Archive for the ‘2010/11 – Winter/Spring’ Category


Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

UnbrokenAngelina Jolie lands her second role as director (after Blood and Honey) for the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s long running best seller, Unbroken (Random House, 2010), reports

Amazingly, a film about Unbroken‘s subject, Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days on a life raft in the Pacific during WWII, has been in the works for 55 years, long before Hillenbrand began working on her book. Universal bought Zamperini’s “life rights” in the 1950’s, with plans to star Tony Curtis.

The film is supposed to begin production next year.

Zamperini will be 96 years old in January.

Hillenbrand’s earlier book, Seabiscuit, (Random House, 2001), was made into a successful movie.

Hamilton Wins Another Edgar

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Michigan author Steve Hamilton won his second Edgar last night for The Lock Artist (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne; Audio, Brilliance; Large Type, Center Point). Also an Alex Award winner, it features an unreliable narrator. He’s an 18-year-old boy rendered mute by a childhood trauma, who has a natural ability to crack safes. It’s the author’s first stand-alone, after 7 titles in the Alex McNight series.  Marilyn Stasio gave it a strong thumbs up in her NYT BR Crime column back in January. Hamilton won his first Edgar in the First Novel category in 1999 for A Cold in Paradise.

The Lock Artist has was recently released in trade paperback.

The Lock Artist: A Novel
Steve Hamilton
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2011-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0312696957 / 9780312696955

Lisa Von Drasek called the winner in the Best Juvenile category yesterday in her story about The Buddy Files. It’s the only book in that category that is aimed at younger readers (ages 6 to 8).

The winners in the other book categories are:

Young AdultThe Interrogation of Gabriel James, Charlie Price (FSG Books for Young Readers, 9780374335458)

Best First NovelRogue Island, Bruce DeSilva, (Forge, 9780765327260; Audio, Tantor; Large Print, Thorndike)

Best Paperback Original — Long Time Coming, Robert Goddard (Bantam, 9780385343619)

Best Fact CrimeScoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (University of Nebraska, 9780803228108)

Best Critical/BiographicalCharlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, Yunte Huang, (W.W. Norton, 9780393069624)

Mary Higgins Clark Award (honoring books in the Clark tradition) — The Crossing Places, Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Click here to view the winners and nominees in all categories.

Allen’s Memoir Making Waves

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Co-founder  of Microsoft, Paul Allen’s forthcoming memoir, Idea Man (Portfolio/Penguin, 4/19), is making news, based on the excerpt in the new issue of Vanity Fair. The headlines reflect each publication’s orientation.

Microsoft’s local paper, the Seattle Times, sees it as personal “Paul Allen goes public with hard feelings toward Gates

The Financial Times puts it in corporate terms, “Where Microsoft went wrong – by Paul Allen

The L.A. Times follows the money, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says Bill Gates schemed to dilute his share.

While the NY Times is more measured, Regrets and Resentment in Microsoft Partnership


Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

We love it when a fellow librarian does well. Jon Michaud, head librarian at The New Yorker, just published his first novel, When Tito Loved Clara, which is getting some powerful recommendations:

O Magazine’s “17 Books to Watch for in March 2011

NPR Review by Michael Miller — “Michaud…writes with a librarian’s sense of perfectionism.” (note: this is meant as a good thing!)

To be featured in the New Yorker Book Club

The New Yorker interviewed Michaud last week, describing the book this way,

The two protagonists are a pair of young lovers, whom we first meet in later years, when their paths have diverged: Clara is a librarian who lives with her husband and son in a nice house in the suburbs; Tito is still at the same job he had in high school, still living with his parents in Inwood, and still hung up on Clara. A series of events, fortunate and unfortunate, bring them together again, with surprising consequences.

An interview with fellow New Yorker librarian Erin Overbey on the Algonquin Books Blog reveals that several plot points involve library work; one character digitizes an archive (much as the New Yorker librarians themselves did, resulting in the New Yorker DVD set and and another catalogs a personal library.

When Tito Loved Clara
Jon Michaud
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books – (2011-03-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1565129490 / 9781565129498

OverDrive; Adobe EPUB eBook

From Senior Thesis to NPR

Monday, January 17th, 2011

It’s every historian’s dream to uncover a little-known, but significant historical event.  Daniel Rasmussen, achieved that goal early. As a student at Harvard, he was intrigued by a three-sentence reference to a slave march on New Orleans in 1811 and began investigating it for his senior thesis. It turns out that this was the largest slave revolt in American history. Over 100 of the slaves were killed by local planters who decapitated them, put their heads on pikes and hung their corpses on the gates of the city. Now, Rasmussen has written a book about that story.

In an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered last night (listen to it here), Rasmussen says the fact that we don’t know this story represents “…one of the most significant moments of political amnesia in our nation’s history.” The events were immediately covered up because, “…if the planters acknowledge that slaves are people with real political ideals…it undermines the entire ideology that underlaid slavery.”

Rasmussen  wants people to know this “…story of heroism, another side of slave history…What I am trying to do, is not only bring you their story…but to think of these enslaved men and women as people who contributed to American history, who fought and died for their beliefs and who were heroic.”

American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt
Daniel Rasmussen
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061995215 / 9780061995217

OverDrive: Adobe EPUB eBook

TIGER MOTHER on the Prowl

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you haven’t already, you are likely to hear a great deal about a book released yesterday, which describes the traditional Chinese approach to child rearing, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua. On NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday, Maureen Corrigan predicted,

Battle Hymn is going to be a book club and parenting blog phenomenon; there will be fevered debate over Chua’s tough love strategies, which include ironclad bans on such Western indulgences as sleepovers, play dates, and any extracurricular activities except practicing musical instruments … which must be the violin or piano.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Amy Chua
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The – (2011-01-11)
ISBN / EAN: 1594202842 / 9781594202841

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 6 Hours; 5 CDs; ISBN 9780142429105; $29.95

That’s happening already. An excerpt from the book in the Wall Street Journal, with the challenging title, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” appeared over the weekend and became the top-read story. It is being discussed widely, in blogs and articles, from The New Yorker to the Guardian in the UK, which calls it “one of the most controversial books of 2011.” It is currently at #6 on Amazon’s sales rankings and library holds are rising rapidly.

Chua appeared on the Today Show on Monday. Her upcoming book tour should be fun.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This is Chua’s third book. Her previous titles have been on international policy. Tiger Mother made news when it was acquired last year, for a rumored high six figures.

Funeral Homes and Civil Rights

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

This morning, NPR’s Morning Edition reaches all the way back to a book published in February by Harvard U. Press and owned by just a few public libraries. In it, Suzanne Smith writes about A. G. Gaston, a little-known enterpreneur who was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. Like other black funeral directors, he used his wealth to pressure for change (threatening to withdraw his money from  the local bank if they didn’t get rid of their segregated drinking fountains).

To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death
Suzanne E. Smith
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press – (2010-02-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0674036212 / 9780674036215

Can Aphorisms Take the Cake?

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

If anyone has a crack at making a book of aphorisms a bestseller, it’s economist and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Best known for his long-running business bestseller The Black Swan, he’s back with The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms. Among his  incisive pronouncements:

  • “You will get the most attention from those who hate you. No friend, no admirer and no partner will flatter you with as much curiosity.”
  • “You remember e-mails you sent that were not answered better than e-mails you did not answer.”

Janet Maslin in New York Times sums up the book’s appeal:

Mr. Taleb is so calculatedly abrasive in this smart, attention-getting little book that he achieves his main objective. “A good maxim,” he writes, “allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.”

Orders are modest at libraries we checked, but given Taleb’s track record, this could be one to watch.

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Retail Price: $18.00
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1400069971 / 9781400069972

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

The Essential American by Jackie Gingrich Cushman (Regnery) is a collection of 25 documents and speeches that Newt Gingrich’s daughter considers critical to understanding United States history. She recently appeared on Fox News to promote it.

Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have into What You Want by Melody Beattie (Simon & Schuster) outlines a program of self improvement via gratitude, surrender, and connecting with our essential power.

