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Check out our Gift Center! Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on MAR 18, 2004.

Hello, readers!

Since the last update, I've posted another eleven reviews to

The update was actually done in two steps -- some posted on the 9th and more on the 16th. I ended up getting caught up with an all consuming project for my day (that is, paying) job and thus had to hold off on this update. Not to go into details, but if any of you are shopping for an office printer -- one intended for heavy use -- I sure can share some well-earned knowledge. After two weeks of "courting" salesmen and researching in the evening I finally made my choice. Now, I'm just waiting and waiting for it to arrive...

ALOFT by Chang-rae Lee
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Set on affluent Long Island, Aloft follows the life of a suburban, upper-middle-class man during a time of family crisis. Jerry Battle's favorite diversion is to fly his small plane over the neighboring towns and villages. When his daughter and her fiancé arrive from Oregon to announce their marriage plans, he looks back on his life and faces his disengagement with it--his urge to fly solo--and the people he loves. Mary says that this is certainly one of the best written books she has read in months and that this could be one of the big books for the year -- or so she hopes, as it deserves that kind of audience.

MAILMAN by J. Robert Lennon
Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

Albert Lippincott is a resident of Nestor, New York-mailman extraordinaire, aggressively cheerful, obsessively efficient. But Albert has a few things to hide: his unfortunate habit of reading other people's mail, a nervous breakdown, a disastrous marriage to a nurse, and a sexually ambiguous entanglement with his melodramatic sister. Now his supervisors are on to his letter-hoarding compulsion, and there's a throbbing pain under his right arm. Things are closing in on Albert, who will soon be forced to confront, once and for all, his life's failures. A blackly comic epic, a twisted voyage through small-town America, which tells the story of a brilliant, neurotic man desperately in search of love.

BANDBOX by Thomas Mallon
Reviewed by Poornima Apte

A madcap yet poignant novel that captures the heart and soul of New York in the Jazz Age. Bandbox is a hugely successful magazine, a glamorous monthly cocktail of 1920s obsessions from the stock market to radio to gangland murder. Edited by the bombastic Jehoshaphat "Joe" Harris, the magazine has a masthead that includes, among many others, a grisly, alliterative crime writer; a shy but murderously determined copyboy; and a burned-out vaudeville correspondent who's lovesick for his loyal, dewy assistant. As the novel opens, the defection of Harris's most ambitious protégé has plunged Bandbox into a death struggle with a new competitor on the newsstand. But there's more to come....

LAB 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory by Michael C. Carroll
Reviewed by Kam Aures

"The USDA fancies calling Plum Island 'The Alcatraz of Animal Disease.' This is terribly misleading. Unlike the prisoners of Alcatraz, live germs on Plum Island have made it out alive on two proven occasions, from each of the island's two laboratory buildings." Based on innumerable declassified government documents, scores of in-depth interviews, and access to Plum Island itself, this is an eye-opening, suspenseful account of a federal government germ laboratory gone terribly wrong. This is convincing enough that Kam says she wishes it were fiction.

THE LAST CROSSING by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Here's an honest-to-goodness, well-written "wild west" novel; certainly one that Lonesome Dove fans will want to investigate. This sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard-won redemption in which the author takes us on a journey from the ivy-covered towers of Oxford in Victorian England to the dusty whiskey trading posts of the nineteenth-century American and Canadian West. Find out why this has been a #1 selling book in Canada.

Reviewed by Judi Clark

A hitherto lost journal of the indomitable Egyptologist Amelia Peabody has been miraculously recovered: a chronicle from one of the "missing years" -- 1907-1908 -- shedding new light on an already exceptional career and a remarkable family. Also read a new review of Children of the Storm.

HARD REVOLUTION by George Pelecanos
Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale

A rich, dramatic, totally engrossing story of two brothers--one a rookie police officer, one a recently returned Vietnam veteran--caught up in the chaos that engulfed D.C. in 1968, when riots followed the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. This the fourth book in the Derek Strange series, with an unconventional twist of taking us back in history,letting us see another side of this black Washington D.C. P. I. Chuck says, if you are new to the series, start with this book.

BURGLAR ON THE PROWL by Lawrence Block
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

Lawrence Block returns with one of his most inspired and popular characters: the extraordinary Bernie Rhodenbarr. Antiquarian bookseller by day, burglar by night, Bernie has an innate knack, a gift, for getting into places designed to keep him out.

THE KILLS by Linda Fairstein
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

It's going to be a tough trial. Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper's case, involving an attack on investment banker Paige Vallis, would be difficult to prove even without the latest development -- it seems that Paige has something to hide. From the author who has lived the life of her protagonist.

SLEEPING BEAUTY by Phillip Margolin
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Author Miles Van Meter is on a book tour to promote his sensational bestseller Sleeping Beauty, a true-crime account of a deeply personal subject: the attack by a serial killer that left his twin sister, Casey, in a coma. Tonight the audience waits to hear Miles discuss recent developments in his sister's case -- unaware that pieces of this complex puzzle of violence, unknown even to the author, are about to be revealed.

I'm laughing at my words from a month ago when I uttered something about "spring." I'm so easily suckered -- I even cut my hair short in preparation for the upcoming good weather. Can't tell you how cold my ears were brushing the snow off the car, scraping the windows. I am so ready for my annual Florida trip, which is not going to happen.

Next update, I'll let you know of some more recent paperback releases. I have a lot of reviews waiting to be posted but not sure the schedule -- though I'm targeting first of April. I am going to have to work on my (real job) catalogs this weekend -- now that I'm going to have a new printer I better have all my catalogs ready to go when it arrives (not to mention before my boss returns from China). In case you are wondering "what catalogs?" -- I work for a company that designs & imports plush toys (a.k.a. stuffed animals) - one part of the job is to take photos and create catalogs. Obviously a whole lot different than being a product manager for software products. Certainly more fun.

Have a great weekend, read lots and relax. If you are reading this from Florida -- I'm jealous.

Judi Clark

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