EarlyWord

News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Even Patterson Can’t Beat the TRAIN

The Girl on the Train  All The Light We Cannot See  9780316406994_4e369

The best seller logjam has not broken. On the 4/5 NYT Hardcover Fiction list, the number one and two spots are occupied, as they have been for weeks, by Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead) and Anthony Doerr’s  All the Light We Cannot See, (S&S/Scribner). Even a new book by James Patterson can’t break through. His latest, with Marshall Karp, NYPD Red 3 (Hachette/Little, Brown) arrives at #3.

HausfrauMeanwhile, Hausfrau, by Jill Essbaum, (Random House; RH Audio), heavily considered a successor to The Girl On The Train, just squeaks onto the main list at #16, in a tie with #15, The Whites, by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (Macmillan/Holt).

The NYT‘s “Inside the List” column may bring more readers to Hausfrau, as it promotes the book’s erotic side, noting that the author, a poet, is “no stranger to the naughty bits.”

Seven Titles For RA Gurus, Week of March 30

Titles arriving next week range from sure bets, to a very interesting question mark. The media will be busy with NYC’s former Police Commissioner who went from From Jailer to Jailed. For those of us whose sins are more of the grammatical nature, help is on the way.

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed, with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of March 30, 2015

Holds Leaders

At the Water's Edge  9781250056238_d0a76  9780553391350_f3ae7

At The Water’s Edge, Sara Gruen, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample),

It’s the holds leader for the week, which is no surprise, given the author’s name recognition but the question is, will demand continue? We summarize the best thinking on its chances from several collection development librarians in a separate post. Holds are slightly higher on this one than they are for Steve Berry’s new book, below, but libraries have ordered fewer copies, perhaps in reaction to the author’s previous title, Ape House, which did reach the demand level for her earlier Water for Elephants.

The Patriot Threat, Steve, Berry, (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; Overdrive Sample)

The tenth Cotton Malone thriller poses the question many ask at this time of the year, “What if the U.S.  federal income tax was illegal?”

The Angel Court Affair, Anne Perry, (RH/Ballantine; Overdrive Sample)

Can an author keep a series fresh after a many titles?  Yes, says PW, calling this thirtieth entry in Perry’s historical series featuring Victorian era husband-and-wife detectives, one of the better entries, adding, “As usual, Perry melds the intellectual debates of the day with a suspenseful plot line.”

Critics’ Favorite

9780062349378_cd9a5The Harder They Come,  T.C. Boyle, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio)

Already getting attention from major critics:

Washington Post – Ron Charles begins his review, “Every punch and thrust and gasp in the opening of T.C. Boyle’s new novel demonstrates why he’s one of the greatest storytellers in the country.”

NYT, Michiko Kakutani  — “arguably Mr. Boyle’s most powerful, kinetic novel yet.”

L.A. Times, by Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins — “As much as this is a novel of big ideas, The Harder They Come never feels didactic, partly because Boyle doesn’t let up on the accelerator, ” but, “Much of his story is tied to characters, Adam and Sara, whose irrational, far-right, Uh-merican ignorance (or outright insanity) make them hard to follow with anything like sympathy. Even as the action amps up, emotional connection flickers.”

Upcoming Media Attention

9781476783703_d69f4From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054,, Bernard B. Kerik, (S&S/Threshold Editions; Overdrive Sample)

The controversial former NYC police commissioner is media bait and is scheduled for appearances on:

• NBC-TV/’Today,’ March 30
• CNN-TV/’CNN Tonight,’ March 31
• ABC-TV/’Nightline,’ March 31

9781594487132_85bbaSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson (Penguin/Riverhead; OverDrive Sample)

The author was already treated to a love fest by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. An excerpt was featured as a NYT Magazine cover story.

Picks

9780393240184_dec2cBetween You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, Mary Norris, (Norton; Recorded Books)

An Indie Next pick, this new book on the always entertaining subject of grammar is featured in a new video series from The New Yorker. We’ll be watching.