A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth by Louis Auchincloss (Houghton Mifflin) explores the late author’s connection with New York City. Kirkus says, “the author’s prose is lapidary, graceful and eminently readable. In a world of postmodern letters, Auchincloss draws a curtain on a premodern, Whartonesque way of life.”

New View of Julia Child

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Next week, a new window opens on the Julia Child legend, with As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon, a collection of Child’s correspondence with her close friend and unofficial literary agent. The two women first encountered each other in 1952, when DeVoto responded to Child’s fan letter to her husband after reading an article he wrote about knives, and became soul mates as Childs was writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking (DeVoto is portrayed in the film Julie & Julia by Deborah Rush).

Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B”: “While their conversations can drag a bit — weather, health, and politics get too much space — the book is an absorbing portrait of an unexpected friendship.”

So far, library holds are in line with modest orders at libraries we checked – but that may change as more media arrives.

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – (2010-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0547417713 / 9780547417714

Usual Suspects On Sale Next Week

Rescue: A Novel by Anita Shreve (Little, Brown) follows a paramedic worried that his daughter is becoming an alcoholic, like his troubled ex-wife. Library Journal says, “a solid read, though not the author’s most compelling or dazzling work. Excellent fodder for book clubs; there is plenty to discuss in the protagonists’ motivations, decisions, and characterization.”

Of Love and Evil by Anne Rice (Knopf) is the second entry in the supernatural Songs of the Seraphim series, involving a divine vigilante dispensing justice in Renaissance Italy. Kirkus says, “The plot’s intense; equally so are Rice’s meditations, while never breaking the seamlessness of the story line, on the nature of love and evil. A bullet of a book—and an absolute bull’s eye.”

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell (Putnam) is the 18th novel with detective Kay Scarpetta.

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (Twelve) finds a literary investigator caught up in a murder case. Library Journal says, “constant switching of narrators can be jarring, but Moore does an excellent job of making his characters and settings feel real, using his thorough knowledge of the Holmes stories to good effect.”

Clouds Without Rain by P. L. Gaus (Plume) is an Indie Next Pick for December that won bookseller praise for its slowly unravelling mystery set in Amish country, “with a good many surprises along the way. Another excellent entry in this series.”


Friday, September 17th, 2010

Barack Obama has often propelled books onto best seller lists. Can Michelle Obama do the same?  The ABC News blog reports that she’s reading The Grace of Silence: On Matters of Race and the Consequence of Silence, a memoir by NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Michele Norris, which goes on sale next week.  Libraries we checked have modest holds on modest orders.

In the book, Norris explores her family’s silence about her father’s shooting by a white policeman in Alabama in 1946, following his return from service in WWII, and rejects the reassuring myth that we live in a “post-racial” America.

Booklist gave it a starred review, calling Norris “a remarkably warm, witty, and spellbinding storyteller, enriching her illuminating family chronicle with profound understanding of the protective grace of silence and the powers unchained when, at last, all that has been unsaid is finally spoken.” PW found the book “eloquent and affecting,” and Kirkus found it “outstanding.”

The Grace of Silence: A Memoir
Michele Norris
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2010-09-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0307378764 / 9780307378767

Other Notable Nonfiction on Sale Next Week:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central) satirizes the history and achievements of humanity. Stewart rocked the house at the Book & Author Breakfast at BEA, and his book has been mentioned in many fall previews. His promotional appearances include Bill O’Reilly’s Fox news channel show on Wednesday. You may remember that sparks flew when Stewart appeared on that show for his prevous book.

White House Diary by Jimmy Carter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) contains sections of the actual diary Carter kept while in office. He will appear on 60 Minutes this coming Sunday, contending that Americans could have had comprehensive health care coverage decades ago if Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hadn’t blocked a plan Carter had proposed during his presidency. The embargoed book was also briefly available on Google Books yesterday morning, before the publisher requested it be taken down, according to the Politico blog.

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt (Penguin Press) is the French Colombian political leader’s account of her harrowing abduction by the opposition during her presidential campaign. As we reported earlier, the Daily Beast says to “forget Blair or Bush, [Even Silence Has an End] is the memoir of the season.”


Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Graham Robb was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday about his book, Parisians, An Adventure History of Paris. Host Jacki Lyden says, “None of the book is fiction, but it reads like the most thrilling of novels.”

The book has enchanted several reviewers;

Huffington Post, Christopher Lydon: Graham Robb’s Paris: 18 Arrested Explosions

NYT Book Review, Parisians – An Adventure History of Paris – By …

New York Times, A Pointillist Tour, Revolution to Riots

It appeared on the extended NYT best seller list for two weeks and is still on IndieBound Hardcover Non-fiction list.

Several libraries show holds ratios of more than ten to one.

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
Graham Robb
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2010-04-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0393067246 / 9780393067248

Tantor Audio, UNABR; Simon Vance (Narrator)

11 Audio CDs (Retail Pkg); 9781400117109; $26.24
11 Audio CDs (Library Binder Pkg); 9781400147106;  $52.49
2 Mp3-CDs (Retail Pkg); 9781400167104; $18.74


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

As Lisa Von Drasek wrote here in January, a series based on the hit TV show Glee (which wrapped its season last night), is coming this fall. The first book, a prequel, has been announced.

Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel
Retail Price: $9.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Poppy – (2010-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316123595 / 9780316123594

A second title, is coming in February.

Glee: Foreign Exchange: An Original Novel
Poppy/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Trade Paperback; 2/15/2011; 9780316123617; $9.99

Surprise UK Hit

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We noted earlier this Spring that Hans Fallada’s sixty-year old novel Every Man Dies Alone, rose to #22 on Amazon’s sales rankings, based on a column by Roger Cohen in the NYT.

This Sunday’s UK Guardian reports that the book, which is published there under the title, Alone in Berlin, has reached the Top 50, “a rare achievement for a classic.” The Guardian also notes that it is selling well in the US (via Publishers Lunch Automat).

The novel is based on the true story of a German couple who began a postcard campaign against Hitler and were beheaded for their actions. Cohen says, “What Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française did for wartime France after six decades in obscurity, Fallada does for wartime Berlin…The Nazi hell he evokes is not so much recalled as rendered, whole and alive.”

The book appeared on many Best Books of 2009 lists and was featured on the Charlie Rose Show last year (watch here).

Every Man Dies Alone
Hans Fallada
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Melville House – (2010-03-30)
ISBN / EAN: 1935554042 / 9781935554042

Adobe EPUB eBook available from OverDrive.

Pardon Us, We’re Not British

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

They’re not British, they’re Anglophiles in love with Scotland Yard, says USA Today‘s Carol Memmot about American mystery writers Martha Grimes and Elizabeth George (the latter’s character Inspector Lynely even inspired a series by the BBC). Memmot offers a quick analysis of each writer’s latest book in their long-running series (Grimes has the edge, with 22 Richard Jury titles to George’s paltry 16 in her Lynley series).

This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel
Elizabeth George
Retail Price: $28.99
Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061160881 / 9780061160882

HarperAudio; UNABR; 9780061161216; $49.99
Books on Tape; 21 CD’s; 9780307715630; $49.99
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook from OverDrive

The Black Cat: A Richard Jury Mystery
Martha Grimes
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-04-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021601 / 9780670021604

Penguin Audio; UNABR; 9 Hours; 7 CDs; ISBN 9780142427965; $29.95
MP3 Audiobook; WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive

Roth Continues to Rise

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Women, Food and God hit number 1 on several major best seller lists after Oprah’s endorsements, beginning in O, The Oprah Magazine and continuing with a full hour show last week. Now, it adds another one as it hits #1 on the USA Today list (which, unlike lists in other newspapers, is not divided by category).

It will get a further boost on July 12th, when Oprah again features the author, as USA Today‘s “Book Buzz” column notes.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
Geneen Roth
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-03-02)
ISBN / EAN: 1416543074 / 9781416543077

S&S Audio; UNABR; 9781442336605; $29.99