Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Hitting Screens, Week of May 9

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Captain America: Civil War dominated global box office sales in advance of its opening in the U.S. this weekend, with The Wrap offering a list of why critics love it so. Meanwhile The Jungle Book continues to reign over all comers stateside. We’ll soon know if the superhero squad is a match for team Mowgli, but either way, Disney (which has a hand in both films) is set for a very good year.

MV5BMTQ3NTQ2NjMwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk3Njk0ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Only one film adaptation comes out next week, Love & Friendship.

It is an adaptation of an unfinished Jane Austen novella, Lady Susan, an early effort by Austen published posthumously. Writer/director Whit Stillman finished the story to his own design and adapted it very freely. Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry star.

Variety calls it “a supremely elegant and delicately filigreed adaptation” and says Stillman “knows just how to give [Austen’s] pointed social satire an extra stab of wink-wink postmodern drollery without breaking the spell.”

Critic David Edelstein, writing in New York magazine, says it is “a treat” and that “heretical as it sounds, Stillman has improved on his source.”

9780316294126_7748cA tie-in came out last week, Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, Whit Stillman (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample). It is a mix of mash-up, send-up, and spoof, using Austen’s text as well as Stillman’s additions.

The film will debut in theaters on May 13 before streaming on Amazon Prime the following month.

Holds Alert: EVERYBODY’S FOOL

Friday, May 6th, 2016

9780307270641_99ef4Receiving wide attention, most significantly in  an NPR interview, Richard Russo’s Everybody’s Fool (PRH/Knopf; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon and holds are well past a 3:1 ratio at libraries we checked.

The Pulitzer Prizewinner (for Empire Falls, 2001) speaks to NPR’s Morning Edition Steve Inskeep about  “blue-collar guys in a blue-collar town … [at] a point in life where they are looking ahead at an uncertain future, but more importantly looking backwards and trying to, I don’t know, figure out … what has all of this added up to?”

They also discuss how Russo’s parents and grandparents, “who didn’t think of themselves as poor, but didn’t have any money,” would be mystified at the life he has created. Russo also weighs in on this year’s political season.

Not unexpectedly, the Indie Next pick is getting attention elsewhere as well.

NYT‘s reviewer Janet Maslin features it and T.C. Boyle reviews it in this coming Sunday’s NYT’s Book Review. Ron Charles adds his take in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal welcomes readers in by saying “it’s a madcap romp, weaving mystery, suspense and comedy in a race to the final pages.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it a strong B+, saying “Everybody’s Fool is like hopping on the last empty 9780679753339_c105dbarstool surrounded by old friends.”

It is a sequel to Nobody’s Fool (RH, 1993) which is also rising on Amazon and is seeing strong circ. with growing holds lists.

It was made into a movie in 1994 starring Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Jessica Tandy, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Walter Mosley Makes Edgar History

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780393028546_300Walter Mosley became the first African-American Grand Master in history during last week’s Edgar Awards ceremony.

The Grand Master is the highest honor the Mystery Writers of America bestows, one that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and an impressive quality of work. Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and Stephen King have won in past years but never an African-American author.

On learning the news Mosley said in a statement, “Receiving the Grand Master Award is the apex of my career as a crime writer; as a writer. It is, joyfully, one of the seminal events of my life.”

Literary Hub has posted his acceptance speech as well as a rundown of the award’s night.

9780385539203_55590Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins series, beginning with Devil in a Blue Dress (Norton, 1990).

His newest book, coming this June, is part of that series, Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (PRH/Doubleday, Random House Audio; BOT).

An Edgar for THE SYMPATHIZER

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780802123459_c9befIt was a banner week for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (Grove Press, April 2015).

On Thursday night, it took home the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and shortly after, debuted on the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Seller list, landing in the #9 spot, the first time it’s appeared on a NYT list (in hardcover, it was on the ABA IndieBound best seller list for six weeks, hitting a high of #24, and the L.A. Times best seller list for 2 weeks, but did not crack any other list).

