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April  24

Borrowed Text?

A Million Little Pieces, The Da Vinci Code, and now another book in print is getting a closer look, this time from a young Millburn author...

Fc0316059889 Kaavya Viswanathan's "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" was published in March by Little, Brown and Co., which signed her to a hefty two-book deal when she was just 17.

On Sunday, the Harvard Crimson reported the similarities on its Web site, citing seven passages in Viswanathan's book that parallel the style and language of "Sloppy Firsts," a novel by Megan McCafferty that Random House published.

Viswanathan, of Millburn, N.J., whose book hit 32nd on The New York Times' hardcover fiction best seller list this week, did not return a phone message seeking comment. On Saturday, she told the Crimson: "No comment. I have no idea what you are talking about."

Michael Pietsch, the publisher of Little, Brown, said Sunday that the company will investigate the similarities.

"I can't believe that these are anything but unintentional," Pietsch said. "She is a wonderful young woman."

April 24, 2006 in Books | Permalink | Comments (57)

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March  31

From The Closet To The Bookshelf

Pmc_greeveyh2006032901826Former New Jersey Governor James Mc Greevey gave us his “I am a gay American" speech in August 2004, but apparently that, and the ensuing media frenzy, wasn’t enough. The Ex-gov, compelled to share the nitty gritty of his childhood, two sham marriages, and gay sex life has written his autobiography, The Confession. Oh yeah, there’s a heavy dose of his New Jersey politics mixed into it too.  From the Star Ledger:

It spans his whole life because his time as governor was very much influenced by his whole life."The book will include details about McGreevey's gay sex life and his efforts to keep his homosexuality hidden through two marriages and a political career that took him from Woodbridge Town Hall to the Statehouse, according to two people familiar with the book.

Amazon.com announced it is taking advance orders for the book -- scheduled to come out in September -- but local booksellers are giving this confession a big yawn. We asked manager Margo Sage-el at Watchung Booksellers what she thought:  "I don't think it will be popular with our readers...After all, who cares? Our readers aren't into celebrity bios -  the part about New Jersey politics might be interesting. I'll order one or two."

If the point of writing this is absolution and redemption - as memoirs often seem - may we suggest a sizzling personal face off on The Colbert Report.

March 31, 2006 in Books | Permalink | Comments (57)

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January   9

But Will It Play In Peoria?

The verdict is in -- McMansions and rattlesnakes are a big hit in Vermont, according to American Booksellers Association's Booksense, which chose the Barista's first novel as one of its February picks...

RATTLED: A Novel, by Debra Galant (St. Martin's, $21.95, 0312349319) "I enjoyed Rattled from beginning to end -- from Heather, the suburban wife, who wants everything (including being class mom), to Harlan, the organic egg farmer, to Agnes, the protector of the endangered New Jersey rattlesnake. It's clever, suspenseful, funny, and, in the end, touching."

--Pat Carstenen, Bear Pond Books of Montpelier, Montpelier, VT

Book group anyone? Get your copy now...

January 9, 2006 in Books | Permalink | Comments (32)

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December  22

Words You're Glad You Didn't Write

Woman_at_the_washington_zoo If you're looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, or you just want to read something that will make you appreciate every moment you have on earth, even the bad ones, may we suggest "The Woman at the Washington Zoo."

Dale Russakoff, a Washington Post reporter who lives in Montclair, sent us a note a while ago, asking us to promote the book of WaPo colleague Marjorie Williams, who died Jan. 16, 2005. Williams' book, "The Woman at the Washington Zoo," is a posthumously published collection of her columns, essays and a short memoir of her battle with liver cancer. The diagnosis came when Williams' children were 5 and 8, and she was only expected to live three to four months. She wound up surviving three years.

For me, time is the only currency that truly counts any more. I have weathered days of wretchedness and pain without a whimper, only to come unglued when some little glitch suddenly turns up to meddle with the way I had planned to use some unit of time: that this half-hour, and the contents I had planned to pour into it, are now lost to me forever seems an insupportable unfairness. Because, of course, any old unit of time can suddenly morph into a bloated metaphor for the rest of your time on earth, for how little you may have and how little you may control it.

Here's a lovely review from the New York Times. We picked up our copy other day, took it home, brought it straight to bed and read for hours. Watchung Booksellers has plenty in stock.

December 22, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1)

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November  12

The Truth About Adoption

A_love_like_no_other Ever wonder what life is like as an adoptive parent? There's lots of literature geared to readers wishing to adopt a baby, but less about what happens after...the challenges and rewards of raising an adopted child. Now, a book seeking to fill that void, is also serving as a poignant piece of prose for any parent. A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents, isn't a guidebook to adoption. Written by Baristaville adoptive moms, Montclair journalist Jill Smolowe and Millburn author Pamela Kruger, the book reveals the sometimes secret world of life after adopting a child. Already picked up favorably by reviewers and on adoption blogs, the book's essays reveal the emotions, struggles and epiphanies by some 20 diverse adoptive parents (who also happen to be award-winning writers), stuff that doesn't crop up in casual conversation...

"You'd think by now that adoption's so deep in our culture that the next thing we'll be giving our kids is Barbie's Chinese Baby, but our families are still a curiosity -- still regarded as a little on the shady side of regular," writes Mitchard, whose novel "The Deep End of the Ocean" was the first selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club.

For more about the book and the writers featured, click here.

November 12, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1)

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October  12

Look, it's Carmine!

BookBaristaville Me-Firster MyManMisterC informs about a Sopranorific book signing taking place tomorrow, October 13 at the Barnes & Noble at West 44th & 5th Avenues in NYC at 1pm, and another on Saturday, October 15 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT - but don't worry about the time, just head on up, put it all on black, and look for the crowd. The book, in case you were wondering, is Tony Lip's Shut Up and Eat!, a fun collection of stories, recipes, and all around great Italian stuff. But it's not just Lip's recollections - all kinds of good stuff from his fellow actors and actresses are included. Lip, if you don't know, plays Carmine Lupratasi on our favorite Mafia-themed television show on HBO.

October 12, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

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July  16

Just Say No To Sprawl

Not exactly a beach read, but a page-turner for any McMansion hater. In our mailbox, a press release for Sprawl Kills

Sprawl Kills examines a combination of interrelated topics that no other book has achieved. You can choose to ignore sprawl, but it will not ignore you. Readers will learn how to fight corrupt sprawl politics used by the sprawl industry, identify sprawl shills, identify true alternatives to sprawl, and kill sprawl, before it kills our country.

Books can change society, as proved by Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe At Any Speed,” and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” The tipping point for a revolution in the housing and transportation markets is within sight. Healthy active living can be promoted by replacing blandburbs with walkable real neighborhoods, designed on smart growth and New Urbanism principles. No matter what else you’ve read, “Sprawl Kills” gives a new picture of what American society can and should be. Learn how “sprawl politics” – aided by right-wing sprawl shills – have corrupted government and deprived Americans of housing and transportation choices, caused environmental damage and loss of greenspace, and harmed public health.

We're all for killing sprawl as long as we can still maintain a big spread. And we love the term blandburb -- so evocative. Maybe our own Debra Galant can set her next novel in the fictional town of Blandburg, loosely based on what other town?

July 16, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (29)

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April  16

If Books Are Your Bag

It's Bag Day at The College Women’s Club of Montclair's Annual Book and Music Sale. Fill up bags for $5 today from 10am to 6pm. For more info, see Thrills.

April 16, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

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March  26

On The Night Table

Nighttable_2  When not found hunched over a keypad, what are the residents of Baristaville paging through these days? To start you off, here's what's on my night table, The Known World by Edward P. Jones. Let us know what you're reading (night table pictures optional).

March 26, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (13)

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December  22

Seasons Readings

ShoppersGiving books for the holidays? As we already knew, the folks in Baristaville have a well-honed sense of humor. At both of Montclair's book emporiums, watchung booksellers and Montclair Book Center, the runaway must-have book gift has been America by John Stewart. Running a close second is the season's other humor tome, When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops by George Carlin. Among the crossover faves, Amazon buyers in Glen Ridge and Bloomfield have two books in common: Lies and The Lying Liars who Tell Them by Al Franken and John Grisham's The Last Juror. In Montclair, Gender on Trial by Holly English and Strapless by Deborah Davis claim Amazon's top two spots this week. At watchung booksellers, people are also clamoring for The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge; Montclair Book Center is selling stacks of Philip Roth's Plot Against America. We invite you to read into this as you see fit...

December 22, 2004 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1)

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