Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"A Matter of Justice"

New from William Morrow: A Matter of Justice (An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery) by Charles Todd.

About the book, from the publisher:

The superb new entry in the historical series the New York Times Book Review hails as "outstanding" and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calls "superb"

At the turn of the century, in a war taking place far from England, two soldiers chance upon an opportunity that will change their lives forever. To take advantage of it, they will be required to do the unthinkable, and then to put the past behind them. But not all memories are so short.

Twenty years later, a successful London busi-nessman is found savagely and bizarrely murdered in a medieval tithe barn on his estate in Somerset. Called upon to investigate, Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge soon discovers that the victim was universally despised. Even the man's wife—who appears to be his wife in name only—and the town's police inspector are suspect. But who, among the many, hated him enough to kill?

Rutledge tenaciously follows a well-concealed trail reaching back to an act so barbarous and with consequences so devastating that even the innocent are enveloped by the murderous tide of events. As he summons all his skills to break through a wall of silence in time to stem this tide, others are eager to twist the truth for their own ends. When justice takes a malevolent turn, can Rutledge's own career survive?
Visit the Charles Todd website.


New from Henry Holt & Company: Eclipse by Richard North Patterson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The spellbinding story of an American lawyer who takes on a nearly impossible case—the defense of an African freedom fighter against his corrupt government’s charge of murder

Damon Pierce’s life has just reached a defining moment: a gifted California lawyer, he’s being divorced by his wife and his work often seems soulless. Then he receives a frantic e-mail from Marissa Brand Okari—a woman he loved years ago—and decides to risk everything to respond to her plea for help.

Marissa’s husband, Bobby Okari, is the charismatic leader of a freedom movement in the volatile west African nation of Luandia, which is being torn apart by the world’s craving for its vast supply of oil. Bobby’s outspoken opposition to the exploitation of his homeland by PetroGlobal—a giant American oil company with close ties to Luandia’s brutal government—has enraged General Savior Karama, the country’s autocratic ruler. After Bobby leads a protest rally during a full eclipse of the sun, everyone in his home village is massacred by government troops. And now Bobby has been arrested and charged with the murder of three PetroGlobal workers. Still drawn to Marissa, Pierce agrees to defend Bobby, hoping to save both Bobby and Marissa from almost certain death. But the lethal politics of Luandia may cost Pierce his life instead.

Culminating in a dramatic show trial and a desperate race against time, Eclipse combines a thrilling narrative with a vivid look at the human cost of the global lust for oil. Here is Richard North Patterson at his compelling best, confirming his place as our most provocative author of popular fiction.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Beat the Reaper"

New from Little, Brown: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan's worst hospital, with a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he'd prefer to keep hidden. Whether it's a blocked circumflex artery or a plan to land a massive malpractice suit, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwna is a hitman for the mob, with a genius for violence, a well-earned fear of sharks, and an overly close relationship with the Federal Witness Relocation Program. More likely to leave a trail of dead gangsters than a molecule of evidence, he's the last person you want to see in your hospital room.

Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is Dr. Brown's new patient, with three months to live and a very strange idea: that Peter Brown and Pietro Brnwa might-just might-be the same person ...

Now, with the mob, the government, and death itself descending on the hospital, Peter has to buy time and do whatever it takes to keep his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption alive. To get through the next eight hours-and somehow beat the reaper.

Spattered in adrenaline-fueled action and bone-saw-sharp dialogue, Beat the Reaper is a debut thriller so utterly original you won't be able to guess what happens next, and so shockingly entertaining you won't be able to put it down.
Listen to an excerpt from Beat the Reaper.

"Bad Traffic"

New from Scribner: Bad Traffic by Simon Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Inspector Jian is a tough Chinese cop who thinks he's seen it all. But his search for his missing daughter takes him to the meanest streets he's ever faced -- in rural England.

Migrant worker Ding Ming is distressed -- his gang master is making demands, he owes a lot of money to the snakeheads, and no one will tell him where his wife has been taken. Maybe England isn't the Gold Mountain he was promised.

Two desperate men, lost in a baffling foreign land, are pitted against a ruthless band of human traffickers in this breathtaking thriller.
Read an excerpt from Bad Traffic.

Visit Simon Lewis' website and blog.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Never Tell A Lie"

New from William Morrow: Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron.

About the book, from the publisher:

It all started with the yard sale. Ivy was eight months and one week pregnant when she insisted that she and her husband, David, clean out the junk they'd inherited with the old Victorian house they'd bought three years before. Call it nesting, call it nerves—she just wanted it all gone: the old electrical fixtures, the boxes of National Geographics from the 1960s, the four black wool greatcoats.

Neither she nor David recognized the woman at first. But it turned out that the customer asking about the lime-green glass swan dish—the woman who looks just about as pregnant as Ivy—was none other than Melinda White, a former high school classmate of David and Ivy's. When Melinda was a child she used to play in their new house, she explained. It looked like they'd been doing some work. Would it be all right if she took a look around? David took Melinda inside. And she never came out.

Now David's under police suspicion, and Ivy finds herself digging deep into the past to clear his name. But David's history, she begins to discover, is not necessarily the history she remembers, and before long Ivy has uncovered a twisted web of deceit, betrayal, and lies, both the ones we tell those we love and the ones we tell ourselves....

Relentlessly fast-paced and disturbingly creepy, Never Tell a Lie is a page-turning thrill ride about how well we know the people we love, and how far we are willing to go to protect the secrets of our past.
Visit Hallie Ephron's website and blog.

"The Heaven-Sent Leaf"

Recently from BOA Editions: The Heaven-Sent Leaf by Katy Lederer.

About the book, from the publisher:

In The Heaven-Sent Leaf, Katy Lederer draws on her experience as both acclaimed younger poet and “brainworker” at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan to produce an uncannily prescient work of high lyric. Though on its surface The Heaven-Sent Leaf addresses that most taboo of subjects—money—what it ultimately confronts is what it means to be, as Wallace Stevens put it, “finally human.” Working in the tradition of the flaneur, Lederer charts her speakers’ interior landscapes according to the city’s highly monetized geography, viewing life in the big city through the lens of expenditure—not just of money, but of all that money signifies. In poems that are both heartfelt and ruthlessly critical of our current financial milieu, in which the fates of individuals are packaged, priced out, and then bundled for sale on the open market, Lederer proves Robert Graves’s famous observation wrong: though there may be no money in poetry, there is indeed poetry in money.

Me, a Brainworker

Me, a brainworker toiling in pristine white hallways.

Abnormal, aboriginal, endemic to this site.

Some people sell their wares outside.

In the pulsating light of Times Square they are singing.

In their noses and nipples, the glinting of rings.

Let us call them unoriginal.

Let us call them all these awful things.

The busy unoriginals are throwing out their trash,

But on this lovely parchment they are writing priceless poems.

They suppose that by such rendering they'll be remembered after death.

They suppose that by such influence their souls will sing eternally.

In the hallways, we are killing time,

Its blood now thick and lurid on the freshly painted walls.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


New from Bellevue Literary Press: Tinkers by Paul Harding.

About the book, from the publisher:

An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure.

A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost 7 decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring.

Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.

"The Widow Clicquot"

Recently from Collins Business: The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

About the book, from the publisher:

The story of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, showed the world how to live with style, and emerged a legend

Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes glamour, style, and luxury. But who was this young widow—the Veuve Clicquot—whose champagne sparkled at the courts of France, Britain, and Russia, and how did she rise to celebrity and fortune?

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life—for the first time—the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming—after her husband's death—the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world's first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

Although the Widow Clicquot is still a legend in her native France, her story has never been told in all its richness—until now. Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, The Widow Clicquot provides a glimpse into the life of a woman who arranged clandestine and perilous champagne deliveries to Russia one day and entertained Napoléon and Joséphine Bonaparte on another. She was a daring and determined entrepreneur, a bold risk taker, and an audacious and intelligent woman who took control of her own destiny when fate left her on the brink of financial ruin. Her legacy lives on today, not simply through the famous product that still bears her name, but now through Mazzeo's finely crafted book. As much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered woman, The Widow Clicquot is utterly intoxicating.
Visit Tilar J. Mazzeo's website.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Buried Strangers"

New from Soho Press: Buried Strangers by Leighton Gage.

About the book, from the Booklist review:

Gage’s second Mario Silva mystery is an impressive follow up to an excellent debut (Blood of the Wicked, 2008), with an equally compelling plot, fascinating characters, and a story so real and chilling, it’s hard to image it happening anywhere else but Silva’s Brazil. When a dog accidentally locates a secret burial site in an isolated park on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Silva takes on the massive, country-spanning investigation.

With the assistance of his officers in Sao Paulo, competent nephew Hector, dangerously charming Babyface, and some no-nonsense street cops, Silva directs the investigation from Brasilia, uncovering links to an agency reputed to smuggle Brazilians into the U.S. Although the new novel is an oldschool police procedural in which procedure, not character development, is the focus of the story, the rapid character sketches are so vivid, and the dialogue between team members so snappy and realistic, it’s hard to imagine that these people are not real cops, working on a real crime. Gage’s talents include not only captivating characters and realistic plots, but also an intensely realized sense of place and an urelentingly fast pace that yanks the reader from beginning to end, unable to stop or pause, just as the cops are unable to take a day off. Silva just may be South America’s Kurt Wallander.
Visit Leighton Gage's website.


New from Simon & Schuster: Snark by David Denby.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is snark? You recognize it when you see it -- a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true. Snark attempts to steal someone's mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness. In this sharp and witty polemic, New Yorker critic and bestselling author David Denby takes on the snarkers, naming the nine principles of snark -- the standard techniques its practitioners use to poison their arrows. Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter.

In this highly entertaining essay, Denby traces the history of snark through the ages, starting with its invention as personal insult in the drinking clubs of ancient Athens, tracking its development all the way to the age of the Internet, where it has become the sole purpose and style of many media, political, and celebrity Web sites. Snark releases the anguish of the dispossessed, envious, and frightened; it flows when a dying class of the powerful struggles to keep the barbarians outside the gates, or, alternately, when those outsiders want to take over the halls of the powerful and expel the office-holders. Snark was behind the London-based magazine Private Eye, launched amid the dying embers of the British empire in 1961; it was also central to the career-hungry, New York-based magazine Spy. It has flourished over the years in the works of everyone from the startling Roman poet Juvenal to Alexander Pope to Tom Wolfe to a million commenters snarling at other people behind handles. Thanks to the grand dame of snark, it has a prominent place twice a week on the opinion page of the New York Times.

Denby has fun snarking the snarkers, expelling the bums and promoting the true wits, but he is also making a serious point: the Internet has put snark on steroids. In politics, snark means the lowest, most insinuating and insulting side can win. For the young, a savage piece of gossip could ruin a reputation and possibly a future career. And for all of us, snark just sucks the humor out of life. Denby defends the right of any of us to be cruel, but shows us how the real pros pull it off. Snark, he says, is for the amateurs.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"A Day and a Night and a Day"

New from Ecco: A Day and a Night and a Day by Glen Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a windowless cell, a man hangs from a pair of handcuffs.

He is an american.

His torturer will stop at nothing to extract the information he requires.

He, too, is an american.

A Day and a Night and a Day is a Grand Inquisition for the twenty-first century, in which love, loyalty, reason, and truth are on trial, and morality hangs in the balance. It is the story of Augustus Rose, an unlikely operative in a terrorist network, and his interrogator, Harper, a ruthless ambassador for the darkest forces at work in our times.

Beyond the law and without hope of escape or reprieve, Augustus endures an emotional and physical assault that brings his whole life under brutal scrutiny: his race, religion, politics, and past, the people he has loved, and the few he is still desperate to protect. Alone and certain of death, Augustus raises the only shield he has: memory.

He remembers his outcast Euro-American mother, Juliet, whose erratic love was refuge from the unforgiving streets of Harlem in the 1950s; he recalls the strange solace of Elise Merkete, the ravaged vigilante who recruited him into the ranks of her underground army; he relives the cool touch of the young Spanish prostitute, Inés, perhaps the last female tenderness he's ever likely to know.

Outshining them all is the memory of Selina, a stunning, troubled, and rebellious white New York aristocrat. Their epic, taboo love affair, begun in 1960s Manhattan, would yield a lifetime's worth of passion, heartbreak, and wanderlust, leading Augustus from Harlem to Greenwich Village, from El Salvador to Barcelona, from Morocco to a bleak British island where death seems his only companion.

Dramatic, far-reaching, and beautifully written, A Day and a Night and a Day is both a piercing love story and a timely, harrowing evaluation of the shape the Western world is taking.

"Jetpack Dreams"

New from Da Capo Press: Jetpack Dreams: One Man's Up and Down (But Mostly Down) Search for the Greatest Invention That Never Was by Mac Montandon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jetpack Dreams chronicles the colorful pop history and science of that most amazing and mysterious of machines, the jetpack. While exploring our collective fascination with flight, the tale takes readers from the first flimsy, shoulder-mounted wings to Bill Suitor’s 1984 Olympic flight in front of billions of viewers around the world; from a gruesome jetpack-driven murder in Houston in the mid-1990s to the secret laboratories and government facilities of today. Journalist Mac Montandon also explores Hollywood’s fascination with the subject, from the 1949 serial King of the Rocket Men to Lost in Space, The Jetsons and The Rocketeer to the cultural jetpack phenomenon represented by Buck Rogers, James Bond, and Boba Fett. He travels the world to meet jetpack enthusiasts who are readying their own personal flying machines for takeoff. Ultimately, it’s the search for an answer to two simple questions: Where is the jetpack that was promised to him, and to all of us, years ago? And if it’s out there, can he catch a ride?
Visit the Jetpack Dreams website.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Talk Me Down"

New from HQN Books: Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl.

About the book, from the author's website:

What happens when the girl next door isn’t so innocent?

Molly Jennings might look like the girl next door, but she has one naughty little secret: her job. Molly is a very successful writer of erotic fiction. Until her inspiration runs dry—thanks to a creepy ex—and she decides it’s time to move back home to tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado.

Tumble Creek doesn’t have much going for it, but one look at luscious chief of police Ben Lawson, who starred in her girlhood dreams, and Molly is back in business. But while her fantasies are pouring out on paper, the town gossip is buzzing at her door and, worse yet, a stalker seems to be watching her every move. Thankfully, her very own lawman has taken to coming over, often. The only problem now is that Molly may have to let the cat out of the bag about her chosen profession, and straight-laced Ben will definitely not approve…
Visit Victoria Dahl's website.

"American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon"

New from Spiegel & Grau: American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon by Steven Rinella.

About the book, from the publisher:

A hunt for the American buffalo—an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination.

In 2005, Steven Rinella won a lottery permit to hunt for a wild buffalo, or American bison, in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds—there’s only a 2 percent chance of drawing the permit, and fewer than 20 percent of those hunters are successful—Rinella managed to kill a buffalo on a snow-covered mountainside and then raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Throughout these adventures, Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years’ worth of buffalo hunters in North America, as well as the buffalo’s place in the American experience. At the time of the Revolutionary War, North America was home to approximately 40 million buffalo, the largest herd of big mammals on the planet, but by the mid-1890s only a few hundred remained. Now that the buffalo is on the verge of a dramatic ecological recovery across the West, Americans are faced with the challenge of how, and if, we can dare to share our land with a beast that is the embodiment of the American wilderness.

American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella’s hunt. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo’s past, present, and future: to the Bering Land Bridge, where scientists search for buffalo bones amid artifacts of the New World’s earliest human inhabitants; to buffalo jumps where Native Americans once ran buffalo over cliffs by the thousands; to the Detroit Carbon works, a “bone charcoal” plant that made fortunes in the late 1800s by turning millions of tons of buffalo bones into bone meal, black dye, and fine china; and even to an abattoir turned fashion mecca in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where a depressed buffalo named Black Diamond met his fate after serving as the model for the American nickel.

Rinella’s erudition and exuberance, combined with his gift for storytelling, make him the perfect guide for a book that combines outdoor adventure with a quirky blend of facts and observations about history, biology, and the natural world. Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, American Buffalo tells us as much about ourselves as Americans as it does about the creature who perhaps best of all embodies the American ethos.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Now the Drum of War"

New from Walker and Company: Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War by Robert Roper.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Civil War is seen anew and a great American family is brought to life in Robert Roper’s brilliant evocation of the family Whitman.

Walt Whitman’s work as a nurse to the wounded soldiers of the Civil War had a profound effect on the way he saw the world. Much less well known is the extraordinary record of his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who led his men in twenty-one major battles—from Antietam to Fredericksburg, Vicksburg to the Wilderness—and almost died in a Confederate prison camp as the fighting ended. Drawing on the searing letters that Walt, George, their mother Louisa, and their other brothers, wrote to each other during the conflict, and on new evidence and new readings of the great poet, Now the Drum of War chronicles the experience of an archetypal American family—from rural Long Island to working-class Brooklyn—enduring its own long crisis alongside the anguish of the nation. Robert Roper has constructed a powerful narrative about America’s greatest crucible and a compelling, braided story of our most original poet and one of our bravest soldiers.

In peace I chanted peace, but now the drum of war is mine,
War, red war is my song through your streets, O city!
—closing lines of Walt Whitman’s poem “City of Ships”


New from Bloomsbury USA: Need by Carrie Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

Now fans of Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Marr have a new author to devour...

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

With suspense, romance, and paranormal themes, this exciting breakout novel has all the elements to keep teens rapidly turning the pages.
Visit Carrie Jones' website.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth"

Recently from Yale University Press: Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth by Robert Poole.

About the book, from the publisher:

Selected as one of the best books of 2008 by Matthew Battles of Barnes & Noble Review

Earthrise tells the remarkable story of the first photographs of Earth from space and the totally unexpected impact of those images. The Apollo “Earthrise” and “Blue Marble” photographs were beamed across the world some forty years ago. They had an astounding effect, Robert Poole explains, and in fact transformed thinking about the Earth and its environment in a way that echoed throughout religion, culture, and science. Gazing upon our whole planet for the first time, we saw ourselves and our place in the universe with new clarity.

Poole delves into new areas of research and looks at familiar history from fresh perspectives. With intriguing anecdotes and wonderful pictures, he examines afresh the politics of the Apollo missions, the challenges of whole Earth photography, and the story of the behind-the-scenes struggles to get photographs of the Earth put into mission plans. He traces the history of imagined visions of Earth from space and explores what happened when imagination met reality. The photographs of Earth represented a turning point, Poole contends. In their wake, Earth Day was inaugurated, the environmental movement took off, and the first space age ended. People turned their focus back toward Earth, toward the precious and fragile planet we call home.

"The Fire Kimono"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: The Fire Kimono by Laura Joh Rowland.

