The November Book Sense Picks & Notables Preview

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Here is the full listing of November 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 November Picks fliers in the October Red Box. (The flier includes jacket images, bibliographic information, and bookseller quotes.)

The November 2006 Book Sense Picks

1. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID: A Memoir, by Bill Bryson (Broadway, $25, 076791936X) "A hilarious and insightful look at growing up in the wonderful world of Des Moines in the naive decade of the 1950s, when tofu, sushi, yogurt, and arugula were unknown, and Jell-O was considered a gourmet dessert. We are treated to a glimpse of the adult world as seen from the uniquely Brysonesque point of view." --Betty Bennett, Bennett Books, Wyckoff, NJ

THE GHOST AT THE TABLE: A Novel, by Suzanne Berne (Algonquin, $23.95, 1565123344) "Buried family history and years of dysfunction and unhappiness are what await Cynthia when she arrives home for a family Thanksgiving, as she and her sister try to unravel the mysterious circumstances of their mother's death, along with reconciling with their absent father. Don't overlook this novelist -- she's an Orange Prize winner and a fantastic storyteller." --Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

TRUCK: A Love Story, by Michael Perry (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060571179) "Perry successfully weaves three main stories -- restoring a 1950s International Harvester truck with his brother, discovering romance after several failed relationships, and learning the unpredictable art of gardening -- into one coherent whole. Humorous without being cynical and heartfelt without being overly sentimental, Perry is my kind of memoir writer." --Kathleen Garfin, Enchanted Forest Books, Forest City, IA

BIG-BOX SWINDLE: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses, by Stacy Mitchell (Beacon, $25.95, 0807035009) "This definitive study of the consequences of uncontrolled big box development opens our eyes to the myriad ways big box stores affect our lives: creating low-paying jobs, decimating downtowns, degrading our environment, fueling suburban sprawl, and diminishing community life. Mitchell shows us the true cost of the 'bargains' that many still think they are getting, and she also shares stories of communities that have found ways to counter the big box stores and build healthy, sustainable local economies." --Steve Bercu, BookPeople, Austin, TX

LISEY'S STORY: A Novel, by Stephen King (Scribner, $28, 0743289412) "This is Stephen King's best work yet. It combines his wonderfully scary storytelling with a beautiful, incredibly moving, long goodbye story from a writer to his wife. I will recommend this book to everyone -- it's not just for Stephen King fans!" --Aislinn Evans, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Memphis, TN

BLIND SUBMISSION: A Novel, by Debra Ginsberg (Shaye Areheart, $23.95, 0307346048) "This novel is a lively romp through the world of authors and literary agents. At times it's laugh-out-loud funny, but there's also an intriguing suspense element. This debut novel is just plain fun." --Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

THUNDERSTRUCK, by Erik Larson (Crown, $25.95, 1400080665) "Erik Larson juxtaposes the invention of Marconi's wireless with the murderous actions of the legendary Hawley Crippen. From tracking the seemingly benign Dr. Crippen, to descriptions of the development of the wireless, the book hooks and holds the reader. Larson has struck gold again." --Barbara Hoagland, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

THE LAY OF THE LAND: A Novel, by Richard Ford (Knopf, $26.95, 0679454683) "Frank Bascombe returns (The Sportswriter and Independence Day featured him in earlier novels) and faces a difficult Thanksgiving day in his fifty-fifth year. Wry, wise, funny, beautifully written and structured, I wanted to reread this as soon as I finished but felt impelled to pass it on to other readers. A masterpiece." --Mary Muller, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

THE GHOST MAP: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic -- And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson (Riverhead, $26.95, 1594489254) "Johnson's vivid history of Victorian London's cholera epidemic of 1854 describes a rapidly growing city beset with suffering, and it tells the story of the struggle to overcome entrenched 'wisdom' in order to better understand disease and public health. A tribute to pioneering medical and scientific research and a fascinating look at how people and societies often cling to false ideas." --Will Peters, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR

RESTLESS: A Novel, by William Boyd (Bloomsbury, $24.95, 1596912367) "Put this one on your reading list. This is, hands down, the best spy story I've read since The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Totally different from Boyd's last novel, Any Human Heart, it's absolutely brilliantly written. You'll want to read this literary book whether you like spy novels or not." --Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

THE SHARING KNIFE VOLUME ONE: Beguilement, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Eos, $25.95, 0061137588) "Bujold's latest fantasy novel takes place in a new setting, but it has all the elements her fans have come to expect -- interesting characters, an unusual application of magic, and a plot full of conflicts. The only bad part is that this is the first of a two-book set, and I'll have to wait to learn how the story unfolds!" --Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

BEFORE I GO: A Novel, by Riley Weston (Campfire, $21.95, 0977954323) "Madison is a teenager whose life is ice skating. She is on her way to the Olympics when tragedy strikes and she must learn to live her life without skating. Madison finds out just how much she, her family, and friends have given up for her to pursue her dream of skating in the Olympics. You won't want to put this book down!" --Jennifer Hardacre, The Bookshop, Venice, FL

