How exciting that the next Jamie Ford title, Love and Other Consolation Prizes, is coming out this September 12th!  His first two, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009) and Songs of Willow Frost (2013), have each circulated over 2500 times, so I am starting with a significant order which should be in the catalog very shortly. It looks like the ebook is already in the catalog and I’ll purchase the eAudio proactively now.

So sorry I haven’t yet nabbed an ARC for this (but I’ll try to get more on here).  However, there is a Goodreads raffle for 50 ARCs that still has fewer than a 1000 entries, so just saying.

UPDATE: I am getting a couple ARCs of these from our Random House rep.  Stay tuned for availability.  I’ll post separately. 

Ford, Jamie. Love and Other Consolation Prizes. Ballantine, Sept 12, 2017.

Penguin Random House Blurb. 

From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle’s epic 1909 World’s Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off—a healthy boy “to a good home.”

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known—and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion—in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

 

Now in the catalog with initial order of 15 copies. It will be interesting to see how this does.

Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.  Knopf, June 6.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

A richly moving new novel–the first since the author’s Booker Prize-winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us acrossa subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety–in search of meaning, and of love. In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met. A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation–a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh.Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in–and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender. How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything. Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts”– Provided by publisher. “An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

From this week’s report.  The Stranger in the Woods has finally broken out of its holds ratio and is getting additional copies. Himself was an utter blindside – a debut set in Ireland in the 1970’s, the novel wins praise from reviewers for being a fresh voice couched in whodunit mystery form.

 

Finkel, Michael.  The Stranger in the Woods. Knopf, March 7.

The Stranger in the Woods

For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, a remarkable tale of survival and solitude–the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years. In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life–as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded”–Publisher description. 

 

Himself

Kidd, Jess.  Himself. Atria, March 14.

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother’s disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago. From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony’s presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir amongst the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men) and suspicion (the pious). Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. Together, this improbable duo concoct an ingenious plan to get the town talking, aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead. Because in Mulderrig, ghosts can be just as chatty and opinionated as the town’s flesh and blood residents. Mahony’s investigation incurs the wrath of sanctimonious Father Quinn and the Widow Farelly, provokes letter bombs and poisoned scones, and culminates in a riotous production of the most controversial play in Irish history. Himself is a simmering mixture – a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers”– Provided by publisher.

PULITZERS ANNOUNCED

April 12, 2017

We did not yet have the poetry selection, Olio, or the drama title Sweat, which have both been slated for order. They should be in the catalog shortly.

FICTION

Whitehead, Colson.  The Underground Railroad.  Doubleday, 2016. [STILL 87 holds though we have 48 copies!]

The Underground RailroadPublisher summary: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey — hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

 

 

DRAMA

Nottage, Lynn. Sweat. Theatre Communications Group, May.

 

Summary: No stranger to dramas both heart-felt and heart-wrenching, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage has written one of her most exquisitely devastating tragedies to date. In one of the poorest cities in America, Reading, Pennsylvania, a group of down-and-out factory workers struggles to keep their present lives in balance, ignorant of the financial devastation looming in their near futures. Set in 2008, the powerful crux of this new play is knowing the fate of the characters long before it’s even in their sights. Based on Nottage’s extensive research and interviews with real residents of Reading, Sweat is a topical reflection of the present and poignant outcome of America’s economic decline.

 

 

 

HISTORY

Thompson, Heather Ann.  Bood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Pantheon, 2016.

Blood in the WaterOn September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men–hostages as well as prisoners–and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this 45-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. This book is the first full account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.–Adapted from dust jacket. “Historian Heather Ann Thompson offers the first definitive telling of the Attica prison uprising, the state’s violent response, and the victims’ decades-long quest for justice–in time for the forty-fifth anniversary of the events”– Provided by publisher.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Matar, Hisham.  The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between. Random House, 2016.

The Return

“In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years. When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar’s father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime’s most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballah Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is “persistent and cunning.” This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

NON-FICTION

Desmond, Matthew.  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Crown, 2016.

Evicted“[The author] takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the 20 dollars a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality– and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible”–Amazon.com.

 

POETRY

Jess, Tyehimba.  Olio.  Wave Books, April.

          

Jess’s work displays a deep sense of cool black consciousness, especially in regard to musicality. He works with an expressive tradition that blends sensibilities of field holler, spiritual encodings, gospel moan and groan, work song cadence, blue notes, and jook joint jazz.”Howard Ramsby II, Sou’wester

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers, musicians and artists directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.

So, while I lead this choir, I still find that
I’m being ledI’m a missionary
mending my faith in the midst of this flock
I toil in their fields of praise. When folks see
these freedmen stand and sing, they hear their God
speak in tongues. These nine dark mouths sing shelter;
they echo a hymn’s haven from slavery’s weather.

POP – Jessica Shattuck

April 10, 2017

This week’s Purchase Orders Placed report highlights Jessica Shattuck, whose new novel The Women in the Castle (sorry no ARC), published by an imprint of HarperCollins, is running over 80 holds. Shattuck has authored two previous titles and I am adding to the collection (probably re-adding) her debut The Hazards of Good Breeding. This third title is an IndieNext top selection and a multiply mentioned recommendation of EarlyWord galley chatterers. Her second title, A Perfect Life from 2009, has circulated 83 times.  The American Booksellers Association features an interview with Shattuck here.

Shattuck, Jessica. The Women in the Castle. William Morrow & Co., March 28th.

