Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

UNBROKEN, The Movie

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

UnbrokenAngelina Jolie lands her second role as director (after Blood and Honey) for the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s long running best seller, Unbroken (Random House, 2010), reports Deadline.com.

Amazingly, a film about Unbroken‘s subject, Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days on a life raft in the Pacific during WWII, has been in the works for 55 years, long before Hillenbrand began working on her book. Universal bought Zamperini’s “life rights” in the 1950’s, with plans to star Tony Curtis.

The film is supposed to begin production next year.

Zamperini will be 96 years old in January.

Hillenbrand’s earlier book, Seabiscuit, (Random House, 2001), was made into a successful movie.

JUST KIDS, Part Two

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Just KidsPatti Smith announces that she plans to publish a sequel to her best selling memoir and National Book Award winner, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010).

She tells Billboard that it will cover the same period as the first book, but with a different perspective. Just Kids focused on her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This one will focus more on her music and her late husband, Fred Smith, the MC 5 guitarist.

No title or release date has been announced.

Heavy Holds Alert: THOMAS JEFFERSON

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham’s new book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, (Random House, RH Audio and BOT, RH Large Print)  is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is now at #2, and in the number of holds in libraries.

It has been reviewed widely (in both the daily NYT and the Sunday Book Review, as well as the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly) and debuted on the 12/2 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list at #2.

The author appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Patraeus and His Biographer

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Last December, a biography of General David Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, by Paula Broadwell (Penguin, Jan. 23) made headlines because the author was regarded as implying that Petraeus nearly quit as the commander of troops in Afghanistan over Obama’s plans for a drawdown.

That inference was quickly denied. Several reports, including Fox News’, noted how adulatory the author was about her subject; “The book unapologetically casts Petraeus in the hero’s role” and Broadwell says “his critics fault him for ambition and self-promotion,” but “his energy, optimism and will to win stand out more for me.”

Jon Stewart speaks for many when he upbraids himself on last night’s show for missing the real story.

New Title Radar: November 5 – 11

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Big names in fiction returning next week include Barbara Kingsolver, Ellen Hopkins and Caleb Carr, along with notable novels by Lydia Millet, Whitney Otto and James Kimmel. The final volume of William Manchester‘s Churchill bio also arrives, written posthumously by Paul Reid, while Larry McMurtry weighs in on General Custer, Sean Carroll explores a new landmark in physics, and Oliver Sacks explores hallucinations.

Watch List

Magnificence by Lydia Millet (Norton; Dreamscape Audio; Center Point Large Print) concludes the trilogy that began with How the Dead Dream (2008) and Ghost Lights (2011). This one is the story of a woman who comes to terms with her life and adulterous affairs when she suddenly becomes a widow. Kirkus says, “The deeply honest, beautiful meditations on love, grief and guilt give way to a curlicued comic-romantic mystery complete with a secret basement and assorted eccentrics.”  The response on GalleyChat was unmitigated; “Magnificence was magnificent. What an amazing writer. Love her unsentimental style.”

Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike Large Print) fictionalizes the lives of eight women photographers as they intersect – including icons like Imogen Cunningham, Lee Miller and Sally Mann, as well as lesser known figures. By the author of How to Make an American Quilt, it was a BEA librarians’ Shout ‘n’ Share Pick. Kirkus says, “although overly schematic, Otto makes these eight women and the differing lenses through which they view the 20th century hard to forget.”

The Trial of Fallen Angels by James Kimmel, Jr. (Penguin/Amy Einhorn; Dreamscape Audio) is a debut novel about an ace lawyer who dies and becomes a defender of the souls of the dead on Judgement Day. Early reviews are mixed: Kirkus says it’s heavy on the spiritualism side, but still intriguing. PW says it fails as a page-turner, but Booklist gives it a starred review, calling it fascinating.

Returning Favorites

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe) may be the first novel about the effects of climate change. It arrives with uncanny timing, the week after Hurricane Sandy. In this instance, the evidence is dramatic but not devastating. A vast flock of monarch butterflies descends on a Bible Belt community in what seems like a religious miracle, but turns out to be a more disquieting displacement. It’s a People Pick in the magazine this week, with 4 of 4 stars. Says the reviewer, Kingsolver, “brings the complexities of climate change to her characters’ doorstep, illustrating with rich compassion how they … must find their new place on shifting ground.”  The author’s previous, The Lacuna, was a best seller and won the Orange Prize.

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins (S&S; Atria) is the second adult novel by this YA author, about two best friends and the military men they love, and are separated from, written in the author’s signature poetic verse style. PW says, ” clear narrative that is uplifting and heartbreaking, but also familiar and a little too easy, featuring characters grappling with the serious issues of our time.”

The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr (Random House; S&S Audio) finds the author of the Alienist turning his sights on the medieval era, where invaders and internal tensions roil a fortress. LJ has a wait-and-see attitude toward this one’s commercial prospects.

Childrens

Infinity Ring Book 2: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan (Scholastic) is the second in a middle grade series about two fifth-grader geniuses who live in an alternate universe and travel back in time to fix various “breaks” in history. Like the 39-Clues, this planned seven-volume series, with six authors, was devised in-house at Scholastic and comes with links to an interactive Web Site. The titles will be released in quick succession, with this one arriving just three months after the first, Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny in Time, by the Maze Runner’s James Dashner. Rick Riordan, who wrote the prototype, 39-Clues, was given the unenviable task of reviewing Book 1 for the the NYT Book Review. His reaction was mixed, concluding that it is, “vivid, intriguing, not fully realized but hinting at a larger story that feels right.” This second volume is by the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Kirkus, the only source to review it so far, doesn’t buy it, saying, “It’s hard to go wrong with Vikings. But if you asked a classroom full of students to write about a Viking and a time machine, most of them would come up with something more inventive.”

Nonfiction

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio) is the final volume in this biographical trilogy. The New York Times Magazine heralds it this Sunday by calling its release, “one of the longest waits in publishing history” and explains how the little-known Paul Reid, who had never written a book before, ended up tackling this project, based on Manchester’s sketchy and often illegible notes. It ended up taking so long that Reid was forced to sell his house, use up his savings and live on credit cards. It may have been worth it. Says the NYT Magazine, it is “more of a stand-alone book than a continuation of the first and second volumes.” PW says it “matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris.” 200,000 copies.

Custer by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster) is not quite a biography, more of an “informed commentary” on one of American history’s great military blunderers by this respected novelist, according to Kirkus, which also calls it “distilled perceptions of a lifetime of study, beautifully illustrated.” USA Today puts it simply, “This ‘Custer’ cuts through all the Bull.”

The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by Sean Carroll (RH/Dutton) is the story of how science history was made with the search for the Higgs Boson, part of the Higgs field that gives atomic particles their mass – finally discovered earlier this year. PW says, “whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carrollas clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts.” UPDATE: We jumped the gun; this title is actually coming out on Nov. 13.

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT Audio) finds this bestselling neurologist revealing that hallucinations are actually normal aspects of human experience during illness or injury, intoxication or sensory deprivation, or simply falling asleep. Kirkus says, “A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.”

 

Movie Tie-Ins

The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) by J.R.R. Tolkien (HMH/Mariner trade pbk; RH/Del Rey mass market) are the tie-in editions of the novel. Also coming are various behind-the scenes books for both adults and children. For the full list, check our Upcoming Movies with Tie-ins).

Jack Reacher’s Rules, with introduction by Lee Child (RH/Delacorte) is a 160-page hardcover compilation of Reacher wisdom and lore; a single quote printed on each page. It arrives, as the publisher puts it, “just in time for [Reacher's] first movie,” starring Tom Cruise, which lands in theaters on 12/21. It was a drop-in title that hasn’t been reviewed and thus, most libraries have not ordered it. Those that have it are showing holds (Hennepin County has 50 on 9 copies). The tie-in of One Shot, which the movie is based on, also arrives next week, in both mass market and large print.

New Title Radar: October 15 – 21

Friday, October 12th, 2012

As media attention on the election heats up, publishers are playing it safe with no-brainers, like the Rolling Stones 50, a tribute to the decades-old British rock band, and a home design book by talk show host Nate Berkus, or review-driven titles like historian Henry Wiencek’s new look at Thomas Jefferson and his slaves.  In fiction, Justin Cronin‘s followup to his blockbuster post-apocalyptic vampire novel is eagerly awaited, but is already disappointing a few reviewers. A title to watch is a cozy English novel about the Queen playing hooky. Usual suspects include Nelson DeMille, Iris Johansen, Patricia Cornwell and YA author P.C. Cast. Plus movie tie-ins to Twilight, Silver Linings and Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Watch List

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (HarperCollins; Dreamscape Audio) finds the bored Queen of England leaving the palace on a walkabout, in search of fun. It has been popular among librarians on our GalleyChat on Twitter, one of whom said, “It’s jam packed full with great Palace insider gossip and details. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee, royal watchers will eat this up! It’s fun and light.”

The Twelve by Justin Cronin (RH/Ballantine; BOT Audio;  Wheeler Large Print) is the second installment in the trilogy that began with the hit The Passage, a post-apocalyptic vampire novel by an author previously known for his quiet literary novels. This one is getting early press attention, including a profile in last week’s NYT Magazine. The L.A. Times warns, however, “even the most devoted fans may notice a bit of a sophomore slump.” The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, says the previous title was “the scariest, most entertaining novel I’d read in a long time…Now, finally, comes the long-awaited second volume, and as much as it pains me to say it, The Twelve bites.” Entertainment Weekly is more generous, giving it a B+, even though it “doesn’t always match The Passage‘s dexterous storytelling and almost-plausible world creation…it’s still an unnerving and mostly satisfying tale of existential-threat disaster and its harrowing aftermath.”

