Two prize-winning novels and a pair of distinctive memoirs top the list of new paperbacks available this week:
By Lily King
Grove • $16 • ISBN 9780802123701
With a richness of themes that is likely to make it a book club favorite, King's dazzling fourth novel fictionalizes the real-life love triangle of three prominent anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea: Margaret Mead, her then-husband Reo Fortune and her future husband, Gregory Bateson. The paperback edition includes a list of discussion questions.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
By Richard Flanagan
Vintage • $15.95 • ISBN 9780804171472
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2014, Flanagan's powerful novel tells the story of the WWII "bridge over the River Kwai" through the eyes of an Australian surgeon. The story was inspired in part by the experiences of Flanagan's father, an Australian POW forced to work on the notorious Death Railway.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
By Col. Chris Hadfield
Back Bay • $17 • ISBN 9780316253031
Best known to many for his entertaining YouTube videos (including a haunting David Bowie cover recorded in space), the first Canadian to command the International Space Station offers an inside look at what really goes on in an orbiting spacecraft. For those of us stuck firmly on the ground, Hadfield also explains how the lessons he learned in space—on things like leadership and perseverance—can apply to our everyday lives on Earth.
Tibetan Peach Pie
By Tom Robbins
Ecco • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062267412
In this long-awaited collection of "absolutely true stories," the author of Another Roadside Attraction and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues traces his unlikely path from small-town North Carolina boy to West Coast chronicler of the 1970s counterculture.
It's a big week, a really big week, for new paperback releases:
By Donna Tartt
Back Bay • $20 • ISBN 9780316055444
Finally available in paperback, Donna Tartt’s third novel is a big book in every way: size (784 pages), awards (Pulitzer Prize, Carnegie Medal), sales (#1 bestseller) and rankings (BookPage #1 Book of 2013). If you haven’t yet immersed yourself in this epic story about a New York teen and a mysterious painting, prepare to be mesmerized.
All Fall Down
By Jennifer Weiner
Washington Square • $16 • ISBN 9781451617795
Jennifer Weiner, who is ever-popular with readers (and the target of continuing wrath from literary curmudgeon Jonathan Franzen) delivers a timely and heartbreaking tale about a suburban mom who appears to have it all but is secretly struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers.
David and Goliath
By Malcolm Gladwell
Back Bay • $18 • ISBN 9780316204378
The author of a string of nonfiction bestsellers (The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers) Malcolm Gladwell uses the biblical story of the ancient underdog as the launching point for a broader examination of how overcoming obstacles in life can ultimately lead to greater success. This paperback edition includes a new afterword about Konrad Kellen, a U.S. intelligence analyst who concluded early on that American forces in Vietnam were unlikely to prevail against the underdog Viet Cong.
By Rachel Pastan
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594632921
In this smart and suspenseful take on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, the curator at an art museum on Cape Cod finds that her new job is a nightmare—and it doesn't help when she learns that the previous curator died under suspicious circumstances.
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
By Courtney Maum
Touchstone • $16 • ISBN 9781476764559
In a debut novel that's been a hit with readers and critics, Courtney Maum considers the difficulties of holding a marriage together after an episode of infidelity.
No Book but the World
By Leah Hager Cohen
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594633423
This keenly observed novel from the author of the acclaimed The Grief of Others tells the story of two adult siblings raised as free spirits by their parents, who ran an experimental school in upstate New York. With her brother Fred now jailed on a murder charge, Ava must confront the memories and missteps of their childhood.
Two memoirs that earned slots on the BookPage list of Best Books of 2014 are among this week's new paperback releases:
By Frances Mayes
Crown/Archetype • $15 • ISBN 9780307885920
In a memoir that's as rich and evocative as the scent of magnolias, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun recalls her fractious Southern upbringing in tiny Fitzgerald, Georgia, and her eventual escape to Randolph-Macon Women's College and the world beyond.
