Archive for April, 2012


Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Now that Greg Mortenson has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a suit alleging he mishandled his charity’s money, attention it turning to a civil suit accusing him of misrepresentations in his best-selling books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools.

The Associated Press reports that a hearing is set for today. The suit asks the judge to order refunds to everyone who purchased the book. The story quotes a First Amendment expert who says, “It’s [Mortenson’s] story. It purports to be his experiences … He has the right to publish anything he wants about himself. The idea that you can be sued because perhaps they don’t like what you wrote, for whatever reason, is absurd.”

Ann Patchett on the Non-Pulitzer

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

In today’s NYT Ann Patchett decries the Pulitzer Board’s decision to not award a winner in fiction this year. It’s worth reading just to find out what her favorite books were this year (in addition to being a writer, she is a bookseller). This one short essay is peppered with great lines. Here’s just two, to entice you to read the full piece:

1) With book coverage in the media split evenly between Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games, wouldn’t it have been something to have people talking about The Pale King…?

2) Unfortunately, the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards, which, by the way, is not an institution devoted to choosing the best movie every year as much as it is an institution designed to get people excited about going to the movies.  The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction.

Now It’s Really Official: FIFTY SHADES Is Mainstream

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, E. L. James,  appeared (very uncomfortably) on the Today Show this morning:

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Pulitzer Jurors Shocked Over Lack of Fiction Winner

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

On NPR’s Morning Edition, Pulitzer fiction juror, Susan Larson says that the jurors were “shocked .. angry … and very disappointed” that there was no winner. She says they jury would have been happy if any one of the three finalists had been been chosen.

How can that be? It seems the Pulitzer Board reviews the juror’s votes and makes the final decision. Since there wasn’t a majority, they decided not to award a prize this year.

Poetry Gets the Biggest Pulitzer Bump

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The book that rose the highest on Amazon after yesterday’s announcement of the Pulitzer Prize winners was the winner for poetry (Note: there was no winner for fiction this year).

Here’s how they stack up:


#97 (from #38,923)

More about the Life on Mars from Minnesota Public Radio

Life on Mars: Poems
Tracy K. Smith
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Graywolf Press – (2011-05-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1555975844 / 9781555975845


#141 (from #904) 

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
Stephen Greenblatt
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2012-09-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0393343405 / 9780393343403


#277 (from # 6,736)

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
Manning Marable
Retail Price: $18.00
Paperback: 608 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2011-12-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0143120328 / 9780143120322


#298 (from  #5,567)

George F. Kennan: An American Life
John Lewis Gaddis
Retail Price: $39.95
Hardcover: 800 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2011-11-10)
ISBN / EAN: 1594203121 / 9781594203121

Debut SONG OF ACHILLES on Orange Prize Shortlist

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The judges for the major international prize for books written by women, the UK’s Orange Prize, announced their short list this morning. The prize was created in 1996 by a group of reviewers, librarians, and others in the U.K.’s book world, who felt that book prizes were disproportionately awarded to men.

Among the titles are three that were librarian favorites on GalleyChat:

The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (HarperCollins/Ecco Press)

Several libraries are showing heavy holds on this debut (as high as 10/1), published in early March. It received a strong review from Mary Doria Russell (Doc, Random House, 2011) in the Washington Post. USA Today also reviewed it, saying, “It takes a truly gifted writer to make a song this old feel this beautifully new.”

The Orange Prize judges comment, “Terrific. The Trojan Wars and the legendary love story of Patroclus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence and superstition and romance deserves.”

The Forgotten Waltz, Anne Enright, (Norton, 10/3; Thorndike large print)

This book is still showing a wait list in most libraries after being published in October.

The Orange Prize judges say, “What an achievement, we all thought — a flawed heroine, a modern tale of unromantic adultery and conflicted parental loyalties, and a compelling, believable, lyrical read.” This is the fourth novel for Enright, who lives in Dublin

State of WonderAnn Patchett, (Harper, 6/6; Recorded BooksHarperLuxeHarperAudio; ebook from OverDrive)

The title on the short list that libraries own in the greatest quantities. Nevertheless, most are still dealing with heavy holds.

After the jump, the other three titles on the list:


Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were just announced. The following were the winners in the book categories.

Annotations are from the press release.



NO Award — the first time since 1977. No explanation was offered beyond the statement, “The three books were fully considered, but in the end, none mustered the mandatory majority for granting a prize, so no prize was awarded.”


Train Dreams by Denis Johnson (Macmillan/ FSG) — “a novella about a day laborer in the old American West, bearing witness to terrors and glories with compassionate, heartbreaking calm.”

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Alfred A. Knopf) — “an adventure tale about an eccentric family adrift in its failing alligator-wrestling theme park, told by a 13- year-old heroine wise beyond her years”

The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown and Company) — “a posthumously completed novel, animated by grand ambition, that explores boredom and bureaucracy in the American workplace.”

General Nonfiction


The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton) — “a provocative book arguing that an obscure work of philosophy, discovered nearly 600 years ago, changed the course of history by anticipating the science and sensibilities of today.”



One Hundred Names For Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing, by Diane Ackerman (Norton) — “a resilient author’s account of caring for a stricken husband, sharing fears and insights as she explores neurology and ponders the gift of words.”

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, by Mara Hvistendahl (Public Affairs) — “an evocative, deeply researched book probing the causes and effects of a global imbalance in the gender ratio.”

Winners and finalists in Biography, History and Poetry, after the jump:


Stiefvater’s Next, RAVEN BOYS

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life column offers an “exclusive;” the first two chapters of Maggie Stiefvater’s next YA title, The Raven Boys (it’s actually available to anyone via Scribed), coming from Scholastic on September 18. It’s the first in a planned series of 4 titles.

Based on the excerpt, EW says, “It seems to be an old-school young adult novel, full of mystery on an epic scale.”

Official Site: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2012-09-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0545424925 / 9780545424929

Readers Advisory; PRAGUE FATALE

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Here’s an interesting readers advisory hook; “Downton Abbey with SS.”

That’s how British novelist, Philip Kerr describes his new thriller, Prague Fatale on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He says it’s a “traditional country house sort of mystery.”

It’s the eighth in the author’s series about Bernie Gunther, a cynical Berlin detective. Excerpt available here. Tom Hanks and producing partner Gary Goetzman are in talks to acquire the series for HBO.

Kerr’s about to begin his US book tour, which includes an appearance at the St. Louis (Missouri) County Library.

Official Author Site:

Prague Fatale (Bernie Gunther)
Philip Kerr
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Penguin/Putnam/Marian Wood – (2012-04-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0399159029 / 9780399159022

Thorndike Large Print


Monday, April 16th, 2012

Chralotte Rogan was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about her debut novel, The Lifeboat, the story of a ship’s sinking two years after the Titanic.

The Washington Post reviewed it Friday, saying, “Other novels have examined the conscience and guilt of a survivor among the dead, but few tales are as thoughtful and compelling as this.” It was also on CNN’s list of “Three must-read thrillers for spring” and is a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick.

Holds have risen quickly since we last wrote about it; they are now as high as 10 to 1, on modest orders.

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

Hachette Audio

The NYT On Justice’s Suit Against Publishers

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In today’s New York Times, media columnist David Carr examines the suit that the Justice Department entered last week. It charges Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster of colluding with Apple, against Amazon, to fix prices on eBooks. All but Macmillan and Penguin have agreed to settle (the text of the filing is here).

According to Carr, the action gives Amazon a major advantage; “Amazon has the Justice Department as an ally to rebuild its monopoly and wipe out other players. ”

Time Magazine's Person of the Year, 1999

The press has been in agreement with Carr. The WSJ offered a similar opinion last week, remarking on Justice’s “hyperventilating account of Apple’s negotiations with the publishers” and that “The book industry is defending the very survivability of a book industry whose products are anything but uniform.”

Amazon’s home town paper, The Seattle Times, reports on speculation that Amazon is behind the law suit.

New Title Radar: April 16 – 22

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Among the books you’ll need to know about next week is The President’s Club, which is already moving up Amazon’s sales rankings. A title to watch is Wiley Cash‘s novel about a North Carolina holy roller (join us for a chat with the author on April 24th), and the second and third installments in E.L. James’ bestselling erotica series. UK favorites William Boyd and Graham Swift also return, along with usual suspects David Baldacci, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts, and Stuart Woods. In nonfiction, Jenny Lawton, a.k.a. “The Bloggess,” delivers a tongue-in-cheek memoir of her Texas upbringing.


A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audiobooks) is a debut novel set in a small North Carolina town, where an ex-con and born-again pastor who uses snakes and poison in his ministry sends the town into a religious frenzy. PW calls it “compelling, with an elegant structure and a keen eye for detail, matched with compassionate attention to character.” Cash was on the debut novelists’ panel at PLA. NOTE:  EarlyWord AuthorChat with Wiley Cash is scheduled for April 24th.



Fifty Shades DarkerFifty Shades Trilogy #2 and Fifty Shades FreedFifty Shades Trilogy #2 by E L James (RH/Vintage) are the middle and final volumes in the bestselling erotica trilogy, republished by Vintage after it the series became a huge word-of-mouth success. The e-books are available from OverDrive.


Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Harper; Thorndike Large Print; Audio, Recorded Books) is the Costa/Whitbread Award winner’s latest novel, about a young English actor seeking psychoanalysis in 1913 Vienna, who enters an affair with a woman who cures his sexual problem, but accuses him of rape. British diplomatic authorities come to his rescue, leading to further mysteries and complications. PW says, “as in all of his novels, Boyd speculates about luck and chance and the unpredictable events that can determine a persons life. With its adroit plot twists and themes of deception and betrayal, this is an absorbing spy novel that raises provocative questions.” Following in the footsteps of Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver, it was just announced that Boyd has been chosen by the Ian Fleming estate to write the next in the Bond series, to be published some time next year.

Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift (RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio) is set on the Isle of Wight in 2006, when caravan park proprietor Jack Luxton discovers that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq, and makes the journey to receive his brother’s remains. LJ says, “Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change. Recommended for fans of Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Kazuo Ishiguro, authors with a similar method of slowly developing an intense interior narrative.”


The Innocent by David Baldacci (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Audio) features hitman Will Robi, who is usually called in when the FBI and the military can’t stop an enemy – but this time, he may have made the first mistake of his career.

What Doesn’t Kill Youby Iris Johansen (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) features Catherine Ling, the CIA agent introduced in the Eve Duncan novel Chasing the Night (2010), as she tracks a Chinese master herbalist who has disappeared with the formula to his potent and untraceable poison. PW says, “the intrigue spans the globe and involves superhuman characters from earlier Johansen novels with long histories together. The authors trademark dry wit bolsters the bombastic story line.”

The Witness by Nora Roberts (Penguin/Putnam; Putnam Large Print; Brilliance Audio) is the tale of a woman living under an assumed identity to avoid the Russian mob after witnessing a double murder – but attracts the interest of the local police chief. LJ says, “a brilliant, slightly socially awkward heroine meets a puzzle-loving, protective hero in a taut, riveting drama that’s guaranteed to keep the adrenaline flowing.”

Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds the usual cast – lawyer Stone Barrington, senior associate Herbie Fisher, and NYPD Lt. Dino Bacchetti – overcoming obstacles with aplomb. However, Baldacci can’t bring himself to arrest a former FBI director who turns out to be a serial killer and a great lover. PW says, “Woods’s well-tested formula ensures that the action purrs along fueled by good food, good liquor, good sex, and plenty of wealth.”


Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake, Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini (Hachette/LBYR/Poppy) is a novelization tying into the film release slated for June 1, 2012, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. The book cover, which features Stewart as a knife-wielding warrior princess, ran on Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive “cover peek,” in which they felt they had to explain the concept of novelization: “a kind of reverse-adaptation.” Guess they haven’t seen one in a while.


The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibb and Michael Duffy, (S&S) will be getting strong media attention, including this week’s Time magazine cover; no surprise, since the writers are at the top of that publication’s masthead. Networks are competing for “exclusives” about it; CBS This Morning looked at the four-story D.C. brownstone that serves as the ex-presidents’ “clubhouse” (Barbara Bush characterized it as “a dump”). NBC begins its coverage with the Andrea Mitchell Reports today. The book has already moved to #41 on Amazon sales rankings.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), by the popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” makes hay out of her mostly uneventful upbringing in rural Texas, which involved taxidermy, panic attacks, and a 15-year marriage. Kirkus says, “While Lawson fails to strike the perfect balance between pathos and punch line, she creates a comic character that readers will engage with in shocked dismay as they gratefully turn the pages.”


Friday, April 13th, 2012

Disney is beating the publicity drum for The Serpent’s Shadow, the final volume in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, arriving May first.

USA Today reports on the two-million copy first printing and Riordan’s live webcast on publication day from the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium in San Jose (the series features Egyptian mythology). The webcast is co-sponsored by School Library Journal (sign up for it here).

The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book Three)
Rick Riordan
Retail Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH – (2012-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1423140575 / 9781423140573

Thorndike Large Print; Brilliance Audio

Excerpt here

Author Web site:

Congrats, Adriana Trigiani

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We can hear the prosecco corks popping. The Shoemaker’s Wife, by librarian favorite Adriana Trigiani debuts at #5 on the  NYT bestseller list this week; the author’s highest spot to date.

Trigiani says she changed genres for this book, in response to her readers, who asked her to write a “big lush saga.” She based the story on the life of one of her grandmothers (who is featured in her nonfiction title, Don’t Sing at the Table: Lessons from My Grandmothers, 2010).

Trigiani talks about the book on the Today Show (Kathie Lee & Hoda fawning alert) as well as CBS This Morning.

Below, she thanks librarians for their support during the HarperCollins Buzz panel at ALA MidWinter in January:


The Shoemaker’s Wife
Adriana Trigiani
Retail Price: $21.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2012-04-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0061257095/9780061257094

Audio, read by Annabella Sciorra & Adriana Trigiani; HarperAudio and BOT audio

Author Web site:

J.K. Rowling’s Next Book

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Following up on her February announcement that her next book will be for adults, J.K. Rowling revealed the title today, The Casual Vacancy, and the release date, Sept. 27.

It’s described by the publisher, Hachette/Little, Brown, as “darkly comic.”

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
Hachette/Little,Brown; 480 pages (approx)
Hardcover, 9780316228534, $35
Hachette Large print, 9780316228541, $39
Hachette Audio,9781619695009, $49.98

Publisher annotation:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.