Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of Nov. 16, 2015

Friday, November 13th, 2015

9780345542960_b007a  9781455586424_4c0e4  9781501108556_6aa30

Edging up into the John Grisham stratosphere, Janet Evanovich’s next Stephanie Plum novel, Tricky Twenty-Two,is the holds leader among the books coming out next week. She is closely followed by David Baldacci’s The Guilty (Hachette/Grand Central). Somewhat further behind, but still strong, is Mary Higgins Clark’s All Dressed in White: An Under Suspicion Novel, written with Alafair Burke (S&S)

The titles covered here, 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 Nov. 16, 2015

Media Attention

9781501116292_dac5b438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea, Jonathan Franklin (S&S/Atria).

Outside magazine recently called this “The best survival book in a decade.” It will be the subject of a CNN Special, scheduled for November 17 as well as a Univision-TV two-part story, November 17 and 18.

9780385541138_7f67fThis Old Man: All in Pieces, Roger Angell, (PRH/Doubleday)

Don’t worry, Roger Angell may be old (he’s 93), but he’s not in pieces. Instead, this is a collection of pieces he has written over the years. On Entertainment Weekly‘s Must List at #9, it is described as having “something for everyone, from profiles to haikus: the work of an inspiring life” and the author is set to be featured on:

NPR – Weekend Edition Saturday – 11/14
NPR Fresh Air – 11/17

Consumer Media Picks

9781501111679_b50bb   9780385539463_85083  9781501107832_b8888

People magazine’s picks for the week have all been released earlier.

At #1 is Stephen King’s short story collection, Bazaar of Bad Dreams. The other two picks are Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay (see our coverage here) and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker.

The latter has received fairly heavy media attention this week (check your holds) and gets a strong B+ from Entertainment Weekly (not yet online). EW also features the audio, which Parker reads, of course. Summing up the book they say, “she tells her story through a series of letters to the men in her life. Everyone from her father to her onetime cab driver. Reading between the lines, a portrait of the author emerges.” The New York Times also praises it, saying it “is written in a smart, beguiling voice.”


9781250088949_070c2Hitting theaters today is The 33, adapted from Héctor Tobar’s Deep Down Dark (released last month as a tie-in using the movie’s title). Saying, “Antonio Banderas jumps into the awards race in this account of the 2010 mine collapse,” it is the #1 People Pick of things to do this week.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

Tie-ins scheduled for publication this week are:

9780393353150_28589The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (Norton).

As we wrote when the news broke, Deadline calls this a “Surprise Oscar Entry” saying it “adds another film to what is shaping up to be the most competitive year-end movie market in recent memory.”

Talk about your moneyball. With Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling. The movie opens in limited release on Dec. 12, and nationwide on Christmas Day. The trailer is here. Below is a recently released video with the actors and directors talking about making the movie.

9780544817289_23384The Man in the High Castle (Tie-In) by Philip K. Dick (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner Books).

From Amazon Studios, this is their next big bet after their success with Transparent (the show’s creators says it would have been  too “expensive and dangerous” for regular networks). It begins streaming on Nov. 20.

As we noted, the series is directed by Ridley Scott, known for the 1982 movie Blade Runner based, if somewhat loosely, on another iconic book by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

David Mitchell takes on
Genre Snobbery

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

9780812976823_4747a 9780812998689_94f63David Mitchell just won the 2015 World Fantasy Awards for The Bone Clocks, (Random House; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

His most recent book, Slade House, published last month (Random House; Random House Audio and BOT; OverDrive Sample), is a blend of genres.

Few authors are in such a strong position to call out the war on genre. In Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast he does so in no uncertain terms, calling it a “bizarre act of self-mutilation” for readers to avoid certain genres, such as SF or Fantasy, or only read certain kinds of fiction.

“The book doesn’t care if it’s science fiction,” he says. “The book doesn’t give a damn about genre, it just is what it is.”

In a wide-ranging interview Mitchell also talks Dungeons & Dragons and its relation to Slade House, defends and praises Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, and extols Andy Weir’s The Martian. He is a big fan of Susan Cooper as well and discusses how Ursula K. Le Guin sparked his desire to be a writer:

“I have clear memories from way back of finishing A Wizard of Earthsea on a rainy Saturday morning, and just having this incandescent urge inside me, like a magnesium ribbon, that I badly wanted to do that as well. I wanted to make those worlds and people—those imaginary worlds—and send them on journeys, and give them quests, and make other people feel what she had made me feel.”


