Archive for March, 2017
The trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power has been released:
As we posted earlier, the sequel to Gore’s Academy Award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it received a standing ovation. It is now gearing up for its wide release, beginning with the politically pointed trailer.
Variety says the film depicts the “dire consequences of a warming earth — from flooding in Miami and the Philippines, to the worst drought on record in Syria, bringing human suffering there that predated the ongoing civil war, to air pollution so bad in some parts of China that life expectancy has declined by six years.”
A companion book will be published in May, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore (Macmillan/Rodale Books).
The documentary will open in theaters on July 28, 2017.
Barry Jenkins, the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, will write and direct the adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday) as a series for Amazon.
“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” Jenkins said in a statement. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.”
“The Underground Railroad is a massive job,” he told the the LA Times. “Right now, I’m thinking I want to do that over six or seven hours, and that will take a lot of time and consideration because it absolutely has to be done the right way. It’s a landmark work.”
Consequence of Sound reports “Jenkins has been working on the project since September, just one month after Colson’s book was released.”
It is early days, so there is no word on an air date or casting.
Bing called a “Downton Abbey Reunion,” the adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (PRH/Random House, 2008), currently filming in Australia, features four actors from the popular BBC series. Lily James, who played Downton‘s Lady Rose, is the movie’s lead. Recently joining the cast are Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton‘s Lady Sybil), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).
Also recently added are Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Michiel Huisman (The Age of Adeline, Game of Thrones), as well as Tom Courtenay (45 Years).
Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs the re-titled Guernsey. Release is expected in 2018.
The epistolary novel set during WW II received strong reviews and was a long running best seller. No tie-in has been announced
Commenting that “All science-fiction novels are about the future and about the present at the same time,” Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his new book New York 2140 (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) in an interview with New York magazine. In it, he envisions a waterlogged city that climate change has turned into the Venice of the U.S.
It is one of a number of novels getting media attention for their prescience about the current political climate,
A surprisingly hopeful version of what lies ahead, Robinson’s books shows survivors coping with the aftermath of an epic flood that has hit NYC. They move into high rise buildings, get used to tides washing up the streets, and to living with canals rather than roads. Robinson says “at some point, science fiction has to imagine the people who come after, when the situation will be natural, whatever it is.”
In her monthly Sci Fi column in the NYT Book Review, N.K. Jemisin says Robinson “deftly conveys [the transformed city’s] unnerving strangeness … it is refreshing to see a futurism that acknowledges the innate resilience of the city and, by inference, of humanity itself.”
Wired compares it to John Scalzi’s newest, the space opera The Collapsing Empire (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample), a far less hopeful vision set in AD 3500 when humanity appears doomed. They call it “Star Wars politics in the key of Firefly,” while New York 2014 could be pitched as “Waterworld survivalists battle Wall Street bogeymen.”
Daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani devotes her attention to a novel that, like Robinson’s, imagines the impact of global warming on the U.S., Omar El Akkad’s American War (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). In this darker version, the U.S., reduced to a much smaller country, is engaged in second Civil War.
Kakutani says “El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road (2006), and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America (2004).”
Released today, the book is currently at #71 on Amazon’s sales rankings, moving up rapidly from a lowly #29,600.
A Board Book edition is coming in August.
On Monday, Seth Meyers hosted George Saunders on Late Night, a return of sorts.
The two-part interview is a remarkable contrast to usual late-night celebrity fare.
Meyers introduces the second part of the interview with a phrase that may never have been uttered by a late night network host before, “the common architecture between writer and reader.”
Meyers has had experience with the author. He interviewed Saunders in February when he served as the substitute host on the Charlie Rose Show.
Known for the her award winning and best selling adult novel, Room, Emma Donoghue, has just published a new novel and it’s for kids, The Lotterys Plus One (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books; Scholastic Audio; OverDrive Sample; illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono). Written for middle graders, it’s rising on Amazon’s sales rankings thanks to an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Donoghue reads the opening:
“Once upon a time, a man from Delhi and man from Yukon fell in love, and so did a woman from Jamaica and a Mohawk woman. The two couples became best friends and had a baby together. When they won the lottery, they gave up their jobs and found a big old house where their family could learn and grow … and grow some more.”
