In our most recent GalleyChatter column, we highlighted the titles we expected to be hearing about at Book Expo America. We’re happy to report our predictions were accurate, but the real fun of the show is the unexpected gems.
During the post-BEA GalleyChat, those who had just returned from the show were so eager to share newly discovered titles that it was difficult to wait until the 4:00 pm start time. Below are titles that were most heavily buzzed. For a complete list of the 110 titles mentioned during the chat, check here.
Editors Note: Several publishers are making digital ARC’s of the books that ended up being “sold out” at BEA easily available to EarlyWord readers. Register here.
Wall Street Journal sports writer Jason Gay’s presentation at the Penguin Random House breakfast was so delightful even non-sports fans left clutching the galley. Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living (RH/Doubleday, November), a collection of essays on “rules to live by,” doesn’t dictate but suggests in a humorous, wise, and entertaining way how to behave in the world today, and also includes a few snippets about Gay’s own personal struggles.
Mary-Louise Parker charmed the BEA lunch audience by calling librarians “bad-asses” and her memoir Dear Mr. You (S&S/Scribner, November) is now attracting readers. Tracy Babiasz (acquisitions manager, Chapel Hill Library, NC) says, “Parker’s unique approach to memoir, a collection of letters to the men who have impacted her life, showcases her talent for imaginative, and sometimes stream-of-consciousness writing. It should be read slowly, savoring the carefully chosen language that offer the reader a peek into Parker’s life.”
Book Group Worthy
Eli Gottlieb’s Best Boy (Norton/Liveright, August) has already received top marks from two GalleyChat regulars. Vicki Nesting (St. Charles Parish Library, LA) calls it “A brilliantly imagined and insightful story narrated by Todd, an autistic man in his 50s whose very orderly world is thrown into chaos when a new resident and a malevolent new staff member arrive at Payton Living Center. This remarkable book will remain with readers long after they have turned the last page.” Jennifer Winberry (Hunterdon County Library, NJ) also endorsed it by adding it is “heartfelt and achingly beautiful.”
HarperCollins’ Virginia Stanley has been tirelessly advocating Melissa DeCarlo’s The Art of Crash Landing (Harper Paperbacks/HC, September) and it is now one of my favorite books of the year and a top choice for book groups. Pregnant and broke, and wearing a huge chip on her shoulder, Mattie flees Florida for Oklahoma, hoping to collect on her grandmother’s estate but ends up trying to unravel her deceased mother’s mysterious background. Mattie’s voice could come across as biting and annoying, but DeCarlo has made her funny and appealing.
Jennifer Dayton (Darien Library, CT) couldn’t stop talking about Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Penguin/Riverhead, September), the story of Mathilde and Lotto’s 20-plus year marriage as told from both points of view. Jennifer adds, “Be aware however that, as in life, there are always two sides to every story and be prepared for the literary whiplash that will be coming your way.”
The Best of Genre Fiction
Jim Butcher’s newest title is the first in the Cinder Spires fantasy series, The Aeronaut’s Windlass (Penguin/Roc, September). It got a big shout out during BEA’s Shout ‘n’ Share from Kristi Chadwick (Advisor, Massachusetts Library System) who is excited that the author is returning to “pure fantasy.” Now that she’s finished reading the book she reports, “Definitely first-in-a-series world-building, but with an excellent pace and action. I am looking forward to the next one (alas, so far, far away). Oh, and it has sentient cats. ‘Nuff said.” (For a full list of the titles mentioned at Shout ‘n’ Share, download our spreadsheet, BEA 2015 Shout ‘n’ Share, or link to our Edelweiss collection, BEA 2015 Shout ‘n’ Share).
An unexpected find for many was the thriller After the Crash, Michel Bussi (Hachette Books, January; NOTE, cover is not final, so we are not showing it). Collection development librarian Patty Sussmann (Newburgh Free Library, NY) reports, “For lovers of a thrill ride, this is a page turning thriller that offers twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end.” During her Speed Dating session, Hachette’s marketing rep Melissa Nicholas immediately hooked us by simply saying, “First there was Girl on the Train, this is Baby on the Plane.”
During her BEA interview, author Ruth Ware was quick to point out that her marriage is just fine and in no way resembled the impending nuptials in her debut psychological suspense thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Galley/Scout Press, August). After crime writer Nora wakes up in the hospital, all she can remember is running through the icy woods covered in blood after attending a “hen” party (English version of a bachelorette party). Only after being questioned by a detective investigating a murder do the details start to emerge. And yes, this is perfect as a Girl on the Train readalike.
Keep an eye on these titles. Given librarians’ reactions, they are likely to take off with the public.
Please join the next GalleyChat on July 7, 4:00-5:00 (ET) with virtual cocktails at 3:30.