Archive for January, 2013

Procrastinator’s Guide: Midwinter 2013

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

ALA Mid 13If, like us, you are feeling panicky because the trip to Midwinter has become your default time to put your schedule together, breathe and calm down. From long experience, we’ve worked out a few easy steps that insure you won’t miss any major adult authors (children’s and YA librarians already have this down to a science):

1) Check out ALA’s rundown of author events. It’s pretty overwhelming, though, so start with the highlights. Don’t overlook the very last one — a Star Wars-themed party on Monday,  2:00-3:00 p.m  hosted by the author of the Origami Yoda series, Tom Angleberger, and the “Jedi Master of Origami,” Chris Alexander, in the Exhibit Hall (beginning at noon, vendors will have special offers and discounts).

2) Annoyingly, several noteworthy events are not included in the highlights:

Macmillan’s Talia Sherer and Sterling’s Chris Vaccari will “duke it out once again in the third episode of their award-winning Book Battle series,” on Sat., 1 to 2 p.m. in WSCC Rm 608 to 609,

The AAP’s Debut Author’s Panel on Sat., 3 to 4 pm, WSCC Rm 303, doesn’t have an audience cap, so there’s still room. (On the other hand, if you haven’t already signed up for Monday’s  AAP/LJ Breakfast, forget it. Not only is it sold out, there is also a waiting list. Check out the flyer anyway, all of those titles are worth getting to know, based on the advance buzz on GalleyChat).

The AAP’s “Library Family Feud” on Sunday from 3 to 4 , WSCC-TCC  Rm LL4 to 5, pits a “team of fabulous authors” against “Washington’s toughest librarians.” A note on the location: Finding rooms in convention centers drives us nuts and it seems the WSCC has added an extra wrinkle by ALSO having a separate building, called “The Conference Center”, which is indicated by “WSCC-TCC.” According to the map, it is across the street from the Convention Center, but accessible through the exhibits. Take note of the ominious warning on the map, “some of the room names are the same. For example WSCC-TCC 301 is not the same room as WSCC-Room 301.” Ugh. We’re packing bread crumbs.

3) The Grand Opening Reception in the exhibit hall on Friday from 5:30-7 p.m has evolved into the Big Galley Grab. If you don’t want to fight your way through the crowds, the buzz sessions are a great opportunity to nab ARC’s (some ask for RSVP’s, so if you haven’t, don’t be annoyed if there aren’t enough ARC’s available):

Saturday, Jan.  26, 10:30 to 11:45 am  HarperCollins Boom Buzz —  WSCC-TCC  Rm LL4 to 5 (see our note, above under Family Feud, about this location)

Sunday, Jan. 27, 3 to 4  pm — Penguin Book Buzz — WSCC, Rooms 608-609

Sunday, January 27, 11:30 am to 12:30 pmRandom House Book Buzz — Convention Center Annex, Room 303 Note on location: The word “Annex” worries us — this may be “The Conference Center,” which, as noted above, is a separate building, across from the Convention Center and accessible through the exhibits.

3) To help you decide what ARC’s to look for, LJ‘s indefatigable Barbara Hoffert offers her first-ever MidWinter Galley & Signing Guide (download here), which lists — Yikes! — over 250 titles. Publishers also offer other giveavways — Random Houses’ free poster, “What Will You Read After Gone Girl? should be a hit. In terms of ARC’s, here’s just a few we’ll be going after:

Andrea Camilleri’s The Dance of the Seagulls (Penguin, Feb. 26) — the latest in a series that drips with the Sicilian sun and deserves a wider audience in the U.S. (we’d like to see his character, Inspector Montalbano, become the Sicilian Commissario Guido Brunetti).

Therese Anne Fowler’s  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, March 26) — on several previews of the best books of 2013.

We’re already fans of Charles Dubow’s Indiscretion (Harper/Morrow, Feb. 5). Note: don’t even ask for an ARC of Neil Gaiman’s first novel for adults, Ocean at the End of the Lane (Harper/Morrow, June 18). It’s not available.

4) If you are looking for specific booths on the show floor, search the exhibitors here.

Back in Play; THE SELECTION On The CW

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Selection   The Elite

The CW network has gone back and forth on a series based on Kiera Cass’s YA novel, The Selection (HarperTeen, 2012), but now it appears to be back on track. According to Deadline, a new script has the support of the CW’s President and will be made into a pilot.

Meanwhile, the book already has its own trailer:

The second title in the planned trilogy, The Elite (HarperTeen) arrives April 23.


Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Spectacular Now, HdbkA favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, which wraps on Sunday, is an adaptation of the 2008 National Book Award finalist, the YA novel, The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, (RH/Knopf Books for Young Readers; Brilliance Audio). It was acquired by start-up distributor, A24 Film, which plans to release it this summer

The film stars Miles Teller (who won kudos for his role in the remake of Footloose) and Shailene Woodley (known for her role in the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and for nearly stealing the show from George Clooney in The Descendants). Woodley is also set to star in the upcoming adaptation of Divergent (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, 2011) which is scheduled for release on March 21, 2014.

GRAVEYARD BOOK Gets New Director

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Graveyard bookThe film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2009 Newbery Medal winner, The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins), is in the news again. Ron Howard is in negotiations to take over the director’s chair for Disney, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Previously planned as an animated film directed by Henry Selick, who directed the adaptation of Gaiman’s Coraline, it is now planned as a live-action film.

A Knowing Fan of PAINTED GIRLS

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Luncheon of the Boating party  The Painted Girls

Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls, (Penguin/Riverhead; coming in large print from Wheeler), reminded many of  Susan Vreeland’s Luncheon of the Boating Party(Penguin/Viking, 2007). Both books are based on a work by an artist involved in the Impressionist circle (Renoir’s painting in Vreeland’s book, Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in Buchanan’s).

The Washington Post makes the connection, too, assigning the review of Painted Girls to … Susan Vreeland. She heaps praise on Buchanan’s book, saying she  “paints the girls who spring from the page as vibrantly as a dancer’s leap across a stage.” As fascinating as Paris during th Belle Epoque Paris is, says Vreeland, it’s the characters, three poor sisters trying to make it in the ballet, that hold the story together, “Through their bad decisions, lying, thieving and prostitution of one sort or another, one reads on, compelled by love for these girls whom Buchanan describes so compassionately.”

Holds continue to build in libraries. People magazine designated it one of their picks last week, it is also an Indie Next Jan pick and the author was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (causing the Canadian Globe and Mail to headline their interview with Buchanan, “How to make your publicist swoon.”)

On the Rise: BEND, NOT BREAK

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Bend, Not BreakGetting a large boost from the latest of Tina Brown’s “Must Reads” segments on NPR’s Morning Edition is Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu and MeiMei Fox (Penguin/Portfolio, 12/21/12). Now at #33, it is moving up Amazon’s Sales Rankings and shows increased holds in libraries on modest ordering.

At eight years old, Ping Fu was taken from her parents during China’s Cultural Revolution and placed in a re-education camp, where she ate dung and dirt and endured gang rape. She survived, wrote a thesis about infanticide in China and, as a result, was forced out of the country. She came to the U.S. with next to nothing and went on to become a tech entrepreneur.

She was interviewed about her business on the Daily Beast yesterday:

Brown says of the book,”Her philosophical thoughts … her stoic ability to understand the patient lessons that she learned and apply them to her thoughts about survival and love … it’s very, very moving, indeed.”

AUSTENLAND Impresses Sundance

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Stephenie Meyer’s first effort as an independent film producer has paid off. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday night. Yesterday, Sony announced they had picked it up for distribution, expecting to release it this summer.

AustenlandThe movie is based on Shannon Hale’s first adult novel Austenland, (Bloomsbury USA, 2007; a sequel, Midnight in Austenland, was published last year), starring Keri Russell as a obsessive fan who tries to overcome her debilitating infatuation with Mr. Darcy (specifically, Colin Firth’s version in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) by going to an English resort that caters to the Austen-obsessed.

The AP reports that Meyer explained during an interview at Sundance,

I have seen firsthand fanatic fans, passionate people who want to live in that world so badly, who want to be a part of it. I’ve seen tattoos that scare me to death. I mean, those things are forever. That’s not a joke. And I do think people can definitely take that fan love too far. I think it’s nice actually to see Jane’s journey here, because she realizes this and sort of steps out of it.

The following MTV interview with Meyer offers glimpses of the movie:

Meyer also served as a producer on the adaptation of her book, The Host. It releases March 29.


Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Gone GirlThe director of the English-language The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may have his sights on a new girl; Variety reports that David Fincher is in talks to direct an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

20th C. Fox acquired the rights to the book in July, with Reese Witherspoon set to produce and star.


Fincher has a good track record with book adaptations:

House of Cards (Netflix series)  — Directed the pilot and second episode of season one, coming from Netflix Feb 1. This is Netflix first foray into creating programs. Based on: Novel by Michael Dobbs (HarperCollins, 1990) [UPDATE; Earlier, we incorrectly listed House of Lies as the series]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson

The Social Network — Based on The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, (RH/Doubleday)

Fight Club — Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Norton, 1996)

[UPDATE] One of our readers points out another Fincher book adaptation (and says it is her favorite):

Zodiac — Based on the novel by Robert Graysmith, (St. Martin’s, 1986)

SUSPECT Stands Alone…For Now

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

SuspectDeparting from his series characters, Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, Robert Crais’s new book, Suspect, (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Wheeler Large Print; Brilliance Audio), features a character of the canine persuasion; a military dog named Maggie, who is traumatized after losing her handler in an explosion.

Crais tells USA Today that Maggie is inspired by his own close relationship with a dog. He wants the book to bring attention to an often overlooked group, but says,

First and foremost I am a commercial writer and I hope to entertain people. But having said that, I’m in love with the relationship between humans and dogs, and the more I learned about what our military working dogs are doing, I wanted to at least share with people what an important role these animals have in all our lives.

The book may not remain a standalone for long. Says Crais, ” I have this horrible weakness. I fall in love with my characters. Suspect started as a one-shot, but I just love Maggie so much, and I love Maggie and Scott and what they have going.”.”

Sotomayor Matches Wits with Jon Stewart

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Sonia Sotomayor continued her heavy Inaugural Week schedule with an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night. Her memoir, My Beloved World (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT;  Mi mundo adorado, Vintage Espanol), continued to rise on Amazon and in library holds.

Part One is below, click to the site for Parts Two and Three of the extended interview.

Poetry Rising

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Fashion designer Reed Krakoff wasn’t the only one to gain exposure from yesterday’s inauguration ceremony. Books by  Richard Blanco, author of the Inaugural Poem “One Today,” (which the L.A. Times “Jacket Copy” blog praised, suggesting it outshone the President’s speech) are rising on Amazon, with one cracking the Top 100.

#34 (was #1,255)

Looking for The Gulf Motel (Pitt Poetry Series)
Richard Blanco
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press – (2012-02-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0822962012 / 9780822962014

#152 (was #7,822)

City of a Hundred Fires (Pitt Poetry Series)
Richard Blanco
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press – (1998-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0822956837 / 9780822956839

#155 (was #13,377)

Directions to the Beach of the Dead (Camino del Sol)
Richard Blanco
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: University of Arizona Press – (2005-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0816524793 / 9780816524792

Holds Alert: Justice Sotomayor’s Memoir

Monday, January 21st, 2013

My Beloved WorldSonia Sotomayor had a lot going on these last two days. She conducted the official swearing in of the Vice President yesterday, followed by the ceremonial swearing in today. In between, she had to get to New York to speak at a Manhattan Barnes and Noble about her book, My Beloved World (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT). In fact, according to Reuters, she had to leave Sunday’s event early to catch her train.

The book has received admiring reviews for Sotomayor’s candor about challenges she has faced and made a swift rise to #7 on Amazon’s Sales Rankings. The Spanish-language edition, Mi mundo adorado (Vintage Espanol) is also rising and is currently at #288.


NYT Book Review 

Washington Post

L.A. Times

NPR Morning Edition

LADY ALMINA On CBS Sunday Morning

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Lady AlminaThe real Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, was featured on yesterday’s CBS Sunday Morning. The lady of the house, The Countess of Carnarvon conducted a tour of the Castle and talked about her predecessor, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, and the subject of her book, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey (RH/Broadway; Tantor Media). As a result, the book rose to #3 on Amazon’s sales rankings and libraries are showing increased holds.

Segment host Martha Teichner says, “the true story of the fifth Earl and his wife Almina beats TV drama…She was the illegitimate daughter of the fabulously wealthy banker, Alfred de Rothschild. She needed respetability as much as the Earl needed cash, to indulge his passions, which included archeology.” He made good use of that cash, to fund  the excavation that lead to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, headed by archeologist, Howard Carter.


New Title Radar, Jan. 21 to 26

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Attention is building for Truth in Advertising, a satiric debut novel by a contemporary real life Mad Man, John Kenney. Three memoirs from women journalists vie for attention this week and are likely to get it, since other journalists tend to pay attention to their own. Among the usual suspects is the first title of 2013 by James Patterson (will he beat his 2010 record of 14 titles in a single year?).

Watch List

Truth in AdvertisingTruth in Advertising, John Kenney, (S&S/Touchstone)

Check your holds; they are already starting for this debut by New Yorker contributor Kenney, a tongue-in-cheek story about a contemporary Mad Man. It’s starred in 3 of 4 prepub reviews (the only holdout is PW, but the review reads like a star). Booksellers have also anointed it, making it an IndieNext pick for January.

Consumer reviews are arriving early, signaling the expectation of a hit. Entertainment Weekly, gives it an A-;

Kenney, who was a copywriter for 17 years, is on his game when lampooning corporate absurdity and less so when parsing Fin’s rather generic after-hours crises. But while many of Fin’s ad ideas — including a diaper spot featuring Al Gore’s head on babies’ bodies — fail spectacularly, we’re sold on Kenney’s trenchant, quick-witted debut.

The book trailer, a mock focus group, is so accurate, it’s painful (stick with it, it’s worth it). As Kenney writes in the New Yorker‘s “Page-Turner” blog, he knows the territory well.

Out of WarrantyOut of Warranty, Haywood Smith, St. Martin’s Press

A wry title for a social satire that Robin Nesbitt of Columbus Metropolitan Lib. describes in LJ as about people “dealing with health insurance claims and struggling to find insurance until [they’re] old enough to qualify for Medicare.” By the author of The Red Hat Club and Wife-in-Law.


Saturday Night WidowsSaturday Night Widows, Becky Aikman, (RH/Crown; RH Audio; BOT)

This debut memoir is by a former Newsday writer. She enlisted five women who, like her, were widowed early, to form a support group. PW says, “All the women had complicated stories of their husbands’ death, feelings of guilt and insecurity, and more or less healthy libidos. Indeed, dating and finding new partners prove the leitmotif, especially for the author, who had remarried a year before she even organized the group. As a result, the work feels stifled and lacking emotional drive, resulting in a kind of detached, academic tome.”

Drinking With MenDrinking with Men, Rosie Schaap, Penguin/Riverhead; Brilliance Audio

A memoir from New York Times Magazine ‘s monthly “Drink” columnist and former librarian, Rosie Schaap, that actually advocates for the pleasures of the barroom (and for women being accepted as regulars in that generally male domain). Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, saying, “It’s a cozy, intimate pleasure to go belly-to-bar with [Schaap].

The Rabbi and the Godless BlondeJujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde
, Rebecca Dana, (Penguin/Putnam – Amy Einhorn Books)

It’s such an arresting title that it barely needs underscoring, but what looks like a simple ribbon on the cover is actually a piece of bacon (click on it for a larger version). This debut by a writer for  Newsweek and the Daily Beast gets an A- from Entertainment Weekly, saying Dana’s “… take on being young and smart and emotionally adrift in the city is odd and charming enough to be that elusive thing: a true original.”

Usual Suspects

Private Berlin 9780399161483 Ever After

Private Berlin, James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print)

This, the fifth thriller about the international PI firm known as “Private,” is the first book of 2013 with Patterson’s name on it. There was actually a time when that happened just once or twice a year. Patterson reached a high of 14 titles in 2010, but “only” released 12 last year.

Suspect, Robert Crais, (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Wheeler Large Print Brilliance Audio)

Look closely at the cover; this stand-alone thriller by the author of the popular Elvis Cole series, features a German Shepherd, suffering PTSD after an IED killed her human partner in Afghanistan.

Ever After, Kim Harrison, (Harper Voyager; Blackstone Audio)

The 11th volume in Harrison’s popular ongoing urban-fantasy series (A Perfect Blood, 2012, etc.) continues the adventures of a detective who also happens to be a witch, Rachel Morgan.

Kids New Title Radar, Jan 21 to 26

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Rosemary Wells introduces a new character this week, Sophie, a little mouse who can’t resist trouble. Older kids will be cheering for the return of the middle grade Genius Files and the YA Kiki Strike series…

Picture Book

Time out for SophieTime-Out for Sophie, Written and Illus. by Rosemary Wells, (Penguin/Viking)

Rosemary Wells has an ear for early childhood. Max and Ruby are the staples of the preschool set, their stories reflecting child life issues. Here Well’s does it again with a knowing smile and a light touch as we witness the child who faces the consequences of her willful misbehavior.

Middle Grade

The Worm WhispererThe Worm Whisperer, Betty Hicks, (Macmillan/Roaring Brook)

New YA books arrive each week, but it’s often difficult to find chapter books that reflect the lives of younger kids. This one arrives with reviews that make it sound like it hits that sweet spot. Booklist says of this story about a boy trying to rescue his family by winning the $1,000 prize in North Carolina’s annual Woolly Worm Race (there really is one), “Hicks’ story provides plenty of local color as well as humor.”  

Genius FilesThe Genius Files #3: You Only Die Twice by Dan Gutman (HarperCollins)

Worried that guys don’t? Dan Gutman MAKES them want to read. In this, the third in the Genius Files series, he introduces a new villain, masked impersonator Evil Elvis.



Young Adult

Kiki Strike Darkness Dwellers

Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers Kirsten Miller, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA)

It’s been five long years, but Kiki is finally back. The many pre-teen fans who have now turned teen will be fighting over this one.  Here, Kiki and the Irregulars’ efforts to solve a WWII mystery, take them from New York’s Upper East Side to the catacombs of Paris, where the Darkness Dwellers reside.