 years on Fifth Avenue, this year the festival moves to Washington Square Park and surrounding areas of New York University's Campus with a TWO-day lineup of events. There are indoor panel events, as well as stages where authors will be reading and entertaining. For those of you in the city, click on the logo above to see more about this bookish weekend.

Doing something different this week...In our review section in this newsletter we are sharing jackets of FOUR books, not just one. I know that many people can remember the look of a jacket more than a title or author name when they get to the store. So with four covers being shown you have three extra books, and you just might recall them a bit better when you hit the store.

Happy reading.....hope you enjoy another summer-like weekend wherever you are! And something I have neglected mentioning these past few weeks --- to our reader friends in storm-ravaged places, we wish you godspeed as you rebuild your lives. We definitely are keeping you in our thoughts.

Carol Fitzgerald (
Click here to read more about the New York in Book Country Book Festival. Talks to Greg Rucka, Author of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME
Joe Hartlaub, Wiley Saichek and Sean Doorly interview Greg Rucka, whose latest book A GENTLEMAN'S GAME is based on his graphic novel series QUEEN & COUNTRY. Rucka talks about his inspiration for the creation of female assassin Tara Chace and his decision to use the British intelligence service as a basis for the story. He also shares his thoughts on writing graphic novels vs. conventional novels and how it feels to be associated with such iconic characters as Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.

A GENTLEMAN'S GAME by Greg Rucka (Suspense/Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub and Sean Doorly
Tara Chace may be the most dangerous woman alive. She can seduce you into believing she's the woman of your dreams --- or kill you with the icy efficiency of an executioner. As the new head of Special Operations for British Intelligence, she no longer has to court death in the field --- she wants to.
Read an interview with Greg Rucka and a review of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME here
Read our Fantasy feature here.
Fantasy Author Spotlight: Stephen R. Donaldson, Author of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Stephen R. Donaldson is back with the latest in his Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series after a hiatus of 21 years. Six books were previously published. Four are planned for this continuation of the series.

New This Week:
Read a third excerpt of THE RUNES OF THE EARTH
Read what Publishers Weekly and Booklist had to say in their reviews.

Here is the story so far:

In the original series, Thomas Covenant is transported to a fantastic world in which a battle for the soul of the land is being waged, and he is forced to accept his role as savior of the Land. In THE RUNES OF THE EARTH, Linden Avery comes home one day to find her child building images of the Land with blocks. She never thought that she would be summoned to the Land again or see her beloved Thomas Covenant, who was killed ten years earlier. But in the Land, evil is unmaking the very laws of nature.
Read more about Stephen R. Donaldson and THE RUNES OF THE EARTH here.
ABSENT FRIENDS by S.J. Rozan (Fiction)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Jimmy, Markie, Vickie, Sally, Tom, and Jack are childhood friends. Each will live in the shadow of a past that still echoes with hopes and regrets. Markie will die in prison, and Jim will die a hero when the Towers fall. But it is a reporter's suicide and a colleague's desperate search for answers in the dark aftermath of a horrifying tragedy that will finally penetrate their silence.
Read more about S.J. Rozan and a review of ABSENT FRIENDS here.
Books Into Movies
A good story can be told and re-told, and the proof is in the number of fall movies that are based on books this year. They include Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Enduring Love, and Christmas With the Kranks (inspired by John Grisham's 2002 novel SKIPPING CHRISTMAS). Among the "don't misses" for our younger audience (and the young at heart) are The Polar Express and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you're in the mood for the original, click on the Amazon link beneath the film headings and check out the books. See you at the movies!
Read more about Fall movies that are based on books here.
THE KILLING HOUR by Lisa Gardner is Now in Paperback
Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of such suspense novels as THE PERFECT HUSBAND, THE OTHER DAUGHTER, THE THIRD VICTIM, THE NEXT ACCIDENT, and THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In this special interview with's Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight team (Carol Fitzgerald, Joe Hartlaub, and Wiley Saichek), Gardner discusses the themes and characters in her latest novel, THE KILLING HOUR, as well as the writers who have most influenced her and the bone-chilling details of her next book.

THE KILLING HOUR by Lisa Gardner (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Two girls have disappeared, and rookie FBI agent Kimberly Quincy is determined to bring the methodical and vicious criminal who is responsible to justice --- a killer who takes the lives of two victims at a time. Quincy knows the killer's deadline can be met, but she'll have to break some rules to beat him at a game he's had time to perfect.
Read our interview with Lisa Gardner and a review of THE KILLING HOUR here.
Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here. Read the reviews and features here.
This Week's Book Reviews and Features
GOING POSTAL by Terry Pratchett (Fantasy)
Reviewed by Roz Shea
After arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig survives his hanging, Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position. But getting the Postal Service up and running again may be a near-impossible task.

THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB by Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery)
Reviewed by Shannon Bloomstran
When Isabel sees a young man plunge to his death from the upper circle of a concert hall in Edinburgh, she is determined to find the truth --- if indeed there is one --- behind this tragic incident.

SHOPAHOLIC & SISTER by Sophie Kinsella (Chick Lit)
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara
World-class shopper extraordinaire Becky Bloomwood is back --- and as funny as ever in this fourth installment of Sophie Kinsella's bestselling Shopaholic series. It's a hilarious and heartwarming tale of married life, best friends, and long-lost sisters.

MELANCHOLY BABY by Robert B. Parker (Mystery)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Boston P.I. Sunny Randall --- as conflicted as she is beautiful --- helps a troubled young woman locate her birth parents only to uncover some dark truths of her own.

LIBERATING PARIS by Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Mystery)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Set in the small town of Paris, Arkansas, this is the story of six best friends who must come to terms with the past in order to move forward with their lives.

MURDER LIST by Julie Garwood (Suspense)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Businesswoman Regan Hamilton Madison attends a seminar where she makes a list of people whose demise would vastly improve her life. Imagine her surprise when that supposedly secret list falls into the wrong hands and the people on it start turning up dead.

44 CRANBERRY POINT by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Reviewed by Melissa Palmer
Debbie Macomber's fourth entry in her Cedar Cove series focuses on Bob and Peggy Beldon after the murder of Bob's former comrade from Vietnam at their bed-and-breakfast. Meanwhile, several other characters, including Maryellen Sherman and Jon Bowman, have problems of their own to deal with.

THE FINISHING SCHOOL by Muriel Spark (Fiction)
Reviewed by Jamie Layton
This is a fast moving novella by a master writer with the type of characters you love to hate. For total enjoyment, consider finding an hour or two in which to read it from start to finish. And then start over.

LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Frank Devlin (Suspense)
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
A series of deaths in San Francisco has the police on edge, fearing a serial killer may be on the loose. Inspector Rose Burke has an inkling that it may be a woman this time.

QUEEN OF DREAMS by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
East Meets West in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's latest novel, blending traditions from the East (India) with contemporary life in the West (California). A woman tries to understand her mother, who claims she can interpret dreams.
Read the reviews and features here.
Read Author Bibliographies here. Search here Read about the Light Wedge reading light here.
Poll: Quotations In Books
Many novels have quotations at the beginning or at the beginning of chapters to inspire the reader or to enhance a story. Those quotations spur this week's poll question.

When you are reading a novel and you see a quotation at the beginning of the book or a chapter, do you:

Read it and try to figure out what it means to the context of the story
Read it and not try to figure why it's there
Glance at it and keep right on reading
Ignore it completely

What kind of quotation gets your attention most?
Something from the Bible
Some lines of poetry
Something from a popular song or movie
Something from great literature.
I am not sure.
I do not look at quotations.
Answer the Poll here.
Browse through forthcoming books here. Read about books that have won awards here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Question of the Week: What is your favorite quotation?
What is your favorite quotation?

Our next question update will be on October 15th.
Answer the Question of the Week.
Read more about JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL here. Read more about DOUBLE HOMICIDE here. Read more about LIGHT ON SNOW here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- THREE Prizes!
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have some great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, DOUBLE HOMICIDE by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and LIGHT ON SNOW by Anita Shreve.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on October 15th.
Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.

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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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