Finally arriving next week, as we turn the corner to the spring book season, is a novel that both librarians and booksellers can’t wait to get in to readers’ hands, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry.
Among the big names arriving are new books by Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Brian Freemantle (download our spreadsheet for ordering information on these and more).
Below are seven to have on the tip of your tongue:
Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, (Workman/Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Thorndike)
After an extraordinary amount of advance buzz, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, finally arrives on shelves next week. It is the #1 pick for April for BOTH LibraryReads and IndieNext. If you haven’t gotten your hands on a galley, scroll through the reviews on Edelweiss to get a sense of how much excitement this novel is generating among your colleagues.
Here’s the response from someone who has read the book in depth, the audio narrator Scott Brick:
I’ve been blessed to narrate over 600 audiobooks thus far, and this book instantly pushed its way to the top of my list of absolute favorites. I told someone recently that I wish I could redo the book, and they asked, ‘Why, did you not like the way it turned out?’ I said ‘No, I just wish I could have that experience of reading every word again over and over again.’
Wendy Bartlett from Cuyahoga P.L. suggests, “Read this one before the customers find it.”
A.J. Fikry is a lonely and grumpy young widower whose life is transformed by the power of story. The wonderful Gabrielle Zevin (and if you don’t already have a favorite Gabrielle Zevin title, honey, where have you been??) begins each chapter in Fikry’s life with a page about a great book or short story whose theme is explored as you turn pages—like Eudora Welty’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” for instance. [NOTE: Thanks to the commenter who pointed that we confused the attribution -- the author of "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is actually Flannery O'Connor. Our apologies -- Zevin has the proper attribution in her book].
But you (or your customers) don’t have to know the stories or books to enjoy this paean to booksellers, book people, and readers. Okay, sure, it’s set on a gorgeous island in the bookstore we’ve all wanted to own, with the townspeople we’ve all wanted to live next to. It’s a universal story with a bookstore setting, and I can’t tell you anymore without spoiling it except know this: you’ll be utterly and completely charmed.
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys, (Norton; S&S Audio)
Every new title by Lewis is an event and like his other books, this one is embargoed, so there hasn’t been much information to go on, other than the author’s stunning track record as someone the media hotly pursues (the media blitz begins on Sunday with 60 Minutes and includes the Today Show on Tuesday, NPR’s Fresh Air and the Daily Show with Jon Steward. Download full Michael Lewis Media Roundup). More information emerged yesterday when the International Business Times broke the embargo, saying the book “Shines Light On High-Frequency Trading,” a practice that enables banks to “Screw Their Customers.” The promotion for the 60 Minutes segment, released today, is headlined, “Stock Market Rigged, Says Michael Lewis in New Book.”
Emma Donoghue, Frog Music, (Hachette/Little, Brown)
Most libraries have bought this one conservatively, but early consumer reviews indicate that, although quite different from Donoghue’s best selling Room, it will find its own large audience. In addition to Ron Charles’s rave in the Washington Post, it’s the lead book review in this week’s People magazine, with 3.5 of 4 stars and the author is profiled in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.
Frances Mayes, Under Magnolia, (RH/Crown; BOT; Thorndike)
Mayes is known, of course, for her books that made everyone dream of restoring a falling-down ruin in Tuscany. In this one, she examines her troubled childhood in Georgia. The prepub reviews are extraordinarily enthusiastic, indicating this one bears watching.
Michelle Huneven, Off Course, (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton Books)
Expect reviewers to be jumping on this one, based on the critical success of the author’s previous title, Blame, a National Book Critics Circle finalist. The L.A. Times review is the first one. It includes this intriguing line, “What Huneven so skillfully points out here is that love triangles, torrid affairs and the like are not just reserved for protagonists in Jackie Collins airplane novels.” Plus, we’re taken with that cover, which looks like something from Ransom Riggs’ collection.
Max Brooks, The Harlem Hellfighters, (RH/Broadway)
The book we most often see people reading on the subway is Brooks’s World War Z (before Brad Pitt turned it into something unrecognizable). Brooks’s new one is graphic novel about an actual war and an actual group of soldier; the black World War I regiment nicknamed, “The Harlem Hellfighters.” Sony has picked it for a big screen adaptation.
Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor, (Macmillan/Tor Books)
As we head in to the new season of Games of Thrones, readers may be interested in other fantasy books that explore politics and power. This one has extraordinary pre pub reviews, such as LJ‘s; “Court intrigue and politics are popular fodder for fantasy novels, but rarely have they been done better than in this fantastic new novel from Sarah Monette (writing as Addison). The writing is lovely, with characters who live and breathe.” It is also a GalleyChat favorite.