What's New and Good: June 08

Check these titles out in a book store near you this month.

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman

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Resonant of Possession, though slightly more gritty and slightly less literary, this split historical narrative and modern mystery is a great summer read to sink your teeth into. Hickman is best known for her engaging history of courtesans in Courtesans. This novel is no less full of historical detail. The modern bit is not as good as the bit set in 16th century Constantinople, but it's all worth a few afternoons. For my review.

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

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This full-bodied and heady novel will make you scratch your head in wonder and catch your breath. The descriptions of 16th century Florence and the MidEast are beautiful. The characters are engrossing and their plights engaging, but this is a very challenging book. This is not to be taken lightly, but if you do think you might want to take the plunge, you'll be glad you did.

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

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The true story of one journalist's investigation into the worst serial crime in Italy. As Preston and his Italian counterpart, Mario Spezi, delve deeper into their research, they find themselves the targets of police pursuit for the Monster of Florence. In a bizarre twist of fate, Spezi is accused of being the Monster of Florence and thrown into prison, and Preston is told to leave the country.

The Other by David Guterson

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From the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, comes a dazzling novel about adulthood and compromises. When Neil and John meet as children, they are from diametrically different backgrounds, but they both share a love for the outdoors. As adults, Neil becomes a schoolteacher, but John is convinced that surviving alone in the woods is the only true way to live. When John decides to recede into the woods forever and asks Neil for help, Neil is soon involved in a deep, intertwined web of tragedy and deceit.

December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop
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Isabelle has not spoken in over a year. Four therapists have abandoned her, and her parents are desperate for a resolution to the problem. From the author of Fireworks, comes a highly affecting, passionate and gripping tale about one girl's battle and a family's efforts to heal.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up about the Guterson book. I didn't know he'd written a new one.

  2. Hi Sarah! Thanks for the comments on Rushdie. I won't argue with you that the novel was dense, somewhat confusing, and long. I really think he felt compelled to use as much of his research as possible, which is one of the things that drew the novel out longer than necessary. Despite these things I was still quite taken with the book. I think the images he drew with language (when he wasn't perhaps overdoing it) were powerful enough for me to overlook the negatives and give it a 4 out of 5 star rating. I really was enchanted with it as a whole. You mentioned editing. I wonder what happened? Does he not have a good editor? You'd think he would rate the best. I wonder if he wouldn't let anyone edit his work?


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