The Future of The Book:
Using Pickles

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Pickle Index9780996260800_f2d38

An app-based novel that aspires to be the most bonkers book ever written.”

That is how BuzzFeed begins a very long profile about the newest project by Eli Horowitz, one of the driving forces behind the indie publishing house McSweeney’s.

Horowitz wants to change how books and reading are understood. His newest effort in that undertaking is The Pickle Index.

Unlike most books that might be described with a plot summary what really matters here is what The Pickle Index is.

As reviewer Carmen Machado describes it for NPR’s Arts & Life review, it is three books and an app.

One is a paperback illustrated with small black and white images: The Pickle Index (Macmillan/FSG Originals; OverDrive Sample).

There is also a hardcover two-book slipcase set edition with illustrations by Ian Huebert, that a la Brian Selznick, have strong story-telling power: The Pickle Index (Sudden Oak Books).

As Machado puts it,

“the illustrations in each [of the hardback volumes] encourage the reader to read the books back and forth, or at the very least turn and twirl the illustrations to see how they connect with, compliment, or contradict each other.”

If that were not enough, the hardcover books are not, as Machado describes, “simply the paperback with color” but are structured differently than the paperback.

Then there is the app, of which Machado says,

“is [a] different thing entirely, while still being more of the same … Once the reader has read the necessarily elements, they can progress through the story in real time, or with the narrative accelerated. Additionally, the app has one-off jokes and minor side plots — including two soldiers trapped in a submarine together, squabbling in the Q&A section. You, the reader, are also integrated into this frustrating world, and have to (among other things) manipulate the Index’s deliberately clunky interface.”

Lost? Horowitz describes it this way to Anne Helen Petersen of BuzzFeed:

“There are all these different ways that you can read that are valid, so I wanted to fully imagine all of those formats. So: the book-iest book I could do, and the app-iest app. Even the paperback, and the Kindle version. They’ll have their own sort of thing, with different reaches and different audiences.”

It might sound overly elaborate and precious, but Horowitz knows his stuff. He has worked with big-named authors including Dave Eggers, Miranda July, Michael Chabon, and Joyce Carol Oates and, says Petersen, “every book he’s written has been optioned for film or television: The New World, published in May, was optioned by Olivia Wilde; The Silent History, a digital app turned paperback from 2012, is slated to become AMC’s new prestige drama.”

There are plenty of people thinking about the future of the book. Horowitz is one of the most creative, telling BuzzFeed, “That’s why I made The Pickle Index in so many forms … To say there’s not a future; there are futures.”

Still wondering what the book is about? Petersen describes it as featuring “a delightfully unskilled circus troupe against the backdrop of a fascist dystopia, united by a forced devotion to fermented items.”


Sugar-Coating Called Worse Than
No Representation At All

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780375868320_ac721Shortly after A Fine DessertFour Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat  (RH/Schwartz & Wade, Jan.) was selected as one of the ten Best Illustrated Book by the NYT Book Review, NPR’s Code Switch reported on the simmering controversy over the book’s portrayal of an enslaved mother and daughter in a story titled,”The Kids’ Book A Fine Dessert Has Award Buzz — And Charges Of Whitewashing Slavery.”

The story comes full circle with an article in the New York Times, online Friday (in print on Saturday), “A Fine Dessert: Judging a Book by the Smile of a Slave.”

The book portrays history through the making of a single dessert, blackberry fool, in four different centuries, 1710, 1810, 1910, and 2010. The section from 1810 portrays an enslaved woman and her daughter making the dessert for a white family, then licking the remains from the bowl while hidden in a closet. Many objected that the mother and daughter appear to be enjoying the process of creating the fool, feeding the myth of the “happy slave” and that the closet scene, while stark in contrast, needs more context (see the NYT story for images of the pages).

The reactions have caused a soul-searching on the part of the books’  creators as well as at least one reviewer.

As the NYT notes, author Emily Jenkin has posted an apology online, saying that she will donate her writing fee to the campaign We Need Diverse Books.

