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November 18, 2005 Newsletter

November 18, 2005

This Week on

Inspired by a Bookish Week

Now In Stores: PREDATOR by Patricia Cornwell

Author Talk: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Author of TEAM OF RIVALS: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Holiday Basket of Cheer: Spotlight on COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah and Weekly Basket Giveaway

Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Peter Temple, Author of BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE

Now In Stores: TEACHER MAN by Frank McCourt

Your Local Bookseller Found on

Award Winners

What's New on

November Books Into Movies

This Week's Reviews and Features Blog

Poll: Unwrapping a Book
Question of the Week: Breaking Bread With The Author
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO Prizes!
Quick Links to Features On The Book Report Network
Past Reviews
Can't See the Graphics? Read This Newsletter Online
Past Question of the Week: What book are you most inclined to give this year?
Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight Promotion
Debut Suspense/Thriller One to Watch Promotion
Mystery Mayhem Promotion

Fantasy Author Spotlight Promotion

One to Watch Promotion
Chick Lit Promotion
Holiday Basket of Cheer Promotion

Inspired by a Bookish Week

I love traveling for business or pleasure, but often find that hotels can make me insane. I write, even email, best when I am comfortable. Sure, I dash out notes on my Blackberry even on street corners, but for serious writing, comfort works. I am at the Miami Book Fair this weekend staying at the Four Seasons. I got a deal, which I am sure was inspired by the recent hurricane, that is making this experience affordable. Since I am not dealing with the annoyances that accompany most hotel experiences, like Wi-Fi that is No-Fi and noise and linens that make me cringe (I have been known to throw bedspreads in closets lest my imagination run wild about what happened on them), I am productive. I am writing up a storm and am reading non-stop. Let's just say that this was a great investment!
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Joan Didion in her first appearance since winning the National Book Award. You can read my feelings about this fabulous evening --- and reading THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING --- by reading the blog here. Let's just say that Didion inspired me to rethink both author readings and signed books.
The lineup here in Miami is STELLAR. I cannot recall an event where I looked at a lineup realizing that I will have to choose between authors who I want to see in many of the time blocks. Truly terrific. The list of who I want to see is long and includes Tess Gerritsen, Anita Shreve, Jennifer Weiner, Joseph Finder, Paul Levine, Mary Kay Andrews, A.J. Jacobs, Nick McDonell --- well, I could go on and on. I have a stack of books here with me as well, so I am relishing the idea of this weekend.
From our recent poll we know that many of you have started your holiday shopping. For those of you with boys on your shopping list, I wrote a blog talking about some books for boys that have been vetted by my own ten-year-old son as personal favorites. Cory is a very precocious reader so many of these books will be choices for boys through their early teens. Good reading.
For those of you shopping for adults, we have our Holiday Basket of Cheer titles. This week we spotlight COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah, her first holiday book. Once again Kristin explores human emotion. I always tell people that she writes in a genre that I have dubbed Emotional Fiction. Read more about it below and be sure to enter this week's contest. Next week we will post our What to Give/What to Get lists with books in thirteen categories!
I was at the National Book Awards Wednesday night. Yes, this has been a very bookish week. The winners have been noted below and we also share a link to our feature where we note a host of book awards, which is one of our highest read features.
I am off to browse a few local bookstores and see what people in Miami and the surrounding areas are reading. Have a great week --- and as we will not be back to you before Thanksgiving, have a great one. We give thanks for all of our readers, who make what we do possible.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 18th

List of titles reviewed and featured on November 11th

Click here to read more about THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING.

Now In Stores: PREDATOR by Patricia Cornwell

PREDATOR by Patricia Cornwell (Mystery)
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum
Once again Patricia Cornwell brings to her fans a book as kinky and dreadful as today's headlines. Her characters all are in rough shape as they try to unravel the threads of a series of heinous crimes that ironically lead to the same place. This fourteenth Kay Scarpetta mystery is certainly one of Cornwell's best.

Click here to read our review of PREDATOR.


Author Talk: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Author of TEAM OF RIVALS: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin builds upon her acclaimed repertoire of presidential biographies with her latest offering, TEAM OF RIVALS, which examines Abraham Lincoln's political career in the turbulent 1850s and '60s. In this interview, Goodwin discusses her decision to approach her subject in the comparative context of his rivals, reveals the most surprising aspects of Lincoln's personality uncovered in her research, and explains how the social conditions of his day allowed for this monumental figure's brilliance and political savvy to emerge.

TEAM OF RIVALS: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Biography)
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
This highly original, well-documented work from acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin chronicles not only the life of Abraham Lincoln but also those of his rivals --- William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase and Edward Bates --- for the Republican nomination for President in 1860. 


Click here to read an interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin and a review of TEAM OF RIVALS.


Holiday Basket of Cheer: Spotlight on COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah and Weekly Basket Giveaway

The holiday season is upon us! At this means it's time for us to share the spirit of the season with you with our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.

Each week from November 4th through December 16th we will spotlight a different title, and readers will have the chance to win one of five holiday baskets filled with winter-themed items as well as two copies of the featured book. Why two? One is to keep, of course, and one is for someone on your holiday gift list. We will also include festive wrapping paper and a bow to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week our featured title is COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah.

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with two copies of COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah, green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper and a matching bow --- winners will receive a cinnamon spice-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet vanilla marshmallows, sweet-smelling Cinnamon sticks, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies, soft comfy slipper socks, blue-green treated pinecones that will color your fire, and a CD compilation of holiday songs called "Songs of Comfort & Joy."

COMFORT & JOY by Kristin Hannah (Fiction)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
As Christmas approaches, Joy Candellaro, recently divorced and estranged from her sister, decides to escape the turbulency of her life and boards a plane bound for the rural Northwest. But when the aircraft crashes and Joy miraculously survives, she makes a bold and desperate decision that will greatly impact her future.

Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest.


Our Newest Debut Suspense/Thriller Author: Peter Temple, Author of BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE

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Peter Temple is the newest author in our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature. Temple is one of Australia's most acclaimed writers, and has worked as a journalist, magazine editor and teacher. He is the author of eight novels, four of which have received the Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction. BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE are the first and second titles in his celebrated Jack Irish series, which is just being released in the States.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BAD DEBTS.
-Click here to see our Advanced Copy Winners.

More about BAD DEBTS:
Jack Irish doesn't immediately remember ex-client Danny McKillop when he picks up an unexpected voicemail message - his life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems. But when Danny turns up dead, Jack has no choice but to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.

With suspenseful prose and black humor, Peter Temple builds an unforgettable character in Jack Irish and brings the reader on a journey that is as intelligent as it is exciting.

More about BLACK TIDE:
Jack Irish is recovering from his last foray into the criminal underworld when he agrees to look for the missing son of Des Connors, the last living link to Jack's father. It's an offer he soon regrets, as he discovers that prodigal sons often go missing for a reason, and they always have something to hide.

The second book in Peter Temple's Jack Irish series, BLACK TIDE takes us back into a brilliantly evoked world of pubs, racetracks, and sports -- not to mention intrigue, corruption, and violence.

Click here to read more about Peter Temple, BAD DEBTS and BLACK TIDE.


Now In Stores: TEACHER MAN by Frank McCourt

TEACHER MAN by Frank McCourt (Memoir)
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller
In this final volume of his memoirs, following the heartbreaking ANGELA'S ASHES and 'TIS, Frank McCourt delightfully details his thirty years in the New York City school system, the many students whom he taught, and how this rewarding career shaped his second act as a writer.

Click here to read an excerpt from TEACHER MAN.

Click here to read a review of TEACHER MAN.


Your Local Bookseller Found on

As the holidays approach we wanted to remind you to support your local independent bookseller as you do your holiday shopping. While we applaud the vastness and convenience of, we know that many of you love the experience of being in a bookstore and surrounding yourself with the books you want to read. We also know that many of you welcome spending time in a store where the owner and staff are available to answer your questions and help to put the perfect book into your hand.

To help you find your local independent bookseller we have put together a listing of all the stores by state and city, which you can find here. May we recommend that you print this out and keep it on hand for when you are traveling, as well as shopping at home. We know bibliophiles will enjoy visiting bookstores in other towns as much as they appreciate seeing the local sites.

We also are giving you a link to the website where in addition to finding websites for the indy stores, you will find a wealth of lists for readers of every genre and age. There Booksense Pick List is updated monthly. They also have the Top Ten books for Book Clubs.

Click here to visit

Award Winners






Check out the Awards section on to find out which authors are being lauded and to get information on their award-winning books. Our newest updates include the winners of this year's National Book Award.

On November 16, 2005 the National Book Foundation announced the winners of their annual award at a black tie ceremony and dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. As one of the country's most distinguished literary prizes, the award honors books of exceptional merit written by Americans.

The winners of the 2005 National Book Award, chosen from 1,195 entries narrowed to a shortlist of five nominees per category, are:

EUROPE CENTRAL by William T. Vollmann (Viking)


Young Peoples' Literature:
THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)

MIGRATION: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by W. S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)

Click here to read our Awards feature.

