8 Titles to Make You An R.A. Guru — Week of 8/18

The watchword for next week is “family sagas” as  two heavily-promoted titles arrive, one a debut and the other by a veteran returning to the genre she abandoned for decades.  Also on their way are several more to recommend, including 3 LibraryReads picks.

NOTE: To make you even more knowledgable, now you can read samples of these books via our links to OverDrive’s new Readbox system

The titles listed here, plus several other notable books arriving next week are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of 8/18, with ordering information as well as alternative formats.

Family Sagas

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Bittersweet, Colleen McCullough, (S&S) — OverDrive Sample

Back in the late ’70’s, Colleen McCullough’s Thorn Birds, became a best seller, propelled to further success by a blockbuster TV series. A generational saga set in Australia, the author drew on her own family background for the story.

She has written over 20 books since, a series of historical novels set in classical Rome and another series of detective stories, but, as the 76-year-old author told an interviewer last year, she was uncomfortable returning to the genre that won her the most success. She’s overcome that for her new book, being promoted as her “first epic romantic novel since Thorn Birds” (you can almost hear the publisher cheering). McCullough, however, insists the two stories are not at all alike.  Prepub reviews are strong, and People magazine chooses it as their “Book of the Week.” Holds are relatively light.

We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas,  (S&S; S&S Audio)
— OverDrive Sample

A debut, this novel was heavily promoted at Book Expo. It’s the featured title in the book section of the new issue of  Entertainment Weekly, with the reviewer calling it an “absolutely devastating family saga … the best I’ve read since The Corrections.”  EW goes on to chart “25 First-Rate Family Sagas” beginning with War and Peace, through The Thorn Birds, and ending with Philipp Meyer’s The Son(HarperCollins/Ecco, 2013).

LibraryReads Picks

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One Kick, Chelsea Cain, (S&S) — OverDrive Sample

The #1 LibraryReads pick for August:

“Kick Lannigan survived being kidnapped as a child. Now, at twenty-one, determined never to be a victim again, she has reinvented herself. Martial arts and weapons handling are just a few of the skills she has learned over the years. Kick catches the attention of John Bishop, a mystery man with access to unlimited funds, and together they go after a cabal of child pornographers. A read-in-one-sitting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.” — Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar, (Harper; Dreamscape audio) — OverDrive sample

“Another beautifully written novel by Thrity Umrigar. A relationship develops between Maggie, a psychologist, and Lakshmi, a troubled Indian woman. As their stories develop, it is hard to figure out which woman does more to impact the other’s life. Highly recommended.” Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe) — OverDrive sample

“A dollhouse whose figures and furnishings foretell life events, mysterious notes, family secrets and the powerful guild and church of 1686 Amsterdam. All these elements combine for an engaging story of a young bride’s struggle to be the ‘architect of her own fortune.’” — Elizabeth Angelastro, Manlius Library, Manlius, NY

This also gets an A-, in Entertainment Weekly.

Lisa Von Drasek’s Adult Pick

9780385538138_7ec07-2Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher, (RH Doubleday; BOT) — OverDrive sample

As we reported earlier, EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek is a big fan of this humorous novel told in the form of letters of recommendation written by one world-weary academic. NPR backs her up, calling it “hilarious.” Try the OverDrive sample; you’ll find yourself reading it aloud to anyone who will listen (and even to those who won’t).

In the Media

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Sticker from The Colbert Report web site

Colbert Bump

Sweetness #9 , Stephan Eirik Clark, (Hachette/Little, Brown) — OverDrive sample

After making a NYT best seller of Edan Lepucki’s California, Stephen Colbert urges readers to buy this debut published by Hachette, just not from Amazon.

Entertainment Weekly gives it just a B-, but the Huffington Post picks it as “The Book We’re Talking About” this week.

NYT Book Review cover

Kill My Mother : A Graphic Novel, Jules Feiffer, (Norton/Liveright)

Reviewed by Laura Lippman in Sunday’s NYT BR, this is also an NPR “Exclusive First Read


2 Responses to “8 Titles to Make You An R.A. Guru — Week of 8/18”

  1. Terry Says:

    Hi — What does the acronym RA stand for, e.g., 5 TITLES FOR RA GURUS, 8 TITLES TO MAKE YOU AN RA GURU? Love your newsletter!!

  2. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    R.A. stands for Readers Advisors — librarians who specialize in helping readers find great books.

    Thanks for asking and thanks for the nice words about the newsletter.