New Title Radar – Week of Nov. 21

Next week, two posthumous novels arrive, from Chilean author Robert Bolano and Michael Crichton (whose novel draft was finished by bestselling nonfiction author Richard Preston). Other usual suspects include Dorothy Garlock and Ian Rankin.  In nonfiction, Lady Gaga struts from stage to stage, and Glenn Beck shares his opinions on George Washington.

Literary Heavy Hitter

The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Macmillan Audio) is a novel written in 1989 and discovered after the Chilean author’s 2003 death, prior to his breakout out with The Savage Detectives and his winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for 2666. Focusing on a German couple vacationing in Spain and written in a series of diary entires, it’s a look at power through the prism of a war game called “The Third Reich,” played by the male half of the couple. NPR’s early review says that while the novel doesn’t feature ”the narrative fireworks” of Bolano’s best known books, it’s “compassionate, disturbing and deeply felt, [and] as much of a gift as anything the late author has given us.”  Meanwhile, Library Journal cautions that it’s more accessible to Bolano fans than newcomers to his work. (The cover presents a subtle but chilling image, which may be difficult to see this size; view the larger version here).

Usual Suspects

Micro: A Novel by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston (Harper; HarperLuxe Large Print; HarperAudio) is a posthumous Crichton title, completed by the author of The Hot Zone, (the Wall Street Journal interviews Preston about the process) about a group of graduate students facing dangerous nanotechnology in the jungles of Oahu. NPR gives it an early review, saying, “Crichton and Preston know the science better than anyone else, so the suddenly giant (from the new perspective of the desperately scrambling students) insects and plants, spiders and moths, bees, wasps and ants come to life much larger than life, and technically become the most accurate and vividly described menaces in recent science fiction.”

Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock (Grand Central/Hachette; Thorndike Press; Hachette Audio; Audiogo) follows a military nurse’s transition to peacetime in rural 1946 Wisconsin. No trade reviews yet.

The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin (Regan Arthur Books/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the second outing with Rankin’s new hero: Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox (his prickly former protagonist, John Rebus, was last seen in 2008′s Exit Music). NYT BR crime fiction columnist Marilyn Stasio says in the 11/20 issue, ” the plot gets tricky when it expands into a mystery-within-a-mystery, but it never becomes as infernally convoluted as some of Rankin’s old Rebus mysteries. Always inspired when he’s writing about social outcasts and professional rejects, Rankin does well by these pariah cops — especially Fox, who’s looking good for the long haul.”

Middle Grade

Warriors: Omen of the Stars #5: The Forgotten Warrior by Erin Hunter (HarperCollins) continues the feline fantasy series.

Movie Tie-ins

        

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) ties into the English-language film adaptation of the worldwide bestseller, which opens December 21. If you’re thinking, “Surely everyone who is going to read the book already has,” just think about The Help. Check our recent post for more details on the cover and latest trailer.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s/Griffin) ties into an film adaptation of the book that launched Evanovich’s mega-selling Stephanie Plum series in 2004, and opens January 27, 2012. Some are dubious that Katherine Heigl can exude the proper Jersey attitude (or accent).

Biographies

Lady Gaga by Terry Richardson (Grand Central) chronicles a year of the star’s concert tours through photographs. Blogs from USA Today to MTV.com are buzzing about it, as the singer reads and comments on the book.

Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, as You’ve Never Seen Him by Glenn Beck (Threshold/S&S) gives a conservative commentator’s opinions on the first president. Last Monday, Beck got the buzz going by hailing Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum as “the next George Washington” on his show, the Huffington Post reports. The cover, however gives Beck equal billing to the Founding Father.

Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 by Henry Louis Gates (Knopf) is an illustrated introductory survey of African American history. Library Journal says ”while the relatively abbreviated entries may not match Gates’s previous work, the almost 900 illustrations and accessible coverage of the varieties of black experience make Life Upon the Shores an essential source for nonspecialists from high school on up.”

Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony: A Psychological Portrait by Keith Ablow, (St. Martin’s/Macmillan) is a portrait of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted for the murder of her daughter Caylee in July  2011 at a much-publicized trial.

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