August 1st, 2014 By: Nora Rawlinson
Publishing, like the fashion industry, and unlike most of the rest of us, views August as the beginning of the fall season. The first full week of the month, however, are early days, so there’s just a few reliable big names to take the spotlight (the real heat doesn’t begin until the last week of August, with a new James Patterson).
The titles mentioned here, and more, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, with alternative formats, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 8/4/14.
Leading in holds and numbers of copies ordered by libraries is The Lost Island by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, (Hachette.Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), the third in the Gideon Crew series, in which the Crew is ordered to steal the Book of Kells. Booklist stars it and calls it “sparkling.”
The man & dog detective team, Chet and Bernie, are back in their seventh punny title, Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn (S&S/Atria; Recorded Books).
Another familiar team, coming in a distant third in holds and orders, is father and son authors, W E B Griffin and William E. Butterworth with the first title in their new series set during the Cold War, Top Secret: Clandestine Operations #1 (Penguin/Putnam,Brilliance).
Several titles will be grabbing attention in the news media.
Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone), Elizabeth Green, (Norton)
Reminding us that the beginning of the school year is around the corner, an excerpt of this book was featured on the cover of last Sunday’s NYT Magazine.
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, Rick Perlstein, (S&S; Brilliance Audio)
It’s the 40th anniversary of Nixon resigning over the Watergate scandal (last week, both The Nixon Tapes and John Dean’s The Nixon Defense were published). Perlstein’s book is featured on the cover of this Sunday’s NYT Book Review, “In what has become his signature style, Rick Perlstein has hoovered up a staggering array of … revealing figures and anecdotes to recount that grim time in his engrossing new book … The Invisible Bridge is the third doorstop volume in this man of the left’s mission to explain the rise of the right.” Much more media is line up, including NPR’s Fresh Air.
The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal The Hidden Lives Of The Presidents, Ronald Kessler (RH/Crown Forum)
Kessler made a big splash in 2009 with his first book on the Secret Service, in which he managed to get some agents (who are supposed to carry their stories to the grave) to dish about the people they had protected, causing it to rise to #3 the NYT Nonfiction best seller list. Here, he uses that method again to make claims about the Clintons, who have already issued a statement, saying, “With Klein [Blood Feud], Halper [Clinton Inc.] and [author Ronald] Kessler, we now have a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense for a quick buck, at the expense of anything even remotely resembling the truth.” Tabloids are already having a field day with some of the claims.
Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Helen Thorpe (S&S/Scribner)
We suspect libraries will have to scramble to buy more copies of this one. The subject is appealing, the undertold story of women at war, and the method is personal, journalist Helen Thorpe followed ithree women soldiers, who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, for 12 years. Prepub reviews are strong, with both PW and Kirkus starring it. The author is set to appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 5 as well as on NPR’s Weekend Edition on August 10.
For those who just want “something good to read,” below are six titles that are already hits with you colleagues.
The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio)
“Even if you haven’t read the first two books in the wonderful Magicians Trilogy, you will enjoy the escapades of Quentin Coldwater. Now 30 years old, Quentin finds himself back at Brakebills, experiencing school from the teacher’s side of the desk. But his adventures are far from over! Although I’m not generally a fantasy reader, I’ve been rooting for Quentin ever since I first picked up this series and am sad to see it end.” — Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN
The Syfy channel has greenlighted a pilot for an adaptation of the trilogy.
2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, Marie-Helene Bertino, (RH/Crown)
This verdict from Library Journal is convincing; “By the fourth sentence of the first page, readers will fall in love with debut author Bertino .. This assured, moving, brilliantly funny tale of music, mourning, and off-kilter romance entrances with its extraordinarily inventive language. Be prepared for a quick reread of this novel to try to answer the question: How did Bertino do that?” — Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI
A Colder War, Charles Cumming, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio)
Booklist stars this one, saying, “Over several novels, Cumming has established himself, along with Olen Steinhauer, as one of the best of today’s old-school espionage novelists.” Naturally, it’s also recommended for fans of John le Carre, on readers’s minds again because of the attention to the adaptation of his A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Bookseller Picks (Indie Next)
#1 Pick: Painted Horses: A Novel, by Malcolm Brooks, (Grove Press)
During the influential BEA Editors Buzz Panel, Grove publisher Morgan Entrekin, compared Painted Horses to another book he published and championed, Cold Mountain. Booksellers are sharing his enthusiasm, making it the #1 Indie Next pick for August, with the following annotation:
“Brooks sweeps post-WWII American prosperity, ancient native traditions, and the rush to tame the still-wild West together in a novel driven by diverse and deeply realized characters that come together in a heart-pounding story. Catherine Lemay is a talented young archeologist defying the traditions of a ‘man’s world’ by accepting the challenge to explore a Montana canyon slated for flooding for hydroelectric power. What she discovers is beauty, history, threats, and John H — a former mustanger, Army veteran, and enigmatic canyon dweller. Far from her comfortable New York home, Catherine embraces Montana’s stark conditions and with John H uncovers both secrets of the region and truths within herself. A breathtaking debut!” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
In the Kingdom of Ice:The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Hampton Sides(RH.Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print)
“Sides tells more than a fateful story of exploration, he brings to life an entire era of discovery and the passions that drove it. We meet a wild newspaper magnate who, in addition to racing carriages at midnight in the nude, exiled himself to France after drunkenly urinating in his then-fiancée’s grand piano; an obsessive German cartographer who staunchly believed in a warm, open polar sea at the North Pole; and a strong-willed captain who fell madly in love with the impossible, glaciered grandeur of Earth above the 80th parallel. The meeting of these three eccentric minds led to the voyage of the USS Jeanette, and Sides tells the ship’s tragic story well in cinematic prose with a keen sense of his characters and their changing world.” —Michael Wallenfels, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
The Library Journal review adds, “Using De Long’s correspondence with his wife as an especially effective tool to bring the explorer to life,”
The Home Place, Carrie La Seur, (HarperCollins/ Morrow; HarperLuxe)
“Alma Terrebonne, a rising star in a Seattle law firm, has left behind her complicated family and past tragedies in Billings, Montana, until one morning when a call for help pulls her back. Returning to identify her sister, dead apparently from exposure, and to care for her 11-year-old niece, Alma is overcome by guilt, fragile family relations, powerful memories from the past, and the hold the family homestead has over her. Both a tense, page-turning police procedural and a delightful romance with carefully drawn characters, The Home Place will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT