Archive for the ‘Books & TV’ Category

Zombies: Choose Your
Favorite Flavor

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

walking-dead-graphic  walking-dead

In what’s become a rite of October, The Walking Dead return in several flavors next week.

If you prefer your zombies televised, AMC’s version appears in its sixth season next week.

Fans of the print comic, which manges to be even more violent than the TV series, will have been following the monthly installments. Those willing to wait for the compendiums can enjoy The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 3 (Image Comics) arriving next week.

Also coming is the next in the novel series, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Invasion by Jay Bonansinga  (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne; and in yet another version, Macmillan is also releasing it in audio), which uses characters from both the TV series and the comics.

Each are different, but tying them all together is the Dead‘s originator, Robert Kirkman, who is involved with all three properties.

Below is the latest trailer for AMC’s version:

It’s Based on A Book?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

9780312428877Sometimes the connection between a book and a screen adaptation is not obvious.

The second episode of the heavily-promoted CBS action thriller, Limitless airs tonight. It’s based on the 2011 movie starring Bradley Cooper, which in turn is based on Alan Glynn’s 2001 debut techno-thriller with a different title, The Dark Fields (Macmillan/Picador).

The TV series picks up where the movie left off and is therefore several more steps removed from the source material, but still offers the opportunity to promote copies of the movie tie-in you may still have in the stacks, as well sa DVDs of the movie.

Below is the trailer. The series stars Jake McDorman. Bradley Cooper, who started in the movie, has a recurring role.

Glynn’s next book is Paradise (Macmillan/Picador, 2016). According to the Hollywood Reporter, it is currently being shopped to studios as “Enemy meets Vertigo“.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Begins Tonight (Sans Authors)

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The next iteration of The Daily Show starts this evening as Trevor Noah takes over the chair made famous by Jon Stewart.

While political junkies and comedy fans wait to see how Noah will do (Salon has grave doubts), those in the book business want to know how (or if) he will cover authors.

The opening line-up does not look good for the book world.

An actor, a musician, the CEO of a dating app, and Chris Christie, one of the few GOP candidates who has not written a book, fill the first week.

Based on an interview in Rolling Stone, Noah says week one will set the table for the show: “The first episode will be a reintroduction of the show, but you can’t just go off one … you’re building a relationship. So what we’re doing is dividing the first week into a four-part miniseries that will set the tone for what we hope the show will be.”

However, it generally takes hosts a while to establish their style. As we wrote earlier, it was several years before Jon Stewart began featuring serious authors on The Daily Show.

Meanwhile, there are authors on network late Nnght TV. Junot Díaz appears this week on Late Night With Seth Meyers while Elizabeth Gilbert comes on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

While neither host fully takes up the slack left in the wake of Stewart’s focus on authors (or Colbert’s on the Colbert Report), at least there is a bookish presence on TV to remind readers, and maybe even Noah, that books fuel fascinating conversations.

Last week Colbert interviewed Malala Yousafzai, author of  I Am Malala, (Hachette/Little, Brown) and subject of the documentary, He Named Me Malala, which opens on Oct. 2.

This may be the first time in history that a Nobel laureate has been challenged to do card tricks.

Donald Trump: New Book
On The Way

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.14.43 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-05 at 10.19.34 AMSet to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight, Donald Trump may announce that he has a new book coming on Oct. 27, on the heels of his update of Time to Get Tough: Making America Great Again (Regnery Publishing).

Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of S&S that also publishes works by Karl Rove, Glenn Beck and Lynne Cheney, will release the as yet untitled book (S&S/Threshold Editions; 240 pages; ISBN 9781501137969; October 2015; $26.00).

Quoting from a statement by S&S, Vanity Fair reports the book will:

“… outline how a crippled America could be restored to greatness [and] explore Trump’s view on key issues including the economy, big CEO salaries and taxes, healthcare, education, national security, and social issues. Of particular interest will be his vision for complete immigration reform, beginning with securing the borders and putting American workers first.”

Included in the same statement is Trump’s own take on his newest offering:

“I am excited to announce that work on my new bestseller is almost done and I’ll have a new book out from Threshold Editions and Simon & Schuster later this year. Not since The Art of the Deal have I had this much fun writing a book.”

The Washington Post’s nonfiction critic, Carlos Lozada, earlier offered a round-up of some of Trump’s other bestsellers, experienced via a massive binge-reading session.

From our previous story on Lozada’s reactions, he “encountered a world where bragging is breathing and insulting is talking, where repetition and contradiction come standard, where vengefulness and insecurity erupt at random.” He doubts Trump would be satisfied if he actually became President, quoting him on what makes him happy, “The same assets that excite me in the chase, often, once they are acquired, leave me bored … For me, you see, the important thing is the getting, not the having.”


Monday, September 21st, 2015

Olive KitteridgeHBO had a good night at the Emmys, particularly for its book-based series, Olive Kitteridge and Game Of Thrones.

Olive Kitteridge, based on Elizabeth Strout’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, took home a total of 8 Emmys, including one for best miniseries. A passion project for Frances McDormand, who bought the rights to the novel in 2010, she was rewarded by winning her first Emmys, as star and producer.

In accepting the award, McDormand gave full credit to the source, declaring twice, “It started as a book!” effectively refuting host Andy Samberg’s opening monologue, in which he inexplicably dissed books, saying, “The Emmy’s are all about celebrating the best of the year in television. So, sorry, books, not tonight,” as the words, “SUCK IT BOOKS” appeared on the screen.

McDormand signaled her interest in continuing the series, according to Deadline, telling reporters in the press room after the Awards, “It’s 13 short stories … it was infinitely exciting to read and I thought that it could be a great town to spend some time in,” adding, “We would love to do more and we would love for you all to start a social media campaign to do more.”

PBS’s Wolf Hall, based on the first two books in Hillary Mantel’s Tudors series, was nominated in several categories, but ended up with no wins

Kid’s Graphic Novel on LATE NIGHT

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.06.09 AMStephen Colbert isn’t the only one trying to shake up late night TV. Seth Meyers has broken ground by featuring novelists on Late Night. Last night, he highlighted graphic novelist Judd Winick, author of the new kid’s series Hilo (RH Books for Young Readers).

As The New York Times reports, the hero of the planned six-book multicultural series “is an enigmatic boy who crashes to Earth and befriends two children, D.J. and Gina … D.J. is the only one of five Asian-American siblings who is not “awesome at something,” and his best friend, Gina, who is black, has two aggressively positive sisters who are cheerleaders. Each book will reveal more about the characters and the mystery of Hilo’s destiny.”

Winick and Meyers know each other from Winick’s time writing for The Awesomes, an animated series created by Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. He has also worked on Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Justice League, and Star Wars comics. He has also had experience on TV, having been one of the housemates on season 3 of MTV’s Real World.

Winick decided to write the series so his own children could read his work, after he got a bit jealous of his son’s avid fanboy reaction to Jeff Smith’s Bone.

Colbert’s First LATE SHOW
Book Bump

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Reporting on the guests Colbert interviewed in his first week replacing David Letterman as host of The Late Show, The Hollywood Reporter headline reads, “Joe Biden and Wonky Guests Are Great But Celebrity Chats Could Be Improved.”

The guests got even wonkier this week, with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer appearing last night. There to promote his book, The Court And The World, (RH/Knopf), out today, he got little chance to talk about it, but it rose on Amazon’s sales rankings nonetheless.

Breyer also appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Morning Edition and the book was reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. All that attention sent the book to #203 on Amazon’s sales rankings, but Colbert had even greater impact, sending it to #110 this morning.

THR notes, “One look at Colbert’s guests in the next two weeks emphatically proves that he — and CBS — are going all-in on this [wonky] strategy: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders Friday, Global Poverty Project founder Hugh Evans and Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Sept. 23; Archbishop Thomas Wenski on Sept. 24 and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on Sept. 25.”

Bernie Sanders is publishing two updated books in December, The Speech: On Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class  (Nation Books) and Outsider in the White House (Verso; Exp Upd edition).

Elizabeth Waren’s book, A Fighting Chance (Macmillan/Metropolitan) was published last year.

Malala Yousafzai’s book, I Am Malala (Hachette/Little, Brown) is credited as the inspiration for the documentary, He Named Me Malala, to be released Oct. 2.

LATE NIGHT Colbert Debuts

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Tonight, Stephen Colbert takes over David Letterman’s chair as host of The Late Show and the media is engaged in a game of trying to predict how he will transition from his Comedy Central persona to a more traditional style. As the New York Times asks, “Will the new digs have room for ‘truthiness’ and ThreatDowns?”

