Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Releases September 4, 2012

All of the books discussed below are available at the Book Frog or online at the Book Frog's webstore. If you'd like to reserve a book at the store call us at 310-265-2665.


No Easy Day, by the pseudonymous Mark Owen, a Navy Seal whose identity has already been outed by Fox News and the AP, is a firsthand account of the May 2, 2011 mission that killed Osama Bin Laden. The author has been threatened with legal action by the Pentagon, which was apparently not offered the opportunity to vet the title. The release date of this controversial book has been moved up twice from the original date of 10/16 (which date, by the way, will still see the release of Mark Bowden's (Black Hawk Down) book on the subject, The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden). We anticipate that this one will be in great demand.

Christopher Hitchens' posthumous Mortality is, reviewer and friend of Hitchens Christopher Buckley says in his review in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review:

"a slender volume — or, to use the mot that he loved to deploy, feuille­ton — consisting of the seven dispatches he sent in to Vanity Fair magazine from “Tumorville.” The first seven chapters are, like virtually everything he wrote over his long, distinguished career, diamond-hard and brilliant. An eighth and final chapter consists, as the publisher’s note informs us, of unfinished “fragmentary jottings” that he wrote in his terminal days in the critical-care unit of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. They’re vivid, heart-wrenching and haunting — messages in a bottle tossed from the deck of a sinking ship as its captain, reeling in agony and fighting through the fog of morphine, struggles to keep his engines going"

Gretchen Ruben's previous book The Happiness Project has been a staple of self help and book discussion groups since its publication in 2009. That book was an account of her yearlong quest to become a happier person. Her new book, Happier at Home applies the same experiment to home life.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's book Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is about his forty years of UN service. Scott Simon interviewed him on Weekend Edition.


It's been six long years since Zadie Smith's last novel On Beauty was published. Although the perpetually cranky Michiko Kakutani called NW, Smith's eagerly awaited new novel "clunky" and "a much smaller, more meager book than White Teeth" in her New York Times review, other sources have much different takes on it. Writing in The Guardian, Zenga Longmore says it's "Smith at her most eccentrically complex...hilariously funny yet often macabre."

Since his wild success with the male-bonding weepy memoir Tuesdays With Morrie Mitch Albom has made it his mission to produce a series of weepy appreciate-what-you've-got New Age parables in novel form. The Time Keeper looks to be no exception.

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by bookseller (!) Emma Straub is already an indie favorite, and the critics are agreeing. Entertainment Weekly gave this story of a fresh-faced young girl's arrival in Hollywood from Wisconsin in 1938 and the decades that follow an A-.

Tatjana Soli's first novel, The Lotus Eaters, the story of a female combat photographer in Vietnam, quickly became a staple on the book club circuit. The Forgetting Tree, also a big, sweeping story--this one about a California ranching family--will appeal to the same crowd. Publisher's Weekly says, "With her knack for beautiful prose and striking detail, this is a solid follow-up to her debut.


Breed is the first novel by Chase Novak, better known as Scott Spencer, the author of such lushly written literary fiction as Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper. Novak acquits himself very nicely in his first stab at genre fiction the gorgeously grotesque Breed, kind of a Rosemary's Baby for the age of Monsanto. I gobbled it up and at the end was left with an unnatural hunger for Brood, its follow-up.

Randy Wayne White is known for his terrific Doc Ford series of crime thrillers set in the Florida Everglades. Gone introduces a new lead character, Hannah Smith, fishing guide and private investigator.

The Tombs is Clive Cussler's fourth Fargo Adventure


Gods and Warriors, the first book of a new series by Michelle Paver, is sure to appeal to fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. Set in the mysterious Bronze Age, the action centers on a young goatherd, Hylus, whose sister has been kidnapped by the same warriors who are now hunting for him. Action packed and rich in historical detail. (10 and up)

Gary D. Schmidt is the Newberry Honor and Prinze Honor author of numerous books, including The Wednesday Wars and Okay For Now. His new book, What Came From the Stars ventures into fantasy, as a young boy grieving the loss of his mother finds an alien artifact which begins to transform him. (10 and up)

Elizabeth George is known for her elegant Inspector Lynley mysteries. The Edge of Nowhere marks George's first foray into young adult literature. The first of a sequence of novels set on Whidbey Island, just off the coast of Seattle, The Edge of Nowhere is a coming of age story that has elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance. (12 and up)

Origin, a debut novel by Jessica Khoury is about Pia, who's lived all of her sixteen years in a sequestered enclave in the Amazon jungle. She's never had any contact with the outside world, and as the precious genetically engineered experiment of the group of scientists who've raised and taught her she's always lived a cossetted existence. When the outside world intrudes, Pia discovers that even mankind's most noble achievements can have a dark side. (12 and up)


Llama Llama is one of my favorite contemporary picture book characters. The very real issues he faces--being scared and calling for his mama, getting cranky while out shopping, dealing with separation from his mama on the first day of school--are presented sweetly but uncloyingly, and the facial expressions author/illustrator Anna Dewdney wrings from her animal characters are perfect. In Llama Llama Time To Share, told in Dewdney's trademark sing-song rhyme, new neighbors come to visit and baby llama must learn to share his toys.

Patrick McDonnell, author and illustrator of both picture books and the beloved Mutts comics, comes out with a monster-themed book just in time for Halloween. Grouch, Glump, and little Gloom 'n' Doom think they're monsters. After all, they live in a monster castle overlooking a monster-fearing village. What happens when they meet a really, really big monster? Funny and sweet and only a little scary.

All of these books are available in store (most aren't out until Tuesday, September 4th, so be sure to check before coming in). You can call us at 310-265-2665 to reserve any titles you're interested in, or shop online at our webstore.



EnriqueFreeque said...

You have an excellent children's selection, Becky. I'm very tempted to bite on that No Easy Day and the new Zadie Smith.

May I recommend David Abram's debut novel, Fobbit to your readers? It's one of the first serious (yet satirical) takes on the war in Iraq by a an author who was a correspondent there for several years.

Also, as you've either recommended here or to me elsewhere, the new D.T. Max biography of David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story is an excellent examination of the writer, shedding much new light on his life and career.

Rebecca Glenn said...

Thanks, EF! I've added Fobbit to my next always, something interesting and important escaped my notice! And on the subject of novels about the wars in the Middle East, one of the highly anticipated titles for the week of 9/10 is The Yellow Birds, about the war in Afghanistan.

Are you reading the DFW bio?

Getting An Education said...

Yeah, I'm about halfway through the DFW bio. I would've like more on his early, pre-college years, but the way D.T. Max dissects all the personal dynamics that went into his stories, is fascinating for any DFW fan. I don't know that it would necessarily be appealing to those w/out any knowledge of his work, though, so I can't say it's one of those rarer biographies that is so universal in scope that just anybody would be interested in it.

Fobbit, what I've sampled so far, is ultra skewering and a real education on what was like a caste system among soldiers over there: real soldiers who weren't cowards and put themselves at risk v. the prima donna leadership.

Thanks for The Yellow Birds tip!