Editors Note: GalleyChatter Robin Beerbower is off this month and we’re grateful to one of our go-to readers advisors, Jennifer Dayton of Darien (CT) Public Library for stepping in to write about the titles librarians were buzzing about during July’s post-ALA GalleyChat:
The majority of the new titles are from familiar and beloved authors, titles we’d expect to see on everyone’s TBR piles, such as Louise Penney’s continuation of the Inspector Gamache series, The Nature of the Beast (Minotaur/Macmillan August), Geraldine Brooks’ The Secret Chord (Viking/Penguin, October) as well as JoJo Moyes’ sequel to the surprise hit Me Before You entitled, of course, After You (Pamela Dorman/Penguin, September). But not all the authors are well-known and two debut memoirs are also getting word of mouth.
Familiar but not predictable:
Chris Bohjalian is a favorite among GalleyChatters, but he is always a surprise because you don’t know what subject he will tackle next. The Guest Room (RH/Doubleday, Jan) is the story of a bachelor party that’s worse than anything imagined in the Hangover movies. The fallout opens the fault-line cracks in the life of main character, Richard Chapman. As always with Bohjalian, he is interested in larger topics, in this case the failure to ensure women’s rights globally. Susan Balla (Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT) says, “Chris Bohjalian is a master of writing a woman’s point of view”. Kristi Chadwick (Advisor, Massachusetts Library System) was so engrossed in Karin Slaughter’s standalone Pretty Girls (RH/Delacorte, Sept.) that she got sunburned while reading it on the San Francisco docks during ALA. Kristi calls it “a fabulous standalone There is a lot more to discover than the whereabouts of a missing girl, and the revelations keep coming long after you think the answers are found. It’s a stomach-dropping roller-coaster of a thriller.”
Katie Dunneback (@younglibrarian, Washington DC) was not alone in her excitement about Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (Penguin/Viking, Nov). “Williams ties off her Schuyler Sisters trilogy with the story of beautiful young woman trying to hide, a restored antique car whose origin in Nazi Germany is unknown, and the rich older woman who may have the answers for both.”
The hot-button topic of teen bullying is examined in The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobsby Martin Dicks (Macmillan.St, Martins, September). Jennifer Winberry (Hunterdon County Library, NJ) says that readers will “be glad when Caroline Jacobs returns to confront her former BFF who turned on her and finds that things have not gone so well for her.” That IS the perfect comeback.
Andrienne Cruz, (Adult Services Librarian, Azusa City Library, CA) managed to score a rare ARC of The Witches by Stacy Schiff (Hachette/Little, Brown, Oct) at BEA. She says that, “It is not something you can regard lightly, the writing is very detailed in such a way that allows readers to discover for themselves how the Salem trials could have resulted the way they did. The reader will search for clues within and will feel bewitched in how Schiff’s research unfolds itself like magic.”
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflection on Race and Medicineby Damon Tweedy (Macmillan/Picador, Sept) was a BEA Editor’s Buzz choice and Tracy Babiasz (Chapel Hill Public Library, NC) backs that up. She calls this memoir of a black doctor trying to find his way “Equal parts objective and empathetic.” and applauds it for its “fascinating study of relationship between race and medicine.”
Two other memoirs, Home is Burningby Dan Marshall (Macmillan/Flatiron Books, Oct) and Furiously Happy;A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (Macmillan/Flatiron, Sept), got a lot of love from GalleyChatters for the humor used in exploring the serious subjects of cancer and ALS (Home is Burning) and depression (Furiously Happy).
And finally, The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh; A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood by Kathryn Aalto (Workman/ Timber, Oct) seemed to be on multiple To Be Read piles. While Vickie Nesting and I confessed that we do indeed pick it up and “fondle it” frequently, we haven’t cracked it yet.
Perhaps it will come up at the next GalleyChat, Tuesday, August 4th, 4:00-5:00 (ET) with virtual cocktails at 3:30. Please join us.
On the eve of the date of Dr. Seuss’s new book, What Pet Should I Get?(RH Books for Young Readers; Listening Library), the Today Showfeatures a story focused on the production of the lost manuscript.
Seuss’s longtime assistant offers a reason Seuss may have not published the book himself, suggesting that One Fish, Two Fish appealed to him more, a preference that The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani agreed with in her rhyming review.
In her cover review for the NYT Sunday Book Review, Maria Russo offers the theory that What Pet Should I Get? was a warm-up for One Fish, Two Fish.
The story follows a student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death by her three dogs . As she tries to piece together what happened, she discovers her fiancé was not the person he claimed to be.
