Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday New Releases--Two Big Nonfiction Titles and a Whole Mess of Paperbacks.

January 14 is a strong release date, with two nonfiction hardcovers expected to get a lot of attention. Sherman Gabriel's The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--And Divided a Country has been on the schedule for a while, but if I followed the conversation correctly, his previous order cancelled out and he had to do another buy just a few weeks ago.  The New York Times Book Review piece from Jacob Weisberg, who had first hand experience with Ailes when he took over their local paper, the Putnam County News and Recorder, turning it into "The New York Post with field hockey scores." I guess he's also known for Fox News.

The other big release is Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert M. Gates. General Jack Keane used his review in The Wall Street Journal to complain about the current administration's embracing of failure. Journalist Greg Jaffe is more measured in his review in The Washington Post, while noting “Gates admires Obama’s decisiveness and smarts, but accuses him of sending troops to fight and die in support of a strategy in Afghanistan that, according to Gates, the president himself believed would fail, he later observes that that “Gates doesn’t prove his damning accusation and can be maddeningly self-contradictory in his criticism of Obama.” I'll let the politicos argue this one out.

Beyond that, the big news seems to be an avalanche of new releases in paperback. As the tradition of reprinting books has migrated from one year to somewhere between four months and never, we've started to see two concentrations of paperback release, one in the midst of winter (January and February) and the other at the beginning of summer (Late May through early July). Why this is, I do not know, but I think that many publishers have observed a good amount of paperbacks breaking out with that schedule. On the other hand, both Maria Semple and Jess Walter exploded their paperback sales with a traditional April release, so who knows?

Among the new releases (since January 1)that we've discussed here in hardcover:
Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni
The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
Frances and Bernard, by Carlene Bauer
The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner
Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy
Benediction, by Kent Haruf
Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell
and already on the bestseller list
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.

The Flamethrowers was originally scheduled for February 4--I remember because book club was meeting on February 3. I guess Simon figured out that we'd have trouble selling the book for our March 3 meeting so they moved it up six weeks. Yes, that has to be the reason! I could have also sworn that at one point, I saw a changed-up jacket for the paperback--similar image with different coloring. I have no record, alas.

One last note. I wish I had been there for the Karen Russell paperback meeting for Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Acount so and so says "More lemons, less vampires," because women of their target market are anti-monster and pro-fruit. And voila, the vampire bat on the hardcover at right becomes a lemon icon that looks like it would be at home in an upscale cleaning product, but is made more literary by the trendy handwriting-like typeface. It should be noted that I don't dislike the new jacket. I am also pro-fruit.

No comments: