Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of March 14, 2017

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This week brings releases by sure-bet best sellers Catherine Coulter and Clive Cussler. They are joined by relative newcomer Jacqueline Winspear whose Maisie Dobbs mysteries have begun reaching new heights recently on bestseller lists. As the title of her latest outing indicates, In This Grave Hour, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio), the story sees Maisie, who served as a nurse during WWI, at the dawn of yet another war. A heavily anticipated first novel also arrives, as well as several library and bookseller picks.

The titles covered in this colum, 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 14, 2017

Crit Pick

9781594205613_4ae25The Idiot, Elif  Batuman, (PRH/Penguin Press)

The term “hotly anticipated,” is often thrown around with little documentation, but this debut novel has it in spades. The author built a reputation with her pieces for the literary journal n+1, bringing her attention and a position as a staff writer for The New Yorker. A collection of her essays, published as an original paperback by FSG, The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, achieved a rarity for a book of essays about books, let alone Russian books, hitting the lower rungs of the NYT Paperback Nonfiction list. For her first novel, she gets the ultimate notch on the hotly-anticipated meter, an interview in the pages of Vogue magazine, featuring a photo of the author wearing Stella McCartney, as well as another interview in New York magazine. and an excerpt of the novel was published in  The New Yorker.

Critics seem to be in a race to review it. Six consumer reviews have appeared already, as tracked on Book Marks. Unfortunately, most of the reviewers have deep reservations. In the daily NYT two weeks ago, Dwight Gardner writes, “Each paragraph is a small anthology of well-made observations … Small pleasures will have to sustain you over the long haul of this novel. The Idiot builds little narrative or emotional force.”

The Colbert Bump

9781501117428_ca882Thank You For Coming To HattiesburgTodd Barry

The toast of late night, Stephen Colbert gives a boost to fellow comedian Todd Barry’s book this coming Wednesday by featuring him on his show. PW said of this his tour diary, “Barry deftly uses stories about a lack of toilet paper in the green room and hotel rooms with inoperative shades to play to his strengths,” while Kirkus took the opposite view, saying the book not only captures the tedium of traveling from one small comedy club to another, but “wallows in it.”

Peer Picks

Two LibraryReads sections publish this week.

9780399574634_410d5The Wanderers, Meg Howrey (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality and none of the participants is left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing.” — Marie Byars, Sno-Isle Libraries, Oak Harbor, WA

Additional Buzz: It is a March Indie Next pick and the BBC says it is “inventive, lyrical and immersive,” putting it on their list of “Ten books you should read in March.” It is on Inverse’s list of Essential SF books for the month as well.

9781612195971_6579eEggshells, Caitriona Lally (Melville House; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Whimsical and different, this novel’s humor hooked me. Vivian is an eccentric, living in Dublin and searching for a place where she can feel she belongs. How can you help but love a character who checks every wardrobe for Narnia and every yellow road for an Emerald City? This novel movingly explores the outcasts and the different among us, showing that they are only hoping to fit in and find a friend.” — Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Additional Buzz: Also on the March Indie Next listThe Guardian calls it ” inventive, funny and, ultimately, rather moving.”

9780451493699_50a6dAlso on the Indie Next list is White Tears, Hari Kunzru (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio).

“An unsettling, grungy, gorgeous tale of white appropriations of black culture, legacy, and memory, of the harrowing effects of racism through the years, of a haunting that resonates through generations through a blues song that should have been stamped on vinyl, that maybe was but never was. This is a story of the costs of a lack of reparations, of money and power and powerlessness, all tied up in the viscerally kinetic prose of an author writing about obsession. Beautiful, ugly, indelible writing makes this a book I won’t soon forget.” —Gretchen Treu, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

Additional Buzz: The author is interviewed on NPR‘s Weekend Edition Saturday. The Huffington Post calls it “The Horror Story ‘La La Land’ Should Have Become.” The author is featured in the NYTBy the Book” column and GQ names it one of the best books of March, writing “Thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, White Tears reckons fiercely with specters of American music.” Nylon and New York Magazine also name it as one of March’s best books.

9781250034564_7279aNever Let You Go, Chevy Stevens (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Ten years ago: Lindsay Nash is trapped in an abusive marriage with a man who has threatened to kill her if she runs. Today: Lindsay is a successful small-business owner and a single mom raising her teenage daughter. When her ex-husband is released from jail, however, the terror starts all over again as Lindsay and her daughter are stalked and skillfully manipulated. Her ex swears it isn’t him — but is there any chance he has really changed? This fast-paced thriller will leave you guessing right up to the end!” —Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

Additional Buzz: It makes Real Simple‘s list of “The Best New Books to Read This Month.”

9781476761466_08976The Fall of Lisa Bellow, Susan Perabo (S&S; S&S Audio).

“I was surprised by the lasting impact of this novel. Though it speaks to a horrible crime, it is not the crime that becomes the plot, but rather the crime’s impact. This book is an intimate look at adolescence — of how gritty and hard it can be. Through Meredith’s eyes, we are reminded of the tug-of-war between needing family and needing independence, the way that friendship and loyalty can get lost in the status wars of high-school cliques, and how innocence and wisdom twist together to leave behind something much more complex. I loved this book for its intimacy rather than its sensationalism.” —Susan McCloskey, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Additional Buzz: In USA Today‘s “New and Noteworthy “column. A piece by the author was published in the NYT ‘s “Modern Love” column on Sunday, “When Mothers Bully Back.”

9781501156168_8efa6One of the Boys, Daniel Magariel (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).

“The intensity of this novel is such that you’ll be relieved that it is not longer than its 176 powerful pages. When ‘the war’ with his wife ends, a man uses devious methods to win custody of his two sons, 12 and 14, packs them in his Jeep, and heads from Kansas to start a new life in Albuquerque. The boys are aware that their father uses drugs, but their loyalty to him and their youth keep them trapped in a home that soon becomes little more than a torture chamber as their father sinks further into his addiction. Narrated in excruciating detail by the younger son, this is a moving story about how parent/child love can be turned on its head by drug abuse. Excellent writing keeps one riveted in hope that the boys will survive.” —Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX


9781683830009_7ec23The Art of Ghost in the Shell, David S. Cohen, Richard Taylor (S&S/Insight).

Following the release of the comic tie-ins (noted here and here) to the March 31 live-action adaptation of The Ghost in the Shell, this title focuses on the trippy art.

The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt and is based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, which Movie Pilot calls “a pioneer of cyberpunk.”


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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