As we reported, booksellers are behind it and so is Cain, who says it is “a tense, intriguing psychological mystery … [with] a clearheaded, character-driven style… [filled with] the sort of celebration of simple moments more often seen in short stories.”
As Cain points out, the creation of the novel is as interesting as its plot. A.J. Rich is the pen name for two authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, who collaborated on the project begun by their dying friend, Katherine Russell Rich.
At the same time that #blacklivesmatter again reveals tp those who weren’t aware that racism still plagues this country, two books also appeared. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, (Harper;), which reveals the comlex reality behind the saintly character of Atticus Finch. W. ritten 55 years laterTa-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) describes how frightening it is to be a black parent today .
The holds leader among the titles arrive next week is Julie Garwood’s Wired (Penguin/Dutton), one of the author’s contemporary romance/thrillers. UPDATE: It appears that this title has been postponed.B&T’s Title Source now shows the publishing date as July 4, 2017.
Close behind is Badlands by C.J. Box (Macmillan/Minotaur), indicating, along with a print run double the size of his previous title, that Box is gaining a wider audience. Booklist, in a starred review says, ‘If Box isn’t a household name yet, he will be.”
The third holds leader is Paula McLain’s Circling The Sun (RH/Ballantine), a fictionalized bio of aviation pioneer Beryl Markham. It’s also a peer pick, receiving stars from all four trade reivews and selected as a LibraryReads title.
“I couldn’t stop reading this fascinating portrayal of Beryl Markham, a complex and strong-willed woman who fought to make her way in the world on her terms. McLain paints a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1920s and the life of expats making their home there. Highly, highly recommended.” — Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC
The new issue of People chooses it as the “Book of the Week,” describing the subject as a “novelists;s dream.” The Wall Street Journal features it with an excerpt and the author is schedule to appear on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered on August 1.
The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 7/27/15
Consumer Media Picks
Gonzo Girl: A Novel, Cheryl Della Pietra, (S&S/Touchstone)
Della Pietra worked for the original “gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson and this barely fictionalized account of that experience naturally fascinates journalists, so it is getting wide attention. Trade reviews are mostly positive but object, as PW puts it that “it’s an occasional slog to read through pages of druggy non conversation.” LJ offers a very specific recommendation, “For readers curious about Thompson’s lifestyle and fans of eccentric characters and meandering journeys featuring copious amounts of illegal substances,” (try to spot that demographic in your community studies). It is #2 on Entertainment Weekly “Must List: Top 10 Things We love This Week,” high placement for a book, and the author is interviewed in the issue.
A People pick, ” …about a 16-year-old homeless girl, a baby and a Chicago mother who is trying to help them . The sense of danger intensifies as mysteries surrounding both the girl and her benefactor slowly emerge. It all builds to a stunning climax involving revelations you won’t see coming.”
“This novel is quirky and colorful. The story revolves around chef Eva Thorvald and the people who influence her life and her cooking. With well-drawn characters and mouthwatering descriptions of meals, Kitchens of the Great Midwest will appeal to readers who like vivid storytelling. Foodies will also enjoy this delicious tale.” — Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ
One of our favorite comments on the book comes from Jen Dayton, Darien Public Library, who said at the BEA Librarians Shout ‘n’ Share program, this book “Will do for cooking what The Art Of Fielding did for baseball.”
The author spoke at the Penguin Random House breakfast during BEA.
“Crooked Heart is a rewarding, addictive read. Orphaned ten-year-old bookworm Noel, sent away to rural St. Albans, finds himself under the reluctant guardianship of Vee, aka Mrs. Vera Sledge. Amidst a chaotic background of bombings and uncertain futures, Vee and Noel gradually form a powerful bond. I recommend this darkly humorous, honest, and complex story. It is book club heaven.” — Janet Schneider, Oceanside Library, Oceanside, NY
You shouldn’t judge a book by its trailer, so we’ll add that, besides a great trailer, this book gets a starred review from PW, “Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman) melds the modern vampire myth with comic mystery and detective fiction in this intriguing and intelligent horror novel …Though sometimes a touch slow in between action scenes, this deep and terrifying vampire story is as nuanced as it is thrilling.”
Adapted by the team behind American Splendor, the film stars Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, and Emily Mortimer and is set in the hardcore punk scene of Manhattan during the late 80s, on the eve of the Tompkins Square Park riots.
Bryson is played by Robert Redford. Joining him in his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail is his old pal Katz, a man even less prepared for the effort than Bryson, played by Nick Nolte (in a role originally intended for Redford’s late friend Paul Newman).
On the comics fast track, Scott Snyder has won an Eisner award for both The Wake (DC/Vertigo, 2014) and for American Vampire (DC/Vertigo, Vol 8 coming in January) and has worked on various superhero comics.
He may become a household name with his new comic Wytches (Image Comics, July 9, collects the original issues 1-6). In an interview with the author, New York magazine calls it “a tale of remarkably visceral terror” and notes that Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is adapting it as a feature film.
The story, which takes place in a tiny remote area of New Hampshire, follows the Rooks family as they encounter a terrifying evil lurking in the woods. Each episode ends with a personal essay by Snyder addressing anxiety and depression. Illustrated with creepy genius by Jock (himself a cult figure in comics), the experience is pretty intense. Libraries that own it are showing heavy holds on light orders.
For more on Snyder, see the 2011 profile in the LA Times “Hero Complex” (Parts One, Two and Three).
What challenge will super-hacker Lisbeth Salander, the main character in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series, take on next?
The NSA, of course.
That’s one of the “key details” about the plot released today by British publisher MacLehose Press and reported in the Guardian.
Swedish writer David Lagercrantz was authorized by Larsson’s estate, managed by his father and brother, to write The Girl in the Spider’s Web as a sequel to the third title in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, (2009).
Not everyone is happy about the publication. Larsson’s long-time domestic partner, Eva Gabrielsson who lost a bitter dispute over who would manage the writer’s estate, says this book titled That Which Does Not Kill Us in Swedish, would have made Larsson “furious. Who knows, maybe he’ll send a lightning bolt at the book launch.” She claims to have 200 pages of a fourth novel by Larsson and will never allow them to be published.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series
RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print
September 1, 2015
As Robin Nesbit, Columbus Metro Library, said when presenting the book at BEA’s Librarian Shout ’n’ Share program, libraries that don’t buy the Star Wars books are missing some powerful “silent circulators,” adding that this one is by one of the series’ best authors.
Carly Simon, perhaps most famous for the song You’re So Vain, is the daughter of one of the founders of Simon & Schuster.
She finally makes a foray into the family business (although not with the family company), with her first book, a memoir entitled Boys in the Trees (Macmillan/Flatiron; 9781250095893; Nov. 24). UPDATE: as one of our astute commenters notes, this is not Simon’s first time publishing. She has written children’s book.
While speculation is circling whether Simon will reveal the subject of her iconic song, neither the publisher nor the singer is saying right now.
Simon does share the scope of her book, however, in a widely quoted statement picked up by Entertainment Weekly, People, and the LA Times: “This book is my way of going back through my childhood, my music, my romances, my marriage … and trying to make sense of it all…I’ve been working on it for so long that it feels like my third child … but now it’s time to send that child out in the world. It’s one of the most frightening — and exciting — things I’ve ever done.”
Boys in the Trees is due November 24th and joins other popular musician memoirs like Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Keith Richard’s Life. Smith’s new memoir, M Train(RH/Knopf; RH Audio) hits shelves on Oct 6th.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returns from hiatus this week, with two authors deeply concerned with the issues of race in America.
Tomorrow night’s guest is an author who has appeared on the show seven times, but hasn’t published a book since 2007 (Dreams from My Father), Barack Obama, His last appearance on the show was just before his 2012 re-election when he had to endure a ribbing by Stewart about a poor showing in one of the debates.
The debut novel, a mix of literary fiction and crime story, received somewhat grudging praise from the trade reviewers (“Despite drawbacks here, Mitchell is on her way to a place at the femmes fatales fiction dais with Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Sharon Bolton”). It comes across as much more intriguing in the hands of the NYT reviewer, Sarah Lyall who says “What a satisfying novel, with its shifting perspectives and competing stories and notion that our relationship to the truth changes with time and distance. And what a relief to read a kidnapping thriller that is not an extended piece of fetishistic torture porn, that does not end with some nice young woman lying dead and dismembered in a pit.”
The novel traces the history of two young girls who are kidnapped and held for weeks before rescue. Years later, as adults, they meet again after one of them has written a novel based on the story and the other is tapped to star in the book’s film adaptation.
Like the trade reviewers, Lyall compares Pretty Is to books by another popular author, “Like Gillian Flynn’s spiky, damaged heroines — I’m thinking particularly of Camille in Sharp Objects and Libby in Dark Places— the girls, Lois and Chloe, have dry, self-aware senses of humor that make the book that much more fun to read.” Add this one to your RA file.
The well-known names on books arriving next week include Ace Atkins, Alexander McCall Smith and David Rosenfelt. The only book with significant holds, however, is Kathy Reichs’ Speaking In Bones, the 18th in her Temperance Brennan series, which also is a LibraryReads pick for the month (see below).
The media is still focused on Go Set a Watchman — it leads the reviews in the new issues of both Entertainment Weekly (where it gets a D+, one of the lowest ratings we’ve seen. As a comparison, Fifty Shades of Grey got a B+) and People (“On its own, it is a deftly written tale about 1950s bigotry and a young woman coping with the revelation that his father is not the hero she thought he was.”) and is on the NYT web site “Books” section under the Sunday Book Review, although it doesn’t indicate when it will appear in print.
Below are some of the other titles people will be talking about next week.
The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 7/20/15
This combination should catch people’s attention, a surfing memoir by a New Yorker writer who has reported on some heavy duty topics like the civil war in Sudan and drug cartels in Mexico.
Back in 1992, towards the beginning of his 30-year career at the New Yorker, Finnegan wrote a 2-part essay about his experiences as a surfer in San Francisco. As the review in the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review says, that essay “was instantly recognized as a masterpiece. A wise, richly atmospheric account of riding the gelid, powerful gray waves of San Francisco.” Since then, says the reviewer, there have been rumors of a book length memoir. Now that it’s here, it proves worth waiting for and a “cause for throwing your wet-suit hoods in the air.”
Entertainment Weekly also features it (not online yet), with a B+ review, somewhat less than enthusiastic than the NYT because, while the “vivid descriptions of waves caught and waves missed … [are] as elegant and pellucid as the breakers they immortalize …[they start] to blur together once you’ve reached the 50th or so description.”
Liftin, who has had experience as a ghost writer for celebrity memoirs (Tori Spelling, Tatum O’Neal, Miley Cyrus) now writes a novel in the form of a celebrity memoir. On New York Magazine’s 8 Books You Need to Read This July, which says it fictionalizes “the train wreck of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes … Liftin’s sly novel wears its lurid shallowness on its jacket sleeve, and yet her details are careful, funny, and right.” The New York Post‘s “Page Six” has picked up on the Cruise/Holmes connection.
On Oprah.com’s list of Dazzling New Beach Readsabout a woman who is forced to flee Kabul to London with her children, called “A must-read saga about borders, barriers and the resolve of one courageous mother fighting to cross over.” Listen to the book talk by HarperCollins Director of Library Marketing, Virginia Stanley.
The sequel to 2013’s The Andalusian Friend is reviewed in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which gives it a B+, “Sweden’s latest contribution to the pleasingly grim scandal-lit cannon … astute psych profiles and blood-soaked set pieces …hook readers for the third and final book.”
“This book lives up to the expectations we have for Kathy Reichs. A compelling and dangerous mystery, lots of medical details, and good characterization make this a title that will be easy to recommend!” — Leslie Johnson, Jefferson County Public Library, Lakewood, CO
“An intriguing tale of sex, romance and deception. Tara is a brilliant, sexy forty-something. She’s enjoying being single until Cavin, a handsome doctor, enters her exam room. They have a hot and steamy romance but there is much, much more to this story. Ellen Hopkins commands each word on the page from her prose to verse.” — Laura Hartwig, Meriden Public Library, Meriden, CT
Well-known for her teen novels in verse, Hopkins talks about why she turned to prose for this title and how writing teen fiction differs from adult:
The film adaptation of this graphic novel was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and will arrive in theaters on August 7. The New York Times Magazine interviewed the author when she was working on the graphic novel in 2001, calling her “arguably the brightest light among a small cadre of semiautobiographical cartoonists … who are creating some of the edgiest work about young women’s lives in any medium.”
Few libraries own the original edition, which is now re-released, with a new introduction by the author (for our full list of upcoming adaptations, see our Books to Movies and TV and our listing of tie-ins).
“If you like to read, we’ve got some news for you. The second half of 2015 is straight-up, stunningly chock-full of amazing books” proclaims the online literary magazine The Millions introducing the second part of their list of the year’s “Most Anticipated” upcoming books.
A handy overview of the season by literary insiders, the list contains over eighty titles, including the big children’s book of the season, The Marvels (Scholastic) by Brian Selznick which The Millions says “weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories told in two seemingly unrelated forms: a largely visual tale that begins with an 18th-century shipwreck, and a largely prose one that begins in London in 1990.”
The Millions follows up their big (mostly literary fiction) list with a Nonfiction list.