Archive for February, 2012

HOUSE OF STONE to be Released Early

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, died while on assignment in Syria for the NYT, apparently from an acute asthma attack (NYT obituary).

His third book, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East, has been moved up from its original publication date of March 27th to next Tuesday (USA Today).

The book is a memoir of the year Shadid spent in Lebanon, restoring the estate built by his great-grandfather. Reviewing it, Kirkus concluded,

Much of the narrative is a gentle unfolding of observation and insight, as the author reacquaints himself with the Arabic rhythms, “absorbing beauties, and documenting what was no more.” A complicated, elegiac, beautiful attempt to reconcile the physical bayt (home) and the spiritual.

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
Anthony Shadid
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade – (2012-02-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0547134665 / 9780547134666


Monday, February 20th, 2012

The popular British WWI series, Downton Abbey concluded last night. The Hollywood Reporter estimates the show is “closer to a critical mass than anything that’s ever come out of PBS’ Masterpiece Classics franchise.” It also served to push three related books up Amazon’s sales rankings:

#15 (from #31) The World of Downton Abbeyby Jessica Fellowes, (Macmillan/ St. Martin’s)

#26 (from #81) Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castleby The Countess of Carnarvon (RH/Broadway Books)

#385 (from #562) Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey,”  by Margaret Powell(Macmillan/St. Martin’s)

Work is underway on the third season. Prepare for sparks between Shirley MacLaine, who joins the cast as the mother of Elizabeth McGovern’s Lady Grantham, and Maggie Smith, who plays the prickly Dowager Countess (see some of her best moments to date in the video below, with appropriate background music).

Watch Downton Abbey: The Best Maggie Moments on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

While Americans were watching the end of this series, British audiences were watching the end of another period drama, Call The Midwife, set in the 1950’s. It’s been a surprise hit, topping the ratings of Downton Abbey and regarded as the BBC’s most successful series since 2001. It is adapted from the best selling memoirs by Jennifer Worth about her experiences as a midwife in the slums of East London in the 1950s.

The tie-in is at #1 on Amazon UK’s sales rankings, followed closely by the author’s three other titles. The first book in the series was published here in 2009; the others are not available in the US.

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
Jennifer Worth
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2009-04-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0143116231 / 9780143116233

A U.S. release date for the series has not been announced yet.

The next British imports to PBS  are based on two Charles Dickens’ titles. Great Expectations, with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham, runnning April 1 and 8, followed by The Mystery of Edwin Drood, on April 15.

Masterpiece returns to WWI, beginning April 22, with the BBC’s two-part Birdsong, based on the book by Sebastian Faulkes. The British tabloid, The Daily Star, referred to it as a “raunchy adaptation” and an “X-rated hit.” Critics applauded the first episode, but were divided over the second. The audiences, while strong, was not a large as those for Downton Abbey.

A tie-in edition is coming in April (check here for EarlyWord‘s full list of tie-ins to upcoming movies & tv series)

Birdsong (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage International)
Sebastian Faulks
Retail Price: $15.95
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2012-04-03)
ISBN / EAN: 0345802896 / 9780345802897

Buchanan Shoots Back at MSNBC

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan appeared on Fox News on Friday after being dropped by MSNBC, where he had been a commentator for the last ten years. He was on suspension from the station for the last 4 months after the release of his latest book, Suicide of a Superpower. Citing the chapters titled “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America,” many organizations had called for Buchanan’s ouster. In January, the president of MSNBC signaled his displeasure by saying, “The ideas he put forth [in the book] aren’t really appropriate for national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC.”

In the Fox interview, Buchanan told Sean Hannity, that he feels he is the victim of a blacklist against “conservative and traditionalist thought.”

Suicide of a Superpower debuted at #4 on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction list after its first week on sale. It slid down to #25 after three weeks and is no longer on the list.

Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?
Patrick J. Buchanan
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books – (2011-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0312579977 / 9780312579975

COSMOPOLIS Is the Must-See Movie of 2012

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Robert Pattison, the Twilight heart throb, is getting terrible reviews for his starring role in the costume drama Bel Ami, an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s novel. It arrives in US theaters on March 2 (UPDATE: It arrives later, June 8).

He’s probably cheered by the news that his next movie, Cosmopolis, based on the book by Don DeLillo (S&S/Scribner, 2003), won the MTV Movie Brawl for the must-see movie of 2012 (no specific theatrical release date has been announced). It was also selected by Playlist as one of the 50 Most Anticipated Films of 2012.

Co-star Paul Giamatti reacts:

New Title Radar – Week of Feb. 20

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Two notable historical novels arrive next week: Jonathan Odell‘s The Healing, about a 75 year-old woman raised as a slave, and Kate Alcott‘s The Dressmaker, which gives the Titanic disaster a fresh twist. Usual suspects include Alex Berenson, Kim HarrisonJ.D. Robb, Matthew Pearl and Thomas Mallon. And in nonfiction, David Brock takes on Fox News and Roger Ailes, plus there’s a lavish guide to the art of the popular gaming series The Mass Universe.

Watch List

The Healing by Jonathan Odell (RH/Knopf/Nan A. Talese; Wheeler Large Print) is the story of a 75 year-old woman who was raised as a slave by the unstable wife of a plantation owner, and revives buried memories to heal a young girl abandoned to her care. Library Journal says, “bound to be compared to Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling The Help, this historical novel relegates its few white characters to distinctly minor status and probes complex issues of freedom and slavery, such as the dangers of an owner’s favor, making it more like Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s acclaimed Wench.” This one has also been mentioned favorably by librarians on our own Galley Chat.

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott (RH/Doubleday; Center Point Large Print; Random House Audio) follows a young woman hired as a personal maid on the Titanic, who becomes involved in a public scandal after her mistress’s questionable actions are revealed by the shipwreck. Library Journal says it gives the tale of the Titanic “a fresh feel. Tess makes a praiseworthy heroine, [but] one fewer suitor might have been more plausible. Still, an engaging first novel.”

Flatscreen by Adam Wilson (Harper Perennial) follows the dangerous friendship and YouTube stardom of Eli Schwartz, who thinks of himself as a loser, and Seymour J. Kahn, a twisted former TV star who has purchased Eli’s old family home. Booklist gives it a starred review, calling it “a standout addition to a new generation of writers.” PW adds, “comedy and pathos abound in Seymours absurdist world…Fans of Jack Pendarvis and Sam Lipsyte will enjoy Wilsons fresh, fantastical perspective.”

Usual Suspects

Shadow Patrol by Alex Berenson (Putnam Adult; Wheeler Publishing; Penguin Audiobooks) is this Edgar-winning author’s sixth spy thriller starring ex-CIA operative John Wells. It focuses on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan who engage in drug smuggling while fighting the Taliban. Kirkus says, “the prose is airtight, the pacing is excellent and the phenomenal action sequences more than make up for minor weaknesses in the plot. Berenson’s highly enjoyable series continues with more of the rock-solid same.”

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager; Blackstone Audiobooks) is the 10th installment in the landmark urban fantasy series, and finds Rachel Morgan, a witch-turned-demon, at a crime scene involving a university student. LJ says: “Harrison’s colorful cast of supporting characters keeps the story moving among the fast-paced action scenes. Longtime fans will obviously be standing in line for this one. However, readers with any interest in urban fantasy can easily jump into the story.”

Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio) is the 35th Eve Dallas novel, which finds the Lieutenant at a party celebrating a film based on one of her cases, that suddenly turns into a crime scene. Kirkus says, “readers count on Robb to deliver the goods, and [this] will not disappoint. The plot is cleverly conceived, cinematically riveting, and sexily charming, and Eve is her usual no-nonsense self.”

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl (Random House; Random House Audio) is set at the close of the Civil War, as students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology form a secret society that is determined to find the truth behind a recent string of commercial disasters. LJ says, “Pearl has a special talent for making likable detectives out of historical figures, and for pulling compelling plotlines from biographies. Here, MIT and Harvard are brought to the foreground and so well depicted that they become historical characters in their own right. This thriller won’t disappoint Pearl’s many fans.”

Watergate by Thomas Mallon (RH/Pantheon; Blackstone Audiobooks) retells the story of the Watergate scandal from the perspectives of seven key characters, suggesting answers to some of the incident’s greatest unsolved mysteries. Although it’s not due for publication until Tuesday, it’s already racked up a number of newsstand reviews; The Washington Post (“imaginative political farce“); NYT (a “lively, witty drama“) and the L.A. Times (“It’s [the] human touches that ultimately make Watergate work.”)

Young Adult

Fever (Chemical Garden Series #2) by Lauren DeStefano (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) returns to the dystopian worldbuilding, moral dilemmas and romantic possibilities of Wither but Kirkus says they “never heat up… [the characters’ constant running and hiding overshadow the interesting questions about the ethics of science, relationships, sexuality and power raised in the first book. Readers who want to know more about the causes and effects of the mysterious virus will have to wait for the third installment, purposefully set up by another rushed ending.”


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium Trilogy Series #3) by Stieg Larsson (Knopf Publishing Group; Random House Large Print Publishing; Random House Audio) finally arrives in two paperback editions: a trade paperback edition with a 325K first printing, and a mass market edition with a 680K first printing.


The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine by David Brock (RH/Anchor Books) is a catalogue of Fox News president Roger Ailes’ alleged misdeeds as head of the controversial network, written by Brock, the founder and CEO of Media Matters, and Rabin-Havt, the organization’s executive vice president, who say they were the object of personal attacks authorized by Ailes in retaliation for their organization’s critical coverage of Fox. Kirkus says, “worth reading for anyone who suspects Fox News of distorting the truth and is eager to spend hours sifting through the evidence.”

Art of the Mass Effect Universe by Various (Dark Horse Comics) is a companion to The Mass Effect science fiction gaming series, with concept art and commentary by BioWare on the games’ characters, locations, vehicles, weapons, and more.

COGAN’S TRADE’s Release Date

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

UPDATE: The title of the movie has been changed to Killing Them Softly and the date has been changed to Oct. 19.

Hollywood sites are going crazy over Brad Pitt’s look for the film version of George V Higgins’ Cogan’s Trade (gasp; is that a MULLET?). A release date of Sept. 21 was just announced (as MovieFone notes, it’s the anniversary of the release of Moneyball).

Pitt is joined by Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini (yes, they play mobsters, but this time, they’re Boston mobsters) as well as Sam Shepard and Richard Jenkins. It’s the third film by director Andrew Dominik, who also directed Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Cogan’s Trade is the third of Higgins’ 25 published novels. He claimed to have scrapped 14 before The Friends of Eddie Coyle, was published in 1972. It was made into a movie, starring Robert Mitchum, the following year, but this is the first adaptation of a Higgins’ title since. As the Independent said in Higgins’ 1999 obituary,

Oddly, despite the rich dialogue, Higgins’s books did not effortlessly translate into the cinematic medium. The Friends of Eddie Coyle made an excellent movie, thanks partly to a riveting, and almost poetic, performance by Robert Mitchum as Coyle, but its success was really one for its director Peter Yates.

Higgins has influenced many of today’s writers. Among them is Elmore Leonard who recently noted that he often re-reads a portion of The Friends of Eddie Coyle before beginning his work day; “The book set me free. I saw, this was how you do it. I learned so much about dialogue and cadence from this book.’’

Random House’s Vintage/Lizard imprint recently re-released several of Higgins’ books (in print and as ebooks, available on OverDrive).

Cogan’s Trade (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
George V. Higgins
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Vintage – (2011-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 030794722X / 9780307947222


Happy Tenth Birthday to UNSHELVED

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Like everyone else in the library world, we are fans of Unshelved, the world’s best (well, perhaps, only) cartoon strip about the crazy stuff that goes on in a typical library. What makes the strips so funny is that they are so accurate (like this one, about collection development resources).

So, when Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum mentioned that the strip is turning TEN today, we asked them to give EarlyWord a present by including us in panel. Without even objecting that it should be the other way around, they immediately complied:

They SWEAR Dewey is not commenting on our occasional (ah, hem) typos. We’re just happy he’s reader.

Thanks you guys, and here’s to several more decades.

Hugh Grant Against Type in CLOUD ATLAS

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

CLOUD ATLAS Wrap Shot: Behind the piano are the three directors Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski. Seated, at back is the book's author, David Mitchell

The incredibly complex film shoot of Cloud Atlas (three directors, actors playing multiple roles, a story that spans the globe, and an internationally-funded budget estimated at $100 million) wrapped in December. Readers of the book will recognize the props, featured in the wrap shot, above (detailed here — click on photo to view larger version).

One of the stars, Hugh Grant, tells the film magazine Empire that, he will portray six evil characters and do “a lot of killing and raping.” However, because of his prosthetic make-up, audiences “won’t know that I am in the film.”

A US release date has not been set, but it is expected some time in the fall.

Tim Burton Gets in the Spirit

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter won’t hit screens until June 22nd, but the President’s 203rd birthday was just too good an opportunity to promote the film about this little-known aspect of his past. On Friday, Fox held an event at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. On hand were the book’s author, Seth Grahame-Smith, the movie’s star, Benjamin Walker, and director, Timur Bekmambetov.

Producer Tim Burton was busy with other things, but sent the following video.

As a result of the publicity, the book is again in the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings (it’s currently at #79). Tie-ins will be released in April.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seth Grahame-Smith
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2012-04-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1455510173 / 9781455510177

Mass Mkt Pbk., 9781455510184; Audio, 9781611132151

ZEITOUN, The Animated Film

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Jonathan Demme has lined up financing for his long-dreamed-of project, an animated movie based on Dave Eggers’ post-Katrina book, Zeitoun, (McSweeny’s Books, 2009). It is projected for release some time in 2014.

The book features Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American who refused to evacuate New Orleans when the storm hit. Using a borrowed canoe, he rescued neighbors and their pets. Suddenly, he was arrested and accused of being a terrorist and held for nearly a month. Eggers, Zeitoun and his wife were interviewed in 2010 about those events.

Unfortunately, the story was recently tarnished when it was learned that Zeitoun plead guilty to domestic abuse charges last year, leading the L.A. Times to speculate on whether the combined pressure of the after-effects of the storm and public attention had adversely affected the man who was considered a hero and a “good husband.”

The book was recently selected as the 2012 Greenwich [CT] Reads title and it was the 2010 San Francisco Reads selection.

Lisi Harrison Goes Adult

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

It may be the next step beyond The Friday Night Knitting Club and The Jane Austen Book Club. Lisi Harrison’s debut adult novel The Dirty Book Club has just been sold to Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint (publisher of Chelsea Handler’s books). The pub date was not announced.

Harrison’s A Tale of Two Pretties, (Hachette/LNYR/Poppy), the 14th and final volume in her best selling YA series, The Clique, releases tomorrow.

The new book is described as being about,

…four women in the 1960s who start reading provocative fiction and form a secret club that changes their livesn– and in the present, they recruit four young women to take over the book club, as the provocative material unearths their buried desires and wreaks havoc on their otherwise ideal lives (via Publishers Marketplace Deals).


Children’s Book Awards Invitation

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

The Children’s Book Committee
Bank Street College of Education

Cordially invites you to attend a breakfast

celebrating the presentation of

The 2012 Children’s Book Awards

The Josette Frank Award for fiction

The Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for nonfiction

The Claudia Lewis Award for poetry

Thursday, February 23, 2012

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Bank Street College of Education

The Evelyn Rome Tabas and Daniel Tabas Auditorium

610 West 112th Street

New York, NY 10025-1898


SCIENCE OF YOGA & QUIET Coming to Colbert

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

On the Colbert Report “TA-night”, the man who has made yoga controversial (and his book a best seller; it’s currently at #41 Amazon’s rankings and has heavy holds in libraries), William J. Broad.

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards
William J Broad
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2012-02-07)
ISBN / EAN: 1451641427 / 9781451641424

Coming to the show on Thursday, the woman who brings introverts their due, Susan Cain. Her book, Quiet, debuted is #5 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction best seller list after two weeks.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 266 pages
Publisher: RH/Crown – (2012-01-24)
ISBN : 9780307352149

RH Audio; ebook and audio on OverDrive

YA GalleyChat Kicks Off Today

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

It’s our newest addition — Young Adult GalleyChat. Join us today, from 4 to 5 pm Eastern (pre-chat warmup begins at 3:30). We’ll be looking ahead to books that look promising for the spring and summer. How-to is here.

We expect that many of you grabbed galleys at MidWinter. Below are a few that EarlyWord Kids correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek snapped with her iPad on the show floor:

Below, LBYR’s Zoe Luderitz shows off I Hunt Killers by Lyga Barra (Hachette/LBYR, April 3). There have been books about what it would be like if your child were a killer (Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin). This one looks at it from the other side, what would it be like if your father were a serial killer.

The debut everyone is talking about as a crossover title, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Random House, June 26):

And, the “Gotta Get Galley of the Show,” Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue (Penguin/Dial, May 1):


Monday, February 13th, 2012

After Saturday’s tease of the AL:VH trailer, feast your eyes on the full 82 minutes.

So, what’s happened to the once-hot adaptation of that progenitor of literary mashups, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? New York magazine’s “Vuture” blog casts strong doubt on whether it will ever materialize, now that three directors and countless A-list actresses have backed away.

Of course, that will all change if AL:VH is a hit.