Archive for the ‘2011 — Fall’ Category

New Title Radar – Week of December 5

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Next week, look out for Lou Beach‘s quirky debut story collection based on Facebook posts, along with a new novel from Anita Desai and the relaunch of an old one by Paul Theroux. Veteran  P.D. James delivers a murder mystery in the form of a sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is already getting attention. In nonfiction, there’s an original title from the Dalai Lama, along with Richard Bonin‘s look at Ahmed Chalabi’s role in shaping contemporary Iraq.

Watch List

420 Characters by Lou Beach (Houghton Mifflin) is a collection of very short stories that originally appeared as Facebook status updates. Library Journal says, “there are some books you like, others that you don’t, and that rare book that you like in spite of yourself. This book fits into the latter category… Like a tasting menu, these stories add up to something wonderful.”

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (RH/Knopf; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) subjects the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to a murder mystery. It’s set in 1803, six years after Elizabeth and Darcy began their life together at Pemberley, when their idyll is shattered by Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who announces that her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been murdered. NPR’s Fresh Air featured it on Tuesday, calling it “a glorious plum pudding of a whodunit,” adding  James “ferrets out the alternative noir tales that lurk in the corners of Pride and Prejudice, commonly thought of as Austen’s sunniest novel. Ruinous matches, The Napoleonic Wars, early deaths, socially enforced female vulnerability: Austen keeps these shadows at bay, while James noses deep into them.” We’ve put this on our “Watch List” because it may bring James a whole new audience.

Returning Literary Lions

The Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai (Houghton Mifflin) includes three novellas about characters struggling with modernization and Indian culture, by the author thrice shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Kirkus says, “reading Desai’s poignant and wry new effort offers a modest pleasure that suits its fragile characters. A deft exploration of the limits people place on themselves by trying to cling to the past.”

Murder in Mount Holly by Paul Theroux (Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious Press) is a caper novel set in the 1960s and first published in the U.K. in 1969, which follows a draftee, his mother and her amateur criminal lover in the small American town of Mount Holly. Booklist says “its a slim twig of a book, but it’s howlingly funny and will stay with readers for a long time,” but PW finds it “subpar” for the writer best known for his travel books.

Usual Suspects

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audio) finds Kay Scarpetta’s former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, has been murdered, and she wants to know why. It began rising on Amazon 10/25/11, and is at #78 as of 12/1/11. Publishers Weekly says, “As in other recent work, Cornwell overloads the plot, but Scarpettas tangled emotional state and her top-notch forensic knowledge more than compensate.”

Children’s & Young Adult

Witch & Wizard: The Fire by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski (Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the climax of the Witch & Wizard fantasy series, in which sister and brother battle a merciless totalitarian regime.



Ruthless by Sara Shepard (HarperTeen) is book ten of the Pretty Little Liars series. High school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer are back – and this time must face a ruthless stalker who wants to make them pay for their darkest secret. The new season of the ABC TV Family series based on the books begins on January 2.

Movie Tie-in

Big Miracle (originally, Everybody Loves Whales) by Tom Rose (Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Griffin; Dreamscape Audio) is the story of a reporter and a Greenpeace activist who enlisted the Cold War superpowers to help save a whale trapped under Arctic ice in 1988, written by a conservative talk show host. This edition ties in to the movie adaptation opening February 3, starring John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore. PW says, “the book is most compelling when it focuses on the simple drama of the whales plight and the extraordinary lives the people of Barrow eke from the harsh elements; its less interesting when it strays into antibig government polemics and caricatures of limousine liberal environmentalists.”


Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Alexander Norman (Houghton Mifflin; Brilliance Audio) continues the Dalai Lama’s case for a universal ethics rooted in compassion. PW says, “This wise, humane book, an original work rather than a collection of talks, is an incisive statement of His Holinesss’s thinking on ways to bring peace to a suffering world.”

Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi’s Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq by Richard Bonin (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio) examines an Iraqi exile’s ultimately successful attempts to have Saddam overthrown. Kirkus says that “the book occasionally suffers from myopia as all of the events are seen through the lens of Chalabi,” and predicts that “this crisp, clean book won’t be the last word on the perplexing events in Iraq, but for now it’s one of the better ones.”

Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) chronicles the service of a SEAL team member and instructor.

New Title Radar – Week of 11/28

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Now that Black Friday is here and the big gift-giving season looms, most titles are already in stores, leaving our radar to pick up only a few late arrivals. Usual suspects include Michael Connelly, Diana Gabaldon and Karen Robards, while Richard Rhodes looks at the unlikely role Hollywood star Hedy Lamar played in the invention of spread-spectrum radio.

Usual Suspects

The Drop (Harry Bosch Series #17) by Michael Connelly (Little Brown; Hachette Audio; AudioGo; Little, Brown Large Print)  finds the LAPD detective three years from retirement and neck deep in cover-ups and corruption. Publishers Weekly says, “all of Connellys considerable strengths are on display: the keen eye for detail and police procedure, lots of local L.A. color, clever plotting, and most important, the vibrant presence of Harry Bosch.”

The Scottish Prisoner: A Lord John Novel by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte/RH) returns to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, and is set in 1760 London.

Justice by Karen Robards (Gallery Press/S&S) finds attorney Jessica Ford in a tough spot after witnessing the murder of the first lady.

The Alpine Winter: An Emma Lord Mystery by Mary Daheim (Ballantine/RH; Thorndike Large Print) is the 23rd installment in this cozy series. PW says, “as usual, the detecting tends to take a backseat to Lords love life, in particular her uncertain relationship with local sheriff Milo Dodge,” and predicts that it “will gratify longtime fans emotionally invested in the characters, but isnt likely to attract new ones.”

Young Adult

Legend by Marie Lu (Penguin Young Readers; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print, 9781410446060), the first in a new series, it is receiving a major push and already has been signed for a movie by the producers of the Twilight Saga. Set in the near future U.S., it weaves together science fiction dystopia, police procedural, and coming-of-age, with superhero and wild west touches. PW says it’s a “stunner…she fashions a narrative in which the action is kinetic and the emotional development is beautifully paced.”  It was featured on many of the fall fiction previwes, including  Nancy Pearl’s picks.


Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes (Doubleday/RH) is the unlikely story of the invention of spread-spectrum radio by Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr, who trained as an engineer, and avant-garde composer George Antheil, by the NBA and Pulitizer Prize winner. Sure to be catnip for the media, Entertainment Weekly gives it an early review, “While Rhodes takes his time to reach the meat of his story, he manages to capture the sheer improbability of these unlikely Edisons.” Newsweek calls it a”beguiling book.”

New Title Radar – Week of Nov. 21

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Next week, two posthumous novels arrive, from Chilean author Robert Bolano and Michael Crichton (whose novel draft was finished by bestselling nonfiction author Richard Preston). Other usual suspects include Dorothy Garlock and Ian Rankin.  In nonfiction, Lady Gaga struts from stage to stage, and Glenn Beck shares his opinions on George Washington.

Literary Heavy Hitter

The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Macmillan Audio) is a novel written in 1989 and discovered after the Chilean author’s 2003 death, prior to his breakout out with The Savage Detectives and his winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for 2666. Focusing on a German couple vacationing in Spain and written in a series of diary entires, it’s a look at power through the prism of a war game called “The Third Reich,” played by the male half of the couple. NPR’s early review says that while the novel doesn’t feature “the narrative fireworks” of Bolano’s best known books, it’s “compassionate, disturbing and deeply felt, [and] as much of a gift as anything the late author has given us.”  Meanwhile, Library Journal cautions that it’s more accessible to Bolano fans than newcomers to his work. (The cover presents a subtle but chilling image, which may be difficult to see this size; view the larger version here).

