Archive for January, 2008

Listen to Your Daughters!

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

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The LA Times today suggests, “The next time your teenager raves about a novel, pay attention: It could become your next movie.” That’s exactly what happened to Kyra Sedgwick when her fourteen-year-old daughter told her about the Y.A. title, Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr. The teenager has good taste — the book later was chosen as a National Book Award finalist. Sedgwick has optioned it, with Laurie Collyer (SherryBaby) as director.

The official pub date of Zarr’s second book, Sweethearts, is tomorrow, although it’s already been received by some libraries. It has received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

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  • Hardcover:$16.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (February 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316014559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316014557

It Takes a Saxon

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

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  • Hardcover: $25.95
  • Publisher: Harper (January 22, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0060888644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060888640
  • Abridged Audio CD
  • ISBN-10: 0061370940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061370946

This week’s USA Today “Inside Buzz” column notes (second story) that Bernard Cornwell breaks into the top 50 on their bestseller list for the first time (his books have appeared on the list before, but below the 50 mark. They have also appeared on many other lists, including the NY Times) with Sword Song: The Battle for London, the fourth in his Saxon Tales series. The book was also reviewed by USA Today book editor, Deirdre Donahue, earlier in the week. She calls Cornwell the “alpha male of testosterone-enriched historical fiction.” A slightly less breathles review in Jan. 6 Washington Post said, Cornwell tells [the] story with wit, intelligence and absolute narrative authority.”

Divorced, Beheaded, Died…

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

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The Other Boleyn Girl, a bestseller when it first came out in 2002, now appears at #25 on this week’s USA Today bestseller list (sales through Sunday, Jan. 27th). as people get ready for the movie, which doesn’t open until February 28th. The Other Boleyn Girl was the first in what became Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series (shown in order of publication, above). According to the Touchstone/Fireside Summer ’08 catalog, p36) the sixth book in the series, The Other Queen, about Mary, Queen of Scots, is scheduled for September, 2008:

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  • Hardcover: $25.95
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-4165-4912-3
  • ISBN 10: 1-4265-4912-9
  • Audio CD: $25.95
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-7435-7106-7
  • ISBN 10: 0-7435-7106-1

If you’d like to take a short break in the English countryside, watch Gregory’s video on The Other Queen. Gregory has also signed up to write a new series about the War of the Roses. The first book, tentatively titled The White Queen is scheduled for some time in 2010.

The Amazon sales rankings show that The Boleyn Inheritance (also in production as a movie) is now the second bestselling title in the series. Although it is the fifth Tudor series title, it is a direct sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl.

“Illusions” reviewed

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

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  • Hardcover: $26.00
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 28, 2008 — this is the date from Amazon. Yale UP site shows Jan. 7)
  • ISBN-10: 0300113315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300113310

Today, the Wall Street Journal reviews Illusions of Entrepreneurship, a book we mentioned earlier because of it clever use of viral marketing.

Sex and the Jungle

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

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  • Paperback: $14.95
  • Publisher: Hyperion (August 8, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0786887079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887071

A week from tomorrow (Feb. 7), NBC debuts The Lipstick Jungle. Based on the novel by Candace Bushnell, it’s about a group of New York women who dress beautifully, go to glamorous Manhattan hot spots, and analyze their crazy mixed-up lives over lunches and drinks. Sound familiar? Wait, there ARE differences from the HBO series you may be thinking of. As the trailer puts it, these women, who are many rungs up their chosen career ladders, are “not LOOKING for Mr. Big. They ARE Mr. Big.” And, there’s only three of them (this being network television, there has to be time for commercials), played by Brooke Shields, Lindsay Price (24) and Kim Raver.

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  • Mass Market Paperback: $6.99
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 1, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0446617687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446617680

If this makes you nostalgic for the original quartet, they are reunited in Sex and the City: The Movie, scheduled for release on May 30. Mr. Big is definitely in the movie, played again by Chris Noth.

A Slow Walk

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

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According to the Hollywood Reporter, Robert Redford may have tapped Barry Levinson to direct a movie based on Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods (with Redford starring and producing).

