Posts Tagged ‘Friday Finds’

Is it Friday already!?  Must be time to let MizB (and others) know what’s come into my radar, and into my house this week:

Owen Matthews has written a memoir of his family called Stalin’s Children: Three Generations of Love, War and Survival.  The product description for this book calls it “A transcendent history/memoir of one family’s always passionate, sometimes tragic connection to Russia.”  Readers of my blog know how much I fancy personal memoir, I’m really looking forward to this one!  Stalin’s Children goes on sale next Tuesday, September 16.

The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller will be available October 1.  This looks like a quick well-written mystery.  I like the set-up in the synopsis:



Criminal defense attorney Harrison J. Walker, better known as Jaywalker, has just been suspended for using “creative” tactics and receiving “gratitude” in the courtroom stairwell from a client charged with prostitution. Convincing the judge that his other clients are counting on him, Jaywalker is allowed to complete ten cases. But it’s the last case that truly tests his abilities-and his acquittal record.

Samara Moss-young, petite and sexy as hell-stabbed her husband in the heart. Or so everyone believes. Having married the elderly billionaire when she was an eighteen-year-old former prostitute, Samara appears to be the clichéd gold digger. But Jaywalker knows all too well that appearances can be deceiving. Who else could have killed the billionaire? Has Samara been framed? Or is Jaywalker just driven by his need to win his clients’ cases-and this particular client’s undying gratitude?

That’s it for new books this week!  I’ve had to say “no thank you” to several offers of advance review copies of books lately.  Time to catch up on my reading and reviewing; this crisp fall weather we’re having should make it a snap to snuggle down with a good book!

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We were away for the long weekend over Labor Day, so I didn’t post my Friday Finds last week; here’s a quick peek at what I Should Be Reading over the next few weeks:

Ronna Wineberg sent me a copy of her short story collection Second Language.  This was published a few years ago, and I’m happy to be given the chance to review it, as I’ve been enjoying short fiction lately.  The synopsis says that the book is “home to a charmingly eclectic collection of characters who share one thing in common: choices … These characters face life-altering decisions, and when confronted with such adversity, they choose varying directions, ranging from forgiveness to revenge.”

Gayle at Everyday I Write the Book Blog is hosting an online book discussion later this month.  The book she has chosen is Run by Ann Patchett.  I’m so looking forward to reading this!  Not only does it take place in my favorite city, Boston, but I have high expectations for Run, since Patchett’s Bel Canto is one of my favorite books (reminds me, I should “unborrow” it from the neighbor I lent it to!)

Last month I snagged Reputation: Portraits in Power from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  The publisher’s synopsis is short and to the point: “A wry, incisive group portrait of America’s ruling class.”  I have a love a history and enjoy biography/memoir, so this should appeal to me; it will be available for sale October 6.

I also received the Young Adult novel Nation by Terry Pratchett; my kids haven’t pulled this one off the desk yet, but I have a feeling it will be among the missing this weekend!  Here’s a summary from the publisher:

The sea has taken everything.

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

My first two “finds” are already out and on bookstore shelves – have you read either of them?  Anyone else taking a sneak peek at or Reputation or NationWhich one should I open first? (I don’t juggle; one book at a time!)

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It’s that time of the week again!  MizB at Should Be Reading asks what new books have joined the groaning bookshelves in the past seven days … Well, memoir is one of my favorite genres to read, and it shows in this list:

I received Wife in the Northby Judith O’Reilly from Book Club Girl.  She offered a paperback copy (published just last month!) to each of ten readers who shared their own “wife in the north” stories; you can read the submissions in the Comments section.  Here’s what Book Club Girl has to say:

… funny and acutely observed memoir of being uprooted from the London she loves to live in the country among sheep shearers and a lot of mud, and which sprouted out of her blog of the same name …

One wife, mother, and writer extraordinaire’s uproariously funny and heartwarming account of the joys and terrors of leaving the city for the country with a young family in tow.

A second memoir that found its way into my home this week is Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal by Diana M. Raab.  This appeals to me because of my strong interest in genealogy and family history.  I’ll be reviewing this book for Curled Up With a Good Book; according to the publisher:

Diana has questions she wishes she could have asked her beloved grandmother, Regina, a spirited woman who loved her, cared for her, and even taught her to type her first stories on a Remington typewriter. When Regina inexplicably took her own life at age sixty-one, ten-year-old Diana was devastated.

More than three decades later, Diana discovers Regina’s secret diary. She learns all about her grandmother’s life—from the tragic death of her mother when Regina was twelve and her suffering in Vienna during World War I to her escape from the Nazis with her husband and daughter to her eventual arrival in the United States.

Diana’s reflections are interspersed with excerpts from Regina’s diary. This unique, braided narrative presents a touching portrait of the relationship between Diana and Regina, and the way Regina’s life and love still resonate with Diana today.

I was sent a review copy of Ariel Sabar’s My Father’s Paradise from the publisher, Algonquin Books.  This title will be available for sale September 16.  Here’s a summary:

In a remote and dusty corner of the world, forgotten for nearly three thousand years, lived an ancient community of Kurdish Jews so isolated that they still spoke Aramaic—the language of Jesus. Mostly illiterate, they were self-made mystics and gifted storytellers, humble peddlers and rugged loggers who dwelt in harmony with their Muslim and Christian neighbors in the mountains of northern Iraq. To these descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, Yona Sabar was born.

In the 1950s, after the founding of the state of Israel, Yona and his family emigrated there with the mass exodus of 120,000 Jews from Iraq—one of the world’s largest and least-known diasporas. Almost overnight, the Kurdish Jews’ exotic culture and language were doomed to extinction. Yona, who became an esteemed professor at UCLA, dedicated his career to preserving his people’s traditions. But to his first-generation American son Ariel, Yona was a reminder of a strange immigrant heritage on which he had turned his back—until he had a son of his own.

My Father’s Paradise is Ariel Sabar’s quest to reconcile present and past. As father and son travel together to today’s postwar Iraq to find what’s left of Yona’s birthplace, Ariel brings to life the ancient town of Zakho, telling his family’s story and discovering his own role in this sweeping saga. What he finds in the Sephardic Jews’ millennia-long survival in Islamic lands is an improbable story of tolerance and hope.

So three great memoirs this week!  They all look great, and I’m looking forward to reading each of them.   I’m going to “weave” them in between some light fiction so I don’t get bogged down and can appreciate the merits of each.

Oh, and today’s the last day to entry my giveaway for a copy of Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle.  I’m heading into Boston with some friends this afternoon (Girls’ Night OUT!, no husbands or children allowed!), but I promise to post the winner as soon as I stumble return home tomorrow evening.  If you hear of any riots in Faneuil Hall or big bookstores, just know we’re having a good time!

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It’s that time of the week again!  MizB at Should be Reading has organized a weekly round-up of the books that have come into our lives.  Here’s my list:


I received an ARC of Laura Claridge’s Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age to review for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the lady who taught us how to set the table and address condolence cards; where do some of these customs originate?  And who decides what the “correct” way to fold a napkin is?  The book will be published in hardcover in October 2008; here’s the publisher’s synopsis (I learned a lot about her just from reading this!):

“What would Emily Post do?” Even today, Americans cite the author of the perennial bestseller Etiquette as a touchstone for proper behavior. But who was the woman behind the myth, the authority on good manners who has outlasted all comers? Award-winning author Laura Claridge presents the first authoritative biography of the unforgettable woman who changed the mindset of millions of Americans, an engaging book that sweeps from the Gilded Age to the 1960s.

Born shortly after the Civil War, Emily Post was a daughter of high society, the only child of an ambitious Baltimore architect, Bruce Price, and his wellborn wife. Within a few years of his daughter’s birth, Price moved his family to New York City, where they mingled with the Roosevelts and the Astors as well as with the new crowd in town–J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt clan. Blossoming into one of Manhattan’s most sought-after debutantes, Emily went on to marry Edwin Post, planning to re-create in her own home the happiness she’d observed between her parents. Instead, she would find herself in the middle of a scandalous divorce, its humiliating details splashed across the front pages of New York newspapers for months.

