Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Iggulden Novels to Big Screen Franchise

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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After The Hunger Games and Divergent where do you turn for your next franchise?

Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment will move from the dystopian future to the historical past, reports Deadline, with a potential trilogy about Julius Caesar, based on Conn Iggulden’s Emperor novels.

The first film, titled Emperorwill be based on The Gates Of Rome and The Field Of Swords (both trade pbk, RH/Delta).

The series consists of five books.

The author recently began a new series about England dynastic wars. The second in the series was published this year, Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou (Penguin/Putnam, 6/16/15).

Along with his brother Hal Iggulden, he also published the surprise best seller, The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). In the fall NBC bought the rights to a series based on the book to be produced by Bryan Cranston.

Nancy Pearl Revisits
Her Home Town

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.08.25 PM This week on the NPR affiliate KUOW show “On the Record,” librarian Nancy Pearl talks about Angela Flournoy’s debut The Turner House (HMH; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), a book set in Nancy’s hometown of Detroit.

The novel, which was a May Indie Next pick and one of our Eight Titles to Know and Recommend for the week of April 13, is set in the East Side of Detroit, from the early 1950s through the 2000s.

About a large African American family with 13 children, it focuses on the oldest son and youngest daughter, it blends history, including the Civil Rights era in Detroit and the northern migration, into the story of place and family.

Nancy suggests it for readers interested in characters and calls it “such a good reading experience.”

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.

THE SPIDER’S WEB, First Reviews

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Today is the release day in the U.K. for the English-language version of The Girl in the Spider’s WebA Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print).  We won’t see it here until Tuesday, and critics are in a competition to review it first.

Daily New York Times critic, Michiko Kakutani, has reviewed all the previous titles in the series. Her take on the new book  is summed up in these lines, “Though there are plenty of lumps in the novel along the way, Salander and Blomkvist have survived the authorship transition intact and are just as compelling as ever  … Spider’s Web is less bloody, less horror movie lurid than its predecessors. In other respects, Mr. Lagercrantz seems to have set about — quite nimbly, for the most part — channeling Larsson’s narrative style, mixing genre clichés with fresh, reportorial details, and plot twists reminiscent of sequences from Larsson’s novels with energetically researched descriptions of the wild, wild West that is the dark side of the Internet.”

USA Today chimes in, “Rest easy, Lisbeth Salander fans — our punk hacker heroine is in good hands.”

The Washington Post‘s Patrick Anderson is less enthusiastic, saying, “I recall the Larsson books unfolding gracefully. Lagercrantz’s narrative is fragmentary and confusing. It’s almost impossible to keep track of all the hackers, scientists and killers who emerge briefly, vanish, then turn up again after you’ve forgotten them,” It ends with a reference to Larsson’s long-time companion who fought against the continuation of the series, “Don’t be fooled. Gabrielsson was right; Larsson deserves better than this.”

The book is currently at #33 on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are heavy in many libraries.

Sneak Peek: Terry Pratchett’s
Final Novel

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.20.58 AMAn exclusive excerpt of Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio) is online.

Posted yesterday as part of NPR’s “First Read” series, the book jumped up the Amazon’s sales rankings as a result.

The final novel in the Discworld series, Pratchett completed it in 2014, prior to his death earlier this year. NPR describes Discworld as “a magical flat land borne through space on the backs of four elephants and a giant cosmic turtle … full of memorable characters” It will hit shelves on Tuesday.

Sneak Peek: THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 10.24.18 AMEntertainment Weekly has the “U.S. exclusive” excerpt of The Girl in the Spider’s WebA Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; RH Large Print)

The site prefaces the sneak peek with this mini review:

“[In] David Lagercrantz’s highly-anticipated (and thrillingly good) continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, … Lisbeth is taking more risks than we’ve ever seen, and Blomkvist is desperate to get a scoop for Millennium to salvage his journalistic reputation.”

The UK Daily Mail has the same excerpt for their side of the pond but has added their own illustrations.

Security has been tight about story details according to both the WSJ and the Daily Mail, but all of that ends soon. The book will be released on August 27th in the UK and on Sept. 1 in the US.

Eye On: IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.18.09 PMRuth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) has hit the NYT’s Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers list at #11.

It was our crystal ball pick last week and is gaining momentum. Some libraries are showing holds exceeding a 3:1 margin with others inching towards that threshold.

 

The Hugos: Cixin Liu Wins,
the Puppies Lose

Monday, August 24th, 2015

The 2015 Hugo Awards were presented Saturday in Spokane Washington during WorldCon, the annual World Science Fiction Convention.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.00.39 AMThe Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Macmillan/Tor Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) won for Best Novel. An alien invasion story, it is the first English language translation of one of China’s top SF authors. It was reviewed on the NPR site last fall.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.02.31 AMBest Graphic Story went to Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics; GraphicAudio). The series stars a teenage girl, Kamala Khan, the first Muslim lead character in the Marvel universe. Here is a link to the audio.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.20.32 AMGuardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form while Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer went to Wesley Chu who has also won an Alex Award for The Lives of Tao (PRH/Angry Robot, 2013).

In response to accusations of ballot stuffing the nomination process, many voting members elected to select “No Award” rather than see the Hugo go to a title supported by the conservative group known as the “puppies” (see our overview of the controversy).

This occurred in the categories of Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor, Short Form, and Best Editor, Long Form, each of which were “won” by No Award. Many of these categories were either overwhelmingly affected by the ballot stuffing or only included “puppy” nominees.

In their liveblogging of the event, io9 said: “voting ‘No Award’ is a very legitimate choice, that’s always been possible. And it’s a very legit response to a small, tiny group of people trying to exploit a loophole in the nomination process to impose their choices on the vast majority of fans. This is fandom rejecting abusive behavior, and also saying that they want science fiction to have an open mind and consider many viewpoints.”

