New Title Radar: May 14 – 20

Our list of eleven titles you need to know next week, includes Jai Pausch’s memoir about coming to terms with the loss of her husband, Randy, whose book, The Last Lecture, has been an enduring favorite. The author of Friday Night Lights writes a new book about traveling with his brain-damaged son. On our Watch List is a book libraries may have under bought and a Nancy Pearl pick for the summer.

Watch List

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri (HarperCollins) is the followup to the 2009 word-of-mouth hit, The Lacemakers of Glenmara. Library orders range widely, with Cuyahoga (OH) buying the most; over 150 copies for their 28 branches, even though there are few holds on it so far. Head of collection development, Wendy Bartlett took a stand on the book because the previous book was a long-running local hit, with people continuing to place holds over a year after it was published. Wake County (NC) has bought more conservatively, and has much higher holds than other libraries we checked. Recreation Reading Librarian, Janet Lockhart believes holds are based on the cover and description, featured on their catalog, which appeals to anyone looking forward to summer on the beach. The Lacemakers of Glenmara is still circulating in both libraries, creating a built-in audience. Note: The author lives in Seattle and the book is set in Maine. CRYSTAL BALL: Most libraries can use more copies of this; with that cover and author name recognition, it will turn over quickly.

The Lola Quartet by Emily St John Mandel (Unbridled Books) explores the lives of the members of a suburban Florida high school jazz quartet as their paths cross ten years later, and they face the disappointments of adulthood, from lost jobs to unplanned progeny to addiction. This is a Nancy Pearl pick for the summer, as were the author’s previous two novels, both of which were critical successes.

Literary Favorites

The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey (RH/Knopf) is a tale of love and loneliness by the two-time Booker winner focusing on a museum conservator in London who plunges into a project to restore an automaton as she silently grieves the death of her lover of 13 years, who was married to someone else. Booklist says, “Carey’s gripping, if at times overwrought, fable raises provocative questions about life, death, and memory and our power to create and destroy.” The Wall St. Journal has an interview with the author.

Usual Suspects

The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry (RH/Ballantine; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) is a standalone thriller in which a journalist works to decipher the artifacts left in his father’s coffin, leading to discoveries about Christopher Columbus. The author is usually compared to Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler, but here, he is working in the Dan Brown mode.

Stolen Prey by John Stanford (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audiobooks) is the 22nd novel featuring Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, as he investigates the murder of a family in their lakeside trophy house.


The Accused (Theodore Boone Series #3; Penguin/Dutton Children’s) by John Grisham finds 13 year-old Theo facing his biggest challenge yet, after having discovered key evidence in a murder trial and in his best friend’s abduction.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore (Penguin/Viking Children’s) follows the life of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Katherine Howard, through the eyes of her close friend. Kirkus says, “the mounting terror as lusty, luxury-loving Cat’s fortunes fall is palpable, as is the sense that the queen is no innocent. The author’s adherence to historical detail is admirable, clashing with both title and cover, which imply far more froth than readers will find between the covers. A substantive, sobering historical read, with just a few heaving bodices.” This one is highly anticipated by librarians on our YA GalleyChat.

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (HarperCollins) is a space opera featuring a 19-year-old prince who is forced out of his protected bubble and must grapple with the weaknesses and strengths of his true self in order to take his rightful place as intergalactic Emperor. Kirkus says, “the rocket-powered pace and epic world building provide an ideal vehicle for what is, at heart, a sweet paean to what it means to be human.  75K copies.” This one has been heavily ordered by libraries and has holds.


Father’s Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son by Buzz Bissinger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Simon & Schuster Audio) finds the author of Friday Night Lights on a cross-country trip with his 24 year-old son, who has some significant disabilities related to brain damage at birth, and many admirable qualities. 100K copy first printing.

DNA USA by Bryan Sykes (Norton/Liveright) is part travelogue, part genealogical history of the U.S. as the author, an Oxford geneticist, writes about the DNA samples he has gathered. Kirkus says, “Sykes gives lucid, entertaining explanations of new genetic techniques and their startling success at tracing familial ties across continents and millennia.” An interview with the author is scheduled for NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered, in addition to coverage on local NPR stations. Libraries are showing some holds.

Dream New Dreams: Reimagining My Life After Loss by Jai Pausch (RH/Crown Archetype) is a meditation on marriage, grief and caregiving through illness by the wife of Randy Pausch, who wrote the bestseller The Last Lecture on the eve of his death from pancreatic cancer. Kirkus says, “Far from being a mere add-on to her late husband’s book, this work stands on its own as an eloquent testimony of a caregiver.”

One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season by Chris Ballard (Hyperion) is a Sports Illustrated writer’s fond look back at the 1971 Macon (Ill.) High School’s baseball team’s journey to the state finals. PW says, “Ballard holds the story of the team together with his conversational prose and boosts the story’s poignancy with a touching conclusion that demonstrates the importance of high school sports and hometown heroes while asking, if not answering, the question of how much one game, a win or lose, can change a life.” 100,000 copy first printing.

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