Looking at the initial lineup of guests that includes Justice Stephen Breyer and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Variety comments, “It’s a different sort of mainstream late-night program, the kind that convenes guests from broader walks of life, almost in recognition that the nation has grown very weary of seeing actors and actresses hype their latest project and go on their merry way.”

Those in the book business are hoping he will continue to give authors the famous “Colbert Bump.” Encouragingly, an author will be featured in the first week, although one who doesn’t need the bump. Stephen King is scheduled for Friday’s show. It’s a big week for him; the day before he receives the National Medal of Arts presented by Barack Obama.

Bazaar of Bad DreamsKing’s Finders Keepers came out in June. A new collection of short stores, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams will be published in November (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio).

The finale of CBS’s adaptation of King’s book Under the Dome will be broadcast on Thursday.

King already has a rapport with the host, having appeared on the Colbert Report in 2009.

The real character of the new Late Night is likely to take a while to emerge. As CNN points out in their run down of various iconic late night shows, many of them took months or even years to hit their strides.

Get Ready for the End,

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.56.02 AM

Season six of Downton Abbey marks the end of the popular series. It begins airing in the UK on September 20, 2015 and will hit US airwaves on January 3, 2016.

Writing for Deadline Nancy Tartaglione, who caught the first episode of the final run at a press screening in London, reports “While I’m sworn to secrecy, I can reiterate that it’s pretty much everything a Downton fan would hope. There’s drama and emotion packed into the launch and enough intrigue to indicate how things may move forward as the seminal show draws to a conclusion after six years.”

A trailer, released yesterday, tugs at fans’  heartstrings, as it says goodbye in multiple ways.

That requires an antidote, “The Dowager Countess of Grantham’s 27 Tips on Etiquette”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.51.15 AMIn advance of the U.S. premiere comes Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to all Six Seasons by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin’s Press; Nov. 20, 2015). It includes interviews with the cast and crew, an episode guide, and plenty of lush photos.

Jessica Fellowes, who is the niece of Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes, has written three other books that will likely see renewed demand: A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, and The World of Downton Abbey.

Moving Ahead

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9780684826974The HBO series, Lewis And Clark, based on the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, (S&S, 1996) has faced some challenges, including wildfires on location and the firing of both the director and director of photography over creative differences three weeks into the production.

But HBO is still “undaunted,” declaring that filming will resume in the spring, according to Deadline, starring Casey Affleck as Meriwether Lewis and Matthias Schoenaerts as William Clark. The series is being produced by Tom Hanks’s company, Playtone, along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B. Entertainment.

ROOTS Remake

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9781593154493Referred to as an “up-and-coming British actor” by Deadline, Malachi Kirby has just landed the lead role as Kunta Kinte in A+E Networks’ remake of the seminal 1977 TV series Roots, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alex Haley (cover of the 2007 Thirtieth Anniversary Edition, left). LeVar Burton played Kinte in the original series.

Playing author Alex Haley in the series is Laurence Fishburne. In the original, James Earl Jones played Haley, appearing in the first episode of the series.

Set to begin shooting next month in South Africa and New Orleans, it is expected to air some time next year.

Kirby is known in the U.K. for his role in the TV series East Enders. He also starred as the younger brother in the 2013 British film Gone Too Far. The trailer, below, includes an eerie foreshadowing of his future role.

JUST KIDS To Showtime

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.18.09 PMShowtime has bought the rights to adapt Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010) as a limited series. reports Deadline.

Along with John Logan (Penny Dreadful), Smith will both write the screenplay and produce the series.

Just Kids recieved rave reviews and won the National Book Award Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.14.54 PMfor Nonfiction. It chronicles Smith’s friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their creative lives as young artists.

M Train (RH/Knopf; BOT), Smith’s next memoir, is coming out on Oct. 6th.

Showtime Options LOVING DAY

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.59.34 AMShowtime has optioned Mat Johnson’s novel Loving Day (RH/ Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) as a potential comedy series. According to Deadline  talks are “underway with high-end writers to collaborate with the author on penning the adaptation.”

About a mixed race man and the daughter he never knew he had, the novel has received a fair amount of critical attention:

NPR’s reviewer, Michael Schaub, heaped praise on it, calling it a “beautiful, triumphant miracle of a book.”

