GALLEYCHATTER: Discoveries from BEA

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

The next GalleyChat is July 5. Extend your holiday by joining us, Details here.


In last month’s GalleyChatter column, we highlighted the titles we expected to be hearing about at Book Expo America. We’re happy to report our predictions were accurate, but the real fun of the show is the unexpected gems.

During the post-BEA GalleyChat, those who had just returned from the show were eager to share newly discovered titles that had been lugged home. Below is a mixture of titles that were featured during the show with either author appearances or plentiful galleys and we are happy to report that these all lived up to the promotional efforts. As we head in to the Fourth of July holiday, consider downloading digital review copies of these titles from Edelweiss or NetGalley.

And, if you love any of these titles, be sure to consider nominating them for LibraryReads. We’ve noted in red the deadlines for those titles that can still be nominated.

For a complete list of the 127 titles mentioned during the chat, check here.

First Novels

9781101946619_6e633Nathan Hill was prominently featured in BEA’s Buzz programs for his debut novel The Nix (PRH/Knopf, August). This 640 bag sprawling saga about a college English teacher’s search for his mother rated five stars from frequent Galleychat contributor Cynthia Baskin who said, “This engrossing, humorous novel takes the reader from the rural Midwest to New York City and to the Chicago riots in 1968, and finally to Norway. It’s a book that is going to be a big success!”

9780316308106_4f84eAnother debut novel receiving kudos from both booksellers and librarians is Affnity Konar’s Mischling (Hachette/Lee Beaudroux Books, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20), a historical novel set during WWII. Susan Balla (Fairfield County Library, CT) reports, “On the surface, this is a haunting novel about the brutality and depravity inflicted upon “multiples” at the hands of Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. It soon becomes apparent, however, that this novel is an affirmation of the importance and power of family, whatever your definition of family may be. This is a beautifully written, powerful reminder of the destructive nature of hate and the redemptive powers of love and hope.”

9780316391177_50b5eWith a mix of contentious friendships, exotic locations, and a bit of adversity, Invincible Summer by Alice Adams [not be confused with American author Alice Adams who died in 1999] (Hachette/Little Brown, June), is the perfect book for tucking into a beach bag and a contender for book groups. Heather Bistyga, ILL/Periodicals Librarian from Anderson, SC, says, “Invincible Summer paints a deft picture of the first 20 years of adulthood, with a resonance that transcends nationality and specific life experiences. A fast, enjoyable read.

9780399184512_1ca7cAnother title poised to be a hit with literary readers and book groups is Brit Bennett’s novel set in a contemporary African-American community in southern California, The Mothers (PRH/Riverhead, October; LibraryReads deadline: Aug 20). Jessica Woodbury, Book Riot contributor, says this skillfully written story “is about three characters, following them from 17 or so until their mid-20’s. But its theme is mothers and love and family and community. Bennett doesn’t get a thing wrong.”

Happy Returns

9781501132933_82371Stacks of the psychological suspense novel, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press, July), were readily available in the Simon & Schuster booth. So far feedback has been very positive with many saying it’s even better than Ware’s first novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood. Anbolyn Potter of Chandler Public Library (AZ) said, “It’s a contemporary version of ‘the country house mystery’ set on a luxury cruise ship with a limited number of people who could have committed the crime. An ‘unstable’ main character, untrustworthy cohorts, and the claustrophobia of being trapped on a boat, ratchet up the tension.” I agree and add that the atmosphere was so well done I finished the book feeling a little damp.

9780670026197_2f9f3A dapper Amor Towles charmed the audience at the BEA Penguin Random House breakfast, and many raced to secure a galley of his next book, A Gentleman in Moscow (PRH/Viking, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20). One of the first librarian readers was Abbey Stroop, of Herrick District Library, Holland, MI, who says “All the clever language and charm that made Katie Kontent (Rules of Civility) irresistible is infused into a Russian aristocrat, banished to house arrest in the attic of a luxury hotel in the middle of Moscow after the Bolshevik takeover. With nothing but time on his hands, Rostov stumbles into being a better man and, ironically, a man of purpose. Keep a pencil in hand, as Towles plays with words like cards in a magic trick and you’re going to want to keep some passages fresh in your mind well after you finish.”

9780373789719_d2d16Susan Mallery’s Daughters of the Bride (HarperCollins/HQN Books, July), was mentioned at the Book Group Speed Dating session as a good bet for women’s discussion groups and is also perfect for readers of Debbie Macomber. New Rochelle (NY) Public Library’s Beth Mills says, “Mallery gives readers another appealing small town setting and the story of three sisters planning their widowed mother’s wedding while trying to deal with each other, their mother, and the men in their lives. Mallery’s smooth-as-silk storytelling makes this a winning summer read.”

Haunting Biography

There’s no argument that The Haunting of Hill House remains one of the greatest haunted house mysteries in publishing his9780871403131_0c0c3tory but the author has been an enigma. The new biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Norton/Liveright, September; LibraryReads deadline: July 20) exposes the author’s life. Jen Dayton of Darien (CT) Library says “This delightfully readable biography is served up with equal measures of dysfunction and genius. I really think that after reading this, it would behoove us all to lay in her backlist.” Fortunately, attendees who weren’t lucky enough to win the “lottery” and pick up a print galley can access the DRC from Edelweiss and NetGalley. [Note: Penguin Classics is reprinting a new deluxe edition of The Haunting of Hill House in September]

Please join us for our July 5 at 4:00 (ET) with virtual happy hour at 3:30. To keep up with my anticipated 2016 titles, “friend” me on Edelweiss (click on the “Community” tab).

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