The book is well within Amazon’s Top 50, jumping from #246 to #44 and several libraries are showing strong holds. The rise coincides with a recent flurry of news stories and an appearance on NPR’s On Point yesterday.
A surprise best seller in Germany, it is delighting readers across Europe and Canada and looks poised to also do well in the US, swept along not just by what McLean’s calls its “utterly charming” affect but by recent interests in new discoveries of just how smart living creatures are, such as Frans de Waal’s Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds.
Check your holds, some locations are showing spikes as high as 10:1.
For those interested in the science, there is a TED Talk on the subject, given by another researcher in the field.
A latecomer to the Fall Reading sweeps, the new issue of People magazine features the “Best Books of Fall” (available in print only).
Among the nine selections is Loner by Teddy Wayne (S&S; OverDrive Sample). People writes that “The dark narrative highlights hot-button issues on today’s campuses, making it seem all too real.”
Just released this week, the book is gaining attention. Maureen Corrigan gave it a strong review on Fresh Air yesterday, saying the novel, set in Harvard, “ultimately becomes a powerful and even a somewhat touching suspense story about a first-year student who finds himself outclassed in ways neither he nor the reader could possibly anticipate.”
Additional Buzz:Lit Hub ran this a compelling annotation from an Indie bookseller in their fall reading list:
“My quick pitch for Loner is ‘Humbert Humbert goes to Harvard.’ Teddy Wayne, author of the Bieber-inspired novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, drops his readers inside his young characters’ heads with a vibrant sense of authenticity and authority that is almost intoxicating. In Loner, you realize far too late how far off the rails you’ve followed its first-year student protagonist in his obsessions.”–Alex Meriwether, Harvard Bookstore
A review is scheduled for the New York Times Book Review, September 25.
The only source to include this title among their picks, the magazine says Collin’s efforts to better communicate with her husband by learning his native language, “A laugh-out-loud memoir about love, culture and belonging.”
Additional Buzz: The New York Times reviews it in the forthcoming Sunday BR, writing it is “far more ambitious than the average memoir about moving abroad … a thoughtful, beautifully written meditation on the art of language and intimacy.”
Tana French’s The Trespasser (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio/BOT) has been featured on many other lists. People calls it, “Atmospheric and unputdownable.”
It is fitting then that the most recent interviews with Moore, one published by New York magazine and another by The New York Timesare weighty, too.
The New York magazine interview captures the author in a good, if reflective, mood, except for his take on certain comics. Known for many pioneering comics, including The Watchmen(DC Comics), he says, “I am really in a bad mood about superheroes,” and goes on to say about film adaptations that cycle through the same material, “What are these movies doing other than entertaining us with stories and characters that were meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of 50 years ago?”
Despairing about much of the comic industry and his own role in creating some of the most iconic comics of the past few decades he says “I probably only have about 250 pages of comics left in me to write. With regard to the superhero characters, my opinion is that they were what I was given to play with when I was starting out in the industry. That’s it. It wasn’t as if I had ever expressed any particular desire to do them.”
The NYT caught Moore in a worse mood, one in which he is both evasive and self-indulgent, but did manage to illicit the news that he is currently obsessed with David Foster Wallace and particularly Infinite Jest.
There is a way to teach your cat that the carrier is a safe place.
According to Sarah Ellis, co-author with John Bradshaw of The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, (Perseus/Basic Books; OverDrive Sample), the key is an understanding of feline psychology.
The author was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday by Terry Gross. Clearly, the subject connected with many listeners. The book is on the rise on Amazon’s sales rankings hitting #28 today.
The entire interview is a must-listen for cat lovers but a highlight is the discussion of the essential nature of cats. Rather than imprinting on humans as a point of safety the way dogs do, cats find safety in place, their home territory that they have marked with scent and know very well.
Taking a cue from that, rather than bringing out the carrier only when it’s time to go the the vet, owners should keep the carrier out of the closet, treating it like a piece of furniture, allowing the cat to mark it, become used to it, and to associate it with their safe home environment.
Two of the titles are by authors from the U.S. (in 2014, the rules were changed to make U.S. authors eligible). Three others did not make the cut, including Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton (PRH/Viking).
Graeme Macrae Burnet, U.K., His Bloody Project, (Skyhorse, 10/4/16)
Published by the “tiny” press Saraband in Scotland, this title’s appearance on the list has drawn headlines in the U.K.. Up until the longlist announcement, the book had received little attention. In its review, the Guardian, said “this Man Booker-longlisted historical thriller deftly masquerades as a slice of true crime.”
