Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 4, 2016

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The title arriving with the heaviest holds next week as well as greatest number of copies ordered is Stuart Woods’s Family Jewels, Penguin/Putnam; BOT and Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample), which is, gasp, the 37th Stone Barrington novel. PW comments, “Tony trappings, colorful characters, and a magnificent McGuffin provide ample distraction from the occasional dangling plot thread and the implausible ease and frequency with which Stone lands lucrative cases and beds beautiful women. Dry-witted dialogue keeps the tone light and drives this glossy, modern take on the classic detective story,” but Kirkus sniffs, “A low-stakes, low-octane thriller that seems to have been cobbled together entirely from dead ends.”

Prolific Mary Higgins Clark adds another title to the genre that has served her so well, suspense. Her fist major success was the  Where are the Children?, published 42 years ago in 1974 (her first book was a fictionalized bio of George and Martha Washington She quickly changed to suspense).

The new novel, As Time Goes By (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) is described by the publisher as being about “a news reporter tries to find her birth mother just as she is assigned to cover the high-profile trial of a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband.”

Further down holds lists is relative newcomer Anna Quindlen’s eighth novel, Miller’s Valley (PRH/Random House, Brilliance Audio; RH Large Print; OverDrive Sample) about a young woman growing up in rural Pennsylvania in the 1960’s, Booklist calls it “vintage Quindlen …a compelling family tale rich in recognizable characters, resplendent storytelling, and reflective observations.”

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 April 4. 2016

Media Magnets

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss, Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe)

The famous mother and her equally famous son reflect on their relationship in this book and also in the HBO documentary Nothing Left Unsaid, which debuts on April 9,

9781101904008_d131dThe Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. Arianna Huffington (PRH/Harmony; BOT and RH Audio)

The founder of the Huffington Post has had many passions in her life, most of them political, but a personal experience with sleep deprivation made her realize that she needed to try to balance work and life, leading to her book Thrive in 2014. Here she continues one of the themes from that book, the importance of sleep

9780812993509_10bb2Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul, by James McBride (PRH/Spiegel & Grau; BOT & RH Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Having written a best selling memoir, The Color of Water  (1996) and the 2013 National Book Award winning novel, The Good Lord Bird, McBride turns to biography in a book about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. A NYT profile of the author describes the book as being, “about entertainment, of course, but also about much more, including poverty, race, ambition and how to behave.”

Author Rick Moody, writing about it in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, lauds McBride for “tackling one of the most complex and most fascinating figures in American music over the last 50 years” and managing to elucidate his life, breaking through many barriers erected because  Brown “did not, in fact, much want to be known.”

People Picks

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People magazine’s  “Book of the Week” is Peggy Orenstein’s Girls and Sex, (Harper) which has been getting wide coverage, including an interview with the author on NPR’s Fresh Air this week.

The other two picks are Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls (listed in Peer Picks, below) and John Elder Robison’s memoir, Switched On, which we covered earlier.

Peer Picks

9780765385505_c1470Four April LibraryReads titles make their way into the hands of readers this week starting with Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway (Macmillan/Tor.com; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Jennifer Kelley, of Kershaw County Library, Camden, SC opens her annotation of the Fantasy with an intriguing question:

“What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It’s certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West’s school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It’s up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written.”

9780804177900_339e9The Murder of Mary Russell: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Laurie R. King (PRH/Bantam; OverDrive Sample) also hits the shelves, causing Deborah Walsh, of the Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, IL to warn:

“Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She’s opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers’ delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery.”

9781101883075_2dd4bThe Historical Fiction debut Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly (PRH/Ballantine; BOT; OverDrive Sample), appears as well. It is also a People magazine pick this week as well as an Indie Next pick for April.

Andrea Larson, of Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL offers the following annotation:

“This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read.”

9781501121043_4333eAlso picked by both LibraryReads and Indie Next is Tuesday Nights in 1980, Molly Prentiss (Simon & Schuster/Gallery/Scout Press; Simon & Schuster Audio).

Diane Scholl, of Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL shares her take:

“Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world’s new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn’t ready to finish.”

Booksellers have plenty of other titles to hand-sell this week with no less than eight titles from the April Indie Next List appearing.

9780316300285_52f80Fellside, M. R. Carey (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Let’s say you’ve been convicted of murder and sent to a maximum security prison for the remainder of your life, which should be a while since you are not that old. Then let’s say that not only can you not remember killing anyone, but you can’t remember who you are. Could things get any worse? How about if the ghost of the little boy you supposedly killed visits you in prison to ask for your help. What do you do? From the author of The Girl With All the Gifts comes another gripping and unforgettable story.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The author’s previous novel has been adapted as a movie that will be released in the UK in September (no US release date yet).

9780374106683_8bdbdThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Dominic Smith (Macmillan/Sarah Crichton Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Smith’s new novel unfolds slowly, and each moment of illumination offers a glimpse into the true heart of this quiet, captivating tale. Spanning more than three centuries, it is the story of three lives —a female master painter of the Dutch Golden Age, a moneyed New York patent attorney, and an art history student turned one-time art forger — each changed by one haunting painting. Filled with hurt, grief, and deceit, but also layered with love, grace, and regret, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is a wonderful read, beautifully written.” —Heather Duncan, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The artistic historical also made Entertainment Weekly’s list of “25 books we can’t wait to read in 2016”

9780544617070_5f07cThe One-in-a-Million Boy, Monica Wood (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Dreamscape Media; OverDrive Sample).

“Despite its themes of loss, love, and aging, The One-in-a-Million Boy is a hopeful novel. Musician and mostly absent dad Quinn Porter honors his dead son’s Boy Scout agreement to help 104-year-old Ona Vitkus. As Quinn and Ona get to know each other, Quinn begins to understand his son — and in some ways, himself — for the first time. Heartfelt and charming!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

9781101874936_543cbLab Girl, Hope Jahren (PRH/Knopf; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“This book has it all: nature, love, science, drama, heartbreak, joy, and plenty of dirt. Not since Cheryl Strayed’s Wild have I read such a rich and compelling nonfiction narrative. Lab Girl is the story of Jahren’s life in science, and her writing on the wonders of nature will renew your sense of awe. But more than that, it is an exploration of friendship, mental illness, parenthood, and the messiness of life. The only flaw — these pages fly by too quickly, leaving you wondering what you could possibly read next that will be just as good.” —Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

Jahren’s debut is getting plenty of other coverage as well. Michiko Kakutani of the NYT‘s weighs in as does Entertainment Weekly with an A- review. It also made the WSJ‘s “The Hottest Spring Nonfiction Books” (subscription may be required).

9781101903735_a6beaDodgers, Bill Beverly (PRH/Crown; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Four young black men, following orders, leave their tightly bound South Central Los Angeles community, and drive across the country to perform a hit to prevent a witness from testifying against their boss. They are ghetto born, raised, and trained, so they have outlaw skills and the resulting respect in their community. In wide-open America, they are profoundly out of their comfort zone. What each young man does with his skills, wits, sense of duty, and — for one in particular — a dawning sense of what the future holds for such a lifestyle, forms the core of this powerful novel. Provocative, gripping, and timely, Dodgers is a riveting read that leaves a lasting impression.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

The debut is a B&N Discover pick as well.

9781476777832_f52c0The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh (Simon & Schuster; Simon & Schuster Audio).

“What is entailed in living ‘a good life’? Using the writings of a succession of Chinese scholars from 2,000 years ago, the authors explain their ancient teachings through contemporary examples and demonstrate how changing our perspective can change our lives. And ‘the path’ that we are to follow? There is none! Rather, we create the journey moment by moment as we change how we observe and interact with our world and those in it. Challenging and potentially transformative!” —Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

9781501112171_6e1b5The Railwayman’s Wife, Ashley Hay (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books; Simon & Schuster Audio).

The Railwayman’s Wife is a remarkable story drenched by the wells of sadness, yet it leaves readers marveling at the beauty of it all. Annika Lachlan is grieving her beloved husband and attempting to find solace in books. But the town of Thirroul, Australia, is home to more than one person damaged by grief. Brought together as members of a club no one would choose to join, each begins to move towards healing. The Railwayman’s Wife immerses the reader in Ani’s life, and as one savors the novel’s heartbreaking prose, a world is revealed in which hope and grief are forever intertwined and love may be the strongest current of all.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

9781555977368_eb802The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial, Maggie Nelson (Macmillan/Graywolf Press; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“If I could read the work of only one writer for the rest of my life, I think I would be happy to spend the rest of my days in the staggering beauty of Nelson’s prose. In The Red Parts, what could have merely been a relatively interesting true crime narrative becomes, instead, a wholly original memoir of pain, history, family, and those bright moments of clarity in a world that, for Nelson, had become so dark. This book asks us to wonder, to be angry, and ultimately to become more human. This is an inescapable, utterly compelling read.” —Claire Tobin, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI


A number of tie-ins come out this week, connected to three different films.

9781426216848_a3c6fNational Geographic The Angry Birds Movie: Red’s Big Adventure, Christy Ullrich Barcus (PRH/National Geographic Children’s Books; also in a Hardcover Reinforced Library Binding).

The children’s book supports the animated movie version of the popular video game Angry Birds.

The film releases May 20th and stars Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, and Danny McBride.

1484705580_e7ccaStar Wars The Force Awakens Storybook, Elizabeth Schaefer (Hachette/Disney Lucasfilm Press), a tie-in to the already released blockbuster Star Wars film, this time an illustrated picture book by the same author who created an earlier tie-in, Star Wars The Force Awakens: Rey’s Story.

1484725786_f2138The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Rainy Day, Disney Book Group (Hachette/Disney Press) comes out in support of the live-action movie hitting screens on April 15.

This is the second time Disney has taken on Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story collection. The first was the animated classic that came out in 1967, the last film Walt worked on.

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

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