Thursday, October 21, 2010

Previews of Fiction and a Memoir ~ Sunset Park; Bury Your Dead; Strangers at the Feast; Tears of the Mountain; The Tapestry Shop; Fight for Your Long Day; and Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice


Welcome to Our Teetering Pile of Books ~ One can never be too thin or have too many books, or so the adage goes. (Okay I did change it, but only a little.) *giggle*

I thought we would switch gears a bit since we have done a lot of speculative posts for the “horrific holiday”. We do need to prepare for the up and coming fall since the scary posts will come to an end… well mostly. So here's a huge list with the hope that you may find some interesting fall additions.

A note on previews:  A way to tell our readers what we will be reviewing. Giving you publisher’s blubs, author info, and purchasing links. I do the work so you don’t have to. Personal thoughts will come in our review for the book.

This preview list contains:

  • Sunset Park ~ by Paul Auster
  • Bury Your Dead ~ by Louis Penny
  • Strangers at the Feast  ~ by Jennifer Vanderes
  • Tears of the Mountain ~ by John Addieco
  • The Tapestry Shop ~ by Joyce Elson Moore
  • Fight for Your Long Day ~ by Alex Kudera
  • Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice ~ by Miriam Moskowitz


Sunset Park ~ by Paul Auster

About:  In the sprawling flatlands of Florida, 28-year-old Miles is photographing the last lingering traces of families who have abandoned their houses due to debt or foreclosure. Miles is haunted by guilt for having inadvertently caused the death of his step-brother, a situation that caused him to flee his father and step-mother in New York 7 years ago.

What keeps him in Florida is his relationship with a teenage high-school girl, Pilar, but when her family threatens to expose their relationship, Miles decides to protect Pilar by going back to Brooklyn, where he settles in a squat to prepare himself to face the inevitable confrontation with his father that he has been avoiding for years.

Sunset Park is as mythic as it is contemporary, as in love with baseball as it is with literature. It is above all, a story about love and forgiveness – not only among men and women, but also between fathers and sons.


Author Bio:   A traveler and  a Columbia University graduate he wrote articles and reviews while anti-Vietnam protests and riots raged around him. He published a crime novel pastiche, Squeeze Play, written under the pseudonym Paul Benjamin (who would later appear as a blocked writer in his screenplay for the film Smoke.) Auster wrote his most celebrated work, The New York Trilogy in 1987. Paul Auster is the bestselling author of thirteen novels, including Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, Oracle Night, The Book of Illusions, and Timbuktu. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

(Cover to the left is one of for UK and Canadian soft bound.)

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (November 9, 2010)
  • Contemporary Fiction

Amazon pre-purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: I have not read anything by Paul Auster yet, but the premise sounded good and it has a mythic element which I just love.


Bury Your Dead ~ by Louis Penny ( Armand Gamache  #6)

Publisher’s Blurb:  It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to celebrate but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the seemingly peaceful Literary and Historical Society--where an obsessive historian's search for the missing remains of the founder of Quebec ends bizarrely in murder. Injured himself and in need of rest, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smoldering tensions between the English and the French.

Meanwhile, he receives letter after letter from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. "It doesn't make sense," Olivier's partner writes every day. "He didn't do it, you know." Despite the overwhelming case against Olivier, Gamache sends his deputy back to Three Pines to make sure that nothing was overlooked.

Through it all, in his painstaking quest for justice, Gamache must relive the terrible events that killed one of his men before he can begin to bury his dead.

Mini Bio:   Louis Penny lives with her husband, Michael, and a golden retriever named Trudy, in a small village south of Montreal. Find out more by linking to her website.  Many of Louise Penny's books are published under different titles by UK/Canada and US publishers. 

Here is the list from first to the latest in chronological order.

  • Still Life - Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.
  • A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold - Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.
  • The Cruelest Month - Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.
  • A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone - Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.
  • The Brutal Telling - Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

Number 6 in the series:

  • Bury Your Dead Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Literary Crime Mystery

Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: This title interested me because it has a fall theme and it is literary. The publicist mentioned that she had started it and said it was beautiful. The first in the series (Still Life) is also a great fall and Christmas read.


Strangers at the Feast  ~ by Jennifer Vanderes

About:  On Thanksgiving Day 2007, as the country teeters on the brink of a recession, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real estate bubble. While the Olsons navigate the tensions and secrets that mark their relationships, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend Spider set out from the nearby housing projects on a mysterious job. A series of tragic events brings these two worlds ever closer, exposing the dangerously thin line between suburban privilege and urban poverty, and culminating in a crime that will change everyone's life.

Author Bio: Jennifer Vanderbes received her B.A. in English Literature from Yale and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her first novel, Easter Island, was named a "best book of 2003" by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor and was translated into 16 languages. Her second novel, Strangers at the Feast, will be published by Scribner in August 2010.

She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. She is currently at work on her third novel. To find out more about the author link to Jennifer’s website, and her Goodread’s authors page.

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Contemporary Fiction

Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: This book too has a fall theme which will be great for November. Since it was released in August it should be available at local libraries.

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Tears of the Mountain ~ by John Addieco

About:  Tears of the Mountain chronicles a single day in one man's life July 4, 1876 along with a series of flashbacks that all lead up to an eventful Centennial Independence Day celebration in Sonoma, California. Over the course of this surprisingly pivotal moment in his life, Jeremiah McKinley prepares for the celebration and for a reunion with old friends and family. However, as he reflects on past love, the hazardous pioneer journey of his youth across the continent from Missouri, and the many violent conflicts of the West, voices of the long dead come to him, while old wounds and enmities resurface, threatening everything he holds dear. Furthermore, a series of mysterious notes and messages follow him throughout the day. When a visiting senator is found dead, suspicion leads to his old mentor, Professor Applewood, whose sudden disappearance from the festivities makes McKinley a suspected accessory to a fugitive. John Addiego fills this tale of America’s coming of age with wit and lively prose, seamlessly moving back and forth through time in a novel that recognizes both our darker side and our promise.

