News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

LIVE CHAT with Michelle Cuevas
and Lisa Von Drasek

Live Blog Live Chat with Michelle Cuevas, BEYOND THE LAUGHING SKY

Readers Advisory: DIAMOND LANE

9780989360449_622e4 It’s gray and raining in Seattle, so Nancy Pearl lifts the mood by recommending on her weekly local NPR radio segment, a novel that is  “hysterically funny.”  Karen Karbot’s The Diamond Lane, one of her favorites, first published in 1991, was reissued this fall by Hawthorne books (with an introduction by Jane Smiley).

Even though some sections of the novel may show their age (people can actually smoke on airplanes!), she says it is a “totally modern satire on Hollywood, the relationships between sisters and marriage.”

Holds Alert: YES PLEASE

9780062268341_76d86Fresh Air host Terry Gross makes comedian Amy Poehler laugh while interviewing her about her new memoir, Yes Please, (HarperCollins/Dey Street Books; HarperAudio).

The book rose to #2 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result (it was already at #10). Holds have risen dramatically in libraries.

UPDATE: Thanks to librarian Jackie Davis for pointing out in the comments section that holds in her library are heavier on the audio than the book, which is a first for them. She also notes that they’re not that heavy on either format, but keep your eye on it. If other libraries are an indicator, that may change quickly.

First Clips of Upcoming
BBC Adaptations

In comics adaptations, the big news is that Benedict Cumberbatch (PBS’s Sherlock Holmes) is confirmed to play Doctor Strange in Marvel’s upcoming movie.

In book adaptations, the big news is that Benedict Cumberbatch, currently getting Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, narrates a new BBC trailer that offers glimpses of some highly anticipated adaptations.

Using the “All the World’s a Stage” soliloquy from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, as narrative, the trailer offers clips from upcoming shows (click on the titles in the trailer to view each one). Included are:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — based on Susanna Clarke’s 2004 best selling debut novel, it stars Eddie Marsan as Mr. Norrell and Bertie Carvel as Jonathan Strange; Christmas release in the U.K. Tie-in scheduled for 2/17/14 (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA)

Wolf Hall  — based on Hilary Mantel’s two Booker award winners, Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up The Bodies, it stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damien Lewis as King Henry VIII; to air next year in the U.K.

Esio Trot – based on the 1990 novel for children by Roald Dahl, it stars Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman; December release in the U.K.

The Casual Vacancy – based on the 2012 adult novel by JK Rowling, it stars  Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie; specific release date has not been announced

Unfortunately, there is no news yet on U.S. release dates for any of these adaptations.

Variety is the Spice of Reading:
11 Highlights from GalleyChatters

Editor’s Note:  Robin Beerbower is EarlyWord‘s regular “GalleyChatter” columnist. She was recently profiled by Rebecca Vnuk in Booklist Online’s Corner Shelf.

Below are her picks of the titles brought up during our most recent GalleyChat. Join us for the next one, Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 4 to 5 p.m., EDT — #ewgc.


GalleyChat participants never fail to present a glorious mish-mash of titles with hardly any repeats from the previous months.  Here is a small sampling of the top titles mentioned during the last chat. As usual, a complete list of all 65 titles mentioned during the chat is available here.

9781492602026_fd794-2Need a good “readalike” author for Diana Gabaldon? I’ve had great success in suggesting Susanna Kearsley to my library patrons and her next book A Desperate Fortune  (Sourcebooks Landmark, April) is a timeslip contemporary romance blended with a little history.  New Rochelle Public Library’s Beth Mills thoroughly enjoyed it, saying she loved Kearsley’s two main characters, and the cover is especially enticing. [Note: Sourcebooks has republished several of Kearsley’s backlist titles]

9781476749433_56448Bookmobiles hold a special place in the hearts of librarians so it’s not surprising that a fable about a group of misfits escaping abuse and injustice by fleeing in a gigantic bookmobile has already received high praise. Nancy Russell (Columbus Metropolitan Library) said David Whitehouse’s Mobile Library (Scribner/S&S, January)  is “witty and whimsical, this adventure story is sure to warm your heart.“


The Return of Two Favorite Book Group Authors! 

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Anticipation is high for two novels by favorite book club authors who haven’t published novels in several years. In Anita Diamant’s new historical novel, The Boston Girl (Scribner/S&S, December), a grandmother born to immigrant parents narrates the story of her early 20th century life. It has received much love from 11 peers on Edelweiss, and many reviewers on Good Reads are saying it’s a great “comfort read.” [Note that Diamant’s first book, The Red Tent, has been made into a two-part series, which will air on Lifetime, 12/7/2014 & 12/8/14; trailer here]

Years after they were first published, book groups continue to discover Stephanie Kallos’ Broken for You, (2005) and Sing Them Home (2008), so it’s good news that her next novel, Language Arts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is due to arrive next June.  Cynthia Baskin, a devoted GC participant, says that it’s a “a deeply moving story of ex-spouses and their young-adult autistic son, and how their pasts and presents inform their independent and cooperative futures. It maintains the top-notch standard set by Kallos’ earlier books, Broken for You and Sing Them Home.”

Memoirs, Travel, and Archeology

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Kate Mayfield’s The Undertaker’s Daughter(Gallery/S&S, January) earned a spot as one of Darien Library’s Jennifer Dayton’s favorite memoirs and according to her it has all of the elements needed for a good life story: death, alcoholism, mental illness, infidelity, and ultimately love and forgiveness. She adds “…think To Kill A Mockingbird but with dead bodies.”

Lives in RuinsArchaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human RubbleMarilyn Johnson (HarperCollins, November) was a LibrayReads choice, and Stephanie Chase (newly appointed director of Oregon’s Hillsboro Public Library) said “Marilyn’s skill at sharing her adventures and the adventures of her subjects is fantastic: engaging, readable, and leaving the reader hunting for more information.”

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Janet Lockhart (Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC) loved the memoir by Anna Lyndsey, Girl in the Dark, (Doubleday/RH, March), saying it is a, “Riveting memoir of woman suffering from rare condition that makes her super sensitive to light. Gave me insight into another person’s life while at the same time illuminating my own.” Another memoir of someone going through the impossible is The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Epic Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the Word, Leon Logothetis (Readers Digest/S&S, December). Without a penny in his pocket, Leon travels the world depending on the altruism of strangers, and is the perfect book for readers who desire something inspiring and uplifting. There is no DRC so for a print copy email our marketing friends at Simon & Schuster (see Library Marketing — Adult]

Spicy Variety

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Earlier this year Collette McBeth’s Precious Thing (a great Gone Girl read alike and a LibraryRead pick) was well liked by Chatters, so were thrilled to find out the author’s new title, The Life I Left Behind (Minotaur/Macmillan) will be out in February. The narration by the ghost of a murdered victim may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but Jennifer Winberry says it’s worth reading as the “characters are so good, the way they relate to each other and get involved with each other is AMAZING!

Kristin Hannah is among the top women’s fiction writers and patrons will be anxious to read her next book, The Nightingale (St. Martin’s/Macmillan, February). Janet Lockhart said of this story of two sisters and their challenging relationship during WWII, “Good family fiction with a complex characters and dynamics; the characters got under my skin.”  Edelweiss is showing lots of love from peers and on  GoodReads, it has already received 4 and 5 stars.

Anyone who loved Gone with the Wind (and who doesn’t!), will be excited about Kate Alcott’s A Touch of Stardust (Doubleday/RH, February), the story of the passionate love affair between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard during the filming of the movie. And if that isn’t enough to get us interested, the publisher teases us further by saying Kate Alcott, who married into the Mankiewicz Family (of Citizen Kane, Cleopatra, & All About Eve fame), weaves into the novel delicious never-before-told stories from the period.

Now wasn’t that a nice variety? Join us next month on November 4 (4:00 p.m. EST) for even more great books you will be adding to your TBR lists. And, as usual, please “friend me” on Edelweiss to keep up with the titles I’m anticipating.

A New Trailer Home

The U.S. release of the film adaptation of Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear has been moved from Christmas to  Jan. 16, but it is still set to open in the U.K. on Nov. 28 and a new trailer has been released

Official Movie Site: Paddington.com (which includes a look at Paddington as envisioned by various illustrators)

For tie-ins, check our Edelweiss collection.

Mark Rylance is THE BFG

The BFGMark Rylance, who stars as Thomas Cromwell in the upcoming BBC production of Wolf Hall (recently wrapped, no U.S. release date yet), is set to play the lead in the live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 picture book, The BFG, (Macmillan/FSG YR). To be directed by Steven Spielberg, it will be the director’s next film, according to The HEsio Trotollywood Reporter, after he finishes his current project, St. James Place, an original Cold War thriller starring Tom Hanks (with Rylance in a supporting role).

