Archive for December, 2016


Sunday, December 18th, 2016

9780393254594_a5e49Hitting the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list at #2 this week is Michael Lewis’s newest The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Norton; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Libraries are showing holds as high as 17:1, and generally well above a 3:1 standard.

The book explores the work of Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky and the question, as the NYT frames it, of “Why do most people, from sports managers to bankers, so often overlook the data and make colossal errors based on gut instinct?”

The two found, “In study after study,” the review goes on, “that when it comes to making decisions, humans are predisposed to irrationality. Their surprising findings have had profound implications for everything from behavioral economics and politics, to advanced medicine and sports.”

Indeed, as Lewis wrote in Vanity Fair, their work, although he did not know it at the time, is behind the ideas explored in Moneyball.

But the reason that people are enthusiastic about Lewis’s book may be due to his ability to bring the emotional to what may seem like a dry subject. Jennifer Senior writes in her NYT review, “During its final pages, I was blinking back tears, hardly your typical reaction to a book about a pair of academic psychologists. The reason is simple. Mr. Lewis has written one hell of a love story, and a tragic one at that. The book is particularly good at capturing the agony of the one who loves the more ”

9780374533557Readers may know one of the subjects of the book, Nobel prize-winner Kahneman for his own bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Lewis has made many appearances for the book, including the following on CSB This Morning earlier in the month:

Feed The World

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

soup-for-syria-coverSoup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity, collected and photographed by Barbara Abdeni Massed, published last year by indie press, Interlink, is soaring on Amazon’s sales rankings. The jump, from #7,866 to a well-placed #45, coincides with a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered.

An effort by celebrity chefs to help relieve some of the Syrian refugee’s suffering, it’s a foodie version of Live Aid.

Barbara Massaad, a cookbook writer living in Beirut, visited one of the refugee camps and decided she had to help. Along with a friend who runs a farmers market, they started making soups to give away to those in need. “Soup is universal comfort food,” says Massad, “It’s special, soup.”

Deciding to take the project further, she reached out to colleagues around the world, asking for recipes for a fundraiser. Alice Waters sent in one for carrot soup. Anthony Bourdain offers soup au pistou, “with white beans, leeks, fennel and zucchini.” The team behind the popular Jerusalem cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, submitted one as well. Claudia Rodan and Mark Bittman also pitched in.

In addition to the recipes, the book is full of photos of the Syrians living in the camps.

The collection has raised more than $300,000 for food relief programs, “with very little attention or publicity.”

The lack of PR seems to have changed now that NPR has spread the word. The book is temporarily out of stock on Amazon and B&N and is on back order through wholesalers. It is currently shown as available for purchase directly from publisher Interlink.

Libraries have generally bought few, if any copies. Those that did are showing a mix of available copies and moderate holds.

#Libfaves16 Weekend

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

LibFave rules are simple — tweet your ten favorite titles of the year, one per day. If you’re late to the party, no worries. Just play catchup by posting the ones you missed.

Please type TITLES in all caps, to make it easier for those doing the final wrap-up (which we will publish).

Check out what others are posting by following the Twitter timeline widget to the right of the screen.

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Very few new titles arrive in the upcoming week and none of them have significant holds. 

9781401267735_4e24aWe’re unable to check on one title, however, because most libraries have not yet ordered it. Batman Vol. 10, (DC Comics) collects the final issues in what Entertainment Weekly describes as “writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo’s … landmark run on DC’s Batman  … [which] introduced daring new concepts to the Batman mythology, including a bold and colorful new take on his origin story.”

The titles covered here, and 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. 19 2016

Consumer Media Picks

9781408873649_9286c  9781632865465_6f819  9780316257442_54896

People magazine this week picks two titles from Bloomsbury USA, published earlier this month.

The “Book of the Week” is The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Ratika Kapur, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury, 12/3; OverDrive Sample). About a “simple woman from a good family” in Delhi who uncharacteristically embarks on an affair, this novel is described as a “delightfully funny novel [that] delivers a serious message about what happens when our responsibilities push us to the breaking point.” It received a starred review from Kirkus. UPDATE: In the Wall Street Journal  Sam Sacks gives it a particularly intriguing review, ending with “In Mrs. Sharma, Ms. Kapur has fashioned a memorably double-sided character for a novel that, like a gathering storm, changes before your eyes from soft light to enveloping darkness.”

On a weightier note, People also picks They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill (Macmillan/ Bloomsbury, 12/6; OverDrive Sample), writing, “The Bosnian war and Thailand’s ’04 tsunami come chillingly to life in this novel, which intertwines the stories of four people … In lean, piercing prose, Savill brings the narrative to a surprising climax.”

