Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of March 6, 2017

Coming next week, in time for Passover, is a book that may seem like an oxymoron, a humorous Haggadah. The media will be focused on ground-breaking women and there’s a dozen librarian and bookseller picks to recommend plus tie-ins to four heavily-anticipated movies.

The titles highlighted in this column, 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 March 6, 2017.

9781250119889_b7916We need to explain why one sure-to-be popular book is NOT included on our list, the latest by the Blogess, Jenny Lawson, author of the long-running best sellers Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. Unfortunately, her new book You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds (Macmillan/Flatiron), is printed on perforated pages, which, as the publisher helpfully notes, “can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared,” a clear definition of a non-library-friendly format. Some libraries, however, have ordered copies.

Passover Prep

9781250110213_56b00For This We Left Egypt?: A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them, Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel, Adam Mansbach, (Macmillan/Flatiron; OverDrive Sample).

A funny Haggadah? Who knew? As God himself writes in the cover blurb, this is by “Three of the funniest people I’ve ever created,” the humorist Dave Barry, the SNL writer Alan Zweibel, and Adam Mansbach, who knows a bit about creating off beat humor, having written Go the F*** to Sleep. This one was not reviewed pre-pub so many libraries have not ordered it. We predict a sleeper hit.

Holds Leaders

9781101883884_e4d76  9780425281277_6d24b

Amazingly, after so many years as a best seller, Danielle Steel has decided to step up her publication schedule. Dangerous Games (PRH/Delacorte; Recorded Books; PRH Large Print) is the second of six new hardcovers scheduled for this year. Following close behind in terms of holds for the week is the tenth in Patricia Briggs’ urban fantasy series, Silence Fallen (PRH/Ace; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Publishers Weekly says, “Briggs delivers her usual action and danger … and adds a surprising playfulness.”

Media Magnets

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Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front, Mary Jennings Hegar (PRH/Berkley; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

Jumping into the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings today as a result of a feature on NPR’s Fresh Air, movie rights for this memoir by a female Air Force major and helicopter pilot were signed by Sony well in advance of publication. Angelina Jolie may star, according to a recent story by The Hollywood Reporter.

We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere, Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel (S&S/Atria).

The title may sound like a feminist declaration, but X-Files star Gillian Anderson and her co-author British journalist Jennifer Nadel have another goal, to help women overcome depression and lead more productive lives. Promotion began with an interview in The Washington Post and will continue with several print and online publications, as well as appearances the following week on ABC’s The View and CBS This Morning.

Madame President, Helene Cooper (S&S).

Liberia, the country founded by freed American slaves, was the first to elect an woman president, one who managed the incredible feat of bringing peace to a country divided by a bloody civil war. This first biography of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is written by the NYT‘s Pentagon correspondent, Helene Cooper, who came to the US from Liberia when she was 13. Her harrowing memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, recounts that time. She wrote a story for the NYT after Trump imposed his immigration ban, about what it meant to have the US welcome her. The book is set to be reviewed widely and Cooper will appear next week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and NPR’s The Takeaway.

Peer Picks

Four LibraryReads titles arrive this week.

9780062469687_ecca3The Hearts of Men, Nickolas Butler (HC/Ecco; HarperAudio).

“In the summer of 1962, we are introduced to popular Jonathan and social outcast, Nelson, aka ‘The Bugler.’ The only thing the two seem to have in common is that they both spend a few weeks of one summer at Camp Chippewa in the woods of Wisconsin. Yet, over the course of decades, their lives and the lives of those they love the fiercest are intertwined. This wonderful novel peels back the layers of male friendship and shows what loyalty, compassion, and selflessness looks like.” — Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien CT

Additional Buzz: It’s People magazine’s “Book of the Week.” described as “Perfectly paced and leavened with humor, it is a wonderful read.” It is also an Indie Next pick for March and a GalleyChat selection.

