Our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from our latest chat below.
Some of these titles can still be nominated for LibraryReads. We’ve noted the deadlines in red.
Please join us for the next GalleyChat, this coming Tuesday,
Jan. 3, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
GalleyChatters’ favorite season is upon us, late winter and early spring, when publishers take advantage of a quiet time to introduce new or under-the-radar talent.
It’s a good time to introduce more people to our get-togethers, so we’re asking regular GalleyChatters to “Bring a Pal” to Tuesday’s session and expose them to the wonderful world of advance reading. We know they will thank you.
Below are some highlights of the December chat. Check here for a list of all titles that came up.
Hearts and Minds
Alex George’s debut novel, A Good American, was well loved by many and his next book, Setting Free the Kites (PRH/Putnam, February) is just as impressive. Set in a small town in Maine during the mid-1970s, this moving story of a beautiful friendship between two middle school boys will have you emptying the tissue box as you read late into the night. Kimberly McGee from Lake Travis (TX) Community Library said, “This is the perfect coming of age story and one that is destined to be placed on the shelf with To Kill a Mockingbird and Stand by Me.” [NOTE: Check out EarlyWord’s recent chat with the author here.]
Chosen for over fifty “One Book, One Read” programs, Orphan Train was a breakout hit for Christina Baker Kline. Her next book, A Piece of the World (HarperCollins/Morrow, February), a novel based on the relationship between Andrew Wyeth and his inspiration for “Christina’s World” is destined by be as popular. Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien (CT) Library, was smitten saying, “Christina Olson is probably one of the most iconic women of the 20th century who we literally know nothing about. You will come to love and admire the woman who graces one of the most famous paintings of the 20th century.”
One of GalleyChat’s most prolific readers, Andrienne Cruz from Azusa City Library, is a fan of the coming-of-age novel Hearts of Men, by Nikolas Butler (HarperCollins/Ecco, Feburary). Calling it a “memorable book,” Andrienne also says, “This story is about sons, about values, about what it is to be a good man. It follows the lives of Nelson and Jonathan, the former bullied and friendless; the latter a popular all-American kid from a wealthy family. Their friendship is chronicled amidst a backdrop of growing up, going to war, falling in love, and choosing what men normally hold dear to their hearts.”
GalleyChatters loved Clare Mackintosh’s breakout psychological suspense title I Let You Go, and we’re pleased to report her followup, I See You (PRH/Berkley, February) is just as readable. Set in London, Zoe Walker tries to get help from law enforcement after she realizes advertisements with her face and others have become crime victims. Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library (NJ) loved it, saying, “This taut thriller has one surprise after another until at last, it seems all has been uncovered…or has it? A shocking last revelation will have readers turning back to see what clues were missed.”
And the Winners Might Be…
We polished our crystal balls and two titles emerged that are contenders for the year’s literary awards.
Two GalleyChatters raved about Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (PRH/Riverhead, March; LibraryReads deadline: Jan. 20) a gorgeously written story about immigration, and judging from the Edelweiss “much love” response, they aren’t alone. Gregg Winsor (Kansas City Library, MO) sums it up, “A touch of magical realism, immigrant narrative, beautiful imagery.” Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library echoed Gregg saying, “It is a beautifully written, unique book about what we do to protect ourselves, what we do to connect with others, and how we as human beings move through time and space. This work is truly a masterpiece.”
Elizabeth Strout has a knack for creating unforgettable characters, such as Olive Kittredge and Lucy Barton, and her newest novel, Anything is Possible (PRH/Random House, April; LibraryReads deadline: Feb. 20) is already accumulating accolades. Janet Lockhart of Wake County Public Libraries (NC) has already called this a favorite of 2017 and continues, “The residents of Lucy Barton’s hometown get their say in the latest book from the author of Olive Kittredge. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different person and they leap off the page in all their flawed glory. Strout’s compassion for her characters permeates the book.”
New galleychatter Lisa Hollander, readers’ services librarian from Syosset Public Library, NY, recommends The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister (Workman/Algonquin, January), saying it was a “romantic comedy, which is strange when you think that the topic is a man grieving over his wife dying young. It was a nice distraction from real life. Highly recommend.”
A Book about Books
Librarians adore books about books and so we noticed when Joe Jones of Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH) enthused about Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History, Rebecca Romney, J. P. Romney (HarperCollins/Harper, February). Joe recommends this for readers who say they don’t like nonfiction and also said, “Sometimes we get lucky and find an author who can not only educate us, but also entertain us as well. Rebecca and J.P. had me laughing as I learned things I had never knew before about Shakespeare, Johannes Gutenberg, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Franklin just to name a few of the characters included in these pages. “
Please join us for the first GalleyChat of the new year, on Tuesday, January 2, 4:00 (ET), and remember to bring friends and please introduce them during the virtual pre-chat virtual cocktails which begins at 3:30.