New Title Radar – Week of Oct. 24

Two books will dominate attention next week; Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs and John Grisham’s newest legal thriller, The Litigators. In the first consumer review, The Washington Post‘s Louis Bayard says that, if you’ve never been a Grisham fan, ” this snappy, well-turned novel might be a good place to start.”

Watch List

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston (Ecco/HarperCollins) is the first illustrated work by the author of the novel Jackie by Josie, who was also an archivist at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Drawing on more than 600 pieces of original 1920s material she collected from antique stores, eBay and many other sources, it tells the story of a zelig-like aspiring writer Frankie, who travels to Vassar, New York, and Paris. Ecco editor Lee Boudroux presented it at the Editors Buzz Panel at ALA Annual in New Orleans. Kirkus calls it “lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself.”

Men in the Making by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a collection of short stories exploring the modern role of manhood by the author of last year’s debut novel The Wake of Forgiveness, which Library Journal called “lacerating” and “a gasper.” His protagonists here “are guys who labor on farms and in factories and hospitals, always struggling with what it means to be a man and wondering whether they come up short,” says LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert.

Literary Giant

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Knopf;  Brilliance Audio) is billed as the Japanese master novelist’s magnum opus and homage to George Orwell, set in a Tokyo where  two moons have emerged, signaling the dawning of a parallel time line known as 1Q84 controlled by the all-powerful Little People. This 1,000-page single-volume edition is predicted to meet with a similar reception to the Japanese edition, which sold out, despite being in three volumes. It has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 since 10/3, perhaps helped by Nobel buzz (though that prize went to Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer). The Washington Post‘s Michael Dirda gives it an early consumer review, noting the author’s popularity among college students, he says, “Perhaps the American writer he most resembles, in multiple ways, is Michael Chabon.” As to the book’s length, he says, “Once you start reading 1Q84, you won’t want to do much else until you’ve finished it.”

Usual Suspects

The Litigators, by John Grisham, (Doubleday, 9780385535137; RH Audio, 9780307943194; BOT Audio, 9780307943217; RH Large Print, 9780739378335) is heralded by Louis Bayard in The Washington Post, who says that Grisham is growing as a writer, suggesting that he’s “read Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly and Scott Turow with profit.” Referring to the actor who played the lead in the movie version of The Firm, and is now, controversially, set to play Jack Reacher in the film of Lee Child’s One Shot, Bayard adds, “Most intriguingly, [Grisham] began tossing back drinks with characters who would never in their lives be played by Tom Cruise.”

The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck (Threshold; Simon and Schuster Audio) is a Christmas-themed novel by the former Fox News pundit, about a woman struggling to break free of a painful family legacy. A childrens version, adapted by Chris Schoebinger  and illustrated by Brandon Dorman is also being released (S&S, 9781442444485).

The Night Eternal: Book Three of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Morrow/HarperCollins, 9780061558269; HarperAudio, 9780062097880; HarperLuxe, 9780062088659)
is the conclusion to the authors’ much-talked-about vampire trilogy. As the final battle dawns, avenging “angels” help reclaim the planet for humanity.


Young Adult

Destined by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312650254; Macmillan Audio, 9781427213396; Thorndike Large Print, 9781410442338) continues the paranormal romance House of Night series, with Zoey finally at home, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, and preparing to face off against Neferet.

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375814709; Listening Library/RH Audio, 9780307941725; ) is the third Legend of Beka Cooper fantasy novel.

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Phantom by L. J. Smith (HarperTeen, 9780062017680) continues the popular YA paranormal series. The tv series based on the books, is in its third season on CW.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 9781451648539; S&S Audio, 9781442346277;  Large print, Thorndike, 9781410445223; Spanish Edition, Vintage Books, 9780307950284) uses interviews–including more than 40 with Jobs himself–to create an encompassing portrait of the late Apple visionary. Isaacson will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday. Sony is reported to be negotiating to buy the rights for a movie version. Although the book is under “strict embargo,” the AP obtained a copy and reports, in a story that is being carried widely, that it “sheds new light” on Jobs. The NYT also managed to snag a copy, and writes about Jobs’s reliance on exotic treatments for his cancer. The Huffington Post claims an exclusive, outlining the book’s major revelations.

Confessions of a Guidette by Nicole Polizzi (Gallery/S&S, 9781451657111) is the latest literary endeavor by the Chilean-American TV star Snooki, who appears on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore.

Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson by Hunter S. Thompson and Jann Wenner (Simon & Schuster, 9781439165959) compiles all of Thompson’s Rolling Stone articles. Johnny Depp’s movie of his late friend Thompson’s only novel, The Rum Diary, opening at the end of the month, is bringing new attention to the author’s works.

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