Three of the four major movie releases opening today have a book connection. Click on the movie titles to watch the trailer.
Moneyball – Based on the best selling book by Michael Lewis, the new Brad Pitt movie may knock the 3-D version of The Lion King out of its #1 position, but money is also on Dophin Tale (see below). Moneyball has been receiving great reviews and Oscar buzz. The book, as MTV notes, “isn’t exactly an obvious candidate for Hollywood’s adaptation machine. It’s filled with geeky tales about the importance of obscure stats like ‘wins above replacement,’ the founding of fantasy sports and the evolution of a guy named Bill James from factory worker to baseball deity.”
Lewis’s next book,Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (W.W. Norton, 10/3/11), explores how cheap credit fueled bubbles around the world with disastrous effects (as in Ireland and Greece) and how it that may come home to the US. Tie-in, published by W.W. Norton.
Dolphin Tale — is not based on a book, but on the true story of a dolphin named Winter whowas rescued from trapping ropes, only to lose her tail due to her injuries. A prosthetic engineer figured out how to create a replacement, which also led to a breakthrough in engineering human prostheses. The story was covered in the news and Scholastic published a picture book about it, Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again (2009). Scholastic has published an official movie book, Dolphin Tale: A Tale of True Friendship, with stills from the movie, Dolphin Tale: The Junior Novel and a paperback reprint of Winter’s Tail.
The Killer Elite – The smallest of the movies opening this weekend, both in size of budget and number of theaters carrying it, this movie is based on The Feather Men by the British explorer and writer, Ranulph Fiennes. The story of an elite group of British soldiers, it raised controversy when it was publishing in the UK in 1991, which resurfaced when the movie was announced last year. It stars Robert De Niro, Jason Statham, Yvonne Strahovski, and Clive Owen. Tie-in published by Ballantine.
This week brings an unusual number of big trade paperback releases, the book club format of choice, so we have listed them under their own heading.
Nightwoodsby Charles Frazier (Random House; Audio, Random House Audio and Books on Tape; Large Print, Random House; Audio currently on OverDrive, eBooks available soon) is the author’s third novel. Anticipation is high, as indicated by the fact that it is already reviewed in the NYT and Entertainment Weekly.
Lost Memory of Skinby Russell Banks, (Ecco; HarperAudio; Large Type, HarperLuxe; ePub, OverDrive); This one comes with Nora’s personal recommendation, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been so involved with a book’s characters that at one point, I shouted, ‘No, don’t!’” About a young man forced into homelessness after being convicted as a sex offender, it’s a book that people will be talking about. Booklist starred it, but Publishers Weekly found it, “Bloated and remarkably repetitive, this is more a collection of ideas and emblems than a novel.”
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (FSG; Audio, Brilliance and on OverDrive) is the second volume of a trilogy about the Opium Wars in China that began with the 2008 Booker short listed Sea of Poppies. Publishers Weekly warns, “This crowded novel is in turn confusing and exhilarating, crammed with chaotic period detail and pidgin languages.”
The Kingdom of Childhoodby Rebecca Coleman, (Mira/Harlequin) was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA, a disturbing story about a teacher involved in a sexual relationship with a student. Ripe for book discussions, the trade paperback format makes it even more attractive to book groups.
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate (Algonquin; ePub and Kindle, on OverDrive) is part of the Algonquin Readers Roundtable, titles published in original trade paperback to appeal to book groups. It was included in Reading Group Guides’ 2011 Hot Fall Titles for Book Clubs. This is the third book by an author that Kirkus calls “A master at portraying the hurdles faced by upwardly mobile African-Americans,” In this case, the novel deals with the effect of alcoholism on a family. Booklist gives it high praise, “With a lyrical style and obvious respect for her craft, Southgate has composed a compassionate, complex, and concentrated novel, tenderly powerful, that explores family bonds that last long after the family is dispersed.” People chose it as one of five fiction titles in their Great Fall Reads preview.
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Storiesby Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers; Audio, Random House and Books on Tape and OverDrive) is a collection of “lost” stories by Dr. Seuss. Earlier this year, All Things Considered explored the story of the book’s origins. On eBay, a Random House art director discovered that a Dr. Seuss-obsessed collector had identified magazines from the ’50′s featuring Seuss stories that had not been published elsewhere.
The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco (Candlewick Press; Audio, Brilliance and OverDrive) is the retelling of a hundred-year-old story by the Newbery Medalist (Bridge to Terabithia) and her husband. It is starred by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, which said, “This timeless, enjoyable retelling is a strong choice for both a read-aloud and an under-the-covers escape.”
Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M Martin, (Feiwel & Friends) is nine-year-old Pearl’s hard-won rules for living with her 14-year-old sister. Says Kirkus, “Pearl, as narrator, shows herself to be a keen observer of the people around her and mature enough to handle some sticky situations, all with a sense of humor and aplomb.”
The Affair by Lee Child, (Delacorte/RH; RH Audio and Books on Tape; RH Large type) explores the series character, Jack Reacher’s back story (sorry, Reacher fans, the movie version of One Shot is moving along, with Tom Cruise in the role of the imposing 6′ 5″ Reacher). Janet Maslin already sang its praises in the NYT this week.
Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke (S&S; Audio, S&S; Large Type, Thorndike) continues the story of Hackberry Holland, the reformed drunk who is now a sheriff in a small South Texas border town. Booklist stars it, saying, “As Burke steers the elaborately structured narrative toward its violent conclusion, we are afforded looks inside the tortured psyches of his various combatants, finding there the most unlikely of connections between the players. This is one of Burke’s biggest novels, in terms of narrative design, thematic richness, and character interplay, and he rises to the occasion superbly.”
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean (S&S; Audio, S&S; Large Type, Thorndike); we’re expecting this to be THE narrative nonfiction title of the fall. An excerpt appeared in the 8/25 issue of The New Yorker. In a video, Susan Orlean chats about her work.
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt, (WW Norton, 9/26) has already been featured twice on NPR, on Morning Edition and Fresh Air (libraries may want to heed the advice that this will bring a spike in the sales of Greek philosopher Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things). More media attention is coming next week.
Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden (Atlantic Monthly Press; Brilliance Audio) is a true cyber-crime story about the battle against the Conficker computer worm by the best-selling author of Blackhawk Down.
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Holt; Audio, Macmillan Audio; Large Type, Thorndike) the Fox News host joins forces with historian Martin Dugard (who earlier teamed with James Patterson on the nonfiction title, The Murder of King Tut) to retell an often-told story. PW commented dryly, “Well-documented and equally riveting histories are available for readers interested in Lincolns assassination; this one shows how spin can be inserted into a supposedly no spin American story. ”
Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, (Knopf) is a celebrity memoir (Lindsay-Hogg is the son of actress Geraldine Fitzgerald and the director of Brideshead Revisited). Kirkus, enthuses, “even those who dismiss celebrity memoirs should enjoy this jaunt through the glitz.”
The first official trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (a teaser, with no dialog, supposedly leaked earlier this year) just debuted on the Web. The American adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel is directed by David Fincher and stars Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist, Rooney Mara as hacker Lisbeth Salander and Christopher Plummer as the man who hires them to investigate a murder. The movie opens on Dec. 21.
Looks like it will be at least as dark as the Swedish version.
Knopf announced late yesterday that they are publishing a new book by Bill Clinton, Back to Work, in November. According to the press release, Clinton,
…details how we can get out of the current economic crisis and lay a foundation for long-term prosperity. He offers specific recommendations on how we can put people back to work, increase bank lending and corporate investment, double our exports, restore our manufacturing base, and create new businesses. He supports President Obama’s emphasis on green technology, saying that change in the way we produce and consume energy is the strategy most likely to spark a fast growing economy and enhance our national security.
Many libraries are now displaying the image on the left on their Web site home pages.
News sources are spreading the word. The story in today’s print New York Times, points out, “For years the availability of free e-books from libraries was something of an underground secret.”
No more, thanks to Amazon’s ability to get press attention. Libraries are now struggling to keep up with the increased demand.
The OverDrive update is in the midst of a roll out, which will be completed in a few days, so many libraries have to explain to customers that they can’t take the words “now available in over 11,000 libraries” at face value (have any of you posted “coming soon” notices on your sites?). In addition, not all titles are available; as OverDrive says on its blog, the update allows, “most existing eBooks in your library’s collection to be read on all Kindle devices.”
Several stories offer how-tos for users (including the reminder that a library card is required):
Charles Frazier’s first novel, Cold Mountain, received great acclaim, as well as commercial success (it was on the hardcover best seller list so long that the paperback ended up being delayed for several months) and went on to win the 1997 National Book Award (beating out Don DeLillo’s Underworld). It was also the basis for a movie of the same title, which was nominated for six Oscars (Renee Zellwegger won for Best Supporting Actress).
Frazier’s second book, Thirteen Moons, came out nearly ten years later, to wildly divergent reviews. History may repeat itself with his third book, Nightwoods, arriving this coming Tuesday. Entertainment Weeklygives it a solid A, saying, “The book feels longer than its 260 pages — a good thing, given what a joy it is to luxuriate in its words.” The plotting also comes in for praise, “By the book’s climactic scenes in the shadowy mountain forest that gives Nightwoods its title, the unhurried, poetic suspense is both difficult to bear and impossible to shake.”
Michiko Kakutani, in the New York Times, sees it differently; the book is “often heavy-handed” and Frazier’s prose is “ominous and purple” and “ridiculously melodramatic.” As a result, the the over-the-top passages “rip a hole in the textured emotional fabric of this novel, which Mr. Frazier has so painstakingly woven.”
Random House Library Services begins a new series on their library blog called “Use Me: Book Promo to repurpose” with a trailer for Nightwoods, which they encourage librarians to use on library web sites, blogs, enewsletters, or library video monitors.
Holds are growing for a book about the love of maps by the 74-time Jeopardy! winner, Ken Jennings, called Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks. He was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.
