Archive for the ‘GalleyChat’ Category

YA/MG GalleyChat, Tues., April 24

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Our next chat will be Wednesday, May 16th, 2:30 to 3:30. #ewgcya

Towards More Diverse
LibraryReads Lists

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Reminder: Nominations are due for the June LibraryReads list in just a couple of days, by midnight, April 20th.

The just-released May LibraryReads list is remarkably homogenous. All the authors are white women, most of them have already published several books, and the majority of the titles are in the rapidly growing, some would say over-published, category of psychological suspense.

While readers advisors can happily read and recommend any of the titles, as Becky Spratford has often noted in her blog RA for All, they won’t expand readers’ horizons. She pointedly asks, “Why aren’t we all going out of way to look for titles that don’t get recognition?”

To help you do that, we’ve added “Debut” and “Diversity” columns to our spreadsheet of the nearly 200 titles mentioned during last week’s GalleyChat, GalleyChat Titles, April.

Below are comments on the June titles by non-white and LGBT authors. If you haven’t read them already, you probably won’t have time to do so before the deadline, but this may serve to remind you of titles beyond the familiar. As Becky says, “If every single one of [you] laid off of voting for the more mainstream titles and instead voted for a more diverse title, many of those mainstream titles would still get in, but maybe a few more marginalized voices would too.”

Native American

Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse, S&S/Saga Press, June 26, 2018, DRC available

DEBUT
GalleyChatter: “Really fun, unique urban fantasy/postapoc blend with Indigenous characters & mythology!”  —– ” a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy with a Navajo cast of characters.”

Author background:
“Rebecca Roanhorse is an Ohkay Owingeh/Black writer of Indigenous futurisms. She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pug. Her debut novel Trail of Lightning (Book One of the Sixth World series) is available summer 2018 from Saga Press, and her children’s book Race to the Sun is coming in 2019 from Rick Riordan Presents. Her short story ‘Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience‘  is on the 2017 Nebula Recommended Reading List.

Her nonfiction can be found in Invisible 3: Essays and Poems on Representation in SF/F, Strange Horizons, and the upcoming How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation (Macmillan, 5/15/18).”

There There: A novel, Tommy Orange, PRH/Knopf, June 5, 2018, DRC available

DEBUT
GalleyChatter: “a story of urban indigenous peoples. Got a big push at #pla2018” — Following up on that, PRH Library tweeted that it is a department favorite.

The New Yorker recently published a story that comes from the book, and an interview, in which the author explaind that  he wrote There, There because, “I knew I wanted to write a multigenerational, multivoiced novel about Native people living in Oakland. My wanting to write it largely had to do with there not already being a novel about Native people who live in cities, and very few novels set in Oakland. Native people suffer from poor representation as it is, but having little representation in literature, as well as no (literary) version of our (urban Native) experience, was what made me want to write into that space, that void, and try to honor and express fully all that it entails to be Native and be from Oakland.”

Vietnamese-American/Autism

The Kiss QuotientHelen Hoang, PRH/Berkley pbk original, June 5, 2018, DRC not listed

DEBUT
Bustle headlines a story about the book, “The Kiss Quotient Is A Refreshing Own Voices Romance With A Heroine On The Autism Spectrum”

From the publisher:

“Key Selling Points
DEBUT AUTHOR who was discovered during Pitch Wars, an online contest with wide social media reach, where published authors match up with a mentee and work on pitch to catch an agent or editor’s eye; Helen was mentored by Brighton Walsh, a contemporary romance author published by Berkley and St. Martin’s Press

THE HEROINE HAS ASPERGER’S, as does the author, who is willing to discuss her personal experience

MULTICULTURAL CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: hero is half Vietnamese and the author, who is also part Vietnamese, seamlessly introduces cultural elements

AN OWN VOICES NOVEL: romance readers are clamoring for better representation in romances and this book speaks to the #OwnVoices social media movement”

LGBT

History of Violence: A Novel, Édouard Louis, Translated by Lorin Stein, Macmillan/FSG, June 19, 2018, DRC available

Gallleychatter: “…by the author of End of Eddy. Has a unique voice.”

New Yorker profile of the author,  “Growing Up Poor and Queer in a French Village

From the publisher: “On Christmas Eve 2012, in Paris, the novelist Édouard Louis was raped and almost murdered by a man he had just met. This act of violence left Louis shattered; its aftermath made him a stranger to himself and sent him back to the village, the family, and the past he had sworn to leave behind.”

