The October 2007 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 October 2007 Book Sense Picks

1. THE PIRATE'S DAUGHTER, by Margaret Cezair-Thompson (Unbridled, $24.95, 9781932961409 / 1932961402) "Jamaica will never feel so close as when you're reading this fictionalized tale of Errol Flynn's accidental arrival onto the island and into the hearts of many of its residents -- especially young Ida, who bears his illegitimate daughter, May. A delightful, original treasure that I heartily recommend!" --Dee Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

THE ALMOST MOON: A Novel, by Alice Sebold (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316677462 / 0316677469) "All families live with secrets, and mental illness is particularly hard to face -- especially if the illness afflicts your mother. Mother-daughter relationships are fraught with peril, and Sebold conveys this in beautiful, clear writing as she describes how Helen is almost discarded, caught between the illness and her parents' attempts to cope. A brilliant novel." --Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

RUN: A Novel, by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins, $25.95, 9780061340635 / 0061340634) "Bernard Doyle and his children lead a full but flawed life. His oldest son has disappointed him and ruined his political career. His two younger, adopted, sons are his hope for the future. Then, an accident changes their lives, and they must deal with their faults and weaknesses. This is a terrific and compelling book!" --Lisa Zupke, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Shorewood, WI

MATRIMONY: A Novel, by Joshua Henkin (Pantheon, $24.95, 9780375424359 / 0375424350) "Henkin has written a beautiful book about 20 years in the life of a married couple. He explores conflict, ambition, and love in its purest form. Julian and Mia meet at college, and Michigan and Iowa are backdrops to their love story. Henkin tests the strength of family ties amid turmoil, and, at the end, leaves us with hope for Mia and Julian." --Roberta Rubin, The Book Stall At Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

SERVICE INCLUDED: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter, by Phoebe Damrosch (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061228148 / 0061228141) "If you love food, if you lust after a meal in a four-star restaurant, if you've wondered how the staff flawlessly serves you in fancy restaurants, read this book. Damrosch is funny, intelligent, and a great writer, and she will have you appreciating waiters, fine dining, and the whole aura of the restaurant business." --Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

BRIDGE OF SIGHS, by Richard Russo (Knopf, $26.95, 9780375414954 / 0375414959) "Russo continues to slice out his own piece of Americana with this story of love, family, friendship, and identity. He is comfortably ensconced in small-town upstate New York, but the horizon expands to exotic Venice as the lives of two old friends inexorably merge after many years. This powerful, evocative novel expands Russo's range and talent, and solidifies his position as a master." --Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

MISSING WITNESS, by Gordon Campbell (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061337512 / 006133751X) "This debut legal thriller by trial lawyer Campbell deserves to be ranked with masterpieces of the craft. Vietnam-era Phoenix is the hardboiled backdrop for two trial lawyers who pursue a verdict with brilliance, zeal, and Machiavellian planning. It's a riveting tale." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

THE ART THIEF: A Novel, by Noah Charney (Atria, $25, 9781416550303 / 1416550305) "The foundations of a trio of stories are laid when three paintings are stolen in three countries. Charney masterfully weaves these tales into a sprawling tapestry of deceit, honor, love, and triumph. With a cast of quirky and memorable characters, this book will entertain you from the first page to the last." --Heather Todd, Colby College Bookstore, Waterville, ME

EXIT GHOST, by Philip Roth (Houghton, $26, 9780618915477 / 0618915478) "Roth closes the book on Nathan Zuckerman in this masterpiece, in which the novelist-protagonist emerges from his Berkshires hideaway to stumble back into the world of the living. Lust and literature, youth and age, reality and perception are all part of a gripping story." --Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

INTERRED WITH THEIR BONES, by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525949701 / 0525949704) "Kate Stanley is on the trail of a lost Shakespearean manuscript (and perhaps the bard's identity) and is jetting from England to America and back again. This book had better twists and turns than The Da Vinci Code." --Mary Ann Giasson, Breakwater Bookland, Rockland, ME

THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9780743291477 / 0743291476) "The most compulsive spiritual seeker ever tries to live by biblical law for an entire year. Jacobs' funny, thoughtful book gets its heft from his sincere attempts to practice what others preach, and readers will find themselves rethinking these laws, and the cultures that live by them." --Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

THE COLDEST WINTER: America and the Korean War, by David Halberstam (Hyperion, $35, 9781401300524 / 1401300529) "This eagerly awaited work by the late journalist / historian examines the causes, course, and effects of the Korean War. Halberstam focuses on the bravery of the soldiers on both sides, shows the consequences of poor strategic thinking, and weaves a dense historical context for a better understanding of the war. This will become the definitive work on that conflict." --John Pollock, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

THE GODMOTHER, by Carrie Adams (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061232602 / 0061232602) "Relationships change when your friends get married, even more so when they have children. Tessa King, always a godmother with no family of her own, sometimes feels as if she's missing out on life. Then tragedy strikes, and Tessa begins to sort out what she wants. The writing is excellent, and this book is thoroughly entertaining and satisfying." --Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, by Maggie O'Farrell (Harcourt, $23, 9780151014118 / 0151014116) "Unbowed by rules, always the nonconformist, young Esme disappears from society. Sixty years later, great-niece Iris learns of her existence and tries to reconstruct Esme's lost life. Family voices weave a conflicting chimera of a peculiar past. Esme is unforgettable, there's a heart-pounding denouement, and the unraveled mystery is sublime." --Nancy Jandl, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

DOWN RIVER, by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95, 9780312359317 / 0312359314) "Hart's King of Lies was our second-bestselling book of 2006 and one of my favorite reads of the year -- Down River is even better! An intriguing storyline and vivid characters make this a must-read. Take a trip downriver to North Carolina's Piedmont region and visit awhile as the family drama unfolds." --Sally Brewster, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

HOW STARBUCKS SAVED MY LIFE: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, by Michael Gates Gill (Gotham, $23, 9781592402861 / 1592402860) "A true story of how one man salvaged his life -- after being laid off from his prestigious job, divorced by his wife, and diagnosed with a brain tumor -- by way of selling coffee at Starbucks, a company that values its employees as much as its product." --Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

THE BOOK OF JOBY, by Mark J. Ferrari (Tor, $15.95, 9780765317537 / 0765317532) "With its winning combination of King Arthur and the Book of Job, this book deserves to stand on the bookshelf next to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. A witty and thought-provoking contemporary fantasy about the vicissitudes of life that we all face." --Erik Tsao, Books Etc., Portland, ME

THE ART OF POLITICAL MURDER: Who Killed the Bishop? by Francisco Goldman (Grove, $25, 9780802118288 / 0802118283) "In today's world of media cover-ups and governmental irresponsibility, Goldman's investigation into the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, a Guatemalan human rights activist, will strike a powerful chord with readers. Goldman's strengths as a journalist and novelist make for an appealing, poignant story." --John M. Hugo, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T RUN: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, by Peter Allison (Lyons Press, $16.95, 9780762745654 / 0762745657) "Allison is a guide with nothing to lose but his pride. He starts out as a greenhorn and, by book's end, is a seasoned veteran of the land...sort of. Animals abound, friends come and go, and his tales are so outlandish they must be true." --Brent Blank, Nomad Bookhouse, Jackson, MI

BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA: A Novel, by Roland Merullo (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781565125520 / 1565125525) "Merullo takes the reader on a life-changing trip halfway across the U.S. with a straight-arrow publishing exec who showcases his country to a Mongolian monk who enigmatically reveals the secrets of inner peace, and the meaning of life and death. This laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving book has it all." --Sarah Pease, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

The October 2007 Book Sense Notables Preview


DEATH AND THE DEVIL, by Frank Schatzing (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061349485 / 0061349488)

DEXTER IN THE DARK, by Jeff Lindsay (Doubleday, $23.95, 9780385518338 / 0385518331)

EMPIRE RISING, by Sam Barone (Morrow, $25.95, 9780060892463 / 0060892463)

HOTEL DE DREAM: A New York Novel, by Edmund White (Ecco, $23.95, 9780060852252 / 0060852259)

LITTLE FACE, by Sophie Hannah (Soho, $25, 9781569474686 / 1569474680)

LOTTERY, by Patricia Wood (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154492 / 0399154493)

A MAN OF NO MOON, by Jenny McPhee (Counterpoint, $24, 9781582433752 / 1582433755)

MAYNARD AND JENNICA, by Rudolph Delson (Houghton, $24, 9780618834488 / 0618834486)

REDEMPTION FALLS, by Joseph O'Connor (Free Press, $25, 9781416553168 / 1416553169)

SEASON OF GENE, by Dallas Hudgens (Scribner, $24, 9781416541486 / 1416541489)

TRESPASS, by Valerie Martin (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, $25, 9780385515450 / 0385515456)

THE WORST THING I'VE DONE, by Ursula Hegi (Touchstone, $25, 9781416543756 / 1416543759)


ALEXANDER AND THE WONDERFUL, MARVELOUS, EXCELLENT, TERRIFIC NINETY DAYS: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest Son, His Wife, Their Baby, Their Toddler, and Their Five-Year-Old Came to Live With Us for Three Months, by Judith Viorst (Free Press, $17, 9781416550051 / 1416550054)

BEAUTIFUL BOY: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction, by David Sheff (Houghton, $26, 9780618683352 / 0618683356)

THE DAY OF BATTLE: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943 - 1944, by Rick Atkinson (Holt, $35, 9780805062892 / 0805062890)

FORESKIN'S LAMENT: A Memoir, by Shalom Auslander (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594489556 / 1594489556)

LOOK ME IN THE EYE: My Life With Asperger's, by John Robison Elder (Crown, $25.95, 9780307395986 / 0307395987)

(NOT THAT YOU ASKED): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions, by Steve Almond (Random House, $21.95, 9781400066193 / 1400066190)

THE SHARPER YOUR KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School, by Kathleen Flinn (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018222 / 0670018228)


THE INTRUDERS, by Michael Marshall (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061235023 / 061235024)