The March 2008 Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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Here is the full listing of March 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 March Picks fliers in the February Red Box.

The March 2008 Book Sense Picks

1. CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS, by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416532415 / 1416532412) "This second entry in the nonstop, frenzied, comedic world of Isabel Spellman, P.I., is both more convoluted and funny than The Spellman Files. This time, Izzy finds herself confounded by nearly everyone in her life and, of course, unable to leave anyone alone until she gets to the bottom of the many mysteries surrounding her -- including her weirder-than-usual family." --Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

DREAMERS OF THE DAY, by Mary Doria Russell (Random House, $25, 9781400064717 / 1400064716) "Rarely can one say that a book is both rapturous and relevant, but Russell has done it. We meet the actual architects of the Middle East settlement at the Cairo Conference of 1921 -- T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Winston Churchill -- through the eyes of the surprising protagonist, a 40-year-old schoolteacher from Ohio. It is a wonderful story that brings to life a period of history that has remarkable parallels to our own time." --Barbara Tolliver, The Traveler, Bainbridge Island, WA

THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, by Joshilyn Jackson (Grand Central, $23.99, 9780446579650 / 0446579653) "A drowning in a suburban pool leads the reader to a rough-hewn, bawdy family with many secrets. Jackson crafts quirky characters we come to really care about." --Dolores Messner, The Island Bookseller, Hilton Head, SC

MUDBOUND, by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin, $22.95, 9781565125698 / 156512569X) "Rural Mississippi just after the Second World War is a hard and muddy place. Hillary Jordan's novel Mudbound evokes the era brilliantly -- returning soldiers trying to find their way after the brutality of the war, some facing the continuing brutality of a racist America. A very compelling story." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

WORLD MADE BY HAND, by James Howard Kunstler (Atlantic, $22, 9780871139788 / 0871139782) "From the author of The Long Emergency, a novel of life in the Hudson Valley of New York after the industrialized world has run out of oil. A frightening, and moving, portrayal of the lives of a group of people attempting to maintain their community." --Mitch Gaslin, Food For Thought Books, Amherst, MA

AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear (Holt, $24, 9780805082159 / 0805082158) "Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, travels to the Kent countryside to evaluate the village and a potential investment for a client. Although cordial, it is obvious the villagers have something to hide. An intriguing tale with one of today's most engaging characters." --Mary Jane Weber, The Town Book Store, Westfield, NJ

THE SOUL THIEF, by Charles Baxter (Pantheon, $20, 9780375422522 / 0375422528) "Nathaniel Mason, a grad student in 1970s Buffalo, falls in with a crowd that shakes his psyche -- including a confounding, pre-computer-revolution version of an identity thief. It all plays out 30 years later, but much of the fun in this intricately constructed and funny book is the getting there." --Daniel Goldin, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, WI

FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, by Peter Robinson (Morrow, $24.95, 9780060544379 / 0060544376) "While Alan Banks investigates the death of a young woman who has been raped and murdered, a woman is found slain in a wheelchair at the edge of a cliff. Annie Cabbot's investigation of that death uncovers ties to an earlier case that has haunted them both. Simply outstanding!" --Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

THE CURE FOR MODERN LIFE, by Lisa Tucker (Atria, $24.95, 9780743492799 / 074349279X) "The conflict of right and wrong runs strong throughout this story, as the lives of a business executive and his ex-girlfriend intersect with that of a homeless boy. Lisa Tucker gets at the heart of human emotion while also bringing to light the ethical and moral decisions faced in business. Her characters will stay with you long after you finish the novel." --Shelly Plumb, Harleysville Books, Harleysville, PA

RESISTANCE, by Owen Sheers (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $23.95, 9780385522106 / 038552210X) "It is 1944, and in this fascinating book the unthinkable has happened: The Germans have invaded England and half of Britain is occupied. The women in an isolated valley in Wales wake one morning to discover that all the men have disappeared without a trace, presumably to join the resistance movement. This beautiful story highlights the costs of war." --Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

THE MAN WHO MADE LISTS, by Josh Kendall (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399154621 / 0399154620) "Peter Mark Roget found the ultimate avenue for his obsessive, life-long list making when he created Roget's Thesaurus. His lists were the result of his education, experience, and coping skills, as he faced a number of tragedies in life. Reading The Man Who Made Lists gives us a fascinating slice of English culture." --Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

FEAR AND YOGA IN NEW JERSEY, by Debra Galant (St. Martin's, $23.95, 9780312367251 / 0312367252) "Debra Galant's novel begins with an overflowing fountain in the lobby of Nina Gettleman's new yoga studio and quickly proceeds to much bigger problems, including being mistaken for a terrorist at the airport. This hysterically funny Jewish family in New Jersey manages to just keep going in spite of all the odds against them." --Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

WE DISAPPEAR, by Scott Heim (Harper Perennial, $13.95 paper, 9780061468971 / 0061468975) "Scott Heim here revisits some of the same motifs from his novel Mysterious Skin, including a vivid, worn-down Kansas landscape; an unusual mother-and-son relationship; and, most poignantly, time lost, due to people being stolen, abducted, or 'disappeared.' No matter what odd thing happens next, I wanted to go on the ride with these characters and their ill-advised lives." --Suzanne Perry, The Secret Garden, Seattle, WA

THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE, by Laura Joh Rowland (Overlook, $24.95, 9781590200339 / 1590200330) "Laura Joh Rowland's newest book may be a departure from her San Ichiro mysteries, but this ripping good story is sure to delight her steadfast fans and win her legions more. In this fun and fast-paced story, the author of Jane Eyre tackles a mystery, which includes a charge of plagiarism and murder." --Karen Keyte, Books, Etc., Portland, ME

DOG MAN: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain, by Martha Sherrill (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594201240 / 1594201242) "After World War II and over the course of decades, Morie Sawataishi bred Japanese Akitas and brought them back from the brink of extinction. A remarkable story in deceptively simple prose. Morie is not always a likeable man, but his passion rings true, and, in the end, I deeply admired him." --Lisa Stefanacci, The Book Works, Del Mar, CA

AN IRISH COUNTRY VILLAGE, by Patrick Taylor (Forge, $25.95, 9780765316240 / 0765316242) "Continuing where he left off in his wonderful An Irish Country Doctor, Patrick Taylor returns to Ballybucklebo to tell the story of novice physician Barry Laverty, who must deal with the death of a patient and his widow's threatened lawsuit. Filled with wit, warmth, and blarney, this is a delightful journey." --Eileen Charbonneau, Merritt Bookstore Vol. III, Cold Spring, NY

A PERSON OF INTEREST, by Susan Choi (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018468 / 0670018465) "This dark literary thriller begins with the bombing of a math department office at a small college. One of the professors, an immigrant whose time at the college began during his student days, gradually begins to suspect that he was the intended target all along and begins to review his missteps and broken relationships." --Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company,
Seattle, WA

TRESPASS: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, by Amy Irvine (North Point, $25, 9780865477032 / 0865477035) "Irvine takes the reader to a land marked by the confluences of religion and heritage, spirituality and ecology, home and isolation. Her passionate prose is a joy to read, whether she's describing the red rock wilderness of southern Utah or the interior landscapes of home." --Catherine G. Weller, Sam Weller's Books, Salt Lake City, UT

THE PHILOSOPHER'S APPRENTICE, by James Morrow (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061351440 / 006135144X) "If Plato, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche decided to tie one on, paint the town red, and, then, write a novel, they might be able to come up with something like this. Morrow's tale of a sarcastic moralist and his unique protege shocks and perplexes, while taking the reader on a marvelous adventure." --Michael Lyle, Market Street Books, Chapel Hill, NC On sale March 11

A FRACTION OF THE WHOLE, by Steve Totlz (Spiegel & Grau, $24.95, 9780385521727 / 0385521723) "This spectacular debut from Australia presents us with Martin and Jasper Dean, father and son, whose lives and adventures across three continents provide the backdrop for a brilliant discourse on the often absurd human experience. Suffused with a subtle and pervasive humor, this is one the most distinctive, provocative, and memorable novels in recent history." --Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The March 2008 Book Sense Notables Preview


AUNT DIMITY VAMPIRE HUNTER, by Nancy Atherton (Viking, $22.95, 9780670018543 / 0670018546)
THE BOOK OF OTHER PEOPLE, edited by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $15 paper, 9780143038184 / 0143038184)
CHASING WINDMILLS, by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Flying Dolphin, $22.95, 9780385521277 / 0385521278)
DAUGHTER OF YORK, by Anne Easter Smith (Touchstone, $16.95 paper, 9780743277310 / 0743277317)
THE KEPT MAN, by Jami Attenberg (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594489525 / 1594489521)
SALVAGE, by Jane Kotapish (MacAdam/Cage, $24, 9781596922839 / 1596922834)
SOUVENIR, by Therese Fowler (Ballantine, $22, 9780345499684 / 0345499689)


DANDY IN THE UNDERWORLD: An Unauthorized Autobiography, by Sebastian Horsley (Harper Perennial, $13.95, 9780061461255 / 0061461253)
THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer Lee (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446580076 / 0446580074)
HAVE YOU FOUND HER: A Memoir, by Janice Erlbaum (Villard, $14, 9780812974577 / 0812974573)
RESCUING SPRITE: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish, by Mark R. Levin (Pocket, $22, 9781416559139 / 1416559132)
SIX DEGREES: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas (National Geographic, $26, 9781426202131 / 142620213X)
SWALLOW THE OCEAN: A Memoir, by Laura Flynn (Counterpoint, $23, 9781582433851 / 1582433852)
THE UNGARNISHED TRUTH: A Cooking Contest Memoir, by Ellie Mathews (Berkley, $23.95, 9780425219454 / 0425219453)


BLIND FALL, by Christopher Rice (Scribner, $26, 9780743293990 / 0743293991)
CALUMET CITY, by Charlie Newton (Touchstone, $14 paper, 9781416533221 /1416533222)
DARK HORSE, by Mike Langan (Five Star, $25.95, 9781594146640 / 1594146640)
GAMBIT, by Karna Small Bodman (Forge, $25.95, 9780765319289 / 0765319284)
PRIMAL THREAT, by Earl Emerson (Ballantine, $25, 9780345492999 / 0345492994)
A TOAST TO TOMORROW, by Manning Coles (Rue Morgue Press, $14.95, 9781601870155 / 1601870159)