Traumatic though it was, the end of her marriage forced Emily Post to become her own person. She would spend the next fifteen years writing novels and attending high-powered literary events alongside the likes of Mark Twain and Edith Wharton, but in middle age she decided she would try something different.

When it debuted in 1922 with a tiny first print run, Etiquette represented a fifty-year-old woman at her wisest–and a country at its wildest. Claridge
addresses the secret of Etiquette’s tremendous success and gives us a panoramic view of the culture from which Etiquette took its shape, as its author meticulously updated her book twice a decade to keep it consistent with America’s constantly changing social landscape.

A tireless advocate for middle-class and immigrant Americans, Emily Post became the emblem of a new kind of manners in which etiquette and ethics were forever entwined. Now, nearly fifty years after her death, we still feel her enormous influence on how we think Best Society should behave.

The Grift, by Debra Ginsberg just came out in hardcover this week!  This sounds like an exciting mystery with lots of twists, centering around a woman who fakes psychic powers, then comes to question if, perhaps, she does have the ability.  Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly has to say:

Ginsberg’s second novel is an entertaining whodunit and an invigorating tale about a damaged young storefront psychic who learns how to live truthfully. Although she has worked as a psychic since childhood, Marina Marks does not believe that psychic abilities exist. Instead, she uses her intuition and observational skills to hoodwink her clients. Arriving in Southern California from Florida, she acquires a new set of clients: Madeleine, the hostess, desperate to maintain her hold on her wealthy husband; Cooper, in love with a psychiatrist who refuses to admit that he is gay; and Eddie, a married womanizer frustrated by his inability to seduce Marina. Ginsberg deftly shows how Marina cultivates her clients’ dependency—and her own income—from their desperation, as well as how easily her clients’ trust in her deteriorates. Soon, the threat of violence that Marina left Florida to escape flares up anew, and Marina begins to suspect, to her confusion and dismay, that she may actually be psychic. Ginsberg thoroughly exploits her clever premise, and Marina’s handling of her troubles—romantic, professional, mystical—ring true through to the redemptive end.

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy came out in paperback in February.  I’ve read great reviews of it, and am a huge fan of historical fiction.  A summary from the publisher:

The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous Biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction

In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the Canaanite King, as his prisoners. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses.

Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life.

Filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, The Triumph of Deborah is the absorbing and riveting tale of one of the most beloved figures in the Old Testament, and a tribute to feminine strength and independence.

This week my mix includes biography, mystery/fiction, and historical fiction … where should I start?

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TGIF!  It has been a long week here, with plenty of rain to keep us climbing the walls inside the house.  I’d like to say that I’ve been able to spend that time curled in a cozy chair with a good book (or two!), but, there was that wall-climbing going on …  Without further ado, I’ll report that I did find time to open several packages that UPS, USPS and FedEx were kind enough to deliver.  MizB at Should be Reading asks, and here are my Friday Finds:

I received House and Home by Kathleen McCleary.  I’m going to read and review this novel in preparation for an author blog tour coordinated by Lisa at TLC Book Tours; this is the first book/author I’ve promoted with TLC Book Tours and I’m looking forward to working with them – the tour stops at SheIsTooFondOfBooks on September 15!. 

We moved about a year ago and I understand the angst of having strangers assess your house and ultimately make it their home; what makes a house a home?  Read on:  The story of a woman who loves her house so much that she’ll do just about anything to keep it.

Ellen Flanagan has two precious girls to raise, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop to run, terrific friends, and a sexy husband. She adores her house, a yellow Cape Cod filled with quirky antiques, beloved nooks and dents, and a million memories. But now, at forty-four, she’s about to lose it all.

After eighteen roller-coaster years of marriage, Ellen’s husband, Sam–who’s charismatic, spontaneous, and utterly irresponsible–has disappointed her in more ways than she can live with, and they’re getting divorced. Her daughters are miserable about losing their daddy. Worst of all, the house that Ellen loves with all her heart must now be sold.

Ellen’s life is further complicated by a lovely and unexpected relationship with the husband of the shrewish, social-climbing woman who has purchased the house. Add to that the confusion over how she really feels about her almost-ex-husband, and you have the makings of a delicious novel about what matters most in the end . . .

Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portland, Oregon, Kathleen McCleary’s funny, poignant, curl-up-and-read debut strikes a deep emotional chord and explores the very notion of what makes a house a home.

Cheryl Jarvis’ The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Changed Their Lives will be published September 9.  The premise of this non-fiction book is very interesting:

Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why are personal luxuries so plentiful yet accessible to so few? What if we shared what we desired? Several weeks, dozens of phone calls, and a leap of faith later, Jonell bought the necklace with twelve other women, with the goal of sharing it.

I received my first “graphic” book, The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story by Marian Henley.  This is a memoir written in graphic format, complete with dialogue bubbles and whimsical drawings.  I loved this book and have already posted my reviewThe Shiniest Jewel will be released for sale on September 15.  Here’s what the publisher has to say:

At 49, cartoonist Marian Henley hasn’t committed to marrying the man with whom she has been dating for seven years. But as the Big 5-0 looms, she realizes that above all else she wants a child. Her story follows the heartbreaking ups and downs of going through the international adoption process; deciding when it’s time to grow up and maybe even get married; and in the end, it’s the story of a daughter’s relationship with her father, and how becoming a mother finally led her to understand him. THE SHINIEST JEWEL is a touching narrative, accompanied by Marian’s winsome drawings, that beautifully weaves together her realizations about the joy, and sometimes heartbreak, of building a family.

I enjoyed The Shiniest Jewel so much that I’m ready to take on a few more books in the graphic format … any suggestions?

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Today the Boston Bibliophile asks: what other weekly memes or round robins do you participate in? Is this the only one? Why Tuesday Thingers and not some other weekly Tuesday meme? Or do you do more than one?

I’ve been participating in Tuesday Thingers since Marie started it back in June.  It has been a great way for me to 1. learn more about some of the features on LT that I wasn’t using, and 2. think about the way I interact with my library – cataloging, tagging, etc., and fine-tune they reasons why certain types of books appeal to me.

A few weeks ago I added MizB’s Friday Finds from Should Be Reading to my weekly routine.  This is a short list of books that have come into our lives during the previous list.  It could be a book that physically came through the door, or one that has been added to a wish list.  It’s interesting to see all the new (or newly-discovered) books each week.  I usually post a picture of the cover, plus the product/editor’s synopsis for others who might like to see what the book is about.  I also indicate how I came across it – a recommendation from another blog, sent from a publisher, won in a contest, jumped into my hands at the bookstore, etc.

Finally, I’ve added an official meme of my own!  For the past few months, off and on, I’ve done a post on Mondays called The Week AheadThe Week Ahead is a rough sketch of anything book-related that I have tentatively on my calendar – a book I plan to finish reading, a review to be finalized, an author event, release of a previously-reviewed book, etc.  I find that if I write it down, I’m more likely to stick to a plan!  Yesterday I posted an invitation (and a contest!) for bloggers to join me in building this planning habit.  Read the details here; you could win a Page-a-Day Book Lover’s Calendar!

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MizB over at Should Be Reading asks what books have come into our lives this week, here’s my list:

The LibraryThing Early Reviewers’ mighty algorithm matched me with Hurry Down Sunshineby Michael Greenberg.  The book will be published in September, so look for my review at the end of this month.  Here’s a product description:  Hurry Down Sunshine tells the story of the extraordinary summer when, at the age of fifteen, Michael Greenberg’s daughter was struck mad. It begins with Sally’s visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues, among other places, in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city’s most sweltering months. “I feel like I’m traveling and traveling with nowhere to go back to,” Sally says in a burst of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place her father could not dream of or imagine. Hurry Down Sunshine is the chronicle of that journey, and its effect on Sally and those closest to her–her brother and grandmother, her mother and stepmother, and, not least of all, the author himself. Among Greenberg’s unforgettable gallery of characters are an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a manic Classics professor, a movie producer, and a landlord with literary dreams. Unsentimental, nuanced, and deeply humane, Hurry Down Sunshine holds the reader in a mesmerizing state of suspension between the mundane and the transcendent.

I was asked to review The Smart One by Ellen Meister for an author tour with Blog Stop Tours.  This will be available for sale the middle of next week, on August 5, so some of you may be enjoying the book at the same as I.  Ms. Meister’s stop at She Is Too Fond of Books will be August 29.  A synopsis of The Smart One: Bev is the Smart One, who finally leaves her artistic ambitions in chalk dust (and her humor-impaired husband in the arms—and legs—of his nubile protégée) to become a schoolteacher. Clare is the Pretty One, who married well and seems to be living a designer version of the suburban dream. Joey is the Wild One, struggling to stay clean and sober now that she’s used up her fifteen minutes of fame as a one-hit-wonder rock star. They love each other but mix like oil, water, and hundred-proof gin . . . a combination that threatens to combust over family tensions, suspected infidelities, a devastating accident, a stunning confession, and the sudden reappearance of their handsome, now all-grown-up former neighbor, Kenny Waxman, who’s back in town making his mark as a TV comedy writer.  It seems they’ll never understand where their differences begin and their own destructive tendencies end. Then it happens: the sisters discover a decades-old body stuffed inside an industrial drum and begin a bold, heartbreaking, and sometimes hilarious journey that will either bring them together . . . or tear them apart for good.

And, I received a book that I won in a trivia contest sponsored by the author and her publisher!  I was excited to find an international mailing envelope from Susan Ronald, with her book, The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire.  This came out in paperback at the end of June.  The product description:  Dubbed the “pirate queen” by the Vatican and Spain’s Philip II, Elizabeth I was feared and admired by her enemies. Extravagant, whimsical, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth was the epitome of power. Her visionary accomplishments were made possible by her daring merchants, gifted rapscallion adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council, including Sir William Cecil, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Sir Nicholas Bacon. All these men contributed their vast genius, power, greed, and expertise to the advancement of England.  In The Pirate Queen, historian Susan Ronald offers a fresh look at Elizabeth I, focusing on her uncanny instinct for financial survival and the superior intellect that propelled and sustained her rise. The foundation of Elizabeth’s empire was built on a carefully choreographed strategy whereby piracy transformed England from an impoverished state on the fringes of Europe into the first building block of an empire that covered two-fifths of the world.  Based on a wealth of historical sources and thousands of personal letters between Elizabeth and her merchant adventurers, advisers, and royal “cousins,” The Pirate Queen tells the thrilling story of Elizabeth and the swashbuckling mariners who terrorized the seas, planted the seedlings of an empire, and amassed great wealth for themselves and the Crown.

Have any of you read The Pirate Queen?  Is The Smart One on your list to pick up next week?  How about Hurry Down Sunshine?  I love the variety this week – memoir, fiction, and history!

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MizB at Should Be Reading asks what books have come into our lives this week.  Here’s my list:




The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt.  I’ve already read this book (twice even!), obviously I really like it!  My neighborhood book group chose it for our September selection, and I was shocked to realize that I don’t own it.  I logged on to PaperBackSwap, made my selection, and the book arrived today. 

The publisher’s synopsis:  Faced with the sale of the century-old family summer house on Cape Cod where he had spent forty-two summers, George Howe Colt returned for one last stay with his wife and children. This poignant tribute to the eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, and dormers that watched over weddings, divorces, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, breakdowns, and love affairs for five generations interweaves Colt’s final visit with memories of a lifetime of summers. Run-down yet romantic, the Big House stands not only as a cherished reminder of summer’s ephemeral pleasures but also as a powerful symbol of a vanishing way of life.

I received an signed ARC of First Daughterby Eric Van Lustbader.  This looks like quite an engaging thriller!  I’m especially interested in reading it because I just read/reviewed Stone Creek by his wife, Victoria Lustbader.  Their writing styles and genres are very different; I wonder if I’ll see any stylistic links. 

A blurb from the publisher: Sometimes the weakness we fear most can become our greatest strength . . .   Jack McClure has had a troubled life.  His dyslexia always made him feel like an outsider.  He escaped from an abusive home as a teenager and lived by his wits on the streets of Washington D.C.  It wasn’t until he realized that dyslexia gave him the ability to see the world in unique ways that he found success, using this new-found strength to become a top ATF agent.   When a terrible accident takes the life of his only daughter, Emma, and his marriage falls apart, Jack blames himself, numbing the pain by submerging himself in work.  Then he receives a call from his old friend Edward Carson.  Carson is just weeks from taking the reins as President of the United States when his daughter, Alli, is kidnapped.  Because Emma McClure was once Alli’s best friend, Carson turns to Jack, the one man he can trust to go to any lengths to find his daughter and bring her home safely.   The search for Alli leads Jack on a road toward reconciliation . . . and into the path of a dangerous and calculating man.  Someone whose actions are as cold as they are brilliant.  Whose power and reach are seemingly infinite.   Faith, redemption, and political intrigue play off one another as McClure uses his unique abilities to journey into the twisted mind of a stone cold genius who is constantly one step ahead of him.  Jack will soon discover that this man has affected his life and his country in more ways than he could ever imagine.

Christopher Meeks and I connected via a blog post about Jhumpa Lahiri’s award-winning Unaccustomed Earth and the difficulties I’ve encountered discussing short stories in a group setting.  Christopher wrote a thoughtful guest post on the subject, and offered me a review copy of his latest short story collection, Months and Seasons.  I’m looking forward to reading it, being receptive to themes, as Christopher suggests.

A sneak peek at what I may find: “Months and Seasons”is the follow-up story collection to Christopher Meeks’s award-winning “The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea.” With a combination of main characters from young to old and with drama and humor, the tales pursue such people as a supermodel who awakens after open-heart surgery, a famous playwright who faces a firestorm consuming the landscape, a reluctant man who attends a Halloween party as Dracula, and a New Yorker who thinks she’s a chicken.

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MizB at Should Be Reading asked what books are new in our lives …

“Brown” has been working extra hard this week!  Here’s a quick run-down of what’s shown up on the porch and is making its way onto my schedule:

So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz was released earlier this month, on July 8.  The story takes place over one day.  (Product description): In the summer of 1963 a plot for revenge destroys a career, a friendship, and a family. The consequences of the scandalous event continue to reverberate, touching the next generation. Thirty years later, over the course of one day, Jon struggles to decide whether to end his affair or his marriage. His wife, Ginny, moving closer to discovering his adultery, begins working for an older man who is mysteriously connected to their families’ pasts. And Jon’s mistress is being courted by a suitor who may be more menacing than he initially seems. As relationships among the characters ebb and flow on that July day, Christina Schwarz illuminates the ties that bind people together—and the surprising risks they take in the name of love.

The Geography of Love: A Memoir by Glenda Burgess, to be published August 5, 2008.  Personal memoir is one of my favorite genres, here’s a synopsis of the book: “…a tragic past, the [15 year] age difference, Ken’s emotionally scarred teenage daughter–all might be enough to send anyone running, but Glenda believed in her instincts, believed more than anything that this lovely, generous man would shape her life. And Ken, who with his heartbreaking losses had long said that he’d given up on love, came to share a sense of their romantic destiny. The two embark on the sort of love affair that many of us don’t believe exist anymore–a grand romance that buoys them through the birth of two kids and fifteen magical years of marriage until tragedy strikes again in the form of a shadowy spot on Ken’s lung. The journey that follows will test their resilience and strengthen their devotion.”

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell will come out in January 2009.  Here’s the publisher’s summary: Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient–and from there Peter’s day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder. Because that patient knows Peter from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he’s a doctor now is thanks to the Witness Protection Program–and even they can’t protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he’s got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time…and beat the reaper.

Have you read any of these three, or anything else by these authors?  Where should I start?

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