Archive for August, 2015

Get Ready for the End,

Monday, August 31st, 2015

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Season six of Downton Abbey marks the end of the popular series. It begins airing in the UK on September 20, 2015 and will hit US airwaves on January 3, 2016.

Writing for Deadline Nancy Tartaglione, who caught the first episode of the final run at a press screening in London, reports “While I’m sworn to secrecy, I can reiterate that it’s pretty much everything a Downton fan would hope. There’s drama and emotion packed into the launch and enough intrigue to indicate how things may move forward as the seminal show draws to a conclusion after six years.”

A trailer, released yesterday, tugs at fans’  heartstrings, as it says goodbye in multiple ways.

That requires an antidote, “The Dowager Countess of Grantham’s 27 Tips on Etiquette”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.51.15 AMIn advance of the U.S. premiere comes Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to all Six Seasons by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin’s Press; Nov. 20, 2015). It includes interviews with the cast and crew, an episode guide, and plenty of lush photos.

Jessica Fellowes, who is the niece of Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes, has written three other books that will likely see renewed demand: A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, and The World of Downton Abbey.

A WALK IN THE WOODS Inspires Hikers and Readers

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.21.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.22.48 PMThe movie adaptation of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods opens on Wednesday, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson.

It is already gaining a following. The New York Times Magazine reports at the beginning of an interview with Bryson that “Park rangers along the Appalachian Trail are preparing for a huge influx of visitors, thanks to the release of A Walk in the Woods.”

Holds, on both the print and audiobook versions of Bryson’s memoir/travel tale, are growing at several libraries across the country as well, indicating that readers might be similarly inspired by the movie.

The NYT interview includes questions about bears, science, and politics, which Bryson answers in his trademark blend of clarity and wit.

We posted a story earlier, when the trailer for the movie was released, with details of the movie-tie in edition.

A Walk in the Woods (Movie Tie-In): Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson
RH/Broadway, July 28, 2015
Trade Paperback; 9781101905494, 1101905492;  $15.99 USD
Mass Market Pbk; 9781101970881, 110197088X; $7.99 USD

Welcome Annie Mazes to Workman

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Annie–MazesJoin us in welcoming Annie Mazes in her first day on the job as Adult Library Marketing Manager for Workman Publishing.

Many of you have come to know Annie in her five years working with Virginia Stanley at HarperCollins’ Library Marketing and have learned to rely on her knowledge and enthusiasm for both books and libraries. She is in fact a librarian herself with an MLS from Queens College.

Annie has shown her willingness to throw decorum aside to promote books. We’ve never seen anyone make a plastic spoon seem as threatening as she did in the following promo for HarperCollins Buzz session at ALA Annual (Annie’s on the left, with Virginia in the middle and Amanda Rountree on the right).

This is just one of the major life changes Annie will be making this fall. In October, she is getting married.

Annie takes over from Michael Rockliff, who has retired and recently sent a message to his library contacts, also welcoming Annie,
“I leave Workman, confident that they (and you) are in the best possible hands” You can keep in touch with Michael on Facebook.

Many of you also know Trevor Ingerson who worked with Michael at Workman and will now be heading up library marketing for their juvenile and YA titles. He has his own personal connection to the library world. He is also getting married, in just a few days, to librarian Stephanie Anderson (Darien Public Library, CT).

Contact information for both is below (our full listing of library marketing contacts is in the links at the right, under Publisher Contacts):

Annie Mazes: 212-614-7572;

Trevor Ingerson: 212-614-5604;


Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.20.58 AMNPR posted a sneak peek of Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio) last week and on its heels comes Michael Dirda’s RA-friendly review and very helpful summary of the entire Tiffany Aching story arc.

Writing in The Washington Post, Dirda guides readers through Tiffany’s adventures, starting with The Wee Free Men (2003) and continuing through A Hat Full of Sky (2004), Wintersmith (2006) and I Shall Wear Midnight (2010). He explains both the story arc and the point of the adventures.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.43.34 AMDirda clearly admires Pratchett and adores Tiffany, sharing an excerpt from The Wee Free Men:

“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. . . . “All the monsters are coming back.”