Usual Suspects

The Panther by Nelson DeMille (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) finds Former NYPD detective John Corey and his FBI agent wife, Kate Mayfield, hunting a mastermind of the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Kirkus calls it, “quintessential DeMille: action-adventure flavored with double-dealing and covert conspiracy.”

Sleep No More by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike Large Print) is the 14th Eve Duncan novel. This time the forensic sculptor, who has spent many novels investigating the disappearance of her daughter, discovers that she has a half-sister. PW says, “Series fans will be pleased to discover that Beth, like Eve, is a strong woman who has endured many trials in her past.”

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds forensic expert Kay Scarpetta digging into a case involving a missing paleontologist. LJ says, “Cornwell has been struggling lately; see what happens, and buy for her fans.”

Angel’s Ink: The Asylum Tales (Harper Voyager trade pbk original) marks the launch of The Asylum Tales, a new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Days novels. This one features a magical tattoo artist. An ebook-only short story (available on OverDrive), The Asylum Interviews: Trixie came out in September to whet appetites.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (S&S/Atria) has been big on GalleyChat. Some think it’s her best; “Family secrets, suspense. Another winner.” This week’s People magazine concurs, giving it 4 of 4 stars and saying,”Morton weaves an intriguing mystery, shifting between past and present and among fully realized characters harboring deep secrets.”

Young Adult

Hidden by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the 10th installment in the House of Night series by this mother-daughter writing team.

 

Nonfiction

The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (Hyperion) commemorates the band’s long history and survival in photos. Kirkus says it’s a “soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.”

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (Macmillan/FSG ; HighBridge Audio) is the latest from the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. Here, Wiencek “deftly explores the economic calculus behind Jefferson’s gradual cooling toward emancipation and eventual acceptance of human capital as a great ‘investment opportunity,” according to LJ.

The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus (Speigel & Grau) is an illustrated guide to creating a home full of meaningful things, by the designer who got a push from Oprah and now has his own talk show.

Movie Tie-Ins

The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive: Memories, Mementos, and Other Treasures from the Creative Team Behind the Beloved Motion Pictures ties into the November 16 release of (can you believe it?) the the last installment in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Part 2.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton Books) ties in to the movie to be released on November 21, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. It won the top prize at the Toronto Interntional Film Festival.

Team of RivalsLincoln Film Tie-in Edition by Doris Kearns Goodwin (S&S trade paperback; S&S audio tie-in) ties in to Stephen Spielberg’s Lincolnstarring Daniel Day Lewis. It opens in a limited run on November 9, releasing nationwide on November 16, and is based on the later sections of  Team of Rivals.

New Title Radar: October 8 – 14

Friday, October 5th, 2012

The excitement in the upcoming week is in nonfiction, starting with a new collection of Beatle John Lennon‘s private letters, a new Barbra Streisand bio by William J. Mann, and a biography of photographer Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan, along with a YA adaptation of Navy Seal Eric Greitens‘s bestselling memoir. Usual suspects include James Patterson (with Marshall Karp), Robert K. Morgan and the man known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature,” R L Stein, delivers his first adult horror novel (thanks for the correction; this is actually his second book for adults, after his 1995 title, Superstitious).

Nonfiction

The John Lennon Letters by John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) collects the beloved Beatles private letters to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life, with annotations by Hunter Davies, author of  the authorized biography The Beatles (1968).

 

Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Thorndike Large Print) focuses on the singer’s breakthrough years in the Sixties, when she starred in Funny Girl on Broadway and recorded three platinum albums. PW says, “Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.”

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Dreamscape Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer’s account of 19th C portrait photographer Edward Curtis, who gave up a thriving career to chronicle more than 80 Native American tribes before their way of life disappeared. The result was Curtis’s classic 20-volume set, The North American Indian, which took 30 years to complete and left him divorced and destitute. Kirkus says, “Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.”

Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Prescence by Sarah Young (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson) is the second book from the missionary and breakout author of Jesus Calling.

There Was a CountryA Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) blends political analysis, history, and personal reminiscences of the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 in a coming of age memoir. The author best known for the novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold ten million copies worldwide since 1958. Kirkus says, “a powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.”

Nonfiction – Young Adult

The Warrior’s Heart by Eric Greitens (HMH Young Readers) adapts the author’s bestseller The Heart and the Fist for teen readers, focusing on the youthful adventures that led him to become a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL. Kirkus says Greitens retraces his coming of age “with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement,” and says it’s “as thought provoking as it is entertaining.”

Usual Suspects

NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Hachette/Little, Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) finds the NYPD on high alert when a deranged killer strikes a series of red carpet celebrity events.

Red Rain by R L Stein (S&S/Touchstone; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the first second adult horror novel by the bestselling author of the  Goosebumps and Fear Street series, involving a hurricane and psychopath. PW says it “fails to compel.”

New Title Radar: Sept 24 – 30

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Believe it or not, J.K. Rowling‘s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, is not the only book going on sale next week, though it will surely get a lion’s share of media attention. The other lion of the week is rocker Neil Young, who delivers his first memoir. Other noteworthy nonfiction includes a compilation of President John F. Kennedy’s audio tapes and transcripts, put together by the John F. Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer. In adult fiction, there’s a debut novel from popular memoirist J.R. Moehringer, and a BEA Buzz panel pick by Antoine Wilson. Usual suspects include Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall and Deepak Chopra – and in YA fiction, there’s a mystery from adult author Francine Prose.

Major Comeback

EMBARGOED: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little Brown; Hachette Audio) comes with a big question: does J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults have a fair chance at success, given the wildly outsized expectations that come with being the author of the Harry Potter series? Her first and only U.S. interview about the book will be on September 26, on ABC’s Good Morning America (7:00-9:00 AM), World News with Diane Sawyer (6:30 PM), and Nightline (11:35 PM-12:00 AM), and will re-air on Good Morning America on September 27.

Watch List

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion; Hyperion Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about the bank robber and folk hero Willie “The Actor” Sutton, by the author of the popular memoir The Tender Bar. It begins in 1969, after Sutton’s release from Attica prison at age 68, as he looks back on stealing more than $2 million over 40 years (often in costume) and his three impressive prison breaks. Entertainment Weekly‘s review begins, “There’s a quality to J.R. Moehringer’s writing that makes you feel you aren’t stepping into a book so much as a dimly lit but welcoming bar…He brings a raconteur’s grace and rhythm to his first novel.” The reviewer admits that the ending is unsatisfying, “But isn’t closing time always a bit of a letdown when you don’t want an entertaining night to end?”

Panorama City by Antoine Wilson (HMH; Blackstone Audio) was a BEA Editors Buzz Panel pick about a self-described “slow-learner” recovering from a traumatic accident, who composes a letter about what it takes to be “a man of the world” to his unborn son and pregnant wife. Booklist says, “Readers who enjoy Mark Haddon and Greg Olear will appreciate Wilson’s authorial voice, which blends Oppen’s good-natured naiveté and humorous asides with incisive cynicism.”

The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F. G. Haghenbeck (S&S/Atria) is a fictional biography of the beloved Mexican painter’s life, chronic illness and many loves, based on Kahlo’s unpublished notebooks, including actual recipes tied to her most important moments and relationships. Kirkus says, “despite the repetitiousness and pretentious hyperbola that drags on this novel, Kahlo remains a rich character and inevitably irresistible.”

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (S&S/Gallery; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) follows two grieving mothers who meet by chance in Nantucket, and help each other heal and move on. Kirkus says, “There’s a point in the narrative where one of the characters becomes so engrossed in reading a book that she loses track of time. Readers of Genova’s latest excellent offering might very well find the same happening to them.”

Usual Suspects

Brink of Chaos by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall (Zondervan; Zondervan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the third installment in The End series of political apocalyptic thrillers.

God: A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra (HarperOne) is a “teaching novel” by the popular author of Jesus and Buddha, that aims for a better understanding of God by profiling 10 historical figures: Job, Socrates, St. Paul, Shankara, Rumi, Julian of Norwich, Giordano Bruno, Anne Hutchinson, Baal Shem Tov and Rabindranath Tagore. Kirkus says, “Of particular interest are the humorous, humble Baal Shem, the brilliant, witty Shankara and the visionary Julian, a man Chopra calls ‘the most touching figure in this book’.”

Young Adult

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by Maxine Paetro  and James Patterson (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) begins a new teen mystery series from the team behind the Women’s Murder Club series for adults. PW is not impressed: “The intriguing setup loses cohesion… For writers with their crime-writing experience, Patterson and Paetro show little interest in common sense, motivation, or believable storytelling.”

The Turning by Francine Prose (Harper Teen) is the story of a teen who takes on a spooky summer job caring for two orphans on a remote island, inspired by Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. PW says, “Remaining true to the ambiguous nature of the original, Prose (Touch) masterfully builds suspense. Like Adele Griffin’s Tighter (2011), this spin on the classic tale is an enticing blend of gothic elements and psychological complexities.”

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is the story of a 15 year-old whose parents take away his role-playing game guides and send him to camp to get socialized by the author of It’s a Funny Story. Kirkus says, ” Though the world building is thin at times, there are some moments of genuine pathos and terror, with the final climactic fight scene leaving plenty of room for sequels. Great geeky fun.”

Nonfiction

Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, selected and with introduction by Ted Widmer, foreword by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion) makes available for the first time selections from the 256 hours of JFK’s presidential conversations that were taped on hidden recording systems in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room. It includes two 75-minute CDs and covers decisions related to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, Vietnam, and the arms race, compiled by John F. Kennedy Library and historian Widmer.

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young (Penguin/Blue Rider; Penguin Audiobooks) is  a memoir by the iconic rocker, whose career spans 50 years, from playing with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, & Nash to Crazy Horse and becoming the “godfather of grunge.”

One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season by Tony La Russa (Harper/ Morrow; HarperLuxe) is the story of the St. Louis Cardinals unusual end-of-season run and victory in the 2011 World Series, by their manager.

The Chew: Food. Life. Fun. by The Chew with contributions from Mario Batali, Gordon Elliott, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz and Michael Symon (Hyperion) is a companion cookbook to The Chew, a daytime show on ABC-TV.

Safari: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen, text by Carol Kaufmann (Workman) recreates a Kenyan safari featuring eight animals portrayed with a new technology that resembles a 3-D movie on the page, in the next leap after the publisher’s best selling Gallop.

Movie Tie-in

Killing Them Softly (Cogan’s Trade Movie Tie-In Edition) by George V. Higgins (RH/Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) ties in to the movie starring Brad Pitt from the Weinstein Company, which was recently rescheduled to the end of November, to move it into consideration for an Oscar. (Deadline, 9/11/12)

Hitchcock Redux

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Remember when there were two movies about writer Truman Capote, one of them with Toby Jones in the lead role?

We will soon be treated to two movies about director Alfred Hitchcock, one of them with Toby Jones in the lead role. Both are based on books.

The Girl, which airs on HBO on October 20th, is about Hitchcock’s relationship with Tippi Hedren, the star of The Birds. Sienna Miller plays Hedren and Toby Jones, the driector. It is based on Donald Spoto’s Spellbound By Beauty (RH/Three Rivers), which examines Hitchcock’s obsessive fascination with all his leading ladies.

Anthony Hopkins has the lead in the theatrical film, Hitchcockbased on the 1990 book, Hitchcock!: Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, being re-released in January by Soft Skull Press. Helen Mirren plays Hitchcock’s wife, Alma with Scarlett Johansson as Psycho‘s star, Janet Leigh. No U.S. release date has been set. Earlier this summer, the Daily Mail published side-by-side shots of the stars on set and their real-life counterparts.

In addition, Bates Motel, a prequel to Psycho is in production for an A&E TV series. It was just announced that Vera Farmiga will play the creepy mother of young Norman Bates. Pscyho itself was based on a 1959 horror novel by Robert Bloch, which was re-released in 2010 by Overlook Press.

Hitchcock made several on-screen appearances himself and was famous for popping up in his own movies. Below is a fan’s compilation of all his cameos.

PATERNO On The TODAY SHOW

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Sales of Joe Posnanski‘s biography of disgraced Penn State Coach, Paterno (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) are off to a slow start at the Penn State bookstore, claims USA Today, noting that a shelf of the books appears untouched. However, the manager says they’ve sold 30 to 40 copies, a respectable number for a single location, even though USA Today calls it “lukewarm.”  The book is currently at #11 on Amazon’s sales rankings, its highest point to date.

The NYT review makes it sound less than revelatory, saying it’s “breezy and largely sympathetic. It doesn’t contain (reverse spoiler alert) any especially startling revelations about what Paterno knew and when he knew it. It adds grain and texture to the historical record, though, while mostly skimming the surface of its subject’s life,” but says, “The book’s best chapter, and the one many people will turn to first, is titled simply ‘Sandusky.’ ”

Libraries are showing modest holds.

The author appeared on the Today Show yesterday.

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Happy Birthday, Julia

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Now officially a best seller, Dearie, Bob Sptiz’s bio of Julia Child debuts on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #5, during the week that marks the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child 
Bob Spitz
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: RH/Knopf – (2012-08-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307272222 / 9780307272225

Random House Audio; BOT Audio (strong review from AudioFile).

Child’s landmark book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also receives a boost this week, rising to #40 on Amazon sales rankings. Few would have anticipated this continued success fifty years ago, certainly not the publishers, Alfred A. and Blanche Knopf, who prided themselves on publishing “important” books. Cookbooks were not considered important and those they did publish could be out of step with the times. Spitz writes that the recipes in an earlier Knopf French cookbook served a surprisingly large quantity of people. When asked why, the author responded that one had to feed the help.

But Child’s book came along at the perfect time. As Spitz points out, American women were being exhorted to use convenience foods, turning the kitchen into a factory assembly line. Julia appealed to women’s desire to reach for something more.

A first edition of the book that was published so reluctantly is currently offered for sale on AbeBooks.com for $6,500. Mastering the Art of French Cooking , as well as Child’s other titles, have become staples on the Knopf list.

Celebrating Julia Child

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Julia Child would have been 100 on Wednesday. Celebrations of her legacy abound, including the just-released biography, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz (RH/Knopf;Random House Audio).

In addition to uncovering dozens of fascinating anecdotes to add the Child canon, Spitz reveals how hard she worked to make her performances look natural and the lengths she would go to ensure that recipes would work for Americans, even contacting the US Department of Fisheries to find out what the equivalents were of those she was cooking in France.

You’ll find yourself reading sections aloud to anyone who will listen and running to the computer to find videos of Child in action. Luckily, WGBH has put together a Child mashup video (great for posting on the library Web page) as well as some longer segments on their “Celebrating Julia” page.

Watch Julia Child’s 100th birthday on PBS. See more from WGBH Specials.

Her keen sense of humor and fine timing is exhibited in this David Letterman segment (also available online is the Dan Akryod SNL skit. Don’t worry; it’s not irreverent to watch it during the Centenary. Spitz says Child loved it),

New Title Radar: August 6 – 12

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Next week’s debuts to watch include Outside magazine contributing editor Peter Heller‘s post-apocalyptic literary debut, and Cambodian refugee Vaddey Ratner‘s autobiographical novel. Usual suspects include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julie Garwood, Chelsea Cain, Lisa Jackson and W.E.B. Griffin, and Michael Koryta - plus new childrens and YA novels from James Patterson, Amanda Hocking and Rebecca Stead. In nonfiction, there’s a new bio of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.

Watch List

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knopf; Random House Audio) is a literary debut about a pilot who survives a flu pandemic that wipes out 99% of the population, and then sets out to find the distant voice he hears on his radio. Booklist‘s starred review calls it a “surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor… [a novel] of spiky pleasure and signal resonance.” It is an Indie Next pick for August.

City of Women by David R Gillham (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn; Penguin Audiobooks) is the third in the Penguin Debut Author program. Set in Berlin during World War II, it effectively presents the lives of ordinary Germans living in extraordinary times, forcing readers to wonder what they would have done. It is an Indie Next pick for August. Read our online chat with the author here and our brief audio interview.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut told through the eyes of a seven-year-old survivor of Cambodia’s genocide under the Khmer Rouge, written by a woman who escaped the country as a refugee in 1981. It was a Book Expo Editor’s Buzz Panel pick, and also a People pick in last week’s issue: “Ratner’s lyrical first novel finds love and surprising humanity in a horrifying setting …Raami, the book’s 7-year-old heroine, is lame from polio (as is the author) yet she remains a tenacious dreamer.” An Indie Next pick for August, it is scheduled for media attention next week on NPR in USA Today, the NYT Book Review and several monthly magazines.

Usual Suspects

Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio) is the latest installment in the popular Dark Hunter series, in which warrior Ren Waya, must kill Kateri Avani, the one person he has always cherished, to ward off an ancient evil.

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a romantic thriller about an IRS attorney determined to bring down her father’s shady scheme, and the FBI agent who rescues her from an assault. Kirkus says, “The evil characters lack any semblance of humanity, and the good characters, including the Fed-crossed lovers, are perfect and unbecomingly smug about it. A standard melodrama with occasional flashes of originality.”

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) marks the return of Gretchen Lowell, otherwise known as “The Beauty Killer,” who appeared in Cain’s first three novels – along with police detective Archie Sheridan. Kirkus says, “Cain’s abiding determination to outdo the suspense, plot twists and gore of each previous outing is both perverse and awe-inspiring.”

You Don’t Want to Know by Lisa Jackson (Kensington; Brilliance Audio) is a standalone thriller about a woman who loses her grip on reality after her child disappears, and becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. PW says, “Multiple red herrings and a host of sinister characters help keep the pages turning.”

The Spymasters: A Men at War Novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV (Putnam Adult; Brilliance AudioThorndike Large Print) is the seventh in this thriller series and the third the author has written with his son. The plot centers on threats to the Manhattan Project during WWII, Kirkus says the authors “are completely at ease mixing fact and fiction, skillfully piecing together pieces of their narrative puzzle. Their writing is straightforward to a fault, sometimes reminding you of a scholastic You Are There novel, but the book never sags, and the characters never lose our interest.”

The Prophet by Michael Koryta (Hachette/Little Brown; Little Brown Large Print) is the author’s ninth novel, about two brothers in a small Midwestern town who were divided as teenagers by the death of their sister, and clash again years later when another local teen dies. PW says, “Koryta has a gift for melding a suspenseful, twisty plot with a probing, unflinching look at his protagonistsa weaknesses.” His So Cold the River and Cypress House are being developed for movies. Adaptation rights were also sold for this new title at the end of May (Deadline).

Childrens & Young Adult

Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure by James Patterson (Hachette/LBYR; Hachette AudioThorndike Large Print) is the final installment in the Maximum Ride series.

