News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Star Wars Books Coming in FORCE

Mark your calendars: the next Star Wars film, Episode VII The Force Awakens, premiers on December 18, 2015. It picks up after the events of Return of the Jedi and is co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams (his qualifications include directing the TV series Lost and two films in the Star Trek franchise).

A teaser trailer was released in November (the full trailer is rumored to be coming in May):

Related books are also on the way. According to the Disney Publishing/Lucasfilm press release, there will be a lot of them, over 20, for kids, teens, and adults in a range of formats.

star_wars_aftermath_cover_0Star Wars: Aftermath (Del Rey/Lucas Books; 978-0345511621; Sept. 4), by Chuck Wendig is the first novel in an expected trilogy. According to USA Today, it “bridges the approximately 30-year gap between [Return of the] Jedi and The Force Awakens. With the Emperor and Darth Vader both assumed dead, a new government arises to replace the fallen Empire in the novel.”

Also forthcoming is another of the popular DK visual guides, Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know (Penguin/DK; 978-0241183700; Sept. 4, 2015) and several comics from Marvel, including Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens (Marvel Comics; 978-0785197812; Nov. 17).

A full listing of related titles has not been released but Entertainment Weekly offers a rundown of projects in the works as well as the backstory on how the massive, and secret, publishing program was organized.

Given the size of the fan base and their devotion, expect requests far in advance of the Sept. pub. dates.

YA (and MG) GalleyChat

This month’s YA & MG GalleyChat has ended. Join us for the next one, Tuesday, April 21, 5 to 6 p.m. EDT (virtual cocktails served at 4:30).

RA Alert: The “Captivatingly Creepy” AMERICAN GHOST

9780062249210_c3fa3-2 A literary nonfiction ghost story that is part family history, part haunted house story, and part investigative journalism, American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus, (Harper; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) sounds like the kind of book readers devour.

As we reported last week, Entertainment Weekly is hot for the title, selecting it as one of their “20 Books We’ll Read in 2015.” They follow up by interviewing Nordhaus. Calling the book “captivatingly creepy.” they offer this quick, R.A.-worthy summary,

Hannah Nordhaus discovers that her great-great-grandmother, Julia Staab, is New Mexico’s most famous ghost, haunting a Santa Fe hotel called La Posada. Backed by an army of psychics and ghosthunters, a crumbling family diary, and a frontier-sized heap of curiosity, Nordhaus sets out to discover who Julia was—and why her spirit has stuck around for all these years.

American Ghost has earned starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, which enticingly details Nordhaus’s research process.

She consults a variety of self-appointed supernatural experts—psychics, tarot-card readers, mediums, and dowsers—as well as more traditional sources such as newspaper archives, family diaries, and aging relatives. She also visits the settings of her grandmother’s life, from villages in Germany to the deserts of New Mexico where the Staabs lived.

It was featured on Sante Fe’s News 13:

It is also getting attention in print publications, including the Sante Fe New MexicanThe Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Boston Globe (subscription required), and is on Elle magazine’s list of “The 7 Must-Read Books Of March.”

Holds are strong on light orders in libraries we checked.


9781101886045_52d82HBO’s Game of Thrones returns with Season 5 on April 12th. As the SF site, io9 observes, the series has so far been “a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s [novels],” but that will change in the new season. Listing five major deviations, they say that’s actually a good thing.

Nevertheless, tie-in editions in mass market and trade paperback are coming 3/31/15 (RH/Bantam).

A new trailer was released yesterday:

Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin has set off fan frenzy by writing on his blog that he is clearing his calendar to work on the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter (no release date has been announced, but some sites claim Martin told reporters earlier that it will come out in October). It will be followed by the final book, A Dream of Spring.

For those who need a refresher on the HBO series so far, the cast tries to sum it up in 30 seconds for Entertainment Weekly.


9780385353304_db2df-2Emily St. John Mandel is having a great month. Her novel Station Eleven (RH/Knopf; RH & BOT Audio; Thorndike), was just announced as a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize as well as  a longlist title for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. In addition, a heated auction for the film rights were won for a reported six figures.

