Items tagged with Book news

Book Expo America

Posted by SusanM on Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 - 11:41 AM

Book ExpoThe end of May always brings BookExpo America (BEA) back to NYC for a week.  This large trade show is aimed primarily at the retail book buyers of America, but BEA provides many great programs and lots of great authors for the library community.  This year’s show was the perfect opportunity to hear about what books will be released in the next few months and what books are likely to be in demand.read more


BookExpo

Posted by on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 12:49 PM

I was glad to have a few days of vacation time left over to rest up after my annual trek into New York City for the annual BookExpo America (a.k.a. BEA)—the largest annual book trade fair in the United States.

Nearly all significant book publishers in the US, and many from abroad, have booths and exhibits at BEA, and use the event as an opportunity to showcase their current tiles and to introduce some of their upcoming books.read more

Book news

A Storyteller of Charm & Substance

Posted by on Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 12:43 PM

A few years ago at the Connecticut Library Association conference, I heard Elizabeth Berg talk about her writing career. Her love of writing and reading was obvious, as  she talked about her previous career as a nurse and how that enhanced her understanding of people. Her  keen appreciation of  how people - and especially women- think permeates her work.

My favorite of her books is a short story collection , The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: and Other Small Acts of Liberation.  The title says it all, as she focuses on women of all ages,  teenage  to  80-something,  dealing with issues of dieting, body image, aging, love, loss, letting go and creating a new life. (She will be having  a " Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted party!"   In Illinois.)

Berg writes a book a year; easy additions to your reading list- not too literary , not too slick- good quick reads with thoughtful underpinnings about the pains and pleasures of relationships.

Once Upon a Time, There Was You is her latest.  Sadie is 18 and secretly in love. Her parents are divorced and each engaged in a search for new love. Suddenly, terror intrudes and the parents come together to deal with Sadie's disappearance. About the permanent connections of divorced parents (connected enough to get back together?), the revelations of female friendship (will they push it too far?), the overwhelming anxiety of a mother's fear and concern (will she alienate her daughter?)...the story is about the vagaries of different kinds of love.

I admit that as the mother in the story took her " helicopter" parenting  to new heights, I experienced an uncomfortable twinge of identity.  That is Berg's gift- her empathetic grasp of our  emotions and motivations and her clever and wise ways of telling our stories.  More Berg books.


National Reading Group Month

Posted by SusanM on Friday, Oct 15, 2010 - 12:48 PM

Great_Group_Reads_Logos_72dpi.jpgIf you’re a member of a book group then you already understand the value and enjoyment of a shared reading experience. The Women’s National Book Association recognizes the importance of reading groups each October with the celebration of National Reading Group Month. Events are held in libraries and bookstores across the country and each year a new list of great group-reads is selected by the WNBA. This year’s list has some great choices for book groups and booklovers in search of their next good read.

The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin is an excellent choice for those who loved The Help and The Secret Life of Bees. A story of race, identity and growing up in the 1960’s in Mississippi, book clubs will love this novel filled with well written, complex characters.

Heidi Durrow has written a novel loosely based on her own life as the biracial daughter of a Danish woman and an African American soldier. The Girl who Fell from the Sky is also a coming of age story, set in 1980 in Portland, where after a family tragedy Rachel goes to live with her black grandmother. It won the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender is an interesting book, certain to provoke discussion in your book club. With each bite she takes Rose Edelstein, the young protagonist of this story, is able to taste the emotions of whoever prepares her food. This unusual gift is both magical and a curse and Rose struggles with it as she grows from a girl of nine to adulthood.

The Great Group Reads list has ten other suggestions for book groups. In some of my previous blogs I wrote about Blame by Michele Huneven and The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli. The latest addition to our Speaking of Books collection, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, is also on the list. This novel about the friendship of an illegal Nigerian refugee and an English widow has already become a book club favorite.

Book groups know that good books bring people together for discussion, friendship and the enjoyment of literature and reading. It’s your turn to celebrate being a book club member! Let smadeo [at] westportlibrary [dot] org (me )know if you would like to add one of these selections to your club’s list.read more

Book news

So many books...

Posted by on Monday, Oct 11, 2010 - 1:35 PM

In addition to the weekly order from the review journals, books are added to the Library collection for a bunch of other reasons. Many of these titles make up my “interim” orders, one of the ways we strive to have the books you want to read when you want to read them!

Suggestions for interim orders arrive on my desk from different directions:
• Our Interactive Library System can produce a “purchase alert” report which lets me know when a title has four or more holds. It also alerts me to books that are lost and have one or more holds. I see this list once or twice each week.
• Every day, Library users request the purchase of various books. These requests may arrive in paper or by email.
Publishers Weekly sends a daily newsletter which tells me which authors are appearing on television and radio that day.
• Library staff lets me know when new or frequent inquiries indicate interest in a certain title.
• Television morning news/entertainment shows often alert us to the next popular title.
• Some books show the wear and tear of many eager readers; for these and for lost items, we often order replacements.

This brings me to weeding. “Weeding” is library lingo for removing books from the collection. I am often asked, “ how do you decide?” The answer is multi-layered.

One obvious measure is condition. Books that are dirty, tattered, missing pages, defaced, etc. are put aside to be withdrawn from the collection, mended or replaced. What are the other considerations?
• Circulation and in-house usage: how often has it gone out?
• Popularity: are the author and/or the topic important ?
• Nearby coverage: do other nearby libraries have the book? Is it available online?
• New title is coming out by the author: always increases the demand for older titles.
• Space: can we make it fit on the shelves?
• O.P: is the book out of print? Unavailable?
• Subject: do we have other books on the same subject? Is the information online?
• Dated or historical: is the information dangerously dated/ or important historically?
• Multiple copies: usually we keep only one or two copies of a title.

Where do the books go? Most of the withdrawn books go to the Library book sales. Those falling apart and others with out-of date information are discarded. Books are passed along to schools, nursing homes and other institutions when possible.

And the cycle continues…..

Book news

New Books:reviewing the reviews

Posted by on Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010 - 12:24 PM

Reviews are very helpful…but, what to do when the reviewers disagree? This is where the person doing the selection relies on knowledge and experience. Familiarity with authors, publishers, their reputations and their popularity among our Library users- these are all considerations. Here is an example right out of this week’s reviews: Nora Ephron has a new book. It’s a memoir – I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections.

Publishers Weekly says ”…succinct, razor-sharp essays by veteran humorist…” The first line of the review makes the case; read on only for the details.

Kirkus Reviews says ” Only occasionally reaches emotional depth-seems like a tardy attempt to capitalize on the success of I Feel Bad About My Neck.” A tag line that manages to disparage on a couple of levels, but is followed by the notation: (First printing of 500,000)

Into the decision mix goes my understanding of the various review journals, my knowledge of the popularity of Ephron’s last book, my respect for the publisher and my notice of the large initial printing.
Do we order it? Yes! In fact, it is already on order … and has four holds!

This weekly selection process results in orders for about 150 books. Decisions are not always so clear-cut and opinions differ. The committee of selectors has spirited discussions about whether or not to order certain books. Requests from Library users are always considered. Review journals include Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and the New York Times Book Review. Additional journals are read for teen and children’s titles. This is the formal selection process. In addition, radio, television, magazines, internet and word-of-mouth publicity are also considered.

Hmmm…150 new books each week! Where do we put them???

Next up: Weeding …or making room for the new books!

Book news

It's NOT too new for the Library

Posted by on Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 - 11:16 AM

Ever wondered how the Library selects books? Have you been surprised to find the newest titles already in the Library catalog? How do we do it?

I will be sharing our selection “secrets” with you over the next few blog postings. Today, it's all about the New York Times Book Review.

Sometime mid-week, the next Sunday’s Book Review arrives at my desk. I go through and check each title reviewed and advertised to see if we have already ordered it. Usually most of the titles are already on order or on the premises. The others, I add to an “interim” order. That way when you come to the Library on Saturday afternoon looking for the book you just read about in the Times, you will be able to place a hold on it. Occasionally, I take a pass- deciding that the book is too academic, too arcane, too boring or too expensive. Still, if a Library user requests one of those, we will order it.

