Archive for April, 2013

Michiko Doesn’t Like It: A DELICATE TRUTH

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Ouch! In a review that will surely be a candidate for the next “Hatchet Job of the Year Award,” Michiko Kakutani excoriates John  le Carré’s 23rd novel, A Delicate Truth, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print), which releases next week.

Earlier, one of Kakutani’s colleagues, Dwight Garner, wrote glowingly about the author in  New York Times Magazine, under the headline, “John le Carré Has Not Mellowed With Age,” calling A Delicate Truth, “an elegant yet embittered indictment of extraordinary rendition, American right-wing evangelical excess and the corporatization of warfare. It has a gently flickering love story and a jangling ending. And le Carré has not lost his ability to sketch, in a line or two, an entire character.” And, in the UK, The Guardian reports that, with this book, the author returns in “top form.”

Kakutani admits that the book offers one worthwhile bit, in the form of its “atmospheric, movielike opening.” Hollywood sees a movie in it; film rights were sold before publication. It was announced last week that screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed ) has been hired to write the adaptation.

The book already has a movie-like trailer.


Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Disney’s live-action movie based on Judith Viorst’s 1972 hit children’s Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Atheneum) is making baby steps closer to the screen.  Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) is directing, Steve Carrell is set to star as Alexander’s father, and The Hollywood Reporter writes that Jennifer Garner is in talks to join the cast as the mother.

Production is set to begin this fall.

Rumor Patrol: 50 SHADES OF GREY Movie

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

It seems that some in Hollywood who should know better have claimed that Alex Pettyfer has been signed to play Christian Grey in the film adaptation of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Deadline says it isn’t so. Is anything happening? Deadline states that, “A lot of major directors have been discreetly approached, but everyone is waiting on a script by Kelly Marcel. They would not set any cast without input from a filmmaker.”

Closer to the Screen: OUTLANDER

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Last year, after many attempts to bring Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series to the screen, Sony Pictures TV acquired the rights according to Deadline.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood

Now, nearly a year later, Deadline writes that the project is “slowly inching to the screen” as a the producers have opened a “writers room” for four writers who will be working on the adaptation.

The eighth installment of the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, (RH/Delacorte) is coming in December. Gabaldon answered questions about the book earlier this month on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog.

CITY OF WOMEN Is Pennie’s Pick for May

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

City of WomenOne of the early titles in our Penguin First Flights Program was David Gillham’s novel set in WW II Germany, City of Women (Penguin/ Putnam/ Einhorn). Arriving in paperback this month (Penguin/Berkley Trade), it is COSTCO Book Buyer Pennie Iannicello’s pick for May. She praises Gillham for “an unforgettable job of taking readers to 1943 Berlin. The city is filled with women who, although left behind, are forging ahead with their lives and wrestling with decisions that are heavy with life-changing implications.”

A COSTCO Pick often insures a long life on best seller lists for paperback re-releases. Previous picks include, The Paris Wife, The Language of Flowers, and Rules of Civility.

Read our online chat with Gillham here. You can sign up for the First Flights program here.

Our next debut author chat, with Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is on Monday, May 13, 4 to 5 p.m ET.

Eve Ensler on The Today Show

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In the Body of the WorldEve Ensler, whose memoir, In the Body of the World, (Macmillan/Metropolitan; Macmillan Audio) is being published today, was profiled on the Today Show this morning by Maria Shriver.

Shriver, who left NBC in 2004, also announced that she is returning as a “special anchor,” and will be profiling people like Ensler whom she calls “architects of change” and “reporting on women’s evolving experiences.”

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

Hotly Anticipated Debut

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenonQuick! Grab your galleys for Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (RH/ Hogarth). If you don’t have a print copy, digital ARC’s are available on Edelweiss and on NetGalley.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this debut novel set in Chechnya and arriving next week, is the hot new accessory. Sarah Jessica Parker is a huge supporter and has been working to help get the word out it.

The WSJ sits in on a book discussion, organized by the publisher and featuring the actress with a group of women in New York’s Tribeca nieghborhood,

…the conversation moved from the surprise that despite the lucidity with which Mr. Marra describes the environment in the novel, he had actually never visited Chechnya; to how people responded to the book’s leaps back and forth in time; to the pockets of humor, warmth and charm in this seemingly bleak fictional canvas; to whether the recent events in Boston would bring more people to the novel.

There’s more enthusiasm, it’s

Embargoed THE CLUB Becomes THIS TOWN

Monday, April 29th, 2013
Mark Leibovich, author of the forthcoming THIS TOWN

Mark Leibovich, author of the forthcoming THIS TOWN

The embargo that reporters will be racing to break this summer is the one for This Town, (Penguin/Blue Rider), by the New York TimeMagazine‘s chief national correspondent, Mark Leibovich, arriving July 16.

POLITICO’s chief political reporter, Mike Allen and co-founder, Jim VandeHei try a clever, very insidery, end-run by reporting on Leibovich’s reporting in an effort to find out who should “worry most about his book.” And, guess what? They conclude that POLITICO itself, and specifically Mike Allen, are part of that elite group.

Originally called The Club, the book’s title has since been changed to This Town. POLITICO notes that the subtitle, “for reasons we cannot fathom, will soon be changed from The Way It Works in Suck Up City to Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital.” The funeral refers to the one that was held for Tim Russert, which POLITCO describes as an event “where Washington’s self-obsession – and lack of self-awareness – was on full display.”

Libraries have ordered the book (LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert featured it in a Prepub Alert column in October; it was originally scheduled for release in April) and it appears on catalogs under the old title. Holds are light at this point.

Sixty Minutes: ANGEL OF DEATH

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The Good NurseOne of the most prolific serial killers in history, Charlie Cullen, killed an estimated 40 people in sixteen years while working as a nurse in seven different hospitals. He was tried, convicted and is currently in prison.

He broke a long-standing silence for an interview on CBS Sixty Minutes last night. To try to understand why he committed these crimes, the show featured, Charles Graeber, author of The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (Hachette/Twelve, $26.99, 9780446505291. 4/15/13). The chilling answer was, “Because he could.”


Friday, April 26th, 2013

Graceling  Fire  Bitterblue

Movie rights for Kristin Cashore’s YA fantasy  Graceling (Harcourt) have been optioned, with an eye towards a “potential franchise,” according to Variety. Producer Deepak Nayar, who is also producing Vampire Academy: Blood Sistersan adaptation of the first in a series by Richelle Mead which begins filming next month, notes that Graceling “combines elements of Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.

The first volume in the series came out in 2008, the same year as The Hunger Games. It was followed by  Fire (Penguin/Dial, 2009), which the author describes as a “stand-alone prequel-ish companion book,”  and another companion focusing on a different character introduced the first book, Bitterblue (Penguin/Dial, 2012).

TIGER EYES Trailer Debuts

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Tiger Eyes Tie-inThe first trailer for the first film adaptation of a book by Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes, just debuted online. Directed by the author’s son, Lawrence Blume, it arrives in theaters and on VOD on June 7. It stars Willa Holland as Davey, Amy Jo Johnson (former Felicity star), as Davey’s mom, Cynthia Stevenson as Bitsy and Tatanka Means (The Host) as Wolf and was named Best Feature Film at the Palm Beach International Film Festival this month

Blume talked about the movie on NBC’s Rock Center in March in an inteview with Chelsea Clinton.

Official Web Site:

Kids New Title Radar — Week of 4/29

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Several charming picture books are on their way next week (gotta love that pug in Everyone Sleeps), Lauren Myracle is set to reach a younger audience and screenwriter Paul Rudnick publishes his first YA novel with a cover that lives up to the title, Gorgeous.

All the titles highlighted here, and more (including a roundup of several new board books and several middle grade series that shouldn’t be overlooked, plus roundup of graphic novels and superhero comics), are on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Week of 4.29.13.

