Set to be her breakout Jessica Shattuck’s third book, The Women in the Castle (HarperCollins/Morrow) arrives this week. The novel looks at how ordinary German citizens dealt with the compromises they made to survive in WWII Germany. The story has personal resonance, as Shattuck reveals in a NYT Op/Ed piece titled, “I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.” The book is also a LibraryReads title (see below, under Peer Picks).
The host of Fox News The O’Reilly Factor, will undoubtedly use the show to flog his new book, which, according to the publisher, describes a “looming confrontation” between “Old Schoolers” and “Snowflakes,” who “[whine] about social injustice and income inequality and [cheer] Bernie Sanders as he [suggests] the government pay for almost everything,” adding that it is explained “so even the ladies on The View can understand it.”
At 28, Singh can claim to know what she’s talking about in the “conquering life department.” She’s listed at #8 Forbes list of “The World’s Top-Earning YouTube Stars 2015.” She is set to appear on the Today Show on Tuesday, 3/28 and later that day on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Only two peer picks arrive this week, but both are #1 selections.
“Meet Samuel Hawley, a man in a constant struggle with his violent past, doing the best he can to raise his daughter. Meet Loo, his daughter, a girl with an obscure past and an uncertain future, on the cusp of adulthood. And meet Lily, the dead woman who connects them both. In this finely woven novel, the past and the present gradually illuminate the story of a man’s life through the bullet wounds he carries with him and makes readers consider what it is to be both good and evil.” — Dawn Terrizzi, Denton Public Library, Denton, TX
“Three war widows and their children help each other survive at the end of World War II in this engaging novel filled with rich period details. Their husbands died as members of the resistance, but aside from that common thread, Marianne, Benita, and Ania bring very different backgrounds to their makeshift home in the castle’s kitchen. They also face repercussions from past choices and current secrets. Jessica Shattuck brings us into their world and shows us that the rules for love and loyalty are different in wartime.” —Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA
Additional Buzz: As we note above, this is likely to be the author’s breakout. In addition to the Indie Next #1 pick, it is a Library Reads pick for March. In an unusual pre-pub push, the owners of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes, suggest it to their readers writing it is a “book is for readers who love World War II novels and especially for anyone who thinks they don’t need to read another World War II novel.” In another bookstore connection, the top book buyer for Tattered Cover chooses three titles she recommends as she retires. One of them is The Women in the Castle.
The Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods premieres on Sunday, April 30, 2017.
One of the early reviews is particularly promising. Slash film calls the pilot “a Weird and Wonderful Start to a Promising Series … American Gods appears to do justice to Gaiman’s work, expanding on his world while being faithful to what makes it work in the first place. Green and Fuller seem to have crafted something very special, perhaps even a series that can replace the dark fantasy hole in our hearts when Game of Thrones comes to an end.”
Of the books arriving next week, the holds leader is a LibraryReads pick, Debbie Macomber’s If Not for You (PRH/Ballantine; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Macomber is known for her many series, including Cedar Cove, the basis for several Hallmark adaptations. This new title, however, is not part of a series. It is described by the publisher as a “standalone that features linked characters to A Girl’s Guide to Moving On.” That title debuted at #1 on the NYT Hardcover list.
In terms of holds, it is followed closely by C.J. Box’s Vicious Circle (PRH/Putnam; RH Large Print; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), #17 in the Joe Pickett series. Both PW and Library Journal give it a star. Kirkus adds the accolade “Bracingly familiar pleasures expertly packaged. The two families’ fraught history, tangled enough to fuel a whole season of high-country soap opera, keeps this installment from being the best place to take the initial plunge into the franchise, but first-timers will be intrigued and fans amply rewarded.”
Greg Iles concludes his trilogy with Mississippi Blood (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio). All pre-pub reviews are particularly strong, with Booklist saying, “Iles wraps up his massively ‘s “ambitious Natchez Burning trilogy with a book that is (in keeping with its predecessors) compelling, dark, surprising, and morally ambiguous.” It is also an IndieNext pick.
Grace Notes: My Recollections, Katey Sagal (S&S/Gallery).
Oh no! In her memoir, Katey Sagal reveals that she slept with Gene Simmons (undoubtedly charmed by the fact that he was once a proofreader for Library Journal). The Sons of Anarchy and Married with Children star is set for appearances on ABC’s Nightline, March 20, Good Morning America, March 30, and The View, March 31. The book will also be featured in People magazine.
The host of MSNBC’s nightly All In with Chris Hayes has a ready platform to promote his new title about racism in America. The focus of this week’s NYT Book Review’s “By The Book” profile, he recommends “Alexander Stille’s fantastic book The Sack of Rome, [PRH/Penguin, trade pbk reprint, 2007] about Silvio Berlusconi, who, in many ways, is the closest analogue you can really find among world leaders to Trump.”
At this point, a gently humorous view of the White House may seem quaintly old-fashioned, but that is what Obama’s former deputy chief of staff offers in this book. People magazine says it’s “brimming with … humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend.”
Called “Egypt’s Jon Stewart,” Youssef is a bracing example of what can happen to those who dare to speak truth to power. His show, similar to Stewart’s, was the most popular in Egypt, making him unpopular with the government he satirized. He ended up being arrested and tortured. He was released, but the pressure continued, so he cancelled his show and moved to the US. He appeared last week on the shows of two Stewart alums, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal.
The only pre-pub review is from Kirkus, which carps, “Youssef is usually funny, though occasionally he slathers on the bile a little too thickly … Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
A documentary about Youssef, Tickling Giants, is also being released in a limited run next week.
“High school music teacher, Beth, and tattooed auto mechanic, Sam, are set up by mutual friends, but neither sees a relationship developing. Their mutual disinterest quickly turns into friendship and then develops into much more. Just as their romantic relationship truly begins, Beth’s controlling mother and Sam’s hidden past get in the way and threaten to break them apart. As fans have grown to expect from Macomber, this tale tugs the heartstrings in every direction but is ultimately uplifting. It’s impossible not to fall in love with her characters.” — Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, IL
“Li-Yan and her family, devote their lives to farming tea. Like her mother, Li-Yan is being groomed to become a midwife in her Chinese village. She yearns for more and is allowed to pursue her schooling. The arrival of outsiders seeking the Pu’er tea of Yunnan brings the modern world into this isolated village. When Li-Yan finds herself alone and pregnant, she leaves her child, wrapped with a tea cake, at an orphanage. Her daughter is adopted by a couple from California, but she is drawn to the study of tea. A sweeping historical novel that juxtaposes ancient China with its modern incarnation.” Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
“Our Short Historyis a letter from a dying woman to her six-year-old son, and it totally shredded me. Yes, it is a sad story. But it is so much more than that. Readers will love the spirit of Karen Neulander. She is smart and thoughtful and fierce, and Jake is squirmy and tough and tender — just like six-year-old boys can be. Lauren Grodstein takes you to the edge of what you can bear, then shows you that strength comes from fragility and that hope still lives in despair.” —Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
Additional Buzz: Celeste Ng, Kevin Wilson, and Karen Russell provide blurbs. Both LJ and Booklist star it, with LJ calling it a “heartbreaking, character-driven story.”
“Mississippi Blood is the culmination of the Natchez Trilogy, which follows characters who are trying to get to the bottom of brutal Civil Rights-era crimes. Penn Cage watches as the world around him calls into question everything he thinks he knows, including the moral fortitude of his father. Rippling with parallels to our everyday America, Mississippi Blood will, hopefully, push us all to recognize the truths about ourselves and our country.” —Veronica Brooks-Sigler, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA
“In his second novel, Taylor Brown takes us on a fascinating trip down the Altamaha River. Also called Georgia’s ‘Little Amazon,’ the river is one of the most remote and wild places in the U.S. This is where the Loggins brothers, Hunter and Lawton, grew up with their abusive father. After he dies under mysterious conditions, they decide to kayak down the river to disperse his ashes and try to discover what really happened. Brown combines the story of the brothers’ journey and descriptions of their father’s rough life with a narrative of the 1564 French expedition and settlement at the river’s mouth. Three stories in which nature takes center stage intertwine to give this superb novel an almost mythical dimension.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI
“This is the tale of a family that has shown remarkable strength in the face of adversity. Kolata does a wonderful job showing us the Baxleys’ joy and heartbreak by chronicling their decisions, their doubts, their fears; the decision to be genetically tested for a devastating illness seemed agonizing and the consequences of living with the outcome even more so. The strength shown by Amanda and the Baxley family made this one of the most amazing stories that I have ever had the privilege to read. I thank them for sharing their story with me; it was truly inspirational.” —Austin Wheeling-Goodson, Burry Bookstore, Hartsville, SC
“‘I’m a resourceful and strong young woman, there is no other option.’ That’s the concept behind Greer Macallister’s telling of the real, honest-to-goodness life of Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective. Kate is a widow with no money and no honest prospects, and she is desperate. Her unconventional upbringing taught her flexibility, and, spotting Pinkerton’s ad, she won’t take no for an answer. She is hired as an agent and, having proved her value, is soon hiring and training more female agents and serving as a spy as the U.S. prepares to split apart. Girl in Disguise is a delight: entertaining and a sure nonstop read.” —Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
After a ten-year absence, the Power Rangers film franchise gets a reboot, with a new movie that opens March 24. Beginning as a FoxKids TV adaptation of a Japanese series in 1993. Power Rangers spun off two films, as well as toys, action figures, apps and video games.
Lionsgate hopes this movie will be the beginning of a new franchise for the studio, to replace Hunger Games, reports Deadline. Therefore, the new film is the Power Rangers origin story about five high schoolers who use newly found superpowers to save the world from an alien invasion. It stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.
Power Rangers: The Official Movie Novel, Alexander Irvine (PRH/Penguin Young Readers).
This week brings releases by sure-bet best sellers Catherine Coulter and Clive Cussler. They are joined by relative newcomer Jacqueline Winspear whose Maisie Dobbs mysteries have begun reaching new heights recently on bestseller lists. As the title of her latest outing indicates, In This Grave Hour, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio), the story sees Maisie, who served as a nurse during WWI, at the dawn of yet another war. A heavily anticipated first novel also arrives, as well as several library and bookseller picks.
The term “hotly anticipated,” is often thrown around with little documentation, but this debut novel has it in spades. The author built a reputation with her pieces for the literary journal n+1, bringing her attention and a position as a staff writer for TheNew Yorker. A collection of her essays, published as an original paperback by FSG, The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, achieved a rarity for a book of essays about books, let alone Russian books, hitting the lower rungs of the NYT Paperback Nonfiction list.For her first novel, she gets the ultimate notch on the hotly-anticipated meter, an interview in the pages of Vogue magazine, featuring a photo of the author wearing Stella McCartney, as well as another interview in New York magazine. and an excerpt of the novel was published in The New Yorker.
Critics seem to be in a race to review it. Six consumer reviews have appeared already, as tracked on Book Marks. Unfortunately, most of the reviewers have deep reservations. In the daily NYT two weeks ago, Dwight Gardner writes, “Each paragraph is a small anthology of well-made observations … Small pleasures will have to sustain you over the long haul of this novel. The Idiotbuilds little narrative or emotional force.”
The toast of late night, Stephen Colbert gives a boost to fellow comedian Todd Barry’s book this coming Wednesday by featuring him on his show. PW said of this his tour diary, “Barry deftly uses stories about a lack of toilet paper in the green room and hotel rooms with inoperative shades to play to his strengths,” while Kirkus took the opposite view, saying the book not only captures the tedium of traveling from one small comedy club to another, but “wallows in it.”
“A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality and none of the participants is left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing.” — Marie Byars, Sno-Isle Libraries, Oak Harbor, WA
“Whimsical and different, this novel’s humor hooked me. Vivian is an eccentric, living in Dublin and searching for a place where she can feel she belongs. How can you help but love a character who checks every wardrobe for Narnia and every yellow road for an Emerald City? This novel movingly explores the outcasts and the different among us, showing that they are only hoping to fit in and find a friend.” — Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
Also on the Indie Next list is White Tears, Hari Kunzru (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio).
“An unsettling, grungy, gorgeous tale of white appropriations of black culture, legacy, and memory, of the harrowing effects of racism through the years, of a haunting that resonates through generations through a blues song that should have been stamped on vinyl, that maybe was but never was. This is a story of the costs of a lack of reparations, of money and power and powerlessness, all tied up in the viscerally kinetic prose of an author writing about obsession. Beautiful, ugly, indelible writing makes this a book I won’t soon forget.” —Gretchen Treu, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI
“Ten years ago: Lindsay Nash is trapped in an abusive marriage with a man who has threatened to kill her if she runs. Today: Lindsay is a successful small-business owner and a single mom raising her teenage daughter. When her ex-husband is released from jail, however, the terror starts all over again as Lindsay and her daughter are stalked and skillfully manipulated. Her ex swears it isn’t him — but is there any chance he has really changed? This fast-paced thriller will leave you guessing right up to the end!” —Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY
“I was surprised by the lasting impact of this novel. Though it speaks to a horrible crime, it is not the crime that becomes the plot, but rather the crime’s impact. This book is an intimate look at adolescence — of how gritty and hard it can be. Through Meredith’s eyes, we are reminded of the tug-of-war between needing family and needing independence, the way that friendship and loyalty can get lost in the status wars of high-school cliques, and how innocence and wisdom twist together to leave behind something much more complex. I loved this book for its intimacy rather than its sensationalism.” —Susan McCloskey, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
“The intensity of this novel is such that you’ll be relieved that it is not longer than its 176 powerful pages. When ‘the war’ with his wife ends, a man uses devious methods to win custody of his two sons, 12 and 14, packs them in his Jeep, and heads from Kansas to start a new life in Albuquerque. The boys are aware that their father uses drugs, but their loyalty to him and their youth keep them trapped in a home that soon becomes little more than a torture chamber as their father sinks further into his addiction. Narrated in excruciating detail by the younger son, this is a moving story about how parent/child love can be turned on its head by drug abuse. Excellent writing keeps one riveted in hope that the boys will survive.” —Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Following the release of the comic tie-ins (noted here and here) to the March 31 live-action adaptation of The Ghost in the Shell, this title focuses on the trippy art.
The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt and is based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, which Movie Pilot calls “a pioneer of cyberpunk.”
Coming next week, in time for Passover, is a book that may seem like an oxymoron, a humorous Haggadah. The media will be focused on ground-breaking women and there’s a dozen librarian and bookseller picks to recommend plus tie-ins to four heavily-anticipated movies.
We need to explain why one sure-to-be popular book is NOT included on our list, the latest by the Blogess, Jenny Lawson, author of the long-running best sellers Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. Unfortunately, her new book You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds (Macmillan/Flatiron), is printed on perforated pages, which, as the publisher helpfully notes, “can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared,” a clear definition of a non-library-friendly format. Some libraries, however, have ordered copies.
A funny Haggadah? Who knew? As God himself writes in the cover blurb, this is by “Three of the funniest people I’ve ever created,” the humorist Dave Barry, the SNL writer Alan Zweibel, and Adam Mansbach, who knows a bit about creating off beat humor, having written Go the F*** to Sleep. This one was not reviewed pre-pub so many libraries have not ordered it. We predict a sleeper hit.
Amazingly, after so many years as a best seller, Danielle Steel has decided to step up her publication schedule. Dangerous Games (PRH/Delacorte; Recorded Books; PRH Large Print) is the second of six new hardcovers scheduled for this year. Following close behind in terms of holds for the week is the tenth in Patricia Briggs’ urban fantasy series, Silence Fallen (PRH/Ace; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Publishers Weekly says, “Briggs delivers her usual action and danger … and adds a surprising playfulness.”
Jumping into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings today as a result of a feature on NPR’s Fresh Air, movie rights for this memoir by a female Air Force major and helicopter pilot were signed by Sony well in advance of publication. Angelina Jolie may star, according to a recent story by TheHollywood Reporter.
We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere, Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel (S&S/Atria).
The title may sound like a feminist declaration, but X-Files star Gillian Anderson and her co-author British journalist Jennifer Nadel have another goal, to help women overcome depression and lead more productive lives. Promotion began with an interview in The Washington Post and will continue with several print and online publications, as well as appearances the following week on ABC’s The View and CBS This Morning.
Liberia, the country founded by freed American slaves, was the first to elect an woman president, one who managed the incredible feat of bringing peace to a country divided by a bloody civil war. This first biography of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is written by the NYT‘s Pentagon correspondent, Helene Cooper, who came to the US from Liberia when she was 13. Her harrowing memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, recounts that time. She wrote a story for the NYT after Trump imposed his immigration ban, about what it meant to have the US welcome her. The book is set to be reviewed widely and Cooper will appear next week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and NPR’s The Takeaway.
“In the summer of 1962, we are introduced to popular Jonathan and social outcast, Nelson, aka ‘The Bugler.’ The only thing the two seem to have in common is that they both spend a few weeks of one summer at Camp Chippewa in the woods of Wisconsin. Yet, over the course of decades, their lives and the lives of those they love the fiercest are intertwined. This wonderful novel peels back the layers of male friendship and shows what loyalty, compassion, and selflessness looks like.” — Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien CT
Additional Buzz: It’s People magazine’s “Book of the Week.” described as “Perfectly paced and leavened with humor, it is a wonderful read.” It is also an Indie Next pick for March and a GalleyChat selection.
“Fans of crime fiction and fans of domestic drama will find much to love in Parks’ genre-blending thriller. Judge Scott Sampson is a devoted family man and a respected jurist thrown into every parent’s worst nightmare: his 6-year-old twins are kidnapped, and the kidnappers blackmail Scott into increasingly immoral legal decisions. Cue marital meltdown, ethical dilemmas, paranoia, and a thrill ride that suspense lovers will race through to learn what happens next. It’s a departure from the author’s lightly snarky Carter Ross series, but a welcome one for readers of Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz.” — Donna Matturri, Pickertington Public Library, Pickerington, OH
Additional Buzz:Bustle calls it “Fast-paced and terrifying … a roller coaster of fear, deception, jealousy, and terror” and names it one of “11 Page-Turning Thrillers That Will Allow You To Escape Into Another World Right Now.” The Daily Mail in the UK includes it on their list of “Psycho Thrillers” and says “The old cliche of page-turner is dead right here. This twisted tale is written with such power and intelligence that you have no option other than to read it under your desk at work.”
“Fifteen-year-old Tea discovers that she has a power that sets her apart from the other witches in her village and will incur their hatred. She is a “bone witch” who can raise the dead. Aware that a darkness is coming, Tea agrees to leave her home and family so she can learn to save the very people who hate her. Her training, outlined in rich and fascinating detail, includes the courtly arts of singing and dancing, as well as classes in fighting. Told in short chapters, Tea reflects on her life, revealing how she becomes a courageous warrior. Although written for young adults, this will equally appeal to adults. The cliff-hanger ending will make readers eager for the promised sequel.” — Trisha Perry, Oldham County Public Library, Lagrange, KY
“There are three types of hermits in the world, according to Finkel: protesters, pilgrims, and pursuers. But Christopher Knight doesn’t seem to fit any of these categories. So why, at the age of 20, did he drive into a forest in Maine and disappear for 27 years, his only human interaction a single ‘hi’ with a passing hiker? This book uses the incredible but true story of Knight, ‘the last true hermit,’ to explore themes of solitude, introversion and the meaning of life.” — Megan Tristao, San Jose Public Library, San Jose, CA
“Exit West will take your breath away as it magically weaves together a story of falling in love while the world falls apart. Spirited Nadia captures the heart of the thoughtful Saeed, but as their different paths in life converge, ordinary life gives way to the insults of war. Mohsin Hamid conveys the story of these young refugees with tenderness, humanizing the horrors that we too often see as merely headlines. As chaos touches so many lives around the globe, Hamid writes eloquently of the beauty found in our struggle to survive. This is more than a timely story; this is a remarkable work of art.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
“Ill Will is a house of mirrors reflecting intergenerational psychodramas in which the abuses of a parent insidiously infect subsequent generations. Violent parricide, false memories, drugs, and sex fuel a double plot line and vivid character development and taut dialog propel the reader as scene shifts blur the roles of the offender and the injured. Chaon adroitly leads us through a literary haunted house, then leaves us to find our own way out.” —Bill Fore, Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT
Additional Buzz: It makes Real Simple‘s list of “The Best New Books to Read This Month.” They call it “a menacing, gripping story about a psychologist, his murdered family, serial killers, and satanic rituals.”
“There should be an excused absence from life when a new Peter Heller novel is released to the world. There is a pace and a quality to his writing that will make you want to drink it down in one gulp. Heller’s strong narrative voice and complex plotting have always stood out to me and Celine is another example of this. Loosely based on Heller’s mother, Celine is a hard-nosed — if a bit worn down — private investigator living in post-9/11 Brooklyn. She has a stellar reputation, but when she is sent on a case to locate a young woman’s missing father, it’s clear that her age (and lifestyle) has caught up with her. You will fall in love with Celine and connect with everyone who populates this book. I would give just about anything to follow her on more adventures.” —Katelyn Phillips, WORD, Jersey City, NJ
Additional Buzz:Entertainment Weekly picks it as one of their “23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017,” writing, “Celine, a PI, investigates a case in Yellowstone National Park that quickly become far more complex than the random animal attack it was made out to be.” Library Journal highlighted Heller as one of Four Rising-Star Novelists (along with Nickolas Butler for The Hearts of Men (above) and Victor Lodato for Edgar and Lucy (below).
“Though Andrea Berg hasn’t hit society’s milestones for adulthood — no husband, no baby, an anemic career — she is clearly ‘all grown up,’ and in Jami Attenberg’s wonderful new novel, she struggles to define her place to the wider world, her family, and herself. In funny, often poignant vignettes of one woman’s life, All Grown Up perceptively explores what it means to be an adult.” —Sarah Baline, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC
“Edgar and Lucy is about a terribly broken family that faces crisis after crisis yet never gives up trying to be a family. The main narrator is eight-year-old Edgar, a child brilliant beyond his years but who has a problem relating to almost everyone except his grandmother, Florence. Edgar’s mother, Lucy, loves him in her own way but thanks to Florence, Lucy really doesn’t need to make much of an effort. When Florence dies, everything changes. A stunning novel, dark at times, raw and bold, written with an uncanny feel for life and death, Edgar and Lucy kept me spellbound waiting for its conclusion but unwilling for the story to end.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
“It was just a kiss, but it nearly killed her. Jubilee is allergic to people. She can’t be touched by strangers, well-meaning or not. She retreats into her shell, away from the world, but her high school years pass, then her parents are gone, and, finally, she must move out into the world or die. She finds a home for her quiet life in a library, until Eric finds her and insists that she discover the truth of a life lived without fear. Close Enough is filled with real life, real people, and the search for happiness that we all recognize. It is a truly moving story from a rare gem of an author.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
“When pain is obvious but goes unrecognized, it feels like trying to strain salt from sugar. With the poems in Whereas, Layli Long Soldier engages with where she’s ‘from’ through history and memory, analysis and reflection. Her mission? To stay angry — to declare, ‘I’m here I’m not / numb to a single dot.’ From rants and dreams and one lexical box to a pantomime of legalese, Long Soldier is agile, aware, and not asking for pity. She aims, instead, for action — ‘whereas speaking, itself, is defiance.’” —Annalia Luna, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
Rabbit Cake, Annie Hartnett (Norton/Tin House Books; Blackstone Audio).
“When Eva Rose Babbitt, mother of daughters Lizzie, 15, and Elvis, 10, drowns while sleep-swimming, her daughters are left to fend for themselves emotionally while their father tends to his grief by wearing his wife’s bathrobe and lipstick. Elvis stays up at night, trying to keep Lizzie, a sleepwalker and sleep-eater, from burning the house down with her nocturnal ‘cooking.’ But Elvis doesn’t trust the circumstances of her mother’s death and is determined to finish her mother’s book, The Sleep Habits in Animals and What They Tell Us About Our Own Slumber, so she does a little research of her own. Annie Hartnett has created endearing and memorable characters in a delightfully original story that is sure to become a beloved favorite of readers everywhere.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
Additional Buzz: This GalleyChat pick also got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Ploughshares names it one of their “Must-Reads for 2017” (along with The Hearts of Men, above).
AMC gave a ten-episode straight-to-series order last year, for Meyer’s adaption, believing in ithe project so much that they skipped the usual pilot stage, The multi-generational historical saga stars Pierce Brosnan, Paola Nuñez and Elizabeth Frances. It premieres on April 8.
Philipp Meyer is writing the script along with fellow authors Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy. He told the Texas Observer, “99.9 percent of stuff that Hollywood picks up they actually have no intention of making it, and for the one percent of stuff that they do want to make, they have literally no interest in having the creator of the original material involved.” So he decided to write it himself. He says “The arc of the series would have the same creative arc as the book, so it wouldn’t be open-ended. Whether that means four seasons or six seasons we’ll have to figure out.”
Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31. Early buzz is building. When the trailer aired yesterday the book jumped on the Amazon sales rankings, going from #221 to #40.
About a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision, it is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.
This adaptation of the action adventure nonfiction account of Percy Fawcett’s search for a fabled lost city opens April 21. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland.
Reviewing it after its NY Film Festival debut, Variety calls it “Apocalypse Now meets Masterpiece Theater … a finely crafted, elegantly shot, sharply sincere movie that is more absorbing than powerful.”
The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a rare piece of contemporary classical cinema; its virtues of methodical storytelling, traditional style and obsessive theme are ones that would have been recognized and embraced anytime from the 1930s through the 1970s. Whether they will be properly valued by more speed-minded modern audiences will only become known when this immaculate production is released.”
Coming next week, the holds leaders are two authors who have each published over 20 titles in their series, but one has only recently jumped in popularity, the media will feature a past president who will not be talking politics, but painting, and tie-ins arrive for films currently in the news.
People Magazine – Interview with the President and one of the warriors – 3/3
Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset on and off the Court, Jay Wright, Michael Sheridan, Mark Dagostino, (Random House/ Ballantine; OverDrive Sample)
The Villanova University basketball coach will be interviewed on PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show, as well as ESPN’s Sports Center and Mike & Mike.
Only one Peer Pick comes out this week, the Indie Next pick Abandon Me, Melissa Febos (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA).
“Melissa Febos has one of those minds that’s as good at describing scenes as it is at clearly breaking down a complicated idea or articulating ambivalence. Abandon Me is a powerhouse collection — each essay can be enjoyed on its own, but taken together, they form a striking autobiographical portrait of a talented young writer and thinker. You won’t want to abandon a voice this powerful, and you won’t forget it either.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Additional Buzz:Esquire lists it as one of “The 5 Books You Should Read in February,” writing that Febos “obliterates convention with her erotically charged and intellectually astute recollections of family, relationships and the search for identity.”
The publisher says it “features new material from Saroo about his childhood, including a new foreword and a Q&A about his experiences and the process of making the film.”
Brierley tells how he was separated from his family in rural India at age 4, when he climbed aboard a train and was carried over a thousand miles away to a city he did not know. He wound up in an orphanage and was adopted and relocated to Tasmania. Decades later, he traced his way back home using Google maps.
The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham. They join a cast of actors well-known in India, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, and Tannishtha Chatterjee.
Coming next week, James Patterson releases a dystopian thriller aimed at adults, the number one LibraryReads pick, Clare Mackintosh’s psychological thriller, I See Youis picking up holds and Christina Baker Kline follows up her long-running best seller, Orphan Train with a new title.
Humans, Bow Down, James Patterson, Emily Raymond, illus. by Alexander Ovchinnikov, (Hachette/ Little, Brown; Hachette Audio: Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)
No reviews are available yet for this title, so we have to rely on the publisher’s breathless description, “GENRE-BENDING THRILLER … an innovative, illustrated thriller for adults … DYSTOPIAN APPEAL: Set in a future that is at once both recognizable and horrifying, the book will appeal to readers and viewers of dystopian adventure stories.”
Harari’s second book after his best selling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is reviewed in the daily NYT this week, somewhat dismissively, “I do not mean to knock the handiwork of a gifted thinker and a precocious mind. But I do mean to caution against the easy charms of potted history.” Check your holds. Easy charms have fans.
“Zoe Walker sees her picture in a personal ad for a dating website. At first she thinks there must be a mistake. She soon learns that other women whose pictures have appeared in these ads have been subjected to violent crimes. Zoe contacts the police. PC Kelly Smith, a disgraced former detective, works to find the mastermind behind the website and redeem herself. As each day passes Zoe becomes more and more paranoid and suspicious of everyone she meets. Told from three different viewpoints, the tension builds and kept me on the edge of my seat.” — Karen Zeibak, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT
Additional Buzz: The StarTribune names it one of “7 mysteries to chill your soul on a wintry night.” The author’s debut, I Let You Go, was a best seller in the UK. and won a strong review from the NYT BR Crime columnist. Several libraries are showing holds on this new one.
“Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” would immortalize a young woman. This is the story of Christina and her life. After almost dying as a child of an undiagnosed illness, her legs are twisted, making her stumble as she walks. As she ages, the effects of this illness get much worse leaving her with a shrinking world. This book immerses us in the life on her farm and into the heart of a young woman. A fantastic, and touching story by this author that brings to life the story behind a painting and the life of a young girl who always wanted more than she was given, but accomplished so much despite her handicap.” — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL
“Robert stands watching the demolition of the old paper mill that stood in the center of town and served as a constant reminder of his friend, Nathan. The reader is transported from present day to 1970s Maine, where Robbie finds his friendship with Nathan a literal escape from the bullying at school, and a figurative way of coping with his brother’s struggle with muscular dystrophy. The portrayal of family dynamics in the wake of tragedy is reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng but with an anchoring of boyhood friendship in this coming of age tale.” — Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO
“The Mother’s Promise is an emotional story of a mother’s love for her teenage daughter, who is struggling with severe social anxiety. Alice and her daughter, Zoe, cope with their problems until Alice becomes critically ill and is faced with a heartbreaking prognosis. She turns to two strangers for help with Zoe and her future. As the relationship among Zoe and these women evolves, they all confront their own personal problems and secrets. This beautifully written story will move readers to tears of grief, compassion, and, at its conclusion, hope.” —Fran Duke, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
A late edition to the Moana tie-in collection is Moana: The Mighty Maui Makes a Friend, Kalikolehua Hurley, illustrated by Mehrdad Isvandi (Hachette/Disney Press). It is a storybook for grades 1-3. Blu-ray and DVDs arrives March 7.
The literary world is holding its collective breath for the publication on Tuesday of George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, as we reported earlier. At that time, we were surprised to find that holds were relatively low. They have been growing since and more will come, as Saunders has several media appearances coming up, including the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday. More on the title below, under Peer Picks.
The next in the best selling series featuring child psychologist Alex Delaware series, prepub reviewers were not impressed. Publisher Weekly says, “The psychological insights Alex typically displays are few and barely relevant to the inquiry or its solution.”
“When Georgia Hunter learns that she is a descendant of large family of Holocaust survivors, she knows that she is destined to be the recorder of their story. This is the result of years of research to gather as much detail about her relatives as she possibly can. How this group of people manages to survive years of persecution and imprisonment is astounding. It is an inspiring read, and one that honors the memory and struggle of not just the author’s family, but all of the people who suffered during the war.” — Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, CT
“Welcome to a world where magic grants you access to all the benefits of wealth and power. This is the story of two families, one from magic and one not. When Abi comes up with a plan to help her family by having them serve one of the most powerful magical families, she thinks it will save them. But when her brother is sent to one of the harshest work camps, the plan seems less likely to keep them alive. Her brother must face the dangers of slavery while Abi and the others will see grandeur and wealth but also see the rotten core that is gilded in gold.” — Suzanne Christensen, Spanish Fork Public Library, Spanish Fork, UT
“The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a powerful story of both hope and despair. Told through diary entries, this is a wonderful glimpse into life in a small British town during WWII. Ryan is a skilled writer who gives each diary entry a clear voice: Mrs. Paltry is dishonest and scheming, Venetia, the self-centered young woman in love with a mysterious man, Kitty, the love struck teenager with big dreams, and Mrs. Tilling, the midwife and moral compass of the town. Through their entries, you really see them grow. The power of music brings them strength that they didn’t know that they had.” — Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Goodrich MI
Additional Buzz: Based on holds, word seems to have leaked about this debut which was a success in the UK. Prepub reviews were not positive, so libraries have ordered cautiously. Kirkus, damns it with faint praise, calling it, “Mildly entertaining, Ryan’s debut novel seems overfamiliar and too intent on warming the heart,” but nevertheless says that “readers may find themselves furiously turning pages even if they can easily predict what’s coming next.” Proving that, it is also an Indie Next selection for February.
“Saunders’ first novel has a steep entry curve. It’s not a novel that reveals itself quickly and easily, but if you give it your attention, if you burrow deep into the book, you’ll be eminently rewarded. There is a richness and depth of humanity here. There is the strange and wonderful. There is love and grief and mystery all brought together in the story of Abraham Lincoln’s dead son, the Civil War, and what may happen to us all after we leave the mortal coil. It’s a beautiful and moving book that will stay with you for a long, long while.” —Jason Vanhee, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
Additional Buzz: It is an all-star, receiving starred reviews from all four trade sources. As we wrote earlier, it is getting wide attention. On this week’s NYT Book Review Podcast, Saunders says that he originally wrote it as a play, which makes it particularly appropriate that the audio version features 166 narrators, many of them well-known Hollywood names. Saunders is scheduled to be interviewed on tomorrow’s NPR Weekend Edition Saturday and on Wednesday on the Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert.
The film stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy and is set in London during WWII. It features filmmakers creating patriotic flicks during the war.
Critics are glowing. The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “stealth charmer” and Variety says it is “a relentlessly charming romantic comedy … the sort of crowd-pleaser that knows the difference between satisfying its viewers and flattering them, all the while showcasing surprising performances from Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin, and an entirely unsurprising one from Bill Nighy — a master scene-stealer pulling off yet another brazen heist.” Entertainment Weekly says it is “Comedic, poignant, and delightful.”
The movie opens April 7.
Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel; OverDrive Sample) arriving this week ties in to the March 3 movie, Logan, the 10th X-Men film and the final Wolverine solo film. It is not a pure adaptation of the comics, but rather inspired by them.
The week brings a dozen titles that are favorites among librarians and booksellers (see Peer Picks, below), including one that arrives to hefty holds lists, Sophie Kinsella’a My Not So Perfect Life, (PRH/Dial; BOT Audio;OverDrive Sample). The holds leader however is the 44th in J D Robb’s “In Death” series, Echoes in Death (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; OverDrive Sample). PW notes that Robb “is not only prolific but consistently inventive, entertaining, and clever in her crime series set in a near-future New York City.”
Interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Merkin, described as “a productive and admired professional, a writer and critic for the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine, a novelist and essayist,” has nevertheless struggled with depression all her life. Her memoir is reviewed on the cover of this week’s NYT BR by Andrew Solomon, a clinical psychologist acclaimed for his own memoir of depression, The Noonday Demon. Denotes that Merkin writes this “long-awaited chronicle of her own consuming despair” with “insight, grace and excruciating clarity, in exquisite and sometimes darkly humorous prose,”adding that “Merkin is unlikely to cheer you up, but if your misery loves company, you will find no better companion.”
Giving voice to the implied hope of the title is the New York Post’s story headlined, “Your child is an untapped gold mine.” The author is scheduled to be interviewed next week on Fox Business Mornings with Maria and on NPR’s Here & Now.
Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, Shellac Kolhatkar (PRH/Random House)
The stories of underhanded hedge fund dealings are depressingly endless but, like Tolstoy’s unhappy families, each is fascinating in its own way. This week’s NYT Book Review says this one “is many things: a Wall Street primer; a procedural drama; a modern version of Moby-Dick, with wiretaps rather than harpoons.” The author is scheduled for an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air on Tuesday.
There’s a dozen titles to take special note of this week. Four of them are LibraryReads:
“Picking up where To Dwell In Darkness left off, Crombie’s new mystery resolves unresolved issues from that book while telling a compelling new story. Gemma is investigating the puzzling death of a nanny while Duncan is dealing with what looks disturbingly like corruption in the police force. As always in Crombie’s novels the look we get at the domestic lives of Duncan, Gemma and their children is as interesting as the mystery. Another fine entry in this excellent series.” — Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
Additional Buzz: The StarTribune counts it among their “7 mysteries to chill your soul on a wintry night,” writing “The tricky balance of the personal and the professional has always been one of the stellar aspects of Deborah Crombie’s exceptional series … The novel’s title suggests sorrow, deep and debilitating, the kind of grief that chokes. It also alludes to Gethsemane and all that garden implies — betrayal, sacrifice and forgiveness. It’s all here.”
“After reading Gaiman’s account of Norse mythology, I doubt that I will ever forget how the gods of Asgard acquired their treasures. Thor’s hammer that never misses its mark, Frey’s incredible ship that shrinks to the size of a pocketable silk scarf, Odin’s powerful spear, all came to be because of Loki’s mischief. Above all, I will not forget the ill-gotten and ill-treated children of Loki who bring about Ragnarok, the end of earth and heaven and the death of the gods. Everything feels very real and very now when told by someone who has obviously drunk of the ‘mead of the poets.’” — Catherine Stanton, Madison Library District, Rexburg, IL
“Katie Brenner has moved from her family’s farm to the big city. She goes to great lengths to present the face that she thinks the world wants to see. When she’s fired from her job and forced to return home she helps her family get their new venture up and running. Learning the truth about herself and those around her leads to the realization that nobody’s life is as perfect as it seems from the outside. Kinsella never loses her sense of humor, even when her characters are facing serious situations. She makes you believe in them and leaves you wanting to know what happens next.” — Kristen Gramer, Lewes Public Library, Lewes, DE
“Mastai’s debut is a clever and funny time travel romp which turns into an, action-packed science fiction thriller. Tom Barren stumbles through life and accidentally ruins the glittering jetpack and flying car future of 2016, replacing it with the one you and I know. The world may be worse off, but Tom’s life is better than ever. That is, until his mind starts splitting between the two realities and he must track down the genius who invented the other future. Tom’s journey through the past, across realities, and inside his mind make for a thrilling conclusion.” — Dan Brooks, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC
“Russell, just released from an 11-year prison sentence, finds anger and revenge waiting for him on the outside. Maben, homeless, broken, and walking along the interstate in the blazing Mississippi heat toward McComb, is forced to make a decision that puts her and her young daughter on the run from the police. In a desperate moment of chance or fate, Russell and Maben’s paths cross, their shared past is revealed, and Russell is left to make the ultimate choice. Smith’s novel is mesmerizing from its opening pages; you will have to pace yourself while reading it to fully enjoy and appreciate the pitch-perfect language and descriptions that can only come from one who has a masterful command of storytelling.” —Matt Kelly, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
“We all have a secret self, parts of our personalities that are unknowable, even to the people closest to us. In A Separation, Kitamura stays largely inside the narrator’s head, musing on a great many things: the muddled truth that can exist between married couples, the precise pain of infidelity, the myriad tiny betrayals we commit every day. Her prose is perfect, spare and beautiful, and her observations are spot-on. Some of her sentences were so good they startled me out of the story, which might sound like a bad thing, but it really isn’t. It just meant I spent a little longer with this book, my mind wandering like the narrator’s.” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
“If there is Canadian magical realism, this is it! The Lonely Hearts Hotel is the charming story of Rose and Pierrot, two children raised in a Montreal orphanage in the early 20th century. O’Neill traces their romance from their childhood of entertaining rich people in their homes to their less salubrious post-orphanage careers. When Rose and Pierrot meet again as adults, magic happens—but can this magic survive the rigors of the real world? Fantastic and fabulous in the truest sense of both words.” —Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
“This eloquent and detailed collection of aspirations and dreams tells of those torn between two worlds, the country and family left behind in trade for a distant place of hope and desires fulfilled. Each chapter is an experience of memory suffused with subtle moments that will leave you breathless.” —Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
Additional Buzz: While the term “timely” seems overused these days, it clearly applies to this book by the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction last year for The Sympathizer. The author is scheduled to be interviewed next week on NPR’s All Things Considered as well as on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Holds are growing.
Pachinko, Min Jin Lee (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio).
“A father’s gentle nature, a mother’s sacrifice, a daughter’s trust, and a son’s determination are the cornerstones of this grand, multilayered saga. Pachinko follows one family through an ever-changing cultural landscape, from 1910 Korea to 1989 Japan. As the bonds of family are put to the test in the harsh realities of their world, Sunja and those she holds dear manage to carve themselves a place to call home with hard work, self sacrifice, and a little kimchi. Through it all is a message about love, faith, and the deep-rooted bonds of family. Min Jin Lee gives us a phenomenal story about one family’s struggle that resonates with us today. It will take hold of you and not let go!” —Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
“You don’t have to remember the 1980s to deeply ‘get’ this sweet memory trip back to the decade when video games, personal computers, and mixtapes were new. But if you did come of age in the 1980s, look out. All those awkward boy/girl moments, all those songs that comprised the soundtracks of your make-out sessions and your break-ups, all the wonder of your first encounters with MS-DOS buried deep in a far corner of your memory… Jason Rekulak will bring it all back to you.” —Carol Spurling, BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID
Additional Buzz: Another of Entertainment Weekly‘s “The 23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017” picks. They write “Revel in 1987 nostalgia in this debut about a teen boy, a coveted copy of Playboy and a computer-nerd girl.”
“Sarah Manguso is a master of the minimalist form. She can do more with a sentence than many authors can do with an entire book. In this collection of brief ruminations, she covers everything from sex and mortality to ambition, mental illness, writing, desire, and motherhood. These ‘arguments’ are aphoristic gems in which a seemingly random thought has hardened into a bold, cutting, crystalline truth. There is no exposition. Manguso lets these minute statements stand on their own, and the reader is left with nowhere to hide from direct engagement with a most remarkable literary mind.” —Keaton Patterson, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
“With Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller confirms her place as a writer of exceptional insight and warmth. This tale of a marriage, of a family, and especially of children bearing the brunt of the fallout of betrayals and abandonment, pulls you in and refuses to let you emerge from the lives of its characters until the tale is finished. Even then, it takes time to shake the spell the book creates. A wonderful follow-up to Our Endless Numbered Days that explores similar themes through an entirely different story, Swimming Lessons will be a great book for fans of Fuller’s first novel and will bring her new fans as well.” —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA
Debuting at Sundance, Before I Fall is based on Lauren Oliver’s 2010 bestselling YA novel about a teen who relives the last day of her life over and over again.
The Hollywood Reporter says “this neatly written Heathers-meets-Groundhog Day high-concept package delivers both technical polish and a toothsome yet likeable cast. Better still, it has just enough tragic edge to draw young adults, and young-at-heart adults, with melancholy temperaments, a sizeable constituency judging by the popularity of dying teen stories.”
It opens in theaters on March 3 and stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals, Diego Boneta, and Elena Kampouris.
NYT‘s ArtsBeat blog writes that the show, which has been running in London since 2013, will be revamped for its US debut, to make it more familiar to fans of the Gene Wilder film version, including songs made famous by the movie. Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle plays Wonka.
A documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House, I Am Not Your Negro reflects on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Samuel L. Jackson narrates the film, which includes stunning archival footage.
Entertainment Weeklygives it an A- and Variety says “Raoul Peck’s transcendent documentary takes a kaleidoscopic journey through the life and mind of James Baldwin, whose voice speaks even more powerfully today than it did 50 years ago.”
