The October 2006 Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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

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

The October 2006 Book Sense Picks

ONE GOOD TURN: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, $24.99, 0316154849) "In One Good Turn, the past impinges on the present for Atkinson's complex characters, who insinuate themselves into your mind and heart and won't let go. Like a nesting set of Russian dolls, the plot of this literary thriller reveals its secrets, and deception transforms contemporary Edinburgh into a multiple crime scene. A wonderful read with a female Robin Hood who has the last word." --Marilyn Strelau, Millrace Books, Farmington, CT

ABUNDANCE: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, by Sena Jeter Naslund (Morrow, $26.95, 0060825391) "In this remarkable story of the life of Marie Antoinette, readers will come to know and love a character often misunderstood. You won't be able to put down this gripping narrative of Louis XVI's brave, kind, and courageous queen." --Summer Moser, Summer's Stories, Kendallville, IN

THE THIRTEENTH TALE: A Novel, by Diane Setterfield (Atria, $26, 0743298020) "Diane Setterfield's first novel tells the story of the meeting of biographer Margaret Lea and an ailing author, Vera Winter, who is, at last, ready to reveal her heretofore elusive past. Both women confront their pasts and begin to realize their lives' unique parallels in this fantastic, amazing, and magical gothic tale." --Elly Smith, Parkplace Books, Kirkland, WA

SHARP OBJECTS: A Novel, by Gillian Flynn (Shaye Areheart, $24, 0307341542) "Reporter Camille Preaker is sent to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover what might be the connection between a young girl murdered nine months earlier and another young girl recently gone missing. Having fled Wind Gap nearly a decade ago, Camille suddenly finds herself unwillingly reunited with her family and forced to confront tragedies from the past. This exceptional and disturbing thriller is not to be missed." --Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

WHEN MADELINE WAS YOUNG: A Novel, by Jane Hamilton (Doubleday, $22.95, 0385516711) "The tragic accident that sends Aaron Maciver's young wife back to the mental age of seven, and this event's consequences on two generations of his family, makes for a perfect plot for Jane Hamilton, who once again presents an otherwise ordinary family with an extraordinary crisis. Hamilton gives us unforgettable images, and even some laughs, as her characters grapple with their circumstances. A book club could not ask for a better title for thoughtful discussion." --Cheryl McKeon, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

THE MEANING OF NIGHT: A Confession, by Michael Cox (Norton, $26.95, 0393062031) "This dark, clever, and highly literary thriller set in Victorian England features as many plot turns as Dickens at his best. It also features an oddly compelling, delightfully unreliable narrator: Edward Glyver, who, finding evidence that he is the legitimate heir to perhaps the most desirable estate in all of England, sets out to claim his rightful inheritance. The most refreshing literary thriller I've read in years." --Joe Murphy, Olsson's Books & Records, Washington, DC

GOODNIGHT, TEXAS: A Novel, by William J. Cobb (Unbridled, $24.95, 1932961267) "I thoroughly enjoyed Cobb's latest novel. He has captured the desperation of a dying town expertly and surprisingly in a unique and amusing way." --Julie Green, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

PERFECT, ONCE REMOVED: When Baseball Was All the World to Me, by Phillip Hoose (Walker, $19.95, 0802715370) "Disguised as a nostalgic, coming-of-age baseball memoir, this is a sly, spare meditation on the perils of childhood, the power of celebrity, the vagaries of human kindness, and how even tenuous family bonds can have a surprisingly steely impact." --Joe Pilla, Paperbacks Plus, Bronx, NY

BLOOD AND THUNDER: An Epic of the American West, by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, $26.95, 0385507771) "Blood and Thunder chronicles the time from the introduction of the first white men into Navajo territory to the tribe's subsequent removal to the reservation. Sides is one of our best narrative historians, and his book includes wonderful descriptions of the western landscape, heartbreaking accounts of the misunderstandings between the peoples involved, and the story of the eventual triumph of the human spirit." --Steve Corrigan, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Memphis, TN

CORONADO: Stories, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow, $24.95, 006113967X) "With intense writing, compelling characters, and all the drama you would expect from the author of such stunning mysteries as Darkness Take My Hand, this amazing collection of short stories will not gather dust. You'll find it hard not to read it straight through to the end." --Evan Roberts, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR

THIRTEEN MOONS: A Novel, by Charles Frazier (Random House, $26.95, 0375509321) "Like Cold Mountain, Thirteen Moons is both epic history and a love story told in beautiful, authentic language. Through the memories of Will Cooper, a white boy adopted by the Cherokee People, Frazier paints a vivid portrait of 19th century America. Will's voice is elegant, humorous, and profound, and he presents a fresh and rich view of the Cherokee Nation and America during this pivotal period. Another unforgettable masterpiece." --Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

BABY JACK: A Novel, by Frank Schaeffer (Carroll & Graf, $25.95, 0786717165) "This story of a family facing the tragedy of war is more than a story about family life and loss -- Schaeffer provides strong insights into lives torn apart by love, hatred, and war, and into the painful process of healing. The novel underscores current events and their consequences, and raises many questions about the 'right' and 'wrong' decisions made in the quest for peace. An excellent book club selection." --Pam White, Skyland Books, West Jefferson, NC

FORGETFULNESS: A Novel, by Ward Just (Houghton, $25, 0618634630) "Ward Just simply writes so well. In his latest novel, his deftly-drawn characters powerfully illustrate the individual toll of the war on terrorism." --Diana Cohen, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

MARY: A Novel, by Janis Cooke Newman (MacAdam Cage, $26, 193156163X) "Janis Cooke Newman's fictional portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln -- smart, funny, empathetic, and often wounded -- is truly remarkable! The story unfolds from Mary's point of view after she's been committed to Bellevue asylum, and Newman weaves fact and creative hypothesis together brilliantly to create a tragic yet inspiring story of a rare and extraordinary first lady." --Amanda Lydon, Good Yarns Bookshop, Hastings on Hudson, NY

THE RIGHTEOUS MEN: A Novel, by Sam Bourne (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0061138290) "In this fun, intelligent thriller, New York Times reporter Will Monroe stumbles into a series of murders with one common thread -- the apparently disreputable victims actually may have done deeds so good they could be called 'righteous.' When Will's wife is kidnapped, he is thrust into an adventure filled with code breaking and religious secrets." --Miki Wigley, Lee Booksellers, Lincoln, NE

AWAKE IN THE DARK: Stories, by Shira Nayman (Scribner, $24, 0743292685) "The even, plainspoken prose of this collection turns evocative and haunting upon reflection. Filled with the children of Holocaust victims and participants, these are tales of almost mystical connection that look back to a time that was, indeed, haunting." --Susan Scott, The Secret Garden, Seattle, WA

EASTER RISING: An Irish-American Coming Up From Under, by Michael Patrick MacDonald (Houghton, $24, 0618470255) "This is a powerful and haunting story of the author's attempt to reject his Southie heritage, only to realize that you can't escape from who you are. MacDonald's teenage punk rock years, spent sneaking into Boston clubs and avoiding his neighborhood, led him to value individuality and, ultimately, led him back to his roots. This must-read is a true story of triumph over adversity." --Susan M. Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

MAGIC STUDY, by Maria V. Snyder (Luna, $21.95, 0373802498) "Snyder's latest novel, a sequel to her romantic fantasy Poison Study, is imaginative and suspenseful, with just the right touch of romance. I couldn't put it down!" --Meg Arsenault, Central Avenue Bookstores, Faribault, MN

ROADSHOW: Landscape With Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle, by Neil Peart (Rounder, $27.95, 1579401422) "I enjoyed being in the 'hot seat,' both behind the drums and on Neil's bike for this latest travelogue from the drummer and lyricist of the band Rush. Not just for Rush fans, this book is so much more about the journey between shows, and the world seen through a veteran traveler's eyes." --Brian Woodbury, The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH

THINGS TO BRING, $#!T TO DO...AND OTHER INVENTORIES OF ANXIETY: My Life in Lists, by Karen Rizzo (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $18.95, 1584795425) "What a great read! This memoir told in lists is something I can totally relate to. In real life, our days aren't filled with prose -- they are fits and starts shared with reflection and angst. Rizzo portrays this and tells her story beautifully. A perfect gift book!" --Margie Scott Tucker, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

The October Notables Preview


THE BIRTH HOUSE, by Ami McKay (Morrow, $24.95, 0061135852)

DERMAPHORIA, by Craig Clevenger (MacAdam Cage, $13.50 paper, 1596921021)

THE HEIRESS OF WATER, by Sandra Rodriguez Barron (Rayo, $13.95 paper, 0061142816)

HELEN OF TROY, by Margaret George (Viking, $27.95, 0670037788)

THE MISSION SONG, by John le Carre (Little, Brown, $26.99, 0316016748)

THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf, $24, 0307265439)

VINCE AND JOY, by Lisa Jewell (Harper Paperbacks, $14.95 paper, 0061137464)

WORLD WAR Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks (Crown, $24.95, 0307346609)


AN UNREASONABLE WOMAN: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas, by Diane Wilson (Chelsea Green, $18 paper, 1933392274)

BIRTH: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, by Tina Cassidy (Atlantic, $24, 0871139383)

Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, by Ken Jennings (Villard, $24.95, 1400064457)

FIERCE FOOD: The Intrepid Diner's Guide to the Unusual, Exotic, and Downright Bizarre, by Christa Weil (Plume, $14 paper, 0452287006)

THE LOST APOSTLE: Searching for the Truth About Junia, by Rena Pederson (Jossey-Bass, $24.95, 0787984434)

MY PET VIRUS: The True Story of a Rebel Without a Cure, by Shawn Decker (Tarcher, $9.95 paper, 1585425257)

PASCAL'S WAGER: The Man Who Played Dice With God, by James A. Connor (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060766913)

THERE IS NO ME WITHOUT YOU: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children, by Melissa Fay Greene (Bloomsbury, $25.95, 1596911166)

THE UNITED STATES OF ARUGULA: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, by David Kamp (Broadway, $26, 0767915798)


ARIZONA DREAMS, by Jon Talton (Poisoned Pen, $24.95, 1590583183)

THE BOOK OF FATE, by Brad Meltzer (Warner, $25.99, 0446530999)

LIGHTS OUT, by Jason Starr (St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95, 0312359721)