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News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

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

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)

LibraryReads:

“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

Filming: LOST CITY OF Z

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.42.21 PMThe convoluted path The Lost City of Z (RH/Doubleday;2009; OverDrive Sample) has taken to the big screen is finally set to deliver.

As we reported in 2013, the on-again/off-again movie adaptation has been bumpy, with everyone from Brad Pitt to Benedict Cumberbatch cited as possible stars but the project ended up shelved multiple times.

Now Deadline reports that the next actor to play Spider-Man, Tom Holland, will join the cast that already includes Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Charlie Hunnam. Flming has begun in Belfast and will continue in Colombia in the fall.

The book grew out of a New Yorker article by David Grann, (Doubleday, Feb, 2009), about British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared int the Amazon in 1935, during an attempt to prove his claim that a highly sophisticated city, which he called the City of Z, was hidden in the jungle. At the time it was published, the NYT critic Michiko Kakutani gave it a rare rave, “at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd,” adding, “it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.” It ended up topping most of the year’s best books lists.

As originally planned, James Gray (We Own the Night) is directing and Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B is overseeing the project.

JUST KIDS To Showtime

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.18.09 PMShowtime has bought the rights to adapt Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010) as a limited series. reports Deadline.

Along with John Logan (Penny Dreadful), Smith will both write the screenplay and produce the series.

Just Kids recieved rave reviews and won the National Book Award Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.14.54 PMfor Nonfiction. It chronicles Smith’s friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their creative lives as young artists.

M Train (RH/Knopf; BOT), Smith’s next memoir, is coming out on Oct. 6th.

Casting News: GIRL ON THE TRAIN

The Girl on the TrainThe setting of The Girl on the Train will be switched for the movie adaptation from the novel’s England to upstate New York, but the lead is still British.

Emily Blunt has recently completed negotiations for the starring role of Rachel. Deadline reports that Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson is currently in negotiations to play Rachel’s former husband’s wife, Anna.

Ferguson recently made her name by co-starring in an action movie with Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Blunt has had a similar experience, co-starring with Cruise in last year’s Edge of Tomorrow. Both actresses will draw on a different set of skills for this tale of psychological suspense.

There’s still several roles to be cast, including that of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom. Entertainment Weekly makes their suggestions (Tom Cruise is not one of them).

Tate Taylor (The Help) is directing the movie based on the novel by Paula Hawkins that is still at the top of best seller lists after 31 weeks.

UPDATE, 6/24/15: The third female lead has been cast. American actress Haley Bennett is set to play Megan, the woman Rachel watches from the train each morning until she suddenly disappears, drawing Rachel in to the search for her.

THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE: Anne Hathaway Set to Star

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.05.57 AMJennifer Steil’s debut novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, (RH/Doubleday; BOT; OverDrive Sample), may be heading to the small screen.

Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds) is developing the project and Anne Hathaway has agreed to both star and produce. Hathaway’s shine should help give the proposed limited series some juice but the project is not yet attached to a network.

The novel relates the story of the kidnapping of the wife of an ambassador posted in the Middle East. PW ‘s review calls it “a well-crafted, fast-paced novel, packed with ample suspense to keep the pages turning.” The Seattle Times adds it is “brilliantly drawn and deeply troubling.” Steil, a journalist, is in fact also the wife of an ambassador.

Gordon told The WrapThe Ambassador’s Wife is an incredible story that pulls you in immediately and resonates with all of us based on the images and news headlines that are pervasive in our lives today. We are so fortunate to have Anne starring in this timely, gripping, and compassionate drama. She is in a league all her own and we cannot think of anyone who can better portray Steil’s complex heroine.”

Showtime Options LOVING DAY

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.59.34 AMShowtime has optioned Mat Johnson’s novel Loving Day (RH/ Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) as a potential comedy series. According to Deadline  talks are “underway with high-end writers to collaborate with the author on penning the adaptation.”

About a mixed race man and the daughter he never knew he had, the novel has received a fair amount of critical attention:

NPR’s reviewer, Michael Schaub, heaped praise on it, calling it a “beautiful, triumphant miracle of a book.”

Jim Ruland’s review in the Los Angeles Times was equally strong, “To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. Indeed, the subtitle to Mat Johnson’s exceptional novel could read “the whiteness of the mixed male.” [His] riff on racial identity starts as a scene, turns into an episode and morphs into a motif that never lets up. His unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor.”

Writing for The New York Times, Baz Dreisinger calls it a “ribald, incisive the novel … [that] ultimately triumphs because it is razor-sharp, sci-fi-flavored satire in the vein of George Schuyler, playfully evocative of black folklore à la Joel Chandler Harris — yet it never feels like a cold theoretical exercise. Loving Day is that rare mélange: cerebral comedy with pathos.”

YA/MG GalleyChat,
Tuesday, August 18, #ewgcya

The next YA GalleyChat is Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5 to 6 p.m. (4:30 for virtual cocktails). Please join us.

Ron Charles on PURITY

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.

RA Alert: A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN

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.

Nancy Pearl on Graphic Bios

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.32.35 PMOn her weekly radio appearance on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW, librarian Nancy Pearl talks about Jessie Hartland’s Steve Jobs: Insanely Great (RH/Schwartz & Wade).

It is a graphic biography Nancy thinks would be perfect for middle and high school students, making it an alternative tie-in to the upcoming biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s 600+ page tome about the computer legend.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.33.48 PMFilled with black, white, and gray free-flowing images and text that often breaks out of speech bubbles, the nonfiction work details Jobs’s achievements and personality. Hartland’s website gives a quick glimpse of her style.

When asked by host Marcie Sillman, Nancy said that she thought Jobs would adore it, as she did, putting her on the hunt for Harland’s previous graphic biography, Bon Appétit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child (RH/Schwartz & Wade, 2012).

 

GalleyChatter: Under the Wire for September

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.

9780525426592_5adc49781410455307

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.

CAROL, The Trailer

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, 1952 (available in trade paperback from Norton, 2004; movie tie-in coming in Oct.) the film Carol was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival and is considered a strong Oscar contender. Scheduled to debut Nov. 20, the trailer has just been released.

TV Turns to Magic, Monsters
and Myths

It’s no surprise that the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones is spawning a whole new appreciation for the genre in the TV world. Variety trumpets that “Game of Thrones Leads Fantasy TV’s Transformation from Geek to Chic” noting,  “On tap for the 2015-16 season are no fewer than five series based on literary works that deal with magic, monsters, mythical realms or heroic quests.”

Those five series listed below:

MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles — ten episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, the first in the book series is Sword Of Shannara, but the first in the TV series will be based on the second book Elfstones Of Shannara. Tie-in — see our movie and TV tie-ins.

Syfy’s The Magicians  — twelve episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Lev Grossman’s  The Magicians fantasy trilogy (The Magicians, 2009; The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land). No tie-ins have been announced.

ABC Family’s Shadowhunters — Early 2016. Cassandra Clare’s YA series beginning with The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, (S&S/ M.K. McElderry Books, 2007). It was also made into a movie in 2013. Plans to turn it into a franchise when it flopped at the box office. the producers think it will do better as a TV series. Tie-ins — see our movie and TV tie-ins. Web site: Shadowhunterstv.com

NBC’s Emerald City — 2016, A “modern reimagining” of Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz, with stories drawn from all 14 books in the series. No tie-in has been announced.

Starz’s American Gods — 2016. Based on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2001). No tie-in has been announced.

NYPL Debuts Staff Picks Tool

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.03.54 AMThe New York Public Library is offering a new take on staff picks, a browse tool that combines the readers’ advisory features of appeal with the sort features of NPR’s Book Concierge.

Every month the NYPL staff posts 100 picks for adults, YAs, and children.

Those selections are tagged so that users can decide if they want a book driven by the appeal elements story or character, for example, and then select from a list of themes, such as “creepy,” “nail-biters,” or “tales of courage.” Order is not prescribed (themes can be picked first) and there is no limit to the number of tags a reader can choose.

Titles appear as a grid of jacket covers or a list of titles and neatly rearrange themselves on the screen as each tag is chosen.

Once happy with their selections, users can click on a cover image (or title) and read a short, signed annotation. Links to both the print and ebook records are on this same page.

News of the new interface made Bustle and GalleyChat.

Well done, NYPL.

 

Holds Alert: BLACK-EYED SUSANS

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!