It debuts this week at #15 on the USA Today best seller list. As the fifth hardcover fiction title on the list, it’s likely that tomorrow it will debut on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list in the top 5 (although the list hasn’t been released yet, an early online release of the “Inside the List” column reveals that it lands at #4).
Readers are going back to Ware’s previous title, In A Dark, Dark Wood(S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). It rises to #61 on the USA Today list, its highest spot to date. It was on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list for 2 weeks. Released in paperback in April, it has been steadily moving up the NYT Trade Paperback Fiction list and was at #8 last week. It was recently optioned for a movie.
Both were LibraryReads picks.
Expect that her next book to feature her name above the title.
A week in advance of publication, the daily NYT reviews The Gene: An Intimate History, Siddhartha Mukherjee (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio), signaling high expectations for the book. The first consumer review, it follows stars from all four trade publications of Mukherjee’s second book after his Pulitzer Prize winner and best seller, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (S&S/Scribner, 2010).
Jennifer Senior, the NYT‘s daily nonfiction reviewer, is not as engaged as she would like to be and her review, while appreciative, expresses reservations.
She writes, “Many of the same qualities that made The Emperor of All Maladies so pleasurable are in full bloom in The Gene. The book is compassionate, tautly synthesized, packed with unfamiliar details about familiar people,” but she regrets that its deeper waters are not more clear or its narrative more personal and compelling.
As an example, on the topic of genetic reports she says: “Is there any value in knowing about the existence of a slumbering, potentially lethal genetic mutation in your cells if nothing can be done about it? (Personally, I wish he’d dedicated 50 pages to this question — it’d have offered a potentially moving story line and a form of emotional engagement I badly craved.)”
Libraries have bought it surprisingly cautiously, considering the strong trade reviews and the popularity of Mukherjee’s first book. Expect much more media attention.
Blame it on the Super Bowl, but last week’s new movies failed to perform, with Variety reporting that both The Choice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies did not do well at the box office.
There are more hopes for Deadpool. opening today even though it’s not your normal superhero movie. Entertainment Weekly lauds it for having “the balls to mess with the formula and have some naughty, hard-R fun. It’s a superhero film for the wise-asses shooting spitballs in the back of the school bus.”
An alternative history about a man traveling through time to prevent the assassination of JFK, it has big names attached, produced by J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens, Lost) and starring James Franco the time traveler. However, Entertainment Weekly gives it a lowly C+.
Librarian Nancy Pearl, who has often recommended Beryl Markham’s West with the Night (Macmillan/North Point Press; Blackstone Audio; eBook from OpenRoad Medic; OverDrive sample), interviews author Paula McLain as part of the Book Lust series airing on the Seattle channel. McLain’s fictional take on Markham’s life, Circling the Sun (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) has been a NYT best seller since its publication at the end of July.
The two discuss how McLain came to focus on Markham after her success writing about Hemingway’s first wife in the novel The Paris Wife (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). It turns out that McLain struggled after the publication of that breakout book, spending years searching for a subject.
She wrote hundreds of pages on both Georgia O’Keeffe and Marie Curie only to have both projects fail to take off. Finally, while on vacation with her sister and brother-in-law she stumbled across West with the Night, Markham’s vivid memoir (which even Hemingway, who hated Markham, praised to the skies). McLain’s brother-in-law was reading it poolside and told her it was going to be important in her life. She ignored him and it for a year longer before picking up the story and getting swept away.
Next week the media will continue placing attention on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and on journalist Gary Rivlin’s book, Katrina: After the Flood (S&S). Having already appeared on the cover of the 8/9/15 New York Times Book review, an excerpt is featured in this week’s New York Times Magazine. The author is set to appear today on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, this coming Thursday on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and on CBS Sunday Morning next week.
Sue Grafton not only gets marquee billing on the cover of her new book, she appears to not even need a title, just the image of a letter (what a contrast to the cover of her first book from 1982, where the title gets top billing and her name gets near;y equal billing with her main character’s). The twenty-fourth in her series, it gets stars from Booklist, Kirkus, and PW. Booklist says “Grafton has never been better.” Kirkus adds “Grafton’s endless resourcefulness in varying her pitches in this landmark series … graced by her trademark self-deprecating humor, is one of the seven wonders of the genre” and PW says this is a “superior outing.”
As a former magazine and book editor Elisabeth Egan has a leg up on other first-time novelists. Add to that the fact that she once worked for Amazon, an experience echoed by her character’s punishing job at a company called Scroll, and that Amazon’s working conditions have been in the news lately, and you have a formula for strong media coverage. Indeed, Eagan is profiled in the daily New York Times and her novel is reviewed in this Sunday’s NYT Book Reviewand is a People magazine pick.
Alice Pearse has just accepted a job with Scroll, (a forward-thinking bookstore) but Susannah, her friend who owns the neighborhood bookstore, asks her, “Would you really work for an operation that will be the final nail in the coffin for Blue Owl Books?” On her first day, Alice must set up meetings with 30 agents and editors and assemble 425 top titles to sell in Scroll’s lounges. The job is in addition to having three children, a dog, a husband in the midst of a career change, parents, siblings, and friends. Alice soon realizes this career may not be exactly what she envisioned and must ask herself, what matters the most? — the very question that many of us ask ourselves every day. A delightful, inspiring, and moving tale that will be a top choice for any book group. —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI
Interest in Didion grew with the publication of her memoir about her husband’s death, The Year of Magical Thinking, a National Book Award winner, best seller and the basis for a successful Broadway play, so this first biography of the writer has been eagerly awaited. Reviewing it last week,Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-. It is reviewed, or more accurately, simply “described” by Michiko Kakutani this week in the New York Times, but the L.A. Times is not a fan, saying the book doesn’t tell us any more than we could learn simply by reading Didion’s own words.
“What happens when someone on the autism spectrum grows up, and they aren’t a cute little boy anymore? Gottlieb’s novel follows the story of Todd Aaron, a man in his fifties who has spent most of his life a resident of the Payton Living Center. Todd begins to wonder what lies beyond the gates of his institution. A funny and deeply affecting work.” — Elizabeth Olesh, Baldwin Public Library, Baldwin, NY
Supported by a two-page centerfold ad in the NYT Sunday Book review this week, Penny’s latest is an Indie Next pick.:
“Penny scores again with this story of the struggle between the forces of good and evil in the tiny Canadian village of Three Pines. Retired homicide chief Armand Gamache must use all of his detective skills and worldly wisdom to solve the murder of a young boy, an investigation that uncovers a threat to global security. The eccentric citizens of this remote outpost add their own color and knowledge to the unraveling of this complex mystery. This book is a pure delight!” —Sarah Pease, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA
“I loved this novel about the rise and fall of a man in NYC during the 80s, when money was easy to make and easy to spend. What happens when you can get anything you want, and what does it really end up costing you? The story of the people working in the financial industry during that time is interwoven with the reality of AIDS, cocaine and the changes going on in society. So many sentences were so well-written that I found myself stopping to take them in and relish them.” — Jennifer Cook, Cheshire Public Library, Cheshire, CT
Looking for a new suspense author to suggest? Take a look at Mary Kubica who appears on the verge of a breakout.
Following her debut The Good Girl, which was very positively received, her second novel Pretty Baby(Harlequin/MIRA; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) proves she is a name to know.
The L.A. Times recently gave it a strong review saying “It is rare that a novel of what has come to be called domestic suspense is thrilling and illuminating, but Pretty Baby manages to be both without overtly showing the hard work that has gone into striking the right balance. In doing so, it raises the ante on the genre and announces the welcome second coming of a talent well worth watching.”
New York magazine lists it as one of “8 Books You Need Read This July” and the reviewer for the web site Smart Bitches Trashy Books gave it an A, saying “Pretty Baby is Kubica’s second book, and her sophomore novel is even better than its predecessor, The Good Girl. That’s saying a lot because I loved The Good Girl like whoa.” NPR also gives it a big thumbs up.
On the eve of the release of Dr. Seuss’s new book, What Pet Should I Get?(RH Books for Young Readers; Listening Library), the Today Show features a story focused on the production of the lost manuscript.
Seuss’s longtime assistant offers a reason Seuss may not have published the book himself, suggesting that One Fish, Two Fish appealed to him more, a preference that The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani agreed with in her rhyming review.
In her cover review for the NYT Sunday Book Review, Maria Russo offers the theory that What Pet Should I Get? was a warm-up for One Fish, Two Fish.
The story follows a student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death by her three dogs . As she tries to piece together what happened, she discovers her fiancé was not the person he claimed to be.
As we reported, booksellers are behind it and so is Cain, who says it is “a tense, intriguing psychological mystery … [with] a clearheaded, character-driven style… [filled with] the sort of celebration of simple moments more often seen in short stories.”
As Cain points out, the creation of the novel is as interesting as its plot. A.J. Rich, is the pen name for two authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, who collaborated on the project begun by their dying friend, Katherine Russell Rich.
At the same time that #blacklivesmatter reveals tp those who weren’t aware that racism still plagues this country, two books also appeared as reminders. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, (Harper), reveals the comlex reality behind the saintly character of Atticus Finch.
The holds leader among the titles arrive next week is Julie Garwood’s Wired (Penguin/Dutton), one of the author’s contemporary romance/thrillers. UPDATE: It appears that this title has been postponed.B&T’s Title Source now shows the publishing date as July 4, 2017.
Close behind is Badlands by C.J. Box (Macmillan/Minotaur), indicating, along with a print run double the size of his previous title, that Box is gaining a wider audience. Booklist, in a starred review says, ‘If Box isn’t a household name yet, he will be.”
The third holds leader is Paula McLain’s Circling The Sun (RH/Ballantine), a fictionalized bio of aviation pioneer Beryl Markham. It’s also a peer pick, receiving stars from all four trade reivews and selected as a LibraryReads title.
“I couldn’t stop reading this fascinating portrayal of Beryl Markham, a complex and strong-willed woman who fought to make her way in the world on her terms. McLain paints a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1920s and the life of expats making their home there. Highly, highly recommended.” — Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC
The new issue of People chooses it as the “Book of the Week,” describing the subject as a “novelists;s dream.” The Wall Street Journal features it with an excerpt and the author is schedule to appear on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered on August 1.
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 7/27/15
Consumer Media Picks
Gonzo Girl: A Novel, Cheryl Della Pietra, (S&S/Touchstone)
Della Pietra worked for the original “gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson and this barely fictionalized account of that experience naturally fascinates journalists, so it is getting wide attention. Trade reviews are mostly positive but object, as PW puts it that “it’s an occasional slog to read through pages of druggy non conversation.” LJ offers a very specific recommendation, “For readers curious about Thompson’s lifestyle and fans of eccentric characters and meandering journeys featuring copious amounts of illegal substances,” (try to spot that demographic in your community studies). It is #2 on Entertainment Weekly “Must List: Top 10 Things We love This Week,” high placement for a book, and the author is interviewed in the issue.
A People pick, ” …about a 16-year-old homeless girl, a baby and a Chicago mother who is trying to help them . The sense of danger intensifies as mysteries surrounding both the girl and her benefactor slowly emerge. It all builds to a stunning climax involving revelations you won’t see coming.”
“This novel is quirky and colorful. The story revolves around chef Eva Thorvald and the people who influence her life and her cooking. With well-drawn characters and mouthwatering descriptions of meals, Kitchens of the Great Midwest will appeal to readers who like vivid storytelling. Foodies will also enjoy this delicious tale.” — Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ
One of our favorite comments on the book comes from Jen Dayton, Darien Public Library, who said at the BEA Librarians Shout ‘n’ Share program, this book “Will do for cooking what The Art Of Fielding did for baseball.”
The author spoke at the Penguin Random House breakfast during BEA.
“Crooked Heart is a rewarding, addictive read. Orphaned ten-year-old bookworm Noel, sent away to rural St. Albans, finds himself under the reluctant guardianship of Vee, aka Mrs. Vera Sledge. Amidst a chaotic background of bombings and uncertain futures, Vee and Noel gradually form a powerful bond. I recommend this darkly humorous, honest, and complex story. It is book club heaven.” — Janet Schneider, Oceanside Library, Oceanside, NY
You shouldn’t judge a book by its trailer, so we’ll add that, besides a great trailer, this book gets a starred review from PW, “Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman) melds the modern vampire myth with comic mystery and detective fiction in this intriguing and intelligent horror novel …Though sometimes a touch slow in between action scenes, this deep and terrifying vampire story is as nuanced as it is thrilling.”
Adapted by the team behind American Splendor, the film stars Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch, and Emily Mortimer and is set in the hardcore punk scene of Manhattan during the late 80s, on the eve of the Tompkins Square Park riots.
Bryson is played by Robert Redford. Joining him in his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail is his old pal Katz, a man even less prepared for the effort than Bryson, played by Nick Nolte (in a role originally intended for Redford’s late friend Paul Newman).
On the comics fast track, Scott Snyder has won an Eisner award for both The Wake (DC/Vertigo, 2014) and for American Vampire (DC/Vertigo, Vol 8 coming in January) and has worked on various superhero comics.
He may become a household name with his new comic Wytches (Image Comics, July 9, collects the original issues 1-6). In an interview with the author, New York magazine calls it “a tale of remarkably visceral terror” and notes that Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is adapting it as a feature film.
The story, which takes place in a tiny remote area of New Hampshire, follows the Rooks family as they encounter a terrifying evil lurking in the woods. Each episode ends with a personal essay by Snyder addressing anxiety and depression. Illustrated with creepy genius by Jock (himself a cult figure in comics), the experience is pretty intense. Libraries that own it are showing heavy holds on light orders.
For more on Snyder, see the 2011 profile in the LA Times “Hero Complex” (Parts One, Two and Three).
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returns from hiatus this week, with two authors deeply concerned with the issues of race in America.
Tomorrow night’s guest is an author who has appeared on the show seven times, but hasn’t published a book since 2007 (Dreams from My Father), Barack Obama, His last appearance on the show was just before his 2012 re-election when he had to endure a ribbing by Stewart about a poor showing in one of the debates.