Friday, November 30, 2012


New from Princeton University Press: Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei, edited by Larry Warsh.

About the book, from the publisher:

This collection of quotes demonstrates the elegant simplicity of Ai Weiwei's thoughts on key aspects of his art, politics, and life. A master at communicating powerful ideas in astonishingly few words, Ai Weiwei is known for his innovative use of social media to disseminate his views. The short quotations presented here have been carefully selected from articles, tweets, and interviews given by this acclaimed Chinese artist and activist. The book is organized into six categories: freedom of expression; art and activism; government, power, and moral choices; the digital world; history, the historical moment, and the future; and personal reflections.

Together, these quotes span some of the most revealing moments of Ai Weiwei's eventful career--from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011--providing a window into the mind of one of the world's most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists.
Read the introduction to Weiwei-isms.

"Dead Women Talking"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Dead Women Talking: Figures of Injustice in American Literature by Brian Norman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Brian Norman uncovers a curious phenomenon in American literature: dead women who nonetheless talk. These characters appear in works by such classic American writers as Poe, Dickinson, and Faulkner, as well as in more recent works by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Tony Kushner, and others. These figures are also emerging in contemporary culture, from the film and best-selling novel The Lovely Bones to the hit television drama Desperate Housewives.

Dead Women Talking demonstrates that the dead, especially women, have been speaking out in American literature since well before it was fashionable. Norman argues that they voice concerns that a community may wish to consign to the past, raising questions about gender, violence, sexuality, class, racial injustice, and national identity. When these women insert themselves into the story, they do not enter precisely as ghosts but rather as something potentially more disrupting: posthumous citizens. The community must ask itself whether it can or should recognize such a character as one of its own. The prospect of posthumous citizenship bears important implications for debates over the legal rights of the dead, social histories of burial customs and famous cadavers, and the political theory of citizenship and social death.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Constantine the Emperor"

New from Oxford University Press: Constantine the Emperor by David Potter.

About the book, from the publisher:

This year Christians worldwide will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Constantine's conversion and victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage actions. Constantine executed (or drove to suicide) his father-in-law, two brothers-in-law, his eldest son, and his once beloved wife. An unparalleled general throughout his life, even on his deathbed he was planning a major assault on the Sassanian Empire in Persia. Alongside the visionary who believed that his success came from the direct intervention of his God resided an aggressive warrior, a sometimes cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler. These characteristics combined together in a long and remarkable career, which restored the Roman Empire to its former glory.

Beginning with his first biographer Eusebius, Constantine's image has been subject to distortion. More recent revisions include John Carroll's view of him as the intellectual ancestor of the Holocaust (Constantine's Sword) and Dan Brown's presentation of him as the man who oversaw the reshaping of Christian history (The Da Vinci Code). In Constantine the Emperor, David Potter confronts each of these skewed and partial accounts to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and readable account of Constantine's extraordinary life.

"A Possible Life"

New from Hnery Holt & Co.: A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts by Sebastian Faulks.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Second World War Poland, a young prisoner closes his eyes and pictures going to bat on a sunlit English cricket ground.

Across the yard of a Victorian poorhouse, a man is too ashamed to acknowledge the son he gave away.

In a 19th-century French village, an old servant understands—suddenly and with awe—the meaning of the Bible story her master is reading to her.

On a summer evening in the Catskills in 1971, a skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar and with a song that will send shivers through her listeners' skulls.

A few years from now, in Italy, a gifted scientist discovers links between time and the human brain and between her lover's novel and his life.

Throughout the five masterpieces of fiction that make up A Possible Life, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection. Between soldier and lover, parent and child, servant and master, and artist and muse, important pleasures and pains are born of love, separations and missed opportunities. These interactions—whether successful or not—also affect the long trajectories of characters' lives.

Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling new novel journeys across continents and centuries not only to entertain with superb old-fashioned storytelling but to show that occasions of understanding between humans are the one thing that defines us—and that those moments, however fluid, are the one thing that endures.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Valley of the Shadow"

New from Minotaur Books: The Valley of the Shadow: A Cornish Mystery by Carola Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:

A cryptic message spurs Eleanor, Megan, and Nick Gresham on a frantic search for a refugee's missing family

While out on a walk, Eleanor Trewynn, her niece Megan, and her neighbor Nick spot a young, half-drowned Indian man floating in the water. Delirious and concussed, he utters a cryptic message about his family being trapped in a cave and his mother dying. The young man, unconscious and unable to help, is whisked away to a hospital while a desperate effort is mounted find the missing family in time.

The local police inspector presumes that they are refugees from East Africa, abandoned by the smugglers who brought them in, so while the countryside is being scoured for the family, Eleanor herself descends into a dangerous den of smugglers in a desperate search to find the man responsible while there is still time.
Learn more about the book and author at Carola Dunn's website and blog.

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

The Page 69 Test: Manna from Hades (the 1st Cornish Mystery).

The Page 69 Test: A Colourful Death (the 2d Cornish Mystery).

"On Extinction"

New from Counterpoint: On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature by Melanie Challenger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Realizing the link between her own estrangement from nature and the cultural shifts that led to a dramatic rise in extinctions, award-winning writer Melanie Challenger travels in search of the stories behind these losses. From an exploration of an abandoned mine in England to an Antarctic sea voyage to South Georgia's old whaling stations, from a sojourn in South America to a stay among an Inuit community in Canada, she uncovers species, cultures, and industries touched by extinction. Accompanying her on this journey are the thoughts of anthropologists, biologists, and philosophers who have come before her. Drawing on their words as well as firsthand witness and ancestral memory, Challenger traces the mindset that led to our destructiveness and proposes a path of redemption rooted in our emotional responses. This sobering yet illuminating book looks beyond natural devastation to examine “why” and “what's next.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Good Junk"

New from Minotaur Books: Good Junk: A Cliff St. James Novel by Ed Kovacs.

