Tuesday, January 31, 2012


New from Night Shade Books: Hitchers by Will McIntosh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two years ago, on the same day but miles apart, Finn Darby lost two of the most important people in his life: his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom Darby, creator of the long-running newspaper comic strip Toy Shop.

Against his grandfather's dying wish, Finn has resurrected Toy Shop, adding new characters, and the strip is more popular than ever, bringing in fan letters, merchandising deals, and talk of TV specials. Finn has even started dating again.

When a terrorist attack decimates Atlanta, killing half a million souls, Finn begins blurting things in a strange voice beyond his control. The voice says things only his grandfather could know. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction. Is it mass hysteria, or have the dead returned to possess the living?

Finn soon realizes he has a hitcher within his skin... his grandfather. And Grandpa isn't terribly happy about the changes Finn has been making to Toy Shop. Together with a pair of possessed friends, an aging rock star and a waitress, Finn races against time to find a way to send the dead back to Deadland... or die trying.
Visit Will McIntosh's website.

My Book, The Movie: Will McIntosh's Soft Apocalypse.

Writers Read: Will McIntosh.

"The Accidental Feminist"

New from Walker & Company: The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice by M. G. Lord.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the brilliant cultural historian M. G. Lord, a fascinating examination of the unexpected feminist content in Elizabeth Taylor's iconic roles.

Countless books have chronicled the sensational life of Elizabeth Taylor, but rarely has her career been examined from the point of view of her on-screen persona. And that persona, argues M. G. Lord, in its most memorable outings has repeatedly introduced a broad audience to feminist ideas.

In her breakout film, National Velvet (1944), Taylor's character challenges gender discrimination: Forbidden to ride her beloved horse in an important race because she is a girl, she poses as a male jockey. Her next milestone, A Place in the Sun (1951), is essentially an abortion-rights movie—a cautionary tale from a world before women had ready access to birth control. In Butterfield 8 (1960), for which she won an Oscar, Taylor's character isn't censured because she's a prostitute, but because she chooses the men with whom she sleeps—she controls her sexuality. Even the classic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's career and children. Other of Taylor's films and Broadway performances explore similar themes.

The legendary actress lived her life defiantly in public—undermining postwar reactionary sex roles; helping directors thwart the Hollywood Production Code, which restricted film content from 1934 to 1967; and as a member of the vanguard of fund-raising for AIDS research in the 1980s, which was entirely consistent with her championing the right of people to love whomever they love, regardless of gender. Yet her powerful feminist impact was hidden in plain sight. Daring in conception, and drawing upon unpublished letters and scripts as well as interviews with Kate Burton, Gore Vidal, Robert Forster, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Smith, and others, The Accidental Feminist will surprise Taylor and film fans alike with its originality—and add a startling dimension to the star's enduring mystique.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"All That I Am"

New from Harper: All That I Am by Anna Funder.

About the book, from the publisher:

All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places.

When eighteen-year-old Ruth Becker visits her cousin Dora in Munich in 1923, she meets the love of her life, the dashing young journalist Hans Wesemann, and eagerly joins in the heady activities of the militant political Left in Germany. Ten years later, Ruth and Hans are married and living in Weimar Berlin when Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany. Together with Dora and her lover, Ernst Toller, the celebrated poet and self-doubting revolutionary, the four become hunted outlaws overnight and are forced to flee to London. Inspired by the fearless Dora to breathtaking acts of courage, the friends risk betrayal and deceit as they dedicate themselves to a dangerous mission: to inform the British government of the very real Nazi threat to which it remains willfully blind. All That I Am is the heartbreaking story of these extraordinary people, who discover that Hitler’s reach extends much further than they had thought.

Gripping, compassionate, and inspiring, this remarkable debut novel reveals an uncommon depth of humanity and wisdom. Anna Funder has given us a searing and intimate portrait of courage and its price, of desire and ambition, and of the devastating consequences when they are thwarted.

"The Armchair Birder"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: The Armchair Birder: Discovering the Secret Lives of Familiar Birds by John Yow.

About the book, from the publisher:

While birding literature is filled with tales of expert observers spotting rare species in exotic locales, John Yow reminds us that the most fascinating birds can be the ones perched right outside our windows. In thirty-five engaging and sometimes irreverent vignettes, Yow reveals the fascinating lives of the birds we see nearly every day. Following the seasons, he covers forty-two species, discussing the improbable, unusual, and comical aspects of his subjects lives. Yow offers his own observations, anecdotes, and stories as well as those of America's classic bird writers, such as John James Audubon, Arthur Bent, and Edward Forbush. This unique addition to bird literature combines the fascination of bird life with the pleasure of good reading.
Visit The Armchair Birder website.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Constitutional Cliffhangers"

New from Yale University Press: Constitutional Cliffhangers: A Legal Guide for Presidents and Their Enemies by Brian C. Kalt.

About the book, from the publisher:

The United States Constitution's provisions for selecting, replacing, and punishing presidents contain serious weaknesses that could lead to constitutional controversies. In this compelling and fascinating book, Brian Kalt envisions six such controversies, such as the criminal prosecution of a sitting president, a two-term president's attempt to stay in power, the ousting of an allegedly disabled president, and more. None of these things has ever occurred, but in recent years many of them almost have.