When Katie Met Cassidy, Camille Perri, PRH/Putnam, June 19, 2018, DRC available by request

Galleychatters were enthusiasitc about the author’s
debut, The Assistants.

Former librarian and library page Perri speaks to librarians at a PRH Open Book session (be sure
to check out her demo of the “Page Freeze” beginning at time stamp 3:24)

Confessions of the Fox: A Novel, Jordy Rosenberg, PRH/ One World, June 26, 2018, DRC available

DEBUT

Author background:

“Jordy Rosenberg is a transgender writer and scholar. He is an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he teaches eighteenth-century literature and queer/trans theory. He has received fellowships and awards from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation/J. Paul Getty Trust, the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and the Clarion Foundation’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of a scholarly monograph, Critical Enthusiasm: Capital Accumulation and the Transformation of Religious Passion. He lives in New York City and Northampton, Massachusetts. Confessions of the Fox is his first novel.”

African-American

Ayiti, Roxane Gay, Grove/Atlantic, June 12, 2018, DRC available by request

Originally published in 2011 by the Artistically Declined Press, this new edition from Grove Press, according to the publisher, “includes several new stories,” which may qualify it for the LibraryReads list.

 

Chinese-American

The Lost Vintage: A Novel, Ann Mah, HarperCollins/Morrow, June 19, 2018, DRC available

GalleyChatter comment, “Loved the LOST VINTAGE by Ann Mah- historical fiction with a mystery about a family member no one knew about, WWII & it’s set in a vineyard.”

The author is Chinese American, and a  Francophile. Her memoir, Mastering the Art of French Eating was an Amazon best book of 2013, and winner of the Elle readers prize. She also is publishing Instantly French!: Classic French Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker  in September.

South Asian – American

Half Gods: Stories, Akil Kumarasamy, Macmillan/FSG, June 5, 2018, DRC available

DEBUT

One of the stories in this collection, “New World,” was published last year in Harper’s magazine.

YA/MG GalleyChat Discoveries

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Spotted on a photo of a stack of ARCs posted during the February’s YA/MG GalleyChat, is a new title by the author of the Morris Award finalist, Dear Martin. According to the ARC, Nic Stone’s second book Odd One Out is scheduled for release this fall, but there’s no information about it yet on retail or wholesale sites.

A few days after GalleyChat, the title was featured on a BuzzFeed list titled “Don’t Miss These Fantastic YA Books By Black Authors That Release This Year,” with the annotation, “The New York Times bestselling author of 2017’s Dear Martin pens another YA about three teens struggling through love, heartbreak, and the real deal. It sounds very diverse with both POC and LGBT representation, and we can’t wait to read it when it’s out in October! Pre-order links aren’t yet live for this one, but keep checking back here for future updates!”

In the ARC’s Author’s Note, Stone tells readers that she wrote this book because it is one she needed when she was twelve, before she realized the meaning of her “attractions to other women,” and marying her “dream man.”

Below is a Storify version of the chat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here. A list of titles discussed is here, with information on available DRC.

Tell us about your latest discoveries (and make some of your own) during the next YA/MG GalleyChat on Monday, March 26th, 3 to 4 pm, ET (2:30 for virtual cocktails). #ewgcya

 

 

GalleyChat Roundup for Feb., 2018

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Below is a Storify transcript of February’s GalleyChat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

For a list of the titles discussed, with information on which are available to download as e-galleys, check our Edelweiss catalog.

Join us for our next chat, Tues., March 6th, 4 to 5 p.m. ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails). Details here.

Also upcoming is YA/MG GalleyChat on Thursday, Feb. 22 @ 3-4pm ET (2:30 for virtual cocktails), #ewgcya.

GalleyChat: Spring Lies in Wait

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

   

“Girl” was once the hot word used in book titles to designate a certain type of psychological suspense, but this Spring will be full of “lies.” Sometimes I Lie, Let Me Lie, and All The Beautiful Lies, were among the 185 titles mentioned by librarians during January’s GalleyChat.

Below is a Storify transcript of the chat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

For a list of the titles discussed, with information on which are available to download as e-galleys, check our Edelweiss catalog.

Join us for our next chat, Tues., Feb. 6th, 4 to 5 p.m. ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails). Details here.

