Sunday, October 31, 2010

PI (G) Adventures

Sasspants, PI(G), the world's fluffiest detective, is back on the case-or she will be, if her sidekick Hamisher can convince her there's really a mystery afoot. Hamisher has made up so many stories, Sasspants doesn't believe him. But one by one the mice in Mr. Venezi's pet shop are going missing, and all the spooky clues point to...a ghost! Once our shaggy Sherlocks start digging for answers, they will stop at nothing to ferret out the truth!

Now Out in Paperback:

The Christmas Sweater

Based on a deeply personal true story, Glenn Beck’s bittersweet tale of boyhood memories, wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of the giving season has touched the hearts of readers everywhere.If you could change your life by reversing your biggest regrets, sorrows, and mistakes . . . would you?When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. He knew money had been tight since his father died, but Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to afford that dream bike.What he got from her instead was a sweater. “A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater” that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.Scarred deeply by the fateful events that transpired that day, Eddie begins a dark and painful journey toward manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family—and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell—to help Eddie find his life’s path and finally understand the significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted with love.

Cold Dawn

The small town of Black Falls, Vermont, finally feels safe again—until search-and-rescue expert Rose Cameron discovers a body, burnt almost beyond recognition. Almost. Rose is certain that she knows the victim's identity…and that his death was no accident.

Nick Martini also suspects an arsonist's deliberate hand. Another fire killed an arson investigator in California months ago. Now the rugged smoke jumper is determined to follow the killer's trail…even if it leads straight to Rose. Nick and Rose haven't seen each other since they shared a single night of blind passion, but they can't let memories and unhealed wounds get in the way of their common goal—stopping a merciless killer from taking aim straight at the heart of Black Falls.

Home in Time for Christmas

Melody Tarleton is driving home for Christmas when a man—clad in Revolutionary War–era costume—appears out of nowhere, right in the path of her car. Shaken, she takes the injured stranger in, listening with concern to Jake Mallory's fantastic claim that he's a Patriot soldier executed by British authorities.

Bringing Jake to her parents' house, Melody concocts a story to explain the handsome holiday guest with the courtly manners and strange clothes. Mark, her close friend who wishes he were more, is skeptical, but her family is fascinated. So is Melody. Jake is passionate, charming and utterly unlike anyone she's ever met. Can he really be who he claims? And can a man from the distant past be the future she truly longs for?


Perry and Lester invent things: seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems. When Kodak and Duracell are broken up for parts by sharp venture capitalists, Perry and Lester help to invent the “New Work,” a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups. Together, they transform the nation and blogger Andrea Fleeks is there to document it.

Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot-bomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts across the land. As their rides gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive engineers a savage attack on the rides by convincing the police that their 3D printers are being used to make AK-47s.

Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry’s friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the fatkins treatment, which turns him into a sybaritic gigolo.

Then things get really interesting.

A Rumpole Christmas

"Rumpole is one of the immortals of mystery fiction." -San Francisco Chronicle

Of the late Sir John Mortimer's many beloved characters, it is widely agreed that Horace Rumpole was his greatest fictional creation. Here, collected in book form for the first time, are five delightful tales that capture the beleagured barrister at his grumpy, yet warm-hearted best.

Rumpole isn't particularly fond of Christmas Day-he finds it has a horrible habit of dragging on as She Who Must Be Obeyed leads him through the usual rituals. But at least the criminal fraternity rarely takes a holiday. Whether it's a suspicious Father Christmas, or an unseasonably nasty murder trial, there's always something wonderfully unlawful to liven up Rumpole's dull holiday plans.

Book Lust to Go
Nancy Pearl sells books: hers and those of the authors she recommends. Book Lust To Go is 120 places to read about before you go. Consider the entry “Indicative of Indonesia,” in which Nancy Pearl urges travelers to read V.S. Naipaul’s Among the Believers and Christopher J. Koch’s The Year of Living Dangerously. Wanderlust-y reading for prospective travelers to Ireland begins with the cheeky: “Let’s not start with James Joyce and just say we did, okay?” then goes on to recommend such gems as Nuala O’Faollin’s Are you Somebody? and J. P. Dunleavy’s Ireland In All Her Sins and Some of Her Graces. This enthusiastic literary globetrotting includes stops in Korea, Sweden, Afghanistan, Albania, Parma, Patagonia, Texas, and Timbuktu. But Nancy Pearl is a reader and a librarian, not a travel agent, so she can’t resist recommending reading for “Travel to Imaginary Places” (including Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Wizard of Earthsea and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union) and stories of chucking it all and moving to Spain or Greece under the heading “So We/I Bought (or Built) a House In . . . ” Book Lust To Go brings Pearl’s amazing ability to summon the perfect book to connect with a particular interest with the art of having an adventure — whether it requires a passport or just an armchair.

Trick or Treat!

Twilight and Breaking Dawn Movie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A New Direction for Kathy Reichs (sort of)

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot-if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends- they're a pack. They are Virals.

Jackie says:

"After 13 books in her "Temperance Brennan/Bones" series, Reichs is trying something new-young adult fiction. And she does quite well at it. It's not TOO far off a familiar path-the main character is Tory Brennan, Tempe's 14 year old niece (and possibly biggest fan). She's a science loving brainiac living on a sparsely populated island off the South Carolina coast. She's got three friends, also "sci-philes" and somewhat social outcasts because of it. In this first book of a planned series, the group rescues a puppy from a lab, only to find that it had been infected with a strange virus that infects them too, giving them unusual sense perceptions and other "powers". On top of that, they discover an old murder case that's VERY close to home and trigger a reaction from the vengeful murderer. This is definitely a page turning adventure that maintains Reichs' status in the land of well written, science based mystery, now with just a touch of fantasy to it. Recommended for 12 and up."

Wendy's Window: Reading Group Recommendations

Eighteen Acres
Eighteen Acres, a description used by political insiders when referring to the White House complex, follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet.

Charlotte Kramer, the 45th US President, Melanie Kingston, the White House chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House correspondent for one of the networks are all working tirelessly on Charlotte’s campaign for re-election. At the very moment when they should have been securing success, though, Kramer’s White House implodes under rumors of her husband’s infidelity and grave errors of judgment on the part of her closest national security advisor. In an upheaval that threatens not only the presidency, but the safety of the American people, Charlotte must fight to regain her footing and protect the the country she has given her life to serving.

From the former Communications Director for the White House and current political media strategist comes a smart, juicy, and fast-paced read that we're sure fans of commercial women's fiction will fall in total love with.

Promise Me
"As you read my story, there is something I want you to understand. That in spite of all the pain—past, present and that still to come—I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Nor would I trade the time I had with him for anything—except for what, in the end, I traded it for." Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change. For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life. Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she’s fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny.

The Love Goddess' Cooking School
Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy.

But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

The Dressmaker
Ellen Gowan is the only surviving child of a scholarly village minister and a charming girl disowned by her family when she married for love. Growing up in rural Norfolk, Ellen’s childhood was poor but blessed with affection. Resilience, spirit, and one great talent will carry her far from such humble beginnings. In time, she will become the witty, celebrated, and very beautiful Madame Ellen, dressmaker to the nobility of England, the Great Six Hundred.

Yet Ellen has secrets. At fifteen she falls for Raoul de Valentin, the dangerous descendant of French aristocrats. Raoul marries Ellen for her brilliance as a designer but abandons his wife when she becomes pregnant. Determined that she and her daughter will survive, Ellen begins her long climb to success. Toiling first in a clothing sweat shop, she later opens her own salon in fashionable Berkeley Square though she tells the world – and her daughter - she’s a widow. One single dress, a ballgown created for the enigmatic Countess of Hawksmoor, the leader of London society, transforms Ellen’s fortunes, and as the years pass, business thrives. But then Raoul de Valentin returns and threatens to destroy all that Ellen has achieved.

In The Dressmaker, the romance of Jane Austen, the social commentary of Charles Dickens and the very contemporary voice of Posie Graeme-Evans combine to plunge the reader deep into the opulent, sinister world of teeming Victorian England. And if the beautiful Madame Ellen is not quite what she seems, the strength of her will sees her through to the truth, and love, at last.

