Archive for June, 2015

Order Alert:

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.15.55 AMWith so many memoirs coming out each season, it’s difficult to predict which ones will take off. Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years: A Memoir (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings after the author’s appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. And no wonder. Portrayed by trade reviews as a diffuse collection of parenting stories set in war-torn Israel, it comes across quite differently in the interview.  Host Terry Gross introduces it as a collection of funny and moving tales by a contributor to This American Life focused on war, religion, and history.

It is titled The Seven Good Years because that is the time period between the birth of Keret’s son and the death of his father.

Keret appears wry and rueful with an odd sense of charm, as this excerpt illustrates:

As a 5-year-old I asked my father, “What’s a prostitute?” He said to me, “A prostitute is somebody who makes a living by listening to other people’s problems.”

I asked him, “What’s a mafia guy?” He says, “A mafia guy is like a landlord but he collects money from houses that he doesn’t own.”

And I asked him “What’s a drunk person?” He said, “It’s somebody who has a physical condition that the more liquids he drinks, the happier he becomes.”

At that stage I couldn’t really decide if when I grow up I want to become a drunk prostitute or a drunk mafia guy, but [both] options seemed very attractive.

In addition to the NPR coverage, Keret’s book is one of  Amazon’s “Best Books of June” and made Esquire’s Summer Reading List.

Ordering is light, but where copies are available holds are strong.

Bound For Best Seller Lists: MODERN ROMANCE

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.18.53 AMOn the heels of fellow Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman hitting the best seller lists with  Gumption, Aziz Ansari is doing well with his book,  Modern Romance (Penguin; BOT and Penguin Audio) co-written with sociologist Eric Klinenberg.

A blend of humor and social science examining the dating scene in all its modern wonder, the book is currently at the #11 spot on Amazon, indicating it will appear on next week’s best seller lists.

Modern Romance is also getting attention from a who’s who of media including NPR’s All Things Considered, Vanity Fair, Time, Entertainment Weekly, and Slate.

Ansari appeared yesterday on Good Morning America.

ABC US News | World News

Libraries have ordered the book very lightly. Where copies are available holds are exceed 3:1 ratios.

AMERICAN GODS Closer to Screen

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

9780062059888_0_CoverAfter several years, and changes in both production companies and networks, the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, American Gods, (HarperCollins/Morrow) is now officially green lighted to run on the Starz cable network.

Gaiman, quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, says “Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura …”

The book moved up Amazon’s sales rankings to #240 (from #1,633) on the news.

New Peanuts Movie, New Trailer

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Coming November 6th is The Peanuts Movie (in 3-D, of course. There’s a certain irony in that, since the original comics were decidedly 2-D). The second trailer has just been released.

Several tie-ins, including a novelization are on their way (for a full list, check our Upcoming Tie-ins catalog on Edelweiss):

9781481441360_ca9fdPeanuts Movie Novelization
Charles M. Schulz, Tracey West (Adapted by)
September 22, 2015; Trade Paperback
Juvenile Fiction \ Media Tie-In
Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7


Movie Deal

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 4.33.59 PMFirst the buzz, then the questions about accuracy and now the possible movie.

After a competitive auction, according to The Hollywood Reporter, MGM has won the film rights to the recently published Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (Simon & Schuster; ebook, 9781476762722).

It hit the NYT Combined Nonfiction Best Sellers list at #2 this week.

Kate Atkinson on NPR

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.05.10 AMNPR’s Morning Edition Book Club convened today, featuring the author of the latest pick, Kate Atkinson answering readers’ questions about A God in Ruins (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample),

Of course, one of the first questions is “How do you keep all the characters straight?” The first part of the conversation is here. Below is part two.

No announcement yet about the next Book Club pick.


Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 7.25.59 PMIn 2004 Susanna Clarke published Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample), a moody, lavish literary fantasy novel set in an alternative 19th century England full of magic.

It was a sensation, reaching number three on The New York Times bestseller list, winning the Hugo Award for best novel, and getting longlisted for the Man Booker.

Still, for all the readers who adored the book, including Neil Gaiman who praised it lavishly, there were others who were not as charmed.

Now the BBC has adapted it into a seven-part mini series, airing on this side of the ocean on BBC America (Saturdays at 10 p.m.) and reaction is split again.

Mary McNamara, writing for The LA Times’s “Jacket Copy” says it is “a deft combination of Dickensian satire, Austenian wit and Gothic anxiety. For those put off by beheadings and orgies and even for those who are not, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a welcome return to literate magical fantasy.”

David Fear, in his Rolling Stone review, calls it “extraordinary” and says that it offers “some of the most fantastic imported TV you’re likely to view this year… the show’s immersive deep dive into the mystic is likely to leave jaws on the living-room floor.”

Dissenters include Mike Hale writing for The New York Times. He calls it “largely unremarkable” and warns “those who enjoyed the best-selling book to temper their expectations.” The highest praise Hale manages is “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is great to look at. It moves along at a gallop, and it’s not boring, even if it’s not exactly engaging either. Most important, it has appealing performances by Bertie Carvel as Strange and particularly by Eddie Marsan as the crabbed and proud Norrell.”

The AV Club, slightly less disappointed, wraps up its review with “The BBC’s first episode demonstrates it can pull off the story, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll pull off the magic.”

Those knocks aside, it seems readers are responding. Holds are at very respectable levels for a book that came out over a decade ago, in some places topping a 3:1 ratio.

For libraries that need new copies, Bloomsbury has released a new TV tie-in edition. Readers’ advisors might want to take note that the audiobook version narrated by Simon Prebble  (Macmillan Audio; CD and downloadable) is well worth suggesting as well.

The Oliver Bump

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Finally. One of the Daily Show alums, other than Stephen Colbert, has had an effect on the sales of a book.

As a result of the following on John Oliver’s HBO Show, Last Week Tonight, the title under scrutiny rose to #165 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Sorry, an audio of Helen Mirren reading the entire book is not actually available.

9781612194851_109cdThe Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture : Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Melville House
Trade Paperback
$16.95 USD, $16.95 CAD

All Hail the Puppy

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 11.47.43 AMAuthor Gabriel Roth recently gave a “smartest guy in grad school” take-down of children’s read-aloud stories on Slate. First he condemned books such as Doc McStuffins as “garbage,” “worthless,” and “subliterary commodities.” Then he turned his critical eye on a different class of books, those that “exert an irresistible pull on adult consciousness but don’t reward it. They are malign presences on the bookshelf. They hurt.” What books are these, you ask? Janette Sebring Lowery’s The Poky Little Puppy (Little Golden Books; OverDrive Sample) is the central offender, causing Roth to wonder if Lowery “had no point in mind, was unconcerned with the ethics or pragmatics of pokiness, hoped only to borrow the fable form, with its weighty theme and didactic tone, and use it to disguise her lack of moral vision?”

Instead of ignoring Roth, Emily Temple, over at Flavorwire, decided to go one better and offer a list of “boring, or lame, or morally questionable kids’ books” and suggestions for replacements. Topping her list of books to ditch is, of course, The Poky Little Puppy. She suggests instead, Chris Van Allsburg’s The Sweetest Fig, (HMH, 1993)

Which book is moved up Amazon’s sales rankings, You guessed it, The Poky Little Puppy is currently #46 and rising.

Order Alert:

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 10.55.22 AMAlbert Camus’s classic novel The Stranger includes a scene in which the anti-hero, Meursault, shoots a nameless Arab while walking along a beach in Algeria.

In his debut novel The Meursault Investigation (Other Press; OverDrive Sample), Algerian writer Kamel Daoud gives the murdered man a name. It is Musa. He had a family in Daoud’s retelling, a mother and father and critically, a brother named Harun.

It is Harun who tells Musa’s story, one that creatively echoes and challenges the story of The Stranger and expands it, and the history of Algeria, in complex and incisive ways.

Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account, a finalist Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 2015, reviews The Meursault Investigation for the cover of the NYT Sunday Book Review, saying that literary retellings must be “so convincing and so satisfying that we no longer think of the original story as the truth, but rather come to question it … Daoud has done exactly this. Not only does he use an indigenous voice to retell the story of The Stranger, he offers a different account of the murder and makes Algeria more than just a setting for existential questions posed by a French novelist. For Daoud, Algeria is the existential question.”

Heller McAlpin, writing for NPR, says “What begins as a reproach to The Stranger for marginalizing ‘the second most important character in the book’ becomes a lament for Algeria’s long battle for independence, first from French colonists and subsequently from authoritarian Islamism.”

Additional attention has come from The LA Times “Jacket Copy”, The New Yorker, The Millions, and The NYT Magazine. It is also an Indie Next pick for June and won France’s Prix Goncourt award for “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year.”

For libraries that have ordered it, holds are heavy on light ordering.

Ten Titles to Know and Recommend,
the Week of June 15

Friday, June 12th, 2015

9780345531001_166e5  9781101946343_1c1b4  9781478954682_e39f6

Amazingly, the holds leader for the week is not E. L. James’s Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, (RH/Vintage original trade pbk) but Danielle Steel’s Country (RH.Delacorte; Brilliance Audio; RH Large Print) with Grey a close second. A more distant third is Elin Hilderbrand’s  The Rumor (Hachette/Little, Brown), also a LibraryReads pick. Further down the list is Brad Meltzer’s The President’s Shadow (Hachette/Grand Central) and Jackie Collins’s The Santangelos (Macmillan/St. Martin’s),

The media will be busy with books by media personalities Judd Apatow and Aziz Ansari and several peer recommendations will make you an R.A. guru.

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed, with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 6:15:15

Peer Picks

9781400063369_643d3Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship, Robert Kurson, (Random House)

Both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick, it gets chilly shoulder from the Janet Maslin in today’s NYT. Comparing it unfavorably to the author’s earlier Shadow Divers, she goes so far as to say that the best pages of this book are the ones that summarize the previous one.

But our peers have no such issues with it. Indie Next recommendation:

“Kurson, the author of Shadow Divers, follows a team of treasure hunters on their quest for the ultimate bounty of the oceans — a sunken pirate ship from the Golden Age of Piracy — as they race against the clock of international legislation and rival hunters. It quickly becomes clear that these are men who share more than a little in common with the pirates for whom they search. Pirate Hunters reminds us that the daring and romance of piracy’s heroes was good cause to inspire centuries of boyhood daydreams, which are still alive and well today.” —Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA

9781250063694_22e58The Precipice, Paul Doiron, (Macmillan/Minotaur)


“When two women go missing while hiking a difficult part of the Appalachian Trail, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch helps in trying to determine where the women were last seen. Mike then discovers there is no shortage of people whose behaviors make them suspicious. With a puzzle that keeps the reader guessing, and a main character that you can’t help but empathize with, The Precipice is another home run for Doiron.” — Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL

9781501115066_b4d13My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Fredrik Backman, (S&S/Atria)


“From the author of one my favorite books of last year, A Man Called Ove, this book packs a similar emotional punch at the end, but has some significant differences. It is told from the point of view of Elsa, a seven-year-old child who loves Harry Potter, fairy tales, and her grandmother. Once I stopped trying to make the story fit my adult view of the world and entered into Elsa’s world, I had a whale of a time.” — Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

9780553418606_a326fThe Library at Mount Char, Scott Hawkins, (RH/Crown)

Indie Next:

“Mindblowing, outrageous, and visionary, this is without question the best fantasy I have read in many moons! Hawkins has penned a tale that both opens the reader up to new perceptions of the universe, its creation, and ascendency, and gives the adage ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ an entirely singular meaning. He has imagined characters who are simultaneously loveable and despicable and presents them in a way that is both terrifying and darkly funny. Whether or not fantasy is your genre of choice, The Library at Mount Char will amaze you!” —Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Upcoming Media Attention

9780812997576_c2798Sick in the Head : Conversations About Life and Comedy, Judd Apatow, (Random House)

NYT Summer Picks, Maslin, 5/21/15,

A collection of interviews  with comedians that Judd Apatow, the producer of Lena Dunham’s show Girls, began doing when he was in high school, in turn it is generating interviews:

NPR/Fresh Air—6/15
Comedy Central/Daily Show with Jon Stewart—6/15
PBS/Charlie Rose—6/16
NPR/Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal—6/22
NPR/Weekend All Things Considered—TBA

9781594206276_19101Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg, (Penguin Press)

Ansari, a hit at Book Con, is primed for his upcoming appearances;

06/16 ABC Good Morning America
06/24 TBS Conan

At the Movies

The hit of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, adapted from the book by Jesse Andrews (Abrams, 2012). Arriving in theaters today, it’s getting strong advance reviews.


A “revised edition”  of the audio is narrated by two of the movie’s stars:

9780147520852Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Revised Edition)
By: Jesse Andrews
Narrator: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler and others
Listening Library
Grades: 9-12
6 Hours and 8 Minutes

9781419719462_e562f-2Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Jesse Andrews
ABRAMS/Amulet Paperbacks: June 9, 2015
9781419719462, 1419719467
Trade Paperback, $9.95 USD, $11.95 CAD

Crystal Ball: SAINT MAZIE

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.57.43 AMHow’s this for a summary? “The story of a Jazz Age party girl who winds up in a cage as a ticket-taker in a Depression-era Lower East Side movie theater, Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie is full of love and drink and dirty sex and nobility and beef stew.”

That is how Marjorie Ingall, writing for the upcoming  NYT Sunday Book Review, describes Jami Attenberg’s newest novel.

Saint Mazie (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) is inspired by the real life Mazie P. Gordon, a woman who lived in NYC, sold tickets at the Venice Theater in the Bowery, and spent her evenings helping the downtrodden. She was the focus of a Joseph Mitchell profile published in the New Yorker in 1940, and later published in the collection, Up In The Old Hotel (RH/Vintage).

The structure of Saint Mazie is a bit hard to describe, but Hannah Gersen writing for The Millions seems to nail it: “Saint Mazie is a collage of voices taken from Mazie’s diary entries, postcards, scraps of Mazie’s unpublished memoir, and interviews with people who knew Mazie … about half the novel consists of her plainspoken, melancholy diary entries, but there are also present-day voices, interviewed by an unseen documentarian, who provide historical information and personal anecdotes about Mazie.”

Library orders are light, due to the less than enthusiastic trade reviews and the less-than-anticipated popularity of Attenberg’s heavily-promoted previous novel, The Middlesteins.

But the consumer press has been much more enthusiastic about Mazie.

In addition to the positive reception in the NYT and The Millions, Alan Cheuse, reviewing for NPR says that “Mazie’s story unfolds with simplicity and grace… all of these voices taken together make for an augmented story that’s easy to follow and delightful to contemplate; a straightforward, direct, stark sometimes (especially during the Depression years), but often ebullient tale about the simple pleasures of a working life.”

Bustle, listing it as one of “The 17 Best Books of Summer” says:  “The Middlesteins author Jami Attenberg has traded writing about the Midwest for Jazz Age New York – and, oh, what a glorious swap it is. If you love historical stories with bold language that vividly paint a picture of another era, you’ll be so happy to spend your summer days alongside Mazie Phillips, the real-life proprietress of a downtown NYC movie theater called The Venice. Take a peek inside Mazie’s diary, and get swept away.”

As we mentioned at the start of the month, it is one of Amazon’s Best Books of June, one of the ten books the Wall Street Journal picked for its summer reading list, and is on Entertainment Weekly’s summer list. It was also a favorite with our GalleyChatters as far back as March.

Reaction was strong at BEA as well. Jen Dayton of Darien Public Library said pointedly at the Shout ’n’ Share, “this is NOT The Middlesteins” and went on to enthuse that Mazie captured her heart.

Keep a weather eye out. Holds are light now, but may grow with word of mouth and even if they don’t, with its catchy cover, real-life background and strong story line, this is a book with browsing appeal. You won’t lose by buying more copies.

THE MARTIAN, The Trailer

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

The Martian WeirThe trailer for the film adaptation of The Martian by Andy Weir, (RH/Crown) debuted online this week.

Scheduled for release on November 25 [Update: just a few days after we posted this story, 20th Century Fox switched the release date to Oct. 2. The logic? Less competition, according to Deadline ]. Directed by Ridley Scott, it has a killer cast, including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.

The book began as a self-published science fiction title, later picked up by Random House’s Crown imprint. It appeared on multiple best books lists, was a Feb. 2014 LibraryReads pick, the 2014 RUSA Reading List selection for  Science Fiction, as well as an Alex Award winner.

A tie-in is scheduled for October.

The Martian (Mass Market MTI)
Andy Weir
RH/Broadway; October 13, 2015
Mass Market; $9.99 USD, $12.99 CAD
9781101905005, 110190500X

Vincent Bugliosi Dies at 80

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Author Vincent Bugliosi, has died at age 80, after being treated for cancer.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.43.31 AMPerhaps best known as the prosecutor of the Charles Manson case, Bugliosi is also a multiple Edgar winning author. His account of the Manson crimes and trial, Helter Skelter (Norton; 1974; Brilliance Audio), is a true crime classic. Its menacing tone, quick pace, and clear description of events helped set expectations for the genre.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.44.20 AMBugliosi followed Helter Skelter with accounts of other murders such as And The Sea Will Tell (Norton; 1991) and Till Death Do Us Part (Norton; 1978).

He tackled the assassination of President Kennedy in Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Norton; 2007; Simon & Schuster Audio).

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.46.23 AMHis most recent title is the 2011 Divinity of Doubt: God and Atheism on Trial (Vanguard Press; Dreamscape Media; OverDrive Sample).

Readers new to Bugliosi may want to begin with his classic, Helter Skelter.

Juan Felipe Herrera
First Latino U.S. Poet Laureate

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.00.33 PMJuan Felipe Herrera will become the nation’s next poet laureate this September. He is the first Latino poet to fill the post since it was created in 1937. Herrera was named California’s poet laureate in 2012 and served in that position through 2014.

As NPR reports, he is a child of California, hardly leaving the state in 66 years, “born to a family of migrant farm workers, he bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern California, eventually going on to study at UCLA and Stanford. Years later, he stepped out of the state to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, before — you guessed it — returning home to California.”

The Poetry Foundation, which has a profile of Herrera as well as three sample poems, says that he has been influenced by Allen Ginsberg and that his “poetry brims with simultaneity and exuberance.” The New York Times says his poetry “fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity.” They offer two additional selections of poems.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.00.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.59.25 AMHerrera has written dozens of books including poetry, short stories, and works for children and young adults. His most recent book is Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press; 2013). He is perhaps best known for 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 (City Lights; 2007) and Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press; 2008).

The following video Herrera reads from the latter at at the 2009 PEN Beyond Margins Celebration.