Recently interviewers have been asking famous authors and others what book they’re “evangelists” for.  A reader evangelism candidate for me is Romain Gary’s The Kites, first published in France in 1980 but just this fall being published in English by New Directions. It’s the story of Ludo, a rural French boy/man in 1930’s and WWII, and his eccentric uncle, a postal clerk who builds and flies elaborate kites bearing the likenesses of French historical leaders and thinkers. Ludo pursues Lila, a girl living nearby from a Polish aristocratic family. Yes, it’s a boy grows up chasing girl trope, but so much more interesting and thought-provoking than that sounds.  A suspenseful, aching, but uplifting tale asking what we are actually willing to do to act on our highest quests and ideals (metaphorically represented by the kites and by Lila herself, though she’s so much braver and more active than the pedestal fascination that she initially is for Ludo), this title would make an excellent book discussion piece as well as individual read. The translator does a thorough job noting French political and cultural allusions that might be unfamiliar to the reader.  I hope someone will comment to claim. It will be in the catalog soon.


Gary, Romain. The Kites. New Directions. Oct. 31. 

Publisher summary from W. W. Norton: 

On a small farm in Normandy, as Hitler rises to power in Germany, young Ludo comes of age in the care of his Uncle Ambrose, an eccentric mailman, kite-maker, and pacifist. Ludo’s quiet existence changes the day he meets Lila, a girl from the aristocratic Polish family who own the estate next door. In a single glance, Ludo instantly falls in love forever; Lila, on the other hand, remains elusive. Thus begins Ludo’s adventure of longing, passion, and steadfast love for Lila, who begins to reciprocate his feelings just as Europe descends into war. After Germany invades Poland, Lila and her family disappear, and Ludo’s journey to save her from the Nazis becomes a journey to save his loved ones, his country, and ultimately himself.Filled with unforgettable characters—an indomitable chef who believes Michelin stars are more enduring than military conquests; a Jewish brothel Madam who reinvents everything about herself during the war; a piano virtuoso turned RAF pilot— The Kites is Romain Gary’s poetic call for resistance in whatever form it takes.

cover image for The Kites


Nancy Pearl’s fiction debut comes out September 5th and right now we have 41 holds on 40 print copies.  We also have 3 eAudio copies, which might be the best bet for rapid access on 9/5 at this point.  Just think – at last the reader’s advisory master becomes the advised to.  Comment to claim.


George And LizziePublisher’s Summary:

From “America’s librarian” and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl comes an emotionally riveting debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads.

George and Lizzie have radically different understandings of what love and marriage should be. George grew up in a warm and loving family–his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom–while Lizzie grew up as the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

Over the course of their marriage, nothing has changed–George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. When a shameful secret from Lizzie’s past resurfaces, she’ll need to face her fears in order to accept the true nature of the relationship she and George have built over a decade together.

With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is an intimate story of new and past loves, the scars of childhood, and an imperfect marriage at its defining moments.



This week Jodi Picoult published an e-short with multimedia images called Mermaid with Amazon’s Kindle in Motion. See the Entertainment Weekly description with sample pictures here.

Exclusive, teasing short works, sometimes available only digitally, pop up periodically.  No, right now this isn’t available for purchase in OverDrive.  It will be interesting to see how these multimedia books fare in the future. Here’s the Amazon link that has mixed personal reviews so far, one indicating that the moving pictures were distracting though the story was solid.  Good thing James Patterson of BookShots is a conscious library advocate!

Thumbnail scroll view image - 1 for Mermaid [Kindle in Motion] (Kindle Single)

Cuba “people to people” visa travel is being restricted soon or already is (not perfectly clear on timing from news articles I’ve looked at).  Straightforward individual tourism direct from US is definitely not happening soon. This will likely limit and discourage individual travel and probably demand for tourist guidebooks. See articles below.  Because of this I’m taking a look at pre-2017 copies of some series we bought in last few years and am buying *very* conservatively going forward.  Please alert me to any Cuba materials you come across that raise concern either for yourself or customers. Thank you!

USA Today Article

National Law Review 

Update: The titles I’ve looked at seem just to indicate in brief sections that there was easing of travel restrictions in 2015 without being too declarative for the future. I’m letting them continue to circulate for a while.  

Cuba  National Geographic Traveler  Frommer's Easyguide to Cuba  Fodor's Cuba  Footprint Cuba

Courtesy of Becky who has her sources. Comment to claim. Thanks.

Another ARC of you know what-

Love and Other Consolation Prizes


  The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

The Massacre of MankindA sequel to the H.G. Wells classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, brilliantly realized by award-winning SF author and Wells expert Stephen Baxter

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.

So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.

The Massacre of Mankind has begun.


A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass


A House Among the TreesWhen the revered children’s book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was twelve and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty’s last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.

When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty’s past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss–and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene–and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands–will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.

Blog Plugs

May 22, 2017

I think I need to focus on some other projects right now so my own postings might slow a bit, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for following our blog and for your thoughtful, engaging comments. I’ve learned a lot from them.

First I wanted to give a shout for our BiblioFiles blog, which is just getting better and better.  It’s a must if you’re involved in reader’s advisory.  Our Grant P, still a Readers Team member, is a regular contributor.

As for external blogs if you’re going to follow one, I would recommend either EarlyWord or Shelf Awareness and definitely check in with both if you have time.  EarlyWord is particularly strong on media tie-ins, the nexus of libraryland and publishing, and best of lists.  Its monthly galley chat is a rich source of pre-publication titles that are really gathering momentum. Shelf Awareness is great at covering local titles and bookstore news.  They are both strong on media publicity.

For ARC grabbers, I strongly recommend getting on Edelweiss if you haven’t already. New digital ARC’s are being added all the time, and this is also a convenient vehicle for participating in the LibraryReads campaign.  Right from a title review you can vote and contribute blurbs/reviews.  Marina is faithfully following these now on BiblioFiles as well.




These are ARC’s I picked up at a Random House title presentation over the weekend. The Isabel Dalhousie novel is slated for July; the other two are out this month.  I’m hoping the Scandinavian thriller readers out there among you will get a chance to claim the Nesbø (beat the queue or savor for later).

Jane Austen the Secret Radical is a non-fiction title and a Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) title so I thought I’d mention what’s up with PDA. The adult biography pilot is closed and no new title records are being added to the catalog. I will, however, continue to order from these records until the last ones have either been ordered or removed for lack of holds.  We have learned a lot from this interesting experiment, but for now are not recommending that PDA be adopted as a permanent selection method.  I will be making a brief presentation on this at this month’s Managers Meeting as well. There are many logistical challenges, including modulating the title source list/stream, and the initial cost and circulation metrics have not been what we hoped, though I hope looking again at figures in the fall will show improvement for PDA vs non-PDA titles over a longer timeframe.

Comment to claim. 

McCall Smith, Alexander. A Distant View of Everything. Pantheon, July.

A Distant View of EverythingPublisher summary: When a matchmaker begins to question her latest match, Isabel Dalhousie is called upon to help.

A new baby brings an abundance of joy to Isabel and her husband, Jamie—but almost-four-year-old Charlie is none too keen on his newborn brother. In fact, he refuses to acknowledge Magnus, and Isabel must find a way to impress upon her older son the patience and understanding that have served as guiding principles in her own life.

These are the very qualities that bring Bea Shandon, an old acquaintance of Isabel’s, to seek her help in a tricky situation. Something on a matchmaker, Bea has introduced a wealthy female friend to a cosmetic surgeon at her most recent dinner party. Then new information comes to light about the surgeon that causes Bea to doubt his motives and the auspiciousness of the match. Isabel agrees to find out more, but as her enquiries take an unexpected turn, she starts to wonder whom exactly she should be investigating. As ever, Isabel’s intelligence, quick wit and deep empathy will come to her aid as she grapples with the issues that are her bread and butter: friendship and its duties, the obligation of truthfulness, and the importance of perspective.

The Thirst

Nesbø, Jo. The Thirst. Knopf, May.

Publisher Summary: The murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue–fragments of rust and paint in her wounds–leaves the investigating team baffled.
Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.
The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.
But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.


Kelly, Helena. Jane Austen, the Secret Radical. Knopf, May.

Jane Austen, The Secret RadicalPublisher Summary: In this fascinating, revelatory work, Helena Kelly–dazzling Jane Austen authority–looks past the grand houses, the pretty young women, past the demure drawing room dramas and witty commentary on the narrow social worlds of her time that became the hallmark of Austen’s work to bring to light the serious, ambitious, deeply subversive nature of this beloved writer. Kelly illuminates the radical subjects–slavery, poverty, feminism, the Church, evolution, among them–considered treasonous at the time, that Austen deftly explored in the six novels that have come to embody an age. The author reveals just how in the novels we find the real Jane Austen: a clever, clear-sighted woman “of information,” fully aware of what was going on in the world and sure about what she thought of it. We see a writer who understood that the novel–until then seen as mindless “trash”–could be a great art form and who, perhaps more than any other writer up to that time, imbued it with its particular greatness.