Joining the overflowing household is one of the grandfathers, suffering from dementia. NPR notes that even though Donoghue’s adult books explore difficult subjects, this new novel is “all light.”
Donoghue, whose mother suffers from the disease, tells NPR “everything I read about dementia for children had a dreary tone to it, a sort of ‘let’s stop the action and all give you sad facts,’ you know? So I don’t believe there’s any subject that can’t be handled with a little bit of spark, so I try and make it very accurate, but also accept the humor that can be in misunderstandings … and above all, I avoided being too sad.”
Kirkus and PW give it stars, with PW calling it “a drily funny story about adjusting to new situations.”
For-profit colleges are examined on NPR’s Fresh Air via an interview with Tressie McMillan Cottom author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (Perseus/PGW/Legato/The New Press).
Designed to make money for shareholders and company owners, rather than to transform students’ lives, she says, for-profit end up compound students’ “poverty and risk factors.”
The NYT reviews the book, calling it “revelatory” and writing it is “the best book yet on the complex lives and choices of for-profit students.”
Most libraries we checked have bought few copies or none at all.
Levy, a staff writer at the New Yorker, is getting attention from a wide range of media. The NYT highlights the author in a lengthy feature story detailing Levy’s take on what the paper calls her “karmic smackdown” of how she went from pregnant and married to a woman grieving the loss of her baby and watching her marriage dissolve:
“Ms. Levy wanted to interrogate her own responsibility for such a sequence of grim events … That is the intellectual backbone [of the memoir, one that examines the] hoary conceit, the one about women and ‘having it all’ … A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements … seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent — even Portlandia.”
Blurbed by some big names, including Lena Dunham, Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Amy Bloom, and Alison Bechtel, it is reviewed by a range of outlets including Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, O magazine, and Time. Levy was also interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
The Atlantic says it is a “one-of-a-kind memoir” and that “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”
It is also stirring controversy. The New Republic calls it “Infuriating … a monument to obliviousness” and says it “buys into the myth that feminism promises each woman that she can have whatever she wants … It’s unlikely many Black women or Arab women or undocumented women would presume a similar degree of permission and mobility, regardless of their exposure to Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.”
It is climbing the Amazon rankings, currently at #136, and a few systems we checked are showing holds above 6:1.
Beauty and the Beast‘s box office juggernaut continued over the weekend. Even the release of the Power Rangers reboot could not break the spell, coming in a distant second.
Six screen adaptations come out this week:
Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31.
Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY, it is about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision. The novel is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.
The trailer debut alone was enough to send the book soaring on Amazon. A new featurette is out:
Thus far critics seem very happy with the show. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and writes “A frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost, and too fragile for the world.”
Variety writes “13 Reasons Why [will] pull viewers into a suspenseful tale that will keep most of them engaged until the final scene fades out.”
Alec Baldwin stars in DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010), opening on March 31.
Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it also features the voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.
As we posted earlier, the movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds several story lines. The tie-in, which came out in February, is a novelization of the movie script, The Boss Baby Junior Novelization by Tracey West (S&S/Simon Spotlight; also in trade pbk; OverDrive Sample).
Early reviews were glowing. Variety reported from the Annecy film festival that it “had the audience in stitches” and brought “whoops of applause.”
However, more recent reviews are not as strong. IndieWire headlines “The Boss Baby Might Pacify Kids, But This Dirty Diaper of a Movie Is Further Proof Hollywood Animation Needs a Change.”
The Wrap says “The Boss Baby runs in the opposite direction of real feeling in favor of bombast. There’s so much to like in this movie, but its best qualities are ultimately subsumed in formula. And not the nutritious kind.”
Ghost in the Shell, the live-action adaptation of Shirow Masamune’s SF manga series, which Movie Pilot calls “a pioneer of cyberpunk,” opens March 31. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt.
There are few reviews thus far but the NYT offers a feature on the many incarnations of the story.
The Zookeeper’s Wife opens on March 31. It is is already selling books, taking Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction account of the heroic story of a zookeeper and his wife who harbored 300 Jews from the Nazis back to the best seller lists and rising on Amazon’s rankings.
The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton, and Daniel Brühl.
The Wrap writes, “Turning an incredible true story of a couple who sheltered Jews into bland historical fare is the most noteworthy of the film’s shortcomings.”
