Archive for May, 2009

OverDrive Announces iPod Breakthrough!

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

We thought we’d never see the day, given the labyrinthian issue of digital rights protection, Apple compatibility and several publishers’ reluctance to make their audios available without DRM for library borrowing, but OverDrive made this announcement yesterday,

…digital audiobook catalogs from leading publishers will be compatible with iPod® and other Apple® devices after a simple upgrade of OverDrive’s free, easy-to-use audiobook software…Participating publishers include Random House Audio, Hachette Audio, Penguin Audio, BBC Audiobooks America, Brilliance Audio, Tantor Media, and many more.

Beginning in mid-June, OverDrive’s “Transfer Wizard” will enable iPod compatibility. According to OverDrive’s David Burleigh, “A simple software upgrade is all it takes to allow the transfer of thousands of additional bestsellers to the popular media player.”

This seems like a win-win for all parties. Publishers will still have Digital Rights Management software and libraries can now offer audios for the most popular listening device.

Tell your teens that they will soon be able to download Twilight from the library to their iPods!

The full press release is available here.

More Books of Summer

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

There’s two new Summer Books roundups to analyze.

Four regulars on  NPR choose their favorites; Summer Books 2009

Critic Maureen Corrigan picks five mystery titles, several that are already successes ( The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly; The Way Home, George Pelecanos and The Shanghai Moon, S.J. Rozan). She also includes  in a collection of  stories by African American writers:

Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers
Price: $14.95
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Pegasus – (2009-03-03)
ISBN-10: 1605980579
ISBN-13: 9781605980577

…and a second novel:

S. J. Bolton
Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2009-06-09)
ISBN-10: 031238114X
ISBN-13: 9780312381141

Despite being a “Book Slut,” Jessa Crispin, has no problem declaring which are the “The Five Best Novels Of Summer.” Her list includes Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, which has been getting a lot of attention and appeared on the NYT extended fiction bestseller list for one week (5/24).

Most of the rest of the titles on her list would be considered spring books, except for this original trade paperback:

The Scenic Route
Binnie Kirshenbaum
Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2009-05-01)
ISBN-10: 0060784741
ISBN-13: 9780060784744

Glen Weldon’s ‘Best Fiction For Every Kind Of Summer Day” selects titles for specific days, such as Elinor Lipman’s The Family Man for Father’s Day.

As for nonfiction, NPR only addresses one category; Susan Chang picks the “The 10 Best Summer Cookbooks of 2009.”

We often note how rarely these lists overlap, but this year, we have an extreme example. Real Simple‘s list of great summer reads (“Meet Your New Favorite Book) is compiled by the same person (Sara Nelson) who selected the Book Beast‘s “13 Hottest Summer Reads.” She manages to repeat herself with only one title — The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. The first in the series, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a bestseller last summer and this one is considered a “superior follow-up.”

The list is mainly fiction and a few memoirs and mostly falls into the parameters of books being pubbed this summer. It includes the following debut novels:

April & Oliver
Tess Callahan
Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2009-06-03)
ISBN-10: 0446540595
ISBN-13: 9780446540599

“an emotional drama about sibling relationships”


The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Katherine Howe
Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Voice – (2009-06-09)
ISBN-10: 1401340903
ISBN-13: 9781401340902

Also the #1 pick for the June Indie Next list, described by bookseller Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT:

Connie Goodwin should be writing her Ph.D. dissertation. Instead, her mother has asked her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, Massachusetts. While cleaning up the years of dust and cobwebs, Connie makes discoveries that lead her back to the world of the Salem witch trials. Howe does a superb job at combining modern day language with the 17th century voices, pulling you even deeper into a story of mystery and witches. Marvelous and terrifying at the same time. I loved it!

Also available from HarperAudio;

ISBN: 1401393055   $ 39.99


The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
Farahad Zama
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2009-06-11)
ISBN-10: 0399155589
ISBN-13: 9780399155581

“If You Love Alexander McCall Smith and Jane Austen”

Also available as downloadable eBook from OverDrive


The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
Reif Larsen
Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2009-05-05)
ISBN-10: 1594202176
ISBN-13: 9781594202179

Also available in audio:

  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (May 5, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0143144650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143144656

Sold for a reported $900,000 advance, this is one of publishing’s big bets for the summer and is at #17 on the 5/31 NYT extended fiction bestseller list.


The Scenic Road Trip, one of Jessa Crispin’s  “The Five Best Novels Of Summer,” also makes this list and is described as a “relatively short but deep novel about a deliciously unconventional heroine who finds love on the kind of European road trip most of us only dream about.”

