Archive for the ‘Display Opportunities’ Category

Time For Oscar Displays!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The Oscar nominations, announced yesterday, are providing good opportunities to build displays and make book lists, given the number of nominated films based on books.

Four of the nine Best Picture nominees are based on published material. Each is also in the running for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar:

9781101972120_4afa1Arrival, based on a story in: Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample). The movie is also nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.

9780735216686_c42dbFences, based on: Fences (Movie tie-in) by August Wilson (PRH/Plume). Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor, Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress and the film is also a nominee in the Production Design category.

9780062363602_4650aHidden Figures, based on: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). Octavia Spencer is in the running for Best Supporting Actress.

9780425291764_e8861Lion, based on: A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley (PRH/Viking, 2014, trade paperback, 2015; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). Dev Patel got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Nicole Kidman for Best Supporting Actress. The film is also nominated in the Best Cinematography and Original Score categories.

mv5bnzqxntiyodaxmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzqymda3ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_A fifth nominee for Best Picture is Moonlight. It is based on an unpublished school drama project titled In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Other nominations with book connections include:

Florence Foster Jenkins, which nets Meryl Streep a history-making 20th Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress. The tie-in is Florence Foster Jenkins: The Inspiring True Story of the World’s Worst Singer, Nicholas Martin and Jasper Rees (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Elle, for which star Isabelle Huppert is nominated for Best Actress. The film is based on Oh… by Philippe Djian (Gallimard, 2012; not published in the US).

Nocturnal Animals sees one of its stars, Michael Shannon, in the running for Best Supporting Actor. The tie-in uses the original title of the novel, Tony and Susan, Austin Wright (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Kubo and My Life as a Zucchini are both nominated for Best Animated film. Kubo is based on Japanese folklore and has a number of tie-ins, including Kubo and the Two Strings: The Junior NovelSadie Chesterfield (Hachette/Little, Brown YR; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). Life as a Zucchini is based on Autobiographie D’une Courgette (J’Ai Lu Editions, 2003; no English translation), a YA novel by the French journalist Gilles Paris.

I Am Not Your Negro is nominated for Best Documentary. It is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House, called by the publisher in a companion volume, to be published in February, “the most famous book Baldwin never wrote.”: I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film Directed by Raoul Peck, James Baldwin, Raoul Peck (PRH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample).

Life, Animated is also in the running for Best Documentary. It is based on Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, Ron Suskind (Hachette/Kingswell; OverDrive Sample).

A Man Called Ove is among the Best Foreign Language Films, based on Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (S&S/Atria, July 2014; Dreamscape; OverDrive Sample).

Four additional films with book connections are nominated in technical categories:

Silence — Best Cinematography. Based on Shusaku Endo’s Silence: With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese (Peter Owen Publishers, Dec. 1; trade paperback, Macmillan/Picador Modern Classics).

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — Best Costume Design and Production Design. Based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hogwarts Library Book), Newt Scamander, J.K. Rowling (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books).

Sully — Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Based on Highest Duty, Chesley Sullenberger (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2009; OverDrive Sample).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — Sound Mixing. Not based on a book, but plenty of books, including the novelization, have been published as tie-ins: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Alexander Freed (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Front Page News:
Presidential Reading

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The chief book critic for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani, makes a rare departure from reviewing books to interview the President, in a front page, above-the-fold story titled “How Reading Nourished Obama During the White House Years.”

Kakutani writes “Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama.”

He says that reading gave him time to “slow down and get perspective” and provided “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes … [both] have been invaluable to me.”

While in office he turned to the works by Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. He finds knowledge in Shakespeare, the tragedies proving “foundational for me in understanding how certain patterns repeat themselves and play themselves out between human beings.”

9780765377067_5f53bHe reads biographies of past presidents as well as SF such as The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (Macmillan/Tor Books, 2014), saying “The scope of it was immense. So that was fun to read, partly because my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty — not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade!”

It zoomed up to #32 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the Presidential nod.

