Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 6, 2010


Tor Nightfire: Dead Silence by S A Barnes

Shadow Mountain: The Slow March of Light by Heather B Moore

Berkley Books: Women who defied the odds. These are their stories. Enter giveaway!

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: Start your entrepreneurial journey with affordable packages, starting from $1,566

Candlewick Press: Mi Casa Is My Home by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

News

Borders & Noble?

Bill Ackman, who has a 37% stake in Borders Group, is "prepared" to finance a Borders purchase of Barnes & Noble for about $900 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The offer works out to $16 a share. B&N stock has lost 30% of its value this year and closed on Friday at $13.28 a share.

B&N is exploring the possibility of selling the company and is formally considering offers. Ackman, who controls hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, is well known for being active in the companies he takes large stakes in. Borders's other major shareholder is Bennett LeBow, who owns 35% of Borders and is chairman, with veto power over changes to executive-level positions.

 


Chronicle Books: Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel


Oprah Picking Dickens

Today Oprah will pick Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations as the next picks of her book club, the AP reported. The two classics are being published by Penguin in a single paperback edition that has a list price of $20.

Today's Oprah show features an appearance by Jonathan Franzen, who nine years ago famously questioned the honor of The Corrections being an Oprah Book Club pick. That led Oprah to withdraw an invitation for him to be on the show. In contrast to Franzen, Dickens can't have an opinion, let alone utter it.

 


GLOW: Flatiron Books: Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang


Image of the Day: Booksmith Brings in the Clowns

 

Last Friday night, clowning around became official at the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif.: it was the debut of the Literary Clown Foolery, featuring graduates of the San Francisco Circus Center, who performed before an SRO crowd. Each act incorporated books or a literary character. The store plans to make this a regular event. Co-owner Christin Evans added, "My only wish is that we could have clowns in the bookstore every day!"

 


Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier


Notes: Santa Anderson Comes to Dalton; Book Lists



Books-A-Million is opening a store in the Walnut Square Mall in Dalton, Ga., because of Charlie McClurg, a nine-year-old third-grader who organized a letter-writing campaign directed at BAM chairman, president and CEO Clyde Anderson, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Anderson made the store opening announcement last Friday at Charlie's school and brought the 500 letters sent by schoolchildren in Dalton. "Y'all really wore me down, and I've just come to tell you and all of the class we are going to open a store in the mall here," Anderson said. "And we hope to even have it open even before Christmas. So thank you for doing that, we're excited about it." He called Charlie "a very persuasive letter-writer" and said the company had not planned to open a store in Dalton before receiving the letters.

Charlie became familiar with Books-A-Million stores in nearby Chattanooga, Tenn., and in Florence, Ala., where his grandparents live.

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Joe Dionne, a New Hampshire native who worked for the past decade in Seattle as Amazon.com's bargain book and calendar buyer, is opening J.A.D. Mercantile, a bargain book and local goods shop, in South Berwick, Maine, according to Foster's Daily Democrat.

Besides bargain books, the store will sell children's toys and gifts, candles, soaps and lotions made in the area and a variety of green products. Dionne earlier worked at the late Lauriat's Books as a regional manager, buyer and director of merchandise.

Dionne called owning a bookstore "a lifelong dream" and said he wanted to make his store a community resource and destination. "There's always going to be a need for what I call 'flesh and blood' books because there's still a certain type of person still wanting a book in their hands," he told the paper.

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Blue Kangaroo Books, the Danville, Ill., children's bookstore that opened in 2002, is closing by the end of the year, the Danville Commercial-News reported. Julie Rudolph, who bought the business and building in 2006, said that sales had been difficult the past two years and wanted the store at least to pay for itself, which seems unlikely in the near future.

Rudolph said she would miss "the kids, my customers. I love being downtown. The best time of the retail children's store is the holidays. There's no better place."

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On Demand Books has installed its first Espresso Book Machine in continental Europe: in the American Book Center in Amsterdam. Store director Lynn Kaplanian-Buller said, "We hope to facilitate self publishing in any language supported by graphic designers, copy editors, and other word-craft professionals from our local community."

