Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Meet Mr Norrell

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The following brief clip from the BBC series based on Susanna Clarke’s 2004 best selling debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, can’t be accused of giving away too much, but it does give a sense of Eddie Marsan’s portrayal of Norrell.

No news on when the series will debut in the U.S., but the tie-in (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA) is now showing a May release date, indicating it’s not expected until later in 2015.

THE SLAP TV Series To Debut

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

NBC’s 8-part adaptation of the controversial award-winning novel, The Slap by Australian Christos Tsiolkas, (Penguin, 2010)  has been scheduled to begin airing on Feb. 12

The SlapStarring Uma Thurman (shown in some recent photos from the Brooklyn set), it is directed by Lisa Cholodenko, (HBO’s Olive Kitteridge and the movie The Kids are All Right).

About the repercussions of a man slapping an obnoxious four-year-old boy at a barbecue, the book was a hit in both Australia and the U.K., where it became a reading group staple. It was made into a popular Australian TV series in 2011 (as a result, some reports cite the new adaptation as a remake of that series, without noting the original source material).

Released in the U.S. as an original trade paperback, it  received a strong endorsement from the Washington Post. The reviewer praised it for giving American readers a sense of life in Australia, while exploring subjects that resonate here,

In The Slap we live for a few short weeks in suburban Australia, learning the language, becoming intimate with the characters and experiencing their customs. But finally the novel transcends both suburban Melbourne and the Australian continent, leaving us exhausted but gasping with admiration.

The “Venality” of the Nobel Prize

Monday, December 15th, 2014

When French author Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize this year, only a handful of his 30 books were averrable in the U.S. in English.

In a press release, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced today that they have acquired the rights to the author’s latest novel, So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood, (French title, Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier). They did not announce an anticipated release date.

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As the Washington Post reports, this is not happy news for the founder of one of Modiano’s long-time U.S. publishers, David Godine, who tells the Post, “Money is what this business is all about, There is no venality that exists more than the venality that exists after the Nobel Prize is awarded.” He also notes that the company has done well with Missing Persons, one of the few books available in the U.S. at the time of the Nobel announcement, adding, “if you’re going to read a Modiano, that’s the one to read.”

Last month, the University of California Press, reprinted Dora Bruder, one of Modiano’s more well-known books. In addition, Yale University Press released Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas, (reviewed recently in the Washington Post).

Holds Alert: REDEPLOYMENT

Monday, December 15th, 2014

9781594204999_a7f67Most libraries are showing holds on the winner of the National Book Award in Fiction, Phil Klay’s Redeployment, (Penguin Press; Penguin Audio; Thorndike, OverDrive Sample)

Holds are likely to increase when Klay gets the Colbert Bump on Wednesday (which is the next to last day of the show. Here’s hoping Colbert continues to cover books when he takes over David Letterman’s chair on the Late Show in January).

Last month, Klay appeared on the PBS NewsHour:

Ernest Cline, Movie Rumors,
Next Book

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Ready Player OneWe’ve been talking about Librarian Favorites of the year. The number one title for 2011 was the debut science fiction novel, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (RH/Crown), a book that was also a Librarian’s BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick that year (good going, Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library (OH).

Rumors were swirling last week that Warner Brothers, who bought the film rights prior to publication, are courting  Intersteller director Christopher Nolan to tackle this one. Other sites scoffed at the idea (Nolan doesn’t do adaptations), but then Ain’t It Cook News reported that Nolan is just one of many the studio is considering, including Robert Zemeckis, Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright and Matthew Vaughn.

The only thing that seems certain is that a script has been submitted. The rumors may indicate that it’s been accepted.

9780804149112_319ecCline’s second novel Armada was sold to RH/Crown in 2012 and Universal quickly snapped up the film rights.

The audio version is listed on Edelweiss for release on September 29, 2015. The hardcover is noted on an  accompanying “Comp. Title” list, from Crown, with the same release date and ISBN 9780804137256.  Below is the publisher description:

A cinematic, inventive, heartwarming, and completely nerdtastic adventure from the best-selling author of Ready Player One.

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the hightech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming. But the dream is all too real; the people of earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

Soon Zack and and a handful of top gamers find themselves in a bunker beneath the Pentagon, hearing about our planet’s vast secret history over the last forty years-ever since a NASA probe first discovered evidence of intelligent life in our solar system, hidden beneath the ice of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien Europans, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.

The Jimmy Fallon Bump

Friday, December 5th, 2014

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The cover boy for Entertainment Weekly‘s year-end wrap up was asked to comment on his favorites of the year.

