Variety is the Spice of Reading:
11 Highlights from GalleyChatters

Editor’s Note:  Robin Beerbower is EarlyWord‘s regular “GalleyChatter” columnist. She was recently profiled by Rebecca Vnuk in Booklist Online’s Corner Shelf.

Below are her picks of the titles brought up during our most recent GalleyChat. Join us for the next one, Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 4 to 5 p.m., EDT — #ewgc.


GalleyChat participants never fail to present a glorious mish-mash of titles with hardly any repeats from the previous months.  Here is a small sampling of the top titles mentioned during the last chat. As usual, a complete list of all 65 titles mentioned during the chat is available here.

9781492602026_fd794-2Need a good “readalike” author for Diana Gabaldon? I’ve had great success in suggesting Susanna Kearsley to my library patrons and her next book A Desperate Fortune  (Sourcebooks Landmark, April) is a timeslip contemporary romance blended with a little history.  New Rochelle Public Library’s Beth Mills thoroughly enjoyed it, saying she loved Kearsley’s two main characters, and the cover is especially enticing. [Note: Sourcebooks has republished several of Kearsley’s backlist titles]

9781476749433_56448Bookmobiles hold a special place in the hearts of librarians so it’s not surprising that a fable about a group of misfits escaping abuse and injustice by fleeing in a gigantic bookmobile has already received high praise. Nancy Russell (Columbus Metropolitan Library) said David Whitehouse’s Mobile Library (Scribner/S&S, January)  is “witty and whimsical, this adventure story is sure to warm your heart.“


The Return of Two Favorite Book Group Authors! 

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Anticipation is high for two novels by favorite book club authors who haven’t published novels in several years. In Anita Diamant’s new historical novel, The Boston Girl (Scribner/S&S, December), a grandmother born to immigrant parents narrates the story of her early 20th century life. It has received much love from 11 peers on Edelweiss, and many reviewers on Good Reads are saying it’s a great “comfort read.” [Note that Diamant’s first book, The Red Tent, has been made into a two-part series, which will air on Lifetime, 12/7/2014 & 12/8/14; trailer here]

Years after they were first published, book groups continue to discover Stephanie Kallos’ Broken for You, (2005) and Sing Them Home (2008), so it’s good news that her next novel, Language Arts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is due to arrive next June.  Cynthia Baskin, a devoted GC participant, says that it’s a “a deeply moving story of ex-spouses and their young-adult autistic son, and how their pasts and presents inform their independent and cooperative futures. It maintains the top-notch standard set by Kallos’ earlier books, Broken for You and Sing Them Home.”

Memoirs, Travel, and Archeology

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Kate Mayfield’s The Undertaker’s Daughter(Gallery/S&S, January) earned a spot as one of Darien Library’s Jennifer Dayton’s favorite memoirs and according to her it has all of the elements needed for a good life story: death, alcoholism, mental illness, infidelity, and ultimately love and forgiveness. She adds “…think To Kill A Mockingbird but with dead bodies.”

Lives in RuinsArchaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human RubbleMarilyn Johnson (HarperCollins, November) was a LibrayReads choice, and Stephanie Chase (newly appointed director of Oregon’s Hillsboro Public Library) said “Marilyn’s skill at sharing her adventures and the adventures of her subjects is fantastic: engaging, readable, and leaving the reader hunting for more information.”

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Janet Lockhart (Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC) loved the memoir by Anna Lyndsey, Girl in the Dark, (Doubleday/RH, March), saying it is a, “Riveting memoir of woman suffering from rare condition that makes her super sensitive to light. Gave me insight into another person’s life while at the same time illuminating my own.” Another memoir of someone going through the impossible is The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Epic Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the Word, Leon Logothetis (Readers Digest/S&S, December). Without a penny in his pocket, Leon travels the world depending on the altruism of strangers, and is the perfect book for readers who desire something inspiring and uplifting. There is no DRC so for a print copy email our marketing friends at Simon & Schuster (see Library Marketing — Adult]

Spicy Variety

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Earlier this year Collette McBeth’s Precious Thing (a great Gone Girl read alike and a LibraryRead pick) was well liked by Chatters, so were thrilled to find out the author’s new title, The Life I Left Behind (Minotaur/Macmillan) will be out in February. The narration by the ghost of a murdered victim may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but Jennifer Winberry says it’s worth reading as the “characters are so good, the way they relate to each other and get involved with each other is AMAZING!

Kristin Hannah is among the top women’s fiction writers and patrons will be anxious to read her next book, The Nightingale (St. Martin’s/Macmillan, February). Janet Lockhart said of this story of two sisters and their challenging relationship during WWII, “Good family fiction with a complex characters and dynamics; the characters got under my skin.”  Edelweiss is showing lots of love from peers and on  GoodReads, it has already received 4 and 5 stars.

Anyone who loved Gone with the Wind (and who doesn’t!), will be excited about Kate Alcott’s A Touch of Stardust (Doubleday/RH, February), the story of the passionate love affair between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard during the filming of the movie. And if that isn’t enough to get us interested, the publisher teases us further by saying Kate Alcott, who married into the Mankiewicz Family (of Citizen Kane, Cleopatra, & All About Eve fame), weaves into the novel delicious never-before-told stories from the period.

Now wasn’t that a nice variety? Join us next month on November 4 (4:00 p.m. EST) for even more great books you will be adding to your TBR lists. And, as usual, please “friend me” on Edelweiss to keep up with the titles I’m anticipating.

2 Responses to “Variety is the Spice of Reading:
11 Highlights from GalleyChatters”

  1. Jessica Says:

    I love that y’all link the GalleyChat titles to the Edelweiss review copy, since the first thing I want to do is see if I can get the galley. It’s a little thing but it’s much appreciated :)

  2. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    Thanks for mentioning that — glad it works for you!