The NYT ranks it as as one of the 10 best films of 2016, writing “In his thrilling documentary, Raoul Peck closes the divide between the personal and political through a portrait of James Baldwin. Expressively narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the movie largely draws on Baldwin’s own writing — as well as material like his F.B.I. files — to create a portrait of a man that turns into a harrowing indictment of his country.”
The film is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category and opens on Feb. 3.
Another tie-in to a Broadway play is Jitney: A Play – Broadway Tie-In Edition, August Wilson (The Overlook Press). Part of August Wilson’s 10-play The American Century Cycle, itwas the only one that had yet to be preformed on Broadway until its debut on January 19th of this year.
It is directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and stars Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, and John Douglas Thompson.
The NYT raves, writing “Conversation sings and swings, bends and bounces and hits heaven smack in the clouds, in the glorious new production of August Wilson’s Jitney … words take on the shimmer of molten-gold notes from the trumpets of Louis and Miles.”
Wilson, Daniel Clowes (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly).
The live-action adaptation of Clowes’s 2010 graphic novel Wilson, starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, and Judy Greer also premiered at Sundance. Unfortunately, it was not a hit with the critics there. Variety writes, that it “boasts some funny vignettes but fails in the crucial test of making us care much about the title character.”
Each week seems to bring a new Gone Girl/Girl on the Train contender. This week’s candidate is My Husband’s Wife, a debut by Jane Corry (PRH/Pamela Dorman; BOT; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample).
A best seller in the UK, it is showing high holds ratios in advance of its release here. Parade Magazine features it this week, predicting, “If you loved Gone Girl and The Talented Mr. Ripley, you’ll love My Husband’s Wife…It’s got every thriller’s trifecta: love, marriage and murder.” It received strong reviews from Booklist and PW, but Kirkus panned it. Note that holds are heavier, on another contender, The Girl Before by JP Delaney (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), as we wrote last week.
The titles highlighted in this column, 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 Jan 30,2017
The parents of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, an African American high school student who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida in 2012, an incident that helped spur the Black Lives Matter movement, will appear on several shows this week.
USA Today – video interview, today ABC Nightline – 1/27
ABC The View – 1/30
Comedy Central Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah – 1/30
ABC Good Morning America – 1/31
“Louise meets a charming man in a bar and is smitten. The attraction is mutual, but David confesses he is married. They go their separate ways…until the next morning when Louise goes to work and realizes that the new psychiatrist who has been hired by the practice is David. Adele, David’s wife, is struggling to keep their marriage alive, but David has tired of her lies. A friendship begins between Adele and Louise. David and Louise are still attracted to each other and the triangle is complete. This is not your average thriller. It is absolutely riveting!” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX
“I celebrate whenever there’s something new by Paul Auster. I wasn’t prepared, though, for just how moved, awed, and astonished I found myself while immersed in his inventive and grand novel 4 3 2 1. About a life lived fully, about possibility in love and finding a path to take that’s the right one, this is a large novel in all respects, but, most importantly, in spirit. In its writing, Paul Auster has created nothing short of a masterpiece.” —Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast opens in theaters on March 17. The film stars Emma Watson as Belle, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens as the Beast. Ewan McGregor is Lumiere and Emma Thompson plays Mrs. Potts.
Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Disney Beauty and the Beast (Updated Edition): Inside Stories from the Animated Classic to the New Live-action Film, Charles Solomon (Hachette/Disney Editions)
The live-action version of the Archie comics, Riverdale, premiered last night on the CW.
In their rave review of the first four episodes, Den of Geek! calls the show “highly addictive” and writes “Yes, this is a show that mixes sex and murder and noir with Archie, but it does so in a way that is self-aware and instantly ready to shatter expectations … And you know what? It is magnificent.”
The live-action adaptation stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt. It is already getting criticized for whitewashing, and TasteofCinema wonders if it will succeed.
Among the peer picks coming next week is the number one LibraryReads title for January, considered this season’s heir to the “Girl” mantle and showing strong holds, The Girl Before, JP Delaney (see below).
Follows Italian theoretical physicist’s Carlo Rovelli’s surprise best seller, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. A profile in this week’s New York magazine says this one is a “more expansive book on physics from the ancient Greeks to contemporary quantum mechanics … with its warm, enthusiastic language and tone, the book is also deeply humanistic in approach.” He is scheduled to appear today on NPR’s Science Friday.
“A page turner that is sure to be a hit. Each chapter alternates between two time periods. Back “then,” there is Emma, looking for the perfect flat. Her agent suggests One Folgate Street, built by architect Edward Monkford. In present day, Jane, a single thirty-something also ends up on Folgate Street. Both women learn the sinister history of the property and readers won’t know who to trust as Delaney’s debut clutches you by the throat and won’t let you go.” — Kara Kohn, Plainfield Public Library District, Plainfield, IL
“Barry takes her readers back to Salem with a mesmerizing tale filled with familiar characters from her previous works and new ones as well. Towner Whitney and John Rafferty come to the aid of Callie Cahill as they attempt to piece together the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of her mother while trying to keep herself from becoming a victim as well. This is a beautifully written story, full of twists and turns. Fans of The Lace Reader will love The Fifth Petal, though the book stands on its own and can be recommended to all readers.” — Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY
Rise: How a House Built a Family: How a House Built a Family, Cara Brookins (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)
“It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with such a strong female character—and it’s not fiction! Cara Brookins has survived three bad marriages. After the abusive third marriage dissolves, Brookins resolves not to be scared anymore and decides with steadfast determination to take charge of her family. She takes her kids on a road trip to a cabin in the Ozarks, where they begin to dream about having a new house that represents their new life. Though it’s hard for them not to be scared at every turn, their recovery and growth parallels the structure of their home. As they build, they tear down emotional walls. I kept looking at the photo of that amazing house on the back of the book with wonder that she was able to do this on her own. What an amazingly strong woman! I loved this book.” —Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO
“Izzy Poole is 18, pregnant with her erratic art teacher’s baby, and without any family or money to help her raise her child. Dr. Preston Grind is tragically widowered and estranged from his parents, who raised him using unconventional and unhealthy methods in the name of science. Dr. Grind invites Izzy and nine other couples also expecting their first child to join the Infinite Family Project, an experiment in communal parenting and an attempt to rebuild Dr. Grind’s broken family. This is a fascinating and touching exploration of what makes or breaks a family.” —Marisa Langlois, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY
In a twist, James Patterson publishes a hardcover next week featuring a character first introduced in one of his paperback original BookShots series rather than the other way around. Never Never(Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) features detective Harriet Blue of the Sydney Police Department. She appeared in the December BookShots title, Black & Blue, written in collaboration with a new Patterson co-author, Candice Fox, a crime writer who lives in Sydney. In addition, Patterson publishes a new middle grade title next week, the third in a series, House of Robots: Robot Revolution (Hachette/ jimmy patterson; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) with co-author Chris Grabenstein.
In YA, Veronica Roth, author of the popular dystopian Divergent series, begins a new space opera series with Carve the Mark, (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen; HarperAudio). Booklist notes that, despite the change in genre, her themes are familiar, “Roth offers a richly imagined, often-brutal world of political intrigue and adventure, with a slow-burning romance at its core,” but SLJ warns,
fans of the earlier series “will find that this book has less romance and more violence.”
Arriving with three starred reviews is the second in Gregg Hurwitz’s thriller series, The Nowhere Man: An Orphan X Novel (Macmillan/Minotaur; Brilliance Audio). The first book garnered praise as well as a film deal prior to publication. Last year, it was announced that Bradley Cooper was in talks to star, but there’s been no news since. However, Hurwitz is working on another project with Cooper, as screen writer for a TV series based on the Pulitzer Prize winner, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick. Of this second book Booklist, writes “As good as Orphan X was, this is an even better novel, mostly because of its more claustrophobic setting… its captivating villain, and the way the author keeps ratcheting up the danger.” Hurwitz has signed for three more books in the series.
The titles highlighted in this column, 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-jan-16-2017.
Reviewed in this week’s New York Time Book Review, this is Martin Luther King’s widow’s memoir as told in an oral history to her friend, Reynolds, over 30 years. It is scheduled to be featured on Good Morning America as well as Nightline on Monday, Martin Luther King Day.
Epstein argues that Snowden is not a whistle blower but a spy for the Russians or the Chinese. It is reviewed skeptically on the cover of the New York Times Book Review this week by Nicholas Lemann, who is interviewed on this week’s “Book Review” podcast. He says that although Epstein never really substantiates his claims, that the book can be fun if you treat it “like reading a John LeCarre novel.”
“A fun take on Pride and Prejudice in a fantasy setting. Merrybourne Manor has a gryphon infestation and has contracted with a band of Riders to kill them. As you can imagine, the main Rider is a little haughty and our heroine has a long memory. Familiar trials and tribulations occur with some detailed world-building, laying the groundwork for a sequel. Good for readers who don’t mind literary re-imaginings, love P&P, and Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels.” — Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA
Four Indie Next titles publish this week, from the January and February lists:
“In 1965, Ruth Malone, recently separated from her husband, wakes to find her children gone. Both are found dead and Ruth finds herself the prime suspect, tried and convicted by the court of public opinion because she is a single parent and rumors abound about her drinking and dating habits. Flint has created a compelling whodunit based on true events, and I was riveted from page one. This is a literary thriller that will have you parked in your reading chair until you turn the last page!” —Sarah Harmuth Letke, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
“This phenomenal collection of short stories has ruined me forever. Ottessa Moshfegh is brilliant when it comes to showing off the uglier, twisted side of humanity, the part that we would never share on Facebook or Instagram. Her characters are often desperate, hungry for something they might be able to obtain if only they could name it. Their bitterness often leads to grotesque, yet honest, reactions to the world around them. I can’t wait to recommend this dark little oddity to as many readers as possible.” —Becca Chavez, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
“Join 85-year-old Lillian on a New Year’s Eve stroll through Manhattan, a city as changed by time as Lillian herself. As with Joyce’s Ulysses, the reader is privy to a life told in snapshots of memory within a single day. Based loosely on the life of Margaret Fishback, Lillian is a former Depression-era advertising copywriter for R.H. Macy’s and a poet of light verse. She is also a mother and an ex-wife. Rooney’s work has a light touch, but she is never frivolous. Rooney has the capacity to portray depth within brevity, pain within humor. Here is a novel that both entertains and enlightens, a balance rarely achieved.” —Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI
“In her remarkable debut, Adelia Saunders develops an intriguing idea into an extraordinary book. When Magdalena looks at other people, she sees words describing their lives written on their skin. The impact is so disturbing that she often leaves her glasses off and walks through the world in a blur, almost missing an encounter with Neil, the American student upon whose face her own name is written. Would fate have demanded that they meet? The interwoven stories of Magdalena, Neil, and their families raise thought-provoking questions of destiny and freewill. Well done, Ms. Saunders!” —Gillian Kohli, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
Additional Buzz: It is picked by Canadian librarians as a Loan Stars pick for January (as is Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk).
It’s big week for readers’ advisors, with a dozen librarian and bookseller picks arriving. In addition, a series often mentioned as a librarian favorite, the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman returns with The Burning Page: An Invisible Library Novel(PRH/ROC; OverDrive Sample). The first (The Invisible Library) and second (The Masked City) were both LibraryReads picks (and here).
Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection, George Karl, Curt Sampson (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).
The subtitle says it all. George Karl is a no-hold-barred former NBA coach. Excerpts from the book began making headlines at the end of last month, including the New York Post‘s “George Karl sounds more deranged every day.”
Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission. Bret Baier, Catherine Whitney (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio).
The author is the host of Fox News Special Report, recently ranked as the third most-watched cable news show, giving him a ready platform to promote his book. It focuses on Eisenhower’s farewell address, which famously warned of the dangers of the “the military-industrial complex.” Kirkus calls it “A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.”
Waldman, who successfully treated her mood swings with small doses of LSD, is set to be interviewed on ABC’s Nightline on Jan. 18. Her book is a People Pick this week, “Her entertaining journal interweaves drug-related research … with scenes from her famous marriage to writer Michael Chabon.” It will also be reviewed widely.
Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and a MacArthur Fellow, is scheduled to be interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air on Jan 17. 1. Kirkus says her “deeply researched, well-informed history [draws] on a rich trove of diaries and letters [and] the author follows many Mormon families as they confronted poverty, illness, privations, and persecution in their quest to establish a community where they could practice their faith and enact their social vision.”
“We journey to 14th century Russia where the old ways still hold sway in the outlying villages and spirits and magical creatures are real. When Vasya’s stepmother and the new village priest try to end the pagan offerings, it us up to Vasya to stop the Bear from awakening. Can she find the strength to accept who she really is and protect her family and village? This magical story captivated me and pulled me fully into that world. The last third and the pulse-pounding finish had me on the edge of my seat.” — Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga, OH
“’Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.’ These eight words will change everything for Agent Aaron Falk, summoned by the father or his former best friend. It appears Luke went on a rampage, murdering his wife, son, and then himself. At Luke’s father’s request, Aaron agrees to look into the murders/suicide and learns that the small town has long held grudges and secrets that may be best kept hidden in this atmospheric, chilling complex tale of anger and revenge.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
“Placidia is seventeen when she marries Major Hockaday, an older man and recent widower with a child. After he is recalled to service in the Civil War, she must manage his farm and take care of his son and all with little help. When he returns, it is to find that she has given birth, and said to have murdered the child. Told in journal entries, letters, and court documents, we learn about her life and the answers to this puzzling and horrifically charged event. A dark book that highlights the amazing strength so many of these women had to develop.” — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL
“Kate Priddy is moving to Boston to swap apartments with her cousin. Haunted by an abusive ex, she wants to leave behind her previous life. But when her neighbor, Audrey Marshall, is murdered, Kate is drawn into a web of fear even darker than her past. Varying points of view add new perspectives to the narrative as the book goes on; the mystery of what really happened to Audrey is just a part of the intrigue as we delve into the minds of imperfect, broken people. As a fan of Swanson’s previous work, I was not disappointed.” — Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburgh, OH
“Not for the faint of heart, Johnson’s first book is a beautifully crafted work that delves into the perils of teen-dom in a wealthy, insulated California neighborhood. The story opens with the suicide of an outcast middle-school boy. Fast forward to high school, where seemingly minor struggles of both teens and adults expose themselves to be deeply ominous, leaving few untouched by the ensuing tragedies. As the plot slowly builds, the intricate web of relationships that intertwine the lives of characters and the events that they experience become apparent, ultimately returning full circle.” — Amy Christiansen, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO
Additional Buzz: In the new issue of People as the “Book of the Week,” called a “stunning debut [that] … explores the fallout among a group of teens … who prove, in the end, less entitled than simply empty and searching. An eye-opener.” It is also an Indie Next selection and a GalleyChat title. Librarians recently chatted with the author as part of our PRH EarlyReads Author chat program.
Seven additional Indie Next picks also hit shelves:
“The journey of middle-aged swindler Billy and his young, idealistic partner Charles is a journey into the history and heart of the oft-maligned American dream. As the nation considers whether it will join World War I, Billy and Charles must weigh the merits of freedom against patriotic obligation, their life on the road against the temptation of putting down roots, and their diverging desires against the love and loyalty they bear for each other. As Billy says, ‘I reckon that’s the beauty and the shame of it, all at once.’ Peelle’s exploration of this beauty and shame is exquisitely wrought, richly populated, and ultimately devastating. I finished the novel in tears.” —Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
“Once again, master storyteller Bohjalian has crafted a thoughtful, suspenseful novel that grabs hold and doesn’t let go until the end. Exploring the world of sleepwalking and parasomnia, he recounts the story of the night Liana’s mother disappeared. At turns a harrowing mystery and a heartbreaking tale of a family coping with their mother’s affliction, The Sleepwalker is filled with beautiful prose that culminates in a twist readers never see coming.” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
Additional Buzz:The Washington Post, in an early and rave review, calls it a “spooky thriller … a dark, Hitchcockian novel … Like many of Bohjalian’s novels, this neo-New England gothic ends with a surprising and most satisfying twist. It was so deliciously dark that I reread The Sleepwalker to pick up on all the subtle clues this clever novelist dropped with poetically perfect precision throughout.”
It is heralded by an appropriately creepy book trailer:
“This is the perfect dead-of-winter read! Ryan DeMarco is shocked to learn that his friend Thomas Huston, an internationally bestselling author, has disappeared into the woods, leaving his slaughtered family behind in their once-serene home. How could a man who has it all – perfect career, perfect wife, perfect kids — become such a monster? This is the question DeMarco sets out to answer, all while on a wild chase to track down Huston before he freezes to death in the harsh northern Pennsylvania winter.” —Maggie Henriksen, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
“Burning Bright solidifies Petrie’s place among the best thriller writers working today. His hero, Peter Ash, wanders from town to town, living outdoors because his PTSD will not allow him to remain inside walls for very long. When he discovers a woman on the run from shadowy killers, Ash knows he must help her in spite of his near-crippling claustrophobia. Petrie gives us characters we love, warts and all, and there is a true sense of forward propulsion to his action-packed tale. Peter Ash is a hero for today and Burning Bright puts Petrie in the company of Lee Child and Robert Ludlum.” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
“What would you do to save the lives of your friends? In this debut novel, Winifred and her three friends are about to find out. Instead of a trip to a comfortable, fancy resort in some exotic destination, they embark on an excursion to the Allagash wilderness in upstate Maine. What happens next is everyone’s nightmare, yet it leads to the kind of wisdom few people ever achieve. This is a tense, disturbing, yet satisfying story of the strength of friendship in the face of a severe challenge.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
“Haunting, foreboding, eerie, and ominous, Schweblin’s Fever Dream is the first of the Argentine author’s books to appear in English. Despite its brevity, Fever Dream throbs with a quickened pulse, as heightening tension is its most effective quality. An intriguing yet purposefully vague plot adds to the story’s mystique, one of peril, poison, and the unexplained terror of worms. Metaphorical in scope, Schweblin’s impressively constructed tale leaves much to the imagination but is all the richer for doing so. Unsettling and compelling, this is a delirious, potent novel not to be overlooked.” —Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
“Soli is an 18-year-old Mexican girl who enters the U.S. illegally and gives birth to a baby boy. Rashi and Kavya Reddy are an Indian-American couple in Berkeley who have unsuccessfully tried to have children. Their stories intersect when Soli is arrested and her baby is taken from her by Child Protective Services and given into foster care with the Reddys, who become attached to baby Ignacio and want to adopt him. Sekaran does a good job describing the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants, and Soli’s hope of regaining custody rings true. A compelling read that examines very topical parental rights and immigration issues.” —Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Stuart Woods and Danielle Steelkick off the new year with new titles. But these high-output authors are relative slackers, publishing just one title each. James Patterson beats them all with four new BookShots titles (he does have help, however).
