Archive for January, 2014

RUSA Awards, The Outliers

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The 2014 RUSA Notables include several titles that have already received wide recognition, such as Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Curiously, a few award winners did not make the cut, such as James McBride’s National Book Award winner, The Good Lord Bird.

More interesting are the titles that haven’t appeared on other best books lists:

Too Bright to HearToo Bright to Hear Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey (Soho Press; released in trade pbk in Nov,)

Award Annotation: “The fragmented and unsettling perspective of a man grappling with mental illness.”

Unchangeable Spots of LeopardsThe Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma (Penguin/Viking; trade pbk. coming Feb, 25)

Award Annotation: “Around the world with a charmingly unreliable narrator in this coming-of-age tale.”

Note: This was featured in our Penguin First Flights Debut Author Program  — view a transcript of our live online chat with the author here.

Year ZeroYear Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Baruma (Penguin)

Award Annotation: “A fresh look at the aftermath of World War II challenges the traditional, heroic narrative.”

Far Away NearbyFaraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit (Penguin/Viking; trade pbk. coming in April)

“Apricots and Alzheimer’s come together in a meditation on how lives are created and sustained through story.”

RUSA also handed out awards for genre fiction, in the 2014 Reading List and for audio, in the 2014 Listen List.

A True DOWNTON ABBEY Readalike

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

“For fans of  Downton Abbey” has become one of the most used phrases in promotional copy. As the NYT Book Review asks,

Is it possible nowadays for otherwise intelligent Americans to reflect on England without thinking first of Downton Abbey? To put it another way: Can beleaguered American publishers expect to sell any English author without promising — however absurdly — a tie-in with Julian Fellowes’s opulent confection?

Secret RoomsThat’s the opening line for the review of the original trade paperback, The Secret Rooms, (Penguin; Thorndike) which goes on to say, “in the case of Catherine Bailey’s stylish new book about one of England’s grandest dynasties, the link proves apt.”

The book, a December LibraryReads pick, was also also featured in the Daily Candy (although with the British cover), which, of course,  made the requisite reference, “If you add a dash of the macabre and a hefty serving of intrigue to Downton Abbey, you get Catherine Bailey’s latest, a true story about a creepy castle and a duke whose private space was sealed in 1940 and reopened only in 1999.”

We hear it will appear at #20 on the upcoming NYT Paperback Nonfiction best seller list.

Join the Penguin Young Readers Program

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Space Rocks!   Nightingale's Nest

Thanks to all of  you have asked for a children’s and YA version of our popular Penguin First Flights program, we are  delighted to announce the launch of the Penguin Young Readers Author Program— an opportunity to be part of the launch of major new YA and middle grade titles.

Sign up to automatically receive advance readers copies (in print or via NetGalley) of new titles.

A few weeks later, you will be invited to an exclusive live online chat with the author, led by EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek.

The first title in the program is Space Rocks!, a middle grade title by comedy writer Tom O’Donnell. Kirkus is the first to review it, saying the main character is “charming and [the book’s] alien perspective on the human invaders and the ensuing culture clash never falters.”

The second title in the program is Nightingale’s Nest, by Nikki Loftin, the author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy.

Many thanks to our sponsor, Penguin Young Readers. Sign up here.

Closer to Screen: JONATHAN STRANGE

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Jonathan StrangePhotos from the set of the BBC production of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, based on Susanna Clarke’s 2004 best seller, are available via The Daily Mail.

The 7-part series, which Time magazine’s critic calls “Possibly my most-anticipated new TV show of the year” will air in the U.S. on BBC America, but no dates have been announced.

In its day, the book was also eagerly anticipated, as Michael Dirda’s Washington Post review makes clear. Although Clarke said in a 2004 interview that she plans to continue the story, the only book she has published since is a collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury, 2006).

The book is still in print. Media tie-in editions have not yet been announced.


Thursday, January 30th, 2014

A sneak peek of the trailer legions have been waiting for aired yesterday on The Today Show (the full trailer is below).

Thanks to the snow in many parts of the country, lots of kids got to see it. For those in school, some sympathetic teachers let them watch.

The original tagline, “One Sick Love Story” was controversial. It seems the producers are now going with the far less interesting, “Bring on the Feelies.”

The movie opens June 6.


Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The Triple PackageThe woman who created a storm with her 2011 book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,  is making headlines again with a new book co-written with her husband,  Jed Rubenfeld,  The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (Penguin; Penguin Audio; Feb. 3).

The book has already received advance attention, including a segment on the Jan. 6 Today Show. The New York Post ran a review with a headline meant to amp-up the controversy, “Tiger Mom: Some Cultural Groups Are Superior.” On the other hand, New York magazine says this book is not nearly as proactive as  the previous one, calling it a “much blander, more conventional, and less sensational read, with more than a hundred pages of end notes; a detached, third-person, school-report style.”

Coming this Sunday, the New York Times magazine features a story about the couple (who also published an op-ed page last  Sunday, “What Drives Success“), noting that they claim to be appalled by the response to Tiger Mother, thus making their choice of subject for their new book, “either cynical or oblivious, or some uncanny combination of the two.”

Holds  currently are in line with cautious ordering in many libraries and are heavy where orders are low.

Inspiring STARS

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

THIS STAR WILL NOT GO OUTReleased yesterday, Esther Earl’s book, This Star Won’t Go Out, (Penguin/Dutton Juvenile), published after the authors death at 16, is rising on Amazon sales rankings.

Esther was the inspiration for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Her fictional counterpart, Hazel, is portrayed by actress Shailene Woodley in the film version, coming to theaters June 6, 2014.

USA Today covered the story yesterday. The following video is included in the online version:


Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Fifty Shades The PosterIt’s going to be a long marketing campaign. The first poster for Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, debuted on oversized billboards in several cities this weekend, even getting coverage on TV news programs.

Appropriately, it is in black and white (the movie will be color), with the tagline, “Mr. Grey will see you now.” Well, not exactly “now” — the movie arrives in a year, on Valentine’s Day, 2015.

The film is currently shooting in Vancouver,  Canada (which is standing in for the Seattle of the book); see images here. British singer Rita Ora, who plays Christian Grey’s adopted sister Mia, told MTV News at the Grammy’s that the movie will be an “amazing shock.”

She seems to mean that in a good way.

Flora, Floca, and Eleanor & Park

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Eleanor & parkCurrently dominating Amazon’s Movers and Shakers, the list of titles that have shown the greatest jumps in sales rank over the past 24 hours, are, of course, the books that were announced as winners of  the most heavily-covered ALA Youth Media Awards at Midwinter yesterday.

In the case of the Printz, however, one of the honor books, Eleanor & Park, rose higher than the Medalist, probably because, having already been a best seller, it has stronger name recognition.

Sales rank: 8 (was 630)
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, Kate DiCamilla, K.G. Campbell, Candlewick Press
Newbery Medalist

Sales rank: 14 (was 2,565)
Locomotive, Brian Floca, S&S/Atheneum
Caldecott Medalist

Sales rank: 116 (was 186)
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Printz Honor (the winner Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick, Macmillan/Roaring Brook is at #630)

Sales rank: 210 (was 3,333)
The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin Henkes, HarperCollins/Greenwillow
Newbery Honor

Sales rank: 250 (was 36,725)
Flora and the Flamingo, Milly Idle, Chronicle Books
Caldecott Honor

Sales rank: 290 (was 20,872)
Paperboy, Vince Vawter, RH/Delacorte
Newbery Honor

Sales rank: 355 (was 15,495)
Doll Bones, Holly Black, S&S/ Margaret K. McElderry Books
Newbery Honor

Sales rank: 4 (was 5)
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The author won the Margaret A. Edwards Award; this book was already high on the list, both because it’s perennially popular and because of the movie, which is still in theaters.

Top 100 O.P. Titles

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Sex MadonnaBook Finder has released a list of the top 100 out-of-print titles.

At #1 is a title that will bring back memories for those who were working in libraries in the early ’90’s — Madonna’s Sex. If you still own copies (WorldCat shows 179 libraries own the original Warner Books edition), you may want to safe guard them so they don’t walk.

The list shows a wide range. At #4 is the Harvard Classics. and at #5, On the Nature and Existence of God, by Richard M. Gale.

ALA Youth Media Awards

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Below is a video of the awards presentations at ALA Midwinter on Monday:

And the winners are:

Flora and Ulysses  Locomotive  Midwinterblood

Newbery Award

Medal Winner:
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, Kate DiCamilla, K.G. Campbell. Candlewick Press

Honor Books:
Doll Bones, Holly Black, S&S/ Margaret K. McElderry Books
The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin Henkes, HarperCollins/Greenwillow
One Came Home, Amy Timberlake, RH/Knopf
Paperboy, Vince Vawter, RH/Delacorte

Caldecott Award

Medal Winner:

Locomotive, Brian Floca, S&S/Atheneum

Honor Books:
Journey, Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press
Flora and the Flamingo, Milly Idle, Chronicle Books
Mr. Wuffles, David Wiesner, HMH/Clarion Books

Printz Award

Medal Winner:

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick, Macmillan/Roaring Brook

Honor Books:
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell, Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin Kingdom of Little Wounds, Susann Cokal, Candlewick
Maggot Moon,  Sally Gardner, illus. Julian Crouch, Candlewick Press
Navigating Early, Clare Vanderpool, RH/ Delacorte Books

The rest of the awards, after the jump:


Authors Speaking at Midwinter 2014

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Several videos of authors speaking at Midwinter are available on YouTube, including Wes Moore (The Other Wes Moore, RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2010), Matthew Quick (Silver Linings Playbook; The Good Luck of Right Now, just published, Macmillan);  Kidir Nelson (Nelson Mandela; Baby Bear, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray; 2013),  and David Baldacci (children’s title, The Finisher, coming March 4, Scholastic).

Below, is one of two videos of Ishmael Beah, (A Long Way GoneRadiance of Tomorrow, Macmillan, Jan.), giving the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture on Saturday.


Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Sundance Film Festival ends this weekend and many of you may have figured out that the unifying theme of our book display challenge is “Books at Sundance,” the movies based on books that premiered at the festival.

Apparently, our contest was too obscure; nobody came up with the correct answer by Monday’s deadline. Many were partially right, that all the books are the basis for movies, but nobody caught the crucial timely element, that they will all be shown at Sundance. We are awarding some winners, nonetheless, who will receive copies of the coveted print galley of Rainbow Rowell’s forthcoming book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). If you didn’t win, you can comfort yourself by downloading the egalley.

How are the films doing with critics? Jamie Marks is Dead, based on One for Sorrow received a mixed review from Variety; Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, is called “enthralling” by Entertainment Weekly; Low Down, about a noted jazz pianist, fared well with Variety‘s reviewer, but less so with The Hollywood Reporter‘s; White Bird in a Blizzard is called a “sci-fi sex romp” by The Guardian; garnering the most attention is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of a spy in A Most Wanted Man.

U. S. theatrical releases dates have not been announced for any of the films.

Life Itself, Roger Ebert   One for Sorrow   Low Down

 A Most Wanted Man   White Bird in A Blizzard

Titles (links are to WorldCat)

Life Itself, Roger Ebert, Hachette/Grand Central, 2011

One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak, Bantam Books, 2007

Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, A.J. Albany, Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carré, S&S/Scribner, 2008

White Bird in a Blizzard, Laura Kasischke, Hyperion, 1999

Gates Is #1

Friday, January 24th, 2014

9780307959478_8f90fRobert Gates’s media blitz, from the Colbert Report to CBS Sunday Morning, for his book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, (RH/Knopf) has had the desired effect. The book debuts at #1 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list. in its first week on sale.

Gates, who served as Defense secretary for both Presidents Bush and Obama. is sharply critical of many in government (an L.A. Times Op-Ed said, “Duty will go down as one of the most ill-tempered memoirs ever written by a former Cabinet secretary.”)


Thursday, January 23rd, 2014


The first two images from the upcoming adaptation of Lois Lowry’s beloved book The Giver, (HMH), which recently recently wrapped in Cape Town, South Africa, are featured today on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Inside Movies” blog,

Jeff Bridges, who plays The Giver is pictured above, with Brenton Thwaites as Jonas. As fans of the book will note, this Jonas is much older, a decision that has been controversial. Bridges, who has shepherded this project for nearly 20 years, originally balked at the idea. He has since come around and now says “We were so lucky to have Thwaites play this role. He does a beautiful job.”  Entertainment Weekly notes that author Lowry is also on board and has worked closely with Bridges and Noyce, even costuming extras on the set.

The movie is set to arrive in theaters on August 15.