Friday, April 30, 2010


New from Doubleday: Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk.

About the book, from the publisher:

The hyperactive love child of Page Six and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? caught in a tawdry love triangle with The Fan. Even Kitty Kelly will blush.

Soaked, nay, marinated in the world of vintage Hollywood, Tell-All is a Sunset Boulevard–inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost; a veritable Tourette’s syndrome of rat-tat-tat name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list; and a merciless send-up of Lillian Hellman’s habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond.

Our Thelma Ritter–ish narrator is Hazie Coogan, who for decades has tended to the outsized needs of Katherine “Miss Kathie” Kenton—veteran of multiple marriages, career comebacks, and cosmetic surgeries. But danger arrives with gentleman caller Webster Carlton Westward III, who worms his way into Miss Kathie’s heart (and boudoir). Hazie discovers that this bounder has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie’s death in a forthcoming Lillian Hellman–penned musical extravaganza; as the body count mounts, Hazie must execute a plan to save Katherine Kenton for her fans—and for posterity.

Tell-All is funny, subversive, and fascinatingly clever. It’s wild, it’s wicked, it’s bold-faced—it’s vintage Chuck.
Best books: Chuck Palahniuk.

"The Lonely Polygamist"

New from W. W. Norton: The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall.

About the book, from the publisher:

From a luminous storyteller, a highly anticipated new novel about the American family writ large.

Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to twenty-eight children, is having the mother of all midlife crises. His construction business is failing, his family has grown into an overpopulated mini-dukedom beset with insurrection and rivalry, and he is done in with grief: due to the accidental death of a daughter and the stillbirth of a son, he has come to doubt the capacity of his own heart. Brady Udall, one of our finest American fiction writers, tells a tragicomic story of a deeply faithful man who, crippled by grief and the demands of work and family, becomes entangled in an affair that threatens to destroy his family’s future. Like John Irving and Richard Yates, Udall creates characters that engage us to the fullest as they grapple with the nature of need, love, and belonging.

Beautifully written, keenly observed, and ultimately redemptive, The Lonely Polygamist is an unforgettable story of an American family—with its inevitable dysfunctionality, heartbreak, and comedy—pushed to its outer limits.
Visit Brady Udall's website.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"The Tulip Virus"

New from Minotaur Books: The Tulip Virus by Danielle Hermans.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gripping debut mystery set in contemporary London with roots in 17th century Holland and the mysterious tulip trade

In 1636 Alkmaar, Holland, Wouter Winckel’s brutally slaughtered body is found in the barroom of his inn, an antireligious pamphlet stuffed in his mouth. Winckel was a respected tulip-trader and owned the most beautiful collection of tulips in the United Republic of the Low Countries, including the most coveted and expensive bulb of them all, the Semper Augustus. But why did he have to die and who wanted him dead?

In 2007 London, history seems to be repeating itself. Dutchman Frank Schoeller is found in his home by his nephew, Alec. Severely wounded, he is holding a 17th-century book about tulips, seemingly a reference to the reason for his death moments later. With the help of his friend Damien Vanlint, an antique dealer from Amsterdam, Alec tries to solve the mystery, but soon comes to realize that he and his friend’s own lives are now in danger.

The Tulip Virus is a fast-paced, fascinating mystery based on the real-life events surrounding the collapse of the tulip bubble in 17th century Holland—the first such occurrence in history—a story that plunges readers deeply into questions of free will, science, and religion, while showing the dark fruits of greed, pride, and arrogance.


New from Oceanview Publishing: Fortuna by Michael Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:

Longing for escape from his mundane existence as a Stanford computer science major, Jason Lind signs up to play Fortuna, an online role-playing game set in Renaissance Florence.

From the first, fateful mouse click, Jason tumbles into the vibrant, lush, anonymous world of Fortuna. Swept up in this highly complex, highly addictive game of fame, fortune, and power, Jason quickly transitions from casual gamer to compulsive player.

Soon tangled up in a steamy virtual love triangle, Jason becomes obsessed with breaking Fortuna’s code of anonymity. But Fortuna is anything but fun and games, and when a sizeable debt incurred in the game spills over into reality, Jason is forced to leverage the legacy of his father, a high-tech legend killed in a car accident years before, to pay off the debt.

What started as a great escape may only leave Jason trapped, as the game that transported Jason deep into the past exposes a shocking, present-day reality.

In the world of Fortuna, it’s not how you play the game; it’s if you survive.
The Page 69 Test: Fortuna.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Mom Still Likes You Best"

New from Doubleday: Mom Still Likes You Best: The Unfinished Business Between Siblings by Jane Isay.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of Walking on Eggshells turns her wisdom to the sometimes heartbreaking but always meaningful bond between brothers and sisters—a must-read for anyone blessed with the gift (or burden) of a sibling.

There’s a myth out there that good relations between brothers and sisters do not include conflict, annoyance, disagreement, or mixed feelings. Isay believes this is a destructive myth, one that makes people doubt the strength of the connection with their siblings. Brothers and sisters may love and hate, fight and forgive, but they never forget their early bonds.

Based on scores of interviews with brothers and sisters young and old, Mom Still Likes You Best features real-life stories that show how differences caused by family feuds, marriages, distance, or ancient history can be overcome. The result is a vivid portrait of siblings, in love and war.
Visit Jane Isay's website.

"Diamond Ruby"

New from Touchstone: Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Thomas, newly responsible for her two young nieces after a devastating tragedy, is determined to keep her family safe in the vast, swirling world of 1920s New York City. She’s got street smarts, boundless determination, and one unusual skill: the ability to throw a ball as hard as the greatest pitchers in a baseball-mad city.

From Coney Island sideshows to the brand-new Yankee Stadium, Diamond Ruby chronicles the extraordinary life and times of a girl who rises from utter poverty to the kind of renown only the Roaring Twenties can bestow. But her fame comes with a price, and Ruby must escape a deadly web of conspiracy and threats from Prohibition rumrunners, the Ku Klux Klan, and the gangster underworld.

Diamond Ruby “is the exciting tale of a forgotten piece of baseball’s heritage, a girl who could throw with the best of them. A real page-turner, based closely on a true story” (Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row).
Visit Joseph Wallace's website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"A Mosque in Munich"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West by Ian Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munich--radical Islam's first beachhead in the West.

Culled from an array of sources, including newly declassified documents, A Mosque in Munich interweaves the stories of several key players: a Nazi scholar turned postwar spymaster; key Muslim leaders across the globe, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood; and na?ve CIA men eager to fight communism with a new weapon, Islam. A rare ground-level look at Cold War spying and a revelatory account of the West's first, disastrous encounter with radical Islam, A Mosque in Munich is as captivating as it is crucial to our understanding the mistakes we are still making in our relationship with Islamists today.
Visit Ian Johnson's website.

Read Johnson's answer to the question, We're inundated with books on Islam and Europe and so on. Why another?

"Play Dead"

New from Gallery Books: Play Dead by Ryan Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

Today’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writers agree: Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is unbeatable—a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead.

For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach’s clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory

... in a final showdown where the stakes aren’t just life or death—but damnation or salvation. Boundlessly imaginative and thrillingly satisfying, Play Dead gives small-town Texas an electrifying jolt of the supernatural, and is unquestioningly The Zombie Novel of the Year!

The Comeback Story of the Season...
Visit Ryan Brown's website.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Freshwater Boys"

New from HarperCollins: Freshwater Boys: Stories by Adam Schuitema.

About the book, from the publisher:

Freshwater Boys follows a group of boys and men in struggles with nature, town legends, and themselves. The opening narratives feature adolescent or pre-adolescent boys struggling with their conceptions of manhood. Later, the stories depict grown men who find that these same struggles never go away. The narrator in “Camouflage Fall” feels out of place among the hunters and fathers as they search for a missing child. Evan Rumishek in “The Lake Effect” fights through a blizzard to prove his worth to his own wife. And in the title story, a man grieves not only his drowned son but also his own failure as a father.

The landscapes and lakescapes serve as recurring characters in the book. The boys and men wander forests—sometimes finding tranquility, sometimes finding tragedy. They climb and descend dunes. And often, they encounter the Big Lake: Lake Michigan. The idea of a Third Coast figures prominently in the book, the lake and its horizon serving as a kind of world’s end, where things come to life or pass away.
Visit the Freshwater Boys website.

"One Man's Paradise"

New from Minotaur Books: One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hotshot New York criminal defense lawyer Kevin Corvelli was rolling. He had all the right connections to get way ahead. Guilty? Innocent? It didn’t matter so long as he won, got in the papers, and got paid. That’s until he loses---and loses big---when a client, who was convicted and then killed in jail, is later proven innocent. The media has a field day plastering Corvelli’s face all over Manhattan, so Corvelli, disgraced and in a professional free fall, bolts for Hawaii.

Committed to being a lawyer if only because of the knee-buckling debts he accumulated becoming one in the first place, he sets up shop in paradise and swears to handle only misdemeanors this time around---no felonies, no murders, no media attention, no high stakes, no real responsibility. But his first case turns out to be exactly that: law student Joseph Gianforte, Jr., is accused of chasing his ex-girlfriend to Hawaii and killing her. He’s innocent, same as Corvelli’s last case, only this time Corvelli knows it, and with that knowledge comes the chilling realization that the killer is still out there with plenty of incentive to make sure that any proof of Gianforte’s innocence doesn’t go any further than the three of them.

Douglas Corleone’s One Man’s Paradise­, the winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, is a gripping story of failure and the search for redemption, and it marks the stellar debut of an exciting new crime-writing voice.
Visit Douglas Corleone's website.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Ten Minutes from Home"

New from Harmony: Ten Minutes from Home: A Memoir by Beth Greenfield.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ten Minutes from Home is the poignant account of how a suburban New Jersey family struggles to come together after being shattered by tragedy.

In this searing, sparely written, and surprisingly wry memoir, Beth Greenfield shares what happens in 1982 when, as a twelve-year-old, she survives a drunk-driving accident that kills her younger brother Adam and best friend Kristin. As the benign concerns of adolescence are re­placed by crushing guilt and grief, Beth searches for hope and support in some likely and not-so-likely places (General Hospital, a kindly rabbi, the bottom of a keg), eventually discovering that while life is fragile, love doesn’t have to be.

Ten Minutes from Home exquisitely captures both the heartache of lost innocence and the solace of strength and survival.
Visit Beth Greenfield's website.

"Deliver Us from Evil"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci.

About the book, from the publisher:

Evan Waller is a monster. He has built a fortune from his willingness to buy and sell anything ... and anyone. In search of new opportunities, Waller has just begun a new business venture: one that could lead to millions of deaths all over the globe.

On Waller's trail is Shaw, the mysterious operative from The Whole Truth, who must prevent Waller from closing his latest deal. Shaw's one chance to bring him down will come in the most unlikely of places: a serene, bucolic village in Provence.

But Waller's depravity and ruthlessness go deeper than Shaw knows. And now, there is someone else pursuing Waller in Provence-Reggie Campion, an agent for a secret vigilante group headquartered in a musty old English estate-and she has an agenda of her own.

Hunting the same man and unaware of each other's mission, Shaw and Reggie will be caught in a deadly duel of nerve and wits. Hitchcockian in its intimate buildup of suspense and filled with the remarkable characters, breathtaking plot turns, and blockbuster finale that are David Baldacci's hallmarks, DELIVER US FROM EVIL will be one of the most gripping thrillers of the year.
Learn more about David Baldacci and his books at his website.

The Page 69 Test: Stone Cold.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"The Dream Machine"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey by Richard Whittle.

About the book, from the publisher:

WHEN THE MARINES decided to buy a helicopter-airplane hybrid “tiltrotor” called the V-22 Osprey, they saw it as their dream machine. The tiltrotor was the aviation equivalent of finding the Northwest Passage: an aircraft able to take off, land, and hover with the agility of a helicopter yet fly as fast and as far as an airplane. Many predicted it would reshape civilian aviation. The Marines saw it as key to their very survival.

By 2000, the Osprey was nine years late and billions over budget, bedeviled by technological hurdles, business rivalries, and an epic political battle over whether to build it at all. Opponents called it one of the worst boondoggles in Pentagon history. The Marines were eager to put it into service anyway. Then two crashes killed twenty- three Marines. They still refused to abandon the Osprey, even after the Corps’ own proud reputation was tarnished by a national scandal over accusations that a commander had ordered subordinates to lie about the aircraft’s problems.

Based on in-depth research and hundreds of interviews, The Dream Machine recounts the Marines’ quarter-century struggle to get the Osprey into combat. Whittle takes the reader from the halls of the Pentagon and Congress to the war zone of Iraq, from the engineer’s drafting table to the cockpits of the civilian and Marine pilots who risked their lives flying the Osprey—and sometimes lost them. He reveals the methods, motives, and obsessions of those who designed, sold, bought, flew, and fought for the tiltrotor. These stories, including never before published eyewitness accounts of the crashes that made the Osprey notorious, not only chronicle an extraordinary chapter in Marine Corps history, but also provide a fascinating look at a machine that could still revolutionize air travel.

"Try to Remember"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Try to Remember by Iris Gomez.

About the book, from the publisher:

If she tries, Gabriela can almost remember when her father went off to work ... when her mother wasn't struggling to undo the damage he caused ... when a short temper didn't lead to physical violence. But Gabi cannot live in the past, not when one more outburst could jeopardize her family's future. So she trades the life of a normal Miami teenager for a career of carefully managing her father's delusions and guarding her mother's secrets. As Gabi navigates her family's twisting path of lies and revelations, relationships and loss, she finds moments of happiness in unexpected places. Ultimately Gabi must discover the strength she needs to choose what's right for her: serving her parents or a future of her own.
Visit Iris Gomez's website.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Thief Eyes"

New from Random House Books for Young Readers: Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner.

About the book, from the publisher:

The latest YA fantasy book from Bones of Faerie author Janni Lee Simner!

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Janni Lee Simner brings the fierce romance and violent passions of Iceland's medieval sagas into this twenty-first-century novel, with spellbinding results.
See: Writers Read: Janni Lee Simner.

Visit Janni Lee Simner's website and blog/journal.

"The Flight of the Intellectuals"

New from Melville House: The Flight of the Intellectuals by Paul Berman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Twenty years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie—and writers around the world instinctively rallied to Rushdie’s defense. Today, according to writer Paul Berman, “Rushdie has metastasized into an entire social class”—an ever-growing group of sharp-tongued critics of Islamist extremism, especially critics from Muslim backgrounds, who survive only because of pseudonyms and police protection. And yet, instead of being applauded, the Rushdies of today (people like Ayan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq) often find themselves dismissed as “strident” or as no better than fundamentalist themselves, and contrasted unfavorably with representatives of the Islamist movement who falsely claim to be “moderates.”

How did this happen? In THE FLIGHT OF THE INTELLECTUALS, Berman—“one of America’s leading public intellectuals” (Foreign Affairs)—conducts a searing examination into the intellectual atmosphere of the moment and shows how some of the West’s best thinkers and journalists have fumbled badly in their efforts to grapple with Islamist ideas and violence.

Berman’s investigation of the history and nature of the Islamist movement includes some surprising revelations. In examining Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, he shows the rise of an immense and often violent worldview, elements of which survives today in the brigades of al-Qaeda and Hamas. Berman also unearths the shocking story of al-Banna’s associate, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who collaborated personally with Adolf Hitler to incite Arab support of the Nazis’ North African campaign. Echoes of the Grand Mufti’s Nazified Islam can be heard among the followers of al-Banna even today.

In a gripping and stylish narrative Berman also shows the legacy of these political traditions, most importantly by focusing on a single philosopher, who happens to be Hassan al-Banna’s grandson, Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan—a figure widely celebrated in the West as a “moderate” despite his troubling ties to the Islamist movement. Looking closely into what Ramadan has actually written and said, Berman contrasts the reality of Ramadan with his image in the press.

In doing so, THE FLIGHT OF THE INTELLECTUALS sheds light on a number of modern issues—on the massively reinvigorated anti-Semitism of our own time, on a newly fashionable turn against women’s rights, and on the difficulties we have in discussing terrorism—and presents a stunning commentary about the modern media’s peculiar inability to detect and analyze some of the most dangerous ideas in contemporary society.
Learn more about Paul Berman at his NYU profile webpage.

Writers Read: Paul Berman.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Silent Auction"

New from Minotaur Books: Silent Auction by Jane K. Cleland.

About the book, from the publisher:

Agatha finalist Jane K. Cleland brings us an irresistible new blend of coziness, crime, and collectibles...

The autumn foliage is in full fiery glory on a beautiful day in the little coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire. Josie Prescott arrives at the town’s renovated lighthouse to conduct an antiques appraisal and is horrified to discover the bludgeoned body of her neighbor Zoë’s beloved nephew, Frankie. The owners of the lighthouse are avid antiques collectors, and Josie soon begins to suspect that a scrimshaw tooth from their collection may be the key to solving the crime that has shaken Rocky Point, and broken her dear friend’s heart.
Visit Jane Cleland's website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Appraisal.

My Book, The Movie: the "Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries."

"Get Capone"

New from Simon & Schuster: Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster by Jonathan Eig.

About the book, from the publisher:

Drawing on thousands of pages of recently discovered government documents, wiretap transcripts, and Al Capone’s handwritten personal letters, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the nation’s most notorious criminal in rich new detail.

From the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1920, Capone found himself in a world of limitless opportunity. He was an impetuous, affable young man of average intelligence, ill prepared for fame and fortune, whose most notable characteristic was his scarred left cheek. Yet within a few years, Capone controlled an illegal bootlegging business with annual revenue rivaling that of some of the nation’s largest corporations. Along the way he corrupted the Chicago police force and local courts while becoming one of the world’s first international celebrities.

