Archive for December, 2012

Libraries Behaving Like Bookstores? Amazing.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

bcpl-1The NYT  reports today that libraries are adopting the bookstore model, by stocking what readers want and offering bestsellers in quantity.

A brand-new concept?

Hardly, as a 1979 article from Publishers Weekly about Baltimore County Public Library’s move toward the “demand-oriented, public bookstore” direction proves (click here to view pages onetwo and three in full size).

It’s a good reminder as we head into the New Year that “everything old is new again.”

Our thanks to our friends at Publishers Weekly for permission to reproduce this story. In case you are wondering, the author of the piece, Kenneth C. Davis, went on to write the “Don’t Know Much About” series.

New Title Radar, Dec. 31 to Jan. 5

Friday, December 28th, 2012

We’re on the cusp of the new season next week; one of the final titles touted at BEA arrives along with the first of the winter titles. On the Watch List, Jojo Moyes is poised for a breakout after ten titles and two Romance Novel of the Year awards. Usual suspects include Linda Howard, W.E.B. Griffin and Alexander McCall Smith. In nonfiction, a new bio of General Petraeus focuses on how he changed the military.

Watch List

9780670026609-1 Me Before You, Jojo Moyes, (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books, Thorndike Large Print)

This novel has received kudos on GalleyChat, with one librarian calling it one of her favorite ARC’s of the year. Prolific romance novelist Jojo Moyes is a household name in Great Britain and her U.S. publisher is working to spread that magic here (the cover, which abandons the traditional trappings of a contemporary romance, signals a change in marketing). Independent booksellers picked it as an Indie Next title for January — “If you are looking for a romantic love story that will leave you in happy tears, this is the book for you! Suspend disbelief and immerse yourself in the life of Louisa Clark, who takes a job as a caretaker for a young, wealthy, disabled man. After a rocky start, Lou and Will become close, and Will urges her to expand her horizons and escape from their stifling small town.” It is reviewed in a NYT roundup of new titles this week — “Ms. Moyes’s novel boldly combines a sappy love story with the right-to-die debate.”

The Death of BeesThe Death of BeesLisa O’Donnell, (Harper)

The debut author is profiled in USA Today this week. Her novel is considered notable because, “After rave reviews in Britain, it’s a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick and an Indie Next Great Reads selection.” That Indie Next annotation reads, “Beginning with two children who bury their parents in their garden, The Death of Bees had me hooked from page one. Streetwise teen Marnie and her younger, socially awkward, violin prodigy sister find their parents dead and attempt to cover up their deaths to avoid foster care, with both help and hindrance from some surprising sources. Told from the point of view of multiple characters, this lively, suspenseful, and darkly hilarious tale transfixed me from gruesome start to wonderfully satisfying finish. Brilliant, delightful, and thought provoking!”

RatlinesRatlines Stuart Neville, (RH/Soho Crime)

This the last to be released of the titles recommended at this year’s BEA librarians Shout ‘n’ Share panel. Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett says Neville is “really a great writer and one that a lot of people haven’t heard about or read yet. He’s also very articulate, and would be great for an author event.” In this, the author’s fourth novel, Dublin detective Ryan faces a case that tests his love of country. As John F. Kennedy prepares to visit, a series of murders reveals that former Nazis have been living in Ireland, having eluded the Allies via “ratline” escape routes, and been given sanctuary by the Irish government.

Usual Suspects

Shadow WomanShadow Woman, Linda Howard, (RH/Ballantine; RH Audio; BOT; Thorndike Large Print)

The popular contemporary romantic suspense authors here employs a popular plot device; a woman wakes up and has no idea who she is. The publisher is touting the author’s new branding with “stunning and provocative new covers.”

Empire and Honor, W.E.B. Griffin and William E..Butterworth, (Penguin/Putnam;  Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print)

The seventh title in the Honor Bound series, featuring USMC Maj. Cletus Frade, co-written with Griffin’s son, William E. Butterworth. Says Kirkus, of this post-WWII espionage novel, “Although heavily reliant on exposition, the book provides sufficient back story and works as a stand-alone read. Nothing beats a cinder-block–sized adventure novel on a winter weekend.”

The Wrath of Angels, John Connolly, (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

The next in the popular Irish author’s series about a private eye with one foot in the standard mystery genre and the other in the supernatural. A plane wreck in the Maine woods yields no bodies, but does contain a list of people who have sold their souls to the devil, unleashing, well, the wrath of angels.

