Archive for March, 2010

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In the Spotlight: Jo Nesbo

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

A current reviewers favorite is Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo and his new book, The Devil’s Star. If you’re attending PLA this week, don’t miss the Mystery Panel, where he will be speaking along with:

Karin Slaughter, Broken (Delacorte Press/Random House Inc., June 2010)
Ted Dekker, The Bride Collector (Center Street/Hachette Book Group, April 2010)
Cara Black, Murder in the Palais Royal: An Aimée Leduc Investigation (Soho Press, March 2010)
Meg Gardiner, The Liar’s Lullaby (Dutton/Penguin, June 2010)
Dana Haynes, Crashers (Minotaur Books/Macmillan, July 2010)

Friday, March 26
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Oregon Convention Center
Portland Ballroom #253-254

Reviews have been stellar, including:

The book’s publication prompted the Economist to try to answer the ongoing question, “Why are Nordic detective novels so successful?” a question Slate also tried their hand at  last year.

Maybe it’s the weather. As the Economist puts it,

The cold, dark climate, where doors are bolted and curtains drawn, provides a perfect setting for crime writing. The nights are long, the liquor hard, the people, according to Mr Nesbo, “brought up to hide their feelings” and hold on to their secrets.
Last year, the Guardian included Nesbo in its roundup of Scandinavian authors to watch for.

The Devil’s Star
Jo Nesbo
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061133973 / 9780061133978

Ebook available from OverDrive

Ooku wins the Tiptree Award

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

The first two volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga’s alternate history series Ooku: The Inner Chambers, have won the James Tiptree, Jr Award this week. The Tiptree award, given out at Wiscon, the feminist-oriented science fiction convention, is awarded for, “science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.” Given the rarity of a graphic novel winning literary awards (unless there is a separate category for the format), this recognition indicates that comics are infiltrating the worlds of literature.

Ooku is a challenging premise illuminated by one of the most accomplished and adventurous manga creators working today. Fumi Yoshinaga is known for her sly comic timing, her spiky and complex characters, and her keen observations on family, love, friendship and the ties that bind. Ooku, an alternate history of the Edo period of Japan, ponders how a male-dominated society structured by complex, emperor-driven heirarchy would cope with the catastrophe of having over three-quarters of their male population die in a sudden plague. The government struggles to maintain  control, and eighty years after the first outbreak, women have taken over all major offices including the shogun. Men have become a precious commodity, and the finest are kept hidden away for the female Emperor’s enjoyment. One of the line of VIZ Signature titles, aimed squarely at adults and brimming with intelligence and ambitious interrogations into gender and power, Ooku is well-deserving of the award.

Over at The Comics Journal, Shaenon Garrity comments eloquently on what I agree makes this award important: namely that comics and graphic novels as a whole are not a format one traditionally expects to contribute significantly to exploring gender. Mainstream superhero comics are not known for exploring questions of gender and gender identity explicitly. A reader usually has to dig into the independent comics scene to find gender related tales and commentary. This award also points to how tracking the titles committees outside the comics industry notice is instructive as to what appeals to readers in general versus what appeals to already established comics fans.

I encourage all selectors to consider why graphic novels have won the awards they have. As always with awards, the winners reflect the list makers as much or even more than they reflect the titles or the readers. It’s heartening to see a graphic novel recognized by a group that admits they’re not particularly manga fans nor comics readers: they just know that Ooku challenged perceptions of gender in a literary, complex tale, and that’s all they needed to know.

Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1 (Ooku)
Fumi Yoshinaga
Retail Price: $12.99
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC – (2009-08-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1421527472 / 9781421527475


Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2 (Ooku the Inner Chambers)
Fumi Yoshinaga
Retail Price: $12.99
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC – (2009-12-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1421527480 / 9781421527482

Debut Fiction Best Sellers

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Arriving on the 3/28 NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list are two contrasting debuts; one’s been a slow-building sleeper success and the other come out of the box with high expectations.

As we predicted two weeks ago, Viking’s big gamble of the season has become a best seller, hitting the list at #7. Critics have either loved it or hated it.

Danielle Trussoni
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021474 / 9780670021475

Penguin Audiobooks: 03/09/2010; $39.95; ISBN 9780143145264


British village novel with a modern twist has charmed critics and readers; it arrives at #14 (tied with #13).

