Archive for July, 2011


Monday, July 25th, 2011

Dorothy Wickenden, author of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West (Scribner, 6/21) was interviewed on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” The book has been receiving a steady stream of attention since its publication last month, including this assessment from the 6/24 NYT Book Review,

At its best, this book can recall Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s classic A Midwife’s Tale, [Vintage, 1990] which pioneered the method of teasing out an expansive story from the record of “unremarkable” women’s daily lives. Individual scenes emerge with a lovely, almost pointillist clarity — like a Christmas party at the schoolhouse in the midst of a blizzard, with rustic dancing and gifts for the dazzled children sent by Dorothy’s and Ros’s families — while we never lose track of the larger forces at work, including the removal of the Indians and the brutal fights for mining and railroad riches.

Holds are heavy in many libraries. Nothing Daunted is one of O magazine’s “16 Books to Watch for in August 2011

Holds Alert; TURN OF MIND

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Holds are 10:1 in many libraries on the debut Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Atlantic Monthly, 7/5; Audio, Brilliance; Large Print, Thorndike). Yesterday’s L.A.Times echoes a string of other strong reviews:

Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t seem like a great subject for a page-turner…And yet a page-turner is exactly what Alice LaPlante has crafted.

It’s the #1 Indie Next selection for July and one of O magazine’s “16 Books to Watch for in August 2011.”


Monday, July 25th, 2011

People magazine’s 3.5 (of a possible 4) star review of the debut Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Viking, 7/26; Penguin Audio) begins with this irresistible invitation,

Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martin ig and immerse yourself in the eventful live of Katy Kontent, as smart you woman trying to fin herself in Manhattan in the lat 1930’s.

It is also one of O magazine’s “16 Books to Watch for in August 2011.” Holds are growing in libraries.


Monday, July 25th, 2011

Word of mouth is growing for S.J. Watson’s debut psychological thriller about a woman trying to piece together her life after losing her memory. Before I Go To Sleep (Harper. 6/14; HarperLuxe, 9780062060556) debuts on the 7/31 NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #7 (it’s been on the Extended list for four weeks). Libraries are showing heavy holds.

John Hart achieves new heights with Iron House  (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s St. Martins, 7/12; Macmillan Audio; Large print, Thorndike), which arrives on the list at #10 in its first week of publication.

The heavily promoted and well-reviewed The Last Werewolf  by Glen Duncan (Knopf, 7/12) just makes the Extended List at #32 in its first week. Word of mouth may yet work its magic on this one.

A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin. (Bantam, $35; RH Audio and BOT Audio) debuts at #1, proving that the fantasy category is stronger than many realized. The first in the series, Games of Thrones is #1 on Mass Market Fiction list and #6 on Trade Fiction, due to the HBO series.


New Title Radar – Week of 7/25

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Next week brings a stylish debut set in 1930s Manhattan, the sophomore effort by the author of Alice I Have Been, a fresh caper from Peter Spiegelman and a sequel to Jonathan Burnham Schwartz’s Reservation Road. In nonfiction, NPR-correspondent turned Fox News host Juan Williams has his say about honest debate in the media. And there are plenty of usual suspects to keep the pages turning.

Watch List

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Viking; Penguin Audio) is a debut novel about an upwardly mobile young secretary making her way though 1930s New York Cafe Society. According to the UK’s Telegraph, “the best feature of Rules of Civility is its fast pacing and irresistible momentum. The language is snappy, too, full of period idiom and witty one-liners… Katey Kontent has the brains of a bluestocking with the legs of a flapper and the mores of Carrie Bradshaw.” And here’s the buzz from our own GalleyChat on Twitter: “So much fun! Mad Men set in the 30s!”

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin (Delacorte; Random House Audio) is a fictional exploration of a 19th century icon, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump – all of 32 inches tall – who joined the circus and married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, orchestrated by impresario P.T. Barnum. Popular with indie booksellers, this one also got some mentions on our Twitter Galley Chat. It’s the the sophomore effort of  the author of the national bestseller Alice I Have Been, about the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. 

Rising Stars

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz (Random House; Large Print, Thorndike) is a sequel set 12 years after the tragic events of Reservation Road, turning the focus from the father of a boy who was killed in a hit-and-run accident to the perpetrator of that crime and his long-estranged, now-grown son. On the NPR website, critic Sarah Weinman calls it “one of the most emotionally commanding novels of the year. ” PW says that “[despite] a sanctimonious streak… Schwartz is otherwise exceptional at describing the chemistry of desire, creating emotional tension, and making his characters feel more like flesh and blood than fictional constructs.”

Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman (Knopf) is an Ocean’s Eleven-style caper story by the  author of Black Maps, which won the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel, as well as Death’s Little Helpers and Red Cat. This one gets a B+ from Entertainment Weekly: “Spiegelman weaves a complex, satisfying tale around gang leader Carr, a onetime CIA trainee with a level head and an increasingly untrustworthy bunch of co-conspirators. Though the end has perhaps one too many surprise! moments, Spiegelman’s sharp prose and deft plotting elevate this [effort].”

Usual Suspects

Bannon Brothers: Trust by Janet Dailey (Kensington; Large Print, Thorndike ) starts a new series with this well-paced but unremarkable love story between an injured cop and the artist who inspires him. PW says, “Dailey’s prose is lovely, with imagery that clearly evokes the setting, but the contrived plot never overcomes its formulaic pattern, and readers will figure out the solution long before Bannon does.”

Full Black by Brad Thor (Atria; S&S Audio; Large Print, Thorndike) is a thriller about a former Navy SEAL and current counter-terrorism operative.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (Roc; Penguin Audio; Large Print, Thorndike) is book 13 of the supernatural Dresden Files series featuring Chicago-based wizard Harry Dresden. PW finds it “less accessible to newcomers than many of its predecessors, though longtime fans will be gratified.”

Merciless by Diana Palmer (Harlequin; Audio, Brilliance; Large Print, Wheeler) is a romance about the spark that grows between a guarded FBI agent and his efficient assistant.

Spell Bound (Otherworld) by Kelly Armstrong (Dutton; Audio, Recorded Books) is the 12th and penultimate entry in Armstrong’s bestselling series. PW says, “Armstrong keeps the focus on hip, impulsive, and likable Savannah, building suspense with plenty of plot reversals and betrayals. Fans of the series won’t want to miss what is clearly the first battle in an Otherworld war.”


Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate by Juan Williams (Crown) explores what the Fox News analyst sees as political correctness in the media. Kirkus says, “much of the narrative is a long exercise in complaint about his bad treatment at the hands of NPR management, in which Williams overlooks, it seems, the Ailesian right-to-work credo, which holds that all employees serve at the pleasure of their bosses and there’s no such thing as tenure or appeal.” The author will be on The Daily Show on July 26 and the 700 Club on August 5.

The Real Girl Next Door by Denise Richards (Gallery) is a memoir by the reality show star and small-town girl who made it in Hollywood, only to find herself in a painful, high-profile divorce from Charlie Sheen, raising their two young daughters alone as her mother was dying of cancer.

The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck–101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers by Ron Clark (Touchstone; S&S Audio) makes the case for education reform. PW says, “Clark’s ode to his academy is overloaded with glowing testimonials, but educators and parents will find much to emulate in this passionate, motivating tool book.”

Not Another HUNGER GAMES Post. Really.

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

We must be suffering from Hunger Games fatigue, a phenomenon identified by the L.A. Times. We didn’t post the admittedly cool flaming movie poster that appeared on the Web yesterday or the countdown widget (as of now, just 245 more days until the movie’s release on March 23).

Nevertheless, we were interested to learn that Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence may have another book-related project in the works. Deadline reports she is the leading contender for a coveted role in The Silver Linings Playbook, opposite Mark Wahlberg. The movie is based on the debut novel by Matthew Quick (one of Nancy Pearl’s picks for summer reading, 2009).

Production is set to begin this fall.

New Series from Colin Cotterill

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

NYT reviewer Janet Maslin proved herself a fan of crime writer Colin Cotterill in 2007, when she praised his Dr. Siri Paiboun books set in Laos during the turbulent 1970’s for their “wry, seasoned, offhand style…the secret weapon of this unexpectedly blithe and charming series.”

She is also a fan of the first book in Cotterill’s new Killed at the Whim of a Hat (featured on our Watch List for this week; coming in Large Print from Thorndike in Nov; ISBN 9781410441270), the first in a new series and the author’s first book with Minotaur. Set in southern Thailand, where Cotterill lives, it features  “sardonic, self-important” female crime reporter, Jimm Juree.

Where does the title come from? A George Bush speech from 2004,

Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.

Killed at the Whim of a Hat
Colin Cotterill
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2011-07-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0312564538 / 9780312564537

Highbridge Audio

Soho will publish the eighth and final book in the Dr. Siri series, Slash and Burn, (9781616951160) in December. The full backlist is available in pbk. from Soho and Blackstone Audio is in the process of bringing out all the titles. Ebooks of the backlist are shown as “coming soon” on OverDrive.

THE HOBBIT Movie; First Glimpses

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Director Peter Jackson just released a video from the set of The Hobbit, which recently wrapped the first few months of shooting in New Zealand.

In the video, a cast member predicts that the movie will bring beards back in a big way. Get ready to see these on the street:


You have a while to prepare; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release on December 14, 2012 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the following year, on December 13, 2013.

Below is the YouTube version of the vlog; watch the HD version here.

Summer ’11 Reading Roundup

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Parade Magazine weighed in with their 12 picks for summer reading last week (distinguishing themselves by being the only ones to select Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River, getting strong critical acclaim and showing heavy holds in libraries). With the country in the midst of a seemingly endless heat wave, it seems appropriate to now call the summer reading lists of 2011 a wrap.

On the right side of the site, we’ve linked to the major lists, under “Previews — Summer ’11.” Browsing through the various list serves as a quick R.A. refresher.

