EarlyWord

News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

Hitting Screens, Week of May 22, 2017

At the box office over the weekend, the YA adaptation Everything Everything brought in $12 million, outpacing the fourth in the established childrens franchise, Wimpy Kid, a disappointment with just $7.2 million.

A single adaptation airs this week. Netflix’s War Machine starring Brad Pitt begins streaming on May 26.

The film fictionalizes  Michael Hastings’s The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan (PRH/Plume; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample). Pitt’s character is based on General Stanley McChrystal who was fired after Hastings’s exposé ran in  Rolling Stone.

The movie details how the fictional general, Glen McMahon, is given command of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and, because of his ego and hubris is wildly unpredictable. Written and directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), it is produced by the team that created the Oscar-nominated The Big Short. Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, and Topher Grace star alongside Pitt.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Neflix paid $60 million to finance the film after its original supporters backed out, fearful the movie’s arch black comedy slant might anger conservative audiences.

The single review to date is a rave. The Star-Telegram says “Brad Pitt, we salute you” and goes on to say “Pitt chews scenery in this dark comedy, a spiritual cousin to such films as Dr. Strangelove and Catch-22.”

To qualify for awards, in addition to streaming on Netflix, the film will also play in a few theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

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Macmillan Library @ ALA Annual 2017 (Booth #2714)

We can’t wait to see you in Chicago at the ALA Annual Conference next month! Join us in booth #2714 for tons of ARC giveaways and make sure to attend our many events(All events are free unless otherwise noted.)
 
See you in the Windy City!

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY Wins Nebula

io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders wins the Nebula award for Best Novel for her genre-stretching book All the Birds in the Sky (Macmillan/Tor; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

It received attention in advance of publication in January 2016,  got three prepub stars and was a Feb. Indie Next pick. It went on to being picked as a best book of the year by Amazon, Kirkus, The Washington Post, and Time, where it was #5 on their list of “Top 10 Novels” of 2016. Critics praised the novel’s story, characters, and writing, but were particularly taken with Anders was re-working of the genre. NPR wrote “With All the Birds in the Sky, Anders has given us a fresh set of literary signposts — and a new bundle of emotional metaphors — for the 21st century, replacing the so many of the tired old ones. Oh, and she’s gently overturned genre fiction along the way.”

Seanan McGuire wins Best Novella for Every Heart a Doorway (Macmillan/Tor.com; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The opening of the Wayward Children series was a LibraryReads selection in April 2016 (the second, Down Among The Sticks and Bones, is a LibraryReads pick for this June). In a literary loop, Charlie Jane Anders sets up an excerpt that ran in io9, writing in the headline that it “Is So Mindblowingly Good, It Hurts.” NPR’s reviewer wrote, “Tight and tautly told, Every Heart grabs one of speculative fiction’s most enduring tropes — the portal fantasy, where a person slips from the real world into a magical realm somewhere beyond — and wrings it for all the poignancy, dark humor, and head-spinning twists it can get.”

David D. Levine wins the Andre Norton Award For Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy for Arabella of Mars (Macmillan/Tor.com; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Having won a Hugo for his short stories, this is his debut novel. Locus said “It is a straight-up tale of incredible yet believable adventures fit to have flowed from the quill of Robert Louis Stevenson. It is old-school Planet Stories SF without snark, smarm or apologies. At the same time it is utterly state-of-the-art, 21st-century in its sensibilities and technics. It’s an intriguing counterfactual slightly reminiscent of Novik’s Temeraire series. It’s nuts-and-bolts gadgetry SF that John Campbell would have proudly adopted. It has gravitas and humor, romance and battle, sacrifice and victory in large measures. In short, I can’t see this book—and its intended successors, since it’s labeled Volume 1—as being anything but a huge triumph.” The reviewer was spot on. Book 2, Arabella and the Battle of Venus, comes out July 18th.

Both Anders and McGuire are also finalists for the other two important SF/Fantasy awards still to be given, the Hugo and the Locus. Levine is a finalist for the Locus.

The Locus Awards will be announced the weekend of June 23-25; the Hugo on August 11.

Amazon “Reimagines” Best Seller Lists

Amazon announced today that it has launched a “reimagined weekly bestseller list,” which they claim, unlike any of the many lists already available, is “A Bestseller List for What People are Really Reading and Buying.” They don’t point out that it is also unique in that it tracks only the books that people buy through Amazon.

