Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Next Week in the Bookstore: The Great Quake, Emeril, and Civil-War Generals

Earth-shaking, soul-quaking, heart-breaking and icon-making are the themes this week, plus an invitation to "kick it up a notch" with recipes from a famous New Orleans restaurant.

Monday, October 3
Best-selling author Michael Connelly comes out with his first legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, about a cynical defense attorney named Mickey Haller, whose last spark of integrity may cost him his life. "...leaves every other contender from Grisham to Turow in the dust... While Mickey's courtroom pyrotechnics dazzle, his behind-the-scenes machinations and manipulations are even more incendiary in this taut, gripping novel, which showcases all of Connelly's literary gifts. There's not an excess sentence or padded paragraph in it--what there is, happily, is a character who, like Harry Bosch, deserves a franchise series of his own." —Jane Adams, review

The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism, by the Pulitzer Prize winner Haynes Johnson, documents the era of McCarthyism and draws parallels with the Patriot Act. "Johnson's narrative is succinct and well written, although he doesn't cover any new ground... Johnson overreaches when he ties the McCarthy era to our current efforts to protect domestic security after 9/11. Although he does effectively indicate some potential dangers inherent in the Patriot Act, his suggestion that we are in store for a suppression of civil liberties is not easy to substantiate." —Jay Freeman, Booklist review
Note: Although Amazon says The Age of Anxiety can be shipped today, it is actually not released until October 3rd.

Tuesday, October 4
Romantic suspense queen Nora Roberts' Blue Smoke features Reena Hale, an arson investigator for the Baltimore Police Department, departing slightly from Roberts' "In the Garden" bestsellers (Blue Dahlia, Red Lily, Black Rose). "Reena proves unlucky in love, mainly because her beaux tend to die in fires, but her fortunes look up after she meets hunky carpenter Bo Goodnight... nothing stands in their way—except an obsessed, pyromaniac stalker determined to kill any man Reena loves... Roberts portrays investigative procedure more accurately than her many imitators. Well-sketched supporting characters with potential subplots of their own suggest that the prolific Roberts will put her feet to the fire again." —Publishers Weekly

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans, author of the bestseller The Christmas Box, delivers a syrupy but satisfying novel about love between a volunteer nurse and a handsome but traumatized ER doctor in the jungles of Peru. "The budding romance between Paul and Christine is totally predictable (including the awkwardness of their initial meetings). Evans adds a nice dramatic touch when Jessica's newfound boyfriend is seriously hurt while guiding a group of orphanage workers through the mountains near Machu Picchu, and he has a nice feel for framing devices, dialogue and scene-pacing." —Publishers Weekly

In the eagerly-awaited A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester, the Oxford-trained geologist and bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman explores the tectonic upheaval and firestorm that nearly wiped San Francisco off the map. "Winchester covers much more than just the disaster... Winchester is well qualified to discuss the subject, and he clearly explains plate tectonics theory (first introduced in 1968) and the creation of the San Andreas Fault... He also covers the social and political shifts caused by the disaster, such as the way that Pentecostalists viewed the quake as "a message of divine approval" and used it to recruit new members into the church, and the rise in the local Chinese population." —Shawn Carkonen, review

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson will be nirvana for fans of Bill Waterson's delightfully demented cartoon phenomenon. The slipcased three-volume collection includes every Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that appeared in syndication from 1985 to 1995—the full span of its brief, shining life. "Everything having to do with Calvin and Hobbes expressed my own ideas, my own values, my own way. I wrote every word, drew every line, and painted every color. It’s a rare gift to find such fulfilling work and I tried to show my appreciation by giving the strip everything I had to offer." (from the Introduction by Bill Watterson)

For more than 100 years, Delmonico* has embodied the spirit of New Orleans. Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans' Restaurant with a Past, by Emeril Lagasse, celebrates that spirit and simplifies the famous restaurant's old world and Creole dishes for home cooks. "Purists will be delighted to find recipes for hamburger buns and mayonnaise; Lagasse also includes directions on stove-top duck smoking and even hard-boiling an egg. He pays tribute to the restaurant's former owners and staff in the book's dedication as well as in its color photos of old menus and other mementos. This is a nice melding of ideas and food present and past, classic and new." —Publishers Weekly

Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places by Ferdinand Protzman. From National Geographic—a name synonymous with spectacular photography—comes this collection of magnificent images depicting the epic grandeur of unique landscapes around the world. Ferdinand Protzman's essays introduce each of the book's 12 chapters. "Many of the images, from the National Geographic Society's 10 million-image archive, have never been published before. Meditative introductions to each region of the world consider questions such as our stereotypical views of Asia and the ambiguity of evocations of the Middle East... But the real attraction is the full-color photos... Still, dipping anywhere into this volume offers a feast for the eyes and introduction to parts of the world most are unlikely ever to visit." —Publishers Weekly

First she taught us that The Devil Wears Prada, and now bestselling author Lauren Weisberger introduces us to Everyone Worth Knowing. Weisberger's new book follows a 20-something investment banker's wild leap into Manhattan's celebrity stratosphere, when she lands a job as a PR events manager. "Weisberger is clever enough to turn seemingly outrageous circumstances into amusing anecdotes, like the tale of a woman who was close to suicide until she found out she was only 18 months away from scoring a highly coveted Birkin bag ("You simply cannot kill yourself when you're that close ... it's just not an option."). This wit, combined a hint of voyeurism that most of us can't deny, is what makes Everyone Worth Knowing a guilty pleasure that's well worth the indulgence." —Gisele Toueg, review

Andrew Jackson: A Life and Times by H.W. Brands, author of the bestselling Ben Franklin bio The First American, offers a "bracing, human portrait of both a remarkable man and of American democracy as it was transformed from a 'government of the people' into a 'government by the people,'" according to a Publishers Weekly review. "Andrew Jackson came to the political fore as a "westerner" with humble origins but also with a distinguished (yet controversial) military background that made him the most popular man in the country. It is as a man of the people, the hero and defender of common folks over the moneyed classes, that Brands presents Jackson; this complete and completely enveloping biography indelibly establishes Jackson's abiding sense of duty in serving democracy. A distinguished treatment certain to be the most authoritative and comprehensive account for some time." —Brad Hooper, Booklist

Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War, by Charles Bracelen Flood, shows how the two men shook off their pre-war failures and led the North to victory, as Sherman offered Grant fearless support, while Grant rewarded his subordinate's tactical brilliance with admiration and trust. "The story seems like a fairy tale: two men who were remarkable failures as civilians use their West Point backgrounds to rejoin the army during the American Civil War. They steadily rise to the highest ranks and lead the North to victory over the secessionist South, becoming friends in the process. But that's exactly what happened. In his winning book, Flood underscores the powerful bond formed between Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman and tells the story of a friendship that would influence both the politics and the military operations of the Civil War." —Jerry Eberle, Booklist
Note: Although Amazon says Grant and Sherman can be shipped today, it is actually not released until October 4th.

The Ransomed Heart by John Eldredge offers 365 daily readings from the Colorado ministry founder's best-known works including Wild at Heart, Captivating, Waking the Dead, The Journey of Desire, The Sacred Romance, and Epic. "For millions of people, reading the writings of John Eldredge has been a deep and profound experience, generating a hunger to integrate his ideas and insights into their daily lives... More than a daily devotional, this volume is a portable library that will prompt readers to soulful reflection and deeper intimacy with God." (Publisher's release notes)

Wednesday, October 5
Sports Illustrated: The Football Book by Rob Fleder. America's premier sports magazine collects into a single breathtaking volume a half century of NFL football. "On the heels of Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Book comes a spectacular celebration of professional football that will be treasured by fans of America's Game. [T]his lavish coffee-table volume brings to life the bone-rattling action of NFL football and the extraordinary athletes who have made it America's true national pastime. In 256 oversized pages, The Football Book commemorates the dynasties and the dominating players, the crucial plays and classic games, the personalities and performances that propelled the NFL, during SI's first 50 years of publication, from a marginal, ragtag league to the biggest game in town." (Publisher's release notes)

I'll add the Winchester to my shelf, and drool over Emeril's book in the bookstore.

*Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans restaurants and headquarters were spared the worst damage from Hurricane Katrina. The famous chef, whose tagline, "kick it up a notch," became a byword for Cajun cooking, has vowed to rebuild and reopen as soon as possible. Lagasse said, "It’s our hope to open as soon as the city is safe for our employees to return, and it's safe to open our doors."

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