Archive for May, 2008

What Happened?

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

What Happened is the title of former Bush press secretary, Scott McClellan’s book. Add a question mark and it describes the White House reaction yesterday, as various spokespeople said they were puzzled and saddened by it. All this attention shot the book to #1 on Amazon (and the audio to #184), where it remains today.

If you haven’t already, check your holds to copies ratios for the book. They’re pretty stunning.

White House staff could have gotten a glimpse of what was coming, if they’d checked Public Affairs spring catalog, p 16. The publisher’s assertion that McClellan writes “with unprecedented candor” might have been passed off as hype, but a quote from the book hints that McClellan would indeed be writing candidly:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

  • Hardcover: $27.95
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (May 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1586485563
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485566
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $29.95
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc.; (June 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1433214342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433214349
  • Audio Cassette: Unabridged edition, $29.95
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc.; (June 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1433214334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433214332

Dissenting View of “Netherland”

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Like many of you, I’m getting ready for BEA. So, rather than round up ALL the reviews of Memorial Day holiday, in today’s posts, I’ve been focusing on just the ones that appear the most significant. You can go to our RSS fed reviews roundup in the Book Reviews page for links to others.

Saving the big news for last, Netherland finally gets a bad review (well, it’s probably more accurate to call it “mixed”) The LA Times dares to go against the critical mass;

It’s an incredible novel that doesn’t work…O’Neill’s writing is unendlingly beautiful. If it were enough to go from startling observation to startling observation, this would be a masterpiece. It’s not. There are dime-store novels and half-baked MFA theses written with one-twentieth the skill that work better because something gets loved and something gets lost. No matter how sharp your perceptive knives, without warmth, no blood will flow.

Formidable critic James Wood reviewed it in the New Yorker last week, calling it “masterly.”

It’s now at #45 on the Amazon Top 100 list (last week, it was at #21). It has just been received in most libraries I checked, with significant holds in some areas (100 to 5 copies in one library).


Joseph O’Neill

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Pantheon; (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307377040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377043

“Enchantress of Florence”

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

In one of the first print reviews of Salman Rushdie’s Enchantress of Florence, the Washington Post Book World‘s Michael Dirda makes it sound like a beach book:

…it may come as a surprise that he has produced a book that is the equivalent of a summer fling. Set during the 16th century, The Enchantress of Florence is altogether ramshackle as a novel — oddly structured, blithely mixing history and legend and distinctly minor compared to such masterworks as The Moor’s Last Sigh and Midnight’s Children— and it is really not a novel at all. It is a romance, and only a dry-hearted critic would dwell on the flaws in so delightful an homage to Renaissance magic and wonder.

Alan Cheuse, of the Chicago Tribune, waxes poetic over it:

…it’s fact that allowed Rushdie to construct this great dream-palace of a novel. To build his twin story of life in the grand city of Florence, his hero’s home, and Sikri, the Mongol capital to which he has traveled, the novelist had to digest a library wall of volumes (an extensive bibliography follows the story). In a world in which many readers seem to crave fact after fact after fact—the tiresome legacy of our Puritan ancestors—the novelist, the last alchemist, miraculously turns fact into something greater, and as if transforming clay bricks into gold, gives facts life.

In a separate story, the NYT reports:

In Britain, where it has already been released, most reviewers have been smitten. John Sutherland, who has twice been a judge for the Man Booker literary prize, wrote in The Financial Times that if it “doesn’t win this year’s Man Booker I’ll curry my proof copy and eat it.”

The article notes that while Rushdie was working on the book, he and his third wife Padma Lakshmi, host of the cooking reality show, “Top Chef” split and finds an echo in the themes of the book; “Beauty and betrayal are both elements of Enchantress.”

  • Hardcover: $26.00
  • Publisher: Random House (May 27, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0375504338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375504334
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Reader: Firdous Bamji
  • ISBN-10: 1436148707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1436148702
  • Large Print:
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print Publishing (May 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739328158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739328156

The book is currently at #69 on the Amazon Top 100. All libraries I checked have it on order, with comfortable holds to copy ratios.

Note: Title Confusion Alert. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston releases in a couple of weeks. The Wall Street Journal highlighted it in their preview of the forthcoming books that publishers, authors and booksellers are most looking forward to.

