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December 9, 2011 Newsletter December 9, 2011
San Francisco --- With a Mission to Get the Sweaters Finished

When one is born in December, it’s tough to keep your birthday from getting schmushed into the other holidays that have a firm grasp on the month. Thus I drop into a mode each year where I extend celebrating as long as possible. With my birthday falling smack in the middle of the week this year, I kicked off this mission last weekend in Atlanta with a visit to my sister. She’s an amazing artist and jewelry designer, and it’s always a treat to see what she has been creating. Her entire home has hand-crafted pieces that are stunning, and she “does” Christmas around her house with a verve and energy that wowed but did not surprise me.

In between our catching up on books (she was reading STEVE JOBS while I was devouring LITTLE GIRL GONE) and kids (we both cannot wait for school to be out for vacation), I spent Saturday and Sunday at a knitting class taught by Maggie Jackson of Maggiknits. Maggie was a designer of ready-to-wear for Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom for years before she left that world to create her own yarns and designs, which are imaginative and quintessentially Maggiknits. You can see a photo of the two of us above with me wearing one of her pieces.

The classes were held at a really lovely store, Cast-On Cottage, in Roswell. On Saturday night I told my sister that she should have come with me to the classes. As an artist, I knew she would have appreciated the way Maggie’s pieces come together. I said, "All you need to do is know how to knit and purl." She looked up and asked, “What’s purl?” I realized then that this probably would not have been a good idea. Diane did select a top and a jacket that she wants me to make for her, which will be her Christmas gift. Of course the afghan that I made her took years for me to get done, so I am not committing to WHAT Christmas we are talking about here.

I bought some pattern books (designers sign their books the same as authors) and, of course, yarn --- and I am very inspired to work on these new projects. I came home yarn-inspired and found myself up late Sunday night perusing a fabulous book that is just out called VOGUE KNITTING: Classic Patterns from the World’s Most Celebrated Knitting Magazine. The patterns in the book were selected as signature ones from each of the last few decades, and looking at them is like looking at a history of fashion. Lots more inspiration there, and if there is a knitter on your holiday shopping list, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s stunning and a VERY impressive gift.

While Atlanta was a fabulous break, I had long ago decided that I also wanted to get back to San Francisco this month where we celebrated my birthday last year. My husband and I both needed a few more miles to keep our respective statuses on Continental (love those exit rows, and since I travel like a pack mule, a limit of 50 lbs. of baggage do not make the cut), so up in the air we went. Today he’s playing golf at the Presidio Golf Course that he’s wanted to play for a while, and he dropped me off at Green Apple Books on the way so I could do some bookstore browsing. This store came on my radar last January at a conference of Indie booksellers as the owners talked about some innovative social marketing tips that they employ.

I had a great time talking to Kevin, one of the owners, who gave me the lay of the land. I was there when the store opened and watched as they pushed carts of used books in dark green shelving out onto the street --- the store sells new and used books --- and when they were done with this, the line of folks gathered outside were ushered in. Wild to see a bookstore with a waiting line at 10AM! And inside, business was brisk with both shoppers and browsers. The store has a terrific selection and is wonderfully curated. Fun, as always, to see the books we have reviewed on the shelves.

I grabbed some time to hit their Annex Store as well, where the wall full of graphic novels would have had John Hogan, our Editorial Director for, salivating. It reminded me again of the importance of buying local.

Reminder to all our readers...PLEASE do not use your local bookstore to browse and make selections and then buy elsewhere. We hear about this all too often. You know how many fewer bricks and mortar bookstores there are this holiday season compared to last year. We do not want to lose another way for readers to discover books, so please keep this in mind when shopping. Also, an immediate purchase means immediate gratification!

I also am headed to ArtFibers to get some advice on the two sweaters that they helped me design last year, which have been knit up in their signature yarns. I am not the best finisher, and thus I have two sweater bodies and four sleeves and can use a couple of hours with Roxanne there to make these pieces into something wearable. I also see more new yarn from that store in my future. Beyond this “to me/from me” shopping, I am hoping to be holiday-inspired in San Francisco. (I already bought some presents at Green Apple Books.) I do not enjoy shopping, but somehow the location of the stores in San Francisco makes this a pleasure, so the plan is to get inspired to holiday shop while I'm there.

Speaking of finishing some knitting projects, I got a note from Betsy, one of our readers, about a great new knitting app on Facebook sponsored by Caribou Coffee. For every sweater you create to use on Facebook, Twitter or your blog, Caribou will donate a sweater to someone in need! What a great encouragement to get some holiday "knitting" done. I will be uploading photos!

We are in full holiday-focus mode at; the office is decked in greenery and gold stars left over from last week’s client holiday party. But instead of the sugar plums doing their dance in our brains, everyone is head down as we are deep into our last two weeks of publishing before we take our annual holiday break. We plan to make this home stretch packed with as many features, good reads and contests as possible!

With that in mind, our first feature and contest is for Debut Suspense/Thriller authors Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene, who have written KILL SWITCH. KILL SWITCH tells the tale of a young, newly-minted psychiatrist who finds herself caught up in a murder victim’s psychology at her first job at Rikers Island. Both authors worked on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," so they KNOW how to craft a psychological thriller. As you may remember, we hosted a giveaway for KILL SWITCH in November, but now we are hosting a new contest where we will be giving away 25 SIGNED copies of the book, which will be in stores on December 13th. Enter here by Thursday, December 15h at noon ET for your chance to win.

On Thursday night our Editorial Director, Tom Donadio, attended the launch party for KILL SWITCH in Manhattan. The turnout was huge, and a number of celebrities and colleagues of Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene were on hand to lend their support and congratulations. Among the notables in attendance were Eriq La Salle (“ER”), Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: SVU”) and Dann Florek (“Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU”). Tom had a chance to talk to both Neal and Jonathan, and they were so excited about the book’s upcoming release and grateful for all the attention it’s been getting over the past few weeks. Our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature launched just minutes before the party started (love that timing!), and they were eager to check out all our coverage. So many members of Jonathan’s family were there, including his proud mom, siblings and in-laws. Every time Tom turned around, there was a new Greene for him to meet! It sounded like such a fun night, and I so wish I could’ve been there.

Our next feature is a Historical Fiction Author Spotlight for Eva Stachniak, author of THE WINTER PALACE, which will be in stores on January 10th. The book tells the story of Catherine the Great’s rise to power on the Russian throne from the point of view of one of her servants. It's full of conniving and intrigue, and laced with a ton of details; readers get a brilliant picture of what 19th-century Russian court life was like. It’s become an in-house favorite at the office, and thus we are excited to be sharing it with you. As part of the contest, 20 readers will have the chance to win a copy of the book. Enter here by Thursday, December 22nd at noon ET to be eligible to win. We also will be hearing from Eva on our Holiday Blog this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled!

And we continue our advance coverage of Raymond Khoury’s THE DEVIL’S ELIXIR, which will be in stores on December 22nd.

Of course, keep an eye out for more Holiday Cheer contests. This week we featured contests for SWEETNESS: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman, PLUGGED by Eoin Colfer and AMERICA’S GREAT RAILROAD STATIONS by Roger Straus III, Hugh Van Dusen and Ed Breslin. My son has already asked for AMERICA’S GREAT RAILROAD STATIONS for Christmas (don’t worry, I didn’t give him one of the copies we're giving away). We have a train room on the lower level of our house where Greg’s LGB trains are set up along with a village of houses. I have many a fond memory of him standing in the cut-out section in the middle as master engineer.

Our Author Holiday Blog feature has been updated daily. Since our last newsletter, we have heard from Alan Bradley, Caroline Leavitt, BJ Daniels, Denise Hamilton, Robyn Carr, Shelley Shepard Gray and Katherine Anne Kindred. This weekend, look forward to reading pieces about book-themed holiday gift giving and getting from the aforementioned Eva Stachniak and Ken Denmead.

Stumped on what to buy folks for the holidays? We spotlight two What to Give, What to Get categories this week: Accessories for Book Lovers and eReaders for Book Lovers. Both lists have handy dandy ways for you to make “on the spot” gift selections.

I also have two wonderful postcard collections on my desk that will make great gifts. Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box each feature a different and iconic Penguin book jacket. From classics to crime, here are over 70 years of quintessentially British design in one box. Also, Vintage Postcards from Vanity Fair: One Hundred Classic Covers, 1913-1936 each feature a different and beautiful vintage cover from Vanity Fair magazine. I love jotting quick notes to folks, and these will be perfect for that.

