Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category


Friday, April 21st, 2017

9780143039983_6ad77Netflix is adapting Shirley Jackson’s iconic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House into a series reports Variety. It is being described as “a modern reimagining.”

Mike Flanagan (Hush, Oculus, and Ouija: Origin of Evil) is on board to direct the planned 10-episode run. This is his second horror adaptation for Netflix. He is currently in post-production on Netflix’s movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.

GQ is excited about Flanagan’s role, saying “he knocks it out of the park every damn time … [and] has already been responsible for beloved modern horrors … The Haunting of Hill House is a tense, almost unbearable book at times. It will be great to see how the director works with dread over the course of several episodes rather than just a few hours.”

io9 says “Flanagan’s flair for making even ordinary things intensely spooky—this is a guy who made a sidewalk tunnel into a place of sheer terror in 2011’s excellent Absentia—suggests he’s an ideal choice for this project.”

Jackson’s novel is considered a classic of the genre, and has its own Penguin’s classic edition to prove it. Published in 1959, it was a finalist for the National Book Award. The story follows four people who spend time in the creepy halls of Hill House, known for its supernatural phenomena. One of the four becomes subject to the house’s menacing hold.

Stephen King wrote, in the introduction of one of the many editions of the novel, “it seems to me that [The Haunting of Hill House] and James’s The Turn of the Screw are the only two great novels of the supernatural in the last hundred years.”

Tor re-visits the novel on the 100th anniversary of Jackson’s birth, writing “It’s a masterpiece, truly, and for myriad different reasons—but above all else it’s frightening, a slow and anxious and steady sort of frightening.” The Guardian says it is “a chilling and highly accomplished piece of writing.”

It has already been adapted, twice, as feature films released in 1963 and 1999. The Netflix’s version will be another marker in the recent up swing of attention to Jackson, who also wrote the masterful short story “The Lottery.” A critically acclaimed biography of the author was published last October, Penguin is issuing Classics versions of her work with introductions by authors such as Francine Prose, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kevin Wilson. Last year “The Lottery” was adapted into a graphic novel and Random House issued a collection of previously unpublished and uncollected works, Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.


Thursday, April 20th, 2017

A new trailer for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming movie, The Beguiled has been released in advance of the Cannes Film Festival, where it has been entered into competition. Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst, it is based on a 1966 Southern Gothic novel, A Painted Devil by Thomas Cullinan.

Set during the Civil War, the plot involves a group of women sequestered in a girls boarding school in the South, whose lives are turned upside down by the appearance of a wounded Union soldier. The movie is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 30th. Based on the trailer, IndieWire ventures that, “Coppola might just have the indie hit of the summer on her hands.”

Cullinan’s book was adapted before, also under the title The Beguiled.  Released in 1971, it starred Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. Considered a flop, it reportedly has developed a cult following since. The trailer for that movie works hard to attract audiences to the story of “a man who becomes prisoner to these man-deprived women, these man-eager girls.”

Coppola told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that hers will be quite a different movie.  She shifts the focus away from he soldier to “the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women.”

Little information is available about the 1966 novel, which has been out of print for 30 years. For the upcoming tie-in edition, the publisher quotes Stephen King from his book on horror novels and films, Danse Macabre, calling it “[A] mad gothic tale . . . The reader is mesmerized with horror by what goes on in that forgotten school for young ladies.” There are a few, mostly positive reviews on GoodReads, from film buffs who managed to snag out-of-print copies.

The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In)
Thomas Cullinan
PRH/Penguin Books, Trade Paperback; OverDrive
On Sale Date: June 6, 2017


Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

American AssassinThe first trailer for the film adaptation of Vince Flynn’s thriller American Assassin carries some extra interest. It’s the first on-screen appearance of Dylan O’Brien since he suffered injuries while filming another adaptation, The Maze Runner: Death Cure. He plays the lead character, CIA operative Mitch Rapp. Michael Keaton plays the man assigned to train him as a killer.

The film is set for release on Sept. 15.

American Assassin is the eleventh title in the series, chosen because it moves back in time to depict Rapp’s first assignment. A tie-in has yet to be announced. The paperback (S&S/Pocket) experienced a bump on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the trailer’s release.

LibraryReads To Crit Pick

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

9780812989885_a1476Pete Hamill reviews Hannah Tinti’s The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (PRH/The Dial Press; RH Large Type; OverDrive Sample) for the forthcoming NYT Sunday Book Review, (not yet available online) calling it a “strikingly symphonic novel” and saying readers will keep turning pages “carried by Tinti’s seductive prose.”

Librarians saw it coming. It was the #1 LibraryReads pick in March:

The novel has received so much attention, that the review aggregator LitHub lists it as both one of the “Hottest Books of the Season” and the “Most Talked About Books.”

Booksellers also love it, picking it as an Indie Next selection for April 2017 and as we noted in Titles To Know, it was previewed on a number of monthly or seasonal best lists, including those by the BBC, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Elle, and InStyle. Much earlier in the year it was included in The MillionsThe Great 2017 Book Preview.”

The Rolling Stone says “Tinti has established herself as one of our great storytellers. She draws you in with this book, and it’s really difficult to get away.” Ron Charles reviews it for The Washington Post, as a “thriller with heart” and give it the “The Totally Hip Video Book Reviewer” treatment:

Tinti was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday in late March:

Holds are generally high. A few libraries we checked bought few copies and are facing ratios approaching 10:1. Others have ordered more copies to meet demand.



Sunday, April 9th, 2017

51a50MavWSL._SL300_Excitement is building over a possible sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986; tie-in ed., PRH/Anchor, 2017; OverDrive Sample).

A sly wink from Atwood as well as some additions she wrote for the newly released audiobook version (Audible only; cover at let) have brought speculation from many quarters, including Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, The Guardian, io9, New York magazine, and the Canadian entertainment site The Loop,

The original print book ends with a symposium set after the book’s event, reflecting on the dystopian period that came before. The final line comes from one of the presenters, a professor who asks, “Are there any questions?”

In the new Audible edition, Atwood has provided those questions, via an exchange between conference attendees and the professor.

One of the questions concerns how much more information the professor has. He responds:

“We have indeed made some fresh discoveries but I am not yet at liberty to share them … I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date … Give us a year or two and I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

The Loop asked Atwood if that meant a sequel was in the works and she replied:

“I am in consultation with the Professor, but he is being very cagey about this. He evidently doesn’t want to make any promises before he has finished authenticating his new discoveries.”

So … maybe more will be forthcoming. In the meantime, Atwood has been promoting the audio, saying in a release “I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over thirty years ago come alive on new platforms every year. The roots of my original book are in audio — Offred’s story was recorded, not written, and even the ‘Historical Notes’ are a voice — so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard. … The Handmaid’s Tale is alive, it seems — and like all living things, it grows and multiplies!

It is set to multiply in yet another format, on April 26 when the TV adaptation begins streaming on Hulu.

Shattuck Breaks Out

Friday, April 7th, 2017

9780062563668_1bcb5The third time’s a charm for Jessica Shattuck. Her third novel, The Women in the Castle (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), debuts at #6 on this week’s NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list.

Press coverage has been very good. The NYT features it in their “World War II Fiction: The Home Front” round-up, writing “Her achievement — beyond unfolding a plot that surprises and devastates — is in her subtle exploration of what a moral righteousness [looks] like … in the aftermath of war.”

USA Today adds. “World War II has inspired dozens of unforgettable novels, but Jessica Shattuck offers a mesmerizing new look.” People calls it a “masterful epic” (review not available online), and Bustle says it is “Riveting and emotional … a WWII story like you’ve never seen before.”

Librarians were on board early. It is a LibraryReads pick and a GalleyChat choice. Holds are strong in everywhere we checked, with some spiking as high as 15:1.

As we noted earlier in Titles to Know, the story has personal resonance, as Shattuck reveals in a NYT Op/Ed piece titled, “I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi.”

Moth Power

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

9781101904404_c9867The wildly popular storytelling site,The Moth, distributed through a podcast, YouTube, and the Peabody Award-winning Moth Radio Houris also available in print form, The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, Catherine Burns (PRH/Crown; OverDrive Sample).

Attesting to The Moth’s power in the literary world, Neil Gaiman provides a forward for the book and Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer contribute stories. It also has pop culture cred, having been featured on an episode of HBO’s The Girls.

The site’s fan are propelling this 20th anniversary collection of 45 stories up Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is currently in the top 100, at #75.

The NYT‘s chief critic Michiko Kakutani, is a fan, calling it a collection of “remarkable emotional depth and sincerity … by turns, raw, wry, rueful, comic, elliptical and confiding.” The Moth is playing that up on social media, highlighting it on both Twitter and Facebook for their 100,000+ followers.

This is the second collection, following The Moth, ed. by Catherine Burns (Hachette, 2013).

The Shortlist: Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has announced its shortlist for 2017. The six titles include a past winner and a debut novel:

Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT), the debut, publishes on August 22

The Power, Naomi Alderman (Hachette/Little, Brown) publishes on October 10

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant, who has won the prize before, is the only shortlist title without a US edition

The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

First Love, Gwendoline Riley (PRH/Melville House; OverDrive Sample)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien (Norton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

9781612196268_043ceJust released in the US, Riley’s First Love has gotten little attention here thus far. In the UK, critics were impressed.

The Spectator calls it “a hilarious send-up of chick lit … the meat of First Love is in its rich character depictions, from which Riley teases out a series of painful but exquisitely comedic episodes.”

The Guardian calls it “an exquisite and combative piece of news from nowhere – which is everywhere, too … Riley’s emphasis is on the quotidian experience of her characters – unbearable yet ordinary.”

The Evening Standard says it is “compelling from the beginning,” and The Scotsman says “This is, in a truly wonderful way, a perfectly horrible little novel. I read it in a kind of perpetual squirm, in a series of flinches and gasps. It is exact and exacting, and has the nasty pleasure of testing an unhealed abrasion.”

9780393609882_090a49780374281083_1d6c9The two novels that received the most attention in the states are Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) and C.E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings (Macmillan/FSG;Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Thien swept Canada’s literary awards, taking the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the highly prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. The NYT called her novel “a beautiful, sorrowful work.” While C.E. Morgan’s novel initially was not reviewed widely when first released, it went on to win the Kirkus Prize and was selected for the Carnegie Medal longlist for fiction.

The winner will be announced on June 7, 2017.


Monday, April 3rd, 2017

9780062311153_82abcDebuting at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction best seller list is the conclusion to Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning trilogy, Mississippi Blood (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). Moreover, it’s #1 on the USA Today list, indicating that it’s the top-selling book regardless of format or category.

This is Iles’s first time at #1 for both lists. The previous titles in the series rose as high as #2 on the NYT list for the first book, Natchez Burning and as high as #3 on the USA Today list, for second book,  The Bone Tree.

The NYT Book Review‘s “Behind the Best Sellers” columnist Gregory Cowles interviews Iles asking how it feels to complete this over 2,300 page long series about “race, murder and a fraught father-son relationship spanning half a century in the Deep South.” He replies,

“… when I started writing the trilogy, people were talking about America becoming a ‘postracial’ society, and I worried that my epic exploration of the secret realities of race had begun too late. Today, no one on earth would argue that America is postracial. Race is the wound in America’s side, and we still have far to go to heal it. ”

USA Today calls the book “searing” and quotes the Booklist review which says “This trilogy is destined to become a classic of literary crime fiction.”

OUTLANDER: More Books On The Way

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Outlander season three premieres on Starz in September. As a partial cure for fan’s Droughtlander affliction, yesterday’s Entertainment Tonight provided a brief tour of the Outlander armoury as well as glimpses at footage from season three. The weapons props master for the show says “We had four trucks of weapons … Seven hundred weapons on a daily basis for two weeks” as they shot the scenes for the Battle of Culloden.

Three book are will be released in anticipation of the new series.

9780399593420_28ab7In late June comes a hardcover collection of Gabaldon’s short stories featuring characters from the larger Outlander world, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction, Diana Gabaldon (PRH/Delacorte; Recorded Books)

Two stories are new, “Besieged” features Lord John Grey, while “A Fugitive Green” stars his older brother, Hal Grey. The rest of the stories have been previously published in various anthologies, collections, and as e-novellas.

The tie-in edition the TV series arrives on August 15, Voyager (Starz Tie-in Edition), Diana Gabaldon (PRH/Bantam; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample). Cover art is not yet released.

9780399178573In early September, Gabaldon lets fans in on some of the secrets to her success, with the ebook, I Give You My Body … “: How I Write Sex Scenes (PRH/Dell; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample). The publisher says it includes a “handy lists of naughty euphemisms (with instructions for use).” Sounds useful, even for non-writers.

As to the TV series, Den of Geek has the official synopsis of the third season:

“The story picks up right after Claire (Caitriona Balfe) travels through the stones to return to her life in 1948. Now pregnant with Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) child, she struggles with the fallout of her sudden reappearance and its effect on her marriage to her first husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies). Meanwhile, in the 18th century, Jamie suffers from the aftermath of his doomed last stand at the historic battle of Culloden, as well as the loss of Claire. As the years pass, Jamie and Claire attempt to make a life apart from one another, each haunted by the memory of their lost love. The budding possibility that Claire can return to Jamie in the past breathes new hope into Claire’s heart… as well as new doubt. Separated by continents and centuries, Claire and Jamie must find their way back to each other. As always, adversity, mystery, and adventure await them on the path to reunion. And the question remains: When they find each other, will they be the same people who parted at the standing stones, all those years ago?”

