Archive for the ‘Display Ideas’ Category

Nobel Prize in Lit: Murakami’s Year?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

The most prestigious lifetime award for literature, The Nobel Prize, will be announced on Thursday at 7 a.m. EST [UPDATE: We originally miscalculated the time difference. We THINK  we have it right now. The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. GMT and  Eastern Time  is GMT minus 4:00].

Famously hard to forecast, it is an award that often befuddles odds makers as names circle around in the wind days before the announcement.

Last year the favorite was Japan’s Haruki Murakami with Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Belarusian author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich also in the running.

The winner? French novelist Patrick Modiano who had just 10/1 odds three days before the 2014 announcement.

Modiano had few books translated into English at the time. The Telegraph‘s news story was headlined “Patrick Modiano: the Nobel Prize-winner nobody had read.” Since, there has been a boom of translations, bigger publishing houses buying rights, and a string of articles focused on his work in such places as the L.A. TimesThe New Yorker, and The Millions.

The luckless odds makers at betting firms Ladbrokes and Paddy Power seem to be fully baffled this year. The Guardian reports the bookies are simply rearranging their 2014 picks, leading with Svetlana Alexievich and offering Haruki Murakami and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o as back up.

Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates and 2005 Booker winner, Irish writer John Banville are also in the mix as are Korean poet Ko Un and Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, winner of the Man Booker International award.

9780679775430_199d7  9780679743460_9b3f7   9780307593313_66750

It could be Murakami’s turn based on frequency alone. The Wall Street Journal says it has become “a seasonal event over the past few years for Mr. Murakami’s name to pop up as a frontrunner.”

He was a favorite in 2013 as well (the year the prize went to Alice Munro). Quite naturally Murakami finds the speculation and horse race aspects of the run up to the announcement “quite annoying,” reports the paper.

If this is finally Murakami’s year, readers will have plenty of his titles in English to choose from, so many that Matthew Carl Strecher, who has written 3 books on Murakami, was able to select “The 10 Best Haruki Murakami Books” for Publishers Weekly.

But Murakami might be annoyed for at least another year. The Guardian quotes one of the lead bookmakers, Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes, as saying, “literary speculators believe we’ll see the winner come from out of leftfield.”

It is no small prize to win. On top of the profound honor and a considerable cash award, it increases book sales.

Pope Francis Arrives Next Week

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.21.57 AMIn case you haven’t heard, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the US next week, arriving in Washington, DC on September 22, followed by tours of NYC and Philadelphia.

In anticipation, yesterday’s NPR Fresh Air featured Paul Vallely, who wrote Pope Francis: The Struggle For The Soul Of Catholicism (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample; 2013), discussing the changes the Pope as made within the Church.

9781426215827_7afb4Published to coincide with the visit, National Geographic released Pope Francis and the New Vatican by David Yoder last month. Filled with 140 “never-before-seen” photographs, the publisher says the photographer got them by being “embedded with the Pope inside the Vatican for 6 months.”

For those planning displays, last year Publishers Weekly offered a rundown of the big new and forthcoming books on the Pope, including the “highest-profile book in the Francis lineup,” Garry Wills’s The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (Penguin/Viking; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample; March, 2015).

RA Opportunity: SERIAL

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

9781595581037_05a86  9780812994520_5655e  9781451657586_f00a4

Serial, a nonfiction podcast designed by the creators of This American Life, has become such an obsession, that fans gathered for “listening parties” for the final episode of the first season in mid December. Since the episodes are posted at 7:30 on Thursday mornings, at least one of these events, held at a Lower Manhattan bar, was dubbed “Serial and Cereal” (with a splash of Jameson’s in the coffee).

The debut season, which began in October, focuses on a Baltimore high school student found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend and sentenced to life in prison. Each week, Sarah Koenig, the host of Serial, examines the case and goes where the evidence leads, introducing a rich cast of characters and an immersive and suspenseful story that has become the most listened-to podcast in the history of the medium (see coverage in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Entertainment Weekly).

Libraries have responded to the interest. The Chicago Public Library offers a reading list that includes nonfiction and audiobooks, such as Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2014; OverDrive Sample) andThe Skeleton Crew by Deborah Halber (Simon & Schuster, 2014; OverDrive Sample), also linking to the Serial site.

The New York Public Library highlights six books on criminal justice for Serial fans, including The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (The New Press, 2010; OverDrive Sample). Fanwood Memorial Library in New Jersey also offers listeners guidance for next reading choices, including Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Random House/Nan A. Talese, 1996; OverDrive Sample) and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House/Modern Library [reprint], 2013 ; OverDrive Sample).

