Archive for the ‘2013 — Summer’ Category


Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Sports GeneZooming up the Amazon charts overnight, now at #16 and rising, is The Sports Gene, (Penguin/Current), a ” deliciously contrarian exploration of great athletic feats.” (Library Journal) by David J. Epstein, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated.

The book was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. It has also been covered by the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Science News and Businessweek, among others.

Library ordering is conservative.


Monday, August 5th, 2013

Visitation StreetAfter several stellar reviews, holds are rising on Ivy Pochoda’s second book, Visitation Street, (HarperCollins/Ecco/Dennis Lehane Books; Thorndike Large Print), released last month. The New York Times Book Review‘s mystery columnist Marilyn Stasio calls it a “powerfully beautiful novel” that brings to life the neighborhood it is set in, Red Hook, Brooklyn, through the eyes of “people from the neighborhood — diverse characters who are vibrantly, insistently alive.”

It happens that Red Hook is very close to EarlyWord’s “World Headquarters,” so it may seem natural that we are fans. But as specific as the setting is, it has a wider resonance. As the Miami Herald writes, “…what’s most haunting is [Pochoda’s] searing, all-too-familiar portrait of a community bitterly divided by the usual suspects of American unrest — race, poverty, culture, drugs. Her Red Hook is alive and not well, a place ruled by real and artificial boundaries, a city of flesh and blood and failed dreams.”

Ivy recently recorded an interview with HarperCollins Library Marketer, Annie Mazes (watch out Susan Stamberg; Annie’s giggle is even more infectious than yours). It opens with photos from the EarlyWord/GalleyChat tour held during BEA, and sponsored by HarperCollins. From the description of the neighborhood in the reviews, you might not think that Red Hook would be a good place for tourists, but its position on the NY Harbor makes for spectacular views. Also, Pochoda’s book portrays a community just beginning to gentrify. That is now in full swing, with an upscale chocolate factory and even a winery. (Thanks to Robin Beerbower, Salem [OR] Public Library, for the photos — more here, with quotes from the book).

The next GalleyChat is tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 4 to 5 p.m. ET (details on how to join are here).

SILENT WIFE an Official Sleeper Hit

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Silent WifeThe NYT‘s publishing reporter, Julie Bosman, has pronounced The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison (Penguin, 6/25), the next Gone Girl, now that it has hit best seller lists (debuting on the NYT‘s own combined print and ebook list at #11).

The NYT is a bit late to the party (their reviewer, Janet Maslin, predicted a different novel, Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls, Hachette/Mulholland, would be the heir. The NYT has yet to review The Silent Wife). In libraries, holds have been growing steadily (we issued our first holds alert for it on July 2).

The article details the book’s publishing history and points out that Walmart has only just ordered it. Once copies begin selling there, it is likely to reach new heights on best seller lists.

One of our favorite mystery reviewers, Sarah Weinman writes in the New Republic about the appeal of the unlikeable heroine, as exemplified by The Silent Wife. Watch for Weinman’s forthcoming book, Troubled Duaghers. Twisted Wives, (Penguin) an anthology of stories by women crime writers. Her introduction should be required reading for all readers advisors.

Officially a Best Seller: THE SILENT WIFE

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Silent WifeThe new USA Today best seller list confirms what holds in libraries have been indicating; The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, (Penguin, original trade pbk) is a word-of-mouth success. It debuts at #17 on the list after five weeks on sale.

See our earlier story for more on the book.

Holds Alert: THIS TOWN

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

After a slow start in libraries, holds are growing fast on This Town by Mark Leibovich, (Penguin/Blue Rider), which zoomed to #1 on the NYT Combined Nonfiction bestseller list this week, its first week on sale.

The author appeared on Comedy Central’s Daily Show last night. Host John Oliver, standing in for Jon Stewart, notes that the book is much more than a collection of gossipy stories about D.C. insiders.

Holds Alert, Deux: THE SILENT WIFE

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Silent WifeIf holds are any indication, and we believe they are, word of mouth is growing for The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, (Penguin Trade Pbk original).

We issued a holds alert for it a few weeks ago, after he Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s reviewer Laura DeMarco declared it “Better Than Gone Girl,” bringing a surge of holds to area libraries and a ripple effect across the country. In the Huffington Post last week,’s Jesse Kornbluth, also makes that comparison, “If You Liked Gone Girl, You’ll Find Fresh Thrills in The Silent Wife.

Other than that, there hasn’t been much media attention in the U.S. [UPDATE: There was a bit more — one of the most thoughtful writers about mysteries, Sarah Weinman reviewed it in the New Republic as did Laura Miller in Salon]

The book has received attention, however, in the UK, with the The Guardian noting “The slow, murderous disintegration of a marriage is all too believable in ASA Harrison’s first – and final – novel.” The author, who died just before her debut novel was published, was Canadian and her book is reviewed widely in Canadian newspapers — The Globe and MailThe Winnipeg Free Press, The Vancouver Sun and The National Post.

It is an original trade paperback, making it easier to buy additional copies and an immediate book club candidate.

Holds Alert: ZEALOT

Monday, July 29th, 2013

ZealotAttention to Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House) blew up over the weekend after his appearance on the show “Spirited Debate.” Host Lauren Green grilled Aslan about why, as a Muslim, he would write a book about Christ, to which Aslan replied, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

People weighed in all weekend, with the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum tweeting that the interview was, “absolutely demented” but that Aslan “handled it with remarkable calm.”

The book debuted at #2 on the latest NYT Combined Print & E-book Nonfiction best seller list but this controversy has sent its sales even higher. It is now at #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are multiplying in libraries.

The author has appeared on several other shows, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

New Title Radar, Week of July 29

Friday, July 26th, 2013

9780312583200   9780525953876-1

We’re light on brand names next week, but heavy on titles that arrive with high hopes (see our Watch List, below). In the former category, C.J. Box abandons his series character, Joe Pickett, for a moment, for a standalone titled The Highway, (Macmillan/Minotaur). Most of the prepub reviewers love it (Kirkus, PW, LJ, which gives it a star), with one holdout (Booklist; “the usually sure-handed author never quite gets our hearts racing”). Also pre-ordained as a best seller is the 15th in Linda Fairstein’s series, Death Angel.

All the titles highlighted here and several more, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of July 29

If you are interested in reading any of these titles, many of them are available as digital ARC’s on Edelweiss and NetGalley, but hurry, they are generally  removed on publication date.

Watch List

The Telling RoomThe Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese, Michael Paterniti, (RH/Dial; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike)

Chosen as a hot book of the summer by USA Today back in May and by librarians on the BEA Shout ‘n’ Share panel, (Doug Lord, LJ‘s “Books for Dudes” columnist went so far as to call it a “Gorgeously sexy story about a guy tracking down a magical cheese”), this is set to enjoy some major publicity; on NPR’s upcoming Weekend Edition Saturday and a major feature in the New York Times Magazine. Entertainment Weekly gives it an unequivocal A.

The Wicked GirlsThe Wicked Girls, Alex Marwood, (Penguin Books, Original Trade Pbk)

On the list of the Millions Most Anticipated titles,this novel is about two eleven-year-old girls who are involved in the death of a younger child and meet again as adults. The annotation notes,  “Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of British journalist Serena Mackesy, and The Wicked Girls is her dark and beautifully executed first novel.” It’s also a hit among librarians on GalleyChat; “very intriguing. Reminded me a little of the Anne Perry story.”

The Husband's SecretThe Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty, (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn; Thorndike)

The new title by author of book-club favorite What Alice Forgotgets  an A-  from Entertainment Weekly, which says “Despite its awkwardly soapy title and pink-petaled cover, The Husband’s Secret is a sharp, thoughtful read — a sneaky sort of wolf in chick-lit clothing. It’s also darker and less whimsical than the twinkly, rom-comish Alice,” but adds, “Moriarty ultimately can’t resist wrapping up her story lines with a bow that will probably feel too shiny and pink-petal neat for some. But you don’t need a husband or a secret to feel for her characters’ very real moral quandaries, and to want that shiny bow for them a little bit, too.”

9780062202352The Skull And The Nightingale, Michael Irwin, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

Entertainment Weekly is big with the accolades this week, handing out another A-  for this one and saying this “raunchy novel of sex and manipulation — set in 18th-century England — evokes Tom JonesThe Crimson Petal and the White, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”

Sea CreaturesSea Creatures, Susanna Daniel, (Harper)

Daniel impressed GalleyChatters with her debut, Stiltsville, a quiet story about a marriage that managed to seem very real. The book also won the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick. The author’s new book, set in the same area of South Florida, where the home are on stilts,  is again drawing raves from GalleyChatters for its “really complex and interesting” characters.

Thinking Woman's GuideThe Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Emily Croy Barker, (Penguin/Pamela Dorman)

An August IndieNext pick,which calls it “a beautifully written first novel [that] reverberates with echoes of fairy tales and fantasy literature from Narnia to Harry Potter,” this was one of our Penguin First Flights titles (see our online chat with the author here).

A Street Cat Named BobA Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life, James Bowen, (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne; Thorndike).

A best seller in the UK, this is a memoir by a London street musician, recovering from a heroin addiction, who rescues an ailing cat, which in turn, rescues him. If you want your heart warmed, check the photos from the story in London’s Daily Mail and the following book trailer (a movie deal has been discussed).

Going Deep: How Wide Receivers Became the Most Compelling Figures in Pro Sports, Cris Carter, (Hyperion)

Believe it or not, football season is around the corner. Carter is ESPN’s NFL analyst, so you can expect coverage on the network, beginning with Carter’s preview on the ESPN site.


The Butler, Tie-inThe Butler: A Witness to History, Wil Haygood, (S&S/37 Ink)

The movie, which opens August 16, is based on Haygood’s Washington Post story, now released as a book. The movie, which stars  Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker (plus Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan!) will be getting plenty of media attention, beginning with this week’s Washington Post Magazine cover story, written by Haygood.

Masters of SexMasters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love, Thomas Maier, (Basic Books)

A Showtime series, beginning Sept. 29, is based on Maier’s book, which received praise when it was released, particularly for bringing deserved attention to Virginia Johnson’s role in the groundbreaking research into human sexuality.

Paranoia, Joseph Finder, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s;  Trade pbk;  Mass Mkt pbkMacmillan/Audio)

Opening August 16, the movie ada[tatopm of Finder’s thriller stars Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth, and Amber Heard.

David Gilbert on FRESH AIR

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

And Sons And Sons, (RH/Hogarth), is only David Gilbert’s second novel, but it arrives with great anticipation, from Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” blog, which calls it potentially “the literary novel of the summer” to the NPR reviewer who calls it “seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak” and an instant classic because it “feels deeply familiar, as though it existed for decades and I was just slow to find it.”

In his interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air today, Gilbert gives a sense of what all the fuss is about.

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).

The Big Cheese

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The Telling RoomBack in May, USA Today called Michael Paterniti a “hot summer author” for a book on a subject that may not sound perfect for hot-weather reading; a legendary cheese handcrafted in a small village in Spain. Called The Telling Room, (RH/Dial; Brilliance Audio), it arrives next week on the heels of today’s intriguing, if somewhat mixed, review by Janet Maslin in the NYT.

Libraries are showing rising holds. If you want to read it, digital ARC’s are still listed on NetGalley and Edelweiss, but hurry, they will no longer be available after Tuesday’s pub. date.

We first heard about the title when Doug Lord,  LJ‘s Books for Dudes columnist, picked  it as a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share title.


Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Love, DishonorGood going, Sarah Vowell. She managed to make the American public fall in love with a debut novel, written entirely in rhyming couplets (you gotta love a writer who rhymes “bourgeois” with “Christian Lacroix“), during her appearance on Comedy Central’s Daily Show Thursday night. As an indicator of how well she did, the book is now at #9 on Amazon sales rankings and rising and holds are mounting quickly in libraries. The book was also reviewed the NPR book site last week.

Vowell was on the show to promote her friend, David Rakoff’s novel, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish(RH/Doubleday; RH Audio), which was published last week. The author died of cancer last year, just weeks after completing the book.

Libraries are showing 10:1 holds ratios on light ordering.

Below is the first part of the interview — part 2 is on the site.

