Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Colbert is Disturbed

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

What Do Women Want?Scientific studies indicate that “when it comes to sex, monogamy may be more of a problem for women than men,” Daniel Bergner told Stephen Colbert on his show last night. The author of What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire (HarperCollins/Ecco) noted that the generally accepted view of women as naturally monogamous has been promulgated because it is “convenient and comforting to men.”

Colbert’s reactions proved Bergner’s point.

The book is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings. Library holds are also growing.

GULP: Don’t Watch While Masticating

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

GulpJon Stewart clearly loves Mary Roach, greeting the author on Monday night’s Daily Show with the words, “I like your books!”

Her latest, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Norton; Tantor Audio), was released on Monday. The interview begins with the question of why your stomach doesn’t digest itself (hint; it’s a trick question).

After the appearance, Gulp rose to #3 on Amazon sales rankings.

Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, will appear on the show tonight. That appearance is unlike to result in a rise on Amazon’s sales rankings, however. The book has held the #1 spot for most of the last month.

Below is part one of the interview; part two is here (warning: it features nutrient enemas).

Nate Silver — Comedy Central Double Whammy

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Statistician Nate Silver has become the media’s go-to guy for election predictions, based on his NYT blog, “FiveThirty­Eight.”

His book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t (Penguin Press) rose to #5 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list this week. He is scheduled to appear on the Colbert Show tonight  and on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday.

Will interest continue in the book after tomorrow’s election? Sunday’s NYT Book Review says it will, and that it “could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade” because Silver previously “took aim mostly at sports pundits and political handicappers. But the book hints at his ambitions to take on weightier questions. There’s no better example of this than his chapter on climate change…That Silver is taking this on is, by and large, a welcome development. Few journalists have the statistical chops; most scientists and social scientists are too abstruse.”

New Title Radar: November 5 – 11

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

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

Watch List

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

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

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

Returning Favorites

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


Movie Tie-Ins

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

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

Heavy Holds Alert: SPILLOVER

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In a profile in the New York Times, David Quammen’s new book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, (Norton) is called “scary but hard-to-put-down,” featuring  real-life scientists who “become as vivid as characters in a Michael Crichton scientific thriller.”

In reviewing the book in the same publication, Dwight Garner calls the author “not just among our best science writers but among our best writers, period.” Indeed, Quammen cites Faulkner as the greatest influence on his writing.

Libraries in many areas are showing heavy holds

The Beauty of SKULLS

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Simon Winchester has covered many broad sweeping subjects in his writing career, but in his latest book, he focuses on a single collection.

Of course, it is a pretty remarkable collection; thousands of skulls, from the smallest, that of a wren, up to a hippopotamus skull, housed, improbably in the owner’s bedroom.

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection, is featured in the NYT Science section today. It wasn’t reviewed prepub, so few libraries have ordered it.

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection
Simon Winchester
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers – (2012-10-09)
ISBN / EAN: 1579129129 / 9781579129125

This Week on Colbert/Stewart

Monday, October 1st, 2012

The new book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen (Norton), featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday, is so frightening that the interviewer asked how people can continue with their lives once they learn that a virus far worse than SARS is in our future. Some may take solace in another new book, Regenesis, by George M. Church (Perseus/Basic Books), which gets the Colbert treatment on Thursday. The author claims that, because of “synthetic biology,” we can look forward to “a future in which human beings have become immune to all viruses, in which bacteria can custom-produce everyday items, like a drinking cup, or generate enough electricity to end oil dependency.”

On Wednesday, Kenny Rogers will sit down with Colbert to talk about his memoir, Luck or Something Like It (Harper/Morrow; Dreamscape Audio; ebook and audio on OverDrive), which releases tomorrow.

Tonight, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger continues his media blitz for his memoir, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger (S&S; Thorndike Press; S&S Audio). He appeared on Sixty Minutes last night. The book is reviewed by Janet Maslin in the New York Times today.

Holds Alert: MONKEY MIND

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Anxiety can be a healthy reaction to stress, but Daniel Smith suffered anxiety attacks so severe that he was unable to leave his house.

He writes about his experience in Monkey Mind, a memoir that has been called a classic in the making by the Psychiatric Times, and named a People pick. It’s been moving up best seller lists (currently at #6 on the Indie Hardcover Non-fiction list. Curiously, Los Angeles seems to be a more anxious place than New York; it reached #5 on the  L.A. Times’ list, but only #21 on the N.Y. Times‘).

Smith appeared on The Today Show yesterday.

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

Libraries in areas of high anxiety (you know who you are, Hennepin!) are showing heavy holds.

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
Daniel Smith
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2012-07-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1439177309/9781439177303

Blackstone Audio


Tuesday, July 24th, 2012


Sam Kean managed to make the periodic table sexy in his book, The Disappearing Spoon. In his new book, The Violinist’s Thumb, (Hachette/Little,Brown), he takes on an already sexy subject, DNA.

After he appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, Thumb rose from #248 to #43 and Spoon from #886 to #228 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

New Title Radar: June 11 – 17

Friday, June 8th, 2012

More media and librarian favorites land next week, as the summer reading season swings into gear. Some familiar names deliver new novels with big potential, including Alan Furst, Mark Haddon, Jess Walter, John Lanchester, and Robert Goolrick. There are also debuts to watch from Claire McMillan, Benjamin WoodMaggie Shipstead. Usual suspects include Robert Dugoni, Dorothea Benton Frank, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. And in nonfiction, there’s an intriguing look at what humans and animals have in common when it comes to health and healing by cardiologist and psychiatrist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and science writer Kathryn Bowers.

Watch List

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (Random House; Thorndike Large Print; S&S Audio) is set in Paris in the year leading up to Germany’s 1940 attack, as a Hollywood film star is drawn in to the Nazi propaganda war. It’s on Time magazine’s list of top ten picks for the year so far. In an early New York Times review, Janet Maslin says, “This particular Paris is the spy novelist Alan Furst’s home turf. He has been there many times in the course of 11 soignée, alluring novels. But he has never been there with a Hollywood movie star.”

The Gilded Age by Claire McMillan (S&S) follows a woman who returns to close-knit Shaker Heights, Ohio after a divorce and rehab, to find her next wealthy husband. It led the “women’s fiction” category on USA Today‘s Summer Books previewPublishers Weekly says that “while the novel tips its hat to House of Mirth, a simple comparison doesn’t do McMillan justice.”  More Edith Wharton-inspired novels are out this summer. The Innocents by Francesca Segal (Hyperion/Voice. 6/5/12) recasts Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence in a close-knit North West London Jewish community and BEA Lbirarians Shout ‘n’ Share pickThe Age of Desire by Jenny Fields, Penguin/Pamela Dorman, 8/2/12, is about Edith Wharton’s love affair with a younger man.

The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood (Penguin/Viking; Brilliance Audio) is  told by caregiver Oscar Lowe, who becomes entangled with Cambridge students Iris and her brother Eden, who thinks he can heal others through music. It’s the second galley featured in our First Flights programBooklist says, “this first novel is most notable for its acute characterizations and flowing prose that engrosses the reader as initial foreboding fades only to grow again. Wood is definitely a writer to watch.”

Returning Favorite

The Red House by Mark Haddon (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio) is a social novel about a brother who invites his sister, her husband and three children for week’s vacation with his new wife and step-daughter, by the author of the runaway bestseller The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night.  Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, saying in a review that sounds more like an A, “The story unfolds from all eight characters’ points of view, a tricky strategy that pays off, letting Haddon dig convincingly into all of the failures, worries, and weaknesses that they can’t leave behind during this pause in their lives.” It’s a June Indie Next pick.

GalleyChat Picks

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (HarperCollins) is a bittersweet romance that begins when a starlet pregnant with Richard Burton’s baby is whisked from the set of Cleopatra to a tiny Italian seaside village in 1962, where the innkeeper falls in love with her, and looks her up in Hollywood years later.  Reviews have begun already, as we noted earlier.

Capital by John Lanchester (Norton) is set in former a working class London neighborhood where property values have skyrocketed, as the 2008 recession sets in. LJ says it “weaves together multiple stories in an uncanny microcosm of contemporary British life that’s incredibly rich and maybe just a bit heavy, like a pastry. Yet definitely worth a look.”  It’s also a June Indie Next pick.

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick (Workman/Algonquin Books; Highbridge AudioThorndike Large Print) is the story of a man who returns from WWII to a small Virginia town with a suitcase stuffed with cash and a set of butcher knives. LJ says, “this novel is not a straightforward Southern gothic thriller but primarily a lyrical meditation on the magnified elements of small-town life: friendship, trust, land, lust, and sin.” The author’s previous novel, A Reliable Wife, was a huge seller, especially in paperback. We’re expecting even more from this one. This one is the #2 June Indie Next pick

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (RH/Knopf), a debut novel, is the story of  “WASP wedding dysfunction at it’s most hilarious,” as librarian Jennifer Dayton of Darien, CT observed on our GalleyChat. It’s a June Indie Next pick and a B&N Best Book of the Month. Ron Charles in the Washington Post this week calls it “a perfect summer romp” and, “Shipstead’s weave of wit and observation continually delights.”

Usual Suspects

The Conviction by Robert Dugoni (S&S/Touchstone) is the fifth thriller featuring Seattle lawyer David Sloane, as he tries to spring his adopted son and his friend from a hellish juvenile detention center. Nancy Pearl is a Dugoni fan, as evidenced by this interview from 2011.

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank (Harper/ Morrow; HarperAudio; Thorndike Large Print) explores how a mother and son rekindle their faith in life after their beloved husband and father is killed in the line of duty as a fireman.

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (S&S/Atria Books; Wheeler Large Print; S&S/Audio) is the story of a young woman who escaped her unhappy Oklahoma childhood as an adult in New York City, but can’t refuse a request to assist her famous cousin, who proceeds to have a very public unraveling. LJ says, “while attempting to address deeper family bonds, the authors swing wide and miss their mark. The emotional ties never quite shine through.”


Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers (RH/Knopf; RH Audio) brings together cardiologist and psychiatrist Natterson-Horowitz and science writer Bowers to make the case that since animals and humans suffer the same diseases, doctors and veterinarians should work more closely together. Booklist calls it “as clarion and perception-altering as works by Oliver Sacks, Michael Pollan, and E. O. Wilson.”

A Scientific Look at Breasts

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

A fascinating look at the fascinating topic of breasts was aired on Fresh Air yesterday, propelling Breasts by Florence Williams to #85 (from # 1,144). Science reporter Williams, after reading that toxins has been discovered in breast milk, had her own tested and discovered that it contained flame retardants (from the foam in her couch) and an ingredient in jet fuel.

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
Florence Williams
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2012-05-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0393063186 / 9780393063189

New Title Radar: April 9th – 15

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Ron Rash’s The Cove, goes on sale next week, but critics have already been vying to review the latest novel from the author of the acclaimed Serena. Two buzzed-about debuts will also arrive: Regina O’Melveny‘s historical novel The Book of Madness and Cures and Patrick Flanery‘s exploration of contemporary South Africa Absolution, plus a new novel from Katherine Howe.  Usual suspects include John Grisham, Seth Grahame-Smith and Barbara Taylor Bradford. In nonfiction, there are new books from economist and foodie Tyler Cowen, Brad Meltzer and Edward O. Wilson.


The Cove by Ron Rash (Harper/Ecco; Thorndike Large Print) features a love affair doomed by the turmoil of WWI, set in Appalachia. Critics have been competing to review it early: People gives it 4 out of 4 stars, saying “In Rash’s skilled hands, even farm chores take on a meditative beauty” and Entertainment Weekly gives it a straight A. However, the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles expresses disappointment: “Maybe anything Ron Rash published after Serena would seem pale… Only at the very end do these pages ignite, and suddenly we’re racing through a conflagration of violence that no one seems able to control except Rash.” The New York Times‘ Janet Maslin also doesn’t find it as good as the ” dazzling” Serena. In any case, the attention offers readers advisors the opportunity to lead people to the earlier book, which is being made into a movie, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.


The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O’Melveny (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel about a female doctor in 16th-century Italy that is one of BookPage’s most-buzzed about releases. As the Boston Globe‘s early review notes: “Women physicians playing the sleuth in hostile terrain have been a burgeoning club in the recent field of fiction, led by popular new works from Ann Patchett and Téa Obreht…. [This] story makes for a confounding hybrid, one that speaks to devotees of high-end historical romance from one side of its mouth and the fan base of Dr. Oliver Sacks from the other.”

Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Penguin/Riverhead) is a debut about a celebrated novelist in contemporary Cape Town, South Africa who believes she betrayed her anti-apartheid activist sister. It’s part literary detective story, part portrait of an uncertain society new to freedom. LJ notes that the author, an American living in London, has been called “the next J.M. Coetzee,” and declares that this “assured, atmospheric novel perfectly reflects the tenuous trust being forged among South Africans as they look to the future.”

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe (Hyperion Books; Hyperion Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a historical mystery with a romantic twist by the author of the 2009 debut hit The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Set in Boston in 1915, Boolklist says, “it offers a poignant look at spiritualism during the Great War and the comfort it brought to people who had lost loved ones.” LJ recommends it  for fans of Tracy Chevalier and Diana Gabaldon.


Calico Joe by John Grisham (RH/Doubleday; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) is a baseball-themed book timed for the opening of the season.  Booklist calls it  “a solid baseball story but one that never delivers the emotional payoff readers will expect.”

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is the latest from the “master of the mashup,” as the Wall Street Journal calls him in a long feature today. Not so much a mashup, this new title plays with history, turning the Three Kings into escaped thieves who happen upon the manger and reluctantly help the Holy family escape to Egypt.  Entertainment Weekly calls it “a fantasy action-adventure akin to fusing Game of Thrones with the Gospel of Luke…Grahame-Smith’s depiction of sacred figures as flawed humans that makes the book feel like a secret account of events that have been sanitized by legend.” Following in the footsteps of the author’s other books, this one has been optioned for the movies. The 3-D film based on his Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter arrives in theaters in June.

Letter from a Stranger by Barbara Taylor Bradford (St. Martin’s Press; Center Point Large Print; Macmillan Audio) is another of the author’s signature multigenerational novel. PW says, “Gardens, food, clothing, and accessories – everything in Bradford’s world shows taste. If the plot turns simplistic at times, loyal fans will still tear up at the descriptions of enduring friendship and familial love.”


The Calling (Darkness Rising Series #2) by Kelley Armstrong (HarperCollins) is the second installment in a teen fantasy series. Booklist says, “the lightning-fast plot leaves little room for character development, and Armstrong keeps the focus on the motion rather than the emotion while paving the way for the series finale. Fans of the first book, The Gathering (2011), won’t find any reason not to stay on board.”

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (Mysterious Benedict Society Series) by Trenton Lee Stewart (Hachette/LBYR; Listening Library) is a prequel to the popular series, focusing on the backstory of the narcoleptic genius founder of the Mysterious Benedict Society. Booklist says, “The novel is long, true, but many readers will find themselves reluctant to reach the end; and while Stewart leaves an opening for sequels about Nicholas as a child, this invigorating novel stands on its own.”


An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen (RH/Dutton) is a gastronomic treatise by an economist best known for The Great Stagnation. PW says, “Cowen writes like your favorite wised-up food maven, folding encyclopedic knowledge and piquant food porn… into a breezy, conversational style; the result is mouth-watering food for thought.” According to Forbes, Cowen is “America’s hottest economist” (remember when that would have been an oxymoron?). Maybe it’s true; he’s spoken at TED. FastCompany recently listed a few of his intriguing “new rules.”

Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer (Harper) is a compilation by the popular thriller author, of stories of 55 people who dedicated their lives to improving the world, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank to Randy Pausch, Theodore Roosevelt to Lucille Ball, Rosa Parks to the passengers on United Flight 93. His Heroes for My Son was published in 2010.

The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson (Norton) is the Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard scientist’s answer to life’s big questions; “Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Kirkus says, “Group selection–as opposed to kin selection, i.e., the ‘selfish gene’ a la Richard Dawkins–is the author’s big idea…Wilson succeeds in explaining his complex ideas, so attentive readers will receive a deeply satisfying exposure to a major scientific controversy.”

IMAGINE Is Number One

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Jonah Lehrer’s third book, Imagine: How Creativity Works debuts at #1 on both the Indie and the NYT nonfiction best seller lists.

His previous book, How We Decide (HMH, 2009), was on both the NYT hardcover and paperback extended lists.

Media attention, including two interviews on NPR helped raise the book’s profile;

NPR’s All Things Considered, 3/19, Interview

NPR’s Fresh Air, 3/21, Interview

Review in the Washington Post, 3/23

Library holds are very heavy where ordering is light (one large system shows 215 holds on 9 copies).

Imagine: How Creativity Works
Jonah Lehrer
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – (2012-03-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0547386079 / 9780547386072

Brilliance Audio


Monday, October 24th, 2011

Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, is enjoying a wide range of media coverage, from the New York Post to the New York Times (in both the magazine and in David Brooks’s column), for his new book, Thinking Fast and Slow (FSG, 10/25). As a result, it has been in the top ten on Amazon sales rankings for the past two days and shows heavy holds in libraries that have ordered it (several libraries have not).

About the book’s excerpt in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, editor Hugo Lindgren says,

…we could have randomly selected any 3,000-word chunk of it and it would’ve been just as brilliant as the bit we chose. [Kahneman’s] writing style is so charming and amiable that you almost forget that he’s kicking the table legs out from under life as we think we live it.

Forbes takes a narrower view, focused on their own specific interests, “Nobel Prize Winner: Stock Advisors are Worthless,” as does the Wall Street Journal, “Investors, Beware Overconfidence — And Not Just Your Own.”

The New York Post calls it an answer to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 9780374275631; 512 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2011-10-25)
UNABR Audio 9780739357989

New Title Radar; Week of 10/3

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Next week holds many riches: Michael Lewis‘s follow up to The Big ShortSusan Orlean‘s much anticipated Rin Tin Tin bio, a new novel from Michael Ondaatje that’s said to be his most engaging since The English Patient, and Jose Saramago‘s final work, plus a new novel from Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright.

Watch List

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton, Thorndike Large Print) is the story of an ill-fated affair that leads to the collapse of two marriages, set in Ireland as the Celtic Tiger wanes into recession. It follows Gathering, Enright’s Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller (for more than five months). Kirkus says Enright “once again brings melancholy lyricism to a domestic scenario and lifts it into another dimension.” It was also a pick on our own Galley Chat.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410445063) is a dystopian take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, in which Hannah Payne wakes up after having been injected with a virus to turn her skin red, punishment for aborting her unborn child. Library Journal says, “Jordan offers no middle ground: she insists that readers question their own assumptions regarding freedom, religion, and risk. Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it.” It was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA, in which one reader called it a “brilliant, disturbing, unexpected turn. Much more than 1984 meets The Scarlet Letter.”

Eagerly Awaited

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the author’s “best novel since his Booker Prizewinning The English Patient,” according to Publishers Weekly. It starts with an 11 year-old boy’s voyage from Ceylon to London to live with his divorced mother, getting up to all sorts of mischief with two other children on the ship, in adventures that color his life for years to come.