In addition, Business Insider recently posted a list of suggested true crime books (such as Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me [Norton [20th Anniversary Ed], 2000; OverDrive Sample]) while BookRiot offers a list of audiobooks to try after Serial concludes (including Mary Roach’s Stiff  [Norton, 2003]).

There will be more. A second season has been announced, thanks to listener donations, although the subject and release dates have not yet been announced.

A Reading List for Cuba

Friday, December 19th, 2014

9780345381439President Obama’s decision to restore U.S. relations with Cuba has dominated the news cycle. The New York Times took the opportunity to create a reading list of 13 books on both Cuban history and Cuba’s relationship to the US.

Others have also jumped in. The Daily Beast scooped The Times by a day with the Five Book Best Books on Cuba while the San Rafael Public Library (CA) offers a lis  of fiction, nonfiction, and films.

Back in 2011,  novelist Oscar Hijuelos offered his selections on the site Five Books.

Beyond the Bun and Glasses

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

BuzzFeed creates those annoyingly effective numerical lists, such as:

17 Baby Elephants Learning How To Use Their Trunks

24 Things Everyone Experiences On A One Night Stand

71 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Bra Shopping

In a change of pace, they offer one for National Library Week, a good inspiration for book displays, 11 Literary Librarians Who Smash Stereotypes.

(Image via BuzzFeed and Flickr: 10409977@N06)


Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Sundance Film Festival ends this weekend and many of you may have figured out that the unifying theme of our book display challenge is “Books at Sundance,” the movies based on books that premiered at the festival.

Apparently, our contest was too obscure; nobody came up with the correct answer by Monday’s deadline. Many were partially right, that all the books are the basis for movies, but nobody caught the crucial timely element, that they will all be shown at Sundance. We are awarding some winners, nonetheless, who will receive copies of the coveted print galley of Rainbow Rowell’s forthcoming book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). If you didn’t win, you can comfort yourself by downloading the egalley.

How are the films doing with critics? Jamie Marks is Dead, based on One for Sorrow received a mixed review from Variety; Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, is called “enthralling” by Entertainment Weekly; Low Down, about a noted jazz pianist, fared well with Variety‘s reviewer, but less so with The Hollywood Reporter‘s; White Bird in a Blizzard is called a “sci-fi sex romp” by The Guardian; garnering the most attention is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of a spy in A Most Wanted Man.

U. S. theatrical releases dates have not been announced for any of the films.

Life Itself, Roger Ebert   One for Sorrow   Low Down

 A Most Wanted Man   White Bird in A Blizzard

Titles (links are to WorldCat)

Life Itself, Roger Ebert, Hachette/Grand Central, 2011

One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak, Bantam Books, 2007

Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, A.J. Albany, Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carré, S&S/Scribner, 2008

White Bird in a Blizzard, Laura Kasischke, Hyperion, 1999

Name That Display!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Below is a virtual book display. What ties these books together and what title would you give the display? Email us with your answer (please also tell us how you came up with it) — put NAME THAT DISPLAY in the subject line (deadline, midnight, Eastern, Monday, Jan. 20).

The first to answer correctly wins a coveted print galley of Rainbow Rowell’s forthcoming book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press).

Note: if you don’t win, you can comfort yourself by downloading the egalley.

Life Itself, Roger Ebert   One for Sorrow   Low Down

 A Most Wanted Man   White Bird in A Blizzard

Titles (links are to WorldCat)

Life Itself, Roger Ebert, Hachette/Grand Central, 2011

One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak, Bantam Books, 2007

Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, A.J. Albany, Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carré, S&S/Scribner, 2008

White Bird in a Blizzard, Laura Kasischke, Hyperion, 1999

Awards Season

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Three major literary awards are being announced in the space of less than a week. To help keep track, see our schedule below.

This is  an opportunity to create displays of the contenders.

Thurs., Oct 10 — Nobel Prize in Literature

No shortlist — so contenders are anyone’s guess. The leading favorites in betting at Ladbrokes are:

Haruki Murakami (5/2)

Alice Munro, (4/1)

Joyce Carol Oates (8/1)

Further down the list is Bob Dylan (50/1) — we assume the prize would be for his lyrics. The Chicago Review Press has published  two volumes that examine every song Dylan wrote until 2006; Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973  and Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1974-2006, both by Clinton Heylin.

The Guardian’s pick is Javíer Marías (see our earlier story). His odds are only 33/1.

