Eye on Reviews

We’re continuously updating the “Books in the Consumer Media” links (see listings at the right), to give you a convenient overview of titles getting attention. From the recent reviews, the following caught my eye:

Today, in the Washington Post, Patrick Anderson gives a strong thumbs up to Sean Chercover’s second thriller, Trigger City (his first, Big City, Bad Blood just won the Shamus 2008 “Best P.I. First Novel” award. It was also nominated for the Anthony Awards Best First Mystery).

It’s owned in small quantities by most libraries, with heavy reserve to copy ratios in several areas. Chercover lives in Chicago and Toronto.

Trigger City

Sean Chercover

  • Hardcover: $23.95; 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (October 14, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061128694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061128691


On Friday, Carolyn See enthused in the Washington Post about Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain, a book she admits may not be to everyone’s taste:

These linked short stories take as their subject the sheer weirdness of the medical profession (mostly as it pertains to neuropsychiatric problems). They provide us with a history of mental ailments in America, how they went in and out of fashion according to the times in which we lived. They also give us a wonderful history of the city of New York, with all kinds of seamy and gruesome details thrown in. And they examine our unrelenting curiosity about what actually goes on underneath our skins.

Carolyn; your cup of tea sounds like mine.

The book is owned in very small quantities in libraries I checked, with light reserves at this point. The author, Kirsten Menger-Anderson lives in San Francisco.

Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain

Kirsten Menger-Anderson

  • Hardcover: $22.95; 290 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 9, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1565125614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125612


The book that must hold the current record for number of reviews is the new bio. of Emily Post by Laura Claridge. Most recently the New York Times Book Review, covered it, not flatteringly; “Claridge hails from the leave-no-detail-undisturbed school of biography.”

This assessment that was shared by the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Others, such as The New Yorker, were focused on how surprisingly interesting Post’s life was, which may be why library reserve ratios are fairly heavy.

Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners

Laura Claridge

  • Hardcover: $30; 544 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (October 14, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0375509216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375509216


Also receiving wide review coverage (overwhelmingly positive in this case), is Factory Girls by Wall Street Journal writer Leslie T. Chang. The reserves range from People, which gave it 3.5 of 4 stars (current issue; not available online) to the New Yorker which praised Chang’s “fine prose and keen sense of detail.”

The subject, as described by The New York Times, is ” the invisible foot soldiers who made China’s stirring rise possible: the country’s 130 million migrant workers.” Most reviewers also praise Chang’s depictions of her own family’s Chinese background. The Washington Post says, “That story is almost like a book within a book, and it gives a poignant perspective to her accounts of the dislocated migrant workers she gets to know. More than that, it completes her portrait of China.”

The book is owned in small quantities, with high reserves per copy in many areas. Chang lives in Colorado.

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

Leslie T. Chang

  • Hardcover: $26; 432 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (October 7, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0385520174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385520171

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