Archive for April, 2010

THE LAST CHILD Wins Best Novel

Friday, April 30th, 2010

At last night’s Edgar Awards, one of our favorite mysteries, The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books) won for Best Novel (the full list of winners is available here).

It’s now available in trade paperback.

The Last Child
John Hart
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0312642369 / 9780312642365

Macmillan Audio; UNABR; 9781427206664; $39.95
BBC Audio; UNABR; 9780792763789 : 110.95

Best First Novel went to another Minotaur title, In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff. The trade paperback edition will be available in a couple of weeks.

In the Shadow of Gotham
Stefanie Pintoff
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0312628129 / 9780312628123

Potential winners were treated to a harsh dose of reality from the Wall Street Journal yesterday in an article that points out “the first Edgar is often the last” (somewhat amelioriated by the fact that John Hart proved them wrong this time. It’s his second win, after 2008 for Down River);

A perusal of the group’s online database found little overlap between debut authors who have won best first novel (including Patricia Cornwell, Michael Connelly, James Patterson and Richard North Patterson) and seasoned mystery writers who have won best novel (among them Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, Elmore Leonard, John le Carre, Donald E. Westlake and Raymond Chandler).

Nonetheless, not bad company to be in.

Buzz List: Udall, Orringer, Kwok

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Three much buzzed-about novels will be released next week.

As we’ve written before, Brady Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist was the book of the show at the ABA’s Winter Institute. Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell & Books in Milwaukee observed, “not only did every person who read this novel become overwhelmed with emotion, but the line for getting this book signed at the author reception had to be three times the size of anything else.”

Udall first became a bookseller favorite with The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint nine years ago, and wrote the article that inspired the TV series “Big Love.” Libraries we checked had holds of about 2:1 on substantial orders.

The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel
Brady Udall
Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 602 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-05-03)
ISBN-10: 0393062627
ISBN-13: 9780393062625


Julie Orringer’s first novel, The Invisible Bridge, may also be poised for a breakout. The author of the much-praised story collection How to Breathe Underwater has already been singled out as the first writer to be interviewed for the Daily Beast Writers to Watch list.

PW’s starred review calls it a “stunning first novel” that “illuminates the life of Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jew of meager means whose world is upended by a scholarship to the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris” during WWII.

Libraries we checked show modest holds on modest orders, but that may change as more media chimes in.

The Invisible Bridge
Julie Orringer
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1400041163 / 9781400041169


Jean Kwok‘s tale of a Hong Kong girl’s coming of age in 1980s Brooklyn, Girl in Translation, was also an EarlyWord Galley Chat title (reminder; our next Galley Chat is Wednesday, May 12th, 4 p.m. EST). Libraries we checked have solid reserves, with some libraries just catching up to demand. The author will appear at the ALTAFF program at ALA in June.

Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+: “Kwok takes two well-trod literary conceits — coming of age and coming to America — and renders them surprisingly fresh in her fast-moving, clean-prosed immigrants’ tale.

Girl in Translation
Jean Kwok
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2010-04-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1594487561 / 9781594487569

Major titles on sale next week

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #10) by Charlaine Harris (Ace) gets a mixed review from PW: “Though the action often builds too slowly, the exploration of family in its many human and undead variations is intriguing, and Harris delivers her usual mix of eccentric characters and engaging subplots.”

Savor the Moment (Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet Series #3) by Nora Roberts (Penguin) is set in a wedding business run by four BFFs, and according to PW is “a tart fairy tale romance [that] offers few surprises, but it’s impossible to deny Roberts’s flair for sketching likable couples.”

Innocent by Scott Turow (Grand Central) is a sequel to his breakthrough courtroom thriller, Presumed Innocent, set 20 years later. Reviewers are already lining up. In the NYT, the tart-tongued Michiko Kakutani tackles it, rather than Janet Maslin, who usually handles popular titles. Kakutani, in a “on the one hand, but then on the other” review, seems to like the book despite herself.  In yesterday’s USA Today, Dierdre Donahue praises the book without reservation; “In the jaded world of best-selling authors, Turow has always seemed refreshingly uncynical. He’s not just cranking out formulaic moneymakers.” Donahue adds, “Turow is the rarest of writers: one who can write seriously and insightfully about sex. It’s not an easy task … [he] is at his best conveying what hasn’t changed since 1987 or, really, since the beginning of time: the darkness of the human heart.”

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles Series #1) by Rick Riordan (Hyperion) is the beginning of a new YA series that Kirkus gives a mixed review: “The gods sure are busy in New York City. Manhattan was the site of the climactic battle of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Now, Brooklyn is the base for Riordan’s new series involving Egyptian gods. Similar story, different gods.”

Blue-Eyed Devil (Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch Series #4) by Robert B. Parker (Penguin) is an “excellent posthumous western from bestseller Parker that continues the saga of gun-slinging saddle pals Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch (after “Brimstone”) as they trade wisecracks and hot lead with back-shooting owlhoots and murderous Apaches in the town of Appaloosa.” according to PW.

IACP Cookbook Award Winners

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

This book had us at the cover, but clearly it’s got even more going for it; the International Assoc. of Culinary Professionals named Rose’s Heavenly Cakes the Cookbook of the Year.

Rose’s Heavenly Cakes
Rose Levy Beranbaum
Retail Price: $39.95
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Wiley – (2009-09-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0471781738 / 9780471781738

Perhaps the judges feel the need for more sweetness in life; baking books won in two other categories (view the full list here):

Professional Kitchens

Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft
The Culinary Institute of America
Retail Price: $70.00
Hardcover: 944 pages
Publisher: Wiley – (2009-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 047005591X / 9780470055915

Food and Beverage Reference/Technical

The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
International Culinary Center, Judith Choate
Retail Price: $75.00
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang – (2009-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1584798033 / 9781584798033


Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Hampton Sides was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air last night. Terry Gross calls his new book, Hellhound on My Trail, “a gripping account of [Martin Luther] King’s murder and the hunt for his assassin, James Earl Ray.”

Reviewers have been lining up to praise it;

  • Art Winslow, Los Angeles Times;  “… by following the paths of King and Ray in a deadly pas de deux…[Sides shows] the synchronicity of movements as King and his colleagues plot political strategy … while Ray draws ever closer in what would seem an erratic path if we didn’t know, as in myth, that a tragedy foreordained lay on the road ahead.”
  • Janet Maslin, Daily New York Times;  “Not many documentaries have the lean, unsparing urgency that can be found in Mr. Sides’s streamlined version…Both Dr. King and Ray come to life in these remarkable pages, generating great suspense without surprise, thanks to readers’ terrible foreknowledge of what will happen when these two cross paths.”
  • Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today ; “through Sides’ use of novelistic pacing, details and descriptions, he creates suspense that will propel readers through a slice of history.”
Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin
Hampton Sides
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0385523920 / 9780385523929

Random House Audio; UNABR; 978-0-7393-5892-4; $45
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Laura Bush Speaks

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Former First Lady Laura Bush is making a bid for her memoir, Spoken from the Heart, to become a Mother’s Day gift of choice. Though the book goes on sale next week, scores of newspapers and national TV news shows have begun to cover it. Libraries we checked have mounting holds, and are catching up to the demand with more copies on order.

CBS News anchor Katie Couric sums up the revelations, starting with Bush’s account of how, at 17, she sailed through a stop sign and ran into another car, killing a close high school friend.

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani praises Bush for capturing the her coming of age in Midland Texas in the 50s and 60s “with exacting emotional precision.” But Kakutani also calls the second part of the book “a thoroughly conventional autobiography by a politician’s wife… that sheds not the faintest new light on the presidency of the author’s husband, George W. Bush.”

The Washington Post parses Bush’s political statements in more detail.

Spoken from the Heart
Laura Bush
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1439155208 / 9781439155202

S&S Audio: ABR; 9781442305205; $29.99

Mashup Scorecard

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Having trouble keeping up with the monster mashup craze? The Huffington Post offers a handy guide, complete with the opportunity to vote on your top five favorites.

The current front runner is the just-published Jane Slayre, from the newly-formed Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Of course, the iconic line has been recast as “Reader, I buried him.”

Jane Slayre
Charlotte Bronte, Sherri Browning Erwin
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Gallery – (2010-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1439191182 / 9781439191187

Blackstone Audio:

12 CDs;1441752161; $109.00
1 MP3CD;1441752192; $29.95
1 Playaway; 1441752222; $69.99
11 Tapes; 1441752154; $79.95

OverDrive WMA Audiobook

LAST STAND Book Trailer

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Check out the book trailer for Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand, a PLA buzz title that was also part of our Galley Chat.

Yes, Philbrick was influenced by the movie Little Big Man.

Thanks to today’s Shelf Awareness for the heads up.


The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
Nathaniel Philbrick
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021725 / 9780670021727

Audio; Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9780142427699; $39.95

Oops; They Did It Again

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The embargo on Laura Bush’s memoir, to be published next week, is broken today by the New York Times, which managed to find a copy at a bookstore.

The revelations the Times reports are a bit tepid; Laura Bush scolds people for criticizing her husband and justifies his actions (including the Katrina flyover). She does, however, address an issue she has not spoken about publicly before; as a teenager, she ran a stop sign and killed a fellow high school student. She says the incident caused her to lose her faith for many years.

She also implies that she and the president may have been poisoned at a G-8 Summit, but the reported evidence is pretty weak.

Spoken from the Heart
Laura Bush
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1439155208 / 9781439155202

S&S Audio; ABR; 7 CD’s; $29.99

Her husband’s book is set for release in November. Compare the two titles; further evidence that women are from Venus and men are from Mars?

Decision Points
George W. Bush
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-11-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0307590615 / 9780307590619

Large Print; Trade Pbk; Random House; 9780739377826; $35

Audio; ABR; 9780307748645; $35

THE HOST, The Movie

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

We haven’t heard any news about the movie based on Stephenie Meyer’s standalone title The Host, since the book was optioned in September. Yesterday, the sharp eyes over at the publishing blog Galley Cat noticed a casting call on an online actor’s site.

According to the site, shooting will begin in 2011. If you’re 40-year-old male with a “wild beard and eyes the colour of faded blue jeans,” you could qualify for the part of Uncle Jeb.

The book was released in trade paperback earlier this month.

The Host
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $16.99
Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books – (2010-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0316068055 / 9780316068055

Hachette Audio; UNABR; $19.98

Books on Tape; UNABR; 9781415955864; $129

Large Print; Trade Pbk; Little, Brown; 9780316034111; $25.99

OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Mother’s Day Books

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

For a roundup of books being released for Mother’s Day gift giving, check out the’s special section, promoted on EarlyWord’s top banner this week. You can also win one of 15 special Mother’s Day Gift Baskets, including 12 of the 36 book selections.

It’s interesting to see the range of titles, from Janice Y.K. Lee’s The Piano Teacher to How Never to Look Fat Again (we want to meet the people willing to give their mothers the latter).

Included is a title that may look like a new book by Ruth Reichl, For You Mom, Finally. It’s actually the paperback edition of last year’s Not Becoming My Mother. Yes, the friendlier title works better for Mother’s Day (imagine giving the original title along with How Never to Look…), but according to the Washington Post‘s food blog, Reichl never liked the original title anyway.

For You Mom, Finally
Ruth Reichl
Retail Price: $13.00
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0143117343 / 9780143117346

Playing Manga Catchup

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

VIZ’s manga series One Piece dominated the NYT manga best seller list last week, taking up five of the total ten positions. But, come this week, none of the One Piece titles showed up on the list. What does this mean?

Last week’s spike is due to VIZ’s aggressive One Piece publishing schedule.  Since January of this year, One Piece has been published in five volume sets instead of the usual one volume per month. Volumes 21 through 53 will be published by June allowing VIZ to get closer to the Japanese release schedule.

VIZ  is no doubt trying to meet fan demand and to battle the continuing appeal of instantaneous access to series via illegal scanlation sites, where fans translate Japanese manga titles and make them available on the internet. In 2007, VIZ worked to catch up with the Japanese releases of their best-selling series Naruto. Over four months, three volumes were released a month, allowing VIZ to finish out the current storyline of Naruto and be ready to launch the new story arc, referred to as Naruto Shippuden, marking a two-year break in the tale’s narrative. Then, early in 2009, VIZ once again began a blitz campaign, releasing four new volumes a month in February through April, to catch up with both the Japanese release schedule and to stay in line with the animated Naruto TV series arriving in the US.

For the best seller list, this accelerated publishing rate doesn’t necessarily mean much.  Naruto dominates the manga list whenever a new volume is published, and similar spikes happened during the bulk releases in 2009.  One Piece, on the other hand, has not been an automatic best seller for VIZ.  This series, which follows the slapstick-filled and charmingly oddball adventures of a pirate, Luffy, who has been cursed (or blessed) with a rubberized body, has never been as strong a presence as other popular shonen (or boys comics) titles like Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, or Bleach.  Last week’s arrival in force on the NYT list indicates the fan base is growing and we should pay attention to it in selection.

In a time of tightening budgets, sudden increases in releases can wreak havoc on a library’s orders especially if you have a standing order plan. In my library, both Naruto and One Piece are on standing order, and while I wasn’t forced to cancel the plan when the publishing schedule changed, I was lucky that my budget could accommodate the shift. However, this year’s One Piece push was a dramatic increase.  Instead of five new volumes, I suddenly had to pay for thirty. VIZ sent out press releases informing consumers and library publications about the increase, but my own warnings came from comics sources and individual librarians, not from vendors or standard library publications. So far, VIZ has been choosing wisely, only accelerating series that are in high demand. Libraries need to keep up to satisfy their readers, so it’s important to keep tabs on VIZ’s press releases and publishing schedules.

The other major issue that affects libraries is publisher’s fighting the widespread ease and appeal of scanlation sites.  Publishers acknowledge that they will never catch up in print with the scanlations that are released within a matter of days after the source material hits the magazine racks in Japan.

A hullaballoo over the weekend, smartly broken down by Robot 6‘s Brigid Alverson, noted a new iPhone app available for download that cheerfully makes the most popular illegal scanlation sites available.  Just yesterday I chatted with a favorite adult patron who revealed that, now that he’s discovered scan sites, he’s been checking out fewer titles from the library. Scans feed his desire for instant reading. Some titles are available to library users digitally via Overdrive, such as Tokyopop’s, but most of them are older and US-originated titles and thus not likely to keep fans away from the scan sites. Librarians need to work with publishers and digital media vendors to get what our users are looking for, or we face losing them.

Ambrose/Ike Controversy

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

In this week’s New Yorker, writer Richard Rayner reports that the late historian Stephen Ambrose fabricated interviews with former President Eisenhower for the books that brought Ambrose to fame. The information is based on discoveries by Tim Rives, the deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Back in 2002, Ambrose was accused of plagiarism, first in his book The Wild Blue and then in several others. Ambrose refuted the claims by saying he simply neglected to put quote marks around several passages.

Ambrose’s book Band of Brothers was the basis of the highly-acclaimed and popular TV series; his son, Hugh Ambrose, wrote the tie-in book to the follow-up series on HBO, The Pacific.

Religious Illiteracy

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Rising on Amazon is a book that claims the popular view that all religions are one dangerously obscures the important differences between them. God is Not One is currently at #180, rising from #413 yesterday.

Few libraries have ordered the book. It received its first prepub review in the 4/15 issue of Booklist; “Provocative, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent and, for both believing and nonbelieving, formal and informal students of religion, a must-read.”

The author, Boston U. professor Stephen Prothero, is making use of social media to promote the book. He’s currently in the middle of a virtual book tour, with dozens of religion-focused blogs reviewing the book. On Twitter, he’s created “Religion 140,” a 140-character “mini-course” (perhaps that should be called a “micro-mini” course) on the great religions.

He’s also created a book trailer, which is refreshingly free of tricks,

Old-school media is involved, too, with essays by the author in the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe.

Prothero’s 2007 title, Religious Literacy made it on to the bottom rungs of the NYT Nonfiction list for 3 weeks and on the extended list for two more weeks.

On Comedy Central This Week

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010


The Colbert Report

Conn Iggulden, who began the retro-edgy books for kids trend with The Dangerous Book for Boys is interviewed tonight by the guy who began the retro-edgy comedy news show.

The Dangerous Book of Heroes
Conn Iggulden, David Iggulden
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061928240 / 9780061928246

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey
Richard Whittle
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 1416562958 / 9781416562955

Tantor Media Audio; UNABR

Trade; 9781400114160; 14 Audio CDs; $39.99
Library; 9781400144167; 14 Audio CDs; $79.99
MP3; 9781400164165; 2 MP3-CDs; $29.99

OverDrive WMA Audiobook


The Colbert Report

Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed
Gregg Easterbrook
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2009-12-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1400063957 / 9781400063956

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency
Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski
Retail Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Lyons Press – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0762761342 / 9780762761340

Applause for THE SLAP

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

One of the buzz titles at PLA, The Slap receives a resounding endorsement in the Washington Post today, in a review by Brigitte Weeks, a former editor of the newspaper’s Book World.

Set in Australia, the book follows the ripples caused by an incident at a barbecue. Having had it with an obnoxious four-year-old, an adult, not one of his parents, slaps the kid. The book switches back and forth among various characters and the repercussions of the event,

It’s a potentially confusing structure, but Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas is a master of seamless joints…He gets so close to his characters that the reader almost pleads with him to treat them more kindly.

The book can bring an American audience closer to life in Australia,

In The Slap we live for a few short weeks in suburban Australia, learning the language, becoming intimate with the characters and experiencing their customs. But finally the novel transcends both suburban Melbourne and the Australian continent, leaving us exhausted but gasping with admiration.

Published in Australia last year and winner of the Commonwealth Prize, the book debuts in trade paperback in the U.S. today.

The Slap: A Novel
Christos Tsiolkas
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0143117149 / 9780143117148