We’ve set up links to the various lists to the right. You can also browse our catalog of Fall consumer media picks. Reading through them is a quick way to get to get a leg up on books people will be asking about.
Several titles emerge as clear favorites including Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (Harper; HarperAudio). All the annotations emphasize that this novel about blended families feels very personal. Indeed, the WSJ says it “recalls elements of her own experiences as a child of divorce” and quotes the book’s publisher Jonathan Burnham, saying it is “probably the most commercial novel Ann has written yet.”
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on most of the lists, including Glamour‘s, but with a dismissive recommendation, “For Keeping Prominently on Your Bedside Table or Bookshelf to Thumb Through Once in a While and Feel Smart for Owning, Even Though You Never Get Around To Actually Reading It.”
On the other hand, Glamour is over the top about another much-anticipated title, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (PRH/Penguin Press; Penguin Audio/BOT; Nov. 15): “Book club, over wine, on a date, on the phone, online…there’s never a wrong time to gush about the latest Zadie Smith, so inoculate yourself against spoilers by reading it the moment you can.”
Even the fashion magazines tend to focus on literary titles, leaving USA Today as the only source to mention Nicholas Sparks’s latest, Two by Two (Hachette/Grand Central; Blackstone Audio) or Stephenie Meyer’s The Chemist (Hachette/Little, Brown) saying she “channels her inner Jason Bourne in her first adult thriller.” The Amazon Editors, of course, also mention some expected big sellers, including John Grisham’s The Whistler (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT; RH Large Print) and Jojo Moyes’s Paris for One and Other Stories (PRH/Pamela Dorman; Penguin Audio/BOT;RH Large Print).
Oprah’s latest pick, Love Warrior, isn’t on any of these lists, but two memoirs that many thought were worthy candidates for the nod are, Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; OverDrive Sample) and iO Tillett Wright’s Darling Days (HarperCollins/Ecco).
By their nature, these lists tend to focus on authors with proven track records, but several debuts appear on multiple lists:
The Mothers, Brit Bennett (10/11, PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio/BOT). Note: It is the #1 Indie Next pick for October.
Annotation That Grabbed Us — Vogue — “explores a love triangle in a Southern California beach town, and the ways in which women often nurture, and sometimes betray, one another.”
Annotation That Grabbed Us — Lit Hub — “If you read one book this year, prepare to be swept away by this luminous story of twins surviving the horrors of Auschwitz … The sisters are forced to endure the experiments of Josef Mengele and yet they survive—participating in camp events, plotting the death of Mengele and finding hope in despair. The pace is so beautiful that you must take your time with her words—imaginative, humorous, and transcendent. –Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop
Annotation That Grabbed Us — New York magazine — “In Jade Chang’s highly entertaining debut novel The Wangs vs. the World, Taiwanese-born American businessman Charles Wang loses his fortune to the 2008 recession and must unite his children to start fresh in China. Along with their stepmother Barbra, the Wangs set off on a road trip across the country, all the way struggling to deal with their new financial situation — and each other. A meditation on what it means to be an immigrant in America, The Wangs vs. the World shows the often surprising ways hardship can bring a dysfunctional family closer together.”
We’ll be watching to see which of these titles make the transition to the end-of-the-year bests lists.
It has taken so long to see a concentrated group of titles, writes the the NYT‘s publishing reporter, Alexandra Alter, because editors and publishers have been too jittery to publish books set during that era, fearing the material would be overly traumatic for readers or seem exploitative.
Authors, worried that teens have no clear idea of what actually happened and that they themselves were becoming too removed from the events to write about them with truth and power, pushed back against those concerns, reports the NYT, quoting one author as saying of the 10 editors who rejected her novel for fear it was too raw and painful that “they’re not the audience for the book, and the teens that are going to be reading this book are not going to have that visceral reaction.”
Mezrich, known for his juicy, edgy, social science books such as Bringing Down the House(adapted as the 2008 movie 21) and The Accidental Billionaires (adapted as the 2010 movie The Social Network) turns away from accounts of college kids making money to focus his attention on a very different type of speculation, whether extraterrestrials exist and the story of a real life alien hunter.
