News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Authors on This Week’s

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returns from hiatus this week, with two authors deeply concerned with the issues of race in America.

Tomorrow night’s guest is an author who has appeared on the show seven times, but hasn’t published a book since 2007 (Dreams from My Father), Barack Obama, His last appearance on the show was just before his 2012 re-election when he had to endure a ribbing by Stewart about a poor showing in one of the debates.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesOn Thursday, Stewart will interview Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau).

On Friday, the Washington Post explained why so many columnists are calling his book a “must-read.”

Holds are building quickly in many libraries.

Kakutani Reviews in Rhyme

9780553524260_6faefIn all the excitement over Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, some may have forgotten that earlier this year Theodor Geisel’s wife and his long time secretary found material for at least three new Dr. Seuss books as they were cleaning out Geisel’s office.

The first to be published arrives next week. What Pet Should I Get? (Random House Books for Young Readers; Listening Library.July 28, 2015) is believed to have been written between 1952 and 1962 and features the characters from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

At the time it was announced, Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles composed a poem in tongue-in-cheek disbelief. A sample:

“Book in Drawer”

Those yellowed notes,
Those yellowed notes,
I do not like those yellowed notes.

Will you read this ancient draft?

I will not read that ancient draft …

The New York Times’s chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani has read it and gets in to the act, with her own review in verse form.

Her conclusion?

Seuss never spoke down to his readers, no matter how small.
His tales were told with vim, vigor and zest.
What Pet Should I Get? entertains us just fine.
Who cares if this book’s not really his best?

For a comparison, listen to a clip from the audio:


Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.05.39 PMMaggie Mitchell’s Pretty Is (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample; July 7) gets a strong review in The New York Times.

The debut novel, a mix of literary fiction and crime story, received somewhat grudging praise from the trade reviewers (“Despite drawbacks here, Mitchell is on her way to a place at the femmes fatales fiction dais with Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Sharon Bolton”). It comes across as much more intriguing in the hands of the NYT reviewer, Sarah Lyall who says “What a satisfying novel, with its shifting perspectives and competing stories and notion that our relationship to the truth changes with time and distance. And what a relief to read a kidnapping thriller that is not an extended piece of fetishistic torture porn, that does not end with some nice young woman lying dead and dismembered in a pit.”

The novel traces the history of two young girls who are kidnapped and held for weeks before rescue. Years later, as adults, they meet again after one of them has written a novel based on the story and the other is tapped to star in the book’s film adaptation.

Like the trade reviewers, Lyall compares  Pretty Is to books by another popular author, “Like Gillian Flynn’s spiky, damaged heroines — I’m thinking particularly of Camille in Sharp Objects and Libby in Dark Places — the girls, Lois and Chloe, have dry, self-aware senses of humor that make the book that much more fun to read.” Add this one to your RA file.

Holds are significant in some areas.

Seth Meyers’s Literary Salon

An unexpected venue has begun featuring novelists. The Wall Street Journal writes that Seth Meyers has created a “Late Night Literary Salon” on his TV show that boosts book sales.

When Hanya Yanagihara the author of the literary doorstopper, A Little Life, (RH/Doubleday, March) was invited to appear on the show, she assumed someone was playing a joke on her. Fortunately, she accepted. Meyers spoke to her for over six minutes, a long time for television and the interview caused sales to rise an impressive 54% according to BookScan. Meyers’s interview with Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings (RH/Riverhead, 2014) resulted in a 31% sales bump. Those spikes are nothing, however, compared to the 500% jump Linda Fairstein saw after her appearance for Terminal City (Penguin/Dutton, June).

Other authors have not fared as well. Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Hachette/Little, Brown, 2014) did not rise, but even so he told WSJ that “plugging a book is often a humbling enterprise… being on Seth’s show was the opposite. It was a gift.”

Meyers apparently reads very widely and picks the authors he wants to meet. As Marlon James says of his booking on the show, “I first just thought, well, my publicist is working overtime, which she is. But the idea that behind his booking was simply that he fell in love with these books just kind of blew my mind … it’s just not one of those things you expect.”

