Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of September 12, 2016

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The book of the week, at least among reviewers, is Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (Harper; HarperAudio), arriving on Tuesday. It’s already received coverage, and it’s likely to get more attention in the upcoming week (see Peer Picks, below). It also comes with the news that her breakout title, Bel Canto, is being developed as a movie, starring Julianne Moore. Check your holds, some libraries are showning ratios of ten to one.

The other literary title getting attention (as well as props from GalleyChatters this week) is Nutshell by Ian McEwan (PRH/Nan A. Talese; Recorded Books; RH Large Print), featured on the cover of this week’s NYT BR. McEwan is also getting the Hollywood treatment. His novel On Chesil Beach is in the process of being adapted, starring Satires Ronan.

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Showing a larger number of holds than his earlier titles, perhaps because of the A&E series based on his books, is Craig Johnson’s An Obvious Fact (PRH/Viking; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample). Netflix picked up the Longmire series (after A&E cut it). A fifth season will air later this month,

As we’ve written, Ta-Nehisi Coates followed up his long-running nonfiction best seller with a comic featuring the Black Panther, with illustrations by Brian Stelfreeze. The first four issues are being released in book form as Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1. WSJ interviews him about the series this week.

Jennifer Weiner makes her children’s debut with a middle grade novel, the first in a trilogy, The Littlest Bigfoot (S&S/Aladdin; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). She also publishes her first book of essays in October, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio).

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 Sept. 12, 2016

Media Attention

9781455559640_bb6c6Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, Elizabeth Vargas (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample).

The ABC News 20/20 co-anchor writes about her struggles with alcoholism. She will be be interviewed by Diane Sawyer tonight on the 2-hour season premiere of the show.

The book was excerpted in People magazine.

9781101904657_aae79In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox, Carol Burnett (PRH/Crown Archetype; RH Audio/BOT; RH Large Print; OverDrive Sample).

Watch for a flood of attention:

USA Today – Fall Books Preview – 9/4
ABC-TV – Live! with Kelly – Interview – 9/13
Bravo TV – Watch What Happens Live – Taped Interview – 9/13
Entertainment Tonight – Interview – 9/13
Today Show – 8AM & 10AM appearances – 9/13
Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – Guest appearance – 9/13
The Rachael Ray Show – Guest appearance – 9/13

9780399176418_31b3bGood Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Mike Love with James S. Hirsch, (PRH/Blue Rider Press; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Excerpt in People magazine, playing up the Manson connection. There is a VERY early, but none too complimentary, NYT review by Janet Maslin, two weeks ahead of pub. date. Coming in October is a memoir by another Beach Boy, I Am Brian Wilson.

9780847849000_46a33Alan Cumming follows up on his well-received memoir from 2014, Not My Father’s Son, with another life tale, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures, Alan Cumming (Rizzoli; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Expect a media attention, including:

Vanity Fair – 9/1
W Magazine – 9/1
CBS-TV / Late Show With Stephen Colbert – 9/9
ABC-TV / The Chew – 9/13
CBS-TV/Late Late Show with James Corden – 9/20

9781439154106_3bafeMan of the World : The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton, Joe Conason (S&S; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) provides an inside look at the second career and world-wide brand of Bill Clinton. The book was the basis for a news story in The Washington Post this week.

Expect more attention to follow, including:

CNN-TV/ Newsroom, September 13
MSNBC-TV/ Morning Joe, September 13
CNBS-TV/ Squawk Box, September 14
WNYC-Radio/ Brian Lehrer Show, September 15

9781501126543_09072-2Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel, Dan Slater (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). The publisher offers a sure-bet hook for this true crime tale, “The story of two American teens recruited as killers for a Mexican cartel, and their pursuit by a Mexican-American detective who realizes the War on Drugs is unwinnable.”

There is a media wave for it as well:

New Yorker, 9/12/16
NPR-Radio/ Weekend All Things Considered, September 10
New York Times Book Review, September 11
C-SPAN Book TV/ AfterWords, September 20

Consumer Media Picks

9781627796064_b90d99780316324427_25c7cIn addition to Ann Patchett’s novel, People picks:

I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, Luvvie Ajayi (Macmillan/Holt Paperback original; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) — “blogger Ajayi might make you rethink some assumptions about meant and women. At the very least, she’ll make you laugh.”

Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon. Kelley French and Thomas French (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) — “The Frenches, both journalists, eloquently chronicle the terrifying, heroic first six months of their daughter Juniper’s life … tender, fierce and breathtaking.”

Unfortunately, Entertainment Weekly‘s book section  was pre-empted this week by their extensive preview of the fall TV season, but Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth is #6 on their “Must List” for the week.

Peer Picks

Four LibraryReads titles hit shelves this week:

9780062491794_46ce0Commonwealth, Ann Patchett (Harper; HarperAudio).

“The Cousins and the Keatings are two California families forever intertwined and permanently shattered by infidelity. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly Keating, leaving her to raise four children on her own. Beverly, with two children of her own, leaves her husband for Bert. The six children involved are forced to forge a childhood bond based on the combined disappointment in their parents. As adults, they find their families’ stories revealed in a way they couldn’t possibly expect. Patchett has written a family drama that perfectly captures both the absurdity and the heartbreak of domestic life.” — Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

Additional Buzz: On most, if not all the fall reading previews, it is also the Indie Next #1 pick for SeptemberEntertainment Weekly gives it a solid A review; The Guardian says it is “outstanding;” and Jennifer Senior reviewed it early for the daily NYT, calling it “exquisite.” The author was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday. The film adaptation of Patchett’s 2001 breakout novel, Bel Canto, just got its own buzz, with the announcement that Julianne Moore will star in a film adaptation along with Ken Watanabe and Demian Bichir.

9780451495976_cb896The Tea Planter’s Wife, Dinah Jefferies (PRH/Crown; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“When Gwendolyn Hooper comes to Ceylon as a young bride, she has no idea that she’s entering a region on the cusp of political upheaval or that she’s living with a widower and his secret-filled past. The Tea Planter’s Wife has all of the elements that I’m looking for in historical fiction: compelling characters, an evocative setting, a leisurely pace, and a plot that unfolds like the petals of a flower, or, in this case, the tea plant.” — Amy Lapointe, Amherst Town Library, Amherst, NH

9781632864499_b89b6The Secrets of Wishtide, Kate Saunders (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample).

“A charming mystery introduces Laetitia Rodd, a widow who moonlights as a sleuth in 1850s London. She’s tapped to help uncover the mysterious past of a prospective bride, but the more Laetitia digs, the more certain individuals want to keep their secrets buried. And when those secrets turn deadly, Laetitia may be in danger herself. Saunders nails the raucous world of Victorian London, capturing the Dickens-like characters from the lowest of society to the lofty ranks of the wealthy. A fine read for those who love vivid settings and memorable characters.” — Katie Hanson, Madison Public Library, Madison, WI

9781501133862_bc1ceDarktown, Thomas Mullen (S&S/Atria/37 INK; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“In Atlanta in the late 1940s, the integration of black police officers into the force is proving to be challenging. White civilians don’t respect their authority, and black civilians don’t trust that they can protect them. Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are men with heavy burdens on their shoulders. Every move they make is examined. When the body of a young black woman is found, they will put everything on the line to gain justice for a woman who turns into a symbol of all that is wrong with their town. Despite its historical setting, so many elements of this tale seem timely, and readers will have much to think about after turning the last page.” — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, South Huntington, NY

Additional Buzz: Film rights were acquired in a “very competitive” auction ahead of publication. It is also a September Indie Next selection.

There are four additional Indie Next picks out this week:

9780374289867_e0e56A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler and translated by Charlotte Collins (Macmillan/FSG; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Andreas Egger lived his whole life with nature as his most trusted companion. When humans, war, and debilitating events threatened him, he quietly climbed mountains, bathed in icy streams, watched the sun streak its intense color into the sky, and then put his head down and forged ahead. He lived eight decades, mostly alone, and faced death and privation with heroism, stoicism, and a depth of character rarely seen in the ‘modern’ 20th century. In this short novel, Seethaler has poetically created a character and a way of looking at the natural world that readers will never forget.” —Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Additional Buzz: It is on the 2016 shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize. The NYT featured Seethaler last month in an interview for the International Arts section. The Irish Times says the book  is “haunting” and “spare” and compares it to Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers and John Williams’s Stoner.

9780399167928_02b13Little Nothing, Marisa Silver (PRH/Blue Rider Press; OverDrive Sample).

“Silver turns the oral tradition into fine literature with Little Nothing, a masterful work of fairy tale and folklore. Pavla, a dwarf born in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, is a survivor who magically adapts time and again in order to overcome cruelty. Danilo loves her and is obsessed only with protecting her. This is a story of the power of transformation and the gift of finding the love we need, if not the love we seek.” —Maureen Stinger, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

9781501107894_7206cLoner, Teddy Wayne (S&S).

“David Federman, a gifted student who is both socially awkward and emotionally immature, is trying to find his place as a Harvard freshman. Enter the beautiful and sophisticated Veronica Wells, and David is hopelessly, obsessively in love for the first time. Suffice it to say this is not a match made in heaven, and it ends badly for everyone when David starts stalking Veronica and violates the school’s honor code — the first steps down a slippery slope towards a violent and tragic ending. David is by turns sympathetic and repellent, and Loner is a complex portrayal of alienation, gender politics, and class at the highest echelons of American academic life.” —Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Additional Buzz: It is a New York Magazine Fall Reading pick. The author is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition tomorrow and a review is scheduled for the New York Times Book Review, September 25. People magazine will also review.

9781771642484_d154bThe Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben (Perseus/PGW/Legato/Greystone Books).

The Hidden Life of Trees reads like a 250-page epiphany. Wohlleben knows trees inside and out, and his revelatory examination of the inner lives of forests provides evidence of what many sensitive nature-lovers long suspected: that trees form friendships, sustain one another, and should be viewed as more than a natural resource. This is the kind of writing that can profoundly affect the way we live on this planet.” —Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

Additional Buzz: The NYT ran a profile of Wohlleben at the start of the year. It created a stir at the time, causing the book to rise on Amazon nine months before its pub date.


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Trolls. Film opens on Nov. 4, 2016. Directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn (both of whom worked on various Shrek movies). Starring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, and Gwen Stefani.

Tie-in: See listing of tie-ins for the many related books coming out next week.


The summer blockbuster,  Finding Dory is still in theaters, and, with terrible consequences for blue tangs. Digital releases are set for this fall. A new tie-in follows earlier releases.

Tie-in: Big Fish, Little Fish (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), Christy Webster, illustrated by The Disney Storybook Art Team (RH/Disney).

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

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