Waxing eloquent about 9781439177723_b60cfhis favorite book, I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes (S&S/ Atria/Emily Bestler, 5/27; trade paperback just released), he said,

”Dude, freak out. That’s my new Gone Girl. Gone Girl was the last book that I couldn’t put down. Seriously, email me when you read it. You’ll be five chapters in, and you’ll look up and be like, ‘Dude!”’

The next title in the series is coming in June.

Watch for galleys, Dude!

9781439177754_aefefThe Year of the Locust

S&S/ Atria/Emily Bestler Books

June 2, 2015

9781439177754, 1439177759

Readers Advisory:
THE CAT’S PAJAMAS

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

9780804140232_8e1f2Among the titles on NPR’s just-released best books list is a title chosen by librarian Nancy Pearl, the debut novel, 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas. (RH/Crown; RH Audio).

Nancy also talks about it on her weekly Seattle NPR segment. You can hear the joy in Nancy’s voice as she describes this novel filled with “People  who are so real that you want their stories to go on and on and on — how often does that happen?” Seen through the eyes of a precocious 9-year-old wannabe torch singer, it is a “loving tribute to jazz and even more, to urban Philadelphia.”

OverDrive Sample 

The audio is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner. As the reviewer says, “Angela Goethals’s rich and resonant voice is perfectly suited to this stirring story about three characters and one important day in their lives.”

New York Times Book Review’s
Picks of 2014

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

All The Light We Cannot SeeThe New York Times Book Review has released its picks of the 100 Notable Books of the year,  making Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (S&S/Scribner) the top fiction title in terms of number of picks to date (see he NYT BR‘s original review). The only holdouts are the Booker committee and Publishers Weekly.

Everything I NeverBut more interesting can be the outliers. The NYT BR is the only one so far to also recognize the book the Amazon’s editors picked as the #1 title of the year, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You (Penguin Press — see the original NYT BR review)

Fifteen of the fiction picks have not show up on any other lists to date. Click here to see those titles, along with links to their original reviews: NYT BR Best Books, Fiction, Unique Picks.

Both Kirkus and the Washington Post have also released their lists, so we have updated our spreadsheet:

2014-Best-Books-Adult-Fiction-V-4

By the end of the week, we will update the nonfiction spreadsheet as well.

Nancy Pearl On the Past
and Possible Future

Monday, December 1st, 2014

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Recommendations from librarian Nancy Pearl on her recent Seattle NPR segments:

History Through The Eyes Of Poets — Nov. 26

Some Desperate Glory: The First World War the Poets Knew, Max Egremont, (Macmillan/FSG, 6/10/14)

Nancy recommends this title because it offers an on-the-ground view of WW I, through the eyes of the poets who were involved in it. Each chapter focuses on a year of the war, thus reflecting the changes in attitude as it grinds on.  In this 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war, she says it makes a great companion to The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell (Oxford University Press, 1975).

The Dystopian Future — Nov 18

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, David Shafer, (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio)

Nancy calls this first novel, “perfect for a great fast moving yet intricate account of a possible future in which a very dangerous kabal plans to take over information.”  She says it has the same “intelligence, crispness and smartness” as Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.

Pennie’s December Pick:
THE IMPOSSIBLE LIVES OF GRETA WELLS

Monday, December 1st, 2014

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This month’s book pick by Costco’s influential buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello, featured in the Costco Connection is The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer, (HarperCollins/Ecco; hardback, 6/25/13, cover above left; trade pbk, 4/15/14, right; HarperAudio). Ironically, it was an IndiNext pick in hardcover. A further irony; Greer admits in the Costco interview that he was fired from many jobs, including one as a bookseller.

IndieNext July, 2013: “This exquisitely rendered novel captures one character in three distinct and historically significant periods: during the flu epidemic of 1918, the wartime world of 1945, and the full-blown AIDS terror of 1985. Greer manages to achieve the near impossible in making Greta believable in all three eras. Greta suffers and learns in each circumstance, though her hard-won, accumulated knowledge is of little help in solving the essential riddle that is life. Still, hers is a grand and brave journey that will not soon be forgotten.” — Marion Abbott, Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts, Berkeley, CA

It was later chosen as a New York Times Notable Book for the year.

OverDrive Sample.

Small Press Book, Big Press Attention

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

9780988518339_d5dccIn today’s New York Times, Dwight Garner opens his review of Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish (Tyrant Books, original trade pbk., Nov. 11) with this attention-getting phrase, “Unlike any American fiction I’ve read recently in its intricate comprehension of, and deep feeling for, life at the margins” and goes on to describe it in increasingly glowing terms, winding up with, “The final chapters of this indelible book pulled my heart up under my ears.”