One that sounds like it will have appeal to many readers, Love is a Four-Letter Word,  is not owned by many libraries. This collection of stories about breakups is described as “funny, poignant―and short―essays by 23 writers”

Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts
Price: $16.00
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Plume – (2009-07-28)
ISBN-10: 0452295505
ISBN-13: 9780452295506

NPR’s ‘Guilty Pleasure’

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

All Things Considered launched a new series last night. In “My Guilty Pleasure,” writers talk about books they’ve secretly loved.

It kicked off with Brad Meltzer, who loves. loves, loves


…and urges women to get the men in their lives to read it (including their teenage sons).

Phew! Silly us for worrying that the series had exhausted all its potential audiences.

By the way, on the new USA Today bestseller list, the series once again captures the top four spots. The longest-running title in the series is book 2, New Moon, which has been on the list for 141 weeks.

National Book Festival is Nonpartisan

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

There will be a 2009 National Book Festival, according to an AP story, appearing in USA Today.

The day-long festival, which is held on the Mall in Washington D.C., was founded in 2001 by Laura Bush. It attracts about 120,000 people each year.

This year’s festival will be held on Sept. 26.

Listen Up, E-Reader Makers!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Following librarians on Twitter can point the way to some smart blog posts one might not otherwise discover. A recent post on, for example, details the failure of e-book reader companies such as Amazon, Sony, Mobipocket and Ebooks to consider libraries as viable customers, and demands they treat libraries better on three counts:

(1) Write a terms of service exclusively for libraries. Stop ignoring libraries and start embracing us for the information and technology educators that we are.

(2) Write a service contract in which you provide us with devices and materials which we can then lend to patrons. (Leave it to us as to how we make them financially responsible for borrowing the readers.)

(3) You profit both literally and through increased exposure for your product to the public who might not otherwise be interested in your e-book reader. We profit with increased patronage, circulation numbers, and overall system usage statistics. It is a win-win-win for us, you, and our patrons.

The author, “AndyW,” a librarian for the Burlington County Library System in New Jersey, writes a blog, Agnostic, Maybe, where the story also appeared. is a collaborative blog about the world of Library and Information Science that was founded in 1999 by Blake Carver, who works as a librarian in Western New York State.

Can’t Stop “Shop Class”

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

We’ve already mentioned that Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft got great reviews in Slate and Newsweek, and that the New York Times magazine ran an except last weekend, “The Case for Working with Your Hands.” But today we were wowed to read a post by PenguinPress on Twitter stating that the magazine excerpt attracted 1 million page views and 400,000 visits, making it one of the most-read stories ever posted online. Curiously, reserves in libraries are not very heavy yet (there are between 3 and 57 holds at libraries with 3 to 13 copies). It’s also nice to see that several libraries ordered it on May 21 after we first wrote about it!

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work
Matthew B. Crawford
Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2009-05-28)
ISBN-10: 1594202230
ISBN-13: 9781594202230

Available from Brilliance Audio (May, 2009)

  • MP3 CD; $39.97; 1441800115
  • CD; Unabridged; $82.97; 1441800093

‘Horse Soldiers’ on Heated Ride

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Already a New York Times bestseller, Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton, has risen to #14 on Amazon following the author’s Memorial Day appearances on the Today Show, where Lester Holt called the book “fascinating” and “important,” and on Fox News with Tucker Carlson. Libraries we checked are showing heavy reserves on light ordering.

It tells the story of a dozen of the elite U.S. Special Forces and CIA operatives who went to Afghanistan after 9/11, who were able to inspire Afghan forces to overthrow the Taliban, although it emerged again after the U.S. turned its attention to the invasion of Iraq. Kirkus found the events in the story “irresistible,” though it took the author to task for “quoting inner monologues and inventing dialogue to dramatize events.” The New York Times Book Review was more charitable, characterizing Horse Soldiers as a story “for those who like their military history told through the eyes of heroic grunts, sergeants and captains. Think of Stephen E. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers or Stanton’s own best seller, In Harm’s Way, the story of the survivors of the cruiser Indianapolis, which sank in shark-infested waters during World War II.”

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan
Doug Stanton
Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-05-05)
ISBN-10: 1416580514
ISBN-13: 9781416580515

Available from Simon & Schuster Audio (May, 2009)

  • CD; $29.99; 0743580818

Moving Up: ‘How the Mighty Fall’

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Few business authors consistently prevail when the zeitgeist changes, but Jim Collins sure looks like one. His Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t became a longrunning bestseller shortly after 9/11, just as the economy took a dive. In 2004, when the markets were back on track, his Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies performed almost as well, bringing the combined sales for both books up to seven million copies. Now, despite the steep downturn, he’s right in step with How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. It’s up to #31 on Amazon, after an author profile in the Sunday New York Times Business section that’s #9 on the newspaper’s most e-mailed list today. But surprisingly for such a major author, a number of libraries have not ordered the new book; and those that did have only a few copies. (Maybe that’s because it didn’t get a lot of pre-pub reviews?)

