Librarian Nancy Pearl picks a title from one her favorite genres, historical mysteries, for her weekly radio show.
The Strangler Vine (Penguin/Putnam; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample, 3/31/15) by M.J. Carter is a debut set in 1837 India. Nancy calls it “an old-fashioned adventure novel.”
Carter is the author of two nonfiction works and uses her skills in research to create a vividly set historical thriller tracing the adventures of William Avery, a newly arrived British solider, and Jeremiah Blake, a seasoned spy gone native.
In praise any publisher would kill for, Nancy says it is “wonderful reading, I just couldn’t put it down.”
The New York Post agrees, making it one of their “This week’s must-read books” and calling it a “yarn reminiscent of adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
Nancy appears every Tuesday on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW and an archive of her appearances is also available.
Steve Osborne is a storytelling genius as is clear by his appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air.
At a time when cops are in the news for all the wrong reasons, Osborne brings a new voice to the conversation, an authentic and compelling one telling vivid and visceral stories about life on the line.
In his debut memoir, The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop (RH/Doubleday; BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample), Osborne relates stories from 20 years in the New York Police Department.
Osborne is also a favorite on The Moth (a not-for profit storytelling collective) where he has honed his story telling chops, a fact quite evident as he turned his interview on Fresh Air into a performance of its own. His book jumped up the Amazon rankings as a result.
In a wise move, Books on Tape has Osborne narrate the audiobook.
Jon Krakauer was interviewed on today’s CBS Early Show about his new book, which goes on sale today, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (RH/Doubleday; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print).
Last night, Jon Stewart’s guest was Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (Harper, 4/21/15), the story of a group of women who volunteered for a mission to help Rangers in Afghanistan, by making contact with a group they could not, Afghan women. Called “cultural support” rather than front theater combat troops, they were in fact on the front lines and the woman at the center of the story died.
Visibly moved, Stewart called it “a terrific book.”
The interview was somewhat overshadowed by Stewart’s announcement that his last show will be Aug. 6.
Tomorrow night, the show will feature Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush and a political commentator for Stewart’s favorite punching bag, Fox News. Her bookAnd the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side. (Hachette/Twelve; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) is being published today.
It may seem bad timing that Jon Krakauer’s book, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (RH/Doubleday; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print) arrives just months after the Rolling Stone‘s story on an incident at the University of Virginia, “A Campus Rape,” was discredited. However, as Krakauer tells NPR Weekend Edition yesterday, the book was originally planned for release in the fall, but was rushed into print as a form of rebuttal. He says the “Rolling Stone fiasco” ended up as ammunition for those who believe the myth that women lie about being raped and notes that, “in 90% of rapes, the rapist walks away.”
Expect to hear more about the book. Schweizer is a conservative writer with strong media ties. His previous book Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets (HMH, 2013), was the basis of a 2013 CBS 60 Minutes feature. One of the subjects of that story, N.J. Rep. Rob Andrews (D) resigned this February amidst an investigation by the the House Ethics Committee, began before the 60 Minutesstory, into his use of campaign funds.
Due to the book’s embargo, it has not been reviewed in the pre-pub media. As a result, some libraries have not ordered it.
We’d gotten used to seeing Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See at #2 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, tucked right behind the juggernaut of The Girl on the Train. But then Harlan Coben’s The Stranger came along and knocked it into third place. Last week, J.R. Ward’s The Shadows cast it into fourth place and it looked like the beginning of a slide.
But this week, The Light has returned to its old spot, banishing The Shadows altogether and moving The Stranger down to 4th position (The Girl on the Train keeps chugging along at #1).
“Highly anticipated” is the catch phrase for next week, with new titles from Toni Morrison, David Baldacci and Jon Krakauer, but don’t let those big names cause you to overlook a memoir by poet Elizabeth Alexander.
The honorary chair for National Library Week introduces a new series with this book. The “memory man” is Amos Decker, a former football player with a head injury that has a strange result. He forgets nothing. Now a small town P.I., he investigates a school shooting. Kirkus calls the character a “a quirky, original antihero.”
Two tragedies, a serious car accident and the loss of his father, caused author Greg Iles to think differently about his writing. After 13 books he realized, “life was too short to pull any punches. I decided there was no room in [my next] book for formula and fluff. The story had to be handled with appropriate gravitas. I had to deal with it not only the way it deserved but in a way that would make my father proud.”
