Archive for the ‘2014/15 — Winter/Spring’ Category

HAWK Lands on Best Seller List

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMAs we’ve been tracking, H is for Hawk (Grove Press; OverDrive Sample), Helen Macdonald’s memoir has been enjoying remarkable reviews and now, it debuts on the 3/8  NYT Nonfiction list at #8.

We’re a bit surprised, because its official pub date isn’t until next week, but the book actually shipped last month. Gregory Cowles notes in his Inside the List column that Macdonald has been flummoxed by the response the book’s already received in the U.K. (her actual quote, from  the Belfast Telegraph is, “That threw me into a massive wobble!”). We can expect it to rise higher on next week’s list, which will reflect the impact from the raves in this week’s People and Entertainment Weekly.

The author responded yesterday to the tweeted news from her publisher:

Arriving at #11 is another memoir that has received media attention, combat photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s  It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin, Feb. 10; OverDrive Sample).

9780316084239On the Young Adult list, The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger (Hachette/Poppy) arrives  for the first time since its 2010 release, as a result of  the promotion for its film adaptation, which arrived in theaters last week. A low-budget film (which may be the reason the publisher decided not to release a tie-in), its “respectable” success is being attributed to an effective social marketing campaign, which may have also driven interest in the book.

11 Titles to Know and Recommend, the Week of March 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Next week, the final book in Dennis Lehane’s trilogy arrives, the public will finally get their hands on the memoir all the reviewers are raving about and a new book arrives from the surveillance expert that Malcolm Gladwell urges everyone to read.

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 March 1

Holds Leaders

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World Gone By, Dennis Lehane (HarperCollins/ Morrow; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe)

In 2008, Lehane surprised his fans by stepping away from detective novels and into a historical epic, with The Given Day, (2008), set during Boston’s 1919 police strike. He picked up the story in Live by Night, (2012), with Joe Coughlin the black sheep youngest son of the prominent Boston Police captain from the first book, as he becomes a Prohibition era mob boss. This, the final in the trilogy, extends the story into WWII and is an Indie Next pick for April:

In the prologue of World Gone By, Lehane describes his main character but certainly captures his own abilities as well: ‘Joe Coughlin had a gift for bringing the beacons of the city into contact with her demons and making it all seem like a lark.’ This is Lehane’s great gift: creating characters with the full scope of human dimensions — our inner angels and devils, our passions and our crimes — and immersing them in the timeless trials of our world while disguising his feat as the entertainment of a ‘good read.’ Lehane is a magician, a maestro, and a master of the written word. — J.B. Dickey, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Ben Affleck is set to star and direct a film adaptation of Live By Night. for Warner Bros. Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana & Elle Fanning will also star. That studio also holds the rights to the first in the series, but there’s been no further news about it.

The Assassin, Clive Cussler, Justin Scott (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio)

The eighth adventure featuring private detective Isaac Bell, following 2014’s The Bootlegger, also coauthored with Scott.

Advance Attention

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H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample)

From The New York Times Book Review to People magazine, all are entranced by this memoir (see our stories from last week as well as this week).

Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

On the cover of this coming Sunday’s NYT Book Review, Neil Gaiman strives mightily to love Ishiguro’s heavily anticipated novel. He can take a cue from the Washington Post‘s former Book World editor, Marie Arana who is a fan and booksellers, who picked it as an Indie Next title.

#1 Picks

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, Rachel Joyce, (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

#1 LibraryReads March pick:

Miss Queenie Hennessy, who we met in Joyce’s first book, is in a hospice ruminating over her abundant life experiences. I loved the poignant passages and wise words peppered throughout. Readers of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy this book. There’s no fast-paced plot or exciting twists–it’s just a simple, sweet story of a life well-lived. — Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA

The Fifth Gospel, Ian Caldwell, (S&S; S&S Audio)

Caldwell was the co-author of The Rule of Four (2000), which was considered a more literary Da Vinci Code. In a starred review, Booklist says this new title may sound like it’s mining the same territory, but it “has more in common with high-end literary-historical thrillers like those by Iain Pears … [and is] the best kind of page-turner, one about which you also have to think.” Independent booksellers like it so much they made it the #1 March IndieNext pick.

It is also a LibraryReads March pick:

A murder on Vatican property begins this tale of religion, politics, and family. Two brothers, both priests, struggle to make sense of their friend’s murder. When one is accused, the other must go to extreme lengths to prove his brother’s innocence. Caldwell’s second novel is a book to savor. This is a heart-wrenching book you will want to read more than once. — Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, NJ

More Picks

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Where All Light Tends To Go. David Joy,  (Penguin/Putnam; BOT)

LibraryReads March:

This beautifully written novel juxtaposes the glory of the Appalachians against the despair of everyday life. Jacob McNeely recognizes his family’s brutality, but Maggie, the love of his life, gives him hope. Achingly told, the visceral prose will stay with readers long past the conclusion. Fans of the Southern fiction of Ron Rash and Wiley Cash will fall in love with this new voice. — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

 

Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral,  Mary Doria Russell, (HarperCollins; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

A favorite from December’s GalleyChat, collection development librarian Janet Lockhart (Wake County Public Libraries) welcomed this new novel by the author of the popular book group title The Sparrow as “compulsively readable” and “A bravura piece of storytelling.“

It is a March Indie Next pick:

This continuation of the story begun in Doc is equally engaging. From a shroud of American West mythic bombast and misrepresentation, Russell creates compelling, realistic characters with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday shown to be both heroic and heatbreakingly human. Epitaph focuses on Josie Marcus, the love of Wyatt’s life. Theirs is a grand romantic tale told in hardscrabble detail, and Russell even makes what could have been cardboard villains into fully realized characters, both flawed and sympathetic. A rip-roaring good yarn!  —Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Crossover Picks

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Vanishing Girls, Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins)

LibraryReads March:

Reminiscent of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, this book begs for a re-read after you finish it. Nick, the main character, is recovering from a devastating trauma. Her family life is turned upside down, and a longtime childhood friendship is strained due to her sister’s exploits. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read multi-layered stories. — Sybil Thompson, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH

The author is at work on the screen adaptation of her 2014 book Panic for Universal.

Mosquitoland, David Arnold (Penguin/Viking BYR; Listening Library)

This YA title has garnered a remarkable amount of “Love” from librarians and booksellers on Edelweiss, and received an advance rave in the 2/27 issue of Entertainment Weekly, which notes that, among the current “glut of angst-ridden first-person novels about the everyday trials of adolescence … [it] is a breath of fresh air when a novel like David Arnold’s Mosquitoland bucks the usual classifications and stands defiantly alone.”

Upcoming Media Attention

9780393244816_0c984Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, Bruce Schneier, (Norton)

The cover blurb, from Malcolm Gladwell, reads, “The public conversation about surveillance in the digital age would be a good deal more intelligent if we all read Bruce Schenier first.”

Schneier, the cryptographer who helped journalist Glenn Greenwald review Edward Snowden’s NSA documents, will be interviewed on NPR’s Science Friday next week. Both Politico and the Atlantic will feature excerpts and reviews are coming from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Economist.

Indie Favorite for April

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.31.58 AMA debut novel that is an in-house favorite at Algonquin, strongly promoted by Workman’s library marketer Mike Rockliff, tops the just-released April Indie Next List. Orhan’s Inheritance (Algonquin Books, 4/7) by Aline Ohanesian which takes place in both the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, centers upon a dark segment of Turkish history as explored through two characters, an elderly woman living in an Armenian-American nursing home and a Turkish man learning about his family’s past.

In his recent library newsletter (download it here), Rockliff extols Ohanesian’s prose, sharing an excerpt to prove his point:

Seda takes a deep breath and picks up the embroidery in her lap. She hunches over her hands, letting her fingers work the delicate stitching. Three rows of red and yellow diamonds mark the pattern as Anatolian in origin. Despite her resolve, the past is bleeding out of her fingers, staining everything it touches.

