Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Marvel Press: Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Noa Denmon

Knopf Publishing Group: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Algonquin Books: The Wonders by Elena Medel, translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead

Minotaur Books: The Shadow House by Anna Downes

Soho Crime: One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips

Editors' Note

The Widget for Readers

Many of you have asked us for a way to share our new consumer publication, Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for Readers, with your customers, patrons and readers. We now have a quick and easy way to help spread the word! Just go to http://www.shelf-awareness.com/widget to download a subscription widget for your website or blog.

And here's a bonus: new subscribers who sign up through the widget will be entered for a chance to win a free copy of Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman, to be published by Knopf later this month.

We'd love to know if you decide to use this on your site. Shoot us an e-mail at feedback@shelf-awareness.com to let us know or to ask any questions about it. Thanks for your help!


Broadleaf Books: A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement by Katey Zeh


Quotation of the Day

Bookselling as Writers' Apprenticeship

"[Working as a bookseller] forced me, in a good way, to probably read outside of my comfort level at a relatively early age. Being a bookseller, you have to diversify your reading interests in order to be able to really get as broad a spectrum of the best books to as many people as possible."


--Charles McLeod, author of American Weather (Harvill Secker) and a former bookseller at DIESEL, in the San Francisco Chronicle.




G.P. Putnam's Sons: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler


News

Images of the Day: Pulpwood Queens on the High Seas

Taking to the high seas for "the ultimate literary adventure," Kathy Patrick, owner of Beauty & the Book, Jefferson, Tex.; members of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club; and authors M.L. Malcolm, Deeanne Gist, Jennie Helderman and Echo Garrett pose aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas on a cruise out of Miami. "We were featured big time as we were able to do a presentation on all our books open to the entire almost 3,000 passengers," Patrick noted, adding that she is "already planning another literary destination cruise out of New York City for our now 500 Pulpwood Queen Chapter Book Clubs nationwide and in 10 foreign countries. All aboard for some great reading."

 

The night before the Beauty & the Book crew embarked on their cruise, Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books and Books, Coral Gables, hosted a Bon Voyage Party, after which they attended an author event featuring Oscar Hijuelos. Clockwise from right in the photo above: Kathy Patrick, Oscar Hijuelos and Patrick's daughter, Helaina.

 


University of California Press: Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo (1st ed.) by Peter Richardson


Notes: Men Are Tablets, Women Are E-Readers?

A new study by consumer research firm GfK MRI of more than 26,000 adults in the U.S. found that women are 52% more likely than men to own an e-reader, and men are 24% more likely than women to own a tablet.

"Drilling down to brand level, women are 63% more likely than men to own an Amazon Kindle and twice as likely to own a Barnes & Noble Nook," according to the study's authors. "Men, on the other hand, are 16% more likely to own an Apple iPad. Evidence suggests that men's affinity for tablets may be a reflection of the way they view ownership of technological gadgets with respect to their peers. For instance, men are much more likely than women to report: 'I want others to say "Wow!" when they see my electronics.' "

The study found that 87% of e-reader owners have read a book on their device in the past six months, compared to 15% and 14% for magazines and newspapers respectively. With iPad owners, however, only 57% read a book on their device in the past six months, 39% read a magazine and 41% read a newspaper.

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With speculation rampant about Amazon's plans to release an iPad rival, eWEEK explored 10 Burning Questions about the impending Amazon tablet.

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Jamie Carpenter's inspiration for her new bookstore, the Sisters Grimm, Bushnell, Neb., came from a visit to another town in the state. Brownville "had five bookstores and was a tourist destination," she told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. "Even with a population about the size of Bushnell, I'm hoping to convince others (artists and merchants) to move here after the bookstore is going." Sisters Grimm will initially carry used books, art, antiques and local craft items.

Carpenter started working on the bookstore, which opens this week, last August "after purchasing the barn from Paul Daugherty of Pine Bluffs. Ray Mintken built the barn to raise Tennessee Walker horses in or around the 1940s," the Star-Herald reported.  

"We've had very favorable response from the community so far," Carpenter said. "They are excited to see something happening in town. It will give the community another place to gather and share ideas."