Crystal Ball:
AT THE WATER’S EDGE

At the Water's Edge  9781565124998_36937  9780385523226_5fc54

Will word of mouth sink or buoy up Sara Gruen’s At The Water’s Edge (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample), arriving next week?

Early reactions are sharply divided. It’s the #1 LibraryReads pick for April but both Kirkus and Booklist were less than enthusiastic, with Kirkus calling it plain “silly” and complaining that the main characters came across as “spoiled brats.” Past history is also divided. The author has published one blockbuster, Water for Elephants, the basis for a successful movie (which may even become a Broadway musical), followed by the less successful Ape House.

We checked in with several collection development librarians to get their take. All of them expect At The Water’s Edge to hit best seller lists based on the author’s name recognition and to continue due to word of mouth. Several took a strong position early and others have gone back to order more copies.

Below are their major points (sorry, quotes had to be anonymous).

Setting:

  • “The World War II setting will definitely be a bigger attraction than that of Ape House (a research center dedicated to studying bonobo apes).”
  • Set in Scotland, it includes fascinating details about the Loch Ness monster

Comparison to previous titles:

  • Most said that Ape House had not done well at all in their libraries, but one librarian cautions, “Underperformance is relative. We might have considered Ape House a success if we didn’t have Water for Elephants as a comparison.”

Characters:

  • “Unlikeable characters have held back some titles from star writers for us before.”
  • “Some people complain about the characters in GOTT, but that hasn’t killed word of mouth.”
  • The main character shows emotional development and don’t forget, there’s a romance involved.

Reading Group Appeal:

  • “Reading groups who will have a great time dissecting this book and parsing the characters.”

Reviews:

  • The LJExpress review, posted after the less appreciative Kirkus and Booklist reviews, has it right. “Get past [some issues with believability], and you’ll find yourself skimming along entertainingly with Maddie as she grows up, asserts herself, and gets the right man.”
  • “One of my very best ARC readers raved about it, and she’s never wrong.”
  • The consumer press will have an effect, especially if Entertainment Weekly and/or People are enthusiastic. It will get media attention of course. The  author is scheduled to appear on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Saturday and next week on the Diane Rehm Show.

Summary:

  • “My best guess (educated, of course ) is this book will circulate briskly for most of the summer into the fall and be a book club favorite. It’s success will be closer to Water for Elephants and much better than Ape House, which was a bust for us. It has a lot of hooks going for it: Scotland, World War II, romance, Loch Ness monster, a Downtown Abbey vibe (few seem to be bothered that Lord Grantham and family continue going to balls and teas in the midst of war).”

Place your bets in the comments section, below!

J.K. Rowling’s Chamber of Secrets

9781849669740J.K. Rowling wrote a song for Nearly Headless Nick to sing in The Chamber of Secrets but deleted it during edits; the dementors were less of a threat in the early drafts of The Prisoner of Azkaban; pages from David Guterson’s East of the Mountains hid The Order of the Phoenix from prying eyes.

1357-apr032015_0These are but three of the revelations in J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013, a 544 page scholarly work by Philip W. Errington (Bloosmbury Academic; April 23, 2015; ISBN 9781849669740) with a price tag of $128 that has made the cover of the April 3rd edition of Entertainment Weekly. We’re willing to bet this is the first time an academic book has made the cover (it’s in the burst, just above the photo of a goat eating Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s dress}.

Errington is the director for children’s books at Sotheby’s auction house and has spent five years working on the bibliography, according to The Guardian. It provides full details of each edition of the Harry Potter books, which are numerous due to the varying adult and children’s covers, the UK vs. US texts, and the multiple foreign translations.

Perhaps of most interest to readers will be his account of how the Harry Potter books were revised and edited (which EW excepts in their story), including a secret code and a dead letter drop in a bar to pass along one manuscript, how Rowling got sick of re-reading the books during edits, and the massive efforts to maintain continuity between the series titles which resulted in a detailed file termed “the HP bible.”

Like Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, published by South Dakota Historical Society Press, another academic book that found a popular fan-base, Errington’s book is likely to hold appeal beyond its intended audience of researchers and book dealers.

Based on WorldCat, orders are very light but expect demand. Not every denizen of Rowling’s huge fan base can afford the steep academic price and will turn to their local library for the keys to this chamber of secrets.

READY PLAYER ONE,
The Spielberg Movie

Ready Player OneThe long-gestating film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) has made a giant step towards reality. Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that they’ve hired a director,  Steven Spielberg.

Currently finishing up the original Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks, Spielberg’s next project is the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. After that, he plans to turn his attention to the Cline adaptation.

9780804149112_319ecReady Player One, Cline’s debut, was the top title on a list of librarian favorites for the year.

Cline’s second book, Armada (RH/Crown, RH & BOT Audio),  set for publication on July 24th, has also been optioned for a movie .

Nancy Pearl Recommends UNBECOMING

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 8.55.01 PMYou can hear the joy in librarian Nancy Pearl’s voice when she discovers a new author she loves. During her program on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW this week, she is especially excited about discovering a debut, Rebecca Scherm’s novel Unbecoming (Penguin/Viking, Jan. 22; OverDrive Sample).

Nancy particularly appreciates Sherm’s deftness in crafting a restrained novel with fully realized characters. The “psychological acuity, the way [Sherm] understands her characters and presents them to us, is just brilliant,” she says, adding “it’s amazing what she did in just 308 pages. I love this book.”

Sherm’s novel was also part of the Penguin First Flights program on EarlyWord in October. In a live chat with librarians, Sherm discusses her influences – Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock – as well as how she hopes readers respond to her characters, “As a writer, there’s a sense of readerly discomfort that I want. One of the things I find so incredible about Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels is that I am rooting for him and against him at the same time.”

What’s the novel about? Summing it up on her own website, Sherm posts a useful RA description “Unbecoming reinvents the heist plot and takes up the making of a femme fatale — this time, from a woman’s point of view.” In their “Briefly Noted” summary The New Yorker writes this “lively début combines a knotty coming-of-age tale and a high-society caper.” The NYT Sunday Book Review deems it “startlingly inventive.”

Nancy features a new book each Tuesday. An archive of previous shows is on the KUOW site.

GALLEYCHATTER, Seven Titles to Read ASAP

Editor’s Note: With this column, our “GalleyChatter” Robin Beerbower marks her first anniversary writing the column. We appreciate her tenacity in wrangling so many titles from each of our monthly chats (a dazzling 92 books  during the March 3 chat) down to several to move to the top of your TBR lists (if you don’t find something here, Robin’s compiled the full list into an Edelweiss collection).

GalleyChats are held on Twitter the first Tuesday of each month. The next one is on April 7, 4 to 5 p.m. EDT. Please join us (details here).

From Robin:

9781250054807_1030cOf course librarians are drawn to books that feature fellow colleagues and the debut novel by Erika Swyler, Book of Speculation (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, June), has already received high praise from GalleyChatters. It features newly unemployed librarian Simon Watson who is working on saving his family house from falling into the sea and also trying to save his sister, who seems to destined to fall under a curse set by their female ancestors. Janet Lockhart (Wake County Public Libraries) and I believe that this fascinating and compelling story with touches of myth and magic is perfect for fans of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and the more recent Magical Lies by Greer McAllister.

9780062358325_9699eIt’s always fun to predict what book smart beach goers will be carrying in their totes come summer and Jennifer Dayton (Darien, CT, Library) thinks it will be the tale of a man’s obsessive love for a free-spirited woman, Girl in the Moonlight, Charles Dubow (HarperCollins/Morrow, May). Jennifer said this not-so-guilty pleasure “is a wonderful take on Brideshead Revisisted.” [Note: the cover doesn’t render well in this thumbnail size. Click on it to see a larger version]

9781594633294_c128cSt. Charles Parish Library’s (LA) Vicki Nesting‘s enthusiasm for Anna Freeman’s The Fair Fight (Penguin/Riverhead, April) had many of us scrambling to download the DRC from Edelweiss. This novel set in 18th century England’s world of female boxers is already Vicki’s favorite historical novel of the year because, “From the backyard boxing rings to the disturbing long-term effects of smallpox, readers will be swept up in Freeman’s compellingly authentic, not-to-be-missed novel.”

