Archive for January, 2011

Books Lead the Oscars

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Leading the Oscar nominations, announced this morning, is The King’s Speech. It received 12 nominations, including best picture, best director and best actor. It is based on historical events, not on a book. However, a book by Mark Logue, the grandson of the king’s speech therapist draws on the same historical material and was published as a tie-in.

The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy
Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sterling – (2010-11-26)
ISBN / EAN: 140278676X / 9781402786761

Four of the other nine nominees for Best Picture are book adaptations;

True Grit, which the NYT regards a the “biggest surprise,” came in second, with ten nominations.

Once considered the front runner, The Social Network, came in at third place, with eight nods.

Winter’s Bone, which came out in June, received three other nominations in addition to Best Picture — Actress (Jennifer Lawrence); Supporting Actor (John Hawkes) and Adapted Screenplay.

The full list is here. The other nominations for movies based on books are:

How to Train Your Dragon — Animated Feature Film — based on the chidlren’s book by Cressida Cowell, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Alice in Wonderland –Art Direction — loosely based on both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 — Art Direction — based on…well, you know

Barney’s Version — Makeup — based on the novel by Mordecai Richler, Vintage

No New Books for Queens

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

It’s no news that many libraries across the country have reduced book purchases because of budget cuts. A few have even stopped purchasing books altogether, hoping that funds will be restored before the public notices.

Queens Borough Public Library CEO, Tom Galante, however, is making no bones about his library’s decisions. Last week, he told the local NPR station, WNYC (via Publishers Lunch Automat, subscription only), that they chose to maintain hours rather than buy books,

Galante said the mission of the library has shifted subtly, from lending books to providing English lessons, aiding job seekers and providing Internet access.

“It really comes down to libraries being about community — being a place for seniors in the morning, kids after school,” Galante said.

TIGER MOM on Colbert

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Amy Chua’s book has been out for less than two weeks, but already “Tiger Mother” has passed into the lexicon. She appears on the Colbert Report tomorrow night.

Holds are rising quickly; several libraries have reordered aggressively.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Amy Chua
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2011-01-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202842 / 9781594202841

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 6 Hours; 5 CDs; ISBN 9780142429105; $29.95


Monday, January 24th, 2011

Director Catherine Hardwicke’s next film after the first in the Twilight series is Red Riding Hood, coming to theaters March 11.

As the new trailer makes clear, it draws more on Twilight than on the fairy tale.

Hardwicke contributed an intro. to the novelization, which releases tomorrow.

Red Riding Hood
Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Johnson
Retail Price: $9.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Poppy – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0316176044 / 9780316176040

Hardwicke’s upcoming projects include two YA titles; James Dasher’s Maze Runner, now in the scripting stage, and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride.


Friday, January 21st, 2011

The number one book on Amazon at the moment is The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray (Business Plus), which offers a conservative blueprint for average investors.

The hardcover publication coincides with the death of author Murray last Saturday. Originally self-published, it was picked up by the Business Plus imprint of Grand Central Publishing following coverage in a “Your Money” column by Ron Lieber in the New York Times.

Libraries we checked are behind the demand on this one – either they don’t have it, or have high holds on modest orders.

The Investment Answer
Daniel C. Goldie, Gordon S. Murray
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Business Plus – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1455503304 / 9781455503308

Other Notable Nonfiction Coming Next Week

The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been… and Where We’re Going by George Friedman (Doubleday) is a Machiavellian analysis of possible near future geopolitical events by the author The Next 100 Years.

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (Knopf) explores the limits of modern cosmology’s understanding of the “multiverse.” PW says, “With his inspired analogies starring everyone from South Park’s Eric Cartman to Ms. Pac-Man and a can of Pringles, Greene presents a lucid, intriguing, and triumphantly understandable state-of-the-art look at the universe.”

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer (Bantam) recounts the tumultuous experiences of the U.S. Navy in early battles against the Japanese during World War II. In a starred review, Booklist says, “as in his first two books, the author’s narrative gifts and excellent choice of detail give an almost Homeric quality to the men who met on the sea in steel titans.”


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Among the new fiction arriving next week, the trade paperback original novel Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt looks like one worth watching. The story about the aftermath of a car collision between two women fleeing their marriages, which ends fatally for one of them, is an Oprah magazine pick for January, and a special pick of Costco buyer Pennie Ianniciello, a well-known market mover.

It’s often said that publishing original trade paperbacks is a risky business because reviewers tend to overlook them. This is clearly not the case for Pictures of You, which has already received admiring attention from the San Francisco Chronicle and from Carolyn See in today’s Washington Post.

Most libraries we checked had solid orders, with reserves of 3:1 or more. Take advantage of the less expensive format and buy extra copies for your readers advisors.