In the interview with CBS, Mezrich says he went into the project as a non-believer, but in the course of investigating the tales of unexplained happenings along what is essential the UFO Highway (a 3,000 mile strip across the middle of the country), he now knows “that at least once something happened that still has not been explained” and that “the impediments to believing have dissapeared.”
He says there is a “enormous amount of evidence” and he hopes readers will consider it.
Like his previous books, this one is already in the process of being adapted into a movie.
The book of the week, at least among reviewers, is Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (Harper; HarperAudio), arriving on Tuesday. It’s already received coverage, and it’s likely to get more attention in the upcoming week (see Peer Picks, below). It also comes with the news that her breakout title, Bel Canto, is being developed as a movie, starring Julianne Moore. Check your holds, some libraries are showning ratios of ten to one.
As we’ve written, Ta-Nehisi Coates followed up his long-running nonfiction best seller with a comic featuring the Black Panther, with illustrations by Brian Stelfreeze. The first four issues are being released in book form as Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1.WSJinterviews him about the series this week.
Jennifer Weiner makes her children’s debut with a middle grade novel, the first in a trilogy, The Littlest Bigfoot (S&S/Aladdin; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). She also publishes her first book of essays in October, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio).
USA Today – Fall Books Preview – 9/4
ABC-TV – Live! with Kelly – Interview – 9/13
Bravo TV – Watch What Happens Live – Taped Interview – 9/13 Entertainment Tonight – Interview – 9/13 Today Show – 8AM & 10AM appearances – 9/13 Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – Guest appearance – 9/13 The Rachael Ray Show – Guest appearance – 9/13
Alan Cumming follows up on his well-received memoir from 2014, Not My Father’s Son, with another life tale, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures, Alan Cumming (Rizzoli; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Expect a media attention, including:
Vanity Fair – 9/1 W Magazine – 9/1
CBS-TV / Late Show With Stephen Colbert – 9/9
ABC-TV / The Chew – 9/13
CBS-TV/Late Late Show with James Corden – 9/20
Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton, Joe Conason (S&S; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) provides an inside look at the second career and world-wide brand of Bill Clinton. The book was the basis for a news story in The Washington Post this week.
Expect more attention to follow, including:
CNN-TV/ Newsroom, September 13
MSNBC-TV/ Morning Joe, September 13
CNBS-TV/ Squawk Box, September 14
WNYC-Radio/ Brian Lehrer Show, September 15
Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel, Dan Slater (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). The publisher offers a sure-bet hook for this true crime tale, “The story of two American teens recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel, and their pursuit by a Mexican-American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unwinnable.”
There is a media wave for it as well:
New Yorker, 9/12/16
NPR-Radio/ Weekend All Things Considered, September 10 New York Times Book Review, September 11
C-SPAN Book TV/ AfterWords, September 20
Consumer Media Picks
In addition to Ann Patchett’s novel, People picks:
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, Luvvie Ajayi (Macmillan/Holt Paperback original; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) — “blogger Ajayi might make you rethink some assumptions about meant and women. At the very least, she’ll make you laugh.”
Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon. Kelley French and Thomas French (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) — “The Frenches, both journalists, eloquently chronicle the terrifying, heroic first six months of their daughter Juniper’s life … tender, fierce and breathtaking.”
Unfortunately, Entertainment Weekly‘s book section was pre-empted this week by their extensive preview of the fall TV season, but Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth is #6 on their “Must List” for the week.
