Announcing the July/August Book Sense 76

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In a slight change of pace, this week we're announcing the entire July/August Book Sense 76, with the full bookseller nomination quotes for the Top Ten. This is to give you ample time to order titles from the full list. Next week, we will post the list with all the bookseller quotes. Between this list and the Summer Paperback 76, what a summer of reading! Many thanks to all the booksellers who contributed nominations for the July/August list!

For the entire July/August Book Sense 76, click here.

Looking ahead, there's still time to nominate titles for upcoming lists:

Fall Children's Book Sense 76 -- July 11
University Press/Scholarly Top Ten 76 -- July 11
Small Press Top Ten 76 -- July 11
September/October Book Sense 76 -- July 25
Fall Mystery Top Ten 76 -- August 1
"Get Caught Reading" Halloween Top Ten 76 -- August 1

You can send nominations via e-mail to Dan Cullen at [email protected], or use the Web form at


The July/August Book Sense 76 Top Ten

1. THE CLEARING: A Novel, by Tim Gautreaux (Knopf, $23, 0375414746) "The Clearing is the story of Randolph and Byron, two brothers separated for years, both geographically and emotionally, who are brought together again in a remote cypress logging camp in the Louisiana swamps. Gautreaux's evocative descriptions and outstanding storytelling should not only bring him critical acclaim, but also the broad-based readership his writing deserves." -- Stephen Grutzmacher, Passtimes Books, Sister Bay, WI

2. EASTER ISLAND, by Jennifer Vanderbes (Dial, $22.95, 038533673X) "In this extraordinary fiction debut, rich with love and betrayal, history and intellectual passion, two narratives converge on Easter Island. In 1913, Elsa Pendleton leaves England with her anthropologist husband to study the maoi statues on Easter Island. Sixty years later, an American botanist travels to Easter Island to research the island’s ancient pollen, but also to recover emotionally from the death of her husband. A series of brilliant revelations brings to life the parallel quests of these two intrepid women as they delve into the centuries-old mysteries of Easter Island." -- Margaret Gwerder, Bookshelf At Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA

3. FLUKE: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, by Christopher Moore (Morrow, $23.95, 0380978415) "Moore concocts a bizarre mix of characters, including a crazed woman, a Rastafarian, whales, research scientists, and primordial soup. A laugh-out-loud novel with a serious message." -- Dan Bogart, Bear River Books, Evanston, WY

4. MAISIE DOBBS: A Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho, $25, 1569473307) "Maisie Dobbs is the perfect heroine for this atmospheric mystery -- smart and self-reliant, but also vulnerable, haunted by her experiences as a nurse in France during WW I. In this wonderful debut, we care deeply about her, as her very first case as a private investigator brings her face-to-face with the demons in her own past. I hope Maisie is around for a long, long time." -- Kristine Kaufman, The Snow Goose Bookstore, Stanwood, WA

5. CONFEDERACY OF SILENCE : A True Tale of the New Old South, by Richard Rubin (Pocket, $14, 067103667X) " Rubin's Confederacy of Silence is a deeply moving story about the Mississippi Delta that shows the tenacity of poverty and prejudice even today -- and of the impact of these forces on one special football player and the gifted writer who became his friend." -- Mary Price Dunbar, Beaucoup Books, New Orleans, LA

6. THE DOGS OF BABEL: A Novel, by Carolyn Parkhurst (Little, Brown, $21.95, 0316168688) "This is a beautifully written account of love, loss, and memory. In an attempt to piece together the events leading up to his wife's death, Paul Iverson begins to teach his dog -- the only witness to the death -- to communicate. During the course of his research, Paul's memories of his wife reveal the forces at work, in their relationship and in a troubled heart that led to her final act." -- Sandy Johnson, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

7. HELL AT THE BREECH : A Novel, by Tom Franklin (Morrow, $23.95, 0688167411) "This is one of the most powerful, astonishing, and deeply absorbing books I have ever read. Beginning with a small, horrific bit of Alabama history that most folks will never have heard of, Franklin has built a story and a world that you will never forget. Write this down somewhere, Tom Franklin is going to win a lot of awards for this one." -- Cheryl Upchurch, Capitol Book & News Company, Montgomery, AL

8. THE PHOTOGRAPH: A Novel, by Penelope Lively (Viking, $24.95, 0670032050) "Kicked off by the discovery of an incriminating photograph, the characters in this book find a missing woman and themselves in a journey I won't soon forget. This intricate story reads like silk sliding across your hands." -- Marian Fleischman, Sedalia Book & Toy, Sedalia, MO

9. DUE PREPARATIONS FOR THE PLAGUE: A Novel, by Janette Turner Hospital (Norton, $24.95, 039305764X) "When a writer of this caliber takes on the subject of espionage, terrorism, and political intrigues, the result is a book that kept me engrossed for hours on end. Hospital writes with heartfelt compassion for those who survived and who now believe intrigues of those who played a part in the terror. And one is left with the question, again, of how much do we really know about events that happen in this world?" -- Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

10. THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING: A Novel, by Laura Moriarty (Hyperion, $22.95, 1401300316) "Evelyn Bucknow is the heroine of this exquisitely written coming-of-age story. Growing up in a small Midwestern town with a single mother and autistic brother, Evelyn manages to survive adolescence with her dignity intact. Funny, touching, and never predictable, this book perfectly captures what it feels like to learn lessons the hard way." -- Alana Willhite, Colby College Bookstore, Waterville, ME