Archive for the ‘2014 — Winter/Spring’ Category

Science Confirms, Teen Brains Are Different

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

9780062067845_67a89On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed neuroscientist Frances Jensen, the author of The Teenage Brain, (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Jensen confirms with remarkable clarity what many parents have observed, that it takes a long time for the human brain to fully mature and develop the ability to control impulses.

Zillow Book: A Hot Property

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.40.40 AMThe CEO of the online site that many check regularly to find out the value of their homes, Spencer Rascoff of Zillow, appeared  on CBS This Morning to promote his new book  Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The book, which offers a new – and often contrary – take on common real estate myths (today, “location, location, location” can be further refined to “close to a Starbucks”), is zooming up Amazon’s sales rankings and is currently at #8. Many libraries have not yet ordered it.

A Two-Author Week on Jon Stewart

Monday, January 26th, 2015

After a several weeks of an author drought, The Daily Show ramps up its book coverage with two authors appearing this week: Jill Leovy, on Tuesday, and Sarah Chayes on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.11.33 PMAs we reported last week, Leovy’s Ghettoside (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample), a gripping journalistic investigation into the murder of a young black man in Los Angeles, is getting strong coverage in The New York Times and on NPR. The author’s appearance with Stewart should bring her to the attention of an even wider readership. Holdings and holds vary across the country with some libraries yet to buy, some with light holds, and others with holds as high as 11:1. Fair warning: Ghettoside seems destined to be an important book on an important conversation that will continue for years to come. As The New York Times put it in their Sunday cover, “Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights — and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter,’ showing how the ‘system’s failure to catch killers effectively made black lives cheap.’”

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.10.47 PMSarah Chayes’s Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, (W. W. Norton) has gotten far less media attention although NPR’s All Things Considered did a story on Jan. 16th and The Washington Post gave the book a generally favorable review on the same day. Holds are light in libraries we checked, but Stewart can be relied upon to create at least a short-term bump in demand. Certainly Chayes’s book, which identifies corruption as the link between a number of political hotspots spiraling out of control, provides Stewart with a wind-up pitch he can hit out of the park.

A Tale of Two #1 Best Sellers

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Fulfilling rumors from yesterday, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample), is an instant #1 NYT best seller, debuting during its first week on sale. In a slight adjustment to the rumor, it arrives at #1 on the Combined Fiction list, but not on the Hardcover Fiction list. On that list, the number one spot is still held by Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike; S&S Audio), on the list after 37 weeks, representing another unusual trajectory, the slow and steady rise.

Is The Girl on the Train actually a debut, as is widely claimed? Not according to Gregory Cowles in the NYT‘s “Inside the List” column, it can only be counted as a debut thriller, since, as Hawkins herself says in an NPR interview, she previously published romantic fiction under a pseudonym (The Wall Street Journal identifies her alias as Amy Silver; WorldCat lists all three of Silver’s titles as only published in the U.K. and only held in U.K. libraries).

Still, a book by an author with no identifiable track record arriving at #1 during it’s first week on sale is a major feat (it wasn’t until “debut” author Robert Galbraith was revealed as actually being the famous writer of a certain series of childrens book that The Cuckoo’s Calling hit best seller lists, several months after publication).

As we noted earlier, to our knowledge, there’s been only one debut in recent history to arrive at #1 in its first week on sale, Elizabeth Kostova’s first book, The Historian, (Hachette/Little, Brown). It debuted on the hardcover list in 2005, back before there was an ebook list, so technically, that record still holds.

If you look at other lists, the story is different. On the PW/BookScan list,  The Girl on the Train is #2, after Saint Odd by Dean Koontz (RH/Bantam) and All the Light We Cannot See is at #3.

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The other debut novel on the new hardcover fiction list is The First Bad Man by Miranda July, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio), arriving at #6, after a barrage of media attention, not all of it positive. The best seller list annotation makes it sound like Fifty Shades of Grey, “A houseguest forces a passive woman into a bizarre but liberating sexual relationship.” Reviewing it, the NYT’s Michiko Kakutani said, “The novel starts off tentatively, veers into derivative and willfully sensational theater-of-the-absurd drama — part Pinter, part Genet — and then mutates, miraculously, into an immensely moving portrait of motherhood and what it means to take care of a child.” A few libraries are showing heavy holds.

