New Crime & Nonfiction Watchlist

Editors Note: Each month, librarians gather for our online GalleyChats to talk about their favorite forthcoming titles. GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from this month’s chat below.

Titles eligible for LibraryReads nominations are noted with deadlines in red.

Please join us for the next GalleyChat, this coming Tuesday,
May 2, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
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GalleyChat discussions are always fast and furious. While it’s a challenge to keep up with the feed, it’s worth it to hear about forthcoming titles librarians are eager to share. April’s chat was especially spirited with nonfiction and crime titles leading the way.

Reality Reading

Unlike reality television, which is generally anything but authentic, readers can count on the nonfiction recommended by GalleyChatters as the real thing.

Astrophysics for People in a HurryAs an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History and the director of its world-famous Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson knows his outer space science. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry  (Norton, May) will appeal to readers who, according to Joseph Jones from Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, “… don’t think they like science and just need the right book to open up their horizons.” He also says, “Tyson does a great job using humor and common sense in giving us an overview of difficult topics. More importantly he leaves out the advanced math that usually accompanies books like these making this a great choice for people who would like to know more but are afraid they cannot grasp these ideas.” This is also a LibraryReads choice for May.

Morningstar: GROWING UP WITH BOOKSFor those of us who discovered the love of reading at an early age, Ann Hood’s short memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up with Books (Norton, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), zoomed right into our hearts and readers will scurry to find many of the lost gems listed in this book (I’ll be searching for a copy of Robert Rimmer’s The Harrad Experiment). Marika Zemke, Head of Adult Services at Commerce Township Public Library (MI) says, “Hood writes about learning to read and how the magical powers of reading transformed her life. She’s the little girl who would rather stay indoors to read than go outside. She’s the teenage girl who experiences romantic love in a book. She’s the college student who thinks deeply about life. Simply said, Ann Hood has written a book that lovers of the written word will savor, discuss and debate.”

Arresting Thrillers

Gone to DustMatt Goldman, former writer for Seinfeld and a stand-up comedian, has created an intriguing new character in Gone to Dust (Macmillan/Forge, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20). Set in Minneapolis and introducing Nils Shapiro, a smart and thoughtful private eye, this new series is a cross between Lee Child and Sue Grafton. Robin Nesbitt, readers’ advisor at Metropolis Columbus (OH) Library, says, “What a great read! Love Nils and hope he comes back for more mysteries! Well written, with engaging characters, mystery readers are in for a real treat.” We predict a summer hit, so have lots of copies on hand for mystery lovers.

The ForceFor grittier police action, three participants raved about The Force by Don Winslow (HarperCollins/William Morrow, June). Janet Lockhart, collection development librarian for Wake Co (NC) calls it “addictive and fast-paced,” recommended for fans of Dennis Lehane and television shows like The Wire. She adds, “NYPD Detective Denny Malone’s mission is to be a good cop but that doesn’t mean he follows the letter of the law. You’ll root for this hero, flawed at the Shakespearean level, as the choices he makes affect his family, his squad, and his soul. It’s set in a police world so convincingly detailed that you may find yourself reaching for your badge and bullet proof vest.”

The Child, BartonInvestigative journalist Kate Waters first appeared in Fiona Barton’s surprise bestseller, The Widow, and returns in The Child (PRH/Berkley, June) to investigate the discovery of a baby’s skeleton at a construction site. Three chatters found it engrossing, including Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library who says, “Three women are brought together as each, for her own reasons, tries to determine who the child is with irrevocable results for each. As inconsistencies and contradictions begin to pile up, Kate, Emma, and Angela dig further into the past and find life changing, but heart breaking, answers.”

He Said, She SaidErin Kelly wrote twisting psychological fiction long before Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl burst upon the scene, and her next book, He Said/She Said  (Macmillan/Minotaur, June), will no doubt be popular with patrons. Gregg Winsor (Kansas City Library, MO) loves it, saying, “In a year of excellent psychological fiction, this is an absolute standout. Using solar eclipses as metaphor – and actual plot device! – Kelly immerses us into a relationship between a young couple and the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Believable characters, alternating points of view, and a feeling of simmering dread highlight this sexy smart novel.”

See What I Have Done, Schmidt“Lizzie Borden took an ax/And gave her mother forth whacks/When saw what she had done/She gave her father forty-one.” But did she really? See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Ingram Publishing Services/Atlantic Monthly Press, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20) gives a different and creepy view of the incident. Jen Dayton was entranced, saying, “I have always had a morbid fascination with Lizzie Borden and this book only ended up throwing gasoline on that bonfire. Told in the alternating voices of Lizzie, her sister Emma, their Irish maid Bridget and drifter Benjamin, author Sarah Schmidt takes a story we all think we know and spins it into something new and fresh and just as terrifying as you remember.”

Palate Cleanser

Little French Bistro, Nina GeorgeAfter all of that murder and mayhem, a sweet book like Nina George’s Little French Bistro (PRH/Crown, June) is the perfect antidote. Beth Mills of New Rochelle (NY) Public Library enthuses, “Sixty-year-old Marianne has been reduced to utter hopelessness by her loveless marriage to domineering Lothar. After surviving a suicide attempt she finds herself drawn to Kerdruc in Brittany where a chance encounter lands her a job cooking at bistro An Mor. I have never been to Brittany, but Nina George made me feel that I could smell the salt air, see the little bistro, and eavesdrop as her vividly drawn characters converse. A quiet charmer.”

If you haven’t yet participated in the fun, please join us for our next GalleyChat on Tuesday, May 2, with virtual happy hour at 3:30 (ET) and the chat at 4:00, For updates on what I’m anticipating on Edelweiss, please friend me, Robin Beerbower.

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