Archive for August, 2011


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

On Monday’s Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan warned, “Make sure you start Helen Schulman’s new novel, This Beautiful Life, on a Friday night, so that when you find yourself compelled to stay up all hours reading it, you can take the rest of the weekend…to recover.”

This novel about a teenager whose life is ruined after a sexting incident is building steam. Two weeks ago, we issued a heavy holds alert. Holds have grown quickly since, with some libraries showing them as high as 14:1.

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman, (Harper, 8/2; Blackstone Audio; audio and ebook from OverDrive)


Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Tom Perotta’s forthcoming novel, The Leftovers, about what happens to those left behind after the Rapture, is being developed into a series by HBO, reports Variety. Perotta is writing the script and will co-produce. Two of his earlier books, Election and Little Children were made into film.

The Leftovers
Tom Perrotta
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2011-08-30)
ISBN / EAN: 9780312358341/ 031235834

Macmillan Audio

Philip Levine Reprints on the Way

Monday, August 15th, 2011

As the NYT reported last week, sales of poet Philip Levine’s books soared after his appointment as Poet Laureate was announced on Wednesday.

A Knopf spokeswoman told the NYT that they are doing a rush reprint of Levine’s books and expect to meet all of the demand by early next week.

For those who want access to Levine’s poetry immediately, his most recent collection, News of the World is available on OverDrive.

News of the World
Philip Levine
Retail Price: $16.00
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-02-15)
ISBN / EAN: 9780375711909 / 0375711902

Levine won the 1991 National Book Award for his collection What Work Is, (Knopf, 9780679740582) and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for The Simple Truth, (Knopf, 9780679765844). He was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered last night.


Monday, August 15th, 2011

Kevin Mitnick was one of the top computer hackers during the 70’s and 80’s. Eventually caught and jailed, he now works as a security consultant. As his new memoir, Ghost in the Wires (written with William L. Simon) shows, his ability to con people into giving him information was even more important to his hacking career than his computer skills.

The author will appear on The Colbert Report on Thursday. On Sunday, the book was reviewed in both the NYT BR (which says it “reads like a contemporary über-geeky thriller”) and the Boston Globe. Holds are already heavy where ordering is light.

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker
Kevin Mitnick
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2011-08-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0316037702 / 9780316037709

Audio, Blackstone Audio

The NYT BR Bump

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The 8/11 New York Time Book Review calls Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes (S&S, 8/9; 9781439189511) “hilarious and extremely dirty.

Unsurprisingly, that review sent the book up Amazon’s sales rankings, to #65 (from #130), where it is as of this morning. Holds are running as high as 5:1 in libraries.


But serious science trumps literary smut, at least this time. The book that got the biggest boost is The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World, David Deutsch (Viking, 7/21; 9780670022755) which went to #48 from #173. Library orders are light with holds as high as 3:1. The review calls it,

…a brilliant and exhilarating and profoundly eccentric book. It’s about everything: art, science, philosophy, history, politics, evil, death, the future, infinity, bugs, thumbs, what have you…[author Deutsch] is so smart, and so strange, and so creative, and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a distinct privilege… to spend time in his head.

After a series of laudatory reviews and strong word of mouth, the NYT BR sent Rules of Civility by Amor Towles to #61 from #124. Library holds continue to be heavy.

It also debuted on the 8/14 NYT Print Fiction best seller list at #16 (it’s tied with #15, so it’s on the main list rather than the extended).

Bridget Jones, III

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Talk about a long time between sequels; a third installment of Bridget Jones, both book and movie, are in the works. Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that Working Title Films, the company that produced both 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and the 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, is at work on a third.

The story references an earlier report in the London Evening Standard that Helen Fielding, author of the two Bridget Jones books, was at work on a third. She told the newspaper, “I will be working on both the book and the film but I don’t know if they are the same thing yet. It’s not been decided.”

New Title Radar – Week of August 15

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Next week, watch for a dystopian debut infused with Gen X nostalgia by Ernest Cline and nonfiction looking at Al Qaeda, sexual abuse in the Church, a town recovering from a tornado and what ails the U.S. educational system.

Watch List

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Crown) is a debut novel set in 2044, in a dystopian America where the only escape is a vast virtual-reality simulation game based on geek culture from the 1970s and ’80s. It gets an “A-” from Entertainment Weekly, which says: “To say [it’s] the literary-fiction equivalent of VH1’s I Love the 80’s series may not sound like a compliment, but we… give Cline credit for crafting a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finding significance in there among the collectibles.” It was also a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick.

Usual Suspects

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind (Tor) continues the story of Richard and Kahlan begun in the Sword of Truth fantasy series.


Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce (HarperCollins) is an illustrated children’s book based on the Big Nate comic strip.


Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker (Times) reveals some of the covert methods used to combat terrorism.

The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith by Julian Guthrie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) chronicles the struggle by members to reopen a San Francisco church closed by the Archdiocese to conceal evidence of sexual abuse.

The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story by Mark Tabb and Tony Dungy (Zondervan) tells the story of an Iowa town destroyed by a tornado and the coach who gave hope to the community.

Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools by Steven Brill (Simon & Schuster) assigns the majority of blame for America’s education shortcomings on teachers unions. Kirkus call it “an in-depth, impeccably researched examination of the education-reform movements that have swept America over the last several decades, as well as the obstacles they’ve faced…The author “tackles this beast of a topic admirably, creating a lucid, often riveting history that will be invaluable to the next generation of reformers.”

Movie Tie-in

Moneyball by Michael Lewis (Norton) is a reissue of the bestselling behind the scenes look at the world of baseball, tying in to the movie opening September 3, which stars Brad Pitt.

THE HELP Reviews

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Reviews are breaking for one of the season’s biggest movies based on a book, The Help. Disney imposed an embargo until yesterday, the movie’s opening day, but that was broken by many bloggers, including Tyler Perry, who shared his enthusiasm with his fans. The studio is concerned about the movie’s reception as evidenced by a special NAACP screening, part of what the L.A. Times refers to as Dreamwork’s “delicate task of selling the film to moviegoers, black and white, who might be reluctant to rekindle unpleasant memories of segregation.” UPDATE, 8/11: The Assoc. of Black Women Historians issued a statement about The Help, saying it, “distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers.” (via Entertainment Weekly).

On NPR’s FreshAir yesterday, David Edelstein says the movie is heavy-handed, but saved by strong acting. The Christian Science Monitor rounded up the reviews so far, calling them “mixed, but mostly positive.”

The Oprah Show Memorial

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

USA Today unveils the cover of The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy by Deborah Davis. It will be published on Nov. 15 to the tune of  500,000 copies by  Abrams (remember when they were an art book publisher?)

Most libraries have ordered it.


FAMILY FANG Gaining Followers

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

When we first read the galley of Kevin Wilson’s Family Fang, we loved its quirky charm and the uncomfortable truths it explored about parents’ demands on children. It’s one of those books that you hope manages to “find an audience.”

We didn’t have to worry; strong reviews, topped by today’s NYT profile of the author indicates it’s found readers. The story notes that the book has gone back to press three times for a total of 23,000 copies in print. While barely touching the numbers for NYT bestsellers, it’s still respectable. Holds are buiding, as high as 100 on 8 copies in one large library we checked.

The Family Fang: A Novel
Kevin Wilson
Retail Price: $18.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2011-08-09)
ISBN / EAN: /780061579035/ 006157903


Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The PEN prizes were awarded last night and we’re pleased that Susanna Daniel’s Stiltsville (Harper, 8/3/10) shares this year’s prize for a debut work of fiction. It didn’t get much national review attention (congrats to the Miami Herald, the author’s home town newspaper, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune for recognizing it), but it’s one of our favorites from last year (see our various stories about it) and one that came up on GalleyChat repeatedly. As we described it earlier,

No high drama or madness here, thank heaven; just an engrossing story of an “ordinary” woman as she meets the man she will marry, forms lasting friendships, and raises a family. It’s refreshing to read about good, caring people who struggle with many of the same issues we all do, but who bring an extra ounce of wisdom to it.

It was recently released in paperback:

Stiltsville: A Novel
Susanna Daniel
Retail Price: $12.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperPerennial – (2011-06-28)
ISBN 978-0061963087

Large Type, Wheeler/Thorndike; ebook on OverDrive

The award is shared with a book that had more review attention, Danielle Evans’ book of short stories, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead). The NYT called it a “whip-smart … collection [that]  charts the liminal years between childhood and the condition dubiously known as being a grown-up. Told from a close distance, these stories lack the rich patina of hindsight, their pleasures coming instead from an immediacy and an engaging voice.”

Among the other winners were Stacy Schiff for Cleopatra: A Life (Little, Brown), Siddhartha Mukherjee for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner), which also won the Pulitzer Prize and the Award for Literary Sports Writing went to George Dohrmann for Play Their Hearts Out (Ballantine Books). The full list is here.

EGalleys from Edelweiss

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Edelweiss, the company that creates electronic catalogs for many of the major publishers, has begun offering Digital Review Copies. The first publishers to sign on are Random House and W.W. Norton.

To see what’s available, go to the Review Copies tab. Each available title is listed, with a blue “Request Digital RC” bar.

Several titles getting buzz from librarians on GalleyChat are downloadable to approved users, including Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz (Norton, 10/31) and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (Doubleday, 9/13).

An advantage of Digital RC’s over paper is that several staff can read a forthcoming title at the same time; no need to pass around the paper copy. offers a similar service.

World War Z; It’s Gonna Happen

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

For a while, it looked like the adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie apocalypse novel World War Z(Crown, 2006) might not happen because of the $125 million budget. New investors came along and the movie began filming in Glasgow, starring Brad Pitt, with Marc Foster directing. As a further indicator that it will see the light of the silver screen, it now has a release date of Dec. 21, 2012.

That also happens to be the release date of  Ang Lee’s adaptation of The Life of Pi starring Tobey McGuire.


Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

How do you follow up a successful movie adaptation? How about a TV series?

ABC is developing Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer into a series reports Variety.

The film starred Matthew McConaughey.

It’s part of a trend; NBC is doing a series in the upcoming season based on John Grisham’s The Firm.


Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd (Morrow, Jan ’10) came out with high expectations last January, but only landed on the extended NYT Fiction Bestseller list for one week. If you still have copies around, here’s a chance to get more mileage out of them; as they say, it’s going to  become a major motion picture.

The story features a disillusioned FBI agent, working as a bricklayer, who is lured back in to the fold to help stop a criminal group that is blackmailing the bureau. Gerard Butler (300) has just signed to play the lead.

No news yet on when  production will begin.

The second book in the series, Agent X, came out in February.