Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of May 1, 2017

Into the WaterPublishing’s summer season kicks off with the book expected to be seen in every beach tote, Paul Hawkins’s Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT), the follow up to her sales phenomenon, The Girl on the Train.

Critics have already begun to wade in, and not too happily, as we wrote earlier. Echoing the first consumer reviews, Maureen Corrigan writes in the Washington Post, “something’s amiss in this second novel: It’s stagnant rather than suspenseful.”

But one important audience member has already plunked down money for the book. DreamWorks is set to adapt it and it’s been assigned to the Oscar-winning duo behind La La Land, producers Marc Platt and Jared LeBoff.

The author is interviewed this morning on NPR.

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It’s a week filled with several Patterson releases, four in total. In hardcover, the next in his Women’s Murder Club series, 16th Seduction (Hacehtte/Little Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), arrives. In paperback, it seems we sounded the death knell for the BookShots series too early. Although many of the upcoming titles have been cancelled, this week brings two, both extensions of hardcover series (as we’ve noted before, the branded BookShots seem to sell better). Detective Cross (Hachette/BookShots; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) bears a cover burst reassuring wary readers that it is the “First time in print anywhere.” Also arriving is Private: Gold (Hachette/Bookshots; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

9780316346993_33d8dPatterson is also publishing what appears to be a humor book, co-written with son Jack, Penguins of America (Hacehtte/Little Brown; OverDrive Sample). With no prepub reviews, we have to rely on the publisher’s description, “Featuring humorous illustrations with captions that show penguins in the day-to-day situations that we’ve all experienced–from a relaxing day at the beach to a stressful morning commute.”

Patterson also announced this week that he is jumping on the true crime bandwagon, and plans to write a book about the Aaron Hernandez case.

9780062660084_5fa88Often quoted during the controversy over the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the author’s close friend, historian Wayne Flynt is publishing Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee, (HC/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which includes many of the letters he and Lee wrote to each other. Covering it today, the New York Times reporter notes, “At least two other books about Ms. Lee are planned in coming years … That makes for at least six books from major publishers about a woman who wrote only two.”

According to prepub reviews, those looking for dirt will be disappointed. Says LJ, “Flynt’s discretion, as a friend and as the Baptist minister Lee trusted to speak at her memorial service, serves his friend well.” PW adds, “Flynt is a fluent writer in his own right, but the main rewards here lie in Lee’s tart observations on the modern world, sly sense of humor, and wonderful turns of phrase.”

The titles covered 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 Week of May 1, 2017.

Media Magnets

9780735211322_f4e1cWomen Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, Ivanka Trump (PRH/Portfolio; Penguin Audio/BOT).

The First Daughter outranks the First Lady in terms of time spent in the White House as well as in media attention, which is already extending to her second book. Although it is embargoed, Politico just published the preface, immediately parodied by New York magazine, as if it were “by a working woman living under the Trump administration.”

Peer Picks

It’s a great week for readers advisors, with thirteen picks from library and bookstore staff, including five LibraryReads titles:

9781616206888_9485aThe Leavers, Lisa Ko (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“One morning, eleven-year-old Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job and never comes home. Deming is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town. This is a poignant story of a boy who struggles to find his footing in a new world. It’s also an unflinching look at the difficult decisions a mother faces. This novel explores what it means to be a family and the duality of lives, especially through adoption.” — Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis MO

Additional Buzz: A buzzy debut, it is an Indie Next pick, a spring book selection from BuzzFeed, Parnassus Books, and The Washington Post and on a number of most anticipated 2017 lists, including The Millions and Entertainment Weekly.

9780393609394_8b88fAstrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson (Norton; BlackStone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Tyson’s writing style is always approachable and entertaining, and his latest book is no exception. Clear and concise, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry gives readers exactly what the title promises, a basic understanding of a deeply fascinating subject. Highly recommended for readers who want to understand our universe better.” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

Additional Buzz: A GalleyChat title and a spring book pick from Paste‘s list of “A Great New Batch of Science Books,” Tyson is also making news for his recently released video on the importance of science and fact:

9780062651259_9040aThe Jane Austen Project, Kathleen A. Flynn (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“The Austen fan genre is expanded by an original new novel set both in the past and the near future. Two employees of a time travel company are assigned to go back to Austen’s day, ostensibly to retrieve the full copy of “The Watsons,” lost for all time…until now. The blending of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance with a beloved classic author thrown in the mix is a daring combination which succeeds.” — Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library,Batavia, NY

Additional Buzz: Flavorwire featured Flynn in their “The Sweetest Debut” column.

Ginny MoonGinny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig (Harlequin/MIRA/Park Row; Harlequin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“What an amazing debut novel! Ludwig effectively captures the voice, thought process, and behaviors of a young autistic girl who has escaped a harrowing living situation and has finally settled into a new”forever”home. Unfortunately, she becomes obsessed with returning to her old home to find her “baby doll,”jeopardizing both her own and her new family’s safety. Ginny truly is an original, and readers will be captivated by her story.” — Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

Additional Buzz:  Harlequin is not a name synonymous with literary fiction, but their new imprint, Park Row aims to be an  “exclusive line of thought-provoking and voice-driven novels by both celebrated and new authors.” This debut, seems to fulfills that mission. It is both an Indie Next and a GalleyChat title and a Summer 2017 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Book and received starred reviews from PW, Library Journal and Booklist. In a separate interview with the author, PW calls it a “gorgeous debut novel.”

Radium GirlsThe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, Kate Moore (Sourcebooks; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“This is the story of hundreds of young, vibrant women who were sentenced to death by their employers. The so-called “Radium Girls” painted luminescent faces on clock and watch dials using a paint mixture that contained radium. Instructed to “lip-point”their brushes as they painted, they absorbed high doses of radium into their bodies. When the effects of the radium led to horrific disfigurement and pain, the company refused to take responsibility. This heartrending book was one I could not put down.” — Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, CT

Additional Buzz: It is a GalleyChat title and an Indie Next pick for May. Coverage is wide ranging, from The Atlantic to the NY Post to The Spectator to Nature. The Spectator leads with the creepy headline, “The Radium Girls — still glowing in their coffins,” while Nature calls the book “harrowing.” The trailer features historical photos and articles.

Eight more Indie Next titles debut this week:

9781573246989_580a3Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love, Marissa Moss (Red Wheel Weiser Conari/Hampton Roads/Conari Press).

“In this achingly raw graphic memoir, Marissa Moss untangles the seven whirlwind months between her husband’s ALS diagnosis and his death. Forced to balance Harvey’s increasingly complex medical needs and the needs of their three young sons, Moss struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy for her family in the midst of crisis. Absent are movie-perfect declarations of love and reconciliation; Moss lays bare the emotional devastation left in the wake of Harvey’s illness with her understated drawings and text. But there are moments of joy, too, reminding us beauty can be found in the darkest of times. Powerful, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, hopeful, Last Things challenges readers with its unflinching look at marriage, family, love, and loss.” —Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

9780544912588_3ee9aSalt Houses, Hala Alyan (HMH; OverDrive Sample).

“Accomplished poet Hala Alyan exceeds the brilliance of her excellent collections of poems in her moving, deeply felt, powerfully realized first novel, Salt Houses. I can’t think of many writers who have so adeptly written of family relationships — here, spanning five generations, all against a vividly rendered backdrop of exile and migration. From Palestine to Jordan, Lebanon to Kuwait, Boston to New York, this is a story of people losing, finding, and making their way. Salt Houses gives voice, body, and love to people whose lives in this country tend, at most, to be featured anonymously in news accounts — and at that, in the negative. This is real life, beautifully written and graciously enlarging the sense of who we are.” —Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Additional Buzz: It is on The MillionsMost Anticipated” list and Bustle‘s list of “15 New Authors You’re Going To Be Obsessed With This Year.”

9780802126450_79e87Miss Burma, Charmaine Craig (Grove Press; Blackstone Audio).

“Charmaine Craig’s Miss Burma is nothing short of stunning. Based on the lives of her mother and grandparents in Burma, Craig deftly tells the epic story of one family as they try to survive the horrors of World War II, independence, and then civil war. What distinguishes this book from others is its frank look at who and what survives under such perilous conditions. Especially for readers unfamiliar with Burma, like me, Miss Burma is a chronicle of loss and love in a country too long neglected by the world.” —Michael Triebwasser, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Additional Buzz: Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen recommends it in the a NYT “By the Book” feature and Craig has her own piece on friendship in the NYT Magazine. Electric Lit includes her novel in their counting of the “34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year.”

9781501157783_41f0d‘Round Midnight, Laura McBride (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio).

“Four women, five decades, and one Las Vegas nightclub come together in a powerful story of lust, grief, and family ties. Laura McBride spins a richly evocative tale of the glory days of Las Vegas and the women who inhabit this world. Their stories are intertwined both with and without their knowledge, and together they forge a future that none of them could foresee. Taking readers from the depths of grief and then sending them soaring with emotion, ’Round Midnight is an awe-inspiring novel that deserves to be on the bookshelf of every avid reader.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

9780399583582_1bc9eThe Garden of Small Beginnings, Abbi Waxman (PRH/Berkley; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Lilian Girvan is a young widow going through the motions: mother of two, newly unemployed, and navigating life’s daily aggravations. When she grudgingly signs up for a weekly gardening class, she’s surprised to find support, wisdom, and the possibility of a new relationship. Lilian is a funny, sassy everywoman who will make you laugh out loud, cry a little, and cheer as she takes tentative steps toward her own small beginnings of happiness. Abbi Waxman’s debut novel will be enjoyed by fans of The School of Essential Ingredients and anyone who believes that happiness can be a choice regardless of what life brings.” —Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

Additional Buzz: Bustle includes it on their list of “15 Spring Releases About New Beginnings To Kick Start The New Season.”

9781594633737_1c6cfPriestdaddy: A Memoir, Patricia Lockwood (PRH/Riverhead; OverDrive Sample).

“A published poet, Lockwood’s first memoir is a hilarious and contemplative narrative written with precise, flowing prose that baptizes the reader. Calling it an honest portrayal is a severe understatement, as Lockwood describes a father who converts to Catholicism and becomes a priest due to a little-known loophole that allows him to continue his ‘normal’ relationship with his wife and three children. Her understanding of what appears, from the exterior, to be bizarre behavior in the guise of religion is a peek under the sheets of a cold embrace. Loved it!” —Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Additional Buzz: The Guardian, New York magazine, and The Atlantic review. The Guardian headlines it is “a dazzling comic memoir.”

9781555977740_87efeFen: Stories, Daisy Johnson (Macmillan/Graywolf).

“This collection of stories scrambled my brain, in the best possible sense. They made me reread, wonder, turn the book upside down and shake it a bit to see what other fantastical imaginings would fall out. Girls turn into eels and men into foxes, a house is obsessed with a woman, and a bloodsucking girl gang preys on Internet dates. A few stories broke my heart, too. Johnson has a way of manifesting loneliness and loss into physical pain and malady that shocks the senses. Startling, unusual, and sneakily profound, Fen is an unforgettable collection.” —Stefanie Kiper Schmidt, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH

Additional Buzz: In a video interview, the debut author reveals how important landscape and language are in her writing.

9780062369581_9636fThe Baker’s Secret, Stephen P. Kiernan (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“Emma is an apprentice baker in a small Normandy village during the Nazi occupation whose quiet determination to keep her friends and grandmother alive is heroic and heart-wrenching. Forced to bake ten loaves of bread for the Kommandant each day, Emma stretches her supplies to make extra loaves to help feed the starving villagers. While she refuses to think she is part of the resistance and has lost hope of the Allies arriving, Emma epitomizes the French spirit of survival. Once again, we learn that the bravest among resistance fighters are often little more than children themselves. What a beautiful book to recommend to book groups and customers seeking a well-written story.” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO


The series premiere of American Epic begins on PBS May 16. The documentary, narrated by Robert Redford, explores music in the 1920s when scouts traveled the country recording artists such as The Carter Family and Blind Willie Johnson. A companion book is being released this week, American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself, Bernard MacMahon, Allison McGourty, Elijah Wald, (S&S/Touchstone; Highbridge Audio).

A contemporary effort to remake the 1920s recordings will air on PBS on June 6th. Called The American Epic Sessions, it features artists such as Jack White, Elton John, Nas, Taj Mahal.

9780316557863_f7457Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins by Suzanne Selfors (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample) ties in to the new Netflix animated series of the same name, inspired by the older DreamWorks film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. It starts on May 5.

It tells the story of a young girl who moves to the West and finds friends, both horse and human, and excitement. Collider, for one, is not fully on board and says it offers “adventure alongside PSAs.

9780062681843_3ece99780062681867_eb02cThe first of several tie-ins arrive for the upcoming Wonder Woman film, set for release on June 2.

Wonder Woman: I Am an Amazon Warrior, Steve Korte, Lee Ferguson (HC; OverDrive Sample).

Wonder Woman: Meet the Heroes, Steve Korte, Lee Ferguson, Jeremy Roberts (HC; OverDrive Sample).

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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