A new month means a whole new roundup of paperbacks is available! Our New in Paperback feature has been updated with books such as DEATH OF A CHIMNEY SWEEP by MC Beaton and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness. We are featuring a special contest on for A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES where 10 lucky readers will win copies of this fantastical novel, which tells the story of a young scholar who happens upon a long-lost enchanted text. Enter here by Friday, January 6th at noon ET for your chance to win.

We have 14 new reviews this week, including THEN AGAIN by Diane Keaton. Reviewer Bronwyn Miller says, "THEN AGAIN is [Keaton's] two-pronged approach of telling not only her story, but the story of her mother, Dorothy Keaton Hall, and how their paths mirrored each other and how they differed..." We're also reviewing MAN SEEKS GOD by Eric Weiner. Sarah Rachel Egelman says, "The enterprise of finding a religion in this way seems doomed, especially coupled with the depression Weiner suffers throughout the process. Yet the process is compelling, and Weiner, the true subject of the book, is fascinating. He is at once charming and naive, profound and whiny, funny and annoying." (You may remember Eric from his last book, THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World). And Joe Hartlaub weighs in about VIGILANTE, Stephen J. Cannell’s last book as we lost him all too early last September: "VIGILANTE...has the distinction of presenting one of the best opening paragraphs and one of the best closing paragraphs you are likely to encounter in a crime novel this year."

In our Poll and Question this week, we want to know how you feel about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books and films. Are you planning to see the upcoming movie? Why do you think these books are so popular? Please weigh in with your thoughts.

Also, don’t forget to enter our Word of Mouth contest and tell us what you are reading! Not only are your suggestions useful for the whole community, if you do so, you are automatically entered for the chance to win three books. This week, the prize books are THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, THE LEOPARD by Jo Nesbø and the aforementioned MAN SEEKS GOD: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric Weiner.

Yesterday on the plane, work was put aside as the book I was reading was beckoning somewhere over Nebraska, and with a lot more of the country to cover, I heeded its call. I am reading THE SECOND TIME WE MET by Leila Cobo, a trade paperback original that will be in stores on February 29th. I sped through the first 100 pages of in the first hour or so of my flight. Really enjoying it. My husband, who had never read Sandra Brown, tore through LETHAL on the plane and in the hotel last night. He finished it, and I know Sandra now has a new fan. Luckily, there is lots of backlist at our house to read!

Cable cars, Ghirardelli chocolate and lots of good times ahead…and if either of my sons are reading this, it would be lovely to come home to candles on timers in each of the windows. Just saying. There could be an extra present or two if that happens! Have a great’s to taking some time away from the holidaze madness to do some reading. I have proven that a lot of reading can be done in between putting batches of cookies in the oven.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

New Featured Debut Suspense/Thriller Authors: Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene, Authors of KILL SWITCH

We are celebrating the December 13th release of KILL SWITCH by Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene --- the riveting story of a forensic psychiatrist who gets caught up in the mind of a particularly dysfunctional patient --- with a special contest. 25 readers will have the opportunity to each win a SIGNED copy of the book. To enter, fill out this form by Thursday, December 15th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Read bios of Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene.
-Click here to visit the book's official website.

More about KILL SWITCH:
Meet Claire Waters, a young, dedicated forensic psychiatrist with unnervingly personal insights into the criminal mind. Haunted by a disturbing childhood incident --- and driven by her demons --- Claire has always been drawn to those rare “untreatable” patients who seem to have no conscience or fear. She has a natural ability to put people at ease, to help them face their darkest secrets. But one shocking case could make or break her career --- and it’s waiting for her in the psychiatric wing of New York City’s Rikers Island.

His name is Quimby. A deranged inmate whose boyish good looks hide a sordid history of dysfunction and abuse, Quimby triggers something in Claire she’d rather not face. As she tries to unlock Quimby’s past, she unwittingly reveals her own painful secrets --- leaving herself dangerously vulnerable. For Claire, the patient’s obsessions are just the beginning. When the case propels her into the mind of another killer --- a homicidal maniac who’s watching her every move --- it could only end in madness, or murder, or both.


