This Week's Book Buzz

Year ago at an American Library Association panel sponsored by what was then FOLUSA, I had the pleasure of introducing Tom Franklin’s Poachers, a dark and pitch-perfect story collection that really got under my skin. This summer I read the opening chapters of Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter when it arrived in the office for assigning and found myself rooting for this smart, edgy tale of small-town Mississippi violence. So last Wednesday, when I was scrambling around online, I was thrilled to see that Crooked Letter is October’s No. 1 Indie Pick and already on the extended Indie best sellers list. It’s also made the New York Times extended list and hit a handful of regional bookseller association lists, and it received both Barnes and Noble Recommends kudos and a featured review/Q&A. Oh, and not only did it get a starred LJ review but in his recent LJ interview Otto Penzler included Franklin among five future masters of noir. All of which is to say, Franklin is on a roll, and you’d best join him.

You know those Amazon reports which show that a book you’re considering is No. 1,349,276 in the rankings? I’ve never bothered to check out the best sellers, but a few days ago I clicked on See Top 100 Books and got a surprise. Imagine what’s in fourth place. Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest? The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book)? Actually, those are Nos. 5 and 6, right behind the University of California’s Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, a masterly reassembling of Twain’s rambling dictation of his life, now in as-he-meant-it form after appearing in a couple of earlier editions over the last century. This is just the opening volume, but readers‚ and obviously not just scholarly readers‚ are mightily interested.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.