Picture Books

9780399257933  9780805093124 9780399257636

My Lucky Birthday, Keiko Kasza, (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile)
From the creator of the storytime favorite My Lucky Day, another animal trickster romp.

Everyone Sleeps, Marcellus Hall, (Penguin/Paulsen)
Illustrator Hall (City I Love, Cow Loves Cookies) strikes out on his own, writing as well as illustrating his first picture book, featuring and adorable pug.

When You Wander: A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story, Margarita Engle, illus by Mary Morgan, (Macmillan/Holt BYR)
A gentle portrayal of the work of search and rescue dogs. Don’t worry about getting lost, they will find you.

Early Chapter Book

The Life of TyThe Life of Ty: Penguin Problems, Lauren Myracle, illus by Jed Henry, (Dutton)

Myracle is known by YA readers for several titles including Shine. To 9- and 10-year-olds, she is known for the Winnie Years series. She’ll soon to be known to a younger crowd with Ty, Winnie’s younger brother, appealing to fans of Judy Moody’s brother Stink. What are his “penguin problems”? Ty smuggles one out of the local zoo.

Young Adult


Gorgeous, Paul Rudnick, (Scholastic; Scholastic Audio)

The first YA novel by the stage and screen writer and frequent contributor to the New Yorker, a fantasy princess romance with a snarky voice and social commentary (PW says the writing is “hilarious, profane and profound — often in the same sentence”), likely to find an audience with the Princess Diary crowd.

Graphic Novels

Note:  superhero comics arriving next week are rounded up in the spreadsheet.

9780805096095 9780316217187 9780785164043

My Life as a Cartoonist, Janet Tashjian, Jake Tashjian, (Macmillan/Holt BYR)
In this sequel to My Life as a Book and My Life as a Stuntboy, Derek is being bullied by a tough kid who, upending the stereotype, is in a wheelchair. A Wimpy Kid look alike.

New Moon: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 , Stephenie Meyer, Young Kim, (Hachette/Yen Press)
Continues the graphic version of  the Twilight series.

Oz: Road to Oz, Skottie Young, Eric Shanower, (Marvel)
The graphic retellings of the Oz series are collected in this bind-up. Eric Shanower is the Eisner Award-winning and New York Times best selling cartoonist of Age of Bronze series, a graphic novel rendition of the Trojan War.

New Title Radar, Week of 4/29

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Next week brings the fourth James Patterson hardcover of the year, putting him on track to match his record output last year. Joe Hill, once known as the offspring of two best selling authors, Stephen and Tabitha King, and now an established best selling author in his own right, publishes a new novel with a title based on a clever vanity plate, NOS4A2. Our watch list begins with a memoir that librarians have been looking forward to for months.

All these and more titles arriving next week, are on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, 4.29.13. Be sure to take a close look at the Media Magnets list — among the many authors battling for attention next week are Glenn Beck, Amanda Knox and Mark Bittman.

Watch List

World's Strongest LibrarianThe World’s Strongest Librarian, Josh Hanagarne, (Penguin/Gotham)

You don’t have to be a librarian to love this memoir. Booksellers appreciate it, too, and picked is as an IndieNext title for May: “Resplendent with the intelligence that comes from accumulated experience, seasoned with sudden and delightful humor, and written with great sensitivity, Hanagarne’s memoir is one of this spring’s best surprises. It is not simply a love letter to anyone who has built a life around books, but also a moving autobiographical work of a gentle giant who refuses to let his sense of wonder about the world be displaced by his challenges and an insightful and informative exposition of what it is like to wake every morning and navigate life with Tourette Syndrome. Highly recommended!” —Aaron Cance, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

If you are a librarian, you’ll naturally be drawn to it. Robin Beerbower of Salem P.L, OR, calls it her favorite book of the year and is confident it will remain so.

Hanagarne’s web site,, manages to combine the seemingly disparate worlds of strength-training and books. The author will be interviewed on BookTalkNation on Monday (sign up here).

In the book trailer he characterizes being a librarian as a “state of mind.”

In the Body of the World

In the Body of the World: A Memoir, Eve Ensler, (Macmillan/Metropolitan; Macmillan Audio)

Remember when certain publications wouldn’t print the title of Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking play, The Vagina Monologues? Seventeen years after its debut, it’s often performed by local theater groups, and the local newspapers have no trouble calling it by its real name. Even the Catholic Education Daily writes out the full titles (as part of an effort to get it banned). In Ensler’s memoir, she writes about more issues that some would prefer not to hear about; her work with Congolese women who suffered torture and rape and her own torture undergoing treatment for uterine cancer.

The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT)

Attention has already begun for Claire Messud’s first book since her celebrated and best selling The Emperor’s Children, (RH/Knopf, 2006). The Washington Post’s Ron Charles gives it this memorable assessment:

“Messud’s previous novel, the wonderful Emperor’s Children, sprawled out over more than 400 witty pages to skewer Manhattan’s young cultural elite. Her new book is an entirely different creature: a tightly wound monologue with the intensity of a novella that reads more like a curse.”

It’s a theme carried through in other reviews; NPR, “Friendly On The Outside, Furious On The Inside,”  and The Wall street Journal, “Claire Messud’s Furious Follow-Up.”

The book even manages to coax the Totally Hip Reviewer off his cozy Amazon perch.

Expect many more reviews.

The Civil War in 50 Objects

The Civil War in 50 Objects, Harold Holzer, (Penguin/Viking)

Combine the interest in the Civil War, with the approach to history in the best-selling A History of the World in 100 Objects and you have the makings of a hit with Lincoln scholar Holzer’s new book.

Media Tie-in

What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knew (Movie Tie-In), Henry James, (Penguin Books)

Henry James’s 1897 classic is called “the inspiration” for a new film starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard as Maisie’s battling parents, beginning a limited run next week. The Wall Street Journal writes today about this and other attempts to bring James’s novels to the screen.


Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Reconstructing AmeliaGood news for author Kimberly McCreight, appearing at the Texas Library Assoc. Annual Conference this weekend (on the YA Crossover Panel on Saturday), holds are rising on her debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia (Harper, released 4/2/13) and are heavy in several libraries.

Librarians have been enthusiastic about it on EarlyWord‘s GalleyChat, saying they couldn’t stop reading it and that it is a great choice  for book clubs as well as a readalike for Jodi Picoult fans.  Booksellers made it an IndieNext Pick for April — “Throw out all the cliched superlatives! McCreight’s remarkable debut novel is about Kate Baron, a high-powered lawyer who believes that her daughter Amelia has committed suicide — until she receives the anonymous text — ‘She didn’t jump.’”

It hasn’t been widely  reviewed in the consumer press, but Entertainment Weekly gave it an “A,” saying, “Like Gone GirlReconstructing Amelia seamlessly marries a crime story with a relationship drama. And like Gone Girl, it should be hailed as one of the best books of the year.”

The NYT Trashes Its Own

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Top of the Morning

The NYT giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other.

One of the most powerful influencers on book sales, the New York Times Magazine, devoted Sunday’s cover to an excerpt from a book about the TV morning show wars, Top of the Morning (Hachette/Grand Central) by one of the newspaper’s own media reporters, Brian Stelter.NYT Mag

But on Monday, the daily NYT reviewer dismissed the book as merely “fairly engaging,” and groaned over the writing style (“sometimes Mr. Stelter seems to throw out verbiage mainly for his own amusement.” A 109-word sentence is called a “veritable life imprisonment”) and detailed spotty reporting.

Stetler responds in an interview with The Wrap, saying he expects NYT reviews to be tough but that he’s “more interested in readers’ reviews,” noting he has been “overwhelmed by positive messages from people on Twitter.”

The media is fascinated with the story of the morning shows’ struggle for ratings (New York magazine also devoted a long feature to it), but readers may be less so. Despite all the attention, the book barely cracked the Amazon Top 100 on release yesterday and holds in libraries are light.