Growing press attention has sent George W. Bush’s Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (Random House/Crown; RH Audio) to #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings.
Bush was on the Today show yesterday to promote his book of paintings and stories of veterans. During the opening interview he was asked about the current administration. His responses, while hedged and careful, made front-page news, described by the NYT as “tacit criticism” of Trump’s immigration policy and his relationship with the media.
Today then aired a lengthy segment with some of the vets Bush features in the book.
More press coverage is forthcoming. Bush will be on Fox News’s Hannity show in a one-hour special on March 3. On that same day People Magazine will run a feature.
In the midst of a project to photograph every species of animal held in a zoo, aquarium, rehab center, or similar location, National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has published a sampling in his new book The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals (National Geographic).
After a decade of shooting in the wild Sartore says he hopes that creating intimate, close up portraits will help humans become more invested in saving the other species that share the planet.
To give each species its due, the animals are presented studio style against a black or white background. “A mouse is every bit as glorious as an elephant, and a tiger beetle is every bit as big and important as a tiger. It’s a great equalizer.” It also reveals aspects of the personality of each animal. Some look joyful, some curious, some scared.
By the turn of the next century we stand to lose nearly 1/2 of all species, Says Sartre, making the project particularly urgent. “A lot of the species that you see in The Photo Ark would be extinct by now if it weren’t for captive breeding programs … I know of at least four or five animals now that are the very last of their kind in the world’s zoos and I’ve got to get to them, and it means I’m gone all the time, and once I get there I’ve got to do the world’s best picture of this animal before it’s lost.”
A new short feature sets up the violent dystopian landscape of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986; OverDrive Sample), set to being airing on April 26, 2017.. Executive producer and creator Bruce Miller says “It is unquestionably a dark world, but it’s not a dark show. The show is about perspective and not losing the hope of getting your life back.”
Star Elizabeth Moss adds, “Here’s this character stripped of everything, of her rights, of her family, of her friends, and she still can’t quite give up.”
Hamilton tells Zakaria that because FDR died prematurely he never got to write his account of WWII, leaving the field clear for Winston Churchill to publish his own six volume set that went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The story Churchill told paints a different picture from historical fact says Hamilton, who tells Zakaria he hopes to change our perception of history by showing that it was FDR, not Churchill, who was directed the war’s military strategy and its global reordering.
Hamilton says that FDR had a vision of how the world order could be changed for the better. He was an idealist who was against imperialism and colonialism. Churchill, on the other hand, was leading a country highly invested in both.
Writing for the NYT BR, historian Evan Thomas calls Mantel of Command “fast-paced, smartly observed … Hamilton writes with brio and narrative drive. On the whole, The Mantle of Command is splendid: It’s the memoir Roosevelt didn’t get to write.”
We’re pleased to welcome back Lisa Von Drasek as EarlyWord‘s Kids Correspondent, now that she has completed her responsibilities on the Caldecott committee. Below, she gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the YMA announcement day at Midwinter.
Nora, EarlyWord: Welcome back, Lisa! We’d love to know everything you can tell us about the Caldecott committee discussions.
Lisa: Nice try, Nora, but the work of the committee is confidential. I can’t tell you the titles we discussed, how we came to our short list, or anything about the specific votes.
Nora, EarlyWord: Got it. Let’s try something else. You were in the room when the winners were announced. What was it like as people began to realize John Lewis was about to make history by winning an unprecedented four awards for March, Book 3 (IDW/Top Shelf)?
Debuting this week is a major TV documentary, a heavily anticipated adaptation of a YA novel, and the film version of a long-running inspirational best seller.
When We Rise airs on ABC starting Feb. 27 in a two-hour premiere. Gus Van Sant directs this chronicle of the LGBTQ community’s civil rights movement. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, created the project, inspired in part by Cleve Jones’s memoir When We Rise: My Life in the Movement (Hachette; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).
It runs for eight hours over four nights. The large cast includes Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Michael K. Williams, and Rachel Griffiths.
Entertainment Weeklygives it a B+, writing, “It’s a story of a marginalized people who deserve to be recognized, a history we all need to know and own, presented as potent mainstream television.” The LA Times calls it “powerful and moving.” USA Today says it is “overly ambitious … But goodness: Scattered within this history of the battle for gay rights are moments of great power and lessons of great importance, as it pays homage to a struggle that too frequently has been ignored by mainstream television — and has yet to be fully won.”
There is no tie-in but the hardback edition of Jone’s book now has a sticker connecting it to the show.
Before I Fall opens on March 3. It is an adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s debut YA novel, the best seller Before I Fall (HarperCollins, 2010).
Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), the film stars Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy), Halston Sage (Goosebumps), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word).
