Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

RITA Awards Announced

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The Romance Writers of America Association announced the 2015 RITA winners.

As described by the association’s website, the awards are given “to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas” and are selected by a panel of judges.

The RITAs have multiple categories, a full list is available online. Below are the big four along with the Librarian of the Year pick.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.21.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.24.31 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.25.22 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.25.59 AM

Contemporary (Long): Baby, It’s You by Jane Graves (Hachette/Forever; OverDrive Sample).

Historical (Long): Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran (S&S/Pocket; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Romantic Suspense: Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb (Penguin/ G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Paranormal: Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Hachette/Forever; OverDrive Sample).

Lisa Schimmer, a senior cataloger at NoveList, won the Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year Award.


Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.18.52 PMAuthor Chelsea Cain reviews The Hand That Feeds You in this week’s The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

The story follows a student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death by her three dogs . As she tries to piece together what happened, she discovers her fiancé was not the person he claimed to be.

As we reported, booksellers are behind it and so is Cain, who says it is “a tense, intriguing psychological mystery … [with] a clearheaded, character-driven style… [filled with] the sort of celebration of simple moments more often seen in short stories.”

As Cain points out, the creation of the novel is as interesting as its plot. A.J. Rich is the pen name for two authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, who collaborated on the project begun by their dying friend, Katherine Russell Rich.

Holds are outpacing copies across the country.


Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

What challenge will super-hacker Lisbeth Salander, the main character in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series, take on next?

The NSA, of course.

That’s one of the “key details” about the plot released today by British publisher MacLehose Press and reported in the Guardian.

Swedish writer David Lagercrantz was authorized by Larsson’s estate, managed by his father and brother, to write The Girl in the Spider’s Web as a sequel to the third title in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, (2009).

Not everyone is happy about the publication. Larsson’s long-time domestic partner, Eva Gabrielsson who lost a bitter dispute over who would manage the writer’s estate, says this book titled That Which Does Not Kill Us in Swedish, would have made Larsson “furious. Who knows, maybe he’ll send a lightning bolt at the book launch.” She claims to have 200 pages of a fourth novel by Larsson and will never allow them to be published.

The Girl in the Spider's WebThe Girl in the Spider’s WebA Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series
David Lagercrantz
RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print
September 1, 2015

E.L. Doctorow dies at 84

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.39.30 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.39.58 AME.L. Doctorow, best known for the novels Ragtime, The March, World’s Fair, and Billy Bathgate, has died at age 84 from complications of lung cancer.

In an exhaustive obituary The New York Times says, “he consistently upended expectations with a cocktail of fiction and fact, remixed in book after book; with clever and substantive manipulations of popular genres like the Western and the detective story; and with his myriad storytelling strategies… Mr. Doctorow was one of contemporary fiction’s most restless experimenters.”

The NYT also includes a link to a video of Doctorow discussing his work process.

Other notable obituaries include those by the LA Times, NPR, and New York magazine.

The LA Times reports President Obama posted his reaction on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.40.22 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.40.42 AMNPR’s obituary points out that Doctorow was once a book editor working with a diverse range of writers, including Ayn Rand, Ian Fleming, Norman Mailer, and James Baldwin. The site also includes a video of Doctorow accepting the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters given by the National Book Foundation for lifetime achievement.

New York magazine includes a charming film clip of Doctorow discussing how difficult writing can be.

Readers Advisory: for those who haven’t read Doctorow’s books, a good place to begin is Ragtime, an exploration of America at the start of the 20th century, including historical characters such as Sigmund Freud, Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, and Booker Washington.


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

A BBC TV series based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales, titled The Last Kingdom, after the first book in the series, is to premiere on BBC America on Oct. 10.

No full trailer yet, the following is just a teaser:

The Last Kingdom tie-in
Bernard Cornwell
Harper Papberbacks: September 22, 2015
9780062438621, 006243862X
Paperback; $15.99 USD

The ninth book in the series Warriors of the Storm, is coming in January (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe).

AFTERMATH Brings the Force

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 9.59.33 AMAs we previewed in March, the Star Wars books are coming, spinning off from the new movie, Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, premiering on Dec. 18th.

One of the titles we highlighted, Star Wars: Aftermath (RH/Del Rey/Lucas Books; Random House Audio, 9/15/15) by Chuck Wendig, is now excerpted on the Entertainment Weekly web site.

As Robin Nesbit, Columbus Metro Library, said when presenting the book at BEA’s Librarian 9781481456999_d3e4cShout ’n’ Share program, libraries that don’t buy the  Star Wars books are missing some powerful “silent circulators,” adding that this one is by one of the series’ best authors.

Wendig has his own fans as well. His next book Blackbirds  (S&S/Saga Press; OverDrive Sample) comes out on the heels of Aftermath. A supernatural thriller about a woman who knows how people will die the moment she touches them, it is in development as a TNT TV series, with production expected to begin in October.

