Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Release Tuesday

Tuesday means new releases, and there are some good ones this week.

Beginning with yesterday (because my boys Woodward and Patterson always have to release on a Monday):

Obama's War is another interview heavy behind-the-scenes tome from journalist Bob Woodward.  Last night, Diane Sawyer talked to Woodward about the book and what the White House will think of it (they'll be shocked at how much people talked as, "They're used to controlling the message, this is what happened, rather than a simplified message").  And Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times says that Woodward "hews to his I Am A Tape Recorder technique" of transcribing his hundreds of hours of interviews without subjecting them to much analysis or interpretation.  

James Patterson released his third or fourth book of the year yesterday.  About Don't Blink from Patterson's official web site, "New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons—the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police's fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit."  It's probably safe to say that if you've liked where Patterson's been over the last few years, with his heavily outlined books "co"-written by a series of up-and-comers, you'll probably like this one too.

And for today:

Fall of Giants, the first in the projected Century Trilogy from Ken Follett.  Janet Maslin in The New York Times gives it a resounding ho hum rating, saying, "A lot happens on the first page of Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants.” King George V is crowned at Westminster Abbey. A Welsh boy named Billy Williams turns 13 and begins his wretched life as a coal miner. And Mr. Follett, who was once a Welsh boy himself but grew up to become his generation’s most vaunted writer of colorless historical epics, kicks off a whopping new trilogy. His apparent ambition: to span the whole 20th century in blandly adequate novels so fat that they’re hard to hoist."  Yikes, Janet.  On the other hand, Jackie K. Cooper in The Huffington Post calls Fall of Giants "Follett at his finest."  Go figure.

David Sedaris brings us his latest collection of humorous personal essays; in this volume, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, they are disguised as fables and illustrated by the wonderful Ian Falconer, creater of the Olivia series of picture books for children.  Entertainment Weekly gives it a grade of B, complaining that, "And for the strong- stomached, these tales are toxic little treats, fun-size Snickers bars with a nougaty strychnine center. But at $21.99 for a scant 159 illustrated pages, Squirrel doesn't quite make a meal."  NPR, predictably, was delighted with listener-darling Sedaris, as evidenced by this featured interview and by Helen McAlpin's review, which says "this book, like his more familiar essays, is way outside the world of boxes, wildly inspired — and a rip-roaring hoot."  I don't care what anybody says; I'm a fangirl, and I'll be picking Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk up today.

There are other new releases of note--Bloody Crimes,James Swanson's follow-up to Manhunt, which promises to be another rollicking popular history title; Rival Rails by Walter R. Boneman, about the race to build the transcontinental railroad, and Love, Lust, and Faking It by former MTV sexpot and autism activist Jenny McCarthy, always reliable for an amusing bestseller--but I must run and sell some books.

Have you read any of these?  Are you going to?  Why not leave a link to your review?


Rebecca Glenn said...

Regarding the Follett, Padric says: I liked the Follett a lot, but I'm a sucker for that kind of historical, epic fiction. He's never going to win the Man Booker, and his characters are mostly archetypes rather than well rounded and developed, but he clearly does his research, and it's a highly entertaining story of the western world from the point of view of five families--American, English, Welsh, Russian and German--between the Great War through the Russian Revolution. While it's not as good as Pillars of the Earth, it's been announced as the first part of a trilogy, so 2 & 3 might be meatier, as far as characters are concerned. I'd put it above Michener and below Rutherford for that type of book.

....Petty Witter said...

Joining you from the hop. Pillars Of The Earth is one of my all time favourites so I'm sure to read these at some time. Nice to have met you, I've enjoyed my visit.