Archive for October, 2012

Previously Unpublished Tolkien Work Arrives in May

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

As the media frenzy heats up for the first of Peter Jackson’s projected trilogy of movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, arriving in theaters on Dec. 14, news arrives that a previously unpublished 200-page narrative poem, The Fall of Arthur will be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 23, 2013.

Tolkien, who died in 1973,  appointed his son Christopher as his literary executor. In addition to the forthcoming book, the younger Tolkein has edited all of his father’s posthumous titles, from The Silmarillion in 1977 to The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún in 2009 (like the forthcoming title, this is a long narrative verse, which, even Christopher Tolkien admitted, was likely to “put off” fans of The Lord of the Ring).

Christopher Tolkein, now 87, who sued New Line Cinema for nonpayment of royalties from The Lord of the Rings movies, recently expressed dismay over the way his father’s work is now perceived, telling the French newspaper, Le Monde in July (translation here), that the films’ creators,

…eviscerated [The Lord of the Rings] by making it an action movie for young people 15 to 25. And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film….The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the esthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.

Perhaps he will be cheered by the news that Stephen Colbert will have a cameo role in film two or three of the series.

Heavy Holds Alert: SPILLOVER

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In a profile in the New York Times, David Quammen’s new book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, (Norton) is called “scary but hard-to-put-down,” featuring  real-life scientists who “become as vivid as characters in a Michael Crichton scientific thriller.”

In reviewing the book in the same publication, Dwight Garner calls the author “not just among our best science writers but among our best writers, period.” Indeed, Quammen cites Faulkner as the greatest influence on his writing.

Libraries in many areas are showing heavy holds


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Louise Erdrich, nominated for the National Book Award for her 14th novel, The Round House (Harper; HarperLuxe larger type), talks about her writing and the “quixotic endeavor” of owning a bookstore on the PBS NewsHour.

The National Book Award winners will be announced on Nov. 11th.

Watch Conversation: Louise Erdrich, Author of ‘The Round House’ on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

John Grisham on The TODAY SHOW

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Following tradition, John Grisham sat down with the Today Show for the launch of his latest novel, The Racketeer(Random House; RH Audio and Large PrintBOT Audio), out today.

The segment begins with a clip of Grisham’s first Today Show appearance, in 1991 for his second novel, The Firm.

Asked if he’d ever consider writing a sequel to one of his titles, he said he said the likeliest candidate is A Time to Kill (currently being adapted for Broadway).

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Another Day

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


Heir to the Fifty Shades trilogy, the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day has recently outpaced its predecessor, with the author currently ranked as the most popular on Amazon’s Author Rank (E.L. James comes in at #17).

No surprise then, that after Day mentioned in yesterday’s interview with USA Today’s “Happily Ever After” romance blog that the next Crossfire novel, Entwined with You (Penguin/Berkley) is coming in May, it instantly shot up Amazon’s sales rankings (for more on Sylvia Day, see our earlier story).

Viorst’s ALEXANDER To Screen

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

A live-action movie based on Judith Viorst’s 1972 hit children’s Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Atheneum) has just been picked up by Disney, according to Deadline. It will be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) from a script she wrote with Rob Lieber (Septimus Heap: Magyk). Steve Carrell is set to star as Alexander’s father.

RULES OF CIVILITY Heads to Big Screen

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Lionsgate has closed a deal with Amor Towles to adapt his book Rules of Civility(Penguin/Viking). According to Deadline, Lionsgate’s president Erik Feig, has been pursuing Towles since last spring. He wasn’t the only one courting Towles, who was recluctant because, as “the principal of a big hedge fund, Towles didn’t need Hollywood option money and was wary of trusting Hollywood with the book he’d always wanted to write.”

After Goldman Sachs

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Greg Smith appeared on 60 Minutes last night to discuss his book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs,(Hachette/Grand Central), which expands on his sensational Op-Ed piece in the New York Times published in March.

He also appeared on the Today Show this morning.

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Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (Penguin Press, 10/11/12) rises to #5 (from #14) on Amazon’s sales rankings today, after the author, Chrystia Freeland’s appearance on Bill Moyers and Company on Friday. Earlier in the week, Freeland appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and The Colbert Report. In addition, her opinion pieces were published in several magazines and newpapers, including The New Yorker and the New York Times. Libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

Plutocrats is also the first book in the Moyers Book Club, which will post reviews, and interviews over the next few weeks and invites readers and book clubs to join a live chat with the author in four weeks.

Elizabeth Strout’s Next

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Random House announces that they will publish a novel by Elizabeth Strout, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winner Olive Kitteridge. Titled The Burgess Boys, it will be released on March 26. It will also be released in audio by RH Audio as well as BOT Audio.

The publisher’s description indicates that Strout is on familiar territory, exploring family relationships in a small New England town:

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

Klassen’s Second Best Seller

Friday, October 19th, 2012


Illustrator Jon Klassen’s first effort as both author and illustrator, the deceptively simple but enchanting, I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick), became one of the NYT‘s ten Best Illustrated Books of 2011 and has been on the Indie best seller list ever since.

This week, it appears on the list just below Klassen’s next title, This Is Not My Hat, (Candlewick) which arrives at #5.

Klassen was recently interviewed by the L.A. Times “Jacket Copy” blog.


Friday, October 19th, 2012

The Brits already have five episodes of Downton Abbey, Season Three, under their belts, but it won’t air here until January. For those unfazed by spoilers, we’ve rounded up what the critics are saying, after the jump.

Those who hate spoilers can safely enjoy this parody, featuring Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Kim Cattrell:

(Part Two of the parody is here)

Even more Downton Abbey is on the way; creator Julian Fellowes recently announced that he is planning a prequel.

Downton Abbey, Season Three, Critical Mass


CBS Kicks Off Book Club

Friday, October 19th, 2012

CBS This Morning Reads, a new monthly book club, begins with Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, which is the basis for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming movie, Lincoln. Excerpts and reading guides will be released each week on the CBS This Morning site. On November 15th, Goodwin, will appear on the show.

One of the CBS Morning Show anchors has had experience with book clubs, Oprah BFF, Gayle King.

New Title Radar: October 22 – 28

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Tom Wolfe and John Grisham go head to head with new novels next week – and so far, Wolfe is getting the lion’s share of media attention, but the Grisham title is showing the most holds. Meanwhile, watch out for Jami Attenberg‘s potential breakout, The Middlesteins. Usual suspects include Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury, while YA authors P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter team up on a paperback original, and A.S. King and Becca Fitzpatrick deliver new hardcovers. In nonfiction, Jerry Sandusky’s accuser, “Victim One,” unmasks himself upon the publication of his book, while former Goldman Sachs honcho Greg Smith reveals why he left the company. The Onion and Thomas Bouchon provide humorous and culinary relief.

Watch List

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (Hachette/Grand Central) may be the surprise hit of the season, according to our Crystal Ball. Comparisons to The Corrections are underscored by a blurb from Jonathan Franzen himself (who rarely gives blurbs), “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it wasn’t until is final pages that I fully appreciated the range of Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling.” The tale of a Jewish husband and wife in suburban Chicago whose marriage unravels after 40 years, as the attorney wife nears 350 pounds, it’s on People‘s list of ten Hot Fall Titles and described as “The sleeper hit of the fall” on CBS This Morning‘s fall book roundup (9/17). Entertainment Weekly throws some rain on this parade, giving it just a “B” and saying, “Attenberg’s slender fourth novel is an intriguing dysfunctional-family story told from multiple, fast-shifting points of view, but it never sits still long enough to truly explore the complicated minds of its characters. It’s a deeply sympathetic novel that could use a little more insight.”

The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Jan.) was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share pick at BEA and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for November. It’s about an art world pariah who gets drawn into a forgery scheme, and has to dig into an unsolved art heist to clear her name. It gets a “B+” in the current Entertainment Weekly: “Shapiro’s plot seems rushed at times. Still, she’s done meticulous research and has such interesting things to say about authenticity — in both art and love — that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.”

Returning Favorites

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, read by Lou Diamond Phillips; Hachette Large Print) has been dubbed by one critic as “Bonfire of the Miamians” and comes with a full PBS documentary, Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood, airing on Friday. As we’ve noted, major reviewers have weighed in extensively this week, ahead of the novel’s release next Tuesday, October 23, with most saying it’s got Wolfe’s usual manic prose, obsession with class and status, and wide range of characters – which is fine if you liked his other books.

The Racketeer by John Grisham (Random House; RH Audio and Large PrintBOT Audio) is the other major title going on sale on Tuesday, and somewhat overshadowed in the media by Tom Wolfe. Still, as we wrote earlier, the New York Times‘s Janet Maslin says it shows Grisham’s “rekindled vigor,” perhaps because he has “gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading.”

Usual Suspects

Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber (RH/Ballantine; Random House Audio; BOT Audio; Thorndike Large Print) finds three seasoned angels shadowing an apprentice angel in Times Square at Christmas. This is Macomber’s first book with her new publisher, Ballantine.

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a Christmas story about a Tennessee bookstore named The Bridge that struggles to survive declining book sales and the rise of e-books. It’s been rising on Amazon sales rankings – at #99 as of October 18.

Young Adult

After Moonrise by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) is a paperback original in which two bestselling YA authors team up to deliver two paranormal love stories.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (Hachette/LBYR; BOT Audio) is about a character who sends messages to people in planes flying overhead, who feel “bursts of unexplainable love that prompts them to do certain things.” The author is a Printz Honor Prize Winner. It has found fans on both our August and September YA GalleyChats. One called it “phenomenal” and “by far, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. And inspiring.” Another reader commented, “Can’t wait for my teens to read it.”

Finale (Hush, Hush Saga) by Becca Fitzpatrick (S&S BYR, S&S Audio) began rising on Amazon on October 17. Previous titles in this series have hit the NYT list; Hush, Hush , Crescendo and Silence.

Movie Tie-In

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy,  translated by Louise Maude and Alymer Maude (RH/Vintage) is the official tie-in to the movie, starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law, to be released November 9. Other translations are also available (see our rundown, here). Vintage will also release the screenplay, by Tom Stoppard, on November 13.


Silent No MoreVictim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky by Victim One (RH/Ballantine) is written by the young man who testified dramatically at the child molestation trial of Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Victim One’s identity was kept a secret until late  yesterday when it was revealed in promos for an interview by ABC’s Chris Cuomo, to air on ABC’s 20/20 tonight and for a People magazine interview, to appear, with excerpts from the book, in the issue on stands next Friday.


Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Or How the World’s Most Powerful Bank Made a Killing but Lost its Soul by Greg Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print) grew out of the author’s eponymous op-ed in the New York Times, which went viral. The book details what the author sees as the decline of the storied investment bank, after he started at Goldman Sachs at age 21 in 2001 and left in 2011 as the head of the United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander, M.D. (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) joins the growing shelf of books about near-death experiences. It has been in the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings for the last 11 days (currently at #10). Several libraries are showing heavy holds. The author is scheduled for several TV appearances this week, including ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America as well as FOX-TV’s Fox & Friends.

The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopedia of Existing Informationby The Onion (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the 8th book by the award-winning humor website. With typical bravado, the authors proclaim that this comprehensive reference source is “the last book ever published.”

Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Workman/Artisan) collects recipes for the French classics this famous chef loved while apprenticing in Paris.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012

“The smallest and most intimate of book clubs” is profiled in the current issue of USA Today. The membership consisted of “just two readers, an elderly mother and her middle-aged son.”

The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe, (RH/Knopf, 10/2; RH Audio; BOT Audio) debuted on the NYT Nonfiction best seller list last week at #15 and is at #8 on the current Indie list (moving up from #10 last week).

Several libraries are showing heavy holds.