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

On an NPR Roll

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Author Helen Oyeyemi is in the NPR spotlight.

9781594634635_4748dYesterday Maureen Corrigan reviewed her newest collection of short stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (PRH/Riverhead; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), on NPR’s Fresh Air, praising the author’s “nouveau Gothic stories” as so memorable that they “leave a deep impression — like a scar that stubbornly refuses to fade.”

NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed Oyeyemi earlier in the week for Morning Edition. He asks her about her use of fairy tales and the way her imagination works.

Of fairy tales she says:

“I am trying to find out what endures — because these stories are so old, and have been retold by so many tellers, in so many different forms. There’s a way in which, when you retell a story, you’re testing what in it is relevant to all times and places. Bits of it hold up, and bits of it crumble and then new perspectives come through, and I like that the fairy tale is one of the only stories that can bear the weight of all that.”

When asked if books are more real than the actual world she replies:

“I think everything is equally real. … It’s just a question of different categories of reality, I guess, and not giving one greater precedence than the other.”

Earlier in the month reviewer Michael Schaub offered his take on the collection for NPR book reviews (web only). In his glowing appraisal he says:

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is a lot of things: dreamy, spellbinding, and unlike just about anything you can imagine. It’s a book that resists comparisons; Oyeyemi’s talent is as unique as it is formidable. It’s another masterpiece from an author who seems incapable of writing anything that’s less than brilliant.”

Holds are high at several libraries we checked and even where systems have gotten on top of holds, circulation is brisk.

Hitting Screens, Week of March 21, 2016

Friday, March 18th, 2016

WallPoster  The_Little_Prince_(2015_film)_poster  9780316311373_839cd

Fulfilling hints last week that the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Allegiant, would open to some hard critical hitsThe Guardian gives it two stars (out of five), saying “All types of people will find something that irks them in the penultimate part of the Divergent franchise,” while A.V. Club gave it a C+, under the headline “Allegiant is the best Divergent yet, and still not good enough.”

The news for The Little Prince was even worse, it was yanked from distribution just a few days before it was due to open. UPDATE: Netflix has since picked up the rights with plans to stream it “later this year.”

Whether or not it does well at the box office, Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner opening today has already propelled the tie-in onto best seller lists. It moved to #20 on the week’s USA Today list.

On to next week. Viewers will have a chance to re-visit a number of favorite characters from the past.

MV5BNTE5NzU3MTYzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM5NjQxODE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_The biggest movie opening is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Starring Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. It opens March 25th.

Anticipation is high for the iconic smackdown as Batman decides Superman is a bit out of control. Deadline reports advanced ticket sales are outpacing those for Deadpool, Avengers, and Furious 7.

A junior novel tie-in came out last month. It was billed as a companion novel and riffs off the movie, Cross Fire: An Original Companion Novel (Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Michael Kogge (Scholastic Inc.; OverDive Sample).

9780316315050_20c78I Saw The Light also opens on the 25th. It tells the story of country-western singer Hank Williams and stars Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

A tie-in came out last November: I Saw the Light: The Story of Hank Williams, Colin Escott with George Merritt and William MacEwen (Hachette/Back Bay Books; OverDrive Sample).

9781632862907_18f48In TV-land PBS fans mourning the end of Downton can console themselves with the start of the second season of Grantchester, starring the dishy village vicar who loves jazz music and a married woman. It will run from March 27 until May 1.

These slightly less than cozy tales are adapted from the books by James Runcie, which collect a series of short mystery stories into several volumes. A tie-in edition, Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample), comes out March 22.

9781476748658_e8f31Fans of The Bridge get ready for part 2. Hallmark fast tracked it after the success of part one which aired in December.

A tie-in edition came out in October 2015, The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

MV5BMjM4ODYxMDk2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjgzNjMxODE@._V1_UY268_CR9,0,182,268_AL_Over on NBC Heartbeat begins. The show is loosely based on the real life story of Dr. Kathy Magliato, one of the nation’s few women heart surgeons. She wrote a medical memoir, Healing Hearts, which was reissued as Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon (PRH/Harmony; OverDrive Sample) back in 2011. It now bears the sticker, “The Book That Inspired Heartbeat Now on NBC.”

The show begins airing on March 23.

Getting Attention: Senior Sex

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

9781632862334_b1c9aFor those who were disappointed that Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t about “old people getting it on,” a new book takes on the topic. Scary Old Sex: Stories  (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample), a debut short story collection by Arlene Heyman, a practicing psychiatrist  is soaring up the Amazon charts, jumping from #6,527 to #303.

In his recent NYT’s review, Dwight Garner praises the collection of stories largely concerned with sex and love past a certain age, saying it is “rueful and funny and observant” and that a few of the stories “take startling turns and have edges made from razor wire.”

While acknowledging that some of the stories are not completely successful, Garner says “Ms. Heyman is never an uninteresting writer … These men and women are busily and blissfully humanizing themselves, the kind of bliss that lifts right off the page.”

Heyman, 73, has been writing privately for decades. Once a student of Bernard Malamud’s, she put that career on the back burner to train as a pyschiatrist. Garner says that readers “can be glad she didn’t abandon it completely, and has been slowly composing these mature and soulful stories.”

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of February 1, 2016

Friday, January 29th, 2016

9780399170898_c5402  9780345541406_34305

Among the titles arriving next week, the leader in both holds and number of copies ordered is Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb (PRH/Berkley; Brilliance Audio) followed by Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel, by Jonathan Kellerman (PRH/Ballantine; PRH/BOT Audio; PRH Large Print).

The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet,EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Feb. 1, 2016

Media Attention

9780804139540_3f356  9781101875285_db30c

United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, Peter Bergen, (PRH/Crown)

This book was not reviewed in the pre-pub media, probably due to an embergo in anticipation of an interview with the author Tuesday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. As a result, ibraries have ordered it lightly. The NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani reviewed it earlier this week, saying “Mr. Bergen’s detailed accounts of terror plots (both executed, foiled or failed) make for chilling reading,”

On My Own, Diane Rehm, (PRH/ Random House; BOT/RH Audio; RH Large Print)

The host of the popular and book-friendly Diane Rehm Show on NPR (who recently announced her retirement as of the end of the 2016 Presidential election) writes about her husband’s death from Parkinson’s and her resulting commitment to the right to die movement. She will appear in a live interview with Scott Simon tomorrow on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday .

Peer Picks

9780399160301_6d8b1The #1 LibraryRead pick for February hits shelves this week: Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys (PRH/Philomel Books; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

Jennifer Asimakopoulos of Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL says:

Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.”

Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal each gave it a starred review.

Another LibraryReads pick comes out as well, 9780062413710_4cbaaBe Frank With Me, Julia Claiborne Johnson (Harper/William Morrow; HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Marika Zemke of Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI invites readers to:

“Meet Frank. Frank is an odd 9-year-old boy who has a higher IQ than Einstein’s and dresses as if he were on a movie set in the early 1920s–and he is someone with whom you are sure to fall in love. Frank’s reclusive mother is an author whose publisher has just sent Alice Whitley to serve as an assistant and ensure the next book is completed. The relationship between Frank and Alice is magical. Readers will devour this book and want more. Just magical.”

Be Frank With Me is also an IndieNext pick for February and joins five more titles from that list coming out this week.

9780062400826_5478aSweetgirl, Travis Mulhauser (Harper/Ecco; HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“When her addict mother goes missing, Percy James is determined to find her before a winter storm descends upon their rural Michigan town. When Percy arrives at the drug dealer’s house, the smells and clutter don’t surprise her, but the discovery of a screaming infant does. Percy grabs the child and sets out to find help for her, no matter what the cost. Determined to save this little girl, Percy takes risks she never thought she could assume, and through the journey she finds she can save herself as well. Fans of Ron Rash will fall in love with Percy in Mulhauser’s debut!” —Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

9780618663026_49632The Queen of the Night, Alexander Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Blackstone Audio).

