Title output slows down next week, in anticipation of the Memorial Day weekend, traditionally a busy time in stores.
Two best-selling series wrap on Tuesday. The final book in Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave series,The Last Star (Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers) and on the adult side, Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors (PRH/Ballantine).
Several consumer media and peer picks offer fodder for readers advisors (see below).
People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” described as, “Adrift after dementia and then death have stolen her mother, 40-year-old Blanca heads to … a Spanish coastal village … As she tries to ease her grief with sex and drugs, she turns the lives of those around her upside down … both poignant and funny.”
It is also picked as one of the more literary-minded Lit Hub‘s “Five Summer Reads,” — “Somehow she mixes a heady aperitif of a book that combines quirky, sexy, and gloomy in perfect measures as protagonist Blanca faces losing her mother and her mojo on a Spanish beach.”
Tribe : On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger, (Hachette/Twelve; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Type)
The author of The Perfect Storm, is sure to get major media attention for his book about our returning troops. In an early review in the daily NYT, Jennifer Senior say Junger “writes, simply … After months of combat, during which ‘soldiers all but ignore differences of race, religion and politics within their platoon,’ they return to the United States to find ‘a society that is basically at war with itself. People speak with incredible contempt about — depending on their views — the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born'” and therefor has ” accidentally written one of [the Presidential campaign’s] most intriguing political books. All without mentioning a single candidate, or even the president, by name.”
Food and lies are the topics of this week’s peer picks.
Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler (PRH/Knopf; Random House Audio; BOT)
“At her new job at one of NYC’s posh restaurants, Tess falls for a mysterious bartender and negotiates the politics of the service industry while building a social life. Danler drew from her own experience and the writing is vivid and stimulating. I’m always interested in a story about a girl trying to find her place in the world and her adventures, but anyone who appreciates writing that pulses with life will drink this down.” — Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View Public Library, Stickney, IL
“In an alternate historical London, people who lie reveal themselves by giving off smoke but the rules of how this works are complicated. There are some people who can lie and not trigger any smoke and this lends an interesting element to the story. The rules we are given are changeable. The setting lends itself well to the story. The writing is descriptive, and the tone is atmospheric. Similar authors that come to my mind were Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. This is a dark, delicious tale.” — Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO
Smoke is also getting media attention. It’s featured in the Wall Street Journal [may require subscriptio]. The author will be interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered on Tuesday. Reviews are scheduled for upcoming issues of the Washington Post, the daily New York Times and the New York Times Book Review.
Wrapping up the week is another Indie Next pick, Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship, Isabel Vincent (Workman/Algonquin).
“Dinner With Edward is the charming story of the author’s friendship with her friend’s widower father. Vincent does a wonderful job evoking the sensuous details of the meals they shared, but this is more than just a foodie memoir: it is an exploration of the nature of friendship, aging, loss, and how we define our identities as the world changes around us. Despite the sadness of some of its topics, Dinner With Edward is ultimately a warm, feel-good story.” — Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
The big tie-in news this week is, well, giant, as in BFG. There is both a book version and an audio version in anticipation of Steven Spielberg’s film, opening on July 1, The BFG Movie Tie-In, Roald Dahl (Penguin/Puffin Books; Paperback; $7.99; Audio tie-in, Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).
As we wrote earlier, a new trailer was recently released, as well as the news that the film got a 4-1/2 minute standing ovation at the Cannes film festival when it premiered last Saturday.
Women lead in holds this week. Nevada Barr is in first place with Boar Island (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio), the 19th in her Anna Pigeon mystery series, That is followed by Mary Kay Andrews’s The Weekenders, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) with an appropriate cover to welcome in the summer. It is also an Indie Next pick (see below).
Four Peer Picks hit shelves this week. One is a big name from the May LibraryReads list (which also made the June Indie Next List). The other three, all Indie Next selections, include the return of a reader and librarian favorite.
Both a LibraryReads(and Indie Next title is The Fireman, Joe Hill (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio).
Mary Vernau, of Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX offers an introduction:
“The Fireman is a novel that will keep you up reading all night. No one really knows where the deadly Dragonscale spore originated but many theories abound. The most likely is that as the planet heats up, the spore is released into the atmosphere. Harper Willowes is a young, pregnant nurse who risks her own health to tend to others. This is her story and I loved it! This is one of the most creative takes on apocalyptic literature that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended for all Hill and King fans.”
The Indie Next pick is DiSclafani’s sophomore outing after 2013’s The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. That novel was one of our Penguin First Flights titles.
“The real star of The After Party is the novel’s setting: 1950s Texas, where wealthy housewives and Junior League debutantes rule the social landscape. At the center is Joan Fortier, an unconventional bachelorette who is not content to sit on the sidelines — or to stay in Houston. Joan’s attitude causes conflict with her childhood best friend, CeCe Buchanan, and their relationship falters, exposing insecurities in both women. Fans of DiSclafani’s first novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, will not be disappointed by this well-written, engaging new work.” —Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA
“This book is perfectly named. The title describes the characters in the story and also recommends it be read during a relaxing weekend on the beach, by the pool, or curled up on the couch at home. True to her roots, Andrews serves up a mystery complete with a dead body and lots of secrets, many of which don’t get revealed until the very end. And to add a touch of urgency, there’s a hurricane. What could be better?” —Rona Brinlee, The BookMark, Neptune Beach, FL
“Abby and Gretchen are the best of friends. They have navigated through all the adolescent pros and cons that came with growing up in the late ’80s: zits, big hair, getting the nod from senior class heartthrob Tommy Cox, and — demonic possession? Written in Hendrix’s unique, darkly comedic, and slightly twisted voice, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is that quirky and satiating page-turner that fans of Horrorstör, have been salivating for.” —Angelo Santini, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
The upcoming week’s arrivals may seem meager, after the onslaught of new titles last week.
Two marque authors have new books coming, and both are children’s titles.
Sherman Alexie is getting kudos for his first foray into picture books, Thunder Boy Jr.illustrated by Yuyi Morales, whose Viva Frida, was both a Caldecott Honor Book and the winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award last year.
The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, in a rare departure from covering adult titles, calls this book about a child who, as a “Jr.” wants his own name, “ebullient.” He adds that it not only fulfills Alexie’s goal “to help correct an ongoing problem: the lack of brown-skinned kids in literature,” but also captures “a child’s desire to establish his own special quality.”
John Grisham publishes the sixth title in his 13-year-old lawyer-in-training series for middle-graders, Theodore Boone: The Scandal, (PRH/Dutton Young Readers).
“When a hunting accident results in the death of his neighbor’s son, Landreaux Iron follows native tradition and offers his own son, LaRose, to the bereaved family. Thus begins a powerful story of anger, love, hurt, and joy among a group of families and neighbors living in a small community in the North Dakota hinterland. Erdrich’s luminous prose captures each character’s struggle to overcome their worst impulses – whether it’s a handicapped man’s long-nurtured quest for revenge, or the pain of a mother withholding her love from her daughter – and reaches into the distant past to reveal the story of the young boy’s namesake, the original LaRose. Muted on the surface, but with a heart that beats strong, Erdrich’s latest novel is a book to be treasured.” —Peter Sherman, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, Nathaniel Philbrick (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).
“History buffs will welcome this serious and interesting salvaging of the American Revolution from the mists of legend and folklore. Reading this book also is a reminder that the messy, often disturbing politics of our own time are not unique, that idealism conflicts with power struggles, that both war and building a nation can have destructive consequences, and that revolutionaries and traitors both galvanize a movement. Complex, controversial, and important.” —Susan Thurin, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI
The Wall Street Journal also named it one of ‘The Hottest Spring Nonfiction Books’ [subscription might be required].
“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
A Court of Mist and Fury, Sara Maas, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; Recorded Books) — the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.
The Crown, Kiera Cass, (HarperTeen) — The finale to The Selection series in which dystopia meets The Bachelor. An effort to launch it as a TV series on the CW didn’t get past the pilot stage, but there are still hopes for a Warner Bros. movie.
Zero K, Don DeLillo, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio) — All the country’s critics want to have their say on this book. Michiko Kakutani jumped ahead in the daily NYT this week, calling it the author’s “most persuasive since his astonishing 1997 masterpiece, Underworld.”
It’s such a big week that there’s even a hot title in the usually quiet category of revised editions. The best seller on getting the most from Social Security has been updated to reflect new regulations that took effect on April 29, 2016. Ironically, as reported by Bloomberg, those changes in Social Security rules were brought about by the book itself, which revealed some loopholes. Time to weed those first editions (if you can get them out of readers’ hands).
Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, Ron Miscavige (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).
Earlier this month, the NYT profiled the author, whose TED talk has been viewed nearly eight million times. She is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition, this Saturday, followed by CBS Sunday Morning, and the week after by PBS NewsHour.”
It is a banner week for books librarians love with seven LibraryReads selections hitting shelves, including the #1 pick for May:
“Britt-Marie is a woman who is used to her life being organized. But when she leaves her cheating spouse and takes a temporary job as caretaker of the recreation center in the tiny town of Borg, her life changes in unpredictable ways. With its wonderful cast of oddball characters and sly sense of humor, this novel is sure to capture readers’ hearts. Highly recommended.” — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA
“Five-year-old Jacob is killed in a hit and run, an event that sends the police in search of the driver. Jenna Gray flees to Wales to mourn the loss of her son and recover from her past. As the anniversary of Jacob’s still unsolved death approaches, a tip to police results in an arrest and a very different picture emerges. This self-assured debut combines jaw-dropping moments with complex, believable characters and an ending that is hard to see coming.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
“Set during World War II and loosely based on the author’s own grandparents, this was a strikingly honest look at the changes that war creates on a country’s landscape and its people. These changes were so strongly shown by the progressive style of this novel. Bit by bit, we are privy to each character’s transformation. What a great tribute to what they endured. War gives birth to many endings, also to many beginnings. Bittersweet.” — Lori Elliott, Kershaw County Library, SC
Cleave’s novel is also People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” an Indie Next selection, and a favorite on GalleyChat.
Wilde Lake, Laura Lippman (HC/William Morrow; Harper Audio).
“As Lu, the newly elected state’s attorney in Howard County, prepares for a trial of a woman found murdered in her apartment, she begins to uncover secrets from her past. Bringing her back to the night her brother saved a life at the cost of another, Lu begins to question everything she’s known about the events and her childhood. Lippman’s newest standalone is sure to be another hit, perfect for mystery fans.” — Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Library, Wilmington, NC
“An arresting story about a wife manipulated and what she goes through to escape her husband’s desperate means to keep her. When her daughter is born, Anna starts hearing a voice in her head that may suggest the supernatural or the divine. She and her daughter hole up in a motel where all the guests seem to hear a similar voice in their heads. The author jolts the reader into reading something unexpected and the effect is eerie and memorable. Highly recommended for a book discussions.” — Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA
“When Casey Duncan and her friend are invited to Rockton, a town for people who need to disappear, she’s skeptical. Could it really be the haven it promises? She soon finds that Rockton has its own particular set of problems, including a designer drug and a murderer. As the town’s new detective, Casey is soon plunged into the hunting of a killer in a town built on secrets. Armstrong introduces a fascinating setting and an intriguing cast of characters. Readers will find themselves hooked.” — Elena Gleason, Coos Bay Public Library, Coos Bay, OR
“In Hart’s new suspense novel, we meet veteran detective Elizabeth Black, who is facing possible suspension for a suspicious shooting. At the same time, former police officer Adrian Wall is released from prison after serving time for the murder of Julia Stange. Stange’s son wants Adrian dead. Adrian has always claimed his innocence, but after his release, a couple of new bodies turn up at the church. This is a thrilling page-turner that starts at a rapid-fire pace and doesn’t let up. Great book for literary and thriller lovers alike.” — Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN
“Church deftly traces the life of Meridian Wallace, an intelligent young woman who is searching for who she is and what she wants to become. As America braces for entrance into WWII, Meri falls for the ambitious Alden Whetstone, a much older but brilliant scientist. Aspiring to be a ‘good wife,’ Meri abandons her own academic pursuits in ornithology to follow Alden to Los Alamos, but the years that follow are filled with dashed hopes and compromises. Over the decades of her marriage, Meri attempts to fill the void of unrealized dreams by making a home and reclaiming her sense of self. Filled with sharp, poignant prose, the novel mimics the birds Meri studies, following her as she struggles to find her wings, let go, and take flight. Church gives readers a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of the sacrifices women make in life and the courage needed for them to soar on their own.” —Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
“Haigh has been building a body of work around Bakerton, Pennsylvania, for more than a decade. In this new Bakerton novel, Haigh once again unleashes the sweep of historical forces as out-of-state companies look to drill for natural gas deposits. There is hope among the residents that the future will be brighter, but there is also the risk that they will just be victims of greed and further environmental ruin. This is a big, issue-oriented book, but its success is found in the brilliance with which Haigh crafts her characters and makes their lives a vehicle for looking at the moral, political, environmental, and economic questions about fracking. A timely book and perhaps one even worthy of the title ‘Great American Novel.’” —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA
“While any new book from Richard Russo is a cause for celebration, to have one that revisits the characters from a beloved classic feels like a gift from the literary gods. Everybody’s Foolreturns to North Bath, New York, the setting for Russo’s breakout novel from 1993, Nobody’s Fool. No one writes better about the quirks, petty jealousies, hard times, humor, and heartbreak of small town America. Everybody’s Fool is good old fashioned storytelling at its finest!” —Shawn Donley, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
“Imagine Me Gone is a deeply moving portrayal of a family’s complex love for one another as they manage and respond to the shape-shifting undercurrent of mental illness experienced by both father and son. A compelling read on every level, this novel is crafted with impressive emotional sensitivity, providing a direct feed into the inner lives and secrets of each character. Writing of this caliber is a rare thing. Haslett has created a gem of a novel that I will recommend over and over again.” —Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY
Entertainment Weekly lists it as one of their Hottest Fiction picks: “Haslett’s latest — one of spring’s biggest books — is a heartbreaking, hilarious chronicle of one family struggling to love one another amid anxiety and depression.”
“Horse racing and breeding, evolution, race, love, family dynamics and America’s historical past are a few of the subjects and issues that Morgan bravely, confidently, and intelligently explores with a poetic and lyrical sensibility. The result is a gorgeous and engaging novel that is sobering, important, and unforgettable. In addition to her singular vision and style, Morgan combines some of the intense power of the landscape as mindscape of Thomas Wolfe, the dramaturgy and myth-mining of Eugene O’Neill, the deep focus and rigor of Richard Powers, the transcendent beauty of Vollmann’s best prose, and the strong spiritual commitment of Marilynne Robinson. The Sport of Kings unfolds dramatically into an exquisite work of classic American literature.” —Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA
“A lovely debut that swept me along with the story of two people destined to be together. One chance meeting in college then takes three different roads and readers see the next decades played out through the couple’s eyes. Each story is different, yet with the same players, and each does not turn out as expected. This is a thoughtful and touching novel about love, expectations, and forgiveness.” —Kelly Estes, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
“Arthur Pepper has finally gotten around to cleaning out his deceased wife’s clothes when he comes across her charm bracelet. He doesn’t remember seeing it before, and the charms pique his curiosity about the life his wife led before they met. Thus begins an adventure that will have Arthur learning to embrace life more fully and becoming more present in the lives of those he cares about. Grab a seat and get lost in this charming read with characters you will cheer on, laugh with, and perhaps shed a tear for.” —Lisa Fabiano, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA
Several titles coming out this week tie in to the upcoming Disney movie Finding Dory, set to open June 17.
Finding Dory: The Junior Novelization (RH Disney (PRH/Disney) is aimed at kids aged 7 to 10. Also available in paperback, the hardcover edition is called the “Deluxe” version.
There’s also a picture book, Finding Dory (Picture Book): Three Little Words, Amy Novesky (Hachette/Disney Press) and the image-rich Disney Pixar Finding Dory: The Essential Guide, DK (PRH/Penguin/DK Children).
The two leveled readers are Ocean of Color (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), Bill Scollon (RH/Disney) and Dory’s Story (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), RH Disney (RH/Disney).
The film, which recounts the continued adventures of the fish Dory following Finding Nemo, features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Idris Elba.
As we have previously posted, a remake of Roots is on the way, scheduled to air on the History Chanel, and simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, over four consecutive nights beginning May 30.
A tie-in edition is now available, Roots[miniseries tie-in]: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley, (Perseus/Da Capo Press).
The new version seeks to make the seminal TV event, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alex Haley, relevant to a new generation of viewers, many of whom were not alive when the first adaptation aired.
Set to premiere on June 10th is Warcraft, a fantasy film adaptation of the video game of the same name. It stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, and Ben Foster.
The tie-in Warcraft: Durotan: The Official Movie Prequel, Christie Golden (PRH/Titan Books) comes out this week.
The game has been adapted into novels for over a decade, the most recent is Illidan: World of Warcraft, William King (PRH/Del Rey). There are also comics based on the game. The film opens June 10.
Eager fans have been placing holds for marquee authors appearing next week, John Sandford (Extreme Prey, PRH/Putnam) and Iris Johansen, Hide Away (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).
