Archive for August, 2010

BookFest @ Bank Street

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Registration is now open for this year’s BookFest, which I am proud to say is being hosted by Bank Street College of Education, where I am the Coordinator of School Services and Children’s Librarian.

The event, which is designed for adults, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30 and features a keynote address by Laurie Halse Anderson, a panel of authors led by Jon Scieszka, on how to write for kids who choose not to read and a panel devoted to Margaret Wise Brown, who began writing children’s books while a student at Bank Street. This year marks her hundredth birthday celebration.

This is a great opportunity for children’s librarians to get together with colleagues. For more details and registration (required; closes 9/10), please go to BookFest@Bank Street.

Meghan McCain on Palin “Drama”

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

In her new book, Dirty Sexy Politics, launching today, Meghan McCain says that Sarah Palin brought “drama, stress, complications, panic and loads of uncertainty” to her father’s presidential campaign.

She kicked off her media blitz with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America today. A clearly smitten Stephanopoulos says the book is “…sassy, it is saucy and just what you’d expect from a the first daughter of a presidential candidate ever fired by her father’s campaign.” He calls her a “fun writer” and winds up by calling it a “terrific book.”

The book was embargoed, so there have been no reviews to date.


Dirty Sexy Politics
Meghan Mccain
Retail Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 1401323774 / 9781401323776

A Happy Family

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

A memoir by someone who actually likes his family? As Carolyn See points out in The Washington Post, this is so rare that it’s “…close to miraculous. If a person wants to write about his youth and his parents, it’s usually because he has scores to settle.” which is just one of the reasons why she calls Growing Up Jung by Micah Toub “… a gem.” The book’s title refers to the fact that his parents, both Jungian therapists, applied their work to child rearing.

See gives it the ultimate compliment, “I hated to see this book end. I loved every person in it, from the wistful dad with his ‘fluffy-edged’ voice, to Toub’s kind and darling mom, his tolerant and loving ex-wife, even that volcanic teenaged sister…”

Give this to anyone in need of an Augusten Burroughs’ antidote.

By the way, Burroughs’ mother, Margaret Robison, will tell her own side of that story in The Long Journey Home, Spiegel & Grau (March 1, 2011).

Growing Up Jung: Coming of Age as the Son of Two Shrinks
Micah Toub
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 261 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-08-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0393067556 / 9780393067552

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Freedom vs. Mockingjay

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

According to holds, Mockingjay is the clear winner over Freedom with library users.

In four large library systems, Mockingjay is showing 3,114 holds on 630 hardcover copies (we’re not counting the large type or the audio editions), a full week after publication, while Freedom shows 1,550 on 383 copies on the day of publication.

It’s Franzenfreude Day

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

For an author leery of publicity (he famously turned down an invitation from Oprah), Jonathan Franzen is already in the middle of a maelstrom for his book that is just releasing today. New reviews (yes, there are a few outlets that have held off until pub day) begin with an obligatory rundown of the Time cover, the NYT coverage and the backlash. NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story last night about the hasthtag #Franzenfreude which has been serving as Twitter outlet for those who believe all this coverage is representative of a prejudice towards male writers (as Jennifer Weiner put it in the Huffington Post, “…when a man writes about family and feelings, it’s literature with a capital L, but when a woman considers the same topics, it’s romance, or a beach book – in short, it’s something unworthy of a serious critic’s attention.”)

USA Today, reviewing the book on the day of pub, neatly avoids those accusations by comparing Franzen to a female writer,

What Franzen does so well here — and only Lionel Shriver, in this year’s brilliant health care satire So Much for That, is his equal — is marry rich, absorbing storytelling with incisive social commentary.

Ron Charles, who reviewed the book in print for the Washington Post last week, morphs into  “your totally hip video book reviewer” for a second look.

Temple Grandin at the Emmies

Monday, August 30th, 2010

HBO’s biopic about Temple Grandin, which starred Clare Danes, won five Emmies last night, causing several news outlets to wonder, ‘Temple Grandin’ wins big at Emmys. But who is she? (Entertainment Weekly). Grandin made an impression at the event, according to the L.A. Times,

Attired in red and black rodeo gear, Grandin herself became a palpable presence at the ceremony, at one point, rising and excitedly swinging her hand lasso style from the audience. And while standing on stage after the movie had won its top award, she warmly embraced a sobbing executive producer Emily Gerson Saines, who said she found inspiration in Grandin’s life story as her own child had been diagnosed with autism.

