Archive for the ‘2016 — Spring’ Category

GALLEYCHATTER, November 2015, Winter Reading for 2016 Titles

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The following post is from our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower:

As the winter weather descends on most of us, settle in for some absorbing books so you’ll be prepared to order those late winter/spring titles. Check the titles on Edelweiss and NetGalley to fill your reader for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Click here for the complete list of titles mentioned during the chat.

Thanks for the Memoirs

November was a big month for celebrity “tell-all” releases (Leah Remini, Carly Simon, Burt Reynolds) so it’s refreshing to see a few lesser-known people telling their own inspiring or fascinating stories.

9781501112461_cb3d8Quickly gaining “much love” on Edelweiss is My Father, the Pornographer, Chris Offutt (S&S/Atria, February). Jennifer Dayton from Darien Library recommends it saying it is “blowing her away,” and Vicki Nesting loved it saying, “How does your understanding of your father change when you learn that he wrote more than 400 books in his lifetime — most of them pornography?  This is spare and incisive, and occasionally heartbreaking.”

9780393249095_2554eDiana Abu-Jaber’s also focuses on family and incorporates her love of food into Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Family and Food (Norton, April). Jennifer Dayton is a fan, saying, “Life is like what we crave to eat, sometimes we want savory and sometimes sweet. Abu-Jaber shows us the conflicting messages she received as a girl from the two people she loved the most, from her German grandmother, who loved sweet, the need to remain independent and from her Arab father, who was all about the savory and  the fervent hope for her to be married and settled.”

9781101875551_92053Pulitzer prize winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri’s goal to become fluent in Italian is showcased in her beautifully written memoir, In Other Words (PRH/Knopf, February). P. J. Gardiner (Wake Country Library, NC) enjoyed it saying, “A primarily English speaker, Lahiri studied Italian for years before deciding to move to Rome and immerse herself. What follows is a dual language (Italian translated to English) memoir sharing her journey of taking risks, learning, and reflecting.”

Under the Radar Thriller Authors

9780062390486_5a494Alafair Burke is following in the bestselling footsteps of her father, James Lee Burke, with her new stand-alone thriller, The Ex (HarperCollins, January). Andrienne Cruz (Azusa City Library) thought it was terrific saying, “Olivia Randall doesn’t expect to help her ex fiancé when he is accused of murder. Burke keeps this book alive with a smart protagonist, interesting characters and a fluid story, and a clever twist will keep readers guessing till the very end.”

9781250067845_bea7bGregg Hurwitz is another author who doesn’t commonly appear on suspense thriller radars, but his new title, Orphan X (Macmillan/Minotaur, January) is receiving advance buzz from our chatters and Edelweiss members also agree with the “much love” votes rising. Elizabeth Kanouse (Denville Public Library, NJ) said his forthcoming roller-coaster of a read is perfect for fans of Jason Bourne and the Mission: Impossible franchise: “Evan Smoak is a killing machine, government trained from the his boyhood. He’s now working freelance, helping those who need his kind of help. Something goes wrong with his latest client, and he finds himself on the run, up against someone whose skills may surpass his own.”

Debut Novels

9781250077974_f2240The novel Cold Mountain and books by Cormac McCarthy first come to mind when reading Fallen Land by Taylor Brown (Macmillan/St. Martin’s;January), according to collection development specialist Janet Lockhart of Wake (NC) County Library. She goes on to say, “With just their wits and their trusted horse, a young couple race for the coast at the same time as Sherman’s army is burning its way across Georgia. A love story told amidst the horrors of war, this is a beautifully written and paced debut novel.”

9780062414212_2b722Ever since Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, I have hungered for another novel of fraught family dynamics (with a dash of dysfunction) with irritating yet relatable characters. I found it in Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s first novel, The Nest (HarperCollins/Ecco, March). The novel centers around the financial difficulties of three siblings after their arrogant brother’s foolish accident which drains their inheritance, known as “The Nest.” Sweeney does a masterful job of narrating the story from multiple viewpoints and having it all come to a satisfying close. I agree with a few GoodReads reviewers who are predicting this could be the surprise spring bestseller.


9780812993103_f08de“Imagine a Jane Austen novel set in WWI England!” is how Janet Lockhart describes Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War (PRH/Random House, March). Her affection for this novel by the author of the book group favorite Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was echoed by Bryant Library’s (NY) Janet Schneider who said, “From it’s opening scenes, set in East Sussex in extraordinarily-beautiful August 1914, this captures the final moments of innocence before the steep costs of war deeply impacted a family, a town and a way of life. Jacqueline Winspear and Kate Morton fans will be entranced.”

Please join us for the next GalleyChat on Tuesday, December 1, from 4:00-5:00 (ET). Come early,for virtual cocktails at 3:30. With so many titles being sprung for spring, “friend” me on Edelweiss to keep up with what I’m anticipating.

STAR WARS Tie-ins,
Delays Precede the Flood

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

9781101965498_b7ee8The official novelization of the new Star Wars movie will be pushed back until January.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney/Lucasfilms is so determined to prevent spoilers that they have asked their publishing partner Del Rey (PRH) to delay publication of The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster (PRH/Del Rey/LucasBooks; Random House Audio/BOT) until January 5, several weeks after the movie hits theaters on Dec. 17.

WSJ quotes a Lucasfilm’s spokeswoman who confirms that the move is “an effort to keep as many surprises as possible for audiences seeing the movie on the big screen.”

The e-book version (9781101965504) will release earlier than the print, on the day the movie opens. According to WSJ, Disney fears that, because of the lead time for publishing a print book, the files could be hacked ahead of the film’s release, but the company doesn’t see that as an issue for e-books.

There are still plenty of books related to the film to keep readers occupied.

1484724968_856fb9780345511621_3fa33Chief among them is Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig (PRH/Del Rey/Lucas Books; OverDrive Sample), a bridge book spanning the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Books for the children’s market such as Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure by Jason Fry (Hachette/Disney Lucasfilm Press; OverDrive Sample) are also not affected by the delay as they too are set between movies and do not encroach on The Force Awakens story line.

9781465438164_c1478 9781419717802_c1eb5

Once the movie debuts, more books will arrive, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo (PRH/DK; Dec.) and The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Phil Szostak (Abrams, Dec).

After that, the floodgates open. The website Outer Places reports that many new titles were announced during last month’s New York Comic Con. Pablo Hidalgo, LucasFilm’s Creative Executive “revealed that fans could expect a host of new Star Wars publishing stories, which would range from e-shorts to Star Wars Insider shorts to full novels…. all part of a huge new wave of Star Wars storytelling, which is scheduled to kick off in Spring of next year.” (See our listing of tie-ins).

As part of this wave Chuck Wendig’s second and third books in the Aftermath trilogy were announced, Aftermath 2: Life Debt (PRH/Del Rey/LucasBooks, 978-1101966938; May 31, 2016) and Aftermath 3: Empire’s End (no bibliographic info. yet).

Also forthcoming is a book by Claudia Gray titled Star Wars: New Republic: Bloodline. PRH/Del Rey/LucasBooks, 978-0345511362; March 29, 2016). According to Outer Places, “whereas Aftermath explores the moments immediately after Return of the Jedi, Gray’s new novel will be set 6 years before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, skipping ahead and hopefully giving some backstory to the characters and worlds that will be core to JJ Abrams upcoming movie.”

1484724984_c29a7Gray’s most recent Star Wars title is Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lost Stars (Hachette/Disney Lucasfilm Press; OverDrive Sample; Sept)

It will not end there. As the WSJ noted in their story, “Del Rey has published more than 150 Star Wars titles, including the first in the series, based on the original 1977 movie.” In a niffty incident of closing a circle, that original novelization says WSJ, was ghostwritten by the author of the new one, Alan Dean Foster, althoughGeorge Lucas was given the credit.