Illustrator Sophie Blacknall, however, defends the book, as she did on Tuesday, responding to direct criticisms from author Daniel José Older at the Fall Conference of the New York City School Library System (section begins at time stamp 21:15).

The book received four starred reviews (the only holdout and the only prepub reviewer to raise a flag about the issue was Publishers Weekly). The Book Review Editor for School Library Journal, Kiera Parrott, wrote that publication’s starred review. She has posted comments on Twitter, and published them on Storify as “Reflecting on A Fine Dessert,” saying that at first she first felt the book’s depiction offered “a great opportunity to talk to [children] about America’s dark and painful history.” After reading what others have had to say, she says that she now realizes she was wrong and that, “It may feel odd for those of us who want to see more diversity to realize that sometimes NO representation is better than bad representation.”

For those who want to dive deeper into the issue,  SLJ, has published a bibliography of discussion.

Poetry Reigns Over The December Indie Next List

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780544555600_bf0b5The Selected Poems of Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) tops the December Indie Next list, the first time a book of poetry has led the list.

Hall, former US Poet Laureate, is one of the most beloved and respected poets writing today. This collection spans over seven decades of writing.

Katharine Nevins, of MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, Warner, NH says:

“This is a gift of honesty, intimacy, and the pure genius that is Donald Hall, as he hand-picks what he considers to be the best of his poetry from more than 70 years of published works. From this former U.S. Poet Laureate comes one essential volume of his works, where ‘Ox-Cart Man’ sits alongside ‘Kicking the Leaves’ and ‘Without.’ As he is no longer writing poetry, this ‘concise gathering of my life’s work’ is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.”

December is traditionally a slow time for publishing as booksellers are up to their ears managing holiday sales. Perhaps as a consequence, just over half of the Indie Next December list features November titles including Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero, Mitch Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Carly Simon’s memoir Boys in the Trees, and Michael Cunningham and Yuko Shimizu’s A Wild Swan: And Other Tales.

9780143128250_9f966Others on the list pubbing in December are paperback originals, including A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton (Penguin; Blackstone Audio), also our most recent Penguin Debut Authors Pick.

Sandi Torkildson, of A Room of One’s Own bookstore in Madison, WI says:

“An intimate look at the devastating effect of the bombing of Nagasaki on one family, this is a story of love — parental and sexual, selfless and selfish, and, in the end, healing. Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her home in the U.S. to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, who supposedly perished along with her daughter during the bombing nearly 40 years earlier. The man carries a cache of letters that forces Ama to confront her past and the love affair that tore her apart from her daughter.”

There is not a LibraryReads list in December. Instead librarians will celebrate the full year of reading with a “Favorite of Favorites” list to be issued on Dec. 1.

Librarian picks published in December 2015 will appear together with the January 2016 picks on the January LibraryReads list.

Slate’s Audio Book Club Struggles with A LITTLE LIFE

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780385539258_d6a46The November Slate book club is an intense conversation regarding Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample).

Laura Bennett, Andrew Kahn, Dan Kois, and Katy Waldman, all of Slate, gathered to talk about Hanya Yanagihara’s novel just a few weeks before she discovers if the book wins the National Book Award (to be announced Nov.18).

In what might be the best expression of the group’s reaction, one of the panelists said she has never had as complicated a relationship with a novel, finding it both riveting and deeply unpleasant, a book she could not stop reading even as she found herself emotionally manipulated at every turn.

Another National Book Award finalist, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, will be the subject of the December discussion.

Titles to Know and Recommend,
Week of Nov. 9, 2015

Friday, November 6th, 2015


Leading in holds next week is The Promise by Robert Crais (PRH/Putnam), featuring series characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. On the other hand, Mitch Albom’s new title, a novel, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto (Harper), is showing light holds in comparison to copies ordered. Anne Perry adds the thirteenth title to her list of Christmas-themed mysteries, this one set in Stromboli, near Sicily, A Christmas Escape (PRH/Ballantine). Based on holds ratios, this series is growing in popularity.