Click here to read more about Neal Baer, Jonathan Greene and KILL SWITCH in our Debut Suspense/Thriller feature.
New Featured Historical Fiction Author: Eva Stachniak, Author of THE WINTER PALACE

In THE WINTER PALACE, award-winning author Eva Stachniak tells the epic story of Catherine the Great’s improbable rise to power, as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne.

We have 20 advance copies of THE WINTER PALACE, which will be in stores on January 10th, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment on it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Thursday, December 22nd at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Eva Stachniak's bio.

Catherine the Great is one of history’s most fascinating rulers --- a monarch whose 34-year reign brought Russia into the modern industrial world, whose affairs were the scandal of her court, and who truly embodied the ideals of the Enlightenment. Drawing on letters, diaries, and on-the-ground research in St. Petersburg, Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo, award-winning author Eva Stachniak delivers a passionate novel that illuminates the early life of one of history’s most enigmatic and powerful women. THE WINTER PALACE tells the epic story of Catherine’s improbable rise to power, as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne.


Click here to read more about Eva Stachniak and THE WINTER PALACE in our Historical Fiction feature.
Now in Stores: THEN AGAIN by Diane Keaton
THEN AGAIN by Diane Keaton (Memoir)
In THEN AGAIN, you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet --- and fall in love with --- her mother, Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too. She has sorted through all the pages of her mother’s 85 journals to paint an unflinching portrait of her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: MAN SEEKS GOD by Eric Weiner
MAN SEEKS GOD: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric Weiner (Memoir)
When a health scare puts him in the hospital, Eric Weiner --- an agnostic by default --- finds himself tangling with an unexpected question, posed to him by a well-meaning nurse. "Have you found your God yet?" The thought of it nags him, and ultimately he embarks on a worldwide exploration of countless religions to find personal spiritual meaning. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

-Click here to visit Eric Weiner's official website.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: VIGILANTE by Stephen J. Cannell
VIGILANTE: A Shane Scully Novel by Stephen J. Cannell (Thriller)
An aggressive police critic and gang activist, Lita Mendez had filed countless complaints against the LAPD. So when she's found dead in her home, Detective Scully and his partner Hitchens fear the worst: that there's a killer in their ranks. Meanwhile, Nixon Nash and his television show --- which attempts to solve murders before the cops can --- have set up shop outside the crime scene. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

Click here to read a review.
Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Raymond Khoury, Author of THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR
Raymond Khoury's latest book, THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR, marks the return of FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, as they find themselves on a quest for a drug in the depths of the Central American jungle.

-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise for Raymond Khoury and his books.
-Click here to read Raymond Khoury’s bio.
-Click here to visit Raymond Khoury’s official website.

In Raymond Khoury's million-copy-selling Templar novels, FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, traveled the globe to unravel ancient mysteries with present-day ramifications. In THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR, Sean and Tess find themselves in a race --- against the clock, against drug kingpins, and even against the DEA --- to merge two divergent trails, one several hundred years old, the other as current as a heartbeat, which together may lead humanity to the brink of annihilation.
Click here to read more about Raymond Khoury and THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR in our Suspense/Thriller feature.
New in Paperback Roundups for December
December's New in Paperback roundups include the following highlights:

THE FOUR MS. BRADWELLS by Meg Waite Clayton (Fiction)
When Bee hears that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, she returns home to London immediately. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual big sister lecture scolding her flighty behavior --- but Bee never could have prepared for what really awaits her.

THE JEFFERSON KEY by Steve Berry (Thriller)
Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated, each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the shocking same reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution?

LITTLE PRINCES: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan (Memoir)
While volunteering at a Nepal orphanage in 2006, Conor Grennan discovered that the children were not orphans: they were trafficked. Despite the danger, he trekked remarkable distances with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families.

ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE DOMINION by Eric Van Lustbader (Thriller)
Jason Bourne is searching for an elusive cadre of terrorists, and needs the help of his longtime friend, General Boris Karpov, the newly appointed head of Russia's most feared spy agency, FSB-2. What he doesn’t know is that in order to remain the head of FSB-2, Karpov must hunt down and kill Bourne.

SISTER by Rosamund Lupton (Psychological Thriller)
As one woman risks everything to uncover the truth about her sister's last moments, this debut novel with a knockout twist shows that nothing is as durable --- and as exceptional --- as the bond between sisters.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of December 5th, December 19th and December 26th.'s Author Holiday Blogs --- Authors Write About Their Bookish Holiday Memories

Throughout this holiday season, a number of authors will be sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays on our Holiday Blog.

Here are links to posts from authors who already have shared their stories:

-Katherine Anne Kindred on THE SNOW QUEEN
-Shelley Shepard Gray on Reading Aloud
-Robyn Carr on Books for Troops
-Denise Hamilton on THE RUSSIANS

-BJ Daniels on Unforgettable Gifts
-Caroline Leavitt on the Blue Bookshelf
-Alan Bradley on the Gift of a Proper Book

Charles J. Shields on the Gift of Words

-Keija Parssinen on Golden Links to her Childhood
-Teresa Medeiros on the Greatest Gift
-Alyson Richman on THE SAND LADY
-Kim Edwards on Book Gifts from Her Family

Keep an eye out for reader favorites like Susan Wiggs, Sarah Addison Allen, Nancy Jensen and John Connolly, who will be posting on the blog in the weeks to come!

Click here to read's Author Holiday Blogs.'s Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature
At, we're celebrating the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, we've been spotlighting a book on certain days and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it. You have to check the site each day to see the featured prize book and enter the contest. We also are sending a special daily newsletter to announce the day's title, which you can sign up for here.

Our next prize book will be announced on Monday, December 12th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles are:

-AMERICA’S GREAT RAILROAD STATIONS by Roger Straus III, Ed Breslin and Hugh Van Dusen
-COMFORT & JOY by India Knight
-A CHRISTMAS BLIZZARD by Garrison Keillor
-JUST MY TYPE: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
-OMG PANCAKES!: 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat by Jim Belosic
-PLUGGED by Eoin Colfer
-SWEETNESS: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman
-WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordan

Click here to read all the details of's Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature.
What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on "eReaders for Book Lovers" knows that readers crave ideas for gift-giving --- and getting --- at the holidays. With this in mind, we're offering a What to Give, What to Get Guide with suggestions in six categories: Accessories for Book Lovers, eReaders for Book Lovers, Eat, Drink & Be Merry, Faces & Places, Great Choices for Book Lovers and Holiday Spirit. We have ideas for everyone on your holiday list! And while you're looking for gifts for others, may we suggest you jot down notes for books YOU want?

With so many different versions of each eReader, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. To help pick the perfect eReader, we have put together a list of the top devices on the market, listing all of the features and highlighting the key facts. Browse our list of Nooks and Kindles to help you decide which one you want!

Our featured eReaders are:

-NOOK Simple Touch
-NOOK Color
-NOOK Tablet
-Kindle Touch
-Kindle Touch 3G
-Kindle Keyboard
-Kindle Keyboard 3G
-Kindle Fire


Click here to see our "eReaders for Book Lovers" category.
What to Give, What to Get: Spotlight on "Accessories for Book Lovers"

Book shopping can be difficult, especially when you don't know what books to get for everyone on your list. Why not get them something to enjoy their books with, like a cover for their eReader? Or perhaps book ends to spruce up their bookshelves? Check out our list of top picks for this holiday season!

Our featured items in this category are:

-BookBook Case for iPad and iPad 2
-Kindle Gift Card
-Leather Kindle Cover with Light
-Kindle Zip Sleeve
-NOOK Gift Card
-Kate Spade Cover for NOOK
-Jonathan Adler Chevron Cover for NOOK
-NOOK Anti-Glare Screen Film Kit
-NOOK Car Charging Kit
-NOOK Signature Everyday Tote
-Jumbo LapDesk
-Bird and Twig Bookend Set
-Literati Challenge
-Lookend Bookends


Click here to see our "Accessories for Book Lovers" category.
This Week's Reviews

ONE ON ONE: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game by John Feinstein (Sports)
Well-known sports reporter and interviewer John Feinstein goes behind the scenes of his reporting from The Final Four, Wimbledon, The US Open, the Army/Navy game, the Olympics, and more, opening up sport's most private, closed-door places and sharing exclusive stories from the reporting of his books. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