AN ALPHABETICAL LIFE: Living It Up in the Business of Books, by Wendy Werris (Carroll & Graf, $15.95 paper, 078671817X) "Highlights of Wendy Werris' bookselling career: running into Hunter S. Thompson in her office, a wild car ride with Fran Liebowitz, dinner with special guest George Harrison, and stalking Kurt Vonnegut in New York City. Read this fast-paced and engaging memoir and get a glimpse of how books have shaped all of our histories." --Jessilyn Krebs, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

RAIN VILLAGE: A Novel, by Carolyn Turgeon (Unbridled, $24.95, 1932961240) "Carolyn Turgeon has written a captivating first novel that I read straight through in one sitting. Her unique voice reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez as she weaved the story of a remarkable young woman who finds her future in her friend's past. Original and beautiful." --Sally Brewster, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

FLEEING FUNDAMENTALISM: A Minister's Wife Examines Faith, by Carlene Cross (Algonquin, $23.95, 1565124987) "While attending Bible college Carlene Cross met her future husband, who became a popular charismatic minister. But all was not well in the marriage, and she began to question her beliefs, the church community, and even her friends. Cross provides readers with insight into the U.S. fundamentalist movement, as she tells her story of leaving her faith to discover the joy, sorrow, and freedom of the secular world." --Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT

STRIPPED, by Brian Freeman (St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95, 0312340443) "In his second book, Brian Freeman has written a superbly plotted mystery. Set in Las Vegas in the present, a murder is committed that appears to be tied to one that happened in Vegas during the Rat Pack era. Brian Freeman is an author to watch." --Amanda Parker, J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee, Superior, WI

DEATH ANGEL, by Martha Powers (Oceanview, $24.95, 1933515031) "A great psychological thriller that kept me reading into the night. When Kate and Richard Warner's daughter, Jenny, is kidnapped and murdered, the chief of police is sure that Richard is the rapist and murderer. It's almost too late when he realizes that he's wrong. This is one of the best thrillers I've read." --Andra Tracy, Out Word Bound, Indianapolis, IN

THE MUSEUM OF LOST WONDER: A Graphic Guide to Reawakening the Human Imagination, by Jeff Hoke (Weiser, $49.95, 1578633648) "Philosophy, history, psychology, fantasy -- they all meet in this work of art that's part comic book (emphasis on 'comic' -- it's very funny), part historic tome, and all fascinating. The seven three-dimensional paper models invite readers to create and broaden their horizons. I really enjoyed it!" --Colleen White, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, Shorewood, WI

THE WORLD TO COME: A Novel, by Dara Horn (Norton, $13.95 paper, 0393329062) "With the theft of a million-dollar Chagall painting, Horn takes the reader back to a Jewish orphanage in 1920s Russia and follows the painting and those attached to it to the suburbs of New Jersey, to Vietnam, and back to the Museum of Hebraic Art. She weaves a tale of unimaginable tragedy, haunting beauty, and simple imagery, just like the painting itself." --Janet Bollum, The Muse Book Shop, Deland, FL

SAFFRON AND BRIMSTONE: Strange Stories, by Elizabeth Hand (M Press, $14.95 paper, 1595820965) "Stories from a master of lapidary style and fey fiction. I'm reminded of John Fowles' touch of the mythical in The Magus, but Hand is no imitator -- she wields her own magic." --Pauline Ziniker, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

The November 2006 Book Sense Notables


BLISS, by O.Z. Livaneli (St. Martin's, $23.95, 0312360533)
(Counterpoint, $23, 1582433569)
JULIUS WINSOME, by Gerard Donovan
(Overlook, $23.95, 158567849X)
THE LAST VAN GOGH, by Alyson Richman
(Berkley, $14 paper, 042521267X)
MAGIC TIME, by Doug Marlette
(FSG, $25, 0374200017)


THE ARCHITECTURE OF HAPPINESS, by Alain De Botton (Pantheon, $25, 0375424431)
BROKEN: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, by William Cope Moyers, with Katherine Ketcham
(Viking, $25.95, 0670037893)
CONSERVATIZE ME: How I Tried to Become a Righty With the Help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and Beef Jerky, by John Moe
(Morrow, $24.95, 0060854014)
CRY RAPE: The True Story of One Woman's Harrowing Quest for Justice, by Bill Lueders
(Univ. of Wis., $29.95, 0299219607)
THE GOD DELUSION, by Richard Dawkins
(Houghton, $27, 0618680004)
(Harcourt, $22, 0151012598)
THE MAN TIME FORGOT: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine, by Isaiah Wilner
(HarperCollins, $26.95, 0060505494)
MOUNTAIN MAN DANCE MOVES: The McSweeney's Book of Lists, by McSweeney's (Vintage, $12.95 paper, 0307277208)
MURDER IN AMSTERDAM: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, by Ian Buruma
(Penguin Press, $24.95, 1594201080)
REDEMPTION: The Last Battle of the Civil War, by Nicholas Lemann
(FSG, $24, 0374248559)
VILLA AIR-BEL: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille, by Rosemary Sullivan
(HarperCollins, $26.95, 0060732504)
: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports, by Brad Snyder (Viking, $25.95, 067003794X)


ECHO PARK, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $26.99, 0316734950)
THE MAN WHO SMILED: A Kurt Wallander Mystery, by Henning Mankell
(New Press, $24.95, 1565849930)
STILL AS DEATH, by Sarah Stewart Taylor
(St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95, 0312337426)