Archive for June, 2012


Friday, June 29th, 2012

Remember when so many people thought Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t right to play Katniss in The Hunger Games that Suzanne Collins had to defend her?

All that has changed. She stars with big names Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in the upcoming The Silver Linings Playbook but she’s the one grabbing the headlines. The movie is based on the debut novel by Matthew Quick (it was one of Nancy Pearl’s picks for summer reading, 2009). The trailer was just released; the movie opens Nov 21.

A tie-in edition is coming in Oct. (FSG/SarahCrichton, Trade Pbk, 9780374533571)

We Know What You Read

Friday, June 29th, 2012

The Wall Street Journal looks at the information now available on the reading habits of people using e-readers.

Ever wonder if you’re a slow reader? It took the average reader an hour to read 57 pages of The Hunger Games on an ebook.

Barnes and Noble has begun studying this information. They admit that “Some of the findings confirm what retailers already know,” but some of the insights are “already shaping the types of books that Barnes & Noble sells on its Nook.”

True to form, Amazon decided not to reveal what they do with their data.

What do writers think? Scott Turow tells the WSJ, “If you can find out that a book is too long and you’ve got to be more rigorous in cutting, personally I’d love to get the information.”

Privacy? According to the WSJ, “Some privacy watchdogs argue that e-book users should be protected from having their digital reading habits.”

RA Flow Chart

Friday, June 29th, 2012 has created a clever “Summer Reading Flow Chart” to encourage high school students to read this summer. The choices may be a bit didactic (that word “Should” in the headline is telling), but the presentation is fun (via USA Today).


Friday, June 29th, 2012

USA Today previews Rhoda Janzen’s Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right and Solves Her Lady Problems, to be released Oct. 2.

It’s a followup to her equally memorably titled best selling memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.

She also reveals her favorite novel by a Mennonite author.

New Title Radar: July 2 – 8

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Lots of librarian favorites and buzz titles to look out for next week, starting with Francine Matthews‘s alternate history featuring JFK, and Dianne Warren‘s prize-winning tale of small town lives. Little Bee author Chris Cleaves returns with a much-praised third novel, along with fellow Brit Louise Millar’s look into the lives of two London mothers, while Swedish author Lars Kepler is back with another creepy thriller. Usual suspects include Karin Slaughter, Jennifer Weiner and Taylor Anderson. And Cheryl Strayed delivers a collection of her tangy “Dear Sugar” advice columns from The Rumpus.

Watch List

Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike Large Print) explores the premise that President Franklin Roosevelt enlisted a young John F. Kennedy – the son of the ambassador to Britain – to investigate a conspiracy to fix the 1940 U.S. election. Wendy Bartlett at Cuyahoga is betting big on this one, as an easy hand-sell across a busy reference desk. As she puts it, “all you need to say is: ‘There was no CIA in 1939.  JFK travels to Europe to research his Harvard senior thesis (which he actually did); Franklin Roosevelt asks him to gather intelligence on what the Nazis are up to.’ ” She believes both men and women will love it, and that it’s a perfect airplane read.

Juliet in August by Dianne Warren (Putnam/Amy Einhorn; Tantor Audio) is a debut novel that follows the residents of a small town on the edge of the vast grassland of Saskatchewan on a single day. The winner of Canada’s highly regarded Governor General’s Award, it was also an ALA Shout ‘n’ Share title, where librarian Wendy Bartlett compared the author to Alice Munro and Jaimy Gordon, saying, “Juliet, it turns out, is a place, not a person… Warren’s description of horses reminds me of Wrobeleski’s wonderful descriptions of dogs in Edgar Sawtelle… Surprise and delight your customers with this one. They’ll thank you, and when it ends up on prize lists, you’ll look smart!”

Gold by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Large Print; S&S Audio) is the story of two friends and close rivals as they train for their last Olympic bike race together and confront the challenges of love, friendship, ambition and parenthood, written by the British author of the runaway hit Little Bee. It’s the #1 Indie Next pick for July and is getting strong early reviews, like this one from PW: “Cleave pulls out all the stops, getting inside the hearts and minds of his engagingly complex characters. The race scenes have true visceral intensity, leaving the reader feeling as breathless as a cyclist. From start to finish, this is a truly Olympic-level literary achievement.”  It’s most summer reading lists, including People magazine’s, with lots of reviews coming, and coverage on NPR’s Weekend Edition expected.

The Nightmare by Lars Kepler (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton; Thorndike Large Print) is the sequel to last year’s creepy yet excellent Swedish thriller The Hypnotist, again featuring detective Joona Linna as she looks into an arms dealing case. Booklist says, ” While the plot is overstuffed and the pacing is stiff, Kepler (a pseudonym for husband-and-wife team Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril) creates a terrific, almost palpable atmosphere, which is sure to please fans of Swedish crime fiction.”

The Playdate by Louise Millar (S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler Trade Pbk Original) is the story of a friendship between two London women who live on the same street, one affluent and the other a struggling single mother whose child has a heart condition. PW says it begins as a “quiet story about neighbors [and] soon builds into a gripping psychological thriller.” 75,000-copy first printing.


Usual Suspects

Criminal by Karin Slaughter (RH/Delacorte Press; Center Point Large Print; AudioGO) is the fourth installment in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation series, with two disturbingly similar rape cases that take place 40 years apart. PW says, “Slaughter seamlessly shifts between past and present, while her usual attentive eye for character and carefully metered violence is on full display.”

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner (S&S/Atria Books; Center Point Large Print; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the story of Ruth Saunders, who moves in with her grandma in Hollywood and gets a sitcom accepted for production.

Iron Gray Sea: Destroyerman by Taylor Anderson (Penguin/NAL/Roc; Tantor Audio) is the seventh novel in the Destroyerman series about a parallel universe in which the drama of World War II plays out, with Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of USS “Walker” and their allies pursuing a Japanese destroyer in Allied seas.


Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (Random House) is a collection of columns that appeared on the online publication The Rumpus. Formerly anonymous, the columnist recently revealed herself to be the author of the memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, the first in the Oprah 2.0 Book Club. Kirkus says this collection “demonstrates that wisdom doesn’t come only from age, but also from learning from the experiences of others. A realistic and poignant compilation of the intricacies of relationships.”

Hot Authors Pick Sizzling Summer Reads

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Charlaine Harris and Janet Evanovich have fun picking some “sizzling summer reads” on the Today Show this morning.

Most are already best sellers, but Harris picked a few lesser-known titles.

Wicked Autumn, G.M. Malliet, (Macmillan/Minotaur, 9/13/11)

Reaching back to last fall, Harris picks this “reimagining of the basic English village mystery with an Episcopal priest who is a former M15 agent. It’s fun, it’s not too serious and it’s wonderful to read.”


The Rook, Daniel O’Malley (Hachette/Little Brown, 1/11/12)

“It opens with a woman standing in a circle of corpses and she has no idea who she is but she knows she’s the one who has killed all these people…Incredibly complex and weirdly funny.”


Once Burned, Jeaniene Frost, HarperCollins/Avon original paperback, 6/26

Commenting on the cover, Harris says that Frost “ripples pecks with the best of them” and that she is “an intelligent witty writer who has picked romance as her genre and supernatural romance at that.”


Those Across The River, Christopher Buehlman, (Penguin/Berkley/Ace, 9/6/11)

Another title from last fall, Harris simply says, it’s “Scary, scary, scary.” Her online annotation gives more detail, “One of the scariest books I’ve read in years, this is a depression-era novel about an illicit couple who seek solitude at a cabin in a remote area. Across the river, there are some strange people, people with whom the local townsfolk have a strange relationship. Suspenseful and shocking.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The next book in “Al’s Book Club” for kids, Rebecca Stead’s Newbery winner,  When You Reach Me, (RH/Wendy Lamb) was featured on the Today Show yesterday. As a result, the book rose to #228 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

That’s no match for the Newbery announcement in 2010, which sent the book to  #21.



Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Praise continues to roll in for Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles (Random House, 6/26; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Aug), a novel that imagines what would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed. It’s a People Pick in new issue of the magazine (7/9). The reviewer says the author, “matches the fierce creativity of her imagination with a lyrical and portentous understanding of the present” but  “the tender heart — and hope — of the story is its narrator, Julia, a lonely, wise 11-year-old grappling with the normal challenges of growing up while the world is literally disintegrating around her.”

There is one nay-sayer, however. Ron Charles in the Washington Post, calls The Age of Miracles “Too dull for the YA market, it’s been dressed up as an affecting literary novel for adults, one of the more depressing trends in modern publishing.”

Library holds are heavy in many areas, similar to the number that were on Defending Jacob, William Landay (RH/Delacorte; 1/31) when it was first released. It debuted on the NYT best seller list at #4. Most libraries are still showing holds on that title, despite increasing the number of copies.

After the jump, a look at People‘s Picks so far this year:


ALA Hot Titles

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

ALA Annual in Anaheim featured more adult authors and book buzz than any ALA in recent memory.

For those who weren’t able to attend, or those whose notes suddenly make no sense, we’ll be putting together the information as it becomes available online.

Here’s the first:

HarperCollins Fall Book Buzz

The HarperCollins Library Marketing team had a packed room for their presentation of titles from the fall list. You’ll particularly need to know about an embargoed title that is sure to make headlines in September, Listening In, by Ted Widmer, based on the tapes from JFK’s previously secret White House conversations.

The Great Nonfiction Read-Alike

From Historical True Crime to Sports Books That Will Make You Weep, this panel of readers advisory pros presented recent nonfiction that proves truth can be even more interesting than fiction; click here for the slides, with covers of the newer titles and here, for the full list, including older titles.

Catnip for Downton Abbey Fans

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

A clip from season three of Downton Abbey, featuring Shirley MacLaine and Maggie Smith, is making the rounds on the Web and whetting fans’ appetites for the series debut on PBS’ Masterpiece in January (UK fans get first crack at the series, beginning in September).

Elizabeth McGovern introduces the clip, as part of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award ceremony honoring MacLaine. The event was held nearly three weeks ago and was aired on TV Land this Sunday. This obviously hand-held recording looks like it was shot directly from the tv screen.

Time to update your read-alike lists (we’ve listed a few new titles to consider, after the jump).


Nora Ephron Dies

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Tributes to author, filmmaker, and keen social commentator Nora Ephron are all over the media today. She died yesterday of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia, according to the Washington Post.

For many women who began their careers in the 70’s, she was the more sophisticated, successful, yet endearingly fallible older sister we wanted to emulate.

Ephron ended her final collection of essays, I Remember Nothing (RH/Knopf, 2010), with a list of the things she will and will not miss, which now takes on extra poignancy.

Many of her books are rising on Amazon:

#79  I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections (RH/Knopf, 2010; RH Large Print; RH Audio, read by Ephron) — her final collection of essays.

#90 I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (RH/Knopf, 2006; RH Large Print) — essays

#206 Heartburn (RH/Knopf, 1983) — a novel based on the ending of her marriage to Carl Bernstein, which was made into the 1986 movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, directed by Mike Nichols with screenplay by Ephron

#583 Wallflower at the Orgy (Penguin/Viking, 1970; RH/Bantam Pbk) — an early collection of essays

Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media, (RH/Knopf, 1978, OP)

Crazy Salad, (RH/Knopf, 1975, OP) — essays

Imaginary Friends: A Play with Music(RH/Vintage, 2002) —  the script for the Broadway play, with introduction by Ephron

When Harry Met Sally, (RH/Knopf, 1983) — the complete screenplay


Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Random House’s major debut of the season, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Random House; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Aug) already received a rave from the difficult-to-please Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. Its release this week is being greeted with even more attention. As a result, it broke into Amazon’s Top 100 and is currently at #51.

NPR’s Melissa Block interviewed the author last night, focusing on the book’s Twilight-Zone worthy premise; the earth’s rotation gradually slows, resulting in scary changes that turn people against each other. Walker tells Block that she came up with the idea when she heard that the 2004 Indonesian earthquake resulted in the day being shortened by a fraction of a second. The details of the physical effects of a slowing earth are based on science and were vetted by an astrophysicist.

Entertainment Weekly warns readers not to listen to the hype around the book, because it, “sets up the wrong expectations, since this is meant to be a small book, one that’s lovely because of its simple writing and quiet moments. You might not love it immediately. But it will grow on you. Slowly. Definitively.”

It’s #9 on Amazon just-released list of  “The Best Books of the Year So Far,” with the annotation, “Speculative fiction and a girl’s coming-of-age story meet in this gripping debut.”

Erotic Explosion Is On Its Way

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

With the overwhelming success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (still in the top spots of the USA Today best seller list after 19 weeks), it should be no surprise that publishers are looking for lightning to hit twice.

USA Today writes that Fifty Shades read-a-likes are on their way. The first successor, Bared to You, by Sylvia Day, Penguin/Berkley’s contribution to the genre, is already a hit. It arrived at #36 on USA Today‘s best seller list and rose to #10 last week. Like Fifty Shades, it was originally self-published. The cover gives a nod to its predecessor, featuring cuff links and the words, “He possessed me, and obsessed me.” It is, of course, the first in a trilogy.

USA Today also comments that Fifty Shades was not the first in the genre; they cite Zane, who was a self-published author before she was picked up by Atria in 2001. Coming this summer is Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava III (S&S/Atria, 8/28), an anthology of erotic fiction, edited by Zane.

Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel
Sylvia Day
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade – (2012-06-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0425263908 / 9780425263907

Brilliance Audio


Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Sunday NYT Book Review carries a rave review for Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, by Kate Summerscale, (Bloomsbury, 6/19; Tantor Audio), the story of a real-life Victorian scandal. The author’s earlier book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, also examined a forgotten slice of history. Says the NYT BR,

Just as she used the killing of a child in her previous book to provide insight into mid-19th-century domestic life and the rise of detective novels, Summerscale now uses Isabella and Henry Robinson’s scandalous divorce case to explore such diverse subjects as the era’s romantic novels, peculiar health fads and views of marriage.

The book has a growing number of fans:

The Daily Beast

What is particularly interesting about the book is the way that Summerscale engages with her material in such a psychologically rich manner, an added bonus feature, as it were, given that the original story is already so fascinating in itself.

Reviewed on NPR

Isabella emerges, regardless of the verdict, as the most fascinating of characters…[Summerscale] is perfectly at home in the 19th century, as evidenced in 2008’s The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, her grisly but addictively readable tale of an 1860 murder investigation

Entertainment Weekly give it an A and says,

Summerscale unspools the Robinsons’ tale with flair in Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, but it’s her social history of marriage that’s really riveting.

Audio sample (Tantor Audio):

MP3 Audio Sample

Heavy Holds Alert: THE CHAPERONE

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

One of our “Watch List” titles, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike Large Print; Blackstone Audio; Penguin Audio) is taking off in most libraries, with holds averaging 10:1 where ordering is modest. Wendy Bartlett at Cuyahoga P.L. is one who ordered it fairly heavily. Nonetheless, she alerts us that she has more than doubled her original order, expecting it to be hot all summer. She credits the book’s popularity to this year’s surprise hit movie, The Artist; “all of a sudden, silent is sexy.”

In the  NYT today, Janet Maslin writes that  “The energy source for Laura Moriarty’s new novel, The Chaperone, is its secondary character: Louise Brooks, at the age of 15,” suggesting fans read Brooks’s own collection of reminiscences, Lulu in Hollywood; “These eight essays are selective, nostalgic, poison-tipped and fearlessly smart.”

Originally published by Knopf in 1982, the collection is currently available in an expanded edition from the University of Minnesota Press.

Lulu In Hollywood: Expanded Edition
Louise Brooks
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press – (2000-07-10)
ISBN / EAN: 0816637318 / 9780816637317