9781455599899_acfa2Jamie Attenberg’s The Middlesteins landed on many “best of” lists in 2013, and her follow-up novel, Saint Mazie (Hachette/Grand Centra, June), has popped up in the last couple of GalleyChat discussions. Based on a real-life story of a woman in New York City, this novel of a theatre owner’s big-hearted move to open her establishment to help the needy during the Depression garnered rave reviews by Kansas City (MO) Library’s Kaite Stover, who said this epistolary novel has a “feisty female lead, quick pace, and is cinematic in scope. Would make a great flick.”

9780525429142_89846In J. Ryan Stradel’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest (Penguin/Pamela Dorman, July), a superstar chef’s rise to fame is told in a collection of short stories told from various viewpoints. Rich in unique characters and with enticing food descriptions, this is one to watch and would make a great book club choice. Even though the tone is a little different, try this for those who loved Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kittredge. [Note: this is one of the upcoming titles in the Penguin Debut Authors program. Join here]

9781455557103_300c9Judging from the enthusiastic GalleyChatter raves for The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Hachette/Grand Central, April), this charming novel is sure to be a hit, especially for Will and Kate watchers. Leslie Stokes of Heard Co. Public Library in Franklin, GA, said the authors “show that in today’s world of paparazzi, TMZ, and Twitter, dating a prince may not necessarily be a fairytale. Believable new adult romance that avoids the overabundance of angst present in so many teen dramas.”

9780761171713_3f9a8This month’s nonfiction choice is The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital, Alexandra Robbins (Workman, May), a fascinating and somewhat alarming examination of the contemporary nursing profession. Carol Kubala (retired librarian, Saxton B. Little Free Library, CT) gave it five stars on Good Reads, saying “Robbins not only shows, she tells in this revealing expose of the modern day state of nursing. It is an eye-opener not to be missed.”

635604653206302811-JojoMoyesGalleyChatters are also anticipating JoJo Moyes’ After You, the sequel to Me Before You, announced in late February. Sorry to say there is no DRC or print ARC available but Penguin’s library marketing rep said they are working on print ARCs for ALA annual. Is there any better reason to attend?

Please join us for our next spirited GalleyChat discussion on April 7, and “friend me” on Edelweiss to see what’s on my TBR pile.

Holds Alert: A LITTLE LIFE

9780385539258_d6a46Heralded by many as the next Goldfinch (as in, poised to be a popular literary breakout) and an early favorite for the year of librarians on GalleyChat, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample) is becoming a holds superstar, with some libraries we checked spiking to ratios in the double digits.

Yanagihara’s second novel, after her acclaimed debut The People in the Trees, it tells the story of four friends, one of whom has lived a life of gothic trauma.

The 720-page novel is enjoying lavish attention. The LA Times’ review begins, “I’ve read a lot of emotionally taxing books in my time, but A Little Life … is the only one I’ve read as an adult that’s left me sobbing.” Vogue says the book announces “the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.” Kirkus, in a starred review, claims “The phrase ‘tour de force’ could have been invented for this audacious novel.” John Powers, a reviewer for NPR’s Fresh Air, confesses, “As I was reading, I literally dreamed about it every night.”

Even reviews that mention shortcomings offer high praise. The Huffington Post, in its “Bottom Line” column,  useful for readers advisors because it aims to combine “plot description and analysis with fun tidbits about the book,” calls it “a flawed but impressive novel that lifts the veil on the heart-wrenching consequences of trauma and loss.” It also calls the book “wondrous” and concludes that “the triumph of A Little Life’s many pages is significant: It wraps us so thoroughly in a character’s life that his trauma, his struggles, his griefs come to seem as familiar and inescapable as our own.” Entertainment Weekly in its B+ review says the novel is a “sometimes maddening read” but goes on to assert, “flaws and all, it’s still a wonderful Life.”

Check your holds. The waiting list might be as long as the novel itself.

GO SET A Cover

harper-lee-435According to People magazine, in an exclusive this morning, this cover is the real deal.

The art and type echo those from the cover of To Kill a Mockingbird. Quoted on the HarperCollins Library Love Fest blog, President and Publisher Michael Morrison notes,

“There are so many wonderful parts of Go Set a Watchman that it was hard to pick just one iconic image to represent the book. This design is perfect – it draws on the style of the decade the book was written, but with a modern twist. Go Set a Watchman begins with Scout’s train ride home, but more profoundly, it is about the journey Harper Lee’s beloved characters have taken in the subsequent 20 years of their lives.”

Go Set A Watchman, (Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015)

It’s a Three Author Week for
Jon Stewart

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart showcases three authors this week.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.45.11 AMMonday started with a bang as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Heretic: Why Islam Needs Reformation Now (Harper), was interviewed by Stewart, who clearly does not agree with her book’s thesis. Excerpted on ABC News, it opens with the assertion that “Islam is not a religion of peace” and goes on to criticize the faith with a broad brush and to suggest five reforms. Stewart pushes hard against the idea that Islam is different in its history of struggle over definition than other religions, pointing out that the Christian Reformation led to over a hundred years of violence triggered by a desire for a purer form of faith. While Hirsi Ali kept to her guns, Stewart was not convinced. The book is rising on Amazon, moving in to the top fifty bestsellers.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.44.39 AMSure to be a much lighter segment, Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Riverhead Books; OverDrive Sample), returns to the show tonight. It will be his third appearance with Stewart and based on past interviews the two obviously appreciate each other. Ronson’s book, which will be released early next week, is timely given the current focus on the shaming culture, most centrally highlighted by Monica Lewinsky.
The comic satirist, as Stewart dubs him, has spent years meeting those who have been shamed and those doing the shaming and writes about the fallout on the victims and society as a whole. Ronson’s book was excerpted in the 2/12 NYT Magazine.

By the way, it was recently announced that Scarlett Johanson has signed to star in the film adaptation of Ronson’s earlier book, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry. He also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats (S&S, 2004), which was the basis for the 2010 movie starring George Clooney.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.46.17 AMJohn Hargrove ends the week with his appearance on Thursday. He will discuss Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish (Palgrave Macmillan; BOT Audio).

Hargrove worked for Sea World and was featured in the searing documentary Blackfish. Kirkus calls his account of his years as a trainer and his current advocacy efforts to change laws regarding orcas in captivity “a shocking, aggressively written marine park exposé.” Hargrove was also a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday which sent his book racing up the Amazon charts.

THE FERGUSON REPORT,
Coming In Print

Called a “scathing report” by the NYT when it was issued earlier this month, the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Ferguson, Mo. Police Department concluded that  it “had been routinely violating the constitutional rights of its black residents.”

The not-for-profit publisher New Press just announced that they will publish print and eBook versions in July that will include an introduction by Theodore M. Shaw, a former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. More details available in the publisher’s press release. The ISBN is 978-1620971604.

The 102-page report is freely available online but major findings such as this are often published later in book form. Last December Melville House published The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture. Many libraries bought paper copies of that report or provided access via OverDrive and several still have copies in circulation.

One spot of good news about Ferguson was the library’s response. Director Scott Bonner kept the building open, even providing space for classes when the schools were closed. As a result, donations poured in, enabling him to hire a children’s librarian.

Bonner was recently named a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker.

UPDATE: Bonner has also won the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, announced on March 24th. The prize will be presented by the founder of the award, Daniel Handler and author Jacqueline Woodson at this summer’s ALA annual conference in San Francisco.

Holds Alert: HAUSFRAU

9780812997538_b69f5Growing attention for Jill Essbaum’s debut novel Hausfrau (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), which came out last week, is having an effect. Holds are rising and as a result, some libraries have increased their orders.

About an unhappy wife who seeks solace elsewhere, it has been compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, (see our earlier roundup) and even Anna Karenina mixed with a bit of Fifty Shades of Grey‘s eroticism.

The author was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Host Lynn Neary quotes reviewer Jane Ciabattari who says, “For a first novelist, Essbaum is extraordinary because she is a poet. Her language is meticulous and resonant and daring.”

But another influential reviewer rains all over the parade. On Friday in the daily The New York Times Janet Maslin, who was on board for The Girl on the Train as well as an important early supporter of Gone Girl, is dismissive, calling Hausfrau “graceless.” She damns both the story, “Ms. Essbaum hasn’t got much of a plot in mind” and the prose as having “all the charm of a sink full of dishwater.”

Will this novel do as well as the books it is compared to? Both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train hit the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list at #2 during their first week on sale, quickly rising to #1. We’re not likely to see the same for Hausfrau. Although holds are growing, they are not nearly as high as they were for the other two titles when they first arrived and the book is still relatively low on Amazon’s sales rankings.

9780062267528_70098  9781616203689_6ef70

R.A. Note: Several librarians on GalleyChat recommend another title, The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample) as “better than The Girl on the Train.” Also check out other comparable new titles in our earlier post, Girl On The Train: A Nonstop Ride and one on the horizon, The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor (Workman/Algonquin, May, eARCs available from Edelweiss and NetGalley).

DEAD WAKE, A Number One NYT Best Seller

dead-wakeGoing right to #1 on the 3/29 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list after its first week on sale, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (RH/Crown; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print) proves that Erik Larson has the magic touch.

Further, the USA Today list, which combines all genres and formats, shows it is the second best selling book in the country, behind The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample) at #1 after nine weeks.

Titles To Know and Recommend, The Week of March 23

Standalone thrillers from Harlan Coban and Joy Fielding hit shelves next week, as well as an embargoed new bio of  Steve Jobs, already making headlines and two debut Y.A. titles that have caught Hollywood’s attention.

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed, with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar Week of March 23 2015.

Holds Leaders

9780525953500_2544c  9781250032386_defd7  9780553390636_18d0f

The Stranger, Harlan Coben, (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

Kirkus approves of this standalone thriller, saying, “This 100-proof nightmare ranks among his most potent.” PW completely disagrees, but adds, “Even when not at his best, Coben is very good, and readers won’t be disappointed.”

The Cavendon Women, Barbara Taylor Bradford, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

A sequel to the Edwardian era Cavendon Hall, (2014), this title brings the family saga in to the 1920’s. Kirkus calls the books “Bradford’s answer to Downton Abbey.” Booklist considers it a “dishy continuation.”

Someone Is Watching, Joy Fielding, (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike)

This standalone gets a star from Booklist, “Not geared to the faint of heart, Fielding’s story of one woman’s search for justice, understanding, and internal peace is nothing short of arresting.”

Media Attention

9780385347402_p0_v7_s260x420   Jobs Fast Company

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli, (RH/Crown Business; RH & BOT Audio)

The book behind this week’s headlines that Tim Cook offered to donate a portion of his own liver to the dying Steve Jobs. It’s embargoed, but the media, always obsessed with Jobs, has picked over leaks, some of which come from the online version of the upcoming excerpt in Fast Company and others from Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature (since blocked). Another bit of news is that the authors, who will appear on ABC ‘s Good Morning America next week, portray their subject quite differently than Walter Isaacson did in his best seller, Steve Jobs, the basis for the movie that is currently filming. As the Fast Company headline, “Kind. Patient. Human. The Steve You Didn’t Know,” indicates, Becoming Steve Jobs could be considered a rebuttal to the earlier book.

YA Advance Attention

9781602862722_9a17a  9781481418775_c1b10

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One, Paige McKenzie, Alyssa Sheinmel, (Perseus/Weinstein Books; Recorded Books)

Media mogul Harvey Weinstein picked up rights to a book and movie series based on the YouTube series that averages 5 million views per month, catching the attention of the NY Post, which rarely covers books, let alone YA books, in a story headlined “Harvey Weinstein thinks he’s found the latest young adult hit.” The review media is also enthusiastic. Kirkus calls it “Suspenseful, exciting and endlessly entertaining” and SLJ says, “Readers who appreciated holly Black’s Doll Bones (2013) or Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones series should consider picking up this creepy debut.”

The author was featured on the Today Show:

We All Looked Up, Tommy Wallach, (S&S BYR; S&S Audio;  OverDrive Sample)

A SF novel about four teenagers facing the arrival of a meteor that is likely to wipe out the earth, we first started hearing about it from YA Galley Chatters who were intrigued by both the the cover (be sure to click on it, above right, to see the larger version. It really doesn’t work as a thumbnail) and the blurb from Andrew Smith, “Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up is a triumphant debut—this generation’s The Stand. It is at once troubling, uplifting, scary, and heart-wrenching, and written with so much compassion for our fragile hold on the fleeting here and now. A glorious, wonderful, completely unforgettable novel.” It’s since received a string of superlative prepub reviews including stars from Kirkus and PW.

MTV News pulls out TV and film references to describe it, “Skins meets The Breakfast Club meets Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.” Paramount nabbed the film rights.

Picks

9780061670893_9cfa5  9780062355881_4a305  9781476785059_2afe6

The Precious One, Marisa de los Santos, (HarperCollins.Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio)

Both an Indie Next and a Library Reads pick:

Taisy hasn’t seen her father since he dumped her family and started another one 17 years ago. An unexpected invitation to write his biography returns her to her hometown, and gives her a rare chance to knit together a broken web of relationships. Like all de los Santos’ books, The Precious One features smart, funny characters who form an unconventional family. It’s luminous and heartwarming, without an ounce of sap.  — Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC

A Reunion of Ghosts, Judith Claire Mitchell, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

A GalleyChat favorite, this is also an Indie Next pick for March:

‘The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.’ These are the words that the Alter sisters live by and the reason they have chosen to die at their own hands. Lady, Vee, and Delph Alter have written a suicide note that turns out to be a family history. The sisters are descendants of Lenz, a chemist and the creator of the poison gas that was first used in WWI, and his wife, Iris, the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first in the family to commit suicide. A Reunion of Ghosts is a captivating chronicle of a family and the weight of consequences that grow heavier with time.—Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir, Abigail Thomas, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample)

People “Book of the Week” — “It’s no wonder Abigail Thomas is leery of what lies ahead. The accident that left her husband brain-damaged was the starting point  for A Three Dog Life (2006); in her new book, she experiences a romantic betrayal that will leave you gasping. Mostly, though, she writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company.”

Indie Next pick for April:

Like an honest talk with your wittiest friend, Thomas’ new memoir will have you both laughing out loud and on the verge of tears. Examining a life that has changed dramatically over the years and the friendship that has endured it all, What Comes Next and How to Like It reveals simple truths we can all recognize in our own lives. Thomas’ gentle humor is evident in every passage as she writes of struggling with aging, loyalty, and drinking after the death of her loving husband. What makes this all the more brilliant are the sparkling moments of insight, full of depth and emotion, that Thomas so beautifully shares with the reader. —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Trashy Books on NPR

Sarah Wendell, one of the founders of the web site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, appeared on the “Small Batch” edition of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour yesterday to discuss the romance genre.

9780373775149   Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 10.11.11 AM

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 10.14.14 AM  Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 10.13.22 AM

Wendell and host Linda Holmes’ conversation is wide-ranging and concludes with Wendell offering some reading recommendations: two contemporary romances, Just One Of The Guys by Kristan Higgins (Harlequin, 2010) and A Gentleman In The Street by Alisha Rai (eBook only), and two mysteries with romance, Silent In The Grave by Deanna Raybourn (Harlequin/Mira, 2007) and In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Macmillan/Minotaur, 2003).

Wendell notes that readers internalize the way others respond to their choices: “Romance readers are so often subjected to shamming, we’re not actually ashamed of the books that we read but we’re told we ought to be … even by the people at the checkout counter at the bookstore. When you get that reception to the books you are buying or checking out from the library you internalize that [but] when you find other people who love the same thing you do. there is this enormous ‘squee’ of relief.”