Summer Reading, ’09

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.

One Response to “Summer Reading, ’09”

  1. Jamie Watson Says:

    The Bolter was actually excerpted in last months Vogue! I think it looks fantastic.