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December 2009
In This Issue
The Year of the Flood
The Defector
Blindman's Bluff
Generation A
Heartless
Homer & Langley
Rhino Ranch
Too Much Happiness
206 Bones
The Anthologist
Day After Night
Dexter by Design
The Last Song
No Time to Wave Goodbye
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The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
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Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pub Date: Sep 8 2009
ISBN-10: 0771008449
ISBN-13: 978-0771008443
Literary Fiction
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The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood is a brilliant visionary imagining of the future that calls to mind her classic novel The Handmaid's Tale.

Adam One, the kindly leader of God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion - has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have been spared: Ren, a young trapeze-dancer, locked inside a high-end sex club; and one of God's Gardeners, Toby, who is barricaded inside a luxurious spa. Have others survived?

By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and witty, The Year of the Flood unfolds Toby's and Ren's stories during the years prior to their meeting again. The novel not only brilliantly reflects to us a world we recognize but poignantly reminds us of our enduring humanity.
The Defector  by Daniel Silva
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Publisher: GP Putnam
Pub Date: Jul 21 2009
ISBN-10: 0399155686
ISBN-13: 978-0399155680
Espionage / Thriller
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"If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared."

The ninth book in Daniel Silva's smart, fast-paced series about enigmatic assassin and art restorer Gabriel Allon begins with an epigraph courtesy of Machiavelli. A fitting start to a twisty spy thriller chock full of clandestine meetings, tenuous alliances, and ruthless men.

The beauty of Silva's series is that it is easy on acronyms and byzantine operations (so you don't have to be a spy novel aficionado to enjoy it), and each book gives you a discreet rundown on familiar characters and back-stories (so you don't have to start at the beginning). In The Defector, the disappearance of Russian defector and dissident Grigori Bulganov draws Gabriel out of semi-retirement and into the path of Ivan Kharkov, the former KGB agent and Russian oligarch from Moscow Rules. Exotic locales, intriguing characters, and a breakneck pace make for a riveting read.

Blindman's Bluff by Faye Kellerman
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Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: Aug 11 2009
ISBN-10: 0061702323
ISBN-13: 978-0061702327
Mystery / Suspense

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As a lieutenant in the LAPD, homicide detective Peter Decker doesn't get many calls at 3 a.m. unless a case is nasty, sensational-or both. Someone has broken into the exclusive Coyote Ranch compound of billionaire developer Guy Kaffey and viciously gunned him down, along with his wife and four employees.

A well-known figure on both the business and society pages, Kaffey, with his sons and his younger brother, Mace, built most of the shopping malls in Southern California and earned a reputation for philanthropy, donating millions to worthy causes. It doesn't take long for Peter, his trusted detectives Scott Oliver and Marge Dunn, and the rest of his homicide team to figure out that the gruesome killings must be an inside job. Things become even more entangled when they discover that Kaffey's largesse had included organizations that extended second chances to delinquents, many of whom Kaffey had hired for his personal security. But was the job pure murder/robbery or something even more twisted? A developer of Kaffey's magnitude doesn't make billions without making more enemies with blood grudges.

With leads taking the team across L.A., up and down the Golden State, and into Mexico, Decker is plenty busy-and plenty thankful not to have to worry about his wife, Rina Lazarus, getting caught up in this deadly case. Rina is out of harm's way, serving on a jury at the courthouse.

But then a chance encounter with a court translator who needs her help leads Rina into the terrifying heart of her husband's murder investigations-and straight into the path of a gang of ruthless killers. To protect Rina, Decker must find his prey before death unites his two worlds.

Generation A by Douglas Coupland
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Publisher: Random House Canada
Publication Date: Sep 1 2009
ISBN-10: 0307357724
ISBN-13: 978-0307357724
Fiction / Social Commentary
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Generation A, Douglas Coupland's 11th novel, is a great bookend to Generation X, the novel that launched his career. The term "Generation A" was in fact coined by Kurt Vonnegut, but Coupland embraces it and makes it his own. The narrative is written from alternating first-person points of view, a tactic that harkens back to Generation X.

The story takes place at a time in the near future when honeybees have become extinct. Five people (referred to in the novel as the "Wonka children") are mysteriously stung. At the heart of the mystery is the controversial drug Solon, which allows its users to suppress anxiety by living exclusively in the present. Like detective fiction, the book uncovers the connections between the Wonka children and this dangerous drug, but it also plays with narrative conventions by illustrating the ways that people tell stories in our increasingly digital, ultra-high-speed world. If Generation X gave us "tales for an accelerated culture," then Generation A is its natural extension, offering tales for the information overloaded.

