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News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Six Titles to Know & Recommend, the Week of Sept 7

The holds leader for next week is the next in Lee Child’s series.

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Make Me, Lee Child, (RH/Delacorte Press; BOT)

On the eve of the release of the 20th book in the series, news broke that the second Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise is moving ahead and is now scheduled to premiere in Oct. 2016.

Janet Maslin, who has reviewed many of Child’s books in the daily NYT, considers this one of his best. It is also a LibraryReads pick:

Jack Reacher is back. Jack gets off a train at an isolated town. Soon, he is learning much more about the town, and its residents are learning not to mess around with Jack Reacher. Readers new to this series will find this book a good starting point, and fans will be pleased to see Jack again. — Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

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 Sept. 7, 2015

Advance Attention

9780802124043_f0ffbBream Gives Me Hiccups, Jesse Eisenberg, (Grove Press)

This debut short story collection features a 9-year-old restaurant critic and is getting attention largely as a result of the author’s other career as an actor. A profile of the author/actor in the NYT Sunday Book Review reveals that he is reader.

This book may cross over to the small screen. In January, it was announced that Eisenberg had made a deal with Amazon Studios to adapt the stories into a half-hour comedy.

Eisenberg narrates the audio. Below, he reads one of the stories.

9780812998917_e6a94Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Salman Rushdie, (Random House)

From The Tonight Show to a profile in the New York Times, Rushdie is getting attention for his latest, reviewed in the L.A. Times.

 Peer Picks

LibraryReads Favoritecrash-landing

The Art of Crash Landing, Melissa DeCarlo, (Harper Paperbacks)

This original trade paperback is the #1 LibraryReads pick for the month,

“At once tragic and hilarious, this book is a roller coaster of a read. You’ll find yourself rooting for the snarky and impulsive but ultimately lovable Mattie. At the heart of this tale is a beautifully unraveled mystery that has led Mattie to her current circumstances, ultimately bringing her to her first real home.” — Patricia Kline-Millard, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.35.39 PMThis Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Jonathan Evison, (Workman/Algonquin)

Librarians have been fans of Evison ever since his first book and they made this his fourth a LibraryReads pick for the month:

“Harriet Chance receives word that her recently deceased husband, Bernard, has won an Alaskan cruise. Deciding to go on the trip, she is given a letter from her close friend Mildred, with instructions not to open it until she is on the cruise. The contents of this letter shatter Harriet and she begins to reevaluate her life and her relationships.” — Arleen Talley, Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation, Annapolis, MD

It is also an Indie Next pick.

9781250044631_3ee54Black Man in a White Coat : A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, Damon Tweedy, M.D, (Macmillan/Picador)

A BEA Editors’ Buzz title, this is on Entertainment Weekly “Must List” in the current issue, “This riveting memoir chronicles Tweedy’s rise from wide-eyed med student to practicing physician, as he’s forced to consider the ways race and health intersect in his patients’ lives — and his own.”

it is also an Indie Next pick:

Black Man in a White Coat would be an important book no matter when it was published, but in this season of Ferguson and Charleston, when we must assert more loudly and clearly than ever that black lives matter, the book is essential reading. Dr. Tweedy reflects on the issues faced by black professionals as they confront racism in their careers and black patients as they face the inequities of our health care system. This book is introspective and inspiring in a way that a less personal narrative could not be. We owe the author our gratitude for shining a spotlight on these important issues.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

9780062369543_26e63The Hummingbird, Stephen P. Kiernan, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

Indie Next:

The Hummingbird is a powerful story about the critical role of human empathy in dealing with two important contemporary issues: hospice care and post-traumatic stress disorder. Kiernan’s characters are well-drawn and give unique perspectives on death, trauma, and providing care in difficult times. The Hummingbird is a must-read for all who want to help loved ones die with dignity as well as for those helping veterans achieve normalcy after serving our country. —Phyllis K. Spinale, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA – See more at:

Tie-ins

Getting a jump on the holiday weekend, the movie adaptation of A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson opened on Wednesday. New York magazine’s review will disappoint those hoping for a movie that was as funny as Bryson’s 1008 book.

