Archive for May, 2011


Monday, May 16th, 2011

Erik Larson’s new book, In The Garden of Beasts, is receiving stellar consumer reviews and is currently in the #1 spot on Amazon’s sale rankings.

In the book, Larson tells the story of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany through the eyes of the daughter of the American ambassador to Germany, Martha Dodd, a device Deirdre Donahue describes as “Carrie Bradshow in Berlin.” But rather than trivialize the story, she says, it helps to bring history alive.

Holds are rising rapidly in many libraries.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
Erik Larson
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Crown – (2011-05-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0307408841 / 9780307408846

Available on OverDrive; Audio, Books on Tape; Large Print, Random House

James Frey And Oprah Usher in World Peace

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Today, the Oprah Show features the first of Oprah’s two-part interview with James Frey, who appears on the show for the first time since his 2006 public flailing for making up parts of  his substance-abuse memoir and Oprah Book Club pick,  A Million Little Pieces (Talese/Doubleday, 2003).

In a video about the show, Oprah calls the interview a “holy moment” and the “beginning of making peace in the world.”

The final Oprah Show will air May 25th.


Friday, May 13th, 2011

A picture book that makes no bones about parents’ frustration in trying to get their kids to sleep has risen to #1 on Amazon. It started as throw-away comment on Facebook, when author Adam Mansbach wrote in frustration, “Look out for my forthcoming children’s book, Go the — to Sleep.” People liked the idea so much, Mansbach went ahead and put together a PDF, which went viral, got covered by the NYT, optioned by Fox, and sold to Canongate for publication in the UK. It is coming out next month from Mansbach’s publisher, Brooklyn indie, Akashic Books.

Some attribute the success to the book being widely available via piracy, but it doesn’t hurt that it features strong illustrations (see sample here), an instantly relatable subject, and makes a great baby shower gift (after all, how do you wrap a PDF?).

Even though the PDF is supposedly viral, according to the New Yorker, you need to know someone to get a copy. You can also try posting your email to DCUrbanMom forum.

In a story today, CNN quotes Akashic publisher Johnny Temple saying a G-rated version will be coming next.


More Talk About KEVIN

Friday, May 13th, 2011

After the initial excitement over Wednesday night’s screening at the Cannes Film Festival of We Need to Talk about Kevin, adapted form the book by Lionel Shriver, talk has begun to turn to the film’s commercial potential. The Hollywood Reporter predicts that it will have a “a distinguished ride along the festival circuit with acquisitions coming in many territories, all of which will be tough sells theatrically,” because, “It’s a film to think about and debate over but not one to embrace.”

Whatever the commercial success of the movie, it’s likely to bring a significant number of readers to the book; we’re already seeing holds developing in libraries. Shriver’s audience has room to grow. Last year, the online book site The Millions declared her America’s Best Writer (although she now lives in London, she grew up in North Carolina), saying, “In many countries, she is now regarded as one of our most important novelists. Americans, however, have been slower to find her.” For those who haven’t discovered her yet, The Millions article is a good place to start.

For more about the movie, The Guardian offers a video review, that incorporates clips from the film as well as reactions from Cannes viewers.

We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)
Lionel Shriver
Retail Price: $13.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2006-07-03)
ISBN / EAN: 9780061124297 / 9780061124297

Audio; Recorded Books

New Title Radar: Week of 5/16

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Watch List

Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner (Dial Press) is a tale set in Russian-immigrant Brooklyn about a proto-romance between two children who are inexplicably separated, then meet again seven years later. Entertainment Weekly gives, it a B+, saying it “starts off cute but slight” then heads for “something darker and deeper…. Vaclav and especially Lena never quite cohere into three-dimensional characters, but Tanner is a gifted enough storyteller to bring some real emotional heft” to their story.

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles is the fourth novel by the well-known independent filmmaker. PW says it “will stand among the finest work on his impressive résumé. Weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages, the behemoth recalls E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Pynchon’s Against the Day, and Dos Passos’s USA trilogy, tracking mostly unconnected characters whose collective stories create a vast, kaleidoscopic panorama of the turn of the last century.”

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee (HMH) gets a starred review from Booklist: “Who better to capture the seismic shifts under way in India as the digital revolution takes hold than laser-precise and sharply witty Mukherjee? In each of her dramatic, slyly satirical novels, she dissects the legacy of colonialism, the paradoxes of technology, and the traditions that shackle Indian women. Mukherjee subtly continues the stories of the sisters from Desirable Daughters (2002) and The Tree Bride (2004) as she introduces Anjali Bose, a smart, rebellious 19-year-old who flees her provincial town after her fathers attempt to arrange her marriage goes catastrophically wrong.”

Usual Suspects

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry (Ballantine) is the seventh novel to feature former U.S. Justice Department agent Cotton Malone. It was originally planned for the fall, then moved to lead in to Father’s Day. PW calls it “ingeniously plotted” with “plenty of twists and vivid action scenes in a feast of historical imagination.”

The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine) relates the story of the struggle for Okinawa through the eyes of combatants on both sides. Booklist says, “the previous three volumes in this series were best-sellers; expect no less for this extraordinarily evocative conclusion.”

Embassytown by China Miéville (Del Rey) is the respected author’s first foray into straight science fiction. It was covered in the Wall St. Journal this week, which describes it as “an intergalactic space romp [that] turns into a meditation on language.”


William & Catherine: Their Story by Andrew Morton (St. Martin’s Press) is among the first hardcover keepsakes of the British royal wedding, by an author who has long covered the royals.

On China by Henry Kissinger (Penguin Press) gets a respectful yet mixed review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, who calls it “fascinating, shrewd and sometimes perverse,” adding that it “not only addresses the central role he played in Nixon’s opening to China but also tries to show how the history of China, both ancient and more recent, has shaped its foreign policy and attitudes toward the West.”

The Long Journey Home: A Memoir by Margaret Robison (Spiegel & Grau) is a much-anticipated memoir by the mother of the bestselling memoirists Augusten Burroughs and John Elder Robison, telling her side of the story from her Southern Gothic childhood to her tormented marriage, motherhood, mental breakdown, and journey back to sanity. PW calls it an “unremarkable tell-all.”

Not Dead & Not for Sale: A Memoir by Scott Weiland and David Ritz Scribner) is an account by the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots of rock stardom, addiction and incarceration, and making his comeback. PW says “the writing is often bland and it displays little of the tremendous energy found in his music.”

The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O’Connor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a bio of the Yankee’s star that was 15 years in the making. PW says “O’Connor peppers the bio with enough hidden gems about the notoriously private ballplayer to make this the most thorough and intriguing work on Jeter so far. And O’Connor’s ability to reconcile Jeter the man with Jeter the ballplayer means that even Red Sox fans may enjoy this bio.”

Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President by Jerome Corsi (WND Books). Now that the President has released his birth certificate, we wonder if they’ll pull this one?

Movie tie-in

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom (Disney Editions); the publisher describes this as “the first original novel based on the series for adult fans,” by the author of several  Star Trek and Star Wars novels. The fourth in the film series, On Stranger Tides, just premiered in London and goes in to wide release next week.


Thursday, May 12th, 2011

If you are struggling to put together your BEA schedule, check LJ’s admirable round up of events for librarians.

Please take special note of the EarlyWord session on Buying for Demand. Featured is Wendy Bartlett, collection development at Cuyahoga P.L., on how her department draws on readers advisory librarians to predict sleepers. Also on the panel is Cathy Langer, head buyer for the Tattered Cover in Denver. Indie booksellers and librarians have a great deal to share with each other. Cathy will describe how indie booksellers across the country network to generate word of mouth about forthcoming titles. We’ve just finished our final prep for the session and I guarantee that it will be insightful and fun.

The panel is Wednesday, 9:30 to 10:30, (room 1E16 in the convention center), leaving us plenty of time to get to the 11 a.m. session on Selling Trade Ebooks to Libraries (down the hall, in room 1E13).

Haigh Wins High Praise

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Already hailed with 3 starred prepub reviews, GalleyChat buzz and four of a possible four stars in People magazine, Jennifer Haigh’s Faith receives a powerful review from Ron Charles in the Washington Post. The story follows a woman as she investigates accusations of sexual abuse against her stepbrother, a Catholic priest. Charles says Haigh,

…brings a refreshing degree of humanity to a story you think you know well, and in chapters both riveting and profound, she catches the avalanche of guilt this tragedy unleashes in one devout family.

Faith: A Novel
Jennifer Haigh
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-05-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0060755806 / 9780060755805

Large Print, HarperLuxe; Audio, Dreamscape and Playaway

Levi Johnston, Covered

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Just unveiled, the cover for Levi Johnston’s tell-all about his life with, and without, the Palin family (Touchstone/S&S, Sept 24) is providing a field day for the press (“illogical,” Vanity Fair; ditto, New York magazine; “hilarious,” Salon).

Besides the cover, a hint of the book’s tone came two years ago, in Johnston’s Vanity Fair story, “Me and Mrs. Palin.” But that was followed by an apology in People, which he later disavowed, saying, in a rare burst of insight, “The only thing I wish I wouldn’t have done is put out that apology ’cause it kind of makes me sound like a liar.” Don’t worry, Levi, American memories are notoriously short.