As we’ve noted before, the most popular BookShots titles are those that tie in to well-established Patterson characters, but format is also worth examining. Sno-Isle’s Collection Developments blog recently posted “Bookshots a Better Bet for Audio?” As Darren Nelson points out, the audio versions are circulating better than print for the system and that makes sense, “the typical BookShots audiobook … is probably a great fit for [those] … searching for a bite-sized audiobook they can actually finish in one long trip or a week’s worth of commutes.” All four of the new BookShots titles are available in audio.
The titles covered in this column, 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 Jan.2, 2016
“A lonely teenager in rural northern Minnesota, Linda is desperate for connection and obsessed with both her enigmatic new neighbors and a classmate entangled in a scandalous relationship with a teacher. Narrating these seemingly disparate story threads is the adult Linda, who may have been villain, victim, or bystander in at least one tragedy. With lyrical prose and precise pacing, debut author Fridlund builds tension and weaves a complex, multilayered morality tale rich in metaphor and symbolism. This haunting, meticulously crafted novel will inspire lengthy rumination on topics ranging from the meaning of the title to the power of belief. Perfect for reading groups!” —Sharon Flesher, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI
Additional Buzz:People magazines picks it in the new issue, calling it, “a compelling portrait of a troubled adolescent trying to find her way in a new and frightening world” The author won the McGinnis-Ritchie Award in 2013 for the first chapter and the full novel has gone on to earn three pre-pub starred reviews, from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Kirkus calls it “a literary tour de force.”
“A ‘difficult woman’ has become shorthand for one who speaks her mind, who questions patriarchal power, and who refuses to be defined by a standard of femininity. The women who populate Gay’s story collection are all difficult in their own ways — mothers, sisters, lovers, some married and some single, most of flesh and one of glass — yet they are all searching for understanding, for identity, and for ways to make sense of a sometimes nonsensical, cruel world. Some of Gay’s stories are graphic, some are allegorical, and all are important commentaries on what being female looks and feels like in modern America.” —Becky Gilmer, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR
“Leopard at the Door is a beautifully layered coming-of-age novel set in a Kenya still under the yoke of colonial British rule. Rachel, whose beloved mother died when she was 12, returns to the country she loves after six years in England. She struggles against the expectations of her father and his new partner, Susan, whom Rachel has a difficult time accepting. Fine writing weaves Rachel’s story with the essence of Kenya, the treatment of its people, and the uprising of the Mau Mau who seek independence. This is a thrillingly taut novel — with a clever title, too!” —Biddy Kehoe, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE
“Dan Chase is a wealthy old man living a quiet life after the death of his wife and his daughter’s move to another part of the country. But wait — he is being followed, and then his house is broken into and he has to kill the intruder. Next, the old man turns to his ‘go’ bag as it seems he has many identities, stashes of currency, and a plan to disappear. There are secrets to be discovered all throughout this tale and Perry keeps readers wondering what will come next. This is definitely one of Perry’s best!” —Barbara Kelly, Kelly’s Books to Go, South Portland, ME
“To some extent we are all chameleons. We fit ourselves to the situations we find ourselves in, act differently around our boss than with our family, and tell little white lies out of kindness. But what if that’s all you did? Hattie Hoffman is just a teenager, but she has already mastered the art of observing the people around her, assessing their desires and expectations and molding herself accordingly. Everything You Want Me to Be is a chilling mystery that explores the mutability of identity through the eyes of three very different people. If you’re looking for the next captivating thriller that everyone will be comparing to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, this is it!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
Additional Buzz: A People magazine pick for the week, “A talented young girl set on ditching Minnesota for New York is murdered, and Del, the local sheriff, sets out to find her killer. This time-shifting novel … could have been pure cliche; instead, Mejia’s well-drawn protagonist brings the rural community alive and imbues the narrative with delightful, dry humor.”
“This multigenerational story is a road-trip novel, an ecological disaster drama, and a harrowing post-Iraq War PTSD portrait all rolled into one highly readable, gorgeously written book. Raymond tells this story peering over the shoulders of three strong characters, each of whom have to reconcile feelings of love — both romantic and familial — with the brutal realities of life during wartime. Despite its dark turns, Freebird is a book filled with hope for its characters as well as love for the real world it ably attempts to recreate and offer respite from.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
As we noted at the time, Variety reported that the second film as well as the upcoming third film of the trilogy (shot back-to-back) is directed by James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Cards). He replaces Sam Taylor-Johnson with whom James clashed during the filming of the first movie. The screenplays for the final two films will be written by E. L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard.
The inspirational film has been pushed back from its original April 2016 slot and will now open on Feb. 3. It stars Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Holt, Jon Voight, and Stephanie Leigh Schlund.
It had a rocky introduction when the preview aired in August, with The Guardian writing “Renée Zellweger and Greg Kinnear’s aggressive condecension; Djimon Hounsou’s Jar Jar Binks accent; the set designer’s antler fetish … this film does not look good.”
“Every book changes your life. So I like to ask: How is this book changing mine?’ Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, focuses on a personal collection of books that changed his life. Each book he selects provides a lesson, a reminder as to how to live his life. Readers will remember favorite books, find new books to try, and lessons to think about. Schwalbe’s book is warm, charming, and very personal. It’s a book for all avid readers.” — Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN
The LEGO film opens February 10, 2017 and stars Will Arnett as Batman as well as Michael Cera (Robin), Zach Galifianakis (The Joker), Rosario Dawson (Batgirl), and Ralph Fiennes (Alfred). The film is a spin-off of the highly successful The LEGO Movie in which Batman almost stole the show.
Tie-ins have come out through the month of December. The trade paperback came out on Dec. 6. and the mass market comes out this week (both HarperCollins/Morrow).
Variety reports that Affleck told reporters at an early screening that his goal is to blend “a throwback vibe with modern energy. And that’s fitting: In Lehane’s novel, Affleck has found a gangster yarn akin to the ’30s and ’40s genre pictures that inspired him, but one with a fresh face.”
Live by Night follows The Given Day, which was the author’s first departure into historical crime. A third book in the series, World Gone By, was published last year.
Very few new titles arrive in the upcoming week and none of them have significant holds.
We’re unable to check on one title, however, because most libraries have not yet ordered it. Batman Vol. 10, (DC Comics) collects the final issues in what Entertainment Weekly describes as “writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo’s … landmark run on DC’s Batman … [which] introduced daring new concepts to the Batman mythology, including a bold and colorful new take on his origin story.”
People magazine this week picks two titles from Bloomsbury USA, published earlier this month.
The “Book of the Week” is The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Ratika Kapur, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury, 12/3; OverDrive Sample). About a “simple woman from a good family” in Delhi who uncharacteristically embarks on an affair, this novel is described as a “delightfully funny novel [that] delivers a serious message about what happens when our responsibilities push us to the breaking point.” It received a starred review from Kirkus. UPDATE: In the Wall Street Journal Sam Sacks gives it a particularly intriguing review, ending with “In Mrs. Sharma, Ms. Kapur has fashioned a memorably double-sided character for a novel that, like a gathering storm, changes before your eyes from soft light to enveloping darkness.”
On a weightier note, People also picks They Are Trying to Break Your Heartby David Savill (Macmillan/ Bloomsbury, 12/6; OverDrive Sample), writing, “The Bosnian war and Thailand’s ’04 tsunami come chillingly to life in this novel, which intertwines the stories of four people … In lean, piercing prose, Savill brings the narrative to a surprising climax.”
Only one tie-in hits shelves but it is a big one, the novelization of the newest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Alexander Freed (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio/BOT).
The novel, which according to the publisher includes “new scenes and expanded material” beyond the film, follows the story of how the Rebellion steals the plans for the Death Star, thus setting up the action in the 1977 film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.