Archive for September, 2010

NYT BR Cover

Friday, September 24th, 2010

David Grossman’s novel, To the End of the Land, gets a rave from no less a talent than Colm Toibin in the cover review of the new NYT BR.

Most libraries have ordered it very lightly, despite strong prepub reviews.

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

As we guessed earlier, Room by Emma Donoghue debuts on the hardcover fiction bestseller list at #10 — no mean feat in this season of major names. In nonfiction, Promise Me arrives at #7, while Susan Casey’s The Wave breaks at #7.

More Than Woodward in Nonfiction Next Week

Friday, September 24th, 2010

We hardly need to tell you that Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward is the big nonfiction title arriving next week. The embargo has already been broken by the NYT, Politico has already explored how that happened (How Times stole Post‘s Thunder), and the book is #2 on Amazon.

Several memoirs are coming next week that may create their own buzz.

Jenny McCarthy turns from being an autism activist to the crassly funny persona of the best-selling Belly Laughs (Da Capo, 2004), Baby Laughs (Dutton, 2008) and Life Laughs (Dutton, 2006) in her new book, Love, Lust and Faking It. She is scheduled to appear on Oprah on Tuesday.

Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies, and True Romance
Jenny Mccarthy
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062012983 / 9780062012982

Marlo Thomas has some laughter of her own to recount in Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny, excerpted in the current issue of People. Booklist calls it “an engaging, highly informative memoir…definitely not the routine show-biz autobiography.”

Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny
Marlo Thomas
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Hyperion – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 140132391X / 9781401323912

Dogs are an ever-popular publishing theme. This week Steven Kotler’s A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life (Bloomsbury) arrives. Kotler treats dogs with special needs at his Rancho de Chihuahua in New Mexico.

We couldn’t help but notice a striking similarity between the cover for A Small Furry Prayer and a certain other successful book about an entirely different breed of dog.


A Small Furry Prayer is also on audio from Tantor.

It’s worth watching the book trailer just to see all those chihuahuas hanging out together (click on the image below).

Follett Leads Next Week’s Fiction

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Historical fiction has been very good to Ken Follett. After the success of Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without End, both set in 12th C England, he now turns his eyes toward the 20th century, with a planned trilogy that will cover the entire 100 years (and is thus called The Century Trilogy).

The first book, Fall of Giants arrives next week and is widely expected to be the blockbuster of the season. Using the formula he developed in the earlier series, the author follows several families through WWI to the early 1920’s. Prepub reviews all note the book’s length (Kirkus called it “cat squashing”), but applaud its readability. The publisher has announced a million copy first printing and it is already at #10 on Amazon sales rankings.

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

Other Notable Fiction On Sale Next Week

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris (Little, Brown) The illustrations are by Ian Falconer, but don’t expect these animals to be at all like Olivia. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly calls the book a “lurid beastiary…for the strong- stomached, these tales are toxic little treats, fun-size Snickers bars with a nougaty strychnine center.” If you’re having trouble grasping what that means, go here to Read an Excerpt. The book is already at #36 on Amazon sales rankings.

Don’t Blink by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (Little, Brown). About a mafia hit in a NYC steak house. Coauthor Roughan has worked with Patterson on several other titles, including Honeymoon, You’ve Been Warned and Sail.

The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War by Bernard Cornwell (Harper). The author’s first standalone set in America, about the Penobscot Expedition, a Revolutionary war battle considered the worst US naval disaster until Pearl Harbor.

Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Three Pines Mysteries) by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books). “Gamache’s excruciating grief over a wrong decision, Beauvoir’s softening toward the unconventional, a plot twist so unexpected it’s chilling, and a description of Quebec intriguing enough to make you book your next vacation there, all add up to a superior read. Bring on the awards.” (Kirkus)

To Fetch a Thief: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, Spencer Quinn (Atria). “Tender-hearted Chet and literal-minded Bernie are the coolest human/pooch duo this side of Wallace and Gromit.” (Kirkus)

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham (FSG)

Entertainment Weekly loves the writing (“There are sentences here so powerfully precise and beautiful that they almost hover above the page”), but found the plot thin with a main character not worth caring about, resulting in a B. It’s an Indie Next Pick for Oct.

The cover proves how striking sepia can be.

Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund (Morrow). Also an Indie Next Pick for Oct, Booklist says this “… outlandish stew of biblical analogy, political thriller, futuristic speculation, and old-fashioned adventure story by the best-selling author of Ahabs Wife (1999) teases and frustrates the reader.”

Bound by Antonya Nelson, (Bloomsbury) Featured in O Magazine’s “Six Books to Watch for in October,” Booklist calls Nelson ” A short story writer of exhilarating wit and empathy, [who] returns to the novel after a decade with heightened authority” and describes the book as “Tightly coiled, edgy, and funny, this complex tale of transcendent friendship begins with a spectacular death.” Audio from Tantor.

Safe from the Sea, Peter Geye, (Unbridled). We’re part of the fan club for Unbridled Books, an independent press that manages to publish astonishingly high level fiction. This first novel is an Indie Next Pick for Oct,

Classic themes of redemption,reconciliation, and family ties are set against the awesome power and beauty of the north shore of Lake Superior. In the final weeks of his life, Olaf relives the story of his survival in an ore boat wreck decades earlier, and acknowledges his feelings of guilt and regret, while his estranged son Noah discovers that things are not always as they seem.

Booklist suggests, “Give this book to readers of David Guterson and Robert Olmstead, who will be captured by the themes of approaching death and the pain and solace provided by nature.”

How to Read the Air, Dinaw Mengestu, (Penguin). Both an Indie Next Pick for October and the lead in O Magazine‘s “Six Books to Watch for in October,” which describes this story of a first generation Ethiopian American as a “quiet and beautiful new novel [that]…transcends heartbreak and offers up the hope that despite all obstacles, love can survive.”


Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems (Balzer & Bray). Say it isn’t so! This is the final book in the series.

Paperback Originals

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

“Publishing’s poor cousins” is how the Wall Street Journal describes some people’s view of paperback originals (we’re presuming they are talking about trade pbk originals) because,

1) reviewers see the format as a signal that the publisher isn’t expecting much from the book

2) unlike a title released in hardcover and subsequently in paperback, an original pbk gets only one shot at making it

3) because of the lower price, everyone in the pipeline, from author to agent, publisher and retailer makes less than if the book were published in hardcover

Occasionally, a paperback original does find success and becomes the exception that proves the rule. The WSJ explores the success of one such title, One Day by David Nichols, which took off, but only after it was announced that Anne Hathaway had been cast for the lead in the movie.

Tellingly, the follow up to One Day will be published in hardcover.

Betancourt’s Memoir Rises

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

As a result of her appearance on Oprah yesterday, Ingrid Betancourt’s memoir of her six years in captivity in the Colombian jungles, Even Silence Has an End, rose to #5 on Amazon.

You can see why in this series of excerpts from the show on the Oprah site.

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
Ingrid Betancourt
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202656 / 9781594202650

Spanish language edition: No Hay Silencio Que No Termine;  9781616052430; Publisher: Aguilar; 9/21/2010; Pbk $19.99

C Gets an A-

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

With just three weeks to go, UK betting odds put C by Tom McCarthy as the leading contender for the Booker prize (the top title in terms of sales is Room by Emma Donoghue; it’s number 2 in betting by a slight margin over Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room, which won’t be published here until 11/2, after the prize is announced).

After getting the cold shoulder from Michiko Kakutani in the daily NY Times, (“disappointing and highly self-conscious”), it has fared much better with critics in other papers, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times (“An avant-garde masterpiece”) and the Sunday NYT Book Review (a “strange, original book”) and now gets an A- in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly,

The protagonist of Tom McCarthy’s experimental new work is named Serge, which is appropriate for a book so crackling with all things electric. Serge’s life — and his obsessions with telegraphy and Morse code — reads like W. Somerset Maugham tweaked to a frenetic and distorted frequency…

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

Tantor Audio; UNABR; Narrated by Stephen Hoye

ROOM a Best Seller

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Making its debut on the USA Today best seller list at #43 after a week on sale is Booker shortlisted title Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s the 9th best-selling hardcover fiction title on the list, which means it should hit the NYT Hardcover Fiction somewhere around #9 this week; no mean feat in a season crowded with big name authors.

