Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Seven Titles to Know and Recommend, the Week of Aug 23

Friday, August 21st, 2015

9781451692228_12ac2Next 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

Holds Leader

9780399163845_8c77d  A_is_for_Alibi

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.”

Advance Attention

9781501105432_8a246A 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

9781250010025_487a7The 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.

Peer Picks

9781631490477_1c402Best Boy, Eli Gottlieb, (Norton/Liveright)

The Washington Post’s review calls it “An unforgettable novel.” It is an Indie Next pick and the #1 LibraryReads pick for August:

“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

9781250022080_12de6The 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

9781616204204_321a5The 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

Ron Charles on PURITY

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.58.49 AMRon Charles, book critic for The Washington Post, is among the first to review Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio), which he calls a “trenchant analysis of the sins of parenting, the destruction of privacy, and the irresistible but futile pursuit of purity”.

With his trademark wit he summaries the novel over the course of the review: “[It] traces the unlikely rise of a poor, fatherless child named Pip. When we meet Pip — short for Purity — she is buried beneath $130,000 of student debt and working at a marginally fraudulent business in Oakland that sells renewable energy… For those of you sitting in the back, purity is the theme of this novel, and — spoiler alert! — it turns out that nobody is as pure as he or she claims to be: Everybody harbors secrets: shameful, disgusting, sometimes deadly secrets. If that adolescent revelation gets a bit too much emphasis in these pages, at least it’s smartly considered and reconsidered in the seven distinct but connected sections that make up the book.”

The Cliff Notes version of his long and detailed consideration is this: he thinks it is better than Freedom and not as much fun as The Corrections.

This will be, of course, one of many reviews to come. The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Telegraph, and The Independent have already weighed in. At this point, holds are in line with orders for the September 1 pub. date.


Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.02.03 AM2015 might be termed the year of the famous lost manuscript given that new old writings by Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and Dr. Seuss have come to light.

Now comes another twist, the reemergence of an author somewhat lost to time, Lucia Berlin.

Don’t know who she is? You are not alone. For decades only a handful of people were aware of her work, most notably championed by short story master Lydia Davis.

Berlin was born in Alaska in 1936 and lived in multiple locales, from Chile to NYC. She had a hard childhood, was an alcoholic, and lived a peripatetic, rowdy life, according to The New York Times in a Books section profile.

She wrote short stories that were thinly veiled slices of her own life. Her first was published when she was 24, in Saul Bellow’s magazine The Nobel Savage, according to the NYT. Small presses published collections of her stories at various times after that but she largely stayed below the radar, dying in 2004.

FSG is betting on her again with A Manual for Cleaning Women (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample), a collection of 43 stories that remind Elizabeth McCracken, she tells the NYT  “of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, which is the most beloved book of stories I know from the past 20 years among writers.”

The collection is getting strong and glowing attention. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A saying, that the stories are written “in sentences so bright and fierce and full of wild color that you’ll want to turn each one over just to see how she does it. And then go back and read them all again.”

O the Oprah magazine made it the top pick in their “16 Books to Curl Up With This Fall,” saying the collection “reilluminates a neglected talent.”

The New Yorker has a piece on Berlin by Davis who says that the “stories make you forget what you were doing, where you are, even who you are.”

John Williams, who wrote The New York Times profile, weighs in with “Her stories speak in a voice at once direct and off-kilter, sincere and wry. They are singular, but also immediately accessible to anyone raised on the comic searching of Lorrie Moore or the offbeat irony of George Saunders.”

Holds are strong and the collection has risen to #52 on Amazon sales rankings.

UPDATE: The daily NYT‘s critic Dwight Garner reviews it Aug 19. While  full of praise for the author (“Reading Ms. Berlin, I often found myself penciling curses of appreciation in the margins”), he thinks many of the lesser stories should have been left out.

GalleyChatter: Under the Wire for September

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

GalleyChat sessions usually look far into the future, but our August chat was focused on September titles. No wonder, since so many gems are stuffed in to the first month of the big fall season, titles that might otherwise get overlooked when the October blockbusters begin to arrive (hello, John Grisham). Play catchup along with us, by reading DRC’s. You may also want to check your orders to make sure you have enough copies for browsing.

