Archive for April, 2012


Monday, April 30th, 2012

As we head toward Mother’s Day, a book about a decidedly non-Hallmark-card mother/daughter relationship, Alison Bechdel’s new graphic novel, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #29) in advance of its publication tomorrow.

It received an impassioned review in this week’s NYT BR and the author is interviewed in The Barnes and Noble Review/Salon.

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama
Alison Bechdel
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – (2012-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0618982507 / 9780618982509


QUIET Gets Loud Reception

Monday, April 30th, 2012

It can be trying for an author, after laboring months over a book in relative solitude, to suddenly face the glare of the book promotion spotlight. For the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, (RH/Crown; RHAudio; OverDrive ebook and audio; Center Point Large Print), the book tour took on an extra element of irony.

As Susan Cain writes in an essay in this week’s NYTBR,  her conversion to “that impossibly oxymoronic creature: the Public Introvert” required her to do “the very thing my book questions: putting down my pen and picking up a microphone.”

She writes about preparing for her most terrifying assignment; a speech for the TED conference.

She clearly succeeded; libraries continue to show heavy holds on her book, which after 11 weeks on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list, just moved to the extended list at #16 (it’s at #7 on the current Indie list, after 13 weeks).

HEADHUNTERS Arrives in US Theaters

Monday, April 30th, 2012

After setting box office records for the Norwegian film industry, Headhunters, based on Jo Nesbo’s stand-alone thriller, opened this weekend in New York and Los Angeles and will expand to more theaters through May.

It was reviewed widely, receiving generally strong critical response, with the exception of the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal critic went so far as to put it on his “short list of the most enjoyable movies in recent memory.”

And, yes, following in the footsteps of movies based on Stieg Larsson’s books, an American version is in the works. Last October, it was announced that Summit had acquired the rights. Mark Wahlberg  recently gave the production a push. He was so impressed with the Norwegian film that he says he “pleaded with the studio that has the rights” to make an English-language version.

Official Movie Site:

Headhunters (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Jo Nesbo
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: RH/Vintage – (2012-04-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0345803477 / 9780345803474

Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese has been attached to direct a film based on the seventh book in Nesbo’s Harry Hole series, The Snowman. It’s one of many projects the director has in the works, so it’s anyone’s guess which will make it to the screen first.

New Title Radar: April 30th – May 6

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Next week is a big one for memoir and biography, with the much-anticipated fourth installment in Robert Caro‘s biography of Lyndon Johnson, plus memoirs by Dan Rather and Ryan O’Neal, and an oral history of NBC-TV’s triumphant turnaround in the 1990s by former executive Warren Littlefield. It also brings a debut novel by Brandon Jones about human trafficking in North Korea and Nell Freudenberger‘s sophomore novel of cross-cultural marriage. And, new titles are soming from usual suspects Charlayne Harris and Ace Atkins filling in for Robert Spenser, and the latest installments in popular YA series by Kristin Cashore and Rick Riordan.

Watch List

All Woman and Springtime by Brandon Jones (Workman/Algonquin; Highbridge Audio) is a debut novel about two North Korean girls who form an immutable bond when they meet in an orphanage, but are betrayed and sold into prostitution at age 17, taking them on a damaging journey to South Korea and ultimately a brothel in Seattle. LJ calls it “impossible to put down,” adding “this work is important reading for anyone who cares about the power of literature to engage the world and speak its often frightening truths.”

Critical Success

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) is the author’s second novel of cultural confrontation, this time featuring Amina, a 24 year old Bangladeshi woman who becomes the e-mail bride of George, an electrical engineer in Rochester, NY. It’s heavily anticipated by the critics, as indicated by the number of early reviews in the consumer press. It gets the cover of the NYT Book Review this coming Sunday, Ron Charles reviewed it earlier this week in the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly gives it a solid A.

Usual Suspects

Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood #12) by Charlaine Harris (Penguin/Ace Books; Recorded Books; Wheeler Large Print) is the penultimate title in this popular supernatural series, as Sookie Stackhouse and her friends struggle with the consequences of the death of the powerful vampire Victora. PW says, “as loyalties realign and betrayals are unmasked, Harris ably sets the stage for the ensembleas last hurrah.”

Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins (Penguin/Putnam; Random House Audio) finds Parker’s PI invesigating a women’s death at the request of her 14 year old daughter. PW says that “Atkins hits all the familiar marks – bantering scenes with Spenseras girlfriend, fisticuffs, heavy-duty backup from the dangerous Hawk – as he offers familiar pleasures. At the same time, he breaks no new ground, avoiding the risk of offending purists and the potential rewards of doing something a bit different with the characters.”

Young Adult

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Penguin/Dial Books; Penguin Audiobooks) arrives to the sound of YA librarians and their readers screams of “at last!”  Kirkus says of this followup to Graceling (2008) and Fire (2009), “devastating and heartbreaking, this will be a disappointment for readers looking for a conventional happy ending. But those willing to take the risk will — like Bitterblue — achieve something even more precious: a hopeful beginning.”

The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles Series #3) by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion; Thorndike Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the conclusion to this bestselling YA fantasy series, in which Carter and Sade Kane risk death and the fate of the world to tame the chaos snake with an ancient spell.


Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News by Dan Rather (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio) reveals that the TV news anchor felt “his lawsuit against his former network was worth it, even though the $70 million breach-of-conduct case was rejected by New York courts,” according to the Associated Press, which broke the embargo on this book, on sale May 1. Kirkus calls it “an engaging grab-bag: part folksy homage to roots, part expose of institutional wrongdoing and part manifesto for a truly free press.”


The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro (RH/Knopf; Brilliance Audio) is the fourth volume in Caro’s series on Lyndon Johnson, focusing on the years between his senatorship and presidency, when he battled Robert Kennedy for the 1960 Democratic nomination for president, and undertook his unhappy vice presidency. Caro is the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile, and will doubtless get an avalanche of coverage, starting with Entertainment Weekly‘s review (it gets an A-). Kirkus notes, “the fifth volume is in the works, and it is expected to cover Johnson’s election to the White House and his full term, with the conduct of the Vietnam War ceaselessly dogging him.”

Both of Us: My Life with Farrah by Ryan O’Neal (RH/Crown Archtype; Center Point Large Print; Random House Audio) is the story of film actor O’Neal’s enduring love for TV actress Fawcell – from the love that flared when she was married to Lee Major, to their marriage that ended in 1997, and their eventual reunion for three years before Fawcell died from cancer in 2009. The book is excerpted in the new issue of People magazine (5/7).

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield and T.R. Pearson (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is an oral history by NBC’s former president of entertainment, with a chorus of voices including Jerry Seinfeld, Kelsey Grammar and Sean Hayes, as they discuss the ups and downs of turning NBC into a multi-billion dollar broadcasting company in the 1990’s. PW says, “these revelatory glimpses of those glory days make this one of the more entertaining books published about the television industry.”

Not Your Ordinary Book Trailer

Friday, April 27th, 2012

We generally hate book trailers that try to come across like cheap imitations of their movie counterparts. This one seems to fall into that trap, but a clever twist rescues it.

It’s for The Family Corleone by Ed Falco, a prequel to The Godfather.

Author Web Site:

Libraries are showing a few holds on light ordering at this point.

The Family Corleone
Ed Falco
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2012-05-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0446574627 / 9780446574624

Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print

Candice Millard Wins Edgar Award

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The nominees for the Edgars in the Best Fact Crime category demonstrate how much the category of narrative nonfiction has grown in the last few years. Fact Crime, once dominated by lurid tales of bloody murders, now features books that look at history through the lens of crime. A prime example is the winner, announced last night, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard (RH/Doubleday; Thorndike large print). It is also a 2011 ALA Notable Book and was included on many of the year’s best books lists. Most libraries are still showing holds, despite heavy buying.

The winner in the Best Novel category is Mo Hayder, for the fifth book in her Jack Caffery series, Gone, now available in trade paperback.

Grove/Atlantic is in the process of publishing this British author’s books in trade paperback in the U.S. The first in the series, Birdman (9780802146120), will be published in May (also in audio by Dreamscape). The second, The Treatment (9780802146137; Dreamscape audio) is coming in July. Downloadable audio available on OverDrive.

Author Web site:

Mo Hayder
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Grove Press – (2012-02-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0802145701 / 9780802145703

The full list of nominees and winners is here.


Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Jennifer Lawrence, star of The Hunger Games, is in talks to play the lead in the movie version of Jeannette Wells’ The Glass Castle,(S&S/Scribner), a best seller ever since it was published in 2005.

Lawrence begins shooting Catching Fire in September.

New Best Seller; LET’S PRETEND

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” is now an old-media hit.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), arrives on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #4 (and #17 on the USA Today list).

You can expect to see it in a high spot on the upcoming NYT list (the author spills the beans on her own site, so why shouldn’t we? It arrives at #1 on the Combined Print & E-Book list and at #2 on the Print Nonfiction list).

Over  to you, taxidermied mouse:

Parenting Comic Lands on Indie Best Seller List

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Here’s a great premise: “What if Darth Vader had a 4-year-old?” How would he handle potty time or bedtime stories? That’s the basis for Jeffrey Brown’s graphic novel  Darth Vader and Son (Chronicle), which debuts at #10 on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list this week.

The author was recently interviewed in the L.A. Times and USA Today’s PopCandy blog said, “Something tells me Brown’s latest effort, Darth Vader and Son is going to be quite a hit.”

A few libraries own it in small quantities.

Darth Vader and Son (Star Wars (Chronicle))
Jeffrey Brown
Retail Price: $14.95
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books – (2012-04-18)
ISBN / EAN: 145210655X / 9781452106557

Colbert Makes Good on His Threat

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

When Stephen Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak in late February, he threatened to write his own kids book, I Am a Pole (And So Can You!). After he outlined the idea, Sendak proclaimed, “The sad thing is, I like it!” Colbert immediately pounced on that quote for his blurb.

And, so it came to pass:

I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)
Stephen Colbert
Retail Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Hachette/Grand Central – (2012-05-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1455523429 / 9781455523429

Amazingly, the book is also going to be available in audio (Hachette Audio).

Colbert’s description of the book begins at the 3:13 time mark in the video below (but how can you not watch the entire thing?).

True to Colbert’s prediction (and Sendak’s irritation) it will also be an eBook, but Hachette no longer sells their eBooks to libraries.

The book’s “popular illustrator with a horrible sense of design” is not named.


Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

NPR’s Fresh Air featured the novels of the “absurdist noir” Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov yesterday, calling him the “most sheerly enjoyable of the new Russian authors” and his books, “short, sly page-turners.” Although the author is little-known in the US, he is “already a cult writer in Europe.” His works have not been available in the US until Melville House recently began publishing them under their International Crime imprint (Brooklyn-based Melville House got its own sly reference in the 4/15 premiere of HBO’s new series, The Girls).

The most recent title released here is The Case of the General’s Thumb, (reviewed in Shelf Awareness),”a sardonically amusing romp that’s well worth reading,” but the reviewer suggests starting with Kurkov’s 1996 novel Death and the Penguin. The book nearly cracked the Amazon  Top 100 list as a result, rising to #108 (from #479,549).

Excerpts are available on the book’s title pages on the Melville House site.

All the Melville House  editions of Kurkov’s book are available as eBooks via OverDrive.

Death and the Penguin (Melville International Crime)
Andrey Kurkov
Retail Price: $10.99
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Melville International Crime – (2011-06-07)
ISBN: 9781935554554

The Case of the General’s Thumb (Melville International Crime)
Andrey Kurkov
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Melville International Crime – (2012-02-21)
ISBN: 9781612190600

Melville House offers a simple but frightening book trailer for Penguin Lost, the sequel to Death and the Penguin (both books feature a penguin that the main character adopts when the local zoo can no longer afford to keep it).

Lisa Von D. — World Book Night

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Last night, I was a “giver” for World Book Night. It was so much fun, from opening my Giver Boxes, with specially printed editions of Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie (thanks to Kate, who like all the authors, gave up royalties on these special editions, Candlewick and all the other publishers who donated books and the printers and binders who created the special editions)…

…to delighting kids with a free book (yes, the diner in the background on the left IS from Seinfeld).


…to the adults who wanted to get in on the act:

For a list of all the books in the program, click here. More stories and photos on the WBN Facebook page.

Missed out this year? Join the mailing list to be updated on next year’s program.

Not To Worry; CATCHING FIRE Will Have a Director

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Not that there was any real concern after Gary Ross bowed out of directing Catching Fire, the sequel to his hugely successful Hunger Games, but the announcement that an offer has been made, brought some sighs of relief. Without a director, the release date, Nov. 23, 2013, is now looming.

After much speculation, the candidates have been narrowed down to Francis Lawrence, who directed I Am Legend and Water for Elephants. He hasn’t officially signed on yet, so there’s the outside possibility that could change. Fans are excited by the choice and Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson has signaled his approval.


Have Fun, Book Givers!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Thanks to all of you who are going out tonight to “Spread the Love of Reading, Person to Person” as you give out books to surprised (and delighted) strangers on World Book Night.

Share your stories by @ tagging World Book Night USA in your Facebook posts (organizer Carl Lennertz begs you not to email your photos; it will crash the mailbox). On Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, use the hashtag #wbnamerica. We’re already seeing some great stories and photos on the WBN Facebook page.

USA Today ran an inspiring feature on the program today. An Associated Press story also appears in many newspapers across the country.

Book giveaways are also going on in the UK, Germany and Ireland (it may not be an actual worldwide event yet, but it’s more so than the World Series).

Have fun everyone, and be safe out there.

If you missed out this year, sign up here to be involved in the program next year.

THINK LIKE A MAN Tops Box Office

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Critics said it comes across more like an infomercial for the book than a movie, but Think Like a Man managed to knock The Hunger Games off the top spot on box office charts this weekend.

The subject of the infomercial part is, of course, Steve Harvey’s best seller, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (HarperCollins/Amistad). The source material hasn’t toppled the Hunger Games book trilogy, but it does appear immediately below that series, at #7 on Amazon’s best seller list (a certain other trilogy, as yet not made into a movie, holds the top three positions). The tie-in edition is further down the list, at #635.