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February 25, 2011 Newsletter February 25, 2011

Oscar Madness

I love watching movies. I always have three Netflix films at the house and also enjoy watching documentaries on HBO, many of which are so well done. I am not a huge fan of going to the theater since screening times never seem to juggle well with my schedule. Judging from the responses to our poll question that is currently running, you love the movies, too. It’s interesting to see the films that you have seen or plan to see as I am curious as to what you like to do when you are not reading books. Thus, if you have not yet weighed in, you can answer our poll here and our question here.

Of course, movies are on my mind because it’s Oscar weekend. I always try to see all the nominees for Best Picture, which was not hard until the field was expanded to 10 films. Among this year’s nominees, I still need to see Black Swan and True Grit! And I also want to see Blue Valentine. I fear I will have to wait to catch them on DVD. Last Friday night, I watched HBO's Temple Grandin, which is based on the book, THINKING IN PICTURES: My Life with Autism --- so well done! It made me want to go back and read the book it was based on.

Then, Saturday/Sunday we did a marathon of watching the film adaptation of Ken Follett's blockbuster novel, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, where “one more episode” had us finishing up the series at 2AM on Sunday morning! It was one of those programs that I had not forgotten about, but had not had the time to properly enjoy. I confess to never having read the book (I know, slap me silly), but am told by many that the miniseries remained faithful to it. (My husband and sister both count it as one of their favorite books!) That’s not much of a surprise as Follett was closely involved throughout the process. I also noticed his cameo in one of the later episodes --- when Jack Jackson returns to France --- and I only knew it was him because of his well-styled white hair. I didn’t know that medieval times had such high-style grooming outside of the castles! It was enjoyable but not perfect, mostly because of some of the casting choices that clearly showed it was not a major motion picture. And was I the only one who nearly choked when Jack said “okay” at one point, which clearly slipped by someone checking for “period correctness?” I am as aware of that in movies as I am in books, and it makes me crazy when those details are overlooked as much as it does when plot points do not track.

Back to prizes in the book world, as the nominees for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize were announced earlier this week. You can see the full list of nominees here. I’m thrilled to see special recognition being given to Beverly Clearly, who's been such an inspiration to readers and authors over the years. There has to be at least one Beverly Cleary book in your home, right? Also, Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, is being honored with the Innovator’s Award, and rightfully so, as this is one of the most legendary independent bookstores in the world; I had the pleasure of shopping there last March and loved my time getting lost in the aisles. I also was thrilled to see that CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, which is one of my Bets On selections, is nominated in the Mystery/Thriller category.

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain finally hit stores this week. This is a book that I’ve been raving about since I first read it over the summer. As promised, I am naming it as my latest Bets On selection. Read on in this newsletter to see why I loved it. We’ve also been featuring THE PARIS WIFE in our One to Watch author spotlight for the past few weeks, and this week, as part of that feature, we have our review and an interview with Paula, who is just a delight.

Bronwyn Miller says in her review, “Much like Nancy Horan’s LOVING FRANK did for Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife, Mamah Cheney, THE PARIS WIFE not only shows us the woman behind the iconic man, but also demystifies the man himself, giving the reader a living, breathing portrait of Ernest Hemingway, as well as the steadfast wife who was the only one of his three wives who he remained in touch with throughout the rest of his life. Hadley’s influence and support cannot be undervalued. Without her, could he have written A MOVEABLE FEAST, which then led to the Nick Adams stories and the rest of his classic canon? After reading Paula McLain’s engrossing novel, it’s hard to think of Hemingway without then thinking of Hadley.” I expect that in the next weeks, many of Hemingway’s classics will spike in sales! I keep suggesting that bookstores, libraries and book groups do pairings of THE PARIS WIFE with the Hemingway books for discussion.

Our resident suspense/thriller guru, Joe Hartlaub, was busy this week with three reviews, including TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb. This is the 33rd installment of the series under Nora Roberts’s nom de plume, and according to Joe, Detective Eve Dallas is showing no signs of age. He says, “If you’re unfamiliar with Dallas and her futuristic but familiar world, TREACHERY IN DEATH is an excellent place to make your acquaintance.

Joe also reviewed SHAKEN, the latest Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels mystery by J.A. Konrath, who really has some fun with the plot’s timeline in this one. He says, “After reading SHAKEN, I’m convinced that in any given gathering of people, J.A. Konrath will be the smartest man in the room.

Wednesday night I attended a PEN benefit dinner at the home of my friend, the great publisher/editor Jamie Raab, where Amy Sedaris was the featured author guest. Amy’s latest book is SIMPLE TIMES: Crafts for Poor People. And yes, you can imagine just how amusing this book is! I have seen her demonstrate crafts from the book on TV, but this night we got to see a craft made live as she instructed one of the guests on how to make a candle/candleholder display using a banana, pineapple rings, a cherry, mayonnaise and lettuce. Rockingly fun. And I thought knitting was a fun craft! (I even had needles and yarn with me in case crafts were a required part of the evening for all.) You can see a photo of Amy above as she does craft instruction while wearing the most wonderful fashion ensemble; that dress swirled and was to die for. She shared that she was a Girl Scout all through high school, and there was some good chatter about badges that I had totally forgotten about as a childhood memory. Great evening of bookish talk, camaraderie amongst fellow booklovers and lots of laughs.

I enjoy true crime books. Shortly after my husband and I were married, we went away on a ski trip to Colorado. One evening I was reading a book about serial murders in Michigan while drying my hair. (I know, it sounds complicated. Not the murders, but drying my hair while reading, but I have perfected this.) So I was most engrossed in the book when my husband came in to ask me about our dinner reservation. I, caught up in the moment, swung the hair dryer at him, thinking he was an attacker! He learned to look at what I was reading before he surprised me in a room.

This week, I have been indulging my passion for true crime books by reading BRINGING ADAM HOME: The Abduction That Changed America by Les Standiford, which will be in stores on Tuesday. It’s the story of the brutal kidnapping of Adam Walsh and how the investigation into this crime was so bungled. If not for one determined police officer, Detective Sergeant Joe Matthews, this story might not have had the ending it did. The book also had an interesting beginning. Matthews walked into Books & Books in Coral Gables and asked owner Mitch Kaplan for advice on getting a textbook about the case published. Mitch, who always has an eye for a story, told him that he felt this could make a great true crime book and introduced him to thriller writer Les Standiford, who ended up writing the book with Matthews’s guidance. It’s very well done, and if you want a peek at what it’s about, you can watch the trailer here. As a parent, the entire story is just so horrifying.

On a much brighter note of childhood adventures, my younger son is off at Model UN in Philadelphia this weekend. Last night I phoned him to see how it’s going. He texted me this morning to tell me that, when I called, he was in a “committee meeting.” I loved this! He is attending meetings wearing a suit and tie. Last weekend, the pants that were hastily hemmed to fit him in May were hastily un-hemmed so we could accommodate the SEVEN inches that he has grown. And the snazzy tie shoes he is wearing? Well, they are his dad’s! I guess he is literally having the feeling of walking in his father’s shoes!

Lots of good reading on my pile….logs for the fire…wind whipping outside….knitting projects…and Oscars. Looks like it’s going to be a great weekend. Read on…..

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected]) Talks to Paula McLain, Author of THE PARIS WIFE

A writer, a poet and a much-praised memoirist, Paula McLain is trying her hand at historical fiction with her second novel, THE PARIS WIFE, which follows the ill-fated love affair of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. In this interview with’s Bronwyn Miller, McLain talks about why she was captivated by this particular love story, elaborating on the qualities that set Hadley apart from other early 20th-century women and why she thinks Hemingway idolized her until the very end. McLain also reflects on how her own personal struggles helped her sympathize with her latest heroine, speculates on the similarities between contemporary artist colonies and 1920s Paris, and gives the scoop on the book’s original title.

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction)
Hadley Richardson has all but given up on love --- until she meets Ernest Hemingway. After a whirlwind wedding, the pair sets sail for Paris, where they fall in with the artists of the “Lost Generation.” But the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the fast life of Jazz Age Paris. There, they will face their ultimate crisis --- a deception that will unravel everything they’ve fought for. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read a review of THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read Paula McLain’s bio.
-Click here to see Paula McLain’s backlist.
-Visit Paula McLain’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of THE PARIS WIFE.


Click here to read our interview with Paula McLain.

