The ground hog should come out of hibernation next week to read new titles by Kristin Hannah, Lisa Gardner, and Nick Hornby and to see if yet another in the list of anticipated heirs to Gone Girl’s mantle lives up to expectations.
All the titles covered here, and several more notable books arriving next week, are listed, with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Feb. 2, 2015
One of the holds leaders of the week, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio, OverDrive Sample) is getting love from a wide range of sources. It’s been a favorite of librarians on GalleyChat, picked by independent booksellers as the #1 Indie Next title for February, and by Pennie Clark Ianniciello, the book buyer for Costco’s, with a feature in this month’s Costco Connection. A full-page ad in the 2/1 NYT BR follows one for the title that is neck and neck in number of holds, Lisa Gardner’s Crash & Burn.(Penguin/Dutton, OverDrive Sample)
In an advance review in yesterday’s New York Times, Janet Maslin says Hornby’s latest “packs in lots of laughs, but it’s also got more heft than Mr. Hornby’s readers may expect.” This is the first book in five years for the author, who divides his time between writing novels and screenplays (Wild and the forthcoming Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Tóibín). He’s also been writing a comedy series for the BBC, so it is no surprise that this novel, set in the ’60s, is about a young woman who wants to become the next Lucile Ball.
People magazine’s current “Book of the Week,” if it brings a run on Hornby’s previous titles, they have been re-released in trade paperback, as the full-page ad in the NYT announces, with a “stunning new look.”
The Sculptor, Scott McCloud, (Macmillan/First Second)
As we wrote earlier, McCloud’s magnum opus graphic novel has been getting major buzz in the comics world. This week, it gets an early review in ComicBook.com, “juxtaposes fantastical imagery with small human moments, both clarifying why this story could only be told as a comic and constructing a deeply compassionate story”and Paste magazine, “McCloud marries [his] rigorous academia to an evocative epic that explores the metaphysics and emotions of creation. Drafted over five years, this 500-page tome chronicles David, an abrasive, obsessive artist, in his journey to create a masterpiece that will survive his own mortality.” NPR chimes in with an “exclusive first read” on their site.
A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, Paul Fischer, (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)
Talk about timing. This true story comes right on the heels of The Interview controversy, which brought early coverage in the NYT (Dec. 31), followed by an interview with the author this week in the Wall Street Journal and is the source for an in-depth opinion piece in a Washington Post blog.
GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower is an early fan of Swanson’s second novel. Weary of comparing each new psychological suspense novel to Gone Girl, she says this is the next Girl on the Train because, “The sympathetic characters were are and far between and the twists and turns didn’t stop until the perfect ending.” She adds, “Get lots of copies so you’ll have a ‘sure-bet’ handy for your patrons.” She’s clearly been spreading the word, of the books coming out this week, it gets the most librarian “love” on Edelweiss. She’s backed up by Entertainment Weekly, which lists it in their 2015 preview of “20 Books We’ll Read in 2015,” as one of three successors to Gone Girl, along with The Girl On The Train and The Daylight Marriage, (Algonquin, May, eARCs available from Edelweiss and NetGalley). Swanson won high praise for his first novel, which came out just a year ago, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart.
A Galley Chat favorite in December, described as, “a historical novel based on actual events, an interesting look at a sad time in London history when many homeless children were required to sell flowers and watercress on the streets by day and sleep in doorways by night.”
We Are Pirates, Daniel Handler, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury)
An Indie Next pick for February, it gets a strong blurb from Neil Gaiman, “Honest and funny, dark and painful, We Are Pirates reads like the result of a nightmarish mating experiment between Joseph Heller and Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s the strangest, most brilliant offering yet from the mind behind Lemony Snicket.”
Upcoming Media Attention
An exposé about the 2009 torture and murder of a Russian whistle-blower in a Moscow prison, the author is set to appear on several FOX News shows as well as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.