Harper Lee Vindicated

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman has raised many issues, but it’s laid one controversy to rest.

There has been a persistent rumor that Lee’s longtime friend, Truman Capote actually wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

According to a new computer text analysis system created by two literature scholars, “Harper Lee is the author of both To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman.” (via the Wall Street Journal).


Monday, July 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.05.39 PMMaggie Mitchell’s Pretty Is (Macmillan/Henry Holt; OverDrive Sample; July 7) gets a strong review in The New York Times.

The debut novel, a mix of literary fiction and crime story, received somewhat grudging praise from the trade reviewers (“Despite drawbacks here, Mitchell is on her way to a place at the femmes fatales fiction dais with Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Sharon Bolton”). It comes across as much more intriguing in the hands of the NYT reviewer, Sarah Lyall who says “What a satisfying novel, with its shifting perspectives and competing stories and notion that our relationship to the truth changes with time and distance. And what a relief to read a kidnapping thriller that is not an extended piece of fetishistic torture porn, that does not end with some nice young woman lying dead and dismembered in a pit.”

The novel traces the history of two young girls who are kidnapped and held for weeks before rescue. Years later, as adults, they meet again after one of them has written a novel based on the story and the other is tapped to star in the book’s film adaptation.

Like the trade reviewers, Lyall compares  Pretty Is to books by another popular author, “Like Gillian Flynn’s spiky, damaged heroines — I’m thinking particularly of Camille in Sharp Objects and Libby in Dark Places — the girls, Lois and Chloe, have dry, self-aware senses of humor that make the book that much more fun to read.” Add this one to your RA file.

Holds are significant in some areas.

Potential FOURTH Harper Lee Book

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

This is getting confusing. Earlier this week,  Harper Lee’s lawyer Tonya Carter hinted in an article in the Wall Street Journal that there may be yet another unpublished Harper Lee manuscript in the safe deposit box where Go Set A Watchman was discovered, and that it may be “an earlier draft of Watchman, or of Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two.”

Back in March, the New Yorker ran a story about yet another unpublished book by Lee, a crime novel titled The Reverend. Based on a true story, it is about a minister who took out insurance policies on several family members, only for them to die mysteriously. Four pages of it exist, pages that Lee sent to the lawyer who worked on the case and shared his files with her.

CNN now reports that there may have been a full manuscript for the book. Harper Lee’s long-time friend, Wayne Flynt says he was told by Lee’s sister Louise Conner that she read the completed manuscript and found it “far superior to” To Kill a Mockingbird or to the true crime story Harper Lee helped Truman Capote research, In Cold Blood.

Flynt doesn’t know if it still exists, however, saying to CNN, “Could [Lee] have given a copy of the manuscript to somebody, and somebody’s been sitting on it all these years, and will the publication of Go Set a Watchman drag it out of wherever it is? I don’t know. Will it be found as Tonja Carter, the lawyer, goes through more and more of [Lee’s older sister] Alice’s papers?”

It’s becoming more and more likely that Go Set a Watchman will not be Lee’s final published book.

Jennifer Lawrence, Getting ROSIE

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Rosie ProjectWith the final Hunger Games film arriving in November, there’s strong interest in what star Jennifer Lawrence will turn to next. Announced today, she has signed to play the lead in the film adaptation of The Rosie Project (S&S), the debut novel by Australian Graeme Simsion that became a best seller here in 2013.

Don’t hold your breath. The star, who will seen this Christmas as the star of the movie Joy directed by David O. Russell (not based on a book), has a few other projects in the works. She is currently filming Marvel’s superhero movie X-Men: Apocalypse. She is also set for Passenger, a Sony sci-fi love story from an original script which also stars Chris Pratt and is listed for release in 2016. She has signed to star as war photographer Lynsey Addario in It’s What I Do, based on Addario’s memoir (Penguin Press, 2015) a Warner Bros. movie to be directed by Steven Spielberg (who also has several projects in the works, so who knows when his schedule will mesh with hers).

In May of this year, The Hollywood Reporter said she was still planning to produce two movies;

The Rules of Inheritance based on the book by Claire Bidwell Smith (Penguin Group, 2012)

The Glass Castle based on the memoir by Jeannette Walls (S&S/Scribner, 2005)

Earlier, it was announced that she would star in director Gary Ross’s new film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden for Universal.  According to IMDb, that project is still in the works.

Movie scheduling can be challenging. No wonder, as The Hollywood Reporter puts it, “The [Rosie] project is now on a fast-track search for a director,” because “Sony is clearly intent on staying in the business of Lawrence” and wants to be in front of the other studios with claims on her.