About the book, from the publisher:

Cliff St. James returns to a Post-Katrina New Orleans to take on another case in Ed Kovac's Good Junk, this wonderful action-packed follow-up to Storm Damage

While wrestling with guilt over having accidentally killed a mixed martial arts opponent in a sparring session, private detective Cliff St. James returns to New Orleans and finds himself assisting the police in an investigation of the murder of a U.S. government “black projects” engineer. St. James quickly uncovers “The Buyers Club,” a murky network of seedy arms dealers and foreign intelligence agents purchasing state-of-the-art weaponry and high technology, perhaps abetted by elements of the U.S. government. As members of the Buyers Club start turning up dead, St. James fights for his life and sanity as he struggles to solve the murders and undermine a treacherous espionage conspiracy.
Learn more about the book and author at Ed Kovacs's website.

Kovacs has worked for many years as a private security contractor deploying to challenging locations worldwide. He is a member of AFIO, Association for Intelligence Officers, the International Thriller Writers organization, and the Mystery Writers of America.

My Book, The Movie: Storm Damage.

The Page 69 Test: Storm Damage.

Writers Read: Ed Kovacs.

"Extra Credit"

New from Minotaur Books: Extra Credit: A Murder 101 Mystery (Volume 7) by Maggie Barbieri.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alison Bergeron has her doubts about hosting a birthday party for her twin stepdaughters, seeing as it’ll include all of her new husband’s ex-in-laws. Still, she’s a good sport, and everyone has a great time, especially the girls, who receive $10,000 from their estranged uncle, Chick.

The girls’ father, NYPD Detective Bobby Crawford, and Christine, his ex, think the gift is too much. When Crawford swings by Chick’s apartment to return it, he finds Chick dead, with roughly $250,000 stuffed in his mattress. The death is ruled a suicide, but Christine isn’t convinced, and even Alison can’t help but admit that there must be a lot more to Chick’s death than meets the eye.

Extra Credit, the latest in Maggie Barbieri’s stellar Murder 101 series, finds Alison and Bobby delving into family secrets they’d both rather leave untouched.
Visit Maggie Barbieri's website.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Safe House"

New from Minotaur Books: Safe House: A Thriller by Chris Ewan.

About the book, from the publisher:

A brilliant thriller from the author of the acclaimed Good Thief's Guide series asks, how can a beautiful woman simply vanish?

When Rob Hale wakes up in a hospital after a motorcycle crash, his first thought is for the gorgeous blonde, Lena, who was on the back of his bike. The doctors and police, however, insist that he was alone at the scene. The shock of the accident must have made him imagine Lena, especially since his description of her resembles his late sister, Laura.

Convinced that Lena is as real as he is, Rob teams up with Rebecca Lewis, a London-based PI who has a mysterious connection to Laura—and learns that even a close-knit community like the Isle of Man can hide dangerous secrets that will not stay safe forever.
Learn more about Chris Ewan and his work at his website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Paris.

Writers Read: Chris Ewan.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Venice.

"Chinese Whiskers"

New from St. Martin's Press: Chinese Whiskers by Pallavi Aiyar.

About the book, from the publisher:

Chinese Whiskers by Pallavi Aiyar is a charming fable set against the landscape of contemporary Beijing, seen through the eyes of two cats.

Soyabean is a middle class cat looked after by a grandmother who embodies traditional Chinese morality. Tofu is born to a stray cat mother in a backyard dustbin. They are brought together when they are adopted by foreigners, who live in a traditional style courtyard house in Beijing’s traditional hutong neighborhoods. Then Soyabean is offered a job as a model for a new brand of cat food while at the same time a mysterious virus is sickening people across the city. Cats are blamed for it and are being rounded up, and Soyabean and Tofu's idyllic lives as pampered pets come to an abrupt end.

Interweaving real episodes in recent Chinese history such as the Olympic Games, the SARS virus, and tainted pet-food scandals with a richly imagined world, this heartwarming story of cats and humans does what W. Bruce Cameron's A Dog's Purpose did for canines. It will make you laugh and tear up, while showing the battles fought between the corruption of modern living and the ideals of traditional life.
Visit Pallavi Aiyar's website.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Shadow Creek"

New from Atria/Emily Bestler Books: Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding.

About the book, from the publisher:

There’s something deadly lurking in the shadows at Shadow Creek...

Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex and grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies.

What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated. She was half-expecting it to be the trip from hell, but what she never could have predicted was that this impromptu little excursion.
Visit Joy Fielding's website.

"The Bones of the Old Ones"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped from a dangerous cabal that has ensorcelled her to track down ancient magical tools of tremendous power, the bones of the old ones.

To stop the cabal and save Najya, Dabir and Asim venture into the worst winter in human memory, hunted by a shape-changing assassin. The stalwart Asim is drawn irresistibly toward the beautiful Persian even as Dabir realizes she may be far more dangerous a threat than anyone who pursues them, for her enchantment worsens with the winter. As their opposition grows, Dabir and Asim have no choice but to ally with their deadliest enemy, the treacherous Greek necromancer, Lydia. But even if they can trust one another long enough to escape their foes, it may be too late for Najya, whose soul is bound up with a vengeful spirit intent on sheathing the world in ice for a thousand years...
Visit Howard Andrew Jones's website.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"The Almost Truth"

New from Simon Pulse: The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head.

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose....
Learn more about the author and her books at Eileen Cook’s website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood.

My Book, The Movie: The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

"Andromeda's Fall"

New from Ace: Andromeda's Fall by William C. Dietz.

About the book, from the publisher:

The roots of the Legion of the Damned lie deep within the mythology of the future. But now, national bestselling author William C. Dietz goes back to the Legion’s early days with the story of one recruit’s rebirth and redemption

Hundreds of years in the future, much has changed. Advances in medicine, technology, and science abound. Humanity has gone to the stars, found alien life, and established an empire.

But some things never change...

All her life, Lady Catherine Carletto (called Cat) has lived for nothing but the next party, the next lover, the next expensive toy. Until, in a bloodthirsty power grab, Imperial Princess Ophelia and her cadre of synth assassins murder her brother the emperor, and go on to purge the galaxy of his friends and supporters—including Cat’s family. The Carlettos are known to be staunch supporters of the Emperor and Carletto Industries has been in the forefront of his pet project—developing cybernetic technology for use by the masses.

Now Cat, one of the last surviving Carlettos, is on the run. And, like countless others before her, she finds her sanctuary among the most dangerous of society’s misfits.

Welcome to the Legion.

Cat Carletto vanishes, and in her place stands Legion recruit Andromeda McKee. A woman with a mission—to bring down Empress Ophelia—or die trying.
 Visit William C. Dietz's website.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Moynihan's Moment"

New from Oxford University Press: Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight Against Zionism as Racism by Gil Troy.

About the book, from the publisher:

On November 10, 1975, the General Assembly of United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism a form of racism. Afterward, a tall man with long, graying hair, horned-rim glasses, and a bowtie stood to speak. He pronounced his words with the rounded tones of a Harvard academic, but his voice shook with outrage: "The United States rises to declare, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."

This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics--the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's détente-driven approach to the Soviet Union--which was behind Resolution 3379. Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. While Washington distanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel. Civil rights leaders cheered. The speech cost Moynihan his job--but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat. Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution, vividly recounts Moynihan's speech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades.

The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policy began to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.
Visit Gil Troy's website and blog.

"Jail Coach"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: Jail Coach by Hillary Bell Locke.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jay Davidovich is a 6-4/225-pound blond-haired Jewish insurance apparatchik with Ukrainian parents and an American attitude. He is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan not because of patriotic fervor but because he joined the National Guard in the late ‘nineties so that the taxpayers could put him through college. Nine-eleven took him by surprise – “sort of like Bush,” as Jay puts it. His job at Trans/Oxana is to prevent losses that Trans/Oxana has insured against – especially losses that unpleasant people want to happen. After Hollywood pretty boy Kent Trowbridge plays late-night bumper-car in his Ferrari with two palm trees and a median in New Paradigm Studios, which bought an eight-figure Trans/Oxana policy insuring performance of Trowbridge’s Major Performing Artist Contract. In San Gabriel, unlike LA County, second offence DUI is not “boys will be boys.” Jay quickly realizes that Trowbrigde is going to do some county time. Because there won’t be any director yelling “CUT!” when things get dicey on the inside, Jay figures that Trowbridge won’t be in shape to perform anything once he gets out unless Jay finds him a Jail Coach.

Enter Katrina Thomspon whose past includes jail, the Marines, a daughter, and a hustler named Stan Chaladian. The first will help Jay, the second will impress him, the third will charm him, and the fourth with almost kill him – that’s life in the Loss Prevention business.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Dying on the Vine"

New from Berkley: Dying on the Vine by Aaron Elkins.

About the book, from the publisher:

It was the unwavering custom of Pietro Cubbiddu, patriarch of Tuscany’s Villa Antica wine empire, to take a solitary month-long sabbatical at the end of the early grape harvest, leaving the winery in the trusted hands of his three sons. His wife, Nola, would drive him to an isolated mountain cabin in the Apennines and return for him a month later, bringing him back to his family and business.

So it went for almost a decade—until the year came when neither of them returned. Months later, a hiker in the Apennines stumbles on their skeletal remains. The carabinieri investigate and release their findings: they are dealing with a murder-suicide. The evidence makes it clear that Pietro Cubbiddu shot and killed his wife and then himself. The likely motive: his discovery that Nola had been having an affair.

Not long afterwards, Gideon Oliver and his wife, Julie, are in Tuscany visiting their friends, the Cubbiddu offspring. The renowned Skeleton Detective is asked to reexamine the bones. When he does, he reluctantly concludes that the carabinieri, competent though they may be, have gotten almost everything wrong. Whatever it was that happened in the mountains, a murder-suicide it was not.

Soon Gideon finds himself in a morass of family antipathies, conflicts, and mistrust, to say nothing of the local carabinieri’s resentment. And when yet another Cubbiddu relation meets an unlikely end, it becomes bone-chillingly clear that the killer is far from finished…
Visit Aaron J. Elkins' website.

My Book, The Movie: Aaron Elkins' "Gideon Oliver" novels.

"An Extraordinary Theory of Objects"

New from Harper: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris by Stephanie LaCava.

About the book, from the publisher:

A haunting and moving collection of original narratives that reveals an expatriate's coming-of-age in Paris and the magic she finds in ordinary objects

An awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects.

When her father's mysterious job transports her and her family to the quaint Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet, everything changes for the young American. Stephanie sets out to explore her new surroundings and to make friends at her unconventional international school, but her curiosity soon gives way to feelings of anxiety and a deep depression.

In her darkest moments, Stephanie learns to filter the world through her peculiar lens, discovering the uncommon, uncelebrated beauty in what she finds. Encouraged by her father through trips to museums and scavenger hunts at antique shows, she traces an interconnected web of narratives of long-ago outsiders, and of objects historical and natural, that ultimately help her survive.

A series of illustrated essays that unfolds in cinematic fashion, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects offers a universal lesson—to harness the power of creativity to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment to find wonder in the uncertainty of the future.
Visit Stephanie LaCava's website.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Wind Wizard"

New from Princeton University Press: Wind Wizard: Alan G. Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering by Siobhan Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

With Wind Wizard, Siobhan Roberts brings us the story of Alan Davenport (1932-2009), the father of modern wind engineering, who investigated how wind navigates the obstacle course of the earth's natural and built environments--and how, when not properly heeded, wind causes buildings and bridges to teeter unduly, sway with abandon, and even collapse.

In 1964, Davenport received a confidential telephone call from two engineers requesting tests on a pair of towers that promised to be the tallest in the world. His resulting wind studies on New York's World Trade Center advanced the art and science of wind engineering with one pioneering innovation after another. Establishing the first dedicated "boundary layer" wind tunnel laboratory for civil engineering structures, Davenport enabled the study of the atmospheric region from the earth's surface to three thousand feet, where the air churns with turbulent eddies, the average wind speed increasing with height. The boundary layer wind tunnel mimics these windy marbled striations in order to test models of buildings and bridges that inevitably face the wind when built. Over the years, Davenport's revolutionary lab investigated and improved the wind-worthiness of the world's greatest structures, including the Sears Tower, the John Hancock Tower, Shanghai's World Financial Center, the CN Tower, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the Sunshine Skyway, and the proposed crossing for the Strait of Messina, linking Sicily with mainland Italy.

Chronicling Davenport's innovations by analyzing select projects, this popular-science book gives an illuminating behind-the-scenes view into the practice of wind engineering, and insight into Davenport's steadfast belief that there is neither a structure too tall nor too long, as long as it is supported by sound wind science.
See The Page 69 Test: Siobhan Roberts' King of Infinite Space.

Visit Siobhan Roberts' website.

"The Valley of Unknowing"

New from W. W. Norton: The Valley of Unknowing by Philip Sington.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug’s work.

Asked to appraise a mysterious manuscript, Bruno is disturbed to find that the author is none other than his rival. Disconcertingly, the book is good—very good. But there is hope for the older man: the unwelcome masterpiece is dangerously political. Krug decides that if his affair with Theresa is to prove more than a fling, he must employ a small deception. But in the Workers’ and Peasants’ State, knowing the deceiver from the deceived, the betrayer from the betrayed, isn’t just difficult: it is a matter of life and death. Now the celebrated author and secret Stasi informer is ready to confess…

The Valley of Unknowing is both a moving and entertaining love story and a seductive thriller, one that pits the past against the future, commerce against creativity, and art against life.
Visit Philip Sington's website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Dear Life"

New from Knopf: Dear Life by Alice Munro.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is rescued by a seasoned newspaper columnist, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, toward a hoped-for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancée from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move. A wealthy young woman having an affair with the married lawyer hired by her father to handle his estate comes up with a surprising way to deal with the blackmailer who finds them out.

While most of these stories take place in Munro’s home territory—the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron—the characters sometimes venture to the cities, and the book ends with four pieces set in the area where she grew up, and in the time of her own childhood: stories “autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact.” A girl who can’t sleep imagines night after wakeful night that she kills her beloved younger sister. A mother snatches up her child and runs for dear life when a crazy woman comes into her yard.

Suffused with Munro’s clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these tales about departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, and outgoings and homecomings both imagined and real, paint a radiant, indelible portrait of how strange, perilous, and extraordinary ordinary life can be.
Alice Munro is one of Sarah Crown's six great female short story authors.

"I Died for Beauty"

New from Oxford University Press: I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science by Marjorie Senechal.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the vein of A Beautiful Mind, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, and Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, this volume tells the poignant story of the brilliant, colorful, controversial mathematician named Dorothy Wrinch.

Drawing on her own personal and professional relationship with Wrinch and archives in the United States, Canada, and England, Marjorie Senechal explores the life and work of this provocative, scintillating mind. Senechal portrays a woman who was learned, restless, imperious, exacting, critical, witty, and kind. A young disciple of Bertrand Russell while at Cambridge, the first women to receive a doctor of science degree from Oxford University, Wrinch's contributions to mathematical physics, philosophy, probability theory, genetics, protein structure, and crystallography were anything but inconsequential. But Wrinch, a complicated and ultimately tragic figure, is remembered today for her much publicized feud with Linus Pauling over the molecular architecture of proteins. Pauling ultimately won that bitter battle. Yet, Senechal reminds us, some of the giants of mid-century science--including Niels Bohr, Irving Langmuir, D'Arcy Thompson, Harold Urey, and David Harker--took Wrinch's side in the feud. What accounts for her vast if now-forgotten influence? What did these renowned thinkers, in such different fields, hope her model might explain?

Senechal presents a sympathetic portrait of the life and work of a luminous but tragically flawed character. At the same time, she illuminates the subtler prejudices Wrinch faced as a feisty woman, profound culture clashes between scientific disciplines, ever-changing notions of symmetry and pattern in science, and the puzzling roles of beauty and truth.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"The Rise of Ransom City"

New from Tor Books: The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman.

About the book, from the publisher:

This is the story Harry Ransom. If you know his name it’s most likely as the inventor of the Ransom Process, a stroke of genius that changed the world.

Or you may have read about how he lost the battle of Jasper City, or won it, depending on where you stand in matters of politics.

Friends called him Hal or Harry, or by one of a half-dozen aliases, of which he had more than any honest man should. He often went by Professor Harry Ransom, and though he never had anything you might call a formal education, he definitely earned it.

If you’re reading this in the future, Ransom City must be a great and glittering metropolis by now, with a big bronze statue of Harry Ransom in a park somewhere. You might be standing on its sidewalk and not wonder in the least of how it grew to its current glory. Well, here is its story, full of adventure and intrigue. And it all starts with the day that old Harry Ransom crossed paths with Liv Alverhyusen and John Creedmoor, two fugitives running from the Line, amidst a war with no end.
Visit Felix Gilman's website and blog.

"The Gilded Lily"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: The Gilded Lily: A Novel by Deborah Swift.

About the book, from the publisher:

A spellbinding historical novel of beauty and greed and surprising redemption

England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects. Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.

Set in a London of atmospheric coffee houses, gilded mansions, and shady pawnshops hidden from rich men’s view, Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lily is a dazzling novel of historical adventure.
Visit Deborah Swift's website and blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Broken Like This"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Broken Like This: A Novel by Monica Trasandes.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unforgettably haunting novel—intertwining stories reveal how a man and a woman fall in love with the same extraordinary person

Broken Like This by Monica Trasandes is the saga of Kate Harrington—who for the past fifteen years has been the muse, provocateur and lodestone in the lives of Louis Ross and Angela Agnelli. After a car accident in Ibiza, Kate lies comatose and is, unbeknownst to anyone, two months pregnant. Angela and Louis both fly to her side, as does Kate’s step-father, who’s been a dark presence in all of their lives for many years. Told in present day and breathtaking flashbacks, by turns bittersweet and brutally honest—this is a remarkable debut.

What begins as an evocative story of love and identity evolves, faster and faster, into a high-scale drama—with a conclusion that is truly heartrending. From sunny, Southern California to the sweaty, musical streets of Brazil; from a garden in Boston to a rooftop in Brooklyn—Broken Like This is a rare novel that captures the utter joy felt when meeting that person whose energy and passion will shape your life forever.
Visit Monica Trasandes's website.

"Coding Freedom"

New from Princeton University Press: Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Who are computer hackers? What is free software? And what does the emergence of a community dedicated to the production of free and open source software--and to hacking as a technical, aesthetic, and moral project--reveal about the values of contemporary liberalism? Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers' devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property.