Now in Stores: TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb (Futuristic Thriller)
Peabody is following up on a senseless crime with her partner, Detective Eve Dallas, when she stumbles on a trickier situation. She overhears two fellow officers arguing in the locker room and realizes they’re guilty of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve’s husband Roarke get hard evidence to bring these dirty cops down, knowing that they’ll kill to keep their secret. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read an excerpt from TREACHERY IN DEATH.

Click here to read a review of TREACHERY IN DEATH.

Now in Stores: SHAKEN by J.A. Konrath

SHAKEN: A Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels Mystery by J.A. Konrath (Mystery)
Chicago cop Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is about to meet her match. When she wakes up bound and gagged in a storage locker, she knows she’s been abducted by “Mr. K” --- a man responsible for more than 200 murders. Jack has tangled with him twice before, and now she’ll finally have the chance to confront him. Unfortunately, though, it won’t be on her terms. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read a review of SHAKEN. Bets On: THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction)
I’ve been looking forward to sharing
THE PARIS WIFE/font> by Paula McLain with readers since I read an advance copy last summer. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s life with Hadley Richardson, his first wife. As I read it, I kept underlining phrases and folding down pages. By the time I was finished, I was searching my shelves for the Hemingway books written during this period, as well as the Hemingway genealogy tree. Paula’s descriptions of Hemingway’s world --- set in a blissful and exciting time in Paris during the Jazz Age --- are so vivid and richly descriptive that you will feel you are seated at a table somewhere in the room watching them and their new literati pals. She also captures their love story, which is both turbulent and loving. Though he went on to marry three more times, it’s clear that Hadley was very good for Hemingway, and you wonder what his world would have been like had they stayed together.

Asked for a comparable title, I would easily select Nancy Horan’s LOVING FRANK, and in fact Horan has a blurb on the cover of THE PARIS WIFE. They both give great insight into men who are powerful legends in their fields from the women who were close to them. In January, I had the pleasure of meeting Paula in San Diego and hearing her read from the opening chapter of THE PARIS WIFE; as she read, I found myself recalling the rush I had when I first read it. Her style of writing is perfect for this story, as she knows how to capture emotion and work it into dialogue as well as crafting a strong sense of plot and setting.

-Click here to read a review of THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE PARIS WIFE.
-Click here to read our interview with Paula McLain.


Click here to see all the books we’re betting you’ll love.

Featured One to Watch Author: Sarita Mandanna, Author of TIGER HILLS

Sarita Mandanna's ambitious debut novel, TIGER HILLS, traces a love triangle over three decades on the sprawling plantations of southern India, underscored by beautiful prose, a rich setting and delicate pacing.

-Click here to read a second excerpt from TIGER HILLS.
-Click here to read critical praise for TIGER HILLS.
-Click here to read Sarita Mandanna’s bio.

-Click here to see the winners of TIGER HILLS.

More about TIGER HILLS:
As the first girl born to the Nachimada family in over 60 years, the beautiful Devi is the object of adoration of her entire family. Strong-willed and confident, she befriends the shy Devanna, a young boy whose mother has died under tragic circumstances. The two quickly become inseparable, until Devi meets Machu the tiger killer, a hunter of great repute, and a man of much honor and pride. Soon, they fall deeply in love, an attraction that drives a wedge between Devi and Devanna. It is this tangled relationship between the three that leads to a devastating tragedy --- an event that changes their fates forever and has unforeseen and far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

Click here to read more about Sarita Mandanna and TIGER HILLS.

Featured Suspense/Thriller Authors: Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens, Authors of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU

After scoring a hit with 2010's YOU CAN'T STOP ME, Max Allan Collins and collaborator Matthew Clemens take the tension up a notch with NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU (in stores March 1st), which has the cast and crew of "Crime Seen!" racing to stop a killer before he strikes again.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.
-Click here to read critical praise for NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.
-Click here to read Max Allan Collins’s bio.
-Click here to read Matthew Clemens’s bio.
-Visit Max Allan Collins's official website,
-Click here to see the winners of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

The first video arrives by email. An unidentifed man. A naked woman. Her scream caught in a freeze-frame. The producers of TV’s “Crime Seen!” can’t believe what they’re witnessing --- an all-out sadist “auditioning” for a starring role in reality television. And if he doesn’t get it, he’ll kill again. To meet the demented demands of the self-proclaimed “Don Juan,” former sheriff and TV host J.C. Harrow has no choice but to spotlight him along with another ruthless maniac who has captivated millions of viewers. Now two killers are locked in a bloodthirsty competition. For fame. For notoriety. For victims.

Click here to read more about Max Allan Collins, Matthew Clemens and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Now Available in Paperback: WITHOUT MERCY by Lisa Jackson

WITHOUT MERCY by Lisa Jackson (Romantic Suspense)
At first, it sounds like the answer to a parent’s prayers: an elite boarding school in the Oregon mountains where wayward kids turn their lives around. But behind the idyllic veneer lie disturbing rumors of missing students and questionable treatments. Jules Farentino knows her half-sister, Shaylee, has been going off the rails lately. She’s just not sure Blue Rock Academy is the answer. Accepting a teaching position there lets Jules keep an eye on Shay, but also confirms her fears. One student is found hanged, another near death. Something sinister is at hand --- and Jules may already be too late to stop it. As a brutal snowstorm sweeps in, cutting off the remote campus from the rest of the world, Jules will discover the Academy’s dark secrets, and confront a murderous evil without limits, without remorse, without mercy…

Click here to read more about WITHOUT MERCY.

Now in Stores: THE SEA CAPTAIN’S WIFE by Beth Powning

THE SEA CAPTAIN'S WIFE by Beth Powning (Fiction)
Growing up on the Bay of Fundy in the 1860s, Azuba Galloway is determined to escape the confines of her town and live at sea. When she captures the heart of Captain Nathaniel Bradstock, she is sure her dreams are about to be realized, only to have pregnancy intervene. But when Azuba becomes embroiled in a scandal, Nathaniel must bring his young family abroad to save his reputation. Azuba gets her wish, but at what price? Alone in a male world, and juggling the splendor of foreign ports with the terror of the open seas, Azuba must fight to keep her family together.

Blending the high-tension drama of missed chances and unexpected twists of the sort that made A RELIABLE WIFE a bestseller with the pluck and spirit of a heroine in the vein of Laura Ingalls Wilder, THE SEA CAPTAIN'S WIFE will captivate readers and critics alike.


Click here to read more about THE SEA CAPTAIN'S WIFE.’s “What to Read Next? Suggest a Book for This Group”

Is your book group stuck in a rut? Or looking to stretch beyond its comfort zone? Maybe you’re just searching for that next great read?

We’re here to help! Our latest feature, “What to Read Next? Suggest a Book for This Group”, aims to help a group by taking suggestions from our thousands of book group members.

We’ll regularly feature a group, tell you something about them and share their previous six selections, and then ask you to leave a suggestion for them in our special form. We are excited to see groups sharing picks back and forth, and hope this feature helps groups find a new favorite discussion title!

Our first featured group is Books, Brunch and Friends, a 14-member group from Philadelphia that began meeting in 2002. The group's last six selections were:

2. THE LAST PICTURE SHOW by Larry McMurtry
3. RUNAWAY by Alice Munro
4. WHERE THE RIVER ENDS by Charles Martin
5. INTO THE WILD by Jon Krakauer
6. I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith

-Click here to make a suggestion for this group.


Click here to read more about "What to Read Next?" and how to submit your group for consideration.

Sign Up for's "On Sale This Week" Newsletter

While’s Coming Soon feature has been on the site for many years, we have received requests from readers asking for weekly email notifications when books are released. Now we’re happy to announce our latest project,’s “On Sale This Week” Newsletter.

For the moment, we are planning to launch this as a bi-weekly newsletter sometime in March. At the start, it will be emailed on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Eventually we plan to send it weekly. Inside this newsletter you will get a listing of hardcover, eBook and paperback titles releasing that week and the next, along with a one-line description.

Interested in subscribing?

Please fill out our form here to subscribe. If you are not subscribed to the weekly newsletter, which is sent out on Fridays, you can do so here.


Click here to sign up for's "On Sale This Week" newsletter.

March 2nd is Read Across America Day!

NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2nd, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. It also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year. In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages.

Click here to read all about NEA's Read Across America.

