The July 2007 Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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Here is the full listing of July 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 July Picks fliers in the June Red Box. (The flier includes jacket images, bibliographic information, and bookseller quotes.)

The July 2007 Book Sense Picks

1. MR. SEBASTIAN AND THE NEGRO MAGICIAN: A Novel, by Daniel Wallace (Doubleday, $21.95, 9780385521093 / 038552109X) "Daniel Wallace tells the story of Henry Walker, a magician who disappears as a child and spends the rest of his life trying to make himself reappear. A haunting, beautifully written story where nothing, including the truth, is what it seems." --Stephen Grutzmacher, Passtimes Books, Sister Bay, WI

NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU: Stories, by Miranda July (Scribner, $23, 9780743299398 / 0743299396) "Fans of July's films will be thrilled that her painfully sweet vision beautifully translates to the page in this new story collection. Although her characters can be jaw-droppingly outrageous, they are true to themselves and have an innocence that leaves the door open for their -- and our -- redemption." --Joe Lisberg, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, WI

THE MAYTREES: A Novel, by Annie Dillard (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061239533 / 0061239534) "Set in Provincetown and Maine, Dillard's superb new novel traces the lives of Toby, his wife Lou, their son Pete, and Toby's second wife, Deary. She records with consummate skill the changes that occur within the sphere of love, the unexplainable beauty of a compassionate heart, and the inevitable tide of old age. Images of the sea and sky deftly describe the ebb and flow of life. The Maytrees is a triumph." --Jan Owens, Millrace Bookshop, Farmington, CT

THE BEST OF FRIENDS: Two Women, Two Continents, and One Enduring Friendship, by Sara James and Ginger Mauney (Morrow, $24.95, 9780060779481 / 0060779489) "Almost every woman I know has a friend like this -- someone you met in grade school and have kept up with for years and years even though your lives may have taken very different tracks. Sitting down to read about the friendship and adventures of the authors over time and across the world was like a visit with that old friend. And if you've lost touch, it's the perfect gift to spark a reconnection." --Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

ORIGIN: A Novel, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Norton, $24.95, 9780393064551 / 0393064557) "Lena -- the lonely fingerprint expert with an extraordinary gift of insight -- is a character you will want to follow as she investigates a series of crib deaths, an inquiry that plunges her into a simultaneous inquiry of her own childhood. Abu-Jaber continues to explore the theme of identity in this moody, literary take on the genre, which is never predictable and surprising at every turn." --Cristina Nosti, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

PEONY IN LOVE: A Novel, by Lisa See (Random House, $23.95, 9781400064663 / 140006466X) "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan certainly is a hard act to follow, but Peony in Love measures up. It's another magical story set in long-ago China; this time, a young woman becomes obsessed with an opera and the love story it portrays. See's descriptions of 17th-century Chinese lore are fascinating, as are the themes of women's friendship and coming of age." --Sue Boucher, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES: A Novel, by Stef Penney (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416540748 / 1416540741) "Reading this book instantly transported me into a freezing and foreboding scene: the far north of Canada in the winter of 1867. It's hard to believe this is a first novel, because the characters are rich in personality and history, the plot is intricate, and the writing is so accomplished." --Pauline Ziniker, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES, by Armistead Maupin (HarperCollins, $25.95, 9780060761356 / 0060761350) "At last! The long-awaited finale to Maupin's Tales of the City series finds middle-aged Michael Tolliver dealing with his HIV-positive status, a much-younger lover, and his fundamentalist mother's impending death." --Donna Hawley, Howard's Bookstore, Bloomington, IN

THE BABY LOTTERY: A Novel, by Kathryn Trueblood (Permanent Press, $28, 9781579621513 / 1579621511) "Trueblood has written a beautiful novel about five women entering their 40s and discovering fault lines and continental drift where there once was easy collegiate friendship. She explores hot topics -- abortion, child-raising, divorce -- but the real beauty is in the writing, graceful, with startling metaphors that unexpectedly pop up, like land mines." --Rem Ryals, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

BE NEAR ME: A Novel, by Andrew O'Hagan (Harcourt, $24, 9780151013036 / 0151013039) "In O'Hagan's novel, the complex friendships a middle-aged Catholic priest in a small Scottish parish develops with his housekeeper and a pair of teenagers -- and the consequences of those relationships -- keep the reader hanging in exquisite agony in this tale of love and prejudice, loneliness and grace." --Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

F5: Devastation, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the 20th Century, by Mark Levine (Miramax, $25.95, 9781401352202 / 1401352200) "Levine brings a colossal act of nature, a storm that spun nearly 150 tornadoes through the heartland, down to human scale by following the lives of the people most affected. He gives us corner stores and broken bones, AM rock and Gerald Ford: It's a big story made up of small pieces of temporary defeat and long-lived resilience." --Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE: A Memoir, by Carolyn Jourdan (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781565124875 / 1565124871) "What a great memoir about a young woman coming home to a rural community to help (temporarily) with her dad's medical practice while her mother recovers from a heart attack. Although Jourdan is a top-notch attorney in Washington, D.C., she was in over her head as the receptionist for this rural medical office." --Patricia Worth, River Reader, Lexington, MO

HOOKED: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions, by Matt Richtel (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446580083 / 0446580082) "This fast-paced thriller by a first-time author begins in a San Francisco cafe that soon becomes the site of an explosion. Protagonist Nat Idle safelyescapes because a stranger warns him via a note seemingly written by his girlfriend Annie ... who died four years ago. A great read and a wild ride -- I couldn't put it down!" --Margie Scott Tucker, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