The titles covered here, 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 Nov. 9, 2015

Media Magnets

9781400067657_373ddDestiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Jon Meacham (Random House), EMBARGOED

Meacham, whose books on previous presidents have been well-received (he won a Pulitzer for his biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion) finds his new book making headlines in all the major news outlets, from the Washington Post, “George H.W. Bush slams ‘iron-ass’ Cheney, ‘arrogant’ Rumsfeld  …” to FoxNews, “HW Bush jabs at Cheney, Rumsfeld in new book.” There’s also speculation that this book will be “Awkward for Jeb Bush” (Slate).

All the publicity has caused the book to rise to #10 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

9780307962331_48449Rules For A Knight, Ethan Hawke (PRH/Knopf)

While Booklist and PW found this modern fable by the actor heartwarming, LJ and Kirkus seemed to have read a different book. The latter sums it up its negative review saying, “By all appearances, Hawke aspires to write a modern Siddhartha, but what we wind up with is more along the lines of watered-down Mitch Albom- and that’s a very weak cup of tea indeed. Just the thing for those who want their New Age nostrums wrapped in medieval kit.”

It will get media attention next week, including an interview with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show and an appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael.

9781476777092_38926Year Of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes (Simon & Schuster)

You wouldn’t suspect that the producer of several major TV shows (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder) fears appearing in public so much that she suffers panic attacks. She discovered a way to overcome her fears by simply saying “Yes” to things that terrified her. Her new resolve will be tested this week as she is scheduled for appearances on a dizzying number of shows, including Good Morning America, Nightline, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert as well as NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air.

The book is excerpted in this week’s People magazine.

Peer Picks

9781501107832_b8888Dear Mr. You, Mary-Louise Parker (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio)

Both an Indie Next and a LibrayReads pick:

“Parker has created a unique and poetic memoir through a series of letters–some of appreciation, some of apology, some simply of acknowledgement–to the men in her life. Ranging from a taxi driver to a grandfather she never knew, each man has left an imprint and shaped her into the person she has become. Full of feeling, growth, and self-discovery, Parker’s book has left me longing to write my own letters.”
PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC.

Parker, who spoke to librarians this year at BEA’s AAP/LibraryReads Lunch, will appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition tomorrow.

9781455525928_297a0Crimson Shore, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)


“In the latest installment in the Special Agent Pendergast series, Pendergast and Constance Greene investigate a theft of a wine cellar in an ancient village on the coast north of Salem, only to discover during their investigation the entombed remains of a tortured man. “I always thoroughly enjoy the Pendergast novels, and the interaction between Pendergast and Constance in this book was very intriguing.” Shari Brophy, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA.

Wild Swan
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales, Michael Cunningham with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio)


“These are fairy tales that have slightly more insight, for the discerning adult. The Wild Swans was actually my favorite when I was young, next to The Little Mermaid. These are a continuation of what happens after those stories end and are set, in some instances, in the modern world. Packed with humor, this is an easy gift for those who like to be read to at night or feel too old for idealistic fairy tales.” Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA.


A new Bond movie hits theaters this weekend, Spectre, but 007 is now so far from his book origins that the Ian Fleming name is buried in the credits. Like the previous Bond movie, Skyfall, this one has no tie-in, but libraries can capitalize on the movie by displaying books that featured S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), which Fleming introduced in his 1961 novel, Thunderball and continued in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice. John Gardner brought S.P.E.C.T.R.E.  back in his Bond novel, For Special Services, continuing in Role of Honor, and Nobody Lives Forever. The Atlantic offers background on “The Messy, Improbable History of SPECTRE.”

Plenty of other movies open this week that do give credit to their origins. All have tie-ins, listed in our Movie Tie-ins:

Brooklyn — 11/4, limited — Based on the 2009 novel by Colm Toibin, starring Saoirse Ronan and directed by John Crowley, it is considered an Oscar contender.

Spotlight — 11/6 — People lists it as their #1 pick for the week, saying “All the President’s Men gets new competition for the best film ever about journalism.” It is based on reporting by Boston Globe journalists into child sexual abuse in Boston’s Catholic church and subsequent coverup. By comparison, the expected blockbuster, The Peanuts Movie trails at #9 on People‘s list, which is not to say they don’t like it, they DO, very much.

Trumbo — 11/6, limited — stars Bryan Cranston as the screenwriter who fought against the Hollywood blacklist in the 1940’s.  People lists it as the #5 pick for the week, noting Helen Mirren’s role as a “deliciously vile” red-hater columnist Hedda Hopper. Trumbo wrote the screenplays for many well-known movies, including SpartacusRoman HolidayPapilion, and The Way We Were. He also wrote and directed  Johnny Got His Gun, based on his own novel.

