Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Readers’ Advisory: DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9780062363268_df008After nearly a decade of writing novels to steady but muted notice, Paul Tremblay may have broken through.

Tremblay won the Bram Stoker award this year for A Head Full of Ghosts (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample),  a novel that earned him comparisons to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House by io9, a rave in the NYT, and the attention of Stephen King.

Now Tremblay is back with Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). NPR reviewer Jason Heller, a senior writer at The A.V. Club, says is “it’s even more head-spinning” than his Stoker winner.

Heller calls the book a “dizzying emotional vortex” full of “immediacy [and] immaculate storytelling” and says Tremblay’s “characters are rendered vividly and sensitively. The ambience is all shadows.”

Terrance Rafferty, in a round-up of new horror titles in the NYT, says that Tremblay (among others he highlights) is the heir to Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and Edgar Allan Poe and that his book “is never, at any point, exactly what you expect it to be.”

Tor.com offers a rave review, concluding: “Tremblay left me speechless, breathless, deeply unsettled and impossibly impressed. I love being genuinely scared by a book, so Disappearance at Devil’s Rock left me with a giant smile, too … In a summer of great horror releases, this one is among the very best.”

Holds are over a 3:1 ratio at several libraries we checked while others have yet to order or are showing circ. about equal to copies.

 

Bestseller: THE GIRLS

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Driven by heavy media attention, 9780812998603_dba8f The Girls by Emma Cline (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample),

debuts on the new USA Today best seller list, landing at the #9 spot. Since that list ranks all categories and formats of books together, we can expect to see it debut much higher on the upcoming NYT Hardcover Fiction list [UPDATE: Soon after we posted this, the new NYT list was released and The Girls is #3. That list shows sales through June 18, four days after the book was published. We’ll see in coming weeks if word of mouth works in its favor].

In libraries holds continue to be very strong, running at 5:1 ratios and higher. Many libraries have ordered additional copies  to keep up with demand.

Guy Gavriel Kay on Book Lust TV

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

9780451472960_b3e8aLibrarian Nancy Pearl interviews one of her favorite authors, Guy Gavriel Kay for Book Lust TV this month.

The pair, who have talked several times before, start by discussing Children of Earth and Sky (PRH/NAL; OverDrive Sample), Kay’s newest book, published in May and,set in the same general world as Sailing to Sarantium (a particular favorite of Nancy’s) and Lord of Emperors. It also falls within the general universe of The Last Light of the Sun and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

Kay explains that he likes to write stand-alones rather than series as endings are very important to him and he wants each book to have its own arc. He also wants readers to enjoy every book for itself, without feeling as if they are missing an insider joke but does offer long-time readers “grace notes, small, glancing allusions to the previous books.”

The two discuss Kay’s particular brand of fantasy, which he calls a “quarter turn to the fantastic” as well as the rise of popularity of the fantasy genre in pop culture. Kay believes the rush of fantasy novels rests in the fact that the “book industry is a copy-cat industry” and much “cloning” takes place. Of his own take on fantasy, he says he likes to compress time so that readers get an immediate sense of what happens over hundreds of years.

The interview concludes with Kay detailing what he is currently reading and recommending to others: Edith Grossman’s translation of Don Quixote, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.

Readers’ Advisory: Killer Women

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

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The currently hyper-popular psychological suspense genre is examined in depth by film critic Terrence Rafferty in the new issue of The Atlantic, declaring in the headline, “Women Are Writing the Best Crime Novels,”  

Among upcoming titles, Rafferty is particularly keen on The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood (PRH/Penguin, Aug. 30) and You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 26), calling the first “brilliant” and the second “superb.”

