the Merry Month of May

Each month, our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the favorites from our most recent Twitter chat (#ewgc). Below is her post for March.

If you’ve missed Robin’s earlier columns, link below, for more  current and forthcoming titles:

February — GALLEYCHATTER, Heading into Summer

January — GALLEYCHATTER, Spring Announcements

December — GALLEYCHATTER Eyes 2016


We know EarlyWord is a valuable tool for librarians, but it’s always great to hear it articulated. During our last GalleyChat, Darren Nelson, collection development librarian for Sno-Isle Libraries (Washington) mentioned how beneficial it was by saying, “Thanks to GalleyChat for the great recommendations! I have often increased order quantities and gone ahead and decided to order upcoming titles based on them and have never regretted it.”

Even if you can’t participate, all titles mentioned during the chat are compiled into an Edelweiss collection. The March list can be found here.

Of the many titles that came up during the March chat, some of the favorites will make the month of May even merrier. Unless otherwise noted, all titles are available as Digital Reading Copies on Edelweiss.

Tense Suspense

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As usual, thrillers were on the tips of many tongues with favorite author Laura Lippman’s latest stand-alone, Wilde Lake (HarperCollins/William Morrow, May) at the top of the list. While preparing for a trial, Maryland state attorney Lu Brant finds herself reliving painful memories of a family occurrence in 1980. Janet Lockhart, Wake Co, NC, says, “We all think we know our family’s story, but do we, really?  Laura Lippman explores truth, lies and whether we ever know, or want to know, which is which.” This could be a prime choice for book groups.

Another top choice was City of the Lost (Macmillan/Minotaur, May; DRC for this one is only on NetGalley) by Kelley Armstrong, best known for her fantasy and paranormal novels . Elizabeth Kanouse from Denville Public Library (NJ) says of this first book in a new series, “What if there was a place you could go to start over, to run away and hide from your life. Well, Rockton is just such a place. Detective Duncan goes to Rockton to escape her past, and is immediately embroiled in the search for a killer. Fast-paced and mysterious, with a surprise ending, this is a new and fresh twist on the locked-room whodunit.”

It’s no surprise that film rights to  Before the Fall (Hachette/Grand Central, May) has already been acquired as the author is Noah Hawley, Emmy winner for the TV series Fargo. Poised to be a summer blockbuster, this slow-burn literary thriller about the aftermath of a private jet crash and the subsequent conspiracy theories raised by the quick-to-accuse news media didn’t have any big twists or surprises, but its unique storytelling kept me totally absorbed.

Pleasing Novels

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Thorndike’s fiction selector Mary Smith reads a lot of novels, and one of her 2016 favorites is Phaedra Patrick’s Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (HC/Harlequin/Mira, May). A year after the death of his beloved wife, Miriam, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is cleaning out her closet when he finds an expensive bracelet hidden in a boot. Mary said, “I loved this charming, heartwarming story and enjoyed traveling with Arthur on his adventures searching for the meaning of the charms. Reminiscent of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, everyone I’ve handed this book to loves this sweet, poignant story.” It’s also a good readalike for The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here (S&S/Atria, May), the story of a socially inept and fussy woman who leaves her cheating spouse and finds her outlook changing after taking on the caretaking job at a local recreation center, has been quickly accumulating “much-love” votes on Edelweiss.  Vicki Nesting from St. Charles Parish Library (LA) also raved about it saying, “With its wonderful cast of oddball characters and sly sense of humor, this novel is sure to capture readers’ hearts. And who knew your favorite soccer team could say so much about your personality?”

Former reference librarian Camille Perry’s debut novel, The Assistants (PRH/GP Putnam’s, May) is delighting readers with its slyly funny plot of personal assistants discovering ways to pay off their student loans by siphoning funds from their one-percent bosses.  Adult services librarian Andrienne Cruz (Azusa City Library, CA) calls it, “An enjoyable read that you will zip through as Robin Hood Tina and her merry (wo)men find a way to set things right so they don’t end up in jail.” NOTE: This title was featured in First Flights, the Penguin Debut Author series. Read our chat with the author here.

Captivating Nonfiction

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Betsy Lerner’s memoir The Bridge Ladies (HC/Harper Wave/May) is a winner according to Jennifer Dayton from Darien Library (CT). “When rebellious Betsy Lerner’s mom needs help after surgery, she finds herself back in New Haven chafing at decades old wounds. Enter the Bridge Ladies and their 50 year-old-game. Before you can say, ‘no trump,’ Betsy becomes enmeshed in their lives and fascinated by the ways that ritual can save. I loved this look at mothers and daughters, female friendship and the obsessive love bridge players have for the game.”

With endorsements from Cheryl Strayed and Ann Patchett, along with over 20 “much love” votes from Edelweiss readers, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (PRH/Knopf, April) could be an unforeseen bestseller. Nonfiction collection development librarian for Wake County (NC), P. J. Gardiner, says this is her favorite so far this year. “Jahren’s back-to-back chapters of the plant world and her personal endeavors as a woman of science weave together in rich, powerful metaphors. Her symbiotic relationship with lab partner, Bill, and their passion for discovery is the heart of this splendid memoir.”

Please join us for another rousing GalleyChat April 5, from 4:00-5:00 ET, with virtual cocktails from 3:30-4:00.

To be added to my notification list of when lists and summaries are available, or to share how you use GalleyChat, email me at

One Response to “GALLEY CHATTER Looks to
the Merry Month of May”

  1. Kim McGee Says:

    What about “Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave? It was one of my favorites along with “Redemption Road” by John Hart. So many great books coming out in May – “The Assistants” and “Britt-Marie Was Here” are wonderful.