New Title Radar: Sept 17-23

The big events this week are the release of memoirs from two very different people: Salman Rushdie and Penny Marshall. We will, of course, be watching and cheering as Attica Locke’s second mystery, The Cutting Season debuts and two new YA series, by Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray launch.

Watch List

The Cutting Season, by Attica Locke, (HarperCollins; HarperLuxe; Dreamscape Audio; audio and ebook on OverDrive) is the book we’ll be watching the closest. Libraries across the country have joined Team Attica Locke which will prove the power of library word of mouth by making this a best seller (more here).

Trouble & Triumph: A Novel of Power & Beauty by Tip, “T.I.”, Harris and David Ritz (Harper/Morrow) is the Grammy-winning rapper’s sequel to his street-lit debut Power & Beauty, about two teenagers who tangle with an Atlanta gangster. LJ says, “Some mixed response to the first, but the 100,000-copy first printing says that expectations are high.”

Literary Favorites

San Miguel by T.C. Boyle (Penguin/Viking; Thorndike) is set on desolate San Miguel island off the coast of California, where two couples try to run a farm in the wind and rain – first in 1888, and then during the Depression. PW says, “The author subtly interweaves the fates of Native Americans, Irish immigrants, Spanish and Italian migrant workers, and Chinese fishermen into the Waters’ and the Lesters’ lives, but the novel is primarily a history of the land itself…as beautiful, imperfect, and unrelenting as Boyle’s characters.”

Usual Suspects

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a romantic thriller in which a woman who writes a bestselling novel based on her sister’s murder and becomes the target of an assailant. Kirkus says, “Brown skillfully combines strong characterization with plots that keep the reader guessing all the way. A good old-fashioned thriller and a winner, even though the bad guys are sometimes just a little too bad for plausibility.”

Severe Clear by Stuart Woods (Putnam Adult; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is Woods’s 50th novel–and the 24 to feature protagonist Stone Barrington. This time he attends the opening of a hotel on grounds owned by his late wife, and faces a terrorist attack. PW says, “Woods expertly mixes familiar ingredients to produce an intoxicating cocktail that goes down easily.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett (Penguin/Dutton; Penguin Audio) is the second installment in the trilogy that began with the popular Fall of Giants, about interrelated American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh families in the early 20th century. LJ says, “in the hands of a less adroit storyteller, it would be hackneyed, but Follett moves his stock figures through interesting situations and draws the reader in to care what happens to them. The next thing you know, you’ve read all 960 pages of this enjoyable novel.”

Young Adult

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic; Scholastic Audio) is a new series by the author of the best selling Shiver series as well as the Printz Honor book Scorpio Races. In an early review, the Washington Post says, “In contrast to the melancholy werewolves of her popular Shiver trilogy, the Raven Boys are not paranormal critters but the entitled students of elite, raven-crested Aglionby Academy….This first in a planned four-novel series draws readers into a world where time enfolds hauntingly, and magic informs reality”

The Diviners by Libba Bray (Hachette/Little, Brown YR; Listening Library) is a new trilogy from the Printz-winning author of Going Bovine (2009) and Beauty Queens (2011) as well as the Gemma Doyle trilogy. This one features a young woman who goes to live in jazz age New York City with an uncle who runs a museum of the occult, a finds myriad friends and no small measure of mystery. Booklist says, “It’s Marjorie Morningstar meets Silence of the Lambs, and Bray dives into it with the brio of the era, alternating rat-a-rat flirting with cold-blooded killings…Seemingly each teen has a secret ability (one can read an object’s history; another can heal), and yet the narrative maintains the flavor of historical fiction rather than fantasy.” Movie rights were snapped up by Paramount in advance of publication.

Dodger by Terry Prachett (HarperCollins) is surprisingly close to historical fiction, from the author of Discworld. Set in Victorian England, it features a thief named Dodger who leaps out of a drain to rescue a mysterious woman from a brutal attack, just as Charles Dickens and social reformer Henry Mayhew arrive on the scene. “Full of eccentric characters and carefully detailed London scenes, the tale embodies both Dickens’s love for the common man and a fierce desire for social justice.” It comes with a dramatic trailer.


Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie (Random House; Random House Audio) is the esteemed author’s memoir of the nine years he spent living underground after the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence on him for the blasphemy of his fiction in 1989. The title refers to his alias, comprised of the first names of his two favorite writers, Conrad and Chekhov. LJ says, “His memoir matters not simply because of startling personal detail but because his experience presaged a global battle over freedom of speech that continues today.” An excerpt is featured in this week’s New Yorker. It will receive plenty of media attention, of course, with interviews scheduled on the Today Show, CBS/This Morning, NPR/Morning Edition and in the New York Times.

500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars by Kurt Eichenwald (Touchstone) is the former New York Times investigative reporter’s reconstruction of the Bush administration’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attack and the delusions and deceptions it has spawned around the world. PW says, “Eichenwald’s novelistic approach takes us into the White House offices, courtrooms, and Guantanamo interrogation cells where tense people groped through the chaos of a new world of fear and brutality and tried to harness it to their own agendas. The result is both a page-turning read and an insightful dissection of 9/11’s dark legacy.”

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall (Amazon/HMH/New Harvest) is the TV actress and Hollywood producer’s memoir of her ascent from a Bronx childhood to fame on the sit-com Laverne and Shirley to directing 1990s hit films Big and A League of Their Own. It’s also one of the first books to emerge from Amazon’s proprietary publishing imprint, New Harvest. Kirkus says, “Marshall is as candid about her failures (which include a painful second divorce from writer/comedian Rob Reiner) and her weaknesses (like the one she developed for drugs) as she is about her successes.”

The trailer features Saturday Night Live veteran Fred Armisen.

The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin (RH/Doubleday) looks at the contentious relationship between chief justice Roberts and the President. It will be getting plenty of press attention, including NPR/Fresh Air, PBS/Charlie Rose Show, CNN/Anderson Cooper 360 and Comedy Central/Colbert Report.

Movie Tie-Ins

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (HMH/Mariner Books) ties in to the movie to be released on 12/14/12 and is available in both trade pbk and mass market. Also being released is a behind-the-scenes book for young readers: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — The World of Hobbits by Paddy Kempshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). HighBridge also has a full cast audio.


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