About the book, from the publisher:

Japan, March 1700. Near a Shinto shrine in the hills, a windstorm knocks down a tree to uncover a human skeleton, long buried and forgotten. Meanwhile, in the nearby city of Edo, troops ambush and attack Lady Reiko, the wife of Sano Ichiro, the samurai detective who has risen to power and influence in the shogun’s court. The troops who attacked Reiko appear to belong to Sano’s fiercest enemy, Lord Matsudaira, who denies all responsibility. But if the rivals are not to blame for each other’s misfortune, who is?

Just as Sano’s strife with Matsudaira begins to escalate to the brink of war, the shogun orders Sano to investigate the origins of the mysterious skeleton, buried with swords that identify it as belonging to the shogun’s cousin, who disappeared forty years earlier on the night that a cursed kimono touched off a fire that nearly destroyed the city.

Suddenly, Sano and Reiko are forced to confront dangerous, long-buried secrets that expose Sano’s own mother as the possible culprit. The shogun gives Sano and Reiko just three days to clear her name—or risk losing not only their position at court but their families’ lives.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Nose Down, Eyes Up"

New from Villard: Nose Down, Eyes Up by Merrill Markoe.

About the novel, from the publisher:

At forty-seven, Gil has reached a relatively happy period in his life as the world’s oldest twenty-two-year-old man. In exchange for doing the odd carpentry and construction job, he gets paid to live rent-free in Los Angeles at the glorious summerhouse of rich retirees who are never there. It’s a world of solitary splendor spent mainly in the company of his four dogs, Cheney, Fruity, Dinky, and Jimmy, the alpha and the only one of the four that Gil has raised from a pup.

Because Gil is the kind of guy who understands his dogs far better than he understands any of the people in his life–including his girlfriend, Sara, who is an “animal communicator” (albeit one that the dogs make fun of)–he is not particularly surprised when he stumbles upon Jimmy delivering lectures on canine manipulative techniques to the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood. (For example, the always effective “Nose down, eyes up” is a surefire path to permission to sleep on the bed.) Soon Gil begins to see dollar signs in the idea of turning Jimmy and his advice into a “brand” that he can merchandise on the Internet.

Their collaboration has barely begun when Jimmy makes a shocking realization: He’s adopted. And not only is Gil not his real father, they’re not even the same species. In the identity crisis that ensues, Gil hears the last thing he wants his favorite dog to say: that Jimmy wants to be reunited with his birth mother, a bitch owned by the woman who emptied Gil’s bank account, his pension plan, and his plans for the future–Gil’s sexy and still seductive ex-wife, Eden, now remarried, wealthy, and living in Malibu.

When the rich retirees who own Gil’s house return for an indefinite period, Gil must decide what to do: risk a new relationship disaster by trying to live in a tiny house with his good-hearted on-again, off-again girlfriend, Sara, or relive an old relationship disaster by getting reinvolved with his flirtatious ex-wife, with her new husband, Jimmy’s birth mother, and their Malibu guesthouse.

In this hilarious new novel, Merrill Markoe offers uncanny insight into the bonds between hounds and humans, as well as their respective ideas of the way that love and family are supposed to work. Nose Down, Eyes Up is a revealing examination of the interspecies power of love, sex, family, and real estate and why everyone–on two legs or four–deserves to have his or her day.
Visit Merrill Markoe's website.

"My Life at First Try"

New from Counterpoint: My Life at First Try by Mark Budman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this semi-autobiographical debut novel, Mark Budman chronicles the life of Alex, a boy born in Siberia in 1950. Short chapters—sometimes hilarious, sometimes sobering—chronicle Alex’s life year by year as he matures, starts a family, gets a chance to leave the Soviet Union, and then goes on to discover the rhythms, disappointments, and small pleasures of suburban life in upstate New York.
Visit Mark Budman's website.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Sand: The Never-Ending Story"

New from the University of California Press: Sand: The Never-Ending Story by Michael Welland.

About the book, from the publisher:

From individual grains to desert dunes, from the bottom of the sea to the landscapes of Mars, and from billions of years in the past to the future, this is the extraordinary story of one of nature's humblest, most powerful, and most ubiquitous materials. Told by a geologist with a novelist's sense of language and narrative, Sand examines the science—sand forensics, the physics of granular materials, sedimentology, paleontology and archaeology, planetary exploration—and at the same time explores the rich human context of sand. Interwoven with tales of artists, mathematicians, explorers, and even a vampire, the story of sand is an epic of environmental construction and destruction, an adventure in staggering scales of time and distance, yet a tale that encompasses the ordinary and everyday. Sand, in fact, is all around us—it has made possible our computers, buildings and windows, toothpaste, cosmetics, and paper, and it has played dramatic roles in human history, commerce, and imagination. In this luminous, kinetic, revelatory account, we do indeed find the world in a grain of sand.
Visit Michael Welland's Blog, "Through the Sandglass."

"Don't Stop Believin'"

New from Da Capo Press: Don't Stop Believin': How Karaoke Conquered the World and Saved My Life by Brian Raftery.

About the book, from the publisher:

Armed with a keen eye and a terrible singing voice, writer Brian Raftery sets out across the globe, tracing karaoke's evolution from cult fad to multi-million dollar phenomenon. In Japan, he meets Daisuke Inoue, the godfather of karaoke; in Thailand, he follows a group of Americans hoping to win the Karaoke World Championships; and in New York City, he hangs out backstage with the world's longest-running heavy-metal karaoke band. Along the way, Raftery chronicles his own time as an obsessive karaoke fan, recalling a life's worth of noisy relationships and poor song choices, and analyzing the karaoke-bar merits of such artists as Prince, Bob Dylan and Fugazi. Part cultural history, part memoir, Don't Stop Believin': How Karaoke Conquered the World and Changed My Life is a hilarious and densely reported look at the liberating effects of a good sing-along.
Visit Brian Raftery's website.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"The Invention of Air"

New from Riverhead: The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bestselling author Steven Johnson recounts—in dazzling, multidisciplinary fashion—the story of the brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America’s Founding Fathers.

The Invention of Air is a book of world-changing ideas wrapped around a compelling narrative, a story of genius and violence and friendship in the midst of sweeping historical change that provokes us to recast our understanding of the Founding Fathers.

It is the story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. And it is a story that only Steven Johnson, acclaimed juggler of disciplines and provocative ideas, can do justice to.

In the 1780s, Priestley had established himself in his native England as a brilliant scientist, a prominent minister, and an outspoken advocate of the American Revolution, who had sustained long correspondences with Franklin, Jefferson, and John Adams. Ultimately, his radicalism made his life politically uncomfortable, and he fled to the nascent United States. Here, he was able to build conceptual bridges linking the scientific, political, and religious impulses that governed his life. And through his close relationships with the Founding Fathers—Jefferson credited Priestley as the man who prevented him from abandoning Christianity—he exerted profound if little-known influence on the shape and course of our history.

As in his last bestselling work, The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson here uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovation and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs. And as he did in Everything Bad Is Good for You, Johnson upsets some fundamental assumptions about the world we live in—namely, what it means when we invoke the Founding Fathers—and replaces them with a clear-eyed, eloquent assessment of where we stand today.
Visit Steven Johnson's website.

"Blood Sins"

New from Bantam: Blood Sins by Kay Hooper.

About the book, from the publisher:

Some sins can’t be forgiven…
because some sins no one survives.

New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper has touched our darkest fears but none so dark as in her latest thriller. Here’s a psychopath who lures his victims with a promise no one can resist…and demands a price no one would knowingly pay.

Young, vulnerable, attractive, Tessa Gray made the perfect victim. Which was why Noah Bishop of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit recruited her to play the role of grieving widow. As the supposed new owner of property coveted by the Church of the Everlasting Sin, she’d be irresistible bait for the reclusive and charismatic Reverend Samuel. His fortified compound in the mountains near Grace, North Carolina, had been the last known residence of two women murdered in ways that defied scientific explanation.

Though hardly as naive or as vulnerable as she appears, Tessa knows she has a lot to learn about using her unique gift. She also knows that Bishop and the SCU have to be desperate to rely on an untried psychic agent in an undercover operation so dangerous. And desperate they are. For the killer they’re hunting is the most terrifying they’ve ever faced and shakes even the most seasoned agents: a soulless megalomaniacal cult leader who can use their own weapons, talents, and tactics against them.

By entering the cult’s well-guarded compound, Tessa will be exposing herself to the dark magnetism of a psychopath on an apocalyptic crusade of terror that spares no one, not even the youngest victims. And Samuel has protected himself within a fanatically loyal congregation, many of whom occupy surprising positions of power within the community. Even Grace’s chief of police, Sawyer Cavenaugh—a man Tessa will have to trust with her life—may be unable to protect her. Because no one, not even Tessa herself, can guarantee she’s strong enough to resist—or powerful enough to battle—a killer who’s less than human.
Visit Kay Hooper's website.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Break of Dawn"

Recently from Ace/Penguin: Break of Dawn (Vampire Babylon, Book 3) by Chris Marie Green.

About the book, from the publisher:

The vampires of Hollywood are back for the conclusion of this “gritty [and] dark” (Best Reviews) trilogy.

Hollywood can really suck…

After facing off against the lethal Vampire Killer, Hollywood stuntwoman Dawn Madison and her friends are reeling. But for Dawn, the pain is much more personal. She’s learned more about her missing father and long-dead mother than she ever wanted to, and her conflicted feelings about both her enigmatic, never-seen boss, Jonah, and P.I. Matt Lonigan are only making things worse.

To save her father Dawn must enter the Vampire Underground, where she will encounter an unthinkable betrayal, and where the question of who is truly good and who is truly evil will become a matter of life, death—and undeath…
Read an excerpt from Break of Dawn and learn more about the book and author at Chris Marie Green's website.

"Taking Aim at the President"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Taking Aim at the President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Shot at Gerald Ford by Geri Spieler.

About the book, from the publisher:

"I'm not sorry I tried...if successful, the assassination...just might have triggered the kind of chaos that could have started the upheaval of change." --Sara Jane Moore in 1976

Journalist Geri Spieler met would-be assassin Sara Jane Moore while she was in prison; Taking Aim at the President is based on over two decades of interviews as well as independant research. Spieler follows Moore's actions from her childhood in a small West Virginia town to her release from prison in December 2007. Moore's life was never conventional, and along the way she entered and dropped out of the military, was married five times, and was both a political radical and an FBI informant. Focusing on the complex psychology and motivations of a quintessentially desperate housewife and the only woman to ever fire a bullet at an American president, Spieler delivers a nuanced portrait of an elusive person and a fascinating glimpse back at a turbulent period in American history.
Visit the Taking Aim at the President website and blog.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Greasy Rider"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-Country Search for a Greener Future by Greg Melville.

About the book, from the publisher:

Is it possible to drive coast-to-coast without stopping at a single gas pump? Journalist Greg Melville is determined to try. With his college buddy Iggy riding shotgun, this green-thinking guy—who's in love with the idea of free fuel—sets out on an enlightening road trip. The quest: to be the first people to drive cross-country in a french-fry car. Will they make it from Vermont to California in a beat-up 1985 Mercedes diesel station wagon powered on vegetable oil collected from restaurant grease Dumpsters along the way? More important, can two guys survive 192 consecutive hours together?

Their expedition on and off the road includes visits to the solar-powered Google headquarters; the National Ethanol Council; the wind turbines of southwestern Minnesota; the National Renewable Energy Lab; a visit to one of the first houses to receive platinum certification for leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED); an "eco-friendly" Wal-Mart; and the world's largest geothermal heating system.

Part adventure and part investigation of what we're doing (or not doing) to preserve the planet, Greasy Rider is upbeat, funny, and full of surprising information about sustainable measures that are within our reach.
Visit Greg Melville's website.

"Songs for the Missing"

New from Viking Books: Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan.

About the book, from the publisher:

An enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance.

It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow. It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town’s intimate struggle to maintain hope and, finally, to live with the unknown.

Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small American town and allows us to feel a part of this family.
Visit Stewart O'Nan's website.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


New from Henry Holt: Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley by Stephan Faris.

About the book, from the publisher:

A vivid and illuminating portrayal of the surprising ways that climate change will affect the world in the near future—politically, economically, and culturally

While reporting just outside of Darfur, Stephan Faris discovered that climate change was at the root of that conflict, and began to wonder what current and impending—and largely unanticipated—crises such changes have in store for the world.

Forecast provides the answers.

Global warming will spur the spread of many diseases. Italy has already experienced its first climate-change epidemic of a tropical disease, and malaria is gaining ground in Africa. The warming world will shift huge populations and potentially redraw political alliances around the globe, driving environmentalists into the hands of anti-immigrant groups. America’s coasts are already more difficult places to live as increasing insurance rates make the Gulf Coast and other gorgeous spots prohibitively expensive. Crops will fail in previously lush places and thrive in some formerly barren zones, altering huge industries and remaking traditions. Water scarcity in India and Pakistan have the potential to inflame the conflict in Kashmir to unprecedented levels and draw the United States into the troubles there, and elsewhere.

Told through the narratives of current, past, and future events, the result of astonishingly wide travel and reporting, Forecast is a powerful, gracefully written, eye-opening account of this most urgent issue and how it has altered and will alter our world.
Visit Stephan Faris' website.

"In the Blood"

New from Pocket Books: In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix.

About the book, from the publisher:


Vampire. Rock star. Begotten son of the fallen angel Lucien. Dante Baptiste still struggles with nightmares and seizures, searching for the truth about his past. It is a quest as seductive as his kiss, as uncontrollable as his thirst, and as unforgiving as his determination to protect one mortal woman at any cost.


FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace now knows the extent of the Bureau corruption that surrounds her, but worries she is losing the battle. And when Dante and his band Inferno come to Seattle on tour, Heather can't help but be drawn back to the beautiful, dangerous nightkind. But what Heather and Dante don't know is that new enemies lurk in the shadows, closer than they think...and even deadlier than they fear.


Shadowy government forces have pledged to eliminate all loose ends from Project Bad Seed -- and Heather and Dante are at the top of the list. Elsewhere, the Fallen gather in Gehenna, intent on finding their long-awaited savior, the True Blood nightkind whom Lucien DeNoir would die to protect. And a damaged and desperate adversary, with powers as strange and perilous as Dante's own, plots to use Dante as a pawn in a violent scheme for revenge. But only one of these lethal forces holds the key to Dante's past -- a key that could finally unlock the secret of his birth and the truth of his existence...or destroy him completely.
Visit Adrian Phoenix's website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Losing Everything"

New from Simon & Schuster: Losing Everything by David Lozell Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Losing Everything, his first book of nonfiction, acclaimed novelist David Lozell Martin tells his wildest, most outlandish story yet -- his own.

One evening in the mountainous forest of his isolated West Virginia farmhouse, Martin became disoriented when searching for a horse who had wandered off the property. Wading through the dark and guiding his horse with a belt around its neck, Martin felt as though every step was taking him deeper into the mountains. Instead, he unknowingly spent the night walking in a wide circle that brought him back to where he started. This quickly became a metaphor for Martin's life. "The more lost I get, the closer to home I come."

After growing up with a violent father who nearly killed Martin's clinically insane mother, Martin pursued a writer's life with a vengeance, becoming vulnerable to struggles with alcohol, financial ruin, and legal feuds. Then, after a betrayal by his soul mate, Martin's sanity was in as much jeopardy as his mother's had ever been -- a state of mind that in his case led to gunfire, divorce, and at least one trip to the emergency room.

But Losing Everything is less about getting lost and more about finding your way home again. In his pursuit of stability, Martin uncovered lessons that might help others who have encountered loss: take pleasure in something as small as an ampersand, keep a list of people you know who have died, meet your own death like a warrior, and be glad you don't own a monkey.

Deeply personal yet surprisingly universal, Martin's story is for anyone who has wandered astray. If not a road map, his journey is a guide, providing hard-earned wisdom to illuminate the path home.
David Lozell Martin's novels include last year's Our American King, the international bestsellers Lie to Me and Tap, and the critically acclaimed The Crying Heart Tattoo, The Beginning of Sorrows, and Crazy Love. Of Facing Rushmore (2005), Martin's eleventh book, Elmore Leonard said, "What I like best about a David Martin suspense novel -- and it will grab you, I guarantee -- is that the man knows how to write."

The Page 69 Test: Our American King.

"The Earth After Us"

New from Oxford University Press: The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks? by Jan Zalasiewicz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Geologist Jan Zalasiewicz takes the reader on a fascinating trip one hundred million years into the future--long after the human race becomes extinct--to explore what will remain of our brief but dramatic sojourn on Earth. He describes how geologists in the far future might piece together the history of the planet, and slowly decipher the history of humanity from the traces we will leave impressed in the rock strata. What story will the rocks tell of us? What kind of fossils will humans leave behind? What will happen to cities, cars, and plastic cups? The trail leads finally to the bones of the inhabitants of petrified cities that have slept deep underground for many millions of years. As thought-provoking as it is engaging, this book simultaneously explains the geological mechanisms that shape our planet, from fossilization to plate tectonics, illuminates the various ingenious ways in which geologists and paleontologist work, and offers a final perspective on humanity and its actions that may prove to be more objective than any other.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Ender in Exile"

New from Tor Books: Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card.

About the book, from the publisher:

After twenty-three years, Orson Scott Card returns to his acclaimed best-selling series with the first true, direct sequel to the classic Ender's Game.

In Ender’s Game, the world’s most gifted children were taken from their families and sent to an elite training school. At Battle School, they learned combat, strategy, and secret intelligence to fight a dangerous war on behalf of those left on Earth. But they also learned some important and less definable lessons about life.

After the life-changing events of those years, these children—now teenagers—must leave the school and readapt to life in the outside world.

Having not seen their families or interacted with other people for years—where do they go now? What can they do?

Ender fought for humanity, but he is now reviled as a ruthless assassin. No longer allowed to live on Earth, he enters into exile. With his sister Valentine, he chooses to leave the only home he’s ever known to begin a relativistic—and revelatory—journey beyond the stars.

What happened during the years between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead? What did Ender go through from the ages of 12 through 35? The story of those years has never been told. Taking place 3000 years before Ender finally receives his chance at redemption in Speaker for the Dead, this is the long-lost story of Ender.

For twenty-three years, millions of readers have wondered and now they will receive the answers. Ender in Exile is Orson Scott Card’s moving return to all the action and the adventure, the profound exploration of war and society, and the characters one never forgot.

On one of these ships, there is a baby that just may share the same special gifts as Ender’s old friend Bean
Visit Orson Scott Card's website.

"A Life in Twilight"

New from St. Martin's Press: A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Mark Wolverton.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Life in Twilight reveals the least-known and most enigmatic period of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life, from the public humiliation he endured after the 1954 Atomic Energy Commission’s investigation into his alleged communist leanings and connections to his death in 1967. It covers Oppenheimer’s continued work as a scientist and philosopher and head of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, his often controversial public appearances, as well as parts of his private life.

What emerges is a portrait of a man who was toppled from the highest echelons of politics and society, had to see his honor and name blackened, but succeeded in maintaining his dignity and rebuilding a shattered life, although he never truly recovered from the McCarthy-inspired persecution he suffered. Previously unpublished FBI files round out the picture and cast a sinister cloud over Oppenheimer’s final years, during which he remained under occasional surveillance.

Mark Wolverton has succeeded in presenting an evenhanded and very well- researched account of a life that ended in twilight. It reads like a written version of the acclaimed film Good Night, and Good Luck, and indeed Murrow’s interview with Oppenheimer is one of the central elements of the story.

A Life in Twilight is an important exploration, not only of a prominent scientist and philosopher, but also of an unforgettable era in American history.
Visit Mark Wolverton's website.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"The War Behind Me"

New from Basic Books: The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes by Deborah Nelson.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2005, Deborah Nelson joined forces with military historian Nick Turse to investigate an extraordinary archive: the largest compilation of records on Vietnam-era war crimes ever to surface. The declassified Army papers were erroneously released and have since been pulled from public circulation. Few civilians have seen the documents. The files contain reports of more than 300 confirmed atrocities, and 500 other cases the Army either couldn’t prove or didn’t investigate. The archive has letters of complaint to generals and congressmen, as well as reports of Army interviews with hundreds of men who served. Far from being limited to a few bad actors or rogue units, atrocities occurred in every Army division that saw combat in Vietnam. Torture of detainees was routine; so was the random killing of farmers in fields and women and children in villages. Punishment for these acts was either nonexistent or absurdly light. In most cases, no one was prosecuted at all. In The War Behind Me Deborah Nelson goes beyond the documents and talks with many of those who were involved, both accusers and accused, to uncover their stories and learn how they deal with one of the most awful secrets of the Vietnam War.
Visit the official website for The War Behind Me.

"The Fourth Victim"

New from Bleak House Books: The Fourth Victim by Tony Spinosa.

About the book, from the publisher:

A year after ex-NYPD detectives and former enemies Joe Serpe and Bob Healy teamed up to solve the murder of a retarded young man who worked at Joe’s company and prevented the Russian Mafia from infiltrating the home heating oil business on Long Island, they are faced with an even more heinous series of crimes. Five oil truck drivers have been robbed and shot to death, their lifeless bodies left to bleed out on the cold and loveless suburban streets. The killer should have chosen his victims more wisely, because the fourth victim, Rusty Monaco, was another retired NYPD detective, one who had saved Joe Serpe’s life while they were both still on the job.
Learn more about the novel and author at Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Evil Ways"

New from Solaris: Evil Ways by Justin Gustainis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Supernatural investigator Quincey Morris and his partner Libby Chastain, investigate a series of murders where white witches are being hunted and killed - and Libby may be next on the list. From Iraq to America, a trail of clues is pointing to eccentric billionaire, Walter Grobius, a man fascinated with a devastating evil that can be traced back to biblical times. What's more, it seems he may well be involved in a sick scheme for white supremacy across the USA, and Morris and Chastain find themselves in their most epic case as they look to prevent the apocalypse from being released.

Evil Ways continues the electrifying new series of supernatural thrillers following the exploits of investigators Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain.
Visit Justin Gustainis' website.

"Perfect Circle"

New from Spectra: Perfect Circle by Carlos J. Cortes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set in the impenetrable jungles of the African Congo, this fast-paced debut tells the tale of a world poised for ecological crisis–and the secret that could save it. From corporate profiteers to the natives who’ve been expecting them, here is a story that asks if man and nature are fated to clash–or if the right man can break the cycle.

Heir to a mining dynasty, geologist Paul Reece has chosen a simple life over the scheming opportunism of the International Mining Company. But when IMC approaches him about their mysterious discovery miles beneath the rain forest, Paul is compelled to set aside the sordid event that drove him from his legacy. For the project requires not only a brilliant engineer but one gutsy enough to descend 20,000 feet of solid rock–into the heart of a miracle. With Paul’s expertise, IMC can unearth a windfall–unless Paul decides to bury them first.

But Paul isn’t alone in his quest. Congo’s mystics have prepared for this day. Paul doesn’t realize it yet, but he’s been chosen to pilot a mission that will decide the fate of humanity.
Visit Carlos J. Cortes's website.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Far From You"

New from Simon Pulse: Lisa Schroeder's Far From You.

About the book:

Do you believe in angels?

Far From You is a story of love and loss, and reminds us what's really important in life. Fans of I Heart You, You Haunt Me are sure to enjoy this novel-in-verse feauturing 16-year-old Alice, a singer/songwriter who's had her share of hard times, and unfortunately, has more to come. What will pull her through? Her music? The love of her boyfriend, Blaze? Or perhaps, an angel, here on earth?
Visit Lisa Schroeder's website.


New from Spiegel & Grau: Blindspot by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore.

About the book, from the publisher:

“Tis a small canvas, this Boston,” muses Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter who, having fled his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on America’s far shores. Eager to begin anew in this new world, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a lady in disguise, a young, fallen woman from Boston’s most prominent family. “I must make this Jameson see my artist’s touch, but not my woman’s form,” Fanny writes, in a letter to her best friend. “I would turn my talent into capital, and that capital into liberty.”

Liberty is what everyone’s seeking in boisterous, rebellious Boston on the eve of the American Revolution. But everyone suffers from a kind of blind spot, too. Jameson, distracted by his haunted past, can’t see that Fanny is a woman; Fanny, consumed with her own masquerade, can’t tell that Jameson is falling in love with her. The city’s Sons of Liberty can’t quite see their way clear, either. “Ably do they see the shackles Parliament fastens about them,” Jameson writes, “but to the fetters they clasp upon their own slaves, they are strangely blind.”

Written with wit and exuberance by longtime friends and accomplished historians Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, Blindspot weaves together invention with actual historical documents in an affectionate send-up of the best of eighteenth-century fiction, from epistolary novels like Richardson’s Clarissa to Sterne’s picaresque Tristram Shandy. Prodigiously learned, beautifully crafted, and lush with the bawdy, romping sensibility of the age, Blindspot celebrates the art of the Enlightenment and the passion of the American Revolution by telling stories we know and those we don’t, stories of the everyday lives of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Thriving on a Riff" & "The Hearing Eye"

Coming soon from Oxford University Press: Thriving on a Riff: Jazz & Blues Influences in African American Literature and Film and The Hearing Eye: Jazz & Blues Influences in African American Visual Art, both edited by Graham Lock and David Murray.

