Archive for July, 2010

What’s Being Bought Where

Friday, July 30th, 2010

This is a little scary — the UK-based online bookstore, features a live map on their site of orders being placed (thanks, to today’s Shelf Awareness for pointing out the story in The Guardian). It’s curiously fascinating; ooh, look, someone in Belgium bought The Librarian’s Book of Quotes, published by ALA.

It was created using Google Maps. Are there interesting library applications that wouldn’t violate privacy? “What’s Being Placed on Hold” or “What’s Just Been Returned To Which Branch “?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Roach Aims for MARS, JOLIE Rushes to Market

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Mary Roach was the big hit of this year’s BEA Librarian “Shout & Share,” getting votes from all the librarians on the panel for her book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. She was also funny, enthralling and informative during a BEA author breakfast moderated by Jon Stewart (who was cracking up during most of her talk – watch it here). She was equally funny when she spoke to librarians at the AAP breakfast at PLA in March..

Word-of-mouth on the new book is good, but libraries we checked are well behind demand on this title.

Expect major media attention (no surprise, she will be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday) for Roach’s look at some of the bizarre and uncomfortable realities facing future astronauts, as outlined in starred reviews from Library Journal (“While there are occasional somber passages, most of the descriptions of the many and varied annoyances of space travel are perversely entertaining.”) and Kirkus (“There is much good fun with – and a respectful amount of awe at – the often crazy ingenuity brought to the mundane matters of surviving in a place not meant for humans).

The book trailer, already featured on BoingBoing, illustrates Booklist’s assessment that  “Roach brings intrepid curiosity, sauciness, and chutzpah to the often staid practice of popular science writing,” giving it YA crossover appeal


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Mary Roach
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 334 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-08-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0393068471 / 9780393068474

Brilliance Audio:

  • CD, $99.97; ISBN 9781441876638
  • Playaway, $74.99; ISBN 9781441878960
  • MP3, $39.97; ISBN 9781441876652


Though scheduled for release next week, Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography by Andrew Morton (St. Martin’s) was rushed to market this week because some the supposed revelations about the life and career of actress Angelina Jolie were leaking out.

USA Today dissects Jolie’s epic love life, and adds that the Jolie-Pitt household’s legion staff  includes “nannies from Vietnam, the Congo, and the U.S.; four nurses, a doctor on permanent call; two personal assistants; a cook; a maid; two cleaners; a busboy; four bodyguards, and six French former army guards.”

New York Times critic Janet Maslin chastizes Morton for not citing sources and for his many frivolous details (e.g. the type face of a particular Jolie tattoo never seen in public), while praising him (sort of) for connecting the biographical dots of Jolie’s life.

Entertainment Weekly reads Morton’s bio so you don’t have to and the AP uses it as a springboard to opine that unauthorized celeb bios (such as Oprah by Kitty Kelley) are not doing well these days.

Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography
Andrew Morton
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2010-08-03)
ISBN / EAN: 031255561X / 9780312555610

Available from Blackstone Audio on 7/31/2010

CD LIB:; 9781441755124; $52.50
MP3CD LIB: 9781441755155; $14.98
Playaway; LIB; 9781441755186; $45.49
9 Tape LIB; 9781441755117; $36.48

Notable Kids & YA Fiction on Sale Next Week

I Am Number Four by Pitticus Lore (HarperCollins) is a YA novel about nine alien refugee teenages who land on Earth. Three are already dead, and number four is next. As we mentioned earlier, Entertainment Weekly has been running exclusives about this title, including an interview with the author, who claims to be “an extraterrestrial Elder from Lorien named Pittacus Lore.”

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion); this will be the next-to-last entry in the best-selling middle-grade fantasy series, as Colfer revealed this week to the UK’s Guardian.

Notable Fiction on Sale Next Week

My Hollywood by Mona Simpson (Knopf) is her first novel since Off Keck Road (2000), narrated in alternate chapters by Claire, a composer whose marriage is strained by her husband’s late hours as a TV writer, and Lola, the Filipina nanny she hires. Entertainment Weekly gives it an “A-“: “Claire, privileged and damaged, floats along in a daze of unfulfillment, while the ever-practical Lola observes her L.A. milieu with a realist’s eye in imperfect yet oddly poetic English… A character as rich as Lola won’t easily fade from anyone’s mind.”  There’s also an interview with Simpson in the New York Times.

I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson, translated by Charlotte Barslund (Graywolf Press), from the author of the surprise hit Out Stealing Horses, is the story of a Danish communist who faces divorce and a dying mother. Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B,” saying: “A times it’ll feel alien to readers who’ve never been young Communists… (The translation can also be quite a rickety bridge.) But there’s no denying the novel’s Raymond Carver-like power as Arvid and his mother come to terms with how life hands you hope just before it hands you disappointment and tragedy.”

Hangman by Faye Kellerman (Morrow) is the newest mystery novel with spouses Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. Booklist says Kellerman fans will be reasonably satisfied, but “if you’re new to Kellerman…this is not the place to start. Kellerman works primarily in dialogue, with very sketchy narrative support, which requires readers unfamiliar with the backstory to act as their own detectives, figuring out what the heck is going on in each scene.”

Burn by Nevada Barr (Minotaur Books) is the 16th book with National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon, though this time she is transplanted out of her element, to New Orleans. Booklist says, “Barr develops the narrative carefully, never letting the eerie black-magic elements overshadow her solid and suspenseful plotting. A definite winner.”

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone) chronicles the War of the Roses through the perspective of Henry VII’s mother.

Scarlet Nights: An Edilean Novel by Jude Deveraux (Atria) follows a woman whose fiancé turns out to be a scheming criminal. Booklist says it’s “another guilty-pleasure romance of suspense that will hook readers and leave them with a smile.”

In Harm’s Way by Ridley Pearson (Putnam) is the fourth thriller with Idaho sheriff Walt Fleming. Booklist is not so impressed: “although this novel is sufficiently entertaining, it lacks both the taut plotting and intricate excitement of his best work.”

Making History Sexy

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Does it have something to do with the new goatee that Jon Stewart is sporting? On the Daily Show this week, he featured two historians, sending both of their books up Amazon’s sales ranking.

Last night, it was Robert O’Connell on Hanniblal’s victory at the battle of Cannae. Sewart told him, “You bring this story to such great effective life. It’s really fascinating and, boy, is it sad to see all the paralells of modern warfare and society.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Robert O’Connell
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
Robert L. O’Connell
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-07-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1400067022 / 9781400067022

On Monday,  Stewart told William Rosen, “You’ve written a barn burner about the steam engine; I didn’t think it could be done.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
William Rosen
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
William Rosen
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1400067057 / 9781400067053

Entertainment Weekly is RECKLESS

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

USA Today and Entertainment Weekly seem to be in a rivalry over who has the exclusives to various kids and YA books. USA Today has a lock on Wimpy Kid.  Entertainment Weekly has featured several exclusives about the Twilight series, both the books and the movies. Now it’s featuring an exclusive trailer for Cornelia Funke’s upcoming book (we can’t embed it, so maybe it really is exclusive, although it’s also on the Little, Brown Young Readers Reckless site as well).

Lest you begin to suspect that Entertainment Weekly has a cozy deal with Little, Brown publisher of both the Twilight series and Reckless, they have also been running exclusives about the HarperCollins YA title, I Am Number Four, coming out next week. One of the exclusives is an interview with the author, who claims to be “an extraterrestrial Elder from Lorien named Pittacus Lore.”

For Grammar Nerds

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Merriam-Webster is highlighting their incredibly knowledgeable staff in a series of Ask the Editor videos on YouTube.

Try memorizing each one  to astound (or irritate) your friends (subscribe here).

Here’s hoping this one has a positive effect on my own grammar (via


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Reviewers are fascinated by a new book that reveals immigrant life through five families and what they ate in their Lower East Side, NYC tenement home, 97 Orchard St, now the Tenement Museum.

The Barnes and Noble Review is the latest, calling 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman, an “illuminating, rangy, and wonderfully atmospheric book.”

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement
Jane Ziegelman
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian – (2010-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061288500 / 9780061288500

OverDrive; Adobe EPUB eBook


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

That’s the name of the next Wimpy Kid novel, coming Nov. 9, as reported by USA Today, which seems to have a lock on everything Wimpy (as of this writing, the book is showing as Diary 5 on Amazon).

And, the DVD of Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie arrives Aug. 3.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules is in the works, with plans for it to be in theaters March 25, 2011

SUPER SAD Moving Up List

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Another day, another review, for Gary Shteyngart’s satiric Super Sad True Love Story (today’s appears in The Wall Street Journal; one of the few negative reviews so far. Yesterday brought two — one on NPR’s Web site, another by Ron Charles in the Washington Post).

The book moved in to the top ten on Amazon’s sales rankings this week; expect to see it on upcoming print best seller lists.

Shteyngart also appeared on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, claiming that books “smell bad.”

A New Kindle; Closer to the Magic $99 Price

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Amazon has released a new, smaller and less expensive Kindle in two versions; the Kindle Wi-Fi is just $139 and the Kindle, with both Wi-Fi and 3-G is $189 (Amazon’s promotional video is available here).

Reviewing it, the Washington Post says it’s the first Kintle that fits comfortably in one hand, is better designed ergonomically and that the display is dramatically better, summing it up as  “a winner poised to top the pack.”

Newsweek says to dismiss it as “nice, but no iPad” would be “too bad, because the new model is a pretty slick little device, despite the fact that it still has only a black-and-white screen and is only good for reading books and newspapers.”

Both versions are now available for pre-order and will ship August 27th.

Where is William Kamkwamba Now?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Many librarians, and their customers, fell in love with William Kamkwamba, who wrote about creating a windmill for his small village in Africa, in the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Omnivoracious, Amazon’s book blog, took the occasion of the publication of the paperback to write to ask Kankwamba what he is doing now. He has rebuilt his village’s primary school and is planning on going to Dartmouth’s School of Engineering. One of the factors in his decision was that,

In addition to having a cool project-based curriculum (meaning I can get my hands dirty the first week there), the Thayer School of Engineering even has a lending library for power tools! Seeing this, I couldn’t stop smiling.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2010-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061730335 / 9780061730337

Large Print, HarperCollins; 9780061884986; 25.99
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Donoghue’s ROOM on Booker Long List

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

After winning the UK’s Man Booker Prize last year, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall went on to big success here in the U.S. Will one of the titles on the long list of 13 candidates, announced today, follow in those footsteps when the winner is announced in October?

Buzzed about at BEA, Room by Emma Donoghue, comes out here in September, good timing to receive a boost from the October announcement. The Guardian calls it, “Perhaps the most controversial novel [on the list], inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl who kept his daughter prisoner for 24 years. The novel, which was one of 14 called in by judges – rather than being submitted by the publisher – was installed as second favourite for the prize by Ladbrokes.”  It is being published in the UK in August and will arrive here in September. The Economist says,  “…it is already being talked about as the next The Lovely Bones.”

Room: A Novel
Emma Donoghue
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-09-13)
ISBN / EAN: 0316098337 / 9780316098335

Hachette Audio; UNABR; 9781607886273; $29.98
Hachette Large Print; 9780316120579; Trade Pbk; $24.99

The London bookmakers disagree on the favorites. Reports The Guardian, “Peter Carey, one of two novelists to have won the prize twice…was immediately installed as 3-1 favourite by Ladbrokes to win for his novel Parrot and Olivier in America…The contest looks open at this stage, reflected in rival bookmaker William Hill making [The Long Song by Andrea] Levy the 4-1 favourite and Carey 7-1.”

Australian Peter Carey won the prize for Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.

Parrot and Olivier in America
Peter Carey
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-04-20)
ISBN / EAN: 0307592626 / 9780307592620

Blackstone Audio; UNABR; Read by Humphrey Bower

14 CD; 9781441729750;  $54.50
2 MP3CD; 9781441729781; $14.98
1 Playaway; 9781441729811;  $45.49
10 Tape; 9781441729743; $39.98

Large Print; Thorndike; 9781410428608; $30.99
OverDrive WMA Audiobook; MP3 Audiobook; Adobe EPUB eBook
The William Hill favorite is The Long Song. Jamaican-British Author Andrea Levy also wrote Small Island, which was made into two-part series that appeared on PBS Materpiece Theater this Spring. Set in Jamaica in the 19th C, The Long Song is narrated by July, a house slave on a sugar plantation.

The Long Song: A Novel
Andrea Levy
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2010-04-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0374192170 / 9780374192174

The British press noted the absence of some big names on the list; Martin Amis’s The Pregnant Widow, McEwan’s Solar and Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life (pubbing here Nov. 6).  There’s a bit of a scuffle between the Booker’s director, Ion Trewin, and Amis, who declared that literary prizes go to boring books. Perhaps in retaliation, Trewin said that it’s obvious why Amis’s Pregnant Widow is not on the list; “You’ve only got to look at the reviews to see why he isn’t there.” (The Telegraph).

To qualify, books must be written by authors from the UK and the British Commonwealth and published in the UK between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, which means that several of the titles are not yet available in the U.S and others have not been scheduled for publication here. Below are the rest of the titles on the list.

Available in the U.S.

Tom McCarthy is described by The Telegraph as a relative newcomer,  “who labored seven years before finding a publisher. He has been lauded as a great new author by many in the publishing world. Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth, described his first novel Remainder as ‘one of the great English novels of the past 10 years.'”

Tom McCarthy
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307593339 / 9780307593337


David Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet has been widely reviewed in the U.S. and shows heavy holds in libraries. This is the author’s third nomination.

This is the library favorite; it is the leader in both number of copies in the libraries we checked and number of holds.

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

Recorded Books; UNABR; Read by Jonathan Aris, Paula Wilcox; Click on link for ordering information.


Canadian author Lisa Moore’s February, her second after the award-winning Alligator, got a mixed reception in the NYT Book Review, after some strong prepub reviews.

Lisa Moore
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0802170706 / 9780802170705


Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies is coming out here later this Summer. In the UK, the Telegraph picked it for summer reading, saying, “The glorious comedy masks a barely contained fury over the hypocrisy of  the ambitions of [a Catholic school in modern-day Dublin] and the dishonesty of parents hiding their desperate materialism behind an apparent conviction in the [school’s] so-called values.” Kirkus outdid themselves with this assessment; “If Harry Potter lived in an alternate Ireland, had no real magical powers but talked a good game, and fell all over himself every time he saw a girl, he might well belong in this splendid, sardonic magnum opus.”

Skippy Dies: A Novel
Paul Murray
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 672 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0865479437 / 9780865479432


Rose Tremain won the Orange Prize two years ago for The Road Home. Her new book, which arrives in Oct, has not yet been reviewed prepub here.. In Canada, where it was just released, The Globe and Mail called it a “dark and powerful novel.”

Trespass: A Novel
Rose Tremain
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0393079562 / 9780393079562


Greek-Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap is a favorite of Penguin’s head of library marketing, Alan Walker, who featured it at PLA’s Book Buzz this year. In the UK, it has appeared  on many summer reading lists.

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


Not Scheduled for Publication in the US

South African Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room, (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Books)

Alan Warner, The Stars in the Bright Sky, (Random House – Jonathan Cape)

Helen Dunmore, The Betrayal, (Penguin – Fig Tree); UPDATE – Grove/Atlantic has acquired the book to publish in the US

Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury)

Trash Talking Dad Has New Son

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Get out the bleep machine; the twitter-based book, Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern (It Books/HarperCollins) is the basis for a series that will appear on CBS this Fall, as we noted earlier.

William Shatner is playing the trash-talking dad. The series is going through changes, however, Shatner told TVGuide. Since creating the pilot, he’s had a chance to read the book and plans to reshoot it, with a new actor playing the role of the son; Ryan Devlin (Cougar Town) is being replaced by Jonathan Sandowski (Friday the 13th). At this point, CBS is calling the series $#*! My Dad Says.

We’re curious how CBS will render Dad’s actual language.


Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Today’s the publication day for Gary Shteyngart’s “wonderful new novel” (Michiko Kakutani, NYT), Super Sad True Love Story, a book that has enjoyed an unusual amount of prepub coverage.

Critics’ anticipation, however, is not matched by library users’; holds in most libraries are fewer than 5:1 on modest ordering. That may change; the book is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings (now at #56), making it likely to appear on newspaper best seller lists.

Shteyngart’s tale, set in 2018, is a satire of contemporary society (or, as Jess Walter further defines it in the San Francisco Chronicle, “literature’s first dystopian epistolary romantic satire”), filled with details that will appeal to anyone who has a beef with contemporary life; for journalists, it’s the fact that, eight years from now, the only surviving newspaper is New York Lifestyle Times; for book lovers, it’s that the main character embarrasses his girlfriend by reading “non-streaming Media artifacts” for a full half-hour at a time. The book’s send-up of the current economic crises has even brought attention from the financial press.

It’s being reviewed widely, getting the ultimate send-off, a rave from Michiko Kakutani in the NYT on the day of publication. Kakutani’s fellow reviewers’ strong enthusiasm for the book is tempered with some issues, generally about the book’s structure (it relies too heavily on diary entries and  text messages), but Kakutani has no quibbles, saying that Shteyngart “…demonstrates a new emotional bandwidth and ratifies his emergence as one of his generation’s most original and exhilarating writers.”

Reviews, below:

Love Found Amid Ruins of Empire, New York Times, 7/27 – Michiko Kakutani

San Francisco Chronicle,, 7/25 – Jess Walter

Los Angeles Times, 7/25 — Troy Jollimore

Barnes and Noble Review, 7/26

Newsweek, When 1984 Met 2010

Entertainment Weekly,  B+

Salon, Gary Shteyngart’s biting satire of a tech-mad America in decline has a surprisingly tender heart, Laura Miller

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

Audio: Recorded Books