The libraries we checked show a different pattern; Major Pettigrew is ahead of Angelology in the number of holds, on about the same number of copies.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Helen Simonson
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-03-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1400068932 / 9781400068937

Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780307712844; $40
Audio downloadable from OverDrive

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

They Might Be Dragons

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The next big animated 3-D kids movie on the horizon is How to Train Your Dragon, based on the book by Cressida Cowell, coming on Friday. The NYT writes that the look of the film is different from the norm,

From washed-out landscapes to minimally lighted rooms, the Nordic locations in Dragon feel more lived in and rough edged — more realistic — than one typically finds in animation.

Check it out on the movie web site.

Newmarket has released a book that explores the creation of the movie.

The Art of How to Train Your Dragon
Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Newmarket Press – (2010-03-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1557048630 / 9781557048639

And, HarperFestival has several tie-ins.

How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup the Hero (I Can Read Book 2)
Catherine Hapka
Retail Price: $3.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061567388 / 9780061567384

How to Train Your Dragon: Meet the Dragons (I Can Read Book 2)
Catherine Hapka
Retail Price: $3.99
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061567337 / 9780061567339

How to Train Your Dragon: The Chapter Book
J. E. Bright
Retail Price: $4.99
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: HarperFestival – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006156737X / 9780061567377


How to Train Your Dragon: Befriending a Foe
Devan Aptekar
Retail Price: $3.99
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: HarperFestival – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061567353 / 9780061567353

How to Train Your Dragon: Gobber’s Guide to Battling Dragons
Devan Aptekar
Retail Price: $3.99
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: HarperFestival – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061567361 / 9780061567360

But, its the original series, newly released in paperback, that debuts on the  3/28 NYT Childrens Series Books Best Seller list at #10.

How to Train Your Dragon Book 1
Cressida Cowell
Retail Price: $5.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316085278 / 9780316085274

How to Train Your Dragon Book 2: How to Be a Pirate
Cressida Cowell
Retail Price: $5.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316085286 / 9780316085281

How to Train Your Dragon Book 3: How to Speak Dragonese
Cressida Cowell
Retail Price: $5.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316085294 / 9780316085298

More From Dav Pilkey

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Whoo hoo!!!! (or, should I say, Tra-la-laaaaaa!)

Scholastic just announced a new Dav Pilkey series. The first, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, is coming August 10 with a first printing of a million copies.

The publisher describes it this way,

…the sensational saga of two silly caveboys named Ook and Gluk. Ook and Gluk have a pretty awesome life growing up together in Caveland, Ohio, in 500,001 BC—even though they’re always getting in trouble with their nasty leader, Big Chief Goppernopper. But Ook and Gluk’s idyllic life takes a turn for the terrible when an evil corporation from the future invades their quiet, prehistoric town. When Ook, Gluk, and their little dinosaur pal, Lily, are pulled through a time portal to the year 2222 AD, they discover that the world of the future is even worse than the devastated one they came from. Fortunately, they find a friend in Master Wong, a martial arts instructor who trains them in the ways of kung fu, so that they may one day return home and make things right again. And, like the other Captain Underpants books, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future features the world’s cheesiest animation technology, “Flip-O-Rama,” in every chapter.

I am going in big.

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future
By Dav Pilkey
The Blue Sky Press / Scholastic
August 10, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-17530-2
$9.99 hardcover
Ages 7-10

Vampires on NPR

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

If you think Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is just another novelty, tossed off to take advantage of the mashup craze, listen to the author Seth Grahame-Smith on NPR‘s Weekend Edition. He tells Liane Hansen how much work it was to create and talks about the book’s serious central theme that ties slaveholders and vampires together,

I see them as sort of one and the same. Both creatures, basically slaveholders and vampires, steal lives — take the blood of others — to enrich themselves.

Grahame-Smith bases the book in reality; Lincoln was a “great admirer of all things gothic… as we all know Lincoln could be particularly morbid in his darker days… He’s very tall with sunken eyes, he was… the original Goth.”

The book continues at #5 (tied with #4) on the 3/28 NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list after two weeks.

