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

Nancy Pearl’s Under-the-Radar Summer Picks

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Librarian Nancy Pearl announces her list of summer reading titles on NPR, picking six midlist under-the-radar novels.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.25.54 AM  Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.26.42 AM  Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.27.18 AM

Talking with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, Nancy begins with The Revolutions by Felix Gilman (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample), which she calls a “21st-century example of Victorian science fiction … with a little bit of steam punk.”

A thriller The Swimmer by Joakim Zander (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) gets high marks for its fast pace and involving story while Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (Simon & Schuster; OverDrive Sample) makes the list for its description of character.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.29.46 AMThe Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; HighBridge; OverDrive Sample) clearly captures Inskeep’s love of history (he just published a book on American history, Jacksonland), prompting him to break into Nancy’s summary to share a bit about the history of the East India Company. Set in India in 1837, it involves a new member of that company and a mysterious agent on the hunt for a notorious writer.

Two titles that did not make it into the on-air discussion are included in the online article:

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.28.13 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.29.09 AMThe Half Brother by Holly LeCraw (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample) explores how “much coincidence is possible in our lives.”

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) is evocatively described as opening “with a lie.” It was a feature in our Penguin Debut Authors program, First Flights.

Controversy Sells;
CLINTON CASH

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.26.35 AMProving once again that there’s nothing like controversy to help sell a book, Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer (Harper; HarperCollins audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Best Seller List at #2 for the week of May 24.

The book accuses the Clintons of selling influence to foreign governments and individuals through the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton campaign has fought back by identifying several factual errors. As a result, Harper has changed the Kindle version to delete passages or revise sections. As reported in Politico, Amazon sent purchasers a notice that “significant revisions have been made” to their electronic copies, which Harper then said were just  “7-8 factual corrections.”

Undaunted, Schweizer continues roiling up controversy. In the new issue of USA Today, he objects to his testy interview with George Stephanopoulos in April, saying he should get a do-over because the broadcaster did not reveal that he personally donated $75,000 to the Clinton campaign in 2012.

Holds Alert: THE BONE TREE

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.46.31 AMHolds are spiking well over a 3:1 ratio at some libraries for Greg Iles’s The Bone Tree (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample), the fifth novel in his Penn Cage series and the second in a 3-book arc that began last year.

The novel, which picks up where Natchez Burning left off, debuted on the NYT best seller list at the #4 spot on May 10 and moved down slightly to #6 on the May 17 list.

We listed it as one of the “Six Titles to Make You an RA Guru” the week of April 21 and The Washington Post’s Bill Sheehan gave it a glowing review yesterday, saying:

Like Natchez Burning, Iles’s latest is a hugely elaborate illustration of a famous line by William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Iles puts his own distinctive stamp on that Faulknerian theme, and the result is a very American epic-in-progress that leaves us waiting, none too patiently, for whatever revelations are still to come.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Tobey Maguire is developing a cable series based on Natchez Burning, working with David Hudgins who was the co-showrunner for Friday Night Lights. The project is with Amazon Studios, which has ordered scripts for two episodes.

Judith Miller Tells Her Story

Monday, April 27th, 2015

The StoryJudith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, reported in 2002 that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD, Those stories, which were used by the Bush administration to help build the case for the invasion of Iraq, were later discredited for being based on false information. The NYT forced Miller to resign, but, before that, she was jailed for 85 days for not revealing the sources of information for a different story, one that outed Valerie Plame as a member of the CIA.

Now a FOX News commentator and a member of the conservative Manhattan Institute, she has written a memoir about her years at the NYTThe Story: A Reporter’s Journey (Simon & Schuster; Random House Audio; Thorndike;  OverDrive Sample).

Following a round of appearances earlier this month on several FOX shows, CBS This Morning, and on the Bill Maher Show, she will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Wednesday.

She is getting a tough reception by most commentators, her former employer, and other media outlets.

Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast offers a scathing review, stating:

Much of The Story, including a chapter titled “Scapegoat,” is Miller’s self-pitying account of how she was demonized by critics and enemies, inside and outside the Times, as an influential cheerleader for an unjustified and ultimately ruinous war conducted under false pretenses.

The NYT calls her book “sad and flawed” while The Washington Post‘s media critic says:

This dynamic — Judy Miller against the world — lends her book an aspect that is both depressing and desperate. Over more than 300 pages, Miller flays her critics (particularly those who write for blogs) and lays out a defense of her reporting that relies on bluster, repetition and a highly selective set of facts, some of the same ingredients that the Bush administration dropped into its case for the Iraq war.

The Columbia Journalism Review, which offers perhaps the most even handed review, still holds that:

The Story turns out to be less personal than we might wish, less a memoir than an apologia and an assault… alternately turgid and fascinating, if not in equal measure.

Published on April 7th, holds are light on light ordering around the country despite the amount of media attention.

UPDATE:
Stewart did not go easy on her. Holds are still modest.

RA Alert: Owls Take Flight

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 12.47.43 PMOwls are literally in the air. First came the PBS Nature episode “Owl Power” and now comes The House of Owls by Tony Angell (Yale UP; OverDrive Sample).

The book is a cross between natural history, bird watching, and memoir. Lavishly illustrated by Angell, who is a celebrated artist from the Pacific Northwest, it also strikes a cord for those who enjoy grown-up picture books.

It is getting attention in The Wall Street Journal, in a review that makes the book sound as irresistible as the cover art,  The Seattle Times, which lists it as one of its “30 Books for Spring Reading,” and is climbing Amazon’s rankings, putting it, if its rise continues, in striking range of bestseller lists.

Holds Alert: THE RESIDENCE

Monday, April 27th, 2015

9780062305190_e24b8Check your copies, Kate Andersen Brower’s The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a holds superstar with wait-lists growing into triple digits and holds ratios topping 5:1 across the country.

As we reported earlier, the book is a behind-the-scenes account of the staff that the runs the White House – from the Kennedy administration through the Obamas. It recently made the news due to its Clinton connection (dishy details over the Monica fallout).

The book is only going to get hotter with the news that Kevin Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street, (responsible for House of Cards, Captain Phillips, The Social Network), has bought the TV rights.

According to Politico, the plan for the show is to create:

… a modern and fictional 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue spin on Downton Abbey, wherein the White House’s butlers, stewards, maids and the like are the stars, often more committed to the mansion and upholding its historic traditions than to the family who lives there.

The book is currently #5 on NYT Best Seller list (down from #3 last week) but is rising on Amazon and out of stock at both Ingram and B&T.

According to the NY Post the juicy gossip is not limited to the Clintons, there are plenty of other revelations about Presidential behavior (good and salacious), first wives (Nancy Regan is called “spoiled rotten”), and first kids behaving badly.

It is also full of history and context and likely to prove irresistible on TV.

Nancy Pearl Loves Historical Mysteries

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.38.21 AMLibrarian 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.

A Cop With Storytelling Chops

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.12.05 AMSteve 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.

Krakauer on the CBS EARLY SHOW

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

9780385538732_e12b5Jon Krakauer was interviewed on today’s CBS Early Show about his new book, which goes on sale today, MissoulaRape and the Justice System in a College Town (RH/Doubleday; RH & BOT Audio; RH Large Print).

He will appear tomorrow on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. He has also appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday

The book has been reviewed in USA Today, by Janet Maslin in the New York  Times and by Caitlin Flanagan in the Washington Post.

This Week on the DAILY SHOW

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

9780062333810_9ddcdLast 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.”

A hot property in Hollywood, the film rights to the Ashley’s War were recently won at auction by Reese Witherspoon.

 
The interview was somewhat overshadowed by Stewart’s announcement that his last show will be Aug. 6.

9781455584895_22802Tomorrow 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 book And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side. (Hachette/Twelve; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) is being published today.

On Thursday, Stewart will interview one of his favorites, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium. His new TV series StarTalk begins on Monday night on NatGeo. He is the author of several books, including, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (Norton, 2012), The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet (Norton, 2009) and Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries (Norton, 2007).

Timing: MISSOULA

Monday, April 20th, 2015

9780385538732_e12b5It may seem bad timing that Jon Krakauer’s book, MissoulaRape 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.”

The author will also appear on the CBS Early Show on Wednesday and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show the next day.

The local community is disturbed by the attention the book may bring, as evidenced by the number of stories in the local newspaper. At his request, Krakauer is scheduled to take questions from Missoulians on May 6 at a public forum held by the local bookstore, Fact and Fiction.

The book is reviewed today in USA Today and by Janet Maslin in the New York  Times.

CLINTON CASH: Embargo Broken

Monday, April 20th, 2015

9780062369284_4d7a3Calling it “the most anticipated and feared book” of Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign, the New York Times breaks the embargo in a story published today on the forthcoming Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich by Peter Schweizer (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe, 5/9/15). Fox News immediately lept on the story, but New York Magazine is less excitable, “New Book Will Ostensibly Make People Care About Shady Clinton Donations.”

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, begun before the 60 Minutes story, 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.

Best Sellers: THE LIGHT Makes a Comeback

Friday, April 17th, 2015

All The Light We Cannot SeeWe’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).

The novel took Doerr ten years to write, a journey he described last month in Scribner Magazine.

A year ago, before the book became a best seller, Doerr talked about the places and ideas that inspired him.

Six Titles To Make You An RA Guru, Week of April 21

Friday, April 17th, 2015

“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 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 April 21, 2015

Holds Leaders

9781455586387_4b710David Baldacci, Memory Man, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)

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.”

The trailer for the movie based on one of Baldacci’s earlier titles,  Wish You Well, has just been released. It goes straight to DVD and On Demand in June.

9780062311115_b417fGreg Iles, The Bone Tree, (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample)

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 weeks in a row, setting readers up for the next title, The Bone Tree.

It is both an Indie Next and a Library Reads pick.

LibraryReads:
“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

9780399165153_2c6d9Amanda Quick, Garden of Lies, (Penguin/Putnam; Recorded Books; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

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.”

 

Advance Attention

9780307594174_bddd5Toni Morrison, God Help the Child, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print)

Morrison’s latest can easily be called the most hotly anticipated novel of the season, having appeared on all the seasonal previews. Morrison gets the New York Times trifecta, the cover of last week’s NYT Magazine, the cover of the upcoming NYT Book Review, plus the Friday review by Michiko Kakutani in the daily NYT. It is also reviewed by Ron Charles, the Washington Post, today. Sad to say, however, the reviewers  find the book a let down. Morrison is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.

Upcoming Media Attention

9780385538732_e12b5Jon 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.

Picks

9781455599875_6176fElizabeth Alexander, The Light of the World: A Memoir, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The #1 IndieNext pick for May:

“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

David Brooks Dives Deep

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.21.10 AMColumnist 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.