Archive for October, 2009

Librarians and Blogging

Friday, October 30th, 2009

A chance to see our EarlyWord Kids contributor, Lisa Von Drasek:

New York Librarians Meetup Group’s Discussion on Librarians and Blogging

Monday, Nov. 2 at 5:30 pm
NYPL Mulberry Street Branch Library
10 Jersey St., between Lafayette & Mulberry


Lisa Von Drasek – EarlyWord Kids

Alexandra Crosier – Shelved @ NYC

Jenna Freedman – Lower East Side Librarian

Jennifer Craft – Blogging @ NYPL (Mulberry Street Branch)

It’s All in the Timing

Friday, October 30th, 2009

We’re willing to bet that McFarland, the publisher of reference and scholarly books, has never been featured in USA Today.

As a lead-up to Halloween McFarland’s Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration gets the USA Today love.

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together
Gregory William Mank
Retail Price: $75.00
Hardcover: 701 pages
Publisher: McFarland – (2009-05-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0786434805 / 9780786434800

Coming the Week of Nov. 1

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The first three titles being discounted in the book price wars release next week:

11/3 Grisham, John, Ford County
11/3 Kingsolver, Barbara, Lacuna
11/3 Robb, J.D., Kindred in Death

Ironically, some independent booksellers have cancelled their original orders and will be buying their stock from the enemy [11/2 UPDATE: the online retailers have now imposed a limit on the number of copies customers can order, so this is no longer an option].

On Fiction_L, we asked if any libraries were planning to do the same. All the responders said no, because they get their books cataloged and processed by their wholesaler. Estimating that the savings would amount to $10 a book as opposed to the discounted price through the wholesaler, all said that it would not be worth the cost and effort to switch the orders, catalog, jacket and process the books.

Below is a list of major titles with pub dates next week (some may already be available).


11/1 Dennis, Brian, Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle
Brian Dennis, Mary Nethery, Kirby Larson
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2009-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 031605318X / 9780316053181

Audio from Hachette Audio; 1600248713; $17.98
Also on PlayAway; 1607884313; $39.99
Book and audio downloadable from OverDrive

Many librarians fell in love with this book at BEA, including Lisa Von Drasek

Lots of media is on tap for this, including the Today Show on Monday (8:30 a.m.); Conan O’Brien on 11/9; People magazine, 11/16 (on newsstands 11/6).


11/1 O’Connor, Jane Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

11/3 Lupica, Mike, Million-Dollar Throw


11/3  Grisham, John, Ford County — A departure for Grisham, this is a collection of short stories.
11/3  Bell, Madison Smartt,  Devil’s Dream
11/3  Brown, Sandra, Rainwater
11/3  Jacobs, Kate, Knit the Season
11/3  Keillor, Garrison,  Christmas Blizzard
11/3  Kingsolver, Barbara, Lacuna
11/3  Robb, J.D., Kindred in Death
11/3  Shaara, Jeff, No Less Victory


11/2  Foer, Jonathan Safran Eating Animals

Eating Animals
Jonathan Safran Foer
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2009-11-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0316069906 / 9780316069908

Downloadable eBook from OverDrive

The current issue of Entertainment Weekly gives Eating Animals a solid B, saying,

You can agree wholeheartedly with huge chunks of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s sprawling and stirring new pro-vegetarian polemic, Eating Animals, and at the same time find it pompous and annoying.

The Huffington Post is running a series about the book and plans to do so for several weeks, describing the pieces as “a diverse range of responses” and not “your usual book reviews. They are the start of a conversation that some powerful people in agribusiness would rather we not have.” The responses are from a diverse group of people, from Natalie Portman to Andrew Weil and Rabbi David Wolpe, but have all been positive so far.

11/3  Johnson, Paul Churchill — Biography
11/3  Karr, Mary Lit: A Memoir
11/3 Dwight Garner Read Me: A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements
11/3 Gore, Al, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis
Gore will appear on Letterman on the day the book is published and on Jon Stewart the next evening.
11/3 Plouffe, David, The Audacity to Win
Time mgazine is running an exclusive four-page excerpt in the 11/9 issue (on newstands tomorrow). Will appear on Jon Stewart that evening.

The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory
David Plouffe
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-11-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021334 / 9780670021338

Audio from Penguin Audiobooks; ISBN: 0143142720; $39.95
Both eBook and audiobook downloadable from OverDrive.

11/3 Osteen, Joel, It’s Your Time


Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A friend’s father had a heavy Russian accent, but had little tolerance for those who couldn’t understand him. If questioned about what he said, he’d just get angry and repeat it exactly, but louder, MUCH louder. Sending him on an errand could be dangerous. That was reinforced the time he proudly came home bearing a cake decorated with the words “Happy Boy’s Day.”

If only he’d lived to learn that he’s not alone. The new book Cake Wrecks, based on the inspired blog, shows he could have done worse.


You’re unlikely to get your hands on a copy, since holds are heavy in every library we checked. The NYT recently put together a slide show of prime examples and, of course, there’s also the blog.

If you’re looking for a readalike, try The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Amazingly, libraries are showing copies on the shelf.

The Gallery of Regrettable Food
James Lileks
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2001-09-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0609607820 / 9780609607824

Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong
Jen Yates
Retail Price: $12.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0740785370 / 9780740785375

PW’s Top Ten

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

PW has released their “first ever” list of the top ten books of the year (the list is also featured in USA Today’s “Book Buzz” column).

Not missing a beat, Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald asks why ALL the books are by men.

Really, PW? No women wrote great books in 2009? Not Margaret Atwood, not A.S. Byatt? Hmmmm. Makes me skeptical.

She acknowledges that, in a press release, PW had noted that the list is not “politically correct,” but said “the balance of our top 100 reflects a remarkable diversity.” That list will appear next week.

Below are the top ten — note that the list is in alpha order by title; the first title is not being annointed the #1 pick. To see the list with reviews, click here.

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes (Pantheon)

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (Ballantine)

Big Machine by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)

Cheever by Blake Bailey (Knopf)

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War by Neil Sheehan (Random)

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Norton)

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon)

Lost City of Z by David Grann (Doubleday)

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford (Penguin Press)

Stitches by David Small (Norton)

Ayn Rand Hot Again

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

BookForum‘s Omnivore blog (not to be confused with Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog) says Ayn Rand is currently “so in vogue that even designers such as Ralph Lauren are finding inspiration in her writing” and links to the stunning number of recent articles about her, fueled, in part, by two new biographies.

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right
Jennifer Burns
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA – (2009-10-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0195324870 / 9780195324877

Ayn Rand and the World She Made
Anne C. Heller
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese – (2009-10-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0385513992 / 9780385513999

Librarian Favorite: Mennonite

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Librarians spotted Mennonite in a Little Black Dress at BEA and made it a “Shout ‘n’ Share” pick.

In this memoir, Rhoda Janzen writes about a period when her life takes about as many wrong turns as possible, bringing her to do what she never thought she could — return home to her Mennonite family.

It came out two weeks ago and is gaining momentum. Libraries were showing comfortable hold levels just before publication, but holds have increased rapidly in the last two weeks.

The Daily Beastcalls it hysterical; “In the tradition of David Sedaris, it’s her family who is the source of the book’s biggest laughs, and its heart.”

People Magazine — gave it four out of four stars

And, the author was profiled in USA Today.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Rhoda Janzen
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. – (2009-10-13)
ISBN / EAN: 080508925X / 9780805089257

Also in audio from HighBridge:

  • CD: 9781598879070; $29/95; 10/13

Downloadable audio from OverDrive

Best Books of ’09

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Amazon has started its countdown of the best books of ’09, in ranked order, Casey Kasem style (with the small difference that Kasem was about popularity, not quality), from 100 to #1.

It’s hard to believe, but this is the tenth year for Amazon’s list. This year, they are doling out twenty choices per day, leading up to the big reveal of the Top Ten on Monday.

Here’s what they’ve given us so far; check Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog for upcoming lists.

100. The Interrogative Mood, Padgett Powell

99. The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia, Mike Dash

98. The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker

97. Imperial, William T. Vollmann

96. Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, Christopher Payne

95. The American Painter Emma Dial, Samantha Peale

94. Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon

93. Nobody Move, Denis Johnson

92. The BLDGBLOG Book, Geoff Manaugh

91. American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson

90. D-Day, Antony Beevor

89. The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard, J.G. Ballard

88. The Children’s Book, A.S. Byatt

87. Half Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls

86. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, Winifred Gallagher

85. Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

84. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly

83. American Rust, Phillipp Meyer

82. Never Smile at a Monkey, Steve Jenkins

81. The Jazz Loft Project, Sam Stephenson

80. Ad Hoc at Home, Thomas Keller

79. Toby Alone, Timothee de Fombelle

78. Robert Altman: The Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff

77. Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger

76. The Myth of the Rational Market, Justin Fox

75. George Sprott: 1894-1975, Seth

74. Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby

73. Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, Michael and Elizabeth Norman

72. The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Vol. 1, 1929-1940, Samuel Beckett

71. Green Metropolis, David Owen

70. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, Eric W. Sanderson

69. Columbine, Dave Cullen

68. A New Literary History of America, edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors

67. Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli

66. Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon

65. The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, Douglas Brinkley

64. Lowboy, John Wray

63. Everything Matters!, Ron Currie Jr.

62. Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

61. Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, Michael Ruhlman

Global Warming Fights

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The U.N.’s top climate official declared today that “time is running out” for a global warming treaty and urged that it be finalized at the Copenhagen conference in December. One of the stumbling blocks is the U.S. Senate which is seen as “unlikely” to agree to the treaty’s provisions by the time of the conference.

Meanwhile, rising on Amazon, is The Real Global Warming Disaster by Christopher Booker, available in the UK now, but not coming out in this country until January, after the conference winds up. It is currently at #64 on Amazon’s U.S. sales rankings.

Booker, a long-time columnist for the UK’s Sunday Telegraph has drawn attacks for years for claiming that asbestos and second-hand smoke are not harmful, and that mad cow disease does not affect humans. Unsurprisingly, he also claims that global warming is a hoax, foisted on us by a small group of “global warming zealots” armed with faulty research.

As we mentioned earlier, a new book examines the issues behind the debates, Why We Disagree About Climate Change.

The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the Obsession with “Climate Change” Turning Out to Be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History?
Christopher Booker
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Continuum – (2010-01-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1441110526 / 9781441110527


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

We’ve written here before about the great reviews piling up for the novel Blame by Michele Huneven.

In most cases, books are reviewed at pub date or shortly thereafter. Publishers hate it when reviews are spread out over several weeks because it lessens the cumulative impact.

That may be true, but when a book continues to be reviewed long after publication, it signals that reviewers have fought for it against all the other titles coming through the pipeline.

And, here comes yet another strong review for Blame, nearly two months after publication (I know, but with hundreds of books coming out daily, two months is a long time), on NPR’s Web site.

I just finished reading Blame and can attest that the reviewers are correct in their praise, but it should be emphasized that it’s a great story that will have you thinking about it long after you finish the last page.

Blame: A Novel
Michelle Huneven
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0374114307 / 9780374114305

Unabridged audio from Blackstone

  • Read by Hillary Huber
  • 8 Tapes; 9781433293320; $32.98
  • Playaway; 9781433293399; $59.99
  • 1 MP3CD; 9781433293368;$14.98
  • 9 CD; 9781433293337; $50.00

Large Type: Thorndike; Hdbk; 12/1/09; 9781410420930; $31.95

Downloadable audio from OverDrive

Vampire Morality

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Many years from now, some cultural historian will come up with a plausible theory about why vampires are so popular right now.