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In a post at A Rep Reading headlined "Bookselling: Not for the faint-hearted," Teresa Rolfe Kravtin, a sales rep for Southern Territory Associates, observed: "By their very nature, booksellers are impassioned, courageous entrepreneurs dedicated to a business that brings to its customers a distinctive kind of entertainment and enlightenment, the enjoyment of the written word and the illustrated book. Those of us in the industry find ourselves in another evolution of the technological sort, the Internet and the e-book, which brings these booksellers a challenge that they may ultimately find insurmountable....

"I think one of the most important elements of healthy, vibrant commerce is an abundance of choice. The more limited our choices, the more restricted the market. It is a perfect storm of circumstances affecting everyone in publishing. Too many people are out of work. Technology will continue to evolve and the Internet will continue to change. If the economy would rebound in a substantial way, perhaps the financial strain would ease and small businesses could breathe a little. If actual bookstores go away, I think we will be worse off for it. Meanwhile, if you have a bookstore of any kind near you, stop by, have a conversation, and let them sell you a book."

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The Economist pondered the upcoming bankruptcy-court auction of Borders and offered a gloomy prediction for the fate of bookshops: "To describe the woes of bricks-and-mortar bookstores is to join the dirge-singing chorus.... Besides coffee, access to wi-fi and the occasional yoga mat, what will people pay for to enable a bricks-and-mortar bookstore? Could independent stores charge membership fees, which grant access to books at slightly lower prices? Would a corporate-sponsorship model work? (For example, Eli Lilly could sponsor 'Books by authors on Prozac' month at the local haunt.) Perhaps bookstores could become tax-subsidised places where people can browse and linger, but only borrow the books for limited periods of time--what the hell, let’s call them libraries. At any rate, the market is squeezing out a meaningful public space. It will be interesting to see what fills the void these bookstores leave behind."

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Papiria: Land of Children's Books is a new permanent exhibition at the Children's Book Museum in The Hague that "has walls made out of a whopping 40,000 books. Stacked horizontally, their spines hidden more often than not, they tower over the space like dusty fortresses of print history. Around them, a castle of digital media rises up--with loads of interactive gaming and slick computer units that let kids build their own storybook characters--which, we guess, is how you get the young'uns excited about reading nowadays," Fast Company reported.

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It's summer, and Twitter poetry (Twoetry?) is in the virtual air.

Novelist Elinor Lipman joined the Twitterverse recently with a pledge to tweet one political poem (rhyming couplets) every day from now until the 2012 election @elinorlipman. Her "inaugural" poem on July 4: "In Waterloo, her natal place/ We hear Michele will join the race. Tho sure we knew this @ St. Anselm's/ I will admit: her suits are handsome."
 
And "I celebrate myself" has taken on multi-generational and multi-era meanings as "Walt Whitman" tweets his masterpiece at @TweetsofGrass.   

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The long holiday weekend inspired many beach read list compilers:

Profitable beach reads for beginning investors. CNN Money's Walter Updegrave admitted that "when it comes to page-turners, people are more likely to think Tom Clancy or Danielle Steel than some financial guru spouting off about investment theory and strategy. But investing books don't have to be boring."

London cabbie and bibliophile Will Grozier shared his recommendations for exciting summer reads on NPR's Weekend Edition.   

The 10 best literary picnics were showcased by the Guardian.

The Wrap suggested 9 books for entertainment junkies, noting that "for those executive types who can't justify spending the dog days dog-earring pages, we've included some books about high-powered people just like you--as well as a few titles you might want to option."

Flavorwire recommended 10 manly books to honor Ernest Hemingway's death.

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Rejection letter of the day: Once he had become a bestselling mystery author, John D. MacDonald gained a measure of revenge for his own lean years by crafting a form letter for magazine editors soliciting new work from him. Letters of Note featured MacDonald's revenge-is-sweet missive.

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Vanity Fair considered what Groupon offers might be like if they were written by great authors. Case in point--Samuel Beckett: "Humans spend their lives waiting. Waiting and getting depressed as they contemplate the impossibility of salvation and the shortage of healthful snacks that taste like junk food. Find the will to go on with today’s Groupon: for $6, you get $15 worth of Good O’s baked vegetable crisps."

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Bookcase of the day: Bookshelf Porn showcased a wheel of books.

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Home is where the lit is. The Telegraph offered a slide show tour of literary homes, including William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage and D.H. Lawrence's birthplace.

 


Talking Back: Responses to Amazon's Calif. Sales Tax Defeat

Strong reaction continues to Amazon's sales tax defeat in the California legislature last week (Shelf Awareness, June 30, 2011). In the San Francisco Chronicle, Andrew S. Ross reported that Amazon appeared to be ignoring the sales tax collection requirement for online retailers, which is now in effect: "So, I went online Friday looking to buy a copy of John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society & Other Writings, 1952-1967.... Barnes & Noble's website was selling it for $26.53. Total, which included California sales tax: $28.79. 'Total Before Tax' at Amazon.com: $26.40. 'Estimated Tax To Be Collected: $0.00'.... In other words, screw you, California, and your laws."

"They're not intending to comply, by all indications," said Betty Yee, former chairwoman and current member of the state Board of Equalization. "So, we'll bill them at the end of this quarter, based on estimates either they provide or we come up from other data sources. Then, if they don't come forward and pay, we'll consider other courses of action."

Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association, added: "Seeing what's going on across the country, they want to stall. We know we're going to be litigating it."

The Los Angeles Times noted that a showdown between Amazon and the state could be months away: "Companies don't send the taxes to the state until the end of each quarter, which means the California Board of Equalization won't know officially about Amazon's refusal to collect them until October 1.... Such defiance sets up a major legal battle by this fall, though Amazon could first challenge the law in court, as it has in New York. It has lost a trial court ruling there and has an appeal pending."

Mary Williams, events manager at Skylight Books, Los Angeles, weighed in on the issue in the bookshop's July e-newsletter to customers: "It's a thorny issue, but here's my take: For Skylight, for your other favorite small businesses, for the continuation of the public services you use, and even for the chain stores you shop in, this is great news and a hard-won victory. Because our state needs to get all the money it's owed, for better schools and roads and libraries. And collecting sales tax online and in the store isn't too onerous for us, a small business, so it can't be that crushingly big of a deal to these giant online-only retailers. Unless it's the unevenness of the playing field that they're fighting so hard for--the right to a de facto discount that only their narrow class of businesses is allowed to give. And isn't it wrong to let our state be bullied out of its metaphorical lunch money for something like that? I think it is, and I'm proud of California for standing up to these tactics and demanding that the playing field be shifted back into level."

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch issued a statement expressing appreciation for the ruling: "We thank Governor Jerry Brown for demonstrating his commitment to California businesses by signing e-fairness into law. This legislation will directly benefit California businesses by creating a fair marketplace. We believe that e-fairness will improve the economy, add jobs, and help struggling businesses everywhere in California. By signing this law, the Governor has made clear that his priorities are to help bolster economic recovery. This is a huge win for business in the state of California."

Bookshop Santa Cruz "has offered to pick up the California online sellers that Amazon has dropped and pay them a 5% commission for books they sell on their websites. In a letter to customers, the shop called Gov. Jerry Brown's new state budget and its tax on online sellers 'a hard-fought victory for local bricks and mortar bookstores, pharmacies, shoe stores, bike shops and other local retailers,' " the Santa Cruz Patch reported.

"We feel like we didn't want it to be self-serving," owner Casey Coonerty Protti said. "But there are people out there going what am I going to do now? We wanted to help them out. We've always had an affiliate program. It's been there, but because Amazon has resources and technological prowess to make it super-easy for people, I think people went the super-easy route. We've always had it and want to fight this battle. If you want to raise funds for schools and these things, why not go with your local book store?"

Geekwire offered a "guide to why Amazon is losing the tax battle," noting that Amazon "has put no human face on its efforts. They’ve completely missed the opportunity to highlight hundreds of small entrepreneurs, bloggers and business owners who earn revenue from Amazon links. They could use these people as examples of who will be hurt in this fight.... The tax issue will either resolve itself in the form of a national movement like the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. Or, certain states will start to position themselves as 'Internet-friendly' tax havens. But regardless of what happens with the tax, Amazon has squandered so much and gained so little in return."

