Archive for April, 2008

More On First Novels

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Roundups of first novels continue. USA Today offers their four picks of the new crop. White Tiger is shaping up to the critical success of the season.

The White Tiger

by Aravind Adiga

  • Hardcover: $24.00
  • Publisher: Free Press (April 22, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1416562591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416562597
  • Amazon Ranking: 19,410
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $34.99
  • Narrator: John Lee
  • Publisher: Tantor Media; edition (May 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400106656
  • ISBN-13: 978-140010665

The White Tiger was New York magazine’s favorite and is USA Today editor, Dierdre Donahue’s pick. She calls it “one of the most powerful books I’ve read in decades. No hyperbole. This debut novel from an Indian journalist living in Mumbai hit me like a kick to the head…”

So you can judge for yourself, USA Today also offers an excerpt, which proves what PW said in it’s 1/14 starred review, “It’s the perfect antidote to lyrical India.” LJ (2/15) also starred the book.

It is on order in most libraries in modest quantities. Some have already received it.


The Story of Forgetting

By Stefan Merrill Block

  • Hardcover: $25.00
  • Publisher: Random House (April 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400066794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066797
  • Amazon Ranking: 1,386
  • Audio CD: $34.99, Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, (May 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400107172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400107179

The Story of Forgetting is review editor Bob Minzeheimer’s pick; “Magical and scientific, Stefan Block’s surprisingly compelling novel explores the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease. Yet it is not depressing.”

It was reviewed by Janet Maslin in the 3/27 New York Times. Maslin seems to have trouble figuring out what to make of it. While she dwells on the book’s idiosyncrasies (a meandering plot with no “schematic master plan”), she finds many of the book’s digressions charming, and, overall “ablaze with love and vitality.” Summing it up, she says, “The Story of Forgetting is a fresh, beguiling novel in what is sure to be the rapidly expanding genre of Alzheimer’s literature.”

It is owned, in small quantities with comfortable holds to copy ratios, in all libraries I checked.


Girls in Trucks

By Katie Crouch

Girls in Trucks, Katie Crouch

  • Hardcover: $21.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (April 7, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316002119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316002110
  • Amazon Ranking: 814
  • Audio CD: $29.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio (April 7, 2008)
  • Reader: Author
  • ISBN-10: 1600242723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600242724
  • Large Type Paperback: $21.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (April 7, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316027618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316027618

Girls in Trucks is USA Today review editor Carol Memmot’s pick. It is also the top BookSense pick for the month of April. It has the highest Amazon ranking of the five debut titles USA Today selected. It is owned by most libraries; some are still showing on order status. Heavy reserves, as high as 10 to 1, are building in some locations.



By Joe Dunthorne

  • Hardcover: $22.00
  • Publisher: Random House (March 25, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400066832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066834
  • Amazon Ranking: 239,059

Occasional USA Today contributor James Endrst says of this coming-of-age novel, “Dunthorne is an extraordinary talent who imbues his young Oliver, who is twisted in the throes of his parents’ marital woes, his emerging sexuality and penchant for social science, with enviable depth perception… While this adolescent journey hardly breaks new ground, it does offer a glimpse of greater things to come.” It is owned in small quantities by most libraries with no reserves.

“Art of Racing…” New Starbucks Pick

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

We mentioned that The Art of Racing in the Rain was one of two books we heard librarians buzzing about at PLA. That buzz has reached Starbucks; USA Today just announced that the coffee chain has made it their next pick. Libraries have both the book and the audio on order in modest quantities with comfortable holds to copy ratios and it’s #43,728 on Amazon. Expect all that to change as word spreads.

I’ve read it and loved it, too. My only reservation was how do you get someone to read a book told from a dog’s point of view? Looks like that’s not going to be a problem.

Jenn Risko, publisher of the enewsletter, Shelf Awareness, read the book two years ago in manuscript and loved it (she has a great way of describing it; “wreckingly good”). In today’s issue of The Shelf, she writes about the book’s bumpy road to publication (Stein’s agent, as well as several others, turned it down).

Garth Stein was interviewed in the 4/1 issue of Library Journal.


The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Harper (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061537934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061537936
  • Audio CD: $34.95
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061565407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061565403
  • “The Soloist” Makes Noise

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

    Leaping onto the Amazon list at #25 after yesterday’s Fresh Air interview is The Soloist by Steve Lopez. The book was an LJ Editor’s pick on 4/1 and received a starred review in PW 2/18. Lopez, a columnist for the LA Times, developed a friendship with a homeless violinist and wrote several pieces about his efforts to help the man get off the streets and find treatment for his schizophrenia. Monday’s review in the LA Times notes, “I had some doubts that those fine columns I’d read would provide enough meat for a book, but he has fleshed out the story beautifully and engagingly.”

    A movie from the book is now in production. After shooting in LA, it has moved to Cleveland, where local news says it is causing traffic backups. The movie stars Catherine Keener, Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. (who plays Lopez). The director is Joe Wright, well known for another movie based on a book, last year’s Atonement. The book is on order for all libraries I checked, with comfortable holds to copy ratios. This is one to watch, however.

    The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music Steve Lopez

    • Hardcover: $25.95
    • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 17, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0399155066
    • ISBN-13: 978-0399155062
    • Audio CD: Unabridged, $19.95
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (May 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1433215225
    • ISBN-13: 978-1433215223
    • Audio Cassette: Unabridged, $44.95
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (May 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1433215217
    • ISBN-13: 978-143321521


    Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

    The fourth and, so far, best episode of the online book discussion show Title Page is now online. Rather than the four separate talking heads of previous shows, this one has more real discussion going between the writers (I suspect they made these writers read each other’s work beforehand). To further involve viewers, host Dan Menaker is available in the discussion area today. His response about the challenges of moderating panels will bring a smile to anyone who’s tried it.

    Featured in this show are three novelists and a poet. As in the previous episodes, the authors already are, or will be, getting attention.

    The one exception to that rule is Episode Four guest, poet Edward Hirsch, only because poetry just doesn’t get coverage in the consumer media. Hirsch is the standout of the show, helping to foster discussion and speaking accessibly about his craft.

    Special Orders

    Edward Hirsch

    • Hardcover: $25.00
    • Publisher: Knopf (March 11, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307266818
    • ISBN-13: 978-030726681


    The Ten-Year Nap

    Meg Wolitzer

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (March 27, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1594489785
    • ISBN-13: 978-1594489785

    Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel has been reviewed fairly widely already. The LA Times sums up the story as

    focusing on the so-called opt-out generation — the much-discussed phenomenon of educated professionals (often daughters of feminists who fought for the right to work outside the home) who quit their jobs after having children. Is this the perk of women with wealthy husbands or a self-inflicted raw deal?

    In a generally positive review, the Washington Post finds it witty even though it “occasionally reads like an overly earnest polemic.” The LA Times basically agrees, but with a much less positive spin,

    Her writing abounds with lovely images that capture her characters’ lives — the “spackling of peanut butter onto bread” or coaxing “the last of the sunblock from the snouts of bottles.” But The Ten-Year Nap often sags like an old mattress with the weight of its characters’ earnest discussions about ambition, aging and societal expectations…but there’s enough between the covers to remind us that her writing is worth staying awake for.

    Entertainment Weekly gave it an “A-“,

    Wolitzer’s middle-aged moms are flawed: selfish, neurotic, and occasionally petty. But they — and their conflicts — feel vividly, satisfyingly real.


    Harry, Revised

    Mark Sarvas

    • Hardcover: $24.99
    • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (April 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1596914629
    • ISBN-13: 978-159691462

    Harry, Revised has not been reviewed, but was covered in New York magazine’s current roundup of 5 first novelists.