The result was last year’s Natchez Burning. The first in a trilogy, it arrived to fanfare from librarians and debuted at #2 on the NYT best seller list, Iles’s highest ranking on that list to date. It’s now been on the paperback list for two week in a row, setting readers up for the next title, The Bone Tree.
“Based on a real series of unsolved murders from the civil rights era in Louisiana, and the crusading journalist who uncovered the story, Iles’ novel shines a bright light of truth upon one of America’s darkest secrets. Iles’ compelling writing makes this complex tale of good versus evil a must-read for those who love thrillers, and those who want to learn a little bit of American history not normally taught in school.” — Ellen Jennings, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL
This standalone mystery by Jayne Ann Krentz, writing under one of her pseudonyms, is set in Victorian London. Kirkus approves, “A lady with a secret to hide and a gentleman reputed to be mad make a dandy investigative team.”
Jon Krakauer, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (RH/Doubleday; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print)
Best-selling nonfiction author Krakauer is known for writing about disturbing subjects, such as his personal account of a disastrous attempt to climb Mt. Everest, Into Thin Air (the movie Everest, to be released on Sept. 18, features Michael Kelly as Krakauer). In his new book, he turns his attention to a series of rapes at the University of Montana. The book is embargoed, so no reviews have appeared yet [UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal just released an interview with the author that has some details on the book} and the city of Missoula is bracing itself.
The author is scheduled to appear on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Sunday, followed by the CBS Early Show on Wednesday and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show the next day.
“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.” — Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
Columnist and commentator David Brooks’s new book, The Road to Character (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a blend of self-examination and an exploration of what makes a richly fulfilling inner life.
In an interview yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered, he says he began this journey after meeting a group of people who tutor immigrants and realizing that they “radiated gratitude for life,” a quality he found missing in his own life, despite his outward successes.
The Guardian calls the book “a powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”
It rose to #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings today, possibly benefiting not only from people on the search for their own roads to character, but from those on the search for interesting (if pointed) graduation gifts. As The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles points out in a story satirizing printed version of famous graduation speeches aimed at that market, it is the season for such books.
The daily New York Times plays catchup this week with another shining review, placing her in the same company as fellow British comic mastermind P.G. Wodehouse. Says reviewer John Williams, “Ms. Stibbe is in her early 50s, and Man at the Helm is the second book to appear in relatively quick succession and establish her reputation as a top-shelf comic writer.”
Williams also reports that Nick Hornby is adapting Stibbe’s first book, a memoir about her stint as a nanny, Love, Nina, for the BBC. There’s still many steps to its becoming a reality, so it’s too early to speculate on whether it will also be broadcast in the US.
Her 2006 novel, Water for Elephants was a slow build, eventually hitting #1 in paperback in anticipation of the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Her next book, 2010’s Ape House debuted at #8 on the NYT list (#65 on USA Today‘s), lasting just a few weeks.
Gruen herself is not so worried about matching her earlier success. As she tells NPR’s Weekend Edition, “I don’t tend to think ‘oh, I peaked at 38,’ I tend to think ‘I’m so happy about what happened with Water for Elephants, but I know I was struck by lightning’ … it’s not going to happen again and that’s ok. I get to keep doing what I love to do.”
While lightning may not strike twice, it appears Water’s Edge will attract a wider audience than did Ape House and fulfill predictions from collection development librarians that it will circulate briskly through the summer. It is rising on Amazon sales rankings this week and most libraries show growing holds.
The NYT trade paperback list offers the tale of another slow build, similar to Water for Elephants. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) hits the Trade Paperback Fiction list for the first time, after several weeks on the extended list (the hardcover also spent a few weeks on the extended list), probably based on news that Steven Spielberg has signed to direct the film adaptation as well as anticipation of the release of the next title, Armada(RH/Crown, RH & BOT Audio), set for publication on July 24th.
The leaders in holds next week are Nora Roberts and Lisa Scottoline. Also arriving is a memoir by a black woman who makes the horrifying discovery (while browsing in a library) that her grandfather was a notorious Nazi. Readers advisors can look to several LibraryReads and Indie Next picks for titles to recommend.
The Liar, Nora Roberts (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio)
Readers, she married a liar and only finds out after he dies. In a starred review, Booklist says, “Roberts excels at effectively incorporating lots of domestic details about her heroine’s life in a slow-burning fuse of a plot that ultimately explodes in a nail-biting conclusion.”
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past, Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair, Carolin Sommer (The Experiment, dist. by Workman; Blackstone Audio)
Workman’s hottest ARC at Midwinter, according to library marketer Mike Rockliff.
