The February 2007 Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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Here is the full listing of February Book Sense Picks, with booksellers' comments, as well as a preview of the month's Notables. Independent booksellers in the Book Sense program will be receiving their February Picks fliers in the January Red Box. (The flier includes jacket images, bibliographic information, and bookseller quotes.)

The February 2007 Book Sense Picks

1. MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH: A Novel, by Ariana Franklin (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399154140/0399154140) "Coming from Salerno, where she is a respected physician and medieval pathologist, the 'Mistress of the Art of Death' is on a secret mission to discover the method of death, and murderer, of the children of Cambridge, England. Ariana Franklin's passion for the 12th century fills this wonderful mystery with the authentic flavor of village life, tales of the Crusaders, and the struggles of the royalty versus the Church." -- Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

FLOWER CONFIDENTIAL: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers, by Amy Stewart (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781565124387/1565124383) "Amy Stewart's great new book recounts the often amazing and fascinating story of the cut flower industry. It's wonderfully readable, and you will never look at a gerbera daisy with the same eyes again!" -- Lyn Dulkinys, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN: A Novel, by Hisham Matar (Dial, $22, 9780385340427/0385340427) "This is a rare glimpse of life in Qadhafi's Libya, told through the eyes of a child whose family faces political repression. Nine-year-old Suleiman lives a life of school, games, and family but gradually becomes aware that life around him is not what it seems. Short-listed for this year's Booker prize, this debut novel is a moving depiction of the private fallout of a public nightmare." -- Julie Summersquash, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

LOST CITY RADIO: A Novel, by Daniel Alarcn (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780060594794/0060594799) "It is never pleasant to read about war, but this story set in a South American country torn by civil war is a beautifully written debut novel. Norma hosts a radio program called 'Lost City Radio,' and each week she reads the names of missing people, including her husband, in hopes the families can be reunited. Outstanding." -- Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

THE DOUBLE BIND: A Novel, by Chris Bohjalian (Shaye Areheart, $25, 9781400047468/1400047463) "In his latest novel, Chris Bohjalian again displays his considerable skills, this time focusing on the realm of mental illness. The Double Bind features a complex literary allusion that lends yet another layer of interest to an already compelling story of a traumatized young woman's desperate search for connection." -- Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

SKYLIGHT CONFESSIONS: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316058780/0316058785) "Was it fate or chance that brought John Moody to Arlyn Singer's door? The consequences of that meeting will change the course their lives, and will bring love and grief, loss and forgiveness through three generations. Skylight Confessions is a brilliant, heartbreaking, and mystical tale." -- Vicky Uminowicz, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

DEEP STORM: A Novel,  by Lincoln Child (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385515504/0385515502) "Peter Crane, an ex-Navy doctor, is urgently summoned to a remote oil platform in the North Atlantic, where he is faced with unexplained sicknesses in an archaeological project called Deep Storm, located far underneath the ocean. While Crane is told that the lost continent of Atlantis has been discovered, he also realizes that the true scope of the project includes much more. Throw in saboteurs, military zealots, and heart-pounding action and you have a great read." -- Linda Rae Erickson, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

THE DEAD FATHER'S CLUB: A Novel, by Matt Haig (Viking, $23.95, 9780670038336/0670038334) "In Haig's magnificent updating of Hamlet, Philip, an English schoolboy, must decide whether to listen to the ghost of his father and to murder the uncle who is making the moves on his mother. Was Philip's father murdered? Or is the boy having a psychotic breakdown? Haig's prose is light and humorous and sprinkled with allusions to the Bard, even as his topic turns dark and menacing." -- Arsen Kashkashian, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

DEVOTION: A Novel,  by Howard Norman (Houghton, $24, 9780618735419/0618735410) "A sweet, engaging book about love and family with maddeningly wonderful characters."  -- Mary Gleysteen, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge  Island, WA

THE KNITTING CIRCLE: A Novel, by Ann Hood (Norton, $24.95, 9780393059014/0393059014) "A beautiful story about loss and healing, and the ways in which friendship knits us all together. I couldn't put this book down." -- Susan Francis, Colby College Bookstore, Waterville, ME

AMERICAN SHAOLIN: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China, by Matthew Polly (Gotham,  $26, 9781592402625/1592402623)  "This entertaining, illuminating, and often hilarious memoir is the story of how and why the author dropped out of Princeton to travel to China and study kung fu at the Shaolin Temple. His fantasy of the mystical East quickly gives way to a reality of tacky tourist traps and capitalism, but his determination to learn martial arts eventually earns the respect of the monks at Shaolin. Highly recommended!" -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

THE SUNDAY LIST OF DREAMS: A Novel, by Kris Radish (Bantam, $11 paper, 9780553383980/0553383981) "This wonderful story about a mother reconnecting with her daughter is a great balance between funny and touching. The characters are immediately likeable and the plot is fast-moving. This will be number-one on my list of 2007 recommends." -- Mary Ann Giasson, Breakwater Bookland, Rockland, ME

THE LADY IN THE PALAZZO:  At Home in Umbria, by Marlena de Blasi (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781565124738/1565124731) "Marlena de Blasi relates her most recent adventures in Orvieto. The author has a way of describing not only the rich life she is leading in Umbria, but also her inner thoughts and ideas, which read like a letter from a dear friend who has moved abroad. If you do not have a trip to Italy in your near future, read The Lady in the Palazzo -- it is as close to being there as you can get." -- Penny McConnel, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