The Monster of Florence
by Douglas Preston

  • Hardcover: $25.99
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 10, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0446581194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581196
  • Audio CD: Unabridged edition, $39.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; (June 10, 2008)
  • Reader: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • ISBN-10: 160024209X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600242090
  • Large Print, Hardcover: $27.99
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 10, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 044650534X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446505345

NYTBR — Sunday, May 25

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

It’s great to see a title from indie publisher (and fellow Brooklynite), Soft Skull Press on the cover of Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. The image is creepy (blood and flies), but appropriate for a novel about a paramedic. The reviewer says:

Although Black Flies is a novel, it contains more reflections of lived experience than some memoirs (particularly recent memoirs). Reading this arresting, confrontational book is like reading Dispatches, Michael Herr’s indelible account of his years as a reporter in Vietnam…Be warned: as in Dispatches, many of the most vivid scenes in Black Flies make for harrowing reading. Visceral and mercilessly detailed, they are not included for sensational purposes — not as an E.R. version of “war porn.” Instead, Burke uses them as shock treatment for the conscience,

The book is owned in small quantities in most, but not all of the libraries I checked. Holds are building in some areas.

Black Flies
By Shannon Burke

  • Paperback: $14.95
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (May 21, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1593761910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761912

Other titles:

Standard Operating Procedure

“Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris collaborate to tell the story of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.”

The movie, a documentary, opened on April 24th.
In Search of Buckley
“Through two new books, a view of William F. Buckley Jr.’s transideological conservatism.”

The Lazarus Project
“This novel’s hero is obsessed with an immigrant who died in 1908.”

Reviewed widely. Author, Aleksandar Hemon also appears on, Episode #5.

The Bin Ladens
“The children of Muhammad bin Laden, from the desert to the jet set to the cave.”



Reviewed by PETER ROBB

A look at the global phenomenon of organized crime.
Sleeping It Off in Rapid City
Reviewed by STEPHEN BURT
“New poems and old, retrieved from dreams and peregrinations, here and on other continents.”

The Big Squeeze
Reviewed by ROBERT H. FRANK
“The outlook for the American worker: increasingly hostile.”

Panther Soup
Reviewed by CRAIG R. WHITNEY
“A British lawyer and travel writer retraces a march upcountry with a former U.S. lieutenant.”

No Way Home
“A memoir by the dancer Carlos Acosta traces his rise from the Havana slums to the Royal Ballet.”

Reviewed by SUSANN COKAL
“An examination of England’s 19th-century governesses, real and fictional.”

Rediscovering Jacob Riis
“A new look at the groundbreaking journalism and advocacy of Jacob Riis.”

Can’t Remember What I Forgot
Reviewed by KYLA DUNN
“Sue Halpern finds out what scientists know about dementia.”

Today on Oprah!

Monday, May 26th, 2008

On today’s show, Oprah will launch, the “O Ambassadors” program.

The program was created in conjunction with the Free the Children organization, a network of children helping children. Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger began the organization in 1995. Their 2006 book, Me to We, released earlier this year in paperback, explains the brothers’ philosophy of volunteerism and has been featured on the show before, putting it on the New York Times bestseller list for one week last year. The book’s current Amazon sales rank is #195,319 (we’ll check in after the show airs, to track its rise).

Coincidentally, an article in today’s New York Times notes that Oprah’s ratings have declined and suggests that “her crown is beginning to look a bit tarnished.” Oprah’s people vehemently deny this (she was traveling in South Africa last week and was unavailable for comment). The president of Harpo Productions says, “Any drop in her television ratings can be traced to general weakness in the overall television audience.” The article acknowledges that Oprah still is a major influence on book sales. Her latest book club pick, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle:

sold faster than any of the previous 60 selections of “Oprah’s Book Club.” But it also has attracted some criticism for Ms. Winfrey on her Web site, where some of her fans have said that the book’s spiritualist leanings go against Christian doctrine.

The article notes that, among other projects, Oprah is planning a spinoff talk show featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz (co-author of You: The Owners Manual and other titles in the “You” series) to launch in 2009.

Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World

Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger

  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: Fireside; Reprint edition (March 25, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0743294513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294515
  • Audio CD: Abridged, $29.95
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; (November 28, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0743566610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743566612

More Iron Man

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Indy just hit the theaters, but Iron Man still rules the box office (our Memorial Day Weekend Friday Guilty Pleasure is watching and rewatching the great trailer).

Marvel is releasing two new titles in the series, and Entertainment Weekly reviews them (we’ve covered the tie-ins in our In Theaters Now section).

One of the titles is written by Iron Man film director, Jon Favreau.

Jon Favreau and Adi Granov
(Monthly; issue No. 1 is on sale now)

  • Comic: $3.99
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics / Marvel Knights; 1st edition (2008)
  • ASIN: B00194IFQ2

Entertainment Weekly gives it a C-

Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

  • Comic: $2.99
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics (2008)
  • ASIN: B00192JPGI

EW gives this one a much better A-

Today’s Reviews — 5/23

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

New York Times

Her Father, His Secrets, Herself

The Bishop’s Daughter: A Memoir

By Honor Moore

365 pages. W. W. Norton. $25.95

Washington Post

Notes on a Supporting Role

By Eleanor Coppola

Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.290 pp. $25

Business Week

The Case of the Bogus Bordeaux
The Billionaire’s Vinegar:
The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine

By Benjamin Wallace
Crown; 319pp; $24.95

The Bottom Line: With plenty of suspense and richly quirky characters, this is one juicy tale.”


Business Books
Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are

By Rob Walker

Random House; 291 pages

Wall Street Journal

Summer Reading
Politics and Poverty
Interview with Sen. Harry Reid, “The Good Fight”
The Maketing of Thirst
By Elizabeth Royte
(Bloomsbury, 248 pages, $24.99)
That Melody Sounds Familiar
The Great Transformation of Musical Taste
By William Weber
(Cambridge University Press, 334 pages, $99)

Chief Bender’s Burden: The Silent Struggle of a Baseball Star

by Tom Swift

Univ of Nebraska Pr (April 1, 2008), $24.95

LA Times, Daily

Austerity Britain: 1945-1951,” David Kynaston

Seattle Times

(Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class

by Nan Mooney

Beacon Press, 254 pp., $24.95
“The Pearl”: a nobleman defied social conventions

The Pearl: A True Tale

of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great’s Russia”

by Douglas Smith

Yale University Press, 284 pp., $35

Unclear, fussy “Steer” strands reader

Steer Toward Rock

by Fae Myenne Ng

Hyperion, 255 pp., $23.95

“Snuff”: a porn queen’s quest for Immortality


by Chuck Palahniuk

Doubleday, 208 pp., $24.95

“The Lost Daughter” is hardly a parenting guide

The Lost Daughter

by Elena Ferrante

Europa Editions, 160 pp., $14.95

Reconstructing history from the rubble of natural disasters in “Apocalypse”

Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology and the Wrath of God”

by Amos Nur with Dawn Burgess

Princeton University Press,

309 pp., $26.95
“In the Blast Zone”: A collection of essays on Mount St. Helens

In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens,”

edited by Charles Goodrich, Kathleen Dean Moore, and Frederick J. Swanson

(Oregon State University Press, 124 pp., $15.95).

Barnes & Noble Review

George MacDonald Fraser: An Appreciation
The Reavers

by George Macdonald Fraser

Knopf (April 22, 2008)

Christian Science Monitor

That Summer in Sicily
Marlena de Blasi offers a taste of old-world Sicily with this story of love among the almond blossoms.

Ballantine Books 283 pp. , $24

WSJ’s Summer Preview

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Summer movie previews repeat the same titles, but book previews rarely agree. The Wall Street Journal (with a slick online slide show), picks just 17 titles against USA Today‘s list of 130+ and yet the two agree on only 7 titles. Add the Washington Post‘s list to the mix and only two titles get a consensus. One is David Seadaris’s When You Are Engulfed in Flames and the other is a nonfiction title:

Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World

David Maraniss

  • Hardcover: $32.95
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1416534075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416534075
  • Audio CD: Abridged, $29.95
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (July 1, 2008)
  • Reader: David Maraniss
  • ISBN-10: 0743572718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743572712
  • Large Print: $32.95
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; (July 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1410408515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410408515

WSJ quotes from the author to explain what grabbed them about the book:

…the forces of change were profound and palpable in the Eternal City. In sports, culture and politics — interwoven in so many ways — one could see an old order dying and a new one being born. With all its promise and trouble, the world as we see it today was coming into view.