The Pursuit of Happiness
Manhattan, Thanksgiving eve, 1945. The war is over, and Eric Smythe’s party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara, an independent, outspoken young woman, starting to make her way in the big city. And then in walked Jack Malone, a U.S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, a man whose world view was vastly different than that of Eric and his friends. This chance meeting between Sara and Jack and the choices they both made in the wake of it would eventually have profound consequences, both for themselves and for those closest to them for decades afterwards. Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy era, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great, tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices and the random workings of destiny.

The Christmas Cookie Club
Every year at Christmastime, Marnie and her twelve closest girlfriends gather in the evening with batches of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies. Everyone has to bring a dessert and a bottle of wine, but this year, it’s their stories that are especially important. Marnie’s oldest daughter has a risky pregnancy. Jeannie’s father is having an affair with her best friend. Taylor’s life is in financial freefall. Rosie’s husband doesn’t want children, and she has to decide, very soon, the fate of her marriage.

On this evening, at least, they can feel as a group the impulses of sisterly love and conflict, the passion and hopefulness of a new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, the agony of losing a child, and above all, the love they have for one another. As Marnie says, the Christmas Cookie Club, if it’s anything, is a reminder of delight.

TC Tidbits: 15 Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels Rejected Multiple Times By Publishers

Get the details from

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dispatches from the Field: Joe Discovers Dennis Lehane

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane delivers an explosive tale of integrity and vengeance—heralding the long-awaited return of private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda's aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn't been seen in weeks.

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It's a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it's possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don't always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.

Joe says:

"It is almost embarrassing to admit this: until now, I had not read Dennis Lehane. If Moonlight Mile is typical Lehane, he is indeed a master writer. I was enthralled with this book. It is a sequel to "Gone Baby Gone" but does stand up on its own as a fantastic piece of investigative crime fiction. Patrick Kenzie and his wife Angela Gennaro are private investigators searching for a missing teenager who has irked the Russian mafia. In writing that is crisp, humorous and authentic, Lehane grabs the reader and pulls them through this dark tale. And this reader, for one, was glad for the ride. Boston breathes throughout this novel, as do the very real characters here. Nothing felt like a stereotype here. In one book, Lehane has gained a new fan. I can't wait to catch up to more by him."

The Official 2010 Recommendation List from NRGM (Part Two)

Molly Fox's Birthday

A successful playwright borrows the Dublin flat of her close friend, the well-known actress Molly Fox. In the course of one day, as she thinks about their friendship, explores Molly's possessions, and speaks to other friends and family, her life is changed by what is revealed.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

On her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein discovers that she can feel the emotions of others by eating the food they prepare. Far from fantasy, this story about fraught family relationships is filled with insight and tenderness.

The Queen of Palmyra

Thick with the atmosphere of early 1960s racial tension, Florence, an 11-year old white girl in a southern town in the early 1960s tries to understand the emotions and motivations of the people around her, both black and white, from her abusive Klan-loving father to the family of Zenie, her grandparents' longtime black maid.

For five-year old Jack, the only world he knows is Room, where he lives with Ma and endures nighttime visits from Old Nick, their keeper. Ma has made desperate plans to escape from this place where she's been held prisoner, but it's not clear how the bond between mother and child will survive the enormous change.

Safe from the Sea

After years of estrangement, Noah Torr returns to the cabin north of Duluth, MN where his father, now near death, is living in solitude. As father and son move toward a tentative reconciliation, Olaf tells the pivotal story of how he survived the tragic sinking of his Great Lakes ore boat thirty-five years ago.

Up From the Blue

Eight-year old Tillie Harris loves her beautiful, unstable mother, a free-spirited contrast to her distant, harsh father. When the family moves from New Mexico to Washington, DC her mother vanishes, and Tillie turns to outsiders for support and encouragement until she uncovers her father's treachery.

