Representatives from seven publishers were greeted by a room packed with librarians eager to hear the big books of 2014. The session was the first of two installments of AAP's "Annual Librarian Book Buzz" session.
HarperCollins's Virginia Stanley presented several big name authors to kick off the session, leading off with Richard Ford's new book, Let Me Be Frank with You (Ecco, Dec.), which marks the return of legendary protagonist Frank Bascombe, who last appeared in The Lay of the Land (2006). The latest book is dubbed "a quartet of novellas" and is set in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, it was crime writer Sophie Hannah's The Monogram Murders, a mystery written in the style of Agatha Christie, that Stanley predicted would be "the literary event of the year."
Technology is an increasingly popular topic in both libraries and society at large. This certainly is evident from the books Molly Wyland of McGraw-Hill chose to highlight; many were educational guides for amateur tech enthusiasts, including The Tab Book of Arduino Projects by Simon Monk, slated for November publication. One title particularly relevant to the library community was What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It by Adam Tanner. Tanner offers an insider's view of the marketing tactics used in casinos. Those headed to Vegas next month for the ALA annual conference may want to consider picking up this galley before hitting the slots.
When it came time for Hachette's presentation, marketing directors Melissa Nicholas and Ali Coughlin were met with a round of applause and even a few howls from the crowd, undoubtedly a response to their company's clash with Amazon. Among titles highlighted was Elin Hilderbrand's Winter Street, which has already garnered librarian support as one of LibraryRead's June books. Another book that met with excitement from the crowd was So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for NPR's Fresh Air.
Chris Vaccari, director of library marketing for Sterling, who also served as moderator of the group, was in high spirits, promoting his own list, which included books on beer, wine, and bourbon. He seemed particularly fond of Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course (Oct.).
Melville publisher Dennis Johnson presented an array of titles across all genres, including two sports books: a novel about soccer, Red or Dead by David Peace; followed by Steve Almond's Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto (Sept.). Macmillan's Anne Spieth was a true crowd pleaser as she highlighted Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver. This is the debut novel from Weaver, herself a librarian.
Everyone likes to support one of their own. This reporter was pleased to hear Julie Schaper, president of Consortium, praise a title particularly dear to PW's heart: The Business of Naming Things by Michael Coffey (Bellevue Literary Press, Jan. 2015), a short story collection by the soon-to-be-former co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly.