Jane Harper’s debut thriller, The Dry (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), has already captured the attention of librarians, making the January LibraryReads list and leading our summary of titles that interested GalleyChatters back in October.
That enthusiasm it spreading. Hold ratios well exceed 3:1, as high as 7:1, in libraries.
In a strong review for the NYT, Janet Maslin writes Harper “has jampacked her swift debut thriller with sneaky moves that the reader has to track with care … it’s hard to believe this is her first novel … [it is] a book with a secret on every page [and] threats blooming everywhere, too.”
The thriller is rising on Amazon, moving to #166 from #734.
The debut novel by O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho(PRH/Random House, Jan. 3; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is getting glowing reviews from a wide range of sources, from major outlets to local newspapers, from print and online, and from one coast to another.
The Einstein series is based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe.
Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush stars as Einstein. Johnny Flynn (Lovesick) plays the younger Einstein while Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything) is Elsa, his second wife. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the series executive producers.
The tie-in, with new cover art not yet final, is set for release on April 4th:
Daniel Handler, currently in the news for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, is also getting attention for his new book, to be released this summer, All the Dirty Parts(Bloomsbury USA; ISBN 9781632868046; Aug. 29, 2017).
Featured in a “first look” by Entertainment Weekly, the main character, Cole, is described as “a sex-obsessed high school student,” who knows a bit about his favorite topic. As Handler tells EW, Cole is not the “familiar stock character — the inadequate, fumbling, inexperienced young man, often a subject of derision or humor. Meanwhile, of course, many young men are having a fantastic and fascinating time in non-virginity, and that’s where I saw an opportunity for a story that’s universally recognizable but rarely talked about, or at least not honestly.”
Handler says he wrote the book after being “asked to give a talk on encouraging reading and teenage boys, who often fall off the literary bandwagon,” Looking back towards the books he loved at that age, he realized they had one thing in common, “they had a lot of sex.” Asked whether he worries about his Lemony Snicket fans finding this book, he replies, “It’s funny, isn’t it, that we worry about young people reading about sex, instead of, say, people shooting each other with laser beams. This anxiety is precisely what led to the novel.”
The book relates his adventures while searching for a legendary lost city in the rain forests of Mosquitia, which spans Honduras and Nicaragua. Preston tells reporter Lee Cowan that on that trip, he picked up a parasite that requires a painful therapy.
The White City, or, as some call it, the City of the Monkey God, is a sacred place fabled to hold boundless treasure. “The legend is there was a great city in the mountains that was struck by a series of catastrophes, and the inhabitants thought the gods were angry at them, and [they] left, leaving all their belongings behind,” Preston says.
Using advances in laser mapping technology, explorer Steve Elkins and his team, which included Preston, found the city, braving pit vipers, mud, and foliage so thick they could not even see the site once they were upon it.
The team was jubilant, however, after they discovered rare artifacts, including carved figures left by a 16th-century citizenry who, as CBS notes, “fled the city in a desperate attempt to escape European disease and slavery.”
There’s much to choose from. As PopSugar points out, the warrior princess has her roots in the 1940s so there is a long list of print titles detailing her adventures. WorldCat shows over 4,000 titles in libraries. For introductions and reading guides to the various series, turn to Comic Book Herald and Den of Geek!
EW gave in an A, saying it is “a great read. It has nearly everything you might want in a page-turner: tales of S&M, skeletons in the closet, a believe-it-or-not weirdness in its biographical details, and something else that secretly powers even the most ”serious” feminist history — fun.”
It’s big week for readers’ advisors, with a dozen librarian and bookseller picks arriving. In addition, a series often mentioned as a librarian favorite, the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman returns with The Burning Page: An Invisible Library Novel(PRH/ROC; OverDrive Sample). The first (The Invisible Library) and second (The Masked City) were both LibraryReads picks (and here).
Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection, George Karl, Curt Sampson (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).
The subtitle says it all. George Karl is a no-hold-barred former NBA coach. Excerpts from the book began making headlines at the end of last month, including the New York Post‘s “George Karl sounds more deranged every day.”
Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission. Bret Baier, Catherine Whitney (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio).
The author is the host of Fox News Special Report, recently ranked as the third most-watched cable news show, giving him a ready platform to promote his book. It focuses on Eisenhower’s farewell address, which famously warned of the dangers of the “the military-industrial complex.” Kirkus calls it “A focused and timely study of Eisenhower’s significant speech and the sticky transition to JFK’s inherited new world.”
