Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Next Week in the Bookstore: Crow-Feast, Utter Bloody Rudeness, and Unnecessary Men

In the first full week of November, tempting new books will be rather thin on the ground. This is typically the time of year when publishers release boxed collections of older releases for holiday gifting. But Tuesday finds a new Lynne Truss book on the shelves, ready-made for those who fell in love with her Eats, Shoots and Leaves. And George R.R. Martin's next Feast will be an essential for fans of the Seven Kingdoms saga.

Monday, November 7
The Beatles: The Biography by Robert Spitz comes out Monday. "No mere rehash of Beatles mythology, music insider Bob Spitz's revisionist biography breaks fertile new ground with material culled from hundreds of interviews and years of research, restoring the Fab Four to their raw, angry rock 'n' roll roots." —Barnes & Noble review

Next, Nicole Richie's The Truth about Diamonds: A Novel tells the sensational story of Chloe Parker, a rock royalty princess and a card-carrying member of Hollywood's inner circle. "Chloe shoots to instant fame as a spokesmodel for a national ad campaign. When her long-lost birth father appears out of nowhere and her best friend betrays her, she must struggle to keep it all together—her sobriety, her friendships, and her integrity despite the betrayals of those around her. Ultimately, Chloe comes spectacularly into her own, achieving stardom in her own right and finding true love." (Publisher's release notes)

Tuesday, November 8
Jan Karon's Light from Heaven comes out en masse Tuesday. With this book, Jan Karon brings to a satisfying conclusion her beloved story series set in the small town of Mitford, North Carolina—a village abounding in mysteries and miracles and populated by a lovable band of delightful eccentrics. "Karon deftly ties up all the loose ends of Father Timothy Kavanagh's deeply affecting life. ...filled with characters old and new and with answers to all the questions that Karon fans have asked since the series began nearly a decade ago. To put it simply—it's her best." (Publisher's release notes)

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss isn't "a book about good manners, per se. Instead, the British author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves sets out 'to mourn... the apparent collapse of civility in all areas of our dealing with strangers; then to locate a tiny flame of hope in the rubble.' It's a plea to show some consideration to others... [M]any book buyers will tuck it lovingly into the Christmas stockings of their somewhat discomfited nearest and dearest." —Publishers Weekly

CBS producer Mary Mapes lost her job over the disastrous decision to air the story of George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard duty, with what turned out to be forged evidence. Truth and Duty: The President, The Press, and the Privilege of Power is Mapes' account of the events that ended in scandal—not for the White House, but for CBS News itself. "The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes' well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented 'internal inquiry' into the story. ...always fast, sometimes furious, and often unexpectedly funny about the collapse of one of America's great institutions." (Publisher's release notes)

Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd reports from the gender wars in a new collection of essays, this time focused on what happens "When Sexes Collide." "Dowd's Bushworld, collecting her amped New York Times op-eds, hit big during the 2004 presidential campaign. This follow-up is as slapdash as the earlier book was slash-and-burn. What Dowd seems really to want to do is dish up anecdotes of gender bias in the media, which she does with her usual aplomb—everything from how Elizabeth Vargas was booted out of Peter Jennings's vacant chair at ABC during his illness... to the guys who won't date Dowd because she's got more Beltway juice (and money) than they. The rest is padding... It's intermittently entertaining, but neither sharp enough nor sustained enough to work as a book." —Publishers Weekly

For fans of A Song of Fire and Ice, George R.R. Martin's epic Seven Kingdoms saga, A Feast for Crows is the long-awaited fourth installment. They may be disappointed, however. "Speculation has run rampant since the previous entry, A Storm of Swords, appeared in 2000, and Feast teases at the important questions but offers few solid answers... Martin's Web site explains that Feast and the forthcoming A Dance of Dragons were written as one book and split after they grew too big for one volume, and it shows. This is not Act I Scene 4 but Act II Scene 1..." —Publishers Weekly

The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon will also find eager fans in line to buy. This, however, is not a new Sidney Sheldon novel, but a memoir of Sheldon's youth, and his Hollywood and television days, "reminiscent of his colorful novels, a rags-to-riches yarn replete with struggle, an indomitable hero and eventual glamour... While the book is long on Sheldon's Hollywood and television days, it skimps on his domestic and publishing lives. Still, that shouldn't stop Sheldon's legions of fans from lapping this up." —Publishers Weekly

No surprise, I'm sure, that my list has only the plea from Lynne Truss to halt "utter bloody rudeness." I'll wait on A Feast for Crows until the rest of the novel is released. As for Mapes' travails in the TANG tale, I'll do my reading in the bookstore, while I stand in line with my stacks of boxed sets of Elizabeth Moon and David Weber. It's never too early to get those grandchildren pointed in the right direction!

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