Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Moth Power

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

9781101904404_c9867The wildly popular storytelling site,The Moth, distributed through a podcast, YouTube, and the Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Houris also available in print form, The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, Catherine Burns (PRH/Crown; OverDrive Sample).

Attesting to The Moth’s power in the literary world, Neil Gaiman provides a forward for the book and Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer contribute stories. It also has pop culture cred, having been featured on an episode of HBO’s The Girls.

The site’s fan are propelling this 20th anniversary collection of 45 stories up Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is currently in the top 100, at #75.

The NYT‘s chief critic Michiko Kakutani, is a fan, calling it a collection of “remarkable emotional depth and sincerity … by turns, raw, wry, rueful, comic, elliptical and confiding.” The Moth is playing that up on social media, highlighting it on both Twitter and Facebook for their 100,000+ followers.

This is the second collection, following The Moth, ed. by Catherine Burns (Hachette, 2013).

A WALK IN THE WOODS Inspires Hikers and Readers

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.21.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.22.48 PMThe movie adaptation of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods opens on Wednesday, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson.

It is already gaining a following. The New York Times Magazine reports at the beginning of an interview with Bryson that “Park rangers along the Appalachian Trail are preparing for a huge influx of visitors, thanks to the release of A Walk in the Woods.”

Holds, on both the print and audiobook versions of Bryson’s memoir/travel tale, are growing at several libraries across the country as well, indicating that readers might be similarly inspired by the movie.

The NYT interview includes questions about bears, science, and politics, which Bryson answers in his trademark blend of clarity and wit.

We posted a story earlier, when the trailer for the movie was released, with details of the movie-tie in edition.

A Walk in the Woods (Movie Tie-In): Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson
RH/Broadway, July 28, 2015
Trade Paperback; 9781101905494, 1101905492;  $15.99 USD
Mass Market Pbk; 9781101970881, 110197088X; $7.99 USD

The Year’s Best Humor

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

9780062268341_76d86Ending the year with a laugh, the Washington Post offers “five highlights of the comedy book — broadly defined as funny books by funny people.”

Of course, Amy Poehler’s best seller, Yes Please, (HarperCollins/Dey Street Books; HarperAudio) tops the list, but the rest are not such obvious choices:


9781452107912_56321  9781610881357_73015  9781476757889_5c0d9  9781627791830_12567

No Land’s Man, Aasif Mandvi (Chronicle); OverDrive Sample

It Won’t Always Be This Great, Peter Mehlman (Bancroft Press); OverDrive Sample

Science . . . for Her!, Megan Amram (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio); OverDrive Sample

Texts From Jane Eyre, Mallory Ortberg (Macmillan/Holt); OverDrive Sample

After Sleep, You Gotta Eat

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

First there was:


This fall there’s:


Like the first book, this one will be published by Brooklyn indie press, Akashic Books, 978-1617753787, 11/27/14 (ship date, 10/27/14).

The official announcement is being covered widely by the press, including Entertainment Weekly, ABC News, and the L.A. Times

In a Green-Certified Room

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Goodnight Nanny-cam

The latest update of the classic children’s bed time story, Goodnight Moon, arriving today and featured on Buzz Feed, is Goodnight Nanny-Cam: A Parody for Modern Parents by Lizzy Ratner and Jen Nessel, illustrated by Sara Pinto (Penguin/Plume).

The text was originally published in The New Yorker in 2012. It follows other parodies, such as  Goodnight iPad (Penguin/Blue Rider, 2011), now in danger of becoming dated because of its inclusion of a “Blackberry ringing with Eminem singing,” (Ratner’s room features a smart phone), Goodnight Bush, (Hachette/Little,Brown) and the creepy Goodnight, Keith Moon (Word of Mouth).

Aimed at “alpha parents,” Goodnight Nanny-Cam is set in a “green-certified room” and includes a “bilingual Nanny” whispering “hush.”

Nancy Pearl, RA Guru

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

When Nancy Pearl talks books, buyers listen. On NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday, she presented four of her “Under the Radar” picks (the full list of seven, along with a link to the audio, are on the NPR site). Two of the titles received dramatic bumps  on Amazon’s sales rankings.

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, David Goldfield, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury). Rose to #189 from #102,066)

Nancy says this book that claims the Civil War could have been avoided, made her “look back and reassess my knowledge and beliefs” about the war and its aftermath.

