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Love and Ruin

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn–a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly–and uncontrollably–falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.

Heralded by Ann Patchett as “the new star of historical fiction,” Paula McLain brings Gellhorn’s story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.


Shelf Awareness announced this morning that Sherman Alexie will not accept the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, which was to be awarded in a ceremony at the ALA conference in New Orleans in June.  Recent allegations of sexual harassment by ten women have tarnished Alexie’s reputation and created a dilemma for ALA; the organization “believes that every person has the right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment.”

For more detail, follow this link:

The Pew Research Center issued a report today stating that almost 1 in 5 Americans have taken up the audiobook habit.  The study goes on to say that we are spreading our wings in terms of formats but print books remain the most popular format.  Reassuringly for us, the percent of Americans who have read a book – in any format – in the past 12 months remains at 74%, holding steady since the last report in 2012.

Follow the link to read more about this study:  Pew Research Center study on reading habits.


An article in Good E Reader asks Will People Buy Audiobooks and Ebooks from Walmart?

From the article:

“E-Book sales have been flat for past few years and print is still king. [6]87.2 million print books were sold last year, up from 674.1 million in 2016. The increase follows a 3.3% increase in 2016. Units have risen every year since 2013, and 2017 sales were up 10.8% from that year.

The digital audiobook and ebook industry desperately needs new sales channels to fuel growth. Amazon has dominated the US market for over a decade. Will Walmart be the golden goose that publishers have been waiting for?”

Last month, PW reported print sales were up to 687 million (confirming the missing 6 in the Good E Reader article), with increases in both hardcover and trade and retail outlets selling ever more and mass merchants less.

While this is what’s going on in private sales, our OverDrive usage continues to reach new highs. The dashboard for January shows circulation reaching almost 150k, and, even more exciting, an upswing in unique users to 23,662, over 20% higher than this time last year.  There seems to be a bump every January, probably reflecting new users taking advantage of holiday gift devices (?)  If deals like this Kobo Wal-Mart push and similar introduce more people in more areas to ebooks, will demand for ebooks rise from any source and overall format preferences change, or is there an inverse relationship and library use is rising in part because of customer resistance to direct purchases?  In these still early days there definitely seems to be a disconnect.


This title, due April 3rd from Random House, covers the perilous and courageously risky Apollo 8 mission, which was the first to travel to the moon and orbit it to gather information critical to the eventual moon landing the following summer. For readers born after these events, the blow by blow you are there writing style brings the times to life.  The biographical element borders on hero worship, but that also seems true to the period.  The inspiring success of a daring and improbable mission is set against a backdrop of recent NASA tragedy, Cold War politics, and disillusionment with war and unrest at home.  Comment to claim.

Kurson, Robert. Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon. Random House, April 3rd.

Rocket MenPublisher summary: The riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind’s historic first mission to the Moon, from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers .

By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch. With just four months to prepare–a fraction of the normal time required to plan a space mission–the agency committed to sending the first men in history to the Moon. And it would all happen at Christmas.

In a year of historic violence and discord–the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago–the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who’d dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight.

Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America’s finest hours that reads like a real-life thriller. In these pages, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time–and arrive at a new world.

Library Journal Book Pulse

February 12, 2018

Neal Wyatt (she/her) is running a regular blog on Library Journal called Book Pulse, in the Reader’s Advisory section of the site, that covers newly published weekly titles, new NYT fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, and awards and media promotion.  It is easy to start a daily feed from the top of any posting.

Also I wanted to mention Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean scholar and author of the Swerve, which has circulated over 580 times.  In his new book, Greenblatt analyzes Shakespeare’s political messages coded into plays about other times and places, at a tense time when explicitly addressing them could get the offender maimed or executed.  While most of our print ARC’s are fiction, non-fiction ARC’s such as this one are also becoming increasingly available on Edelweiss, some for immediate download without having to wait for permissions. The site also has a new dashboard and convenient places to see what your colleagues are reading and “highly anticipating.”

Greenblatt, Stephen. Tyrant. Norton, May 5th.

TyrantSummary: As an aging, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social causes, the psychological roots, and the twisted consequences of tyranny. In exploring the psyche (and psychoses) of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, and the societies they rule over, Stephen Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the catastrophic consequences of its execution.Cherished institutions seem fragile, political classes are in disarray, economic misery fuels populist anger, people knowingly accept being lied to, partisan rancor dominates, spectacular indecency rules–these aspects of a society in crisis fascinated Shakespeare and shaped some of his most memorable plays. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues–and the cynicism and opportunism of the various enablers and hangers-on who surround them–and imagined how they might be stopped. As Greenblatt shows, Shakespeare’s work, in this as in so many other ways, remains vitally relevant today.



I forgot Nancy gave this to me a while ago, before Le Guin passed away, but it might be of special interest now.  It comes out this July and I will put in for an order tonight. Comment to claim. It may take a few days.

Summary from Tin House Books website: 

“In a series of conversations with Between The Covers’s David Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin discusses her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry―both her process and her philosophy―with all the wisdom, profundity, and rigour we expect from one of our great American writers.

When the New York Times called Ursula K. Le Guin, “America’s greatest living science fiction writer,” they just might have undersold her legacy. It’s hard to look at her vast body of work―novels and stories across multiple genres, poems, translations, essays, speeches, and criticism―and see anything but one of our greatest writers, period.

In a series of interviews with David Naimon (Between the Covers), Le Guin discusses craft, aesthetics, and philosophy in her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction respectively. The discussions provide ample advice and guidance for writers of every level, but also give Le Guin a chance to to sound off on some of her favorite subjects: the genre wars, the patriarchy, the natural world, and what, in her opinion, makes for great writing. With excerpts from her own work and those books that she’s looked to for inspiration and guidance, this volume will be a treat for Le Guin’s longtime readers and a perfect introduction for those first approaching her writing.”