Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Climate Change Encyclical
Coming in Book Form

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Encyclical on Climate ChangeOn June 18th Pope Francis entered the climate change debate with his 184-page papal letter calling the issue a “principal challenge” of our age, placing the cause firmly at the door of human activity, and saying “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

His comments and call for action centered within a moral and religious context triggered headlines and OpEds.

The letter has been available free online, but on August 4th Melville House will release it in print under the title Encyclical on Climate Change and InequalityOn Care for Our Common Home.

The independent publisher has a history of making special reports such as this more widely accessible in book form. Last December they published The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, which sold out its initial 50,000 print run in a single day.

The publication will arrive just before the  Pope come to the US at the end of September for a three-stop whirlwind tour.

Holds Alert: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

9780812993547_8923cBreaking through the chatter of Watchman, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s history of America and racism is moving up the Amazon charts and collecting long holds queues.

As we reported last week, Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) is getting media attention. Holds are well over 3:1 in many locations and at least one library has ordered extra copies to support book discussion groups.

Expect demand to continue, building on Coates’s appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and an upcoming appearance on the Daily Show next week.

Not only a touchstone book of the moment, it is a title that is likely to be a Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.32.32 AMcore work in the subject for years to come. Blurbed by Toni Morrision as “required reading,” you will not lose out by adding copies.

Coates’s first book, a memoir entitled The Beautiful Struggle (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample, 2009), is also rising on Amazon and holds are growing.

Harper Lee May Actually
Be Pulling the Strings

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanOne of the still lingering concerns about the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is whether the aging author was manipulated into agreeing to it, particularly since the discovery of the manuscript and decision to publish it came after the death of Lee’s sister and caretaker, Alice Lee.

But there is a completely opposite theory, that Alice Lee’s death allowed her younger sister to finally do as she pleases.

Interviewing Charles Shields, author of author of the biography Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper LeeNeely Tucker of the Washington Post asks if Shields sees merits in the theory. He replies, “I agree entirely. Unfortunately, Ms. Carter [Lee’s lawyer] is becoming the fall person and I think she is taking direction from a woman who is quite up in her years and may want a little fillip in her years and have the little extra perk of being on the map again … I have to think that there’s a certain amount of joy in at last publishing the book Alice would never let her publish.”

The interview, which was shown on on C-Span2″s BookTV over the weekend is available online (the section referred to above begins at time stamp 42:00).

Interviewer Tucker has had his own experience trying to learn more about the Lee sisters. He wrote  “To shill a mockingbird: How a manuscript’s discovery became Harper Lee’s ‘new’ novel.”

Hold Alert: Michael Oren’s ALLY

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 6.25.27 PMIsrael’s former ambassador to the United States and current Knesset member, Michael B. Oren’s memoir,  Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (Random House; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review and is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings.

Holds are increasing as well. Several libraries that bought it lightly adding copies.

The book, a behind-the-scenes account of serving as ambassador and the fraught relationship between President Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister, is getting widely divergent responses.

Writing for the New York Post, John Podhoretz, editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, says “I’m not sure that in the annals of diplomatic history there’s ever been anything quite like this astonishing account of Oren’s four years (2009-2013) as Israel’s ambassador in Washington.”

While calling it “remarkably frank,” Jacob Heilbrunn, reviewing for this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review says “it’s difficult to avoid the impression that Oren continues to carry a large chip on his shoulder … [he is] stuck in a time warp.”

More Reviews and Debate: WATCHMAN

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Supposedly under tight security unitl its release on Tuesday, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman has found its way into a remarkable number of reviewers’ hands. The tide now seems to be turning from the initial “Say its isn’t so” at the discovery of a racist Atticus Finch to, as Time magazine’s headline declares, “Atticus Finch’s Racism Makes Scout, and Us, Grow Up.”

In the New York Times review on Friday, Michiko Kakutani asked, “How could the saintly Atticus  … suddenly emerge as a bigot?”

The Wall Street Journal offers an explanation by examining the model for Atticus Finch, Harper Lee’s father:

Ms. Lee’s father was indeed a segregationist, according to people who knew him and according to Charles J. Shields, author of the biography Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. But while his daughter was at work on Mockingbird, Mr. Lee had a change of heart that moved him to advocate for integration. Mr. Shields said Mr. Lee’s late-in-life shift could explain the transformation of Atticus through the author’s drafts from a bigot in Watchman to a civil-rights hero in Mockingbird and why in interviews after Mockingbird she spoke glowingly of her father. “She may have been very proud of him,” Mr. Shields said.

Poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, the only African American to review the book so far, says in the Washington Post that Watchman reveals uncomfortable truths:

…the paradox at the heart of Watchman that many white Americans still cannot or will not comprehend: that one can at once believe in the ideal of “justice for all” — as Atticus once purported to — and yet maintain a deeply ingrained and unexamined notion of racial difference now based in culture as opposed to biology, a milder yet novel version of white supremacy manifest in, for example, racial profiling, unfair and predatory lending practices, disparate incarceration rates, residential and school segregation, discriminatory employment practices and medical racism.

GO SET A WATCHMAN, Reviewed by the WSJ

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanCalling Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, “a distressing book, one that delivers a startling rebuttal to the shining idealism of To Kill a Mockingbird” the Wall Street Journal reviews the book that was supposed to be under heavy security until its release on Tuesday, following those from the New York Times by Michiko Kakutani and the one in USA Today, concluding, “for the millions who hold that novel dear, Go Set a Watchman will be a test of their tolerance and capacity for forgiveness.”

None of the three publications have explained how they acquired their copies.

Embargo Broken: The NYT &
USA Today Review WATCHMAN

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanThe daily New York Times has just released a review by the formidable Michiko Kakutani  of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, which was supposed to be under heavy security until its release on Tuesday. It’s a review that will crush those hoping for another masterpiece.

Although Watchman is both a precursor, in that it was written first, and a sequel to Lee’s beloved To Kill a Mockingbird, in that it is set after that book, Kakutani says this is a much different story, and will leave readers wondering,

How did a lumpy tale about a young woman’s grief over her discovery of her father’s bigoted views evolve into a classic coming-of-age story about two children and their devoted widower father? How did a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech  … mutate into a redemptive novel associated with the civil rights movement, hailed, in the words of the former civil rights activist and congressman Andrew Young, for giving us “a sense of emerging humanism and decency”?

Kakutani does not reveal how she got the book.

UPDATE: USA Today also reviews the book and comes to a similar conclusion, “it’s troubling to see the great, saintly Atticus diminished.” but counters, “If you think of Watchman as a young writer’s laboratory, however, it provides valuable insight into the generous, complex mind of one of America’s most important authors.” USA Today also does not explain how they acquired their copy.

WATCHMAN and Beyond,
Titles to Know the Week of July 13

Friday, July 10th, 2015

The title on everyone’s mind is Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, (Harper), but there are several other titles worth talking about that arrive next week, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’s look at race relations in the U.S. today,  Between the World and Me, (RH/Spiegel & Grau). If you want to get away humans, check out the People Pick of the week, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. For better or worse, however, it seems they are like us.

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 July 13, 2015

Holds Leaders

Go Set a Watchman

No surprise, the title leading in pre-publication holds this week is Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, (Harper; also note that a Spanish language edition is being released in the U.S.). The number is even higher than the holds that were waiting for John Grisham’s title from last fall, Gray Mountain.

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For the other two holds leaders, the word is naked and the color is purple.

Naked Greed, Stuart Woods, (Penguin/Putnam) — Prepub reviews are pretty bad. Booklist says “yet another sub-par entry in the long-running series” and Kirkus says “you can’t help wondering if Woods has set his word processor to auto-type.”

The Naked Eye, Iris Johansen, (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s) — on the other hand, this one gets a strong review from Booklist,”power-up the emotional stakes in this page-turning thriller that cements [main character, special agent Kendra] Michaels’ reputation as a force to be reckoned with”

Advance Attention

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Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, (RH/Spiegel & Grau)

In the form of a letter from Coates to his 15-year-old son, this book about racial violence in the U.S. was moved up from its original September publishing date, says the publisher, “in response to the Charleston shooting and a wave of interest in the book spurred by comments from David Remnick, John Legend and others.”

Coates was interviewed today on NPR’s  Morning Edition and the book is reviewed by Michiko Kakutani in today’s New York Times. The book is excerpted in The Atlantic.

More attention is on the way, including:

NBC – Meet the Press – 7/5
NPR / Fresh Air – 7/13
New York Magazine – profile piece – 7/13
CBS This Morning – Interview—7/13
Comedy Central – The Daily Show – 7/23
NBC – Late Night with Seth Meyers—TK

Media Picks

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Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, Carl Safina, (Macmillan/Holt)

People “Book of the Week”, 7/27/15 — “In this awe-inspiring book, ecologist Safina explores the rich inner lives of elephants, killer whales, apes and more … Elephants grieve, cradling their dead. An alpha wolf pretends to lose a wrestling match with his cub. A tiger, after humans take his kill, destroys their traps.”

