Library Journal

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Upcoming Authors from Robin Black to Tiphanie Yanique

Black, Robin. Life Drawing. Random. Jul. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781400068562. $25. LITERARY/PSYCHOLOGICAL
Having grabbed out attention with the story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, Black returns with a debut novel about a couple living the good, creative life in the country—she’s a painter, he’s a writer—when an alluring British woman moves into the house next door and disrupts everything. Pitched to the Lorrie Moore, Amy Bloom, and Mary Gaitskill crowds.

Harrison, Wayne. The Spark and the Drive. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781250041241. $25.99. LITERARY/COMING OF AGE
Harrison’s short story collection, Wrench, was a finalist for the Iowa Book Award, the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award, and the Spokane Prize, and his work has been featured in Best American Short Stories 2010 and on NPR’s All Things Considered. So I think we can expect a lot from this debut novel about 17-year-old Justin Bailey, who finds happiness when he starts working at the shop of renowned muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell. Then tragedy strikes Nick and his wife, Mary Ann, leaving Nick a broken man and Justin increasingly drawn to Mary Ann. With a reading group guide.

Jacob, Mira. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. Random. Jul. 2014. 512p. ISBN 9780812994780. $26. CD: Penguin Random Audio. POP FICTION/FAMILY LIFE
Having done everything from editing websites like Yahoo! Shine and Babble.com to cofounding the Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, Jacob shows up with a first novel that ranges from Seventies India to Eighties New Mexico to Nineties Seattle. Brain surgeon Thomas Eapen’s decision to shorten his visit to his mother’s home in India has consequences that reverberate two decades later as he starts conversing with the dead and daughter Amina must sort through the family’s past to help him. The book was bought in a five-round auction involving seven houses, and rights have been sold to seven foreign territories.

Makkai, Rebecca. The Hundred-Year House. Viking. Jul. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780525426684. $26.95. LITERARY
Husband to the heir of an estate that once sponsored an arts colony, Doug is eager to jump-start his academic career by plumbing the colony’s files. But the secrets he discovers about the colony, the house, and the family make his hair stand on end. Definitely check out this book by Makkai, who did nicely with The Borrower, an IndieNext pick and an O, The Oprah Magazine Fall Reading selection, and who has had pieces in Best American Short Stories for four years running.

Rotert, Rebecca. Last Night at the Blue Angel. Morrow. Jul. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780062315281. $25.99. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE
Set in tumultuous early 1960s Chicago, at a time when the jazz scene was thriving, this debut novel stars emerging jazz singer Naomi and her anxious young daughter, Sophia. Naomi, a headliner at the Blue Angel club for almost ten years who has made the cover of Look magazine, is a talented but destructive woman, and Sophie has grown up too fast, with her only real source of stability a man desperately in love with her mother. It’s not every debut that gets a 100,000-copy first printing, and there’s major outreach to book clubs as well.

Weil, Josh. The Great Glass Sea. Grove. Jul. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780802122155. $26. LITERARY
Weil’s novella collection, The New Valley, won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, and he was named a “5 Under 35” author by the National Book Foundation. His debut novel offers a magically twisted dystopian tale set in an alternative Russia, where twins Yarik and Dima grow up close, then grow apart even as they work together on Oranzheria, an acres-wide sea of glass lit by space mirrors that is meant to trap the citizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight. Then the billionaire owner of Oranzheria sets them up as representatives of conflicting ideologies. Whoa! With an eight-city tour to Boston; New York; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Charlottesville, VA; Oxford, MS; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

Yanique, Tiphanie. Land of Love and Drowning. Riverhead. Jul. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9781594488337. $27.95. HISTORICAL
A Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award winner who, like Weil, was named a “5 Under 35” author by the National Book Foundation, Yanique follows up her story collection How To Escape from a Leper Colony with this debut novel. In the early 1900s, a ship sinks off the Virgin Islands just as they are being transferred from Danish to American rule, and two sisters and their half-brother are orphaned. Fortunately, each has a distinctive magical gift. A three-generation saga from an author born on St. Thomas, VI.

Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Bernard, Jennifer. Desperately Seeking Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novella. Avon Impulse. Jan. 2014. 130p. ebk. ISBN 9780062329561. $1.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Jeb Stone, a captain of the so-called Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel, is on a much-deserved vacation when a coworker asks him to take a side trip to a remote island as a favor. At the same time, Nita Moreno picked the island specifically for its isolation, as she hides with her boss—a senator—to let a scandal blow over. Both Jeb and Nita are recovering from heartbreak and are unsure of what the future will hold. But an early storm may bring them together in ways they never expected.
Verdict Jeb and Nita’s story is the most recent novella in this line of stories about the San Gabriel fire department. While the plot is a bit harebrained and the protagonists are pretty standard, this is a steamy read and continues the exploration of these firefighters’ love lives. This novella also provides a glimpse of characters from Bernard’s first story in the series (The Fireman Who Loved Me), which will delight regular readers and intrigue newcomers to explore earlier titles.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash

Moore, E.S. Blood from a Silver Cross. eKensington. (Kat Redding, Bk. 4). Feb. 2014. 304p. ebk. ISBN 9781601832429. $6.99. URBAN FANTASY, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, SHAPE-SHIFTERS
This fourth book in the series continues the adventures of Kat Redding, aka Lady Death. She is a vampire in love with a werewolf, beholden to a demon, and struggling against her compulsion to drink blood. Dressed in black leather with sword and pistol at her side, Kat is out to assassinate the most evil supes (supernatural beings). Her latest problem is that the Left Hand, a religious group virulently opposed to all supes, has ritually executed a werewolf. This werewolf belonged to the Luna Cult, led by Jonathan, Kat’s love interest. As Kat investigates the killing, she suspects it might have been an inside job. She also uncovers a shocking secret about her vampire identity. Kat must then choose between saving herself and stopping the killers.
Verdict Kat’s internal conflict over being a vampire and her state of denial about loving a werewolf produce plenty of tension, which drives a compelling story line. Readers unfamiliar with the previous installments may get lost in the labyrinthine plot, but they will be rescued by the indelible image of a selfless evil-fighting vampire heroine.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

Schroeder, Shannyn. Something To Prove. eKensington. (O’Learys, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. 244p. ebk. ISBN 9781601831835. $5.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Floridian Elizabeth Brannigan finds herself in Chicago clandestinely investigating one of her father’s investments, a biker bar named the Irish Pub. Elizabeth is out to prove to her father and brother that she is accomplished enough to become CEO of their million-dollar family business when her father retires. Done up in designer suits and driving a rented Mercedes, Elizabeth tries to smooth out the bottom line at this neighborhood watering hole. On a recognizance mission to size up her competition, Elizabeth meets handsome Colin O’Leary, who tends bar at his family’s pub. Colin has just returned home after drifting around for three years following the death of his father. Colin and Elizabeth are both on missions to prove their worth to their relatives. Colin struggles to improve his business acumen, while Elizabeth works to exhaustion to reinvent the image of her bar. Will our pair realize they’ve got to match wits as well as hearts to find success?
Verdict Reveling in the give-and-take between these protagonists with very different personalities, readers will learn how a spark of romance can complicate or simplify personal challenges. Schroeder (More Than This) knows how to make readers care about her characters.—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL

Wolff, Tracy. Ruined. (Ethan Frost, Bk. 1). Loveswept: Random. Jan. 2014. 242p. ebk. ISBN 9780804179263. $2.99. CONTEMPORARY NEW ADULT ROMANCE
Chloe expects her first day as an intern at biomedical corporation Frost Industries to be filled with intellectual property law and business. She doesn’t expect to get into an argument over blueberries in the cafeteria with the gorgeous guy behind the smoothie bar. Worse, she didn’t know that guy was in fact Ethan Frost, her boss. As Ethan’s attraction to Chloe becomes obvious, she struggles with a violent trauma from her past that still haunts her. Yet even as Chloe gives into the passion she discovers with Ethan, secrets they try to suppress threaten their relationship just as it’s beginning.
Verdict: Wolff (Full Exposure) brings two people with tormented backgrounds together to heal each other. While the relationship may seem too familiar, the plot will intrigue even the most skeptical readers. For fans of E.L. James’s 50 Shades and Sylvia Day’s “Crossfire” series and popular romance titles.“Crossfire” series and popular romance titles.—Kristi Chadwick, Emily Willison Memorial Lib., Easthampton, MA

Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Duggan, Gerry & Brian Posehn (text) & Rick Remender & Hilary Barta (illus.). The Last Christmas. Image. 2013. 176p. ISBN 9781607068211. $24.99. HUMOR/ADVENTURE
Best known for their recent collaboration (Deadpool), writers Duggan and Posehn brought readers this tale of jolly old St. Nick’s postapocalyptic hunt for vengeance back in 2006. After the North Pole is raided by mutant marauders, a suicidal Santa and his group of foul-mouthed, heavily armed elves find themselves fighting to save the last child on Earth with any Christmas spirit. The pacing is tight, Remender’s (Fear Agent) and Barta’s (Elseworld’s Finest) illustrations have personality to spare, and the gags and violence are equally over-the-top. The final product feels oddly by-the-numbers, with nothing to make it stand out from the current glut of just add zombies–style parody fiction.
Verdict A thoroughly inessential reprint made more so by its deluxe binding. For Duggan/Posehn fanatics only.—Neil Derksen, Pierce Cty. Lib. Syst., Tacoma

Maier, Corinne (text) & Anne Simon (illus.). Freud: An Illustrated Biography. Nobrow. 2013. 56p. ISBN 9781907704734. $19.75. BIOG
Maier (Hello Laziness; No Kids), a well-known French author and psychoanalyst, tells the story of Sigmund Freud in his own voice in this graphic biography. Select details of Freud’s life are intermixed with distilled versions of his theories and fascinating case studies. From his birth in Freiberg, Moravia (today Príbor, Czech Republic) in 1856 to his death in London at the dawn of World War II in 1939, Freud struggles throughout to understand the human mind and apply his methods to help patients. Simon’s cartoon illustrations are steeped in symbolism and sexuality, contributing a subdued, dreamlike quality to the story in hues of brown, orange, yellow, and green.
Verdict Although at times a disjointed reading experience, the text delivers a good summary of Freud’s personality and what some of his ideas were, tying the different aspects of his life together to demonstrate clearly how he became known as the “founding father of psychoanalysis.” Recommended to readers who are interested in learning a little bit of everything about this important historical figure.—Heather Williams, Whatcom Community Coll., Bellingham, WA

Millar, Mark (text) & Frank Quitely & others (illus.). The Authority. Vol. 2. DC. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9781401242756. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401249205. SUPERHERO
The Authority is a superhero team composed of costumed heroes who don’t want to save the world. Instead, they focus on making the world worth saving, overthrowing dictators and defending countries against their aggressive neighbors. None of this makes them popular with governments, corporations, or the rest of the earth’s elite. Collecting issues 13–29 of the early 2000s run of this series, this hardcover edition finds Superman and Batman analogs, gay couple Apollo and Midnighter, nanotech-augmented The Engineer, Jack “The King of Cities” Hawksmoor, and the rest of the team fighting against government-sponsored superassassins, mother nature, and an alternate version of themselves.
Verdict Set apart from the traditional DC universe, The Authority is gleefully violent and refreshingly diverse, influencing modern titles like Garth Ennis’s The Boys and Mark Waid’s Irredeemable. Millar’s writing and Quitely’s art are fresh and relevant even more than a decade later. An excellent choice for mature readers.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Vol. 3: Paradiso. Oxford Univ. 2013. 873p. ed. & tr. from Italian by Robert M. Durling. ISBN 9780195087468. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199752690. LIT
Durling (English & Italian literature, emeritus, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) completes his Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri verse translation with this volume (after Inferno, 1996, and Purgatorio, 2003), which joins the modern editions of John Ciardi, Allen Mandelbaum, Mark Musa, Jean and Robert Hollander, Burton Raffel, and C.H. Sisson, as well the idiosyncratic rendition by Clive James. Paradiso is the most challenging of the canticles, both because it contains some of Dante’s most sublime poetry and embodies his most abstract theology, the heavenly cosmology lacking the visceral physicality of Inferno and Purgatorio. The Italian appears on the volume’s facing page, and there are contextual illustrations by Robert Turner, with an informative introduction by Durling and extended notes by Comedy collaborator Ronald L. Martinez (Italian studies; Brown Univ.).
Verdict Durling’s rendering is serviceable, capturing Dante’s rhythm and vigor but not his rhyme scheme and structure. Overall, it does not live up to the poetic power of the versions by Ciardi, Musa, and Hollander; Durling’s lines are at times oddly literal, missing the idiomatic. Still, this accessible version of Paradiso might appeal to the serious general reader.—Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah

Berger, Bruce. The End of the Sherry. Aequitas: Pleasure Boat. Jan. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781929355952. $29.95; pap. ISBN 9781929355990. $19.95. LIT
In 1965, a young Berger (Almost an Island) accepted an offer to travel through Europe with a friend and live the adolescence he’d never allowed himself. They end up in the shabby Spanish port town of Puerto Real. The friend departs, and Berger is left behind with a dog named Og and a disreputable Citroen Deux Chevaux car nicknamed Lung. He makes friends everywhere, especially at the Bar Central, where everyone drinks sherry, except for Og. (Beer is his tipple.) Berger plays in a rock band named Starfis (Starfish without the “h” at the end) and acquires a lover named Ramon. Franco’s Spain is his home for three years; the Guardia Civil is menacing, and the police are human enough when you get to know them. Warts and all, Berger’s life is idyllic. Eighteen years later, the author returns to southern Spain and notes the changes. Innocence seems lost, but Berger and his friends are older, and they feel their age. No one drinks sherry anymore. A friend tells him, “Sherry is poison.”
Verdict This gem of a memoir by master storyteller Berger will appeal to anyone who likes travel books.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA

Berlin, Isaiah. Building: Letters 1960–1975. Chatto & Windus. 2013. 864p. ed. by Henry Hardy & Mark Pottle. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780701185763. $59.95; ebk. ISBN 9781448191345. PHIL
The third volume in the series (after Enlightening: Letters 1946–1960) collecting the confidential letters of Berlin (1909–97) this time covers 1960–75. Early during this period, Berlin served as the Oxford Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College but eventually resigned after failing to introduce graduate studies to the institution. Instead, he assumed the helm of a new graduate school, Iffley/Wolfson College, until he relinquished the post in 1975. The epistles cover topics very much in the news at that time—from the trial of Adolf Eichmann to the presidency and assassination of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon’s presidency and Watergate, the Vietnam War, and more. The letters are standardized and use a common set of abbreviations. However, they are edited for content. As a whole, this volume paints a vivid picture of many of the social, political, and ethical concerns raised by the incidents that transpired during the 15 years addressed here.
Verdict As a rule, collections of correspondence can provide an intimate, firsthand analysis of historical events. Assembled with care by editors Hardy and Pottle, this book is no exception. However, the audience for such works is small and the subject matter vast.—William Simkulet, Andover, KS

Bok, Derek. Higher Education in America. Princeton Univ. 2013. 488p. notes. index. ISBN 9780691159140. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781400848300. ED
Bok (300th Anniversary University Research Professor, Harvard Univ.; The Shape of the River) has produced an excellent, comprehensive, and well-balanced analysis of the current strengths and weaknesses of higher education, combining a broad examination of undergraduate programs and the major professional schools of medicine, law, and business. While he acknowledges and evaluates the frequent criticisms of high costs, excessive research, and uncertain quality, he contradicts facile attacks from politicians and the press with extensive data and recent studies to support his argument. He shows where and how reforms can be made, not from simplistic critiques but through evidence-based efforts shaped by academic values. Bok argues that thoughtful leadership is necessary but is hampered by pressures on university presidents to concentrate on finding sufficient resources. Twice president of Harvard (1997–91 and 2006–07), Bok understands the whole sector, community colleges as well as research institutions. He concludes by asserting the continuing strength of higher education and the potential for significant improvement, particularly in the key areas of increasing graduation rates and raising education quality.
Verdict Highly recommended for education professionals, policy advocates, and the broad public as a thorough and thoughtful examination that assesses strengths and weaknesses and suggests paths to academic improvement.—Elizabeth Hayford, formerly with Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Chicago

Cooper, Donal & Janet Robson. The Making of Assisi: The Pope, the Franciscans, and the Painting of the Basilica. Yale Univ. 2013. 296p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300195712. $75. ARCH
The magnificent frescoes in Italy’s Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and in particular the St. Francis cycle in the Upper Church, have long been the focus of scholarly attention because of their artistic and iconographic importance. Setting aside the question of whether Giotto is responsible for the St. Francis cycle, an issue that has long preoccupied many of the scholars who study the works, Cooper (history of art, Univ. of Warwick) and independent scholar Robson focus on the patronage, context, and meaning of the frescoes. Their detailed study combines new information about precisely when the frescoes were likely completed, elements from the work of other scholars, and the authors’ own research and observations to develop new ideas. For example, they convincingly describe the community of educated friars on-site as the likely directors of the artistic program, which was visually and thematically sophisticated and well organized despite being the contributions of different artists and workshops.
Verdict This book adds much to our understanding of the context of the St. Francis cycle.—Amy Trendler, Ball State Univ. Libs., Muncie, IN

Hornby, Nick. Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books. Believer: McSweeney’s. 2013. 488p. ISBN 9781938073731. $28. LIT
In this collection, Hornby (High Fidelity; About a Boy) assembles the first ten years of his monthly Believer column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading,” from 2003 to 2013, into a single, irresistible tale about the reader’s life. Each column begins with a list of “Books Bought” and “Books Read,” a number that does not always correspond: “I certainly intend to read all of them, more or less,” he offers in defense. Hornby writes about the material he pursues and what he abandons, about how sometimes he prefers a breezy biography about a soccer star to Wilkie Collins. In keeping with The Believer’s philosophy of “acid-free literary criticism,” Hornby avoids acerbic or intellectually tedious (boring) critiques. He focuses more on reading books than on the texts themselves, and any biting remarks are directed inward, in the form of charming, self-deprecating humor. Although compilations often run the risk of monotony, Ten Years in the Tub is actually served by the form. Reading these columns one after another adds depth and complexity. Not since Somerset Maugham’s Books and You (1940) has there been a more eloquent and richly presented meditation on the value of books and reading.
Verdict A must for bibliophiles.—Meagan Lacy, Indiana Univ.–Purdue Univ. Indianapolis Libs.

Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Baker, Tiffany. Mercy Snow. Grand Central. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781455512737. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455512744. F
On a cold November day in Titan Falls, NH, June MacAllister, wife of the paper mill owner, feels lucky that her teenage son survived the school bus crash out on Devil’s Slide Road. June suspects her husband was involved in the incident but isn’t about to let that ruin what she’s built in 20 years of keeping up appearances. Instead, June pushes the theory that the itinerant Zeke Snow, brother of Mercy Snow, is to blame. Mercy knows differently and sets out to clear her brother’s name by getting townspeople on her side, leading to not one but several long-held secrets coming to light.
Verdict Baker’s (The Little Giant of Aberdeen County; The Gilly Salt Sisters) third novel deftly conjures the hardscrabble life of a rural New England mill town, rendering the polluted river, the bitter weather, and tensions between mill workers and owners in stark relief. An element of magic runs through the story as well, as the despised Snows reveal their talents with animals, healing, and communing with the dead. Recommended for readers of literary fiction who like stories of rural life and New England history. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13.]—Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT

Haldeman, Joe. Work Done for Hire. Ace: Berkley. Jan. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780425256886. $25.95. F
Multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Haldeman turns to the near-future in this heart-pounding thriller. As with Haldeman’s hero Jack Daley, writers still type their stories on laptops, and snipers, which Jack was in the latest desert war, still fire rifles with bullets. Jack isn’t much of a writer, so he jumps at the chance to pen a movie novelization for $50,000 with the possibility of a cool half million if the movie gets made. He begins his story of a cannibalistic serial killer dubbed “Hunter,” but, soon after, something else literally arrives on his doorstep to alter his priorities. Jack also wasn’t above average as a sniper, so when a rifle shows up one morning with vague directions to prepare to kill an unnamed “bad man” and implied threats on his girlfriend’s life, one of Jack’s top questions is, “Why me?” Jack and his girlfriend Kit decide, though, that fleeing now and asking questions later are their best options. Mysteriously, no matter how far the couple run and how cleverly they hide their trail, “the Enemy” is always able to find them.
Verdict This fast-paced novel will please Haldeman devotees while garnering him new fans among thriller readers.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

Pinborough, Sarah. Mayhem. Jo Fletcher: Quercus. Jan. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781623650865. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781623650872. F
Pinborough (Feeding Ground) has created some serious competition for Jack the Ripper in her latest historical thriller. Based upon the real-life “Thames Torso Killer” who stalked the London streets of the 1880s, this multinarrative horror story doesn’t skimp on the gore and throws in a bit of the supernatural for good measure. Intuitive police surgeon Dr. Bond is tormented by the Torso Killer as well as the Ripper and is determined to put a stop to the deadly madness infecting his city. But does he have the stomach for what is necessary? Victorian London is well rendered in all of its glorious filth, and excerpts from newspapers of the era are interspersed throughout, serving as chilling reminders of the reality that inspired the novel. However, Pinborough’s effort to show all sides of the story—victims, murderer, police, sleuth—dilutes the mystery. The numerous transitions among perspectives also stifle the tension, and the abrupt ending will raise eyebrows.
Verdict The heady depiction of 19th-entury London can’t quite make up for the muddy shifts in narration, but those interested in all things Jack the Ripper won’t be disappointed.—Liza Oldham, Beverly, MA

York, Robin. Deeper. Bantam. (Caroline & West, Bk. 1). Feb. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780804177016. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 9780804177023. NEW ADULT ROMANCE
College sophomore Caroline Piasecki is the victim of revenge porn. Without her consent, her boyfriend Nate took a picture with his cell phone of her giving him a blow job. After they broke up, he posted the picture on the Internet and included her name and contact info. Caroline couldn’t go anywhere on campus without being followed by nasty whispers; she was cyberstalked on Facebook and Twitter. Caroline is devastated, hiding and sleepwalking through her days, until she decides she has to redefine herself as someone other than a victim. Her friends rally ’round her, but a big part of her new identity is West Leavitt. West doesn’t let Caroline pretend to be “fine.” He demands that she give the truth or nothing at all. But even though West reveals little of himself, the pair’s initial “not friendship” becomes a turning point for them both.
Verdict York (aka Ruthie Knox; Along Came Trouble) wraps a heart-stoppingly beautiful love story around a life-shattering problem and shows the strength of spirit of a young woman who grows up stronger for her broken places. Deeper will haunt you long after you turn the final page and lives up to the promise of the genre tag new adult, delivering a rich tale about college-age protagonists facing very real problems that will impact their lives into the future. Highly recommended for contemporary romance and new adult romance readers.—Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L.

Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, January 10, 2014

Week ending January 10, 2014

Abe, Shana. The Sweetest Dark. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470301941. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Eleanor “Lora” Jones is a teenage orphan sent into the British countryside during World War I. Lora has always been different, hearing music and voices others don’t hear and not understanding what her abilities mean. When she gets to the exclusive Iverson girls’ school, she starts to learn about her destiny. Lora is drawn to earthy Jesse and aristocratic Armand for different reasons, though it turns out that both hold keys to parts of her history. Bianca Amato, Elizabeth Sastre, and Rich Orlow provide the narration, which effectively portrays the story’s differing points of view.
Verdict
Recommend to fans of YA literature.—Sharon Redfern, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT

The Betches. Nice Is Just a Place in France: How To Win at Basically Everything. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs.Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452614120. $39.99; 1 MP3-CD/7 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HUMOR
Read by Arika Rapson, this collection of advice for the twentysomething woman is by the authors of the popular blog BetchesLoveThis.com. According to the introduction, “betches” are not mean women but edgy ones who always get what they want. Rapson reads expressively along over profanity, slang, and large numbers of abbreviations in the best “betch” style. For collections where the college-age audience is targeted, this may be a popular title, riding on the familiarity of the blog. However, it is a trendy purchase destined for a short shelf life.
Verdict
Recommended as an optional purchase for large public libraries and university leisure listening collections.—Karen Perry, Greensboro, NC

Butler, Nickolas. Shotgun Lovesongs. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427236357. $39.99; digital download. F
Told from alternating viewpoints, this full-cast audio brings Butler’s portrait of male friendship in rural Little Wing, WI, to life. Henry, Lee, Kip, and Ronny grew up together and then went their separate ways. Farmer Henry is tied to the land, but Lee has become a famous musician. Kip is a successful commodities trader, and Ronny is riding high as a rodeo star. But they are inexorably bound and one by one are drawn home for reasons that include serious injury and a failed marriage. The women surrounding these men cannot totally understand or enter this male camaraderie. Even Beth, Henry’s wife, who is important to each of these men and is as tied to Little Wing as any of them, marvels at and envies their connection. Sure, there is conflict, culture clash, even heartbreak among them, but the ties that bind are strong, and their friendship will endure. Narrators Ari Fliakos, Maggie Hoffman, Scott Shepherd, Scott Sowers, and Gary Wilmes do an excellent job of portraying the various characters.
Verdict
Lyrical writing paints a portrait of friendship in a small town that will seem familiar to any Midwesterner. Recommended. [“While not ignoring the economic hardships of contemporary rural life, Butler stacks the deck a bit in favor of small-town values vs. big city shallowness. Overall, though, this is a warm and absorbing depiction of male friendship,” read the review of the Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s hc, LJ 12/13.]—Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI

Emson, Thomas. Pariah. 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452611471. $39.99; 1 MP3-CD/9 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
An ancient evil has always preyed on the darkness in men’s hearts. In London’s gritty streets, the monster finds plenty of criminals and malcontents to commit atrocities in its name and to complete its age-old quest for release. In 2011, successful writer Charlie Faultless returns from exile to investigate the horrific murders of his mother and girlfriend. He is confronted by not only another rash of violence but also the truth about his own shocking fate. Using well-placed passages from the past and a cast of criminals, thieves, perverts, and other ne’er-do-wells, this novel reveals its macabre secrets slowly and methodically. Reader Simon Vance gives a stellar voice performance filled with nuance and mystery. With deliberate and varied pacing and a smooth delivery, Vance deftly leads the listener into this dark world where history and the supernatural collide. Listeners will revel in the building horror of this chilling twist on the Jack the Ripper story.
Verdict
An essential purchase for libraries with listeners clamoring for a good scare.—Lisa Youngblood, Harker Heights P.L., TX

Pekkanen, Sarah. The Best of Us. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470344597. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed. S. & S. Audio; digital download. F
Pekkanen’s (These Girls) story follows four women and their respective spouses on a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses-paid vacation to Jamaica. As the characters enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the island, a looming tropical storm threatens to disrupt their trip and forces the women to reevaluate their relationships. Cassandra Campbell gives additional life to the story with her well-paced, versatile narration. Campbell’s portrayal of Savannah is particularly enjoyable.
Verdict
Recommended for fans of Pekkanen and those looking for a fun read. [“A solid entry in the “women's fiction” genre (aka chick lit that skews slightly older),” read the review of the Washington Square: S. & S. hc, LJ 3/15/13.]—Saori W. Herman, Southern California Coll. of Optometry Lib., Fullerton

Peterson, Tracie. The Icecutter’s Daughter. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470341282. $123.75; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Peterson’s “Land of Shining Water” series opener is set in 1898 Minnesota and imagines the quandary of likable, über-capable Merrill Krause. Dazzling her German Lutheran community with her resourcefulness and industry, Merrill nevertheless frets that a pack of overprotective brothers and her diminished femininity (she sturdily assists in the family’s ice business) deflect potential suitors. Besides, marriage would impede fulfillment of Merrill’s pledge to her dying mother to care for the Krause men as long as they require. Enter intriguing Swede Rurik Jorgenson, who brings unfinished business from back home in Kansas—shocking issues provoking moral dilemmas that challenge loyalties heretofore unquestioned. Narrator Stina Nielsen enhances the townsfolk’s charm with accented dialog, avoiding caricature and lending warmth to the presentation.
Verdict
This engaging synthesis of historical detail, romance, and Christian faith is certain to please Peterson’s multitude of fans. Also recommend to readers of Ginny Aiken, Lori Wick, Tamera Alexander, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.—Linda Sappenfield, Round Rock P.L., TX

Best Sellers: Mathematics, January 9, 2014

March 2013 to date as identified by YBP Library Services

  1. Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems
    Stewart, Ian
    Basic Books
    2013. ISBN 9780465022403. $26.99
  2. The Art of Data Analysis: How To Answer Almost Any Question Using Basic Statistics
    Jarman, Kristin H.
    John Wiley
    2013. ISBN 9781118411315. $59.95
  3. Philosophy and Probability
    Childers, Timothy
    Oxford University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780199661824. $65
  4. Hilbert’s Programs and Beyond
    Sieg, Wilfried
    Oxford University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780195372229. $85
  5. Computability: Turing, Gödel, Church, and Beyond
    Copeland, B. Jack
    MIT Press
    2013. ISBN 9780262018999. $35
  6. Magnificent Principia: Exploring Isaac Newton’s Masterpiece
    Pask, Colin
    Prometheus
    2013. ISBN 9781616147457. $26
  7. Measurement Uncertainty and Probability
    Willink, Robin
    Cambridge University Press
    2013. ISBN 9781107021938. $99
  8. Generalized Vectorization, Cross-Products, and Matrix Calculus
    Turkington, Darrell A.
    Cambridge University Press
    2013. ISBN 9781107032002. $99
  9. Combinatorics: Ancient and Modern
    Wilson, Robin
    Oxford University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780199656592. $99.95
  10. Causality, Probability, and Time
    Kleinberg, Samantha
    Cambridge University Press
    2013. ISBN 9781107026483. $99
  11. The Construction of Logical Space
    Rayo, Agustín
    Oxford University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780199662623. $55
  12. Plato’s Problem: An Introduction to Mathematical Platonism
    Panza, Marco
    Palgrave Macmillan
    2013. ISBN 9780230365483. $90
  13. Magnificent Mistakes in Mathematics
    Posamentier, Alfred S.
    Prometheus
    2013. ISBN 9781616147471. $24
  14. Handbook of Regression Analysis
    Chatterjee, Samprit
    John Wiley
    2013. ISBN 9780470887165. $125
  15. Plato and Pythagoreanism
    Horky, Phillip Sidney
    Oxford University Press
    2013. ISBN 9780199898220. $74
  16. Doing Statistical Mediation and Moderation
    Jose, Paul E.
    Guilford
    2013. ISBN 9781462508211. $85
  17. Chi-Squared Goodness of Fit Tests with Applications
    Voinov, V.
    Elsevier Academic Press
    2013. ISBN 9780123971944. $149.95
  18. Group Inverses of M-Matrices and Their Applications
    Kirkland, Stephen J.
    Chapman & Hall CRC
    2013. ISBN 9781439888582. $99.95
  19. Applied Quantitative Analysis in Education and the Social Sciences
    Petscher, Yaacov
    Routledge
    2013. ISBN 9780415893480. $195
  20. Time Series with Mixed Spectra
    Li, Ta-Hsin
    Chapman & Hall CRC
    2014. ISBN 9781584881766. $79.95

Behind the Mike: Simon Vance

Brilliance Audio’s new audio edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes is, in fact, that: all four full-length novels, plus more than 40 short stories. Narrator Simon Vance, with whom LJ spoke in its inaugural Behind the Mike piece (LJ 11/15/08), shares his thoughts on voicing an icon. See the review, included in this issue.

How do you go about voicing an iconic character such as Sherlock Holmes, especially since there are so many well-known representations of him already? How influenced were you by other versions? Do you have a favorite Sherlock?

It’s hard not to be influenced by the variety of variations on Sherlock that exist…but, then, why should I be afraid of that? [Sir Arthur Conan] Doyle has provided us with some clues to his character in his writings and anyone who wants to “put flesh on the bone,” so to speak, is going to use those as a foundation. Any good actor is then going to add to that only what appears to be consistent with the stories as a whole. The new incarnations exhibit significant departures from the original, certainly, but the truth is still there, and these departures merely exaggerate certain aspects of his personality. As I narrate, I have an image in my mind made up of what I have “inherited” from those performances (beginning with Basil Rathbone, through Jeremy Brett, and on to today’s examples) but solidly based on what has been given in the books.

As an example, I love the Jeremy Brett years. Currently I’m a big fan of both Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, even though they are very modern. I think my portrayal owes more to Brett.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes is 59 hours long. How long did the narration process take? Did you find differences between being immersed in one project for so long versus working on several different ones in the same span of time?

It looks (consults calendar) as though I started in mid-January and finished in mid-March, so about two months in all —although I did break it up with three other books. So effectively about five to six weeks of studio time. That may answer your second question, in that I didn’t stay immersed. In many ways there really wasn’t the opportunity for “immersion” in the same way there might be if a single book ran that long. Each story introduced new characters and a different circumstance and that was quite refreshing. The characters of Holmes and Watson are so embedded in my psyche that I didn’t have to “ramp up” every time I came back to them after a break, and there was little chance of getting bored even if I spent two weeks solidly in their world.

Were there any minor characters that were especially challenging or particularly fun to narrate?

I couldn’t even begin to name any particular one from the vast array of different characters, the good and the bad, who paraded before my eyes as I read these tales. Unlike, [with] say, Dickens, we don’t get to spend much time with any of these “guests” as they appear and disappear as each story runs its cycle. I think most people are surprised to find that the character of Lestrade only appears in a quarter of the tales—he always seems so prominent when the books are transferred to the screen—and who doesn’t love the idea of the criminal mastermind in Moriarty, though he is more present as an out-of-sight threat than as a fully fleshed-out character? I’m going to cheat on this answer and say that by far and away my favorite character is Dr. John Watson. I’d so love to take a stroll through Hyde Park with the good doctor and maybe stop for tea and a bun somewhere along the way.

New Year, Old and New Books | What We’re Reading

This week, the Library Journal/School Library Journal staffers escape the ice and snow and read (more) about a Beatle, the Bennets’ servants, the pangs of grief, and the chicness of the French.

Mahnaz Dar, Associate Editor, Reviews, SLJ
Still making my way through Philip Norman’s John Lennon: The Life (Ecco). With the holidays recently behind us, this passage about a party given for the employees of the Beatles’ company, Apple, seemed particularly relevant:

To mark that festive season, there had been a tea party for employees’ children at which, like some paternalistic northern mill owner, [Lennon] appeared as Father Christmas, accompanied by Yoko as Mother Christmas. The rosy-intentioned kiddiefest was turned into a brawl by some Hell’s Angels from San Francisco whom George had invited to London. Those present would never forget the sight of Father Christmas trying to shield Mother Christmas from flailing fists and falling bodies with spilled tea trickling down his glasses.

Liz French, Associate Editor, Reviews, LJ
Two of my colleagues—Kate DiGirolomo and Margaret Heilbrun—have already weighed in with their opinions of Jo Baker’s Longbourn (Knopf), an accompanying novel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that presents the servants’ side of the story. Kate loaned me her copy and I’m enjoying it immensely. The book is charming and delightful, yet brutally honest about all the hard work that the Bennet family’s servants do. I feel for them as they hope and strive and long for love, all while scrubbing, cooking, cleaning, and enduring multiple indignities. All the drudgery Baker describes makes me happy to be a 21st-century gal with indoor heat and plumbing and free time to sit and read this lovely novel.

Stephanie Klose, Media Editor, LJ
I’d heard a lot of good buzz about Karen Perry’s The Innocent Sleep, which comes out next month from Holt; the cover quotes from Tana French and Jeffery Deaver only piqued my interest more. My expectations were a bit off though, I think. I was expecting more of a mystery and less of a close examination of grief and what holds relationships together in the wake of it. It’s beautifully written, but I’m longing to get my teeth into a meaty whodunit now.

Etta Thornton-Verma, Editor, Reviews, LJ
Continuing my French kick, I read Tish Jett’s Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance (Rizzoli). It was enjoyable and at times surprising: I wasn’t expecting the chapter on cosmetic surgery, for example. Jett insists that the extra time involved in becoming as chic as French ladies will in time seem a pleasurable routine, but I really can’t see the efforts she describes making their way into my daily routine (I’m too lazy!). Many of her tips are handy, though: I’ll be taking along her list of the specific items that form the backbone of a neutral, versatile wardrobe on my next shopping trip.

Good-bye 2013: Best Indie Fiction and Fiction in Translation

Best Indie Fiction, 2013: From Kevin Barry to Larry Watson

Barry, Kevin. Dark Lies the Island. Graywolf. ISBN 9781555976514. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781555970826
With dark humor, apt characterization, and beautifully condensed emotion, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Barry delivers a resounding second story collection, deftly capturing the subject of each piece, whether it’s an individual or an entire community.

Bell, Matt. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods. Soho. ISBN 9781616952532. $25.ebk. ISBN 9781616952532.
Set in a mysterious backwoods where a newly married couple has settled, first novelist Bell’s lyrical, nearly mythic tale reads like a fable and cuts like a diamond-sharp knife as it examines fatherhood, familial relationships, and our unsteady relationship with nature.

Boswell, Robert. Tumbledown. Graywolf. ISBN 9781555976491. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781555970765.
A therapist working with troubled young adults watches his own life start to tumble in this clear-eyed, compassionate tale of modern life, rich with empathetic characters and the sharp consideration of moral issues.

Erens, Pamela. The Virgins. Tin House. ISBN 9781935639626. pap. $15.95.
Outsiders at a prestigious East Coast boarding school in 1979, Aviva Rossner and Seung Jung find and then tragically lose each other. Rarely has the anguish of young love, self-discovery, and sexual jealousy—heightened by the sting of class division—been rendered so tellingly.

Freeman, Ru. On Sal Mal Lane. Graywolf. ISBN 9781555976422. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781555970727.
In this luminous, heartbreaking work, the families living on Sal Mal Lane in early 1980s Colombo, Sri Lanka, are distinctively portrayed even if their various ethnic, religious, and political affiliations will soon loom large in a nation on the brink of bloodshed.

Forbes, Michèle. Ghost Moth. Bellevue Literary. ISBN 9781934137604. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781934137611.
Rendered with jewellike perfection, this novel offers both heat and heart as it portrays the marriage of Katherine and George Bedford, unsteadied by the sectarian violence of 1969 Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Katherine’s recall of a lost, passionate love.

Gonzalez Peña, Veronica. The Sad Passions. Semiotext(e). ISBN 9781584351207. pap. $17.95.
In arrestingly cool, sharply delivered prose that nicely discloses the haunting pain beneath the surface, Gonzalez Peña tells the story of a middle-class family splintered by a mother’s undiagnosed mental illness.

Hacker, Christopher. The Morels. Soho. ISBN 9781616953652. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781616952440.
Portraying self-absorbed, self-sabotaging violinist-turned-novelist Arthur Morel, whose latest work baldly reveals the details of his family life, this audaciously, darkly witty book portrays the limits of both human understanding and the demands of art

Kasischke, Laura. If a Stranger Approaches You. Sarabande. ISBN 9781936747498. pap. $15.95.
Sometimes edgily humorous, sometimes darkly surreal, the stories in this first collection from distinguished poet Kasischke, winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award, show us how human relationships crumble.

Ledgard, J.M. Submergence. Coffee House. ISBN 9781566893190. pap. $15.95.
Marched by jihadists through an unforgiving Somali landscape, English agent James More recalls his affair with a coolly independent woman mathematician in an intensive, coruscatingly beautiful book that plumbs the will to survive.

Macleod, Muriel Mharie. What The River Washed Away. Oneworld. ISBN 9781780742342. pap. $14.95. ebk. ISBN 9781780742359.
Macleod sets her tough-minded, wrenchingly lyrical debut in early 1900s Louisiana, where Arletta lives in a backwoods shack with a voodoo priestess and endures incessant violation by two white pedophiles. What doesn’t break her makes her stronger.

Newman, Charles. In Partial Disgrace. Dalkey Archive. ISBN 9781564788160. pap. $18.
More than 20 years in the making, this final, posthumous work of legendary TriQuarterly editor Newman is at once sharply satirical and breathtakingly epic in its account of an imaginary Central European country both before and after World War II, when the United States intrudes.

Ridgway Keith. Hawthorn & Child. New Directions. ISBN 9780811221665. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780811221672.
One of the best literary noirs you will ever read, this London fog–shrouded novel features mid-level detectives Hawthorn and Child, who track a series of surreal cases disclosed in pointedly off-kilter prose.

Sackville, Amy. Orkney. Counterpoint. ISBN 9781619021198. $25; pap. ISBN 9781619023161. $15.95.
Using hushed, radiant language that carries a hint of danger to capture how love shapes us, this tale of unsettling obsession portrays a literature professor’s marriage to a gifted but mysterious student 40 years his junior.

Shepard, Karen. The Celestials. Tin House. ISBN 9781935639558. pap. $15.95.
Heartfelt fiction grounded in carefully researched history, this novel tells the story 75 Chinese laborers who travel from San Francisco to North Adams, MA, in 1870 to work at a shoe factory, where they are in fact breaking a strike.

Van Essen, Thomas. The Center of the World. Other. ISBN 9781590515495. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515501.
When he discovers a long-lost—and surprisingly sensuous—portrait of Helen of Troy by J.M.W. Turner, a middle-aged man in contemporary New York gets “a glimpse into the heart of things,” elegantly delivered here by first novelist Van Essen.

Watson, Larry. Let Him Go. Milkweed. ISBN 9781571311023. $24.
A determined woman seeks to wrestle her grandson from her newly widowed, newly remarried daughter-in-law in a tough, reverberant work that considers the importance of family as it sketches a portrait of the rugged, uncompromising early 1950s American West.

Best Fiction in Translation, 2013: From César Aira to Yu Hua

Aira, César. The Hare. New Directions. tr. from Spanish by Nick Caistor. ISBN 9780811220903. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780811221207.
In language like beaten silver—and indeed the shimmery, slippery nature of language matters tremendously here—celebrated Argentine novelist Aira tells the story of 19th-century British naturalist Clarke, who’s roaming the pampas in search of the famed Legibrerian hare when a group of natives ask him to find their missing chief.

Binebine, Mahi. Horses of God. Tin House. tr. from French by Lulu Norman. ISBN 9781935639534. pap. $14.95.
A Moroccan painter, novelist, and former math teacher, Binebine offers a keen-eyed and unsentimental look at life in a Casablanca slum, presenting a group of boys who start out playing soccer and end up as suicide bombers.

Grunberg, Arnon. Tirza. Open Letter. tr. from Dutch by Sam Garrett. ISBN 9781934824696. pap. $16.95.
With his wife gone, his older daughter in France, his savings lost after 9/11, and his job yanked away, Jörgen Hofmeester has nothing but younger daughter Tirza—and now she’s planning a trip to Africa with her boyfriend. An affecting, propulsively told tale of middle-aged loss.

Knausgaard, Karl Ove. A Man in Love. (My Struggle: Book 2). Archipelago. tr. from Norwegian by Don Bartlett ISBN 9781935744825. $26.
Second in a six-volume magnum opus that Archipelago has bravely committed to bring us, this magisterial work gives us a character named Karl Ove Knausgaard who abandons his wife, moves to Stockholm, and discovers new love—and the travails of starting a new family.

Krasznahorkai, László. Seiobo There Below. New Directions. tr. from Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet. ISBN 9780811219679. pap. $17.95;
In this follow-up to Krasznahorkai’s Santantango, written in mesmerizing prose of near-hallucinatory beauty and with the stateliness of a Japanese Noh drama, the goddess Seiobo returns to the world of mere mortals.

Koch, Herman. The Dinner. Hogarth: Crown. tr. from Dutch by Sam Garrett. ISBN 9780770437855. $24; pap. ISBN 9780385346856. $14; ebk. ISBN 9780385346849.
As two couples meet at a posh restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss a crisis involving their teenage sons that has wide-ranging repercussions, the mood changes from glazedly polite to absolutely shocking.

Lindstrøm, Merethe. Days in the History of Silence. Other. tr. from Norwegian by Anne Bruce. ISBN 9781590515952. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515976.
This quietly stunning novel, winner of the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature, tells the story of a marriage painfully undone by the secrets of both spouses—his Jewish heritage, hidden to protect his children from his wartime trauma, and her surrendering a son she bore at age 17.

Marías, Javier. The Infatuations. Knopf. tr. from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. ISBN 9780307960726. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307960733.
When distinguished film distributor Miguel Desvern is murdered, protagonist Luisa Alday draws close to the widow in a book that International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Marías makes rich with speculation on life’s ambiguity and the meaning of love and death.

Martinez, Carole. The Threads of the Heart. Europa. tr. from French by Howard Curtis. ISBN 9781609450878. pap. $17.
In this magical tale, a family saga ranging from southern Spain to Algeria, Frasquita Carasco can raise the dead and sew gowns that beautify whoever wears them, while her daughter can stir lust and revolutionary fervor alike. Gorgeously rendered yet tinged with the outsider’s sorrow.

Michon, Pierre. The Eleven. Archipelago. tr. from French by Joy Gladding & Elizabeth Deshays. ISBN 9781935744627. pap. $18.
This limpid, beautifully understated novel, winner of the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Roman, recounts the rise from humble origins of painter François-Élie Corentin, who eventually produces a masterpiece called The Eleven that represents the members of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror.

Myśliwski, Wiesław, A Treatise on Shelling Beans. tr. from Polish by Bill Johnston. Archipelago. ISBN 9781935744900. $22; bi. ISBN 9780914671015.
Inspired by a surprise visitor, the elderly caretaker at a summer resort spills the beans on his entire life, from a childhood shattered by war to lost loves to his failed efforts to play the saxophone, told in relentless, pellucid detail that might puzzle thrill seekers but reads like life itself.

Pitigrilli. Cocaine. New Vessel. tr. from Italian by Eric Mosbacher. ISBN 9781939931092. pap. $16.49; ebk. ISBN 9781939931085.
A classic of Italian literature originally published in 1921 and immediately banned by church authorities, this vividly rendered novel follows restless young Tito Arnaudi to jazz-age Paris, where in decidedly unredeeming fashion he indulges a lust for power and sex.

Seghers, Anna. Transit. New York Review Books. tr. from German by Margot Bettauer Dembo. ISBN 9781590176252. pap. $15.95.
Having endured arrest by the Gestapo and subsequently fled to Mexico by way of France, distinguished German author Seghers drew on her own life in this account of a nameless German narrator who escapes from a German concentration camp in 1937 and eventually ends in Marseille. This excellent new translation introduces today’s readers to a masterpiece.

Trouillot, Évelyne. The Infamous Rosalie. Univ. of Nebraska. tr. from French by Marjorie Attignol Salvodon. ISBN 9780803240261. pap. $19.95.
In language both sumptuous and biting, Haitian university professor Trouillot gives us insight into New World slavery by telling the story of a Creole slave in 1750 Saint-Domingue.

Tsypkin, Leonid. The Bridge Over the Neroch & Other Works. New Directions. tr. from Russian by Jamey Gambrell. ISBN 9780811216616. pap. $16.95.
Including the indelible title novella, about four generations of a Russian Jewish family, this collection repeats the magic of Tsypkin’s Summer at Baden-Baden, a classic of the late Soviet era not published until 2001—two decades after Tsypkin’s death.

Vásquez, Juan Gabriel. The Sound of Things Falling. Riverhead. tr. from Spanish by Anne McLean. ISBN 9781594487484. $26.95.
In this beautifully written work, law professor Antonio Yammara recalls the shooting death of friend Ricardo Laverde during the Colombian drug wars of the 1990s, though the book has less to do with those wars than the power of memory.

Yehoshua, A.B. Retrospective. Houghton Harcourt. tr. from Hebrew by Stuart Schoffman. ISBN 9780547496962. $26.
For a retrospective of his work, Israeli director Yair Moses travels (symbolically) to Santiago de Compostela, where he must confront a break with a former collaborator in a novel that perceptively examines the ethical strengths and responsibilities of art.

Yu Hua. Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China. tr. from Chinese by Allan H. Barr. Pantheon. ISBN 9780307379368. $24.
With ice-pick accuracy, multi-award-winning and internationally regarded author Yu sketches daily life in post-Mao China, often using the lives of those on the margins to give us a larger understanding.

 

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW
A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a juvenile justice system that annually treats nearly 200,000 juveniles as adults. That makes them a third more likely to reoffend. Betts understands the issue, having spent eight years in prison after being arrested at age 16 for carjacking.

Birmingham, Kevin. The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses. Penguin Pr. Jun. 2104. 432p. ISBN 9781594203367. $29.95. BIOGRAPHY
Harvard literary historian Birmingham’s study is billed as biography, but it’s really the biography of a book, tracing the evolution of James Joyce’s Ulysses from Joyce’s first glint of inspiration in 1904 to the 1933 federal obscenity trial that finally allowed for its publication in the United States.

Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Untitled Memoir. S. & S. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476751443. $40. MEMOIR
Billed as a memoir, this book might be something more. Clinton uses key events during her tenure as secretary of state—e.g., the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, and tensions with Iran and North Korea—to comment on U.S. foreign policy and the importance of U.S. world leadership. An early campaign book?

Eade, Philip. Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters: An Eccentric Englishwoman and Her Lost Kingdom. Picador. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781250045898. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781250045904. BIOGRAPHY
The wife of Sir Vyner Brooke, the last White Rajah, who ruled the jungle kingdom of Sarawak on Borneo, Sylvia Brooke was one of those wildly over-the-top British socialites who make such good reading. Eade’s first book has been called “amazing” (Daily Express), “biting” (the London Times), and (love this) “rather giddying” (London Sunday Times).

Furst, Alan. Untitled Novel. Random. Jun. 2014. 2729. ISBN 9781400069491. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780679604235. THRILLER
In 1938 Paris, Spanish Bourbon descendant Gregorio D’Alba runs guns and gathers intelligence for the Spanish Republic, then goes big time when he agrees to infiltrate the Nationalist government (with a little support from the British and Americans). Sales for master-of-espionage Furst keep going up.

King, Lily. Euphoria. Atlantic Monthly. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780802122551. $25. LITERARY FICTION
In the Territory of New Guinea, between the world wars, English anthropologist Andrew Banson is rescued from despair by notorious colleague Nell Stone and her Australian husband. Banson’s discovery of a female-centered tribe sets off personal and professional firestorms among the three. From a Barnes and Noble Discover Award winner who’s been building an impressive career.

Koryta, Michael. Those Who Wish Me Dead. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780316122559. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316279963. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
After 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a murder, the police sneak him into a wilderness skills program for troubled teens to protect him as they seek out the killers. But are the Montana mountains and the woman in the fire lookout tower enough to protect him? From the New York Times best-selling author.

Miller, Sue. The Arsonist. Knopf. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780307594792. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351706. CD/downloadable: Random Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION
Retiring with her increasingly erratic professor husband to the New Hampshire town where she has summered for decades doesn’t turn out as planned for Sylvia Rowley. Social tensions surface, starting with the renovation Sylvia’s son is doing on the property, and then local homes start falling to an arsonist. From the multi-million-copy best-selling Miller.

Morris, Sylvia Jukes. Price of Fame: The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce. Random. Jun. 2014. 720p. ISBN 9780679457114. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780804179690. BIOGRAPHY
We’ve been waiting since 1997 to read a follow-up to Morris’s highly regarded Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce, and here it is: a big tome that opens as the celebrated playwright and wife of Henry Luce enters the political arena, first as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, then as the first American woman given a major ambassadorship.

Valentine, Genevieve. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. Atria. Jun. 2014. 272p. 9781476739083. $24. FANTASY
A Nebula nominee for her full-length fiction and a World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson award nominee for her short fiction, Valentine crafts a story about Jo Hamilton, who nightly leads her 11 sisters from their father’s constraining townhouse so that they can dance at Manhattan’s speakeasies. Yes, a Jazz-Age retelling of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” fairytale, which is why I made it a pick.

Waters, John. Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. Farrar. Jun. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780374298630. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374709303. CD: Macmillan Audio. TRAVEL
When edgy filmmaker Waters decides to hitchhike from Baltimore to San Francisco, bearing a sign that says, “I’m Not Psycho,” he thought he might encounter an angry, armed drunk or a rich drug dealer happy to finance his films. Instead, there’s a sweet octogenarian, an indie band on tour, and (his favorite) a blond Republican in a Corvette.

Wilkinson, Toby. The Nile: A Journey Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present. Knopf. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780385351553. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351560. HISTORY
As he takes us down the Nile, from the Blue Nile–White Nile sources in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria, respectively, through the Valley of Kings and on to exploding Cairo, celebrated Egyptologist Wilkinson also gives us a tour of ancient Egypt (emphasizing its gods and rulers) and the archaeologists who uncover its secrets.

 

Fiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: 41 Big Commercial Titles, from Megan Abbott to Daniel H. Wilson

Abbott, Megan. The Fever. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316231053. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316231022. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365703. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Things go badly for the Nash family, as a friend of teenage Deenie Nash experiences a seizure signaling the onset of a mysterious contagion that tears apart the entire community. Edgar Award winner Abbott is on a roll: hardcover sales for 2012’s Dare Me exceeded those of her previous title by 50 percent, and Dare Me will soon be a Fox 2000 feature film.

Billingham, Mark. The Bones Beneath: A Tom Thorne Novel. Atlantic Monthly. Jun. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780802122483. $26. THRILLER
When seriously unpleasant serial killer Stuart Nicklin claims that he wants to reveal the whereabouts of an early victim, but only if the cop who put him away is present, Tom Thorne finds himself on a misty island off the Welsh coast wondering about Nicklin’s real motives. Twelfth in the internationally best-selling Tom Thorne series.

Bolton, Sharon. A Dark and Twisted Tide. Minotaur. Jun. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781250028587. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250028570. THRILLER
In Bolton’s latest Lacey Flint book, the shrouded body of a young woman is found bobbing in the waves near Lacey’s boathouse, and Lacey doesn’t think it’s by chance. A Mary Higgins Clark Award winner and an ITW Thriller Award, CWA Gold Dagger, and Barry Award nominee, Bolton is being positioned for a big breakout here.

Brown, Rita Mae & Sneaky Pie Brown. Nine Lives To Die : A Mrs. Murphy Mystery. Bantam. Jun. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780345530509. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345539748. MYSTERY
No word yet on plot, but here’s the 22nd mystery in the New York Times series starring indomitable feline detective Mrs. Murphy, with kitty-cat Pewter and corgi Tucker along for the ride—not to mention Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen.

Burke, Alafair. All Day and a Night. Harper. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062208385. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062208408. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
When the district attorney’s office receives an anonymous letter offering details kept secret about the murder of psychotherapist Helen Brunswick—details that match the modus operandi of imprisoned serial killer Anthony Amaro—NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher and partner J.J. Rogan are compelled to reopen Amaro’s case. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

Chan, Darcie. The Mill River Recluse. Ballantine. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780553391879. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780615523774. Downloadable: Random Penguin Audio. POP FICTION
Having sold more than 700,000 copies as a self-published ebook, this title about a reclusive widow who’s secretly done good for her small Vermont town is about to appear as a big-house trade paperback original. In July, look for The Mill River Redemption, a second, not-yet-published titled that Ballantine will release in both print and ebook formats.

Coes, Ben. Independence Day: A Dewey Andreas Novel. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9781250043160. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466841260. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Undone by his fiancée’s murder, newly recruited intelligence agent Dewey Andreas is not asked to join the teams tracking a Russian hacker suspected of supporting Al Qaeda financially and his presumed ballerina girlfriend. He follows the teams anyway and, when both are wiped out, he saves the ballerina and discovers a deadly plot that could cost millions of lives. Sales for this  New York Times best-selling series keep growing.

Elkins, Kimberly. What Is Visible. Twelve. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781455528967. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455528974. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455552504. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORICAL
Though the first printing is small at 25,000 copies, there’s big hope for this debut about Laura Bridgman, the first known deaf and blind person to learn language—50 years before Helen Keller. The subject itself fascinates, and Elkins is a National Magazine Award finalist for her nonfiction.

Evanovich, Janet. Top Secret Twenty-one: A Stephanie Plum Novel. Bantam. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780345542922. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345542946. CD/downloadable: Random Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Evanovich’s Notorious Nineteen has sold nearly a million copies in print and ebook combined, and Takedown Twenty, released in November, remains on the New York Times best sellers list. Now bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is back for more—but no plot details yet.

Fairstein, Linda. Terminal City . Dutton. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780525953883. $27.95. CD: Random Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan for more than two decades, Fairstein writes thrillers that take advantage of her intimate knowledge of New York City. Here, series stalwart Alex Cooper, Manhattan assistant district attorney for the Sex Crimes Unit, finds trouble brewing in Grand Central Terminal.

Frank, Dorothea Benton. The Hurricane Sisters. Morrow. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062132529. $26.99. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. POP FICTION
Having bonded in college, 23-year-olds Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe live rent free in the beach house owned by Ashley’s parents on South Carolina’s Sullivan Island. When gallery assistant Ashley (an aspiring artist) and caterer’s assistant Mary Beth (who wants to teach) hit on a plan to improve their finances, tensions are opened up among three generations of the Waters family. With a 150,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour to Atlanta, Des Moines, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle, and locales in New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Gabaldon, Diana. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Delacorte. Jun. 2014. 832p. ISBN 9780385344432. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780440246442. TIME TRAVEL
This latest in Gabaldon’s relentlessly seductive series, which ends up in revolutionary Philadelphia, was originally scheduled for December 2013, then March 2014, and now is promised for June. Fingers crossed!

Gaiman, Neal (text) & Eddie Campbell (illus.). The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds. Morrow. Jun. 2014. 80p. ISBN 9780062282149. $21.99. FANTASY/GRAPHIC NOVEL
Here’s a four-color graphic take by Eisner Award winner Cambell on Gaiman’s novelette “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains,” a tale of family and hidden treasure in an otherworldly setting that first appeared in Stories: All New Tales. The original piece won the Locus Award and the Shirley Jackson Award in the Best Novelette category. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Gardiner, Meg. Phantom Instinct. Dutton. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780525954316. $26.95. THRILLER
A year after her boyfriend was shot dead before her and the Los Angeles club where she bartended destroyed by a Molotov cocktail, Harper Flynn remains convinced that one of the attackers escaped. Her only ally is L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison, himself badly enough injured in the blast to suffer delusions. From Edgar Award winner Gardiner.

Grimes, Martha. Vertigo 42: A Richard Jury Mystery. Scribner. Jun. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781476724027. $26. MYSTERY
Richard Jury is back, meeting Tom Williamson at the Vertigo 42 bar on the 42nd floor of a swank London office building to hear his plea that wife Tess’s death at a country house in Devon was murder and not an accidental fall. With a nine-year-old having fallen to her death five years before Tess and with other plunging deaths now occurring, Jury thinks it wise to investigate.

Healey, Emma. Elizabeth Is Missing. Harper. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062309662. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062309709. THRILLER
Though elderly Maud is slowly losing her memory, she’s convinced that her good friend Elizabeth is in danger, and the instant dismissal of her concerns by family, caretakers, and police isn’t keeping her from seeking out the truth. Pay attention to this debut by Londoner Healey, as rights have been sold to 15 countries and counting.

Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles. Del Rey. Jun. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780345548481. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345548498. Downloadable: Random Penguin Audio. FANTASY
Hearne finally goes hardcover with this latest in his urban fantasy series starring Atticus O’Sullivan, the last remaining Druid. Only now he’s got company: apprentice Granuaile, a full Druid herself, and an age-old archdruid he’s managed to defrost who may or may not help him fight the Norse god Loki.

Henry, Patti Callahan. The Stories We Tell. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781250040312. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466835542. POP FICTION
The marriage of upscale Savannah couple Eve and Teddy Morrison, in trouble because Teddy thinks Eve is neglecting their rebellious teenage daughter because of her work, really spirals downward when Teddy is involved in a car accident with Eve’s sister. Henry’s books include the New York Times best-selling Driftwood Summer and And Then I Found You, a (love it) Okra Pick.

Hilderbrand, Elin. The Matchmaker. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316099752. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316329026. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316329033. POP FICTION
When wildly successful matchmaker Dabney Kimball Beech learns that she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she’s determined to find matches for several key people in her life: her famed economist husband, her journalist lover, and daughter Agnes, whose fiancé just doesn’t cut it with Dabney. From the New York Times best-selling author who always celebrates Nantucket; with a seven-city tour to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago.

Howorth, Lisa. Flying Shoes. Bloomsbury USA. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781620403013. $26. POP FICTION
Thirty years after a boy was molested and murdered in her Virginia hometown on Mother’s Day, Mary Byrd Thornton receives a reporter’s call that takes her back to the scene of the crime. Not a thriller but a study of family and community stresses, this debut was penned by the owner of Square Books in Oxford, MS, named 2013 Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly. That should bring it some attention.

Ignatius, David. The Director. Norton. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780393078145. $26.95. THRILLER
Newly appointed CIA director Graham Weber hasn’t been at his desk a week when he discovers that the agency has been hacked, which sets him on a chase through the brave new world of cyberespionage. A multi-award-winning columnist at the Washington Post, where his coverage has included the CIA, Ignatius knows his stuff.

Johnson, Craig. Any Other Name: A Longmire Mystery. Viking. Jun. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780670026463. $26.95. MYSTERY
While investigating the putative suicide of a detective from a nearby county, Sheriff Walt Longmire discovers that his normally scrupulous friend has suppressed information about the disappearances of three women. The Longmire series has racked up three consecutive New York Times best sellers and inspired an A&E television series that averages 5.4 million viewers per episode.

Kwok, Jean. Mambo in Chinatown. Riverhead. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781594632006. $27.95. POP FICTION
Living with her widowed father and little sister in the apartment in New York’s Chinatown where she grew up, 22-year-old Charlie Wong struggles along miserably as a dishwasher—but then gets a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio and discovers a natural talent for dancing that puts her at odds with her traditional family. Kwok’s debut, Girl in Translation, had a good readership owing to strong support from People and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Lee, Linda Francis. The Glass Kitchen. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780312382278. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466850613. POP FICTION
Having landed in Manhattan by way of Texas, Portia Cuthcart no longer indulges her gift for cooking—and predicting exactly how the events around a meal will unfold. Then she meets 12-year-old Ariel, who needs a mother as much as her widowed father needs biscuits. Lee, whose books have sold nicely, is getting an extra push for this one.

Lustbader, Eric Van. Robert Ludlum’s (TM) The Bourne Ascendancy. Grand Central. Jun. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9781455577538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455577569. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455577545. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Bad news for Bourne—he’s been kidnapped by terrorists and placed in an underground bunker, where the biggest, baddest terrorist of them all, El Ghadan (“Tomorrow”), aims to persuade him to undertake a special mission. Ludlum books always make the New York Time best sellers list, and the publisher has a new Ludlum website in store for fans.

Moses, Pamela. The Appetites of Girls. Amy Einhorn: Putnam. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780399158421. $26.95. POP FICTION
Insecure Ruth, smothered with her immigrant mother’s good cooking; rich Francesca, who overeats to defy her Park Avenue mom; Opal, who wishes her glamorous mom would take her on a dinner date; and talented violinist Setsu, who lets her brother take the best treats from her plate—and her life. They all meet as suitemates at college, which explains the comparisons to J. Courtney Sullivan’s Commencement. A debut with potential from the editor who gave you Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.

Moyer, Jaime Lee. A Barricade in Hell. Tor. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780765331830. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429948180. FANTASY
Delia Martin can see ghosts, and in last year’s excellent Delia’s Shadow she was pursued by a particularly importuning shadow in 1915 San Francisco, just hit by the earthquake. Now it’s 1917, and she’s being haunted by a troublesome little girl who leads Delia to understand that a crusading evangelist’s message of peace has a dark side.

Nunn, Malia. Present Darkness. Atria. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781451616965. pap. $16. MYSTERY
More South Africa–set mystery, this one unfolding during the apartheid era and bringing back Detective Emmanuel Cooper. Cooper is anticipating his Christmas vacation when the youngest son of his best friend and savior, Zulu Det. Constable Samuel Shabalala, is accused of assaulting a white couple. Nunn, also an award-winning filmmaker, has fans.

O’Reilly, Sally. Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady. Picador. Jun. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9781250048134. $26.  HISTORICAL
Daughter of a Venetian musician at Queen Elizabeth’s court, Aemilia Lanyer (née Bassano) was the first Englishwoman to establish herself as a professional poet, and she is sometimes rumored to be the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets. British author O’Reilly, an award-winning fiction author and former Cosmopolitan New Journalist of the Year, makes her U.S. debut with a novel that imagines a relationship between Aemilia and Will and brings in some witches to boot. Lots of in-house excitement, with a big push to fans of Deborah Harkness, Paula Brackston, and Sarah Dunant.

Palmer, Matthew. The American Mission. Putnam. Jun. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780399165702. $26.95. THRILLER
Having lost his security clearance in a debacle in Darfur, Alex Baines jumps at a chance offered by his mentor to start over in the Congo, where he’s nevertheless dismayed by the activities of a shadowy U.S.-based mining concern. A debut to watch from a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service.

Patterson, James & David Ellis. Invisible. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399165702. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316405409. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316405416. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
In this stand-alone, the third Patterson has coauthored with Ellis, Emmy Dockery is so convinced that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders nationwide are the responsibility of one man that she takes a leave from her FBI job to pursue her hunch. Everyone thinks she’s crazy, including her field agent ex-boyfriend—until she shows him some proof.

Pearson, Ridley. The Red Room. Putnam. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780399163746. $26.95. THRILLER
Surveillance expert John Knox is understandably perturbed when he’s shown a photograph of his latest delicate transaction in the Middle East. He’s even more perturbed when he’s compelled to pose as an art dealer in Istanbul so that, with no clear purpose, he and confederate Grace Chu can make brief contact with their shadowy target. A big tour for this New York Times best-selling author.

Pettersson, Vicki. The Given ( Celestial Blues Bk. 3) Harper Voyager. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062066206. pap. $14.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
In this third in Pettersson’s smash-hit supernatural noir series starring fallen angel/PI Griffin Shaw and reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig, Grif tries to find the wife who survived the attack that killed him 50 years ago and gets attacked again for his troubles. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Pratchett, Terry & Steve Baxter. The Long Mars. Harper. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780062297297. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062297310. lrg. prnt. SF
Set in 2040–45 after the terrible Yellowstone eruption caused massive population displacement, especially to the various Long Earth worlds, this third novel in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s “Long Earth” series finds protagonists Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang doing rescue work. And Sally might just set out on a voyage across the Long Mars with her errant father. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Slaughter, Karin. Cop Town. Delacorte. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780345547491. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345547514. THRILLER
In 1974 Atlanta, Kate Murphy is already floundering on her first day on the police force, and things gets worse when she’s partnered with angry Maggie Lawson, a move meant to sideline both of them that has the opposite effect. Optioned by Warner Horizon for a TV series, with Slaughter cowriting the pilot.

Smith, Tom Rob. The Farm. Grand Central. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780446550734. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455555482. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455555475. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Daniel was wrong when he though his parents’ leaving London for retirement in rural Sweden would prove idyllic. First, his father calls to say that his mother is missing after discharging herself from a mental hospital where she was placed after a breakdown, then his mother calls to say that his father’s story is a bunch of lies. The hot thriller author of books like Child 44 keeps up the suspense but moves in a new direction.

Thayer, Nancy. Nantucket Sisters . Ballantine. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345545480. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780345545497. POP FICTION
Whoa, complicated: having grown apart after forging a close childhood friendship while playing on Nantucket’s beaches, upscale Piper is resigned to being a trophy wife while seamstress’s daughter Maggie counts pennies and excludes the possibility of love. Then they are both romanced by wealthy (and evidently slick) Midwesterner Cameron Chadwick—with unfortunate results.

Thoft, Ingrid. Identity. Putnam. Jun. 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780399162138. $26.95. THRILLER
Thoft did nicely with her first P.I. Fina Ludlow mystery, whose tougher-than-nails heroine wowed some readers and overwhelmed others. In her next case, Fina helps single-mother Rosalie Sanchez uncover the identity of daughter Rosalie’s sperm donor, but then the donor ends up dead.

Vachss, Andrew. Shockwave: An Aftershock Novel. Pantheon. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780307908858. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307908865. THRILLER
The author of the celebrated Burke series offers the second in a new series starring former mercenary Dell and former battlefield nurse Dolly. When a dead man washes up on a Pacific Northwest beach, his head bashed in and his body decorated with neo-Nazi tattoos, a homeless man is arrested for his murder. But Dolly knows better and turns to Dell for help.

Walsh, Jill Paton The Late Scholar: The New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781250032799. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250032782. MYSTERY
In another in her continuation of the Dorothy Sayers series featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and his detective novelist wife, Harriet Vane, Whitbread Prize–winning author Walsh sends the couple to 1950s Oxford, where his lordship is needed to resolve a dispute among the Fellows of St. Severin’s College, Oxford University. Alas, the Fellows start dying.

Wilson, Daniel H. Robogenesis. Doubleday. Jun. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780385537094. $26.95. SF
In Wilson’s breakout debut thriller, Robopocalypse, the masterly artificial intelligence presence called Archos wreaks havoc but finally is destroyed. Here, we learn that in fact Archos is simply fragmented among machines worldwide and is slowly reassembling, intent on quashing humanity once and for all. Huge fan demand already.

 

Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Paul McCartney, Dance Moms, & the Assistant Who Answered Salinger’s Mail

Doyle, Tom. Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s. Ballantine. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780804179140; ebk. ISBN 9780804179157. MUSIC/MEMOIR
Written by British music journalist Doyle, this account of an on-the-edge Paul McCartney trying to escape his Beatles past in the 1970s claims to be the only McCartney bio based on interviews with the subject himself. Lots of photos.

Gilbert, Matthew. Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. ISBN 9781250014221. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781250014214. PETS
A dog person myself, I can understand Gilbert’s journey from stuck-at-the-computer officer worker (he’s the Boston Globe’s TV critic) and collapse-at-home layabout to dog-park citizen, gathering with all manner of devotees to frolic with all manner of hounds in all manner of weather. Lots of folks like us out there; all it took for Gilbert was a yellow Lab named Toby.

Greenburg, Zack O’Malley. Michael Jackson, Inc. Atria. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781476705965. $26. MUSIC/BUSINESS
A senior editor at Forbes, Greenburg profiles Michael Jackson not as a musician but as a businessman who built and lost (a few times over) a billion-dollar business. Based on more than 100 interviews with the likes of music veteran Berry Gordy and performers 50 Cent and Sheryl Crow.

Hough, Derek. Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion. Morrow. Jun. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062323194. $26.99. DANCE/MEMOIR
Five-time Emmy Award nominee and the only four-time champion of the hit ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars, Hough talks about his life and career and explains how he turns stumbling celebrity partners into commendable dancers. With a 75,000-copy first printing; fun!

Ja Rule. Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man. Harper. Jun. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780062316172. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062316196. MUSIC/MEMOIR
Actor, singer, songwriter, rap legend: Ja Rule has it all, plus two years in federal prison and the experience of raising a teenage son, which he uses to speak to the single mothers of young African American males. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Loyd, Alex. The Greatest Principle: Unlocking the Hidden Keys to Ultimate Success in All Areas of Your Life. Grand Central Life & Style. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781455553877. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455553860. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455556380. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. SELF-HELP
In-demand psychologist and counselor Loyd proposes a self-improvement scheme to reduce stress and infuse one’s life with the greatest principle, love, in 40 days. Note that his first book, The Healing Code, sold nearly 60,000 copies in a self-published edition and subsequently over 100,000 copies in big-house print and ebook formats combined.

Lynch, Eimear. The Bridesmaids: True Tales of Love, Envy, Loyalty…and Terrible Dresses. Picador. May 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781250041777. pap. $16. HUMOR
Given the current wedding mania, you can’t go wrong with this book from Lynch, a 27-year-old contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler who has been a bridesmaid five times and can report feelingly on the phenomenon. Lots of insider stories from beyond Lynch’s immediate circle.

Miller, Abby Lee. Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned in Dance Class. Morrow. Jun. 2014. 208p. ISBN 9780062304810. $22.99. SELF-HELP
The star of Lifetime’s hit Dance Moms, the top unscripted cable series in its time slot, and the popular new Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, Miller turns kids into stars. Here’s more general advice on success in life. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Mollen, Jenny. I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781250041685. $24.99. HUMOR/ESSAYS
Mollen, an actress soon to appear on HBO’s Girls and a writer called one of the funniest women on Twitter by the Huffington Post, offers very funny essays that capture the zeitgeist. Big publicity.

Muzyka, Zhena. Life by the Cup: Lessons of a Tea Mistress. Atria. Jun. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781476759609. $25. MEMOIR
As a young, broke, single mom with a son who desperately needed surgery, Muzyka decided to combine her knowledge of aromatherapy with her Gypsy grandmother’s teachings to create custom-blend teas she sold from a cart on a California street corner. Now Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Company is a multimillion-dollar brand. Here’s her story, plus 15 life lessons like “Start where you are” and “Generosity eliminates fear.”

Rakoff, Joanna. My Salinger Year. Knopf. Jun. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780307958006; ebk. ISBN 9780307958013. MEMOIR
In the 1990s, after she abandoned graduate school, critic, journalist, and award-winning novelist Rakoff served as an assistant to a celebrated literary agent whose clients included J.D. Salinger. Her job: to answer Salinger’s heavy-duty fan mail, even as she worked by night on shaping her own writing. Interest in Salinger never grows stale, and you might have heard Rakoff’s story on Public Radio’s Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

Ratey, John J., M.D., & Richard Manning. Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization. Little, Brown. Jun. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316246095. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316246071. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365260. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. PSYCHOLOGY
Ratey, best-selling author, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and named one of the Best Doctors in America by his peers every year since 1997, joins with award-winning journalist Manning to show that the idea behind the trendy Paleo movement—that we’ve outstripped evolution and need to get back to basics for our physical and mental well-being—are grounded in good science. The 100,000-copy first printing says it all.

Voigt, Deborah. True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva. Harper. Jun. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062118271. $27.99. MUSIC/MEMOIR
Voigt is a top-flight opera soprano, but after losing the role of Ariadne at the Royal Opera House in 2004 because she couldn’t fit into her character’s little black dress, she underwent gastric bypass surgery and subsequently became addicted to alcohol, eventually attempting suicide. Here’s how she turned around her life; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

 

Starting 2014 with Poetry | Wyatt’s World

As the last of the bustle of the old year fades away, the concentrated ring of poetry serves as a fine launchpad for a new year of reading. Here are four 2013 collections and one forthcoming to cast you forward into 2014.

  • The Best American Poetry 2013 ed. by Denise Duhamel & David Lehman (Scribner). Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and New York State Laureate Jean Valentine share page room with Wendy Barker and Adrienne Su in what has long been considered one of the top curated lists of individual poems on offer.
  • Roget’s Illusion by Linda Bierds (Marian Wood: Putnam). Due in March, Bierds’s latest title uses Peter Mark Roget’s explanation of an optical illusion as the impetus for poems that explore the human quest to express our experiences in the world.
  • Unexplained Fevers by Jeannine Hall Gailey (New Binary).
    This lively and addictive collection begins with “Once Upon a Time” and from there unfolds in a sharply observed commentary on fairy tale characters, from a sleeping princess who planted her own briar wall to a prince who wonders whom he rescued.
  • Getting Lucky by Nicole Steinberg (Spooky Girlfriend).
    Constructed out of text taken from the pages of Lucky magazine, these smartly composed, sharp-toothed poems resonate with pop culture critique.
  • Incarnadine by Mary Szybist (Graywolf).
    A perfect fit for the season of Epiphany, Szybist’s transcendent poems of love and faith are deeply examined, finely crafted, and full of immersive images and rhythms.

Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, January 3, 2014

Week ending January 3, 2014

Adams, Scott (text & illus.). I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring. Andrews McMeel. (Dilbert). 2013. 127p. ISBN 9781449429386. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781449447328. COMICS
Retaining the sardonicism that has kept the comic strip Dilbert as the long-running staple in office humor and aiming the focus on the follies of the Pointy-Haired Boss as well as the CEO, this volume calls attention to all the worst traits possessed by every supervisor any office worker would ever know: incompetence, lack of empathy, sadism, and mismanagement, to name only a few. Adams makes this work relatable and contemporary by referencing current events, relevant corporate practices, and up-to-date technology all framed within the familiar world of Dilbert and his colleagues. Longtime fans of the comic as well as astute readers who enjoy satirical office wit will enjoy this most.
Verdict Consistently funny and bitingly witty, I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring is a pleasurable read for any individual who has ever had to work with a bad boss.—Laura Gallardo, St. Louis

Jones, Sabrina & others (illus.). Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith. Herald. 2013. 128p. ed. by Paul Buhle. ISBN 9780836196214. pap. $24.99. REL
Prolific contributor and editor of many successful graphic nonfiction adaptations, including A People’s History of American Empire with Howard Zinn, Buhle turns his focus to chronicling Christianity’s challenges to the established social order. The first of three sections, illustrated by Jones (Race To Incarcerate), is the most successful, neatly juxtaposing the words of Scripture with deliberately anachronistic images of modern social and economic injustice. Unfortunately, the title’s following sequences fail to build on this momentum. The second part, by artist Gary Dumm (Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History), which briefly covers nonconformist Christian sects over a span of about 500 years, is hurt by its drab, limited color palette, which makes it difficult for the reader to distinguish among the nine separate vignettes. The final section, by illustrator Nick Thorkelson (The Legal Rights of Union Stewards), is framed as a worship group discussion touching on various points of modern progressive Christianity. Many of these accounts are interesting, but the secondhand nature of the presentation undercuts their impact considerably and gives the section an unpleasant, pedantic feel.
Verdict Lack of cohesion, both narratively and artistically, hurts this title badly. Not recommended.—Neil Derksen, Pierce Cty. Lib. Syst., Tacoma

McCreery, Conor & Anthony Del Col (text) & Andy Belanger (illus.). Kill Shakespeare. Vol. 3: The Tide of Blood. IDW. 2013. 140p. ISBN 9781613777329. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781623023966. FANTASY
It sounds good: put William Shakespeare’s most famous characters together in a universe created by the Bard himself (now a mysterious wizard), add dialog borrowed from or inspired by his writings, render with moody artwork, and collect the hosannas. In the third KS limited series collected here, a foe thought to be vanquished lures Hamlet, his new love Juliet, a spurned and despondent Romeo, and a haunted but unflappable Othello to Prospero’s island for purposes most foul. This conceit proves to be too clever. As the story endlessly twists and turns, the Shakespeare savvy will enjoy the verbiage while being constantly reminded that his plotting truly seemed to grow out of the characters and not vice versa, even when Shakespeare acknowledged historical facts in the story. A fine prolog and a gallery of stunning cover art are included.
Verdict Whether the tangled narrative causes readers to overlook Tide of Blood’s strengths is a matter of individual taste; newcomers to Shakespeare’s work should look elsewhere for accessible introductions (perhaps the series “No Fear Shakespeare”?). Some off-color language, violence, and gore make this suitable for YA and up; an optional purchase.—J. Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB

Morrison, Grant & Sholly Fisch (text) & Rags Morales & others (illus.). Superman—Action Comics. Vol. 3: At the End of Days. DC. (New 52). 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781401242329. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401247379. SUPERHERO
Volume 3 of DC Comics’ “New 52”–branded Superman brings together issues 13–18 of the series to wrap up writer Morrison and artists Morales and Brad Walker’s run on the title. Largely following Superman’s early years, this collection finds the superhero confronting Fifth Dimension nemesis Vyndktvx. Vyndktvx wages a multipronged war on Superman stretching from Smallville to Mars, from the recent past through CE 3030. Like most of Morrison’s work (e.g., Batman: R.I.P.), Action Comics rewards close readers and takes a serious look at what was formerly Silver Age silliness. The sections dealing with Superman’s dog, Krypto, are unexpectedly poignant, and the classic villain Mr. Mxyzptlk benefits from an expanded origin. The artwork is nothing less than phenomenal, whether capturing Clark Kent’s grief at the loss of his parents, or Superman in an epic battle against a weapon designed solely to destroy him.
Verdict This will be of most interest to readers who’ve read the first two volumes, but with Superman’s cinematic resurgence, this will be popular to a broader audience—although they may be surprised at its depth.—Terry Bosky, Madison, WI

Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, January 3, 2014

Week ending January 3, 2014

Gardner, Howard & Katie Davis. The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World. Yale Univ. 2013. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9780300196214. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780300199185. ED
In this short, dense work, coauthors Gardner (Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard; senior director, Harvard Project Zoo), of “multiple intelligences” fame, and Davis (iSchool, Univ. of Washington) delve into the world of apps and their effect on children and adolescents. Armed with results from focus groups, surveys, and mixed-method studies with teachers, psychologists, and youth from ages ten to 25, their study explores the implications of apps through identity, intimacy, and imagination. The authors see the computer tool as “a gated community.” App culture is described as cradle to grave, hence one’s life becomes a series of app fingerprints or, alternatively, one big app. Like Sherry Turkle (Alone Together:Why We Expect More from Technology) and Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget), Gardner and Davis express concern regarding increased isolation, digital dependence, and loss of originality in this “remix culture.” One drawback to the investigation concerns the emphasis on middle- and upper-class youth. From discussions with their informants, the authors indicate that similar conclusions can be applied to less advantaged groups, but confirmation of this would entail examining youth from other populations.
Verdict This cogent study is essential for all libraries. The authors offer accessible, extensively researched, and thoughtful arguments on the challenges and cautions young people face by incorporating the digital world into their lives. Balance and independence become imperative; positive outcomes can occur if we watch out for the risks and promote the benefits.—Jacqueline Snider, Iowa City

Greenspan, Alan. The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting. Penguin Pr. 2013. 388p. notes. index. ISBN 9781594204814. $36; ebk. ISBN 9781101638743. ECON
In his new book, Greenspan (former Federal Reserve chair, 1987–2006; The Age of Turbulence) expresses dismay at not predicting the 2008 recession and offers suggestions for improving economic forecasting and revising government financial interventions and regulations to prevent future economic chaos. In the realm of predictions, he devotes a chapter to the field of behavioral economics, which finds foreseeable patterns to humans’ economic irrationality. As a conservative, Greenspan decries government expenditures on companies deemed “too big to fail,” seeing their rescue as a slippery slope to favoritism and state ownership. Likewise, he portrays Social Security and other benefit programs as encouraging dependency on government, discouraging appropriate levels of domestic savings, and redistributing wealth from capital investment to consumption. However, he does come to see that some regulation is required, suggesting that banks be held to below the “too big to fail” size, or that they be obliged to maintain adequate capital buffers. Although Greenspan occasionally does not cite his exact source, most of his arguments are illustrated with exhibits, charts, and data tables, many of which appear in appendixes to keep the text readable.
Verdict This book will attract readers because of the author, but it covers little new ground for those familiar with conservative perspectives.—Heidi Senior, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR

Low Dog, Tieraona. Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions. National Geographic. Jan. 2014. 224p. illus. index. ISBN 9781426212581. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781426212598. HEALTH
Low Dog, an herbalist, M.D., adviser to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and key faculty member at Andrew Weil’s Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, is well qualified to write this book. Her chapter on managing infections is particularly timely, as overuse of antibiotics has led to serious public health issues with drug-resistant “superbugs,” both for hospital-acquired infections and in community settings. Other chapters cover the respiratory and nervous systems and gastrointestinal, dermatological, and gynecological health problems. Instructions on when to call a doctor or seek immediate medical attention are clear. Particular notice is paid to medications for infants and children.
Verdict Although not everyone has the luxury of maintaining health without prescription drugs, Low Dog does a great job of balancing the appropriate times to take herbal remedies and provides clear instructions on using herbs and making teas, salves, and tinctures. Accessible and reliable, this title will appeal to readers interested in alternative medicine and those who enjoyed the author’s other books (Life Is Your Best Medicine: A Woman’s Guide to Health, Healing, and Wholeness at Every Age; National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants). Recommended.—Mary Chitty, Cambridge Healthtech, Needham, MA

Shades of Laura: Vladimir Nabokov’s Last Novel, The Original of Laura. McGill-Queens Univ. 2013. 296p. ed. by Yuri Leving. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780773542631. $100; pap. ISBN 9780773542648. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780773589681. LIT
The 2008 posthumous publication of The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) was both controversial and intriguing. Much of the debate derived from the author’s wish for the unfinished manuscript to be destroyed. It was ultimately published in fragments, a decision made by his son and sole surviving heir, Dmitri Nabokov. This volume of essays edited by Leving (Russian studies, Dalhousie Univ.) examines various aspects of the ordeal; contributors who are nearly all professors who have published, some extensively, on Nabokov, investigate the mechanics of the novel’s release and its reception, as well as offer critical analyses. In addition to these scholarly pieces are reprints of reviews from the Los Angeles Times (James Marcus), Bookforum (John Banvillle), the Christian Science Monitor (Heller McAlpin), and the Wall Street Journal (Alexander Theroux), among others, showing the response from a wide range of literary perspectives. The section “A Toolbox,” provides a discussion among five translators of Nabokov’s works in which they comment on different aspects of translation, including what they encountered with the unusual and incomplete manuscript.
Verdict This assemblage is an excellent contribution to Nabokovian studies; well suited for students and scholars of the Russian novelist and anyone looking for insight into his final, unrealized work.—Stacy Russo, Santa Ana Coll. Lib., CA

Wilson, Victoria. A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907–1940. S. & S. 2013. 1056p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780684831688. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781439199985. FILM
This first volume in a projected two–volume set is undoubtedly the most extensive and detailed biography of an actor ever published. The research Wilson has performed is remarkable, as Stanwyck’s early life and steady and determined rise from the theater toward Hollywood success is written as if Wilson had firsthand and lifelong knowledge of her subject. The author not only explores the actress’s life and work but also reveals fascinating details of the film business at the time, the people Stanwyck worked with, and the men she rather famously loved. The undeniable problem, however, is the book’s length. Wilson (vice president and senior editor, Knopf) is an excellent writer and clearly fascinated with her subject, but the question of whether Stanwyck deserves 1,000-plus pages devoted to only the first half of her career is a valid one. Film scholars may find this book to be a wealth of information, but, for the average reader, it could be too much of a good thing.
Verdict Regardless of the obvious merits of this work, its length could make for a very small readership.—Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA

Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, January 3, 2014

Week ending January 3, 2014

DeStefano, Anna. Love on Mimosa Lane. Montlake Romance. (Seasons of the Heart, Bk. 3). Jan. 2014. 323p. ISBN 9781480577848. pap. $12.95; ebk. ISBN 9781477848418. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Lawrence Thacker Beaumont moved with his wife, Libby, and his daughter, Chloe, three years ago to Chandlerville, GA. Recovered alcoholics, Law and Libby are now divorced and share custody of their eight-year-old child, and enigmatic bad boy Law isn’t thrilled to be called to Chloe’s school by the assistant principal. He has been aware of Kristen Hemmings for quite some time, but with his life focused on Chloe and trying to deal with Libby’s backbiting behavior, Law wasn’t going to go there. Kristen has kept Law in her sights as well, but her less-than-supportive upbringing has left her gun-shy of relationships. Kristen wants Law to help with one of her students, Fin Robinson, a troubled kid with a talent for soccer living with the Dixons’ foster family. Law was the coach of the youth soccer team last year, mostly because Chloe was the star player. Can Kristen convince Law to work with Fin and can Fin encourage Chloe to rejoin the team? Could this plan lead them all to rediscover trust, love, and hope for the future?
Verdict DeStefano (Christmas on Mimosa Lane; Three Days on Mimosa Lane) covers a number of serious issues—e.g., alcoholism, the foster care system—as she continues to find romance among the inhabitants of this close-knit community. Law and Kristen are thoughtful and insecure protagonists who fight their fears to build a connection with each other and to help two struggling kids figure out who they are and what they want to be. This affecting and sweet story will appeal to most romance fans.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Wilde, Lori. Somebody To Love. Avon. (Cupid, Texas). Jan. 2014. 373p. ISBN 9780062218988. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062218995. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Mercurial Zoey “Zoe-eyes” McCleary, a member of one of the founding families of Cupid, TX, is both delighted and terrified when her best friend since childhood—scholar-cowboy Jericho Hezekiah Chance—turns out to be The One. Not only is he deliciously handsome, smart, and newly hired as professor of archaeology, but he’s helping to make a difference in Zoey’s life in ways she never imagined anyone could. With a curious (i.e., impulsive) nature, Zoey has pursued many interests, but none has stuck. If she doesn’t get her act together and commit to something, she risks losing her trust fund, and without a plan b, that means total defeat. Not an option. Enter the archaeological dig at Triangle Mount. Under the direction of Dr. Chance, Zoey takes brilliantly to the project, which brings her closer to her heritage, keeps her attention, and turns out to be the kind of work at which she seems to be a natural. But there are a few catches, and one involves not taking her teacher to bed (not right away). She must outsmart a band of outsiders as they attempt to sabotage the dig and ultimately gamble her own life.
Verdict A whimsical heroine is ready to settle down, but she first must figure out how while helping her best friend/soul mate (and elite lover). Readers will want this relationship to work out—together, these two are that good. Despite the minor lull in the book’s middle section, Wilde (Love at First Sight) doesn’t give the story away until the last page. Recommended for readers with a penchant for follow-through.—Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal

Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, January 3, 2014

Week ending January 3, 2014

Goodger, Jane. When a Lord Needs a Lady. eKensington. Feb. 2014. 234p. ebk. ISBN 9781601831620. $5.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
It’s the late 1870s in England when young American socialite Katherine visits the seaside town of Brighton. Feeling stifled by propriety and by her mother, Katherine disguises herself as a maid so that she can sightsee and finally have some fun. When she meets Graham Spencer, she has no idea that he is actually the sought-after Lord Avonleigh. Hijinks ensue as miscommunication and misunderstanding abound while the two fall in love. Graham is being forced to marry a very wealthy heiress in order to save his crumbling estate. He has never given into romantic notions until he met Katherine, and he considers perhaps making the maid his mistress to be the answer to his prayers.
Verdict A heartwarming and amusing romance from Goodger (If I Wait for You), with steamy scenes and believable tension to keep the reader hoping that there could be a happy ending after all. The supporting characters have stories of their own, which helps to flesh out the main plot. Though a quick read, this title still feels worthy of a reader’s time as the hero in Graham gives us all hope.—Marie Burton, Rockwall, TX

Heath, Lorraine. The Last Wicked Scoundrel: A Scoundrels of St. James Novella. Avon Impulse. Jan. 2014. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780062317155. $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Dr. William Graves, featured in Heath’s series “The Scoundrels of St. James” (Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel) is finally the focus of his own story. After having spent most of his childhood as a thief and mudlark, he was fostered by the aristocratic father of a long-lost heir and fellow thief. William and his friends the Earl and Countess of Claybourne share a secret pertaining to Winifred, the widowed Duchess of Avendale. After her brutal husband had beaten her nearly to death, William and his friends helped her to recover. Three years after her husband’s accidental death, Winifred fears she is either going insane or being haunted by her husband’s malevolent spirit. William helps her investigate her supposed lapses in memory, and they give in to the feelings they’ve long held for each other. Past terrors are revisited, and the two find themselves in grave danger.
Verdict Heath doesn’t have much room here to develop her characters but is able to give the reader a bit of William’s strong sense of courage, dedication to his profession, and overwhelming feelings of guilt about his past. Winifred learns she is stronger than she ever thought. While readers new to the series will invest little in the secondary characters, those who have read the previous books will be glad to see William get the peace he deserves.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Lib., CA

Kagawa, Julie & Sara Gundell (text) & Lidia Chan (illus.). The Iron King. Issues 1 & 2. Bluewater Comics. (Iron Fey). 2013. ea. issue: 24p. $1.99. Available for download from ComiXology, iTunes, OverDrive, iVerse, Wowio, Kobo, and more. COMICS/SUPERNATURAL ROMANCE
Meghan Chase’s 16th birthday takes a bizarre turn when she learns that her friend Robbie is actually the faery Puck and her little brother Ethan has been replaced with a changeling. After Puck helps Meghan to enter Faeryland to search for the real Ethan, she reaches King Oberon and Queen Titania’s court, where she discovers that she’s the king’s illegitimate daughter. Queen Titania angrily sends her to work in the kitchens to prepare for a visit from Queen Mab, a visit that is interrupted by a Chimera attack. Taking advantage of the chaos, Meghan decides to run off and look for Ethan in Mab’s territory.
Verdict Beginning a new digital comics series based on the first of Kagawa’s best-selling “Iron Fey” novels, this story thus far feels like a cross between Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth but could become something all its own. The translation to the graphic format is awkward at times, with a couple of scenes unclear as to what is happening. However, Chan’s manga-style artwork is enjoyable. Recommended to fans of Kagawa’s novels or of paranormal romance. [The graphic novel version of this series is forthcoming.—Ed.]—Heather Williams, Whatcom Community Coll., Bellingham, WA

Roblin, Teresa. Now You See It…. Teresa Roblin. 2013. NAp. ebk. ISBN 9780992101718. $2.99. EROTIC/FANTASY/COMEDY ROMANCE
Sarah and Anthony used to be an item. In fact, she had thought he was “the one.” However, as Anthony worked hard to build his company, Sarah often felt that she came in a distant second to Anthony’s work. Refusing to take a backseat any longer, Sarah ends the relationship and in the process builds emotional walls to ensure that she is never hurt like that again. Anthony finally notices that he misses Sarah and puts into motion a plan to get her back. He convinces his Aunt Emily and Sarah’s Aunt Lilly to go on a cruise knowing that Sarah wouldn’t be able to let the elderly ladies go alone. Then Anthony joins the group at the last minute. Emily and Lilly are in on the ruse, and for a little insurance, Lilly, who dabbles in magic, puts a spell on Sarah so that when she resists her feelings for Anthony, her clothes disappear, often at the most inopportune times. While Sarah struggles to keep her clothes where they belong, Anthony moves closer to convincing her to give him another chance.
Verdict What could be more fun: a little magic, a European cruise, a hunky guy, and clothes that disappear at the worst moment? And don’t forget the sprightly aunts who are always getting into trouble and speaking their minds. Roblin’s (Hocus Pocus) lighthearted read is full of laughs, longing, and disappearing lingerie. For most romance readers.—Lisa Jordan, Gardner Neighborhood Lib., Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

Rodale, Maya. The Bad Boy Billionaire’s Wicked Arrangement. Avon Impulse. 100p. ekb. ISBN 9780062230829. 99¢. ROMANCE NOVELLA
This metanovella introduces Jane Sparks—a librarian who wants to write romance novels and in fact ends up writing The Wicked Wallflower (a historical romance in Rodale’s “Bad Boys & Wallflowers” series)—and billionaire Duke Austen. Jane is still recovering from the loss of her longtime boyfriend and is trying to force herself to relax and have some fun at a party. The fun leads her into an accidental engagement with dot-com billionaire Duke. When their engagement is announced on Facebook, Jane is appalled, but Duke is thrilled. His bad-boy reputation is threatening his latest attempt at going public with a technology company. Potential investors are put off by his partying lifestyle and the impact it has on his productivity. Getting engaged to “good girl” Jane will prove that Duke is settling down and get him the venture capital he needs.
Verdict
This is truly an introduction to Jane and Duke, whose story will continue in another print volume, but Rodale uses the short form well in setting up their romance.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI.

Wainscott, Tina. Wild Hearts. Loveswept: Random. (Justiss Alliance, Bk. 0.5). Jan. 2014. c.72p. ebk. ISBN 9780553390803. 99¢. MILITARY ROMANCE
This novella teaser for Wainscott’s newest series introduces readers to the Justiss Alliance team. These former Navy SEALs decides to sign on with Chase Justiss because they have no other real options. They had all successfully escaped their screwed-up lives and families to succeed as SEALS, but that was before their colorfully coined defuckle—the mission of which the U.S. government disavows any knowledge.
Verdict After departing romantic suspense to write paranormal romance as Jaime Rush, Wainscott (Until the Day You Die) is back with this solid story. In this compressed format, the heat and romance lose out to character development and suspense buildup; however, the glimpses into the future of the series indicate this is a must-have for romance and suspense lovers alike.—Heather Lisa Maneiro, Minnesota State Univ. Lib.‚ Moorhead

Last Pages of 2013 | What We’re Reading

Happy New Year—almost! The Library Journal/School Library Journal staffers are ringing out the old by perusing Christmas presents, scaring themselves silly, emulating the French, getting on board with power popsters, checking out how the other half lives, munching on millipedes, and watching 1913 through the lens of time.

Mahnaz Dar, Associate Editor, Reviews, School Library Journal
Well, after a brief hiatus, I’m back to reading Philip Norman’s John Lennon: The Life (Ecco). Where is Lennon, our working-class hero? Beatlemania is officially happening, and the boys have just touched down at JFK. As they exit the plane to adoring crowds, behind them is music producer (and later, convicted murderer) Phil Spector.

Spector was returning to America, after watching the Ronettes on a British tour with the Rolling Stones….Spector then brought the Beatles and Ronettes together at a party given by promotion man Tony Hall. “My girls,” as the producer jealously called them, were two sisters, Ronnie and Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley, all three stunning stick insects with piled-up hair and Cleopatra eyes. John and an equally besotted George lost no time in asking the trio to join the flight to New York. Spector, however, insisted that his girls should return home on an earlier plane, while only he traveled with the Beatles. Already legendarily neurotic, he believed that no aircraft carrying such a lucky quartet could possibly crash.

Delving into Beatlemania provided a nice transition for my latest fiction read, Teddy Wayne’s The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (Free Pr.). Narrated by an 11-year-old Justin Bieber–esque pop singer named Jonny Valentine, the book is both a heartfelt, even heartbreaking tale of a young boy shakily making sense of the bizarre world that surrounds him and a sharp, mordantly funny examination of celebrity culture.

Shelley Diaz, Senior Editor, Reviews, SLJ
Probably one of my favorite gifts this year, Samantha Hahn’s Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines (Chronicle) was given to me by my sister. It is absolutely gorgeous, and has inspired me to read some new titles. I’m still deciding which is my favorite spread; it changes each time I open this book.

Francine Fialkoff, Library Consultant/Editor, Library Journal
Thanks to LJ fiction editor Willy Williams, who gave me the ARC, I just started You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Grand Central), publishing in March. So far, it seems a grabber. It’s got all the trappings of the moneyed Upper East Side: the over-rich titans of industry, the Dalton-like private school, the somewhat normal family—she’s a therapist with a book of the same title about to come out, he’s a pediatric oncologist, they have a normal-seeming bright son, age 12—but things are just about to fall apart. And as the blurb on the back cover says, she “should have known.” By the way, the author also wrote Admission, which was made into a sweet/funny movie about a college admissions counselor starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

 

 

Liz French, Associate Editor, Reviews, LJ
While browsing the LJ book room shelves, I found a cute little book called Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life (Skirt!) by Karen Karbo, and just like that, I’ve become a card-carrying member of the cult of Julia. Karbo ain’t bad either. The author of several jauntily titled books (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel; How to Hepburn; and How Georgia Became O’Keeffe ) spins through la Child’s life, from her California childhood to her years in Paris, and her vibrant marriage to Paul Child, culling life lessons from her experiences for us mere mortals. Karbo’s modern-day commentary is delightful, her footnotes are a hoot, and her subject is a treasure. But I bet most of you Julia cultists out there already knew that!

Margaret Heilbrun, Senior Editor, Reviews, LJ
I seem to have abandoned Timothy Schaffert’s The Swan Gondola (Riverhead) for now, as per my previous posting—after a wonderful opening scene, the novel itself gets under way via flashback, but I was longing to return to the two women who appear in Schaffert’s opening scene. The novel’s progress at the Omaha World’s Fair of 1898 is slow, weighted down, I think, by the author’s intent to show readers just how much he researched the fair for his book. It’s always a challenge: how to wear one’s learning lightly in establishing a novel’s milieu. But I will return to the book because I’m still intrigued. In the meantime? Well, the holidays intervened and I wanted to sink into something else…and I decided that what I needed was Jo Baker’s Longbourn (Knopf) her “downstairs” novel matched to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, with a 150,000–copy first printing! I’m loving it. It has a light touch in its references to Austen’s story, emblematic of the very manner in which her characters themselves would not be prone to pay great attentions to their servants. It’s looking like a downstairs romance is on its way, but I’m hoping it at least runs into some minor difficulties. I also think I’ve guessed the backstory for the footman. But if Baker doesn’t go in for lots of subterfuge, who cares? She moves among the servants, their activities, their yearnings, and their environments with wonderful descriptive ease. It’s a lovely book to carry me through to the New Year!

Stephanie Klose, Media Editor, LJ
I’ve been reading Robin Wasserman’s Kansas-set YA horror story, The Waking Dark (Knopf), but only in short stints, since I get spooked by its early-Stephen-King-level creep factor. In addition, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of my friend Rachael Herron’s March release, Pack Up the Moon (NAL), in which an artist who is grieving the loss of her nine-year-old son unexpectedly meets the daughter she gave up for adoption 22 years earlier. I love Rachael’s voice regardless of the subject matter, so I’m really looking forward to digging into this one.

Kiera Parrott, Editor, Reviews, SLJ
I just started The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean (telt by hisself) by David Almond (Candlewick). It is strange and sad and beautiful. Written in a grammatically incorrect style in which spellings are approximations, it’s the story of a little boy, Billy Dean, who is locked in a tiny room, experiencing the world through his own fantasies and the irregular comings and goings of his “mam” and dad. Almond is the award-winning author of Skellig. I’m afraid for Billy. Why is he locked away? Will he emerge from his room? What kind of world will greet him when he does?

Meredith Schwartz, Editor, News & Features, LJ
I am reading one of my Christmas presents: The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Mrs. (Hannah) Glasse (Applewood). It is a facsimile of the 1805 edition. “Hysterical Water” is my favorite recipe so far. But I’m not sure where I’m going to find the quarter pound of dried millipedes it calls for.

Etta Thornton-Verma, Editor, Reviews, LJ
Yesterday I braved the downpours to visit the Queens Central Library in Jamaica. If you are in New York it’s worth a visit to see the gorgeous, fairly new renovation of the library’s children’s room, which houses a really rich collection and is bright and airy. While my daughter was fact-finding about Algonquin foods, I wandered into the adult area and checked out their “Hot Reads,” one of which was Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (Penguin). So far, I’ve learned that French parents leave children much more to their own devices. The opening also describes how French toddlers sit happily in restaurants and eat adult foods; I’m hoping to get to the how-to portion that will transform my restaurant experiences forthwith.

Wilda Williams, Senior Editor, Reviews, LJ
As 2013 winds to a close, I am reading a fascinating biography of another watershed year. Florian Illies’s 1913: The Year Before the Storm (Melville House) takes us month by month through the cultural, social, and political events and personalities that would shape the 20th century. At the Armory Show in New York, Picasso and Matisse drop on the American art scene like a bomb. In a wintery Vienna, Stalin ponders the question of nationality while Hitler paints watercolors, and Tito test-drives automobiles. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand impatiently waits to ascend the Austrian-Hungarian throne, and Sigmund Freud breaks with his pupil Carl Jung. Never has a history book been so enjoyable and page-turning as this original narrative.

Best Sellers | Romance, December 2013

This list includes titles most in demand by libraries and bookstores nationwide from Baker & Taylor six months prior to the week ending November 23, 2013. (c) Copyright 2013 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

RANK   1 Entwined with You. [P] Sylvia Day. Berkley. ISBN 9780425263921. $15. 2 Rose Harbor in Bloom. [HC] Debbie Macomber. Ballantine. 
ISBN 9780345528933. $26. 3 Dark Witch. [P] Nora Roberts. Berkley. ISBN 9780425259856. $17. 4 Hotshot. [HC] Julie Garwood. Dutton. ISBN 9780525953012. $26.95. 5 Starry Night. [HC] Debbie Macomber. Ballantine. 
ISBN 9780345528896. $18. 6 True Love. [HC] Jude Deveraux. Ballantine. ISBN 9780345541796. $27. 7 The Lemon Orchard. [HC] Luanne Rice. Pamela Dorman: Viking. 
ISBN 9780670025275. $27.95. 8 The Newcomer. [P] Robyn Carr. Mira: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780778314523. $7.99. 9 Candlelight Christmas. [HC] Susan Wiggs. Mira: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780778314745. $16.95. 10 One Heart To Win. [HC] Johanna Lindsey. Gallery. 
ISBN 9781476714264. $26. 11 Protector. [HC] Diana Palmer. HQN: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780373777716. $24.95. 12 The Hero. [P] Robyn Carr. Mira: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780778314592. $7.99. 13 Burn. [P] Maya Banks. Berkley. 
ISBN 9780425267080. $15. 14 The Arrangement. [P] Mary Balogh. Dell. ISBN 9780345535870. $7.99. 15 Under a Texas Sky. [HC] Dorothy Garlock. Grand Central. 
ISBN 9780446540230. $30; pap. ISBN 9780446540216. $15. 16 A Seaside Christmas. [HC] Sherryl Woods. Mira: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780778315117. $16.95. 17 Christmas on 4th Street. [HC] Susan Mallery. HQN: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780373777822. $16.95. 18 The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh. [P] Stephanie Laurens. Avon. ISBN 9780062068651. $7.99. 19 Three Little Words. [P] Susan Mallery. HQN: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780373777785. $7.99. 20 Big Sky Wedding. [P] Linda Lael Miller. HQN: Harlequin. 
ISBN 9780373777747. $7.99.

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