9781101985595_7c9dcSay Nothing, Brad Parks (PRH/Dutton; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Fans of crime fiction and fans of domestic drama will find much to love in Parks’ genre-blending thriller. Judge Scott Sampson is a devoted family man and a respected jurist thrown into every parent’s worst nightmare: his 6-year-old twins are kidnapped, and the kidnappers blackmail Scott into increasingly immoral legal decisions. Cue marital meltdown, ethical dilemmas, paranoia, and a thrill ride that suspense lovers will race through to learn what happens next. It’s a departure from the author’s lightly snarky Carter Ross series, but a welcome one for readers of Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz.” — Donna Matturri, Pickertington Public Library, Pickerington, OH

Additional Buzz: Bustle calls it “Fast-paced and terrifying … a roller coaster of fear, deception, jealousy, and terror” and names it one of “11 Page-Turning Thrillers That Will Allow You To Escape Into Another World Right Now.” The Daily Mail in the UK includes it on their list of “Psycho Thrillers” and says “The old cliche of page-turner is dead right here. This twisted tale is written with such power and intelligence that you have no option other than to read it under your desk at work.

9781492635826_28eb1The Bone Witch, Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks/Soucebooks Fire; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Fifteen-year-old Tea discovers that she has a power that sets her apart from the other witches in her village and will incur their hatred. She is a “bone witch” who can raise the dead. Aware that a darkness is coming, Tea agrees to leave her home and family so she can learn to save the very people who hate her. Her training, outlined in rich and fascinating detail, includes the courtly arts of singing and dancing, as well as classes in fighting. Told in short chapters, Tea reflects on her life, revealing how she becomes a courageous warrior. Although written for young adults, this will equally appeal to adults. The cliff-hanger ending will make readers eager for the promised sequel.” — Trisha Perry, Oldham County Public Library, Lagrange, KY

Additional Buzz: Smart Bitches Trashy Books includes it in their “Hide Your Wallet” round up of March Releases they are excited about. It is a PWMost Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2017” selection and BuzzFeed, with a rare failure of click-bait hyperbole, includes it in their list of “Just Some Really Excellent YA Books You Need To Know About.

9781101875681_5fe86The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, Michael Finkel (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT).

“There are three types of hermits in the world, according to Finkel: protesters, pilgrims, and pursuers. But Christopher Knight doesn’t seem to fit any of these categories. So why, at the age of 20, did he drive into a forest in Maine and disappear for 27 years, his only human interaction a single ‘hi’ with a passing hiker? This book uses the incredible but true story of Knight, ‘the last true hermit,’ to explore themes of solitude, introversion and the meaning of life.” — Megan Tristao, San Jose Public Library, San Jose, CA

Additional Buzz: The New Republic features it an article, “The Case for Becoming a Hermit.” It is an Indie Next selection and Esquire UK picks it as one of “12 Books We’re Excited About Reading In 2017 And you should be too.BookPage makes it their “Nonfiction Top Pick, March 2017.” It is one of our GalleyChat picks.

9780735212176_8834cOther Indie Next titles coming out this week include the #1 pick for March, Exit West, Mohsin Hamid (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Exit West will take your breath away as it magically weaves together a story of falling in love while the world falls apart. Spirited Nadia captures the heart of the thoughtful Saeed, but as their different paths in life converge, ordinary life gives way to the insults of war. Mohsin Hamid conveys the story of these young refugees with tenderness, humanizing the horrors that we too often see as merely headlines. As chaos touches so many lives around the globe, Hamid writes eloquently of the beauty found in our struggle to survive. This is more than a timely story; this is a remarkable work of art.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Additional Buzz: Michiko Kakutani reviews it early for the daily NYT, calling it “compelling” and saying “Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy.The Washington Post says, “No novel is really about the cliche called ‘the human condition,’ but good novels expose and interpret the particular condition of the humans in their charge, and this is what Hamid has achieved here.” It is also a GalleyChat title. Hamid writes a feature for The Guardian on the dangers of nostalgia. It is also on the Esquire UK list of “12 Books We’re Excited About Reading In 2017 And you should be too.

