Archive for the ‘Readers Advisory’ Category

Media Hit: LibraryRead’s September Pick

Friday, September 12th, 2014

9780385353304_db2df-2Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; Thorndike, Dec. 10), a LibraryReads pick for September, is getting enviable media attention. It is People magazine’s “Book of the Week” in the new issue; “Though it centers on civilization’s collapse in the aftermath of a devastating flu, this mesmerizing novel isn’t just apocalyptic fantasy — it’s also an intricately layered character study of human life itselff,” gets an A from Entertainment Weekly and the author was profiled by the  New York Times last week.

LibraryReads recommendation:

An actor playing King Lear dies onstage just before a cataclysmic event changes the future of everyone on Earth. What will be valued and what will be discarded? Will art have a place in a world that has lost so much? What will make life worth living? These are just some of the issues explored in this beautifully written dystopian novel. Recommended for fans of David Mitchell, John Scalzi and Kate Atkinson. — Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

OverDrive Sample


Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

9780316231435_f1fc7Already having declared her love for Beth Macy’s nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15), in her summer previewNYT‘s daily reviewer, Janet Maslin, gave it a full review just before the holiday.

Her opinion is not dimmed. Saying this book, subtitled, How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — And Helped Save An American Town, is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.”

She also notes that, since the book is published by Hachette, it is another victim of  the Amazon/Hachette battle and will not be available for purchase on Amazon until pub date or on Kindle,  but ” it’s worth the trouble to read what will be one of the best, and surely most talked about, books of 2014.”

The Pearl Bump

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

There’s a rival to the Colbert Bump — the Pearl Bump.

T.S. SpivetThe three under-the-radar books that Nancy Pearl recommended on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday all made significant jumps on Amazon’s sales rankings.

The book she called “fabulous, fabulous,” The Selected Works Of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen, (Penguin Press, 2009) broke in to the top 100, rising to #80.

Meanwhile, Colbert featured an author on his show yesterday who hardly needs the bump, John Green. His book, The Fault in Our Stars, continues at #1.

Nancy Pearl On NPR — Summer Reading

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Nancy Pearl picks “under-the-radar” titles (e.g., you have a crack at finding copies on the shelf to recommend) for summer reading, on today’s NPR Morning Edition:

UnderstoriesUnderstories, Tim Horvath, (Bellevue Literary Press, 2012) — Nancy calls this her “favorite collection of short stories.” She cracks up host Steve Inskeep by reading from one of them in which a group of people are “trying to teach animals the concept of extinction because they are ‘tired of having to bail out endangered species. It’s high time they learned individual responsibility!'”

AstoriaAstoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, Peter Stark, (HarperCollins/Ecco; March, 2014) — about the little-known story of expeditions sent by John Jacob Astor in an effort to establish a colony in the Pacific Northwest. Nancy says it’s great to read because it’s a “a period of history a lot of people are unfamiliar with, but more importantly… it’s really good reading.”

T.S. SpivetThe Selected Works Of T. S. Spivet, Reif Larsen, (Penguin Press, 2009) — Nancy often calls books “fabulous,” but she goes beyond that in describing this novel, calling it a “fabulous, fabulous novel.”

It was not under the radar when it was published in 2009. Reportedly acquired by the publisher for $900,000, it was heavily promoted and was an NPR summer pick that year.

A film adaptation by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), renamed The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet, starring Helena Bonham Carter as Spivet’s mother, was released earlier this month in the U.K., but as yet has no U.S. release date, even though distribution rights were acquired last year by the Weinstein Co.

The Glass SentenceNancy recommends additional titles on the NPR Web Site, including the Y.A. title, The Glass Sentence, by S. E. Grove (Penguin/Viking Juvenile), saying it is “so wonderful. It has pirates, it has a chocolate-maker, it has a very brave girl, it has an evil woman who might not really be as evil as she seems. This author’s imagination is just amazing.”

You can meet that author next month during our Penguin Young Readers live online chat, moderated by Lisa Von Drasek.

Hot in Cleveland

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

When Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, has a gut feeling about a title, she buys it in quantity, to be ahead of the demand curve. She lets the staff in on her thinking through her “Hot Title Thursdays” posts on the staff intranet, a clever way of ensuring the success of these titles, as staff in turn recommends them.

Conversely, Wendy relies on staff response when she just doesn’t see the potential in some heavily-promoted title (not a fan of The Night Circus when it was first announced, she asked staff to read galleys to tell her if she was nuts. They told her she was. She ordered more. Good thing; it went on to be a best seller).

We’ve asked Wendy to begin sharing her Hot Title Thursdays posts on EarlyWord. Below is the first, about a book that’s also been generating enthusiasm on GalleyChat. It’s coming out the end of July and is now available via NetGalley and Edelweiss (sounds perfect for the Memorial Day weekend).

Fortune HunterThe Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike)

Wanna find out how the 1% lived back in the day?

Here’s your chance!

If you don’t think “gossipy page turner” when you think of historical fiction, you clearly haven’t read Daisy Goodwin. Her previous title, a debut novel, The American Heiress also did very well for us.

I’m happy to report that her new novel, The Fortune Hunter, is even stronger, particularly in terms of pacing, and will again appeal to a wide range of readers, from romance to historical fiction, to royal watchers, to the Downton Abbey crowd, and even to people who love travel.

Part of the fascination is that Goodwin has based the novel on actual historical figures in Victorian-era Europe, including Victoria herself. The main characters are Elizabeth “Sisi” Winterhalter, the Empress of Austria, Bay Middleton (yes, a distant relative of the current Princess of Wales), the Earl of Spencer, as in Diana’s great-great-grandfather…… get the idea. Sisi, a legendary beauty, travels Europe to alleviate her boredom. (The cocaine mixture administered by the Hungarian lady-in-waiting doesn’t hurt either.) She decides she wants handsome Bay Middleton, the best rider in England, to be her personal assistant for hunting season. But Middleton is in love with the heiress to the Lennox fortune—a young woman not wise at all in the ways of the world. It’s a love triangle, but also a clash of societal roles, classes and cultures. Fun, fun, fun. I read it in two sittings.

This one has a street date of July 29th. Get those holds in now! ENJOY!

GALLEYCHATTER: Eight Titles To Top Your TBR Pile

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Editor’s Note: We’re delighted to welcome Robin Beerbower as the regular “GalleyChatter” columnist for EarlyWord. Robin’s day job is as the  readers’ advisor and homebound services coordinator for the Salem [OR] Public Library. She has been a supporter of GalleyChat from its inception, calling those discussions “pure gold for selectors and readers advisors.” She’s enthusiastic about the importance (and fun) of reading books ahead of publication and tirelessly tracks down galleys, making her the local authority on new books. She is also very active on the Edelwiss Community Board, using it to spot titles and gauge developing buzz among librarians (you can join in; just register on Edelweiss and “friend” Robin). She plans to write regular roundups on the titles she discovers through the monthly GalleyChats, with regular updates on books to watch for.

From Robin:
Thanks to everyone on GalleyChat for their warm reception about my contributions to EarlyWord, and thanks to Nora for giving me this opportunity. The chats are  fast and furious with tweets flying everywhere. I’ll do my best to summarize each chat (for a full transcript, check our board on Storify).

GalleyChats are held on Twitter the first Tuesday of each month. The next one is on April 1. Please join us (details here).

Below are the titles that rose to the top of the TBR lists as we chatted last week. If you haven’t received print galleys of these titles, check for e-galleys on NetGalley and Edelweiss.

All The Light We Cannot See   9781616203214_95fa2

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, May 2014; Audio exclusive from MidWest Tape), a historical novel set in occupied France during WWII, received high praise from a couple of chatters including Susan Balla, who called it “A once-in-a-lifetime book.” The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin, April 2014), a moving novel set in a small island bookstore, also received an outpouring of love from multiple chatters. Vicki Nesting said she wanted to reread it as soon as she finished, and it has received “Much Love” from 47 peers on Edelweiss. Scroll through those reviews; you’ll be convinced (UPDATE: it’s the #1 title on the just released April LibraryReads list). Selectors, stock up on this one.

Bees Kristi Chadwick said the intriguing novel set in a beehive, The Bees by Laline Paull (HC/Ecco, May 2014), was amazing, and during the January chat, Wilda Williams from Library Journal called it “a Watership Down for insects.”

authorityTwo science fiction/fantasy books received several mentions. The e-galley of Jeff VanderMeer’s second book in the Southern Reach trilogy, Authority (Macmillan/FSG, May 2014), was well received by Megan McArdle, who loved the first book,  Annihilation. The Macmillan rep reported the good news that the third book, Acceptance, will be released next September. Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (Tor, April 2014) was mentioned by multiple members with Jane Jorgenson saying it was the best fantasy she’s read in years. Addison also writes the Doctrine of Labyrinth series as Sarah Monnette.

Suspense thrillers were popular during the exchange with the third in the Keye Street series, Don’t Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams (RH/Bantam, July, 2014), at the top of the list. Jane Jorgenson said  “It’s got good, claustrophobic, small-town feel – kind of reminds me of the mood of  True Detective (love).”  This has been a popular readalike series for Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner fans. Chevy Stevens’That Night and Chelsea Cain’s departure from the Sheridan/Lowell series, One Kick,(Simon & Schuster, August 2014) received nods from fans of their earlier books.

life drawing

My personal favorite of the past month was Robin Black’s Life Drawing (RH, July 2014), a gorgeously written suspenseful study of marriage and betrayal. Not exactly a Gone Girl readalike but just as compelling.

If you read any of these mentioned books, please let us know what you enjoyed by either entering your comments below or in Edelweiss.

Happy Reading!

From Nancy Pearl’s Own Library

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Nancy AvatarLibrarian Nancy Pearl made one of her regular visits to NPR’s Morning Edition today to talk to Steve Inskeep about favorite books. She just returned from a “fishing trip” among her own book shelves with some of her favorite older titles.

These books are clearly old friends. After introducing one of them, Inskeep can’t help but comment on Nancy’s reaction, “I love hearing the change in your tone of voice … the excitement that comes over you just from the name.”

All four books featured on the show, plus four more they couldn’t get to, are still in print and listed on the site with excerpts, including the following first paragraph from The Cold Cold Ground, by Adrian McKinty, which Inskeep loves so much that he reads it aloud:

The riot had taken on a beauty of its own now. Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas. Phosphorescence from the barrels of plastic bullet guns. A distant yelling like that of men below decks in a torpedoed prison ship. The scarlet whoosh of Molotovs intersecting with exacting surfaces. Helicopters everywhere: their spotlights finding one another like lovers in the Afterlife.

9781616147167_0f732   9781616147877   9781616148775_16407

The Cold Cold Ground is the first in The Troubles Trilogy, followed by:

I Hear the Sirens in the Street, which came out in May

In the Morning I’ll Be Gone, to be published March 4 (all by Prometheus/ Seventh Street Books; audios from Blackstone).

First LibraryReads List Is Live

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Library-Reads-LogoThe inaugural LibraryReads list, featuring ten titles that librarians have read and most look forward to promoting in September, has been collated from nominations by library staff across the country. It has just been released to the library community (the official email announcement is here). Coming to the web site in time for the launch to the public, are templates for posters, press releases, and digital banners  for libraries to use to spread the word to their communities.

FangirlThe number one title is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Listening Library). Published as a YA title, it was chosen for its crossover appeal to adults. The list quotes one of the nominations, from Stephanie Chase, Seattle Public Library, “At turns funny, sweet, smart, and sad, Fangirl traces Cath’s journey to independence as she begins college, struggles to have an identity separate from her twin sister, find her voice and passion as a writer and fall in love, maybe, for the first time. As sharp and emotionally resonant as Rowell’s previous novel, Eleanor & Park.”

The other nine titles on the list represent a mix of genres by both well-known authors and debuts as well as nonfiction, in both hardcover and original trade paperback.

Link here for a spreadsheet with ordering information, LibraryReads, Sept.

Nominate your favorites titles for upcoming lists. The deadline for the October list is Sept. 1. You can nominate any forthcoming titles for it and future lists.

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

LibraryReads Noms

LibraryReads; Nominate Your Favorites

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


The deadline for nominations for the inaugural LibraryReads list is August 2, a week from Friday. If you haven’t already, submit your nominations for forthcoming books (titles published in late August and beyond) that you loved reading and cannot wait to share!

The ten books that get the most nominations will be featured on the list. Participation is open to everyone who works in a public library, both senior staff and new arrivals, no matter which area of the library you work in. The more the merrier – LibraryReads is designed to be inclusive, and to represent a broad range of reading tastes.

LibraryReads is using Edelweiss as the platform to gather nominations. If you don’t already have an active account, you can sign up for free on the site. After you’ve registered, enter each title you want to nominate into the search box, click on “Your Review” on the title page. A new window will open, with a place to write your review and to “Submit to LibraryReads.” Much more info on the nomination process is available on the LibraryReads Tumblr site.

Please also encourage fellow library staff to nominate their favorites.

Help LibraryReads prove how effective libraries are in helping readers discover books.

Good Reads Summer Reading Picks

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

So far, despite many predictions, no book has emerged as THE hot summer read  (where are you, Dragon Tattoo?).

