The January 2008 Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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Here is the full listing of January 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 January Picks fliers in the December Red Box.

Book Sense also sends a reminder that the December Notables flier and shelf-talkers are now available in PDF format on ABA's trade website,

The January 2008 Book Sense Picks

1. PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, by Geraldine Brooks (Viking, $25.95, 9780670018215 / 067001821X) "Admirers of Geraldine Brooks (and great literature in general) will be delighted by this beautifully fashioned novel. The ancient Haggadah she uses as the centerpiece of the story travels through the centuries and illuminates the lives of its various keepers, as well as each historical era. Detailing both ancient history and the complex life and times of its modern restorer, this novel delivers an amazing richness and a marvelous story!" --Karen M. Frank, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

TRAIL OF CRUMBS: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home, by Kim Sunee (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99, 9780446579766 / 0446579769) "Kim Sunee, the globe-trotting food editor, has written an incredible memoir! Dive into this amazing life of a courageous woman, who was abandoned by her Korean mother, raised in New Orleans, has owned a bookshop in Paris, and, now, is an executive with one of America's most respected magazine publishers. Brilliant!" --Jake Reiss, The Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, AL

THE SENATOR'S WIFE, by Sue Miller (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307264206 / 0307264203) "When newlyweds move into a duplex with the betrayed but devoted wife of a U.S. senator, the stage is set for Sue Miller to do what she does better than almost anyone: probe the passions of family life in ways that are revealing, unsettling, and compelling. Alternating between the viewpoints of the younger and older women, twining their lives together in unpredictable ways, Miller is at her insightful best." --Mary Fellows, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR

SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY, by Deanna Raybourn (Mira, $13.95 paper, 9780778324928 / 0778324923) "Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane return in this charming mix of Victorian romance and suspenseful mystery -- this time to solve a murder committed on the eve of family Christmas celebrations." --Lauretta Nagel, Constellation Books, Reisterstown, MD

EVERY LAST CUCKOO, by Kate Maloy (Algonquin, $22.95, 9781565125414 / 156512541X) "What a beautiful story about a woman in her 70s and her relationships with her husband, family, and friends. Through the book, we are treated to a vibrant marriage, an unexpected death of a beloved husband, and life after marriage. A beautiful, graceful story about a vibrant, beautiful woman." --Patricia Worth, River Reader, Lexington, MO

HELPING ME HELP MYSELF: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone, by Beth Lisick (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061143960 / 0061143960) "Beth Lisick emerges as one of the great storytellers of our generation, joining the ranks of David Foster Wallace and Cintra Wilson with her hilarious and poignant tales of immersion into the million-dollar self-help industry." --Stacey Lewis, City Lights Books, San Francisco, CA

HOMECOMING: A Novel, by Bernhard Schlink (Pantheon, $24, 9780375420917 / 0375420916) "Peter Debauer discovers by chance that his father was not the man he thought, and so begins a search-for-identity thriller with links both to Nazi Germany and a book with missing pages. I loved this quick-paced story and its flawed but feeling hero." --Peggy Sands, Millrace Books, Farmington, CT

THE PAINTER OF BATTLES, by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Random House, $25, 9781400065981 / 1400065984) "This is a moving, powerful story of war, art, and love. Faulques, a war photographer who has spent many years capturing the faces of war on film, retires to a small coastal village in Spain and moves into a watchtower where he begins painting a mural around the inside of the tower. I read this book slowly to savor each phrase and absorb the painting Perez-Reverte put into words." --Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, ME

FIREFLY RAIN, by Richard Dansky (Wizards of the Coast, $21.95, 9780786948567 / 0786948566) "Josh Logan returns to his empty, small-town home after his big-city sojourn ends in failure only to find an unfriendly caretaker, strange neighbors, and a haunted house. But why do some forces try to keep him there, and others push him away? This compelling, Southern Gothic novel proves that you can go home again -- but it might kill you (if it doesn't set you free)." --James Tremlett, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL, by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $25.95, 9780345485779 / 0345485777) "This is the best yet from Steve Berry. This time Cotton Malone -- former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer -- tackles a mystery that involves the death of Alexander the Great. Handselling The Venetian Betrayal will be a breeze." --George Scott, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

A GOLDEN AGE, by Tahmima Anam (Harper, $24.95, 9780061478741 / 0061478741) "A Golden Age is a quiet but moving novel set in East Pakistan in 1971 during the Bangladesh War of Independence. An innocent young widow tries to protect her two older teenage children from the approaching chaos. Yet in her quiet way Rehana gets caught up in the war, as do her children, and she finds herself becoming more involved. I loved the setting and the well-fleshed-out characters!" --Akankha Perkins, The Sun of the Heart Bookstore, Bridgewater, VT

HER LAST DEATH: A Memoir, by Susanna Sonnenberg (Scribner, $24, 9780743291088 / 0743291085) "Susanna Sonnenberg strikingly writes about her relationship with her narcissistic, controlling, compulsively lying, yet oddly attractive and fun mother. Free of self-pity, she describes her journey to save herself and to create a life and family that is not dependent on her mother's needs and manipulations." --Kym Havens, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

BEGINNER'S GREEK, by James Collins (Little, Brown, $23.99, 9780316021555 / 0316021555) "This is the best boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl novel I've read in ages. The writing is fantastic, and the characters are truly engaging. Beginner's Greek rivals Jane Austen for an intelligent romantic read." --Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR

BLASPHEMY: A Novel, by Douglas Preston (Forge, $25.95, 9780765311054 / 0765311054) "Science and religion collide in the new thriller from Douglas Preston. A group of scientists working at an underground facility in Arizona make a startling discovery. As they work feverishly to understand what it is they have found, a public outcry is raised by elements of the evangelical movement setting the stage for a dramatic confrontation." --Linda Walonen, Bay Books, San Ramon, CA

THE MEMOIRS OF A BEAUTIFUL BOY, by Robert Leleux (St. Martin's, $23.95, 9780312361686 / 0312361688) "This memoir of a gay boy growing up in Petunia, Texas, is funny, occasionally poignant, and impossible to put down." --Blake Hardy, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, GA

THEY DID IT WITH LOVE, by Kate Morgenroth (Plume, $14 paper, 9780452288973 / 0452288975) "This story of a murder in a book group is elegantly written, with both sharp psychological portraits and an intriguing mystery that keeps you turning pages without feeling manipulated. Subtle and satisfying, They Did It With Love belongs with the best of the genre." --Carol Feliciano, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

THE COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM, by Matt Beynon Rees (Mariner, $13.95 paper, 9780618959655 / 0618959653) "A story of cultural and political turmoil as schoolteacher Omar Yussef attempts to prove one of his former students is innocent of the killing of a leader of the Palestine Martyrs' Brigade. Omar must consider the threat to his own life and the safety of his family as he pursues the truth he seeks to expose." --Laura Hansen, Bookin' It, Little Falls, MN

THE JEWEL TRADER OF PEGU, by Jeffery Hantover (Morrow, $21.95, 9780061252709 / 0061252700) "Forget the mysterious and exotic location -- this is a book universal in its substance. When 16th-century Jewish trader Abraham goes to Asia he encounters an alien culture but also discovers a world of love and beauty previously unknown. You can call it exquisite, incisive, and provocative, but there are really not enough adjectives for this brilliant gem of a novel." --Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

RIVER, by Lowen Clausen (Silo Press, $14.95 paper, 9780972581127 / 097258112X) "After the death of his son, a father takes the river voyage he has always dreamed of. Starting out from his family farm on the headwaters in the Sandhills of Nebraska, his inner voyage takes him to new acceptance of the son he never said goodbye to in life, while he faces the solitude and challenges of the river itself. The land plays as large a part of the story as do the people on the river. Lowen Clausen has written an exquisitely heartbreaking novel, with a soul as big as the eponymous river." --Tammy Domike, Jackson Street Books, Seattle, WA

THE MIDDLE PLACE, by Kelly Corrigan (Hyperion, $23.95, 9781401303365 / 1401303366) "I could not put down Kelly Corrigan's memoir of family love and father/daughter relationships. Her family is endearing, and I will be recommending The Middle Place to my customers who are women in their fifties, especially those who are cancer survivors." --Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The January 2008 Book Sense Notables Preview


A BAKER'S ODYSSEY, by Greg Patent (Wiley, $34.95, 9780764572814 / 0764572814)
THE DEPORTEES: And Other Stories, by Roddy Doyle (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018451 / 0670018457)
FATHER MICHAEL'S LOTTERY: A Novel of Africa, by Johan Steyn
(Schaffner, $26.95, 9780971059870 / 097105987X)
THE LAST COWGIRL, by Jana Richman
(Morrow, $24.95, 9780061257186 / 0061257184)
MY ENEMY'S CRADLE, by Sara Young
(Harcourt, $24, 9780151015375 / 0151015376)
(Kensington, $14 paper, 9780758219244 / 0758219245)
SILENT IN THE GRAVE, by Deanna Raybourn
(Mira, $6.99 paper, 9780778325246 / 0778325245)


CIRCLING HOME, by John Lane (University of Georgia Press, $24.95, 9780820330402 / 082033040X)
GAME OF KINGS: A Year Among the Oddballs and Geniuses Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team, by Michael Weinreb (Gotham, $15 paper, 9781592403387 / 1592403387)
THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by Eric Weiner
(Twelve, $25.99, 9780446580267 / 0446580260)
HOUSE LUST: America's Obsession with Our Homes, by Daniel McGinn
(Currency, $24.95, 9780385519298 / 038551929X)
I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU: Growing Up Haunted, A Memoir, by Jennifer Finney Boylan
(Broadway, $23.95, 9780767921749 / 0767921747)
THE ULTIMATE TEA DIET: How Tea Can Boost Your Metabolism, Shrink Your Appetite, and Kick-Start Remarkable Weight Loss, by Mark Ukra
(Collins, $24.95, 9780061441752 / 0061441759)


A PALE HORSE, by Charles Todd (Morrow, $23.95, 9780061233562 / 0061233560)
BONE RATTLER: A Mystery of Colonial America, by Eliot Pattison
(Counterpoint, $26, 9781593761851 / 1593761856)
FACE TIME, by Hank Phillippi Ryan
(Harlequin, $5.50 paper, 9780373881437 / 0373881436)
HITLER'S JUDAS, by Tom Lewis
(VP Publishing, $14.95 paper, 9780970579362 / 0970579365)
THE 6 SACRED STONES, by Matthew Reilly
(Simon & Schuster, $25, 9780743270540 / 0743270541)
STONE COLD, by David Baldacci
(Grand Central Publishing, $26.99, 9780446577397 / 0446577391)
THIRD DEGREE, by Greg Iles
(Scribner, $25.95, 9780743292504 / 0743292502)