 



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tayari Jones on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Lauren Myracle, author of Shine (Amulet, $ 16.95, 9780810984172).

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow (Algonquin, $19.95, 9781565129900).

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Tomorrow on Imus in the Morning: Georgette Jones, author of The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George (Atria, $25, 9781439198575).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jennifer Weiner, author of Then Came You: A Novel (Atria, $26.99, 9781451617726).

Also on Today: Janet Reitman, author of Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780618883028).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: John Sayles, author of A Moment in the Sun (McSweeney's Press, $29, 9781936365180). As the show put it, the book is "a vast pageant of American history--nearly a thousand energetically written pages. John Sayles on how a writer gathers knowledge, the language, the unusual perspectives and the humanity to illuminate the whole arc of our history."

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Tomorrow on the View: Bristol Palin, author of Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far (William Morrow, $25.99, 9780062089373).

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Tomorrow on the Late Show with David Letterman: Thomas Lennon and Robert B. Garant, co-authors of Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! (Touchstone, $23.99, 9781439186756).


Movie Trailer: Golf in the Kingdom

An official trailer has been released for Golf In The Kingdom, based on Michael Murphy's 1972 novel. The film, directed by Susan Streitfeld, stars David O'Hara, Mason Gamble, Malcolm MacDowel, Frances Fisher, Tony Curran, Julian Sands, Joanne Whalley, Jim Turner and Catherine Kellner.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Book Illustration Competition

Matthew Richardson won the inaugural House of Illustration and the Folio Society’s Book Illustration Competition. More than 280 entrants were asked to "Get inside The Outsider" by producing a series of illustrations for the Folio Society’s new edition of the classic novel by Albert Camus. Richardson received £4,000 ($US6,427), along with a commission to complete the illustrations for the finished book.  

 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 12:

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Bantam, $35, 9780553801477) is the long awaited fifth part of the epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire series.

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by Douglas Edwards (Houghton Mifflin, $27, 9780547416991) is the story of Google's rise from the perspective of the company's first director of marketing.

Dragon's Oath by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin, $12.99, 9781250000231) continues the House of Night fantasy series.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, $17.99, 9780545259088) concludes the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.

Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel by Kim Harrison (Del Rey, $23, 9780345521019) brings the urban crime fantasy series to visual form.

Of Thee I Zing: America's Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots by Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo (Threshold, $25, 9781451642049) criticizes the contemporary American culture of consumerism.

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley (Crown, $23, 9780307588111) explores a life dominated--but not defined by--severe food allergies.

 


Book Brahmin: Simon Van Booy

Simon Van Booy grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of the story collections The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books (Why We Fight, Why We Need Love and Why Our Decisions Don't Matter) and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and on NPR. He lives in New York City, where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities program for young adults living in underserved communities. His debut novel, Everything Beautiful Began After, was just released (July 5) by Harper Perennial.

 

On your nightstand now:

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust, Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton, Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, a 1950s French/English Dictionary;

A bird's-eye maple candlestick from the 18th century, a marble tile with Greek figures engraved on a round silver plate, a tea cup (which I really should have put in the dishwasher by now), drawings of smiling heads (odd, I know) left by my daughter (aged six), a Christian Louboutin Barbie high-heeled shoe which I was tired of stepping on in bare feet and so it has been "confiscated" though I quite like waking up to it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Commando Comic Series. These were little books that featured heroic stories from World War II. I spent all my allowance every week on them. I also dipped into adult books that my parents had, such as The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth, which had an enormous influence on me because it introduced me to the idea of how a quiet story could be deeply powerful.

Your top six authors:

At the moment, they are Marcel Proust, Claire Keegan, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Janet Frame.

Book you've faked reading:

The Holy Bible. Imagine me aged six in rural Wales standing in front a crowd of Methodist pensioners whose minds have been ravaged by endless cups of tea:

"So, there was this guy who was really kind and wore a towel over his privates, but people loved him and washed his feet in bowls. He was also born in a shed with a donkey watching. And then three old men showed up with Frankenstein and said the stars are amazing tonight...."

