Librarian's Choice

Librarians' Choice: top 10

Librarians’ Choice has announced the Top 10 titles for September 2017 that librarians across Australia love. You can request or wish for the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the Librarians’ Choice site.

If you are a librarian in Australia, you can nominate titles for the Librarians’ Choice list via NetGalley!

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Top Ten Books from the UK – October

As we inch closer to Christmas, big name authors jostle with the names of the future in our October roundup. There is a wide variety here – from celebrity autobiography to the best in literary fiction, from chilling crime to romance – so find your perfect winter read while the nights are still light!

Book of the Month

After the Fire
Henning Mankell
Harvill Secker
UK Edition
US Edition

When Henning Mankell died in late 2015, the literary world was robbed of one of its most celebrated and prolific writers. His Wallander novels were international bestsellers, and often considered some of the best crime novels in recent memory. After the Fire is Mankell’s final novel, a compelling conclusion to a body of work few can rival.

Retired doctor Fredrik Welin lives a solitary life on a secluded Swedish island. It is a quiet life; quiet until he is woken in the night to find his house on fire. His possessions destroyed and his house in ruins, Fredrik must uncover the truth of the fire – if someone started it, who? And for what reason?

Two Kinds of Truth
Michael Connelly
Orion
UK Edition

The hugely successful television adaptation of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels has given the detective a huge new audience – and Two Kinds of Truth is the perfect example of why the book is even better than the screen. Harry is squeezed by the past and the present as a current murder investigation leads to the dangerous world of Big Pharma, while a killer from Bosch’s past claims Harry framed him. The two cases push Harry to the limit in his quest for the truth. But whose truth is it?

How to be Champion
Sarah Millican
Trapeze
UK Edition

In a few short years, Sarah Millican has become one of the UK’s most popular and beloved comedians. Her observational, quietly acerbic and utterly distinctive style has been filling arenas up and down the country, and now fills the pages of her hilarious and often moving memoir. Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, Millican’s wry portrait of herself is a mine of comedy gold and How to be Champion is sure to be a big bestseller.

Mirror, Mirror
Cara Delevingne
Trapeze
UK Edition

Cara Delevingne is often considered the voice of her generation, and this first novel – written with bestselling writer Rowan Coleman – shows her understanding of the struggles and pitfalls of growing up. Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits, but their band, Mirror, Mirror, holds them together. That is until Naomi is pulled unconscious from the river. The police claim it was a suicide attempt, but her friends aren’t convinced. A powerful coming-of-age story for fans of We Were Liars and The Girls.

Don't Wake Up
Liz Lawler
Twenty7
Worldwide Edition

Already attracting a huge buzz around it on NetGalley, Don’t Wake Up is shaping to become one of the big breakout thrillers of 2017 – but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart. Doctor Alex Taylor remembers going to meet her boyfriend, Patrick, after shift, but nothing more. So why is she on operating table? And what does the man who is not a doctor want with her? And why when she wakes again is there no evidence of the violence he has committed? Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, Alex begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind. And then she meets the next victim…

Dunbar
Edward St Aubyn
Hogarth
UK Edition
US Edition
CA Edition

Edward St Aubyn’s Melrose novels – soon to be a television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch – cemented him as one of England’s finest prose stylists. Dunbar, his retelling of King Lear, shows all his panache and precision, in a novel of intense and brooding tension. Henry Dunbar has retired and left the family firm to his daughters. It is a decision he soon comes to regret, living out his days in a home with only an alcoholic comedian for company. Modernising any Shakespeare drama is always a fraught business, but Dunbar is an unsettling, powerful and an unqualified success.

Hortense and the Shadow
Natalia & Lauren O'Hara
Puffin
UK Edition

There are some picture books which transcend their intended market; books that can delight anyone of any age. Hortense and the Shadow is one such book, a beautifully illustrated, beautifully told tale that is both timeless and timely. Hortense hates her shadow. Everywhere she goes, it follows. Everything she does, it does too. And every time night falls it grows tall and dark and crooked. But when Hortense decides her shadow must go, she finds herself alone in the wolfish woods. An exquisite fable of gothic imagination, this is essential reading for everyone who loves fairy stories.

