Editors’ Picks | Day of Dialog Brooklyn 2017

Librarians from across the tristate area and beyond gathered at Brooklyn Public Library’s Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Cultural Center auditorium on the afternoon of September 15, for LJ’s first-ever Day of Dialog Brooklyn, extending the much-beloved annual Day of Dialog, now in its 20th year, into Manhattan’s neighboring borough.

The popular “Editors’ Picks” panel, moderated here by LJ fiction editor Wilda Williams, commenced the half-day event, with six New York editors and publishers presenting a preview of their biggest fall 2017–winter 2018 titles. Debut authors, new imprints, existing lines exploring uncharted genre territories, and current topics were all part of the conversation.

HOUSE FAVORITES (front row) LJ’s Wilda Williams (l.) moderates editors Johnny Temple, Betsy Gleick, and (back row, l.–r.) Megan Lynch, Ellen Adler, Peter Joseph, and Katie Adams


Katie Adams, Editor, Liveright: Norton

Hailed as “an astonishingly good time,” The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women To Live Alone and Like It (Nov.), by longtime LJ reviewer Joanna Scutts, tells the largely forgotten story of advice/self-help author Marjorie Hillis, who in the 1930s pioneered a new era of women’s rights in America. Rome Prize–winning author Will Boast, dubbed the “real deal” by Adams owing to writing supported by multiple fellowships and other prestigious honors, offers the novel Daphne (Feb. 2018), a rich reimagining of the Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo. A surprise favorite for Adams, and drawing comparisons to Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus, Ulrich Raulff’s Farewell to the Horse: A Cultural History (Feb. 2018) engages a smart narrative through a wide lens of history, philosophy, and nature to chronicle the sprawling evolution of the relationship between human and horse. Finally, think We Need To Talk About Kevin meets Dept. of Speculation, and you’ll have Tom McAllister’s new novel How To Be Safe (Apr. 2018), providing a moving account of one woman coping in the aftermath of a small-town school shooting. McAllister has been listening, heeds Adams, and here he brilliantly relates what he’s heard.


Ellen Adler, Publisher, New Press

Promoting “fearless books for perilous times,” Adler gave a brief history of New Press, which launched its first title in 1992, then reminded librarians that her books support understanding and discussion and are among the most diverse in the field. The first of her many picks revolving around the themes of politics and social justice is the paperback release of the 2016 National Book Award finalist Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (Feb. 2018) by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, who embedded herself in the lives and mind-sets of Tea Party members supporting Donald Trump, bringing much-needed insight into the 2016 election. Another title to aid in the discussion of the current political climate, being brought back into print this November, is The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Noam Chomsky’s 1967 essay challenging the abuse of power in government and the will of smart people to enact real change. In Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy (Apr. 2018), Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts examine the deep roots of slavery in America, the memories that live on today, and opposing viewpoints regarding its legacy. Two May 2018 releases librarians will want to acquire are Alexis Clark’s Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance, and Janet Dewart Bell’s Lighting the Fires of Freedom: Oral Histories of African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement. These powerful accounts speak to issues of race, love, and the struggle to survive.


Betsy Gleick, Editorial Director, Algonquin Books

Gleick joined Algonquin less than a year ago yet is already making an impressive mark as editorial director, kicking off 2018 with the publisher’s first novel in translation from Icelandic author Hallgrímur Helgason. Likened to “John Irving on speed,” Woman at 1,000 Degrees centers on octogenarian Herra Bjornsson and notable historic events in the 20th century interwoven into her life. Seasoned journalist Shoba Narayan’s The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure (Jan. 2018) will captivate animal lovers and armchair travelers with its story of female friendship across cultures, namely, Indian and American, both of which the author knows well. Further drawing on social, cultural, and class distinctions is Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy (Apr. 2018), a coming-of-age story about a Mexican American who aspires to become a landscape architect but as Gleick put it, “can’t seem to get a break.” And if you’re asking yourself in these uncertain times, “What works best to combat hate?” check out Sally Kohn’s The Opposite of Hate (Apr. 2018), described as “a witty, intelligent, and real read” from a gay, feminist commentator and former FOX news correspondent whose prose engages readers on every page.