TC Tidbit: 100,00 Stories Before Bedtime for Military Parents

Learn more about this amazing program--and spread the word!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jackie Sings the Praises of Mockingbird

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

Jackie says:
"Themis Academy is a co-ed boarding school of the highest caliber. According to the
administration, everything is perfect there. According to the students, that's not quite correct. In response to the school's intentional ignorance of any wrong doing by its
students, The Mockingbirds are formed. They are not vigilantes, they are a very organized judicial force made up of students, with many checks and balances within the system, making sure that wrongs are righted. Alex certainly knew about them--her older sister actually started them a few years back. But she never dreamed that she would need their services--until she was date raped.

This is a very strong story that is difficult to put down. The author is herself a rape survivor and brings a raw realism to what happens to Alex in the aftermath. While the portrayal of the adults is disturbing (most being completely divorced from any sort of realistic view of their students), it is not unbelievable, unfortunately. The justice meted out by The Mockingbirds is fair, smart, and inspiring. I WILL be recommending this book, and not just to teenagers. I think it has an important message for everyone."

The Official 2010 Recommendation List from NRGM (Part One)

History professor Patsy McLemoore thought she could manage her drinking problem until she was arrested and jailed for running down a mother and daughter. No longer a free spirit, Patsy's life takes a sharp turn into sobriety and remorse in this gripping story of life changes.

The Blessings of the Animals
When her husband unexpectedly leaves her, veterinarian Cami Anderson turns to friends and family for support, but it is the animals she cares for who teach her the most enduring lessons about love.

Cheap Cabernet
A memoir of how Beck, divorced, frustrated, and bored with her life in her late thirties, started a women's group and met the remarkable free-spirited Denise. Their intense friendship, until Denise's illness, provided a springboard for Beck to change her life.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky
Rachel Morse, daughter of a Danish mother and black American father, sole survivor of a family tragedy, is sent to live with her African American grandmother, where her biracial heritage causes confusion and brings unwanted attention. Social commentary and family tragedy mix in this unusual coming of age story.

Little Bee
A horrific encounter on the beach in Nigeria has repercussions in the lives of a London couple and the young Nigerian immigrant girl, Little Bee, who escapes to England and finds them.

The Lotus Eaters
This sweeping, suspenseful novel follows photojournalist Helen Adams in Vietnam from 1965-1975, as she learns the hard way about objectivity, guilt, and love in the maelstrom of war. Particularly relevant in the light of current conflicts, Soli also examines the role that photographers and journalists play in wartime.

TC Tidbit: 50 Years of Mystery Book Awards in One Place

Find out what we're talking about by clicking below.

50 Years of Mystery Book Awards in One Place - GalleyCat

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lynn Is Very Impressed By...

Thirteen year old Hayaat is on a mission. She believes a handful of soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. The only problem is that Hayaat and her family live behind the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, and they're on the wrong side of check points, curfews, and the travel permit system. Plus, Hayaat's best friend Samy always manages to attract trouble. But luck is on the pair's side as they undertake the journey to Jerusalem from the Palestinian Territories when Hayaat and Samy have a curfew-free day to travel.

But while their journey may only be a few kilometers long, it could take a lifetime to complete. . .

Humorous and heartfelt, Where the Streets Had a Name deals with the Israel-Palestinian conflict with sensitivity and grace and will open a window on this timely subject.

Lynn says:

"Abdel-Fattah has a couple titles in Young Adult, but this one is for a slightly younger
audience and I'd say would be fine for YA as well... It's the story of 13 yr old Hayaat
who's living in Bethlehem. Her grandmother isn't in the best health and Hayaat convinces
herself that some soil from her home (in occupied Jerusalem, from which the family was
forced to move)would help. She and best friend, Samy, have endured the headaches of
checkpoints, curfews and the huge separation wall, but never have they risked trying to
get into Jerusalem on their own without telling anyone. Their journey is a window into a
reality that begs many questions to which the author does not present facile answers, but
opens the imagination to consider the context in which the protagonist is living out her
youth half a world away. Where the Streets Had a Name will evoke the many paradoxes of the 'Holy Land' for anyone who's ever been there and will put a human face on the
'situation' there for anyone who has not...."