This raises a question about what has happened to another Dahl adaptation, BBC One’s TV movie based on Esio Trot, starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. The Weinstein Co. acquired the U.S. rights for its fledgling TV business back in August, and no further announcements have been made. It is set for release in the U.K. in December.


9780385352857_cd8abThe winner of the Booker, announced Oct 14, The Narrow Road To The Deep North, by Richard Flanagan (RH/Knopf), arrives on the 11/2/14 NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #10.

It’s the ninth Booker winner in a row to hit the list, as the NYT BR‘s “Inside the List” column notes (the most successful of those, of course is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, followed by Anne Enright’s The Gathering).

The award has had a major impact on the author’s life. Flanagan recently told the Telegraph that the prize money saved him from turning to a “life down the mines,” adding, “I’m not a wealthy man. This means I can continue to write.”

Based on reviews, it may be difficult to find a way to recommend the book. Even fan Ron Charles warned in the Washington Post that this “story about a group of Australian POWs during World War II will cast a shadow over your summer and draw you away from friends and family into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books can,” hardly a way to encourage potential readers.

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, offers another way to look at it:

If your readers engaged with Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, or are fans of the timeless love story in Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, they will absolutely love The Narrow Road To The Deep North, one of the most readable and emotionally available Booker winners in years.

It follows the story of an Australian doctor, Dorrigo Evans, who served in WWII and was captured, surviving several years in a POW camp. Through flashbacks, we learn about Evans’ long marriage as well as his true love. The latter part of the book reveals the fates of the various people from the POW camp — the story of which is the crux of the narrative.

It’s amazing and wonderful, and your customers will thank you. Book groups who don’t mind the shifting time periods will find much to talk about here, particularly if they’ve read Unbroken.

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of Oct. 27

Next week brings not just one, but two books by Danielle Steel … the return to form of two iconic authors … plus 3 books about famous women that have already received media attention.

All 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 10/27/14

Holds Leader

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There’s just one clear holds leader this week and it’s Danielle Steel’s, Pegasus, (RH/Delacorte; RH Large Print, Brilliance Audio, OverDrive Sample), described by the publisher as “a rich historical novel of family and World War II” that involves a titled German aristocrat is forced to flee to the U.S., bringing with him some prize horses, including a Lipizzaner named Pegasus. In a twofer Steel also publishes a picture book for kids on the same day. It also features a white animal, Pretty Minnie in Paris, (RH/Doubleday Young Readers) about a Parisian Chihuahua, who gets lost at a fashion show. In the holds race, Pegasus is far outpacing Minnie.

Back Again

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Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice, (RH/Knopf; RH Large Print; RH Audio)

Rice has not returned to the vampires that made her famous since 2003’s Blood Canticle. PW says, compared to that book, the “newest Vampire Chronicles installment is triumphant.” The other prepub sources agree, with Kirkus saying, “it’s trademark Rice: talky, inconsequential, but good old-fashioned fanged fun.” It seems fans are cautious, however. Holds are currently light. Rice is profiled in the L.A. Times. In the NYT Book Review, Terrence Rafferty has a good time with it, “Although this is a dreadful novel, it has to be said that the earnestness with which Rice continues to toil at her brand of pop sorcery has an odd, retro sort of charm, an aura redolent of the desperate, decadent silliness of the disco era.”

The Peripheral, William Gibson, (Penguin; Penguin Audio), OverDrive Sample

Science fiction fans are hailing Gibson for going “back to the future” in this new novel. Famous for envisioning the Web, creating the terms “cyberspace” and “the matrix” way back in 1984 in his debut novel Neuromancer, Gibson switched to a nearer future in his most recent novels. The Chicago Tribune says this new book marks the “return to Gibson’s pre-millennial style, predictive, hip, tech-savvy.” In their review, the science fiction site i09 comments that the return comes with differences,The Peripheral is very different from the hyperactive cyberpunk citiscapes of Neuromancer. His canvas is much bigger — and his prophesies are far more melancholy.” Note to those in libraries that have maker spaces: the main character works in a 3-D print shop.

Readers Advisory

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Us, David Nicholls, (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe)

Those who only know Nicholls from the terrible film adaptation of his previous book, One Day, may have been surprised that his latest, Us was on the Man Booker longlist. The judges describe it as “a comedy about the demands of living together, about parenthood, about the relationship between reason and emotion, art and science, parents and children, middle-age and youth.”  People magazine puts it more succinctly, “Few authors do messed-up relationships better than Nicholls.”

It is also the LibraryReads #1 pick for November, with this recommendation,

“Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that makes you wish you could meet the characters in real life. This is the case with Us, the poignant story of a middle-of-the-road British family spiraling out of control, and one man’s attempt to win back their love. Quirky, delightful and unpredictable, the novel delves into what makes a marriage, and what tears it apart.” — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, Gary Krist, (RH/Crown; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike), OverDrive Sample

The early history of one of America’s most fascinating cities, Empire of Sin was just selected by Library Journal as one of the  Top Ten books of 2014. It is reviewed in the Chicago Tribune.

Advance Attention

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The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Lepore, (RH/Knopf; BOT)

Reviewers are falling all over themselves to write about Lepore’s latest.  Atlantic Magazine reviews it with a headline that gives that “secret history” more background, “The Free Love Experiment That Created Wonder Woman: The polyamorous ‘sex cult’ conceived by the comics’ founder wasn’t exactly feminist, but it was built on women-empowering, pro-queer ideals.”  It gets the lead review in the 10/24 issue of Entertainment Weekly, which grants it a a solid A and a strongly positive reaction from Dwight Garner in yesterday’s NYT,

Yes Please, Amy Poehler, (HarperCollins/Dey Street Books; HarperAudio)

The L.A. Times book review compares Poehler’s book favorably to other recent memoirs by funny women, “If [Tina] Fey’s Bossypants or [Mindy] Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? feel like a chatty beach weekend with a friend, Yes Please has the more manic air of a snowbound situation. Truths will be told, yes, and anecdotes recounted, but the attic and the cellar will also be raided, for funny hats and canned goods.” If that doesn’t make sense,  Entertainment Weekly, which ranks it at #3 of things to do this week, says,  ” Of course the Parks and Rec star’s first book is LOL funny — there is an acrostic poem dedicated to Tina Fey and recollections of rapping while pregnant on SNL — but there are also frank, relatable stories about her slow climb to fame and life as a working mom, as well as earnest bites of wisdom.”

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story, Barbara Leaming, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio), OverDrive Sample

Leaming applies a contemporary analysis to Jacqueline Kennedy’s life after JFK’s assassination, presenting evidence that she suffered from PTSD. The book was featured on the Today Show this week:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The Science Behind INTERSTELLAR


The space epic, Interstellar, arrives in theaters on Nov. 7th with huge expectations (as evidenced by the Entertainment Weekly cover, right.Variety predicts that the 3-hour film will bring an opening box office of at least $50 million).

The plot has been kept under wraps, but early reports say it’s about a group of scientists who use a wormhole to travel through space in an effort to find solutions to Earth’s dwindling food supply, or, failing that, a new home for its inhabitants. Directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine.ScienceofInterstellarMech.indd

The idea for the film was inspired by the work of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who is also an executive producer and a scientific consultant on the movie.

A short video was just released that features Thorne. He is also publishing a book, The Science of Interstellar(W.W. Norton), set to be released on the same day as the movie, Nov 7.

Joan Didion is “A Lion”

Author Joan Didion’s nephew, the actor and director John Griffin Dunne, is working on a documentary about his aunt because he wants people to know that “a woman so tiny and frail is a lion. She’s a fearsome critic, essayist, a voice of moral authority and a deeply intimidating figure.”

He released the following trailer as part of his campaign for Kickstarter funding to finish the film. The L.A. Times interviews Dunne who reports that, hours after the trailer’s release yesterday, donations already totaled over half the goal of $80,000.

Quammen on Ebola

In her Library News email last week, Golda Rademacher, Norton’s Library Marketing Manager, alerted librarians to the following drop-in title:

9780393351552_5bc5bEbola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus
9780393351552, pbk, $13.95
NORTON, 10/20/14

With all the news about Ebola lately, we had a lot of requests for the Ebola chapter from David Quammen’s Spillover. We’ve pulled the chapter out and are publishing it as a paperback with some updates and a new introduction by the author.

In today’s New York Times, Michiko Kakutani reviews it, saying that Quammen warns readers not to take Richard Preston’s “lurid descriptions of Ebola’s consequences literally” in his best selling book, The Hot Zone. Nevertheless, Quammen ” shows in these pages that the reality of the virus is horrifying without any apocalyptic embellishment.”

Kakutani also mention journalist Laurie Garrett’s  “illuminating and encyclopedic book The Coming Plague” (Penguin Books).

LibraryReads Favorites of Favorites: Top Twenty-Five


As part of its first year celebration, LibraryReads has released a list of the Top Twenty-Five favorites from the first years worth of picks, as voted on by hundreds of librarians around the country.

Now, you can vote on this shortlist (even if you’ve never voted before). A final list of the top ten vote getters will be released on  December 1st (voting ends on November 15th).

Also, remember to nominate your favorite upcoming books for future lists (Dec/Jan nominations are due by Nov. 20).

Readers Advisory: Nancy Pearl, From Thriller to Cozy

9780385536998_1e4af-2Noting a growing tend of  fast-moving but very complex thrillers that challenge the readers and are well worth the attention they require, Nancy Pearl, during her regular Tuesday appearance on Seattle’s NPR station, KUOW, recommends one of  her recent favorites, The Distance by Helen Giltrow, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio). It  features a wealthy, elegant socialite named Charlotte who lives another life as Karla, a woman who helps people in trouble disappear. Katla, Nancy emphasizes, is not a nice person, and in fact, the book is “filled with people who are not particularly good people, but whom you somehow care about. It takes skill for a writer to pull that off.” Listen here

It was a LibraryRead pick for September and a favorite on GalleyChat.

OverDrive Sample

Audio Clip:

Murder at the BrightwellThat book included scenes Nancy “had to read with my eyes closed,” but on last week’s show, she recommended a book in a quite different genre, one she doesn’t generally enjoy, a cozy mystery. Murder at the Brightwell, by Ashley Weaver, (Minotaur/Macmillan) won her over with its subtle humor and “witty repartee” between a “Nick and Nora” type of wealthy young couple in the 1930’s, making it “like armchair traveling into a rarefied world.” Listen here.

It was a LibraryReads pick, for October, as well as a GalleyChat favorite (New York librarian Janet Schneider described is as “a Dorothy L. Sayers/Downton Abbey combo”). A debut, the author is a public librarian in Louisiana.

LJ Gets the Jump on
Best Books Season

Holiday catalogs are arriving earlier than ever, so why not the best books lists?

Library Journal is the first out of the gate, several weeks earlier than usual, beating out Amazon (although they have a slight edge, having released their mid year previews, “Best Books of the Year, So Far“) and Publishers Weekly.

NOTE: Check links at the right for our downloadable spreadsheets with LJ’s picks, as well as the 2014 LibraryReads picks and titles longlisted for the Man Booker and National Book Awards.

Below are the Top Ten (there’s also a “More of the Best” list, plus several lists of the best in various categories, including e-original romance).

Some recent awards winners did not make the cut. The Man Booker winner, announced earlier this month, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan is not on either of LJ‘s top lists, nor are any of the National Book Awards shortlist titles. But it’s the diversity of the lists that make them interesting (don’t forget to vote for your favorites from the LibraryReads shortlist),

Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 — Top Ten

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9780770437060_dc086  9781400065677_172ff 9780307700315_1e80d 9780062365583_79422-3 The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

An Untamed State, Roxane Gay, (Grove Press/Black Cat, Brilliance Audio), 5/6/14, OverDrive Sample

No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald, (Macmillan, Metropolitan; Brilliance Audio), 5/13/14, OverDrive Sample

Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, Mark Harris, (Penguin Press; Recorded Books), 2/17/14, OverDrive Sample

A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James, (Peguin/Riverhead; Highbridge), 10/2/14, OverDrive Sample

The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert, (Macmillan/Holt; S&S Audio), 2/11/14

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, Gary Krist, (RH/Crown; Dreamscape; Thorndike), 10/28/14,  OverDrive Sample

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell, (Random House; Recorded Books; Thorndike), 9/2/14, OverDrive Sample — on Man Booker longlist; and IndieNext pick

Us, David Nicholls, (Harper: HarperAudio; HarperLuxe), 10/28/14 — on Man Booker longlist; LibraryReads #1 pick for November

Some Luck, Jane Smiley, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; Thorndike), 10/7/14, OverDrive Sample — was on the National Book Awards longlist; a LibraryReads pick for Oct. and an IndieNext pick

Audio sample:

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin, (Workman/Algonquin; Highbridge; Thorndike), 4/1/14, OverDrive Sample — LibraryReads #1 pick for April and an IndieNext pick