Besides being individually dramatic, these controversies provide an opportunity to think about how constitutional procedures can best be designed, interpreted, and repaired. Also, because the events Kalt describes would all carry enormous political consequences, they shed light on the delicate and complicated balance between law and politics in American government.

"Boca Daze"

New from Forge Books: Boca Daze by Steven M. Forman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Retired Boston cop Eddie Perlmutter returns in Steven Forman's Boca Daze. Since moving to Boca Raton, Florida, Eddie’s busted Russian counterfeiters, solved at least two murders, thwarted neo-Nazi harassment, and gained justice for a number of those who couldn’t do it for themselves. This “Boca Knight” knows no fear—except perhaps when he’s facing the intimate challenge of sex as a sexagenarian. But Eddie may have met his match when he tries to shut down a string of illegal pill mills and finds himself a financial scammer as big as Bernie Madoff.

Armed with his unfailing wit, his Boston-bred fighting skills, and his courage in the face of danger that would make any sensible retiree head for the comfort of his condo, Eddie’s walking on gimpy knees straight into the most dangerous game of his never-dull life.
Learn more about the book and author at Steven M. Forman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Boca Knights.

The Page 69 Test: Boca Mournings.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"A Universe from Nothing"

New from Free Press: A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss.

About the book, from the publisher:


Lawrence Krauss’s provocative answers to these and other timeless questions in a wildly popular lecture now on YouTube have attracted almost a million viewers. The last of these questions in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and it’s the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. As Krauss argues, scientists have, however, historically focused on other, more pressing issues—such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which can ultimately help us to improve the quality of our lives.

Now, in a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. One of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing, with surprising and fascinating results. The staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories are all described accessibly in A Universe from Nothing, and they suggest that not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing.

With his characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations, Krauss takes us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. It will provoke, challenge, and delight readers as it looks at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future from today has profound implications and directly affects how we live in the present. As Richard Dawkins has described it: This could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for supernaturalism since Darwin.

A fascinating antidote to outmoded philosophical and religious thinking, A Universe from Nothing is a provocative, game-changing entry into the debate about the existence of God and everything that exists. “Forget Jesus,” Krauss has argued, “the stars died so you could be born.”

"The Odditorium"

New from Bellevue Literary Press: The Odditorium: Stories by Melissa Pritchard.

About the book, from the publisher:

In each of these eight genre-bending tales, Melissa Pritchard overturns the conventions of mysteries, westerns, gothic horror, and historical fiction to capture surprising and often shocking aspects of her characters’ lives.

In one story, Pritchard creates a pastiche of historical facts, songs, and tall tales, contrasting the famed figures of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, including Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull, with the real, genocidal history of the American West. Other stories are inspired by the mysterious life of Kaspar Hauser, a haunted Victorian Hospital where the wounded of D-Day are taken during WWII, the courtyard where Edgar Allan Poe played as a child, and the story of Robert LeRoy Ripley, of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” and his beguiling “odditoriums” as seen from his life-long fact checker.
Visit Melissa Pritchard's website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Passing Love"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nicole-Marie Handy has loved all things French since she was a child. After the death of her best friend, determined to get out of her rut, she goes to Paris, leaving behind a marriage proposal. While there, Nicole chances upon an old photo of her father-lovingly inscribed, in his hand, to a woman Nicole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an investigation into his relationship to this mystery woman.

Moving back and forth in time between the sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with expatriates in the 1950s, Passing Love is the story of two women dealing with lost love, secrets, and betrayal...and how the City of Light may hold all of the answers.
Visit Jacqueline E. Luckett's website and blog.

"Nixon's Darkest Secrets"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President by Don Fulsom.

About the book, from the publisher:

A veteran White House reporter reveals our 37th president was even more sinister and haunted than we knew.

Richard Nixon left the White House in 1974 as our most disgraced president, but the American people never knew the full extent of his demons, deceptions, paranoia, prejudices, hatreds, and chicanery.

Calling on his work in covering Nixon, scores of interviews with members of Congress, White House staffers, and others close to our nation’s thirty-seventh president, and invaluable, newly declassified documents and recordings, veteran journalist Don Fulsom sheds new light on “Tricky Dick.” The author’s revelations include:
  • That the future president sabotaged the 1968 peace talks for political gain
  • By the time Nixon became president in 1969, he had linked to the mob for more than two decades and, as president, had a close connection with New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello, the most powerful Mafioso in the nation
  • The president had a drinking problem and top aides referred to him as "Our Drunk"
  • Nixon had a misogynist streak and was abusive toward first lady Pat Nixon
  • The intimate and possibly homosexual nature of Nixon's relationship with confidante Charles "Bebe" Rebozo, a banker with mob ties
  • Testimony alleging that the president had ordered the killing of White House reporter Jack Anderson
Fulsom’s examination of these and other startling aspects of Nixon’s personal and political dimensions paint an unflinching portrait of a leader who was once the most powerful man in the world. Nixon’s Darkest Secrets provides a chilling final chapter in literature on our most troubled president.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"The Flight of Gemma Hardy"

New from HarperCollins: The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.

About the book, from the publisher:

When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she’s found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant.

To Gemma’s delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma’s charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma’s standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma’s biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she’s never dreamed.

Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and ’60s, The Flight of Gemma Hardy—a captivating homage to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all its own.
Visit Margot Livesey's website.

Writers Read: Margot Livesey (September 2009).

"Outside the Lines"

New from Washington Square Press: Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding out on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. Since childhood, she has heard from him only rarely, just enough to know he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately, there has been no word at all.

Now in her thirties, Eden decides to go look for her father, so she can forgive him at last, and finally move forward. When her search uncovers other painful truths—not only the secrets her mother has kept from her, but also the agonizing question of whether David, after all these years, even wants to be found—Eden is forced to decide just how far she’ll go in the name of love.
Visit Amy Hatvany's website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty"

New from Grand Central Publishing: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a long-hidden grave is unearthed in the backyard, headstrong young Mosey Slocumb is determined to investigate. What she learns could cost her family everything…

Every fifteen years, trouble comes after the Slocumb women. Now, as their youngest turns fifteen, a whole new kind of commotion is chasing all three generations. Mosey’s desperate to know who used their yard as a make-shift cemetery, and why. The oldest, forty-five year old Ginny, fights to protect Mosey from the truth, a fight that could cost Ginny the love of her life. Between them is Liza, silenced by a stroke, with the answers trapped inside her. To survive Liza’s secrets and Mosey’s insistent adventures, Ginny must learn to trust the love that braids the strands of their past—and stop at nothing to defend their future.
Learn more about the book and author at Joshilyn Jackson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Joshilyn Jackson's The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

Writers Read: Joshilyn Jackson.

The Page 69 Test: Joshilyn Jackson's Backseat Saints.

"Liberation Square"

New from St. Martin's Press: Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation by Ashraf Khalil.

About the book, from the publisher:

A definitive, absorbing account of the Egyptian revolution, written by a Cairo-based Egyptian-American reporter for Foreign Policy and The Times (London), who witnessed firsthand Mubarak's demise and the country's efforts to build a democracy

In early 2011, the world’s attention was riveted on Cairo, where after three decades of supremacy, Hosni Mubarak was driven from power. It was a revolution as swift as it was explosive. For eighteen days, anger, defiance, and resurgent national pride reigned in the streets---protestors of all ages struck back against police and state security, united toward the common goal of liberation.

But the revolution was more than a spontaneous uprising. It was the end result of years of mounting tension, brought on by a state that shamelessly abused its authority, rigging elections, silencing opposition, and violently attacking its citizens. When revolution bloomed in the region in January 2011, Egypt was a country whose patience had expired---with a people suddenly primed for liberation.

As a journalist based in Cairo, Ashraf Khalil was an eyewitness to the perfect storm that brought down Mubarak and his regime. Khalil was subjected to tear gas alongside protestors in Tahrir Square, barely escaped an enraged mob, and witnessed the day-to-day developments from the frontlines. From the halls of power to the back alleys of Cairo, he offers a one-of-a-kind look at a nation in the throes of an uprising.

Liberation Square is a revealing and dramatic look at the revolution that transformed the modern history of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.
Visit Ashraf Khalil's website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"The Godfather Effect"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me by Tom Santopietro.

About the book, from the publisher:

A brilliant examination of our forty year obsession with the classic film trilogy—and a personal reflection on what it means to be Italian-American

Forty years and one billion dollars in gross box office receipts after the initial release of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful trilogy continues to fascinate viewers old and new. The Godfather Effect skillfully analyzes the reasons behind this ongoing global phenomenon. Packed with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from all three Godfather films, Tom Santopietro explores the historical origins of the Mob and why they thrived in America, how Italian-Americans are portrayed in the media, and how a saga of murderous gangsters captivated audiences around the globe. Laced with stories about Brando, Pacino, and Sinatra, and interwoven with a funny and poignant memoir about the author’s own experiences growing up with an Italian name in an Anglo world of private schools and country clubs, The Godfather Effect is a book for film lovers, observers of American life, and Italians of all nationalities.
Visit Tom Santopietro's website.

Writers Read: Tom Santopietro.

"Third Grave Dead Ahead"

New from St. Martin's Press: Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the parthuman, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?
Visit Darynda Jones's website.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Drifting House"

New from Viking: Drifting House by Krys Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unflinching portrayal of the Korean immigrant experience from an extraordinary new talent in fiction.

Ranging from Korea to the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, Krys Lee's stunning fiction debut, Drifting House, illuminates a people torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.

In the title story, children escaping famine in North Korea are forced to make unthinkable sacrifices to survive. The tales set in America reveal the immigrants' unmoored existence, playing out in cramped apartments and Koreatown strip malls. A makeshift family is fractured when a shaman from the old country moves in next door. An abandoned wife enters into a fake marriage in order to find her kidnapped daughter.

In the tradition of Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker and Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, Drifting House is an unforgettable work by a gifted new writer.
Visit Krys Lee's website.

"The Darlings"

New from Pamela Dorman Books / Viking: The Darlings by Cristina Alger.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.

Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.

But Paul's luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie-will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?

Cristina Alger's glittering debut novel interweaves the narratives of the Darling family, two eager SEC attorneys, and a team of journalists all racing to uncover-or cover up-the truth. With echoes of a fictional Too Big to Fail and the novels of Dominick Dunne, The Darlings offers an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society-a world seldom seen by outsiders-and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions.
Visit Cristina Alger's website.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Guitar Zero"

New from Penguin: Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning by Gary Marcus.

About the book, from the publisher:

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, a professor of no discernible musical talent learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone of any age might master a new skill.

Just about every human being knows how to listen to music, but what does it take to make music? Is musicality something we are born with? Or a skill that anyone can develop at any time? If you don't start piano at the age of six, is there any hope? Is skill learning best left to children or can anyone reinvent him-or herself at any time?

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Gary Marcus, an internationally renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, becomes his own guinea pig to look at how human beings become musical- and how anyone of any age can master something new. Guitar Zero traces his journey, what he learned, and how you can learn, too. In addition to being a groundbreaking look at the origins and allure of music, Marcus's journey is also an empowering tale of the mind's plasticity.

In a quest that takes him from Suzuki classes to guitar gods, Marcus investigates the most effective ways to train your brain and body to learn to play an instrument. How can you make your practice more deliberate and effective? How can you find the best music teacher for you or your child? Does talent really exist? Or is hard work all you need?

Guitar Zero
stands the science of music on its head, debunking the popular theory of an innate musical instinct and many other commonly held fallacies. At the same time, it raises new questions about the science of human pleasure and brings new insight into humankind's most basic question: what counts as a life well lived? Does one have to become the next Jimi Hendrix to make a passionate pursuit worthwhile? Or can the journey itself bring the brain lasting satisfaction?

For those who have ever set out to learn a musical instrument-or wishes that they could- Guitar Zero is an inspiring and fascinating look at music, learning, and the pursuit of a well-lived life.

"Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea"

New from Viking: Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers.

About the book, from the publisher:

A captivating debut, introducing a spirited young heroine coming of age in coastal Maine during the early 1960s.

When her mother disappears during a weekend trip, Florine Gilham's idyllic childhood is turned upside down. Until then she'd been blissfully insulated by the rhythms of family life in small town Maine: watching from the granite cliffs above the sea for her father's lobster boat to come into port, making bread with her grandmother, and infiltrating the summer tourist camps with her friends. But with her mother gone, the heart falls out of Florine's life and she and her father are isolated as they struggle to manage their loss.

Both sustained and challenged by the advice and expectations of her family and neighbors, Florine grows up with her spirit intact. And when her father's past comes to call, she must accept that life won't ever be the same while keeping her mother vivid in her memories. With Fannie Flagg's humor and Elizabeth Stroud's sense of place, this debut is an extraordinary snapshot of a bygone America through the eyes of an inspiring girl blazing her own path to womanhood.
Visit Morgan Callan Rogers's website and blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom"

New from Yale University Press: Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State by Robert C. Post.

About the book, from the publisher:

A leading American legal scholar offers a surprising account of the incompleteness of prevailing theories of freedom of speech. Robert C. Post shows that the familiar understanding of the First Amendment, which stresses the “marketplace of ideas” and which holds that "everyone is entitled to an opinion," is inadequate to create and preserve the expert knowledge that is necessary for a modern democracy to thrive. For a modern society reliably to answer such questions as whether nicotine causes cancer, the free and open exchange of ideas must be complemented by standards of scientific competence and practice that are both hierarchical and judgmental.

Post develops a theory of First Amendment rights that seeks to explain both the need for the free formation of public opinion and the need for the distribution and creation of expertise. Along the way he offers a new and useful account of constitutional doctrines of academic freedom. These doctrines depend both upon free expression and the necessity of the kinds of professional judgment that universities exercise when they grant or deny tenure, or that professional journals exercise when they accept or reject submissions.

"Gone West"

New from Minotaur Books: Gone West (A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery) by Carola Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:

In September 1926, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher visits Sybil Sutherby, a school friend now living in Derbyshire as the confidential secretary to a novelist. Suspecting that something is seriously amiss, Sybil has asked Daisy to discretely investigate. Upon arrival, Daisy finds a household of relatives and would-be suitors living off the hospitality of Humphrey Birtwhistle, who had been supporting them through his thrice-yearly, pseudonymous Westerns. When he took ill, though, Sybil took over writing them while he recovered, only to see the sales increase. Now, she fears that someone in the household is poisoning Birtwhistle to keep him ill and Sybil writing the better-paying versions. But before Daisy can even get decently underway, Humphrey Birtwhistle dies under suspicious circumstances and Daisy now faces a death to untangle, a house full of suspects and a Scotland Yard detective husband who is less than pleased at this turn of events.
According to Publishers Weekly: "The aristocratic but very modern Daisy makes a formidable amateur sleuth." Being "very modern," she has her own Facebook page, Daisy Dalrymple, Fictional Character. You can also read more about her at Carola Dunn's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Carola Dunn & Trillian.

The Page 69 Test: Anthem for Doomed Youth.

Writers Read: Carola Dunn.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The Snow Child"

New from Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown & Co.: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
Visit Eowyn Ivey's website and blog.


New from Crown: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

About the book, from the publisher:

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
Visit the author's website.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"5 Grams"

New from New York University Press: 5 Grams: Crack Cocaine, Rap Music, and the War on Drugs by Dimitri Bogazianos.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a law repealing one of the most controversial policies in American criminal justice history: the one hundred to one sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder whereby someone convicted of “simply” possessing five grams of crack—the equivalent of a few sugar packets—had been required by law to serve no less than five years in prison. In this highly original work, Dimitri A. Bogazianos draws on various sources to examine the profound symbolic consequences of America’s reliance on this punishment structure, tracing the rich cultural linkages between America’s War on Drugs, and the creative contributions of those directly affected by its destructive effects.

Focusing primarily on lyrics that emerged in 1990s New York rap, which critiqued the music industry for being corrupt, unjust, and criminal, Bogazianos shows how many rappers began drawing parallels between the “rap game” and the “crack game." He argues that the symbolism of crack in rap’s stance towards its own commercialization represents a moral debate that is far bigger than hip hop culture, highlighting the degree to which crack cocaine—although a drug long in decline—has come to represent the entire paradoxical predicament of punishment in the U.S. today.

"Thinking Small"

New from Ballantine Books: Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle by Andrea Hiott.

About the book, from the publisher:

Sometimes achieving big things requires the ability to think small. This simple concept was the driving force that propelled the Volkswagen Beetle to become an avatar of American-style freedom, a household brand, and a global icon. The VW Bug inspired the ad men of Madison Avenue, beguiled Woodstock Nation, and has recently been re-imagined for the hipster generation. And while today it is surely one of the most recognizable cars in the world, few of us know the compelling details of this car’s story. In Thinking Small, journalist and cultural historian Andrea Hiott retraces the improbable journey of this little car that changed the world.

Andrea Hiott’s wide-ranging narrative stretches from the factory floors of Weimar Germany to the executive suites of today’s automotive innovators, showing how a succession of artists and engineers shepherded the Beetle to market through periods of privation and war, reconstruction and recovery. Henry Ford’s Model T may have revolutionized the American auto industry, but for years Europe remained a place where only the elite drove cars. That all changed with the advent of the Volkswagen, the product of a Nazi initiative to bring driving to the masses. But Hitler’s concept of “the people’s car” would soon take on new meaning. As Germany rebuilt from the rubble of World War II, a whole generation succumbed to the charms of the world’s most huggable automobile.

Indeed, the story of the Volkswagen is a story about people, and Hiott introduces us to the men who believed in it, built it, and sold it: Ferdinand Porsche, the visionary Austrian automobile designer whose futuristic dream of an affordable family vehicle was fatally compromised by his patron Adolf Hitler’s monomaniacal drive toward war; Heinrich Nordhoff, the forward-thinking German industrialist whose management innovations made mass production of the Beetle a reality; and Bill Bernbach, the Jewish American advertising executive whose team of Madison Avenue mavericks dreamed up the legendary ad campaign that transformed the quintessential German compact into an outsize worldwide phenomenon.

Thinking Small is the remarkable story of an automobile and an idea. Hatched in an age of darkness, the Beetle emerged into the light of a new era as a symbol of individuality and personal mobility—a triumph not of the will but of the imagination.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"The Eden Prophecy"

New from Bantam: The Eden Prophecy by Graham Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

The wisdom of faith. The power of science. The evil of man.

In the U.N. building in New York City, a U.S. Ambassador contracts an unknown virus after opening a threatening letter. In a slum near Paris, a rogue geneticist is found dead, tortured and defiled. His last message, a desperate plea for help, was sent to an old friend and fellow outcast, the ex-CIA agent and former mercenary named Hawker. His final legacy appears to be the fingerprints he left all over the letter to the Ambassador.

Consumed by thoughts of revenge but fighting to see the truth, Hawker teams up with NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw on a quest to find the killers and track down the secrets his dead friend may have lost or sold.

From the streets of Paris to an underground auction in the catacombs of Beirut to the merciless deserts of Iran, Hawker and Danielle find themselves hunting a murderous cult leader whose scientific arsenal could lead humanity to a new Eden—or unleash hell on the Earth itself.
Learn more about the book and author at Graham Brown's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Black Rain.

"Defending Jacob"

New from Delacorte Press: Defending Jacob by William Landay.

About the book, from the publisher:

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
Visit William Landay's website and blog.

Writers Read: William Landay (May 2007).

The Page 69 Test: The Strangler.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"The Daily You"

New from Yale University Press: The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth by Joseph Turow.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Internet is often hyped as a means to enhanced consumer power: a hypercustomized media world where individuals exercise unprecedented control over what they see and do. That is the scenario media guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted in the 1990s, with his hypothetical online newspaper The Daily Me—and it is one we experience now in daily ways. But, as media expert Joseph Turow shows, the customized media environment we inhabit today reflects diminished consumer power. Not only ads and discounts but even news and entertainment are being customized by newly powerful media agencies on the basis of data we don’t know they are collecting and individualized profiles we don’t know we have. Little is known about this new industry: how is this data being collected and analyzed? And how are our profiles created and used? How do you know if you have been identified as a “target” or “waste” or placed in one of the industry’s finer-grained marketing niches? Are you, for example, a Socially Liberal Organic Eater, a Diabetic Individual in the Household, or Single City Struggler? And, if so, how does that affect what you see and do online?

Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with industry insiders, this important book shows how advertisers have come to wield such power over individuals and media outlets—and what can be done to stop it.

"The Baker's Daughter"

New from Crown: The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.

Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.

Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
Learn more about the book and author at Sarah McCoy’s website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Sarah McCoy's The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"The Silent Oligarch"

New from Penguin: The Silent Oligarch by Christopher Morgan Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

A London intelligence agent pursues a money launderer to expose the dealings of a shadowy Russian oligarch.

In a world where national borders shrink to insignificance in the face of colossal wealth and corporate power, The Silent Oligarch offers a new kind of hero to combat a new kind of crime. Drawing on his decade of experience at the world's largest corporate intelligence firm-where the wealthy buy the justice they want and the silence they need-Chris Morgan Jones leads us down into the unvarnished realities of our time in the grand tradition of John le Carré. Bearing news from a world hidden behind closed doors, The Silent Oligarch effortlessly creates a new genre in its wake.

Deep in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sits a nondescript bureaucrat named Konstantin Malin. He draws a nominal government salary but from his shabby office controls half the nation's oil industry, making him one of the most wealthy and feared men in Russia. His public face is Richard Lock, a hapless money launderer bound to Malin by marriage, complacency, and greed. Lock takes the proceeds of his master's corruption, washes them abroad, and invests them back in Russia in a secret business empire. He knows little about Malin's true affairs, but still he knows too much.

Benjamin Webster is an investigator at a London corporate intelligence firm. Years before, as an idealistic young journalist in Russia, Webster saw a colleague murdered for asking too many hard questions of powerful people; her true killers have never been found. Hired to ruin Malin, Webster comes to realize that this shadowy figure might have ordered her gruesome death, and that this case may deliver the justice he has been seeking for a decade.

As Webster peels back the layers of Malin's shell companies and criminal networks, Lock's colleagues begin dying mysteriously, police around the world start to investigate, and Malin begins to question his trust in his increasingly exposed frontman. Suddenly Lock is running for his life- though from Malin or Webster, the law or his own past, he couldn't say.

Leading us into a world we can know little about, The Silent Oligarch is the brilliant overture of a major new literary talent.
Visit Christopher Morgan Jones's website.

"Boston Cream"

New from Random House: Boston Cream by Howard Shrier.

About the book, from the publisher:

Canada's top private eye is back as Jonah Geller resumes his vagabond ways in Boston Cream, the Vintage World of Crime trade paperback original and sequel to the Arthur Ellis-winning novels Buffalo Jump and High Chicago.

David Fine is not the kind of guy to go missing. Or so his father tells PI Jonah Geller. A brilliant young surgeon-in-training, devout, devoted to his parents--last seen 2 weeks ago leaving the Boston hospital where he worked. Still recovering from a concussion, Jonah and partner Jenn Raudsepp soon find out that David fled for his life after a vicious Irish crime boss tried to abduct him. And that he's more likely dead than alive. Then Jenn joins the ranks of the missing, and Jonah needs help from former hit man Dante Ryan and two local wise guys as he races the clock to save her life, one step ahead of the Boston law.
Visit Howard Shrier's website.

Writers Read: Howard Shrier.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"The Ely Testament"

New from Severn House: The Ely Testament by Philip Gooden.

About the book, from the publisher:

Third in the highly-acclaimed nineteenth-century 'Cathedral' mystery series

When Mr Lye, an elderly partner at Tom Ansell's law firm, drops dead at his desk, Tom is dispatched to Ely to search for Mr Lye's will at Phoenix House, the home of his brother, Ernest. At the same time, Tom's wife Helen has been commissioned by New Moon magazine to write a piece on a town with 'inner beauty' - and what better place than Ely But shortly after they arrive at Phoenix House, their host is arrested for murder - and Tom and Helen find themselves at the centre of an ever-deepening mystery...
Visit Philip Gooden's website.

"Norumbega Park"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Norumbega Park by Anthony Giardina.

About the book, from the publisher:

Norumbega Park begins with a vision. Richie Palumbo, the most prosaic of men, gets lost one night in 1969 while driving home with his family. He finds himself in the town of Norumbega—a hidden town, remote and gorgeous, at the far edges of Boston’s western suburbs. He sees an old, venerable house there, and without quite knowing why, decides he must have it. The repercussions of Richie’s wild dream—to own a house in this town—lead to a forty year odyssey for his family. For Jack, his son, Norumbega becomes a sexual playground, until he meets one ungraspable girl and begins a lifelong pursuit of her. For Joannie, his daughter, the challenges of living here lead her to pursue the contemplative life. For Stella, Richie’s wife, life in Norumbega leads to a surprising growth as both a sexual and spiritual being.

Norumbega Park—by Anthony Giardina, the critically acclaimed author of White Guys—is a novel about class and parental dreams, sex and spirituality, the way visions conflict with stubborn reality, and a family’s ability to open up, for others, a world they could never fully grasp for themselves.
Visit Anthony Giardina's website.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"The Odds"

New from Viking: The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the new novel from the author of Last Night at the Lobster, a middle-age couple goes all in for love at a Niagara Falls casino

Stewart O'Nan's thirteenth novel is another wildly original, bittersweet gem like his celebrated Last Night at the Lobster. Valentine's weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls' ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances-and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances, The Odds is a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble.
Learn more about the author and his work at Stewart O'Nan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Songs for the Missing.

Writers Read: Stewart O'Nan (April 2011).

"The Rook"

New from Little, Brown: The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.

