Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

THE WINDFALL: Getting Attention

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Diksha Basu’s debut novel, The Windfall (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is attracting notable attention.

TV rights were optioned in March, reports Deadline Hollywood and now that it is has been published, the NYT covers the author twice. Taking a break from her nonfiction duties, NYT reviewer Jennifer Senior writes the novel tells “a story that’s the stuff of Amartya Sen’s worst nightmares and Tom Wolfe’s sweetest dreams.” The paper also has a feature on the Basu’s “Sunday Routine.

As part of its “Culture Index” RollingStone says it is one of the “Seven things you should check out this week.” HuffPost lists it as one of “12 Great New Books To Bring To The Beach This Summer” while Bustle names it one of “15 Uplifting Books That Will Soothe Your Soul In Dark Times.” Elle reviews, writing “The Windfall explores the effects of generational, gender, and class differences. Through her detailed descriptions of family meals, dusty floors, and ostentatious outfits, Basu gives us a full snapshot of a community’s life in contemporary India.”

PW stars, calling it a “charming, funny debut.” It is a July Indie Next pick.

NPR interviews the author on Weekend Edition Sunday, calling her novel “a delightful comedy of errors where [the characters] navigate the unexpected pressures and pleasures of newfound wealth in modern India.”

Pearl Power, Summer Reads

Friday, June 30th, 2017

“Librarian’s librarian” Nancy Pearl gives a boost to several titles on NPR’s Morning Edition this week, picking her favorite books from the spring list for summer reading.

Host Steve Inskeep begins by asking if the prolific reader is have any trouble focusing on books “in these news saturated times.” Pearl admits that she she finds her reading tastes are changing and she has abandoned her usual favorites, character-driven stories for page-turners

Her favorite is the debut, August Snow, (Soho Crime; Recorded Books). She says, “I’m not just saying that because I’m from Detroit and it’s set in Detroit.”

Prepub reviews dunned the book for veering into thriller cliches, but Kirkus noted, “it’s easy to overlook those flaws considering what this book gets right: a hugely likable hero who uses his wealth to bring his neighborhood back to life; a feel for the vitality and pride in run-down urban neighborhoods as good as George Pelecanos on Washington, D.C.; appealing supporting characters who give life to the book’s theme of the solace to be found in communities. It adds up to a very pleasurable read.”

By the end of the program, Inskeep observes, “we started out trying to get away from the news, but we’re actually getting fresh perspectives on the news of recent years … from urban struggle to rural areas that are losing population and economic vitality.”

Click here for the full list of titles and annotations.

Readers Are With THE FORCE

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Don Winslow debuts on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #10 with The Force (HarperCollins/Morrow; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Audio Sample), the highest any of his three novels have ever reached.

The book gets its lift from a great deal of press, including a review in the NYT by Janet Maslin who calls it a “shattering New York cop epic about an elite task force leader who’s a hero until he’s not.” It is also featured in the NYTBR Crime column, with long time reviewer Marilyn Stasio calling it “a scorcher.” In a third round of NYT attention, Winslow is the subject of the “By the Book” column this week. The Washington Post says it is “a big, fat book of fast-moving fiction … riveting and scary.” Adding to the buzz, film rights sold before the book even had a title. UPDATE: The movie release has just been set for March 1, 2019. David Mamet has been hired to write the script and James Mangold (Logan) to direct.

Winslow has also made news this week with an ad in the NYT that is an open letter blasting “President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for wanting to ‘drag us back into one of the most catastrophic social policies in this nation’s history: #TheWaronDrugs'” writes USA Today. He tells USA Today that he placed the ad at his own expense because “I feel so strongly that this (drug) policy is wrong. … (It) seeks to expand a disastrous policy that has ripped our nation apart.”

Holds across libraries we checked are reflecting the attention; many systems have ratios topping 5:1.

Pennie Picks KISS CARLO

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Costco’s influential book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello, selects as her July “Buyers Pick” Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), a love story and family tale set in the world of the theater.

Ianniciello gives it her personal endorsement, writing “I look forward to every new book by Adriana Trigiani … her books are a joy to read.”

In an interview in the Costco Connection, Trigiani says “The plot sets the stage for a Shakespearean conflict, for it’s a story of love, loyalty and creativity that is filled with everything we all struggle with as humans.”

It lands on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list #7, her highest-ranking debut to date.