(My “interim” orders are orders placed between our weekly selection meetings. More on this in another blog.)

It’s Wednesday and I have just completed this exercise. Here are the details:
On the Book Review cover on September 26 is To the End of the Land by David Grossman. I know that the Israeli novelist has a following here and so, even though we have one copy of his new book, I have added more, including an Express copy for those who prefer browsing to waiting on the hold list.
We have learned to expect many requests when a front-page Book Review title receives positive attention. Recent examples: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, Comedy in a Minor Key & Death of the Adversary by Hans Keilson and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

This week, there’s a full page ad for Growing Up Laughing by Marlo Thomas. This has been on order for a while, but when a local celebrity has a full page ad for her autobiography, we know we will need more copies.

How to Become a Scandal by Laura Kipnis is reviewed. Subtitled: Adventures in Bad Behavior, this will surely pique the interest of many readers. I also heard Kipnis being interviewed on WNYC radio - another hint that our Library users will be looking for the book. An Express copy added!

Here’s the one I passed on: The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History by Samuel Moyn. It sounds academic- important and not uninteresting, but not a popular choice. Read the review this weekend and mcampbell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org (let me know )if you want to reserve the book. We’ll order it!

Did you know that Jack London was a photographer? Jack London: Photographer is now on order. Check out the picture of his valet aboard the sailboat Roamer (1910) on page 21 of the Book Review.

Next up: Other review sources.

Book news

Welcome Back!

Posted by SusanM on Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010 - 1:55 PM

book stack.jpgIt seems that everyone came back from vacation at the same time and new book club requests are piling up on my desk. The fall reading season is off to a great start, and it’s always fun to see what everyone wants to read next. It looks like both Little Bee by Clive Cleave and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, both recently added to the Speaking of Books collection, will be favorites this fall. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford are also appearing on many of the lists. For those book groups that are still trying to make some decisions about what to read, here are a few suggestions. Last spring at BookExpo America, top publishers presented a few of their favorites for book clubs this fall. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier was one of their choices. This portrait of female friendship in the 19th century is a fine selection for groups that love historical fiction. For something more contemporary, The Privileges by Jonathan Dee is a good option. Complex characters and moral issues in this novel of wealth and family make it excellent for book discussions. Rafael Yglesias’ book, A Happy Marriage, was another book club favorite at BookExpo. Inspired by his own marriage, Mr. Yglesias has written a novel about the enduring value of a long term relationship. Mark your calendar for Thursday, Sept. 16th at noon when Mr. Yglesias will be here at the Westport Public Library to discuss his book. If you still need suggestions for your club, do not miss Sybil Steinberg on Tuesday, Sept. 28th , when she will be at the library with some helpful recommendations about newly published books. And definitely make room on your schedule for the WestportREADS selection in January 2011. This year we have chosen Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for our town-wide read. This true story of a Syrian-American man and his family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will be the topic of many programs, discussions and events at the library during January. We are looking forward to having all our book clubs take an active role in the discussion. If you have any other suggestions for good book club reads, post a comment or let smadeo [at] westportlibrary [dot] org (me )know. Happy reading! book stack.jpgIt seems that everyone came back from vacation at the same time and new book club requests are piling up on my desk. The fall reading season is off to a great start, and it’s always fun to see what everyone wants to read next. It looks like both Little Bee by Clive Cleave and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, both recently added to the Speaking of Books collection, will be favorites this fall. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford are also appearing on many of the lists. For those book groups that are still trying to make some decisions about what to read, here are a few suggestions. Last spring at BookExpo America, top publishers presented a few of their favorites for book clubs this fall. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier was one of their choices. This portrait of female friendship in the 19th century is a fine selection for groups that love historical fiction. For something more contemporary, The Privileges by Jonathan Dee is a good option. Complex characters and moral issues in this novel of wealth and family make it excellent for book discussions. Rafael Yglesias’ book, A Happy Marriage, was another book club favorite at BookExpo. Inspired by his own marriage, Mr. Yglesias has written a novel about the enduring value of a long term relationship. Mark your calendar for Thursday, Sept. 16th at noon when Mr. Yglesias will be here at the Westport Public Library to discuss his book. If you still need suggestions for your club, do not miss Sybil Steinberg on Tuesday, Sept. 28th , when she will be at the library with some helpful recommendations about newly published books. And definitely make room on your schedule for the WestportREADS selection in January 2011. This year we have chosen Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for our town-wide read. This true story of a Syrian-American man and his family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will be the topic of many programs, discussions and events at the library during January. We are looking forward to having all our book clubs take an active role in the discussion. If you have any other suggestions for good book club reads, post a comment or let smadeo [at] westportlibrary [dot] orgknow. Happy reading!


Florida

Posted by on Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010 - 12:56 PM

Every time Carl Hiaasen has a new book, it zooms onto the best seller lists, including the “Library Bestsellers.” A native and life-long Floridian, Hiaasen writes for the Miami Herald. His satiric and sarcastic commentaries are guaranteed to raise hackles and entertain readers. Since the 1980s, he has been publishing novels (translated into 34 languages) for both adults and teens. Two collections of his newspaper columns have been published and his book Team Rodent (1998) was an expose of the Disney empire. Star Island is Hiaasen’s newest featuring a young female celebrity whose body double gets kidnapped by a crazed paparazzo. ..in Florida.

Another Florida journalist turned novelist is Tim Dorsey. Writing from the Gulf side of the state, Dorsey has published 12 novels. The latest is Gator a–Go-Go, a spring break party full of nefarious characters and mysterious murders. His Crime capers feature the anti-hero and psychotic Serge A. Storms and the druggie Coleman.

Susanna Daniel is a new author and I look forward to her next novel. Her debut Stiltsville begins in the Bay of Biscayne where a community of houses is built on stilts. It’s there that she meets her future husband and Stiltsville remains a touchstone throughout this book which reads like a memoir of their marriage in all its peaks and valleys. Daniel captures the details of Florida life with meticulous and graceful writing.

Back to the west coast, we find John Brandon with his hit (NYTimes Book Review) Citrus County set in the rural swamps around Tampa. His second novel addresses the loneliness of a middle school boy who decides to take desperate action. He lives with his unloving uncle and is mentored by one of his teachers, whose moral compass may be a little off. Red-neck self destruction is the vibe here. Brandon says that driving through Citrus County on his trips to and from college made him think of intriguing “diffused energy.” Years later he used that feeling as a starting point for story of lower class Southern living.

Book news

FICTION WITH AN ATTITUDE

Posted by SusanM on Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010 - 2:56 PM

chick lit.jpgOk – I confess – I like to read chick lit. Not all the time, but definitely in the summer and whenever I need something light and fun. I know that there are many of you who probably think that all chick lit is about young, attractive women who only like to shop and think about men. But chick lit has come a long way since its inception and there are many books and authors that are now considered part of this genre.

Chick lit novels are usually written by women and cover a wide range of topics that women deal with daily – love, marriage, friendships, work and social issues. Often told in the first person narrative, what makes them different from traditional women’s fiction are humor and a more personal tone.

One of the earliest examples of this genre is Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding. Bridget’s journal of personal struggles and attempts at self improvement captured the attention of many readers. Very funny, full of self-deprecating humor, it’s a fun read. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, is another favorite of mine. This is another entertaining read, especially if you are interested in fashion or the fashion industry.

When I discovered author Emily Giffen, I became a true fan of chick lit. This former attorney has written five novels that have all made the NYTimes bestseller list. Her first, Something Borrowed, is the story of a complex female friendship that many women will relate to and understand. She quickly followed it with a sequel, Something Blue. Her books are well written and filled with provocative questions and situations that seem real and true. Her web site has lots more information about this engaging author.

There are many other authors that fall into the chick lit category. Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner, Marian Keyes and Jane Green are some of the better known writers of this genre. Some even consider Jane Austen to be the original chick lit author! If you’re looking for a quick, fun book to read this summer as you head off to the beach, try one of these chick lit favorites. You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Book news