God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth Mother, Amy Seek,  (Macmillan/FSG)

People pick — ‘A balm for anyone who’s ever faced an excruciatingly tough decision.”

Bennington Girls Are Easy, Charlotte Silver, (RH/Doubleday)

Oprah Dazzling New Beach Reads — “Like some of the well-to-do gals in Mary McCarthy’s The Group, the heroines of this delightful satire move to New York expecting the city to enfold them like the arms of so many Amherst boys. But as they swiftly learn, reality is as unforgiving of youth as it is of missed rent, and eventually it’s time to grow up.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it just a B-, “Silver can be a clever and even lyrical writer, but her silly, self-absorbed Girls are too-easy targets,” but check your holds, they are growing in some areas.

Peer Picks

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Miss Emily, Nuala O’Connor, (Penguin trade pbk. original)

Indie Next:

“Conjure an image of Emily Dickinson: brilliant, but dour and odd? No! In O’Connor’s gem of a novel, Miss Emily is spirited and witty, even brave. Emily befriends Ada Concannon, who was hired as the Dickinsons’ kitchen girl almost immediately after she arrived from Ireland. Their unlikely friendship quickly provides each with solace and strength in a world where women are often marginalized. Later, an act of raw violence will ripple outward, resulting in consequences that neither Ada nor Emily could ever have imagined. O’Connor has written a small, hope-filled masterpiece!” —Christopher Rose, Andover Books, Andover, MA

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Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, Leanne Brown, (Workman)

This began as a free ebook that went viral. It became so popular that the author began a Kickstarter campaign to publish a print version which went on to be finalist in the IACP Cookbook Awards. Now published by Workman, it is a LibraryReads pick:

“Wow! This is a great looking book. Great for beginners with its details about ingredients and kitchen tools. Best of all, each recipe is made from ingredients that most everyone has; there were only two ingredients in the whole book that I don’t own. This book is just what my doctor ordered, literally. I am a basic cook and like simple and tasty. This book is OUTSTANDING!” — Nancy Chalk, Charlton Public Library, Charlton, MA

NOTE to New Yorkers: According to the NY Post, you need to double the food budget here, “but eating well for less than $10 a day in New York City is still a feat.”

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Armada, Ernest Cline, (RH/Crown)

Prepub reviews for this second book after the popular Ready Player One are harsh. Kirkus calls it “A hackneyed sci-fi spectacle” while PW says, “the story becomes more conventional and less imaginative. The plot holes get harder to ignore as the conclusion approaches, but the book’s beginning offers glimpses of Cline’s significant potential.” Bookpage also knocks it, saying “It’s big fun, especially if your idea of fun is sitting around watching your friends play video games while discussing important theories like Sting vs. Mjolnir.”

There are fans, however. It is an Indie Next pick:

“This new work from Cline definitely will not disappoint the myriad fans of Ready Player One. On the contrary, it is another magical, nerdy romp through science fiction and fantasy pop culture where the thing that happens to the hero is exactly the thing every sci-fi lover secretly — or not so secretly — dreams will happen to them! A successful screenwriter, Cline fills this tale with super-cool action, relatable characters, and inventive plots. I loved it!” —Heather Duncan, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley, (Macmillan/ Bloomsbury)

On this week’s GalleyChat readers called this title a “well-constructed gem!” hoping that  “this wonderful historical fantasy catches on.” It may be doing just that, it is also an IndieNext pick:

“It takes a special talent to have a reader truly suspend disbelief, but Pulley succeeds spectacularly well in this debut. In 1880s London, Thaniel Steepleton is a telegraphist whose life is saved by a very timely pocket watch. When he meets its maker, Keita Mori, his entire life is upended and made more beautiful — and dangerous. The clock is ticking on this new friendship, and Thaniel must use his ingenuity and previously untapped bravery to save Keita’s life and his own future. Fans of David Mitchell and Erin Morgenstern will be intrigued, and I think it’s safe to say that we can expect great things from Pulley.” —Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

GO SET A WATCHMAN,
Read the First Chapter

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanYou can now read the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, coming out on Tuesday, and listen to a sample of Reese Witherspoon reading the audiobook, from the Wall Street Journal:

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’: Read the First Chapter

Both are also available from the Guardian.