This Week’s Reviews

NIGHT VISION by Randy Wayne White (Thriller)
There’s a lot going on in Little Guadalajara, a trailer park inhabited by illegal laborers. The manager is a hired gun for a financial syndicate, and he’ll do whatever it takes to help them develop it…especially after a gifted girl sees him kill. Her only hope is marine biologist Doc Ford, who must search an invisible nation to find her --- and get there first. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NOW YOU SEE HER by Joy Fielding (Mystery)
Marcy Taggart's heart has been shattered --- twice. After the death of her daughter, Devon, Marcy's husband leaves her. When Marcy travels to Ireland alone, she is certain she glimpses Devon. Can she find her daughter? Or is she actually losing her mind? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

SEPARATE BEDS by Elizabeth Buchan (Fiction)
Economic crisis doesn’t sound like a hot topic for fiction. But in British writer Elizabeth Buchan’s hands --- her specialty is literate, empowering domestic dramas, with past books including REVENGE OF THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN, WIVES BEHAVING BADLY and THE GOOD WIFE STRIKES BACK --- it flowers into a winning story of family loss and rediscovery. Reviewed by Kathy Weissman.

A CUP OF FRIENDSHIP by Deborah Rodriguez (Fiction)
After a lot of hard luck, Sunny has finally found a place to call home --- a café in the middle of a war zone. So when a pregnant Afghan girl is left on the city streets, Sunny welcomes her into the Kabul Coffee House community. But there’s more to Yazmina than meets the eye. Together, she and Sunny’s patrons will form a friendship that can change a country. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

HISTORY OF A SUICIDE: My Sister's Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky (Memoir)
Each year in the United States, some 30,000 people commit suicide and another 500,000 make the attempt. Jill Bialosky’s intense, searching re-examination of her sister’s suicide at age 21 tells the story of one such tragedy
. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

AND I SHALL HAVE SOME PEACE HERE: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road by Margaret Roach (Memoir)
Remove one very stressed, high-powered, highly-paid corporate executive from her ivory tower in Manhattan. Relocate that woman 120 miles upstate to Copake Falls to her new supposed life of peace and quiet. The result is a quirky and unique memoir by Margaret Roach, formerly of the Martha Stewart media empire. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

SCORECASTING: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim (Sports)
Behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of sports’ most cherished truisms --- and reveal how games are played, won and lost. Taking readers from the putting greens to the grid iron, SCORECASTING will change your view of the game forever, regardless of your favorite sport. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

FOUND WANTING by Robert Goddard (Thriller)
Robert Goddard, the British master of the twisting plot, returns with FOUND WANTING --- a story that involves what starts out as a dying request from one friend to another and ends with a breathtaking quest where nothing is as it appears to be. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS by Imogen Robertson (Historical Mystery)
In 1780 England, a body is found on a countryside estate, clutching a ring. A local anatomist teams up with the estate’s owner to catch the murderer. But as more deaths occur, they start looking toward neighboring Thornleigh Hall for the answers. What they find shocks the whole community. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.


Click here to read this week's reviews.


Poll and Question of the Week: Let’s Head to the Movies!


Which of the following movies have you seen or do you plan to see? Please check as many as apply.

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Fighter
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
The Green Hornet
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

None of the above.

-Click here to answer our poll.


What was your favorite movie that was based on a book, and what was your biggest disappointment?

-Click here to answer our question.


Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win THREE Books!

Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't.

This week we have three great prizes: FIVE readers each will win a copy of EMILY AND EINSTEIN by Linda Francis Lee, LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner and SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein. Tell us what you are reading here and rate the titles 1-5 by noon ET on Friday, March 4th to ensure that you are in the running to win these books.


Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online or change your preferences below.

font size="2">Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page. If you would like to reach me, please write [email protected]. Writing any of the respond buttons below will not get to us.

Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by February 28, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: FADEAWAY GIRL by Martha Grimes, HEARTWOOD by Belva Plain, IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine: A Memoir by Wade Rouse, THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain, and TREACHERY IN DEATH by J.D. Robb. Rosalie from Sarasota, FL was last month's winner. She won DAMAGE by John Lescroart, FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber, THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer, THE RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman, and SEPARATE BEDS by Elizabeth Buchan.

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

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