For now, the Philadelphia Inquirer observes that today’s vampires are quite different from your father’s; once inherently evil, now they can be lovable heroes.The theme of morality runs through many current popular vampire movies and novels.

To fully explore this subject, the article suggests the huge vampire anthology, The Vampire Archives.

The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Retail Price: $25.00
Paperback: 1056 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2009-09-29)
ISBN / EAN: 0307473899 / 9780307473899

The Next J.K. Rowling?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Before you get excited by the Wall Street Journal headline, “From Australia, the Next J.K. Rowling?,” do what the Christian Science Monitor suggests, Google “the next J.K. Rowling.” Time gave Stephenie Meyer that title last year, long after she was already a phenomenon. Philip Pullman was also a candidate, but the other names that surface have so far not panned out.

So, here’s the story. Struggling married mother of four, Australian Rebecca James, decides to bet all she has on her ability to write a book. The resulting  Beautiful Malice, “a gritty psychological thriller for teenagers and upward,” suffered many rejections before suddenly being picked up by an agent who took it to the Frankfurt Book Fair last week, where it engendered an international bidding war.

Bantam was the high bidder for U.S. rights, spending “up to $600.000,”  for Beautiful Malice and a second thriller, Cooper Bartholomew is Dead, says the WSJ.

One of the American underbidders says the book offers young adults something totally different, “a smart and literary psychological thriller.”

By the way,  Scholastic paid $105,000 for the rights to publish Harry Potter back in 1997, which amounts to $140,306 in 2009 currency. At the time, it was the largest amount ever paid for a debut childrens book

Of course, that was before Harry Potter proved what profits were lurking in the childrens book market.

Monday, October 26th, 2009


WICKED Acquired by DreamWorks

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Worried that there aren’t enough YA vampire movies in the pipeline?

Worry no more; The Hollywood Reporter announces that DreamWorks Studios has acquired the rights to the five-book Wicked series.

The producers say, “Wicked has all the elements for a great movie–adventure, mystery, star-crossed lovers, bitter enemies, and the supernatural. [the script writers] came in with an intriguing take on the books and a story that we feel will really speak to all audiences.”

Release is planned for 2012.

The movie will be based on the first two titles in the sereis, Witch and Curse, which are available in one volume.

Wicked: Witch & Curse
Nancy Holder, Debbie Viguié
Retail Price: $7.99
Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse – (2008-09-09)
ISBN / EAN: 141697119X / 9781416971191

At the end of September, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, the first in a 3-vol YA paranormal romance series about werewolves, was acquired. No release date was given.

Maggie Stiefvater
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2009-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0545123267 / 9780545123266

And, last year, the House of Night series was optioned. The newest title in that series has just been released.

Tempted (House of Night Novels)
P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2009-10-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0312567480 / 9780312567484


Friday, October 23rd, 2009

I had the rare opportunity to go to an early screening of the Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, which opens for lesser mortals today. Having read the first book long ago, I had only a vague memory of the plot. No matter.

What do I want in a movie?

Fast paced adventure?    Check!

A sense of humor?          Check!

No shaky hand held cameras?   Check!

No intrusive “author’s message”?   Check!

A real movie critic might quibble about the slight story line and thin premise, but I am here to say lighten up, it was fun. John C. Reilly as the vampire was alternately menacing and sweet (I know — just go with it). The lead teen was understated as the perfect high-schooler whose life gets turned upside down. The supporting characters were fantastic; I am in love with the snake boy.

A heads-up for language and violence; yeah that’s why it is PG-13. The language was more an exclamation point in the witty dialog and the fight scenes were more cartoonish than scary.

So as a good friend of mine would say, the movie is a great advertisement for the books.

[To see a larger version of the trailer, go to the official movie Web site]


The Vampire’s Assistant and Other Tales from the Cirque Du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan)
Darren Shan
Retail Price: $12.99
Paperback: 720 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2009-09-15)
ISBN / EAN: 031605240X / 9780316052405