Don’t get too excited yet, we all know that talk can be just that, especially in Hollywood and Redford has talked about doing this movie for a while. The Reporter notes that Redford is also developing a movie about Jackie Robinson (in which he would play Branch Rickey). They think whichever script is ready first is the one he will do.

Oprah Surprise

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

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  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: Penguin (January 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0452289963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452289963

It seems like an such odd choice that I’m not sure I’ve got it right. But, right there on Oprah’s Book Club site, with the Oprah Book Club logo printed on the jacket is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It’s also up on the Amazon site as the new selection, so I guess this is the one.

It’s certainly a book that fits Oprah’s interests, but, unlike other Oprah Book Club picks, this is not a book to read as literature. It’s no One Hundred Years of Solitude or Anna Karenina. It’s also no Just in Case.

Right now, the book’s sales rank is #77,647 on Amazon. It will be interesting to see where it is after the show airs.

Oprah’s site also announces a 10-week webinar on the book that will run on Wednesday nights for ten weeks, beginning March 3rd. To be part of it, you have to reserve a seat.

Oprah Set to Anoint

Monday, January 28th, 2008

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On Wednesday, we’ll learn what the true title of Oprah Book Club #61 (ISBN 9780452289963). We’re on pins and needles to see if GalleyCat was correct in his speculation that the book is Meg Rosoff’s Just in Case. Rosoff, who was scheduled to appear at the MidWinter FOLUSA Author Tea did not show up for that event. The audience was told that she very much regretted that she couldn’t make it because of a family emergency. Maybe she was saving her strength?

Although Just in Case is a YA title, Rosoff has crossover appeal. Her latest book, What I Was,  came out earlier this month from Viking Adult. It was published last year in the UK as a YA title.

Ken Follett will also appear on Oprah on Wednesday, for the wrap-up show about the current selection Pillars of the Earth.

Art Rescue

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

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Rescuing Da Vinci:

Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe’s Great Art – America and Her Allies Recovered It

  • Hardcover: $55.00
  • Publisher: Laurel Publishing (December 15, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0977434907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977434909

Today’s CBS Sunday Morning cover story sent self-published Rescuing Da Vinci by Robert M. Edsel onto the Amazon bestseller list (it’s now at #17). It tells the story of the “Momument Men,” American and British officers who recovered art that was taken by the Nazis. Edsel also co-produced a documentary on the story, The Rape of Europa.

Two Memoirs Debut on NYT List

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

The memoir industry keeps chugging along. Two new titles in the genre hit the NY Times hardcover non-fiction bestseller list this week:

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#11 Her Last Death
Susanna Sonnenberg

  • Hardcover: $24
  • Publisher: Scribner (January 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0743291085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743291088
  • UNABRIDGED Audio CD
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; $39.95 (January 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0743569806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743569804

Michiko Kakutani (the “Mikey likes it!” of book reviewers) gave Her Last Death a strong review in the daily NY Times on Dec. 21, calling it a “fiercely observed, fluently written book that captures the chaos and confusions of [Sonenberg’s] youth, the daughter of an unpredictable pill-and-coke addicted mother.” A starred LJ review in the 12/15 issue called it “one of the best memoirs to come on the scene since Jeanette Walls’s The Glass Castle.”

The title is on library catalogs, but perhaps not in the quantities needed (the major libraries I checked had no more than two copies in their largest branches), especially if it has the staying power of The Glass Castle (currently at #7 on the NYT Paperback Nonfiction list, after 106 weeks).


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#16 The Middle Place
Kelly Corrigan

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Hyperion (January 8, 2008)
    ISBN-10: 1401303366
    ISBN-13: 978-1401303365

The Middle Place makes its first appearance on the NYT print harcover nonfiction list (last week it was at #23 on the extended list. This week it’s tied with the #15 title, Lone Survivor). It was reviewed in LJ XPress online-only reviews on 12/18, “Corrigan’s cancer memoir is relentlessly upbeat, an optimistic celebration of life, love, and family.” It was also featured in USA Today, with an excerpt

This new title is part of Hyperion’s “Voice” imprint, a line for women “in the second half of their life”, according to editorial director Pam Dorman. Launched last year, it’s an imprint with an advisory council, which includes booksellers (but no librarians at this point).

