Archive for the ‘Reading Trends’ Category

Top Eisner

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Analyzng the Eisner Awards, announced earlier this month at Comic-Con, the  LA Times views them as reflecting a “creative swell in children’s comics,” with several titles winning in categories not defined by age.

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Caldecott honoree This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/First Second; OverDrive Sample) won for best New Graphic Album (essentially the best graphic novel of the year) and Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, and Shannon Watters (S&S/BOOM! Box; OverDrive Sample) won the Best New Series award while Raina Telgemeier’s middle-grade Sisters (Scholastic, a companion to her previous title, Smile) won in the Writer/Artist category. views the awards as making a leap beyond superheroes, noting that the Best Writer Awards have traditionally gone to “an author producing pamphlet comics—serial, monthly works—rather than graphic novels.” This year breaks precedence with the award going to The Shadow Hero (Macmillan/First Second) by Gene Luen Yang “a writer who has made his name in the graphic novel industry, where he wrote and illustrated the first ever graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award [Boxers and Saints]—and the first ever graphic novel to win the Printz Award [American Born Chinese].” They also note the number of women writers winning awards this year, with titles addressing subjects never before covered in graphic novels indicates that “the depth and breadth of what comics are—and can become—are reaching ever new heights.” This change was noted earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.54.12 AMThe award for the best nonfiction graphic work went to Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics).Volume one was published in 2013; volume three is coming in August.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.56.31 AMEmily Carroll’s Through the Woods (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry) won for Best Graphic Album-Reprint, giving those who do not yet own this beautifully creepy work all the more reason to buy it. Carroll also won the Eisner for Best Short Story.

The New Age of Storytelling

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

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After the breakout success of Serial, the “audio media space” industry (a mix of radio and podcast producers as The Hollywood Reporter describes it) is scrambling to satisfy a newly discovered audience for long form narrative storytelling.

Serial and Invisibilia, both hot properties on NPR (Invisibilia created a best seller of the book it’s based on), are examples of the new direction towards multi-part, lengthy, story-based nonfiction segments that hook listeners and supply them with episodic fixes similar to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.

Second seasons of both shows are in the works but producers admit that finding follow-up topics is a challenge, “It’s uncharted territory. Invisibilia and Serial broke into new audiences and opened up the space a bit, but we’re making it up as we go.”

The shifting audio landscape may be a new challenge for producers, but many librarians have already figured out how to take advantage of the trend.

As we reported earlier, librarians have supported Serial with booklists. Others offer podcasts of library programs, such as those from the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Seattle Public Library, Libraries are also partnering with programs such as StoryCorps to help archive and build story collections.

The DC Public Library even offers their own class on how to create audio stories and posts student’s projects on SoundCloud.

The new attention to podcasts is an opportunity for storytelling librarians to reach out in new ways and for readers’ advisory and collection development librarians to expand their services. Let us know in the comments section what your library is doing.

Chick Noir

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Examining “Why We Can’t Get Enough of Twisted Marriage Thrillers,” in the Daily Beast, regular contributor Lucy Scholes looks at the spate of recent “psychological page-turners that subvert the ‘happily ever after’ formula of classic chic lit.”

9781250018199Following in the footsteps of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, A.S.A Harrison’s The Silent Wife, S. J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, and “the less well known but equally creepy How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman,” (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike) are some new titles (Entertainment Weekly also looks at recent titles in the genre this week).


Before We Met  You Should Have Known  Season to Taste

Scholes considers Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse, (Bloomsbury USA), published last month, as “truly formulaic in every sense of the word, but it’s an easy read and will go some way in filling the Gone Girl shaped hole in Flynn fans’ lives,” (it got a B from Entertainment Weekly).

The one Scholes calls a “significantly superior addition to the genre” arrives next month, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have Known, (Hachette/GrandCentral; Hachette Audio, March 18), the author’s next novel after the successful Admission (made into a less successful movie starring Tina Fey). Entertainment Weekly also adds their voice to this one, in their list of “14 Reads That Are Worth the Wait” calling it, ‘The thriller we’re already obsessed with.” LJ did not give it similar cred, saying “the suspense is marred by the overwritten prose” but PW calls it an “intriguing and beautiful book.”

Scholes also suggests keeping an eye out for a summer publication, Natalie Young’s Season to Taste, (Hachette/Little, Brown, 7/15). The American edition does not included the U.K. subtitle, … or How to Eat Your Husband, which gives fair warning that it is not “for the faint hearted or the weak stomached…” It hasn’t been reviewed by the prepub sources yet, so libraries we checked have not ordered it.

Top 100 O.P. Titles

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Sex MadonnaBook Finder has released a list of the top 100 out-of-print titles.

At #1 is a title that will bring back memories for those who were working in libraries in the early ’90’s — Madonna’s Sex. If you still own copies (WorldCat shows 179 libraries own the original Warner Books edition), you may want to safe guard them so they don’t walk.

The list shows a wide range. At #4 is the Harvard Classics. and at #5, On the Nature and Existence of God, by Richard M. Gale.

Best Sellers of 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Slate explores the cultural implications from Amazon’s list of the year’s best sellers (still being updated as we near the actual end of the year, so the positions fluctuate a bit). In the top ten, The Great Gatsby, shows that “We’ll tolerate the occasional work of actual literature as long as it’s super-short and there’s a movie.”

Are our British cousins any more high brow? Not according to the list from Nielson’s Book Scan (published in the Guardian), where not a single classic appears in the top 100, movie-related or not.

Their list is as influence by popular culture as ours. At #1 is My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson (he’s “the most important football man of the past 25 years,” according to the Guardian‘s own, not particularly admiring, review). The rest of the list is dotted with tv and movie tie-ins.

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It seems the Brits are even more obsessed with their weight than we are. The Fast Diet is at #4 on their list, but  only comes in at #70 on ours. And, shudder, at #8, there is a book called The Hairy Dieters by some guys formerly known as “The Hairy Bikers,” who seem to have gone through a Paula Deen-like conversion (minus the racial slurs) from a less-than-healthy lifestyle exemplified by their previous titles like The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies (hope they wear hair nets).

Gangsta GrannyMany other titles are recognizable; Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which made its appearance in the UK in January, comes in at #3. Others, not so much; there’s British comedian/author David Walliams, who has 5 children’s titles on the list, including Gangsta Granny, adapted into a Christmas BBC TV special this year, but not yet available here. (The Guardian offers a deeper dive into the list).

Hope you enjoy making your own cultural comparisons.

Nancy Pearl, RA Guru

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

When Nancy Pearl talks books, buyers listen. On NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday, she presented four of her “Under the Radar” picks (the full list of seven, along with a link to the audio, are on the NPR site). Two of the titles received dramatic bumps  on Amazon’s sales rankings.

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, David Goldfield, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury). Rose to #189 from #102,066)

Nancy says this book that claims the Civil War could have been avoided, made her “look back and reassess my knowledge and beliefs” about the war and its aftermath.

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, (Hyperion). Rose to #216 from #5,238)

This one is not “below the radar” among YA readers. It’s on both the Publishers Weekly and Amazon’s Best Books lists. However, it may be lesser known to adults, who, as Nancy says, will also enjoy this “story of deep friendship, incredible bravery and the difficult choices that life sometimes forces on us.”

Reading Preferences of Democrats vs. Republicans

Monday, October 8th, 2012

GoodReads proves once again that reading stats can be fun (click on the image, or here, to find out which side is more likely to  be a fan of Atlas Shrugged).


Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

We’d sworn off writing about Fifty Shades of Grey, but damn USA Today‘s book editor, Dierdre Donahue who writes a smart piece about the “10 reasons Fifty Shades of Grey has shackled readers,” beginning with the observation that, “Despite its scarlet reputation, the series is an old-fashioned love story with some odd sex toys, riding crops and mild bondage tossed in.”

We’re hoping this will be the final word. We’re growing tired of those covers.

And, since it may be (no promises), we’ll make it a twofer, by pointing out that Goodreads has created an infographic of where Fifty Shades readers live, indicating that it is an East Coast phenomenon (click here for full graphic, with analysis).

Oprah Hurt Book Sales?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It seems unlikely, but the AP reports that a new study says Oprah’s endorsements suppressed the sales of books overall. Because “the books Oprah chose were longer and more challenging,” people ended up spending time with one book, when they might have been reading two or three less difficult books.

Surrender The Grey

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The media went on red-alert last week about an erotic fiction trilogy.The New York Post reported on Tuesday that Fifty Shades of Grey by first-time British author E.L. James “has NYC moms reading like never before.” Apparently, they are also talking nonstop to each other about what they are reading. So much sharing is going on that one woman called it “the new kabbalah for female bonding in this city.”

Canada’s Globe and Mail gives the publishing background,

Through an independent publisher in Australia [The Writer’s Coffee Shop is based in New South Wales, Australia; the company’s US address is in Waxahachie,Tex] the trilogy has sold more than 100,000 copies, the bulk of them e-books…First time-author E.L. James, a television executive living in London, honed her erotica chops penning BDSM-themed Twilight fan fiction. She has said that the bondage opus was her “midlife crisis.”

The story was picked up by several other news sources, culminating on the Today Show on Friday.

WorldCat indicates that a handful of libraries own or have ordered the print version of the book. Most are showing a modest number of holds. The first title in the series hit the NYT best seller list in ebook format last week (#24, rising to #23 this week).