Waldman, who successfully treated her mood swings with small doses of LSD, is set to be interviewed on ABC’s Nightline on Jan. 18. Her book is a People Pick this week, “Her entertaining journal interweaves drug-related research … with scenes from her famous marriage to writer Michael Chabon.” It will also be reviewed widely.
Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and a MacArthur Fellow, is scheduled to be interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air on Jan 17. 1. Kirkus says her “deeply researched, well-informed history [draws] on a rich trove of diaries and letters [and] the author follows many Mormon families as they confronted poverty, illness, privations, and persecution in their quest to establish a community where they could practice their faith and enact their social vision.”
“We journey to 14th century Russia where the old ways still hold sway in the outlying villages and spirits and magical creatures are real. When Vasya’s stepmother and the new village priest try to end the pagan offerings, it us up to Vasya to stop the Bear from awakening. Can she find the strength to accept who she really is and protect her family and village? This magical story captivated me and pulled me fully into that world. The last third and the pulse-pounding finish had me on the edge of my seat.” — Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga, OH
“’Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.’ These eight words will change everything for Agent Aaron Falk, summoned by the father or his former best friend. It appears Luke went on a rampage, murdering his wife, son, and then himself. At Luke’s father’s request, Aaron agrees to look into the murders/suicide and learns that the small town has long held grudges and secrets that may be best kept hidden in this atmospheric, chilling complex tale of anger and revenge.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
“Placidia is seventeen when she marries Major Hockaday, an older man and recent widower with a child. After he is recalled to service in the Civil War, she must manage his farm and take care of his son and all with little help. When he returns, it is to find that she has given birth, and said to have murdered the child. Told in journal entries, letters, and court documents, we learn about her life and the answers to this puzzling and horrifically charged event. A dark book that highlights the amazing strength so many of these women had to develop.” — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL
“Kate Priddy is moving to Boston to swap apartments with her cousin. Haunted by an abusive ex, she wants to leave behind her previous life. But when her neighbor, Audrey Marshall, is murdered, Kate is drawn into a web of fear even darker than her past. Varying points of view add new perspectives to the narrative as the book goes on; the mystery of what really happened to Audrey is just a part of the intrigue as we delve into the minds of imperfect, broken people. As a fan of Swanson’s previous work, I was not disappointed.” — Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburgh, OH
“Not for the faint of heart, Johnson’s first book is a beautifully crafted work that delves into the perils of teen-dom in a wealthy, insulated California neighborhood. The story opens with the suicide of an outcast middle-school boy. Fast forward to high school, where seemingly minor struggles of both teens and adults expose themselves to be deeply ominous, leaving few untouched by the ensuing tragedies. As the plot slowly builds, the intricate web of relationships that intertwine the lives of characters and the events that they experience become apparent, ultimately returning full circle.” — Amy Christiansen, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO
Additional Buzz: In the new issue of People as the “Book of the Week,” called a “stunning debut [that] … explores the fallout among a group of teens … who prove, in the end, less entitled than simply empty and searching. An eye-opener.” It is also an Indie Next selection and a GalleyChat title. Librarians recently chatted with the author as part of our PRH EarlyReads Author chat program.
Seven additional Indie Next picks also hit shelves:
“The journey of middle-aged swindler Billy and his young, idealistic partner Charles is a journey into the history and heart of the oft-maligned American dream. As the nation considers whether it will join World War I, Billy and Charles must weigh the merits of freedom against patriotic obligation, their life on the road against the temptation of putting down roots, and their diverging desires against the love and loyalty they bear for each other. As Billy says, ‘I reckon that’s the beauty and the shame of it, all at once.’ Peelle’s exploration of this beauty and shame is exquisitely wrought, richly populated, and ultimately devastating. I finished the novel in tears.” —Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
“Once again, master storyteller Bohjalian has crafted a thoughtful, suspenseful novel that grabs hold and doesn’t let go until the end. Exploring the world of sleepwalking and parasomnia, he recounts the story of the night Liana’s mother disappeared. At turns a harrowing mystery and a heartbreaking tale of a family coping with their mother’s affliction, The Sleepwalker is filled with beautiful prose that culminates in a twist readers never see coming.” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
Additional Buzz:The Washington Post, in an early and rave review, calls it a “spooky thriller … a dark, Hitchcockian novel … Like many of Bohjalian’s novels, this neo-New England gothic ends with a surprising and most satisfying twist. It was so deliciously dark that I reread The Sleepwalker to pick up on all the subtle clues this clever novelist dropped with poetically perfect precision throughout.”
It is heralded by an appropriately creepy book trailer:
“This is the perfect dead-of-winter read! Ryan DeMarco is shocked to learn that his friend Thomas Huston, an internationally bestselling author, has disappeared into the woods, leaving his slaughtered family behind in their once-serene home. How could a man who has it all – perfect career, perfect wife, perfect kids — become such a monster? This is the question DeMarco sets out to answer, all while on a wild chase to track down Huston before he freezes to death in the harsh northern Pennsylvania winter.” —Maggie Henriksen, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
“Burning Bright solidifies Petrie’s place among the best thriller writers working today. His hero, Peter Ash, wanders from town to town, living outdoors because his PTSD will not allow him to remain inside walls for very long. When he discovers a woman on the run from shadowy killers, Ash knows he must help her in spite of his near-crippling claustrophobia. Petrie gives us characters we love, warts and all, and there is a true sense of forward propulsion to his action-packed tale. Peter Ash is a hero for today and Burning Bright puts Petrie in the company of Lee Child and Robert Ludlum.” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
“What would you do to save the lives of your friends? In this debut novel, Winifred and her three friends are about to find out. Instead of a trip to a comfortable, fancy resort in some exotic destination, they embark on an excursion to the Allagash wilderness in upstate Maine. What happens next is everyone’s nightmare, yet it leads to the kind of wisdom few people ever achieve. This is a tense, disturbing, yet satisfying story of the strength of friendship in the face of a severe challenge.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
“Haunting, foreboding, eerie, and ominous, Schweblin’s Fever Dream is the first of the Argentine author’s books to appear in English. Despite its brevity, Fever Dream throbs with a quickened pulse, as heightening tension is its most effective quality. An intriguing yet purposefully vague plot adds to the story’s mystique, one of peril, poison, and the unexplained terror of worms. Metaphorical in scope, Schweblin’s impressively constructed tale leaves much to the imagination but is all the richer for doing so. Unsettling and compelling, this is a delirious, potent novel not to be overlooked.” —Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
“Soli is an 18-year-old Mexican girl who enters the U.S. illegally and gives birth to a baby boy. Rashi and Kavya Reddy are an Indian-American couple in Berkeley who have unsuccessfully tried to have children. Their stories intersect when Soli is arrested and her baby is taken from her by Child Protective Services and given into foster care with the Reddys, who become attached to baby Ignacio and want to adopt him. Sekaran does a good job describing the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants, and Soli’s hope of regaining custody rings true. A compelling read that examines very topical parental rights and immigration issues.” —Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Their choices tend towards the literary, but they include many authors with a ready audience, including Dan Chaon, Ill Will (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio; March 7), Joshua Ferris, The Dinner Party(Hachette/Little, Brown; May 2), and Elizabeth Strout, Anything Is Possible (PRH/RH; RH Audio; April 25).
Haruki Murakami, Richard Russo, George Saunders, Roxane Gay, J.M. Coetzee, Jesmyn Ward, and Cormac McCarthy are also part of the gathering.
Not on that list is the expected blockbuster of the summer, the second novel by Paula Hawkins, Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT; May 2). As we noted earlier, Entertainment Weekly includes it in their picks of “The 23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017,”
Many readers’ advisors who consider Harris a favorite will not be surprised. Harris writes bestselling historical fiction such as Pompeiiand Fatherland as well as contemporary works, such as The Ghost (which was adapted into the feature film The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan). Conclave is a contemporary thriller set in the Vatican.
The Guardian opens its review with this gripping lure:
“I am about to use a word I have never knowingly used in any review of any book ever. During my 25-odd years of writing about books I have done my best to avoid cliches, slipshod summaries, oracular pronouncements and indeed anything else that might appear emblazoned on a book jacket. Nonetheless, there is only one possible word to describe Robert Harris’s new novel, and it is this: unputdownable.”
The NYT says that its culminating denouement is “so provocatively scandalous” it “could become a Catholic version of The Satanic Verses.”
The SF Chronicle writes “you eavesdrop on clandestine intrigues and late-night missions that play out in the shadows of the Vatican labyrinth … the author’s strong writing freshens the familiar with color, and his keen sense of character humanizes the baroque proceedings.”
WSJ says “Robert Harris is a master storyteller and accomplished craftsman who, like Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham, marries a searching moral imagination to his rare ability to tell a compelling tale. He understands that people read novels for pleasure, not under compulsion.” (subscription may be required)
Despite the strong reviews and Harris’s auto-buy reputation, holds are light at libraries we checked. That might be due to the timing of the book (it came out just a few weeks after the election) and its subject matter (a contentious, heated battle for power). It has not appeared on best seller lists.
As a result, readers’ advisory librarians may be able to put this book into patron’s hands. Based on the reviews, it’s a good bet to hand-sell.
At this time of the year, with all the new titles released on health and fitness, some of which are based on questionable information, it’s refreshing to learn about one by a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist and a health psychologist. Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel appeared on CBS This Morning yesterday to discuss their new book The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).
As a result, the book is racing up the Amazon charts, jumping from #3,292 to #10.
A telomere is like the cap end of a shoelace that keeps it from fraying. Telomeres protect chromosomes and “can help reduce chronic disease and improve wellbeing, all the way down to our cells and all the way through our lives.”
The authors say that specific lifestyle changes, such as eating better, sleeping a bit more, getting exercise, and having a good frame of mind strengthens telomeres. Certain styles of thinking, such as pessimism and hostility, weaken them by exaggerating stress responses. “Telomeres are listening to your thoughts” and are responding in kind, they say. All manner of toxic situations impact telomeres, from suffering discrimination to exposure to toxic chemicals.
Demand in libraries has not yet caught up with Amazon and holds are generally under a 3:1 ratio.
Calling it “electrifying,” reviewer Michael Schaub says it “isn’t a typical thriller any more than it’s a typical coming-of-age novel; Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book … History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it’s set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.”
Among other buzz, it is an Amazon best of the month title as well as their featured debut for January. As we pointed out in Titles to Know for the week, People magazines picks it in the new issue, calling it, “a compelling portrait of a troubled adolescent trying to find her way in a new and frightening world.” It is also the #1 Indie Pick this month.
Holds are growing, ranging from 3:1 to 12:1 where ordering is light. One library we checked has a 25:1 ratio, triggering a large second order.
Two high-profile film adaptations expand nationwide this week, Hidden Figures and A Monster Calls (see our coverage from their Oscar-qualifying opening week).
On NBC, a new series based on The Wizard of Oz begins.
Emerald City is billed as a “modern reimagining” of the backstory of L. Frank Baum’s famous tale.
After a rocky path to the screen, involving delays and major changes in the lead team, it finally premieres Jan. 6 at 9 EST and will run for 10 episodes in its opening season. Tarsem Singh (Mirror Mirror, Self/less) directs. Shaun Cassidy (Cold Case) serves as executive producer.
Deadline Hollywood says the show is “gunning for” the Game of Thrones label, writing it offers a “dark new take” in which “Dorothy [is] transported by tornado along with a K9 police dog into a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy.”
ScreenCrush calls it an “ultra-ultra-ultra-gritty take” and details the cast: “Adria Arjona as Dorothy Gale (complete with K9 police dog Toto), Dracula star Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Scarecrow-type Lucas, Florence Kasumba as the Wicked Witch of the East, Joely Richardson as Glinda, [and] Vincent D’Onofrio as the Wizard of Oz.”
What better topic for a New Years Day segment than a book about the strangest places on earth? Featured on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday were the enviable adventures of the pair behind the best seller Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras (Workman, Sept.; OverDrive Sample).
Check your holds. Some libraries are showing heavy ratios.
Stuart Woods and Danielle Steelkick off the new year with new titles. But these high-output authors are relative slackers, publishing just one title each. James Patterson beats them all with four new BookShots titles (he does have help, however).
As we’ve noted before, the most popular BookShots titles are those that tie in to well-established Patterson characters, but format is also worth examining. Sno-Isle’s Collection Developments blog recently posted “Bookshots a Better Bet for Audio?” As Darren Nelson points out, the audio versions are circulating better than print for the system and that makes sense, “the typical BookShots audiobook … is probably a great fit for [those] … searching for a bite-sized audiobook they can actually finish in one long trip or a week’s worth of commutes.” All four of the new BookShots titles are available in audio.
