Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Nancy Pearl Loves Historical Mysteries

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.38.21 AMLibrarian Nancy Pearl picks a title from one her favorite genres, historical mysteries, for her weekly radio show.

The Strangler Vine (Penguin/Putnam; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample, 3/31/15) by M.J. Carter is a debut set in 1837 India. Nancy calls it “an old-fashioned adventure novel.”

Carter is the author of two nonfiction works and uses her skills in research to create a vividly set historical thriller tracing the adventures of William Avery, a newly arrived British solider, and Jeremiah Blake, a seasoned spy gone native.

In praise any publisher would kill for, Nancy says it is “wonderful reading, I just couldn’t put it down.”

The New York Post agrees, making it one of their “This week’s must-read books” and calling it a “yarn reminiscent of adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

Nancy appears every Tuesday on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW and an archive of her appearances is also available.

Hugo Awards Under Siege

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 12.35.40 PMGeorge R.R. Martin says the Hugo Awards are “broken… and I am not sure they can ever be repaired.”

He made the comment after a successful campaign to swamp the nomination process triggered a nasty fight which has now degenerated into an all-out battle over the future of the award. The fallout has been reported widely, by The Atlantic, The Guardian, Slate, and Entertainment Weekly.

The short version is that two online groups posted lists of suggested titles and urged those who agreed with their own decidedly right of center political/cultural leanings to pay the $40 it costs to vote and swamp the nomination process – and they succeeded.

Two authors have responded by withdrawing their nominated works from the awards.

Annie Bellet withdrew her short story “Goodnight Stars,” posting “I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about.”

Marko Kloos withdrew his novel Lines of Departure (Amazon/47North), “keeping the nomination is not a moral option at this point.”

In response the World Science Fiction Society, which runs the Hugo Awards said,

“This year is the first time in the history of the Hugo Awards that a finalist has withdrawn a work after announcement of the finalist shortlist. Nominees with sufficient nominating votes to make the shortlist have in the past declined nomination as Finalists; however, this has always happened before the shortlist was announced.”

Black Gate, a fanzine, has withdrawn as well although they did so too late to change the ballot.

Connie Willis also withdrew as a presenter at the award ceremony saying,

“I’ve essentially been told to engage in some light-hearted banter with the nominees, give one of them the award, and by my presence–and my silence–lend cover and credibility to winners who got the award through bullying and extortion. Well, I won’t do it. I can’t do it. If I did, I’d be collaborating with them in their scheme.”

Bottom line for librarians: Many Science Fiction and Fantasy fans may see this year’s round of winners as tainted no matter who wins. Unfortunately, an award librarians have relied on for years to highlight the best in two very popular genres is now suspect and, unless a solution can be found, other awards may be vulnerable to similar hijacking.

Paula Hawkins: New Book Coming

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The Girl on the TrainThe author of the uber-bestselling The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead), Paula Hawkins tells The Daily Beast that she is at work on another psychological thriller that she hopes “to finish over the summer so that it hopefully will be out summer or autumn of next year.”

She adds, “It also deals quite a lot with memory issues, but in a different way. It’s about the memories we have from childhood and how the stories that we tell about ourselves and our families shape who we are.”

She drops no hints about the title and admits she is feeling the pressure to try to live up to the success of GOTT, but says she is persevering because she doesn’t want to “leave too big a gap between the first book and the second, because the longer that gap, the more terrifying the publication of the second book becomes.”

More Than JUSTIFIED:
Elmore Leonard

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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The final episode of FX’s Justified ran on Tuesday night, bringing renewed attention to Elmore Leonard via subtle homages to the author that were not lost on fans, the switching of the iconic Stetson hat to a version closer to the one Leonard lobbied for and a cameo of the book Leonard said he often re-read for inspiration, The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins (Macmillan/Picador, 1972; OverDrive Sample).

9780062120342_927acThe series, originally based on Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” (from the collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, re-released in trade paperback as Fire in the HoleHarperCollins/Morrow; OverDrive Sample) and featuring the central character who also appeared in the novels Pronto, Riding the Rap, and Raylan, the last novel Leonard published before his death in 2013, has been a powerhouse show for the network and brought more fans to Leonard.

Both Fire in the Hold and The Friends of Eddie Coyle are currently rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Glowing reviews of the series’ end all laud Leonard as well, from New York Magazine’s in-depth conversation with executive producer Graham Yost to a consideration of Leonard’s character in Word & Film.

The renewed attention makes this a good time to promote Leonard’s extensive backlist and many adaptations through virtual and in-house displays.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.07.50 AM  Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.08.01 AM  Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.08.24 AM

The three Justified novels. as well as the collection featuring the original short story, have been reprinted with bursts on the covers to make the connection, “Featuring RAYLAN GIVENS, from the new FX Series, JUSTIFIED.”

Beyond the series, classic examples of Leonard’s style include Hombre, Rum Punch, Be Cool, and Killshot. The Morrow imprint of HarperCollins recently re-released those titles as well several others in new trade paperback editions.

Many of Leonard’s books have been made into movies such as 3:10 To Yuma, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and the recent Life of Crime (based on The Switch). The first five seasons of Justified are available on DVD and the final is on its way.

Don’t forget the audio versions. Favorite narrators Frank Muller and George Guidall served as narrators for many of his titles.

Nina Stibbe: An Author To Watch

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.12.22 AMAs we reported earlier, Nina Stibbe’s second book, A Man At the Helm (Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk; OverDrive Sample), has received glowing attention.

The daily New York Times plays catchup this week with another shining review, placing her in the same company as fellow British comic mastermind P.G. Wodehouse. Says reviewer John Williams, “Ms. Stibbe is in her early 50s, and Man at the Helm is the second book to appear in relatively quick succession and establish her reputation as a top-shelf comic writer.”

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Williams also reports that Nick Hornby is adapting Stibbe’s first book, a memoir about her stint as a nanny, Love, Nina, for the BBC. There’s still many steps to its becoming a reality, so it’s too early to speculate on whether it will also be broadcast in the US.

Reading GO SET A WATCHMAN Under Watchful Eyes

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanMost of the world is still holding their breath for the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman,(Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe; HarperCollins EspañolHarperCollins Español AudioeBook) in July.

But as the London Book Fair opens, a select few are getting an early look at the manuscript. International publishers interested in acquiring territorial rights (25 countries have already signed up) are queuing up to read the manuscript in agent Andrew Nurnberg Associates’ London offices under heavy security, reports The GuardianBecause of the desire for secrecy, they are only allowed to read the manuscript in paper form.

We’re on the alert for the first leaks.

Favorite Library and Indie May Titles

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Genres dominate the May LibraryReads List, with two Fantasy novels, two Science Fiction picks, two Crime stories, rounded out by one chick lit and a few literary titles.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.12.50 PMCalled a stand-alone fairy tale for adults, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample) is the top pick this month. Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) offers this description of the Fantasy:

“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.13.37 PMThe second fantasy, again with a fairy tale feel, is Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses (Bloomsbury USA Children’s; OverDrive Sample), a YA book with cross over appeal. Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library (OH) says:

“The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.”

The May Indie Next List of 20 titles offers a different distribution – and no overlap with the LibraryReads list.

The list is notable this month for the large number of debuts among the marquee names such as Anne Enright, Lisa Scottoline, Greg Iles, and Matthew Pearl.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.14.42 PMWell-known poet Elizabeth Alexander earns the #1 pick for her debut memoir The Light of the World (Hachette/Grand Central; Grand Central Audio; OverDrive Sample), and receives this glowing annotation:

“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.15.27 PMAmong the many other debuts is The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) which receives an equally appreciative description:

“The greatest testament to the skill of a writer is the ability to make what might seem alien to the reader completely recognizable and utterly engaging. Such was my experience reading The Turner House. Mine is a tiny white family from a small town with no sense of heritage, yet every moment I spent with the Turners — a family of 13 children shaped by the Great Migration to Detroit — I felt at home. Their struggles and joys are universal, yet told with an exacting eye that always finds the perfect detail. This is a truly impressive debut.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

Western Passage: Ivan Doig
Dies at 75

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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Ivan Doig died on Thursday, in his home in Seattle. Both a novelist and a nonfiction writer, Doig published over a dozen books including This House of Sky (which was a finalist for the National Book Award), The Whistling Season, The Bartender’s Tale, and Sweet Thunder.

His final work, slated for publication on August 18th, is Last Bus to Wisdom.

The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the LA Times offer remembrances.

On his website Doig begins a note to his readers with this:

No one is likely to confuse my writing style with that of Charlotte Bronte, but when that impassioned parson’s daughter lifted her pen from Jane Eyre and bequeathed us the most intriguing of plot summaries—’Reader, I married him’—she also was subliminally saying what any novelist, even one from the Montana highlands rather than the Yorkshire moors, must croon to those of you with your eyes on our pages: ‘Reader, my story is flirting with you; please love it back.’ Our books come to you with bright-cheeked hope…

Readers who want to explore Doig’s writing with that same “bright-cheeked hope” might wish to begin with his memoir This House of Sky.

The Resplendent Toni Morrison

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.39.05 AMGod Help the Child (RH/Knopf; RH and BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample), Toni Morrison’s new book, arrives at the end of the month. She is featured on the cover of the upcoming New York Times Magazine.

In a story that is part ode, part biography,
part call to arms, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah discusses Morrison’s aura, her writing and editing, and her reception by the publishing world, one dominated by people who
do not look like her.

“The perplexing but wonderful thing about Morrison’s career is just how much her prominence was created not by the mainstream publishing world, but by Morrison herself, on her own terms, in spite of it.”

The article starts with Morrison’s recording session for the Random House/BOT audio of God Help the Child. The NYT provides a video interview with a sample of the reading, which proves her skills as a narrator.

Books on Tape has also created a special landing page for the audiobook, announcing that Morrison will also record unabridged editions of her earlier books, Paradise and Song of Solomon, both audios to be published in 2016.

Below a longer clip from the audio.

Big Bucks for HARD Novels

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

HWA series of self-published erotic novels has been acquired by Hachette’s Forever imprint, reports the AP, to the tune of $7 million.

The first four titles in Meredith Wild’s Hacker series, HardwiredHardpressedHardline and Hard Limit have just been released by Forever in e-book editions. Paperback editions will follow on May 12,  The fifth and final book, Hard Love, will be published in both e-book and paperback on Sept. 15.

“Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey may recognize the Hacker narrative: Recent Harvard graduate and Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway falls for controlling billionaire Blake Landon,” notes the AP.

Another self-published romance author, Jasinda Wilder, has signed with Berkley Books, as reported by USA Today, in a seven-figure deal for a new trilogy, beginning with Madame X in November (Penguin/Berkley, 9781101986882).

Final Discworld Novel This Fall

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.27.15 AMJust announced, Terry Pratchett’s final novel in the Discworld series will be:

The Shepherd’s Crown
Pratchett, Terry
HarperCollins, 9/15/2015
Hardcover, 9780062429971
Audio, 9780062430557

The 41st title in the series, it continues the Tiffany Aching sequence that began with The Wee Free Men in 2003 and includes A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

According to the announcement on Pratchett’s book site, he completed the novel in 2014, before his death earlier this year. It will be published in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. NOTE: Some news sources say the publisher is Random House. They are the publisher of the U.K. edition. In the U.S., it will be released by HarperCollins.

The Shepherd’s Crown is not the only book coming from Pratchett. His fourth novel in the Long Earth series with Stephen Baxter, The Long Utopia (Harper; OverDrive Sample), is also due this year, on June 23rd.

Watching For DARK PLACES

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Dark PlacesThe enormous success of the movie based on Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl leaves fans wondering what has happened to the adaptation of another Flynn novel, Dark Places with an A-list cast headed by Charlize Theron.

Originally scheduled for release on Sept. 1, that date has come and gone with no further news. The movie just premiered in Paris, complete with Theron dazzling in Dior, to a mixed, but mostly positive review from The Hollywood Reporter, and a more negative one from Variety, and the note it will be released in the U.S.  “later this year,”

Perhaps the tie-in, now scheduled for release in June, offers a clue that it will arrive in the fall.

Meanwhile, as we noted earlier, Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, is being adapted as a TV series.

Flynn, who has a developing career in Hollywood, is now at work on an original script with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen.

Pearl Puzzles Over Plot

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.02.29 AMHow critical are plot inconsistencies to the enjoyment of a book?

Holly LeCraw’s new book, The Half Brother (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample), has caught librarian Nancy Pearl in its plot lines.

On her weekly radio feature Nancy discusses how much she loves the novel in general, set in an Episcopal boarding school, and that she particularly admires its gorgeous language.

However, Nancy was less certain about the plot, which turns on several forced coincidences. that make her wonder if the book is ultimately successful. Her discussion is a model of how to talk about a book you may not fully admire. Finely balancing LeCraw’s strengths with her own reactions, Nancy leaves readers intrigued but forewarned.

Others are a more certain in their reactions. Booklist gave LeCraw’s second novel (after The Swimming Pool) a starred review, comparing LeCraw to Pat Conroy, Anne Tyler, and Donna Tartt. The Millions also made it one of their “Most Anticipated” titles for the year.

Nancy talks about a new book each week on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW.

Harper Lee Elder Abuse Charges Cleared

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Go Set a WatchmanThe taint has been lifted from the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman,(Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe; HarperCollins Español; HarperCollins Español Audio; eBook) set for July 14.

On Friday, the Alabama officials looking into the case announced that accusations of elder abuse against Lee are unfounded. They declined to comment further. Due to confidentiality agreements, their findings will not be released. This followed the closing last month of the state’s investigation into fraud against Lee.

The novel will be released as an eBook as well as downloadable audio. It was only last year that Lee finally agreed to releasing To Kill a Mockingbird digitally.

It will also be available in Spanish-language print and audio editions, titled, Ve y pon un centinela.

Holds on all formats are reaching The Girl on the Train levels.

Reading Clubs Rejoice:
THE GOLDFINCH in Paperback

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 9.48.07 AMLibraries have plenty of hardcover copies of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch but it is still welcome news that the trade paperback edition (Hachette/Back Bay Books; ISBN 9780316055444; $20.00) hits the shelves this week, just in time for book club picks and kits.

It has also just been announced as the COSTCO book buyer’s pick for April.