Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of December 5, 2016

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As we get closer to the holidays, fewer hardcovers are being released. As a result, the holds leaders this week is Nora Roberts’ original paperback, Island of Glass (PRH/Berkley; OverDrive Sample).  

Six of Patterson’s BookShots paperback originals also arrive, including a title aimed at the season, The Christmas Mystery: A Detective Luc Moncrief Mystery (Hachette/Bookshots; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

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 Dec 5.

Media Attention


The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, Michael Lewis, (Norton; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Ever since Moneyball, his examination of how the Oakland A’s used statistics to create a winning team, Lewis has attracted media attention. In this new book, he reaches back to examine the researchers whose work influenced the Oakland A’s manager, as well as many others, to think differently. The book is reviewed by the NYT  along with a profile of the author, who is also featured on CBS Sunday Morning. He is scheduled to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight and for tomorrow on CBS This Morning.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, Kathleen Collins, (HarperCollins/Ecco, paperback original; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)
The film maker Kathleen Collins was just 46 years old when she died in 1988. She was also a remarkable short story writer, as this collection attests. It is getting a massive amount of critical attention, from the New Yorker , the New York Times and the LA Times. It’s even Bustle’s Book of the Month.

Peer Picks

9780802125743_e3b09Four Indie Next selections come out this week, starting with the return of a fan-favorite author, Val McDermid with Out of Bounds (Atlantic Monthly Press).

“McDermid is a thriller writer at the top of her game and Out of Bounds has everything readers want in a character-driven suspense novel: fully human characters, tight plotting, unexpected twists, and a story that grabs and won’t let go. Karen Pirie is still reeling from the death of her partner and is coping by throwing herself into her work as detective chief inspector of Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit. As the unit works to unravel a 20-year-old case through a DNA match from the driver in a recent car accident, Pirie skates on thin ice with her superiors by digging into the background of a mentally disturbed man who appears to have committed suicide. Highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Additional Buzz: The Guardian includes this latest in the Karen Pirie series in their “The best recent crime novels – review roundup,” writing: “McDermid’s expertly juggled plotlines and masterful handling of pace and tension tick all the best boxes, but what makes this book a real cracker is Pirie herself – grieving, insubordinate and dogged in her pursuit of the various culprits.” Canadian librarians pick it as a Loan Stars choice and the Scottish Book Trust selects it as one of the “30 Excellent Scottish Books of 2016.”

9780811219105_cba49Ema the Captive, César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews (Norton/New Directions; OverDrive Sample).

Ema, the Captive is a gentle meditation on the natural world in its grotesqueness and its beauty, humanity’s place within it, and the effect that human progress has had on both. With his usual incredible attention to detail and in measured, lucid prose, Aira somehow turns this tale into a page-turner, the kind of feat only he could accomplish.” —Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Additional Buzz: Paste selects it as one of their “21 of the Best New Novels Translated into English” saying: “a powerful novel worth reading ASAP.”

9781590517918_b7398Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef, Leonardo Lucarelli, translated by Lorena Rossi Gori and Danielle Rossi (PRH/Other Press; OverDrive Sample).

“This is not a typical chef story where the aspiring individual goes to culinary school, learns all the traditional styles, and then apprentices under a great chef to become established in the profession. Lucarelli started as a dishwasher and then through dumb luck became the chef in a restaurant after its two chefs fought with each other and left. Subsequent kitchens all offered a variety of challenges and disruptive, combative elements that helped to move Lucarelli’s career along. If you want to experience some real ‘behind the scenes’ views of restaurant life, then do yourself a favor and read Mincemeat.” —Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Additional Buzz: It is one of the BBC’s “Ten books you should read in December.” They write, the “enthralling memoir … takes us through long, sensual after-hours escapades as well as the satisfactions of learning on the job and cooking up his own fantasies. Most revealing, perhaps, are his mistakes.” It is also one of the Amazon Editors’ “top picks for the best books of December.”

9781616954048_d6fd1Who Watcheth, Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy (PRH/Soho Crime; OverDrive Sample).

“Tursten does not disappoint in the ninth installment of her impeccable Inspector Irene Huss Investigation series, moving it forward on a perfect note with Irene and her husband, Krister, beginning a new stage in their lives. One of the things I’ve always admired about this series, in addition to Irene’s strength and intelligence, is the normalcy of her life. I loved this book, but I was so busy racing through it to unravel the various threads that now I need to read it again slowly and savor it. You will, too!” —Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA


Four tie-ins, a mix of fiction, nonfiction, and a play, hit shelves this week to take advantage of the publicity for the film adaptations. Three of them are hot Oscar contenders.

9780062363602_4650aHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

As we have been posting, Hidden Figures is one of the hot films of the season (see here and here). It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a group of African American women who worked at NASA on the mission that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell. Director Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) was so taken with the script that he dropped out of the running to direct a Spiderman movie in favor of this one.

The film debuts in limited release on Christmas Day, followed on Jan. 6 by a wide release. This tie-in is for adult readers (the young readers’ edition hit shelves last week).

9780062662422_066ffLive by Night, Dennis Lehane (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Another film opening on Christmas Day in a small run to qualify for the Oscars is Ben Affleck’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s historical gangster novel. It will play nationwide on January 13, 2017.

In addition to directing and writing the screenplay, Affleck stars with Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning. It’s Affleck’s first time in the director’s chair since his award-winning Argo.

The trade paperback arrives this week, with the mass market scheduled for the week after.  We have been tracking the progress as the film has developed.

9780735216686_c42dbFences (Movie tie-in), August Wilson (PRH/Plume).

As we wrote earlier, Denzel Washington’s film adaptation of August Wilson’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play, Fences is heading to the big screen.

The story revolves around a former baseball player in the 1950s struggling to reconcile his life and provide for his family. Washington directs and co-stars with Viola Davis, reprising their roles from a Broadway revival of the play six years ago, for which both won Tony Awards.

Another hot Oscar contender opening on Christmas Day, Vanity Fair offers an alternative title for the film: “Please Hurry Up and Give Viola Davis an Oscar.”

9780765388100_9e2a3A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans, W. Bruce Cameron (Macmillan/Forge; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Opening on Jan. 27, 2017 is this tearjerker about a dog named Bailey who comes back to life again and again (each time remembering his past) until one day, he finds is first owner, now a grown man. As we have noted, the book was first published in hardcover in 2010 and spent over a year on the New York Times hardcover and trade paperback best seller lists.

The film stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, Josh Gad, Peggy Lipton, and some great dogs.

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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