There are two Espressos in London and 53 machines worldwide. No word yet on installation of an Espresso in Italy, the birthplace of the espresso machine and home of fine book printing.

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The Lansing State Journal led cheers for the 50th anniversary of Student Book Store, East Lansing, Mich., the 25,000-sq.-ft. store that sells textbooks, supplies, Michigan State University-themed merchandise and more.

Founder Harold Ballein commented: "A lot of people ask what made us successful, but there was no one single thing. It was a lot of little things. You take care of the small things and a big thing results."

His son Brad said, "You can count on us to have what you need when you need it. That's our reputation."

Eight members of the Ballein family work at SBS and aim to be around for many more years: the store is competing online now and has a textbook rental program.

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U must rd this!

The New York Times profiled Figment.com, a new website intended to be "a sort of literary Facebook for the teenage set," catering to young readers who want "to read and write and discover new content, but around the content itself," according to co-founder Jacob Lewis, who formerly worked at Portfolio, one of the magazines Conde Nast closed last year.

The other founder is Dana Goodyear, a staff writer for the New Yorker, who two years ago wrote about young Japanese women who were writing fiction on their cell phones, "the first literary genre to emerge from the cellular age."

Figment.com is "a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site," the Times wrote.

The site is offering publishers the ability to showcase material. For example, Running Press Kids is running an excerpt from Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan, a historical novel for teens.

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Our latest list of best of the year lists:

The New Yorker offers its reviewers' favorite titles from 2010.

The Head Butler's top 10 great books of the year, a mix of some very familiar titles and some hidden in the pantry.

In her weekly "from the editor's desk" section, bibliobuffet.com editor in chief Lauren Roberts is offering detailed, thoughtful literary gift suggestions for booklovers and readers. Check the archives for the last two weeks of columns.

Indie booksellers in St. Louis, Mo., shared their 2010 picks for "Big Seller, Personal Favorite and Local Pick" with the Post-Dispatch. The participating booksellers were Vicki Erwin of Main Street Books, who said that "this should be so easy and yet it's very difficult"; Nikki Furrer of Pudd'nhead Books, Kris Kleindienst of Left Bank Books and Kelly von Plonski of Subterranean Books.  

Gift suggestions for job hunters. Forbes recommended "10 Great Books for Career Changers," asking "why not put together a forward-spinning gift basket of great books to jazz up her or her own creative juices to make some changes, follow a passion to a new career, or simply get that all-important money life in shape to retire without worry?"

On NPR's Morning Edition, Nancy Pearl extended her holiday wishes to literary voyeurs with recommendations of her favorite memoirs this year. 

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What holiday season? The National Post featured a counterintuitive "beach reads" list because "for many Canadians, December is the unofficial start of second summer. If you plan to take off for sunnier shores this season, consider packing these books in your suitcase or downloading them to your e-reader."

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Shop Aussie local. "It may be the busiest time of the year for book sales but don't fall for the myth that everything is cheaper from an offshore website," the Sydney Morning Herald observed. "Seven out of the 10 books on the Australian bestsellers list are cheaper if bought in an Australian bookshop or from a local online retailer compared with ordering them from an overseas website."

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On her blog, Siobhan Fallon recounted a dinner with NCIBA booksellers during the show in October, where she seemed to have a good time: the headline of her latest post is "Indie Bookstores, I Love You."

She wrote: "These strangers that I had just shared garlic fries and steak bites with already felt like friends. Which is why we all love independent book stores, isn't it? That feeling of welcome when we push open the door, the personal touches, the conversation and eye contact that these true book lovers bring to their stores every day. They press books into the palms of their faithful readers, saying things like, 'I know you will just adore this book.' And we trust them, we read their recommendations, we tell our friends.

"And we authors, well, we are so grateful for all that they do."

Fallon's first book, You Know When the Men Are Gone, is being published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam in January.

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Gooseberry Patch, Columbus, Ohio, which publishes 12-14 collectible titles a year consisting of recipes submitted by cooks around the country, has an unlikely, scary new claim to fame: the company is mentioned on page 292 of Stephen King's new Full Dark, No Stars. In the story "A Good Marriage," the main character Darcy searches frantically through a box. King wrote: "She was thumbing as she was thinking, now a quarter of the way down in the stack, and beneath Gooseberry Patch (country décor), she came to something that wasn't a catalogue."

Gooseberry Patch co-founder Vickie Hutchins commented: "Now that our cookbooks are available as e-books, perhaps Mr. King can work us in the next time a character is using an e-reader!"

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David Sweeney has been promoted at HarperCollins to v-p, special markets, responsible for mail order, retail, wholesale and premium and will lead the premium sales team. He recently established new business with flash e-retailers such as Gilt, One King's Lane and Haute Look while maintaining relationships with accounts such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Scholastic and T.J. Maxx/Marshalls.

 

 


Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Garry Trudeau on Colbert

This morning on Good Morning America: Bill Shore, author of The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men: Inspiration, Vision, and Purpose in the Quest to End Malaria (PublicAffairs, $25.95, 9781586487645/1586487647).

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Today on Fox & Friends: Joel Osteen, author of The Christmas Spirit: Memories of Family, Friends, and Faith (Free Press, $15.99, 9781439198339/1439198330). He will also appear today on the Sean Hannity Show.

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Today on the Ellen Degeneres Show: Nicole Richie, author of Priceless (Atria, $24.99, 9781439166154/1439166153).

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Leon Fleisher and Anne Midgette, authors of My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music (Doubleday, $26, 9780385529181/038552918X).

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Today on Oprah: Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374158460/0374158460).

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Today on Tavis Smiley: Reza Aslan, editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (Norton, $35, 9780393065855/0393065855).

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Today on the View: Condoleezza Rice, author of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780307587879/0307587878).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: retired general Hugh Shelton, author of Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (St. Martin's, $27.99, 9780312599058/0312599056).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Garry Trudeau, author of 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective (Andrews McMeel, $100, 9780740797354/0740797352).

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Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Russell Brand, author of Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal (It Books, $26.99, 9780061958076/0061958077).

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Tonight on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon: Gary Dell'Abate, author of They Call Me Baba Booey (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9781400069552/1400069556).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: comedian Steve Harvey, author of Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man (Amistad, $24.99, 9780061728990/0061728993).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Bakerella, aka Angie Dudley, author of Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats (Chronicle, $19.95, 9780811876377/0811876373).

Also on Today: Ina Garten, author of Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307238764/0307238768).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Noah Feldman, author of Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices (Twelve, $30, 9780446580571/0446580570).

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Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: the Daily Show's Samantha Bee, author of I Know I Am, but What Are You? (Gallery, $25, 9781439142738/1439142734).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Double Delicious!: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives (Morrow, $28.99, 9780061659331/0061659339).

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Tomorrow on the View: Portia de Rossi, author of Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain (Atria, $25.99, 9781439177785/1439177783).

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Tomorrow night on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Carrie Fisher, author of Wishful Drinking (Simon & Schuster, $13.99, 9781439153710/143915371X). A feature-length documentary based on Wishful Drinking will premiere tonight on HBO.

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, authors of Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439190906/1439190909).

 


Movies: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Tempest

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, based on the book by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins, $8.99, 9780064409469/0064409465), opens this Friday, December 10. Ben Barnes and Simon Pegg star in this third entry in the Narnia series.

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The Tempest, based on the play by William Shakespeare, opens this Friday, December 10. Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Alfred Molina, Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, Djimon Hounsou and David Strathairn star. The film is directed by Julie Taymor.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: New Mexico Book Awards

The "best of show" winner of the 2010 New Mexico Book Awards was Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print & Power by James McGrath Morris (HarperCollins), which also won in biography. The best New Mexico book was a tie: The Complete Chile Pepper Book by Dave DeWitt and Paul Bosland (Timber Press) and One Nation One Year by Don James and Karyth Becenti (Rio Grande Books). To see other winners, click here.

