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.
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 Aug 23, 2015
X, Sue Grafton, (Penguin/Putnam)
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.”
A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan, (S&S)
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 Review and is a People magazine pick.
It is also an Indie Next 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
The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion, Tracy Daugherty, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s)
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.
Best Boy, Eli Gottlieb, (Norton/Liveright)
“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
The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Louise Penny, (Macmillan/Minotaur)
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
The Fall of Princes, Robert Goolrick, (Workman/Algonquin)
“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