[Ed. Note: This post is by EarlyWord’s GalleyChatter, Robin Beerbower]
Our monthly GalleyChats are setting new records, with more librarians and more titles (over 77 in July’s active session; more than a title a minute). It’s a great jolt for those who may be suffering reading doldrums.
While many professed their love for titles that came up during the previous month’s chat — Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, (now on the Man Booker longlist) — many new titles were recommended, especially for fans of mysteries and memoirs. Check here for a complete list–July 8 GalleyChat Titles.
Mysteries were a hot topic with three in particular garnering accolades. The group was excited to hear that Louisiana librarian Ashley Weaver has published her debut mystery, Murder at the Brightwell, (Minotaur/Macmillan, October).
Set in a fashionable seaside resort during the 1930s and featuring a wealthy young woman as the sleuth, New York librarian Janet Schneider said this is “sort of a Dorothy L. Sayers/Downton Abbey combo.”
G. M. Malliet’s newest book, A Demon Summer, (Macmillan/Minotaur, October), was recommended as a solid entry in the British Max Tudor series. Library patrons (and librarians) eagerly awaiting Louise Penny’s next book, The Long Way Home (Macmillan/Minotaur, August), can quell their impatience by trying one of Malliet’s earlier titles as a temporary fix, (caution: they may end up hooked).
Margaret Maron’s popularity has been growing and her August release of Designated Daughters, (Hachette/Grand Central) which promises to expose Judge Deborah Knott’s family secrets, was met with great enthusiasm by multiple participants.
Espionage and romance were both included with Vicki Nesting (St. Charles Parish Library) raving about Dana Haynes’ sequel to Ice Cold Kill, Gun Metal Heart (Macmillan/Minotaur, August) with the return of former Shin-bet agent Daria Gibron. Vicki’s GoodReads review calls it, “Frenetically fast-paced and fun international thriller. Conspiracies, double crosses and drones — oh my!”
And for contemporary romance fans, Heroes are My Weakness, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (HarperCollins/Morrow, August), adds wit to create a pleasing froth. Beth Mills (New Rochelle Public Library) said Phillilps does her “usual smooth storytelling along with amusing riff on Gothic elements a la Victoria Holt.” Sixteen Edelweiss peers have also added their love. No surprise it’s on the LibraryReads list for August. Collection development librarians will want to keep a close eye on this.
For the many who love to hate IKEA, Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix, (Quirk/RH, September) is a sure hit. Chatter Kristi Chadwick attests, “It jumps well between amusing and creepy (which kind of describes Ikea itself).” Set in the fictional Orsk Furniture store and formatted like a retail catalog, the haunted store plot mixes well with social commentary. Also, take a close look at the clever jacket.
Also popular with those who like to be scared was The Boy Who Drew Monsters, Keith Donohue (Picado/Macmillan, October), the story of a boy whose drawings come to life (as the Macmillan rep characterizes it, “think Tim Burton”). GalleyChat regular Janet Lockhart (always spot on in her recommendations) calls it, “An elegantly written tale that is truly bonechilling and reminds me of Thomas Tryon, Shirley Jackson and Neil Gaiman.”
The other eerie read that has been mentioned over the past three chats is Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests (Riverhead/Penguin, September). In her Edelweiss review, San Diego Library’s Jenne Bergstrom said, “Its agonizing tension and gorgeous sexy romance make this a perfect beach or airplane read, but the sharp characterization and elegant writing will satisfy your craving for literary substance.”
I’ve never paid much attention to Joe Perry, the “brooding” lead guitarist of Aerosmith, or even been a fan of the band, but I was glued to his new memoir Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith, (Simon & Schuster, October). It was searing and honest, and I developed a new-found admiration for his dedication to his art and relationships — and yes, he does “tell all” about Steven Tyler.
Other memoirs by famous men discussed were Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming (Dey Street/HC, October) and As You Wish, Cary Elwes (Touchstone/S&S, October). Collection development administrator Tracy Babiasz (Alachua County Library District, FL) said of Scottish actor Cumming’s unflinching story of his brutal upbringing, “Amazing memoir! I felt it in my toes!” Charmer Cary Elwes’ BEA appearance was a huge draw and fans of the Princess Bride movie have been raving about his personal behind-the-scenes stories of the filming.
Under the Radar
Thorndike Press’s Mary Smith selects fiction for large print publishing and has a good eye for under-the-radar titles. Her latest recommendation is Five Days Left, Julie Lawson Timmer (Amy Einhorn/Penguin, September) and says this story of a woman with only five days left to live has “lots of great topics for book discussion. Might need some Kleenex too.” It could also be the perfect readalike for JoJo Moye’s Me Before You. Also note that Five Days Left is the next title in Penguin’s First Flight program on EarlyWord.
That’s it for this month! Join us this coming Tuesday, August 5 for our next GalleyChat and please friend me if you want notifications of what I’m anticipating on Edleweiss.