The Women in the Castle

Publisher summary: Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Shattuck, Jessica. Hazards of Good Breeding. W. W. Norton, 2004.

book cover

Publisher summary: This “richly appointed and generously portrayed” (Kirkus Reviews) debut novel tells the story of a WASPy, old-Boston family coming face to face with an America much larger than the one it was born in. Told from five perspectives, the novel spans an explosive week in the life of the Dunlaps, culminating in a series of events that will change their way of life forever.

Caroline Dunlap has written off the insular world of the Boston deb parties, golf club luaus, and WASP weddings that she grew up with. But when she reluctantly returns home after her college graduation, she finds that not everything is quite as predictable, or protected, as she had imagined. Her father, the eccentric, puritanical Jack Dunlap, is carrying on stoically after the breakup of his marriage, but he can’t stop thinking of Rosita, the family housekeeper he fired almost six months ago. Caroline’s little brother, Eliot, is working on a giant papier-mâché diorama of their town-or is he hatching a plan of larger proportions?

As the real reason for Rosita’s departure is revealed, the novel culminates in a series of events that assault the fragile, sheltered, and arguably obsolete world of the Dunlaps.

Opening a window into a family’s repressed desires and fears, The Hazards of Good Breeding is a startlingly perceptive comedy of manners that heralds a new writer of dazzling talent.

I’m trying to take a more proactive look at media tie-in editions and novelizations as they are (re)printed/republished.  In keeping with our current practice, I’m not designating these for the new shelf, though they might make excellent fodder for display if they’re sitting in buildings.  If you have antennae for tie-ins, SINC’s would be welcome.

Tie-ins present, as you know, some challenges as well as opportunities.  Publishers’ and booksellers’ desire to enhance and repackage is in tension with our need to keep essentially the same content in its tidy place. Sometimes the title even changes, as when Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home became Lion.  Often the cover features the movie’s leads, depriving readers forever thereafter of their imaginative freedom.

Here are a couple examples from this week.  Both titles will be the only edition we own and should be in the catalog shortly.

 

The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan

Cullinan, Thomas. The Beguiled. PRH, June.

The basis for the major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, and directed by Sofia Coppola, about women at a boarding school in Civil War-era Virginia who vie for the affections of a wounded Union soldier

When an injured Union soldier is found in the Virginia woods at the height of the Civil War, he is brought to the nearby Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies to recover. Up until then, the residents of the boarding school had been shielded by their domineering headmistress from both the violence of the war and contact with the outside world, but the arrival of the attractive John McBurney will upend all of their lives.

The Beguiled sweeps the reader into a world where Southern gentility is played out against the increasingly ominous forebodings of a dark tragedy, as Corporal McBurney pits the women against each other in a bid for freedom. Combining the romantic entertainment of the historical novel with the probing insight of a work of psychological suspense, it is an eerie novel of sexual tension and repression, and of rivalry, jealousy, and, ultimately, vengeance.

 

Valerian City Of A Thousand Planets Novelization MMPB

Golden, Christie. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Titan Books, July.

The official novelization of the blockbuster movie, written and directed by visionary Luc Besson (Lucy, The Fifth Element).

Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe

 

 

An Italian “breakout” translation and another dark fantasy from UK writer Tim Lebbon. Comment to claim.

Pacifico, Francesco.  Class. Random House, May.

ClassPublisher summary: The breakout novel by Francesco Pacifico, one of Italy’s most acclaimed writers, hailed by Dana Spiotta as “brilliantly funny and weirdly subversive”

Ludovica and Lorenzo live in Rome. She works in her family’s bookstore, and he’s a filmmaker–or, rather, a “filmmaker”: so far, all he’s produced is one pretentious short film that even his friends don’t take seriously. But somehow, he gets a scholarship to Columbia University, and the couple decide to head to New York–specifically, to Williamsburg: the promised land.

They soon fall in with a group of Italian expats–all of them with artistic ambitions and the family money to support those ambitions indefinitely. There’s Nicolino, the playboy; Marcello, the aspiring rapper; Sergio, the literary scout; and a handful of others. These languidly ambitious men and women will come together and fall apart, but can they escape their fates? Can anyone?

In Class , Francesco Pacifico gives a grand, subversive, formally ambitious social novel that bridges Italy and America, high and low, money and art. A novel that channels Virginia Woolf and Kanye West, Henry Miller and Lil’ Wayne, Class is an unforgettable, mordantly funny account of Italians chasing the American dream.

Lebbon, Tim.  Relics.  Titan Books, March.

RelicsThere’s an underground black market for arcane things. Akin to the trade in rhino horns or tigers’ bones, this network traffics in remains of gryphons, faeries, goblins, and other fantastic creatures.  When her fiancé Vince goes missing Angela Gough, an American criminology student, discovers that he was a part of this secretive trade. It’s a big-money business–shadowy, brutal, and sometimes fatal. As the trail leads her deeper into London’s dark side, she crosses paths with a crime lord whose life is dedicated to collecting such relics.
Then Angela discovers that some of these objects aren’t as ancient as they seem. Some of them are fresh.

Gripping supernatural terror launching a new trilogy by the acclaimed author of Coldbrook (“distinct, unique, and absorbing”), The Silence (“truly addictive”), and the Alien-Predator “Rage War.

“Tim Lebbon’s RELICS opens a darkly beautiful glimpse into another world, one lurking in the shadows, hovering at the corner of the eye. If Anne Rice and Clive Barker had written a story together, it might have looked something like this novel: richly imagined, fantastical, yet grounded in the grit and reality of modern-day London. I look forward to the wonders and terrors yet to come.”–JAMES ROLLINS, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Labyrinth

“A magical, perilous drama full of characters who live and breathe, darkness you can feel…”–Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Ararat

“Tim Lebbon is an immense talent.”–Joe R. Lansdale, creator of Hap and Leonard