Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

To Brighten Your Day

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Some days, you just need something lovely to look at:

Surprise-inside Cakes

The book is Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke, (HarperCollins/Morrow, Feb. 19).

AND, there’s a trailer:

Thanks to HarperCollins Library Marketing for posting this on their Library Love Fest blog and lifting our spirits as this long winter slogs on.

A Chance to Win 66 SQUARE FEET

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

9781617690501As some of you know, EarlyWord World Headquarters are in Brooklyn, which is often, rightly, viewed as an urban, even gritty environment.

You may be surprised to learn that Brooklyn also has a softer, natural side. There are trees, birds, parks, and gardens, some in impossibly small spaces. One of them, in fact, is in just 66 square feet, which is also  the name of  the popular and inventive food and gardening blog, and now of a book based on that blog, 66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life, One Woman, One Terrace, 92 Recipes by Marie Viljoen (Abrams/Stewart, Tabori and Chang). Not only does this tiny garden produce flowers, but also vegetables, fruits and herbs, which Marie then turns into delicious meals in her, of course, impossibly small kitchen.

Marie writes about even more than cooking and gardening. She is also a talented forager, not only cooking her finds, but using them to create dazzling cocktails. The book is about celebrating life, enjoying the natural world around you, even amidst the densest of urban environments, and illustrates how limitations can inspire creativity.

Since Marie’s 66 square feet is just around the corner from EarlyWord (and visible from our own roof deck) we wanted to celebrate the book’s publication. Happily, Abrams has agreed to make five copies available to EarlyWord readers.

UPDATE: This offer has now ended. Thanks for all your entries and congratulations to the winners.

Holds Alert: JERUSALEM, THE COOKBOOK

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Jerusalem: A CookbookJerusalem fever” is spreading across the country, according to the NYT.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed), released last year, was chosen as the IACP’s Cookbook of the Year, and was the James Beard  winner in the International category.

The NYT story notes that Ten Speed already has 200,000 copies in print, which is unusual since most new cookbooks, especially those that are not by celebrities, “disappear without a trace” (sadly, the same could be said for all book categories).

At least part of the success is attributed to social media. Fans started a page on Facebook dedicated to it, as well as on Pinterest and Instagram. The hashtag #tastingjrslm, allows them to communicate about favorite recipes. The NYT itself features the authors on this month’s “Recipe Lab” videochat.

Holds in libraries are unusually high for a cookbook (one library shows 90 on 17 copies). The NYT story quotes the rector of an Episcopal church, who says, “I took it out from the library as many times as I was allowed to. And there were still so many things I wanted to make that I was forced to buy it.” (We like the image of the library rapping the reverend on the knuckles for hogging the book).

JAMES BEARD Cookbook Award Winners

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Grand Cucina Latina   Jerusalem   Yes, chef

Last night, the James Beard Foundation declared Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, Maricel Presilla (W. W. Norton) the Cookbook of the Year. It has already won acclaim, appearing on several 2012 cookbooks lists (see our downloadable spreadsheet, 2012 — Best Cookbooks) and winning the IACP Award for Best General Cookbook.

Conversely, the book that had been named  IACP’s Cookbook of the Year, was a Beard category winner, for International, Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, (Ten Speed Press).

Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef: A Memoir, (Random House; RH Audio) won for Writing And Literature. It had also won the IACP’s award for a similar category, Literary Food Writing.

Inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame was Anne Willan, author of many titles on French cooking, including La Varenne Pratique (RH/Crown, 1989). Her next book is coming in August, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).

The Art of FermentationUnexpectedly, the winner in the Reference and Scholarship category is also available in audio; The Art Of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration Of Essential Concepts And Processes From Around The World, Sandor Ellix Katz, (Chelsea Green Publishing; audio, from Tantor– MP3 Audio Sample).

Following the jump, the full list of winners; click here to download our spreadsheet with ordering information, James Beard Cookbook Award Winners, 2012.

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IACP Cookbook Awards

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Teen Cuisine: New VegetarianThe International Association of Culinary Professionals handed out several cookbooks awards at their annual meeting in San Francisco last week.

Among the many publishers that traditionally win awards is a new face, Amazon Children’s Publishing which won in the Children’s, Youth and Family category for Teen Cuisine: New Vegetarian by Matthew Locricchio, the follow up to the author’s previous title, also from Amazon Children’s Publishing, Teen Cuisine, 2010.

Jerusalem  Flour Water Salt Yeast  Vietnamese Home Cooking

The Random House/Crown imprint, Ten Speed, was a big winner, with four awards, including Cookbook of the Year for Jerusalem: A Cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, which also won in the International category. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, Ken Forkish (a name that’s just too perfect for a culinary professional), won in the Baking category and Vietnamese Home Cooking, Charles Phan (Ten Speed Press) was the winner in the Chefs and Restaurants.
 

Laurent Gras
 

Technology gained a foothold among printed books this year. Judges Choice was awarded to a digital cookbook My Provence by Laurent Gras (available via via Amazon). It also won a Digital Media award for Intriguing Use of Technology (the publisher describes it as a “unique HTML5 technology. No special downloads or software are required – it looks beautiful on iPads, Android Tablets, Macs and PCs so you can access it anywhere you want with no hassles.”) The Julia Child Award for First Book went to a cookbook that originated as a blog, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deborah Perelman (Random House, Inc. (RH/Knopf)).

In the Digital Media Awards, Salted and Styled won best Culinary Blog and Food52.com best Web site.

The other winners, after the jump (official list of all the winners here)
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Best Cookbooks 2012

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Cookbooks are the heaviest-circulating category in nonfiction, so we’ve put together an Excel file of the picks of 2012 — Best Cookbooks. We’ve also posted the covers on our Pinterest Board (feel free to copy it for your own virtual cookbook display).

Smitten Kitchen CookbookDeb Perelman, author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, (RH/Knopf), one of two titles with the most picks (tied with the “bible of Latin American cuisine,” Gran Cocina Latina, W.W. Norton), is described by People magazine as “living the food-blogger’s dream.” She was able to quit her day job to focus on her blog and write a book. She’s now living an author’s dream, with features on radio and in newspapers, including NPR’s Morning Edition and the New York Times, a spot in the top five on the NYT Hardcover Advice & Misc. best seller list for the last six weeks and heavy holds in libraries.

After the jump, links to the major best 2012 cookbook lists to date: (more…)

New Title Radar: October 22 – 28

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Tom Wolfe and John Grisham go head to head with new novels next week – and so far, Wolfe is getting the lion’s share of media attention, but the Grisham title is showing the most holds. Meanwhile, watch out for Jami Attenberg‘s potential breakout, The Middlesteins. Usual suspects include Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury, while YA authors P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter team up on a paperback original, and A.S. King and Becca Fitzpatrick deliver new hardcovers. In nonfiction, Jerry Sandusky’s accuser, “Victim One,” unmasks himself upon the publication of his book, while former Goldman Sachs honcho Greg Smith reveals why he left the company. The Onion and Thomas Bouchon provide humorous and culinary relief.

Watch List

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (Hachette/Grand Central) may be the surprise hit of the season, according to our Crystal Ball. Comparisons to The Corrections are underscored by a blurb from Jonathan Franzen himself (who rarely gives blurbs), “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it wasn’t until is final pages that I fully appreciated the range of Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling.” The tale of a Jewish husband and wife in suburban Chicago whose marriage unravels after 40 years, as the attorney wife nears 350 pounds, it’s on People‘s list of ten Hot Fall Titles and described as “The sleeper hit of the fall” on CBS This Morning‘s fall book roundup (9/17). Entertainment Weekly throws some rain on this parade, giving it just a “B” and saying, “Attenberg’s slender fourth novel is an intriguing dysfunctional-family story told from multiple, fast-shifting points of view, but it never sits still long enough to truly explore the complicated minds of its characters. It’s a deeply sympathetic novel that could use a little more insight.”

The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Jan.) was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share pick at BEA and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for November. It’s about an art world pariah who gets drawn into a forgery scheme, and has to dig into an unsolved art heist to clear her name. It gets a “B+” in the current Entertainment Weekly: “Shapiro’s plot seems rushed at times. Still, she’s done meticulous research and has such interesting things to say about authenticity — in both art and love — that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.”

Returning Favorites

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, read by Lou Diamond Phillips; Hachette Large Print) has been dubbed by one critic as “Bonfire of the Miamians” and comes with a full PBS documentary, Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood, airing on Friday. As we’ve noted, major reviewers have weighed in extensively this week, ahead of the novel’s release next Tuesday, October 23, with most saying it’s got Wolfe’s usual manic prose, obsession with class and status, and wide range of characters – which is fine if you liked his other books.