The publisher is the indie press Tyrant Books, which was profiled in The Los Angeles Review of Books last year.

Preparation for the Next Life was one of 35 titles on Publishers Weekly‘s list of “The Big Indie Books of Fall 2014,” also receiving a stellar review in that publication, as a “stunning debut novel that plumbs the underbelly of New York City … Lish’s prose is at once raw and disciplined, and every word feels necessary. “

Staffing Up: ROOM, The Movie

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

RoomNew cast members have been announced for the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s award-winning best seller, Room  (Hachette/Little,Brown, 2010).

Brie Larson was cast earlier this year in the role of a woman only known as Ma in the book. Kidnapped as a teenager, she lives in a tiny room with her 5-year-old son, Jack and the story  is told through his eyes. Jacob Tremblay (Surfs 2 – shown here at the premiere of that movie) has been hired for that key role.

Also joining are William H. Macy, presumably as Ma’s captor, Old Nick and Joan Allen in an unspecified role. It is being directed by Lenny Abrahamson from a script written by Donoghue. and is expected to be released in 2015.

After OLIVE KITTERIDGE

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Good news for those who enjoyed HBO’s adaptation of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge. The director, Lisa Cholodenko, is gearing up for another TV adaptation, this one for NBC, of a complex, award-winning novel, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, (Penguin, 2010).

It was just announced that Uma Thurman will star, replacing Mary Louise Parker, who recently had to drop out to recover from pneumonia.

The SlapThe controversial Australian novel, about the shock waves set off after a man, having had it with an obnoxious four-year-old boy at a barbecue, ends up slapping him. It was a hit in both Australia and the U.K., where it became a reading group staple.

When it was released here as an original trade paperback, it received a strong endorsement in the Washington Post.  Noting that the book switches back and forth among various characters and their reactions to the events, the reviewer says,

It’s a potentially confusing structure, but Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas is a master of seamless joints … He gets so close to his characters that the reader almost pleads with him to treat them more kindly.

While it gives American readers a sense of life in Australia, it also resonates here,

In The Slap we live for a few short weeks in suburban Australia, learning the language, becoming intimate with the characters and experiencing their customs. But finally the novel transcends both suburban Melbourne and the Australian continent, leaving us exhausted but gasping with admiration.

It was made into a popular Australian TV series in 2011 (as a result, some reports cite the new adaptation as a remake of that series, without noting the original source material).

Below is a trailer for the Australian version:

WOLF HALL Series, U.S. Debut

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall series, recently told an audience that she will not appreciate it if the BBC indulges in the kind of “nonsense” that the Americans brought to history in The Tudors TV series on Showtime.

American audiences will be able to judge for themselves this spring. PBS just announced that they will air the series as part of  “Masterpiece,” beginning April 5. The six-part series stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis, known to many American primarily as Brody in the first three seasons of Showtime’s Homeland, as Henry VIII.

In an odd bit of timing, the TV series begins after the Broadway opening on March 20th of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatrical adaptation, which has been a hit in London (view Act 1, Scene 1). The text of the play will be published in two versions:

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Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: (stage version)
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton
Theatre Communications Group; December 16, 2014
Ship Date: November 24, 2014
9780007549894, 000754989X
Trade Paperback, $22.95 USD

Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: The Stage Adaptation
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton
Picador: February 24, 2015
9781250064172, 1250064171
Trade Paperback, $16.00 USD

As to when the third book in the trilogy, The Mirror and The Light will appear, Mantel said it is “unlikely to be ready until 2016.

From PP&Z To Bradbury

Friday, October 31st, 2014

9780380977277_18bf9The new Disney adaptation of  the 1962 Ray Bradbury classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1999 hardcover reissue, Harper Voyager), has just completed the next step in becoming reality, with the hiring of a screenwriter.

It is set to be directed by first-timer Seth Grahame-Smith, who, as an author, has seen other directors adapt two of his books,  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to midlling success and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which languished in  development for years until it finally began filming in September (see Entertainment Weekly‘s “first look”).

When the Bradbury project was first announced earlier this year, Grahame-Smith told Deadline, “I have been so crazy about this book, and it was such a formative title in my life that I actually wrote a piece on NPR about why it is so important for young males to read,”

Disney has adapted it before, into a 1983 movie, starring Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd and Pam Grier. Grahame-Smith said he doesn’t intend to remake that movie, “I want the haunted atmosphere that makes the book so chilling, and I want to reinstate some of the classic scenes from the book that were missing from the ’83 film.”