Archive for November, 2008

A Flood of ‘Bests’

Friday, November 28th, 2008

The best books lists are beginning to flow, so we’ve put together a special links section (see Best Books 2008 at the right).

Since the end of the year coincides with the major gift-giving season, some of the lists are really gift guides, but they also offer an opportunity to look at categories that otherwise get overlooked (such as illustrated books). We’ve decided to include them all; the specialty lists can help you identify titles that fill a need in your collection, whether your own, or the library’s.

‘The Reader’ Back in the Race

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

It looks like The Reader is back on the ‘08 movie schedule, with a limited opening on Dec. 10th, making it a contender for the ’08 Oscars

Below is the updated information:

The Reader

Contender for:

Best Picture

Best Director

Best Screenplay

Best Actress: Kate Winslet (see also, Revolutionary Road)

Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes (see also, best suporting for The Duchess)

Opens: Dec 10, limited; Jan 9, wide

Director: Stephen Daldry

Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes

Based on: The Reader by Bernard Schlink

Movie Tie-in:

The Reader

Bernhard Schlink

  • Mass Market Paperback: $7.99; 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Mti edition (December 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307473465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307473462

New to the USA Today Bestsellers, 11/27

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

The movie tie-in edition of The Road appears on the new USA Today list at #43. The movie, originally scheduled to come out last week, was suddenly switched to an undefined date in 2009, leaving the tie-in seemingly stranded. But it seems that the book doesn’t need no stickin’ movie to be a bestseller again; all it needed was a new cover and prominent display.

There’s no new titles in childrens, but favorite backlist titles are returning to the list, signaling the advent of the major gift-giving season, such as The Cat in the Hat, Where the Wild Things Are and Polar Express

The USA Today list shows the top-selling 150 books, regardless of format, age level, or category. Here, we break down the titles new to the list by broad buying categories.

Adult Fiction

#5 Cross Country, James Patterson, Little, Brown

#30 Dashing Through the SnowMary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark,  Simon & Schuster

#31 Private PatientP.D. James,  Knopf

#128 Dying For RevengeEric Jerome Dickey,  Dutton Adult


Adult Nonfiction

#9 Outliers: The Story of SuccessMalcolm Gladwell,  Little, Brown

#45 Why We SuckDenis Leary,  Viking Adult

#55 Do the Right ThingMike Huckabee,  Sentinel

#71 32 Ways to Be a Champion in BusinessEarvin Magic Johnson,  Crown Business

#127 Annie Leibovitz at WorkAnnie Leibovitz,  Random House


Paperback Originals

#91 The Pagan StoneNora Roberts,  Jove

#103 Talk of The Town, Karen Hawkins,  Pocket


Young Adult

#27 Burning Up: On Tour With the Jonas BrothersKevin, Joe and Nick Jonas,  Disney-Hyperion

#140 Night World # 2, L.J. Smith,  Simon Pulse

NYT ‘Notables’

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Just in time to spark arguments at the Thanksgiving table; the New York Times list of 100 Notable Books and 8 Notable Childrens Books (some of which cross over with the earlier Best Illustrated Books list) is now online. Only one of the nominees for the National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature (NOT the winner) makes the list; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart.

In adult, the NBA winner in NonFiction makes the NYT list, but not the Fiction winner.

Starbucks Holiday Pick an Inspirational Fable

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

The current issue of USA Today features the new Starbucks pick, The Traveler. 

The book is a fable, but the story of the its road to publication is an inspirational tale for wannabe authors everywhere– a guy gets an idea, turns it into a book, asks his brother to illustrate it, sells it to a prestigious house, Starbucks picks it to feature in over 7,000 of their shops for the holidays.

What USA Today doesn’t point out is that the 26-year-old first-time author is hardly an outsider; he’s a former assistant to Gore Vidal.

The book is on sale now; it will be in Starbucks beginning Friday. Libraries have modest quantities on order, with few reserves.