For an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of nearly every guide, check out the blog Largehearted Boy. It’s interesting if your curious what books more specialized sources, like what Ad Age recommends.

Since it’s instructive to see how others hand-sell books, below are Harlan Coben and Jennifer Weiner (who is on several reading lists herself, for Then Came You, Atria, out this week), presenting their top picks on the Today Show earlier this month.

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Early Push for YA Title LEGEND

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

A debut dystopian YA title, Legend by Marie Lu (Putnam) arriving at the end of November, gets early attention from USA Today.

A movie is already in the works, with the producers who worked on the Twilight Saga. Author Marie Lu will appear at Comic-Con this week on a panel with several other women writers, about “kick-ass heroines” in science fiction and fantasy. Lu is the creator of a popular Facebook game, on which the book is based, also called Legend.

In the prepub media, the book has so far only been reviewed by Kirkus, which gave it a star. The first in a planned trilogy, it has an announced a 200,000 first printing.

Marie Lu
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile – (2011-11-29)
ISBN / EAN: 039925675X / 9780399256752

Penguin Audio; 9781611760088

Daniel Silva On the TODAY SHOW

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

You know you’ve arrived when your new book is heralded by a publication day sit-down with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. This is now a regular event for Daniel Silva, whose new book, Portrait of a Spy arrived yesterday (it also happens that his wife works for the show, but the fact that each of his last four books has gone to #1 on the NYT Best Seller list probably trumps nepotism). This is the eleventh title in the Gabriel Allon series.

Universal Studios recently acquired the film rights to the series. This is the first of Silva’s books published by HarperCollins after his switch from Putnam.

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Borders Going Out of Business

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Borders, the bookseller that invented the chain superstore concept, has not found a buyer and will ask for approval to liquidate its remaining 399 stores (at its height, Borders operated 1,300 stores), reports the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The company plans to be out of business by the end of September. Nearly 11,000 people will be laid off.

CEO, Mike Edwards, did not blame a history of swiftly changing management and direction, but “the rapidly changing book industry, [electronic reader] revolution and turbulent economy.” (Shelf Awareness published a more insightful analysis of Borders problems in February).

Reuters reports, however, that Books-A-Million may buy some of the stores (fewer than 50).

DC Reboot: What to do with 52 new series?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Beginning in September, DC Comics will relaunch its entire universe — all fifty-two running comic book series — with new number one issues, new character designs, and in some cases, drastic shifts in character origins and line-ups.

These comics will eventually be released in trade paperback. Below is some information to help you figure out which comics to follow and which to buy when they are issued in collections.

Skeptics question just how much reintroducing characters and their origins will draw in new readers. I’d guess not very much, especially since many readers have no idea that such a reboot is in the works (i.e. a significant majority of my library patrons.) Reboots succeed in creating a few fans from folks already frequenting comics shops (and also annoy long-time fans), but I’ve rarely seen such a reintroduction pull in a reader who isn’t already interested in superhero comics. The readers who are eagerly awaiting Craig Thompson’s Habibi or who delight in the gruesome procedural Chew are not going to be won over by shiny new costumes and a bit of new back story. Still, change is good for superhero tales that have gotten mired in relying on hundreds of previous issues for fans to follow along.


Hispanic Adults Own More E-Readers

Monday, July 18th, 2011

A comment on page 3 the Boston Globe‘s story this Sunday about e-books leaps out,

A recent study by the Pew Internet Project…suggested that one of the groups adopting e-readers most enthusiastically is Hispanic adults. Why? No one is sure. [study is here].

Ownership of e-readers breaks down this way

Hispanic   —               15%
White         —               11%
African-American — 8%

Does this match your experience with your community? Any guesses as to why?

Harry vs. Winnie

Monday, July 18th, 2011

More was going on at the box office this weekend than the confrontation between the HP gang and Lord Voldemort. There was also a battle between the old-fashioned, hand-drawn 2-D animation of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and the the 3-D live-action HP finale.

HP came out more than victorious, breaking box office records, including its own. The silly old bear? Way behind, in sixth place.

Why did Disney submit Pooh to this humiliation? It seems test marketing made the producers confident that Pooh could stand up to the competition. Don’t count him out yet, says the movie news site Thompson on Hollywood; word of mouth is likely to bring Pooh a wider audience, including adults nostalgic for their childhoods.

Several tie-ins are available:

Winnie the Pooh: A Day of Sweet Surprises
Retail Price: $6.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Disney Press – (2011-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1423135903 / 9781423135906


Winnie the Pooh: Forever Friends (Disney Early Readers)
Lisa Ann Marsoli
Retail Price: $3.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Disney Press – (2011-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1423135784 / 9781423135784


Winnie the Pooh: Hundred-Acre-Wood Treasury (Disney Winnie the Pooh)
Retail Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Disney Press – (2011-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1423135911 / 9781423135913


Winnie the Pooh: The Essential Guide (Dk Essential Guides)
DK Publishing
Retail Price: $12.99
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: DK CHILDREN – (2011-06-20)
ISBN / EAN: 0756672112 / 9780756672119