Works by two contemporary best-selling authors and a classic re-issue top this week's paperback releases:
By Michael Lewis
Norton • $16.95 • ISBN 9780393351590
Lewis provides an eye-opening account of the revolt by a group of Wall Street rebels who decided the financial markets were rigged and set out to expose the chicanery.
The One & Only
By Emily Giffin
Ballantine • $16 • ISBN 9780345546906
Shea has a crush on the football coach in her college town; unfortunately, he's also her best friend's father. In Giffin's hands, this story of football heroes and unexpected romance offers an insightful look at a young woman finding her way.
The Power and the Glory
By Graham Greene
Penguin Classics • $18 • ISBN 9780143107552
If (like me) you've always intended to read Greene's masterpiece but haven't gotten around to it, here's your chance: This 75th anniversary edition includes an introduction by the late John Updike. Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 best novels of the past century, Greene's book chronicles the struggles of a Mexican Catholic priest persecuted by government authorities.
Take a guess (without peeking) which book soared to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list this week. The Girl on the Train? The latest from James Patterson? Erik Larson’s gripping narrative about the sinking of the Lusitania?
Nope. The hottest seller on Amazon is a financial advice book by an economics professor and two journalists—Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. The surging demand for the book stems from two factors: the complexity of Social Security benefits and the swelling tide of aging Americans, all determined to “get what’s coming to them,” in other words, the most they can possibly collect in Social Security benefits.
The book’s three co-authors packed its 300-plus pages with crucial strategies to follow, details on when to begin taking benefits, advice for the married, the divorced and the widowed, and helpful lists like “25 Bad-News Gotchas That Can Reduce Your Benefits Forever.” All three authors have credentials to back up their recommendations: Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University, Philip Moeller is an award-winning financial journalist and Paul Solman is economics correspondent for “PBS NewsHour.”
The idea for the book sprang from a chat between tennis buddies Larry (Kotlikoff) and Paul (Solman). As recounted in the book’s first chapter, Solman thought he had a solid plan for maximizing benefits for himself and his wife. But Kotlikoff suggested a different route (taking spousal benefits), which eventually led to almost $50,000 in extra benefits for the couple. Shouldn’t everyone have a chance to do what Paul and his wife did? Why, yes, they should, the authors argue, and that’s why they set out to share what they’ve learned about Social Security and its arcane rules.
Though the hardcover edition of Get What’s Yours is currently sold out on Amazon, it’s still in stock at some other vendors; eBook and audio versions are also available.
History buffs and thrill seekers will both find something to like in this week's paperback releases:
By Hilary Mantel
Picador • $16 • ISBN 9781250077585
This new tie-in edition of Mantel’s award-winning Tudor novel marks the April 5 debut of a six-part TV adaptation on PBS.
When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-44
By Ronald C. Rosbottom
Back Bay • $18 • ISBN 9780316217439
What was it really like to live in Paris while German forces occupied the city? Rosbottom, a professor of French at Amherst, gives a riveting portrait of the occupied and the occupiers in this meticulously researched account.
The Burning Room
By Michael Connelly
Grand Central • $16 • ISBN 978145552419
The latest entry in the acclaimed Harry Bosch series follows the LAPD detective and his rookie partner as they investigate a perplexing murder case in which the victim died nine years after being shot.
By Daniel H. Wilson
Vintage • $15.95 • 97803458043891
The sequel to the best-selling sci-fi thriller Robopocalyse asks the important question: Can the human race overcome a robot uprising?
Leading off this week's new paperback releases is a novel shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize:
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
By Joshua Ferris
Back Bay • $16 • ISBN 9780316033992
The protagonist of Ferris' third novel is a New York dentist and ardent Boston Red Sox fan who is unnerved when he learns that someone is impersonating him online.
The Nazi Officer's Wife
By Edith Hahn Beer with Susan Dworkin
Morrow • $16.99 • ISBN 9780062378088
First published in 1999, Beer's account of living in a "prison of pretense" as the Jewish wife of a Nazi officer is an incredible true story of survival and resilience. This new edition includes additional information about Beer, who died in 2009, as well as a reading group guide.
Fourth of July Creek
By Smith Henderson
Ecco • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062286468
A debut novel that landed on several Best Books of 2014 lists, Henderson’s dark Montana tale has earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy.
By Carl Hoffman
Morrow • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062116161
Hoffman sets out to determine what really happened to Michael Rockefeller, who vanished while collecting primitive art in New Guinea in 1961.
This week's new paperback releases include four thought-provoking novels for book clubs:
By Lisa See
Random House • $16 • ISBN 9780812982824
From the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the story of three young Chinese-American women who meet at a Chinatown nightclub shortly before the start of World War II.
The Husband's Secret
By Liane Moriarty
Berkley • $16 • ISBN 9780425267721
With 1.7 million copies sold to date, Moriarty's intriguing #1 bestseller about the secrets we keep finally makes its paperback debut.
Boy, Snow, Bird
By Helen Oyeyemi
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594633409
Oyeyemi's twist on Snow White—recast as a story of race and identity in 1950s New England—won critical raves and the #3 spot on our Best Books of 2014 ranking.
The Book of Unknown Americans
By Cristina Henríquez
Vintage • $14.95 • ISBN 9780345806406
Told in alternating first-person voices, Henríquez's poignant novel examines the dreams and challenges of immigrant families who have fled to America in search of a better life.
For book club members, frugal shoppers and readers who still prefer the printed page over the e-reader, here are four of the best new paperback editions available this week:
By Phil Klay
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143126829
This riveting story collection by an Iraq War veteran captured the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
Breath, Eyes, Memory
By Edwidge Danticat
Soho • $16 • ISBN 9781616955021
The 20th-anniversary edition of Danticat's acclaimed Haitian coming-of-age novel includes an interview with the author and a reading group guide.
By Emma Donoghue
Back Bay • $17 • ISBN 9780316324670
From the author of Room, something entirely different: A rip-roaring Western/mystery featuring a cross-dressing frog catcher and an exotic dancer.
If you tried to buy a copy of Pioneer Girl but couldn’t get the book in time for the holiday gift-giving season, you’re not alone. Demand for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real-life story of growing up on the prairie outstripped supply, according to the book’s publisher, the South Dakota Historical Society Press. All major online book retailers currently list the autobiography as “out of stock.”
“We anticipated high demand, but sales of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography have outpaced the most optimistic pre-publication estimates,” SDHSP marketing director Jennifer E. McIntyre tells BookPage. “We attribute this to continuing publicity, well-placed advertising and enthusiastic reviews. The South Dakota Historical Society Press is temporarily out of stock but will begin shipping again in mid-January.“
Wilder wrote the autobiography in 1929-30, but was unable to sell it to a publisher. She later adapted much of the material from the book for her fictional Little House series, which became a beloved literary phenomenon. Pioneer Girl was finally published for the first time in November, in a beautifully illustrated and meticulously annotated edition, edited by Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill. The book received glowing reviews from numerous national publications, including BookPage.
McIntyre advises readers to check www.pioneergirlproject.org for updates on the book’s availability.
As part of our Best Books of 2014 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
Dentistry, Judaism, the Boston Red Sox, Facebook, genetics, a biblical cult and a broken billionaire: Only a writer with Joshua Ferris’ considerable talents could turn these wildly disparate topics into a profound meditation on the meaning of existence. When New York dentist Paul O’Rourke discovers that someone is impersonating him on social media, he’s forced to re-examine who he is, why his relationships have failed—and why his patients won’t floss. Through Paul’s personal odyssey, readers get a penetrating, hilarious and unsettling look at life in an era of constant connection and persistent loneliness.
As part of our Best Books of 2014 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
How does a Southern Baptist boy from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, become an enthusiastic proponent of LSD and the countercultural voice of the 1970s? Tom Robbins connects the psychedelic dots in a mind-blowing memoir that reminds us why we love his hilarious, colorful and utterly unique voice.
Though she died in 2008, controversial NFL owner Georgia Frontiere is still making news—with the publication this month of her first mystery: Horoscope: The Astrology Murders.
According to Frontiere’s two children, Lucia Rodriguez and Chip Rosenbloom, the “virtually complete” manuscript of the novel was found with their mother’s papers after her death. “We knew that she was writing a book, and she often read sections to us over the phone or at dinner, but we didn't know how far along her book was,” until the manuscript was discovered, Rodriguez and Rosenbloom said.
Frontiere became the first woman to control an NFL franchise when she inherited ownership of the Los Angeles Rams after the death of her sixth husband in 1979. She moved the team to St. Louis in 1995, drawing the wrath of California fans, and was at the helm when the Rams won the Super Bowl in 2000. A former singer, dancer and model, Frontiere had many interests beyond football, including astrology and psychology. She combined these two fields in creating her novel’s main character: Dr. Kelly York, a celebrity astrologer and psychologist, who is tapped by the police to help track a serial killer with a horrifying hallmark—he carves astrological signs into the skin of his victims.
Frontiere does a capable job of building suspense as York wrestles with the terrifying case—and with the threatening anonymous caller who seems to know details about her practice. Through it all, Frontiere weaves in details about the astrological signs and charts of her characters.
“[Our mother] was basically an astrologer in her own right but would consult with professional astrologers. She also read advanced astrology books and had her charts done by professional astrologers. She did charts for us and other family members, which were surprisingly accurate. While astrology didn't control her life, she did believe that the stars had an effect on people's lives, and she would pay attention when she saw that something was off in our charts,” Rodriguez and Rosenbloom said.
So, maybe it wasn't an accident that Frontiere's book was located—in a plastic storage box—after her death? Perhaps her posthumous career as a writer was written in the stars.