Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

The Slow March Of A Very
Dark WINTER

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
IMDb image for GOT Ep. #7.1

IMDb image for GOT Ep. #7.1

George R.R. Martin is not happy, and he won’t be making his readers happy either. Expect more delays for Winds of Winter says The Telegraph, reporting on Martin’s appearance at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico.

Writing that he has “missed several deadlines” for the next in the series and saying he still does not know when it will be completed or published, the paper reports Martin’s grim assessment of the story so far,

“There are a lot of dark chapters right now … Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world … Some of the characters [are] in very dark places … In any story, the classic structure is, ‘Things get worse before they get better,’ so things are getting worse for a lot of people.”

As for the next, next book (Dreams of Spring) and the ending of the series, Martin says, “I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to end my book, but I suspect the overall flavor is going to be as much bittersweet as it is happy.”

It seems darkness is Martin’s current mood. On his blog this week, he posted, “December has come, and the end of 2016 (thank god, what a bloody awful year).” While he does not list all the reasons 2016 was horrible, it did mark yet another year in which his book was not finished.

Reflecting his dour mood from 2015 on not completing the saga, Martin told the audience in Mexico, “Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms?’ The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?’”

On the HBO series front, IMDB has posted an air date of June 25, 2017, although few other sites offer confirmation. HBO aired a tiny teaser in its video of upcoming shows for 2017.

BIG LITTLE LIES, First Full Trailer

Monday, December 5th, 2016

1410472035_08b27HBO’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, begins airing on February 19, 2017.

The just-released first full-length trailer is making headlines. Glamour calls it “The Mom Version of Pretty Little Liars You’ve Been Waiting For” and Entertainment Weekly says that the “Trailer Hints At Dark Underbelly Of Parenting.”

The cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley, causing the  A.V. Club to note, “this one seems to star every famous white woman under the sun (plus Adam Scott).”

Tie-ins hit shelves in February:

Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In), Liane Moriarty (PRH/Berkley trade pbk; February 7, 2017; Mass Market).

Chabon’s Glowing Reception

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

9780062225559_e399cMoon glow byMichael Chabon (HC/Harper; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a critical and library darling and has the holds figures to prove it. In the majority of library systems we checked hold ratios are well over 3:1, with some reaching 5:1. Even where holds are within acceptable ratios, all copies are in circulation and have active hold lists. It is a LibraryReads November selection with the following annotation:

“A grandson sits by his dying grandfather’s bedside as his grandfather slowly reveals the light and shadows of a marriage and of a family that kept secrets as a way of life. He learns of his grandmother’s life growing up during World War II; her coming to America and living with a man who kept to himself, even lying to her about his short time in prison. Chabon’s signature style includes carefully observed characters that are both new and familiar and shimmering prose that reflects and refracts light much as moonlight does.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

The critical community is just as impressed. The Washington Post says “Chabon aims for the moon and successfully touches down on the lunar surface [offering] an emotional tale of love and loss; fabulous, at times magical, writing; and a story rooted in real-world events told from a unique perspective.” Michiko Kakutani reviews it for the NYT, saying Chabon “writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervor.” BuzzFeed offers an in-depth profile complete with photos and “day in the life of” coverage. Entertainment Weekly features the title, and the photos that inspired it.

It is on the Carnegie Medal shortlist (winners to be announced at MidWinter) as well as multiple end of the year best lists. It is also the #1 Indie Next pick for December.

The Shack Gets A Trailer

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

9781455567607_01cb2William P. Young’s 2007 self-published inspirational blockbuster, The Shack, (later picked up by Hachette/Grand Central; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) has had a long road to the silver screen. We first wrote about the movie deal in 2013 when Summit Entertainment acquired the film rights.

The first trailer is sending the book zooming once again on Amazon, rising to #59 from #997. Entertainment Weekly reports it has sold 20 million copies since its release date.

The film stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), as a father who has lost is faith in the face of unspeakable tragedy. Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays God. Grammy winner Tim McGraw stars as well, alongside Radha Mitchell.

The film will debut on March 3, 2017.

Tie-ins have already been released. The Shack, Wm. Paul Young (Hachette/Windblown Media; also in mass market).

LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites 2016

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

9781501132933_b8c2bscreen-shot-2014-09-12-at-8-52-19-pmThe votes are in for the books library staff most enjoyed sharing with readers in 2016 and for the second year in a row, the LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites top vote earner is a psychological suspense novel, Ruth Ware’s sophomore hit, The Woman in Cabin 10 (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“An intruder in the middle of the night leaves Lo Blacklock feeling vulnerable. Trying to shake off her fears, she hopes her big break of covering the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship, the Aurora, will help. The first night of the voyage changes everything. What did she really see in the water and who was the woman in the cabin next door? The claustrophobic feeling of being on a ship and the twists and turns of who, and what, to believe keep you on the edge of your seat. Count on this being one of the hot reads this summer!” — Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH

In 2015 the winner was Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train. Ware is often compared to Hawkins, as did Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA in her annotation of Ware’s debut novel, In A Dark, Dark Wood when it was included as a LibraryReads pick in 2015.

Librarians were early advocates of Ware, who is becoming a marquee author. Not only have both her novels been LibraryReads picks, both were Galleychat favorites (here too).

Look for more from Ware on the horizon. She signed a deal with her British publisher for two more books, to be released in the summers of 2017 and 2018 and Reese Witherspoon acquired the film rights to her debut.

The second top vote earner is 9780062491794_da1a1Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (HC/Harper; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“The Cousins and the Keatings are two California families forever intertwined and permanently shattered by infidelity. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly Keating, leaving her to raise four children on her own. Beverly, with two children of her own, leaves her husband for Bert. The six children involved are forced to forge a childhood bond based on the combined disappointment in their parents. As adults, they find their families’ stories revealed in a way they couldn’t possibly expect. Patchett has written a family drama that perfectly captures both the absurdity and the heartbreak of domestic life.” — Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

As we noted, the novel marks a high point in Patchett’s selling history, with Commonwealth debuting at #4 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list, her highest ever opening number. According to the paper, Bel Canto reached #8 in 2003 but debuted at #70 and State of Wonder hit, and peaked, at #12. The novel also debuted at #1 on the NYT list, another first for the author who has had bestsellers in the past, “most notably,” according to the NYT  “Bel Canto (16 weeks on the paperback fiction list in 2002-3) and State of Wonder (35 weeks on the hardcover and paperback fiction lists in 2011-12).”

A darling of critics. it is on many of the year-end best books lists (downloadable spreadsheet here) and earned glowing reviews. The daily NYT called it “exquisite.” Patchett is also a Hollywood draw, Bel Canto is in development as a movie starring Julianne Moore (announced in 2012, there has been no news since, but it is still listed as in development on IMDb).

Rounding out the top vote-getters is 9781400067695_38ba8My Name Is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout (PRH/Viking; OverDrive Sample).

“Set in the mid-1980s, Lucy Barton, hospitalized for nine weeks, is surprised when her estranged mother shows up at her bedside. Her mother talks of local gossip, but underneath the banalities, Lucy senses the love that cannot be expressed. This is the story that Lucy must write about, the one story that has shaped her entire life. A beautiful lyrical story of a mother and daughter and the love they share.” — Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

A critical favorite too, it made the National Book Award, the Man Booker Prize, and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlists. For more from Strout see this recent Book Lust interview with Nancy Pearl.

The full list of the ten favorite picks is now available online.

The New Grand Masters

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

9781783298143_ff7679781250088635_4325fThe Mystery Writers of America have announced Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart as the 2017 Grand Masters, an award that recognizes “the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.” It is the highest honor the association bestows.

In the press release, Collins said, “To be in the company of Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Mickey Spillane is both thrilling and humbling. This is an honor second to none in the art of mystery and suspense fiction.”

Hart said. “A writer’s stock-in-trade is imagination. I’ve always felt mine was pretty good, but never in a million years did I ever think winning the MWA Grand Master award was a possibility. I’m stunned, grateful, and profoundly honored.”

