An interview on NPR’s Morning Edition has sent Richard Reeves’s forthcoming book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It (Brookings Institution Press, June 13), soaring on Amazon. It is now ranked #27, up from a lowly #53,949.
The episode is part of the show’s “The History of Our Time” series. Steve Inskeep describes the series as investigating, the big trends “driving our history.” He interviews Reeves who says that the upper-middle class, those making six figure incomes and above, dominate the best schools, live in the best homes, and pass on the best futures to their children, at the cost of everyone else.
He calls this “opportunity hoarding.”
Reeves, now an American citizen but originally from the U.K., contends that the American class system is even worse than the system of royalty that rules his birth country. In the UK, they make no bones about the privileges of the aristocracy while in the US, we “have a class system that operates every bit as ruthlessly as the British class system but under the veneer of classless meritocracy. There isn’t even a self awareness.”
In the end, Reeves says, the upper-middle class have created a dangerous separation of themselves from the rest of society and that divide is ruinous, “They are also disproportionately powerful and the fact that they are not only separate but unaware of the degree to which the system works in their favor strikes me as one of the most dangerous political facts of our time.”
The book was not reviewed prepub and many libraries have not yet to ordered copies.
The publication of Michael Crichton’s posthumous novel, Dragon Teeth (HC/Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), sees the routinely bestselling author back on the lists, nearly a decade after his death.
Before his death, Crichton was a fixture on the charts and four of his novels hit the #1 spot on the USA Today list, including Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, and Prey. (Their list began in 1993, thus missing some of his other hits). An earlier posthumous novel, Pirate Latitudes, peaked at #9.
The choices are mostly from well-known authors, such as the I-can’t-believe-it-is-nearly-over moment for fans of P.I. Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (PRH/Marian Wood Books/Putnam; RH Audio; Aug. 22). The series began in 1982 withA is for Alibi. On her webpage Grafton says that Z Is For Zero will follow in fall of 2019. Grafton offers some solace, “If I have the wherewithal, I may write a Kinsey Millhone stand-alone or two.” USA Today offers an excerpt of the newest.
The single debut the paper picks is Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang (PRH/Lenny; Aug. 1). The “collection of short stories about young women in New York City has a definite Brooklyn hipster vibe,” USA Today writes. Appropriately, it’s the first book in Random House’s new imprint, with titles selected by Girls‘ Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner.
The full list is online now. We have posted the link in our Season Previews to the right.
Nosrat became known as the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook after he featured her in both his book Cooked and his Netflix show of the same name. In turn, she learned her craft under the eagle eye of legendary cook Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse.
She tells The Salt that “The key to good cooking … is learning to balance [salt, fat, acid, and heat] and trust your instincts, rather than just follow recipes.”
In this, her first book, she seeks to revolutionize standard cookbook formats, Saving all of the recipes for the end, the first half teaches readers the basics of cooking so they can learn to trust their own senses. Nosrat also uses illustrations, rather than staged photographs so readers won’t “feel bound to my one image of a perfect dish in a perfect moment and feel like that was what you had to make … I didn’t want you to feel like you had to live up to my version of perfection.”
Highlighting authors who are also bookstore owners, PBS News Hour invited two of them, Louise Erdrich, owner of Birchbark Books, and Emma Straub, who recently opened Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, to share their summer reading suggestions.
Ironically, an indicator of the success of these recommendations by indie booksellers is that several of them leapt up Amazon’s sales rankings.
Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon (HC/Harper Perennial, 2004; OverDrive Sample) got the biggest bump. Erdrich says “there are 25 of Donna Leon’s crime mysteries set in Venice. Venice itself becomes a character in these books … You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters, that I think you could go through all 25 this summer … Each one is better than the last.”
Sunshine State: Essays by Sarah Gerard (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). Straub calls this essay collection about Florida “a deep dive into identity and weirdness and location and family.”
Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays by Durga Chew-Bose (Macmillan/FSG Originals; OverDrive Sample). Another Straub pick, she says it “looks like a work of art and is a work of art. They are essays about identity, and family, and becoming an adult.”
Warning “that it’s almost cruel to recommend for vacation reading … because it is [about] a vacation gone extremely, horribly, horribly wrong,” Straub says “it’s an incredibly gripping thriller. It’s one of those books that you really will stay up late to read … it’s so delicious when you get one of those books.”
Both author/bookselers also contributed to a similar story by the NYT recently, joined by Ann Patchett, Jonathan Lethem, Jeff Kinney, Judy Blume. Blume, who owns Books & Books in Key West, Fla. also suggests Sunshine State.
Posted in 2017 -- Summer | Comments Off on Author/Booksellers on Summer Reading
Editors Note: Each month, librarians gather for our online GalleyChats to talk about their favorite forthcoming titles. GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from this month’s chat below.
Click on the titles to download or request digital galleys. If you fall in love with any of these titles, remember to nominate them for LibraryReads. Deadlines for those still eligible are noted in red.
Please join us for the next GalleyChat, Tuesday,
June 6, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
Beach reading may be on most people’s minds, but GalleyChatters are thinking ahead to books for next year’s discussion groups. The following will provoke discussions and are so engrossing they will make it easy to ignore the siren call of the pool.
In Janelle Brown’s literary suspense novel, Watch Me Disappear (PRH/Spiegel & Grau, July; RH Audio/BOT), the wife in what appears to be the perfect family never returns from a solo hike causing her husband and daughter to ride an emotional roller coaster. Kim McGee of Lake Travis (TX) Community Library is a fan saying, “After a year, Jonathan is ready to declare Billie deceased. However, some stories refuse to go quietly and father and daughter uncover some things about Billie that may reveal more than they wanted to know. The epilogue is particularly powerful and devastating, shining a light on the question, do we really know the person whom we put on a pedestal?”
Another book dealing with motherhood and secrets similar to Watch Me Disappear and Emma Donoghue’s Room is Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (PRH/Viking; PRH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; July). Andrienne Cruz of Azusa City (CA) Library says, “Joan and her son Lincoln are at the zoo when something happens. Fiercely protective of her son’s safety, Joan exposes her innermost feelings and thoughts to the reader – what do people in her situation really think and do? Filled with agonizing and tense moments, this book offers some fresh perspective to an ongoing threat in an otherwise humdrum society.” Kim McGee adds, “It starts off with a bang (pardon the pun) and never slows down for a second. “ [Ed. Note: See our recent EarlyReads chat with the author].
Joe Jones from Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, one of GalleyChat’s regular contributors, recommends two books with very different plots. Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (PRH/Knopf, PRH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; June), is a novel about a psychic family exposed as frauds who end up retiring from the business, but turns out teen Matty may just have a few hidden talents. According to Joe, “Throw in plenty of humor, secret government agencies, the mob, and even the Russians and we have one wild ride that keeps you guessing what crazy thing will happen next. The best part though is the characters. Each one is so well drawn and will have you experiencing the whole range of emotions as you read their stories.” Add this to your list of books about dysfunctional families.
The idea of past lives is an enticing topic in fiction and Joe discovered a twist on the theme in Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (PRH/Del Rey, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), which features a character nearing the end of his many lives. Joe says, “To achieve perfection. 10,000 chances are what the Universe gives us. Milo is in love with Death, aka Suzie. With only a handful of lives left he needs to figure it all out or face oblivion. Poor gives us a love story for the ages as Milo and Suzie tempt fate when they try to be a couple. By the time we reach the final page, we realize we knew what was coming all along and it’s truly not the end but the journey that matters. And what a journey it is!”
Filled with memorable female characters, Molly Patterson’s Rebellion (HarperCollins/Harper, August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20), a multi-generational family novel, was applauded by Jen Dayton of Darien, collection development librarian from Darien (CT) Library. “As Hazel’s children clean out the farmhouse that their family has called home for three generations seemingly meaningless items are tossed to the side. As the story unfolds we are taken to China with a missionary aunt who never returns, witness a young woman in 1890 struggling with infertility and the loneliness of frontier life, and see a young Hazel herself coming to grips with young widowhood.”