Blood Will Out
By Walter Kirn
Liveright • $15.95 • ISBN 97816314902249
In 1998, novelist Walter Kirn (Up in the Air) wanted to find a home for a shelter dog so badly that he offered to drive the dog all the way from his home in Montana to a wealthy prospective owner in New York City. It was only after years of friendship with the man that Kirn would learn the truth: The animal lover in New York was actually an imposter and a murderer.
Mimi Malloy, at Last!
By Julia MacDonnell
Picador • $16 • ISBN 9781250063779
The first novel from MacDonnell in 20 years features an unlikely protagonist: a chain-smoking, 68-year-old divorcée who lives in a modest apartment in Quincy, Massachusetts. The feisty Mimi Malloy will win readers' hearts as she stands her ground and begins to sort through troubling memories from her childhood.
A Fighting Chance
By Elizabeth Warren
Picador • $17 • ISBN 9781250062253
Will she or won't she? Often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, the senator from Massachusetts outlines her rise from small-town Oklahoma to Harvard Law and the halls of Congress in this revealing memoir.
Works by two contemporary best-selling authors and a classic re-issue top this week's paperback releases:
By Michael Lewis
Norton • $16.95 • ISBN 9780393351590
Lewis provides an eye-opening account of the revolt by a group of Wall Street rebels who decided the financial markets were rigged and set out to expose the chicanery.
The One & Only
By Emily Giffin
Ballantine • $16 • ISBN 9780345546906
Shea has a crush on the football coach in her college town; unfortunately, he's also her best friend's father. In Giffin's hands, this story of football heroes and unexpected romance offers an insightful look at a young woman finding her way.
The Power and the Glory
By Graham Greene
Penguin Classics • $18 • ISBN 9780143107552
If (like me) you've always intended to read Greene's masterpiece but haven't gotten around to it, here's your chance: This 75th anniversary edition includes an introduction by the late John Updike. Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 best novels of the past century, Greene's book chronicles the struggles of a Mexican Catholic priest persecuted by government authorities.
Take a guess (without peeking) which book soared to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list this week. The Girl on the Train? The latest from James Patterson? Erik Larson’s gripping narrative about the sinking of the Lusitania?
Nope. The hottest seller on Amazon is a financial advice book by an economics professor and two journalists—Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. The surging demand for the book stems from two factors: the complexity of Social Security benefits and the swelling tide of aging Americans, all determined to “get what’s coming to them,” in other words, the most they can possibly collect in Social Security benefits.
The book’s three co-authors packed its 300-plus pages with crucial strategies to follow, details on when to begin taking benefits, advice for the married, the divorced and the widowed, and helpful lists like “25 Bad-News Gotchas That Can Reduce Your Benefits Forever.” All three authors have credentials to back up their recommendations: Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University, Philip Moeller is an award-winning financial journalist and Paul Solman is economics correspondent for “PBS NewsHour.”
The idea for the book sprang from a chat between tennis buddies Larry (Kotlikoff) and Paul (Solman). As recounted in the book’s first chapter, Solman thought he had a solid plan for maximizing benefits for himself and his wife. But Kotlikoff suggested a different route (taking spousal benefits), which eventually led to almost $50,000 in extra benefits for the couple. Shouldn’t everyone have a chance to do what Paul and his wife did? Why, yes, they should, the authors argue, and that’s why they set out to share what they’ve learned about Social Security and its arcane rules.
Though the hardcover edition of Get What’s Yours is currently sold out on Amazon, it’s still in stock at some other vendors; eBook and audio versions are also available.
History buffs and thrill seekers will both find something to like in this week's paperback releases:
By Hilary Mantel
Picador • $16 • ISBN 9781250077585
This new tie-in edition of Mantel’s award-winning Tudor novel marks the April 5 debut of a six-part TV adaptation on PBS.
When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-44
By Ronald C. Rosbottom
Back Bay • $18 • ISBN 9780316217439
What was it really like to live in Paris while German forces occupied the city? Rosbottom, a professor of French at Amherst, gives a riveting portrait of the occupied and the occupiers in this meticulously researched account.