New Title Radar, Week of July 22

Friday, July 19th, 2013

The White Princess   Light of the World   Unleashed

Among the new titles in series arriving next week, is the next in Philippa Gregory’s Cousins War series, The White Princess, (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio; Thorndike) which was moved from its original pub. date to arrive closer to the start of the BBC/STARZ White Queen series, based on the first four books, debuting on Aug. 10.

The twentieth Dave Robicheaux novel, Light of the World by James Lee Burke (S&S; S&S Audio; Thorndike) also arrives, but despite the number of books in the series, it seems they  just keep improving. It’s starred by Booklist and  Kirkus adds, “Pruning away the florid subplots that often clutter his heaven-storming blood baths, Burke produces his most sharply focused, and perhaps his most harrowing, study of human evil, refracted through the conventions of the crime novel.”

David Rosenfelt rleases the eleventh in his Andy Carpenter series, Unleashed (Macmillan/Minotaur; Thorndike) as well as a second title, a memoir, about moving from California to Maine with his large crew of rescued golden retrievers, Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike ).

The titles highlighted here, and more coming next week, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of 7/22

Watch List

Shot All to HellShot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, Mark Lee Gardner, (HaperCollins/Morrow)

Cuyahoga PL’s Wendy Bartlett promoted this bio, which is also an IndieNext pck for August, on the local NPR station. Below is her annotation:

“If you or your customers are History Channel buffs, this one’s for you! Mark Lee Gardner, who is frequently featured on the History Channel’s shows about Western history, has written a terrific page turner about the James’ gang’s last raid. For years, loyal friends and neighbors the James gang provided them with alibis and Gardner explains why. When the gang headed north to Minnesota, they got a very different reception in a bank robbery that went very wrong. The book is the perfect summer read–relatively short,and totally entertaining. Fans of true crime and historical fiction of this period might also like this very readable account of one of the most recognizable names in the history of the Wild West.”

9781250006264-1The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love, Dr. Nancy Davidson, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s)

Who hasn’t wondered about the stories behind lost cat posters? Therapist Davidson decided to do more than wonder  and came up with the 20 true stories that are the core of this book. Says PW, “each of the brief glimpses into cat owners’ lives proves captivating.”

And SonsAnd Sons, David Gilbert, (Random House)
Considered a candidate for “the literary novel of the summer” by  Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” blog. which also ran  an “exclusive … star-studded trailer” fot this novel about a reclusive writer named A.N. Dyer, this title comes from RH’s tony new Hogarth imprint.  Proving its literary bona fides, a full review is scheduled to run in the New Yorker by the formidable critic James Wood. The author was also profiled in USA Today this week and is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air next week.

A Dangerous FictionA Dangerous Fiction: A Mystery, Barbara Rogan, (Penguin/Viking)

This thriller set in the NYC publishing world  offers insidery bits for book fans and gets high praise from Booklist, “Boasting an exciting pace, well-constructed scenes, and inside information about the publishing world, this engaging mystery will attract readers of P. D. James’ similar Original Sin (1995).”

PanopticonThe Panopticon, Jenni Fagan, (RH/Hogarth)

Also from RH’s Hogarth line (see And Sons, above) this debut gets the full treatment from the NYT; it is featured as the cover of this Sunday’s NYT Book Review. and got a mostly positive review in the daily NYT by Michiko Kakutani. The author is also scheduled for an appearance on NPR’s All Things Considered


Media Magnet

Shirley JonesShirley Jones: A Memoir, Shirley Jones and Wendy Leigh, (S&S/Gallery Books; Tantor Audio)

Before she became the mother of The Partridge Family, Shirley Jones had a fairly full  life, starring in Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Music Man, and winning an Oscar for  Elmer Gantry. The publisher promises that her memoir will reveal all — the infidelities, the costar crushes, the sexual experimentation” — but there are no prepub reviews, so we will have to wait to see how forthcoming she actually is. Publicity is lined up; People magazine, the moning shows, Katie Couric, FOX and Friends, and more.

Freud’s Roving Eye

Friday, July 12th, 2013

9780399163074The burning question, “Was Sigmund Freud a Ladies’ Man?” was explored today on CBS This Morning with the authors of the novel Freud’s Mistress, Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman, (Penguin/Amy Einhorn; Thorndike Large Print).

