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Join us for the next live chat on Dec. 14, 5 to 6 p.m., ET with Jack Cheng, to discuss his upcoming book, See You in the Cosmos.
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The Mystery Writers of America have announced Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart as the 2017 Grand Masters, an award that recognizes “the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.” It is the highest honor the association bestows.
In the press release, Collins said, “To be in the company of Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Mickey Spillane is both thrilling and humbling. This is an honor second to none in the art of mystery and suspense fiction.”
Hart said. “A writer’s stock-in-trade is imagination. I’ve always felt mine was pretty good, but never in a million years did I ever think winning the MWA Grand Master award was a possibility. I’m stunned, grateful, and profoundly honored.”
Collins has written over 100 novels. Some of the best known are his award-winning Nathan Heller historical series which begins with True Detective (Macmillan/St. Martins, 1983, reprinted 2011, Amazon/Thomas & Mercer), the graphic novel Road to Perdition (DC/Vertigo, 1998, reprinted 2011), and the Quarry books (now a Cinemax series). His newest novel is Quarry in the Black (Hard Case Crime, 2016).
Hart writes the Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenway series. There are 23 Lawless novels, many of them either Lambda Literary Award winners or finalists. Hallowed Murder (Seal Press, 1989) is the first and Fever in the Dark (Macmillan/Minotaur, forthcoming Jan 2017) is the newest. There are 8 Greenway novels. The first came out in 1994, This Little Piggy Went to Murder (PRH/Fawcett), and the last hit shelves in 2005, No Reservations Required (PRH/Fawcett).
The creator of Hamilton and the musical mastermind behind Disney’s hit Moana is teaming up with a fan-favorite Fantasy author. Variety reports that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Patrick Rothfuss will collaborate on a TV adaptation and feature film of Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle series, the first of which is The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007).
Miranda will serve as creative producer of both projects and “has an option to be involved in future stage productions as well.”
Sharing his views of the novels Miranda said:
“Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller books are among the most read and re-read in our home. It’s a world you want to spend lifetimes in, as his many fans will attest. Pat also writes about the act of making music more beautifully than any novelist I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to play a part in bringing this world to life onscreen.”
Lionsgate first announced a partnership with Rothfuss to develop a film, TV series, and a video game in 2015. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of “the complex deal [to] see the epic fantasy book series developed simultaneously” into all three formats. Interest was high and multiple studios were in contention for the series which is reportedly “only behind Game of Thrones in terms of best-sellers in modern epic fantasy.”
The first book in the series, The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007), was the inaugural Fantasy winner of The Reading List and won the Alex Award. The Reading List committee provided the following annotation:
This engrossing debut fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy, introduces readers to Kvothe –
a hero in his own time. Living incognito as an inn keeper, he is tracked down by a chronicler who convinces him to narrate his own story – and what a story it is. Magic, music, revenge, and a drug-addled dragon fuel this saga for the ages.
The second in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear, (PRH/DAW, 2011) was a #1 New York Times best seller. A companion novella. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, was published in 2014. The release date for the third in the trilogy, The Doors of Stone, has not yet been announced.
For more on Miranda, Deadline Hollywood offers an interview about his work on Moana, the sequel to Mary Poppins, and the possibility he might be the youngest person ever to win an EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).
As we have previously written, the show features an all-star cast. Shailene Woodley plays Jane, a young single mother who moves to a coastal community so her son can attend a better school. There she becomes entangled in the messy lives of the seemingly perfect mothers of her son’s classmates, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). Laura Dern plays Renata Klein, another of the mothers at the center of the story.
Kidman and Witherspoon are producing. They originally acquired the rights to the book, planning to adapt it as a feature film but finally decided on a seven episode limited series. It became a hot property which HBO won away from Netflix. Following the same model as True Detective, the format, says Variety, allows major film stars “a chance to work in the TV arena without making an open-ended commitment to an ongoing series.”
Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) is directing. He also worked with Witherspoon on the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. David E. Kelley, known for shows such as Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and Goliath is also on board.
A teaser trailer came out in October. UPDATE: First full trailer released 12/1/16:
The author of the best-selling phenomenon The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, is set to publish a new suspense novel, titled Into the Water, to be released on May 2 (PRH/Riverhead, 978-0735211209; NOTE: Cover at left is not final!).
The plot, as described in a press release quoted by the AP and Entertainment Weekly, concerns “a single mother and a teenage girl [who] each turn up dead at the bottom of the river, just weeks apart … the ensuing investigation dredges up a complicated history” that delves into ” “the slipperiness of truth.”
Underlining the similarities to her pervious novel, Hawkins’ U.S. editor Sarah McGrath states, “Just as The Girl on the Train explored voyeurism and self-perception, so does Into the Water interrogate the deceitfulness of memory and all the dangerous ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present and future.”
Over the years, we’ve learned that the most interesting aspect of best books lists are not the consensus titles, but those that are rated very highly by just one or two publications.
Now that the New York Times Book Review has released their picks of the Best Books of the Year, we can make comparisons. Unsurprisingly, in fiction, the top two titles are the National Book Award winner, The Underground Railroad and the NBA finalist Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn.
Two other titles stand out as unusual. The Kirkus Prize went to
C. E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings (Macmillan/FSG) a title that was also a Carnegie Medal longlist selection, but not a finalist. It is on the NYT BR list, but not among the Top Ten (we jumped the gun on this one. The Top Ten list wasn’t released until Dec. 1. It does not include The Sport of Kings). The other is the number two selection by the Amazon editors, Beth Lewis’s The Wolf Road (PRH/Crown), which has so far not appeared on any other list.
What makes these titles superior in the editors’s and judges’s minds? Unfortunately, we aren’t given an insight into those deliberations, so we’re left guessing.
We’ve put together all the fiction selections into one downloadable spreadsheet, best-books-2016-fiction-and-poetry-v2. Use it to make your own discoveries and for end-of-the year ordering. UPDATE: Time magazine has released their Top Ten of Everything, including Top Ten Novels. We’ve updated the spreadsheet with those picks.
We will have the childrens and YA spreadsheet available by the end of the week and nonfiction by the end of next week.
This must be a record. No new film adaptations open this coming weekend.
In its second week in theaters, the Harry Potter prequel/spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ranked number 2 at the box office over the Thanksgiving holiday, behind Disney’s Moana. See our earlier post, for more information about the latter, including tie-ins.
Relatively few new titles arrive this week, as the fall publishing season winds down and stores gear up for their biggest selling season. The holds leaders this week are also peer picks (see below).
Also arriving to holds lists is the 12th in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (PRH/Knopf; RH/BOT Audio, RH Large Print).
In its review, PW says, “Rice exhibits tremendous skill in making the impossible seem not only possible but logical. She sets up a nail-biting dilemma involving the continued existence of vampires.” Rice just announced plans for a TV series.
The titles covered here, and several more notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Nov. 28, 2016.
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), Lauren Graham, (PRH/Ballantine; RH/BOT Audio).
If you weren’t one of the people who got up early on Friday for the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix, you may not understand the title of the memoir by one of the show’s stars, known for her fast dialog.
How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, David France, (PRH/Knopf; RH/BOT Audio).
Three LibraryReads picks arrive this week:
“Charlotte crosses paths with Max, a former criminal profiler turned private investigator, at the condo of the recently deceased friend of her step sister Jocelyn. Max and Charlotte begin investigating and find themselves in the killer’s sights as they follow a twisted path into the past. Krentz is an expert at seamlessly blending suspense with romance. Her strong characters and their evolving relationship, plus a complex, twisted plot, all combine to make romantic suspense at its best.” — Karen Emery, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN
Additional Buzz: This is the leading title in holds for the week.