A furious President Herbert Hoover insisted that Capone be brought to justice because the criminal was making a mockery of federal law. Legend credits Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables” with apprehending Capone. But it was the U.S. attorney in Chicago and little-known agents working on direct orders from the White House who compromised their ethics—and risked their lives—to get their man.

The most infamous crime attributed to Capone was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a crime that Capone insisted he didn’t commit. Using newly discovered FBI records, Eig offers a surprising explanation for the murders.

Get Capone explores every aspect of the man called “Scarface,” paying particular attention to the myths that have for so long surrounded and obscured him. Capone emerges as a worldly, emotionally complex man, doomed as much by his ego as by his vicious criminality. This is the real Al Capone.
Visit the official Get Capone website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Bitter Seeds"

New from Tor Books: Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between

Raybould Marsh is a British secret agent in the early days of the Second World War, haunted by something strange he saw on a mission during the Spanish Civil War: a German woman with wires going into her head who looked at him as if she knew him.

When the Nazis start running missions with people who have unnatural abilities—a woman who can turn invisible, a man who can walk through walls, and the woman Marsh saw in Spain who can use her knowledge of the future to twist the present—Marsh is the man who has to face them. He rallies the secret warlocks of Britain to hold the impending invasion at bay. But magic always exacts a price. Eventually, the sacrifice necessary to defeat the enemy will be as terrible as outright loss would be.

Alan Furst meets Alan Moore in the opening of an epic of supernatural alternate history, the tale of a twentieth century like ours and also profoundly different.
Visit the official Ian Tregillis website.

"Eye of the Red Tsar"

New from Bantam: Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland.

About the book, from the publisher:

This riveting suspense debut introduces both a stellar new voice and a remarkable detective, an outsider who must use his extraordinary talents to solve the one case that may redeem him.

Shortly after midnight on July 17, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. Their bodies were hidden away, the location a secret of the Soviet state.

A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the outskirts of humanity. Pekkala was once the most trusted secret agent of the Romanovs, the right-hand man of the Tsar himself. Now he is Prisoner 4745-P, living a harsh existence in which even the strongest vanish into the merciless Soviet winter.

But the state needs Pekkala one last time. The man who knew the Romanovs best is given a final mission: catch their killers, locate the royal child rumored to be alive, and give Stalin the international coup he craves. Find the bodies, Pekkala is told, and you will find your freedom. Find the survivor of that bloody night and you will change history.

In a land of uneasy alliances and deadly treachery, pursuing clues that have eluded everyone, Pekkala is thrust into the past where he once reigned. There he will meet the man who betrayed him and the woman he loved and lost in the fires of rebellion—and uncover a secret so shocking that it will shake to its core the land he loves.

With stunning period detail and crackling suspense, Eye of the Red Tsar introduces a complex and compelling investigator in a fiercely intelligent thriller perfect for readers of Gorky Park, Child 44, and City of Thieves.
Visit Sam Eastland's website.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Some Girls"

New from Plume Books: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren.

About the book, from the publisher:

A secret Xanadu. A charming prince. Add decadence, excess, and a rebellious teenager and you have an unforgettable and twisted modern fairy tale.

At eighteen, Jillian Lauren was an NYU theater school dropout with a tip about an upcoming audition. The “casting director” told her that a rich businessman in Singapore would pay pretty American girls $20,000 if they stayed for two weeks to spice up his parties. Soon, Jillian found herself on a plane to Borneo, where she would spend the next eighteen months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei. Leaving behind her gritty East Village apartment for an opulent palace where she walked on rugs laced with gold, Jillian traded her band of artist friends for a coterie of backstabbing beauties.

More than just a sexy read set in an exotic land, Some Girls is also the story of how a rebellious teen found herself- and the courage to meet her birth mother and eventually adopt a baby boy.
Visit Jillian Lauren's website and blog.

"Call It What You Want"

New from Tin House Books: Call it What You Want by Keith Lee Morris.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this stunning story collection inhabited by dreams and disappointments, good intentions and small triumphs, Keith Lee Morris chronicles the lives of men lost in the liminal spaces between adolescence and adulthood. For all their flaws—as husbands, as fathers, as friends—Morris’s characters are portrayed with depth, tenderness, and humanity. Call It What You Want balances realism with the surreal, humor with sadness, and explores all the hidden places in between.
Read an excerpt from Call it What You Want.

Keith Lee Morris is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Clemson University. His short stories have been published in A Public Space, Southern Review, Ninth Letter, StoryQuarterly, New England Review, The Sun, and the Georgia Review, among other publications. His books include The Greyhound Gods, The Best Seats in the House, and The Dart League King.

The Page 69 Test: The Dart League King.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Cars from a Marriage"

New from St. Martin's Press: Cars from a Marriage by Debra Galant.

About the book, from the publisher:

An “auto-biography” of a marriage from the highly acclaimed author who deftly navigates the lives of one suburban couple with humor and insight

From a ’74 Mustang to a Chevy Suburban, Debra Galant’s Cars from A Marriage charts the important events—big and small—in one couple’s relationship by way of the automobiles that drive them throughout the course of their lives. Ivy is a transplanted Southern belle—the daughter of a car salesman— who continually wonders how she has ended up a New Jersey stay-at-home mom with a not-so-secret fear of driving. Her husband Ellis was a stand up comedian when they met, and the owner of that ’74 Mustang, but his ambitions were overshadowed by the responsibilities of a family. In the blink of an eye he became a PR executive with a mortgage, two kids, and a Buick LeSabre.

The cars steer us from their first meeting, to their first fight, and down the line to a family funeral. Finally, it’s on a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that Ivy and Ellis come to some serious and illuminating realizations about their lives. With insights that alternate between hilarious and profound, Galant provides a unique, unforgettable portrait of a marriage.
Visit Debra Galant's website and blog.

