New Title Radar – Week of 10/31

The holidays are heralded with the release of tie-ins to three major family movies, directed by two major filmmakers. Coming for Thanksgiving is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. At Christmas, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin will be going head-to-head with, um, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.

Heavily anticipated (as documented by New York magazine’s “Anticipation Index“) is Joan Didion’s next memoir Blue Nights, which follows her searing Year of Magical Thinking. We also see the finale of the Wicked series.

Memoir & Biography

Blue Nights
by Joan Didion (Knopf; RH Audio; Large Type, Thorndike) is a memoir of the acclaimed writer’s loss of her adopted daughter in 2005, and her reckoning with herself as an aging, grieving mother. New York magazine has a piercing profile of Didion, with more coverage to follow after the blockbuster success of Didion’s memoir of widowhood, The Year of Magical Thinking. Appearances are scheduled for the Today Show, NPR’s Fresh Air and the Charlie Rose ShowLibrary Journal says, “This worthwhile meditation on parenting and aging by a succinct writer, while at times difficult to read and a bit self-centered, is well worth the emotional toll.”

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleeza Rice (Crown; Random House Audio) is the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State’s story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government. The Washington Post writes that Rice’s confessions of self-doubt and regret are a revelation – and calls it the first serious memoir of the Bush Administration.

Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews (S&S; Thorndike Large Print) is a biography by the host of MSNBC’s Hardball that draws on interviews with friends and former staffers of the 35th President. PW says, “Matthew’s stirring biography reveals Kennedy as a fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, and never accepting the world he found.” Matthews has ready access to TV coverage and will appear on several shows next week, including NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s The View.

Usual Suspects

Zero Day by David Baldacci (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Grand Central Large Print) finds combat veteran and investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division on a brutal murder scene in West Virginia coal country. Preorders have kept it in Amazon’s Top 100 for a month.



Lost December by Richard Paul Evans (Simon and Schuster; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is another feel-good Christmas tale by the mega-selling author, this time featuring the self-made owner of a copy shop empire, Carl, and his estranged son, Luke. Kirkus is not impressed: “Although Luke’s downfall is a mesmerizing train wreck, his redemption is predictable and unearned.”

The Next Always by Nora Roberts (Berkley; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the first installment in a series that draws extensively on the author’s experience running a historic Maryland inn. PW says, “Roberts paints a charming picture of smalltown life with likable characters, but supernatural thriller elements feel out of place in the bucolic contemporary setting, and too much detail about the nuts and bolts of the inns restoration slows down the story.”

Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steele (Delacorte; Brilliance Audio; Random House Large Print) is the story of an Eloise-like girl raised by a single father as he struggles to keep his hotel running while being a responsible parent. PW says, “As usual, Steel leaves nothing of her character’s feelings, backgrounds, or attitudes to reader inference, preferring to spell out every last detail, but who can argue with success?”

Out of Oz: the Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory McGuire (Morrow; HarperAudioHarperLuxe) finds Oz in the midst of civil war, with granddaughter of the infamous Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West, coming of age with a band of friends. Booklist give it a thumbs up: “after the slightly disappointing Son of a Witch (2005) and A Lion among Men (2008), Maguire recaptures his mystical mojo.” The musical based on first in the book series, Wicked is still running on Broadway. News broke in January of a possible ABC TV mini-series based on the book (not the musical). Since there has been no further news, that project may be stalled.

Young Adult

Crossed (Matched Trilogy #2) by Ally Condie (Dutton; Penguin Audiobooks) is the second installment in the popular teen science fiction series. PW says, “Newcomers will need to read the first book for background, but vivid, poetic writing will pull fans through as Condie immerses readers in her characters yearnings and hopes.”

Movie Tie-ins

The Hugo Movie Companion by Brian Selznick (Scholastic) ties in to the movie Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, also by Brian Selznick. The film opens 11/23 (the day before Thanksgiving). Scholastic is also publishing The Hugo Cabret Notebook in November. The first trailer was released this week, followed quickly by a second trailer.


War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Scholastic) ties in to the major Spielberg movie that opens 12/23. The story, about a horse taken from a gentle farm boy and sold into service in WW1, was originally published in Great Britain in 1982.

The Adventures of TinTin by Herge, adapted by Stephanie Peters (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) ties into another big Spielberg movie, opening on Christmas Day. Other tie-ins include a chapter book, picture books, and a middle grade book, (check our list of Upcoming Movies Based on Books for all the tie-ins). LBYR is also re-releasing the Tin Tin originals in new editions.


Comments are closed.