Exclusive extract, Chapter one, Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

The WSJ also reports on the “extreme security measures” in place for the book’s rollout to libraries and bookstores in more than 70 countries (it appears shrink-wrapping counts as an “extreme measure”).

BEST BOY Tops LibraryReads
for August

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

best-boyblog-199x300Just released, the LibraryReads picks for August, a list of the  ten titles librarians are most looking forward to sharing with readers next month. Topping the list is Eli Gottlieb’s Best Boy (Norton/Liveright, 8/24):

“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

Check Edelweiss and NetGalley for digital ARC’s. They are generally available until publication day.

Don’t forget to nominate your favorite upcoming titles, with publication dates of September or later (how-to specifics here).

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LibraryReads also provides FREE downloadable marketing materials so you can easily:

• Post online banner ads on your library’s website

• Include LibraryReads-recommended titles in your library’s newsletter

• Print copies of the monthly flyer to post on your community bulletin board and have available as handouts

Holds Alert: AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

9780812995220_dd7ffBuzz has been building for Julia Pierpont’s debut novel Among the Ten Thousand Things (Random House; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample). Called by Vanity Fairone of the most anticipated books of the year” based on the manuscript being sold at auction for an estimated six figures in 2012, it carries a cover blurb by Jonathan Safran Foer, “This book is among the funniest, and most emotionally honest, I’ve read in a long time.”

Libraries ordered conservatively, holds are building and many are going back for reorders.

We covered the book last week, pointing out Entertainment Weekly’s praise, which has since been followed by attention from some other heavy hitters.

Described in the upcoming New York Times Sunday Book Review as “a novel about a family blown apart and yet still painfully tethered together” by Helen Schulman whose own novels have also explored modern marital relationships, the review begins, “In some cases, the key to the success of a longstanding marriage may not be in its well-kept secrets but in its tacit agreements.” She calls the author “a blazingly talented young author whose prose is so assured and whose observations are so precise and deeply felt that it’s almost an insult to bring up her age,” which she then does in the very next sentence, “At 28, Pierpont has a preternatural understanding of the vulnerabilities of middle age and the vicissitudes of a long marriage, the habits of being.”

She also credits the author with creating an “an audacious structural move … about half of the way through, when she jumps ahead into the future, leaving no questions about the resolution of this story unanswered. It’s an injection of omniscience reminiscent of Jennifer Egan or Milan Kundera, and it makes the unfolding of what follows more riveting in a slow-mo, rubbernecking way.”

It is the top pick on Oprah’s “Dazzling New Beach Reads” list, called a “twisty, gripping story … [that] packs an emotional wallop.”

The Huffington Post’s “Bottom Line” puts Pierpont in the same company as Virginia Woolf: “Though comparisons to Virginia Woolf will necessarily place most contemporary novels in the shadow of her genius, Among the Ten Thousand Things carries through the late author’s spirit, if not her revolutionary style.”

The Vanity Fair story mentioned above all but anoints Pierpont’s book as the summer’s have-to-read, saying it is “a big, beating heart that soars,” summarizing its draw in glowing terms:

Against a summer smorgasbord of stories about syrupy flings or crime dramas, Among the Ten Thousand Things rises above for its imagined structure, sentence-by-sentence punch, and pure humanity . . .  Pierpont has written a debut so honest and mature that it will resonate with even the most action-hungry readers—perhaps against reason. Her story is the one we’ll be talking about this summer, and well beyond.

Holds Alert: SUMMERLONG

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 9.33.11 AMHow is this for an endorsement? “Summerlong (Harper/Ecco; Dreamscape; OverDrive Sample) is the Great White Midlife Crisis novel that Jonathan Franzen has tried to write (and failed) and Jonathan Lethem has tried to write (and failed) and Michael Chabon (wisely) half-avoided ever trying to write.”

That is how Jason Sheehan describes Dean Bakopoulos’s newest novel in his NPR review.

The story about a marriage on the rocks told with humor and unflinching candor is getting acclaim from several other notable book sources and could become one of the “it” books of the summer.

It is already among Oprah’s favorite “Dazzling New Beach Reads” and gets the nod from The Washington Post’s Ron Charles as well.

The folks at Oprah say Bakopoulos is “masterful when it comes to imagining the ways that we all long to cut loose from our everyday obligations.”

While Charles remarks that the novel is “sexy but surprisingly poignant” and that “Bakopoulos’s greatest talent is his ability to mix ribald comedy with heartfelt sorrow… finding out how these desperate dreamers get through their summer of love and lovelessness will make your own even more refreshing.”

It is Sheehan’s NPR’s review, however, that gives the best sense of the reading experience: “Do not read this book if you are unhappy. It will kill you. … Don’t read it if you’re sad. Don’t read it if you’re restless. … Don’t read it if, sometimes, you wake late at night and think of just slipping away in the dark, calculating how far away you’d be before anyone knew you were gone because if you do, Summerlong will take you down with it, man. It will break you.”

Holds in libraries are rising on light ordering.

Holds Alert:
HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 10.00.32 AMRacing up the Amazon rankings is a book on raising kids that tells parents to stop hovering and take a chill pill.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, who once worked as the Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford University, enters the crowded and heated child-rearing fray with How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample).

Published last month, it was featured on the cover of the June 21 NYT Sunday Book Review where reviewer Heather Havrilesky said that its “bleak portrait may just be the Black Hawk Down of helicopter parenting” and went on to link the book to others such as David MuCullough, Jr.’s You Are Not Special and Jennifer Senior’s All Joy and No Fun.

The book, excerpted in Slate this week under the catchy headline “Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out,” is also seeing a rise in holds on very conservative ordering.

NPR Offers RA Assistance

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Author and NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan, who last month offered a summer reading book list came back to Fresh Air yesterday with four more suggestions, this time suspense novels she says are all “deadly accurate in their aim to entertain.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.58.49 PMFirst up is Innocence; Or, Murder on Steep Street (Soho; OverDrive Sample) by Heda Margolius Kovaly, translated by Alex Zucker. Kovaly is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and communist rule in Czechoslovakia. She died in 2010, leaving behind a number of works including this novel set in 1950s Prague, just a few years after the close of WWII. It centers on a movie theater usher trying desperately to save her husband who has been imprisoned and accused of espionage. Corrigan says “the great draw is the menacing view it gives us of communist Prague.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.00.29 PMS.J. Watson’s Second Life (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), also featured in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, is Corrigan’s second pick. She calls it a “nuanced” and “erotic psychological thriller.” The story follows a woman who falls down the rabbit hole of the “online demimonde.” Corrigan promises readers will never see the end coming.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.20 PMThe third pick is Run You Down (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Julia Dahl, (following Dahl’s Edgar-nominated debut, Invisible City). It again features the reporter Rebekah Roberts as the central character, who is once again drawn into the world of Hasidic Jews – this time when she starts poking into the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. where a woman has been found dead in a bathtub. Corrigan ends her summary with this useful take: “Though the plot becomes a bit formulaic at the end, Dahl is an evocative writer, never more so than when she’s describing the nascent yearnings of those younger members of that religious community — gay, vaguely feminist, simply different — who can’t quite fit in, but can’t quite leave.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.52 PMClosing out her picks is The Last Taxi Ride (Macmillan/Minotaur; OverDrive Sample) by A.X. Ahmad, the follow-up to The Caretaker. Here Ranjit Singh, an ex-army captain and Sikh immigrant from India, has become a taxi driver and is accused of murdering a Bollywood film icon. In her summary of what it feels like to read the book Corrigan offers the very high praise, that in a period when “we’ve lost both P.D. James and Ruth Rendell, it’s cheering to stumble upon an emerging detective like Ranjit, who feels utterly authentic and original.”

GO SET A WATCHMAN, Sneak Peek

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanThe Wall Street Journal will post the first chapter of Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, plus a sample of Reese Witherspoon reading the audiobook, this Friday, four days in advance of the book’s publication. In the U.K., the excerpts will be published by the Guardian.

The chapter will also be discussed on the WSJ Book Club Facebook page.

For an amusing take on the promotion campaign for the book, check out the discussion between Peter Bart, Variety’s former editor-in-chief and Mike Fleming, also formerly of Variety and now at Deadline. Says Bart,  “How do you sell a (sort of) sequel to the great To Kill a Mockingbird when you have no star to promote it (Gregory Peck is long gone) and Harper Lee, age 89, hasn’t been seen in public in sixty years.”

It may seem hopelessly old-fashioned to the Hollywood crowd, but, according to the New York Times, bookstore promotions include “read-a-thons, midnight openings, film screenings, Southern food and discussion groups.”