Archive for May, 2010


Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Chris Buckley’s over-the-top NYT BR cover review (and several others that followed) propelled Tom Rachman’s debut novel, The Imperfectionists up the Amazon best seller lists and now it’s hit the 5/23 NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #13, tied with Anna Quindlin’s Every Last One at #12. Libraries are adding more copies as hold lists are lengthening.

As we wrote earlier, the book got buzz in the Fall of ’08, when Dial’s Susan Kamil, who also edited The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, won it in a spirited auction.

Recorded Books is releasing it on CD in September.

The Imperfectionists
Tom Rachman
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: The Dial Press – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0385343663 / 9780385343664

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive
Recorded Books:

  • UNABR CD; 8 CDs; 9781449825621; $92.75; Anticipated Release: Sep 07, 2010
  • UNABR Cassette; 8 Cassettes;.9781449825614; $67.75; Anticipated Release: Nov 15, 2010

Ruiz Zafon; YA Best Seller

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

For years, it’s been the accepted wisdom that best sellers from other countries do not translate to the US. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of  a new breed of writers that is disproving that old theory. His literary thriller, The Shadow of the Wind, called “the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history after Don Quixote” appeared on best seller lists when it was published here, as did his next book, The Angel’s Game. Originally from Spain, Ruiz Zafon lives in both Los Angeles, where he has been a script writer, and Barcelona.

He actually made his start as a YA novelist. His first book, The Prince of Mists, was published for young adults in 1993, when he was in his twenties. An award winner and best seller in Spain, it  was recently published here and repeats the magic of his adult titles, landing on the 5/23  NYT Children’s Chapter Books list at #7. With touches of gothic and supernatural horror as well as a page-turning adventure, it’s about a boy and his two sisters, who relocate with their family from the city to a small town on the Spanish Coast to escape WWII, only to discover themselves in grave danger.

The author published three more YA titles in Spain. All have been acquired by LBYR for publication in the US, to be released on a yearly basis

The Prince of Mist
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-05-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0316044776 / 9780316044776

Hachette Audio; UNABR; 9781607883722;$ 24.98
BBC; UNABR; 5 CDs; May 20109781607887676; $44.99
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Stand Out Standalones

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Debuting on the NYT Graphic Books best seller list at #3, is the latest title from indie-comic favorite Daniel Clowes, Wilson. In the deluge of more mainstream superhero and manga titles, single volumes from independent creators can be lost in the shuffle, so it’s a pleasure to see one of them shoot to the top ranks of the list.

Over this past weekend, I had a chance to attend the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (fondly known as TCAF), considered by many to be the top convention devoted to independent and innovative creators and publishers in the comics world. Since TCAF was first held in 2003, the event has been curated and promoted by the indefatigable Christopher Butcher, owner of one of the best comics stores in North America, The Beguiling, a no-holds-barred comics blogger, and an advocate for the diversity and literary quality of the medium.

TCAF is not a comics convention in the usual sense: there were very few folks in costume (and those that were were sporting richly detailed steampunk outfits, not superhero spandex), and the attendees were clearly more from the hipster set than the stereotypical fanboy horde you see at the larger, mainstream cons.

In 2003, TCAF’s attracted over 70 artists and a crowd of 600 attendees. Last year those numbers grew to over 300 exhibitors and 10,500 attendees. This year’s numbers are sure to come in even higher.

Daniel Clowes himself was front and center debuting Wilson in a special program Friday evening. The trumpeting of both Clowes’s talent and independent publisher Drawn and Quarterly‘s street cred shows clearly where TCAF’s heart is: with the innovative, literary creators who are both entertaining and challenging readers. Throughout the weekend, programs highlighted such creators (Charles Vess, Paul Pope, Dash Shaw, James Sturm, Seth, and Chester Brown are but a few headliners) as well as topics of interest to the eclectic crowd: manga outside the mainstream, comics history, the dangers of creating autobiographical comics, and the impact of webcomics and social media on creators.