“This historical novel about an opera singer is as grand and theatrical as opera itself. It is the story of a legendary soprano who looks back at her past to solve a mystery, but it is also a story of an artist and the road she takes to become one. Chee attempts the seemingly impossible — to describe a soprano voice with words — and he succeeds brilliantly, creating a tale that is vivid, intricate, and rich. Throw in cameos by figures like Verdi and George Sand, fascinating details about royal fashions, 19th century Paris, theater, and a circus, and the result is a perfect novel.” —Anton Bogomazov, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC

9780778318651_16f01Missing Pieces, Heather Gudenkauf (Harlequin/MIRA; Brilliance Audio).

“Gudenkauf once again weaves her magic, drawing readers into her latest work. Missing Pieces is a story of dark family secrets that have multiplied over the years, eroding the trust and love between husbands and wives, siblings, parents, and children. Gudenkauf uses deliberate pacing, skillful character development, and even the old nursery rhyme ‘Three Blind Mice’ to bring this thriller to a perfect, stunning ending.” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

9781250076427_e5bd5The Forgetting Time, Sharon Guskin (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio).

Also People‘ magazine’s  “Book of the Week” in the new issue.

“Psychologist Dr. Jerry Anderson is literally losing his mind — aphasia is taking away his memory and his ability to communicate — when he is introduced to the severe behavior problems of four-year-old Noah. From the few clues, it seems Noah has lived a previous life. Anderson fights to keep his lucidity long enough to complete this final investigation of his career, trying to make sense of this young boy while also attempting to make sense of his own life. A compelling, dynamic, and intriguing debut novel.” —Allen Murphey, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

9781250079039_90308The Yid, Paul Goldberg (Macmillan/Picador).

“When Solomon Levinson escapes arrest in the final days of Joseph Stalin’s regime, he embarks on a quixotic attempt to kill the leader of the Soviet Union. Along with Friederich Lewis, an African American who has left Omaha for the Soviet Union, and a ragtag crew of Soviet dissenters, Levinson races to thwart a monstrous plan to unleash a second Holocaust against the Jews of Russia. The Yid is a very serious farce, a philosophical novel larded with pitch black comedy. Fans of City of Thieves and Absurdistan will love Goldberg’s ambitious new novel.” —David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

9781476797380_c89f1The Flood Girls, Richard Fifield (S&S/Gallery Books; Blackstone Audio).

“Rachel Flood moves back home to a rural anywhere town: Quinn, Montana. In Quinn, dirty bars breed dirty people, and Rachel struggles to find kindness in a place that kindness seems to have abandoned. These are the ’90s, and these are the women — crude and unapologetic — who carry Fifield’s debut to its shocking, though perhaps necessary, end with the harsh winds that slam across Montana’s eastern prairie. Booze, softball, western wildlife, bar fights — and the clothes! The music!” —Lauren Korn, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT


Based on the novels by Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale, SundanceTV debuts a new original series, Hap and Leonard, on March 2nd. The show stars James Purefoy (The Following), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).

9780316329408_4b78bThe Texas-set crime series currently contains nine novels and several shorter works. The most recent book in the series, Honky Tonk Samurai (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio), comes out this week, with a cover tie-in to the TV show. It was widely praised in reviews, racking up stars in Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly.

Netflix begins a new season of Ever After High episodes starting on Jan. 29. The show supports a Mattel doll franchise in which Manga/Barbiesque dolls, based on fairy tale stories, have adventures.

9780316270458_bae1dTie-ins include Ever After High: Dragon Games: The Deluxe Junior Novel, Mattel (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and the leveled reader, Ever After High: Let the Dragon Games Begin!, Margaret Green (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

(For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins).

