Archive for February, 2010

VIRTUE On Fresh Air

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The media appetite for political scandals, even ten-year-old ones, continues unabated.

Last night on NPR’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Ken Gormley, whose book, The Death of American Virtue, recounts the Clinton impeachment (listen here). Gormley also appeared on the Today Show.

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The book rose to #52 on Amazon, but library holds are light in most places.

It has also been reviewed widely in newspapers, including the following.

Wall Street Journal — a scrupulously even-handed and exhaustively reported book

New York Times — so exhaustive that some of it raises doubts about the value of Mr. Gormley’s exertions…. But by and large Mr. Gormley has packed his narrative with intense, overdue and definitive testimony about the still-surprising investigation of Mr. Clinton’s activities spearheaded by Kenneth W. Starr.

The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr
Ken Gormley
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 800 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-02-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0307409449 / 9780307409447

The Battle of the Ex’s

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The Oscar race now has a narrative that the organizers can only dream of; the two leading contenders for Best Picture, Avatar and The Hurt Locker, are directed by former spouses.

The current issue of the New Yorker assesses each movie’s chances. Conclusion; don’t overlook the much lower-grossing Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron’s former wife. There are a lot of ex-wives in Hollywood, who may be voting.

We probably don’t need to point out that, if Hurt Locker wins, it will be the first time a movie directed by a woman wins Best Picture.

Neither movies are based on books (although MTV News reports that Cameron plans to write an Avatar prequel – not as a script, as a novel), but there are tie-ins.

Abrams published a companion book to Avatar.

The Art of Avatar: James Cameron’s Epic Adventure
Lisa Fitzpatrick
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 108 pages
Publisher: Abrams – (2009-11-30)
ISBN / EAN: 0810982862 / 9780810982864

And Newmarket has the shooting script for The Hurt Locker:

The Hurt Locker: The Shooting Script
Mark Boal
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press – (2009-12-22)
ISBN / EAN: 1557049092 / 9781557049094

Wimpy Kid Movie Diary

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The next big kid’s movie is around the corner, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, opening March 19th.

Rather than a traditional tie-in, author Jeff Kinney is releasing a “diary” of the making of the movie, which includes storyboard sketches, costume designs (that t-shirt, shorts and back pack must have been a stretch), script pages and photos.

The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary
Jeff Kinney
Retail Price: $14.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books – (2010-03-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0810996162 / 9780810996168

Following in the Footsteps

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, is hailed in the current issue of Time magazine as “as one of America’s finest horror writers,” based on “the strength of two masterly thrillers–2007’s Heart-Shaped Box and his newest, Horns.”

Despite his pedigree, it wasn’t an easy road, says Time, “Hill, 37, spent more than a decade trying his hand at a variety of genres (a thriller in the vein of Cormac McCarthy, a children’s tale, a 900-page fantasy novel) with no bites from publishers.”

Library customers may not have caught on; holds are less than 1:1 on modest ordering in large library sytems (two copies or fewer for the largest branches).

As is clear from the cover, the title refers to the Devil.

Joe Hill
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-02-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0061147958 / 9780061147951

HarperLuxe – (2010-03-01);  9780061945663; Paperback; $25.99

Audio CD; HarperAudio – (2010-03-01); 9780061768026; $39.99


Monday, February 15th, 2010

It may come as a surprise that the Oscar-nominated movie Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is based on a book. Director Scott Cooper had been planning to make a biopic about Merle Haggard, but couldn’t get the rights. So, he turned to “an obscure novel” (The Salt Lake Tribune), Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb, published in 1987.

Cooper was going to debut the movie at last month’s Sundance festival, but distributor Fox Searchlight decided to try for an Oscar nomination and released it in a limited number of theaters in December (those with a cynical streak will enjoy New York magazine’s article “The Red Carpet Campaign“, which begins by detailing the studio’s effort to get the nods from Oscar).

HarperCollins released a tie-in edition of the book this month (with an audio coming in a couple of weeks). How does it compare to the movie? Dwight Garner wrote about it on the NYT Arts Beat blog, saying,

It’s not the great country music novel the world’s been waiting for – well, I’ve been waiting for it, anyway – but it’s got a deep kind of weatherbeaten charm that can’t be faked, and the love story at its core is genuinely moving. I was sorry when the thing was over…[it] has an amiable, crooked charm that is impossible to deny.


Crazy Heart tie-in
Thomas Cobb
Retail Price: $13.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0060915196 / 9780060915193

Unabridged Audio, Harper Audio, 3/16; 9780062006226; $24.99

Will the Real Jane Austen Please Stand Up?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Do reviews sell books? Not as often as publishers would like, but this week’s NYT BR cover review of The Three Weissmanns of Westport, by Cathleen Schine moved the the book to #9 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

The NYT BR calls it “sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious and deeply affectiing,” and says that, in the crowded field of Jane Austen wannabes, “Schine’s homage has it all: stinging social satire, mordant wit, delicate charm, lilting language and cosseting materialistic detail.”

Several libraries are showing heavy holds; 103 on 11 copies in one large system.

UPDATE:  It’s the little book that could — USA Today and People have reviews scheduled and NPR’s Fresh Air is considering an interview.

The Three Weissmanns of Westport
Cathleen Schine
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0374299048 / 9780374299040

Unabridged Audio from Blackstone:

8 CD; 1-4417-2515-8; $90.00
Tape; 1-4417-2514-1; $65.95
MP3CD; 1-4417-2518-9; $29.95

Audio downloadable from OverDrive

Dick Francis Dies at 89

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Dick Francis, a successful jockey who had an even more successful career as a writer, producing over 40 books, died at his home on Grand Cayman island on Sunday.

According to the The Guardian, Francis had an unusual arrangement with his British publisher; as long as he wrote a book a year, all of his books would remain in print. His final novel, Crossfire, written with his son Felix, will be released in August.

The New York Times obituary quotes critic John Leonard who said, “Not to read Dick Francis because you don’t like horses is like not reading Dostoyevsky because you don’t like God.”

Dick Francis, Felix Francis
Hardcover: $26.95
Publisher: Putnam Adult – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 039915681X / 9780399156816

Espresso Book Machine Aids Haiti

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Three booksellers used their print-on-demand Espresso Book Machines to create copies of the Haitian Creole (Kreyol) Pocket Medical Translator for relief workers in Haiti. According to a report in the Grand Rapids Press (the local Schuler Books & Music is one of the participating stores), the project was originated by Google, which waived the fee for accessing the title and is underwriting shipping costs.

During a panel at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute last week, booksellers talked about their experiences with the machines. Shelf Awareness reports today that they are popular for self-published works. One bookseller said people get very excited about finally seeing their book in print; “I go downstairs when I know an author is coming in so I can witness that exchange.”

This week; The Christian Science Monitor ran a post on about two Seattle-area stores that have installed the machine. One of them, Third Place Books, has a blog devoted to the store’s experiences in on-demand printing, including a visit from a group of librarians from Bainbridge Island, who “thoroughly grilled [the staff] on the EBM’s promise to books, retailing, and libraries.”

For those of you not able to grill the Third Place Books staff, they have provided a helpful FAQ on the machine. You may also want to check the  list of Espresso Book Machine locations to find one near you. The only public library on that list is New Orleans (NYPL exhibited the machine in 2007).

Heads Up: HAVOC

Friday, February 12th, 2010

For the past week, middle school boys have been haunting the doorway to my office, hoping for an advance copy of Havoc by Chris Wooding, the second in the Malice series.

My advice? Order now and go in big.

Chris Wooding
Retail Price:
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic – (2010-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1407105116 / 9781407105116

Win Sets of ARE’s — Deadline 2/12

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

We hope you’ve been enjoying “Buzz on Your Desktop,” the HarperCollins’ library Marketing Team’s sneak preview of summer titles. If you haven’t looked at it yet, check it out here.

You can sign up to win a set of 5 HarperCollins’s Advance Readers Editions of summer titles. The deadline for the first month’s drawings is tomorrow midnight (EST), so now’s the time (sign up by going here).

The HarperCollins’ folks are updating the site as new information arrives. For instance, they’ve just posted this haunting jacket for The Eyes of Willie McGee (learn more about it here):

The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South
Alex Heard
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061284157 / 9780061284151

And the Title Is…MOCKINGJAY

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The title of the third and final volume in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is announced in the current issue of USA Today.

It’s not The Victors, but Mockingjay and it will be published on Aug. 24th. USA Today explains,

In the series, mockingjays are offspring of mockingbirds and jabberjays, a government-bred mutant designed to spy on rebels. Mockingjays become symbols of resistance.

Collins is at work on the screenplay for The Hunger Games (Lionsgate bought the rights last year; no cast or director announced yet).

On the Scholastic blog, Scholastic Executive Director David Levithan spills the beans on…what’s NOT in the book.

The Hunger Games: Book 3
Suzanne Collins
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0439023513 / 9780439023511

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Kirkus — New Owner

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The last-minute buyer for Kirkus has been revealed; it’s Herb Simon, owner of the Indian Pacers. The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports the story in the “Media Decoder” blog.

Simon, who made his money as a shopping mall developer, including the Mall of America, is a voracious reader and longtime subscriber who thought it would be a “shame” if the publication folded.

It was also announced that editor Elaine Szewcyzk and managing editor Eric Liebetrau will  continue in their positions and Kirkus will continue as a print publication, with expanded digital offerings.

The new chief executive of the renamed Kirkus Media, Marc Winkelman, told the NYT,

Over the years librarians have submitted a lot of comments to Kirkus about things they would like to see enhanced. We hope to do that and make Kirkus even more relevant in the world of book buying and book reading.

Still on the block, with no potential buyers named, are Library Journal, School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, all owned by Reed Business Information.

Keep an Eye on MAKING TOAST

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

One nonfiction title going on sale next week has been getting some buzz in the library world: journalist Roger Rosenblatt‘s memoir Making Toast, about helping to raise his grandchildren after his daughter’s sudden death at age 38.

So far, holds are modest at libraries we checked, but this title was highlighted at a buzz panel at ALA and is a favorite of Harper’s library marketing maven Virigina Stanley. It was also excerpted in the New Yorker, and is an Indie Next Pick for March.

PW says: “Rosenblatt draws sharply etched portraits of his grandchildren; his stoic, gentle son-in-law; his wife, who feels slightly guilty that she is living her daughter’s life; and Amy [the daughter] emerges as a smart, prickly, selfless figure whose significance the author never registered until her death.”

UPDATE: Rosenblatt was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered by Melissa Block, who called it an “exquisite, restrained little memoir filled with both hurt and humor.” Listen here. The book rose to #173 on Amazon.

Making Toast
Roger Rosenblatt
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2010-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006182593X / 9780061825934

Available from Blackstone Audiobooks

3 Tape LIBRARY 1-4417-2133-4 $44.95
1 Playaway LIBRARY 1-4417-2140-2 $54.99
1 MP3CD LIBRARY 1-4417-2137-2 $29.95 $
3 CD LIBRARY 1-4417-2134-1 $55.00

E-book and audio available from OverDrive

Other Major Nonfiction Titles On Sale Next Week

  • Chip and Dan Heath‘s Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Random House) follows their bestseller Make To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Library Journal calls praises its “fresh ideas and a breezy style that will work equally well for company executives, undergraduates, and average joes.” Holds are as high as 4:1 in libraries we checked.
  • Daniel Amen‘s Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: To Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted (Harmony) applies the insights of brain imaging technology to weight loss.

Buzz on Durrow’s Debut

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Although February is typically a quiet month for general fiction, some booksellers are talking about Heidi Durrow’s The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, a debut novel about a biracial girl whose mother jumped to her death after apparently pushing her children off a rooftop. Libraries are showing holds of 1:1 on modest orders.

Durrow’s novel, which goes on sale next week, won the 2008 Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice. It’s also an Indie Next Pick for Feb, and was touted at the American Bookseller Association’s Midwinter Institute (as reported by Daniel Goldin of Boswell & Books in Milwaukee).

You will be hearing more about the book; on tap is a profile in USA Today, an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, a review in the NYT BR, the Washington Post and several other consumer magazines.

PW praises The Girl Who Fell From the Sky for its “taut prose, a controversial conclusion and the thoughtful reflection on racism and racial identity.”

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Heidi W. Durrow
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2010-02-19)
ISBN / EAN: 1565126807 / 9781565126800

Audio from Highbridge:

  • CD: $29.95; ISBN 9781598879230

    Audio available from OverDrive