New Title Radar: Week of May 1

With Mother’s Day and Memorial Day approaching, new titles are dramatically on the increase – particularly fiction and celebrity memoirs. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for next week.

Watch List

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Ecco) is a picaresque novel about two hired guns, the fabled Sisters brothers, set against in the California Gold Rush. Librarians have been buzzing about it on Galley Chat and it’s a May Indie Next pick.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon (Grand Central) is an unlikely love story about a young white woman with a developmental disability and an African-American deaf man, both locked away in an institution in Pennsylvania in 1968, who fall deeply in love and escape together, finding refuge with a retired schoolteacher. It’s the #1 Indie Next Pick for May. It’s also the author’s fiction debut (although she wrote a well-received memoir, Riding in the Bus with My Sister).

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy (Atria Books) is the tale of a travel writer’s loves and betrayals, set in Cold War Berlin, by an American-born author who’s better known abroad (his nine previous novels have sold over five million copies, and he was awarded France’s Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). Kennedy spoke at a ALA MidWinter, at a panel hosted by LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert, who said “if other readers end up as engrossed as I was, then this is the year that Kennedy becomes a household name in America.” Early reviews are also positive, and it gets a 100,000-copy print run.

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson (S&S) chronicles the lives of the Erickson family as the children come of age in 1970s and ’80s America, as they grow out of their rural Iowan roots. It’s the #5 May Indie Next pick, and Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-: “even minor characters receive the full attention of the author’s prodigious talents; each one is drawn so vividly that they never feel less than utterly real.”

Returning RA Favorites

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (Viking/Penguin) gets a 350,000 printing and is the #8 Indie Next pick for May.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell (Random House) is the #2 Indie Next Pick for May.

The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe (GalleryBooks) gets a 100,000-copy printing.

Usual Suspects

Sixkill by Robert B Parker (Putnam) is the last Spenser novel completed by Parker before his death in January 2010, and has a 300,000-copy print run. But this is not the last we’ll see of Parker – there are two revamped series coming. On September 13, Parker’s Jessie Stone series will continue with Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues, by a writer producer and screenwriter Michael Brandman, who co-wrote and co-produced the television movies featuring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone. And in Spring 2012, the longrunning Spenser PI series will continue, written by Ace Atkins, whose last few novels have been published by Putnam. He begins a new series of his own with The Ranger, starting in June.

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (Ace Books) Sookie Stackhouse #11

The Devil’s Light by Richard North Patterson (Scribner)

10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little Brown)

Celeb Memoirs

There are several celebrity memoirs coming out next week – in fact, May is such a big month for them that USA Today featured several in a round up (remember when we thought the genre was dead?).

If You Ask Me: And of Course You Won’t by Betty White (Putnam)

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke (Crown Archetype) is slated for a lot of media. USA Today has an early interview, and Van Dyke will appear on Entertainment Tonight on May 3, The View on May 4, NPR’s Morning Edition on May 4 or 5, and the Today Show on May 5.

Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir by Steven Tyler (Ecco) is on the cover of the May 2 issue of People. On May 4, Tyler will be on Good Morning America.

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant (Knopf) is a memoir by the dapper film star’s only child, from his brief marriage to Dyan Cannon. Kirkus is not a fan: “It sounds like a lovely life, but it makes for an irritating reading experience.” On May 1, Parade will run an excerpt and the author will appear on CBS Sunday Morning.

From This Moment On by Shania Twain (Atria) is the mega-selling country singer’s memoir of her hardscrabble Canadian childhood. She will be on Oprah on May 3 and the Today Show on May 4;  plus a show called “Why Not? With Shania Twain” will debut on OWN May 1.

More Nonfiction

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma (Grand Central) wowed the crowd at MidWinter ALA and at the AAP Author Buzz panel. Indies like it, too. It’s on the May Indie Next list and is one of the indies’ most-ordered titles for summer.

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott (Riverhead Books) is written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter.


The Kane Chronicles: Book Two: Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

(Hyperion Books)

2 Responses to “New Title Radar: Week of May 1”

  1. shoshana Says:

    Gotta be the nitpicky librarian and point out that the title of Rachel Simon’s book is actually The Story of Beautiful Girl, without the “a.”

  2. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    Thanks for the correction (we LOVE nitpicky librarians!) In fact, that change makes a significant, but subtle difference in the way the title reads.