Collins has written over 100 novels. Some of the best known are his award-winning Nathan Heller historical series which begins with True Detective (Macmillan/St. Martins, 1983, reprinted 2011, Amazon/Thomas & Mercer), the graphic novel Road to Perdition (DC/Vertigo, 1998, reprinted 2011), and the Quarry books (now a Cinemax series). His newest novel is Quarry in the Black (Hard Case Crime, 2016).

Hart writes the Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenway series. There are 23 Lawless novels, many of them either Lambda Literary Award winners or finalists. Hallowed Murder (Seal Press, 1989) is the first and Fever in the Dark (Macmillan/Minotaur, forthcoming Jan 2017) is the newest. There are 8 Greenway novels. The first came out in 1994, This Little Piggy Went to Murder (PRH/Fawcett), and the last hit shelves in 2005, No Reservations Required (PRH/Fawcett).

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s
Next Book Adaptation

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

9780756404079_40938The creator of Hamilton and the musical mastermind behind Disney’s hit Moana is teaming up with a fan-favorite Fantasy author. Variety reports that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Patrick Rothfuss will collaborate on a TV adaptation and feature film of Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle series, the first of which is The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007).

Miranda will serve as creative producer of both projects and “has an option to be involved in future stage productions as well.”

Sharing his views of the novels Miranda said:

“Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller books are among the most read and re-read in our home. It’s a world you want to spend lifetimes in, as his many fans will attest. Pat also writes about the act of making music more beautifully than any novelist I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to play a part in bringing this world to life onscreen.”

Lionsgate first announced a partnership with Rothfuss to develop a film, TV series, and a video game in 2015. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of “the complex deal [to] see the epic fantasy book series developed simultaneously” into all three formats. Interest was high and multiple studios were in contention for the series which is reportedly “only behind Game of Thrones in terms of best-sellers in modern epic fantasy.”

The first book in the series, The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007), was the inaugural Fantasy winner of The Reading List and won the Alex Award. The Reading List committee provided the following annotation:

This engrossing debut fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy, introduces readers to Kvothe –
a hero in his own time. Living incognito as an inn keeper, he is tracked down by a chronicler who convinces him to narrate his own story – and what a story it is. Magic, music, revenge, and a drug-addled dragon fuel this saga for the ages.

The second in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear, (PRH/DAW, 2011) was a #1 New York Times best seller. A companion novella. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, was published in 2014. The release date for the third in the trilogy, The Doors of Stone, has not yet been announced.

For more on Miranda, Deadline Hollywood offers an interview about his work on Moana, the sequel to Mary Poppins, and the possibility he might be the youngest person ever to win an EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).

BIG LITTLE LIES Gets Air Date

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

1410472035_08b27Grab the popcorn. 9 p.m. Sunday, February 19, 2017 is set as the premiere date for the HBO adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, reports Deadline Hollywood.

As we have previously written, the show features an all-star cast. Shailene Woodley plays Jane, a young single mother who moves to a coastal community so her son can attend a better school. There she becomes entangled in the messy lives of the seemingly perfect mothers of her son’s classmates, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). Laura Dern plays Renata Klein, another of the mothers at the center of the story.

Kidman and Witherspoon are producing. They originally acquired the rights to the book, planning to adapt it as a feature film but finally decided on a seven episode limited series. It became a hot property which HBO won away from Netflix. Following the same model as True Detective, the format, says Variety, allows major film stars “a chance to work in the TV arena without making an open-ended commitment to an ongoing series.”

Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) is directing. He also worked with Witherspoon on the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. David E. Kelley, known for shows such as Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and Goliath is also on board.

A teaser trailer came out in October. UPDATE: First full trailer released 12/1/16:

Tie-ins, which as of yet do not have final cover art, will hit shelves in February:
Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In), Liane Moriarty (PRH/Berkley trade pbk; February 7, 2017; Mass Market).

Up Next from Paula Hawkins

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

ibg-common-titledetail-imageloaderThe author of the best-selling phenomenon The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, is set to publish a new suspense novel, titled Into the Water, to be released on May 2 (PRH/Riverhead, 978-0735211209; NOTE: Cover at left is not final!).

The plot, as described in a press release quoted by the AP and Entertainment Weekly, concerns “a single mother and a teenage girl [who] each turn up dead at the bottom of the river, just weeks apart … the ensuing investigation dredges up a complicated history” that delves into ” “the slipperiness of truth.”

Underlining the similarities to her pervious novel, Hawkins’ U.S. editor Sarah McGrath states, “Just as The Girl on the Train explored voyeurism and self-perception, so does Into the Water interrogate the deceitfulness of memory and all the dangerous ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present and future.”

STORIES OF YOUR LIFE Taking Off

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9781101972120_4afa1One surprising winner of the political season has been the under-the-radar Science Fiction writer, Ted Chiang. Well known to the SF fan-base but not a household name, Chiang has won an impressive number of major science fiction awards even though he has written just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines.

By far his most famous, “Story of Your Life,” is the basis for the film Arrival, a movie that got a huge boost as viewers sought escape after the election.

Now the collection that includes that story, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon, just outside the top 100 bestsellers. It is also racking up large hold ratios. Counting both the original publication and the tie-in edition, some libraries are showing holds as high as 7:1.

Some press coverage has featured the author, such as Wired‘s take on the film, headlined “With Arrival, Ted Chiang Becomes Hollywood’s New Philip K. Dick.”

io9 says “Story Of Your Life Could Be One of the Year’s Most Magical Films” and GQ writes about “How an Unfilmable Story Turned Into the Year’s Best Sci-Fi Movie.”

Writing for The Guardian in 2004, China Miéville offers an explanation of Chiang’s appeal:

“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional ‘sense of wonder’  is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the ‘wonder; of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive 50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”

NPR featured Chiang on All Things Considered, reporting that three more of his stories have been optioned for adaptations. The show also quotes Chiang as saying, “Fiction writing is very hard for me and I’m a very slow writer … I don’t get that many ideas for stories … And I like to take my time when I do get an idea for a story.” “Which means,” says NPR, “that readers get to take their time, too — to chew on Chiang’s craft and carefulness.”

Anne Rice Plans a GOT-Style Vampire Series

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780345409645_9031fOver twenty years after Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt stared in the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (PRH/Ballantine Books; BOT; OverDrive Sample) the author has regained the rights and is planning a TV show.

Rice took to Facebook to announce “television is where the vampires belong.”

Apparently impressed with the opportunities HBO’s Game of Thrones has demonstrated, she continues, “A television series of the highest quality is now my dream for Lestat, Louis, Armand, Marius and the entire tribe. In this the new Golden Age of television, such a series is THE way to let the entire story of the vampires unfold … Over the years you all have told me how much you want to see a Game of Thrones style faithful rendering of this material … What you want is what I want.”

Vanity Fair reports that Rice and her son Christopher “are working together on a pilot script and an outline for an ‘open-ended series’ beginning with the events of The Vampire Lestat, the second book in the series that’s actually a prequel to the first.”

The magazine points out that there is “plenty of room for vampires on TV now that True Blood has ended and the zenith of the vampire fiction heyday has come and gone. The Vampire Diaries and FX’s The Strain will air their final seasons in 2017, so now is just the right time for a new vampire show to come pick up the slack.”

No word yet on air dates or actors.

Slate Book Club Reads UNDERGROUND

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780385542364_9d8d89780316261241_e6d12

Slate critics Jamelle Bouie, Laura Miller, and Katy Waldman return with the newest Audio Book Club. They “discuss two novels that reimagine our racist past and present,” The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOTOverDrive Sample) and Underground Airlines by Ben Winters (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The panel discuses each book on its own and then compares them in a wide ranging conversation that dips into the roots of hard-boiled genre fiction, the history of slavery, and segments of the history of the abolitionist movement.

Whitehead recently won the National Book Award for his novel, which is also on most of the year-end best of books of the year lists. PW picked Underground Airlines as one of the best Mystery/Thriller books of 2016.

The next discussion will be about the winner of the Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan, focusing on The Lyrics: 1961-2012 (S&S).

SILENCE Gets A Trailer

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Director Martin Scorsese has adapted a book he has “reread countless times,” one that has given him “a kind of sustenance” that he has “found in only a very few works of art.”

