Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday adapted from

I didn’t have a chance to post my Top Ten Tuesday response yesterday. I love the topic for this week: Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read.

Despite the adage not to judge a book by its cover, we all do it, and we all pick up books because the cover entrances us. We have also probably eschewed perfectly good books because of unattractive covers. If we didn’t pay attention to covers, neither would publishers, who spend a lot of money (I am assuming) on graphic designers.

In order to write this post, I scrolled through my Read pile on Goodreads. Here are my favorite covers.

[amazon_image id=”0743273567″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Great Gatsby[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”1594746036″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0345802624″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”B005UVW8NQ” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Map of True Places[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0393338487″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Emily’s Ghost[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0143105434″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Wuthering Heights[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0143106155″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Jane Eyre[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0060731338″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Freakonomics[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”B005EP2310″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Ahab’s Wife[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0679751521″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil[/amazon_image]

I could have chosen a lot of covers for this post, and indeed, I had trouble narrowing it to ten. There are quite a few books with arresting covers that have caught my eye. But I narrowed it down to these ten. I think the Cugat cover of [amazon_link id=”0743273567″ target=”_blank” ]The Great Gatsby[/amazon_link] is one of the most iconic and beautiful book covers of all time. Even Fitzgerald, upon seeing it (and fearing that his publisher would give it to another writer), said, “don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me. I’ve written it into the book.”

The cover of [amazon_link id=”1594746036″ target=”_blank” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_link] is an arresting black and white photograph of a levitating girl. Ransom Riggs’s book was famously inspired by a package of odd photographs he purchased, and he created his characters from those photographs. The girl on the cover is the little girl who floats unless she is tied to something. I love her ancient little face. She looks like little old woman. The font is also part of what makes this cover design appealing.

I didn’t much care for the novel [amazon_link id=”0345802624″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link], but the cover is quite striking in black, white, and red. The artwork reminds me of paper doll cutouts.

The hardcover version of Brunonia Barry’s novel [amazon_link id=”B005UVW8NQ” target=”_blank” ]The Map of True Places[/amazon_link] caught my eye because of the gorgeous blue of the sky and water and the celestial map markings. I was lucky to receive two signed copies of this book when I won a sweepstakes connected to this novel. Obviously, that isn’t why I love the cover, but I surely did fall in love with Salem and with Massachusetts, and this book was a large part of that.

I think what I like about the cover of [amazon_link id=”0393338487″ target=”_blank” ]Emily’s Ghost[/amazon_link] is the juxtaposition of the striping on the bottom where the title appears with the gorgeous picture of the woman looking over the bare moors.

I think Ruben Toledo’s covers of the Penguin classics are all brilliant, but my two favorites are his covers of [amazon_link id=”0143105434″ target=”_blank” ]Wuthering Heights[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”0143106155″ target=”_blank” ]Jane Eyre[/amazon_link]. I love the drawings of Catherine and Heathcliff on the first, and the excellent blue creepiness of the house and sweet little Jane on the second. The cartoonish nature of the drawings is fun and appealing. I think as a student, I might be more inclined to pick up the classics illustrated by Toledo as opposed to those versions with old paintings of women on the covers. You know what I mean.

The cover of [amazon_link id=”0060731338″ target=”_blank” ]Freakonomics[/amazon_link] intrigues me because it doesn’t meet expectations. The apple is cut open to reveal and orange inside. Not only that, but the apple is green, and for some reason, this cover wouldn’t work if the apple were any other color. I can’t stop looking at it, for some reason, and I definitely wanted to read it because of the cover.

[amazon_link id=”B005EP2310″ target=”_blank” ]Ahab’s Wife[/amazon_link] is one of my all-time favorites. I just love the wrecked ship and the way the woman on the cover is looking at it. You can tell she is remembering her story. “Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last.” See? Now don’t you want to read it? It’s nearly as good an opener as “Call me Ishmael.” It’s a stunning book, and I love the stark beauty of the cover.

The last book I chose the famous image of the Bird Girl statue from John Berendt’s [amazon_link id=”0679751521″ target=”_blank” ]Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil[/amazon_link]. It is an arresting image in green, and the statue became such a draw for tourists in Savannah that the city moved it out of the graveyard, where it obviously was located when this photograph was taken, to a museum. It is not quite the same, seeing it there. The Bird Girl belongs in this graveyard under the large trees weeping Spanish moss. I hope they move her back there someday.

What are your favorite book covers?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books to be Made into Movies

Top Ten TuesdayI am having trouble with the plugin that handles Amazon links, but I decided I should publish this anyway before the expiration date on this topic is too long past.

I like this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic. Which books should be made into movies? Here’s my list:

  1. [amazon_link id=”0385534639″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link], Erin Morgenstern. I think this book would be great in Tim Burton’s hands. It wasn’t my favorite read, but it has such strong imagery that it’s begging to be made into a movie. I think I heard somewhere that it actually has been optioned.
  2. [amazon_link id=”0440423201″ target=”_blank” ]Outlander[/amazon_link], Diana Gabaldon. It would probably only work as a miniseries, and God knows who they would cast, but it’s such a great series. I’d love to see the books made into films à la [amazon_link id=”B0000Y40OS” target=”_blank” ]The Thorn Birds[/amazon_link].
  3. [amazon_link id=”0142402516″ target=”_blank” ]Looking for Alaska[/amazon_link], John Green. I didn’t like this book a whole lot, but I could see it making a pretty good teen movie like [amazon_link id=”B000FZETKC” target=”_blank” ]Some Kind of Wonderful[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B001D0BLTA” target=”_blank” ]Pretty in Pink[/amazon_link].
  4. [amazon_link id=”1594744769″ target=”_blank” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_link], Ransom Riggs. Another one with a lot of visual imagery and some great humor that would be fun to watch.
  5. [amazon_link id=”B007C2Z5EU” target=”_blank” ]The Eyre Affair[/amazon_link], Jasper Fforde. I’ve actually talked about this one before.
  6. [amazon_link id=”0316769177″ target=”_blank” ]The Catcher in the Rye[/amazon_link], J. D. Salinger. It would be tricky to pull off, but I think if the director did internal monologue voiceovers, it might work.
  7. [amazon_link id=”0060558121″ target=”_blank” ]American Gods[/amazon_link], Neil Gaiman. This could be a sprawling sort of epic with the right cast and script.
  8. [amazon_link id=”0141439610″ target=”_blank” ]The Woman in White[/amazon_link], Wilkie Collins. If this has been made into a successful movie, then I haven’t heard about it, but it would be a great gothic tale.
  9. [amazon_link id=”0061862312″ target=”_blank” ]Wicked[/amazon_link], Gregory Maguire. Why not? They brought it to Broadway. Would be fun to cast [amazon_link id=”B00388PK1U” target=”_blank” ]Wizard of Oz[/amazon_link] lookalikes where possible, too.
  10. [amazon_link id=”074348276X” target=”_blank” ]King Lear[/amazon_link], William Shakespeare. Seriously, why hasn’t one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays been made into a huge movie. They’ve done just about every other major play and even minor ones. I have seen filmed stage versions of this, and there’s a good PBS one, but not exactly major motion pictures.

What about you? What books do you think should be made into movies?

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R.I.P. Check-In


Some time this week, I should finish my 44th book, which puts me in a good position to meet my goal of reading 50 books this year. As Halloween draws to a close, I’m happy to say I also finished the R.I.P. Challenge. I read four books: [amazon_link id=”1594744769″ target=”_blank” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_link] by Ransom Riggs (review), [amazon_link id=”1400031702″ target=”_blank” ]The Secret History[/amazon_link] by Donna Tartt (review), [amazon_link id=”0312558171″ target=”_blank” ]The Ballad of Tom Dooley[/amazon_link] by Sharyn McCrumb (review), [amazon_link id=”0441020674″ target=”_blank” ]Those Across the River[/amazon_link] by Christopher Buehlman (review), and [amazon_link id=”0385534639″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link] by Erin Morgenstern (review).

At this point, I plan to focus on writing my NaNoWriMo book, which isn’t to say I won’t be reading (I certainly will), but it may impact my choices somewhat. I don’t plan to pick up anything difficult, heavy, or long this month. Meanwhile, I’ve been tearing through Stephen King’s [amazon_link id=”1439156816″ target=”_blank” ]On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft[/amazon_link], which has some great common sense advice. I am feeling sort of grateful for my experience as an English teacher. At least grammar and conventions aren’t a hurdle. I loved King’s advice to pick up a copy of Warriner’s Grammar. Best grammar text series ever.

I am really excited to start writing tomorrow.

photo credit: Ian Sane

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The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

[amazon_image id=”0385534639″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” class=”alignleft”]The Night Circus[/amazon_image]Erin Morgenstern’s novel [amazon_link id=”0385534639″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link] has generated a great deal of buzz, and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s not precisely like anything I’ve read before. Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair are rival magicians, entered into a competition by their teachers, Celia’s father Hector (also known as Prospero) and the mysterious Mr. Alexander H.—. No one, including the reader, really knows what the competition is about or what the stakes are until the end of the novel, but the venue for the competition is a magical black-and-white circus, filled with memorable characters and enchantments. The storyline is not chronological, but is instead told in a series of vignettes, out of order and from different points of view.

The imagery in the novel is vivid. Everything from the scent of caramel and taste of apple cider and chocolate popcorn to the vivid black-and-white striped tents and the colorful swatches of red in the Murray twins’ hair and the rêveurs‘ hallmark clothing is vividly described. The book is absolutely gorgeous with description, and it is in this area that Morgenstern excels. The sights, sounds, and smells of the circus pop right off the page. The book itself is a visual treat, from the gorgeous black, white, and red cover to the stripes on the end papers and even the fonts.

On the other hand, the plot was plodding in some areas, and the choice to tell the story out of order came off as gimmicky and confusing for me. In the end, the story did not satisfy nearly as much as the description and imagery. Some readers will enjoy the book in spite of this flaw (and, in fact, it has 4.17 stars on Goodreads after over 5,000 ratings as of this writing, and those readers are a notoriously picky lot). In many ways, it’s a beautiful book, and it’s gorgeously vivid. The story just didn’t hang together in the end. I found myself having no trouble putting the book down for days at a time, even during a month when I had a lot of time off work (to read!) because of school holidays. That’s always a danger sign to me. As beautiful as the imagery was, I never managed to become invested in the story’s plot.

Obviously, I am in the minority, and the book is receiving rave reviews, so please try it out and see what you think. If you can manage to snag one, Starbucks was giving out extended samples as their first book Pick of the Week, and perhaps you could try it on the Kindle and see if it will work for you. I can easily see Tim Burton doing something fantastic with it in film (and I believe film rights have been purchased, though who will direct, I haven’t heard). Johnny Depp would be an excellent Mr. Alexander H.— or Prospero or even Chandresh Lefèvre. A set designer and costumer will have  field day creating the images Morgenstern describes.

I really wanted to like this book because I have heard that it began life as a NaNoWriMo novel, which is always exciting for me to hear about since I would like to turn one of my own NaNoWriMo novels into a smashing success (so wouldn’t we all). Ultimately, however, I needed to have more investment in the storyline and characters than in the vivid descriptions, and the descriptions are the only thing that really kept me reading until the end. I kept waiting for another appearance of Herr Thiessen’s wonderful clock or the chocolate popcorn, and that, in the end, is just not enough.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Musing Mondays—October 17, 2011

Musing MondaysIt’s Monday! That means it’s time for another Monday Musing. This week’s question is Do you judge a book by its cover?

All. The. Time. I know the adage well, but the truth is that publishers spend a lot of money paying people to design book covers. You know who I think does a consistently good job? Source Books. Just take a look at some of their covers. Sometimes judging a book by its cover has led me astray. Check out this gorgeous cover for [amazon_link id=”0345455932″ target=”_blank” ]Blackbird House[/amazon_link]:

[amazon_image id=”0345455932″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Blackbird House: A Novel (Ballantine Reader’s Circle)[/amazon_image]

And yet I didn’t care for the book.

I think it’s human nature to check out the package and be attracted to it before we get to know the contents. We do that with potential mates as well as books, so judging a book by its cover is nothing new.

Some covers I just love? The Ruben Toledo drawings for Penguin classics. My favorites are [amazon_link id=”0143106155″ target=”_blank” ]Jane Eyre[/amazon_link]:

[amazon_image id=”0143106155″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Jane Eyre: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)[/amazon_image]

and [amazon_link id=”0143105442″ target=”_blank” ]The Scarlet Letter[/amazon_link]:

[amazon_image id=”0143105442″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Scarlet Letter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)[/amazon_image]

But I love [amazon_link id=”0143105434″ target=”_blank” ]Wuthering Heights[/amazon_link], too:

[amazon_image id=”0143105434″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Wuthering Heights: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)[/amazon_image]

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the cover of [amazon_link id=”B000QRIGLW” target=”_blank” ]Twilight[/amazon_link] has been influential:

[amazon_image id=”B000QRIGLW” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)[/amazon_image]

[amazon_link id=”B00136YCIG” target=”_blank” ]This[/amazon_link] is probably one of the most iconic covers of all time, and it has such an interesting background, too.

[amazon_image id=”0743273567″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Great Gatsby[/amazon_image]

Scribner has a reissue edition, which is pretty, by the way, but not as iconic as the Cugat original.

Here are some books I’ve read, bought, or received recently that I think have pretty covers:

[amazon_image id=”0312558171″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Ballad of Tom Dooley: A Ballad Novel[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”0345524969″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”0385534639″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”1594744769″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”0345521307″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Paris Wife: A Novel[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”0553807226″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]The Peach Keeper: A Novel[/amazon_image]

[amazon_image id=”B004SYA7PM” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Revolution [Deckle Edge] (text only) by J. Donnelly[/amazon_image]

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Sunday Salon—October 16, 2011

:: آخر لقانا في الخريف..تذكّر الثوب الخفيف ::

It’s been pretty and cool today. Perfect tea weather. I finished up reading [amazon_link id=”1466273089″ target=”_blank” ]The Man with Two Left Feet[/amazon_link] by P. G. Wodehouse via DailyLit last night (review). I started up with [amazon_link id=”1439169462″ target=”_blank” ]Anna Karenina[/amazon_link] by Leo Tolstoy. I’m not going to be able to finish it for the read-a-long at Unputdownables, but it seems like an appropriate time to finally read. Come on Russians: don’t disappoint me this time. Anna Karenina is yet another classic I’m not sure I’d pick up if not for DailyLit.

I’m still reading [amazon_link id=”0385534639″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link] by Erin Morgenstern. You might recall my daughter and I were arguing over it. My daughter won, mainly because I downloaded the iBook sample that Starbucks provided as their first e-book Pick of the Week. I was able to read up to about page 91, so it’s a pretty substantial sample. If you can’t tell that far in whether to continue or not, then the sample size just doesn’t matter.

I’m still listening to Juliet Stevenson’s recording of [amazon_link id=”9626343613″ target=”_blank” ]Sense and Sensibility[/amazon_link] by Jane Austen. My poll results indicate that both of the two people who voted think I should read [amazon_link id=”140222267X” target=”_blank” ]Willoughby’s Return[/amazon_link] by Jane Odiwe for my other book for the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge. Only problem is I don’t have it. Yet. The wait list for it on PaperBackSwap is long, too.

This Sunday I also watched the final episode of season 3 of [amazon_link id=”B001AQR3LC” target=”_blank” ]The Tudors[/amazon_link]. Did they ever cast a perfect vapid teenager for Catherine Howard, or what? I find it hard to believe Joss Stone as a “Flanders mare,” though.

I’ve been listening to this Austin City Limits playlist (Facebook app) that’s available for free on iTunes. It’s a great playlist. My favorites are “You Are Not Alone” by Mavis Staples, “Devil Knows You’re Dead” by Delta Spirit, “Don’t Gotta Work it Out” by Fitz and the Tantrums, and “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart. I have say that “WHALE” by Yellow Ostrich is pretty catchy once it gets going, though I thought it was kind of odd at the start. I’ve actually been listening to Spotify quite a bit and made this playlist full of great women artists.

We saw [amazon_link id=”B00275EHJG” target=”_blank” ]Toy Story 3[/amazon_link] at movie night at my kids’ school on Friday. Dylan was especially entranced. My favorite comment? When Dylan said Ken’s hair looked like Justin Bieber’s. He so rarely makes references to pop culture, and we don’t often get such a window into what he’s thinking. Saturday was the Taste of Roswell in the town square. We ate lots of great food, and the weather was gorgeous. The music was too loud. I think I’d be just as happy if the organizers left music out of the event altogether. Last night I stayed up too late watching [amazon_link id=”B000UJCALI” target=”_blank” ]The Shining[/amazon_link], which was dumb because that movie scares the bejesus out of me, and then I was the only one awake and scared in the dark. All told, we’ve had a great weekend. I’m not ready for it to be over. Unfortunately, today means laundry and getting ready for the week ahead. It’s my last short week due to Jewish holidays, but I’m going to a conference on Tuesday and Wednesday that I’m not thrilled about attending.

photo credit: » Zitona «

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WWW Wednesdays—October 5, 2011

WWW WednesdaysTo play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I haven’t done WWW Wednesday in a while; I skipped it for the entire month of September. I guess I’m back today!

I am currently reading several books. Despite what DailyLit says over there in the sidebar, I fell behind with [amazon_link id=”1466273089″ target=”_blank” ]The Man with Two Left Feet[/amazon_link] by P.G. Wodehouse and still haven’t finished it yet, though I have enjoyed it very much. I am also still reading [amazon_link id=”1439170916″ target=”_blank” ]The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer[/amazon_link] by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I haven’t picked it up in a while. I think it’s perfect for dipping into occasionally.

I am also still listening to/reading along with [amazon_link id=”9626343613″ target=”_blank” ]Sense And Sensibility[/amazon_link] read by Juliet Stevenson. Oh, how I love crazy, flighty Marianne and admire steady, dependable Elinor. Wish I could be more like her. What a great friend she would be, too.

I am currently engaged in a battle with my daughter over [amazon_link id=”0385534639″ target=”_blank” ]The Night Circus[/amazon_link] by Erin Morgenstern. See, I bought it with an Amazon gift card I received for my birthday. Hence, it is a birthday present. She grabbed it while I was reading [amazon_link id=”0441020674″ target=”_blank” ]Those Across the River[/amazon_link] by Christopher Buehlman (review) and started reading it. I say I should get first dibs because it’s my birthday present. She argues she started reading it first and has also offered me two of her books to read. I also contend waiting for her will take too long. We nearly arm wrestled for it yesterday. We have an uneasy truce and have agreed to share it. For now.

I’m not sure what I’ll read next. Maybe something witchy like [amazon_link id=”B003P9XMFI” target=”_blank” ]The Hangman’s Daughter[/amazon_link] by Oliver Pötzsch or perhaps [amazon_link id=”1416550550″ target=”_blank” ]The Forgotten Garden[/amazon_link] by Kate Morton. I have a rather large stack of books in my TBR pile. I also just received [amazon_link id=”1565126297″ target=”_blank” ]When She Woke[/amazon_link] by Hillary Jordan from a Goodreads giveaway, and the cover is so cool:

[amazon_image id=”1565126297″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]When She Woke[/amazon_image]

I have to admit it’s caught my eye. I also have a weakness for picking up books I just got instead of turning to my TBR pile.

I am in the mood to continue reading something gothic or creepy for RIP, though. Which would you pick?

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Friday Finds—September 30, 2011

Friday FindsI haven’t done Friday Finds in a while, seems like. I think it’s just been busy. I hesitate to discuss all the books I’ve added to my TBR pile since the last Friday Finds update, so I’ll just pick the ones I’m most interested in digging into, starting with the one I’m currently reading, which is a great RIP read.

[amazon_image id=”0441020674″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” class=”alignleft”]Those Across the River[/amazon_image]Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate—the Savoyard Plantation—and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

Yep, sounds like Georgia to me. All kidding aside, it’s good so far, and I have heard it’s pretty creepy. Shelf Awareness devoted a whole newsletter to it, which is what caused me to add it to my list anyway.

[amazon_image id=”0385534639″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” class=”alignright”]The Night Circus[/amazon_image]The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves , and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

That novel is getting an insane buzz among booksellers and bloggers both, but it looks good. Starbucks just picked it as its first Digital Book Pick of the Week.

[amazon_image id=”0312648367″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” class=”alignleft”]Garden of Secrets Past: An English Garden Mystery (English Garden Mysteries)[/amazon_image]In the garden of a country estate, an ancient monument holds a cryptic secret. Chiseled on it is a coded inscription that has baffled the world’s cleverest minds for two centuries. When a child playing near the monument stumbles upon the dead body of a man, another mystery is revealed: in his pocket is a scrap of paper bearing a sequence of letters. The police suspect that it may be part of a coded message but their investigation leads nowhere. The case at a standstill, Lawrence Kingston, retired professor of botany, is hired to conduct an independent inquiry. Soon, Kingston finds himself swept along in a dangerous undertow of a centuries-old family feud, a suspicious poisoning and veiled threats, leading him to fear for his own life. To solve the secret of the past and crimes of the present, he must decipher a complex code hidden in the walls of an old manor house. But to do so, he must first delve into the minds of three eminent 18th century Englishmen to fathom what part they played in the age-old mystery. As his search for the truth narrow, his worst fears materialize when he becomes the next target.

English gardens, a Georgian mystery, a family feud, and a secret code! Sounds good, no?

These three nonfiction selections all look great:

[amazon_image id=”0230109411″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”1592406521″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Just My Type: A Book About Fonts[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0802717446″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies[/amazon_image]

Some of these I am kind of on the fence about whether to read:

[amazon_image id=”B0046LUCSY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Mortal Love: A Novel[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”1442422246″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Fury[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”B00509COAK” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Magicians: A Novel[/amazon_image]

The cover of that first one looks familiar… maybe because I used it for my own book. At any rate, the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood is reading it in October, but reviews are mixed. I’m still deciding about whether to read [amazon_link id=”B0046LUCSY” target=”_blank” ]Mortal Love[/amazon_link]. I think I’m just frightened [amazon_link id=”1442422246″ target=”_blank” ]Fury[/amazon_link] will be too much like the other paranormal YA that is becoming ubiquitous. The reviews for [amazon_link id=”B00509COAK” target=”_blank” ]The Magicians[/amazon_link] have been all over the place. I read a Lev Grossman novel a few years ago, and I really didn’t like it. Anyone able to push me over the fence on any of these three?

I’ll save my other finds for next week. L’Shanah Tovah and best wishes for a sweet new year to my friends and colleagues.

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