Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

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.”

New Title Radar – Week of Jan 30

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Next week brings three debuts to watch – about the Korean immigrant experience, an Alaskan couple longing for a child in 1920, and a Romanian Jewish village in 1939 – plus two well-reviewed thrillers by authors steadily building their audiences, Daniel Palmer and William Landay. Usual suspects include Robert Harris, Kristin Hannah and Shannon Hale  – while Elizabeth George delivers a Christian devotional for moms.

Debuts to Watch

Drifting House by Krys Lee (Penguin/Viking; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel portraying the Korean immigrant experience from the postwar era to contemporary times. Library Journal says, “Readers in search of exquisite short fiction beyond their comfort zone—groupies of Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) and Yoko Tawada (Where Europe Begins) — will thrill to discover Lee’s work.”


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Hachette/Little,Brown/Reagan Arthur; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about a couple struggling in their marriage, who arrive in Alaska in 1920. Longing for children, they build a child out of snow that’s gone the next morning, though they glimpse a small girl running through the trees. Kirkus calls it “a fine first novel,” saying “the book’s tone throughout has a lovely push and pull–Alaska’s punishing landscape and rough-hewn residents pitted against Faina’s charmed appearances–and the ending is both surprising and earned.”

No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel (Penguin/Riverhead) is set in a remote Jewish village in Romania in 1939, as war closes in. At the suggestion of an 11-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. Library Journal says “debut novelist Ausubel has written a riveting, otherworldly story about an all-too-real war and the transformative power of community.”

Rising Thrillers

Helpless by Daniel Palmer (Kensington; Brilliance Audio) is the followup to the author’s acclaimed debut Delirious, the story of an award-winning coach accused of murder. (Palmer, by the way, is the son of bestselling author Michael Palmer.) LJ says, “Palmer scores again with a terrific thriller that has it all—murder, drugs, kidnapping, techno-mayhem, romance, manly ex-Navy SEAL exploits, and a burgeoning father-daughter relationship.”

Defending Jacob by William Landay (RH/Delacorte; Blackstone Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the latest from the author of The Strangler and the award-winning Mission Flats. It features Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber, who is shocked to find his 14 year-old son Jacob charged with the murder of a fellow student. Library Journal raves, “this brilliant novel …  is equal parts legal thriller and dysfunctional family saga, culminating in a shocking ending. Skillful plotting and finely drawn characters result in a haunting story reminiscent of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent.”

Usual Suspects

The Fear Index by Robert Harris (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio). Author Harris has successfully moved from alternate history to ancient history to WWII thrillers and contemporary stories and now a techno-thriller about an artificial intelligence project with a mind of its own. Library Journal says this “outstanding thriller… will kindle readers’ minds from the first page. Get ready to enjoy a brilliant integration of fascinating research, compelling themes, and vivid characterization.” It will be in the media next week, including a feature on NPRs “Morning Edition.” A movie is in the works, directed by Paul Greengrass, with Harris writing the screenplay.

Home Front by Kristin Hannah (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Center Point Large Print; Macmillan Audio) is the story of a couple whose growing distance is twisted by the wife’s unexpected deployment to Iraq. Publishers Weekly says “by reversing traditional expectations, Hannah calls attention to the modern female soldier and offers a compassionate, poignant look at the impact of war on family.”

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury) is a sequel to the bestselling Austenland (2007), in which another contemporary American plays Regency heroine at Pembrook Park. PW says, “though a tacked-on romance and some flimsy plot twists strain credibility… Hale provides a welcome, witty glimpse of a side of Austen rarely explored in the many contemporary riffs on her work.” A movie of the first title wrapped filming this summer, with Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga) producing.


A Mom After God’s Own Heart Devotional by Elizabeth George (Harvest House Publishers) draws from the author’s bestselling books, radio spots and podcasts, along with scripture, to provide devotionals to guide mothers in parenting.




New Title Radar – Week of December 5

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Next week, look out for Lou Beach‘s quirky debut story collection based on Facebook posts, along with a new novel from Anita Desai and the relaunch of an old one by Paul Theroux. Veteran  P.D. James delivers a murder mystery in the form of a sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is already getting attention. In nonfiction, there’s an original title from the Dalai Lama, along with Richard Bonin‘s look at Ahmed Chalabi’s role in shaping contemporary Iraq.

Watch List

420 Characters by Lou Beach (Houghton Mifflin) is a collection of very short stories that originally appeared as Facebook status updates. Library Journal says, “there are some books you like, others that you don’t, and that rare book that you like in spite of yourself. This book fits into the latter category… Like a tasting menu, these stories add up to something wonderful.”

