Archive for December, 2010

Looking Back

Friday, December 31st, 2010

At this time of year, many reviewers reach back to books they overlooked in the Fall crush. USA Today gives a belated push to the fourth title in the Charles Lenox detective series, published in early November, describing author Charles Finch as  “a modern fellow writing about the Victorian period in England…an absolute delight… he and his fictional gentleman protagonist deserve a wider audience.”

A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries)
Charles Finch
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-11-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0312625065 / 9780312625061


Friday, December 31st, 2010

It won’t be published until March, but Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future is already featured on Good Morning America. No wonder; the author says that in our lifetime, we could see one of five major cities (Los Angeles or San Francisco are on the list) completely destroyed by an earthquake.


Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Michio Kaku
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2011-03-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0385530803 / 9780385530804

Rising Inflation

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Adam Fergusson enjoyed “an unexpected literary revival” this past summer when a book he wrote 35 years ago was republished in the UK. About Germany’s economic collapse after WWI, which lead to Hitler’s rise, it was a “cult text among gold enthusiasts and inflation phobes.” After it was erroneously reported that Warren Buffet was a fan, original copies began selling for upwards of $1,000 each on the Web. (Financial Times, 8/20/10)

The book was reprinted by Public Affairs in the U.S. in October. The Wall Street Journal revisits the story today, in a review that ends with the words, “Every body ought to read this book. But baby boomers must.” As a result, the reprint  moved up to  #43, from #939 yesterday on Amazon’s sales rankings.

When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany
Adam Fergusson
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs – (2010-10-12)
ISBN / EAN: 1586489941 / 9781586489946

Adobe EPUB eBook available on OverDrive

Best Lists; It’s a Wrap

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Booklist just posted their editors’ picks of the best adult and youth books of 2010, so we can now say that the Best Books season is a wrap.

Below are the top choices, along with links to our downloadable spreadsheets collating all the titles, useful if you have remaining budgets you need to spend. If you have any trouble downloading either list, or have suggestions for making them more useful, please email me).

Adult Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet); Version 7; FINAL

Top Titles:

Tied with nine of fourteen picks:

Egan, Jennifer,  A Visit From The Goon Squad, Knopf

Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, Crown (the trade pbk. coming in March is featured above)

Wilkerson, Isabel, The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story Of America’s Great Migration, Random House

Seven of fourteen:

Franzen, Jonathan, Freedom, FSG

Mitchell, David, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet, Random House

Mukherjee, Siddhartha, The Emperor Of All Maladies: A Biography Of Cancer, Scribner

Smith, Patti, Just Kids, Knopf

Six of fourteen:

Donoghue, Emma, Room, Little, Brown

Grossman, David, To The End Of The Land, Knopf

Murray, Paul, Skippy Dies, Faber & Faber

Richards, Keith, with James Fox, Life

Schiff, Stacy, Cleopatra: A Life, Little, Brown


Childrens Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet) Version 6; FINAL

Top Titles:

Number One (nine of eleven sources):

Williams-Garcia, Rita, One Crazy Summer, HarperCollins/Amistad

Six of eleven:

Greenberg, Jan & Sandra Jordan, illus. by Brian Floca, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring Roaring Brook/Neal Porter

Lin, Grace, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, Little, Brown

Five of eleven:

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group; HMH

Burningham, John, illus. by Helen Oxenbury, There’s Going To Be A Baby, Candlewick

Collins, Suzanne,  Mockingjay, Scholastic

Sidman, Joyce, illus. by Beckie Prange, Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, HMH

Singer, Marilyn, Mirror Mirror: A Book Of Reversible Verse, Dutton

Wiesner, David, Art & Max, Clarion


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Here’s an irresistible recommendation; People magazine says Claire Dederer’s new memoir about studying yoga while trying to raise two children and keep a marriage together  “…reads like Eat, Pray, Love for hip but harried moms.”

They also give it four of a possible four stars and designate it a People Pick in the new issue, dated Jan. 10. For other titles reviewed in that issue, check our PEOPLE Book Reviews Archive.

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses
Claire Dederer
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2010-12-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0374236445 / 9780374236441

Blackstone Audio, 9781441781505


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Caroline Leavitt’s Pictures of You, an original trade paperback, is the January Costco Book Pick (Costco Book Buyer Pennie Ianiciello is credited with creating several best sellers via her monthly picks in the Costco Connection. She is also on the King County Library Foundation’s Board of Directors). She describes it this way,

The story begins with two women running away from home. When their cars collide on a foggy highway, one is killed. The survivor, trying to heal herself, sets out to help the husband and child left behind by the deceased. Once their lives intersect, the unlikely trio fumble through questions of forgiveness, love, truth and what really matters.

The prepub reviews were all splendid (with the possible exception of LJ, which offered a criticism that sounds more like a recommendation; “This is an entertaining read and a wonderful story, but it doesn’t cover any new literary ground.”)

Check out the insightful interview with Leavitt by Susan Henderson (we’re big fans of her debut, also an original trade paperback, Up From the Blue) in the online publication The Nervous Breakdown; useful for book clubs.

Pictures of You
Caroline Leavitt
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1565126319 / 9781565126312


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Director Baz Luhrmann has been studying up for his adaptation of The Great Gatsby and is inviting the public to be part of the process. Earlier this month, he told Entertainment Weekly,

Having spent at least two years full-time on [Gatsby], I probably have read [most every] book. But maybe not… I think engagement with an audience is great. I am fascinated about genuine audience participation because I grew up in the theater…I think to myself, well look, this [list] is what we’ve read. Go read that, and help me. If you want to have a point of view, get informed, then be helpful. Let’s try and make the best interpretation [for today].

Luhrmann’s research material is listed on the director’s Web site, with discussion on his Facebook page.

It was confirmed recently that Carey Mulligan will play Daisy, joining Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby. Release is planned for some time in 2012; plenty of time to organize “Reading with Baz” book groups.


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The first full-length trailer of the movie based on the YA title, I Am Number Four, has just been released (a teaser appeared back in September).

The book is by James Frey and Jobie Hughes, writing under the pseudonym, Pittacus Lore. The movie. starring heart-throb-in-the-making Alex Pettyfer (he is also the lead in the upcoming film of Beastly), debuts in theaters on Feb. 18.

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

Best Crime Fiction

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Sarah Weinman, who writes the crime fiction column for the L.A. Times, reads so widely that when she picks her favorite crime novels of 2010, you can expect a wide range of titles, from the already popular to the more obscure.

Her top of the list is Don Winslow’s Savages, which she claims to have read three times (quite a feat for someone who reads over 400 books a year).

Savages: A Novel
Don Winslow
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-07-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1439183368 / 9781439183366

Geritol for Tired Book Groups

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

USA Today ‘s book review editor Dierdre Donahue proclaims, “Debut Heartbroke Bay is a golden chance for discussion,” and calls the trade paperback original “literary Geritol” for tired book groups. Based on a true story, this debut by a pseudonymous author came out in early November. It received some strong prepub reviews, but no coverage in the consumer media.

Heartbroke Bay
Lynn D’urso
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade – (2010-11-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0425236803 / 9780425236802


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The Washington Post features YALSA’s Teens Top Ten program today, focusing on a DC area group, calling them,

…a little-known sounding board for publishers of teen fiction, poring over advance copies of books and dutifully typing up their ratings and impressions…[that] give publishers an important glimpse inside the minds of teen readers. Sometimes they also help build buzz about a new book.

The groups create a list of their top picks, which teens around the country vote on, resulting in the Teen’s Top Ten, published in October, during Teen Read Week.

The 2010 Teens’ Top Ten 2010 list is:

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Scholastic
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, McElderry/S&S
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter, Hyperion
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, S&S
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Little, Brown
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, Viking
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Dutton
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore, Dial
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Viking

New Titles Arriving Week of 12/27

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Now that the gift-buying season is over (and the rush to redeem gift certificates begins), the flow of new releases begins to rev up.

The Gambles

The Radleys: A Novel
Matt Haig
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2010-12-28)
ISBN / EAN: 1439194017 / 9781439194010

The Radleys by Matt Haig (Free Press) was touted at BEA (and was one of Neal Wyatt’s Librarians Shout & Share picks). About a family of vampires trying to pass for normal in a British suburb, it comes from the UK with a plenty of great quotes. Prepub reviews here were also strong. The first consumer review, Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, finding it charming but not a standout in the crowded field of vampire stories. The Dallas Morning News has this amusing take, “Haig effectively treats the unhinging, fiendish desire to feast on human blood as, well, just another unfortunate family dysfunction. Like alcoholism or drug addiction, only with hemoglobin.”

It also has backing from Hollywood; it was announced in April that Alfonso Cuarón acquired film rights. The director (Y Tu Mamá También and HP & The Prisoner of Azkaban) calls the book “funny, scary and wickedly familiar…On the one hand it’s a parochial comedy of manners in a dull suburban setting, but it quickly gathers poison and then effortlessly enters the supernatural without ever betraying its worldly concerns.”

This may have crossover appeal; in the UK, it was released as both adult and YA.

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
Karen Abbott
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-12-28)
ISBN / EAN: 1400066913 / 9781400066919

American Rose by Karen Abbott (Random House); we’ve heard good things from people who have read the ARE’s of this new biography of Gypsy Rose Lee and RH is backing it with an announced 100,000 copy printing. The NYT‘s Janet Maslin, however, faults the book for focusing more Lee’s times than on Lee herself.

The Usual Suspects

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz (Bantam) is a supernatural thriller about the murder of a family that reawakens an investigator’s memories of surviving a similar family massacre. PW carps that the terror level doesn’t get high enough, but Booklist gives it a star, noting that “Koontz worked out a family-at-risk scenario in last year’s Relentless; but whereas that book was breakneck-paced, science-fictional, riddled with screwball humor, and concerned about cultural politics, this novel is deliberate, highly supernatural, somber throughout, and motivated by religious dread of Koontz’s weightiest performances.”

In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam) is the first in the new Looking Glass trilogy, and also part of Krentz’s ongoing romantic suspense Arcane Society series, about a psychic detective agency. Booklist gives it a starred review: “Krentz’s flair for creating intriguing, inventive plots; crafting clever dialogue between two perfectly matched protagonists; and subtly infusing her writing with a deliciously tart sense of humor are, as always, simply irresistible.”

The Outlaws by W. E. B. Griffin & William Butterworth (Putnam) is the sixth military thriller in the Presidential Agent series, in which Lt. Col. Carlos “Charley” Castillo must face life after the disbandment of his secret organization, the Office of Organizational Analysis. PW says “Series fans who love these characters will find the novel fulfilling; newcomers and those expecting a big payoff will be disappointed.”

To Have and To Kill (Wedding Cake Mystery) by Mary Jane Clark is the first in a “promising new cozy series” (PW). Hear her editor, Carrie Feron, talk about Mary Jane’s transition from her harder-edge mysteries to this new series in HarperCollins Editors’ Buzz.

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag (Dutton) is the second in the author’s Deeper Than the Dead series. Says PW, “Newcomers will have no trouble getting into this suspense novel rich in pre-DNA detecting methods.”

Young Adult Fiction

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods Series #7) by Melissa de la Cruz. Prolific author Cruz also begins a new adult fantasy series, Witches of East End this summer and is working on a Blue Bloods spinoff, Wolf Pack, coming April 2012.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher (Penguin) is the sequel to Incarceron; Taylor Lautner has been signed to play the lead in the film adaptation of Incarceron, which appears on three Best Books lists; PW, SLJ, Washington Post and Hornbook.

Zamperini, Leading the Race

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Louis Zamperini, the hero of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, was featured on Fox News on Christmas Eve. Now 93 and living in California, Zamperini, with a mind an voice undimmed by age, still speaks like a man of his era (about a religious conversion after hearing Billy Graham speak, he says, “I realized what a heel I was to turn my back on God”).

As a result of the story, Zamperini’s own autobiography, Devil at My Heels (with a foreword by John McCain) broke in to the Amazon 100. The out-of-print hardcover edition of the book is for sale at prices ranging from $129 to  $599.

Several local newspapers (the Lexington Herald Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and the Houston Chronicle) also featured Zamperini, as an inspirational story for the holidays

Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is now at #1 on Amazon sales rankings, edging out The Autobiography of Mark Twain and Decision Points by George W. Bush.

Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian’s Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II
Louis Zamperini, David Rensin
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks – (2004-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0060934212 / 9780060934217

Pre-Holiday Madness

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Take a break from all you have to do before tomorrow and watch this inspired piece (be sure the sound is on!):

Another Best Books List

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal swam against the tide this year by starting a standalone weekend book section in September.

More often than not, the WSJ reviews titles that are not covered elsewhere. It’s no surprise, then, that seven of their top ten books of the year do not appear on other lists. Only two novels make the cut; Bernard Cornwell’s The Burning Land and Howard Jacobson’s Booker Award winner The Finkler Question.

We’re now up to version 6 of our collated list of titles on the major adult best books lists — 396 titles from 14 sources. Also available is the childrens list; 199 titles from 11 sources