News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

The Nightmare Behind TRUEVINE

9780316337540_bff94Journalist Beth Macy talked about her new book, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.

Already listed as a finalist for the Carnegie Medal and the Kirkus Prize and an October Indie Next selection, Variety reports that negotiations are underway to acquire screen rights as “a potential starring vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio.” The NYT and USA Today offer recent reviews, with Janet Maslin of the NYT‘s calling it an “expert work of nonfiction” and USA Today writing “Macy’s conscientious reporting … and her vigorous storytelling make the saga … even more enthralling than fiction.” The Washingtonian has an illustrated excerpt.

Fresh Air host Terry Gross says the book, which follows the true story of two young black albino brothers, who were exhibited in a traveling freak show, helps explore “a larger story about race, class and entertainment in the first half of the 20th century.”

Macy’s previous book, Factory Man, was also admired by Maslin who said it is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.” The book was not quite as popular as the comparisons. It debuted at #10 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-fiction Best Sellers list during its first week on sale, remained on the main list for 3 weeks, and continued on the extended list for 4 more weeks.

As we reported earlier, Tom Hanks’s production company, Playtone, had plans to adapt Factory Man for an HBO mini-series, but there has been no news on the project since.

YA/MG GalleyChat, Tues. Oct. 18

Today’s GalleyChat has now ended. Read the transcript, below.

Join for the next chat, to find out which YA and Middle Grade galleys fellow librarians are loving on Tuesday, Nov. 15 – 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern (3:30 for virtual cocktails) — #ewgcya

Zadie Smith: The Interview


One of the most heavily anticipated literary events of this fall is Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio/BOT), set for release on Nov. 15. Previewed on the majority of the fall reading lists, it a Carnegie Medal Longlist title, and a LibraryReads selection for November, with the following annotation:

“Spanning over twenty years and two continents, Smith’s new novel is a charming account of one woman’s coming-of-age. Smith’s unnamed narrator, a mixed-race child lives in one of London’s many low-end housing units.  She meets Tracey and the two are bonded over the shared experience of being poor and ‘brown’ in a class that is predominantly white. As the two stumble towards womanhood, the differences become more stark and divisive, and their friendship is fractured by Tracey’s final, unforgivable act. This book will appeal to lovers of character-driven fiction.” — Jennifer Wilson, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

This week’s NYT‘s Style Magazine T, gets a jump on the more literary media, featuring an interview with the author by fellow novelist Jeffrey Eugenides. The two have clearly been friends for some time, resulting in an interview that comes across as an intimate, personal, somewhat confessional conversation.

Some highlights:

Smith says that therapy which has helped her write more confidently and in new ways, allowing her to use the first person voice in Swing Time, “I’ve always felt very cringe-y about myself … It did seem to me, when I was a kid and also now that I’m a grown-up writer, that a lot of male writers have a certainty that I have never been able to have. I kept on thinking I would grow into it, but I’m never sure I’m doing the right thing.”

About Swing Time Eugenides says “Like the black-and-white musicals that feature in its pages, the book is a play of light and dark — at once an assertion of physicality and an illusion … The novel cloaks existential dread beneath the brightest of intensities.”

Much of the profile is about her search for and expressions of identity. Of her own self, Smith says she aspires to be more like Darryl Pinckney, who “claims the freedom” of just being himself “in all his extreme particularity.” Eugenides responds that she “already seems that way” to him. After a pause she replies, “Oh” and the interview ends.

Accompanying the article is a video of Smith in the first person.

Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door

The NYT , as well as many other news sources, wonders if Bob Dylan will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony on December 10, noting that he has not made a public statement one way or the other and hasn’t mentioned the Award in his two performances since the announcement.

Dylan also hasn’t said anything to the Nobel committee. The paper reports that “the academy has been in contact with an associate of Mr. Dylan, but apparently not with the artist himself.” A spokesman for Dylan declined to comment.

If the past is prologue, there’s not much reason to worry he will spurn the award. According to the NYT, “Mr. Dylan, who may be a contrarian or may just be unpredictable, has turned up for far-lesser honors,” such as the Golden Globes.

Mick Jagger, who followed Dylan at one of his two shows since winning was far less reticent, saying “We have never shared the stage with a Nobel Prize winner before … Bob is like our own Walt Whitman.”

