New Title Radar – Week of September 19

The book people are likely to be talking about next week, has already been in the headlines this week. Joe McGinniss’s The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin (Crown) arrives on Tuesday, along with another take Palin by her almost-son-in-law and metaphor-mixer, Levi Johnston, Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs (Touchstone/S&S). Check our earlier stories for more on both books.

Also competing for the headlines that day is Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind‘s examination of  Obama and the financial crisis, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President. The AP reported one of the book’s revelations yesterday, “Treasury Secretary Ignored Obama Directive.”

Below, more on it, and the other titles you’ll need to know next week.

Watch List

Habibi by Craig Thompson (Pantheon) is a the author’s first graphic novel in seven years, a “lushly epic love story that’s both inspiring and heartbreaking,” according to PW, that recounts the story of a modern Arabic girl sold into marriage at age nine, who’s captured by slave traders and escapes with an abandoned toddler, who becomes her companion and eventually her great love. An interview with the author is featured in New York magazine’s fall preview. They note that the author’s 2003 graphic memoir, Blankets, “won its Portland, Oregon, author just about every cartooning award there is.”

Fan Favorites

Reamde by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow; Brilliance Audio) is a thriller in which a wealthy tech entrepreneur gets caught in the very real crossfire of his own online fantasy war game. If your’e worried about how to pronounce that title, listen to the approved, official pronunciation hereBooklist says, “not many writers can make a thousand-page book feel like it’s over before you know it, but Stephenson, author of Cryptonomicon (928 pages), Anathem (981), and the three-volume Baroque Cycle (about 900 each), is a master of character, story, and pacing.”

Usual Suspects

Lethal by Sandra Brown (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; AudioGo; Grand Central Large Print) revolves around a woman and her four year old daughter held hostage by an accused murderer who claims that he must retrieve something extremely valuable that her late cop husband possessed. LJ says, “Fast paced and full of surprises, this taut thriller, marking the author’s return to Grand Central, features a large cast of superbly drawn characters and the perfect amounts of realistic dialog and descriptive prose. Brown, who began her career writing romance novels, also adds palpable romantic tension to the proceedings. Public libraries should expect high demand.”

Son of Stone: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds Stone Barrington back in New York, though his former love, Arrington Calder, has other plans for him, including introducing him to the child he fathered many years ago. Booklist says, “most of the book focuses on Stone setting [his son] up in an elite private school and [his son’s] application to Yale, which doesn’t make for the most scintillating reading. The pace picks up toward the end, though, when Arrington’s menacing former suitor decides to exact revenge [on Stone and Arrington].”


You Have to Stop This (Secret Series #5) by Pseudonymous Bosch (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) is the final book in Bosch’s Secret Series. It revolves around the disappearance of a mummy from a local museum. Cass and her friends Max-Ernest and Yo-Yoji try to solve the case.

Everything on It by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins) is a posthumous collection of Silverstein’s previously unpublished poems and illustrations with a similar design to his beloved earlier books, and the same “whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore,” according to PW.


Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President by Ron Suskind (HarperCollins; Audio, Dreamscape and on OverDrive; LT, HarperLuxe) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s look at how the Obama administration has handled the financial crisis, based on hundreds of hours of interviews with administration officials.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medecine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard (Random House; RH Audio; BOT Audio) is a three-way biography of president James Garfield, who was shot onlyfour months after he took office in 1881, his assassin, Charles Guiteau, and inventor Alexander Graham Bell, whose made an unsuccessful deathbed attempt to locate the bullet lodged in the president’s body. Booklist’s starred review calls it “splendidly insightful” and says it stands “securely at the crossroads” of popular and academic biography. 

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King (Crown; BOT Audio) is the true story of a serial killer in WWII. PW says, “this fascinating, often painful account combines a police procedural with a vivid historical portrait of culture and law enforcement.” Kirkus calls it “expertly written and completely absorbing,” and Booklist‘s starred review says that unlike the many other stories that have been compared to Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, this one finally has the critical and commercial potential to meet Larson’s standard.”

Columbus: The Four Voyages by Laurence Bergreen (Viking) recounts the explorer’s three other voyages, in addition to the famous 1492 trip across the Atlantic. Each was an attempt to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. Kirkus, PW and Library Journal find fault with the author’s  scholarly rigor and uneven writing, though PW and Booklist see potential for a general readership.

The Orchard: A Memoir by Theresa Weir (Grand Central; AudioGo) is the story of a city girl who adapts to life on an apple farm after she falls in love with the golden boy of a prominent local family whose lives and orchards seem to be cursed by environmental degradation through pesticide use, and toxic family relationships. Booklist says, “Best known for her acclaimed suspense novels written as Anne Frasier, Weir’s own story is as harrowing as they come, yet filled with an uncanny self-awareness that leads, ultimately, to redemption.”

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