The bite-sized chapters and witty tone will appeal to those with perpetual attention deficits, and bits of pop culture sprinkled liberally throughout will attract readers highly attuned to the current zeitgeist. Coupland clearly understands the minds of the current generation - young people who have never known a time without the Internet - and plays on their desire to jump continually from one subject to the next. To what end does this cultural ADD affect our lives and the ways we communicate with others? How can we silence the sounds of data that are constantly streaming into our heads? Are deeper human connections becoming more possible thanks to the Internet, or does the lack of face-time increase our alienation? Coupland explores these questions without resorting to obvious, cynical answers. He even manages to offer a hopeful ending, despite the odds.

Heartless by Diana Palmer
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Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: May 26 2009
ISBN-10: 0373773781
ISBN-13: 978-0373773787
Romance / Western
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As a teenager, Gracie worshipped her stepbrother, Jason, a strong, silent young cowboy who left home early to seek his fortune. Though Gracie hadn't seen him in years, when her mother passed away, Jason ensured that Gracie would be cared for. Now the wealthy owner of Comanche Wells ranch, Jason has finally come back home, and discovered that the little girl he knew is all grown up.

When a moment of unbridled passion results in a kiss, Jason realizes that he's falling for Gracie. But Gracie harbors a shameful secret that makes her deeply afraid of love. Stung by her rejection, Jason leaves, ready to put the past - and the one woman he can't have - behind him once more.

Gracie thinks she's lost Jason forever. But when danger threatens her and the ranch, she can only hope that her long, tall Texan will come blazing home to save her, despite her secrets - and take control of Comanche Wells, and her heart, once and for all.
Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
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Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: Sep 1 2009
ISBN-10: 1400064945
ISBN-13: 978-1400064946
Literary Fiction
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From Ragtime and Billy Bathgate to The Book of Daniel, World's Fair, and The March, the novels of E. L. Doctorow comprise one of the most substantive achievements of modern American fiction. Now, with Homer & Langley, this master novelist has once again created an unforgettable work.

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers-the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley's proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers-wars, political movements, technological advances-and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.

Brilliantly conceived, gorgeously written, this mesmerizing narrative, a free imaginative rendering of the lives of New York's fabled Collyer brothers, is a family story with the resonance of myth, an astonishing masterwork unlike any that have come before from this great writer.
Rhino Ranch by Larry McMurtry
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: Aug 11 2009
ISBN-10: 1439156395
ISBN-13: 978-1439156391
Fiction / Humorous
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In this poignant and striking final chapter in the Duane Moore story, which began in 1966 with The Last Picture Show, Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning author Larry McMurtry takes readers on one last unforgettable journey to Thalia, Texas, a town that continues to change at a breakneck pace even as Duane feels himself slowing down.Returning home to recover from a near-fatal heart attack, Duane discovers that he has a new neighbor: the statuesque K. K. Slater, a quirky billionairess who's come to Thalia to open the Rhino Ranch, dedicated to the preservation of the endangered black rhinoceros. Despite their obvious differences, Duane can't help but find himself charmed by K.K.'s stubborn toughness and lively spirit, and the two embark on a flirtation that rapidly veers toward the sexual -- but the return of Honor Carmichael complicates Duane's romantic intentions considerably. As Duane reflects on all that he and Thalia have been through, he feels adrift in a world where love and betrayal walk hand in hand and a stalwart Texas oil town can become home to a nature preserve.

Rhino Ranch is a fitting end to this iconic saga, an emotional, whimsical and bittersweet tribute to the lives of a man and a town that have inspired readers across decades.
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
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Publisher: Douglas Gibson Books
Publication Date: Aug 25 2009
ISBN-10: 0771065299
ISBN-13: 978-0771065293
Literary Fiction / Short Stories

An international literary event: Ten new stories from a beloved and award-winning author.

This stunning collection of new stories demonstrates once again why Alice Munro is celebrated as a pre-eminent master of the short story. While some of the stories are traditional, set in "Alice Munro Country" in Ontario or in B.C., dealing with ordinary women's lives, others have a new, sharper edge. They involve child murders, strange sex, and a terrifying home invasion. By way of astonishing variety, the title story, set in Victorian Europe, follows the last journey from France to Sweden of a famous Russian mathematician. This daring, superb collection proves that Alice Munro will always surprise you.
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
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Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: Aug 25 2009
ISBN-10: 0743294394
ISBN-13: 978-0743294393
Suspense / Thriller   
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There are 206 bones in the human body. Forensic anthropologists know them intimately, can read in them stories of brief or long lives and use them to reconstruct every kind of violent end. 206 Bones opens with Tempe regaining consciousness and discovering that she is in some kind of very small, very dark, very cold enclosed space. She is bound, hands to feet. Who wants Tempe dead, or at least out of the way, and why? Tempe begins slowly to reconstruct...
Tempe and Lieutenant Ryan had accompanied the recently discovered remains of a missing heiress from Montreal to the Chicago morgue. Suddenly, Tempe was accused of mishandling the autopsy -- and the case. Someone made an incriminating phone call. Within hours, the one man with information about the call was dead. Back in Montreal, the corpse of a second elderly woman was found in the woods, and then a third.