Peanuts — 11/6 — As People points out, a whole new generation is ready to be introduced to Charlie and the gang. In the NYT  Dana Jennings worries that introduction is flawed, “What I’ve seen of the balloon-like animation of The Peanuts Movie worries me” and lists new books that show off the “simple and lyrical drawing line of the comic strip.

Charming Christmas — 11/8 (Sunday) — Hallmark movie, kicks off Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas.”

Tie-ins scheduled for publication this week are:

9781590517901_49700The Secret in Their Eyes (Movie Tie-In Edition) by Eduardo Sacheri (Other Press; OverDrive Sample).

A thriller baed on the Argentine novel, La pregunta de sus ojos. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, and Michael Kelly, it opens Nov. 20. It was previously adapted into an Argentine film which won the 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The book was originally released in an English translation in 2011.

9780393352689_71349Carol by Patricia Highsmith (Norton)

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, 1952, this is considered a strong Oscar contender. It also opens Nov. 20.

9780143126812_fcff5In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Movie Tie-in) by Nathaniel Philbrick (Penguin; Penguin Audio)9781101997765_36a9c

If the trailer is any indicator, this will be one of the scariest movies of the season. Directed by Ron Howard, it opens Dec. 11.

A young reader edition was  released in September. In the Heart of the Sea (Young Readers Edition) by Nathaniel Philbrick (Penguin/Puffin Books; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

9780544805026_ef240The Color Purple (Musical Tie-In) by Alice Walker (HMH/Mariner Books).

A new production starring Jennifer Hudson opens on Broadway Nov. 10.

9781250091550_ad495Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to All Six Seasons by Jessica Fellowes (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press)

The final season debuts on PBS on January 2.

9780316315050_20c78I Saw the Light: The Story of Hank Williams by Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen (Back Bay Books).

The biopic of the country music legend stars Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams and Elizabeth Olsen as Audrey Williams, also a country music star and his first wife. The movie release date has recently changed to March 2016, but the tie-in publication date is still listed as this week.

Jail Cookery

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

9780761185529_743d6Step aside, Thug Kitchen, here’s the real deal.

In an affecting interview on NPR’s The Salt, Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez talks about his new cookbook Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars (Workman; OverDrive Sample).

Alvarez spent over a decade behind bars and explains that those cheap packs of dehydrated noodles are everything to prisoners seeking some control over their meals, “maybe a guy has a bag of chips — that’s all he has to his name. And this other guy is blessed to have a couple of soups. Well, they get together, they make an interesting meal.”

His book is a mix of recipes and stories. It begins with the basic instructions for cooking the noodles without a pot or open flame. It goes on to offer advice for surviving hard time.

When asked who might use his book, Alvarez replies:

“I know some college kids might attempt to cook some of these. And quite frankly, I’ve had a few of them direct message me and say that they were awesome. They’ll go, ‘Man, these are great. I saved some money. It only cost me a couple dollars.’ Cool. And then I’d like others to read it and be humbled by the stories. And maybe, you know, they’ll have a friend of a friend or a family member — somebody that’s made a mistake and is doing some time. And they can probably share the stories with them, and hope it can teach them something. Maybe learn from my mistakes and others not to make these stupid decisions.”

JK Rowling Drops Hints

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

In news that might overshadow her PR push for the newest Cormoran Strike novel, JK Rowing said during an interview on BBC Radio 2 Book Club that she is going to write another children’s book:

“I’m not going to give you an absolute date because things are busy and I’ve been writing a screenplay as well. But I will definitely write more novels under JK Rowling. I’ve written part of a children’s book, which I really love. I will definitely finish that. I have ideas for other adult books.”

Let the watch begin.

UPDATE: The U.K. trade publication, The Bookseller, followed up with Rowling’s agent. You can almost hear the sigh in his voice as he replies, “J K Rowling has talked previously about writing a children’s book and, as she said to Simon Mayo in the interview, it is on-going, with no plans to publish as yet.”

9780316349932_bd4feShe is also gamely promoting her latest adult title, Career of Evil (Hachette/Mulholland), the third in the Cormoran Strike mystery series.