Casting News: GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The Girl on the TrainThe setting of The Girl on the Train will be switched for the movie adaptation from the novel’s England to upstate New York, but the lead is still British.

Emily Blunt has recently completed negotiations for the starring role of Rachel. Deadline reports that Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson is currently in negotiations to play Rachel’s former husband’s wife, Anna.

Ferguson recently made her name by co-starring in an action movie with Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Blunt has had a similar experience, co-starring with Cruise in last year’s Edge of Tomorrow. Both actresses will draw on a different set of skills for this tale of psychological suspense.

There’s still several roles to be cast, including that of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom. Entertainment Weekly makes their suggestions (Tom Cruise is not one of them).

Tate Taylor (The Help) is directing the movie based on the novel by Paula Hawkins that is still at the top of best seller lists after 31 weeks.

UPDATE, 6/24/15: The third female lead has been cast. American actress Haley Bennett is set to play Megan, the woman Rachel watches from the train each morning until she suddenly disappears, drawing Rachel in to the search for her.

THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE: Anne Hathaway Set to Star

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.05.57 AMJennifer Steil’s debut novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, (RH/Doubleday; BOT; OverDrive Sample), may be heading to the small screen.

Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds) is developing the project and Anne Hathaway has agreed to both star and produce. Hathaway’s shine should help give the proposed limited series some juice but the project is not yet attached to a network.

The novel relates the story of the kidnapping of the wife of an ambassador posted in the Middle East. PW ‘s review calls it “a well-crafted, fast-paced novel, packed with ample suspense to keep the pages turning.” The Seattle Times adds it is “brilliantly drawn and deeply troubling.” Steil, a journalist, is in fact also the wife of an ambassador.

Gordon told The WrapThe Ambassador’s Wife is an incredible story that pulls you in immediately and resonates with all of us based on the images and news headlines that are pervasive in our lives today. We are so fortunate to have Anne starring in this timely, gripping, and compassionate drama. She is in a league all her own and we cannot think of anyone who can better portray Steil’s complex heroine.”

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.”

Ron Charles on PURITY

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.58.49 AMRon Charles, book critic for The Washington Post, is among the first to review Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio), which he calls a “trenchant analysis of the sins of parenting, the destruction of privacy, and the irresistible but futile pursuit of purity”.

With his trademark wit he summaries the novel over the course of the review: “[It] traces the unlikely rise of a poor, fatherless child named Pip. When we meet Pip — short for Purity — she is buried beneath $130,000 of student debt and working at a marginally fraudulent business in Oakland that sells renewable energy… For those of you sitting in the back, purity is the theme of this novel, and — spoiler alert! — it turns out that nobody is as pure as he or she claims to be: Everybody harbors secrets: shameful, disgusting, sometimes deadly secrets. If that adolescent revelation gets a bit too much emphasis in these pages, at least it’s smartly considered and reconsidered in the seven distinct but connected sections that make up the book.”

The Cliff Notes version of his long and detailed consideration is this: he thinks it is better than Freedom and not as much fun as The Corrections.

This will be, of course, one of many reviews to come. The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Telegraph, and The Independent have already weighed in. At this point, holds are in line with orders for the September 1 pub. date.

RA Alert: A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.02.03 AM2015 might be termed the year of the famous lost manuscript given that new old writings by Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and Dr. Seuss have come to light.

Now comes another twist, the reemergence of an author somewhat lost to time, Lucia Berlin.

Don’t know who she is? You are not alone. For decades only a handful of people were aware of her work, most notably championed by short story master Lydia Davis.

Berlin was born in Alaska in 1936 and lived in multiple locales, from Chile to NYC. She had a hard childhood, was an alcoholic, and lived a peripatetic, rowdy life, according to The New York Times in a Books section profile.

She wrote short stories that were thinly veiled slices of her own life. Her first was published when she was 24, in Saul Bellow’s magazine The Nobel Savage, according to the NYT. Small presses published collections of her stories at various times after that but she largely stayed below the radar, dying in 2004.

FSG is betting on her again with A Manual for Cleaning Women (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample), a collection of 43 stories that remind Elizabeth McCracken, she tells the NYT  “of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, which is the most beloved book of stories I know from the past 20 years among writers.”

The collection is getting strong and glowing attention. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A saying, that the stories are written “in sentences so bright and fierce and full of wild color that you’ll want to turn each one over just to see how she does it. And then go back and read them all again.”

O the Oprah magazine made it the top pick in their “16 Books to Curl Up With This Fall,” saying the collection “reilluminates a neglected talent.”

The New Yorker has a piece on Berlin by Davis who says that the “stories make you forget what you were doing, where you are, even who you are.”

John Williams, who wrote The New York Times profile, weighs in with “Her stories speak in a voice at once direct and off-kilter, sincere and wry. They are singular, but also immediately accessible to anyone raised on the comic searching of Lorrie Moore or the offbeat irony of George Saunders.”

Holds are strong and the collection has risen to #52 on Amazon sales rankings.

UPDATE: The daily NYT‘s critic Dwight Garner reviews it Aug 19. While  full of praise for the author (“Reading Ms. Berlin, I often found myself penciling curses of appreciation in the margins”), he thinks many of the lesser stories should have been left out.

CAROL, The Trailer

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, 1952 (available in trade paperback from Norton, 2004; movie tie-in coming in Oct.) the film Carol was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival and is considered a strong Oscar contender. Scheduled to debut Nov. 20, the trailer has just been released.

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: Shadowhunterstv.com

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.