Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Winners: Baileys and Bubbly

Monday, June 13th, 2016

9780804189064_4f14eA debut novel by an Irish writer wins the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, given for the best novel by a woman writing in English. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (PRH/Tim Duggan Books, Aug. 9; Random House Audio) topped several better known authors including the multiple awar- winning Anne Enright for The Green Road and the bestselling Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life.

The Guardian reports that The Glorious Heresies “tells how an accidental murder … plays out in the lives of a cast that includes a 15-year-old drug dealer, his alcoholic father, a prostitute and a gangland boss.”

The chair of the judging panel said it is “a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling.”

Calling it “big, gritty and compelling,” a spokeswoman for one of the UK’s most notable bookstores said the selection was a “brave choice … by the least conventional and edgiest writer on the list.”

The Glorious Heresies is scheduled for release in the US on Aug. 9.

McInerney’s debut was among 11 other first novels to make the long or short list for the award, which The Guardian notes is becoming “a showcase for new and emerging talent.”

9781101874141_9e7a9One of those debut authors is Hannah Rothschild whose The Improbability of Love (RH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) made it through to the final round. Rothschild, the first woman chair of London’s most prestigious art museum, The National Galley, can console herself with champagne. Her book recently won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction (shared with Paul Murray for The Mark and the Void), which comes with a large bottle of Bollinger champagne, the complete Everyman Wodehouse Collection, and the honor of the having a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after the winning title, a nod to the Empress of Blandings, a fictional pig featured in P. G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle novels.

Previous winners of the pig, bubbly, and books include Terry Pratchett and Alexander McCall Smith. Photos of several past winners with their pigs are online.



Friday, June 10th, 2016

9781455561780_68236Debuting at the #2 spot on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list is the very buzzy Before the Fall, Noah Hawley (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample).

As we reported the breakout novel by the creator of the Fargo TV series is racking up impressive hold figures and is getting a great deal of attention as the media predicts a hit.

It’s not the only new entry. Nearly half of the top 10 titles ae new to the list this week.







As might have been expected The Emperor’s Revenge, Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Smaple) takes the #1 spot. All Summer Long, Dorothea Benton Frank (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #3, while, as we predicted, Alan Furst’s A Hero of France (PRH/Random House; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) hits the list at #7.

modern-loversJust outside the top 10, debuting at #14 (tied with #13) is Modern Lovers, Emma Straub (PRH/Riverhead Books; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), another very buzzy title which is high on the summer reading lists.

Falling out of the top ten to make room for the new arrivals are The City of Mirrors, which slipped from #1 last week to #11, The Fireman, All the Light We Cannot See, and Everybody’s Fool.


Friday, June 10th, 2016

9780307887443_cd74cOn the news that casting is nearly complete for Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated adaptation of Ernest Cline’s SF debut Ready Player One (RH/Crown; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), the novel rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from an already strong #125 to #80.

After a long search, as we wrote earlier,  Spielberg found his lead in Tye Sheridan. Since then, he has added many more cast members. The latest is Win Morisaki for the role of Daito. Variety reports the “Japanese singer-actor … won the role after an extensive audition process.” It will be the first US film for Morisaki, the lead vocalist of the boy band PrizmaX.

Earlier, it was announced that T.J. Miller, of HBO’s Silicon Valley and the superhero film Deadpool, has also joined the cast, playing a bounty hunter.

In April Spielberg added Mark Rylance to the film’s roster, filling the role of James Donovan Halliday, the creator of OASIS, the game world at the heart of the film.

With other roles being filled by Olivia Cooke (as romantic lead Art3mis), Simon Pegg (as Ogden Morrow, co-creator of OASIS), and Ben Mendelsohn (as Nolan Sorrento, the chief villain of the film), Spielberg only needs to find a few more players for the game to begin.

The film is expected to open on March 30, 2018 and holds still remain strong on the book in many libraries we checked.

Critical Mass: HOMEGOING

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

9781101947135_24878A million dollar debut, won in a ten-bidder auction, is on the verge of becoming the literary hit of the summer, Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

It is featured on multiple seasonal reading lists including those by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, B&N, and BuzzFeed and is both an Indie Next selection and a LibraryReads selection, with this recommendation from Amanda Monson, of the Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA:

“An engaging family saga following two half-sisters – one who marries into privilege and one sold into slavery – and their descendants as they navigate the politics of their separate countries and their heritage. Each is directly affected in some way by the choices of the past, and finding the parallels in the triumphs and heartbreak makes for an engrossing read.”

