The book, “about a time-traveling intelligence officer and a Harvard linguist who discover that magic was once commonplace” is a collaboration between the noted SF writer and the historical novelist, furthering the trend of genre blending. The NYT asks “If you co-write a book about magic, is that crowd-sorcery?”
Defending the book’s length, 768 pages, Stephenson says “The practice of sustained attention is something that’s happening less and less, especially in our leisure time, so a long narrative, and one that’s this intricate, which requires that you’re always plugged in, because there are various things going on at once — I think that that’s a great exercise. I would assign this book as a brain exercise, as well as a jolly good read.”
Several recognized names return next week, including one that is rarely absent, James Patterson, the holds leader for the week with Murder Games (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample; OverDrive Audio Sample). Optioned for CBS series, DR. DEATH, to star Alan Cumming~Deadline, 9/28/16:~http://deadline.com/2016/09/alan-cumming-star-idr-death-cbs-drama-james-patterson-michael-rauch-alex-kurtzman-1201826005/~Cover shows DR. DEATH title, altho listing shows MURDER GAMESThe Patterson name will appear on a TV series at the end of the week, when the third season of Zoo begins on 6/30/17.
The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of 6/26/17.
“When a baby skeleton is unearthed at a construction site, reporter Kate Waters thinks it is a story worth investigating. As she digs into the mystery of the child, she uncovers more than she bargained for. Told from the viewpoints of various characters, Barton tells an intriguing tale about the newborn baby and all the characters involved, leaving it up to the readers to put together the connections until the very end.” — Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, NC
“Lady Elanna Voltai flees her adopted homeland when the king, who raised her like a daughter, dies under mysterious circumstances and Elanna is accused of murder. Forced to return to the magical homeland of her birth and her estranged father who was branded a traitor for inciting rebellion, Elanna must come to terms with the life she left behind and her destiny. I loved watching Elanna find her voice and her strength, and the rich world of magic around her makes this story even more fantastic!” — Jessica Perham, Schaumburg Township Library, Schaumburg, IL
“The Jhas are a fairly normal family in Delhi, but when Mr. Jha sells his company for millions and decides to move himself and his wife to a fancy new neighborhood, he sets in motion changes for not only his wife, but also his son studying in New York and his former and future neighbors — changes that are sometimes good, sometimes bad, and uncomfortable either way. Jam-packed with fun and lovable characters, this novel is both a delicious, gossipy indulgence and a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people very different from one another. Those who loved the drama of The Nest will adore this warm, tender, and very funny debut from a fresh new voice.” —Kelly Morton, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
“The Amazing Telemachus Family is unlike any other. Patriarch Teddy is a con man whose adult children possess remarkable psychic gifts (telekinesis, lie detection, and clairvoyance), but the loss of their mother leaves the entire family reeling. Though the Telemachus crew’s misadventures attract the attention of everyone from the CIA to a scary local crime boss, Teddy and his children are more threatened by their own emotional damage and sketchy past than anything else. Gregory’s characters are sharply drawn and lovable, and he tells their story in a way that’s wise, warm, and entertaining throughout. With a strong sense of humor and an amazing climax, this is the kind of novel that’s an absolute blast to read.” —Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL
“The long and evolving history of alcoholism and corresponding sobriety movements in America is fascinating, for both its colorful characters and its complex interface with religion and the sciences. In Finan’s astute, well-researched, and entertaining narrative, this story of sober drunks offers both understanding and insight into a critically important subject whose nature has long been occluded and subsumed in stigma.” —Kenny Brechner, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME
Two tie-ins also arrive for the animated Emoji movie. Premiering on July 28, it is set inside the world of a cell phone and stars TJ Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden, and many more, playing characters such as Hi-5, Meh, Smiler, and Fist Bump.
Responding to the trailer, The Guardian says it “may be one of the most conceptually baffling films ever to be put into production.”
Turtles All the Way Down is the title of John Green’s next YA novel, (PRH/Dutton Books for Young Readers; 9780525555360; cover not finalized) on October 10. It is his first novel in six years, following 2012’s The Fault in Our Stars.
The title refers to a story which Stephen Hawking relates in A Brief History of Time. Faced with the theory that the world is flat, held on the back of a turtle, a famous astronomer asks what the turtle stands on. The answer reveals the illogic of the theory, “But it’s turtles all the way down!”
It’s just one of many metaphors readers can expect, according to the Penguin’s UK site, quoting Green, “The great thing about figurative language and symbols and the like in novels is that you don’t have to be conscious of them for them to work.”
UPDATE: Green talks about the book in a bonus Vlogbrothers video, below. He invites viewers to post questions about it and promises to try to answer them on his next video, scheduled for Tuesday, June 27.
Holds are also high, running at 5:1 or above at the majority of libraries we checked.
The eighteenth in a series of titles set on Nantucket in the summer, USA Today writes, “Hilderbrand’s books are basically a seasonal staple, as important to beach reading as sunscreen and sand.”
Hilderbrand is the subject of a NYT‘s “By the Book” feature, answering “Lorrie Moore” to the question which writer she admires most. She says “[Moore] is a writer’s writer. Her long stories are absolutely, hands-down the best pieces of writing that exist, in my opinion.”
NPR’s Fresh Air sends Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) skyrocketing up the Amazon charts, moving to #25 from #1,933.
Graff tells Gross about one of the shelter bunkers for chosen government officials:
“Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It’s a free-standing city … [with] three-story buildings. It has everything that a small city would — there’s a fire department there, there’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day, it’s a 24 hour facility … today [it] could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.”
As for his subtitle, Graff says that at the start of the planning process the government thought most of the population would survive an attack but now the plan is that “The civilian population will be left to itself for weeks or months at a time, and a small number of senior government officials will be spirited out to these bunkers with the hope that within months or a few years they’re able to reconstitute something that resembles the United States again.”
Watchmen first appeared in 1986 and ran for 12 issues. It took the comics world by storm and grabbed the notice of literary critics too. It is currently on Time magazine’s list of 100 Best Novels. ScreenRant has a list of ways it “Changed Comics Forever” and the BBC looks at its influence.
David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings again, after an appearance on ABC’s The View during which Grann enthralled the hosts with the story of a series of all but forgotten crimes perpetrated on a group of Native Americans.
The book has been on the NYT‘s Hardcover Nonfiction list for eight weeks, rising as high as #4, currently at #11. It is #2 on Entertainment Weekly’s “The 10 Best Books of the Year so Far.”
A tiny but hardy pup, approached ultra-marathoner Dion Leonard during a long distance race in China across part of the Gobi Desert. She stayed with him, running nearly 80 miles. Leonard named her after the desert.
Her story, and his, gets even more dramatic. Once the run was over Gobi disappeared in a Chinese city while Leonard was raising funds to adopt her and take her back to his home in Scotland. An international effort launched on the Internet helped find her, hurt but ultimately OK.
He says that he has no idea why she came to him in the wilderness, “whether it was my smell — we don’t shower during the week in these races — or whether it was something else, whether it was a past life connection. It was definitely fate and I’m so glad that she chose me … she’s brought lots of joy to people around the globe with our story.”
That story is captured in Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard with Craig Borlase (HC/Thomas Nelson, June 13; Thomas Nelson Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Coming August 9 are YA and children’s versions:
Finding Gobi: Young Reader’s Edition: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey by Dion Leonard, adapted by Aaron Rosenberg (HC/Thomas Nelson).
Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak (HC/Thomas Nelson).
A board book comes out in early 2018, Gobi for Little Ones: The Race for Home by Dion Leonard, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak (HC/Thomas Nelson).
The Associated Press writes that Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, said at an event in Singapore this week for “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition,” that they hope “to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series” for a new film, currently set for 2018.
The headline, however makes it sound much more definite, “NBC says ‘Downton Abbey’ movie production to start in 2018.”
The news seems to have taken much of the cast by surprise. A film version has been rumored for years.
Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, told the AP “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”
“Oh, well, you’ve got confirmation before us. We have no idea if that’s happening,” said Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy.
Creator Julian Fellowes was hopeful, responding “I think we’ve got a film in us. I hope it happens.”
Oscar-nominated Jason Hall (for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Sniper) wrote the script and makes his directorial debut. Miles Teller (War Dogs) leads the large cast which also includes Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train) and Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) in what is billed as her first non-comedic role.
The book follows a group of soldiers as they try to adjust to civilian life after returning home from fighting in Baghdad, although the movie appears to focus on just one of them. A critical success, it was reviewed by the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, andThe Guardian, shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award and selected as a NYT‘s Notable Books of 2013.
A tie-in edition (Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio) arrives in September.
His new book, Theft by Finding (Hachette/Little Brown; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is based on his diaries. Keeping a diary, he says, is something that people regard as disciplined, but for him, it’s a compulsion. something he does when he “should be out doing things.”
Roxane Gay talks with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air about her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (HC/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), proving the least interesting thing about her is her much-noted size.
In a smart and candid talk she tells Gross it is a book that felt necessary to write for the very fact it was the book she wanted to write least, “I was just dreading writing the book” she says, “while still feeling like this was a necessary book to write.”
Through the book she offers readers a story of her body as it is now and “what her body had endured” when she was young; she was gang raped at 12, betrayed and set up for a planned attack by a boy she trusted and a group of his friends.
She goes on to talk about her life now, about being fat, and the ways society is threatened by what she calls an “unruly body.”
Reviews are very strong. USA Today calls it “a thing of raw beauty” and writes “This wrenching work … is a yearning to be unburdened of secrets … Gay takes us on a journey in which we learn what it is to exist in a society that accuses you of taking up too much room, even as it refuses to yield a place for you.”
Literary Hub‘s Book Marks rounds up more reviews, many are raves such as the LA Times, which writes it is “a bracingly vivid account of how intellect, emotion and physicality speak to each other and work in tireless tandem to not just survive unspeakable hurt, but to create a life worth living and celebrating.”
The Atlantic says the book is “arresting and candid. At its best, it affords women, in particular, something so many other accounts deny them—the right to take up space they are entitled to, and to define what that means.”
It is currently #28 on Amazon’s Top 100 and has been moving upwards since its publication date. Holds are high in a number of libraries we checked, some topping 5:1.
The first full-length trailer for the movie based on Vince Flynn’s American Assassin has been released. Deadline reports that this may be the launch of a new “action hero franchise … built on a deep well of bestselling novels by the late Vince Flynn … in a revenge tale that could be the start of a Jack Ryan-like journey for [Dylan] O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp character.”
Also starring Michael Keaton, the film opens on Sept. 15
American Assassin is the eleventh title in the book series, chosen because it moves back in time to depict Rapp’s first assignment. Tie-ins will be released in August. American Assassin: A Thriller
S&S/Atria; August 15, 2017 Trade Paperback Mass Market S&S Audio