Evidently she also made an impression on those who saw the event on TV; the tie-in book rose to #257 today, from #2175 yesterday.

Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition): My Life with Autism (Vintage)
Temple Grandin Ph.D.
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2010-01-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0307739589 / 9780307739582

Monday, August 30th, 2010


Monday, August 30th, 2010

No wonder it’s the number one title on Amazon in the College and University category, Debt-Free U ‘s subtitle is a sentence any parent would love to hear from their kid, “How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents.”

The author was on the Today Show this morning (did I hear correctly? I think Ann Curry said he studied Art History, not Finance). The book rose to #22 on Amazon sales rankings by the end of the day.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, orMooching off My Parents
Zac Bissonnette
Retail Price: $16.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Trade – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 1591842980 / 9781591842989

Sic Transit…

Monday, August 30th, 2010

How quickly one goes from literary darling to Jonathan Franzen, the Writer We Love to Hate (Newsweek, 8/26).

This Week’s Movie Tie-ins

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Several tie-ins to upcoming movies, and a heavily-promoted HBO series, are being released this week (See below, in order by movie release date). For more upcoming movies with tie-ins, check out Upcoming — with Tie-ins listings.


SEPT 15, 2010, Limited

Movie Title: Never Let Me Go

Director: Mark Romanek

Starring: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins

Official Web Site: FoxSearchlight

Based on: Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro, (Knopf)


Never Let Me Go (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Kazuo Ishiguro
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0307740994 / 9780307740991

Sept 19, 2010; series begins on HBO

Movie Title: Boardwalk Empire

Studio: HBO

Producer: Martin Scorsese

Official Web site:

Based on: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, Nelson Johnson


Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City
Nelson Johnson
Retail Price: $17.95
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Plexus Publishing, Inc. – (2009-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0966674855 / 9780966674859

SEPT 24, 2010

Movie Title: HOWL

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman


James Franco … Allen Ginsberg
Mary-Louise Parker … Gail Potter
Jon Hamm … Jake Ehrlich
Jeff Daniels … Professor David Kirk
David Strathairn … Ralph McIntosh

Official Web Site: HOWLTheMovie

Based on: Allen Ginsberg’s obscenity trial for the publication of the poem, HOWL


Harper Perennial is releasing Howl in graphic novel format, including art from the film.

Howl: A Graphic Novel
Allen Ginsberg, Eric Drooker
Retail Price: $19.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2010-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062015176 / 9780062015174

Related Titles:

Howl on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: City Lights Publishers – (2006-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0872864790 / 9780872864795


Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)
Allen Ginsberg
Retail Price: $7.95
Paperback: 57 pages
Publisher: City Lights Publishers – (2001-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0872860175 / 9780872860179

OCT 1, 2010

Movie Title: Let Me In

Director: Matt Reeves


Chloe Moretz … Abby
Kodi Smit-McPhee … Owen
Richard Jenkins … The Father

Based on: Swedish horror debut by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Offcial Web Site: LetMeIn-Movie


Let Me In
John Ajvide Lindqvist
Retail Price: $15.99
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0312656491 / 9780312656492

OCT 8, 2010

Movie Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, and Keir Gilchrist

Official Web Site: ItsKindOfaFunnyStoryMovie

Based on: YA novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini


It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Ned Vizzini
Retail Price: $9.99
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 1423141911 / 9781423141914

JULIET Finds a Few Romeos

Monday, August 30th, 2010

While the first consumer review for Ballantine’s major debut novel, Juliet by Anne Fortier, was not promising (Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-), the current issue of USA Today pronounces the book “..kind of fun, careening back and forth between the 14th and 21st centuries” although the plot, about a contemporary woman who goes to Siena to find treasure left to her in a will, leading to the discovery of her ancestor, the Juliet of Shakespeare fame, “… is convoluted.” The new issue of O, The Oprah magazine lists is as #1 of 10 Books to Pick Up in September 2010.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer published a much more jaundiced review on Sunday, in the form of an imaginary pitch from an agent selling the book and a potential publisher (“Anne Fortier’s Juliet: The DaVinci Code for soccer moms?“). Fortier has dealt with accusations of “commercialism” before; several days ago, she addressed them in a post about “literary snobbery” on the WSJ‘s “Speakeasy” blog.

The press in Canada, where the Danish-born author lives, has been much more welcoming. The Globe and Mail on Saturday referred to it as “a mix of Shakespeare and contemporary romantic-comedy fun, making it the perfect escapist read.”

Some libraries are showing significant holds (over 5:1) on modest ordering.

Anne Fortier
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0345516109 / 9780345516107

RH Audio; UNABR; 9780739384954; $40
Random House Large Print, 9780739377994; pbk; $25

TIGER Burning Bright

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Knopf’s major nonfiction title of the season, The Tiger by John Vaillant received several stellar reviews over the weekend. About a rare man-eating tiger (the book claims that he was actually a premeditated killer) in a remote area of Siberia, the book is likely to receive more media attention in the upcoming week. Several libraries are showing holds.

Washington Post; “ to those of us who love the embattled cat, The Tiger offers the emotional satisfaction of Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill — with the tiger in the role of Uma Thurman’s vengeful bride. But the characters in this book, both human and tigrine, are more nuanced.”

Seattle Times, ‘The Tiger’: John Vaillant’s mesmerizing tale of a man-eating tiger, vengeance …; “For readers who enjoy literary nonfiction, think of Vaillant as a younger version of John McPhee, but on steroids.”

San Francisco Chronicle; “…offers readers a shiver-inducing portrait of a predator that has been revered – and feared – like no other animal.”

It was also a fall pick by librarians at BEA’s Shout & Share and by independent booksellers as for the September Indie Next list.

The book is also in development as a film by Random House Films, with a projected release date some time in 2011.

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
John Vaillant
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0307268934 / 9780307268938

Random House Audio; 9780307715074; $40.00


Monday, August 30th, 2010

A librarian’s BEA Shout & Share pick and also a September Indie Next selection, the intriguingly titled, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Author Elisabeth Tova Bailey spoke to Scott Simon about how the unlikely gift of a snail in a pot of flowers helped her deal with a year of being bedridden by a neurological disease. She described how calming it was to watch a creature that moved only slightly faster than she could.

Indie Next says the book is “…one sweet story of the importance of taking time to notice our connection to nature.”

Some libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Retail Price: $18.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 1565126068 / 9781565126060


Friday, August 27th, 2010

No surprise, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom is on the cover of the upcoming Sunday New York Times Book Review, with Editor Sam Tanenhaus taking the prerogoative to review it (keywords: “masterly”, “majestic”, “a masterpiece”).

Another title that has already received plenty of attention, and  has the second-most holds of the titles under review, is covered two months after publication, Alan Furst’s Spies of the Balkans (Random House; June 15, 2010). The review, while positive, refuses to grant it the status of literature, reinforcing Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner’s points about the NYT BR‘s approach to popular genres,

Thrillers require plot above all else, which makes it all too easy for them to avoid heroes with any depth or believability. The genre makes a point of satisfying readers’ expectations. In other words, thrillers are by their nature anti-literary, because literature is about, among other things, ambiguity. And as it happens, Furst is a master of plot; the story moves neatly and inexorably to its climax, as Costa, his family and friends leave Salonika, already under bombardment, for a new life. It is this mastery that explains Furst’s success.

A nonfiction title that has been covered widely (including NPR’s Talk of the Nation), The Pain Chronicle: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering by Melanie Thernstrom (FSG; August 17, 2010), also gets attention here.

A May title that hasn’t had received enough attention to date, The Eyes of Willie McGee, (Harper; May 11, 2010) about a man who was electrocuted after being accused of raping a white woman in 1945 in Mississippi, is called, “..a wrenching story, but a rich narrative.”

There’s no surprises on the best seller lists. Below are the new arrivals to the Hardcover Fiction list (all were covered in our preview of the week’s big titles).

#1 James Patterson, Postcard Killers, Little, Brown, 8/16

#4 Frederick Forsyth, The Cobra, Putnam, 8/17

#7 Martin Cruz Smith, Three Stations , S&S 8/17, (cover NYT BR, 8/15),

#9 Lauren Weisberger, Last Night at Chateau Marmont, Atria/S&S 8/17

#11 Dick Francis, Crossfire, Putnam, 8/17

#16 Laura Lippman’s I’d Know You Anywhere, Morrow/HarperCollins, 8/17) falls just short of the main list, arriving at #16 on the extended list in its first week of publication.