The novel is gaining serious and thoughtful review coverage as well, in pieces that note Gyasi’s achievements while pointing out perceived lapses. NPR’s Maureen Corrigan reviewing it on Fresh Air yesterday, says Gyasi “pulls her readers deep into her characters’ lives through the force of her empathetic imagination,” but adding, “Homegoing would have been a stronger novel if it had ended sooner .. As the novel moves forward into our own time the pressure to wrap up the two storylines intensifies, and contrivance comes to the fore.”  NPR also interviewed Gyasi for Weekend Edition Saturday.

Slate‘s books and culture columnist, Laura Miller, writing for The New Yorker, says that the novel “shows the unmistakable touch of a gifted writer, and Homegoing is a specimen of what such a writer can do when she bites off more than she is ready to chew” adding, “Taken in as a panorama, Homegoing can be breathtaking.”

Reviewing for the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review, Isabel Wilkerson, author of the nonfiction title,  The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, says, barring some troubling clichés, the novel is a work of “beauty” and “The narrative unfolds through self-­contained stories, some like fables, others nightmares, that shift between the family lines in West Africa and America, each new protagonist a limb of the disrupted family tree. Characters reappear in dreams or retellings as the action moves from the Cape Coast to Kumasi to Baltimore to Harlem.”

The WSJ profiles the author and offers a review [subscription may be required], saying “Ms. Gyasi doesn’t always make it work … Yet it’s refreshing to read a novel with a sense of historical imminence. Contemporary American fiction frequently seems to exist in blank isolation from world events. Not so Homegoing, where wars and laws directly shape the characters’ destinies, often across generations.”

The million-dollar advance serves as a hook for media attention, catching the eye of high circulation magazines such as Vogue, which runs a double profile of Gyasi and Emma Cline, author of another big-ticket summer debut, The Girls, complete with a photo of the two together in designer outfits, because they “bear comparison for more than the ambition and incisiveness of their prose, imaginative risk-taking, and seven-figure book deals.” Of Homecoming, Vogue says, “No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country.”

On the Rise: Alan Furst’s
Espionage Series

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

9780812996494_fc7daReviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, Alan Furst’s latest historical spy thriller, A Hero of France (PRH/Random House; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Novelist Sara Paretsky notes that Furst is “known for his detailed research into both cat-and-mouse sides of occupied Europe” and offers this plot summary:

“[the thriller] which follows five months in the life of a particular Resistance cell, begins in March 1941, nine months into the German occupation. The hero of the novel’s title, code-named Mathieu, is escorting a downed R.A.F. airman from the countryside to Paris so that he can be smuggled back to England.”

The Washington Post calls it “emotionally gripping and hugely satisfying” and pointing out that it  makes an excellent entry point into Furst’s oeuvre, as it is “the first one to deal directly with the occupation. And it is the first to feature the deeply appealing protagonist … Mathieu.”

NPR praises Furst’s ability to create setting and character.

Furst’s popularity is growing. His last three titles landed in the top ten on the NYT bestseller list. He has also been gaining media attention (interviews in the NYT, NewsweekThe Wall Street Journal, among others).

Furst publishes a new title every two years, around Fathers Day, making it appear that his audience is mostly male, but the Newsweek interview notes that many of his fans are women.

Holds are strong across the board with several libraries showing reserve lists well above a 3:1 ratio.  Check your standing order quantities, it may be time to increase them.

IT Gets Its Clown

Monday, June 6th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849“Up-and-coming” actor Bill Skarsgard will play the lead in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It reports Deadline Hollywood, adding, “It’s a step up for Skarsgard, who has been knocking on the door in series like Hemlock Grove and the Divergent sequels.”

Andy Muschietti (Mama) is directing the New Line Cinema production (after Jane Eyre‘s Cary Fukunaga left the project). Mash-up master Seth Grahame-Smith is one of the producers.

Consequence of Sound reports the movie will be a two-part set with the first following “the children being stalked by the titular shapeshifting monster, while the second will pick up decades later, when those same kids are confronting their same demons as adults.”

