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October 21, 2016 Newsletter October 21, 2016
Lots of Events: A Great Opportunity to Meet Readers

I am not a huge fan of the weather turning dark so early in the evening. Last night when I swore it was 10:00, it was only 8:00. This is the time of year when people drag a little slower; I am convinced we all need back the hour we lost last March. Folks, hang in there until November 6th when those 60 minutes get returned, but alas darkness arrives an hour earlier as well. Time to move hemispheres!

This is a really busy time of year; although I try to prioritize my day, everything seems to have the same level of urgency. Turning off my brain at night is really tough, and I always do that by diving into a book, even if I read just a few pages. VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin (in stores November 22nd) is providing the perfect escape. You may remember Daisy from her books, THE AMERICAN HEIRESS and THE FORTUNE HUNTER. Why do you want to note this now? In January, during the "Downton Abbey" timeslot, PBS will be airing the eight-part drama created and written by Daisy Goodwin in her screenwriting debut. By the way, you are not losing your mind if you are thinking, Wait, didn’t Bookreporter give away a book about Victoria this week in their Fall Preview contest? Yes, readers, you are right. The biography, VICTORIA: THE QUEEN: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird, is also coming on November 22nd. There will be a Bookreporter pop quiz on this at a later date.

These two books were among the 30 that I presented in 30 minutes last week at the Somerset County Book Lover's Tea (yes, I spoke quickly), which was such fun and a great way to meet readers. Stephanie Evanovich was the author guest. In the photo above, you can see me with (from left) Cathy DeBerry and Yvonne Selander (who also presented) from the Somerset County Library, Stephanie, and Carolann DeMatos, also from the library.

I am going to be in Toms River, NJ, tomorrow for their by-invitation-only event for Ocean County book group discussion leaders. I will be sharing books that we think are great for discussions, along with tips for Book Group Checkups and more. This is the third year that I have attended this event, and it’s always such fun! Tomorrow Hachette is hosting their annual Book Group Brunch, and we have seven correspondents lined up to report on this. Are you going and interested in chiming in? Then drop me a note, and we will get you our interview questions; answers are due Monday at 9am.

Next up will be the Miami Book Fair, where on Saturday, November 19th at 10am, I am going to be hosting a panel for book groups that will include some books we think make for great discussions, a list of authors at the Fair that readers want to check out, and Gayle Forman, the author of LEAVE ME will be joining me. I'm looking forward to meeting readers in the South Florida area, so spread the word to those who you know there! If you are attending the Fair, note this on your calendar!

Now to this week’s update….

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than 10 years’ experience. During her practice, she dreamed of restoring the stories of women that have been hidden throughout history. She does so beautifully in her new novel, THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which you may remember we gave away early copies of in our Sneak Peek contest back in July. In 1896, the hardworking and talented Mileva “Mitza” Maric is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. Math had always seemed like an easier path than marriage --- until she falls in love with a fellow student. Charismatic and brilliant, Albert promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, is there room for more than one genius in a marriage?

Amy Gwiazdowski has our review and says, “Marie Benedict brings to life an amazing story of a woman forgotten in the world of science, and imagines a new life for a person few remember but who may have helped change the way we think of the theory of relativity.” I’m pleased to announce that THE OTHER EINSTEIN will be a Bets On pick; you can read my commentary in next week’s newsletter. In the meantime, you can see advance reader comments about the book here.

We’re featuring Donna VanLiere’s latest novel, THE CHRISTMAS TOWN, in our New Release Spotlight. Lauren Gabriel spent many years as a child in foster homes, hoping against hope that her mother would return. She’s now 20 years old and still longing for a family and a place she can call home. One night, on her way back to her apartment from work, she witnesses a car accident and suddenly finds herself in the small town of Grandon, where she serves as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its citizens be the home she has been looking for all these years?

Reviewer Bianca Ambrosio calls THE CHRISTMAS TOWN “a distinctive Christmas story in that the main character is real and vulnerable, yet goes for what she wants, eventually proving that opening your heart and doing good deeds can bring you a world of blessings.”

You may have followed Taraji P. Henson since her early days of Baby Boy and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. More recently, you may have fallen in love with her portrayal of Cookie Lyon in FOX’s “Empire.” Or perhaps you haven’t heard of her yet. But you will. Her memoir, AROUND THE WAY GIRL, is an inspiring and funny book about family, friends, the hustle required to make it from DC to Hollywood, and the joy of living in your own truth. She writes about her burdens and her joys, and her voice, ever authentic, shines off the page. This memoir gives readers poignant insight into the world behind Cookie, and will get you excited for her starring role in the upcoming film, Hidden Figures.

In her review, Maya Gittelman calls AROUND THE WAY GIRL “a well-put-together piece of art. It reverberates with her distinct voice, but reveals layers of pain, love and complexity that demand and encourage you to listen to what she has to say. She weaves in photographs from her childhood throughout her career, a visual parallel to her narrative.” I have the audiobook cued up for listening next week.

Other books we’re reviewing this week include ESCAPE CLAUSE, the ninth installment in John Sandford’s series starring Virgil Flowers; THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER, a continuation of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Agent Pendergast series; HUNGRY HEART, the first essay collection from Jennifer Weiner, who, as stated in the book’s subtitle, talks about her “adventures in life, love, and writing”; and CRIME PLUS MUSIC, which collects 20 darkly intense, music-related noir stories by such bestselling mystery authors as Craig Johnson, Val McDermid, Peter Robinson and Zoë Sharp, and is edited by novelist Jim Fusilli, who is also a rock and pop music critic for the Wall Street Journal.

Jodi Picoult’s SMALL GREAT THINGS, which we featured two weeks ago in our New Release Spotlight and reviewed last week, is my latest Bets On pick. I think it’s Jodi’s best book in years, so I’m happy to share with you my thoughts about it here. Also, here is a segment from "CBS This Morning" with Jodi talking about the book.

We’re continuing to award the audiobook of SMALL GREAT THINGS, read by Audra McDonald with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos, and Brit Bennett's THE MOTHERS, read by Adenrele Ojo, in our Sounding Off on Audio contest. Let us know by Tuesday, November 1st at noon ET about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to for your chance to win both audio titles.

The buzz for SMALL GREAT THINGS has been way off the charts, and clear evidence of this can be found in the results of our poll that ended today. We wanted to know which October fiction releases you were planning to read; 52% of you picked Jodi’s novel, the clear frontrunner. Trailing right behind it are THE WHISTLER by John Grisham (44%), WINTER STORMS by Elin Hilderbrand (29%), THE TRESPASSER by Tana French and TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT by Maria Semple (each at 28%), and THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD by Jade Chang (27%). Click here for the complete breakdown.

In our current poll, we’d like to know which bestseller lists, if any, you pay attention to. Click here to vote!

And since SMALL GREAT THINGS is very much on my mind right now, I would be remiss if I did not remind you of our contest, where we’re awarding audiobooks to nine book groups. Three groups will win SMALL GREAT THINGS, three will win Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, and three will win Colson Whitehead's THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, November 2nd at noon ET. In order to qualify as a winning group, your group must be able to commit to listening to and discussing your audiobook and sharing your feedback with us by Friday, January 27th.

We’ve updated our History Books feature for October. This month we’re spotlighting books on Albert Einstein, Ulysses S. Grant, Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird, President Harry Truman vs. General Douglas MacArthur, the history of Israel, and the Beatles in the year 1966.

We have a new Word of Mouth contest to tell you about. Let us know by Friday, November 4th at noon ET what books you’ve read, and you’ll be in the running to win the aforementioned THE WHISTLER by John Grisham, along with THE TWENTY-THREE, the conclusion to Linwood Barclay’s Promise Falls trilogy, and THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, Michael Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch novel.

News and Pop Culture:

Reader Mail:
Susan wrote, “I love the diversity of your book selections.”

My friend Mark Nichols, from the American Booksellers Association, shared with me a link to PEOPLE KNITTING: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine, noting that “You will most definitely be in the sequel…” Sean Doorly, our first employee, sent me this piece that shares some of the photos from the book. I love that they both saw this and thought of me.

Coming Through the Rye: This indie film opened last week in New York. It’s a coming-of-age story set in 1969. Jamie Schwartz is 16 and an outsider at his boarding school. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE becomes an obsession to him. He’s adapted the book to a play with an eye on playing Holden Caulfield himself. But before he can stage it, he wants the blessing of J.D. Salinger, and he takes off on a quest to get that. Joining him is Deedee Gorlin, a townie who has a lot of spunk and is the perfect travel companion. Director James Sadwith visited Salinger at his home in Cornish, NH, in 1969, and this visit provided the inspiration for the film. Chris Cooper plays Salinger, and the scenes with him meeting Jamie will strike a chord with anyone who's had a moment meeting someone you admire and stand in awe of. For fans of the book, it’s a fun look at one reader’s passion for the story. And I am sure it will spark memories of your own reading of the book. You can watch a trailer here.

Bob Minzesheimer: His name may not be familiar to many of you, but he was one of my favorite people in the book business. For years he covered the book industry and reviewed for USA Today. He passed away last Saturday after suffering from brain cancer. He interviewed me many times throughout the years. One of my favorite quotes was when he caught up with me about the 10th anniversary of Amazon and asked what had changed. I said that "we used to think of it as a river in South America" --- and he laughed and ran that! The last time we were both at an event together was at BookCon in 2014 where John Green was appearing. The girls in the audience were screaming, and we could not hear ourselves think. Bob wrote that the sound was like the arrival of the Beatles in '64; loved that. He could even be found at black tie events wearing his signature red sneakers. His wife, Mary Murphy, is the author of SCOUT, ATTICUS, AND BOO: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird and the documentary "Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird." My heart goes out to her and their children, James and Kate.

Bryan Cranston's memoir, A LIFE IN PARTS: Listened to this on audio this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. While we all know Cranston for his Walter White role, here he opens the book with his thoughts on an iconic scene from it and then never gets back to the show until much later. What’s in the middle gives readers insight into why this role was made for him.

By the way, I smiled when I saw the title "Escape Clause" on John Sandford’s aforementioned new book. Somewhere I have about 150 pages written of an unfinished novel by me with the same name. I have not touched it in years as life at The Book Report Network has kept me a tad busy. Someday, maybe.

Our pool will be closed this weekend, and I will be hanging up my wetsuit for the year. It’s one of the sadder days of the year for me. I had hoped to swim more, but the weather this fall has been very erratic, and I confess that swimming when it’s dark or cloudy out does not have the same appeal. A couple of summer-like days this week would have been great swim days, but I was sequestered in meetings or chained to my desk.

My mom is joining me at my event in Toms River tomorrow, Tom and my dad have some landscaping plans if the weather cooperates, and then we all are having dinner here, supposedly with a cameo appearance from Cory! Greg’s curling season has started, and he will be on the ice tomorrow night. The rest of the weekend will be the usual trifecta of reading, knitting, and procrastinating on organizing where I now layer in plant watering as I have brought the plants inside.

Off for one last swim...actually leaf collecting from the surface as I paddle around!

Read on, and have a great week.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

P.S. For those of you who are doing online shopping, if you use the store links below, gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

Featured Review: THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict --- a Bets On Title
THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Mozhan Marno
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva “Mitza” Maric is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. For her, math seems like an easier path than marriage, until she falls in love with fellow student Albert Einstein. Charismatic and brilliant, Albert promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, is there room for more than one genius in a marriage? This is the untold story of Albert’s first wife, a brilliant scientist in her own right, whose contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

THE OTHER EINSTEIN will be a Bets On selection. Read Carol's commentary about the book in the October 28th newsletter.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for advance readers' comments on the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: ESCAPE CLAUSE by John Sandford --- Book 9 in the Virgil Flowers Series
ESCAPE CLAUSE: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Eric Conger
The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others --- as Virgil Flowers is about to find out. Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
New Release Spotlight: THE CHRISTMAS TOWN by Donna VanLiere

THE CHRISTMAS TOWN by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Donna VanLiere
Donna VanLiere, the New York Times bestselling author of the timeless THE CHRISTMAS SHOES and THE CHRISTMAS HOPE, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope and family in unexpected places.

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now 20 years old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident, she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Donna VanLiere’s bio.
-Click here to visit Donna VanLiere’s official website.
-Connect with Donna VanLiere on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read more in our New Release Spotlight. Bets On: SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult

SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
For years, my favorites of Jodi Picoult’s 26 books were NINETEEN MINUTES and MY SISTER’S KEEPER. Each of them struck a real chord with me. When I heard the premise of SMALL GREAT THINGS, I was similarly intrigued. It so delivered, making it the third of her books that I highly recommend. Indeed I have found myself “book-talking” this book to friends, colleagues and fellow readers for the last few months. When I read an early copy, it was during a very busy week, and I remember putting aside many tasks to finish it.

In SMALL GREAT THINGS, Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse. During one of her rotations, while going about her typical duties with a newborn named Davis, cleaning and swaddling him, the parents take offense. It has nothing to do with her nursing skills, but rather the fact that she is African American and they are white supremacists. They have it noted on their baby’s chart that no African American personnel are to touch their child. Days later, the baby is in the nursery when all the other nurses are called to an emergency, leaving Ruth with a dilemma. Davis is in cardiac distress. What she does, or does not do, next calls for her to be arrested and charged with a crime. Layer in Kennedy McQuarrie, Ruth’s white attorney, who thinks race should be left out of the trial, and you have one very complex story on tap.

I had the pleasure of hearing Jodi speak about this book a few times before publication. She went through a lot of personal introspection as she was researching and writing it --- and working on it made her much more aware of race differences, broadening her perspective on them. She is very clear that she knows she wrote from the perspective of a privileged white woman --- the lens from which she was authentically able to see the story. She is tired of people saying, “I do not see race,” and after reading this, you can see why.

My only quibble was with the ending, which was too neat. As in MY SISTER’S KEEPER, I felt like I did not “need it” for the book to work for me. But I will put that aside and look forward to discussing the novel with readers who discover it. It’s the kind of book you immediately want to have a meaningful conversation about! One final note: Jodi's last couple of books were not faves of mine. For any of you who have not read her work in a while, this is the one you want to pick up.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here for the discussion guide.

Click here for more books we’re betting you’ll love.
Featured Review: AROUND THE WAY GIRL by Taraji P. Henson
AROUND THE WAY GIRL: A Memoir by Taraji P. Henson with Denene Millner (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Taraji P. Henson
With a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from “Empire,” Taraji P. Henson writes of her family, the one she was born into and the one she created. She shares stories of her father, a Vietnam vet who was bowed but never broken by life's challenges, and of her mother, who survived violence both in the home and on DC's volatile streets. Here, too, she opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but she saw as a gift. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: HUNGRY HEART by Jennifer Weiner
HUNGRY HEART: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner (Memoir/Essays)
Audiobook available, read by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner is many things: a bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an “unlikely feminist enforcer” (The New Yorker). She’s also a mom, a daughter and a sister, a former rower and current clumsy yogini, a wife, a friend, and a reality-TV devotee. In her first essay collection, she takes the raw stuff of her life and spins it into a collection of tales of modern-day womanhood. Born in Louisiana, raised in Connecticut, educated at Princeton, Jennifer spent years feeling like an outsider before finding her people in newsrooms, and her voice as a novelist, activist and New York Times columnist. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read the review.
Featured Review: HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood
HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by R.H. Thomson
Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a “Tempest” like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge. After 12 years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his “Tempest” and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It's magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read the review.
Special Contest on Enter to Win Audiobooks for You and Your Book Group --- Listen, Discuss and Give Feedback is proud to be hosting a very special contest. We are giving away audiobooks to nine book groups in total: three groups will win Imbolo Mbue's BEHOLD THE DREAMERS, read by Prentice Onayemi; three will win Jodi Picoult's SMALL GREAT THINGS, read by Audra McDonald (with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos); and three will win Colson Whitehead's THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, read by Bahni Turpin. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, November 2nd at noon ET.

In order to qualify as a winning group, your group must be able to commit to listening to and discussing your audiobook and sharing your feedback with us by Friday, January 27th. We also strongly encourage your group to talk about these selections and your experience on social media, including reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and’s Sounding Off on Audio feature.

In addition --- as a thank you for your participation --- each group coordinator who fully completes the project will win another audiobook of his or her choosing from a list that we will provide.

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue (Historical Fiction)
Read by Prentice Onayemi
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job, even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult (Fiction)
Read by Audra McDonald, with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders, or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Historical Fiction)
Read by Bahni Turpin
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood --- where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Like the protagonist of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey --- hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

-Click here to read more on “Why Listen to Audio for Your Book Group Discussion” from Penguin Random House.

-Click here to visit the Penguin Random House Audio website to see more suggestions for listening and how to discuss an audiobook with your book group.

Click here to enter the contest.
October's History Books Roundup
October's roundup of History titles includes Beth Macy's TRUEVINE, the true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back; INDESTRUCTIBLE by John R. Bruning, the remarkable World World II story of a renegade American pilot who fights against all odds to rescue his family --- imprisoned by the Japanese --- and revolutionizes modern warfare along the way; BEATLES '66, Steve Turner's riveting look at the transformative year in the lives and careers of the legendary group whose groundbreaking legacy would forever change music and popular culture; and EINSTEIN'S GREATEST MISTAKE, an intimate biography from David Bodanis that touches on the romances and rivalries of the celebrated physicist, as much as on his scientific goals.
Click here to see our History Books roundup for October.
More Reviews This Week
THE OBSIDIAN CHAMBER by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Rene Auberjonois
After a harrowing, otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachusetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead. Sick with grief, Pendergast's ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive --- only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past. Proctor, Pendergast's longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance's kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown. And by the time Proctor discovers the truth, a terrifying engine has stirred --- and it may already be too late. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith (Historical Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Zach Appelman
Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble. Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the Wehrmacht SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon. Reviewed by Roz Shea.

PARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIES by Jojo Moyes (Romance/Short Stories)
Audiobook available, read by a full cast that includes Fiona Hardingham
Nell is 26 and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away --- to anywhere --- before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone --- including herself --- wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Reviewed by Amy Haddock.

IQ by Joe Ide (Mystery)
Audiobook available, read by Sullivan Jones
Someone in East Long Beach has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the LAPD can't or won't touch. They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients who can pay. This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL: Poems by Billy Collins (Poetry)
THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL --- a title that admits he’s not much of a rhymer --- sheds Billy Collins’s ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical --- “the dogs of Minneapolis… / have no idea they’re in Minneapolis” --- to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, here Collins contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman.

SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J. Skal (Biography)
Audiobook available, read James Patrick Cronin
First published in 1897, DRACULA has had a long and multifaceted afterlife --- one rivaling even its immortal creation --- yet Bram Stoker has remained a hovering specter in this pervasive mythology. In SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD, David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who birthed an undying cultural icon, painting an astonishing portrait of the age in which Stoker was born --- a time when death was no metaphor but a constant threat easily imagined as a character existing in flesh and blood. Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski.

BANDIT: A Daughter's Memoir by Molly Brodak (Memoir)
In the summer of 1994, when Molly Brodak was 13 years old, her father robbed 11 banks, until the police finally caught up with him while he was sitting at a bar drinking beer, a bag of stolen money plainly visible in the backseat of his parked car. Dubbed the “Mario Brothers Bandit” by the FBI, he served seven years in prison and was released, only to rob another bank several years later and end up back behind bars. In her debut memoir, BANDIT, Molly Brodak recounts her childhood and attempts to make sense of her complicated relationship with her father, a man she only half knew. Reviewed by Sarah Jackman.

CRIME PLUS MUSIC: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir edited by Jim Fusilli (Mystery/Noir Anthology)
CRIME PLUS MUSIC collects 20 darkly intense, music-related noir stories by world-renowned mystery authors Brendan DuBois, Alison Gaylin, Craig Johnson, David Liss, Val McDermid, Gary Phillips, Peter Robinson, and, from the music world, Galadrielle Allman, author of PLEASE BE WITH ME: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman and award-winning songwriter-novelist Willy Vlautin. Edited by novelist and Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli, CRIME PLUS MUSIC exposes the nasty side of the world of popular music, revealing it to be the perfect setting for noir. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

NEVER LOOK AN AMERICAN IN THE EYE: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American by Okey Ndibe (Memoir)
Audiobook available, read by Peter Jay Fernandez
Okey Ndibe’s memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential --- but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency --- African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott.

THE EASTERN SHORE by Ward Just (Historical Fiction)
Ned Ayres, the son of a judge in mid-century America, has never wanted anything but a newspaper career. The defining moment comes early, when Ned is city editor of his hometown paper. One of his beat reporters fields a tip: William Grant, the town haberdasher, once served six years in Joliet. The story runs, and Ned offers no resistance to his publisher's argument that the public has a right to know. The consequences haunt him throughout a long career, as he moves first to Chicago, where he engages in a spirited love affair that cannot compete with the pull of the newsroom and the “subtle beauty” of the front page. Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley.

IN THE LAND OF GIANTS: A Journey Through the Dark Ages by Max Adams (History)
The five centuries between the end of Roman Britain and the death of Alfred the Great have left few voices save a handful of chroniclers, but Britain's "Dark Ages" can still be explored through their material remnants: architecture, books, metalwork and, above all, landscapes. Max Adams explores Britain's lost early medieval past by walking its paths and exploring its lasting imprint on valley, hill and field. Each of his 10 walking narratives form free-standing chapters as well as parts of a wider portrait of a Britain of fort and fyrd, crypt and crannog, church and causeway, holy well and memorial stone. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

RIVALS OF THE REPUBLIC: A Blood of Rome Novel by Annelise Freisenbruch (Historical Mystery)
The body of a Vestal Virgin is found in the Tiber River, and then a senator is found having bled to death in his bath. As Roman authorities turn a strangely blind eye, Hortensia, the daughter of the capital’s most celebrated orator, begins investigating this trail of murders that leads straight into the dark heart of Rome. Despite her husband’s and father’s attempts to protect her, rebelling against the societal constraints to her sex, Hortensia plunges deeper into the corrupt underworld of the city. And only one man can save her from becoming the next victim: Lucrio, the ex-gladiator to whom she already owes her life. But Lucrio has secrets as well, and his past threatens to subsume both him and Hortensia. Reviewed by Carly Silver.
Next Week's Notables: Noteworthy Books Releasing on October 25th

Below are some notable titles releasing on October 25th that we would like to make you aware of. We will have more on many of these books in the weeks to come. For a list of additional hardcovers and paperbacks releasing the week of October 24th, see our “On Sale This Week” newsletter here.

AL CAPONE: His Life, Legacy, and Legend by Deirdre Bair (Biography)
Al Capone loved to tell tall tales that perpetuated his mystique. While some remember him as fundamentally kind and good, others speak of how frightening he was, a vicious, cold-blooded killer. Writing with exclusive access to Capone's descendants, Deirdre Bair finally gets at the truth behind this eternally fascinating man.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Biography)
Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child, lonely and burning with fear and ambition. As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press's portrait of him. Peter Ackroyd reveals something more: the joy and quirks that give color and life to the legendary director.

THE BOAT ROCKER by Ha Jin (Fiction)
Feng Danlin’s explosive exposés are legendary, but his newest assignment --- investigating his ex-wife --- may be his undoing. In outing her, Danlin is also provoking her powerful political allies, and he will need to draw on all of his journalistic cunning to come out of this investigation with his career --- and his life --- still intact.

A LOWCOUNTRY HEART: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy (Essays)
This new volume of Pat Conroy’s nonfiction brings together some of the most charming interviews, magazine articles, speeches and letters from his literary career. Ranging across diverse subjects, staying motivated to exercise, and the loss of dear friends, Conroy’s memorable pieces offer a window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing.

THE MISTLETOE MURDER: And Other Stories by P. D. James (Mystery/Short Stories)
A "pedantic, respectable, censorious" clerk's secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder. A bestselling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in 50 years earlier. Each of these previously uncollected stories by P. D. James is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted.

NIGHT WATCH by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen (Thriller)
Kendra Michaels spent the first 20 years of her life blind. Then, she was given the gift of sight. Her highly developed senses, combined with her new found vision, have made her a remarkable investigator, sought after by law-enforcement agencies all over the country. But her newest case becomes deeply personal.

THE NINE OF US: Growing Up Kennedy by Jean Kennedy Smith (Memoir)
Before Joe and Rose Kennedy’s children emerged as leaders on the world stage, they were a loving circle of brothers and sisters who played football, swam, read and pursued their interests. In THE NINE OF US, Jean Kennedy Smith --- the last surviving sibling --- revisits this singular time in their lives.

NOT DEAD YET: The Memoir by Phil Collins (Memoir)
NOT DEAD YET is Phil Collins’ candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. He unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him.

SEX, LIES & SERIOUS MONEY: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Thriller/Adventure)
Fresh off the runway at Teterboro, Stone Barrington arrives home to find an unexpected new client on his doorstep, soliciting his help. But everything is not as it seems, when the client reveals the true nature --- and value --- of his recent turn of fortune. His client is pursued from all angles, and Stone quickly learns that easy money isn’t always so easy.

THE TERRANAUTS by T.C. Boyle (Fiction)
As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists dubbed the "Terranauts" have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. The Terranauts must impress watchful visitors and a skeptical media curious to see if E2’s environment will somehow be compromised --- and ending the mission in failure.

THE WHISTLER by John Grisham (Mystery)
What happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business as Greg Myers; he claims to know of a judge who was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. Lacy Stoltz immediately suspects this case could be dangerous --- but it also could turn out to be deadly.

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Our Latest Poll: Bestseller Lists
Which bestseller lists do you typically look at? Please check all that apply.

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Word of Mouth Contest: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Can Win Three Books!
Tell us about the books you’ve finished reading with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. During the contest period from October 21st to November 4th at noon ET, three lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win a copy of THE TWENTY-THREE: A Promise Falls Novel by Linwood Barclay, THE WHISTLER by John Grisham, and THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE: A Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly.

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

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.
Click here to enter the contest.
Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!

Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from October 3rd to November 1st at noon ET, two lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of Brit Bennett's THE MOTHERS, read by Adenrele Ojo, and Jodi Picoult's SMALL GREAT THINGS, read by Audra McDonald with Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos.

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

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

Click here to enter the contest.

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