Beating Johnston in the tell-all race to publication is former Palin aide Frank Baileys’s Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years, published by S&S’s Christian imprint, Howard, arriving in just two weeks.

Coming a week before the Johnston tome is journalist Joe McGinniss’s The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin (Crown, 9/20). The publisher promises a “a startling and penetrating examination of the illusion and reality of Palin.”

KEVIN Shakes Up Cannes

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

News from the second day of the Cannes film festival is that the adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel, We Need to Talk about Kevin is earning raves and may be the winner of the Palm d’Or. It is directed by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar; she also considered adapting The Lovely Bones, but abandoned that project. Peter Jackson directed an adaptation in 2009) and stars Tilda Swinton.

Shriver’s novel follows a mother as she tries to come to terms with her son, who has committed a mass murder at his school. It was the winner of the 2005 Orange Prize and was published here in hardcover by Counterpoint and in trade paperback by HarperPerennial.

Two harrowing clips, below.

GATSBY Casting Continues

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Director Baz Luhrmann has filled another major role for his 3-D adaptation of The Great Gatsby. According to Deadline, newcomer Elizabeth Debicki will play Jordan Baker. Like Lurhrmann, she is from Australia. She just graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts and is described as having a “striking, athletic appearance” appropriate for the role of a golfer.

Ben Affleck recently bowed out of the role of Tom Buchanan.

The other major roles that have already been cast are:

Nick Carraway — Tobey Maguire

Gatsby — Leonardo DiCaprio

Daisy — Carey Mulligan

Drop-in: Jaycee Dugard Memoir

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

S&S announced this week that Jaycee Dugard’s memoir, A Stolen Life, about her 18 years in captivity after being kidnapped as a child, will be published on July 12. The AP reports the story which is syndicated widely. Separately, the AP reports that TV networks are scrambling to get an interview with Dugard.

ISBN: 9781451629187; $24.99

It will also be available simultaneously in audio (S&S Audio; 9781442344983).


Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Ian Brown, the author of The Boy in the Moon (St. Martin’s),  a memoir about raising his severely disabled son, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday (listen here). The book is also featured on the cover of the May 8 NYT BR.

As a result, the book rose to #122 (from #772) on Amazon’s sales rankings.

What Makes George Clooney Run?

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Hollywood news sites are atwitter over a brief clip from a movie coming out in December, The Descendants. The clip is more perplexing than exciting (unless you just love watching George Clooney run). The exciting part is the director; this is the first movie by Alexander Payne since Sideways.

The movie is based on the 2007 darkly humorous first novel by Hawaiian author Kaui Hart Hemmings. This line from the NYT BR’s review makes the clip more meaningful,

Matt King, a wealthy Honolulu attorney, has had a grave shock: his wife, Joanie, has been injured in a boat-racing accident and now lies in the hospital in a vegetative state. In the painful depths of this crisis, King tries to repair his relationship with his two daughters, then struggles with the revelation that before her accident his wife had been in love with another man.

39 CLUES, Movie

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Hunger Games isn’t the only Scholastic adaptation that is heating up. Today, Deadline reports that Brett Ratner will direct a movie based on Rick Riordan’s The 39 Clues. Back in 2008, Steven Spielberg picked up the rights, with plans to direct himself. He continues as producer.

Spielberg is currently working on several other book properties. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn is scheduled to release on Dec. 23, followed the next week by War Horse (based on yet another Scholastic title, written by Michael Morpurgo), featuring Jeremy Irvine and Emily Watson. Separately, a play based on the same book is currently a hit on Broadway.

Spielberg is expected to begin filming Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and based on Doris Kearns Godwin’s Team of Rival (S&S, 2005) in late 2011/2012. There’s no word yet on what is happening to Robopocalypse, based on the sci fi title coming in June by Daniel Wilson (Doubleday), which was also supposed to begin filming around that time.


Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The library world knows that The Hunger Games will be a big movie, but so do a few others. Hollywood news sites breathlessly report each new actor joining the cast. The latest is Stanley Tucci in the supporting role of TV announcer, Caesar Flickerman (the National Post offers a handy who’s who). UPDATE: Woody Harrelson has signed on to play Haymitch.

A Web site with a very specific focus, On Location Vacations, reports that Hildebran, NC will be one of the first filming locations, where casting calls for extras have been drawing crowds.

The movie is scheduled to release in March, 2012.

Just a few short years agom Scholastic introduced the book at BEA with the following quote: