Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of November 7, 2016

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It seems each week leading up to the big gift-giving season is dedicated to one big-name author. This week, it’s Lee Child for Night School, picked by both LibraryReads and Indie Next (see below under “Peer Picks”). As a testament to his status, Janet Maslin steps out of semi-retirement to assess it in the context of the 20 titles that have come before it for the daily New York Times. This new title shakes things up by reaching back in time to when Reacher was a mere lad of 30. Good thing, says Maslin, because his previous title, Make Me, “wandered so far down into the dark web that an about-face was clearly needed.” Maslin appreciates this return to an old-fashioned spy story.

This Was a Man, Jeffrey Archer (Macmillan/St. Martins; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). Archer finishes out his popular Clifton Chronicles with this, the 7th volume in the series, which brings the family into the Thatcher era.

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Well-known YA author Stephenie Meyer publishes an adult spy novel, The Chemist (Hachette/Little, Brown and Company; Hachette Audio). Announcing it in a press release this summer, she said it “is the love child created from the union of my romantic sensibilities and my obsession with Jason Bourne/Aaron Cross. I very much enjoyed spending time with a different kind of action hero, one whose primary weapon isn’t a gun or a knife or bulging muscles, but rather her brain.”

Another Meyer, Marissa, writes her first stand-alone YA novel since her very popular Lunar Chronicles series, Heartless (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, about the Queen of Hearts. She talks about the catalysts for the  book in a recent interview. It has a moody trailer:

The titles highlighted here, along with many other notable titles arriving this week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Nov. 7, 2016.

Award Contender

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, David Sax (PublicAffairs; OverDrive Sample).

On the Carnegie Medal Longlist, this book explores the current vogue for older technologies (it’s not nostalgia, it’s passion). It’s not surprising that this speaks to librarians who have been forced to live with multiple technologies as they fade in and out of fashion. Booklist, which is one of the sources of titles for the Carnegie list, starred it, saying “Here is a compulsively readable book after a Luddite’s heart.”

Peer Picks

Two LibraryRead selections hit shelves this week.

9780385541527_eaf86Orphans of the Carnival, Carol Birch (PRH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample).

“Julia is an accomplished young woman who can sing, dance, ride horseback and speak three languages. Unfortunately for her, most people can’t get past what they see because Julia’s face is covered with thick hair, giving her an apelike appearance. Orphaned as a small child but raised in a wealthy household, Julia decides to travel the world as a carnival performer. This beautifully written work of historical fiction allows readers to consider what it means to be “other,” to always be on the outside looking in.” — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

Additional Buzz: It is also a November Indie Next selection. Nancy Pearl highlights it in a recent KUOW book talk, saying it is “magnificent but not an easy read” due to the topic. PopSugar list it as one of “21 Fiction Reads to Check Out This Fall” writing, it “will leave a mark on your heart.” The Guardian is not as receptive, saying “although Birch writes beautifully and creates some wonderful moments, the narrative never quite takes off.”

9780804178808_58676Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel, Lee Child (PRH/Delacorte Press; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Child goes back to the well and gives readers another glimpse into Jack Reacher’s past as a military cop — and what a worthwhile trip it is. It’s 1996 — after Reacher receives a Legion of Merit medal, he’s sent to “Night School” with two other men, one from the FBI and another from the CIA. Soon the trio learns that they’ve been selected for a covert mission. Child layers his page-turning story with careful and sometimes dryly humorous details. This suspense series keeps getting better — it’s a joy to read.” — Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY

Additional Buzz: It is an Indie Next pick for November and a Fall Reading choice by the Amazon Editor’s, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Today. Charles Finch includes it in his round up of “Six New Thrillers for Fall” in the NYT, calling the series “a little silly, and completely addictive” and praising Child for his “clean, hard and fast” writing. Unfortunately, Finch feels that this 21st outing “stumbles” about a third of the way in.


There are no tie-ins this week. 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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