Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

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

Heavy Holds Alert; THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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.”

Nonfiction

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,

The NYT BR Bump

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The 8/11 New York Time Book Review calls Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes (S&S, 8/9; 9781439189511) “hilarious and extremely dirty.

Unsurprisingly, that review sent the book up Amazon’s sales rankings, to #65 (from #130), where it is as of this morning. Holds are running as high as 5:1 in libraries.

 

But serious science trumps literary smut, at least this time. The book that got the biggest boost is The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World, David Deutsch (Viking, 7/21; 9780670022755) which went to #48 from #173. Library orders are light with holds as high as 3:1. The review calls it,

…a brilliant and exhilarating and profoundly eccentric book. It’s about everything: art, science, philosophy, history, politics, evil, death, the future, infinity, bugs, thumbs, what have you…[author Deutsch] is so smart, and so strange, and so creative, and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a distinct privilege… to spend time in his head.

After a series of laudatory reviews and strong word of mouth, the NYT BR sent Rules of Civility by Amor Towles to #61 from #124. Library holds continue to be heavy.

It also debuted on the 8/14 NYT Print Fiction best seller list at #16 (it’s tied with #15, so it’s on the main list rather than the extended).

UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Strange animal friendships have already been documented in several children’s books. In a new book for adults, National Geographic senior writer, Jennifer Holland examines 50 such stories, several that are already well known and many that have not been covered before, in Unlikely Friendships (Workman, 6/30). Coming out this week, it was featured in Parade magazine over the weekend and rose  to #14 on Amazon’s sales rankings from #314.

Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom
Jennifer Holland
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company – (2011-06-30)
ISBN / EAN: 0761159134 / 9780761159131

Children’s books on the topic include:

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships, Catherine Thimmesh, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; (May 23, 2011;) 9780547390109

Suryia and Roscoe: The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship,
Dr. Bhagavan Antle, Henry Holt and Co. BYR. (April 26, 2011); 9780805093162

Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends, Carol Buckley Putnam Juvenile (September 8, 2009); 9780399254437

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship, Isabella Hatkoff , Scholastic Press (February 1, 2006);  9780439829731

Feathered Architects

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

A story in the Science section of the New York Times has propelled a university press book about bird’s nests to #45 (from #1,453 yesterday) on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build
Peter Goodfellow
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press – (2011-06-05)
ISBN / EAN: 069114849X / 9780691148496

The article mentions the detailed drawings of construction techniques, such as this spread :

Heavy Holds Alert; MOBY-DUCK

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

It’s an intriguing image; over 28,000 rubber ducks landing on beaches all over the world after being dumped from a ship in the North Pacific. Journalist Donovan Hohn was so taken with the story that he decided to follow the ducks. The resulting book hardly needs description; the incredibly long subtitle accomplishes that.

Featured on NPR’s Fresh Air last night, the book has also been widely reviewed. Libraries are showing heavy holds on modest orders.

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
Donovan Hohn
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2011-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0670022195 / 9780670022199

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 CNN.com’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…

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PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE on GMA

Friday, December 31st, 2010

It won’t be published until March, but Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future is already featured on Good Morning America. No wonder; the author says that in our lifetime, we could see one of five major cities (Los Angeles or San Francisco are on the list) completely destroyed by an earthquake.

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Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Michio Kaku
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2011-03-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0385530803 / 9780385530804

Beautiful Minds

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The most unusual art book of the season may be Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century. The NYT features it today (complete with stunning slide show on the Web site), saying it is filled with “gorgeous imagery, from the first delicate depictions of neurons sketched in prim Victorian black and white to the giant Technicolor splashes the same structures make across 21st-century LED screens.”

The book was not reviewed prepub and few public libraries own it.

Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century
Carl Schoonover
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Abrams – (2010-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0810990334 / 9780810990333

THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

How many people will be interested in reading a 592-page book on a dreaded disease by a first-time author? Scribner is placing a 125,000-copy bet on a “biography of cancer,” The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, arriving next week.

The author and the book are profiled today in the New York Times. Mukherjee explains why he wrote the book,

“I was having a conversation with a patient who had stomach cancer and she said, ‘I’m willing to go on fighting, but I need to know what it is that I’m battling.’ It was an embarrassing moment. I couldn’t answer her, and I couldn’t point her to a book that would. Answering her question — that was the urgency that drove me, really. The book was written because it wasn’t there.”

For a sample, read Mukherjee’s article in the Oct. 31 New York Times Magazine (“The Cancer Sleeper Cell“), which is based on the book.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Siddhartha Mukherjee
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-11-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1439107955 / 9781439107959

Mantle Rises Again

Friday, October 8th, 2010

What more can be said about baseball great Mickey Mantle?

Apparently, quite a bit. Jane Leavy bases her biography The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood on more than 500 interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents.

Entertainment Weekly gives it a measly C+:

Leavy does little more than recount Mantle’s feats on the diamond and recycle the crude off-the-field behavior exposed in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. There’s little new info; the Mick seen here is familiar, a brittle demigod who never saw himself as the golden boy his public demanded.

But lots more media is coming: the New York Times will feature the book in the sports section on October 12, the Wall St. Journal has a review scheduled for October 15, and Leavy will be interviewed on CBS-TV’s The Early Show on October 19 – with more to follow.

The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood
Jane Leavy
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060883529 / 9780060883522

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) makes many of the South African leader’s personal letters and diaries available for the first time, including journals kept on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle of the early 1960s and diaries written in Robben Island and other South African prisons during his 27 years of incarceration.

Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me by Condoleezza Rice (Delacorte) is a book for young readers about the childhood of the Secretary of State under George W. Bush. Lots of media coming on this one: On October 12, Rice will appear on NPR’s Morning Edition, the Today show and Larry King Live, while USA Today runs an interview. On October 13, she’ll be on the Early Show and Tavis Smiley’s radio show on PRI.

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) chronicles a series of adventures in Russia’s most desolate areas. It’s an Amazon Book of the Month, and was serialized in New Yorker this summer.

Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions by Vicki Myron (Dutton) includes nine stories about loving cats who improved their owner’s lives.

Great Migrations: Epic Animal Journeys by Karen Kostyal (National Georgraphic) arrives next week in anticipation of National Geographic’s seven-part TV series airing in November, narrated by Alec Baldwin. Half the librararies we checked had reserves in line with their modest orders, and the rest have not yet ordered it.

The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today by Paul David Pope (Philip Turner/Rowman & Littlefield) is about the family that made the National Enquirer into a tabloid giant.

Stewart on THE MORAL LANDSCAPE

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.

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

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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

Hawking Challenges Newton

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Sir Isaac Newton believed that the universe could not have come out of chaos; it had to be designed by God. In his new book, The Grand Design, physicist Stephen Hawking says, “The Universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

The book, which doesn’t release until next week, is already being blasted by religious leaders after the Times of London wrote about it (the paper will publish an excerpt on Sunday).

The Grand Design
Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Bantam – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0553805371 / 9780553805376

UFO’s Are Real; Colbert

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Last night, Stephen Colbert grilled journalist Leslie Kean about her ten-year investigation into UFO’s. The book rose to #92 on Amazon sales rankings.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Leslie Kean
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

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UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record
Leslie Kean
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-08-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0307716848 / 9780307716842

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On Wednesday, Colbert interviews author Heidi Cullen on climate change.

The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet
Heidi Cullen
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061726885 / 9780061726880