    Olive Kitteridge

    Elizabeth Strout

    • Hardcover: $25.00
    • Publisher: Random House (March 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 140006208X
    • ISBN-13: 978-140006208

    Olive Kitteridge has been receiving a string of very positive reviews, including an “A” review in Entertainment Weekly. Friday’s New York Times review says,

    The pleasure in reading “Olive Kitteridge” comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters.

    Congrats, Megan!

    Monday, April 21st, 2008

    We just got our copy of Macmillan Library Marketing newsletter and were delighted to see Chicago PL’s Collection Development Director, Megan McArdle selected as their “Librarian of the Month.”

    Running Out of “The Last Lecture”

    Monday, April 21st, 2008

    The Wall Street Journal today reports that The Last Lecture is the “hottest book in the country now — so hot that just 10 days after hitting book stores, it is hard to find.”


    The Last Lecture
    By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

    • Publisher: Hyperion (April 9, 2008)
    • Hardcover: $21.95
    • ISBN-10: 1401323251
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401323257
    • Unabridged CD: $21.95
    • Publisher: Harper Audio
    • ISBN-10: 1401323251
    • ISBN-13: 978-140132

    Some lucky libraries are showing that they have received their copies, but holds are heavy.

    Spring First Novels

    Monday, April 21st, 2008

    The current issue of New York magazine features their occasional “Is This Book Worth Getting” column, with a look at five newly published debut novels.

    All the Sad Young Literary Men

    Keith Gessen

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Viking/Penguin (April 10, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0670018554
    • ISBN-13: 978-0670018550
    • Audio CD: Unabridged, $55.00
    • Narrator: Scott Brick
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audio (April 10, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1433212404
    • ISBN-13: 978-1433212406

    The reviewer advises waiting for the paperback of All the Sad Young Literary Men, with this bit of snark:

    For about 40 thrilling pages, Gessen delivers one of the purest joys in all of literature: the ecstasy of watching a much-hyped young littérateur fall flat on his face. The book’s opening is self-satisfied, boringly solipsistic, and full of embarrassing pomo moves that Gessen doesn’t have nearly the pizzazz to pull off…

    Jonathan Yardley, in the Washington Post gave the book a backhanded compliment; “a considerably better-than-average exercise in slacker fiction.” Less backhanded, Richard Eder of the LA Times says in his review that the author’s “achingly comic command of the hopes, vanities, foibles and quandaries of his peers has produced something better than fashionably maneuvered satire.” The author was featured in the second episode of TitlePage TV. All libraries I checked show the book as on order, with modest reserves.


    The Mayor’s Tongue

    Nathaniel Rich

    • Hardcover:$24.95
    • Publisher: Riverhead (April 17, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1594489904
    • ISBN-13: 978-1594489907

    This one also receives a “Wait for the Paperback,” calling it “a stunt that’s more often ‘zany’ than profound.” The LA Times includes Rich in their look at the literary life in NYC through the eyes of the authors of three “much-awaited” first novels and points out that Rich is the son of NY Times columnist, Frank Rich. The book’s striking cover is singled our for attention in the blog, “The Book Design Review.”


    The “Buy It” titles have not yet been covered in the consumer press:

    Harry, Revised

    Mark Sarvas

    • Hardcover: $24.99
    • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (April 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1596914629
    • ISBN-13: 978-1596914629

    This is the first novel by the Elegant Variation blogger. “Though prone to overexposition, Sarvas has a sure hand for vivisecting 21st-century absurdities,” says New York.


    The White Tiger

    Aravind Adiga

    • Hardcover: $24.00
    • Publisher: Free Press (April 22, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1416562591
    • ISBN-13: 978-1416562597
    • Audio CD: Unabridged, $34.99
    • Narrator: John Lee
    • Publisher: Tantor Media; edition (May 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1400106656
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400106653

    This is New York‘s favorite of the five debuts. It’s a murder mystery told in reverse and set in contemporary India (the ad campaign emphasizes that this is not what you might expect in a novel from that setting — “No saris. No scents. No spices.”) New York describes it as being “like the nineteenth-century America of Gangs of New York, plus tech-support centers and cell phones. If these are the hands that built India, their grandkids really are going to kick America’s ass.”


    A bit more qualified “Buy It” goes to Love Marriage, because it’s already in paperback (it’s a pbk original)

    Love Marriage

    V.V. Ganeshananthan

    • Paperback: $14.00
    • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (April 8, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1400066697
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400066698

    Love Marriage is by a journalist who immigrated to the US from Sri Lanka. New York finds it worth the $14 because it is “an ambitious family drama about an underreported part of the world, filled with well-shaded characters—which, combined with the occasional gorgeous flourish (a sky ‘turning from black to dark blue and beginning to forget the stars’) more than compensates for some freshman overreach.”

    As mentioned above, the LA Times interviewed the authors of three “much-awaited first novels,” on the question of whether “Is it possible to lead a dedicated literary life in the billionaire-filled, media-crazed New York of today?” Included are Gessen (All the Sad Young Literary Men) and Rich  (The Mayor’s Tongue) as well as Ed Park.

    Personal Days
    Ed Park

    • Paperback: 256 pages
    • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (May 13, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0812978579
    • ISBN-13: 978-081297857

    Since the LA Times piece focuses on the authors, rather than their books, it doesn’t offer much insight into Personal Days. The Publishers Weekly review called it a “warm and winning fiction debut…Echoing elements from Ferris’s debut smash, Then We Came to the End, Park may have written the first cubicle cozy. “

    Best Cookbooks

    Monday, April 21st, 2008

    The International Association of Culinary Professional announced the winners of their annual Cookbook Awards on Friday night at their conference in New Orleans (I wonder if THEY get rubber chicken at the Awards Banquet?)

    Since these titles were pubbed last year, you may have some on the shelves, making this a good opportunity for a display.

    The Cookbook of the Year is an appropriate title for this time of environmental concern. It is also the winner in the Single Subject Category:

    IACP Cookbook of the Year

    Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood

    Paul Johnson

    • Hardcover: $34.95
    • Publisher: Wiley (July 2, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 076458779X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764587795

    Fish Forever is owned in 2/3 of the libraries I checked.

    The only book in the other categories that is not owned (probably because, as a new edition, it was not reviewed prepub. Previous editions of this classic are owned widely) is the winner in the Wine, Beer or Spirits Category:

    The World Atlas of Wine: Completely Revised and Updated, Sixth Edition

    Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson

    • Hardcover: $50.00
    • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley, Distributed by Sterling (October 1, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 1845333012
    • ISBN-13: 978-1845334147

    The other winners are:
    American Category

    The Pastry Queen Christmas:

    Big-hearted Holiday Entertaining, Texas Style

    Rebecca Rather

    • Hardcover: $32.50
    • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 1580087906
    • ISBN-13: 978-158008790

    Bread, Other Baking and Sweets Category

    Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe’s Best Artisan Bakers

    Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman

    • Hardcover: $35.00
    • Publisher: W. W. Norton (August 13, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0393050556
    • ISBN-13: 978-039305055

    Chefs and Restaurants & First Book: The Julia Child Award Categories

    Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking

    Masaharu Morimoto

    • Hardcover: $40.00
    • Publisher: DK Publishing (August 20, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0756631238
    • ISBN-13: 978-0756631239

    Compilations Category

    Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner

    Peter P. Greweling

    • Hardcover: $65.00
    • Publisher: Wiley (March 6, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0764588443
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764588440

    Food Photography and Styling Category

    Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Served with a Twist

    A.J. Rathbun

    • Hardcover: $29.95
    • Publisher: Harvard Common Press (September 15, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 1558323368
    • ISBN-13: 978-1558323360

    Food Reference/Technical Category

    Food: The History of Taste (California Studies in Food and Culture)

    Paul Freedman

    • Hardcover: $39.95
    • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (November 7, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0520254767
    • ISBN-13: 978-0520254763

    General Category

    Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook

    Jamie Oliver

    • Hardcover: $37.50
    • Publisher: Hyperion (October 2, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 1401322336
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401322335

    Health and Special Diets Category

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food

    Mark Bittman and Alan Witschonke

    • Hardcover: 1008 pages
    • Publisher: Wiley (October 15, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0764524836
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764524837

    Literary Food Writing Category

    Julia Child (Penguin Lives)

    Laura Shapiro

    • Hardcover: $19.95
    • Publisher: Viking Adult (April 5, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0670038393
    • ISBN-13: 978-0670038398

    Jane Grigson Category

    To Cork or Not To Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle
    George M. Taber

    • Hardcover: $26.00
    • Publisher: Scribner (October 9, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0743299345
    • ISBN-13: 978-074329934


    Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

    The story of the raid on a Texas polygamist compound has brought new attention to a book by the former wife of the man who oversees the compound elder in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Carolyn Jessop has appeared on several news shows, including the Today Show. The book went on the Amazon list at #23 last week and is currently at #28.

    Today, Slate, looks at the book in their “Juicy Bits: How to Read Juicy Books” column. Reserves are building in most places. A trade paperback is scheduled, but it is not due out until August 26.

    Carolyn Jessop

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Broadway (October 16, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0767927567
    • ISBN-13: 978-076792756
    • Audio CD: $27.95
    • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (October 16, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0739354574
    • ISBN-13: 978-073935457

    Not so Quiet

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

    We mentioned earlier that Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian was Dan Menaker’s thank-you gift to the authors who appeared on the most recent Title Page TV show.

    The book just got a bigger hit — coverage in USA Today. But, review editor, Bob Minzesheimer backhands our favorite institution — “libraries would benefit from more creative staffs with a sense of humor.” Ouch! Some way to celebrate libraries during National Library Week. Bob should know better; he is also President of the Board of the Ossining [NY] Public Library.

    As far as the book goes, Minzesheimer finds it “too self-consciously hip for my tastes.”


    Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian

    Scott Douglas

    • Hardcover: $25.00
    • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 24, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0786720913
    • ISBN-13: 978-0786720910

    As part of this National Library Week “celebration,” he also reviews The Library at Night, saying, “The writing is challenging but rewarding.”

    The Library at Night
    Alberto Manguel

    • Hardcover: $27.50
    • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 28, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0300139144
    • ISBN-13: 978-0300139143

    The book has also been reviewed by Michael Dirda in the Washington Post and Nicholas A. Basbanes in the L.A. Times.


    Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

    The Last Lecture has risen to #1 on Amazon, knocking the Oprah pick, A New Earth to #2. The book was not reviewed prepub (it was a late addition to Hyperion’s list). The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the first to cover it on 4/06, saying,

    The Last Lecture has even more emotional punch than when Pausch told a packed auditorium in September that he was dying of pancreatic cancer, and then proceeded to describe all the ways he had been able to fulfill this childhood dreams.

    Most libraries have received their copies and reserves are heavy. In some cases, they are running as high as 20 holds per copy. The audio (which is at #25 on Amazon’s list) is also receiving reserves.


    The Last Lecture
    By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

    • Publisher: Hyperion (April 9, 2008)
    • Hardcover: $21.95
    • ISBN-10: 1401323251
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401323257
    • Unabridged CD: $21.95
    • Publisher: Harper Audio
    • ISBN-10: 1401323251
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401323

    I must say, I am amazed by Unaccustomed Earth, now at #6. What happened to the received wisdom that short stories don’t become bestsellers? The book is the current literary darling, reviewed widely and enthusiastically, including the cover review of last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review (also not a guarantee of commercial success). It’s made it to the print lists — #1 on both the NYT and Washington Post lists and appearing on all the other lists. Reserves are very heavy in some areas.


