Archive for September, 2010

ROOM Holds Its Own

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Despite strong competition from big-name authors, Booker shortlist title Room by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, 9/13) is at #23 on the new USA Today best seller list, continuing for the second week as the tenth hardcover fiction title on that list.

In hardcover nonfiction, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Earth, (The Book) (Grand Central) is the top-seller, at #6, with rival Bill O’Reilly’s Pinheads and Patriots (Morrow/HarperCollins) the second-highest nonfiction hardcover, at #15.

The most popular movie tie-in is Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage), at #47. In the October issue of Oprah magazine, the movie’s stars write about their favorite passages from the book.


Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The word got out quickly that the pseudonymn Pittacus Lore, author of the YA title I Am Number Four, hid the identities of co-authors, James Frey and Jobie Hughes.

News also arrived quickly that Hollywood, always on the look out for a successful YA series (I Am Number Four is the first in a projected trilogy) had snapped up the film rights. The book came out in August; the movie is coming February 18.

Below is the just-released trailer.

Official Web site:

I Am Number Four Movie Tie-in Edition
Pittacus Lore
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2011-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062026240 / 9780062026248

Quirk Takes on Pasta

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Those wonderful folks who invented the classic/vampire/zombie mashups have turned their attention to pasta. The result, The Geometry of Pasta was featured on NPR‘s All Things Considered last night and rose to #106 on Amazon’s sales rankings (from a lowly #8,529 yesterday).

One of my favorite travel memories is wandering the aisles of a grocery store in Florence with an Italian speaker who translated the evocative names for me (‘priest strangler,” “bridegrooms, “larks tongues”). Turns out they are not just quixotic; there’s a reason for those shapes.

And, of course, there is an addictive book trailer.


The Geometry of Pasta
Caz Hildebrand, Jacob Kenedy
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books – (2010-08-17)
ISBN / EAN: 1594744955 / 9781594744952

GalleyChatting; Fall Books

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

We had another lively session of GalleyChat yesterday. A roundup, below, of some of the fall titles we discussed.

Several publishers joined the discussion and offered galleys and/or finished books. Titles that are available are noted below.

Be sure to mark your calendars for our next GalleyChat, Tues., Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. EST (we will be holding all future chats on the first Tuesday of the month, so you can set it up as a repeating schedule).

What will be the BIG Book of the Fall?

Several think it’s Emma Donoghue’s Room. We’ve been tracking it on EarlyWord; it’s the Booker shortlist title that Americans love to talk about (in the UK, The Slap, which didn’t make it from the longlist to the short, continues to outsell all the others). Room landed on the NYT best seller list last week. Obviously, winning the Booker (TBA, Oct. 12), would give it an additional boost.

Getting Holds

In Baltimore County, Gunn’s Golden Rules (Gallery/ S&S) is “surprisingly hot – many more holds than we would have expected.”

In North Carolina, it’s Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron (Grand Central, 11/5)

Title Everyone Needs to Read

For the past few months, beginning with ALA, I’ve been urging people to read Up From the Blue, Susan Henderson, (Harper Pbk Original). I’m happy to say that everyone who has taken the challenge has loved it. During this GalleyChat, a librarian said that after reading it, she’s ordering more copies and another said she read it in one sitting.

The new book I can’t stop talking about is Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (title comes from how Mississippi school children learn to spell their state “…i, crooked letter; i, crooked letter…”). A review in a Mississippi newspaper (“Thriller hits close to home“) nails the appeal; the opening sentence sets the tone,

The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.

UPDATE: In the Washington Post today, Ron Charles gives it another terrific review.

If you’re looking for a smart, thoughtful novel that sinks deep into a Southern hamlet of the American psyche, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is your next book.

The HarperCollins library marketing team is offering copies to libraries; send us an email, with “Crooked Letter” in the subject line, the name of the library you work in, and full mailing address (ends at 5:30 EST Friday, Oct 8).

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel
Tom Franklin
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060594667 / 9780060594664

Small Press Title Getting Attention

A crime debut that’s “a good Michael Connelly read-alike” (Todd, BCPL) and getting strong prepub reviews, comes from an indie publisher that focuses on mystery

Kind of Blue
Miles Corwin
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing – (2010-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1608090078 / 9781608090075

Book Featuring a Librarian:
Talk about a great opening line, “Pimps make the best librarians.”

RH is offering a limited number of copies. Send us an email, with “Running the Books” in the subject line, the name of the library you work in, and full mailing address (ends at 5:30 EST Friday, Oct 8).

RH also noted that, at ALA, they ran out of galleys for Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life, coming in Nov. send us an email, with “Luka” in the subject line, the name of the library you work in, and full mailing address (ends at 5:30 EST Friday, Oct 8).

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Avi Steinberg
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese – (2010-10-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0385529090 / 9780385529099

Predictions For Success; Hillenbrand’s New Book

Several say they love Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, but described it as a “harrowing” (I totally agree) tale of being lost at sea and wonder if it will have the appeal of Seabiscuit. As one person commented, she has a long list of friends who are drooling over her copy. Can’t help but think that once all those people get their hands on it, they will be hooked. Hillenbrand can make you interested in anything (hey, was the subject of a long-ago race horse that immediately appealing?); she had me sitting on the edge of my seat with a description of a track meet.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1400064163 / 9781400064168


A Coupla Self-Made Billionaires Sitting Around Talking

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

She may be interview-shy, but she couldn’t resist the call of Oprah. J.K. Rowling will sit down with the media mogul on Friday. The AP reports that Oprah will ask if there will be another Harry Potter book; a pretty transparent bid to get people to tune in.

A new trailer for the next in the HP movie franchise was released last week (check it out in HD on the official web site). If you’re wondering about future Harry Potters, perhaps the tagline is a clue — “It All Ends Here.”

The movie arrives Nov. 19th.

Book Brahmin; Nancy Pearl

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

What are Nancy Pearl’s biggest gripes about the book business? Shelf Awareness asks her this and many other thoughtful questions as part of their series, Book Brahmins (their version of the Proust Questionnaire), to celebrate the release of her newest book, Book Lust To Go.

Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers
Nancy Pearl
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Sasquatch Books – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1570616507 / 9781570616501


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Just unveiled is the trailer for the much-anticipated Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit, the 1969 movie for which John Wayne won his only Oscar. Jeff Bridges takes on Wayne’s iconic role, offering the opportunity to play with nicknames (“The Dude Playing the Duke“).

Reportedly, the movie is not as much based on the movie as the 1968 Charles Portis novel. A Newsday article from 2001 articulates the difference,

True Grit was both critically acclaimed and a bestseller when it was published in 1968. But today most people are more likely to be familiar with the John Wayne movie version that appeared in 1969, and that’s a pity. The film sticks to the plot and gets the tone wrong: It’s picturesque instead of possessed of a rough beauty; it’s antic and contrived, while the book is plain, direct and deep, like an old ballad.

Overlook Press rescued True Grit as well as Portis’s other books from being out-of-print cult titles.

The movie opening on Dec. 25 stars Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin who may have to work hard to hold their own against newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.

Official Web Site:

True Grit: Movie Tie-In Edition
Charles Portis
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Overlook TP – (2010-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 159020459X / 9781590204597

Follett Reviewed

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Ken Follett’s blockbuster, Fall of Giants, arrives today and is welcomed by USA Today‘s review, which captures why it is likely to be popular despite what the critics may say,

Follett, known more for his storytelling than his literary craftsmanship that can verge on the overwrought, has outdone even himself here…It’s a book that will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks, depending upon how quick a reader you are, then let you out the other side both entertained and educated.

If you prefer a bit more bile in your reviews, check Janet Maslin’s in the NYT,

[Follett’s] apparent ambition: to span the whole 20th century in blandly adequate novels so fat that they’re hard to hoist.

But, even she has to admit,

However two-dimensional these characters first seem, and however much they spout talking points rather than human conversation, they have begun to develop interesting baggage after 1,000 pages roll by. If only they had gotten off to a less plodding start.

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
Ken Follett
Retail Price: $36.00
Hardcover: 985 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0525951652 / 9780525951650

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9780142428276

Books on Tape Audio; UNABR; Narrator: John Lee; 9780307737380

Audio on OverDrive

Spanish-language edition; La caida de los gigantes; Random House; 9780307741189


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

As an FBI hostage negotiator for 30 years, Gary Noesner knows a great deal about stalling for time. He spoke to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air last night about his book, Stalling for Time. As a result, it jumped up the Amazon sales rankings  to #214, from #5,298.

It arrives with some strong prepub reviews:

PW — “The compelling centerpiece of the book is Noesner’s analysis of ‘what went wrong at Waco’ with the Branch Davidians when negotiation and tactical teams were working at cross purposes. ”

Kirkus — The author effectively provides an intense, immersive narrative, making his real-life experiences read like episodes of a good cop drama. By the end of the book, readers will be impressed by the number of crucial moments in which Noesner has played a significant role—from the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 to the Freeman militia standoff in Montana in 1996.

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
Gary Noesner
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 1400067251 / 9781400067251

Cover of TIME

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Featured on the cover of Time this week is a story adapted from Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, by Annie Murphy Paul.

(Ah, Vanity Fair and Demi Moore — what you’ve done for the acceptance of naked pregnant bellies.)

The book jacket is a bit more subtle:

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
Annie Murphy Paul
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0743296621 / 9780743296625

This Week on Comedy Central

Monday, September 27th, 2010

After a few slow weeks, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are back to featuring an array of authors, as well as a movie based on a book.


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Stewart returns the favor of appearing on O’Reilly’s show to promote his book, Earth (The Book). That outing did not produce the sparks of Stewart’s earlier appearances on “The No Spin Zone.” Perhaps the Daily Show set will bring on the heat.

Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama
Bill O’Reilly
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2010-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061950718 / 9780061950711



The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream
Arianna Huffington
Retail Price: $23.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307719820 / 9780307719829



The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Crisis Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?
Linda Polman
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Metropolitan Books – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0805092900 / 9780805092905

The Colbert Report

One of the first books by an Obama administration insider, The Wall Street Journal says Overhaul its “Cutting, detailed presentation often makes the reader feel like he’s sitting at the table, feeling the tension, wincing at the profanity and taking in the scent of fast food breakfast sandwiches. There’s also a good chance the book will make readers angry.”

Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry
Steven Rattner
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade – (2010-09-20)
ISBN / EAN: 0547443218 / 9780547443218



Both Stewart and Colbert will feature the movie, The Social Network; Stewart with star Justin Timberlake and Colbert with the movie’s screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin. Opening this Friday, it is already a hit with critics and is based on The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (Doubleday, 2009). On their cover last week, New York magazine dubbed it “The Movie Facebook Doesn’t Want You to See.”

Official Web Site: TheSocialNetwork-Movie


The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Ben Mezrich
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Anchor – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0307740986 / 9780307740984

Follett on NPR

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Ken Follett was interviewed on All Things Considered last night about his new book, Fall of Giants, the first in his trilogy about the 1900’s, called “The Century Trilogy.”

The book, which arrives tomorrow, is expected to be the blockbuster of the season. It is now at #8 on Amazon sales rankings and rising.

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
Ken Follett
Retail Price: $36.00
Hardcover: 985 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0525951652 / 9780525951650

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9780142428276
Books on Tape Audio; UNABR; Narrator: John Lee; 9780307737380
Audio on OverDrive

The Starz eight-part series based on Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, is now complete and continues to be available on demand.


Monday, September 27th, 2010

Two titles received significant boosts on Amazon sales rankings as a result of reviews in the new NYT BR.

Dreaming in Chinese moved to# 89 (from# 349 yesterday). Deborah Fallows’ memoir of her three years in China is told through her efforts to learn the Mandarin. The NYT BR review calls it a “…fascinating introduction to a foreign culture.”

The book, which wasn’t reviewed prepub, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, was one of “Four Books to Watch in Sept,” in O, The Oprah Magazine and was reviewed in National Geographic Traveler. Some libraries are showing heavy holds.

Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons In Life, Love, And Language
Deborah Fallows
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0802779131 / 9780802779137

The cover review sent To the End of the Land by Israeli writer David Grossman to #35 on Amazon’s rankings. Libraries are showing heavy hold ratios, on light ordering. It also received a strong review in The Boston Globe.

To the End of the Land
David Grossman
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0307592979 / 9780307592972

The Real Nut

Monday, September 27th, 2010

After years of exhaustive investigative reporting, Matt Lauer revealed the true identity of the letter-writing “nut” behind the best-selling books on the Today Show on Friday; it turns out that it is by comedy writer, who worked for the Seinfeld show, Barry Marder.

Seinfeld and Marder followed up with and appearance on Larry King Live.

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

The fourth title in the series came out earlier this month.

All New Letters from a Nut: Includes Lunatic Email Exchanges
Ted L. Nancy
Retail Price: $19.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307716287 / 9780307716286

Going to the Dogs

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Last week, we noted the similarity between the covers of a new book about dogs and an older one:


An EarlyWord reader, Jessica Zellers, pointed out another title that fits the Canine Head on Black theme:

She adds that Coyote at the Kitchen Door (Harvard University Press 1/15/10) by Stephen DeStefanois  “a really good read, about human and wildlife interactions in the suburbs.”

Meanwhile, we noticed a subgenre; Canine Head Against Blue Sky.