The Burning Room
By Michael Connelly
Grand Central • $16 • ISBN 978145552419
The latest entry in the acclaimed Harry Bosch series follows the LAPD detective and his rookie partner as they investigate a perplexing murder case in which the victim died nine years after being shot.
By Daniel H. Wilson
Vintage • $15.95 • 97803458043891
The sequel to the best-selling sci-fi thriller Robopocalyse asks the important question: Can the human race overcome a robot uprising?
Leading off this week's new paperback releases is a novel shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize:
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
By Joshua Ferris
Back Bay • $16 • ISBN 9780316033992
The protagonist of Ferris' third novel is a New York dentist and ardent Boston Red Sox fan who is unnerved when he learns that someone is impersonating him online.
The Nazi Officer's Wife
By Edith Hahn Beer with Susan Dworkin
Morrow • $16.99 • ISBN 9780062378088
First published in 1999, Beer's account of living in a "prison of pretense" as the Jewish wife of a Nazi officer is an incredible true story of survival and resilience. This new edition includes additional information about Beer, who died in 2009, as well as a reading group guide.
Fourth of July Creek
By Smith Henderson
Ecco • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062286468
A debut novel that landed on several Best Books of 2014 lists, Henderson’s dark Montana tale has earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy.
By Carl Hoffman
Morrow • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062116161
Hoffman sets out to determine what really happened to Michael Rockefeller, who vanished while collecting primitive art in New Guinea in 1961.
This week's new paperback releases include four thought-provoking novels for book clubs:
By Lisa See
Random House • $16 • ISBN 9780812982824
From the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the story of three young Chinese-American women who meet at a Chinatown nightclub shortly before the start of World War II.
The Husband's Secret
By Liane Moriarty
Berkley • $16 • ISBN 9780425267721
With 1.7 million copies sold to date, Moriarty's intriguing #1 bestseller about the secrets we keep finally makes its paperback debut.
Boy, Snow, Bird
By Helen Oyeyemi
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594633409
Oyeyemi's twist on Snow White—recast as a story of race and identity in 1950s New England—won critical raves and the #3 spot on our Best Books of 2014 ranking.
The Book of Unknown Americans
By Cristina Henríquez
Vintage • $14.95 • ISBN 9780345806406
Told in alternating first-person voices, Henríquez's poignant novel examines the dreams and challenges of immigrant families who have fled to America in search of a better life.
For book club members, frugal shoppers and readers who still prefer the printed page over the e-reader, here are four of the best new paperback editions available this week:
By Phil Klay
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143126829
This riveting story collection by an Iraq War veteran captured the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
Breath, Eyes, Memory
By Edwidge Danticat
Soho • $16 • ISBN 9781616955021
The 20th-anniversary edition of Danticat's acclaimed Haitian coming-of-age novel includes an interview with the author and a reading group guide.
By Emma Donoghue
Back Bay • $17 • ISBN 9780316324670
From the author of Room, something entirely different: A rip-roaring Western/mystery featuring a cross-dressing frog catcher and an exotic dancer.
If you tried to buy a copy of Pioneer Girl but couldn’t get the book in time for the holiday gift-giving season, you’re not alone. Demand for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real-life story of growing up on the prairie outstripped supply, according to the book’s publisher, the South Dakota Historical Society Press. All major online book retailers currently list the autobiography as “out of stock.”
“We anticipated high demand, but sales of Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography have outpaced the most optimistic pre-publication estimates,” SDHSP marketing director Jennifer E. McIntyre tells BookPage. “We attribute this to continuing publicity, well-placed advertising and enthusiastic reviews. The South Dakota Historical Society Press is temporarily out of stock but will begin shipping again in mid-January.“
Wilder wrote the autobiography in 1929-30, but was unable to sell it to a publisher. She later adapted much of the material from the book for her fictional Little House series, which became a beloved literary phenomenon. Pioneer Girl was finally published for the first time in November, in a beautifully illustrated and meticulously annotated edition, edited by Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill. The book received glowing reviews from numerous national publications, including BookPage.
McIntyre advises readers to check www.pioneergirlproject.org for updates on the book’s availability.