Alexandra Fuller’s autobiographies did great here. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness has circulated 384 times and Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight 480 times.  Now she’s debuting a novel.

Dean Koontz introduces a new protagonist but stays in general suspense mode. Comment to claim.

Koontz, Dean. The Silent Corner. Bantam, June 20th.

The Silent Corner“”I very much need to be dead.” These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for–but took his own life. In the void that remains stands his widow, Jane, surrounded by questions destined to go unanswered . . . unless she does what all the grief, fear, confusion, and fury inside of her demands: find the truth, no matter what”– Provided by publisher. “A major new work of dark literary, psychological suspense–brilliantly paced with a twisting narrative and chilling antagonists–from #1 bestselling author Dean Koontz. “I very much need to be dead.” These are the chilling words left behind by a manwho had everything to live for–but took his own life. In the void that remains stands his widow, surrounded by questions destined to go unanswered unless she does what all the grief, fear, confusion, and fury inside her demand: Find the truth, no matterwhat. There is no one else to speak for him–or the others who have followed him into death at their own hands. Though people of talent and accomplishment, people admired and seemingly happy and sound of mind, have recently been committing suicide in surprising numbers, no one else is willing to give up everything just to seek, to find, to know. No one except her. But ahead lies only risk. Because those arrayed against her are legion, and dangerously devoted to protecting something profoundly important–or terrifying–enough to exterminate any and all in their way. Too many have already died, and those responsible will learn that all their malevolent power may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless–and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love. ACCLAIM FOR DEAN KOONTZ “Dean Koontz is a prose stylist whose lyricism heightens malevolence and tension. [He creates] characters of unusual richnessand depth.”–The Seattle Times “Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. ‘Serious’ writers. might do well to examine his technique.”–The New York Times Book Review “”Lyrical writing and compelling characters. Koontz stands alone.”–Associated Press “In every industry there exist ‘artists’ that are not only unforgettable, but know their craft better than the rest. Dean Koontz. is among these artisans.”–Suspense Magazine “[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability toyank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match.”–Los Angeles Times “Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America. novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good. [and that] entertain vastly as they uplift.”–Publishers Weekly”– Provided by publisher.

Fuller, Alexandra.  Quiet Until the Thaw.  Penguin, June 27th.

Quiet Until the Thaw“From bestselling memoirist Alexandra Fuller, a debut novel. Lakota Oglala Sioux Nation, South Dakota. Two Native American cousins, Rick Overlooking Horse and You Choose Watson, though bound by blood and by land, find themselves at odds as they grapple with the implications of their shared heritage. When escalating anger towards the injustices, historical and current, inflicted upon the Lakota people by the federal government leads to tribal divisions and infighting, the cousins go in separate directions: Rick chooses the path of peace; You Choose, violence. Years pass, and as You Choose serves time in prison, Rick finds himself raising twin baby boys, orphaned at birth, in his meadow. As the twins mature from infants to young men, Rick immerses the boys within their ancestry, telling wonderful and terrible tales of how the whole world came to be, and affirming their place in the universe as the result of all who have come before and will come behind. But when You Choose returns to the reservation afterthree decades behind bars, his anger manifests, forever disrupting the lives of Rick and the boys. A complex tale that spans generations and geography, Quiet Until the Thaw conjures with the implications of an oppressed history, how we are bound not just to immediate family but to all who have come before and will come after us, and, most of all, to the notion that everything was always, and is always, connected. As Fuller writes, “The belief that we can be done with our past is a myth. The past is nudging at us constantly.””– Provided by publisher.

Today’s PW Daily had a link to a Guardian article titled “How eBooks Lost Their Shine: Kindles Now Look Clunky and Unhip,” which presents the case for the idea that, far from bulldozing traditional print books into the dust, ebooks have lost sales in the recent couple of years and are settling into a certain specific use and marketing niche while the book itself as an object has become more appreciated.  One of the interesting points is the preference of teens for print when reading actual books, in part because of digital technology’s tendency to distract the reader with the draw of other digital forms of entertainment and interaction.  This article talks about the UK’s situation, but the New York Times in late 2015 published an article, “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead” noting the same phenomena already developing here as well.

There is a rebutting argument, however, taking notice that all of this is focused on sales by publishers as reported to the Association of American Publishers, which these days hardly covers the entire ebook market.  Robert Springer in an article on the site EContent, clearly lays out the opposite case, quoting Smashwords CEO and Founder Mark Coker

Amazon’s virtual stranglehold on ebook sales is another reason that subscription services are struggling. The ecommerce giant controls “something north” of 70% of the ebook market, says Mark Coker, the founder and CEO of Smashwords, a company that helps authors and publishers distribute ebooks. For $9.99 a month, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program allows ebook readers to choose from more than 1 million ebooks.

So, ebooks sales of content by traditional publishers are settling if not outright declining, but “independent” author content sold by Amazon on the cheap represents a large segment of the ebook market, which Coker estimates at already 10-20% of the total book market.  Coker presented a program on this topic last summer at BEA, which I attended.  The Smashwords founder was critical of both traditional publishers (for not adapting effectively to the new situation) and of Amazon for habituating readers to the idea that books should be virtually free, for promoting quantity over quality, and for rigidly exclusive contracts with ebook independent authors (as part of the KDP Select program).

Smashwords incidentally, is the one indie title source that provides ebook content to OverDrive for us to lend. Still, the traditional publishers, while they seem to have succeeded in pulling back some of their own business to print, are the main drivers of our customers’ electronic borrowing, especially in the sharply increasing eaudio market but with respect to ebooks as well.  Sno-Isle’s OverDrive statistics showed over 130,000 checkouts last month, for instance, compared to less than 70,000 in April 2015.  Perhaps would-be buyers of some published ebooks are choosing to borrow them from their libraries instead?

 

The Chevalier title is next month’s Hogarth Shakespeare title a series of novels retelling plots and themes from Shakespeare’s plays.  To date, the likes of Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Tyler, Jo Nesbo, Howard Jacobson, and Gillian Flynn have contributed, with Edward St. Aubyn’s Dunbar, the homage to King Lear, coming this October.

In the meantime, comment first to claim any one of these.

McBride, Laura. ‘Round Midnight. Simon & Schuster, May 2nd.

Round MidnightPublisher summary: From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.  Spanning the six decades when Las Vegas grew from a dusty gambling town into the melting pot metropolis it is today, ‘Round Midnight is the story of four women–one who falls in love, one who gets lucky, one whose heart is broken, and one who chooses happiness–whose lives change at the Midnight Room.  June Stein and her husband open the El Capitan casino in the 1950s, and rocket to success after hiring a charismatic black singer to anchor their nightclub. Their fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount.  Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail order bride to a Chicago businessman, then hits a jackpot at the Midnight Room when he takes her on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.  Engracia, a Mexican immigrant whose lucky find at the Midnight Room leads to heartbreak, becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secret when she opens her employer’s door to that Chicago businessman–and his gun.  And then there is Coral, an African-American teacher who struggles with her own mysterious past. A favor for Honorata takes her to the Midnight Room, where she hits a jackpot of another kind.  Mining the rich territory of motherhood and community, ‘Round Midnight is a story that mirrors the social transformation of our nation. Full of passion, heartbreak, heroism, longing, and suspense, it honors the reality of women’s lives.

 

Laird, Nick.  Modern Gods. Viking, June 27th.

Publisher summary: Alison DonModern Godsnelly has suffered for love.  Still stuck in the small Northern Irish town where she was born, working for her father’s real estate agency, she hopes to pick up the pieces and get her life back together.  Her sister Liz, a fiercely independent college professor who lives in New York City, is about to return to Ulster for Alison’s second wedding, before heading to an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to make a TV show about the world’s newest religion.  Both sisters’ lives are about to be shaken apart.  Alison wakes up the day after her wedding to find that her new husband has a past neither of them can escape.  In a rainforest on the other side of the planet, Liz finds herself becoming increasingly entangled in the eerie, charged world of Belef, the subject of her show, a charismatic middle-aged woman who is the leader of a cargo cult. As Modern Gods ingeniously interweaves the stories of Liz and Alison, it becomes clear that both sisters must learn how to negotiate with the past, with the sins of fanaticism, and decide just what the living owe to the dead.  Laird’s brave, innovative novel charts the intimacies and disappointments of a family trying to hold itself together, and the repercussions of history and faith.

 

Chevalier, Tracy.  New Boy.  Hogarth, May 11th.

New Boy

William Shakespeare’s Othello retold as New Boy.  Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.  The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds – Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant ‘girlfriend’ Mimi – Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

 

The Seattle Weekly had a nice article on Independent Bookstore Day, the last Saturday in April. Please let me know of any other area stores doing special events or promotions and I’ll include a link.

From the article:

Also this Saturday, the most hardcore book lovers will attempt to visit 19 of these 23 bookstores. This is an arduous journey, stretching from Poulsbo’s Liberty Bay Books to the Edmonds Bookshop to BookTree Kirkland and all Seattle’s neighborhood shops. It’s a difficult journey involving lots of traffic, parking, and assorted driving woes, but those who succeed will get a 25 percent discount on every purchase at any of these stores for the whole year.

 

Local stores participating in the Seattle deal are below. Now that’s a promotion!

Ada’s Technical Books and Café (Seattle); adasbooks.com

Book Larder (Seattle); booklarder.com

BookTree (Kirkland); booktreekirkland.com

Eagle Harbor Books (Bainbridge Island); eagleharborbooks.com

Edmonds Bookshop; edmondsbookshop.com – yea!

Elliott Bay Book Co. (Seattle); elliottbaybook.com

Fantagraphics Bookstore (Seattle); fantagraphics.com

Island Books (Mercer Island); islandbooks.com

Liberty Bay Books (Bremerton, Poulsbo); libertybaybooks.com

Magnolia’s Bookstore (Seattle); magnoliasbookstore.com

 The Neverending Bookshop (Bothell); theneverendingbookshop.com

Open Books (Seattle); openpoetrybooks.com

Phinney Books (Seattle); phinneybooks.com

Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle); qabookco.com

Seattle Mystery Bookshop; seattlemystery.com

Secret Garden Books (Seattle); secretgardenbooks.com

Third Place Books (Seward Park, Ravenna, Lake Forest Park); thirdplacebooks.com

The Traveler (Bainbridge Island); thetraveler.com

 University Book Store (Seattle, Mill Creek); ubookstore.com

 

 

A 2015 Hedgebrook writer in residence from Nigeria is coming out with her first novel from Knopf.  An international but also locally incubated talent, Adebayo will be an interesting debut novelist to watch.

Adebayo, Ayobami.  Stay With Me.  Knopf, August 22nd.

Stay with Me by Ayobami AdebayoIn the spirit of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee and Emma Donoghue’s Room, this unforgettable novel set in Nigeria gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage–and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

You know what to do – thanks! Also this is definitely now in the catalog with 8 holds and rising. I just received two ARC’s from our generous Random House representative.  I’ll give one to first commenter right away and the 2nd I’ll read and give away to second commenter. That might take a few days.

 

Love and Other Consolation PrizesPUBLISHER SUMMARY: 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.

 

In the delightful surprise category –  see EarlyWord for more detail.  It has just slipped into Holds Purchase Alert territory.

Haupt, Lyanda Lynn.  Mozart’s Starling.  Little, Brown, April 4th.

Mozart's StarlingA charming story of Mozart and his pet starling, along with a natural history of the bird.

On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling who sang (an improved version of!) the theme from his Piano Concerto Number 17 in G to him. Knowing a kindred spirit when he met one, Mozart wrote “That was wonderful” in his journal and took the bird home to be his pet. For three years Mozart and his family enjoyed the uniquely delightful company of the starling until one fitful April when the bird passed away.

In 2013, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Crow Planet, rescued her own starling, Carmen, who has become a part of her family. In Mozart’s Starling, Haupt explores the unlikely bond between one of history’s most controversial characters and one of history’s most notoriously disliked birds. Part natural history, part story, Mozart’s Starlingwill delight readers as they learn about language, music, and the secret world of starlings.