On the Combined Nonfiction list, Ghost BoyThe Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius (Simon & Schuster, 2011; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #5, long after its original publication, due to attention from the new NPR show, Invisibilia, (see our earlier story). Several libraries have ordered additional copies (it is now available in trade paperback) because of  heavy holds.

Debuting on the Combined Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list at #8, is a title that some libraries have not yet ordered, Picture Your Prosperity, by Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng, (Penguin/Portfolio; Penguin Audio, 1/13/15). It’s been covered in the business press (the NYT Business section, and in Forbes).

Books Set to Explode,
Week of Jan 26

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Arriving next week are two explosive books. Ghettoside, by L.A. Times journalist Jill Leovy, investigates how our criminal justice system fails African Americans and is already making headlines. The other, James Patterson’s latest, is literally exploding as part of a promotional stunt.

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 Jan. 26.

Holds Leader

9780316211130_dcb2dPrivate Vegas, James Patterson, Maxine Paetro, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio)

In most libraries, the holds leader for this week is still lagging behind the holds leader from last week. In most libraries, the debut phenomenon, The Girl on the Train tops Private Vegas.

Perhaps feeling the heat, Patterson has crafted a new promotion. Private Vegas will literally explode, for the fan willing to pay $300,000 for the privilege (also included, a trip to Vegas and dinner with Patterson). The less well heeled can sign up for a chance to win a self-destructing eBook. Others can get a similar thrill by checking out library eBooks.

Media Attention

9780385529983_bd29dGhettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, Jill Leovy, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Michael Connelly’s cover blurb, “Gritty, heart-wrenching … Everyone needs to read this book, ” is one you might expect to find on a novel, but this book is nonfiction, an investigation into the murder of a young black man in Los Angeles by an L.A. Times reporter. Flavorwire picks it as one of “10 Nonfiction Books That Will Define the Conversation in 2015″ and it seems to be doing just that, with advance coverage that includes:

New York Timesreview by Dwight Garner – Jan. 22

L.A. Times — Review, “Ghettoside focuses on one L.A. murder to make case for more policing” – Jan. 22

New York Times Book Review Cover review – Jan. 25

Features are also planned on NPR:

NPR Weekend Edition – 1/24

NPR Fresh Air – 1/26 or 1/27

Picks of the Week

9780062072948_439b2The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, Julia Quinn, (HarperCollins/Avon; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample)

A February LibraryReads Pick:

“At a dreaded music recital, a cellist catches Sir Richard Kenworthy’s eye, and he determines to marry her. Iris Smythe-Smith is a smart cookie and rightly suspicious of Sir Richard’s motives when he comes courting, but finds herself falling for his charm. Things seem to be working out well until Iris finds out what a big secret Richard is keeping.” — Sharon Redfern, Rockville Public Library, Vernon, CT

9781627791991_67ddbThe Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, Sharma Shields, (Macmillan/Holt paperback original; OverDrive Sample)

On O magazine’s list of “10 books to pick up now” (link not available) and Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” (it also gets an A in the review section):

“A young boy grows up obsessed with the creatures known as Bigfoots — understandable, considering his mother ran away with one — and goes on to raise a very unusual family in this wildly fantastical debut novel.”

9780451471475_c55f3I Was Here, Gayle Forman, (Penguin/Viking Juvenile; OverDrive Sample; Listening Library)

A People pick (note, it is a YA title, which People doesn’t mention, attesting to its crossover appeal)

“‘It’s not your fault.’ So ends Meg’s suicide note to Cody. Still, Cody can’t help but feel guilty — how could she not have known that her best friend was suicidal? But when Cody goes to Meg’s college to pack up her things, she realizes there’s a lot she didn’t know. A heartbreaking novel about coping with loss from the bestselling author of If I Stay.’

9780544315495_b2fafThe Jaguar’s Children, John Vaillant, (HMH; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Reviewed by Alan Cheese on All Things Considered, 1/20/15

IndieNext pick:

“Vaillant has established his reputation as an accomplished writer of nonfiction, and he now brings his considerable talent to this debut novel. There are no easy moments in this story told by Hector, a young man engaged in an illegal border crossing inside a sealed tanker truck. Vaillant uses Hector’s narration to bring the frequent brutality of the illegal immigration experience to light in visceral detail, engaging both the reader’s sympathy and revulsion, which linger long after the last page is turned.” — Fran Keilty, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

9781602862524_57e05Wolf Winter, Cecilia Ekbäck, (Perseus/Weinstein; Recorded Books)

IndieNext pick:

“Maija, her husband, Paavo, and their daughters, Frederika and Dorotea, leave Finland to settle in Lapland in the beautiful area near Blackasen Mountain. One day, Frederika discovers the body of one of the villagers. Was he killed by wolves or was he murdered? What powers does the mountain have? The harsh ‘wolf winter’ brings the settlers together to survive, but what tragedies, secrets, customs, and vengeance are they hiding? When Maija and her family arrived at the mountain, readers were told, ‘This was the kind of land that didn’t know how to let go.’ Ekb?ck’s intriguing tale of Swedish Lapland in 1717 gives insight into the land and people of the far north and is also hard to let go.” — Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT 

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is #1

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Girl on the TrainWe’re hearing rumors that the debut rapidly racking up holds in libraries, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample), will hit the tomorrow’s NYT best seller list at #1.

UPDATE: EarlyWord just received confirmation from the publisher that it is indeed an instant best seller, debuting on the Feb. 1st list, to be released online tomorrow.

This makes it only the second debut in recent history to arrive at #1 in its first week on sale (the record was set in 2005 by Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian).

The book it is often compared to, Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s third novel, also made its debut on the list at #1 in June, 2012.

Author Paul Hawkins is one of the speakers at the upcoming ALA Midwinter Meeting, on the LibraryReads/AAP panel (sorry, that event is now completely booked). She will also sign in Penguin Booth #4823 on Jan. 31, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

Making Headlines:
GUANTÁNAMO DIARY

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Guantanamo DiaryBook news is currently dominated by Guantánamo Diary  (Hachette/Little, Brown), a memoir by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Larry Siems. The author, who is still being held at the prison, details the tortures he has endured there. Featured on yesterday’s Morning Edition, the host noted, “The Pentagon confirmed to NPR that for a brief period at Guantanamo in 2003, a ‘special interrogation plan’ was designed for Slahi, and it was outside the military’s own standard interrogation procedures.”

Excerpts are published in People magazine, it will be on the cover of the Feb. 15 NYT Book Review (online now, three weeks ahead of the print version, presumably to coincide with the publication), is featured in the L.A. Times, reviewed by The Washington Post. and the basis for a NYT Op-Ed piece.

The Guardian. which is serializing the book, features a documentary about it on their Web site:

In the U.K., celebrities, including Colin Firth, Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nick Cave are supporting the “Free Slahi” campaign.

Check your orders. Most libraries have ordered conservatively and holds are light so far, but we expect them to surge as the story creates even more headlines.

UPDATE: coverage is expected on Friday’s PBS Newshour. ABC This Week is planning coverage, TBA, and the daily NYT is also planning a review. The book was embargoed, so no advance reviews. LJ noted it in Prepub Alert in July and  Kirkus  just posted their review online.

Guantánamo Diary
Mohamedou Ould Slahi, edited by Larry Siems,
Hachette/Little, Brown,  January 20, 2015
Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio,  9781478986942
E-Book, 9780316328609

Buy Alert: MARCH, BOOK TWO

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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The second book of the award-winning graphic memoir by Congressman John Lewis, the next in a planned trilogy, arrives today.

Featured today in Entertainment Weekly ‘s “Shelf Life” column, the story notes that Book One, “took the world by surprise. Acclaimed by the comics press and social justice activists alike, it was an engaging and accessible work of nonfiction about one of the most important moments in American history.” It also a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, one of YALSA’s Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens and was on multiple best books list for the year.

Book Two may have taken the library world by surprise. Reviewed last week in Kirkus and yesterday in SLJ‘s “Good Comics for Kids” column, it does not appear on library catalogs we checked.

March: Book Two
Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
Top Shelf; January 20, 2015

m00eIn a  feature about the books on CNN in July, Lewis said he used the comic format because many in his generation in the ’60s were deeply inspired by a comic book called Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Story (watch the video to the end, for a story about libraries).

Top Shelf Comics has republished that comic book in print as well as in a digital bundle with Book One.

RA Alert: Scott McCloud’s
THE SCULPTOR

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 5.07.12 PM

The book on many a comics readers’ mind in the next few weeks (and maybe all year) will be Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor (Macmillan/First Second, Feb. 3), a massive 496 page graphic novel that Cory Doctorow called McCloud’s “magnum opus” back in April. Due out on February 3rd, it is the story of a washed up young artist who makes a deal with Death to create art that will be remembered – but he only gets to live 200 days to do so.

The comic book scene is buzzing with anticipation and Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the “20 Books We’ll Read in 2015.” For advisors who need a bit of backstory, McCloud is a writer/artist that readers treasure for his nonfiction books (drawn, of course) explaining how comics work (Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics - all published by William Morrow). The Sculptor is his first graphic novel in over a decade and follows in the wake of his cult favorite title Zot! (which HarperCollins reprinted in 2008). McCloud discussed creating the book, which took five years, in USA Today last June, sharing that he wanted to make a book that was “an engrossing read — a page-turner from beginning to end.”

Macmillan offers a look at McCloud’s innovative page design, use of perspective, and his color palette of pale blues and deep blacks. First Second provides more images as well as a glimpse of the cover and the spine – showing just how big a book The Sculptor is.

Many libraries have yet to order it, in spite of glowing reviews and stars from library trade journals and the long-simmering publicity.

Pierce Brown, Best Seller

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Red Rising  golden-sun

Debuting on the Jan. 25 NYT hardcover fiction best seller list at #6 is the second in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son, (RH/Del Rey; Recorded Books; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample), surpassing the first book, which spent three weeks on the extended list.

Librarians have been big supporters of the series, making the first title the #1 LibraryRead pick last February. Golden Son is on the current list, with the following recommendation:

“After reading Red Rising, I was looking forward to seeing more of the politics of this world. Darrow has infiltrated the Golds and works to bring them down from the inside, end their tyranny, and free his people. There’s so much political drama and action. Brown does a wonderful job describing it all through Darrow’s eyes. It’s exhausting, thrilling, and heart wrenching!”

Nita Gill, Brookings Public Library, Brookings, SD

Entertainment Weekly calls it the “gripping follow-up to last year’s should-have-been-huge debut.”

It is the lead in this week’s NYT BR “Inside the List” column.

A Dozen Titles for Readers Advisors, Week of Jan. 19

Friday, January 16th, 2015

With no blockbuster names arriving next week, readers advisors can concentrate on the many picks by colleagues.

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 Jan. 26, 2015

Advance Attention

9781594205866_67fe3  9780312622954_970fa  9780393244076_89390

Leaving Before the Rains Come, Alexandra Fuller, (Penguin Press, Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Fans of Fuller’s previous autobiographies, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, will want to know whether this new one is as good. Entertainment Weekly‘s top book critic Tina Jordan, clearly a Fuller fan, says in the new issue’s lead review it is even better than the others and gives it a resounding A. It also received an early review in last week’s NYT BR, and the author is profiled in Home & Garden section.

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Fans of Fuller’s African adventures will be thrilled to find she is back with another engaging memoir, and new readers will want to read her previous works. In Leaving Before the Rains Come, Fuller tells of her unraveling marriage and her realization that she is a person truly between countries, living in the U.S. with her husband and children while her heart and soul remain in Africa. Her experiences in the States change her, and when she returns to Africa she discovers that she no longer fits in as she previously had. Fuller must face some tough questions about who she is and where she belongs, and she does so with her usual intelligence and wit.” —Liz Heywood, The Babbling Book, Haines, AK

Fear the Darkness: A Thriller, Becky Masterman, (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample);

Janet Maslin gives Fear the Darkness early attention in the daily NYT this week. Clearly expecting a winner, based on the authors previous title, Rage Against the Dying, she calls this one “another strong display of the author’s ingenuity” but seems let down by the book’s “involving, if not electrifying, first half.”  In the end, however, she says the “book’s later stages are easily its best and well worth waiting for.”

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, Eric Foner, (Norton)

The NYT covers this book by the Pulitzer Prize winner in a story that should fascinate anyone interested in research.

People Picks 

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Etta and Otto and Russell and James, Emma Hooper, (S&S; OverDrive Sample)

People Pick of the Week, 1/26/15;  ” … a lovely book you’ll want to linger over.”

Also an Indie Next pick:

“Eighty-three-year-old Etta Vogel quietly sets out one day to walk 3,200 kilometers to the coast of Canada for her first view of the ocean. As Etta travels, author Hooper gently and poignantly reveals a lifetime of morally charged events that shaped Etta as well as her husband, Otto, and her lifelong friend, Russell. This is a beautiful and sometimes hauntingly stark portrait of three WWII-generation lives, sprinkled with the wise counsel of a loyal coyote named James. I loved it!” — Susan Tyler, The Book Bin, Onley, VA

See How Small, Scott Blackwood, (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample)

People Pick, 1/26/15:

‘This strange and mesmerizing novel begins with the murder of three teenage girls in an Austin ice-cream shop, then traces the crime’s impact on survivors, including a mother, a witness and an accomplice to the crime. In lyrical, often dream-like prose, Blackwood illuminates the nature of grief and the connections among the living and the dead.”

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, David Adam, (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

People Pick, 1/26/15:

”One day David Adam was a regular guy; the next he scraped himself on a screw and panicked that he’d contracted AIDS. For more than a decade that thought dominated his life. Part memoir, part exploration of the science behind OCD, The Man Who Couldn’t stop is an obsessive read and one with heart.’

LibraryReads Pick

First 9781250019837_9abf8Frost, Sarah Addison Allen, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; OverDrive Sample)

Both a LibraryReads and Indie Next pick

LibraryReads recommendation:

First Frost is a great continuation of the stories of sisters Claire and Sydney, and Sydney’s teenage daughter, Bay. Each of the Waverlys has their own somewhat supernatural gift, and all of them struggle with issues of identity and family. As with Allen’s previous works, this novel will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman and readers who enjoy family stories that are not overflowing with angst and drama.” — Lauren Mitchell, Pima County Libraries, Tucson, AZ

GalleyChat Pick

9780802123190_da341Before He Finds Her, Michael Kardos, (Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press)

GalleyChat Fave, Sept:

“I loved Michael Kardos’s The Three-Day Affair (2012) and was sorry it didn’t get the attention it deserved, so I’m keeping fingers crossed that his newest will find a bigger audience. This fast moving plot about a man who murdered his wife and may be looking for his missing daughter is told from multiple viewpoints and is perfect for Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay readers.” — Robin Beerbower, EarlyWord

Indie Next Picks

9780871407900_0d56aSweetland, Michael Crummey, (Norton/Liveright)

Indie Next recommendation:

“Crummey takes readers into the heart of the insular fishing community of Chance Cove, Sweetland Island, Newfoundland. Sixty-eight-year-old Moses Sweetland’s family founded the town, and he is the only holdout when the government offers the residents a generous cash settlement to relocate to the mainland that is effective only if everyone signs on. Told in sparse, beautiful prose with generous helpings of the local dialect, Sweetland is a requiem for the intimate knowledge of place that a transient society can just barely remember.” —Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

9780062346032_d56d4Migratory Animals, Mary Helen Specht, (Harper Perennial; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next recommendation:

“Specht’s novel weaves together stories of science and art, friends faraway and family returned. Migratory Animals is a coming-of-age tale for grown-ups, a reminder that growing pains don’t stop as we age and change and become who we’re supposed to be — or who we hope to be. Flannery and her friends will grab hold of you and not let go until the last page has been turned.” —Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

9780525427506_43541Unbecoming, Rebecca Scherm, (Penguin/Viking, BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next:

“Julie rents a room in a dilapidated house outside of Paris. She repairs antiques, mostly things no one else wants, and is a loner with no friends or social life. In her room at night, she reads the news from Garland, Tennessee, her hometown, where two men are about to be let out on parole for a crime for which she was the mastermind. Julie is terrified of being found and is just trying to survive. This is an exhilarating page-turner with multi-layered characters and several good twists. Once you hit the halfway point, it’s a race to the finish to find out what’s going to happen.” —Amanda Skelton, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN – See also, our chat with the author, Rebecca Scherm. 

9781616954277_51a87Morte, Robert Repino, (Penguin/Viking; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next:

“Ants conquer the world and pets overthrow their masters in this smart, gripping novel. House cat Sebastian becomes Mort(e), a fearsome warrior for the animal cause. Battling across a dystopian landscape, flushing out the few human survivors, Mort(e) can never quite forget his domesticated past and lost friend, the dog Sheba. A crisis of conscience ensues. What is good? Who is evil? Are the dictatorial ants truly better than the humans with their germ warfare? Laced with humor, this action-packed thriller is thought-provoking.” — Mariga Temple-West, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

Got GOTT?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Girl on the TrainThe major debut of the season, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio Clip; OverDrive Sample), arrives today. Library holds continue to skyrocket, so check to make sure you’ve received your copies.

USA Today just added their review to the mix (as we’ve been tracking, Janet Maslin’s rave in the NYT piqued interest, cemented by attention from People and Entertainment Weekly).  Although USA Today gives it just 3 stars of 4, the final line is a clincher, “Train takes a while to get rolling, but once it does, hang on tight. You’ll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.”

Local papers are beginning to cover it; many feature a review by the Associated Press, “British journalist Paula Hawkins deftly imbues her debut psychological thriller with inventive twists and a shocking denouement.”

The book is currently at #15 on Amazon sales rankings, making it the #2 hardcover fiction title, after Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, (S&S/Scribner). It’s a shoe-in for the NYT list.

Seven Titles to Know And Recommend, The Week of Jan. 12

Friday, January 9th, 2015

9781594633669_dc9b1 9780525954545_51ca6

Making history, the holds leader of the titles arriving next week is a debut, which is getting a flurry of advance reviewsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead, Jan. 13; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample). If you’re thinking that the many Gone Girl comparisons may lead to a movie, you are correct. Film rights were won by Dreamworks prior to publication.

Close behind Hawkins is Tami Hoag’s next psychological thriller, Cold, Cold Heart (Penguin/Dutton).

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 1/12/15.

Advance Attention

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The Magician’s LieGreer Macallister, (Sourcebooks Landmark; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Arriving with three major picks — IndieNext, this week’s People magazine, (a “richly imagined thriller”) and LibraryReads, which gives it the following recommendation:

“Arden is a famous illusionist whose show involves sawing a man in half, but one night, she grabs an axe instead of a knife and her husband is found dead under the stage. Can Arden, an expert at deception, get away with murder–or is she really innocent? Recommended to anyone who likes historical fiction, strong women characters, and surprisingly twisty plots.” — Paula Jones, Brockton Public Library, Brockton, MA

West of Sunset, Stewart O’Nan, (Penguin/Viking; OverDrive Sample)

A favorite on GalleyChat in September, O’Nan’s latest focuses on F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s last years in Hollywood. In her Edelweiss review Darien Library’s Collection Development manager Jennifer Dayton said, “This is a portrait of a man drowning in longing for lost chances, lost loves and lost worlds. I loved it.” It is also the lead review in this issue of Entertainment Weekly, with a solid  B+ and is an IndieNext Pick:

“This novel begins after F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda have streaked across the Jazz Age sky like bright, shiny shooting stars. Scott is in Hollywood working as a script doctor and shakily holding on to sobriety; Zelda is in a mental hospital clinging to sanity just as tenuously. Unaccustomed to the workaday world, Scott struggles to prove his worth in Hollywood by showing up to work on time, paying his bills, and living a life of quiet desperation. Gone are the days of wine and roses; Scott must now learn to live as if there is a tomorrow. O’Nan offers a subtle portrait of an American icon as an ordinary man attempting to redefine himself after nearly losing it all.” — Kerry Spaulding, University Book Store, Mill Creek, WA 

Outline, Rachel Cusk, (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio OverDrive Sample)

We already noted the killer advance review from Dwight Garner in the NYT. It is being followed by another in Sunday’s NYT Book Review.