“It’s been fascinating to watch the Tearling saga evolve into a riveting blend of fantasy and dystopian fiction with characters developing in unexpected but satisfying ways into people I really care about. With the introduction of new characters in the town, a third timeline is woven into the story, leading to a plot twist that I did not see coming at all. This book has given me lots to think about–community, leadership, the use and abuse of power–and makes me want to reread all three books.” — Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
Additional Buzz: It is a December Indie Next selection and one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Hottest Fiction titles, calling it “our favorite fantasy trilogy.” Bustle offers a short story from the same universe. Below is the book trailer:
“Adam Dearden has been ferried to Normal Head, an asylum dedicated to treating only futurists. Shortly after Adam arrives at Normal, a patient disappears from his locked room, leaving only a huge pile of insects behind. Adam unearths a conspiracy that will have readers flipping pages quickly, reminding us that ‘we are now in a place where we will never again have a private conversation.’ Witty and insightful, Ellis’s writing has much to say about technology and gives readers much to think about in this brief novel. Highly recommended.” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX
Three additional Indie Next titles also arrive this week:
The Whole Town’s Talking, Fannie Flagg (PRH/Random House; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).
“This book will leave you nostalgic for simpler times and craving a homemade piece of pie! Flagg offers an absolutely lovely story about a small Missouri town from its founding in 1889 through the present and beyond, told through narrative, letters, and a gossip column. I will be joyfully recommending this charming and wonderful story to all readers!” —Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Additional Buzz: Holds are strong.
“Societal constraints and expectations of the time impede the love affair of Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier from the moment they meet in a hot air balloon above the Champ de Mars in 1886. Émile’s ailing mother is pressuring him to marry, start a family, and take over the family business even as he is facing both public and professional stress as co-designer of the Eiffel Tower. Cait is a young Scottish widow forced to work as a chaperone to a wealthy brother and sister. Cait’s and Émile’s paths cross and crisscross as Colin vividly captures the sights and sounds of La Belle Epoque in this quiet, atmospheric novel.” —Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Additional Buzz: Bustle includes it as one of their “9 Best Fiction Books Of November 2016 That Are As Delicious As Thanksgiving Dinner.”
“Moran is a British journalist whose columns are known for covering a broad range of topics, from feminism and politics to fashion and TV. Some of those columns are reprinted in Moranifesto, a hilarious collection of opinion pieces that are Moran’s personal manifesto for changing the world. The collection covers topics as diverse as the Syrian refugee crisis, cystitis, David Bowie, and why she no longer wears heels. As dissimilar as these themes may be, they are all tackled with the blunt humor for which Moran is known. Moranifesto is gloriously funny, feminist, and timely.” —Agnes Galvin, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY
Additional Buzz: Elle lists it as one of “The Best Books to Read This November.” Refinery29 includes it in their “Top Reads Out in November.” Marie Claire points out it is one of Emma Watson’s “Our Shared Shelf” reads.
The second season of Syfy’s The Magicians begins on Jan. 25, 2017. There is a new tie-in edition of the second novel in Lev Grossman’s bestselling fantasy series out this week to push the show.
As IGN reports, season one offered a moderately successful beginning, writing “It had a bumpy start in its first few episodes, but it showed from the beginning that it knows how to have a good hook, and it wasn’t afraid to go big … There’s definitely room for growth going forward. Season 1 worked out the storytelling kinks as it went along, and as long as the writers have learned from those experiences and experiments moving ahead, we’re in for an amazing Season 2.”
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition, Margot Lee Shetterly (HC/HarperCollins; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample; also in paperback). While not an actual tie-in, this edition specially written for young readers offers a different text tied to the expected popularity (and teaching opportunity) of the upcoming film of the same name.
As we have written previously, it stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a group of African American women who worked at NASA in Langley, Virginia on the mission that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell.
The paperback edition of the current hardback (adult) edition, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (HarperCollins/William Morrow), comes out on December 6. The film comes out on Jan. 6, 2017.
The force behind The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film adaptations is bringing another UK import to the big screen, the SF series by Philip Reeve known as Predator Cities. The first book is Mortal Engines (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample) and as of now, that will be the name of the new Peter Jackson film (note, in the US the series is called the Hungry City Chronicles).
The first novel, published in 2003, opens the dystopian series in which cities on caterpillar tracks move about in search of other cities to attack in a quest for a dwindling amount of resources caused by a devastating global war. It features a 15-year-old orphan named Tom Natsworthy who is flung off the moving city of London along with Hester Shaw, another orphan. The pair finds themselves lost in the wasteland of the ruined landscape hunted by a cyborg.
It was a ALA Notable Children’s Book and made SLJ‘s best books list and YALSA Best Books for Young Adult list. In their starred review, PW wrote “Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve’s debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering, a brilliant construction that offers new wonders at every turn.”
Variety reports that Jackson and Fran Walsh “co-wrote the screenplay with their LOTR and Hobbit collaborator, Philippa Boyens, who serves as co-producer.”
The film is set to open on Dec. 14, 2018. According to Variety, “That week of December has brought good fortune to Jackson: All six Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies staked out the same pre-Christmas week date.”
The Fox News host and political touchstone Megyn Kelly lands at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list this week with her memoir Settle for More (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).
The book got a boost beyond her own built-in audience with the news that she writes about Donald Trump’s bribery attempt to bribe her as well as others in the press. As we have written previously, Vanity Fair‘s headline on the story asserts, that, by holding this information until after the election, Kelly “Blew The Goodwill She’s Built,” as an “improbable feminist icon” and one of the strongest voices standing up to Trump during the election.
Adding to the publicity, USA Today reports that Amazon has deleted “several politically motivated negative reviews … after a flood of one-star ratings drew media attention.” Writing that “This scary phenomenon essentially means that a small, angry, vocal group can flood a space with fringe views that masquerade as majority opinion,” Slate reports that “a whopping 76 percent of the [reviews] were one-star.”
The Wall Street Journal writes that both books are selling, reporting that “In the first six days on bookstore shelves, Ms. Kelly’s memoir sold 64,000 copies, while former Democratic presidential contender Sen. Sanders’s book sold 45,000 copies.” The article goes on quote Sanders’s publisher as saying “He’s been waiting nearly his entire life to give this message to huge audiences … Happily, they’re buying books.” As for Kelly, one independent book store owner told the paper, “People are interested in her book because she was right in the middle of everything.”
One surprising winner of the political season has been the under-the-radar Science Fiction writer, Ted Chiang. Well known to the SF fan-base but not a household name, Chiang has won an impressive number of major science fiction awards even though he has written just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines.
By far his most famous, “Story of Your Life,” is the basis for the film Arrival, a movie that got a huge boost as viewers sought escape after the election.
Now the collection that includes that story, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon, just outside the top 100 bestsellers. It is also racking up large hold ratios. Counting both the original publication and the tie-in edition, some libraries are showing holds as high as 7:1.
Some press coverage has featured the author, such as Wired‘s take on the film, headlined “With Arrival, Ted Chiang Becomes Hollywood’s New Philip K. Dick.”
io9 says “Story Of Your Life Could Be One of the Year’s Most Magical Films” and GQ writes about “How an Unfilmable Story Turned Into the Year’s Best Sci-Fi Movie.”
Writing for The Guardian in 2004, China Miéville offers an explanation of Chiang’s appeal:
“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional ‘sense of wonder’ is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the ‘wonder; of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive 50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”
NPR featured Chiang on All Things Considered, reporting that three more of his stories have been optioned for adaptations. The show also quotes Chiang as saying, “Fiction writing is very hard for me and I’m a very slow writer … I don’t get that many ideas for stories … And I like to take my time when I do get an idea for a story.” “Which means,” says NPR, “that readers get to take their time, too — to chew on Chiang’s craft and carefulness.”
Over twenty years after Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt stared in the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (PRH/Ballantine Books; BOT; OverDrive Sample) the author has regained the rights and is planning a TV show.
Rice took to Facebook to announce “television is where the vampires belong.”
Apparently impressed with the opportunities HBO’s Game of Thrones has demonstrated, she continues, “A television series of the highest quality is now my dream for Lestat, Louis, Armand, Marius and the entire tribe. In this the new Golden Age of television, such a series is THE way to let the entire story of the vampires unfold … Over the years you all have told me how much you want to see a Game of Thrones style faithful rendering of this material … What you want is what I want.”
Vanity Fair reports that Rice and her son Christopher “are working together on a pilot script and an outline for an ‘open-ended series’ beginning with the events of The Vampire Lestat, the second book in the series that’s actually a prequel to the first.”
The magazine points out that there is “plenty of room for vampires on TV now that True Blood has ended and the zenith of the vampire fiction heyday has come and gone. The Vampire Diaries and FX’s The Strain will air their final seasons in 2017, so now is just the right time for a new vampire show to come pick up the slack.”
No word yet on air dates or actors.
Slate critics Jamelle Bouie, Laura Miller, and Katy Waldman return with the newest Audio Book Club. They “discuss two novels that reimagine our racist past and present,” The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample) and Underground Airlines by Ben Winters (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).
The panel discuses each book on its own and then compares them in a wide ranging conversation that dips into the roots of hard-boiled genre fiction, the history of slavery, and segments of the history of the abolitionist movement.
Whitehead recently won the National Book Award for his novel, which is also on most of the year-end best of books of the year lists. PW picked Underground Airlines as one of the best Mystery/Thriller books of 2016.
The next discussion will be about the winner of the Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan, focusing on The Lyrics: 1961-2012 (S&S).
William Trevor, the author the NYT describes as writing, “mournful, sometimes darkly funny short stories and novels about the small struggles of unremarkable people [that] placed him in the company of masters like V. S. Pritchett, W. Somerset Maugham and Chekhov,” has died at the age of 88.
Born in Ireland and a long time resident of Britain, his characters were often “hanging on to the bottom rung of the lower middle class, [waging] unequal battle with capricious fate,” the NYT‘s continues.
“I’m very interested in the sadness of fate, the things that just happen to people,” Trevor told Publishers Weekly in 1983.
While he wrote novels, Trevor saw himself as a short story author. The NYT‘s reports his saying “I’m a short-story writer who writes novels when he can’t get them into short stories … [my] novels are “a lot of linked-up short stories.” He told the Paris Review that a short story was “the art of the glimpse.”
The LA Times lists his honors: “He won one of Britain’s top literary prizes, the Whitbread, three times; was short-listed four times for the Booker Prize, most recently in 2002 for “The Story of Lucy Gault”; and was a perennial object of speculation as a potential Nobel literature laureate.”
He also earned praise from fellow authors. The LA Times further reports, “Graham Greene praised Trevor’s 1973 collection Angels at the Ritz as the best set of short stories since Dubliners, James Joyce’s 1914 collection.”
“assembles the stories from William Trevor’s last four collections, so that in effect it’s a sequel to the huge edition of his collected stories that came out in 1992. Together the two books add up to almost 2,000 pages of short fiction … and they are more than ample proof that Trevor is one of the two greatest short-story writers working in English right now. The other is Alice Munro, and no one else is even close.”
One of his last works, a short story for The New Yorker, is still available online.
Below is a reading by Trevor held in NYC’s 92nd Street Y:
Director Martin Scorsese has adapted a book he has “reread countless times,” one that has given him “a kind of sustenance” that he has “found in only a very few works of art.”
The novel is Shusaku Endo’s Silence: With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese (Peter Owen Publishers, Dec. 1; trade paperback, Macmillan/Picador Modern Classics), first published in 1966 and winner of the Tanizaki Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary honors.
Entertainment Weekly writes that the film is about “a Portuguese Jesuit priest who is persecuted along with other Christians in 17th-century Japan … the hardship inflicted upon them [the priest and two others], and especially on their fellow Christians, puts their faith to the test.” It stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver.
In addition to the quotes above, Scorsese also writes in his introduction to the tie-in, that the priest in the novel, played by Neeson, “begins on the path of Christ and … ends replaying the role of Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas.” Endo “looks at the problem of Judas more directly than any other artist I know. He understood that, in order for Christianity to live, to adapt itself to other cultures and historical moments, it needs not just the figure of Christ but the figure of Judas as well.”
At a press conference in May, held to promote the first look at the film, Scorsese told reporters that he’d been trying to adapt the book for over 25 years and that “The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very, very young … I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family. … Further reflection is how [we] want to lead our life in the Christian faith … so ultimately this book drew my attention when it was given to me in 1988.”
Silence will open Dec. 23 in a limited Oscar-qualifying run before opening in wide release in January.