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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of May 4, 2009

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First Lady, Fashion Icon? Or Pretty in Plaid? Details in new non-fiction!


Stone's Fall
By Iain Pears

An intricate yet panoramic historical novel with plenty of spy-versus-spy crime capers at its core, Stone’s Fall is Iain Pears in a return to form for the author of the impressive 1998 bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost. In an erudite, witty, and always enjoyable delving into the world of international espionage, arms dealing, financial dalliances, and other double-dealings of the ever-deceitful, an ex-reporter attends the funeral of an elderly widow. A solicitor approaches him and hands him a packet of papers that were to be delivered to him only after the woman's death. Reading them takes him back to events never forgotten. In 1909, industrialist/arms seller John Stone fell to his death from the window of his study, leaving an inheritance to an unknown daughter. His widow asked the young reporter to find the daughter, setting him on a search that alters his life. Back through time the story goes — London 1909, Paris 1890, Venice 1867 — with surprising disclosures at every turn. The further you read, the more complex this essentially old-fashioned novel is until everything falls together in the final pages of the promising Stone's Fall.

The Wildwater Walking Club
By Claire Cook

Dark Places
By Gillian Flynn

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #9)
By Charlaine Harris

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
By Reif Larsen

By Chuck Palahniuk

Brimstone (Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch Series #3)
By Robert B. Parker

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun
By J.R.R. Tolkien


Paul Newman: A Life
By Shawn Levy

Piercing blues eyes in incisive black and white: Film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy paints the Oscar-winning actor in Paul Newman: A Life in definitive detail as an accomplished superstar who achieved his status by playing charming renegades, has-been heroes, and endearing antiheroes in such venerated films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, and Nobody’s Fool. But Newman was also a rarity in Hollywood: the box-office draw who cared about acting as a craft, the sexy leading man known for his long marriage, and the humble celebrity known for his philanthropy – not to mention his political causes, auto racing, and gourmet food business. Levy doesn’t neglect such Newman shortcomings as his drawbacks as a father and a husband. It wasn’t all blue skies, of course. But it was what makes up A Life.

The Architecture of Community
By Leon Krier

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, Or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart Ass Phase By Jen Lancaster

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life
By Gerald Martin

Michelle Style: Michelle Obama, First Lady, Fashion Icon: What Mrs. O Knows about Style, Shopping, and the Perfect Shoes
By Mandi Norwood

A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez
By Selena Roberts

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend
By Bill Russell

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan
By Doug Stanton

Caligula: A Biography
By Aloys Winterling

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch

  • New Palahniuk and new guilty pleasure Charlaine Harris in one week? Oh, my.

  • With apologies to Stan Lee, Make Mine Tolkien