News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Bad-Ass Librarians On NPR

9781476777405_4f5a6On Saturday’s edition of All Things Considered Joshua Hammer talked about his new book, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts (Simon & Schuster; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample). As a result, the book soared up the Amazon’s sales rankings.

Hammer talks about the librarian and adventurer, Abdel Kader Haidara, who gathered ancient manuscripts together in a splendid library, why the manuscripts are so critical, and how they were saved from militant Islamists.

He describes a modern day Indiana Jones, traveling “on camels across the Sahara, on riverboats, going to small villages” in search of lost and forgotten manuscripts that “portrayed Islam as practiced in this corner of the world as a blend of the secular and the religious — or they showed that the two could coexist beautifully.”

Once Timbuktu, a city on edge of the Sahara desert, was sized by hardline Islamists backed by al-Qaida the manuscripts, some 350,000 thousand of them were under threat and the bad-ass librarians went to work to smuggle them out of danger.

The LibraryReads pick is getting wide coverage, including from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal (which has a photo of the librarian and manuscripts). The National Archives will live stream a program with Hammer on 4/25.

Holds are strong on light ordering across libraries we checked.

The Beyoncé Bounce

516P2SFbK-L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Beyoncé’s HBO special, which debuted on Saturday night, surprised fans, as the New York Times reports, with the announcement of a new album Lemonade.

The special is having an unexpected side-effect, sending a poetry book into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire (flipped eye, 2011;  978-1905233298).

Between songs, Beyoncé read selections from poems by the Somali-British writer and activist.

Shire was named first Young Poet Laureate of London in 2014 and was the subject of a New Yorker piece last year [may require subscription], saying her work,

“conjures up a new language for belonging and displacement … with fifty thousand Twitter followers and a similar number of Tumblr readers, [she] demonstrates the writing life of a young, prolific poet whose poetry or poem-like offhand thoughts will surface in one of your social media feeds and often be exactly what you needed to read, or what you didn’t know that you needed to read, at that moment.”

The New Yorker calls Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth, “a spare collection of poems … outsize in its sensuality, wit, and grief.”

Few public libraries bought copies of the 38-page pamphlet-sized collection. Those that did are seeing circulation but light holds. The title is currently out of stock on Amazon but is listed on major wholesaler catalogs.

Below is a video of Shire reading one of the poems Beyoncé featured:

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 25, 2016

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Eager fans have been placing holds for marquee authors appearing next week, John Sandford (Extreme Prey, PRH/Putnam) and Iris Johansen, Hide Away (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).

Harlequin’s Mira imprint is betting on Meghann Foye’s debut, Meternity with a 100,000 copy first printing. By an editor at Redbook, it is about an editor at a NYC magazine who thinks faking a pregnancy might be a great way to get perks, only to learn the truth of Shakespeare’s adage about weaving deceitful webs. Prepub reviews are all positive, with LJ enthusing, “Full of moments that will leave readers in suspense, gasping at consequences, and rooting for the heroine … perfect for fans of Candace Bushnell.”

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 April 25, 2016

People Picks 

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Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, Michael Schulman (Harper; HarperLuxe).

People Book of the Week.

meryl-streep-brigitte-lacombe-april-2016-coverStreep is featured on the cover of the new issue of Vanity Fair, with an excerpt from the book, “How Meryl Streep Battled Dustin Hoffman, Retooled Her Role, and Won Her First Oscar.” If you read that, you’re guaranteed to want to read the book.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?Frans de Waal (Norton).

People pick — “an astonishing study of animal intelligence has the makings of a classic — and is one fascinating read.”

Catastrophic Happiness : Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years, Catherine Newman (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio).

People pick — ‘The exhaustion, tenderness and terror of parenthood are captured by blogger Newman in a front-line report — she’s the mother of two — that’s both winsome and funny. Topics include tantrums, playing with food and (because she take us to the joyous-disastrous brink of adolescence) the sex talk.’

Media Magnets

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Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power, Mark Landler (PRH/Random House; Recorded Books).

Landler’s book gets double coverage, an except in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk” plus coverage of the excerpt in the New Yorker. The author is also scheduled for an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).

The founder of Nike will appear on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend. Next week, he is scheduled for Good Morning AmericaThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the Charlie Rose show on PBS.

Peer Picks

9780373789764_41857One April LibraryReads selection comes out this week, the next in the long running Fools Gold series by the ever popular Susan Mallery, Best of My Love (Harlequin/HQN; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Jenelle Klavenga, of Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, IA writes this summary:

“Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn’t want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read.”

Four Indie Next picks from the May list arrive as well.

9780062408945_adcfaFather’s Day, Simon Van Booy (HC/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“Van Booy’s delicate touch is turned to the relationship between orphaned Harvey and her uncle, Jason, a man no one could expect to be the right choice as guardian. Van Booy uses the plot structure of a series of Father’s Day gifts given to Jason from the now adult Harvey to reveal more than either of them realized about the life they have shared as adoptive father and daughter, as well as the heartbreaking truth of how they came to be a part of each other’s lives. Father’s Day is Van Booy at his most poignant, showing how redemption can arise from heartbreaking circumstances.” —Don Luckham, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH

9780847848287_942faJulia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long, Julia Reed (PRH/Rizzoli).

“Any time Julia Reed publishes a new book is a good excuse for a party. And now, with Julia Reed’s South, she even gives readers the blueprint for how to do it. What a gift to us all! This book is filled with wonderful ideas for entertaining, fabulous recipes, gorgeous photographs, a host of characters, and of course, killer cocktails. No one gets the South like Julia, and no matter where you live you’ll find inspiration in these pages to make your next gathering unforgettable.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

9781101886694_60102Sleeping Giants, Sylvain Neuvel (PRH/Del Rey; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Sleeping Giants reads like a military dossier, interview after interview given with the serious intent of laying out a scientific tale of discovered history that will change everyone’s lives forever. At the age of 10, Rose falls through a hole in the ground and lands in a large metal hand that had been buried. Seventeen years later, she is on the research team that seeks answers to the relic’s source and the meaning behind its existence. Is it a weapon? Is it a threat to humanity? Or is it simply a mystery that will remain unsolved? Whatever it is, readers will enjoy this Prometheus-like look into our distant past and the excitement of forecasting the potential future of the human race.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Media Coverage:  The Wall Street Journal writes that the movie rights for this originally self-published book were snapped up by Sony Pictures after a rave in Kirkus.

9781938235214_583feOver the Plain Houses, Franks, Julia (John F. Blair/Hub City Press).

“Tense and atmospheric, this novel is set in Depression-era North Carolina but confronts a number of issues that are relevant today. I consider it one of the best historical fiction titles I’ve read lately—what must have been intensive research blends seamlessly with unforgettable characters and vibrant depictions of mountain caves, mining towns, and struggling farms. The book brilliantly takes readers back to a bygone era while subtly showing that it is an era whose darkness could soon fall again. Fans of Claire Fuller and Ron Rash won’t want to miss it.” —Elizabeth Weber, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL


9780143109464_5923dThe big tie-in news this week is the release of Me Before You, Jojo Moyes (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample; also in Mass Market). The film comes out on 6/3/16 and already the previews have driven the book straight up Amazon’s sales rankings. First, the teaser trailer shot the book to #1 and then the full trailer sent both Me Before You and its sequel, After You, climbing again.

Here is the preview that is selling so many books:

Also releasing this week is 9781476763491_07df5The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, Robert Kanigel (S&S/Washington Square Press; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). The movie arrives next week — see our coverage in Hitting Screens, Week of April 25.

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

Hitting Screens, Week of April 25

MV5BMTc3NTUzNTI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0NjU5NzE@._V1_SX214_AL_The Jungle Book continues to dominate the box office with Deadline Hollywood predicting that the juggernaut will continue this weekend. Entertainment Weekly marvels that it has already earned “a whopping $103.6 million domestically and $240 million worldwide” and has “demolished expectations to earn the second highest April opening in box office history, second only to last year’s Furious 7.”

Good thing; a sequel was announced even before the movie was released.

9780062389503_bb806We have reported on the tie-ins but there are other books timed to the movie including a new illustrated complete edition of Kipling’s tales, The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Minalima Ltd. (HC/Harper Design).

If the excitement makes you wonder about that other Jungle Book adaptation in the works  from Warner Bros., you are not alone. Entertainment Weekly writes about the rivalry and likely differences, the chief one being that first-time director Andy Serkis has said his movie will be “a lot darker” than the Disney version.

Variety reports the release date for the Warner Bros. edition has recently been pushed forward to 2018, shifting from Oct. 2017, to allow for more separation from the Disney hit.

Deadline reports, given the extra time the studio now has, that Oscar-winning Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron has been bought on board to “give notes on the project and see if there are ways … to improve the picture.” Cuaron is just one more big name on the project. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Matthew Rhys are all part of the film and Andy Serkis (who perfect performance-capture technique play Gollum in Lord of the Rings) is playing Baloo as well as directing and producing.

Den of Geek reports the studio has changed the name as well, changing it from Jungle Book:Origins to simply The Jungle Book, a move that will surely cause confusion as Disney powers ahead with a planned sequel, The Jungle Book 2.

MV5BMjM5OTQ1MTY5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM3NzMxODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Also of note is the 4/24 Sunday premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Rolling Stone offers 11 questions they have about the show, which serves as a timely catch-up to where things stand.

Two new adaptations open in theaters next week, one based on a book and the other on a video game (with book tie-ins).

MV5BMTA5ODYyMzY1MTleQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDY3NTE2NTgx._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, The Man Who Knew Infinity opens April 29th. It is based on Robert Kanigel’s 1991 book of the same title, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a New York Times Book Review‘s Notable Books of the Year.

A new tie-in edition is out on the 26th: The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, Robert Kanigel (S&S/ Washington Square Press).

The NYT offers a feature on the film, which is about an impoverished math genius from India, who has “the ability to divine formulas seemingly from thin air that, a century later, are informing computer development, economics and the study of black holes.” However,  both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety give it lackluster reviews.

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Also opening on the 29th is an animated movie Ratchet & Clank, based on the SF video game series that features a Lombax (a cat-like species that walks on two feet) and a robot who have adventures across multiple galaxies.

Scholastic is releasing two tie-in titles. Ratchet and Clank: The Movie Novel, Kate Howard (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample) and Ratchet and Clank: Hero Time (The Movie Reader), Meredith Rusu (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample). Forthcoming in August is the Game Guide Book (Ratchet and Clank), (Scholastic).

Entertainment Weekly reports a new tie-in game is also out. In their game review The Verge calls it “the best possible commercial for the upcoming animated movie.”

GalleyChatter, April 2016 Happy Sixth Birthday!

Our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower, reminds us that GalleyChat just passed a milestone, its 6th birthday. She claims it was “an immediate success” when it was introduced and she should know, she was there from the beginning. We also have to add that GalleyChat has continued to grow in popularity since Robin became our official GalleyChatter.

Below, she rounds up the highlights of the April chat.

If you’ve missed Robin’s earlier columns, link below, for more current and forthcoming titles:

March — GALLEYCHATTER Looks to the Merry Month of May

February — GALLEYCHATTER, Heading into Summer

January — GALLEYCHATTER, Spring Announcements


Happy Sixth Birthday, GalleyChat.  Here’s to another six years!

It seems each chat gets more lively and April’s was no exception, featuring a range of novels, from one starring a librarian with an enviable job to others that are downright revolting and creepy.

Check here for the complete Edelweiss list of all the titles that came up.

We’ve also noted the deadlines for those that can still be nominated for LibraryReads.

Imaginative Fiction

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The first book in a new fantasy series, The Invisible Library by by Genevieve Cogman (PRH/ROC, June), led the pack. Who can resist a plot involving an undercover librarian? Jenna Freibel of Deerfield Library (IL) said, “I had so much fun reading this first installment of a fantasy adventure series in which ‘Librarians’ travel to different realities to collect important books, even if it means stealing or fighting to retrieve them. It’s perfect for fans of Gail Carriger and Jim Butcher.” Fans will not have to wait long for the next two books in the series, which come out later this year, The Masked City (September) and The Burning Page (December). [NOTE: Pleas join us for a chat with the author on June 1]

9780393285543_a3e5dIn Lydia Millet’s Sweet Lamb of Heaven (Norton, May), Anna and her young daughter flee to Maine to hide from her sociopathic husband. What begins as a suspense novel quickly turns into something totally unexpected. Kelly Currie (Delphi Public Library, IN) said, “The story takes a strange and intriguing turn into a discussion of perception, the source of consciousness, language, and God. The author is adept at exploring and digging deep into such extrasensory perceptions and trying to understand and explain human consciousness in all its glory–and its ugliness. Fascinating food for thought.”

9781501125041_7cefbWhether you adore our eight-legged spider friends or have a case of arachnophobia, the first book in a new series, The Hatching, Ezekiel Boone (S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler, June) will keep you riveted and unable to look away. Susan Balla (Fairfield County Library, CT) said, “Would you prefer death by a swarm of flesh eating spiders, or death by an exploding spider egg sac laid within your body? This is an apocalyptic novel that preys upon our fear of those creepy, crawly, and in this case carnivorous, monsters we call spiders. It was highly entertaining and hair-raising at the same time, fast paced and addictive.”

9781501126925_7a798Some readers are on the fence whether the very dark but well-constructed psychological suspense novel about a character’s musings about ending her relationship will strike a chord with readers, but I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (S&S, June) has been gaining attention from many readers with seventeen “much love” Edelweiss votes. Carol Kubala, retired adult services librarian, said “This is the kind of book that is difficult to describe as well as unequivocally recommend. It will not be for everyone but for those of us who like a dark, brooding tale, it will be a winner. ‘I’m thinking I liked it.’”

Appealing Science

GruntEver since Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers was published, Mary Roach has been known for her combination of deep research and endless curiosity delivered with cheeky humor.  Three GalleyChatters raved about her newest title, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (Norton, June) and is surely destined for the bestseller list.  Darren Nelson, Sno-Isle Libraries collection development librarian, said, “With courageous curiosity, journalistic persistence, and a wry empathetic sense of humor, Roach once again delves into a topic few of us would openly explore but yes do want to know about – this time all the little-appreciated issues confronting the military in its attempt to protect and enable combat troops. Grunt is another triumph of sometimes uncomfortable but fascinating revelation.”

Read-Worthy Novels

Heat & LightJennifer Haigh continues the Bakerton Stories (Baker Towers and News from Heaven) with Heat and Light (HarperCollins/Ecco, May). Set in Pennsylvania and featuring many of the same characters, Cynthia Baskin, frequent Galleychat contributor, said “Haigh’s book looks at fracking’s impact on here-today-gone-tomorrow speculators and disgruntled rural residents. Haigh’s success here is due to her multidimensional characters who show the gray areas surrounding a complex political issue. This is Haigh’s best book to date!”

9780812996395_c3662Messy relationships, age-old secrets, and a creaky old family home all make for a gripping read so there is no doubt readers will love Arrowood by Laura McHugh (PRH/Spiegel & Grau, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20). Jennifer Winberry of Hunterdon County Library (NJ) says, “Arden has returned to her family home in Southern Iowa to mourn the loss of her father. Overcome with memories, Arden relives the summer twenty years ago when her young twin sisters were abducted, never to be found. With vivid imagery and a steamy Gothic atmosphere, Arden’s grief is often tangible in this visceral novel.”

9781250074133_3e63fKaite Stover, Kansas City (MO) readers’ services librarian is nationally known for forecasting what will be hot with readers so when she recommends Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), we listen. According to Kaite, “It’s the rare novel that shows readers how undeniably human we are. Every character in this novel makes hard and bad choices that tear them down, build them up, and flesh them out into people readers will identify with. A powerful and rewarding story that dares to imagine what would happen if Sons of Anarchy met Romeo & Juliet?” [Kindle Users: Macmillan eGalleys are now available on Kindle.]

Please  join our next GalleyChat on Tuesday, May 3, 4:00-5:00 with virtual cocktails at 3:30. For what is going to be hot at BEA in May, watch for my BEA special edition column.

The Corrigan Bump

NPR reviewer Maureen Corrigan covered two new novels on Fresh Air yesterday, causing both to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings.

9780374106683_8bdbdCorrigan describes The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith (Macmillan/Sarah Crichton Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) as being about “the eerie powers of art and the long reach of the past” and that it “masterfully juggles three places and time periods … Amsterdam during the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, New York City during one of its own golden ages in the 1950s and, at novel’s end, Sydney, Australia at the dawn of the 21st century.”

An Indie Next selection and People pick, it’s also gotten love from Nancy Pearl on Seattle public radio, KUOW. Calling it a work you “can’t quite pigeonhole” she says she appreciates Smith’s wonderful writing and hopes the book finds a readership. NYT, Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly all gave it strong reviews .

9781627795944_087b6Corrigan is also enthusiastic about The North Water by Ian McGuire (Macmillan/Holt; OverDrive Sample), a debut set on a 19th century whaling ship headed to the Arctic with a killer on board. Corrigan says that it is “the poetic precision of McGuire’s harsh vision of the past that makes his novel such a standout” and that readers will be “swept along on what turns out to be a voyage of the damned.”

Featured on the cover of the  NYT‘s Sunday Book Review, writer Colm Tóibín agrees, saying it is “a riveting and darkly brilliant novel” and that “McGuire has an extraordinary talent for picturing a moment, offering precise, sharp, cinematic details. When he has to describe complex action, he manages the physicality with immense clarity … [and] the tone throughout remains somber, direct, tense, fierce.”

Prince Dies

Just one month after announcing plans to publish his memoirs, the musician Prince has died.

His agent, Esther Newberg told the Wall Street Journal at the time that Prince had already turned in 50 pages of the manuscript for the book, which was to be titled The Beautiful Ones. It was set to be published next year by the Penguin Random House imprint, Spiegel & Grau.

The cause of death has not been announced. Prince was 57.

Politics and the Library of Congress

President Obama’s nominee for Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, testified and took questions for an hour yesterday during a Senate hearing.

The general tone of the hearings were polite but underneath were simmering concerns related to the U.S. Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Asked if she would support a move to establish a copyright office separate from LC with its own director reporting directly to Congress, Hayden displayed what The Washington Post calls “polished political skills,” subtly indicating that she would work to find another solution, “I’m not able to at this point say that that would be the only way to accomplish what we all want.”

Author and copyright activist Cory Doctorow summarized the conflict on BoingBoing, pointing out:

“[the Library of Congress] Supervises the Copyright Office and sets the nation’s de facto IT policy … The RIAA [the trade group of the U.S. recording industry] has already gone on record as opposing Hayden’s nomination. The Hill people I know have told me that there’s concerted movement underway to rip the Copyright Office out of the LoC and put it under the supervision of Congressional committees whose members owe their position to generous contributions from the entertainment industry.”

Another hot button issue is the CRS. Dr. Hayden called the staff who work in that office “special forces” librarians but declined to commit to making public their reports to Congress public. They are currently available via private fee-based databases used by lobbyists. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Amy Klobuchar were particularly concerned about the practice of taxpayer-funded documents being withheld from the public.

Less contentious but still a hot topic is the library’s IT infrastructure, with several of the Senators, but most pointedly Senator Angus King, raising the issue around user experience issues. Dr. Hayden responded to most IT inquires by sharing that LC had recently hired a new Chief Information Officer, Bernard A. Barton Jr., who served as chief information officer and deputy administrator of the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). She also shared her plans to improve digitization and access technology and her goal of making the collections more widely available to everyone regardless of geography. The Washington Post notes that “a federal report last year found widespread failure in [LC’s] technology, causing problems for the Copyright Office and services for disabled readers and wasting millions in taxpayer dollars.”

Finally, in a move that seems designed to make conservative Senators more comfortable about confirming Dr. Hayden, she was asked about ALA positions related to The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and The Patriot Act. Again, her answers were carefully crafted. She responded to the CIPA question that there had “been quite a bit of just misinterpretation of [ALA’s] position during that time” pointing out the problems with early filtering technology and turning the question to her early career as a children’s librarian. Her response to the Patriot Act was that the library community was “concerned that in the quest for security and making sure that we were all safe that the public’s rights were also considered as well.” She continued that ALA “is very pleased at the progress that’s been made to balance security and personal rights.”

The committee is expected to vote on the nomination in the coming weeks and if it goes to the full Senate, that final vote would likely occur before the summer recess.

C-Span live-streamed the hearing, along with a transcript. Dr. Hayden’s opening statement is available online.

Live Chat with the Author of

The chat has now ended. Read the transcript below.

if you are not part of First Flights, the Penguin Debut Author program, you can sign up here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Clare Mackintosh – I LET YOU GO

Eisner Award Nominees Announced

The Oscars of the comics world, the Eisner Awards, honoring outstanding comics creator, Will Eisner, announced its nominees this week. Topping the lists are Bandette, March: Book Two, Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, and The Eternaut

Each received three nominations across the many categories the award recognizes, more than any of the other nominated titles.

41Npu9e+qKL9781616556686_1989dBandette is an ongoing online comic featuring a teen burglar the publisher says “treads a thin line between Tintin and Nancy Drew.” The webcomic earned nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Digital/Webcomic, and Best Painter (for Coover). It has also been released in two paper editions thus far, Bandette Volume 1: Presto! and Bandette Volume 2: Stealers Keepers! both by Paul Tobin with art by Coleen Coover (Dark Horse, 2013 and 2015).

march_book_two_72dpi_lgMarch: Book Two,by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Top Shelf, 2015) counts among its nomination nods both Best Reality-Based Work and Best Publication for Teens. As we have noted, the award-winning comic memoir series has become a must-buy in libraries. March: Book Three publishes this August. The Washington Post offers a first look at the cover.

9781606998489_4108dHip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is up for Best Reality-Based Work and creator  Piskor is up for Best Writer/Artist and Best Cover Artist. Piskor won the 2015 Eisner for the best nonfiction graphic work for Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2: 1981-1983. Book 3 covers the rise of Run DMC and more. Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 comes out this August.

9781606998502_81c82The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is nominated for Best Archival Collection–Comic Strips, Best U.S. Edition of International Material, and Best Publication Design. The Argentinian science fiction graphic novel originally ran as a weekly, starting in 1957. In its starred review, PW says it is:

“one of the great alien-invasion stories of the golden age of SF … [with a] taut against-all-odds plot … As with much ’50s science fiction, the political subtext—made more poignant by the knowledge that Oesterheld agitated against the Argentinean government and was “disappeared” in 1977—is so smoothly embedded … that it slides right past most readers while still resonating once the true masterminds are revealed.”

Beyond these four, 2016 also turns out to be a good year for women. Comic-Con points out that “49 women have received a record 61 nominations (compared to 44 last year) and are represented in 27 of the 30 categories.” The judging panel included librarian Jason M. Poole of Webster Public Library, Webster, NY.

The full list of nominees as well as rich commentary from Comic-Con is available online.

First Trailer

It’s here!

The setting is changed from the book’s London location to New York (thus, no images of gin and tonics in a can. In fact, the main character Rachel’s heavy drinking is only hinted at), but Emily Blunt keeps her British accent.

The movie arrives in theaters on Oct. 7th.

YA/MG GalleyChat,
Tues. April 19

This session of YA/MG GalleyChat has ended. Pleas join us for the next now, Tuesday, May 17, 5 to 6 p.m. ET (4:30 for virtual cocktails).

Alice Munro via Almodovar

It may be hard to imagine, but three short stories by a Nobel-winning Canadian writers known for her modesty and the realism and psychological insight of her writing, have been adapted into a film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, known for his flamboyance, splashy story telling and occasional use of surrealism.

Julieta_posterThe movie Julieta, was recently announced as an Official Selection for the Cannes Competition. It premiered in Spain earlier this month where, according to Deadline it was well-received and described as “a brilliant adaptation that lets you know you’re in the hands of a master.”

Unfortunately, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety reviewers did not see it the that way.

9781400077915_50f22Based on three short stories from Munro’s collection Runaway (PRH/Knopf), about a Vancouver woman named Juliet Henderson, Almodovar moves the setting to Madrid and changes the character’s name to Julieta Diaz.

It is set to open in the UK in August; no US release date or tie-in has been announced.

Another cross-cultural adaptation in the competition is Korean director Park Chan-wook’s modernized version of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (PRH/Riverhead) titled Agassi (The Handmaiden). The director talks about the changes he made to the novel in an interview in Variety.

In less of a stretch, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG based on the novel by Roald Dahl will also be shown at the festival which runs May 11-22.

Pulitzer Surprise

9780802123459_c9befAlthough it’s been a contender for major literary awards, winning the ALA’s Andrew Carnegie Medal and was named a best book by most sources, The Sympathizer (Grove Press, April 2015), Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prise-winning debut may not be that well-known to general readers (the Guardian‘s headline says it went “from overlooked to Pulitzer winner“). If you’re struggling to describe it to readers, the following reactions to the award announcement may help.

Calling the central character “a wickedly smart double-agent,” the Los Angeles Times, says the novel is “Part thriller, part political satire … sharp-edged fiction.”

The NYT echoes that almost exactly, calling it “Part satire, part espionage thriller and part historical novel,” while The Washington Post describes it as a “cerebral thriller.”

Bustle, which also offers a handy 9 Books To Read If You Loved The Sympathizer list, summaries the start of the novel in atmospheric prose that invites readers to dive in:

“The novel begins in Saigon, a city in complete chaos. Helicopter blades pound as quickly as the hearts of fearful villagers, and communist tanks are just about to roll in. Amidst the chaos, the General of the South Vietnamese army lists off the lucky few individuals who will make it aboard the last flights out of the country. His trusted Captain, the narrator of the novel, is one of the few.”

LitHub lures readers with:

“What begins casually turns murderous and then absurd as the unnamed narrator tries unsuccessfully to separate from his past. He winds up having to participate in assassinations to cover his tracks. He even takes a turn in Hollywood working on a film that sounds an awful lot like Apocalypse Now.”

9780674660342_023e9LitHub goes on to pair the novel with a recent piece of criticism by Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies (Harvard UP, March 2016) to make the case for understanding the novel’s importance, saying:

“Put together, the two books perform an optic tilt about Vietnam and what America did there as profound as Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s Beloved were to the legacy of racism and slavery.”

In a good bit of timing, the novel was just release in trade paperback. On news of the award both editions zoomed up Amazon’s rankings: Trade pbk: Sales rank: 18 (was 10,077); Hardcover: Sales rank: 88 (was 23,191).

That’s the highest ranking the novel has reached to date by far, the previous high was #5,938. The Sympathizer was on the ABA IndieBound best seller list for six weeks (at a high of #24) and the L.A. Times best seller list for 2 weeks, but did not crack any other list.

Librarians identified its pleasures, however. It was selected as a 2016 Notable Books title by the RUSA Notable Books Council and then went on to win the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

UPDATE: More Surpises

The General Nonfiction medal did not go to the expected book, Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (PRH/Spiegel & Grau), but to Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick (PRH/(Doubleday). Coates was named as a finalist.

The Award winner in Criticism caused some consternation, because it did not go to a newspaper writer but to Emily Nussbaum who writes about television for a magazine, the New Yorker. A change in the rules opened both that category and Feature Writing to magazines this year, reflecting the sad fact that newspapers have cut their arts coverage over the years. Thus, in a first, the New Yorker won its first Pulitzers and in two categories.

The Drama award went to a play with book connections, Hamilton. Although, given the acclaim it has arleady received, it was not a surprise, it is the first musical to win in many years.



The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners in the book categories are:

Fiction —  The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, April 2015)

History — Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, T.J. Stiles (PRH/Knopf)

Biography or Autobiography — Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan, (Penguin Press)

Poetry — Ozone Journal, Peter Balakian, (U. Of Chicago Press)

General Nonfiction —  Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (PRH/Doubleday; BOT)

In addition, Hamilton wins the Drama Award.

Once again, the criticism award does not go to book coverage, but to Emily Nussbaum, for television reviewing, in the New Yorker. The last time the award went to a book reviewer was in 2001, to Gail Caldwell who was then chief book critic for The Boston Globe.