The May/June Book Sense 76 Top Ten

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Once again, a wealth of wonderful nominations from independent booksellers nationwide has made this Book Sense 76 list a diverse and compelling collection of titles, boasting strong selections in fiction and nonfiction throughout. Many thanks to all the booksellers who took the time to share their enthusiasm and insight, and who continue to enrich the 76.

Watch next week for the full May/June Book Sense 76 listing. And remember: Book Sense 76 Editor-in-Chief Dan Cullen is currently working on a number of upcoming 76s. For a full list, with deadlines for nominations, click here. The next deadline is April 15, for the Summer Paperback Book Sense 76. E-mail your nominations directly to Cullen at [email protected].

All thanks in advance!

The May/June Book Sense 76 Top Ten

1. SIXPENCE HOUSE: Lost in a Town of Books, by Paul Collins (Bloomsbury, $23.95, 1582342849) "Alternately cuddly and curmudgeonly, Collins takes us on a picaresque tour of Hay-on-Wye, the celebrated 'Town of Books' on the Welsh border. He indulges in discourses and inspired rants on books, bookselling, writing, and myriad differences between Britain and America, and he's always entertaining." --Joe Pilla, Paperbacks Plus, Bronx, NY

2. A KISS FROM MADDALENA: A Novel, by Christopher Castellani (Algonquin Books, $23.95, 1565123891) "This is a touching story of love and war. Castellani's description of the small Italian towns makes me want to go there even more. The story brings the reader into the lives of those just trying to survive the war and illustrates how hard it was not knowing what was happening to their loved ones. Can Vito and Maddalena's love overcome war and tradition? It will keep you guessing until the end." --Dina Matson, Book Garden, Lake City, MN

3. GETTING MOTHER'S BODY: A Novel, by Suzan-Lori Parks (Random House, $23.95, 1400060222) "Getting Mother's Body has at its center the wild and beautiful Willa Mae Beede. Her dying wish was to be buried with her big diamond ring and her long string of pearls, and, now that the ground where Willa Mae rests is about to be turned into a supermarket, a whole gaggle of family members, and others, are making the journey to Arizona to dig her up and claim the jewels as their own. The novel is told from the points of view of nearly a dozen characters, each as quirky as you'd want them to be." --Linda Urban, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA Also a Random House Audio (Unabridged CD, 0739302973)

4. CRESCENT: A Novel, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Norton, $24.95, 039305747X) "Combining the mystery and exoticism of The God of Small Things with the poetic nuance of Garcia Marquez, Crescent is delicately sensuous and gripping from beginning to end. It's a multidimensional love story infused with the aromatic scents of the Middle East. This is a novel that will please even those who don't think they like love stories. There is a rare sense of effervescence about the writing -- Abu-Jaber's prose is exquisite." --Steven Fidel, Powell's City of Books, Portland, OR Also a HighBridge Audio (Abridged cassette, 1565117735)

5. FATAL FLAW, by William Lashner (Morrow, $24.95, 0060508167) "This book grabs you from the very first page. Suspenseful to the end -- a real page-turner! I am recommending this to everyone who enjoys Grisham, Meltzer, or Coben. I know that my customers will enjoy this book as much as I did." --Lee Musgjerd, Lee's Book Emporium, Glasgow, MT Also a HarperAudio (Abridged cassette, 0060556447)

6. THE TRUE ACCOUNT: A Novel of the Lewis & Clark & Kinneson Expeditions, by Howard Frank Mosher (Houghton, $24, 0618197214, June) "Mosher's very American tall tale chronicles the quixotic adventurer True Teague Kinneson's epic race to beat Lewis and Clark to the Pacific. Full of flamboyant characters and outrageous deeds, The True Account honors Cervantes and Twain in spirit and style, minting a fresh folk hero from the vein that produced Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. The True Account is humorous, heroic, and expansive of horizon and heart." --Jean Matthews, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT

7. NO SECOND CHANCE, by Harlan Coben (Dutton, $24.95, 0525947299) "I thought I could read just a chapter or two before bed, but, no, I stayed up all night to finish the book. How does he do it? As always, his book is gripping and smart." --Elizabeth Cook, Emerson and Cook Book Co., Old Saybrook, CT Also a Penguin Audio (Unabridged cassette, 014280018X)

8. SIGNAL & NOISE: A Novel, by John Griesemer (Picador, $26, 0312300824) "This is a good, dense historical novel with extraordinary characters. The laying of the transatlantic cable in the 1850s and 1860s provides an interesting story, which is only part of the pleasure of reading this book. There's a lot going on and Griesemer is a terrific writer to tell the story." --Susan Porter, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, ME

9. EAT CAKE: A Novel, by Jeanne Ray (Crown, $19.95, 060961004X, May 27) "Eat Cake presents, with warmth and clarity, a snapshot of you and your neighbors -- lives pulled between elderly parents and sullen teens, bills, and midlife searching. You will laugh out loud, and you'll pass this book on to everyone you know in this same boat. The 'cake' Ray whips up is warm, and a comfort food for what ails us!" --Jenn Fontaine, Book Rack and Children's Pages, Essex Junction, VT Also a Brilliance Audio (Unabridged cassette, 1590860845)

10. SHUTTER ISLAND: A Novel, by Dennis Lehane (William Morrow, $25.95, 0688163173) "Lehane follows up his break-through novel, Mystic River, with his first work set completely in the past. It is 1954, and two U.S. marshals are summoned to Ashcliffe Hospital on Shutter Island to track down an escaped patient. The deeper the investigation moves, the more horrific the revelations about the nature of treatments at Ashcliffe. A frightening window on the darkness always threatening to seep from the human soul." --Todd Morgan, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, CA Also a HarperAudio (Unabridged cassette, 0060554142)