September 30, 2005
In Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s latest novel, Match Me If You Can, Annabelle Granger, a chronic underachiever hailing from a family of superachievers, inherits her grandmother’s matchmaking business, she changes its name to “Perfect For You” and sets out to land Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Heath Champion, as a client — who she thinks will be the key to her business’s success. Heath’s a handsome, wealthy, driven, and aggressive sports agent who wants a perfect wife to match his perfect lifestyle, someone Annabelle strives hard to find, but little do Annabelle and Heath realize that they may have found the perfect match in each other.
Visit Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Official Website.
September 29, 2005
What should have been Carole Radziwill’s storybook romance and happy life quickly turns into a series of tragedies in her new memoir, What Remains : A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love. Carole comes from a middle-class background working as an ABC reporter when she meets her future husband, Anthony Radziwill, who just so happens to be Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ nephew and first cousins with John F. Kennedy Jr. Carole and Anthony date, fall in love, and marry, and also become close friends with Anthony’s cousin and his new wife, Carolyn Bessett. Suddenly, Anthony gets diagnosed with cancer and dies, but not before JFK Jr., his wife, and her sister all perish in a senseless crash. Radziwill’s strength is in depicting small, but heartbreaking, scenes such as those of JFK Jr. holding his cousin’s hand and softly singing a song from their childhood or Director Mike Nichols coming to the hospital and handing out sandwiches to the nurses. Radziwill doesn’t market this book as a Kennedy book, but a story about close bonds of family, friendship, and love that surpass even death.
September 28, 2005
Jennifer Weiner is still in form with her latest novel Goodnight Nobody. When Kate Klein, semi-accidental mother of three, moves to a scenic Connecticut town, she falls victim to the drudgeries of suburbia. Her days are filled with endless games of Candy Land, the other mothers at the playground snub her, and her once-loving husband is hardly ever home. However, when a fellow mother is murdered, Kate decides to pursue an unofficial investigation into her death for the sake of having something interesting to do, despite both her husband’s and the chief-of-police’s warnings to leave it in the hands of the authorities. With the help from her best friend, Janie Segal, and old flame Evan McKenna, Kate is unwittingly drawn into a web of double lives, secrets, and lies that the small town of Upchurch have been attempting to conceal behind a pretty facade.
Read Jennifer Weiner’s Blog here.
September 27, 2005
TLC’s spunky hosts Clinton Kelly and Stacy London of the hit cable series What Not To Wear have taken their fashion savvy from the small screen to the coffeetable with their first fashion guide book Dress Your Best : The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That’s Right for Your Body. Clinton and Stacy are positive and direct in their straightforward advice: dress for your body type. They feature 15 real women and 8 real men, all of differing heights and body types and give useful advice for how to look your best — without mentioning brand names or gimmicks. The goal is to understand your body, not try and conform to some unrealistic ideal. Shopping has now been made fun again; buy clothes that make you look and feel great.
Visit TLC’s What Not To Wear website.
September 26, 2005
Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer’s fondest memories center around his neighborhoods local bar in his novelThe Tender Bar: A Memoir, a culture he was introduced to at an early age. With an absent father, a struggling single mother, and an all-around riotous, dysfunctional family settled in Long Island, for Moehringer, his uncle’s pub became his adopted home and its patrons his adopted father figures who give him the needed education that will benefit him later in his life. It is at the bar where he learns about love, misses its absence, and laments its loss. In the tragedy of 9/11, Moehringer knew 50 people who died in the attack, including the bartender readers will meet earlier in the novel. The Tender Bar is a loving tribute to the gruff but kind personages in Moehringer’s life that subtly shape his sense of self and contribute to who he is today.
September 25, 2005
The bad news is that the American Dollar is heading towards second-class citizenship in the world market. It’s only a matter of time. But author Addison Wiggin shows readers how to take advantage of the hidden investment opportunities there are in his new book The Demise of the Dollar… and Why It’s Great For Your Investments. Wiggin explains, in a clear manner that will appeal to non-economists who are interested in investing, the history of the government and consumer spending habits, and how they have changed in the last two centuries. He directly explains how and why the dollar is declining in today’s market, due to inflation, foreign credit, national debt and the deficit. Wiggin is extremely critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s policies over the decades, especially the massive shift from production to credit. How to combat this increasingly alarming situation? Wiggin recommends investing in precious metals, tangible resources, and some select foreign markets.
September 24, 2005
David Baldacci delivers another thriller full of twists of turns in his latest novel The Camel Club. Every week, four men who make up The Camel Club meet to talk about political conspiracies they believe to exist and possible solutions to combat them, but one fateful night, the four members witness the murder of a Secret Service employee, unwittingly thrusting them into a web of lies, deceit, and treachery — all in all, a bigger conspiracy than they could have ever imagined. With fasincating characters, several complex subplots, interesting detail in historical facts and high-tech lore, The Camel Club attracts and holds your suspense throughout the long build-up until the climax, which is a doozy in and of itself.
September 23, 2005
First time author Susanna Clarke weaves an ingenius tale of fantasy and historical fiction together in her novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Set in the early 19th Century when England is bitterly embroiled in war with France and old British magic has been relegated to the realm of theory, England’s luck takes a turn for the better when reclusive, dusty scholar Mr. Norrell emerges from the Yorkshire countryside as England’s first practical magician in years. He proceeds to help the British army and navy by lending a magical touch to real historical battles against Napoleon’s army, earning himself fame and success in the process, however it is his flashier, aristocratic apprentice Jonathan Strange, with his own differing ideas of what magic ought to be used for, who threatens to topple everything Mr. Norrell holds dear. Clarke tells this tell in a humorous, clever, and delightfully detailed manner, giving past events her own lighthearted and magical take that will delight both history and fantasy lovers alike.
Visit the book’s official website.
Excerpt from Beetle Blog review of the book:
Susanna Clarke deftly imitates the style of an early nineteenth century author, which gives the book an air of authenticity that I have rarely seen before. However, the first half of the book is slow and almost seems pointless. In the second half of the book, all of the pieces fall into place and the result is very satisfying.
Here’s a review that compares Jonathan Strange to Harry Potter: “I am of the opinion that they could not be more different.”
September 22, 2005
Like clockwork, everytime Apple Computers comes out with another new product to add to their line-up, David Pogue is there with his award-winning Missing Manual series, indepth and easy-to-understand manual guides that “should’ve come in the box.” This time, Pogue tackles Mac OS X in his latest How-To: Mac OS X : The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition.
Pogue is refreshingly objective in his examination of Mac’s latest OS offering; he tells you what works well and what doesn’t. This particular volume gives focus to the programs that are coupled with OS X, including Spotlight, Mac’s new enhanced search feature, iChat AV for video-conferencing, Automator for repetitive or batch tasks, and hundreds of small tweaks and changes that Apple advertising fails to mention, for better or for worse. For Window-users transitioning to Mac, Pogue gives a thorough introduction into, and demystification of, the differences between the two operating platforms. For those who are more advanced, Pogue gives readers several tips on how to customize their system preferences, including basic UNIX commands for executing system actions in the Terminal application.
Pogue explains things in a clear and entertaining manner, easy to understand without being too dry and technical. His approachable, easy, layman style has garnered him with the distinction of writing the most popular Mac computer books in the industry.
Visit David Pogue’s Official Website.
September 21, 2005
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Controversial British writer Salman Rushdie is back with his latest novel that blends myth and cold reality, Shalimar the Clown, a story that takes an indepth, fictional, but extremely plausible, look at how a terrorist is made, set in the backdrop of what is said to be terrorism’s front line: Kashmir. The story follows the lives of Maximilian Ophus, born into a wealthy Jewish family in Strasbourg, France, later a Resistance hero, and finally an popular American diplomat; and the title character of the book, Shalimar the Clown, the son from a Muslim family who grew up in startlingly beautiful Kashmir and watched as the region slowly annhilated both itself and his once idyllic life.
Both men’s lives intersect over Boonyi Kaul, a Hindu dancer who was once Shalimar’s childhood sweetheart and wife, but captures the attention of Ophuls and is whisked away to Delhi. The story details Shalimar’s horrifying but realistic descent into a cold-blooded terrorist as Boonyi’s daughter with Max, India, is taken away to America by his cold, British wife where she grows up to lead a life of isolation and indulgence in Los Angeles. The climax of the story — which actually happens within the first few pages of the novel, the reader will soon discover — occurs when Shalimar assassinates Ophuls right in front of his very own daughter and she is now left to confront a torn and ravaged legacy.
The real heart of this tale is both Rushdie’s prose and the story of Kashmir. Rushdie’s style is fluid and poetic, passionate for his telling of Kashmir’s destruction. Shalimar and Ophuls become allegories for larger issues, making for an extremely powerful and moving tale that hauntingly echoes real life.
Read a review of Shalimar the Clown here.