Archive for December, 2008

More Motley Fool

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Rising to #5 on Amazon today is The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio. Several large libraries are not showing it on order yet.

It is also available in large type and unabridged audio.


The Motley Fool  Million Dollar Portfolio: How to Build and Grow a Panic-Proof Investment Portfolio

David Gardner and Tom Gardner

  • Hardcover: $26.99; 288 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Business;  (December 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 006156754X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061567544
  • Large Type Edition: $26.99
  • Publisher: HarperLuxe; 2/3/2009
  • ISBN: 9780061720031
  • ISBN10: 0061720038
  • Unabridged Audio: $34.99
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; 12/30/2008
  • ISBN: 9780061729904
  • ISBN10: 0061729906

A Viral Hit

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

USA Today reports in their “Buzz” column (third story) that a relatively simple video of Kelly Corrigan reading from her memoir The Middle Place has received over 1.8 million hits on You Tube (ahead of “Shrimp Running on a Treadmill” that upset Bill O’Reilly so much) and is causing sales to soar. In the book, Corrigan writes about her relationship with her father when they were both battling cancer.

The book was published in hardcover in January. It appeared for one week on the NYT Nonfiction bestseller list and three weeks on the extended list. The paperback was released last week and is temporarily out of stock on Amazon, where it is at #76 in sales rankings.

Many libraries are showing significant holds.

It is also available in audio, from Blackstone and downloadable from OverDrive.

The Middle Place
Kelly Corrigan

  • Paperback: $14.95; 288 pages
  • Publisher: Voice (Hyperion);  December 23, 2008
  • ISBN-10: 1401340938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401340933
  • Audio Publisher: Blackstone
  • 6 tapes: $54.95; 1-433212710
  • 1 MP3CD: $29.95; 1-433212758
  • 6 CD’s: $63; 1-433212727

Lerner Recalling ‘Angel Girl’

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Publishers Weekly reported yesterday that Lerner is recalling Angel Girl, a picture book inspired by the now discredited Halocaust story of Herman and Roma Rosenblat.

The book was published in September. WorldCat shows it is owned by 463 libraries; most large libraries own multiple copies. It received strong prepub reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal and a starred review from Kirkus.

Very few libraries ordered the adult memoir by the Rosenblats, Angel at the Fence. Originally scheduled for February publication, it was cancelled by the publisher, Berkley.



  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (September 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0822587394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822587392

On the Wagon with Oprah

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008


You knew it had to happen. Oprah recently announced she’s fallen off the health and diet wagon.  Now, she’ll drag herself and her viewers back on with her “Best Life Week,” beginning Jan 5.

The week features:

Jan 5 — Your Weight — Bob Greene. His Best Life Diet was released on 12/30.

Jan 6 — Your Health — Dr. Mehmet Oz, co-author with Dr. Michael Roizen of the “YOU” series:

  • YOU: Being Beautiful
  • YOU: Staying Young
  • YOU: On a Diet
  • YOU: the Owner’s Manual

Jan 7 — Your Spirituality — a panel featuring, 

Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open and  A Seeker’s Guide.  

Michael Bernard Beckwith;  Spiritual LiberationInspirations of the Heart40 Day Mind Fast Soul Feast and A Manifesto of Peace.

Jan 8 — Your Money — Suze Orman. Her 2009 Action Plan came out 12/30.

Jan 9 — Your Sex Life — Dr. Laura Berman, Real Sex for Real Women

New Sookie Stackhouse

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Amazon’s list of “Popular Pre-Orders” is a good indicator of books that are “highly anticipated” (which is why we link to it, under “Books Coming Next Month,” to the right).

The current list is dominated by titles coming out in January and February, but at #9 is a book that won’t be out until May, Charlaine Harris’s 9th title in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead and Gone. Hennepin is one of the few libraries that has it on order. At this point, they are showing 83 holds on 16 copies.

On her Web site, Harris says she is not finished with the series and doesn’t know how many more there will be.

HBO’s True Blood series brought the books back to bestseller lists this year. The series was recently received two Golden Globe nominations,  for best dramatic series and for best actress (Anna Paquin). True Blood will return for a second season this coming summer. 


Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone  (#9)

In Berkley Trade catalog, pgs 6&7

  • Hardcover: $25.95; 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover (May 5, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0441017150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441017157

The series began as original paperbacks, but started coming out in hardcover with #4 (Dead to the World).

Harris’s publisher  is in the midst of reissuing the first three titles in hard cover.


Charlaine Harris

Dead until Dark (#1)

  • Hardcover: $23.95; 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover (January 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0441015972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441015979



Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas,  #2

  • Hardcover: $24.95; 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover (January 6, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0441016731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441016730

Club Dead  (#3 ) is scheduled for hardcover reprint in January 2010.

The Worst Books — Now We’re Talking!

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I think I’ve OD’d on Best Books lists — we’ve  linked to 67 lists from 29 publications (see links at right). And, we’re being selective; we’ve  tried to keep it focused on the publications that have the most sway with consumers and librarians. I don’t dare to even try to count the number of lists put together by “Large Hearted Boy,” who, being large hearted and all, is going for quantity.

So, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of glee at Entertainment Weekly ‘s list of the five worst books of the year, most of them bestsellers.

They’ve also selected the top ten in fiction and nonfiction. The fiction list is the quirkier of the two.

Their #1 pick is a book that didn’t get the huge audience I thought it deserved,


Say You’re One of Them

Uwem Akpan

  • Hardcover: $23.99; 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; (June 9, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316113786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316113786

At #2, is a first novel that hasn’t appear on other lists. The pick gave it a lift on Amazon (from the low five digits to a high of #1,557). Some libraries are showing reserves.


The Book of Dahlia

Elissa Albert

  • Hardcover: $23; 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press;  (March 11, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0743291298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743291293

It’s coming out in paperback in March:

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (March 10, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0743291301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743291309

Appropriately, since Entertainment Weekly is a big supporter of graphic novels, they also include, at #5,


Bottomless Belly Button

Dash Shaw

  • Paperback: $29.99; 720 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (June 4, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1560979151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560979159

A Grown-up Book Recommendation from EarlyWord Kids

Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Lisa Von Drasek: Early Word Kids

Yes, I do have a pile of spring 2009 galleys for kids to read and review but I devoted Boxing day to an adult title.

I didn’t mean to. I meant to spend the day cleaning and organizing.

As I was clearing the piles off my desk, I thought, “Where did this come from?”  I checked the description, “Three sisters. Three Tales and a secret as dark as night.”  

Not really my cup of tea, but I’ll give it a try;

Malahide, just north of Dublin. Not so long ago.  Long after the house had been disinfected for new occupants and the bodies rested safely in the ground, people still don’t come near it. ‘Cursed’, whispered the neighborhood gossips and nodded meaningfully.

Before I knew it, the day was gone. I barely stopped to eat and walk the dog. I was trapped in the vortex of this dark, compelling story. Gripping until the very last page.

Moerk weaves a dark suspenseful tale of three sisters, their unbalanced aunt, a seductive storyteller and an honorable civil servant. For more on Moerk, check his Web site.

[Ed. Note: Talia Sherer, Director of Library Marketing for adult books at Macmillan, has some galleys available for EarlyWord readers. You can ask for one by emailing her.

Update, 1/8: thanks to all the request from EarlyWord readers, Talia has now run out of galleys for Darling Jim, but she has galleys of Burnt Shadows. Check her post for information on that title.]


Darling Jim 

Christian Moerk 

  • Hardcover: $25; 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (March 31, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0805089470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089479

New to USA Today & NYT Bestsellers

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

The bestseller lists get pretty dull at this time of the year, as buyers focus on the tried-and-true for gift-giving and few new titles break onto the lists.

The new lists reflect the prime gift-buying week (USA Today, 12/15 through 12/21, dated 12/25; NYT, 12/14 through 12/20, dated 1/4/09), so there’s precious little to report.

The New York Times has just two debut titles (with “gift-giving” written all over them).

Nonfiction, #13


The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages1851-2008, with an introduction by Bill Keller. (Black Dog & Leventhal, $60.) Over 300 covers are reproduced in this weighty tome, the rest are on three DVD’s included in the package. It appeared last week on the NYT Extended list and is at #95 on USA Today. Some libraries are showing this available as an eBook. 

Childrens Picture Books, #9


The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Lisa Brown. (McSweeney’s, $11).

Published last year, this is the book’s first appearance on the NYT list.

Breaking on to the USA Today list, at #140, is a title that may not sound like the perfect stocking-stuffer;

Grandma’s Dead: Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals (Collins).


Borders included it in one of their holiday front-of-store displays, labelled, “Weird, Wacky and Fun.” Zan Farr, Borders humor buyer says  this collection of postcards,

…almost makes you wish you had some bad news to share with friends. For example, there is no better way to let them know ‘It’s only sunny because there’s a hole in the ozone layer’ than with a darling photo of two puppies playing in a wagon.”

Just two other new titles make their USA Today debuts:


#129 Blood SinsKay Hooper, Bantam (also on NYT Extended Fiction list, at #23)


#146 Marley & Me: Meet MarleyNatalie Engel, HarperCollins

What’s Your Pop-Culture IQ?

Saturday, December 27th, 2008


Try this from USA Today (consider it job training. After all, librarians need to know what’s current in the culture, including pop culture).

2008 Pop Culture IQ test

Then, tell us how well you did (and, no fair looking up the answers!)

Wall Street Journal Picks Best Books

Friday, December 26th, 2008


Of the newspaper book review sections, the Wall Street Journal tends to cover books that others do not, including a fair number of university press books. You might expect them to focus on books on finance, but they’re just as likely to review books on the arts.

Their picks of the “most memorable” books of 2008 is also off the beaten path. Even though they selected only a dozen books, the majority of these titles haven’t appeared on the other lists we tracked (see our links to “Best Books 2008” to the right. We include only the sources that have broad consumer reach, but if you want to look at all the best lists, check out the blog Large-Hearted Boy‘s  2008 Year-End Online Book Lists). None of the  National Book Award finalists make the WSJ list.

The titles that overlap with other lists happen to be the three fiction titles:

  • Lush Life, Richard Price
  • Cost, Roxana Robinson
  • Dear American Airlines, Jonathan Miles

Not a single financial title makes the list, which ranges from a book on Pixar studios to  Daniel Mark Epstein’s The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage.

‘Revolutionary Road’, the Movie

Friday, December 26th, 2008

In anticipation of the movie debuting today, much has been written about Richard Yates’s cult classic, Revolutionary Road,  putting the book on bestseller lists.

And, now, movie critics are evaluating whether this will join the list of movies that are better than the books, or vice versa. As the New York Times‘s Manohla Dargis says today, “Revolutionary Road is the kind of great novel that Hollywood tends to botch.”  While he doesn’t think Revolutionary Road is botched, exactly, he says the film just doesn’t “resonate.” 

Other reviewers tend to agree. The one hold out is USA Today, which says,

…the performances are superb, and the film is beautifully shot. And the dialogue, much of it lifted directly from Yates’ book, is contemplative and incisive.

Harold Pinter Dies

Thursday, December 25th, 2008


Several news agencies are reporting that playwright Harold Pinter died yesterday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 78.

New York Times — Harold Pinter, Nobel-Winning Playwright, Dies at 78

Associated Press — Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter dies at 78

The Telegraph (UK) — Harold Pinter: the most original, stylish and enigmatic writer in …

In the US, Pinter is published by Grove.

The NYT lists as his “master works” The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming and Betrayal. They are available in the following editions:


The Birthday Party and The Room

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Revised edition (January 20, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802151140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151148



The Caretaker and The Dumb Waiter

  • Paperback: $13; 128 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 18, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 080215087X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150875

The Caretaker was also made into a movie, starring Alan Bates, Donald Pleasance, Robert Shaw and Pinter himself. The DVD does not seem to be available.


The Homecoming

  • Paperback: $13; 96 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 11, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802151051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151056

The Homecoming was also made into a movie (1973), available on DVD:


  • Actors: Jonathan Sachar, Paul Rogers, Ian Holm, Cyril Cusack, Terence Rigby
  • Director: Peter Hall
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Number of discs: 1; $29.95
  • Rating: 
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
  • ASIN: B00009MEJF




  • Paperback: $13; 144 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 7, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802130801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130808


Grove has also released his complete works in four volumes:


Complete Works, Volume I, 1954 to 1960

The Birthday Party, the Room, the dumb Waiter, A Slight Ache, A Night Out

Plus, two short stories; The Black and White, The Examination

  • Paperback: $13.50; 296 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 18, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802150969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150967



Complete Works, Volume  II, 1959 to 1963

The Caretaker, the Dwarfs, the Collection, the Lover, Night School, Revue Sketches

  • Paperback: $13.50; 248 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 21, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802132375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132376


Complete Works, Volume III, 1963 to 1969

The Homecoming, Tea Party, The Basement, Landscape, Silence

Revue Sketches: Night, That’s Your Trouble, That’s All, Applicant, Interview, Dialogue for Three

Short Story: Tea Party

  • Paperback: $14; 248 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 13, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802150497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150493


Complete Works, Volume IV, 1971 to 1981

Old Times, No Man’s Land, Betrayal, Monologue, Family Voices

  • Paperback: $13.50; 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 13, 1994)
  • ISBN-10: 0802150500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150509

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ for Young Muslims

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Yesterday’s NYT featured a story about a book that is characterized as “The Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims.” The Taqwacores, by Michael Muhammad Knight, is about a fictional Muslim punk-rock band in Buffalo, NY and has given a name to the actual Muslim punk-rock movement. A low-budget film  based on the book will be released next year.

The NYT says Knight

…wrote The Taqwacores to mend the rift between his being an observant Muslim and an angry American youth. He found validation in the life of Muhammad, who instructed people to ignore their leaders, destroy their petty deities and follow only Allah.

If you’re having trouble imagining Islamic punk rock, the following seven-minute feature from Al Jazeerah helps bring it to life. It includes interviews with Knight and the cast and director of the movie. Great quote, “It’s about challenging the orthodoxy of punk as well as the orthodoxy of Islam.”

After being self-pubbed, it was released in 2004 by Autonomedia. It has not been reviewed and some, but only a few libraries, own it. The full text of the book is also available on the Web.

A new edition is coming in January from Brooklyn-based indie publisher Soft Skull Press. Requests for review copies can be sent to Soft Skull Media.


The Taqwacores by Michael Muhammad Knight

  • Paperback: $12.95; 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; Revised Edition (January, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1593762291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762292

Soft Skull will publish a total of five books by Knight next year. The following information on those titles is from the publisher. For more information on upcoming titles from Soft Skull, check their catalog


Michael Muhammad Knight

April 2009; $14.95; 978-1-59376-226-1

When Michael Muhammad Knight, the author of The Taqwacores, founder of American Muslim punk, and leading nontraditional scholar of Islam was six years old, he asked his single mother about his absent father. His mother answered that his father “got sick and ran away.”  Several years later, he learned the true story: how his father, a paranoid schizophrenic and white supremacist, alternately convinced that Michael’s mother was in league with the devil and that she would give birth to a line of superhuman rulers.

This is the story of a teenager’s troubled pathway toward maturity and the influences that steady him on his way to adulthood. Knight’s encounter with Public Enemy and The Autobiography of Malcolm X leads him to embrace Islam with all the unbalanced overzealousness and naiveté of a disturbed adolescent in search of salvation. His affinity for Islam deepens and at age 17 he travels to Faisal Mosque in Islamabad to study his adopted religion, putting him on track similar to that of Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber. For all its extremes, Impossible Man describes a universal journey: a wounded boy in search of a working model of manhood, going to outrageous lengths to find it.


Michael Muhammad Knight

May 2009

Knight embarks on a quest for an indigenous American Islam and for the true story of Nation of Islam mystery-man, W.D. Fard, in a series of interstate odysseys. Traveling 20,000 miles by Greyhound in sixty days, he squats in run-down mosques, pursues Muslim romance, is detained at the U.S.-Canadian border with a trunkload of Shia literature, crashes Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conventions, stink-palms Cat Stevens, and limps across Chicago to find the grave of Noble Drew Ali, filling dozens of notebooks along the way.

The result is this semi-autobiographical book, with multiple histories of Fard and the landscape of American Islam woven into Knight’s own story. In the course of his adventures Knight sorts out his own relationship to Islam as he journeys from punk provocateur to a recognized voice in the community, and watches first-hand the collapse of a liberal Islamic dream. The book’s extensive cast of characters includes anarcho-Sufi heretics, vegan kung-fu punks, tattoo-sleeved converts in hardcore bands, spiritual drug dealers, Islamic feminists, slick media entrepreneurs, sages of the street, the grandsons of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, and a group called Muslims for Bush.


July 2009

Michael Muhammad Knight

Amazing Ayyub, an Iranian Shi’ite skinhead, and burqa-wearing punk Rabeya have kidnapped Matt Damon, and are holding him hostage. They demand that Hollywood depict Muslims in a positive light—“just one movie where we’re not these two-dimensional al Qaeda stereotypes.” But Damon’s concerned they’re playing into that same terrorist paradigm and furthering a neo-conservative perception of Islam.

Meanwhile, Ayyub embarks on a mission to rid the taqwacore scene of a Muslim pop-punk band called Shah 79. Along the way, he makes himself invisible, escapes punk-eating zombies in a mosque off the desert highway, and runs into some psychobilly jinns. Things turn existential when Ayyub finds himself face to face with his creator—no, not Allah, but the author. This riotous journey of enlightenment reads like a religious service for teenagers on Halloween. But it isn’t all raucous fun; written into his own novel, the author finds he is at the mercy of his creation


Michael Muhammad Knight

November 2009

Most hajj narratives are written as glowing religious propaganda, painting a utopian and simplistic image not only of Mecca but Islam itself.  Knight’s personal experience with Islam is very complicated; he has traveled the extremes of both blind faith and apostasy, and currently stand somewhere between.  Embarking on the Hajj, then, touch on Knight’s confusions, wounds, conflicts with religion and with the Muslim community at large.  Examining the historical background and origins of Islam, as well as the inherent challenges of organized religion, Knight asks the hard questions.  What does the Qur’an mean to me?  What do I know of Muhammad?  And does sacred history have to be fact to be valid? He also asks, Who funds the Hajj? What role does the Saudi government play? What role does the bin Laden family play? 

Says the author, before leaving for the Hajj four weeks ago: “These are the two voices that I bring with me to Mecca: Kerouac, the earnest writer-as-spiritual-seeker, and Thompson, gonzo journalist, exposer-of-hypocrisy.”

Planning for MidWinter

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

We’re happy to see that more book and author programs are sneaking their way in to MidWinter (shall we abandon the charade that this is an all-meeting event?).

ALA’s Deidre Ross sent out an email recently listing the ALA-sponsored events, but don’t overlook these off-the-program opportunities, sponsored by the Trade Libraries Committee of the Assoc of American Publishers (including one I am moderating — a great opportunity to learn about upcoming Spring titles):

Sunday, January 25th, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.            

Denver Convention Center, Room 605/607

Breakfast and BookTalk


  • Mary Kay Andrews, author of The Fixer Upper, (HarperCollins, June, ’09) 
  • Brian Dennis Monaghan and Geraldine V. Monaghan, authors of The Power of Two (Workman, May 15, 09) 
  • P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast, authors of Hunted, “House of Night,” Book 5, (St. Martin’s/Griffin, March 10. 09) 
  • Craig Johnson, author of Another Man’s Moccasins (Viking Penguin, May 29, ’09) 
  • Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone (Alfred A. Knopf, Feb. 3. ’09) 
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North (Little Brown, May 19. ’09) 

Author signings follow at the publishers’ booths.

RSVP by Jan 9th to  Tina Jordan, AAP

No charge for the breakfast, so hurry; seating is limited!


Sunday, January 25th
2 pm – 3:30 pm         

Librarians Book Buzz

Room Info To Come (we’ll announce it on EarlyWord)

Moderator:  Nora Rawlinson

Hear from the library marketing directors of the nation’s publishing houses on the  titles they find most inspiring for the upcoming season…and why!

Speakers include:

  • Heather Scott, Marketing Manager, Hachette Book Group USA (Little, Brown and Grand Central Publishing)
  • Michael Barry, Library Marketing, Macmillan (FSG, St. Martins, Holt, Tor/Forge, Picador)
  • Michael Rockliff, Director of Library Sales & Marketing, Workman Publishing (includes Algonquin)
  • Bethany Buck, VP, Publisher of Aladdin & Pulse, S&S Childrens
  • Liza Coppola, Senior Vice President, Viz Media.

No registration required.


Nancy Pearl is ‘Under the Radar’

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

As part of NPR’s series on the “Best Books of 2008,” librarian Nancy Pearl presents eight titles “Beneath the Reading Radar.” The selections reflect the amazing range of Nancy’s taste, from Sam Savage’s Firmin, featuring a book-loving rat, to Jeff Talarigo’s The Ginseng Hunter, a novel about life in China at the turn of the century.

For other “Best Books” lists, check our links to the right.