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Swedish Noir Scorecard

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Holy Appeal Factors; USA Today offers a rundown of new and forthcoming books to read if your interest in Nordic noir has been “stoked by Stieg.” (Click on titles above for full biblio. info.)

Each annotation includes the “Stieg factor,” such as this one for Hennig Mankell’s latest (and final) in his Kurt Wallander series, The Troubled Man, “The brooding Wallander makes Salander’s black moods feel like a sunny day in Miami.”

In a companion story, Dierdre Donahue looks at this spring’s Scandinavian invasion of authors on book tour in the US.

Sic Transit…

Monday, August 30th, 2010

How quickly one goes from literary darling to Jonathan Franzen, the Writer We Love to Hate (Newsweek, 8/26).

One More Time for Amish Romances

Monday, August 9th, 2010

USA Today joins the growing trend of writing about “one of the fastest-growing genres in romance publishing,” novels with Amish settings (Business Week, The Wall Street Journal and the AP have all written about the phenomenon).

Several new and forthcoming titles are cited, including the launch of a new series, from “the queen of the genre,” Beverly Lewis.

The Thorn (The Rose Trilogy)
Beverly Lewis
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0764205749 / 9780764205743


Lydia’s Charm: An Amish Widow Starts Over in Charm, Ohio
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books – (2010-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1602600635 / 9781602600638


Autumn’s Promise: Seasons of Sugarcreek, Book Three
Shelley Shepard Gray
Retail Price: $12.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Avon Inspire – (2010-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061852376 / 9780061852374

Blackstone Audio


Three titles from Harlequin’s Stepple Hill imprint:

The Doctor’s Blessing (Love Inspired)
Patricia Davids
Retail Price: $5.50
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Steeple Hill – (2010-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0373876130 / 9780373876136


An Amish Christmas (Love Inspired)
Patricia Davids
Retail Price: $5.50
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Steeple Hill – (2010-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0373876378 / 9780373876372


Courting Ruth (Steeple Hill Love Inspired)
Emma Miller
Retail Price: $4.40
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Steeple Hill – (2010-09-01)
ISBN : 9780373876242

Larger Print; pbk; 9780373815029; $5.00


Amish-themed mysteries are also being released, including the first in a series originally published by Ohio University Press and being reissued by Plume.

Blood of the Prodigal: An Amish-Country Mystery (Ohio Amish Mysteries)
P. L. Gaus
Retail Price: $13.00
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Plume – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0452296463 / 9780452296466


Murder in Plain Sight
Marta Perry
Retail Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books – (2010-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0373774729 / 9780373774722

Ten Reasons Why

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Wondering why  “This summer belongs to Stieg Larsson”?

USA Today‘s Deirdre Donahue gives ten reasons.

On next week’s NYT best sellers list (8/1), the books show amazing longevity by          topping three of them — hardcover fiction, mass market paperback and trade paperback.

Americans Becoming Less Insular

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The phenomenal success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series in the U.S., has brought attention to other foreign crime writers. According to a story in today’s Wall Street Journal,

The flood of imported crime fiction is striking given American publishers’ longstanding resistance to works in translation. Newly translated books still make up just 3% of titles released in the U.S., according to Bowker…and translated fiction and poetry make up less than 1%. In many European countries, translated books account for 25% to 40% of titles.

Perhaps the best indicator of the trend is the fact that James Patterson has begun partnering with writers in other countries (covered in a separate WSJ story). His Postcard Killers is written with Swedish author Liza Marklund, who wrote a draft in Swedish, based on Patterson’s outline, which was then translated into English for Patterson to edit. The book was released in Europe first, where it did not appeal to Swedish audiences, who prefer more literary crime writing.

The Postcard Killers
James Patterson, Liza Marklund
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-08-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0316089516 / 9780316089517

Patterson is also working on a new Private series, with authors in several other countries.

Minotaur Books, is particularly active in bringing in titles from abroad. The Wall Street Journal says that, until just a few years ago, the St. Martins imprint focused on British imports, but their list now features writers from Iceland, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa as well as Sweden. They are “betting big” this coming February, with a 75,000 copy first printing of The Devotion of Suspect X by Japanese best-selling writer, Keigo Higashino.

This August, Pantheon Books will publish another best-selling Japanese crime writer, Shuichi Yoshida, for the first time in the US. The WSJ says that Yoshida’s 2007 book, Villain, is a “moody narrative [that] unfolds from multiple characters’ perspectives.” Publishers Weekly calls it a “subtle but powerful novel.”

Villain: A Novel
Shuichi Yoshida
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2010-08-03)
ISBN / EAN: 030737887X / 9780307378873

The WSJ story includes a chart that delineates the characteristics of each country’s crime writers and their appeal to specific reading tastes.