Archive for May, 2011

New Title Radar – Week of May 23

Friday, May 20th, 2011

In addition to Silver Sparrow, (above) several new titles releasing next week are getting buzz; David McCullough turns his eyes to Paris and the effect it’s had on Americans who went there; former Sarah Palin aide, Frank Bailey publishes his tell-all, and we’ll get up close and personal with the guys of ESPN.


Children and Fire by Ursula Hegi (Scribner) is set in Burgdorf, Germany, the fictitious town where her bestselling novels Stones from the River and The Vision of Emma Blau took place, and tells the story of a day in 1934 that changed the townspeople’s lives. Booklist says “Hegi excells at detailing the minutiae of the routine as ordinary citizens are either lulled into complacency or forced to confront their own dark night of the soul.” Audio; Tantor (an interview with the author is also on the Tantor site)


Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales (Little Brown) is a 770-page oral history of ESPN that’s promises lots of dirt on the sports channel’s executives and talent. A well-kept embargo has had the desired effect, driving the media crazy and bringing advance speculation in many places, including the  New York Times. In another effective marketing ploy, publisher Little, Brown,  lifted the embargo earlier this week, bringing even more attention. As a result the book’s been on the Amazon Top 100 since May 12, and today is at #4 and rising. The authors’ previous title, the 2002 Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests, is also rising.

Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years by Frank Bailey (Howard Books) is an account by the former Alaska governor’s 2006 campaign manager and transition team leader. Bailey says it’s based on 60,000 emails he sent or received while working for Palin, and is being investigated by the Alaska state attorney’s office for using unreleased state records.

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster) tells the story of American artists and scientists who studied in Paris, and how what they learned there changed America. PW calls it “an entertaining chronicle.”

Growing Up in Heaven by James Van Pragh (HarperOne) is the bestselling medium’s view of children in the afterlife and their connection to the living.

Children’s/Young Adult

The Warlock: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers) is the fifth installment in the bestselling series. No news yet on what is happening with the film adaptation of the series; rights were signed up over a year ago.

Movie Tie-ins:

One Day (Movie Tie-In Edition) by David Nicholls (Vintage) revisits Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley over the course of 20 years on the anniversary of the day they met. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgis star in the movie releasing August 19, 2011. Trailer is here.

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald (Candlewick) is headed to movie theaters the week after next. Trailer is here. Several tie-ins are being published, for various ages; see our full list here.


Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Two books we issued Heavy Holds Alerts for recently are now official USA Today best sellers and headed for the NYT lists.

Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts, enters the list at #12, indicating it will land in the top five on the upcoming NYT nonfiction list (dated 5/29). As USA Today notes in the Book Buzz column, this is the highest position yet for the author on their list.

Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, considered a leading contender for the Stieg Larsson mantle, enters the USA Today list at #51; expect to see it in the NYT fiction top ten (just below the last in the Larsson trilogy).

Back in September of 2008, we issued a Heavy Holds Alert for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The next week, it hit the USA Today list, but a bit higher, at #34, proving yet again that library hold patterns are predictors of success.

New Kindle Tipping Point

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Amazon has declared many landmarks for Kindle books outselling print, but all have been with an asterisk (comparison made to paperback sales only, comparison includes free Kindle downloads, time period follows a gift-giving season when many people received Kindles as gifts).

But today’s news release may signal an actual tipping point. Amazon announced that, since April 1, they have sold 105 Kindle books for every 100 in print, whether hardcover or paperback.

In addition, they say they have sold more than three times as many Kindle books than they did for the same period last year.

No actual numbers are included, so it is still nearly impossible to ferret out what percentage Kindle sales represents of the total book business.


Thursday, May 19th, 2011

In her May interview on Seattle’s NPR station, WKUO, Nancy Pearl says she’s been reading two “wonderful novels” [listen here] that she will be talking about on an upcoming interview on the NPR’s national Morning Edition show.

The first, The Coffins of Little Hope, by Timothy Schaffert, (Unbridled, 4/19), also receives a strong endorsement from Ron Charles this week in the Washington Post, Janet Maslin last month in the NYT and is awarded four of a possible four stars in the 5/16 issue of  People magazine, in a review describing it as,

Memorably narrated by octogenarian obit writer Essie Myles, this is a witty, sometimes profound story about media, mortality and rash acts undertaken in the name of love.

Author Timothy Schaffert appeared in early May at the Omaha Public Library. In a promo on the local morning tv show, he offers an intriguing description of the plot (don’t worry; the intro from the show’s rather excitable hosts, who clearly have not read the book, is mercifully brief).

It is published by indie press Unbridled Books. Founded in 2003, the press has built a strong reputation in just a few years for discovering literary fiction (one of their major breakouts is The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel, a finalist for the Indie Booksellers Choice award).

The other favorite Nancy mentions is Emily Alone by Stuart O’Nan (Viking/Penguin, March 17). She says both in it and The Coffins of Little Hope the authors allow you to get to know a character in depth, both the good and the bad, similar to what Evan Connell achieved with Mrs. Bridge and Elizabeth Strout with Olive Kitteridge.

Dick Cheney’s Memoir Announced

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Former VP Dick Cheney’s memoir In My Time, will be released on August 30th, reports the AP. It is being published by Threshold Editions, S&S’s conservative imprint run by former Cheney aide Mary Matalin.

According to Cheney’s co-author, his daughter Liz Cheney, her father will make appearances to promote the book, despite his heart disease.

The book is now #92 on Amazon sales rankings.

In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir
Dick Cheney
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Threshold Editions – (2011-08-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1439176191 / 9781439176191

Abridged Audio; S&S Audio — reader TBA

The First Look at Katniss

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday, features the first photos from the set of Hunger Games and an interview with the movie’s star Jennifer Lawrence; brief excerpts are on EW’s PopWatch blog.

The movie is currently scheduled for release on 3/23/2012.

For the rest of the cast, the National Post offers a handy who’s who, up to the recent casting of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.

The Next John Grisham Title Announced

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Just in time for BEA, Doubleday has announced that the next John Grisham legal thriller is The Litigators. On sale 10/25, It will also be available as an ebook for library lending. The cover below is just a placeholder; the final will be unveiled later.

THE LITIGATORS by John Grisham

On-Sale Date: 10/25/11
HC: 9780385535137
E-book: 9780385535250



There will be more Grisham this fall. He is co-producing a series for NBC, based on his first major success, The Firm. It was adapted as a movie, starring Tom Cruise, in 1993.


Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Annie Jacobsen’s Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base rose to #2 on Amazon, as a result of the author’s appearances on two influential shows, NPR’s Fresh Air and Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The book was embargoed and was not reviewed prepub.

One of the author’s claims received skeptical attention from Bloomberg and the SF Chronicle yesterday, Roswell Martians Might Have Been Nazi Kids From Mengele’s Lab.

Jon Stewart said, “Read it from page one; it will blow your mind.”

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base
Annie Jacobsen
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2011-05-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0316132942 / 9780316132947

Audio, Hachette Audio, 9781609410896; Large Type, Little, Brown, 9780316178075



Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

It’s been a while since Jon Stewart featured an author on his show. On Monday, he demonstrated how effective his book recommendations can be. Introducing Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, he announced “We’re big fans of your work” (Ronson also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was adapted as a movie starring George Clooney).

As a result of the appearance, the Psychopath Test rose to #3 on Amazon sales rankings. It received a mixed review from Janet Maslin in the NYT on Monday.

In libraries, holds are heavy on light ordering.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Jon Ronson
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover – (2011-05-12)
ISBN / EAN: 1594488010 / 9781594488016

Audio; Tantor

Oprah/Frey, Round Two

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Whatever James Frey’s reasons were to ignore the advice of friends and lawyers and return to the Oprah Show five years after his famous tongue-lashing, the appearance offered him the opportunity to bring attention to his new book, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible. And that it did; the $50 print version rose to #253 from a lowly #10,286 on Amazon’s sales rankings and the $9.99 Kindle edition rose to #69.

Although the Oprah site describes the book as “the story of the Second Coming of Christ in today’s modern world — but in James’ book, Christ is a bisexual former alcoholic who lives in the Bronx and impregnates a stripper,” that description is not in the televised interview. Oprah simply says it is “controversial” because any book that uses “Bible” in the title will be. Frey says he hopes the book will “change people’s lives for the better” by getting them to “think about God differently,” making it sound tailor-made for the Oprah audience.

It was reviewed last month by Dierdre Donahue in USA Today, who offers a more nuanced plot summary,

[The Messiah Ben] goes out to heal the world one sexual encounter at a time, though sometimes with more than one partner, among them fat lonely women, self-hating gay men and crack-addicted lap dancers. When Ben and his followers gather in secret at an upstate farm, they share the love with the kind of uninhibited variety not seen since Plato’s Retreat closed.

She counsels, “Frey is yanking your chain to sell books. Already published in the UK, Testament has received some good reviews there. Probably because it confirms many nonbelievers’ conviction that much of this country is one big David Koresh/Branch Davidian nest of sects and racism.”

Few libraries own the print edition (the ebook version is not available for library lending). Those that do are showing some holds.

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP; Summer’s Hottest

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

If you’ve been reading EarlyWord, you’ve heard plenty about S.J. Watson’s debut psychological thriller, Before I Go To Sleep.

The Wall Street Journal has now caught on to it, calling it “one of the summer’s hottest prospects.” As the article notes, Ridley Scott recently purchased the film rights.

Watson, who lives in the UK, will make one of his few US appearances at the ALTAF Mystery and Horror program on Sunday, June 26, 10:30 to noon during ALA.

Tintin Teaser

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s 3-D performance-capture adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin, has just been released on the Web. Starring Jamie Bell (Billy ElliotDefiance) as boy reporter Tintin, with Daniel Craig (Quantum of SolaceDefiance) as the pirate, Red Rackham, it is based on the first two books in Belgian artist Georges “Hergé” Remi’s Tintin comic series, Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. The first in a planned trilogy, the series is a joint project between Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who will direct the second in the series.

Watch it below, or go to Apple’s trailer page to view it in HD.

It’s currently scheduled to be released on Dec. 23, but another major Spielberg project, War Horse, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, is scheduled for the following week, so that could change.

Official Web site:

Little, Brown plans to publish junior novel and young reader tie-ins, using stills from the movie, rather than Herge’s original art.

In addition, LBYR is releasing new “Young Readers Editions” of the Tintin books, with original story and art, plus background material, beginning with the following this month (full list of titles available here).

We can safely assume that, as part of the series, the filmmakers do not plan to adapt the controversial Tintin in the Congo, widely regarded as not only racist, but condoning animal cruelty. In print, it is only available in the US as part of a $150 “Collectors Edition” complete set.

Tintin Young Readers Edition: The Secret of the Unicorn
Retail Price: $8.99
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2011-05-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0316133868 / 9780316133869


Tintin Young Readers Edition: Red Rackham’s Treasure
Retail Price: $8.99
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2011-05-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0316133841 / 9780316133845


Oprah/Frey, Round One

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Did James Frey seem oddly removed in the first segment of his Oprah reunion show yesterday? (See highlights on The Daily Beast site).

Perhaps we still aren’t seeing the real James Frey. In a recent interview on the site The Big Think, far from calling the 2006 tongue-lashing a “personal car wreck,” as he characterized it to Oprah, he says it changed his life for the better;

The Million Little Pieces controversy really freed me to be as radical as I want, to break every rule I want and to not have to care what other people thought. It was great.

We’ll see which James Frey shows up for the second part of the interview today.

As a result of the show, A Million Little Pieces moved up the Amazon sales rankings to #61, from #3,530.

Procrastinator’s Guide to BEA

Monday, May 16th, 2011

If you’re scrambling to put together your BEA schedule, the best resource for librarian-oriented programs is LJ‘s list (please be sure to put the EarlyWord program, Buying for Demand, Wed. 9:30 to 10:30 Rm 1E on your schedule — more details in the gray box on the left. No need to sign up; just come).

In addition to LJ’s list, however, there are a few other general programs you will want to consider. We’ve listed them below, with notes on conflicts and hints to help you make your choice.

For a preview of  books that will be featured on the show floor, check the following:

Edelweiss Books@BEA

PW’s Big Books of BEA

PW Big Childrens books of BEA

BEA Events to Consider (In Addition To LJ‘s Listing)

Monday, May 23, 4:30PM – 5:30PM – Rm 1E13

BEA Editors Buzz

WHY GO: To hear six major book editors pitch their favorite upcoming titles. Last year, many people came away from the panel expecting Emma Donaghue’s Room to breakout. It did.

CONFLICT: LJ‘s Day of Dialog session, The Latest on Social Media, Readers’ Advisory and Your Library

WHY SKIP: It will be covered by PW Show Daily, but obviously, it’s not the same as being there.

Tuesday, May 24, 8:00 am – 9:30 am — Special Events Hall

Children’s Book and Author Breakfast

Ticket Required (Cost: $40 including breakfast / $20 theatre seating [no breakfast])

WHY GO: Moderated by Julianne Moore, author of Freckleface Strawberry, Best Friends Forever. The author has also appeared in a few movies. She will be joined by Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck (Scholastic); Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye (Viking); and Kevin Henkes, Little White Rabbit and Junonia (Greenwillow).

CONFLICT: Random House breakfast (adult).

WHY  SKIP: You already signed up for the RH breakfast.

Tuesday, May 24, 2:00 – 3:15 pm — Rm 1E15

Young Adult Editors Buzz

WHY GO:  To hear YA editors pitch their favorites.

CONFLICT: AAP Annual Librarians Book Buzz (Rm. 1A21–1A22)

WHY SKIP: If you’re focused on adult books, you’ll want to go to the AAP Buzz session

Tuesday, May 24, 3:30PM – 4:30PM — Rm 1E13

The Future of eBooks Publishing Executive Panel

WHY GO: To find out what these execs are thinking about library lending and ask some pointed questions. Unforunately, we don’t know who they are or what companies they represent;  the program description simply says, “C-level executives from top publishing houses tell it like it is in a rousing panel discussion about the future of ebooks.”

CONFLICTHot Fall Book Club Titles (Rm. 1E15), 3–4 p.m.

WHY SKIP: Those “C-level executives” may not be able to address librarian concerns.

Wednesday, May 25, 2:00 – 3:15 pm– 
Rm 1E15

Middle Grade Editors Buzz

WHY GO: Newest addition to the buzz series, if you are a children’s librarian, you will want to be there.

CONFLICTNancy Pearl: Unshelved Again (Rm. 1E14); follow up to last year’s riotous interview by the Unshelved guys

WHY SKIP: It’s a tough choice, but if you’re a childrens librarian, you’ll want to do the Editors Buzz.

Wednesday, May 25, 2:00PM – 3:00PM — Rm 1E17

The Chairs Are Where the People Go: Community Organizing, Conflict Resolution, and Successful Book Events Thru the Better Placement of Chairs

WHY GO: This has got to be the most specific workshop at BEA. We’re only going by the title here, but it sounds like something any library programmer or book club leader could use.

CONFLICTNancy Pearl: Unshelved Again (Rm. 1E14)

WHY SKIP: See above

Heavy Holds Alert; THE SNOWMAN

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Where should you look for the next Stieg Larsson? You could begin with Larsson’s U.S. publisher, Sonny Mehta, head of Knopf. He’s betting on Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. Mehta lured the author away from HarperCollins, signing him up for the next three titles in his Harry Hole mystery series, beginning with The Snowman (May 10).

Knopf’s efforts to make The Snowman Nesbø’s breakout may be working; several libraries show growing holds on the book and film rights were purchased in October by Working Title.

For those who haven’t yet caught up with the Scandinavian noir phenomenon, New York magazine recently added their own roundup to the dozens already out there, including  an interview with one of genre’s true forerunners, Maj Sjöwall, co-author with Per Wahlöö of ten Martin Beck mysteries, including The Laughing Policeman.

What does she think of Larsson? She found his first book badly written, so she didn’t bother with any of the others. She likes Nesbø, however.