As we head into the all make-or-break gift-giving season, publishers are focusing on sure-bet hits, so we have only one title on our Watch List, a hotel business expose that reminds us of a certain bad-boy restaurant expose. Among the usual suspects are new novels from David Baldacci, Janet Evanovich and Glenn Beck. In Young Adult, Glee star Chris Colfer releases his second novel, Struck By Lightning, which arrives with the words “Now a Major Motion Picture” already emblazoned on the cover.
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality, Jacob Tomsky, (RH/Doubleday) has gotten quite a bit of advance publicity, including a NYT review by Janet Maslin (who is often the bellwether of books with high expectations). An expose of hotel practices, it’s reminiscent of an expose of restaurant practices, Anthony Bourdain’s Restaurant Confidential. Maslin’s description makes it sound like it lives up to the comparison; “Mr. Tomsky turns out to be an effervescent writer, with enough snark to make his stories sharp-edged but without the self-promoting smugness that sinks so many memoirs.” The NY Daily News adds to the author’s bad boy credentials, “Jacob Tomsky was once a resentful front-desk clerk at a luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan, forced to attend anger management classes.” Is a Travel Channel show in the offing?
The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron, (Hachette/Little,Brown; Thorndike Large Print) is the 18th title in the Judge Deborah Knott mystery series. One fan on GalleyChat called it “One of my favorites in the series.” Her paperbacks have been NYT best sellers; we’re hoping this will be her hardcover breakout.
Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, Chris Colfer, (Hachette/Little, Brown YR; Hachette Audio). Is this a novel that’s been adapted as a movie, or is it a novelization of a movie? The movie Struck by Lightning, starring Glee‘s Chris Colfer and written by Chris Colfer is scheduled for release on January 11. The novel, the second by Glee‘s Chris Colfer, arrives this week, with the words “Now a Major Motion Picture” on the cover. Kirkus comments, “This sophomoric sophomore effort reads like a rough draft for a screenplay.” But as the book’s cover notes, Colfer is a “#1 New York Times Bestselling Author.”
The Forgotten by David Baldacci, (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) is the second in the author’s new series of thrillers featuring Army Special Agent John Puller which began last year with Zero Day.
Notorious Nineteen, by Janet Evanovich, (Random House’ RH Audio; RH Large Print). Anyone want to guess which number this one is in the Stephanie Plum series?
Agenda 21, by Glenn Beck, with Harriet Parke, (S&S/Threshold; S&S Audio) is Beck’s fictional take on where America is headed, “There is no president. No congress. No Supreme Court.” But, hold on, doesn’t Beck want smaller government? In this vision, the U.S. is now run by an even larger government, “the Authorities” who have been imposed by a UN-lead program called Agenda 21 and “Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life.” Beck’s fans have made it #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Libraries are showing 1:1 holds.
Encyclopedia Paranoiaca by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, (S&S) is described by Kirkus as ““A whimsical collection of the sometimes-scary, sometimes-silly things that threaten our modern-day lives.” With the name Christopher Cerf attached, who can resist?
Grace: A Memoir, Grace Coddington, (Random House; RH Audio; BOT Audio). We jumped the gun by listing this memoir by the creative director of Vogue in last week’s “Radar.” It actually arrives next week. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-, noting that many more people now know who Coddington is because of the 2009 documentary, The September Issue, in which, “the Welsh-born Coddington delightfully stole the show” and says “she’s the bohemian big-haired yang to her boss’ [Anna Wintour's] impeccably tailored bangs-and-bob yin.”
Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America: A Companion Book for Young Readers to the Steven Spielberg Film by Harold Holzer, (HarperCollins/Newmarket for It Books) is the official young readers tie-in to the movie by a Lincoln scholar and includes photos from the film.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, (Penguin Classics Hardcover) is a new translation by Christine Donougher and Denny, Norman released for the 150th anniversary of classic. The Broadway musical adaptation is coming to movie theaters on Christmas in a new version starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Eddie Redmayne. Penguin is also publishing the official tie-in, translated by Norman Denny.
Lay the Favorite by Beth Raymer (RH/Spiegel & Grau) is the tie-in to the adaptation of the 2010 gambling memoir which arrives in theaters on Dec. 7 but is now available on demand. Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity), it stars Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones, which makes it sound promising, but it gets just a 26% positive rating from critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, (RH/Modern Library) is the first hardcover edition of the book that was published as an original trade paperback in the U.S. The movie, which released Oct. 26, is considered a major flop, but it’s brought renewed attention to the book, returning it to best seller lists.