 


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover

Christmas Mourning: A Deborah Knott Mystery by Margaret Maron (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446555807/0446555800). "Judge Deborah Knott returns in a solid outing with a theme torn from local headlines. As Deborah and Dwight prepare for the holidays and their first anniversary, they find themselves drawn into community tragedies that go deeper than they know. A big pleasure of the series is meeting Deborah's large extended family, whose many younger members make their debut here. You'd love to have this clan as your neighbor!"--Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594202674/1594202672). "Maira Kalman loves America and so do I. It's hard not to be warmed from the inside out when reading her latest poetic installment of art and prose, the story of democracy and our Founding Fathers. This book is beautiful, optimistic, and inspiring. Benjamin Franklin would be proud."--Rachel Haisley, the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah

Paperback

Mr. Toppit: A Novel by Charles Elton (Other Press, $15.95, 9781590513903/1590513908). "What happens when a chance encounter between an American tourist and a dying man in London results in a runaway-bestselling children's book series? Luke Hayman, whose alter ego is the protagonist in his father's books, discovers the hard way how fame is like the fickle 'Wheel of Fortune,' feeding his family's dysfunctional neuroses and uncovering their secrets with every upswing in the series' popularity. As delightfully quirky and unpredictable as The Royal Tenenbaums."--Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12

On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763637224/076363722X). "Bring back the trains! Eleven-year-old Oscar falls into an old Lionel electric train set and finds himself actually aboard the Blue Comet train on his way to Chicago! Transferring there to the Golden State Limited, he is on his way to California to find his father, who has gone there to find work. With both humor and suspense, Wells has crafted a fast-paced tale of courage during a time when dreams were about the only things most people owned. A heck of a ride!"--Sue Carita, the Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Gift Book Roundup: Last Part

 

It's odds and ends here--no theme for this list, which does not lessen the value of the books, but it's tough to find a segue between Jane Austen, thrillers and Minneapolis journalist. Although that does sound like a plot for a mystery involving a fake manuscript and a plucky reporter....

That plucky reporter could very well be Laurie Hertzel, who has written a delightful memoir called News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist (University of Minnesota Press, $22.95). "I was eleven or twelve when I decided that journalism was my future. I loved to write, I loved to snoop, I always wanted to know everything first," she begins, and so she started her own newspaper, with a circulation of ten. She went on to work at the Duluth News-Tribune in the mid-'70s, and her saga of newspapers in a time of great change is penetrating and witty. She's now the books editor for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis; she calls her job and the newspaper the Daily Miracle, and says there is no other place she'd rather be. May she live long and prosper there.

Now... Austen or Agatha? Going with Agatha. Oceanview has published a fascinating collection of essays called Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner ($27.95). It's essential for any mystery and thriller fan, and contains some surprises along with what one would expect (The Eight, The Firm, The Tears of Autumn). Lee Child starts with "Theseus and the Minotaur"; Andrew Klavan writes about Beowulf; and David Liss chooses Robinson Crusoe. In between Homer and Dan Brown, find Christie, duMaurier, Jack London and even P.G. Wodehouse. One of my favorite authors, Ross Thomas, is included, as is Thomas Perry's The Butcher's Boy, another fine classic. This is a superb set of essays, and will introduce you to some new finds as well as confirm your opinion of your favorites.

Jane Austen. How many Jane Austen books and pastiches have been published this year? Whichever camp you are in--too few or too many--you'll like two annotated editions out now. The first, from Belknap Press/Harvard, is Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition ($35). It's a treasure, big (442 pages) and filled with illustrations. Patricia Meyer Spacks has penned an introduction for both novice and aficionado, and the book--how often do we check this?-- lays nicely flat so it can be read comfortably (although not in bed) as well as thumbed through. Anchor books has come out with a less expensive annotation, but of Persuasion ($16.95), so both of these would make a very nice gift for an Austen lover. The notes and introduction are written by David Shapard, an 18th-century historian (well, a historian specializing in the 18th century), who annotated Pride and Prejudice for Anchor a few years ago. It's a nice, fat paperback, and easy to read in bed. The serious Jane addict is in luck this season.

More words, but this time about the words writers love or loathe. Sarabande Books' One Word, edited by Molly McQuade ($16.95), is a quirky collection of essays from 66 writers on words like colander, riff, dehiscence, ur, forget and wrong. John Rodriguez picked "hope": "You will see your daughter every other weekend. You will need to call her mother to find out where your child will be. One day, you will be told to pick her up tomorrow at the train station like luggage." Cole Swenson picked "solmizate", which means "to sing any object into place." Michael Martone on "thermostat": "I touch it every day, a secular mezuzah at the threshold of climate change."

Fewer words but many wonderful pictures are found in The World of a Wayward Comic Book Artist: The Private Sketchbooks of S. Plunkett by Sandy Plunkett (Swallow Press, $55/$24.95). Plunkett began drawing for Marvel Comics in the 1970s, and here he has collected his sketchbook art from the past 20 years. Sketches from his travel journals, fantasy creatures, film festival posters, T-shirt designs, CD covers, illustrations for an Appalachian cookbook (animals in turn-of-the-century clothes preparing food)-- all are carefully and beautifully rendered in a timeless and unmistakably American style.--Marilyn Dahl

 

 



Book Review

Book Review: A Voice from Old New York

A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth by Louis Auchincloss (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $25.00 Hardcover, 9780547341538, December 2010)

Combining, as he did, the practice of law with a career as a writer, Louis Auchincloss has always been something of personal idol. I have even more reason to admire those multiple talents after reading this honest, wry account of his early days in New York society in the middle of the last century. A collection of brief portraits, organized more by subject matter than chronology, it illuminates aspects of a world that's not distant in time but somehow feels as remote as the Middle Ages.

Expecting Auchincloss to write objectively about the privileged Upper East Side milieu into which he was born, and on which he focused much of his attention as a writer, might seem like asking a fish what the water feels like. "To me, New York society (we never used the term) was not a class that dominated my world; it was that world." But what makes his story so appealing is his ability to stand at a remove from that environment to write wittily about its sometimes colorful, occasionally troubled inhabitants.

Auchincloss's reminiscences are not confined to the misery of his prep school days at Groton, the nervous tedium of debutante balls or the rigid social rituals of summers in Bar Harbor, though he shares an ample assortment of anecdotes from each. Alongside these compact narratives are moments of surpassing poignancy, like his description of one woman who attained her passionately sought after marital status and received an "enormous diamond into whose brilliant interior she used to silently stare during the dismal months when she was dying young of a fatal cancer."

Without seeming a name dropper, Auchincloss casually introduces schoolmates like the actors Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Mel Ferrer and the Bundy brothers (McGeorge and William), two of the principal architects of America's Vietnam policy. Auchincloss spent his early years practicing law at Sullivan & Cromwell, the firm run by famed cold warriors John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen. He sweetens the mix with a few glimpses of his cousin by marriage, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Despite his mother's efforts to discourage his writing, Auchincloss sensed that as his true calling from an early age, producing his first novel as a Yale undergraduate (he left for law school after three years). Though he flirted briefly with the grinding quest for partnership at a large firm, he eventually settled into a comfortable practice that enabled him to produce an impressive array of literary fiction and assorted nonfiction over more than half a century of writing.

Auchincloss died in January 2010 at age 92, his literary output continuing almost to his life's end. The benediction he pronounces over this memoir reveals, more than anything, the abiding sentiment that animated him: "Society matters not so much. Words are everything."--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: In his final work, author and lawyer Louis Auchincloss offers a glimpse of his early life amidst America's privileged class.

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles at AbeBooks.com in November

The bestselling books on AbeBooks.com during November were:

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson
2. Gangsta Rap Coloring Book by Aye Jay
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
4. Night by Elie Wiesel
5. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 by Julia Child
6. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
8. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 by Mark Twain
9. Make Your Own Sex Toys: 50 Quick and Easy Do-It-Yourself Projects by Matt Pagett
10. The Pop-up Book of Phobias by Gary Greenberg

The bestselling signed books on AbeBooks.com during November were:

1. Decision Points by George W. Bush
2. The Instructions: A Novel by Adam Levin
3. Decoded by Jay Z
4. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
5. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
6. Great House by Nicole Krauss
7. America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag by Sarah Palin
8. The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart
9. Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber
10. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]

 

 


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