Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2013, Pt. 2: Harlan Coben, Bruce Feiler, A.B. Yehoshua, and More

Coben, Harlan. Six Years. Dutton. Mar. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780525953487. $27.95. THRILLER
Heartbroken when wonderful Natalie marries another man, Jake Sanders tries to forget her, working hard at his career as a college professor. Six years later, when he learns that Natalie’s husband has died, he attends the funeral—only to discover that the widow, who had been long married, is not Natalie at all. When mutual friends can’t remember Jake and further declare that they haven’t seen Natalie for years, Jake’s image of his former beloved begins to shift. Not surprisingly, an intriguing premise from Coben, an Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Award winner and a hugely best-selling author. Look for a five-city tour,

Feiler, Bruce. The Secrets of Happy Families: Surprising New Ideas to Bring More Togetherness, Less Chaos, and Greater Joy. Morrow. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780061778735. $25.99; eISBN 9780062199508. FAMILY/SELF-HELP
Feiler’s five New York Times best sellers all have a personal touch, and this book is no different. Squeezed by worries about aging parents and growing children, he interviewed experts nationwide so that he could formulate rules for managing the overscheduled, overconnected modern family. The Harvard Negotiation Project taught him about effective argument, Warren Buffett’s banker gave tips on granting allowance, and Modern Family offered a refreshing spin on the Thanksgiving dinner. Entertaining and helpful; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Grossman, Austin. You. Mullholland: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316198530. $25.99. THRILLER
Russell is happy to be a part of Black Arts, the soaring new games studio where the industry’s techiest techs work in unison. But the studio’s hot new game seems to be suffering from a software glitch, and Russell finds himself in a race to save the game, his job, and his friends. The trouble dates back 20 years to some very human bugs. Expect Grossman, author of the best-selling Soon I Will Be Invincible and the creator of several popular games (Deus Ex, anyone?), to deliver sleek techno-brilliance with heart. If the name and face seem familiar, know that Grossman is Magicians author and Time book critic Lev Grossman’s twin.

Haynes, Elizabeth. Dark Tide. Harper: HarperCollins. Mar. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780062197320. $25.99. THRILLER
Haynes’s first book, Into the Darkest Corner, was named an Amazon UK 2011 Best Book of the Year and an Amazon Best Book of the Month for June 2012, so you’re right to expect good things from this follow-up. Genevieve abandons rat-race London to fulfill her dream of living on a houseboat in Kent. She’s kept her boat’s odd name, Revenge of the Tide, which sadly proves to be prophetic when a dead body washes up nearby as she hosts a boat-warming party. What’s worse, she recognizes the victim as a friend from the nights she spent dancing at a private club called the Barclay—her means of funding her getaway. Is there a connection? With a 60,000-copy first printing and promotion at Boucheron and ALA Midwinter.

Wansink, Brian. Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Home, School, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, and More. Morrow. Mar. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780062136527. $26.99; eISBN 9780062136541. HEALTH/FITNESS
The author of the best-selling Mindless Eating goes one step further, explaining how we can redesign kitchens, restaurants, grocery stores, and school cafeterias to encourage better eating habits. He surely has the credentials; professor and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, he’s also a nutrition columnist for AARP magazine, one of two nutrition experts for the Atlantic, and the man responsible for the government’s new Dietary Guidelines for 2010 and the Food Guide Pyramid. Oh, and you can also thank him for the Smarter Lunchroom Initiative (now in 6000 schools) and the Small Plate Movement sweeping the nation. With a 100,000-copy first printing; take it seriously.

Yehoshua, A.B. Retrospective. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780547496962. $26. LITERARY FICTION
Expect celebrated Israeli novelist Yehoshua to offer acute insight into the artistic mind, though his protagonist is actually an actor. For a retrospective of his work, Yair Moses has traveled (symbolically) to Santiago de Compostela, the end point of the renowned ancient pilgrimage route the Way of St. James. There he reflects on his break with scriptwriter and close collaborator Shaul Trigano after he rewrites one of Shaul’s key scenes—a scene whose meaning he only now begins to understand. Complicating matters: Yair’s costar and sometime romantic partner, with him now, had decried the scene. Excellent for reading groups.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.