The book has another CBS connection, a cover blurb from Katie Couric, “If you liked Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, you’ll love Freud’s Mistress.”

It received a starred review from LJ — “Historical romance fans will speed through the pages and find fodder for book club discussions.” Booklist called it, “A thrilling story of seduction, betrayal, and loss, Freud’s Mistress will titillate fans of Memoirs of a Geisha (1997) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2002),” but Kirkus was not won over, “Freud’s theories about human sexuality and behavior may be considered pretty wild, but his own sex life comes across as dull.”

As you may have guessed, co-author Mack has media connections; she is a TV producer. This is the two authors third collaboration (Literacy and Longing in L.A. and A Version of the Truth). Both were L.A. Times best sellers.

New Title Radar, Week of July 15

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Among the titles destined for bestsellerdom arriving next week are new books by Daniel Silva (The English Girl, Harper), Danielle Steel (First Sight; RH/Delacorte), Alex Kava (Stranded; RH/Doubleday) and Jeff Abbott (Downfall; Hachette/Grand Central).At least one new author is  waiting in the wings; Koethi Zan‘s debut is building buzz.

All the titles listed here, and more, are listed with full ordering information and alternative formats on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of 7.15.13.

Watch List

9780670026517The Never List, Koethi Zan, (Penguin/Pamela Dorman)

GalleyChat has been abuzz for months over this title, calling it “disturbing and well thought out” and “very creepy but not exploitative,” although a few felt the ending was rushed. Independent booksellers are proponents, making it an IndieNext selection for August: “Zan’s debut is a doozy! Part thriller, part mystery, and all spellbinding, The Never List leads the reader into a world of kidnapping, hostages, dank cellars, BDSM, and many wicked characters. Set in the present day, The Never List chronicles Sarah’s attempt to locate Jennifer, who disappeared shortly after their abduction and three-year captivity in a cellar of torture and abuse. Zan keeps the narrative lively with terse dialog, top-notch character development, an occasional red herring, and edge-of-your-seat confrontations. This engrossing book has Hollywood movie written all over it. Treat yourself and read this book!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

BrillianceBrilliance, Marcus Sakey, (Amazon/Thomas & Mercer; Amazon/Brilliance Audio)

Prepub reviews for this book are over the top. It’s starred by Booklist and PW and called by LJ “one of the more surprising thrillers of the year,” noting it will appeal to both sf and mystery lovers, because the author sets this thriller in a dystopian future. True to that form, it is the first of a projected series and a film is already in the works. That is not unusual for the author, however. The rights to all four of his previous titles have been purchased and filming has begun in London on an adaptation of Good People, (Penguin/Onyx, 2009) with Kate Hudson and James Franco.

Blood and BeautyBlood & Beauty: The Borgias; A Novel, (Random House; RH Audio)

A librarians’ pick at the BEA Shout ‘n’ Share panel, this title was heralded nearly two weeks before publication, in the Sunday NYT Book Review, with a compelling comparison,

In Blood and Beauty, Dunant follows the path set by Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Just as Mantel humanized and, to an extent, rehabilitated the brilliant, villainous Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry VIII, Dunant transforms the blackhearted Borgias and the conniving courtiers and cardinals of Renaissance Europe into fully rounded characters.

Media Magnets

This Town   Zealot

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-In America’s Gilded Capital, Mark Leibovich, (Penguin/Blue Rider)

The embargo has already been broken on this takedown of D.C. insiders, as we wrote earlier. Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine is an insider himself, guaranteeing him a spot on the political talk shows.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan, (Random House)

That title, paired with the subtitle, by an Iranian-American scholar is enough to get attention. No stranger to media (he’s appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), the author is scheduled for appearances on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday , Fresh Air , Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Mahr.

TV Tie-ins

The White Queen   The Red Queen

Lady of the Rivers   Kingmaker's Daughter

See our earlier story on this BBC/STARZ series, which debuts August 10. Trade paperback tie-ins are published by S&S.

The White Queen,9781476735481

The Red Queen, 9781476746302

Lady of the Rivers, 9781476746319

The Kingmaker’s Daughter, 9781476746326