YA/MG GalleyChat, Tues. Dec. 19

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Join us for the next YA/MG GalleyChat on Wed., Jan. 17, 3 to 4 pm, ET (2:30 for virtual cocktails). #ewgcya

List of titles discussed here (use it to discover e-galleys to download).

Below is a Storify version of the chat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

GalleyChat, Tues. Dec. 5

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The December GalleyChat is a wrap. The full list of 127 titles discussed is here.

Join us for the next GalleyChat on Jan. 9, 4 to 5 p.m. ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails, to learn about the galleys fellow librarians are loving.

GalleyChat Looks to
Spring/Summer Hits

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

 

A glimpse of Spring/Summer 2018 season appeared among the titles mentioned during the November GalleyChat. Several titles carry over from previous chats, particularly A.J. Finn’s domestic thriller, The Woman in the Window, (HarperCollins/Morrow, January 2, 2018; LibraryReads nomination deadline, 11/20/17), It leads the list in terms of “Much Love” designations on Edelweiss, with 132. (Note: read our chat with the author below).

Attesting to the enduring appeal of the genre, another domestic thriller, Peter Swanson’s April title, All the Beautiful Lies, (HarperCollins/Morrow, April 3, 2018; LibraryReads nomination deadline, 2/20/17) already has 76 “Much Love” comments.

Among the titles receiving particular GalleyChat passion is Tara Westover’s debut memoir, Educated, (PRH/Random House, February 20, 2018; LibraryReads nomination deadline, 12/20/17). By a woman who grew up in an abusive home, it is described as the “2018 version of Glass Castle.”

Below is a Storify version of the chat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

For a list of all the titles, check our Edelweiss catalog,

Join us for our next chat, Tues., Dec. 5,  4 to 5 p.m. ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails). Details here.

October GalleyChat:
Teetering TBR Piles

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Librarians leaped into Winter/Spring titles during Tuesday’s GalleyChat. Below is a Storify version of the chat. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

For a list of all the titles, check our Edelweiss catalog, or download the spreadsheet, EarlyWord GalleyChat titles, 10:3:17.

Join us for our next chat, Tues., Nov 7,  4 to 5 p.m. ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails). Details here.

GalleyChatters Predict:
Fall/Winter Reading Trends

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The trend for psychological thrillers has had amazing longevity. With so many new titles published in the genre, fans are becoming more and more demanding.

Two titles were mentioned most often during last week’s GalleyChat as the best of the upcoming crop:

 

The Woman in the Window, (HarperCollins/Morrow, Jan 2, 2018) — please join us for a chat with the author, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 4 to 5 pm. ET, Chat window will be posted at 3 pm on EarlyWord.com

Sometimes I Lie, Alice Feeney, (Macmillan/Flatiron, March 13, 2018) — this one is SO twisty, that it lost several readers. The title itself warns readers that this is they’re dealing with the ultimate in unreliable narrators.

Nods also went to:

   

The Last Mrs. Parrish, Liv Constantine, (Harper, October 17)

Poison, Galt Niederhoffer, (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s, November 21)

The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, January 9, 2018)

If you’re not a fan of the genre, or just need a palate cleanser, there’s much to tempt you from the nearly 130 titles getting enthusiastic endorsements (see the Edelweiss catalog here).

For those hoping to sniff out the next trend, Marika Zemke of Commerce Twp. (MI) Public Library makes a strong case for medical narratives and survival stories, saying people crave them these days. With hurricanes and fires raging and a chaotic federal government, that seems to make sense. She offers  the following as examples:

     

The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts, Charity Tillemann-Dick, (S&S/Atria, October 3) — an opera singer continues her career despite having BOTH lungs transplanted.

Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia, Henry Jay Przybylo, (Norton, November 14), — “takes you past the forbidden operating room doors into the O.R.”

In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope, Rana Awdish, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, October 24)  — A doctor learns first hand the flaws in current medical practice when she nearly dies herself.

The Cookie Cure: A Mother/Daughter Memoir of Cookies and Cancer, Susan Stachler, Laura Stachler, (Sourcebooks, February 1, 2018)   — “an almost unbelievable story of medical coincidence.”

Some of you may remember an earlier time when medical narratives were all the rage. GalleyChatter Robin Beerbower says they’ve never gone out of style for her. She remembers, “Back in the late 70s I read Elder’s And I Alone Survived, which fueled my obsession with survival stories. My medical obsession started in the early 1970s with James Kerr’s soap opera-ish novel The Clinic and, of course, Hailey’s Diagnosis. About 30 years ago Echo Heron published Intensive Care, about her stint as a nurse, along with Carol Gino’s The Nurse’s Story. Like many library patrons, I couldn’t get enough of these kinds of stories.”

Below is a transcript. If it does not load, or you prefer reading it in story form, link here.

GalleyChat, Aug. 1, Transcript

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Below is an edited version of yesterday’s GalleyChat. We’ve reorganized the tweets to make it easier to follow the discussion and added links to each title. UPDATE: If you get the dreaded spinning wheel in the widget below, try this link.

Click here for an Edelweiss catalog of the titles that were discussed.

The next GalleyChat is on September 5th, the day after Labor Day (don’t get distracted by the holiday, put it on your calendars)

YA/MG Galley chat is on August 15. Details on joining each chat are here.

GalleyChat, Tues. July 11

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Please join us for the next GalleyChat, Tuesday, August 1, 4 to 5 p.m., ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails!)

More info on how to join here.

Below is an edited transcript of the chat. UPDATE: If the widget does not load, try this link.

GALLEYCHATTER, June 2017, BookExpo SPECIAL EDITION

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Editors Note: Each month, librarians gather for our online GalleyChats to talk about their favorite forthcoming titles. GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from this month’s chat below.
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During the post-Book Expo GalleyChat, those who had just returned from the show were eager to share newly discovered galleys they had lugged home. As we head in to the Fourth of July holiday, consider downloading digital review copies of these titles from Edelweiss or NetGalley.

If you fall in love any of these titles, be sure to consider nominating them for  LibraryReads. We’ve noted in red the deadlines for those titles that can still be nominated.

For a complete list of the 148 titles mentioned during the chat, check here.

Librarians’ Lunch Standouts

The AAP/LibraryReads lunch for librarians at Book Expo was a sold out affair with the usual stellar line-up of authors. The MC was “America’s Librarian” Nancy Pearl, who has written her first novel, George and Lizzie (S&S/Touchstone, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) about the meeting and marriage of sweet, practical George and the always dissatisfied Lizzie. Stephanie Chase, director of Hillsboro (OR) Public Library says, “Lizzie will jump out at you from the beginning, and whether you immediately love her, as I did, or hate her, you must give her a chance, for along the way, you’ll meet the wonderful Marla and James, and George’s fantastic parents, Lizzie’s not-so-fantastic parents, and George, of course.”

Gabrielle Zevin also charmed the audience. Her first book for adults, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry was a hit with readers. Her next, Young Jane Young (Workman/Algonquin, August), a novel about reinvention after an indiscretion, is quickly gathering fans. Jennifer Winberry from says, “After having an affair with the local congressman for whom she is interning, Aviva Grossman finds herself unable to show her face in her Florida town and get a job.  Aviva changes her name and flees for a small town in Maine where she and her daughter live a relatively quiet life until she decides to run for local office and her past is dredged up. Told in alternating voices, families, relationships, and double standards all come to light making this a great choice for book groups.”

Buzz-Worthy Titles

Word spread fast about Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere (PRH/Penguin Press, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) causing galleys to fly out of the publisher’s booth. Frequent GalleyChat contributor Cynthia Baskin is an early admirer and says, “This terrific sophomore effort is about two dysfunctional families whose lives intersect and overlap in healthy and not-so-healthy ways. Although the main event is known from the beginning, the story builds tension slowly as Ng very deliberately peels away the characters’ interpersonal layers.  If you like domestic dramas, I highly recommend this book!”

Another galley that was difficult to find due to pre-pub buzz was Brendan Mathews family saga, World of Tomorrow (Hachette/Little, Brown, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20; DRC on NetGalley). Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien, CT, wasted no time before reading it. She reports, “Set over a week in June of 1939, we follow three Irish brothers as they interact with a cast of characters that include a member of the IRA, a Hungarian refugee, the ghost of Yeats, a Deb on the make and her plotting mother, and a ward boss looking for just a little respect.  But the true star of this novel is New York City in all her prewar glitz, glitter and grit.”

Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists (PRH/Putnam’s, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20; DRC on NetGalley), touted during Book Expo’s Book Buzz, is the story of a family’s life based on a psychic’s predicted death dates of each sibling. Andrienne Cruz predicts it will be a hit saying, “Four siblings dared to find out when they will die and face the consequence of this knowledge. This novel is filled with rich characters who seamlessly inhabit the pages. I am reminded of Pat Conroy’s books-with unflinching honesty and an electrifying setting in various decades set in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco.” This is also a good candidate for those who want to read about family dysfunction similar to Hilma Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Cynthia Sweeney’s The Nest.

Set in the mountains and small towns of Oregon, Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder (HarperColllins/Harper, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) is poised to be a big hit. Denfeld has taken a topic that could be disturbing and has made the characters believable and empathetic, even the ones that don’t appear to deserve any compassion. Meeting the author was a BEA highlight. Remember the words “radical empathy.” Kimberly McGee from Lake Travis Community Library (TX) also loved it saying, “Naomi, also known as The Child Finder, is in search of a little girl who is lost in the woods – three years ago. Not only did the ‘snow child’ survive but she may not feel like a captive. We see through Naomi’s eyes that the circumstances of all the missing may take many forms. This multi-layered novel is quiet and heartbreaking and violent all at once.”

Death Becomes Her

Mortician Caitlin Doughty’s first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory was one of my 2015 favorite books and I am pleased to say From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (Norton, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20) should prove to be just as popular. Journeying to various countries to research the ways cultures handle their dead might not be everybody’s idea for an adventure vacation but Caitlin is dedicated to ensuring that death is not only handled with respect but also endeavors to erase the stigma and fear of dead bodies. This is perfect for fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff.

Thrillers We Can’t Wait to Recommend

Three psychological suspense novels stood out with mentions by several presenters at the annual Book Expo Librarians’ Shout ‘n Share.

The first to receive multiple mentions was The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperCollins/Morrow, January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov 20) and even though it won’t be published until January, it is already garnering “much love” on Edelweiss (31 votes as of 6/21/17). Everyone of us who has read this marvelous piece of suspense want to start recommending it to readers now. Marika Zemke, Head of Adult Services at Commerce Township Public Library (MI), says, “Psychologist Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia, and spends her days watching old, classic movies and drinking too much wine. She also watches her neighbors through her camera and one night as she’s spying on the new neighbors she sees something unthinkable. Or did she? This novel has the perfect number of twists that will keep readers guessing, from the very first page, until they close the book.” Expect high demand for this one.

Another domestic thriller that received multiple “shouts” was Liv Constantine’s The Last Mrs. Parrish (HarperCollins, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20), a twisty novel about a plain nobody who worms her way into a wealthy woman’s life, only to find her careful plan in danger of collapsing. Stephanie Chase, Hillsboro (OR) Library’s library director, forecasts, “This is the successor to Gone Girl: sex, intrigue, and deceit.”

Galleys of The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; January; LibraryReads deadline: Nov. 20) were plentiful and response has already been enthusiastic with some reporting the book bears being read twice in order to catch missed clues.  Jenna Friebel from Oak Park Public Library (IL) exclaimed, “Just one big twist after the other– impossible to put down. I loved that this is set up to seem like a clichéd jealous ex-wife novel but then turns out to be so much different.”

GalleyChat, Tues. June 6

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

This month’s GalleyChat has now ended. See transcript below.

GALLEYCHATTER; Booking Book Group Titles

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Editors Note: Each month, librarians gather for our online GalleyChats to talk about their favorite forthcoming titles. GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from this month’s chat below.

Click on the titles to download or request digital galleys. If you fall in love with any of these titles, remember to nominate them for  LibraryReads. Deadlines for those still eligible are noted in red.

Please join us for the next GalleyChat, Tuesday,
June 6, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
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Beach reading may be on most people’s minds, but GalleyChatters are thinking ahead to books for next year’s discussion groups. The following will provoke discussions and are so engrossing they will make it easy to ignore the siren call of the pool.

Sure Bets

In Janelle Brown’s literary suspense novel, Watch Me Disappear (PRH/Spiegel & Grau, July; RH Audio/BOT), the wife in what appears to be the perfect family never returns from a solo hike causing her husband and daughter to ride an emotional roller coaster. Kim McGee of Lake Travis (TX) Community Library is a fan saying, “After a year, Jonathan is ready to declare Billie deceased. However, some stories refuse to go quietly and father and daughter uncover some things about Billie that may reveal more than they wanted to know. The epilogue is particularly powerful and devastating, shining a light on the question, do we really know the person whom we put on a pedestal?”

Another book dealing with motherhood and secrets similar to Watch Me Disappear and Emma Donoghue’s Room is Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (PRH/Viking; PRH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; July). Andrienne Cruz of Azusa City (CA) Library says, “Joan and her son Lincoln are at the zoo when something happens. Fiercely protective of her son’s safety, Joan exposes her innermost feelings and thoughts to the reader – what do people in her situation really think and do? Filled with agonizing and tense moments, this book offers some fresh perspective to an ongoing threat in an otherwise humdrum society.”  Kim McGee adds, “It starts off with a bang (pardon the pun) and never slows down for a second. “ [Ed. Note: See our recent EarlyReads chat with the author].

Peculiar People

Joe Jones from Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, one of GalleyChat’s regular contributors, recommends two books with very different plots.  Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (PRH/Knopf, PRH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; June), is a novel about a psychic family exposed as frauds who end up retiring from the business, but turns out teen Matty may just have a few hidden talents. According to Joe, “Throw in plenty of humor, secret government agencies, the mob, and even the Russians and we have one wild ride that keeps you guessing what crazy thing will happen next. The best part though is the characters. Each one is so well drawn and will have you experiencing the whole range of emotions as you read their stories.” Add this to your list of books about dysfunctional families.

The idea of past lives is an enticing topic in fiction and Joe discovered a twist on the theme in Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (PRH/Del Rey, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), which features a character nearing the end of his many lives. Joe says, “To achieve perfection. 10,000 chances are what the Universe gives us. Milo is in love with Death, aka Suzie. With only a handful of lives left he needs to figure it all out or face oblivion. Poor gives us a love story for the ages as Milo and Suzie tempt fate when they try to be a couple. By the time we reach the final page, we realize we knew what was coming all along and it’s truly not the end but the journey that matters. And what a journey it is!”

Debuts

Filled with memorable female characters, Molly Patterson’s Rebellion (HarperCollins/Harper, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), a multi-generational family novel, was applauded by Jen Dayton of Darien, collection development librarian from Darien (CT) Library. “As Hazel’s children clean out the farmhouse that their family has called home for three generations seemingly meaningless items are tossed to the side. As the story unfolds we are taken to China with a missionary aunt who never returns, witness a young woman in 1890 struggling with infertility and the loneliness of frontier life, and see a young Hazel herself coming to grips with young widowhood.”

Discussion groups that have enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and The Dog Stars by Peter Heller can add David Williams’ When the English Fall (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio, July) to their roster. Heather Bistyga, librarian from Anderson, SC, raved, “The aftermath of a solar storm causes the collapse of civilization, as told through the journal of an Old Order Amish man. Although better prepared than the “English” — the rest of us — to weather the destruction of the electric grid and all electrical and electronic devices, the Amish come to realize they can no longer exist as an island in the larger society. This is a worldwide disaster writ small, rendering it exquisitely powerful and quietly terrifying. “

(North) Carolina on My Mind

Another regular contributor to GalleyChat, Janet Lockhart, collection development librarian from Wake County Public Libraries, endorses two novels set in the Appalachians in her home state of North Carolina. Both appear to be book group perfection.

Leah Weiss catches the unique spirit of the mountains in her debut novel, If the Creek Don’t Rise (Sourcebooks Landmark; Recorded Books; August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20). Janet says, “The story of Sadie Blue will haunt you like the melody of mountain ballad. Trapped in a bad marriage at a very young age, Sadie has resigned herself to being unhappy until a new teacher moves to town. Kate Shaw’s arrival is the catalyst for change in the lives of residents of the small town of Baines River — including Sadie Blue.”

GalleyChat favorite Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home , returns with a novel inspired by true events. Janet says of The Last Ballad (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20) “Cash shines much deserved light on the life of Ella May Wiggins, a working mother who joined the fight to unionize mill workers in the South in the 1920s. Ella May’s determination to build a better life for herself and her children is inspiring and her bravery is breathcatching. Her voice jumps off the page and this is a beautifully written story of an extraordinary woman whose struggle for dignity and social justice raises issues that still resonate today.“

Join us for the next chat on June 3 from 4:00-5:00 (ET) with virtual happy hour from 3:30-4:00, when the focus will most likely center on treasures found at Book Expo.