The titles covered in this column, 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 Jan.2, 2016
“A lonely teenager in rural northern Minnesota, Linda is desperate for connection and obsessed with both her enigmatic new neighbors and a classmate entangled in a scandalous relationship with a teacher. Narrating these seemingly disparate story threads is the adult Linda, who may have been villain, victim, or bystander in at least one tragedy. With lyrical prose and precise pacing, debut author Fridlund builds tension and weaves a complex, multilayered morality tale rich in metaphor and symbolism. This haunting, meticulously crafted novel will inspire lengthy rumination on topics ranging from the meaning of the title to the power of belief. Perfect for reading groups!” —Sharon Flesher, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI
Additional Buzz:People magazines picks it in the new issue, calling it, “a compelling portrait of a troubled adolescent trying to find her way in a new and frightening world” The author won the McGinnis-Ritchie Award in 2013 for the first chapter and the full novel has gone on to earn three pre-pub starred reviews, from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Kirkus calls it “a literary tour de force.”
“A ‘difficult woman’ has become shorthand for one who speaks her mind, who questions patriarchal power, and who refuses to be defined by a standard of femininity. The women who populate Gay’s story collection are all difficult in their own ways — mothers, sisters, lovers, some married and some single, most of flesh and one of glass — yet they are all searching for understanding, for identity, and for ways to make sense of a sometimes nonsensical, cruel world. Some of Gay’s stories are graphic, some are allegorical, and all are important commentaries on what being female looks and feels like in modern America.” —Becky Gilmer, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR
“Leopard at the Door is a beautifully layered coming-of-age novel set in a Kenya still under the yoke of colonial British rule. Rachel, whose beloved mother died when she was 12, returns to the country she loves after six years in England. She struggles against the expectations of her father and his new partner, Susan, whom Rachel has a difficult time accepting. Fine writing weaves Rachel’s story with the essence of Kenya, the treatment of its people, and the uprising of the Mau Mau who seek independence. This is a thrillingly taut novel — with a clever title, too!” —Biddy Kehoe, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE
“Dan Chase is a wealthy old man living a quiet life after the death of his wife and his daughter’s move to another part of the country. But wait — he is being followed, and then his house is broken into and he has to kill the intruder. Next, the old man turns to his ‘go’ bag as it seems he has many identities, stashes of currency, and a plan to disappear. There are secrets to be discovered all throughout this tale and Perry keeps readers wondering what will come next. This is definitely one of Perry’s best!” —Barbara Kelly, Kelly’s Books to Go, South Portland, ME
“To some extent we are all chameleons. We fit ourselves to the situations we find ourselves in, act differently around our boss than with our family, and tell little white lies out of kindness. But what if that’s all you did? Hattie Hoffman is just a teenager, but she has already mastered the art of observing the people around her, assessing their desires and expectations and molding herself accordingly. Everything You Want Me to Be is a chilling mystery that explores the mutability of identity through the eyes of three very different people. If you’re looking for the next captivating thriller that everyone will be comparing to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, this is it!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
Additional Buzz: A People magazine pick for the week, “A talented young girl set on ditching Minnesota for New York is murdered, and Del, the local sheriff, sets out to find her killer. This time-shifting novel … could have been pure cliche; instead, Mejia’s well-drawn protagonist brings the rural community alive and imbues the narrative with delightful, dry humor.”
“This multigenerational story is a road-trip novel, an ecological disaster drama, and a harrowing post-Iraq War PTSD portrait all rolled into one highly readable, gorgeously written book. Raymond tells this story peering over the shoulders of three strong characters, each of whom have to reconcile feelings of love — both romantic and familial — with the brutal realities of life during wartime. Despite its dark turns, Freebird is a book filled with hope for its characters as well as love for the real world it ably attempts to recreate and offer respite from.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
As we noted at the time, Variety reported that the second film as well as the upcoming third film of the trilogy (shot back-to-back) is directed by James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Cards). He replaces Sam Taylor-Johnson with whom James clashed during the filming of the first movie. The screenplays for the final two films will be written by E. L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard.
The inspirational film has been pushed back from its original April 2016 slot and will now open on Feb. 3. It stars Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Holt, Jon Voight, and Stephanie Leigh Schlund.
It had a rocky introduction when the preview aired in August, with The Guardian writing “Renée Zellweger and Greg Kinnear’s aggressive condecension; Djimon Hounsou’s Jar Jar Binks accent; the set designer’s antler fetish … this film does not look good.”
Please join us for the next GalleyChat, this coming Tuesday,
Jan. 3, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
GalleyChatters’ favorite season is upon us, late winter and early spring, when publishers take advantage of a quiet time to introduce new or under-the-radar talent.
It’s a good time to introduce more people to our get-togethers, so we’re asking regular GalleyChatters to “Bring a Pal” to Tuesday’s session and expose them to the wonderful world of advance reading. We know they will thank you.