The novel is Shusaku Endo’s Silence: With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese (Peter Owen Publishers, Dec. 1; trade paperback, Macmillan/Picador Modern Classics), first published in 1966 and winner of the Tanizaki Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary honors.

Entertainment Weekly writes that the film is about “a Portuguese Jesuit priest who is persecuted along with other Christians in 17th-century Japan … the hardship inflicted upon them [the priest and two others], and especially on their fellow Christians, puts their faith to the test.” It stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver.

9780720614480_052afIn  addition to the quotes above, Scorsese also writes in his introduction to the tie-in, that the priest in the novel, played by Neeson, “begins on the path of Christ and … ends replaying the role of Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas.” Endo “looks at the problem of Judas more directly than any other artist I know. He understood that, in order for Christianity to live, to adapt itself to other cultures and historical moments, it needs not just the figure of Christ but the figure of Judas as well.”

This is not Scorsese’s first film about religious subjects. He directed The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988 and Kundun in 1997 (about the Dalai Lama).

At a press conference in May, held to promote the first look at the film, Scorsese told reporters that he’d been trying to adapt the book for over 25 years and that “The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very, very young … I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family. … Further reflection is how [we] want to lead our life in the Christian faith … so ultimately this book drew my attention when it was given to me in 1988.”

Silence will open Dec. 23 in a limited Oscar-qualifying run before opening in wide release in January.

Crystal Ball: THE CHEMIST

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

9780316387835_21b34Stephenie Meyer’s first thriller for adults, The Chemist (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on USA Today‘s Best-Selling Books list at #13.

With only six hardcover fiction titles ahead of it, the high placement suggests it will be within the top ten on the upcoming NYT‘s Fiction list (UPDATE: It hit that list at #5).

It is getting media attention that is helping fuel sales.

The NYT‘s offers a profile, while USA Today gives it 3.5 stars out of 4, saying the novel is “engrossing” and while “it’s full of the same daffy blitheness toward blood and pain that always made the Twilight books unsettling … Meyer is also just a really good storyteller. The Chemist is consistently fast-paced fun.”

The Guardian writes “Meyer, clearly a major fan of the genre, has dreamed up a fast-paced thriller, and a tough, mysterious heroine with a penchant for decking herself out in dangerous jewellery, concealing syringes of poison in her belt and switchblades in her shoes.”

The LA Times says, “Spy fans can be assured that in most respects, The Chemist functions in much the same way as a Bourne or Bond story, complete with mounting body count, cool explosions, stakeouts and betrayals. But changing the proportion of gender in the genre gives the concoction a renewed, and welcome, rush.”

The coverage is not universally warm. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B-, writing, “The Chemist’s 518-pages fly by quickly and easily. But perhaps it would have taken a sprinkle of something supernatural — or a smattering of heartbreak — to feel like Meyer’s characters were really in danger.”

The Washington Post reviewer is even more doubtful, writing, “Meyer’s legion of addicted fans will lap up this chemical romance. As for me, I’m off to the library to detox.”

Libraries are showing divergent holds ratios, with some libraries topping 5:1 and others steady at 2:1.

LIVE BY NIGHT, Final Trailer

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The final trailer for Ben Affleck’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) has been released. The movie opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run on December 25th, followed by a nationwide release on January 13, 2017.

In addition to directing and writing the screenplay, Affleck stars with Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning. It’s Affleck’s first time in the director’s chair since his award-winning Argo.

the_given_day  Live by Night  9780060004903_615d1

The novel follows the rise of an Irish-American Boston gangster, Joe Coughlan, during the Prohibition era. Prophetically, Entertainment Weeklycalled Live by Night a “ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.” The book won Lehane an Edgar for Best Novel. In his acceptance speech, he thanked librarians for offering “a light in the darkness for the kids from the wrong side of the tracks.”

Live by Night follows The Given Day, which was the author’s first departure into historical crime. A third book in the series, World Gone By, was published last year.

The tie-in is set for Dec. 7, in mass market and trade paperback (HarperCollins/Morrow). It will contain a preview chapter of Lehane’s forthcoming novel Since We Fell (HarperCollins/Ecco; May 16, 2017).