The genre was created by women authors, amply proved he says by the Library of America’s two-volume collection, Women Crime Writers (2015) and it now has “many more daughters than sons,” running down a global roster:

America — Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman

England — Alex Marwood, Paula Hawkins, Sophie Hannah

Scotland — Val McDermid, Denise Mina

Ireland — Tana French

Norway — Karin Fossum

Japan — Natsuo Kirino

These authors have ushered in a new order, that, says Rafferty, “is not a world Raymond Chandler would have recognized … The female writers, for whatever reason (men?), don’t much believe in heroes, which makes their kind of storytelling perhaps a better fit for these cynical times. Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence … pure noir, velvety and pitiless.”

ELIGIBLE For Book Clubs

Monday, June 20th, 2016

9781400068326_8f573Retellings of well-known books make good reading club fare. This month, Slate Audio book club reconvened  to discuss Eligible (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample), Curtis Sittenfeld’s “modernization” of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, part of the ongoing Jane Austen Project (a similar project, that reimagines Shakespeare, recently launched with Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl).

Reviews for Eligible were mixed, but it was a #1 LibraryReads pick for April and it debuted on the NYT Hardcover Best Seller List at #5. The Slate panel calls it “pure pleasure” and “keenly observed half-satire/half-wish fulfillment” that provides a wonderful way to reconnect to Jane Austen and appreciate Sittenfeld’s earlier novels, American Wife and Prep.

They particularly appreciate the re-creation of Elizabeth Bennet as a modern character and the author’s  “feats of re-soulment” in translating an 18th century character to the modern age, cleverly incorporating reality TV as the modern equivalent of social climbing.

Dismissing critics who did not respond positively to the book, they say the NYT ‘s Michiko Kakutani  “missed the point” and was just “mean” (as we our reported, Kakutani’s NYT  Book Review colleague  presented a much different opinion).

MURDER SHE BAKED, New Movie

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The fourth in the Hallmark Murder She Baked series based on JoAnne Fluke’s novels, this one titled A Deadly Recipe, premieres this Sunday.

Series star Alison Sweeney appeared on the Ellen Show yesterday to talk about the movies, working with a difficult co-star, and her own novel, Opportunity Knocks (Hachette Books. 4/5/16).

Preview the Hallmark movie here.

Tie-in:

9781496711526_92eafFudge Cupcake Murder
Joanne Fluke
Kensington: May 31, 2016
9781496711526, 1496711521
Mass Market
$7.99 USD, $8.99 CAD

Reader’s Advisory: SFF for
Summer Reading

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

A boon for advisors looking for SFF (Science Fiction and Fantasy) titles that will be getting attention from fans is io9‘s newly released summer reading list.

9780062200631_20c739781101904220_ee938Titles that have already been featured on general list include The Fireman by Joe Hill (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), already a best seller, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (PRH/Crown; RH Audio; BOT). io9 says that they “really loved” Hill’s newest, calling it “a terrifying, exhilarating ride from beginning to end, … quite possibly Hill’s best novel to date.” Of Crouch’s buzzy new stand-alone, they say it is “a fast-paced thriller that deals with alternate worlds and paths not taken.”

9780316229265_28d139781101966938_6c2b4Other favorites are Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars), Chuck Wendig (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio) and The Obelisk Gate, N. K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit). Fans know Wendig for his bridge books filling in the story between the recent Star Wars film and the previous story line of the series. io9 says this newest “looks to be just as exciting as the originals.” Of The Obelisk Gate, the site offers, “The Fifth Season was a masterpiece of fantasy literature, rejecting long-held conventions and tropes, and we’re excited to see what Jemisin does next to upend genre.”

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Authors and titles that might be new to SFF fans include:

False Hearts, Laura Lam (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample). io9 says it is “a debut novel that we’ve been getting excited about, an interesting cyberpunk mystery that meshes together the future of biotechnology and murder.”

Underground Airlines, Ben Winters (Hachette/Mulholland Books). A book about slavery set in the present day, the site says it shows every indication of being “a riveting alternate history thriller.”

Behind the Throne, K. B. Wagers (Hachette/Orbit). Saying it is “poised to be the next exciting space opera, one with plenty of action, intrigue, and adventure,” io9 points out that publishing imprint Orbit has a great track record with space adventures, publishing both James S.A. Corey and Ann Leckie.

There are more selections, including nonfiction. The full list is online.

All Aboard: Jolie And Branagh
Take On Christie

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

9780062073495_0_CoverAgatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) looks like it is preparing to leave the station once again. According to Deadline Hollywood, Angelina Jolie is in talks to join the Kenneth Branagh film production.

Branagh is reportedly gathering an all-star cast and plans to play detective Hercule Poirot himself. He will also serve as producer, along side Ridley Scott and others. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) is on board as screenwriter.

The Guardian reports that Jolie will fill the role of Mrs. Hubbard, one of the novel’s many suspects, most famously played by Lauren Bacall in Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version of the mystery.

No further news on the rest of the cast. Currently plans are to release the film on Nov. 22, 2017, well timed for the award season as Deadline points out.

The classic mystery’s most recent adaptation is the PBS Masterpiece episode starring David Suchet, Hugh Bonneville, and Jessica Chastain.

The most acclaimed film adaptation is Lumet’s production for Paramount. Albert Finney starred as Poirot, alongside Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Lauren Bacall, and Sean Connery.

To Screen: SEVENEVES

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

9780062190376_94743Ron Howard is set to direct an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s SF bestseller Seveneves (HC/William Morrow)  says The Hollywood Reporter. Howard will team up once again with Bill Broyles (Apollo 13), who is writing the script.

The LibraryReads and Indie Next pick was just released in paperback. In hardback it drew attention from Bill Gates, who recommended it to readers, calling it “thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable” and crediting it with getting him back to reading SF.

In their laudatory but mixed review, NPR said “The experience of reading a modern Stephenson novel is like going out drinking with 20 or 30 of the smartest people on earth, and them all deciding to play that game where someone starts a story, tells one sentence of it, ends with a conjunction, and passes it along to the next person. Once upon a time, the moon blew up, and then …

Others offered the same blend of praise and hesitation. Several critics called it uneven (Stephenson has a problem with endings says the LA Times) and the novel’s sheer density (NYT), concerns that could easily be cured in a film, especially in the hands of Howard, who proved in Apollo 13 that he can plot a tense moonshot ending.

No word yet on when the project will begin shooting.

Holds Alert: SWEETBITTER

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

9781101875940_d1c9bFed by a growing buzz from literary as well as foodie outlets, Stephanie Danler’s debut novel, Sweetbitter (PRH/Knopf; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), is developing an impressive holds list at many libraries we checked, topping a 6:1 ratio in some areas.

The New York Times has spotlighted the author, who lived in the city and worked in its restaurants and wine stores, in four separate pieces, most recently this week’s profile in the Style section, following Danler as she goes on tour, promoting her book at a local indie bookshop, in an  interview with Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef/author of Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.

Daily NYT‘s reviewer Dwight Garner offered his take in mid-May, calling it “an unpretentious, truth-dealing, summer-weight novel … [that] grows darker than you might expect.” In her NYT Sunday Book Review piece, Gabrielle Hamilton gave it a to-die-for anointment, calling it “brilliantly written” and the “Kitchen Confidential of our time.”

Entertainment Weekly gives the novel an A- and The Wall Street Journal offers an illustrated profile [may require subscription].

Bon Appétit magazine headlines it as “the Summer’s Hottest Beach Read” in their podcast interview and offers an excerpt in the print and online issue.

More interviews abound. The foodie site Grub Street offers one full of insider details. Vanity Fair has one too, talking poetry and sex. NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, Vogue, Refinery29, and even The Paris Review, that bastion of literary taste, offer interviews, with The Paris Review calling the book “riveting.”

Sweetbitter landed on the USA Today best-seller list the first week of June, taking the #32 spot, which the paper calls “a strong showing for a new writer” and given that the list integrates all types and audiences of books (mixing paperback and hardback, fiction and nonfiction, adult, teen, and children’s) it is indeed a good opening number.

It also made the NYT Fiction Hardcover list on June 12, at #12 and is holding on to the #16 spot this week.

It is a summer reading pick by the Amazon EditorsHarper’s Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal, and Glamour. It is also a hit with GalleyChatters and a May LibraryReads selection.

 

It’s Official: Literary “New York Problems” Is a Trend

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

modern-lovers  The Nest  Fates and Furies

If you’ve heard readers object that they don’t want to read yet another book about the problems of well-off New Yorkers, the Guardian verifies that it’s indeed a trend.

In a new twist, many of these NYC-centric novels are set in the recently trendy borough of Brooklyn. Tellingly, Emma Straub, the author of the Modern Lovers, (PRH/Riverhead), which just debuted at #14 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list, recently told that paper that she set her book in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn, because she “wanted to stay as far away from the quote-unquote Brooklyn book as I could,” a fine distinction to those who are’t familiar with the differences of Brooklyn real estate.

The titles cited buy the Guardian as examples represent a range of genres, from Plum Sykes frothy Bergdorf Blondes (2004) to the multiple literary award nominee Hanya Yanagihara’s  A Little Life (2015).

Winners: Baileys and Bubbly

Monday, June 13th, 2016

9780804189064_4f14eA debut novel by an Irish writer wins the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, given for the best novel by a woman writing in English. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (PRH/Tim Duggan Books, Aug. 9; Random House Audio) topped several better known authors including the multiple awar- winning Anne Enright for The Green Road and the bestselling Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life.

The Guardian reports that The Glorious Heresies “tells how an accidental murder … plays out in the lives of a cast that includes a 15-year-old drug dealer, his alcoholic father, a prostitute and a gangland boss.”

The chair of the judging panel said it is “a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling.”

Calling it “big, gritty and compelling,” a spokeswoman for one of the UK’s most notable bookstores said the selection was a “brave choice … by the least conventional and edgiest writer on the list.”

The Glorious Heresies is scheduled for release in the US on Aug. 9.

McInerney’s debut was among 11 other first novels to make the long or short list for the award, which The Guardian notes is becoming “a showcase for new and emerging talent.”

9781101874141_9e7a9One of those debut authors is Hannah Rothschild whose The Improbability of Love (RH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) made it through to the final round. Rothschild, the first woman chair of London’s most prestigious art museum, The National Galley, can console herself with champagne. Her book recently won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction (shared with Paul Murray for The Mark and the Void), which comes with a large bottle of Bollinger champagne, the complete Everyman Wodehouse Collection, and the honor of the having a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after the winning title, a nod to the Empress of Blandings, a fictional pig featured in P. G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle novels.

Previous winners of the pig, bubbly, and books include Terry Pratchett and Alexander McCall Smith. Photos of several past winners with their pigs are online.

 

Bestseller: BEFORE THE FALL

Friday, June 10th, 2016

9781455561780_68236Debuting at the #2 spot on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list is the very buzzy Before the Fall, Noah Hawley (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample).

As we reported the breakout novel by the creator of the Fargo TV series is racking up impressive hold figures and is getting a great deal of attention as the media predicts a hit.

It’s not the only new entry. Nearly half of the top 10 titles ae new to the list this week.

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As might have been expected The Emperor’s Revenge, Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (PRH/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Smaple) takes the #1 spot. All Summer Long, Dorothea Benton Frank (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #3, while, as we predicted, Alan Furst’s A Hero of France (PRH/Random House; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) hits the list at #7.

modern-loversJust outside the top 10, debuting at #14 (tied with #13) is Modern Lovers, Emma Straub (PRH/Riverhead Books; Penguin Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), another very buzzy title which is high on the summer reading lists.

Falling out of the top ten to make room for the new arrivals are The City of Mirrors, which slipped from #1 last week to #11, The Fireman, All the Light We Cannot See, and Everybody’s Fool.

Staffing Up: READY PLAYER ONE

Friday, June 10th, 2016

9780307887443_cd74cOn the news that casting is nearly complete for Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated adaptation of Ernest Cline’s SF debut Ready Player One (RH/Crown; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), the novel rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from an already strong #125 to #80.

After a long search, as we wrote earlier,  Spielberg found his lead in Tye Sheridan. Since then, he has added many more cast members. The latest is Win Morisaki for the role of Daito. Variety reports the “Japanese singer-actor … won the role after an extensive audition process.” It will be the first US film for Morisaki, the lead vocalist of the boy band PrizmaX.

Earlier, it was announced that T.J. Miller, of HBO’s Silicon Valley and the superhero film Deadpool, has also joined the cast, playing a bounty hunter.

In April Spielberg added Mark Rylance to the film’s roster, filling the role of James Donovan Halliday, the creator of OASIS, the game world at the heart of the film.

With other roles being filled by Olivia Cooke (as romantic lead Art3mis), Simon Pegg (as Ogden Morrow, co-creator of OASIS), and Ben Mendelsohn (as Nolan Sorrento, the chief villain of the film), Spielberg only needs to find a few more players for the game to begin.

The film is expected to open on March 30, 2018 and holds still remain strong on the book in many libraries we checked.

Critical Mass: HOMEGOING

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

9781101947135_24878A million dollar debut, won in a ten-bidder auction, is on the verge of becoming the literary hit of the summer, Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

It is featured on multiple seasonal reading lists including those by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, B&N, and BuzzFeed and is both an Indie Next selection and a LibraryReads selection, with this recommendation from Amanda Monson, of the Bartow County Library System, Cartersville, GA:

“An engaging family saga following two half-sisters – one who marries into privilege and one sold into slavery – and their descendants as they navigate the politics of their separate countries and their heritage. Each is directly affected in some way by the choices of the past, and finding the parallels in the triumphs and heartbreak makes for an engrossing read.”

The novel is gaining serious and thoughtful review coverage as well, in pieces that note Gyasi’s achievements while pointing out perceived lapses. NPR’s Maureen Corrigan reviewing it on Fresh Air yesterday, says Gyasi “pulls her readers deep into her characters’ lives through the force of her empathetic imagination,” but adding, “Homegoing would have been a stronger novel if it had ended sooner .. As the novel moves forward into our own time the pressure to wrap up the two storylines intensifies, and contrivance comes to the fore.”  NPR also interviewed Gyasi for Weekend Edition Saturday.

Slate‘s books and culture columnist, Laura Miller, writing for The New Yorker, says that the novel “shows the unmistakable touch of a gifted writer, and Homegoing is a specimen of what such a writer can do when she bites off more than she is ready to chew” adding, “Taken in as a panorama, Homegoing can be breathtaking.”

Reviewing for the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review, Isabel Wilkerson, author of the nonfiction title,  The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, says, barring some troubling clichés, the novel is a work of “beauty” and “The narrative unfolds through self-­contained stories, some like fables, others nightmares, that shift between the family lines in West Africa and America, each new protagonist a limb of the disrupted family tree. Characters reappear in dreams or retellings as the action moves from the Cape Coast to Kumasi to Baltimore to Harlem.”

The WSJ profiles the author and offers a review [subscription may be required], saying “Ms. Gyasi doesn’t always make it work … Yet it’s refreshing to read a novel with a sense of historical imminence. Contemporary American fiction frequently seems to exist in blank isolation from world events. Not so Homegoing, where wars and laws directly shape the characters’ destinies, often across generations.”

The million-dollar advance serves as a hook for media attention, catching the eye of high circulation magazines such as Vogue, which runs a double profile of Gyasi and Emma Cline, author of another big-ticket summer debut, The Girls, complete with a photo of the two together in designer outfits, because they “bear comparison for more than the ambition and incisiveness of their prose, imaginative risk-taking, and seven-figure book deals.” Of Homecoming, Vogue says, “No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country.”