As we head to the fall movie season, several tie-ins are scheduled for publication next week. Movie inks are to our coverage, with trailers.

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The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray TwinsJohn Pearson, (HarperCollins/William Collins); Movie opens 10/2/15

Room, Emma Donoghue (Hachette, trade pbk, mass mkt., audio);  Movie opens 10/16/15

9781455564972_0a43d  9781501106477_9f92d

Trumbo (Movie Tie-In Edition), Bruce Cook, (Hachette/Grand Central);  Movie opens 11/6/15

Brooklyn, Colm Toibin,  (S&S/Scribner); Movie opens 11/6/15

For a full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

RA Alert: Diverse Fantasy on NPR

NPR,org  is on something of a Fantasy spree, devoting stories to Terry Pratchett’s last novel and, in what seems like a direct response to both the Hugos and the We Need Diverse Books campaign, offering two reviews that highlight the diversity of the genre, its authors, and its characters.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 1.44.20 PMOne is Bradley P. Beaulieu’s newest novel, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (Penguin/DAW; Brilliance Audio), a Silk Road Fantasy, set not in the fantasy genre’s  familiar quasi-medieval world of Western Europe but in locales inspired by and situated within Eastern cultures. For Beaulieu that means Islamic and Ancient Egyptian influences fill this first of a new series.

NPR.org’s reviewer Jason Heller sings the novel’s praises noting itsintricate, suspenseful” plot, the female “gladiator by trade” central character who is “fierce…dynamic, multilayered, utterly fascinating,” and a setting created out of a “fabulist mix of cultures.”

In recommending readers dive in he offers this ready-made RA annotation:

Fantasy and horror, catacombs and sarcophagi, resurrections and revelations: The book has them all, and Beaulieu wraps it up in a package that’s as graceful and contemplative as it is action-packed and pulse-pounding. As fantasy continues to diversify and open itself up to a more vibrant representation of cultures and possibilities, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai should rank among the most satisfying.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 1.46.53 PMThe second of NPR’s most recent picks is Zen Cho’s debut novel Sorcerer to the Crown (Penguin/Ace; OverDrive Sample).

Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar says it nods towards Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in its settings and blend of real world and magic, but that it “actively exploits gaps and shortcomings in” Clarke’s modern classic.

In a packed and multifaceted review, El-Mohtar neatly explains the many-threaded plot:

When Sir Stephen Wythe, England’s Sorcerer Royal, dies in mysterious circumstances, his adopted black son Zacharias takes up the Sorcerer’s staff amid malicious mutterings that he murdered his guardian for the position. The timing is terrible: Besides being in disgrace with Fairyland, England is enmeshed in non-magical war with France and in tense diplomatic talks with the Sultan of Janda Baik over the matter of witches and snake-women. Zacharias must contend with an overreaching government, assassination attempts, the decline of magic — and, most unexpectedly, with Prunella Gentleman, a dark-skinned young Englishwoman of uncertain parentage who wishes to escape her magical school and enter society.

And then heaps praise on Cho for her approach and execution:

Cho foregrounds characters that are usually treated as curiosities and set pieces in Regency fiction giving them complex inner lives and thoroughly enriching her world-building as a result… Cho’s achieved something remarkable in making corrupt bureaucracy more terrifying than dragons; ambitious baronets more dangerous than vampires. I was genuinely chilled by the depiction of powerful men’s whims where magic and the Sorcerer Royal’s position were concerned: Dragons can be fought and beaten, but white supremacy and institutional oppression are as atmospheric as the magic in Cho’s world.

Lest she leave readers thinking that Cho’s novel is a slog, El-Mohtar is also quick to point out

Absolutely everything about this book is delightful. I can’t remember the last time I read a fantasy novel that made me laugh so much — and as often as I laughed, I gasped, I shouted rude words at offending characters, and just generally fell over myself with admiration for Cho’s dextrous depiction of Regency manners and wit.

Lee Child on SPIDER’S WEB,
Maslin on Lee Child

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.33.47 AMspiders-webThere is plenty of Lee Child in this week’s New York Times 

For the cover of the Sunday Book Review, he offers his opinion of The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio) and today, in the daily NYT, reviewer Janet Maslin offers her take on Child’s newest Reacher novel Make Me (RH/Delacorte Press; BOT).

First, Child on Lagercrantz.

While he admires some of what Lagercrantz has done with the story itself, which he deems “a fine plot,” in the end he decides the task of bringing back Lisbeth Salander was impossible:

And what of Lisbeth Salander? Given that Lagercrantz knows she’s what ­readers want, her long and suspenseful introduction is masterful. It’s a striptease. She’s mentioned in the prologue (“One Year Earlier”), and then she’s not in the story at all, and then she is, maybe, purely by inference, and then we get a brief glimpse of her, and then another, and then some longer scenes. But it’s not until Page 216 that she actually speaks to Blomkvist. “Lisbeth,” he asks, answering her phone call, “is that you?”  “Shut up and listen,” she replies, and he does. And we’re off to the races. Or are we? Does she spark to life and get up off the slab?

No decides Child, she does not, “The sublime madness of Larsson’s original isn’t quite there.”

It is another story for Maslin’s reaction to Make Me.

She likes it, a lot, calling it “a hot one” and going on to say “Lee Child’s Reacher series has hit Book No. 20 with a resounding peal of wisecracking glee… Everything about it, starting with Reacher’s nose for bad news, is as strong as ever.”

Without spoilers, she hints to readers that the book marks a turning point in the series while giving a sense of its gritty core:

… this book’s spectrum of good and evil is so wide, and its depths of horror so extreme, that it seems impossible for even Jack Reacher to come away from it unchanged. Usually he walks away from one novel and into the next without even getting his hair mussed. Maybe not this time…[the book] takes Reacher from the kind of cracking wise his fans love and the violence that he understands into the eerie realities of 2015, not the ones Reacher learned in the last century as part of his military training.

News also just arrived that the second Jack Reacher movie will arrive next fall, again starring Tom Cruise.

Holds Alert: New Look At Autism

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 11.57.00 AMNoted science writer and WIRED reporter Steve Silberman appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, sending his new book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Penguin/Avery; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) rocketing up Amazon’s sales rankings.

A history of autism, its evolution, and the way the scientific world has approached its diagnosis, NeuroTribes is changing the conversation
on the subject.

Jennifer Senior, who says the book is “beautifully told, humanizing, important” in her piece on it in the NYT Sunday Book Review, highlights just one of the ways Silberman shines new light on the very definition of autism:

The autism pandemic, in other words, is an optical illusion, one brought about by an original sin of diagnostic parsimony. The implications here are staggering: Had the definition included Asperger’s original, expansive vision, it’s quite possible we wouldn’t have been hunting for environmental causes or pointing our fingers at anxious parents…This is, without a doubt, a provocative argument that Silberman is making, one sure to draw plenty of pushback and anger. But he traces his history with scrupulous precision, and along the way he treats us to charming, pointillist portraits of historical figures who are presumed to have had Asperger’s, including Henry Cavendish and Nikola Tesla.

Likely to become a classic in the field, it is already listed along with works by Andrew Solomon and Temple Grandin and comes with a forward by Oliver Sacks.

Holds are exceeding a 3:1 ratio across the country in libraries we checked.

Order Alert: THE VISITING PRIVILEGE

9781101874899_dba60For its Labor Day weekend issue, arriving when subscribers are likely to have more time to read it than usual, Sunday’s NYT Magazine devotes the cover to a profile of an author few readers know, Joy Williams. Her new book, arriving next week, The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories (RH/ Knopf), writes Dan Kois, culture editor at Slate, “cements her reputation as not merely one of the great writers of her generation, but as our pre-eminent bard of humanity’s insignificance.”

A reminder, the magazine has done this before, featuring another author on the cover who was also a greatly admired but largely unknown short story writer, George Saunders, making his book The Tenth of December a long-running best seller.

Kois lavishes Williams with praise, saying, “To call her 50-year career that of a writer’s writer does not go far enough. Her three story collections and four darkly funny novels are mostly overlooked by readers but so beloved by generations of fiction masters that she might be the writer’s writer’s writer.”

