Archive for March, 2009

Who Wants to Read About Columbine?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

That’s the question people whisper guiltily when they hear about the forthcoming book from Twelve, the high-profile Grand Central imprint, known for the savvy taste of its publisher and editor-in-chief, Jonathan Karp.

It happened last week when I did a presentation to ARRT (the Adult Readers Roundtable, the groundbreaking RA group, founded by Joyce Saricks and Merle Jacob). Publishers had sent a bounty of summer galleys for what I called “The Great Galley Challenge.” We had several copies of 13 titles publishers are betting on. The challenge — we presented each title and asked the group to volunteer to read two galleys and report on which ones they would buy extras of, to have on hand to recommend to customers, which ones they would recommend to reading clubs and which ones will generate long reserve lists.

I presented Columbine, one of the galleys I hadn’t read yet, and found it a tough sell.

On the Huffington Post yesterday, Jesse Kornbluth addresses just this issue in A Disturbing New Book About The Columbine Massacre Asks: Do You Know Who Your Children Are?:

Why Columbine is worth the pain and tears it will cost you to read it: Most of what you’ve heard is wrong… [it] presents a much more frightening story than the one you know.

Read Columbine for the stunning reportage. Admire the heroism of students and teachers. Forgive, if you can, the police ineptitude and, later, their predictable cover-up. But pay particular attention to the back story: the evolution of two would-be mass murderers. And then, instead of feeling blessed that this nightmare didn’t happen in your town, you might do better to ask yourself a variation of the line you hear on television at ten o’clock: Do you know who your children are?

In the current issue of Newsweek (4/6), the essay Columbine and Gen Why: 10 Years Later focuses on the book, saying it, 

… has the pacing of an action movie and the complexity of a Shakespearean drama.

Curiously, even though I did a dreadful job selling the book, ARRT members took all the copies we had. I can only guess that they wanted to see if the writer had the skill to make them willing to re-examine those awful events.

The book is by Denver journalist Dave Cullen, one of the first to cover the story. Below, he describes the book,

 The book is coming out on Monday. Several libraries I checked have not yet ordered it.

Dave Cullen
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Twelve – (2009-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0446546933 / 9780446546935

It’s also available in audio from Blackstone and PlayAway:

  • 10 Tape, 1-4332-9042-8, $79.95
  • Playaway, 1-4332-9050-3, $69.99
  • MP3CD, 1-4332-9046-6, $29.95
  • 11 CD, 1-4332-9043-5, $109.95

For those interested in cover design, Columbine‘s jacket designer explains his process in this blog post: Columbine

Reading Groups — Be Counted!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


We all know how frustrating it is to try to find stats on reading groups. Help is on the way; a major national survey is in progress at Carol Fitzgerald, the founder of RGG as well as the many other sites that make up the Book Reporter Network, extends a personal invitation to EarlyWorders to participate:

What are book clubs reading? How often do they meet? Do they enjoy speaking with authors? We’re going to find out the answers to these questions and more with the 2009 survey — and we’d like your help reaching out to book club members.

The goal is to identify trends and topics that are of interest to book groups. The information will be shared with all of you as well as publishers, booksellers, and authors so they can provide the resources needed to enhance book group meetings and discussions. The survey is only open to readers who are in book clubs. 
The survey can be found at Book Group Questionnaire

We estimate that the survey will take about 12-15 minutes to complete. As a token of their appreciation for filling it out, each of the first 2,500 respondents will receive one of 28 titles, which are being graciously provided by our publisher colleagues. All other entrants will be entered into a random drawing to win one of 200 books. See the full list of 28 titles, each of which is perfect for a book group discussion, at: RGG Book Group Survey
We hope that you will not only take the survey yourself, but also encourage the reading groups you work with to take it and mention it on blogs, newsletters and listservs — whatever you can think of to help make this as comprehensive a study as possible.

The survey will close on April 30th, so visit Book Group Questionnaire to answer the survey now!

Thanks for your help. We will share the results on EarlyWord.