LONDON UNDER: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd (History)
LONDON UNDER is a short and comprehensive study of everything that goes on underground in London, from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheaters to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts and modern tube stations. Spanning throughout history, Peter Ackroyd reveals stories and secrets of this hidden world. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SOFT TARGET by Stephen Hunter (Thriller)
Ten-thousand people jam the aisles, the corridors, the elevators and the escalators of America, the Mall --- a giant Rubik’s Cube of a structure with its own amusement park located in the spacious center atrium. Of those people, 9,988 have come to shop. The other 12 have come to kill. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE CHRISTMAS NOTE by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
When military wife Gretchen Daniels and her two children move closer to her mother, she meets Melissa, her unfriendly neighbor. At this initial encounter, the two women could never guess how their lives will intertwine and change during the course of this heartwarming and endearing story. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

WHEN ELVES ATTACK: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State by Tim Dorsey (Fiction)
It’s ho, ho, ho time in this hilarious and wacky Florida holiday tale, featuring bighearted psychopath Serge Storms and his sidekick, Coleman. Like Santa, Serge knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Few can give with the generosity and creativity of Serge, and as December 24th rolls around, he is filling up the Serge sleigh with an unforgettable bag of presents. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

ONLY TIME WILL TELL by Jeffrey Archer (Historical Fiction)
The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words “I was told that my father was killed in the war.” A dock worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him at the shipyard once he’s left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and his life will never be the same again. Reviewed by Judy Gigstad.

UNSTUCK IN TIME: A Journey Through Kurt Vonnegut's Life and Novels by Gregory D. Sumner (Biography)
In UNSTUCK IN TIME, Gregory Sumner guides us through a biography of 15 of Kurt Vonnegut’s best known works to illustrate the quintessential American writer’s profound engagement with the "American Dream" in its various forms. Sumner gives us a poignant portrait of Vonnegut, and his resistance to celebrating the traditional values associated with the American Dream. Reviewed by Katherine Tandler.

Acclaimed author Anita Desai ruminates on art and memory, illusion and disillusion, and the sharp divide between life’s expectations and its realities in three unique novellas. Set in India in the not-too-distant past, the stories’ dramas illuminate the ways in which Indian culture can nourish or suffocate. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

EGYPT: The Book of Chaos by Nick Drake (Historical Fiction)
The future of Egypt lies in the hands of chief detective Rahotep in this final installment of Nick Drake’s acclaimed ancient Egyptian trilogy. King Tutankhamun has died without an heir, and his young widow, Queen Ankhesenamun, last of her dynasty, struggles to maintain power and order. To defeat her enemies, she has but one hope: to forge an alliance with the Hittites, a powerful, militant new empire that threatens Egypt’s supremacy. Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy.

MURDER SEASON by Richard Ellis (Thriller)
Detective Lena Gamble gets called to the scene of a double murder at Club 3 AM, the latest A-list hangout for Hollywood celebs. As expected, one of the victims is club owner Johnny Bosco, one of the most well-connected men in Hollywood politics. But the shocker comes when Lena sees the other victim: 25-year-old Jacob Gant, acquitted just days ago of murdering his 16-year-old neighbor, after L.A.'s latest trial-of-the-century. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

MURDER IN MOUNT HOLLY by Paul Theroux (Mystery)
During the time of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, Herbie Gneiss is forced to leave college to get a job. When Herbie is drafted, Mr. Gibbon, a patriotic veteran of three wars, falls in love with Herbie’s mother. Mr. Gibbon convinces Miss Ball and Mrs. Gneiss to join him in the venture. They decide to rob the Mount Holly Trust Company because it is managed by a small dark man who is probably a communist. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

This Week’s Poll and Question

Are you planning on seeing the English-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which will be in theaters on December 21st?

Yes, I am looking forward to it.
Yes, I saw the Swedish version and look forward to seeing the American one.
Yes, but I will wait for it to come out on DVD.
No, I already saw the Swedish version and have no desire to see the American one.
I haven’t decided yet.

-Click here to answer the poll.


Why do you think the Stieg Larsson book trilogy is so popular?

-Click here to answer the question.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You’re Reading --- and You Could Win THREE Books!
Tell us your current reading recommendations with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from December 2nd to December 16th, FIVE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, THE LEOPARD by Jo Nesbø and MAN SEEKS GOD: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric Weiner.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.

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