Archive for April, 2010

Dumpster Diving Book Lovers

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

A Bucks County, PA, resident was outraged to find that a book that hadn’t been checked out in five years was removed from the shelves of the Doylestown branch of the county library system.

He took his case to the local newspaper. Happily, the newspaper quoted Director Martina Kominiarek at length about the reasons for weeding library collections. It’s a model response.

The article closes by pointing out that the book the man was seeking is available online for $.01. Put that up against the cost of housing and storing a book for five years with no usage.

(via Library Link of the Day)

Books to Watch

Monday, April 26th, 2010

It’s a clever approach that a librarian might have designed; to highlight books coming out next month, O, the Oprah Magazine pairs five older titles with new readalikes in a feature called “5 Books to Watch for This May.”

Some of the pairings are a bit odd — Girl in Translation, one of the titles that came up in our recent Galley Chat, is paired with Cinderella (yes, the tale by the Brothers Grimm). It was also featured in Entertainment Weekly‘s recent “18 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Summer” feature.

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

Also included is The Other Wes Moore (the author appears on the Oprah Show this week). It’s paired with The Women Who Raised Me, the 2007 memoir by Victoria Rowell

Monday, April 26th, 2010


Monday, April 26th, 2010

Coming to Oprah on Tuesday, is Wes Moore, the author of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, (Random House). Moore is an investment banker, Rhodes scholar, former aide to Condoleezza Rice and, some say, the next black president.

Moore discovered another Wes Moore, his same age and from the same area of Baltimore. The other Wes Moore’s life was quite different, however, he was wanted for killing a cop. PW calls it a “moving exploration of roads not taken.” Libraries are showing 1:1 holds on modest ordering.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Wes Moore
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0385528191 / 9780385528191

Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780307877130; $35
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook from OverDrive


Wednesday’s show features Todd Bridges, the former Diff’rent Strokes star. The featured guest is former Miss USA Tara Conner.

Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted
Todd Bridges
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Touchstone – (2010-03-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1439148988 / 9781439148983


There’s no direct book tie-in (at least, none has been announced yet), but John Edwards’ former mistress, Rielle Hunter gives her first TV interview to Oprah on Thursday. Earlier this year, Oprah featured former Edwards’ aide, Andrew Young, who wrote about the affair in his book, The Politician. And, last year, Oprah interviewed Elizabeth Edwards about her book, Resilience., back when she was saying that the affair with “that woman” was a one-time thing.

Everyone Gets a Vampire

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Proving she’s down with a younger audience (or, at least, their mothers), Oprah debuted the theatrical trailer for Eclipse on her show on Friday, giving fans more to go on than the teaser trailer that was released in March.

On May 13, Oprah will host the stars of the show, Robert Pattison, Kirsten Stewart and Taylor Lautner.

Below is the trailer from YouTube; link to the official Eclipse Web site to get the full effect.

Stephenie Meyer’s novella about a fledgling vampire who appears in Eclipse releases on June 5th.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $13.99
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-06-05)
ISBN / EAN: 031612558X / 9780316125581

It will also be available in Spanish from Alfaguara.

La segunda vida de Bree Tanner / The Short Second Life (Spanish Edition)
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Alfaguara – (2010-06-05)
ISBN / EAN: 1616051426 / 9781616051426

A GIRL More Perky

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Currently playing after five weeks in a limited number of American theaters is the Swedish film of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Meanwhile, plans are moving ahead for the Hollywood version; the Sunday Times of London announces that Carey Mulligan has won the role of the book’s tatooed heroine, Lisbeth Salander. The Times notes that “The new version may be relocated to Canada as a compromise for American audiences.”  Of the film currently in U.S. theaters, the Times says, “It was popular in Scandinavia but its subtitles have prevented it becoming a mainstream hit in America, where it opened last month.”

Those pesky Americans; they can’t handle subtitles or non-North-American settings. Perhaps the perception is that they also prefer their punk heroines a bit more perky (below, Noomi Rapace, in character as Salander in the Swedish movie on the left; Carey Mulligan, as herself, on the right).

