Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

The Real Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

pioneer-girl-ciIt could be the Mark Twain autobiography of this fall.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autiobiography, which was the basis for her Little House on the Prairie books, will be published by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press this fall. Titled Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, distributors are showing a Nov. 20 release date.

According to a story by the Associated Press, its “not-safe-for-children tales include stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey.”

See PioneerGirlProject.org for more on the project.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill
ISBN 978-0-984504176, hardcover, $39.95

On Fresh Air: DOCTORED

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

9780374141394_c2c03The author of a book with an attention-getting title, Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician, Sandeep Jauhar, (Macmillan/FSG) was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.

Jauhar has some scary things to say about how the current health care system forces doctors  to work too fast, take on too many patients and run too many unneccasary tests.

The book was also reviewed in the NYT yesterday.

Jauhar has written several Op-Ed pieces for the NYT on these subjects.

KINGDOM OF ICE A Best Seller

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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We predicted it would be a best seller, but In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) exceeded our expectations, debuting on the 8/24 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list at #3. Library holds are increasing, of course, and several have ordered more copies.

The book, which has already received wide coverage, was reviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, saying, “In the Kingdom of Ice” is a harrowing story well told, but it is more than just that. Sides illuminates Gilded Age society, offering droll anecdotes of Bennett’s [owner of the New York Herald, who financed the trip] escapades in New York, Newport and Europe.”

The audio sample, below, offers one of those droll anecdotes about the “exceedingly wealthy and flamboyant” Bennett. You can also read a sample, via OverDrive:

Best Seller Crystal Ball:
IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

9780385535373_8e8d4Expect to see In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH.Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) on this week’s best seller lists.

Based on newly-released documents, it tells the story of an ill-fated polar expedition, one that is less well-known than those of the Shackleton or Scott expeditions. Like those stories, says USA Today, “the struggles of DeLong and his crew to survive and work their way out of their dire predicament somehow make an even more compelling story than a hypothetical one of ultimate conquest.”

The book has received a string of enthusiastic reviews, including in The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. The author was interviewed on NPR’s Aug. 2nd Weekend Edition Saturday, causing it to climb Amazon’s sales rankings.

 A book trailer, gives an idea of the story, but for a taste of the writing, listen to a sample of the audio (hint: be sure to listen through to the end).

More On SOLDIER GIRLS

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

9781451668100_c7622As we noted earlier, media attention has been growing for a book that follows the experiences of three women in the military, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, by Helen Thorpe (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio). Today, the daily New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, adds her voice,  calling it “compelling” and saying Thorpe “gives us a dynamic understanding of what it’s been like for Guard members who unexpectedly found themselves shipped off to the front lines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, their lives and plans disrupted, their families thrown into disarray.”

It will also  be available in audio from Dreamscape on Sept. 2 (audio download on OverDrive).

In the Media: SOLDIER GIRLS

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Helen Thorpe’s new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio), released last Tuesday, examines an under-covered story, women in the military, by following three women who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The book has received a wide range of attention. It’s People magazine’s latest  “Book of the Week,” and is covered in the 8/10 NYT Book Review, among other publications

The author was interviewed in Elle magazine, on yesterday’s Weekend Edition, as well as on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Several libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

P.P. & Z. Back In Play

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Pride Prejudice ZombiesWe’re trying desperately to avoid all the “back from the dead” cliches, but there’s proof that we’ve fallen prey to them in the past.

After several years in development, with multiple actresses announced for the lead (Natalie Portman — who is still attached as a producer — Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Wasikowska and Rooney Mara), the adaptation of the godmother of the mashup genre, Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books, 2009) is set to begin filming in September, with Lily James as Elizabeth Bennett, Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy and Bella Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister. The box office disaster of that other mashup adaptation,  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, put the studios off for a while, but now it seems that the success of various zombie vehicles have made them forget all that.

Below are some other book-to-movie projects that are getting new life:

Philip Roth, American Pastoral, (Houghton Mifflin, 1997) – to begin filming in Pittsburgh in March, starring Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly.

Kevin Wilson, The Family Fang, (HarperCollins/ Ecco, 2011) — finally filming, as proven by shots of Nicole Kidman on the set.

Maziar Bahari, Then They Came For Me, (Random House, 2011) — Jon Stewart took a hiatus last year to direct this adaptation, titled Rosewater. The release date is now set for 11/7/2014.

Joe Hill,  Horns, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2010) — U.S. release date of 10/31/2014 finally announced (it hit theaters in the U.K. last year), sending the book up Amazon’s sales ranking.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, (1871) — titled Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to the 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland, is currently filming and scheduled for release on 5/27/2016, with returning cast, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh, as well as new actors, Sacha Baron Cohen as Time, Rhys Ifans as the Mad Hatter’s father and Ed Speelers as James Harcourt.

For more on upcoming adaptations, check our spreadsheet, EarlyWord, Books to Movies (download and sort by date for the latest stories).

TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, Trailer

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The trailer for a new adaptation of Vera Brittain’s classic WWI memoir, Testament Of Youth (1933) was recently released.

Alicia Vikander stars as Brittain in the film which is scheduled to open in January in the U.K. (the U.S. date has not yet been set).

Book-to-movie fans will be seeing a lot of Vikander, a Swedish actress, in the future. She has a supporting role in the upcoming Seventh Son (opening Feb. 6, based on Joseph, Delaney’s Revenge of the Witch), stars in Tulip Fever (based on the book by Deborah Moggach, currently filming), and has signed to star in The Light Between Oceans (based on the 2012 best seller by M.L. Stedman), as well as The Danish Girl, (based on the 2002 book by David Ebershoff),

Co-starring is Kit Harington (the heart-throb from Game of Thrones, he will also appear with Vikander in Seventh Son) as Brittain’s fiancé, who dies in the war).

 

Tonight’s Comedy Central Bumps

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

9781451668100_c7622   9780544274150_db311

On The Daily Show tonight, Jon Stewart will feature Helen Thorpe, the author of Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War,  (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio), which follows three women soldiers’s deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and their struggles on returning home. Prepub reviews are strong, with stars from both PW and Kirkus.

The Colbert Report hosts John Dean, a key player in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. In his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, (Penguin/Viking), he reflects on what he learned by listening to Nixon’s recently-released secret tapes of White House conversations. The book has been widely covered, including in a review in the Washington Post by a person very familiar with the story, Bob Woodward. Along with Carl Bernstein, he broke the story about the Watergate coverup.

Libraries have ordered modest quantities of each.

Six Titles to Know and Six More to Recommend, The Week of 8/4

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Publishing, like the fashion industry, and unlike most of the rest of us, views August as the beginning of the fall season. The first full week of the month, however, are early days, so there’s just a few reliable big names to take the spotlight (the real heat doesn’t begin until the last week of August, with a new James Patterson).

The titles mentioned here, and more, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, with alternative formats, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 8/4/14.

Usual Suspects 

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Leading in holds and numbers of copies ordered by libraries is The Lost Island by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, (Hachette.Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), the third in the Gideon Crew series, in which the Crew is ordered to steal the Book of Kells. Booklist stars it and calls it “sparkling.”

The man & dog detective team, Chet and Bernie, are back in their seventh punny title, Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn (S&S/Atria; Recorded Books).

Another familiar team, coming in a distant third in holds and orders, is father and son authors, W E B Griffin and William E. Butterworth with the first title in their new series set during the Cold War, Top Secret: Clandestine Operations #1 (Penguin/Putnam,Brilliance).

Several titles will be grabbing attention in the news media.

Media Hits

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Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone), Elizabeth Green, (Norton)

Reminding us that the beginning of the school year is around the corner, an excerpt of this book was featured on the cover of last Sunday’s NYT Magazine.

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, Rick Perlstein, (S&S; Brilliance Audio)

It’s the 40th anniversary of Nixon resigning over the Watergate scandal (last week, both The Nixon Tapes and John Dean’s The Nixon Defense were published). Perlstein’s book is featured on the cover of this Sunday’s NYT Book Review, “In what has become his signature style, Rick Perlstein has hoovered up a staggering array of … revealing figures and anecdotes to recount that grim time in his engrossing new book … The Invisible Bridge is the third doorstop volume in this man of the left’s mission to explain the rise of the right.” Much more media is line up, including NPR’s Fresh Air.