Below are some highlights of the December chat. Check here for a list of all titles that came up.
Hearts and Minds
Alex George’s debut novel, A Good American, was well loved by many and his next book, Setting Free the Kites(PRH/Putnam, February) is just as impressive. Set in a small town in Maine during the mid-1970s, this moving story of a beautiful friendship between two middle school boys will have you emptying the tissue box as you read late into the night. Kimberly McGee from Lake Travis (TX) Community Library said, “This is the perfect coming of age story and one that is destined to be placed on the shelf with To Kill a Mockingbird and Stand by Me.” [NOTE: Check out EarlyWord’s recent chat with the author here.]
Chosen for over fifty “One Book, One Read” programs, Orphan Train was a breakout hit for Christina Baker Kline. Her next book, A Piece of the World (HarperCollins/Morrow, February), a novel based on the relationship between Andrew Wyeth and his inspiration for “Christina’s World” is destined by be as popular. Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien (CT) Library, was smitten saying, “Christina Olson is probably one of the most iconic women of the 20th century who we literally know nothing about. You will come to love and admire the woman who graces one of the most famous paintings of the 20th century.”
One of GalleyChat’s most prolific readers, Andrienne Cruz from Azusa City Library, is a fan of the coming-of-age novel Hearts of Men, by Nikolas Butler (HarperCollins/Ecco, Feburary). Calling it a “memorable book,” Andrienne also says, “This story is about sons, about values, about what it is to be a good man. It follows the lives of Nelson and Jonathan, the former bullied and friendless; the latter a popular all-American kid from a wealthy family. Their friendship is chronicled amidst a backdrop of growing up, going to war, falling in love, and choosing what men normally hold dear to their hearts.”
GalleyChatters loved Clare Mackintosh’s breakout psychological suspense title I Let You Go, and we’re pleased to report her followup, I See You (PRH/Berkley, February) is just as readable. Set in London, Zoe Walker tries to get help from law enforcement after she realizes advertisements with her face and others have become crime victims. Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library (NJ) loved it, saying, “This taut thriller has one surprise after another until at last, it seems all has been uncovered…or has it? A shocking last revelation will have readers turning back to see what clues were missed.”
And the Winners Might Be…
We polished our crystal balls and two titles emerged that are contenders for the year’s literary awards.
Two GalleyChatters raved about Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (PRH/Riverhead, March; LibraryReads deadline: Jan. 20) a gorgeously written story about immigration, and judging from the Edelweiss “much love” response, they aren’t alone. Gregg Winsor (Kansas City Library, MO) sums it up, “A touch of magical realism, immigrant narrative, beautiful imagery.” Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library echoed Gregg saying, “It is a beautifully written, unique book about what we do to protect ourselves, what we do to connect with others, and how we as human beings move through time and space. This work is truly a masterpiece.”
Elizabeth Strout has a knack for creating unforgettable characters, such as Olive Kittredge and Lucy Barton, and her newest novel, Anything is Possible (PRH/Random House, April; LibraryReads deadline: Feb. 20) is already accumulating accolades. Janet Lockhart of Wake County Public Libraries (NC) has already called this a favorite of 2017 and continues, “The residents of Lucy Barton’s hometown get their say in the latest book from the author of Olive Kittredge. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different person and they leap off the page in all their flawed glory. Strout’s compassion for her characters permeates the book.”
New galleychatter Lisa Hollander, readers’ services librarian from Syosset Public Library, NY, recommends The Young Widower’s Handbookby Tom McAllister (Workman/Algonquin, January), saying it was a “romantic comedy, which is strange when you think that the topic is a man grieving over his wife dying young. It was a nice distraction from real life. Highly recommend.”
A Book about Books
Librarians adore books about books and so we noticed when Joe Jones of Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH) enthused about Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History, Rebecca Romney, J. P. Romney (HarperCollins/Harper, February). Joe recommends this for readers who say they don’t like nonfiction and also said, “Sometimes we get lucky and find an author who can not only educate us, but also entertain us as well. Rebecca and J.P. had me laughing as I learned things I had never knew before about Shakespeare, Johannes Gutenberg, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Franklin just to name a few of the characters included in these pages. “
Please join us for the first GalleyChat of the new year, on Tuesday, January 2, 4:00 (ET), and remember to bring friends and please introduce them during the virtual pre-chat virtual cocktails which begins at 3:30.