"The Eerie Silence"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence by Paul Davies.

About the book, from the publisher:

Are we alone in the universe? This is surely one of the biggest questions of human existence, yet it remains frustratingly unanswered. In this provocative book, one of the world's leading scientists explains why the search for intelligent life beyond Earth should be expanded, and how it can be done.

Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake first pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

After a half-century of scanning the skies, however, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence--eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. Could it be, wonders physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, that we've been looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way?

Davies has been closely involved with SETI for three decades, and chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we're suddenly confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. He believes the search so far has fallen into an anthropocentric trap--assuming that an alien species will look, think, and behave much like us. In this mind-expanding book he refocuses the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if it does.

The Eerie Silence provides a penetrating assessment of the evidence, past and present, and an exciting new road map for the future.
Visit Paul Davies' website.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


New from Northwestern University Press: Stateside: Poems by Jehanne Dubrow.

About the book, from the publisher:

Although the poems in Stateside are concerned with a husband’s deployment to the war in Iraq, Jehanne Dubrow’s riveting collection is driven more by intellectual curiosity and emotional exploration than by any overt political agenda. The speaker in these poems attempts to understand her situation within the long history of military wives left to wait and wonder – Penelope is a model, but also a source of mystery. These poems are dazzling in their use of form, their sensual imagery, and their learnedness, and possess a level of subtlety and control rarely found in the work of a young poet. Dubrow is fearless in her contemplation of the far-reaching effects of war, but even more so in her excavation of a marriage under duress.
About the book, from the publisher:Visit Jehanne Dubrow's website and sample her poems.

"The Third Rail"

New from Knopf: The Third Rail by Michael Harvey.

About the book, from the publisher:

A woman is shot as she waits for her train to work. An hour later, a second woman is gunned down as she rides an elevated train through the Loop. Two hours after that, a church becomes the target of a chemical weapons attack. The city of Chicago is under siege, and Michael Kelly, cynical cop turned private investigator, just happens to be on the scene when all hell breaks loose.

Kelly is initially drawn into the case by the killers themselves, then tasked by Chicago’s mayor and the FBI to hunt down the bad guys and, all things being equal, put a bullet in them. Kelly, of course, has other ideas. As he gets closer to the truth, his instincts lead him to a retired cop, a shady train company, and an unnerving link to his own past. Meanwhile, Kelly’s girlfriend, Rachel Swenson, becomes a pawn in a much larger game, while a weapon that could kill millions ticks away quietly in the very belly of the city.

The Third Rail is stylish, sophisticated, edge-of-your-seat suspense from a new modern master.
Visit Michael Harvey's website.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet"

New from Times Books: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben.

About the book, from the publisher:

Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.

That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend—think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer.

Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.
Read about McKibben's all-time favorite books.

The Page 69 Test: Bill McKibben's Deep Economy.

Visit Bill McKibben's official website.

"The Edge of Ruin"

New from Minotaur Books: The Edge of Ruin by Irene Fleming.

About the book, from the publisher:

During the very early days of silent movies, a murder during filming threatens the lives of two independent film producers in this thrilling historical mystery

One day in 1909, Emily Weiss’s handsome and successful new husband, Adam, returns to their well-appointed Philadelphia home to tell her he’s sold everything they own, and they are going to New York to become independent movie producers. As he’s already signed a contract that will ruin them if not fulfilled, Emily agrees to go with him to New York and help him set up their movie company. But of course, it’s not that easy—all movie production is controlled by Thomas Edison and his partners in the Patent Trust who hold many of the major patents used in filmmaking. And they employ a team of often brutal detectives whose main job it is to go around and disrupt independent films, breaking cameras and even heads if necessary.

With a colorful crew of actors, Adam and Emily head to Fort Lee, New Jersey where they set shooting the films to fulfill their contract. After evading Edison’s detectives a couple of times, one of them arrives on the set in time for a major crowd scene. And, while almost everyone’s back is turned, he is murdered. Now Adam sits in jail, charged with the crime, while Emily has to not only finish films but uncover the truth about the shocking murder.
Visit Irene Fleming's website and blog.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Cradle of Gold"

New from Palgrave Macmillan: Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu by Christopher Heaney.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1911, a young Peruvian boy led an American explorer and Yale historian named Hiram Bingham into the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. Hidden amidst the breathtaking heights of the Andes, this settlement of temples, tombs and palaces was the Incas' greatest achievement. Tall, handsome, and sure of his destiny, Bingham believed that Machu Picchu was the Incas’ final refuge, where they fled the Spanish Conquistadors. Bingham made Machu Picchu famous, and his dispatches from the jungle cast him as the swashbuckling hero romanticized today as a true Indiana Jones-like character. But his excavation of the site raised old specters of conquest and plunder, and met with an indigenous nationalism that changed the course of Peruvian history. Though Bingham successfully realized his dream of bringing Machu Picchu’s treasure of skulls, bones and artifacts back to the United States, conflict between Yale and Peru persists through the present day over a simple question: Who owns Inca history?

In this grand, sweeping narrative, Christopher Heaney takes the reader into the heart of Peru's past to relive the dramatic story of the final years of the Incan empire, the exhilarating recovery of their final cities and the thought-provoking fight over their future. Drawing on original research in untapped archives, Heaney vividly portrays both a stunning landscape and the complex history of a fascinating region that continues to inspire awe and controversy today.
Visit Christopher Heaney's website.

"The November Criminals"

New from Doubleday: The November Criminals by Sam Munson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A darkly funny, pot-infused novel of teenage maladjustment in the tradition of Beautiful Children from a compelling new voice in American fiction.

For a high school senior, Addison Schacht has a lot of preoccupations. Like getting into college. Selling drugs to his classmates. His complicated relationship with his best friend (NOT his girlfriend) Digger. And he's just added another to the list: the murder of his classmate Kevin Broadus, and his own absurd, obsessive plan to investigate the death. When presented with an essay question on his application to the University of Chicago—What are your best and worst qualities?—Addison finds himself provoked into giving his final, unapologetic say about all of the above and more.

