Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Next Week in the Bookstore: Romance, Beauty, and Alan Alda's Stuffed Dog


Next Monday marks the start of a big surge in book publication. It happens every year about this time, books dropping like autumn leaves. So gather your nuts together, friends, it's time to go book shopping.

Monday, Sept. 12:
First out is Monday's release of Talking Back…To Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels by Andrea Mitchell, published by Viking. Mitchell (the wife of Fed chairman Alan Greenspan) is a 30-year reporter for NBC on politics and related topics. "...a frank and revealing book by a respected journalist whose career spans three decades." —Vanessa Bush, American Library Association.

The Diviners, by Rick Moody, also comes out from Little, Brown on Monday. (Despite the offer from Amazon to ship it immediately, the book isn't available until the 12th.) "In a dizzying, exhilarating comic narrative, Moody follows the doings of Move On Productions and their feverish attempts to launch the miniseries The Diviners, a multigenerational saga about dowsing. Moody introduces, with great affection, a large cast of characters, all of whom are players, whether high or low, in the entertainment industry." —Joanne Wilkinson, American Library Association.

Tuesday, Sept. 13:
Nicholas Sparks' next entry in the saga of Jeremy March, At First Sight, comes out Tuesday from Warner. With characters from Sparks' bestselling True Believer, At First Sight revisits Marsh and his wife, Lexie Darnell: "Just as his life seems to be settling into a blissful pattern, an unsettling and mysterious message re-opens old wounds..." (Publisher's release notes.)

Henry Holt/Metropolitan releases Bait and Switch: The Futile Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich on Tuesday. Ehrenreich continues her exploration of wage-earners' travail which she began in the bestseller Nickeled and Dimed. "The tone throughout is classic Ehrenreich: passionate, sarcastic, self-righteous and funny..." but "Ehrenreich can't deliver the promised story because she never managed to get employed in the 'midlevel corporate world' she wanted to analyze." —Publishers Weekly

Discworld Book 30 is out Tuesday: Thud! by Terry Pratchett from HarperCollins. As the anniversary of an historic battle approaches, ancient politics and a present-day murder cause tensions between trolls and dwarfs to boil, in a novel that contains a jab at The Da Vinci Code. (Publisher's release notes.)

Penguin Press releases On Beauty by Zadie Smith on Tuesday as well. The author's bestselling debut novel, White Teeth, gathered narrative steam from the clash between two radically different families. In the new novel, the plot of On Beauty "uses a couple of plot devices from Howard's End to brilliant effect." —Elizabeth Dickie, American Library Association.

Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion by Bruce Feiler is out Tuesday from William Morrow. Like previous outings from Feiler, the book "mixes travelogue and commentary to tell the story of Israel through the Hebrew scriptures, from the invasion of Canaan to the Diaspora." —Publishers Weekly

Jonathan Kozol's The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, out from Crown on Tuesday, takes on the "public policy that preserves inequities in public education," based on the author's visits to 60 schools in 11 states. (Publisher's release notes.)

The Darwin Conspiracy, by John Darnton, out on Tuesday from Knopf, argues that Darwin wasn't mistaken—he was a fraud and a murderer. "Darnton once again displays the thrilling fast pace and intrigue, meticulous research, and strong character development that he demonstrated in Neanderthal (1996), The Experiment 1999), and Mind Catcher (2002)." —Vanessa Bush, American Library Association.

Secrets of the Widow's Son: The Mysteries Surrounding the Sequel to the Da Vinci Code, by investigative journalist David A. Shugarts, comes out from Sterling Publishing on Tuesday. "Shugarts has exhaustively investigated the background themes of Dan Brown's next novel, The Solomon Key. Shugarts' book is not a spoiler... [but] digs deep into the strange worlds of Freemasonry, occultism and symbolism, giving Dan Brown fans a primer to more readily pick out the innumerable clues to his complex mysteries and to elicit excited speculation into just where Brown will take his readers next." (Publisher's release notes.)

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is published on the 13th by Broadway/Morgan Road. "His Holiness the Dalai Lama has explored the relationship between religion and science and suggested the way in which they can affirm and qualify each other’s insights... But above all, his gentle but insistent call for compassion is desperately needed in our torn and conflicted world." —Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God and The Spiral Staircase.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned by Alan Alda comes out Tuesday from Random House. Alda's memoir begins "My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was six." According to Publishers Weekly, "It is the story of turning points in Alda’s life, events that would make him what he is—if only he could survive them."

Catherine Coulter's latest romantic thriller, Point Blank: An FBI Novel, is released from Putnam Tuesday. The story focuses on the investigation by two married FBI agents of a psychotic dirty old man, in which "sympathetic characters and happy endings take precedence over serious detective work," according to the Publishers Weekly review.

Wednesday, Sept. 14:
It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider by "Jim Henson, The Muppets, and Friends" will be available Wednesday from Hyperion. Culled from the Jim Henson Company archives, program transcripts, personal letters, and interviews, along with some of Jim’s never-before-published writings, the book is a testament to the legacy of a man who changed the way we see the world. (Publisher's release notes.)

Selwyn Raab's Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Families comes out Wednesday from St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne. Raab, a former New York Times crime reporter, "sets a new gold standard for organized crime nonfiction," said Publishers Weekly in a starred review.

Thursday, Sept. 15:
The 10-week devotional companion Healing Is a Choice: 10 Weeks of Transforming Brokenness Into New Life by Stephen Arterburn comes out from Nelson on Thursday. The book is designed to motivate readers to focus on making choices that enable healing, which "centers on the 10 choices you must make and 10 lies you must reject to ensure you are not standing in God's way of ensuring His healing powers for you." (Publisher's release notes.)

I'm for the Pratchett and the Shugarts...

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