Archive for the ‘2016/17 — Winter/Spring’ Category

LibraryReads To Crit Pick

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

9780812989885_a1476Pete Hamill reviews Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (PRH/The Dial Press; RH Large Type; OverDrive Sample) for the forthcoming NYT Sunday Book Review, (not yet available online) calling it a “strikingly symphonic novel” and saying readers will keep turning pages “carried by Tinti’s seductive prose.”

Librarians saw it coming. It was the #1 LibraryReads pick in March:

The novel has received so much attention, that the review aggregator LitHub lists it as both one of the “Hottest Books of the Season” and the “Most Talked About Books.”

Booksellers also love it, picking it as an Indie Next selection for April 2017 and as we noted in Titles To Know, it was previewed on a number of monthly or seasonal best lists, including those by the BBC, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Elle, and InStyle. Much earlier in the year it was included in The MillionsThe Great 2017 Book Preview.”

The Rolling Stone says “Tinti has established herself as one of our great storytellers. She draws you in with this book, and it’s really difficult to get away.” Ron Charles reviews it for The Washington Post, as a “thriller with heart” and give it the “The Totally Hip Video Book Reviewer” treatment:

Tinti was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday in late March:

Holds are generally high. A few libraries we checked bought few copies and are facing ratios approaching 10:1. Others have ordered more copies to meet demand.


Hitting Screens, Week of April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Boss Baby continued to rule the box office over the weekend, happily beating out another movie aimed at kids, the formulaic Smurfs: Lost Village. On TV, the adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling 2007 YA novel 13 Reasons Why is a hit for Netflix and is stirring up controversy about whether there should be a second season.

Two adaptations come to screens this week.

9780525434658_325e0Having received much advance attention for its star studded cast, The Lost City of Z finally hits theaters in a limited run at the end of this week, expanding to more theaters next week. Based on David Gann’s nonfiction account of Percy Fawcett’s search for a fabled lost city, it stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland.

Already released in the UK, The Telegraph says it is “Transporting and profound … an instant classic.Business Insider says it is “the best movie of 2017 so far” and director James Gray’s “magnum opus.” The Wrap says it “blends knock-out visual beauty, tender feminism, overall personal inter-connectedness, and something else, too, something yearning and just out of reach … [it] feels like a clear artistic advance for Gray, who proves himself here as one of our finest and most distinctive living filmmakers.”

Reviewing it after its NY Film Festival debut, Variety called it “Apocalypse Now meets Masterpiece Theater … a finely crafted, elegantly shot, sharply sincere movie that is more absorbing than powerful.”

The book received raves. The NYT critic Michiko Kakutani wrote it is at “once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd … it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.”

It topped most of the year’s best books lists the year it was published. Grann is now back in the news for a new book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT).

Tie-in: The Lost City of Z (Movie Tie-In): A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, David Grann (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

9781501174926_7136bOn cable The White Princess begins on April 16, about the long-running War of the Roses.

It’s the sequel to The White Queen, which aired on Starz in 2013, based on the first four books in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series and earned both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.

The new series adapts Gregory’s fifth title in the historical saga and relates the story of Princess Elizabeth of York, forced to marry into the house of her enemy. Gregory outlines the chronology of the novels on her website.

It stars Jodie Comer as Princess Elizabeth, Essie Davis as Elizabeth Woodville, Joanne Whalley as the Duchesss of Burgundy, Michelle Fairley as Margaret Beaufort, Jacob Collins-Levy as Henry VII, and Suki Waterhouse as Cecily of York.

One of the few reviews out thus far says “if it’s melodrama you want, The White Princess delivers – serving up a steamy soup of bitchy, backstabbing, corseted women plotting each other’s doom.”

Vanity Fair offers an interview with the stars.

Tie-in: The White Princess, Philippa Gregory (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample; also in mass market).

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 10, 2017

Friday, April 7th, 2017

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Next week, Jeffery Deaver’s character Lincoln Rhymes returns in his lucky 13th outing in The Burial Hour (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette LP; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). In terms of holds for titles arriving next week, it is running neck and neck with a new standalone from Lisa Scottoline, One Perfect Lie (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

On the other hand, there are surprisingly few holds for James Patterson’s Two from the Heart (Hachette/BookShots; Hachette Audio/Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). It is under his imprint BookShots, which seems to be going through a reevaluation. Announced last year as a series of short original paperbacks, most upcoming titles are now showing on wholesaler sites as cancelled. This title is a hardcover and may be a compilation of two titles originally planned for the paperback series.

