EarlyWord

News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Best Sellers: THE LIGHT Makes a Comeback

All The Light We Cannot SeeWe’d gotten used to seeing Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See at #2 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, tucked right behind the juggernaut of The Girl on the Train. But then Harlan Coben’s The Stranger came along and knocked it into third place. Last week, J.R. Ward’s The Shadows cast it into fourth place and it looked like the beginning of a slide.

But this week, The Light has returned to its old spot, banishing The Shadows all together and moving The Stranger down to 4th position (and The Girl on the Train keeps chugging along at #1).

The novel took Doerr ten years to write, a journey he described last month in Scribner Magazine.

A year ago, before the book became a best seller, Doerr talked about the places and ideas that inspired him.

Six Titles To Make You An RA Guru, Week of April 21

“Highly anticipated” is the catch phrase for next week, with new titles from Toni Morrison, David Baldacci and Jon Krakauer, but don’t let those big names cause you to overlook a memoir by poet Elizabeth Alexander.

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 April 21, 2015

Holds Leaders

9781455586387_4b710David Baldacci, Memory Man, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)

The honorary chair for National Library Week introduces a new series with this book.  The “memory man” is Amos Decker, a former football player with a head injury that has a strange result. He forgets nothing. Now a small town P.I., he investigates a school shooting. Kirkus calls the character a “a quirky, original antihero.”

The trailer for the movie based on one of Baldacci’s earlier titles,  Wish You Well, has just been released. It goes straight to DVD and On Demand in June.

9780062311115_b417fGreg Iles, The Bone Tree, (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Two tragedies, a serious car accident and the loss of his father, caused author Greg Iles to think differently about his writing. After 13 books he realized, “life was too short to pull any punches. I decided there was no room in [my next] book for formula and fluff. The story had to be handled with appropriate gravitas. I had to deal with it not only the way it deserved but in a way that would make my father proud.”

The result was last year’s Natchez Burning. The first in a trilogy, it arrived to fanfare from librarians and  debuted at #2 on the NYT best seller list, Iles’s highest ranking on that list to date. It’s now been on the paperback list for two week in a row, setting readers up for the next title, The Bone Tree.

It is both an Indie Next and a Library Reads pick.

LibraryReads:
“Based on a real series of unsolved murders from the civil rights era in Louisiana, and the crusading journalist who uncovered the story, Iles’ novel shines a bright light of truth upon one of America’s darkest secrets. Iles’ compelling writing makes this complex tale of good versus evil a must-read for those who love thrillers, and those who want to learn a little bit of American history not normally taught in school.” — Ellen Jennings, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL

9780399165153_2c6d9Amanda Quick, Garden of Lies, (Penguin/Putnam; Recorded Books; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

This standalone mystery by Jayne Ann Krentz, writing under one of her pseudonyms, is set in Victorian London. Kirkus approves, “A lady with a secret to hide and a gentleman reputed to be mad make a dandy investigative team.”

 

Advance Attention

9780307594174_bddd5Toni Morrison, God Help the Child, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print)

Morrison’s latest can easily be called the most hotly anticipated novel of the season, having appeared on all the seasonal previews. Morrison gets the New York Times trifecta, the cover of last week’s NYT Magazine, the cover of the upcoming NYT Book Review, plus the Friday review by Michiko Kakutani in the daily NYT. It is also reviewed by Ron Charles, the Washington Post, today. Sad to say, however, the reviewers  find the book a let down. Morrison is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.

Upcoming Media Attention

9780385538732_e12b5Jon Krakauer, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (RH/Doubleday; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print)

Best-selling nonfiction author Krakauer is known for writing about disturbing subjects, such as his personal account of a disastrous attempt to climb Mt. Everest, Into Thin Air (the movie Everest, to be released on Sept. 18, features Michael Kelly as Krakauer). In his new book, he turns his attention to a series of rapes at the University of Montana. The book is embargoed, so no reviews have appeared yet [UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal just released an interview with the author that has some details on the book} and the city of Missoula is bracing itself.

The author is scheduled to appear on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Sunday, followed by the CBS Early Show on Wednesday and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show the next day.