Author Bio:  John Addiego has published numerous stories and poems in literary journals and is a former poetry editor at the Northwest Review. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he now lives with his wife, Ellen, and daughter, Emily, in Corvallis, Oregon, where he teaches students with special needs. The Islands of Divine Music was his first novel.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books (September 7, 2010)
  • Historical Fiction

Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: I chose this title since I am from the area that John Addiego has written about (actually the next valley to the East ~ Napa Valley). It should be interesting as long as I don’t get homesick!


The Tapestry Shop ~ by Joyce Elson Moore

Blurb:  A historical novel based on the life of Adam de la Halle, a poet/musician who left behind a vast collection of secular compositions. While researching Adam's music, Moore discovered a little-known fact; the earliest version of the Robin Hood legend may have been Adam's play, Le Jeu de Robin et Marion. Because Adam was patronized by royalty, his play was probably performed in English courts, and would have changed, as legends do. In the retelling, Robin became an English hero, and Robin's companions became the Merry Men.

The book draws the reader into the Middle Ages, where women joined the crusades and students held discourse on the Street of Straw, but the overriding appeal of The Tapestry Shop may be Adam's connection to the popular legend of Robin Hood, the celebrated outlaw who was immortalized in later ballads, and who continues to draw fans around the world to films that center on this elusive hero.

Author Bio:   After a brief teaching career, Joyce turned to writing full time, and has reached a widening audience with her books. Along with previous awards and contest wins, she was first place winner of the 2009 PRLA award for best published romance.

Joyce lives on the gulf side of Florida with her rescued boxer dog, rabbits, tree squirrels, a resident coyote, and several gopher tortoises that call her wooded three acres their home. She is an unabashed Francophile who also enjoys ballroom dancing, RVing, overseas travel, yoga, visiting with her family, and taking classes in almost anything she has not tried. For more visit her website.

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star (November 5, 2010)
  • Historical Fiction

Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought: A historical novel which links Robin Hood is very interesting, and I suspect that it will be of great interest to John since it is set in England. Perhaps we can get homesick together?

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Fight for Your Long Day ~ by Alex Kudera

About:   Fight for Your Long Day is a day-in-the-life satire that follows the eventful unraveling and misadventures of Cyrus Duffleman--''Duffy''-- a portly, down-and-out adjunct instructor who teaches at four urban universities, and then works the night shift as a campus security guard.

But today, Duffy's routine isn't quite so predictable. The cryptic mumblings of a possibly psychotic student. A bow-and-arrow assassination. A small government
protest, then, a very large and violent one. Lunch with a homeless woman who claims to have been a 1950s film star. Frenzied attempts to spare his sanity (and safety) – all while a female coed quietly eyes him.

After a morning of student outbursts, political protests and threats of bodily harm, Duffy witnesses a tide-turning event that would bring most people's day to a halt, only he's too preoccupied to notice.

With his overstuffed book bag and perversely cynical thoughts, Duffy battles corruption, staple-wielding zealots and chaos every step of the way. Until the novel's frenzied end, it's anyone's guess who will escape sane--no less alive.

Part A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole), part Straight Man (Richard Russo), Fight for Your Long Day is a promising debut from a new literary talent. It will resonate with anyone who has ever known, been taught by, felt sorry for, or lived the life of an adjunct professor. Fight for Your Long Day is an original, witty, uncompromising expose´of how we live now

Author Bio:   Alex Kudera is a native Philadelphian. He comes from a family of educators, and after surviving a decade of adjunct teaching overloads, he now teaches literature and writing at Clemson University in South Carolina.

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Atticus Books (October 1, 2010)
  • Literary Fiction/Satire

Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

Layers of Thought:  It has an interesting cover and I am thinking this may actually be fun.


Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice ~ by Miriam Moskowitz

Blurb:  Miriam Moskowitz spent two years, 1950-52 in Federal prison in West Virginia as a supposed atomic spy and menace to the United States. Harassed by the FBI following her release, it took her eighteen years to pay the $10,000 fine that had also been part of her sentence, and she has spent thousands of hours since digging up the documents that brought about her indictment and contributed to the judicial misconduct that prevailed at her trial. Hundreds of FBI communications and thousands of pages of trial and grand jury transcripts form the backbone of this sordid tale; and the lessons that they teach remain pertinent in our current era of renditions, secret prisons, and burgeoning prison population. November 8, 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of Miriam Moskowitz's trial.

Bio:  Miriam Moskowitz was born in Bayonne, NJ, 1916. The eldest of four children, she attended local schools and worked as a clerk for the Immigration & Naturalization Service. After graduating from City College of New York (now City University of New York) in 1942 with a degree in Education, Moskowitz worked as a clerk for the Social Securities Board and the War Manpower Commission.  She later worked as a secretary at A. Brothman & Associates.

During the McCarthy Era in the 1950s, Moskowitz was wrongfully convicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice and sentenced to two years in prison at the Federal Penitentiary in Alderson, WV.

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Bunim & Bannigan Ltd (October 1, 2010)
  • Memoir

Amazon purchasing link for US.

Layers of Thought: John is often interested in political intrigue and injustices, so will be snatching up this book very shortly.


This is a long list so the teetering pile is very appropriate. I have been collecting them for several months, actually since prior to our trip to England.

Now for the usual questions: Which titles are of interest to you? and which book would you read first?

Happy Fall Reading!

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