STALIN'S GHOST: An Arkady Renko Novel, by Martin Cruz Smith (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9780743276726 / 0743276728) "Senior Investigator Arkady Renko is back; this time, he delves into Stalin sightings in Russia. However, Renko's main efforts focus on a murder-for-hire ring that leads him to suspect two fellow detectives, one of whom is running for public office. Another great read about the quagmire that is modern-day Russia, and a man who pursues justice at any cost." --Linda Dewberry, Whodunit? Books, Olympia, WA

STRAY, by Rachel Vincent (Mira, $6.99 paper, 9780778324218 / 0778324214) "The first in a new urban fantasy series from a debut novelist. Faythe is a grad student...and a shape-shifting werecat who must forgo her attempts at a normal life and defend her family's werecat pride. A really engaging read about a strong female character!" --Pam Headrick, A Thirsty Mind, Lakeway, TX

A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART, by Timothy Hallinan (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061255809 / 0061255807) "Expatriate travel writer Poke Rafferty does a favor for a friend in Bangkok and becomes a reluctant, but dogged, private detective in this first of a truly remarkable series. Hallinan takes you to Thailand with a vengeance -- its beauty and degradation, humanity and evil, fatalism and hope. This one of the best novels I have read in years, and it will be a true, long-lasting favorite." --Terry Baker, Small World Books, Venice, CA

VOLK'S GAME: A Novel, by Brent Ghelfi (Holt, $19.95, 9780805082548 / 0805082549) "Volk, a Russian double agent, and the beautiful assassin Valya are hired to steal a previously unknown Da Vinci painting...or is it a copy? The suspense-laden plot takes many dizzying twists and turns -- this high-voltage debut wowed me." --Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

LIVING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy, by Michael Tucker (Atlantic, $24, 9780871139627 / 0871139626) "When actor/writer Tucker and his wife, actress Jill Eikenberry, bought a cottage in Umbria, they fell in love with the house, the place, the food, the wine, and each other -- all over again. This charming memoir will make you want to hop on the next plane to Italy with the love of your life (or find the love of your life)." --Elisabeth Grant-Gibson, Windows a bookshop, Monroe, LA

NOW IS THE HOUR, by Tom Spanbauer (Houghton, $14.95  paper, 9780618872640 / 0618872647) "Get ready to take a trip down memory lane as Spanbauer gives us another classic tale, this one from the 1960s. Seventeen-year-oldRigby John Klusener exposes us to the small-town hangouts and hang-ups of Pocatello, Idaho, in this novel of family bonds, racial tensions, and sexual awakening. You can almost taste the vanilla Cokes and french fries!" --Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT

A MUCH MARRIED MAN: A Novel, by Nicholas Coleridge (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95, 9780312363833 / 0312363834) "You can't help but adore Anthony Anscombe, even as he stumbles into yet another ill-fated love affair. Complete with a deliciously complicated brood of ex-wives, children, obstinate parents, in-laws, and nosy locals, Anthony and his home on his English country estate are as charming as they come." --Mariah Whitney, Colby College Bookstore, Waterville, ME

The July 2007 Book Sense Notables


CONSEQUENCES, by Penelope Lively (Viking, $24.95, 9780670038565 / 0670038563)
DISCIPLINE, by Paco Ahlgren
(Greenleaf Book Group, $24.95, 9780979084201 / 0979084202)
FRENEMIES, by Megan Crane
(5 Spot, $13.99 paper, 9780446698559 / 0446698555)
THE HANGING MOUNTAINS: Books of the Cataclysm: Three, by Sean Williams
(Pyr, $25, 9781591025443 / 1591025443)
LULU MEETS GOD AND DOUBTS HIM, by Danielle Ganek (Viking, $23.95, 9780670038664 / 0670038660)
THE MARGARETS, by Sheri S. Tepper
(Eos, $26.95, 9780061170652 / 0061170658)
(Morrow, $23.95, 9780061236297 / 0061236292)
NEW ENGLAND WHITE, by Stephen L. Carter
(Knopf, $26.95, 9780375413629 / 0375413626)
(Knopf, $23.95, 9780307266323 / 030726632X)
SALTY, by Mark Haskell Smith
(Grove Press, Black Cat, $14 paper, 9780802170347 / 080217034X)


THE CURE FOR ANYTHING IS SALT WATER: How I Threw My Life Overboard and Found Happiness at Sea, by Mary South (HarperCollins, $23.95, 9780060747022 / 0060747021)
A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew -- Three Women Search for Understanding, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, Priscilla Warner (Free Press, $14 paper, 9780743290487 / 0743290488)
FOUR SEASONS IN ROME: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $24, 9781416540014 / 1416540016)
HIGH COTTON: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta, by Gerard Helferich
(Counterpoint, $25, 9781582433530 / 1582433534)
LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
(Bantam, $22, 9780553804959 / 0553804952)
NEVER SHOWER IN A THUNDERSTORM: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In, by Anahad O'Connor
(Times Books, $14 paper, 9780805083125 / 080508312X)
SENIOR YEAR: A Father, A Son, and High School Baseball, by Dan Shaughnessy
(Houghton, $24, 9780618729050 / 0618729054)


THE JUDAS STRAIN, by James Rollins (Morrow, $25.95, 9780060763893 / 0060763892)
LOS ANGELES NOIR, edited by Denise Hamilton
(Akashic, $15.95 paper, 9781933354224 / 1933354224)
(Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154263 / 0399154264)