New Title Radar: Nov 12 to 18

Next week, James Patterson contributes to the ongoing deluge of Christmas-themed novels, with Merry Christmas, Alex Cross. Also arriving is the book we predict will be THE gift book of the season, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, which gives Americans a foretaste of season three, debuting here in January. On our Watch List is a madness memoir that’s poised to take off.

Watch List

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (S&S/Free Press; S&S Audio) is a memoir by a young journalist. At the height of her career, her behavior suddenly becomes erratic, turning into full-blown paranoia and seizures. She recounts,”It flipped my universe upside down and very nearly sent me to an asylum for life.” She doesn’t remember the month she was hospitalized, so she pieces it together through interviews with family and friends and by reviewing videos from the surveillance camera that was in her hospital room. Librarians on October GalleyChat raved about it. People magazine calls it “fascinating” and gives it  3.5 of 4 stars in the new issue. A Nov Indie Next Pick, the author is scheduled to appear on NBC’s The Today Show on Monday, NPR’s Fresh Air and ABC’s Katie on Wednesday.

Usual Suspects

Merry Christmas Alex Cross, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown; Hachette Audio). As Alex tracks down the robber of the church’s poor box and intervenes in a dangerous hostage situation, the Cross family Christmas is different from most.

The Last Man by Vince Flynn (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio). Series hero Mitch Rapp goes to Afghanistan to find an old friend, a CIA agent who may have been kidnapped in this 13th outing. In real life, Rapp is getting ready for his Hollywood debut. CBS Films has optioned the rights to the character and plans to begin with an adaptation of American Assassin. The lead was recently offered to Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the HuntsmanThorThe Cabin in the Woods). Production is set to begin in 2013.

Literary Favorites

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, (Doubleday/Talese) has already received a number of reviews, including a sour one from the NYT‘s famously hard-to-please Michiko Kakutani (see our earlier story). People follows up with 3 of 4 stars. Many more reviews are in the pipeline. McEwan is scheduled to appear on the upcoming NPR show, Weekend Edition Saturday.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín, (S&S/Scribner) is a  a novella that began life as a stage play called just Testament. In it, the author imagines the mother of Jesus tells two visitors about his life and death. Tóibín will be interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition, Nov. 13.

Dear Life: Stories by Alice  Munro, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio) is designated a People pick in the new issue; “A new Munro collection is always a treat, but there’s special cause for celebration here: Along with 11 stories…the 81-year-old has included three autobiographical pieces.”

Childrens and Young Adult

The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 7) by Jeff Kinney (Abrams/Amulet) has been in the Top 100 on Amazon sales rankings since release was announced.

Reached (Matched Trilogy Book 3) by Ally Condie is the final in the popular YA dystopian romance series It foliows Matched (2010) and Crossed (2011).

Nonfiction

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham (Random House; RH Audio) is Meacham’s next book after winning a Pulitzer Prize for biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion. The #1 Indie Next Pick for Dec, it is scheduled for a great deal of media attention. Meacham appears on NBC’s Today Show this morning, 11/9 and as well as several more shows in the next week, including the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, MSNBC’s Morning Joe and PBS’s Charlie Rose Show.

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson and Kinky Friedman (HarperCollins) is subtitled, “Musings from the Road.” The Boston Globe says it “collects Nelson’s observations, memories, anecdotes, lyrics, and assorted bits of philosophical this and biographical that, ranging in length from a few sentences to a few pages.”

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (S&S/Scribner). A segment from this book published in the NYT Magazine last Sunday as “How Do You Raise a Prodigy?” was the second most-emailed NYT story over the weekend (admittedly, the title is a sure bet for the magazine’s readership). The author appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday  and is scheduled for Fresh Air next week.

Grace: A Memoir, Grace Coddington, (Random House; RH Audio; BOT Audio) is by the creative director of Vogue. Her work was memorably described by Time magazine, ”If Wintour is the Pope…Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year.”

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio) is the third book by the mother/daughter team who write the “Chick Wit” column for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Capturing Camelot by Kitty Kelley, (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne). Known for her in-depth take downs of celebrated figures, Kelley takes a new tack in this collection of JFK photos that were left to her by her good friend, Stanley Tretick.

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott (Penguin/Riverhead). The novelist writes about her faith.

Tie-in

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era, by Jessica Fellowes, Matthew Sturgis,(Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press) gives insights into the much-anticipated third season of the popular series, which begins airing on PBS in January. We expect it to be THE gift book of the season.

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