Of the titles on the Booker shortlist, it is currently selling the most in the US. The same is true in the UK, according to an analysis by The Bookseller.

The book has received many strong reviews in the U.S., including the cover of the NYT Book Review and a People pick. Library holds are growing quickly.

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

TheBookseller notes that in the UK, sales of all the shortlist titles are outstripped by a title that didn’t make it from longlist to short,  The Slap by Australian Christos Tsiolkas. The book has not had the same level of success in the U.S. However, a strong review in the Washington Post, indicates that it is a candidate for both reading groups and readers advisory (and, it’s in trade paperback).

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

On Oprah Today

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian politician, survived 6 horrific years held hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Today, she appears on the Oprah show as “The Bravest Mom in the World.”

Her book about her ordeal, Even Silence Has an End, was reviewed in the New York Times on Monday.

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
Ingrid Betancourt
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202656 / 9781594202650

Spanish language edition: No Hay Silencio Que No Termine;  9781616052430; Publisher: Aguilar; 9/21/2010; Pbk $19.99

Woodward Embargo Broken

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Maybe we should begin a pool on how quickly the next embargoed book will be leaked. The NYT reviews Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, in the “Asia Pacific” section, saying simply that the paper “obtained a copy of the book before it’s publication by Simon & Schuster, scheduled for next week.”

According to the review, the book describes the quarrels that have gone on in the administration about the war in Afghanistan; “Although the internal divisions described have become public, the book suggests that they were even more intense and disparate than previously known and offers new details.”

Many other news sources have now piled on, quoting the NYT story; Woodward’s own newspaper, the Washington Post, followed up with its own story on the book (without mentioning how they obtained it).

The book rose to #43 on Amazon sales rankings (from #952 yesterday).

Obama’s Wars
Bob Woodward
Retail Price: $30.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-09-27)
ISBN / EAN: 1439172498 / 9781439172490

Also in abridged audio from S&S


Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

This is exactly how I felt when I heard Rebecca Traister, author of the just released Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, speak at the S&S Preview for librarians:

I thought I was awake and alert throughout the 2008 presidential election. I faithfully read two major American newspapers each day; I was glued to news and talking-head analysis on TV and the Internet; and I live in Washington, D.C., after all, where politics is the hometown industry.

But reading Rebecca Traister’s superb new book about the election, called Big Girls Don’t Cry, made me feel retrospectively dopey, like the “stupid sidekick” in detective fiction who dutifully takes in the details of a crime scene, but always fails to see the Big Picture.

The quote is from Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air last night.

Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women
Rebecca Traister
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 1439150281 / 9781439150283


Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Tyler Perry known for “…churning out populist money-making vehicles that get slammed by critics for playing on stereotypes and going for cheap laughs and easy sentiment” (The Wall Street Journal) is breaking out of that mold with an adaptation of the Tony-nominated play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. The all-star cast includes Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine and Kerry Washington.

On the movie news site Deadline, Nikki Finke predicts that the producer, Lionsgate, “…doesn’t begin to understand yet what a PR nightmare will surround [the movie]” and says that even Oprah didn’t want him to do it (although now that she’s seen it, she’s given it her blessing), because as a black man, he cannot understand the black female experience that the play explores.

Doesn’t seem to be a problem for the women in the cast. It’s hard to imagine Whoopi Goldberg joining the project if she didn’t believe in it.

Below is the trailer; originally scheduled for January, it now debuts on Nov. 5, making it eligible for the Oscars. UPDATE: The publisher tells us that the release date has been moved up to Nov. 2.

The tie-in is still showing a Dec. release date; expect it to be moved up, also.

For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf
Ntozake Shange
Retail Price: $12.00
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-11-17)
ISBN / EAN: 1439186812 / 9781439186817

Michael Vick’s Dogs Get Some FRESH AIR

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

NFL star Michael Vick was arrested for operating a dogfighting ring, but what happened to the 51 pit bulls that were seized? Turns out all but two were rehabilitated, despite having been abused and tortured.

John Gorant, a writer for Sports Illustrated, has followed the 49 surviving dogs and wrote a book about them, The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. It was featured on Fresh Air last night and rose on Amazon’s sales rankings to #14 as a result.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
Jim Gorant
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Gotham – (2010-09-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1592405509 / 9781592405503

Blackstone Audio; UNABR; 9/16/10; read by Paul Michael Garcia

The Rest of the Booker Shortlist

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

So far, four of the six titles on the Booker shortlist are available in the US. The other two are on their way, but will not be available in time for Americans to read them before the prizes are announced on Oct. 12.

Tom McCarthy’s C is now in the lead in UK betting. Shortly after the longlist was announced, Peter Carey, who has won the prize twice, was the leader for Parrot and Olivier in America.

Current odds at UK book maker William Hill are:

2/1  Tom McCarthy – C
3/1  Emma Donoghue – Room
3/1  Damon Galgut – In a Strange Room
5/1  Peter Carey – Parrot and Olivier in America
7/1  Andrea Levy – The Long Song
8/1  Howard Jacobson – The Finkler Question

At least one UK critic feels that, despite having the lowest odds, The Finkler Question should win. The book will be published here on the day of the Booker announcement. Author Howard Jacobson, often called the “British Philip Roth,” is recently quoted in The Jewish Week (“Can Howard Jacobson Play In America?“), saying this comparison no longer makes sense, “Roth has essentially stopped being funny…He is perfectly within his rights to have stopped being funny … but [life’s] never too serious to laugh.”

Not yet reviewed here, the UK reviews have been strong:

Telegraph, 6/28/10; “Humour, insight and chutzpah pepper this fictional foray into what it means to be Jewish”

Guardian, 8/15/10; “In this dazzling novel, Howard Jacobson uses Jewishness as a way in to universal questions about life and society.”

The Independent, 8/1/10; “Jacobson’s prose is a seamless roll of blissfully melancholic interludes. Almost every page has a quotable, memorable line.”

The Times of London, 7/24/10; “How is it possible to read Howard Jacobson and not lose oneself in admiration for the music of his language, the power of his characterisation and the penetration of his insight? … The Finkler Question is further proof, if any was needed, of Jacobson’s mastery of humour.”

The Finkler Question
Howard Jacobson
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA – (2010-10-12)
ISBN / EAN: 1608196119 / 9781608196111


Now in a tie for second place in betting with Emma Donoghue’s Room, South African Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room, won’t be published here until Nov. 2,  after the prize is announced.

This is the story of a young traveler, who, not knowing what he is seeking, follows various people he meets along the way. It has also received stellar reviews in the U.K.

Guardian, 6/22/10, Jan Morris, ‘Truly superlative… Extraordinarily readable… Galgut displays his wonderful sense of place, but also profoundly explores intimate relationships between people… A very beautiful book, strikingly conceived and hauntingly written, a writer’s novel par excellence without a clumsy word in it.”

Telegraph, 5/3/10; “…as inviting as it is troubling.”

In a Strange Room
Damon Galgut
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Europa Editions – (2010-11-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1609450116 / 9781609450113

On Oprah This Week

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Jon Stewart is not only going to appear on the O’Reilly Factor on Wednesday night to promote Earth (The Book), he will also be on Oprah tomorrow.

And, today, Oprah will feature the first of two segments on a documentary about America’s schools, Waiting for ‘Superman. An excerpt from the tie-in book will be featured on

Waiting for “SUPERMAN”: How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools
Participant Media
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs – (2010-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 1586489275 / 9781586489274


Monday, September 20th, 2010

Reviewers generally don’t step from behind the journalist curtain to reveal their personal enthusiasm for a book. In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, reviewer Pam Abrams begins her review of Darin Strauss’s Half a Life this way,

I recently went on a trip with a couple of friends, one of whom brought along Half a Life. The book’s slender enough that the three of us devoured it in three days — and beautifully written enough that we spent the rest of the trip discussing it.

Strauss, author of several well-received novels, including Chang and Eng, (Dutton, 2000) and The Real McCoy, (Dutton, 2002) writes in this, his first memoir, about a car accident that killed one of his high school classmates and scarred him for life.

Strauss also appeared on This American Life (359: Life After Death — Act 1, “Guilty as Not Charged,” beginning at 9:40) this week.

Libraries showing holds of 5:1 on light ordering

Half a Life
Darin Strauss
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 204 pages
Publisher: McSweeney’s – (2010-09-15)
ISBN / EAN: 1934781703 / 9781934781708