Archive for August, 2009

A New LION AND MOUSE

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Lisa Von Drasek reviews Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse (coming next week) at The Barnes and Noble Review (to read her review, scroll down towards the end of the page).

As Lisa articulates in her review, the book lives up to its wonderful cover.

What’s the lion looking at? The mouse, on the spine of the book jacket.

LionMouse

The Lion & the Mouse
Jerry Pinkney
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316013560 / 9780316013567

Coming to TV — WITCHES and VAMPIRES

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The CW network gets into the vampire franchise business this fall, with a series based on L.J. Smith’s Y.A. novels, The Vampire Diaries. Smith anticipated the current YA vampire trend by some years; the series was originally published in paperback in 1991. When the books were reissued beginning in 2007, they went on to the NYT Children’s bestseller lists for the first time.

The first two volumes are being reissued again, this time as tie-ins:

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
L. J. Smith
Retail Price: $6.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061963860 / 9780061963865

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The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle
L. J. Smith
Retail Price: $6.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061963879 / 9780061963872


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Eastwick is an ABC series based on the movie The Witches of Eastwick (which, of course, was based on the John Updike novel, but the publicity does not mention that fact). Curiously, New York magazine compares it to Sex and the City, rather than either the book or the movie.

No tie-in is planned.

Another View of IN THE PRESIDENT’S SECRET SERVICE

Monday, August 24th, 2009

It wasn’t until after media attention, including TV appearances by author Ron Kessler, had already put In the President’s Secret Service on the bestseller list, that the book received its first consumer review, a glowing one, in USA Today last week.

How did Kessler get such access to the usually tight-lipped agents? USA Today explains it this way,

A respected journalist and former Washington Post reporter, Kessler somehow instills trust even in wary civil servants and federal bureaucrats.

A review in Sunday’s Washington Post (“The Secret Service Spills its Secrets“) brings quite a different view. James Bumford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA, From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, says the author got unprecedented access to the Secret Service from Director Mark Sullivan, during a time when the Bush administration was “hoping for some good, ego-enhancing publicity.” Sullivan thought Kessler, now the chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com, “the #1 conservative news agency online,” and author of admiring books about Laura and George Bush as well as former CIA Director George Tenent, would deliver the goods.

Instead, Bumford says, Kessler,

.. simply milked the agents for the juiciest gossip he could get and mixed it with a rambling list of their complaints.

He also notes the potentially lethal consequences of such openess on the part of the Secret Service,

What is truly dangerous is the kind of National Enquirer-style gossip in Kessler’s book. In the future, without “trust and confidence” in their agents, presidents will want to keep them at a distance, out of spying range — and out of safety range, when split seconds may count.

The book is on the current NYT Nonfiction Bestseller List for its second week, at #4, down from #3 last week.

In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect
Ronald Kessler
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0307461351 / 9780307461353

Also available in audio from Tantor:

  • Retail: 9781400113125; $29.99
  • MP3 CD: 9781400163120; $19.99
  • Library: 9781400143122; $59.99

Book and audio are downloadable from OverDrive

YOUTH IN REVOLT trailer

Monday, August 24th, 2009

A trailer for Youth in Revolt finally appeared on the Web last week, so the movie may actually see the light of day.

To view a larger, HD version, link here.

The movie, starring Michael Cera, Justin Long, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta, is scheduled to open Oct. 30th. The tie-in releases next month:

Youth in Revolt (Movie Tie-in Edition)
C.D. Payne
Retail Price: $17.99
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Broadway – (2009-11-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0767931246 / 9780767931243

Karla Kuskin Dies

Monday, August 24th, 2009

I am very sad to hear that Karla Kuskin, author and illustrator of over 50 children’s books, has died. The NYT‘s obit says her books “combined sly wit and propulsive vitality with deep thoughtfulness about the essential natures of people, animals and things.”

All libraries should check their holdings and make sure they have a copy of Moon Have You Met My Mother?

Moon, Have You Met My Mother?
Karla Kuskin
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2003-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060271736 / 9780060271732
combined sly wit and propulsive vitality with deep thoughtfulness
about the essential natures of people, animals and things

Crossing Over

Monday, August 24th, 2009
I am often asked what is the attraction of teen literature. We are noticing that not only are teens reading crossover titles like Lovely Bones but that adults in their late twenties and early thirties are picking it up or continuing to read authors like Julia Alverez who have crossed down. Jo Knowles is why. Her crisp characterization and tight writing produces a portrait of adolescence we rarely see. New in paperback is Lessons From A Dead Girl, a look into an abusive friendship relationship. Knowles allows us to enter this secret world of teens, that many kids would find it impossible to talk about.
In Jumping off Swings, Knowles takes into the lives of a girl who has casual sex with boys in to fill a lack of love in her life, her best friend, the boy who got her pregnant, and his best friend. With an unforced alternating point-of-views we watch the pregnancy and all its consequences unfold. This is real life with its imperfect parenting, unfair school administrators and a sympathetic grown-up.  This is not the quirky fun of Juno, with its patter-dialog and happy endings but a perceptive portrayal of the every-day life of high school. Not to be missed.
Jumping Off Swings
Jo Knowles
August 11 2009 Candlewick
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763639494
Lessons From a Dead Girl
Candlewick; Paperback Reprint edition (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763644854
ISBN-13: 978-0763644857

We label books as being “YA” or “Adult,” but many readers happily ignore our labels. Teens read adult titles like Lovely Bones. Adults in their late twenties and early thirties continue to read Laurie Halse Anderson, even if they have technically “outgrown” her.  When Julia Alverez “crosses down” to the YA category, her adult fans go with her.

Jo Knowles is another “YA” author whose books appeal to older readers as well as young adults. Her crisp characterizations and tight writing produce portraits of adolescence we rarely see.

New in paperback is Lessons From A Dead Girl, a look into an abusive friendship relationship. Knowles allows us to enter this secret world of teens, that many kids find impossible to talk about.

Lessons from a Dead Girl
Jo Knowles
Retail Price: $7.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0763644854 / 9780763644857

In her new book,  Jumping off Swings, Knowles takes us into the lives of several people — a girl who has casual sex with boys in to fill a lack of love in her life; her best friend; the boy who gets her pregnant and his best friend. Through unforced alternating points of view we watch the pregnancy and its consequences unfold.

This is real life with its imperfect parenting, unfair school administrators and a sympathetic grown-up. It is not the quirky fun of Juno, with its patter-dialog and happy endings but a perceptive portrayal of the every day life of high school. Not to be missed.

Jumping Off Swings
Jo Knowles
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0763639494 / 9780763639495

New Titles; Week of Aug 24

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Of the titles on B&N.com’s list of books coming this week, it’s no surprise that the one with the most holds at the four large libraries we checked is Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson, with a total of 2,225 holds on 782 copies, averaging nearly three holds per copy.

Alex Cross’s TRIAL
James Patterson, Richard DiLallo
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2009-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0316070629 / 9780316070621

It’s been 9 months since the last Cross title appeared (Cross Country, 11/08), but it will be a mere 3 months before the next one; I, Alex Cross comes out in November. Libraries have it on order, with holds already building.

In September, Patterson makes a foray into history, with a new co-author, Martin Dugard (who wrote The Last Voyage of Columbus), in the true crime story, The Murder of King Tut,  (Little, Brown, 9/28).

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The title with the greatest number of holds per copy is Mercy Thompson Homecoming, by Patricia Briggs. This is the first graphic novel “set in the bestselling Mercy Thompson universe” as the cover describes it. It has a total of 394 reserves on 88 copies, averaging almost 5 per copy.

Mercy Thompson Homecoming
Patricia Briggs
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Del Rey/Dabel Brothers – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0345509889 / 9780345509888

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One title appears to not be owned by libraries — You Are Here, by Thich Nhat Han — although some libraries own many other titles by the author.

