Archive for October, 2013

USA TODAY: 20 Years of Best Sellers

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

USA Today Best-Selling BooksUSA Today Best-Selling BooksTwo decades ago, USA Today challenged the NYT as the publisher of THE recognized consumer best seller list (Publishers Weekly actually invented the idea in the early 1900’s; the NYT was a relative newcomer, beginning their list in 1942, but it held sway in the consumer’s mind as the arbiters of best sellers) by instituting a list with a difference. Rather than dividing it by age range and format, USA Today ran one inclusive list, offering a clearer snapshot of what Americans are reading.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, USA Today‘s Bob Minzeheimer takes a look at how tastes have evolved, from the demise of self-help, to the effects of changing formats and types of retailers.

Several observations ring true with what one would expect; children’s and YA books have grown in sales, more people are now buying through online retailers and reading e-books. On the other hand, is is surprising to note that the “Oprah Effect” was not long-lasting as might be expected; none of her picks was the top seller for its year and none appear in the top 25 books of each of the three eras of the USA Today lists.

We were pleased to be asked to comment for the story. Now we’d love to know your observations; tell us what you think has been the biggest changes in reading habits over the last twenty years.


Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Jonathan StrangeIt’s a good time to bring out your copies of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and put them on display. Entertainment news sites are abuzz with the story that production has begun on a seven-part BBC series based on the 2004 debut bestseller by Susanna Clarke.

The novel made news when it was acquired by Bloomsbury, U.K. for £1 million, with the Guardian trumpeting, “Watch and learn, Harry Potter, and stand by for some serious magic. The company that championed the schoolboy wizard is about to launch one of the biggest marketing campaigns in publishing history for its new international blockbuster – but this time it’s magic for grown-ups.”

It fulfilled expectations. The 800-page epic set during the Napoleonic wars reached #3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, it won the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Novel, was Time Magazine’s #1 Book of the Year and was reviewed widely.

At the time of acquisition, Bloomsbury editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle described it as, “funny in a sly Jane Austen way and very literary with elements of fantasy – Jane Austen meets Philip Pullman is a fair way to describe it.” She also noted, “There is definitely a film in it and we’ve already had a lot of interest in the film rights.”

Rights were acquired, but have since lapsed, clearing the way for what may become the next BBC Obsession, set to air some time in 2014.

J. J. Abrams on S.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

S. J.J. AbramsMedia attention is heating up for a book that many librarians are calling a “processing nightmare,” S., by Doug Dorst and J. J. Abrams, (Hachette/Mulholland; Hachette Audio), a book within a book that includes loose pieces of ephemera (see more in our New Title Radar, under “Special Note”).

It may be a processing nightmare, but, as Abrams described on yesterday’s CBS This Morning, it is tribute to his love of the printed word.

It has also been featured by the L.A. Times, USA Today and the NYT Sunday Book Review, among others. The first review is from The Telegraph (the book was embargoed, so it wasn’t reviewed by the pre-pub sources). UPDATE: PW has just posted their review.

Holds Alert: LONGBOURN

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

LongbournLongbourn, by Jo Baker (RH/Knopf; RH Audio), the downstairs to Pride and Prejudice‘s upstairs, is connecting with Austen fans as well as Downton Abbey fans and is getting strong reviews (the Christian Science Monitor rounds them up today). It is also a LibraryReads pick for Oct.

Holds in libraries began building before publication and are continuing to grow. Several larger libraries are showing holds ratios of 6:1.

Authors on the DAILY SHOW

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Paddle Your Own Canoe   9780385350884   9780770437541

Nick Offerman’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night caused his book Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living (Penguin/Dutton) to rise to #51 (from #262) on Amazon’s sales rankings.

On Wednesday, Stewart examines a topic close to his heart, the American educational system (his mother was a teacher) with an author who has appeared on the show before, Diane Ravitch. Her latest book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (RH/Knopf).

On Thursday, Mark Fainaru-Wada, an investigative reporter for ESPN is featured for his book, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth (RH/Crown/Archetype), which ties in to a documentary that aired earlier this month on PBS’s Frontline.


Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

A new TV series that is getting acclaim shares a title and a basic theme with a recently published book, also set to become a TV series, which may result in some confusion.

Here’s the story. The Returned, the TV show, is an eight-part French series which will air here on the Sundance Channel beginning Thursday (Halloween night). About what happens in a small town in the French Alps when dead people suddenly begin returning to their loved ones, it is based on the 2004 French film They Came Back(the French title of both the TV series and the movie is Les Revenants).

