Archive for March, 2009


Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The current #1 title on Amazon is NOT by Stephenie Meyer, it’s not a skinny cookbook and it’s not about how to do more with less.

No, it’s a business book on succession planning (amazing to think that there are people actually planning to leave their high-level jobs!) from Harvard Business Press and it’s owned by few libraries.

Succession: Are You Ready? by Marshall Goldsmith hit #1 nine hours ago (how do I know? Twitter tells me so).

Why do business people want to know more about Goldsmith? BusinessWeek recently profiled Alan Mulally of Ford, who has, they say, “meant the difference between death for the automaker and merely being sick” (folks, we’re in a new era. Flat is no longer the new up; “merely sick” is the new up). The article says that Mulally’s approach to managing Ford was shaped by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. 

Goldsmith’s 2007 title, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, was on the NYT Hardcover Advice bestseller list for two weeks last year. It’s remained in the top 500 for the last few months, and in the top 300 recently. Libraries are showing reserve lists for it.

Succession: Are You Ready? (Memo to the CEO)
Marshall Goldsmith
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 125 pages
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press – (2009-02-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1422118231 / 9781422118238


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There:  

How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2007-01-09)
ISBN / EAN: 1401301304 / 9781401301309

Farewell, Seattle P-I

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Nancy Pearl gets a nice shout-out from john Marshall, the book critic for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in his final print column. This was included in his “farewell list of the extraordinary, the strange, the faves and flops”:

Most enterprising Seattle book people: Seattle’s uber-librarian Nancy Pearl; Kim Ricketts of Kim Ricketts Book Events.

Among the flops?

Biggest celebrity interview dud: Jane Fonda. Ice queen on auto-pilot.

Seattle P-I ceased print publication as of Monday, but will continue as an online pub, including the book section.

YA Heads Up; ‘If I Stay’

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Weeper alert. I usually don’t have the patience for this relatively new genre of a dying or dead teenage girl looking back on her life, yet… Gayle Forman had me at hello in If I Stay; complicated relationships, Gen X parents, Pacific Northwest setting and a hot, sensitive, cool boyfriend add up to a story that sneaks into your heart.

Dude, I cried.

[Ed note: Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, has signed on to direct the movie of  If I Stay, the author’s second YA novel, after Sisters in Sanity. The book is also the #1 choice by independent booksellers on their Kids’ Indie Next List).

If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile – (2009-04-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0525421033 / 9780525421030


Featured on Weekend Edition, Sunday – Claudette Colvin

In 1955 a fifteen-year-old Black girl was arrested when she refused to give up her bus seat to a White woman nine months before Rosa Parks. This is her story:

Before Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin, by Margot Adler

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

by Phillip Hoose
Retail Price: $19.95; (2009-01-20)
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: FSG (BYR)
ISBN / EAN: 0374313229 / 9780374313227

Reminder: ‘Twilight’ DVD Coming Saturday

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


Right; like you needed a reminder. Library reserves are through the roof (a library in the northwest has 1,383 reserves on 134 copies).

Amazon has a neat instant-gratification trick going. Customers that pre-order the dvd will be sent a code so they can watch it on release day from Amazon Video On Demand (none of that pesky waiting for overnight delivery).

Out today is Twilight: Director’s Notebook

Twilight: Director’s Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer (Hardcover)
by Catherine Hardwicke
List Price: $17.99
Release Date: 2009-03-17

It was featured in the 2/20 Entertainment Weekly:


MySpace: Still Relevant?

Monday, March 16th, 2009

My favorite new phrase is “trailer park aesthetics.” Janet Maslin uses it to describe MySpace in today’s NYT review of a new book that digs the dirt on the site, Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America, by Wall Street Journal reporter, Julia Angwin. Maslin clearly finds the book fascinating.

The Washington Post review on Saturday agrees, but, given that Facebook has already surpassed MySpace as “the most popular website in America,” feels it is ancient history.  Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp acquired Facebook for $580 million in 2005 (the Post says this section “sparkles as a boardroom page-turner”). Despite the Post‘s judgment, as long as Murdoch is around, insights into his business practices remain relevant.

USA Today also mentions the book on their tech blog, and raises this interesting question, “How will News Corp head Rupert Murdoch react to one of his own, the Journal’s Angwin, in her dissection of a prized Fox Interactive property?” 

Larger ibraries have ordered the book in small quantities and show equally small reserves at this point. It is also available in audio, which fewer libraries have on order.

Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America
Julia Angwin
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2009-03-17)
ISBN / EAN: 1400066948 / 9781400066940

Unabridged Audio


  • 8 Tape; 1-4332-5886-2; $65.95
  • 1 MP3CD; 1-4332-5890-9; $29.95 9
  • CD; 1-4332-5887-9;$90.00

Jean Srnecz Memorial

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Many of you knew Jean Scrnecz, B&T Sr. VP of Merchandising (translation: head of buying and inventory management), who was killed in a plane crash in Buffalo last month. Today’s Shelf Awareness has a touching recap of the memorial service held for her last Saturday.

In her honor, B&T has created a scholarship fund in her name for the children of B&T employees. Donations can be sent to the Jean Srnecz Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Baker & Taylor Foundation. For more information, e-mail

On Book One Chicago

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is the 16th  ‘One Book, One Chicago‘ pick. The book, set in a Chicago neighborhood, tells the story of a Mexican-American teenager struggling to assimilate.

Cisneros, who now lives in San Antonio, grew up in Chicago (the Chicago Sun-Times article on the pick is headlined, “Chicago-born Author Fled City“) and has often been critical of the city, once saying, “If I’m an artist, it’s despite Chicago, not because of it.”

In describing the book, Chicago mayor Daley said, “It identifies any young girl growing up in Chicago. It doesn’t matter what race, ethnic origin; it can apply to anyone.”

Cisneros will appear at the Chicago Public Library on April 14th.


The House on Mango Street 
Sandra Cisneros

  • Paperback: $10.95; 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 3, 1991)
  • ISBN-10: 0679734775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679734772

The Latest on ‘Hunger Games’

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Publishers Weekly has a roundup of the news on Catching Fire, the sequel to Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, coming Sept. 1 (pub date was changed to accomodate booksellers who wanted it for the Labor Day weekend).

All I have to add is that galleys will be available at the upcoming Book Expo America.


Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $17.99; 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0439023491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023498

A Surprise Among the NBCC Winners

Friday, March 13th, 2009

The one surprise from the National Book Critics Circle Awards announced last night was the winner for autiobiography, My Father’s Paradise, by Ariel Sabar. While it garnered some stellar reviews and was on the Christian Science Monitor’s list of best books, it’s not as well known as some of the other finalists, several of which have appeared on bestseller lists and dozens of best books lists.

In addition to being a strong readers advisory title, it is a candidate for book clubs (the author’s web site offers useful background, including book club resources). The book is also the current selection of  “One Book, One Jewish Community” in Philadelphia as well as “On the Same Page, Baltimore.”

Since this award comes from book critics and since the critics lined up to praise Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (according to Neil Hollands’s analysis of over 80 best books of ’08 lists, it appeared on the most; 23 in total), it’s no surprise that it was the winner in fiction.

Below is a full list of winners and finalists. The links are to NBCC Board members’ descriptions from their admirable Thirty Books in Thirty Days.




Roberto Bolaño, 2666, Farrar, Straus


Marilynne Robinson, Home, Farrar, Straus
(National Book Award finalist last year)

Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project, Riverhead
(National Book Award finalist last year)

M. Glenn Taylor, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, West Virginia University Press

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kittredge, Random


Winners (2):


August Kleinzahler, Sleeping It Off in Rapid City, Farrar, Strauss


Juan Felipe Herrera, Half the World in Light, University of Arizona Press


Devin Johnston, Sources, Turtle Point Press

Pierre Martory (trans. John Ashbery), The Landscapist, Sheep Meadow Press

Brenda Shaughnessy, Human Dark with Sugar, Copper Canyon Press




Seth Lerer, Children’s Literature: Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, University of Chicago Press


