Archive for the ‘House & Home’ Category

Spring Cleaning with Kondo

Monday, March 20th, 2017

9781607747307_9d11aAfter spending over two years (and counting) on the NYT bestseller list and building months long holds queues in libraries (some systems are still working through their lists), Marie Kondo is back atop the Amazon sales rankings thanks to a feature on CBS Sunday Morning.

It seems there are still a few people who haven’t discovered Kondo. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, moved back up to #1, after dropping to #34 and her second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (both from Ten Speed Press), is #15, after falling to #1,320.

Life-Changing Magic is a global sensation. It has been translated into 40 languages and has sold over 7 million copies. NYT ran a feature about her last July, writing her “name is now a verb  … [her] life has become a philosophy.” The Wall Street Journal even applied her methods to digital life.

As an aid to those facing spring cleaning, CSB Sunday Morning offers a short profile of her system, including her special ways of folding clothes so they can be stacked upright in drawers. They also note she is working on a smart phone app and training a horde of cleaning consultants.

New Title Radar: October 15 – 21

Friday, October 12th, 2012

As media attention on the election heats up, publishers are playing it safe with no-brainers, like the Rolling Stones 50, a tribute to the decades-old British rock band, and a home design book by talk show host Nate Berkus, or review-driven titles like historian Henry Wiencek’s new look at Thomas Jefferson and his slaves.  In fiction, Justin Cronin‘s followup to his blockbuster post-apocalyptic vampire novel is eagerly awaited, but is already disappointing a few reviewers. A title to watch is a cozy English novel about the Queen playing hooky. Usual suspects include Nelson DeMille, Iris Johansen, Patricia Cornwell and YA author P.C. Cast. Plus movie tie-ins to Twilight, Silver Linings and Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Watch List

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (HarperCollins; Dreamscape Audio) finds the bored Queen of England leaving the palace on a walkabout, in search of fun. It has been popular among librarians on our GalleyChat on Twitter, one of whom said, “It’s jam packed full with great Palace insider gossip and details. In the year of the Diamond Jubilee, royal watchers will eat this up! It’s fun and light.”

The Twelve by Justin Cronin (RH/Ballantine; BOT Audio;  Wheeler Large Print) is the second installment in the trilogy that began with the hit The Passage, a post-apocalyptic vampire novel by an author previously known for his quiet literary novels. This one is getting early press attention, including a profile in last week’s NYT Magazine. The L.A. Times warns, however, “even the most devoted fans may notice a bit of a sophomore slump.” The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles, says the previous title was “the scariest, most entertaining novel I’d read in a long time…Now, finally, comes the long-awaited second volume, and as much as it pains me to say it, The Twelve bites.” Entertainment Weekly is more generous, giving it a B+, even though it “doesn’t always match The Passage‘s dexterous storytelling and almost-plausible world creation…it’s still an unnerving and mostly satisfying tale of existential-threat disaster and its harrowing aftermath.”

Usual Suspects

The Panther by Nelson DeMille (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) finds Former NYPD detective John Corey and his FBI agent wife, Kate Mayfield, hunting a mastermind of the Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Kirkus calls it, “quintessential DeMille: action-adventure flavored with double-dealing and covert conspiracy.”

Sleep No More by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Thorndike Large Print) is the 14th Eve Duncan novel. This time the forensic sculptor, who has spent many novels investigating the disappearance of her daughter, discovers that she has a half-sister. PW says, “Series fans will be pleased to discover that Beth, like Eve, is a strong woman who has endured many trials in her past.”

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds forensic expert Kay Scarpetta digging into a case involving a missing paleontologist. LJ says, “Cornwell has been struggling lately; see what happens, and buy for her fans.”

Angel’s Ink: The Asylum Tales (Harper Voyager trade pbk original) marks the launch of The Asylum Tales, a new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Days novels. This one features a magical tattoo artist. An ebook-only short story (available on OverDrive), The Asylum Interviews: Trixie came out in September to whet appetites.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (S&S/Atria) has been big on GalleyChat. Some think it’s her best; “Family secrets, suspense. Another winner.” This week’s People magazine concurs, giving it 4 of 4 stars and saying,”Morton weaves an intriguing mystery, shifting between past and present and among fully realized characters harboring deep secrets.”

Young Adult

Hidden by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the 10th installment in the House of Night series by this mother-daughter writing team.



The Rolling Stones 50 by The Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood (Hyperion) commemorates the band’s long history and survival in photos. Kirkus says it’s a “soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.”

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (Macmillan/FSG ; HighBridge Audio) is the latest from the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. Here, Wiencek “deftly explores the economic calculus behind Jefferson’s gradual cooling toward emancipation and eventual acceptance of human capital as a great ‘investment opportunity,” according to LJ.

The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus (Speigel & Grau) is an illustrated guide to creating a home full of meaningful things, by the designer who got a push from Oprah and now has his own talk show.

Movie Tie-Ins

The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive: Memories, Mementos, and Other Treasures from the Creative Team Behind the Beloved Motion Pictures ties into the November 16 release of (can you believe it?) the the last installment in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Part 2.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (Macmillan/FSG/Sarah Crichton Books) ties in to the movie to be released on November 21, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. It won the top prize at the Toronto Interntional Film Festival.