The Indie Next annotation is equally compelling:

Debut author Ohanesian’s historical novel relives the nearly forgotten tragedy of the Armenian Genocide during and after WWI. Through deportations, massacres, and executions of Christian and Jewish Armenians, the Ottoman Empire and its successors eliminated 1.5 million citizens. Ohanesian’s beautifully written book shares a tale of passionate love, unspeakable horror, incredible strength, and the hidden stories that haunt a family. Highly recommended. — Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

Orders are light at many libraries we checked.

In the newsletter, Mike also announces he will retire in June after ALA Annual in San Francisco, which gives us one final chance to thank him for many years of unflagging enthusiasm for both books and libraries.

HAWK Reaches New Heights

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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Last week, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample) got rare double raves from sister but quite separate publications, the book section of the daily NYT and the cover of the Sunday NYT Book Review.

This week, it gets the same treatment from another pair of sister publications, People magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

It’s People‘s “Book of the Week,” with this stellar review (not available online),

Obsessed with falconry since childhood, British naturalist MacDonald decides to adopt and train a goshawk as a way to handle the frief that overwhelms her after her father’s death. Her evolving relationship with th feral bird, whom she christens Mabel, is the subject of this unusual memoir. Captivating and beautifully writtten, it’s a meditation on the bond between beasts and humans and the pain and beauty of being alive.

Entertainmenet Weekly begins their review (also not yet online) by declaring that this “memoir about an out-of-work English professor grieving over her father who comes to find solace and purpose by killing bunnies for her hawk will be one of the loveliest things you’re read this year …”

For R.A. purposes, you may want to cut the “killing bunnies” section when quoting the review.

“Groundbreaking” AFTER BIRTH

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

9780544273733_9d7efCalled “ground breaking” by Flavorwire, this Sunday’s New York Times goes even further in praising a new novel that examines issues of motherhood, After Birth by Elisa Albert (HMH, Feb 2; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), warning that it should not be consigned to the “women’s fiction” category, but should be considered, “… as essential as Red Badge Of Courage. Just because so much of mothering happens inside a house doesn’t mean it’s not a war: a battle for sovereignty over your heart, your mind, your life.” (review not online yet).

It is also a “People Pick” in last week’s issue (not online),

Faculty wife and new mom Ari’s idea of work-life balance is being just as sick of her dissertation as she is of her maternal obligations. Then a pregnant indie-rock legend movers to town. Can commiserating with her girl crush cure Ari’s postpartum depression? Albert’s scathing send-up of modern motherhood boils with dark humor and brutal honesty.

Wendy Bartlett at Cuyahoga greatly increased the library’s order, even though holds are still light, based on a request from staff expecting it to be a hit with women under 35 as well as that rare rave from the NYT Book Review.

On a side note, we’re finding ourselves in the unusual situation of quoting the Book Review often these days, a result of their covering titles earlier and publishing reviews that make you impatient to read the books. Wendy reports the Cuyahoga staff has noticed the change and now consider it nearly as influential on generating interest as People and Entertainment Weekly.

Early Reviews: THE BURIED GIANT

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

9780307271037_b504aComing next week, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) appeared on all the “Most Anticipated” lists for the new year and is getting a great deal of advance review attention.


The NYT Book Review features it on the cover of the upcoming issue (not online yet), with a review written by Neil Gaiman (whose just released collection of stories and poems Trigger Warning, is also getting attention), in a review that indicates he had trouble nailing the book down, regretting his “inability to fall in love with it, much as I wanted to, ” and even after “reading it a second and third time … still finding  its characters and events and motives easier to understand, but even so, it guards its secrets and it world close.” He can’t let it go, however, because it “does what important books do: It remains in the mind long after it has been read, refusing to leave, forcing one to turn it over and over.”

The New York Times daily critic, Michiko Kakutani, has no problem dismissing it, calling it an “eccentric, ham-handed fairy tale with a jumble of story lines lifted from Beowulf, Arthurian legend and assorted folk traditions … recounted in stilted, formalistic language that’s presumably meant to evoke a bygone era.”

Among the novel’s fans are the Washington Post‘s former Book World editor, Marie Arana and booksellers, who picked it as an Indie Next title:

Ishiguro’s new novel is a work of wonder, transport, and beauty. A recurrent theme in his earlier books, always shown with great originality, is the matter of what happens after we have lost our way. In The Buried Giant, Ishiguro explores losing direction, memory, and certainty, as the primary characters cling to remnants of codes of behavior and belief. Which is the way through the forest? Where might our son be? And where is the dragon, and who shall seek to slay her? Set in the time just after King Arthur’s reign, Ishiguro’s tale, with striking, fable-like rhythm and narrative, shows how losing and finding our way runs long, deep, and to the core of things. — Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Duchovny Now a Best Selling Author

Friday, February 20th, 2015

9780374172077_2da6cThe new arrivals on the 3/1 NYT Hardcover Fiction list (sales for week of Feb. 7) are all from the usual suspects, except for David Duchovny, whose first novel, Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) squeaks in at #16, in a tie with #15, Anita Daimant’s The Boston Girl, on the list for 10 weeks.

The Washington Post reviewed Duchovny’s effort approvingly as a “zany, madcap first novel,” while the Daily Beast characterizes it as “funny in parts and cringeworthy in others (expect a lot of puns). At times Duchovny’s conceit can produce moments where you nod appreciatively, and others like a Family Guy tangent that just doesn’t land.” Library holds are generally in line with modest orders.

9780399169526_2629dOn the extended list, we’re pleased to see one of our Penguin First Flights titles, M.O. Walsh’s My Sunshine Away (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample; BOT Audio Clip) arrive at #18, after a string of laudatory reviews, the latest in People.  That issue hit stands after sales were recorded for the week, so it may propel it onto the next week’s main list.

And, The Girl on the Train continues to speed along at #1 after 5 weeks, with All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr right behind it at #2.

Nonfiction

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Believer: My Forty Years in Politics (Penguin; OverDrive Sample) arrives at #3, after much media attention, including an interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by scientist Yuval Noah Harari (Harper; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample), arrives at #7 after a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Children’s Picture Books

9780399257742_67465Last Stop On Market Street  Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson (Penguin/Putnam; Recorded Books)

The author’s second picture book, after six Y.A. titles, is his first best seller, arriving at #4. It was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. It is described by the author as a “quiet little book about a boy and his grandma riding the bus from church to their soup kitchen. ”

Children’s Middle Grade

{D0445280-286D-4AAF-A06A-51EA9FE68206}Img400Pluto, R. J. Palacio (RH/Knopf eBook only, 9780553499094; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Wonder continues at #1 on the list after 116 weeks, so it’s no surprise that the publisher would like to see a sequel. Palacio (aka Raquel Jaramillo), tells Publishers Weekly she was resistant to that idea, considering the book a standalone. But she liked the idea of “an expansion of the Wonder universe,” via books that tell the story from different viewpoints. The first The Julian Chapter, also released as an eBook hit this list when it was published and now Pluto continues the tradition.

Young Adult

9780062310637_dc61bDebuting solidly at #1 is the heavily promoted debut, Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard (HarperTeen; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), the first in a projected trilogy. Film rights were optioned by Universal prior to publication, which is probably the reason the book’s cover was revealed by The Hollywood Reporter.

Tip-of-the-Tongue Titles,
Week of Feb 23

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Next week, Danielle Steel publishes the first of four novels for the year. Advance media attention heralds a memoir by a rock legend and readers advisors have four LibraryReads picks to recommend.

All 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 Feb 23, 2015

Holds Leaders

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Prodigal Son, Danielle Steel (RH/Delacorte; RH Large Print; Brilliance Audio)

The latest from Steel comes with the announcement that she is taking a page from Patterson’s books and increasing the number of hardcovers she releases. This one will be the first of four for the year, followed by Country in June, The Box in September and Final Gifts in December. In addition, her paperback release schedule will be accelerated, so you may want to adjust the number of copies you have on standing order.

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Mightier Than the Sword, Jeffrey Archer, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), gets a full-page ad in this week’s NYT Book Review

The Girls of Mischief Bay, Susan Mallery (Harlequin/Mira simultaneous hardcover and trade pbk; Brilliance Audio), begins a new series.

Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel, Laura Lippman (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample), People magazine’s “Book of the Week” in the new issue.

Media Attention

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Girl in a Band: A Memoir, Kim Gordon, (HarperCollins/Dey Street; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

From an excerpt in Vogue to a profile in the NYT, this memoir by the female band member of Sonic Youth is getting a range of advance coverage.

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It, Marc Goodman, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

To be featured on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story, Mac McClelland, (Macmillan/Flatiron; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

One of the first titles from Macmillan’s new imprint, Flatiron Books, founded by Bob Miller, who established his ability to make best sellers when he was head of the successful Hyperion Books. Originally intended as a nonfiction imprint, Miller made news when he hired another best seller maven, editor Amy Einhorn, then head of her own imprint at Penguin, to add a fiction line. Irritable Hearts, a memoir by a journalist who suffered PTSD after returning home from covering Haiti’s devastating earthquake, is reviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review.

LibraryReads Picks

9780062282569_d6018The Siege Winter, Ariana Franklin, Samantha Norman (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“I couldn’t have been more excited when I learned Franklin wrote a new book. This wonderfully written novel takes place during King Stephen and Empress Matilda’s tumultuous civil conflict to claim England, no matter what cost to themselves or their subjects. The story conveys the brutality of the period without sacrificing the complex nature of the time and the people.” — Elizabeth Carroll, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI

9780062339485_29c82Finding Jake, Bryan Reardon (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“Stay-at-home dad Simon Connelly receives the call every parent dreads: there’s been a shooting at his children’s school. Through flashbacks and present-day narratives, he mines his memory for clues to what may have happened. This is a refreshing take on the well trodden ‘bad kid’ novels, and an excellent thriller to recommend to all who liked Defending Jacob or We Need to Talk About Kevin.” — Alissa Williams, Pekin Public Library, Pekin, IL

9780765376459_c3cfcA Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“Fantasy fans should enjoy this atmospheric novel, where London is the link between parallel universes, and magician Kell is one of two Travelers who can move between them. Now something sinister is disturbing their equilibrium, and Kell must try to unravel the plot with only feisty street thief Delilah Bard as an ally.” — Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

9781250056450_e2a1dA Murder of Magpies, Judith Flanders, (Macmillan/Minotaur; HighBridge; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“Loved this mystery! The acerbic narrator is 40-year-old British book publishing editor Samantha, whose best author goes missing after writing a tell-all book about a famous French fashion designer who died under suspicious circumstances. Very funny, and great secondary characters as well.” — Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR

Hawk Soars

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 7.40.38 AMHelen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (Grove Press, March 3, 2015; OverDrive Sample), a memoir about how she dealt with the painful loss of her beloved father by training a goshawk, is gaining attention on this side of the ocean after receiving both high praise and strong sales in Britain. Macdonald won both the Costa Book Award for Biography (scroll to page 3 to see the announcement) and the Costa Book of the Year in January as well as The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction (the UK’s highest award for nonfiction) last November.

In the daily NYT this week, Dwight Garner raves:

Helen Macdonald’s beautiful and nearly feral book, H Is for Hawk, her first published in the United States, reminds us that excellent nature writing can lay bare some of the intimacies of the wild world as well. Her book is so good that, at times, it hurt me to read it. It draws blood, in ways that seem curative.

This Sunday’s NYT Book Review features it on the cover (a rare occurrence for a book that hasn’t yet been released; we can’t remember the last time the NYT BR gave such prominence to an upcoming book):

In her breathtaking new book … Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor’s fierce essence — and her own — with words that mimic feathers, so impossibly pretty we don’t notice their astonishing engineering.

Some libraries are showing heavy holds and rising on modest orders while a few have yet to order. Now’s the time to buy it ahead of the stampede.

Advance Attention:
Kim Gordon Memoir

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

0062295896_454a6Girl In a Band by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (HarperCollins/Dey Street, 2/24), gets a succinct review from Bustle, “If you just feel like getting inspired by some prose written by a kickass, feminist rock star, Gordon’s book delivers.”

Arriving next week, it also gets attention via a profile of the author in the New York Times. Even though Gordon warns the book contains “No sex, drugs or rock ’n’ roll,”  and is “the most conventional thing I’ve done,” more attention is undoubtly on its way.

RA Alert: FIND ME by
Laura van den Berg

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.47.47 AMLaura van den Berg, whose literary post-apocalyptic debut novel Find Me (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) comes out tomorrow, is being compared to Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro and getting strong reviews and sustained attention by a wide range of critics. Salon, while comparing van den Berg to Atwood and Ishiguro called her “the best young writer in America.” The LA Times “Book Jacket” says that she captures “the disturbingly elegiac qualities of 21st century life to heartbreaking effect.” The Rumpus, likening van den Berg’s novel to the best moody and lonely music (such as many songs by Bon Iver, which should be the sound track if there is a movie adaptation) says that “rarely does a bleak novel achieve the same alluring strength of sadness … Find Me is that rare novel. It has the same potency as the most melancholy music.”

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For a debut, it is getting a remarkable amount of attention, with the way paved by the author’s two collections of short stories, The Isle of Youth (an O Magazine pick for one of the best books of 2013) and What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. It is a People pick for the week, with the following annotation,

A plague has killed millions, but young Joy has made it through. Defiant and immune, she escapes the scientists monitoring her and treks across the ravaged land, searching for the mother who abandoned her, facing down terrible memories. It sounds grim, but this is a thoughtful, touching story about survival — about finding ways to heal and reasons to live.

And it has been on multiple “highly anticipated lists,”  —  BustleFlavorWireThe Millions and BuzzFeed (for more upcoming titles, Feb. through Aug., check our Catalog of Titles on “Most Anticipated” lists).

Holds are heavy at many libraries we checked.

DESCENT A Best Seller

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.27.51 AMSeveral new titles debut on the 2/22 NYT Fiction Best Sellers list, including Tim Johnston’s Descent (Workman/Algonquin; OverDrive Sample; Jan 6), a book we have been watching (see our Jan 8th Readers Advisory).

The cover features a blurb from Lisa Unger, whose new book Crash and Burn also debuts this week. She describes Descent as a “pulse-pounding thriller of the first order … a truly captivating read.” The Washington Post‘s Patrick Anderson went further, saying, “The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly, but the glory of Descent lies not in its plot but in the quality of the writing.”

Johnston’s first adult novel (he published the YA title Never So Green and a book of short stories, Irish Girl), it is his first best seller.

The other debuts are more expected. Most were covered in our Titles to Know column:

#3  The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audiol OverDrive Sample)

# 4 Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) — reviewed on the NPR Web site. with this great analogy, “They are confections, these stories. Like eating a delicious piece of chocolate and, halfway through, finding a finger in it. “

#7  Crash & Burn, Lisa Gardner (Penguin/Dutton; OverDrive Sample)

#9 Funny Girl, Nick Hornby, (Penguin/Riverhead; BOT; OverDrive Sample), also covered in the NYT‘s “Inside the List” column

And, The Girl on the Train continues to ride at #1 after 4 weeks.

9781594205866_67fe3On the Nonfiction list, Alexandra Fuller’s third memoir Leaving Before the Rains Come(Penguin Press, Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) rises after 3 weeks to #5. Strong reviews continue to rain down on it, the latest from yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, appreciates the author’s growth. “Fuller’s first memoir, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, presented readers with the unstinting rollick of her African childhood” and “Leaving Before the Rains Come, circles back and through to the man she marries in the final pages of Dogs [and] remembers the shock and awe of early love. It traces the dissolution of bonds.”

Several other titles are debuts

#10 The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) — as we wrote earlier, this one was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air.

#11  Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice (S&S; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) — the author was featured on several shows, but the clincher was his appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Coverage continues with Entertainment Weekly, which makes in #3 on their “Must List of the :Top 10 Things We Love This Week.”

#14 The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity Norman Doidge (Penguin/ Viking; Penguin Audio) — This may sound like voodoo science, but The Guardian, writes, “Doidge is, if not the inventor, then at least the populariser of a brand new science. That science is called neuroplasticity” which says the brain can not only self-repair, but, “for conditions that range from Parkinson’s disease, to autism, to stroke, to traumatic head injury – can be stimulated by conscious habits of thought and action, by teaching the brain to “rewire itself”.”

In children’s books, the ALA awards announced at Midwinter are having an effect.

9780316199988_47010In childrens, the Caldecott winner, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Sentat (Hachette/Little, Brown), arrives at #10 on the Picture Books list, and the winner of the Newbery, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), makes its first appearance at #4 on the Middle Grade list.

On the Graphic Books list, Scott McCloud’s heavily anticipated master work, The Sculptor (Macmillan/First Second) lands at #1 during its first week on sale.

Rachel Joyce Tops March LibraryReads

Friday, February 13th, 2015

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The top title on the March LibraryReads list of ten titles published this month that library staff love, seconds that emotion. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, (Random House; RH Audio. March 3) is a “companion novel” to  Joyce’s surprise best seller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Miss Queenie Hennessy, who we met in Joyce’s first book, is in a hospice ruminating over her abundant life experiences. I loved the poignant passages and wise words peppered throughout. Readers of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy this book. There’s no fast-paced plot or exciting twists–it’s just a simple, sweet story of a life well-lived.
Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA

Also on the list is a title by Lynne Truss, whose book on grammar, Eats Shoots & Leaves, was another surprise best seller. Cat Out of Hell, (Melville House, March 3) is a novel that the author says is so “very quirky (and very British),” that getting an American publisher for it was “quite a surprise.” She should be even more surprised by this reception.

Cats don’t live nine lives. They survive eight deaths. There’s something special about Roger, the cat, and it’s not that he can talk. Truss spins readers through a hauntingly, portentous tale. When my cat’s tail thrums, I’ll forever wonder what devilment will follow.
Ann Williams, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, IN

Fifty Shades of Protest

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.07.13 PM Heading in to Valentine’s Day weekend, which morphs this year into Fifty Shades of Grey weekend as the R-rated movie opens to major box office expectations, the book it is based on is #3 on Amazon’s best seller list, followed closely by the boxed set of the entire trilogy. At #13, is a title that sounds similar, Fifty Shades of They (Creative Pastors) by the founding pastor of the Fellowship Church, a Dallas megachurch, Ed Young.

Although the title may seem to pay homage to E.L. James’s famous novel, Young calls that book a “perverted attempt to trap readers and leads them to a misunderstanding of what intimacy and connection are all about.” As a protest, he plans to “baptize” copies of it this weekend. His book, published by Creative Pastors, an imprint of the Fellowship Church, is about forming relationships with the “right ‘they'” and claims to offer “fifty simple, yet profound insights that will help any relationship thrive.”

Seven Titles for R.A. Gurus,
Week of Feb. 16

Friday, February 13th, 2015

None of the titles arriving next week have long holds list waiting for them. The new Richard Price novel, currently showing few holds against fairly modest ordering, may take off amidst a burst of media attention. Also arriving, several LibraryReads and GalleyChat titles to recommend.

All 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, Week Radar of Feb. 16, 2015

Keep Your Eye On 

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The Whites, Richard Price as Harry Brandt, (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio by Bobby Cannavale; OverDrive Sample)

You can understand why Richard Price wanted to write a “slicker, more commercial book,” the reason, as this week’s NYT feature reports, he decided to try writing under a pseudonym. Among fellow crime writers, he is considered a master. Yet, despite awards and acclaim, his books don’t sell as well as Dennis Lehane’s or Michael Connelly’s.

Although the author himself thinks he didn’t achieve his goal, some reviewers disagree. In the New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates calls The Whites, “more of a policier than Price’s previous fiction—more plot-driven and less deeply engaged by the anthropology of its urban communities.” In his other books, she says,  setting is “lavishly detailed” but in The Whites, “the grim urban landscape is scarcely more than a backdrop. The author focusses on the interwoven lives of a number of characters in language as forthright and free of metaphor as a police report, and on the construction of an elaborate narrative that shifts between present and past action.”

Michael Connelly, on the cover of this Sunday’s NYT Book Review, says Price “manages to give the story a fierce momentum, one that makes putting this book aside to sleep or eat or do anything else very difficult … This book literally interrupted my professional and personal life. Once in, I had to stay in and stick with it to the end.” This one could give Price the commercial success he seems to be seeking.

Librarian Picks 

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A Touch of Stardust, Kate Alcott, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“With the background of the making of Gone with the Wind, this is a delightful read that combines historical events with the fictional career of an aspiring screenwriter. Julie is a wide-eyed Indiana girl who, through a series of lucky breaks, advances from studio go-fer and assistant to Carole Lombard to contract writer at MGM. A fun, engaging page-turner!”  — Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ

Dreaming Spies: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Laurie R. King. (RH/Bantam; Recorded Books;  OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“Considering that King is one of the finest mystery authors writing today, it’s no surprise that the latest in the Russell/Holmes series is an engaging read. Intrigue follows the duo as they board a liner bound for Japan and meet up with a known blackmailer and a young Japanese woman who is not all that she seems. Great historical research and rich atmosphere!” — Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

Half the World, Joe Abercrombie, (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:

“Fifteen-year-old Thorn, determined to become a king’s soldier, is fighting not just physical opponents, but her world’s social mores. Girls are supposed to desire nothing more than a wealthy husband. Period. Thorn’s struggles to achieve her dream make for a riveting read. Second in a series, this book reads very well as a standalone.” — Cynthia Hunt, Amarillo Public Library, Amarillo, TX

9780062332943_b7fb6Fiercombe Manor, Kate Riordan, (Harper; OverDrive Sample)

A favorite on our September GalleyChat, “With its English manor setting, threads of madness, and hints of hauntings, it’s an obvious homage to Kate Morton, Victoria Holt, Sarah Waters, and Daphne du Maurier. Before reading, Google ‘Owlpen Manor’ to see the house that inspired the setting.” Edelweiss is also showing “much love” (their version of “likes,” but stronger) from a dozen librarians.

Media Attention

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ISIS : Inside the Army of Terror, Michael Weiss, Hassan Hassan, (S&S/Regan Arts; OverDrive Sample)

This title appears to be embargoed, since there are no prepub reviews and, as a result, libraries have not ordered it. Co-author Hassan published a story last week in The Guardian in which he writes that he and Weiss conducted in-depth interviews with ISIS members for the story. Hassan is a journalist for The National, an English-language newspaper from Abu Dhabi, which reviews the book. No news just now on media attention, but given the subject, and that it is the first title from publicity magnet Judith Regan’s new S&S imprint (her colorful presence is welcomed back in a story in last Friday’s NYT), expect to be hearing about it.

The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty, Amanda Filipacchi, (Norton; Highbridge Audio)

Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan this week on NPR’s Fresh Air; “a farcical fictional meditation on female beauty structured as a mashup of an old episode of Friends, a fairy tale and a murder mystery.” The author recently appeared on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show.

Movie tie-in

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Insurgent Movie Tie-in Edition, Veronica Roth, (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), also in paperback

The movie of the second installment in the series starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James opens March 20. A new trailer appeared online this week.