Archive for March, 2008

Fired from the Experiment

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Today’s Salon features a fascinating interview with Elizabeth Hess, the author of Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human. As Salon describes it, the book is about a chimp who was “raised like a son by a New York City family as part of a language experiment, [but] Nim Chimpsky was shipped away when funds ran out.”

The book was selected recently by USA Today in a roundup of animal titles. It was also reviewed in the Seattle Times (“a story every bit as stirring and elaborate as that of a famous person”) and the Christian Science Monitor (“about as poignant an animal story as you can get. The neglect Nim suffered… is heartbreaking. And yet in many ways reading about him remains a joyous experience.”)

Significant holds are building in some areas.


  • Hardcover: $23.00
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 26, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0553803832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553803839

R.A. Clipping File — Mysteries

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Several recent articles highlight reviewers’ picks of new mysteries.

All titles are owned in the libraries I checked. The only two that have significantly more holds than copies are Prepared for Rage and The Silver Swan.


Slip of the Knife, Denise Mina

  • Hardcover: $24.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 031601558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316015585

The Wall Street JournalBookmarks” column says, “The plot of Slip of the Knife is as full of tension and suspense as one might wish, but the book’s real pleasure is in the writing.” This is the third novel by Mina. Her previous title The Dead Hour (Little, Brown, 2006) was an Edgar nominee.



Special Assignments, Boris Akunin

  • Paperback:$14.00
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (February 12, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0812978609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812978605

The second title in the Wall Street JournalBookmarks” column presents two short mysteries about a late-19th-century Moscow government detective featured in other Akunin novels. He is “an unmasker of conspiracies and a master of secret investigations.”



Moonlight Downs, Adrian Hyland

  • Hardcover: $24.00
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (February 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1569474834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569474839

The Philadelphia Inquirer says Hyland’s debut novel is a “delightful, engaging book that remains true to the venerable amateur-sleuth tradition even as it explores a world that will be new to many Australians, to say nothing of readers on the other side of the world.” They also warn, “Soho’s cover, haunting and dark, is evocative of just a few passages in the novel, whose characteristic mood is lighter and more boisterously good-natured.”


The Silver Swan, Benjamin Black

  • Hardcover:$25.00
  • Publisher: Henry Holt (March 4, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0805081534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805081534
  • Audio CD: $34.95
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged (March 4, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1427202893
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427202895

The Christian Science Monitor enthuses that The Silver Swan, the “second Irish potboiler [after 2007’s Christine Falls] starring Dublin pathologist Garret Quirke” is “a satisfying blend of the muck, and pluck, of the Irish…The author knows 1950s Dublin inside and out and the narrative drives onward with pitch-perfect passages, reminding the reader of the capable hands steering him toward resolution.” Black is a psuedonym for John Banville. It was also featured in the Baltimore Sun earlier this month.

USA Today rounds up “five new pulse-pounding thrillers” about terrorism. The annotations are so short that it would amount to copyright infringement to quote them, so click through to the article for specifics. The first three titles were also covered in a piece on “The Return of Spy Fiction” in The Barnes & Noble Review.


The Ghost War, Alex Berenson

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (February 12, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0399154531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399154539
  • Audio CD:$39.95
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged (February 12, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0143142852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143142850


The Prince of Bagram Prison, Alex Carr

  • Paperback:$14.00
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (March 11, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0812977092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812977097


The Amateur Spy, Dan Fesperman

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: Knopf (March 4, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400044677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400044672


Prepared for Rage, Dana Stabenow

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur (February 5, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312369735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369736
  • Audio CD: $39.95
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (February 5, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1427202974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427202970


    Judas Horse, April Smith

    • Hardcover: $23.95
    • Publisher: Knopf (February 12, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1400042054
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400042050

    PLA Handouts

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    For those who missed sessions at PLA, the handouts, available on the PLA site, can be valuable sources of information. Of course, some of the handouts don’t stand alone, but the following look particularly useful for Readers Advisory information:

    165 Readers’ Advisory Tool Kit III: Market Driven Readers’ Advisory -Three More Skills to Increase Your Effectiveness as an RA Librarian

    Neal Wyatt’s “SCUBA Gear for Readers’ Advisors” gives her list of favorite resources for staying current with publishing (it’s the 106 K document).

    207 When the Story Is True: Practicing Nonfiction Readers’ Advisory

    The documents, from Kaite Mediatore Stover (Kansas City, MO) and Barry Trott (Williamsburg, VA) include useful booklists.

    227 RX for RA – Training Library Staff in Fiction and Nonfiction

    Using these extensive documents from small, medium and large libraries, you could create your own training program.

    Memory Keeper’s Daughter on Lifetime

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    The ever-popular readers club title, Memory Keeper’s Daughter, premieres as a Lifetime movie on Sunday, April 12th, 9 pm EST, with repeats on April 13th at 8pm and April 14 at 9pm. The movie stars Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding), Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page) and Emily Watson (Angela’s Ashes).

    Lifetime’s Web site includes an interview with the book’s author, Kim Edwards. Penguin has also created a special site, with a podcast from Edwards.


    Sunday, March 30th, 2008

    Several titles have been rising quickly on Amazon in the last few days.

    The media blitz for Mistaken Identity: Two families One Survivor, Unwavering Hope began with appearances on NBC’s Today show and a special two-hour Dateline on Friday. The book has already zoomed up to #2 on Amazon.

    The book recounts the aftermath of a terrible accident. Five young people die and one is in a coma. Slowly, the family watching over the young woman who is emerging from her coma realize she is not their daughter. Meanwhile, the family that is mourning their daughter’s death, will soon find she is actually alive. The identities have been mistaken.

    Because of the families’ strong Christian faith, which is central to the book, it’s being published by Simon and Schuster’s religion imprint, Howard Books. Previously an independent publisher, the former Howard Publishing was acquired by S&S in 2006.

    The book was released on Tuesday and the families will appear again on Wednesday on Oprah. One of the libraries I checked shows 4 copies on order and 98 holds. That one is atypical, however; most other libraries show a comfortable number of holds to copies (that’s likely to change after the Oprah appearance), while a few have not ordered it.


    Mistaken Identity: Two families One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

    • Hardcover: $21.99
    • Publisher: Howard Books, S&S, (March 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1416567356
    • ISBN-13: 978-141656735
    • Audio CD: $39.95
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged, (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0743577035
    • ISBN-13: 978-0743577038


    At #3 is A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World, which has not been reviewed in the pre-pub media and is not on order widely.


    • Hardcover: $19.95
    • Publisher: HarperOne (March 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0061335312
    • ISBN-13: 978-0061335310

    The following is the annotation from the HarperCollins Web site:

    Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, surveys the exciting and history-changing ideas of Pope John Paul II in A Civilization of Love. By popularizing not only John Paul’s vision but also that of his successor, Benedict XVI, Anderson hopes to inspire Christians to work toward creating a civilization of love. In such a civilization every person is a child of God. We are all intrinsically valuable. The battle today is between the culture of death (where people are judged by their social or economic value) and the culture of life. Anderson pushes aside religious differences in order to spread a message of hope to those who are weary of the constant turmoil of modern society. While he does specifically challenge Christians to take an active role in their faith, you do not have to be a Christian to participate in the movement toward a civilization of love.

    By embracing the culture of life and standing with those most marginalized and deemed “useless” or a “burden” on modern society, Christians can change the tone and direction of our culture. Anderson demonstrates that regardless of our differences, we can come together on the centrality of loving and caring for others. He brings a message of inclusion and hope in the midst of a clash of civilizations and provides a road map for helping Christians understand their role in the world.


    At #16, a book that will be released on Tuesday, by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri. It is reviewed this week in the L.A Times Book Review and is People magazine’s Pick of the Week. She was also profiled in New York Magazine. The book is on order in quantity in all libraries I checked, with holds building.


    • Hardcover:$25.00
    • Publisher: Knopf (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307265730
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307265739
    • Audio CD: $39.95
    • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0739341790
    • ISBN-13: 978-0739341797


    At #24 is Small Favor, the 10th Harry Dresden adventure from bestseller Jim Butcher (after 2007’s White Night). This is on order or just received in most libraries, with holds building.


    • Hardcover: $23.95
    • Publisher: Roc (Penguin) Hardcover (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0451461894
    • ISBN-13: 978-0451461896
    • Audio CD:$44.95
    • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0143143395
    • ISBN-13: 978-0143143390


    At #25 is a book that went to #2 earlier this week. It was recently covered in the LA Times. This is on order or recently received in most libraries. A significant number of holds building in some areas.


    Earth: The Sequel:

    The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming

    • Hardcover:$24.95
    • Publisher: W. W. Norton (March 12, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0393066908
    • ISBN-13: 978-0393066906
    • Audio CD: $34.99
    • Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged (January 1, 2001)
    • ISBN-10: 1400107083
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400107087

    PLA Buzz Books

    Friday, March 28th, 2008

    There’s been plenty of opportunity to hear from authors here at PLA. The two titles librarians are talking about the most are:


    The Art of Racing in the Rain

    Garth Stein

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Harper (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061537934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061537936
  • Audio CD: $34.95
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (May 13, 2008)  
  • ISBN-10: 0061565407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061565403
  • Garth Stein charmed listeners when he spoke here about his third novel, told from the point of view of Enzo, a dog, about his human companion, who races cars. The PW review is mixed, but this is on order for most libraries and in high quantities for some. Stein will also appear at BEA.


    The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir

    Kao Kalia Yang

  • Paperback: $14.95
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (April 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1566892082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566892087
  • A book from an important local independent press about local people — the Hmong from Vietnam who immigrated to this area. I missed Kao Kalia Yang’s  presentation, but by all accounts, she held the crowd breathless as she quietly and earnestly talked about her family’s journey into American culture. PW’s review said,  “By the end of this moving, unforgettable book, when Yang describes the death of her beloved grandmother, readers will delight at how intimately they have become part of this formerly strange culture.” This is on order in modest quantities in most libraries.

    Austen Festival Ends on High Note

    Friday, March 28th, 2008

    USA Today loves, loves, loves Sense and Sensibility, calling it “truly a masterpiece.” The two-part series which winds up the Jane Austen festival, begins Sunday night.

    The DVD will be available April 8th:

    Sense and Sensibility (with Miss Austen Regrets)


    • Studio: BBC Warner, $39.95
    • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
    • ASIN: B0012OVCE6

    Books to Movie News

    Monday, March 24th, 2008

    A documentary on Abu Ghraib, Standard Operating Procedure, by director Errol Morris, (The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, which won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Documentary) is set for release in New York and Los Angeles on April 25th. Morris also co-wrote a book of the same title, with Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed Along with Our Families, about the war in Rwanda), to be published on May 15. Half the libraries I checked have it on order.

    Last week, the New Yorker featured an excerpt from the book. On the Web site, they featured clips from the movie.


    • Hardcover:$25.95
    • Publisher: Penguin Press, (May 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1594201323
    • ISBN-13: 978-1594201325
    • Audio CD: $34.95 (Abridged)
    • Publisher: Penguin Audio, (May 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0143142682
    • ISBN-13: 978-0143142683


    John Goodman and Joan Cusack recently joined the cast of Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the book by Sophie Kinsella. Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) is already set to star (Cusack and Goodman will play her parents). The movie is scheduled to release Valentine’s Day, 2009.


    A long-rumored remake of a movie based on Frank Herbert’s Dune is coming to fruition. Variety says that Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) has been hired to direct. The producer has “spent the past year obtaining the book rights from the Herbert estate.” An earlier film of the book was made in 1984 by David Lynch. No release date has been mentioned.


    As a reminder that all such news should be taken with a salt shaker handy, a previously announced title seems to have disappeared. Friday Night Knitting Club (book by Kate Jacobs; movie starring Julia Roberts), was originally scheduled for June 6th. Ordinarily, a trailer and a Web site would be available at this point, but nothing has appeared, resulting in mournful “What happened?” comments on message boards (and no answers).