Night Strangers by Christopher Bohjalian (Crown; Random House Audio; Books on TapeRandom House Large Print) is the story of a traumatized pilot – one of nine plane crash survivors – who retreates with his family to a New Hampshire town, but doesn’t find much peace. Library Journal calls it a “genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. The story’s more gothic elements are introduced gradually, so the reader is only slightly ahead of the characters in discerning, with growing horror, what is going on.”  It was also got some enthusiastic mentions on GalleyChat last July.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Scribner) is historical fiction centering on four powerful women, set during the Roman siege of the Judean fortress on Masada. It’s a librarian favorite.

Cain by Jose Saramago (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Center Point Large Print) is the Nobel Prize-winner’s final novel, following his death in 2010, in which he reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain, who wanders forever through time and space after he kills Abel. Booklist says, “an iconoclastic, imaginative roller-coaster ride as Cain whisks about through all the time levels of the Old Testament, witnessing the major events in those books of the Bible, from the fall of Sodom to the Flood, through his own perspective of God as cruel and vengeful.”

Young Adult

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series.

The Lost Stories (Ranger’s Apprentice Series #11) by John Flanagan (Philomel/Penguin) is a collection of “lost” tales that fill in the gaps between Ranger’s Apprentice novels, written in response to questions his fans have asked over the years.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (S & S Books for Young Readers) is the conclusion to the Hush Hush saga, in which Patch and Nora, armed with nothing but their absolute faith in each other, enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything.



Usual Suspects

Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers Series #5) by John Sandford (Putnam; Penguin AudioCenter Point Large Print) finds Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers tracking a bomber who attacks big box chain Pyemart, after local merchants and environmentalists in a Minnesota town join forces to oppose the construction of a new mega-store. Kirkus says, “the tale drags at times, but the mystification and detection are authentic and the solution surprisingly clever.”


Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (Norton; S&S Audio) is a follow up to The Big Short, in which the bestselling author visits societies like Iceland, which transformed themselves when credit was easy between 2002 and 2008, and are paying the price. As we’ve mentioned, Michiko Kakutani has already given the book a glowing review in the New York Times, which caused the book to rise to #17 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Lewis will appear on NPR, CBS radio and TV, and on MSNBC.

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a collection of humorous musings by the afternoon talk show host, that comes eight years after her last bestseller. Kirkus says, “though DeGeneres doesn’t provide many laugh-out-loud moments, her trademark wit and openness shine through.”

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (Free Press; S&S Audio) finds the master science writer and author of The God Delusion teaming up with a master of the graphic novel to create a new genre: the graphic science book that considers the universe in all its glory, magical without creator or deity. Kirkus says, “watch for this to be mooted and bruited in school board meetings to come. And score points for Dawkins, who does a fine job of explaining earthquakes and rainbows in the midst of baiting the pious.”

The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs (Random House; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the blueprint for America’s economic recovery by the well-known economist, who argues that we must restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Kirkus says, “A lucid writer, the author is refreshingly direct—tax cuts for the wealthy are ‘immoral and counterproductive’; stimulus funding and budget cutting are ‘gimmicks’—and he offers recommendations for serious reform.” He will appear on NPR’s Morning Edition and on several TV news shows.

Movie Tie-ins

The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperback) ties into the movie starring George Clooney, which opens 11/18. A dark comedy about a dysfunctional family in Hawaii, it received raves at the Toronto Film Festival (Variety: “one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels.”) By director Alexander Payne, whose earlier movie Sideways increased tourism to Napa Valley, this may do the same for Hawaii; it is also a good opportunity to reintroduce readers to the book, the first novel by Hawaiian Kaui Hart Hemmings, which came out to strong reviews in 2007 (as exemplified by this one in the NYT Book Review). Trailer here.

The Rum Diary: A Novel by Hunter S. Thompson (S&S) is the tie-in to the film adaptation of the only published novel by the gonzo journalist, starring Johnny Depp (who played Thompson in the poorly received Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The movie, opening Oct 21, has a strong cast, but it’s based on one of Thompson’s weakest works, so it may do more for rum sales than for the book. Trailer here,