First Novel Race

The Gargoyle, which has been touted as the next hot debut novel of the summer comes out tomorrow.  It happens that two other debut novels with similarly high expectations came out last Tuesday; The Lace Reader and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. All three have had major media and review attention and are getting major retailer promotion.

Library ordering patterns for each title are similar, but holds reveal another story. Adding up the holds at four large library systems, one title is clearly in the lead:

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society — 447 holds on 59 copies

The Lace Reader — 281 holds on 86 copies

The Gargoyle — 145 holds on 68 copies

Here’s what each book has going for it:

The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson, Doubleday, 8/05, 978-0385524940

[ewbooks id=”19″]

Prepub stories:

in BOTH USA Today and the Wall Street Journal


Sold for $1.25 million

125,000 copy first printing

Major reviews:

Cover of this week’s Washington Post Book World

Daily NYT review by Janet Maslin

Entertainment Weekly – the above are positive,

but EW gave it a “D”

Librarian support:

Williamsburg Regional Library site

Comments on Early Word

The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry, William Morrow, 7/29, 978-0061624766

[ewbooks id=”159″]

Backstory covered by:

NPR, Morning Edition, 8/01


Originally self-pubbed, then picked up for

a reported $2 million, two-book deal

Retail support:

“Pennie’s Pick” in August Costco Connection

Featured as one of seven “Best of the Month” for August on Amazon

Major reviews:

Daily NYT review by Janet Maslin

Washington Post Book World, 8/03

People Pick, 8/11 issue

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Dial Press, 7/29, 978-0385340991

[ewbooks id=”160″]

Prepub story:

The Wall Street Journal, 7/12


Shipping over 100,000 copies

Retail support:

#1 Indie Next List selection for August

B&N Recommends” title for August

Librarian support:

Mary Ellen on Booklist‘s Book Group Buzz says

it’s an “imperfect book,” but perfect for book

clubs, because, like Water for Elephants,

it “provides multiple avenues for discussion.”

Major reviews:

Washington Post, 7/27

Daily NYT review by Janet Maslin

One Response to “First Novel Race”

  1. Sarah Says:

    There is also a review of “The Guernsey . . . ” in the 8/4/08 NEWSWEEK, p. 76.