Seamlessly weaving between Tempe's present-tense terror as she's held captive and her memory of the cases of these murdered women, Reichs conveys the incredible devastation that would occur if a forensic colleague sabotaged work in the lab. The chemistry between Tempe and Ryan intensifies as this complex, riveting tale unfolds. Reichs is writing at the top of her game.
The Anthologist: a Novel by Nicholson Baker
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: Sep 8 2009
ISBN-10: 1416572449
ISBN-13: 978-1416572442
Literary Fiction
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The Anthologist  is narrated by Paul Chowder -- a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering, his girlfriend Roz has recently left him, and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves. He has also promised to reveal many wonderful secrets and tips and tricks about poetry, and it looks like the introduction will be a little longer than he'd thought.

What unfolds is a wholly entertaining and beguiling love story about poetry: from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the staff of The New Yorker, what Paul reveals is astonishing and makes one realize how incredibly important poetry is to our lives. At the same time, Paul barely manages to realize all of this himself, and the result is a tenderly romantic, hilarious, and inspired novel.
Day After Night: a Novel by Anita Diamant
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Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: Sep 8 2009
ISBN-10: 0743299841
ISBN-13: 978-0743299848
Literary Fiction
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Just as she gave voice to the silent women of the Old Testament in The Red Tent, Anita Diamant creates a cast of breathtakingly vivid characters -- young women who escaped to Israel from Nazi Europe -- in this intensely dramatic novel.

Day After Night is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than two hundred prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for "illegal" immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp with profoundly different stories. All of them survived the Holocaust: Shayndel, a Polish Zionist; Leonie, a Parisian beauty; Tedi, a hidden Dutch Jew; and Zorah, a concentration camp survivor. Haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, afraid to begin to hope, Shayndel, Leonie, Tedi, and Zorah find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience even as they confront the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.

This is an unforgettable story of tragedy and redemption, a novel that reimagines a moment in history with such stunning eloquence that we are haunted and moved by every devastating detail. Day After Night is a triumphant work of fiction.
Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
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Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: Sep 8 2009
ISBN-10: 0385518366
ISBN-13: 978-0385518369
Suspense / Thriller
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The macabre, witty New York Times bestselling series (and inspiration for the #1 Showtime series, Dexter) continues as our darkly lovable killer matches wits with a sadistic artiste-who is creating bizarre murder tableaux of his own all over Miami.

After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. Married life seems to agree with him: he's devoted to his bride, his stomach is full, and his homicidal hobbies are nicely under control. But old habits die hard - and Dexter's work as a blood spatter analyst never fails to offer new temptations that appeal to his offbeat sense of justice...and his Dark Passenger still waits to hunt with him in the moonlight.

The discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter's curiosity and Miami's finest realize they've got a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business.
 The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
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Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: Sep 8 2009
ISBN-10: 0446547565
ISBN-13: 978-0446547567
Family Fiction / Romance
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Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.
No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard
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Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: Sep 15 2009
ISBN-10: 140006774X
ISBN-13: 978-1400067749
Family Fiction
It has been twenty-two years since Beth Cappadora's three-year-old son Ben was abducted. By some miracle, he returned nine years later, and the family began to pick up the pieces of their lives. But their peace has always been fragile: Ben returned from the deep end as another child and has never felt entirely at ease with the family he was born into. Now the Cappadora children are grown: Ben is married with a baby girl, Kerry is studying to be an opera singer, and Vincent has emerged from his troubled adolescence as a fledgling filmmaker.

The subject of Vincent's new documentary, "No Time to Wave Goodbye," shakes Vincent's unsuspecting family to the core; it focuses on five families caught in the tortuous web of never knowing the fate of their abducted children. Though Beth tries to stave off the torrent of buried emotions, she is left wondering if she and her family are fated to relive the past forever.

The film earns tremendous acclaim, but just as the Cappadoras are about to celebrate the culmination of Vincent's artistic success, what Beth fears the most occurs, and the Cappadoras are cast back into the past, revisiting the worst moment of their lives-with only hours to find the truth that can save a life. High in a rugged California mountain range, their rescue becomes a desperate struggle for survival.

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