What's New on

This month spotlights THE NUTTY NEWS by Ron Barrett and gives readers a chance to look inside this hilarious book...literally. In addition to our annual Thanksgiving roundup and an update of our Books Into Movies feature (which includes both Zathura and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), we interview Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, co-authors of the highly anticipated ARTHUR SPIDERWICK'S FIELD GUIDE TO THE FANTASTICAL WORLD AROUND YOU. Reviews include THE PENULTIMATE PERIL, the next-to-last installment in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and CINDERELLA: A POP-UP FAIRY TALE, by illustrator and paper engineer extraordinaire Matthew Reinhart.


Click here to visit


November Books Into Movies

November brings a multitude of offerings for book-loving cinephiles. There's major buzz surrounding the newest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but as we gear up for Oscar season, other highly anticipated projects are vying for the spotlight. From the much-hyped adaptation of Jane Austen's classic PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the long-awaited Jennifer Aniston vehicle Derailed, and the timely and topical Jarhead, to the wild and zany adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's picture book ZATHURA and the delectable Juliette Binoche's star-turn in Bee Season (based on Myla Goldberg's beloved first novel), this month's lineup promises to incite dialogue and debate. These are movies that demand to be discussed and mused on long after the credits roll.

But the cinema isn't the only place you'll find movie versions of your favorite books. This month Hallmark Hall of Fame presents Silver Bells on CBS, which is based on the bestselling novel by Luanne Rice. So grab some popcorn, and chill out on the couch or head to your favorite theater --- November is the month for the movies everyone will be talking about.

Click here to read our Books Into Movies feature.

This Week's Reviews and Features

IRON ORCHID by Stuart Woods (Thriller)
Reviewed by Amie Taylor
Goodbye Orchid Beach and hello New York City! In Stuart Woods's riveting new novel, small-town cop Holly Barker has left her coastal Florida town and is now tackling crime in the Big Apple as a CIA agent.

THE TRUTH (with jokes) by Al Franken (Politics/Humor)
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Following the success of his national bestseller LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM, comedian and political satirist Al Franken is back with THE TRUTH, a collection of material from his radio show and from his publicly stated political philosophy.

HERE'S JOHNNY! My Memories of Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, and 46 Years of Friendship by Ed McMahon (Nonfiction)
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
From the sofa at Johnny Carson's right, to backstage, to their personal relationship --- Ed McMahon provides a real view of the man who was so careful to show only one side of himself to the public. This entertaining tribute features over 200 pictures, many never before published, from the private archives of both McMahon and Carson.

THE OTHER SIDE OF ME by Sidney Sheldon (Memoir)
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
In his eagerly anticipated memoir, entertainment legend Sidney Sheldon --- author of over a dozen bestsellers, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, and creator of some of television's greatest hits --- talks about the personalities and the highs and lows that have made his career and life so captivating.

Reviewed by Roz Shea
Bishop "Blackie" Ryan is called to one of his inner city neighborhood parishes where three bodies are found in front of the altar, brutally murdered and mutilated. Dispatched by his cardinal to investigate, Blackie fears that the atrocious murders are only the beginning of a campaign of terror directed at this particular church.

ON THE ICE: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica by Gretchen Legler (Nature/Travel)
Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
Sent to Antarctica as an observer by the National Science Foundation, Gretchen Legler arrives at McMurdo Station in midwinter, a time of -70 degree temperatures and months of near-total darkness. A lesbian struggling with a tumultuous past, she hopes to escape her own demons and present an intimate view of a place few will ever visit.

GHOST: Book I of Kildar by John Ringo (Thriller)
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Former Navy SEAL Michael Harmon, Team Name "Ghost," is not enjoying college life. But things are about to change rather quickly. When he sees a kidnapping, a series of decisions (logical at the time) leave him shot to ribbons and battling a battalion of Syrian commandos with only the help of three attractive young women.

Click here to read our reviews and features. Blog

November 18th Entry: Books for Boys:
Books for Boys

November 17th Entry:
My 24 Hours with Joan Didion

October 30th Entry:
Time Time Time...See What's Become of Me....

October 21st Entry:
My Role as a Book Concierge to My Friends
Note: You can read past blogs here as well.
Sign up here to get notified each time this blog is updated.
Click here to read the blog.
Read a list of upcoming books here. Browse our author bibliographies by clicking here. Sign up for Author Newsletters here.
Poll: Unwrapping a Book
Which of the following would you most like to receive as a gift this holiday season?

A book
A gift certificate to a local bookstore
A gift certificate to an online bookseller
Nothing book-related
Answer the Poll here.

Question of the Week: Breaking Bread With The Author

What author would you most like to have over for a holiday dinner?

Please note: Our question of the week will update December 2nd.

Answer the Question of the Week here.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading -- TWO 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 FOREVER ODD by Dean Koontz and MARY, MARY by James Patterson

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on December 2nd. 

Need more details about Word of Mouth? Click here.


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