Archive for October, 2011

Media King

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly includes an excerpt from Stephen King’s forthcoming novel,  11/22/63, (Scribner, 11/8). It’s not on EW‘s web site, but they do offer a clip of the audio.

The novel is about a high school English teacher who goes through a time portal in an attempt to stop the Kennedy assassination. Below, King says he began writing it shortly after the event, but is glad that  he waited to finish it.

The book was recently optioned by film director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs).

11/22/63: A Novel
Stephen King
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 960 pages; 9781451627282
Publisher: Scribner – (2011-11-08)
UNABR. Audio: 9781442344280

Ron Howard’s ambitious plan for a TV/film adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower series was abandoned over the summer, but it now looks like it may be back in play. The eighth title in the book series, The Wind Through the Keyhole (Scribner), is scheduled for publication in April.

On Friday, it was announced that Ben Affleck has been chosen to direct an adaptation of another title by King, The Stand.

King is busy; last month, he told fans that he has nearly completed a sequel to The Shining, to be called Dr. Sleep. No pub date has been announced.

WOMAN IN BLACK Now Set for February

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Daniel Radcliffe’s post-Harry-Potter career has been busy. He has been starring in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway. He also stars in the upcoming film adaptation of Susan Hill’s 1983 ghost tale, The Woman in Black, now scheduled to open in theaters on February 3. Below the most recent trailer, which was broadcast during the Scream Awards last week.

Radcliffe plays a young lawyer, who, while sorting through the papers of a dead client in an appropriately creepy British village, encounters terror and a mysterious woman dressed in black. British author Susan Hill’s book has also been adapted as a play that has been running in London’s West End since 1989.

Radcliffe is also attached to star in a new adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front, planned for 2012.

The Woman in Black is currently available in an illustrated edition from Godine. Vintage/Knopf is releasing a movie tie-in in January (an audio version was released by Blackstone in Sept).

Hill is also known for her Simon Serrailler mystery series, published in the U.S. by Overlook Press.

Condi Has Her Say

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The cover of the new issue of Newsweek is devoted to a preview and excerpts from Condoleezza Rice’s forthcoming memoir, No Higher Honor (Crown, 11/1/11).

The New York Times also managed to get its hands on a copy and also offers an unauthorized take on the embargoed title. Of all the books so far by members of the Bush administration, says the NYT reporter, this one is  “the most expansive record of those eight years by any of the leading participants,” since it is over 700 pages long and focuses only on Rice’s time in office. While Rice “bristled at memoirs by Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, which criticized her management of the National Security Council in the first term and her efforts to increase diplomacy in the second term” says the NYT, “For the most part…Ms. Rice defends the most controversial decisions of the Bush era, including the invasion of Iraq.”

CBS News covered the Newsweek excerpts.

A Really Big Book

Monday, October 24th, 2011

According to New York magazine’s “Anticipation Index” (which quantifies buzz on books, movies, music and TV, based on the amount of online chatter), Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 is second-most talked-about forthcoming book, behind Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.

The question on library and bookstore buyers minds has been whether readers will be willing to tackle the 944-page behemoth. Now the question is whether readers will have time to pick up anything else.

Coverage has been heavy. In Salon, Laura Miller says this book about love in a paralell universe is “the international literary giant at his uncanny, mesmerizing best.” For those unfamiliar with the author, the New York Times Magazine profile offers a handy “Murakami Starter Kit.” The Washington Post‘s Michael Dirda says readers will want to read the entire book because, “Murakami possesses many gifts, but chief among them is an almost preternatural gift for suspenseful storytelling.”

In a YouTube video, designer Chip Kidd talks about creating the cover:

Amazingly, it is also available as an unbridged audio (just 36 hours long) from Brilliance Audio.

Some libraries bought it in the original Japanese, as well as Chinese, Korean, Spanish and even Russian.

NPR Hearts Lee Child

Friday, October 21st, 2011

If you’re a fan of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, you’re in good company. So are NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling, Noah Adams and Linda Wertheimer.

If you haven’t read any of the 16 books in the series, NPR’s pop-culture blog explains their appeal and asks whether the formula still works in the latest in the series, The Affair (it does).


Poetry Rising

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Terry Gross featured poet Marie Howe on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, sending her books up the Amazon sales rankings.

#92 (from #141,111)

What the Living Do: Poems
Marie Howe
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (1999-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0393318869 / 9780393318869

#162 (from #318,263)

The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems
Marie Howe
Retail Price: $16.95
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2009-09-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0393337340 / 9780393337341

New Title Radar – Week of Oct. 24

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Two books will dominate attention next week; Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs and John Grisham’s newest legal thriller, The Litigators. In the first consumer review, The Washington Post‘s Louis Bayard says that, if you’ve never been a Grisham fan, ” this snappy, well-turned novel might be a good place to start.”

Watch List

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston (Ecco/HarperCollins) is the first illustrated work by the author of the novel Jackie by Josie, who was also an archivist at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Drawing on more than 600 pieces of original 1920s material she collected from antique stores, eBay and many other sources, it tells the story of a zelig-like aspiring writer Frankie, who travels to Vassar, New York, and Paris. Ecco editor Lee Boudroux presented it at the Editors Buzz Panel at ALA Annual in New Orleans. Kirkus calls it “lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself.”

Men in the Making by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a collection of short stories exploring the modern role of manhood by the author of last year’s debut novel The Wake of Forgiveness, which Library Journal called “lacerating” and “a gasper.” His protagonists here “are guys who labor on farms and in factories and hospitals, always struggling with what it means to be a man and wondering whether they come up short,” says LJ‘s Barbara Hoffert.

Literary Giant

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Knopf;  Brilliance Audio) is billed as the Japanese master novelist’s magnum opus and homage to George Orwell, set in a Tokyo where  two moons have emerged, signaling the dawning of a parallel time line known as 1Q84 controlled by the all-powerful Little People. This 1,000-page single-volume edition is predicted to meet with a similar reception to the Japanese edition, which sold out, despite being in three volumes. It has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 since 10/3, perhaps helped by Nobel buzz (though that prize went to Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer). The Washington Post‘s Michael Dirda gives it an early consumer review, noting the author’s popularity among college students, he says, “Perhaps the American writer he most resembles, in multiple ways, is Michael Chabon.” As to the book’s length, he says, “Once you start reading 1Q84, you won’t want to do much else until you’ve finished it.”

Usual Suspects

The Litigators, by John Grisham, (Doubleday, 9780385535137; RH Audio, 9780307943194; BOT Audio, 9780307943217; RH Large Print, 9780739378335) is heralded by Louis Bayard in The Washington Post, who says that Grisham is growing as a writer, suggesting that he’s “read Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly and Scott Turow with profit.” Referring to the actor who played the lead in the movie version of The Firm, and is now, controversially, set to play Jack Reacher in the film of Lee Child’s One Shot, Bayard adds, “Most intriguingly, [Grisham] began tossing back drinks with characters who would never in their lives be played by Tom Cruise.”

The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck (Threshold; Simon and Schuster Audio) is a Christmas-themed novel by the former Fox News pundit, about a woman struggling to break free of a painful family legacy. A childrens version, adapted by Chris Schoebinger  and illustrated by Brandon Dorman is also being released (S&S, 9781442444485).

The Night Eternal: Book Three of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Morrow/HarperCollins, 9780061558269; HarperAudio, 9780062097880; HarperLuxe, 9780062088659)
is the conclusion to the authors’ much-talked-about vampire trilogy. As the final battle dawns, avenging “angels” help reclaim the planet for humanity.


Young Adult

Destined by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312650254; Macmillan Audio, 9781427213396; Thorndike Large Print, 9781410442338) continues the paranormal romance House of Night series, with Zoey finally at home, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, and preparing to face off against Neferet.

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375814709; Listening Library/RH Audio, 9780307941725; ) is the third Legend of Beka Cooper fantasy novel.

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Phantom by L. J. Smith (HarperTeen, 9780062017680) continues the popular YA paranormal series. The tv series based on the books, is in its third season on CW.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 9781451648539; S&S Audio, 9781442346277;  Large print, Thorndike, 9781410445223; Spanish Edition, Vintage Books, 9780307950284) uses interviews–including more than 40 with Jobs himself–to create an encompassing portrait of the late Apple visionary. Isaacson will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday. Sony is reported to be negotiating to buy the rights for a movie version. Although the book is under “strict embargo,” the AP obtained a copy and reports, in a story that is being carried widely, that it “sheds new light” on Jobs. The NYT also managed to snag a copy, and writes about Jobs’s reliance on exotic treatments for his cancer. The Huffington Post claims an exclusive, outlining the book’s major revelations.

Confessions of a Guidette by Nicole Polizzi (Gallery/S&S, 9781451657111) is the latest literary endeavor by the Chilean-American TV star Snooki, who appears on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore.

Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson by Hunter S. Thompson and Jann Wenner (Simon & Schuster, 9781439165959) compiles all of Thompson’s Rolling Stone articles. Johnny Depp’s movie of his late friend Thompson’s only novel, The Rum Diary, opening at the end of the month, is bringing new attention to the author’s works.


Thursday, October 20th, 2011

One of the year’s most heavily reviewed debuts, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell has been acquired for a half-hour comedy by HBO. Scott Rudin, known for his literary adaptations, has signed on as producer, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

HBO has several other literary projects in the works, including an adaptation of Jonathan Frazen’s The Corrections (also with Rudin), and Neil Gaiman‘s American GodsEarlier HBO announced plans for Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad  (in April, but no news since), Mary Karr’s memoir Lit (June) and Robert Graves’ I Claudius  (June).

Twenty-four-year old Russell was selected as one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” top fiction writers. Reviewing Swamplandia! in the NYT Book Review, Emma Donoghue (Room) called it high comedy, “Vividly worded, exuberant in characterization, the novel is a wild ride: Russell has style in spades.” The paperback is currently on the Indie Paperback Fiction Best Seller list, after 12 weeks. It reached a high of #9.

Karen Russell
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-02-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0307263991 / 9780307263995


Funny, If It Weren’t So True

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The National Book Awards debacle, as seen through the eyes of Xtranormal (via Entertainment Weekly‘s blog, “Shelf Life“).

King’s BAG OF BONES Coming to A&E

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

A teaser trailer for Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, a two-night, four-hour A&E mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan, coming in December, debuted during Sunday’s second-season premiere of The Walking Dead. While it hinted at the story’s creepiness, it gave little away.

The following behind-the-scenes video, narrated by the star, offers a bit more:

The book is available in mass market and trade editions, as well as on audio, read by King (S&S Audio, 9780743551755 and large type from Thorndike). No tie-in has been announced.

Bag of Bones
Stephen King
Retail Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books – (1999-06-01)
ISBN / EAN: 067102423X / 9780671024239

Bag of Bones: 10th Anniversary Edition
Stephen King
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2008-10-21)
ISBN / EAN: 1439106215 / 9781439106211

Piri Thomas Dies

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The author of the 1967 best seller, Down These Mean Streets, a memoir of growing up in New York City’s barrios, died at his home in California at age 83.

New York Daily NewsPiri Thomas, Latin American poet and novelist who wrote on NYC’s barrios, dead …

New York TimesPiri Thomas, Spanish Harlem Author, Dies at 83

The most well-known of his books, Down These Mean Streets is still available from Vintage.

Down These Mean Streets
Piri Thomas
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (1997-11-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0679781420 / 9780679781424

As well as in Spanish,

Por estas calles bravas
Piri Thomas
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (1998-09-14)
ISBN / EAN: 0679776281 / 9780679776284

Also still available is a collection of his stories.

Stories from El Barrio
Piri Thomas
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Freedom Voices Pubns – (2005-12-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0915117118 / 9780915117116

SYBIL Exposed

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The name “Sybil” has become synonymous with multiple-personality disorder, because of the 1973 best-selling book of that title and a made-for-TV movie based on the book that starred Joanne Woodward  (thanks for the correction — see comments  — Sally Field actually played Sybil, with Woodward as the psychiatrist. Woodward starred in an earlier movie about multiple personality disorder, now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder,  The Three Faces of Eve).

A new book questions whether “Sybil” actually had the disorder, or whether she pretended to have it to play to the interests of her psychiatrist. The book was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition today.

Sybil Exposed
Debbie Nathan
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Free Press – (2011-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 143916827X / 9781439168271

The original book is still available in mass market paperback.

Flora Rheta Schreiber
Retail Price: $9.99
Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2009-04-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0446550124 / 9780446550123

SHINE Casts a Shadow on the NBA

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The story of the National Book Foundation’s flip-flops on whether Lauren Myracle’s Shine (Amulet/Abrams, 9780810984172) would be included on the list of finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature is being called everything from a “mix-up” to a “debacle” and has been covered in a wide range of publications, from the author’s hometown paper, The Denver Post, to the Hindustan Times.

Myracle spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered last night and, earlier, to Vanity FairWhile she says the NBA’a request that she withdraw Shine from consideration made her feel like “the rug had been pulled out” from under her feet, one good thing has come from it. The National Book Foundation agreed to her suggestion that they donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which fights against hate crimes.

Fellow YA author Libba Bray posted a self-described “rant” on her blog, saying, “a classy, kind, wonderful person and writer was subjected to a week of anguish in full view of the world in order to preserve somebody’s overweening ego.” She urged readers to “order Shine from your local bookstore or request it from your local library today. And if you’re tweeting this, please use the hashtag #ISupportShine.”

On Twitter, an additional hashtag, #BuyShine has also emerged.

The book has risen to #534 on Amazon’s sales rankings, higher than any of the titles on the official list:

  • # 1,936    Gary D. Schmidt  – Okay for Now – Clarion/HMH, 9780547152608
  • #2,326    Debby Dahl Edwardson  – My Name is Not Easy – Marshall Cavendish, 9780761459804
  • #3,981    Franny Billingsley – Chime – Dial Books, 9780803735521
  • #3,987    Thanhha Lai – Inside Out & Back Again – Harper, 9780061962783
  • # 5,899    Albert Marrin –  Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy – Alfred A. Knopf, 9780375868894

Barnes Wins Booker

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

After being short-listed four times, Julian Barnes has finally won the Booker Prize, an honor he once dismissed as “posh bingo,” for The Sense of an Ending. The news sent the book to #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Originally scheduled for publication in January, the book was recently moved up to the beginning of October.

Earlier this year, the head of the judging committee, spy novelist Stella Rimington, said  she wanted people “to buy [the titles on the shortlist] and read them, not buy them and admire them,” setting off a round of controversy and launching a new, competing prize, pointedly named the Literature Prize.

Even so, The Sense of an Ending leans more towards “Literature” than towards what is commonly considered “readable.” Michiko Kakutani, reviewing it in the New York Times found it, “…dense with philosophical ideas and more clever than emotionally satisfying. Still, it manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story” and the San Francisco Chronicle said, “At 163 pages, Julian Barnes’ latest novel…is the longest book I have ever read,” although it invites and rewards rereading.

Other U.S reviews:

Entertainment Weekly, by Stephan Lee (Oct. 11, 2011)

Washington Post, by Jeff Turrentine (Oct. 11, 2011)

Cleveland Plain Dealer, by John Freeman (Oct. 13, 2011)

Wall Street Journal, by Sam Sacks (Oct. 17, 2011)

The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes
Retail Price: $23.95
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-10-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0307957128 / 9780307957122


Monday, October 17th, 2011

The premiere of the second season of AMC Network’s [corrected; we earlier referred to it as USA Network’s] Walking Dead drew a total of 11 million viewers and broke basic cable ratings in several demographics.

No surprise, then, that the various compilations of the source comics also rose on Amazon sales rankings. Leading the pack is the seventh volume which arrives tomorrow:

The Walking Dead, Book 7
Robert Kirkman
Retail Price: $34.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Image Comics – (2011-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 1607064391/ 9781607064398

For those who just can’t get enough of the gore, The Walking Dead Chronicles: The Official Companion Book goes behind the scenes of the first season.

The Walking Dead Chronicles
Paul Ruditis, AMC
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams – (2011-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1419701193 / 9781419701191

The comic series creator, Robert Kirkman, published  the first in a projected series of original Walking Dead novels last week (more on Kirkman here).

The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor
Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books – (2011-10-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0312547730 / 9780312547738