Salt Lake City librarian Josh Hanagarne is interviewed in today’s issue of USA Today for his book, The World’s Strongest Librarian, (Penguin/Gotham. 5/2/13). Both weight lifting and books have helped him deal with his Tourette’s. About being a librarian, he says, “As a breed, we’re the ultimate generalists. I’ll never know everything about anything, but I’ll know something about almost everything and that’s how I like to live.”
Helene Wecker was already off to a good start with her first novel, The Golem and the Jinni, with a 3.5 star review in USA Todaythat invites readers to “dive in and happily immerse yourself, forgetting the troubles of daily life for a while.” The Huffington Post calls it “The Book We’re Talking About,” and similar to The Night Circus, “a stirring, magical debut. Its intertwining of mythology and historical fiction is very engagingly written.”
… this impressive first novel manages to combine the narrative magic of The Arabian Nights with the kind of emotional depth, philosophical seriousness and good, old-fashioned storytelling found in the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer.
The book debuted on the May 12 NYT Hardcover Fiction extended list at #30 during its first week on sale.
Shriver, who left NBC in 2004, also announced that she is returning as a “special anchor,” and will be profiling people like Ensler whom she calls “architects of change” and “reporting on women’s evolving experiences.”
One of the most prolific serial killers in history, Charlie Cullen, killed an estimated 40 people in sixteen years while working as a nurse in seven different hospitals. He was tried, convicted and is currently in prison.
He broke a long-standing silence for an interview on CBS Sixty Minutes last night. To try to understand why he committed these crimes, the show featured, Charles Graeber, author of The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (Hachette/Twelve, $26.99, 9780446505291. 4/15/13). The chilling answer was, “Because he could.”
Several charming picture books are on their way next week (gotta love that pug in Everyone Sleeps), Lauren Myracle is set to reach a younger audience and screenwriter Paul Rudnick publishes his first YA novel with a cover that lives up to the title, Gorgeous.
All the titles highlighted here, and more (including a roundup of several new board books and several middle grade series that shouldn’t be overlooked, plus roundup of graphic novels and superhero comics), are on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Week of 4.29.13.
My Lucky Birthday, Keiko Kasza, (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile)
From the creator of the storytime favorite My Lucky Day, another animal trickster romp.
Everyone Sleeps, Marcellus Hall, (Penguin/Paulsen)
Illustrator Hall (City I Love, Cow Loves Cookies) strikes out on his own, writing as well as illustrating his first picture book, featuring and adorable pug.
When You Wander: A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story, Margarita Engle, illus by Mary Morgan, (Macmillan/Holt BYR)
A gentle portrayal of the work of search and rescue dogs. Don’t worry about getting lost, they will find you.
Myracle is known by YA readers for several titles including Shine. To 9- and 10-year-olds, she is known for the Winnie Years series. She’ll soon to be known to a younger crowd with Ty, Winnie’s younger brother, appealing to fans of Judy Moody’s brother Stink. What are his “penguin problems”? Ty smuggles one out of the local zoo.
Gorgeous, Paul Rudnick, (Scholastic; Scholastic Audio)
The first YA novel by the stage and screen writer and frequent contributor to the New Yorker, a fantasy princess romance with a snarky voice and social commentary (PW says the writing is “hilarious, profane and profound — often in the same sentence”), likely to find an audience with the Princess Diary crowd.
Note: superhero comics arriving next week are rounded up in the spreadsheet.
My Life as a Cartoonist, Janet Tashjian, Jake Tashjian, (Macmillan/Holt BYR)
In this sequel to My Life as a Book and My Life as a Stuntboy, Derek is being bullied by a tough kid who, upending the stereotype, is in a wheelchair. A Wimpy Kid look alike.
Oz: Road to Oz, Skottie Young, Eric Shanower, (Marvel)
The graphic retellings of the Oz series are collected in this bind-up. Eric Shanower is the Eisner Award-winning and New York Times best selling cartoonist of Age of Bronze series, a graphic novel rendition of the Trojan War.
Next week brings the fourth James Patterson hardcover of the year, putting him on track to match his record output last year. Joe Hill, once known as the offspring of two best selling authors, Stephen and Tabitha King, and now an established best selling author in his own right, publishes a new novel with a title based on a clever vanity plate, NOS4A2. Our watch list begins with a memoir that librarians have been looking forward to for months.
All these and more titles arriving next week, are on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, 4.29.13. Be sure to take a close look at the Media Magnets list — among the many authors battling for attention next week are Glenn Beck, Amanda Knox and Mark Bittman.
You don’t have to be a librarian to love this memoir. Booksellers appreciate it, too, and picked is as an IndieNext title for May: “Resplendent with the intelligence that comes from accumulated experience, seasoned with sudden and delightful humor, and written with great sensitivity, Hanagarne’s memoir is one of this spring’s best surprises. It is not simply a love letter to anyone who has built a life around books, but also a moving autobiographical work of a gentle giant who refuses to let his sense of wonder about the world be displaced by his challenges and an insightful and informative exposition of what it is like to wake every morning and navigate life with Tourette Syndrome. Highly recommended!” —Aaron Cance, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT
If you are a librarian, you’ll naturally be drawn to it. Robin Beerbower of Salem P.L, OR, calls it her favorite book of the year and is confident it will remain so.
Hanagarne’s web site, WorldsStrongestLibrarian.com, manages to combine the seemingly disparate worlds of strength-training and books. The author will be interviewed on BookTalkNation on Monday (sign up here).
In the book trailer he characterizes being a librarian as a “state of mind.”
Remember when certain publications wouldn’t print the title of Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play, The Vagina Monologues? Seventeen years after its debut, it’s often performed by local theater groups, and the local newspapers have no trouble calling it by its real name. Even the Catholic Education Daily writes out the full titles (as part of an effort to get it banned). In Ensler’s memoir, she writes about more issues that some would prefer not to hear about; her work with Congolese women who suffered torture and rape and her own torture undergoing treatment for uterine cancer.
“Messud’s previous novel, the wonderful Emperor’s Children, sprawled out over more than 400 witty pages to skewer Manhattan’s young cultural elite. Her new book is an entirely different creature: a tightly wound monologue with the intensity of a novella that reads more like a curse.”
Librarians have been enthusiastic about it on EarlyWord‘sGalleyChat, saying they couldn’t stop reading it and that it is a great choice for book clubs as well as a readalike for Jodi Picoult fans. Booksellers made it an IndieNext Pick for April — “Throw out all the cliched superlatives! McCreight’s remarkable debut novel is about Kate Baron, a high-powered lawyer who believes that her daughter Amelia has committed suicide — until she receives the anonymous text — ‘She didn’t jump.’”
It hasn’t been widely reviewed in the consumer press, but Entertainment Weekly gave it an “A,” saying, “Like Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia seamlessly marries a crime story with a relationship drama. And like Gone Girl, it should be hailed as one of the best books of the year.”
But on Monday, the daily NYT reviewer dismissed the book as merely “fairly engaging,” and groaned over the writing style (“sometimes Mr. Stelter seems to throw out verbiage mainly for his own amusement.” A 109-word sentence is called a “veritable life imprisonment”) and detailed spotty reporting.
Stetler responds in an interview with The Wrap, saying he expects NYT reviews to be tough but that he’s “more interested in readers’ reviews,” noting he has been “overwhelmed by positive messages from people on Twitter.”
The media is fascinated with the story of the morning shows’ struggle for ratings (New York magazine also devoted a long feature to it), but readers may be less so. Despite all the attention, the book barely cracked the Amazon Top 100 on release yesterday and holds in libraries are light.
Dirty Wars is both a documentary, with a newly-released hot trailer and a book (Perseus/Nation Books). Excerpted in The Nation, where the author, Jeremy Scahill is a correspondent, it accuses the Obama administration of continuing “the policies that liberals were outraged about under Bush … just with a kind of rebranding.”
We’re pleased to see that, even though she faces a major challenge now that she’s been named the editor of the NYT Book Review, Pamela Paul is still able to write her weekly children’s book column in the daily NYT.
This week, she devotes the column to a single picture book, Mary Wrightly, So Politely, by Shirin Yim Bridges, illus. by Maria Monescillo (HMH, 4/16/14), the story of a quiet little girl who finally musters the courage to speak up for herself (and her baby brother). Paul calls it a “smart, affecting and original story.”
As part of their coverage of the Boston marathon bombings, last night’s 60 Minutes took a look at the training of bomb-sniffing dogs. Featured was Mike Ritland, who trains military dogs and has set up the K9 Warrior Foundation to care for retired warrior dogs. In Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), published last week, he takes readers inside that secretive world.
As a result of the story, the book rose to #1 on Amazon’s sale rankings.
Several sure-fire best sellers are coming next week, including new titles from David Baldacci, Amanda Quick and Kristin Hannah… but don’t overlook two debuts on our Watch List which arrive with breathless excitement … the media is already busy with Michael Pollan‘s new book and with a debut that claims Texas is Big, Hot, Cheap and Right.
Kaite Stover picked this in her Booklist “Book Group Buzz” blog post; “A young woman rescues someone she thinks is a badly burned soldier from World War II and soon learns differently. Decades later, Adam and Evelyn have raised a family of beautiful accomplished daughters with otherworldly talents. The writing is captivating and the story is a page turner.” It’s a May IndieNext pick, with a particularly glowing recommendation, “… one of the most exquisitely beautiful novels that I have ever read. Unconditional love in the face of an extremely unusual beginning to a relationship is one of the hallmarks of Riley’s debut. The ability to just be, to enjoy each day to the maximum, and to let love grow and expand for years to come is something we all desire. I could not put this book down!” —Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
The word most often used to try to describe this debut is “magical.” HarperCollins Library Marketer, Annie Mazes effectivelt communicates the in-house excitement, which is catching — it’s an IndieNext pick for May, a Wall Street Journalpromising first novel as well as an Amazon Featured Debut. On GalleyChat, it’s been described as a “lovely meld of folklore, history and love story.”
Already featured this week in the NYT’s Business Day, Bryan Burroughs (Barbarians at the Gate) writes, “Ms. Grieder’s is the rare book that takes stock of the Texas model without ridiculing many of its traditions and politicians … Ms. Grieder’s clear, vivid writing makes it downable in a single afternoon.” The author was interviewed yesterday on American Public Media’s Marketplace. Attention will continue next week with an appearance on Fox Business’s Stossel, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Martin Bashir and All In with Chris Hayes.
I’ll See You Again, Jackie Hance, with Janice Kaplan (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print)
The mother of three girls who were killed while returning from a camping weekend recounts how she managed to cope with the tragedy. The author will appear on Rock Center with Brian Williams tonight (promo from the Today Show below).
Next week, a new picture book arrives from Mo Willems and there’s not a pigeon in it (or a piggie, or an elephant) … the prolific Neil Gaiman is releasing two books … Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini publish THE middle-grade book of the season … and Kiera Cass continues her mashup of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor.
Tiptoe Joe, Ginger Foglesong Gibson, Laura Rankin, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
Read-aloud perfection for the preschooler with a new sibling in the house. (“Shhh, the baby is sleeping!”) It’s a Kids IndieNext Spring: “One by one, Tiptoe Joe the Bear gathers his menagerie of friends to experience something special. As dear friends thud, stomp, and tiptoe towards the surprise, each wearing a colorful and different accessory, the happiness grows until wonderful treasures are revealed. Both inviting and suspenseful, this is a joyful book to share. Beautifully illustrated, Tiptoe Joe has the makings of a classic!” —Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
Employing the framework of a silent movie, the dastardly villain (a fox) entices an innocent damsel (a goose), all while the readers and their surrogates (the chicks) will be shouting the title refrain. Rock star Mo hits another read-aloud homerun.
Is Fancy Nancy a guilty pleasure? Why do I have judgmental opinions about sparkly pink books? O’Connor is a brilliant writer who delves into the psyche of little girls and lets us wade in the everyday issues of childhood. There should be an award for that. Robin Preiss Glasser brings light and line and delight to every page, we KNOW Nancy and her family through her detailed portraits. Don’t miss it.
Dale who created the high-interest mashup of paleontological creatures and construction vehicles, Dinosaur Dig! is back with dinos driving cars as they hurtle to a birthday party.
House of Secrets, Chris Columbus, Greg Call, Ned Vizzini, (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
This is THE MIDDLE GRADE BIG BOOK OF THE SEASON! Yes, I know I am shouting. Chris Columbus (the director of the first two Harry Potter movies) and Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of A Funny Story, The Other Normals) have teamed up to tell a tale that all the Riordan/Colfer/Rowling fans will be fighting over. Magic, adventures, good vs. evil AND its almost 500 pages!
Gaiman has curated a selection of short stories that reads as if he were sitting across the table saying, “Read this…now read this…okay…read this.” Who wouldn’t follow this expert’s advice? He explains here why he put this volume together. Also out this week is the second InterWorld novel, The Silver Dream (HarperTeen) written with another sci fi master storyteller, Michael Reeves.
PW called the first in this series “A cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor (minus the bloodsport)” Teen readers will be anxious to get their hands on number 2. The CW is at work on a second pilot for a possible series (they scrapped the one shot last year). We’ll learn in a few weeks if it will go to series, but early buzz is good. Cass has a new YA romance series in the works, described as “Matched meets Never Let Me Go – children trained in academies to be perfect friends can be purchased by the wealthy as companions and a forbidden romance ensues.”
I like chicklit. There I said it. Books about women and girls navigating the world of friendships and romantic relationships. I missed McDonald’s Sophomore Switch, loved Boys, Bears & a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots (couldn’t resist the title). The title of this new one says it all. If you are looking for what the “trenders” are calling the “new young adult” or YA crossover, don’t overlook Abby McDonald.
Arclight, Josin L. McQuein, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
This debut is a Kids IndieNext Spring pick: “This is a page-turner of dystopian fiction unlike anything I’ve ever read. A stunning debut novel, there’s a reality throughout this work that one doesn’t usually find in science fiction aimed at adolescents. So much more than just an ‘entertainment for young people,’ this story of identity and the courage found when one faces one’s worst nightmares deserves a very wide audience.” —Keri Rojas, Cornerstone Cottage Kids, Hampton, IA
The eighth novel by British author Kate Atkinson, Life After Life, (Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), debuts on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list at #3, the highest spot yet for the author. Her previous novel, Started Early, Took My Dog (2011) hit the extended list when it was published.
It has been reviewed widely in the U.S., including an early review by Janet Maslin in the daily New York Times, which states, “Life After Lifeis a big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author’s fully untethered imagination.” It is an IndieNext #1 pick for April and was much buzzed about by librarians on GalleyChat.
Scott Simon introduces the story by saying that the The Divine Comedy, “is a 14th century poem that has never lost its edge. Dante Alighieri’s great work tells the tale of the author’s trail through hell — each and every circle of it — purgatory and heaven. It has become perhaps the world’s most cited allegorical epic about life, death, goodness, evil, damnation and reward.”