Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Eight Tip-of-the-Tongue Titles for the Week of 6/23/14

Friday, June 20th, 2014

9780316405409_f8cb1   9780345547491_86cb3   9780345545930_a6dd1

The watchword for next week is “stand-alones” as many brand-name authors publish books that are not part of their well-known series.

Leading in terms of holds is James Patterson’s Invisible, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio), a standalone and his third collaboration with David Ellis, following Guilty Wives and Mistress.

Coming in second, averaging half as many holds, is Karin Slaughter’s stand-alone, Cop Town, (RH/Delacorte).

The prolific Dean Koontz makes his latest appearance in the standalone The City (RH/Bantam; Recorded Books; Thorndike), hard on the heels of Innocence, which came out in December. He has yet another coming this December, the next in his Odd Thomas series, Saint Odd, (RH/Bantam). If you’re wondering what happened to the Odd Thomas movie, after some legal struggles, it was released on demand and DVD in February.

Readers Advisory Tips

9780062220509_0271eJacqueline Winspear is known for her Maisie Dobbs series, mysteries featuring WWI nurse turned private investigator in London between the wars. The books have arrived in quick succession since the first was published in 2003, and have grown in popularity, hitting best seller lists. Her new book is her first stand-alone, with an intriguing title, The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War  (Harper; HarperLuxe; Blackstone Audio). The “lies” are the half-truths people tell each other to help them through difficult times. In this case, a woman tries to keep her husband’s spirits up at the front during WWI, through letters that recount sumptuous meals she imagines preparing for him.

This is a stand-alone that may prove to bring new readers to the author, enticing those who came late to the party and may not have been willing to tackle the entire Maisie series. Fans of Maisie need not worry, however, the author is under contract for two more, with the next one, The White Lady, scheduled for some time in 2015

Everything I NeverEverything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng, (Penguin Press)

Debuts don’t often get featured on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List,” so it’s significant that reading this one is on their list of ten necessary things to do in the upcoming week. The book is described as “a propulsive mystery … an explosive debut.”

Many librarians were introduced to the author through our Penguin Debut Authors program; read our online chat with the author here. It’s about a young girl who goes missing, but don’t let readers be put off by the subject; it’s much more than a “ripped from the headlines” novel, using that event as a way to reveal the family dynamics.

The peer reviews on Edelweiss give clues on how to recommend it; “the reader uncovers the truth one person at a time … as each person moves through the tragedy that has befallen them,” and “The first line draws you in, and the multiple perspectives make it compelling reading, which is well worth the journey.”  The author is scheduled to appear on NPR/Weekend All Things Considered on 6/28.

9780399162138_2980bIdentity, Ingrid Thoft, (Penguin/Putnam)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer review clearly made believers, causing holds to rise in local libraries on this second book in a series, after Loyalty, “a craftily plotted page-turner. Identity …  is even better …  sexy modern noir – and readers [will be] cheering on a new-generation, kick-ass heroine. Grade: A”

 

In The Media

9781476761787_69760Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I’ll Never Do, Kim Stolz, (S&S/Scribner)

A book by a youg media-savvy author (an MTV VJ and contestant on America’s Next Top Model) about how her generation needs to follow her lead and quit social media, which she says has become an “addiction.” Sounds like catnip for the media and in fact, she is scheduled for an appearance on CBS This Morning, June 24 and for coverage in People magazine, among others.

Tie-Ins

9780062344618_2f013   9780062344625_46d4d   9780062344632_1efa9
After all those creepy teasers and trailers, the FX series, The Strain, will finally debut on July 17. Harper is releasing Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s entire vampire trilogy  as tie-ins:

The Strain TV Tie-in Edition

The Fall TV Tie-in Edition

The Night Eternal TV Tie-in Edition

Holds Alert: I AM PILGRIM

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

I Am PilgrimThe opening line is not promising, “Neither its plot nor its provenance do much to recommend Terry Hayes’s I Am Pilgrim,” (S&S/Atria/ Emily Bestler; S&S Audio; Thorndike), but Janet Maslin’s review in today’s New York Times quickly becomes a rave, describing the book as “the most exciting desert island read of the season … a big, breathless tale of nonstop suspense,”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer spotted it two weeks ago, and called it “one of the strongest thrillers in years, and certainly the best so far of this year.”  Published in the U.K. last year (although set in New York City), it also won over British reviewers. The Guardian went so far as to agree with the publisher’s hype that it is “the only thriller you need to read this year.”

The book is expected to be the first in a series (in fact, Maslin’s only grumble is that “This book doesn’t exactly end; it just stops … At the price of credibility, [Hayes] paves the way for a sequel. It’s not a fair trade.”)

Libraries show growing holds.

Comedy Central’s Book Bumps

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Stephen Colbert continued his public fight against Amazon on Friday, saying the company’s “scorched-earth tactics” against publisher Hachette, have resulted in “more people getting screwed than in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

California BumpCalifornia Bump

In an earlier show, he noted that Amazon’s disabling of the pre-order functions for Hachette titles is particularly hard on first-time authors, so he enlisted viewers to buy Edan Lepucki’s debut novel California (Hachette/Little,Brown), which is also a LibraryReads pick, via Powells. As of Friday, over 6,400 copies had been pre-ordered. Now he is urging viewers to make it a New York Times best-seller by continuing to pre-order copies through Powell’s and other independent booksellers.

Other Titles Getting The Bump

Sons of Wichita  Redeeming the Dream  The Confidence Code

Fellow Comedy Central host, Jon Stewart, who is also published by Hachette/Grand Central, has not formally joined the fight, but he will give a bump to another Hachette title tonight on The Daily Show, by interviewing Daniel Schulman, author of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (Hachette/Grand Central).

Also tonight, Colbert will feature a title from Penguin Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality David Boies, Theodore B. Olson, (Penguin/Viking).

And on Wednesday, Colbert will interview Katty Kay and Claire Shipman co-authors of The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know, (HarperBusiness).

June GalleyChat: Post Book Expo

Friday, June 13th, 2014

[Ed. Note: This post is by EarlyWord's GalleyChatter, Robin Beerbower]

June 3 found us involved with another rousing GalleyChat session, with many participants abuzz about their Book Expo America encounters with gracious and fascinating authors. Attendees were especially enthused about their suitcases bulging with treasured galleys of forthcoming books. Here is a small sampling of some of the BEA offerings along with a few other recommended titles (those of you going to ALA may want to seek these out).

As usual, it’s impossible to summarize the huge amount of books mentioned, so check here for all of the titles – June 3 GalleyChat. You can also friend me for continual updates on what I’m anticipating.

Book of lifeRising to the top of the list is one of the most anticipated books of the summer, Deborah Harkness’s third (and final) title in the All Souls trilogy, The Book of Life (Penguin/Viking, July). A few GalleyChatters who attended BEA received a print galley and the responses have been very enthusiastic. Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library said, “Great conclusion to fascinatingly detailed series! Fans of the series will not be disappointed.” Good news; you can request it on NetGalley; approvals begin June 15.

The self-effacing David Mitchell charmed the BEA Random House breakfast audience and many are excited to bone clocksread his forthcoming book that weaves six narratives and covers over forty years, The Bone Clocks (Random House, September). It will clearly be heavily promoted; a huge banner for it hung over the Javits Center. During GalleyChat, Elliott Bay Bookstore staff member Kenny Coble said, “Brilliant. I love it as much as Cloud Atlas. I still think about it constantly.”