The ReturnedThe Returned, the book, is Jason Mott’s debut novel, published in late August by Harlequin/MIRA (Brilliance Audio; Thorndike large print). It is about what happens in a small American town when a young boy, who has been dead nearly 50 years, suddenly returns. Meanwhile, across the U.S., similar events are taking place.

A LibraryReads pick, it got a string of  reviews (USA Today‘s was particularly admiring) and appeared on the NYT best seller list for two weeks, hitting a high of #16.

An ABC TV series based on it will debut in March, titled Resurrection (thus avoiding confusion with the Sundance TV series, while setting up confusion over the book).

THE BOOK THIEF Gains Major Fan

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Book fans are notorious for not loving the movie adaptation of their beloved title. John Green is clearly a fan of The Book Thief, saying in his 2006 NYT review, it’s “the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable, hard-won hope.”

He saw the movie the this weekend and loves it, too, tweeting, “Just saw The Book Thief movie. Wow. So beautiful. It is a credit to Markus Zusak.”

And got the following response:

“Dear John, that means the world coming from you – someone who holds the secret word for life in all of us so well. Always, mz”

Good timing, since a new international trailer was just released (the Jan. date listed in the trailer is the international release date; it premieres here on  Nov 8).


The Book Thief Tie-inThe Book Thief , Markus Zusak
Knopf Books for Young Readers
On Sale Date: October 22, 2013
9780385754729, 0385754728
Paperback, $12.99 US / $14.99 Can.

Final Trailer for Hunger Games

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The final trailer for Hunger Games debuted last night during Game 4 of the World Series (see below).

It follows the teaser trailer  released in April, and the first trailer, which  debuted  at Comic-Con in July. We have trouble keeping them straight, but, thank heavens, Entertainment Weekly is here to guide us, saying it “teased more of the new treacherous arena of the all-star tribute games. Howler monkeys. Jabberjays. Jennifer Lawrence doing what she does best (when her face throbs with panic and she lets loose one of those raspy screams).”

The movie arrives Nov. 22

This makes us nostalgic for when Hunger Games, the book was first launched, with many librarians helping to get the buzz started (below is a quote that Scholastic featured at their 2008 BEA booth:


Catching Fire Tie-inCatching Fire: Movie Tie-in Edition: The Second Book of The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
On Sale Date: October 8, 2013
9780545603683, 0545603684
Paperback, $12.99
Catching Fire: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Kate Egan
On Sale Date: November 22, 2013
9780545599337, 0545599334
Paperback, $18.99

New Title Radar, Media Hits, Week of Oct. 28

Friday, October 25th, 2013

9780425259856   9780385343220   9781250027658

Leading in holds for the books arriving next week are the first in a new trilogy by Nora Roberts, Dark Witch  (Penguin/Berkley Trade pbk original; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike), Danielle Steel’s Winners, in which she takes a bit of a departure from glamorous lives, with the story of a young woman paralyzed in a freak skiing accident (she also releases a nonfiction title, Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love, both from RH/Delacorte) and Lisa Scottoline’s Accused (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; Wheeler Large Print), which returns to her Rosato & Associates series after the release of three standalones.

Also coming this week are more titles in the flood of books on JFK, anticipating the 50th anniversary of his assassination, several titles that relate to Downton Abbey, and Christmas-themed additions to favorite series. For ordering information on all the titles highlighted here and many others, with alternate formats, download our spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of Oct. 28.

Hot Memoir 


Pat Conroy’s beloved 1976 novel The Great Santini, based on the author’s troubled relationship with his abusive father, also became a beloved movie starring Robert Duvall.  Conroy updates the story in his memoir, The Death of Santini, (RH/Nan A. Talese; RH Audio, BOT; RH Large Print) which the Washington Post has already declared “luminous, unsparing.” The author would like to see a re-teaming of the actors from the previous movie and has offered them the film rights for free. The book is also a LibraryReads title for November.

Special Note

9780316201643S., Doug Dorst and J. J. Abrams, (Hachette/Mulholland; Hachette Audio)

Librarians on the listserv Fiction_L expressed dismay this week about having taken a chance on ordering this new book based on online buzz. Unfortunately, they were rewarded for their efforts to stay ahead of the curve with a physical book that includes loose inserts, plus a slipcase that, when removed, reveals a different title and author, and is made to look like a stolen library book, with cataloging labels and circulation stamps, all of which spells a processing nightmare.

Dorst is the author of the novel Alive in Necropolis, a finalist for the 2008 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, but the buzz surrounds his collaborator, Lost creator, J.J. Abrams. A mysterious trailer set fan sites abuzz in August. Some digging lead to  a Huffington Post article revealing that it is actually a book trailer.

UPDATE: Abrams is profiled in the NYT Sunday Book Review. He says that he is inspired by  Chris Ware’s work (whose book Building Stories, also presented a challenge for library processing). He describes the many layers of the book; “there is the novel itself (Ship of Theseus), which stands alone as its own story, and then there are the notes in the margins: a conversation and investigation and mystery and love story between two people, which is both connected to and separate from the central text.”

On the movie fan site,, last month, he described it further;

It’s a book that, when you get it, comes out of this sleeve and looks like an old library book. When you open it, you see that not only is it an old library book, it’s a novel and that people have written in the margins. You realize that it’s two people writing to each other and that the book was used as a means of communication between these two. It’s an investigation into this mystery and also a love story. Kind of a play on top of a book. There are these pieces of ephemera. Postcards and photographs and maps and letters and things that are actually physical in the book and actually come out.

Library Reads Picks


The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, P.S. Duffy, (Norton/Liveright)

First novelist P.S, Duffy was so delighted that her book was picked for the LibraryReads November list, that she sent a special note to librarians (Norton’s Library Marketing Manager Golda Rademacher notes that there are no more print ARCs, but you can still request digital ARCs):

I’m so proud that The Cartographer of No Man’s Land was chosen for the November LibraryReads program and so very grateful for the early support it’s received from librarians around the country.  On a local level, were it not for the Canadian source materials I received through international interlibrary loan at the Rochester Pubic Library here in Minnesota, it would have been difficult to conduct the research needed to write Cartographer.  But my gratitude extends back further—to childhood and the countless times I heard these words from a librarian: “Well, if you liked that book, you might like this one …” What power those recommendations had, matched only by the heady thump-thump as my books were stamped and I marched off with newfound treasure. Upon entering the massive Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore for the first time when I was eight, my father leaned down and repeated Mr. Pratt’s decree that the library would be for “rich and poor without distinction of race or color.” It was 1956, and those words meant a great deal. They still do. The stamps and card catalogues are gone. Keeping up with the times, there are computers, online services, the new “e-library,” and books in multiple formats. But librarians have not changed. They’re still there generating new and vibrant programs, encouraging readers, creating new ones—and recommending books. I’m not only proud, I am honored to be on their list.

9780316218955Parasite, Mira Grant, (Hachette/Orbit

With this clever cover, Orbit proves once again that science fiction can be packaged in a whole new way. The LibraryRead annotation — “Mira Grant’s first outing after the completion of the Newsflesh Trilogy lives up to the standard entirely. What a creepily plausible look at the medical industry and scientific experimentation. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel to this one.” — Emily Hartman, Spring Lake District Library, Spring Lake, MI


9781451666175Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosh, S&S/Touchstone

The #1 Indie Next pick for November:

“Brosh has been an Internet sensation for years with literally thousands of fans following her scribbled illustrations on her blog. She has won over readers and stalkers alike with her honest and stark humor and her fun stories and rants. This book takes readers into not just the fun and fuzzy world of candied cakes and dumb dogs, but also into the brutally honest self-evaluation and exploration of its unique author. Always balancing the serious with the silly, the dark with the ridiculous, Brosh says the things we wish we could, admits the things we’re ashamed of, and explores what we’re afraid of, always with color and humor and, ultimately, with hope. And don’t forget the scribbles!” —Jocelyn Shratter, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Media Magnets

9780312609337  9781476726502  9781476751139

Coreyography: A Memoir, Corey Feldman, Macmillan/St. Martin’s

Actor Feldman, who, along with best friend Corey Helm (who died from a drug overdose), were teen stars in the ’80’s, writes about sexual predators in Hollywood. It is, of course, making headlines. He is scheduled to appear Monday on Good Morning America, Piers Morgan Live and The View. In a starred review Publishers Weekly said, “[Feldman] narrates in a straightforward, conversational style that spares no details when it comes to darker subject material….The book doesn’t sugarcoat, exposing the dark sides of Hollywood and child stardom.”

What’s So Funny?: My Hilarious Life, Tim Conway, Jane Scovell, Carol Burnett, (S&S/Howard Books; Brilliance Audio; Throndike)

Unsurprisingly, the Carol Burnett Show‘s funnyman will be getting lots of media attention ~Parade Magazine, October 27; Today Show, October 28; NBC-TV, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, October 29; FOX TV – Fox & Friends October 29;  Huckabee, November 1st.

Book trailer below,

The Embassy House, Morgan Jones with Damien Lewis, (S&S/Threshold; S&S Audio)

An embargoed eyewitness account of the Libyan siege, it will be featured on CBS-TV, 60 Minutes, October 27; CBS-TV, CBS This Morning, October 28; FOX-TV, Hannity, October 29; FOX-TV, Fox & Friends, October 31; CNN-TV, Erin Burnett Outfront, October 31

World Book Night Titles Announced

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

World Book Night, April 23rd, 2014, marks the third year that volunteer givers in U.S. will hand out half a million free paperbacks. The list of this year’s titles, announced last night, includes a wide range of books with broad appeal, from older classics to recent releases, fiction, nonfiction, children’s and YA titles, two in large type and one that is available in both English and Spanish.

One of the titles is Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters, (Penguin/Einhorn), a librarian favorite for the sisters’ motto, “There is no problem a library card can’t solve.” (THAT would make a great sticker for all the books).

Click here to download our spreadsheet of all the titles, with information on alternate formats.

Applications are now open to become a volunteer giver.

Below is a slideshow of images from last year’s event:

Christian Grey Role Cast

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Fifty Shades of GreyFollowing weeks of daily media reports on who might be cast as the lead in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey after Charlie Hunnam dropped out, a new lead has been announced, Jamie Dorman.

Variety reports that the Irish actor and Calvin Klein model will co-star with Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson).

This thing may actually happen.

Assessing The JFK Assessments

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

9780316370714   9781410452962   9780316907927

The 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination is bringing dozens of books, as we have been noting. In the upcoming Oct. 27th  New York Times Sunday Book Review, Jill Abramson, the newspaper’s Executive Editor, assesses the many books that have been published over the years, saying,

The true mystery in Kennedy’s case is why, 50 years after his death, highly accomplished writers seem unable to fix him on the page … Other presidents, good and bad, have been served well by biographers and historians … Kennedy, the odd man out, still seeks his true biographer.

Abramson celebrates one of the earliest, now back in print:

… the Kennedy family, which controlled publication rights to [William Manchester’s] The Death of a President, allowed it to go out of print, and for a number of years copies could be found only online or at rummage sales. The good news, maybe the best, of the 50th anniversary is that Little, Brown has now reissued paperback and e-book editions. [Note: HarperPerennial brought an edition back into print in 2009, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s election].

She also provides a sidebar sampler of her favorites, few of them newer titles (in the longer piece, she is unimpressed with the recent crop of books and is particularly scornful of Bill O’Reilly, who she says “has milked the Kennedy assassination with unique efficiency”). She calls An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, by Robert Dallek. (Hachette/Little, Brown, 2003; Hachette Audio), “one of the best of the full biographies.”

In a separate piece, Jacob Heilbrunn is kinder to several of the newer titles (he doesn’t mention any of O’Reilly’s).

MONUMENTS MEN Moved to 2014

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Monuments MenJust as the tie-in is published to the big upcoming George Clooney movie,  The Monuments Men, it’s announced that the film release date has been pushed from Dec. 18 to an unspecified time in the first quarter of 2014.

The L.A. Times reports that director Clooney says he needs more time to get the special effects correct.

Will that hurt the sales of the tie-ins — The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, Robert M. Edsel, (Hachette/Back Bay trade pbk; Mass Mkt: Macmillan Audio)?

Unlikely; we’ve seen several tie-ins become hits even when the films were put off, the most notable being Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which landed on best seller lists only to see the movie put off for months, finally releasing a year later.

It seems famous faces on covers are all consumers need. In this case, there are several; Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Jean Dujardin.

Official Web Site:

Twain, Part Deux

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The release of the second volume of a book that was an unexpected best seller in 2010, the autobiography of Mark Twain, was celebrated on the PBS Newshour.

Mark Twain
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2  The Complete and Authoritative Edition
Mark Twain, ed. by Benjamin Griffin, and The Mark Twain Project
U. of California Press
October 5, 2013
9780520272781, 0520272781; $45.00 US
Simultaneous Audio: Blackstone

OUTLANDER Shooting In Scotland

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

OutlanderBased on the first title in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels, the STARZ series began production in Scotland earlier this month, and now has an official web site,

During last week’s Comic Con in NYC, Gabaldon and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore held a special event for fans (summary here:  “Who’s Been Cast in Starz’s ‘Outlander‘? Plus 11 More Things We Know About the Upcoming Series“). Moore emphasized how faithful the adaptation will be to the book  (“I live with a fan, my wife, and it’s my job not to screw up her favorite book!”)

Below is the video, preceded by some scenes from the shoot. Concept art for the sets is shown beginning at time stamp 9:15:

Written in My Own Heart's Blood

The forthcoming 8th title in the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, (RH/Delacorte) has been moved from its original December publication date to March 25, 2014, when it will tie in to the publicity for the STARZ series.