Ten years ago Rick Riordan got kids interested in reading about Greek mythology with the publication of The Lightning Thief. Since then he has also written series based on Roman and Egyptian mythology.
In and interview withEntertainment Weekly Riordan says that Norse myths present a special challenge because are gruesome and he had to figure out how to “present this accurately but also in a way that’s not completely terrifying”
The discussion is wide ranging and at times persnickety as the three participants go back and forth with negative and positive responses.
Katy Waldman, Slate’s words correspondent, was “weirdly riveted” by the process of how astronaut Mark Watney works through the catastrophes involved in being abandoned on Mars, but she summarizes it as “nerd-wish fulfillment fantasy, the next wave of reality shows, like Survivor Mars” and in the end can only recommend it with reservations. However, she recommends the movie wholeheartedly.
Laura Miller, books and culture columnist for Slate, is the most positive on the book, offering some book-discussion worthy ideas, comparing it to several recent novels in which the protagonists work through complex processes to avert disasters, such as Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves.
November’s conversation will address one of the year’s most talked-about literary novels, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday), currently up for two major awards. It is the favorite among odds makers to win the Booker Prize, to be announced later today. On the National Book Awards longlist, we will learn if it makes the shortlist tomorrow.
It is also exceeding a 3:1 holds ratio at most libraries we checked, with some placing second orders for additional copies.
The NYT’s features Fates and Furies in the Sunday Book Review “Inside the List” section as well, where Gregory Cowles, the paper’s preview editor and best-seller columnist, compares it to Gone Girl, “minus the murderous psychopathology.”
In a share-worthy summary, Cowles goes on to say “both tell the story of a marriage first from the husband’s somewhat complacent perspective, then change course midway to reveal a wife far more active and vengeful than expected.”
Librarian Nancy Pearl, who has often recommended Beryl Markham’s West with the Night (Macmillan/North Point Press; Blackstone Audio; eBook from OpenRoad Medic; OverDrive sample), interviews author Paula McLain as part of the Book Lust series airing on the Seattle channel. McLain’s fictional take on Markham’s life, Circling the Sun (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) has been a NYT best seller since its publication at the end of July.
The two discuss how McLain came to focus on Markham after her success writing about Hemingway’s first wife in the novel The Paris Wife (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). It turns out that McLain struggled after the publication of that breakout book, spending years searching for a subject.
She wrote hundreds of pages on both Georgia O’Keeffe and Marie Curie only to have both projects fail to take off. Finally, while on vacation with her sister and brother-in-law she stumbled across West with the Night, Markham’s vivid memoir (which even Hemingway, who hated Markham, praised to the skies). McLain’s brother-in-law was reading it poolside and told her it was going to be important in her life. She ignored him and it for a year longer before picking up the story and getting swept away.
As predicted, Harper Lee’s “new” novel was the book of the summer, hitting number one on the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list in its first week of publication and remaining there for 6 weeks, only slipping to #2 last week, when Sue Grafton’s X hit that spot.
It is #6 on the USA Today list, an even more impressive feat since that list does not divide titles by category, putting the social media author right behind:
1) Go Set a Watchman, 2) Grey,
3) Paper Towns, 4) To Kill a Mockingbird, and 5) Girl on the Train.
The NYTSunday Book Review covers the book (actually, it’s more like a printed scrap book) in their “Inside the List” column, saying “YouTube star Miranda Sings — real name Colleen Ballinger — has become a comic sensation by milking the disconnect between her supreme confidence and her hopeless lack of ability in pretty much any human endeavor: can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t apply lipstick inside the lines. Now she’s taken that endearing incompetence into the book world with a parody advice guide.”
In his lengthy report on the convention, Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair writes that “I have been to the high temple of digital video and I have seen its awesome, occasionally terrifying might. The revolution is not coming. It’s here.”
At the same time that #blacklivesmatter reveals tp those who weren’t aware that racism still plagues this country, two books also appeared as reminders. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, (Harper), reveals the comlex reality behind the saintly character of Atticus Finch.