Unusual Uses for Olive OilUnusual Uses for Olive Oil, Alexander McCall Smith, (Anchor PBK Original)

Smith last novel featuring the philologist, Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, was At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (2004). Kirkus feels this character deserves his second billing to Smith’s more popular characters; “Gently but invincibly obtuse, von Igelfeld is too much an elephantine cartoon to inspire the love readers have given Precious Ramotswe and Isabel Dalhousie.” The olive oil? Von Igelfeld uses it to remedy the sticky wheels of a one-legged dachshund’s prosthetic device.


The Very Fairy PrincessThe Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, (Hachette/LBYR)

The fourth in the series by the ever-popular actress and her daughter. In this one, Gerry throws herself into creating Valentines. Says Kirkus, “Andrews and Hamilton’s text successfully captures the enthusiastic urgency of their impish protagonist. What truly impresses is Davenier’s ink-and–colored-pencil artwork that vividly portrays Gerry’s every emotion, whether she is over-the-top happy or utterly disappointed.”


The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio)

The anthropologist and  author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, writes in this new book about how people in tribal New Guinea deal with universal issues. Diamond has whetted readers’ appetites with an excerpt in Newsweek magazine about how they handle child rearing (yes, it appears the tribal people of New Guinea, like the French and the Chinese, do it better than we do).

The Insurgents Fred Kaplan, (Simon & Schuster)

Just as Patraeus is fading from news headlines, this assessment of his legacy arrives. Reviewing the book in the NYT this week, Janet Maslin says “The title of The Insurgents is a clever reference to the rebellious, Petraeus-led faction within the American military, not to the guerrilla fighters American soldiers fought abroad. And it is a painstaking, step-by-step account of how these insurgents’ ideas bubbled up into the mainstream.” Don’t look for details on his relationship with Paula Broadwell. Maslin says, “Mr. Kaplan has tacked on a one-page coda” about that indicates”Ms. Broadwell is only one of the miscalculations that an admirable but dangerously unrealistic Mr. Petraeus has made.”

Movie Tie-ins

Parker: Movie Tie-in Edition, originally published as Flashfire, Richard Stark, (University Of Chicago Press)

Based on the character featured in 24 novels by Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, the movie Parker, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, opens Jan. 25

Librarian Favorites, 2012

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Mr. Penumbra9780316098793-1 9780062088147-3

Librarians have spoken, picking their favorite books of the year (#libfavs2012). Hundreds of librarians from across the country tweeted nearly 700 votes for over 400 titles during the twelve days of the challenge.

While the top two titles (Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars) have appeared on many other Best Books lists, title number 3 was picked by just one of the other sources we’ve been tracking:

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan, Macmillan/FSG  — “a great book for bibliophiles and technology lovers,” attests LibraryScoots (and, how about that glow-in-the-dark cover?)

Tied at #4 with Karen Thomas Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a title that hasn’t appeared on the other lists so far:

The Rook, Daniel O’Malley, Hachette/Little, Brown — a darkly humorous thriller about a paranormal version of Britain’s MI5; “think X-Men meets Jane Bond” says librarian and PrincessOfTheWorld from Mission, KS.

Tied at #5 is:

A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash, HarperCollins/Morrow — one of our favorite debuts of the year (see the summary of our TwitterChat with the author). Linda Johns of Seattle PL (LJBookie), one of the organizers of #libfavs2012, says she loves to tell readers about this debut.

There’s plenty more titles to discover on the full list and the list of top titles, with links to descriptions.

Thanks, again, to GalleyChat regulars Robin Beerbower, Salem [OR] Library, Stephanie Chase and Linda Johns, both of Seattle Public, for starting and shepherding this project. Thanks to Janet Lockhart, from Wake County P.L. (NC), for tabulating votes into the wee hours.

The “Right” Books for Young Readers

Thursday, December 27th, 2012


The New York Times asked several authors, teachers and librarians (including Fuse 8′s Betsy Byrd and me) to weigh in on “What’s ‘Just Right’ for the Young Reader? — How do you know the age at which to introduce children to certain books that might have ‘big kid’ themes?”

My view is “Let Them Read What They Want

Please tell us what you think; post your comments here.


Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Rules of Civility“If you’ve ever wondered what 1930s New York City was like, Amor Towles, through his debut novel, Rules of Civility (Viking, 2011;  Books on TapePenguin Audio; audio on OverDrive; Large Print Thorndike; released in Trade Pbk, in June) is one of the best tour guides around,” says Costco’s head book buyer, Pennie  Clark Ianniciello, describing her  January book pick in COSTCO Connections.

In the accompanying interview, Towles recounts his journey from a successful 21-year career as the co-founder of an investment fund to full-time writer and says he can’t wait to start his next book

The book spent one week in the top 15 of the NYT Hardcover Fiction after its release in 2011 and 9 weeks on the trade paperback list this year. Reviews praised it for its evocation of the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton. NPR added kudos, calling it a “stylish, elegant and deliberately anachronistic debut novel.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that Lionsgate closed a deal with Towles to adapt Rules of Civility. It was noted at the time that several others in Hollywood had been courting Towles, but he was recluctant because, as “the principal of a big hedge fund, Towles didn’t need Hollywood option money and was wary of trusting Hollywood with the book he’d always wanted to write.” No news has emerged since on when, or if, production will begin.

Some libraries still showing holds.

THE Best Books of the Year

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The Daily Beast is checking the best books lists to see which titles get the most picks. According to their current calculations, the winners are:

Fiction — Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Nonfiction —  Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Dozens of American and UK sources are included, from Publishers Weekly to Vogue. So far, Library Journal‘s recently-released Top Ten, plus sixteen More of the Best, is not.

 By the Iowa Sea    Gillespie and I     A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

At this point, we’re finding the unexpected choices more interesting than the consensus titles. LJ is the only source to pick Joe Blair’s memoir By the Iowa Sea (S&S/Scribner). They think so much of it that they make it one of five nonfiction titles in their Top Ten and describe as “startling, bleak, and thoroughly honest.”

Unique picks on LJ‘s More of the Best include Jane Harris’s paperback original novel, Gillespie and I (Harper Perennial), which sounds delicious (read Carolyn See’s review in the Washington Post) and a librarian favorite, Suzanne Joinson’s A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar. They like that one so much they picked it twice (as both a reviewer’s historical fiction and an editor’s pick).

We’ve now wrapped up all the lists we are tracking (not as many as the Daily Beast; we’re focused on professional sources plus the most influential consumer sources) and will add Booklist’s picks when they are released in January. You can use the lists for end-of-the year ordering and to discover new readers advisory titles (there’s RA gold in those unique picks).

Adult Fiction Best Books, Collated

Adult Nonfiction Best Book, Collated

Childrens Best Books, Collated


Monday, December 24th, 2012

The False PrincePicked as a best book by both the NYT Book Review and Publishers Weekly, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince (Scholastic, April), is being adapted as a film by Paramount.

Runaway KindThe book is the first in the projected Ascendance trilogy. The second title, The Runaway King, is scheduled for release in March.

Adding some glitz to the announcement is the news that the executive story editor for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Bryan Cogman, has been hired to write the screenplay.


Monday, December 24th, 2012

Left BehindThe day after the world did not end, it was announced that Chad Michael Murray (of the CW TV series, One Tree Hill) is in talks to star in a new adaptation of the first in the Left Behind series of best selling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (Tyndale House). He will be joining Nicholas Cage who signed earlier to star in the film, which is set to begin production next spring.

Three low-budget films based on the books were released in 2000 through 2005.

Jack Reacher Comes Up Short

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Sorry — that headline was so good that we had to steal it from the L.A. Times‘s roundup of critical assessments of Jack Reacher, which opened over the weekend.

Jack Reacher Tie-9nA chorus of such consternation arose when it was announced that Tom Cruise would play Lee Child’s 6′ 5″ hero, that the author himself spoke out in defense the choice.

Critics, however, feel the role was too much of a stretch. Movie goers also turned a cold shoulder to the film based on Child’s One Shot (Random House, 2005).

Unless there’s a big turn around over the holidays, don’t expect a sequel.

TWELVE TRIBES on NYT Best Seller List

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Twelve Tribes Oprah StickerThe second Oprah 2.0 pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis, arrives on the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list this week at #10 (oddly, the annotation does not mention the Oprah connection —  “Fifty-some years in the life of an African-American family, starting with Hattie Shepherd, who leaves Georgia for Philadelphia in 1923.”)

It rose to #41 on the USA Today list from #95 last week.

Mathis received another strong endorsement after the Oprah pick, in the form of a rave from the NYTs difficult-to-please critic, Michiko Kakutani. The Washington Post’s Ron Charles is also impressed, but there are at least two dissenting voices, including the Wall Street Journal and a particularly scathing review in the L.A. Times, which says the book is,

…a callow work by a writer of still unpolished talents. Our great novelists give us fully rounded characters whose lives reflect the limitations, the possibilities and the wonder of the times in which they live. Mathis gives us a one-dimensional portrait of their suffering — and little else.

GATSBY Gets A New Trailer

Monday, December 24th, 2012

 Gatsby Poster    Gatsby - Daisy Poster    Gatsby - Nick Poster

It won’t hit screens until May 10 of next year, but we already have the second official trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, (the first one was released in May, back when the movie was still scheduled for this Christmas).

Luhrmann again pairs modern music with an older story (as he did for Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet). The sound track features Kanye West and Jay-Z’s No Church in the Wild, Florence + the Machines’ Bedroom Hymns and the Turtles’ Happy Together, covered by Filter.

The film stars:

Leonardo DiCaprio … Jay Gatsby

Carey Mulligan … Daisy Buchanan

Tobey Maguire …  Nick Carraway

Isla Fischer …  Myrtle Wilson

Joel Edgerton … Tom Buchanan

Elizabeth Debicki … Jordan Baker

New Title Radar — Dec. 24 to 29

Friday, December 21st, 2012

With the Christmas holiday arriving next week, it’s amazing that any new books will be shipped, but a few are on the way. Dick Wolf, creator of the TV series Law & Order, makes his fiction debut. Simon Garfield, whose book on fonts was a surprise hit, turns his attention to maps and the tie-in to a “zombie rom-com” movie arrives.

Intercept The Intercept: A Jeremy Fisk Novel by Dick Wolf, (Harper/Morrow; HarperAudio; Blackstone Audio)

Wolf, the creator of the TV series Law & Order introduces NYPD anti-terrorism detective Jeremy Fisk, in this, his first novel, planned as the beginning of a series. Expect heavy promotion for this one. It is already connecting with booksellers, who put it on the  Indie Next List for January. Prepub reviews were enthusiastic about the tense plot, but not so much about the writing or character development.

On the MapOn the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, by Simon Garfield, (Penguin/Gotham)

Garfield fed the growing fascination with fonts in his book Just My Type. Now he turns  to a subject with even more enthusiasts, cartography. Published earlier  this year in the UK and in several university library collections, this is a “fully Americanized edition” (besides taking out all those pesky u’s, we’re dying to know what that means).

Warm Bodies Tie-inWarm Bodies: Movie Tie-in by Isaac Morton. (S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler)

Billed as a “zombie rom-com,” the movie is based on a book that was originally a self-published success. Set  in America after a zombie apocalypse, it features “R,”  a young zombie who communicates mostly via grunts and moans. His favorite food is human brains, which give him a side of memories. After eating the brains of a suicidal teen, R falls in love with the boy’s girl friend. One hitch; her father, played by John Malkovich, is the country’s leading zombie killer.

Official Web Site:

People, USA Today Top Ten

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Two major Top Ten Books lists landed today — People magazine’s (not available yet online) and USA Today’s.

Neither includes E.L. James’s trilogy, but both feature the author (USA Today as “Author of the Year,” People as “Game Changer”). USA Today says, in a version of, “at least they are reading,” that James’s series “has proven that the novel — whether in print or e-book pixels — remains a heavyweight in the boxing ring of popular entertainment.” People calls the series a “soft-porn phenom.”

Gone GirlBoth top ten lists include Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, but that is where similarities end.

People is one of the few to not include Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, which has been the year’s big winner, both in sales and the number of best books picks (see below).

People‘s #1 pick, Alice Munro’s Dear Life, has appeared on many longer lists, but is not on any other top ten. The same is true of USA Today‘s top pick, Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver.

After the jump, the titles on each list, with notes on titles that received other top ten picks to date (LJ‘s list is due some time today).


Live Chat with Kristopher Jansma

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012


Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and BoneA year ago nearly to the date, it was announced that Universal had acquired the rights to Laini Taylor’s award winning YA novel, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Hachette/LBYR).

The studio has now signaled that they “see the project as a priority,” according to, by signing Joe Roth (Snow White and The Huntsman) to produce it.

The second in the planned trilogy, Days Of Blood & Starlight, (Hachette/LBYR), came out last month.