News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Hitting Screens, Week of
September 19, 2016

While Sully still soars at the box office, other book-related movies were considered flops, including the heavily promoted Bridget Jones Baby.

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Five adaptations open this week, three films and two TV shows, beginning with a movie that has been an enormous success in Australia, but has taken a perplexingly long time to make it to the U.S. The Dressmaker stars Kate Winslet as a fashionable Australian woman who returns to her rural home, shaking things up and getting revenge. It was the second highest grossing Australian film of 2015, losing out to  Mad Max: Fury Road.

Amazon bought the US film rights reports Variety, and will release the film in a limited number of theaters on the 23rd, before making it available via streaming.

In the U.K. and Australia, much was been made of Liam Hemsworth’s nudity in the film. As it arrives in the U.S. attention is turning to the age difference between Winslet and Hemsworth (and the fact that Winslet dares to play a woman five years younger than she is).

The book was published in the U.S. for the first time last year, when it was expected that the film would get its U.S. release,  The Dressmaker, Rosalie Ham (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print;  OverDrive Sample).

mv5bnzq0mdg2nty4n15bml5banbnxkftztgwotk2nzu3ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_9781501127182_5e089Disney’s big movie, Queen of Katwe opens in limited release Sept. 23rd, expanding to more theaters the next week. Starring Lupita Wyong’o, who won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, David Oyelowo (Selma), and newcomer Madina Nalwanga, it is directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding).

Vanity Fair calls it a “Bright and Inspiring Success,” while Roger Ebert.com says it is “thoroughly crowdpleasing.Collider writes that the Disney production “stands alongside some of the studio’s best efforts, and it’s the best family film involving chess since the charming 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer.”

A tie-in is out: The Queen of Katwe: One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion, Tim Crothers (S&S/Scribner; Mass Market, (S&S/Pocket Books; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

mv5bmtuxnjg1ody3ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodeynjuzote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_9780399591426_ad32bGoat also opens on the 23rd. Directed by Andrew Neel, starring Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and Gus Halper, it is a college fraternity film that traces a series of brutal induction rituals and the strain they place on two brothers. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “A harsh but gripping study in uncontrolled male aggression.”

The Guardian writes that it is  “a pointed, astute and unflinching look at unbridled machismo and its consequences … everything is designed to provoke disgust – and there’s a lot to be disgusted with.”

Variety says “this testosterone-drenched indie-movie adaptation feels like something that might have come out under the MTV Films banner a decade ago (back when the book was published), as director Andrew Neel can’t quite decide whether to indict or endorse the hard-partying behavior on display — painfully aware that half the audience has pledged or will pledge the Greek system.”

A tie-in has been released, Goat (Movie Tie-in Edition): A Memoir, Brad Land (PRH/RH; OverDrive Sample).

y648mv5boduxndu3mdm1ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjm3ndc0ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_The Exorcist TV series begins playing on Fox on the 23rd, over 40 years after the film adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel.

Cosmic Booknews says it is “a propulsive psychological thriller” and Cavalcade says it “delivers on both scares and drama. Though not always compelling, it manages to be consistently engaging.”

The series stars Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and Geena Davis. A tie-in has not been released but 2011 marked the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition (HC).

MV5BMTc0NjYxNDkzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM2NjQyNTE@._V1_SY1000_SX1000_AL_On the 25th Poldark, Season 2, begins airing on PBS Masterpiece, starring Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Heida Reed. Of season one, The New York Times wrote:

Sweeping, stirring, rousing, lush. These are the sorts of adjectives suggested by Poldark … It’s the kind of show in which every plot twist appears to require a shot of someone pounding on horseback along the Cornish coast, close to the cliffs and outlined against the sun … Another adjective that comes to mind is shameless, in the sense of nonstop audience-pandering melodrama. But there’s good shameless and bad shameless, and Poldark is reasonably good stuff, milking the emotions and pleasing the eye without unduly insulting the intelligence.”

The series is based on the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. There are a number of tie-ins and associated titles.


The Flavor of Grief: UMAMI

9781780748917_edecdNPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday features an under-the-radar debut novel by a Mexican author, published in English by an indie British press, Umami by Laia Jufresa, translated by Sophie Hughes (Perseus/Oneworld Publications, dist. in the U.S. by Perseus/PGW; OverDrive Sample).

Host Scott Simon lyrically introduces the book as set in a Mexico City neighborhood where “The residents … each have their own stories told in different times, different stories that, in time, reveal common threads of love, loss, regret, recovery, mystery, loneliness and an undefinable richness.”

All the characters are struggling with some level of loss and Jufresa says she wanted to write a book about “grief during a [specific] period of time because I also wanted to write about the end of grief … this kind of grief where you’re already coming out.”

About the process of translation Jufresa says that “It’s such a treat to have someone translating your work because no one ever will read your work as closely as a translator does … you have the fantasy that you will have readers like this, I think, that pick up all the details.”

Jufreza was named as one of the most outstanding young writers in Mexico as part of the 2015 project México20. Her novel was listed as one of the titles on The MillionsMost Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview” and The Rumpus called it “Dynamic and delicate.”


Towles Rises; HIDDEN FIGURES Soars

9780670026197_2f9f39780062363596_b2357On the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list, half the titles are new this week. J.D. Robb’s Apprentice in Death (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample) lands at #1, followed by Carl Hiaasen’s Razor Girl (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

The number 7, 8, and 10 spots are new as well, filled by Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), and Downfall: A Brady Novel of Suspense, J. A. Jance (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

All but Towles are to be expected and that is a significant rise for him. His debut, Rules of Civility, never broke the top ten, rising only as high as #16 and holding that position for just one week. It is also both an Indie Next pick and a Fall Reading favorite. Holds are strong in most libraries we checked.

On the nonfiction side, four new titles appear, including the #1 seller this week, Oprah’s pick Love Warrior: A Memoir, Glennon Doyle Melton (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

New at #7, is Hidden 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). As we have written, it is the basis for a forthcoming movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. A tie-in arrives this December.

The paper spotlights the title 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.”

Dave Barry’s Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland (PRH/G.P. Putnam; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #8 and The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample) rounds out the new books in the top ten, landing at #10.

Oddly, the J.K. Rowling titles that appeared in the top ten on the USA Today list don’t appear on either the Middle Grade or the YA eBook lists.


9781501141515_b00fcBruce Springsteen was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning in a is wide-ranging conversation that opens with Anthony Mason asking about his drive and motivation. Springsteen replies:

“I believe every artist had someone who told them that they weren’t worth dirt and someone who told them that they were the second coming of the baby Jesus, and they believed ‘em both … that’s the fuel that starts the fire.”

Of his breakthrough song, “Born To Run,” Springsteen says he “was trying to make the greatest record you’d ever heard. The record that after you heard it, you didn’t have to hear another record …”

Beyond music, the two talk about important relationships in Springsteen’s life, his wife, father, and Clarence Clemons, the iconic sax player of the E Street Band who died in 2011. Springsteen writes, “Losing Clarence was like losing the rain.”

Of his father he says, “I felt I hadn’t been completely fair to him in my music … I think I left an image of him as sort of this very domineering character, which he could be at different times. And he could be frightening. But he was also much, much more. He had a much more complicated life.”

“I’m still in love with playing,” he says at the conversation’s end, “And my attitude at this point in my life is, this is what I love to do. I wanna do as much of it as I can.”

His memoir, Born to Run (S&S; S&S Audio) will be published on Sept. 27. As we noted earlier, the book is timed to a new companion album release, Chapter & Verse. According to Springsteen’s website, the musician picked the songs on the album “to reflect the themes and sections” of his memoir.

Also part of the feature is a 45 image photo gallery.

A full video has not yet been released, below is an excerpt about writing the memoir:

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of September 19, 2016

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Both of the week’s holds leaders are by authors returning to popular series after a pause.

Harlan Coben again features sports agent Myron Bolitar in Home, (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; RH Large Type; OverDrive Sample) which gets a 2-page ad in this week’s NYT BR. Bolitar’s last outing as the main character was in 2011’s  Live Wire,

After two standalone, Karin Slaughter returns to Will Trent, agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in Kept Woman, (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe) which gets a starred review from Booklist. It is also a an Indie Next bookseller pick (see “Peer Picks” below).

