Archive for April, 2012

Readers Advisory; THE INQUISITOR

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

One of our earlier New Title Radar Watch List titles gets the lead review in Marilyn Stasio’s NYT mystery column this week. Stasio calls Mark Allen Smith’s The Inquisitor(Macmillan/ Holt; Macmillan Audio) a “weird but transfixing first novel.” The main character, Geiger, is a professional torturer, who is transformed into a sympathetic character when he has to care for a young boy. He doesn’t give up torturing, however. Says Stasio, “The curious result is something like an X-rated Disney movie — extremely graphic scenes of physical violence and mental suffering embedded in a rather sweet adventure story about a damaged man who heals himself by saving a child from a similar fate.”

The burst on the cover is a blurb from Nelson DeMille, “This is one of the best and most engrossing debut novels I’ve read in years.”

On his Web site, the author notes that he is working on a second novel featuring Geiger. An excerpt is also available on the site.

Library ordering was generally light (except for one system that ordered over 70 copies for their 20+ branches; all are turning over rapidly) and most libraries are showing holds.

The Irma Black Award Winner

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Thousands of children have discussed, considered and voted and the 2012 winner of the Irma Black Award is  — What Animals Really Like, written and illustrated by Fiona Robinson

What Animals Really Like
Fiona Robinson
Retail Price: $15.95
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers – (2011-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 081098976X / 9780810989764

Each year, the Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award) is presented to an outstanding book for young children—a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable. The Irma Black Award is a children’s choice award in that children are the final judges of the winning book. This year, over 9,000 children internationally read or heard aloud all four finalists.

The winning book receives a gold seal. The other three finalists are honor books and receive a silver seal, both designed by Maurice Sendak.

The silver award winners are:

Peter Brown
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Hachette/LBYR  – (2011-09-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0316070300 / 9780316070300


I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen
Retail Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press – (2011-09-27)
ISBN / EAN: 0763655988 / 9780763655983


All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel
Dan Yaccarino
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers – (2011-03-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0375866426 / 9780375866425

The award will be presented on May 17th at an 8:30 am in a ceremony at the Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY.  The keynote speaker this year is Paul O. Zelinsky, an Irma Black Honor winner for Dust Devil, the sequel to Swamp Angel.  Teachers and librarians are invited to attend. RSVP here.

Fiona Robinson’s hilarious picture book What Animals Really Like (Abrams, 2011), which delivers a subtle message about the dangers of stereotyping, is this year’s winner of the Irma S. Black & James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature.


Vote for Your Favorite Book Bloggers

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Independent Book Blogger Association asks you to vote for your favorite independent blog.

You can vote for one blog in each of four categories (you must be a member of Goodreads to be eligible to vote). The finalists will then be judged by a panel of industry members. The winners will be given a trip to BookExpo America.

Unfortunately, if your favorite book blog isn’t a candidate (we’re sorry that neither Overbooked nor Lesa’s Book Critiques entered), it can be tough to sort through all 800 entries. You might want to consider these library sites:

Wake County Public Libraries Book-a-Day Blog — in North Carolina

Reviews for You — from Half Hallow Hills Community Library (NY)

YAthink? — Burbank Public Library’s Teen Blog

Ryan O’Neal’s Memoir

Friday, April 20th, 2012

News stories that actor Ryan O’Neal has prostate cancer mention that he has a book coming out the week after next, a memoir of his relationship with Farrah Fawcett.

Both of Us: My Life with Farrah
Ryan O’Neal, Jodee Blanco, Kent Carroll
Hardcover: $26.00; 9780307954824
Publisher: Crown Archetype – (2012-05-01)
Audio: RH Audio; 9780307988515

New Title Radar: April 23 – 29th

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Next week, Stephen King returns with a surprise installment in the Dark Tower series that supposedly ended in 2004, and Jonathan Franzen returns with a new essay collection. Meanwhile, British author Rosamond Lupton follows up on her hit debut with a tearjearker thriller, and Sandra Dallas makes her debut by exploring a dark chapter in Mormon history.

In nonfiction, President Obama’s half-sister releases a memoir as does Anna Quindlen and a book about the House of Representatives is set to grab headlines.

Watch List

True Sisters by Sandra Dallas (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a work of historical fiction about four women, recruited to Mormonism with Brigham Young’s promise of a handcart to wheel across the desert to Salt Lake City, who help each other survive what turns out to be a harrowing journey. Kirkus says, “readers enticed by the HBO program Big Love will be particularly interested in the origins of this insular community. This fact-based historical fiction, celebrating sisterhood and heroism, makes for a surefire winner.”

Rising Star

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (RH/Crown) is the UK author’s followup to Sister, her popular debut. This one is narrated by Grace, a mother whose spirit hovers above her brain-dead body in the hospital after she rescues her 17-year-old daughter Jenny from a school fire set by an arsonist, while her sister-in-law leads the police investigation. LJ calls it “a wonderful mix of smart thriller with tear-provoking literature; a fine blend of Jodi Picoult and P.D. James.”

Usual Suspects

The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King (S&S/Scribner; Simon & Schuster Audio) adds a short, eighth installment to the Dark Tower series that appeared to end in 2004. Largely a flashback to hero Roland Deschain’s gunslinger days, it can stand alone or fit between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. Kirkus says, “If it weren’t for the profanity which liberally seasons the narrative, it could pass as a young adult fantasy, a foul-mouthed Harry Potter (with nods toward The Wizard of Oz and C.S. Lewis). It even ends with a redemptive moral, though King mainly concerns himself here with spinning a yarn.”

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a paranormal historical romance featuring an undercover psychic investigator and fiction writer who finds herself fleeing from an assassin for the second time – and into the arms of a man who may be far more dangerous. LJ raves: “Quick infuses her own addictive brand of breathless, sexy adventure with dashes of vengeance, greed, and violence and a hefty splash of delectable, offbeat humor.”

Young Adult

Rebel Fire: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins, Book 2 by Andrew Lane (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Young Listeners) pits 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes against assassin John Wilkes Booth, who is apparently alive and well in England, and mixed up with Holmes’s American tutor Amyus Crowe. Kirkus says, “abductions, frantic train rides, near-death experiences and efforts of [Holmes and] friends to save one another increase suspense with each chapter. A slam-bang climax and satisfying conclusion will please readers while leaving loose threads for further volumes.”


Farther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen ((Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio) gathers essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, including his account of dispersing some of David Foster Wallace’s ashes on the remote island of Masafuera, excerpted in the New Yorker. Kirkus says, “Franzen can get a bit schoolmarmish and crotchety in his caviling against the horrors of modern society, and he perhaps overestimates the appeal of avian trivia to the general reader, but anyone with an interest in the continued relevance of literature and in engaging with the world in a considered way will find much here to savor. An unfailingly elegant and thoughtful collection of essays from the formidable mind of Franzen, written with passion and haunted by loss.”

And Then Life Happens: A Memoir by Auma Obama (Macmillan/St. Martin’s) is a memoir by President Obama’s half-sister, who was born a year before her brother to Barack Obama Sr.’s first wife, Kezia. Auma’s meeting with her brother in Chicago in 1984 “marks the brightest moment in this eager-to-please work,” according to Kirkus, “and paved the way for his subsequent trips to Kenya and warmly unfolding relationship with his African family.”

My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall (RH/Crown Archetype; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) expands on film and television producer Marshall’s 1997 memoir, Wake Me When It’s Funny, but Kirkus complains that Marshall “isn’t very funny. Or at least this book isn’t. Nor is it serious, mean, scandalous or particularly revelatory. It’s just nice. Marshall has gotten along fine with some difficult actors–including his sister, Penny, and the beleaguered Lindsay Lohan–and has apparently remained friends with everyone with whom he has ever worked…This is a Fudgsicle of a showbiz memoir.”

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas (Hyperion Books) interwines baking and crafting, showing home cooks how to make beautiful sweets, based on the author’s award-winning blog, Sweet Designs.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Robert Draper, (S&S), is by the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush. This one is described by the publisher as “a revealing and riveting look at the new House of Representatives.” No pre-pub reviews indicate it’s embargoed. It will be featured on many news shows next week, including NPR’s Weekend Edition, CBS This Morning, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (RH/Crown; RH Large Print; BOT Audio) will, of course, be featured on many shows next week, including CBS This Morning and The Charlie Rose Show (PBS). An NPR Fresh Air interview is in the works.

The Pulitzer’s False Impression

Friday, April 20th, 2012


The Pulitzer Awards were overshadowed this week by a category which had no winner; fiction. For those that don’t know the inner workings of the Pulitzer decisions, this gave a false impression that, as the Huffington Post first reported, “This year, nobody was good enough.”

Among those who were shocked by the decision were the three members of  the fiction jury. On NPR’s Morning Edition, juror Susan Larson spoke for all of them, saying they were “shocked … angry … and very disappointed” and that any one of the three was worthy of the prize. Juror Michael Cunningham (who won for The Hours in 1999) told The Daily Beast that “there’s something amiss in a system where three books this good are presented and there’s not a prize.” Under that system, the jurors give a short list to the Pulitzer Board, which chooses the winner. When the board could not come up with a majority, no prize is awarded.

Why does it matter? As Ann Patchett points out in the NYT, the Pulitzer “gives the buzz that is so often lacking in our industry.” And that buzz translates into sales, as Publishers Weekly documents.

Julianne Moore May Play CARRIE’s Mom

Friday, April 20th, 2012

A new film version of Stephen King’s Carrie is in the works, starring Chloe Moetz in the title role. News this week that Julianne Moore is in talks to play her crazed  religious fanatic mother (Piper Laurie had the role in the Brian de Palma 1976 version) has changed reactions from “There they go again,” to “Intriguing.”

The movie is now set for release on March 15, 2013.

This version will be directed by Kimberley Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). How will she approach it? On her Facebook page, she says she’s going back to the original material:

… I have gone back to the wonderful STEPHEN KING Book CARRIE; I am also modernizing the story as one has to in order to bring any great piece of work written in one era into the next and especially given how very relevant this material is right now.

Wiley Cash Chat on Tuesday

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

We’re seeing holds stack up in some libraries as attention builds for  Wiley Cash’s debut novel, A Land More Kind than Home (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audio), published on Tuesday. Holds are particularly heavy in libraries in the author’s home state of North Carolina.

Good news; you can join us for a chat with the author this coming Tuesday, April 24.

This week, Cash was profiled in USA Today. His book also received several  great reviews:

Kansas City Star (syndicated); “Wiley Cash delivers a lyrical, poignant debut that melds crime fiction with Southern gothic for an emotional story about two brothers.”

St. Augustine Record, “For an author to settle so comfortably into the skin of a character that he can bring them to life as real as any person you’ve actually known is a special talent… and Cash does it times three.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinal; compares it favorably to Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, adding, “Cash writes with confidence and compassion about a part of America ‘where people can take hold of religion like it’s a drug”…Cash’s story layers all of this into a beautifully written morality tale.”

Hope to see you on Tuesday for the chat.

Dude, Where’s My Book?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The following video has had over 16 million hits since its launch in December:

The two sequels have had over 8 million and 4 million hits each (face it, they’re just not up to the original).

Harlequin has just signed creators Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard for a book based on the series, to be released in October, as reported by several news sources (The L.A. Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Huffington Post). At this point, it is not listed on wholesaler, retailer, or the publisher’s web sites.

PROM In People

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The Book Reviews section of People magazine is often a refreshing contrast to the relentlessly upbeat tone of the rest of the magazine. This week, it features a documentary photographer’s look at an American ritual and its delusions, Prom by Mary Ellen Mark, (Getty Publications).

A.J. Jacobs’ Finds the Right Formula

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy is the third in his “triathlon devoted to upgrading my mind, my spirit and my body,” following The Know-It All (2004) which chronicled his reading of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and The Year of Living Biblically, (2007), in which he did just that.

It seems readers are more interested in his pursuit of physical perfection than in intellectual or spiritual. His newest title arrives on the USA Today best seller list at #42, the highest spot for the series to date.

Drop Dead Healthy
A. J. Jacobs
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2012-04-10)
ISBN / EAN: 141659907X/9781416599074

Other Formats: Thorndike Press; Simon & Schuster Audio

NIGHT TO REMEMBER, A Best Seller Again

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The classic title on the sinking of the Titanic, Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, (Macmillan/Holt)  is back on the USA Today best seller list, nearly 60 years after it was first published in 1955, at #16. However, this time, it’s the e-Book edition that is listed (published by Open Road, which makes its books available to libraries via OverDrive).

Its most recent appearance was Jan. 15, 1998 (shortly after  James Cameron’s movie hit theaters the first time around).


Stephenie Meyer, Producer

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Lois Duncan has a powerful fan. Variety announced yesterday that Stephenie Meyer’s production company, Fickle Fish, has acquired the film rights to Duncan’s 1974 novel Down a Dark Hall (Hachette/Little, Brown).

Meyer confirms the story on her Web site, commenting, “I grew up reading and loving Lois Duncan novels, and I can’t believe my good luck that I get to be involved with this project. Down a Dark Hall was my favorite of her novels (though it’s a very close race with Summer of Fear and Stranger with My Face) and it gave me some serious nightmares when I was nine.”

She also notes that filming of her own novel, The Host, is almost finished. It’s scheduled for release on March 29.

Debut Best Seller; THE LIFEBOAT

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

We’ve been following the rise of Charlotte Rogan’s debut novelThe Lifeboat, which has received admiring reviews (check out the Washington Post’s) and media attention (including an interview the author on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday) as well as growing holds.  It arrives on the new Indie Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list at #10 (you can also expect to see it on the upcoming NYT list).

The Lifeboat: A Novel
Charlotte Rogan
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur – (2012-04-03)
ISBN : 9780316185905

Also: Hachette Audio

An EarlyWord “Book of the Week,” Ron Rash’s The Cove (Harper/Ecco; Thorndike Large Print) is noted as “on the rise.”

Donna Leon is still on the rise. Her 21st Commissario Brunetti mystery, Beastly Things, (Atlantic Monthly; Thorndike Large PrintAudioGo), moves up to #7, after debuting at the highest spot ever for the author last week.

Unsurprisingly, John Grisham’s baseball novel, Calico Joe,(RH/Doubleday) arrives on the list at #1.


Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, the third movie in the series, has just been released. It lands in theaters on August 3.

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Yes, lead actor Zachary Gordon has done a bit of growing. Earlier this month, he told USA Today, “I’ve grown 13 inches since the first movie and my voice is really deep now. People will be surprised. But then they’ll see it is Greg. He’s still the same kid.”

The tie-in is the an expanded edition of the earlier The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, with updates from the new movie. It arrives July 1.