9781250062185_d7f86How did he find the time while in office? He read, says Kakutani, “for an hour or so late at night — reading that was deep and ecumenical, ranging from contemporary literary fiction (the last novel he read was Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad) to classic novels to groundbreaking works of nonfiction like Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction.”

Kakutani writes that he is hoping to eventually use his presidential center website “to widen the audience for good books,” something he’s already done with regular lists of book recommendations, and then encourage a public “conversation about books.” She also hints that Obama plans to write more books himself.

A transcript is also available, with much more on his take on specific titles.

Beach Reads with Bill Gates

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Add Bill Gates to those offering summer beach reads. The philanthropic computer genius offers a list of seasonal reads each year and several are rising on Amazon as a result of his support.

The paperback edition of the bestselling nonfiction title How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample) is just outside the Top 100 while the newly released paperback edition of the bestselling SF novel Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (Harper/William Morrow; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), is on its heels.

9780143127536_0bd46Gates, clearly invested in the importance of understanding math, says of Ellenberg’s book that the author:

“… explains how math plays into our daily lives without our even knowing it. Each chapter starts with a subject that seems fairly straightforward—electoral politics, say, or the Massachusetts lottery—and then uses it as a jumping-off point to talk about the math involved. In some places the math gets quite complicated, but he always wraps things up by making sure you’re still with him. The book’s larger point is that, as Ellenberg writes, ‘to do mathematics is to be, at once, touched by fire and bound by reason’ —and that there are ways in which we’re all doing math, all the time.”

9780062334510_6bb39Returning to a favorite genre, Gates says of Seveneves:

“I hadn’t read any science fiction for a decade when a friend recommended this novel. I’m glad she did. The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up. People figure out that in two years a cataclysmic meteor shower will wipe out all life on Earth, so the world unites on a plan to keep humanity going by launching as many spacecraft as possible into orbit. You might lose patience with all the information you’ll get about space flight—Stephenson, who lives in Seattle, has clearly done his research—but I loved the technical details. Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit.”

Also on the list:







The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life, Nick Lane (Norton; OverDrive Sample).

The Power to Compete: An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy, Hiroshi Mikitani , Ryoichi Mikitani (Wiley; OverDrive Sample).

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari (Harper; OverDrive Sample).

Gates even offers a video promoting each of the titles:

Illustrating Gates’s reach with the news media, his reading list got covered by such diverse outlets as USA Today, Town & Country, Vox, and The Washington Post.

For your use in creating displays, we’ve put together a downloadable spreadsheet of all his selections Gates Summer Reading, 2012 thru 2016.

Below are direct links:


SERIAL Returns

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The most listened-to podcast in the history of the medium has returned for its second season. Titled DUSTWUN, the New Yorker reports it made a quiet debut at 6 a.m. today.

The previous season of Serisl investigated the murder of a Baltimore teen, and the validity of the evidence that led to the conviction of her boyfriend for the killing. The new series also investigates a different mystery, why Sgt.Bowe Bergdahl left his Army base in Afghanistan in 2009, leading his captured and imprisonment by the Taliban for five years until he was released as part of a prisoner exchange (see NPR’s coverage of the story). The series will examine the impact of war on soldiers and the controversy surrounding Bergdahl’s rescue.

Libraries responded creatively to the first season with reading lists that included books about the criminal justice system. As the new season unfolds, libraries will be alert to the questions it raises.

Nobel Prize in Lit: Murakami’s Year?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

The most prestigious lifetime award for literature, The Nobel Prize, will be announced on Thursday at 7 a.m. EST [UPDATE: We originally miscalculated the time difference. We THINK  we have it right now. The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. GMT and  Eastern Time  is GMT minus 4:00].

Famously hard to forecast, it is an award that often befuddles odds makers as names circle around in the wind days before the announcement.

Last year the favorite was Japan’s Haruki Murakami with Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Belarusian author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich also in the running.

The winner? French novelist Patrick Modiano who had just 10/1 odds three days before the 2014 announcement.

Modiano had few books translated into English at the time. The Telegraph‘s news story was headlined “Patrick Modiano: the Nobel Prize-winner nobody had read.” Since, there has been a boom of translations, bigger publishing houses buying rights, and a string of articles focused on his work in such places as the L.A. TimesThe New Yorker, and The Millions.

The luckless odds makers at betting firms Ladbrokes and Paddy Power seem to be fully baffled this year. The Guardian reports the bookies are simply rearranging their 2014 picks, leading with Svetlana Alexievich and offering Haruki Murakami and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o as back up.

Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates and 2005 Booker winner, Irish writer John Banville are also in the mix as are Korean poet Ko Un and Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, winner of the Man Booker International award.

9780679775430_199d7  9780679743460_9b3f7   9780307593313_66750

It could be Murakami’s turn based on frequency alone. The Wall Street Journal says it has become “a seasonal event over the past few years for Mr. Murakami’s name to pop up as a frontrunner.”

He was a favorite in 2013 as well (the year the prize went to Alice Munro). Quite naturally Murakami finds the speculation and horse race aspects of the run up to the announcement “quite annoying,” reports the paper.

If this is finally Murakami’s year, readers will have plenty of his titles in English to choose from, so many that Matthew Carl Strecher, who has written 3 books on Murakami, was able to select “The 10 Best Haruki Murakami Books” for Publishers Weekly.

But Murakami might be annoyed for at least another year. The Guardian quotes one of the lead bookmakers, Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes, as saying, “literary speculators believe we’ll see the winner come from out of leftfield.”

It is no small prize to win. On top of the profound honor and a considerable cash award, it increases book sales.

Pope Francis Arrives Next Week

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.21.57 AMIn case you haven’t heard, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the US next week, arriving in Washington, DC on September 22, followed by tours of NYC and Philadelphia.

In anticipation, yesterday’s NPR Fresh Air featured Paul Vallely, who wrote Pope Francis: The Struggle For The Soul Of Catholicism (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample; 2013), discussing the changes the Pope as made within the Church.

9781426215827_7afb4Published to coincide with the visit, National Geographic released Pope Francis and the New Vatican by David Yoder last month. Filled with 140 “never-before-seen” photographs, the publisher says the photographer got them by being “embedded with the Pope inside the Vatican for 6 months.”

For those planning displays, last year Publishers Weekly offered a rundown of the big new and forthcoming books on the Pope, including the “highest-profile book in the Francis lineup,” Garry Wills’s The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (Penguin/Viking; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample; March, 2015).

RA Opportunity: SERIAL

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

9781595581037_05a86  9780812994520_5655e  9781451657586_f00a4

Serial, a nonfiction podcast designed by the creators of This American Life, has become such an obsession, that fans gathered for “listening parties” for the final episode of the first season in mid December. Since the episodes are posted at 7:30 on Thursday mornings, at least one of these events, held at a Lower Manhattan bar, was dubbed “Serial and Cereal” (with a splash of Jameson’s in the coffee).

The debut season, which began in October, focuses on a Baltimore high school student found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend and sentenced to life in prison. Each week, Sarah Koenig, the host of Serial, examines the case and goes where the evidence leads, introducing a rich cast of characters and an immersive and suspenseful story that has become the most listened-to podcast in the history of the medium (see coverage in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Entertainment Weekly).

Libraries have responded to the interest. The Chicago Public Library offers a reading list that includes nonfiction and audiobooks, such as Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2014; OverDrive Sample) andThe Skeleton Crew by Deborah Halber (Simon & Schuster, 2014; OverDrive Sample), also linking to the Serial site.

The New York Public Library highlights six books on criminal justice for Serial fans, including The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (The New Press, 2010; OverDrive Sample). Fanwood Memorial Library in New Jersey also offers listeners guidance for next reading choices, including Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Random House/Nan A. Talese, 1996; OverDrive Sample) and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House/Modern Library [reprint], 2013 ; OverDrive Sample).

In addition, Business Insider recently posted a list of suggested true crime books (such as Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me [Norton [20th Anniversary Ed], 2000; OverDrive Sample]) while BookRiot offers a list of audiobooks to try after Serial concludes (including Mary Roach’s Stiff  [Norton, 2003]).

There will be more. A second season has been announced, thanks to listener donations, although the subject and release dates have not yet been announced.

A Reading List for Cuba

Friday, December 19th, 2014

9780345381439President Obama’s decision to restore U.S. relations with Cuba has dominated the news cycle. The New York Times took the opportunity to create a reading list of 13 books on both Cuban history and Cuba’s relationship to the US.

Others have also jumped in. The Daily Beast scooped The Times by a day with the Five Book Best Books on Cuba while the San Rafael Public Library (CA) offers a lis  of fiction, nonfiction, and films.

Back in 2011,  novelist Oscar Hijuelos offered his selections on the site Five Books.

Beyond the Bun and Glasses

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

BuzzFeed creates those annoyingly effective numerical lists, such as:

17 Baby Elephants Learning How To Use Their Trunks

24 Things Everyone Experiences On A One Night Stand

71 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Bra Shopping

In a change of pace, they offer one for National Library Week, a good inspiration for book displays, 11 Literary Librarians Who Smash Stereotypes.

(Image via BuzzFeed and Flickr: 10409977@N06)


Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Sundance Film Festival ends this weekend and many of you may have figured out that the unifying theme of our book display challenge is “Books at Sundance,” the movies based on books that premiered at the festival.

Apparently, our contest was too obscure; nobody came up with the correct answer by Monday’s deadline. Many were partially right, that all the books are the basis for movies, but nobody caught the crucial timely element, that they will all be shown at Sundance. We are awarding some winners, nonetheless, who will receive copies of the coveted print galley of Rainbow Rowell’s forthcoming book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). If you didn’t win, you can comfort yourself by downloading the egalley.

How are the films doing with critics? Jamie Marks is Dead, based on One for Sorrow received a mixed review from Variety; Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, is called “enthralling” by Entertainment Weekly; Low Down, about a noted jazz pianist, fared well with Variety‘s reviewer, but less so with The Hollywood Reporter‘s; White Bird in a Blizzard is called a “sci-fi sex romp” by The Guardian; garnering the most attention is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of a spy in A Most Wanted Man.

U. S. theatrical releases dates have not been announced for any of the films.

Life Itself, Roger Ebert   One for Sorrow   Low Down

 A Most Wanted Man   White Bird in A Blizzard

Titles (links are to WorldCat)

Life Itself, Roger Ebert, Hachette/Grand Central, 2011

One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak, Bantam Books, 2007

Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, A.J. Albany, Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carré, S&S/Scribner, 2008

White Bird in a Blizzard, Laura Kasischke, Hyperion, 1999

Name That Display!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Below is a virtual book display. What ties these books together and what title would you give the display? Email us with your answer (please also tell us how you came up with it) — put NAME THAT DISPLAY in the subject line (deadline, midnight, Eastern, Monday, Jan. 20).

The first to answer correctly wins a coveted print galley of Rainbow Rowell’s forthcoming book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press).

Note: if you don’t win, you can comfort yourself by downloading the egalley.

Life Itself, Roger Ebert   One for Sorrow   Low Down

 A Most Wanted Man   White Bird in A Blizzard

Titles (links are to WorldCat)

Life Itself, Roger Ebert, Hachette/Grand Central, 2011

One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak, Bantam Books, 2007

Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood, A.J. Albany, Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carré, S&S/Scribner, 2008

White Bird in a Blizzard, Laura Kasischke, Hyperion, 1999

Awards Season

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Three major literary awards are being announced in the space of less than a week. To help keep track, see our schedule below.

This is  an opportunity to create displays of the contenders.

Thurs., Oct 10 — Nobel Prize in Literature

No shortlist — so contenders are anyone’s guess. The leading favorites in betting at Ladbrokes are:

Haruki Murakami (5/2)

Alice Munro, (4/1)

Joyce Carol Oates (8/1)

Further down the list is Bob Dylan (50/1) — we assume the prize would be for his lyrics. The Chicago Review Press has published  two volumes that examine every song Dylan wrote until 2006; Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973  and Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1974-2006, both by Clinton Heylin.

The Guardian’s pick is Javíer Marías (see our earlier story). His odds are only 33/1.

Tues., Oct 15 — Booker Winner 


We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo, (Hachette/Little, Brown)  – Consumer review links

The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton, (Hachette/Little, Brown) — coming next week — no U.S. consumer reviews yet; UK reviews – TelegraphThe Observer

Harvest, Jim Crace, (RH/Doubleday/Nan A. Talese) — Consumer review links

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri, (RH/Knopf) – Consumer review links

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozseki, (Penguin) — Consumer review links

The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín, (S&S/Scribner)  – Consumer review links

Wed., Oct. 16 — National Book Awards Shortlists, to be announced on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

Downloadable llonglists:


Nat’l Book Awards – Nonfiction Longlist

Natl Book Awards- Poetry Longlist

Nat’l Book Awards; Young People’s Longlist

Women’s (formerly Orange) Prize Longlist

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Gone Girl Bring Up the Bodies Life After Life

Will Gone Girl “Rob Hilary Mantel of the Hat Trick?” asks The Independent, following yesterday’s announcement of the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (title changed from the Orange Prize after the telecom company decided to end its 17-year sponsorship). Mantel has already won two major UK awards this year, the Booker and Costa prizes, for her second Tudor novel Bring Up the Bodies, (Macmillan/Holt). No author has won all three in one year.

Gillian Flynn’s word-of-mouth phenomenon has appeared on many best books lists and is nominated for an Edgar, but a nomination for a literary prize is particularly sweet. As Flynn tells The Independent, “I was incredibly thrilled by the news. It’s really nice especially for someone who writes stories with mystery as they aren’t always recognised so widely. I feel really proud.”

Also on the list are Zadie Smith’s NW (Penguin/Viking) and Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior(Harper). Both authors have won the award before.

One of  the longlist titles is forthcoming in the U.S. but has already been called a favorite of 2013 by librarians on EarlyWord‘s GalleyChat (Gillian Flynn goes even further. In a blurb on the book’s cover, she calls it “One of the best novels I’ve read this century”), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Hachette/Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, 4/2/13).

Previous prize winners include Madeline Miller last year for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles,(Harper/Ecco), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk about Kevin (Harper; 2005), Marilynne Robinson for Home (Macmillan/FSG; 2009) and Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (HarperCollins; 2002). This is an opportunity to create a display of all the past winners, as well as this year’s nominees.

The shortlist will be announced on April 16th and the winner of the £30,000 on June 5th.

Our downloadable spreadsheet, Women’s Prize, Longlist, gives U.S. publication information, as well as notes on how the titles were received here.

Mediterranean Diet Books Soar

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Mediterranean diet 9781118067789  cover-65

Reports on a new study that supports the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet caused several titles to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings. Stories appeared in multiple news sources, including the New York Times, USA Today and on TV.

NETFLIX Programming Based on Books

Friday, February 1st, 2013

House of Cards SpaceyNetflix begins streaming an original series today, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The first two episodes of the 13-part series are directed by David Fincher (The Social Network). It is based on a BBC series (with the setting changed from the House of Commons to the House of Representatives), which in turn is based on a trilogy of novels by former British Conservative Party Chief of Staff and best-selling author in Britain, Michael Dobbs:

  • House of Cards (1989)
  • To Play the King (1992)
  • The Final Cut (1994)

The novels are no longer in print in the U.S., but several libraries own them.

House of CardsNPR covers the new venture today  and NPR’s movie critic, David Bianculli, gives House of Cards a thumbs up, saying it “is to Netflix what The Sopranos was to HBO…an identity maker and a game changer.” He also gives kudos to the original, a “wonderful British miniseries from 1990, which starred Ian Richardson as a career politician who spoke to the camera directly as he schemed and charmed his way through the corridors of power.”  That series is owned by libraries; if it is languishing on your shelves, now is the time to put it on display.

Netflix is currently at work on another series, based on a book, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2010). It is being directed by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.