9781501107993_ffd5bIt’s not high on holds lists yet, but keep your eye on the thriller, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (S&S; S&S Audio). Word of mouth continues for her title from last year, All the Missing Girls, propelling the paperback edition on to the NYT best seller list, where it is currently #10, after five weeks, down from a high of #7. A full-page ad in this week’s New York Times Book Review overstates that a bit, calling Missing a “runaway New York Times bestseller.” Most prepub reviews are strong for Stranger, with PW suggesting it for fans of Gillian Flynn, Chevy Stevens, and Jennifer McMahon.

9780143130628_63a15Also getting a full-page ad in this week’s New York Times Book Review, in a shocking shade of pink which sets off the cover, is Jojo Moyes’ The Horse Dancer (Penguin Books; RH Large Print; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). After the author’s big success here with her most recent titles, the publisher is reaching in to her backlist to bring her earlier novels to the US in trade paperback, branded to remind her fans of the success of Me Before YouBooklist warns that this release, a coming of age story “differs sharply” from the author’s later romances.

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 April 10, 2017

Media Magnets

9781594206757_89b0bAn American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal (PRH/Penguin Press; RH Large Print; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

This timely new book, featured on the cover of this week’s NYT BR, is by former physician, now journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal. As a reporter for The New York Times, she wrote the prize-winning series “Paying Till It Hurts.”

9781476795447_aabbb-2Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire, Barbara Lynch (S&S/Atria).

Boston restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s rags-to-ricotta memoir, is called by Kirkus, “A rugged tale of a self-made woman in a high-stress profession.” Profiled in 2012 by the NYT, she clearly has a fascinating backstory, so it’s not surprising that the host of the Food Network program “Giada at Home” has already optioned the book for a possible TV series. Lynch is scheduled to appear on this week’s NPR Weekend Edition Sunday.

Peer Picks

One LibraryReads title comes out this week:

9780345527868_54068The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova (PRH/ Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Twentysomething Alexandra heads to Bulgaria to teach English and attempt to escape the pain of losing a family member. She ends up searching for a family when she realizes she accidentally kept one of their bags after helping them on her first day in the country. With the help of Bobby, a Bulgarian taxi driver, and many other entrancing characters, the search takes her all over Bulgaria and even back in time as she learns more about the family she is trying to find. Beautifully written and completely enthralling.” — Caitlin Loving, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

Additional Buzz: Also an Indie Next pick, it is one of Entertainment Weekly‘s “13 books you need to read in April.” It also makes Signature‘s list of monthly reads and the April rundown of newly released titles that look good to Smart Bitches Trashy Books.

Four additional Indie Next titles publish this week:

9780451494481_a485aHourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, Dani Shapiro (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“As I consider the themes of memory and marriage in my own life, I realize that Dani Shapiro has reached across time to touch me with her insight and candor, and this is how Hourglass will touch every reader who is lucky enough to find this special little gem of a book. What a particular and original voice she has shared, reflecting on questions like, how are relationships formed? How does love burn and transform you? How does marriage, that age-old subject, play out between creators in the race against time? Through fragments, touching bits of memory, and poetic flights of fancy, this memoir honors the genre and elevates the form. I couldn’t put it down and devoured it in one sitting.” —Cristina Nosti, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Additional Buzz: Elle picks it as one of their “7 Great Books to Read in April,” saying “If you’re in the mood for a Calder mobile–like memoir that spins on its own inventive, beautifully crafted apparatus, [this] is that work of art.” NYLON picks it as well, “reading Shapiro’s magical reflection on love and aging and family and self [is] akin to reading a diary instead of a memoir, so intimate are the thoughts and experiences that unfold within.” Literary Hub includes it on their list of 16 April choices, saying it “might already be a classic.” PW and Kirkus star; Cheryl Strayed and Jenny Offill blurb.

9781771961394_96e86The Redemption of Galen Pike, Carys Davies (Consortium/Biblioasis; OverDrive Sample).

“This is the most beautiful collection of short stories I have read in a long time. Each story feels perfect. The writing, the topic, and the resolution all left me completely satisfied. Their connecting theme is solitude or isolation and the struggle to move through it. The collection reminds me of some of Kevin Brockmeier’s writing: beautiful, sometimes disturbing, and always memorable.” —Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR

Additional Buzz: Sharp also appeared on Minnesota Public Radio to talk about the book, saying the stories are “always a little bit dark, a little bit odd, always absolutely beautiful and hard to forget.”

9780062434876_af67aSunshine State: Essays, Sarah Gerard (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“Sarah Gerard is a Southern writer for the 21st century. In Sunshine State, the sacred lies right next to the profane; the weird is always inextricable from its own beauty. These essays reach out toward the people and places of Gerard’s childhood, family, and history while also reaching within to examine her own complicity in the creation of her life’s story. You’ll want to linger in these strange, quiet corners with her, and you will struggle, as she does, to understand the mysteries that motivate the people we love.” —Elizabeth Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

Additional Buzz: The NYT reviews it calling it “striking.” It also makes a number of best of the month lists including LitHub, NYLON, and BuzzFeed, which says it is “entertaining and engaging throughout.” It is also one of The MillionsMost Anticipated” for 2017. Local coverage via The Miami Rail: “Gerard publicizes the private and privatizes the public. Though complex and intricate, her exceptional writing cuts with a surgeon’s care.”

9780062560292_8deb4The Day I Died, Lori Rader-Day (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“In this story, the devil is, indeed, in the details. You think you’re being distracted, only to learn that Rader-Day is actually building layers of evidence for the reader, connecting a framework of apparent incidentals to reach a pinnacle of suspense. Almost anyone can be guilty, but only one is a villain. You unexpectedly feel sympathy for certain characters, partly because they’re so genuine. I neglected things because I HAD to finish this book. You will, too.” —Tracy Aleksy, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, IL


9781501171383_51799Advertising is beginning to hit for the National Geographic series which begins airing on April 25 and the tie-in is releasing this week, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). The series portrays Albert as a young man, his personal life, and rise in scientific circles. Based on Isaacson’s book, it stars Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria) and Emily Watson (The Book Thief). Ron Howard directs, in his first effort at scripted television.

The series will span 10 episodes.

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

Shattuck Breaks Out

Friday, April 7th, 2017

9780062563668_1bcb5The third time’s a charm for Jessica Shattuck. Her third novel, The Women in the Castle (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), debuts at #6 on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list.

Press coverage has been very good. The NYT features it in their “World War II Fiction: The Home Front” round-up, writing “Her achievement — beyond unfolding a plot that surprises and devastates — is in her subtle exploration of what a moral righteousness [looks] like … in the aftermath of war.”

USA Today adds. “World War II has inspired dozens of unforgettable novels, but Jessica Shattuck offers a mesmerizing new look.” People calls it a “masterful epic” (review not available online), and Bustle says it is “Riveting and emotional … a WWII story like you’ve never seen before.”

Librarians were on board early. It is a LibraryReads pick and a GalleyChat choice. Holds are strong in everywhere we checked, with some spiking as high as 15:1.

As we noted earlier in Titles to Know, the story has personal resonance, as Shattuck reveals in a NYT Op/Ed piece titled, “I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.”

Order Alert: AND THEN

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

9780143108443_3b9e5The “gleefully gruesome” And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) outlines the most outlandish ways of dying. Naturally, it’s getting attention.

A reddit discussion yesterday drew thousands of participants. Fun fact: apparently eating too many pickles in one session can make your stomach explode (and then you ARE dead).

Popular Science ran a story yesterday as well, pointing out the grisly appeal of learning about “someone else’s totally hypothetical, totally bizarre death … You know you want all the details.”

The book was featured on the popular NPR show, Science Friday, and on April Fool’s Day in the New York Post.

Prepub reviews are scant. Only Booklist covered it, giving it a star and calling the book an “arch, brainy volume … With bite-size morsels of astonishing science and the perfect combination of smart-alecky writing and black humor, this page-turner will surely debunk any misapprehension that science is dull.”

Libraries we checked have either not purchased or bought lightly. Where purchased, holds ratios are topping 7:1.

Avian Artistry

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

9780300222739_0b0ff“When you see an owl … you feel that you’ve seen something special, almost secret.”

Mike Unwin tells the NYT that part of their allure is that they look more human than most birds and are hidden from our sight by their nocturnal habits. It is a rare and special moment for many to see one.

Unwin is the author of a new lavishly photographed guide: The Enigma of the Owl: An Illustrated Natural History (Yale UP).

The NYT says it “explores the diversity, beauty and ecological importance [of owls and] introduces readers to 53 of the world’s 200 to 250 species … organizing the birds by continent and including well-known … as well as rare, more enigmatic ones.”

The StarTribune also reviews it, writing the text has “the right measure of starchy erudition: the springy, high camp of Jeeves, with a faithfulness to scientific inquiry” and that “not one of the 200 photographs is unworthy of a museum home.”

LJ gave the book a star, calling it a “most worthy addition” to the collection and an “authoritative, beautiful title.”

This follows an earlier high-profile book on owls, Tony Angell’s 2015 The House of Owls. Angell provides an introduction to Unwin’s work.

Going to Extremes

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

9780062456151_e2b96After a wave of PR, including the author’s appearance on CBS This Morning, Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat, (HC/HarperBusiness; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) jumped into the Top 100 on  Amazon’s sales rankings, currently at #37.

O’Hagan, who made a name for herself by rebranding companies such as Nike, Virgin Atlantic, and Equinox, writes that average people can succeed by creating the most extreme version of their best traits. She tells the hosts at CBS This Morning she’s experienced epic fails including getting fired and believes that perfection is overrated and successful people should share their failures to inspire others.

The book is getting attention from a number of other media outlets including Fox, Marie Claire, Shape, and Inc., which includes it on a list of “9 Business Books of 2017 That Will Change How America Does Business.”

O’Hagen gives a taste of the book in the following video:

Dishing Up Spring Cookbooks

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

While the rush of big cookbooks comes every fall, spring is also a season marked by cooking guidance, before the surge of books on grilling. As we are tracking the Spring Reading Lists for novels and nonfiction, we are making note of the cookbook selections (see links at right, under Season Previews).

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Eater offers a list of “Every Spring 2017 Cookbook That Matters.” Looking at coastal cookery from both sides, they highlight “a gorgeous new volume by San Francisco pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fame” and “a definitive and entertaining history of Balthazar, one of Manhattan’s most treasured restaurants.”

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook, Elisabeth Prueitt (PRH/Lorena Jones Books)

At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World, Reggie Nadelson (S&S/Gallery Books)

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Bon Appétit limits their picks to the “11 Spring Cookbooks You’ll Actually Cook From.”

Among their choices are In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes by Deborah Madison (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample), one of the grande dames of vegetarian cooking. “When she includes a recipe for brown rice porridge with nut butter and chia seeds, it’s because she’s been eating it since before the Instagram founders were born. #respect.”

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat with art by Wendy MacNaughton (S&S) is also included. “This is a new kind of book. Lots of words to live by before you get to her kitchen basics and, finally, recipes more than halfway through … Just reading [it] will make you a better cook, adept at seasoning, balancing, understanding what it really is you’re doing and why.”

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A foodie haven, San Francisco produces a number of cookbooks. A fact recently covered by the city’s paper, San Francisco Chronicle, “10 spring cookbooks for your Bay Area food collection.”

The titles listed will appeal to regions beyond the Bay area, including  Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample) “a worthy addition to your home library.” Picking up on the national trend of Asian cookery, the paper also features Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes From the Crossroads of Southeast Asia by Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample), “A celebration of Burmese culture and foods.”

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Publishers Weekly underscores the continuing interest in cookbooks through multiple lists (scroll to the end of the main article for the full range). Addressing the question of why cookbooks are still popular even though so much information is available for free online, Abrams cookbook editor Camaren Subhiyah says, “There are millions of recipes and video tutorials at our fingertips … but it’s not always the best format for learning and you’re not always getting quality information from a credible source.”

Titles range from books that address the fundamentals, such as Patricia Wells’ distillation of a life time of teaching in My Master Recipes (Harper/Morrow) to single focus titles such as The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love by Liz Thorpe (Macmillan/Flatiron) and Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite (Kyle), a winner of The Great British Bake Off  who offers “Pared-down recipes [that] aim for less-stressful home cooking.”

Hitting Screens, Week of April 3, 2017

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Headline writers are having fun with this weekend’s box office success of DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby. Some believe it’s getting an additional bump from the star who voices the baby, Alec Baldwin, and the attention he has received lately for voicing a different boss on SNL.  Take heed, that bump may also work for Baldwin’s memoir arriving this week.

The major adaptation news for the week is the debut of a  TV series.

9780062669810_76badAMC will bring its version of Philipp Meyer’s multi-generational Western, The Son, to small screens on April 8, starring Pierce Brosnan, Paola Nuñez, and Elizabeth Frances with Meyer writing the script along with fellow authors Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy.

The press coverage is plentiful. The NYT has a feature story, Entertainment Weekly offers an exclusive clip, and New York magazine reports on Meyer’s role in the creation of the series.

Reviews, however, are not strong. Variety says “If you’re looking for yet another show centered around a morally grey white man with a dark past, The Son might be right up your alley. Those who want something more original or fresh in the drama arena are likely to end up looking elsewhere.”

The Hollywood Reporter says it “starts off with a stretch of episodes that feel all-too-familiar and vaguely mummified before exploring more morally complex material in the second half of its 10-episode run. Pierce Brosnan’s return to the small screen is the biggest selling point for the drama … But the erstwhile Remington Steele (or James Bond, if you prefer) is the least interesting piece of the less interesting of the story’s halves.”

Tie-in: The Son, Philipp Meyer (HC/Ecco; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

In theaters, two adaptations make their debuts.

9780310350576_7a6f4Nearly two decades after it was published, and close to 10 million copies sold, Lee Strobel’s journalistic investigation into Christian beliefs is being turned into a film starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, and Faye Dunaway, The Case for Christ.

There are no reviews but CBN offers an interview with the author, a former reporter for The Chicago Tribune.

Tie-in: The Case for Christ Movie Edition: Solving the Biggest Mystery of All Time, Lee Strobel (Ingram/Zondervan; Zondervan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It debuts on April 7 in 1,100 theaters.

9780062414915_fa53cTheir Finest debuts on April 7 in a very limited run, just four theaters, despite strong early reviews. Based on the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half, the tie-in uses the movie’s shorter title, Their Finest, Lissa Evans (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy, the film is set in London during WWII. It features filmmakers creating patriotic movies during the war.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “stealth charmer” and Variety says it is “a relentlessly charming romantic comedy.Entertainment Weekly says it is “Comedic, poignant, and delightful.”


Monday, April 3rd, 2017

9780062311153_82abcDebuting at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list is the conclusion to Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning trilogy, Mississippi Blood (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). Moreover, it’s #1 on the USA Today list, indicating that it’s the top-selling book regardless of format or category.

This is Iles’s first time at #1 for both lists. The previous titles in the series rose as high as #2 on the NYT list for the first book, Natchez Burning and as high as #3 on the USA Today list, for second book,  The Bone Tree.

The NYT Book Review‘s “Behind the Best Sellers” columnist Gregory Cowles interviews Iles asking how it feels to complete this over 2,300 page long series about “race, murder and a fraught father-son relationship spanning half a century in the Deep South.” He replies,

“… when I started writing the trilogy, people were talking about America becoming a ‘postracial’ society, and I worried that my epic exploration of the secret realities of race had begun too late. Today, no one on earth would argue that America is postracial. Race is the wound in America’s side, and we still have far to go to heal it. ”

USA Today calls the book “searing” and quotes the Booklist review which says “This trilogy is destined to become a classic of literary crime fiction.”

More Spring Picks

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Adding to the lists of spring book picks, The Washington Post just published their Spring Reading list, which we’ve added to the links at the right.

Big names such as Paula Hawkins, Elizabeth Strout, Arundhati Roy, Dennis Lehane, Haruki Murakami, and Roxane Gay make the cut. The 38 titles range widely from political titles to award winners to literary favorites. Below is a sampling:







Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio). The reporting team that published HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton in 2014 turns their attention on the mistakes of the Clinton 2016 campaign.

House of Names, Colm Tóibín (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio). After winning readers with Brooklyn and Nora Webster, Tóibín joins the ranks of Aeschylus and Homer to retell the story of of Clytemnestra, the determined wife of Agamemnon in the ancient Greek stories.

The Leavers, Lisa Ko (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio). Ko won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (created and funded by Barbara Kingsolver) for this novel about undocumented immigrants, adoption, and culture.

For an indie antidote to the Amazon editors’ selections of the Top Twenty books for spring, we’ve also added a list by Parnassus Bookstore in Nashville, owned by Ann Patchett. They interviewed 5 of their favorite authors for a list of their 10 Upcoming Favorites.

We’ve also added a specialty list for a subject that doesn’t often get attention. Paste magazine writes that it’s been a “great for science books so far.” They see that continuing with a dozen best spring science books coming April through June.


Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 3, 2017

Friday, March 31st, 2017

American WarKeep your eye on the dystopian debut novel, American War by Omar El Akkad (PRH/Knopf; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), arriving on Tuesday.

As we note in Peer Picks, below, this LibraryReads selection has been getting a remarkable amount of advance attention for a debut, and particularly for a Sci-Fi debut. Much of the attention focuses on it’s spine-chilling view of the possible consequences of unchecked climate change. Today, the NYT looks at how it, along with five other “new dystopian novels … seem to channel the country’s current anxieties.”  The massive media attention has caused sales bumps on Amazon’s rankings, but, inexplicably, are not generating heavy holds in libraries. We suspect that will change soon.

9780316349604_01935The big news of the week may be the books that are NOT arriving. James Patterson’s series of short paperbacks, called BookShots, seems to have halted. All forthcoming titles are showing as unavailable or cancelled. Even the prolific Patterson may have found the output of 4 to 6 novels a month in addition to his already dizzying pace, a bit distracting. But we are not Patterson-less next week. He is releasing the next in his middle-grade series, I Funny: School of Laughs (Hachette/jimmy patterson; Blackstone Audio).

9780399177057_c720fSeveral favorite series arrive to heavy holds, but it may be worth taking note of one that is further down the list, Philip Kerr’s 12th Bernie Gunther thriller, Prussian Blue (PRH/Marian Wood Books/Putnam; RH Large Type; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). In a starred review, PW says, “Kerr once again brilliantly uses a whodunit to bring to horrifying life the Nazi regime’s corruption and brutality.”

In an effort to bring the series to a wider audience, the publisher is running an ad in this week’s NYT, featuring blurbs from three big names under the header, “Alan Furst, Tom Hanks and Lee Child are reading Philip Kerr. Have You?”