Meyers has featured authors who are no strangers to TV, such as Stephen King and George R.R. Martin as well and, according to the WSJ, Judy Blume and Junot Díaz are up soon.

A sample, below, in which Martin knights Meyers.

Jon Stewart Book Binge,
Final Day

We end our tribute to Jon Stewart for his attention to books and reading as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with one of our favorites. This one is not an author interview, but a segment in which Stewart quotes the “Statement of Purpose of the Boston Public Library,” perhaps the only time it’s ever been quoted on national television.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart returns from hiatus next week. On Thursday, Stewart will interview Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau). In his New York Times column today, “Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White,” David Brooks calls the book “a mind-altering account of the black male experience. Every conscientious American should read it.”

Stewart’s final day as host is August 6. His replacement Trevor Noah debuts on Sept 28. Here’s hoping he’s a reader.

Titles to Know and Recommend,
the Week of July 20

The well-known names on books arriving next week include Ace Atkins, Alexander McCall Smith and David Rosenfelt. The only book with significant holds, however, is Kathy Reichs’ Speaking In Bones, the 18th in her Temperance Brennan series, which also is a LibraryReads pick for the month (see below).

The media is still focused on Go Set a Watchman — it leads the reviews in the new issues of both Entertainment Weekly (where it gets a D+, one of the lowest ratings we’ve seen. As a comparison, Fifty Shades of Grey got a B+) and People (“On its own, it is a deftly written tale about 1950s bigotry and a young woman coping with the revelation that his father is not the hero she thought he was.”) and is on the NYT  web site “Books” section under the Sunday Book Review, although it doesn’t indicate when it will appear in print.

Below are some of the other titles people will be talking about next week.

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 7/20/15

Consumer Media Picks


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan, (Penguin Press)

This combination should catch people’s attention, a surfing memoir by a New Yorker writer who has reported on some heavy duty topics like the civil war in Sudan and drug cartels in Mexico.

Back in 1992, towards the beginning of his 30-year career at the New Yorker, Finnegan wrote a 2-part essay about his experiences as a surfer in San Francisco. As the review in the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review says, that essay “was instantly recognized as a masterpiece. A wise, ­richly atmospheric account of riding the gelid, powerful gray waves of San Francisco.” Since then, says the reviewer, there have been rumors of a book length memoir. Now that it’s here, it proves worth waiting for and a “cause for throwing your wet-suit hoods in the air.”

Entertainment Weekly also features it (not online yet), with a B+ review, somewhat less than enthusiastic than the NYT because, while the “vivid descriptions of waves caught and waves missed … [are] as elegant and pellucid as the breakers they immortalize …[they start] to blur together once you’ve reached the 50th or so description.”


Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper, Hilary Liftin, (Penguin/Viking)

Liftin, who has had experience as a ghost writer for celebrity memoirs (Tori Spelling, Tatum O’Neal, Miley Cyrus) now writes a novel in the form of a celebrity memoir. On New York Magazine’8 Books You Need to Read This July, which says it fictionalizes “the train wreck of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes … Liftin’s sly novel wears its lurid shallowness on its jacket sleeve, and yet her details are careful, funny, and right.” The New York Post‘s “Page Six” has picked up on the Cruise/Holmes connection.


When the Moon Is Low, Nadia Hashimi, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

On Oprah.com’s list of Dazzling New Beach Reads about a woman who is forced to flee Kabul to London with her children, called  “A must-read saga about borders, barriers and the resolve of one courageous mother fighting to cross over.” Listen to the book talk by HarperCollins Director of Library Marketing, Virginia Stanley.

9780770436087_c79afThe Other Son, Alexander Soderberg, (RH/Crown)

The sequel to 2013’s The Andalusian Friend is reviewed in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which gives it a B+, “Sweden’s latest contribution to the pleasingly grim scandal-lit cannon … astute psych profiles and blood-soaked set pieces …hook readers for the third and final book.”

Peer Picks


Speaking in Bones, Kathy Reichs, (RH/Bantam)

LibraryReads pick:

“This book lives up to the expectations we have for Kathy Reichs. A compelling and dangerous mystery, lots of medical details, and good characterization make this a title that will be easy to recommend!” — Leslie Johnson, Jefferson County Public Library, Lakewood, CO


Love Lies Beneath, Ellen Hopkins, (S&S/Atria)


“An intriguing tale of sex, romance and deception. Tara is a brilliant, sexy forty-something. She’s enjoying being single until Cavin, a handsome doctor, enters her exam room. They have a hot and steamy romance but there is much, much more to this story. Ellen Hopkins commands each word on the page from her prose to verse.” — Laura Hartwig, Meriden Public Library, Meriden, CT

Well-known for her teen novels in verse, Hopkins talks about why she turned to prose for this title and how writing teen fiction differs from adult:



The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Revised Edition: An Account in Words and Pictures, Phoebe Gloeckner

The film adaptation of this graphic novel was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and will arrive in theaters on August 7. The New York Times Magazine interviewed the author when she was working on the graphic novel in 2001, calling her “arguably the brightest light among a small cadre of semiautobiographical cartoonists  … who are creating some of the edgiest work about young women’s lives in any medium.”

Few libraries own the original edition, which is now re-released, with a new introduction by the author (for our full list of upcoming adaptations, see our Books to Movies and TV and our listing of tie-ins).

Jon Stewart Book Binge, Day Eight

As part of our celebration of the many authors Jon Stewart has featured during his 16 year tenure as host of The Daily Show, today we present his 2006 interview with movie critic Roger Ebert.

The book was The Great Movies II, but the conversation veered off in to some weird territory as they discussed Stewart’s upcoming gig as the host of the Oscars as well his checkered career as an actor. Giving one of his films,  Death to Smoochy the ultimate backhanded compliment, Ebert had written in his review, “To make a film this awful, you have to have enormous ambition and confidence, and dream big dreams.”

Closer to Screen:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.14.57 AMPotter fans rejoice! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find, the next trilogy in the Harry Potter film series, is moving closer to the screen now that director David Yates has issued an open call for auditions to fill the role of Modesty. CNN reports that Yates is searching for a female actress aged 8-12, who could become a household name like Hermione.

The film trilogy, the first of which is due out on November 18, 2016, follows the story of Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

The Warner Bros. films, as Flickering Myth suggests, have a good chance of  replicating the look and feel of the HP movies. J. K. Rowling wrote the screenplay and the director, producer, production designer, and executive producer all worked on multiple HP films.

As we reported earlier, the movies are based on a Hogwarts textbook (a real edition of the fictional text was published in 2001, with a special charity edition out last month) and follows Scamander’s search for magical creatures.  IMDb neatly summarizes the plot: “The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.”

Bingo! for Seattle Public Library

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.41.43 PMRemember when Summer Reading at the library meant you got to move your die-cut hot air balloon up the wall towards the craft paper clouds?

Things have changed.

This summer The Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Arts & Lectures are hosting a citywide game of book bingo.

The bingo card challenges people to read a book in 25 different categories, such as a banned book, one published the year you were born, with a free space that urges players to “PASSIONATELY recommend a book to a friend.” ( download a copy here). The library supports the game through posts on their blog, Shelf Talk, suggesting titles for the categories.

Linda Johns, a librarian at SPL, writing for The Huffington Post, reports Seattle is abuzz, “people around the city are talking about what they’re reading. We’re hearing about it in our libraries, seeing people share what they’re reading for each square on Twitter and Instagram (#BookBingoNW), and listening in while readers offer each other suggestions to get to bingo.”

The idea of book bingo, writes Johns, is not just hot in the Pacific Northwest, it has been adopted in France and has been a feature on the Books on the Nightstand blog for some time.

Jon Stewart Book Binge, Day Seven

Continuing our celebration of the many authors Jon Stewart has featured during his tenure as host of The Daily Show, we present the following interview with Studs Terkel for his book, And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey (Norton, 2005). He died 2 years after his interview, at age 96.

Terkel may have been, as he said, “deaf as a post,” but clearly his greatest joy was listening to ordinary people.

The Millions’ Picks for Fall

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 4.57.32 PM“If you like to read, we’ve got some news for you. The second half of 2015 is straight-up, stunningly chock-full of amazing books” proclaims the online literary magazine The Millions introducing the second part of their list of the year’s “Most Anticipated” upcoming books.

A handy overview of the season by literary insiders, the list contains over eighty titles, including the big children’s book of the season, The Marvels (Scholastic) by Brian Selznick which The Millions says “weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories told in two seemingly unrelated forms: a largely visual tale that begins with an 18th-century shipwreck, and a largely prose one that begins in London in 1990.”

The Millions follows up their big (mostly literary fiction) list with a Nonfiction list.

Climate Change Encyclical
Coming in Book Form

Encyclical on Climate ChangeOn June 18th Pope Francis entered the climate change debate with his 184-page papal letter calling the issue a “principal challenge” of our age, placing the cause firmly at the door of human activity, and saying “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

His comments and call for action centered within a moral and religious context triggered headlines and OpEds.

The letter has been available free online, but on August 4th Melville House will release it in print under the title Encyclical on Climate Change and InequalityOn Care for Our Common Home.

The independent publisher has a history of making special reports such as this more widely accessible in book form. Last December they published The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, which sold out its initial 50,000 print run in a single day.

The publication will arrive just before the  Pope come to the US at the end of September for a three-stop whirlwind tour.

Live Chat with J. Ryan Stradal

Our chat has ended, you can read the transcript below.

For information on our upcoming chats, as well as an archive of previous chats, link here.

Live Blog Live Chat with J. Ryan Stradal – KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST

Potential FOURTH Harper Lee Book

This is getting confusing. Earlier this week,  Harper Lee’s lawyer Tonya Carter hinted in an article in the Wall Street Journal that there may be yet another unpublished Harper Lee manuscript in the safe deposit box where Go Set A Watchman was discovered, and that it may be “an earlier draft of Watchman, or of Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two.”

Back in March, the New Yorker ran a story about yet another unpublished book by Lee, a crime novel titled The Reverend. Based on a true story, it is about a minister who took out insurance policies on several family members, only for them to die mysteriously. Four pages of it exist, pages that Lee sent to the lawyer who worked on the case and shared his files with her.

CNN now reports that there may have been a full manuscript for the book. Harper Lee’s long-time friend, Wayne Flynt says he was told by Lee’s sister Louise Conner that she read the completed manuscript and found it “far superior to” To Kill a Mockingbird or to the true crime story Harper Lee helped Truman Capote research, In Cold Blood.

Flynt doesn’t know if it still exists, however, saying to CNN, “Could [Lee] have given a copy of the manuscript to somebody, and somebody’s been sitting on it all these years, and will the publication of Go Set a Watchman drag it out of wherever it is? I don’t know. Will it be found as Tonja Carter, the lawyer, goes through more and more of [Lee’s older sister] Alice’s papers?”

It’s becoming more and more likely that Go Set a Watchman will not be Lee’s final published book.

Jon Stewart Book Binge, Day Six

Today we continue our look at Jon Stewart’s coverage of books on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. As we noted earlier, after 9/11, Stewart began to feature authors on several topics he became known for, almost as if he were educating himself along with his audience.

One of this favorite targets has been tv news coverage. At the end of 2002, he interviewed Ann Coulter for the first (and only) time about her book Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right. Clearly in disagreement with her points (including that there “are several bad Republicans, but there are no good Democrats”), he ended by saying that talking to her felt  “like when I see something on National Geographic. I don’t understand, but I like to learn.”

Time warp note: Coulter mentions a LexisNexis search the way we would a Google search today.

The following year, he continued exploring the topic with several other authors, from conservatives Dick Morris (Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists in American Politics, Media & Business) and Bernard Goldberg (Arrogance: Rescuing America From the Media Elite) to Al Franken (Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right) and journalism professoe, Eric Alterman (What Liberal Media? The Truth About Biaxs and the News).