Fresh Complaint
Jeffrey Eugenides
4th Estate
UK Edition

There are few writers who can create real excitement when a new book arrives – but Jeffrey Eugenides is certainly one of them. His masterpieces, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, are two of the most celebrated novels of the last 25 years, and this new work of fiction shows him to be a master of the short story, as well as the long form. Beautifully written, original and always unusual, Fresh Complaint is a wholly satisfying read – even if you don’t usually get on with stories.

Seven Days of Us
Francesca Hornak
Piatkus
UK Edition

With enthusiastic endorsements from the likes of Marian Keyes, Adele Geras and Rosamund Lupton, this Christmas-set family drama is poised to become a must-read festive treat. The Birch family come together in Norfolk to celebrate Christmas. But when aid worker Olivia is told she needs to stay in quarantine, the whole family are forced to stay home for a week together. No one can leave, no one can enter. And that’s when the secrets begin to emerge…

The Ninth Hour
Alice McDermott
UK Edition
US Edition

Alice McDermott is one of America’s most compassionate and engaging writers, her stories of Irish-American life full of life, exuberance, tragedy and conflict. The Ninth Hour follows three generations of a family during the middle of the 20th Century in Brooklyn, their lives bound by the suicide of father Jim. His actions on that fateful day will have ramifications for all, testing the limit of their love, forgiveness and hope. An astonishing novel of power, subtly and grace.

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News from NetGalley

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Book

Cover Love

We’ve rounded up covers we love, and we hope you will too. We’ve also gathered all of your cover votes from this month, and your most loved cover is…The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse!

Click on each cover to read the full description, request (or wish for) the title, and “Like” the cover if you haven’t already. If you’ve read these titles, don’t forget to share feedback with the publisher and with your friends & followers.

Tell us in the comments below which covers you’re loving right now &
they could be included in next month’s edition!

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Jeannette Walls on The Glass Castle Adaptation

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

In 2005, Jeannette Walls published The Glass Castle and welcomed the world into her unique family. With the film adaptation in theaters, Walls is on the road sharing her story and her thoughts on the cinematic version of her life. Bookish had the chance to listen to her speak at a stop in New York, and get her thoughts on the movie.

The path to adapting The Glass Castle has been a long but worthwhile one for Jeannette Walls. Her first attempt at writing her family history started in her 20s, but the memoir didn’t take shape until her husband entered the picture. “My husband pulled the truth out of me,” Walls confesses. “He thought I was exaggerating when I first told him about my childhood.”

The first draft took six weeks to write and five years to rewrite. Walls sought honesty and truth in those rewrites more than anything else. “If there’s something so horrible and painful you cannot imagine putting it down in words, that means you must, because it’s pivotal,” Walls says. “And then you confront [it.] You say, ‘Am I being honest? No. I need to go a little bit deeper.’”

Walls admits there were days when she’d cry under her desk after writing, but she still recommends it. “It was extremely cathartic… you have to be fearless about it… [and] once you write something, you kind of own it and it doesn’t affect you the same way… The trick is not pretending that you don’t have those issues. It’s kind of owning them.”

Once published, the book caught the attention of quite a few filmmakers, but none of the scripts seemed to truly capture what Walls’ childhood and family life had been like until Gil Netter, who produced Life of Pi, entered the picture. “I figured if he knew how to make a movie about a Bengal tiger and an orangutan in a boat, then he would know how to make a movie about my family,” Walls joked.

Netter brought on Destin Daniel Cretton to direct, and after watching Cretton’s Short Term 12, Walls knew that she could trust him with her own story. “It’s real easy to make fun of drunks and make fun of crazy homeless people and he was never going for the cheap shot.” Walls says of Cretton’s direction. “It was just brilliant from day one. He consulted with me on a regular basis.”

Walls was invited to the set multiple times, though seeing the final product still blew her away. “I had a bit of a meltdown watching it,” she says. “They didn’t gloss over the weird, ugly stuff, but they also didn’t ignore the joy… I was just so grateful to Destin and each of the actors for doing layered, nuanced storytelling.”

She hopes that the film affects viewers in the same way. After the publication of the memoir, Walls was often sought out by readers who were touched by her story and felt it connected to their own. This, she shares, is why she felt so compelled to write. “When one person tells a story, it opens up other people to tell stories and that, to me, is why we tell our stories. It’s for those emotional connections that [show] we’re not alone.”

As the conversation wound down, Walls shared the new insight the film had given her about her family and her relationship with them. She confessed that it allowed her to support herself in a way she hadn’t before. “One of the transformative things about watching this movie was seeing Brie Larson making these tough choices. I loved her and was, like, rooting for [her] in a way that I never loved or rooted for myself.”

The Glass Castle hit theaters on August 11, 2017.

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A Tale of Four Cities: Must-Read International Thrillers

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Hankering to end your summer with an international voyage? Author Christine Evelyn Volker rounded up five mysteries and thrillers set on foreign soil. There’s seduction in Seville, intrigue in Istanbul, murder in Moscow and villainy in Venice. What do they have in common? Enthralling locations, treachery, and hints of love, like in her book, Venetian Blood.

The Seville Communion

The pope’s computer is hacked, and Father Lorenzo Quart is sent to Seville to investigate. This talented, dashing emissary soon finds himself tested when he must make sense of a run-down local church “defending itself” from demolition by killing off the would-be developers. Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s intricate whodunit builds with the pulsating rhythm of a flamenco dance. As bodies pile up, Quart tries to put the pieces together and his vow of chastity is in peril when he’s waylaid by the alluring Macarena. For many reasons, he’ll always remember Seville.

Istanbul Passage

This was my first Joseph Kanon book, and now I’m hooked. He draws you into the thrilling world of espionage, like the tempting fragrance of Istanbul’s spice bazaar. It’s the end of 1945, in an Istanbul divided between loyalties as it straddles east and west, land and sea. Leon, an agent and a victim of betrayal, must decide who is friend and foe. He adjusts quickly to his predicament but is faced with agonizing choices ranging from bad to worse. Just how far is he willing to go to shield a man with the blood of innocents on his hands?

Gorky Park

Martin Cruz Smith put the Moscow police procedural on the map with this classic. Arkady Renko, an honest chief investigator, smokes to block out the stench of corpses and vent his frustration with KGB interference. He must solve a triple murder once mutilated bodies are found in the dark, frozen landscape that permeates the book. His pursuit of the case plunges him into expanding circles of corruption and treachery, even perhaps, by someone very close to him.

Playing with Fire

Julia, an American violinist, wanders into an antiquarian’s store in Rome and is mesmerized by the waltz Incendio, meaning fire. Once she plays the captivating music, her world is upended by a brutal force. Shifting to pre-WWII Venice, we observe the tender story of two young people in love: He’s Jewish, she’s Christian. With magical incandescence, they bring the Incendio waltz to life against the gathering clouds of war. As Julia searches for clues in modern-day Venice, we must ask ourselves: What evil has been stirred up by this music?

Defectors

It’s the early sixties and Moscow looks dim and tired—a graveyard for spent spies, like Frank Weeks. An American defector, now watched by the KGB, he and his ilk carve out a half-life existence. Russia grips them in a fierce bear hug from which they can never escape. When Frank’s American publisher sends younger brother Simon to edit his KGB-approved memoir, change glints on the horizon. As Simon succumbs to the lure of Frank’s smooth talk of brotherly love, you wonder if instead he’ll crash upon its rocks. This scorpion’s nest of spies is perfectly portrayed by Kanon. You’ll be on edge till the end reveals which scorpion wins.

Christine Evelyn Volker has lived on both U.S. coasts and traveled in between. She was born in the melting pot of New York City and grew up on Long Island. After studying in Albany, New York, for her undergraduate degree from University at Albany–SUNY, in Spanish Language and Literature, and securing an MLS, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She retooled herself with an MBA in Finance from UC Berkeley and worked in corporate and international lending. Her career brought her to live in Milan and London. An intrepid traveler, she is writing full time, thanks to the support of her husband, Stephan, a public interest environmental lawyer. She’s grateful for two accomplished stepsons and their wives. In addition to Venetian Blood, she is writing a second international mystery, taking place in the Peruvian Amazon, and has completed a children’s picture book.

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Davy Jones’ Bookshelf: Seven Must-Read Pirate Tales

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Ahoy, readers! Prepare to set sail for adventure. Katharine Ashe has a new novella hitting shelves and pirate-lovers won’t want to miss out. The Pirate and I follows Charles Brittle as he attempts to turn over a new leaf and live an honorable life, and win the heart of Miss Esme Astell, of course. In honor of the book’s release, Ashe put together a list of books perfect for readers who crave adventure on the high seas. These novels are sure to have you saying, “a pirate’s life for me.”

Pirates are filthy, rude, crude, thievish, and viciously violent. Yet we adore pirate stories. Why? Because we can invest our most fervent hopes into them: No friends? Climb aboard and you’ll have dozens! No money, clothes, or weapons? Steal them! Mistrust politicians? Join the only consistent democracy in the world!

Pirate protagonists invert reality, allowing us to call out the ugly underside of civilization, and instead celebrate a world in which the basest crimes become something grand and good. The heroes of these novels flaunt the stifling, hypocritical laws of society for reasons we applaud: family, honor, brotherhood, charity, and love. And they’re unforgiving to cowards who break the strict code of pirate justice.

A great pirate hero is a rogue with a heart of gold, which I love. Here are some of the best.

Unhooked

I never cared about Neverland until I read Lisa Maxwell’s young adult novel in which everything Pan is turned upside down, including the fairytale’s so-called hero and its sublimely perfect villain. Woven with clean yet luscious prose, this story of a misfit young woman dragged into fairyland is a sensory banquet full of danger, hope, and courage. It is both deliciously fun and magically beautiful.

Destiny’s Captive

Descended from a long line of pirates, when Pilar Banderas steals adventure-seeking Noah Yates’ ship, it’s not greed that propels her theft but a desperate effort to protect the beloved women of her family, who are her sole responsibility. Laugh and cheer as Pilar shows arrogant Noah what it really means to be heroic. Bonus: On the gorgeous cover of this romance novel, the heroine is ripping the hero’s “bodice.”

Emmanuel Appadocca

An epic story of daring, adventure, and love, this novel is both historically real and delightfully fantastical. A wealthy Trinidadian of mixed race, educated at the best universities in Europe, fluent in multiple languages, a lawyer and politician, Maxwell Philip was incensed over the continued practice of slavery in the United States. And as a lover of Sir Walter Scott’s wildly popular fiction, Philip knew how to spin an enthralling tale. Starring the adventure-seeking son of a white wealthy planter and a black enslaved woman, the novel reveals a spectacular and deeply moving world of honor and danger unmatched in pirate fiction. The ending will slay you.

The Pirate Lord

Gideon Horn has a super idea: kidnap a ship full of convict women en route to New South Wales and keep them as wives for his crewmen. But intelligent, big-hearted Sara Willis has a thing or two to teach the pirate captain about consent and women’s rights. This is an unabashedly feminist romance—from the dedication to Professor Emily Toth, to the hero’s ultimate realization: “What kind of paradise is there where people are not free?”—and a gloriously satisfying corrective to typical abduction romances. I adore this novel.

Treasure Island

The Scots really do have a way with telling adventures. More than a century after its publication, this story is still a cracking yarn about a boy swept into the experience of a lifetime. Peopled with marvelous characters, it’s at times hilarious and at others thoughtful, and always clever. It remains a classic for a very good reason.

The Pirate’s Duty

When Captain Pierce Walsingham sets out to defeat a diabolical sea villain, he damns the fate that makes Oriana Thorpe a crucial part of his plan: “He had to use her and protect her at the same time.” Featuring a hero with honor in his very bones, a heroine born of generations of smugglers, and thoroughly delightful banter, this is pirate romance at its absolute best.

Stardust

“Adventures are all very well in their place… but there’s a lot to be said for regular meals and freedom from pain,” muses the young adventurer Tristran in master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s faerie novel. Pipe-smoking Captain Johannes Alberic of the Perdita (“lost”; great novelists rarely use names blithely) is both protector and enabler. “Tristran often found himself looking back on his time on the Perdita… as one of the happiest periods of his life.” And isn’t that how we all feel after reading a wonderful pirate tale?

Katharine Ashe is the USA Today bestselling author of historical romances featuring strong heroines and the hot heroes who love them, including her latest novella The Pirate and I, which is now available in ebook for $1.99. Learn more about her books at www.KatharineAshe.com.