9780345476043_6498cIll Will, Dan Chaon (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Ill Will is a house of mirrors reflecting intergenerational psychodramas in which the abuses of a parent insidiously infect subsequent generations. Violent parricide, false memories, drugs, and sex fuel a double plot line and vivid character development and taut dialog propel the reader as scene shifts blur the roles of the offender and the injured. Chaon adroitly leads us through a literary haunted house, then leaves us to find our own way out.” —Bill Fore, Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

Additional Buzz: It makes Real Simple‘s list of “The Best New Books to Read This Month.” They call it “a menacing, gripping story about a psychologist, his murdered family, serial killers, and satanic rituals.”

9780451493897_9c0bcCeline, Peter Heller (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“There should be an excused absence from life when a new Peter Heller novel is released to the world. There is a pace and a quality to his writing that will make you want to drink it down in one gulp. Heller’s strong narrative voice and complex plotting have always stood out to me and Celine is another example of this. Loosely based on Heller’s mother, Celine is a hard-nosed — if a bit worn down — private investigator living in post-9/11 Brooklyn. She has a stellar reputation, but when she is sent on a case to locate a young woman’s missing father, it’s clear that her age (and lifestyle) has caught up with her. You will fall in love with Celine and connect with everyone who populates this book. I would give just about anything to follow her on more adventures.” —Katelyn Phillips, WORD, Jersey City, NJ

Additional Buzz: Entertainment Weekly picks it as one of their “23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017,” writing, “Celine, a PI, investigates a case in Yellowstone National Park that quickly become far more complex than the random animal attack it was made out to be.” Library Journal highlighted Heller as one of Four Rising-Star Novelists (along with Nickolas Butler for The Hearts of Men (above) and Victor Lodato for Edgar and Lucy (below).

9780544824249_9a4ceAll Grown Up, Jami Attenberg (HMH; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

“Though Andrea Berg hasn’t hit society’s milestones for adulthood — no husband, no baby, an anemic career — she is clearly ‘all grown up,’ and in Jami Attenberg’s wonderful new novel, she struggles to define her place to the wider world, her family, and herself. In funny, often poignant vignettes of one woman’s life, All Grown Up perceptively explores what it means to be an adult.” —Sarah Baline, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Additional Buzz: Martha Stewart.com lists it among “Page-Turners For 2017,” in a list created by Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. She writes “Attenberg knows how to make a reader laugh and feel. This novel takes a hard look at what it means to be a woman living on her own terms.” It also makes a number of others lists, including those compiled by Bustle (twice), Elle, Flavorwire, Glamour, The Millions, and Nylon. There is an excerpt on Guernica and Entertainment Weekly has a story on the striking cover art.

9781250096982_3937bEdgar and Lucy, Victor Lodato (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Edgar and Lucy is about a terribly broken family that faces crisis after crisis yet never gives up trying to be a family. The main narrator is eight-year-old Edgar, a child brilliant beyond his years but who has a problem relating to almost everyone except his grandmother, Florence. Edgar’s mother, Lucy, loves him in her own way but thanks to Florence, Lucy really doesn’t need to make much of an effort. When Florence dies, everything changes. A stunning novel, dark at times, raw and bold, written with an uncanny feel for life and death, Edgar and Lucy kept me spellbound waiting for its conclusion but unwilling for the story to end.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Additional Buzz: In addition to the mentions above, Library Journal and Booklist both give it starred reviews. Lodato wrote a recent NYT “Modern Love” column on his special friendship with wonderful but ailing older woman.

9781501139260_0ced4Close Enough to Touch, Colleen Oakley (S&S/Gallery Books; S&S Audio).

“It was just a kiss, but it nearly killed her. Jubilee is allergic to people. She can’t be touched by strangers, well-meaning or not. She retreats into her shell, away from the world, but her high school years pass, then her parents are gone, and, finally, she must move out into the world or die. She finds a home for her quiet life in a library, until Eric finds her and insists that she discover the truth of a life lived without fear. Close Enough is filled with real life, real people, and the search for happiness that we all recognize. It is a truly moving story from a rare gem of an author.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

9781555977672_93c70WHEREAS: Poems, Layli Long Soldier (Macmillan/Graywolf Press; OverDrive Sample).

“When pain is obvious but goes unrecognized, it feels like trying to strain salt from sugar. With the poems in Whereas, Layli Long Soldier engages with where she’s ‘from’ through history and memory, analysis and reflection. Her mission? To stay angry — to declare, ‘I’m here I’m not / numb to a single dot.’ From rants and dreams and one lexical box to a pantomime of legalese, Long Soldier is agile, aware, and not asking for pity. She aims, instead, for action — ‘whereas speaking, itself, is defiance.’” —Annalia Luna, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Additional Buzz: Ploughshares reviews it, writing it is “an ambitious, ground breaking book. The world needs more of those.

9781941040560_7e248Rabbit Cake, Annie Hartnett (Norton/Tin House Books; Blackstone Audio).

“When Eva Rose Babbitt, mother of daughters Lizzie, 15, and Elvis, 10, drowns while sleep-swimming, her daughters are left to fend for themselves emotionally while their father tends to his grief by wearing his wife’s bathrobe and lipstick. Elvis stays up at night, trying to keep Lizzie, a sleepwalker and sleep-eater, from burning the house down with her nocturnal ‘cooking.’ But Elvis doesn’t trust the circumstances of her mother’s death and is determined to finish her mother’s book, The Sleep Habits in Animals and What They Tell Us About Our Own Slumber, so she does a little research of her own. Annie Hartnett has created endearing and memorable characters in a delightfully original story that is sure to become a beloved favorite of readers everywhere.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Additional Buzz: This GalleyChat pick also got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Ploughshares names it one of their “Must-Reads for 2017” (along with The Hearts of Men, above).


9780062669810_76badThe Son, Philipp Meyer (HC/Ecco; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

AMC gave a ten-episode straight-to-series order last year, for Meyer’s adaption, believing in ithe project  so much that they skipped the usual pilot stage,  The multi-generational historical saga stars Pierce Brosnan, Paola Nuñez and Elizabeth Frances. It premieres on April 8.

Philipp Meyer is writing the script along with fellow authors Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy. He told the Texas Observer, “99.9 percent of stuff that Hollywood picks up they actually have no intention of making it, and for the one percent of stuff that they do want to make, they have literally no interest in having the creator of the original material involved.” So he decided to write it himself. He says “The arc of the series would have the same creative arc as the book, so it wouldn’t be open-ended. Whether that means four seasons or six seasons we’ll have to figure out.”

9780451478290_bbcc713 Reasons Why, Jay Asher (PRH/Razorbill; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31. Early buzz is building. When the trailer aired yesterday the book jumped on the Amazon sales rankings, going from #221 to #40.

About a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision, it is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.

It stars a relatively unknown cast. Oscar Winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) directs. Tony and Pulitzer Prize Winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) wrote the script.

9780525434658_325e0The Lost City of Z (Movie Tie-In): A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, David Grann (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

This adaptation of the action adventure nonfiction account of Percy Fawcett’s search for a fabled lost city opens April 21. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland.

Reviewing it after its NY Film Festival debut, Variety calls it “Apocalypse Now meets Masterpiece Theater … a finely crafted, elegantly shot, sharply sincere movie that is more absorbing than powerful.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a rare piece of contemporary classical cinema; its virtues of methodical storytelling, traditional style and obsessive theme are ones that would have been recognized and embraced anytime from the 1930s through the 1970s. Whether they will be properly valued by more speed-minded modern audiences will only become known when this immaculate production is released.”

9780525434665_1e0e6The Sense of an Ending (Movie Tie-In), Julian Barnes (PRH/Vintage; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Matthew Goode, Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Charlotte Rampling, and Jim Broadbent star in this adaptation of the Booker shortlisted title about a man trying to come to terms with his past and present.

The reviews are not strong. The Wrap says “Many of the best features of Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel don’t make the leap to the screen.The Hollywood Reporter says it is “A mildly engaging adaptation of a bold book.

It debuts on March 10.

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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