Addison Schacht finds good company among American literature's cadre of unsettled, restless youth, from Huck Finn to Holden Caulfield. The November Criminals takes on the terrain of the classic adolescent truth-telling novel and—with nerve and erudition—carves out its own unique territory.
Visit Sam Munson's website.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA"

New from Counterpoint Press: Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA by Bonnie J. Rough.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Bonnie J. Rough receives the test results that confirm she is a carrier of the genetic condition hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or H.E.D., it propels her on a journey deep into her family’s past in the American West.

At first glance, H.E.D. seems only to be a superficial condition: a peculiar facial bone structure, sparse hair, few teeth, and an inability to sweat. But a closer look reveals the source of a lifetime of infections, breathing problems, and drug dependency for Bonnie’s grandfather Earl, who suffered from the disorder. After a boyhood as a small-town oddity and an adulthood fraught with disaster, Earl died penniless and alone at the age of 49. Bonnie’s mother was left with an inheritance that included not just the gene for H.E.D., but also the emotional pain that came from witnessing her father’s misery.

As Bonnie and her husband consider becoming parents themselves, their biological legacy haunts every decision. The availability of genetic testing gives them new choices to make, choices more excruciating than any previous generation could have imagined. Ultimately, Carrier is a story of a modern moral crisis, one that reveals the eternal tension between past and future.
Visit Bonnie Rough's website.

"My Empire of Dirt"

New from Scribner: My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm by Manny Howard.

About the book, from the publisher:

For seven months, Manny Howard—a lifelong urbanite—woke up every morning and ventured into his eight-hundred-square-foot backyard to maintain the first farm in Flatbush, Brooklyn, in generations. His goal was simple: to subsist on what he could produce on this farm, and only this farm, for at least a month. The project came at a time in Manny’s life when he most needed it—even if his family, and especially his wife, seemingly did not. But a farmer’s life, he discovered—after a string of catastrophes, including a tornado, countless animal deaths (natural, accidental, and inflicted), and even a severed finger—is not an easy one. And it can be just as hard on those he shares it with.

Manny’s James Beard Foundation Award–winning New York magazine cover story—the impetus for this project—began as an assessment of the locavore movement. We now think more about what we eat than ever before, buying organic for our health and local for the environment, often making those decisions into political statements in the process. My Empire of Dirt is a ground-level examination—trenchant, touching, and outrageous—of the cultural reflex to control one of the most elemental aspects of our lives: feeding ourselves.

Unlike most foodies with a farm fetish, Manny didn’t put on overalls with much of a philosophy in mind, save a healthy dose of skepticism about some of the more doctrinaire tendencies of locavores. He did not set out to grow all of his own food because he thought it was the right thing to do or because he thought the rest of us should do the same. Rather, he did it because he was just crazy enough to want to find out how hard it would actually be to take on a challenge based on a radical interpretation of a trendy (if well-meaning) idea and see if he could rise to the occasion.

A chronicle of the experiment that took slow-food to the extreme, My Empire of Dirt tells the story of one man’s struggle against environmental, familial, and agricultural chaos, and in the process asks us to consider what it really takes (and what it really means) to produce our own food. It’s one thing to know the farmer, it turns out—it’s another thing entirely to be the farmer. For most of us, farming is about food. For the farmer, and his family, it’s about work.
Visit Manny Howard's website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"The Long Song"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Long Song by Andrea Levy.

About the book, from the publisher:


Small Island introduced Andrea Levy to America and was acclaimed as “a triumph” (San Francisco Chronicle). It won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and has sold over a million copies worldwide. With The Long Song, Levy once again reinvents the historical novel.

Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her “Marguerite.”

Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her “freedom.” It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son’s persistent questioning, July’s resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom, and love.
Learn which book changed Andrea Levy's life.

Visit Andrea Levy's website.

"Green Gone Wrong"

New from Scribner: Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution by Heather Rogers.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Green Gone Wrong environmental writer Heather Rogers blasts through the marketing buzz of big corporations and asks a simple question: Do today’s much-touted "green" products—carbon offsets, organic food, biofuels, and eco-friendly cars and homes—really work? Implicit in efforts to go green is the promise that global warming can be stopped by swapping out dirty goods for "clean" ones. But can earth-friendly products really save the planet?

This far-reaching, riveting narrative explores how the most readily available solutions to environmental crisis may be disastrously off the mark. Rogers travels the world tracking how the conversion from a "petro" to a "green" society affects the most fundamental aspects of life—food, shelter, and transportation. Reporting from some of the most remote places on earth, Rogers uncovers shocking results that include massive clear-cutting, destruction of native ecosystems, and grinding poverty. Relying simply on market forces, people with good intentions wanting to just "do something" to help the planet are left feeling confused and powerless.

Green Gone Wrong reveals a fuller story, taking the reader into forests, fields, factories, and boardrooms around the world to draw out the unintended consequences, inherent obstacles, and successes of eco-friendly consumption. What do the labels "USDA Certified Organic" and "Fair Trade" really mean on a vast South American export-driven organic farm? A superlow-energy "eco-village" in Germany’s Black Forest demonstrates that green homes dramatically shrink energy use, so why aren’t we using this technology in America? The decisions made in Detroit’s executive suites have kept Americans driving gas-guzzling automobiles for decades, even as U.S. automakers have European models that clock twice the mpg. Why won’t they sell these cars domestically? And what does carbon offsetting really mean when projects can so easily fail? In one case thousands of trees planted in drought-plagued Southern India withered and died, releasing any CO2 they were meant to neutralize.

Expertly reported, this gripping exposé pieces together a global picture of what’s happening in the name of today’s environmentalism. Green Gone Wrong speaks to anyone interested in climate change and the future of the natural world, as well as those who want to act but are caught not knowing who, or what, to believe to protect the planet. Rogers casts a sober eye on what’s working and what’s not, fearlessly pushing ahead the debate over how to protect the planet.
Visit the official Green Gone Wrong website.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Stumbling Along the Beat"

New from Kaplan Publishing: Stumbling Along the Beat: A Policewoman's Uncensored Story from the World of Law Enforcement by Stacy Dittrich.

About the book, from the publisher:

At the age of 23, Stacy Dittrich became the first female officer hired by her town in Ohio. In Stumbling Along the Beat, Dittrich reveals, for the first time, what she really faced when she put on her uniform and badge. In this uncensored account, she takes the reader behind the scenes to show the realities of life inside a local police department. She lays bare the discrimination she faced, the ugly politics within the department, and how she finally won the respect she deserved. Reflecting on her years of work in the sex crimes unit, Dittrich tells how she learned to keep her composure in the face of some of the most horrifying and heartbreaking crimes imaginable. Finally, she reveals her daily struggle to balance her work with her life as the mother of two young daughters and the wife of a fellow police officer, including the fear that when she kisses her family good-bye to go to work, it might be for the last time.

Funny, moving, and fast-paced, Stumbling Along the Beat is as unforgettable as it is eye-opening. Dittrich’s story will obliterate any preconceived notions of what it means to be a cop, especially when you’re also a woman.
Visit Stacy Dittrich's website.

"The End Game"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: The End Game by Gerrie Ferris Finger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Moriah Dru’s weekend off with her lover, Lieutenant Richard Lake, is interrupted when Atlanta juvenile court judge Portia Devon hires Dru to find two sisters who’ve gone missing after their foster parents’ house burns down.

An ex-cop, Dru established Child Trace, Inc., after leaving the force. Judge Devon sees to it that Lake is assigned to head the police investigation, because Dru and Lake together have a habit of solving cases.

After questioning the neighbors, the couple decide that the abduction of the girls looks like more than an ordinary kidnapping. Dru learns that in the past eight years two other foster children from the area have gone missing. The investigation turns up a snitch who tells Dru he’s heard that a secret sex organization, with members named after chess pieces, is bound for Costa Rica with two girls. The chase is on to stop the kidnappers before they escape the country.

The latest winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, The End Game features a strong new heroine in a vivid Southern setting. Gerrie Ferris Finger puts a new spin on the classic mystery novel.
Visit Gerrie Ferris Finger's website.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"The Thoughtful Dresser"

New from Scribner: The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant.

About the book, from the publisher:

“You can’t have depths without surfaces,” says Linda Grant in her lively and provocative new book, The Thoughtful Dresser, a thinking woman’s guide to what we wear. For centuries, an interest in clothes has been dismissed as the trivial pursuit of vain, empty-headed women. Yet, clothes matter, whether you are interested in fashion or not, because how we choose to dress defines who we are. How we look and what we wear tells a story. Some stories are simple, like the teenager trying to fit in, or the woman turning fifty renouncing invisibility. Some are profound, like that of the immigrant who arrives in a new country and works to blend in by changing the way she dresses, or of the woman whose hat saved her life in Nazi Germany.

The Thoughtful Dresser celebrates the pleasure of adornment and is an elegant meditation on our relationship with what we wear and the significance of clothes as the most intimate but also public expressions of our identity.
Visit the official The Thoughtful Dresser website.

"American Subversive"

New from Scribner: American Subversive by David Goodwillie.

About the book, from the publisher:

As the twenty-first century enters its second decade, foreign wars, the lingering recession and a caustic political environment are taking their toll on Americans. But the party hasn't ended for Aidan Cole and his friends, a band of savvy -- if cynical -- New York journalists and bloggers who thrive at the intersection of media and celebrity. At wine-sodden dinner parties or in dimly lit downtown bars, their frenetic talk -- of scoops and page views, sexual adventures and trendy restaurants -- continues unabated. Then, without warning, the specter of terrorism reenters their lives. A bomb rips through the deserted floor of a midtown office tower. Middle Eastern terrorists are immediately suspected. But four days later, with no arrests and a city on edge, an anonymous email arrives in Aidan's in-box. Attached is the photograph of an attractive young white woman, along with a chilling message: "This is Paige Roderick. She's the one responsible."

So begins an extraordinary journey into the dark soul of modern America -- from a back-to-the-land community in the Smoky Mountains to a Weather Underground-like bomb factory in Vermont; from Fishers Island, isolated getaway of the wealthy elite, to the hip lofts of Manhattan's Meatpacking District. American Subversive is David Goodwillie's sharp and penetrating take on the paranoia of our times -- and its real, untold dangers. In examining the connection between our collective apathy and the roots of insurrection, Goodwillie has crafted an intoxicating story of two young Americans grasping for a foothold in a culture -- and a country -- that's crumbling around them.

Hailed as a "clever, compelling, page-turner" in the Washington Post, Goodwillie's memoir Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time was a "breakout first book" (Elle) and a "searing sketch of a decade in decline" (Louisville Courier-Journal). Now, with his debut novel, David Goodwillie announces himself as a major new voice in American fiction. Expertly written, relentlessly suspenseful, and bitingly funny, American Subversive is both an unnervingly realistic tale of domestic terrorism and a perfectly observed portrait of Manhattan in the digital age.
Visit David Goodwillie's website.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors"

New from Shaye Areheart Books: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone.

About the book, from the publisher:

When lightning strikes, lives are changed.


On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her—not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother—not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn that outsmarting lightning was the least of her concerns.


In rural Arkansas, Buckley R. Pitank’s world seemed plagued by disaster. Ashamed but protective of his obese mother, fearful of his scathing grandmother, and always running from bullies (including his pseudo-evangelical stepfather), he needed a miracle to set him free. At thirteen years old, Buckley witnessed a lightning strike that would change everything.

Now an art student in New York City, Becca Burke is a gifted but tortured painter who strives to recapture the intensity of her lightning-strike memories on canvas. On the night of her first gallery opening, a stranger appears and is captivated by her art. Who is this odd young man with whom she shares a mysterious connection?