In more limited release are two films. While they will not air to a wide audience at first, they will eventually be released on DVD, making them accessible for libraries creating book-to-film collections (and displays).
Carrie Pilby opens in limited release on March 31 and will be followed by VOD on April 4. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Caren Lissner, Carrie Pilby: A hilarious and charming story (HC/Harlequin Teen; Harlequin Audio; OverDrive Sample).
The film stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Vanessa Bayer, and Colin O’Donoghue.
The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a well-intentioned but imperfect young-adult-skewing comedy-drama … this often tritely plotted tale is not half as clever or cute as it thinks it is.”
Variety says “this is awfully soft stuff, its naval-gazing protagonist not nearly as unusual or delightful as we’re meant to think despite the high IQ she can’t stop referencing … For a story about a supposed genius, it’s not all that clever or complicated.”
The Guardian was much more favorable, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and calling it an “ambitious, upbeat and surprising comedy.”
There is no tie-in.
The Devotion of Suspect X, a Chinese-language film, opens in very limited release on March 31, just 45 theaters. It stars stars Wang Kai, Zhang Luyi, and Ruby Lin. There are no reviews as of yet.
The novel on which it was based, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), received attention when it was published. It was selected by the ALA/RUSA Reading List in 2012 for best Mystery and was nominated for an Edgar. It earned three star reviews, from LJ, PW, and Kirkus.
The Wall St. Journal says, “Whether it amounts to math, philosophy, psychology or cosmology, The Devotion of Suspect X is an elegant literary experiment. It suggests, among much else, that a lot of bad behavior is forgiven in the name of genius—and then even a genius can push the envelope just so far before it breaks.”
There is no tie-in.
Set to be her breakout Jessica Shattuck’s third book, The Women in the Castle (HarperCollins/Morrow) arrives this week. The novel looks at how ordinary German citizens dealt with the compromises they made to survive in WWII Germany. The story has personal resonance, as Shattuck reveals in a NYT Op/Ed piece titled, “I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.” The book is also a LibraryReads title (see below, under Peer Picks).
More highlights from the titles coming out next week are below. All are listed, along with other titles of note, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of March 27.
Publishers Weekly not only calls this “brilliantly twisty” but goes on make the pronouncement that “Many readers will agree with Patterson that this is the ‘best book [he’s] written in 25 years.'”
The host of Fox News The O’Reilly Factor, will undoubtedly use the show to flog his new book, which, according to the publisher, describes a “looming confrontation” between “Old Schoolers” and “Snowflakes,” who “[whine] about social injustice and income inequality and [cheer] Bernie Sanders as he [suggests] the government pay for almost everything,” adding that it is explained “so even the ladies on The View can understand it.”
At 28, Singh can claim to know what she’s talking about in the “conquering life department.” She’s listed at #8 Forbes list of “The World’s Top-Earning YouTube Stars 2015.” She is set to appear on the Today Show on Tuesday, 3/28 and later that day on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Only two peer picks arrive this week, but both are #1 selections.
“Meet Samuel Hawley, a man in a constant struggle with his violent past, doing the best he can to raise his daughter. Meet Loo, his daughter, a girl with an obscure past and an uncertain future, on the cusp of adulthood. And meet Lily, the dead woman who connects them both. In this finely woven novel, the past and the present gradually illuminate the story of a man’s life through the bullet wounds he carries with him and makes readers consider what it is to be both good and evil.” — Dawn Terrizzi, Denton Public Library, Denton, TX
Additional Buzz: It is also an Indie Next selection for April 2017. It makes a number of monthly or seasonal best lists, including those by the BBC, Bustle, BuzzFeed, and InStyle. The BBC writes, “This is a surprising and celebratory father-daughter story told with astonishing language and scope.” It gets reviewed by The Rumpus and The Washington Post, for which Ron Charles offers a video review:
Tinti was interviewed as part of PBS’s showcase from the AWP Bookfair:
“Three war widows and their children help each other survive at the end of World War II in this engaging novel filled with rich period details. Their husbands died as members of the resistance, but aside from that common thread, Marianne, Benita, and Ania bring very different backgrounds to their makeshift home in the castle’s kitchen. They also face repercussions from past choices and current secrets. Jessica Shattuck brings us into their world and shows us that the rules for love and loyalty are different in wartime.” —Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA
Additional Buzz: As we note above, this is likely to be the author’s breakout. In addition to the Indie Next #1 pick, it is a Library Reads pick for March. In an unusual pre-pub push, the owners of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes, suggest it to their readers writing it is a “book is for readers who love World War II novels and especially for anyone who thinks they don’t need to read another World War II novel.” In another bookstore connection, the top book buyer for Tattered Cover chooses three titles she recommends as she retires. One of them is The Women in the Castle.