9781501173219_774f4In a bit of “hasn’t this happened already?”,  the trade paperback edition of Anthony Doerr’s runaway hit,  All the Light We Cannot See arrives in trade paperback (S&S/Scribner), nearly three years after the hardcover became a surprise best seller.

More highlights from the titles coming out next week are below, listed, along with other titles of note, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of April 3, 2017.

Media Magnets

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All by Myself, Alone, Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio).

The long-time queen of romantic suspense, Mary Higgins Clark will be profiled on CBS Sunday Morning this week. Her story of building a writing career to support her children after being widowed at a young age may be familiar, but it is still amazing.

Nevertheless: A Memoir, Alec Baldwin (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio).

There are no prepub reviews for this one, indicating it was embargoed, undoubtedly in deference to the Vanity Fair cover excerpt. The effort to generate coverage isn’t working for everyone, however. Newsday sniffs,”The big news out of this: There really isn’t any.” Apparently, they are not as taken as Esquire is with the story that he Once Tried to Hit on Tina Fey. Baldwin, of course, narrates the audio.

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Sally Bedell Smith (PRH/Random House: RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Like the Baldwin book, Bedell Smith’s bio is excerpted in this month’s Vanity Fair, under the headline, “The Lonely Heir: Inside the Isolating Boarding School Days of Prince Charles.” It escaped embargo and prepub reviews are positive, including a star from Booklist, which calls it an “admirably fair biography.” UPDATE: USA Today lists tidbits from the book under the headline, “Odd stuff you didn’t know about the next British king,” including that he felt bullied into marrying Diana. People magazine continues to roll out excerpts, including one titles, “Prince Charles Sought Help During Honeymoon with Princess Diana — and Feared He Would Be Blamed for Her Death, New Book Claims.”

The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, Mayte Garcia (Hachette Books; Hachette Audio; Blackstone Audio).

Also apparently embargoed since there are no prepub reviews, this book, by the musician’s first wife, is published on the anniversary of his death. It was excerpted in People magazine, a story picked up by other entertainment news sources.

Peer Picks

Four LibraryReads titles arrive this week.

9780451493583_f9dc0-2 American War, Omar El Akkad (PRH/Knopf; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“In the not too distant future, the United States is again at war with itself. Fossil fuels, which have decimated the environment, are banned, but the states rich in them refuse to comply and thus break away from the union. Biological warfare, drones as killing machines, and state fighting against state contribute to make this a prescient novel. Multiple narration and differing viewpoints combine to make this an absorbing, shocking read of what could be. A must read that will be discussed by all who read it.” — Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce, MI

Additional Buzz: El Akkad caught librarians’ attention at ALA Midwinter, where he part of the United for Libraries “Spotlight on Adult Literature” showcase, The author describes the story in the book trailer, below, and says that, since it comes out at “a time when we are having a serious debate about whether the most powerful nation on earth is descending into fascism,” he understands why it is being seen as a cautionary tale.

The author is set to appear on NPR’s Weekend Edition on Saturday.

Michiko Kakutani reviews it in the NYT, writing it is a “powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road … and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.”

It appeared on a number of most anticipated lists, including Entertainment Weekly‘s list of “16 debut novels to read in 2017” and Time‘s list of the “Most Anticipated Books of 2017.” Emily St. John Mandel and Peter Heller offer blurbs. In The Millions, Mandel writes it was the “most haunting” novel she read in 2016 (having access to an early copy), “The premise is harrowing, the prose is stark and beautiful, the plotting is impeccable, and there’s something utterly heartbreaking in El Akkad’s subtle rendition of the ways in which war shapes the human soul.”

9781681773643_c7bcdA Twist in Time, Julie McElwain (Norton/Pegasus Books; OverDrive Sample).

“Time-traveling FBI Agent Kendra Donovan remains stranded in 1858 England. When her confidante and potential lover, Alec is accused of murdering his former mistress, Kendra must use her modern investigative skills to work through the list of suspects and clear Alec’s name. Kendra must also decide whether to stay in the past with Alec or to continue to try to find a way back to the present. If she makes it home, what will be waiting for her? Highly recommended to readers of historical romance, romantic suspense, and time travel.” — Glenda Ramsey, Catawba County Library System, Newton, NC

9781101886724_87891Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files, Sylvain Neuvel (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“The sequel to Sleeping Giants contains just as much action and page-turning suspense. The story begins four years later and is told through interviews, memos, and news reports relating to the first robot, after Themis, lands in London. Soon Earth is in an uproar and Themis and her crew are once again called upon to make contact. Read the first book before you tackle this one but the good news is that you will have a shorter time than the rest of us waiting for the next installment.” — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin TX

Additional Buzz: LJ and Kirkus give it stars, with Kirkus calling it “unputdownable.”

9780062460226_f3c29Miss You, Kate Eberlen (HC/Harper; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“Tess and Gus meet at when they are both eighteen and on holiday in Italy. Their meeting is one of those instant connections, but they go in different directions. Tess returns home, expecting to go to university, but instead her mother dies leaving her to care for her much younger sister. Gus goes to medical school and must deal with the death of his brother. Tess and Gus’ lives momentarily intersect at various points over the years. I enjoyed both of their stories and the anticipation of hoping they would meet again and make a final connection.” — Mary Bennett, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN

Additional Buzz: It is an Indie Next pick for April. Already released in the UK, it was big hit. The Telegraph wrote “don’t be surprised to see it being devoured by sunbathers on holiday this summer.” The Guardian says it is a “funny, poignant and really rather lovely ships-in-the-night debut … Grief, family dynamics and how to live with, but not be defined by, the cards one is dealt are the central concerns here.” There is a book video:

Four additional Indie Next titles also hit shelves:

9780735213586_5215fHallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, Anne Lamott (PRH/Riverhead Books; RH Large Type; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Hallelujah Anyway completely consumed me. The world has changed so much in the last year and it seems overwhelming at times. Lamott’s new book is the answer to that despair, hopelessness, and futility. It’s exactly what the title says — mercy through difficult times, kindness when it’s not deserved, and singing hallelujah anyway. Lamott writes with such refreshing honesty. This book is now what I like to refer to as ‘well-loved’ — underlined, dog-eared, and slightly worn. I suspect I’ll revisit my favorite passages for years to come.” —Kristin Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX

Additional Buzz: The Washington Post reviews it, writing “Reading Anne Lamott’s new book of essays is like sitting down with a girlfriend you haven’t seen for quite a while. At times you’re perfectly in tune: You know this woman; you trust her. But when, out of nowhere, she starts spouting advice like, “Stop the train. Be where your butt is,” you roll your eyes and wonder if perhaps she’s spent too much time obsessing about the Kardashians. Still, you read on.” In response Lamott takes to Twitter to call the review “half great, half snarky & asshatty” and says it “is EXACTLY why I stopped reviewing books myself.”

9781555977696_2fdd1A Little More Human, Fiona Maazel (Macmillan/Graywolf Press; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

A Little More Human kept me up way past my bedtime. Fiona Maazel’s seamless novel draws you in subtly and irresistibly. I just had to know how Phil Snyder (nursing assistant, professional superhero impersonator, and actual mind-reader) ended up on a horse with splashes of blood on his clothes and no memory of how he got there. Uncovering secrets in snippets along with Phil reminded me of his own mind-reading talent and built the suspense beautifully page by page. Another clever literary masterpiece from Fiona Maazel!” —Anna Thorn, Upshur Street Books, Washington, DC

Additional Buzz: StarTribune lists it as one of their “Books to watch for in early 2017” while the Chicago Review of Books counts it among “The Most Exciting Fiction Books of 2017’s First Half.”

9780735211025_4d643What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories, Lesley Nneka Arimah (PRH/Riverhead Books; Penguin Audio/BOT).

“Intense, haunting, and exquisitely rendered, the stories in Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut collection exist in a category of their own. They are individual worlds linked together by familiar themes — self-discovery, yearnings to love and be loved, generational divides, and the meanings of home and place — refashioned in a fresh, new light. Arimah shines in this debut, whose magic will surely live with you beyond the final page. Absolutely stunning.” —Purvis Cornish, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Additional Buzz: The Rumpus reviews it, writing “In our current political climate with its rampant animosity towards immigrants, Arimah offers a humanizing portrait of both the Nigerian citizen and first generation young female immigrant.” Redbook counts it as one of “20 Books By Women You Must Read This Spring.”

9781627797641_40d0aMarlena, Julie Buntin (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample).

“I can’t believe this is a debut novel: the writing is so assured; the prose so exquisite. Buntin is a master of word choice, and every sentence felt deliberate and precise. I quickly got sucked into this story about a pair of teenage girls, one doomed, one not. It was a quick read, but one I found myself lingering over. I’d recommend Marlena to fans of Megan Abbott’s dark, twisty books about girlhood — this is a similarly fierce read!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Additional Buzz: It earned three starred reviews, from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. Kirkus writes “Buntin creates a world so subtle and nuanced and alive that it imprints like a memory. Devastating; as unforgettable as it is gorgeous.”


Three anticipated blockbuster adaptations get tie-ins this week.

9780316271639_4ab46MARVEL’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: The Deluxe Junior Novel, Marvel (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Blackstone Audio; also in paperback).

This is just one of seven tie-ins for the movie that are hitting shelves this week. See our list of tie-ins below for the others.

The sequel to the blockbuster SF film opens May 5 and stars (among others) Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell.

9780804190107_26921The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Movie Tie-In Edition), Rebecca Skloot (PRH/Broadway Books; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

HBO’s adaptation will begin airing on Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m. As we posted earlier, it is expected to be a major show for the cable network and the release is being heavily covered by the entertainment media. Jezebel says “it looks like it might do Henrietta’s story justice.” Elle says it “is certain to be compelling.” Slate, Entertainment Weekly, and RollingStone (which was the first to report Lacks’s story, in 1976) also covered the news.

9781524769604_53039Everything, Everything Movie Tie-in Edition, Nicola Yoon (PRH/Ember; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

The film adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut opens May 19.

Expect an audience. As we posted earlier, the release of the trailer alone was enough to send the paperback edition soaring on Amazon’s rankings, jumping from #2,242 to #13. In hardback, the book debuted at No. 1 on the NYT YA best-seller list in 2015 and earned a glowing NYT review (“gorgeous and lyrical”) and an A- review from Entertainment Weekly (a “complex,” “fresh, moving debut”).

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games, The Darkest Minds) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, The 5th Wave). Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) directs.

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

MONSTERS, Raves and Film Rights

Friday, March 31st, 2017

9781606999592_9d70dTerry Gross opened yesterday’s episode of Fresh Air by saying, “I just read a great book.”

That statement and the following interview sent My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Norton/Fantagraphics), soaring on Amazo’s sales rankings to #19.

Following up on an earlier rave by reviewer John Powers on Fresh Air, Gross describes the author’s personal horror story. Nearly dying after being infected with the West Nile virus, she was paralyzed for some time and now depends on canes to walk.

The disease also brings on delusions and hallucinations, which became inspirations for the book. She describes one that is both scary and humorously unnerving,

“The angel of death came to visit … as I saw it in my fever, [it] was a very big, 1940s kind of a gray/teal/blue filing cabinet, and it was sort of a bureaucrat and it just came into the room and spoke. One of the drawers slightly opened and there was this sort of glowing light inside of it and it said, ‘Are you in or are you out? We need to know for our records.’”

As we posted earlier, the book has received appreciation from other quarters. The NYT describes it as “blood-tingling,” full of “grisly delights,” oozing “with the secrets and hungers that shadow childhood.”

Françoise Mouly, the influential art editor of The New Yorker and co-founder of the comics magazine Raw, sets the story up, saying Ferris’s “mastery of comics, her pyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form.”

Coincidentally, it was announced late yesterday that Sony won the film rights over four other studios an auction.

Future Visions

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780316262330_fecffCommenting that “All science-fiction novels are about the future and about the present at the same time,” Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his new book  New York 2140 (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) in an interview with New York magazine. In it, he envisions a waterlogged city that climate change has turned into the Venice of the U.S.

It is one of a number of novels getting media attention for their prescience about the current political climate,

A surprisingly hopeful version of what lies ahead, Robinson’s books shows survivors coping with the aftermath of  an epic flood that has hit NYC. They move into high rise buildings, get used to tides washing up the streets, and to living with canals rather than roads. Robinson says “at some point, science fiction has to imagine the people who come after, when the situation will be natural, whatever it is.”

In her monthly Sci Fi column in the NYT Book Review, N.K. Jemisin says Robinson “deftly conveys [the transformed city’s] unnerving strangeness … it is refreshing to see a futurism that acknowledges the innate resilience of the city and, by inference, of humanity itself.”

9780765388889_dac23Wired compares it to John Scalzi’s newest, the space opera The Collapsing Empire (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample), a far less hopeful vision set in AD 3500 when humanity appears doomed. They call it “Star Wars politics in the key of Firefly,” while New York 2014 could be pitched as “Waterworld survivalists battle Wall Street bogeymen.”

9780451493583_f9dc0Daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani devotes her attention to a novel that, like Robinson’s, imagines the impact of global warming on the U.S., Omar El Akkad’s American War (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). In this darker version, the U.S., reduced to a much smaller country, is engaged in second Civil War.

Kakutani says “El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road (2006), and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America (2004).”

Released today, the book is currently at #71 on Amazon’s sales rankings, moving up rapidly from a lowly #29,600.

Meyers and Saunders, Redux

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

On Monday, Seth Meyers hosted George Saunders on Late Night, a return of sorts.

As a result, Saunders’ novel, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample), having already been a #1 on the NYT best seller, is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings this morning.

The two-part interview is a remarkable contrast to usual late-night celebrity fare.

Meyers introduces the second part of the interview with a phrase that may never have been uttered by a late night network host before, “the common architecture between writer and reader.”

Meyers has had experience with the author. He interviewed Saunders in February when he served as  the substitute host on the Charlie Rose Show.