Readers were excited about two futuristic thrillers featuring deadly viruses, Jon Scalzi’s Lock In (Macmillan/Tor, August) and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, September).

lock in   station eleven   

In Lock In, a widespread disease leaves some afflicted in a “locked in” state, unable to move or express emotions but aware of what is happening around them. Librarian Jane Jorgenson (Madison Public Library, Wisconsin) said, “A blending of SF and police procedural that hits every note just right.”  Station Eleven is set in a world where 99% of the population has been obliterated due to a flu and incorporates themes such as art, fame and ambition. It was selected as a BEA Buzz Book, and with four GalleyChat members recommending it (Fairfield, CT, Library’s Susan Balla said, “Yes, another dystopic novel but the characters, not the chaos surrounding them, are the focus of this story”), plus having received “much love” from 13 Edelweiss users, it is sure to be on many fall reading lists.

smoke gets in your eyesThe first of two memoirs mentioned was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by a young mortician, Caitlin Doughty (W.W. Norton, September). Janet Lockhart, Wake County, N.C., Library collection development librarian and I loved it and agree that the author makes the repellent and scary topic of dealing with human death (with the focus on cremation) comfortable and even humorous. It is clearly perfect, of course, for fans of one of the few other books to take a comedic view of the subject, Mary Roach’s Stiff. 

The other memoir enjoyed was North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person (Harper, June). Alison Kastner of Multnomah, County, OR, Library called it a “reverse Wild [by Cheryl Strayed].” I was also fascinated by the author’s story of her highly dysfunctional childhood, living completely off the grid in the wilds of Canada. This is a good recommendation for anyone who liked Jeanette Winters’ The Glass Castle, and for older teens who are looking for something similar to Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It.

Interest was also high for new titles by favorite authors, including Dennis Lehane’s The Drop (HarperCollins/Morrow, September), with the movie to be released in September. In a twist, the movie is based on Lehane’s short story, Animal Rescue. The book, also by Lehane, is based on his script for the movie.

big little liesIf Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret continues just a few more weeks on the NYT best seller list, where it has been for 23 weeks, it may be joined by her next book, Little Big Lies (Penguin/Putnam, July). Note the cover art represents an exploding lollipop; a variation of the exploding rose on The Husband’s Secret.

Since Necessary Lies was released last fall, Diane Chamberlain’s emotionally charged novels of family dynamics have steadily increased in popularity and early reports indicate her next book Silent Sister (St. Martin’s Press, October) will also in demand for readers of women’s fiction.

sudden lightGarth Stein, who had an unexpected hit with The Art of Running in the Rain, switches gears with a multigenerational saga cum ghost story,  A Sudden Light (Simon & Schuster, September). This one is not narrated by a dog. 

Please join us for the next GalleyChat on July 8 at 4:00 (EDT) — note, we moved the date a week later than usual, to avoid conflict for those returning from ALA.

PEOPLE Magazine’s Book Picks

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

jimmy-fallon-300As we noted last week, People magazine’s redesign under new Editorial Director, Jess Cagle, subsumes book reviews into the new upfront “People Picks” section.

In the second week of the new design, “The Best New Books” rate a bit higher than last — they are now at #6, up from #9, and feature 3 titles that are slightly more below the radar than last week’s, plus three books by “celebrities” (including “Twitter phenom” Jenny Mollen’s book of essays, I Like You Just the Way I Am; former Days of Our Lives star Alison Sweeney’s’ novel, Scared Scriptless and Fox News anchor Bret Aailer’s memoir about dealing with his son’s congenital heart disease, Special Heart).

But you can’t keep books out of popular culture; they sneak into some of the other picks:

#2 MovieHow to Train Your Dragon 2. Book Connection: Based on the kids series by Cressida Cowell, the movie opens this week (see our roundup of tie-ins). Variety calls it, “DreamWorks Animation’s strongest sequel yet — one that breathes fresh fire into the franchise, instead of merely rehashing the original. Braver than Brave, more fun than Frozen and more emotionally satisfying than so many of its live-action counterparts, Dragon delivers.”

#3 TV Drama: PBS Masterpiece Mystery miniseries, The Escape Artist. Book Connection: Show creator David Wolstencroft wrote two spy novels, Good News, Bad News and Contact ZeroWorldCat shows copies are still in many library collections.

#5 Pop Single: Rita Ora I Will Never Let You Down.  Book Connection: This one is admittedly very tenuous. Ora plays Mia, Christian’s sister, in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

#8 TV Series: Episode 10 in the new season of Game of Thrones. Book Connection: Obvious.

The actual books, at #6 are:

I'm Having So Much Fun 9780374141042_36437  Euphoria

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, Courtney Maum, (S&S/Touchstone) — This debut is a LibraryReads pick for June and People’s “Book of the Week.”

Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, Paul Raeburn, (Macmillan/Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux) — We’re guessing that the answer is “Yes.” This is one of the issue’s many nods (including the cover story) to Father’s Day.

EuphoriaLily King, (Grove/Atlantic, June) —  Librarians have buzzed this one on GalleyChat, recommending it for fans of Horan’s Loving Frank and McLain’s The Paris Wife. It’s loosely based on Margaret Mead’s journals (if a novel based on the anthropologist’s life doesn’t sound like a promising readalike, consider that it involves a love triangle). People calls it “transporting.” Early readers we trust say, “King’s language is as lush as the landscape.”

When GriefBooks also sneak into the features features, in the form of an interview with  Mary Rockefeller Morgan, the twin of Michael Rockefeller, who disappeared in New Guinea in the early sixties. She recently updated her book about the loss, an eBook from a devision of Open Road Media, When Grief Calls Forth the Healing.

Open Road ebooks are available for library lending.

Another book on the story (which Morgan say prompted her to update her book), Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman, (HarperCollins/Morrow), was published in March.

July LibraryReads List

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Landline   Dollbaby   9780316250818_1a106

The just-released LibraryReads list of the ten books arriving in July that librarian love, offers some great readers advisory titles (over half are debuts). It’s also a reminder to nominate titles for upcoming lists (how-to here).

At BEA, the LibraryReads panel gave some helpful tips on how to use these lists:

1) You no longer have to admit “I haven’t read anything great lately,” your colleagues have. Each LibraryReads annotation is a readers advisory handsell you can steal.

2) The lists began in September, so there are now over 100 titles you can recommend. Check out our downloadable list —  LibraryReads-All-Lists-Through-July-2014. sort it by category and you have an instant list for creating displays, or to use when you’re stuck trying to recommend a recent book in a particular category.

2) The lists are handy R.A. training tools which demonstrate how to quickly communicate why you love a title.

On the July list, librarian favorite Rainbow Rowell gets her second #1 LibraryReads pick with Landline, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike), after her YA novel, Fangirl, was the pick for the inaugural September list. Excitement has spread to booksellers, who also include it on their Indie Next July list.

Among the five debuts on the list, is Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books). You can join us for a live chat with the author next week, as part of our Penguin First Flights Debut Author program.. Below is the LibraryReads annotation:

“In this coming-of-age story set in the Civil Rights era, Ibby is dropped off at the home of her eccentric grandmother in New Orleans after the death of her beloved father. Filled with colorful characters, family secrets and lots of New Orleans tidbits, this book will appeal to fans of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt.” —  Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

Also among the debuts is the book Stephen Colbert and fellow Amazon victim Sherman Alexie recently urged people to buy, via Powell’s, rather than Amazon, California by Edan Lepucki (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 8; audio from Dreamscape).

“Driven away from the violence of cities and a crumbling society, Cal and Frida live an isolated existence, struggling to survive on what they grow and forage. When an unplanned pregnancy pushes the couple to search for other people, they discover an unexpected community. This well-written debut is great for apocalyptic fiction fans and fans of realistic, character-driven fiction.” — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH

Holds Alert: THE VACATIONERS

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The VactionersHolds are growing on the novel that is being called the smart beach read of the summer, The Vacationers by Emma Straub, (Penguin/Riverhead).

The NYT Book Review gives it a succinct rave in its “Short Takes” section, “Straub may be an heir to Laurie Colwin, crafting characters that are smart, addictively charming, delightfully misanthropic and fun,” ending with the ultimate praise, “When I turned the last page, I felt as I often do when a vacation is over: grateful for the trip and mourning its end.”

In a lead review, People magazine gave it its highest rating, 4 of 4 stars and called it a “delicious, deceptively traditional domestic drama … offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author.”

Not everyone is completely in love. Several reviewers, like the daily NYT‘s Janet Maslin, feel the book’s ending is too pat, but admit, like the U.K.’s Independent,  that, “The Vacationers is a holiday read in every way with a gently witty narrative that slips down as easily as a beachside cocktail.”

Most libraries ordered it modestly and are showing holds as high as 25 to 1.

More Summer Reading, 2014

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Parade's Picks

After the shock of discovering that People magazine is cutting back its book review coverage, it may be some comfort that Parade has not abandoned its annual picks of the best books of the summer (well, actually, the selections were made by Amazon’s editors. Interestingly, in spite of the Amazon’s fight with Hachette, the list includes some Hachette titles).

The 20 selections range from the expected (Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes; J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm, a Hachette title) to heavily promoted debuts (I Am Pilgrim, by screenwriter Terry Hayes; the international bestseller, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Swiss writer Joel Dicker and the beginning of a new fantasy series, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen) to the book that has been dubbed The Smart Beach Read of Summer 2014, complete with a jacket blurb from the author of 2012’s smart beach read, Maria Semple, (The Vacationers by Emma Straub).

The New York Times Book Review has also released its annual Summer Reading Issue, an odd assortment of categories, just three of them fiction (science fiction, thrillers and horror; the humor roundup, for some reason, focuses on nonfiction), while its West Coast rival, The L.A. Times selects many more titles in a broader range of categories, including audio, sports, Y.A. and children’s books.

Links to the summer reading lists are at right, under “Season Previews.”

Ten Tip-of-the-Tongue Titles for the Week of 6/9/14

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The Matchmaker   Written in My Own Heart's Blood   9780385537094_5a2aa

You know summer is arriving when a new novel set in Nantucket, with an appropriately beachy cover, appears from Elin Hilderbrand. Next week, her 13th title, The Matchmaker, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), heralds the new season in expected style.

Fans of Diana Gabaldon have had a longer wait. The most recent volume in her Outlander series came out in 2009. Arriving next week is the 8th in the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (RH/Delacorte; Recorded Books). The books will get even more attention when the 16-episode STARZ Outlander series begins on Aug. 9.

Speaking of series, Daniel Wilson has spawned a sequel to his popular Robopocalypse, a novel, if you couldn’t guess from the title, about humanity’s battle to save the species from a robot uprising. It read like a standalone, but along comes the sequel (perhaps a sign that Spielberg will move ahead with plans for the movie?), Robogenesis, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio). Booklist says the first book was good but this one is “superior in every way.” Kirkus rains on that parade, “A satisfying but perfunctory installment that suffers from a bit of second-act similarity.”

All the titles mentioned here, with full ordering information, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of 6:9:14.

Media Attention

Hard Choices  image-223x300  Animal Madness

Dominating the media next week will be Hillary Clinton’s embargoed memoir, Hard Choices. Just a preview of her cover photo for this week’s People magazine caused Twitter to light up with questions on what she is leaning on (no, it’s NOT a walker). You’ll see her in all the expected places, including an ABC-TV/Primetime Special with Diane Sawyer. And, yes, the embargo has been broken (by CBS News).

Attention will also shine on scientist Laurel Braitman who argues that we are not wrong to anthropomorphize animals and that we can learn a lot from their emotional lives in Animal Madness; How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves. People magazine included it in their roundup of a dozen Great Summer Reads. The Wall Street Journal will run an excerpt this weekend and the author, who as a TED fellow, has media cred, is scheduled to appear on Good Morning America, World News Tonight and Nightline.