Deadline also reports that GOTT is “the fastest selling adult novel in history with over two million copies sold in the United States alone.” but that story, recently reported by the Wall Street Journal now has a correction which reads, “In an earlier version of this article, the book’s publisher incorrectly said it was likely the fastest ever to reach that sales figure. Books that have sold faster include Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which sold 2 million hardcovers in just over a month, not including ebooks.”
The book accuses the Clintons of selling influence to foreign governments and individuals through the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton campaign has fought back by identifying several factual errors. As a result, Harper has changed the Kindle version to delete passages or revise sections. As reported in Politico, Amazon sent purchasers a notice that “significant revisions have been made” to their electronic copies, which Harper then said were just “7-8 factual corrections.”
Undaunted, Schweizer continues roiling up controversy. In the new issue of USA Today, he objects to his testyinterview with George Stephanopoulos in April, saying he should get a do-over because the broadcaster did not reveal that he personally donated $75,000 to the Clinton campaign in 2012.
The author of the uber-bestselling The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead), Paula Hawkins tells The Daily Beast that she is at work on another psychological thriller that she hopes “to finish over the summer so that it hopefully will be out summer or autumn of next year.”
She adds, “It also deals quite a lot with memory issues, but in a different way. It’s about the memories we have from childhood and how the stories that we tell about ourselves and our families shape who we are.”
She drops no hints about the title and admits she is feeling the pressure to try to live up to the success of GOTT, but says she is persevering because she doesn’t want to “leave too big a gap between the first book and the second, because the longer that gap, the more terrifying the publication of the second book becomes.”
We’d gotten used to seeing Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See at #2 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, tucked right behind the juggernaut of The Girl on the Train. But then Harlan Coben’s The Stranger came along and knocked it into third place. Last week, J.R. Ward’s The Shadows cast it into fourth place and it looked like the beginning of a slide.
But this week, The Light has returned to its old spot, banishing The Shadows altogether and moving The Stranger down to 4th position (The Girl on the Train keeps chugging along at #1).
Her 2006 novel, Water for Elephants was a slow build, eventually hitting #1 in paperback in anticipation of the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Her next book, 2010’s Ape House debuted at #8 on the NYT list (#65 on USA Today‘s), lasting just a few weeks.
Gruen herself is not so worried about matching her earlier success. As she tells NPR’s Weekend Edition, “I don’t tend to think ‘oh, I peaked at 38,’ I tend to think ‘I’m so happy about what happened with Water for Elephants, but I know I was struck by lightning’ … it’s not going to happen again and that’s ok. I get to keep doing what I love to do.”
While lightning may not strike twice, it appears Water’s Edge will attract a wider audience than did Ape House and fulfill predictions from collection development librarians that it will circulate briskly through the summer. It is rising on Amazon sales rankings this week and most libraries show growing holds.
The NYT trade paperback list offers the tale of another slow build, similar to Water for Elephants. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) hits the Trade Paperback Fiction list for the first time, after several weeks on the extended list (the hardcover also spent a few weeks on the extended list), probably based on news that Steven Spielberg has signed to direct the film adaptation as well as anticipation of the release of the next title, Armada(RH/Crown, RH & BOT Audio), set for publication on July 24th.
Girl on the Train ruled the top of the USA Today list for over a month but is now in the No. 2 spot.
In toppling Hawkins from her reigning position, Coben achieved what James Patterson could not. As we reported last week, Patterson’s newest, NYPD Red 3 (Hachette/Little, Brown), hit USA Today’s list in second place, behind GOTT. It has since slipped to the No. 5 spot.
Most libraries routinely buy more copies of Patterson then they do of Coben. It may be time to rethink that.
Other lists, however, show a different story. USA Today‘s has the Patterson title at #2, after The Girl on the Trainas does the PW/Bookscan list. On the Indie Best Seller list, however, NYPD Red 3 arrives at a lowly #12.
Meanwhile, Hausfrau, by Jill Essbaum, (Random House; RH Audio), heavily considered a successor to The Girl On The Train, just squeaks onto the main list at #16, in a tie with #15, The Whites, by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt (Macmillan/Holt).