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (RH/Knopf; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) subjects the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to a murder mystery. It’s set in 1803, six years after Elizabeth and Darcy began their life together at Pemberley, when their idyll is shattered by Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who announces that her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been murdered. NPR’s Fresh Air featured it on Tuesday, calling it “a glorious plum pudding of a whodunit,” adding  James “ferrets out the alternative noir tales that lurk in the corners of Pride and Prejudice, commonly thought of as Austen’s sunniest novel. Ruinous matches, The Napoleonic Wars, early deaths, socially enforced female vulnerability: Austen keeps these shadows at bay, while James noses deep into them.” We’ve put this on our “Watch List” because it may bring James a whole new audience.

Returning Literary Lions

The Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai (Houghton Mifflin) includes three novellas about characters struggling with modernization and Indian culture, by the author thrice shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Kirkus says, “reading Desai’s poignant and wry new effort offers a modest pleasure that suits its fragile characters. A deft exploration of the limits people place on themselves by trying to cling to the past.”

Murder in Mount Holly by Paul Theroux (Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious Press) is a caper novel set in the 1960s and first published in the U.K. in 1969, which follows a draftee, his mother and her amateur criminal lover in the small American town of Mount Holly. Booklist says “its a slim twig of a book, but it’s howlingly funny and will stay with readers for a long time,” but PW finds it “subpar” for the writer best known for his travel books.

Usual Suspects

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audio) finds Kay Scarpetta’s former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, has been murdered, and she wants to know why. It began rising on Amazon 10/25/11, and is at #78 as of 12/1/11. Publishers Weekly says, “As in other recent work, Cornwell overloads the plot, but Scarpettas tangled emotional state and her top-notch forensic knowledge more than compensate.”

Children’s & Young Adult

Witch & Wizard: The Fire by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski (Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the climax of the Witch & Wizard fantasy series, in which sister and brother battle a merciless totalitarian regime.



Ruthless by Sara Shepard (HarperTeen) is book ten of the Pretty Little Liars series. High school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer are back – and this time must face a ruthless stalker who wants to make them pay for their darkest secret. The new season of the ABC TV Family series based on the books begins on January 2.

Movie Tie-in

Big Miracle (originally, Everybody Loves Whales) by Tom Rose (Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Griffin; Dreamscape Audio) is the story of a reporter and a Greenpeace activist who enlisted the Cold War superpowers to help save a whale trapped under Arctic ice in 1988, written by a conservative talk show host. This edition ties in to the movie adaptation opening February 3, starring John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore. PW says, “the book is most compelling when it focuses on the simple drama of the whales plight and the extraordinary lives the people of Barrow eke from the harsh elements; its less interesting when it strays into antibig government polemics and caricatures of limousine liberal environmentalists.”


Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Alexander Norman (Houghton Mifflin; Brilliance Audio) continues the Dalai Lama’s case for a universal ethics rooted in compassion. PW says, “This wise, humane book, an original work rather than a collection of talks, is an incisive statement of His Holinesss’s thinking on ways to bring peace to a suffering world.”

Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi’s Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq by Richard Bonin (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio) examines an Iraqi exile’s ultimately successful attempts to have Saddam overthrown. Kirkus says that “the book occasionally suffers from myopia as all of the events are seen through the lens of Chalabi,” and predicts that “this crisp, clean book won’t be the last word on the perplexing events in Iraq, but for now it’s one of the better ones.”

Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) chronicles the service of a SEAL team member and instructor.


Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

On Good Morning America yesterday, George Stephanopoulos talked to Rob Bell about his “Provocative take on heaven and hell,” in his new book, Love Wins. Bell, the pastor of a mega church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is being accused of heresy by evangelicals.

The book has been in the top fifteen on Amazon for the last week. It moved in to the top five after the appearance.

Bell was also profiled in USA Today on Monday.

Audio from Books on Tape; 9780307940568

Pastor’s Book Trailer Gets Buzz

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Thanks to a controversial video trailer for Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell, the book’s publication date has been pushed up by a week. In the video, the Grand Rapids, Michigan mega-church pastor and bestselling author of Velvet Elvis leans toward “universalism ─ a dirty word in Christian circles that suggests everyone goes to heaven and there is no hell,” as’s “Belief Blog” puts it.

On March 14, Bell will be the subject of a New York Times profile, and will appear on Good Morning America and Nightline.

Several libaries we checked did not have copies on order. Others showed holds of up to 10:1 on light ordering.

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Rob Bell
Retail Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: HarperOne – (2011-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006204964X / 9780062049643

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week…


Sins of the Fathers; Jay Bakker

Monday, January 17th, 2011

If you lived through the 80’s, you may remember televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Their son, Jay, is now a pastor himself, but with a very different approach. He writes about his beliefs in his book Fall to Grace and was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered (listen here) on Saturday.

Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self & Society
Jay Bakker
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: FaithWords – (2011-01-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0446539503 / 9780446539500

If you need a reminder of who the Bakkers were, the Jan. 12th Today Show gave a quick history prior to Matt Lauer’s interview with Jay.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rising on Amazon

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

It’s a title that pulls no punches, Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body.

The author, Missy Buchanan, spoke with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America yesterday, sending the book up Amazon’s sales rankings to #57. It’s published by Christian publisher, Upper Room.

Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults
Missy Buchanan
Retail Price: $12.00
Perfect Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Upper Room – (2008-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 083589942X / 9780835899420


Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The clip being that’s  all over the Web today is Jon Stewart’s show intro last night, a send up of Rick Sanchez, who was fired over the weekend by CNN for calling Stewart a bigot during a radio interview.

At least a few people stuck around to hear Stewart interview the man he calls a “professional atheist,” Sam Harris, author of The Moral Landscape. The book rose to #12 on Amazon (from #53).

The book is also featured on The Book Beast and reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.

The Harris interview is the hottest segment of the show (“anyone in this room could improve the ten commandments in five seconds”), but if you really want to see Stewart on Sanchez, link here.


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Sam Harris
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity


The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
Sam Harris
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1439171211 / 9781439171219

S&S Audio; UNABR; Read by the Author

Next Week: Tasty Nonfiction by Women

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Next week brings three female authors with fresh takes on topical subjects.

Big commercial expectations accompany The Wave: In Pursuit of Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean, by O magazine editor-in-chief Susan Casey, about rogue waves exacerbated by global warming (the largest was taller than the Empire State Building) and the extreme surfers who chase them. It is listed in USA Today’s fall books roundup. A review is scheduled for the upcoming NYT BR and it will be featured on Good Morning America on Monday, followed by The Daily Show the next evening.

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean
Susan Casey
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0767928849 / 9780767928847

Promise Me: How a Sister’s Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer by Nancy Brinker, is a memoir by the woman who founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has raised more than a billion dollars for breast-cancer research.  Kirkus finds it “touching and inspring.” Library holds are growing, and it has been rising on Amazon too.

Promise Me: How a Sister’s Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer
Nancy G. Brinker
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0307718123 / 9780307718129

Big Girls Don’t Cry by staff writer Rebecca Traister is a nuanced look back at the election of 2008, arguing that it changed the role of women in national politics. She spoke to librarians earlier in the year at the S&S editors’ Fall books presentation (the next one is Fri., Sept 24 from 9 to 12:30 at the S&S offices in NYC; email Michelle Fadlalla to RSVP or for more information). Traister is thoughtful, dynamic and passionate; sure to be on many talk shows.

PW says that “Traister does a fine job in showing that progress does not proceed in straight lines, and, sometimes, it’s the unlikeliest of individuals who initiate real change.”

Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women
Rebecca Traister
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 1439150281 / 9781439150283

Other Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week

Pinheads & Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama by Bill O’Reilly (Morrow) is another round of liberal bashing from the Fox News pundit.

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind by Joyce Meyer (Faithwords) is the TV preacher’s followup to her bestseller Battlefield of the Mind. PW says “critics of Meyer will say she sounds like an infomercial (‘You will see amazing results’). Yet her many fans will continue to appreciate her upbeat attitude and her ability to offer practical tips on the toughest topics.”

Cash and Caldwell Memoirs Rising

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Two women’s memoirs are likely to get significant media attention next week.

Rosanne Cash‘s Composed, about her music career and life as Johnny Cash’s daughter, is already getting admiring attention, though holds are modest on light ordering at libraries we checked.

The Los Angeles Times calls it “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read. Yes, Cash comes from a well-known family and makes her living in the entertainment business, but ‘Composed’ is really about her spiritual growth as a daughter, a sister, a mother, a lover, a wife and an artist.”

New York Magazine profiles Cash and O, the Oprah Magazine selects it as one of 10 Books to Pick Up in August 2010.

Composed: A Memoir
Rosanne Cash
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-08-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021962 / 9780670021963


Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell is the Boston Globe book critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s account of her deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp. Like Caldwell, Knapp was single by choice, dedicated to her writing and recovering from alcoholism, before she died of cancer in 2002.

Laura Miller in Salon calls it

…a slender and beautiful book… [Caldwell] never stoops to tear-jerking or sentiment. Which is not to say she won’t make you cry. It might be something as simple as her first-page description of love’s tempo that does it: “For years,” she writes, “we had played the easy daily game of catch that intimate connection implies. One ball, two gloves, equal joy in the throw and return.”

It was also a LA Times summer reading pick, and the #3 Indie Next pick for August .

Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
Gail Caldwell
Retail Price: $23.00
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-08-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1400067383 / 9781400067381

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

Hollywood: A Third Memoir by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster) is a new series of reminiscences from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter. Booklist says the chapters are “disconnected,” and “his descriptions are not always charitable, but they are consistently sharp, interesting, and enjoyable.”

Where There Is Love, There Is God: A Path to Closer Union with God and Greater Love for Others by Mother Teresa (Doubleday) offers more wisdom from Mother Teresa culled from private lessons she gave to fellow nuns.

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo (Gotham) is about the Vidocq Society, a real-life crime-solving group.  USA Today has a Q&A with the author. This one’s also an August Indie Next pick.

Drumbeat for Junger’s WAR

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Among the nonfiction titles going on sale next week, War by Sebastian Junger is poised to get the lion’s share of media attention. Holds are mounting at libraries we checked, undoubtedly helped by the advance publicity for this account of a platoon fighting in Afghanistan, which includes a New York Times op-ed by Junger and an excerpt from the book in Newsweek.

Junger will kick off his media tour with an interview on Good Morning America next Tuesday, May 11.

PW says that “Junger mixes visceral combat scenes raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire.”

Kirkus finds the book “often harrowing, though mostly conventional.”

Sebastian Junger
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Twelve – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0446556246 / 9780446556248

Large Print; Hachette; hardcover; ISBN 9780446566971; $28.99
Hachette Audio; UNABR CD; ISBN 9781607881988; $29.98
BBC Audio; UNABR; 9781607885344; 10 CD’s; $74.99
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook from OverDrive

Other Major Titles on Sale Next Week

Storm Warning: Whether Global Recession, Terrorist Threats, or Devastating Natural Disasters, These Ominous Shadows Must Bring Us Back to the Gospel by Billy Graham is the Christian evangelist’s latest examination of America’s problems. Though it’s the top pick on B&’s “Coming Soon” list for next week, three out of four libraries we checked do not have it.

Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together by the Dalai Lama (Doubleday) advocates peaceful coexistence based on shared human experience. Not all libraries we checked had this one either.

The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies and a Company Called DreamWorks by Nicole LaPorte (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood studio formed in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B-, saying that “LaPorte offers sharp critiques of business blunders made by DreamWorks’ founders… but with her blow-by-blow tale running well over 400 pages, it’s clear that she could learn a thing or two from the man about storytelling.”

Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm (Penguin) gets a positive review from hard-to-please Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times: “Roubini, a professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business, uses his gifts as a teacher to give the lay reader a succinct, lucid and compelling account of the causes and consequences of the great meltdown of 2008.”

Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball by Bill Madden (Harper) gets thumbs up from Kirkus: “Having covered the Yankees for 30 years, and with access to previously unavailable material, Madden provides a definitive and captivating biography of ‘The Boss.’ “

Religious Illiteracy

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Rising on Amazon is a book that claims the popular view that all religions are one dangerously obscures the important differences between them. God is Not One is currently at #180, rising from #413 yesterday.

Few libraries have ordered the book. It received its first prepub review in the 4/15 issue of Booklist; “Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read.”

The author, Boston U. professor Stephen Prothero, is making use of social media to promote the book. He’s currently in the middle of a virtual book tour, with dozens of religion-focused blogs reviewing the book. On Twitter, he’s created “Religion 140,” a 140-character “mini-course” (perhaps that should be called a “micro-mini” course) on the great religions.

He’s also created a book trailer, which is refreshingly free of tricks,

Old-school media is involved, too, with essays by the author in the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe.

Prothero’s 2007 title, Religious Literacy made it on to the bottom rungs of the NYT Nonfiction list for 3 weeks and on the extended list for two more weeks.

Making Different Cases

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Two books released on the same day, make quite different cases; the atheist Richard Dawkins makes the case for evolution in The Greatest Show in Earth, while Karen Armstrong makes The Case for God.

Armstrong’s book was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered last night; Dawkins is scheduled for the Colbert Report tomorrow night.

Both are showing heavy holds (Dawkins is running ahead of Armstrong) on light ordering.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Richard Dawkins
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2009-09-22)
ISBN / EAN: 1416594787 / 9781416594789

Unabridged Audio:
Simon & Schuster Audio; 9780743579278 $ 39.99; 9/1/09


The Case for God
Karen Armstrong
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-09-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0307269183 / 9780307269188

Unbridged Audio:

  • Random House Audio; 9780307702371; $50.00; 9/1/09
  • Books on Tape; 9780307702395; $100; 9/22/09

Large Type:

Thorndike Press; 9781410421531; $ 32.95; 11/1/09

Downloadable audio and eBook from OverDrive