Unsurprisingly, he’s a big fan of the the maps division of the Library of Congress. He talks about being awestruck when he toured it.
NPR’s Morning Edition calls Time for Outrage by Stéphane Hessel, a collection of essays that calls on young people to rage against the world’s injustices, “One of the literary world’s unexpected successes over the past year.”
Written by a 94-year-old WWII French resistance fighter, it has sold almost 2 million copies in his native country. It was published here on Tuesday.
The book was not reviewed in the prepub sources and is owned by just a few public libraries.
Back in July, independent booksellers predicted that The Night Circus would be bigger, in terms of sales, than either The Help or The Da Vinci Code.
The new Indie Best Seller list indicates that they have been working to fulfill that prophecy; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday, 9/13; Audio, RH Audio and Books on Tape; Large Print,Center Point), debuts at #1 in its first week on sale. But the indies aren’t the only ones selling it, we hear it will appear at #2 on the 10/2 New York Times list.
As a result, the other debuts have moved down one notch on the Indie list:
Amazon’s press release announcing that “Kindle and Kindle app customers can now borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States,” launched several news stories, raising customer expectations. Many, however, took the word “now” in the press release at face value and expressed frustration on Twitter and Amazon’s Kindle Library Lending customer discussion forum, because they were unable to download Kindle titles from their local libraries.
OverDrive responded to our queries by saying that Seattle Public and King County (WA) Library System began the program on Monday. The roll out to the rest of the libraries on the OverDrive system began today and is expected to be complete within a few days.
Author Ron Suskind hit the news shows yesterday to defend his book on Obama and the financial crisis, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President, (HarperCollins; Audio, Dreamscape and on OverDrive; LT, HarperLuxe).
On NPR’s Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan reviewed Stephen Greenblatt’s forthcoming book on the origins of the Renaissance, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, (WW Norton, 9/26) calling it a “non-fiction wonder.”
As a result, the book rose to #19 on Amazon’s sales rankings.
One of the key elements of the book is the rediscovery, in 1417, of the Greek philosopher Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things. Corrigan predicts that its sales, “will spike as a result of Greenblatt’s book: his awe-struck discussions of the poem make it sound so weird and beautiful that most readers will want to give Lucretius a whirl themselves.”
Greenblatt’s publisher, Norton, foresaw this reaction; they have reissued On the Nature of Things to accompany Greenblatt’s book.
As the Muppets freely admit, it’s high time for a new parody. Previous trailers for The Muppets movie, coming this Thanksgiving, have parodied The Hangover (The Fuzzy Pack) and The Green Lantern (Being Green).
The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach, (Little, Brown, 9/7), a debut that is currently enjoying major media attention (the October issue of Vanity Fair features a long article about its publishing) appears on two new fall previews — the L.A. Times and People‘s. Absent from both lists, are two other major debuts with strong media attention, The Night Circus and The Language of Flowers.
In nonfiction, Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, (Knopf, 11/1) appears on both. Didion, who already chronicled her husband’s death in The Year of Magical Thinking, suffered the death of her daughter soon after. People says it is a “searing memoir” of that period in her life.
Three of today’s four major movie debuts are based on books (although two of them probably fall into the category of “Who knew?” for most movie goers). Click on the movie titles to watch the trailers.
I Don’t Know How She Does It– The movie has brought renewed attention to Allison Pearson’s 2002 best seller (a chick lit title from Knopf, of all houses); the tie-in is now at #75 on USA Today’s best seller list and #14 on the NYT Trade Paperback list. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, it looks like Sex and the City with day care (the L.A. Times‘ review bears out this suspicion). Too bad; when the book first came out, it was regarded as fresh and new. Considered similar to, but better than Bridget Jones Diary, it was a hit in both the author’s native England and in the U.S. – Tie-in, Anchor, 9780307948564.
Drive – Here’s a twist; a Danish filmmaker directing a movie based on a noir thriller by an American writer. Nicolas Winding Refnbest won the Cannes best director award for this adaptation of James Sallis’s novel of the same title. PW describes the author’s audience as a “small but fiercely devoted readership,” One wonders how faithful the movie is to the book, his first to be adapted to the screen. Reviews emphasize the violence while, as PW describes the author, he is ” best known for his literate, exquisitely crafted crime novels [and] impressive body of work over the past 40 years, with more than two dozen volumes of fiction, poetry, translation, essays, and criticism.” Sallis’s latest, The Killer Is Dying, (Walker) was just released in August. – Tie-in, Mariner/HMH, 9780547791098.
Straw Dogs – Reviews focus on whether this version is better than Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 thriller, starring Dustin Hoffman. Few realize that both are based on a novel, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, by Gordon Williams. The Peckinpah original was so sexually violent, that the British censors blocked its release in video until 2003. That brought new attention to the once-prominent author (The Guardian‘s profile was headlined, “Gordon Who?“), even though the objectionable scenes were not in the book. – Tie-in, Titan Books, 9780857681195