The Traveler

Daren Simkin and Daniel Simkin (illustrations)

  • Hardcover: $12.95; 48 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (November 25, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0374116393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374116392

Lincoln Books Get Unexpected Boost

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

February 12, 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth and a raft of new Lincoln books are being published this fall, to tie in with the upcoming celebrations.

Nobody could have anticipated an even more powerful publicity push; a President-elect with a Lincoln fascination. Yesterday, he was photographed by the AP, carrying the recently-released Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan. (Thanks to our friends at Shelf Awareness for spotting it).

The book has been reviewed widely:

Most libraries own the hardcover, but few have the audio.



    Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer

    by Fred Kaplan

    • Hardcover:  $27.95; 416 pages
    • Reader: Dan John Miller
    • Publisher: Harper (October 28, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0060773340
    • ISBN-13: 978-0060773342
    • Audio CD: $34.99; Unabridged
    • Publisher: Brilliance Audio (November 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1423370996
    • ISBN-13: 978-1423370994

    ‘Oxford Project’ Update

    Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

    The editor of the Oxford Project alerts us that the CBS Sunday Morning segment about the book is now available online (you’ll have to endure a short ad in the beginning):

    The book is published by Welcome Books, an independent publisher of illustrated books, distributed by Random House. Welcome was co-founded by Lena Tabori (who also co-founded Stewart, Tabori and Chang) and the cartoonist Tom Wilson (Ziggy). Their catalog is included in our Downloadable Publisher Catalogs.

    Another of their titles, The American Farmer will be featured on the Martha Stewart Show today. It is owned by half the large libraries I checked (with all copies in circulation). 

    American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country

    by Paul Mobley

    • Hardcover: $50; 276 pages
    • Publisher: Welcome Books (October 14, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1599620472
    • ISBN-13: 978-1599620473

    Books to Movies; Oscar Buzz

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    Among the many movies that will open during the holidays are several that are drawing Oscar speculation. Some of them are based on books.

    The field has narrowed, as several titles that received earlier Oscar buzz have been moved to next year — The Soloist, The Reader [Update: it looks like The Reader will have a limited opening on Dec. 10th, making it eligible. We’ve added it back to the list] and The Road.

    Variety is tracking all the contenders at their Awards Central section.

    We’ve set up a page with all the movies getting Oscar speculation that are based on books. The nominees will be announced Jan. 22nd (with the Awards on Feb. 22nd).

    The Reader

    Contender for:

    Best Picture

    Best Director

    Best Screenplay

    Best Actress: Kate Winslet (see also, Revolutionary Road)

    Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes (see also, best suporting for The Duchess)

    Opens: Dec 10, limited; Jan 9, wide

    Director: Stephen Daldry

    Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes

    Based on: The Reader by Bernard Schlink

    Movie Tie-in:

    The Reader

    Bernhard Schlink

    • Mass Market Paperback: $7.99; 224 pages
    • Publisher: Vintage; Mti edition (December 30, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307473465
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307473462


    Revolutionary Road

    Best Picture

    Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio

    Best Actress: Kate Winslet

    Opens DEC 26 in selected theaters

    Director: Sam Mendes


    Leonardo DiCaprio — Frank Wheeler

    Kate Winslet — April Wheeler

    Based on: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

    Movie tie-in:

    Revolutionary Road

    Richard Yates

    • Paperback: $14.95; 368 pages
    • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (November 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307454622
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307454621


    Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    Best Picture

    Best Actor: Brad Pitt

    Best Actress: Tilda Swinton

    Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

    Opens: DEC 25

    Director: David Fincher

    Based on: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Starring: Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond

    Many editions are available. Below is the tie-in:

    • Paperback: $9.95; 64 pages
    • Publisher: Scribner (August 14, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 1416556052
    • ISBN-13: 978-1416556053



    Best Picture (dark horse)

    Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen

    Best Director: Ed Zwick

    Opens: DEC 31 (Limited); JAN 16 (Wide)

    Directed by: Edward Zwick

    Starring: Daniel Craig, George MacKay, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Allan Cordun

    Based on: Defiance : The Bielski Partisans, by Nechama Tec (Oxford University Press, 1994)

