Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Science Confirms, Teen Brains Are Different

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

9780062067845_67a89On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed neuroscientist Frances Jensen, the author of The Teenage Brain, (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Jensen confirms with remarkable clarity what many parents have observed, that it takes a long time for the human brain to fully mature and develop the ability to control impulses.

Zillow Book: A Hot Property

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.40.40 AMThe CEO of the online site that many check regularly to find out the value of their homes, Spencer Rascoff of Zillow, appeared  on CBS This Morning to promote his new book  Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The book, which offers a new – and often contrary – take on common real estate myths (today, “location, location, location” can be further refined to “close to a Starbucks”), is zooming up Amazon’s sales rankings and is currently at #8. Many libraries have not yet ordered it.

JOBS Begins Shooting

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

We envy this headline from New York magazine’s Vulture blog, “Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie Begins Filming With Cast Full of People Who Haven’t Dropped Out Yet.”

Steve JobsYes, the movie based on Walter Isaacson’s biography has suffered through many changes. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale were breathlessly announced as stars, only to drop out. It has also changed studios (from Sony to Universal) and directors (from David Fincher to Danny Boyle) and had to endure another film being released with a similar title, Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher.

Universal’s announcement this week that production has begun in San Francisco may raise skepticism, but the company insists that Michael Fassbender is set to play Jobs, with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as former Macintosh marketing head Joanna Hoffman, Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley. Boyle is still directing.

GOING CLEAR Doc. Stirs the Waters

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Called the “The [Sundance Film] festival’s most hotly anticipated documentary,” by USA TodayGoing Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is getting a chilly reception from the film’s subject after its Sunday premiere. Entertainment Weekly reports the Church is responding “aggressively,” through social media and ads in the New York Times.

Going ClearBased on the 2013 book by Lawrence Wright (RH/Knopf), who also is a producer on the film, it is set to air on HBO on March 16. The book itself is called a “a masterpiece of in-depth reporting packed to the brim with insane details and shocking revelations,” this week in Salon.

The film’s claims are getting attention in a wide range of news sources, from People magazine and USA Today to NPR’s Morning Edition.

Holds Alert: GHETTOSIDE

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

On the Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart introduced his guest, journalist Jill Leovy by calling her book, Ghettoside (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample), an “incredibly gripping true crime story.” Leovy went on to show that the story is about much more than one murder.

Holds in libraries are now heavy on modest orders.

A Two-Author Week on Jon Stewart

Monday, January 26th, 2015

After a several weeks of an author drought, The Daily Show ramps up its book coverage with two authors appearing this week: Jill Leovy, on Tuesday, and Sarah Chayes on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.11.33 PMAs we reported last week, Leovy’s Ghettoside (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample), a gripping journalistic investigation into the murder of a young black man in Los Angeles, is getting strong coverage in The New York Times and on NPR. The author’s appearance with Stewart should bring her to the attention of an even wider readership. Holdings and holds vary across the country with some libraries yet to buy, some with light holds, and others with holds as high as 11:1. Fair warning: Ghettoside seems destined to be an important book on an important conversation that will continue for years to come. As The New York Times put it in their Sunday cover, “Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights — and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter,’ showing how the ‘system’s failure to catch killers effectively made black lives cheap.’”

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.10.47 PMSarah Chayes’s Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, (W. W. Norton) has gotten far less media attention although NPR’s All Things Considered did a story on Jan. 16th and The Washington Post gave the book a generally favorable review on the same day. Holds are light in libraries we checked, but Stewart can be relied upon to create at least a short-term bump in demand. Certainly Chayes’s book, which identifies corruption as the link between a number of political hotspots spiraling out of control, provides Stewart with a wind-up pitch he can hit out of the park.

Lessons of Scarcity

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

pioneer-girl-ciA headline from yesterday’s SlateA Tiny Press Printed Only 15,000 Copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Autobiography. Big Mistake, has sent Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, (South Dakota Historical Society Press) flying back up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Part of the appeal may be the comment that, now that the book is out of stock, “’Used’ copies on Amazon (in this case meaning ‘existing’) started at $399 as of this writing,” (see our earlier stories on the book, from August and December).

Holds are also climbing in many libraries. Cross your fingers that circulating copies will be returned.

Making Headlines:
GUANTÁNAMO DIARY

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Guantanamo DiaryBook news is currently dominated by Guantánamo Diary  (Hachette/Little, Brown), a memoir by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Larry Siems. The author, who is still being held at the prison, details the tortures he has endured there. Featured on yesterday’s Morning Edition, the host noted, “The Pentagon confirmed to NPR that for a brief period at Guantanamo in 2003, a ‘special interrogation plan’ was designed for Slahi, and it was outside the military’s own standard interrogation procedures.”

Excerpts are published in People magazine, it will be on the cover of the Feb. 15 NYT Book Review (online now, three weeks ahead of the print version, presumably to coincide with the publication), is featured in the L.A. Times, reviewed by The Washington Post. and the basis for a NYT Op-Ed piece.

The Guardian. which is serializing the book, features a documentary about it on their Web site:

In the U.K., celebrities, including Colin Firth, Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nick Cave are supporting the “Free Slahi” campaign.

Check your orders. Most libraries have ordered conservatively and holds are light so far, but we expect them to surge as the story creates even more headlines.

UPDATE: coverage is expected on Friday’s PBS Newshour. ABC This Week is planning coverage, TBA, and the daily NYT is also planning a review. The book was embargoed, so no advance reviews. LJ noted it in Prepub Alert in July and  Kirkus  just posted their review online.

Guantánamo Diary
Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems,
Hachette/Little, Brown,  January 20, 2015
Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio,  9781478986942
E-Book, 9780316328609

NPR Book Club Wraps

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

9780374280604_abe23The new NPR Morning Edition book club wrapped up today with a discussion of the first selection, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample; Oct), picked in December by bookstore owner and author Ann Patchett.

The book, which has hit the lower rungs of the NYT best seller list as a result of the section, is also one of five finalists for the NBCC Nonfiction Award, announced yesterday and  has been made into a movie, titled The 33, starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Gabriel Byrne. Currently in post-production, the release date has not yet been announced.

The next title in the club will be announced soon; we will let you know when it is.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Storms Box Office

Monday, January 19th, 2015

The Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper, based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography, was a big winner at the box office this weekend, giving the movie industry much-needed hope.The timing of the film’s wide release, immediately after the Oscar nominations were announced, is considered a big factor in its success.

Another is the film’s patriotic appeal, although that is being question by several who object to the movie making a hero of a man who said in his book, “The enemy are savages and despicably evil,” and his “only regret is that I didn’t kill more.”

The movie’s subject, the late Chris Kyle is getting renewed attention, including this story on NBC’s Nightly News:

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9780062238863_986cb  9780062376336_4cf40  9780062290793_498b1

As a result, his book, which has been a long-running best seller, now occupies three spots on the Amazon top 10, with another editions is at #64:

#1 —   Mass market ed. with original cover, (Harper, 2013)
#5 —   Trade pbk tie-in (HarperCollins/Morrow Paperbacks, 2014)
#8 —   Hardcover memorial edition (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2013)
#64 — Mass market. tie-in, (Harper, 2014)

The Zuckerberg Bump

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 9.00.21 AM

The second title in Mark Zuckerberg’s new Facebook book club, Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our NatureWhy Violence Has Declined, (Penguin/Viking, 2011; trade pbk, 2012; Brilliance Audio  OverDrive Sample), announced on Saturday, immediately moved up Amazon’s sales rankings, and is now at #307 from a lowly #7,514.

The selection may seem at odds with the times, but Zuckerberg insists, “Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever, so it’s worth understanding that all violence — even terrorism — is actually decreasing over time. If we understand how we are achieving this, we can continue our path towards peace.” He adds, “A few people I trust have told me this is the best book they’ve ever read.”

As to the length, it is 800 pages. Zuckerberg admits he will need a month to finish it, so he promises to pick a shorter book in two weeks so club members can read both at the same time.

One of those people is Bill Gates, who has called The Better Angels of Our Nature his “favorite book of the last decade” and “a long but profound look at the reduction in violence and discrimination over time.”

The rise in sales was not quite as great as for the first selection, Moisés Naím’s The End of Power, which climbed to #10 on Amazon’s rankings and also just debuted at #14 on the Jan. 25 New York Times combined nonfiction best seller list. Ironically, as The Washington Post reported, Facebook proved to not be a conducive platform for the book discussion.

The attention also generated holds in libraries. Given the brief two-week window for these selections, however, it will be a losing proposition for libraries to try to meet the demand. We can just hope Zuckerberg’s discovery that books can be “very intellectually fulfilling … in a deeper way than most media today” has resonance.

 

Later for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Never underestimated the importance of the Oscars to a movie’s bottom line.

Just a few months after the release of the first trailer for Ron Howard’s adaptation of  Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea and the announcement of a March 13 release, comes a change in date to, you guessed it, one that falls right in the awards season sweet spot, Dec. 11, 2015.

As a result, the tie-ins are likely to be moved to a later release date.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Movie Tie-in)
Nathaniel Philbrick
Penguin, Trade Paperback Feb. 24, 2015
9780143126812, 0143126814

Audio: Feb. 24, 2015
Nathaniel Philbrick, Scott Brick
9781611763577, 1611763576

New NPR Program INVISIBILIA Creates Book Bump

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 8.33.56 AM

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius (Simon & Schuster, 2011; OverDrive Sample) is getting renewed attention after NPR featured it on its new program, Invisibilia, devoted to exploring the “intangible forces that shape human behavior.”

The show debuted on January 8th and repeated on All Things Considered the next day. It sent Ghost Boy racing up Amazon’s sales rankings all the way to #2.

NPR may have created a new book bump vehicle. The story was picked up by The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor and the book is currently out of stock on Amazon. Few libraries bought Pistorius’s memoir at the time of publication. Those that did are showing heavy holds. One library we checked has 91 holds on 3 copies.

New Book from Elizabeth Gilbert

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

BigMagicFinalEat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert is publishing a new book in September on creativity, which may be why she gave the exclusive announcement to the Etsy blog, which is written for craftspeople and craft buyers.

Titled Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, (Penguin/ Riverhead; 9781594634710), the announcement has been picked up by several news sources, including the New York Times (via the AP) and USA Today.

BIG SHORT, Big Stars

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

9780393338829Talk about your moneyball. The film version of Michael Lewis’s best seller about the financial meltdown, The Big Short, (Norton, 2011).has attracted some big stars, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling, will star according to Variety. Pitt is producing.

Pitt, of course, starred in an adaptation of another title by Lewis, Moneyball, (Norton, 2003).

Before that, the movie based on his 2006 book,  The Blind Side, (Norton), was also a hit.

Aaron Sorkin, who was wrote the screenplay for  Moneyball, bought the rights to Lewis most recent title, Flash Boys, (Norton, 2014) and it was reported to be on his “front burner” after his success with Newsroon, but hacked Sony emails indicate he has passed on the project.