We’d love to see libraries well-represented, so please participate.

If you have any questions or ideas about the survey, email me, Nora.

NYT Fiction Bestsellers, 4/5

Monday, March 30th, 2009

For the week ending 3/21.

Two first novels we’ve been tracking are moving up the list:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jamie Ford
Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2009-01-27)
ISBN-10: 0345505336
ISBN-13: 9780345505330

Hotel moves from sweet to even sweeter, arriving at #14 on the main list from #21 on the extended list. It’s showing very heavy reserves in some libraries, particularly in the NorthWest (it’s set in Seattle).

Previous EarlyWord coverage — First Novel a Hit with Booksellers


The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-02-10)
ISBN-10: 0399155341
ISBN-13: 9780399155345

The Help is in its second week on the list, moves to #14, tied with Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child at #13. It is also showing heavy reserve lists in some libraries.

Getting ‘The Help’

And remember, the audio has won strong praise from AudioFile:

Audio of ‘The Help’

The Help
Stockett Kathryn
Retail Price: 39.95
Audio CD: Unabridged
Publisher: Penguin Audio




Also moving up, with heavy reserves:

#17 (from #28)

Life Sentences
Laura Lippman
Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2009-03-01)
ISBN-10: 0061128899
ISBN-13: 9780061128899


New to the extended list:

#19 THE TOURIST, by Olen Steinhauer (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

The last in a five-book series (correction: Thanks to an alert EarlyWord reader — this is not the last book in Steinhauer’s series set somewhere in the Soviet Union. That series actually finished with Victory Square in 2007. The Tourist, a contemporary international thriller, is separate from that series).  Variety reports that George Clooney has acquired the rights to this new title. Reserves are heavy.

Stellar reviews:

  • LA Times, “A new thriller from a writer whose stories are as rich as any by Greene, Deighton or Le Carre.”
  • Washington Post, “first-rate popular fiction”
The Tourist
Olen Steinhauer
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur – (2009-03-03)
ISBN-10: 0312369727
ISBN-13: 9780312369729


#25 THE LAST DICKENS, by Matthew Pearl (Random House)

Reserves light so far.

The Last Dickens
Matthew Pearl
Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2009-03-17)
ISBN-10: 1400066565
ISBN-13: 9781400066568


#31 DEAD SHOT, by Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis (St. Martin’s)

Reserves light

Dead Shot (A Sniper Novel)
Jack Coughlin, Donald A. Davis
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-03-03)
ISBN-10: 0312379129
ISBN-13: 9780312379124


#35 GRAVE GOODS, by Ariana Franklin (Putnam)

Comfortable reserve ratios

Grave Goods (Mistress of the Art of Death)
Ariana Franklin
Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-03-19)
ISBN-10: 0399155449
ISBN-13: 9780399155444

James Beard Cookbook Awards

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Among the 33 finalists for the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Awards, ten titles also appeared on the IACP list. We’ve listed them below and included the number of libraries that own each title, according to OCLC, to help you focus on what you may be missing.

The winners of the James Beard Awards will be announced May 4th.

  • Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited
by Arthur Schwartz
(Ten Speed Press); owned by 331 libraries (OCLC)
  • The Art and Soul of Baking
by Cindy Mushet, Sur La Table
(Andrews McMeel Publishing); owned by  318 libraries (OCLC)
  • Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide
by Thomas Keller
(Artisan); owned by 120 libraries (OCLC)
  • The Bon Appétit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook
by Barbara Fairchild
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); owned by 416 libraries (OCLC)
  • The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
by Ellie Krieger
(The Taunton Press, Inc.); owned by 712 libraries (OCLC)
  • Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (Artisan); owned by 295 libraries (OCLC)
  • The Science of Good Food
by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss, with A. Philip Handel, Ph.D.
(Robert Rose Inc., Canadian publisher); owned by 238 libraries (OCLC)
  • Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes
by Jennifer McLagan
(Ten Speed Press); owned by 185 libraries (OCLC)
  • Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
by Fuchsia Dunlop
(W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.); owned by 384 libraries (OCLC)
  • Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef
by Betty Fussell
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); owned by 448 libraries (OCLC)

One of the Beard finalists appears to be self-published by the author/chef, who also has an extensive web site. OCLC shows only 5 libraries owning it. Where it is owned, it is circulating quickly. 

Southeast Asian Flavors
Robert Danhi
Retail Price: $45.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Mortar & Press – (2008-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0981633900 / 9780981633909

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs — Trailer

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Based on the book by Judi and Ron Barrett, the movie will be released September 18.

Second in Larsson’s Trilogy

Friday, March 27th, 2009

When The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was first published in the U.S., after being a huge success in Europe, many wondered if Americans would appreciate this raw thriller with its themes of sexual abuse. After five weeks on the NYT Fiction bestseller list and 21 more on the extended list, it is still on at #33. Many libraries are still working through long reserve lists for it.

Coming in July is the second volume in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

It was released in the UK in January, where it followed its predecessor onto the bestseller lists and received stellar reviews:

Sunday Times of London, Review by Joan Smith; “even more gripping and astonishing than the first.”

Times of London, Review by Marcel Berlins; “the urgency of Larsson’s prose prevents boredom in reading a book that would otherwise be regarded as over-long and over-crammed. Somehow, Larsson has managed to write a riveting read.”

The Guardian, Review by Louise France; it is “that rare thing – a sequel that is even better than the book that went before.”

According to the Knopf catalog, it will also be available in large print and audio.

The Girl Who Played with Fire
Stieg Larsson
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-07-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0307269981 / 9780307269980

RA Alert ‘Cutting for Stone’

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Nancy Pearl recommends a book we’ve been tracking, Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, on her PBS show this week (listen above, 4.30 minutes into the show). She says it’s “A BIG book, in terms of plot and subplots, number of characters,” and  compares it to The Kite Runner, calling it “absolutely readable.”

Several large libraries are showing 5 to 1 hold ratios.

Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-02-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0375414495 / 9780375414497


Cutting for Stone
Verghese Abraham
Retail Price: $44.95
Audio CD: Random House Audio; Unabridged
ISBN/EAN: 9780739382851/0739382853

It’s also downloadable from OverDrive in eBook and audio formats

More Fall Catalogs

Friday, March 27th, 2009



Crown’s new catalog cleverly uses that iconic symbol of Fall, an apple, made up of slices from different varieties, to illustrate the new alignment of imprints resulting from the recent Random House reorganization.

The green slice (Granny Smith?) represents the imprints that Crown gained from the former Doubleday Publishing Group:

  • Broadway Books
  • Broadway Business (formerly Doubleday Business) 
  • Doubleday Religion 

Several of the Crown imprint franchises continue with new titles:


  • Cesar Millan, Puppyhood: How to Raise the Perfect Dog
  • Suzanne Somers, Knock Out — on cancer; curing and prevention
  • Louann Brizendine, The Male Brain — followup to The Female Brain, which was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback
  • Daniel G. Amen, The Brain in Love — This will be a PBS special as were Amen’s bestsellers Change Your Brain, Change Your Life  and Magnificent Mind at Any Age.



The Crown lifestyle imprints, now appear in their own separate catalog, along with Watson-Guptill’s range of crafts and hobby titles (miniature food jewelry! I’m not kidding. Actually, the pieces are pretty amazing). Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart have new titles coming from Clarkson Potter and Watson-Guptill is bringing out three compendiums of the Mad Magazine favorites, Spy vs. Spy, which have been out of print for 40 years.

Mitch Albom’s Next Book

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Mitch Albom’s next book is Have a Little Faith: A True Story of a Last Request, (Hyperion, Sept. 22), reports USA Today in the Book Buzz column.

Albom tells USA Today that a rabbi he had known since childhood asked him give his eulogy and that “began this examination about faith when you’re not so faithful.”

[No Cover Yet]

Have a Little Faith: A True Story of a Last Request

Mitch Albom

  • Hardcover: 208 pages [no price listed yet]
  • Publisher: Hyperion (September 21, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0786868724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786868728

Welcome to Fall!

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Just as we’re feeling Spring in the air, the first of the fall catalogs appear from the Penguin Group.

A few highlights below to whet your appetite for your own discoveries (click on catalog covers to see the full catalogs):



Traveling with Pomegranates, Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter’s  “dual memoir” (jacket art used on catalog cover)– Sept, pgs 4 & 5.

Stones into Schools, Greg Mortenson and Mike Bryan; continues the story where Three Cups of Tea leaves off — Dec, pgs 42 & 43

Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail, — among the crowded field of books on the financial crisis, this one stands out because of Sorkin’s “DealBook” column for the  NY Times. This is his first book — Oct, pgs. 21 & 22.




Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked — (jacket used on catalog cover) — Sept, pgs 2 & 3.

Man Who Loved Books Too Much, Alison Hoover Bartlett — Talk about a real-life horror story for librarians; this one is about John Charles Gilkey, who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books, many of them from libraries — Sept, pgs 8 & 9.




(cover art is from the paperback reprint of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba by Tom Gjelten)

Among the original the original trade paperbacks is a new title in Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti series, set in Venice, A Sea of Troubles — Sept., p 15



Who would think of the Scarlet Letter and Fashion Week in the same breath? Penguin has repackaged three classics (the other two are Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights) with covers by Ruben Toledo — Sept, pgs. 80 & 81




The cover art is from Ice Land, by Betsy Tobin, an original trade paperbacks historical epic, that the publisher compares to The Mists of Avalon — Sept, pgs. 6 & 7


    1984     animal-farm

In reprints, the Orwell reading list favorites have been repackaged with new covers and intros — p 32.



Saving the absolute best for last, MORE of the LOL Cat collection (oh, sorry, “colleckshun”). This time, as a motivational book — How To Take Over Teh Wurld — Oct, pgs. 52 & 53

If I have to explain LOL Cat to you, return your MLS immediately!

Buzz on ‘If I Stay’

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Is it the next Twilight? or, the next Lovely Bones?

Lucky Gayle Forman, whose forthcoming If I Stay is garnering such comparisons, most recently in the Book Beast ( The Next Twilight?)

Of course, we think all you really need to know is what our own Early Word Kid, Lisa Von Drasek, said about the book, “Dude, I cried.”

It’s also available in audio.

If I Stay 
by Gayle Forman 
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile – (2009-04-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0525421033 / 9780525421030
If I Stay
Gayle Forman
Audio CD:
Publisher: Penguin Audio – (2009-04-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0143144456 / 9780143144458

Celebrating Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Don’t miss the story about Friday’s memorial service for Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz in today’s Shelf Awareness:

In Celebration: Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz

Fiction Bestsellers, Week Ending 3/14

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The big bestseller news this week sounds like old news; a teen vampire novel is at the top of the USA Today list.

The new twist? It’s NOT by Stephenie Meyer — it’s Hunted, the fifth in the House of Night series by mother/daughter team P.C. and Kristin Cast.

It still shows as #2 on the 3/29 NYT Childrens Series list, after Twilight, because the entire Twilight series is still outselling its rival.

Hunted (House of Night, Book 5)
P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast
Retail Price: $17.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-03-10)
ISBN / EAN: 031237982X / 9780312379827

All four titles in the Twilight series are still in the USA Today top ten:

#2 Twilight
#4 New Moon
#6 Eclipse
#8 Breaking Dawn

The earlier volumes in the House of Night series are further down the USA Today list:

#24 Marked (first in series) — in top 150 for 37 weeks
#45 Betrayed (second) —  23 weeks
#60 Untamed (fourth) — 24 weeks
#61 Chosen (third) — 21 weeks


New Adult Fiction Bestsellers

#11 USA Today, General 
#2 NYT Fiction

Clive Cussler, Jack DuBrul
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-03-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0399155392 / 9780399155390


#44 USA Today, General 
#8 NYT Trade Paperback Fiction

Take One (Above the Line Series #1)
Karen Kingsbury
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan – (2009-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0310266165 / 9780310266167


#89 USA Today, General 
#7 NYT Fiction

Dead Silence (Doc Ford Novels)
Randy Wayne White
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-03-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0399155406 / 9780399155406


#118 USA Today, General
# 21 NYT Fiction, Extended, after 3 weeks; moving up
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetJamie Ford,  Ballantine Books

This is one of the first novels we’ve been tracking on EarlyWord hit the list this week. We wrote about this one at the end of January: First Novel a Hit with Booksellers

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jamie Ford
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2009-01-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0345505336 / 9780345505330


#16 NYT fiction
The Help by Kathryn Stockett  debuts on the main list, even though it is at #16 because it ties with Christopher Moore’s Fool at #15

This is another first novel we’ve been tracking (Getting ‘The Help’); we also did a giveaway of the audio after Robin Whitten of AudioFile raved about it. After four weeks on the extended list, it now moves onto the main list.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-02-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0399155341 / 9780399155345


# 26 NYT Fiction, Extended
Little Bee, Chris Cleave

This one is already a bestseller on the West Coast and in independent stores. It’s been moving up the following lists, as of last week:

  • LA Times, at #7 after  two weeks
  • SF Chronicle, #5 after three week
  • Indie list for five, #10 after five weeks

We did a heavy reserve alert on this title earlier; Heavy Reserve Alert — Little Bee

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


#28 NYT Fiction, Extended 

Life Sentences: A Novel
Laura Lippman
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2009-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061128899 / 9780061128899


#30 NYT Fiction, Extended; down from #27 last week, after two weeks

Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell

Looks like the publisher’s hopes for big sales of the million dollar acquisition will not be realized.


#32 NYT Fiction, Extended 

The Tourist
Olen Steinhauer
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur – (2009-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0312369727 / 9780312369729

Steinhauer takes a break from his crime series in this stand-alone spy thriller

It is also available in audio, which many libraries have not ordered:


9 Tape; 1-4332-6178-7; $79.95
Playaway; 1-4332-6186-2; $69.99
MP3CD; 1-4332-6182-4; $29.95
10 CD; 1-4332-6179-4; $99.00

#33 NYT Fiction, Extended

The Book of Love (The Magdalene Line)
Kathleen McGowan
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Touchstone – (2009-03-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0743299973 / 9780743299978

A Friday Treat

Friday, March 20th, 2009


That’s Nyx, the blind library kitty who bestows her charms on the Collection Management staff at Chester County P.L. in Virginia (perhaps a little too much; they had to ban her from a recent meeting and she let them know she was NOT HAPPY). She even has her own Web site; Nyx the Library Cat.

Nyx, as a modern library cat, knows all about merchandising, so when she received some gifts from Macmillan Library Marketing head, Talia Sherer, she got the human librarians to set up a display.

And, yes; even though Nyx is blind, she knows what to do with the ball and mouse.

The books, of course, are pubbed by the Macmillan group:

Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life
Elizabeth M. Hodgkins
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2008-10-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0312358024 / 9780312358020


Kitty Kit: Enjoying Your New Cat
Peter Neville
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 031253700X / 9780312537005

‘My Booky Wook’ a Best Seller

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Today’s NYT review of British comedian Russell Brand’s memoir, My Booky Wook, follows a week of publicity and the airing of his Comedy Central special, “Russell Brand Live in New York.” The book enters the 3/29 NYT Nonfiction list at #9 and the 3/19 USA Today best seller list at #147.

Several of the large libraries I checked are showing heavy holds on modest ordering.  
Russell Brand – Fame in America
Joke of the Day Stand-Up Comedy Free Online Games

Brand is famous in the UK, but not so much here, where he is best known here for his role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a controversial gig hosting MTV’s Video Music Awards last fall.

Consumer reviews:


My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up
Russell Brand

Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Collins – (2009-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061730416 / 9780061730412