The book is on order for most, but not all libraries I checked.


WSJ and USA Today agree upon five fiction titles, including Joyce Carol Oates’s My Sister, My Love and Janet Evanovich’s Fearless 14 (already at #26 on Amazon’s bestseller, several weeks ahead of publication) and this less obvious selection:


by Dirk Wittenborn

  • Hardcover: $25.95
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 31, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0670019429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670019427
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $39.95
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; (July 31, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0143143298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143143291

What grabbed WSJ?

The author manages to keep the plot moving over the book’s 400-plus pages, with eccentric, John Irving-like characters. And the books’ first line is a winner: “I was born because a man came to kill my father.”

PW called it “ambitious but flawed”

It’s on order, in small quantities, for most libraries.


Both also picked the following fiction titles:

Say You’re One of Them

Akpan, Uwem

  • Hardcover: $23.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 9, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316113786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316113786

I vividly remember reading one of the the author’s stories when it appeared two years ago in The New Yorker and can’t wait to read more. Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit priest, studied writing at the University of Michigan so he could tell the stories of Africa’s troubled children.

Starred in PW, the book grabbed the WSJ editors because:

The stories…can be brutal, but aren’t melodramatic. The children who narrate describe events in a matter-of-fact tone that is free of self-pity. “I felt this was the way to give dignity to their voices,” Fr. Akpan says.

It’s on order in small quantities in some libraries. There are reserves, with comfortable holds to copy ratios, but it’s significant that reserves are beginning already. I’m keeping my eye on this one.


Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Mary Ann Shaffer

  • Hardcover: $22.00
  • Publisher: The Dial Press (July 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0385340990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385340991
  • Audio CD: Abridged, $34.95
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; (July 29, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739368435
  • ISBN-13: 978-073936843
  • Large Print: $33.95
  • Publisher: Center Point Large Print; (September 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1602852693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602852693

This one grabbed me when it was presented at the PLA “Book Buzz” panel in March. It grabs WSJ, who says booksellers are embracing it, because:

A novel in letters may seem old-fashioned in the age of instant messaging, but the book’s warmth makes the narrative feel fresh and immediate. The late Ms. Shaffer [she died in February after this, her first book was sold] was taken by the firsthand accounts of occupation, her niece says, and felt letters would convey a sense of being there.

This is on order for most, but not all, of the libraries I checked.


The WSJ‘s preview is the only one to include a graphic novel. It is not on order by the libraries I checked, although many own the first in the series:

Berlin Book Two: City of Smoke

by Jason Lutes

  • Paperback: $19.95
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (August 19, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1897299532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299531

WSJ was grabbed by;

The interweaving stories of a journalist, a prostitute, a black clarinetist, soldiers, politicians, bureaucrats and others as they interact during the waning Weimar Republic give a human dimension to a seismic era. Mr. Lutes’s unsentimental black-and-white drawings are so understated that when violence erupts it is a jolt.

Welcome Back, Indy

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

It’s opening day for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Michael Rogers at Library Journal put together stellar roundup all the related titles, DVD’s and Web sites with great annotations an background on each; much more extensive than our listing in Upcoming Movies — With Tie-ins (I suspect he’s a fan), so we’ll just link to it.

USA Today also takes note of two of the titles in its “Book Buzz” column (third story) today;

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

James Rollins

  • Hardcover: $26.00
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0345501284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345501288

The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films

J.W. Rinzler, Laurent Bouzereau

  • Paperback: $35.00
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0345501292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345501295

There’s lots more book-related movies coming up this summer. Check out our list, complete with tie-in information.

Today’s reviews — 5/22

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

New York Times

Books of The Times: In These Places, Old Age Becomes a Team Sport

A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America

By Dudley Clendinen

371 pages. Viking. $24.95.


LEISUREVILLE: Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias

By Andrew D. Blechman

244 pages. Atlantic Monthly Press. $25.

Washington Post

When the Old West Was New


By Joanna Hershon

Ballantine. 304 pp. $25

USA Today

Summer books roundup (discussed in an earlier post)

‘Untold Tales’ finally told

America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation

Kenneth C. Davis

(Smithsonian Books, $26.95)

Book buzz: Frey’s ‘Morning’ after; Meyer’s ‘Host’ is a big hit

Entertainment Weekly

City of Thieves

David Beinoff


Who killed the literary critic?

The Death of the Critic

by Ronan McDonald

Salon’s reviewers, Laura Miller and Louis Bayard discuss the author’s thesis that the role of the book critic is still important (some more so than others). Bayard makes this great pointL

“Instead of bemoaning the decline of literature, should we be doing a better job of showing people what they’re missing: the excitement of unexpected insights, the thrill of new voices, the sex of ideas?”

(Warning: A Microsoft ad obscures some of the text. I found it impossible to get rid of, but the rabbits are darned cute.)

San Francisco Chronicle

Palahniuk Plums Porm


by Chuck Palahniuk

Doubleday; $24.95

Los Angeles Times

The Chris Farley Show’ by Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby

Hardcover: $29.95
Publisher: Viking Adult (May 6, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0670019232
ISBN-13: 978-0670019236

Barnes & Noble Review

The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession

by Adam Leith Gollner

reviewed by Dava Sobel (Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, and The Planets)

Wall Street Journal

Money to Make Things New

Creative Capital
By Spencer E. Ante
(Harvard Business Press, 299 pages, $35)

A Life of Sound Ideas

Riding the Waves
By Leo Beranek
(MIT Press, 235 pages, $24.95)

Correction — 5/20 Reviews

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

It was just pointed out that I confused two titles, both called Relentless Pursuit, in the 5/20 review roundup.

I noted that Relentless Pursuit, by Donna Foote, a book about the Teach for America program, reviewed in Slate, had been reviewed extensively elsewhere, including a negative review in the NYTimes. Unfortunately, the Times review was for a book of the same title, by Kevin Flynn, a true crime novel.

Here is the corrected entry:

Slate, 5/20 – Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America, Donna Foote

This book has also received other positive reviews, including one in The Chicago Tribune. 5/03

The author was also featured in US News and World Report, 3/5

The Books of Summer

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Hurrah! USA Today‘s Summer Books preview is up, listing 130+ of the season’s top books, with cover images and annotations for each and every one. It even has excerpts for some of the titles. Set up in a fun, interactive format (watch out, it’s addictive), it’s a great tool for readers advisory training.

Good as it is, it doesn’t take chances. The list is dominated by expected hits from authors with track records (no mention of The Art of Racing in the Rain, which just appeared on their Top 150 list at #129, after a few days on sale).

From that large crop, USA Today‘s editors choose “The Authors of Summer,” with quick info. on each of the six, including why they’re hot.

James Bond is back in book form with the ‘Devil’
Devil May Care
By Sebastian Faulks

Why it’s hot: It will be released on what would have been Fleming’s 100th birthday as part of a centennial celebration. Faulks is an acclaimed literary novelist, unlike Fleming, who was known more for his plots than style.”

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0385524285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385524285
  • Audio CD: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio;, $29.95 (May 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739366211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739366219
  • Large Type: $24.95
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print; (May 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0739327852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739327852

E. Lynn Harris proves to be quite ‘Good’

Just Too Good to Be True
by E. Lynn Harris
Why it’s hot: After nine best-selling novels about the lives and loves of black Americans (gay, straight and bisexual), Harris has nailed the winning formula for a sexy, melodramatic beach read.”

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: Doubleday (July 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0385492723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385492720

Stephanie Klein remembers what it was like to be ‘Moose’
Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp
by Stephanie Klein
“Why it’s hot: It combines the classic misery-at-summer-camp story with the lengths we’ll go to get thin.”

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 27, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0060843292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060843298

W. Hodding Carter is holding his breath in the ‘Deep End’
Off the Deep End
By W. Hodding Carter

“Why it’s hot: Aimed at aging baby boomers, it’s dedicated ‘To all those aged athletes out there with a burning desire to kick some young butt.’ Publisher is touting it as Father’s Day gift.”

