Archive for February, 2009

New Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers

Friday, February 27th, 2009

We’re focusing just on hardcover fiction from the 3/8 NYT list (for the week ending 2/21) and on the 2/26 USA Today list (week ending 2/22). We’ll look at the other categories in separate posts.

Moving Up

Dog On It, the first in a new series of detective books, told from a dog’s viewpoint, zoomed up to #7 on the NYT fiction list, from #32 on the extended list last week. On the USA Today list, it retreated a bit, from #62 to #77. 

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese almost made the leap from the NYT extended list to the main list, moving from #34 to #17 this week. It’s not showing on the USA Today list. 

Drood, by Dan Simmons, moved up from #113 to #105 on USA Today. It’s still at #18 on the NYT extended Fiction list, after two weeks.

The Help rose a bit on the NYT extended list from #22 to #29, but is not showing on USA Today.

New Fiction

#19 USA Today General
#3 NYT Fiction


Heart and SoulMaeve Binchy,  Knopf


#109 USA Today General
#14 NYT Fiction


While My Sister SleepsBarbara Delinsky,  Doubleday


#77 USA Today General (second week; from #62 last week)
#7 NYT Fiction


Dog On It, Spencer Quinn, S&S


#112 USA Today General
#9 NYT Fiction


Among the MadJacqueline Winspear,  Henry Holt


#15 NYT Fiction

On USA Today General last week at #105; not on this week


Lethal Legacy, Linda Fairstein, Doubleday


#19 NYT Fiction Extended
Not on USA Today General


The Second OpinionMichael Palmer, St. Martin’s


#29 NYT Fiction Extended
Not on USA Today General


Whisper to the Blood, Dana Stabenow, St. Martin’s Minotaur



#30  NYT Fiction Extended
Not on USA Today General


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford, Ballantine

‘American Rust’ Looks Like a Hit

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Patricia Cornwell declared herself a fan by placing Philipp Meyer’s debut novel, American Rust in her most recent book, Scarpetta. Further, on her Web site, she says Meyer should win a Pulitzer.

Today, Michiko Kakutani gives the book a big thumbs up in the NY Times, putting it at three for three, having already received accolades from Ron Charles in the Washington Post as well as from the online Book Beast. The prepub reviews were more mixed.

The reviewers agree that the plot carries the reader along (even if Charles tempers that opinion a bit):

Michiko Kakutani — “[the] story acquires the sort of propulsive sense of inevitability that made Dennis Lehane’s novel Mystic River such natural material for a film adaptation.”

Ron Charles — “[main characters] Billy and Isaac’s Hamletesque indecision sometimes comes at the expense of the novel’s forward momentum, but the plot’s violent tension always reasserts itself.”

Book Beast —  “American Rust yanks you along right till the end.”

They also agree that it is a reflection of the times.

MK — “[the book] takes place in a small Pennsylvania steel town…a place where the jobs have disappeared, and foreclosures and meth use are on the rise, a town that makes longtime residents feel trapped and young people eager to flee, the sort of town profiled in newspaper and magazine articles about the fallout of the economic downturn on middle America and the tarnishing of the American Dream.”

RC — “In the most bracing terms, Meyer has calculated a poor economy’s human costs. He couldn’t have known as he worked on this backwoods story that he’d be publishing it at such an alarmingly relevant moment.”

Book Beast —  “American Rust combines the muscular pleasures of a Dennis Lehane thriller with a far-reaching meditation about where we’re headed as a country”

In addition to Lehane, reviewers are comparing the author to Cormac McCarthy, Richard Russo and Russell Banks.

American Rust is rising on Amazon and is now at #412, putting it on track to hit print bestseller lists. Libraries have bought it very lightly (single copies for the largest branches only). Reserves are building (the highest is 13 on 2 in one multi-branch system).


American Rust 
Meyer, Philipp

  • Hardcover: $24.95; 384 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (February 24, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0385527519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385527514

Academy Awards 2010?

Friday, February 27th, 2009

If you stayed up until the end of the Academy Awards, you got to see clips from movies coming in ’09.

If you didn’t, no worries, here’s the segment:

Below is more information on the movies that are based on books, in order by release date. Highlighted titles link to the trailers, where available.

For a look at all the ’09 movies based on books announced to date, go to our Upcoming Movies — with Tie-ins page.

Ready to start thinking about the 2010 Oscars? The Times of London made their picks (including The Road, which still does not have a release date!) back in January.

APR. 24, 2009

Movie Title: The Soloist

Director: Joe Wright

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey, Jr., Catherine Keener

Based on: The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Movie tie-in:

  • Paperback: $15.00
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (September 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 042522600X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425226001


MAY 15, 2009

Movie Title: Angels & Demons

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks

Based on: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown


Angels & Demons (movie tie-in)
Brown, Dan

Available both as trade and mass market paperback:

  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Paperback: $16; ISBN-13: 978-1416580829
  • Mass Market: $9.99; ISBN-13: 9781416578741

Angels & Demons: The Illustrated Movie Companion
Sunshine, Linda. Introduction by Dan Brown

  • Publisher: Newmarket Press; (May, 2009)
  • Hardcover: $29.95; 160 pages, 200 color photos; ISBN: 978-1557048349
  • Paperback: $19.95; 160 pages, 200 color photos; ISBN: 978-1557048332


JUNE 12, 2009

Movie Title: The Taking of Pelham 123

Director: Tony Scott

Starring: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzman

Based on: The Taking of Pelham 123 by John Godey


  • Paperback: $9.99; 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (May 5, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0425228797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425228791


JUL 1, 2009

Movie Title: Public Enemies

Director: Michael Mann

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale

Based on: Public Enemies: American’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, by Bryan Burrough

Movie tie-in:

[No cover yet]

Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34

Burrough, Bryan 

  • Paperback: $16; 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Mti edition (April 28, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0143115863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143115861


JULY 17, 2009

Movie Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Director: David Yates

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

Based on: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K Rowling

Note: The last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows is being filmed as two movies, scheduled for November 19, 2010 and July 15, 2011.


AUG 7, 2009

Movie Title: Julie & Julia

Director: Nora Ephron

Starring: Maryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci

Based on: Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. The movie also follows Julia Child’s life through her memoir, My Life in France



Movie title: Amelia

Director: Mira Nair

Starring: Ewan McGegor — Gene Vidal

                  Hilary Swank — Amelia Earhart

                   Richard Gere — George Putnam

Based on:

  • East To The Dawn: The Life Of Amelia Earhart, by Susan Butler 
  • The Sound Of Wings: The Life Of Amelia Earhart, by Mary S. Lovell
  • Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, by Elgen M. Lon and Marie K. Long


Dec 25, 2009

Movie Title: Sherlock Holmes

Director: Guy Richie

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr. (Holmes), Rachel MacAdams, Jude Law (Watson)

Based on: Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle

Trailer for the Informers

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Just out; the trailer for The Informers based on Bret Easton Ellis’s book of the same title. The movie stars recent Oscar-winner  (oops — I mean “much-talked about nominee” — thanks for the corrections!) Mickey Rourke as well as Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, and Kim Basinger and releases on May 1.

The tie-in was just published:


The Informers
Ellis, Bret Easton

Paperback: $13.95; 240 pages
Publisher: Vintage; Mti edition (February 24, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0307473325
ISBN-13: 978-0307473325

YA Books to Movies

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

The movie of C.D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt was supposed to appear in theaters this past Friday. News of its delay comes via an odd route.

A video of the film’s star Michael Cera throwing a fit onset is making the rounds (and widely believed to be a fake, created to promote the movie). The date of release given at the end of the video is ”Fall 2009.”

In other YA book to movie news, Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, who was not invited back to direct the sequel, New Moon, has been signed up to direct If I Stay, based on the YA novel coming in April, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Entertainment Weekly calls the book “buzzy.” One bit of buzz — it is the #1 selection on the Kids’ Indie Next List. Libraries are showing light to medium ordering, with holds in some areas.

It is also available in audio, which most libraries have not ordered.


If I Stay

Forman, Gayle

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $16.99; 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (April 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0525421033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525421030
  • Audio CD: $29.95
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (April 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0143144456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143144458

Meanwhile, according to Variety, the movie of New Moon has been rescheduled from Nov. 20th to a week earlier. That may not sound like such a big deal, but it caused Warner Bros. to move Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to Dec. 25th. Now the 25th looks overcrowded, so Sony decided to move their big holiday release, Did You Hear About the Morgans? (not based on a book), starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker to a week earlier.

It’s always amusing to see what causes tsouris in someone else’s business.

Variety also announces that the final episode of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows has been scheduled July 15, 2011 (the first of the two-part movie will be released November 19, 2010).

For other movies in the pipeline, check our listing, Upcoming Movies — with Tie-ins

Philip Farmer Dies

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


World-renowned science fiction writer Philip Farmer died this morning at his home in Peoria, Illinois. He was 91. Most well-known for his Riverworld and World of Tiers series, he won numerous awards, including three Hugos. 

PJ Star, Philip Jose Farmer dead at 91

Heavy Reserve Alert — Little Bee

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Several libraries are showing heavy holds (120 on 20 copies in one instance) on Little Bee by Chris Cleave. It’s rising on the Indy Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list, where it is at #22, up from #29 after two weeks, but hasn’t shown up on others.

Prepub reviews were very strong. Library Journal declared, “Book clubs in search of the next Kite Runner need look no further,” and Booklist starred it.

It had great reviews in the UK, where is was originally published as The Other Hand. American consumer reviews echoed those in the UK:

  • Seattle Times— “Every now and then, you come across a character in a book whose personality is so salient and whose story carries such devastating emotional force it’s as if she becomes a fixed part of your consciousness.”
  • Kansas City Star— “a smart, topical novel about notions of community and family and about various kinds of violence, including the violence engendered by neglect.”

Cleave will be appearing bookstores in March.

In a video made for the UK audience, Cleave talks about something not mentioned in the reviews; the book’s humor (please ignore the cheesy opening).

Little Bee: A Novel
Chris Cleave
Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2009-02-10)
ISBN-10: 1416589635
ISBN-13: 9781416589631

Also available in Audio:
Publisher: Tantor
8 Audio CDs; EAN: 9781400141715
List Price: $69.99

Reading Radar — Some Caveats

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Since I posted about Reading Radar, the mashup of the NYT bestseller lists and Amazon’s listings, I’ve been exploring it a bit more and discovered a few of things you need to be aware of:

  • Reading Radar is out of phase with the lists on the NYT site. Right now, RR is showing the lists from the week before. This isn’t clear, because RR doesn’t indicate the date of the lists they are using.
  • Reading Radar displays a set number of titles. The length of the NYT lists vary by category and there’s a distinction between the main list and the extended list. RR makes it appear that all the lists are twenty titles or fewer and makes no distinction between what is on the main lists and what is on the extended.
  • Reading Radar displays an Amazon widget, which suggests titles according to your profile. This can be either be annoying, or make for amusing guessing games (WHY are they recommending Slim Jims to me? I’ve never eaten Slim Jims in my life).

It’s still a handy device for staff who want to stay familiar with the covers and descriptions of popular titles, which is why we’ve posted the link under Best Seller Lists on the right (“New York Times — Reading Radar”). It’s also a great example of a mashup. Let me know if any of you have figured out how to mashup the bestseller list and your library’s catalog.

Bookseller Uses Twitter for Buying

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

What can a bookseller do if he’s not prepared for a visit from a sales rep? He can go to Twitter and tweat his bookseller buddies to find out what they’re buying!

Arsen Kashkashian, is the head book buyer for the Boulder Bookstore in Colorado. He admits on his blog to “tweeting my life away,” but it sounds like he’s figuring out how to use Twitter to do his job better. Facing an imminent visit from the Grove/Atlantic sales rep, he tweated other booksellers to find out what they thought he needed. When the rep suggested some titles that the booksellers had not, he typed them in to Twitter Search, and found no tweating. The bookseller picks, on the other hand, had lots of tweats.

The book from Grove/Atlantic that is getting the most tweats? Wetlands, by Charlotte Roche. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the tweats about it very helpful; most of them are in German!

More helpful was a Google search with links to some old-media sources:

Even more helpful is checking library reserve ratios, which are pretty low on very light ordering.



by Charlotte Roche (Author), Tim Mohr (Translator)

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (April 8, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0802118925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802118929

Twitter must have reached the tipping point; I feel like I’m reading about it everywhere.

It’s gotten to us, too —  you can now follow EarlyWord on Twitter.

New, Improved NYT Bestseller Lists

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The gray lady may have gone to color years ago, but you wouldn’t know it from the NYT bestseller list. We want full-size four-color book jackets! One-line annotations make everything sound alike; we want fuller descriptions!

Thanks to a new “mashup,” we no longer  have to live with drab bestseller lists. Reading Radar mashes up the NYT lists with Amazon, giving us book jackets, publisher descriptions and several reader reviews, in a nice clean format. For each title, it also gives its full bestseller history:



We’ve added it to our Bestseller links (to the right).

Thanks to Jim McCluskey at Sno-Isle Public Library in Washington for pointing this out on the lively Collection Development staff blog, cleverly called “Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle.” It’s a great example of communicating effectively with branch staff.

For you tech heads, Jim also points out an article that explains what goes in to creating this mashup.

One Book/One City Includes the Homeless

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The goal of “one city” programs is to get an entire community to read one book. This year, One Book/One Philadelphia is making the homeless a part of the reading community. The book they chose, The Soloist, by Steve Lopez, is about a friendship between the author and a talented homeless musician. The Free Library of Philadelphia has given 600 copies of the book to people who work with the homeless and paperback copies are being distributed through the shelters.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the book is having an effect on the entire city. Gerri Trooskin, the One Book project manager at the Free Library, tells the Inquirer that this year’s One Book events were drawing “record turnout.”


The Soloist

Lopez, Steve

  • Paperback: $15.00
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (September 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 042522600X
  • ISBN-13: 978-042522600
  • Audio CD: Unabridged, $19.95
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (May 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1433215225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433215223
  • Audio Cassette: Unabridged, $44.95
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, (May 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1433215217
  • ISBN-13: 978-143321521
  • OverDrive: WMA Audiobook, Mobipocket eBook, Adobe PDF eBook

Good Things Come in Fours

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Finally! The final chapter in the Pellinor Quartet by Alison Croggon is here. The series that began with the The Naming is now available in paperback and the last delicious volume releases in hardcover today.

This is a fantasy in the grand tradition. A traditional quest tale that begins with an enslaved  girl who is rescued and then found to have extraordinary powers; Maerad may be the One to fight the darkness that has fallen over the land. Rich in detail, adventure on a grand scale — good versus evil, mystical beings, magic, psychic abilities, high drama, lost love, and a sweeping story.

I rarely read the second, and almost never the third of a series (no time) but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all of them, including this final fourth volume.


The Singing: The Fourth Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series)
Croggon, Alison

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $18.99; 496 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 24, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0763636657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763636654

Previous titles, in paperback:


The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series)
Croggon, Alison

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: $9.99; 528 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (March 14, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0763631620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763631628


The Riddle: The Second Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series)
Croggon, Alison

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: $9.99; 528 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (July 10, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 076363414X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763634148


The Crow: The Third Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series)
Croggon, Alison

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: $9.99; 528 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0763641464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763641467

‘Beat the Reaper’ Gets New Fans

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

One of the debut novels we are tracking is Beat the Reaper,  the first novel by Josh Bazell, a comic thriller. Last month, the WSJ declared it “THE hot debut novel” of the month. Reviews have been great and since we last checked, reserve ratios have become heavy in some libraries (largely a result of low ordering). Where reserves aren’t heavy, the book has fast turnaround.

Now, a new reason to consider buying more copies; Nancy Pearl tells Seattle NPR that she’s a fan.

Beat the Reaper

by Josh Bazell

  • Hardcover: $24.99; 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0316032220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316032223
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; $29.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1600244327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600244322
  • Also on OverDrive
  • Paperback: $24.99; 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (January 7, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0316037559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316037556

Michiko’s Not Buying It

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

In today’s New York Times, staff reviewer Michiko Kakutani sounds like Virginia Kirkus in high dudgeon (“Unrepentant and Telling of Horrors Untellable”). What’s got her going? The winner of France’s highest literary award, the Prix Goncourt, Les Bienveillantes, just published here in English as The Kindly Ones.

Reflecting the kind of internationalism that we saw at the Academy Awards, the book is written in French about a German Nazi officer by American-born Jonathan Littell (he’s the son of acclaimed American spy novelist Robert Littell, who lives in France).

Kakutani has nothing good to say about it,

The novel’s gushing fans…seem to have mistaken perversity for daring, pretension for ambition, an odious stunt for contrarian cleverness. Willfully sensationalistic and deliberately repellent, The Kindly Ones … is an overstuffed suitcase of a book, consisting of an endless succession of scenes in which Jews are tortured, mutilated, shot, gassed or stuffed in ovens, intercut with an equally endless succession of scenes chronicling the narrator’s incestuous and sadomasochistic fantasies.

The prepub reviewers were split. Kirkus, called it a tour de force that is “very long, but with not a wasted word.” Booklist starred it, but Library Journal said,

…it’s not clear that American readers will want to struggle through almost 1000 pages of unresolved moral conflict about the Holocaust. Because the book has received considerable press, however, most large libraries will want to own a copy.”

Publishers Weekly was even harsher,

Littell’s strung together many tens of thousands of words, but many tens of thousands of words does not necessarily a novel make. As the French say, tant pis.

Most libraries have it on order in fairly high quantities for a literary title; some are showing reserves; the highest at 2 to 1.

The Kindly Ones
Littell, Jonathan
Price: $29.99
Hardcover: 992 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-03-01)
ISBN-10: 0061353450
ISBN-13: 9780061353451

The Kindle 2, Played for Laughs

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, to promote the Kindle 2, which ships today. Stewart showed a distinct lack of excitement, rivaling the most curmudgeonly technophobes (reminding me of certain discussions with John Berry of Library Journal). Bezos gamely tried to sell the Kindle’s advantages, giving Stewart the perfect opening when he said, somewhat desperately, “You can read it with one hand.”

The Kindle 2 gets a more sober and decidedly more friendly analysis in David Pogue’s column (The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now) in today’s New York Times.