When Buckley and Becca finally meet, neither is prepared for the charge of emotions—or for the perilous event that will bring them even closer to one another, and to the families they’ve been running from for as long as they can remember.

Crackling with atmosphere and eccentric characters, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors explores the magic of nature and the power of redemption in a novel as beautiful and unpredictable as lightning itself.
Visit Michele Young-Stone's website.

"Crossing Mandelbaum Gate"

New from Simon & Schuster: Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 by Kai Bird.

About the book, from the publisher:

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER KAI BIRD’S fascinating memoir of his early years spent in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon provides an original and illuminating perspective into the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Weeks before the Suez War of 1956, four-year-old Kai Bird, son of a garrulous, charming American Foreign Service officer, moved to Jerusalem with his family. They settled in a small house, where young Kai could hear church bells and the Muslim call to prayer and watch as donkeys and camels competed with cars for space on the narrow streets. Each day on his way to school, Kai was driven through Mandelbaum Gate, where armed soldiers guarded the line separating Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem from Arab-controlled East. He had a front-seat view to both sides of a divided city—and the roots of the widening conflict between Arabs and Israelis.

Bird would spend much of his life crossing such lines—as a child in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and later, as a young man in Lebanon. Crossing Mandelbaum Gate is his compelling personal history of growing up an American in the midst of three major wars and three turbulent decades in the Middle East. The Zelig-like Bird brings readers into such conflicts as the Suez War, the Six Day War of 1967, and the Black September hijackings in 1970 that triggered the Jordanian civil war. Bird vividly portrays such emblematic figures as the erudite George Antonius, author of The Arab Awakening; Jordan’s King Hussein; the Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled; Salem bin Laden, Osama’s older brother and a family friend; Saudi King Faisal; President Nasser of Egypt; and Hillel Kook, the forgotten rescuer of more than 100,000 Jews during World War II.

Bird, his parents sympathetic to Palestinian self-determination and his wife the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, has written a masterful and highly accessible book—at once a vivid chronicle of a life spent between cultures as well as a consummate history of a region in turmoil. It is an indispensable addition to the literature on the modern Middle East.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"The Burying Place"

New from St. Martin's Minotaur: The Burying Place by Brian Freeman.

About the book, from the publisher:

One cold night. Two shocking mysteries.

In the quiet town of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a baby vanishes from her bedroom in an opulent lakeside home. Was she abducted – or does her father have a terrible secret to hide?

That same night, a young policewoman gets lost in the fog and stumbles into the middle of a horrific crime. Now a sadistic killer wants her to play his deadly game.

Lieutenant Jonathan Stride and his team need to move fast to save a child and stop a vicious killing spree. As fear grips the frozen winter farm lands, Stride knows that every snow-covered field may be the next burying place.

Each twist in the investigation takes Stride into an elaborate web of deceit and desire. But his biggest obstacles may be the very people he’s trying to help. With everything at risk and time running out, Stride worries how far a desperate mother will go to rescue her baby – and how far a desperate cop will go to save herself.
Learn more about the book and author at Brian Freeman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Stripped.

My Book, The Movie: Stripped.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

"Anatomy of an Epidemic"

New from Crown: Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation’s children. What is going on?

Anatomy of an Epidemic challenges readers to think through that question themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them? Researchers spent decades studying that question, and by the late 1980s, they had their answer. Readers will be startled—and dismayed—to discover what was reported in the scientific journals.

Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: During the past fifty years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected long-term outcomes, what did they find? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?

This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. Are long-term recovery rates higher for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or increase the risk that a depressed person will become disabled by the disorder? Do bipolar patients fare better today than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any benefit?

By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies—all of which point to the same startling conclusion—been kept from the public?

In this compelling history, Whitaker also tells the personal stories of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. Finally, he reports on innovative programs of psychiatric care in Europe and the United States that are producing good long-term outcomes. Our nation has been hit by an epidemic of disabling mental illness, and yet, as Anatomy of an Epidemic reveals, the medical blueprints for curbing that epidemic have already been drawn up.
Read an excerpt from Anatomy of an Epidemic.

Learn more about the author and his work at Robert Whitaker's website.

Robert Whitaker is the award-winning author of The Mapmaker’s Wife, Mad in America, and On the Laps of Gods.

The Page 99 Test: On the Laps of Gods.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Haunt Me Still"

New from Dutton: Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell.

About the book, from the publisher:

A legendary theatrical curse...

A rune-engraved blade, a mysterious mirror, and an ancient cauldron...

And a ritually murdered body laid out in the manner of ancient pagan burials.

Kate Stanley, Jennifer Lee Carrell's dauntless Shakespearean scholar- turned-director, made a memorable-and New York Times bestselling-debut in Interred with Their Bones. Having chased down her mother's killer (and recovering one of Shakespeare's lost plays in the process), Kate's fame as a director with an expertise in "occult Shakespeare" catapults her-and Ben Pearl, her partner in crime- solving-into a new production of Macbeth, showcasing a fabled collection of objects relating both to the play and the historical Scottish king for whom it is named.

The Bard's darkest play is famously cursed, its reputation for malevolence so strong that many actors refuse to quote or even name the play aloud. And as rehearsals begin at the foot of Scotland's Dunsinnan Hill, it doesn't take long for the curse to stir. Strange references to the boy actor who first played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's day-and died in the role-pop up. A trench atop Dunsinnan Hill is found filled with blood, and a severed human thumb turns up among the props. And Kate begins sleepwalking, waking early one morning alone atop the hill, her hands smeared in blood.

Kate has no memory of how she got there, but later that day a local woman is found dead on the hill in circumstances that suggest not just ritual murder but ancient pagan sacrifice. With the police more focused on Kate as a suspect than as a possible future victim, she and Ben find themselves in a desperate race to discover a lost version of Macbeth, said to contain rituals of witchcraft aimed at conjuring demonic forces to gain forbidden knowledge. However much Kate would like to dismiss such rituals as superstition, someone else appears willing to kill for them-and for the manuscript said to spell them out.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Lee Carrell's website.