Harlequin’s Mira imprint is betting on Meghann Foye’s debut, Meternity with a 100,000 copy first printing. By an editor at Redbook, it is about an editor at a NYC magazine who thinks faking a pregnancy might be a great way to get perks, only to learn the truth of Shakespeare’s adage about weaving deceitful webs. Prepub reviews are all positive, with LJ enthusing, “Full of moments that will leave readers in suspense, gasping at consequences, and rooting for the heroine … perfect for fans of Candace Bushnell.”
People pick — “an astonishing study of animal intelligence has the makings of a classic — and is one fascinating read.”
Catastrophic Happiness : Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years, Catherine Newman (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio).
People pick — ‘The exhaustion, tenderness and terror of parenthood are captured by blogger Newman in a front-line report — she’s the mother of two — that’s both winsome and funny. Topics include tantrums, playing with food and (because she take us to the joyous-disastrous brink of adolescence) the sex talk.’
Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, Mark Landler (PRH/Random House; Recorded Books).
Landler’s book gets double coverage, an except in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk” plus coverage of the excerpt in the New Yorker. The author is also scheduled for an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).
The founder of Nike will appear on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend. Next week, he is scheduled for Good Morning America, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the Charlie Rose show on PBS.
Jenelle Klavenga, of Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, IA writes this summary:
“Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn’t want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read.”
Four Indie Next picks from the May list arrive as well.
“Van Booy’s delicate touch is turned to the relationship between orphaned Harvey and her uncle, Jason, a man no one could expect to be the right choice as guardian. Van Booy uses the plot structure of a series of Father’s Day gifts given to Jason from the now adult Harvey to reveal more than either of them realized about the life they have shared as adoptive father and daughter, as well as the heartbreaking truth of how they came to be a part of each other’s lives. Father’s Day is Van Booy at his most poignant, showing how redemption can arise from heartbreaking circumstances.” —Don Luckham, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH
Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long, Julia Reed (PRH/Rizzoli).
“Any time Julia Reed publishes a new book is a good excuse for a party. And now, with Julia Reed’s South, she even gives readers the blueprint for how to do it. What a gift to us all! This book is filled with wonderful ideas for entertaining, fabulous recipes, gorgeous photographs, a host of characters, and of course, killer cocktails. No one gets the South like Julia, and no matter where you live you’ll find inspiration in these pages to make your next gathering unforgettable.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS
“Sleeping Giants reads like a military dossier, interview after interview given with the serious intent of laying out a scientific tale of discovered history that will change everyone’s lives forever. At the age of 10, Rose falls through a hole in the ground and lands in a large metal hand that had been buried. Seventeen years later, she is on the research team that seeks answers to the relic’s source and the meaning behind its existence. Is it a weapon? Is it a threat to humanity? Or is it simply a mystery that will remain unsolved? Whatever it is, readers will enjoy this Prometheus-like look into our distant past and the excitement of forecasting the potential future of the human race.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
Media Coverage: The Wall Street Journal writes that the movie rights for this originally self-published book were snapped up by Sony Pictures after a rave in Kirkus.
“Tense and atmospheric, this novel is set in Depression-era North Carolina but confronts a number of issues that are relevant today. I consider it one of the best historical fiction titles I’ve read lately—what must have been intensive research blends seamlessly with unforgettable characters and vibrant depictions of mountain caves, mining towns, and struggling farms. The book brilliantly takes readers back to a bygone era while subtly showing that it is an era whose darkness could soon fall again. Fans of Claire Fuller and Ron Rash won’t want to miss it.” —Elizabeth Weber, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL
The big tie-in news this week is the release of Me Before You, Jojo Moyes (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample; also in Mass Market). The film comes out on 6/3/16 and already the previews have driven the book straight up Amazon’s sales rankings. First, the teaser trailer shot the book to #1 and then the full trailer sent both Me Before You and its sequel, After You, climbing again.
Here is the preview that is selling so many books:
Two quite different titles arrive to remarkably similar fanfare next week. Each has been selected for Indie Next and/or LibraryReads, and has received advance media attention and great prepub reviews. Despite all this, both were excoriated by the daily NYT reviewers.
Of the two, Eligibleby Curtis Sittenfeld (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample) is receiving the most advance attention. An update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, set in Cincinnati no less, it is the number one LibraryReads for April (see below), an Indie Next selection, People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” and is reviewed appreciatively by Entertainment Weekly. The author is featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and profiled in the New York Times, but the daily NYT‘s reviewer Michiko Kakutani rains all over it in an early and particularly savage review (“reads less like a homage or reimagining of Austen’s classic than a heavy-handed and deeply unfunny parody.”).
In terms of holds for books coming out next week, it’s currently neck and neck with Amanda Quick’s ‘Til Death Do Us Part (PRH/Berkley; OverDrive Sample), also a LibraryReads pick. Both are far behind the holds leader, David Baldacci’s Last Mile.(Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), his next thriller featuring detective Amos Decker after Memory Man.
The NYT‘s Janet Maslin does a hatchet job on another heavily anticipated novel, Maestra, L.S. Hilton (PRH/Putnam; BOT; OverDrive Sample), an Indie Next pick for April (see below). Marlin calls it “a pornographic shopathon travelogue thriller.” Entertainment Weekly gives it a more positive spin, saying it’s “a sensual, sweat-suffused thriller … engaging throughout, but [main character] Judith remains frustratingly distant, and that mires the novel in the realm of macabre wish fulfillment.”
Booklist ‘s starred review calls it “a gift for readers who delight in vengeful female protagonists.”
It’s showing about half the number of holds as those for Eligible on similar ordering.
For readers who like twisty dark psychological thrillers, but with a bit less edge, take them to the new books shelves in YA for The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (PRH/Delacorte; Listening Library), Bustle recommends it, because it “explores the nature of truth, childhood friendships, and the unreliability of memory in shocking ways. Fans of authors like Gillian Flynn and books like The Girl On The Train and Luckiest Girl Alive won’t be able to resist this YA thriller.”
People Magazine Picks
People magazines “Book of the Week” is Sittenfeld’s Eligible. The other two recommendations are:
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos (Macmillan/ FSG; Macmillan Audio) — “This beautiful mediation on love and loss and art is as luminous as a Vermeer.” Also an Indie Next pick.
Girl About Town (S&S; Atheneum Books for Young Readers) — a classic whodunit by Dancer-director Shankman (Hairspray). People calls it a “Nostalgic gun.”
Also in the magazine is an excerpt of the bio, Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming, (Macmillan; Macmillan Audio)
The #1 pick is Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Curtis Sittenfeld (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample).
Leslie DeLooze, of Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NYLibraryReads introduces this next re-telling in the Austen Project:
“Love, sex, and relationships in contemporary Cincinnati provide an incisive social commentary set in the framework of Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld’s inclusion of a Bachelor-like reality show is a brilliant parallel to the scrutiny placed on characters in the neighborhood balls of Jane Austen’s novel, and readers will have no question about the crass nature of the younger Bennets, or the pride—and prejudice—of the heroine.”
Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the “10 books you have to read in April,” saying: “Clear your afternoon and finish it in one gulp.” It is also an Indie Next pick for May and a GalleyChat favorite.
Sharon Layburn, of South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY calls the newest Amanda Quick novel, ‘Til Death Do Us Part (PRH/Berkley; OverDrive Sample) a “tour de force” in her inviting annotation:
“Gothic atmosphere meets tender romance in Quick’s latest Victorian era tour de force. Calista Langley asks crime novelist Trent Hastings for assistance in unmasking a twisted secret admirer that seems to have singled her out, and the two become tangled up in more than just an investigation. Quick perfectly balances setting, characters, plot, and relationship development–the end result being a story that will delight her legion of fans, as well as earn her new ones.”
A title sure to warm any librarian’s heart, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, Joshua Hammer (Simon & Schuster; HighBridge Audio) also hits shelves.
Marika Zemke, of Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI offers this introduction:
“For centuries, Arabic manuscripts were collected by private households in Mali, particularly Timbuktu: gilded manuscripts painted with real gold, showing vibrantly colored illustrations of nature. These highly valued manuscripts were handed down within families who acted as caretakers. As radicalized Muslim leaders came into power, the manuscripts were seen as corruptions of true Islam, requiring intervention. History and adventure at its best.”
“Is it any wonder that memoir is the richest genre? The stories we live are far more fanciful, heartbreaking, and ridiculous than the ones we create with our imagination. We have no control over them. They unfold in spite of our best efforts in a clumsy, unsettled mess that becomes our life. In Life Without a Recipe, Abu-Jaber stops along the way to consider the terrain. She can’t control the events, but she controls the words with tight, perfect sentences. There’s a beauty and elegance to the prose that elevates this story of the author’s search for identity that results in a warm and wise delicacy to be savored.” —Terry Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, VA
“Get ready to tear through this hedonistic and refreshingly sex-positive thriller that hits all the right notes. Hilton sets her amoral heroine, Judith, amidst the shallow elegance of the European art world. While Judith is deeply enamored with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, she is also a razor-sharp critic of bad taste and human softness, sniffing out and exploiting male weakness with gusto. She is utterly void of empathy, yet oddly sympathetic. I’ll be recommending this novel to everyone I know with a strong constitution and an appreciation for intensity!” —Seija Emerson, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
“A beautiful afternoon on Mothering Sunday — now known as Mother’s Day — in 1924 provides the backdrop for this exquisite tale of love, longing, and memory. Jane Fairchild, a house maid, has been the long-time lover to the heir-apparent at the estate next door. Their final cataclysmic afternoon together will alter the course of her destiny in ways that she never contemplated. Told in flashbacks by the nonagenarian Jane, this rare gem of a novella will haunt readers long after they turn the final pages. Superb!” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
It also made Entertainment Weekly‘s “10 books you have to read in April” listing: “‘Save some tissues for Graham Swift’s latest, an exquisite, emotionally resonant romance.”
Two tie-ins come out this week, another in support of what Marvel hopes will be a blockbuster movie and a different kind of big film, the next starring Tom Hanks.
A Hologram for the King (MTI), Dave Eggers (PRH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample) also comes out this week, tying in to the April 22nd opening of the new Tom Hanks movie directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas), also starring Ben Whishaw, Tom Skerritt, and Sarita Choudhury.
Eggers’s 2012 novel was a finalist for the National Book Award and tells the story of a down-on-his-luck American salesman who hopes a deal made in Saudi Arabia will change his fortunes.
Next week brings a range of titles for readers’ advisors, plus the return of many big names, including Nora Roberts (a LibraryReads pick, see below) and Lisa Scottoline (an Indie Next pick, also below).
Alert, Angry Birds fanatics, a movie is coming, along with tie-ins. For Broadway fans, the tie-in to Hamilton also arrives.
Julie McElwain’s debut, A Murder in Time (Norton/Pegasus; OverDrive Sample), sends a 26-year old FBI agent back in time to 1815 – where her training stands her in good stead, as there is a serial killer on the loose. Randee J Bybee, of Upland Public Library, Upland, CA, introduces readers to the central character:
“Kendra is a smart, confident protagonist who is familiar with the hustle it takes to stay afloat in a male-dominated profession. Thrown into a situation completely alien to her, she manages to assimilate to her surroundings, albeit roughly, while using her wits to catch a ruthless killer. She can be abrasive, and I found myself cringing, curling my toes, and muttering out loud. It will be fun to watch her mature in future books. McElwain has created a highly entertaining story.”
Nora Roberts’ newest also has a serial killer thread. Marilyn Sieb, of L. D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI, says this of The Obsession (PRH/Berkley; Brilliance Audio):
“Readers who love romantic thrillers will be mesmerized by the latest Roberts offering. The suspense kept me up all night! Naomi Carson, a successful young photographer, has moved across the country and fallen in love. She thinks she has escaped her past, but instead finds that the sins of her father have become an obsession. The serial killer premise makes it a tough read for the faint-hearted, but sticking with it leads to a thrilling conclusion.”
The Indie Next selections for the week mirror LibraryReads in that one is a debut and the other is a return of a reader favorite.
“Gooding, Idaho, 1975: Loretta, Jason, and Boyd, three teenagers each trapped in their own way, find each other and plot their escape. Vestal lays out the history and complexity of their lives and their Mormon community, from Loretta’s becoming an unwilling ‘sister wife’ in a zealous household to Jason’s struggle to identify himself while at odds with his family and hometown. Surreal interludes of ‘Evel Knievel Addresses an Adoring Nation’ showcasing the fevered stunt driver waxing poetic, demonstrate Vestal’s strength with language as a reeling Knievel appears like a vision of cowboy extremism, becoming the off-kilter savior the teenagers have been seeking.” —Julia Sinn, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
“An infertile couple decides to use a sperm donor to create the perfect family they have always wanted. When the wife sees a picture of a man who looks very similar to their donor on the evening news, the story is set in motion. Could their donor be a serial killer? Christine will stop at nothing to find out who the biological father is, even if it means the end of her marriage. This latest novel of suspense from the bestselling Scottoline is fast-paced and will keep readers guessing until the end!” —Sarah Harmuth Letke, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, (Hachette/Grand Central).
Likely to be the first Broadway script to become a best seller, this goes beyond the script to being a tie-in, with photos of the production, cast interviews, and annotations of the lyrics by Miranda.
The show will be featured on PBS Great Performances this fall.
First is Alice Through the Looking Glass, Kari Sutherland (Hachette/Disney Press), a novelization of the film. Also on the way is Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time, Carla Jablonski with illustrations by Olga Mosqueda, Vivien Wu, Richard Tuzon, and Jeff Thomas (Hachette/Disney Press). It is a “choose-your-own-path” story following different characters through both the familiar Alice story and the film. Finally, the novelization Alice in Wonderland(Based on the motion picture directed by Tim Burton) (Hachette/Disney Press) will be re-issued.
The strong opening of Batman v. Superman stumped critics, but box office receipts fell off after the first week, as word of mouth began to counteract heavy marketing. Marvel/Disney have their fingers crossed that their Iron Man and Captain America dust up will not follow in the footsteps of DC Comics/Warner Bros.
There is plenty of news surrounding the film already with the Black Panther set to make his big-screen debut (Chadwick Boseman plays the superhero monarch) and Spiderman also putting in an appearance. The movie opens May 6.
Although Batman v. Superman has shaken DC Comics, they will be trying their luck again with an adaptation of John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad.
The title arriving with the heaviest holds next week as well as greatest number of copies ordered is Stuart Woods’s Family Jewels, Penguin/Putnam; BOT and Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample), which is, gasp, the 37th Stone Barrington novel. PW comments, “Tony trappings, colorful characters, and a magnificent McGuffin provide ample distraction from the occasional dangling plot thread and the implausible ease and frequency with which Stone lands lucrative cases and beds beautiful women. Dry-witted dialogue keeps the tone light and drives this glossy, modern take on the classic detective story,” but Kirkus sniffs, “A low-stakes, low-octane thriller that seems to have been cobbled together entirely from dead ends.”
Prolific Mary Higgins Clark adds another title to the genre that has served her so well, suspense. Her fist major success was the Where are the Children?, published 42 years ago in 1974 (her first book was a fictionalized bio of George and Martha Washington She quickly changed to suspense).
The new novel, As Time Goes By(S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) is described by the publisher as being about “a news reporter tries to find her birth mother just as she is assigned to cover the high-profile trial of a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.”
Further down holds lists is relative newcomer Anna Quindlen’s eighth novel, Miller’s Valley(PRH/Random House, Brilliance Audio; RH Large Print; OverDrive Sample) about a young woman growing up in rural Pennsylvania in the 1960’s, Booklist calls it “vintage Quindlen …a compelling family tale rich in recognizable characters, resplendent storytelling, and reflective observations.”
The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. Arianna Huffington (PRH/Harmony; BOT and RH Audio)
The founder of the Huffington Post has had many passions in her life, most of them political, but a personal experience with sleep deprivation made her realize that she needed to try to balance work and life, leading to her book Thrive in 2014. Here she continues one of the themes from that book, the importance of sleep
Having written a best selling memoir, The Color of Water (1996) and the 2013 National Book Award winning novel, The Good Lord Bird, McBride turns to biography in a book about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. A NYT profile of the author describes the book as being, “about entertainment, of course, but also about much more, including poverty, race, ambition and how to behave.”
Author Rick Moody, writing about it in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, lauds McBride for “tackling one of the most complex and most fascinating figures in American music over the last 50 years” and managing to elucidate his life, breaking through many barriers erected because Brown “did not, in fact, much want to be known.”
Jennifer Kelley, of Kershaw County Library, Camden, SC opens her annotation of the Fantasy with an intriguing question:
“What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It’s certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West’s school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It’s up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written.”
The Murder of Mary Russell: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Laurie R. King (PRH/Bantam; OverDrive Sample) also hits the shelves, causing Deborah Walsh, of the Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, IL to warn:
“Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She’s opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers’ delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery.”
Andrea Larson, of Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL offers the following annotation:
“This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read.”
Also picked by both LibraryReads and Indie Next is Tuesday Nights in 1980, Molly Prentiss (Simon & Schuster/Gallery/Scout Press; Simon & Schuster Audio).
Diane Scholl, of Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL shares her take:
“Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world’s new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn’t ready to finish.”
Booksellers have plenty of other titles to hand-sell this week with no less than eight titles from the April Indie Next List appearing.
“Let’s say you’ve been convicted of murder and sent to a maximum security prison for the remainder of your life, which should be a while since you are not that old. Then let’s say that not only can you not remember killing anyone, but you can’t remember who you are. Could things get any worse? How about if the ghost of the little boy you supposedly killed visits you in prison to ask for your help. What do you do? From the author of The Girl With All the Gifts comes another gripping and unforgettable story.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
The author’s previous novel has been adapted as a movie that will be released in the UK in September (no US release date yet).
“Smith’s new novel unfolds slowly, and each moment of illumination offers a glimpse into the true heart of this quiet, captivating tale. Spanning more than three centuries, it is the story of three lives —a female master painter of the Dutch Golden Age, a moneyed New York patent attorney, and an art history student turned one-time art forger — each changed by one haunting painting. Filled with hurt, grief, and deceit, but also layered with love, grace, and regret, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is a wonderful read, beautifully written.” —Heather Duncan, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
“Despite its themes of loss, love, and aging, The One-in-a-Million Boy is a hopeful novel. Musician and mostly absent dad Quinn Porter honors his dead son’s Boy Scout agreement to help 104-year-old Ona Vitkus. As Quinn and Ona get to know each other, Quinn begins to understand his son — and in some ways, himself — for the first time. Heartfelt and charming!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
“This book has it all: nature, love, science, drama, heartbreak, joy, and plenty of dirt. Not since Cheryl Strayed’s Wild have I read such a rich and compelling nonfiction narrative. Lab Girl is the story of Jahren’s life in science, and her writing on the wonders of nature will renew your sense of awe. But more than that, it is an exploration of friendship, mental illness, parenthood, and the messiness of life. The only flaw — these pages fly by too quickly, leaving you wondering what you could possibly read next that will be just as good.” —Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
Jahren’s debut is getting plenty of other coverage as well. Michiko Kakutani of the NYT‘s weighs in as does Entertainment Weekly with an A- review. It also made the WSJ‘s “The Hottest Spring Nonfiction Books” (subscription may be required).
“Four young black men, following orders, leave their tightly bound South Central Los Angeles community, and drive across the country to perform a hit to prevent a witness from testifying against their boss. They are ghetto born, raised, and trained, so they have outlaw skills and the resulting respect in their community. In wide-open America, they are profoundly out of their comfort zone. What each young man does with his skills, wits, sense of duty, and — for one in particular — a dawning sense of what the future holds for such a lifestyle, forms the core of this powerful novel. Provocative, gripping, and timely, Dodgers is a riveting read that leaves a lasting impression.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA
The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh (Simon & Schuster; Simon & Schuster Audio).
“What is entailed in living ‘a good life’? Using the writings of a succession of Chinese scholars from 2,000 years ago, the authors explain their ancient teachings through contemporary examples and demonstrate how changing our perspective can change our lives. And ‘the path’ that we are to follow? There is none! Rather, we create the journey moment by moment as we change how we observe and interact with our world and those in it. Challenging and potentially transformative!” —Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA
“The Railwayman’s Wife is a remarkable story drenched by the wells of sadness, yet it leaves readers marveling at the beauty of it all. Annika Lachlan is grieving her beloved husband and attempting to find solace in books. But the town of Thirroul, Australia, is home to more than one person damaged by grief. Brought together as members of a club no one would choose to join, each begins to move towards healing. The Railwayman’s Wife immerses the reader in Ani’s life, and as one savors the novel’s heartbreaking prose, a world is revealed in which hope and grief are forever intertwined and love may be the strongest current of all.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
“If I could read the work of only one writer for the rest of my life, I think I would be happy to spend the rest of my days in the staggering beauty of Nelson’s prose. In The Red Parts, what could have merely been a relatively interesting true crime narrative becomes, instead, a wholly original memoir of pain, history, family, and those bright moments of clarity in a world that, for Nelson, had become so dark. This book asks us to wonder, to be angry, and ultimately to become more human. This is an inescapable, utterly compelling read.” —Claire Tobin, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
A number of tie-ins come out this week, connected to three different films.
Eliciting the most holds of book arriving next week is Karen Robards’ romantic suspense novel, Darkness (S&S/Gallery; Brilliance Audio), its neon-colored jacket belying the title. Library ordering is in line with strong holds.
Kingsbury has gained new readers as a result of the Hallmark series based on her earlier book, The Bridge. More adaptations of her novels are coming. Hallmark is at work on another of her novels, A Time to Dance and Roma Downey recently acquired the rights to produce Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series for TV.
Winspear’s series has been growing in popularity. The last few titles in the have all landed on the NYT best sellers list in the top five
Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray Bullets and Bad Luck, Peter Manseau, (Melville House)
Author Manseau has come up with a brilliant and haunting way to examine the history of American gun violence, by reproducing stories from old newspapers, which often used the term a “melancholy accident” for such events.
That clever idea gets equally clever marketing by the book’s indie publisher, Melville House, which has bombarded the NRA and pro-gun politicians like Ted Cruz with images from the book:
All the macabre history of gun accidents that’s fit to print, every day until we publish this tiny beauty. pic.twitter.com/UXvxg27TYJ
“While acknowledging that his compendium of mayhem may read like a political argument against guns, that wasn’t his intention. The people he’d really like to reach are gun owners. Their adaptation of smart guns, which electronically limit who can fire them, is our best chance for progress, he says.”
The author writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times, Trigger Warnings, “Though often seen as an embodiment of the nation’s freedom-loving swagger, every gun comes loaded with an alternate history: not heroic self-reliance but hapless tragedy.”
Consumer Media Picks
People magazine’s “Book of the Week” is Lee Smith’s memoir Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, Lee Smith (Workman/Algonquin; OverDrive Sample), which came out last week; “With restrained prose and charming humor, she illuminates a way of life that has all but disappeared and explores the impulse to bear witness that underpins the storyteller in all of us.”
One LibraryReads title hits the shelves this week, the highly anticipated return of the Romance series known as the Bridgertons.
Mary Aileen Buss, of Long Beach Public Library, NY, offers this annotation of Because of Miss Bridgerton, Julia Quinn (HC/Avon; HarperAudio):
“This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn’s popular Bridgerton series, set a generation earlier. Billie Bridgerton spent her childhood running wild with the neighboring Rokesbys, Andrew, Edward, and Mary. Now she runs the family estate for her father and still runs as wild as she can. The eldest Rokesby, George, never really approved of Billie, but when he rescues her from a roof they begin to come to a new understanding.”
“We have read about his crazy childhood, his struggles with alcohol, and his troubled relationships with his father and Christmas. Now, we have Burroughs’ take on love and romance, and what a tale it is! This is a love story as only Burroughs can tell it — the wrong lovers, the long-term relationship that turned out to be toxic, and the love that was staring him in the face all along. Roses and moonlight it is not, but the course of true love never does run smooth. I laughed, I cried — just read it!” —Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY.
It will be issued as a one-day laydown on March 29.
It hits shelves in advance of the AMC limited series (by way of BBC One) that begins airing April 20 and stars Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) and Hugh Laurie (House). It is directed by Academy Award winner Susanne Bier (In a Better World).
As we reported earlier, the tie-in is particularly notable as the 1993 best seller is no longer in print.
“Highly anticipated” is a term that is loosely thrown around. In the case of the debut novel The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio), that claim can be documented, beginning with a major publishing auction that led to an estimated seven figure advance.
The plot is succinctly described by Kirkus in a starred review, “Dysfunctional siblings in New York wig out when the eldest blows their shared inheritance.” LJ comments that the story “typifies the Internet meme ‘white people problems’ even more than most current New York City-based literary fiction,” but concludes that the themes are nonetheless universal, “Anyone with siblings will appreciate the character dynamics at play here, although they may not care much for each character individually. A fun, quick read recommended for fans of Emma Straub and Meg Wolitzer.”
The author, who lives in L.A., clearly has Hollywood connections (her husband, as noted in a this week’s New York magazine profile, is Conan O’Brien’s head writer). The cover blurb is from Amy Poehler. “Intoxicating … I couldn’t stop reading or caring about the juicy and dysfunctional Plumb family” (no news yet on a film adaptation. Oddly, however, the latest Amy Poehler/Tina Fey film Sisters, was originally titled The Nest). A clever trailer released in January, stars several faces familiar from big and small screens (as well as author Susan Orleans), talking about their own sibling relationships.
