Archive for June, 2009

Twitter Slapped

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

You may have been reading about Alice Hoffman Twitter slapping a reviewer (she’s since apologized) for the Boston Globe review of Hoffman’s new book, Story Sisters. Salon puts the story in context; while authors generally try to “stay classy” about negative reviews, Hoffman is not the only author who has ever lashed out.

The great twist? As a reviewer Hoffman herself has been on the receiving end of author fury.

The Story Sisters
Alice Hoffman
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books – (2009-06-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0307393860 / 9780307393869

Also available in audio from Books on Tape:

Format: 9 CDs; Unabridged
ISBN: 9781415963883
Price: $100.00
  • Format: 9 CDs; Unabridged
  • ISBN: 9781415963883
  • Price: $100.00

And downloadable from OverDrive.

Holds Alert: BROOKLYN

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

One of the few new books in Newsweek‘s “What to Read Now. And Why” is #23 on the list of 50, Colm Toíbín’s Brooklyn, chosen because it,

Captures the experience of homesickness and, in deceptively unadorned prose, builds to a heart-wrenching conclusion about the impossibility of getting everything you want.

Today’s issue of USA Today is almost lyrical about this story of a young Irish woman who moves to New York in 1952; it “creates the purest form of fiction, a small world that employs few references to the real world. It transcends time and place.”

The book has received a chorus of strong reviews in the  consumer press, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Some large libraries we checked are showing holds ratios of 4 to 1 on modest ordering.

Brooklyn: A Novel
Colm Toibin
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-05-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1439138311 / 9781439138311

It is also available in unabridged audio from Blackstone:

Tape; 1-4332-9187-6; $65.95
MP3CD; 1-4332-9191-3;$29.95
CD; 1-4332-9188-3; $100.00
Playaway; 1-4332-9194-4;$59.99
  • Tape; 1-4332-9187-6; $65.95
  • MP3CD; 1-4332-9191-3;$29.95
  • CD; 1-4332-9188-3; $100.00

And on Playaway; 1-4332-9194-4;$59.99

Brief Reprieve for Ohio Libraries

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

LJ reports that the Ohio state senate has given a one-week extension to the current budget, giving legislators more time for budget negotiations and a reprieve for Ohio libraries. LJ also reports that the Save Ohio Libraries campaign has been a tremendous success, but, depending on how the negotiations go, libraries may need to “re-energize their efforts to mobilize patrons.”

Big Picture Archaeology in the NYT

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Today’s NYT Science section wades into the controversial world of archeology. “Scientist Tries to Connect Migration Dots of Ancient Southwest” explores the theories of Stephen Lekson, who believes the various Anasazi sites were not separate entities, but linked by migrations, despite their distances from each other.

Lekson’s new book, A History of the Ancient Southwest argues for this ‘big picture’ archaeology. Another scientist, who completely disagrees with Lekson’s ideas, still says,

Steve is possibly the best writer in Southwest archaeology…Our academic writing has this inherent gift of taking something interesting and making it dull and boring. And Steve doesn’t have that problem. He thinks outside the box, and the rest of us comb through his ideas.

Most libraries have not ordered the book.

History of the Ancient Southwest
Stephen H. Lekson
Retail Price: $39.95
Paperback: 452 pages
Publisher: School for Advanced Research Press – (2009-06-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1934691100 / 9781934691106

Locus Award Winners

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The Locus winners were announced last week. Neal Stephenson’s Anathem won for best science fiction novel, Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia for best fantasy, and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book for best young adult.

The full list of winners is available on the Locus site.


Monday, June 29th, 2009

Newsweek‘s book coverage had become a bit sporadic (also true, sadly, for most of the weeklies, with the notable exceptions of People, Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker).

The current issue (July 13; Michael Jackson on the cover, of course) makes up for that with a feature on the 50 books that are not “best books,”  but books that “open a window on the times we live in.” Who needs “another list telling you how great The Great Gatsby” is, they say (nonetheless, online, perhaps as a form of self-protection, they also provide a best list — Newsweek‘s Top 100 Books).

It’s interesting to see the mix of older and contemporary books on the list; number one is Trollope’s 1875 masterpiece, The Way we Live Now. Newsweek says,

Trollope’s satire of financial (and moral) crisis in Victorian England even has a Madoff-before-Madoff, a tragic swindler named Augustus Melmotte.

Harry Potter doesn’t make the cut, but Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series does.

This list is more fun than the over-familiar “bests” lists. It would make a great book display or a reading group discussion (“What books would you choose?”)

Getting Ready for ALA

Monday, June 29th, 2009

If you’re anything like me, you’re still putting together your ALA schedule. The upcoming holiday won’t make it easier to get it done, so here’s some handy roundups of not-to-miss events for RA and collection development:

The Readers Advisor Online blog has a helpful rundown of programs of interest for readers advisors.

ALA has put together a separate listing of all book and author events.

John Berry presents his picks of the programs, by interest category, in Library Journal.

ALA lists the Collection Development programs

Some other programs you will want to consider, or give special attention to:

Publishers Book Buzz Sessions (Adult Titles)

A great opportunity to hear what’s hot on the fall lists, find out what debut authors to watch, and grab some galleys.

Saturday, July 11, 2009
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
McCormick Place South, Room S101a

HarperCollins — Virginia Stanley and her library marketing team promise tote bags and treats (they know what gets you!) as well as galleys. You need to RSVP so they can line up enough treats. But if you forget to RSVP, come anyway, just don’t expect to get any treats.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
12:00  – 1:00PM
McCormick Place West, Room W473

Random House — It’s the largest list in the business, but Marcie Purcell, Jen Childs and the rest of the team will plow through it in just one rapid-fire hour. RSVP

Special Consideration

I admit it, I’d like you to give special consideration to these programs because I am on them, but, hats off to their organizers, they also sound really good:

Books and Blogs: Made for Each Other?
Saturday, July 11, 1:30-3:00 p.m
McCormick Place West, W-192C

The first-ever program sponsored by Booklist Online. Keir Graff moderates a wide-ranging discussion about blogs as tools for locating, learning about, and promoting books. I’m joining a great panel featuring John Green (Y.A. author and Brotherhood 2.0 blogger; check it out, even if you can’t come to the program), Kaite Stover (Book Group Buzz) and Mary Burkey (Audiobooker).

RUSA President’s Program
Monday, July 13, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
(unfortunately, this is listed as being on Sunday in LJ‘s picks; be sure to put the right date on your own schedule!)
Hyatt Regency, Wacker Drive

Organized by Neal Wyatt, this kicks off  another of  Neal’s amazing brainstorms, the Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Forum, “where ideas, best practices and creative possibilities are actively engaged and deconstructed in order to contribute to the advancement of RA service.” In this session, Neal is taking an interdisciplinary look at appeal; how it works in music, books and art. I will be presenting information on what makes shoppers choose to buy specific titles and what that teaches us for both RA and collection development.

Discussion Group of Note

Collection Management In Public Libraries Discussion/Interest Group
Monday, July 13, from 1:30 to 3:00
Chicago Hilton, the Lake Erie Room.

Discussion topics:

1. Vendor services libraries are using to be more efficient and to avoid adding more staff.
2. What are some innovations libraries are using to deliver materials such as mailing holds/requests or partnering with NetFlix?
3. And, on everyone’s mind – what are the strategies being used to cope with reduced materials budgets.

Livin’ the Moment

Monday, June 29th, 2009

These days anyone who dares to complain about work adds “But at least I have a job.”

Yet, as evidenced by what we’re reading, Americans are not fulfilled by their work. Alain de Botton’s The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work has been widely reviewed and is on waiting lists in most libraries. Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Class, which argues against the white-collar life and for working with your hands, is at #34 on Amazon.

It seems everywhere you turn, you find new books on chucking it all and raising goats (Brad Kessler’s Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese, Scribner, 6/23; featured on Salon today) or leaving a solid career to move as far away from what you know as possible (Waking Up in Eden: In Pursuit of an Impassioned Life on an Imperiled Island, Lucinda Fleeson, Algonquin, 6/16; I spent my weekend enchanted with this book), or staying put, but changing your life completely (Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter, Penguin, 6/11).

If you’re hearing echos of the ’60’s, you won’t be surprised to learn that a book called Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment rose to #14 on Amazon over the weekend (it’s now at #42).

Author Dave Romanelli is co-founder of a Phoenix AZ yoga studio and teaches “Yoga+Chocolate” and “Yoga+Wine” courses. Of the book, PW said, “This lighthearted overview of awareness should provide seekers many ideas; accomplished yogis probably need not apply…”

Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy Through Wine, Chocolate and Your iPod Playlist
David Romanelli
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Broadway – (2009-03-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0767929489 / 9780767929486

NYT Nonfiction 7/5

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Based on its performance on Amazon and library holds, we expected Perfection to rise on this list. We were wrong, it actually slid from #16 to #25 on the Extended Nonfiction list. Libraries are still showing holds

New titles to the list are:


Are You Kidding Me?: The Story of Rocco Mediate’s Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the US Open
Rocco Mediate, John Feinstein
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2009-05-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0316049107 / 9780316049108


Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival
Norman Ollestad
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2009-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061766720 / 9780061766725

Also available from HarperAudio:

  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Unabridged edition (June 2, 2009); $39.99
  • ISBN-10: 0061774456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061774454

And in large type:

  • Paperback: $25.99; 360 pages
  • Publisher: HarperLuxe; Lgr edition (June 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0061782084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061782084

#16 (tied with #15)

Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
Michael Norman, Elizabeth M. Norman
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2009-06-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0374272603 / 9780374272609

Also in audio from Tantor:

Narrator: Michael Prichard

  • 14 Audio CDs (Retail Unikeep Pkg); EAN: 9781400111671
List Price: $39.99
  • 14 Audio CDs (Library BinderL Pkg); EAN: 9781400141678
List Price: $79.99
  • 2 Mp3-CDs (Retail SlimlineL Pkg); EAN: 9781400161676
List Price: $29.99

#27 Extended

The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld
Tom Folsom
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Weinstein Books – (2009-05-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1602860815 / 9781602860810

More Love for Kington

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Two glowing early reviews have rolled in for How Shall I Tell the Dog: And Other Final Musings, the memoir in letters by Miles Kington, one of Britain’s most popular newspaper columnists. It’s good to see that several libraries have ordered it since we mentioned it last week as a possible sleeper.

Publishers Weekly gives it a starred review, praising the book as “a witty, bittersweet slice of meta-nonfiction” about Kington’s struggle with pancreatic cancer, “or, more precisely, his struggle to write a book about it: ‘phrases like ‘cashing in on cancer’ give quite the wrong impression. What I mean is, ‘making cancer work for its living.’” 

The bookseller newsletter Shelf Awareness declares that Kington “effortlessly takes the reader from sadness to laughter” and relishes the part where Kington thinks  

he might make a good assassin, offering his services as his last useful act on earth: “People who look at my hangdog expression and my air of lingering malady would never dream that underneath it all simmers a potential killer.” And he’s after big game, too–Robert Mugabe or a”‘public nuisance’ like Jeffrey Archer or Victorla Beckham.”

How Shall I Tell the Dog?: And Other Final Musings
Miles Kington
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press – (2009-07-07)
ISBN / EAN: 155704841X / 9781557048417

Stakes High for Ben Mezrich

Friday, June 26th, 2009

What’s that sound? Could it be tech reporters sharpening their nails, in anticipation of next month’s release of Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, billed as the true story of the founding of Facebook?  Mezrich, you’ll remember, is the author of the nonfiction bestseller Bringing Down the House, about MIT students who beat the odds in Las Vegas, who later conceded that he had fictionalized parts of that book. 

The New York Times Bits blog and Boston magazine both note that the stakes are higher for Mezrich in the new book — and not only because Mezrich will face stiff scrutiny from tech reporters and bloggers, who have already debunked some details in leaked copies of his original proposal for the book. Mezrich has also received a $1.2 million advance for the book and has made a film deal with West Wing creator Alan Sorkin. And let’s not forget that the Facebook founders could be litigious. In addition, the Bits blog says, Mezrich’s main source is not airtight: he had access only to Eduardo Saverin, who provided seed money to one of the site’s founders, Mark Zuckerberg, before Saverin was ousted from the Facebook team. 

Libraries are showing some reserves on the book. This could be one to watch, depending on how other reporters and Facebook respond to the book.

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Ben Mezrich
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2009-07-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0385529376 / 9780385529372

Available from Random House audio (July 7, 2009)

  • CD; $35; 9780739383582

FREE Comes at a Price for Anderson

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Much touted at Book Expo, Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Wired magazine edtior-in-chief Chris Anderson is drawing a round of negative publicity less than two weeks before its July publication, stemming from accusations that Anderson lifted content from the Web without attribution. Though the book has been in the news for several days, preorder activity on Amazon is relatively mild: Free is currently at #4897. Libraries we checked show some reserves, with between 10 and 25 copies on order.

The charges against Anderson first emerged in a post by Waldo Jaquith on the Virginia Quarterly Review blog, and were seconded by Edward Champion, who posted examples of possible plagarism from other websites on his own blog. Anderson, in turn, responded to Jaquith’s claims on his blog [Note: the previous link is to Anderson’s Web site “The Long Tail,”which no longer exists, as exploreed here], stating that the unattributed passages would be rewritten or credited to Wikipedia in all digital and future print editions of the book.

It remains to be seen if the controversy will overshadow the book itself, which PW gave a starred review, saying “Anderson provides a thorough overview of the history of pricing and commerce…As in [his] previous book, the thought-provoking material is matched by a delivery that is nothing short of scintillating.”

Amazon has also posted a video interview with Anderson from Book Expo, taped before the controversy erupted, in which Anderson explains how business models involving “free” giveaways have evolved between the 20th and 21st centuries.

Free: The Future of a Radical Price
Chris Anderson
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2009-07-07)
ISBN / EAN: 1401322905 / 9781401322908


NYT Fiction Best Seller Debuts, 7/5

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a double winner this week. Not only does his new novel, Angel’s Game, hit the list at #3, but his previous title, Shadow of the Wind, goes back on the Trade Paperback Fiction Extended list at #21.

Two titles mark their author’s debuts on the fiction list. Links are to our earlier coverage:

#23 Extended — Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan, Knopf, 6/16

#30 Extended — A Short History of Women, Kate Walbert, Scribner, 6/16

Authors returning to the list with their new titles are:

#1 Knockout, Catherine Coulter, Putnam

#9 The Neighbor, Lisa Gardner, Bantam

#14 Dune Road, Jane Green, Viking

AMELIA Trailer

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The trailer for director Mira Nair’s biopic about Amelia Earhart has just appeared on Yahoo. It stars Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart and Richard Gere as her husband George Putnam.

The movie draws on three books:

East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart
Susan Butler
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press – (2009-08-10)
ISBN / EAN: 030681837X / 9780306818370


The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart
Mary S. Lovell
Retail Price: $17.99
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0312587333 / 9780312587338


Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved
Elgen M. Long, Marie K. Long
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (1999-11-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0684860058 / 9780684860053

Monica Ali Gets Mixed Reaction

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Libraries are showing substantial holds on 20 copies or less of Monica Ali’s In the Kitchen, but critics are ambivalent about her third novel, after Alentejo Blue and her popular debut Brick Lane, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The new book focuses on the metal breakdown of the head chef in a fading London hotel with a multinational staff of immigrants and refugees that’s a metaphor for the cultural crisis of modern Britian.

The Wall St. Journal published a respectful profile of Ali yesterday that made the book sound enticing, but the newspaper’s review of her new book was more scalding:

Ms. Ali brings a lively intelligence to her work, and her account of Gabriel’s mental breakdown, set against shifting scenes of London, is vivid and well done. “In the Kitchen” is ambitious, but with its one-dimensional characterizations and laggardly pace—it’s too long at 436 pages—this novel is, ultimately, hard to digest.”

Time was a bit more generous in its brief mention of Ali’s novel in a piece on books about the restaurant world, declaring that Ali “gets the kitchen just right: the crushing pace, the fistfights, the grills and griddles and salamanders, the guy who’s always walking around with a leek hanging out of his fly.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer review balanced criticism of the “oddly-neutralizing, drama-killing” effect of watching the main character go bonkers with appreciation for the “tender, psychologically-charged” flashbacks of that character’s boyhood, which lingered with the reviewer “long after the big social issues were digested and forgotten.”

In the Kitchen: A Novel
Monica Ali
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-06-16)
ISBN / EAN: 141657168X / 9781416571681