Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Next Week in the Bookstore: Son of a Witch, Kennedys, Beatles, and Blogging Julia Childs

Autobiographies and semi-autobiographical novels dominate next week's list, with some fantasy entries for adults, for young readers and for children's story-time.

Monday, September 26
Carole Radziwill penned What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, & Love, a memoir of marrying into the iconic Kennedy family, losing her husband, Anthony, and her best friend, Carolyn Bessette. "This would be a heartbreaking story even if it weren't about Anthony Radziwill, nephew of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and about his and Carole's friendship with John and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy... Radziwill is a serviceable, if sentimental, writer... She also knows how to convey the essence of a person with small scenes and quotes." —Publishers Weekly

Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee is the tale of a photographer who has lost a leg in a bicycling accident, by the 2003 Nobel laureate and two-time Booker winner (for Life and Times of Michael K in 1983, and Disgrace in 1999). "What Coetzee wanted this novel to do—show the ultimately humanizing effect of a crisis of physical frailty—could have been accomplished much more expressly without this exasperating contrivance. Still, Coetzee is a major writer, and this novel will be highly requested." —Brad Hooper, Booklist

Tuesday, September 27
John Berendt's The City of Falling Angels offers "an intriguing mosaic of modern life in Venice," following the author’s blockbuster Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. "He offers us Venice, another port city full of eccentric citizens and with a long, colorful history. Like the first book, this one has a trial at the its center: the city's famed Fenice opera house burns down during a restoration... By the time the Fenice is rebuilt and reopens, Berendt has delivered an intriguing mosaic of modern life in Venice, which makes for first-rate travel writing, albeit one that lacks a compelling core story to keep one reading into the night." —Publishers Weekly

The Divide by Nicholas Evans, a novel about the fissures in a marriage, has stirred up pre-publication buzz for its raw portrayal of female and male perspectives on relationships. "Evans demonstrates the same intricacy of plot and depth of characterization that defined his international best-seller The Horse Whisperer... Sure to be a runaway success, this lyrical novel runs the gamut from devastation to despair to deliverance." —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

Breaking her long decades of silence with an intensely personal memoir, John by Cynthia Lennon reveals the inside story about life with (and without) her legendary ex-husband, and recounts the history of the turbulent first decade in the Beatles' career. "Cynthia has seldom talked in any detail about her marriage and the painful events that followed John’s tragic assassination in 1980. Now she candidly reveals the good and the bad, the loving and the cruel sides of John. She tells of the breakdown of their marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Yoko Ono in more detail than has ever been disclosed before..." (Publisher's release notes)

Myst V: End of Ages – Prima Official Game Guide by Bryan Stratton follows his revelatory game guides for previous entries in the Myst series. Earlier guides featured complete walkthroughs of the game, with lavish illustrations and comprehensive puzzle solutions. Guides are recommended for those whose desire to get to the end of the game is stronger than the wish to solve it themselves. (Publisher's release notes)

Wynonna Judd (with Patsi Bale Cox) tells of her journey Coming Home to Myself, the country singer's memoir of her achievements, including worldwide album sales contrasted with her struggles as a single mother facing divorce and bankruptcy. "An unexpected memoir of survival, strength, hope, and forgiveness, filled with an exultant and empowering message certain to resonate with those who have dreamed of finding themselves, and who only needed the courage and inspiration to begin their own journey." (Publisher's release notes)

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, the sixth novel in the Outlander saga, finds 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire, facing imminent revolution in 1772 America. "Triumphant... Her use of historical detail and truly adult love story confirm Gabaldon as a superior writer." —Publishers Weekly

Ashley Smith's memoir, Unlikely Angel, tells the inside story of the woman who convinced the Atlanta courthouse killer, Brian Nichols, into peacefully surrendering. "The 27-year-old widowed mother of a six-year-old girl shares for the first time the little-known details of her traumatic ordeal, and expands on how her faith and the bestselling book The Purpose-Driven Life helped her survive and bring the killer's murderous rampage to a peaceful end." (Publisher's release notes)

A new edition of the classic The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, newly-illustrated by Loren Long, provides a fresh look at the classic tale of determination and perseverance first published in 1930. "Both faithful fans and newcomers will enjoy this triumphant ride and eagerly climb aboard for repeat excursions." —Publishers Weekly

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke is a sequel to her bestselling 2003 novel Inkheart, which Publishers Weekly called a "transfixing fantasy." In the new book, Inkheart and other characters from Meggie's book become trapped while trying to return—and the story is changing in ways they hadn't anticipated. (Publisher's release notes)
Note: Although Amazon says Inkspell can be shipped today, it is actually not available until September 27th.

Barbara Park's latest installment in the bestselling Junie B. series, Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.), illustrated by Denise Brunkus,
is a solid new entry in a series which Publishers Weekly says convinces beginning readers that Junie B.—and reading—are lots of fun. "Junie B. is sassy, hilarious, and insightful. . . . Park understands the passions and fears of first-graders." —Booklist review

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire is the sequel to Maguire's 1995 blockbuster Wicked, which is still on Broadway. This book picks up the tale of Wicked Elphaba's perhaps-son, Liir, the hidden princess Nor, and his mother's black cape and magic broom handle. "Tucked into Maguire's enchanting fable are carefully calibrated object lessons in forgiveness, retribution, love, loss and the art of moving on despite tragic circumstances. Ten years after Wicked,... fans will once again be clicking their heels with wonderment." —Publishers Weekly

Wednesday, September 28
Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: (How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living) by Julie Powell is a memoir from the blogger who cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. "The tougher the shopping and cooking assignment, the more sensual the experience, as Powell discovers incredible determination and hidden talents in cooking, writing, and living. This is a joyful, humorous account of one woman's efforts to find meaning in her life." —Vanessa Bush, American Library Association
Note: Although Amazon says Julie & Julia can be shipped today, it is actually not released until September 28th.

Despite my disappointment with Maguire's Mirror, Mirror, I'm for the Son of a Witch. Add Slow Man and Falling Angels to my wish-list, too.

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