    The Bielski Partisans

    Nechama Tec

    • Paperback: $14.95; 416 pages
    • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (December 26, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0195376854
    • ISBN-13: 978-0195376852
    • Audio CD: $24.95; Unabridged; 9 CD’s
    • Read By: Stefan Rudnicki
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (December 2, 2008)
    • ISBN: 1-4332-6590-7

    Heavy Reserve Alert — ‘The Oxford Project’

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    Featured in NPR’s roundup of best illustrated books for gift-giving is one of our favorites, The Oxford Project. Libraries are showing heavy reserve to copies ratios. It was featured on CBS Sunday Morning recently. Unfortunately, that segment of the show is not available on the CBS Web site [update — the video is now available, see: ‘Oxford Project’ Update).

    The Oxford Project
    Stephen G. Bloom and Peter Feldstein

    • Hardcover: $50; 264 pages
    • Publisher: Welcome Books (September 16, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1599620480
    • ISBN-13: 978-1599620480

    NPR — Best Cookbooks

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    How many of you equate Brooklyn with delicious baked goods?

    Change your tune, non-Brooklynites. TWO of NPR’s picks of the best cookbooks of the year (Baked and The Sweet Melissa Baking Book) come from Brooklyn bakeries (both within walking distance of EarlyWord).

    We’re waiting for our favorite street vendor, “The Treats Truck,” which also does its baking in Brooklyn, to produce a cookbook.

    But, we digress.

    Holds are building on the following titles that were specifically mentioned on the show.

    NPR correspondent Susan Chang’s top pick is by an NPR colleague, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

    The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio’s Award-Winning Food Show.

    • Hardcover: $35; 352 pages
    • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (April 8, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307346714
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307346711
    Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
    by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
    • Hardcover: $29.95; 208 pages
    • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang (October 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1584797215
    • ISBN-13: 978-1584797210
    Chang says these “two guys from Brooklyn…seem to willing to put anything in their baked goods…ale, chipotles, green tea, salt.”
    How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)
    Mark Bittman
    • Hardcover: $35; 1008 pages
    • Publisher: Wiley (October 15, 2007)
    • ISBN-10: 0764524836
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764524837

    To see the rest of the titles, including The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, go to The 10 Best Cookbooks Of 2008. But don’t go if you’re hungry; NPR includes recipes from each title.

    Bestselling Obama Titles

    Monday, November 24th, 2008

    The current NYT bestseller list is the first to reflect a full week of sales after the election. No surprise, Obama titles are all over it. Obama’s own books, Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father, are on BOTH the hardcover and paperback nonfiction lists (occupying the top two spots on the paperback list).

    Several pictorial titles are selling well, plus two titles on what lies ahead for the Obama administration and a biography of Michelle Obama. 

    Pictorial Books

    Few libraries own the top-seller of the pictorial titles, The American Journey of Barack Obama, a last-minute drop-in title that was therefore was not reviewed pre-pub.

    #7 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction

    #82 Amazon


    by the editors of Life magazine

    • Hardcover: $24.99; 176 pages
    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 7, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0316045608
    • ISBN-13: 978-0316045605


    #16 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction

     #786 Amazon


    by Pete Souza

    • Hardcover: $27.95; 176 pages
    • Publisher: Triumph Books (July 1, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1600781632
    • ISBN-13: 978-1600781636


    #31 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction 

    #602 Amazon

    OBAMA: The Historic Campaign in Photographs

    by Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida 

    • Hardcover: $26.95; 160 pages
    • Publisher: Amistad (October 28, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0061733091
    • ISBN-13: 978-0061733093


    Policy titles

    #3 NYT Paperback Nonfiction

    #75 Amazon 


    by the editors of Time Magazine with a foreword by Barack Obama

    • Paperback: $13.95;288 pages
    • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (September 9, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307460452
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307460455


    #19 NYT Paperback Nonfiction

    #380 Amazon

     OBAMA’S CHALLENGE, by Robert Kuttner

    • Paperback: $14.95; 213 pages
    • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (August 25, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1603580794
    • ISBN-13: 978-1603580793