Both of these events come just weeks after it won the Pulitzer in Fiction.. At that time the Guardian‘s headline described it as having done “from overlooked to Pulitzer winner,“ a bit of an overstatement. Although it had not won many prizes until the Pulitzer, it was a critical success (see Ron Charles’s review from the Washington Post), appeared on many end-of-the year best books lists and won ALA’s 2016 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

What makes this Pulitzer Prize winner, described by Library Journal as “a meditation on war, political movements, America’s imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one’s personal identity,” an Edgar contender? The main character is a double agent, a communist sympathizer who is an aide to a South Vietnamese general, so, while it is literary, it counts as a literary thriller. As Kirkus commented, “Think Alan Furst meets Elmore Leonard, and you’ll capture Nguyen at his most surreal,” further saying that the result is “Both chilling and funny.”

UPDATE: New York magazine declares something librarians have observed for some times, that genres are converging, under the headline, “The Sympathizer Won a Pulitzer and an Edgar, and May Herald the Great Literary Convergence.” The article verifies that this is the first time a book has won both a major literary prize and a genre prize.

9780525955078_9a434In other Edgar news, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Lori Roy (PRH/Dutton, June 2015) took home the honors for Best Novel while The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney (HC/William Morrow, Feb. 2015) won for Best Paperback Original.

9781481422765_d3246Footer Davis Probably is Crazy, Susan Vaught (S&S/Paula Wiseman, March 2015) won for Best Juvenile and A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HC/Katherine Tegan, Oct. 2015) took the Young Adult prize.

A full listing of all winners and nominees is online, a great resource for both RA and creating displays.

Jack Ryan Wins The Name Game

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

9780425269367Speculation is swirling over who will be the next 007, but we now know who will run the spy game on this side of the Atlantic.

John Krasinski is the next Jack Ryan.

The Office favorite will star as the famous fictional CIA agent, following in the footsteps of the film stars Chris Pine, Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford, and Alec Baldwin.

This time, however, Ryan is not headed to the big screen, but to an Amazon TV series.

While details are sketchy and no air date is known, Deadline Hollywood is reporting that “expectations are for the show to go straight-to-series” (translated: bypassing Amazon’s “try it out” pilot stage). It will not be a direct adaptation but “a new contemporary take on the character in his prime as a CIA analyst/operative using the novels as source material.”

9780425197400Jack Ryan first appeared in 1984 in The Hunt for Red October (PRH/Berkley, 2013 is the most recent edition), which was also the first film adaptation (starring Baldwin).

Clancy went on to write a series of novels focused on Ryan’s rise from agent to the President of the United States before beginning a new series featuring his son, starting with The Teeth of the Tiger (PRH/Berkley, 2004).

NPR Features THE ASSISTANTS

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

9780399172540_00382Debut author, Cosmpolitan’s at-large books editor, and former librarian, Camille Perri appears on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday today to discuss her book The Assistants (PRH/GP Putnam’s; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The story, a timely tale about resentment, student debt, the 1%, and a plot to get even, has a great pitch, says The Hollywood Reporter: “The Devil Wears Prada meets Office Space.”

Perri, a former assistant herself, says that being an assistant is very odd: “you are intimately close to power but you don’t have any; you see so much money, you’re just not making any.” She wrote the book as a treat for women in the same situation, she says, and hopes they get a kick out of it.

It is a favorite among GalleyChatters and is part of the Penguin First Flights program. Our LiveChat with Perri took place on Jan. 27, 2016. She recorded the following video for program.

Holds are strong on light ordering.

From MAD MEN to HANDMAID

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

9780385490818The streaming service Hulu has announced it is adapting Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) into a 10-episiode drama. The news sent the novel rising on Amazon’s sales charts.

Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, will star. Atwood will serve as a consulting producer.

In a hulu press release Atwood says:

The Handmaid’s Tale is more relevant now than when it was written, and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest. I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.”

The series is set to debut in 2017 and will be the second screen adaptation of Atwood’s dystopian novel. A 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall told the story of a religious totalitarian state that controls women and their fertility. The scathing and grim novel has also been adapted into a graphic novel, an opera, and a ballet.

The novel won the inaugural Arthur C. Clarke award and was nominated for the Booker Prize and Nebula Award. In 2012, Atwood wrote an essay for The Guardian on the novel’s genesis and legacy.

ELIGIBLE A Bestseller

Friday, April 29th, 2016

9781400068326_8f573As we predicted on Wednesday, Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample) is a bestseller, taking the #8 spot on the USA Today list.

In a spotlight story, the paper charts the novel’s rise, pointing out this is the highest ranking Sittenfeld has reached on the list, her debut Prep peaked at #34 and American Wife topped off at #35.

The novel makes the list in the face of very mixed reviews. While it is a LibraryReads selection, an Indie Next pick, and a People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” it was excoriated by Michiko Kakutani in the daily NYT. Even in strong reviews such as the 3 out of 4-star review in USA Today, book editor Jocelyn McClurg said it was “amusing if crass.”

Then came the early posting of the NYT Book Review‘s rave review declaring, “not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted.”

That is clearly a sentiment that readers have endorsed. Holds are skyrocketing, reaching double-digit ratios at some libraries and amassing long queues at others.

We’ll learn later today where it lands on the NYT list. We expect to see it in the top five. [UPDATE: It debuted #5 on the NYT 5/8 Hardcover Fiction list]

THE GIRLS Tops June
Indie Next List

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

9780812998603_dba8fEmma Cline’s The Girls (Random House; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample) is the #1 Indie Next pick for June.

“Evie Boyd is a lonely 14-year-old adjusting to her parents’ recent divorce and an emotional break with her childhood best friend. She encounters a wild and enchanting group of girls and is immediately drawn into their world of reckless abandon. Seduced by their thrilling, cult-like family hidden in the California hills, Evie finds herself pulled into events that will lead to unspeakable violence. Cline’s captivating prose strips bare the deep desires and vulnerability of teenage Evie as she struggles for acceptance. The Girls is an enthralling and haunting novel that will linger with readers long after the last page.” —Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

The was also a favorite during February’s GalleyChat and was an early pick as a 2016 hot title (see our roundup of titles On Most of 2016’s Most Anticipated Lists).

The book is so buzzy that Entertainment Weekly did one of their  “exclusive” cover reveals for it, the NYT reported on the seven figure bidding war as well and the news that the film rights sold before the book even went to auction. The Indie Next nod is a reminder, that if you haven’t already, you can be one step ahead of your customers by downloading and reading it now.

The complete list of picks highlights new books by Anton DiSclafani, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Emma Straub, and Terry Tempest Williams among others.

TULIP FEVER Arrives in July

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Tulip FeverThe adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever (PRH/Delacorte, 2000) was filmed back in 2014, so yesterday’s announcement of a July 15 release date seems sudden.

The industry news site IndieWire suggests that the Weinstein Company has held back the release for a reason, as they are known for “sitting on movies when they don’t make the grade” also citing that “American audiences are still waiting to see the WWII tale Suite Francaise starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts”

Neo trailer has been released yfor Tulip Fever, starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, along with Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench and, Zach Galafianakis and no tie-in has been announced.

UPDATE: Trailer, below:

Vikander also stars in the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, set to open on Labor Day.

CELL, the Trailer

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Two long-awaited Stephen King adaptations are scheduled for release next year. Yet another has just been announced for this year.

As the fan site Slash Film says, “Everyone has been so focused on the currently filming adaptation of The Dark Tower, the upcoming adaptation of It, and the ever-in-development big screen version of The Stand that we completely forgot that another Stephen King adaptation was on the way.”

Published in 2006, movie rights to Cell sold quickly but then the project bounced around to various studios and director.

There may be a reason this adaptation has been overlooked. Slashfilm describes the plot as “built around a ridiculous premise that feels like a parody of a Stephen King book … One day, everyone using a cell phone is driven insane and begins to viciously attack anyone near them … Cell is lesser King, but it’s gnarly and weird and a brisk read.”

It is set for release on Ultra VOD on June 10th before simultaneous theatrical and regular VOD release on July 8.

The trailer, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson has just been released. No tie-ins have been announced.