“Why?” said Tiffany.

“There’s no one to stop them.”

There was silence for a moment.

“There’s me,” said Tiffany.

Writing about his feelings when reading, re-reading, and thinking of that passage, Dirda says, “Even now, I feel a thrill just typing those words.”

Readers’ advisory librarians in search of a quick catchup will be happy not only with Dirda’s summary but the way he shares his joy in the entire series.

The review ends with a quick summary:

The Shepherd’s Crown is certainly a worthy crown to Terry Pratchett’s phenomenal artistic achievement, though sharp readers will recognize that some elements… are never fully developed. Moreover, anyone expecting lots of laughs will need to revisit some of the other books set on Discworld… much of this novel concerns itself with death and life’s purpose, while also examining the claims of tradition against the need for change and progress. Above all, though, The Shepherd’s Crown — like all of Pratchett’s fiction — stresses the importance of helping others.

Oliver Sacks Dies

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.49.53 AMOliver Sacks’s death was not unexpected. He announced its coming in the The New York Times on Feb. 19.

The neurologist and much-admired author died of cancer on Sunday, at the age of 82. He is being remembered in laudatory obituaries including those from the NYT, the Guardian, and Forbes, with a headline that would be a fitting epitaph, “Medicine Has Lost Its Muse.”

Sacks was known for his nonfiction works that reflected upon the workings of the brain, offering case histories of patients and explaining conditions such as Tourette’s and amnesia to a broad audience of fascinated readers.

His writing was always clear, empathetic, and accessible and he took pains to make it revolve around his patients rather than offering only details of their conditions.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.53.05 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.51.03 AMHe wrote thirteen books. On the Move: A Life (RH/Knopf; April 28, 2015; OverDrive Sample) is his most recent. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings are his best known.

He gave several TED talks, Awakenings was made into a film starring Robin Williams, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was adapted into an opera, which is still being produced in companies around the country.

In one of his last public writings, an opinion piece for the NYT he wrote

“And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”


Fall Previews

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Leading up to Labor Day, the media is offering their takes on the books of the fall. We covered O magazine’s list earlier, below are several new lists:

10 cool books to read this fall — USA Today

All the Most Thrilling Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming This Fall — io9

Fall books: 30 top titles for your night table  Seattle Times Fall Reading Preview: Books

One of the longer lists  is New York magazine, which suggests 46 titles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.02.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.01.05 PMUsefully arranged by month and then publication date, the suggestions start with Jonathan Franzen’s Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) arriving on Tuesday and continue through the December 1 publication of Karine Tuil’s The Age of Reinvention (S&S/Atria).

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.03.14 PMBookended between are buzzy picks, big names, debuts, a graphic novel, and a children’s book.

Moving from cult favorite to full-blown media darling is Italian author Elena Ferrante with The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). On
New York magazine’s list as well as O magazine’s, and Amazon Editors Fall Favorites, it is on also the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review.

This is the the fourth and final book in Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. Keep your eye on her earlier novels as new readers discover the author.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.04.50 PMThe Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Random/Pantheon; Blackstone Audiobooks) is one of the big names, and a long awaited one at that. New York contributor Christian Lorentzen says “Gaitskill’s first novel in ten years is about a poor city girl who goes to the country — but don’t expect anything heartwarming.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 2.29.44 PMCity of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón (author) and Sheila Alvarado (artist) (Penguin/Riverhead) is the graphic novel. Ian Epstein, who wrote the article on the 46 picks, says it is “about a Peruvian tabloid journalist who, mired in a long project about sad street clowns, is shaken up by his father’s death.”

Like the recently unveiled NYPL Staff Picks Tool, the magazine has also created The Fall Entertainment Generator: 308 Things to Watch, Hear, See and Do.

It offers users a chance to pick a genre and a feeling and then matches those desires to TV, movies, books, albums, theater, concerts, and art exhibits (some of which obviously work better for residents of the NYC-area). Genre choices are Indie, Blockbuster, Adventurous, and Trashy. Feeling choices are Inspired, Thrilled, Smart, Laugh, Scared, and Cry.

Eight Titles to Know and Recommend, the Week of Aug. 31

Friday, August 28th, 2015

spiders-web  purity

It’s a game of “Is this one better than that one” for critics this week, as they look forward to two big launches on Tuesday. We’ve already looked at the earliest reviews of The Girl in the Spider’s Web (RH/Knopf; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print).  People magazine adds theirs online today (the review is not in the new print issue; usually it is the other way around), judging it a worthy successor. That makes the Washington Post the only holdout so far

The other title is Jonathan’s third book, Purity. (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio). It’s also had several early reviews, which we summarized. Many more have been added since.

Going beyond the cliched adjective “highly anticipated,” Entertainment Weekly ‘s Leah Greenblatt writes, “A new Jonathan Franzen novel arrives only every five or 10 years, and when it does, it feels like a banquet. His books are almost always centered on familial entanglements and identity, but they’re never just that: There are brilliant stand-alone chapters to devour, detours to savor, bitter little scraps to nibble and spit out.”  This one is no exception, says Greenblatt, Objecting to Franzen’s “often shockingly ugly take on women” (although she says he is an equal opportunity insulter, since his “male characters hardly come out unscathed”) and to the novel’s abrupt ending which seems to indicate Franzen tired of his characters, she gives it a B.

The daily NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani, whom Franzen referred to in 2008 as “the stupidest person in New York City,” calls this a “dynamic new novel,” which, “After its somewhat stilted start …kicks into gear, with Mr. Franzen writing with gathering assurance and verve.” Addressing Franzen famous misanthropy, she says he “has added a new octave to his voice … [the] ability here to not just satirize the darkest and pettiest of human impulses but to also capture his characters’ yearnings for connection and fresh starts — and to acknowledge the possibility of those hopes.”

LA Times chief critic David L. Ulin’s is more qualified, saying “The novel is a bit of a mixed bag, largely because of all the plotting, which has never been the author’s strong suit; both The Corrections and Freedom succeed despite, not because of, their narrative contrivances. All the same, it remains compelling to read Franzen confront his demons, which are not just his but everyone’s.”

People magazine makes it their “Pick of the Week,” [not online yet] calling it “Wickedly smart and funny about power and desire, sometimes flabby and contrived yet still irresistible: pure Franzen.”

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet,EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Aug. 31, 2015

Consumer Media Picks

9781609452865_4717cThe Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante, (Europa Editions)

The cult Italian author‘s final book in her Neapolitan Novels series is featured on the cover of this week’a NYT Book Review.

The writer explains in a Vanity Fair interview that “You Don’t Need to Know Her Name.”


Peer Picks

9781476798172_61985Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg, (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press)

There’s a pile-up of excitement for this book, featured at BEA, with stars from all four pre-pub journals, plus picks by Indie Next as well as LibraryReads:

“Clegg’s devastatingly beautiful fiction debut is the portrait of a community in the aftermath of a tragedy. June Reid, the broken woman at the epicenter of the novel, is struggling with a loss so profound that she is unable to see beyond her grief, unaware that it has touched many people. Clegg tells their stories with heartbreaking sensitivity and insight.” — Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT

9780544409910_db716-2Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart, (HMH)

Also arriving with four prepub stars and picks by Indie Next and LibraryReads:

“When the Kopp sisters and their buggy are injured by Henry Kaufman’s car, Constance Kopp at first just wants him to pay the damages. As she pursues justice, she meets another of Kaufman’s victims, the young woman Lucy. Stewart creates fully developed characters, including the heroine, Constance, who is fiercely independent as she faces down her fears. The time period and setting are important parts of the story as well, providing a glimpse of 1914 New Jersey.” — Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA

It is also reviewed in the week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review and author Stewart answers the burning question from the L.A Times, “What made Amy Stewart leave garden bestsellers behind for the novel Girl Waits with Gun?” She reveals she has and answer to reviewers’ hopes and is working on anther novel featuring Constance Kopp.

9780399174001_ee04bThe Gates of Evangeline, Hester Young, (Penguin/Putnam)

Indie Next and LibraryReads

“Journalist Charlie Cates goes to gloomy, swampy Louisiana to write a book about the disappearance of a young child. Her research uncovers family secrets, lies, and clandestine affairs. This first book in a new series is incredibly suspenseful, with a vivid setting, a supernatural tinge, and an intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end.” — Anbolyn Potter, Chandler Public Library, Chandler, AZ

9781250072320_3d213Jade Dragon Mountain, Elsa Hart, (Macmillan/Minotaur)

Indie Next:

“Hart has written an excellent historical whodunit set in a remote province of Imperial China in 1708. Li Du, a librarian in exile, investigates the murder of an old Jesuit priest a few days before the arrival of the emperor. Full of mythological, cultural, and historical details, Jade Dragon Mountain also offers a fascinating analysis of the period when foreign businessmen began coveting China’s riches, in particular its tea. The plot is tight, the characters and suspects are fully developed, and the story keeps readers guessing with a few extra surprises at the end. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more adventures featuring Li Du.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

At BEA Shout ‘n’ Share, Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Library System said, “The language, the prose is so beautiful it takes you into the story and keeps you going page after page.”


Hitting theaters today is the movie adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien, Z For Zachariah (S&S/Atheneum, 1975; tie-in edition, Simon Pulse, 8/18/15), reviewed in the NYT today. Concluding on HBO this Sunday is the series Show Me A Hero, based on the book by Lisa Belkin.

9781481455923_8feea  9781481456029_20445

Scheduled for publication this week are new trade paperback editions of the six titles in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series and the three in the prequel, The Infernal Devices. ABC Family is adapting the series. It is expected to being in early 2016. To fuel fan interest, the official site was launched recently.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV. For tie-ins, link to our catalog on Edelweiss.

Iggulden Novels to Big Screen Franchise

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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After The Hunger Games and Divergent where do you turn for your next franchise?

Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment will move from the dystopian future to the historical past, reports Deadline, with a potential trilogy about Julius Caesar, based on Conn Iggulden’s Emperor novels.

The first film, titled Emperorwill be based on The Gates Of Rome and The Field Of Swords (both trade pbk, RH/Delta).

The series consists of five books.

The author recently began a new series about England dynastic wars. The second in the series was published this year, Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou (Penguin/Putnam, 6/16/15).

Along with his brother Hal Iggulden, he also published the surprise best seller, The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). In the fall NBC bought the rights to a series based on the book to be produced by Bryan Cranston.

Moving Ahead

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9780684826974The HBO series, Lewis And Clark, based on the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, (S&S, 1996) has faced some challenges, including wildfires on location and the firing of both the director and director of photography over creative differences three weeks into the production.

But HBO is still “undaunted,” declaring that filming will resume in the spring, according to Deadline, starring Casey Affleck as Meriwether Lewis and Matthias Schoenaerts as William Clark. The series is being produced by Tom Hanks’s company, Playtone, along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B. Entertainment.


Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.20.02 AMA middle grade novel that features a transgender girl trying to find acceptance is building buzz.

George by Alex Gino (Scholastic; Scholastic Inc. Audio; OverDrive Sample) is one of IndieBound’s Autumn ’15 “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers” and was part of The New York Times story on transgendered children’s books. Trade reviews are glowing, using words such as “inspiring” “radiant” and “required purchase.”

Today’s NPR’s Morning Edition joined the bandwagon in a wide ranging story that includes how Scholastic is marketing George as a book for everyone.

In a seemingly odd comparison, Scholastic sees the marketing strategy along the same lines as their approach to The Hunger Games. Editorial director David Levithan told NPR, “It’s kind of crazy to remember now, but that book was initially seen as a potentially difficult sell. After all, it’s about kids killing each other.”

But like Suzanne Collins’s breakout, Levithan knew that readers would relate to the story once they gave it a chance, and believed they just needed to get George in front of people who would hand-sell it. Scholastic sent it to 10,000 teachers and librarians and Gino appeared at major book fairs to get booksellers behind it.

That strategy is in keeping with the author’s goals. “I want it to be a book that someone passes to someone and says, ‘You have to.’ ” Gino told Kirkus.

Nancy Pearl Revisits
Her Home Town

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.08.25 PM This week on the NPR affiliate KUOW show “On the Record,” librarian Nancy Pearl talks about Angela Flournoy’s debut The Turner House (HMH; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), a book set in Nancy’s hometown of Detroit.

The novel, which was a May Indie Next pick and one of our Eight Titles to Know and Recommend for the week of April 13, is set in the East Side of Detroit, from the early 1950s through the 2000s.

About a large African American family with 13 children, it focuses on the oldest son and youngest daughter, it blends history, including the Civil Rights era in Detroit and the northern migration, into the story of place and family.

Nancy suggests it for readers interested in characters and calls it “such a good reading experience.”

ROOTS Remake

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9781593154493Referred to as an “up-and-coming British actor” by Deadline, Malachi Kirby has just landed the lead role as Kunta Kinte in A+E Networks’ remake of the seminal 1977 TV series Roots, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alex Haley (cover of the 2007 Thirtieth Anniversary Edition, left). LeVar Burton played Kinte in the original series.

Playing author Alex Haley in the series is Laurence Fishburne. In the original, James Earl Jones played Haley, appearing in the first episode of the series.

Set to begin shooting next month in South Africa and New Orleans, it is expected to air some time next year.

Kirby is known in the U.K. for his role in the TV series East Enders. He also starred as the younger brother in the 2013 British film Gone Too Far. The trailer, below, includes an eerie foreshadowing of his future role.

THE SPIDER’S WEB, First Reviews

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Today is the release day in the U.K. for the English-language version of The Girl in the Spider’s WebA Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print).  We won’t see it here until Tuesday, and critics are in a competition to review it first.

Daily New York Times critic, Michiko Kakutani, has reviewed all the previous titles in the series. Her take on the new book  is summed up in these lines, “Though there are plenty of lumps in the novel along the way, Salander and Blomkvist have survived the authorship transition intact and are just as compelling as ever  … Spider’s Web is less bloody, less horror movie lurid than its predecessors. In other respects, Mr. Lagercrantz seems to have set about — quite nimbly, for the most part — channeling Larsson’s narrative style, mixing genre clichés with fresh, reportorial details, and plot twists reminiscent of sequences from Larsson’s novels with energetically researched descriptions of the wild, wild West that is the dark side of the Internet.”

USA Today chimes in, “Rest easy, Lisbeth Salander fans — our punk hacker heroine is in good hands.”

The Washington Post‘s Patrick Anderson is less enthusiastic, saying, “I recall the Larsson books unfolding gracefully. Lagercrantz’s narrative is fragmentary and confusing. It’s almost impossible to keep track of all the hackers, scientists and killers who emerge briefly, vanish, then turn up again after you’ve forgotten them,” It ends with a reference to Larsson’s long-time companion who fought against the continuation of the series, “Don’t be fooled. Gabrielsson was right; Larsson deserves better than this.”

The book is currently at #33 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are heavy in many libraries.

Sneak Peek: Terry Pratchett’s
Final Novel

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.20.58 AMAn exclusive excerpt of Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio) is online.

Posted yesterday as part of NPR’s “First Read” series, the book jumped up the Amazon’s sales rankings as a result.

The final novel in the Discworld series, Pratchett completed it in 2014, prior to his death earlier this year. NPR describes Discworld as “a magical flat land borne through space on the backs of four elephants and a giant cosmic turtle … full of memorable characters” It will hit shelves on Tuesday.

Live Chat Today with the Author of BRIGHT LINES

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Chat begins at 4 p.m., Eastern

To ask a question or make a comment click on the box below, enter your name, then hit “Set”

Remember, this is a moderated chat, so your comment will not appear instantly.