“The Cousins and the Keatings are two California families forever intertwined and permanently shattered by infidelity. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly Keating, leaving her to raise four children on her own. Beverly, with two children of her own, leaves her husband for Bert. The six children involved are forced to forge a childhood bond based on the combined disappointment in their parents. As adults, they find their families’ stories revealed in a way they couldn’t possibly expect. Patchett has written a family drama that perfectly captures both the absurdity and the heartbreak of domestic life.” — Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
“When Gwendolyn Hooper comes to Ceylon as a young bride, she has no idea that she’s entering a region on the cusp of political upheaval or that she’s living with a widower and his secret-filled past. The Tea Planter’s Wife has all of the elements that I’m looking for in historical fiction: compelling characters, an evocative setting, a leisurely pace, and a plot that unfolds like the petals of a flower, or, in this case, the tea plant.” — Amy Lapointe, Amherst Town Library, Amherst, NH
“A charming mystery introduces Laetitia Rodd, a widow who moonlights as a sleuth in 1850s London. She’s tapped to help uncover the mysterious past of a prospective bride, but the more Laetitia digs, the more certain individuals want to keep their secrets buried. And when those secrets turn deadly, Laetitia may be in danger herself. Saunders nails the raucous world of Victorian London, capturing the Dickens-like characters from the lowest of society to the lofty ranks of the wealthy. A fine read for those who love vivid settings and memorable characters.” — Katie Hanson, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI
“In Atlanta in the late 1940s, the integration of black police officers into the force is proving to be challenging. White civilians don’t respect their authority, and black civilians don’t trust that they can protect them. Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are men with heavy burdens on their shoulders. Every move they make is examined. When the body of a young black woman is found, they will put everything on the line to gain justice for a woman who turns into a symbol of all that is wrong with their town. Despite its historical setting, so many elements of this tale seem timely, and readers will have much to think about after turning the last page.” — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, South Huntington, NY
“Andreas Egger lived his whole life with nature as his most trusted companion. When humans, war, and debilitating events threatened him, he quietly climbed mountains, bathed in icy streams, watched the sun streak its intense color into the sky, and then put his head down and forged ahead. He lived eight decades, mostly alone, and faced death and privation with heroism, stoicism, and a depth of character rarely seen in the ‘modern’ 20th century. In this short novel, Seethaler has poetically created a character and a way of looking at the natural world that readers will never forget.” —Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
“Silver turns the oral tradition into fine literature with Little Nothing, a masterful work of fairy tale and folklore. Pavla, a dwarf born in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, is a survivor who magically adapts time and again in order to overcome cruelty. Danilo loves her and is obsessed only with protecting her. This is a story of the power of transformation and the gift of finding the love we need, if not the love we seek.” —Maureen Stinger, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
“David Federman, a gifted student who is both socially awkward and emotionally immature, is trying to find his place as a Harvard freshman. Enter the beautiful and sophisticated Veronica Wells, and David is hopelessly, obsessively in love for the first time. Suffice it to say this is not a match made in heaven, and it ends badly for everyone when David starts stalking Veronica and violates the school’s honor code — the first steps down a slippery slope towards a violent and tragic ending. David is by turns sympathetic and repellent, and Loner is a complex portrayal of alienation, gender politics, and class at the highest echelons of American academic life.” —Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
Additional Buzz: It is a New York Magazine Fall Reading pick. The author is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition tomorrow and a review is scheduled for the New York Times Book Review, September 25. People magazine will also review.
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben (Perseus/PGW/Legato/Greystone Books).
“The Hidden Life of Trees reads like a 250-page epiphany. Wohlleben knows trees inside and out, and his revelatory examination of the inner lives of forests provides evidence of what many sensitive nature-lovers long suspected: that trees form friendships, sustain one another, and should be viewed as more than a natural resource. This is the kind of writing that can profoundly affect the way we live on this planet.” —Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
Trolls. Film opens on Nov. 4, 2016. Directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn (both of whom worked on various Shrek movies). Starring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, and Gwen Stefani.
Tom Hanks’s turn as Sully in Clint Eastwood’s movie about the hero pilot is scoring with audiences, based on today’s box office. The tie-in continues on best seller lists, enjoying the promotion from the movie’s advance publicity.
Also doing well is the series Queen Sugar on Oprah’s OWN channel. It’s two-night premiere was a ratings high for the network. The novel it is based on, Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile (Penguin/Pamela Dorman;see our chat with the author just prior to the book’s publication), has also been rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.
Opening on Sept 16 is Bridget Jones’s Baby, the third in the franchise based on Helen Fielding;s character.
Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth reprise their roles as Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy and Patrick Dempsey stars a dishy American love interest. Emma Thompson features in the new role as Bridget’s ob-gyn.
Fielding, along with Thompson and David Nicholls wrote the script.
The producers unsurprisingly feel that, fifteen years after the first film in the series arrived and ten years after the most recent one, viewers might need a refresher course. To help that cause they have made an orientation featurette:
Never published as a novel, the tie-in will come out after the film premieres, Bridget Jones’s Baby (PRH/Knopf, Oct. 11, 2016; RH Audio/BOT), presumable to avoid spilling the beans on who fathered Bridget’s baby.
It may not matter if viewers remember the earlier movies. Placing it at #1 on their “Must List” for the week, Entertainment Weekly asserts, “it’s the rom-com romp fans have been waiting for.”
Below is the full trailer:
Also opening on the 16th is Oliver Stone’s Snowden. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Olyphant also star.