Home / The Early World: New Books for the Week of September 23, 2007

The Early World: New Books for the Week of September 23, 2007

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Fall is finally here, there’s a hint of an autumnal snap, and, for good or bad, the beginnings of a bookstore blockbuster or two such as Grisham or Sparks has dropped at your feet, causing you to trip and fall flat on face. Get used to it.


Run by Ann Patchett

As she did in her bestselling novel Bel Canto, Patchett merges seemingly dissimilar lives to show how intimately humans can connect in a work about what defines family and the lengths we will go to protect our children. When two families come together in a traffic accident during a snowstorm, and a woman has thrown herself under a car to protect a stranger. It quickly becomes clear that the families — a poor, single black mother with her 11-year-old daughter and a white, Irish Catholic, former Boston mayor with a biological son and two adopted black college-aged sons whose much-loved wife died over 20 years ago — have a connection that transcends racial factors. Run explores the depths of parents' love of their children, whether biological or adopted, and of each other.

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

"Sometimes I think I write more about class than I do about place, anyway,” Richard Russo once said in an interview. “But the class stuff, writing about blue-collar folks, is something I've been doing right from the start … It's a world I know pretty well, and its people seem worth talking about to me."

Now Russo, in his rewarding sixth novel, the absorbing, bittersweet, and multi-faceted Bridge of Sighs, gives as much vent to a sense of place as he does to descriptive character and "class stuff." In an assured balancing act, the author masterfully reconciles and interweaves local color and social mobility with pertinent characterization as he plays a little temporal leapfrog amongst the lives of three families as they interconnect and clash throughout a five-decade course of social and cultural history in downbeat upstate New York.

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

The Tell-Tale Horse by Rita Mae Brown

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

Like You'd Understand, Anyway: Stories by Jim Shepard

Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky, Sandra Smith (Translator)

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

Terminal: A Burke Novel by Andrew Vachss

Shoot Him If He Runs by Stuart Woods


Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison, Foreword by Augusten Burroughs

Gee, what good are digging five-foot holes if you can’t put your little brother in them? In the case if Robinson, that would be Running with Scissors' authors Augusten Burroughs, but Robinson had his own eccentricities — the inability to communicate, an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoiding eye contact, a savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits — as he struggled with Asberger’s, a form of autism undiagnosed at the time.

While people were a mystery to him, this aloofness did not extend to machines — those objects "of muted colors, soft light, and mechanical perfection." This led to jobs, and darkly droll incidents, in worlds where strange behavior is seen as normal: working for the rock band KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars, and developing computerized toys for the Milton Bradley company. Ultimately, Robison’s moving and amusing journey has led to new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner who repairs and restores fine European automobiles, while he is also able to shed new light on a long-misunderstood disorder.

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch

She's No Lady: Politics, Family and International Feminism by Arvonne Fraser

Garner on Writing and Language by Bryan A. Garner

The Vixen Diaries by Karrine Steffans

Avoid Boring People: And Other Lessons from a Life in Science by James D. Watson 

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch

  • Thanks for the nice description of my book. Readers are welcome to come visit me online at the Look Me in the Eye blog

    Best wishes, and I hope you enjoy my book.

    John Elder Robison

  • You’re welcome, Mr. Robison. Indeed I will visit your online site. — Gordon