Archive for January, 2016

Hitting Screens, Jan. 25 thru 31

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Arriving in theaters today is The 5th Wave, based on Rick Yancey’s YA novel and expected to be the first in a franchise (see our earlier story). The upcoming week brings several adaptations for TV as well as for a high-profile movie.

MV5BMjM3ODA3ODE5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjg0NDU2NjE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_Talk about your anti-hero. On the new debut of FOX’s Lucifer, the bored ruler of Hell comes to L.A., meets a girl, and somehow starts working with the cops.

97815638973379781401248963_423a7As we reported earlier, the series is based on a character in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which was then spun off into the comic Lucifer, written by Mike Carey, both published by DC/Vertigo.

It stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer and premiers Jan. 25.

MV5BMjE2NTQxODY1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDE4MTU2NzE@._V1_SX214_AL_9780399576645_c2490Also airing on the 25th, this time on the Syfy channel, is The Magicians, based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling novel.

The Syfy channel has already released the first full episode:

As we noted when it aired, reaction was not fully positive.

A tie-in came out in Nov: The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition) by Lev Grossman (Penguin/Plume).

The_Finest_Hours_posterIn movie news, Disney’s big budget disaster/rescue move, The Finest Hours, opens on Jan. 29th.

It is not getting great reviews either. Variety says:

“…perhaps the worst one could say about Craig Gillespie’s film is that, rather than their finest hours, the whole cast and crew all put in a solid shift at the office making the movie, producing a perfectly entertaining, sometimes quite well-crafted disaster drama that nonetheless retreats from the memory almost as soon as the credits roll.”

The Hollywood Reporter bottom lines it with “Too much of this action thriller feels dead in the water,” but goes on to say, “Even so, the film’s promise of thrill-ride spectacle — it’s going out in a variety of 3D formats — should help it ride a strong wave at the box office.”

9781501127175_49d8cA tie-in came out in late December: The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias, Casey Sherman (Pocket Books).

New #1 Best Sellers

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

There’s no surer sign of the beginning of a new season than movement on the best seller list.

Two new titles land at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction and Nonfiction best seller lists, breaking through titles that have dominated the top spot for weeks.

AIR  lucy-barton

At #1 in nonfiction is one of our crystal ball titlesWhen Breath Becomes Air, (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

A young neurosurgeon’s account of facing his own death, it is followed at #2 by another new best seller, Pope Francis’s The Name of God Is Mercy (PRH/Random House).

In fiction, Elizabeth Stout’s latest, My Name Is Lucy Barton (Random House; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) breaks through to number one, moving The Girl on the Train down to #3, which has just completed over a year on the list, most of that time in the top five. At #4 is an even greater phenomenon, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, on the list for 89 weeks.

GALLEYCHATTER, Spring Announcements

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Each month, our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower runs down librarian and bookseller favorites from the most recent Twitter chat (#ewgc). Below is her post for January.


Whipping out their crystal balls to predict which books will connect with readers this spring, GalleyChatters gathered for a Twitter chat earlier this month. Below are seven of the 113 titles mentioned. Check here for the complete Edelweiss list.

Literary Suspense

Redemption Road  All Things Cease to Appear

In Redemption Road (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne, May), John Hart has created the perfect combination of elements for any thriller reader, unending suspense, plot twists galore, and realistic settings. He is already receiving rave reviews from librarians, with Delphi (IN) Public Library’s library director, Kellie Currie, saying, “…thriller doesn’t do full justice to the book at all. The characters are not the cookie-cutter figures you often get in a plot-heavy novel. They’re complex and driven by a lot of inner angst. Great book for literary and thriller lovers alike.”

For a mesmerizing thriller with a more psychological bend, Elizabeth Brundage’s All Things Cease to Appear (PRH/Knopf, March) was favored by Jennifer Winberry (Hunterdon County Library, NJ), “A house with a tragic history, an unsolved murder and a town in need of answers and healing even twenty years later, this dark, Gothic novel tells the story of two families bringing evidence of evil and unknown crimes to light while at the same time plumbing the depths of the human psyche.”

Hot Debut

SweetbitterSet in a thinly disguised Manhattan restaurant that also happens to be a favorite among publishers, one of spring’s most anticipated novels is by a debut author (she was profiled in the NYT when the book was signed over a year ago), Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (PRH/Knopf, May).

About 22-year-old Tess, a recent NYC transplant who, despite no experience, is hired as a back waiter, Stephanie Anderson, Darien (CT) Library says, “Whether it’s the different varieties of oysters and their distinguishing characteristics, the proper wine to serve with foie gras or learning how deeply betrayal can color one’s life choices, this is a chronicle of what it means to be young, broke and finally on your own in the best city in the world.” Fans of Anthony Bourdain and Phoebe Damrosch’s Service Included: Four Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter will eat this up.

Getting Graphic

Something NewLucy Knisley is known for writing graphic novels that honestly report on her life experiences. She continues that trajectory in the charming and sincere Something New: Tales of a Makeshift Bride (Macmillan/First Second, May). Lucy chronicles the process of planning a wedding while working out her feelings about getting hitched, and eventually works out a DIY approach to keeping the costs down and also making it a meaningful experience. Knisley’s drawings are perfect and the photos from the planning and wedding enhanced the visual experience. For those who weep at weddings, a tissue is recommended.

Welcome Comeback

The City of MirrorsMention of the forthcoming publication of Justin Cronin’s third book in the Passage trilogy, The City of Mirrors (PRH/Ballantine, May) caused many to download the galley immediately. When questioned whether it is necessary to read (or reread) the first two books to appreciate it, Rosemary Smith, top Edelweiss reviewer and blogger, said “The trilogy is much more powerful, but Cronin does a good job in his ‘Biblical’ forward and in flashbacks, so readers might be able to read just the last book. In it, readers will finally find out what happened to Amy (sort of) after the destruction of the Twelve and will witness humanity trying to make a comeback from the brink of total obliteration. Nothing will compare to the first book, The Passage, but this is as close as readers will get.”

Meaty Book Group Titles

Everyone Brave is ForgivenThe many fans of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See will want to read the compelling Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Simon & Schuster, May) by Little Bee author, Chris Cleaves. Janet Schneider said this World War II story about four comrades set in Europe is “…a beautifully written exploration of the futility of war, loss, bravery, racism, and social class, featuring memorable characters who will break your heart.” She also recommends it as a readalike for Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins.

ShelterTrying to predict what titles will be popular with book groups is always a gamble, but Janet Lockhart is betting on Jung Yun’s short but effective novel, Shelter (Macmillan/Picador, March) saying, “Kyung Cho lives just a few miles from his parents, Jin and Mae, but couldn’t be farther away emotionally. A horrific incident forces him to welcome his parents into his home and the reasons for their chilly relationship can no longer remain repressed. A story of family dysfunction that reads like a thriller; I stayed up late turning the pages because I had to know what happened next.”

To discover more eagerly awaited titles and enjoy a rollicking discussion, join us on February 6 at 4:00 (ET) with virtual happy hour at 3:30, #ewgc. To keep up with my anticipated 2016 titles, “friend me” on Edelweiss.

Thursday, January 21st, 2016


Holds Alert: THE PAST

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

9780062270412_df6afRave reviews and a storm of attention are helping Tessa Hadley’s newest novel wrack up impressive holds queues.

The Past (Harper; OverDrive Sample), is a character-centered novel about families.

Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-, saying:

“Hadley is so perceptive about the tiny ways we find ourselves performing for one another, and so skilled at fluidly dipping in and out of the minds of her characters—whether they’re 6 and wishing to spy on the grown-ups or 76 and considering the comforts of decades-long marriage—that it can feel like she’s revealing little secrets about life that it would have taken you years to notice on your own.”

Ron Charles writes in The Washington Post:

“… for anyone who cherishes Anne Tyler and Alice Munro, the book offers similar deep pleasures. Like those North American masters of the domestic realm, Hadley crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural.”

The Guardian flat out raves:

“In her patient, unobtrusive, almost self-effacing way, Tessa Hadley has become one of this country’s great contemporary novelists. She is equipped with an armoury of techniques and skills that may yet secure her a position as the greatest of them. Consider all the things she can do. She writes brilliantly about families and their capacity for splintering. She is a remarkable and sensuous noticer of the natural world. She handles the passing of time with a magician’s finesse. She is possessed of a psychological subtlety reminiscent of Henry James, and an ironic beadiness worthy of Jane Austen. To cap it all, she is dryly, deftly humorous. Is that enough to be going on with?”

It has made The Millions “Most Anticipated: The Great 2016 Book Preview,” The NY Magazine list of the “7 Books You Need to Read This January,” and The Huffpost Arts & Culture’s “32 New Books To Add to Your Shelf in 2016,” which says:

“Hadley’s popular reputation, especially in the U.S., hasn’t caught up with her critical one. But this novel, which uses her much-praised perceptiveness and her fine-brushed prose to tell a story of familial secrets and tensions, may help her break through.”

Indeed. Holds are exceeding a 3:1 ratio by wide margins at many libraries we checked.

To catch up with the book, listen to this interview with Hadley, which aired earlier in the month on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

Found in Translation

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

9781609452865_92e01  9781101875551_92053  9781609452926_cb5cd

In 2014 few Americans knew Italian author Elena Ferrante’s name, let alone the name of her English-language translator Ann Goldstein.

In a profile yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldstein, who by day is chief of the New Yorker magazine’s copy department, often draws packed audiences at events where she stands in for the author, who does not make appearances.

Goldstein tells the WSJ that she became attracted to writing translations in typical copy editor fashion, because it focused her attention. “I liked it as a way of reading,” she said, “If you have to copy down every word of something, you become very close to it.”

Describing her take on translation, Goldstein says,

“Sometimes, I think, it’s puzzle-solving. I want to make good English sentences but without losing the particular voice of the Italian writer. I can’t explain how that happens. I think it has to do with staying pretty close to the original.”

“Her name on a book now is gold,” says Robert Weil, editor in chief of Norton’s Liveright imprint (she translated the imprint’s enormous Complete Works of Primo Levi). Her upcoming projects include Jhumpa Lahiri’s new memoir In Other Words (PRH/Knopf; BOT), which was composed in Italian when Lahiri moved to Italy and decided to write in that language, and Frantumaglia: Bits and Pieces of Uncertain Origin (Europa Editions) Ferrante’s upcoming collection of interviews, letters, and other writing.

Her fame will only grow if circulation is any measure. Libraries still have active holds queues on all four of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, (Europa Editions).

Goldstein discusses them in this New Yorker “Out Loud” podcast.

to NetFlix

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

9781616200398_151f4Called one of the “hottest titles” heading to this week’s Sundance Film Festival, rights to The Fundamentals of Caring may be nabbed by Netflix, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with theatrical rights still up for grabs (which can be tricky, since the major theatre chains refuse to book films that will be streamed simultaneously).

Based on the novel by Jonathan Evison, the movie title is shortened from the book’s, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (Workman/Algonquin, 2012).

Starring Paul Rudd with Selena Gomez and Craig Roberts, the movie will be featured as the Closing Night Film.

The movie’s female star, Selena Gomez, has a separate Netflix deal in the works. She is set to executive produce a series based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel, TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY (Penguin/RazorBill).

Order Alert: DARK MONEY

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

9780385535595_c7da8As the result of an embargo, preventing pre-pub reviews, many libraries are facing high demand on few, if any, copies of a new book on right wing money and politics, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (PRH/Doubleday; BOT).

Author and journalist Jane Mayer appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and as a result the book is now #4 on Amazon’s sales ranking and holds are skyrocketing.

Mayer shares some horrifying stories about the Koch’s, the bad blood in the family, and the secret way they (and other wealthy conservative families) give money to shape politics.

Calling them the political equivalent of secret tax shelter banks in the Cayman Islands, she explains how the Koch’s and others have undertaken a concerted campaign to shape the political environment by financing think tanks to formulate ideas, bankrolling advocacy groups to support those ideas, and pressuring politicians to create laws to enact them – all constructed in a way to hide the identity of those funding the process.


PBS Highlights Autism

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

PBS’s Newshour is running a series of reports on autism this week, “Understanding Autism.”

9781583334676_b73a8The first episode aired last night and highlighted a book we’ve covered before, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman (Penguin/Avery; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

As a result, it rose back up Amazon’s sales rankings to #112.

9780307985675_98f37Tonight, Newshour will feature a just-released title, In A Different Key: The Story of Autism (PRH/Crown; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

It was featured yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered and has risen to #169 on Amazon’s rankings.


YA GalleyCat, Jan 19. 2016

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Join us for the next YA Galley Chat on Feb. 16, 5 to 6 p.m. (4:30 for virtual cocktails).

Big Surprise: Caitlyn Jenner Planning a Memoir

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Set to write a memoir about her transformation from Bruce to Caitlyn, Jenner announced her co-author will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Buzz Bissinger.

Bissinger wrote the book Friday Night Lights, which became both a movie and a TV series.

The memoir is set to be published by Hachette/Grand Central, tentatively in spring of 2017. The New York Times reported the story, earlier today followed by People magazine and several other sources.

Jenner tweeted:

The Book

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Mozart in the JungleThe surprise winner of two Golden Globes last week, for Best TV Comedy or Musical as well as for Best Actor in the same category, was Amazon’s series, Mozart in the Jungle. Amazon streamed both seasons of the series for free over the weekend, bringing new viewers (and taking the opportunity to offer special discounted subscriptions to Amazon Prime).

Even those familiar with the series may not realize that it is based on the 2005 memoir of the same title by oboist Blair Tindal detailing the highs and lows of her adventures in New York’s classical music world. Subtitled Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music it was a gossiped-about book among fellow musicians. Interviewing the author at the time, Entertainment Weekly, referred to it as a “hoity-toity version of VH1’s Behind the Music.” As the NYT writes this week, that fascination has been revived by the show.

With all this attention, expect to hear soon that Mozart has been renewed for a third season.

Season One trailer:

Season Two trailer:


Monday, January 18th, 2016

The Girl on the Train   The Light Between Oceans, Trade Pbk

With book adaptations dominating this year’s Oscar nominations, thoughts are turning to the most anticipated adaptations of 2016 and it looks like it will be another banner year.

Leading the list in best sellers is The Girl on the Train, marking its one-year anniversary on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list this week. At #2, it’s likely to still be on the list when the film arrives on Oct 7th. In animated kids movies, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG is expected to be a big draw and in literary titles, focus is on Oscar-winng Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, based on Ben Fountain’s 2012 National Book Award Finalist.

But one title is missing. The Light Between Oceans, the long-running best seller by M.L. Stedman. Adapted by Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, starring hot celebrity couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, the film is complete, with the first stills released last month, but there’s still no word on when it will arrive in theaters.

There is hope. IndieWire notes in the article,  The 20 Movies That Need to Be Released in 2016,” that rumors of a Cannes 2016 debut in May, signal it will arrive on screens “before the end of the year, most likely in the thick of awards season.”

For other adaptations in the works, check our Upcoming Adaptations list. For tie-ins, Upcoming — Tie-ins

Slate Takes on PURITY

Monday, January 18th, 2016

9780374239213_454c1The Slate Audio Book Club is back, this time discussing Jonathan Franzen’s Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Calling it a big, sweeping, Dickensian novel, the Slate critics, Meghan O’Rourke, Parul Sehgal, and Katy Waldman, jump into a conversation about the core of the novel and its message.

While the central character, a woman named Pip, should serve as the novel’s heart, all the participants agree that it is the mothers in the story that power its interest, saying that those characters offer a creepy sensibility that provides “a range of tones from horror to simmer” and become the most fascinating part of the story.

The group also discusses the portrayal of women and the ways the men operate in the novel, accusing  Franzen of failing the Bechdel;Wallace test.

Each ends up recommending the novel, despite clear flaws, saying they admire Franzen’s ambition and his ability to identify questions readers need to address. However, they say that this is not the book to start reading Franzen – for that they suggest The Corrections.

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Next month the book club will explore Lucia Berlin’s short-story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women, which was featured on a number of the year-end best books lists.

Scholastic Stops Distribution of

Monday, January 18th, 2016

9780545538237_ca86eA children’s picture book that features George Washington’s enslaved cook has been withdrawn from sale by the publisher Scholastic, just weeks after it hit shelves.

Bowing to widespread pressure, Scholastic has ceased distribution of A Birthday Cake for George Washington, written by Ramin Ganeshram and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, saying in a press release, “We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.”

At first Scholastic defended the book. VP and executive editor, Andrea Davis Pinkney posted an explanation on the company’s website. The book’s author also posted a  defense on the Children’s Book Council site.

Published just a few weeks ago on Jan 5., the book is facing similar charges to those leveled at another recently published picture book that also features slaves smiling while they create a treat for the household’s masters,  A Fine DessertFour Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (RH/Schwartz & Wade).

SLJ Book Review Editor Kiera Parrott, who wrote a starred review of that book, reversing her position after considering the complaints against it, panned A Birthday Cake for George Washington, calling it “A troubling depiction of American slavery … A highly problematic work; not recommended.”

Many libraries seem to have taken note. A search of World Cat reveals few holdings.

The controversy is getting wide coverage with pieces in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. The story is even making UK news with the BBC reporting on it as well.