Library ordering is low for Atlas Obscura (Workman; OverDrive Sample). So far, holds are also minimal, but in this case we think you should ignore holds. This title is sure to do well from the new book shelves and is likely to pick up media attention. Entertainment Weekly features it on their “Must List” at #3, writing,”In this gorgeous collection, the celebrated Atlas Obscura website is condensed into 480 pages of awe-inspiring destinations. For lovers of history and exploration, the striking color photographs will spark immediate wanderlust.”

The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar Week Of Sept 19, 2016.

Media Attention

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A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover from Great Success, Tracy Kidder, (PRH/Random House; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

The author writes that this book about the founder of the travel site Kayak.com is “a sequel of sorts” to his 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner, The Soul of the New Machine. Jennifer Senior questions that in her advance review in Monday’s  NYT, but says it is actually more fascinating as a portrayal of a man with bipolar disease. Of course, with Kidder’s reputation, it will receive more media attention, including reviews in the Washington Post and the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith, Cookie Johnson, Denene Millner (S&S/Howard Books; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

It’s been 25 years since Magic Johnson revealed that he is HIV-positive. The British tabloid, the Daily Mail got its hands on this embargoed memoir by his wife and blares, “EXCLUSIVE: Wife reveals the night basketball superstar Magic Johnson locked himself in a room after HIV diagnosis to call his ex-lovers because he always had unprotected sex.”  The author is scheduled to be interviewed next week by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, on The View, and Nightline.

Peer Picks

Four LibraryReads selections arrive this week.

9780393293012_e3fb4Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America, Patrick Phillips (W. W. Norton; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Phillips digs into the history of a series of events in his hometown in Georgia. After a series of crimes were blamed on some of the area’s young black men, the citizens of the town saw fit to run off the entire African American population. Phillips researches the crimes and the mob mentality that followed, and shows how certain citizens of Forsyth County continued to intimidate and assault African Americans who wandered across their border for almost eighty years. This is the type of history that is far too important ever to forget.” — Amy Hall, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO

Additional Buzz: An early NYT review calls it an “involving” work of “moral force.” Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Yesterday it was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air.

9780345539960_83bd8Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, Alan Bradley (RH/Delacorte Press; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).    

“Flavia deLuce has returned from Canada to find her father in the hospital and her sisters distant. When she is sent to deliver a message for the vicar’s wife, she steps into another mystery – one she is determined to solve, preferably before Inspector Hewitt can do the same. Flavia is once again a fun, science-loving protagonist. Flavia arrives at a turning point in her life and how she handles what happens next will tell much about the path that she will take into adulthood. This series entry ends on a note that begs for the next story.” — Chris Andersen, Stow Munroe Falls Public Library, Stow, OH

Additional Buzz: The eighth Flavia De Luce mystery is one of the Amazon’s Editors Fall Reading picks.

9780062567529_7fbe4The Bookshop on the Corner, Jenny Colgan (HC/William Morrow; HC Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Despite losing her job as a librarian who liked to put the right book into a patron’s hands, Nina continues her mission by moving to rural Scotland, purchasing a van, converting it into a bookmobile, and taking to the road. The plot revolves around the romance of the road, the romance of books and reading, and just plain old romance. Another marvelous book by Colgan! A gem of a book!” — Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA

Additional Buzz: Calling it a “a sweet read for all bibliophiles,” PopSugar picked it as one of “The 25 Books You’re Going to Want to Curl Up With This Fall.”

9781250103420_76540Daisy in Chains, Sharon Bolton (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; OverDrive Sample).

“Another great book from Bolton! Convicted serial killer Hamish Wolfe has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning and has solicited the help of lawyer Maggie Rose who is known for her ability to get convictions overturned. The story unfolds in alternating chapters from the past to the present and keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a twist you won’t see coming! Highly recommended!” — Karen Zeibak, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT

There are five Indie Next picks coming out this week.

9780316393874_9d71aThe Wonder, Emma Donoghue (Hachette/Little, Brown and Company; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Lib Wright, a protégé of Florence Nightingale and a nursing veteran of the Crimean War, is dispatched from London to a remote Irish village to keep watch on Anna O’Donnell, a young girl who is rumored to have refrained from eating for four months yet continues to thrive. Miracle or hoax? Lib is determined to uncover the truth, but the truth is never simple. In this beautiful, haunting novel, Donoghue weaves a tale of misguided faith and duty, exploited innocence, and redemptive love. What is the secret behind Anna’s mysterious ability to survive? The truth is uncovered as The Wonder propels readers to a shocking conclusion.” — Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

Additional Buzz: Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. Fall Reading selections by New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon’s Editors, and USA Today. A new review in The New Yorker called Donoghue “a writer of great vitality and generosity.”

9780385535731_c653bHero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT).

“No one was more certain that he was destined for greatness than Winston Churchill and he let nothing deter or discourage him from achieving that goal. The young Churchill saw his path to prominence and power through fearless exploits in the British Army and as a war correspondent. England’s brutal war with the Boer rebels in southern Africa would prove to be his crucible. Millard’s exciting chronicle of Churchill’s experiences there, both daring and humbling, is a fitting tribute to a man whose early dreams of glory proved to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.” — Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Additional Buzz: Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal. Fall Reading: Amazon’s Editors, WSJ, and USA Today. The Wall Street Journal offers an interview and an excerpt. (subscription may be required). Reviews are upcoming from the Washington Post, the daily New York Times and USA Today.

9780062430212_14f6fThe Kept Woman, Karin Slaughter (HC/William Morrow; Blackstone Audio).

The Kept Woman features Georgia detective Will Trent in a compelling mystery involving a superstar sports figure, his wife, and a rape. The athlete had already been cleared of the rape allegations when a dead man is found in a building he is making into a high-end club with other wealthy investors. At the scene, blood is found that doesn’t match that of the dead man, indicating that there is a second victim — a woman — in dire trouble. Another suspenseful tour de force from Slaughter.” —Barbara Kelly, Kelly’s Books To Go, South Portland, ME

Additional Buzz: Fall Reading: Amazon’s Editors. PopSugar suggested it as one of “13 Books to Binge On Before the Girl on the Train Movie,” saying it drips with “psychological thrill” and “is a risqué dive into the fallacies of police procedures.”

9781612195636_27e56Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why, Sady Doyle (PRH/Melville House; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“At its best, pop culture criticism forces us to reconsider a familiar product by placing it in a new context and, in doing so, imbuing it with new meaning. Trainwreck is just that. Doyle effectively and entertainingly litigates her case: that Western culture’s fascination with ‘fallen’ female starlets — aka trainwrecks — is simply a modern form of the patriarchal silencing and marginalization of women that has been going for centuries. With sly humor and lively prose, Doyle systematically punches through all the familiar straw-man arguments and convincingly illustrates that the ‘harmless fun’ of Internet clickbait and TMZ gossip are merely modern forms of public shaming. A must-read.” — Matt Nixon, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

Additional Buzz: Fall Reading: Amazon’s EditorsNew York Times Book Review, 9/25.

9781594633478_2b8ffReputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez (PRH/Riverhead Books; OverDrive Sample).

“With direct and forceful narrative and a translation as smooth and peaceful as the quiet narrator himself, this book takes the reader on a days-long search for the past and the present in modern day Bogotá. A prominent political cartoonist is shaken when a forgotten uncertainty from the past resurfaces. This psychological study of the concept that what we believe makes us who we are is a masterpiece!” — Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO


Only one tie-in this week but it is a big one, the 9781101974117_345a0Inferno (Movie Tie-in Edition), Dan Brown (PRH/Anchor; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample; also in Mass Market and Spanish Language; OverDrive Sample).

The movie opens on October 28th. As we pointed out when the trailer ran during the Olympics, causing the book to jump on Amazon, the novel spent five straight weeks at #1 on the NYT hardcover bestseller list and an additional 13 weeks in the top five. It’s the fourth of the Robert Langdon novels but the third film adaptation, after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons

Ron Howard again directs, with Tom Hanks starring as Langdon, a Harvard symbologist constantly embroiled in trouble. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also join the cast. David Koepp (Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull, Angels & Demons, Jurassic Park) wrote the screenplay.

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

Best Sellers: E-Only Debuts

Cursed ChildAfter holding the #1 spot on the USA Today Best-Selling Book list for six straight weeks Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two falls to #5 this week, ending, says the paper, “the longest run of any book this year.”

Right behind it are three new e-book only shorts  by J.K. Rowling as part of the “Pottermore Presents” series:


Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106280)

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106273)

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106297).

They are ranked numbers 6, 7, and 8 respectively. Unfortunately, it appears these titles are unavailable to libraries.

61ae8165-1593-4b88-b616-4f066a22a725img400Another e-only title debuting on the list is Blue on Black by Michael Connelly (Hachette/Little, Brown/Mulholland; OverDrive Sample) at #31. It is part of the Strand Originals series, a partnership between Mulholland Books and Strand Magazine to reprint the “best and most popular” short stories from the magazine as e-book and audio digital downloads.

Titles in the series, which are available to libraries, are published in quarterly groups. The first. published last April, included works by Jeffery Deaver, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay, Faye Kellerman, and Olen Steinhauer. Click through for the full list for 2016.

Oh, Dear! Count Olaf Returns

mv5botg3ode2nzgtodfkms00odhlltgzodktzmy2nzu5ndc5nwu4xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynju0njk5nzc-_v1_Neil Patrick Harris co-hosted Live! With Kelly this week and spilled some Lemony Snicket news.

He has been in Vancouver this summer, playing the lead in Netflix’s adaptation of Daniel Handler’s books,  A Series of Unfortunate Events.

He tells Kelly that the new adaptation will be “super dark … it is a much darker take on the material than has been seen before” but also “fun” and “exciting.”

The older version he references is the 2004 film, starring Jim Carrey. It compressed the 13 book series into a single movie. Harris reports that the Netflix series will treat each book in 2 episodes, so the show will be much more expansive. The cast and crew have finished filming the first four titles.

The plan is to create what is called a “four-quadrant show,” one that appeals to a range of audience demographics including kids, teens, 20-somethings, and adults.

He also says the series is Netflix’s most expensive production to date.

Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) is the executive producer and directs half of the episodes.

There is no trailer yet and Harris declined to say much more, but Flickering Myth has some more details, including photos of Harris in costume.

The series is expected to begin on Jan. 10, 2017.


mv5bmji4mzu5ntexnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzy1mtewmdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_The “world premiere first look” at the trailer for Disney’s next major animated movie, Moana was featured on Good Morning America yesterday.

The story features Moana, a Polynesian teenaged girl, voiced by Hawaiian native and movie newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, who sets sail in the South Pacific to find Maui, a shape shifting demi-god, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, to enlist his help to save her community.

The score features songs co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who tweeted the trailer’s premiere.

As The Hollywood Reporter wrote recently, the studio is the now the one “to beat when it comes to nonwhite leads,” citing this movie as well as the diverse casting for A Wrinkle in Time and the upcoming African chess drama Queen of Katwe, starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, opening in September.

9780736435741_f3789There are many tie-ins, most set to publish on Oct. 4, such as Moana: The Deluxe Junior Novelization (Disney Moana), RH Disney (PRH/RH/Disney).

For a full list see our catalog of tie-ins.

Publishing Insider

9780374279929_5aef8Avid Reader: A Life, Robert Gottlieb (Macmillan/FSG; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is getting attention in the book press. No surprise. What book review editor wouldn’t be interested in him?

He published, perhaps most famously, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, but the list of who he has worked with is as long as it is impressive, including Nora Ephron, Diana Vreeland, Antonia Fraser, Robert K. Massie, Mikhail Baryshnikov, John Cheever, Salman Rushdie, John Gardner, Len Deighton, Ray Bradbury, John Lennon, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan (see the Paris Review‘s lengthy overview).

It’s just the thing for anyone interested in an insider’s account of the publishing world. “Not since Max Perkins worked with Hemingway and Fitzgerald has there been a more admired editor than Robert Gottlieb,” writes Michael Dirda in his Washington Post review quoting Gottlieb as defining the publisher’s role as “essentially the act of making public one’s own enthusiasm.”

The New York Times review points out those enthusiasms were varied, “he seemed to have a hand in everything that mattered” as he worked at Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker.

The story goes on to call his memoir one of “grace and guile and a sometimes-barbed wit … an indispensable work of American publishing history, thick with instruction and soul and gossip of the higher sort,” even if it does have, as they say, “a self-congratulatory ring” about it.

The New Republic examines, in part, Gottlieb’s “lack of snobbery about popular fiction,” writing that after years of working with “Michael Crichton, John Le Carré, and other category masters [Gottlieb knew] that bestselling fiction writers are, in essence, their own genre”:

“Detective novels are a genre, but so is Agatha Christie. Spy novels are a genre, but so is John Le Carré. And something I’ve always found heartening is that the reading public usually gets it right. Yes, there are inferior genre writers who become highly popular, but on the whole the most popular ones are the ones who are the best at what they do.”

He tested this theory on romance novels, reading Nora Roberts, Jude Deveraux, and Sandra Brown, and decided that Roberts, “by far the biggest seller of them all, was by far the best writer of them all.” Gottlieb puts his faith in readers, saying, “the public knows and responds accordingly with continued sales.”

That is why, the article continues:

“sixty years into a publishing life, Gottlieb is equipped to chronicle how the book business became more commercial and consolidated, even as the focus remained on the author. Much as we want to think of book publishing as a lofty ideal, it is hardly that, as any field with profit margins and budgets must be. But Gottlieb, as both editor and publisher, recognized you could make money, even a little, off books about dance, while making obvious blockbusters by Bill Clinton or Nora Ephron or Michael Crichton all the smarter.”

The Social Network of Trees

9781771642484_d154bSoaring up the Amazon sales rankings is The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben (PGW/Perseus/Greystone Books; OverDrive Sample) written by a German forester about the remarkable ways trees communicate and care for each other, via an “electrically alive fungal-root network now known as the Wood Wide Web.”

The book is well within Amazon’s Top 50, jumping from #246 to #44 and several libraries are showing strong holds. The rise coincides with a recent flurry of news stories and an appearance on NPR’s On Point yesterday.

This is not the first time the book has leaped on Amazon, as we wrote in January, on the strength of an article in the New York Times, the title initially reached the lofty heights of Amazon sales rankings at #22.

A surprise best seller in Germany, it is delighting readers across Europe and Canada and looks poised to also do well in the US, swept along not just by what McLean’s calls its “utterly charming” affect but by recent interests in new discoveries of just how smart living creatures are, such as Frans de Waal’s Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds.

Check your holds, some locations are showing spikes as high as 10:1.

For those interested in the science, there is a TED Talk on the subject, given by another researcher in the field.

PEOPLE’s Fall Picks

A latecomer to the Fall Reading sweeps, the new issue of People magazine features the “Best Books of Fall” (available in print only).

9781501107894_7206cAmong the nine selections is Loner  by Teddy Wayne (S&S; OverDrive Sample). People writes that “The dark narrative highlights hot-button issues on today’s campuses, making it seem all too real.”

Just released this week, the book is gaining attention. Maureen Corrigan gave it a strong review on Fresh Air yesterday, saying the novel, set in Harvard, “ultimately becomes a powerful and even a somewhat touching suspense story about a first-year student who finds himself outclassed in ways neither he nor the reader could possibly anticipate.”

Additional Buzz: Lit Hub ran this a compelling annotation from an Indie bookseller in their fall reading list:

“My quick pitch for Loner is ‘Humbert Humbert goes to Harvard.’ Teddy Wayne, author of the Bieber-inspired novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, drops his readers inside his young characters’ heads with a vibrant sense of authenticity and authority that is almost intoxicating. In Loner, you realize far too late how far off the rails you’ve followed its first-year student protagonist in his obsessions.”–Alex Meriwether, Harvard Bookstore

A review is scheduled for the New York Times Book Review, September 25.

9781594206443_7a3b9People also lists the memoir When in French: Love in a Second Language, Lauren Collins (PRH/Penguin; PenguinAudio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

The only source to include this title among their picks, the magazine says Collin’s efforts to better communicate with her  husband by learning his native language, “A laugh-out-loud memoir about love, culture and belonging.”

Additional Buzz: The New York Times reviews it in the forthcoming Sunday BR, writing it is “far more ambitious than the average memoir about moving abroad … a thoughtful, beautifully written meditation on the art of language and intimacy.”

