Archive for the ‘Best Books 2008’ Category

USA Today Gift Guide

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

USA Today released their guide to the best books in various categories for holiday gifts today. The critics’ top two picks among best sellers are Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day and (drumroll, please), DEWEY!

USA Today‘s Bob Minzeheimer  was an early supporter of the book (EarlyWord, of course, was one of the earliest supporters). He also happens to be on the Board of the Ossining, NY, Public Library.

The categories are:

NYTBR Ten Best

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Following up on their recent selection of the 100 most notable titles of 2008, the NYT Book Review editors today narrow it down to the ten best books of 2008.

All the titles still have hold lists in the large libraries I checked, even the titles from earlier in the year.

The two titles with the heaviest reserves, at 5 to 1, are also owned in the lowest quantities.

The World is What it Is

Patrick French

  • Hardcover: $30; 576 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (November 4, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400044057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400044054


Roberto Bolaño

  • Hardcover: $30; 912 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; (November 11, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0374100144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374100148
  • Hardcover: 1126 pages
  • Publisher: Anagrama (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 8433973185
  • ISBN-13: 978-8433973184

A Flood of ‘Bests’

Friday, November 28th, 2008

The best books lists are beginning to flow, so we’ve put together a special links section (see Best Books 2008 at the right).

Since the end of the year coincides with the major gift-giving season, some of the lists are really gift guides, but they also offer an opportunity to look at categories that otherwise get overlooked (such as illustrated books). We’ve decided to include them all; the specialty lists can help you identify titles that fill a need in your collection, whether your own, or the library’s.

NYT ‘Notables’

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Just in time to spark arguments at the Thanksgiving table; the New York Times list of 100 Notable Books and 8 Notable Childrens Books (some of which cross over with the earlier Best Illustrated Books list) is now online. Only one of the nominees for the National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature (NOT the winner) makes the list; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart.

In adult, the NBA winner in NonFiction makes the NYT list, but not the Fiction winner.

Heavy Reserve Alert — ‘The Oxford Project’

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Featured in NPR’s roundup of best illustrated books for gift-giving is one of our favorites, The Oxford Project. Libraries are showing heavy reserve to copies ratios. It was featured on CBS Sunday Morning recently. Unfortunately, that segment of the show is not available on the CBS Web site [update — the video is now available, see: ‘Oxford Project’ Update).

The Oxford Project
Stephen G. Bloom and Peter Feldstein

  • Hardcover: $50; 264 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Books (September 16, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1599620480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599620480

NPR — Best Cookbooks

Monday, November 24th, 2008

How many of you equate Brooklyn with delicious baked goods?

Change your tune, non-Brooklynites. TWO of NPR’s picks of the best cookbooks of the year (Baked and The Sweet Melissa Baking Book) come from Brooklyn bakeries (both within walking distance of EarlyWord).

We’re waiting for our favorite street vendor, “The Treats Truck,” which also does its baking in Brooklyn, to produce a cookbook.

But, we digress.

Holds are building on the following titles that were specifically mentioned on the show.

NPR correspondent Susan Chang’s top pick is by an NPR colleague, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio’s Award-Winning Food Show.

  • Hardcover: $35; 352 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (April 8, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307346714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346711
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
  • Hardcover: $29.95; 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang (October 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1584797215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584797210
Chang says these “two guys from Brooklyn…seem to willing to put anything in their baked goods…ale, chipotles, green tea, salt.”
How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)
Mark Bittman
  • Hardcover: $35; 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (October 15, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0764524836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764524837

To see the rest of the titles, including The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, go to The 10 Best Cookbooks Of 2008. But don’t go if you’re hungry; NPR includes recipes from each title.

New York Times Best Illustrated Books of 2008

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Early Word Kids

Every year since 1952, the children’s book editor at the New York Times selects three judges, a librarian, a reviewer and an artist to choose the best titles of ’08  This year Times editor, Julie Just called on Caroline Ward, Coordinator of Youth Services at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut, Luann Toth, managing editor of School Library Journal’s book review and Christopher Myers, children’s book illustrator.

The members of this committee do not know who the other judges are until they meet for the first time in the offices of the New York Times. Even though they have prepared for the moment by reading widely, they have only one day to appraise and discuss the art of hundreds of children’s books and come to a consensus on which ten will make the list.