Sugar-Coating Called Worse Than
No Representation At All

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780375868320_ac721Shortly after A Fine DessertFour Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat  (RH/Schwartz & Wade, Jan.) was selected as one of the ten Best Illustrated Book by the NYT Book Review, NPR’s Code Switch reported on the simmering controversy over the book’s portrayal of an enslaved mother and daughter in a story titled,”The Kids’ Book A Fine Dessert Has Award Buzz — And Charges Of Whitewashing Slavery.”

The story comes full circle with an article in the New York Times, online Friday (in print on Saturday), “A Fine Dessert: Judging a Book by the Smile of a Slave.”

The book portrays history through the making of a single dessert, blackberry fool, in four different centuries, 1710, 1810, 1910, and 2010. The section from 1810 portrays an enslaved woman and her daughter making the dessert for a white family, then licking the remains from the bowl while hidden in a closet. Many objected that the mother and daughter appear to be enjoying the process of creating the fool, feeding the myth of the “happy slave” and that the closet scene, while stark in contrast, needs more context (see the NYT story for images of the pages).

The reactions have caused a soul-searching on the part of the books’  creators as well as at least one reviewer.

As the NYT notes, author Emily Jenkin has posted an apology online, saying that she will donate her writing fee to the campaign We Need Diverse Books.

Illustrator Sophie Blacknall, however, defends the book, as she did on Tuesday, responding to direct criticisms from author Daniel José Older at the Fall Conference of the New York City School Library System (section begins at time stamp 21:15).

The book received four starred reviews (the only holdout and the only prepub reviewer to raise a flag about the issue was Publishers Weekly). The Book Review Editor for School Library Journal, Kiera Parrott, wrote that publication’s starred review. She has posted comments on Twitter, and published them on Storify as “Reflecting on A Fine Dessert,” saying that at first she first felt the book’s depiction offered “a great opportunity to talk to [children] about America’s dark and painful history.” After reading what others have had to say, she says that she now realizes she was wrong and that, “It may feel odd for those of us who want to see more diversity to realize that sometimes NO representation is better than bad representation.”

For those who want to dive deeper into the issue,  SLJ, has published a bibliography of discussion.

Pennie’s October Pick

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

9780062279972_08eefCostco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello has recently featured well-known titles as her influential monthly “Pennie’s Pcks” (Me Before You, Circling The Sun, and The Girl On The Train were the July, August, and September selections).

Her October pick breaks the mold.

Brian Payton’s 2014 novel The Wind Is Not a River (Harper/Ecco; OverDrive Sample), while not exactly under the radar, did not achieve bestseller status.

It was both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads choice when it came out in hardcover. Librarian Nancy Pearl interviewed Payton in an “Author One-on-One” for Amazon, when it was picked as an Amazon Best Book of the Month.

9780062279989_27b0cThe novel explores a little-known aspect of WWII, the fierce fighting between Japanese and U.S.soldiers on Alaska’s Aleutians islands. The trade paperback edition features a cover that focuses on the relationship in the novel, underscored by a blurb from the USA Today review, “a haunting love story,” over the WWII survival story.

This month’s Costco Connection interviews Payton. In a sidebar Ianniciello says the novel is “so much more than a history lesson, this is a beautiful story about the way loss can affect people.”

Keep your eye on this one; Pennie’s Picks often have a widespread effect.


Friday, September 25th, 2015

Exhibiting an uncanny ability to ferret out titles that readers will be talking about in the coming months, GalleyChatters discussed their recent favorites earlier this month.

A couple of titles received such enthusiastic recommendations that many rushed to  download DRCs immediately. Check here for the complete list of titles mentioned during the chat to discover more titles for your TBR pile.

— Robin Beerbower, EarlyWord GalleyChat columnist.

A Little Quirky

9780385541039_1b16f-2  9781101874141_9e7a9

Regular chatter Jennifer Dayton, collection development specialist for Darien, CT Library, has a good eye for popular novels that have an element of “quirkiness.” When she raves about books, we listen (after all, she was the first to spot Fates and Furies). One of her recent finds is American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis (RH/Doubleday, January). She says, “Ellis picks up the rock of American domesticity and shows us what’s underneath, and while it’s not always pretty it is pretty hilarious in the darkest, most twisted of ways. “ A fan of the novel The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf, November), told from the viewpoint of a piece of art, she thinks it will appeal to those who liked Me Before You (JoJo Moyes), saying, “Aspiring chef, Annie McDee takes home a painting she found in a secondhand shop having no idea that she has stumbled upon an ‘Important Work’ that will upend the London Art scene. This is a wonderful tale of art, food, love, war and the power of beauty.”

9780812998689_94f63David Mitchell’s Slade House (Random House, October), a companion to The Bone Clocks, a mind-bending collection of unsettling and spooky stories about vanishing guests, is being compared to Stephen King. Adrienne Cruz (Azusa, CA, City Library) found the stories terrifying and said “The book was short and on point, all you have are the chills with no slow bits. I would easily recommend this to folks who want an engaging story and the slim tome is an easy sell for those who are impatient or pressed for time.”

Thrilling Crimes

9780062413864_7b3e0  9781250058799_94cb2  9781590517239_edf7e

Thrillers generally get kudos each month on GalleyChat,  and September was no exception. My favorite was Gilly Macmillan’s What She Knew (HarperCollins/Morrow, December). The author has taken the somewhat worn plot of a missing child with the ensuing chaos and angst and made it into a realistic and believable page-turner. This is definitely a cut above the abundance of Gone Girl readalikes that have emerged over the past few years.

With comparisons to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series American Blood by Ben Sanders (Macmillan/Minotaur, November) is poised to be a sure-fire pleaser. Elizabeth Kanouse (Denville, NJ, Public Library) says of this mystery featuring a retired detective endangering his witness protection status by searching for a missing girl, “Sanders has crafted a superb thriller set in the deserts and cities of New Mexico. You’ll be guessing the outcome right up until the final, surprising pages.”It has powerful fans in Hollywood. Last year,  Warner Bros. acquired it for a screen adaptation, with plans for Bradley Cooper to star. There’s been no news on in since, however.

New espionage titles are always welcome and Janet Lockhart from Wake Co Library (NC) said Simon Mawer’s Tightrope (Other Press, November), the sequel to Trapeze, is a worthy follow-up. She said, “Loved the writing and twists and turns of the plot. I would recommend this to readers who love Le Carre, Ludlum, et al.”

A Weeper

I9781250051905_81714f you read After You, the sequel to JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You, and have leftover tissues, put them to good use by reading Sally Hepworth’s The Things We Keep (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, January). Marika Zemke from Commerce Township Public Library stayed up all night to finish this moving story of a 38-year-old woman with early onset Alzheimer’s who falls in love with another care home resident. Marika said “What follows is a story about all types of love…romantic love, mother/daughter love, compassionate love and more.” I’ll add reading this gave me the same feeling as when I first read Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.

A Life Story

9781250077691_f091eNarrated at a breakneck pace, Ruth Wariner’s mesmerizing and believable Sound of Gravel (Macmillan/Flatiron, January) is a very impressive memoir. Raised in a polygamous household in Mexico, Wariner escaped as a teen and went on to raise three younger sisters. Book groups will clamor for this memoir that is a cross between Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle and Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club with a smidge of Betty Mahmoody’s Not Without My Daughter. It’s also a good bet for older teens who want a readalike for Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It.

Please join us Tuesday, October 6 at 4:00 ET (3:30 for virtual happy hour) for more surprises. If you wish to keep up with my favorites on Edelweiss, please friend me.

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;

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.

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.


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.

Eight Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 28

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Next week brings the second anniversary of the escape of three women who were abducted and held prisoner in a home in Cleveland, celebrated by the release of a new book about their ordeal. A struggle of a different sort is examined by literary favorite Karl Ove Knausgaard. Leading in holds is John Sanford’s new title in the Prey series, while indies, fellow librarians and Entertainment Weekly all herald favorites of the week.

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 27, 2015

Holds Leaders

9780399168796_8c46f  9781250020086_ce493  9781501110993_a568e

Gathering Prey, John Sandford, (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

The 25th in the Prey series, this comes just six months after the author’s previous best seller, Deadline.

Your Next Breath, Iris Johansen, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

Not to be outdone by prolific author Sanford, Johansen’s next also arrives six months after her previous title, The Perfect Witness

Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories, Mary Higgins Clark, (S&S; S&S/Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

Much further down the holds lists, we love the title of the new collection of stories.

Media Attention

9780525427650_1b468-2Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

Two years ago, three women finally escaped from a home in Cleveland where they had been chained and repeatedly raped by their abductor. People magazine features an excerpt of a new book by two of those women in the new issue (not yet online, promo here) and Robin Roberts will do an hour-long ABC hour special with the authors on Tuesday.

ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos

Finding MeMore is coming on the story.

On Saturday, May 2, Lifetime will air a movie, Cleveland Abduction based on a book published last year by the third  Cleveland captive, Michelle Knight, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, (Perseus/Weinstein; OverDrive Sample).


9780914671008_83538 9781935744825_215c2 9781935744863_bc8ba 

My Struggle: Book Four, Karl Ove Knausgaard, (Steerforth/Archipelago; OverDrive Sample)

Most of us are n9780914671176_e9ba7ot in on the cult surrounding Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard, called by some a “modern-day Proust” for his series of autobiographical novels. For an examination of the phenomenon, read the quote-peppered piece in this week’s New York Magazine, “The Very Public Saga of Karl Ove Knausgaard Writing About Himself.”

Further proving his cred as a writer’s writer, the latest title in the series is reviewed by Jeffrey Eugenides in the week’s NYT Book Review, who notes, “I may be the first reviewer of Knausgaard’s autobiographical works who has appeared in one of them,” putting him, he claims, in a position to “judge how [Knausgaard} uses the stuff of his life to fashion his stories.”

The result? Eugenides judges him no less than a great writer. The first three hardcovers have been released in trade paperback by Macmillan/FSG and Recorded Books is doing them in audio.


9780307700322_4dba0  9780316244725_d34a3  9781594204920_d9710

Early Warning, Jane Smiley, (RH/Knopf; RH & BOT Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

“In the second book of the Langdon trilogy, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist follows the next generation of the unforgettable Iowa family introduced in Some Luck. Beginning with the death of the patriarch Walter in 1953, Smiley chronicles the social consciousness in America of the 1960s. The book goes up to events in the 1970s and early 1980s that touch each family member in unforeseen ways.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

Smiley was interviewed on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show this week.

The Doll Maker, Richard Montanari, (Hachette/Mulholland; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Number three on the “Must List” in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly:
“The eighth installment in the popular Byrne and Balzano series sees the detectives investigating a string of gruesome murders. Children are killed then posed in public like dolls. Your pulse will race as they try to solve the case before another life is lost.”

The Last Bookaneer, Matthew Pearl, (Penguin Press; Penguin & BOT Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample)

The audio is narrated by Golden Voice Simon Vance. Treat yourself by giving it a listen:

Indie Next:
“An adventure, a mystery, an historical fiction — this exciting read defies categorization. With quirky and engaging characters who are at once villains, crooks, and heroes, along with exotic locations, literary figures, fast-paced action, and a surprise ending, this novel has something for everyone. Changing copyright laws spell the end of the line for career book thieves and spies, and a race against time and competitors makes for a story that is hard to put down. This will be another bestseller for Pearl!” —Coleen Colwell, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

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.