IT Gets a Trailer

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

The first trailer has been released for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel IT and is already the #1 trending video on YouTube.

Its release is moving two editions of the classic horror novel up Amazon’s sales rankings. The trade paperback moved from #449 to almost within Amazon’s Top Ten (it is #12). The mass market leaped from #7,395 to #225.

The clip is for the first of a two-part movie. As we posted earlier, part one follows a group of kids, members of the Losers’ Club, who live in a small town in Maine and fight against an ancient and shape-shifting evil that stalks the town every 27 years. Part two will follow those terrorized kids, now adults, as they once again stand guard against the recurring evil of It.

Andrés Muschietti (Mama) is directing and Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård plays the evil clown Pennywise. One of the producers is Seth Grahame-Smith, known for launching the mashup craze with his books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

itposterUSA Today quotes Muschietti musing on what “IT” means: “Maybe it is real as long as children believe in it. And in a way, Pennywise’s character is motivated by survival. In order to be alive in the imagination of children, he has to keep killing.”

The tie-in comes out on July 25, 2017 (S&S/Pocket). There is no cover image yet, but it is likely to be similar to the creepy new film poster at left.

Live Chat with

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Read our chat with Gail below.

Join us for our next chat on May 10th, when we will talk to Gin Phillips about her new novel, FIERCE KINGDOM, to be published by Viking on July 11th.

To join the program, sign up here

Live Blog Live Chat with Gail Honeyman : ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE


Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

9780385542364_94521Barry Jenkins, the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, will write and direct the adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday) as a series for Amazon.

“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” Jenkins said in a statement. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.”

The Underground Railroad is a massive job,” he told the the LA Times. “Right now, I’m thinking I want to do that over six or seven hours, and that will take a lot of time and consideration because it absolutely has to be done the right way. It’s a landmark work.”

Consequence of Sound reports “Jenkins has been working on the project since September, just one month after Colson’s book was released.”

It is early days, so there is no word on an air date or casting.


Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780385340991Called a “Downton Abbey Reunion,” the adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (PRH/Random House, 2008), currently filming in Australia, features four actors from the popular BBC series. Lily James, who played Downton‘s Lady Rose, is the movie’s lead. Recently joining the cast are Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton‘s Lady Sybil), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).

Also recently added are Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Michiel Huisman (The Age of Adeline, Game of Thrones), as well as Tom Courtenay (45 Years).

Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs the re-titled Guernsey. Release is expected in 2018.

The epistolary novel set during WW II received strong reviews and was a long running best seller. No tie-in has been announced

Future Visions

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780316262330_fecffCommenting that “All science-fiction novels are about the future and about the present at the same time,” Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his new book  New York 2140 (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) in an interview with New York magazine. In it, he envisions a waterlogged city that climate change has turned into the Venice of the U.S.

It is one of a number of novels getting media attention for their prescience about the current political climate,

A surprisingly hopeful version of what lies ahead, Robinson’s books shows survivors coping with the aftermath of  an epic flood that has hit NYC. They move into high rise buildings, get used to tides washing up the streets, and to living with canals rather than roads. Robinson says “at some point, science fiction has to imagine the people who come after, when the situation will be natural, whatever it is.”

In her monthly Sci Fi column in the NYT Book Review, N.K. Jemisin says Robinson “deftly conveys [the transformed city’s] unnerving strangeness … it is refreshing to see a futurism that acknowledges the innate resilience of the city and, by inference, of humanity itself.”

9780765388889_dac23Wired compares it to John Scalzi’s newest, the space opera The Collapsing Empire (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample), a far less hopeful vision set in AD 3500 when humanity appears doomed. They call it “Star Wars politics in the key of Firefly,” while New York 2014 could be pitched as “Waterworld survivalists battle Wall Street bogeymen.”

9780451493583_f9dc0Daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani devotes her attention to a novel that, like Robinson’s, imagines the impact of global warming on the U.S., Omar El Akkad’s American War (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). In this darker version, the U.S., reduced to a much smaller country, is engaged in second Civil War.

Kakutani says “El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road (2006), and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America (2004).”

Released today, the book is currently at #71 on Amazon’s sales rankings, moving up rapidly from a lowly #29,600.