It wasn’t so long ago that many wondered if Americans could handle a trilogy of books in translation, set in Sweden, with decidedly dark themes. The one believer was the publisher, Knopf. They were so confident that they announced a 100,000 copy first printing, which they increased to 150,000 before publication. That number seems laughable now; taken together, the first two volumes have sold 2.4 million copies in the U.S. and Knopf has announced a 500,000 printing for the final volume in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (numbers from USA Today).

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Stieg Larsson
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 030726999X / 9780307269997

Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780739384190; $40.
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Feiler Heads Father’s Day Pack

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

There’s a common theme among big titles arriving next week; many are aimed at Father’s Day gift giving (don’t panic, fellow procrastinators, it’s not until June 20th).

Media is lined up for The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler. It was already in USA Weekend, featuring interviews with the men Feiler chose to take on a parenting role to his two girls, in the event he succumbed to the cancer that was successfully removed from his body in 2008. Upcoming coverage includes a profile in People (May 10; on newsstands next week), an appearance on the Today Show and The Glenn Beck Show on Fox News.

The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
Bruce Feiler
Retail Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061778761 / 9780061778766

HarperAudio; UNABR; 9780061988493; $29.99
Adobe EPUB eBook from OverDrive.

The leadup to Father’s Day is also considered good timing for history titles. Heading that group is Hellhound On His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by historian Hampton Sides. Libraries we checked have ordered solid quantities.

In Salon, critic Laura Miller praises the book as “a genuine corker”:

Sides’ meticulous yet driving account of James Earl Ray’s plot to murder King and the 68-day international manhunt that followed is in essence a true-crime story and a splendid specimen of the genre.

The Los Angeles Times adds that this “taut, vibrant account. . . shows the synchronicity of movements as King and his colleagues plot political strategy and follow his speaking itinerary, while Ray draws ever closer.”

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


Other Major Titles on Sale Next Week

The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern by Victor Davis Hanson (Bloomsbury) is an anthology of previously published essays that, according to PW, are “well written, sometimes elegantly so, and closely reasoned. They address familiar material from original and stimulating perspectives. Hanson’s arguments may not convince everyone, but cannot be dismissed.”

Paradise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in Iraq by Dave Hnida (Simon & Schuster) is a physician’s account of serving in Iraq that’s “realistic, gritty and full of black humor,” according to Kirkus, but “surrenders to mawkishness and, worst of all, bad puns, seemingly in an effort to be the Patch Adams of Baghdad.”

Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings (Random House) is “a joy to read,” says Library Journal. “Despite other works examining this subject, libraries and readers of many persuasions will want this massive and detailed examination of the prime minister and his personal war.”

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore (Random House) is the account of an investment banker, Rhodes scholar and former aide to Condoleezza Rice who investigates the life of another Wes Moore, his age and from the same area of Greater Baltimore, who was wanted for killing a cop. In a starred review, PW says:

“Moore writes with subtlety and insight about the plight of ghetto youth, viewing it from inside and out; he probes beneath the pathologies to reveal the pressures… that propelled the other Wes to his doom. The result is a moving exploration of roads not taken.”

Prison Life

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Library holds are building for Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman’s memoir of her 13 months incarcerated in the Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut. A Smith college graduate with access to good lawyers, Kerman seemed an unlikely candidate for prison, but she was convicted on ten-year-old drug trafficking charges.

The book received considerable prepub attention, with an excerpt in The New York Times Magazine, another one in Marie Claire, and a profile hearalding her “…Hot New Memoir…” in New York magazine.

USA Today reviews it, warning readers to,

Resist the impulse to dismiss Kerman’s book as The Preppy Handbook for the Club Fed crowd. Orange transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you. You’d expect bad behavior in prison. But it’s the moments of joy, friendship and kindness that the author experienced that make Orange so moving and lovely.

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison
Piper Kerman
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0385523386 / 9780385523387

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive.

AmazonEncore Title Reviewed in USA Today

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Calling Francine Thomas Howard’s Page from a Tennessee Journal a “remarkable debut novel…a story as suspenseful as it is rich in detail about the evolving relationships between blacks and whites and men and women in the rural south,” USA Today gives Amazon’s fledgling publishing imprint. AmazonEncore, one of its first consumer reviews.

Begun in May of last year, AmazonEncore, according to Amazon’s Web site, is “a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate.”

The book was not reviewed prepub and few libraries own it.

Page from a Tennessee Journal
Francine Thomas Howard
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: AmazonEncore – (2010-03-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0982555067 / 9780982555064


Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Next week marks the release of two titles that picked up buzz at the recent Public Library Association conference in Portland.

Guy Gavriel Kay‘s Under Heaven, a historical fantasy set in a land resembling Tang Dynasty China, was endorsed by PLA buzz panel moderator Nancy Pearl. “It has everything in that made me such a fan of his in the first place,” she said. “Golly, I thought the new one was perfect.” Libraries we checked are on top of demand, as holds rise.

Library Journal called Kay’s novel “meticulously researched yet seamlessly envisioned, the characters and culture present a timeless tale of filial piety and personal integrity. Highly recommended for all collections and particularly for fans of the author’s distinctive approach to fantasy.”

Under Heaven
Guy Gavriel Kay
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Roc Hardcover – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0451463307 / 9780451463302

At the PLA buzz panel, librarians were also talking about The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas‘s brilliantly titled novel about the social fallout from an adult’s rash punishment of a wayward child at an Australian barbeque. This winner of the 2009 Commonwealth prize is being pubbed as a paperback original here and may be a good candidate for book clubs and readers advisors. Most libraries we checked had at least a few copies.

Library Journal said, “While there is not a lot to admire about most of the players in this exceptionally well-written story, their intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience.”

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

Major Fiction Titles On Sale Next Week

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro‘s The 9th Judgment (Grand Central) reveals the authors “at their best,” according to, “in a series that shows no signs of fatigue or flagging.” No surprise, it’s already at #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Debbie Macomber‘s Hannah’s List (Mira), a tale of a Seattle widower’s pursuit of love, is “charming enough,” according to PW, “though Hannah’s cancer battle is glossed over, and the conceit of Michael considering marriage so soon is a little unrealistic.”

Nora Roberts‘s Savor the Moment (Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet Series #3) (Penguin). Library Journal calls it “funny, sweetly sexy, as bubbly as champagne, and as addictive as chocolate, this thoroughly readable follow-up to Vision in White and Bed of Roses is one to savor.”

Isabel Allende‘s Island Beneath the Sea (Harper) received a starred review from Booklist: “Allende is grace incarnate in her evocations of the spiritual energy that still sustains the beleaguered people of Haiti and New Orleans. Demand will be high for this transporting, remarkably topical novel of men and women of courage risking all for liberty.”

Laurie R. King‘s The God of the Hive (Random House). PW says: “Those who enjoyed the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. may appreciate bestseller King’s heavy-on-action, light-on-deduction 10th novel featuring Mary Russell and her much older husband, Conan Doyle’s iconic detective.”

J. R. Ward‘s Lover Mine (NAL) is the eighth installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood urban fantasy series, (in the book’s trailer, the author says, she still doesn’t see the series ending). It’s currently at #11 on Amazon.

Y.A. Fiction

P.C. Cast‘s Burned (St. Martins Press) is the seventh installment in the young adult House of Night series. It’s at #13 on Amazon sales rankings.

Candice Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries (Balzar & Bray/ HarperCollins). While you’re waiting for Sex and the City 2 (don’t scoff; the first one made half a billion dollars), which opens in theaters on May 28th (and, yes, there is a tie-in; see our upcoming movie tie-ins listing), you can read the franchise prequel, Bushnell’s first YA title. It’s about about Carrie’s life as a high school senior in Connecticut. USA Today features it in the current issue. Entertainment Weekly addresses the cynical among us, saying,

It would have been easy to write a coming-of-age story about Carrie Bradshaw that ham-fistedly foreshadows everything fans of the franchise know will come to pass. But Bushnell nails something harder: telling another chapter
 in the story of a cherished character that stands on its own,

and give the book a lofty A-. This the first of two titles; the next one is planned for summer 2011 (frighteningly, there are hints that a Sex and the City 3 is in the works).

OPRAH is #1

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Kitty Kelley’s bio of Oprah Winfrey has landed at #5 on the new USA Today best seller list, making it the #1 nonfiction title (we hear it is #1 on the upcoming NYT Nonfiction list).

Those sales reflect the first week of media attention. On Amazon’s sales rankings, the book is at #20, making it the 4th best selling nonfiction title. In libraries we checked, holds are averaging 3:1 and slowing.

Oprah: A Biography
Kitty Kelley
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0307394867 / 9780307394866

Large Print from Random House; $30; ISBN 9780739377857
Audio from Random House Audio; CD: $50; ISBN 9780307749246

Writers to Watch

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The Daily Beast is running a series on “Writers to Watch,” which will feature 12 writers in six months, picked by fellow writers and critics

At the end of March, Lucas Wittmann picked Julie Orringer’s May debut The Invisible Bridge (after her well-received 2003 short story collection, How to Breathe Underwater). The prepub reviews for this Holocaust novel (which New York magazine says is, “against all odds, a Holocaust page-turner” ) have been a chorus of hosannas.

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

Random House Audio; UNABR; 0307713547; $50

The second in the Daily Beast series is Jenny Hallowell’s Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe, which arrives in June. Taylor Antrim proclaims it “this summer’s breakout debut novel…Hollowell’s magnetically flawed heroine, is both cruelly ambitious and deeply sympathetic, and the book’s febrile vision of sun-scorched Los Angeles makes me think of Play It As It Lays on every page.”

It has not yet been reviewed by the prepub sources.

Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe
Jenny Hollowell
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks – (2010-06-08)
ISBN / EAN: 080509119X / 9780805091199


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Stephen King’s drop-in baseball title, Blockade Billy, is getting strong reviews on its release day. Unlike many of King’s books, this one is just 120 pages long. USA Today says,

Short and sweet best describes this novella that shines for many reasons: King’s love for baseball, his irresistible storytelling style and the way he effortlessly pitches this story to us in the smoothest baseball lingo.

If you’re wondering why King went with indie publisher Cemetary Dance Publications for the book, The Baltimore Sun explains how that came about.

Cemetary Dance is publishing a limited edition of 10,000 copies. Scribner will be publishing a hardcover edition, with an additional short story, Morality and minus the illustrations in the Cemetary Dance edition, on May 25th, along with an audio edition. Below is the information on the Scribner publications.

Blockade Billy
Stephen King
Retail Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1451608217 / 9781451608212

Audio; UNABR; 9781442336582; $19.99

No More Performance Reviews!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This book’s title will have many managers and their staffs cheering, Get Rid of the Performance Review.  Say the authors, “It’s time to put the performance review out of its misery…it’s pretentious, it’s bogus, and it produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus.”

The Associated Press released an article about it, which appears in the Huffington Post, among other news outlets.

For a little catharsis, try the “How much do you hate performance reviews?” quiz.

Here’s hoping the book sweeps the nation.

Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing–and Focus on What Really Matters
Samuel A. Culbert
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Business Plus – (2010-04-14)
ISBN / EAN: 044655605X / 9780446556057

Hachette Audio; UNABR, 9781607881759; $26.98
WMA Audiobook downloadable from OverDrive


Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

How are readers reacting to Yann Martel’s followup to his best selling, Booker-winning Life of Pi?

In the NYT last week, Michiko Katutani gave Beatrice and Virgil as bad a review as a book can get.

Two booksellers are not buying it. In the Huffington Post, Praveen Madan and Christin Evans from The Booksmith in San Francisco, write a defense of the book in the form of a conversation with a customer. They point out that “more than two-thirds of the reviews on Amazon were 4 & 5 star reviews,” indicating that “newspaper critics are out of touch with readers.”

In libraries, the negative reviews may have had an effect; holds are running an average of 3:1 in those we checked, on modest ordering (two or fewer per branch).

As we noted earlier, among prepub reviews, only Booklist was positive, awarding it a star. And, not all the consumer reviews have been negative. USA Today‘s Dierdre Donahue said, “…this lean little allegory about a talking donkey and monkey… might be a masterpiece about the Holocaust.”

Beatrice and Virgil
Yann Martel
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau – (2010-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1400069262 / 9781400069262

RH Audio: UNABR; 9780307715159; $30
Large Print: trade pbk; 9780739377802; $24
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive