Archive for the ‘2011/12 – Winter/Spring’ Category


Monday, July 23rd, 2012

You would have thought that Gwyneth Paltrow, the face of Australian company Spar Veggie, would have run screaming at the very mention of the words “Blood, Bones and Butter,” but it’s being reported that she is in negotiatons to star in a film based on the best-selling memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton (Blood, Bones and Butter, Random House, 2011).

Like Hamilton, Paltrow wrote a book about food that was published last year, My Father’s Daughter (Hachette/Grand Central, 2011).


Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Yesterday’s rave from reviewer Janet Maslin in the New York Times, helped to boost Katherine Boo’s book about a slum in Mumbai Behind the Beautiful Forevers into the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings. Libraries are beginning to show heavy holds on modest ordering (most libraries have bought one copy for their largest branches; holds are as high as 12:1)

Holds are likely to grow; both NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition are scheduled to feature it next week, the author will be profiled by Chip McGrath in the NYT and it is scheduled for review in the NYT Book Review. It is also tops O Magazine‘s “17 Books to Watch for in February.”

Our crystal ball? It will be this year’s Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

In addition to the audio and large type editions of the book, there is an enhanced ebook version (included the WSJ‘s guide to the best forthcoming enhanced books) which features videos of daily life shot by some of the slum children using the author’s camera.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity
Katherine Boo
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2012-02-07)
ISBN 97814000-67558

BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print; OverDrive ebook and audio



Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Entertainment Weekly boldly predicts, “Beautiful Forevers will be one of the year’s big books — a conversation starter, an award winner” and calls it “a riveting, fearlessly reported portrait of a poverty so obliterating that it amounts to a slow-motion genocide.”

Sound tough to take? Read the author’s Letter form Mumbai: Opening Night, The scene from the airport slum, and you’ll understand Entertainment Weekly‘s enthusiasm.

Most libraries have ordered the book lightly and a few are beginning to show holds. We have a strong feeling every library could double their current orders and still need more. It may be this year’s Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The enhanced ebook includes videos of daily life shot by some of the slum children using the author’s camera.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity
Katherine Boo
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2012-02-07)
ISBN 97814000-67558

BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print; OverDrive

New Title Radar – Week of Jan 23

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Given the librarian stereotype, it seems appropriate that a book which praises introverts, Quiet, will be featured at the raucous ALA MidWinter meeting, on Saturday. The book releases this week, along with several novels deserving an RA push and titles by returning favorites, Robert Crais, Walter Mosley, Hilma Wolitzer, Margot Livesey and Tim Dorsey.

Watch List

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy (HarperCollins/Morrow) is the tale of a business school graduate in four-inch heels, set in the financial world, leading up to the tumultuous year of 2008 – it’s billed by the publisher as The Devil Wears Prada meets Wall Street. Library Journal says, “despite financial details that may make your head spin and a workplace that will make your stomach churn, Duffy’s fresh take on the single-in-the-city tale does a terrific job of reviving chick lit.”

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson (Hachette/ Grand Central; Hachette Large Print) is a Southern famiy saga by the author of Gods in Alabama, and follows a young woman’s search for the truth about who her mother really is.  In a starred review, Booklist calls it “Jackson’s most absorbing book yet, a lush, rich read with three very different but equally compelling characters at its core.”

Heft by Liz Moore (Norton) is the author’s second novel, featuring a 600-pound former academic and a teenager in crisis who become unlikely allies. PW says, “the writing is quirky, sometimes to a fault, yet original, but the diptych structure is less successful, as the respective first-person narrators are sometimes indistinct. Regardless, Moore’s second novel wears its few kinks well.”


Usual Suspects

Taken by Robert Crais (Penguin/Putnam; Wheeler Publishing; Brilliance Corporation) is the 15th Elvis Cole novel, involving a wealthy industrialist whose missing son appears to have faked his own kidnapping. “Cole and sidekicks Joe Pike and Jon Stone all get a chance to shine, ,” says PW. “Told from multiple points of view, this installment would make a fine action-packed film with three strong male leads.”

All I Did Was Shoot My Man: A Leonid McGill Mystery by Walter Mosley (Riverhead; Penguin Audiobooks) finds Leonid McGill in his fourth outing, investigating a complex case that involves adultery and murder as his own life unravels. “General readers and Mosley fans will appreciate his characteristically fine writing as well as the internal struggles Mosley inflicts on his protagonists,” says Library Journal.

An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer (RH/Ballantine; Center Point Large Print; Audiogo)  is about a widowed 62-year-old science teacher who finds himself ambushed by female attention after his stepchildren place a personal ad in the newspaper. Library Journal says, “Wolitzer is surprisingly good at portraying a man’s perspective. Although her writing is not as crisp as in some of her previous novels, this is a breezier tale with a lighter edge.”

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (Harper; Harperluxe) is a modern take on Charlotte Brontë’s classic, Jane Eyre, set in early 1960s Scotland. PW says, “although guardian angels and kind strangers turn up like an army of deus ex machinas, these plot missteps dont detract from Gemmas self-possessed determination. Captivating and moving, this book is a wonderful addition to Liveseys body of work.”

Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio) marks the return of Florida serial killer Serge Storms. He’s finagled his way into becoming a secret agent in Miami for the president of a Banana Republic, and now Homeland Security wants to bring him down. PW says, “though the books formula will be familiar to series fans, neither Dorseys fast-paced prose nor his delight in skewering human foolishness has lost its mischievous sparkle.”

Movie tie-in

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (Random House Trade) is a comic drama about a group of British retirees in a home for the elderly in India. It’s being published in the U.S for the first time as a tie-in to the British film version – starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Billy Nighy, and Dev Patel – which will be released here in May 2012. The original UK novel title was These Foolish Things.

Young Adult

Fallen in Love (Lauren Kate’s Fallen Series #4) by Lauren Kate (RH/Delacorte YR; Listening Library) includes four new stories collected in a new novel set in the Middle Ages.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Crown Publishing Group; Random House Audio) argues that introverts get a bum rap and extroverts should not be held up as the ideal – it even charges, as People says in its lead review this week, that “risk-loving extroverts in the financial industry helped cause the global crisis.” The author wrote the lead essay in the New York Times Sunday Review last week, which attracted many comments. She also appears at ALA Midwinter tomorrow.

Fairy Tale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio (S&S/Gallery Books; Tantor Media) as we noted earlier, this memoir by John F. Kennedy Jr’s personal assistant, publicist, and one of his closest confidantes during the last five years of his life is already grabbing headlines. PW says, “Terenzios captivating story, told with style and grace, chronicles her time with Kennedy within the glorious but often brutal bubble that encircled his world, and what he taught her about living.”

City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Sea by Roger Crowley (Random House) traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga for the first time. It is framed around two of the great collisions of world history: the ill-fated Fourth Crusade in 1202 and the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503. Kirkus says, “an action-packed political and military history that will remind readers of the Italian sea power that prevailed for centuries before Western European nations arrived on the scene.”

The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography by John Matteson (Norton) explores the life of writer and social critic Margaret Fuller (1810–1850), who was perhaps the most famous American woman of her generation, but also plagued by self-doubt. LJ says, “the work is well written, easily accessible, and entertaining. Prior knowledge of Fuller is not necessary to enjoy it. A great read for anyone interested in extraordinary women in our literary and women’s history.”

JFK Jr. in Headlines Again

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Fairy Tale Interrupted, a memoir by RoseMarie Terenzio (S&S/Gallery; Audio, Tantor), JFK Jr’s former assistant, hits the shelves next week, but it’s already making headlines and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings (now at #64). It was featured yesterday on The Today Show and is excerpted in the new issue of People. Tonight, it will be on ABC’s 20/20. Next week brings appearances on The View, Good Morning America and  Piers Morgan Tonight, among others.

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

USA Today’s Winter Book Forecasts

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

In their regular seasonal books preview, USA Today lists ten books “sure to entice you,” from a longer list of thirty of the “biggest books” coming January through April (in slide show form, it’s like flash cards for readers advisors — for other previews, check our links at the right, under “2012 Book Previews”).

Most of them, of course, are titles from sure-bet authors, but there are a few lesser-knowns among the picks.

In the Top Ten:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity
Katherine Boo
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2012-02-07)

RH Audio; Thorndike Large Print

The first book by Pulitzer-prize winning New Yorker writer, this book looks at the lives of  a some of the 3,000 people who live on piles of garbage in an area near Mumbai’s airport, hidden behind a fence covered with ads for a floor tile called “Beautiful Forever.” USA Today points out that it will have a ready audience among fans of the movie Slumdog Millionaire, (and those who read  Boo’s 2009 New Yorker story about a 13-year-old scavenger, Letter form Mumbai: Opening Night, The scene from the airport slums. The “Opening Night” of the title is the Indian premier of Slumdog Millionaire).