The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal The Hidden Lives Of The Presidents, Ronald Kessler (RH/Crown Forum)

Kessler made a big splash in 2009 with his first book on the Secret Service, in which he managed to get some agents (who are supposed to carry their stories to the grave) to dish about the people they had protected, causing it to rise to #3 the NYT Nonfiction best seller list. Here, he uses that method again to make claims about the Clintons, who have already issued a statement, saying, “With Klein [Blood Feud], Halper [Clinton Inc.] and [author Ronald] Kessler, we now have a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense for a quick buck, at the expense of anything even remotely resembling the truth.” Tabloids are already having a field day with some of the claims.

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Helen Thorpe (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio)

We suspect libraries will have to scramble to buy more copies of this one. The subject is appealing, the undertold story of women at war, and the method is personal, journalist Helen Thorpe followed three women soldiers, who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, for 12 years. Prepub reviews are strong, with both PW and Kirkus starring it. The author is set to appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 5 as well as on NPR’s Weekend Edition on August 10.

For those who just want “something good to read,” below are six titles that are already hits with you colleagues.

Librarian Picks

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The Magician’s Land, Lev Grossman, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio)

LibraryReads recommendation:

“Even if you haven’t read the first two books in the wonderful Magicians Trilogy, you will enjoy the escapades of Quentin Coldwater. Now 30 years old, Quentin finds himself back at Brakebills, experiencing school from the teacher’s side of the desk. But his adventures are far from over! Although I’m not generally a fantasy reader, I’ve been rooting for Quentin ever since I first picked up this series and am sad to see it end.” — Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

The Syfy channel has greenlighted a pilot for an adaptation of the trilogy.

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, Marie-Helene Bertino, (RH/Crown)

This verdict from Library Journal is convincing; “By the fourth sentence of the first page, readers will fall in love with debut author Bertino .. This assured, moving, brilliantly funny tale of music, mourning, and off-kilter romance entrances with its extraordinarily inventive language. Be prepared for a quick reread of this novel to try to answer the question: How did Bertino do that?” — Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

A Colder War, Charles Cumming, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio)

Booklist stars this one, saying, “Over several novels, Cumming has established himself, along with Olen Steinhauer, as one of the best of today’s old-school espionage novelists.” Naturally, it’s also recommended for fans of John le Carre, on readers’s minds again because of the attention to the adaptation of his A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Bookseller Picks (Indie Next)

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#1 Pick: Painted Horses: A Novel, by Malcolm Brooks, (Grove Press)

During the influential BEA Editors Buzz Panel, Grove publisher Morgan Entrekin, compared Painted Horses to another book he published and championed, Cold Mountain. Booksellers are sharing his enthusiasm, making it the #1 Indie Next pick for August, with the following annotation:

“Brooks sweeps post-WWII American prosperity, ancient native traditions, and the rush to tame the still-wild West together in a novel driven by diverse and deeply realized characters that come together in a heart-pounding story. Catherine Lemay is a talented young archeologist defying the traditions of a ‘man’s world’ by accepting the challenge to explore a Montana canyon slated for flooding for hydroelectric power. What she discovers is beauty, history, threats, and John H — a former mustanger, Army veteran, and enigmatic canyon dweller. Far from her comfortable New York home, Catherine embraces Montana’s stark conditions and with John H uncovers both secrets of the region and truths within herself. A breathtaking debut!” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

In the Kingdom of Ice:The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Hampton Sides(RH.Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print)

Indie Next annotation:

“Sides tells more than a fateful story of exploration, he brings to life an entire era of discovery and the passions that drove it. We meet a wild newspaper magnate who, in addition to racing carriages at midnight in the nude, exiled himself to France after drunkenly urinating in his then-fiancée’s grand piano; an obsessive German cartographer who staunchly believed in a warm, open polar sea at the North Pole; and a strong-willed captain who fell madly in love with the impossible, glaciered grandeur of Earth above the 80th parallel. The meeting of these three eccentric minds led to the voyage of the USS Jeanette, and Sides tells the ship’s tragic story well in cinematic prose with a keen sense of his characters and their changing world.” —Michael Wallenfels, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Library Journal review adds, “Using De Long’s correspondence with his wife as an especially effective tool to bring the explorer to life,”