The icing on the cake may be George R.R. Martin’s strong endorsement. In a blog post, he urges fans to nominate Station Eleven for the Hugo Awards, which he says, “… are the oldest awards in our genre, and to my mind, the most meaningful,”

“I won’t soon forget Station Eleven. One could, I suppose, call it a post-apocolypse novel, and it is that, but all the usual tropes of that subgenre are missing here, and half the book is devoted to flashbacks to before the coming of the virus that wipes out the world, so it’s also a novel of character, and there’s this thread about a comic book and Doctor Eleven and a giant space station and… oh, well, this book should NOT have worked, but it does. It’s a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac… a book that I will long remember, and return to.”

Librarians spotted the book early. Station Eleven was a Library Reads pick in September and made the LibraryReads Top Ten Favorites list for 2014. It was also a favorite on several GalleyChats.

Women’s Prize for Fiction, Longlist

The longlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize), announced last week, includes several LibraryReads picks:

station eleven  Elizabeth is Missing  9781101874271_0ee2a

Bees  9780062227096_1ce94  9781594633119_8c400

Emily St. John Mandel,  Station Eleven (Picador; US, RH/Knopf) — a LibraryReads Top Ten Favorite for the year.

Emma Healey, Elizabeth is Missing (Viking; US, Harper, 6/10/14 ) — Number one LibraryReads pick for the month of June, 2014

Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus; US, RH/Knopf) — Number one LibraryReads pick for the month of Feb, 2015

Laline Paull, The Bees (Fourth Estate; US, Harper, 4/14/14) — LibraryReads pick for the month of May 2014

Sandra Newman, The Country of Ice Cream Star (Chatto & Windus; US, HarperCollins/Ecco, 1/22/15)  — LibraryReads pick for the month of Nov. 2014

Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests (Virago; US, Penguin/Riverhead, 9/18/14); LibraryReads pick for the month of September 2014

The other 14 titles on the list, with U.S. publication information, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oscar Predictions, 2016

Oscars 2015 are so yesterday. Hollywood is already beginning to predict 2016’s nominees:

IndieWire, “For Your Consideration: Yep, It’s The 2016 Oscar Predictions,” 2/27/15

Hollywood Reporter, “Oscars 2016: It’s Never Too Early for the Next Best Picture Predictions,” 2/23/15

Esquire, “14 Extremely Premature Predictions About the 2016 Oscars,” 3/9/15

Huffington Post – “Absurdly Early And Unnecessary Oscar Predictions For 2016,” – 2/23/15

These are indeed “premature.” Most of the movies won’t appear in theaters until this fall (it seems Academy members have poor memories, so producers hold off the release of films they consider Oscar bait until later in the year) and none of them have trailers yet, but the picks are useful as an index of which movies are heavily anticipated, by the Hollywood crowd, if not by book lovers.

Fourteen of the films are based on books, one on a Shakespeare play and another on a short story. The number of predictions, with the exception of Steve Jobs, are roughly in  reverse proportion to the popularity of the books they’re based on. The longest-running best seller of the group, The Light Between Oceans, gets just a single nod, for Best Actor, Michael Fassbender (he gets another Best Actor prediction for his lead role in Steve Jobs).

Below are the adaptations, in order by the most significant picks (for a full list of forthcoming movies, check our list of Upcoming Movies Based on Books).

9781250066626_2d55cThe Revenant, Release date, December 25, limited

Based on — Michael Punke,  The Revenant, originally published in 2002, the author’s first and so far only novel was re-released in hardcover this January by Macmillan/Picador. 


“Alejandro G. Inarritu follows Birdman with a period Western starring Tom Hardy and a bearded Leonardo DiCaprio as fur trappers in Indian country.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“… likely to entice Oscar consideration”  — Esquire

Best Picture — IndieWire, Huffington Post

Best Director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu — IndieWire,  Huffington Post

Best Actor,  Leonardo DiCaprio — IndieWire, Huffington Post

Best Supporting Actor, Tom Hardy — IndieWire

9780393325997Carol, Release date Fall

Based on — Patricia Highsmith, The Price Of Salt, 1952 (available in trade paperback from Norton, 2004)

“The Weinsteins known how to mount an Oscar campaign, and this return to feature filmmaking by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) will surely capture its fair share of headlines, both for its illustrious cast and crew, and because it’s the story of a 1950s housewife (Cate Blanchett) who strikes up a clandestine lesbian affair with a young store clerk (Rooney Mara).” – Esquire

Best Picture — IndieWire, Huffington Post

Best Director, Todd Haynes — IndieWire, Huffington Post

Best Actress, Cate Blanchett — IndieWire,  Huffington Post

Best Supporting Actress, Rooney Mara — IndieWire, Huffington Post

After the jump; fourteen more highly-anticipated adaptations.

Read the rest of this entry »


9780805099263_ac285The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday features Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor of Harpers magazine and the author of a book about a hot button issue, drone strikes, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, (Macmillan/Holt; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Cockburn also appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show last week. He explained that the title is a common term in the military, describing the steps taken to identify and eventually hit a target. Drones can shorten the time that takes, but sometimes with unintended and terrible consequences.

Holds Alert: Social Security Demystified

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.34.13 AMIt might seem that Social Security benefits are pretty straight forward. Not so, says Boston University economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff who found the 2,728 core rules so confusing that he created a service called Maximize My Social Security. He also put together a book Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (Simon & Schuster; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample). It has become such a success, according to the New York Times, that it quickly rose to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings and was sold out. Now back in print, it also just broke onto the 3/22 NYT Advice & How Bestseller List.

One of the book’s co-authors, Paul Solmon, is a PBS Financial News Correspondent. He featured some of the secrets from the book on the PBS NewsHour recently.

NBCC Award Winners

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 8.35.04 AMThe National Book Critics Circle announced their 2014 winning titles on Thursday.

The only title that has not already been recognized on various best lists or by other awards programs is The Essential Ellen Willis, by Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press). It won the Criticism category.


That other winners are:

Fiction —  Marilynne Robinson, Lila, (Macmillan/FSG); a National Book Award finalist, this also appeared on the most number of best books lists in fiction (see our downloadable spreadsheet, 2014 Adult Fiction)

Nonfiction — David Brion Davis,  The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation (RH/Knopf); appeared on several best books list, (see our downloadable spreadsheet, 2014 Adult Nonfiction)

Poetry — Claudia Rankine,  Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press); a finalist in poetry for the National Book Awards

Autobiography– Roz Chast,  Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Macmillan/Bloomsbury); a National Boo Awards finalist, it was on the most number of  nonfiction best books lists (see our downloadable spreadsheet, 2014 Adult Nonfiction)

Biography —  John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (Norton); a National Book Awards finalist in nonfiction  (see our downloadable spreadsheet, 2014 Adult Nonfiction)

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 8.45.28 AM  Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 8.40.41 AM

Toni Morrison won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. The National Book Award winner for fiction,  Redeployment by Phil Klay (Penguin Press) won the John Leonard Prize, which “recognizes an outstanding first book in any genre.”

See the NBCC press release for summaries and further information.


9780307271037_b504aDespite several less than enthusiastic reviews, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) arrives at #3 on the NYT March 22nd Fiction Hardcover best sellers list, just below the log jam of The Girl on the Train at #1 after 8 weeks and All the Light We Cannot See at #2 after 44 weeks.

This is the first time that Ishiguro has hit the hardcover lists. As Gregory Cowles notes in the “Inside the List” column, his previous best sellers, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go became best sellers but in paperback, as a result of their movie adaptations.

Film rights have already been acquired for The Buried Giant, by “The Godfather of the Literary Adaptation,” producer Scott Rudin (Captain Philips, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Angela’s Ashes and the upcoming Jobs, among many others).

Nine Titles (plus one) for RA Gurus, the Week of March 16, 2015

Next week brings just one clear holds leader (three guesses as to the author’s name), and a debut that arrives with high expectations, as well as several LibraryReads picks to recommend.

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 March 16, 2015.

Holds Leader


NYPD Red 3, James Patterson, Marshall Karp, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)

Advance Attention

9781250051684_c1bcb  9780812997538_b69f5

The Last Flight of Poxl West, Daniel Torday, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike, 7/22)

Michiko Kakutani’s review in the daily NYT last week is followed by this week’s New York Times Book Review cover. The reviewer notes that the novel begins with an excerpt from a faux review from NYT Book Review itself (the quote is a dead-on parody, although, as the reviewer says, it’s unlikely that the Book Review copy editors would have allowed “truly unique” to slide by). Echoing the faux review, this one is more mixed than Kakutani’s.

Hausfrau, Jill Essbaum, (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

This debut has come up repeatedly on GalleyChat beginning in November. In January, The Guardian saw it as a successor to Gone Girl and another book that was then on the horizon,

From Rachel Watson, the unhappy heroine of British writer Paula Hawkins’s much-anticipated debut novel The Girl on the Train, to Anna Benz, the depressed wife at the heart of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s haunting Hausfrau, this year’s most compelling reads are all about lost girls, some of whom, like Flynn’s Amy Dunne, turn out to have a core of steel in their soul.

Unlike The Girl on the Train, however,  Hausfrau does not arrive to long holds lists, or the amount of advance media attention its predecessor enjoyed, but that appears to be revving up. It is reviewed in the new issues of both People magazine (“Sexy and insightful, this gorgeously written novel opens a window into one woman’s desperate soul”) and Entertainment Weekly (strong review, but it’s undercut by a low “B” rating).

The Wall Street Journal profiles the marketing campaign behind Hausfrau, saying that Random House is “touting it as a literary 50 Shades of Grey” and already has a third printing in the works.

It is an Indie Next pick, with a recommendation from a bookseller who is a  GalleyChat regular:

“In this powerful, affecting novel, Essbaum has written an ode to desire and the destructive choices we make. There is a grace in Essbaum’s writing that leads the reader to love Anna, to befriend her, and to be endlessly protective of her. Whatever it is that a poet does with words — the arranging, the building of something that is more than the sum of its parts — Essbaum, an accomplished poet, does with the emotions and the honesty in this work. It is brave, vulnerable, and filled with love, passion, and the kind of lust that one never speaks about. This is something special.” — Kenny Coble, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

If you think it’s easy to design a book jacket, take a look at the following video, which shows the many iterations this one went through. Robbin Schiff, executive art director at Random House, told Mashable, which featured it, “The final design, with its stark Swiss typography against the moody and lush floral grouping, conveys a sensual but claustrophobic atmosphere,” reflecting the atmosphere of the book.

Upcoming Media Attention

9780385348614_10a70   9781455532704_bc6d6  9780374280307_72326

Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin, (RH/Crown, RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The author of the best selling The Happiness Project will promote her new book about how to acquire positive habits and shed negative ones, in a Today Show 3 part mini-series on the subject of habits, which begins on Monday 3/16. She appears on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, Frank Bruni, (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample)

Sure to appeal to parents dealing with college admissions insanity, the NYT‘s Frank Bruni asserts that it doesn’t really matter if your child gets into Harvard. In an early review, The New Republic knocks Bruni’s “repeated reassurance that the Ivies are unimportant because there are still other ways to attain wealth and status in America,” saying this is “a book that wants to dismiss the importance of status without questioning the validity of status-seeking motives.” That issue may be lost on most college-obsessed parents. UPDATE:  Bruni adapts a section from the book in essay for the NYT‘s Sunday Op/Ed section. As of Saturday morning, the online version, posted late Friday, is the most emailed story with nearly 450 comments.

Frank, Barney Frank (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio)

Frank’s memoir is reviewed in this week’s NYT Book Review by Frank Bruni, who, as noted above, has his own book coming next week. A clear fan of  Frank as a person, Bruni finds his chronicle of coming out as a gay politician rewarding because “the author’s odyssey to honesty perfectly tracks America’s journey to a more open-eyed, healthier, better place,” but is disappointed by the “sometimes dry manner at odds with his public personality.” Frank is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.