People magazine ran an excerpt, with the description, “Adopted as a child, Jennifer Teege recently discovered a family secret her grandfather was the monstrous SS officer played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.” She is also featured on NPR’s web site. With all this advance attention, you can expect more to come. Below is the trailer:
Excitement comes from many quarters for McCreight’s second novel after her 2014 Edgar and Anthony nominee Reconstructing Amelia, beginning with a cover blurb by Gillian Flynn, “McCreight creates a world that pulls us in completely and genuinely, with characters that can enrage, amuse, and fill us with empathy. It’s a thrilling novel.”
“Molly Sanderson is covering a feature for the Ridgedale Reader that not only stirs up her recent grief over a stillborn child, but secrets that have been kept hidden for over two decades in this northern New Jersey college town. As the stories of four different women unfold, a new piece of the puzzle is revealed. Chilling and gruesome at times, this is a novel with characters who will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
Also note, McCreight has an YA speculative fiction trilogy in the works, titled The Outliers. Film rights for all three books were acquired by Lionsgate, with Reese Witherspoon as one of the producers.
“Eager to get out of the big city, Ben and Caroline Tierney purchase a large, old house upstate hoping to renovate it into a hotel. However, their house, called The Crofts, has a dark, mysterious past, and terrifying secrets begin to threaten the family. This wonderfully eerie and atmospheric debut novel is a great recommendation for fans of Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers and McMahon’s The Winter People.” — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH
“George Sand leaves her estranged husband and children to embark on a life of art in bohemian Paris. A talented writer who finds monetary and critical success, Sand adopts a man’s name, often dresses as a gentleman and smokes cigars. Through her writing, politics, sexual complexities and views on feminism, Sand is always seeking love. This novel has spurred me to learn more about George Sand, a woman truly ahead of her time.” — Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Indie Next “The greatest testament to the skill of a writer is the ability to make what might seem alien to the reader completely recognizable and utterly engaging. Such was my experience reading The Turner House. Mine is a tiny white family from a small town with no sense of heritage, yet every moment I spent with the Turners — a family of 13 children shaped by the Great Migration to Detroit — I felt at home. Their struggles and joys are universal, yet told with an exacting eye that always finds the perfect detail. This is a truly impressive debut.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI
Indie Next “In this fresh take on stories about the devastation that war visits on those left behind as well as on those who are sent to fight, Riley resists believing her beloved older brother never emerged from the tunnels of Cu Chi. Since his body was never found, she follows this hope from the Montana plains to Vietnam and then spirals down into the back streets of 1980s San Francisco. As Palaia details Riley’s struggle to move from denial to the eventual acceptance of reality, she portrays the starry Montana nights as vividly as the streets of Saigon and the bars of Haight-Ashbury. A brilliant debut!” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
In a story that is part ode, part biography,
part call to arms, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah discusses Morrison’s aura, her writing and editing, and her reception by the publishing world, one dominated by people who
do not look like her.
“The perplexing but wonderful thing about Morrison’s career is just how much her prominence was created not by the mainstream publishing world, but by Morrison herself, on her own terms, in spite of it.”
The article starts with Morrison’s recording session for the Random House/BOT audio of God Help the Child. The NYT provides a video interview with a sample of the reading, which proves her skills as a narrator.
Books on Tape has also created a special landing page for the audiobook, announcing that Morrison will also record unabridged editions of her earlier books, Paradise and Song of Solomon, both audios to be published in 2016.
A series of self-published erotic novels has been acquired by Hachette’s Forever imprint, reports the AP, to the tune of $7 million.
The first four titles in Meredith Wild’s Hacker series, Hardwired, Hardpressed, Hardline and Hard Limit have just been released by Forever in e-book editions. Paperback editions will follow on May 12, The fifth and final book, Hard Love, will be published in both e-book and paperback on Sept. 15.
“Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey may recognize the Hacker narrative: Recent Harvard graduate and Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway falls for controlling billionaire Blake Landon,” notes the AP.
Another self-published romance author, Jasinda Wilder, has signed with Berkley Books, as reported by USA Today, in a seven-figure deal for a new trilogy, beginning with Madame X in November (Penguin/Berkley, 9781101986882).
While the headlines focus on the Clintons, the book covers presidential families from the Kennedys to the Obamas. In its review, Kirkus indicates that interest in the book will reach beyond political junkies, as it features, “Anecdotes both touching and hilarious about living and working in the White House … [with] an irresistible, charmingly pell-mell quality to the arrangement of these dishy stories.”