More About National Reading Group Month


National Reading Group Month (NRGM) is the innovation of sisters Martha Burns and Alice Dillon, Women's National Book Association (WNBA) members and the authors of Reading Group Journal: Notes in the Margin (Abbeville Press).

The WNBA launched National Reading Group Month in October 2007 as the premier event of its 90th anniversary. Special events held in chapter cities featured best-selling authors and book-club "favs" Hillary Carlip, Laura Dave, Beth Gutcheon, Jennifer Haigh, Wally Lamb, Jamie Saul, Matthew Sharpe, Beverly Swerling, and Adriana Trigiani. Eager readers met authors, swapped tips, shared reading suggestions, and left with armloads of new reads. The official signature event was held at The New York Center for Independent Publishing organized by the WNBA-New York City chapter.

WNBA will continue the tradition of annual events in its chapter cities: Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. These events will create continued excitement and momentum and ensure that NRGM remains an important occasion on the nation's literary calendar. Events are open to the public, and reading group members are invited to attend as a group to take part in the festivities and celebrate their accomplishments. A portion of the proceeds from select NRGM events is donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

NRGM augments the WNBA's mission to promote the value of books and reading. Through this initiative the organization aims to foster the values reading groups encourage: camaraderie, enjoyment of shared reading, and appreciation of literature and reading as conduits for transmitting culture and advancing civic engagement.


The mission of National Reading Group Month is to:

  • Increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading
  • Provide a time for reading groups to celebrate their accomplishments and plan for the future
  • Provide opportunities for individuals to join an existing reading group or start a new one
  • Encourage libraries, bookstores, and organizations to host special reading group events

TC Tidbit: The Female Character Flowchart

This fun, yet useful, piece comes to us via mlawski at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dispatches from the Field: Joe's Talking About Maupin's Latest

A hilarious and touching new installment of Armistead Maupin's beloved Tales of the City series

Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, a gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.

Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple's backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of fifty-seven, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her checkered past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.

After the intimate first-person narrative of Maupin's last novel, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn marks the author's return to the multicharacter plotlines and darkly comic themes of his earlier work. Among those caught in Mary Ann's orbit are her estranged daughter, Shawna, a popular sex blogger; Jake Greenleaf, Michael's transgendered gardening assistant; socialite DeDe Halcyon-Wilson; and the indefatigable Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann's former landlady at 28 Barbary Lane.

More than three decades in the making, Armistead Maupin's legendary Tales of the City series rolls into a new age, still sassy, irreverent, and curious, and still exploring the boundaries of the human experience with insight, compassion, and mordant wit.

Joe says:

"Mary Ann in Autumn is the latest, the seventh, in the Tales of City series. Originally published in the 1980's, this series of books follows the residents (and now, former) of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. A couple of years ago, Maupin came out with Michael Tolliver Lives, bringing us up to date on the life of Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, as well as several of the other characters from the beloved series. Now, in this latest book, he takes us back into their lives. They are older (the title character is 57 and dealing with cancer) and are not always wiser. Told in the same style as the others (each chapter is a short vignette about a different character), the main focus of the book is on Mary Ann Singleton dealing with the choices she made earlier in her life.

Reading this book was like coming home. These are characters who have been part of my life for nearly 15 years (I was a late comer to the series). They have aged in real time, and that is the bittersweet portion of the book. If you are a fan of the books, you're going to read this one. You're going to laugh a lot, and you're going to cry some, too. If you haven't heard of these, it is still worth reading. This book could definitely stand alone, but really shines if the reader is familiar with the pasts of these characters. Another noteworthy aspect of this book: the characters run the gamut from gay to straight to transgendered and from young to old to older. (One of my favorite lines from the book: "'You're not old,' [Mary Ann] said, scolding [Michael] with a glance. 'You're my age.'" Indeed, aren't we all?"