9780670026333_208e0Tana French’s The Trespasser (PRH/Viking; Penguin Audio/BOT) has been featured on many other lists. People calls it, “Atmospheric and unputdownable.”

Additional Buzz: It gained the attention of both librarians and booksellers, making the LibraryReads and Indie Next lists. It is no stranger to Fall Reading lists either, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon’s Editors, BuzzFeed, and New York Magazine have all given it the nod.

The other six titles the list are:

9781101907474_90b2e  9780399173592_f8a9b  9780316403436_e8038

Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, Phil Collins (PRH/Crown Archetype, October 25, 2016;RH Audio).

The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher (PRH/Blue Rider Press, November 22, 2016; Penguin Audio).

Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple (Hachette/Little, Brown, October 4, 2016; Hachette Audio).

Swing Time  9781501141515_b00fc  9781476723402_8577d

Swing Time, Zadie Smith (PRH/Penguin, November 15, 2016; Penguin Audio).

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen (S&S, September 27, 2016; S&S Audio).

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing, Jennifer Weiner (S&S/Atria, October 11, 2016; S&S Audio).


Fills In Its Stars

9780312367541Storm Reid, described by Entertainment Weekly as an “up-and-coming actress.” will star in Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time as the young protagonist, Meg Murry. Reid’s previous roles were in 12 Years a Slave, an American Girl movie Lea to the Rescue, and Sleight.

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling will star as Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who in the Disney adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel, filling the roles of the helpful celestial beings.

As Entertainment Weekly notes, this will make “DuVernay the first woman of color to direct a live-action movie with a budget of more than $100 million.” The Hollywood Reporter writes that “DuVernay is hoping to break ground with the movie, making a big tentpole with a cast that is multicultural” and that the producers are looking for a non-white actor to play Meg’s friend, Calvin O’Keefe.

It appears the movie will bring new readers to the book. Based on just the casting news, it jumped nearly 100 places on Amzaon’s sales rankings, from #356 to #263.

Chat with Rachel Hawkins, Author of JOURNEY’S END

Read our chat with Rachel, below.

Join us for the next live chat on October 12th, 5 to 6 p.m., ET with
H. M. Bouwman, to discuss her upcoming book, A Crack in the Sea.

To join the program, sign up here;

Live Blog Live Chat with Rachel Hawkins – JOURNEY’S END

FIFTY SHADES DARKER: New Book and Trailer

mv5bmtq5mjaynjy3nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjy5otawmdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006311000_al_E.L. James announced on Sept 10th that she is writing another of her “from Grey’s point of view books,” re-telling Fifty Shades Darker from Christian’s perspective, following her re-vamp of Fifty Shades of Grey with the same twist.

The news proceeded the release of the first trailer for the film Fifty Shades Darker, both events causing the trilogy to rise on Amazon (jumping from #1,520 to #226) and the first Christian point of view book, Grey, to jump from #843 to #378. That pales next to the 3.7 million views the trailer had already received on YouTube.

The trailer also prompted a storm of stories, such as those in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

Variety says that the second film as well as the upcoming third film of the trilogy (which will be shot back-to-back) will be directed by James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Cards). He replaces Sam Taylor-Johnson with whom James clashed during the filming of the first movie.

The screenplays for the final two films will be written by E. L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard.

Fifty Shades Darker is scheduled for release on Feb. 10, 2017. A tie-in edition has been announced:

9780525431886_94d99Fifty Shades Darker (Movie Tie-in Edition): Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, E L James
On Sale Date: January 3, 2017
9780525431886, 0525431888
$15.95 USD, $17.95 CAD
Trade Paperback

A Spanish-language tie-in will also be published, cincuenta sombras más oscuras (Movie Tie-In)

USA TODAY Takes Down O’Reilly

9781627790628_5824fYou don’t expect snark from USA Today, which makes their headline, “It’s time to stop O’Reilly’s literary ‘Killing’ spree” particularly amusing.

The review about the latest book in his series, Killing the Rising Sun (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) begins, “Please, Bill O’Reilly, stop the killing.”

The book is granted 2 of 4 stars, low for USA Today, but after reading the review, you wonder why the reviewer bothered to give it any stars.

We doubt that O’Reilly cares. The book, which was released today, is currently at #1 on Amazon sales rankings and libraries are showing holds queues.