You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment
Thich Nhat Hanh
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Shambhala – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1590306759 / 9781590306758

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Surprisingly, Dean Koontz’s A Big Little Life, a memoir about how his dog changed his life, is not pulling in holds. Libraries have been cautious in ordering (ranging from 5 to 40 copies in the large libraries we checked, despite strong prepub reviews), with an average of 2.3 reserves per copy.


A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
Dean Koontz
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1401323529 / 9781401323523

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Cats are also in the spotlight this week, when Homer’s Odyssey, a book about a blind rescue kitten arrives on shelves.

Homer’s Odyssey
Gwen Cooper
Retail Price: $20.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 038534385X / 9780385343855

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For more titles coming this week, check “Coming Soon” at B&N.com.

Madoff Books Disappoint Says WSJ

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Not only did Bernie Madoff  fail to deliver the goods for his investors, but the six current books about him fail to deliver the inside scoop on his Ponzi scheme, complains the Wall St. Journal. Noting that the investigation is little more than half a year old, with “most crucial evidence under wraps as prosecutors put together cases against Mr. Madoff’s co-conspirators,” the story declares, “we will just have to wait.” 

However, it does grant some praise to Erin Arvedlund’s newly released Too Good To Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff, calling it “thoroughly reported” and touting its portrait of

 Madoff’s rise on Wall Street and the history of his firm, including the legitimate market-making arm. It also has plenty of detail about the suspicions about his investment-management business. Ms. Arvedlund got those suspicions into print long before Mr. Madoff surrendered to authorities — she wrote an article raising doubts about his returns in 2001.

World Cat says 70 libraries have it. Of the four libraries we checked, two had it, and both had modest holds.

Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff
Erin Arvedlund
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1591842875 / 9781591842873

Also available from Tantor Audio

  • CD: $69; ISBN: 9781400144105

Meanwhile, the tabloids are having fun with former Hadassah Chief Financial Officer Sheryl Weinstein’s forthcoming tell-all, Madoff’s Other Secret which details her alleged affair with him, due at the end of August (she says Madoff was not well endowed and was a terrific lover, according to the Journal).

Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me
Sheryl Weinstein
Retail Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-08-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0312618379 / 9780312618377

Strong Start for TV’s Nancy Grace

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

CNN legal analyst Nancy Grace’s debut novel, The Eleventh Victim, rises to #46 on the USA Today bestseller list and #94 on Amazon – while Media Bistro reports it will be #6 on Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list. But this story is not about the book’s consumer reviews, as there are none yet.

According to World Cat, 310 libraries have the book. Reserves are substantial in the ones we checked, though orders are very light (20 or less). But it’s too soon to say if demand is based primarily on name recognition, or where word of mouth will take this one.

Gossip columnist Cindy Adams gave the book some good ink in her California Chronicle, which quotes Grace:

“Some of my own life’s in it. My own fiance was murdered, and it’s the same with my lead character, who then leaves her field of psychiatry, becomes a prosecutor and moves to New York. After that, the rest of the story is made up.”

The Eleventh Victim
Nancy Grace
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1401303455 / 9781401303457

Audio available from HarperAudio

  • CD: $34.99; ISBN 9781401393113

Large print available from Thorndike Press

  • $31.95; ISBN 9781410419439

MAGICIANS Rises Above Mixed Reviews

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Lev Grossman’s novel, The Magicians, about a college student whom USA Today compared to “Holden Caulfield attending Harry Potter’s Hogwarts,” debuts at #77 on USA Today list, and rises to #231 on Amazon. Libraries are showing heavy holds on very light ordering of 3 to 42 copies, even though pre-pub reviews were strong in Booklist, BookPage, Kirkus and Library Journal.

Pervasive review coverage is probably a sign of Grossman’s clout as Time magazine’s book critic, but newspaper reviews have been mixed. USA Today deemed the premise of The Magicians original, but added

It’s like a video game featuring scenarios from classic fantasy writers. And sometimes Grossman can be slyly funny, as when he describes what conversation with a real talking bear would probably be like: dull monologues on honey. But it becomes a chore to slog through this homage to fantasy filtered through an ironic 21st-century sensibility, complete with sex and profanity. Nifty premise aside, Quentin and company never fully grab our attention.

