Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category


Friday, November 27th, 2015

9780061125867_cb911Featured on CNN under the headline, “Could This Quran Curb Extremism?” The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperCollins/HarperOne; OverDrive Sample) rose to #142 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Passed over by trade reviews thus far, this new edition has received a great deal of attention from the scholarly community. It is, however, designed for all interested readers.

The CNN report also links to Christiane Amanpour in a long conversation with the book’s co-editor earlier this month about public perceptions of Islam.

The Trailer

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The first preview of Miracles from Heaven, a new movie starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah has been just been released

9780316381833_fc723Based on the book Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing by Christy Wilson Beam (Hachette; OverDrive Sample), the film is highlighted in a People magazine online spread. It tells the story of a young girl who “survived a 30-ft. fall from a tree and told her parents she had visited heaven – then was inexplicably cured from her terminal digestive disorder.”

The new issue of People magazine, on newsstands this Friday, features the story in full and includes “additional photos from set and more from Jennifer Garner.”

The film’s release date is March 18, 2016. The Sony producing team behind the 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real is also heading this one.

Although the book title sounds like a several  bestsellers, this one did not hit any of the lists and was not reviewed pre-pub. It was written by the girl’s mother, played by Garner in the film, and is her first book.

Two tie-in editions are forthcoming in February.

9780316311373_2cc88Miracles from Heaven — Trade pbk. ISBN: 9780316311373
Miracles from Heaven — Mass Mkt. ISBN: 9780316355322

Note: Tie-in cover art is forthcoming


Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 1.05.55 PMNadia Bolz-Weber’s third book, Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People (RH/Convergent Books; Random House Audio), just hit the NYT Bestseller list and is getting widespread attention, with holds rising as a result.

Bolz-Weber spoke with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air last week, giving a sense of both her book and her approach, saying “Some churches might have a hard time welcoming junkies and drag queens; we’re fine with that.”

The Atlantic and The Huffington Post have also posted features with Huff Post saying Bolz-Weber is:

“… one of the most important Christian voices around — not because she has come up with some catchy, easy new way to do faith, but because when she talks about the destructive power of sin, as well as redemption and grace, she knows of what she speaks.”

Like her memoir’s title, Bolz-Weber is an accidental pastor. She found her path in the Lutheran church only after working as a standup comic with a heavy drinking problem. Her book is inviting, profane, and big hearted.

Holds are exceeding a 3:1 ratio in many libraries we checked. Some libraries have yet to place orders.

Pope Francis Arrives Next Week

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.21.57 AMIn case you haven’t heard, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the US next week, arriving in Washington, DC on September 22, followed by tours of NYC and Philadelphia.

In anticipation, yesterday’s NPR Fresh Air featured Paul Vallely, who wrote Pope Francis: The Struggle For The Soul Of Catholicism (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample; 2013), discussing the changes the Pope as made within the Church.

9781426215827_7afb4Published to coincide with the visit, National Geographic released Pope Francis and the New Vatican by David Yoder last month. Filled with 140 “never-before-seen” photographs, the publisher says the photographer got them by being “embedded with the Pope inside the Vatican for 6 months.”

For those planning displays, last year Publishers Weekly offered a rundown of the big new and forthcoming books on the Pope, including the “highest-profile book in the Francis lineup,” Garry Wills’s The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (Penguin/Viking; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample; March, 2015).

CAPTIVE, Trailer

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Faith-based movies and tv shows have become significant money makers, so much so that the Hollywood trade publication Variety sponsors an event titled “PURPOSE: The Family Entertainment & Faith-Based Summit.”

One of the keynote speakers this year will be David Oyelowo, who starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. According to Variety, he is a devout Christian, who only takes roles that reflect well on his beliefs.

In the upcoming movie Captive, he plays the real-life Brian Nichols, an escaped convict who murdered four people and took Ashley Smith as hostage in the process. By reading to Nichols from Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, (Zondervan,2002), Ashley (played by Kate Mara) managed to talk Nichols into turning himself in. She then wrote an account of the experience, Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story Of The Atlanta Hostage Hero (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 2005), on which the movie is based.

The movie is being released by Paramount on 9/18/2015. The trailer was just released:


Captive : The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero
Ashley Smith
HarperCollins/Morrow: August 18, 2015
Paperback, $14.99 USD, $18.50 CAD

But the book that may get the biggest boost  from the movie. is The Purpose Driven Life,

Fifty Shades of Protest

Friday, February 13th, 2015

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

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

60 MINUTES On Pope Francis

Monday, December 29th, 2014

9780770435066_74f48CBS dedicated yesterday’s entire 60 Minutes show to Pope Francis and the Vatican (including a repeat of Morley Safer’s visit to the Vatican Library three years ago).

As a result, On Heaven and Earth by Pope Frances and Abraham Skorka (RH/Image, 2013)  rose to #214 from #43,488 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Lunar Predictions

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Blood Moons RisingWas last night’s blood moon, the first of four that will occur this year, just a beautiful event, or does it portend something more? The Washington Post takes a look at several new books that claim the event  fulfills the Biblical prophecy, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord,” in the Book of Joel 2:31.

The most popular of these comes from Texas televangelist John Hagee, Blood Moons Rising, (Tyndale House). It is currently at #4 on the New York Times Advice & How To best seller list.

Holds Alert: ZEALOT

Monday, July 29th, 2013

ZealotAttention to Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House) blew up over the weekend after his appearance on the show “Spirited Debate.” Host Lauren Green grilled Aslan about why, as a Muslim, he would write a book about Christ, to which Aslan replied, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

People weighed in all weekend, with the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum tweeting that the interview was, “absolutely demented” but that Aslan “handled it with remarkable calm.”

The book debuted at #2 on the latest NYT Combined Print & E-book Nonfiction best seller list but this controversy has sent its sales even higher. It is now at #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are multiplying in libraries.

The author has appeared on several other shows, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

By and About the New Pope

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

LIFE Pope Francis

The new pope is getting the Life pictorial treatment in Pope Francis: The Vicar of Christ, From Saint Peter to Today, (Hachette/Life). A paperback book/magazine edition appears on newsstands this week, with the hardcover releasing on April 16.

A book by the new Pope, previously published in Spanish in 2010, will be released in English on May 7. On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, (RH/Crown/Image Books) is a record of conversations between the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. According to the Random House press release, the two religious leaders address “such topics as God, fundamentalism, atheism, the Holocaust, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization.”

It will be released simultaneously in print, digital, large print and audio formats. The original Spanish-language version, Sobre el Cielo y la Terra will be published in North America in both trade paperback and eBook by RH/Vintage Espanol.

Also coming from the Image imprint of Random House is a book by Robert Moynihan, the founder of Inside the Vatican magazine, Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas.

Behind the Scenes at the Vatican

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Vatican DiariesIn an amazing stroke of good timing, Vatican reporter John Thavis just published The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church (Penguin/Viking).

He appears on NPR’s Fresh Air today, sounding as surprised as anyone by Pope Benedict’s resignation; “most people around the Vatican, including journalists, are a little bit disoriented … It almost seems as if Benedict made his decision without necessarily scripting the entire process in advance and leaving his Vatican aides to scramble for answers. … no one here really knows what’s going to happen next.”

After Lincoln and Kennedy

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Killing JesusBill O’Reilly announced at the end of last night’s OReilly Factor that his next book will be Killing Jesus (Macmillan/Holt; 9780805098549), to be published on Sept. 24th (via USA Today).

O’Reilly said, “My co-author, Martin Dugard [also the co-author of Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy] and I have uncovered some amazing things about the execution of Jesus of Nazareth and how it all tied into Roman power.”

Heavy Holds Alert: HELP, THANKS, WOW

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Anne Lamott appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition today, to talk about her new book, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. After the show aired, the book rose to #8 on Amazon sales ranking. Many libraries are showing heaving holds on modest orders.

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
Anne Lamott
Retail Price: $17.95
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2012-11-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1594631298 / 9781594631290

Thorndike Large Print, Dec.

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).


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: 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.


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.”