IndieBound's Current Top Ten Book Club Recommendations

#10 Jarrettsville
“Cornelia Nixon's novel begins in 1869 as Martha Jane Cairnes murders Nicholas McComas in front of many witnesses in Jarrettsville, Maryland, a town just below the Mason-Dixon Line and a microcosm of America in the years following the Civil War. This tale of two lovers and why it ends so badly for them is the story of neighbor fighting neighbor, old customs and quarrels dying hard, passion, friendship, and the complicated relationships between whites and blacks, all told exquisitely.”
—Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

#9 Driftless
“After a 30-year hiatus following a motorcycle accident, David Rhodes has returned with a beautiful masterpiece. July Montgomery, the hero of Rhodes' Rock Island Line, first published in 1975, returns in a story filled with family secrets and more than one miracle. A great choice for your next book group!”
—Russell Villars, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

#8 Shanghai Girls
“Pearl, the narrator of Shanghai Girls, says that parents die, husbands and children can leave, but sisters are for life. Her life takes her from being an indulged daughter to being sold as a wife to satisfy her father's gambling debts; from a comfortable life in Shanghai to a deperate escape from the invading Japanese, and on to San Francisco and a difficult life as an unwelcome immigrant. Through all these experiences and despite jealousies, rivalries, and a closely kept secret, Pearl and May are best friends. See tells a great story, and one that will prompt stimulating discussion.”
—Sally Wizik Wills, Sister Wolf Books, Park Rapids, MN

#7 Cutting for Stone
“This sumptuous tale is one of lives, fates, and destinies, how things separate are connected and how those connected are separate. Birth and death are at the outset - and then, pulsingly, heartfully, carry on companionably all the way through. Lifelong wonderings and longings bridge the geography and time spanned. This is like one of the great life-and-death, myth-and-legend sagas with war, famine, exile, love, betrayal, great tenderness and compassion, a cast of characters, and the work of some larger powers all going on.”
—Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

#6 Let the Great World Spin
“The absolutely best book club discussion book is last year's National Book Award Winner, Let the Great World Spin. Eleven characters are each fleetingly touched by the tightrope walker who walked between the twin towers in August 1974. McCann perfectly captures each voice and creates, not only memorable characterers and their stories, but also writes a powerful novel about love, loss and redemption.”
—Patti McCall, Queen Anne Books, Seattle, WA

#5 Velva Jean Learns to Drive
“Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven is lovely, coming-of-age story set in the mountains of North Carolina before World War II. Velva Jean dreams of becoming a singing star at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The only way to get there is to leave the her small world and her own people in the bright yellow truck, yet she doesn't know how. Through loss and adversity, Velva Jean's spirit and belief in herself gives her the courage to drive that yellow pick up 'over holler and hill and through the valleys and streams, to the tops of mountains and then through the clouds on a road forged from dreams.'”
—Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

#4 A Reliable Wife
“This debut novel, set in the early 1900s, is a beautifully written psychological mystery, almost gothic at times. Advertising for 'a reliable wife,' Ralph Truitt, wealthy businessman, gets more than he realizes when Catherine Land steps off the train. Secrets on top of secrets, all revealed in Goolrick's lyrical prose in this a beautiful examination of love and regret.”
—Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

#3 The Wives of Henry Oades
“Henry Oades' decision to move his family to New Zealand for a job proves crucial when his wife and children are kidnapped and presumed dead at the hands of native tribesmen. He moves to America and marries a young widow, only to find his first wife and children on his doorstep one day. They move in with his new family and Henry eventually face charges of bigamy. Based on a true story, this book goes right to the top of the list for book clubs.”
—Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

#2 Brooklyn
“Eilis Lacey has no apparent future in rural Ireland, and with the help of a priest makes her way to a Catholic enclave in Brooklyn. Uncanny in its evocation of a young woman coming of age, and of a city coming of age, Brooklyn is at once interior and ironic, distanced and involving. Toibin, who is masterful here in his depiction of Brooklyn and Ireland circa 1950, and of such issues as self determination, love of country, love of family, and, of course, sexual love. Perfect for book groups!”
—Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

#1 Little Bee
“This is one of the few books I've read that I couldn't put down. The story is brilliant and powerful. The two main characters are Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee, and Sarah, an British magazine editor whose life is thrown into turmoil by Little Bee's arrival. With some incredible ruminations on immigration, grief, and the human spirit, Chris Cleave weaves a story you will never forget.”
—Stephanie Walker, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

TC Tidbits: Ernest Hemingway's Nobel Acceptance Speech

Hemingway did not go to the awards ceremony, so the Ambassador read it at the banquet. This version was recorded by Hemingway himself in a radio studio in Cuba. (The slide-show of pictures is pretty cool too!).