    Time Traveler’s Wife (book by Audrey Niffenegger; movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams) and Nights in Rodanthe (book by Nicholas Sparks; movie starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane) were also originally scheduled for June 6. It appears they have been rescheduled for November.

    Time Cover: The Open Road

    Saturday, March 22nd, 2008



    Pico Iyler, known for his writing on travel (Time magazine’s managing editor calls him “one of the world’s premier prose stylist.” Booklist says, “calling Iyer a travel writer is reductive, like saying George Plimpton was a sportswriter”) is the author of this week’s Time magazine cover story on the Dalai Lama. It is based on his forthcoming book, The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Knopf, 3/25). The book is on order, in small quantities, in most libraries.

    For the Animal Lover

    Friday, March 21st, 2008

    USA Today rounds up their favorite of the new books on human interactions with animals. With so much many titles on the subject to choose from these days (thank you, Marley) a little guidance is helpful.

    These titles have been received in the libraries I checked (with a few showing as on order), in modest quantities with scattered holds.


    • Hardcover:$22.95
    • Publisher: Broadway (March 11, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0767926439
    • ISBN-13: 978-0767926430
    • Audio CD, Unabridged: $29.95
    • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America; (March 15, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1602833486
    • ISBN-13: 978-1602833487


    • Hardcover: $24.00
    • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; (February 19, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0374186308
    • ISBN-13: 978-0374186302


    • Hardcover:$26.00
    • Publisher: Random House; February 5, 2008
    • ISBN-10: 1400062934
    • ISBN-13: 978-1400062935


    • Hardcover: $23.00
    • Publisher: Bantam (February 26, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0553803832
    • ISBN-13: 978-0553803839

    “Lush Life” in People

    Friday, March 21st, 2008

    The current critical and popular favorite, Richard Price’s Lush Life gets four out of a possible four stars in People this week. While you can see a “world exclusive” photo of J Lo and the twins on People‘s Web site, unfortunately you can’t read the Price review there. For some reason, People doesn’t post their reviews.

    The lead title (also with four stars) is Pretty is What Changes by Jessica Queller. Through genetic testing, Queller learned she was at high risk for breast cancer and opted for a preventive double mastectomy. As the review points out, with this type of testing becoming more prevalent, a growing number of women will be facing this decision. The author is now a writer for the Gossip Girl TV series. LJ‘s starred review (2/1) called it a “a vivid, powerful, informative account.” The book is on order in all libraries I checked, in modest quantities, with few holds so far.


    Pretty Is What Changes:

    Impossible Choices, The Breast Cancer Gene,

    and How I Defied My Destiny

    • Hardcover:$24.95
    • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (April 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0385520409
    • ISBN-13: 978-0385520409

    Also featured (but not reviewed) is The Blue Zone, by Dan Buettner, who spent seven years studying places with the highest percentage of people living over 100. One great common characteristic of those communities — happy hour!

    The title is on order at half the libraries I checked, with holds building, but not exceeding copies.


    The Blue Zone:

    Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

    • Hardcover:$26.00
    • Publisher: National Geographic (March 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1426202741
    • ISBN-13: 978-1426202742

    Louise Penny’s newest in her “Three Pines” mystery series, The Cruelest Month (although it’s published in March) gets 3 1/2 stars.


    • Hardcover: 320 pages
    • Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur, (March 4, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0312352573
    • ISBN-13: 978-0312352578
    • Audio CD:Unabridged, $90.00
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (March 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1433233770
    • ISBN-13: 978-1433233777
    • Audio Cassette:$65.95
    • ISBN-10: 1433233762
    • ISBN-13: 978-1433233760

    BEA Hearts Librarians

    Wednesday, March 19th, 2008


    A special day of programming for librarians, plus a Graphic Novel Day will be featured at the upcoming BEA. That’s the good news. The bad news is both run on the same day, Saturday. So, there will be some hard choices — the Graphic Novel Author Breakfast with Art Spiegleman or a panel on “How Libraries Buy”? “What Retailers and Librarians Should Know about Video Games and Gamers,” or “What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew”?

    Again this year, the AAP Trade Libraries committee (made up of the library marketers from the major publishers) will host a Book Buzz session, with library reps presenting the highlights of their lists, followed by a “Meet the Publisher Reps Reception.”

    There will also be a special librarian hotel (the Kyoto Grand Hotel) and an AAP Author dinner for librarians.

    Details will be up on the BEA site soon (we’ll let you know when that happens). Meanwhile, Lance Fensterman, who runs BEA has a preview of the Graphic Novel Day on his blog and here’s a list of the programs in the librarian track:

    New Technologies and New Literacies for Teens

    How Libraries Buy: Librarians Reveal Their Methods for Collection Development

    Bridging the Gap Between Publishers and Libraries: Standards to Help Manage Licenses and Use

    Obscene in the Extreme: Why Books Still Get Banned

    Book Trip 08 — how Jack O’Connell’s new book, the The Resurrectionist (Algonquin, April) came into being, from finding the right publisher through the editing process and marketing.

    What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew: What Makes Them Tick, What Ticks Them Off

    Get Graphic @ Your library

    BEA’s Librarian Book Buzz/Meet the Publisher Rep Reception 2008

    Libraries to Download to iPods

    Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

    The hot news of the day is Overdrive’s press release, “OverDrive to Distribute MP3 Audiobooks to Booksellers and Libraries.

    So, finally, libraries will be able to offer audio titles for download to iPods. But, booksellers (Borders stores, through the Digital Centers in the new concept stores and Borders Digital Audiobooks site) will be able to offer more titles to their customers than libraries will. Random House, for instance, is not part of the library program. This was made clear in the February 21st letter to agents about RH going DRM free:

    We are not making any changes at all to our library digital download program. That marketplace operates under very different conditions than retail. In the library environment, DRM is used not just to prevent copying, but also to control the limited borrowing privileges attached to the digital library edition. To be clear: all titles distributed in download form from our Books on Tape and Listening Library lists through our two existing library distribution partners, OverDrive and NetLibrary, will continue to have DRM.

    Overdrive names “Blackstone Audio, Books In Motion, CSA Word, and Audio Evolution, among others” as the publishers whose titles will be available for library lending. The Borders program begins in May and the library program sometime after that.

    Library Journal covered the story earlier today.


    So Many Reviews, So Little Time

    Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

    Just can’t get enough reviews? Then check out the newly revamped New Haven Review. On their Web site, they post one review every Monday of an “unfairly neglected book” (unfortunately, their RSS feed isn’t working yet). It feels like a joke — the good news is that your book got reviewed, the bad news is that it was reviewed because it was “unfairly neglected.”

    The Review‘s definition of “neglected” is idiosyncractic. One of the four reviews up now is of Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs Pollifax on the China Station (Ballantine Books, 1983). The reviewer, a literary agent, found it necessary to first explain what a “cozy” is:

    Cozies are often set in small towns and there is little graphic sex or violence. People die, but there isn’t much grief; no one close to the protagonist ever seems to die. The protagonist is usually a female amateur detective who relies on her nosy demeanor to solve the crime. There is sometimes a kitschy hook that ties the series together, be it knitting, crossword puzzles, crime-solving pets, whatever. You know a cozy from other mysteries because you’re not afraid or disturbed while you’re reading it and because the reading experience is, well, cozy.

    The reviews are worth a look. The books do sound, well, unfairly neglected and some of the reviews give insight on current genres (like the discussion of the meme in the review of Wormwood Forest).


    Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

    Titles rising on Amazon that are not widely held in libraries:

    #2 Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
    Daniel Amen


    • Paperback: $15.00
    • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; (December 31, 1999)
    • ISBN-10: 0812929985
    • ISBN-13: 978-0812929980

    A new 3-part PBS special based on the book began airing in some markets on February 27th.

    #53 Unknown Waters:

    A First-Hand Account of the Historic Under-ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS Queenfish
    Alfred S McLaren


    • Hardcover: $29.95
    • Publisher: University of Alabama Press (January 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0817316027
    • ISBN-13: 978-0817316020

    This university press title was not reviewed in the pre-pub media, so public libraries don’t have it. It’s covered in today’s science section of the New York Times.