She has much to say on that same BBC interview but she also talked with David Greene for NPR’s Morning Edition, discussing how her research into the feelings and motivations of killers gave her nightmares and why she chose to disguise herself as a male author.

“… there was a phenomenal amount of pressure that went with being the writer of Harry Potter, and that aspect of publishing those books I do not particularly miss. So you can probably understand the appeal of going away and creating something very different, and just letting it stand or fall on its own merits.”

Gaitskill Gathers Press

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Gaitskill  9780307379740_83832

The New York Times Magazine features Mary Gaitskill in a lengthy profile written by Parul Sehgal, an editor at The New York Times Book Review. It is online now and set for the Nov. 8 print edition.

Gaitskill just published a new novel, The Mare (PRH/Pantheon; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), and Sehgal says “she seemed jittery about its reception.”

Perhaps, as Sehgal goes on to point out, that is because:

“at first glance [the novel] feels out of place in her oeuvre … [it] doesn’t have the usual feel of Gaitskill’s fiction, the prickly wit and enveloping sanctuary, the lure of a dark bar on a hot day. It’s earnest and violently of the daylight, stuffed with squalling schoolchildren and focused less on missing connections than surviving them.”

Sehgal says that instead the novel:

“is a more expansive, more elaborately plotted story than we’ve come to expect from Gaitskill, and it’s not a book she ever wanted to write … What, after all, does she know of motherhood or writing from the point of view of a poor child of another race — let alone horses? But Gaitskill has always written from the margins, peering in: Feelings of exclusion and confusion powerfully motor her imagination. And in The Mare, in writing about race, poverty and family life, she has traveled to some of the farthest vistas of her career.”

The novel centers on Velvet, an 11-year-old Dominican-American girl from Crown Heights Brooklyn who is sent to the countryside to spend the summer with a childless white couple. It traces the complications and connections between her family, a horse, and the couple she stays with.

Reviewing for the NYT Dwight Garner was not blown away, saying “The Mare gallops, but on a closed track, not out there in the wild.”

Reviewing for the LA Times, author Elissa Schappell completely disagreed, writing:

“This is a coming-of-age story in the way we are always coming of age, whether we are 13 or 47. What elevates it is the way Gaitskill rides herd on sentimentality, which isn’t to suggest that the work isn’t emotional — it is. It’s just that there are no false notes, no stumbles in the rare moments of tenderness. It’s brave and bold to publish a book like this. Make no mistake: The women in this book, like Gaitskill herself, are mares.”

And booksellers like it, making it an Indie Next Pick for November:

The Mare is the heart-wrenching story of a young inner-city girl in the Fresh Air Fund program who travels to a host family in upstate New York, where she befriends a frightened and abused racehorse at a nearby stable. Gaitskill navigates the ugly realities of both human and equine abuse, but, ultimately, this is a triumphant novel shaped by authentic characters and in which trust and determination win. Readers will be reminded of how our real-life connections with animals can both guide and heal.” —Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Gaitskill gets even more attention in Alexandra Schwartz’s profile for The New Yorker, “Uneasy Rider,”  online now and in print in the Nov.9 issue.

“Explosive” Interview

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

9781101886960_28aaaActress and former Scientologist Leah Remini appeared on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday and reaction to her hour-long interview has skyrocketed her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology (PRH/Ballantine) to #3 on Amazon.

The LA Times calls her conversation with ABC’s Dan Harris, in which Remini dishes the dirt on Scientologist Tom Cruise and his ex-wife, Katie Holmes, “explosive” and reports on the fallout, which was still going strong yesterday as Remini appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Much of the Good Morning America segment covered the Church-based “reprogramming” of Remini due to Church reports filed against her by Cruise and Holmes after they became displeased with her in the run up to their wedding.

leah-remini-cover-768x1024Remini is also featured on the cover of the Nov. 16 issue of People magazine (on newsstands this Friday) and is scheduled  for an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

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.

Titles To Know and Recommend, Week of Nov. 2, 2015

Friday, October 30th, 2015

9780316387798_03753  9781419717017_7cfc5  9781501111679_b50bb

The holds leader among the titles arriving next week is The Crossing by Michael Connelly (Hachette/Little, Brown), followed very closely by the next title in the favorite middle-school series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School (Abrams/Amulet).  Further behind is Stephen King’s new book of short stories, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (S&S/Scribner).

9780804188975_7bc6dThe week also brings a book with a cheeky title, The Grownup: A Story by the Author of Gone Girl (in case you don’t know who that is, her name appears on the cover). Originally published in George R.R. Martin’s short story anthology Rogues, (PRH/Bantam, 2014), it was then titled “What Do You Do?” The author is set to appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition this Sunday.

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 Nov. 2, 2015

Media Magnets

cover-768  9781942872481_11fd3

Strong Looks Better Naked, Khloé Kardashian, (S&S/Regan Arts)

The Kardashians have a genius for timing. Just as headlines have been occupied with stories of Khloé Kardashian sitting vigil next to her husband’s hospital bed and calling off her divorce, her new book is hitting shelves. People features her in a cover story and offers an excerpt.

9781501137969_c174e-2Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, Donald J. Trump (S&S/Threshold)

Supposedly under a strict embargo, Politico nonetheless managed to find a copy in a bookstore and has released the “13 juiciest quotes” from Trump’s campaign book. Trump is scheduled to appear next week on  Good Morning America and Fox News Fox & Friends.

9781101886960_28aaaTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Leah Remini, (PRH/Ballantine)

As we wrote earlier, anticipation is building for this tell-all by the most high profile person to leave the Church of Scientology, actress Leah Remini. She is scheduled to appear on ABC-TV’s 20/20 tonight (sample, below), and next week on Good Morning America as well as CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

9780316347761_9c862I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction, (Hachette)

The “token liberal” on Fox News show The Five, Bob Beckel was fired while in rehab. He has now been hired by CNN to give a “blue-collar liberal” perspective.  The media, of course, will be fascinated.

9781501125003_c11d0He Killed Them All: Robert Durst and My Quest for Justice, (S&S/Gallery Books; S&S Audio)

Another look at the accused killer by a DA involved in one of his murder cases, is set for strong media attention:

• ABC-TV/ Good Morning America, November 2
• ABC-TV/Nightline, November 2
• Fox-TV/Fox & Friends, November 3
• Nationally Syndicated-TV/Inside Edition, November 3
• Nationally Syndicated-TV/Extra, November 3
• Fox-TV/The O’Reilly Factor, November 4
• ABC-TV/The View, November 6
• Fox News-TV/Robert Durst Special featuring Jeanine Pirro, November 7

9781501107726_4e5b7-3Amazing Fantastic Incredible, Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran, (S&S/Touchstone)

Stan Lee, the man who created some of the world’s most famous superheroes, is in the Hollywood news this week, announcing a new film that will feature the first Chinese female superhero. Titled Realm, it is currently in development with Li Bingbing set to star.

If you’re Stan Lee, of course your memoir will be in comic book form.

Peer Picks

9780307379740_83832The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (RH/Pantheon; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Critics are racing to review Gaitskill’s latest. Dwight Garner’s review in the New York Times, is not completely positively, but the L.A. Times is a fan.

Indie Next:

The Mare is the heart-wrenching story of a young inner-city girl in the Fresh Air Fund program who travels to a host family in upstate New York, where she befriends a frightened and abused racehorse at a nearby stable. Gaitskill navigates the ugly realities of both human and equine abuse, but, ultimately, this is a triumphant novel shaped by authentic characters and in which trust and determination win. Readers will be reminded of how our real-life connections with animals can both guide and heal.” —Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY.

9780385539463_85083Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio/BOT)

Gay was one of the speakers who charmed at the PRH Librarian Breakfast during BEA:

Gay’s book is a LibraryReads pick:

“This was a quick, enjoyable read that offers a refreshing perspective on some of the trivialities we all find ourselves caught up in. I enjoyed the tone and humor throughout. A standout for me was Gay’s list of recommendations for his child’s future baseball team. His open letter to this imagined future team envisions a team that can just let kids be kids. My only disappointment with this book was that there wasn’t more of it–it seemed to end all too soon.” —Lindley Homol, Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA.

