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


Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Ian Brown, the author of The Boy in the Moon (St. Martin’s),  a memoir about raising his severely disabled son, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday (listen here). The book is also featured on the cover of the May 8 NYT BR.

As a result, the book rose to #122 (from #772) on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Loving BAD DOG

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

It takes a lot these days for a what-my-untrainable-dog-taught-me memoir to rise to the top of the category. Christian Science Monitor‘s book editor, Marjorie Kehe, dog lover herself, has seen them all, and, despite her vow to not be sucked in by another one, says that Martin Kihn’s Bad Dog (Pantheon/Knopf Doubleday, April) is just “too good to miss.”  The Book Beast lists it as one of this week’s “Hot Reads”.

But what convinced us is a ringing endorsement by EarlyWord Kids contributor, Lisa Von Drasek,

On the surface this is a twelve step recovery memoir with a nod to Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story. In the dog book category, it is less Marley and more Knapp’s Pack of Two. But really, this story of a man who sobered up, fell in love with his exuberant Bernese Mountain dog, and worked really hard to win back the human love of his life, deserves its own category. Told with humor and humility, Marty relates his dog training struggles while referencing the famous and disparate schools of thought on the subject. Readers will be rooting for him. (Spoiler — the dog doesn’t die; phew!)

Kihn’s first memoir, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, (Business Plus/Grand Central) has been adapted for a half-hour comedy series, starring Kristen Bell and Don Cheadle. It’s set to air on Showtime and may debut this fall.

Bad Dog: A Love Story
Martin Kihn
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2011-04-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0307379159 / 9780307379153

OverDrive, ebook.


Friday, May 6th, 2011

The upcoming NYT BR features a title on the cover that has not been ordered heavily by libraries. The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown (St. Martins) is a father’s account of raising his severely disabled son. The book was reviewed prepub by Kirkus and PW, both admiringly, but no stars.

The NYT reviewer is Roger Rosenblatt, who also wrote movingly about dealing with his own family tragedy, his daughter’s death and helping to raise her young children in a memoir, Making Toast.

The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son
Ian Brown
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2011-04-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0312671830 / 9780312671839

Why Buy a $625 Cookbook?

Friday, May 6th, 2011

According to WorldCat, very few public libraries have bought Modernist Cuisine, despite the heavy media attention (the NYT, The New Yorker, NPR, Time, even Popular Science) and a starred review from Booklist.

But why would they? It retails for $625, library budgets are strained, and the book features cooking tools and techniques only available to professionals.

One library did buy it and recently explained that decision to the local press. The San Francisco Public Library ordered two copies; one for reference, one to circulate from the main library, and are considering a third for the branches. Why? Public demand, Mark Hall, the library’s cookbook buyer, tells the San Francisco Weekly. He also points out that the price tag is not for a single book, but six volumes that will be circulated individually. Does he fear theft? Not really, says Mark, “Cookbook readers seem to be a pretty responsible group.”

One benefit; the library got good press for the decision. And, at a time when people are obsessed with digital books, they are giving the public access to a physical book that shows off the ultimate in modern printing technology (Booklist says, “Stunning, dramatic color photographs transform every page into a visual banquet”). Even though some of the cooking techniques may be beyond the home cook, as Time magazine says, “no serious student of food doubts that it will stand alongside Escoffier as one of the defining cookbooks in history.”

Modernist Cuisine has sold out its initial print run and is now going back to press. Because of the the intricate printing process, it will be a while before it is back in stock at wholesalers.

New Title Radar: Week of May 1

Friday, April 29th, 2011

With Mother’s Day and Memorial Day approaching, new titles are dramatically on the increase – particularly fiction and celebrity memoirs. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for next week.

Watch List

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Ecco) is a picaresque novel about two hired guns, the fabled Sisters brothers, set against in the California Gold Rush. Librarians have been buzzing about it on Galley Chat and it’s a May Indie Next pick.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon (Grand Central) is an unlikely love story about a young white woman with a developmental disability and an African-American deaf man, both locked away in an institution in Pennsylvania in 1968, who fall deeply in love and escape together, finding refuge with a retired schoolteacher. It’s the #1 Indie Next Pick for May. It’s also the author’s fiction debut (although she wrote a well-received memoir, Riding in the Bus with My Sister).

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy (Atria Books) is the tale of a travel writer’s loves and betrayals, set in Cold War Berlin, by an American-born author who’s better known abroad (his nine previous novels have sold over five million copies, and he was awarded France’s Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). Kennedy spoke at a ALA MidWinter, at a panel hosted by LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert, who said “if other readers end up as engrossed as I was, then this is the year that Kennedy becomes a household name in America.” Early reviews are also positive, and it gets a 100,000-copy print run.

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson (S&S) chronicles the lives of the Erickson family as the children come of age in 1970s and ’80s America, as they grow out of their rural Iowan roots. It’s the #5 May Indie Next pick, and Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-: “even minor characters receive the full attention of the author’s prodigious talents; each one is drawn so vividly that they never feel less than utterly real.”

Returning RA Favorites

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (Viking/Penguin) gets a 350,000 printing and is the #8 Indie Next pick for May.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell (Random House) is the #2 Indie Next Pick for May.

The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe (GalleryBooks) gets a 100,000-copy printing.

Usual Suspects

Sixkill by Robert B Parker (Putnam) is the last Spenser novel completed by Parker before his death in January 2010, and has a 300,000-copy print run. But this is not the last we’ll see of Parker – there are two revamped series coming. On September 13, Parker’s Jessie Stone series will continue with Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues, by a writer producer and screenwriter Michael Brandman, who co-wrote and co-produced the television movies featuring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone. And in Spring 2012, the longrunning Spenser PI series will continue, written by Ace Atkins, whose last few novels have been published by Putnam. He begins a new series of his own with The Ranger, starting in June.

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (Ace Books) Sookie Stackhouse #11

The Devil’s Light by Richard North Patterson (Scribner)

10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little Brown)

Celeb Memoirs

There are several celebrity memoirs coming out next week – in fact, May is such a big month for them that USA Today featured several in a round up (remember when we thought the genre was dead?).

If You Ask Me: And of Course You Won’t by Betty White (Putnam)

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke (Crown Archetype) is slated for a lot of media. USA Today has an early interview, and Van Dyke will appear on Entertainment Tonight on May 3, The View on May 4, NPR’s Morning Edition on May 4 or 5, and the Today Show on May 5.

Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir by Steven Tyler (Ecco) is on the cover of the May 2 issue of People. On May 4, Tyler will be on Good Morning America.

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant (Knopf) is a memoir by the dapper film star’s only child, from his brief marriage to Dyan Cannon. Kirkus is not a fan: “It sounds like a lovely life, but it makes for an irritating reading experience.” On May 1, Parade will run an excerpt and the author will appear on CBS Sunday Morning.

From This Moment On by Shania Twain (Atria) is the mega-selling country singer’s memoir of her hardscrabble Canadian childhood. She will be on Oprah on May 3 and the Today Show on May 4;  plus a show called “Why Not? With Shania Twain” will debut on OWN May 1.

More Nonfiction

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma (Grand Central) wowed the crowd at MidWinter ALA and at the AAP Author Buzz panel. Indies like it, too. It’s on the May Indie Next list and is one of the indies’ most-ordered titles for summer.

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott (Riverhead Books) is written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter.


The Kane Chronicles: Book Two: Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

(Hyperion Books)


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

A book that librarians have been buzzing about on GalleyChat, Lost in Shangri-La, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered last night. The book is based on a WW II incident that, as NPR puts it, “…had all the elements of an unforgettable story: There was a terrible accident in a harsh landscape, three survivors, a hidden world with a Stone Age existence, and a heroic rescue mission.”

Listen to the story here.

Zuckoff’s 2005 book, Ponzi’s Scheme (Random House), is about the man whose name became synonymous with the type of financial scam most recently made famous by Bernie Madoff. Variety reports today that it is being adapted as a film, with Milos Forman in talks to direct.

UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly gives it an unequivocal “A”

Get Ready for the Royal Wedding

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

SO much classier than tea towels:

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding
Fiona Goble
Retail Price: $17.99
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing – (2011-03-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1449409245 / 9781449409241

Sorry to tease you; the book is currently out of stock. In the meantime, comfort yourself with this video:

New Title Radar – Week of 4/25

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

It’s the last gasp of the spring publishing season before we begin diving into summer. Below are the titles you will be hearing about next week.

Watch List

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe is the autobiography of the film and TV star who made his name with the 1980s Brat Pack. The New York Times‘s Janet Maslin is a fan: “Mr. Lowe emerges as a canny observer of both himself and others, and as someone whose instincts have grown increasingly sharp over time.” But Entertainment Weekly gives the book a “B”, taking Lowe to task for devoting only four paragraphs to his 1988 sex tape scandal, involving a 16 year-old and another woman, and for omitting his 2008 nanny scandal, involving sexual harassment and blackmail acccusations. That may be remedied when Lowe appears on Oprah on Thursday, 4/28. Libraries we checked have orders in line with mounting holds.

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incrediblea Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff (HarperCollins) is “an engaging story about the survival and ultimate rescue of three American service people who crashed in the dense jungles of New Guinea toward the end of World War II,” says Library Journal.  Well-received by librarians participating our special edition of GalleyChat, it’s the Indie Next #6 pick for May and lands with a 200,000 copy printing.

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum (Crown) gets an enthusiastic, yet mixed review from PW: “From a purely historical perspective, there should have been more information on Alaska as a Russian colony and American territory, but as an exciting narrative, this is a huge success.” Hollywood liked it so much that film rights were grabbed before publication; the author describes what it was like to make the film deal on WordAndFilm.


The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (Pegasus) is the latest Swedish crime thriller from one of Steig Larsson’s heirs apparent, according to USA Today. Kirkus calls it “An adequate thriller, though without Larsson’s deft touches; sure to please church-hating readers of the Hitchens-Dawkins set.”

Usual Suspects

Bel-Air Dead (Stone Barrington Series #20) by Stuart Woods (Penguin) brings together three characters from his various series, as Stone Barrington heads to Hollywood. PW says, “Series fans will find Barrington as shrewd, sexy, and glib as ever.”

A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street Series #8) by Debbie Macomber finds a mother on a cross country road trip with her daughter and ex-mother-in-law. PW says, “Themes of forgiving old hurts and finding new love will resonate with readers in search of a gently romantic tale.”

Born of Shadows (League Series #5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Grand Central) unites a soldier of fortune and a body guard in the latest paranormal romance from the mega-bestselling author.

Young Adult

We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) is the last installment in this trilogy romance. Kirkus says “Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an appealing conclusion.”

The Ultimate Accolade

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Abraham Verghese, a doctor and the author of Cutting for Stone (STILL on the NYT Trade Paperback best seller list, now at #3, after 63 weeks) gives Diane Ackerman’s book about her husband’s stroke, One Hundred Names for Love, an accolade many writers dream about. In his review in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, he writes,

This book has done what no other has for me in recent years: it has renewed my faith in the redemptive power of love, the need to give and get it unstintingly, to hold nothing back, settle for nothing less, because when flesh and being and even life fall away, love endures. This book is proof.

One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing
Diane Ackerman
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 322 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2011-04-04)
ISBN / EAN: 9780393072419 / 9780393072419

Large Print; Thorndike; 9781410436481
Audio; Recorded Books

Ackerman’s long-running best seller, The Zookeeper’s Wife, was signed for a movie in September, but there has been no news about it since.

Tech Visionary or Bitter Billionaire

Monday, April 18th, 2011

In his book Idea Man, (Portfolio/Penguin) arriving tomorrow, Paul Allen levels accusations against his former partner, Bill Gates. Lesley Stahl interviews Allen on 60 Minutes and ends by wondering whether he is a “Tech Visionary” or a “Bitter Billionaire.”

New Title Radar, Week of 4/17

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The week leading in to the Easter holiday weekend is dominated by repeat authors, including a new David Baldacci.

GalleyChat RA Pick

The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips (Random House) is the author’s fifth novel. About a long-lost Shakespeare play, PW gives it a starred review, and calls it “a sublime faux memoir framed as the introduction to the play’s first printing—a Modern Library edition, of course.” It got mentions in our recent GalleyChat: one participant called it “quirky and rompish” and likened it to Michael Crummey’s Galore. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A- in the new issue, “Phillips invests the metafictional gamesmanship with bracing intelligence and genuine heart. The fun starts with the opening line — ‘I have never much liked Shakespeare’ — and the energy never flags as the book develops into both a literary mystery and a surprisingly effective critique of the Bard.”

Usual Suspects

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci (Grand Central) is a new mystery with former Secret Service agents and current private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell.

Eve by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press) features forensic sculptor Eve Duncan in her 11th investigation, and the first installment in a new trilogy, in which she works to solve a case that has haunted her for years; the abduction and murder of her own seven-year-old daughter Bonnie. Fans will not have long to wait for the other books in the trilogy; Quinn is coming this July, followed by Bonnie in October.

The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker (Center Street) is the story of a vigilante priest and a woman dedicated to avenging the man she loved. Booklist says it’s “skillfully written, surprising, and impossible to put down. It might, in fact, be his best novel to date.” It arrives complete with its own book trailer.

Quicksilver: Book Two of the Looking Glass Trilogy by Amanda Quick (Putnam) is a paranormal romance, the latest in her Arcane Society series.

The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (Pamela Dorman Books) is a portrait of three sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time and has a 100,000-copy print run. Rice was a featured author at the ALA MidWinter Author Tea.


Reading My Father: A Memoir by Alexandra Styron (Scribner) is William Styron’s youngest daughter’s exploration of his talent, and whether it justified his alcohol abuse and the debilitating depression that cast a long shadow over his wife and four children. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft by Paul Allen (Portfolio) gives an insider’s account of the dawning of the digital age. “Allen offers a clearheaded diagnosis of Microsoft’s problems, including its complicated future,” says BusinessWeek, adding that “Allen can be a scatterbrain. That quality slips into his writing.” An excerpt in Vanity Fair, made advance headlines because of Allen’s pointed criticism of former partner, Bill Gates. Allen will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday.

Young Adult

Twelfth Grade Kills #5: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer (Penguin) is the final installment in this series about a teenage vampire who has spent the last four years trying to handle the pressures of school while sidestepping a slayer out for his blood.


Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Expect to see Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, arrive at #1 on the upcoming 4/24/11 NYT Print Hardcover Best Seller list.

It’s been receiving considerable media attention, including an interview with Fey on NPR’s Fresh Air last night and on Oprah this week (where she revealed that she is pregnant with her second child).


Tina Fey
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books – (2011-04-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0316056863 / 9780316056861


Large Print; Little, Brown, 9780316177894

Shirley MacLaine Media Blitz

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Yesterday on Oprah, Shirley MacLaine revealed she once had sex with three different men on the same day and that she was in an open marriage for 30 years, engendering a storm of headlines.

The 77-year-old MacLaine  is promoting her twelfth book, I’m Over All That: And other Confessions (Atria/S&S), released last week.

The book rose to #7 on Amazon. Her 1986 book, Out on a Limb, also rose to #102.


Monday, April 11th, 2011

Crowning a string of very strong reviews, Francisco Goldman’s “fictional memoir,” Say Her Name, is reviewed on the cover of the April 17th NYT Book Review. About the author’s wife, who died as result of a body-surfing accident, reviewer Robin Romm says. “So remarkable is this resurrection that at times I felt the book itself had a pulse.”

The book is also the #1 Indie Next pick for April.

Obviously, this book is more personal than Goldman’s previous four titles. For more background on Goldman and his earlier works,  the Guardian offers an excellent profile.

Say Her Name: A Novel
Francisco Goldman
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Grove Press – (2011-04-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0802119816 / 9780802119810

Audio; Tantor; Read by Robert Fass; 4/18/11

Large Type; Thorndike: August; 9781410439529; $32.99

Coming Next Week; THE PALE KING

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The Pale King, the novel that the late David Foster Wallace left unfinished at the time of his 2008 suicide, has an April 15th pub date (not coincidentally, it is set in an Internal Revenue Service processing center). But as we’ve covered, Amazon and have been selling it since its March 22 release date, infuriating indies who had not received it. Libraries are in the same position, with copies still on order and mounting holds.

Meanwhile, major reviewers have also jumped the pub date, from Time‘s Lev Grossman to the New York Times‘ Michiko Kakutani, as well as Sam Anderson in the New York Times magazine and reviewers at GQ and Esquire.)

The critical verdict? Some of it is great, some of it isn’t, but it’s definitely worth a read, and that’s saying a lot for a novel that’s about boredom.

The Pale King
David Foster Wallace
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2011-04-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0316074233 / 9780316074230
  • Large print from Little, Brown: $29.99; ISBN 9780316177931
  • Compact Disc from Hachette Audio: $34.98; ISBN 9781609419752
  • Playaway: $109.99; ISBN 9781611138818

More Notable Fiction

Midnight and the Meaning of Love by Sister Souljah (Atria Books) is the latest from the author of the street lit classic The Coldest Winter Ever, about Midnight, a young African American fighter and devout Muslim.

One Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur). tThe followup to her debut In the Bleak Midwinter, sparked enthusiastic responses from librarians in our March GalleyChat. Writing about the bonanza of mysteries coming this April on her blog, Lesa’s Critiques, GalleyChatter Lesa Holstine said:

Is there any April mystery release that has been awaited longer than Julia Spencer-Fleming’s One Was a Soldier? Fans of the series have been waiting to see what happens with police chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopalian priest Clare Fergusson. Now, Clare has returned from her tour of duty in Iraq. . . with problems that Russ doesn’t know about, and he’s impatient to marry.

Usual Suspects

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts (Putnam) is a standalone from the bestselling author that celebrates the smokejumpers of Missoula, Montana. Booklist calls it “a riveting, five alarm tale of romantic suspense.”

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s) is a standalone about a mother’s split-second decision about which child to save in a lunchroom explosion, and its consequences. Kirkus says Scottoline “shifts gears at every curve with the cool efficiency of a NASCAR driver [and] expertly fuels her target audience’s dearest fantasty: “every mom is an action hero.”


The Long Goodbye: A Memoir by Meghan O’Rourke (Riverhead) is based on the nine-part series by the Slate writer, about nursing her mother through her death from cancer, and her grief in the aftermath. O magazine made it one of “18 picks for April.”

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Livesby Katie Couric (Random House) may not be an utter shoe-in for longevity on the bestseller list, but it will probably be helped by the will-she-won’t-she quit-as-news-anchor headlines that are currently surrounding Couric.


The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown). You can be forgiven if you thought this was already published. This guide to the books was first announced back in 2008, but ended up being delayed. To add to the confusion, there are also the three Twilight Saga Official Illustrated Movie Companions by Mark Cotta Vaz. The movie version of Breaking Dawn, Part 1, is coming in this November, followed by part 2 next year (and, as night follows day, there will surely be accompanying movie companions for each).