April 18, 2017
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.
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.
April 17, 2017
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.
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.
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.
April 10, 2017
The non-fiction purchase order includes a political memoir from a President Obama Deputy Chief of Staff. It comes from Hachette’s Twelve imprint, which puts out a book a month (hence the name) and which “strives to publish singular books, by authors who have unique perspectives and compelling authority.” Also worth a quick mention is President Bush (43)’s new book of portraits of veterans Portraits of Courage. Our initial order is still meeting the holds copy ratio but the demand seems to be building steadily.
Mastromonaco, Alyssa. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? Twelve, March 21.
“If your funny older sister were the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama, her behind-the-scenes political memoir would look something like this. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? is an intimate and admiring portrait of a president, a candid book of advice for young women, and a promising debut from a savvy political star”– Provided by publisher.
Bush, George W. Portraits of Courage. Crown, February 28.
Publisher summary: A vibrant collection of military oil paintings and stories by the 43rd President, published to benefit the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, stands as an official tie-in to the exhibition scheduled for March 2017 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
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.
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.
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.
April 3, 2017
An Italian “breakout” translation and another dark fantasy from UK writer Tim Lebbon. Comment to claim.
Pacifico, Francesco. Class. Random House, May.
Publisher 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.
There’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
March 28, 2017
A Chinese-American chemist muses on her personal life using a tightly concise writing style to maximum original effect. This introspective approach strings together little known scientific facts leading to perspective changing and often gently amusing epiphanies, one after another. So not a bandwagon jumper. I’m thinking with the solid appeal here of biographies like Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (which has circulated 220 times and still has a short queue) this could be successful as well as fiction crossover. Comment first to claim.
Publisher summary: Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry–one in which the reactions can’t be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.
March 27, 2017
Sorry no ARCs for this one but I’ll try to get more offered soon. From our Purchase Orders Placed (thank you Acquisitions!) we have two authors with a strong track record of past publication, but their latest books have really caught fire with 60-80 holds running. The Jenoff title especially might have an aroma of future book kit potential.
Jenoff, Pam. The Orphan’s Tale. Mira.
Publisher summary: Sixteen-year-old Noa, forced to give up her baby fathered by a Nazi soldier, snatches a child from a boxcar containing Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp and takes refuge with a traveling circus, where Astrid, a Jewish aerialist, becomes her mentor.
Lipman, Elinor. On Turpentine Lane. Houghton Mifflin.
“An endearing romantic comedy from the beloved best-selling author of The Family Man and The View from Penthouse B At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiance is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state. And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence. Elinor Lipman may well have invented the screwball romantic comedy for our era, and here she is at her sharpest and best. On Turpentine Lane is funny, poignant, and a little bit outrageous.”