The author was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Check your holds for this one.
Four tie-ins come out this week.
The Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods premieres on Sunday, April 30, 2017.
One of the early reviews is particularly promising. Slash film calls the pilot “a Weird and Wonderful Start to a Promising Series … American Gods appears to do justice to Gaiman’s work, expanding on his world while being faithful to what makes it work in the first place. Green and Fuller seem to have crafted something very special, perhaps even a series that can replace the dark fantasy hole in our hearts when Game of Thrones comes to an end.”
Returning to Starz’s is another adaptation of a Philippa Gregory novel, after the successful The White Queen. This time it is Princess Elizabeth of York’s moment in the spotlight. The power-play-power-struggle begins on April 16.
A tense meal will be served on May 5, with the premiere of the adaptation of Herman Koch’s The Dinner. The novel was on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list for seven weeks, reaching a high of #7.
The film stars Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny, and Charlie Plummer. Early reviews, from film festival viewings, are mixed. Variety is on board, writing that it is “riveting” with “a catchy atmosphere of disturbance.” The Hollywood Reporter disagrees, saying the film “will probably see some arthouse action both in Europe and stateside before ending up as broadcast fodder for people watching TV with plates of microwaved food on their knees.”
Star Wars Rogue One Junior Novel, Matt Forbeck (Hachette /Disney Lucasfilm Press; Blackstone Audio).
Pitched to 9-12 year-olds, this is a concise retelling of the hit Star Wars movie, the newest of the series, which came out Dec. 16, 2016.
It ties in to the release of the film on HD. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand follow on April 4.
Oscar-nominated Jason Hall (for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Sniper) wrote the script and makes his directorial debut. Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train), and Miles Teller (War Dogs) are among the large cast.
The book follows a group of soldiers as they try to adjust to civilian life after returning home from fighting in Baghdad. A critical success, it was reviewed by the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, and The Guardian, shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award and selected as a NYT‘s Notable Books of 2013.
A tie-in edition (Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio) comes out in September.
Dylan O’Brien plays the lead, CIA operative Mitch Rapp. The actor also stars in the Maze Runner film trilogy, based on the YA series by James Dashner. He suffered a serious injury on the set of the final movie in the series, Maze Runner: Death Cure. As a result, shooting of that movie was delayed until he recovered. The release date, also delayed, is now set for January 12, 2018.
Michael Keaton (Birdman) is set for the role of Stan Hurley, Rapp’s CIA trainer. Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger, Homeland) directs. USA Today provides a few first look photos.
Although it is the eleventh in the book series, American Assassin moves back in time to depict Rapp’s first assignment, making it a good place to begin a possible movie series. A tie-in has yet to be announced. The paperback is still available (S&S/Pocket).
Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, is set to star in the film adaptation of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (Hachette/Disney-Hyperion).
The first in the YA dystopian trilogy, it features a group of teens with special powers who are persecuted by the government and are on the run hoping to find a sanctuary.
The news, announced by the Hollywood Reporter, caused a flurry of excitement on fan sites.
The cast already includes another fan favorite, Amanda Sternberg, who played Rue in The Hunger Games. She also stars as Maddy Whittier in the upcoming adaptation of Nicole Yoon’s Everything, Everything, set for release in May.
One of Time magazine’s Most Influential Teens 2016, Sternberg is described as:
“one of her generation’s leading social activists, especially regarding race, representation and gender identity. As a result, she’s earned some high-profile admirers. Among them: Gloria Steinem, who sat for a one-on-one interview with Stenberg for Teen Vogue, and Beyoncé …
Fans have more to look forward to. As theThe Hollywood Reporter notes, “a host of young up-and-comers [are] on the call sheet.”
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda) directs, in her live-action debut.
The movie, still in pre-production, is expected to premiere in September 2018.