Media Hits

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The First Bad Man, Miranda July, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio)

The minimalist cover signals something unusual (the back cover is more conventional, filled with quotes from Lena Dunham, Dave Eggers, Hilton Als and A.M. Homes). Several libraries have not ordered it, probably because the pre-pub reviews, while strong, made it sound challenging, or even peculiar (“will delight the open-minded reader looking for something new,” LJ). Those libraries that have bought are showing holds.

Miranda July, experimental artist, filmmaker, and writer, is a media darling who even has a handbag named after her. A feature in the current issue of Elle magazine calls her a “polymath” (a characteristic parodied by The Onion two years ago in a piece titled “Miranda July Called Before Congress To Explain Exactly What Her Whole Thing Is“). Don’t check her online calendar if you’re prone to wondering what you’re doing with your own life. She is also profiled in this Sunday’s NYT Book Review and is scheduled for a feature on NPR’s Weekend EditionExpect more coverage in VogueO MagazineMarie Claire, and Harper’s Bazaar. UPDATE: the daily NYT has joined in, with a review by Michiko Kakutani, saying that the book’s scenes are described in “deliberately grotesque, even repellent terms,” and with a their own profile. This is the link to Sunday’s NPR Weekend Edition interview.

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The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters, Wes Moore, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample)

In 2010, the author published The Other Wes Moore, a parallel look at his own life and the life of another black man, also living in Baltimore and also named Wes Moore. While the author of the book went from fatherless delinquent to becoming an investment banker, Rhodes scholar, and an aide to Condoleezza Rice, the other Wes Moore ended up in prison. That book received media attention, as will the follow up:

Comedy Central Daily Show – some time this month
MSNBC Morning Joe – 1/12
HBO Real Time with Bill Mahr – 1/16

LibraryReads for February:
Anne Tyler is #1

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Topping the February LibraryReads list of the month’s top 10 titles, chosen by library staff from across the country, is Anne Tyler’s latest novel,  A Spool of Blue Thread, (Knopf; RH Audio; 2/10).

Also on the list is GalleyChat favorite, A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; 2/17), a novel that features real-life screwball comedian, Carole Lombard, and My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh, (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; 2/10), also a much-discussed title on GalleyChat, (join us for a chat with the author on Jan. 21).

Check Edelweiss and NetGalley for digital ARC’s. They are generally available until publication day.

And don’t forget to nominate your favorite upcoming titles, with publication dates of March or later (how-to specifics here).

LibraryReads also provides FREE downloadable marketing materials so you can easily:

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• Post online banner ads on your library’s website

• Include LibraryReads-recommended titles in your library’s newsletter

• Print copies of the monthly flyer to post on your community bulletin board and have available as handouts

• Print copies of the horizontal banner for patrons to use as bookmarks

Check Your Orders: AMERICA’S BITTER PILL

Friday, January 9th, 2015

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More attention is on the way for America’s Bitter Pill, (Random House; OverDrive Sample), Steven Brill’s investigation into the health care system, the high cost of drugs, and the corruption systemic in the business of staying well. Featured on the cover of this Sunday’s New York Time’s Book Review, the author is scheduled for an appearance on this week’s CBS 60 Minutes.

After Brill’s appearance on Monday’s Daily Show, the book broke into Amazon’s top 100.

Holds are high in libraries that have bought modest quantities and many have yet to place orders. Fair warning: this is a book on the rise, and it may be destined to become a core title on health care for some years to come. As the Times puts it in their fairly glowing review, Brill “has pulled off something extraordinary — a thriller about market structure, government organization and billing practices, by turns optimistic and pessimistic, by turns superficial and insightful, but always interesting, and deadly important.”