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News from NetGalley

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The Theory of Connectivity: Do Ideas Choose the Right Writer at the Right Time?

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

They say the wand chooses the wizard, but do ideas choose their writers? That’s what Hazel Gaynor believes. Here, Gaynor shares the theory of connectivity—the idea that inspiration seeks out the right writer at the right time—and how it applies to her latest novel, The Cottingley Secret.

It’s the question all writers are asked, and one we rarely know the answer to: “Where do you find your inspiration?” Erm…

We don’t like to admit that inspiration often feels more akin to desperation. We conveniently ignore the fifteen ideas we tossed aside before stumbling across the one that stuck. So, where do we find our inspiration? The real answer is that inspiration can come from anywhere, or from nowhere. Sometimes we have to wrestle an idea to the ground. Sometimes we fall in and out of love with an idea several times before we commit to writing it. Rarely does inspiration strike with the certainty of a cartoon lightning bolt or tied up in a bow, ready for us to unwrap the bestselling novel waiting inside.

And there’s another school of thought on inspiration: It isn’t the writer who finds the idea at all, but rather, the idea that finds the writer. I call this the theory of connectivity—author and idea, coming together at exactly the right time to make magic happen.

I love the notion of ideas circling in a holding pattern, waiting for permission to land on the writing desk where they know they’ll be nurtured. It’s a theory Elizabeth Gilbert discusses in Big Magic. She talks about an idea she had for a novel but never did anything with, only to discover, years later, that Ann Patchett was writing a book with remarkable similarities. Gilbert believes that because she’d ignored the idea it wandered off to find the right person to write it. “[T]his novel really wanted to be written, and it didn’t stop its rolling search until it finally found the author who was ready, and willing, to take it on.

It has happened to us all, right? That excruciating moment when you hear about a book which is exactly the one you’re planning to write. But you know what? That brilliant idea you had that became someone else’s bestseller was never yours to begin with. There’s no point seething with envy. Far better to move on and open yourself up to the idea that is yours. Because it is out there, waiting for you.

This was certainly my experience in writing The Cottingley Secret.

Having grown up in Yorkshire, England, I’d always known about the Cottingley fairies hoax of the 1920s, when two girls claimed to photograph fairies at the bottom of the garden. But it wasn’t until I attended a writing workshop in 2013, where the fairy photographs were used as a writing prompt, that the idea to write a novel about the events first came knocking.

But I wasn’t ready; wasn’t fully tuned into it. Although I didn’t realize it then, it wasn’t the right time for me to write the book. My notes and enthusiasm were put into my Ideas file, and I got on with other novels.

It was two years before the Cottingley idea returned, and this time it didn’t tap me politely on the shoulder. It pulled up a chair, looked me straight in the eyes, and demanded my full attention. This was the right time for me to write the book, and three curious things happened to confirm it.

First, during a conversation with my agent, while brainstorming ideas for my next book, she mentioned the Cottingley fairies. I’d never discussed it with her. She didn’t know about the writing workshop, or my Ideas file, or that I’d grown up in the area where the photographs were taken.

Then, I then realized that 2017 would mark the centenary of the first Cottingley photographs. 2017 would be my publication year for the book, if I wrote it.

Finally, during early research, I unknowingly started an email exchange with the daughter of one of the girls who took the original photographs. That daughter—now in her eighties—lived in Belfast, a two-hour drive from my home. We met. She was thrilled to hear that I was writing a novel about the Cottingley story, and especially thrilled that someone from Yorkshire was writing it.

The idea had well and truly touched down. It had come back to me at exactly the right time.

I now have an answer to the question of where I find my inspiration. My answer is that I don’t. Inspiration finds me.

As Gilbert also says in Big Magic, when commenting on the business of writing: “I sit at my desk and I work like a farmer, and that’s how it gets done. Most of it is not fairy dust in the least. But sometimes, it is fairy dust.”

And that’s why we write, because on the good days, when the perfect idea finds us as the perfect time, we can all create magic.

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017. Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

September 2017

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in September that librarians across the country love. You can request or wish for the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site.

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley – learn more here!

Additional LibraryReads titles:

The Child Finder: A Novel by Rene Denfeld
(Harper, 9780062659057)

Revisited by Sarah Miller
(William Morrow, 9780062685346)

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