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, (Hyperion). Rose to #216 from #5,238)

This one is not “below the radar” among YA readers. It’s on both the Publishers Weekly and Amazon’s Best Books lists. However, it may be lesser known to adults, who, as Nancy says, will also enjoy this “story of deep friendship, incredible bravery and the difficult choices that life sometimes forces on us.”

New Title Radar: October 22 – 28

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Tom Wolfe and John Grisham go head to head with new novels next week – and so far, Wolfe is getting the lion’s share of media attention, but the Grisham title is showing the most holds. Meanwhile, watch out for Jami Attenberg‘s potential breakout, The Middlesteins. Usual suspects include Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury, while YA authors P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter team up on a paperback original, and A.S. King and Becca Fitzpatrick deliver new hardcovers. In nonfiction, Jerry Sandusky’s accuser, “Victim One,” unmasks himself upon the publication of his book, while former Goldman Sachs honcho Greg Smith reveals why he left the company. The Onion and Thomas Bouchon provide humorous and culinary relief.

Watch List

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (Hachette/Grand Central) may be the surprise hit of the season, according to our Crystal Ball. Comparisons to The Corrections are underscored by a blurb from Jonathan Franzen himself (who rarely gives blurbs), “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it wasn’t until is final pages that I fully appreciated the range of Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling.” The tale of a Jewish husband and wife in suburban Chicago whose marriage unravels after 40 years, as the attorney wife nears 350 pounds, it’s on People‘s list of ten Hot Fall Titles and described as “The sleeper hit of the fall” on CBS This Morning‘s fall book roundup (9/17). Entertainment Weekly throws some rain on this parade, giving it just a “B” and saying, “Attenberg’s slender fourth novel is an intriguing dysfunctional-family story told from multiple, fast-shifting points of view, but it never sits still long enough to truly explore the complicated minds of its characters. It’s a deeply sympathetic novel that could use a little more insight.”

The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Jan.) was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share pick at BEA and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for November. It’s about an art world pariah who gets drawn into a forgery scheme, and has to dig into an unsolved art heist to clear her name. It gets a “B+” in the current Entertainment Weekly: “Shapiro’s plot seems rushed at times. Still, she’s done meticulous research and has such interesting things to say about authenticity — in both art and love — that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.”

Returning Favorites

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, read by Lou Diamond Phillips; Hachette Large Print) has been dubbed by one critic as “Bonfire of the Miamians” and comes with a full PBS documentary, Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood, airing on Friday. As we’ve noted, major reviewers have weighed in extensively this week, ahead of the novel’s release next Tuesday, October 23, with most saying it’s got Wolfe’s usual manic prose, obsession with class and status, and wide range of characters – which is fine if you liked his other books.

The Racketeer by John Grisham (Random House; RH Audio and Large PrintBOT Audio) is the other major title going on sale on Tuesday, and somewhat overshadowed in the media by Tom Wolfe. Still, as we wrote earlier, the New York Times‘s Janet Maslin says it shows Grisham’s “rekindled vigor,” perhaps because he has “gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading.”

Usual Suspects

Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber (RH/Ballantine; Random House Audio; BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds three seasoned angels shadowing an apprentice angel in Times Square at Christmas. This is Macomber’s first book with her new publisher, Ballantine.

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a Christmas story about a Tennessee bookstore named The Bridge that struggles to survive declining book sales and the rise of e-books. It’s been rising on Amazon sales rankings – at #99 as of October 18.

Young Adult

After Moonrise by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) is a paperback original in which two bestselling YA authors team up to deliver two paranormal love stories.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (Hachette/LBYR; BOT Audio) is about a character who sends messages to people in planes flying overhead, who feel “bursts of unexplainable love that prompts them to do certain things.” The author is a Printz Honor Prize Winner. It has found fans on both our August and September YA GalleyChats. One called it “phenomenal” and “by far, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. And inspiring.” Another reader commented, “Can’t wait for my teens to read it.”

Finale (Hush, Hush Saga) by Becca Fitzpatrick (S&S BYR, S&S Audio) began rising on Amazon on October 17. Previous titles in this series have hit the NYT list; Hush, Hush , Crescendo and Silence.

Movie Tie-In

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy,  translated by Louise Maude and Alymer Maude (RH/Vintage) is the official tie-in to the movie, starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law, to be released November 9. Other translations are also available (see our rundown, here). Vintage will also release the screenplay, by Tom Stoppard, on November 13.


Silent No MoreVictim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky by Victim One (RH/Ballantine) is written by the young man who testified dramatically at the child molestation trial of Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Victim One’s identity was kept a secret until late  yesterday when it was revealed in promos for an interview by ABC’s Chris Cuomo, to air on ABC’s 20/20 tonight and for a People magazine interview, to appear, with excerpts from the book, in the issue on stands next Friday.


Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Or How the World’s Most Powerful Bank Made a Killing but Lost its Soul by Greg Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print) grew out of the author’s eponymous op-ed in the New York Times, which went viral. The book details what the author sees as the decline of the storied investment bank, after he started at Goldman Sachs at age 21 in 2001 and left in 2011 as the head of the United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander, M.D. (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) joins the growing shelf of books about near-death experiences. It has been in the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings for the last 11 days (currently at #10). Several libraries are showing heavy holds. The author is scheduled for several TV appearances this week, including ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America as well as FOX-TV’s Fox & Friends.

The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopedia of Existing Informationby The Onion (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the 8th book by the award-winning humor website. With typical bravado, the authors proclaim that this comprehensive reference source is “the last book ever published.”

Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Workman/Artisan) collects recipes for the French classics this famous chef loved while apprenticing in Paris.

New Title Radar: May 28 – June 3

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Historian Douglas Brinkley‘s biography of Walter Cronkite – the TV reporter known for decades as “the most trusted man in America” – is already drawing early reviews and praise for its unexpected revelations about this private man. Emmy-winning Daily Show writer Kevin Bleyer also sends up contemporary political designs on the U.S. Constitution in Me the People. In fiction, there’s a promising debut thriller by longtime TV cameraman John Steele, plus new titles from Jeff Shaara, Clive Cussler and Joseph Kanon.

Watch List

The Watchers by Jon Steele (Penguin/Blue Rider Press) is a debut thriller about a series of murders tied to a religious work about fallen angels, written by an award-winning news cameraman who has covered wars around the globe. It’s a June Indie Next pick, and Library Journal says, “although it takes a while for the story to gather steam, and the characters sometimes seem flat, the suspense builds to a satisfying climax as the author deftly sets the stage for book two in this planned trilogy.” 100,000 copy first printing.

Usual Suspects 

A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine Books; Random House Large Print Publishing; Random House Audio)  begins a new Civil War trilogy. It starts in 1862, as the Confederate Army falters after the loss of Fort Donelson, and face what will become the Battle of Shiloh.

The Storm: A Novel from the NUMA Files by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (Putnam; Penguin Audio Books) continues this popular series with the tale of researchers who uncover a plan to permanently alter the weather on a global scale. 500,000 copy first printing.

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (S&S/Atria; Thorndike Large Print) is a thriller about an American businessman working for the Allies in Istanbul, and is a June Indie Next pick. Library Journal says, “some thrillers don’t just entertain but put us smack in the middle of tough moral questions, and it’s no surprise that the author of The Good German has done just that in his superbly crafted new work.”  Kanon will speak at the AAP/EarlyWord lunch at Book Expo on Tuesday, June 5.


Pinkalicious: Soccer Star by Victoria Kann (HarperCollins) is an adventure for beginning readers about Pinkalicious and her soccer team, the Pinksters. 175,000 copy first printing.


Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley (Harper; Harperluxe; HarperAudio; Thorndike Large Print) is a biography of the newsman who was an cultural icon for decades before his retirement in 1981, drawing on Cronkite’s just-opened private papers and interviews with more than 200 family and friends, including Morley Safer and Katie Couric. Reviewing it for Newsweek, media columnist Howard Kurtz calls it “sweeping and masterful,” and says it reveals that “the man who once dominated television journalism was more complicated—and occasionally more unethical—than the legend that surrounds him. Had Cronkite engaged in some of the same questionable conduct today—he secretly bugged a committee room at the 1952 GOP convention—he would have been bashed by the blogs, pilloried by the pundits, and quite possibly ousted by his employer.” LJ notes, “this one’s big; with a one-day laydown on 5/29, a 250,000-copy first printing, and a seven-city tour.” Brinkley will appear on CBS’s Face the Nation this Sunday.

Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America by Kevin Bleyer (Random House) is an irreverent look at the Constitution by an Emmy-winning Daily Show writer. Kirkus says, “Among the radical suggestions in Bleyer’s revision is to make every citizen a member of Congress, since, as it stands, “Con-gress is the opposite of pro-gress.” Funny stuff with both a point and a perspective.” Jon Stewart has already promoted it on The Daily Show and will undoubtedly do more.

New Best Seller; LET’S PRETEND

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Popular internet personality “The Bloggess,” is now an old-media hit.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (Penguin/Einhorn; Penguin Audio), arrives on the Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list at #4 (and #17 on the USA Today list).

You can expect to see it in a high spot on the upcoming NYT list (the author spills the beans on her own site, so why shouldn’t we? It arrives at #1 on the Combined Print & E-Book list and at #2 on the Print Nonfiction list).

Over  to you, taxidermied mouse:

Colbert Makes Good on His Threat

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

When Stephen Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak in late February, he threatened to write his own kids book, I Am a Pole (And So Can You!). After he outlined the idea, Sendak proclaimed, “The sad thing is, I like it!” Colbert immediately pounced on that quote for his blurb.

And, so it came to pass:

I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)
Stephen Colbert
Retail Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Hachette/Grand Central – (2012-05-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1455523429 / 9781455523429

Amazingly, the book is also going to be available in audio (Hachette Audio).

Colbert’s description of the book begins at the 3:13 time mark in the video below (but how can you not watch the entire thing?).

True to Colbert’s prediction (and Sendak’s irritation) it will also be an eBook, but Hachette no longer sells their eBooks to libraries.

The book’s “popular illustrator with a horrible sense of design” is not named.

Dude, Where’s My Book?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The following video has had over 16 million hits since its launch in December:

The two sequels have had over 8 million and 4 million hits each (face it, they’re just not up to the original).

Harlequin has just signed creators Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard for a book based on the series, to be released in October, as reported by several news sources (The L.A. Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Huffington Post). At this point, it is not listed on wholesaler, retailer, or the publisher’s web sites.

New Title Radar: Feb. 27- March 4

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Next week, St. Martin’s republishes Torn, the second title in Amanda Hocking’s previously self-published ebook series, barely two months after the first one, Switched. They will be arriving quickly; the third title, Ascend, is scheduled for April.  The second title in another YA series, Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver, also arrives this week. Both series, of course, have been optioned for film adaptations. Among the big names, Jodi Picoult’s new book features real (not supernatural) wolves and Lisa Lutz’s sly humor is on display in the fifth in her Spellman series.

Watch List

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung (Penguin/Riverhead) is the story of two sisters with very different reactions to their Korean parents and heritage, by one of Granta magazine’s “New Voices.” Kirkus says, “despite some missteps into cliches about abuse, Chung delves with aching honesty and beauty into large, difficult questions–the strength and limits of family, the definition of home, the boundaries (or lack thereof) between duty and love–within the context of a Korean experience. Chung’s limpid prose matches her emotional intelligence.” A syndicated  Reuters Q&A with the author appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Blue Monday by Nicci French (Penguin/Pamela Dorman) is the first in a series of psychological thrillers by the  husband-wife writing team of Sean French and Nicci Gerard, and involves the solitary psychotherapist Frieda Klein in modern London. PW says, “with its brooding atmosphere, sustained suspense, last-minute plot twist, and memorable cast of characters, this series debut will leave readers eager to discover what color Tuesday will be.”

Usual Suspects

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult (S&S/ Atria/Emily Bestler Books; Center Point Large Print) focuses on prodigal son Edward Warren, who has been living for five years after an irreparable fight with his father, a wolf expert. But he must return to New Hampshire, where his dad lies comatose, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara. Kirkus says, “the thoroughly researched wolf lore is fascinating; the rest of the story is a more conventional soap opera of hospital, and later courtroom histrionics. Readers will care less about Luke’s prospects for survival than they will about the outcome for his wild companions.” Attention ALA Annual attendees; Picoult and her daughter will speak during the ALA President’s Program.

Victims by Jonathan Kellerman (RH/Ballantine; RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds L.A. psychologist Alex Delaware stymied by a string of seemingly random slayings with only one clue left behind — a blank page bearing a question mark. PW says, “Too many plot contrivances make this one of Kellerman’s weaker efforts, but the usual effective interplay between Alex and [his pal Lt. Milo Sturgis] should satisfy series fans.”

Trail of the Spellmans: Document #5 by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Large Print) is the fifth installment in the popular Edgar- and Macavity-nominated series about San Francisco PI Isabel Izzy Spellman and her eccentric sleuthing family. PW says “Lutz’s dry, biting humor is in full force, yet theres more than a hint of melancholy to be found in Izzys increasingly solitary pursuits.”

Young Adult

Torn by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Brilliance Corporation) is the second paranormal romance in the paperback Trylle Trilogy, after Switched. Kirkus says, “while the writing certainly lacks the depth and polish it takes to win major literary awards, there is no denying that Hocking knows how to tell a good story and keep readers coming back for more.” Hocking was picked up by St. Martin’s after she hit the Amazon bestseller list as a self-published author.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins) is the sequel to the YALSA Best Teen title, Delirium, with heroine Lena now living the Wilds, having evaded the required government procedure that eliminates amor deliria nervosa (a.k.a love). Kirkus says, “the novel’s success can be attributed to its near pitch-perfect combination of action and suspense, coupled with the subtler but equally gripping evolution of Lena’s character.”

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha (Penguin/Philomel) is the story of orphan Carver Young, adopted by a detective who investigates a vicious serial killer in New York City, with what appear to be uncanny ties to Young. PW: “Petrucha’s story hits the ground running and doesnt let up, the brisk pace making the inevitable twists effective; he also incorporates some fun steampunk-style gadgetry. Appearances by the Pinkertons, Jack the Ripper, and then New York City police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt add flair to the historical setting.”

Movie Tie-in

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (Hachette/Grand Central) is the mass market edition that ties in to the film releasing on April 20, 2012, starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner.

Inspired by Sendak

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

During a recent interview with Maurice Sendak, Stephen Colbert threatened to publish a children’s book, I Am a Pole (And So Can You). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the video of that interview became a “viral sensation.”

So, naturally, Colbert is now making good on his threat; the book is scheduled to be published on May 8th (Hachette/Grand Central; ISBN: 1455523429).

Colbert is releasing another book in October, America Again, Hachette/Grand Central; 0446583979).

Part One of the viral video, below (skip to Part Two to preview I Am a Pole):

Part Two, in which Colbert reveals his brilliant idea (beginning at 3:10) and Sendak gives him a blurb, “The sad thing is, I like it”:

New Title Radar; Week of 10/3

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Next week holds many riches: Michael Lewis‘s follow up to The Big ShortSusan Orlean‘s much anticipated Rin Tin Tin bio, a new novel from Michael Ondaatje that’s said to be his most engaging since The English Patient, and Jose Saramago‘s final work, plus a new novel from Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright.

Watch List

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton, Thorndike Large Print) is the story of an ill-fated affair that leads to the collapse of two marriages, set in Ireland as the Celtic Tiger wanes into recession. It follows Gathering, Enright’s Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller (for more than five months). Kirkus says Enright “once again brings melancholy lyricism to a domestic scenario and lifts it into another dimension.” It was also a pick on our own Galley Chat.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410445063) is a dystopian take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, in which Hannah Payne wakes up after having been injected with a virus to turn her skin red, punishment for aborting her unborn child. Library Journal says, “Jordan offers no middle ground: she insists that readers question their own assumptions regarding freedom, religion, and risk. Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it.” It was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA, in which one reader called it a “brilliant, disturbing, unexpected turn. Much more than 1984 meets The Scarlet Letter.”

Eagerly Awaited

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the author’s “best novel since his Booker Prizewinning The English Patient,” according to Publishers Weekly. It starts with an 11 year-old boy’s voyage from Ceylon to London to live with his divorced mother, getting up to all sorts of mischief with two other children on the ship, in adventures that color his life for years to come.

Night Strangers by Christopher Bohjalian (Crown; Random House Audio; Books on TapeRandom House Large Print) is the story of a traumatized pilot – one of nine plane crash survivors – who retreates with his family to a New Hampshire town, but doesn’t find much peace. Library Journal calls it a “genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. The story’s more gothic elements are introduced gradually, so the reader is only slightly ahead of the characters in discerning, with growing horror, what is going on.”  It was also got some enthusiastic mentions on GalleyChat last July.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Scribner) is historical fiction centering on four powerful women, set during the Roman siege of the Judean fortress on Masada. It’s a librarian favorite.

Cain by Jose Saramago (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Center Point Large Print) is the Nobel Prize-winner’s final novel, following his death in 2010, in which he reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain, who wanders forever through time and space after he kills Abel. Booklist says, “an iconoclastic, imaginative roller-coaster ride as Cain whisks about through all the time levels of the Old Testament, witnessing the major events in those books of the Bible, from the fall of Sodom to the Flood, through his own perspective of God as cruel and vengeful.”

Young Adult

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series.

The Lost Stories (Ranger’s Apprentice Series #11) by John Flanagan (Philomel/Penguin) is a collection of “lost” tales that fill in the gaps between Ranger’s Apprentice novels, written in response to questions his fans have asked over the years.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (S & S Books for Young Readers) is the conclusion to the Hush Hush saga, in which Patch and Nora, armed with nothing but their absolute faith in each other, enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything.



Usual Suspects

Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers Series #5) by John Sandford (Putnam; Penguin AudioCenter Point Large Print) finds Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers tracking a bomber who attacks big box chain Pyemart, after local merchants and environmentalists in a Minnesota town join forces to oppose the construction of a new mega-store. Kirkus says, “the tale drags at times, but the mystification and detection are authentic and the solution surprisingly clever.”


Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (Norton; S&S Audio) is a follow up to The Big Short, in which the bestselling author visits societies like Iceland, which transformed themselves when credit was easy between 2002 and 2008, and are paying the price. As we’ve mentioned, Michiko Kakutani has already given the book a glowing review in the New York Times, which caused the book to rise to #17 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Lewis will appear on NPR, CBS radio and TV, and on MSNBC.

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a collection of humorous musings by the afternoon talk show host, that comes eight years after her last bestseller. Kirkus says, “though DeGeneres doesn’t provide many laugh-out-loud moments, her trademark wit and openness shine through.”

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (Free Press; S&S Audio) finds the master science writer and author of The God Delusion teaming up with a master of the graphic novel to create a new genre: the graphic science book that considers the universe in all its glory, magical without creator or deity. Kirkus says, “watch for this to be mooted and bruited in school board meetings to come. And score points for Dawkins, who does a fine job of explaining earthquakes and rainbows in the midst of baiting the pious.”

The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs (Random House; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the blueprint for America’s economic recovery by the well-known economist, who argues that we must restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Kirkus says, “A lucid writer, the author is refreshingly direct—tax cuts for the wealthy are ‘immoral and counterproductive’; stimulus funding and budget cutting are ‘gimmicks’—and he offers recommendations for serious reform.” He will appear on NPR’s Morning Edition and on several TV news shows.

Movie Tie-ins

The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperback) ties into the movie starring George Clooney, which opens 11/18. A dark comedy about a dysfunctional family in Hawaii, it received raves at the Toronto Film Festival (Variety: “one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels.”) By director Alexander Payne, whose earlier movie Sideways increased tourism to Napa Valley, this may do the same for Hawaii; it is also a good opportunity to reintroduce readers to the book, the first novel by Hawaiian Kaui Hart Hemmings, which came out to strong reviews in 2007 (as exemplified by this one in the NYT Book Review). Trailer here.

The Rum Diary: A Novel by Hunter S. Thompson (S&S) is the tie-in to the film adaptation of the only published novel by the gonzo journalist, starring Johnny Depp (who played Thompson in the poorly received Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The movie, opening Oct 21, has a strong cast, but it’s based on one of Thompson’s weakest works, so it may do more for rum sales than for the book. Trailer here,

Herzog Reads G*T*F*T*S

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

You may have heard about filmmaker Werner Herzog’s taped reading of  G*T*F*T*S at the launch party for the book at NYPL last night. Happily, someone has posted it on YouTube:

And, here’s the official Samuel L. Jackson version, from Audible and Brilliance: