Archive for November, 2011

Thanks, But I’d Rather Have a Booker

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury) got a boost on Amazon’s sales rankings after winning the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday, rising to #260.

But a book that received earlier recognition is having greater success with U.S. buyers.

Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, (Knopf) which won Britain’s Booker Award last month, is at #23, even though USA Today called it, “the longest, dreariest 163 pages in recent memory…pretentious philosophical musings masquerading as a novel.” The not-always-kind NYT critic Michiko Kakutani put it more diplomatically, saying it is “dense with philosophical ideas and more clever than emotionally satisfying.”

After winning the Booker (10/19), it rose to #5 and slowly drifted down, still remaining in the top 50 for the next few weeks. It got another bump from NPR on Saturday, moving up to #27. Library holds are also much heavier on it than on Salvage the Bones.

As described by Ron Charles in the Washington Post, Salvage the Bones is the more accessible title; “Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, [the author] evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy.” It is also about a specifically American experience, a family struggling and surviving through hurricane Katrina.

Both are in hardcover, are similar prices and both are short books. This year, it’s especially difficult to explain why Americans seem to say, “Make mine a Booker.”

Penguin Exits OverDrive Pending Evaluation

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Over the weekend, librarians and library users posted worried tweets that Penguin titles seemed to no longer be available for library lending on the Kindle.

That was confirmed today in a memo from the Penguin Group (which includes, Putnam, Viking, Berkley Trade and, of course, Penguin Press). One small ray of hope; Penguin is not calling this a done deal, but a “delay” in making titles available, while they evaluate “new concerns about the security of our digital editions” so they can “resolve these concerns with our business partners.” (The full statement, sent to EarlyWord by Penguin, is below). The final line of the statement may not be that comforting, “we want to assure you that physical editions of our new titles will continue to be available in libraries everywhere.”

Meanwhile, OverDrive has also issued a statement, which clarifies that “existing Penguin eBook titles in your library’s catalog are still available and additional copies can be added” in other formats. This means, for instance, that library users still have access to digital versions of The Help (but not on the Kindle).

OverDrive Statement

Last week Penguin sent notice to OverDrive that it is reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks. In the interim, OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable “Get for Kindle”  functionality for all Penguin eBooks. We apologize for this abrupt change in terms from this supplier. We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible.

All existing Penguin eBook titles in your library’s catalog are still available and additional copies can be added.

Penguin Statement:

Penguin has been a long-time supporter of libraries with both physical and digital editions of our books.  We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers. However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners. Penguin’s aim is to always connect writers and readers, and with that goal in mind, we remain committed to working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable. In the meantime, we want to assure you that physical editions of our new titles will continue to be available in libraries everywhere.


Monday, November 21st, 2011

A new series, Libraries in Crisis, debuted in The Huffington Post last week. As described by Books Editor, Andrew Losowsky, it will look at “how today’s libraries are about more than books [ed note; oops, someone neglected to communicate this to the logo designer]…how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence.”

The first article in the series, “Library Budget Cuts Threaten Community Services Across Country,” uses an image that does make the point that libraries “are about more than books” (from Gilpin County Public Library, Colorado):

Andrew Losowsky became the Huffington Post‘s Books Editor in August, an unexpected move for someone who has demonstrated a passion for print, specifically print magazines; he runs Stack America, which provides subscribers with a bi-monthly selection of the best of independent print publications and co-wrote the books We Love Magazines (Gestalten Verlag, 2007) and We Make Magazines: Inside the Idependents (Gestalten Verlag, 2009). His new book, however, Reading in Four Dimensions, is a self-published e-book about the future of books.

Mystery Movie Night

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Cable channel TNT did so well with its Rizzoli & Isles series, based on Tess Gerritsen‘s mystery novels, that it returns for a second season, beginning Monday, Nov. 28.

Perhaps inspired by the success of that series, TNT is about to launch Mystery Movie Night, which features full-length movies based on best-selling mysteries by various authors. It kicks off on Nov. 29 with Scott Turow’s Innocent, starring Bill Pullman as Rusty Sabich. Pullman has big shoes to fill.  Harrison Ford played Sabich in the 1990 adaptation of Turow’s earlier title, Presumed Innocent. Below is the schedule of the five other movies in the series, with tie-ins (there is none for the Turow, which came out trade paperback in May, Grand Central, 9780446562416).

TNT clearly expects that Mystery Movie Night will be a success. Shooting is about to start in Wilmington, N.C. on the first in the spring series, an adaptation of Hornet’s Nest by Patricia Cornwell (Putnam/Penguin, 1996).


Ricochet – Wednesday, Nov. 30. — Set in Savannah, this is based on the 2006 book by romantic (more specifically, “steamy”) suspense writer Sandra Brown. Tie-in: Ricochet by Sandra Brown, Pocket Books/S&S, Nov, 9781451678574

Hide – Tuesday, Dec. 6 — Based on the second title in Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren series, featuring a female Boston detective. Tie-in: Hide by Lisa Gardner, Bantam/RH, 9780553588088

Silent Witness – Wednesday, Dec. 7 —  Dermot Mulroney plays a defense attorney based on Richard North Patterson’s 1997 legal drama, a follow-up to Private Screening. Tie-in: Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson, St. Martin’s/Macmillan, Oct., 978125001484-9

Good Morning, Killer – Tuesday, Dec. 13 — Based on the second book in April Smith’s series set in Montana and featuring iconoclastic FBI agent Ana Grey. Tie-in: Good Morning, Killer by April Smith, Vintage/RH, Nov, 9780307950345

Deck the Halls – Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Based on the first book in Mary Higgins Clark and daughter Carol Higgins Clark’s series of holiday mystery novels, this one stars Kathy Najimy as a cleaning-woman-turned-private-eye. Tie-in: Deck the Halls, Pocket Books, Nov, 9781451678581

New Title Radar – Week of Nov. 21

Friday, November 18th, 2011

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).


Lady Gaga by Terry Richardson (Grand Central) chronicles a year of the star’s concert tours through photographs. Blogs from USA Today to 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.

PEOPLE Best Cookbooks

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

There’s several reasons to pick up the 12/28 special double issue of People magazine. In addition to 2011’s Sexiest Man Alive (Bradley Cooper), dozens of other hunks are featured (click here for “100 Sexy Men in 1 Minute“). Even more mouth-watering are the “Best of the Fall Cookbooks” in the Books section, which confines itself to just six titles:

The Family Meal, Ferran Adrià, Phaidon —  the chef  known for bravura cooking (like the “liquid olive,” which he created and many have copied) here address the more mundane, but not necessarily easy, like how to poach an egg.

The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks, Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Morrow/HarperCollins — Hesser started after she realized from her work on the  NYT Cookbook, that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. The cookbook rounds up the winners from the site’s contests.

Lidia’s Italy in AmericaLidia Matticchio Bastianich, Knopf/RH — the celebrity chef moves from Italian to Italian American cooking.

Martha’s Entertaining, Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter/RH– her first book, pubbed in 1982 was simply titled Entertaining. It launched an empire.

Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi with intro by David Chang, Clarkson Potter/RH– desserts from David Chang’s pastry chef.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods, Jennifer Reese, Free Press/S&S — what a concept. After losing her job, Reese decided it was time to figure out how to save money by doing more herself. She discovered that some things are better to buy than to make and vice versa. Surprisingly, she says that bagels can be easily made at home (and, given the quality of many store bought bagels, that idea is appealing).

National Book Awards Video

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Below are videos of the National Book Awards, presented last night, with time notations.

Host John Lithgow said of Nikky Finney’s electrifying acceptance of the poetry award (Part Two, beginning at 17:30), “That was the best acceptance speech for anything I’ve ever heard in my life,”  He worried that the winners who followed her would be intimidated, but by the end, marveled, “You people are good at this.”

Introducing the award for Young People’s Literature, Panel Chair Marc Aronson noted, “It was a bad year for muffled phone conversations with disastrous consequences.” (Part Two, 10:00)

Part One:

Intro by host, John Lithgow

(7:50) — Walter Mosley presents the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to bookseller Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books.

(24:50) — Ann Lauterbach presents the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to poet John Ashberry.

Part Two:

(1:20) — Introduction by David Steinberger, President and CEO Perseus Books Group and Chairman of the National Book Foundation Board of Directors.

(10:00) — Marc Aronson, chair of the Young People’s Literature Award Panel presents the award to Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again, (Harper, 1/21/11).

(13:40) — Elizabeth Alexander chair of the Poetry Award Panel presents the award to Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split, (TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press).

(23:40) — Alice Kaplan, Nonfiction Award Panel Chair presents the award to Stephen Greenblatt, for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
(Norton, 9/26/11)  – consumer review links.

(32:00) — Deirdre McNamer Fiction Panel Chair, presents the award to  Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones, (Bloomsbury USA,  8/30/11); consumer review links.

An Ideal Combo

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Tim Burton will develop the surprise YA hit Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books, Jun, 2011) as a “potential directing project,” according to Deadline.

Riggs has the strange hobby of collecting old snapshots, he published highlights of his collection in his blog on the Mental Floss magazine site. For Miss Peregrine, he wove a story around some strange and haunting Victorian photos. It’s been on the NYT Children’s Hardcover list for 22 weeks, raching a high of #2.

An as-yet-untitled sequel to Miss Peregine is scheduled for Spring 2013.

Coming in April is a book that expands on Riggs’s Mental Floss series, called Talking Pictures.

Talking Pictures
Ransom Riggs
Retail Price: $13.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins(2012-04-10)
ISBN / EAN: 9780062099495, 0062099493

The Girl with the Asp Tattoo

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Last year, Angelina Jolie told interviewers that she was planning to play Cleopatra in James Cameron’s 3-D adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s critically acclaimed and best-selling bio, Cleopatra: A Life, (Little, Brown/ Hachette, 2010). Cameron, however, dropped out when he decided to do Avatar 2.

News has been scarce since, but Variety now reports that David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) may direct. Angelina Jolie is still planning to play the Egyptian queen (who, according to Schiff’s biography as well as other historical sources, was ethnically Greek) and has her “heart set” on Fincher. It’s uncertain whether it will be shot in 3-D, as was planned when Cameron was set to direct.

Of course, Fincher could also turn his attention to the next title in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, or any of several other possible projects, including a version of Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.


National Book Awards, LIVE

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

The National Book Awards will be Webcast live tomorrow evening, 8 p.m., ET. Below are the finalists, with links to consumer reviews, where available:


Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn(Bellevue Literary Press); review links

Téa ObrehtThe Tiger’s Wife(Random House) – reviewed the most widely of all the finalists – links and excerpts here

Julie OtsukaThe Buddha in the Attic(Knopf/ Random House) – review links

Edith PearlmanBinocular Vision(Lookout Books/Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington) – review links

Jesmyn WardSalvage the Bones(Bloomsbury USA) – review links


Deborah Baker, The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism, (Graywolf Press) – review links

Mary GabrielLove and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution, (Little, Brown/Hachette) – review links

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, (Norton) – review links

Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Viking/Penguin) – review links

Lauren RednissRadioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, (It Books/HarperCollins) – review links

Young People’s Literature

Franny BillingsleyChime(Dial/Penguin)

Debby Dahl EdwardsonMy Name Is Not Easy(Marshall Cavendish)

Thanhha LaiInside Out and Back Again(Harper)

Albert MarrinFlesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy, (Knopf/Random House Children’s Books)

Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now(Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) –  NYT Book Review


Nikky FinneyHead Off & Split(TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press) – Interview

Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch(FSG/Macmillan)

Carl PhillipsDouble Shadow(FSG/Macmillan) – Chicago Tribune review

Adrienne RichTonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010, (Norton) – San Francisco Chronicle review

Bruce SmithDevotions(University of Chicago Press) – review, NYT BR 

HUNGER GAMES Trailer No Longer Exclusive

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

If, like us, you had difficulty downloading the first full-length Hunger Games trailer from iTunes yesterday, it’s now available via YouTube (click the link, to access the full-screen version).

Reactions from fans as well as critics (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal‘s”Speakeasy“) are positive.

Kirkus Best

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Kirkus  “The World’s Toughest Book Critics” have released their Best Fiction lists for 2011. Coming soon are their with selections of Best Children, Teen, Nonfiction and Indie Books as well as Best Book Apps.

Around the corner are both LJ‘s and SLJ’s picks.

We’ll be rounding them all up into our monster spreadsheet.

UPDATE, 12/21:

We’re happy to announce that our annual spreadsheets, rounding up all the titles in the national best books lists, with ISBN’s and information on additional formats — audio, large print, and eformats from OverDrive — are now available for downloading and checking against your collections.

NYT Children’s Books Special Section

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The NYT Book Review‘s special section on children’s books arrived this weekend, complete with a slide show of the NYT Best Illustrated Books.

On the left, a page from one of the featured “Picture Books About New York City Traditions,” (chosen by NYC icon Pete Hamill),  Balloons Over Broadway, by Melisssa Sweet, HMH).

Be sure to read EarlyWord Kid’s correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek’s review of Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, illus by Kei Acedera (Harper/HarperCollins, Middle grade; ages 8 to 12).

The New HUNGER GAMES Trailer

Monday, November 14th, 2011

By all accounts, screaming fans went crazy for the first full-length Hunger Games trailer when it appeared on Good Morning America‘s jumbotron on Times Square this morning.

It’s supposed to be on iTunes exclusively, but we didn’t have success in getting it to play (too much traffic?)

HUNGER GAMES Trailer Debuts

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

The first full-length trailer for The Hunger Games is set to debut on Good Morning America Monday during the  8 a.m. hour. It will also be displayed on GMA‘s jumbotron in Times Square.

Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark in the movie, will introduce the trailer. The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is based on the first book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy and is scheduled for release on 3/23/12.

The second in the series, Catching Fire is scheduled for Nov. 22, 2013. In keeping with the traditions set by the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, the final book in the series, Mockingjay, may be divided into two films, but no announcements have been made about that yet.

Co-starring in the film are:

Liam Hemsworth … Gale Hawthorne

Stanley Tucci … Caesar Flickerman

Woody Harrelson … Haymitch Abernathy

Elizabeth Banks … Effie Trinket

Donald Sutherland … President Snow

Two tie-ins are being released; an Official Illustrated Movie Companion as well as a regular tie-in edition. Both will be released by Scholastic on Feb. 7.