About Thriving on a Riff:

From the Harlem Renaissance to the present, African American writers have drawn on the rich heritage of jazz and blues, transforming musical forms into the written word. In this companion volume to The Hearing Eye, distinguished contributors ranging from Bertram Ashe to Steven C. Tracy explore the musical influence on such writers as Sterling Brown, J.J. Phillips, Paul Beatty, and Nathaniel Mackey. Here, too, are Graham Lock's engaging interviews with contemporary poets Michael S. Harper and Jayne Cortez, along with studies of the performing self, in Krin Gabbard's account of Miles Davis and John Gennari's investigation of fictional and factual versions of Charlie Parker. The book also looks at African Americans in and on film, from blackface minstrelsy to the efforts of Duke Ellington and John Lewis to rescue jazz from its stereotyping in Hollywood film scores as a signal for sleaze and criminality. Concluding with a proposal by Michael Jarrett for a new model of artistic influence, Thriving on a Riff makes the case for the seminal cross-cultural role of jazz and blues.
About The Hearing Eye:
The widespread presence of jazz and blues in African American visual art has long been overlooked. The Hearing Eye makes the case for recognizing the music's importance, both as formal template and as explicit subject matter. Moving on from the use of iconic musical figures and motifs in Harlem Renaissance art, this groundbreaking collection explores the more allusive - and elusive - references to jazz and blues in a wide range of mostly contemporary visual artists.

There are scholarly essays on the painters Rose Piper (Graham Lock), Norman Lewis (Sara Wood), Bob Thompson (Richard H. King), Romare Bearden (Robert G. O'Meally, Johannes Völz) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (Robert Farris Thompson), as well an account of early blues advertising art (Paul Oliver) and a discussion of the photographs of Roy DeCarava (Richard Ings). These essays are interspersed with a series of in-depth interviews by Graham Lock, who talks to quilter Michael Cummings and painters Sam Middleton, Wadsworth Jarrell, Joe Overstreet and Ellen Banks about their musical inspirations, and also looks at art's reciprocal effect on music in conversation with saxophonists Marty Ehrlich and Jane Ira Bloom.

With numerous illustrations both in the book and on its companion website, The Hearing Eye reaffirms the significance of a fascinating and dynamic aspect of African American visual art that has been too long neglected.


New from Scribner: NoVA by James Boice.

About the book, from the publisher:

Grayson Donald, seventeen years old, has just hanged himself from a basketball hoop next to a playground in Centreville, North Virginia (NoVA). The question is, Why? In this incisive dissection of the author's hometown, James Boice scratches its shiny suburban surface to reveal a place formed from "a cloud that slid west and met with the humidity and spent buckshot cartridges and Civil War bones clad in blue and gray to create concrete and vinyl siding and front yards laid in chunks, child care centers and video rental places."

An exciting new voice in fiction, James Boice blends sharp social observations with dark humor and remarkable prose. In both passing glimpses and intimate interior monologues, we come to know Grayson's family, his fellow students, his neighbors, and many who knew him only slightly, if at all. A portrait of a town emerges that renders Grayson's suicide both devastating and inevitable. NoVA is a unique and fascinating depiction of the American suburb.
Read an excerpt from NoVA.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The Lord-Protector's Daughter"

New from Tor Books: The Lord-Protector's Daughter by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Lord-Protector’s Daughter is a standalone fantasy novel that takes place in Tempre, the capital city of Lanachrona on Corus, the world of Modesitt’s Corean Chronicles.

Mykella, the eldest daughter of the Lord-Protector of Lanachrona, discovers that someone is diverting significant sums of money from her father’s treasury. One of the ancient soarers appears to Mykella, telling her that she must go to the antique stone Table in the cellars of the Palace and find her Talent in order to save her land and her world.

From there, matters become more perilous. There are attempts to remove Mykella and her sisters from Tempre by marrying them off to lords in neighboring lands, and fatal and near fatal accidents occur to members of her family and trusted retainers. While Mykella develops a solid idea of who stands behind it all, every attempted solution is used to discredit her. How can she save their father and land?
Learn more about the author and his many books at L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s website and his blog.

"King's Dream"

New from Yale University Press: King's Dream by Eric J. Sundquist.

About the book, from the publisher:

“I have a dream”—no words are more widely recognized, or more often repeated, than those called out from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963. King’s speech, elegantly structured and commanding in tone, has become shorthand not only for his own life but for the entire civil rights movement. In this new exploration of the “I have a dream” speech, Eric J. Sundquist places it in the history of American debates about racial justice—debates as old as the nation itself—and demonstrates how the speech, an exultant blend of grand poetry and powerful elocution, perfectly expressed the story of African American freedom.

This book is the first to set King’s speech within the cultural and rhetorical traditions on which the civil rights leader drew in crafting his oratory, as well as its essential historical contexts, from the early days of the republic through present-day Supreme Court rulings. At a time when the meaning of the speech has been obscured by its appropriation for every conceivable cause, Sundquist clarifies the transformative power of King’s “Second Emancipation Proclamation” and its continuing relevance for contemporary arguments about equality.
Read an excerpt from King's Dream.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Tippecanoe and Tyler Too"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too: Famous Slogans and Catchphrases in American History by Jan R. Van Meter.

About the book, from the publisher:

“By necessity, by proclivity, by delight,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said in 1876, “we all quote.” But often the phrases that fall most readily from our collective lips—like “fire when ready,” “speak softly and carry a big stick,” or “nice guys finish last”—are those whose origins and true meanings we have ceased to consider. Restoring three-dimensionality to more than fifty of these American sayings, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too turns clichés back into history by telling the life stories of the words that have served as our most powerful battle cries, rallying points, laments, and inspirations.

In individual entries on slogans and catchphrases from the early seventeenth to the late twentieth century, Jan Van Meter reveals that each one is a living, malleable entity that has profoundly shaped and continues to influence our public culture. From John Winthrop’s “We shall be as a city upon a hill” and the 1840 Log Cabin Campaign’s “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” and Ronald Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” each of Van Meter’s selections emerges as a memory device for a larger political or cultural story.

So the next time we hear or see one of these verbal symbols used to sell a product, illustrate a point, make a joke, reshape a current cause, or resuscitate a forgotten ideal, we will finally be equipped to understand its broader role as a key source of the values we continue to share and fight about. Taken together in Van Meter’s able hands, these famous slogans and catchphrases give voice to our common history even as we argue about where it should lead us.
Read a feature on "Slogans We’ll Remember."