Check here for a complete list on Edelweiss of titles mentioned during the chat.

Unless otherwise noted, these are due to be published in September.


JoJo Moyes’ After You (Penguin/Pamela Dorman), the sequel to Me Before You, was met with feverish excitement.  A few advance readers were apprehensive about continuing Louisa Traynor’s heart-wrenching story, but not to worry, everyone was very happy with the way Moyes handles Lou’s progression after Will’s death. Wake County’s (NC) collection development librarian Janet Lockhart said, “Lou is as engaging as ever as she builds a new life. Poignant, funny and surprising, this sequel will be snapped up by readers of the first book.”  Buy lots and also stock up on Me Before You as they should be read together. And don’t forget the tissues. [DRC available on Netgalley]

9781476783611_c2d27An odd new genre seems to have emerged. When Elizabeth Meyer’s Good Mourning (S&S/Gallery; August), the story of a young socialite’s career in the funeral biz, was introduced, it got strong response,  with one GalleyChatter disclosing a creepy addiction to books about funeral homes. Gossip Girl meets The Removers (Andrew Meredith; S&S/Scribner) in this chatty and lively memoir.

9781250057341_937b4Saul Black (also known as Glen Duncan, author the The Last Werewolf series) has written a nail-biting thriller, The Killing Lessons (Macmillan/St. Martin’s). A new GalleyChat contributor, Gregg Winsor, a Readers’ Advisory librarian from County Library Overland Park, KS, said this new serial killer thriller “injects some serious voltage into the genre. This story of two bad men, a damaged police detective, a reluctant hero, and a missing girl is an electrifying, mesmerizing read. Simply addictive.”

9780062349316_f59ddRon Rash’s poetic novels set in the rugged mountains of North Carolina have many GalleyChat fans. His newest book, Above the Waterfall (HarperCollins/Ecco) has also earned him “much love” from Edelweiss readers. In this atmospheric novel, Les, a sheriff, is determined to solve one last mystery before retirement. Jennifer Winberry of Hunterdon County (NJ) Library writes “Rash’s gorgeous prose echoes the beauty and redemptive power of the Appalachian Mountains his characters inhabit.”

9781250072320_3d213Librarians are popular as characters in literature. In a twist, Elsa Hart’s debut novel Jade Dragon Mountain (Macmillan/Minotaur), Li Du is an imperial librarian in the year 1708 and must solve the mystery of a Jesuit priest’s death before the arrival of the emperor. A number of GalleyChatters hope this one will not slip under the radar, especially New Rochelle Public Library’s Beth Mills who says “A fascinating look at the social and political life of 18th century China, with intriguing characters and a well-constructed plot that features more than one surprise.” [An Indie Next pick for Sept]

9780544409910_db716-2Based on the back story of the first female U.S. deputy, Girl Waits With Gun, Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was a favorite for a couple of GalleyChat veterans, including Vicki Nesting of St. Charles (LA) Parish Library. She calls it,  “Charming and utterly entertaining historical fiction/mystery featuring the Kopp sisters of New Jersey. The well-researched novel, great characters, and really wonderful cover art, make this a surefire hit.” [An Indie Next pick for Sept]

9780425271810_3987dSara Donati’s Wilderness series is a favorite to recommend to fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander titles. Donati’s next, Gilded Hour (Penguin/Berkley) is also garnering enthusiasm. Supervisory librarian Jane Jorgenson of Madison (WI) Public Library, described the epic novel of two women doctors in 1883 New York City as “engrossing and well-written, the themes Donati explores in her clearly well-researched novel continue to resonate today.”

9780399174001_ee04bLibrarians will want plenty of copies of Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline (Penguin/Putnam) on hand to recommend. This gothic toned novel was best described by Anbolyn Potter from Chandler (AZ) Public Library, “Journalist Charlie Cates goes to gloomy, swampy Louisiana to write a book about the 30-year-old disappearance of the young child of a wealthy family. Her research uncovers family secrets, lies and clandestine affairs. This first book in a new series is incredibly suspenseful with a charming protagonist, a vivid setting, a supernatural tinge and an intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end.” [An Indie Next pick for Sept]

Join us for our next GalleyChat is on Tuesday, September 1, 4:00-5:00 (ET). You can also keep up with my anticipated titles by becoming my friend on Edelweiss.


Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.18 AMHolds are growing for Julia Heaberlin’s third thriller and hardcover debut Black-Eyed Susans (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Trade reviews were solid but not over the top, but reviewer, reader, and librarian response has been. It is an August LibraryReads pick, one of Amazon’s August selections of the Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Books, and a Goodreads Best Books of the Month choice.

The Washington Post review all but glows, calling it “brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed [and] outstanding.” The review concludes with this million dollar endorsement:

“Heaberlin’s work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn’t be: Flynn’s Gone Girl and now Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans. Don’t miss it.”

Need a quick summary? The Dallas Morning News offers a share-worthy take:

“16-year-old Tessie Cartwright was found buried alive in a field of black-eyed Susans with the remains of other girls who weren’t so fortunate. The story toggles between two timelines, one involving the traumatized teen’s therapy sessions, the other taking place nearly 20 years later, when mid-30s Tessa believes the wrong man was sentenced to death row — and that her “monster” is still stalking her. Never has a patch of pretty flowers blooming outside a bedroom window seemed so sinister.”

Thanks to Wendy Bartlett, collection development at Cuyahoga Public Library, for the tips!

Gaining Attention: John Scalzi

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.42.14 AMJohn Scalzi is a name to know in the world of SF, but as he wryly observes in L.A. Times, that is “exactly like being the best-known bluegrass artist in the country.”

Readers’ advisory librarians will disagree. Scalzi is not only an award winner but also a reliable sure bet for recommendations. It is true, however, that he has yet to gain major name recognition outside of science fiction’s devoted circle of fans.

That is likely to change. He signed a multi-million dollar contract with Tor last spring for 13 books to be delivered over the next 10 years.

The New York Times reported the story at the time and quoted Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the executive editor for Tor, that while Scalzi has never had a “No. 1 best seller he backlists like crazy … one of the reactions of people reading a John Scalzi novel is that people go out and buy all the other Scalzi novels.”

As Scalzi told Den of Geek in a recent interview, some of the 13 new books will be YA titles (they won’t necessarily be SF or fantasy; one is a contemporary story), and will include an epic space opera outside his established Old Man’s War series.

His newest book, The End of All Things (Macmillan/Tor; Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), the sixth title in that universe, was published last week.

He also has an audio-only project in the works for Audible (unavailable to libraries, but sister Amazon company, Brilliance often publishes Audible titles as CD’s).

In addition, several of his titles have been optioned for TV series. That bluegrass analogy is likely to change.

Titles to Know and Recommend,
the Week of Aug 17

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Crayons Home  9781101915868_beb50

The titles arriving next week with the largest announced print runs, 1 million copies each, are both childrens books. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers is, of course, the followup to the long-running best seller about the day they left.

Neck and neck with the crayons is  Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion; Listening Library)

9780316122634_e68f6Among the well-known adult authors with books arriving next week, Michael Koryta gets props in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review from “Crime’ columnist Marilyn Stasio for standing out from those authors who “write the same book over and over.” Koryta, “an inventive story teller and a superb stylist, he’s constantly experimenting,” and  his new book, Last Words is “a private eye novel doesn’t read like one.”

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. 17, 2015

Consumer Media Picks


Eileen: A Novel, Ottessa Moshfegh, (Penguin Press)

Featured at BEA’s Editors Buzz Panel this year, this debut (after an award-winning novella McGlue and several short stories)  gets the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, calling it “seductive” and a “literary thriller.”

It is also an Indie Next pick:
“Psychological thrillers don’t get any better than this. Moshfegh masterfully captures the inner despair of a young mind filled with vitriol. Through atmospheric and unsettling writing, the cold dreariness of small-town New England seeps into readers’ bones even as Eileen’s twisted view of the world — desperate, angry, and vulnerable — seeps into the reading experience. Creepy, but morbidly funny too, Eileen, both the girl and the book, will be with readers long after the last page is turned.” — Christopher Phipps, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

It also leads off this week’s Entertainment Weekly Books section, called a “Chilling debut.”

UPDATE: the L.A. Times adds another stellar review to the above and the author appears on NPR’S Weekend Edition Saturday.


Woman With a Secret, Sophie Hannah, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

Since Janet Maslin stepped down as a one of the three book reviewers for the daily NYT as of July, we’ve missed her Friday reviews championing
titles she expected to breakout. We’re still waiting for news on a replacement, but meanwhile, Sarah Lyall steps into the breach today, although for a book that hit shelves last week.

About Sophie Hannah’s new boo, she enthuses, “It has, in common with her other books, a Gordian knot of a plot that untangles bit by bit, like a flower that does not blossom all at once; a strikingly executed and seemingly insoluble crime; a mess of loopy motivations and extreme behavior from guilty and innocent alike; a flawed, difficult heroine; and a great deal of amusing conversation between Waterhouse and his equally odd colleagues.


Born on the Bayou : A Memoir, Blaine Lourd, (S&S/Gallery)

People pick — “a corker of a tale about growing up in Cajun country.”

Entertainment Weekly, “Must List”, #7 — ‘This witty, evocative memoir puts a vivid Southern spin on the classic rags-to-riches tale.”

The author is scheduled to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, August 19.


We Never Asked for Wings, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, (RH/Ballantine)

People ‘Book of the Week’ — “Single mom Letty Espinosa has always let her mother, Maria Elena, do the work of raising Letty’s two kids. But when Maria Elena suddenly moves back to Mexico, hard-drinking Letty must grow up fast. Diffenbaugh (The Language Of Flowers) deftly blends family conflict with reassurance: Wings is like Parenthood with class and immigrations issues added for gravitas. Take it to the beach.”


Fortune Smiles : Stories, Adam Johnson

This collection of short stories by the  author of the Pulitzer Prize winner, The Oprhan Master’s Son gets double coverage in theWashington Post, with a review which calls the stories “masterful”  as well as a story by Book World editor Ron Charles. It is also reviewed in the NYT Sunday Book Review (“gleefully bleak“).

UPDATE: The author is interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.


Thug Notes : A Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature, Sparky Sweets, PhD, (RH/Vintage)

We’ve had Thug Kitchen, now comes Thug Notes, like Cliff’s Notes, but with an edge.

Entertainment Weekly says, “from the mad-successful YouTube channel that puts a streetwise spin on beloved books and plays — stars a fictional professor named Spark Sweets, PhD. … But the project which is the brainchild of a group of comedians and academics, has been so successful at interesting kinds in literature that some schools have taken notice.”

Try this one with your reading groups:


Last Bus to Wisdom, Ivan Doig, (Penguin/Riverhead)

In this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, the reviewer acknowledges he was worried about having to assess this book by a beloved author who died in April fearing it might not live up to his favorite Doig novels. After all,  “spitting on a fresh-sodded grave is not my idea of a good time.” Happily, however, he reports, this one is “more than not bad. It’s one of Doig’s best novels, an enchanting 1950’s road-trip tale.”

Peer Picks


Everybody Rise, Stephanie Clifford. (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press)

Word has gotten out on this debut. Holds are five to one in some places. They may continue to grow with the full page ad in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, plus the review in the Washington Post, “a smart tragicomedy about a young woman attempting to infiltrate the Primates of Park Avenue crowd.”

It is both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick:

“Stephanie Clifford’s debut novel takes us into the world of NYC high society in 2006. Evelyn Beegan, who’s always been on the fringes of the smart set, meets It girl Camilla Rutherford, and her ambition and desire to belong get the best of her. Evelyn’s deceptive effort to keep pace with Camilla wreaks all kinds of havoc with her finances, her family, and her sense of self. With a sympathetic main character and a fascinating look into how the other half lives, this astute tale is irresistible.” —  Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

9780062388384_9741b The Girl from the Garden, Parnaz Foroutan, (HarperCollins/Ecco)

With starred reviews from PW, Kirkus and Booklist, this is also an Indie Next pick:

“In her accomplished, arresting debut, Foroutan tells a story almost biblical in its basics. People in a mixed, but very religious, clan-determined society in Iran have their lives and roles set out in firmly dictated ways. Conflict ensues when what is prescribed doesn’t happen as it should and when basic human longings for autonomy and a sense of self start to emerge. Foroutan writes of a family’s unraveling in a powerful story that will vividly live on in the reader’s memory and imagination. Brilliant!” —Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA


Hitting screens today is the movie Ten Thousand Saints, reviewed in the NYT. On Sunday, HBO debuts the new David Simon series, Show Me a Hero, based on the book by Lisa Belkin, also reviewed in the NYT today.

Five new  tie-ins hit shelves next week, listed below, with links to our latest coverage.

9780062439208_b9ce2  9781101903582_53510

9781101967447_e4c55  9781481466646_b135f  9781101970881_785e0

Captive : The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero, Ashley Smith, Stacy Mattingly, (HarperCollins/Morrow Paperbacks) — CAPTIVE, Trailer — Movie opens 9/18

The Martian (Movie Tie-In) : A Novel, Andy Weir, mass market — THE MARTIAN, New Viral Teaser — Movie opens 10/2

Big Stone Gap (Movie Tie-in Edition) : A Novel, Adriana Trigiani (RH/ Ballantine)– BIG STONE GAP, Trailer — — Movie opens 10/9

A Walk in the Woods (Movie Tie-in Edition) : Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson, (RH/Anchor) — Redford Takes A WALK IN THE WOODS — Movie opens 9/2

Z for Zachariah, Robert C. O’Brien, (S&S/Simon Pulse) — In Production: Z FOR ZACHARIAH – — Movie opens 8/28

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

Trailer for Selznick’s THE MARVELS

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

For his upcoming middle grade novel, The Marvels, Brian Selznick has created his first book trailer, just released.

The Wall Street Journal describes the month-long process the former professional puppeteer went through to build the sets and act out the story.

With The Invention of Hugo Cabret Selznick introduced a unique style of combining art and illustration which won him a Caldecott Medal and served as inspiration for Matin Scorsese in his film adaptation, Hugo. His next book Wonderstruck is also set for a big screen adaption, with Todd Haynes directing.

9780545448680_a1e5c-2The Marvels
Brian Selznick
Scholastic, September 15, 2015
Hardcover and eBook


THE ART OF CRASH LANDING Tops September LibraryReads List

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.30.45 PMThe debut novel The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo (Harper Paperbacks; HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio) tops the September LibraryReads List.

Patricia Kline-Millard (Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH) offers this annotation of the paperback original:

“At once tragic and hilarious, this book is a roller coaster of a read. You’ll find yourself rooting for the snarky and impulsive but ultimately lovable Mattie. At the heart of this tale is a beautifully unraveled mystery that has led Mattie to her current circumstances, ultimately bringing her to her first real home.”

Three other debuts also make the list. Bill Clegg’s buzzy Did You Ever Have a Family (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio), The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young (Penguin/Putnam), and Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (HMH; Recorded Books).

This is Stewart’s fiction debut, after writing popular nonfiction such as The Drunken Botanist. Maggie Holmes (Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA ) has this to say of Stewart’s move to novels:

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.32.51 PM“When the Kopp sisters and their buggy are injured by Henry Kaufmann’s car, Constance Kopp at first just wants him to pay the damages. As she pursues justice, she meets another of Kaufmann’s victims, the young woman Lucy. Stewart creates fully developed characters, including the heroine, Constance, who is fiercely independent as she faces down her fears. The time period and setting are important parts of the story as well, providing a glimpse of 1914 New Jersey.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.33.55 PM  Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.17.02 AM  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.35.39 PM

More well-known names such as Lee Child, Lauren Groff, and Jonathan Evison also appear, with Arleen Talley (Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation, Annapolis, MD) offering this annotation of Evison’s This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! (Algonquin; HighBridge Audio).

“Harriet Chance receives word that her recently deceased husband, Bernard, has won an Alaskan cruise. Deciding to go on the trip, she is given a letter from her close friend Mildred, with instructions not to open it until she is on the cruise. The contents of this letter shatter Harriet and she begins to reevaluate her life and her relationships.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.15.34 AMThe September Indie Next list is also available and Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family is tops for the month among booksellers.

Other LibraryReads picks that overlap with the Indie list include Stewart’s Girl Waits With Gun, Charles Belfoure’s House of Thieves (Sourcebooks Landmark), Young’s The Gates of Evangeline, and Evison’s This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.18.09 PMOur recent Crystal Ball pick, In A Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Galley/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), also makes the bookseller’s picks.


Crystal Ball: IN A DARK,

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.18.09 PMWith growing word of mouth, Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) is poised to hit next week’s bestseller lists.

Featured on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday with the wonderful headline “Scream Meets Agatha Christie,” it is also rising on Amazon, currently at #150.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an A- review, writing that the novel’s “foggy atmosphere and chilling revelations will leave you breathless.” As we noted earlier, it’s a LibraryReads pick for August and was one of GalleyChat’s unexpected BEA gems.

Holds are more than respectable on fairly light ordering.

NPR’s David Greene said that he began reading the book in a secluded park and that that was “a very bad idea. Even the title sends chills up the spine.” Here is the full interview:


Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.41.32 AMSteve Hamilton, the NYT bestselling author with several Edgar wins under his belt, created a bit of a publishing tempest last week when he pulled out of his contract with St. Martin’s just weeks before his new book, The Second Life of Nick Mason was due on the shelves. (Note: cover art, left, is for the now cancelled St. Martin’s/Minotaur edition).

Libraries have solid holds lists for the start of this new series, one Harlan Coben blurbs as “A gamechanger. Nick Mason is one of the best main characters I’ve read in years. An intense, moving, absolutely relentless book — it will grab you from the first line and never let go.”

Within 23 hours of news breaking that Hamilton had walked away from St. Martin’s he was fielding multiple offers from other publishers, according to Entertainment Weekly, but the fate of his forthcoming book seemed murky (you can read the backstory here).

Separately, the AP reports that Hamilton has accepted a 4-book deal with Penguin/Putnam to publish the first two books in his Nick Mason series. The first title is now due out in the middle of 2016.

Harper Lee & Truman Capote,
the Middle Grade Novel

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

How is this for the plot of a book: Two kids grow up in the deep South 80 some years ago, making up stories, acting them out in the backyard. Fast forward a few decades and one of them writes what might be the most beloved debut novel of several generations and the other all but invents a new kind of book, one that still rivets readers to this day.

In a nutshell that is the real-life story of Harper Lee and Truman Capote, who were childhood neighbors and friends, continuing their friendship into adulthood until a dispute over the attribution for In Cold Blood drove them apart.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.39.04 AMTheir youthful friendship is the subject of a forthcoming novel for middle-grade readers, Tru & Nelle (HMH; Mar. 1, 2016; ISBN 9780544699601) by Caldecott Honor winner Greg Neri (Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty), following the pair on adventures through their small Southern town. It’s the topic of a detailed story in the NYT Books section and is also described on Neri’s own site, with historic photos of his subjects.

Neri’s book comes on the heels of new publications by both authors. Of course Go Set a Watchman is has been the subject of much attention, overshadowing the news that new Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.35.58 AMCapote stories have been found as well, several of them in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library.

The Capote stories were written when he was a teenager and a young man. Most have never been published. That will be corrected in October with the release of The Early Stories of Truman Capote (Random House; Random House Audio; Oct. 27; ISBN 9780812998221).

Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Preview

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Like the fashion industry, the book world has its seasonal cycles. The fall book lists are now upon us and this week Entertainment Weekly debuts their runway favorites.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 2.18.34 PMHighlighting “13 Blockbuster Novels to Look Out For This Fall,” the magazine leads with The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Elena Ferrante. An underground literary cult favorite, this is the fourth and final book in her Neapolitan series.

If you need background (and you won’t be alone in that), check our rundown of praise for Ferrante. She has also  been the subject of Slate’s Audio Book Club (by the way, the Audio Book Club has now posted their August episode, featuring Go Set A Watchman – spoiler alert, they think it is a boring and pretty bad book).