Usual Suspects

Micro: A Novel by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston (Harper; HarperLuxe Large Print; HarperAudio) is a posthumous Crichton title, completed by the author of The Hot Zone, (the Wall Street Journal interviews Preston about the process) about a group of graduate students facing dangerous nanotechnology in the jungles of Oahu. NPR gives it an early review, saying, “Crichton and Preston know the science better than anyone else, so the suddenly giant (from the new perspective of the desperately scrambling students) insects and plants, spiders and moths, bees, wasps and ants come to life much larger than life, and technically become the most accurate and vividly described menaces in recent science fiction.”

Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock (Grand Central/Hachette; Thorndike Press; Hachette Audio; Audiogo) follows a military nurse’s transition to peacetime in rural 1946 Wisconsin. No trade reviews yet.

The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin (Regan Arthur Books/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the second outing with Rankin’s new hero: Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox (his prickly former protagonist, John Rebus, was last seen in 2008’s Exit Music). NYT BR crime fiction columnist Marilyn Stasio says in the 11/20 issue, ” the plot gets tricky when it expands into a mystery-within-a-mystery, but it never becomes as infernally convoluted as some of Rankin’s old Rebus mysteries. Always inspired when he’s writing about social outcasts and professional rejects, Rankin does well by these pariah cops — especially Fox, who’s looking good for the long haul.”

Middle Grade

Warriors: Omen of the Stars #5: The Forgotten Warrior by Erin Hunter (HarperCollins) continues the feline fantasy series.

Movie Tie-ins


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Vintage) ties into the English-language film adaptation of the worldwide bestseller, which opens December 21. If you’re thinking, “Surely everyone who is going to read the book already has,” just think about The Help. Check our recent post for more details on the cover and latest trailer.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s/Griffin) ties into an film adaptation of the book that launched Evanovich’s mega-selling Stephanie Plum series in 2004, and opens January 27, 2012. Some are dubious that Katherine Heigl can exude the proper Jersey attitude (or accent).


Lady Gaga by Terry Richardson (Grand Central) chronicles a year of the star’s concert tours through photographs. Blogs from USA Today to are buzzing about it, as the singer reads and comments on the book.

Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, as You’ve Never Seen Him by Glenn Beck (Threshold/S&S) gives a conservative commentator’s opinions on the first president. Last Monday, Beck got the buzz going by hailing Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum as “the next George Washington” on his show, the Huffington Post reports. The cover, however gives Beck equal billing to the Founding Father.

Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 by Henry Louis Gates (Knopf) is an illustrated introductory survey of African American history. Library Journal says “while the relatively abbreviated entries may not match Gates’s previous work, the almost 900 illustrations and accessible coverage of the varieties of black experience make Life Upon the Shores an essential source for nonspecialists from high school on up.”

Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony: A Psychological Portrait by Keith Ablow, (St. Martin’s/Macmillan) is a portrait of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted for the murder of her daughter Caylee in July  2011 at a much-publicized trial.

New Title Radar – Week of November 14

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Photo: Lisa Von Drasek

You don’t need us to tell you that the next title in the Wimpy Kid series is around the corner, arriving on Tuesday, Nov 15 (above, Bank Street Books, one of six bookstores nationwide that was “wrapped” in anticipation of the big day). In this, the sixth in the series, Cabin Fever, (Amulet/Abrams) Greg Heffley finds himself in big trouble after school property is damaged. 

You and your kids can join Jeff Kinney via Webcast at 10 a.m., Eastern, this coming Tuesday, Nov. 15, for his appearance at the Bank Street College of Education (where EarlyWord Kids correspondent is the librarian). Register here (space is limited). The visit is being recorded and will be Webcast from School Library Journal, a few days later.

On the adult side, it seems to be the week of fiction based on reality. The three Kardashian sisters give us a novel about three celebrity sisters, Ann Beattie imagines the life of Pat Nixon, and  there’s even a novel about the Bin Laden raid. The week is rounded out by actual memoirs, including one by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her astronaut husband Mark Kelley, TV host Regis Philbin, basketball giant Shaquille O’Neal and actress/director/photographer Diane Keaton.

Fiction Based on Fact

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life by Ann Beattie (Scribner/S&S; Audio, Dreamscape Media) is a fictional portrait of reticent First Lady Pat Nixon. In a starred review, Booklist said, “Beattie has created a resplendent paean to the pleasures of the literary imagination, and a riveting and mischievous, revealing and revitalizing portrait of an overlooked woman of historic resonance.” But Kirkus cautions, “there’s a whiff of condescension about the whole enterprise.” Last week, the New York Times ran an essay by Beattie  about writing the book.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events by John Weisman (Morrow/HarperCollins; HarperLuxe Large Print) is a fictionalized account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid on his hideout. Kirkus says, “the novel is much better than the typical military fare, but like the inevitable movie, it’s also not as strange or impressive as the truth. A down-and-dirty thriller that feels as rushed as its publication date.”

Dollhouse by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian (Morrow/HarperCollins) is a novel about a trio of rich sisters with celebrity problems – not unlike the authors, who are best known for their TV show, the E! Reality Series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As the New York Times Media Decoder blog noted, “the ending of Kim Kardashian’s unusually brief marriage happened to be beautifully timed with a planned Kardashian book blitz” that includes the recently released Kardashian Konfidential, with pictures of the wedding that occurred 72 days ago.

Literary Favorites

The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo (Scribner; S&S Audio) includes stories ranging from the fiction master’s jazz-infused early work to the minimalism of his later stories. Library Journal says, “For readers of literary fiction, this book is a good introduction to DeLillo’s iconic postmodern style, though those new to the genre may find it a somewhat hard pill to swallow.” Indie booksellers see it as having broader appeal; it’s the #1 Indie Next pick for November.

Usual Suspects

Devil’s Gate by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam; Wheeler Large Print; Penguin Audio) is the latest adventure featuring the NUMA Special Assignments Team. PW says, “thriller fans who aren’t too picky about credibility will be most rewarded.”

Kill Alex Cross (Alex Cross Series #18) by James Patterson (Little, Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) finds the President’s teenage children slipping away from the Secret Service and into the hands of a sadist. PW is not impressed, saying that the story line is recycled from Along Came a Spider, and that “Patterson neither sweats the details nor invests his lead with more than two dimensions.”

V Is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Series #22) by Sue Grafton (Marion Wood/Putnam; Thorndike Large Print; Random House Audio) invites speculation about how this venerated series will end, just four installments from now. Still, Kirkus likes this one reasonably well: “Grafton is as original, absorbing and humane as ever. The joints just creak a bit.”

Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum Series #17) by Janet Evanovich (Bantam/RH; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) has been on Amazon’s top 100 sales rankings for a while now. The film One for the Money, based on the 1994 book that launched the Stephanie Plum series, is now set for January 2012.


Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly with Jeffrey Zaslow (Scribner/S&S; Thorndike Press; S&S Audio) is the story of the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona and her astronaut husband, and includes her ongoing recovery from the Tucson shooting, which has left her continuing to struggle with language and with only 50 percent of her vision in both eyes. It is excerpted and on the cover of the new issue of People magazine.

How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin (It Books/HarperCollins; HarperLuxe Large Print; HarperAudio) is the memoir of the television host and entertainer and comes a month before he retires, with an announced 500,000-copy first printing.

Then Again by Diane Keaton (Random House; Random House Audio) is the film star’s memoir of her bond with her mother, Dorothy, who kept eighty-five journals about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself, in a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.

Shaq Uncut: My Story (on Library catalogs as Tall Tales and Untold Stories) by Shaqulle O’Neal and Jackie MacMullan (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is the National Basketball Association giant’s memoir. PW says, “O’Neal has intriguing insights into the fraught group dynamics of a sport where positional roles are uniquely ill-defined… Preening and prickly, Shaq’s reminiscences illuminate the knotty psychology behind the swagger.” This one began rising on Amazon 11/2/11.

