Archive for May, 2010

BEA; Libraries in a World of Digits

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Below are some items from the BEA panel “Libraries in a World of Digits,”

BEA; Back to Three Days in ’11

Friday, May 28th, 2010

If you are waking up today with the sense that BEA flashed by way too quickly, you will be happy to hear the news that it’s returning to the three-day format next year, as announced by show manager Steven Rosato announced on his blog yesterday.

It will continue to be midweek, however, which Rosato says was “absolutely the right decision,” running Tuesday through Thursday, with conference programming on Monday.

Making an interesting distinction, he explains the decision, “… while many people liked BEA as a 2 day show – more people need BEA to be a 3 day show.”

USA Today Picks for Summer

Friday, May 28th, 2010

The Memorial Day Holiday signals the beginning of summer book picks. USA Today jumps in with their Summer Books calendar, plus a selection of titles by genre.

The pick in Mystery/Thriller is Dana Haynes’ debut, Crashers (Minotaur, 6/22), which was buzzed in our first Galley Chat. (join us for the next one, on Tuesday, June 15th at 4 p.m. EDT).

Dana Haynes
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-06-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0312599889 / 9780312599881

Audio; UNABR; 978-1-4272-1215-3; $39.99


Who is the “Hot Summer Author“?

Justin Cronin, of course.

The Passage
Justin Cronin
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 784 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2010-06-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0345504968 / 9780345504968

BOT Audio; UNABR; 29 CDs; 9781415961759; $75
RH Audio; ABR; 9780739366509; $45
OverDrive WMA Audio book and MP3 Audiobook

New Vampire at #1

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Arriving at #1 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list is the fifth volume in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, Spirit Bound, besting Lee Child’s 61 Hours, which debuts at #2.

This is Mead’s first time at #1; volume 4, Blood Promise, hit at #5 when it came out  at the end of August last year. It also hits the NYT Childrens Series Best Seller List at #1.

Meanwhile, Stephenie Meyer’s name is much further down the list, with Eclipse at #22. That will change when The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner releases next Saturday.

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)
Richelle Mead
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Razorbill – (2010-05-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1595142509 / 9781595142504

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9780143145271; $39.95

Adobe EPUB eBook, MP3 and WMA Audiobook from OverDrive


Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Looks like next week’s breakout novel will be The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, which is not only a media darling, but a librarian favorite, thanks to the efforts of Marcie Purcell in library marketing at Random House, who has been touting it at recent buzz panels. Booksellers like it too: the ABA lists it as an Indie Next Pick for June.

In the new issue of People magazine, it gets four out of four stars, and is a People Pick, with a review by Caroline Leavitt, who by coincidence spoke at the AAP Librarians Lunch at Book Expo yesterday.

At 8, Rose Edelstein discovers she has a horrifying talent: In every food she consumes, she tastes the emotions of the people who prepared it. This means encountering hidden darkness, including her own mother’s sorrow and loneliness…. Moving, fanciful and gorgeously strange, this is a novel that asks the unselling question: how much do we really want to know about the ones we love?’

Entertainment Weekly is also positive, if a bit less enthusiastic,

Lemon‘s story never fully coalesces, but it still lingers long after, like the hum of a half-
forgotten melody.

And, achieving the book review trifecta, it is also one of USA Today‘s critics’ picks for the summer.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel
Aimee Bender
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2010-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0385501129 / 9780385501125

Other Major Titles On Sale Next Week

The beginning May 31 is a breather between two big titles from Random House, Inc. — Steig Larsson‘s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest from Knopf last week and Justin Cronin‘s The Passage, from Ballantine, the week of June 7.

For an overview of  other major titles coming next week, arranged by how they are selling, go to Barnes&Noble’s Coming Soon. No surprise, the top of that list is Stephenie Meyer‘s The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. (Due to the frentic pace of BEA, we’ve truncated our usual rundown of major titles).

G.W. Bush Memoir To Be “Strikingly Candid”

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

George Bush’s memoir Decision Points isn’t coming out until November and the drums are already beating.

(Note: despite the date shown below, the following is from yesterday’s Today Show)

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


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

Farewell to CMX: manga casualties just keep coming

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This has not been a good month for the manga readers. VIZ, the company at the top of the manga publisher heap buoyed up by sales of Naruto and Bleach while taking chances on excellent riskier fare like The House of Five Leaves and Saturn Apartments, announced a restructuring that resulted in laying off 40% of staff.  This change seems to be a streamlining move in order to survive the economic downturn rather than a portent of doom for the company, but with all of the changes in the manga landscape lately, VIZ’s announcement felt like one more step down for manga’s status in the market.