Team of RivalsLincoln Film Tie-in Edition by Doris Kearns Goodwin (S&S trade paperback; S&S audio tie-in) ties in to Stephen Spielberg’s Lincolnstarring Daniel Day Lewis. It opens in a limited run on November 9, releasing nationwide on November 16, and is based on the later sections of  Team of Rivals.

Top Fall DIY Title

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

DIY/interior design books rarely make it in to the Amazon Top 100 sales rankings, especially in advance of publication.

Grace Booney’s Design Sponge at Home, (Artisan, 9/6), is an exception. It just appeared at #73 and #1 on the Home & Garden list.

Booney’s Design Sponge blog attracts 75,000 unique visitors each day. She announced the book on the site yesterday, with a look at the contents and this upbeat trailer:

Design Sponge at Home (Official Book Trailer) from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

Most libraries have not yet ordered it.

Design*Sponge at Home
Grace Bonney
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Artisan – (2011-09-06)
ISBN / EAN: 1579654312 / 9781579654313

UNBROKEN is Undeniable Leader

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, about a WWII hero who survived being shot down and drifting on a life raft in the open ocean, only to endure two years in a brutal Japanese POW camp, is poised to be next week’s biggest nonfiction release. As we wrote earlier, it’s a People Pick, was featured on the cover of USA Today‘s “Life” section, and is excerpted in the December issue of Vanity Fair. Hillenbrand’s appearances next week include the Today Show and NPR.

It also made PW and the Amazon Editors Top Ten lists for 2010. Today’s Wall Street Journal profiles the subject of the book, Louis Zamperini, and quotes a buyer for B&N, “We’re positioning it as the big book for the holidays.”

The one naysayer so far is Entertainment Weekly which gives the book a “B”:

Hillenbrand is a better writer than a lot of historians and biographers. At times her prose even veers toward the poetic. But… she gives this story a chronological structure that frankly gets a little plodding…. Also, as inspiring as Zamperini’s tale is, his ordeal isn’t exactly a joy to experience on the page.

Nevertheless, the book is rising on Amazon, reaching #11 this morning (making it the fifth highest nonfiction title on the list). We’ll see how it fares with word of mouth after its release.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1400064163 / 9781400064168

RH Large Print; 9780375435010
RH Audio; 9780739319697

Other Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda (HarperCollins) is a biography by the veteran publisher. PW says “Korda perhaps exaggerates the novelty and significance of Lawrence’s military exploits and makes an unconvincing stab at framing him in Joseph Campbell-inspired heroic archetypes. Still, Korda’s vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure.”

My Passion for Design by Barbra Streisand (Viking) is an illustrated tour of the great star’s homes and art collections – and her first book. Streisand will appear for a full hour on the Oprah Winfrey Show on November 16.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (Knopf Books for Young Readers) explores the characteristics of 13 important figures in American history through a letter to the President’s daughters.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner) chronicles the history of cancer, cancer treatments and new research into the disease. Reviewing the book in the  New York Times, yesterday, Janet Maslin objects that it is “transparently glib” to call the book a “biography,”  but that, “With objectives so vast, and with such a beautiful title, The Emperor of All Maladies is poised to attract a serious and substantial readership.” While the tone of the review is generally negative, it’s clear that Maslin is fascinated by much of it, underscoring her assessment that it will attract readers.

Decoded by Jay-Z (Spiegel & Grau) is part memoir, part tribute to the genre of hip-hop by the superstar. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-: “The memoir’s chief theme is Jay-Z’s obsession with words…. He situates his work in the English canon, comparing his chosen form to the sonnet and crediting favorite authors (”Shout-out to Alfred, Lord Tennyson”). After reading Decoded, you won’t doubt for a second that he deserves the same level of respect as any of those great scribes.”


Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

For me, “must-see tv” is Nine by Design, Bravo’s reality show about a couple who design and remodel homes while raising seven kids. The couple’s amazing good looks, exciting designs and “improbably poised children” (The New York Times) have inspired envy (the Times calls them “annoyingly perfect, oddly sane”).

On last night’s show, the entire family travels to London to promote the parents’ book, Downtown Chic, published by Rizzoli. This morning, the book, which came out last year, rose to #54 on Amazon.

Downtown Chic: Designing Your Dream Home: From Wreck to Ravishing
Robert Novogratz, Cortney Novogratz
Retail Price: $45.00
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Rizzoli – (2009-05-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0847831736 / 9780847831739


Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

What do you get when you combine high unemployment with a desire to know where your food comes from?

A raft of new gardeners looking for books on raising vegetables, as a recent article in Publishers Weekly points out (and we noted earlier).

That prediction seems to be proving true; Grow Great Grub, aimed at new, urban and hip gardeners was just published and moved quickly up Amazon’s sales rankings to #215.

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Gayla Trail
Retail Price: $19.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0307452018 / 9780307452016

The PW piece includes a several other titles aimed at new gardeners that are coming out this season