In this year’s group there are a few obvious winners- Wabi Sabi, We Are the Ship, The Little Yellow Leaf, Wave, and A is for Art. And a few slightly less obvious — Pale Male, Ghosts in the House, River of Words. The brilliant, unexpected choice is the graphic novel, Skim.

Below are my takes on each title from this year’s list:

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. By Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  (Ages 7 and up)

Sweet’s layered multimedia illustrations with multiple images illuminate the words of the poet.

  • Hardcover: $15.86; 34 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (July 9, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0802853021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853028

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (Ages 8 and up)

Nelson’s majestic paintings of baseball players radiate a sense of higher calling.

  • Hardcover: $18; 96 pages
  • Publisher: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion (January 8, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0786808322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786808328

Wabi Sabi By Mark Reibstein. Illustrated by Ed Young. (Ages 3 to 6)

Young’s mixed-media collages demonstrate the concept of beauty found all around us in the ordinary.

  • Hardcover: $16.99; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; Library Binding edition (October 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0316118257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316118255

Ghosts in the House! Written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara. (Ages 3 to 6)

Black, orange and white have never been so compelling as in this visually retro ghost story.

  • Hardcover: $12.95; 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 19, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1596434279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596434271

The Black Book of Colors By Menena Cottin. Illustrated by Rosana Faría. $17.95. (Ages 5 and up)

The conundrum of how to create pictures of color to simulate what a person perceives who cannot see is solved in this volume by embossing black on black pages with the shapes of object.

  • Hardcover: $17.95; 24 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (June 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0888998732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888998736

The Little Yellow Leaf,  Written and illustrated by Carin Berger, (Ages 4 and up)

The title character and surroundings are rendered in paper collage creating the pitch-perfect bittersweet sensations of autumn.

  • Hardcover: $16.99; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow (August 26, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061452238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452239

Wave Written and illustrated by Suzy Lee,  (All ages)

Wordlessly, the artist uses black and blue watercolors to recreate the timeless dance of a small child approaching an ocean wave.

  • Hardcover: $15.99; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 16, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 081185924X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811859240

A Is for Art Written and illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson, (Ages 7 and up)

Alliterative text is paired with modern art created specifically for this book then photographed. The spreads are often humorous and always compelling.

  • Hardcover: $16; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (September 9, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0689863012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689863011

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City. By Janet Schulman. Illustrated by Meilo So,  (Ages 6 and up)

Of the handful of books about this city hawk, the watercolor paintings and sweeping spreads make this one the most beautiful.

  • Hardcover: $16.99; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 11, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0375845585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375845581

By Mariko Tamaki. Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. $18.95. (Ages 14 and up)

A graphic novel!!!! Kudos to the judges for selecting this remarkable very real novel about teen life for the best illustrated. Tamaki captures in the characters’ feelings with simple strokes of body language. A must have for every YA and high school collection.

  • Hardcover: $18.95140 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (February 28, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0888997531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888997531

PW’s ‘Best Books’

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Publishers Weekly ‘s selection of the “Best Books” of 2008 is in the current issue (Nov 3). As early as it seems to assess the best of the year, this is the second list to appear, after Amazon’s list.

Thanks to the folks at Sno-Isle for alerting me to the new list, via their blog, “Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle.”  Sno-Isle staffer Marin Younker says in the post that she’s looking forward to EarlyWord’s compilation of all the best books lists. Guess I’d better get going!

The Sno-Isle blog strikes me as a great for a centralized department to communicate with library staff about what’s being purchased for the library, collection maintenance activities, and book news useful for public services staff. I’m not aware of any other blogs like it.

If you’re doing one, please let me know.

The Bests of 2008 (wait, is it over already?)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Amazon is the first to the finish line with their Top 100 Editor’s Picks of 2008 list, signaling that dozens of other lists that will soon follow (we will track them for you). Amazon also runs a list of the Top 100 Customer Favorites, based on sales. The only title that appears among the top ten on each list? Edgar Sawtelle.

Also included are dozens of top ten lists by category, including Audio (the editors put the forthcoming Artie Lang’s Too Fat to Fish at #6; libraries have ordered the book, but not the audio).

For a semi-guilty pleasure (it’s work related, boss!), check out the Best Book Videos of 2008, featuring one for a book I’ve fallen in love with, The Oxford Project.

I could go on; there’s lots to discover in these lists. Let us know what strikes you.

(thanks to Shelf Awareness for pointing this out)