The Boss Baby Will See You Now

Boss BabySomeone had amazing foresight when they decided to hire Alec Baldwin to voice the Baby in DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010).

The trailer has just been released and, naturally, allusions are being made to the host of The Apprentice.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it also features the voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow as the Baby’s parents. It is set for release well after the election, on March 31.

The movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds several story lines. The tie-in, coming in February, is a novelization of the movie script:

The Boss Baby Junior Novelization
Tracey West
S&S/ Simon Spotlight
February 14, 2017
Hardcover and trade paperback

Nobel Laureate in Print

9781451648768_40dbcReactions to Bob Dylan’s winning the Nobel Prize in Literature have been mostly favorable, mixed with a few objections that awarding the prize to a singer-songwriter takes much-needed attention away from books and reading. Anna North argues this viewpoint in the NYT, writing, “Bob Dylan does not need a Nobel Prize in Literature, but literature needs a Nobel Prize. This year, it won’t get one.”

The usual routine following the announcement of a new laureate is to try to determine if any of the author’s books are available in English and if they have been published in the US.

This year’s winner presents a different issue. While he writes in English, he has few books in print. Simon & Schuster, in the fortunate position of being about to release The Lyrics: 1961-2012, moved the publication date up a week to Nov. 1. A revised edition of the oversized volume published in 2014 at $299, it is now a more accessible $60.

Other than collections of lyrics, Dylan has published two books, both currently out of print. The first, in 1971, a widely panned collection of poetry and prose, Tarantula (Macmillan), which has since developed some supporters.

In 2004, he published the much more well-received memoir and best seller, Chronicles: Volume One (S&S). There’s been no news about the second in the planned three-part memoir since 2012, when Dylan told the Rolling Stone, “Let’s hope [it happens] … I’m always working on parts of it … it’s a lot of work. I don’t mind writing it, but it’s the rereading it and the time it takes to reread it – that for me is difficult.”

Hitting Screens, Week of October 17, 2016

9780399593260_eb228Three films open this coming weekend, including Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, starring Tom Cruise, in the second adaptation of Lee Child’s Reacher series.

The first Reacher film, One Shot, was not well reviewed, and many considered Cruise mis-cast, but it did well enough at the box office to keep the series going.

Tie-in: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Movie Tie-in Edition), Lee Child (PRH/Bantam; RH Audio/BOT; also in Mass Market; OverDrive Sample).

9780525432838_3d31bActor Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1997 novel, American Pastoral. McGregor also stars along with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Connelly, Rupert Evans and Valorie Curry. After a limited release this weekend, it will open in more theaters on Oct. 28,

IndieWire‘s critical roundup reports “Critics have described the film as yet another ill-advised Roth adaptation and more proof that the writer’s work doesn’t translate well to the screen, save for James Schamus’ Indignation released earlier this year.”

But Deadline Hollywood is more positive saying, the film is “unquestionably is awards bait –a remarkable directorial debut for Scottish-born McGregor, who brings a unique outsider’s view to an especially turbulent time in America. Fanning will surprise fans with a performance that is different than anything we have seen from her before. Having gotten an early look at the film I can attest it is sure to spark talk.”

Tie-in: American Pastoral (MTI): American Trilogy (1), Philip Roth (PRH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample).

mv5bmtg2nti5mtmwnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwodm5mdy1ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_The Handmaiden an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, transports the British Victorian setting to 1930s Korea.

It stars Ha Jung-woo, Kim Min-hee, Jo Jin-woong and Kim Tae-ri and is directed by Park Chan-wook.

Variety says it is “clever, heady and sensually lavish to a fault … Boasting more tangled plots and bodies than an octopus has tentacles, South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a bodice-ripper about a pickpocket who poses as a maid to swindle a sequestered heiress. His first Korean-language fiction feature since 2009’s Thirst, it’s sybaritic, cruel and luridly mesmerizing.”

A tie-in has not been released.

This is the second adaptation of the novel. The first was a 2005 BBC production. It has also been produced as a stage play.

9781501164675_a1626Two TV series begin this week as well, starting with Chance, a new Hulu series based on Kem Nunn’s novel of the same title.

It has some powerhouse names attached says Slashfilm: Hugh Laurie stars. Lenny Abrahamson (Room) is the executive producer and directed some episodes. Nunn and Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives) created the series.

Laurie plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco-based forensic neuropsychiatrist, who, says Slashfilm “ventures outside of his area of expertise with a stolen identity plot, corrupt police, and a mysterious patient (Gretchen Mol).”

CNN says the show “owes a spiritual debt to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo” and that it is “mildly watchable and tense, but well short of riveting.”

Ethan Suplee (The Wolf of Wall Street), Clarke Peters (Treme), Paul Adelstein (Intolerable Cruelty), and Greta Lee (Homeless Heidi from High Maintenance) co-star.

Hulu has ordered two seasons. USA Today reports the first season, running 10 episodes, is based on the novel. Nunn told the paper, “The book has a lot of good jumping-off places in it … It’s a voyage of discovery.”

A tie-in came out last week: Chance MTI, Kem Nunn (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The series premieres on Oct. 19.

mv5bmtu3mdkznzm5nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzeyntgymdi-_v1_Airing on Oct. 22nd is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The BBC America series stars Elijah Wood and Samuel Barnett and follows the pair as they investigate supernatural cases.

It is an adaptation of Douglas Adams’s 1987 humorous detective novel of the same name.

The series creator and screenwriter Max Landis told Entertainment Weekly that “this show is about someone who doesn’t really know what he’s doing.” Showrunner Robert Cooper said “It’s a combination of Supernatural, Sherlock, and Doctor Who. We’re like, Super-Sher-Who.”

There are several connected titles available, but the nearest to a tie-in is: Dirk Gently’s Big Holistic Graphic Novel, Chris Ryall, Arvind Ethan David, Tony Akins, and Ilias Kyriazis (IDW).


mv5bmjqxotkxoduyn15bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3ntm3ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Originally scheduled for release in mid-January, the film adaptation Hidden Figures will arrive in theaters earlier, opening in limited release on Christmas Day indicating the producers think it has a shot at the Oscars.

As we earlier noted, the film stars Taraji P. Henson (whose newly-released memoir, Around the Way Girl, S&S/Atria, is making Hollywood news), Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a group of African American women who worked at NASA in Langley, Virginia on the mission that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell.

9780062363596_b2357Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), hit the NYT Nonfiction list at #7 in September with the paper featuring the author in  “The Story Behind This Week’s Best Sellers,” quoting Shetterly on her experience growing up: “I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”

The film was the subject of a clever bit of creative marketing during the recent Toronto International Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter, where a special concert with “Pharrell Williams and other performing artists involved with the movie’s soundtrack” accompanied a screening of “exclusive footage” and a Q&A session with the high powered stars.

The book will be released in paperback in December. Two young readers editions, for ages 8 to 12,  are also scheduled, in hardcover and paperback.

She Writes The Songs

9781501153266_2f05aCBS Sunday Morning featured lyricist Carole Bayer Sager on her memoir, They’re Playing Our Song (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Sager wrote such famous song as Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better,” Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For.”

She has been writing hits for more than 50 years and thinks a good lyric “is one that touches me, and therefore I feel it’ll touch you.” Most recently she co-wrote the song “Stronger Together” which closed the Democratic National Convention.

For all her success, which includes a hit Broadway musical, an Oscar, and a Grammy, Sager lived a rocky life, raised by “a domineering mother” and married multiple times, including to the distant Burt Bacharach.

She tells CBS’s Rita Braver that she has finally settled in to a loving marriage and has an appreciative outlook, saying “I do feel so extraordinarily grateful that I got to do what I love to do in this life, and I was rewarded for it … I would have done it for nothing.”

CBS Sunday Morning posts some web exclusives to accompany the profile, including an excerpt from the memoir describing creating the hit theme from the movie Arthur, more on her marriage to Bacharach, and her views on aging.

Separately, New York magazine posts an excerpt from the book that describes writing a son with Bob Dylan.

YA/MG GalleyChat,
Oct. 18, 4 to 5 p.m.

Join us tomorrow to find out which YA and Middle Grade galleys fellow librarians are loving.

Tuesday, Oct. 18
NEW TIME, 4 to 5 p.m., ET
(3:30 for virtual pre-chat cocktails)

Hashtag: #ewgcya

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of October 17, 2016

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The holds leader among the titles that arrive in the upcoming week is the next in John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series, Escape Clause, (PRH/Putnam; Penguin Audio/BOTOverDrive Sample). Close behind in holds is Jojo Moyes’s Paris for One and Other Stories (PRH/Pamela Dorman; Penguin Audio/BOTOverDrive Sample). It is a People pick for the week: “Moyes in in fine, cheeky form in this collection of short fiction, deploying the wit and charm that animates Me Before You and her other popular novels.”

James Patterson comes up with a new twist on his BookShots series of short original paperbacks next week, collecting four of the titles into a hardcover edition, Kill or Be Killed: Thrillers (Hachette/BookShots Series; OverDrive Sample) also available in large print, the first time any BookShots titles have been available in that format.

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More Christmas novels also arrive, with two authors trying their hand at them for the first time: David Rosenfelt’s The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: An Andy Carpenter Mystery (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Beth Harbison’s A Shoe Addict’s Christmas (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Jay Asher’s second YA novel, after the very popular Thirteen Reasons Why, is also a Christmas novel, What Light (Penguin Young Readers/Razorbill; Penguin Audio/Listening LibraryOverDrive Sample), about a girl whose family owns a Christmas tree farm. Booklist calls it a “surprising change of direction … a frothy, peppermint-in-hot-cocoa romance … Certain to please readers seeking an escapist, feel-good holiday read.” The Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why is currently in production. Asher recently spoke to the students in the California high school where filming recently wrapped.

These titles, and those highlighted below, along with other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats on our downloadable spreadsheet, Earlyword New Title Radar Week of Oct 17.

Media Attention

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The Magnolia Story, Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines (Thomas Nelson; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The hosts of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper hit the cover of People magazine for their first book. The show returns for its fourth season on Tuesday, November 29th. Another HGTV star, Nicole Curtis, host of Rehab Addict, is also releasing a book this week, Better Than NewLessons I’ve Learned from Saving Old Homes (and How They Saved Me) (PRH/Artisan; OverDrive Sample).

9781627790345_3039fHomeward Bound: The Life Of Paul Simon (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The fall season has brought many new books by and about musicians, including Bruce Springsteen and the Beach Boys. People‘s “Book of the Week” is about another artist from the same era, Paul Simon. They write, “This touching biography details the singer’s Queens youth, his beginnings with Art Garfunkel and the road to stardom. … Pure pleasure.”

Best Cookbooks 

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Two titles from the NYT‘s selection of The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016, arrive this week:

Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead, Amanda Hesser, Merrill Stubbs (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample). It was also reviewed separately in the NYT with the headline “Practical Magic for the Modern Cook.”

The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem, Marcus Samuelson (HMH/Rux Martin; OverDrive Sample). Also reviewed separately in the NYT.

Award Contender

9781510719217_57c57His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, Graeme MaCrae Burnet (Skyhorse Publishing; OverDrive Sample).

The last of the Man Booker finalists to be published in the US, this title was originally published by the tiny 2-person Scottish house Saraband (see our earlier coverage). The novel earned praise from The Guardian, which said “The book’s pretense at veracity, as well as being a literary jeux d’esprit, brings an extraordinary historical period into focus.”

Peer Picks

It is another very busy publishing week with twelve new peer picks hitting shelves, including two Library Reads selections from the October list:

9780544527959_2fdc4Smoke and Mirrors, Elly Griffiths (HMH; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Thrilled for another opportunity to enjoy DI Stephens and Max Mephisto joining forces against crime and intrigue. It may appear light hearted with its theatrical/magician twist, but these detective stories are full of dark happenings. Solving the gruesome murder of two local children dampens the holiday spirit in this small town. The lead characters are very enjoyable and the theater setting so unique. I enjoyed the love interest/overprotected daughter story line as well! Very much looking forward to the next installment.” — Carol Ward, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Solon, OH

9781492637257_07f82The Other Einstein, Marie Benedict (Sourcebooks Landmark; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Einstein. Just hearing that name likely brings a smile to your face, as you picture the mischievous wild-haired scientist with the twinkle in his eye. In The Other Einstein, readers get a view of the woman behind the genius, his first wife Mileva Maric, a strong willed and brilliant physics student who refused to let society dictate her life’s path, but who lost her way when love came on the scene. Benedict has penned an engaging tale that will likely inspire readers to investigate the true story behind Maric’s genius and her personal and professional relationship with Einstein.” — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

Additional Buzz: It is also an Indie Next pick for October and Canadian librarians made it a LoanStar October pick. It tops Bustle‘s list of “12 New Novels Every History Buff Needs To Read” and Popsugar included it among their “25 Books You’re Going to Want to Curl Up With This Fall.”

Selections from book sellers span their October and November Indie Next lists. One more from October is 9780316337540_bff94Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South, Beth Macy (Hachette/Little, Brown and Company; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“In the early 20th century, Albino African American brothers are kidnapped by unscrupulous and racist circus managers who not only steal their earnings from their work as freak show performers, but also tell their mother that they are dead. This occurs during the height of the Jim Crow South, when black lives didn’t matter and lynching was at its peak. The mother’s persistent and heroic fight through legal channels to recoup her sons’ wages and achieve a better standard of living is at the heart of this true story, an inside look at the historical depths of American racism.” —Joan Grenier, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Additional Buzz: It is a Kirkus Prize Finalist and a Carnegie Medal Longlist selection. Entertainment Weekly picked it as one of their fall reading choices. The author will be part of C-SPAN’s coverage of the 28th annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville this weekend.

The remaining selections are from the Indie Next November list:

9780062378743_3f5f1Inheriting Edith, Zoe Fishman (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“It’s a familiar cast of characters: a single mom raising a spunky kid; an older woman descending into Alzheimer’s; the inhabitants of a small town; a nice eligible man. And then comes the twist: the single mom and the older woman aren’t related by blood, but connected through the older woman’s now deceased daughter. With humor and heart, long-held secrets come to light and special bonds are formed. Inheriting Edith is both entertaining and poignant.” —Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

9780062397836_9fed7Mister Monkey, Francine Prose (HC/Harper; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“I came to this book expecting to be entertained, and it is laugh-out-loud funny. But in the wise and observant ways of Prose, Mister Monkey is more than just a protracted joke. The story begins in the narrow spaces of a theater so to be demolished for condos and widens as Prose shifts points of view from actor to costume designer to writer to waiter to Hindu deity and back to the stage. Adolescent rage, loneliness, divinity, the end of the world, the beginning of love, the way we fail to live up to our dreams for ourselves, the fear of our own mediocrity, the unexpected victories that are the grace that fills the spaces made by disappointment: these are the soul of this novel with an agile, monkey heart. Both deeply moving and light, this is one of my favorite novels of the year.” —Melanie McNair, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Additional Buzz: It is a Carnegie Medal Longlist selection and made the Fall Reading list of the New York Magazine and WSJ. Bustle picked it as one of the “12 Best New Fiction Out In October To Read On A Cozy Fall Day.”

9780316267724_1a04aIQ, Joe Ide (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“IQ is the nickname of Isaiah Quintabe, who, despite being a high-school dropout, is absolutely brilliant and has amazing deductive skills. Living on the rough side of Long Beach, California, he is an underground detective who takes on cases in the city’s ghettoes that the LAPD refuses to handle. Beginning with a kidnapping and moving to a case involving the assassination attempt on a famous rapper, IQ represents a positive influence in this tough environment of gang warfare, drugs, murders, and prostitution. A mixture of Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer, the craziness of Don Winslow’s Savages, and the classic mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, this debut will spark interest and open up this particular world to new readers.” —Gerard Villegas, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

Additional Buzz: Deadline Hollywood reports that the rights sold in a seven-way bidding war for developed into a drama series. The Washington Post review calls it “One of the most original thrillers of the year.” It is one of Literary Hub‘s “18 Books You Should Read This October,The Hollywood Reporter picks it as one of “20 Must-Reads” of the season, and Entertainment Weekly counts it among the “8 mysteries and thrillers to chill you this fall.”

9780385539906_12849A Gambler’s Anatomy, Jonathan Lethem (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“The Gambler vs. the House. Alexander Bruno’s journey as a psychically abled, top-notch backgammon player illuminates themes of reward and loss, purpose and fulfillment in this engaging, thought-provoking yarn. Lethem’s prose is on point, and his allusions and references resonate strongly. His description of this world — fast, oddly comical, sardonic, and, at most times, without sense or reason — is poignant and heavy-hitting, full of breath without being overly winded. Another winner from Lethem, who has established himself firmly amongst the top dogs of intelligent contemporary literary fiction.” —Blake Smith, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

Additional Buzz: It’s reviewed by Kurt Anderson on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, as well as a daily review by Dwight Garner (as part of the new direction, with both the daily and Sunday review reporting to Pamela Paul, this is not an accident, but indicates that the book was considered important enough for double coverage). Anderson notes this is Lethem’s  tenth novel, making him “among the most prolific of the name-brand literary novelists of his generation,” and that “Lethem has said that after ending his youthful sci-fi phase and becoming a certified big deal, he felt pressure to  ‘stay major!’ . . . to only write books as long, sorrowful and wide-screen as The Fortress of Solitude, but that he chose instead to write ‘other kinds of books.’ A Gambler’s Anatomy is the best so far of those other kinds of books.”

Garner, however, goes ahead and compares this new book  to the author’s earlier efforts to write The Great American novel, and finds that, in comparison, that this is a “fluky novel, not among Mr. Lethem’s very best. Its themes are underdeveloped, and it moves in zigs and zags, like a squirrel in headlights,” amusingly saying “it plays at its best like a Twilight Zone episode filmed by the Coen brothers.”

The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles gives a rundown of the story (his print review is here).

9780393292305_15aacNobody’s Son: A Memoir, Mark Slouka (W. W. Norton & Company; OverDrive Sample).

‘This is a grueling, soul-searching study of memory and personal pain written in the most soaring prose. To some extent, most of us think we came from dysfunctional families, but this memoir is going to become the calibration standard for dysfunction. How Slouka survived his parents and their scarred Czech pasts, their humiliating years as refugees, and their years of unhappy marriage in America is a small miracle. What’s left are some large emotional holes that Slouka attempts to patch up in front of the reader. An absolutely mesmerizing read.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

9780393292329_f9284The Fall Guy, James Lasdun (Norton; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The Fall Guy, which starts innocently enough, introduces its three main characters as they leave the hustle and bustle of New York City for a calm summer sojourn upstate. Things take a Lynchian turn when Charlie and Chloe’s guest, Charlie’s cousin Matthew, notices what appears to be duplicitous behavior within and outside their home. Lasdun does an incredible job of slowly ratcheting up the suspense, earning the reader’s trust with his spare, pitch-perfect language, and upending expectations on every page. Morally complex characters, a sly and inventive take on the guilt and shame of modern-day banking, and prose as sensuous as some of the novel’s sexiest scenes are just a few of the many rewards of Lasdun’s latest, and greatest, novel.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Additional Buzz: It is on the Fall Reading list made by Entertainment Weekly.

9781250110565_bf671The Next: A Novel Of Love, Revenge and a Ghost Who Can’t Let Go by Stephanie Gangi (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“With only hours left before cancer kills her, Joanna DeAngelis is dying badly. Instead of focusing on saying goodbye to her daughters and her beloved dog, she spends her last day cyber-stalking her ex-boyfriend and his Internet-famous new girlfriend. When Joanna draws her last breath, mysterious heavenly powers decide that she needs to resolve a few things before moving on to the next world. What happens when ghost-Joanna returns to New York City bent on revenge is terrifying, funny, and, finally, break-out-the-tissues touching. A gorgeous book about love in all its forms: familial, canine, romantic, lost and found again.” —Hillary Nelson, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH

Additional Buzz: Popsugar names it one of “12 Books to Binge On Before the Girl on the Train Movie” and Bustle list is among “21 Novels By Women To Add to Your TBR Pile This Fall.”

9781439140239_045adThe Girl from Venice, Martin Cruz Smith (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Fans of Gorky Park and other Arkady Renko mysteries are about to be surprised. The Girl From Venice is not a mystery, and it takes place in Venice at the end of WWII, not in countries of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. The pace is still taut, however, and the characters still fascinating. Italy in the last days of the war, with the Germans retreating and everyone hedging their bets, is a complicated place to be, one where every future is uncertain and one very fitting for a master of subtlety like Smith.” —Olga Onal, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

9781501121142_2703cThe German Girl, Armando Lucas Correa (S&S/Atria Books; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“On May 13, 1939, the S.S. St. Louis set sail from Germany to Cuba with many Jewish passengers fleeing Hitler. Despite all best efforts, they were turned away from Cuba, the U.S., and Canada, forcing the ship to return to Europe, where many of the passengers would die in Hitler’s death camps. Correa puts a human face on this shameful episode. Hannah Rosenthal, the daughter of wealthy aristocrats, was 12 when she boarded the St. Louis. Seven decades later, Anna Rosen receives a package from an unknown relative in Cuba that inspires her and her mother to travel to Cuba to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past. A masterful debut!” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Additional Buzz: People gives a nod the author, the editor in chief People en Espanyol, making it a pick of the week, saying it “brings the refugee experience alive in the timely must-read.” Sister publication Entertainment Weekly features an interview with the author.

The Spanish-language edition, La niña alemana  will receive attention on Spanish-language TV and, of course, in People en Espanol.

• CNN en Espanol-TV/’Camilo,’ October 17
• Univision-Radio/’Maria Marin,’ October 17
• Telemundo-TV/’Un Nueva Dia,’ October 18
• Univision-TV/’Despierta America,’ October 18
• November issue of People en Espanol


9781101884164_9b0c3One tie-in this week, The Making of Outlander: The Series: The Official Guide to Seasons One & Two, Tara Bennett (PRH/Delacorte Press; OverDrive Sample). It is a behind-the-scenes account of what it took to create the series as well as a guide to the two seasons aired thus far.

No air date has been set for season three, but Den of Geek offers a run down of what is known about the upcoming show.

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


jmcoetzee_waitingforthebarbariansIn what might be some consolation for not making it to the Booker shortlist this year, J.M. Coetzee’s award-winning novel, Waiting For The Barbarians (PRH/Penguin) is being adapted as a feature film.

Coetzee won the Booker Prize in 1983 for Life & Times of Michael K and in 1999 for Disgrace. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. This year,  The Schooldays of Jesus (PRH/Viking; Feb. 2017) was on the longlist, but did not make the cut to the shortlist.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Coetzee adapted his novel for the film. Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) will star and Oscar nominated director Ciro Guerra, who earned praise for Embrace of the Serpent, will helm the project says the trade source.

In their review of the book, the NYT wrote “Mr. Coetzee tells the story of an imaginary Empire, set in an unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a ‘universalized’ version of South Africa. This allows Mr. Coetzee some esthetic distance from his subject, for even while remaining locked with the history of his moment, he isn’t completely at the mercy of its local chaos and ugliness. The result is a realistic fable, at once stark, exciting and economical.”

NPR brought new focus on the novel in 2014 when they named it “This Week’s Must Read” after the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its report about the “brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11.”

Vegging Out

9780062438485_a1d19  9781615192830_eafd2

Vegan cooking got a huge boost yesterday from NPR’s Fresh Air.

The lauded chefs and owners of Philadelphia’s Vedge and V Street restaurants, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, join host Terry Gross in a lengthy interview that sent both of their books, each named after their eateries, soaring up the Amazon rankings.

Their newest book, V Street: 100 Globe-Hopping Plates on the Cutting Edge of Vegetable Cooking (HarperCollins/Morrow Cookbooks) rose from #1,703 to #12 while their 2013 title, Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking (Workman/The Experiment), rose from #56,116 to #334.

Gross opens the show by introducing the married couple as “two vegan chefs who are working to redefine cooking with vegetables to make the food exciting and satisfying, even for meat eaters.”

Landau says, “I’ve told people for years it’s not really meat that tastes so good. It’s what chefs do to it that tastes so good. And we’re trying to put that same attention into vegetables.”

Asked about the story behind V Street,”inspired by street food from around the world” Jacoby says they have found “really interesting cultural food experiences that complemented the fine dining” they experienced while travelling. The couple has been drawn to Japanese food, finding it the most seasonal, and also to Moroccan dishes.

Landau says “The flavors were just so amazing. It was kind of like Indian food in the sense that they used all these spices, and yet, you never really tasted one spice in the final dish. You tasted this kind of … great symbiosis of all these spices working together to make one final beautiful flavor.”

The entire conversation ranges from eating vegan on the road, to allergies, to food porn, to the value of creating food you believe in.

Eater gives a sense of the foodie world’s reception to the couple’s approach.

ROGUE One, Final Trailer

The trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One debuted today on CBS This Morning.

9780345511492_69ed9The two and a half minute trailer is examined for clues to the story line by The Verge noting, “Disney has been careful to downplay its expectations for Rogue One. It’s the first major film set outside of the traditional saga, and has been characterized as ‘an experiment’ by the company’s CEO, Bob Iger.”

There are several tie-ins, of course but, following the precedent set by The Force Awakens, the official novelizations for Rogue One will not be released until after the film premieres on Dec. 16, 2016, to avoid spoilers.

Arriving ahead of the movie is a prequel, the Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel, (PRH/Del Rey, Nov. 15, 2016) written by James Luceno, the author of a number of earlier Star Wars titles.

See our downloadable list here. Our full list of upcoming tie-ins here.

FAITHFUL Tops LibraryReads List

9781476799209_1971cLibraryReads-FavoriteThe number one pick by librarians this November is Faithful by Alice Hoffman (S&S; S&S Audio), at the top of the just released LibraryReads list of monthly favorites.

“With only a touch of her usual magical realism, Hoffman crafts a tale that still manages to enchant. In Faithful, a young girl who survives a car accident that almost kills her best friend spends the next decade doing penance to try and alleviate her guilt. Despite her best efforts to avoid it, love, hope, and forgiveness patiently shadow her as she slowly heals. Shelby is a complex character and through her internal growth Hoffman reveals that she is a person worthy of love, a bit of sorcery that readers will hold dear. Simply irresistible.” — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

Additional Buzz: It is also the #1 pick by booksellers, topping the November Indie Next List. It also impressed Canadian librarians, featuring on their Loan Stars list.

Below is a sample of some of the other books on the ten-title list:

9781400069880_cde2eVictoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire, Julia Baird (PRH/Random House).

“When Victoria inherited the throne at the age of eighteen, she was still sleeping in the same bedroom as her mother. Her first act as queen was to move her bed into a different room. This headstrong deed foreshadowed the determination with which she ruled an empire. Her fierce devotion to her country and family shines in the pages of Baird’s compulsively readable biography. She becomes a warm and relatable figure through Baird’s research. Her reign saw unimaginable changes in society, science, and technology, but through it all, Victoria remained.” — Ann Cox, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC

Additional Buzz: Victoria is about to be a hot topic with the debut of an 8-part TV series focused on the early years of her reign. Victoria will run in January on PBS Masterpiece in the same time slot Downton Abbey once occupied. Additionally Daisy Goodwin will publish a novel about the queen this November, Victoria (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press).

9780374534974_d88abNormal, Warren Ellis (Macmillan/FSG Originals).

“Adam Dearden has been ferried to Normal Head, an asylum dedicated to treating only futurists. Shortly after Adam arrives at Normal, a patient disappears from his locked room, leaving only a huge pile of insects behind. Adam unearths a conspiracy that will have readers flipping pages quickly, reminding us that ‘we are now in a place where we will never again have a private conversation.’ Witty and insightful, Ellis’s writing has much to say about technology and gives readers much to think about in this brief novel. Highly recommended.” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

Additional Buzz: The techno-thriller first published as an e-serial. Wired reports on Ellis’s experimentation and the growing trend of digital serialization as “the next step in binge-friendly reading.” Tor.com has an interview and there are several reports on the attention Ellis receives as a groundbreaking graphic novelist. Moviepilot writes about the forthcoming TV adaption of his series Trees and The Hollywood Reporter writes about his new “pop-up imprint” with DC comics.

9780385541527_eaf86Orphans of the Carnival, Carol Birch (PRH/Doubleday).

“Julia is an accomplished young woman who can sing, dance, ride horseback and speak three languages. Unfortunately for her, most people can’t get past what they see because Julia’s face is covered with thick hair, giving her an apelike appearance. Orphaned as a small child but raised in a wealthy household, Julia decides to travel the world as a carnival performer. This beautifully written work of historical fiction allows readers to consider what it means to be “other,” to always be on the outside looking in.” — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

Additional Buzz: Also a November Indie Next selection. The Guardian review was not strong but they praised it on Twitter, excerpting their strongest line: “Roll up, roll up, for a beautifully written novel about the poignant inner life of 19th-century touring freakshow attraction.”