Richard Brody, Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life Of Jean-Luc Godard, Metropolitan Books

Vivian Gornick, The Men in My Life, Boston Review/MIT

Joel L. Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds, Doubleday

Reginald Shepherd, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry, University of Michigan Press




Patrick French, The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul, Knopf


Paula J. Giddings, Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching, Amistad

Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family In An American Century, Penguin Press

Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, W.W. Norton (This was the winner of the National Book Award in Nonfiction last year)

Brenda Wineapple, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Knopf




Ariel Sabar, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq, Algonquin


Rick Bass, Why I Came West, Houghton Mifflin

Helene Cooper, The House On Sugar Beach, Simon and Schuster

Honor Moore, The Bishop’s Daughter, WW Norton

Andrew X. Pham, The Eaves Of Heaven, Harmony Books




Dexter Filkins, The Forever War, Knopf


Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War, Knopf
(National Book Award finalist last year)

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side, Doubleday
(National Book Award finalist last year)

Allan Lichtman, White Protestant Nation, Atlantic

George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: US Foreign Relations Since 1776, Oxford University Press

Look Who’s Blogging!

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

We’re happy to welcome the HarperCollins Library Marketing team to the library book blogging world.


That’s Virginia Stanley, head of the department in the middle; with Kayleigh George on the left and Bobby Brinson, right.

Yes, they always dress that well.

They’re calling their new blog “Library Love Fest” and they’re living up to the title by offering lots of goodies (my personal favorites are the pix of the team as kids. Jeez, Virginia, you always were an imp!).

Others may prefer the galley giveways (currently, they’re offering  The Laws of Harmony, by Judith Ryan Hendricks — click here for info. on entering) and live author interviews (Mary Kay Andrews is coming up).

Harper is the most recent in a growing trend of adult library marketing departments blogging. Random House Library began theirs a few months ago: Random House Library Blog.

In audio, PlayAway started Just Press Play, which highlights new titles on PlayAway; good for keeping up with simultaneous releases (the new 39 Clues is on PlayAway as well several titles on the current NYT bestseller list).

Hardcover Bestsellers, Week of 3/2

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

We predicted that the controversial novel, The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell would hit the NYT bestseller list and so it has, but on the extended fiction list, at #27, after its first week on sale. It’s been moving down the Amazon sale ranks — it’s currently at #111 from a high of #52 — indicating that it will not go any higher on next week’s NYT list. It’s not in the new USA Today top 150 list.

New #1 and 2 on USA Today!

             lady   watchmen

For months, we’ve become accustomed to seeing the Twilight series at the top of the USA Today bestseller list, but this week BOTH the #1 and #2 spots are taken by other books.  Steve Harvey’s book of retro relationship advice, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, moves into the #1 slot after 6 weeks on the list; it’s at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Advice list, where it’s been for the last 6 weeks. Libraries are showing heavy reserves on moderate ordering; as high as 15 to one. Harvey appeared on Oprah recently. USA Today says a second show is being taped and that Harvey is planning a followup to Think…, based on questions women have asked him during his book tour.

At #2 is Watchmen, the classic 1986 comic. It’s been on the list for 34 weeks, ever since the trailer for the movie, now #1 at the box office, first appeared. 

As for Twilight, the series is still in the top ten. The longest-running title in the series is the second one, New Moon at #3 after 130 weeks.


#1  NYT Fiction
#8 USA Today, general


Going right to #1 on the NYT Fiction list after its first week on sale is Jodi Picoult’s Handle with Care, (Atria, $27.95)


#12  NYT Fiction
#104 USA Today, general


Storm From the Shadows
David Weber, Baen, $27

In July, the prolific Weber begins a new series [update: thanks to sharp-eyed librarian and Weber fan, Jessica Moyer, who points out that I misread the Tor’s catalog; this is NOT a new series, but the third in a series that began with Off Armageddon Reef and By Schism Rent Asunder. Thanks, Jessica!)

