WSJ Previews Blockbusters of ’09


In the Wall Street Journal’s 2009 Arts and Entertainment Previewpublishing reporter Jeffrey Trachtenberg looks ahead to what may be the blockbuster books of ’09. 

Below are the titles by month. Bibliographic information is included only for titles that have not been ordered widely by libraries.


The Associate, John Grisham thriller, on sale Jan. 27. WSJ quotes the first printing as 2.8 million copies.


War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story, Emmanuel Jal

A memoir, from a former Sudanese child soldier. The co-owner of Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstores thinks readers will want this one, “There’s a lot more to be learned about the subject,” she says.

Many large libraries have it on order, but few have the audio.

  • Hardcover: $24.95; 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press;  (February 3, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0312383223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383220
  • Audio CD: Unabridged edition; $39.95
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio;  (February 3, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1427206341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427206343


Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult’s latest, “a story about the mother of a severely disabled child pondering a lawsuit against her ob-gyn, who also happens to be her best friend.” 

Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts

  • Hardcover: $35; 416 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft (March 31, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0307450570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307450579

The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell

WSJ says many independent booksellers are intrigued by this “massive…fictional memoir… told from the point of a view of a Nazi officer. It won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2006. Mr. Littell, a native New Yorker who writes in French, is the son of thriller author Robert Littell.” 

  • Hardcover: $29.99; 992 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 3, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0061353450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061353451


Sara Gruen,  Ape House

“Gruen moves on from the fictional circus menagerie of “Water for Elephants” to bonobo apes (she temporarily adopted 30).”  Some large libraies already have it on order (Hennepin already shows 175 reserves already. It will be released simultaneously in audio and large print.

  • Hardcover: $26; 352 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (June 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0385523211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523219
  • Audio CD: Unabridged edition; $34.95
  • Publisher: Random House Audio;  (June 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0739368540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739368541
  • Large Print, Paperback: $24.95; 576 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print (June 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0739328042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739328040

Bibliographic information is not yet available for the following fall titles:


Noah’s Compass, Anne Tyler

This, along with Richard Powers’s October title, is one of the two “literary” titles included in the story.

The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson

“a nonfiction investigation into the death of the child pharaoh”


Generosity: An Enhancement, Richard Powers

By the National Book Award winner.

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