[UPDATE: Eerily, the Cell trailer seems to no longer be available. The YouTube link is here, but at the time of this posting, it didn’t work]

Hugo Awards Under Attack

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The finalists for the Hugo Awards, which along with the Nebula Awards are the Oscars of Science Fiction and Fantasy, have been announced. Among picks, controversy continues as the Rabid Puppies group seeks to stuff the ballot box once again. The result, claims George R.R. Martin on his blog is, “to say the least, a mixed bag. A lot of good books and stories, writers and artists… cheek by jowl with some stuff that is considerably less worthy.”

9780316246682_2dffb9780316229296_62f5a The Best Novel category seems to have escaped the takeover. The finalists are: Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit), The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Penguin/Roc), The Fifth Season, N. K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit), the number one LibraryReads pick for May last year, Uprooted, Naomi Novik (PRH/RH/Del Rey), and  Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/William Morrow), also a May 2015 LibraryReads pick.

9781401248963_423a7Other well-known and highly regarded names receiving nods include Lois McMaster Bujold (for Best Novella), Neil Gaiman (for Best Graphic Story), Stephen King (for Best Novelette), and Brandon Sanderson (for Best Novella). Star Wars and The Martian both got nods for for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).

However, he full list of nominees reveals that the divisive gamesmanship continues. New Republic writes “The Hugo Awards are still a mess” and The Guardian reports, “the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to ‘game”’the awards … out of 80 recommendations posted by [Rabid Puppies] 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot.”

Author John Scalzi, one of the newly announced Los Angeles Times Critics at Large and three-time Hugo winner is less concerned, writing for the paper he says that this year’s ballot stuffing was largely blunted in the big categories by more votes from the anti-Puppies side and that the Puppies can take little credit for successfully lobbying for titles already widely considered shoo-ins. The Puppies he says, are “running in front of an existing parade and claiming to lead it.”

The NYT’s Other Take On ELIGIBLE

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

9781400068326_8f573If someone mentions the NYT review of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample), be sure to ask them which one.

After daily NYT reviewer Michiko Kakutani rained all over the Austen homage, the NYT Book Review just released their take, days ahead of the issue coming out this Sunday. Not only is it  far more positive, it’s a rave.

NYT contributor Sarah Lyall sums up her review with “Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition” and writes that the novel is “very much the best” of the titles in the Austen Project and “not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted.”

Firmly planting herself in the “read this” camp, Lyall says:

“Sittenfeld, whose four previous novels include the extraordinary American Wife, a devastating portrait of a Laura Bush-like first lady, is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity 10 miles away. She’s the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened.”

Based on growing holds in libraries and Amazon sales rankings, the book is headed for best seller lists, which may be the reason the NYT released this review early.

Crime On The Moon: Andy Weir’s Next Book

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

9781101903582_d0232In a science-focused interview with Smithsonian, Andy Weir, the author of the The Martian, offers fans a summary of his next book:

“The main character is a low-level criminal in a city on the moon. Her challenges are a mix of technical/scientific problems, as well as juggling personal interactions—staying a step ahead of the local police, working with shady and dangerous people to do illegal things … the story takes place in a future society where there is practically no sexism … [it is] another scientifically accurate story.”

In an earlier interview with HuffPost, Weir said to expect the novel in late 2016 or early 2017. He also revealed that he has pushed what was reportedly his next book, an epic entitled Zhek, to the back burner.

Stephen King’s IT To Begin Filming (Again)

Monday, April 25th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849Fans may take with a grain of salt the newly announced release date of Sept 8, 2017 for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It (cover, at left, from the S&S/Scribner trade paperback, released in January). The project has been on the burner since 2012. Back in December of 2014, it was confidently announced that it was set to begin filming the following summer, with True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga directing.

Fukunaga left the project last May and has since been replaced by Andy Muschietti. Entertainment Weekly reports that “Fans of King’s novel should be pleased with the current take on the script” quoting the producer saying it will be in two parts, one “from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”

Currently filming, also after many delays, is the movie adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is set for release Feb. 17, 2017, so two long-awaited King adaptations may arrive next year.