Archive for August, 2011

Convert PDF’s to ePub or Kindle

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

If you have some PDF’s that you want to convert to your eReader, the blog eBookNewser offers a step-by-step (a mere twelve in total) tutorial.

Caveat: we haven’t tried this, so we can’t verify that it works

CLOUD ATLAS Shooting This Fall

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Many have called it “unfilmable,” but the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) will try their hands at adapting David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, beginning in mid-September, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

They face the challenge of adapting a book that connects six stories set in different time periods and locations. The actors will play multiple roles and the production will involve two parallel shoots.

The film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent.

HBO’s Love Affair with Books

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

They may need to change their slogan to “It’s Not TV, It’s Books.”

Neil Gaiman told a crowd at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Monday that he will be adapting American Gods for HBO. The deal, which was announced, in June has now been finalized. In the original announcement, The Hollywood Reporter said it was the next project for Tom Hanks’ Playtone production company, with an expected debut of 2013 at the earliest.

The 2001 book was reissued as a hardcover “Author’s Preferred Text 10th Anniversary Edition” in June.

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel
Neil Gaiman
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: William Morrow – (2011-06-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0062059882 / 9780062059888

HBO has had some success with book adaptations, including Game of Thrones (season two begins in April), Too Big to Fail, Mildred Pierce and John Adams.  A roster of other  book-related projects are in the works:

The Day the Laughter Stopped  — a film about the downfall of silent screen star Fatty Arbuckle based on The Day the Laughter Stopped by David A. Yallop (St. Martins, 1976; now out of print, but still owned by many libraries). Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) has signed to play the tragic star, with Barry Levinson directing.

The Leftovers  — based on the forthcoming novel by Tom Perotta (St. Martin’s, 8/30) about what happens to those who are left behind after “The Rapture.” Variety reported last week that HBO is developing a series based on the book.

Earlier announcements:

HBO Film: Game Change

Producer: Playtone (Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman)
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Julianne Moore (Sarah Palin), Ed Haris (John McCain), Woody Harrelson (Steve Schmidt, McCain’s campaign strategist)
Based on: Book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (Harper, 2010) about  John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Status: Wrapping; Moore as Palin, above.

More projects after the jump:


Let The Fall Previews Begin

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

New York magazine is the first out of the gate with a preview of the fall season in everything from Night Life to Art and Dance.

Sandwiched in between is the Books preview. Typically for NY mag’s book coverage, the focus is high-brow; the main feature is on Hungarian Péter Nádas’s “ornate secular monstrosity that must rank as one of his country’s strangest, most ambitious literary achievements,” Parallel Stories.

Parallel Stories: A Novel
Péter Nádas
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 1152 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2011-10-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0374229767 / 9780374229764

The second feature, “Big-League Payday,” brings the news that, “Book-publishing revenue is up … and the monster advances are back, too” (haven’t they heard that Borders is closing?) and focuses on Chad Harbach’s debut novel The Art of Fielding, which Little, Brown paid $650,000 for in a hot auction against seven other publishers. It also resonated on GalleyChat in July:

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach, Little, Brown, 9/7
Hachette Large Print, 9780316204729
GalleyChat Comments — a “masterpiece” and “Baseball and Moby Dick–what a combination! ”




Also featured is the graphic novel, Habibi.

Craig Thompson
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 672 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2011-09-20)
ISBN / EAN: 0375424148 / 9780375424144

The 18 books NY mag is “also anticipating” leads with The Night Circus, adding to the already over-the-top expectations by calling it a “magical-history tale of star-crossed sorcerer’s-apprentice lovers, the leading contenders to succeed Harry Potter in the pop firmament.”

The rest of the list steers clear of pop.

Filling In For THE HELP

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

W. Ralph Eubanks, director of publishing at the Library of Congress, points out, as have others, that the movie The Help glosses over “what a truly dark time it was in Jackson” during the Civil Rights era.

In the film, a young woman, Skeeter Phelan, writes a book about the lives of the maids in Jackson, Mississippi, which reflects the tense relationship between whites and blacks during that time.

On NPR’s All things Considered last night, Eubanks says that, in real life, Eudora Welty did something similar, but much darker. She wrote the short story  “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” about the murder of African-American civil rights worker Medgar Evers from the point of view of his white killer, “bravely capturing the feelings that were in the air in Jackson that year.” He concludes, “Whether or not you liked The Help‘s optimistic tone, read ‘Where Is the Voice Coming From?’ to fill in a piece of the story that’s missing from the minute the credits begin to roll.”

The story is included in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (HMH; Mariner trade pbk, 9780156189217).

Heavy Expectations for THE NIGHT CIRCUS

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

You can’t help but wonder if the debut novel, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday, 9/13; Audio, RH Audio and Books on Tape; Large Print, Center Point), will be swamped by the weight of its expectations. Last month, USA Today reported that booksellers are expecting it to be bigger than either The Help or The Da Vinci Code. On Friday, Wall Street Journal reported that the fates of  no less than two businesses rest on its success.

The studio behind the planned movie adaptation hopes it will fill the hole left by the Twilight movie franchise, which it also produced. To help ensure that, Summit has promoted the book on the Twilight Facebook page.

Comparisons are also being made to Harry Potter (Summit is in talks with HP producer David Heyman to take it on). There is one definite similarity to Harry Potter; Jim Dale, beloved for his HP readings, narrates the audio version (RH Audio and Books on Tape).

The WSJ also reports that booksellers see the book as no less than a cure for the recession, with some planning publication-day parties featuring magicians, contortionists and Tarot-card readers. For balance, the story adds a few caveats; crossover fantasy is a crowded marketplace, this book was written as a stand-alone rather than a series, and, since it’s published as an adult title, it won’t be displayed in YA.

Library holds are beginning to build, but not yet to levels that indicate a blockbuster.

If you haven’t received a print ARC, digital copies are available through both Edelweiss (click on green “Download Review Copy” on the right) and NetGalley.

New Title Radar-Week of August 22

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This week, novels to watch include a new thriller by Danish bestseller Jussi Adler-Olsen and a bittersweet story of committed love from comedy writer Patricia Marx. Usual suspects in fiction include Laura Lippman, Kathy Reichs and Terry Brooks. Nonfiction highlights include a memoir by Erica Heller, the daughter of Joseph Heller, and a parable by Buddhist bestseller Thich Nhat Hanh.

Watch List

Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton; Penguin AudioThorndike Large Print; audio & eBook, OverDrive) is a thriller by the bestselling Danish author, about former homicide detective Carl Morck in charge of handling Copenhagen’s cold cases, including one about a missing politician. As we noted in an earlier roundup of Nordic Noir coming this summerPW gave this this one a starred review, saying “Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.”


Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx (Scribner) is a comical exploration of romance through the unlikely match up of a lingerie designer and a scientist, written in 618 “chaplettes.” The author has written comedy for Saturday Night Live and the New Yorker, as well as the 2007 novel Him Her Him Again The End of HimBooklist says, “Readers who enjoy the sly observations of Nora Ephron and the smart silliness of Woody Allen and Steve Martin should try it.”

We Others: New and Selected Stories by Steven Millhauser (Knopf) ranges across three decadesof the Pulitzer Prize winner’s stories. The Wall St. Journal says the best stories are “two concerning magicians, ‘Eisenheim the Illusionist’ (the basis of the very good 2006 film The Illusionist) and ‘The Knife Thrower,’ about a performer who may or may not be killing audience volunteers as part of his show. In these shimmering tales, the author deals directly with wonder and uncertainty rather than attempting to conjure those qualities through heavy-handed metaphors.”

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine; Audio, Random House Audio and Books on Tape and OverDrive; Large Print, Thorndike) is a debut about 18-year-old Victoria, who has placed out of the foster care system with perilously few resources, and finds an unlikely path to stabilty in her understanding of flowers, by an author who has fostered many children and also adopted one. The San Francisco Chronicle calls it “Jane Eyre for 2011” and “a cautionary tale about what happens to kids who’ve grown without families, one that strives to be honest but still hopeful.”

Usual Suspects

The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman (Morrow; Harper Audio; Large Print, HarperLuxe ) follows a circle of Baltimore friends who harbor a deadly secret. The Los Angeles Times say it “occupies the unlikely middle ground between thriller and coming-of-age saga… [but] doesn’t always measure up. On the one hand, [Lippman] effectively evokes the wildness of kids alone in a landscape of their own making… yet there is also something a bit headlong, a bit unformed about [her] writing.”

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs (Scribner; S&S Audio; Large Print, Wheeler/Thorndike) is the 14th thriller with forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Library Journal says, “Although devoted Reichs fans will miss the clever repartee and nonstop action of her previous novels, they will still plod through this one. Series newcomers will find earlier titles, such as 206 Bones and Bare Bones, far more interesting.”

The Measure of the Magic: Legends of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Del Rey; Brilliance Audio; Large Print, Thorndike)  is the concluding volume of a two-book series set in the prehistory of Shannara, in which the survivors of the Great Wars must face unimaginable challenges when their sanctuary is discovered.

Young Adult and Children’s

Bloodlines (Razorbill/Penguin) by Richelle Mead is a new teen fiction series, set in the same world as the Vampire Academy series. Fans rose to the author’s challenge  to pre-order 10,000 copies. The second book in the series, The Golden Lily is scheduled for spring 2012.

Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster; Large Print, Thorndike) is book four of the children’s time traveling Missing series.


Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22 by Erica Heller (Simon & Schuster; Tantor Audio) recalls the tumultuous and eccentric childhood of Joseph Heller’s daughter. PW says, “The total effect is akin to leafing through a bulging family scrapbook where one finds a few blurry images among many snapshots in sharp focus. Erica Heller has inherited her father’s finely tuned flair with words.” And in a review that compares Heller’s memoir with a new biography by Tracy Daugherty called Just One Catch, The Los Angeles Times adds that Yossarian Slept Here is “much deeper and feels like all a reader needs to get the feel for the man who wrote, and lived with having written, “Catch-22.”

The Novice: A Story of True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh (HarperOne) is a parable about a Vietnamese woman who dresses like a man in order to become a Buddhist monk, by the second bestselling Buddhist author in the U.S.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) chronicles the surprise success of Harry de Leyer and his horse Snowman in the late 1950s. Kirkus calls it “aheartwarming story begging for the Disney treatment.” USA Today gave it early attention on Friday.

Connie Willis Wins Another Hugo

Monday, August 22nd, 2011


Author Connie Willis won her third Hugo for best novel (in total, she’s won eleven Hugo’s) for the time travel two-book title, Blackout / All Clear (Spectra/Random House; Audio, Blackout and All Clear, Brilliance; audio and ebook for both titles on OverDrive) at the awards ceremony in Reno, Nevada on Saturday. Earlier, the book also picked up both the Nebula and the Locus Award for Best Novel.

The other winners in the best writing categories are below (the full list of the 2011 Hugo Award is here):


Surprised that Time magazine’s book critic, Grossman, who just released his second book, The Magician King, (Viking, 8/9/11) is considered a “new writer”? You’re not the only one; according to io9, Grossman acknowledged in his acceptance that he’s “not a very new person — but it took him some time to figure out what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be.”


The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean) — Several libraries own the hardcover edition of this book, which is now out of print. The full text is available on Subterranean’s Web Site. It was also a nominee for the Nebula in this category.


The Emperor of Mars by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010) – Available on the author’s Web site. This is the author’s third Hugo. Steele has written several novels; the latest is Hex (Ace, 6/7/11), the eighth in the Coyote space opera series.


For Want of a Nail by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010) – Read on the author’s Web site. Author’s debut novel is Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor/Macmillan, 2010; audio, Macmillan Audio and on OverDrive).


Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil F — this is the third year for the category. Girl Genius has won it each year (EarlyWord’s Graphic Novel columnist, Robin Brenner, is also fan of the series, but warns that it’s difficult to buy any but the most recent volumes in the series from library vendors and the bindings don’t hold up to library use).


Monday, August 22nd, 2011


Called a “surprise summer hit” by USA Today, the film version of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help has brought in an estimated total of $71.8 million since it’s opening two weeks ago, which is “a rare success story for a modestly budgeted drama in summer.”

It rose to #1 at the box office, easily trouncing the weekend’s two book-to-movie debuts, both considered flops. Coming in at a lowly #9, One Day (based on last summer’s best selling original trade paperback by David Nicholls, Knopf) is the second film, and the second disappointment (after Reservation Road, based on the novel by John Burnham Schwartz), from Random House’s joint venture with Focus Films.

Based on a series of short stories, (although more closely associated with an earlier film starring a former California governor) Conan the Barbarian came in at #4. Not only was it considered a bust, but also a sign that star Jason Momoa should forget about a sequel and that audiences are falling out of love with 3-D films. The NYT says a variety of factors hurt the film, including “…a lack of interest by women in the subject matter, terrible reviews and a release date when consumers were distracted with vacations or back-to-school preparations.”

Below are the estimates of this weekend’s top-grossing movies, as reported by Box Office Mojo. Titles in bold are based on books; for tie-in information, see our “Movies Based on Books, Upcoming — with Tie-ins

1. The Help, $20.5 million; $71.8 million, second week 
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $16.3 million; $133.8 million, third week
3. Spy Kids 4D, $12 million, first weekend
4. Conan the Barbarian, $10 million, first weekend 
5. The Smurfs, $8 million; $117.8 million, fourth week
6. Fright Night, $7.9 million, first weekend
7. Final Destination 5, $7.7 million; $32.3 million, second week
8. 30:Minutes or Less, $6.3 million; $25.8 million, second week
9. One Day, $5.1 million, first weekend 
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love., $4.95 million; $64.4 million, fourth week

Suit Against Stockett Thrown Out

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The movie The Help had a solid box office debut last week, edged out only by Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Kathryn Stockett, author of the novel the book is based on, has another reason to celebrate. The AP reports that on Tuesday, a Mississippi judge threw out a lawsuit in which Stockett’s brother’s African American maid, Ablene Cooper alleged the author used her likeness without permission.

The case was dismissed because it was brought after the one-year statue of limitations had expired between when Cooper received a copy of the book and the lawsuit was filed.

Christine O’Donnell’s Book Does NOT Get Media Bump

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Delaware Tea Party politician Christine O’Donnell, is disproving the adage that any media attention is good media attention, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Last night, she abruptly terminated her interview about her book, Trouble Maker, (St. Martin’s Press, 8/16) with CNN’s Piers Morgan after he asked about her views on gay marriage.

Despite more than 550 articles this morning, her book still only rose to a high of #1,524 on Amazon sales rankings and libraries are showing minimal holds.

Pottermore Test Drive

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Entertainment Weekly is one of the “lucky few” (one million) beta users of J.K. Rowling’s new site, They take it for a test drive and report on the experience.

RA Discovery — THE CALL

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Local attention for Yannick Murphy’s The Call (HarperPerennial, 8/2; ebook on OverDrive) has sent holds skyrocketing at Cuyahoga Public Library (thanks to Ben Wlodarczak for the tip). Cleveland Plain Dealer reviewer Karen R. Long, noting the sameness of titles on best seller lists, says,

If I had one plink of the magic wand this week, I’d inject Yannick Murphy’s jaunty, original novel The Call into the best-seller mix. Here is a book to break the formula, both edgy and moving.

Written in the first person, the novel is in the form of short pieces by a small town veterinarian.

Word is spreading; an equally laudatory piece from The Barnes and Noble Review was republished on Salon on Tuesday; “The portrait of family life that emerges in The Call — at once ironic and warm — is ‘as layered as something in nature.’ Wonderful.” The Boston Globe ran an enthusiastic review on Sunday. UPDATE: People magazine has also discovered it. In the 8/22 issue, they give it 4 of a possible 4 stars, and say it displays “an almost magical economy.”

Prepub reviews were also strong. The generally tart-mouth Kirkus went all mushy, calling it, “A marvelous book: sweet and poignant without ever succumbing to easy sentiment, formally inventive and dexterous without ever seeming showy. A triumph.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Long urges readers to explore the author’s backlist:

Murphy, who lives in Vermont and wrote the astutely sensuous novel Signed, Mata Hari in 2007, creates a different book on every outing, each a reverie and a joy. She is that rarity: a sharp writer unafraid to be tender.

The book is a paperback original, making it easier to buy extra copies for readers advisory and browsing.

The Call: A Novel
Yannick Murphy
Retail Price: $12.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2011-08-02)
ISBN / EAN: 9780062023148 / 0062023144


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Below is the harrowing trailer for one of the sensations of the Cannes Film Festival, We Need to Talk about Kevin, based on the book by Lionel Shriver. The movie, directed by Lynne Ramsay, stars Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly as the parents of the disturbed teenager Kevin, played by Ezra Miller.

It opens in a limited, Oscar-qualifying run in the US on Dec. 2 (the date at the end of the trailer is the British release date).

THE SUBMISSION — Michiko Likes It!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In today’s New York Times, Michiko Kakutani calls Amy Waldman’s The Submission, (FSG; Audio, AudioGo; Large Type, Thorndike) released yesterday, a “nervy and absorbing new novel.”

“Nervy” is a good description. Waldman writes about the blind submission to an architectural panel of  plans for a 9/11-like memorial. It turns out that the winner is a Muslim-American. Kakutani says,

Though this may sound, in summary, like a contrived, high-concept premise, Ms. Waldman not only captures the political furor and media storm that ensue, but also gives us an intimate, immediate sense of the fallout that these events have on the individuals involved… [giving] the reader a visceral understanding of how New York City and the country at large reacted to 9/11.

Waldman knows intimately the many issues an event like this would raise. As a New York Times reporter, she covered the Sept. 11 attacks and interviewed victims’ family members. She also reported on the international response to the attacks.

Listen to the author talk about the book on NPR’s Leonard Lopate Show here.

The Jewish Week calls the book is “much discussed.” We haven’t heard those discussions, but given the moral issues The Submission raises, it is certain to continue being much discussed and therefore, sounds ideal for book clubs. Clearly, there is anticipation, it is showing heavy holds on light ordering in many libraries.

Chris Cleave, the author of Little Bee, reviewing the book in the Washington Post, gave this analysis of significant post-9/11 novels, which is useful as we come up on the 10th anniversary:

[The form came] to prominence in 2003 with Frederic Beigbeder’s Windows on the World, by 2005 [it] had evolved through the twin strands of Jonathan Safran Foer’s urgent and heartfelt Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Ian McEwan’s universalized and reflective Saturday. By 2006, distance permitted the satire of Jess Walter’s The Zero and the subversion of Jay McInerney’s The Good Life, and the next year brought Don DeLillo’s definitive and artful Falling Man. It is by her clever shift of focus from the events of 9/11 to their commemoration that Amy Waldman takes this literary line forward, and it is through her respect for history — her own act of submission in choosing a humbler stage — that her novel stands so proudly within it.

USA Today recently rounded up the forthcoming nonfiction that will be published around the anniversary.