One of two first novels on the the longer list is a title that may sound unlikely (how willing ARE Americans to delve into Greek mythology? Come to think of it, Rick Riordan has proved that at least one segment of the population is willing to go down that road), but the advance buzz on GalleyChat has us intrigued. If you’re going to MidWinter, try to nab a copy at the HarperCollins booth (they are also including copies in the goodie bag at their buzz session — sign up at

The Song of Achilles
Madeline Miller
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2012-03-06)
ISBN / EAN: 0062060619 / 9780062060617

HuffPo Book Club

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

If, like me, you’ve had trouble grasping why Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife is such a literary sensation (on at least 19 Best Books lists, finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Orange Prize), the Huffington Post is here to help, kicking off their book club with a month-long look at the novel, the first of ten books that will be featured in the club.

HuffPo is utilizing multiple online communication tools for the club — readers can comment on the Book Club page, via Twitter  and Facebook. They can even upload images of themselves reading the book via Flickr and sign up for weekly reading assignments. Huffington Post‘s Book Editor, Andrew Losowsky says they also “want to join your real-world community, teaming up with local book clubs and independent bookstores, hosting both online discussion and real-world events,” (we assume he meant to include libraries, since the Books section recently launched a series on the importance of libraries).

The first session of the club ends on Feb. 7th, with a live event in New York.


Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

An eBook-only title appears at No. 8 on the current the NYT eBook Nonfiction list. It is just the second e-only title to hit that list, (after Sarah Burleton’s self-pubbed abuse memoir, Why Me?), according to tracking by Publishers Lunch.

The book, The POLITICO Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back, by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, is an instant digital book, the first in a series of four titles about the 2012 election to be published in a joint venture between the political news site, Politco and Random House. It is billed as “the first in-depth look inside the 2012 Republican race to the nomination.”

As with other Random House titles, it is available for library lending via OverDrive, in Kindle, ePub and audio formats. However, relatively few libraries seem to have ordered it, raising the question of how libraries discover and buy e-only titles.

Co-author Mike Allen, the chief White House correspondent for Politico, has promoted the book on several national television shows, including PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and  CBS Face the Nation (bringing a tongue-in-cheek protest from the site that POLITICO’s constant promotion has reached the saturation point).

St. Martins Defends Accusation of Plagiarism

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011


In a statement yesterday, St. Martin’s Press defended The Raven’s Bride by Lenore Hart, which they published in February of this year, from accusations that it plagiarizes passages from Cothburn O’Neal’s 1956 novel, The Very Young Mrs. Poe. They said that any similarities are a result of the fact that both novels are about Edgar Allan Poe’s child bride, Virginia Clemm (via the Associated Press). WorldCat shows that nearly 500 libraries own The Raven’s Bride.

Questions about the two books were raised by British author Jeremy Duns on his blog last month.

Earlier in November, Duns pointed out similarites between Q.R. Markham’s Assassin of Secrets and several other titles, resulting in that book being pulled by Little, Brown a few days after publication. That action was taken before most libraries had received it, so it is available only a few. The New Yorker’s “Book Bench” blog points out that Assassin of Secrets lifts so many passages from other sources that the book is more of a “pastiche or collage, rather than a ‘novel,’ as we properly understand the word” and that Q.R. Markham (the pseudonym for Quentin Rowan), who is a poet and part owner of a bookstore in Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn, may have consciously perpetrated an elaborate hoax. Markham, himself, blames his actions on his need “to conceal my own voice with the armour of someone else’s words.”

There may be one lesson in the earlier case; the attention caused the book’s sales to skyrocket prior to it being recalled.


Thursday, October 20th, 2011

One of the year’s most heavily reviewed debuts, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell has been acquired for a half-hour comedy by HBO. Scott Rudin, known for his literary adaptations, has signed on as producer, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

HBO has several other literary projects in the works, including an adaptation of Jonathan Frazen’s The Corrections (also with Rudin), and Neil Gaiman‘s American GodsEarlier HBO announced plans for Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad  (in April, but no news since), Mary Karr’s memoir Lit (June) and Robert Graves’ I Claudius  (June).

Twenty-four-year old Russell was selected as one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” top fiction writers. Reviewing Swamplandia! in the NYT Book Review, Emma Donoghue (Room) called it high comedy, “Vividly worded, exuberant in characterization, the novel is a wild ride: Russell has style in spades.” The paperback is currently on the Indie Paperback Fiction Best Seller list, after 12 weeks. It reached a high of #9.

Karen Russell
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0307263991 / 9780307263995


LOST IN SHANGRI-LA Hits Best Seller List

Friday, July 1st, 2011

The WWII survival story, Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (Harper, 4/26) debuts at #14 on the 7/10 NYT Print Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list, two months after publication, a result of the author’s appearance on The Daily Show. It is likely to rise higher next week; since the list was compiled, Amazon’s editors selected it as the best book of 2011 (so far).

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II
Mitchell Zuckoff
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-04-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0061988340 / 9780061988349

HarperLuxe Large Print; 9780062065049; $26.99
Audio; Books on Tape; UNABR; 9780307917256; $40
Audio and eBook on OverDrive

A Housewife Under the Influence

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Chicago journalist Brenda Wilhelmson appeared on The Today Show yesterday to promote her alcoholism and recovery memoir. The book is currently at #184 on Amazon sales rankings. It was not reviewed prepub.

Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife
Brenda Wilhelmson
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing – (2011-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1616490861 / 9781616490867

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


Monday, June 20th, 2011

Former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin appears on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight. His book about his experiences during Hurricane Katrina, is published through self-publisher CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon. He will also appear on The Today Show this morning, followed by appearances on MSNBC and CNN.

Katrina’s Secrets: Storms After The Storm (Volume 1)
C. Ray Nagin
Retail Price: $17.99
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace – (2011-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 146095971X / 9781460959718

Journalist Mitchell Zucokff appears on the show on Wednesday. His book about a little-known event during WWII is showing heavy holds in many libraries.

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II
Mitchell Zuckoff
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2011-04-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0061988340 / 9780061988349


Thursday, May 19th, 2011

In her May interview on Seattle’s NPR station, WKUO, Nancy Pearl says she’s been reading two “wonderful novels” [listen here] that she will be talking about on an upcoming interview on the NPR’s national Morning Edition show.

The first, The Coffins of Little Hope, by Timothy Schaffert, (Unbridled, 4/19), also receives a strong endorsement from Ron Charles this week in the Washington Post, Janet Maslin last month in the NYT and is awarded four of a possible four stars in the 5/16 issue of  People magazine, in a review describing it as,

Memorably narrated by octogenarian obit writer Essie Myles, this is a witty, sometimes profound story about media, mortality and rash acts undertaken in the name of love.

Author Timothy Schaffert appeared in early May at the Omaha Public Library. In a promo on the local morning tv show, he offers an intriguing description of the plot (don’t worry; the intro from the show’s rather excitable hosts, who clearly have not read the book, is mercifully brief).

It is published by indie press Unbridled Books. Founded in 2003, the press has built a strong reputation in just a few years for discovering literary fiction (one of their major breakouts is The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel, a finalist for the Indie Booksellers Choice award).

The other favorite Nancy mentions is Emily Alone by Stuart O’Nan (Viking/Penguin, March 17). She says both in it and The Coffins of Little Hope the authors allow you to get to know a character in depth, both the good and the bad, similar to what Evan Connell achieved with Mrs. Bridge and Elizabeth Strout with Olive Kitteridge.

Oprah/Frey, Round Two

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Whatever James Frey’s reasons were to ignore the advice of friends and lawyers and return to the Oprah Show five years after his famous tongue-lashing, the appearance offered him the opportunity to bring attention to his new book, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible. And that it did; the $50 print version rose to #253 from a lowly #10,286 on Amazon’s sales rankings and the $9.99 Kindle edition rose to #69.

Although the Oprah site describes the book as “the story of the Second Coming of Christ in today’s modern world — but in James’ book, Christ is a bisexual former alcoholic who lives in the Bronx and impregnates a stripper,” that description is not in the televised interview. Oprah simply says it is “controversial” because any book that uses “Bible” in the title will be. Frey says he hopes the book will “change people’s lives for the better” by getting them to “think about God differently,” making it sound tailor-made for the Oprah audience.

It was reviewed last month by Dierdre Donahue in USA Today, who offers a more nuanced plot summary,

[The Messiah Ben] goes out to heal the world one sexual encounter at a time, though sometimes with more than one partner, among them fat lonely women, self-hating gay men and crack-addicted lap dancers. When Ben and his followers gather in secret at an upstate farm, they share the love with the kind of uninhibited variety not seen since Plato’s Retreat closed.

She counsels, “Frey is yanking your chain to sell books. Already published in the UK, Testament has received some good reviews there. Probably because it confirms many nonbelievers’ conviction that much of this country is one big David Koresh/Branch Davidian nest of sects and racism.”

Few libraries own the print edition (the ebook version is not available for library lending). Those that do are showing some holds.