In April, ICv2 reported in their annual white paper that manga sales dropped another 20% in 2009 on the heels of a 17% drop the year before. Smaller, specialized manga publishers have been blinking out for a while now.  Broccoli Books shut down in 2008 after a year’s effort. Central Park Media, more of an anime distributor than a manga publisher but notable as one of the first publishers to release yaoi manga under its Be Beautiful imprint, declared bankruptcy in 2009 after close to 19 years in the industry. One of the more endearing smaller manga publishers, Go Comi!, missing from the scene for months, has finally disappeared: their website has expired, and staff have moved on to other ventures. Other manga publishers still maintaining an online presence but have been inactive for months include Aurora and DrMaster.

Then, this past week came the announcement that DC Comics is shutting down it’s manga imprint, CMX, in July. Commentators cited the tough economic outlook as an obvious cause and mourn the missed opportunity for a DC-backed manga line. Many lay the blame at DC’s feet for their mismanagement of the line including not pushing for stock in bookstores and a dearth of representation for CMX at conventions or book conferences. Christopher Butcher at Comics 212 lays out the history with a brutal but accurate catalog of errors that deflated CMX’s potential from the get go. This sudden closing of shop is the straw that broke the camel’s back for many manga industry watchers. The outcry over the demise of CMX has run the gamut: eloquent, vitriolic, mournful, bitter, and dismayed but unsurprised, all frequently punctuated by expletives. The Beat sums up all of the reactions (updated, as the headline proclaims, now with more ire!).

Most disappointing is that, in 2006, with knowledgeable director Asako Suzuki and editor Jim Chadwick leading the charge, CMX launched titles like Kaoru Mori’s Emma, their stand-out success, but by then they were already an afterthought when it came to promotion. They soon established a whole host of titles perfect for younger teens desperate for manga but not quite up for the melodrama and maturity offered by teen fare. Their smart choices apparently came too little, too late.

All of this does not mean manga is over.  In my experience, the readers are no less demanding and are just as (if not more) visible.  Remember, in 2007 manga sold at an all time high, with over 1500 titles coming out, whereas by this year we have 968 titles.  The decline is partly a result of the shifting of the market due to the economic downturn, a natural flattening out after manga’s initial boom, and possibly the creeping competition of free scanlation sites.  As ICv2 points out, “…manga titles still represented 35% of all the graphic novels released in the U.S. in 2009 and accounted for a similar percentage of sales in the category.”

Gathered from both my own reading and from fellow manga reviewers, here is a list of the must-have CMX titles to get or complete as finished series before all of the remaining copies are snapped up. David Welsh at the Manga Curmudgeon gives a great run down of titles he suggests collecting for all age ranges. For all of you Children’s and teen librarians looking for titles for your tweens, make sure to check out my colleague Katherine Dacey’s Good Comics for Kids Guide to CMX Manga over at School Library Journal.

Swan by Kyoko Ariyoshi (incomplete)
From Eroica with Love by Yasuko Aoike (incomplete)
Two absolute classics of manga may have been a tough start for the CMX line, but these two series are landmarks in the history of shojo manga. Swan is the breathtakingly beautiful soap opera set in the world of professional ballet, and From Eroica With Love is the cheeky, daredevil cat-and-mouse game between a master thief (inspired by Robert Plant at his 70s, sexy best) and the detective set to catch him. Dirk Deppey over at The Comics Journal mourns Swan will be without an end and makes a great case for why it’s still worth reading.

Emma (volumes 1-10)
Shirley (stand alone in the Emma universe)
all by Kaoru Mori
My own must-have is Emma: a gorgeous, rich historical romance telling a tale of love between a ladies’ maid and a gentleman in Victorian London. With meticulous visual detail, Mori embraces both opulent and everyday Victorian life while escaping the traps of stodgy historical drama by giving her characters spirit, heart, and witty intelligence. The chasm is wide between our two lovers, and Mori explores social barriers with the finesse of many a great historical novelist. Don’t just take my word for it; Emma was the subject of a recent Manga Moveable Feast, a initiative among manga bloggers to all read and discuss the same title for a set period of time. Check their archive of entries to see how much love these reviewers have for the series as a whole.

Apothecarius Argentum by Tomomi Yamashita (incomplete)
Kiichi and the Magic Books by Taka Amano
The Lapis Lazuli Crown
The Palette of 12 Secret Colors
Two Flowers for the Dragon

all by Nari Kusakawa
All of these titles are wonderful for younger teens and older kids who are fascinated by manga’s style, storytelling and art but are not yet ready for teen titles. Nari Kusakawa has charming series staring spunky girls, and all of her series are short (ranging from two to six volumes.) Kiichi and the Magic Books is a strong fantasy adventure for older kids, recommended by Katherine Dacey at Good Comics for Kids as one of the best kid-friendly manga of 2008. Apothecarius Argentum mixes magic, politics and princesses. Sadly not all of these series will be finished by CMX, but here’s hoping someone might pick the licenses and finish their runs.

Chikyu Misaki by Yuji Iwahara
Land of the Blindfolded by Tsukuba Sakura
The Name of the Flower by Ken Saitou
Oyayubihime Infinity by Toru Fujieda
The Recipe for Gertrude by Nari Kusakawa
All of these shojo series are finished, so if you buy them, you won’t be stuck with an incomplete set. The Name of the Flower made Katherine Dacey’s best manga of 2009 list, and Chikyu Miksaki has long been recognized as a strong, short series full of oddball appeal. All of these have devoted followings in my teen collection, and are as they are all shorter series, are a cost-effective way to add diversity to your collection.

Listen Up, Jersey Libraries!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

New Jersey Real Housewife Danielle Staub has a new book out today (the new season launches this week). It was not reviewed prepub.

The news is that she did NOT appear with the other Housewives on the Today Show:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


The Naked Truth: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewife of New Jersey–In Her Own Words
Danielle Staub
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Gallery/ S&S – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1439182892 / 9781439182895

Stieg Larsson Day

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Less than two years ago, Stieg Larsson’s first title in his Millennium series appeared in the US to some skepticism about how well this international best seller would do here. Sonny Metha, the head of Knopf, Larsson’s US publisher admits to NYT Magazine he “had nightmares that we would be the only country where the books didn’t work”.

Today marks the release of Larsson’s third title in the US and Mehta must be resting easier. As the NYT Magazine puts it, “Except for Harry Potter, Americans haven’t been so eager for a book since the early 1840s, when they thronged the docks in New York, hailing incoming ships for news of Little Nell in Charles Dickens’s Old Curiosity Shop.” On NPR’s Web site today, Maureen Corrigan says,

The final verdict is in: Steig Larsson has posthumously proven himself to be one of the Greats of Mystery Fiction, taking his place in the pantheon along with other demi-Gods like Christie, Sayers, Hammett, Chandler, Robert Parker and his (still-breathing) fellow Swede, Henning Mankell.

Looking back, the prepub reviews of Dragon Tattoo were all fairly strong, but LJ‘s Wilda Williams showed the greatest enthusiasm, coming the closest to predicting its subsequent success. Libraries, however, ordered lightly.

The consumer press coverage began with a not-so-great review in the NYT BR. Alex Berenson liked the middle section, the investigation into the book’s central mystery, the 40-year-old murder of a young woman. He had many reservations about the rest of the book, however, any one of which could have signalled poor word of mouth;

  • Readers will have trouble sorting through the cast of characters.
  • The novel “offers a thoroughly ugly view of human nature.”
  • The main player, Blomkvist “seems more a stock character than a real person.”
  • The ending is a letdown; “boring and implausible, relying heavily on lazy e-mail exchanges between characters.”

When we wrote about Dragon Tattoo a few weeks before publication, holds were still light. By pub date, they had grown and we issued a heavy holds alert. Today, many libraries are still working through their lists (hint; it’s now available in both mass market and trade pbk) and the release of the final title is likely to bring even more new readers to the series.

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
  • UNABR CD from Random House Audio available May 25: $40; ISBN 9780739384190
  • Large Print from Random House: $28; ISBN 9780739377710
  • WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive

Surprise UK Hit

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We noted earlier this Spring that Hans Fallada’s sixty-year old novel Every Man Dies Alone, rose to #22 on Amazon’s sales rankings, based on a column by Roger Cohen in the NYT.

This Sunday’s UK Guardian reports that the book, which is published there under the title, Alone in Berlin, has reached the Top 50, “a rare achievement for a classic.” The Guardian also notes that it is selling well in the US (via Publishers Lunch Automat).

The novel is based on the true story of a German couple who began a postcard campaign against Hitler and were beheaded for their actions. Cohen says, “What Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française did for wartime France after six decades in obscurity, Fallada does for wartime Berlin…The Nazi hell he evokes is not so much recalled as rendered, whole and alive.”

The book appeared on many Best Books of 2009 lists and was featured on the Charlie Rose Show last year (watch here).

Every Man Dies Alone
Hans Fallada
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Melville House – (2010-03-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1935554042 / 9781935554042

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive.


Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Political commentator and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, reviews Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One by Zev Chafets in today’s Washington Post. Since the book is a longer form of a profile already published in The New York Times Magazine, Frum wonders what if anything new can be discovered in the book and discovers,

…some disconnects between Limbaugh’s private life and public presence…some distinctly grandiose tastes in this self-imagined tribune of Middle America…Limbaugh has skillfully conjured for his listeners a world in which they are disdained and despised by mysterious elites — a world in which Limbaugh’s $4,000 bottles of wine do not exclude him from the life of the common man.

Summing up, Frum says,

It might seem ominous for an intellectual movement to be led by a man who does not think creatively, who does not respect the other side of the argument and who frequently says things that are not intended as truth. But neither Limbaugh nor Chafets is troubled.

The book is currently at #276 on Amazon.

Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One
Zev Chafets
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Sentinel/Penguin – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1595230637 / 9781595230638

Pardon Us, We’re Not British

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

They’re not British, they’re Anglophiles in love with Scotland Yard, says USA Today‘s Carol Memmot about American mystery writers Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George (the latter’s character Inspector Lynely even inspired a series by the BBC). Memmot offers a quick analysis of each writer’s latest book in their long-running series (Grimes has the edge, with 22 Richard Jury titles to George’s paltry 16 in her Lynley series).

This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel
Elizabeth George
Retail Price: $28.99
Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061160881 / 9780061160882

HarperAudio; UNABR; 9780061161216; $49.99
Books on Tape; 21 CD’s; 9780307715630; $49.99
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook from OverDrive

The Black Cat: A Richard Jury Mystery
Martha Grimes
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021601 / 9780670021604

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9 Hours; 7 CDs; ISBN 9780142427965; $29.95
MP3 Audiobook; WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive

Happy Birthday, Margaret Wise

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The kids from Bank Street school wish a happy 100th birthday to the timeless Margaret Wise. Part of the American children’s literature movement of creating book that reflect the experiences of children, her books are still bestsellers to this day.

Packing for BEA

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Just in time, Library Journal‘s Barbara Hoffert picks the “authors to stalk and galleys to grab” from the thousands that will be at BEA this week.

Just don’t take that grabbing and stalking too literally, like some librarians did at TLA this year, bringing a rebuke from The Goddess of YA Literature herself, Teri Lesesne.

Even if you’re not going to BEA, Barbara’s guide is a handy look at the upcoming season.

Summer Book Picks

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The current issue of Time magazine includes their Summer Entertainment Package, a list of 76 things to do this summer, through August, including a dozen books to read and 5 book-based movies to watch.

Several titles are no surprise;  Stephenie Meyer’s The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner,  the much hyped The Passage by Justin Cronin and the final volume in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series,  Mockingjay.

Time calls David Mitchell, the author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, “The most consistently interesting novelist of his generation”…

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel
David Mitchell
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-06-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1400065453 / 9781400065455 sold by the publishers claim that The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman is “Sense and Sensibility for the digital age.”

The Cookbook Collector:
Allegra Goodman
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: The Dial Press – (2010-07-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0385340850 / 9780385340854

RH Audio; UNABR; 9780307736857; $22.50
Books On Tape: UNABR; 11 Cd’s; 9780307736864; $40.00
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

…and calls  The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, “nonfiction to make you sound smart over summertime gin and tonics: the human history behind the periodic table.”

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Sam Kean
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-07-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0316051640 / 9780316051644

But they do the best job of selling Gary Shtenygart, Super Sad True Love Story,  …”basically, this is a love story between an old-school, book-loving throwback and a steely, beautiful, postmodern woman — set in crumbling, toxic, illiterate, impoverished near-future America. It’s ridiculously witty and painfully prescient, but more than either of those, it’s romantic.”

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel
Gary Shteyngart
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-07-27)
ISBN / EAN: 1400066409 / 9781400066407

Online, Time offers a video intro to the package, with only a few of the books, however (a short ad in the beginning):