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.”

Upcoming non-fiction.

Allison Pataki has established herself as a fiction writer and happens to be the daughter of New York’s former governor George Pataki.  This is her new memoir about dealing with her young husband’s rare and unexpected ischemic stroke and recovery, all while delivering her first child and continuing her career.  Nancy asks if it’s another When Breath Becomes Air and it may have that potential.

Zadie Smith’s essay collection is heavy on UK politics in the beginning but then moves more toward philosophizing about technology and toward art, social, and literary criticism. I find her a humane, insightful and clever writer (one of my favorite lines: “Nigels [like Farage] come and go but Ruperts [i.e. Murdoch] are forever”).

Comment to claim.

Pataki, Allison.  Beauty in the Broken Places. Random House, May.

Beauty in the Broken Places

Publisher summary: 

A deeply moving memoir about two lives that were changed in the blink of an eye, and the love that helped them rewrite their future

Five months pregnant, on a flight to their “babymoon,” Allison Pataki turned to her husband when he asked if his eye looked strange, and watched him suddenly lose consciousness. After an emergency landing, she discovered that Dave–a healthy thirty-year-old athlete and surgical resident–had suffered a rare and life-threatening stroke. Next thing Allison knew, she was sitting alone in the ER in Fargo, North Dakota, waiting to hear if her husband would survive the night.

When Dave woke up, he could not carry memories from hour to hour, much less from one day to the next. Allison lost the Dave she knew and loved when he lost consciousness on the plane. Within a few months, she found herself caring for both a newborn and a sick husband, struggling with the fear of what was to come.

As a way to make sense of the pain and chaos of their new reality, Allison started to write daily letters to Dave. Not only would she work to make sense of the unfathomable experiences unfolding around her, but her letters would provide Dave with the memories he could not make on his own. She was writing to preserve their past, protect their present, and fight for their future. Those letters became the foundation for this beautiful, intimate memoir. And in the process, she fell in love with her husband all over again.

This is a manifesto for living, an ultimately uplifting story about the transformative power of faith and resilience. It’s a tale of a husband’s turbulent road to recovery, the shifting nature of marriage, and the struggle of loving through pain and finding joy in the broken places.

Smith, Zadie.  Feel Free: Essays.  Penguin, February.

Feel FreePublisher summary:

From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world’s preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections–In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free–this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network–and Facebook itself–really about? “It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.” Why do we love libraries? “Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.” What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? “So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes–and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat.”

Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, “Joy,” and, “Find Your Beach,” Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith’s own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive–and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.


Coming this May, Michael Jones’s latest narrates the life of Edward of Woodstock (posthumously labeled The Black Prince), a fascinating exemplar of the real Middle Ages as we think of them – chivalry, sieges, plague, jousts, cutthroat dynastic family rivalries and all. The book is heavy on political and military chronology but also intelligently reasons over evidence to burnish the subject’s reputation.  This seems like a perfect fit for our many fans of European medieval history, both fictional and actual. Comment to claim.  I’ll be ordering soon.


Jones, Michael.  The Black Prince: England’s Greatest Medieval Warrior. Pegasus Books, May 1st.

Summary from Pegasus Books Website: As a child he was given his own suit of armor; at the age of sixteen, he helped defeat the French at Crécy. At Poitiers, in 1356, his victory over King John II of France forced the French into a humiliating surrender that marked the zenith of England’s dominance in the Hundred Years War. As lord of Aquitaine, he ruled a vast swathe of territory across the west and southwest of France, holding a magnificent court at Bordeaux that mesmerized the brave but unruly Gascon nobility and drew them like moths to the flame of his cause. He was Edward of Woodstock, eldest son of Edward III, and better known to posterity as “the Black Prince.” His military achievements captured the imagination of Europe: heralds and chroniclers called him “the flower of all chivalry” and “the embodiment of all valor.”  But what was the true nature of the man behind the chivalric myth, and of the violent but pious world in which he lived? This exemplary new history uses contemporary chronicles plus a wide range of documentary material—including the Prince’s own letters and those of his closest followers—to tell the tale of an authentic English hero and to paint a memorable portrait of society in the tumultuous fourteenth century.




January 9, 2018

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has announced its PNBA Winners for 2018.  We have all titles in print and after an audio purchase of Tides (produced of course by Ashland, OR based  Blackstone Audio) should have all titles in all available formats, including in OverDrive.

A description of this award and selection process comes from PNBA’s website.

Since 1964 the PNBA has presented annual awards to recognize excellence in writing from the Pacific Northwest. Rather than soliciting nominations for specific categories, we simply require that the author and/or illustrator reside within the PNBA region (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia) and that the book be published within the current calendar year. In addition, nominations may be submitted for special awards honoring efforts in publishing, illustration, or for a body of work. Special awards are determined at the discretion of PNBA’s Book Awards Committee.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Alexie, Sherman. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me  : A Memoir. Little, Brown.

Summary: Presents a literary memoir of poems, essays, and intimate family photos that reflect on the author’s complicated relationship with his mother and his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation




TidesWhite, Jonathan. Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean. Trinity University Press.

In Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean , writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. In the Arctic, White shimmies under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five-foot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks that live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont Saint-Michel; in Chile and Scotland, heinvestigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture–the very old and very new. Tides combines lyrical prose, colorful adventure travel, and provocative scientific inquiry into the elemental, mysterious paradox that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion. Photographs, scientific figures, line drawings, and sixteen color photos dramatically illustrate this engaging, expert tour of the tides.


Ruskovich, Emily. Idaho. Random House.

Summary: A tale told from multiple perspectives traces the complicated relationship between Ann and Wade on a rugged landscape and how they came together in the aftermath of his first wife’s imprisonment for a violent murder.

Anyone who watched the morning news for any three minute period this morning will be familiar with this title and we are on it. The regular orders for audio and print got into the catalog yesterday and today.  There is a delayed syncing problem with the print on-order record but Colleen has asked Bibliocommons to display the print version asap (thank you to her!).  In the meantime it *IS* in the staff client if you have a customer needing help.  Apologies for the confusion as from at least one SINC I know there is concern.  Unexpected sudden frenzies from media coverage will happen occasionally but we are committed to being responsive and we have additional large orders going through.  Because the audiobook edition was visible in BC first, you may encounter people that accidentally placed a hold on that edition but want to switch.  If you could encourage them to cancel the audiobook hold if they don’t really want to listen to the title on audiobook, that would be great.

BTW – if it helps we have ebook and eaudio copies available now as well in OverDrive, though they too will take a bit of time to show in the catalog. 


Fire and Fury

Summary: The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, best selling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how President Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.