The list of authors lining up to sing her praises is a modern who’s who of greats. Don DeLillo, George Saunders, and Karen Russell are quoted, with Russell saying Williams is “a visionary” and “resizes people against a cosmic backdrop.’’

In a few share-worthy lines Kois offers a quick introduction:

Her stories often reveal themselves as parables, and her writing on the environment is equal parts fire, brimstone and eulogy…The typical Williams protagonist is a wayward girl or young woman whose bad decisions, or bad attitude, or both, make her difficult to admire: She drives away while her husband is paying for gas, or ransacks a houseguest’s room to read her journal.

Orders are very light (or nonexistent) in libraries we checked.

GalleyChat, Tuesday, Sept. 1, #ewgc

Today’s GalleyChat has now ended. Please join us for the next one, Tues., Oct 6, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., ET, (3:30 for virtual cocktails). Details here.

Crystal Ball: GIRL WAITS
WITH GUN

9780544409910_db716-2Amy Stewart’s Girl Waits with Gun (HMH; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) is gathering velocity.

Stewart spoke with Steve Innskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday. The charming interview sent her debut novel (after successful nonfiction titles) racing up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Separately, Girl Waits with Gun was also reviewed on NPR by author Genevieve Valentine. “Charming” is a word that comes up frequently there as well, with Valentine saying “It might seem odd to be reading about an old-fashioned farmstead shootout and thinking about how charming it is, but if you’re reading Girl Waits With Gun, you might as well get used to it. You’ll be thinking that a lot.”

As we reported in the look ahead to books coming out this week, Stewart’s novel has four prepub stars and is both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick.

Holds are topping a 3:1 ratio at some libraries and are strong everywhere we checked. Don’t be surprised if it shows up on best seller lists next week.

Harper Lee: Nothing New in
That Safe Deposit Box

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.13.27 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.12.26 AMDespite hints by Harper Lee’s attorney, Tonja Carter, there is no new book in Lee’s safe-deposit box.

As we reported earlier, Carter had suggested there could be more than one new title on the way.

As the Wall Street Journal now reports, those hints turned up empty. A rare-book expert, James S. Jaffe, brought in to review the box, has issued a report stating that it only contains pieces of Lee’s two published novels and copyright documents.

According to Jaffe, the pages show the transformation of Lee’s original draft into the published form of To Kill a Mockingbird and where segments of Go Set a Watchman appeared in Mockingbird.

Jaffe’s full report is posted at the end of the WSJ article.

Of course, for all those invested in even more books by Lee, there could always be other papers in other places and there is still the rumor of the true crime novel floating around.

Get Ready for the End,
DOWNTON ABBEY

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.56.02 AM

Season six of Downton Abbey marks the end of the popular series. It begins airing in the UK on September 20, 2015 and will hit US airwaves on January 3, 2016.

Writing for Deadline Nancy Tartaglione, who caught the first episode of the final run at a press screening in London, reports “While I’m sworn to secrecy, I can reiterate that it’s pretty much everything a Downton fan would hope. There’s drama and emotion packed into the launch and enough intrigue to indicate how things may move forward as the seminal show draws to a conclusion after six years.”

A trailer, released yesterday, tugs at fans’  heartstrings, as it says goodbye in multiple ways.

That requires an antidote, “The Dowager Countess of Grantham’s 27 Tips on Etiquette”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.51.15 AMIn advance of the U.S. premiere comes Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to all Six Seasons by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin’s Press; Nov. 20, 2015). It includes interviews with the cast and crew, an episode guide, and plenty of lush photos.

Jessica Fellowes, who is the niece of Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes, has written three other books that will likely see renewed demand: A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, and The World of Downton Abbey.

A WALK IN THE WOODS Inspires Hikers and Readers

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.21.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.22.48 PMThe movie adaptation of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods opens on Wednesday, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson.

It is already gaining a following. The New York Times Magazine reports at the beginning of an interview with Bryson that “Park rangers along the Appalachian Trail are preparing for a huge influx of visitors, thanks to the release of A Walk in the Woods.”

Holds, on both the print and audiobook versions of Bryson’s memoir/travel tale, are growing at several libraries across the country as well, indicating that readers might be similarly inspired by the movie.

The NYT interview includes questions about bears, science, and politics, which Bryson answers in his trademark blend of clarity and wit.

We posted a story earlier, when the trailer for the movie was released, with details of the movie-tie in edition.

A Walk in the Woods (Movie Tie-In): Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson
RH/Broadway, July 28, 2015
Trade Paperback; 9781101905494, 1101905492;  $15.99 USD
Mass Market Pbk; 9781101970881, 110197088X; $7.99 USD

Welcome Annie Mazes to Workman

Annie–MazesJoin us in welcoming Annie Mazes in her first day on the job as Adult Library Marketing Manager for Workman Publishing.

Many of you have come to know Annie in her five years working with Virginia Stanley at HarperCollins’ Library Marketing and have learned to rely on her knowledge and enthusiasm for both books and libraries. She is in fact a librarian herself with an MLS from Queens College.

Annie has shown her willingness to throw decorum aside to promote books. We’ve never seen anyone make a plastic spoon seem as threatening as she did in the following promo for HarperCollins Buzz session at ALA Annual (Annie’s on the left, with Virginia in the middle and Amanda Rountree on the right).

This is just one of the major life changes Annie will be making this fall. In October, she is getting married.

Annie takes over from Michael Rockliff, who has retired and recently sent a message to his library contacts, also welcoming Annie,
“I leave Workman, confident that they (and you) are in the best possible hands” You can keep in touch with Michael on Facebook.

Many of you also know Trevor Ingerson who worked with Michael at Workman and will now be heading up library marketing for their juvenile and YA titles. He has his own personal connection to the library world. He is also getting married, in just a few days, to librarian Stephanie Anderson (Darien Public Library, CT).

Contact information for both is below (our full listing of library marketing contacts is in the links at the right, under Publisher Contacts):

Annie Mazes: 212-614-7572; amazes@workman.com

Trevor Ingerson: 212-614-5604; trevor@workman.com

THE SHEPHERD’S CROWN Reviewed

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.20.58 AMNPR posted a sneak peek of Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio) last week and on its heels comes Michael Dirda’s RA-friendly review and very helpful summary of the entire Tiffany Aching story arc.

Writing in The Washington Post, Dirda guides readers through Tiffany’s adventures, starting with The Wee Free Men (2003) and continuing through A Hat Full of Sky (2004), Wintersmith (2006) and I Shall Wear Midnight (2010). He explains both the story arc and the point of the adventures.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.43.34 AMDirda clearly admires Pratchett and adores Tiffany, sharing an excerpt from The Wee Free Men:

“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. . . . “All the monsters are coming back.”

“Why?” said Tiffany.

“There’s no one to stop them.”

There was silence for a moment.

“There’s me,” said Tiffany.

Writing about his feelings when reading, re-reading, and thinking of that passage, Dirda says, “Even now, I feel a thrill just typing those words.”

Readers’ advisory librarians in search of a quick catchup will be happy not only with Dirda’s summary but the way he shares his joy in the entire series.

The review ends with a quick summary:

The Shepherd’s Crown is certainly a worthy crown to Terry Pratchett’s phenomenal artistic achievement, though sharp readers will recognize that some elements… are never fully developed. Moreover, anyone expecting lots of laughs will need to revisit some of the other books set on Discworld… much of this novel concerns itself with death and life’s purpose, while also examining the claims of tradition against the need for change and progress. Above all, though, The Shepherd’s Crown — like all of Pratchett’s fiction — stresses the importance of helping others.

Oliver Sacks Dies

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.49.53 AMOliver Sacks’s death was not unexpected. He announced its coming in the The New York Times on Feb. 19.

The neurologist and much-admired author died of cancer on Sunday, at the age of 82. He is being remembered in laudatory obituaries including those from the NYT, the Guardian, and Forbes, with a headline that would be a fitting epitaph, “Medicine Has Lost Its Muse.”

Sacks was known for his nonfiction works that reflected upon the workings of the brain, offering case histories of patients and explaining conditions such as Tourette’s and amnesia to a broad audience of fascinated readers.

His writing was always clear, empathetic, and accessible and he took pains to make it revolve around his patients rather than offering only details of their conditions.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.53.05 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.51.03 AMHe wrote thirteen books. On the Move: A Life (RH/Knopf; April 28, 2015; OverDrive Sample) is his most recent. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings are his best known.

He gave several TED talks, Awakenings was made into a film starring Robin Williams, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was adapted into an opera, which is still being produced in companies around the country.

In one of his last public writings, an opinion piece for the NYT he wrote

“And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”

 

Fall Previews

Leading up to Labor Day, the media is offering their takes on the books of the fall. We covered O magazine’s list earlier, below are several new lists:

10 cool books to read this fall — USA Today

All the Most Thrilling Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming This Fall — io9

Fall books: 30 top titles for your night table  Seattle Times

Amazon.com: Fall Reading Preview: Books

One of the longer lists  is New York magazine, which suggests 46 titles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.02.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.01.05 PMUsefully arranged by month and then publication date, the suggestions start with Jonathan Franzen’s Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) arriving on Tuesday and continue through the December 1 publication of Karine Tuil’s The Age of Reinvention (S&S/Atria).

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.03.14 PMBookended between are buzzy picks, big names, debuts, a graphic novel, and a children’s book.

Moving from cult favorite to full-blown media darling is Italian author Elena Ferrante with  The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). On New York magazine’s list as well as O magazine’s, and Amazon Editors Fall Favorites, it is on also the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review. This is the the fourth and final book in Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. Keep your eye on her earlier novels as new readers discover the author.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.04.50 PMThe Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Random/Pantheon; Blackstone Audiobooks) is one of the big names, and a long awaited one at that. New York contributor Christian Lorentzen says “Gaitskill’s first novel in ten years is about a poor city girl who goes to the country — but don’t expect anything heartwarming.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.29.44 PMCity of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón (author) and Sheila Alvarado (artist) (Penguin/Riverhead) is the graphic novel. Ian Epstein, who wrote the article on the 46 picks, says it is “about a Peruvian tabloid journalist who, mired in a long project about sad street clowns, is shaken up by his father’s death.”

Like the recently unveiled NYPL Staff Picks Tool, the magazine has also created The Fall Entertainment Generator: 308 Things to Watch, Hear, See and Do.

It offers users a chance to pick a genre and a feeling and then matches those desires to TV, movies, books, albums, theater, concerts, and art exhibits (some of which obviously work better for residents of the NYC-area). Genre choices are Indie, Blockbuster, Adventurous, and Trashy. Feeling choices are Inspired, Thrilled, Smart, Laugh, Scared, and Cry.

Eight Titles to Know and Recommend, the Week of Aug. 31

spiders-web  purity

It’s a game of “Is this one better than that one” for critics this week, as they look forward to two big launches on Tuesday. We’ve already looked at the earliest reviews of The Girl in the Spider’s Web (RH/Knopf; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print).  People magazine adds theirs online today (the review is not in the new print issue; usually it is the other way around), judging it a worthy successor. That makes the Washington Post the only holdout so far

The other title is Jonathan’s third book, Purity. (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio). It’s also had several early reviews, which we summarized. Many more have been added since.

Going beyond the cliched adjective “highly anticipated,” Entertainment Weekly ‘s Leah Greenblatt writes, “A new Jonathan Franzen novel arrives only every five or 10 years, and when it does, it feels like a banquet. His books are almost always centered on familial entanglements and identity, but they’re never just that: There are brilliant stand-alone chapters to devour, detours to savor, bitter little scraps to nibble and spit out.”  This one is no exception, says Greenblatt, Objecting to Franzen’s “often shockingly ugly take on women” (although she says he is an equal opportunity insulter, since his “male characters hardly come out unscathed”) and to the novel’s abrupt ending which seems to indicate Franzen tired of his characters, she gives it a B.

The daily NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani, whom Franzen referred to in 2008 as “the stupidest person in New York City,” calls this a “dynamic new novel,” which, “After its somewhat stilted start …kicks into gear, with Mr. Franzen writing with gathering assurance and verve.” Addressing Franzen famous misanthropy, she says he “has added a new octave to his voice … [the] ability here to not just satirize the darkest and pettiest of human impulses but to also capture his characters’ yearnings for connection and fresh starts — and to acknowledge the possibility of those hopes.”

LA Times chief critic David L. Ulin’s is more qualified, saying “The novel is a bit of a mixed bag, largely because of all the plotting, which has never been the author’s strong suit; both The Corrections and Freedom succeed despite, not because of, their narrative contrivances. All the same, it remains compelling to read Franzen confront his demons, which are not just his but everyone’s.”

People magazine makes it their “Pick of the Week,” [not online yet] calling it “Wickedly smart and funny about power and desire, sometimes flabby and contrived yet still irresistible: pure Franzen.”

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 Aug. 31, 2015

Consumer Media Picks

9781609452865_4717cThe Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante, (Europa Editions)

The cult Italian author‘s final book in her Neapolitan Novels series is featured on the cover of this week’a NYT Book Review.

The writer explains in a Vanity Fair interview that “You Don’t Need to Know Her Name.”

 

Peer Picks

9781476798172_61985Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg, (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press)

There’s a pile-up of excitement for this book, featured at BEA, with stars from all four pre-pub journals, plus picks by Indie Next as well as LibraryReads:

“Clegg’s devastatingly beautiful fiction debut is the portrait of a community in the aftermath of a tragedy. June Reid, the broken woman at the epicenter of the novel, is struggling with a loss so profound that she is unable to see beyond her grief, unaware that it has touched many people. Clegg tells their stories with heartbreaking sensitivity and insight.” — Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT

9780544409910_db716-2Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart, (HMH)

Also arriving with four prepub stars and picks by Indie Next and LibraryReads:

“When the Kopp sisters and their buggy are injured by Henry Kaufman’s car, Constance Kopp at first just wants him to pay the damages. As she pursues justice, she meets another of Kaufman’s victims, the young woman Lucy. Stewart creates fully developed characters, including the heroine, Constance, who is fiercely independent as she faces down her fears. The time period and setting are important parts of the story as well, providing a glimpse of 1914 New Jersey.” — Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA

It is also reviewed in the week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review and author Stewart answers the burning question from the L.A Times, “What made Amy Stewart leave garden bestsellers behind for the novel Girl Waits with Gun?” She reveals she has and answer to reviewers’ hopes and is working on anther novel featuring Constance Kopp.

9780399174001_ee04bThe Gates of Evangeline, Hester Young, (Penguin/Putnam)

Indie Next and LibraryReads

“Journalist Charlie Cates goes to gloomy, swampy Louisiana to write a book about the disappearance of a young child. Her research uncovers family secrets, lies, and clandestine affairs. This first book in a new series is incredibly suspenseful, with a vivid setting, a supernatural tinge, and an intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end.” — Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

9781250072320_3d213Jade Dragon Mountain, Elsa Hart, (Macmillan/Minotaur)

Indie Next:

“Hart has written an excellent historical whodunit set in a remote province of Imperial China in 1708. Li Du, a librarian in exile, investigates the murder of an old Jesuit priest a few days before the arrival of the emperor. Full of mythological, cultural, and historical details, Jade Dragon Mountain also offers a fascinating analysis of the period when foreign businessmen began coveting China’s riches, in particular its tea. The plot is tight, the characters and suspects are fully developed, and the story keeps readers guessing with a few extra surprises at the end. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more adventures featuring Li Du.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

At BEA Shout ‘n’ Share, Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Library System said, “The language, the prose is so beautiful it takes you into the story and keeps you going page after page.”

Tie-ins

Hitting theaters today is the movie adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien, Z For Zachariah (S&S/Atheneum, 1975; tie-in edition, Simon Pulse, 8/18/15), reviewed in the NYT today. Concluding on HBO this Sunday is the series Show Me A Hero, based on the book by Lisa Belkin.

9781481455923_8feea  9781481456029_20445

Scheduled for publication this week are new trade paperback editions of the six titles in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series and the three in the prequel, The Infernal Devices. ABC Family is adapting the series. It is expected to being in early 2016. To fuel fan interest, the official site ShadowHuntersTV.com was launched recently.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV. For tie-ins, link to our catalog on Edelweiss.