GalleyChat Picks of ALA Fall ARC’s

In our post-BEA GalleyChat, librarians shared tips about fall debuts and potential breakouts to look for at ALA. Below are their eleven top picks, plus two of my own (if you are not going, this list offers a look at what may be the next Help or Cutting for Stone).

Be sure to join us for the next GalleyChat — Tuesday, July 12, 4 to 5 p.m., Eastern

For a more exhaustive rundown of ARC’s at ALA, check out Barbara Hoffert’s Galley & Signing Guide.

Note: It is difficult for publishers to bring enough for everyone, so please be understanding if a title you want is no longer available.

Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern, Doubleday, 9/13 (RH Audio)

We’ve heard so much about this debut, that it seems like it’s already been published, but it’s not coming until mid-September. It was all over BEA, recommended by several at the Shout ‘n’ Share panel and Multnomah County’s Stephanie Chase picked it for the Great Read Alike panel (listen to the podcast here), comparing it to Kate Morton’s Distant Hours and Dan Simmons Drood, among others.

Cuyahoga has taken a strong stand on it, based on enthusiasm from the staff, such as this from Joe Jones,

This is one that I will be suggesting to a lot of patrons. It’s one of the literary genre novels that are so hot now. It has the genre flavor but also the literary meandering where it is in no hurry to get to the resolution. Definite crossover appeal….it should hit a wide variety of interests, even with the magic element. It may appeal slightly more to women, but I think it will have male fans as well.

Further evidence that RH is big on this one — Doubleday Editor-in-Chief Bill Thomas will be presenting it at the AAP’s Fall Books Preview hosted by Nancy Pearl.

Where to look for it — Your best bet is to go to RH’s Fall Preview; RSVP requested), leftovers will be at the Random House booth #1216 afterwards. It is also on NetGalley.


The Lantern, by Deborah Lawrenson, Harper, 8/9
Larger Type, HarperLuxe
Audio; Dreamscape Media

You may have already received an ARE of this big debut from Harper; specially wrapped copies went out just before BEA. Think Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier set in Provence. GalleyChatters agree with the publisher that it will be BIG.

Evidence that Harper is big on this one — those specially wrapped ARE’s are not cheap!

Where to look for it Harper’s Fall Preview (RSVP requested). You can also try the HarperCollins booth, #1316


The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Ballantine, 8/23

Also heavily promoted at BEA; early readers say it delivers on the hype

Where to look for it — RH booth #1216 on Saturday, as well as at the RH’s Fall Preview, (RSVP requested).



The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach, Little, Brown, 9/27
Hachette Audio

Librarians on GalleyChat say it’s “phenomenal” and  “Not to be missed.”

Evidence that Little, Brown is big on this one — Publisher Michael Pietsch (legendary for his spotting literary winners) is presenting it at the AAP’s  Fall Books Preview hosted by Nancy Pearl.

Where to look for it –Hachette booth #1134


When She Woke, Hillary Jordan, Algonquin, 10/4

Jordan is the author of reading group favorite, Mudbound. With her second book, she looks at how our current events bring about a future we may not want. Booksellers were big on this at BEA (the Tattered Cover’s buyer endorsed it in a full-page BEA Show Daily ad by saying “Make a beeline for Algonquin’s booth”)

Where to look for it –Workman booth #1430. Click here for more on what Workman is offering at ALA.


Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore: A Novel, Stella Duffy, Penguin, 9/27

Cleopatra, move aside, this is a juicy historical novel (check out that subtitle) about a less well known, but equally fascinating female ruler.

Where to look for it — Penguin booth #1422. Also on NetGalley. Click here for the full roster of Penguin’s author events at ALA.


The Kingdom of Childhood, Rebecca Coleman, Mira, 9/27

Harlequin has proved recently that it is “not always your mother’s Harlequin, ” as GalleyChat regular, Robin Beerbower puts it, with startling books like The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. She calls this one, about a teacher who has an affair with a 16-year-old student, “Good and disturbing.”

Where to look for it — Harlequin booth #1159


We The Animals, Justin Torres, HMH, 9/6
Audio; Blackstone

GalleyChatter say they keep hearing about this book and are itching to get their hands on a copy.

Where to look for it — HMH booth #1539. It’s also on Net Galley



Family Fang, Kevin Wilson, Ecco, 8/9

We feel a special connection with this debut; we had a special GalleyChat about it in February. It is a tale of a family of performance artists who create events in shopping malls that result in chaos, as a protest against superficiality. The parents call this art, their two children, who are unwilling participants, call it “making a mess.” Most admitted that they wouldn’t have read it if it hadn’t been “assigned,”  but were glad they did. Since then, it keeps coming up on GalleyChat, making us think it will be a sleeper success.

Where to look for it –HarperCollins booth, #1316


The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta, St. Martin’s, 8/30
Macmillan Audio

No need to tell you about a new Tom Perotta, but the reaction to this, his sixth novel, has been over the top, so we needed to mention it.  One librarian says it’s “the best book I’ve read so far in 2011.” Great premise; it’s about what happens to the people who are left behind after the Rapture.

Where to look for it — Macmillan Booth #1126


Below are my own recommendations:

Lost Memory of Skin, Russell Banks, Ecco, 9/27
Larger Print, HarperLuxe
Harper Audio

I just finished this one and am so moved by it that I had to mention it, even though Banks is hardly an unknown quantity to any of you. Not does it make you think about what it’s like to get caught in the contradictions of the legal system, but there’s a mystery that propels you through it (“I like this character, but should I? What terrible thing has he done?” — please don’t read the pre-pub reviews; they might ruin that experience for you). It’s been a long time since I’ve been so involved with a book’s characters that I actually shouted, “No, don’t!” at one of them. Good thing I wasn’t in public.

Where to look for it — HarperCollins booth, #1316


Rin Tin Tin, Susan Orlean, S&S, 10/4
S&S Audio

When a dog lover like LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert waxes poetic about yet another dog book, as she did over Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin at the BEA Librarian’s Shout ‘n’ Share program, you may be tempted to take it with grain of salt. Wrong; I just began reading it and I’m hooked. Orlean, of course, proved her ability to get people fascinated with a very specific subject in The Orchid Thief. Here again, she uses her subject as a way of exploring fascinating little-known facts (did you know that the military used a lot of animals in WW I, including a British camel corps?)

Where to look for it — S$S booth #1139

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