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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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.

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