Editor’s Note: Robin Beerbower is EarlyWord‘s regular “GalleyChatter” columnist. In her day job, Robin is the readers’ advisor and homebound services coordinator for the Salem [OR] Public Library. Enthusiastic about the importance (and fun) of reading books ahead of publication, she tirelessly tracks down galleys, making her an authority on what to read next. She is also very active on the Edelwiss Community Board, using it to spot titles and gauge developing buzz among librarians (you can join in; just register on Edelweiss and “friend” Robin).
Below are her picks of the titles brought up during our most recent GalleyChat. Join us for the next GalleyChat, Tuesday, Sept. 9 (note that this one is one week later than the normal first Tuesday of the month), 4 to 5 p.m., EDT — #ewgc.
If you missed the August chat, or simply found the feed a bit difficult to follow, check here for a list of the titles discussed.
“I want a true book that reads like a good novel.” I love getting this question from patrons and so am pleased to learn about three new titles from fellow GalleyChatters..
A literary true crime with touches of southern gothic, God’ll Cut You Down: The Tangled Tale of a White Supremacist, a Black Hustler, a Murder, and How I Lost a Year in Mississippi, John Safran (Penguin/Riverhead, November) won approval from two chatters. Bryan Summers (Yuma County Library District) is especially keen on it saying, “The author is now in my I’ll-Read-Anything-By-Him pile.”
For a “great combo of a personal story & the science of attention,” Stephanie Chase of BiblioCommons recommends Matt Richtel’s “powerful” study of a 2006 “texting-while-driving” tragedy, A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention (HarperCollins/Morrow, September).
John Krakauer’s Into the Wild, about Christopher McCandless, who mysteriously disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness, has fascinated readers for years (as well as Sean Penn who adapted it into movie in 2007). In The Wild Truth (HarperOne, October), Carine McCandless gives us the story of her family and why her brother left for the wilderness. It even has a foreword by Krakauer himself. Darien Library’s Jennifer Dayton says, “we are presented a family dynamic so dysfunctional that it makes Chris McCandless’ [aka Alexander Supertramp] decision to walk away from polite society not only a viable solution but the right one.” As of this writing there is no DRC but email the HarperCollins library marketing rep for a print copy.
Book Group Candidates
Leading the pack of titles that will get reading groups talking is Laird Hunt’s Neverhome (Hachette/ Little Brown; Blackstone Audio; September), which not only won raves from GalleyChatters but has also garnered multiple reviews on Edelweiss. Vicki Nesting (St. Charles Parish Library) says “On its surface this is the story of a woman who dresses as a man and goes off to fight in the Civil War, yet the haunting, poetic writing elevates it beyond that. This is a story you will want to read aloud, to savor.”
Reminding Kaite Stover (Kansas City Public Library) of Stephen King’s The Body (later turned into the movie “Stand By Me”), is Chris Scotton’s The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, (Hachette/Grand Central, January). This story set in the coal mining Appalachian mountains during the 1980s saying it has the “same strong male relationships and heart-wrenching coming of age elements. “
It’s been a long wait for fans who loved Lois Leveen’s Secrets of Mary Bowser so we are excited that Juliet’s Nurse (S&S/Atria/Bestler) will be released in September. Early readers haven’t been disappointed. The story of Romeo and Juliet told from the perspective of Juliet’s nurse had Salem Public Library’s Ann Scheppke saying “To Leveen’s wonderfully crafted plot, add lovely language and a cast of truly complex characters. A sure bet for fans of Geraldine Brooks.” But please, no spoilers on the ending!
Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres remains a book group favorite, so there is already great anticipation for her new title, Some Luck (RH/Knopf, October). Jennifer Dayton says this first book in a trilogy featuring generations of an Iowa farm family is easily one of her favorite books of the year. The other two are scheduled to be published in spring and late summer of 2015.
If it is set in a bookshop and features Jane Austen, it seems like a sure thing that book groups will want to read it. The literary mystery First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, Charlie Lovett (Penguin/Viking, October), is a favorite of Beth Mills (New Rochelle Public Library) who says what she found intriguing was that the imagined relationship for Austen wasn’t romantic, but one that fostered her confidence as writer.
Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead; January) had me riveted from the first page and January can’t come soon enough so I can get this in the hands of patrons — or at least on their holds lists. My colleague Ann Scheppke says this mashup of Gaslight and Rear Window with its cast of control freaks, liars, and philanderers is a compulsively readable debut novel.
For patrons who want a fearless and witty private investigator similar to Sue Grafton’s, I push Betty Webb’s mysteries featuring Scottsdale’s Lena Jones. I’m delighted to report that her latest, Desert Rage (Poisoned Pen Press, October) is one of the best in the line-up. Collection librarians may want to consider picking up her entire backlist, so patrons can start from the beginning.
Join us Tuesday, September 9 (note the temporary change to the second Tuesday) for our next GalleyChat and please friend me if you want notifications of what I’m anticipating on Edelweiss.