Many libraries are showing holds that outstrip cautious ordering.
Leading in holds for the week is Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once, also a LibraryReads pick (see below).
Another week brings another new book by James Patterson. This time, he is targeting Dork Diaries fans, with a middle-grade novel featuring a girl called Jacky Ha-Ha(Hachette/ Jimmy Patterson; Hachette Audio)because she just can’t stop cracking jokes.
Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening, John Elder Robison, (PRH/Spiegel & Grau; RH and BOT Audio)
Known for his 2007 memoir Look Me in the Eye, about living with Asberger’s, Robison is also the brother of another famous memoirist, Augusten Burroughs, who also has a new memoir, arriving just a week later, Lust & Wonder. In this book, Robison writes about undergoing a treatment to reverse his condition. The title of his essay in today’s New York Times “An Experimental Autism Treatment Cost Me My Marriage” indicates that the outcome was not completely what he wished for. On Tuesday, Robison is scheduled to appear on NPR’s All Things Considered and on PBS’s NewsHour.
Basketball legend Walton suffered multiple sports injuries, including one that left him paralyzed. Now recovered, he recounts his experiences in this memoir. He is scheduled for appearances next week on Good Morning America as well as several ESPN shows and NPR’s Weekend Edition.
The Nest, covered above, is a favorite of both booksellers and librarians, who are also in agreement about a several other titles arriving next week.
Paulette Brooks, of Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI offers this warm invitation to start reading:
“Fans of Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page!”
“Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun!”
Lisa Sprague, of Public Services Librarian, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT writes:
“Coben has made me lose more sleep over the years than all my other favorite authors combined. Joe Burkett has been murdered in front of his wife Maya. They have a two year old daughter who has a nanny. After the funeral, a friend gives her a picture frame that hides a camera so she can check on the care the nanny is providing her daughter. She watches the recording. Can she believe what she saw? Is she going crazy? Both? Buy a ticket for the coaster and find out for yourself. Keep your hands inside the car; it’s going to be a wild ride.”
Lois Gross, of Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ says of Smith’s memoir:
“Evenly divided between a book about Smith’s process and her life, first as a Southern mountain child and, later, as the parent of a schizophrenic child, this book is interesting and compelling. Despite being surrounded by loving family and being blessed with an active imagination, Lee copes with a mentally ill mother. Later, her son’s mental illness and early death brings her to the breaking point but she is saved by her writing. This is a read-alike for Karr’s The Liars Club. It desperately needs a cinematic translation for it’s elegant and evocative writing.”
“This is the story of three women slowly losing themselves until they are reunited in Scoops, Michigan, at the beginning of summer: Arden, working at a job that gives her nothing but a paycheck; Lauren, becoming sadder as she moves farther from doing what she loves most; and Lolly, gradually forgetting all the things in her life that brought her joy and happiness. Linked together like the charms on their wrists, Arden, Lauren, and Lolly will remind each other of times gone by, how to appreciate the present, and how to embrace whatever the future brings. Reading this sweet story reminded me how lucky we are if we are close to those who share our history.” —Sylvia Smith, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA.
In a spinoff of the Private series that Patterson began with co-author Maxine Paetro, the head of the investigative agency, Jack Morgan drops in on offices around the world. Sometimes, as he did in Private India, Patterson takes the opportunity to work with a local author. Not so this time. Co-author Mark Sullivan is American who has co-authored several previous Private titles (Games, Berlin, L.A) and has written several solo novels. His first, The Fall Line(1994), was a New York Times’ best book of the year.
If it seems that you’re seeing more from Danielle Steel than usual, that’s correct. The publisher has declared 2016 the “Year of Danielle Steel,” with six new titles being released (an increase from the slothful pace of just four). Blue arrived in January. Upcoming are The Apartment in May, Magic in July, Rushing Waters in August and The Award in November. In this one, two people bond while investigating the contents of a mysterious safe deposit box.
The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of March 14, 2916. NOTE; Beginning this week, the list also include all the week’s picks from People magazine.
People magzaine’s “Book of the Week” (the other five pics for the week are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet).
Comedian Zach Anner has cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t slowed him down. In this memoir, he writes about winning his own travel show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Rollin’ With Zach and hosting the Have A Little Faith show produced by Rainn Wilson’s media company SoulPancake. People calls the result, “Hilarious and inspiring, Anner has made life filled with fans, love and Internet fame.”
Five Indie Next picks hit the shelves next week, from the March and April lists:
“Robert Goodenough was born in Ohio’s Black Swamp. The youngest of 10 children, he was the only one with any interest in his father’s obsession of buying seedlings from John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and trying to cultivate and perfect his apple orchard in the inhospitable black muck. Family tragedy sends Robert running west to California and the Gold Rush, where he finds solace in the redwoods and sequoias and meets a naturalist who recognizes his love of botany. But Robert is reluctantly forced to face his past and must decide to either claim it or set out on his own path. Chevalier’s tale is a thoughtfully crafted and vivid slice of pioneer life.” —Jody Misner Chwatun, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
“Shelteris the perfect example of that extraordinary kind of story that careens down a path toward a conclusion that feels somehow both completely surprising and totally inevitable. Kyung Cho is a young father whose anxiety over present financial concerns couples with damage from past traumas to inhabit every breath he takes. His precarious equilibrium is shattered when his parents are the victims of a cruel act of violence and he is called upon to react with a compassion and forgiveness that he may not possess. This novel is a dark and moving portrait of a family and what it ultimately means to love.” —Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA
“Mitchard has woven a gripping narrative of a family borne out of tragedy. Frank loses his wife and unborn son to a tsunami, and in the midst of rescuing others saves a small boy. This child, Ian, possesses a special gift that impacts those around him in powerful ways. As Frank tries to form a new family, there are repercussions from Ian’s past that put them both at risk. This is the marvelous story of Frank and Ian’s journey as both try to handle the pain of the past and accept the joy of new beginnings. I loved it!” —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
If this book’s reception in the U.K. is any indication, we will be hearing a lot about this book. The Guardian writes, “Somehow this shocking book turns genocide into pulp fiction – and gets away with it.” The Telegraph adds, that it is “weird, upsetting, unmissable.” NPR.org is the first to cover it here, “Unnerving WWII Noir In A Man Lies Dreaming.”
“Tidhar’s brilliant novel channels pulp fiction conventions to grapple with the horrors of the Holocaust. In its opening pages, readers are dropped into late 1930s England where Oswald Mosley is about to become prime minister and Hitler, whose Nazi party was defeated by the Communists, is a down-at-the-heels private investigator, a sad and tortured little man. As it turns out, this alternate history is a fever dream of a prisoner at Auschwitz. Who is to say that turning the powerful into the defeated — even as a fantasy — isn’t an important tool in coping with brutality and dehumanization?” —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA
“Dutton’s novel takes the already extraordinary life of Margaret Cavendish — 17th century natural philosopher, author of The Blazing World, and Duchess of Newcastle — and transforms it into a stunning work of historical fiction. With women in the sciences a hot issue today, Margaret the Firstsatisfies a craving for women’s writing, women’s voices, and women’s stories, painting a portrait of a sensitive, thoughtful woman hungry not just for praise and recognition, but acknowledgment, affirmation, and validation. Margaret the First is a triumph!” —Liz Wright, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
A YA novel about a star cheerleader who is drugged and raped during a party garners star reviews from every pre-pub source. Booklist says “Fierce and gorgeously drawn, this is a rape story that doesn’t focus on victimhood,” while Kirkus says “Middle and high school readers will pass this powerful, engaging story around and around. Adults should be ready to join in the discussion that follows.”
The holds leaders this week all feature the return of favorite characters.
Clawback:An Ali Reynolds Novel, J.A. Jance, (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio; Thorndike)
Off the Grid:Joe Pickett Novel #16, C.J. Box(Penguin/Putnam; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)
Starred PW, “With this exceptional entry, Box solidifies his place at the upper level of the crime fiction pantheon.”
The Steel Kiss: Lincoln Rhyme Novels. Jeffery Deaver (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)
If you have a fear of escalators, look away. The cover and title refer to a key plot element, a man is gruesomely mangled when one of them malfunctions in a Brooklyn department store..
Also a People magazine “Book of the Week,” called an “insightful, evocative thriller”
Jennifer Dayton, of Darien Library, Darien, CT offers this annotation:
“When the Clare family purchases a ramshackle farmhouse at a foreclosure auction, it appears that all is well in their world, until George comes home one evening from his job as an Art History Professor at the local private college and finds his wife murdered and their three-year-old untended yet unharmed. Told through the eyes of the townspeople and the families involved, this is a gorgeously unsettling look at a marriage and what happens to a community in the process of change.”
Marked In Flesh: A Novel of the Others, Anne Bishop (PRH/Roc; BOT).
Emily Peros, of Denver Public Library, Denver, CO gives her take on the fourth of the Courtyards of the Others series:
“In this thrilling installment, Bishop continues to explore the relationships of The Others and the humans who live at the Lakeside compound. Meanwhile, Humans First and Last organization has been making themselves known, after the attacks in the previous book that killed numerous Others along with their “Wolf Lover” friends, they are not backing down. Little do they know it’s not the Others humans need to be wary of but the Elders for which the Others act as a buffer. This is an excellent installment in the novels of the Others, exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful.”
“Eruption is everything a nonfiction book should be: Marvelous storytelling mixed with a great cast of characters, fascinating science, and little-known history. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Pacific Northwest or volcanoes will love this book. I read it in three long, satisfying gulps, and, like all great books, its stories linger in the mind long after you’ve read the last page.” —Tom Campbell, The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
“Full of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and enough misdirection to keep you guessing, Pavone’s third novel delivers everything readers have come to expect from his thrillers. As in his previous work, the world of publishing takes a central role: This time it’s a fading travel magazine and its companion travel agencies in the midst of an acquisition. Will and Chloe are a young married couple dealing with a home in need of extensive repairs so Chloe decides to take a less active role at Travelers magazine after Will is brought on board as the European correspondent. When Will meets an alluring woman while on assignment, she will change his life in ways he never could have foreseen.” —Billie Bloebaum, A Children’s Place, Portland, OR
This third thriller by Pavone struck GalleyChatters as a “sure fire hit.”
“Baume’s debut novel is a heartbreaking story of loneliness and friendship, depression and pure joy, as revealed through the relationship between a man and the dog he rescues. Baume’s transcendent use of language and utterly original voice had me stopping to read whole sentences — even entire paragraphs — aloud. Spill Simmer Falter Wither is an amazing achievement by a writer who makes her work seem effortless.” —Mary Wolf, Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe, NM
“There is magic in Helen Oyeyemi’s writing. There is magic in the settings, which shift between the conventional and the fantastic as readers devotedly follow her characters down any path they please. There is magic in the tales themselves, as readers recognize a situation only to have it bloom into a flower they have never imagined before, full of beauty or of dread. And, most certainly, there is magic in such breathtaking prose and unimaginable characters. This is a captivating story collection, filled with both fairy tale whimsy and dark, complicated mystery. Highly recommended!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Only one tie-in this week, but it is a biggie. As we reported earlier, the PR surrounding the second season start of Outlander is growing in advance of the April 9th premiere date.
Next week is blessedly free of titles arriving with long holds queues, but fans are anticipating several titles from repeat authors, including Clive Cussler’s 9th in the Isaac Bell historical detective series, The Gangster, a posthumous collection of Maeve Binchy short stories, A Few Of The Girls, and a new thriller by James Grippando, Gone Again.
The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Feb. 28
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond (PRH/Crown; BOT).
Focusing on one of the most heartbreaking aspects of poverty, the loss of a home, Evicted has already struck a chord with the media. Following four starred prepub reviews, the New York Times gave it an unusually early review on Monday, and also profiled the author. Earlier, The New Yorkerpublished an excerpt. Coverage is also coming in this Sunday’s New York TimesBook Review. [UPFATE: Featured on the cover of the NYT Book Review, Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed credits Desmond with having “set a new standard for reporting on poverty.”]
The first paragraph of the daily NYT review is a grabber:
“One of the most heartbreaking moments in Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City — and there’s a shameful assortment to choose from — is when 13-year-old Ruby Hinkston takes refuge in the public library. She’s come to use the computer. It turns out that she’s been slowly building her dream house with a free online game, and she wants to visit it again.”
The review goes on to describe the horrible conditions Ruby faces at home.
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, Rebecca Traister (S&S; S&S Audio).
In their list of “Don’t-miss nonfiction,” Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The literary world is already buzzing about journalist Traister’s history of the unmarried American woman.” Highlights of the media attention below:
Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure, Shirley MacLaine, (S&S; S&S Audio).
Of course MacLaine will be getting attention, including appearances on the Today show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, both scheduled for March 15. The next day, she will step across the aisle to Fox & Friends. Reviewed in the Washington Post.
The return of a favorite author and the debut of a new one are the highlights this week from the March LibraryReads picks.
Proving her ability to write across genres and make readers and librarians take note, Lisa Lutz turns to thrillers in The Passenger (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio).
Beth DeGeer, of Bartlesville Public Library, Bartlesville, OK offers this annotation:
“This is a compulsively readable story of a young woman who has to keep switching identities and stay on the run. Is she a reliable narrator or not? What was the original event that sent her on the run? There is a lot of action and suspense as she tries to survive and evade the law while trying to keep her moral center intact. Unlike Lutz’s Spellman books, this reads more like a Charles Portis road novel, though considerably more serious and dangerous. Highly recommended.”
Debut novelist Catherine Lowell offers a new take on the ongoing interest in all things Jane Eyre in The Madwoman Upstairs (S&S/Touchstone).
Kristen McCallum, of the Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL invites readers to:
“Meet Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the Bronte family, who arrives at Oxford to study literature, as her father did before her. She receives a copy of Jane Eyre – a volume that she thought was destroyed in the fire that took her father’s life. When a second Bronte novel belonging to her father turns up, she is convinced he has staged an elaborate treasure hunt for her promised inheritance. Enlisting the help of her sexy, young professor, Samantha sets out on a quest to find buried treasure and learns the value of friendship and courage along the way.”
“With a deft sensibility associated more often with poetry than theoretical physics, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics not only makes understandable the transcendent physical discoveries of the past century, but also reveals their powerful relevance to the human spirit. A revelatory and concise account of quantum mechanics, relativity, and the delight in both finding answers and seeking new questions, this jewel of a book lyrically demystifies the extraordinary realities of the cosmos.” —Robin J. Dunn, St. John’s College Bookstore, Annapolis, MD
“In the years following World War I, the Hess family settles on Iowa farmland hoping to escape anti-German sentiment. Two of their girls disappear as the U.S. marches towards World War II, and relationships both within and outside of the family suffer. Based loosely on an unearthed family secret, Hoover has written an atmospheric novel evocative of both a time and place.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
“We have seen transformation handled masterfully in literature, and Blackass, with its black, Nigerian protagonist waking up in the body of a white man, immediately calls to mind Kafka’s Metamorphosis. But this is something more, something different. There is a willingness here to confront how we create our identities — racially, politically, and even on social media. Barrett does this with intelligence and a playful humor that is by turns bright and biting. There is an edge to Blackass, a fire, the beginning of trouble. This is Kafka for the Kanye generation.” —Kenny Coble, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA
At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others, Sarah Bakewell (PRH/Other Press; OverDrive Sample).
Bakewell introduced many readers to the 16th century philosopher Michel de Montaigne in How To Live: Or A Life Of Montaigne In One Question And Twenty Attempts At An Answer (2010). In her follow up, she moves ahead to the 20th century in a book starred by all four pre-pub sources. Booklist points out that it’s not all arcane philosophy, “With coverage of friendship, travel, argument, tragedy, drugs, Paris, and, of course, lots of sex, Bakewell’s biographical approach pays off.”
There are three official tie-ins this week.
Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story collection gets a second Disney adaption on April 15th, this time as a live action film (the animated Disney version came out in 1967 and was the last film Walt himself worked on).
As we reported earlier, Disney is pushing the film hard, running the trailer during the Super Bowl.
The Jungle Book: The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack, Scott Peterson, Joshua Pruett (Hachette/Disney Press) is an illustrated novel based on the movie.
In support of the new Syfy 13-episode series Hunters, starting April 11, Alien Hunter comes out in a tie-in edition entitled Hunters, Whitley Strieber (Macmillan/Tor Books).
It is the first novel in an ongoing series. The second is Alien Hunter: Underworld. A third, Alien Hunter: The White House, is due in April.
The show combines thriller and SF in an alien conspiracy story, where the aliens are terrorists.
Another tie-in for Sundance’s Hap and Leonard series comes out this week as well. This time it is the complete collection of the previous Lansdale short stories augmented with one new story and an introduction written by Michael Koryta.
Also a LibraryReads pick for the month, Linda Tilden, of Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, NJ offers this recommendation:
“Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading—definitely one of Macomber’s best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels.”
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, (PRH/Knopf; BOT and RH Audio)
As we noted earlier, this is a drop-in title and therefore was released too late for review coverage from the prepub media. It was reviewed this week in the NYT. The author is scheduled for an interview with Katie Couric Monday on ABC’s Nightline. The following day, Sales will be interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition and on Fresh Air, 2/29.
Cravings, Chrissy Teigen with Adeena Sussman, (PRH/Potter)
Sorry, guys, this is a book about food cravings by the supermodel and co-host of the show Lip Synch Battle. The budding activist, who donated food to Ferguson protesters and has engaged in twitter battle with Donald Trump, will be getting plenty of media attention for her cookbook:
Tuesday, March 1 Good Morning America Live with Kelly and Michael Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert
Wednesday, March 2 The Chew
Comedy Central – Daily Show
In addition to Debbie Macomber’s latest (above), three other February LibraryRead picks come out next week.
Kimberly McGee, of Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX offers this annotation:
“Everyone loves Lizzie–she is the confidant, the late night go-to, and she is always there and hungry for attention. Lizzie becomes even more obsessed and needy when she no longer feels insecure about being overweight and it becomes painfully obvious that she will always feel bad about herself. It is a candid and sad look at how we mistreat people with different body types.”
Jessica McCroskey, of Holston River Regional Library, Johnson City, TN says the following about the fourth book in Foster’s Ultimate series:
“What. A. Ride! I absolutely loved this book. I loved finally getting Armie and Merissa’s story. I also enjoyed being able to go back and revisit past characters and getting to know future ones! The story was fast-paced and dreamy. Armie’s fight with himself over his emotions wasn’t drawn out, nor did it get tedious to read. All around, this book was an absolute pleasure, and I can’t wait to read more from Foster!”
Kristin Fields, of Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, IA offers:
“Flight of Dreams chronicles an author’s imagined scenario on the ill-fated last flight of the Hindenburg, which was shrouded in mystery. Lawhon does a masterful job by giving meticulous detail of the ship and delving into the lives of many of the characters on board. I read with mounting dread and intensity as the storyline of the disaster unfolded. Historical detail and wonderful storytelling make this a must read for historical fiction lovers.”
“Remembrances from The Great Gatsby ran through my head both as a warning and a promise the entire time I read Under the Influence. I was fascinated by the Havillands, the whirlwind couple at the center of the book, with their wealth, their ease, and their charm. It is easy to see why they appeal to Helen, weary and downtrodden as she is, and why she slips so easily into their embrace. I felt a growing sense of unease as the pages passed, picking up the warning signals Helen ignores, but I was as helpless to escape as she is. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the bitter end!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
“Like Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, Ryan’s heartbreaking novel takes readers to an island with a history unknown to many: Taiwan. Rarely portrayed in a work of fiction, Taiwan is an island of complex political relations, families torn apart by political unrest, and a lush and beautiful physical landscape. Told in luscious prose, Green Island teaches readers about the humanity of mankind, the brutality of political power and unrest, and why some secrets are never told. I cannot wait to handsell this!” —Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Is it too soon to apply humor to the Middle East? Judge for yourself from the trailer.
Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl and Her Amazing Story of Healing, Christy Wilson Beam (Hachette Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample; also in Mass Market) comes out next week as well. It is the tie-in for the March 18th film starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah.
As we noted earlier, People magazine highlighted the the story about a young girl who “survived a 30-ft. fall from a tree and told her parents she had visited heaven – then was inexplicably cured from her terminal digestive disorder.”
Ratchet & Clank is a SF video game series featuring a Lombax (a cat-like species that walks on two feet) and a robot who have adventures across multiple galaxies. On April 29 the games become an animated film.
The most heavily anticipated titles this week, as demonstrated by hold queues, are Jeffrey Archer’s Cometh the Hour, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio) and Jo Nesbo’s Midnight Sun (PRH/Knopf; RH Large Print: RH Audio).
After a string of books with “Girl” in the title, it’s a relief to hear of a successor that uses a more grownup name. The Widow, Fiona Barton (PRH/NAL; OverDrive Sample) is a People pick for the week, “a twisted psychological thriller you’ll have trouble putting down.” Entertainment Weekly’s review invokes comparisons to those Girl books, adding, “Barton’s debut, already a best-seller in her native U.K., might have more of a right to the comparison than most.”
Booksellers made it an Indie Next pick:
“Readers on the hunt for the newest, hottest thriller can take heart: Barton’s debut novel is impeccably paced and quietly terrifying, sure to fill any void left after reading The Girl on the Train. Jean Taylor is reeling over the loss of her husband, but the man she knows and the man the police know are two very different people. Told in alternating voices, The Widow is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Tana French and will have readers on the edge of their seats.” —Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA.
Prepub reviews were generally strong, with PW giving it a star. Kirkus was more mixed, “The idea of a woman who stands beside an alleged monster is an intriguing one, and very nearly well-executed here, if it weren’t bogged down with other too-familiar plotlines.”
Most libraries ordered it cautiously. A few are showing holds. Watch this one; you may need to order more.
But we’re not escaping girls completely. Kate Hamer’s debut, The Girl in the Red Coat
(Melville House; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample) has already been hailed by the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani, who also invoked the girl comparisons (as Entertainment Weekly says, “Apparently, the first rule of Gone Girl Club is: Never stop talking about Gone Girl.”).
It is also a LibraryRead pick. Kim Dorman of the Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ says:
“There is not much more terrifying than losing your child. There’s the terror, the guilt, and then the relentless and unending chasm left behind by your child. I am grateful to not know that pain, and yet what Beth, the main character of this book, went through, resonated with me. I have had so many things on my to-do list, and yet I found myself delaying laundry and dusting and research so that I could find out how this story would unfold.”
It comes with an impressive three stars from the prepub review media.
Check your holds; they are high on modest orders in many areas.
Grey was interviewed by Terry Gross on Monday’s Fresh Air about his memoir, which is also a People pick this week, “as much about his struggle coming out of the closet as it is about the theate …this is a refreshingly honest look back at an actor’s life, regrets and all.”
In addition to the “Girl Successors” above, more LibraryReads and Indie Next picks hit the shelves.
Beth Mills of New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY offers this take:
“Fans of Jackson’s Someone Else’s Love Story will be pleased to see William’s acerbic friend Paula take center stage. A successful divorce lawyer, Paula’s carefully constructed life starts to fracture when family secrets come to light, forcing her to try to come to terms with the power of her story to hurt and heal, and a growing need for family connections. A wonderful cast of offbeat, memorable characters make this book a winner.”
“I love settling into a novel where I meet smart yet conflicted protagonists and get right into their skin. In A Doubter’s Almanac, Milo Andret’s mathematical genius is as much a burden as it is a gift. He makes a series of choices — damaging to both himself and his family — that would seem to unravel any empathy readers might have for him, but Canin’s eloquent prose brings out the humanity in even the most flawed individuals. This is a novel filled with characters whose struggles with intellect, family, and vulnerability I won’t soon forget.” —Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS.
It is also People magazine’s “Book of the Week”
“Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind — at times almost unbearably painful. But Canin also shows how families can work through their divisions, making a kind of peace with even the most abhorrent behavior. Surprising and beautifully written, this hefty book is a gem.”
“On the outer edge of a struggling small town in North Carolina lives a long-married — in name, if not in fact — couple, Frank and Wendell. For all the decades they have been together they have hidden from the world to protect themselves, but now Frank’s health is failing. The poignancy of Wendell’s struggle to keep Frank safe is heartbreaking. These are not characters we see often in fiction — poor and rural and gay and old — but Griffin draws them so honestly and well that we quickly know them and come to care deeply for them.” —Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA.
“This is the compelling story of a damaged young woman, Nadia, who has taken refuge in a cabin in the Alaskan woods for the last 10 years after escaping an abusive marriage. Kachemak Winkel, the cabin’s owner, returns to Alaska after a long absence, still mourning for his parents and older brother who lost their lives in a plane crash 20 years earlier. Two young, damaged souls are at the heart of this beautifully written novel, and the wild and dangerous beauty of Alaska is present throughout. Perfect for book groups!” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO.
The tie-ins arriving this week are connected to three very popular series.
The film series stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James (the same actor who played Kemal Pamuk on Downton Abbey – Lady Mary’s first season indiscretion).
Holy Catnip, Batman! Super Heroes collide in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Starring Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, it opens March 25th.
A junior novel tie-in comes out this week.
Billed as a companion novel, it tells a new story but riffs off the movie, Cross Fire: An Original Companion Novel(Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Michael Kogge (Scholastic Inc.; OverDive Sample).
Finally, two more Star Wars books arrive, seemingly late to the party since the movie debuted in December. The first is the junior novelization of The Force Awakens film. The novelization for adults was delayed in print for weeks after the movie opened and it is only now that kids are able to get their hands on a version of their own.