Discussion groups that have enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and The Dog Stars by Peter Heller can add David Williams’ When the English Fall (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio, July) to their roster. Heather Bistyga, librarian from Anderson, SC, raved, “The aftermath of a solar storm causes the collapse of civilization, as told through the journal of an Old Order Amish man. Although better prepared than the “English” — the rest of us — to weather the destruction of the electric grid and all electrical and electronic devices, the Amish come to realize they can no longer exist as an island in the larger society. This is a worldwide disaster writ small, rendering it exquisitely powerful and quietly terrifying. “
(North) Carolina on My Mind
Another regular contributor to GalleyChat, Janet Lockhart, collection development librarian from Wake County Public Libraries, endorses two novels set in the Appalachians in her home state of North Carolina. Both appear to be book group perfection.
Leah Weiss catches the unique spirit of the mountains in her debut novel, If the Creek Don’t Rise (Sourcebooks Landmark; Recorded Books; August; LibraryReads deadline: June 20). Janet says, “The story of Sadie Blue will haunt you like the melody of mountain ballad. Trapped in a bad marriage at a very young age, Sadie has resigned herself to being unhappy until a new teacher moves to town. Kate Shaw’s arrival is the catalyst for change in the lives of residents of the small town of Baines River — including Sadie Blue.”
GalleyChat favorite Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home , returns with a novel inspired by true events. Janet says of The Last Ballad(HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe, October; LibraryReads deadline: August 20) “Cash shines much deserved light on the life of Ella May Wiggins, a working mother who joined the fight to unionize mill workers in the South in the 1920s. Ella May’s determination to build a better life for herself and her children is inspiring and her bravery is breathcatching. Her voice jumps off the page and this is a beautifully written story of an extraordinary woman whose struggle for dignity and social justice raises issues that still resonate today.“
Join us for the next chat on June 3 from 4:00-5:00 (ET) with virtual happy hour from 3:30-4:00, when the focus will most likely center on treasures found at Book Expo.
After a long slog to the screen, the Amazonian Princess finally premieres on June 2 in Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise) as the newest DC Superhero. Star Trek‘s Chris Pine plays her romantic interest and ally and Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, and Danny Huston round out the cast.
Early takes are glowing. Entertainment Weekly reports that the film is “being hailed as a ‘blast,’ ‘so good,’ … the best to date from the DC Extended Universe. Also receiving widespread praise is Wonder Woman herself, with Gadot described as ‘absolutely phenomenal’ and ‘a legit movie star.'”
Collider writes, “Full reviews are still under embargo for the time being, but the lucky few in the first screening audiences were given permission to post reactions to social media … with the most common refrain being that Wonder Woman is the best DCEU movie thus far.”
Fourth graders Harold Hutchins and George Beard, along with Captain Underpants himself, fly into movie theaters on June 2, when the animated film version of Captain Underpants premieres. It is based on the best selling 12-book series by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic) and stars Kevin Hart, Jordan Peele, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal.
On the small screen, Still Star-Crossed premieres on ABC Monday, May 29. A new Shonda Rhimes project, it is a costume historical set in the world of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
The story picks up after the deaths of the two lovers, as their families continue to battle one another and is a departure for the hitmaker behind such very contemporary shows as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy.
CBS Films bought the rights to the novel in 2013 reports Glamour but “the success of Big Little Lies has reignited interest in Moriarty properties —and now with Lively signed on to star, it’s being fast-tracked.”
The plot of the novel should appeal to Moriarty’s new fan-base. As summarized in the press release, “Lively will play Cecilia Fitzpatrick, a chronic perfectionist whose suburban bubble is burst when she finds a note from her husband addressed to her with instructions to open it in the event of his death. But he’s still alive. She then discovers a secret that her husband has been keeping from her for years, which leads her to realize that her life is built on a foundation of lies and murder. ”
The novel did very well and published to glowing reviews. Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-, calling it “a sharp, thoughtful read — a sneaky sort of wolf in chick-lit clothing.” USA Today praised “Moriarty’s pulsing pace and engaging characters” and said, “Amid three intertwined story lines and terrific plot twists, Moriarty presents a nuanced and moving portrait of the meaning of love, both marital and familial, and how life can hinge on a misunderstanding or a decision made in haste. The Husband’s Secretis so good, you won’t be able to keep it to yourself.”
A new mass market edition is forthcoming on June 27th, with a burst added to the cover connecting it to HBO’s hit.
The NYT writes that Johnson wrote with “extraordinary savagery and precision. He used his startling gift for language to create word pictures as detailed and visionary, and as varied, as paintings by Edward Hopper and Hieronymus Bosch, capturing the lives of outsiders — the lost, the dispossessed, the damned — with empathy and unsparing candor.”
In his heartfelt and quote filled appreciation, David L. Ulin, the former book critic of the Los Angeles Times, says “Denis Johnson ought to have been exempt. To write as he did, in this crucible of a world, it ought to be worth more than to die on Wednesday at 67, or perhaps to die at all. Think of the transcendent power of his sentences, the ruthless honesty, the unexpected turns.”
The New Yorker says of Johnson “He was an uneven writer, but even his most forgettable work throbbed with his irreducibly American voice, idiomatically vivid, veering between hardboiled banter and hyperacute physical and emotional immediacy—the banter often darkly comic, the description darkly ecstatic, observation so keen and compressed and so idiosyncratic that in bursts of just a few short sentences it could achieve a visionary quality.”
For their holiday weekend edition, the New York Times Book Review takes a look at summer books. Among the titles picked by Janet Maslin is a book of essays arriving next week that sounds like ideal beach reading for those who enjoy a little shade with their sun (with a fitting cover image), We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby, (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Describing the author as a “frank and madly funny blogger,” Maslin highlights the opening essay which contrasts Irby’s own wardrobe to “Bachelorette” contestants, “I don’t wear evening gowns and booty shorts every day. I wear daytime pajamas and orthopedic shoes, and lately I have become a big fan of the ‘grandpa cardigan.’ ”
Also arriving this week is a book by another funny essayist, David Sedaris, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) (Hachette/Little Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample). As the subtitle notes, it is based on his diaries, giving fans a view of the raw materials of the more polished essays in his eight bestselling books. Library Journal attests it will appeal to more than die-hard Sedaris fans, “even the more casual reader will be drawn in, as the author comes into his own as a writer and a person.”
With more gentle humor, Mo Willems publishes a stand-alone that is sure to become a baby shower staple, Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals (Hachette/Disney-Hyperion). Written in faux safety manual/waiterspeak it will appeal more to new parents than to kids.
That other famous first daughter’s new book is aimed at young girls and takes its title from the phrase Mitch McConnell used to vent his frustration over failing to silence Elizabeth Warren. The book is getting attention for the person it does not include, Clinton’s mother. She explains to Entertainment Weekly that she feared “her story [would] overwhelm the book.”
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 May 29, 2017
“After rereading the first Hidden Legacy book, I plunged immediately into White Hot. I wasn’t disappointed. Nevada is trying to return her life to a semblance of normal, “normal” being without powerful, sexy, and very dangerous Prime Rogan. Rogan hasn’t stopped thinking about Nevada and hasn’t stopped wanting her. And what Rogan wants, he eventually gets. The action in White Hot was faster, the plot more intricate, and the characters became even more real. I cannot wait to read book three!” — Heather Cover, Homewood Library, Birmingham, AL
“Sloane is a strong, independent businesswoman working as a trend forecaster. While at an innovative company, Sloane finds that the very technology that is supposed to connect people to one another is actually tearing them apart. The entire story is both hilarious and slightly terrifying as it tells of a future where we outsource intimacy to strangers and lead very isolated lives. Touch is a warning about what can happen if we become too attached to the technology in our lives and a great reminder to put the phone down and connect with others in person.” —Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX
“We are all Edsel Bronfman. Or at least those of us who have spent a substantial portion of our lives as terribly awkward introverts with no social skills and a complete lack of romantic experience or opportunity are. Daniel Wallace’s new novel had me cringing with recognition and laughing out loud as his 34-year-old protagonist is launched on an absurd and hilarious journey of self-discovery and transformation initiated by a mysterious phone call from a timeshare saleswoman. Extraordinary Adventures is a quirky, sweet, heartfelt, and offbeat romance that displays the imaginative playfulness Wallace is known for.” —Josh Niesse, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA
“This is the story of the Bodine family, which runs a successful ranch resort. As you learn about Bodine Longbow, who helps to run the family business, and her new relationship, you also learn about Bodine’s Aunt Alice, who took off when she was 18 and never came home. The family never learned what happened to Alice, so when she is found alive they have to find out to keep her from disappearing again. Come Sundown is suspenseful, slightly creepy, and also touching. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a mystery with some romance.” —Linda Keifer, Hockessin Bookshelf, Hockessin, DE
Additional Buzz:Kirkus stars, writing, “Roberts always tells a good story that balances romance and suspense, but in this title, the narrative is deeper, the mystery is more layered … Roberts moves into another level of exploring physical and emotional trauma and the powerful balm of family and love.”
Two tie-ins come out this week attached to the Wonder Woman movie.
The film arrives in theaters on June 2nd, starring Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise) as the Amazonian Princess. Star Trek‘s Chris Pine plays her romantic interest and ally. Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, and Danny Huston round out the cast.
Rupi Kaur will publish a new book in October, reports USA Today. Publisher Andrews McMeel describes the as yet untitled book as “a collection of non-traditional and deeply personal poems and original illustrations, focusing on growth, love and healing, ancestry and honoring one’s roots, expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.”
Kaur self-published her debut collection, Milk and Honey (S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), in 2014. It become a sensation and was picked up by Andrews McMeel in 2015.
It has been on the NYT Trade Fiction list for over a year, currently #3 (after three non-consecutive weeks at #1). It is a fixture among Amazon’s Top 100 (currently #8) and has been on USA Today’s list for 61 weeks, rising as high as #3. Every library we checked still has an active holds list.
On her website Kaur writes Milk and Honey is about “the experience of violence. abuse. love. loss. femininity … each chapter serves a different purpose. deals with a different pain. heals a different heartache.”
In an unusual vote of confidence for a film with no stars attached so far, Sony has announced a release date for Tri-Star’s adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s NYT bestseller, The Nightingale (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio, OverDrive Sample). Deadline Hollywood reports that it is set to debut on August 10, 2018.
The movie also features a first-time film director, Michelle McLaren. However, she has had wide-ranging experience in television, directing episodes of hit shows such as Game of Thrones and Modern Family.
The book also represents a first for author Kristin Hannah. Her first historical novel, after several best selling contemporary romances, the change in genre brought her to a new level of sales. The Nightingale was on the NYT best seller for almost two years, much longer than any of her previous novels. After its paperback release, it went immediately onto the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction list where it is currently #7.
Auggie gets a face in the just released first full trailer for the film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder (RH/Knopf Young Readers, 2012; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Directed by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), the film stars Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Auggie, a young boy with a facial deformity who enters a new school. Julia Roberts plays his mom, Owen Wilson, his dad, and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), his classroom teacher.
The novel has spent 92 weeks on the NYT Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover list, where it is currently #2.
A tie-in comes out November 7, 2017, Wonder Movie Tie-In Edition by R. J. Palacio (PRH/Knopf Books for Young Readers). The cover is not yet finalized.