Rounding out the picks is a bio of the man who created the Star Wars series,  George Lucas: A Life by Jay Jones (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, 12/6; OverDrive Sample). Although Lucas is not involved with the new film Rogue One, opening this weekend (see below), it may raise interest in this book, which People says is  “packed with fun insider info.” It is also one of Kirkus‘s best books of the year.

Peer Picks

There are no peer picks arriving this week.


9780399178450_2bb3bOnly one tie-in hits shelves but it is a big one, the novelization of the newest Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Alexander Freed (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio/BOT).

The novel, which according to the publisher includes “new scenes and expanded material” beyond the film, follows the story of how the Rebellion steals the plans for the Death Star, thus setting up the action in the 1977 film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

The New York Times rounds up critics’ reactions to the movie, saying that thus far it is “mostly positive, but there were several notable exceptions.”

One of those was the NYT‘s own critic A.O. Scott, who calls the film “thoroughly mediocre.”

RollingStone disagrees, giving it 3.5 stars out of 4 and headlining the review with “The Force Is Definitely With This Amazing ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff.”

The movie opens Dec. 16. The tie-in hits shelves soon after, on Dec. 20.

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


Friday, December 16th, 2016

9780316403436_e8038-1Julia Roberts is returning to the small screen (after HBO’s The Normal Heart) and will star as Eleanor Flood in a limited series adapting Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Semple, no stranger to TV herself (she worked on Beverly Hills, 90210, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, and Arrested Development), will write the script for the adaptation, says The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’m giddy that Eleanor Flood will be brought to life by Julia Roberts … This will be a fun ride!” says Semple.

This is not Semple’s only project, she is also adapting Where’d You Go Bernadette for the big screen, with Cate Blanchett attached to star.

No news at this point on when either project will debut.


Friday, December 16th, 2016

9780143123545The 2012 NYT Bestseller, Steve Coll’s Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is earning a second readership now that Donald Trump has nominated the CEO of that global company, Rex Tillerson, to be Secretary of State.

The book is moving up Amazon’s charts, to land just outside the Top 100 (it is currently #107, up from #2,064) and is temporarily out of stock in paperback at Amazon. The hardcover is selling for almost a hundred dollars a copy, used.

Coll, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist. His book received favorable reviews when it debuted.

In his review in the NYBR, Adam Hochschild compared Exxon to the East India Company, and wrote Coll’s book provides:

“a picture of a corporation so large and powerful — operating in some 200 nations and territories — that it really has its own foreign policy … Exxon Mobil has its own armies — and, in these days of outsourcing, also hires those of others … the book assuredly does what it sets out to do: show the inner workings of one of the Western world’s most significant concentrations of unelected power.”

Coll is currently in the news again. He published a story in The New Yorker, and has recently been on PBS’s Newshour and NPR’s All Things Considered.

Holds are strong in a few libraries, steady in others.

Oprah Names Her Imprint

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

“An Oprah Book” will be the name of Oprah Winfrey’s new imprint with Macmillan/Flatiron Books (not to be confused with an “Oprah’s Book Club Selection,” as she styles her sporadic personal selections of books to recommend).

9781250126535_8f394Oprah will select nonfiction titles for the new line with the first to be one of her own, a cookbook entitled Food, Health and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Jan. 3).

As we wrote in June, it is connected to her role as a Weight Watchers spokesperson as well as her investment in the company.

Oprah picked the cookbook as one of her Favorite Things for gift giving this year, even though it won’t be available until after the holidays (those who preorder it will get “a special note and gift … while supplies last” to wrap). 

The second book will be The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis by Maria Smilios (as yet no cover, pub. date, or ISBN is available).

According to Bustle, “the microhistory tells the story of 300 black nurses who worked in the tuberculosis ward at Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital, caring for patients few would dare to be around.”

According to the New York Daily News, “Fear of TB was so rampant at the time that the city had trouble hiring nurses for Sea View and ultimately recruited hundreds of black women, many from the South, to fill the ranks.” Oprah says it is a story that needs “to be shared.”

Bustle reports the account will be Smilios’ first book and will release in 2018.

The Associated Press picked up the story, and as the AP is widely syndicated, it is appearing in national as well as local outlets.

Thus far, however, word has not spread that far. A check of holds across the country shows only moderate demand on strong orders for the new cookbook.

HIDDEN FIGURES Goes To The White House

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

9780062363602_4650aThe cast and director of the upcoming film Hidden Figures will be hosted tonight by First Lady Michelle Obama at a special White House screening.

In addition to several cast members, 97-year-old Katherine G. Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson in the film, is also expected to attend. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. NASA profiles her as “The Girl Who Loved to Count.”

Below is the ceremony. Johnson’s award begins at 30:24.

9780062662385_6084fHidden Figures is based on a book that is #5 on Time magazine’s list of the best nonfiction of the year, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly, released as a tie-in last month, (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). 

It is one of the hot films of the season and debuts in a limited, Oscar-qualifying run, on Christmas Day. It will open in wide release on January 6.

Early reviews are strong. The Wrap says the movie:

“not only stirringly celebrates intelligent women of color (and the very idea of science itself), but it also offers a more realistic-seeming portrayal of racism than we generally get in American movies … Hidden Figures is feel-good history, but it works, and it works on behalf of heroes from a cinematically under-served community. These smart, accomplished women had the right stuff, and so does this movie.”

Live Chat with Jack Cheng, Author of

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Read the chat, below.

Join us for the next live chat on Wednesday, January 18th, 6 to 7 pm, ET (one hour later than usual) with Julie Bowe, to discuss her upcoming book, Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd).

To join the program, sign up here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Jack Cheng – SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS

Shirley Hazzard Dies

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

9780140107470The Australian-born author of the National Book Award-winning The Great Fire (Macmillan/Picador, orig. pub. date 2003) and the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning The Transit of Venus (PRH/Penguin, orig. pub. date 1980), Shirley Hazzard, has died at age 85.

The NYT describes her fiction as “dense with meaning, subtle in implication and tense in plot, often with disaster looming [where] Catastrophes are accompanied by life’s cruelties.”

The AP writes she “wrote of love affairs disrupted and intensified by age, distance and war … of strained and cold relationships and the inevitable search for outside comfort … She was a writer of pre-digital tastes who composed on a yellow legal pad and had no interest in computers or even an answering machine. Her novels, too, had a vintage wealth of detail and introspection that led to comparisons to Henry James.”

9780231173261_c13e8The first story she submitted to The New Yorker, “Woollahra Road,” was “fished from the slush pile by the fiction editor William Maxwell and published in 1961,” says the NYT.

Her most recent work is the 2016 collection of essays, We Need Silence to Find Out What We Think: Selected Essays, Shirley Hazzard, edited by Brigitta Olubas (Columbia University Press).


Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

9781627795944_e366cIan McGuire’s blend of history, adventure, and thriller is still rising on Amazon.

Of the NYT‘s “10 Best Books of 2016,” The North Water (Macmillan/Holt; OverDrive Sample) showed the most impressive strength in terms of staying power, and now The Wall Street Journal has named it one of “The Best Mysteries of 2016,” helping the book jump again on the Amazon ratings.

WSJ writes, “The ghosts of Melville, Coleridge and Conrad haunt The North Water, Ian McGuire’s mesmerizing account of an 1859 whaling expedition plagued by ill fortune and its own bad intentions.”

Holds are surging in most systems we checked, with some showing ratios as high as 5:1.

In a recent Inside the NYT Book Review podcast, hosted by editor Pamela Paul, McGuire talks about the novel’s high-tension plot. Set in the mid-19th century on a whaling ship headed for the Arctic Circle. it features a ruthless, violent murderer and a troubled ship’s surgeon who fights him. McGuire said the idea came to him in stages. First as he worked on a biographical novel about Melville and then when he found a diary kept by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who served as a surgeon on a whaling ship.

NYTBR says “if you have read all of Conrad and Cormac McCarthy” you will want to turn to McGuire. For “all its harrowing bloodiness” the novel “is a huge amount of fun too.”

The novel is written as a tight thriller, continues NYTBR, with a gripping, quickly moving plot plot, interesting characters, and a deep thematic richness – topped by lots of twists and turns and a surprising ending.

Listen to the full podcast below. If you want to listen to just the North Water segment, listen to it on the NYT site. It begins around time stamp 34:00 (turn the little dial to fast forward).

LitHub’s Book Review Aggregator

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016


Lit Hub, the website created in 2015 by Grove Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin and two partners to bring together “smart, engaged, entertaining writing about all things books,” has just re-launched their Book Marks section (not to be confused with the magazine Book Marks, which is still in print, but no longer updating its online book review aggregator).

When it debuted six months ago, Book Marks was tagged the “publishing equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes,” compiling reviews from over 70 consumer sources and assigning a letter grade to any book that got reviewed three times or more.

After taking criticism for the letter grades, the site has switched to a four-tiered system that characterizes reviews as Rave, Positive, Mixed, or Pan, explaining that the letters “did not convey the nuance of the reviews, and a book with a dozen middling reviews could wind up with the same grade as a book with ten raves and two pans. The grades also appeared to be a subjective assessment by Literary Hub, rather than cumulative measure of reviewer opinion.”

As Rotten Tomatoes itself demonstrates, assigning values is not a science and the Book Mark‘s new system still has some problems. For instance, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is ranked as positive with 41 reviews, a mix of rave, positive and mixed reviews as well as single pan (for the curious, that one comes from The Millions and some might consider it more mixed than a pan). On the other hand, Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe is ranked as a rave with only 3 reviews, two raves and one positive.

Nevertheless, Book Marks is useful for many things, such as staying up to speed on titles getting review coverage, through its sections on new books, the most talked about books, the best reviewed books, the most reviewed books, and breakdowns by category (nine for fiction, 19 nonfiction).

It is also a quick way to learn more about specific titles, through review excerpts (found by clicking on each book cover) and links to the full reviews. 

We have added Book Marks to our links at the right of the site, under “Consumer Media, Book Coverage.” 

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016


Macmillan Library @ ALA Midwinter 2017 (Booth #1818)


We’re ridiculously excited to see you in the Macmillan (adult) booth #1818 and at all of our great events at ALA Midwinter in Atlanta next month. Check out our schedule below and RSVP ASAP!

Get the full story and more at!

Golden Books

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The nominees for the 2017 Golden Globes include a number of TV shows and films with book connections. As the LA Times puts it in their rundown, so many that “if you’re more at home in a library or a bookstore than a movie theater, you’re likely to find some reading material to curl up with while the rest of your family is gathered around the television set.”

Most of the nominees are already well known, as we have noted:

mv5bm2q4zty1mdatywqxys00ywm0lwfjzdmtngezntdhmmq3mdizxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjuyoti5mq-_v1_sy1000_cr007541000_al_One is much less familiar, My Life as a Zucchini, an animated film from Switzerland based on Autobiographie D’une Courgette (J’Ai Lu Editions, 2003; no English translation), a YA novel by the French journalist Gilles Paris.

Selected as the Swiss entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this year’s Oscars, it just won the European Film Awards category for best European animated feature (here is its official entry page).

The story is about a young boy who becomes an orphan following the death of his alcoholic mother. Taken to an orphanage by a police officer who befriends him, the boy must learn to cope with his new life and surroundings as he interacts with other traumatized children.

Variety says “Leave it to a French-language stop-motion film to cut closer to the reality of the orphan experience than Annie, Matilda or any number of like-minded live-action melodramas … the cartoon is never afraid to be cute, but more importantly, it’s committed to being real.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “lovingly told and gorgeously rendered” and says “Though not as dark as the book that inspired it, nor as directly critical of the French welfare state [it is] not exactly a tale for all ages. That said, savvy distributors who know how to market high-end animated films to older audiences should get some decent mileage out of this Courgette.”

Variety reports that North American distribution rights have been sold, but so far, no release date has been announced.

Number One Picks

Monday, December 12th, 2016

In their new year-end issues, both People magazine and sister publication Entertainment Weekly name their picks of the top ten books of the year, in ranked order. 

grow-outFor People, the top title is You’ll Grow Out of It (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Jessi Klein, head writer for Amy Schumer. People describes the book as a “hilarious, spot-on essay collection :From her horror of thongs to her most humiliating breakup, Klein’s topics — and disarming honesty — strike a chord.” This one does not appear on EW’s Top Ten. It is a #7 on Time magazine’s list.

nixFor Entertainment Weekly, it’s a debut that received attention when it was released in August, Nathan Hill’s  The Nix (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). 

EW says that it’s hard to describe the novel, but that “Hill’s magnificently overstuff debut contains multitude and ten some … It’s not just that Hill is a  brilliantly surreal social satirist … it’s that he does it all with so much wit and style and heart.”

Neither list is online yet. Download our spreadsheet with the rankings, People and Ent. Weekly Top Ten, 2016

Of the other publications that picked number one titles, most picked this year’s National Book Award winner in fiction.

Amazon Editors

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOTOverDrive Sample

New York magazine

The Underground Railroad

Time magazine, Fiction

The Underground Railroad

Time magazine, Nonfiction

John Lewis, March: Book Three, (Top Shelf Productions)