The Racketeer by John Grisham (Random House; RH Audio and Large PrintBOT Audio) is the other major title going on sale on Tuesday, and somewhat overshadowed in the media by Tom Wolfe. Still, as we wrote earlier, the New York Times‘s Janet Maslin says it shows Grisham’s “rekindled vigor,” perhaps because he has “gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading.”

Usual Suspects

Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber (RH/Ballantine; Random House Audio; BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds three seasoned angels shadowing an apprentice angel in Times Square at Christmas. This is Macomber’s first book with her new publisher, Ballantine.

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a Christmas story about a Tennessee bookstore named The Bridge that struggles to survive declining book sales and the rise of e-books. It’s been rising on Amazon sales rankings – at #99 as of October 18.

Young Adult

After Moonrise by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) is a paperback original in which two bestselling YA authors team up to deliver two paranormal love stories.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (Hachette/LBYR; BOT Audio) is about a character who sends messages to people in planes flying overhead, who feel “bursts of unexplainable love that prompts them to do certain things.” The author is a Printz Honor Prize Winner. It has found fans on both our August and September YA GalleyChats. One called it “phenomenal” and “by far, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. And inspiring.” Another reader commented, “Can’t wait for my teens to read it.”

Finale (Hush, Hush Saga) by Becca Fitzpatrick (S&S BYR, S&S Audio) began rising on Amazon on October 17. Previous titles in this series have hit the NYT list; Hush, Hush , Crescendo and Silence.

Movie Tie-In

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy,  translated by Louise Maude and Alymer Maude (RH/Vintage) is the official tie-in to the movie, starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law, to be released November 9. Other translations are also available (see our rundown, here). Vintage will also release the screenplay, by Tom Stoppard, on November 13.

Embargoed

Silent No MoreVictim 1′s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky by Victim One (RH/Ballantine) is written by the young man who testified dramatically at the child molestation trial of Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Victim One’s identity was kept a secret until late  yesterday when it was revealed in promos for an interview by ABC’s Chris Cuomo, to air on ABC’s 20/20 tonight and for a People magazine interview, to appear, with excerpts from the book, in the issue on stands next Friday.

Nonfiction

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Or How the World’s Most Powerful Bank Made a Killing but Lost its Soul by Greg Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print) grew out of the author’s eponymous op-ed in the New York Times, which went viral. The book details what the author sees as the decline of the storied investment bank, after he started at Goldman Sachs at age 21 in 2001 and left in 2011 as the head of the United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander, M.D. (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) joins the growing shelf of books about near-death experiences. It has been in the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings for the last 11 days (currently at #10). Several libraries are showing heavy holds. The author is scheduled for several TV appearances this week, including ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America as well as FOX-TV’s Fox & Friends.

The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopedia of Existing Informationby The Onion (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the 8th book by the award-winning humor website. With typical bravado, the authors proclaim that this comprehensive reference source is “the last book ever published.”

Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Workman/Artisan) collects recipes for the French classics this famous chef loved while apprenticing in Paris.

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)

MODERNIST CUISINE For the Masses

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Libraries will soon have an alternative to the five-volume, $625 James Beard Cookbook of the YearModernist Cuisine. Yesterday, author Myhrvold announced that the team will release a new book this fall titled Modernist Cuisine at Home (The Cooking Lab, $140, 10/8/12; like the first book, it comes with a separate “kitchen manual,” printed on washable, water-proof paper). The announcement describes the book as providing “less complex recipes that require less expensive equipment.” 400 of them are new to this edition.

On the news, the book entered Amazon’s sales rankings at #126.

Demonstrating that it is aimed at the home cook, the cover shows a hamburger (referred to as “The 30-hour cheeseburger” by the New York Times).

The new book will feature many of the amazing cutaway photos from the first book. Last year, Myhrvold spoke  at the TED conference about how those were made  (they’re not Photoshopped, they’re machine shopped).

2012 James Beard Awards

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The big winner in this year’s James Beard Cookbook Awards is a big book; Modernist Cuisine was named the Cookbook of the Year, as well as winner in the  Cooking from a Professional Point of View category. Just before the announcement, several publications, including the Wall Street Journal‘s SpeakEasy blog, covered the news that, despite its size (five volumes, 47 lbs) and cost ($450), it’s sold over 45,000 copies (a check of WorldCat reveals that few of those sales were to public libraries).

Below is the list, with book trailers where available.

2012 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Cookbook of the Year
Modernist Cuisine, by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, (The Cooking Lab)

Cookbook Hall of Fame
Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking (RH/Vintage) and More Home Cooking (Harper Perennial)

American Cooking 
A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchenby Hugh Acheson
(RH/Clarkson Potter)

Baking and Dessert
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer, (Workman/Artisan)

Beverage
Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas, by Brad Thomas Parsons, (RH/Ten Speed Press)

Cooking from a Professional Point of View 
Modernist Cuisine., by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, (The Cooking Lab)

General Cooking
Ruhlman’s Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman. (Chronicle Books)

Focus on Health
Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchenby Heidi Swanson, (RH/Ten Speed Press)

International
The Food of Morocco, by Paula Wolfert, (HarperCollins/Ecco)

Photography
Notes from a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession, Artist/Photographer: Jeff Scott, (Tatroux)

Reference and Scholarship
Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920, by Andrew P. Haley
(The University of North Carolina Press)

Single Subject 
All About Roasting, by Molly Stevens, (W.W. Norton & Company)

Writing and Literature
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chefby Gabrielle Hamilton, (Random House)

New Title Radar: April 23 – 29th

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Next week, Stephen King returns with a surprise installment in the Dark Tower series that supposedly ended in 2004, and Jonathan Franzen returns with a new essay collection. Meanwhile, British author Rosamond Lupton follows up on her hit debut with a tearjearker thriller, and Sandra Dallas makes her debut by exploring a dark chapter in Mormon history.

In nonfiction, President Obama’s half-sister releases a memoir as does Anna Quindlen and a book about the House of Representatives is set to grab headlines.

Watch List

True Sisters by Sandra Dallas (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a work of historical fiction about four women, recruited to Mormonism with Brigham Young’s promise of a handcart to wheel across the desert to Salt Lake City, who help each other survive what turns out to be a harrowing journey. Kirkus says, “readers enticed by the HBO program Big Love will be particularly interested in the origins of this insular community. This fact-based historical fiction, celebrating sisterhood and heroism, makes for a surefire winner.”

Rising Star

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (RH/Crown) is the UK author’s followup to Sister, her popular debut. This one is narrated by Grace, a mother whose spirit hovers above her brain-dead body in the hospital after she rescues her 17-year-old daughter Jenny from a school fire set by an arsonist, while her sister-in-law leads the police investigation. LJ calls it “a wonderful mix of smart thriller with tear-provoking literature; a fine blend of Jodi Picoult and P.D. James.”

Usual Suspects

The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio) adds a short, eighth installment to the Dark Tower series that appeared to end in 2004. Largely a flashback to hero Roland Deschain’s gunslinger days, it can stand alone or fit between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. Kirkus says, “If it weren’t for the profanity which liberally seasons the narrative, it could pass as a young adult fantasy, a foul-mouthed Harry Potter (with nods toward The Wizard of Oz and C.S. Lewis). It even ends with a redemptive moral, though King mainly concerns himself here with spinning a yarn.”

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a paranormal historical romance featuring an undercover psychic investigator and fiction writer who finds herself fleeing from an assassin for the second time – and into the arms of a man who may be far more dangerous. LJ raves: “Quick infuses her own addictive brand of breathless, sexy adventure with dashes of vengeance, greed, and violence and a hefty splash of delectable, offbeat humor.”

Young Adult

Rebel Fire: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins, Book 2 by Andrew Lane (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Young Listeners) pits 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes against assassin John Wilkes Booth, who is apparently alive and well in England, and mixed up with Holmes’s American tutor Amyus Crowe. Kirkus says, ”abductions, frantic train rides, near-death experiences and efforts of [Holmes and] friends to save one another increase suspense with each chapter. A slam-bang climax and satisfying conclusion will please readers while leaving loose threads for further volumes.”

Nonfiction

Farther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen ((Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio) gathers essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, including his account of dispersing some of David Foster Wallace’s ashes on the remote island of Masafuera, excerpted in the New Yorker. Kirkus says, “Franzen can get a bit schoolmarmish and crotchety in his caviling against the horrors of modern society, and he perhaps overestimates the appeal of avian trivia to the general reader, but anyone with an interest in the continued relevance of literature and in engaging with the world in a considered way will find much here to savor. An unfailingly elegant and thoughtful collection of essays from the formidable mind of Franzen, written with passion and haunted by loss.”

And Then Life Happens: A Memoir by Auma Obama (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a memoir by President Obama’s half-sister, who was born a year before her brother to Barack Obama Sr.’s first wife, Kezia. Auma’s meeting with her brother in Chicago in 1984 “marks the brightest moment in this eager-to-please work,” according to Kirkus, “and paved the way for his subsequent trips to Kenya and warmly unfolding relationship with his African family.”

My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall (RH/Crown Archetype; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) expands on film and television producer Marshall’s 1997 memoir, Wake Me When It’s Funny, but Kirkus complains that Marshall ”isn’t very funny. Or at least this book isn’t. Nor is it serious, mean, scandalous or particularly revelatory. It’s just nice. Marshall has gotten along fine with some difficult actors–including his sister, Penny, and the beleaguered Lindsay Lohan–and has apparently remained friends with everyone with whom he has ever worked…This is a Fudgsicle of a showbiz memoir.”

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas (Hyperion Books) interwines baking and crafting, showing home cooks how to make beautiful sweets, based on the author’s award-winning blog, Sweet Designs.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper, (S&S), is by the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush. This one is described by the publisher as “a revealing and riveting look at the new House of Representatives.” No pre-pub reviews indicate it’s embargoed. It will be featured on many news shows next week, including NPR’s Weekend Edition, CBS This Morning, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (RH/Crown; RH Large Print; BOT Audio) will, of course, be featured on many shows next week, including CBS This Morning and The Charlie Rose Show (PBS). An NPR Fresh Air interview is in the works.

New Title Radar: March 12 – 18

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Next week, Lyndsay Faye‘s historical novel about a serial killer in 1845 New York, The Gods of Gotham, builds on her breakout debut, while Mark Allen Smith‘s debut thriller The Inquisitor features a professional torturer who unexpectedly breaks character. There are also two notable magical realist novels: Tiffany Baker‘s The Gilly Salt Sisters and Heidi Julavit‘s The Vanishers. And in nonfiction, Marilynne Robinson returns with an essay collection about her Christian faith and “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond delivers a new recipe collection.

Watch List

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books; audio from Dreamscape is also downloadable from OverDrive) is set in 1845 New York, where an officer in the newly organized police force, encounters a blood-soaked girl who leads him to evidence of an anti-Irish serial killer at work. Library Journal raves, ”vivid period details, fully formed characters, and a blockbuster of a twisty plot put Faye in a class with Caleb Carr. Readers will look forward to the sequel.” PW adds, “this one “improves on her impressive debut, Dust and Shadow.”

The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; Thorndike Press) follows two sisters whose family has always harvested salt and who that may or may not have magical powers over their Cape Cod community, and the wealthy bachelor who forces his way into their lives. LJ says, ”fans of Baker’s acclaimed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County won’t be disappointed with this quirky, complex, and original tale. It is also sure to enchant readers who enjoy Alice Hoffman and other authors of magical realism.”

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith (Macmillan/ Holt; Macmillan Audio) is a thriller about a professional torturer in the “information retrieval” business, who instills fear rather than pain and has a gift for recognizing when he hears the truth. But this time, he must interrogate a 12-year-old boy, whom he decides to protect. LJ says “this is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. But Geiger, who’s seeing a psychiatrist and suffers disabling migraines, is a fascinating protagonist with a revealing backstory. A compelling debut thriller that blurs the lines between the good and bad guys.”

Literary Favorite

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits (RH/Doubleday; Audio, Dreamscape Media) is set at an elite school for psychics, where a young student surpasses her troubled mentor, unleashing much wrath, in this novel (after The Uses of Enchantment) by the editor of the literary magazine The Believer. LJ calls it “reminiscent of Arthur Phillips’s The Egyptologist: clever, humorous, with supernatural elements. While one can easily get confused about what is real and what is imagined, readers who surrender to the narrative may be rewarded with rich insights about losing a parent.”

Usual Suspects

Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Wheeler Publishing; MacMillan Audio) focuses on a just-married woman whose angry new stepdaughter is determined to undermine her, and what motherhood truly means. LJ says, “Green is at her finest with this compelling novel. Deeper, more complicated, and more ambitious than her previous books, it will keep readers on edge as they wait to see how these tense family dynamics play out.”

Deep Fathom by James Rollins (HarperCollins Morrow; Harperluxe) finds ex-Navy SEAL Jack Kirkland surfacing from an aborted salvage mission to find the United States on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse.

Young Adult

Infamous(Chronicles of Nick Series #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Macmillan Audio) follows the further adventures of teenager Nick Gautier, whose first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him. He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, as well as divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive and keep a girlfriend so hard, let alone survival? Kenyon’s books and fans keep mounting: there are 23 million copies of her books in print in over 30 countries,

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls Series #5) by Ally Carter (Hyperion Books; Brilliance Corporation) is the latest installment in the popular spy-girl series, in which Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed since she left the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family, and her memory is a black hole.

Starters, Lissa Price, (RH/Delacorte Young Readers; Listening Library) is a new entry in the crowded field of YA dystopian novels. This one imagines a world in which teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. Kirkus wasn’t impressed with the writing, but predicted, “twists and turns come so fast that readers will stay hooked.” In its spring preview, the L.A. Times called it “the next, best entry” in the genre. It comes with a book trailer that makes you wonder how quickly it will be snapped up by Hollywood.

Nonfiction

When I Was a Child I Read Books:  Essays by Marilynne Robinson (Macmillan/FSG) is a new collection that returns to her major themes: the role of faith in modern life, the inadequacy of fact, and the contradictions inherent in human nature. Kirkus says, “Robinson is a splendid writer, no question–erudite, often wise and slyly humorous (there is a clever allusion to the birther nonsense in a passage about Noah Webster). Articulate and learned descriptions and defenses of the author’s Christian faith.”

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond (HarperCollins/Morrow) intersperses recipes with photographs of the author’s life on her ranch. Kirkus says, “some readers may delight in Drummond’s down-home way of speaking directly to the reader, while others may find the interaction a bit snarky and annoying. A collection of basic recipes to guarantee a full belly and an empty plate.”

Lawrence Lessig Coming to The Daily Show

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Lawrence Lessig, best known to librarians for his work on copyright, also founded RootStrikers.org (previously, Fix Congress First!), a web site aimed at reducing the influence of money on politics. His latest book is Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–And a Plan to Stop It(Hachette/Twelve, Oct). He will appear on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Tuesday.

On a quite different note, Food Network host, Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Worst Cooks in America) and author of Cook Like a Rock Star: 125 Recipes, Lessons and Culinary Secrets (RH/Clarkson Potter, Oct) appears on the show tonight.

On Tuesday, Comedy Central’s Colbert Report features journalist Mark Whitaker, author of My Long Trip Home, (S&S, Oct), a memoir that examines his parent’s lives and marriage. Whitaker describes the marriage as “doubly scandalous;” they were not only an interracial couple in the 1950′s, but the relationship began when Whitaker’s white mother was his African-American father’s professor at Swarthmore. Below, Whitaker describes the book.

NYT Notable Cookbooks

Thursday, December 1st, 2011


The world’s priciest cook book, Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold (The Cooking Lab, $625) is one of 19 titles on the New York Times list of the year’s most notable cookbooks. The annotation states, “The recipes are likely to drive home cooks mad, but the photography is both revolutionary and museum-worthy.”

Not everything is out of reach, however; it explains how to create cappuccino art.

It’s in six volumes, so it’s more like an encyclopedia than a single cook book. As we noted earlier, some libraries have decided to buy it precisely because it’s so expensive, and thus out of reach for many of their customers.

The first printing sold out, but it is now back in stock at wholesalers.

PEOPLE Best Cookbooks

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

There’s several reasons to pick up the 12/28 special double issue of People magazine. In addition to 2011′s Sexiest Man Alive (Bradley Cooper), dozens of other hunks are featured (click here for “100 Sexy Men in 1 Minute“). Even more mouth-watering are the “Best of the Fall Cookbooks” in the Books section, which confines itself to just six titles:

The Family Meal, Ferran Adrià, Phaidon —  the chef  known for bravura cooking (like the “liquid olive,” which he created and many have copied) here address the more mundane, but not necessarily easy, like how to poach an egg.

The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks, Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Morrow/HarperCollins — Hesser started food52.com after she realized from her work on the  NYT Cookbook, that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. The cookbook rounds up the winners from the site’s contests.

Lidia’s Italy in AmericaLidia Matticchio Bastianich, Knopf/RH — the celebrity chef moves from Italian to Italian American cooking.

Martha’s Entertaining, Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter/RH– her first book, pubbed in 1982 was simply titled Entertaining. It launched an empire.

Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi with intro by David Chang, Clarkson Potter/RH– desserts from David Chang’s pastry chef.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods, Jennifer Reese, Free Press/S&S — what a concept. After losing her job, Reese decided it was time to figure out how to save money by doing more herself. She discovered that some things are better to buy than to make and vice versa. Surprisingly, she says that bagels can be easily made at home (and, given the quality of many store bought bagels, that idea is appealing).