Archive for January, 2010

Cover of the NYT BR

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Patti Smith can now sing “I’m on the cover of the New York Times Book Review.

Well, maybe it doesn’t scan as well, or have the cache of “on the Cover of The Rolling Stone,” but she’s already achieved that milestone.

And, perhaps it doesn’t mean as much as the fact that her book, Just Kids, about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe debuts at #7 on the new NYT nonfiction best seller list, or that holds are heavy in libraries and building fast.

The review says that  Just Kids,

…is the most spellbinding and diverting portrait of funky-but-chic New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s that any alumnus has committed to print. The tone is at once flinty and hilarious, which figures: she’s always been both tough and funny, two real saving graces in an artist this prone to excess. What’s sure to make her account a cornucopia for cultural historians, however, is that the atmosphere, personalities and mores of the time are so astutely observed.

The Washington Post was equally laudatory, in a review that makes you regret the book isn’t on your nightstand right now.

As part of her book tour, she appears at the Chicago Public Library on February 21.

Just Kids
Patti Smith
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2010-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006621131X / 9780066211312

Celebrate Molly Ivins on Twitter

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Molly Ivins is often described as courageous and irreverent, so it’s no wonder that she also loved librarians, who share those characteristics. In fact, she began her career working in a newspaper library (see her 2001 interview in Special Libraries).

She died three years ago Sunday. You can help celebrate her life by tweeting your favorite Mollyisms, stories and memories using the hashtag #MollyIvins, in progress now.

The celebration is organized by Public Affairs, the publisher of the recent biography Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life; The Texas Observer, Molly’s former paper; and Vintage/Anchor, the publisher of Ivins’s books such as Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? and Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush.

Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life
Bill Minutaglio, W. Michael Smith
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs – (2009-11-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1586487175 / 9781586487171

Books to Watch Next Week

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Among the major releases coming next week are a “literary” author entering thriller territory, a novel that echoes events in Haiti and my personal favorite, the new Louise Erdrich.

Ordinary Thunderstorms
William Boyd
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061876747 / 9780061876745

eBook available from OverDrive

Whitbread-award winning author Boyd (A Good Man in Africa), delves into the thriller genre in this, his ninth novel. It’s had  great prepub reviews and some early consumer coverage. The WSJ interviewed the author and called the book “gripping.”

Although set in London circa 2010, Ordinary Thunderstorms has a Dickensian cast of characters—predators and prey, tycoons and paupers, charlatans and stooges—orbiting one another in the mean streets of London.


One Amazing Thing
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Retail Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Voice – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1401340997 / 9781401340995

One Amazing Thing has already been featured in USA Today‘s look at what booksellers are expecting to do well this season, and, in a separate article on how the novel echoes events in Haiti, since it “tells the harrowing story of nine terrified people trapped in an office building in an unnamed U.S. city after an earthquake.” The has selected it as “One to Watch.”


Shadow Tag
Louise Erdrich
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061536091 / 9780061536090

This one is my personal pick for the week. Erdrich examines a marriage through several lenses. The wife has been keeping a diary. Realizing her husband has been reading it, she begins writing entries designed to affect him. Meanwhile, she begins a separate diary to record her true feelings. The device brings you right into the heart of a difficult, passionate marriage.

More Major Fiction Releases Next Week:

Patterson, James and Michael Ledwidge, Worst Case, Little Brown
Bohjalian, Chris, Secrets of Eden, Crown; Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+
Hamilton, Laurell K. Flirt, Berkley
DeLillo, Dan, Point Omega, Scribner; gets a disappointing C+ in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.
Harris, Robert, Conspirata, S&S
Mills, Mark,  Information Officer, Random House
Conrad, Lauren Sweet Little Lies, HarperCollins — the second in the L.A. Candy series by one of the stars of the MTV series, Hills
Hannah, Kristin Winter Garden, St. Martins

Lerangis, Peter The 39 Clues Book 7: The Viper’s Nest

Apple’s iBook App

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Not much information is available on Apple’s iBook app; the best coverage so far is Apple’s iPad: What book lovers need to know, on Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life blog.


Thursday, January 28th, 2010

News is leaking from a book by former John Edwards’ aide, Andrew Young. On the Today Show this morning, a reporter called the book,

…salacious, full of tawdry details, betrayal and countless lies. And as brutal as it is about John Edwards, it’s also tough on Elizabeth, who, the book says, became intoxicated by power, and sometimes looked the other way.

Tomorrow night, Young appears on 20/20.

The release date, originally scheduled for next week, has been moved up to Saturday, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down
Andrew Young
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books – (2010-30-01)
ISBN / EAN: 031264065X / 9780312640651

Unabridged audio will be available from Tantor:

Publisher: Tantor, 2/22/10
Read by: Kevin Foley
Trade: 9781400116508; 10 CD’s; $34.99
Library: 9781400146505; 10 CD’s; $69.99
MP3: 9781400166503; 1 MP3-CD; $24.99

WENCH Compared to THE HELP

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

We’ve got a good feeling about the debut novel Wench (see earlier posts). Prepub reviews were great; the story brings to light a little-known, but fascinating piece of history, based on real events and the author is engaging (as proved by her interview on NPR last week; listen to it here).

Now, USA Today adds the icing to the cake by writing,

Readers entranced by Kathryn Stockett’s The Help…will be equally riveted by Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s Wench, a brutally told fictional account of slave women forced to be the “mistresses” of their white masters in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Like The HelpWench immerses readers in its characters’ complex emotional lives.

Most libraries bought small quantities (fewer than 1 copy per branch) and are showing holds of 10:1.

We first heard about Wench at a HarperCollins library buzz session. Check out the buzz on their Summer 2010 titles by clicking here (and enter for a chance to win a set of five Advance Readers Editions).

Dolen Perkins Valdez
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Amistad – (2010-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006170654X / 9780061706547

Unabridged Audio: Books on Tape

Audio and eBook downloadable from OverDrive


Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Clare Danes plays autistic animal specialist Temple Grandin in an HBO biopic debuting on Saturday, February 6th.

Entertainment Weekly is very enthusiastic about it, admitting that the subject, autism and cattle handling, doesn’t scream “must see,” but that the movie is “…relatable to anyone with a heart, and fascinating to anyone with a brain. The fact that it does so with such a singular story only makes the movie that much greater.”

Grandin has written several books, including last year’s Animals Make Us Human; her autobiography has been reissued as the tie-in.

Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition): My Life with Autism
Temple Grandin Ph.D.
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2010-01-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0307739589 / 9780307739582

eBook and audio available from OverDrive.

It’s Official; It’s the iPad

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

See the live coverage of Apple’s announcement here.

I guess “iPad” is an interesting variation on “iPod,” but I wonder if any women had a vote on the name?

Update: It will sell for much less than many had predicted;

Expect announcements of price cuts for the Kindle. The basic model now retails for $259 and the larger Kindle DX, which is the same size as the iPad, goes for $489.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the man who just last year dismissed the Kindle because “people don’t read any more,” now says, “Let me show you another one of our apps that we’re very excited about, an e-book reader…Today we’re announcing the iBooks store.”

He said the store is working with Penguin, Simon and Shuster and a number of other big publishers.

Of course, books will have to compete with movies, tv shows and videogames, which can also be accessed via the iPad.

The iPad site is now up and running.

Lisbeth Salander’s Real Life Counterparts

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander is a talented (and heavily tattooed) computer hacker who uses her skills to investigate crimes.

In real life, there are hackers (with or without tattoos) who work to track down international high-tech criminals. The stories of two of these investigators are told a new book, Fatal Error, by the Financial Times‘ cyber-security reporter Joseph Menn. In an interview in the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend, he said hopes his book will wake up Americans to the dangers of cybercrime.

Stieg Larsson fan Vicky Raab writes on the New Yorker‘s “Book Bench” blog that Fatal Error corroborates much of what Larsson wrote about in his books; “how inept and/or corrupt law-enforcement, corporations, news agencies, and governments can be, and what the skinny really is on cybercrime.” As she points out, that should come as no surprise, since Larsson was a journalist himself. Further, she says the book kept her “riveted to the couch all weekend.”

The book, which was also featured on NPR’s Fresh Air last night (listen here) was embargoed until yesterday, so it was not reviewed prepub. It is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, and is now at #62.

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet
Joseph Menn
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs – (2010-01-26)
ISBN / EAN: 1586487485 / 9781586487485

eBook downloadable from OverDrive.

ALICE Reviewed on NPR

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A debut novel that imagines the life of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, was reviewed last night by Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Corrigan says Alice I Have Been, “…occasionally stumbles into melodrama, [but] most of the time it’s a nuanced, moody envisioning of the life of Alice Liddell” (listen to the full review here).

The book explores Lewis Carroll’s relationship with his seven-year-old muse, a relationship Alice’s parents mysteriously and suddenly cut short. It’s presented as less lurid than our modern imaginations might expect but still creepy in a peculiarly Victorian manner; Corrigan says Carroll  is portrayed as “… a gentle ancestor of Lolita‘s Humbert Humbert.”

The book was also reviewed in the Washington Post last week.

Alice I Have Been
Melanie Benjamin
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press – (2010-01-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0385344139 / 9780385344135

Audio; UNABR; Books on Tape; 9780307713469; $90
Audio and eBook available from OverDrive.

Story of the Day: Apple iTablet

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Months of speculation will end today as Apple finally announces their new product at 1 p.m EST (10 a.m. PT).

You can follow along on live blogs, including the Wall Street Journal‘s “All Things D.”

Textbook publishers are particularly excited about the announcement because it offers a solution to their problems with the used book market. Terry McGraw, CEO of McGraw-Hill showed his eagerness as he spilled the beans yesterday (thanks to GalleyCat for pointing this out):


Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The movie Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford is about a real-life father, Jonathan Crowley, played by Brendan Fraser, who will do anything to save his two children from a life-threatening disease, even quitting his job to form a biotech company.

The true story first caught Harrison Ford’s eye when Geeta Anand wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal. She went on to write the book The Cure, which is now the trade paperback tie-in to the movie.

The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million–and Bucked the Medical Establishment–in a Quest to Save His Children
Geeta Anand
Retail Price: $15.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks – (2010-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006073440X / 9780060734404

Crowley has written his own book, Chasing Miracles. He appeared on the CBS Early Show this morning.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope, and Joy
John F. Crowley, Ken Kurson
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1557049106 / 9781557049100

Bringing the Buzz Home

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

We saw many of you at HarperCollins’ Buzz Session at MidWinter. One of the pleasures of going to conferences is hearing about under-the-radar titles coming out next season so you can be ahead of your readers (it was at an earlier HarperCollins buzz sessions that we first heard about The Lace Reader; this time we heard about the author’s next title, out in May).

If you weren’t able to come to the presentation, you can “bring the buzz” home by clicking here to listen to the audio of each title presentation, get full background and ordering information and even enter to win a set of Advance Readers Editions.

This format offers the opportunity for inhouse RA training; you can have your whole staff watch the presentation and discuss the books they’re looking forward to.

Books for New Gardeners

Monday, January 25th, 2010

There’s one business that’s on the rise; the Burpee Seed Company saw a 30% increase in sales of vegetable seeds last year. Combine the desire to save money with the desire to eat fresh food and the result is a lot of new gardeners.

In their annual gardening issue, Publishers Weekly talks to gardening editors about the books they’re publishing this Spring (there’s even a book called Eat Your Yard!, and another called Grow Your Own Drugs).

Here’s a few of the titles that are featured:

Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens
Barbara Pleasant
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC – (2010-03-17)
ISBN / EAN: 1603425292 / 9781603425292


Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Gayla Trail
Retail Price: $19.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0307452018 / 9780307452016


How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers
Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Rachel Pringle
Retail Price: $24.95
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Timber Press – (2010-07-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1604690003 / 9781604690002

Who Was Anne Boleyn?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Alison Weir’s bio of Anne Boleyn, The Lady in the Tower is recommended as a companion book for Americans who need historical background to enjoy Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning novel, Wolf Hall.

Now we come full circle; Hilary Mantel reviews The Lady in the Tower for the NYT Book Review.

The Lady in the Tower rose to #93 (from #283) on Amazon sales rankings after the review and a fascinating story on NPR’s All Things Considered (listen here). Holds are as high as 10:1 in several libraries.

Why are people fascinated with Anne Boleyn? Mantel says,

It is because her character has archetypal force…She is the young fertile beauty who displaces the menopausal wife. She is the mistress whose calculating methods beguile the married man; but in time he sees through her tricks and turns against her.

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Alison Weir
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2010-01-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0345453212 / 9780345453211

Audio; Recorded Books; Anticipated Release: Feb 13, 2010

  • Unabridged CD; $123.75
  • Unabridged Cassette; $113.75

eBook available from OverDrive


Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. – (2009-10-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0805080686 / 9780805080681

UNABR Audio from MacMillan Audio, 9781427210166; $49.99
Audio and eBook available from OverDrive