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 2.17.45 PMBig names such as Franzen, Atwood, and Irving make the list of 13 but so do a few debuts including Knopf’s big investment, City on Fire (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) by Garth Risk Hallberg, acquired for almost $2 million. Producer Scott Rudin also snapped up the movie rights.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 2.16.51 PMAnother buzzy title is Welcome to Night Vale (Harper Perennial; HarperAudio) by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. An expansion of their popular podcast of the same name, it got a boost and much attention after being widely suggested as a “what to listen to next” after the popular Serial. It was also
featured at this summer’s ALA.

The full list of fall titles selected by Entertainment Weekly  currently only available in print, is in the August 14th issue.

Titles to Know and Recommend,
Week of Aug 10

Friday, August 7th, 2015

YouTube stars had their day at the recently wrapped VidCon. A surprising number of them have ventured in the the old media of books. Coming next week, internet star Felicia Day‘s memoir impresses booksellers, who made it one of their Indie Next picks.

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. 10, 2015

Holds Leaders

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Silver Linings: A Rose Harbor Novel, Debbie Macomber, (RH/Ballantine)

Gaining advantage by being published in the midst of season three of the Hallmark series based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove novels starring Andie McDowell, this is the holds leader for the week.

Who Do You Love, Jennifer Weiner, (S&S/Atria)

Kirkus calls this one, “Weiner at her heartstring-tugging best.”

Devil’s Bridge, Linda Fairstein, (Penguin/Dutton)

Featured in a full-page ad in this week;s NYT Sunday Book ReviewPW calls it subpar while Booklist says it is “Another solid title … sure to follow its predecessors onto the best-seller lists.”

Media Attention

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The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is coming soon and this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review marks it with a roundup featured on the cover, including Katrina: After the Flood, by Gary Rivlin, (S&S). Closer to the actual anniversary,  the author is set to appear on MSNBC-TV/Hardball with Chris Matthews, August 21 and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, August 27.

Rivlin presents five surprising facts about the storm in the following video.

Reaching further back in history, the Today Show’s Al Roker is publishing The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadlest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, (HarperCollins/Morrow).

Consumer Media Picks

9780307268129_d8454Days of Awe, Lauren Fox, (RH/Knopf)

People “Book of the Week”, Aug 17:

“You can do everything right, yet when tragedy hits, ‘you’re staring at the moonscape that used to be your life.’ Isabel Moore learns this when her best friend, ‘the glorious roller-coaster that was Josie,’ dies on an icy highway. Iz has a loving husband and a good job, but suddenly she’s fact-to-face with dark truths about Josie and herself. As Fox deconstructs the myths of perfect womanhood, her humor and humanity remind us that love’s the only lifeboat through grief.” It’s also reviewed in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review.

Peer Picks

9780062240545_b93b7In the Dark Places: An Inspector Banks Novel, Peter Robinson, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

Indie Next Pick:

In the Dark Places, Robinson’s 22nd Inspector Banks novel, is still rich in the landscape and culture of Yorkshire. Still populated with characters moving through their lives, reacting to events, reaching for experiences, skills, relationships — and justice for victims. Still ingeniously plotted, challenging even the astute reader to keep up through the nerve-racking suspense. Still flush with the musicality of Robinson’s prose and with the love of music that is so much a part of Banks’ personality. And still shaping the story with local history and landmarks so that In the Dark Places, like each Banks novel before it, is unique, yet contributing to a remarkable portrait of modern Britain in all its insularity and diversity.” —Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

9780062354631_c06acThe Race for Paris, Meg Waite Clayton, (HarperCollins/Harper)

Indie Next Pick:

The Race for Paris is an action-packed tale of courage, friendship, and love during the grim, final days of World War II. Clayton’s triumphant new novel brings to life the intrepid female journalists who sought to break the limits of the times. While soldiers faced the brutal reality of war, women had to also overcome sexism and legal obstacles simply to do their jobs. Based on real characters and events, The Race for Paris brings a unique perspective to a little-known aspect of history. Gather your book club and prepare for an intense conversation as these characters will haunt you long after you turn the final page!” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

9781941411049_8990bMultiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal, Wendy S. Walters, (Sarabande Books)

Indie Next Pick:

“In Multiply/Divide, Walters sifts through the weird, quietly horrifying wreckage that structural racism has left behind in everyday American life and presents something like a mythology, but stranger because, of course, it is real, and we have never known life without it. Her prose is as clear as day, her stories are candid, and only a poet could have written a book of essays like this. City by city, over radio waves and under the street, Walters beautifully maps for us what should have been obvious: that nearly all of our heartbreak — and even our joy — is rooted in this mythology.” —Daniel Poppick, BookCourt, Brooklyn, NY

9781476785653_801c2You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir, Felicia Day, (S&S/Touchstone)

A YouTube star featured at this year’s VidCon, this memoir is also an Indie Next Pick:
“Day has penned what is sure to be an instant cult classic. By turns funny, insightful, inspiring, and all-too-familiar, she maps her rise from lonely homeschooled girl to internet darling, along the way revealing her struggles, her insecurities, her stubbornness, and, most transparently, her utterly relatable story of finding her way while not fitting in. For anyone who has woken up to realize they are not where they wanted to be, Day’s honest book is for you!” —Anna Eklund, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

For more on YouTube stars and their books, see our earlier story.


it’s a big week for adaptations in theaters. Finally debuting today is Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places (reviews are not strong, however) as well as The Diary Of A Teenage Girl and an animated version of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.

Oddly, both of the movie tie-ins coming out next week are for films that don’t yet have a release date.

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A Woman in Arabia : The Writings of the Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell, Georgina Howell, (Penguin Classics)

Called “the “female Lawrence of Arabia.” Gertrude Bell was a  Middle East expert who lived with Bedouin tribes and helped the British army find their way in the desert during the World War I. This is the latest of several collections of Bell’s writings is published to coincide with Werner Herzog movie Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as Bell with James Franco, Robert Pattinson and Damian Lewis. The U.S. release date has not yet been announced.

The DressmakerRosalie Ham, (Penguin Books)

Called a “revenge comedy,” the movie stars Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Liam Hemsworth. It is adapted from a best selling Australian novel which is getting its first U.S. release. The film’s U.S. release date has not yet been set, however.

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


Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 11.44.38 AM“The smart summer thriller you’ve been waiting for. The black and harmful little book you want in your carry-on. The novel you should be reading tonight.” WOW — that’s what NPR’s Jason Sheehan says of Christopher Yates debut novel Black Chalk (Macmillan/Picador; OverDrive Sample).

In a review any writer would kill for, Sheehan reports that Yates “writes like he has 30 books behind him; like he’s been doing this so long that lit games and deviltry come to him as natural as breathing… I don’t want to say a word. And not because I don’t love the book (I do, deeply and weirdly), but because I want you to go into it cold, knowing nothing and expecting nothing, like I did. I want you to suck it down in one breath, like a lungful of dark water. For it to hit you the same way it did me: like a sucker punch delivered slowly and with exquisite precision.”

It’s also an IndieNext pick:

In Black Chalk, Yates has taken the traditional novel and tweaked it to create something very special. In Thatcher-era England, six first-year Oxford University students have come together as friends. As they get to know each other, an idea forms and quickly gains traction: they should play a ‘game,’ with the loser facing a consequence. All six agree, and the dares begin as innocuous fun. As time goes on, however, something shifts within the group and the stakes become much higher — even deadly. Fourteen years later, the remaining players meet in New York City to finish the ‘game,’ but what has transpired for them in the interim? And is winning worth the price? A gripping, sinister, and suspenseful read.”—Peggy Elefteriades, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT.

Jamie Lubin of The Huffington Post gets in on the game too, saying the novel “reminds me of a Hitchcock film: multiple twists and reveals, the suspenseful IV drip of information Yates doles out to the reader with a master hand, the shadowy yet intense secrets locked inside the characters while they struggle to maintain composure, the ominous atmospheres of Oxford and New York — so seemingly opposite but equally threatening.”

Debut novels can sometimes slip out of mind. The next time a reader asks for a twisty clever thriller and has exhausted the usual suspects, try to remember Black Chalk.