It is one of King’s highest regarded novels, ranked as #1 on Den of Geek‘s gathering of King’s “Top 10 Pure Horror Novels” saying “IT is King’s terrifying, gruesome, trashy, cosmic, demonic horror masterpiece that we still can’t claw out of our minds so many years later.” The novel also beat out all but The Stand and The Shining on BuzzFeed‘s list of King’s “11 Essential” books. In a Rolling Stones reader poll the crazy clown novel ranked the 2nd most popular of any King novel.

Fans may recall that this is not the first It adaptation. In 1990 a TV miniseries starring Tim Curry aired on ABC.


Monday, June 6th, 2016

9780062059888_0_CoverAttention on the STARZ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is growing. As we reported earlier, the project has seen bumps in the road but now appears firmly on track, with an impressive cast and a hot showrunner.

9780062262264_0dc41In an Entertainment Weekly interview, promoting his new nonfiction collection The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), Gaiman talks about the process of the novel’s adaption, addressing his feelings of ownership and the struggle to let them go:

“My fundamental attitude is that you’re always trying to guard the soul and the heart of whatever it is, but at the same time you have to allow people to create, and you have to allow people to have fun and build and make it their own. To me it’s kind of a peculiar tightrope, and you don’t want to fall off on one side or the other … At least in script stage, I am very not shy about telling [series creator] Bryan Fuller, ‘I love this, I love this, I love this, and that thing you had, that’s over my dead body and you have to change it.’ ”

He also reports that despite his conflicted feelings the show is already on its own path, “they’re 10 days into shooting, and the only thing I am absolutely sure of is that this American Gods is its own thing … If it succeeds or if it fails, it’ll be on its own terms. I know I’ve never seen anything that looked like it.”

Last year Fuller gave an interview to Crave about American Gods, saying:

“potentially what we’re looking at with American Gods is developing a Marvel Universe, not with superheroes but with gods. As detailed and integrated as the Marvel Universe is, and doing that with deities is something that excited all of us … we may have spin-offs of American Gods that follow lesser gods in greater detail than you might in the main series, but there’s all sorts of potential for this show that we’re very excited about”

Den of Geek‘s take on that is: “In other words, this won’t just be a straight adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, and is instead being looked at very much as long form television.”

The site also has a rundown of the casting thus far, calling the recent news that Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) will play Media, “infinitely awesome.”

She joins Ian McShane (Deadwood) playing Mr. Wednesday and Ricky Whittle (The 100), as Shadow Moon.

The show is set to air in a 10-episode first season early in 2017.

Gaiman fans will have a chance to see and hear even more about the author when the documentary Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously airs on the video platform and streaming service Vimeo, starting on July 8th.

Deadline Hollywood reports, “Gaiman’s story is told in his own worlds as well as through interviews with close friends/collaborators Terry Pratchett, Bill Hader, Michael Sheen, Lenny Henry, Wil Wheaton, Stoya, JH Williams III, Lev Grossman, … as well as his chats with George RR Martin, Jonathan Ross, John Barrowman, Grant Morrison and Phillip Pullman.”

James Patterson’s BookShots

Monday, June 6th, 2016

9780316317146_ddc89Arriving tomorrow is the first in James Patterson’s new original trade paperback series, titled BookShots. The first in the series features his most popular character, Cross Kill: An Alex Cross Story (Hachette/BookShots; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), it is just 144 pages long. [UPDATE: a second BookShot will also be released tomorrow, Zoo 2 : A Zoo Story, James Patterson, Max DiLallo. The series will release 2 to 4 titles the first week of each month, see list below].

CBS Sunday Morning featured an interview with Patterson yesterday [Note: the video of the interview is no longer available]. He explains the idea behind BookShots,

“This is a little bit of a revolution … unfortunately for a lot of people …books [have become] just too long for them to deal with … [BookShots] are very, very fast-paced. They’re like reading a movie.”

CBS correspondent Anthony Mason is surprised to learn that Patterson writes books in longhand, rather than using a computer, to which the author replies “Yeah, well, thank God I don’t work on a computer because then I’d be really prolific!”

Twenty-three BoosShots will be released in 2016. Mason says that Patterson, who is famous for using co-authors, is “involved in every single one of them” and Patterson adds for “80% of ’em I did the outline.”

Included are titles that appear distinctly non-Pattersonesque, listed as “James Patterson’s BookShots Flames.”

9780316276580_36369 9780316320139_227d3 9780316276412_5b7f4

Below are the titles scheduled through the end of the year.

The Trial: A BookShot : A Women’s Murder Club Story, James Patterson, Maxine Paetro, July 5

Little Black Dress, James Patterson, Emily Raymond, July 5

Learning to Ride , Erin Knightley, James Patterson (Foreword by), July 5

The McCullagh Inn in Maine , Jen McLaughlin, James Patterson (Foreword by), July 5

Chase: A BookShot : A Michael Bennett Story, James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge, Aug. 2

Let’s Play Make-Believe, James Patterson, James O. Born, Aug 2

113 Minutes : A Story in Real Time, James Patterson, Max DiLallo, Sept. 6

Hunted, James Patterson, Andrew Holmes, Sept. 6

Sacking the Quarterback, Samantha Towle, James Patterson (Foreword by), Sept. 6

The Mating Season, Laurie Horowitz, James Patterson (Foreword by) Sept. 6

$10,000,000 Marriage Proposal, James Patterson, Hilary Liftin,  Oct. 4

French Kiss : A Detective Luc Moncrief Story, James Patterson, Richard DiLallo, Oct. 4

Killer Chef, James Patterson, Jeffrey J. Keyes, Nov. 1

Dazzling: The Diamond Trilogy, Part I, Elizabeth Hayley, James Patterson (Foreword by), Nov. 1

Bodyguard, Jessica Linden, James Patterson (Foreword by), Nov. 1

The Christmas Mystery : A Detective Luc Moncrief Story, James Patterson, Richard DiLallo, Dec. 6

Black & Blue, James Patterson, Candice Fox (With), Dec. 6

Radiant: The Diamond Trilogy, Part II, Elizabeth Hayley, James Patterson (Foreword by)


Friday, June 3rd, 2016

9781455561780_68236On the strength of what amounts to a full court press of coverage and to-die-for buzz, Before the Fall, Noah Hawley (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample) is racking up impressive hold figures at many libraries we checked, soaring as high as a 23:1 ratio.

One reason for the long queues, libraries bought low even in the face of starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly and even though Hawley is well-known as the force behind the popular FX adaptation of Fargo.

Glowing consumer reviews came out on the eve of publication or the day of, also suggesting the media was expecting a hit. In a NYT‘s Sunday Book Review (posted on May 30, in print on June 5), author Kristin Hannah says:

“Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there’s more to the novel than suspense. On one hand, Before the Fall is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate.”

In their review published the day the novel hit shelves, The Washington Post says it is “superb and cleverly constructed” and “should become one of the summer’s hottest sellers.”

The day of publication, USA Today wrote: “Noah Hawley has a hit show as the award-winning creator of FX’s quirky crime drama Fargo. Now he’s eyeing the best-seller lists: Before the Fall … is poised for takeoff.”

Rounding out the praise, it is an Amazon Editors Pick as a Best of the Month, an Indie Next pick, and it made the widely-syndicated St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s summer reading list.

So why the low order numbers at libraries? As The Wall Street Journal notes the author may be suffering from the track record of his previous titles. WSJ says: “Between 1998 and 2012, Mr. Hawley published four novels, none of which could be called a hit. At a low point, in 2008, there was The Punch, a family story that sold a mere 281 print copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen BookScan.”

But Hawley is a hot property now, following his Emmy-winning work on Fargo (he also worked on Bones).

Before The Fall sold to Sony before it was published, and Deadline Hollywood reports that Hawley “will produce the feature with John Cameron.” Publisher Grand Central, reports WSJ, “ordered an initial print run of 88,000 copies and has since reprinted an additional 16,000 copies. Foreign rights have been sold in 24 territories and counting.”

The attention continues. NPR’s Morning Edition got in on the buzz yesterday, interviewing the author.

Costco Joins the HAMILTON Party

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

9781594200090_4ee8fThe newest pick from Costco book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello is far from new, but it is certainly all the rage: Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton (PRH/Penguin, 2004).

In making her choice Ianniciello says:

“From mentions on podcasts to small talk at the salon, that name is on many people’s lips. So, I thought I’d go back to the book responsible for all the hubbub … What I love most about the rekindled popularity of this book is that its brains and newly found street cred make it a book the whole family can enjoy.”

In a feature  in the Costco Connection, Chernow recounts his meeting with the Broadway sensation’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, saying he was “flabbergasted” when Miranda told him “that as he was reading my book, ‘hip-hop songs started rising off the page.’ ”

Chernow also describes what it is like to live in the wake of the Broadway hit: “Every time I see the show and these enormous crowds, I pinch myself with wonder that I somehow triggered off this Hamilton mania.”

The award-winning historian (who trained as an English major) has been experiencing that wonder often, as we wrote earlier, he told the The Wall Street Journal “I never dreamed that I would be autographing Playbills … [this year has been] a biographer’s wish-fulfillment fantasy.”

9780743288781_d9ab0Also featured this month is Annie Proulx’s Barkskins (S&S/Scribner, S&S Audio), which Costco calls “her magnum opus, a literary force majeure.”

The glowing review tracks the long germination of the novel, begun 30 years ago and mulled over and researched for decades. The writing of it, according to The Wall Street Journal, took close to a decade as well. The end result is, says the Costco reviewer,a “novel that howls, grieves, lilts and erupts with urgency, authority and something that looks a lot like hope.”

It is also the pick of several summer reading lists, catching the eye of Amazon’s Editors, B&N, BuzzfeedSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, and USA Today. Canadian librarians agree, selecting it as the #1 title in their June Loan Stars picks.

Critics Take on THE GIRLS

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

the-girlsConsumer media attention began months ago for Emma Cline’s debut The Girls (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample),

when Random House bought it in a three-book deal with the 25-year-old for a rumored $2 million. Film rights were also purchased by producer Scott Rudin.

Due for release on June 14, eager reviewers have jumped on it a full two weeks in advance of publication (now that consumers can pre-order titles, reviewers seem less bound by publication dates).

The NYT Sunday Review posted theirs on Monday. Reviewer Dylan Landis, herself the author of a debut novel that was well-reviewed in the NYT BR, likes Cline’s book, a lot, calling it “a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sen­tences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry.”

Even the New Yorker‘s esteemed critic James Wood takes it on, beginning his review by piling on praise, averring that he doesn’t “mean this as the critic’s dutiful mustering of plaudits before the grim march of negatives,” but still, even with that, by the end he is not fully impressed, saying “Despite these many qualities, The Girls never entirely succeeds in justifying itself.”

The Washington Post‘s critic Ron Charles acknowledges that “The hubbub around The Girls threatens to trample what’s so deeply affecting about it,” and seeks to cuts through the buzz to say the book really is as good as its hype, noting “The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline’s ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in language that’s gorgeously poetic without mangling the authenticity of a teenager’s consciousness.” and ending, “debut novels like this are rare, indeed.”

Live Chat with the Author of

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

The chat has now ended. Read the archive version, below.

If you’re not part of the program, you can sign up here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Genevieve Cogman : THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY

Michiko Likes It!

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

modern-loversOne of the most anticipated books of the season (as proved by our compilation of all the summer previews) faces the Mikey of book reviewers, the daily NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani, and she likes it, calling it “charming.”

She may lose potential readers when she says that the story is “sort of a loose variation on those Hollywood comedies of remarriage like The Philadelphia Story or The Awful Truth, which, as the scholar Stanley Cavell pointed out in his insightful book Pursuits of Happiness,often seemed loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s romantic comedies,” but comes back to earth by the end, saying, “the book looks like designated vacation reading — but it’s just too deftly and thoughtfully written to be relegated merely to the beach.”

The NYT is lionizing the author. She was also profiled last week (revealing that she is the daughter of horror writer Peter Straub) and received earlier attention in one of the NYT‘s regular “Sunday Routine” features.

They aren’t the only ones. She is receiving attention from many other publications, including USA Today, “Book clubs will swoon over Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers,” Entertainment Weekly, which gives it an A-, even though the review reads like a solid A, and the Washington Post, which calls it “delightful.”

Will this become THE book of Summer, 2016? That’s difficult to predict. While holds in libraries are heavy in relation to modest ordering, the overall numbers don’t yet indicate a long-running best seller.

Holds Alert: The Mirror Thief

Monday, May 30th, 2016

9781612195148_5ff48Rising on Amazon on the strength of coverage in the NYT’s Sunday Book Review and NPR is The Mirror Thief, Martin Seay (Melville House; OverDrive Sample).

The reviews lavish it with praise. The NYT reviewer, the author Scarlett Thomas, says she “had been planning my glowing review since around Page 150” and that it is “audaciously well written.”