Peter Joseph, Editorial Director, Hanover Square: Harlequin

In 2018, Harlequin will launch its new imprint Hanover Square Press, spearheaded by Peter Joseph, who spent more than a decade as an editor at St. Martin’s Thomas Dunne Books. Rather broad in scope, this new line will focus on general, historical, and crime fiction, as well as speculative fiction, thrillers, and nonfiction. Notable crime fiction includes literary agent and author Neil Olson’s The Black Painting (Jan. 2018) and Daily Mail First Novel award winner Amy Lloyd’s The Innocent Wife (Feb. 2018). On the historical front, American Israeli writer Steven Hartov’s The Soul of Thief (Apr. 2018) captures the experience of German Jews, or Mischlinge, who served in various branches of the German military during World War II. For fans of speculative/high-concept fiction, specifically dealing with shifting realities that push readers to the edge, seek out actor and acclaimed children’s author Damian Dibben’s canine-centric Tomorrow (Mar. 2018), along with journalist/author John Marrs’s psychological thriller How Far Would You Go To Find the One (Feb. 2018). In Marrs’s work, science takes the guesswork out of discovering true love, helping people find their soulmate.


Megan Lynch, VP and Editorial Director, Ecco: HarperCollins

The top picks from HarperCollins imprint Ecco have already garnered high accolades from our most trusted critics. In a starred review of in-house favorite Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beauties (Feb. 2018), LJ’s Prepub Alert editor Barbara Hoffert praised the book as “a grittily gorgeous work for readers who don’t go for cozies.” Rising author Jesse Ball is also turning heads. According to Lynch, his latest novel, Census (Mar. 2018), about a journey through unfamiliar country taken by an ailing father and his son with Down syndrome, is simply “blowing his readers out of the water.” In May 2018, acclaimed novelist Rumaan Alam, whose debut, Rich and Pretty, gripped and then held our attention, returns with a second novel, That Kind of Mother (May 2018), which author Celeste Ng regarded as “heartfelt and thought-provoking,” a dive into the hot-button issues of parenthood, adoption, and race. Lastly, taking on the complex subject of female friendship, Christine Mangan’s debut novel, Tangerine (Mar. 2018), sets a chilling story in 1950s Morocco. Reportedly reminiscent of Hitchcock films and Shirley Jackson’s short fiction, with bonus themes of intense psychological warfare, according to Lynch. Expect demand; George Clooney has already optioned the film rights.


Johnny Temple, Publisher and Founder, Akashic Books

Akashic Books founder Johnny Temple began by thanking librarians and LJ editors for their “invaluable support” of the independent, Brooklyn-based press over the last 20 years. Though it’s clear that what’s driving the company forward is Temple’s love of quality storytelling—he acquired the first novel by Marlon James, whose A Brief History of Seven Killings went on to win the 2015 Man Booker Prize. More evidence of the publisher’s keen eye for powerful writing is found in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (Oct. 2017), described by Temple as “utterly magnificent sf depicting how parallel obsessions can work against each other,” and by LJ reviewer Megan McArdle as “harrowing and beautiful.” Key to this compelling story is the strong female lead, Aster, who eventually overcomes an oppressive regime aboard a ship traveling into space, with the lowest decks reserved for black slaves. In time for spring 2017 is the release of Akashic’s 50th-anniversary edition of Pete Hamill’s seminal, fast-paced thriller A Killing for Christ, originally published in 1968. Jumping ahead to April 2018, Emmy Award–winning Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli makes his first foray into fiction with The Perfume Burned His Eyes, about a young man coming of age in 1970s New York; singer Lou Reed figures prominently. Lots of in-house love for this first novel.

Panel photos by Kevin Henegan

 

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Annalisa Pesek About Annalisa Pesek

Annalisa Pesek (apesek@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor, LJ Book Review
[photograph by John Sarsgard]

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