Alibi V.13 No.49 • Dec 2-8, 2004 

Speed Reader

Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River

Rodale Books

They say kayaking down the Tsangpo is akin to snowboarding down Everest—not just dangerous, but quite a bit stupid as well. Heller chronicles a 2002 attempt by an ornery team that somehow lived to tell the tale.

Scream Queens of the Dead Sea

Thunder's Mouth Press

Set in a Jerusalem mental hospital, this crazed debut is told in the first person by a narrator who shares the author's own name. Critics have called it a hilarious, inventive novel that shows enormous promise for this new Israeli writer.

Banishing Verona

Henry Holt

This quirky story about the love connection between a semi-autistic house painter and an older, pregnant radio show host is blessed with lush language and idiosyncratic characters. It's been described as quality chick lit.

Hannah Coulter

Shoemaker & Hoard

A skinny new installment in Berry's Port William series, a twice-widowed rural lady provides an elegant and moving account of her life and love affairs, weaving in stories about the adult lives of her children as well. Advance readers have said this slim novel is up there with Berry's best.