Wake by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin, Macmillan Audio) is the first installment in the new Watersong series about three contemporary sirens. It follows Hocking’s successful self-published Trylle Trilogy (later republished by St. Martin’s). Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog features an “exclusive” trailer this week  and an interview with Hocking. PW says, “While Hocking’s writing isn’t always polished (the foreshadowing can be painfully heavy), the well-structured story and strong characters carry readers over the rough spots. A cliffhanger ending sets up the next book, Lullaby, due [in] six months.”

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (RH/Wendy Lamb Books; Listening Library) is the story of two boys who become friends when one moves into the other’s Brooklyn neighborhood. PW says “chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come.” Stead’s When You Reach Me won the 2010 Newbery Medal.

Movie Tie-in

Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; also trade pbk and mass market; Macmillan Audio) is the tie-in to the movie starring Sean Penn, famously rescheduled to next year because of a scene uncomfortably close to reality (a shooting in a movie theater). That scene was created for the movie and is not in the book, which is shipping as originally planned. This will be the book’s first publication (which is the reason it arrives in hardcover, audio, as well as two tie-in editions). Both the book and the movie are based on the LA Times writer Lieberman’s research into the LAPD’s eight-man “Gangster Squad” and their efforts to trap gang leader Mickey Cohen.

Nonfiction

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) raises the question, do we need another book about Julia Child? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” from librarians at BEA’s Shout ‘n’ Share panel. PW says, “Released to coincide with Child’s centenary [August 13], Spitz’s delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject.” Why did Spitz, the author of major works about the Beatles and Bob Dylan turn his attention to a celebrity cook? He answers that question in an interview on the RH Library Marketing blog.

New Title Radar: June 18 – 24

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Next week brings two buzzed-about debuts: a thriller by Jean Zimmerman set in 1663 New Amsterdam and Carol Rifka Brunt‘s tale of two sisters in the age of AIDS. Plus two authors with growing followings are back: Leila Meacham with a sprawling Texas soap opera, and Linda Castillo with the fourth installment in her Amish series. Usual suspects include Janet EvanovichTerry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, and Ridley Pearson. In nonfiction, Rachel Swarns delves into First Lady Michelle Obama’s ancestry and David Maraniss explores President Obama’s background and character development.

Watch List

The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman (Penguin/Viking Books; Penguin Audiobooks; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut historical thriller set in New Amsterdam in 1663, in which a young Dutch woman and an English spy investigate the disappearances of a handful of orphans. Booklist calls it a “compulsively readable, heartbreaking, and grisly mystery set in a wild, colonial America will appeal to fans of Robert McCammon’s fast-paced and tautly suspenseful Mister Slaughter and Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler.” USA Today listed it as the top summer reading pick for the mystery/suspense category. Zimmerman was the first author in our Penguin Debut Authors program (read the chat & hear a podcast Q&A with the author here). She will also be featured on the ALTAFF Historical Fiction panel at ALA (Sat., 10:30 to noon)

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (RH/Dial Press) is a debut novel about two sisters who lose their uncle in the mid-’80s as AIDS is on the rise, and must come to terms with “love that’s too big to stay in a tiny bucket. Splashing out in the most embarrassing way possible.” On our GalleyChat, one librarian called it the “best book I’ve ever read.” Like the previous titles, it is one of BookPage‘s Most-Buzzed About Debuts. The Minneapolis Star Tribune lists it among their eight books for summer: “Carol Rifka Brunt establishes herself as an emerging author to watch.  Tell the Wolves I’m Home will undoubtedly be this summer’s literary sleeper hit.”

Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the sprawling story of a love triangle between two high school football heroes and the orphan girl they befriend, who are separated by a teenage prank gone awry and an accidental pregnancy, with far-reaching consequences. LJ says, “Readers who love epic sagas that span a couple of generations will enjoy this soap opera tale of young love, betrayal, and living a life that might not have a happy ending.” 125,000-copy first-printing. One-day laydown.

Gone Missing: A Thriller by Linda Castillo (Macmillan/Minotaur) is the fourth Amish mystery featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder, and is set during Rumspringa — when Amish teens are allowed to experience life outside the community, a practice that always fascinates outsiders. PW says, “Castillo ratchets up the tension nicely before the disconcerting ending.” Castillo’s previous titles have hit the NYT hardcover list, but only the extended (highest, #21). Holds are heavy in some libraries. The publisher is putting extra marketing push behind this one.

Usual Suspects

Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel by Janet Evanovich (RH/Bantam; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds Salem, Massachusetts pastry chef Lizzy Tucker once again drawn into solving a mystery with her sexy but off-limits partner Diesel – this time involving an ancient Stone believed by some to be infused with the power of lust.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Harper) is the Discworld creator’s first novel in 30 years to be set in a new universe – this time comprised of an infinite number of parallel Earths, all devoid of humans, which will be explored by the gifted Joshua Valiente, employee of the Black Corporation. PW says, “the slow-burning plot plays second fiddle to the fascinating premise, and the authors seem to have more fun developing backstory and concepts than any real tension. An abrupt conclusion comes as an unwelcome end to this tale of exploration.”

The Risk Agent by Ridley Pearson (Putnam Adult; Brilliance Audio) is a thriller about a Chinese National who runs into intrigue while working for an American-owned in Shanghai (where the author lived with his family in 2008-2009). LJ says, “Famous for his plotting and attention to details, Pearson is off to a great start with his compelling and multilayered new protagonists. His many fans as well as readers who love international thrillers won’t be disappointed.”

Nonfiction

American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama by Rachel L. Swarns (HarperCollins/Amistad) is the story of the First Lady’s lineage, starting with slave girl Melvinia in the mid 1800s in Jonesboro, Georgia, the mother of Dolphus Shields, Michelle Obama’s maternal great-great-grandfather.  Kirkus says, “Swarns provides numerous tales of heartbreak and achievement, many of which essentially make up the American story. Elegantly woven strands in a not-so-easy-to-follow whole, but tremendously moving.” 100,000-copy first printing.

Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) is a multi-generational biography of Barack Obama and his family, based on hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama – written by the author and associate editor of the Washington Post.  PW says, “Obama’s story here is interior and un-charismatic, but it makes for a revealing study in character-formation as destiny. The book ends as Obama prepares to enter Harvard Law.” One-day laydown.

New Title Radar: May 28 – June 3

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Historian Douglas Brinkley‘s biography of Walter Cronkite – the TV reporter known for decades as “the most trusted man in America” – is already drawing early reviews and praise for its unexpected revelations about this private man. Emmy-winning Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer also sends up contemporary political designs on the U.S. Constitution in Me the People. In fiction, there’s a promising debut thriller by longtime TV cameraman John Steele, plus new titles from Jeff Shaara, Clive Cussler and Joseph Kanon.

Watch List

The Watchers by Jon Steele (Penguin/Blue Rider Press) is a debut thriller about a series of murders tied to a religious work about fallen angels, written by an award-winning news cameraman who has covered wars around the globe. It’s a June Indie Next pick, and Library Journal says, “although it takes a while for the story to gather steam, and the characters sometimes seem flat, the suspense builds to a satisfying climax as the author deftly sets the stage for book two in this planned trilogy.” 100,000 copy first printing.

Usual Suspects 

A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine Books; Random House Large Print Publishing; Random House Audio)  begins a new Civil War trilogy. It starts in 1862, as the Confederate Army falters after the loss of Fort Donelson, and face what will become the Battle of Shiloh.

The Storm: A Novel from the NUMA Files by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam; Penguin Audio Books) continues this popular series with the tale of researchers who uncover a plan to permanently alter the weather on a global scale. 500,000 copy first printing.

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (S&S/Atria; Thorndike Large Print) is a thriller about an American businessman working for the Allies in Istanbul, and is a June Indie Next pick. Library Journal says, “some thrillers don’t just entertain but put us smack in the middle of tough moral questions, and it’s no surprise that the author of The Good German has done just that in his superbly crafted new work.”  Kanon will speak at the AAP/EarlyWord lunch at Book Expo on Tuesday, June 5.

Children’s

Pinkalicious: Soccer Star by Victoria Kann (HarperCollins) is an adventure for beginning readers about Pinkalicious and her soccer team, the Pinksters. 175,000 copy first printing.

Nonfiction 

Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley (Harper; Harperluxe; HarperAudio; Thorndike Large Print) is a biography of the newsman who was an cultural icon for decades before his retirement in 1981, drawing on Cronkite’s just-opened private papers and interviews with more than 200 family and friends, including Morley Safer and Katie Couric. Reviewing it for Newsweek, media columnist Howard Kurtz calls it “sweeping and masterful,” and says it reveals that “the man who once dominated television journalism was more complicated—and occasionally more unethical—than the legend that surrounds him. Had Cronkite engaged in some of the same questionable conduct today—he secretly bugged a committee room at the 1952 GOP convention—he would have been bashed by the blogs, pilloried by the pundits, and quite possibly ousted by his employer.” LJ notes, “this one’s big; with a one-day laydown on 5/29, a 250,000-copy first printing, and a seven-city tour.” Brinkley will appear on CBS’s Face the Nation this Sunday.

Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America by Kevin Bleyer (Random House) is an irreverent look at the Constitution by an Emmy-winning Daily Show writer. Kirkus says, “Among the radical suggestions in Bleyer’s revision is to make every citizen a member of Congress, since, as it stands, “Con-gress is the opposite of pro-gress.” Funny stuff with both a point and a perspective.” Jon Stewart has already promoted it on The Daily Show and will undoubtedly do more.