Four Forthcoming Titles Not To Miss: Harris, James, Gottschall, Maddow

The following titles either dropped into the schedule suddenly or came to my attention late. They’re important reading for big audiences. Take a look.

Harris, Robert. The Fear Index. Knopf. Feb. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780307957931. $25.95. THRILLER
A celebrated physicist has invented a computer algorithm for playing the markets, and so far the hedge fund he’s masterminded has done really, really well. But now investors are in for a shock; it appears that the algorithm is moving beyond the market‚ and wreaking havoc along the way. Rumor has it that this is one chilling read. From the author of Fatherland; with a five-city tour and a whopping 200,000-copy first printing.

James, P.D. Death Comes to Pemberley. Knopf. Dec. 2011. 304p. ISBN 9780307959850. $25.95. MYSTERY
Who knew James was a Janeite? Her latest, announced recently, moves away from the more contemporary territory she typically inhabits to the Darcy family estate, five years after Elizabeth and Darcy have wed. All’s well until the annual ball, when gunshots resound and a body is found in the woods. Probably less cozy than the Stephanie Barron series starring Jane herself, but with James’s reputation there will doubtless be a wide range of readers.

Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9780547391403. $24. SCIENCE/LITERARY CRITICISM
Everyone loves stories, whether telling them or hearing them. But why? Upcoming young scholar Gottschall offers a theory of storytelling that draws on scientific as well as cultural study, arguing that storytelling allows us to rehearse how we’ll approach complex problems, hence enhancing survival of both the individual and the group. He ranges widely, from children’s make-believe to schizophrenia as the storytelling mind working overtime. All of which should make for fascinating reading for smart types.

Maddow, Rachel. Drift. Crown. Mar. 2012. 282p. ISBN 9780307460981. $26. CURRENT EVENTS
Those who watch The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC’s biggest draw, will not be surprised to hear Maddow argue here that in America today civilian issues are fighting a losing battle with national security concerns‚ to everyone’s detriment. Maddow traces our militarized culture to Reagan’s grandstanding, increased presidential authority, and the very invisibility of the military; fewer families today share the burden of fighting America’s wars. Maddow has nearly two million Twitter followers, with her TV audience averaging over a million a show and is growing, which suggests that there will be readers for this book.

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.