Tues., Oct 15 — Booker Winner 


We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo, (Hachette/Little, Brown)  – Consumer review links

The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton, (Hachette/Little, Brown) — coming next week — no U.S. consumer reviews yet; UK reviews – TelegraphThe Observer

Harvest, Jim Crace, (RH/Doubleday/Nan A. Talese) — Consumer review links

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri, (RH/Knopf) – Consumer review links

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozseki, (Penguin) — Consumer review links

The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín, (S&S/Scribner)  – Consumer review links

Wed., Oct. 16 — National Book Awards Shortlists, to be announced on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

Downloadable llonglists:


Nat’l Book Awards – Nonfiction Longlist

Natl Book Awards- Poetry Longlist

Nat’l Book Awards; Young People’s Longlist

Women’s (formerly Orange) Prize Longlist

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Gone Girl Bring Up the Bodies Life After Life

Will Gone Girl “Rob Hilary Mantel of the Hat Trick?” asks The Independent, following yesterday’s announcement of the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (title changed from the Orange Prize after the telecom company decided to end its 17-year sponsorship). Mantel has already won two major UK awards this year, the Booker and Costa prizes, for her second Tudor novel Bring Up the Bodies, (Macmillan/Holt). No author has won all three in one year.

Gillian Flynn’s word-of-mouth phenomenon has appeared on many best books lists and is nominated for an Edgar, but a nomination for a literary prize is particularly sweet. As Flynn tells The Independent, “I was incredibly thrilled by the news. It’s really nice especially for someone who writes stories with mystery as they aren’t always recognised so widely. I feel really proud.”

Also on the list are Zadie Smith’s NW (Penguin/Viking) and Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior(Harper). Both authors have won the award before.

One of  the longlist titles is forthcoming in the U.S. but has already been called a favorite of 2013 by librarians on EarlyWord‘s GalleyChat (Gillian Flynn goes even further. In a blurb on the book’s cover, she calls it “One of the best novels I’ve read this century”), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, 4/2/13).

Previous prize winners include Madeline Miller last year for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles,(Harper/Ecco), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk about Kevin (Harper; 2005), Marilynne Robinson for Home (Macmillan/FSG; 2009) and Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (HarperCollins; 2002). This is an opportunity to create a display of all the past winners, as well as this year’s nominees.

The shortlist will be announced on April 16th and the winner of the £30,000 on June 5th.

Our downloadable spreadsheet, Women’s Prize, Longlist, gives U.S. publication information, as well as notes on how the titles were received here.

Mediterranean Diet Books Soar

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Mediterranean diet 9781118067789  cover-65

Reports on a new study that supports the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet caused several titles to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings. Stories appeared in multiple news sources, including the New York Times, USA Today and on TV.

NETFLIX Programming Based on Books

Friday, February 1st, 2013

House of Cards SpaceyNetflix begins streaming an original series today, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The first two episodes of the 13-part series are directed by David Fincher (The Social Network). It is based on a BBC series (with the setting changed from the House of Commons to the House of Representatives), which in turn is based on a trilogy of novels by former British Conservative Party Chief of Staff and best-selling author in Britain, Michael Dobbs:

  • House of Cards (1989)
  • To Play the King (1992)
  • The Final Cut (1994)

The novels are no longer in print in the U.S., but several libraries own them.

House of CardsNPR covers the new venture today  and NPR’s movie critic, David Bianculli, gives House of Cards a thumbs up, saying it “is to Netflix what The Sopranos was to HBO…an identity maker and a game changer.” He also gives kudos to the original, a “wonderful British miniseries from 1990, which starred Ian Richardson as a career politician who spoke to the camera directly as he schemed and charmed his way through the corridors of power.”  That series is owned by libraries; if it is languishing on your shelves, now is the time to put it on display.

Netflix is currently at work on another series, based on a book, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2010). It is being directed by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.

Fleming. Ian Fleming

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

When Fleming and Bond had equal billing.

Recent James Bond movies have moved further and further from their origins in Ian Fleming’s series of novels (Wikipedia offers an exhaustive essay on the differences between the books and the movies). Skyfall, which opens next week isn’t based on an Ian Fleming book or short story (and thus, there is no tie-in novel, although there is a behind-the-scenes title, Bond On Set: Filming Skyfall by Greg Williams, Penguin/DK, 10/1/12). Unlike the first Bond movie, Fleming’s name is buried in the credits.

We haven’t yet reached the point where people are surprised to learn that the Bond character first appeared in a series of books. Movie reviewers are keeping his name alive. In his Newsweek review of Skyfall, historian Simon Schama mentions Fleming multiple times and calls Skyfall the best Bond movie yet (he also calls On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, “one of Fleming’s best books” and, the movie version, “stunningly shot and artfully written”).

Bond also continues in books, written by authors hand-picked by the Fleming estate. William Boyd accepts the mantle next, with an as-yet-untitled book, to be published in the fall of 2013, the 60th anniversary of the first Bond book Casino Royale. He will follow in footsteps of several others. Jeffery Deaver published Carte Blanche, in 2011 (S&S). It was a NYT hardcover best seller for 4 weeks. Sebastian Faulks’ Devil May Care (S&S, 2008) also spent a few weeks on the hardcover list. Raymond Benson published 6 titles from 1997 to 2002; John Gardner, 14 (the same number as Fleming wrote himself), from 1981 to 1996. Kingsley Amis, under the name of Robert Markham, was the first, with Colonel Sun in 1968.

Which Bond novels are the best? Several have offered their opinions:

GoodReads, Best/Favorite Bond Book, The Best James Bond Novels: Ranking the Fleming Originals

The TelegraphCarte Blanche: the greatest James Bond novels, Bond. James Bond

If you are doing Bond book displays, include James Bond’s guides to birds, if you own them. Fleming, a birding enthusiast, named his character after this American ornithologist.


Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

If  you’ve seen Toby Jones as Hitchcock in the HBO movie, The Girl, you’ll want to compare his performance to Anthony Hopkins, in the trailer, below, for Hitchcock, set for a limited, Oscar-qualifying run beginning Nov. 23rd. That’s Helen Mirren as Hitchcock’s wife, Alma (played by Imelda Staunton in the HBO movie).

Both movies are based on books:

The Girl —  Spellbound By Beauty, by Donald Spoto (RH/Three Rivers)

Hitchock — Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello (Dembner Books, dist. by W.W. Norton, 1990), being re-released as Hitchcock!: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of PsychoSoft Skull Press, Dec. 24 (also, Blackstone Audio).

The original novel, Psycho, treated so disparagingly by Helen Mirren in Hitchcock, it still available in print as well as in audio.

Psycho, Robert Bloch, Overlook Press, 2010; Blackstone Audio

With the wealth of titles published about Hitchcock, this is a great time for a book display.


Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Below, director Joe Wright introduces a new, six-minute clip of his film of Anna Karenina (try to get past the surprisingly stilted into). Opening in theaters on November 9th, it stars Keira Knightly and Jude Law with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard.

Get those Russian-themed book displays ready.

Official Site:

Vintage is releasing a tie-in edition in October. The translation is by Tolstoy’s close American friends Louise and Aylmer Maude, originally published in 1918.

Anna Karenina (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Leo Tolstoy
Retail Price: $12.95
Paperback: 976 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2012-10-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0345803922 / 9780345803924

A 2004 Oprah book club pick, it is still available in that edition. Two of the beneficiaries of that pick were the husband-and-wife translators, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, who, according to a story in the New York Timeshad never heard of Oprah or her club when they got the news that their translation was getting a new print run of 800,000 copies.

In reviewing this translation in the New Yorker, James Wood said the couple are “at once scrupulous translators and vivid stylists of English, and their superb rendering allows us, as perhaps never before, to grasp the palpability of Tolstoy’s ‘characters, acts, situations.'”

New Yorker editor David Remnick explored translations of Russian classics in depth in “The Translation Wars: How the race to translate Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky continues to spark feuds, end friendships, and create small fortunes.”

Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
Retail Price: $17.00
Paperback: 862 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics – (2004-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0143035002 / 9780143035008


Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

When James Cameron’s The Titanic came out in 1997, publishers experienced a sudden windfall as the sales of over 30 backlist and new titles from a range of different publishers jumped onto best seller lists (resulting in the joke that it “floated all boats”).

Publishers are hoping that magic hits again, when the movie is rereleased in 3-D on April 4th, days before the 100th anniversary of the disaster. This time around, audiences will be offered another reenactment of the events in Julian Fellowes’ (Downton Abbey) two-part, four-hour series, Titanic, running April 14 and 15 on ABC. Fellowes has been on the offensive about the big-screen version, calling it inaccurate.

One of the books that experienced renewed sales the first time around was Walter Lord’s 1955 classic A Night to Remember (reissued in a 50th anniversary edition in 1996, with an intro. by Nathaniel Philbrick). It’s included in USA Today‘s extensive roundup of 25 available titles, as is the update of the movie tie-in (new forward by Cameron):

James Cameron’s Titanic
James Cameron
Retail Price: $24.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harper Design – (2012-03-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0062119389 / 9780062119384

Just one adult fiction title is featured in that list, The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. The author was profiled in the NYT prior to the book’s release in February. The approaching anniversary is bringing renewed attention; the book was reviewed by Carolyn See in The Washington Post on Friday and was recently featured as an adult book for teens in SLJ. The public is picking up on the connection; several libraries are showing heavy holds, as high as 8:1.

The Dressmaker: A Novel
Kate Alcott
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 322 pages
Publisher: RH/Doubleday – (2012-02-21)
ISBN : 978-0385535588