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Monday, December 31, 2012

Nicholas Sparks releases 'Safe Haven' as first enhanced e-book

Enhanced e-book edition of 'Safe Haven' by Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks fans have seen seven of of the best-selling author's love stories come to the big screen, from the Ryan Gosling-Rachel McAdams classic tear-jerker The Notebook, to the Amanda Seyfried-Channing Tatum coupling in Dear John.

Before Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel bring Sparks' 2010 novel Safe Haven to life in theaters this Valentine's Day, Grand Central Publishing is releasing a movie tie-in edition enhanced e-book, the first of its kind from Sparks.

The enhanced e-book features interviews with Sparks, Duhamel and Hough on the making of the film, as well as storyboards, behind-he-scenes footage and seven videos, three exclusive to the e-book edition. The book has also been re-released in movie tie-in paperback and audiobook.

"This gives new readers an opportunity to see how the novel was adapted as they're first reading it, while allowing those returning to Safe Haven to view its world and characters in new and sometimes surprising ways," said Sparks in a statement.

Safe Haven debuted at No. 1 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list on Sept. 23, 2010 and spent 62 weeks in the top 150. Five other Sparks novels debuted at No. 1 - Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Best of Me (2011), The Choice (2007), The Last Song (2009) and True Believer (2005).

View a trailer of the film below:

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Books: New and noteworthy

'The Intercept' by Dick Wolf

Saturday, December 29, 2012



Friday, December 28, 2012



Thursday, December 27, 2012


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reporter recounts mental illness in 'Brain on Fire'

Subtitle: "My Month of Madness".

What happens when a normal 24-year-old girl suddenly, inexplicably, changes? Devolves from music-loving writer to manic paranoid to seizure-prone patient to one who's catatonic, bed-ridden and barely functioning… and then makes a full recovery?

Well, if she's a newspaper reporter, she writes about it.

The New York Post's Susannah Cahalan recounts the mysterious illness that unraveled into a medical nightmare in Brain on Fire, an extension of her 2009 first-person Post article, "My Mysterious Lost Month of Madness."

In this harrowing tale, Cahalan uses journals, videos, medical documents and basic reporting to piece together what happened while she was suffering from the rare disease anti-NDMA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis. She herself can remember very little of the ordeal.

Cahalan swiftly sets up her life as a young, ambitious journalist with a nice boyfriend and healthy relationships with her friends and parents. Suddenly she becomes obsessed with bed bugs and begins experiencing numbness. As her health worsens, symptoms including violent, Exorcist-like seizures lead to false diagnoses such as alcohol withdrawal and mono. One thing is clear: Something is horribly wrong.

The book is separated into three parts: "Crazy," "The Clock" and "In Search of Lost Time." "Crazy" is the quickest, most compelling read, a fast-paced medical mystery that's hard to put down, as if watching a slow-motion car crash in which you know the driver somehow escapes.

Cahalan's time in the hospital is difficult but satisfying, with gritty scenes describing her as an emaciated mental patient attempting to escape. More heart-wrenching, though, is her rich description of emotional helplessness and feelings of lost identity. And Cahalan's reporting is solid: the science behind the madness is thorough and digestible.

The final act, however, lacks the universal takeaways it aims for. Clearly a personal journey – and a riveting one at that – Cahalan shares the outpouring of support and solidarity she received after her Post article ran, and reflects on how lucky she was to have insurance for the $1 million treatment she received as only the 217th person to ever be diagnosed with her rare disease.

But her story does not need this kind of clean, sterile wrap-up. A focus on Cahalan's recovery, emotional and physical, would have been more than enough.

View the original article here

Book Buzz: 'All In' is a best seller, but it's not the book you think

This is the cover of the book "All In: The Blackstone Affair Part 2" by Raine Miller. [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: NONE NONE)

2:00PM EST November 21. 2012 - Here's a look at what's buzzing in the book world today:

No, not that one! All In enters USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list at No. 16, but it's not the Gen. Petraeus bio written by his former mistress, Paula Broadwell. Instead it's the second in romance novelist Raine Miller's self-published Ethan Blackstone Affair e-trilogy. Here's Amazon's description: "Their passion together was explosive, but their secrets are even darker and more frightening." The irony is not lost on Miller. "Oh, God, I know. We got the title of her book, All In, plus the word 'affair' all in one place, and the news story blew up literally the weekend my book released. Very crazy, the whole thing." She says she's "truly overwhelmed" by the series' success. "The Blackstone Affair is just a little story I began one night this past summer as the Olympics were getting started in London," Miller says. "I'm just a teacher/mom from California who likes to write books!" Broadwell's book, meanwhile, has not cracked USA TODAY's Top 400. – Craig Wilson

Drawing the Shades: This is the first time in 32 weeks that all three books in E.L. James' erotic Fifty Shades trilogy are not in USA TODAY's Top 10. Fifty Shades of Grey remains at No. 8, but Fifty Shades Freed falls to No. 11 and Fifty Shades Darker to No. 12. It was a good run, though. Fifty Shades of Grey spent 21 weeks at No. 1, beginning in April, and the two subsequent novels often found themselves at Nos. 2 and 3. – Craig Wilson

Winners' circle: Louise Erdrich's novel The Round House, about injustice on a North Dakota reservation, jumps from No. 211 to No. 59 on the best seller list after winning the National Book Award for fiction last week. Publisher HarperCollins is doubling the copies in print, to 100,000. Random House, which published the non-fiction winner, Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, about life in a Mumbai slum, is printing an additional 60,000 copies, on top of the 135,000 already in print. The book landed on the list at No. 28 in February. No word yet on when the paperback will be released. Simon & Schuster is printing another 25,000 copies of William Alexander's Goblin Secrets, winner in young people's literature. And the University of Chicago Press is printing another 6,000 copies of poetry winner David Ferry's Bewilderment, tripling the number in print. – Bob Minzesheimer

Memoir mania: Memoirs just never stop coming, and USA TODAY rounds up a new crop, including Melissa Francis' The Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter (3 stars) and Trudi Kanter's Holocaust memoir Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler (2 ½ stars).

New reviews: Andrew Solomon's much-talked about new book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, earns 4 out of 4 stars from USA TODAY. Reviewer Carmela Ciuraru calls it "a monumental work… a masterpiece of non-fiction." Read The New York Times interview with Solomon. And Lindsay Deutsch reviews Susannah Cahalan's memoir of "madness," Brain on Fire (2 ½ stars), in which the New York Post reporter "recounts the mysterious illness that unraveled into a medical nightmare."

Heavenly reading: We readers seem to have a thing for books about heaven. In a New Voices feature, USA TODAY's Deirdre Donahue talks to James Kimmel Jr. (not to be confused with Jimmy Kimmel!) about his entry in the field, The Trial of Fallen Angels. It's a debut novel about a lawyer and new mom who wakes up to discover she's dead — and part of an elite legal team handling souls facing the Final Judgment in the afterlife.

Dusting off 'Names': Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary on PBS has revived interest in a novel called Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb, which Random House dropped in 1939 because it was too similar to The Grapes of Wrath. Babb's book was finally published in 2004, and now it's climbing Amazon's chart.

The poetry cheer: Get to know our U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, who wants to smash stereotypes about poets. The 46-year-old tells the Associated Press she wants to be a "cheerleader" for the written word – and she once was a real cheerleader, for the University of Georgia.

Jocelyn McClurg is USA TODAY's Books Editor. She is based in New York City, the heart of the U.S. publishing industry.

View the original article here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Buzz: Black Friday deals, bad sex in fiction

The Elf on the Shelf balloon floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on Nov. 22. (Photo: Charles Sykes, AP)

1:33PM EST November 23. 2012 - Here's a look at what's buzzing in the book world today:

Literary parade: Happy day after Thanksgiving! Check out the bookish balloons that made an appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and read the story of how the Elf on the Shelf went from a self-published story sold out of the trunk of a car to a character so iconic it got its own float at the parade.

Black Friday: The best present is always a good book. Check out deals from publishers on this Black Friday.

John Quincy Adams: Watch USA TODAY's Bob Minzesheimer discuss John Quincy Adams with biographer Harlow Giles Unger on CSPAN's BookTV Sunday at 10 ET.

Bad sex in fiction: The British magazine Literary Review has announced its 2012 shortlist for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Fifty Shades of Grey may be absent, but the list includes Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood and seven other contenders.

Tolkien trouble: The J.R.R. Tolkien estate and Tolkien's publisher HarperCollins are suing Warner Bros. for $80 million over digital licensing rights, focused on online slot machines.

Best books of '12 list: The Washington Post has released its year-end best books list, which includes offbeat picks Arcadia by Lauren Groff and Broken Harbor by Tana French.

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View the original article here

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ally Condie's 'Reached' hits best-seller list

Ally Condie, the author of 'Reached,' is a former English teacher. (Photo: Brook Andreoli)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Book Buzz: Steinbeck fact or fiction, new book about heaven

John Steinbeck's 'Travels With Charley' was heavily fictionalized, it's been revealed on the books 50th anniversary. (Photo: Associated Press)

12:33PM EST November 26. 2012 - Here's a look at what's buzzing in the book world today:

New and noteworthy: Michael Connelly's new Harry Bosch book, The Black Box, is out today. Check out book editor Jocelyn McClurg's picks for the week. Plus, read USA TODAY's 3-star review of Friendkeeping, about the difficult art of maintaining friendships.

Steinbeck's story: On the 50th birthday of John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley, publisher Penguin admits the author heavily fictionalized the book from his 1960 road trip.

Bryce Cortenay dies: Courtenay, the Australian author of The Power of One, which was adapted into a 1992 film starring Morgan Freeman, has died at 79.

New YA imprint: HarperCollins announced today it's launching a digital imprint called HarperTeen Impulse that will focus on young adult short stories and novellas.

To heaven and back: The New York Times profiles Dr. Eben Alexander III, a neurosurgeon who has written the book Proof of Heaven, about his religious experience while in a meningitis-induced coma. The book is No. 10 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

Food for thought: Jami Attenberg, author of the food- and weight-focused novel The Middlesteins, writes about the power and meaning behind food in literature for The Wall Street Journal.

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View the original article here

Books: New and Noteworthy

'The Black Box' by Michael Connelly

Friday, December 7, 2012

New voices: 'Trial of Fallen Angels' by James Kimmel Jr.

James Kimmel has written a book, 'The Trial of Fallen Angels.' (Photo: NONE NONE)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Books roundup: Memoirs

'Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter' by Melissa Francis details the newscaster's troubled relationship with her mother. (Photo: AP)

'Far From the Tree' is a monumental work

Subtitle: "Parents, Children and the Search for Identity" .

The first thing you should know about Andrew Solomon's new book, Far From the Tree, is that it's a monumental work. This is a masterpiece of non-fiction, the culmination of a decade's worth of research and writing, and it should be required reading for psychologists, teachers, and above all, parents.

The author interviewed hundreds of families for his book. In 12 chapters, filled with stories that are as inspiring as they are harrowing, Solomon studies families with children who have autism, deafness, schizophrenia, dwarfism and more. The book's title comes from the adage about the apple not falling far from the tree.

These children, however, are "apples that have fallen elsewhere — some a couple of orchards away, some on the other side of the world. Yet myriad families learn to tolerate, accept, and finally celebrate children who are not what they originally had in mind."

Solomon interviews the parents of one of the Columbine killers, parents of children born of rape, and those who have children with Down syndrome. He also explores the lives of prodigies, who are "freaks" of another sort. "Being gifted and being disabled are surprisingly similar: isolating, mystifying, petrifying," Solomon writes. Both are aberrant, and "prodigiousness compels parents to redesign their lives around the special needs of their child."

The author, whose extraordinary chronicle of depression, The Noonday Demon, won the National Book Award in 2001 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, approaches his subject in a profoundly personal way. He writes of growing up gay (as well as dyslexic) -- with a sense that he needed to be "fixed," and that his identity was undesirable and even hateful. He was raised in an extraordinarily wealthy family, yet despite his elite existence, he believed that "if anyone found out I was gay, I would have to die." (Indeed, he suffered from suicidal depression.)

Far From the Tree is a bold and unambiguous call to redefine how we view difference. All too often we are frightened or uncomfortable by those who exist outside "the norm," whether physically, mentally, sexually, or otherwise. We often regard such people with ignorance and even cruelty and disgust. Our society has a compulsion to "cure" those who are different.

Solomon argues in favor of vulnerability and empathy -- of turning our collective gaze toward "anomalous bodies" instead of averting our eyes. In his chapter on transgenderism, he expresses hope for "a society in which everyone is able to choose his or her own gender at any time." When it comes to identity, he's a big proponent of spectrums rather than binary labels. He values self-acceptance over fitting in.

Although the families in this book carry "what much of the world considers an intolerable burden," they paradoxically describe feeling grateful for "experiences they would have done anything to avoid." It's a startling and inspiring revelation. This is not to say that these families have not suffered a great deal, but simply that in their views, life has been greatly enriched by suffering. And (in most instances) they wouldn't trade their experiences for anything.

Far From the Tree is a stunning work of scholarship and compassion. It's also one that brings the author tremendous joy in his own life. Initially, Solomon wrote the book, in part, to learn how to forgive his parents for the traumas of his childhood. He ends this project triumphantly: marrying his longtime partner and (via surrogate) becoming a parent himself. The couple have a 3-year-old son, George.

At times, Solomon writes, "I had thought the heroic parents in this book were fools, enslaving themselves to a life's journey with their alien children, trying to breed identity out of misery. I was startled to learn that my research had built me a plank, and that I was ready to join them on their ship."

View the original article here

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dolly Parton continues to dream her dream

'Dream More' by Dolly Parton was inspired by a commencement speech she gave at the University of Tennessee.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book buzz: Tom Wolfe, Thanksgiving tips, more

It's perhaps not the prize he's been hoping for, but author Tom Wolfe has been nominated for the Bad Sex literary award. (Photo: Charles Sykes, AP)

Monday, December 3, 2012

RETURN TO THE WILLOWS: Age 8 and up (younger for reading aloud).


Jacqueline Kelly, Illustrated by Clint Young
Henry Holt
ISBN 978-0805094138
000 pages

Reviewed by Kristi Elle Jemtegaard

In which Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad reappear after a century-long hiatus to adventure once more in the Wild Wood.

Creating a new installment for a much-loved childhood classic is a daunting project. When the classic in question is Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows," the fragile blend of whimsy and humor makes the margin for error especially wide. This brand-spanking-new sequel has been neatly packaged in a generous square trim-size and handsomely illustrated by Clint Young in a style that echoes but does not imitate the many earlier editions. But what about the writing? Fortunately for a new generation of readers, Newbery Honor author Jacqueline Kelly must have steeped herself like a tea bag in all things British. Evoking the ineffable mixture of capers and camaraderie that has kept the original in print for so long, she serves up a roistering, boisterous tale of hot-air balloons, fireworks and GBQs(asterisk symbol). And while youngsters are lapping up Toad's adventures, howling as he rockets from lugubrious to lovable in the space of a chapter, adults lucky enough to read this aloud will also have lots of sly asides to chuckle over ("It is a truth universally acknowledged that a toad in possession of a fortune must be in want of adventure"). Although alternative versions (including several earlier sequels) abound in movies, on stage and even as theme park rides, this is a worthy successor that ends - most improbably - with cudgels and cake and a graceful reminder to revisit the original.

(asterisk symbol) Gentle reader, should you wish to know the meaning of these initials, please refer to Footnote 32 of the 87 citations included in this erudite text.

- Kristi Elle Jemtegaard

Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A WICKED WAR: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico

Saturday, December 1, 2012

BEYOND COURAGE: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust - Age 12 and up.