Kaite Booktalks BEA

At BEA’s “Shout and Share,” a panel of librarians picked their favorite ARC’s from the show. Kaite Mediatore Stover (RA maven and Head of Readers’ Services, Kansas City PL) book talked her selections. This woman knows how to push a book (e.g., The Birthing House reads as if “Stephen King had been the architect, Joe Hill the realtor, and the Octomom the decorator”).  Even though I was scribbling madly, I couldn’t get the pithy phrases down fast enough.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to, because Kaite agreed to share her booktalks with EarlyWorders:

Sandman Slim
Richard Kadrey
Retail Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Eos – (2009-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061714305 / 9780061714306

A heady combination of Warren Ellis’ cynical wit and Neil Gaiman’s imaginative world building. Recent Hell-dweller, James Stark is on a revenge-fueled prowl through Los Angeles. He’s looking for the dark magician who cursed him into the afterlife, murdered his girlfriend, and corrupted his livelihood. Stark is moving through the gritty streets with cheeky advice from a beheaded corpse, reluctant loyalty from a 200-year-old Frenchman, and a suspicious video store clerk with her own wise-crack for every occasion. This book is a glittering, darkly humorous, jet-propelled paranormal noir with unforgettable characters, bullet-speed dialogue, and a 3 am caffeine chaser of a story. Give this to all those twittering hipsters who have a fondness for Jim Butcher, Simon Green, and Kim Harrison.  

[Ed note: Libraries show light ordering]

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The Birthing House
Christopher Ransom
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0312385846 / 9780312385842

Perfect for Halloween; a dark and twisted story of a house that takes life to give birth. Returning from his father’s funeral in Chicago, Conrad detours to Black Earth, Wisconsin while en route to a bland life and career-driven wife in LA. Conrad is captivated by an old Victorian mansion, the “birthing house,” as the locals call it, which has provided shelter for many women over the past hundred or so years who have given birth to many babies—not all of them normal. Does this history make a house haunted? Or is haunting merely history roused from is rest? One week later, Jo and Conrad make the big move from urban LA to rural Black Earth.  A few days after the couple move in, Jo leaves for an eight-week training in Detroit. Conrad can feel the house closing in on him. It’s stalking him with mysterious blood stains on the floor, faceless wooden dolls that move unassisted and ghostly apparitions in windows and ancient photographs that bear an unsettling resemblance to Conrad’s thoroughly modern wife.    

If Stephen King had been the architect, Joe Hill the realtor, and the Octomom the decorator, you’d have The Birthing House. Who knew the heartland had a heart so full of darkness?  

[Ed note: Of the four, this one shows the highest total orders by the six large library systems we checked]

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While I’m Falling
Laura Moriarty
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2009-08-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1401302726 / 9781401302726

A personal and book group favorite for Ms. Moriarty’s local ties to the Kansas City area.   

Here’s a story of a normal Kansas City family that is quietly coming apart at the seams as its members go through typical life changes. Dependable mother Natalie is the first to experience transformation. Her throw-away affair with a roofer devastates her lawyer husband and coed daughter, Veronica. It doesn’t clearly dawn on Veronica that her life will never be the same until her mother arrives at her dorm, family dog in tow, claiming to be jobless, homeless, and penniless. Moriarty writes quiet domestic stories that are compelling as we watch realistic, yet not completely likeable characters, make the kinds of life errors we’d like to smack them for, but understand, because we’ve made the same mistakes, too. This is one of Moriarty’s strengths. She doesn’t want the reader to take the side of any of her characters, rather, Moriarty wants to provoke thought and conversation about what the characters are doing, why, and how they can learn to make do or do better.   

A great book for book groups and readers who enjoy Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and early Luanne Rice.  

[Ed note: Just two of the six libraries we checked have it on order, but those libraries have ordered more copies of this title than any of the others]

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Top Producer: A Novel of Dark Money, Greed, and Friendship
Norb Vonnegut
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2009-09-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0312384610 / 9780312384616

Librarians know times are tough. We’re seeing all kinds of new readers, some of them former financial industry employees. For all those patrons who spent their days wheeling and dealing on Wall Street, or in the banks’ counting house counting all the money, even those who thought Bernie Madoff got off light, comes a story set in the high-stakes world of finance written by one of its own. The novel opens with a grisly shark-infested murder at the Boston Aquarium which puts hero Grove O’Rourke’s life and career in jeopardy. As Grove scrambles to solve the murder by following the money, he uncovers scam after scam. A detailed ticker-tape quick thriller about where all the dollars go, what the money is hiding, and whose hand is in the till. 

[Ed note: a few libraries have ordered, in modest quantities ]

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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

Caldecott winning artist David Small gives readers a profound work sure to be an essential addition to any graphic literature collection. Young David undergoes some medical experiments at age 6, all administered by his doctor father. At 14, David is diagnosed with, but never informed of, throat cancer and had one of his vocal chords removed. As the years go by, David struggles to find his voice and seek the truth from a family that habitually, relentlessly avoids it. This memoir is utterly compelling. It can be read in an hour but begs to be re-read. Moving, disturbing and redemptive, the grim tones are perfectly captured in pale-washed illustrations. I will be giving Stitches to readers who enjoy powerful memoirs as a gateway book to the graphic format.

One Response to “Kaite Booktalks BEA”

  1. Ben Rubinstein Says:

    Excellent recap Kaite! Thanks!