There are two Amazon Charts, each divided between fiction and nonfiction. “Most Sold” tracks the top 20 books “sold and pre-ordered through Amazon.com, Audible.com and Amazon Books stores and books borrowed from Amazon’s subscription programs such as Kindle Unlimited, Audible.com, and Prime Reading.” A separate list, “Most Read,” claims to reveal which titles people actually read by tracking the “average number of daily Kindle readers and daily Audible listeners each week.” In Big Brother fashion, Amazon can also track Kindle titles according “to how quickly customers read a book from cover to cover,” noting which are literally “unputdownable.”

The goal, they say, is to help customers “discover their next great read,” but a look at the actual lists reveals that they offer precious little “discovery.” The majority of the 20 titles on each list are already fixtures on other best seller lists. The rest are published by Amazon’s own imprints (e.g., Lake Union Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, Montlake Romance) or are digital editions available on Kindle (e.g., four titles in the Harry Potter series published by Pottermore). And since Kindle sales and readership are included, the lists can be influenced by special promotions, such as those from Amazon itself and from BookBub.

More useful, as an early indicator of titles grabbing public interest, is the Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list, updated hourly.

BE THE ONE Rises

ABC News chief national correspondent and Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts just published a book about teens who overcome horrible circumstances ranging from bullying to abuse, addiction, and getting caught up in wars, Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope (S&S; S&S Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).

It is soaring on Amazon thanks to segments on The View and other shows, moving from #52,295 to #54.

Pitts knows the ground he covers. He tells The View he was raised by a very young single mother, did not learn to read until he was 13, and struggled with stuttering well into college. He says the teens he met were all dealt a bad hand. They opened a new world to him, illustrating the African proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.”

Booklist says the book “reads like an engrossing news program…Uplifting in its message and captivating in its content.”

Back Together: The DOWNTON Gang

Golly Gumdrop! Julian Fellowes, Downton director Michael Engler, and Elizabeth McGovern are teaming up again in Masterpiece’s production of The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s 2012 novel of the same name (PRH/Riverhead; Thorndike Large Print; Blackstone Audio; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The novel was a hit, landing on the NYT Best Seller list, getting strong coverage, and triggering hold queues that topped 10:1.

It is a historical set in the 1920s that traces the story of a Kansas woman named Cora (played by McGovern and coincidentally the name of the character she played on Downton), who acts as the chaperone of Louise Brooks, a 15-year-old girl who becomes the famous 1920’s movie star (played by Julia Goldani Telles, The Affair).

The movie is set to open first in theaters and then will be aired on PBS stations nationwide. Deadline Hollywood notes this will be the first time Masterpiece has produced a feature film.

McGovern is very familiar with the novel. She read the audiobook version, getting an AudioFile Earphones Award in the process. In their review, Audifile writes, “McGovern’s soft-spoken performance is utterly entrancing. Her careful use of emotion and mastery of expression pull listeners into this period piece about a young woman on the road to self-discovery and a girl on the brink of fame … an outstanding audio experience.”

A premiere date has not been announced.

Moriarty talked about the book at 2012’s BEA:

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of May 22, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a relatively slow publishing week in terms of big names. Other than James Patterson, who releases a YA novel this week, Crazy House (Hachette/jimmy patterson; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), the most recognized name is Michael Crichton, whose novel Dragon Teeth (HC/Harper; HarperAudio) is being published posthumously. Prepub preview are strong and it’s an Indie Next pick (see “Peer Picks,” below). The NYT book editor, Pamela Paul, publishes a book about, guess what? Reading. My Life with Bob (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.; OverDrive Sample) uses the reading notebook she has kept since high school, called “Bob,” or Book of Books, as the basis of a memoir. Prepub reviews are strong, with LJ saying, “Titles about reading and books abound, but this memoir stands in a class by itself. Bibliophiles will treasure, but the addictive storytelling and high-quality writing will vastly increase its audience.”

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable books arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of May 22, 2017.

Peer Picks

Four Indie Next titles from the June list hit shelves this week.

Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“I was a fan of Single, Carefree, Mellow so it was a treat to read Katherine Heiny’s latest release. Standard Deviation wryly delves into the complications and contradictions inherent in good, long-term love and parenting a slightly more challenging child. This is a laugh-out-loud, funny read with brains and heart, and a gentler world to spend time in for anyone who just needs a break.” —Sarah Bumstead, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

Additional Buzz: The author will be interviewed on the upcoming NPR Weekend Edition Saturday. Reviews are scheduled in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and People magazine. BookPage lists her as one of “10 Women To Watch In 2017,” saying “Heiny offers a wry, often hilarious take on monogamy and marriage with her debut novel.” LJ includes the book on their list of May “Top Debut Novels,” calling it “brightly funny.”

Shadow Man, Alan Drew (PRH/RH;RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Shadow Man is supposed to be the story of a serial killer who was horribly abused as a child and the efforts of the police to track him down and keep him from killing others. However, this book is really about Ben Wade, one of the detectives on the case. While the victims of the serial killer greatly affect Wade, who gives his all to catch him, it is the apparent suicide of a young teenager that really shakes up his world. Much more than just a search for a killer, Shadow Man is about living in the shadows of what happened in the past. Shadow Man could be called a thriller, but it is really much more than that, with characters that are so real you can feel their pain.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Additional Buzz: Literary Hub lists it as one of the “5 Crime Must-Reads Coming in May,” writing it features “indelible characters.” Booklist and Kirkus star, with Kirkus writing “An unusually deft blending of styles, Drew’s engrossing novel works equally well as psychological study and cop thriller, literary novel and genre piece.” Booklist also includes it in their list of “The Year’s Best Crime Novels, 2017,” saying it “beats to multiple hearts of darkness.”

Dragon Teeth, Michael Crichton (HC/Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio).

“I worshipped Michael Crichton. I cried for two days when he died, in part because there would be no more novels. However, after all these years, Dragon Teeth is a true surprise, and a joyful one indeed! Although he’s more associated with futuristic science, Mr. Crichton was a dab hand at the historic thriller, and this novel is deeply grounded in fact. At its heart are two feuding paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Marsh, participants in the late-1800s Bone Wars, a period of frenzied fossil discovery. Add to the mix a fictional Yale student, friendly and unfriendly Native Americans, a heap of varmints and scoundrels, and a lady or two, and you’ve got a rollicking good story!” —Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

Additional Buzz: The Associated Press reported last year on the discovery of this lost novel, one which Crichton’s widow found among his papers. It is on a number of spring and monthly book lists, including The Washington Post and io9. Such is the buzz around it that USA Today posted an excerpt in November 2016, a full six months before it hit shelves and film rights were bought early by the National Geographic Channel for a limited series. If you have forgotten Crichton’s reach in the near decade since his death, Vanity Fair offers a reminder.

Chemistry, Weike Wang (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“The unnamed narrator of Wang’s winning and insightful novel is working on her PhD in synthetic organic chemistry, but the chemistry she really needs to learn is the one that makes relationships click. The prodigy daughter of high-achieving Chinese American parents, she’s always strived to meet their demanding expectations. Then, suddenly, she just can’t. Her lab work falters. She’s unable to accept or decline her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. But when she has a breakdown and loses in both academia and in love, she finally realizes how angry she is. Coming to terms with her past becomes her next project, and soon she can see her parents in a new light — and they aren’t the fierce tiger couple they’d always seemed to be.” —Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Additional Buzz: It makes Entertainment Weekly’s list of “19 book you have to read in May,BuzzFeed‘s Summer Reading list, and New York magazine’s Spring Book List. EW calls it “sharp” and “witty” and says it is written in “precise, impeccable prose.” It also got a great deal of early attention. The Millions put it on their Most Anticipated: The Great 2017 Book Preview, Barnes and Nobel counted it as one of the “6 Superb Debut Novels to Read in 2017,Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Entertainment Weekly also listed it on their 2017 previews. It is on Electric Lit‘s list of “34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year” and LJ highlighted it on their list of “Great First Acts.”

Tie-ins

Five tie-ins come out this week for the same movie, Despicable Me 3. The film stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Trey Parker. It will premiere on June 30.

Included in the tie-in line up is Despicable Me 3: The Junior Novel, Sadie Chesterfield (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; also in a Deluxe edition). Other tie-ins include the hardback picture book Despicable Me 3: Agnes Loves Unicorns!, Universal (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and Despicable Me 3: Seek and Find, Universal (Hachette/LB Kids). There are also two level readers, Despicable Me 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Yellow by Trey King (Hachette/LB Kids) and Despicable Me 3: Best Boss Ever by Trey King (Hachette/LB Kids)

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

THE GLASS CASTLE, First Trailer

The first trailer was just released for the film adaptation of the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (S&S/Scribner, 2005):

Starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional, sometimes homeless parents, Rex and Rose Mary, the film opens in wide release on August 11.

The author approves, telling People magazine, “They did a spectacular job bringing to life a complicated story, there’s so many nuances … I wanted Brie Larson to play this role even before I knew who she was. She understands how to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, how you can fight and be scared at the same time … The first time that I saw Woody in makeup and in character, I started trembling and crying … the degree to which he captured my father was breathtaking.”

The memoir spent over 250 weeks on NYT best seller lists, in both hardcover and the trade paperback, where it had its most enduring success. Also a constant in book groups, the memoir is assigned reading in schools, and even has its own Cliff Notes.

A tie-in is forthcoming:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (S&S/Scribner)

WONDERSTRUCK Hits Cannes

Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s middle grade novel Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) was screened this morning at the Cannes Film Festival, bringing mixed reactions. On the positive side, the AP writes, “The cacophony of the Cannes Film Festival was tamed Thursday by a deaf 14-year-old actress, Millicent Simmonds, whose screen debut is being hailed as a breakthrough.”

Describing the film itself, the AP calls it, “Fanciful and sentimental … an unlikely family-friendly turn for Haynes, the director of Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce. But it doubles down on his fondness for period tales, weaving parallel story lines from 1927 and 1977.”

Variety‘s Chief Film Critic Owen Gleiberman is more subdued, saying the film is “a lovingly crafted adventure of innocence that winds up being less than the sum of its parts.” The Hollywood Reporter says the the screening drew merely a “polite burst of applause from the assembled press,” but adds the film “can be expected to be welcomed with a lot of warm reviews.”

Produced by Amazon Studios, Wonderstruck enters the Festival as concerns are heating up over changes in the way, as Variety puts it, “people are consuming content,” with particular animosity directed at Netflix, which has two films in competition that were originally scheduled to debut on the company’s streaming service, thus bypassing theaters (they have since changed that plan).

On the other hand, Amazon works in partnership with theatrical distributor Roadside Attractions, which will open Wonderstruck in limited release on October 20, but there is still concern about whether they will stick to that arrangement for future films.

Expressing his displeasure with Netflix at a press conference, Cannes jury president, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, stated his position,

I’ll be fighting for one thing that I’m afraid the new generation is not aware of. It’s the capacity of the hypnosis of the large screen for the viewer. “The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting. It should not be part of your everyday setting. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that’s here.

Actor Will Smith, also on the panel, basically said “good luck with that,” responding that his three children, “go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix. There’s very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix in my home.” Variety dryly notes, “Netflix, it just so happens, is the distributor of Smith’s next movie, the big-budget Bright, which opens this year.”

Amazon Studios, which were greeted at the Festival last year with open arms, are facing a chiller reception this year. Variety reports there was “a loud but isolated groan” when Amazon’s credit appeared on the screen during the showing of Wonderstruck.  Todd Haynes felt compelled to defend Amazon‘s commitment to theaters by asserting, “The film division at Amazon is made up of true cineastes who love movies and really want to try and provide opportunity for independent film visions to find their footing in a vastly shifting market.”

Call Them “Successor Shows”

Reacting to fan’s questions and concerns, George R.R. Martin wrote a blog post on the news that HBO is planning a spinoff series for Game of Thrones, in the process he both made some news and corrected the initial stories.

As we posted, early accounts reported that HBO was considering four different series, with Martin working on two of them. Martin says HBO is actually considering five different ideas and he is working on all of them.

He cautions that HBO is highly unlikely to proceed with all five, “At least not immediately. What we do have here is an order for four — now five — pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen.”

Martin also objects to the term “spinoff,”

I don’t think it really applies to these new projects. What we’re talking about are new stories set in the “secondary universe” (to borrow Tolkien’s term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE …  None of these new shows will be “spinning off” from GOT in the traditional sense … Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than “spinoff” or “prequel,” however, I prefer the term “successor show.” That’s what I’ve been calling them.

He will not say what the shows will be about (Tor.com speculates on that issue), but does address the question on everyone’s lips, “I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it’s done.”

TWIN PEAKS Prep

Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s iconic TV show (1990 to 1991), premieres on Sunday, May 21. In the run up to the launch there has been wall-to-wall coverage.

New York magazine re-ran a story first published last fall on the novel by the series co-creator Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks (Macmillan/ Flatiron, 2016; OverDrive Sample). In a spoiler-filled piece they say the novel fills in characters’ backstories and clears up questions about the series finale. This October, Frost will publish a sequel, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (Macmillan/ Flatiron; Macmillan Audio).

Entertainment Weekly has started a podcast and published a “speed-binge” guide to understanding the series.

The NYT has multiple stories on the cult hit and its revival, including coverage in the  “Watching” column and episode recaps. USA Today and The Washington Post cover the show as well.

The Nerdist gives their opinion on what the new show needs to do to succeed, including the small matter of “Change TV Storytelling Again.”  Time looks at how the original did just that in  “Creators of Lost, Fargo, The Sopranos and Other Shows on How Twin Peaks Influenced Them.” On the same theme, The Atlantic offers a deep dive into “the immeasurably influential series.”

Finally, The Hollywood Reporter ranks all 30 episodes of the original show and io9 offers a list of “10 Things to Watch, Read, and Eat to Get Mentally Prepared for the New Twin Peaks.”

INTO THE WATER Surges to #1

Reviews be damned, Paula Hawkins’s Into the Water (PRH/Riverhead; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) can now be declared a #1 best seller. In its second week on sale, it moved to that spot on the new USA Today Best Selling Books list, jumping from #4 and knocking James Patterson off his perch in just one week. This practically guarantees it will be #1 on the NYT list later this week.

Holds are growing, reflecting the considerable interest in the author and some recent PR, via media interviews and her U.S. book tour. Patron demand is catching up. After a rather sluggish start, especially when compared to the pre-pub holds for her debut, lists have grown and libraries have placed multiple re-oreders.

Opening the Conversation on Teen Suicide

The controversy surrounding the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which some say “glamorizes” teen suicide, has brought new attention to the YA novel it is based on, one that has been challenged since it was published ten years ago.

Last night, Nightline showed another side of the story, reporting on a group of Michigan high school students who used the show as the inspiration to talk publicly about the events that made each of consider suicide, creating a video for their fellow students titled “13 Reasons Why Not.”

The result has been a dramatic change in the school’s culture, one that was deeply needed, says one of the participants in the project. As the book’s author Jay Asher has said, it is much more dangerous to try to shut down the conversation than to bring it into the open.

Gabriel Allon to TV

Time to crank up the betting on which actor will play Israeli art restorer, spy and assassin Gabriel Allon from Daniel Silva’s New York Times bestselling novels. Deadline reports that MGM Television, has bought the rights to the books.

Silva has published 16 titles in the series beginning with The Kill Artist in 2000, but says he’s been waiting for the “right time and the right partner” to adapt the books. The partner he chose is currently hot, having produced Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s Fargo. As MGM Motion Pictures president Jonathan Glickman notes, the books have been hot for some time, saying bidding was “highly competitive” and the rights “have been sought after for years.”

The 17th title in the series, House of Spies will be published on July 17th (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe)

Holds Alert: GROCERY

NPR’s All Things Considered featured Michael Ruhlman’s Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America (Abrams; RH Audio/BOT), moving the book up Amazon’s rankings and driving holds. Libraries are seeing reserve ratios well over 3:1, in one case 10:1.

The interview takes place in an actual grocery store. Surveying the plenty spread out in the aisles, Ruhlman says a grocery store is “the best of America and the worst of America.”

Grocery stores are run with such narrow margins that they cannot stand to lose a customer, which is why they ask as at checkout if you found everything you were looking for. Not finding something is why shoppers change stores.

Because of the ease of online buying for commodity items like orange juice and cereal, Ruhlman thinks thinks grocery stores will shrink, selling only specialized items that customers want to pick by hand. The future will look more like the past, when stores were smaller and more specialized.

As a literary side note, a recent NYT Weddings column details Ruhlman’s long-held crush on Ann Hood (The Book That Matters) which last 20 years and led to a wedding last month (with Laura Lippman officiating).