By Heresies Distressed
David Weber
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Tor Books – (2009-07-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0765315033 / 9780765315038



#13 NYT Fiction
(Not on USA Today)


Paths of Glory, Jeffrey Archer, St. Martin’s, $27.95


Goodbye, Edgar

           sawtelle   dont-look-twice

The bestseller lists begin to bid adieu this week to an old friend; The Story of Edgar Sawtelle leaves the USA Today list after 38 weeks and comes close to slipping off the main NYT fiction list, coming in at #16, tied with #15, Don’t Look Twice, by Andrew Gross, which makes its debut. 


#35 NYT Fiction, extended


At the very end of the NYT extended fiction list is Oolong Dead, the 10th in Laura Childs’s Tea Shop series. Some libraries are showing very high holds on moderate ordering.

Childs’s next book is the second in her new series, Crackleberry Club — Eggs Benedict Arnold, coming in December. Hennepin already shows 81 holds. 


Nonfiction — Congratulations, Dewey and Vicky!

Dewey marks his 25th week on the NYT Nonfiction list, now at #5

Further congrats; we hear Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will publish a childrens picture book about Dewey, also written by his librarian pal, Vicky Myron, in September.


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World 
Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, Grand Central, $19.98


New Nonfiction Bestsellers

#8 NYT Nonfiction 


Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them), by Bart Ehrman, is the followup to Ehrman’s 2005  NYT bestseller, Misquoting Jesus (six weeks in the top 15, reaching a high of #5; fourteen on the extended list).


#8 NYT Advice, How-to


Emotional Freedom, Judith Orloff, Harmony, $24.95


#11 NYT Advice, How-to
#131 USA Today, general


Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work And In Life, Spencer Johnson, Atria, $19.95


Heavy Reserves

The following titles have been near the top of the NYT Nonfiction lists for two weeks and are showing heavy reserves on light ordering:

#3 NYT, from #5 last week 
#96 USA Today, first week


Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle 
Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, Tom Howes, Gary Brozek, William Morrow, $26.99


#4 NYT,  same position as last week
#140 USA Today, from #139 last week


The Lost City of Z 
David Grann, Doubleday, $27.50


#10 NYT, from #12 on 3/8


How We Decide
Jonah Lehrer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25

Rely on ‘A Reliable Wife’

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

In these uncertain times, there is one thing I can say with confidence. However many copies you’ve ordered of A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick, it’s not enough.

I read the book in manuscript several months ago and it has stayed vividly in my mind ever since. In the past week, it suddenly seems that I see mentions of  it everywhere I turn. The LA Times featured it in their blog, “Jacket Copy” on Friday, Dave Welch of Powell’s bookstore in Oregon makes an interesting prediction,

Come a day, you might get sick of hearing about A Reliable Wife  — so many people will have read it and raved to you about it. Here’s some preventative medicine: read it first. 

And, on Friday, the ABA’s Indie Next picks for April came out. The number one pick? A Reliable Wife.

On Monday, Reading Group featured a team review of the book, along with reading group questions by three librarians from the Salem OR Library (a brilliant idea; Reading Group Guides will feature this librarian trio every couple of months, with their picks of forthcoming titles that are great for reading groups). They describe the book’s appeal perfectly,

[A Reliable Wife] engages from the first lines, which describe wealthy small-town magnate Ralph Truitt as he stands waiting, surrounded by the whispers of his neighbors, for a woman to arrive by train. The woman, Catherine, is someone he has ordered up by placing an ad, seeking a “reliable wife.” He implies that he simply wants a steady companion after years of loneliness. She accepts, implying that she’s a plain woman ready to accept the job. Since they’re both lying elaborately, it’s quickly clear their relationship will be a good deal more complicated than initially advertised.

Also, on Monday, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Columbia has bought the film rights.

A Reliable Wife is set  in Wisconsin in 1907. As I read it, I kept thinking of a book from the 1970’s that I’d adored; The Wisconsin Death Trip. It’s a book a librarian can’t help but love. Through newspaper articles and images from the archives of one small town in 19th C Wisconsin, it creates a fascinating narrative. I still have my copy.

Guess what? I later learned that Goolrick was influenced by that very book.

I’m looking forward to reading Goolrick’s earlier book, the 2007 memoir, The End of the World as We Know It. I have a feeling many other Reliable Wife readers will want to go back to the earlier title as well. It was released in trade paper last year.

Many of you may have picked up A Reliable Wife at the Algonquin/Workman booth at MidWinter, or had it forced into your hands by Worman’s Mike Rockliff. If you haven’t read it yet, take heed of the LA Times warning and do so now. 

On Twitter, people are now saying that Algonquin is out of galleys, but I have a secret; I happen to have a very limited number of copies. If you want one, send an email to EarlyWord, with “A Reliable Wife Galley” in the subject line, by 11:59 p.m, Friday, March 13th (we’re running this for only a few days because I have so few copies). We will randomly select winners. Don’t forget to include your mailing address, so they know where to send it!

This giveaway is only available to librarians residing within the 50 United States.


A Reliable Wife

Robert Goolrick

  • Hardcover: $24.95; 304 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (March 31, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1565125967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125964



The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life

Robert Goolrick

  • Paperback: $13.95; 227 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (April 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1565126025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565126022

‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ The Movie

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Twentieth Century Fox bought the film rights to the 1939 childrens classic, Mr. Popper’s Penguins in a seven-figure deal, according to Variety.

Of course, it can be a very long road from rights deal to screen, but at least one other step has been accomplished; the screenplay writers have been hired, Sean Anders and John Morris, who wrote last year’s Sex Drive, which Anders also directed.


Oprah Alert!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009


Oprah has another obsession besides her weight — clutter.

Clutter expert Peter Walsh kicks off the next leg in his “Oprah’s Clean up Your Messy House Tour” — which may be coming to a home your neighborhood in the next few months (not Brooklyn, PLEASE) — not on Oprah’s show, but on Good Morning America, coinciding with the release of Walsh’s new book, Enough Already!


Above is a shot from the promo for the tour. We’re presuming that the Rockettes are with Walsh because they are an example of perfect order.

Walsh’s 2006 title, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff was on the NYT Hardcover Advice bestseller list for 3 weeks. His book from last year, Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? was also on that list for 3 weeks.

Libraries are showing heavy holds against light ordering of Walsh’s new book:

Enough Already!: Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You
Peter Walsh
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2009-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1416560181 / 9781416560180

Last week, we wrote about Oprah’s show, What Can You Live Without?, which featured “reformed shopaholic” Mary Carlomango and her new book, Secrets of Simplicity: Learn to Live Better with Less. I commented that due to the spiral binding, it isn’t owned in libraries. Several of you wrote to point out that is WRONG and you don’t have a problem with that format, and, in fact, WorldCat shows that 26  U.S. public libraries own the book. Our post even prompted a discussion on  LIS News about spiral bindings (some would never buy that format, others see no problem and some recommend adding library binding).

We were talking in a vacuum, since none of us had the book in hand, so I went to my local B&N where I found three copies on the shelf. The spiral binding is actually what the publisher calls a “semi-concealed Wire-O binding,” which means the heavy paper cover goes over the wire binding, reinforcing it. The problem for libraries may not be the binding so much as the workbook format, with lots of checklists and fill-in sections (rough guess is that they take up about 1/3 of the book). 


Secrets of Simplicity: Learn to Live Better with Less
Mary Carlomagno

  • Spiral-bound: $19.95; 143 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Spi edition (December 3, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0811863948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811863940

Kindle 2’s Text to Speech

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

There’s been some controversy about the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech capability.

You may be wondering how the automated speech actually sounds and how it’s created. NPR explored those questions on “All Things Considered” on Saturday. 

It’s not Hal, but it’s eerily close. 

Does it have the possibility of replacing an actual human reading a book? Replies a speech researcher, “…the technology isn’t even close to that right now — and I don’t see that happening five years from now, either.”

So, maybe six years from now? That’s eerily close, too.