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

HP, Illustrated

Monday, March 30th, 2015

harry-potter-jim-kayThe first images from a new fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to be released Oct. 6, 2015, are hitting the interwebs.

The publishers, Scholastic here and Bloomsbury in the U.K., plan to release one illustrated HP title a year over the next seven years. The illustrations are by Jim Kay, who also illustrated Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, (Candlewick, 2011).

Entertainment Weekly has the “exclusive” on the cover and several of the interior images but the the British site Imgur (via Tor.com) offers views of the illustrations as they appear on the actual pages. Below is one of the spreads:

illustrated-hp-hagrid-2

Scott Simon Times Three

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The voice may be familiar, but not the face. Scott Simon, the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday began moonlighting as a regular correspondent on yestaday’s CBS Sunday Morning. It’s a busy time for Simon. In addition to radio and TV, his new memoir, Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime (Macmillan/Flatiron; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) hits the shelves on Tuesday.

UnforgettableIn 2013 Simon was at his mother’s bedside as she died, tweeting about grief and his experience from the intensive-care unit. It was a vigil that played out on Twitter with millions following along. In this, his third memoir, he writes about his mother’s glamorous but difficult life, his childhood, and witnessing her death. As The Washington Post captures in its glowing review, it is an affecting story.

A Curious MindIn his debut on Sunday Morning, Simon interviews Hollywood powerhouse Brian Grazer, best known for Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and the currently hot Fox show Empire, who is also publishing a  new book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (S&S; S&S Audio; April 7) co-written with Charles Fishman. In it, he explores the power of curiosity and open-mindedness in his career, which has also allowed him to conduct “curiosity conversations” with Barack Obama and Eminem among hundreds of others.

Unfortunately, the embed code for the segment does not work; watch it here.

As a result of the show, Grazer’s book rose to #49 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Currently holds are light for both titles but expect demand as the PR machines rev up for each.

Even Patterson Can’t Beat the TRAIN

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The Girl on the Train  All The Light We Cannot See  9780316406994_4e369

The best seller logjam has not broken. On the 4/5 NYT Hardcover Fiction list, the number one and two spots are occupied, as they have been for weeks, by Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead) and Anthony Doerr’s  All the Light We Cannot See, (S&S/Scribner). Even a new book by James Patterson can’t break through. His latest, with Marshall Karp, NYPD Red 3 (Hachette/Little, Brown) arrives at #3.

Other lists, however, show a different story. USA Today‘s has the Patterson title at #2, after The Girl on the Train as does the PW/Bookscan list. On the Indie Best Seller list, however, NYPD Red 3 arrives at a lowly #12.

HausfrauMeanwhile, Hausfrau, by Jill Essbaum, (Random House; RH Audio), heavily considered a successor to The Girl On The Train, just squeaks onto the main list at #16, in a tie with #15, The Whites, by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (Macmillan/Holt).

The NYT‘s “Inside the List” column may bring more readers to Hausfrau, as it promotes the book’s erotic side, noting that the author, a poet, is “no stranger to the naughty bits.” Others, like Time magazine, have put it another way, “Anna Karenina Goes Fifty Shades With a Side of Madame Bovary.”

Seven Titles For RA Gurus, Week of March 30

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Titles arriving next week range from sure bets, to a very interesting question mark. The media will be busy with NYC’s former Police Commissioner who went from From Jailer to Jailed. For those of us whose sins are more of the grammatical nature, help is on the way.

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 30, 2015

Holds Leaders

At the Water's Edge  9781250056238_d0a76  9780553391350_f3ae7

At The Water’s Edge, Sara Gruen, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample),

It’s the holds leader for the week, which is no surprise, given the author’s name recognition but the question is, will demand continue? We summarize the best thinking on its chances from several collection development librarians in a separate post. Holds are slightly higher on this one than they are for Steve Berry’s new book, below, but libraries have ordered fewer copies, perhaps in reaction to the author’s previous title, Ape House, which did reach the demand level for her earlier Water for Elephants.

The Patriot Threat, Steve, Berry, (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; Overdrive Sample)

The tenth Cotton Malone thriller poses the question many ask at this time of the year, “What if the U.S.  federal income tax was illegal?”

The Angel Court Affair, Anne Perry, (RH/Ballantine; Overdrive Sample)

Can an author keep a series fresh after a many titles?  Yes, says PW, calling this thirtieth entry in Perry’s historical series featuring Victorian era husband-and-wife detectives, one of the better entries, adding, “As usual, Perry melds the intellectual debates of the day with a suspenseful plot line.”

Critics’ Favorite

9780062349378_cd9a5The Harder They Come,  T.C. Boyle, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio)

Already getting attention from major critics:

Washington Post – Ron Charles begins his review, “Every punch and thrust and gasp in the opening of T.C. Boyle’s new novel demonstrates why he’s one of the greatest storytellers in the country.”

NYT, Michiko Kakutani  — “arguably Mr. Boyle’s most powerful, kinetic novel yet.”

L.A. Times, by Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins — “As much as this is a novel of big ideas, The Harder They Come never feels didactic, partly because Boyle doesn’t let up on the accelerator, ” but, “Much of his story is tied to characters, Adam and Sara, whose irrational, far-right, Uh-merican ignorance (or outright insanity) make them hard to follow with anything like sympathy. Even as the action amps up, emotional connection flickers.”

Upcoming Media Attention

9781476783703_d69f4From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054,, Bernard B. Kerik, (S&S/Threshold Editions; Overdrive Sample)

The controversial former NYC police commissioner is media bait and is scheduled for appearances on:

• NBC-TV/’Today,’ March 30
• CNN-TV/’CNN Tonight,’ March 31
• ABC-TV/’Nightline,’ March 31

9781594487132_85bbaSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson (Penguin/Riverhead; OverDrive Sample)

The author was already treated to a love fest by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. An excerpt was featured as a NYT Magazine cover story.

Picks

9780393240184_dec2cBetween You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, Mary Norris, (Norton; Recorded Books)

An Indie Next pick, this new book on the always entertaining subject of grammar is featured in a new video series from The New Yorker. We’ll be watching.

Crystal Ball:
AT THE WATER’S EDGE

Friday, March 27th, 2015

At the Water's Edge  9781565124998_36937  book_AH

Will word of mouth sink or buoy up Sara Gruen’s At The Water’s Edge (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample), arriving next week?

Early reactions are sharply divided. It’s the #1 LibraryReads pick for April but both Kirkus and Booklist were less than enthusiastic, with Kirkus calling it plain “silly” and complaining that the main characters came across as “spoiled brats.” Past history is also divided. The author has published one blockbuster, Water for Elephants, the basis for a successful movie (which may even become a Broadway musical), followed by the less successful Ape House.

We checked in with several collection development librarians to get their take. All of them expect At The Water’s Edge to hit best seller lists based on the author’s name recognition and to continue due to word of mouth. Several took a strong position early and others have gone back to order more copies.

Below are their major points (sorry, quotes had to be anonymous).

Setting:

  • “The World War II setting will definitely be a bigger attraction than that of Ape House (a research center dedicated to studying bonobo apes).”
  • Set in Scotland, it includes fascinating details about the Loch Ness monster

Comparison to previous titles:

  • Most said that Ape House had not done well at all in their libraries, but one librarian cautions, “Underperformance is relative. We might have considered Ape House a success if we didn’t have Water for Elephants as a comparison.”

Characters:

  • “Unlikeable characters have held back some titles from star writers for us before.”
  • “Some people complain about the characters in GOTT, but that hasn’t killed word of mouth.”
  • The main character shows emotional development and don’t forget, there’s a romance involved.

Reading Group Appeal:

  • “Reading groups who will have a great time dissecting this book and parsing the characters.”

Reviews:

  • The LJExpress review, posted after the less appreciative Kirkus and Booklist reviews, has it right. “Get past [some issues with believability], and you’ll find yourself skimming along entertainingly with Maddie as she grows up, asserts herself, and gets the right man.”
  • “One of my very best ARC readers raved about it, and she’s never wrong.”
  • The consumer press will have an effect, especially if Entertainment Weekly and/or People are enthusiastic. It will get media attention of course. The  author is scheduled to appear on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Saturday and next week on the Diane Rehm Show.

Summary:

  • “My best guess (educated, of course ) is this book will circulate briskly for most of the summer into the fall and be a book club favorite. It’s success will be closer to Water for Elephants and much better than Ape House, which was a bust for us. It has a lot of hooks going for it: Scotland, World War II, romance, Loch Ness monster, a Downtown Abbey vibe (few seem to be bothered that Lord Grantham and family continue going to balls and teas in the midst of war).”

Place your bets in the comments section, below!

Nancy Pearl Recommends UNBECOMING

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 8.55.01 PMYou can hear the joy in librarian Nancy Pearl’s voice when she discovers a new author she loves. During her program on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW this week, she is especially excited about discovering a debut, Rebecca Scherm’s novel Unbecoming (Penguin/Viking, Jan. 22; OverDrive Sample).

Nancy particularly appreciates Sherm’s deftness in crafting a restrained novel with fully realized characters. The “psychological acuity, the way [Sherm] understands her characters and presents them to us, is just brilliant,” she says, adding “it’s amazing what she did in just 308 pages. I love this book.”

Sherm’s novel was also part of the Penguin First Flights program on EarlyWord in October. In a live chat with librarians, Sherm discusses her influences – Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock – as well as how she hopes readers respond to her characters, “As a writer, there’s a sense of readerly discomfort that I want. One of the things I find so incredible about Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels is that I am rooting for him and against him at the same time.”

What’s the novel about? Summing it up on her own website, Sherm posts a useful RA description “Unbecoming reinvents the heist plot and takes up the making of a femme fatale — this time, from a woman’s point of view.” In their “Briefly Noted” summary The New Yorker writes this “lively début combines a knotty coming-of-age tale and a high-society caper.” The NYT Sunday Book Review deems it “startlingly inventive.”

Nancy features a new book each Tuesday. An archive of previous shows is on the KUOW site.

Holds Alert: A LITTLE LIFE

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

9780385539258_d6a46Heralded by many as the next Goldfinch (as in, poised to be a popular literary breakout) and an early favorite for the year of librarians on GalleyChat, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample) is becoming a holds superstar, with some libraries we checked spiking to ratios in the double digits.

Yanagihara’s second novel, after her acclaimed debut The People in the Trees, it tells the story of four friends, one of whom has lived a life of gothic trauma.

The 720-page novel is enjoying lavish attention. The LA Times’ review begins, “I’ve read a lot of emotionally taxing books in my time, but A Little Life … is the only one I’ve read as an adult that’s left me sobbing.” Vogue says the book announces “the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.” Kirkus, in a starred review, claims “The phrase ‘tour de force’ could have been invented for this audacious novel.” John Powers, a reviewer for NPR’s Fresh Air, confesses, “As I was reading, I literally dreamed about it every night.”

Even reviews that mention shortcomings offer high praise. The Huffington Post, in its “Bottom Line” column,  useful for readers advisors because it aims to combine “plot description and analysis with fun tidbits about the book,” calls it “a flawed but impressive novel that lifts the veil on the heart-wrenching consequences of trauma and loss.” It also calls the book “wondrous” and concludes that “the triumph of A Little Life’s many pages is significant: It wraps us so thoroughly in a character’s life that his trauma, his struggles, his griefs come to seem as familiar and inescapable as our own.” Entertainment Weekly in its B+ review says the novel is a “sometimes maddening read” but goes on to assert, “flaws and all, it’s still a wonderful Life.”

Check your holds. The waiting list might be as long as the novel itself.

It’s a Three Author Week for
Jon Stewart

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart showcases three authors this week.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.45.11 AMMonday started with a bang as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Heretic: Why Islam Needs Reformation Now (Harper), was interviewed by Stewart, who clearly does not agree with her book’s thesis. Excerpted on ABC News, it opens with the assertion that “Islam is not a religion of peace” and goes on to criticize the faith with a broad brush and to suggest five reforms. Stewart pushes hard against the idea that Islam is different in its history of struggle over definition than other religions, pointing out that the Christian Reformation led to over a hundred years of violence triggered by a desire for a purer form of faith. While Hirsi Ali kept to her guns, Stewart was not convinced. The book is rising on Amazon, moving in to the top fifty bestsellers.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.44.39 AMSure to be a much lighter segment, Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Riverhead Books; OverDrive Sample), returns to the show tonight. It will be his third appearance with Stewart and based on past interviews the two obviously appreciate each other. Ronson’s book, which will be released early next week, is timely given the current focus on the shaming culture, most centrally highlighted by Monica Lewinsky.
The comic satirist, as Stewart dubs him, has spent years meeting those who have been shamed and those doing the shaming and writes about the fallout on the victims and society as a whole. Ronson’s book was excerpted in the 2/12 NYT Magazine.

By the way, it was recently announced that Scarlett Johanson has signed to star in the film adaptation of Ronson’s earlier book, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry. He also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats (S&S, 2004), which was the basis for the 2010 movie starring George Clooney.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.46.17 AMJohn Hargrove ends the week with his appearance on Thursday. He will discuss Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish (Palgrave Macmillan; BOT Audio).

Hargrove worked for Sea World and was featured in the searing documentary Blackfish. Kirkus calls his account of his years as a trainer and his current advocacy efforts to change laws regarding orcas in captivity “a shocking, aggressively written marine park exposé.” Hargrove was also a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday which sent his book racing up the Amazon charts.

Holds Alert: HAUSFRAU

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

9780812997538_b69f5Growing attention for Jill Essbaum’s debut novel Hausfrau (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), which came out last week, is having an effect. Holds are rising and as a result, some libraries have increased their orders.

About an unhappy wife who seeks solace elsewhere, it has been compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, (see our earlier roundup) and even Anna Karenina mixed with a bit of Fifty Shades of Grey‘s eroticism.

The author was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Host Lynn Neary quotes reviewer Jane Ciabattari who says, “For a first novelist, Essbaum is extraordinary because she is a poet. Her language is meticulous and resonant and daring.”

But another influential reviewer rains all over the parade. On Friday in the daily The New York Times Janet Maslin, who was on board for The Girl on the Train as well as an important early supporter of Gone Girl, is dismissive, calling Hausfrau “graceless.” She damns both the story, “Ms. Essbaum hasn’t got much of a plot in mind” and the prose as having “all the charm of a sink full of dishwater.”

Will this novel do as well as the books it is compared to? Both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train hit the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list at #2 during their first week on sale, quickly rising to #1. We’re not likely to see the same for Hausfrau. Although holds are growing, they are not nearly as high as they were for the other two titles when they first arrived and the book is still relatively low on Amazon’s sales rankings.

9780062267528_70098  9781616203689_6ef70

R.A. Note: Several librarians on GalleyChat recommend another title, The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample) as “better than The Girl on the Train.” Also check out other comparable new titles in our earlier post, Girl On The Train: A Nonstop Ride and one on the horizon, The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor (Workman/Algonquin, May, eARCs available from Edelweiss and NetGalley).

DEAD WAKE, A Number One NYT Best Seller

Friday, March 20th, 2015

dead-wakeGoing right to #1 on the 3/29 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list after its first week on sale, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania (RH/Crown; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print) proves that Erik Larson has the magic touch.

Further, the USA Today list, which combines all genres and formats, shows it is the second best selling book in the country, behind The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample) at #1 after nine weeks.

Titles To Know and Recommend, The Week of March 23

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Standalone thrillers from Harlan Coban and Joy Fielding hit shelves next week, as well as an embargoed new bio of  Steve Jobs, already making headlines and two debut Y.A. titles that have caught Hollywood’s attention.

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 23 2015.

Holds Leaders

9780525953500_2544c  9781250032386_defd7  9780553390636_18d0f

The Stranger, Harlan Coben, (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

Kirkus approves of this standalone thriller, saying, “This 100-proof nightmare ranks among his most potent.” PW completely disagrees, but adds, “Even when not at his best, Coben is very good, and readers won’t be disappointed.”

The Cavendon Women, Barbara Taylor Bradford, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

A sequel to the Edwardian era Cavendon Hall, (2014), this title brings the family saga in to the 1920’s. Kirkus calls the books “Bradford’s answer to Downton Abbey.” Booklist considers it a “dishy continuation.”

Someone Is Watching, Joy Fielding, (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike)

This standalone gets a star from Booklist, “Not geared to the faint of heart, Fielding’s story of one woman’s search for justice, understanding, and internal peace is nothing short of arresting.”

Media Attention

9780385347402_p0_v7_s260x420   Jobs Fast Company

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli, (RH/Crown Business; RH & BOT Audio)

The book behind this week’s headlines that Tim Cook offered to donate a portion of his own liver to the dying Steve Jobs. It’s embargoed, but the media, always obsessed with Jobs, has picked over leaks, some of which come from the online version of the upcoming excerpt in Fast Company and others from Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature (since blocked). Another bit of news is that the authors, who will appear on ABC ‘s Good Morning America next week, portray their subject quite differently than Walter Isaacson did in his best seller, Steve Jobs, the basis for the movie that is currently filming. As the Fast Company headline, “Kind. Patient. Human. The Steve You Didn’t Know,” indicates, Becoming Steve Jobs could be considered a rebuttal to the earlier book.

YA Advance Attention

9781602862722_9a17a  9781481418775_c1b10

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One, Paige McKenzie, Alyssa Sheinmel, (Perseus/Weinstein Books; Recorded Books)

Media mogul Harvey Weinstein picked up rights to a book and movie series based on the YouTube series that averages 5 million views per month, catching the attention of the NY Post, which rarely covers books, let alone YA books, in a story headlined “Harvey Weinstein thinks he’s found the latest young adult hit.” The review media is also enthusiastic. Kirkus calls it “Suspenseful, exciting and endlessly entertaining” and SLJ says, “Readers who appreciated holly Black’s Doll Bones (2013) or Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones series should consider picking up this creepy debut.”

The author was featured on the Today Show:

We All Looked Up, Tommy Wallach, (S&S BYR; S&S Audio;  OverDrive Sample)

A SF novel about four teenagers facing the arrival of a meteor that is likely to wipe out the earth, we first started hearing about it from YA Galley Chatters who were intrigued by both the the cover (be sure to click on it, above right, to see the larger version. It really doesn’t work as a thumbnail) and the blurb from Andrew Smith, “Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up is a triumphant debut—this generation’s The Stand. It is at once troubling, uplifting, scary, and heart-wrenching, and written with so much compassion for our fragile hold on the fleeting here and now. A glorious, wonderful, completely unforgettable novel.” It’s since received a string of superlative prepub reviews including stars from Kirkus and PW.

MTV News pulls out TV and film references to describe it, “Skins meets The Breakfast Club meets Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.” Paramount nabbed the film rights.

Picks

9780061670893_9cfa5  9780062355881_4a305  9781476785059_2afe6

The Precious One, Marisa de los Santos, (HarperCollins.Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio)

Both an Indie Next and a Library Reads pick:

Taisy hasn’t seen her father since he dumped her family and started another one 17 years ago. An unexpected invitation to write his biography returns her to her hometown, and gives her a rare chance to knit together a broken web of relationships. Like all de los Santos’ books, The Precious One features smart, funny characters who form an unconventional family. It’s luminous and heartwarming, without an ounce of sap.  — Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC

A Reunion of Ghosts, Judith Claire Mitchell, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

A GalleyChat favorite, this is also an Indie Next pick for March:

‘The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.’ These are the words that the Alter sisters live by and the reason they have chosen to die at their own hands. Lady, Vee, and Delph Alter have written a suicide note that turns out to be a family history. The sisters are descendants of Lenz, a chemist and the creator of the poison gas that was first used in WWI, and his wife, Iris, the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first in the family to commit suicide. A Reunion of Ghosts is a captivating chronicle of a family and the weight of consequences that grow heavier with time.—Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir, Abigail Thomas, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample)

People “Book of the Week” — “It’s no wonder Abigail Thomas is leery of what lies ahead. The accident that left her husband brain-damaged was the starting point  for A Three Dog Life (2006); in her new book, she experiences a romantic betrayal that will leave you gasping. Mostly, though, she writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company.”

Indie Next pick for April:

Like an honest talk with your wittiest friend, Thomas’ new memoir will have you both laughing out loud and on the verge of tears. Examining a life that has changed dramatically over the years and the friendship that has endured it all, What Comes Next and How to Like It reveals simple truths we can all recognize in our own lives. Thomas’ gentle humor is evident in every passage as she writes of struggling with aging, loyalty, and drinking after the death of her loving husband. What makes this all the more brilliant are the sparkling moments of insight, full of depth and emotion, that Thomas so beautifully shares with the reader. —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

RA Alert: The “Captivatingly Creepy” AMERICAN GHOST

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

9780062249210_c3fa3-2 A literary nonfiction ghost story that is part family history, part haunted house story, and part investigative journalism, American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus, (Harper; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) sounds like the kind of book readers devour.

As we reported last week, Entertainment Weekly is hot for the title, selecting it as one of their “20 Books We’ll Read in 2015.” They follow up by interviewing Nordhaus. Calling the book “captivatingly creepy.” they offer this quick, R.A.-worthy summary,

Hannah Nordhaus discovers that her great-great-grandmother, Julia Staab, is New Mexico’s most famous ghost, haunting a Santa Fe hotel called La Posada. Backed by an army of psychics and ghosthunters, a crumbling family diary, and a frontier-sized heap of curiosity, Nordhaus sets out to discover who Julia was—and why her spirit has stuck around for all these years.

American Ghost has earned starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, which enticingly details Nordhaus’s research process.

She consults a variety of self-appointed supernatural experts—psychics, tarot-card readers, mediums, and dowsers—as well as more traditional sources such as newspaper archives, family diaries, and aging relatives. She also visits the settings of her grandmother’s life, from villages in Germany to the deserts of New Mexico where the Staabs lived.

It was featured on Sante Fe’s News 13:

It is also getting attention in print publications, including the Sante Fe New MexicanThe Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Boston Globe (subscription required), and is on Elle magazine’s list of “The 7 Must-Read Books Of March.”

Holds are strong on light orders in libraries we checked.

This Week On THE DAILY SHOW

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

9780805099263_ac285The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday features Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor of Harpers magazine and the author of a book about a hot button issue, drone strikes, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, (Macmillan/Holt; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Cockburn also appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show last week. He explained that the title is a common term in the military, describing the steps taken to identify and eventually hit a target. Drones can shorten the time that takes, but sometimes with unintended and terrible consequences.

Holds Alert: Social Security Demystified

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.34.13 AMIt might seem that Social Security benefits are pretty straight forward. Not so, says Boston University economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff who found the 2,728 core rules so confusing that he created a service called Maximize My Social Security. He also put together a book Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (Simon & Schuster; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample). It has become such a success, according to the New York Times, that it quickly rose to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings and was sold out. Now back in print, it also just broke onto the 3/22 NYT Advice & How Bestseller List.

One of the book’s co-authors, Paul Solmon, is a PBS Financial News Correspondent. He featured some of the secrets from the book on the PBS NewsHour recently.

BURIED GIANT #3 NYT Best Seller

Friday, March 13th, 2015

9780307271037_b504aDespite several less than enthusiastic reviews, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) arrives at #3 on the NYT March 22nd Fiction Hardcover best sellers list, just below the log jam of The Girl on the Train at #1 after 8 weeks and All the Light We Cannot See at #2 after 44 weeks.

This is the first time that Ishiguro has hit the hardcover lists. As Gregory Cowles notes in the “Inside the List” column, his previous best sellers, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go became best sellers but in paperback, as a result of their movie adaptations.

Film rights have already been acquired for The Buried Giant, by “The Godfather of the Literary Adaptation,” producer Scott Rudin (Captain Philips, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Angela’s Ashes and the upcoming Jobs, among many others).