    • Hardcover:$25.00
    • Publisher: Knopf (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307265730
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307265739
    • Audio CD: $39.95
    • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0739341790
    • ISBN-13: 978-0739341797

    But the real phenomenon is Breaking Dawn, the fourth in Stephenie Meyer YA vampire series. The book isn’t due out until August 2nd, but it’s been in the top 15 on Amazon, rising as high as #6, ever since it was announced. Libraries do not have it on order. If you have any doubts about Meyers’s popularity, just check out the reserve list for her forthcoming adult title, The Host, now at #61 on the Amazon list. All the other titles in the Twilight series are also on the list, in the 30’s.

    The Host
    Stephenie Meyer

    • Hardcover: $25.99
    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 6, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0316068047
    • ISBN-13: 978-031606804

    Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

    Stephenie Meyer

    • Hardcover: $22.99
    • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (August 2, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 031606792X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0316067928

    Why no cover art? The series is known for its striking covers and fans are already speculating on what the cover will be. Some are even creating their own versions (this one gets my vote). Capitalizing on this fervor, the publisher is keeping the cover under wraps until May 31 (the Saturday of Book Expo) when they will release a special hardcover edition of the third book in the series, Eclipse, which will include the cover art and first chapter of Breaking Dawn.

    And the new edition of the world’s most popular pregnancy book is on the Amazon list at #65


    What to Expect When You’re Expecting: 4th Edition

    Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

    • Paperback: $14.95
    • Publisher: Workman, 4th edition (April 10, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0761148574
    • ISBN-13: 978-0761148579
    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Workman, 4th edition (April 17, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 076115079X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0761150794

    Travel Book Confidential

    Monday, April 14th, 2008

    A new book by Thomas Kohnstamm, a former Lonely Planet author, is shaking up the travel book world. In Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? he claims he wrote about Colombia for Lonely Planet, without ever going there, relying instead on information from “a chick I was dating” who worked at the Colombian Consulate. He also claims he took favors in exchange for good coverage, and was forced to supplement his travel-writing income by selling drugs.

    The story has been covered by Reuters and the AP and by The New York Times blog, “The Lede.”

    Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism

    • Paperback: $13.95
    • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 22, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307394654
    • ISBN-13: 978-030739465

    The Lonely Planet says in a statement that they are fact-checking the books Kohnstamm wrote for them (Chile & Easter Island, 7th edition; South America on a Shoestring, 10th edition and Caribbean Islands, 4th edition). It also says, “Thomas talks most about his work on Brazil (6th edition). This book is now out of print and has been replaced by the current edition. This has been fully updated, and Thomas has not contributed to it at all.” The 6th edition is still owned in many libraries, however.

    A contributer to the travel Web site “Gadling” concludes the story is “Just another example of Kohnstamm blowing things out of proportion for the sake of shilling his own book.” He refers to a piece in the Guardian, that points out Kohnstamm was never expected to go to Colombia:

    Lonely Planet publisher Piers Pickard told Associated Press that Kohnstamm’s revelation of not having been to Colombia was “disingenuous” because he was hired to write about the country’s history and not to travel there to review accommodation and restaurants.

    Kohnstamm later told AP: “It was expected I would never go to Colombia.”

    Separately, the New Zealand Herald reports that a Lonely Planet author has also questioned Kohnstamm’s story and called him an “embarrassment.”

    Copies of Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? are on order for half the libraries I checked.

    R.A. Clipping File — Mysteries

    Sunday, April 13th, 2008

    The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association has finally posted their five picks for April (cut them some slack, they may have been sidetracked by the larger mystery of income tax returns). All the selections will be of interest to readers advisors, but selection librarians will want to check in to Hoodoo by Susan Cummins Miller. It has not been reviewed prepub and is therefore not owned widely (even though the author’s earlier works are)

    Hoodoo (Book Four; Frankie McFarlane Series)

    Susan Cummins Miller

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press (March 3, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0896726231
    • ISBN-13: 978-0896726239

    Barbara Peters of the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale writes, “While Miller’s publisher is a university press, her works are not at all dry, but are grounded soundly in her specialty [geology] and will appeal to fans of Sarah Andrew, Nevada Barr, and in Hoodoo, Tony Hillerman.”

    Speaking of Nevada Barr, Marilyn Stasio says in her Sunday NY Times Book Review Mystery column that in Winter Study, Barr’s first mystery in three years, “she seems to have been saving up all the special effects. The blizzards, the dangerous ice and the manhunts through the frozen woods are described with crisp, hard-edged beauty. And the wolves, those maligned ‘ogres of childhood,’ are magnificent.”

    • Hardcover:$24.95
    • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0399154582
    • ISBN-13: 978-0399154584
    • Audio CD: $34.99
    • Publisher: Recorded Books (April 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1428198083
    • ISBN-13: 978-1428198081

    Sarah Weinman (Confessions of an Idosyncratic Mind) selects Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius as one of her Picks of the Week, saying it is even better than his first two thrillers. Marilyn Stasio also features it as the lead review in her Mystery column. Jesse, of course, is the son of bestselling writers Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. The Chicago Sun Times mystery columnist adds to the chorus, with one small caution, “The world [protagonist] Muller inhabits is interesting, as is he himself, even if he does have an annoying habit of talking directly to the reader as part of an overly self-conscious meta-narrative. Still, there’s no denying the gripping power of the inventive plot, nor the depth of the characters the author has created.”

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 10, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0399154590
    • ISBN-13: 978-0399154591
    • Audio CD: $29.95, Unabridged
    • Publisher: Penguin Audio (April 10, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0143143131
    • ISBN-13: 978-0143143130

    This Week on Oprah!

    Sunday, April 13th, 2008

    On Wednesday, Maria Shriver talks to Oprah about her new book, Just Who Will You Be? In it, Shriver reveals that she lost her identity when she had to resign her job at NBC after her husband became governor of California. The PW review says, “This slender inspirational book is a candid self-portrait of a woman in transition…Shriver’s earnest self-inquiry and her humility and readiness to regard herself as a 50-year-old work-in-progress make for a charming and genuinely inspiring read.” Reprinted in the book is the speech Shriver made at her nephew’s high school graduation (graduation speeches play a pivotal role in Shriver’s recent writing. Her 2005 title, And One More Thing Before You Go, was based on another of her graduation speeches). The book is on order in most libraries.

    Just Who Will You Be?

    Big Question, Little book, Answer Within

    Maria Shriver

    • Hardcover: $14.95
    • Publisher: Hyperion (April 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1401323189
    • ISBN-13: 978-1401323189
    • Audio CD: $14.95
    • Publisher: HarperAudio (April 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1401391362

    On Friday, Oprah presents a workshop by Marcus Buckingham on how to not be one of the 84% of Americans who hate their jobs. Buckingham has published several books, his bestselling title is:

    Now, Discover Your Strengths

    Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

    • Hardcover: $30.00
    • Publisher: Free Press (January 29, 2001)
    • ISBN-10: 0743201140
    • ISBN-13: 978-0743201148
    • Audio CD: $25.00
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (January 1, 2001)
    • ISBN-10: 0743518144
    • ISBN-13: 978-0743518147

    He also has a new title coming in September:

    The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success Marcus Buckingham

    • Hardcover (with DVD): $29.99
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 2, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1400202264
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400202263
    • ISBN-13: 978-140139136

    Sixties Redux

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

    Featured in Salon today is a long review (actually, not so much a review as an essay based on the book) with the inspired title, “Through a Bong, Darkly,” of a book that deconstructs the sixties.

    The Sixties Unplugged:

    A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade

    Gerard J. DeGroot

    • Hardcover: $29.95
    • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 28, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0674027868
    • ISBN-13: 978-067402786

    The book is owned widely.