Will Grahame-Smith continue writing mashups? No, he says his writing “will always contain elements of the supernatural, a bit of history, and maybe some pop culture,” but he “wants to do more original storytelling.”

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seth Grahame-Smith
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2010-03-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0446563080 / 9780446563086

Hachette Audio; UNABR; 9781607881735; $26.98
BBC Audio: UNABR; 9781607883548; $69.99
ebook and audio available from OverDrive

The Best Graphic Novel Spin-offs

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The two new titles this week on the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller list both have strong ties to other media: Star Wars: Legacy Tatooine is a spin-off of the Star Wars films, speculating on the future of Luke’s bloodline. The Invincible Iron Man collects together the new stand-alone comic book series and is rocketing up in popularity due to the recent film franchise (Iron Man 2 arrives in theaters on 5/07).

Graphic novels connected to other media can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they enhance a known universe and engage fans with a new format. On the other hand, they can be subpar in production, from art to writing, and depend too heavily on their source material to lure in new fans. A few creators have balanced the mix of homage and new storylines well.

Here are some of the best recent reboots.

Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto started as a retelling of the famous Astro Boy novella, “The Greatest Robot on Earth“, published in 1964 by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. Within the first few pages, however, readers are swept away into a world far more detailed and uncertain. Urasawa follows the basic plot of Tezuka’s world-renowned series, but he redirects focus away from Atom (aka Astro Boy) and concentrates on the Europol robot investigator Gesicht. Gesicht, called in to investigate the murders of both robots and humans, uncovers a trail of clues leading back to the tragedies of a recent war and long-simmering hatred. Urasawa investigates complex questions of prejudice, international conflict, politics, and artificial identity through eight volumes, and with the final volume due out on April 6th, it’s an excellent time purchase the complete run.

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 8
Naoki Urasawa
Retail Price: $12.99
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 142153343X / 9781421533438

Jim Butcher’s novel series The Dresden Files is a long-time favorite of urban fantasy fans, and while a recent TV show based on the books only aired for one season, the prequel graphic novel Welcome to the Jungle and adaptation of first novel Storm Front entered the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller lists in April of last year. Featuring rich art and Butcher’s familiar mix of noir and magic, these are fine examples of adaptations and spin-offs done well.

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
Jim Butcher
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Del Rey/Dabel Brothers – (2008-10-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0345507460 / 9780345507464

The Dresden Files: Storm Front (Dresden Files (del Rey))
Jim Butcher
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Del Rey/Dabel Brothers – (2009-06-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0345506391 / 9780345506399

On the younger side of storytelling, one could not ask for a more charming reinvention of a classic story than Shannon and Dean Hale’s Rapunzel’s Revenge and the latest adventure Calamity Jack. Rapunzel’s Revenge starts with the familiar elements of Rapunzel: girl in a tower, endless coils of hair, and a paranoid, overprotective witch in control. Within a few pages, however, Rapunzel has gotten herself out of the tower, slyly misdirected the prince coming to her rescue, and started off on her own adventure to rescue her land from the witch’s iron control. Calamity Jack takes off from the end of Rapunzel’s Revenge, this time zeroing in on the charming con-man Jack (of the Beanstalk). Jack and Rapunzel return to the city of Jack’s birth to find it overrun with giants, at war with a mysterious ant-race, and in desperate need of two clever, spunky heroes to set matters straight.

Rapunzel’s Revenge
Shannon Hale, Dean Hale
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books – (2008-08-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1599902885 / 9781599902883

Calamity Jack
Shannon Hale, Dean Hale
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books – (2010-01-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1599900769 / 9781599900766

Serenity: Those Left Behind and Serenity: Better Days helped mollify fans still disappointed by the abrupt cancelation of the quirky Joss Whedon science fiction western Firefly. As a television series, the show had no ending even with the spin-off film Serenity, but this accomplished graphic novel series contains all of the humor, character development, and heist-driven adventure that marked the series. Joss Whedon’s other beloved series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, got its own vivid stand-alone spin off in Fray: Future Slayer, a graphic novel showing the adventures of a slayer in the far future who is unaware of what vampires or slayers even are.

Serenity, Vol. 1: Those Left Behind
Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad

Retail Price: $9.95
Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse – (2006-02-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1593074492 / 9781593074494

Serenity, Vol. 2: Better Days
Joss Whedon
Retail Price: $9.99
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics – (2008-09-26)
ISBN / EAN: 1595821627 / 9781595821621

Joss Whedon
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse – (2003-12-09)
ISBN / EAN: 1569717516 / 9781569717516

Fight Picture Book Burnout

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

A school librarian wrote on LM_NET, the listserv for teacher/librarians, that she was experiencing picture book burnout. I felt pretty sad for her but then I thought we must help her get out of that rut…so I wrote back…

I am so sorry that you are burned out on picture books. My suspicion is that picture book burnout occurs when we have stopped having fun reading aloud, when you are looking at the same old books over and over and when you are having trouble finding the right book for the right class.

So, short of beaming you to my two-day Bank Street course, “Selecting and Evaluating New Children’s Books,” (even though we focus on just the best of the year, it’s still a challenge to fit them all in), here are a few suggestions.

Give yourself a break… a poetry break. Get a head-start on poetry month. Of course, there are dozens of old favorites I could recommend, but let’s just focus on a few new titles:

You could undo burnout with any of Lee Bennett Hopkins’s many titles, including last year’s City I Love:

City I Love
Lee Bennett Hopkins
Retail Price: $16.95
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers – (2009-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0810983273 / 9780810983274

Joyce Sidman; Grab her new book,

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
Joyce Sidman
Retail Price: $16.00
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children – (2009-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0547014945 / 9780547014944

Marilyn Singer- the brand new Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
Marilyn Singer
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile – (2010-03-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0525479015 / 9780525479017

Here are a few instant class or program ideas for Poetry Month:

You don’t have to read aloud a whole book… read a few poems and plan a writing or drawing response lesson.

Provide paper (we use clipboards) markers or crayons or colored pencils (I keep these supplies in our Writing Boxes corralled in zip bags). Have the children create their own concrete poems. You can use this as an example:

A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems
Retail Price: $7.99
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2005-03-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0763623768 / 9780763623760

Write colors paired with verbs and illustrate.

Break into groups to practice, then read aloud the favorite poems (3rd and 4th grade).

Break into groups and memorize a short poem. The following are great sources:

Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Candlewick – (2007-02-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0763631418 / 9780763631413


Douglas Florian
Retail Price: $7.00
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Sandpiper – (2004-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0152050248 / 9780152050245

Don’t forget non-fiction that reads like poetry.

My hands-down favorite nonfiction picture books this year are Andrea and Brian Pinkney’s Sit-In; fine for 3rd grade and up. It sparks amazing conversations about civil rights.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
Andrea Pinkney, Brian Pinkney
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-02-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0316070165 / 9780316070164

Moonshot is a delight to read aloud.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))
Brian Floca
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books – (2009-04-07)
ISBN / EAN: 141695046X / 9781416950462

EAT, PRAY, LOVE The Movie Trailer

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

The trailer’s just been released. The movie, starring Julia Roberts, arrives in theaters on August 16th.

Amazingly, some libraries still have holds of over 2:1 on the book.

PLA Galley Grab

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Do you remember the bad old days when publishers didn’t bring adult galleys to the library shows?

Those days are long over. Today, the challenge is to figure out which galleys to grab and which ones to lug (or ship) back home.

Of course, you’ll be seeking out new books from long-time favorite authors, like Isabel Allende’s Island Beneath the Seas (HarperCollins, 4/27; booth #1232) and Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions (Pantheon/Random House, 7/13; booth #2570).

Not only are galleys available at the booths, there will also be author signings, including some big names — check out the ads in the PLA program (a preview of Penguin’s is here — hint — SUE GRAFTON!)

You’ll also be looking for galleys that have already been getting advance buzz, like Norton’s wonderfully-titled The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall, which many considered the “Book of the Show” at the American Booksellers Assoc’s Winter Institute last month (it just received the ultimate New Yorker accolade; I was so absorbed in it the other day that I missed my subway stop. And, yes, I caught people staring at the title).

The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel
Brady Udall
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0393062627 / 9780393062625

The buzz on Ballantine’s apocolyptic vampire novel, The Passage, coming in June, has been building for months (see our January story). The publisher seems determined to blanket the earth with copies of the 700-page behemoth and Portland will be no exception (get it at the Random House booth, #2570).

But, the real “gets” of the show floor are the titles you didn’t know you were looking for. We talked to publisher’s library marketing folks to find out what you shouldn’t overlook. Their responses are below.

We want to hear about your finds at the show. On Friday, April 16th, after you’ve had some time to sort through your treasures, we will host a “Galley Chat” Tweetup. More details coming soon shortly.

Macmillan, booth #1058

Macmillan’s library marketing guru, Talia Sherer (recently named a “Mover & Shaker” by Library Journal; be sure to congratulate her!) says that Still Missing by Chevy Stevens is the BIG thriller debut from St. Martins Press.

Still Missing
Chevy Stevens
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2010-07-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0312595670 / 9780312595678

HarperCollins, booth #1232

Virginia Stanley wants you to look out for A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer (you can listen here to her excitement when she presented it at the HarperCollins Book Buzz session during MidWinter). She says it’s a perfect book club book.

A Fierce Radiance
Lauren Belfer
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061252514 / 9780061252518

Workman, booth #2477

Mike Rockliff is enthusiastic about Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, by Lee Smith, which just got 4 of a possible 4 stars in People (3/29) and also:

The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes
Randi Davenport
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2010-03-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1565126114 / 9781565126114

Random House, booth #2570

In the welter of galleys at the RH booth (they DO represent a lot of imprints), including The Passage, and Lisa Unger’s forthcoming Fragile (Shaye Areheart; August), Jen Childs says not to overlook a debut historical novel set in fifteenth-century Spain.

By Fire, By Water
Mitchell Kaplan
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Other Press – (2010-05-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1590513525 / 9781590513521

W.W. Norton, booth #1302

We already mentioned The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall. Golda Rademacher tells us that The Red Thread by Ann Hood, the author of The Knitting Circle, has been getting great response. Hood will go on an extensive national tour this spring/summer and is scheduled for the Diane Rehm Show (NPR) on 5/3.  PW ‘s and LJ‘s reviews are in and are enthusiastic (LJ; “Hood offers a thoughtful novel about the yearning for a child that’s primed to be a book club pick”).

The Red Thread: A Novel
Ann Hood
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-05-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0393070204 / 9780393070200

Penguin, booth #1206

Penguin will be hosting some big names at their booth. In addition, Alan Walker points to galleys of the next big book by editor Amy Einhorn at Putnam (the first title under her recently-created imprint was The Help. She also published this season’s hit, The Postmistress). Called The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, it “imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa’s writing career.”

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
Kelly O’Connor McNees
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam – (2010-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0399156526 / 9780399156526

Wiley, booth #933

Howell has a book that to combines two subjects that appeal to librarians; earth friendliness and pets. The author will be signing in the booth on Thurs. at 3 p.m.

And, if you can tear yourself away from the goodies in the conference center to check out the city, be sure to check out Frommer’s online guide to Portland (published by Wiley).

Pets and the Planet: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Pet Care
Carol Frischmann
Retail Price: $16.99
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Howell Book House – (2009-02-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0470275731 / 9780470275733

Book of the Week: MATTERHORN

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The HBO series The Pacific launched last week, Hurt Locker won big at the Oscars, the Green Zone, a movie based on a book about soldiers in Baghdad releases today — it feels like we’re surrounded by American wars, both past and present.

And now, coming next week, one of the most anticipated novels of the season is about a group of Marines in Vietnam, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.

It has an interesting publishing history. The author, a Vietnam Marine veteran himself, spent years looking for a publisher. Berkeley nonoprofit El Leon Press finally acquired it and published it. The author then submitted it to B&N’s “Discover Great New Writers Program,.”  B&N loved it, but felt it needed the help of a larger publisher for marketing and distribution. Independent publisher Grove Atlantic stepped up and became co-publisher.

If you’re wondering how women will respond to this gritty, realistic portrayal of war (leeches are only part of it), in an interview in Shelf Awareness, Marlantes says,

I have to say, it was women who rescued this book from obscurity. So many women were early readers, and so many women love the book. One of the best blurbs for Matterhorn is from a woman, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Christina Robb. I think the intense relationships appeal to women readers, and they are curious about not only Vietnam but about combat in general. I’ve had several women call me or e-mail me with statements like, “Until I read your novel, I never understood why my brother is all by himself up in Alaska” or “why my husband behaves as he does.” This is very gratifying to me.

Rival retailers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as independent booksellers, are all backing it. It was the talk of the American Booksellers Association’s MidWinter Institute last month and they made it an Indie Next pick for April. Amazon is featuring it on the Books home page as the lead titles of seven Best Books of the Month, resulting in a steady rise on Amazon’s sales rankings. B&N is promoting it with e-mail campaigns and special instore displays (in a further sign that B&N expects it to be a big book, they’ve alreay issued a press release, lauding their own involvement with the book’s publication).

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War
Karl Marlantes
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press – (2010-03-23)
ISBN / EAN: 080211928X / 9780802119285

Blackstone Audio; UNABR

17 CDs; 1-4417-4228-5; $123.00
2 MP3CDs; 1-4417-4231-5;$44.95
Playaway;1-4417-4234-6; $79.99
15 Tapes; 1-4417-4227-8; $105.95
Audio available from OverDrive


Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A book that takes a contrarian approach to business, Rework, arrives on the new USA Today best seller list at #49.

It has been rising on Amazon as well, reaching as high as #4 last week. The authors, miffed that Karl Rove’s book shot above theirs, retaliated with this video (via Gawker):

They might also have noted that while Rove’s book is reviewed in places like The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, theirs is reviewed by PC Pro and

Rove’s book is currently at #11 on Amazon. Rework is at #12.

Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown Business – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0307463745 / 9780307463746

RH Audio; UNABR; 9780307704511; $24
ebook and audio available from OverDrive

Procrastinator’s Guide to PLA

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Behind on putting together your PLA schedule? Here’s how to do it in just two steps. After all, you’re not really a procrastinator, you’ve just got too damned much to do, so you need all the help you can get.

[We’re sorry that budget issues means many of our colleagues won’t be there. Here’s hoping for better times in 2012 when PLA will be in Philly.]

1) Use the Programming Schedule, Not the Preliminary Guide

You might be tempted to go to the snazzy-looking Preliminary Guide, but one advantage of being a procrastinator is that you don’t have to deal with no stinkin’ incomplete information. What you want is the more prosaic Programming Schedule. It includes a helpful drop-down menu so you can sort by session track. You can also sort by speaker. Lurking on that list are some big-name authors, like Kim Harrison, on the Cross-Over Readers Advisory panel with Kaite Stover from Kansas City Library.

DON’T overlook the AAP’s mystery author panel:

Friday, March 26
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Oregon Convention Center
Portland Ballroom #253-254

Karin Slaughter, Broken (Delacorte Press/Random House Inc., June 2010)
Ted Dekker, The Bride Collector (Center Street/Hachette Book Group, April 2010)
Cara Black, Murder in the Palais Royal: An Aimée Leduc Investigation (Soho Press, March 2010)
Meg Gardiner, The Liar’s Lullaby (Dutton/Penguin, June 2010)
Dana Haynes, Crashers (Minotaur Books/Macmillan, July 2010)
Jo Nesbo, The Devil’s Star (HarperCollins, February 2010)

Unfortunately, you’ve probably missed out on the AAP’s author breakfast on Thursday morning, which includes Leila Meacham (Roses) and Kristin Hannah (Winter Garden). It’s always a great event. You can try sending an RSVP to Marlene Scheuermann, but we hear they are almost full.

2) Go to the Special Events listings.

Inexplicably, the Programming Schedule does NOT include major events like Nancy Pearl’s SRO “Book Buzz” program on Wed., 10:30 to noon, Convention Center, Oregon Ballroom (tip to procrastinators; get there EARLY).

There’s also a CHILDRENS BOOK BUZZ panel, which is NOT listed under Special Events. It’s on the Programming Schedule (see why you need this guide?). It runs 10:30 to 11:45 on Friday in the Convention Center — Portland Ballroom #256.

At this point, you can’t worry about the MEAL EVENTS until the show. These require advance registration, which was due Feb. 10, so us procrastinators  just have to hope that there will still be tickets at registration.