Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

More HAWK Flying Your way

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMThe sudden attention to Helen Macdonald’s memoir H is for Hawk (Grove Press; OverDrive Sample) has resulted in the book being out of stock at many wholesalers.

We’ve checked with the publisher who says a new printing is coming by the end of the week and yet another next week.

Those copies are sure to be snapped up as the media continues its blitz. The New Yorker has a piece on it in this week’s issue (with a headline that puts to shame all our attempts at hawkish puns, “Rapt“), the author was interviewed on NPR’s midday news program Here and Now yesterday and several other sources including Time magazine have stories in the works.

9781590172490Also keep your eyes open for requests another book. The New Yorker describes H is for Hawk as “one part grief memoir, one part guide to raptors, and one part biography of T. H. White, who chronicled his maiden effort at falconry in
The Goshawk, written just before he began work
on The Once and Future King.”

The Goshawk is available from the New York Review of Books Classics.

Jennifer Lawrence,
War Photographer

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.14.02 AMJennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, Winter’s Bone, Silver Linings Playbook) is set to star as a combat photojournalist in an adaptation of Lynsey Addario’s just released memoir,  It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin, Feb. 10; OverDrive Sample). Stephen Spielberg is attached to direct.

Warner Bros. won what Deadline characterizes as a “whirlwind auction” for the film rights, adding”The memoir has been the hot title since it was excerpted by The New York Times Magazine, and there were no shortage of bidders for the life of a woman who goes into the most dangerous places in the world in search of truth.”

The book has also been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Time, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and it debuted at #11 on the 3/8 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list.

Below, Addario appears on The Daily Show:

Buffett Bullish On Books

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

When Warren Buffett speaks, investors listen. His fiftieth annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders published Saturday, is called a “must read” by the financial news site TheStreet and is getting even more attention than usual because in it, the 84-year-old announces he has found a successor (but doesn’t say who that is).

He also mentions two books. MarketWatch  picked up on the story and both titles raced into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 1.01.40 PMOf Fred Schwed’s Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?: Or A Good Hard Look At Wall Street (Wiley, 2006), first published in the 1940s, Buffet says, “If you haven’t read Schwed’s book, buy a copy at our annual meeting. Its wisdom and humor are truly priceless.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 12.46.53 PMHe counsels against financial advisors, warning that most of them “are far better at generating high fees than they are at generating high returns. In truth, their core competence is salesmanship” and says investors would be better off reading Jack Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (Wiley, 2007; OverDrive Sample).

He also quoted Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, but that mention did not have a perceptible effect on sales.

Memoir of the Dark
Breaks Into the Light

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.48.49 AMGirl in the Dark (Random House/Doubleday, 3/3/15; BOT), a memoir written by a woman calling herself Anna Lyndsey (to protect her privacy), recounts a rare and mysterious reaction to light – sunlight and fluorescent – so severe she was forced to quit her job and live in a dark room, sustained by midnight walks, the radio, and audiobooks.

So, of course, it is also available as an audiobook.

Spotting it early, NPR highlighted the book in a “First Read” feature a few weeks ago, calling it “a gorgeously written, occasionally snarky chronicle” and T: The New York Times Style Magazine ran a profile of the author, describing her book as “funny, sharp, mostly devastating.”

More attention is on the way. Reviews are scheduled by People and the NYT Book Review, making this a good time to order additional copies.

HAWK Reaches New Heights

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AM

Last week, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample) got rare double raves from sister but quite separate publications, the book section of the daily NYT and the cover of the Sunday NYT Book Review.

This week, it gets the same treatment from another pair of sister publications, People magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

It’s People‘s “Book of the Week,” with this stellar review (not available online),

Obsessed with falconry since childhood, British naturalist MacDonald decides to adopt and train a goshawk as a way to handle the frief that overwhelms her after her father’s death. Her evolving relationship with th feral bird, whom she christens Mabel, is the subject of this unusual memoir. Captivating and beautifully writtten, it’s a meditation on the bond between beasts and humans and the pain and beauty of being alive.

Entertainmenet Weekly begins their review (also not yet online) by declaring that this “memoir about an out-of-work English professor grieving over her father who comes to find solace and purpose by killing bunnies for her hawk will be one of the loveliest things you’re read this year …”

For R.A. purposes, you may want to cut the “killing bunnies” section when quoting the review.

Hawk Soars

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMHelen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample), a memoir about how she dealt with the painful loss of her beloved father by training a goshawk, is gaining attention on this side of the ocean after receiving both high praise and strong sales in Britain. Macdonald won both the Costa Book Award for Biography (scroll to page 3 to see the announcement) and the Costa Book of the Year in January as well as The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction (the UK’s highest award for nonfiction) last November.

In the daily NYT this week, Dwight Garner raves:

Helen Macdonald’s beautiful and nearly feral book, H Is for Hawk, her first published in the United States, reminds us that excellent nature writing can lay bare some of the intimacies of the wild world as well. Her book is so good that, at times, it hurt me to read it. It draws blood, in ways that seem curative.

This Sunday’s NYT Book Review features it on the cover (a rare occurrence for a book that hasn’t yet been released; we can’t remember the last time the NYT BR gave such prominence to an upcoming book):

In her breathtaking new book … Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor’s fierce essence — and her own — with words that mimic feathers, so impossibly pretty we don’t notice their astonishing engineering.

Some libraries are showing heavy holds and rising on modest orders while a few have yet to order. Now’s the time to buy it ahead of the stampede.

Oliver Sacks Bids Farewell

Friday, February 20th, 2015

9780385352543_d778cIn an opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times titled simply, “My Own Life,” author Oliver Sacks announces that he has terminal cancer.

True to the life-affirming spirit he has always demonstrated, he looks at this as an opportunity, he says, “It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me” and, “I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.”

He also notes that he has completed an autobiography that will be published in late April On the Move: A Life, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio, 4/28/15), which features a photo on the cover of Sachs as a young man. Few libraries have ordered it yet.

The story brought an outpouring of emotions on Twitter. Both the upcoming book and Sack’s classic, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat(S&S/Summit, 1985; now available from S&S/Touchstone) are rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Advance Attention:
Kim Gordon Memoir

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

0062295896_454a6Girl In a Band by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (HarperCollins/Dey Street, 2/24), gets a succinct review from Bustle, “If you just feel like getting inspired by some prose written by a kickass, feminist rock star, Gordon’s book delivers.”

Arriving next week, it also gets attention via a profile of the author in the New York Times. Even though Gordon warns the book contains “No sex, drugs or rock ’n’ roll,”  and is “the most conventional thing I’ve done,” more attention is undoubtly on its way.

Zuckerberg Surfs the Zeitgeist

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

9781555977207_2389fMark Zuckerberg is being credited by the Guardian with having “tapped into an area of growing social anxiety with his fourth book club choice.”

Announced yesterday, the title is On Immunity: An Inoculation, (Graywolf Press; HighBridge Audio) by Eula Biss, a book that looks into the fears about vaccination. It was picked as a best book of 2014 by several sources, including the New York Times Book Review‘s top ten. (our downloadable spreadsheet of all the 2014 nonfiction picks is here).

Holds Alert: NIGHT OF THE GUN

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

nightoftheHolds are rising in libraries for David Carr’s memoir, The Night of the Gun (S&S, 2008), causing several to order more copies in trade paperback.

Sadly, people are being brought to the book by the author’s recent death at 58, with news stories and obits noting his searing memoir of the days when he was, as he himself describes it, a “violent drug-snorting thug.”

Beloved among fellow journalists, his “fond and tearful” wake on Tuesday was covered in many publications, from the New York Times, where he was the media reporter,  to The Economist and the New York Post.

An excerpt from the book was the cover story of the NYT Magazine when it was published in 2008. In the book, he took a journalists’ approach to his own life, reporting on it by interviewing the people who witnessed it.

Thanks to Barrie Olmstead, Adult Materials Selector, Sacramento Public Library, for the tip.

Fifty Shades of Protest

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.07.13 PM Heading in to Valentine’s Day weekend, which morphs this year into Fifty Shades of Grey weekend as the R-rated movie opens to major box office expectations, the book it is based on is #3 on Amazon’s best seller list, followed closely by the boxed set of the entire trilogy. At #13, is a title that sounds similar, Fifty Shades of They (Creative Pastors) by the founding pastor of the Fellowship Church, a Dallas megachurch, Ed Young.

Although the title may seem to pay homage to E.L. James’s famous novel, Young calls that book a “perverted attempt to trap readers and leads them to a misunderstanding of what intimacy and connection are all about.” As a protest, he plans to “baptize” copies of it this weekend. His book, published by Creative Pastors, an imprint of the Fellowship Church, is about forming relationships with the “right ‘they'” and claims to offer “fifty simple, yet profound insights that will help any relationship thrive.”

War, Women, and Photography

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.14.02 AMCombat photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has been kidnapped twice, won a McArthur “Genius” award, and was a member of a team that won a Pulitzer, has published a memoir,  It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin, Feb. 10; OverDrive Sample). Heavily covered in the media, it is racing up the Amazon sales rankings. It has received attention from a wide range of publications, including NPR’s Fresh Air, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Time, and the New York Times Magazine. (with the arresting headline, “What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything.”)

While described as both affecting and riveting, Addario’s take on photography, war, and being a woman in a high-octane profession has had mixed reviews. Kirkus gives it a star, saying the memoir is “a remarkable achievement … a brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir that is as inspiring as it is horrific.” Entertainment Weekly, however, gives it a “B”, marking it down for failing to fully flesh out the people in Addario’s life.

As more attention mounts, Addario’s amazing and timely story, illustrated with 90 of her photographs, is likely to have staying power – making it a title to watch.

Obama’s Political Philosopher on THE DAILY SHOW

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

It’s become commonplace for us to write that Jon Stewart has featured on The Daily Show the author of some heavy-duty book on an important topic, which then flies up best seller lists. Sadly, Stewart announced last night that he is leaving the show possibly in September when his contract is up, but it “might be July, or December,” because “this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host.”

Before Stewart, who would have imagined serious conversations with authors presented in the context of a comedy show? Not only did he introduce that concept and make it work, he continued it in another show he produced, The Colbert Report. Thanks, Jon Stewart, for giving books the attention they deserve. You never seem restless when you are engaging authors, whether you agree with their points of view or not.

True to form, Stewart featured a 2-part interview with President Obama’s campaign manager and “political philosopher,” David Axelrod on the same show. As a result, the book, which had already received a boost from a feature on CBS Sunday Morning, rose from #139 to #28 on Amazon sales rankings.

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Believer: My Forty Years in Politics (Penguin; OverDrive Sample) details Axelrod’s relationship with Obama as well as his Senate and Presidential campaigns, but he also shares stories of other politicians and his belief in the kind of politics that serves the nation best. In an interview with the New York Magazine he says “I didn’t want to write a book that would be measured by the number of revelations in Politico … I wanted to write a narrative, a story about my life, through my eyes, through the evolution of politics in our country.”

It’s somewhat of an irony then that Politico leaked a story from the embargoed book that “Mitt Romney ‘12 concession call ‘irritated’ Barack Obama” which brought a swift response from the Romney camp that the call never happened. And now news sources are jumping on evidence in the book that Obama was lying when he initially said he opposed gay marriage.

For the most part, however, as David Gergen puts it in his New York Time’s review, “David Axelrod has written a highly readable, uplifting account of the candidate he loves — and, reassuringly, has shown politics can still be a calling, not a business.”

Jon Krakauer On Campus Rape

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

9780385538732_f205cThe author of a string of best sellers Into the Wild, (1996), Into Thin Air (1997), Under the Banner of Heaven (2003), and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (2007) is publishing a new book in April that examines campus rape. Titled Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print), it is about a series of attacks at the University of Montana, which, according to the publishers press release, Krakauer decided to write “after learning that a young woman with whom he and his wife have a close relationship suffered intensely in secret for many years after she was raped by a man she trusted.” The story is  being picked up by news sources, including USA Today.

News about the book first emerged last fall, when the AP reported that a judge ordered the university to turn over records on a 2012 rape case to Karkauer.

PIONEER GIRL Hits the
NYT Best Seller List

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

pioneer-girl-ciAt #2 on the 2/15/15 NYT Nonfiction Hardcover list is a book that many have had trouble getting their hands on, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, (South Dakota State Historical Society Press). The book, which had an initial print run of just 15.000 copies, was sold out before Christmas. A second printing of 15,000 was released the week represented by the list and it is now out of stock on Amazon and wholesaler sites (some indies, like Powell’s have copies available). As NPR reported last week, a third printing, of 45,000 copies is in the works. If you haven’t been tracking this title, check EarlyWord‘s earlier coverage from  AugustDecember and January.

Other notable new additions to the list:

9781250045447_6d9eb  American Sniper

#6 The Reaper, Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) — with a cover that bears striking similarities to American Sniper, (Harper) as well as a similar subtitle, (author Irving is just “One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers” as opposed to Sniper‘s Kyle, who gets a higher billing as, “the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History“). Unsurprisingly, given the success of Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of Sniper, rights were acquired to adapt The Reaper as a 5-part TV series by the Weinstein Co. No news yet on which network will air the series, but production is expected to begin this summer. We’re not seeing significant holds in libraries at this point.

9780385529983_bd29d#8  Ghettoside, Jill Leovy, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) — as we wrote earlier, the author has been in the media, with appearances on The Daily Show and NPR’s Weekend Edition, The book has been reviewed widely, including   a cover review in the NYT Book Review. Holds are heavy in several libraries.