Book you're an evangelist for:

Anything by the above authors, but especially Miss Keegan, as she's the only one who is alive. I worship her writing. I'd take a bullet for her books, seriously.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior and a strange, beautiful neon pink Chinese-language edition of Madame Bovary by Flaubert.

Book that changed your life:

Many have, but the first book as an adult that changed my life was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I was 21 and realized that most brilliant people in the world are slightly insane, and that it was possible to be wild and be wearing a shirt and tie at the same time. 

Favorite line from a book:

"...his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes." (Ulysses)

I also love reading Proust in French aloud. So if you call me between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., I'll read it to you on the telephone and we can pretend we are Libertines.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

There are none. I never go back, only forward, even if it's into the flames of my own destruction.... Actually--I'd love to read the Madeleine in Paris books again, as the rhyming is just so amazing. I could recite them right now....

The most influential people to you as a writer at the moment:

My daughter, Madeleine; my friend and editor, Carrie Kania; J.S. Bach; Yves Saint Laurent.

 


Book Review

Children's Review: This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster, $17.99 hardcover, ages 12-up, 9781442403154, August 23, 2011)

Kenneth Oppel (the Silverwing Trilogy) imagines the shaping of Victor Frankenstein's psyche in a taut and chilling novel that serves as a brilliant prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He keeps many of Shelley's major players: Elizabeth Lavenza, a cousin (consistent with the first edition of the novel) to the Frankensteins; Henry Clerval, Victor's close friend; and younger brothers Ernest and William Frankenstein. But Oppel also invents an identical twin, Konrad, born two minutes before Victor. The tension between the two 15-year-old brothers over their romantic feelings toward Elizabeth brings out the dark side in Victor.

Oppel begins the book with a play written by Clerval. In it, the twins track a monster, slay it to discover a beautiful girl within (played by Elizabeth), then Victor kills Konrad in order to secure the family fortune. With that brief staging, the author cleverly introduces the themes that run throughout the book. Victor loves his twin brother but also needs to feel superior to him, and this duality dogs his every step. One day, while Victor, Konrad and Elizabeth are horsing around, Elizabeth falls against some bookshelves that open a narrow entrance to a secret passage. In the bowels of the Chateau Frankenstein, they discover a library of forbidden texts that offers, among other things, the secret of alchemy and the Elixir of Life. When Konrad falls ill, Victor enlists Elizabeth's and Henry's help in attempting to discover the recipe for the Elixir of Life in order to save him. Their pursuit is the "dark endeavor" of the title. They submerge themselves (as Mary Shelley's Victor did) in the works of Cornelius Agrippa and Paracelsus in order to decode the Elixir's recipe. Their mission leads them to the laboratory of a hermit-like alchemist named Julius Polidori, and some spine-tingling adventures to retrieve the ingredients for the Elixir. They encounter the vulture-like Lammergeier, with its 10-foot wingspan, and a prehistoric coelacanth (their pursuit of the fish through tiny tunnels will make even hearty readers claustrophobic).

Along with the page-turning plot developments, Oppel probes the societal shifts in thinking in late 18th-century Switzerland. Konrad yearns to visit America; the French people have fomented a revolution; and scientific breakthroughs have begun to overshadow Roman Catholicism. When Victor, an atheist, worries that he could lose his brother to illness, he almost envies Elizabeth her devout beliefs. His thoughts as he observes her in the church expose the tug-of-war between fact and faith, in both religion and science: "Wine to blood. Lead to gold. Medicine dripped into my brother's veins. The transmutation of matter. Was it magic or science? Fantasy or truth?" The more haunting question plaguing Victor: Should we play God just because we can? Oppel succeeds in creating a complex character living in the 18th-century whose inner struggles will resonate profoundly with young men and women of modern times.--Jennifer M. Brown

 

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in June

The following were the bestselling books on AbeBooks.com in June:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
3. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
4. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
7. Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
10. How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas. C Foster

The following were the bestselling signed books on AbeBooks.com in June:

1. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
2. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
3. Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson
4. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
5. Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver
6. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
7. A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles
8. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
9. The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
10. About Grace by Anthony Doerr

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]


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