New Title Radar – Week of November 14

Photo: Lisa Von Drasek

You don’t need us to tell you that the next title in the Wimpy Kid series is around the corner, arriving on Tuesday, Nov 15 (above, Bank Street Books, one of six bookstores nationwide that was “wrapped” in anticipation of the big day). In this, the sixth in the series, Cabin Fever, (Amulet/Abrams) Greg Heffley finds himself in big trouble after school property is damaged. 

You and your kids can join Jeff Kinney via Webcast at 10 a.m., Eastern, this coming Tuesday, Nov. 15, for his appearance at the Bank Street College of Education (where EarlyWord Kids correspondent is the librarian). Register here (space is limited). The visit is being recorded and will be Webcast from School Library Journal, a few days later.

On the adult side, it seems to be the week of fiction based on reality. The three Kardashian sisters give us a novel about three celebrity sisters, Ann Beattie imagines the life of Pat Nixon, and  there’s even a novel about the Bin Laden raid. The week is rounded out by actual memoirs, including one by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her astronaut husband Mark Kelley, TV host Regis Philbin, basketball giant Shaquille O’Neal and actress/director/photographer Diane Keaton.

Fiction Based on Fact

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life by Ann Beattie (Scribner/S&S; Audio, Dreamscape Media) is a fictional portrait of reticent First Lady Pat Nixon. In a starred review, Booklist said, “Beattie has created a resplendent paean to the pleasures of the literary imagination, and a riveting and mischievous, revealing and revitalizing portrait of an overlooked woman of historic resonance.” But Kirkus cautions, “there’s a whiff of condescension about the whole enterprise.” Last week, the New York Times ran an essay by Beattie  about writing the book.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events by John Weisman (Morrow/HarperCollins; HarperLuxe Large Print) is a fictionalized account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid on his hideout. Kirkus says, “the novel is much better than the typical military fare, but like the inevitable movie, it’s also not as strange or impressive as the truth. A down-and-dirty thriller that feels as rushed as its publication date.”

Dollhouse by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian (Morrow/HarperCollins) is a novel about a trio of rich sisters with celebrity problems – not unlike the authors, who are best known for their TV show, the E! Reality Series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As the New York Times Media Decoder blog noted, “the ending of Kim Kardashian’s unusually brief marriage happened to be beautifully timed with a planned Kardashian book blitz” that includes the recently released Kardashian Konfidential, with pictures of the wedding that occurred 72 days ago.

Literary Favorites

The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo (Scribner; S&S Audio) includes stories ranging from the fiction master’s jazz-infused early work to the minimalism of his later stories. Library Journal says, “For readers of literary fiction, this book is a good introduction to DeLillo’s iconic postmodern style, though those new to the genre may find it a somewhat hard pill to swallow.” Indie booksellers see it as having broader appeal; it’s the #1 Indie Next pick for November.

Usual Suspects

Devil’s Gate by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam; Wheeler Large Print; Penguin Audio) is the latest adventure featuring the NUMA Special Assignments Team. PW says, “thriller fans who aren’t too picky about credibility will be most rewarded.”

Kill Alex Cross (Alex Cross Series #18) by James Patterson (Little, Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) finds the President’s teenage children slipping away from the Secret Service and into the hands of a sadist. PW is not impressed, saying that the story line is recycled from Along Came a Spider, and that “Patterson neither sweats the details nor invests his lead with more than two dimensions.”

V Is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Series #22) by Sue Grafton (Marion Wood/Putnam; Thorndike Large Print; Random House Audio) invites speculation about how this venerated series will end, just four installments from now. Still, Kirkus likes this one reasonably well: “Grafton is as original, absorbing and humane as ever. The joints just creak a bit.”

Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum Series #17) by Janet Evanovich (Bantam/RH; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) has been on Amazon’s top 100 sales rankings for a while now. The film One for the Money, based on the 1994 book that launched the Stephanie Plum series, is now set for January 2012.


Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly with Jeffrey Zaslow (Scribner/S&S; Thorndike Press; S&S Audio) is the story of the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona and her astronaut husband, and includes her ongoing recovery from the Tucson shooting, which has left her continuing to struggle with language and with only 50 percent of her vision in both eyes. It is excerpted and on the cover of the new issue of People magazine.

How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin (It Books/HarperCollins; HarperLuxe Large Print; HarperAudio) is the memoir of the television host and entertainer and comes a month before he retires, with an announced 500,000-copy first printing.

Then Again by Diane Keaton (Random House; Random House Audio) is the film star’s memoir of her bond with her mother, Dorothy, who kept eighty-five journals about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself, in a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.

Shaq Uncut: My Story (on Library catalogs as Tall Tales and Untold Stories) by Shaqulle O’Neal and Jackie MacMullan (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is the National Basketball Association giant’s memoir. PW says, “O’Neal has intriguing insights into the fraught group dynamics of a sport where positional roles are uniquely ill-defined… Preening and prickly, Shaq’s reminiscences illuminate the knotty psychology behind the swagger.” This one began rising on Amazon 11/2/11.

Current Events

Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton and Lisa Pulitzer (Morrow/HarperCollins) gives the prosecutor’s account of the murder investigation and trial.

From Yesterday to TODAY: Six Decades of America’s Favorite Morning Show by Stephen Battaglio (Running Press) chronicles the history of NBC’s Today Show.

Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll (Norton) uses primary sources, maps and illustrations to explore the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway from both sides.

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