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

OverDrive; Adobe EPUB eBook
Highbridge Audio; UNABR; 9781615736553; Library Edition, 9781611741025;

Also on Sale Next Week

O: A Presidential Novel by Anonymous (Simon & Schuster), a fictional vision of the 2012 presidential election written by an unnamed insider on the Obama team (how big of an insider is no defined; the person claims to have been “in the room” with him. Is that like being able to see Russia from your house?), has been getting the strong press coverage in the days leading up to publication. Reviews, however, have been tepid to disparaging. In its syndicated review, the Associated Press calls O “an enjoyable read for political junkies who can’t wait for the next campaign to start. But for readers not consumed with the granular detail of focus groups and ad buys, O falls short — especially in its portrayal of Obama, who remains as opaque in this book as he does real life.” Entertainment Weekly is even less charitable: “Short on character, short on plot — a hapless, poorly executed attempt at satire that’s missing literally everything that Primary Colors had going for it: the detail, the zing, the insidery knowledge, the humor. Let’s give S&S an A for marketing O so well. But let’s give the book itself a D.”

Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown) is the newest mystery featuring New York detective Michael Bennett.

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman (Crown) chronicles the history of a Massachusetts town from pilgrim settlers through the modern day in a series of 14 stories. PW says, “Hoffman’s deft magical realism ties one woman’s story to the next even when they themselves are not aware of the connection. The prose is beautiful, the characters drawn sparsely but with great compassion.” Entertainment Weekly gives it a solid “A”.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern (Harper) is the tale of a 16 year-old girl whose gilded life shatters with her father’s suicide, and has a 150,000-copy first printing. LJ says, “Ahern has made a definite change in her writing with her recent fiction, going from chick lit to modern fairy tales. The supernatural element doesn’t work well in this novel, however, with a buildup that falls slightly flat…. Still, Ahern has fans from her P.S. I Love You days, so purchase accordingly.”

A Cup of Friendship: A Novel by Deborah Rodriguez (Ballantine) follows a group of women who meet in a Kabul coffee shop owned by an American, by the author of The Kabul Beauty School. Kirkus says, “Rodriguez paints a vivid picture of Afghan culture and understands the uncomfortable role Americans play in political upheavals. But ultimately her cozy sentimentality undercuts the elements of harsh realism, as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner.”

The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard (Ecco) is the story of the lasting effects of the disappearance of a teenage girl on the boys in her town, reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides. PW says “Though the truth about Nora remains tantalizingly elusive… the many possibilities are so captivating, and Pittard’s prose so eloquent, that there’s a far richer experience to be had in the chain of maybes and what-ifs than in nailing down the truth.”


Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The authors of a new book about undergraduate education assert,

Growing numbers of students are sent to college at increasingly higher costs, but for a large proportion of them the gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication are either exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent.

Unsurprisingly, the book, Academically Adrift, has been drawing attention since it was released on Tuesday. It is currently at #22 on Amazon’s sales rankings and is not owned by most major public libraries. An excerpt  appeared earlier this week in the Chronicle of Higher Education under the headline, Are Undergraduates Actually Learning Anything? It’s being picked up by news sources

Study: One-Third of Students Don’t Learn Much in College CBS

The Choice: How Much Do College Students Learn, and Study? New York Times (blog)

Study: Students slog through college, but don’t gain much critical thinking, Seattle Times

The value of collegeThe Economist (blog)

Guest post: ‘Academically Adrift,’ indeedWashington Post (blog)

Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses
Richard Arum, Josipa Roksa
Retail Price: $25.00
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press – (2011-01-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0226028569 / 9780226028569


Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The roar is building for one of the major book-to-film adaptations of 2011, The Eagle (based on Rosemary Sutcliffe’s 1954 ALA Notable Children’s book, The Eagle of the Ninth).

How do we know it’s major? It’s among the films that will be promoted on the SuperBowl broadcast.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of ScotlandState of Play), starring Channing Tatum as Marcus Aquila, the movie is scheduled to open on February 11.

Among the new material now available on the film’s web site,, is a behind-the-scenes video.


The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy)
Rosemary Sutcliff
Retail Price: $8.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Square Fish – (2010-11-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0312644299 / 9780312644291

DUMMIES Nominated for Edgar Award

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The Edgar Nominees have just been announced. We’re cheering to see one of our favorites of the year, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin as one of the six nominees for Best Novel.

Sherlock Holmes for Dummies is one of the nominees for “Best Critical/Biographical.”

The full list is here. The awards will be presented on 4/28/11.

Sherlock Holmes For Dummies
Steven Doyle, David A. Crowder
Retail Price: $19.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Wiley/For Dummies – (2010-03-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0470484446 / 9780470484449

Tiger Mom’s Not Finished Yet

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Discussion of Amy Chua’s approach to mothering, as she describes it in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother continues unabated.

In today’s NYT, Janet Maslin, who actually read the entire book (rather than just the WSJ except, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“) comes to an unexpected conclusion,

In truth, Ms. Chua’s memoir is about one little narcissist’s book-length search for happiness. And for all its quotable outbursts from Mama Grisly (the nickname was inevitable), it will gratify the same people who made a hit out of the granola-hearted Eat, Pray, Love.

According to Maslin, the two share an obsessive fascination with self. She also points out that, by the end of her book, the Tiger Mom has softened,

But Ms. Chua’s story has been shaped according to a familiar narrative arc, the one that ensures that her comeuppance will occur, that her children will prove wiser than she and [she will] fess up to shortcomings (“the truth is I’m not good at enjoying life”) and smell the roses at the end of the book.

The Today Show can’t get enough of her; they’re planning a second appearance, and are gathering questions for her on the site right now.

The book appears at #5 on the 1/30/11 NYT Nonfiction list, after just five days on sale (the list reflects sales through 1/15).

If you’ve been on the fence about buying more, it’s time to get off. This one won’t end soon.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Amy Chua
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2011-01-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202842 / 9781594202841

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 6 Hours; 5 CDs; ISBN 9780142429105; $29.95


Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Author Ben Mezrich’s book, Accidental Billionaires, was the basis for the movie The Social Network, which is not only a success at the box office, but just won Golden Globes for best drama, best director and best writer (for the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin). It is also surrounded by Oscar buzz.

The production team that put together Social Network has turned its attention Mezrich’s next book, Sex on the Moon, coming in July. According to the L.A. Times, it is,

…the story of Thad Roberts, a once-promising young scientist working for NASA who back in 2004 hatched a crazy plan to steal highly prized moon rocks from his bosses at the Johnson Space Center and sell them on the Internet. The motivation: wanting to impress his girlfriend (i.e., “giving her the moon”).

The L.A. Times wrote about the heist in 2004.

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History
Ben Mezrich
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2011-07-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0385533926 / 9780385533928

Dr. Laura; First Amendment Supporter

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

It’s encouraging to learn that Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who once attacked the ALA’s bill of rights, is now a proponent of free expression (at least for herself). On the Today Show, she told Matt Lauer that she moved her radio show to Sirius XM, because various organizations had decided,

… that I should be silenced. And that’s when I realized I had to go on Sirius XM or something like that in order to have the freedom of speech without being assassinated.

On Salon Laura Miller looks into the incident that sparked the move, “The Revenge of Dr. Laura Schlessinger.”

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


Despite Dr. Laura’s continuing stance against the ALA, libraries are not exacting revenge. The ones we checked have ordered her book, but holds are modest.

Surviving a Shark Attack (On Land): Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing with Revenge
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061992127 / 9780061992124

Reviews for O by Anonymous

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

The new novel about the current president and his 2012 re-election campaign is no Primary Colors, according to USA Today‘s review.

In the Washington Post, reviewer Ron Charles says it “isn’t as good as you hoped or as bad as you feared.” He compares the book unfavorably to others, saying it,

…has none of the snazzy wit of Joe Klein’s briefly anonymous novel about the Clinton campaign, or the grandeur of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, or the pathos of Ethan Canin’s America America.

The USA Today critic also jumps in to what “has become a parlor game for the capital’s underemployed and a topic for news outlets as far-flung as The Guardian in London and Le Figaro in France” (USA Today). In fact, “Obama novel” is among the “hot topics” listed on the Washington Post‘s Web site.

Most libraries are showing modest holds in line with ordering.

O: A Presidential Novel
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2011-01-25)
ISBN / EAN: 1451625960 / 9781451625967

Washington Post Adds Pop-Culture Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

The Washington Post announced that, beginning January 23, it will publish a separate tabloid-size Sunday “Style “section. Among the new features will be “pop-culture book reviews.”

The new coverage will not affect book news and criticism in the “Outlook” section (Quill & Quire, 1/18/11).

We’re looking forward to seeing what they mean by “pop-culture.”

The Washington Post angered book lovers in 2009, when they closed down the stand-alone Sunday “Book World” section.


Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Counting on a Golden Globe win to bring attention to the movie The King’s Speech, which was released in just a few theaters in December, the Weinstein Co. expanded it nationwide last Friday. The gamble paid off. Colin Firth won a Golden Globe for Best Actor and the film did “impressive business” (Hollywood Reporter, 1/17/11) over the MLK weekend.

In the UK, it has been a surprise instant hit, attracting customers who have not been to the cinema in over a decade (Guardian, 1/18/11).

Oscar buzz has been attached to the film for a while; now, see it as the competition for best picture against the Social Network.

The movie is not based on a book, but a book by Logue’s grandson and co-writer, British journalist Peter Conradi, was recently published as a tie-in. USA Today writes about the book’s genesis in the current issue.

Libraries are showing heavy holds on modest orders.


The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy
Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sterling – (2010-11-26)
ISBN / EAN: 140278676X / 9781402786761