Night Vale – The Book!

So I’m having dinner out with my three grown nieces. I’m about to go to sales conference. I don’t follow a ton of social media and my podcasting is pretty much limited to NPR. I’m trying to suss out this new book based on a podcast called Welcome to Night Vale and I ask if they’ve ever heard of it? Next: the sound of three young women putting down their silverware and staring at me like I’d just driven a horse and buggy into the room.

There was my first clue…

For those of you who, like me, are mainly hunkered away reading books, Welcome to Night Vale has been one of the top rated podcasts since 2013, with tens of thousands of people downloading the biweekly episodes. As their popularity grew exponentially, the team started touring and doing sold out live shows that look like this:

Night Vale has been described as “Prairie Home Companion written by Stephen King.” And “NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies.The Guardian calls it “Hypnotic and darkly funny. . . . Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in.”

Does it all work as a book? Looks like it, if initial bookseller reaction and advance reviews are any indication. One of my favorite bits of commentary so far is from a bookseller in Cincinnati who wrote me a very complete review that not only explains how the authors successfully manage to translate the world of Night Vale to a new medium but also makes a moving personal statement about Night Vale and how it fits into the cultural zeitgeist. Here’s a snippet. If you’re on GoodReads, you can check out Tori’s complete review here. It’s worth a look.

As an avid listener of Welcome to Night Vale, this was exactly what I wanted from its literary debut. As an avid consumer of books, this was exactly what I didn’t realize I’ve been looking for. At once devastating and funny and sweet, the story perfectly captures Night Vale’s ability to draw you right to the brink of terror, hold you there with bated breath, and then suddenly and completely release that tension with a flippant comment. It’s a technique, characteristic of the podcast, that I wasn’t sure the creators would be able to translate into written text. But they do, and they do it so well—complete with goosebumps, and hairs prickling on the back of your neck, and oh-god-what-if-there’s-a-tarantula-on-me-right-now, and then the sudden realization that you’ve actually come to care for the tarantula and maybe it’s not so bad if it’s there….

“But this is all completely irrelevant to what the book does in three sentences about a quarter of the way through it:

“‘Diane’s parents are also two different races. It matters which races, but it matters only to Diane and her parents and their family and friends, not to those who do not know them. Not everyone gets to know everything about everybody.’

“I am myself a person with parents of different races; and to read such an accurate, succinct, and honest appraisal of a feeling that I’ve experienced my entire life but never myself had the words to express in a work of popular fiction is entirely unprecedented for me. Nothing else in the entire text meant anything to me in comparison to what those three lines did. Nothing else made me close the book and sit quietly on the verge of tears in a breakroom full of my coworkers. It didn’t have to be there—but it was. It affected nothing in the overall story—but it changed everything for me.

“This is why we love Night Vale. This is why we are devoted to Night Vale. This is why we would kill our doubles for Night Vale.”
— Tori Thompson, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Publicity starts with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on October 15th and a NYT feature/interview the week of October 12th.

[Consumer tip: Your local Indie bookstore has signed copies!]

 “All hail the glow cloud as the weird and wonderful town of Night Vale brings itself to fine literature. Creators Fink and Cranor offer fans of their (oc) cult podcast Welcome to Night Vale a fantastic addition with a stand-alone tale of the mysterious desert town that also offers loyal listeners some interesting clues about the nature of the place. . . . The novel is definitely as addictive as its source material.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fink and Cranor, co-creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast, successfully expand the mythology of their strange desert town….[T]he end is satisfying, with a surprising origin story for one of the characters. Fans will find it refreshing to see Night Vale from different perspectives and to meet characters who have only been mentioned before in passing, but knowledge of the podcast isn’t required to follow the story. This unusual experiment in format-shifting works surprisingly well.”
Publishers Weekly

“It is as weird and surreal as I hoped it would be, and a surprisingly existential meditation on the nature of time, reality, and the glow cloud that watches over us. ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD.”
— Wil Wheaton

“Like everyone who adores the #1 international hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale, I was highly anticipating this book, and I was delighted that it lived up to my high expectations….Fans will love this detailed, fleshed-out vision of Night Vale, and newcomers will be won over by the quirky, spooky humor for which Night Vale is known. Sure to be a hit!”
— Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

“Equal parts hilarious and scary and weird and ‘Oh my goodness!’ all rolled into one. . . .Like Good Omens for the podcast generation!”
—Amanda Beverly, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY

“This book is exactly as wonderful and bizarre as the podcast that gained the fictitious town of Night Vale fame. While the podcast builds the world of the town, the novel brings the characters to life and lets you immerse yourself in the town where mysterious lights pass overhead while everyone pretends to sleep. Having listened to the podcasts definitely takes the novel to another level, but this book would be enjoyable to anyone who enjoys weird, fantastic stories.”
— Morgan Eads, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, KY

“I’ve been a longtime fan of the podcast and I waited on pins and needles for this book to come out.  The origins of The Man in the Tan Jacket with Deer Skin Suitcase has been a mystery for the fans for years.  It was wonderful to delve into his story and the story of lesser featured characters from the podcast.  This book not only will satisfy the fans of the podcast, but it is also a wonderful standalone not-so-science fiction novel.  I’m thoroughly excited to sell it at our store!
— Al Morse, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Welcome to Night Vale (9780062351425) by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. $19.99 hardcover. 10/20/15 one day laydown.

Short Take: Mendocino Fire – Elizabeth Tallent

This is a master storywriter’s first new book in twenty years. Readers of The New Yorker and other literary magazines will remember Tallent’s work and count her among contemporaries like Lorrie Moore and Louise Erdrich. Review coverage is already slated in the NYTBR and Vanity Fair.

“In her fourth collection, Tallent explores the spaces between people through 10 expertly crafted stories. Mostly set in California with forays into Iowa, the book features characters with strong ties to place, whether they’re navigating the wilds of academia or of nature….Taken as a whole, these stories examine love in its many forms, with the most successful probing the realm of romantic love, where Tallent addresses emotional conflicts with a refreshingly light touch. Tallent’s collection offers a smart, thought-provoking study of desire and disappointment.”
Publishers Weekly

 This collection of stories in the American realist tradition has an adventurous, untethered feeling, with wide-ranging locales and points of view. . . . Tallent’s assured voice is a pleasure to follow through this book. . . . An ambitious and wide-ranging set of stories that creates empathy for most of its characters due to Tallent’s generous imagination.”
   — Kirkus Reviews

 “Elizabeth Tallent’s style is so distinctive, and it’s the kind of writing I so enjoy, never obvious, full of complex thought and perception, so boldly ambitious.”
— Tessa Hadley

Mendocino Fire (9780062410344) by Elizabeth Tallent. $24.99 hardcover. 10/20/15 on sale.

Video: Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick DeWitt

Can’t help but think that the artistic flavor of this one owes a bit to Gilliam…

Undermajordomo Minor (9780062281203) by Patrick deWitt. $26.99 hardcover. 9/15/15 on sale.



Kids Video: Curiosity House – Lauren Oliver

Welcoming the start of a new middle grade series from bestselling writer Lauren Oliver and her mysterious co-author, H.C. Chester…


Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head (9780062270818) by Lauren Oliver and Benjamin Lacombe. $16.99 hardcover. 9/29/15 on sale.


Book of the Week: Find Me Unafraid – Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner

Keep this book around for those days you feel like individuals can’t really make a difference in the world. Kennedy Odede grew up of the streets of the largest slum in Africa. As a teenager, resolving to improve his and his community’s circumstances, he used a soccer ball to bring people together and started a movement called Shining Hope for Communities. Today, in partnership with his wife his wife Jessica Posner, who came to Africa as an American college student, Shining Hope provides services that benefit over 76,000 people. Add a love story in the shadow of political oppression and PW calls the result “a riveting memoir.”

Fans include Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Michelle Obama and Nicholas Kristoff who is writing the forward and includes them in his book and documentary, A Path Appears. They’ve already done lots of national media and we expect much more at on sale.

You can see Kennedy and Jessica talk about their story here:


“Odede, a community organizer in his early 20s, grew up in Kibera, and tells of his childhood of poverty, abuse, and struggle; Posner, a privileged, 20-year-old Wesleyan University student on a semester abroad project, arrived in 2007…and she begins to fall under the spell of the charismatic, courageous young man who founded the nonprofit community organization Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)….Self-taught on the writings and work of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela, Odede is determined to rise above violence and poverty and help his neighbors in the process; in Posner he finds the perfect partner for his quest. Suspenseful and absorbing, this true story of a man and a woman from two different worlds reveals how dramatically circumstances can change.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A well-wrought, inspiring tale of ‘change and justice’ in a part of the world where they are often sorely lacking.”
Kirkus Reviews

“It’s hard to imagine any couple more full of dreams and doing, of imagination and determination, than Kennedy and Jess. They embody a humble audaciousness, recognizing they don’t know all the answers but fiercely believing that there are answers to hunger, violence, poverty and hopelessness….They’ve written an extraordinary book, courageously honest about their challenges, their victories, their losses and their achingly beautiful love. Arguably most remarkable? It’s clear their story is only beginning.”
— Chelsea Clinton


Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum (9780062292858) by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner. $27.99 hardcover. 10/13/15 on sale.

New Fiction: All the Stars in the Heavens – Adriana Trigiani

A new novel by Trigiani is always guaranteed to be fun. Her last historical standalone, The Shoemaker’s Wife, really brought her readership to new levels. Add the sizzle of old Hollywood glamour–it’s based on the actual affair between Loretta Young and Clark Gable—and I think we’re looking at another huge hit for this author the Washington Post calls “a master of palpable and visual detail.”

Publicity launches with People, The View and the Today Show.

Trigiani’s newest fictionalizes Loretta Young’s life, both through her eyes and those of an invented personal secretary, whose closeness with the actress ties the narrative threads together. The author’s impeccable research and lush writing style recreates a plausible day-to-day look into the actress’s life as a staunch Catholic living and working in Hollywood…The focus is on Young’s close relationship with her mother and sisters, her affair with Spencer Tracy, her close friendship with David Niven, and most of all, her rumored romance with the married Clark Gable…as well as the extraordinary measures she went through to hide the subsequent pregnancy at a time when adultery and a child out of wedlock destroyed careers. Trigiani mines her own Italian roots with the character Alda Ducci, a young woman with her own secrets, who, as Loretta’s secretary and friend, navigates the trials of love and fame with her. Eminently readable and richly imagined, Trigiani’s latest will thrill her fans and surely collect new ones.”
Publishers Weekly

“A heartwarming tale of women’s lives behind the movies.”
Kirkus Reviews

All the Stars in the Heavens (9780062319197) by Adriana Trigiani. $26.99 hardcover. 10/13/15 one day laydown.