E. Gabriella Coleman tracks the ways in which hackers collaborate and examines passionate manifestos, hacker humor, free software project governance, and festive hacker conferences. Looking at the ways that hackers sustain their productive freedom, Coleman shows that these activists, driven by a commitment to their work, reformulate key ideals including free speech, transparency, and meritocracy, and refuse restrictive intellectual protections. Coleman demonstrates how hacking, so often marginalized or misunderstood, sheds light on the continuing relevance of liberalism in online collaboration.
Visit Gabriella Coleman's website.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Silver Cross"

New from Forge Books: Silver Cross by B. Kent Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:

History professor Nick Journey and federal agent Meg Tolman return in Silver Cross, the thrilling sequel to B. Kent Anderson's Cold Glory.

When her friend is murdered, Tolman rushes to North Carolina to investigate. She finds a vast conspiracy hanging on a letter from Napoleon III to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, pledging French aid to the Confederacy for the “Silver Cross.” The letter was lost when confederate spy Rose Greenhow drowned just yards from Confederate soil.

Tolman asks history professor Nick Journey for his help, and soon the two are following a treasure map deep into the west Texas desert. Hot on their trail are others desperately trying to cover up the existence of the Silver Cross, including Ann Gray, a freelance assassin gone rogue, and her former employers, a secretive group known only as the Associates.

As horrifying acts of domestic terrorism erupt throughout the country, Journey and Tolman seek an answer to the 150-year-old riddle before it's too late.
Visit B. Kent Anderson's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Cold Glory.

"Eleven Pipers Piping"

New from Delacorte Press: Eleven Pipers Piping: A Father Christmas Mystery by C. C. Benison.

About the book, from the publisher:

Father Tom Christmas, the recently widowed vicar adjusting to life in the English village of Thornford Regis, would do almost anything to avoid attending the annual Robert Burns Supper at the local hotel. But as chaplain to a traditional Scottish pipe band, Father Tom must deliver the grace—and contend with wailing bagpipes, whiskey-laced parishioners reciting poetry, and the culinary abomination that is haggis.

As snow falls to unprecedented depths, the revelers carry on—briefly interrupted by an enigmatic stranger seeking shelter. Then Will Moir, proprietor of the hotel and a dedicated piper, inexplicably goes missing—only to be found later in the hotel’s dark tower, alone and dead from what appears to be a heart attack.

Father Tom’s own heart sinks when he learns the actual cause of Will’s demise. When word gets out, the flurry of innocent speculation descends into outlandish gossip. And, for all its tranquil charm, Thornford Regis has plenty to gossip about—illicit trysts, muted violence, private sorrows, and old, unresolved tragedies. The question is: Who would benefit most from the piper’s death? Suspicion swirls around many, including Will’s beautiful widow, their shadowy son, Will’s obnoxious brother-in-law, and even the mysterious party crasher, who knows more than she lets on about the grudges she left behind—but never forgot.

Brimming with wit, full of genuine surprise, and featuring one of the most memorable (and unlikely) detectives in mystery fiction, C. C. Benison’s second Father Christmas mystery will delight readers with a puzzle that truly defies solution.
Visit C. C. Benison's website.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"The Last Refuge"

New from W.W. Norton: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory D. Johnsen.

About the book, from the publisher:

A gripping account of how al-Qaeda in Yemen rebounded from an initial defeat to once again threaten the United States.

Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers in an unforgiving corner of Arabia.

The Last Refuge charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen over the last thirty years, detailing how a group that the United States once defeated has now become one of the world’s most dangerous threats. An expert on Yemen who has spent years on the ground there, Gregory D. Johnsen uses al-Qaeda’s Arabic battle notes to reconstruct their world as they take aim at the United States and its allies. Johnsen brings readers in-side al-Qaeda’s training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day. The Last Refuge is an eye-opening look at the successes and failures of fighting a new type of war in one of the most turbulent countries in the world.

"There and Back Again"

New from I. B.Tauris: There and Back Again: JRR Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit by Mark Atherton.

About the book, from the publisher:

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." The prophetic words of Galadriel, addressed to Frodo as he prepared to travel from Lothlórien to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, are just as pertinent to J. R. R. Tolkien’s own fiction. For decades, hobbits and the other fantastical creatures of Middle-earth have captured the imaginations of a fiercely loyal tribe of readers, all enhanced by the immense success of Peter Jackson’s films: first The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now his newest movie, The Hobbit. But for all Tolkien’s global fame and the familiarity of modern culture with Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, the sources of the great mythmaker’s own myth-making have been neglected.

Mark Atherton here explores the chief influences on Tolkien’s work: his boyhood in the West Midlands; the landscapes and seascapes which shaped his mythologies; his experiences in World War I; his interest in Scandinavian myth; his friendships, especially with the other Oxford-based Inklings; and the relevance of his themes, especially ecological themes, to the present-day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Mandarin Gate"

New from Minotaur Books: Mandarin Gate Inspector Shan Tao Yun (Volume 7) by Eliot Pattison.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Mandarin Gate, Edgar Award winner Eliot Pattison brings Shan back in a thriller that navigates the explosive political and religious landscape of Tibet.

In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he'd been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan has just begun to settle into his menial job as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches in a remote Tibetan township when he encounters a wrenching crime scene. Strewn across the grounds of an old Buddhist temple undergoing restoration are the bodies of two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun. Shan quickly realizes that the murders pose a riddle the Chinese police might in fact be trying to cover up. When he discovers that a nearby village has been converted into a new internment camp for Tibetan dissidents arrested in Beijing’s latest pacification campaign, Shan recognizes the dangerous landscape he has entered. To find justice for the victims and to protect an American woman who witnessed the murders, Shan must navigate through the treacherous worlds of the internment camp, the local criminal gang, and the government’s rabid pacification teams, while coping with his growing doubts about his own identity and role in Tibet.
Visit Eliot Pattison's website.

"The Geomancer's Compass"

New from Tundra Books: The Geomancer's Compass by Melissa Hardy.

About the book, from the publisher:

This futuristic novel has all the elements YA fiction needs to draw critical attention from reviewers, and to elicit award-nominations. It is thematically interesting, culturally diverse, well-written, futuristic, and very funny.

Set in the year 2021, this fantastic YA novel explores the tension between a young woman's future building infrastructure for Augmented Reality, and the commitment she makes to her dying grandmother to honour ancient Chinese magic. The Geomancer's Compass imagines a world in the near future while exploring the Chinese immigrant experience and the expanding, elastic and shifting nature of reality.
Visit Melissa Hardy's website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Air's Appearance"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Air's Appearance: Literary Atmosphere in British Fiction, 1660-1794 by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Air’s Appearance, Jayne Elizabeth Lewis enlists her readers in pursuit of the elusive concept of atmosphere in literary works. She shows how diverse conceptions of air in the eighteenth century converged in British fiction, producing the modern literary sense of atmosphere and moving novelists to explore the threshold between material and immaterial worlds.

Air’s Appearance links the emergence of literary atmosphere to changing ideas about air and the earth’s atmosphere in natural philosophy, as well as to the era’s theories of the supernatural and fascination with social manners—or, as they are now known, “airs.” Lewis thus offers a striking new interpretation of several standard features of the Enlightenment—the scientific revolution, the decline of magic, character-based sociability, and the rise of the novel—that considers them in terms of the romance of air that permeates and connects them. As it explores key episodes in the history of natural philosophy and in major literary works like Paradise Lost, “The Rape of the Lock,” Robinson Crusoe, and The Mysteries of Udolpho, this book promises to change the atmosphere of eighteenth-century studies and the history of the novel.

"Well Met"

New from New York University Press: Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture by Rachel Lee Rubin.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Renaissance Faire—a 50 year-long party, communal ritual, political challenge and cultural wellspring—receives its first sustained historical attention with Well Met. Beginning with the chaotic communal moment of its founding and early development in the 1960s through its incorporation as a major “family friendly” leisure site in the 2000s, Well Met tells the story of the thinkers, artists, clowns, mimes, and others performers who make the Faire.

Well Met approaches the Faire from the perspective of labor, education, aesthetics, business, the opposition it faced, and the key figures involved. Drawing upon vibrant interview material and deep archival research, Rachel Lee Rubin reveals the way the faires established themselves as a pioneering and highly visible counter cultural referendum on how we live now—our family and sexual arrangements, our relationship to consumer goods, and our corporate entertainments.

In order to understand the meaning of the faire to its devoted participants,both workers and visitors, Rubin has compiled a dazzling array of testimony, from extensive conversations with Faire founder Phyllis Patterson to interviews regarding the contemporary scene with performers, crafters, booth workers and “playtrons.” Well Met pays equal attention what came out of the faire—the transforming gifts bestowed by the faire’s innovations and experiments upon the broader American culture: the underground press of the 1960s and 1970s, experimentation with “ethnic” musical instruments and styles in popular music, the craft revival, and various forms of immersive theater are all connected back to their roots in the faire. Original, intrepid, and richly illustrated, Well Met puts the Renaissance Faire back at the historical center of the American counterculture.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


New from Delacorte Books for Young Readers: Sacred by Elana K. Arnold.

About the book, from the publisher:

A grieving girl meets a boy with mystical powers in this passionate love story.

Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."

The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.
Visit Elana K. Arnold's website.


New from Soho Crime: Crashed by Timothy Hallinan.

About the book, from the publisher:


Junior Bender is a Los Angeles burglar with a magic touch. Since he first started breaking into houses when he was fourteen years old, he’s never once been caught. But now, after twenty-two years of an exemplary career, Junior has been blackmailed by Trey Annunziato, one of the most powerful crime bosses in LA, into acting as a private investigator on the set of Trey’s porn movie venture, which someone keeps sabotaging. The star Trey has lined up to do all that’s unwholesome on camera is Thistle Downing, America’s beloved child star, who now lives alone in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. Her starring role will be the scandalous fall-from-grace gossip of rubber-neckers across the country. No wonder Trey needs help keeping the production on track.

Junior knows what that he should do—get Thistle out and find her help—but doing the right thing will land him on the wrong side of LA’s scariest mob boss. With the help of his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Rina, and his criminal sidekick, Louie the Lost (an ex-getaway driver), Junior has to figure out a miracle solution.
Learn more about the book and author at Timothy Hallinan's website and blog.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Sweet Tooth"

New from Nan A. Talese: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.

Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.
Read McEwan's explanation for what was the seed for Sweet Tooth.

"Heads in Beds"

New from Doubleday: Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky.

About the book, from the publisher:

Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.

Heads in Beds is a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.

Along his journey Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.
Visit Jacob Tomsky's website.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"The Science of Love"

New from John Wiley & Sons: The Science of Love by Robin Dunbar.

About the book, from the publisher:

A scientific exploration of some of humanity's most puzzling questions: What is love? Why do we fall in (and out) of love? And why would we have evolved to feel something so weird, with so many downsides?

Whether you live for Valentine's Day or are the type to forget your wedding anniversary, love is, quite simply, part of being human. In The Science of Love, renowned evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar uses the latest science to explore every aspect of human love. Why do we kiss? What evolutionary benefit could there be to feeling like you would die for your mate? If love exists to encourage child-bearing and child-rearing, why do we love until death do us part (and beyond)? Is parental love anything like romantic love? Dunbar explores everything science has discovered about romance, passion, sex, and commitment, answering these questions and more.

"The Great Pearl Heist"

New from Berkley: The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the summer of 1913, under the cover of London’s perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds are pitted against each other—a celebrated gentleman thief and a talented Scotland Yard detective—in the greatest jewel heist of the new century. An exquisite strand of pale pink pearls, worth more than the Hope Diamond, has been bought by a Hatton Garden broker. Word of the “Mona Lisa of Pearls” spreads around the world, captivating jewelers as well as thieves. In transit to London from Paris, the necklace vanishes without a trace.

Joseph Grizzard, “the King of Fences,” is the charming leader of a vast gang of thieves in London’s East End. Grizzard grew up on the streets of Whitechapel during the terror of Jack the Ripper to rise to the top of the criminal world. Wealthy, married, a father, Grizzard still cannot resist the sport of crime, and the pearl necklace proves an irresistible challenge.

Inspector Alfred Ward patrols the city’s dark, befogged streets before joining the brand-new division of the Metropolitan Police known as “detectives.” Ward earns his stripes catching some of the great murderers of Victorian London and, at the height of his career, is asked to turn his forensic talents to finding the missing pearls and the thief who stole them.

In the spirit of The Great Train Robbery and the tales of Sherlock Holmes, this is the true story of a psychological cat-and-mouse game set against the backdrop of London’s golden Edwardian era. Thoroughly researched, compellingly colorful, The Great Pearl Heist is a gripping narrative account of this little-known, yet extraordinary crime.
Visit Molly Caldwell Crosby's website.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Swift Run"

New from Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books: Swift Run: A Mystery by Laura DiSilverio.

About the book, from the publisher:

With Charlie convalescing from a gunshot wound, Gigi is temporarily running Swift Investigations when Heather-Anne Pawlusik, the tramp who ran off with Gigi’s husband, Les, saunters into the office. Heather-Anne wants to hire the firm to find Les, missing from their love nest in Costa Rica. Gigi tells her to am-scray, but the lure of a paying client is too much, and Les is the father of her children, so she accepts the case, against Charlie’s advice.

Attuned to her embezzling ex’s habits, Gigi tracks down Les but he quickly loses her. When a body turns up, the cops start measuring Gigi for a prison jumpsuit, so she and Charlie frantically hunt for Les and dig into Heather-Anne’s mysterious past because orange isn’t Gigi’s color. What Gigi discovers, not only about Les, but about herself and her feelings for him, surprises her as much as the killer’s identity.

Swift Run, Laura DiSilverio’s third novel in this entertaining and original series, is a thrilling and hilarious romp. Readers will enjoy spending time with this engaging crime-fighting duo.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura DiSilverio's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Laura DiSilverio.


New from Yale University Press: Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World by Stephen R. Kellert.

About the book, from the publisher:

Human health and well-being are inextricably linked to nature; our connection to the natural world is part of our biological inheritance. In this engaging book, a pioneer in the field of biophilia—the study of human beings' inherent affinity for nature—sets forth the first full account of nature's powerful influence on the quality of our lives. Stephen Kellert asserts that our capacities to think, feel, communicate, create, and find meaning in life all depend upon our relationship to nature. And yet our increasing disconnection and alienation from the natural world reflect how seriously we have undervalued its important role in our lives.

Weaving scientific findings together with personal experiences and perspectives, Kellert explores how our humanity in the most fundamental sense—including our physical health, and capacities for affection, aversion, intellect, control, aesthetics, exploitation, spirituality, and communication are deeply contingent on the quality of our connections to the natural world. Because of this dependency, the human species has developed over the course of its evolution an inherent need to affiliate with nature. But, like much of what it means to be human, this inborn tendency must be learned to become fully functional. In other words, it is a birthright that must be earned. He discusses how we can restore this balance to nature by means of changes in how we raise children, educate ourselves, use land and resources, develop building and community design, practice our ethics, and conduct our everyday lives. Kellert's moving book provides exactly what is needed now: a fresh understanding of how much our essential humanity relies on being a part of the natural world.

Friday, November 9, 2012

"The True History of Merlin the Magician"

New from Yale University Press: The True History of Merlin the Magician by Anne Lawrence-Mathers.

About the book, from the publisher:

Merlin the Magician has remained an enthralling and curious individual since he was first introduced in the twelfth century though the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae. But although the Merlin of literature and Arthurian myth is well known, Merlin the "historical" figure and his relation to medieval magic are less familiar. In this book Anne Lawrence-Mathers explores just who he was and what he has meant to Britain.

The historical Merlin was no rough magician: he was a learned figure from the cutting edge of medieval science and adept in astrology, cosmology, prophecy, and natural magic, as well as being a seer and a proto-alchemist. His powers were convincingly real—and useful, for they helped to add credibility to the "long-lost" history of Britain which first revealed them to a European public. Merlin’s prophecies reassuringly foretold Britain’s path, establishing an ancient ancestral line and linking biblical prophecy with more recent times. Merlin helped to put British history into world history.

Lawrence-Mathers also explores the meaning of Merlin’s magic across the centuries, arguing that he embodied ancient Christian and pagan magical traditions, recreated for a medieval court and shaped to fit a new moral framework. Linking Merlin’s reality and power with the culture of the Middle Ages, this remarkable book reveals the true impact of the most famous magician of all time.

"King of the Dead"

New from Tor Books: King of the Dead by Joseph Nassise.

About the book, from the publisher:

Joseph Nassise shook up the urban fantasy genre with Eyes to See, a novel New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry called “heartbreaking, deeply insightful, powerful and genuinely thrilling.” In a devil’s deal, Jeremiah Hunt sacrificed his human sight in exchange for the power to see the hidden world of ghosts and all of the darker spirits that prowl the streets. Hunt uncovered a world of murder and magic that took his daughter from him and nearly cost him his life, but that was only the beginning....

Now Hunt is on the run from the FBI, who have pegged him as a mass-murdering dark sorcerer. His flight from the law is diverted to New Orleans when his companion, a potent witch, has a horrific vision of the city under magical siege. When they arrive, they realize that the situation is more dire than they could have imagined: the world of the living faces a terrifying attack by forces from beyond the grave. King of the Dead, the second book in this groundbreaking series, promises more of Nassise’s electrifying writing that will enthrall readers looking for a supercharged, supernatural thrill.
Visit Joseph Nassise's website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"The Covert Sphere"

New from Cornell University Press: The Covert Sphere: Secrecy, Fiction, and the National Security State by Timothy Melley.

About the book, from the publisher:

In December 2010 the U.S. Embassy in Kabul acknowledged that it was providing major funding for thirteen episodes of Eagle Four—a new Afghani television melodrama based loosely on the blockbuster U.S. series 24. According to an embassy spokesperson, Eagle Four was part of a strategy aimed at transforming public suspicion of security forces into something like awed respect. Why would a wartime government spend valuable resources on a melodrama of covert operations? The answer, according to Timothy Melley, is not simply that fiction has real political effects but that, since the Cold War, fiction has become integral to the growth of national security as a concept and a transformation of democracy.

In The Covert Sphere, Melley links this cultural shift to the birth of the national security state in 1947. As the United States developed a vast infrastructure of clandestine organizations, it shielded policy from the public sphere and gave rise to a new cultural imaginary, "the covert sphere." One of the surprising consequences of state secrecy is that citizens must rely substantially on fiction to “know,” or imagine, their nation's foreign policy. The potent combination of institutional secrecy and public fascination with the secret work of the state was instrumental in fostering the culture of suspicion and uncertainty that has plagued American society ever since—and, Melley argues, that would eventually find its fullest expression in postmodernism.

The Covert Sphere traces these consequences from the Korean War through the War on Terror, examining how a regime of psychological operations and covert action has made the conflation of reality and fiction a central feature of both U.S. foreign policy and American culture. Melley interweaves Cold War history with political theory and original readings of films, television dramas, and popular entertainments—from The Manchurian Candidate through 24—as well as influential writing by Margaret Atwood, Robert Coover, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E. L. Doctorow, Michael Herr, Denis Johnson, Norman Mailer, Tim O’Brien, and many others.

"The Thieves of Legend"

New from Atria Books: The Thieves of Legend: A Thriller by Richard Doetsch.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a world of dark and light, where East meets West, a horrific act of violence propels former thief Michael St. Pierre into a mystery that began five hundred years ago....

In Richard Doetsch's next unforgettable Thieves thriller, Michael and his ex-girlfriend KC Ryan have been blackmailed by a U.S. Army colonel. They are to travel to opposite ends of China, and each is responsible for stealing a piece of an ancient puzzle: a diary and a compass. With their lives dependent on each other’s success, they must face off against the complex underworld of the Chinese triads, a twisted female assassin, and a madman whose only desire is to possess the secrets held within the pages of the diary—knowledge that would give him enormous power and lead to the downfall of nations.

Moving from the glittering casinos of Macau to its dark and dangerous backstreets; from the palace at the heart of China’s Forbidden City to the medieval castles of Spain; from the seaside mansions along the Amalfi Coast to an uncharted Pacific island, Michael is in a race against time. He has less than five days to uncover a five-hundred-year-old mystery—and to save KC from certain death.
Learn more about the book and author at Richard Doetsch's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Richard Doetsch's Half-Past Dawn.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Caesar in the USA"

New from the University of California Press: Caesar in the USA by Maria Wyke.

About the book, from the publisher:

The figure of Julius Caesar has loomed large in the United States since its very beginning, admired and evoked as a gateway to knowledge of politics, war, and even national life. In this lively and perceptive book, the first to examine Caesar's place in modern American culture, Maria Wyke investigates how his use has intensified in periods of political crisis, when the occurrence of assassination, war, dictatorship, totalitarianism or empire appears to give him fresh relevance. Her fascinating discussion shows how—from the Latin classroom to the Shakespearean stage, from cinema, television and the comic book to the internet—Caesar is mobilized in the U.S. as a resource for acculturation into the American present, as a prediction of America’s future, or as a mode of commercial profit and great entertainment.
Read Chapter 1 of Caesar in the USA.

The Page 99 Test: Maria Wyke's Caesar: A Life in Western Culture.

"The Buzzard Table"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant are back home in Colleton County with all their family and courthouse regulars. But there are a few new faces as well. Lt. Sigrid Herald and her mother, Anne, a well-known photographer, are down from New York to visit Anne's ailing mother, Mrs. Lattimore. When the group gathers for dinner at Mrs. Lattimore's Victorian home, they meet the enigmatic Martin Crawford, an ornithologist who claims to be researching a new book on Southern vultures. More importantly, he's Mrs. Lattimore's long-lost nephew, and Sigrid and Anne's English cousin. With her health in decline, Mrs. Lattimore wants to make amends with her family--something Deborah can understand as she too is working to strengthen her relationship with her stepson, Cal. But for all his mysterious charm, Anne can't shake the feeling that there is something familiar about Martin...something he doesn't want Anne or anyone else to discover. When a murderer strikes, Deborah, Dwight, and Sigrid will once again work together to solve the crime and uncover long-buried Lattimore family secrets.
Learn more about the book and author at Margaret Maron's website.

The Page 69 Test: Three-Day Town.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"The Forgotten"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Forgotten by David Baldacci.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Paradise, nothing is what it seems...


Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.

A picture-perfect town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.

What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed.

"Walking Sideways"

New from Cornell University Press: Walking Sideways: The Remarkable World of Crabs by Judith S. Weis.

About the book, from the publisher:

The world's nearly 7,000 species of crabs are immediately recognizable by their claws, sideways movement, stalked eyes, and thick outer shells. These common crustaceans are found internationally, thriving in various habitats from the edge of the sea to the depths of the ocean, in fresh water or on land. Despite having the same basic body type as decapod crustaceans—true crabs have heavy exoskeletons and ten limbs with front pincer claws—crabs come in an enormous variety of shapes and sizes, from the near microscopic to the giant Japanese spider crab.

In Walking Sideways, Judith S. Weis provides an engaging and informative tour of the remarkable world of crabs, highlighting their unique biology and natural history. She introduces us to recently discovered crabs such as the Yeti crab found in deep sea vents, explains what scientists are learning about blue and hermit crabs commonly found at the shore, and gives us insight into the lifecycles of the king and Dungeness crabs typically seen only on dinner plates. Among the topics Weis covers are the evolution and classification of crabs, their habitats, unique adaptations to water and land, reproduction and development, behavior, ecology, and threats, including up-to-date research.

Crabs are of special interest to biologists for their communication behaviors, sexual dimorphism, and use of chemical stimuli and touch receptors, and Weis explains the importance of new scientific discoveries. In addition to the traditional ten-legged crabs, the book also treats those that appear eight-legged, including hermit crabs, king crabs, and sand crabs. Sidebars address topics of special interest, such as the relationship of lobsters to crabs and medical uses of compounds derived from horseshoe crabs (which aren't really crabs).

While Weis emphasizes conservation and the threats that crabs face, she also addresses the use of crabs as food (detailing how crabs are caught and cooked) and their commercial value from fisheries and aquaculture. She highlights other interactions between crabs and people, including keeping hermit crabs as pets or studying marine species in the laboratory and field. Reminding us of characters such as The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian and Sherman Lagoon’s Hawthorne, she also surveys the role of crabs in literature (for both children and adults), film, and television, as well in mythology and astrology. With illustrations that offer delightful visual evidence of crab diversity and their unique behaviors, Walking Sideways will appeal to anyone who has encountered these fascinating animals on the beach, at an aquarium, or in the kitchen.