A New Look at the Civil War

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

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This Republic of Suffering:

Death and the American Civil War

  • Hardcover:$27.95
  • Publisher: Knopf (January 8, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 037540404X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375404047

In July, Civil War scholar Drew Gilpin Faust became the first woman president of Harvard (appropriately, replacing Lawrence H. Summers, who got into trouble for his denigrating remarks about women in the sciences).

Now, she has her first bestseller (she already has many titles to her credit, the most recent being Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, 1996, University of North Carolina Press). This Republic of Suffering is currently #24 on the Amazon list and #10 on the Boston Globe hardcover nonfiction list. It’s also the featured review on the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review and received an equally laudatory USA Today review (“Faust’s analysis will profoundly alter your understanding of the Civil War — perhaps of any war”) on Wednesday.

If you haven’t already, check your hold situation, you may need to buy more copies.

A Resounding “Lecture”

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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The Last Lecture
By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

  • Publisher: Hyperion (April 10, 2008)
  • Hardcover: $21.95
  • ISBN-10: 1401323251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323257
  • Unabridged CD: $21.95
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • ISBN-10: 1401323251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323257

In September of last year, Jeffrey Zaslow wrote a moving column in the Wall Street Journal about dying professor Randy Pausch’s last lecture — so moving that Oprah had Pausch reprise the lecture on her show in October, millions of people watched the video on the Web, and Hyperion paid a substantial advance for a book based on the story (we probably don’t need to remind you that Hyperion published the blockbuster Tuesdays with Morrie).

And then Zaslow and Pausch began a race against time to finish the book. Hyperion has just announced that the book will be published on April 10th. Happily, Pausch may live to see the publication.

By the way, in March last year, Zaslow wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal called “Of the Places You’ll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them?” In it, he talked about the library in his suburban Detroit community and his hope that his “girls would see the library as an oasis where they’d learn to understand themselves and the world.”

How to Become a “Top Reviewer”

Friday, January 25th, 2008

If you’ve ever wondered about Amazon’s “Top Reviewers,” check out Tuesday’s article in Slate. It’s a strange world where people feel it’s necessary “To keep writing, lest another reviewer usurp one’s spot. To say something nice, in hopes that someone will say something nice about you,” and all for very little gain (besides the dubious pleasure of being flooded with books sent by hopeful authors).

Where Have You Gone, Dan Brown? Booksellers Turn Their Lonely Eyes to You

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Today’s Wall Street Journal turns its journalistic skills to the question of when we might see the next Dan Brown tome (several years ago, it was tentatively titled The Solomon Key), “purported to be about freemasonry and the Founding Fathers.” Stephen Rubin, president of Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, will only give this Da Vinci Code style reply, “Dan Brown has a very specific release date for the publication of his new book, and when the book is published, his readers will see why.” The Journal‘s speculation on what date that could be proves the danger of such statements.

The article claims that booksellers are impatient because, “Book sales are generally sluggish, and one explosive, high-profile title can jump-start sales across the board.” Talk about pressure.

NEA Study — Just Poor Timing?

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I just wanted to do a Friday shout out to Richard Reyes-Gavilan, for making one of the best points I’ve heard about the N.E.A. report on the decline in reading of creative literature in America. In response to the New Yorker two-part series “Twilight of the Books,” he points out that the survey was conducted in August, 2002; “Speaking for myself — and countless readers at the New York Public Library, where I worked at the time — the twelve-month period beginning in September, 2001, was not a particularly good one by which to measure reading habits.” He quotes Ian McEwan, who said that post-September 11th, he found it “wearisome to confront invented characters.” (The study only reported on “literary reading” which excludes nonfiction).

Naively, after the N.E.A report, “Reading at Risk” was published, I thought it was counterproductive to argue with the results. Surely, pointing out this “national crisis” would bring a multitude of efforts to solve the problem? The NEA created “The Big Read.” And, on the other hand, we get responses like Steve Jobs casually declaring the Kindle a failure because “people don’t read anyway.” Thanks, Richard Reyes-Gavilan, for standing up for readers.