  • Hardcover: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (June 10, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1565125649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125643

The matchless David Sedaris quits smoking in ‘Flames’
When You Are Engulfed in Flames
By David Sedaris
(Little, Brown, $25.99)

Why it’s hot: Sedaris is on a roll after his wildly popular best-sellers Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.”

  • Hardcover: $25.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown, (June 3, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316143472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316143479
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $34.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; (June 3, 2008)
  • Reader: David Sedaris
  • ISBN-10: 1600241824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600241826
  • Audio Cassette: Unabridged, $34.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio (June 3, 2008)
  • Reader: David Sedaris
  • ISBN-10: 1600242316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600242311
  • Large Type: $25.99
  • Publisher: Little, Brown. (June 3, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316024597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316024594

Emily Giffin is in top chick-lit form
Love the One You’re With

“Why it’s hot: The best-selling chick-lit author (Something Borrowed, Baby Proof) makes her highest debut on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list at No. 8 today with her latest novel.”

  • Hardcover: $24.95
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312348673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312348670
  • Audio CD: Abridged, $24.95
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; (May 13, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1427204217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427204219

Andromeda Strain

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

The book that launched Michael Crichton’s career, his 1969 bestselling techno-thriller The Andromeda Strain will be a two-part miniseries on A&E, beginning on Memorial Day. The DVD releases on June 3rd.

Variety says it’s “The biggest production in A&E’s 23-year history.”

It was made into a movie of the same title in 1971.


Will Oprah go Vegan?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

She will if Kathy Freston has anything to do with it. The “vegan spiritual counselor” was featured on Oprah’s makeover show yesterday. No surprise, then, that her book Quantum Wellness sprang to #2 on Amazon where it’s remained (after the #1 title, The Last Lecture, and ahead of Oprah Book Club Selection, A New Earth).

Most libraries have ordered modestly (a few not at all). Significant levels of holds are building.

Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness

Kathy Freston

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1602860181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602860186
  • Audio CD: listed as “currently unavailable” on Amazon
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1602860270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602860278

Today’s Reviews — 5/21

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Continuing our experiment of rounding up the daily reviews, below is today’s listing. One title, The Wines of Burgundy, is not owned by most libraries I checked and libraries should consider adding more copies of Split: A Memoir of Divorce, which is building significant holds to copy ratios.

5/21 Reviews:

New York Times


Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved

By Fay Vincent

Illustrated. 327 pages. Simon & Schuster. $25.

Eric Asimov reviews four new titles in his NYT wine column:

  • The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine (Crown, $24.95), by Benjamin Wallace — “one of the rare books on wine that transcends the genre.”

Also recently reviewed in USA Today, and the Seattle Times

  • The Wines of Burgundy, Clive Coates, (University of California Press, $60

Not owned by the libraries I checked. Asimov calls it “a solid, in-depth reference on Burgundy — the best, in fact, since Mr. Coates’s own Côte d’Or (1997)”

  • Reflections of a Wine Merchant: On a Lifetime in the Vineyards and Cellars of France and Italy, Neal I. Rosenthal, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24)

Also reviewed by Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post and in last Sunday’s L.A. Times

  • Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine and Family in the Heart of Italy, Sergio Esposito and Justine Van Der Leun, (Broadway Books, $24.95

Washington Post


The Remaking of American Justice

By Eric Lichtblau

Pantheon. 349 pp. $26.95

This has also been reviewed in the New York Times (4/3) and the Rocky Mountain News (4/18)

NPR (5/20)

Interview with James Frey, Bright Shiny Morning

Seattle Times

Split: A Memoir of Divorce

by Suzanne Finnamore

Dutton, 255 pp., $24.95

Also recently reviewed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer with this great line: “Suzanne Finnamore might just as well be the love child of Fay Weldon and Lily Tomlin. “Split: A Memoir of Divorce” is that ferocious, funny and dark.”

And USA Today 4/30, wrote, “Split is hilarious and moving. Finnamore falls apart, she drinks, she burns photos, she needs to be rescued by her mother and friends.”

Significant holds to copy ratios are building in several libraries.

Christian Science Monitor

Ghettostadt: Lodz and the Making of a Nazi City

By Gordon J. Horwitz

Belknap Press 416 pp., $29.95

Boston Globe

A Curious Earth
By Gerard Woodward
Norton, 290 pp., $14.95