About the book, from the publisher:

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
Visit Daniel O'Malley's website and blog.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Hope: A Tragedy"

New from Riverhead: Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander.

About the book, from the publisher:

The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: No one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son there. To begin again. To start anew. But it isn't quite working out that way. His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won't stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one he bought. And when, one night, Kugel discovers history-a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history-hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.

The critically acclaimed writer Shalom Auslander's debut novel is a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.
Visit Shalom Auslander's website.

"From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant"

New from Viking: From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel by Alex Gilvarry.

About the book, from the publisher:

High fashion and homeland security clash in a masterful debut.

Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of design school in Manila. With dubious financing and visions of Fashion Week runways, he sets up shop in a Brooklyn toothpick factory, pursuing his goals with monkish devotion (distractions of a voluptuous undergrad not withstanding). But mere weeks after a high-end retail order promises to catapult his (B)oy label to the big time, there's a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic Boyet is brought to Gitmo, handed a Koran, and locked away indefinitely on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist plot. Now, from his 6' x 8' cell, Boy prepares for the trial of his life with this intimate confession, even as his belief in American justice begins to erode.

With a nod to Junot Diaz and a wink to Gary Shteyngart, Alex Gilvarry's first novel explores some of the most serious issues of our time with dark eviscerating wit.
Visit Alex Gilvarry's website.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Running the Rift"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Running the Rift follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions. Born a Tutsi, he is thrust into a world where it’s impossible to stay apolitical—where the man who used to sell you gifts for your family now spews hatred, where the girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refuses to look at you, where your Hutu coach is secretly training the very soldiers who will hunt down your family. Yet in an environment increasingly restrictive for the Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream of becoming Rwanda’s first Olympic medal contender in track, a feat he believes might deliver him and his people from this violence. When the killing begins, Jean Patrick is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life.
Visit Naomi Benaron's website.

"The House at Sea's End"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway Series #3) by Elly Griffiths.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is back, this time investigating a gruesome World War II war crime.

Elly Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway novels have been praised as “highly atmospheric” (New York Times Book Review), “remarkable” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), and “gripping” (Louise Penny). Now the beloved forensic archeologist returns, called in to investigate when human bones surface on a remote Norfolk beach.

Just back from maternity leave, Ruth is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and work. The presence of DCI Harry Nelson—the married father of her daughter, Kate—does not help. The bones turn out to be about seventy years old, which leads Nelson and Ruth to the war years, a desperate time on this stretch of coastland. Home Guard veteran Archie Whitcliffe reveals the existence of a secret that the old soldiers have vowed to protect with their lives. But then Archie is killed and a German journalist arrives, asking questions about Operation Lucifer, a plan to stop a German invasion, and a possible British war crime. What was Operation Lucifer? And who is prepared to kill to keep its secret?
Learn more about the book and author at Elly Griffiths' website.

The Ruth Galloway novels include The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone.

The Page 69 Test: The Crossing Places.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"The Crown"

New from Simon & Schuster/Touchstone: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau.

About the book, from the publisher:

An aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father—and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. The year is 1537...

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain.

But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive. At Malmesbury, secrets of the crown are revealed that bring to light the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted, and Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, Arthur. The crown’s intensity and strength are beyond the earthly realm and it must not fall into the wrong hands.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must now decide who she can trust with the secret of the crown so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.
Visit Nancy Bilyeau's website and blog.

"Vulture Peak"

New from Knopf: Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep Series #5) by John Burdett.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nobody knows Bangkok like Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, and there is no one quite like Sonchai: a police officer who has kept his Buddhist soul intact—more or less—despite the fact that his job shoves him face-to-face with some of the most vile and outrageous crimes and criminals in Bangkok. But for his newest assignment, everything he knows about his city—and himself—will be a mere starting point.

He’s put in charge of the highest-profile criminal case in Thailand—an attempt to bring an end to trafficking in human organs. He sets in motion a massive sting operation and stays at its center, traveling to Phuket, Hong Kong, Dubai, Shanghai, and Monte Carlo. He draws in a host of unwitting players that includes an aging rock star wearing out his second liver and the mysterious, diabolical, albeit gorgeous co-queenpins of the international body-parts trade: the Chinese twins known as the Vultures. And yet, it’s closer to home that Sonchai will discover things getting really dicey: rumors will reach him suggesting that his ex-prostitute wife, Chanya, is having an affair. Will Sonchai be enlightened enough—forget Buddha, think jealous husband—to cope with his very own compromised and compromising world?

All will be revealed here, in John Burdett’s most mordantly funny, propulsive, fiendishly entertaining novel yet.
Learn more about the book and author at John Burdett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Godfather of Kathmandu.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"The Night Swimmer"

New from Scribner: The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Night Swimmer, Matt Bondurant’s utterly riveting modern gothic novel of marriage and belonging, confirms his gift for storytelling that transports and enthralls.

In a small town on the southern coast of Ireland, an isolated place only frequented by fishermen and the occasional group of bird-watchers, Fred and Elly Bulkington, newly arrived from Vermont having won a pub in a contest, encounter a wild, strange land shaped by the pounding storms of the North Atlantic, as well as the native resistance to strangers. As Fred revels in the life of a new pubowner, Elly takes the ferry out to a nearby island where anyone not born there is called a “blow-in.” To the disbelief of the locals, Elly devotes herself to open-water swimming, pushing herself to the limit and crossing unseen boundaries that drive her into the heart of the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and the dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful clan that has no use for outsiders.

The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence—The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.
Learn more about the author and his work at Matt Bondurant's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Wettest County in the World.

"Glock: The Rise of America's Gun"

New from Crown: Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett.

About the book, from the publisher:

Based on fifteen years of research, Glock is the riveting story of the weapon that has become known as American’s gun. Today the Glock pistol has been embraced by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, glamorized in countless Hollywood movies, and featured as a ubiquitous presence on prime-time TV. It has been rhapsodized by hip-hop artists, and coveted by cops and crooks alike.

Created in 1982 by Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, and swiftly adopted by the Austrian army, the Glock pistol, with its lightweight plastic frame and large-capacity spring-action magazine, arrived in America at a fortuitous time. Law enforcement agencies had concluded that their agents and officers, armed with standard six-round revolvers, were getting "outgunned" by drug dealers with semi-automatic pistols. They needed a new gun.

When Karl Water, a firearm salesman based in the U.S. first saw a Glock in 1984, his reaction was, “Jeez, that’s ugly.” But the advantages of the pistol soon became apparent. The standard semi-automatic Glock could fire as many as 17 bullets from its magazine without reloading (one equipped with an extended thirty-three cartridge magazine was used in Tucson to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others). It was built with only 36 parts that were interchangeable with those of other models. You could drop it underwater, toss it from a helicopter, or leave it out in the snow, and it would still fire. It was reliable, accurate, lightweight, and cheaper to produce than Smith and Wesson’s revolver. Made in part of hardened plastic, it was even rumored (incorrectly) to be invisible to airport security screening.

Filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz, bloody shoot-outs—and an attempt on Gaston Glock’s life by a former lieutenant—Glock is at once the inside account of how Glock the company went about marketing its pistol to police agencies and later the public, as well as a compelling chronicle of the evolution of gun culture in America.
Visit the official Glock: The Rise of America's Gun website.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"The Little Russian"

New from Counterpoint: The Little Russian by Susan Sherman.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Little Russian spotlights an exciting new voice in historical fiction, an assured debut that should appeal to readers of Away by Amy Bloom or Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. The novel tells the story of Berta Alshonsky, who revels in childhood memories of her time spent with a wealthy family in Moscow –a life filled with salons, balls and all the trappings of the upper class — very different from her current life as a grocer’s daughter in the Jewish townlet of Mosny. So when a mysterious and cultured wheat merchant walks into the grocery, Berta’s life is forever altered. She falls in love, unaware that he is a member of the Bund, The Jewish Worker’s League, smuggling arms to the shtetls to defend them against the pogroms sweeping the Little Russian countryside.

Married and established in the wheat center of Cherkast, Berta has recaptured the life she once had in Moscow. So when a smuggling operation goes awry and her husband must flee the country, Berta makes the vain and foolish choice to stay behind with her children and her finery. As Russia plunges into war, Berta eventually loses everything and must find a new way to sustain the lives and safety of her children. Filled with heart-stopping action, richly drawn characters, and a world seeped in war and violence; The Little Russian is poised to capture readers as one of the hand-selling gems of the season.
Visit Susan Sherman's website and blog.


New from Tin House Books: Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Isabel is a single, twentysomething thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.

Glaciers unfolds internally, the action shaped by Isabel’s sense of history, memory, and place, recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf. For Isabel, the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life. While she contemplates loss and the intricate fissures it creates in our lives, she accumulates the stories—the remnants—of those around her and she begins to tell her own story.
Visit Alexis M. Smith's website and blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Empire State"

New from Angry Robot: Empire State by Adam Christopher.

About the book, from the publisher:

The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.
Visit Adam Christopher's website.

"American Dervish"

New from Little, Brown & Company: American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.

Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah's doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act -- with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life. Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows readers vividly the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America. This is an intimate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.
Visit Ayad Akhtar's website.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Babel No More"

New from Free Press: Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard.

About the book, from the publisher:

We all learn at least one language as children. But what does it take to learn six languages, twenty ... seventy? Such feats of linguistic prowess provide a glimpse into what the human brain is capable of—and hold up a mirror to our desire to live without language barriers on a shrinking planet. In Babel No More, Michael Erard, “a monolingual with benefits,” sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like the nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages and was such a legend that when he died people all over Europe vied for his skull. Emil Krebs, a pugnacious fin de siècle German diplomat, spoke sixty-eight languages, and Erard sees the evidence of this in Krebs’s dissected brain. Lomb Kató, a Hungarian hyperpolyglot who taught herself Russian by reading Russian romance novels, believed that “one learns grammar from language, not language from grammar.” These massive multilinguals have long offered a natural experiment into the limits of the brain; here, at last, we can inspect the results.

On his way to tracking down the one man who could be called the most linguistically talented person in the world, Erard meets other living language-superlearners. Among them is Alexander, a modern-day polyglot with dozens of languages who shows him the tricks of the trade and gives him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition. “I came to consider him as a holy man,” writes Erard. “Others do yoga; Alexander does grammatical exercises.”

With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglots’ pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and to use languages, and illuminates the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babel—and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?
Learn more about the author and his writing at Michael Erard's website.

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