The Times attributes the success of Collins’s books to his “tangible frameworks for understanding why organizations succeed.” In the new book, for example, Collins maps out the stages of decline: “hubris born of success; undisciplined pursuit of more; denial of risk and peril; grasping for salvation with a quick, big solution; and capitulation to irrelevance or death.” The Daily Beast, meanwhile, finds Collins’ appeal in his cult of discipline, going so far as to declare, “If How the Mighty Fall has anything like the impact of Good to Great, this model of disciplined attention to constant improvement may come to be seen as the guiding principle of economic and social renewal.”

How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
Jim Collins
Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Jim Collins – (2009-06-01)
ISBN-10: 0977326411
ISBN-13: 9780977326419

Available from HarperAudio (June, 2009)

  • CD; $29.99; 0061939234

Alice Munro Wins Booker

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

One headline reads Triumph of the short story; the third man Booker International Prize for fiction goes to Canadian short story writer, Alice Munro.

The prize is awarded every two years. Unlike the annual Booker, which recognizes a single work of fiction in English, the International Prize is awarded for an entire body of work and is open to writers from around the world. The first International Prize was went to Albanian writer Ismail Kadare in 2005; Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe won it in 2007.

Quoted in the Canadian Globe and Mail, her editor and publisher, Douglas Gibson exhibited a rare bit of Canadian nationalism:

“It’s further proof, if proof was needed, that Canadian writers are simply among the best in the world.” Noting the implied modesty of that statement, he said, “Canadians are culturally averse to anyone seeming too big for our boots, so we need to be reminded by objective evidence that our people really are the best.”

The win brings a prize of 60,000 pounds (US $96,000).

Munro has a new collection of stories coming out in August in Canada and in November in the US.

Too Much Happiness: Stories
Alice Munro
Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-11-17)
ISBN-10: 0307269760
ISBN-13: 9780307269768

Also from Random House Audio:
November 17, 2009
ISBN-10: 0307576736
ISBN-13: 978-0307576736

Packing for BEA

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

If you’re packing for Book Expo you’ll want to bring with you LJ Book Review Editor, Barbara Hoffert’s list of “Six Must-Get BEA Giveaways,” with compelling arguments for each selection.

Below is ordering information for the titles:

War Dances
Sherman Alexie
Price: $23.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grove Press – (2009-10-06)
ISBN-10: 0802119190
ISBN-13: 9780802119193


31 Hours
Masha Hamilton
Price: $24.95
Publisher: Unbridled Books – (2009-09-08)
ISBN-10: 1932961836
ISBN-13: 9781932961836


Stitches: A Memoir
David Small
Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. – (2009-09-08)
ISBN-10: 0393068579
ISBN-13: 9780393068573


The Cry of the Sloth
Sam Savage
Price: $14.95
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Coffee House Press – (2009-09-01)
ISBN-10: 1566892317
ISBN-13: 9781566892315


Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
Jeannette Walls
Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-10-06)
ISBN-10: 1416586288
ISBN-13: 9781416586289


Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity
G. A. Bradshaw
Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press – (2009-10-06)
ISBN-10: 0300127316
ISBN-13: 9780300127317

You’ll also want Mike Rogers’s guide to programs for librarians.

Speaking of all those free Advance Readers Copies, be sure to come to this session, debuting this year:

Saturday, 3:30–5 p.m.

Librarian’s Book Shout and Share (AAP) (Rm. 1E14)

Mike describes it in his own inimitable way:

New this year, essentially a big gabfest where librarians can fill one another in on what they saw/heard during the show and what they think the top forthcoming books/authors are as opposed to what publishers are trying to foist on them. Panelists include RA expert and LJ columnist Neal Wyatt, Brooklyn PL’s Barbara Genco, Baltimore County’s Lila Wisotzki, and others. Not to be missed.

And, I hope to see you at the annual AAP Author Breakfast (Saturday, 8 to 9 a.m.), which I have the honor of moderating this year.

Life with Daddy/Pappa and Mommy/Mama

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Two original board books published by Tricycle Press last December, are just what I have been looking for. Each depicts a family with parents who are a same sex couple with a toddler. These are beautifully illustrated with a lyrical rhyming text that reflect the typical comings and goings; playing in the kitchen, going to the park, painting and baking. In each, the child is rendered gender-neutral, so readers can bring their own story to the telling.

Ages birth – 3

Mommy, Mama, and Me
Lesléa Newman
Price: $7.99
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press – (2008-12-09)
ISBN-10: 1582462631
ISBN-13: 9781582462639
Daddy, Papa, and Me
Lesléa Newman
Price: $7.99
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press – (2008-12-09)
ISBN-10: 1582462623
ISBN-13: 9781582462622

Sweet on ‘Sweetness’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie gets admiring reviews in both the current USA Today mystery column and in Marilyn Stasio’s “Crime” column in the NYT BR, adding to the chorus already building for what USA Today calls a “scrumptious first novel.”

Libraries are showing heavy reserves on moderate ordering (112 reserves on 16 copies in one large system).

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley
Price: $23.00
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press – (2009-04-28)
ISBN-10: 0385342306
ISBN-13: 9780385342308

Also from Random House Audio

  • Unabridged  (April 28, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0739384309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739384305

Charlaine Harris, Readers Advisor

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

On the Book Beast this week, Charlaine Harris recommends her favorites. She is an “ardent fan” of Robert Crais and she guarantees that you’ll be hooked if you read 20 pages of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (the first in Laurie King’s Mary Russell novels; the most recent, The Language of Bees, went on the NYT bestseller list at #9 last week; it is currently on the extended list at #29).

No surprise, she is also a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton.

Check out all her picks at Charlaine Harris’s Book Picks.

Summer Reading, ’09

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

With the reduction in newspaper book review sections, you have to wonder if we’ll be seeing fewer summer reading picks this year. The Washington Post, usually first out of the gate, hasn’t published a list. We haven’t given up hope for lists from the  LA TimesWall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and the Seattle Times.

At this point, there are just four lists. USA Today’s and Amazon’s are the most inclusive. New York magazine picked their nine favorites last week. The most recent list is from a newcomer to the game; the Book Beast‘s “13 Hottest Summer Reads.” It includes several obvious selections (warning; one comment says, “This is an underwhelming list. If this is the best about to be released, I’ll make do with classics.”), overlooks others and highlights a few lesser-known titles. None of the titles overlap with those on New York magazine’s list.

Included are the following, which come with track records (all were also included on the USA Today and/or the Amazon list):

  • The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson — followup to the author’s popular The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, from last year. Libraries have ordered in quantity, with reserves building.
  • Queen Takes King, Gigi Levangie Grazier — the next after The Starter Wife, which was a made into a TV movie starring Debra Messing last year. Several libraries have ordered.
  • South of Braod, Pat Conroy — Unsurprisingly, this shows the heaviest library ordering, with reserves building.
  • Between Assassinations, Aravind Adiga — his first novel, The While Tiger, was the ’08 Booker Award winner is still a bestseller in paperback. Library ordering is moderate, with some reserves.
  • Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich — about the founders of Facebook, by the writer of Bringing Down the House. Coming in July; most libraries have not ordered it yet.

One debut novel is listed, which also made Amazon’s list. Few libraries have ordered it.

The Invisible Mountain
Carolina De Robertis
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-08-25)
ISBN-10: 0307271633
ISBN-13: 9780307271631

Also available from Random House Audio (Aug, 2009)

  • CD; Unabridged; $39.95; 9780739384466

The rest of the list clearly reflects the writer’s personal interests (including TWO biographies of women in Kenya). The following are titles not yet ordered by most libraries:

The Bolter
Frances Osborne
Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-06-02)
ISBN-10: 0307270149
ISBN-13: 9780307270146


The Slippery Year
Melanie Gideon
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2009-08-04)
ISBN-10: 030727067X
ISBN-13: 9780307270672


Lies My Mother Never Told Me: A Memoir
Kaylie Jones
Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2009-09-01)
ISBN-10: 0061778702
ISBN-13: 9780061778704


Israel Is Real
Rich Cohen
Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2009-07-21)
ISBN-10: 0374177783
ISBN-13: 9780374177782

How good are these lists at predicting hits? Not particularly if you judge by last year’s lists. Of the ten that we tracked, Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn’t make any of them; only 4 picked Edgar Sawtelle; and only 3 identified Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Still, taken together, the lists give a quick overview of the publishing season and can help you find titles for readers advisory work.

Who’s the ‘Hungry Monkey’?

Monday, May 25th, 2009

On NPR’s “Morning Edition” this Memorial Day, a story with a shocking headline, “Let Them Eat Sugar: A New Guide for Feeding Kids.” 

The book, Hungry Monkey, by Matthew Amster-Burton, is described as a “memoir-style cookbook.” It suggests that parents needn’t worry about “scary” books that “warn against giving kids certain foods because of the risk of creating allergies, choking hazards and an unbalanced diet.”

Regarding sugar, the author says, “If you’re brave enough to let it be, it’s kind of self-regulating. Efforts to restrict sugar in kids tend to backfire and tend to make kids look for sugar anytime the parents aren’t looking.”

Is this just the information that parents want? Evidently, since the book made a precipitous leap from #5,417 to #61 on Amazon today. One large library system (admittedly an anomaly) shows 101 reserves on 13 copies. Many libraries have not ordered it.

Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater
Matthew Amster-Burton
Price: $23.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co – (2009-05-19)
ISBN-10: 0151013241
ISBN-13: 9780151013241