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David Brooks Dives Deep

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.21.10 AMColumnist and commentator David Brooks’s new book, The Road to Character (Random House; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a blend of self-examination and an exploration of what makes a richly fulfilling inner life.

In an interview yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered, he says he began this journey after meeting a group of people who tutor immigrants and realizing that they “radiated gratitude for life,” a quality he found missing in his own life, despite his outward successes.

The Guardian calls the book “a powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”

It rose to #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings today, possibly benefiting not only from people on the search for their own roads to character, but from those on the search for interesting (if pointed) graduation gifts. As The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles points out in a story satirizing printed version of famous graduation speeches aimed at that market, it is the season for such books.

Nina Stibbe: An Author To Watch

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.12.22 AMAs we reported earlier, Nina Stibbe’s second book, A Man At the Helm (Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk; OverDrive Sample), has received glowing attention.

The daily New York Times plays catchup this week with another shining review, placing her in the same company as fellow British comic mastermind P.G. Wodehouse. Says reviewer John Williams, “Ms. Stibbe is in her early 50s, and Man at the Helm is the second book to appear in relatively quick succession and establish her reputation as a top-shelf comic writer.”

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Williams also reports that Nick Hornby is adapting Stibbe’s first book, a memoir about her stint as a nanny, Love, Nina, for the BBC. There’s still many steps to its becoming a reality, so it’s too early to speculate on whether it will also be broadcast in the US.

Reading GO SET A WATCHMAN Under Watchful Eyes

Go Set a WatchmanMost of the world is still holding their breath for the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman,(Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe; HarperCollins EspañolHarperCollins Español AudioeBook) in July.

But as the London Book Fair opens, a select few are getting an early look at the manuscript. International publishers interested in acquiring territorial rights (25 countries have already signed up) are queuing up to read the manuscript in agent Andrew Nurnberg Associates’ London offices under heavy security, reports The GuardianBecause of the desire for secrecy, they are only allowed to read the manuscript in paper form.

We’re on the alert for the first leaks.

Favorite Library and Indie May Titles

Genres dominate the May LibraryReads List, with two Fantasy novels, two Science Fiction picks, two Crime stories, rounded out by one chick lit and a few literary titles.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.12.50 PMCalled a stand-alone fairy tale for adults, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample) is the top pick this month. Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) offers this description of the Fantasy:

“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.13.37 PMThe second fantasy, again with a fairy tale feel, is Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses (Bloomsbury USA Children’s; OverDrive Sample), a YA book with cross over appeal. Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library (OH) says:

“The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.”

The May Indie Next List of 20 titles offers a different distribution – and no overlap with the LibraryReads list.

The list is notable this month for the large number of debuts among the marquee names such as Anne Enright, Lisa Scottoline, Greg Iles, and Matthew Pearl.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.14.42 PMWell-known poet Elizabeth Alexander earns the #1 pick for her debut memoir The Light of the World (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Audio; OverDrive Sample), and receives this glowing annotation:

“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.15.27 PMAmong the many other debuts is The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) which receives an equally appreciative description:

“The greatest testament to the skill of a writer is the ability to make what might seem alien to the reader completely recognizable and utterly engaging. Such was my experience reading The Turner House. Mine is a tiny white family from a small town with no sense of heritage, yet every moment I spent with the Turners — a family of 13 children shaped by the Great Migration to Detroit — I felt at home. Their struggles and joys are universal, yet told with an exacting eye that always finds the perfect detail. This is a truly impressive debut.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

A Two-Book Week for Jon Stewart

Author Fareed Zakaria will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight, and U.S. Navy SEAL Eric Greitens on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.43.55 AMCNN host Zakaria, a frequent guest on Stewart’s show (see his post 9/11 appearance here), generally writes about  the Middle East. Last week, he engaged in a heated discussion with Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time about Maher’s views on Islam.

His newest book, In Defense of a Liberal Education (Norton; S&S Audio), addresses a different topic. A short ode to the value of a well-rounded education, it is an argument against the growing focus on vocational training over more traditional subjects.

Zakaria advocates for the importance of learning how to think critically, write well, and communicate effectively, and perhaps most of all, for acquiring the ability to continuously learn over the course of a lifetime, a message well-timed for college graduation gifs.

Eric Greitens, who appears on Thursday, is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Mission Continues. Librarians might recognize his name from his 2011 New York Times bestseller The Heart and the Fist.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.44.51 AMHis newest book, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (HMH; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), is a series of letters (which read like a cross between a pep talk and an essay) written to a fellow solider in need of aid. The central message is the importance of resilience and ways to live a more focused, wise, and strong life.

 

The New Age of Storytelling

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 12.29.34 PM

After the breakout success of Serial, the “audio media space” industry (a mix of radio and podcast producers as The Hollywood Reporter describes it) is scrambling to satisfy a newly discovered audience for long form narrative storytelling.

Serial and Invisibilia, both hot properties on NPR (Invisibilia created a best seller of the book it’s based on), are examples of the new direction towards multi-part, lengthy, story-based nonfiction segments that hook listeners and supply them with episodic fixes similar to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.

Second seasons of both shows are in the works but producers admit that finding follow-up topics is a challenge, “It’s uncharted territory. Invisibilia and Serial broke into new audiences and opened up the space a bit, but we’re making it up as we go.”

The shifting audio landscape may be a new challenge for producers, but many librarians have already figured out how to take advantage of the trend.

As we reported earlier, librarians have supported Serial with booklists. Others offer podcasts of library programs, such as those from the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Seattle Public Library, Libraries are also partnering with programs such as StoryCorps to help archive and build story collections.

The DC Public Library even offers their own class on how to create audio stories and posts student’s projects on SoundCloud.

The new attention to podcasts is an opportunity for storytelling librarians to reach out in new ways and for readers’ advisory and collection development librarians to expand their services. Let us know in the comments section what your library is doing.

M TRAIN Cover Reveal

M Train Patti SmithThe release of the cover for Patti Smith’s upcoming memoir, M Train (RH/Knopf; RH Audio, Oct. 6) is bringing a raft of media attention, from Rolling Stone to the New York Times and even the Religion News Service (“Patti Smith’s spiritual curiosity on display in sequel to Just Kids“).

Entertainment Weekly claims to have the “exclusive cover reveal,” and describes the cover image as, “a sacred memento for Smith: It shows her at Cafe ‘Ino in Greenwich Village, where M Train begins, and where Smith went every morning for a breakfast of black coffee and brown bread. On the last day before Cafe ‘Ino closed, a passing photographer took the picture. Smith calls it ‘the first and last picture at my corner table in Ino … My portal to where.’ ”

The title of the book refers to the NYC subway line which runs through the Brooklyn neighborhood where she once shared an apartment with Robert Mapplethorpe and in to Greenwich Village. The book itself is described by the publisher as “a journey through eighteen ‘stations.’ It begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee.”

New Best Sellers, AT THE WATER’S EDGE and READY PLAYER ONE

At the Water's EdgeSara Gruen’s At The Water’s Edge (RH/Spiegel & Grau; BOT Audio; RH Large Print; Overdrive Sample) debuts at the highest spot ever for the author (#6 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list and #12 on USA Today‘s general list).

Her 2006 novel, Water for Elephants was a slow build, eventually hitting #1 in paperback in anticipation of the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Her next book, 2010’s Ape House debuted at #8 on the NYT list (#65 on USA Today‘s), lasting just a few weeks.

The new success is featured in both the NYTInside the List” column and USA Today, “Sara Gruen’s Loch Ness novel is a hit.”

Gruen herself is not so worried about matching her earlier success. As she tells NPR’s Weekend Edition, “I don’t tend to think ‘oh, I peaked at 38,’ I tend to think ‘I’m so happy about what happened with Water for Elephants, but I know I was struck by lightning’ … it’s not going to happen again and that’s ok. I get to keep doing what I love to do.”

While lightning may not strike twice, it appears Water’s Edge will attract a wider audience than did Ape House and fulfill predictions from collection development librarians that it will circulate briskly through the summer. It is rising on Amazon sales rankings this week and most libraries show growing holds.

Ready Player OneThe NYT trade paperback list offers the tale of another slow build, similar to Water for Elephants. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) hits the Trade Paperback Fiction list for the first time, after several weeks on the extended list (the hardcover also spent a few weeks on the extended list), probably based on news that Steven Spielberg has signed to direct the film adaptation as well as anticipation of the release of the next title, Armada (RH/Crown, RH & BOT Audio), set for publication on July 24th.

Cline will be one of the featured speakers the AAP/LibraryReads Dinner during BEA this year.