Jim Ruland’s review in the Los Angeles Times was equally strong, “To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. Indeed, the subtitle to Mat Johnson’s exceptional novel could read “the whiteness of the mixed male.” [His] riff on racial identity starts as a scene, turns into an episode and morphs into a motif that never lets up. His unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor.”

Writing for The New York Times, Baz Dreisinger calls it a “ribald, incisive the novel … [that] ultimately triumphs because it is razor-sharp, sci-fi-flavored satire in the vein of George Schuyler, playfully evocative of black folklore à la Joel Chandler Harris — yet it never feels like a cold theoretical exercise. Loving Day is that rare mélange: cerebral comedy with pathos.”

TV Turns to Magic, Monsters
and Myths

Monday, August 17th, 2015

It’s no surprise that the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones is spawning a whole new appreciation for the genre in the TV world. Variety trumpets that “Game of Thrones Leads Fantasy TV’s Transformation from Geek to Chic” noting,  “On tap for the 2015-16 season are no fewer than five series based on literary works that deal with magic, monsters, mythical realms or heroic quests.”

Those five series listed below:

MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles — ten episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, the first in the book series is Sword Of Shannara, but the first in the TV series will be based on the second book Elfstones Of Shannara. Tie-in — see our movie and TV tie-ins.

Syfy’s The Magicians  — twelve episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Lev Grossman’s  The Magicians fantasy trilogy (The Magicians, 2009; The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land). No tie-ins have been announced.

ABC Family’s Shadowhunters — Early 2016. Cassandra Clare’s YA series beginning with The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, (S&S/ M.K. McElderry Books, 2007). It was also made into a movie in 2013. Plans to turn it into a franchise when it flopped at the box office. the producers think it will do better as a TV series. Tie-ins — see our movie and TV tie-ins. Web site:

NBC’s Emerald City — 2016, A “modern reimagining” of Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz, with stories drawn from all 14 books in the series. No tie-in has been announced.

Starz’s American Gods — 2016. Based on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2001). No tie-in has been announced.

Philip K. Dick, The Small Screen Version

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.38.59 AM  Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.40.14 AM

Philip K. Dick is having something of a moment … yet again.

Long beloved in the SF world, his novels and short stories have also long been adapted into movies including Total Recall, The Adjustment Bureau, Minority ReportBlade Runner and A Scanner Darkly.

Now Dick is poised to make a splash on the small screen with a TV version of Minority Report (actually a sequel to the movie starring Tom Cruise, which was in turn based on the 2002 short story by Dick). airing on FOX beginning Sept. 21 and an adaption of The Man in the High Castle streaming via Amazon Prime starting Nov. 20 (poster at left, above and the cover of the most recent reissue of the book, HMH, 2012. No tie-in has been announced).

The Man in the High Castle, an alternative history in which the Axis powers won WWII and are ruling America, is getting a lot of attention. We wrote about its premier at Comic-Con, Entertainment Weekly is on board with frequent coverage, and the series is getting play in both mainstream media and specialized blogs.

Jeff Jensen writing for Entertainment Weekly reviewed the entire Amazon line up under the headline “Amazon pilot reviews: The Man in the High Castle is king” and said of the opener “this well-cast, well-acted, swell-looking pilot is by far the most polished of the group. It’s engrossing despite its stately pace, and a triumph of world building. [It] could be Amazon’s first successful attempt at big saga TV.”

Amazon says it is their most-watched pilot to date, reports Newsweek, also quoting executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) “[the story] raises all kinds of questions about reality and what it means to be human in an inhuman world … The chance to dramatize it was just irresistible.”

Den of Geek has posted an interview with several of the executive producers, including Dick’s daughter Isa Dick-Hackett, David W. Zucker (The Good Wife), and Spotnitz. When asked just what it was about Dick’s writing that makes it so perennially popular his daughter replied:

He would be astounded that we’re sitting here talking about titles of 50-60 years past. Maybe people have caught up to his work. I think with every film adaptation the following grows and hopefully it brings people back to the written work. When he talked about technology it wasn’t just about the technology itself. It was about the how it impacted human beings and what it means to be human. What is reality? Those are universal questions and I think it is part of the draw.

The first episode of The Man in the High Castle is currently available free on Amazon. Trailer, below.