LibraryReads Picks

Elizabeth is Missing   Ice Cream Queen   I'm Having So Much Fun

Elizabeth Is Missing, Emma Healey, HarperCollins/Harper

The number one pick for the month of June:

“Maude sinks into a confusing world in this gripping psychological mystery written in the voice of an aging woman with Alzheimer’s. She can’t remember what she’s doing or where she is, but she is obsessed with one thought–her good friend Elizabeth is missing. Book groups will enjoy this satisfying and entertaining read!” — Mary Campanelli, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Susan Jane Gilman, Hachette/Grand Central

This is the first novel by a memoirist whose acerbic humor is telegraphed by her titles, Hypocrite In A Pouffy White Dress and Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven,. Given her previous books, it’s surprising to find her writing a historical family saga, set in NYC’s tenements. It’s already found two important audiences, having been picked by both librarians and indy booksellers as a favorite of the month.

LibraryReads annotation:

“In the tenements of old New York, a young Russian Jewish immigrant woman is taken in by an Italian family who sells ice. Through sheer persistence and strong will, she manages to build an ice cream empire. Lillian Dunkle is a complex character who will both make you cheer even as you are dismayed. Have ice cream on hand when you read this book!”~~Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Twp, MI

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, Courtney Maum, S&S/Touchstone

LibraryReads annotation (also an IndieNext pick):

“Set mainly in Paris, this love story for grown-ups tells the story of a decent man who almost ruins his life and then goes to great lengths to restore his marriage. If your path to a happy marriage has been straight-forward, you may not appreciate this book – but it’s perfect for the rest of us!” — Laurel Best, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, Huntsville, AL

TV Series Tie-in

Leftovers Tie-inThe Leftovers (TV tie-in edition), Tom Perrotta, Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin

The 10-episode series begins on HBO June 29th.

In interviews, show runner Damon Lindelof has had to assure people that it will not end like Lost.

 

Small Press Title Wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

Friday, June 6th, 2014

A Girl is a Half-Formed ThingPublished by a very small press in Great Britain (it was only their second book) and coming in September from Coffee House Press in the U.S., A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, the author’s debut novel, won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, announced in London last night.

The book, which the 37-year-old author wrote ten years ago, was initially rejected by agents and publishers who considered it too difficult to sell. The author put it away until she tried again with Galley Beggar Press, a start-up in the author’s home town of Norwich. It received glowing reviews that acknowledged the book’s unconventional language, described by the Guardian as “devoid of commas, a fractured, poetic, pre-conscious voice, pregnant with full stops and half rhymes … But it actually feels like language anyone could read and understand. Its subject matter is the real difficulty, the story of a young girl, struggling to deal with her older brother’s illness – a brain tumour – and the abuse she experiences.” It went on to win the newly-created Goldsmith’s Prize for Literature and was published in paperback by Macmillan/Faber & Faber.

McBride won over competition from several literary heavy weighs, including Donna Tartt, for The Goldfinch. She says she has “nearly finished” a second novel.

Colbert Gives Amazon the Finger

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

When Amazon began their fight with publisher Hachette, they may not have taken into account the fact that Stephen Colbert is published by Hachette.

Colbert explains the situation below and shows Bezos what he thinks of it.

Colbert brings on “fellow Amazon victim,” Sherman Alexie, who is also published by Hachette.

Since debut authors are most at risk from Amazon’s tactics, Alexie helps one of them by recommending viewers pre-order California, by Edan Lapucki, (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 8; audio from Dreamscape) via Powells.

9780316250818_1a106

The book has appeared earlier on summer reading lists, including the Pittsburgh Post Gazette‘s, with the following recommendation,

When the American economy collapses and anarchy reigns in the land, a couple from Los Angeles head for the hills where they have to forage for food and improvise shelter. They are quickly confronted by stark choices and must figure out whether reconnecting with other survivors would be worth the aggravation that comes with being a part of civilization.

Ripped From the Headlines

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The DirectorIf your readers want to understand how the internet has opened the government to security leaks, but can’t get their hands on Glenn Greenwald’s best seller, No Place to Hide, you can offer them a new novel released yesterday.

David Ignatius’s The Director(W.W. Norton), provides, according to NYT reviewer Michiko Kakutani, “a harrowing sense of the vulnerability of governments and ordinary people alike to cybercrime, surveillance and digital warfare in this day when almost anything and everything can be stolen or destroyed with some malicious pieces of code and a couple clicks of a mouse.”

Ignatius knows the territory; he has covered the CIA for The Washington Post for over 25 years.

The Director also gets high praise from NPR reviewer Alan Cheuse, who says the author, in this his 9th novel,  provides “yet another deeply engaging spy thriller, rooted at that point where the intricacies of the intelligence community and the everyday world of civilians converge.”

Did fact inspire fiction? No, says Ignatius, in an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday, He began working on the novel months before the news about Snowden broke. But he seems happy with “ripped from the headlines” comments. As he reminds listeners, “Snowden, before he worked for the NSA, worked for the CIA.”

Oliver Stone To Film Snowden Story

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

No Place to Hide   Snowden Files

Sony’s movie version of Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio) now has competition. Oliver Stone just announced plans to film another book on the story, Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, (RH/Vintage), published as an original trade paperback in the U.S. in February.

There’s a rivalry between the books’ authors as well. Greenwald worked for The Guardian when he broke his stories about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance on private citizens. After he left to co-found The Intercept, Harding,  one of The Guardian’s  foreign correspondents, published The Snowden Files. In an interview in the Financial Times, Greenwald dismissed it as a “bullshit book … written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden.

In the New York Times, Michikio Kakutani saw movie potential in Harding’s book, calling it “a fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative that is part bildungsroman and part cinematic thriller.” She also reviewed Greenwald’s book, mostly favorably, but objected to his portrayal of  “the establishment media,” and its “glaring subservience to political power.”

Stone plans to begin shooting before the end of the year. In an interview last year, the director told The Guardian (which is cooperating with him on the film), “To me, Snowden is a hero. He revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment.”

Four Titles To Have On the Tip of Your Tongue, Week of May 26

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Welcome to summer! Next week offers not only books from a multitude of Big Names, but two major debuts,  a second novel that is set to outshine the author’s well-received debut, as well as an intriguing LibraryRead pick.

All the titles mentioned here and more coming next week, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of May 26.

Heavily Promoted Debuts

quebertThe Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, Joel Dicker, (Penguin Books, trade paperback, $18; Blackstone Audio; Turtleback library binding)

A mystery novel, set in the U.S, written in French by a Swiss Law School grad, it was published in Europe in 2012 and sold 2 million copies. A hot property at the Frankfurt Book Fair, U.S. rights were won by Penguin. Adding extra sizzle, film rights were bought last month by Ron Howard (he may have noticed that, in France, it outsold another book he is adapting, Dan Brown’s Inferno).

It’s being promoted as the book of the summer, which is why it’s getting advance attention in the consumer media.The Washington Post was the first, last week with a middling review by novelist Dan Strachey (aka Richard Stevenson). He begins by calling it a  “Big Gulp of a pop novel that’s kind of enjoyable in a corn-syrupy way,” goes on to enumerate all that is wrong with it, but ends by admitting,

As maladroit as this novel is in so many ways, it churns along at such a good clip and is rendered with such high emotion and apparent deep conviction that it’s easy to see why it was a bestseller in Europe. It’s likely to be one in this country, too, where in the land of bestsellerdom, earnest lardiness counts for a lot.”

More middling reviews have followed (the lead in Entertainment Weekly’s Books section, it gets a resounding C). Today’s Wall Street Journal looks at its chances for success here (arriving at no real conclusion) and notes that it also received tepid reviews in the U.K., where it was released on May 1 but is now #1 on the best seller lists of both the Times of London and the Telegraph.

Curiously for such a major launch, Penguin has decided to publish the book in trade paperback (with French flaps, of course), perhaps to overcome price resistance to such a long novel (656 pages). It’s a hit with EarlyWord’s GalleyChatter, Robin Beerbower, which is good enough for us. By the way, author Joel Dicker is speaking at the AAP Librarian Dinner next week during BEA.

Fourth of JulyFourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson, HarperCollins/Ecco

Another big summer debut arriving this week, it is getting more positive critical response than Harry Quebert. The Wall Street Journal today quotes editor Lee Boudreaux, describing it as “writing by Richard Ford, characters by Richard Russo.” It gets a solid A in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly and was picked by booksellers for the June IndieNext list.

Poised To Breakout

The VactionersThe Vacationers, Emma Straub, Penguin/Riverhead

Following her 2012 debut, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, which Janet Maslin dismissed in her NYT Summer Reading preview as “a benign but mannered Hollywood period piece,“ but praises this second effort as a total departure. It’s the lead review in People Magazine, with 4 of 4 stars; a ‘delicious, deceptively traditional domestic drama…[that] offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author.” Entertainment Weekly has it at #9 on the week’s “Must List,” saying, it “has all the hallmarks of a typical family-vacation romp; marital strife, a sunny location, long-held secrets exposed… What set the novel apart are it’s careful observations and poignant humor. Completely guilt-free resort reading.”

Library Reads Pick

The Lobster KingsThe Lobster Kings, Alexi Zentner, W.W. Norton

LibraryReads June Pick: “This well-crafted story truly captures the beauty and brutality of living by the sea. The characters show what it’s like to have saltwater in your veins and commitment to family and community. Zentner depicts a way of life that is fast disappearing. Perfect for summer reading.”  — Lisa Marie Joyce, Portland Public Library & South Portland Public Library, Portland, ME

Summer Previews Begin

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

jessica-alba-entertainment-weekly-cover-leadWith Memorial Day Weekend upon us, it’s time for summer previews.

Entertaiment Weekly‘s “Summer Must List” issue looks at what will be big this season in movies, tv, music and supposedly in books, but they give them short shrift (too bad, that cover is going to sell copies, but maybe not to the book reader demo), fitting them awkwardly into various categories — “Sin” (amazingly, no books in this section), “Destruction” (Chesea Cain’s One Kick, S&S, 8/8, clearly belongs here), “Love” (featuring Diana Gabaldon, as much for the upcoming Outlander series adaptation on Starz, as for her forthcoming Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, RH/Delacorte, 6/10). The category of “Survival” is broadly interpreted to include 6 titles, such as Amy Sohn’s The Actress, S&S, July 5 and Rufi Thorpe’s The Girls from Corona Del Mar, RH/Knopf, 7/8

In today’s NYT, critic Janet Maslin casts her eye on 14 summer titles (and goes to lengths to avoid the phrase “beach read”), commenting, “if there’s one overriding motif, it’s this: the crazier, the better.” She is luke warm about most of the titles she mentions except for The Fever by Megan Abbott (Hachette/ Little, Brown, 6/17), “a hot new entrant in the ‘Is it the next Gone Girl’?’ sweepstakes,”, the ” astringent wit of Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, (Hachette/ Little, Brown, 5/13) and Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, (Penguin/Riverhead, 5/29), “a scrappy portrait of a family bringing its Upper West Side troubles to Mallorca for repair,”

Her favorite is the nonfiction debut, Factory Man, (Hachette/ Little, Brown, 7/15) by Beth Macy, which Maslin calls “a big surprise” for finding “a terrifically rich subject” in “a family-run Virginia furniture company that was being put out of business by cheap Chinese knockoffs, and happened to find an owner determined to fight back.”

We’ll let you know as more previews arrive.