However, the Chicago Tribune wanted “to shake Grossman’s hand and congratulate him for his courage. His book wanders into Harry Potter territory without a backward glance, and that’s gutsy stuff,” and said Grossman’s second novel “blooms with grace and wit and imaginative brio. Grossman has a sense of humor as well as a sense of wonder.”

The Magicians: A Novel
Lev Grossman
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-08-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0670020559 / 9780670020553

Also available from Penguin Audiobooks

  • CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780143144397

Elizabeth Gilbert is COMMITTED

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

In February, we ran a video of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about the pressure of delivering a follow-up to her hugely successful Eat, Pray, Love.

Today, in the New York Times, Motoko Rich adds to the pressure, by announcing the book’s publication, five months in advance of its release date and pointing out that “the new title will be watched closely by fans and publishing insiders to see if Ms. Gilbert has lasting power.”

Further pressure; the publisher is planning a million-copy first printing.

Rich says the book is called Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. Unfortunately, there is no bibliographic information yet (it’s not even listed in Penguin’s catalog). We’ll let you know as soon as we have it.

Meanwhile, here’s the video of Gilbert from February.

Twilight Fan Conventions

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Just when you thought every possible Twilight promotional opportunity had been exploited; movie blogs are abuzz over the announcement of a series of “Official Twilight Fan Conventions.”

Eighteen events are on the schedule for next year, put together by the movie’s production company, Summit Entertainment and a company that produces fan events such the Official Star Trek Conventions, Creation Entertainment.

This is not completely new, but a continuation and expansion of Creation Entertainment’s “Twi Tour.”

The first “Official Twilight Fan Convention” will be held on August 28th in Parsippany, N.J. The conventions will feature appearances by Twilight stars, as well as “merchandising and photo opportunities.” Standing out from the makeup and dolls that will be on sale, is a potential boon to high school English teachers everywhere; the HarperTeen Twilight-inspired edition of “Bella & Edward’s Favorite Book” — Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte
Retail Price: $8.99
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061962252 / 9780061962257

And, a graphic biography of Stephenie Meyer

Female Force Bestsellers: Stephenie Meyer
Ryan Burton, Adam Gragg
Retail Price: $6.99
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Bluewater Productions – (2009-10-28)
ISBN / EAN: 1427641846 / 9781427641847

As well as the manga version of Twilight, when it is finished.

For a satisfyingly snarky take on the conventions, check out the post at E! Online. Most other sites, however, suggest fans take several deep breaths to quell their excitement before reading the news.

Under the Radar; Going Bovine

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

When we think about Libba Bray, we think supernatural, alternative history, romance. Get that out of your head right now! Her new novel Going Bovine is different from anything you have read from anyone. Strap yourself in; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Cameron is a typical snarky sixteen-year-old whose life has been turned upside down with the diagnosis of fatal disease. I hear what you’re saying, “Oh, yeah that’s the book I want to read.” Try to get over the simplistic description. Let’s go with what Libba Bray herself calls it, the “feel-good, mad cow disease book of the summer.”

At its heart it is a quest tale with the humor and snappy dialog of Fast Times at Ridgemont High crossed with the Wizard of Oz. It’s in my top 5 of the year; a book that kids and adults can really sink their teeth into. I guarantee staff will be fighting over copies.

But don’t take just my word for it; it was starred by both Booklist and PW.

Going Bovine
Libba Bray
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers – (2009-09-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0385733976 / 978038573397

Also in audio from Listening Library:

  • Unabridged; September 22; 978-0739385579; $50

The audio is downloadable from OverDrive.

Discovering Kids (& Teens) Reading Habits

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
TheBookReportNetwork.com is conducting reader surveys on its Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com websites. With these surveys, they hope to identify trends and topics that are of interest to readers of young adult and children’s literature of all ages — children, teens and adults. Results will be shared with the media, publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians and educators in the fall of 2009.
In addition to questions about Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com, both websites from The Book Report Network, the surveys address:
-How often they buy books and where they shop
-How often they visit the library and/or take out books
-What kinds of books they are interested in reading
-Who and what influence their reading selections
-How they feel about required summer reading
-What they think about eBooks and digital reading devices
-What their other media habits are
The Teenreads.com Survey can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=uj_2bvfY4l2_2ftO2ZD6YvUazw_3d_3d
The Kidsreads.com Survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gr7irB9jtOi3FMFT1N8fdQ_3d_3d
Flyers have been created at http://www.teenreads.com/librarians/Flyer2009Survey.pdf and http://www.kidsreads.com/teachers/Flyer2009Survey.pdf if you would like to post/distribute these in your libraries or on your blogs.
As a token of their appreciation for filling out the Teenreads.com 2009 Reader Survey, respondents from the U.S. and Canada will be eligible to enter a random drawing to receive a copy of one of 27 titles, which are being provided by publishers. There will be 775 winners selected. See the full list of 27 titles at: http://teenreads.com/surveys/2009-reader-survey.asp. The Teenreads.com Survey will close on August 31st.
For the Kidsreads.com 2009 Reader Survey, respondents from the U.S. and Canada will be eligible to enter a random drawing to receive a copy of one of 24 titles, which are also provided by publishers. There will be 1,000 winners selected. The full list of titles can be found at: http://www.kidsreads.com/surveys/2009-reader-survey.asp. Children under 13 years of age must have their parents/guardians complete a form in order to be eligible for the contest. The Kidsreads.com Survey will close on September 15th.
Thanks!
Carol

KidsRead TeenReads

Many of you participated in TheBookReportNetwork.com’s Book Group Survey a few months ago. The results were fascinating and include excellent support for what we all know, that libraries are central to the reading community.

Carol Fitzgerald, co-founder and President of The Book Report Network, is running two new surveys of teens and kids reading habits (click on links, above, to reach the surveys). The goal is to,

…identify trends and topics that are of interest to readers of young adult and children’s literature of all ages — children, teens and adults. Results will be shared with the media, publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians and educators in the fall of 2009.

Below are some of the questions the survey addresses:

  • How often they buy books and where they shop
  • How often they visit the library and/or take out books
  • What kinds of books they are interested in reading
  • Who and what influence their reading selections
  • How they feel about required summer reading
  • What they think about eBooks and digital reading devices
  • What their other media habits are

Take the surveys yourself (they are open to librarians, teachers and parents) and please encourage others to take them. You can print out the following flyers and post them, to encourage more participation:

If you have a blog, please consider mentioning the surveys there. But, hurry; the Teenreads.com survey will close on August 31st and Kidsread.com survey ends September 15th.

The Teenreads.com Survey can be found at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=uj_2bvfY4l2_2ftO2ZD6YvUazw_3d_3d

The Kidsreads.com Survey can be found at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gr7irB9jtOi3FMFT1N8fdQ_3d_3d

(Children under 13 years of age must have their parents/guardians complete a form in order to be eligible for the contest.)

IN THE PRESIDENT’S SECRET SERVICE reviewed

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Recent headlines about Ron Kessler’s book on the Secret Service focus on his claim that President Obama receives over 30 death threats a day at a time when the Secret Service’s ability to protect him is severely compromised.

But, despite all the coverage and the book’s debut at #3 on the NYT NF bestseller list this week, it only just received its first review, from USA Today. They call it a “fascinating exposé…[the] lively narrative is loaded with details of how the federal agents, authorized to protect the president and other national leaders, get the job done — and sometimes don’t.”

This may lead you to think that Kessler is a fan of the president, but not so. As chief Washington correspondent for the conservative magazine and Web site, Newsmax, he has written several pieces against him, such as the pre-election story,” The Real Obama.”

In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect
Ronald Kessler
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0307461351 / 9780307461353

Also available in audio from Tantor:

  • Retail:  9781400113125; $29.99
  • MP3 CD: 9781400163120; $19.99
  • Library: 9781400143122; $59.99

Book and audio are downloadable from OverDrive