Variety calls it “impressively stylish” and says it “forgoes the overlit Disney Channel look, embracing a cooler, steely-blue aesthetic that’s more in line with such bygone cult faves as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars — plus, it unfolds in that post-Judy Blume space where it’s OK to broach such touchy issues as teen suicide and contraception.”
The Hollywood Reporter says “this neatly written Heathers-meets-Groundhog Day high-concept package delivers both technical polish and a toothsome yet likeable cast. Better still, it has just enough tragic edge to draw young adults, and young-at-heart adults, with melancholy temperaments.”
It is not a pure adaptation of the comics, but rather inspired by them. We wrote earlier about one tie-in, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel; OverDrive Sample).
The film stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), as a father who has lost is faith in the face of unspeakable tragedy. Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays God. Grammy winner Tim McGraw stars as well, alongside Radha Mitchell.
The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Francisco, with Wells on his heels.
“What moved me about Lincoln’s arc during his presidency was the way that the burdens of the office — the floundering war effort, intense public criticism, the mistakes he made that were costing so many lives, the death of his son — beat him down and made him sorrowful, but also, almost causally, seemed to expand the reach of his empathy, so that, by the end, it included soldiers on both sides and the millions of Americans being enslaved by other Americans. It seemed to me that the empathy was somehow a byproduct of the sorrow — a burning-away of his hopes and dreams that resulted in a kind of naked seeing of things as they really were.”
On the Nonfiction Hardcover list, This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever (Thomas Nelson; Thomas Nelson Audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #2, written by Rory Feek, one-half of the Grammy-winning duo Joey+Rory. He gained national attention when his wife, Joey Martin, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The book pays tribute to her and their life together. It is #12 on the USA Today list, doing very well against other formats and categories. Holds are growing at a number of libraries we checked.
The Academy Awards ceremony often confounds expectations, no more dramatically than it did last night when, just as the La La Land producers were celebrating their win for Best Picture, it was announced that the winner was actually Moonlight.
Even the category of adapted screenplay did not net a win for books. In fact the winner isn’t even based on a published work, but on an unpublished play that was written as a drama school project, Moonlight.
Those books are still doing well, however. The memoir that is the basis for Lion, A Long Way Home, continues to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of pre-Oscars attention, including People magazine’s “The True Story Behind Lion: How Lost Child Saroo Brierley Found His Birth Mother More Than 20 Years Later.”
The two book-based nominees for Best Animated Feature lost out to the original screenplay, Zootopia. It does, however, have several tie-ins.
Hollywood shows no signs of falling out of love with books, announcing new adaptations each week. As they say in show business, “There’s always next time.”
Tomorrow and Tomorrow (PRH/Putnam; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is set in a near future version of Pittsburgh, after a catastrophe reduces it to rubble. A virtual-reality version of the city, called the Archive, allows characters to visit again, including John Blaxton, who lost his wife and unborn child in the disaster. He also investigates cold cases and finds one very much alive within the digital world of the Archive.
“Tomorrow and Tomorrow is prescient, it posits a world not so dissimilar from today, a direction we are all clearly headed, where technology has altered the ways in which we interact with each other and the world around us,” Ross said in a statement. “I hope to examine, following the book’s lead, the degree to which our lives are enhanced, and deeply compromised, by the technology that is already an inseparable part of our daily existence.”
The Hollywood Reporter says that Lynette Howell Taylor, who produced Captain Fantastic and is working on a remake of A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, is on board to produce. So is Mark Gordon, one of the figures behind Saving Private Ryan who is currently working on the all-star update of Murder on the Orient Express.
The books are set in four alternative versions of London, three of which are magical. The main character, Kell, a smuggler and official royal messenger, can travel between worlds and becomes caught in a fast paced adventure when he brings a dangerous relic from Black London into Red.
The two final books in the trilogy have been released, which may be the reason that studios, who love series, suddenly saw its potential. A Conjuring of Lightjust hit shelves last week, following last year’s A Gathering of Shadows .
Librarians were behind the richly detailed trilogy early on. A Darker Shade of Magic was a LibraryReads pick:
“Fantasy fans should enjoy this atmospheric novel, where London is the link between parallel universes, and magician Kell is one of two Travelers who can move between them. Now something sinister is disturbing their equilibrium, and Kell must try to unravel the plot with only feisty street thief Delilah Bard as an ally.” –Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
It was also a GalleyChat title. Stephanie Chase (Hillsboro, OR, Public Library) said it “moves with a wonderful fast and yet immersive pace; the fascinating story, with its twists and turns, is not to be missed.”
Gerard Butler (300) will produce the film. Deadline Hollywood says “The trilogy could be ideal for a film franchise … Filmmakers are said to be already lining up for a chance to put their stamp on this fantasy.”