NPR’s reviewer, Michael Schaub, says it is a “thrilling dynamo of a novel [by] a tremendous writer … a startling, beautiful gem of a book that at times approaches a masterpiece.”

What is it about? Neither reviewer wants to say, as too much detail gives away the book’s pleasures and it is a hard book to write about, but Thomas calls it “mystical literary fiction with a hard edge” and offers:

“How could I express that while this novel seems on the surface to be a bit like Cloud Atlas (multiple perspectives, Russian doll structure), it’s more heartfelt, deeper, less of a pastiche? I thought I might describe it as Stone Junction rewritten by David Foster Wallace or Thomas Pynchon with a big twist of William Gibson, Susanna Clarke and Italo Calvino. But I wasn’t sure that would cover it.”

Schaub says it evokes comparisons to Umberto Eco, Saul Bellow, and James Ellroy.

Both agree it is a mesmerizing reading experience. Thomas calling it “demanding, frustrating and oddly enlightening … not The Da Vinci Code for intellectuals. It’s more like Howl translated into Latin and then back again. Over 600 pages. It’s amazing … How this book got published is a complete mystery to me. Not because it is not good enough, but rather because it is too good.”

Schaub says the novel “is as difficult to explain as it is completely original. It’s one of the most intricately plotted novels in recent years, and to call it imaginative seems like a massive understatement. The three stories are as different from each other as can be, and the fact that Seay weaves them together so skillfully is almost miraculous.”

It is also an Indie Next pick for May, with an equally glowing annotation:

“Three stories are linked in this outstanding debut by criminal pursuits and Venice — not so much the actual place, but the idea of that place: in the late 1500s Venice, Italy, a man schemes to steal the most guarded technology of the day — a mirror; in 1950s Venice Beach, California, a thief discovers a mysterious text that seems to have unusual insights about that stolen mirror; and in 2015, a soldier purses the thief in The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas to retrieve the book about the mirror. As the stories draw together, Seay’s thrilling novel dazzles at every turn. Unexpected and amazing, The Mirror Thief will leave readers breathless.” —Jeremy Ellis, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

The indie press novel is doing very well in libraries we checked, either topping a 3:1 holds ratio or showing strong circ. where libraries are ahead of requests.

Beach Reads with Bill Gates

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Add Bill Gates to those offering summer beach reads. The philanthropic computer genius offers a list of seasonal reads each year and several are rising on Amazon as a result of his support.

The paperback edition of the bestselling nonfiction title How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample) is just outside the Top 100 while the newly released paperback edition of the bestselling SF novel Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (Harper/William Morrow; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), is on its heels.

9780143127536_0bd46Gates, clearly invested in the importance of understanding math, says of Ellenberg’s book that the author:

“… explains how math plays into our daily lives without our even knowing it. Each chapter starts with a subject that seems fairly straightforward—electoral politics, say, or the Massachusetts lottery—and then uses it as a jumping-off point to talk about the math involved. In some places the math gets quite complicated, but he always wraps things up by making sure you’re still with him. The book’s larger point is that, as Ellenberg writes, ‘to do mathematics is to be, at once, touched by fire and bound by reason’ —and that there are ways in which we’re all doing math, all the time.”

9780062334510_6bb39Returning to a favorite genre, Gates says of Seveneves:

“I hadn’t read any science fiction for a decade when a friend recommended this novel. I’m glad she did. The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up. People figure out that in two years a cataclysmic meteor shower will wipe out all life on Earth, so the world unites on a plan to keep humanity going by launching as many spacecraft as possible into orbit. You might lose patience with all the information you’ll get about space flight—Stephenson, who lives in Seattle, has clearly done his research—but I loved the technical details. Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit.”

Also on the list:







The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life, Nick Lane (Norton; OverDrive Sample).

The Power to Compete: An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy, Hiroshi Mikitani , Ryoichi Mikitani (Wiley; OverDrive Sample).

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari (Harper; OverDrive Sample).

Gates even offers a video promoting each of the titles:

Illustrating Gates’s reach with the news media, his reading list got covered by such diverse outlets as USA Today, Town & Country, Vox, and The Washington Post.

For your use in creating displays, we’ve put together a downloadable spreadsheet of all his selections Gates Summer Reading, 2012 thru 2016.

Below are direct links: