Archive for the ‘2015 — Fall’ Category

Fresh Air Talks Birds

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Two bird specialists, each of whom has recently published a book, talked with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.

9781594859656_d3613Wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn has been photographing birds and recording their calls for years. After contributing images to many other books, he has now released his own title, The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature (Mountaineers Books). It includes over 250 photographs by Vyn as well as essays by noted birders and naturalists.

9780547840031_e5831Scott Weidensaul, who contributed pieces for Vyn’s book, has also published his own book, Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean (HMH). Following the pattern of other Peterson reference guides, it includes an exhaustive catalog with detailed descriptions of the owls, habitat, and behavior.

Both men communicate their fascination with birds, including the “tremendous of diversity of calls that owls make,” with samples that capture the feeling of being near the birds.

Welcome to the Spotlight,

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

9780062351425_a339dWelcome to Night Vale (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) is having its weird, subversive, addictive moment.

It is currently occupying the #59 spot on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are growing at several libraries we checked.

As we reported, authors Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor were guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week (time mark 36:24).

This week they are the subjects of a Books section feature in The New York Times., which summarizes their “show’s eerie existential themes” as “Don’t panic, but we’re all going to die,” and says “With its uncanny blend of the macabre and the mundane, the news out of Night Vale sounds like what might occur if Stephen King or David Lynch was a guest producer at your local public radio station.”

The feature details the history of the podcast and its move to print books, reporting publisher Harper Perennial has three more books in the works from Fink and Cranor and that the pair found an agent through the assistance of author John Green, who is a big fan of the show.

In a heads-up service to librarians, the paper also discusses other podcasts coming to print, “including The WTF Oral History, based on the comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, and Adnan’s Story, a book by Rabia Chaudry that is based on the murder case that inspired the wildly successful podcast Serial. It will contain new information about the case and will be published by St. Martin’s Press.”

the Dogs and More

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Yesterday was a three-book extravaganza for CBS’s venerable Sunday Morning magazine show.

9781579656713_1a0abThe Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman (Workman/Artisan) was featured in a charming and smile-inducing report, sending the book racing up the Amazon sales charts where it is currently occupying the #62 spot.

The book is based on Friedman’s blog and Instagram accounts of the same name, which have done for dogs what Humans of New York and The Sartorialist have done for people and fashion. In the process Friedman has gathered over a million followers.

CBS posted a photo gallery in addition to the video segment.

9781250065919_b0b65 9780399167256_d72dfAlso featured were Erica Jong, whose new book Fear of Dying (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) rose to #148 on the Amazon chart as a result, and singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, for his new memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (PRH/Blue Rider Press; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) who comes to CBS fresh off of his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week.

More on Robert Durst

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Robert Durst is the subject of books, films, and documentaries, perhaps most famously HBO’s The Jinx in which he seems to confess to multiple murders, saying to himself while wearing a microphone, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

9781501125003_c11d0Add another book to the list. Author Jeanine Pirro, a former district attorney involved in one of the Durst murder cases, featured in The Jinx, is publishing a new title, He Killed Them All: Robert Durst and My Quest for Justice (S&S/Gallery Books; S&S Audio). According to the publisher summary, Pirro reveals “stunning, previously unknown secrets about the crimes.”

The book is creating its own controversy. The New York Times reports that Pirro’s former collaborator on the project has filed suit against her, accusing Pirro of knowingly stretching the truth and aggrandizing her role in the matter. The lawsuit further claims that her editor at S&S told her not to “allow ‘concerns about facts’ to impede her from turning in drafts of the book.” Pirro’s agent has scoffed at the charges and S&S disputes the claims.

Holds are slight thus far but that will change if media attention continues.

Titles to Know and Recommend,
the Week of Oct 19

Friday, October 16th, 2015

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The biggest book of the fall in terms of holds, even outstripping James Patterson’s Cross Justice coming in early Nov, arrives next week, John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer, (PRH/Doubleday). It gets an early welcome from Maureen Corrigan in the Washington Post, calling it a “terrific new thriller.”

Also arriving is the latest in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), Career Of Evil, (Hachette/Mulholland). The BBC is set to adapt the entire series, with production expected to begin this fall. Broadcast dates have not yet been announced.

Also arriving are Host by Robin Cook, (PRH/Putnam) and Golden Age by Jane Smiley, (PRH/Knopf)

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Oct. 19, 2015

Media Magnets 


The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala, Kevin Costner, Jon Baird, Rick Ross, (S&S/Atria)

Yes, the co-author is THAT Kevin Costner. When when the project was announced in 2012, the plan was also to turn it in to an animated series and a film. For now at least, the book stand alone. Kirkus sees merit inits colorful cast, exotic locales, and intertwined fates” and as a result,  “the book slowly addicts. A rousing throwback whose spinning plates never stop, even at the end.” PW was less impressed, calling it a “massive doorstop of a volume is a curious, over-stuffed throwback … What could have been rousing becomes tedious as the authors pile on endless detail, delivered in densely worded prose sections that read like stage directions in a script.”

No surprise, the media is lining up for  Costner:

• ABC Good Morning America, October 20
• Fox-TV Access Hollywood, October 20
• ABC The View, October 20
• ABC Entertainment Tonight, October 20
• NPR Diane Rehm, October 21


Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home, Joe Klein, (S&S)

Joe Klein, Time magazine’s political columnist, tells the story of two soldiers who founded The Mission Continues, an organization that helps veterans adjust to life as civilians through community service. The book will be featured on NPR’s Diane Rehm, October 21 and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, October 22.


Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell, (PRH/Riverhead)

Vowell got very early coverage for her latest, as one of Jon Stewart’s final guests on the Daily Show. For the audiobook, she is joined by some famous friends, John Slattery (as the Marquis de Lafayette), Nick Offerman (George Washington), Bobby Cannavale (Benjamin Franklin), John Hodgman (John Adams), and Patton Oswalt (Thomas Jefferson).


Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, Amy Ellis Nutt, (PRH/Random House)

Featured on Good Morning America today, this book also profiled in this week’s People magazine in an article titled, “How Identical Twin Boys Became Brother and Sister: One Family’s Courageous Transgender Story” and is scheduled for coverage on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.


The Arab of the Future: A Graphic Memoir, Riad Sattouf (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books)

Reviewed in the New Yorker and the upcoming
NY Times Sunday Book Review.


Peer Picks

9780062351425_a339dWelcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads, Oct — “This is classic Night Vale in written form. It’s an absolute must for Night Vale fans, and will possibly provide an introduction for those who haven’t found this snarky little podcast yet.” Debra Franklin, York County Public Library, Rock Hill, SC

Indie Next – “Welcome to Night Vale meshes the uncanny with the mundane in a way that doesn’t so much elevate the mundane as it illuminates life’s strangeness. For all its weirdness, Fink and Cranor’s work rings true. Like the best metaphors, the novel makes its reader think ‘Wait, what?’ and ‘Oh. Yes!’ in quick succession. New visitors to Night Vale will be as entertained and absorbed by the story and characters as longtime listeners of the duo’s popular podcast. Simply delightful!” —Amber Reed, Copperfield’s Books, Petaluma, CA

Last night, Stephen Colbert featured the founders of the podcast on the Late Show, forcing him to face the challenge featuring an audio medium on a visual one. When he mentioned the guests in the opening monologue, the crowd cheered and Colbert congratulated them for being a “hip audience”


9781250068828_bbeefHome Is Burning: A Memoir by Dan Marshall (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next –“Emotionally devastating and also somehow incredibly funny, this memoir left me feeling grateful for the bonds of family. Marshall’s mother has been fighting cancer — and winning! — since he was a kid, but when his father is diagnosed with ALS, Marshall moves home to help battle this new medical challenge. It might have gone better if Marshall was at all the responsible, mature, and resourceful person the situation called for. Instead he flails and fails and acts wildly inappropriately — because what else can you do as your dad wastes away? Sometimes there’s nothing more important than looking mortality in the face, admitting we’re scared, and making a fart joke.” — Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

A film adaptation is in the works, with Miles Teller as the star, directed by Jonathan Levine for New Line Cinema.

9781451649321_d8cdaThe Lake House by Kate Morton (S&S/Atria Books; Bolinda Audio)

Indie Next – “The Lake House explores an unsolved kidnapping that occurred between the World Wars at an isolated country house in England. Morton here continues to do all the things she does so well: weaving together a multi-generational family story from numerous perspectives; showcasing different facets of the same events; and bringing a wonderfully complex plot together in a kaleidoscopic web of uncovered secrets, past and present. With delightful characters, fascinating settings, and a captivating mystery, Morton draws us into a world we’re sorry to leave. Highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

9781616204136_8448eWe Were Brothers: A Memoir by Barry Moser (Workman/Algonquin Books)

LibraryReads, Oct –  “Moser’s deeply personal memoir of his volatile relationship with his brother in the segregated south is thoughtful and beautifully written. Strong differences of opinions divided the brothers. Late in life, reconciliation came, but only after years of heartache. There is much to ponder from this work, which is timely given current racial tensions.” PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC


It’s a big week at the multiplex for movies based on books (tie-ins for these have been released and our listed in our catalog of movie tie-ins).

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Goosebumps — based on characters from R.L, Stine’s books for kids, it expected to do well at the box office. In addition to the movie tie-ins, several of the original books have been reissued as Classic Goosebumps (with the line “Now a Major Motion Picture” on the covers).

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Room — #1 pick of the week by People, “Of all the important, buzzy films his season, this is the one you won’t be able to shake,” it is  based on the novel by Emma Donoghue.

Beasts of No Nation — #5  People pick of the week — Based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, this will be released simultaneously on Netflix and in the Landmark Theatres chain, so it can qualify for the Oscars.

Truth — Based on the memoir by 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power, with Robert Redford playing Dan Rather in a scary wig, this one has not been playing well with the critics.

(For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins).

Lauren Groff Coming to NPR’s MORNING EDITION Book Club

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

9781594634475_68932Last month, NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club announced their third pick, Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead), helping to propel it on to best seller lists. In two weeks the NPR show will host a conversation with the author.

In a short tee up to the discussion, the hosts of Morning Edition say the novel as a “story of a marriage in two parts” as both the wife and the husband have their due.

Groff quickly pushes back against that summary, saying “It’s not a book about marriage.”

Rather, she explains, marriage is how she talks about larger ideas concerning creativity, sex, time, and rage. She says marriage becomes a vehicle to dig into some of the things she resisted about the institution, and did not know she resisted, until she spent five years working on the novel.

Readers are invited to submit a smartphone voice memo. Groff will answer some of the queries on Morning Edition.

Fates and Furies is on the National Book Awards longst for fiction; the shortlist will be announced tomorrow.

The Nixon White House

Monday, October 12th, 2015

9781501116445_f309dNixon is in the news again, most recently as the cover story on yesterday’s CBS Sunday Morning.

Reporter David Martin interviewed both Nixon’s Deputy Assistant to the President, Alexander Butterfield, the man who told the world about the White House taping system, and Bob Woodward, who along with Carl Bernstein, exposed Nixon’s crimes.

Woodward’s new book, The Last of the President’s Men (S&S; S&S Audio), is based on interviews with Butterfield and 20 boxes of papers (some of them classified as top secret) he carried out of the White House. The book details Butterfield’s role, outlines the political era of Nixon, and offers a candid view of Nixon himself.

Much of the CBS Sunday Morning report centers on Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War – bombing even as he internally raged against its ineffectiveness and his determination to discredit witnesses of the My Lai massacre.

It also addresses what Woodward calls “a subversion of what the job of the presidency is.” For example, Nixon had the CIA, FBI, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities all look into a civil servant who had two pictures of President Kennedy in her office – an offense Nixon obsessed over and called an “infestation.”

While orders and holds are light at libraries we checked, Woodward’s book is currently #60 and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

A Two-Book Week for Stephen Colbert

Monday, October 12th, 2015

This week two books get the Colbert treatment on The Late Show.

9780399167256_d72dfTonight Elvis Costello, author of the new memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Penguin/Blue Rider Press; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a guest. In the book, Costello reflects on his career, details many of his most iconic songs, and muses on his musical coming of age.

Fan will recognize Costello’s voice as the narrator of the audiobook version

Also being released is an accompanying  soundtrack album, featuring 38 songs.

9780062351425_a339dOn Thursday, Colbert features Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor,  the creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast and a debut novel set in the same world as the show, Welcome to Night Vale (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). The audio version highlights Cecil Baldwin, the person who performs the podcast.

Promises of Sleep

Monday, October 12th, 2015

9780399554131_76412Desperate parents are flocking to The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, illustrated by Irina Maununen (RH/Crown;Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

PW reported last week that it sold 10,000 copies in two days. Ehrlin, a Swedish psychologist, originally self-published the bedtime story, which Random House acquired after its huge popularity over the summer and has just re-released.

It debuts at #3 on the NYT‘s Picture Book Best Seller list this week, sandwiched between Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers’s crayon books and a seasonal choice, Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean.

It is also on the USA Today list, which includes titles in all formats and for all ages, now at #35  down from an earlier high of #6.

In August, NPR’s All Things Considered put it to the test on sleep adverse kids with less than convincing results.

In The Washington Post conducted their own test, with similar results.

Both testers qualified their findings by acknowledging the presence of cameras or microphones could not have helped create the necessary atmosphere.

For those still game to try it out, NPR reports sleep experts suggest that parents make it a constant routine at bedtime and practice delivering the story until they get the lulling rhythm down pat.

If all else fails, parents can at least get some comfort in knowing they are not alone in their bleary-eyed frustration and entertain themselves with the another best selling title about sleep and kids, Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep.

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of Oct. 12

Friday, October 9th, 2015

9780385353779_2660fCalled the “Fall’s Buzziest Book”  in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, the title dominating the literary world’s attention is Garth Risk Hallberg’s big (900 plus pages) novel, City on Fire (RH/Knopf). One of the rare books to spark a bidding war, it ended up selling to Knopf for an estimated $2 million.

The country’s major literary critics are now weighing in. It’s on the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, David Ulin reviews it in the LA Times as does Ron Charles in the Washington Post  (we’re still waiting for the daily NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani to post her verdict — CORRECTION, Kakutani actually reviewed the book earlier than anyone else, on Oct. 5, calling it a “big, stunning first novel and an amazing virtual reality machine, whisking us back to New York City in the 1970s”). While not venturing to guess whether the money is well spent, they agree that it’s worth the time it takes to read it.

We’re more impressed that it was made a number one pick for the month by a tougher audience, one that is closer to readers –librarians. They made it the #1 LibraryReads pick for the month. Booksellers also picked it for Indie Next.

Hallberg spoke at the Random House Librarians Breakfast held at Book Expo America in June.

Holds are light in most libraries so far, but enthusiasm from librarians and booksellers indicates that once it reaches readers, it will be propelled by word of mouth.

9781455530069_3587bThe holds leader of the week, is Nicholas Sparks’s next, See Me (HachetteGrand Central) about one of his favorite topics, second chances at love. It seems he’s had his own experiences in that arena, Sparks made news this week when it was announced that he is planning an ABC comedy series titled The Next Chapter, about, says the Hollywood Reporter, ” a top-selling romance novelist Ben Diamond, who goes through a divorce and not only begins to question his belief in love, but must also learn to date again and live on his own — all while dealing with the pressures of his public persona as the world’s most foremost ‘expert’ on love.” Yes, it is loosely based on the author’s own life.

9780399174674_a25a6  9780316387729_0e4ef  9780062319197_8e734-2

Fans will welcome a new Stone Barrington novel by Stuart Woods, Foreign Affairs (Penguin/Putnam) and a new title by Elin Hilderbrand, who steps away from the beach for a Winter Stroll (Hachette/Little, Brown) in the sequel to last year’s Winter Street, her first Christmas novel.

Adriana Trigiani also makes a departure, setting her latest novel in a bygone glamor era of Hollywood. Titled All the Stars in the Heavens (Harper), it is based on the real life romance between Loretta Young and Clark Gable. it is People magazine’s pick of the week,  “Reading Trigiani’s latest is like settling in with a bag of popcorn and watching an old black-and-white movie.”

Trigiani has made her own foray into movies, directing a film based on her first novel, Big Stone Gap, which opens in theaters this week.

The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet ,EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Oct. 12, 2015

Peer Picks

9780062325891_504dbCarrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam (HarperCollins/William Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “This thoroughly delightful story chronicles Hickam’s parents’ road trip from their coal-mining town in West Virginia to Orlando, Florida, to return Elsie Hickam’s pet alligator, Albert, to a home in a more suitable climate. Along the way, the travelers — Homer Sr., Elsie, Albert, and an elusive rooster — encounter famous American authors, movie stars, and minor league baseball teams and become embroiled in union strikes and bank robberies. It’s hard to say what is true and what isn’t, but either way, Carrying Albert Home is a very enjoyable journey!” — Lori-Jo Scott, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, NC

9781616205232_2c384And West Is West by Ron Childress (Workman/Algonquin)

Indie Next pick: “Ethan is a young Wall Street quant who writes an algorithm that allows his company to profit from the financial upheaval caused by antiterrorist strikes. Jessica is a young Air Force drone pilot who is discharged because she has discussed a questionable UAV strike in a letter to her father. This book is a powerful wake-up call to understand how fear, greed, and war inform our technological advances. Childress has truly earned his PEN/Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.” — Karen Tallant, Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

9781476758961_78183Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen (S&S/Gallery Books; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “Isabel Lyon, who was born to gentility, supported herself as a nanny and a secretary and is best known as secretary/companion to the family of Samuel Clemens. Her late marriage to Clemens’ business manager left her life in shambles, as afterwards both were fired and slandered. What led to those dramatic shifts is the premise behind Twain’s End. Mark Twain may be beloved beyond all American writers, but Cullen has crafted a well-researched tale supporting the view that a very manipulative, selfish, and distant Samuel Clemens and his family hid behind that façade. It is up to you to decide. A marvelous read!” —Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA


(For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins).

Hitting a select number of theaters today and expanding “everywhere” (a sweeping statement, but that’s what the studio claims) on Oct 23 is the movie Steve Jobs based on the book by Walter Isaacson (S&S, 2012). For children, it’s the live-action Pan, which, we can’t help saying, is getting panned by NPR, the NYT and by Entertainment Weekly. Set before J.M. Barrie’s book, there are no tie-ins.

Also opening is Adriana Trigiani’s directorial debut, Big Stone Gap, based on her own book.

On TV, BBC America begins The Last Kingdom, based on the first book in Bernard Cornwell’s series The Saxon Tales,  The L.A. Times says it “brings complexity and personality to the Middle Ages.”  On Sunday, the Hallmark Channel debuts the third in a series of movies based on Beverly Lewis’ Amish romances, Beverly Lewis’ The Reckoning.

New York Comic Con opens today featuring The Shannara Chronicles. In addition to a panel presentation, executive producer Terry Brooks will sign copies of an exclusive edition of The Elfstones of Shannara. The series is set to begin on Jan. 16.

Tie-ins scheduled for publication this week are:

OutcastVol1_Cover_362_556_s_c1 Outcast_vol2-1

Following up on his success with the Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman has started a new venture, Outcast. This time, however, the comics and the screen adaptations are being created simultaneously. The first collected edition of the comics was published in the spring. Volume 2 arrives this week.(Image Comics).

9780062420114_ca096Beasts of No Nation Movie Tie-in by Uzodinma Iweala (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial; OverDrive Sample)

Movie opens October 16.

Netflix made a splash by buying the rights to  Beasts of No Nation, a major new movie, directed by Cary Fugunaka and starring Idris Elba and based on the 2005 novel by Uzodinma Iweala about child soldiers in West Africa. There’s one catch. In order for it to be eligible for Oscar consideration, the movie has to open in theaters. Entertainment Weekly, which give the movie a solid A in the new issue, notes that the four largest theater chains have refused to show it, as “a sort of kamikaze stand against the encroachment of VOD.” It will, however appear in the smaller Landmark Theatres chain.

9781250098450_57d18Truth: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, Mary Mapes (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; OverDrive Sample)

Movie opens October 16.

Based on the memoir by 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, the movie Truth tells the story of the scandal that caused  CBS News anchor Dan Rather to step down. Robert Redford stars as Rather.

9781250088949_070c2The 33: Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, Héctor Tobar (
Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Movie opens November 13.

A best seller after it was picked as the first title in NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club, the film adaptation stars Antonio Banderas.

Also arriving is a raft of tie-ins  for the big Pixar childres animated movie, The Good Dinosaur,. Opening Nov. 25, it’s being hailed by the SF site i09 as a “stunning  nasterpiece“.

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THE JAPANESE LOVER Tops Nov. LibraryReads List

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

9781501116971_396caA year after receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Obama and after changing publishing houses, Isabel Allende has published what looks to be her next big book, The Japanese Lover (S&S/Atria Books; S&S Audio). Both ibrarians and booksellers have embraced it, making it the #1 LibraryReads pick for November as well as an Indie Next pick.

Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY says:

“Irina is a young Moldavian immigrant with a troubled past. She works at an assisted living home where she meets Alma, a Holocaust survivor. Alma falls in love with Ichi, a young Japanese gardener, who survived Topaz, the Japanese internment camp. Despite man’s inhumanity to man, love, art and beauty can exist, as evidenced in their beautiful love story.”

9781101874141_9e7a9The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf), a debut novel by one of the richest and most powerful women in the art world is also a LibraryReads pick. It’s been translated into six languages and a battle broke out for film rights.

Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, South Carolina offers this annotation:

“The engaging, totally unexpected story of Annie, a lonely young woman who wanders into a junk shop and buys a painting. The painting turns out to have a long and storied past, with powerful people searching high and low for it. Unpredictable and fascinating; I loved the peek into the cutthroat art world and watching Annie blossom as she discovers her true calling.”

9780385539463_85083Nonfiction breaks onto the list with Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay (RH/Doubleday; Random House Audio), a mix of essays, humor, and rules for living.

Lindley Homol, Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA says:

“This was a quick, enjoyable read that offers a refreshing perspective on some of the trivialities we all find ourselves caught up in. I enjoyed the tone and humor throughout. A standout for me was Gay’s list of recommendations for his child’s future baseball team. His open letter to this imagined future team envisions a team that can just let kids be kids. My only disappointment with this book was that there wasn’t more of it–it seemed to end all too soon.”

9781455536269_1abf2Riveting suspense also gets librarian attention, with the latest in the Agent Pendergast series, Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Audio).

Shari Brophy, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA offers:

“In the latest installment in the Special Agent Pendergast series, Pendergast and Constance Greene investigate a theft of a wine cellar in an ancient village on the coast north of Salem, only to discover during their investigation the entombed remains of a tortured man.”I always thoroughly enjoy the Pendergast novels, and the interaction between Pendergast and Constance in this book was very intriguing.”

9781616203573_956c7The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio), another novel based in the art world, tops the Indie Next List and is also a LibraryReads pick.

Amanda Monson, Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA says:

“This art-filled story following the young life and disappearance of Alizee Benoit is heartbreaking and thoughtful. Not only does the novel give an entertaining education on the WPA and abstract artists, but it also gives eerily relevant commentary on refugees and the cold-heartedness of government. Alizee’s story will pull you along as you try to grasp how this bright light of the art community vanished.”

9780399171314_d699d9781501107832_b8888Other overlapping titles between librarians and booksellers include Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio)

and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).

Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY says of Williams’s novel:

“When Pepper Schuyler–on the run from a powerful politician and desperate to protect her unborn child–sells her newly restored classic car to an enigmatic and very wealthy woman, she not only finds unexpected refuge but also tantalizing hints of a mystery. With vivid European settings, colorful characters and intricate plotting that skillfully weaves past and present together, Along the Infinite Sea is a treat for fans of Beatriz Williams.”

PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC offers the following about actress Parker’s debut:

“Parker has created a unique and poetic memoir through a series of letters–some of appreciation, some of apology, some simply of acknowledgement–to the men in her life. Ranging from a taxi driver to a grandfather she never knew, each man has left an imprint and shaped her into the person she has become. Full of feeling, growth, and self-discovery, Parker’s book has left me longing to write my own letters.”

9780374290252_a55dcScience Fiction and Mystery round out the remaining choices as well as a new take on fairy tales, A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio).

TWILIGHT Reimagined

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

8e4c5dd6b8835b2f1bac34a6aae2a166  life-and-death

Ten years ago readers met Bella Swan and her dreamy vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen. Their story inspired teen bands, converted adults to YA fiction, and gave rise to Team Edward and Team Jacob.

To celebrate the milestone, author Stephenie Meyer has a surprise for fans, she has re-written the book and switched the gender roles in Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Hachette/Little, Brown; Listening Library).

The story now features Beau Swan, the new boy in Forks, WA and the vampire girl he falls for, Edythe Cullen (see Entertainment Weekly‘s glossary of name changes).

This is not just a find-and-replace-the-names job. According to Entertainment Weekly, it is 442 pages of reimagining, in which Meyer also took the opportunity to re-edit for “grammar and word choice issues” and correct some of the mythology. EW also reports (based on reading the forward to the new edition) that Meyer decided to switch the characters in response to critics who slammed her for creating a female “damsel in distress.”

The rewrite is being published as a flipbook with the original version of Twlight and new cover art.

Meyer appeared on Good Morning America yesterday. When her publisher asked for a forward for the milestone edition, she decided to do something more fun and interesting. She also shares that the story changes more deeply further into the novel, although it begins almost the same. Don’t expect more, however, she says she does not expect to rewrite the other titles in the series.

None of the trade publications reviewed Meyer’s latest but it is getting plenty of attention in consumer media from Bustle to Variety.

Ordering is very light (to nonexistent) at libraries we checked. Those that own it, however, are showing few holds, but the book rose to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Ballet and Budgets on Late Night

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

9781476737980_f76dd 9780393247213_d8378 Stephen Colbert featured American Ballet Theater’s Misty Copeland and legendary musician Yo-Yo Ma yesterday on the CBS Late Show, perhaps one of the few times in recent memory a ballet dancer – not to mention a classical cellist – has taken center stage in a world dominated by comics, actors, and celebrities.

Copeland made history when she became the American Ballet Theater’s first black female principal dancer. She has published both an autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, (S&S/Touchstone; Tantor Audio) and a children’s picture book, Firebird, illus. by Christopher Myers, (Penguin/Putnam).

Colbert interviews Copeland before her performance (beginning at time stamp 31:22 in the full video). He spends a lot of time with her and asks thoughtful questions, including how she feels about being a role model.

Bustle says Twitter lit up over her and Ma’s appearance. Below is a highlight.

In contrast the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, appears tomorrow night, discussing his new book The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath (Norton; Brilliance Audio). In it he presents a history of the 2008 financial collapse through his perspective as the point man for the government’s management of the economy.

Bernanke is in the midst of a big push for his book and Colbert is not his only stop.

He was on CBS Sunday Morning last week and has gotten wide coverage in print media from his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to coverage in The New York Times. He will appear on FOX, CNN, PBS, and ABC as well.

The early attention is paying off. His book is sitting at Amazon’s #20 spot already and he has yet to get the Colbert bump – if one is in the offing.


Sunday, October 4th, 2015

9780732298883_915c1Calling her “an Olympic gold medalist combined with Lady GaGa,” Kelly Gardiner spoke to Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about Julie d’Aubigny, the true-life subject of her novel, Goddess (HarperCollins; OverDrive Sample),

A legendary 17th century swashbuckling figure, a bisexual, cross-dressing opera singer and noted duelist who was raised in the servant side of Versailles, d’Aubigny was once sentenced to burn at the stake for her relationship with a nun.

After writing a string of historical fiction/adventure YA books, d’Aubigny Gardiner’s debut adult novel re-tells the highlights of d’Aubigny’s many adventured life, told in retrospect from her deathbed.

D’Aubigny has become somewhat of a standard barer Gardiner says, telling NPR:

“Throughout the centuries, she’s been written about … and every so often, she becomes famous all over again, and she’s famous all over again now. It’s fascinating to see — whenever society starts to think about, what does gender mean, what does sexuality mean, she’s just one of the names that comes up, and people start thinking about her, and talking about her, and portraying her all over again.”

Ready for Next Week: Titles to Know and Recommend

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

9781250049551_e7254 M Train Patti Smith9780399176951_10718 9780553391695_bdc60

Diverse groups of fans will be thrilled by books coming out next week. Fan girls will flock to Rainbow Rowell’s next novel, her first pure fantasy, Carry On (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin). Rock and memoir devotees will be excited for Patti Smith’s  M Train, the follow-up to her National Book Award winner Just Kids, called “achingly beautiful” by Michiko Kakutani in today’s NYT. Science fiction fans will be intrigued that physicist and photographer Ctein has collaborated with John Sanford for a science-fiction thriller set in 2066, Saturn Run. (Penguin/Putnam). It gets a thumbs up from the Washington Post.

We’ll be reminded of something that is just around the corner as one of the doyenne’s of the Christmas novel genre, Debbie Macomber returns with Dashing Through the Snow (RH/Ballantine), which, following many of her other books, is set to be a Hallmark movie.

The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Oct. 5. 2015

Media Picks

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The Clasp, Sloane Crosley, (Macmillan/FSG)

People Pick — “With mordant wit and an ear for millennial patois, Crosley dissects the pretension of Los Angeles an New York, then send her characters to France on a madcap adventure. It’s fun to tag along.” Julia Pierpont author of Among the Ten Thousand Things agrees with that assessment in this week’s New York Times Sunday Book Review calling it, a ” highly comic, highly affecting novel.

Early One Morning, Virginia Baily, (Hachette/Little, Brown)

This WW II novel, published to strong reception in th U.K., is also a People pick, “an emotional page-turner that skillfully evoked the terror of war and the enduring power of love.”

Media Magnets

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Two generations of Kennedys are scrutinized next week.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, Kate Clifford Larson, (HMH)

An excerpt of this book about JFK’s sister, who suffered a lobotomy at her father’s insistence, and ended up being institutionalized as a result, was featured last month in People magazine. Also excerpted is The Missing Kennedy: A Memoir of Family, Silence, and Transformation, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, (Bancroft Press).

A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, Patrick J. Kennedy, Stephen Fried, (Penguin/Blue Rider), EMBARGOED

By the former Rhode Island Congressman and the youngest son of Edward Kennedy. It’s embargoed, indicating that media attention is expected.


Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song. Sara Bareilles, (S&S)
The singer/ songwriter will make appearances on several high-profile shows in the coming week:

• NBC Today Show, October 7
• NBC Late Night with Seth Meyers, October 7
• ABC-TV Live with Kelly and Michael , October 9

9780804141352_ada39The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson, (RH/Hogarth)

The first title in the new Hogarth Shakespeare series which asks contemporary writers to retell the plays. Winterson’a take on The Winter’s Tale is set for media coverage:

NPR – Weekend Edition Sunday – interview with Rachel Martin – 10/4
New York Times – Alexandra Alter-Hogarth Shakespeare feature – 10/6

Peer Picks

9780393248456_0aa62Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories by Bonnie Jo Campbell (W.W. Norton; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “This collection is Campbell at her best and most audaciously appealing. At the center of each of these stories is a fierce, floundering, and unmistakably familiar woman. Mother of a daughter in some instances but always a caretaker, aware of and struggling with a hellish truth, or at justified peace with her right to impose her flawed self on a tragic other. These women’s violations — both endured and perpetrated — are most certainly recognizable, and their stories are stunning. Booksellers, tell your customers. Friends, tell your people. Mothers, tell your daughters. Read this book!” —Joanna Parzakonis, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

9780393248678_ecb9bThen Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey (W.W. Norton; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads, Oct: “The attorney who argued before the Supreme Court for the plaintiff in this landmark case gives the story behind the headlines. Kaplan integrates personal narrative with legal strategy throughout, combining her own struggles with a fascinating look at the brave and unconventional life led by her client. This is a heartwarming and inspiring account of one widow’s pursuit of justice and dignity.” Darren Nelson, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA Shout ‘n’ Share, Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Library System

9780385539838_a0647Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson (Random/Doubleday)

Indie Next: “Bats of the Republic is a book connoisseur’s dream. It is a propulsive novel — often a novel within a novel — that shatters the restraints of genre with brilliance matched only by its complexity and originality. Dodson weaves a story from a past filled with hope and regret with a future rife with promise and dire consequences to keep the reader engaged throughout. Complete with maps and ephemera that make this a singular reading experience, Bats of the Republic is gorgeous, unputdownable, and above all in this day and age, necessary.” —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

9780670025770_79867The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample)

LibraryReads, Oct: “Brooks does it again, in this fascinating and richly detailed fictionalized account of the life and times of King David. We see David as he might actually have been: a charismatic leader of men, both brutal and conflicted. This is perfect for historical fiction readers who enjoy lots of detail and believable characters. It transports you to the times and places inhabited by David.” Marilee Cogswell, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA

Indie Next: “The Old Testament includes tantalizing references to a prophet called Natan. Brooks brings this mysterious figure to life as the confidante to and narrator of King David’s life. From David’s beginning as an unknown, fearless rebel fighter through his rise to ruling the Kingdom of Israel, the people, places, and politics of ancient times are brought to life. David is a complex and compelling character who jumps off the page, and Natan is his conscience and conduit to their God. Brooks once again proves herself a master of meticulously researched and vividly imagined historical fiction.” —Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

9780770436438_e8979The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra (PRH/Hogarth; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of my favorite novels of the last several years, and now Marra follows that up with a dazzling set of linked stories set in Russia, Chechnya, and Siberia over a period of time spanning from the Russian Revolution to the modern day and beyond. As with his debut novel, what I love are the characters that he makes readers care so deeply about, as well as the fact that I constantly found myself wanting to know more about their lives and the history of their countries. Get on the Marra train now because one thing is certain: He is one of our brightest young talents writing today.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Washington Post review, 9/29

NPR First Read

9781250069481_867fbGod’s Kingdom by Howard Frank Mosher (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “If the past is a foreign country, we certainly have an expert native guide in Mosher who recreates perfectly, right down to the smoky fire smoldering in the town dump, the small town of Kingdom Common, Vermont, in the 1950s. Here fans of previous books are reintroduced to Jim Kinneson, now entering high school. For first-time readers, the ubiquitous, multi-generational Kinneson clan of the Northern Kingdom will be immediately accessible through the talent of master storyteller Mosher in this latest variation on the themes of tradition, the burden of family history, small-town secrets, and the stark beauty of the wilds of Northern Vermont.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

9781571311115_6e7f9Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse by Faith Sullivan (Milkweed Editions; OverDrive Sample)

Indie Next: “Whether you are familiar with the work of P.G. Wodehouse or not, you will want to read his books by the time you have finished this wonderful novel. Returning to Harvester, Minnesota, the location of her best-selling novel, The Cape Ann, Sullivan has provided a tale that will resonate with anyone who has been faced with the loss of a loved one, a challenge of faith, the gossip of a community, or the search for one’s independence. What better place to find grace than in the heart of a good book!” —Betsy Schram, The Bookshelf, Cincinnati, OH


Hitting theaters today is the heavily-promoted movie The Martian, starring Matt Damon, based on the novel by Andy Weir, as well as the documentary, He Named Me Malala about author and activist Malala Yousafzai.

On TV, the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers, begins on Sunday. The new season goes beyond the book by Tom Perrotta, as this excerpt from the Blu-ray disc of the first season explains:

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.