    This title was reviewed in the Boston Globe, ‘Obama’s Challenge’ questions conventional wisdom


    Michelle Obama

    #30 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction

    #1242 Amazon

     MICHELLE, by Liza Mundy (Simon & Schuster)

    • Hardcover: $25; 224 pages
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster;  (October 7, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1416599436
    • ISBN-13: 978-1416599432

    Are Movies Dead? No, Just Morphing

    Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

    As part of the NYT Magazine’s special issue on Hollywood, Kevin Kelly in his article, Becoming Screen Literate, says the future of movies can be seen on YouTube, where thousands of amateurs post hand-made short films that generate audiences to rival those for blockbuster movies.

    Supporting this creativity are vast free visual libraries on the Web;  Flickr and Google SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse (warning: if you haven’t explored this site before, get ready to spend a LOT if time on it. For more on how SketchUp works, click here).

    There’s plenty more in this issue. The Screening of America by NYT  film critic A.O. Scott predicts the death of the cinema and includes a stunning chart of the number of hours spent per person on “media consumption” in 2007. “Reading Books” is not included. Maybe it’s too small to make the chart?

    ‘Twilight’ Reviews; Not Good

    Friday, November 21st, 2008

    Did you really expect anything different?

    We might try to summarize the reviews for you, but fortunately, MTV has already done a fine job, posing the question,

    …is this a classic case of middle-aged male reviewers forgetting what it’s like to be a teenager craving escapism, or can it really be true that the Cullens aren’t the only things in Twilight that suck? 

    Bolaño’s ‘2666’ a Bestseller OR … Be Less Insular, Part Trois

    Friday, November 21st, 2008

    After much review attention, 2666 by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, has landed on the extended 11/30 NYT Fiction list at #25 as well as at #28 on the extended Trade Paperback list (it came out simulataneously in hardcover and as a 3-vol. boxed trade paperback). It also appears on the following lists this week:

    • ABA Indie Bestsellers, Fiction, #11
    • Boston Globe Fiction, #7
    • SF Chronicle Fiction, #10
    • Northern California Independent Booksellers Assoc., Fiction, #5

    Library ordering was light and reserve to copy ratios are heavy in several areas.

    Below are some of the reviews, but as the SF Chronicle puts it, 

    Echoing the resignation of colleagues who tried and failed to sum up the book, the Argentine novelist Rodrigo Fresán wrote: “It doesn’t make much sense to read about 2666; one must read 2666.

    I’ve failed on both counts, having read a great deal about 2666, but not a word of the book itself. I recommend Malcolm Jones’s review in Newsweek, who admits the book is not for the faint hearted, but urges readers to tackle it, to “see a novelist aim for the moon, even if he falls on his face.”

    If you want to violate the dictum to not read about 2666 in a really big way,  try Francisco Goldman’s piece on Bolaño’s work in the New York Review.


    NYT Book Review

    NYT Daily

    Los Angeles Times

    SF Chronicle


    New Yorker

    New York Review of Books

    Washington Post Book World

    2666 is owned in small quantities in libraries, with heavy reserves to copy ratios in many areas.


    by Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
    • Hardcover: $30; 912 pages
    • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (November 11, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0374100144
    • ISBN-13: 978-0374100148
    • Paperback: $30; 912 pages
    • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (November 11, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0374531552
    • ISBN-13: 978-0374531553

    ‘Dewey’ Rises in Sales

    Friday, November 21st, 2008

    Although Dewey slips to #3, from #1 last week, on the 11/30 NYT Nonfiction bestseller list, the book actually increased in sales. The Wall Street Journal bestseller list shows it went from a sales index of 31 to 37 this week (the sales index shows relative sales of books. The calculation is ingenious, but probably only of interest to statisticians. If you really care, go to the list and click on “How the index is calculated”).

    The number 1 title, Artie Lange’s Too Fat to Fish, came in with a sales of index of 102, shooting it to the top.

    Dewey would so hate being bested by a fish.