Book Expo America is around the corner (Wed., May 27 through Fri., May 29; see our First-Timers Guide here as well as our Edelweiss collection of titles to be featured at BEA 2015). There are bound to be more galleys grabbed than can be stuffed in a suitcase, so choosing just the right titles is paramount. Below is a rundown of highly anticipated titles road tested by our devoted GalleyChatters. Even if you’re not going to the show, this will give you a good idea of what’s going to be hot this summer and fall. Most are available as Digital Review Copies. — Robin Beerbower, EarlyWord’s GalleyChatter
Jonathan Evison will be signing galleys of his latest book, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! (Algonquin/Workman, September) in the Workman booth. When Harriet Chance receives a reminder that her late husband’s Alaskan cruise tickets from a raffle are expiring, the 79-year-old decides to sail by herself, unaware of the family secrets that will emerge. As usual, Evison has such a clear eye for developing his characters and we love them despite their foibles. I agree with Rosemary Smith, top Edelweiss reviewer and blogger, who said “Evison writes like a dream.”
Annie Barrows will be appearing at the Annual BEA Adult Librarians’ Author Lunch and has already received high praise from two Galleychatters for her new book The Truth According to Us (Dial Press/RH, June). Janet Schneider (Bryant Library, NY) said this novel about a young woman writing for the Federal Writer’s Project in Depression-era West Virginia is “moving and complex, with fascinating main and secondary characters. Reminiscent in tone of Cold Mountain without the physical journey.”
Paula McLain is appearing at the Penguin Random House librarians’ breakfast to talk about her highly anticipated novel, Circling the Sun (Ballantine/RH, July), the story of aviation pioneer Beryl Markham whose own memoir, West With the Night was a sensation when it was first released (Hemingway said, in characteristically sexist terms, “this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers”) and again when it was rediscovered and republished in the 1980’s. Still in print, it was published in a new edition recently (North Point Press, 2013). New Rochelle (NY) Public Library’s Beth Mills says the novel can’t miss with its “compelling sense of place and the dramatic Karen Blixen/Denis Finch-Hatton/Beryl love triangle will pull in the Out of Africa fans.”
BEA regular Elin Hilderbrand will be signing copies of her forthcoming holiday novel Winter Stroll (Little Brown, October) in the Hachette booth as well as The Rumor (Little Brown, June) which arrives just in time for tossing in a vacation bag. As usual, Hilderbrand writes a juicy novel full of secrets, lies, and relationships. Stephanie Chase (Hillsboro Library, Oregon) said, “Full of everything that makes a Hilderbrand novel a wonderful read, from descriptions of food and Nantucket to a clash of privilege to friendships, rivalries, and affairs. So much fun!”
Sourcebooks Landmark will be giving away a large number of Katarina Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (January 2016). St. Charles Parish Library’s (LA) Vicki Nesting suggests picking up a copy of this charming tale of about a Swedish bookseller arriving in a dying town to visit her pen pal, only to find she has passed away. Vicki says it is “full of life, love, and the power of books, and is perfect for fans of Lorna Landvik and Fannie Flagg.”
Glamour magazine books editor Elisabeth Egan’s
A Window Opens (S&S, August) could have been simply a good contemporary women’s novel about marriage, career, and children, but in Egan’s deft hands it becomes a novel that anyone who loves books will appreciate (one of Egan’s characters suggests those of us who read e-galleys, print galleys, and “carbon-based books” are “platform agnostics”). Simon & Schuster will be giving away galleys and Egan will be appearing in the session Debut Fiction from Industry Insiders.
BEA Editors’ Buzz Adult Books will feature Dan Marshall’s scorching memoir, Home is Burning (Macmillan/Flatiron, October). Painfully honest, shockingly irreverent, extremely crude, and at times side-splittingly funny, Marshall’s remembrances of the year of taking care of his father dying from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) while also dealing with his mother’s cancer battle had me laughing through my tears. The publisher says “Dave Eggers meets David Sedaris,” which is an apt description, and I would add Augusten Burroughs to the mix.
Garth Risk Hallberg’s ambitious debut City on Fire, set in gritty 1970s New York City is a high-profile title, because of reports that it sold to Knopf for almost $2 million with movie rights going to Scott Rudin. Many of us were wanted to know if it is worth the 900 plus page count. The good news is that regular chatter Janet Lockhart gives it double thumbs up. She says, “A New Year’s Eve attack on a young girl connects the stories of a wide cast of characters that includes punk rockers, artists, school teachers, high school students, financial advisors, police officers, journalists, fireworks experts and more. A literary page turner that will appeal to fans of Tom Wolfe, Dickens, David Foster Wallace, and Donna Tartt.” Hallberg will also be appearing at the BEA Editors’ Buzz Adult Books session.
GalleyChatters have been clamoring for months for the galley of Ernest Cline’s Armada (Crown/RH, July), the followup to librarian favorite Ready Player One, Not only is the Digital Review Copy available now, but he will speak at the AAP’s Librarians’ Dinner. Leslie Stokes (Heard Co. Public Library, Georgia) said “Cline retains his magical ability to pull the reader into his story and take us on a thrilling ride. Fans of his first novel will be glad to see the return of 1980s pop culture references, but they are not so plentiful or obscure as to need footnotes.“