Trailer for BROOKLYN

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

9781439148952_33d23The first trailer has been released for the movie Brooklyn, based on the 2009 novel by Colm Toibin.

Considered an Oscar contender after it was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, it is set for release on Nov. 6., starring Saoirse Ronan and directed by John Crowley. The screenplay is by Nick Hornby.


Colm Toibin
S&S/Scribners; 9/1/15
9781501106477, 1501106473
Trade Paperback
$15.00 USD, $18.00 CAD

GOTT Moves to New York for Film

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

The Girl on the TrainAccording the the Sunday Times of London, the film version of The Girl on the Train will be set in upstate New York

The book, set in London, was inspired by author Paula Hawkins’ own commute. She tells the Times, “I’m not really concerned about the repositioning as I think it is the type of story that could take place in any commuter town.” She adds that she will not be work on the movie, saying, “I don’t want to be involved … let them get on with it.”

British actress Emily Blunt is in talks to star in the DreamWorks film directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. There’s no word on whether she will adopt an American accent for the role. No word yet on when it will begin filming, Blunt is currently at work on another movie, The Huntsman, scheduled for release in April, 2016.

Harper Lee May Actually
Be Pulling the Strings

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanOne of the still lingering concerns about the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is whether the aging author was manipulated into agreeing to it, particularly since the discovery of the manuscript and decision to publish it came after the death of Lee’s sister and caretaker, Alice Lee.

But there is a completely opposite theory, that Alice Lee’s death allowed her younger sister to finally do as she pleases.

Interviewing Charles Shields, author of author of the biography Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper LeeNeely Tucker of the Washington Post asks if Shields sees merits in the theory. He replies, “I agree entirely. Unfortunately, Ms. Carter [Lee’s lawyer] is becoming the fall person and I think she is taking direction from a woman who is quite up in her years and may want a little fillip in her years and have the little extra perk of being on the map again … I have to think that there’s a certain amount of joy in at last publishing the book Alice would never let her publish.”

The interview, which was shown on on C-Span2″s BookTV over the weekend is available online (the section referred to above begins at time stamp 42:00).

Interviewer Tucker has had his own experience trying to learn more about the Lee sisters. He wrote  “To shill a mockingbird: How a manuscript’s discovery became Harper Lee’s ‘new’ novel.”

Hints of a Third Harper Lee Manuscript

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The woman who discovered the manuscript of Go Set a Watchmn, Tonia B. Carter, Harper Lee’s lawyer, has published a story in the Wall Street Journal, “How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript,” to she says, “tell the full story, fill in any blanks that may be in people’s minds, and provide a historical context for those interested in how this book went from lost to being found.”

The story refutes the July 2 report by the New York Times that she may have seen the  manuscript earlier than claimed, but the real surprise comes at the end when she hints that there may be a third book. Returning to the safe deposit box where Go Set A Watchman was discovered, she says she has found pages that may be “an earlier draft of Watchman, or of  Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two.”

She adds that she doesn’t know, but “In the coming months, experts, at Nelle’s [Lee’s first name, used by family and friends] direction, will be invited to examine and authenticate all the documents in the safe-deposit box.”

More Reviews and Debate: WATCHMAN

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Supposedly under tight security unitl its release on Tuesday, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman has found its way into a remarkable number of reviewers’ hands. The tide now seems to be turning from the initial “Say its isn’t so” at the discovery of a racist Atticus Finch to, as Time magazine’s headline declares, “Atticus Finch’s Racism Makes Scout, and Us, Grow Up.”

In the New York Times review on Friday, Michiko Kakutani asked, “How could the saintly Atticus  … suddenly emerge as a bigot?”

The Wall Street Journal offers an explanation by examining the model for Atticus Finch, Harper Lee’s father:

Ms. Lee’s father was indeed a segregationist, according to people who knew him and according to Charles J. Shields, author of the biography Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. But while his daughter was at work on Mockingbird, Mr. Lee had a change of heart that moved him to advocate for integration. Mr. Shields said Mr. Lee’s late-in-life shift could explain the transformation of Atticus through the author’s drafts from a bigot in Watchman to a civil-rights hero in Mockingbird and why in interviews after Mockingbird she spoke glowingly of her father. “She may have been very proud of him,” Mr. Shields said.

Poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, the only African American to review the book so far, says in the Washington Post that Watchman reveals uncomfortable truths:

…the paradox at the heart of Watchman that many white Americans still cannot or will not comprehend: that one can at once believe in the ideal of “justice for all” — as Atticus once purported to — and yet maintain a deeply ingrained and unexamined notion of racial difference now based in culture as opposed to biology, a milder yet novel version of white supremacy manifest in, for example, racial profiling, unfair and predatory lending practices, disparate incarceration rates, residential and school segregation, discriminatory employment practices and medical racism.