LibraryReads Picks

Prud9780316212243_fa2ccence, Gail Carriger, (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads — “I was hoping we’d be seeing Prudence in her own series. Baby P – Rue to you –is all grown up and absolutely delightful. First-time readers will think it’s a wonderful book on its own merits. However, it becomes spectacular when we get to revisit some of the beloved characters from the Parasol Protectorate. Gail Carriger is always a delight!” — Lisa Sprague, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT

9781476778068_2964cThe Witch of Painted Sorrows, M. J. Rose, (S&S/Atria; Dreamscape AudioOverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads — “Rose weaves a passionate tale of sensuality, heartbreak and despair, exposing readers to a side of Paris that is as haunting as its main characters. The melding of time and generations transform Sandrine and La Lune into a single force to be reckoned with. The unexpected ending will leave readers wanting more.” — Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY

9780316284943_96ec5Delicious Foods: A Novel, James Hannaham, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads — “How can you not be immediately intrigued by a novel that opens with a teenage boy driving from Louisiana to Minnesota after both his hands have just been cut off at the wrist? When you read this novel, you’re dropped right into a world – darkly funny and audaciously bold.” — Meghan Hall, Timberland Regional Library, Lacey, WA

The Pock9780062362858_94e9bet Wife, Susan Crawford, (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads — “Dana is a ‘pocket wife’ because her lawyer husband barely gives her the time of day. One afternoon, she drunkenly argues with her neighbor Celia, takes a nap, then wakes to find Celia dead. Could she have murdered Celia? Dana, suffering from manic episodes, tries to solve her friend’s murder before she loses all self-control. Highly recommended for fans of Gone Girl.” — Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN

RA Help for New Terry Pratchett Readers

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.46.57 AMThe widely reported news of Terry Pratchett’s death is likely to send readers to the library. For those new to Pratchett, who wrote over 70 novels, many of which as part of the sprawling Discworld series, it can be hard to know where to start.

Readers’ advisors seeking guidance might turn to the A.V. Club’s well-considered path through Pratchett’s novels and consult BoingBoing’s posting of Krzysztof Kietzma’s handy infographic to the interrelated books in Discworld (unfortunately, it’s difficult to read. A larger version is available here). BuzzFeed offers a ranked listing of his 30 best works while USA Today and Mashable suggest five starting titles.

Harper Lee Fraud Investigation Dropped

At least one part of the State of Alabama’s investigation into complaints of elder abuse against author Harper Lee has been closed.

Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg tells the Associated Press that they have closed their investigation and that, in their conversations with Lee, “she was able to answer questions we asked to our satisfaction,” adding, “We don’t make competency determinations. We’re not doctors, But unless someone tells us to go back in, our file is closed on it.”

The Commission, which investigates financial crimes, interviewed Lee at the request of Alabama’s Department of Human Resources. A spokesperson for the department declined the A.P.’s request for comment on whether there will be other inquiries.

All the attention is not sitting well with Lee. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lee’s close friend, historian Wayne Flynt, said in an interview on Thursday, “All the reporters, all the controversy. At 88, in bad health, she’s wondering if it’s worth it.”

Meanwhile, holds in libraries are skyrocketing for the book that is at the center of the controversy, Go Set A Watchman (Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015).

PAPER TOWNS Trailer and
Tie-in Coming


The trailer for Paper Towns is on its way, as John Green announced on Twitter today:

I’ll be debuting the #PaperTowns trailer live on-air on The @TODAYshow next Thursday 19th March!

The movie’s release date has been changed from early June to July 24.

Nat Wolff, who had the supporting role of Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars, stars as Paper Town‘s Quentin “Q” Jacobsen, with Cara Delevingne as Margo.

On his weekly VlogBrothers video this Tuesday, Green says he has seen the film and thinks it’s great because it is “faithful to the themes of the book … learning to accept others’ complexity,” (as an executive producer on the movie, he may not be entirely unbiased). He also reassures fans that a Looking for Alaska movie “might actually happen.”

The tie-in has also been announced (cover, top):

Paper TownsJohn Green
Penguin/Speak: May 19, 2015, Ship Date: April 14, 2015
9780147517654, 0147517656
Trade Paperback