FrigidWe’ve checked Goodreads to try to divine titles bubbling under the surface, and the highly-rated titles tend to be dominated by erotic or “New Adult” series (is there really a new series from best selling J. Lynn called Frigid? Warning to that guy on the cover; going shirtless in the falling snow may not be a good idea, even if you’re embracing a hot woman).

A Hundred Summers

Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” blog reports that the number crunchers at GoodReads have come up with a list of seven titles that are taking off with their readers for summer reading. We’re dubious;  there’s not a six-pack on the cover of any of them.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting group of titles, a mix of above- and below-the-radar titles, worth reviewing for reader’s advisory. The only one showing heavy holds in libraries at this time is A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, (Penguin/Putnam, May 30).

LibraryReads — Recommend Your Favorites

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Library-Reads-LogoA program that brings together and highlights the work of  library staff  to promote books, both in person and online, launches this fall.

Modeled on the ABA’s successful IndieNext program, LibraryReads is a monthly list of the top ten newly-released titles that libraries around the country love and plan to promote to their readers. Developed by a grassroots group of librarians, the program is being announced at the ALA Annual conference in Chicago this weekend.

To make this work, we need you to join the effort. Please go to to learn how you can become involved.

Let’s prove how effective libraries are in helping readers discover books.

The Real Housewives of Historical Fiction

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Aviator's WifeHolds are heavy in most libraries for Melanie Benjamin’s novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Aviator’s Wife, (RH/Delacorte; BOT; Center Point Large Print). It enters USA Today‘s best seller list at #149  this week and is featured in USA Today’s roundup of  a “bonanza of new titles in the vein of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank.

Above All ThingsAmong the titles in that list is Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (Penguin/Putnam Amy Einhorn; Thorndike Large Print), about George Mallory’s final attempt to climb Mt. Everest, told partly from the point of view of his wife. It is reviewed separately as a “debut novel that gingerly walks the precipice between women’s book-club fiction (think The Paris Wife) … and riveting Everest adventure tale (think Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of the deadly 1996 debacle on the mountain).”

See also our interview and online chat with the author.

Get Ready For PARADE’S END

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Parade's EndCalled “Downton Abbey for Grownups” (Laura Miller, Salon) and “The Better Downton Abbey” (The New Yorker), the BBC/HBO mini-series adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s series of four novels, Parade’s End, begins on HBO on February 26. A hit when it aired in the UK last summer, it’s recently been nominated for a number of awards.

In her audio column, “The Listener,” on Salon, Laura Miller notes that “Downton comparisons will abound, though some viewers will be disappointed to find Parade’s End lacks a mansion and wisecracking old ladies — not to mention the complete absence of attention paid to the servant class,” adding, “Although [Benedict] Cumberbatch, cast against type  [in the lead role], delivers an impressive performance … You can only really appreciate what the actor does with this deliberately inexpressive man if you’ve read the books.”

Miller recommends the audio version, to be released next week as a tie-in by S&S Audio (also from Recorded Books as both CD and downloadable) for “Steven Crossley’s sensitive naration.” Miller applauds Crossley for making the many characters distinct and for handling women particularly well; “Not for Crossley the risible practice of adopting an artificially high-pitched, drag-queen voice whenever a woman is speaking.”

Official Series Web Site:

New Approach to Online Book Recommendations

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

After the publisher-supported site delayed its summer, 2011 launch date  and changed management several times, many in the book business wondered if it would ever arrive. Just as rumors had begun to die down, the site launched last night.

Aimed at consumers, it’s a Johnny-come-lately to online book merchandising. As Ron Charles of the Washington Post notes with tongue-in-cheek, “If you’re one of the countless people wondering, ‘Why isn’t there anywhere to buy books online?’ we’ve got good news: Bookish went live last night.” The press release offers details on what is billed as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.

The site is sponsored by publishers Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Penguin Group, with participation from 16 other publishers.

Users can buy books directly from Bookish, with B&T handling fulfillment. There are also links to online retailers, including ABA’s IndieBound.

The site will include author interviews (a conversation between Michael Koryta and Michael Connelly is currently featured), book excerpts and reviews.

It also aims to provide a “state- of-the-art recommendation tool…from a proprietary algorithm that factors in editorial themes, professional and consumer reviews, publishing house editor insights, awards and more.”

At this point, it’s not working that well. Entering The Power Trip by Jackie Collins brings up the following results. Hemingway might be pleased with the comparison.

Power Trip Recs