TCAF also features a whole raft of kids programming. I poked my head in to see the happy crowd of children drawing their own comics and mercilessly interrogating creators Mike Deas (Soccer Sabotage), Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle) and Matt Loux (Salt Water Taffy) about their work.

At the show, treasures of comic art and beautifully crafted prints and books were waiting to be discovered. The most artful finds included a gorgeous hardcover of the webcomic The Abominable Charles Christopher, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen’s Wolrd War II drama Moving Pictures, and Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft. Fanfare/Ponent-Mon’s anticipated Korea as Viewed by 12 Creators (a follow up to their excellent anthology Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators) was newly available. TCAF is also the place to find the small, crafted editions of mini-comics and show specials including Jim Zubkavich’s A Slightly Fictional History of Popcorn, Colleen Frakes’s Tragic Relief, and an amusing fanzine for Lady Gaga Prison for Bitches. (Thanks to fellow TCAF-goers Deb Aoki and Eva Volin for their input on the most memorable finds!)

Even more exciting to this librarian?  TCAF takes place at the Toronto Reference Library. The main floor’s study tables are replaced with row after row of artists and writers while another room upstairs was devoted to webcomics creators. Among the stacks are the lines for creator signings, artists sketching and signing prints, and a number of critical conversations to be overheard among fans, publishers, and creators. The library takes full advantage of hosting the festival, pulling out titles for display to show off their own graphic novel and comics collections. Open during the festival and welcoming to all comers, from their usual crowd to the more unusual comics afficcianados, the library has truly embraced all that this event brings them, from new visitors to visibility on the grander city-wide stage.

This is the kind of event that I could imagine organized at other city libraries, like Boston or New York. Of course,  you’d need a show organizer with the expertise and zeal of Butcher to pull it off. What a wonderful melding of comics and libraries such a movable feast could be.

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Bacigalupi Wins Nebula

Monday, May 17th, 2010

If you haven’t already, it’s time to learn to spell “Paolo Bacigalupi.” The author’s first book, The Windup Girl,  just won a Nebula from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America in the best novel category. It’s also nominated for a Hugo for Best Novel (it’s rare for a first novel to be nominated in this category) and a Locus for Best First Novel.

A recent proflie of the Bacigalupi in Denver WestWorld (he’s from Colorado) reveals his “fascination with the half-hidden horrors of contemporary life” (like the true contents of a PB&J sandwich) and how to pronounce his last name (BAH-cha-ga-loo-py).

The Windup Girl
Paolo Bacigalupi
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books – (2010-04-20)
ISBN / EAN: 1597801585 / 9781597801584

Brilliance Audio; UNABR; 9781441866875; 16 CDs; $99.97
MP3-CD; 9781441866899; $44.97

Bacigalupi’s just-released YA title, Ship Breakers had buzz at PLA in March. It also got this great mini-review on our latest Galley Chat from the Nile, Illinois PL,

…modern twist on Mad Max scenario; replaces nukes w/ global warming & trades truck-driving skinheads for boats & pirates

Ship Breaker
Paolo Bacigalupi
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316056219 / 9780316056212

The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy went to an online  title, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente, winning out over conventionally-published titles by established authors. An audio version will be available from Brilliance in April, 2011:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated the Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own
Valente, Catherynne
Read by the author
Brilliance Audio; UNABR; 1441877606; $29.99
Pub Date: April 01, 2011

The winning short story, Spar by Kij Johnson  and winning novelette Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast, by Eugie Foster are also free online. In both categories, there were other nominees that are online titles.  The full list of nominees for all categories is available here.


Monday, May 17th, 2010

It’s no surprise that there’s plenty of media attention for Daniel Okrent’s history of prohibition and drinking in America, The Last Call (attention, Glenn Beck, the founding fathers may have been men of faith, but they were also generally three sheets to the wind). Okrent, who was the first public editor of the NYT, is well-connected in the media and his book Great Fortune about Rockefeller Center was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. By the way, he also invented Rotisserie League Baseball. And, who could resist a book about American’s fraught relationship with alcohol?

Time magazine, says that the book about much more than Prohibition,

If you’re looking for a lasting legacy of Prohibition, it’s the Washington lobbyists who use Wheeler’s tactics [Wheeler was the “mastermind who transformed the temperance movement into a political shock wave”] to bend government to their agendas.

It gets an A from Entertainment Weekly review editor Tina Jordan,

Okrent is a born storyteller. In his hands, the prodigiously researched narrative, rife with tales of corruption, adventure, and backstabbing, flies like fiction.

People gave the book its highest rating and Business Week calls it “one of the year’s best history books.”  It was also featured on NPR’s  Fresh Air.

Libraries we checked are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

Okrent himself describes the book in the following video.

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Daniel Okrent
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 468 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0743277023 / 9780743277020

S&S Audio; 9780743599214, CD, $39.99

Taking Sides on Amis

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Michiko Kakutani may have found it boring, but Sam Anderson in New York magazine, calls Martin Amis’s new novel, The Pregnant Widow, his “best book in fifteen years and (at least for 75 percent of it) a nearly perfect comic novel.”

Other quarters are giving it kudos as well; the May 17th issue of People gives it 3.5 of 4 stars.

Ron Charles, in Washington Post, wittly analyzes Amis with this description of his writing style, “he’s a riveting stylist who walks across every sentence as though it were a line stretched taut between wit and erudition.” The book, however, about a group of “horny college kids” at an Italian villa in 1970, doesn’t work,

The setting is exotic, the subject is erotic, but the story is necrotic. For more than 300 pages of ironic dithering about who will have sex with whom, the climax is endlessly delayed like a painful case of literary priapism.

The Pregnant Widow
Martin Amis
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1400044529 / 9781400044528

BBC Audio; UNABR; 978-0-7927-7269-9; 12 CD’s; $99.95
WMA Audiobook from OverDrive

THE HELP Begins Filming

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Shooting will being this summer in Greenwood, Mississippi for the film version of The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Greenwood will be standing in for Jackson, Mississippi; the filmmakers feel it has “a lot of similar aspects of Jackson in the 1960s,” reports the AP.

The movie stars Emma Stone as Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan and Viola Davis as Abileen. Deadline New York reported earlier that Bryce Dallas Howard will play mean girl Hilly Holbrook.

The movie will be directed by Tate Taylor, a childhood friend of Stockett’s.

The book is still at #4 on the NYT Hardcover Best Seller list after 58 weeks. That’s remarkable longevity; none of the other titles on the list have been on for longer than 4 weeks.

A trade paperback edition is scheduled for January, 2011.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade – (2011-01-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0425232204 / 9780425232200


Friday, May 14th, 2010

Jonathan Alter’s book evaluating Obama’s first year in office lands next week. Alter, who writes for Newsweek and is a contributor to NBC News, has a strong media lineup, beginning with The Today Show this morning, The Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight and Meet the Press on Sunday. He’s even going to be on Mad Money with Jim Cramer.

The book has already been reviewed in the NYT. The Wall Street Journal‘s “Washington Wire” blog offers a “handy guide” to the book. According to Time magazine’s political blog, “Swampland,” members of Congress are upset by Alter’s take on how they handled health care legislation.

The Promise: President Obama, Year One
Jonathan Alter
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-05-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1439101191 / 9781439101193

S&S Audio; UNABR; 9781442334458; $49.99

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Four Stars for POACHER’S SON

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Among the many series titles coming out this week, is a notable debut mystery. Holds are rising for The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron, about a son on a manhunt for his fugitive father, which arrives with four starred advance reviews.

Library Journal calls it “a richly imagined portrait of the vanishing wilderness in New England’s farthest reaches… a taut thriller and a thoughtful examination of the complicated relationship between father and son.”

Kirkus sums up: ” C.J. Box goes East. Like Box, Doiron will have his hands full trying to top his accomplished debut.”

The Poacher’s Son (Mike Bowditch Mysteries)
Paul Doiron
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0312558465 / 9780312558468

Macmillan Audio; ISBN:9781427208965; $29.99
Available as a WMA Audio Book from Overdrive
Large Print from Center Point; ISBN 978160285756; $34.95

Other Major Fiction Titles On Sale Next Week

61 Hours by Lee Child (Delacorte) is the 14th thriller with former military policeman Jack Reacher. In the NYT today, Janet Maslin calls it “the most highly evolved of Lee Child’s electrifying Jack Reacher books.” The new Entertainment Weekly gives it an A- and wonders why Reacher is not yet a household name. The review notes that, despite being part of a long series, the book stands on its own, “Everything you need to know about Jack Reacher is contained within its pages. And chances are you’ll want to seek out other Reacher adventures the moment you finish.”

Storm Prey by John Sandford (Putnam) is the 20th Lucas Davenport mystery.

Blood Oath: The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth (Putnam) is the first title in a new series featuring 160-year-old vampire Nathaniel Cade.

The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan (Penguin) is the eighth title in the Ranger’s Apprentice Series

Risk No Secrets by Cindy Gerard (Simon & Schuster) is the fifth romantic suspense novel in Gerard’s Black Ops, Inc. series

Young Adult series:

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (Razorbill) is book five of the Vampire Academy series. It’s already been in the Amazon Top 100 for 43 days and is currently at #23.

Love Bites by Ellen Schreiber (HarperCollins) is the seventh title in the Vampire Kisses Series.

Move Over, Jane Austen

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The Bronte sisters are coming. According to USA Today, they have replaced Jane Austen in the hearts of filmmakers. New versions of Jane Eyre (in the title role is the decidedly not plain Mia Wasikowska, who starred in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland this year) and Wuthering Heights (no Heathcliff yet) are due out next year.

Perhaps that explains why this video is making the rounds.

Women’s Memoirs to Watch

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Two notable women’s memoirs go on sale next week – both with modest holds in libraries we checked, though that’s likely to change as the media weighs in.

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home by Lisa Ling Morrow is a reporter’s account of her 2009 capture and five month imprisonment in North Korea, after filming a documentary about women who defected from North Korea to China and were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery.

In a starred review, Booklist calls the memoir “a riveting story of captivity and the enduring faith, determination, and love of two sisters.”

The authors will be on Oprah on May 18th, and on the Today Show as well as CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on May 19th. For more details, see EarlyWord’s Harper Buzz titlle page.

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home
Laura Ling, Lisa Ling
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062000675 / 9780062000675


Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the author’s third memoir of her escape from an arranged marriage in Somalia to Holland, and most recently of building a new life in America.

PW was not impressed:

…many personal stories are repeated from her earlier accounts… Her wholesale condemnation of an entire religion and the multiple cultures it has engendered is so sweeping and comprehensive, and her faith in Western values (particularly her romantic view of Christianity) is so wide-eyed, that the book ultimately reads like a callow exercise in expressing the author’s own sense of aggrievement.

Hirsi Ali recently contributed an op-ed to the Wall St. Journal about a fatwa against the creators of the comedy show South Park for their portrayal of the prophet Muhammad.

Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-05-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1439157316 / 9781439157312

Henrietta Lacks Heads to HBO

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about a poor black woman from Baltimore whose cancer cells continue to be used in medical research, is still on the NYT Best Seller Hardcover Nonfiction list after 14 weeks.

Now Oprah Winfrey has picked it up, not for her show, but for an HBO film. According to an AP story, she and Alan Ball (Six Feet Under and True Blood) will join forces to produce it. No news yet on when it will go in to production.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1400052173 / 9781400052172

Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780307712509; $35
Audio and e-book available from OverDrive

New Palin Book

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Sarah Palin’s publisher announced this week that she will release a new book in November. It is currently at #98 on Amazon.

America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag
Sarah Palin
Retail Price: $25.99
Publisher: Harper – (2010-11-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0062010964 / 9780062010964