Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of January 11, 2016

9780525954552_7b8ebThe book arriving with the most anticipation this week is Elizabeth Strout’s latest, My Name Is Lucy Barton. There’s just one strong holds leader for the week is appropriately named, The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag and

The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Jan. 11

Peer Picks

Two LibraryReads picks for January go on sale this week. The first is the LibraryReads #1 pick for the month:

9781400067695_a388eMy Name Is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout (Random House; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample)

It is also the cover of the NYT BR with a review by  Claire Messud.

Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA says:

“Set in the mid-1980s, Lucy Barton, hospitalized for nine weeks, is surprised when her estranged mother shows up at her bedside. Her mother talks of local gossip, but underneath the banalities, Lucy senses the love that cannot be expressed. This is the story that Lucy must write about, the one story that has shaped her entire life. A beautiful lyrical story of a mother and daughter and the love they share.”

It is also an Indie Next pick for January:

“Strout has the incredible ability to take ordinary, even mundane situations and use them to make acute observations on the human condition. A mother’s visit to her daughter in the hospital becomes the vehicle for an astute examination of daily needs, desires, yearnings, wishes, and dreams that become so much of the remembered experience. Using spare, precise, but beautiful language, she has produced another masterpiece in a growing list of impressive work.” —Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

9780385541039_1b16fThe second LibraryReads pick out this week is American Housewife: Stories, Helen Ellis (PRH/Doubleday; BOT)

“In a series of short stories, Helen Ellis picks up the rock of American domesticity and shows us what’s underneath. While it’s not always pretty, it is pretty hilarious, in the darkest, most twisted of ways. The ladies in these stories seem to be living lives that are enviable in the extreme, but then slowly, the layers are pulled away, and the truth is revealed.” Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

It too is an Indie Next pick for January. Bookseller Lauren Peugh, of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ says:

American Housewife is a little arsenic cupcake of a book: adorable and lethal! Each of the stories features a housewife who does all the usual hausfrau things, but with a homicidal twist. Each of these ladies stand by their man — and sometimes they kill for him. I was spellbound and loved every vicious one of them, from their perfectly coiffed hair and gel-manicured fingers to their coal-black hearts! This is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures!”

Helen Ellis was also featured in the 12/27 New York Times Sunday Style section in a piece by J. Courtney Sullivan.

Several other Indie Next picks for January also hit the shelves this week.

9780316386524_298a2Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Sunil Yapa (Hachette/Lee Boudreaux Books; OverDrive Sample)

“Yapa’s debut novel is a raw orchestra of voices needing to be heard. Bringing to life the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, all those present are both dedicated and at a loss: the organizers and protesters, the police and their chief, the delegates and politicians, and the young unintended participant who is searching for meaning, purpose, and hope amid the brutality. From the personal to the political, within a single fraught day the whole world is blown wide open. Yapa has captured the chaos — and the beauty — with both fierceness and heart.” —Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

9780525429470_ca616The Expatriates, Janice Y. K. Lee (PRH/Viking; BOT)

The Expatriates focuses on three very different American women whose lives in wealthy and privileged modern-day Hong Kong merge in an astounding way. Margaret, Hilary, and Mercy come from different backgrounds, and as their inner struggles first collide in this glamorous new world and then with each others’, tough decisions are made that have a rippling effect. An unthinkable tragedy occurs that makes two women wish they could turn back the clock. Lee writes beautifully, with each woman’s story unfolding in sequenced chapters. A fantastic read!” —Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

9780812988406_4079cWhen Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi with a forward by Abraham Verghese (Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample)

“With a message both mournful and life-affirming, When Breath Becomes Air chronicles a young doctor’s journey from literature student to promising neurosurgeon and finally to a patient in his own hospital after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Always profound, never sentimental, this important book refuses to take refuge in platitudes, instead facing mortality with honesty and humility. Written in engaging prose and filled with penetrating insights, this story is relevant to everyone and will captivate fans of memoir, literature, philosophy, and popular science alike. Lyrical passages of great beauty and vulnerability are deftly balanced by bright, candid moments of joy and even humor. Come prepared with plenty of tissues; over and over again this exquisite book will break your heart.” —Carmen Tracey, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

9781250049940_08a90Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir, Tom Hart (St. Martin’s Press)

Rosalie Lightning is a haunting and beautiful memoir that lays bare the love parents can have for their children. Hart’s simple renditions of his life before and after the death of his young daughter are successful symbols, lucidly conveying the widest range of emotions and thoughts. It would be a disservice to say Rosalie Lightning just made me cry — it also burrowed into my heart. Hart describes the most unthinkable, painful event that can happen to a parent, and even more extraordinarily, he describes the love and the life that is still available afterwards. Rosalie was a joy to read about, and even on the darkest pages, I am glad he gave this gift of a memoir.” —Lyla Wortham, Whistle-Stop Mercantile, Douglas, WY

9781250077974_f2240Fallen Land, Taylor Brown (St. Martin’s Press; OverDrive Sample)

Fallen Land by debut novelist Brown is like a blend of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. In the setting of the southern Appalachians and crossing Georgia during Sherman’s March to the Sea, Brown shares the beautifully written story of Callum, a young Irish immigrant, and Ava, the orphan daughter of a Carolina doctor who perished in the war. Together they stay one step ahead of a loosely formed band of vicious bounty hunters at the trailing end of Sherman’s scorching destruction of the South. Determination, survival, and love all combine to form a thrilling and romantic story set during the final days of the Civil War.” —Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

It also received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and LJ.

9781501116100_a93b1And Again, Jessica Chiarella (S&S/Touchstone)

“This intriguing novel explores the age-old body/soul relationship from a fresh angle by introducing us to four participants in a pilot program that gives terminally ill patients new, genetically perfect bodies. Will these four — a beautiful actress, a womanizing congressman, a talented artist, and a beloved mother — simply resume their lives as they were before disease or accident struck? Or will they make new starts, make different choices? Can their new bodies incorporate what they have learned in the past? A fascinating literary debut.” —Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

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