9780399171314_d699dAlong the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

Both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick:

“When Pepper Schuyler–on the run from a powerful politician and desperate to protect her unborn child–sells her newly restored classic car to an enigmatic and very wealthy woman, she not only finds unexpected refuge but also tantalizing hints of a mystery. With vivid European settings, colorful characters and intricate plotting that skillfully weaves past and present together, Along The Infinite Sea is a treat for fans of Beatriz Williams.” —Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY.

9781101874141_9e7a9The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf)

The incoming chair of London’s National Art Galley, Rothschild (yes, one of THOSE Rothschilds) is the first woman to hold that position. Naturally, her first novel is inspired by one of her favorite artists, Jean-Antoine Watteau. The author is set to be profiled in The  New York Times and to be interviewed on PBS’s Charlie Rose show.

It is both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick:

“The engaging, totally unexpected story of Annie, a lonely young woman who wanders into a junk shop and buys a painting. The painting turns out to have a long and storied past, with powerful people searching high and low for it. Unpredictable and fascinating; I loved the peek into the cutthroat art world and watching Annie blossom as she discovers her true calling.” —Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC.

9781451664164_7f031Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample)

A People pick for the week — “once again Irving charms by blending the fantastical with what is deeply, affectingly real. ”

Irving will be featured on several TV shows:, including PBS’s Newshour, CBS-TV’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and NPR’s Diane Rehm.

Indie Next:

“With Avenue of Mysteries, Irving introduces readers to brother and sister Diego and Lupe, denizens of the massive garbage dump in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each sibling is remarkable — Lupe can intuit people’s thoughts and Diego, though uneducated, reads everything he can lay his hands on. Their childhood is recalled by the adult Diego as he travels in the Philippines, trying to accomplish a dying request from an acquaintance of his youth. Avenue of Mysteries contains all of the things we love about Irving’s novels: masterful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and a renewed sense of magic in everyday events.” —Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, DC.

9781501116971_396caThe Japanese Lover , Isabel Allende (S&S/Atria Books; S&S Audio)

An Indie Next pick, this is also the #1 LibraryReads title for the month:

“Irina is a young Moldavian immigrant with a troubled past. She works at an assisted living home where she meets Alma, a Holocaust survivor. Alma falls in love with Ichi, a young Japanese gardener, who survived Topaz, the Japanese internment camp. Despite man’s inhumanity to man, love, art and beauty can exist, as evidenced in their beautiful love story.” —Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY.

9781616203573_956c7The Muralist, B. A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin Books; HighBridge Audio)

The #1 Indie Next title for the month, this is also a LibraryReads pick:

“This art-filled story following the young life and disappearance of Alizee Benoit is heartbreaking and thoughtful. Not only does the novel give an entertaining education on the WPA and abstract artists, but it also gives eerily relevant commentary on refugees and the cold-heartedness of government. Alizee’s story will pull you along as you try to grasp how this bright light of the art community vanished.” —Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA.


Below are the tie-ins scheduled for publication this week. For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

9780147519085_6714dThe 5th Wave Movie Tie-In: The First Book of the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers/Speak; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample; also in trade pbk)

The movie. starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber opens on 1/15/2016. See trailer here.


9780316390682_80bc8Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample)

The basis for Syfy’s new space opera series, The Expanse, set 200 years in the future, with zero-gravity sex, debuts Dec. 14.



9780785198567_87307Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2 (Marvel)
Based on the graphic novel, all 13 episodes will begin streaming on Netflix on November 20.


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 (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 (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.

Writers On The Air

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Last night two high profile authors got late night treatment.

Lauren Groff appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers. She is in countdown mode for the Nov. 18 announcement of the National Book Award and is fresh off her Morning Edition Book Club appearance.

Meyers is proving to be a deft interviewer of authors. That may be because, as he revealed last night in a throwaway aside  he thinks of himself as a writer too, having been the head writer for Saturday Night Live.

The pair discuss Groff’s process, her stereoscopic approach to Fates and Furies, and writing sex scenes.

Jonathan Franzen starred in a skit on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and sat down for a conversation as well.

The skit mocks Amazon through a bedtime story entitled “Little Read Reading Hood.” The US Department of Justice stars as the woodsman and there is a typical Colbert twist at the end.

The conversation, in which Colbert’s snark sometimes got the better of Franzen, ranged from Twitter to reading to football. Nevertheless, n the strength of his appearance, Purity rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, from 445 to 356.