Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some November 2013 Book Releases I'm Anxious to Try

With just (7) weeks left in 2013 ---yes, 7 weeks, I was noticing how many new books on my TBR list were ones that were releasing in this month (November). I hope to work my way through these in the next 7 weeks.  Have you read any of these?

The Valley of AmazementA Permanent Member of the FamilyStella BainThe Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of PurringA Long Way from VeronaThe Dream MakerThe Pieces We KeepFractures: A NovelThe Second-Chance Dog: A Love StoryOur Picnics in the Sun: A NovelSomeone Else's Love Story

11/12/13 - A Permanent Member of theFamily; Russell Banks (ECCO) - This collection, his sixth, is made up of four never-before-published stories. The first, Former Marine, sets the exhausted, elegiac tone for the book. It features Connie, an aging ex-Marine who refers to himself as the Retiree, even though he was laid off: It's the economy's fault. And the fault of whoever the hell's in charge of it. Connie robs banks, badly, to make ends meet, but they (inevitably) don't. In the fine story Transplant, Howard Blume is recovering from a heart transplant when the deceased donor's wife asks to meet him, to listen (with a stethoscope!) to Blume's new heart. In the most subversive story of the collection, Snowbirds, a man dies of a heart attack in Florida, where he and his wife are spending the winter. Isabel, his widow, is nonplussed; in fact, she appears somewhat delighted at the prospect of a new life in the sun. While these exquisitely crafted stories are highly personal, they are also permeated by a sense of sadness about the death of the American dream, as the country struggles, out of work and seemingly out of hope.

11/26/13Our Picnics inthe Sun; Morag Joss – (Delacorte) - One night, two strangers.
A damage that cannot be undone.
For thirty years, Howard and Deborah Morgan have poured all their energy and modest savings into Stoneyridge, a smallholding deep in the English moors. Howard putters with pottery, Deborah dabbles in weaving, and both struggle to tend sheep and chickens and live off the land. But what began with simple dreams of solitude and sunlit picnics in the hills has given way to a harsher reality.

To help with finances, they decide to turn Stoneyridge into a bed-and-breakfast. But a sudden stroke leaves Howard incapacitated and Deborah overwhelmed. Howard’s world, once so limitless, has shrunk to the confines of their crumbling house; Deborah’s main joy now comes in the form of a brief weekly email from their successful son, who lives abroad.

Then, late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night—and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. New wounds are cut deep, betrayals and cruelties intermix with tenderness and love. And through it all, Stoneyridge quietly hides the bitter and transformative truth.

Evocative, intimately claustrophobic, and psychologically complex, Our Picnics in the Sun is a novel of stunning prose and knife-sharp insight. Morag Joss crafts a modern masterpiece of rising tension that binds and releases like a beating heart, propelling readers to a final page that resonates and haunts.

11/12/13 - The Second Chance Dog; Jon Katz (Ballentine) - In 2007, a few years after purchasing Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, Jon Katz met Maria Wulf, a quiet, sensitive artist hoping to rekindle her creative spark. Jon, like her, was introspective yet restless, a writer struggling to find his purpose. He felt a connection with her immediately, but a formidable obstacle stood in the way: Maria’s dog, Frieda.

A rottweiler-shepherd mix who had been abandoned by her previous owner in the Adirondacks, where she lived in the wild for several years, Frieda was ferociously protective and barely tamed. She roared and charged at almost anyone who came near. But to Maria, Frieda was sweet and loyal, her beloved guard dog and devoted friend. And so Jon quickly realized that to win over Maria, he’d have to gain Frieda’s affection as well.

While he and Maria grew closer, Jon was having a tougher time charming Frieda to his side. Even after many days spent on Bedlam Farm, Frieda still lunged at the other animals, ran off into the woods, and would not let Jon come near her, even to hook on her leash. Yet armed with a singular determination, unlimited patience, and five hundred dollars’ worth of beef jerky, Jon refused to give up on Frieda—or on his chance with Maria.

Written with stunning emotional clarity and full of warm yet practical wisdom, The Second-Chance Dog is a testament to how animals can make us better people, and how it’s never too late to find love.

11/12/13Fractures; Lamar Herrin – (Thomas Dunne Books) - A Thousand Acres and Empire Falls meet during the present hydrofracking controversy as a beleaguered patriarch must decide the fate of his land and children in this enveloping family drama

The Joyner family sits atop prime Marcellus Shale. When landmen for the natural gas companies begin to lease property all around the family’s hundred acres, the Joyners start to take notice. Undecided on whether or not to lease the family land, Frank Joyner must weigh his heirs’ competing motivations. All of this culminates as a looming history of family tragedy resurfaces.

A sprawling family novel, Fractures follows each Joyner as the controversial hydrofracking issue slowly exacerbates underlying passions and demons. With echoes of Jonathan Franzen’s FreedomFractures takes its reader deep into the beating heart and hearth of a family divided

11/26/13 - The Pieces We Keep;  Kristina McMorris (Kensington ) - In this richly emotional novel, Kristina McMorris evokes the depth of a mother's bond with her child, and the power of personal histories to echo through generations...

Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes's grief over her husband's untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying--but it's just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack's fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack's dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound--and perhaps, at last, to heal.

Intricate and beautifully written, The Pieces We Keep illuminates those moments when life asks us to reach beyond what we know and embrace what was once unthinkable. Deftly weaving together past and present, herein lies a story that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and as unpredictable as the human heart.

11/12/13A Long Way From Verona;Jane Gardam  (Europa)- I ought to tell you at the beginning that I am not quite normal having had a violent experience at the age of nine'

Jessica Vye's 'violent experience' colors her schooldays and her reaction to the world around her- a confining world of Order Marks, wartime restrictions, viyella dresses, nicely-restrained essays and dusty tea shops. For Jessica she has been told that she is 'beyond all possible doubt', a born writer. With her inability to conform, her absolute compulsion to tell the truth and her dedication to accurately noting her experiences, she knows this anyway. But what she doesn't know is that the experiences that sustain and enrich her burgeoning talent will one day lead to a new- and entirely unexpected- reality.

11/5/13 – The Dream Maker; JeanChristophe Rufin (Europa) - Based on the true story of Jacques Coeur, The Dream Maker is the story of a Steve Jobs of the Middle Ages. Coeur was the King of France’s visionary First Banker who, with his tours of the Far East, his public criticism of the Crusades, and his efforts to develop trade and an operable financial system, contributed to bringing France out of darkness and toward the Renaissance and modernity. An adventure novel, a novel of ideas, and a moving love story. 

11/12/13 Stella Bain; Anita Shreve – (Little Brown & Co) - When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

11/28/13The Dalai Lama’s Cat andthe Art of Purring – (Hay House) - What makes you purr? 

Of all the questions in the world, this is the most important. It is also the great leveler. Because no matter whether you are a playful kitten or a sedentary senior, a scrawny alley Tom or a sleek-coated uptown girl, whatever your circumstances, you just want to be happy. Not the kind of happy that comes and goes like a can of flaked tuna but an enduring happiness. The deep-down happiness that makes you purr from the heart. 

Before leaving for a teaching tour to America, the Dalai Lama poses a challenge to his beloved feline, HHC (His Holiness’s Cat): to discover the true cause of happiness. Little does she know what adventures this task will bring!

A hair-raising chase through the streets of McLeod Ganj leads to an unexpected revelation about the perils of self-obsession. An encounter with the mystical Yogi Tarchen inspires a breakthrough discovery about her past—one with dramatic implications for us all. And overheard conversations between ivy-league psychologists, high-ranking lamas, and famous writers who congregate at the Himalaya Book CafĂ© help her explore the convergence between science and Buddhism on the vital subject of happiness.

Sparkling with wisdom, warmth, and a touch of mischief, The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art ofPurring is a charming reminder of why HHC is becoming one of the most-loved cats around the world.

So what is the true cause of purring? The Dalai Lama whispers this secret on his return—only for the ears of HHC and those with whom she has a karmic connection . . . that, dear reader, means you! 

In Progress:11/19/13 - Someone Else’s Love Story; Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow) – 11/5/13 - The Valley of Amazement; Amy Tan (Ecco)


  1. I read the McMorris and Jackson - both wonderful!


  3. Above is a link to some books. I saw it on Flipboard and immediately thought of you. Thank you for this list. I always enjoy your picks :)

  4. Reading the new Jackson next week! Hope you are enjoying it!

  5. I can't wait to read the Joshilyn Jackson's new book ~ she never disappoints :-)
    and did you read the dalai lama's cat? my son, the non-reader, was the one who recommended that one to me ~ fabulous!
    great list!

  6. I hope to start the new Jackson today or tomorrow since she's coming here next week!

  7. Wow! Many of these sound terrific! Enjoy, Diane!

  8. Many good and interesting books! I have some on my wishlist: the Joshilyn Jackson one, the Amy Tan, the Anita Shreve. Ones I hadn't heard of but would like to read: Fractures, The Art of Purring, & The Pieces We Keep. Thanks for sharing these with us and enjoy!

  9. I have not read any of these, but do have a couple on request at the library.

  10. I have The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie on my Kindle, and though I haven't read it yet, I took a little peek, and it is quite adorable. I suspect I will get the sequel too. Thanks for letting me know. I hadn't heard about it.

  11. I loved Someone Else's Love Story and have The Pieces We Keep to read soon. I was also compiling a To Read end of year list. Looking forward to your reviews.

  12. Looks like lots of goodies! I am sure Second Chance Dog would be a good one.

  13. I haven't read any of these either but I do want to read Amy Tan and Anita Shreve's new ones. I still have September and October releases I haven't read yet.

  14. You can't go wrong with Amy Tan. I love your book collage.

  15. You have some good books listed here! I haven't heard of some of them, so I need to check those out.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.