Coming next week, the holds leaders are two authors who have each published over 20 titles in their series, but one has only recently jumped in popularity, the media will feature a past president who will not be talking politics, but painting, and tie-ins arrive for films currently in the news.
People Magazine – Interview with the President and one of the warriors – 3/3
Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset on and off the Court, Jay Wright, Michael Sheridan, Mark Dagostino, (Random House/ Ballantine; OverDrive Sample)
The Villanova University basketball coach will be interviewed on PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show, as well as ESPN’s Sports Center and Mike & Mike.
Only one Peer Pick comes out this week, the Indie Next pick Abandon Me, Melissa Febos (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA).
“Melissa Febos has one of those minds that’s as good at describing scenes as it is at clearly breaking down a complicated idea or articulating ambivalence. Abandon Me is a powerhouse collection — each essay can be enjoyed on its own, but taken together, they form a striking autobiographical portrait of a talented young writer and thinker. You won’t want to abandon a voice this powerful, and you won’t forget it either.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
Additional Buzz:Esquire lists it as one of “The 5 Books You Should Read in February,” writing that Febos “obliterates convention with her erotically charged and intellectually astute recollections of family, relationships and the search for identity.”
The publisher says it “features new material from Saroo about his childhood, including a new foreword and a Q&A about his experiences and the process of making the film.”
Brierley tells how he was separated from his family in rural India at age 4, when he climbed aboard a train and was carried over a thousand miles away to a city he did not know. He wound up in an orphanage and was adopted and relocated to Tasmania. Decades later, he traced his way back home using Google maps.
The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham. They join a cast of actors well-known in India, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, and Tannishtha Chatterjee.
Behind Closed Doors (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan; OverDrive Sample) was a hit in the UK, selling more than 100,000 copies in its first week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It did not do quite as well here, spending just four weeks on the bottom on the NYT bestseller list. It was, however, both a LibraryReads and an Indie Next pick and got starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist.
The novel tells the creepy story of a seemingly perfect couple. A highly successful lawyer and a devoted wife, but that facade covers a horrible life of abuse and sadism. The LibraryReads annotation says:
“On the surface, Jack and Grace have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, and the perfect jobs. What lies beneath the surface is something so sinister yet so believable that it will horrify most readers. What happens behind closed doors and could, or would, you believe it? This is a superb story of psychological abuse that will have your heart racing right up to the end.” — Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Twp, MI
Melissa London Hilfers will write the adaptation. She tells Deadline that the book is a “gripping, modern Hitchcockian thriller exploring what truth lies beneath the veneer we all project.”
It is early days yet and there is no news about who will direct or star.
The Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is set to begin airing on Sunday, April 30 at 9 pm.
The first of the eight-episode series, titled “The Bone Orchard,” will be directed by David Slade (Breaking Bad, Hannibal).
Gaiman recently told WSJ Video that the eight shows will cover just a third of the book. He also said there will be characters and stories not in the novel and that a number of things only implied or hinted at in the book will get full episodes. He says the adaption is “really impressive” and that the showrunns have done a “remarkable job.”
Starz also released the series’ key art, to be featured on posters and in ads, as well as on the tie-in cover, to be released on March 28. American Gods [TV Tie-In], Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins/Morrow; also in mass market).
An out-of-the blue debut graphic novel is sweeping the industry, being compared to the greats in the field and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.
On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Norton/Fantagraphics) reviewer John Powers says “this extraordinary book has instantly rocketed Ferris into the graphic novel elite alongside Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel and Chris Ware. You see, she’s produced something rare, a page-turning story whose pages are so brilliantly drawn you don’t want to turn them.”
The story is set in in Chicago in the nineteen-sixties and features a ten-year old girl named Karen Reyes who investigates the death of a neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Powers says that Ferris uses the story to explore “the idea of monstrousness, from the small-scale cruelties of schoolyard bullying to Nazi death camps. Along the way, Karen learns to see a difference between what she calls ‘good monsters’ who are scary because they’re, quote, ‘weird looking and fangy’ and so-called ‘bad monsters.’ They’re scary because they want everyone to be scared so they can control them.”
Also covered in the NYT ‘s Art and Design section, it is described as “blood-tingling,” full of “grisly delights,” oozing “with the secrets and hungers that shadow childhood.” Art Spiegelman (Maus) tells the paper that “Emil Ferris is one of the most important comics artists of our time … She uses the sketchbook idea as a way to change the grammar and syntax of the comics page … And she came out of nowhere. Until recently, no one was aware of Emil — including Emil.”
The New Yorker offers an excerpt. Françoise Mouly, the influential art editor of the magazine and co-founder of the comics magazine Raw sets the story up, saying Ferris’s “mastery of comics, her pyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form.”