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Inside Look at the Carter White House

Publisher's Weekly says:

"The snarl behind the toothy grin emerges in these acerbic entries culled from the 39th president’s personal diary. Carter vents against everyone, from Congress (“disorganized juvenile delinquents”), to the press (“completely irresponsible and unnecessarily abusive”) and the incoming Reaganauts (“group of jerks.”) By contrast, he comes off as the principled, rational, speed-reading master of policy detail, with a cogent—to him—agenda of human rights, internationalism, and disarmament in foreign policy; and fiscal restraint, deregulation, and energy conservation at home. His account of the “national malaise” episode reveals a technocrat groping awkwardly toward a political vision. But the hectic, sketchy entries, annotated with after-the-fact elucidations, mainly show President Carter breasting the maelstrom of overscheduling, mundane politics, and brother-Billy issues while eruptions like the Iranian hostage crisis sneak up; the Sadat-Begin Camp David negotiations and other summits, where his leadership could be proactive and untrammelled, provoke his most involved and insightful passages. Carter’s judgments will stir controversy: he tars Ted Kennedy with torpedoing his health-care reforms and abetting Reagan’s 1980 victory, and paints Israel (“obstinate”) and its Prime Minister Menachem Begin as the main obstacles to Middle East peace. His tart wit and cutting candor add flavor to a revealing portrait of presidential achievement and, especially, frustration. "

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the booksigning with former President Jimmy Carter has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Watch Lesley Stahl's interview with President Carter about his book.

Ocotober is National Reading Group Month

Our Book Club Outreach Coordinator Marti Stewart offers public and private book talks, produces book reviews for our book club e-newsletter, The Book Club Companion, and works with book clubs in other ways. She also organizes our popular annual event Writers Respond to Readers.

To inquire about our services for book clubs, or to subscribe to our book club e-newsletter, please call our Book Club Outreach Coordinator at 303-322-1965 ext. 2735.

If you are looking for a book club to join, consider one of the ones sponsored by Tattered Cover. Everyone is always welcome at all of these.

TC LoDo Book Club
Meets at 7:00 pm on the first Monday of each month in the Tattered Cover Historic LoDo Book Store.
On November 1st we will discuss Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.
On December 6th we will discuss War Dances by Sherman Alexie.
On January 3rd we will discuss Candide by Voltaire.
Everyone is welcome!

Second Sunday Book Club
Meets at 4:00 pm on the second Sunday of each month in the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue Book Store.
On November 14th we will discuss Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
Everyone is welcome!

Travel Lovers' Book Club
Meets at 5:30 pm on the second Monday of each month in the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue Store.
On October 11th we will discuss Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham.
On November 8th we will discuss Geography of Time by Robert N. Levine.
On December 13th we will discuss Educating Alice by Alice Steinbach.
Everyone is welcome!

The Tattered Cover Journal Keepers
Meets at 10:00 am on the third Wednesday of each month in the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch Store.
Participants write on a variety of topics, mostly reactions to something one member has brought in to share. Members take turns bringing the subject matter for the day.
Everyone is welcome!

Third Wednesday Book Group (Formerly the Third Thursday Book Group)
Meets at 7:00 pm on the third Wednesday of every other month (alternates months with the Mystery Book Club) in the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue Store.
On November 17th we will discuss Wind Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
On January 19th we will discuss Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy.
On March 16th we will discuss Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester.
Everyone is welcome!

Mystery Book Club
Meets at 7:00 pm on the third Wednesday (formerly on Thursday) of every other month (alternates months with the Third Wednesday Book Group) in the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue Store.
On October 21st (this meeting will take place on Thursday, the next meeting will begin the new Wednesday meeting time) we will discuss A Stain on the Silence by Andrew Taylor.
On December 15th we will discuss Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill.
Everyone is welcome!