Valdosta Daily Times

September 9, 2012

Readers of the Fall: A look at 10 books

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

- — In the coming weeks, numerous books will be released as fall turns to the Christmas shopping season. Today, we list a few that may strike readers’ fancies from novels to biography to politics to histories. Release dates are subject to change.

THE TIME KEEPER: Mitch Albom. Mitch Albom has a way of creating fables whether it’s from the non-fictional memoir view of his wildly successful “Tuesdays with Morrie” or his fictional “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” Albom finds the unearthly within the earthly and blends them together in a readable cocktail for the masses. With “The Time Keeper,” Albom writes in full fable mode, telling the story of the man who dared attempt to measure God’s gift of time — the man who becomes the mythical Father Time. Pages: 240. Release: On book store shelves since Sept. 4.

TELEGRAPH AVENUE: Michael Chabon. Here, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon turns his eclectic attention toward the owners of a California record store. Chabon has the tendency to weave magic whether it’s the burned-out writing professor in “Wonder Boys,” the rise of American comic books amidst the overseas depravities of the Holocaust in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” the what-if police mystery of a Jewish state established in Alaska rather than Israel with “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union,” etc. Readers can only hope he has more magic invested in “Telegraph Avenue.” Pages: 480. Release: Sept. 11.

THE PRICE OF POLITICS: Bob Woodward. After five volumes devoted to the post-911 wars, famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward changes the subject to the stalemate Washington economic politics of the past few years. “The Price of Politics” examines how President Barack Obama and the congressional leadership of both parties dealt with the nation’s recent economic crises. Unlikely to deal either candidate an October surprise, expect Woodward’s latest to spark the course of campaign-season discussion in the coming days. Pages: 448. Release: Sept. 11.

WINTER OF THE WORLD: Ken Follett. As he successfully did with his medieval “The Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End,” Ken Follett leaves the thrillers that made him famous for historical fiction. “Winter of the World” is the second massive installment in his “The Century Trilogy.” The first, “Fall of Giants,” dealt with American and European characters amidst the consequences of World War I and the cultural tsunami of creating a more egalitarian society. “Winter of the World” rejoins these families for the tumult of the Second World War. “Fall of Giants” was excellent. Possibly, the most surprising revelation here is how fast Follett has been able to release the second massive volume. Pages: 960. Release: Sept. 18.

THE CASUAL VACANCY: J.K. Rowling. She is one of the most successful authors in history, but one has to wonder if J.K. Rowling is a nervous wreck about the upcoming release of this next book. After all, it’s fate may determine how she spends her time during the next three to four decades of her life. “The Casual Vacancy” is not a Harry Potter book. Though Harry Potter found an audience with adults, the books were intended for children. This one is meant for an adult audience. An Englishman’s death leaves his small town lost. He apparently kept the townspeople from destroying one another, and his death sparks a mad scramble for his town council seat. If this book meets reader approval and sells, expect more adult novels from Rowling. If not? Well, she may find some way to return to Hogwarts ... Pages: 512. Release: Sept. 27.

KILLING KENNEDY: THE END OF CAMELOT: Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. Following the best-seller success of their “Killing Lincoln,” TV pundit Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard take deadly aim at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in this follow-up volume. They also promise to take the same approach: Tell the story in a historically accurate fashion but framing the narrative as if the tale were a political thriller. This approach made for a highly readable and informative book with “Killing Lincoln.” Pages: 336. Release: Oct. 2.

BACK TO BLOOD: Tom Wolfe. It’s been a few years since Tom Wolfe’s story of a young college co-ed in “I Am Charlotte Simmons” and even more years since his excellent “A Man in Full,” “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “The Right Stuff,” and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” were released. As with these past novels and journalist works, “Back to Blood” seeks to take the pulse of a culture and its denizens. A novel, “Back to Blood” is set in Miami, dealing with every type of person living in an area fueled by immigration and drug concerns. Pages: 720. Release: Oct. 23.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS: James Patterson. Any long-time fan of James Patterson’s first, and arguably best, character knows the end of the year means a new Alex Cross thriller. For nearly two decades, a new Alex Cross book has been as regular as, well, Christmas. In “Merry Christmas, Alex Cross,” the detective’s family holiday celebration is interrupted by a brutal hostage situation. Always a quick read, the Alex Cross books juxtapose the warmness of Cross’ family life with the brutality of a world plagued by serial killers, assassins and terrorists. Oh, what fun it is to read ... Pages: 352. Release: Nov. 12.

JEFFERSON: THE ART OF POWER: Jon Meacham. Thomas Jefferson has been called the “American Sphinx” for his complexity, as well as the almost unsolvable riddle that lies at the heart of our nation’s origins: The dichotomy of a slave owner with the soul to write the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson is a fascinating subject, expect Jon Meacham to mine Jefferson’s complexities thoroughly. The author of the well-researched, readable and Pulitzer Prize-winning Andrew Jackson biography “American Lion,” Meacham will delve into another Jefferson dichotomy: his ability to be both philosopher and politician, a man who could think and act. Pages: 800. Release: Nov. 13.

THE LEGEND OF BROKEN: Caleb Carr. For more than a decade, fans have been waiting, hoping, for author Caleb Carr to pen a third novel in his “Alienist” series. “The Alienist” and its sequel, “The Angel of Darkness,” set the stage for a series of violent murders set in the late 1800s. Both books were exceptional from their historic mood to their intricate characterizations and their relationships to their narrative pacing. They set the tone for many of the good, though far too often lesser, late 19th century thrillers that have followed from numerous other authors. Here, Carr takes readers on a journey to the Middle Ages and the siege of a mighty fortress which may or may not stand depending on the invading forces as well as those settled within its walls. Pages: 736. Release: Nov. 27.