Current Events

Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton and Lisa Pulitzer (Morrow/HarperCollins) gives the prosecutor’s account of the murder investigation and trial.

From Yesterday to TODAY: Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show by Stephen Battaglio (Running Press) chronicles the history of NBC’s Today Show.

Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll (Norton) uses primary sources, maps and illustrations to explore the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway from both sides.

New Gopnik On the Rise

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

The new book by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food is marked as “on the rise” on the latest Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list. Libraries are showing heavy holds where ordering is light.

Prepub reviews, however, made it sound less than enthralling, as expressed by Library Journal, “Despite Gopnik’s allusive, witty prose, his supercilious and moralistic discussion will leave readers with a bad taste in the mouth.”

Consumer reviews have been much stronger, with Entertainment Weekly giving it an A-  (“By turns meaty and frothy, this ode to the social experience of eating combines a reporter’s eye for facts with a gourmand’s devotion to food.”) In Slate, Laura Shapiro vividly expresses her enjoyment of the book, even though (or, perhaps especially because) it “may be full of holes,”

I wish this book, The Table Comes First, didn’t have to be a book. I wish it could be a dinner table, instead, with maybe six people sitting around it…And I wish Adam Gopnik were at the table, leaning forward intently as the plates come and go, yakking away happily about food and history and Paris and cookbooks and life, just as he does in these pages. Then the rest of us guests could jump in and interrupt him whenever we want, probably knocking over a wine glass in our enthusiasm…

The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food
Adam Gopnik
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-10-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0307593452 / 9780307593450

Audio, Recorded Books

Clinton Backs Away from Criticism of Obama

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Bill Clinton’s new book Back to Work is being widely regarded as critical of President Obama, a view Jon Stewart made subtle reference to in the beginning of Clinton’s appearance on the Daily Show last night. Stewart asked whether Obama had been sent a copy, because he might be “very interested” in the book’s specific prescriptions for running the country. Clinton carefully responded that Obama has already advocated several of the ideas in the book and that he gives the administration credit in each instance. Clinton went on to direct his criticisms at the Tea Party.

Click here for Parts Two and Three of the interview.

It’s clear that the White House has read the book. In a separate appearance, Clinton says he received a “clarifying memo” from Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling, which caused him to recant one of the book’s specific criticisms of the administration.

The book is #8 on Amazon sales rankings and rising. Where ordering is light, libraries are showing heavy holds.

Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy
Bill Clinton
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-11-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0307959759 / 9780307959751

Also available on OverDrive, RHAudio and RH large print.

De Niro To Play Madoff

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

HBO confirmed this week that they are developing a made-for-tv movie about Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff with Robert De Niro as producer and expected to play the lead.

It will be based on two books, the recently-released Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family by Laurie Sandell, based on interviews with Madoff’s family (they appeared on Sixty Minutes last week to help promote the book) and The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques (Times Books/Holt/Macmillan) published earlier this year (the author appeared on the Today Show in April).

Novelist John Burnham Schwartz is writing the screenplay.

Clinton Takes on the Economy

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Former President Bill Clinton will appear on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart tomorrow night to promote his new book on economic policy, Back to Work.

Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy
Bill Clinton
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-11-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0307959759 / 9780307959751

Also available on OverDrive, RHAudio and RH large print.

The book is generating news stories. USA Today reports it suggests everything from “from granting property tax breaks for investments that create jobs to painting every flat tar roof in U.S. cities white for the energy savings.”

The New York Times focuses on what it means for Obama, saying that it, “marks a new and somewhat warmer stage in the [Clinton and Obama] rivalry and relationship…The awkward twist: the former president has been so frustrated at what he sees as the current one’s failure to explain his economic policies that he has literally decided to write his own version of the story.”

New Title Radar – Week of Nov. 7

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Next week, watch for Nancy Jensen‘s debut The Sisters, much anticipated fiction titles from Stephen King, Umberto Eco, and Christopher Paolini, and a book about the Osama Bin Laden raid which may be controversial.

Watch List

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen (St. Martin’s Press; Blackstone Audio) is a debut novel about two girls separated by a tragic misunderstanding in 1920 Kentucky, affecting four generations of women. It’s had strong support on GalleyChat. Some libraries report it’s getting an unusually large number of holds for a midlist debut. It’s also the #1 Indie Next pick for Dec and was featured as one of the Hot Fall titles for book clubs at BEA.

Heavily Anticipated

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King (Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike Press) finds the horror master venturing in science fiction, with a Maine restaurant owner who asks the local high school English teacher to grant his dying wish, to enter a time portal to 1958 in his diner and go back in time to prevent the 1963 assassination of JFK. Janet Maslin gave it gave it a glowing review in Monday’s NYT. Unsurprisingly, it’s been in Amazon’s Top 100 for months.

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Audio, Recorded Books) pivots on the creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the discredited document used by anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists as proof of a worldwide Jewish cabal, by a fictional main character, Simone Simonini – a spy, a forger, a murderer, and a misanthrope. Kirkus says, “Simonini keeps good and interesting company, hanging out with Sigmund Freud here, crossing paths with Dumas and Garibaldi and Captain Dreyfus there, and otherwise enjoying the freedom of the continent, as if unstoppable and inevitable. What does it all add up to? An indictment of the old Europe, for one thing, and a perplexing, multilayered, attention-holding mystery.” 200,000 copy first printing.

Young Adult

Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini (Knopf; RH Audio; Books on Tape) finds the young Dragon Rider Eragon in a final confrontation with the evil king Galbatorix to free Alagaesia from his rule once and for all. It has been on Amazon’s top 5 for months.


SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden by Chuck Pfarrer (St. Martins Press; Macmillan Audio) is based on a series of interviews with SEAL Team Six [UPDATE: CNN reports that the SEALs deny speaking to Pfarrer] by a former commander of the group. The Hollywood Reporter, in a story about film and tv rights being shopped, says it disputes the Obama Administration’s official account of the Bin Laden raid.
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie (Random House) is the biography of a minor German princess, Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, who became Empress Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796), by the Pulitzer-winning biographer of Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great. PW calls it “a masterful, intimate, and tantalizing portrait of a majestic monarch.” It broke into the Amazon Top 100 earlier this week.

War Room: Bill Belichick and the Patriot Legacy by Michael Holley (It Books; HarperLuxe) is “a deeply reported, thoroughly engaging look at what it takes to succeed in the NFL–and a perfect complement to the NFL Network’s compelling miniseries Bill Belichick: A Football Life,” says Kirkus.

The Curious Incidents of Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Sherlock Homes himself said (paraphrasing a famous British writer), “I trust that age will not wither, nor custom stale my infinite variety.” USA Today writes that the master detective is hot again after all these years, with movies, re-releases and a “new” Holmes novel.

The movie Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr., follows last year’s surprise hit and opens 12/16. It’s based on the story, “The Final Problem,” which is included in the re-released The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Penguin; other editions available in ePub and Kindle on OverDrive).

Published today is the first “new Sherlock Holmes novel,” authorized by Doyle’s estateThe House of Silk (Mulholland/Little, Brown; audio, Hachette Audio; Large Print, Little, Brown) by Anthony Horowitz, author of the popular Alex Rider series for teens and the writer for the PBS series Foyle’s War.

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
Anthony Horowitz
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books – (2011-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316196991 / 9780316196994

Of course, many other authors have carried on the Holmes tradition. Check this list from Wikipedia for the makings of an extensive book display.

Released last week, A Study in Sherlock is a collection of stories homages to the master by contemporary writers, including by Lee Child, Laura Lippman, Margaret Maron, Jacqueline Winspear and Neil Gaiman. It is available in hardcover (Poisoned Pen Press, 9781590585498) and in trade paperback:

A Study in Sherlock: Stories inspired by the Holmes canon
Laurie R. King, Leslie S. Klinger
Retail Price: $15.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Bantam – (2011-10-25)
ISBN / EAN: 9780812982466/0812982460

Coming next month is a book on Holmes’s creator, by Washington Post book reviewer, Michael Dirda.

On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling (Writers on Writers)
Michael Dirda
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press – (2011-10-30)
ISBN / EAN: 0691151350 / 9780691151359


Maslin Reviews the New Stephen King

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

In the NYT, Janet Maslin gives Stephen King’s 11/22/63, arriving next week, an early review. Readers, she likes it, she really likes it,

The pages of 11/22/63 fly by, filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense. It takes great brazenness to go anywhere near this subject matter [the JFK assassination]. But it takes great skill to make this story even remotely credible. Mr. King makes it all look easy, which is surely his book’s fanciest trick.

The comment about the pages flying by is significant — there’s 849 of them. Is this the season of long books? Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 is 944 pages. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a relatively slim 656 pages. Be prepared for slow turnover of these titles.

11/22/63: A Novel
Stephen King
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 960 pages; 9781451627282
Publisher: Scribner – (2011-11-08)
UNABR. Audio: 9781442344280

Large Print; Thorndike Press; 9781410440471

Snooki Loves Her Cats

Monday, October 31st, 2011
Entertainment Weekly reads Snooki’s Confessions of a Guidette(Gallery/ S&S, Oct.) so you don’t have to, and includes this choice bit:

The book is dedicated to her cats for being the “best cats, best friends ever.” Later, she threatens those who bad mouth her cats. “Don’t talk s–t about my cat; I’ll go squirrel monkey on your ass.” Does anyone know what this means?

Below, Snooki shows what goes down at the typical author/publisher meeting:

The Madoffs on Sixty Minutes

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Convicted Ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff is currently serving 150 years in jail. His wife Ruth, son Andrew and his fiancée, Catherine Hooper, appeared on CBS Sixty Minutes last night, as part of the promotion for a new book, Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family by Laurie Sandell (9780316198936; Hachette Audio, 9781611135251). The book is based in on interviews with the three of them. Ruth Madoff says that Andrew and Catherine wanted to do the book and she did so as part of an effort at reconciliation with them. Interviewer Morley Safer notes, “neither Ruth nor Andrew will benefit from sales of the book, Catherine Hooper will.”

As a result of the show, the book rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, but did not crack the top 100. It is currently at #111. Libraries that purchased it are showing modest holds on light ordering.

Although it was under an embargo, sections of the book have been widely leaked, so the claim that Bernie and Ruth attempted suicide is not a revelation.

Part Two:

Mark Madoff’s widow, who remains estranged from the family, also published a book recently. It was not mentioned on the show.

The End of Normal
Stephanie Madoff Mack
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 253 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider/Penguin – (2011-10-20)
ISBN : 9780399158162

Available in EPub and PDF on OverDrive.

New Title Radar – Week of 10/31

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The holidays are heralded with the release of tie-ins to three major family movies, directed by two major filmmakers. Coming for Thanksgiving is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. At Christmas, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin will be going head-to-head with, um, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.

Heavily anticipated (as documented by New York magazine’s “Anticipation Index“) is Joan Didion’s next memoir Blue Nights, which follows her searing Year of Magical Thinking. We also see the finale of the Wicked series.

Memoir & Biography

Blue Nights
by Joan Didion (Knopf; RH Audio; Large Type, Thorndike) is a memoir of the acclaimed writer’s loss of her adopted daughter in 2005, and her reckoning with herself as an aging, grieving mother. New York magazine has a piercing profile of Didion, with more coverage to follow after the blockbuster success of Didion’s memoir of widowhood, The Year of Magical Thinking. Appearances are scheduled for the Today Show, NPR’s Fresh Air and the Charlie Rose ShowLibrary Journal says, “This worthwhile meditation on parenting and aging by a succinct writer, while at times difficult to read and a bit self-centered, is well worth the emotional toll.”

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleeza Rice (Crown; Random House Audio) is the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State’s story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government. The Washington Post writes that Rice’s confessions of self-doubt and regret are a revelation – and calls it the first serious memoir of the Bush Administration.

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews (S&S; Thorndike Large Print) is a biography by the host of MSNBC’s Hardball that draws on interviews with friends and former staffers of the 35th President. PW says, “Matthew’s stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found.” Matthews has ready access to TV coverage and will appear on several shows next week, including NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s The View.

Usual Suspects

Zero Day by David Baldacci (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Grand Central Large Print) finds combat veteran and investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division on a brutal murder scene in West Virginia coal country. Preorders have kept it in Amazon’s Top 100 for a month.



Lost December by Richard Paul Evans (Simon and Schuster; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is another feel-good Christmas tale by the mega-selling author, this time featuring the self-made owner of a copy shop empire, Carl, and his estranged son, Luke. Kirkus is not impressed: “Although Luke’s downfall is a mesmerizing train wreck, his redemption is predictable and unearned.”

The Next Always by Nora Roberts (Berkley; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the first installment in a series that draws extensively on the author’s experience running a historic Maryland inn. PW says, “Roberts paints a charming picture of smalltown life with likable characters, but supernatural thriller elements feel out of place in the bucolic contemporary setting, and too much detail about the nuts and bolts of the inns restoration slows down the story.”

Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steele (Delacorte; Brilliance Audio; Random House Large Print) is the story of an Eloise-like girl raised by a single father as he struggles to keep his hotel running while being a responsible parent. PW says, “As usual, Steel leaves nothing of her character’s feelings, backgrounds, or attitudes to reader inference, preferring to spell out every last detail, but who can argue with success?”

Out of Oz: the Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory McGuire (Morrow; HarperAudioHarperLuxe) finds Oz in the midst of civil war, with granddaughter of the infamous Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West, coming of age with a band of friends. Booklist give it a thumbs up: “after the slightly disappointing Son of a Witch (2005) and A Lion among Men (2008), Maguire recaptures his mystical mojo.” The musical based on first in the book series, Wicked is still running on Broadway. News broke in January of a possible ABC TV mini-series based on the book (not the musical). Since there has been no further news, that project may be stalled.

Young Adult

Crossed (Matched Trilogy #2) by Ally Condie (Dutton; Penguin Audiobooks) is the second installment in the popular teen science fiction series. PW says, “Newcomers will need to read the first book for background, but vivid, poetic writing will pull fans through as Condie immerses readers in her characters yearnings and hopes.”

Movie Tie-ins

The Hugo Movie Companion by Brian Selznick (Scholastic) ties in to the movie Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, also by Brian Selznick. The film opens 11/23 (the day before Thanksgiving). Scholastic is also publishing The Hugo Cabret Notebook in November. The first trailer was released this week, followed quickly by a second trailer.


War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Scholastic) ties in to the major Spielberg movie that opens 12/23. The story, about a horse taken from a gentle farm boy and sold into service in WW1, was originally published in Great Britain in 1982.

The Adventures of TinTin by Herge, adapted by Stephanie Peters (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) ties into another big Spielberg movie, opening on Christmas Day. Other tie-ins include a chapter book, picture books, and a middle grade book, (check our list of Upcoming Movies Based on Books for all the tie-ins). LBYR is also re-releasing the Tin Tin originals in new editions.



Thursday, October 27th, 2011

In today’s Washington Post, Ron Charles calls The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje, “a charming mixture of eccentricity, serendipity and impish fun.” The semi-autobiographical story of a boyhood journey that affected  the main character’s entire life, Charles says the novel’s “vignettes convey a delightful sense of the urgency and mystery of adolescence, their galloping imagination, thumping anticipation and assurance that every overhead whisper is a conspiracy, a forbidden tryst or a murder in the planning stages.”

The book is #4 on the new Indie best seller list, rising from #6 last week.

The Cat’s Table
Michael Ondaatje
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-10-04)
ISBN / EAN: 9780307700117/0307700119

RH Audio, 9780307943712; Center Point Large Print, 9781611732245