 

Western Passage: Ivan Doig
Dies at 75

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 3.13.59 PM   Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 3.12.46 PM

Ivan Doig died on Thursday, in his home in Seattle. Both a novelist and a nonfiction writer, Doig published over a dozen books including This House of Sky (which was a finalist for the National Book Award), The Whistling Season, The Bartender’s Tale, and Sweet Thunder.

His final work, slated for publication on August 18th, is Last Bus to Wisdom.

The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the LA Times offer remembrances.

On his website Doig begins a note to his readers with this:

No one is likely to confuse my writing style with that of Charlotte Bronte, but when that impassioned parson’s daughter lifted her pen from Jane Eyre and bequeathed us the most intriguing of plot summaries—’Reader, I married him’—she also was subliminally saying what any novelist, even one from the Montana highlands rather than the Yorkshire moors, must croon to those of you with your eyes on our pages: ‘Reader, my story is flirting with you; please love it back.’ Our books come to you with bright-cheeked hope…

Readers who want to explore Doig’s writing with that same “bright-cheeked hope” might wish to begin with his memoir This House of Sky.

Eight Titles to Know and Recommend, The Week of April 13

The leaders in holds next week are Nora Roberts and Lisa Scottoline. Also arriving is a memoir by a black woman who makes the horrifying discovery (while browsing in a library) that her grandfather was a notorious Nazi. Readers advisors can look to several LibraryReads and Indie Next picks for titles 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 April 13, 2015

Holds Leaders

9780399170867_15d84  9781250010117_2e3ab

The Liar, Nora Roberts (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio)

Readers, she married a liar and only finds out after he dies. In a starred review, Booklist says, “Roberts excels at effectively incorporating lots of domestic details about her heroine’s life in a slow-burning fuse of a plot that ultimately explodes in a nail-biting conclusion.”
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Every Fifteen Minutes, Lisa Scottoline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Aurio; Thorndike, OverDrive Sample)

Starred reviews from all four trade publications

Advance Attention

9781615192533_c9619My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past, Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair, Carolin Sommer (The Experiment, dist. by Workman; Blackstone Audio)

Workman’s hottest ARC at Midwinter, according to library marketer Mike Rockliff.

People magazine ran an excerpt, with the description, “Adopted as a child, Jennifer Teege recently discovered a family secret her grandfather was the monstrous SS officer played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.” She is also featured on NPR’s web site. With all this advance attention, you can expect more to come. Below is the trailer:

Picks

9780062225467_d3103Where They Found Her, Kimberly McCreight, (Harper; Blackstone Audio; HarperLuxe; OverDrive Sample)

Excitement comes from many quarters for McCreight’s second novel after her 2014 Edgar and Anthony nominee Reconstructing Amelia, beginning with a cover blurb by Gillian Flynn, “McCreight creates a world that pulls us in completely and genuinely, with characters that can enrage, amuse, and fill us with empathy. It’s a thrilling novel.”

Librarians and booksellers are also fans. It’s both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads pick :

“Molly Sanderson is covering a feature for the Ridgedale Reader that not only stirs up her recent grief over a stillborn child, but secrets that have been kept hidden for over two decades in this northern New Jersey college town. As the stories of four different women unfold, a new piece of the puzzle is revealed. Chilling and gruesome at times, this is a novel with characters who will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

Also note, McCreight has an YA speculative fiction trilogy in the works, titled The OutliersFilm rights for all three books were acquired by Lionsgate, with Reese Witherspoon as one of the producers.

9780804178112_7a06cHouse of Echoes, Brendan Duffy, (RH/Ballantine; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:
“Eager to get out of the big city, Ben and Caroline Tierney purchase a large, old house upstate hoping to renovate it into a hotel. However, their house, called The Crofts, has a dark, mysterious past, and terrifying secrets begin to threaten the family. This wonderfully eerie and atmospheric debut novel is a great recommendation for fans of Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers and McMahon’s The Winter People.” — Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH

9780812993158_c5971The Dream Lover, Elizabeth Berg, (Random House; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads:
“George Sand leaves her estranged husband and children to embark on a life of art in bohemian Paris. A talented writer who finds monetary and critical success, Sand adopts a man’s name, often dresses as a gentleman and smokes cigars. Through her writing, politics, sexual complexities and views on feminism, Sand is always seeking love. This novel has spurred me to learn more about George Sand, a woman truly ahead of her time.” — Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

9780544303164_a65baThe Turner House, Angela Flournoy, (HMH; Blackstone Audio)

Indie Next
“The greatest testament to the skill of a writer is the ability to make what might seem alien to the reader completely recognizable and utterly engaging. Such was my experience reading The Turner House. Mine is a tiny white family from a small town with no sense of heritage, yet every moment I spent with the Turners — a family of 13 children shaped by the Great Migration to Detroit — I felt at home. Their struggles and joys are universal, yet told with an exacting eye that always finds the perfect detail. This is a truly impressive debut.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

9781476777931_d5083The Given World, Marian Palaia, (S&S; OverDrive Sample

Indie Next
“In this fresh take on stories about the devastation that war visits on those left behind as well as on those who are sent to fight, Riley resists believing her beloved older brother never emerged from the tunnels of Cu Chi. Since his body was never found, she follows this hope from the Montana plains to Vietnam and then spirals down into the back streets of 1980s San Francisco. As Palaia details Riley’s struggle to move from denial to the eventual acceptance of reality, she portrays the starry Montana nights as vividly as the streets of Saigon and the bars of Haight-Ashbury. A brilliant debut!” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

The Resplendent Toni Morrison

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.39.05 AMGod Help the Child (RH/Knopf; RH and BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample), Toni Morrison’s new book, arrives at the end of the month. She is featured on the cover of the upcoming New York Times Magazine.

In a story that is part ode, part biography,
part call to arms, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah discusses Morrison’s aura, her writing and editing, and her reception by the publishing world, one dominated by people who
do not look like her.

“The perplexing but wonderful thing about Morrison’s career is just how much her prominence was created not by the mainstream publishing world, but by Morrison herself, on her own terms, in spite of it.”

The article starts with Morrison’s recording session for the Random House/BOT audio of God Help the Child. The NYT provides a video interview with a sample of the reading, which proves her skills as a narrator.

Books on Tape has also created a special landing page for the audiobook, announcing that Morrison will also record unabridged editions of her earlier books, Paradise and Song of Solomon, both audios to be published in 2016.

Below a longer clip from the audio.

Big Bucks for HARD Novels

HWA series of self-published erotic novels has been acquired by Hachette’s Forever imprint, reports the AP, to the tune of $7 million.

The first four titles in Meredith Wild’s Hacker series, HardwiredHardpressedHardline and Hard Limit have just been released by Forever in e-book editions. Paperback editions will follow on May 12,  The fifth and final book, Hard Love, will be published in both e-book and paperback on Sept. 15.

“Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey may recognize the Hacker narrative: Recent Harvard graduate and Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway falls for controlling billionaire Blake Landon,” notes the AP.

Another self-published romance author, Jasinda Wilder, has signed with Berkley Books, as reported by USA Today, in a seven-figure deal for a new trilogy, beginning with Madame X in November (Penguin/Berkley, 9781101986882).

ME AND EARL, The Trailer

9781419701764The hit of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a teen rom com about a girl with cancer, adapted from a book, Jesse Andrews’ Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, (Abrams, 2012). The screening won a standing ovation, the Audience Award for best drama, as well as the Grand Jury Prize, over-the-top reviews and Oscar predictions (see our list of other book adaptations in the early Oscars pool).

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, the movie opens in limited release on June 12.

The trailer, released yesterday, gives a sense of what the excitement is about.

Official Sitemeandearlmovie.com

Tie-in (note: we recently added dozens of new titles to our tie-ins listing; our full list of upcoming movie and TV adaptations is here).

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Jesse Andrews
ABRAMS/Amulet Paperbacks: June 9, 2015
9781419719462, 1419719467
Trade Paperback, $9.95 USD, $11.95 CAD

Final Discworld Novel This Fall

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.27.15 AMJust announced, Terry Pratchett’s final novel in the Discworld series will be:

The Shepherd’s Crown
Pratchett, Terry
HarperCollins, 9/15/2015
Hardcover, 9780062429971
Audio, 9780062430557

The 41st title in the series, it continues the Tiffany Aching sequence that began with The Wee Free Men in 2003 and includes A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

According to the announcement on Pratchett’s book site, he completed the novel in 2014, before his death earlier this year. It will be published in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. NOTE: Some news sources say the publisher is Random House. They are the publisher of the U.K. edition. In the U.S., it will be released by HarperCollins.

The Shepherd’s Crown is not the only book coming from Pratchett. His fourth novel in the Long Earth series with Stephen Baxter, The Long Utopia (Harper; OverDrive Sample), is also due this year, on June 23rd.