THE BASTARD OF ISTANBUL:  A Novel, by Elif Shafak (Viking,  $24.95, 9780670038343/0670038342) "This fascinating, evocative novel takes  the reader from Arizona to San Francisco to Istanbul, and into the heart of a family of women who are endearing and  complicated, while also tackling the impact of a tragedy from the past, the Armenian genocide of 1915. A fabulous book!" -- Ellen Baker, J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee, Superior, WI

HALSEY'S TYPHOON: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue, by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin (Atlantic, $25, 9780871139481/0871139480) "I couldn't put this great read down. This account of Admiral William 'Bull' Halsey's Pacific  Fleet facing a devastating typhoon during WW II has military history, naval  operations, suspense, adventure, tragedy, and triumph interwoven in a little-known episode from the war in the Pacific." -- Rich Daley, Pass Christian Books, Pass Christian, MS

TRAVELS IN THE SCRIPTORIUM:  A Novel, by Paul Auster (Holt, $22, 9780805081459/0805081453) "Mysterious and illusive, Auster's latest novel starts as the haunting story of a nameless old man kept prisoner in a small room and becomes a meditation on the act of creation." -- Donna Hawley, Howard's Bookstore, Bloomington, IN

THE BUZZWORD DICTIONARY: 1,000 Phrases Translated from Pompous to English, by John Walston (Marion Street Press, $12.95 paper, 9781933338071/1933338075) "This is an outrageously funny book overflowing with useful phrases that will make a great gift for the uninformed and out-of-touch." -- Joyce DeBroux, Reader's Book Emporium, Rocky Mount, NC

FRUIT OF THE LEMON: A Novel, by Andrea Levy (Picador, $15 paper, 9780312426644 /031242664X) "British-born Faith, a recent college graduate, finds herself in an unfulfilling job and facing the realization that she doesn't truly know anything about her parents' home country, Jamaica. When she packs her bags and ventures to meet her extended family there, she learns that when you just ask, people will tell you the most wonderful stories of the past that will help you to carve out your place in the present." -- Amanda Lydon, Good Yarns Bookshop, Hastings on Hudson, NY

ASK AGAIN LATER: A Novel,  by Jill A. Davis (Ecco, $23.95, 9780060875961/0060875968)  "Sometimes humorous, sometimes a bit melancholy, this story of an adult daughter becoming her mother's caregiver is a good read about the challenges of dealing with emotional hang-ups and letting go of the past. I thoroughly enjoyed the book!" -- Monica Robinson, Monica's Market, Marshfield, MO

FLESH AND BONE: A Body Farm Novel, by Jefferson Bass (Morrow, $24.95, 9780060759834/0060759836) "Flesh and Bone, the second in the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass, is the best forensic anthropology novel I've read in some time. Bass is a fresh voice in the crime novel arena who rivals Kathy Reich and Patricia Cornwell. I loved the scientific details and can't wait for the next one!" -- Marilyn Sieb, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

The February 2007 Book Sense Notables Preview


EXILE, by Richard North Patterson (Holt, $26, 9780805079470/0805079475)
DON'T MAKE ME STOP NOW: Stories, by Michael Parker (Algonquin, $12.95 paper, 9781565124851/1565124855)
JIMI HENDRIX TURNS EIGHTY, by Tim Sandlin (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594489334/ 1594489335)
MR. THUNDERMUG, by Cornelius Medvei (HarperCollins, $14.95, 9780061146121/ 0061146129)
NAPOLEON'S PYRAMIDS, by William Dietrich (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780060848323/ 0060848324)
ONCE IN A PROMISED LAND, by Laila Halaby (Beacon, $24.95, 9780807083901/ 0807083909)
TRAVELER, by Ron McLarty (Viking, $24.95, 9780670034741/0670034746)
TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES: Stories, by Deborah Eisenberg (Picador, $14 paper, 9780312425937/0312425937)
WINTERWOOD, by Patrick McCabe (Bloomsbury, $23.95, 9781596911635/1596911638)


CURSE OF THE NARROWS, by Laura M. Mac Donald (Walker, $15.95 paper, 9780802715104/0802715109)
DELILAH'S EVERYDAY SOUL: Southern Cooking With Style, by Delilah Winder, Jennifer Lindner McGlinn (Running Press, $29.95, 9780762426010/0762426012)
HOUSE OF TESTOSTERONE: One Mom's Survival in a Household of Males, by Sharon O'Donnell (Jefferson Press, $19.95, 9780977808601/0977808602)
MY YEAR INSIDE RADICAL ISLAM: A Memoir, by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (Tarcher, $24.95, 9781585425518/1585425516)
SHE GOT UP OFF THE COUCH: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana, by Haven Kimmel (Free Press, $14 paper, 9780743285001/074328500X)
TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56, by Rafe Esquith (Viking, $24.95, 9780670038152/0670038156)
WAITING FOR DAISY: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother, by Peggy Orenstein (Bloomsbury, $23.95, 9781596910171/1596910178)


BAD BLOOD, by Linda Fairstein (Scribner, $26, 9780743287487/0743287487)
THE BLOOD SPILT, by Asa Larsson (Delacorte, $22, 9780385339827/0385339828)
THE GRAVE TATTOO, by Val McDermid (St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95, 9780312339210/ 0312339216)
TRIPLE CROSS: A Steve Cline Mystery, by Kit Ehrman (Poisoned Pen, $24.95, 9781590583029/1590583027)