Archive for the ‘Bestsellers’ Category


Monday, August 18th, 2014


We predicted it would be a best seller, but In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) exceeded our expectations, debuting on the 8/24 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list at #3. Library holds are increasing, of course, and several have ordered more copies.

The book, which has already received wide coverage, was reviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, saying, “In the Kingdom of Ice” is a harrowing story well told, but it is more than just that. Sides illuminates Gilded Age society, offering droll anecdotes of Bennett’s [owner of the New York Herald, who financed the trip] escapades in New York, Newport and Europe.”

The audio sample, below, offers one of those droll anecdotes about the “exceedingly wealthy and flamboyant” Bennett. You can also read a sample, via OverDrive:

Trailer For GONE GIRL

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

No, we don’t have the first trailer, but what we do have is the teaser for the first trailer (calling M.C. Escher).

The actual trailer will debut on Entertainment Tonight on Monday, April 14.


Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

You Should Have KnownDebuting at #15 on the New York Times hardcover fiction list this week is a book we’ve had our eye on, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have Known, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio). That position  puts it just below another domestic thriller, The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn) which has had a fairly long 16-week run on the list.

You Should Have Known arrived with strong advance buzz and 3.5 stars from People magazine. Janet Maslin in the New York Times last week heaps praise on the first part of the book, but complains that the latter “isn’t nearly as gripping.” The Los Angeles Times reviewer Wendy Smith says, “It’s almost impossible to put down Jean Hanff Korelitz’s riveting new novel for the first 200 pages as it dismantles the comfortable existence of a couples therapist over the course of a few nightmarish weeks” and agrees that the tension “dissipates in the second half,” but doesn’t regard that as a bad thing, simply  the book developing a “quieter drama.”

Libraries that ordered it modestly are showing heavy holds, as high as 12:1.

Harlan Coben Movie Deals

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Missing You   Six Years   Tell No One

So far, only one film has been made of  Harlan Coben’s best selling novels, the 2006 French film, Ne le dis à personne, and it was not released to U.S. theaters (several libraries own the DVD). [UPDATE: We stand corrected. As one of the comments points out, the film was shown in 112 U.S. theaters].That seems odd, since, as the Washington Post characterizes  the writer, he is the “master” of a film-worthy type of story, “a life suddenly unraveling, the past summoned back into a swiftly shifting present, secrets peeling back to reveal more secrets.”

Hollywood seems to have caught on. Three of Coban’s books now in various stages of development.

His latest thriller, one of his many standalones, Missing You, (RH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike) releasing today, was just picked up for adaptation by Warner Bros., according to Deadline.

The plot involves an internet dating site. Booklist says, “Coben never met a technological device he couldn’t turn into a riveting plot element … Coben’s meticulous plotting and his incorporation of the technology are first-rate. His characterization and dialogue? Not so much.”

In the pipeline are two other standalones. One is an English-language version of Tell No One, currently being scripted at Universal. The second, Six Years, published last year, is being produced at Paramount, with Hugh Jackman set to star.

Backlist Best Seller: GEEK LOVE

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Geek LoveA former Paris Reviw editor pays tribute in Wired this week to the “dazzling oddball masterpiece,” Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn (Knopf, 1989), on the 25th anniversary of its release, citing its many well-known fans. Author Karen Russell recalls discovering it at 15, “I felt electrocuted when I read that first page with Crystal Lil and her freak brood. I stood there in the bookstore and my jaw came unhinged. No book I’ve read, before or since, has given me that specific jolt.”

Although it had success in its day (it was a National Book Award finalist), the novel brought in more royalties for Dunn last year than in any year before.

The piece also includes some lore for publishing geeks; it was legendary editor Sonny Mehta’s first acquisition for Knopf and was designed by the then little-known Chip Kidd’s.

All copies are out in circulation at the libraries we checked.

Surprise Best Seller: THE GUEST CAT

Monday, February 10th, 2014

A book translated from the original Japanese, published here in trade paperback, arrived at #16 on Sunday’s NYT Pbk Trade Fiction best seller list.

The Guest CatThe Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide, trans. by Eric Selland, (New Directions)

A best seller in both Japan and France, on the NPR web site, reviewer Juan Vidal calls it “… a rare treasure. In just under 140 pages, it spans a wide spectrum of emotion and detail. Takashi Hiraide, the Japanese poet and novelist, blindsided me. His prose — so illuminating and achingly poetic — made me care.”

The Publishers Weekly review is equally strong and allays any concerns about the translation, noting the “the gorgeous and textured, lolling rhythm of its prose.”

An excerpt is available here.

A True DOWNTON ABBEY Readalike

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

“For fans of  Downton Abbey” has become one of the most used phrases in promotional copy. As the NYT Book Review asks,

Is it possible nowadays for otherwise intelligent Americans to reflect on England without thinking first of Downton Abbey? To put it another way: Can beleaguered American publishers expect to sell any English author without promising — however absurdly — a tie-in with Julian Fellowes’s opulent confection?

Secret RoomsThat’s the opening line for the review of the original trade paperback, The Secret Rooms, (Penguin; Thorndike) which goes on to say, “in the case of Catherine Bailey’s stylish new book about one of England’s grandest dynasties, the link proves apt.”

The book, a December LibraryReads pick, was also also featured in the Daily Candy (although with the British cover), which, of course,  made the requisite reference, “If you add a dash of the macabre and a hefty serving of intrigue to Downton Abbey, you get Catherine Bailey’s latest, a true story about a creepy castle and a duke whose private space was sealed in 1940 and reopened only in 1999.”

We hear it will appear at #20 on the upcoming NYT Paperback Nonfiction best seller list.

Closer to Screen: JONATHAN STRANGE

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Jonathan StrangePhotos from the set of the BBC production of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, based on Susanna Clarke’s 2004 best seller, are available via The Daily Mail.

The 7-part series, which Time magazine’s critic calls “Possibly my most-anticipated new TV show of the year” will air in the U.S. on BBC America, but no dates have been announced.

In its day, the book was also eagerly anticipated, as Michael Dirda’s Washington Post review makes clear. Although Clarke said in a 2004 interview that she plans to continue the story, the only book she has published since is a collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury, 2006).

The book is still in print. Media tie-in editions have not yet been announced.


Monday, January 6th, 2014

The GoldfinchHolds are heavy on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Blackstone Audio; Thorndike) and are likely to continue to rise. It jumped to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings soon after Christmas, indicating that this was the gift people were disappointed not to find under the tree and that it will continue to sell in to the new year.


New York’s Frick Museum has been an unexpected beneficiary of the interest. It is host of a traveling exhibit from the Mauritshuis museum, which features the painting of the book’s title, Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch. The book was published just as the show opened, causing attendance to spike. The marquee piece of the show, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring, is now vying for attention with the lesser-known, tiny Goldfinch (one weird reflection of its popularity; the museum shop added a Goldfinch tote bag to the one featuring The Girl).

The painting has a power of it’s own, as Malcolm Jones attests in an appreciation of it in the Book Beast and was even featured in the Wall Street Journal back in 2010.

If you are planning a visit, take a look at 5 Things You Should Know About The Frick. The Mauritshuis exhibit runs through January 19.

Best Sellers of 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Slate explores the cultural implications from Amazon’s list of the year’s best sellers (still being updated as we near the actual end of the year, so the positions fluctuate a bit). In the top ten, The Great Gatsby, shows that “We’ll tolerate the occasional work of actual literature as long as it’s super-short and there’s a movie.”

Are our British cousins any more high brow? Not according to the list from Nielson’s Book Scan (published in the Guardian), where not a single classic appears in the top 100, movie-related or not.

Their list is as influence by popular culture as ours. At #1 is My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson (he’s “the most important football man of the past 25 years,” according to the Guardian‘s own, not particularly admiring, review). The rest of the list is dotted with tv and movie tie-ins.

perfect-pies   isbn9780297870470-detail

It seems the Brits are even more obsessed with their weight than we are. The Fast Diet is at #4 on their list, but  only comes in at #70 on ours. And, shudder, at #8, there is a book called The Hairy Dieters by some guys formerly known as “The Hairy Bikers,” who seem to have gone through a Paula Deen-like conversion (minus the racial slurs) from a less-than-healthy lifestyle exemplified by their previous titles like The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies (hope they wear hair nets).

Gangsta GrannyMany other titles are recognizable; Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which made its appearance in the UK in January, comes in at #3. Others, not so much; there’s British comedian/author David Walliams, who has 5 children’s titles on the list, including Gangsta Granny, adapted into a Christmas BBC TV special this year, but not yet available here. (The Guardian offers a deeper dive into the list).

Hope you enjoy making your own cultural comparisons.

Weird Story of the Year

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Fifty Shades of GreyFirst it was bed bugs in library books. Now it’s something weirder, but fortunately it may not require nuking.

In Belgium, researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven found that library copies of Fifty Shades of Grey tested positive for herpes and cocaine. Jan Tytgat, a professor of toxicology, told the The International Business Times that “the deposit on the books was too low to pose a threat to readers when leafing through the pages.”

No news on why, but for some reason the university tested books in the Antwerp Library, finding that heavily-borrowed books contain “25-40% more microbes on them than less-borrowed ones.”


Monday, November 11th, 2013

9780316074315-1Once again, the UK’s major book award, the Man Booker, has influenced readers in the U.S. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio), which was released here on the day the award was announced, has been on the NYT Fiction Best Seller list for two weeks and is showing heavy holds on modest ordering in most libraries.

Reviews appeared here shortly after the award was announced. All noted the book’s unusual length (834 pages), without calling it  overlong. Said Bill Roorbach (Life Among Giants, Workman/Algonquin, 2012) in the NYT Book Review, “as for the length, surely a book this good could never be too long.”

USA TODAY: 20 Years of Best Sellers

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

USA Today Best-Selling BooksUSA Today Best-Selling BooksTwo decades ago, USA Today challenged the NYT as the publisher of THE recognized consumer best seller list (Publishers Weekly actually invented the idea in the early 1900’s; the NYT was a relative newcomer, beginning their list in 1942, but it held sway in the consumer’s mind as the arbiters of best sellers) by instituting a list with a difference. Rather than dividing it by age range and format, USA Today ran one inclusive list, offering a clearer snapshot of what Americans are reading.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, USA Today‘s Bob Minzeheimer takes a look at how tastes have evolved, from the demise of self-help, to the effects of changing formats and types of retailers.

Several observations ring true with what one would expect; children’s and YA books have grown in sales, more people are now buying through online retailers and reading e-books. On the other hand, is is surprising to note that the “Oprah Effect” was not long-lasting as might be expected; none of her picks was the top seller for its year and none appear in the top 25 books of each of the three eras of the USA Today lists.

We were pleased to be asked to comment for the story. Now we’d love to know your observations; tell us what you think has been the biggest changes in reading habits over the last twenty years.


Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The first image has just been released for the big screen adaptation of Suite Francaise, (RH/Knopf), which has finished filming in France and Belgium. Irène Némirovsky’s book, on which it is based, became a surprise hit when it was published in 2004, more than 60 years after the author’s death in Auschwitz.

The photo shows Michelle Williams as Lucile, from the second novella in the book Dolce. While her husband is in a WWII German prisoner of war camp, she is living with her mother-in-law in rural France. Behind her is Matthias Schoenaerts as the German officer who occupies their house.

The Weinstein Co. bought the U.S. distribution rights in April. It is expected to be released next year, but no specific date has been annnounced.

Directed by Saul Dibb, the film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Riley and Ruth Wilson.



Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

The Light Between Oceans, Trade PbkThe debut word-of-mouth best seller, The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike), first spotted by librarians at last year’s BEA Shout ‘n’ Share panel, went on to become a best seller in hardcover and continue in trade paperback, at #14 after 21 weeks and is a reading group staple.

DreamWorks acquired the film rights and has just named Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) as the director according to Deadline.

The book trailer outlines the story: