Librarian Nancy Pearl highlighted five under-the-radar titles on Friday’s NPR’s Morning Edition (link to listen to it), causing one of the titles to jump 2,442% on Amazon’s sales rankings.
She begins with The Diamond Lane by Karen Karbo. First published in 1991, it was reissued this fall by Hawthorne books (with an introduction by Jane Smiley). Nancy calls it a “fabulously funny satire on sisterly love, on marriage, but really, [Karbo’s] sharpest barbs are reserved for life in Hollywood.” Nancy makes host Steve Innskeep laugh heartily when she reads a section.
Judging from Amazon’s sales rankings, the title
that resonated most with listeners, is the final book she describes, The Unsubstantial Air: American Fliers in the First World War by Samuel Hynes (Macmillan/FSG, Oct. 2014; OverDrive Sample).
Nancy considers this one of the best of the many books that have come out recently about WWI.
“It talks about the war in terms of the young men who came from American colleges to fly and to
fight in WWI … Hynes was able to access a treasure trove of journals and of letters from these young men, many of whom had never been to Europe before … he writes in such a beautiful way … and does a wonderful job of honoring them.”
The other titles on her list:
The Distance by Helen Giltrow (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; Sept. 2014; OverDrive Sample)
“All the time I was reading this, I had to keep telling myself to breath because I was so caught up in the story.” She says it’s perfect for those who love Lee Child. (This was also a LibraryReads pick for September).
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (Hachette/Mulholland; Hachette Audio, Aug. 2014; OverDrive Sample)
“A cautionary tale about the future … about a cabal of industrialists have decided to privatize information … It’s one of those books that when you’re reading it, you start feeling a little bit paranoid.” (Time magazine also recognized this one, making it #6 on their Top Ten fiction list for the year).
Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
(HMH Books for Young Readers, Sept. 2004; OverDrive Sample).
This novel came out originally in 1988 and is written in letters between two cousins, one in London and one in Essex, in 1817. Although it is written for teens, says Nancy, it is “perfect for anyone who loves Jane Austen and doesn’t mind a little bit of fantasy.”