The Home Place, Carrie La Seur, (HarperCollins/ Morrow; HarperLuxe)

Indie Next annotation:

“Alma Terrebonne, a rising star in a Seattle law firm, has left behind her complicated family and past tragedies in Billings, Montana, until one morning when a call for help pulls her back. Returning to identify her sister, dead apparently from exposure, and to care for her 11-year-old niece, Alma is overcome by guilt, fragile family relations, powerful memories from the past, and the hold the family homestead has over her. Both a tense, page-turning police procedural and a delightful romance with carefully drawn characters, The Home Place will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Shocker: Harper Lee Doesn’t Like New Book About Her

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Mockingbird, NwsltrA bio cum memoir about Harper Lee and her sister,  Marja Mills’ The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, (Penguin Press; Thorndike), published today, is piling up some great reviews. The Washington Post calls is “engrossing” and Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, said it gives a “rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sisters’ lives.” She goes on to say that, “Fortunately, in Mills, the sisters found a genteel family chronicler knocking at their door at the eleventh hour.”

But the famously reclusive and litigious 88-year-old Harper Lee is not a genteel subject. She has written a letter, reprinted in Entertainment Weekly‘s online column, “Shelf Life,” saying that the book was written on false pretenses, “Miss Mills befriended my elderly sister, Alice. It did not take long to discover Marja’s true mission; another book about Harper Lee. I was hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised. I immediately cut off all contact with Miss Mills, leaving town whenever she headed this way.”

UNBROKEN Trailer Released

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The death last week of Louis Zamperini brought renewed attention to Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book about the Olympian and WWII hero, Unbroken, causing it to rise on best seller lists (from #88 on the USA Today list to #7).

A second boost is likely to come from the just-released trailer for the movie adaptation.

The L.A. Times says it “bears many of the hallmarks of an awards-season contender, including an inspirational true story, a potential breakout performance and a pair of Oscar-winning screenwriters…The trailer provides a glimpse of what looks to be a fierce performance from newcomer Jack O’Connell as Zamperini .”

Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie opens on Dec. 25


A paperback edition, with new photos and an interview with the author, will be published later this month.

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Random House: July 29, 2014
9780812974492, 0812974492
Trade paperback

WILD Trailer

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Based on the trailer, released today, Wild, adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s brutally honest memoir is already being called an Ocsar contender.

That may not be such a leap. Wild‘s director, Jean-Marc Vallee did pretty well at the Oscars last year with The Dallas Buyers Club.

It opens Dec. 5th.

Tie-in:

Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cheryl Strayed
RH/Knopf: November 18, 2014
9781101873441, 1101873442
Trade paperback

Greenwald Continues to Make News

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

No Place to HideWhen interviewed on the Colbert Report, about his new book  No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State(Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio; May 13), Glenn Greenwald said he was working on a story he believed would have even more impact than his previous reporting as it would reveal who the NSA has been spying on.

That story was published this morning on Greenwald’s news site, The Intercept, and, as expected, is being picked up widely (see ABC news story below).


ABC News | ABC Sports News

Greenwald’s book moved to #23 on last week’s  NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list, after being in the top ten for 4 weeks (with a high of #5). It’s still on hold in many libraries.

FACTORY MAN — In a Class with SEABISCUIT

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

9780316231435_f1fc7Already having declared her love for Beth Macy’s nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15), in her summer previewNYT‘s daily reviewer, Janet Maslin, gave it a full review just before the holiday.

Her opinion is not dimmed. Saying this book, subtitled,  How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — And Helped Save An American Town, is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.”

She also notes that, since the book is published by Hachette, it is another victim of  the Amazon/Hachette battle and will not be available for purchase on Amazon until pub date or on Kindle,  but ” it’s worth the trouble to read what will be one of the best, and surely most talked about, books of 2014.”