Picks

9781455599875_6176fElizabeth Alexander, The Light of the World: A Memoir, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The #1 IndieNext pick for May:

“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.” — Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Live Online Chat with Josh Lieb

Live Blog Live Chat with Josh Lieb, RATSCALIBUR
 

More Than JUSTIFIED:
Elmore Leonard

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The final episode of FX’s Justified ran on Tuesday night, bringing renewed attention to Elmore Leonard via subtle homages to the author that were not lost on fans, the switching of the iconic Stetson hat to a version closer to the one Leonard lobbied for and a cameo of the book Leonard said he often re-read for inspiration, The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins (Macmillan/Picador, 1972; OverDrive Sample).

9780062120342_927acThe series, originally based on Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” (from the collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, re-released in trade paperback as Fire in the HoleHarperCollins/Morrow; OverDrive Sample) and featuring the central character who also appeared in the novels Pronto, Riding the Rap, and Raylan, the last novel Leonard published before his death in 2013, has been a powerhouse show for the network and brought more fans to Leonard.

Both Fire in the Hold and The Friends of Eddie Coyle are currently rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Glowing reviews of the series’ end all laud Leonard as well, from New York Magazine’s in-depth conversation with executive producer Graham Yost to a consideration of Leonard’s character in Word & Film.

The renewed attention makes this a good time to promote Leonard’s extensive backlist and many adaptations through virtual and in-house displays.

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The three Justified novels. as well as the collection featuring the original short story, have been reprinted with bursts on the covers to make the connection, “Featuring RAYLAN GIVENS, from the new FX Series, JUSTIFIED.”

Beyond the series, classic examples of Leonard’s style include Hombre, Rum Punch, Be Cool, and Killshot. The Morrow imprint of HarperCollins recently re-released those titles as well several others in new trade paperback editions.

Many of Leonard’s books have been made into movies such as 3:10 To Yuma, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and the recent Life of Crime (based on The Switch). The first five seasons of Justified are available on DVD and the final is on its way.

Don’t forget the audio versions. Favorite narrators Frank Muller and George Guidall served as narrators for many of his titles.

BEA — First-Timers Guide
for Librarians

EW-logo-BEABook Expo America is just six weeks away — time to start planning so you can get the most out of the show.

Several pf EarlyWord’s GalleyChatters, veteran BEAers, have created the EarlyWord BEA First-Timers Guide for Librarians to share tips and recommendations.

We’ve set it up as a forum, so you can ask questions, make connections with like-minded librarians before the show (maybe even find a roommate) and enter your own favorite tips.

We like to think of this as a free-flowing pre-BEA cocktail party, so please join in.

Live Online Chat with M.J. Arlidge

The chat has now ended. Please join us for the next one on Wed., June 4

Live Blog Live Chat with M. J. Arlidge: Eeny Meeny
 

David Brooks Dives Deep

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.21.10 AMColumnist and commentator David Brooks’s new book, The Road to Character (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a blend of self-examination and an exploration of what makes a richly fulfilling inner life.

In an interview yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered, he says he began this journey after meeting a group of people who tutor immigrants and realizing that they “radiated gratitude for life,” a quality he found missing in his own life, despite his outward successes.

The Guardian calls the book “a powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”

It rose to #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings today, possibly benefiting not only from people on the search for their own roads to character, but from those on the search for interesting (if pointed) graduation gifts. As The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles points out in a story satirizing printed version of famous graduation speeches aimed at that market, it is the season for such books.

Nina Stibbe: An Author To Watch

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.12.22 AMAs we reported earlier, Nina Stibbe’s second book, A Man At the Helm (Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk; OverDrive Sample), has received glowing attention.

The daily New York Times plays catchup this week with another shining review, placing her in the same company as fellow British comic mastermind P.G. Wodehouse. Says reviewer John Williams, “Ms. Stibbe is in her early 50s, and Man at the Helm is the second book to appear in relatively quick succession and establish her reputation as a top-shelf comic writer.”

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Williams also reports that Nick Hornby is adapting Stibbe’s first book, a memoir about her stint as a nanny, Love, Nina, for the BBC. There’s still many steps to its becoming a reality, so it’s too early to speculate on whether it will also be broadcast in the US.

Reading GO SET A WATCHMAN Under Watchful Eyes

Go Set a WatchmanMost of the world is still holding their breath for the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman,(Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe; HarperCollins EspañolHarperCollins Español AudioeBook) in July.

But as the London Book Fair opens, a select few are getting an early look at the manuscript. International publishers interested in acquiring territorial rights (25 countries have already signed up) are queuing up to read the manuscript in agent Andrew Nurnberg Associates’ London offices under heavy security, reports The GuardianBecause of the desire for secrecy, they are only allowed to read the manuscript in paper form.

We’re on the alert for the first leaks.

Favorite Library and Indie May Titles

Genres dominate the May LibraryReads List, with two Fantasy novels, two Science Fiction picks, two Crime stories, rounded out by one chick lit and a few literary titles.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.12.50 PMCalled a stand-alone fairy tale for adults, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample) is the top pick this month. Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) offers this description of the Fantasy:

“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.13.37 PMThe second fantasy, again with a fairy tale feel, is Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses (Bloomsbury USA Children’s; OverDrive Sample), a YA book with cross over appeal. Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library (OH) says:

“The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.”

The May Indie Next List of 20 titles offers a different distribution – and no overlap with the LibraryReads list.

The list is notable this month for the large number of debuts among the marquee names such as Anne Enright, Lisa Scottoline, Greg Iles, and Matthew Pearl.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.14.42 PMWell-known poet Elizabeth Alexander earns the #1 pick for her debut memoir The Light of the World (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Audio; OverDrive Sample), and receives this glowing annotation:

“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.15.27 PMAmong the many other debuts is The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) which receives an equally appreciative description:

“The greatest testament to the skill of a writer is the ability to make what might seem alien to the reader completely recognizable and utterly engaging. Such was my experience reading The Turner House. Mine is a tiny white family from a small town with no sense of heritage, yet every moment I spent with the Turners — a family of 13 children shaped by the Great Migration to Detroit — I felt at home. Their struggles and joys are universal, yet told with an exacting eye that always finds the perfect detail. This is a truly impressive debut.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

A Two-Book Week for Jon Stewart

Author Fareed Zakaria will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight, and U.S. Navy SEAL Eric Greitens on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.43.55 AMCNN host Zakaria, a frequent guest on Stewart’s show (see his post 9/11 appearance here), generally writes about  the Middle East. Last week, he engaged in a heated discussion with Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time about Maher’s views on Islam.

His newest book, In Defense of a Liberal Education (Norton; S&S Audio), addresses a different topic. A short ode to the value of a well-rounded education, it is an argument against the growing focus on vocational training over more traditional subjects.

Zakaria advocates for the importance of learning how to think critically, write well, and communicate effectively, and perhaps most of all, for acquiring the ability to continuously learn over the course of a lifetime, a message well-timed for college graduation gifs.

Eric Greitens, who appears on Thursday, is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Mission Continues. Librarians might recognize his name from his 2011 New York Times bestseller The Heart and the Fist.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.44.51 AMHis newest book, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (HMH; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), is a series of letters (which read like a cross between a pep talk and an essay) written to a fellow solider in need of aid. The central message is the importance of resilience and ways to live a more focused, wise, and strong life.

 

The New Age of Storytelling

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After the breakout success of Serial, the “audio media space” industry (a mix of radio and podcast producers as The Hollywood Reporter describes it) is scrambling to satisfy a newly discovered audience for long form narrative storytelling.

Serial and Invisibilia, both hot properties on NPR (Invisibilia created a best seller of the book it’s based on), are examples of the new direction towards multi-part, lengthy, story-based nonfiction segments that hook listeners and supply them with episodic fixes similar to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.

Second seasons of both shows are in the works but producers admit that finding follow-up topics is a challenge, “It’s uncharted territory. Invisibilia and Serial broke into new audiences and opened up the space a bit, but we’re making it up as we go.”

The shifting audio landscape may be a new challenge for producers, but many librarians have already figured out how to take advantage of the trend.

As we reported earlier, librarians have supported Serial with booklists. Others offer podcasts of library programs, such as those from the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Seattle Public Library, Libraries are also partnering with programs such as StoryCorps to help archive and build story collections.

The DC Public Library even offers their own class on how to create audio stories and posts student’s projects on SoundCloud.

The new attention to podcasts is an opportunity for storytelling librarians to reach out in new ways and for readers’ advisory and collection development librarians to expand their services. Let us know in the comments section what your library is doing.

M TRAIN Cover Reveal

M Train Patti SmithThe release of the cover for Patti Smith’s upcoming memoir, M Train (RH/Knopf; RH Audio, Oct. 6) is bringing a raft of media attention, from Rolling Stone to the New York Times and even the Religion News Service (“Patti Smith’s spiritual curiosity on display in sequel to Just Kids“).

Entertainment Weekly claims to have the “exclusive cover reveal,” and describes the cover image as, “a sacred memento for Smith: It shows her at Cafe ‘Ino in Greenwich Village, where M Train begins, and where Smith went every morning for a breakfast of black coffee and brown bread. On the last day before Cafe ‘Ino closed, a passing photographer took the picture. Smith calls it ‘the first and last picture at my corner table in Ino … My portal to where.’ ”

The title of the book refers to the NYC subway line which runs through the Brooklyn neighborhood where she once shared an apartment with Robert Mapplethorpe and in to Greenwich Village. The book itself is described by the publisher as “a journey through eighteen ‘stations.’ It begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee.”

New Best Sellers, AT THE WATER’S EDGE and READY PLAYER ONE

At the Water's EdgeSara Gruen’s At The Water’s Edge (RH/Spiegel & Grau; BOT Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample) debuts at the highest spot ever for the author (#6 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list and #12 on USA Today‘s general list).

Her 2006 novel, Water for Elephants was a slow build, eventually hitting #1 in paperback in anticipation of the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Her next book, 2010’s Ape House debuted at #8 on the NYT list (#65 on USA Today‘s), lasting just a few weeks.

The new success is featured in both the NYTInside the List” column and USA Today, “Sara Gruen’s Loch Ness novel is a hit.”

Gruen herself is not so worried about matching her earlier success. As she tells NPR’s Weekend Edition, “I don’t tend to think ‘oh, I peaked at 38,’ I tend to think ‘I’m so happy about what happened with Water for Elephants, but I know I was struck by lightning’ … it’s not going to happen again and that’s ok. I get to keep doing what I love to do.”

While lightning may not strike twice, it appears Water’s Edge will attract a wider audience than did Ape House and fulfill predictions from collection development librarians that it will circulate briskly through the summer. It is rising on Amazon sales rankings this week and most libraries show growing holds.

Ready Player OneThe NYT trade paperback list offers the tale of another slow build, similar to Water for Elephants. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) hits the Trade Paperback Fiction list for the first time, after several weeks on the extended list (the hardcover also spent a few weeks on the extended list), probably based on news that Steven Spielberg has signed to direct the film adaptation as well as anticipation of the release of the next title, Armada (RH/Crown, RH & BOT Audio), set for publication on July 24th.

Cline will be one of the featured speakers the AAP/LibraryReads Dinner during BEA this year.

 

Western Passage: Ivan Doig
Dies at 75

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Ivan Doig died on Thursday, in his home in Seattle. Both a novelist and a nonfiction writer, Doig published over a dozen books including This House of Sky (which was a finalist for the National Book Award), The Whistling Season, The Bartender’s Tale, and Sweet Thunder.

His final work, slated for publication on August 18th, is Last Bus to Wisdom.

The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the LA Times offer remembrances.

On his website Doig begins a note to his readers with this:

No one is likely to confuse my writing style with that of Charlotte Bronte, but when that impassioned parson’s daughter lifted her pen from Jane Eyre and bequeathed us the most intriguing of plot summaries—’Reader, I married him’—she also was subliminally saying what any novelist, even one from the Montana highlands rather than the Yorkshire moors, must croon to those of you with your eyes on our pages: ‘Reader, my story is flirting with you; please love it back.’ Our books come to you with bright-cheeked hope…

Readers who want to explore Doig’s writing with that same “bright-cheeked hope” might wish to begin with his memoir This House of Sky.