The most recent trailer for The Force Awakens set the Internet ablaze.

GalleyChatters Lead Us Into Spring

Friday, October 30th, 2015

The following post is from our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower:

During the October GalleyChat over 400 tweets were exchanged so winnowing the 100 plus titles down to a reasonable number was a challenge, but a few front runners did emerge.

For a complete list of all 110 titles, click here.

Front Runners

9780399174124_9316cThe phrases “grand gothic manor” and “Kate Morton readalike” piqued our curiosity about Eve Chase’s Black Rabbit Hall (PRH/Putman, February). Multiple family secrets? Check. Set in England? Check. Full of chilling atmosphere? Check. We can’t wait. Andrienne Cruz (Azusa, CA, City Library) said “Reading this book makes you feel like that intrigued neighbor who stumbles upon the juicy details of a seemingly perfect family next door.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Join us for a chat with the author on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

9781400067695_73fa3-2 My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout (PRH/Random House, January), by the author of the unforgettable Olive Kitteridge, was also a popular pick. Vicki Nesting from St. Charles Parish Library (LA) described it best: “Stunning! Lucy ends up in the hospital for an extended period of time which gives her plenty of time to reflect on her life, particularly when the mother she hasn’t seen in years comes to sit with her. Strout’s prose is luminous, almost poetic, and completely unforgettable.”

9781451686630_85bcdAlready a hit on Edelweiss, fans of Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files series will flock to her non-series book, The Passenger (Simon & Schuster, March). Janet Lockhart (Wake Country Library, NC) and Booklist’s Rebecca Vnuk enjoyed this dark comedic thriller about a woman going on the lam after her husband is found dead at the foot of the stairs. Rebecca forecasts it will be the smash hit of the spring saying, “Relentless and full of surprises, it’s the story of a woman on the run from her old life. Harlan Coben meets, well, Lisa Lutz!”

Send in the Clones

Poised to follow in the footsteps of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and to become a book group favorite is Jessica Chiarella’s And Again (S&S/Touchstone, January). Cynthia Baskin, discerning reader and devoted GalleyChat participant, echoes my love for this book saying, “Who wouldn’t want a second chance at life with no more terminal illness, no more looming death? Through cloning, four ‘lucky’ people have the opportunity to experience this. The novel’s fascinating concept plays itself out in unexpected ways.”

Tense Suspense

9781101885864_ade43This month’s psychological suspense selection is brought to you by Jane Jorgenson of Madison (WI) Public Library who found the main protagonist of Holly Seddon’s Try Not to Breathe (PRH/Ballantine, February) very appealing. She went on to say “Freelance reporter Alex Dale is doing research on long-term, comatose patients when she comes across Amy Stevenson. Fifteen years ago Amy went missing and was found three days later near death. Alex, who is in denial about her own mess of a life, strives to piece together what went wrong for Amy.”

Historical Characters

9780345528698_a23c9While book groups have discovered Melanie Benjamin, she has always flown a little under the radar but watch for Swans of Fifth Avenue (PRH/Delacorte, January) to be her break out book. Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library (NJ) said, “This delightfully dishy novel perfectly captures the glamour and glitz of mid-20th century New York, breathing life into such characters as Truman Capote and William and Babe Paley making them and their friends seem alive.”

9781605989013_58aacVicki Nesting loved Dana Chamblee Carpenter’s Bohemian Gospel (Norton/Pegasus, November) so much she volunteered to write the description for this column: “13th century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a young woman, especially one like Mouse, an orphan with a sharp mind and mysterious powers. This is an absorbing historical novel with the pacing of a thriller and it kept me up late nights as I raced through it to see what would happen to Mouse. If you like character-driven historical fiction, don’t miss this one.”

9780385540025_7ab3aTold from the viewpoint of the only woman to fly on a zeppelin, the tragedy of the Hindenburg disaster is the focus of Ariel Lawhon’s intriguing Flight of Dreams (PRH/Randon Hpuse, February). Beth Mills (New Rochelle Public Library) reported the passengers and crew are brought to vivid life and “…readers will be anxiously turning pages to see who lives and who dies. The historical background is impeccably done, from the looming menace of the Nazi rise to power to the fascinating description of the elegance of the doomed airship.”

Memoir of the Month

9780738218311_229aaIn Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker (Perseus/De Capo, November), Lauren Kessler proved it’s never too late to follow your dreams. She was a devotee of the Nutcracker so despite a busy schedule as a mother, university professor, and writer, Kessler devoted herself to getting in shape to dance in her city’s yearly ballet production. This is a perfect book for those of us in our midlife years yearning to realize our dreams of roller derby participation or of learning to execute a double Axel in figure skating.

Please join us next week on November 3 for another lively and fast-paced chat.

Next Stephen King Novel

Monday, October 12th, 2015

End of Watch, KingAs an indicator of the importance of  Stephen King to the Hollywood community, the movie trade site Deadline announces the title of the author’s next book, End Of Watch, (S&S/Scribner, 9781501129742, 6/7/16), the final volume in the trilogy which began with Mr. Mercedes (2014), currently being developed as a limited TV series, and Finders Keepers (2015).

In addition, Scribner has acquired the rights to King’s backlist formerly held by RH/Doubleday.

King’s short story collection The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams is set for release in print and audio on November 3.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Comic Book Author

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.55.10 AMNational Book Award nominee Ta-Nehisi Coates is a comic book superfan, particularly of the Marvel Comics universe.

According to The New York Times, it has been a childhood dream of Coates to write comics and he gets his chance with Black Panther, the first black superhero, introduced in 1966. T’Challa, Black Panther’s real name, was born in Wakanda, a fictional African country. According to the Marvel site, his superhuman powers were enhanced by a heart-shaped herb. Coates’s version is expected next spring.

As Entertainment Weekly reports, diversity is a focus of Marvel and the new Black Panther series “will launch as part of the All-New All-Different Marvel initiative, which promises to bring changes and shake-ups with numerous new titles, including an Sam Wilson as Captain America, Kamala Khan as an Avenger, and the recently announced Asian-American Hulk by Greg Pak and Frank Cho.”

Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel, told the NYT that Black Panther “has the baddest costume in comics and is a dude who is smarter and better than everyone.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.57.10 AMNot only is the comic being written by a National Book Award nominee, but it may be the first comic inspired by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, a history of the black political struggle in the U.S., A Nation Under Our Feet by Steven Hahn (Belknap Press).

“It’s going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers,” Mr. Alonso told the NYT, “It really moves him forward.”

Black Panther will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released in 2016 and as the lead in a film scheduled for 2018.

Harper Lee & Truman Capote,
the Middle Grade Novel

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

How is this for the plot of a book: Two kids grow up in the deep South 80 some years ago, making up stories, acting them out in the backyard. Fast forward a few decades and one of them writes what might be the most beloved debut novel of several generations and the other all but invents a new kind of book, one that still rivets readers to this day.

In a nutshell that is the real-life story of Harper Lee and Truman Capote, who were childhood neighbors and friends, continuing their friendship into adulthood until a dispute over the attribution for In Cold Blood drove them apart.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.39.04 AMTheir youthful friendship is the subject of a forthcoming novel for middle-grade readers, Tru & Nelle (HMH; Mar. 1, 2016; ISBN 9780544699601) by Caldecott Honor winner Greg Neri (Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty), following the pair on adventures through their small Southern town. It’s the topic of a detailed story in the NYT Books section and is also described on Neri’s own site, with historic photos of his subjects.

Neri’s book comes on the heels of new publications by both authors. Of course Go Set a Watchman is has been the subject of much attention, overshadowing the news that new Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.35.58 AMCapote stories have been found as well, several of them in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library.

The Capote stories were written when he was a teenager and a young man. Most have never been published. That will be corrected in October with the release of The Early Stories of Truman Capote (Random House; Random House Audio; Oct. 27; ISBN 9780812998221).