Trigiani is featured on Today in a segment headlined “Need a juicy summer read?” Chatting with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb over a breakfast of pasta and red wine, she claims this book is her “favorite of everything I’ve written.”

High Tide for BEACH HOUSE FOR RENT

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Mary Alice Monroe hits a career high with Beach House for Rent (S&S/Gallery Books; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), debuting on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #12 [UPDATE: The “eco-minded” author is featured in the NYT‘s “Inside the List” column].

Beach House for Rent is book four in the Isle of Palms series begun in 2002. Each of the four books are spaced roughly five years apart: The Beach House (2002), Swimming Lessons (2007), Beach House Memories (2012), Beach House for Rent (2017). In their starred review LJ writes this newest can stand alone.

The series has been on the path to an adaptation for the Hallmark channel, announced in 2015.  Star Andie McDowell confirmed that via a video, but there has been no news since on the status. The rerelease of the first book in the series last December may indicate there is movement.

To TV: VANITY FAIR

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

A new adaptation of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is heading to TV, streaming on Amazon and airing on Britain’s ITV reports Variety.

It will star Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) as the wily Becky Sharp, a woman trying to rise through society against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. James Strong (Broadchurch) directs.

The novel, a classic of British literature, has been adapted many times, on TV and in the movies. Most recently, in the form of a film staring Reese Witherspoon an directed by Mira Nair, It was “a box-office disappointment” according to Variety. This new production hopes to revive interest. An ITV executive said the seven episode series will “bring the novel to life in a way that will really connect with a modern audience.”

The series is being produced by Amazon Studios and Mammoth Screen. Mammoth, an arm of ITV, produced the popular Victoria series which played on PBS in the United States. ITV is most famous in the US for creating Downton Abbey.

The historical drama is expected to debut in 2018. The book has been published in a number of editions and is also available as a full-cast audio featuring narrators Emma Fielding and Stephen Fry (BBC Books).

The Telegraph offers a primer on the story and the importance of the novel.

Books In The City

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Sarah Jessica Parker has picked the first novel for her new imprint SJP for Hogarth, a debut by Fatima Farheen Mirza tentatively titled A Place for Us.

According to the NYT it “follows an Indian-American family that is reunited on the eve of the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding. It tackles issues of belonging and tradition, delving into the complex experience of an immigrant family in the United States.”

In a press release Mirza said “After working on the novel for eight years, I could not be happier with the home it has found … I’m confident in their vision for the novel and grateful that it will be brought into the world by SJP for Hogarth.”

Vogue writes that Parker “called being ‘taken hostage by Fatima Mirza’s heartrending and timely story’ a ‘gutting pleasure,’ and praised Mirza’s ability to afford her reader a better understanding of ‘what it means to reconcile one’s love of family and culture with a desire to find one’s own path, and one’s own faith.'”

The novel will publish in 2019. Parker will be involved in all aspects of the book’s publication and design and tells the NYT she’s a bit nervous about the editing process, fearing that “a writer might be ‘allergic’ to her feedback.”

It’s been quite  the literary week for Parker. On Monday she announced her pick for ALA’s new BookClub Central. Parker serves as honorary chair of the initiative.

FOUNDATION To TV

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Isaac Asimov’s science fiction Foundation Trilogy may be headed to TV reports Deadline Hollywood. Skydance Television, the production company behind the new Star Trek films and World War Z, is helming a possible project.

This is not the first attempt to translate the books to screen. Den of Geek writes that as recently as 2014 HBO took a crack at it and Deadline adds “the guys who greenlit The Lord Of The Rings films [as well as] Independence Day director Roland Emmerich” have tried as well.

This time the team includes showrunners and screenwriters who have worked on the Dark Knight trilogy and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

According to Deadline the main reasons no one has been able to adapt the series yet is their sprawling nature, involving many characters and plots and because George Lucas drew on them so heavily for Star Wars “the challenge is to not appear to be ripping off one of Hollywood’s most successful film franchises, even though Asimov wrote his books 75 years ago.”

The Foundation Trilogyan iconic piece of science fiction, won the 1966 Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, beating out Lord of the Rings, even though, as io9 reports, many thought the category was invented specifically to honor that title.

io9 posted a guide to the books back when they thought HBO would make the series. Their primer is still useful for anyone who needs to get up to speed on the story. Both trade paperback and mass market editions are still in print (PRH/Spectra).

More Martin

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

In addition to the GOT spinoffs, another George R.R. Martin adaptation is in the works. The Syfy channel just greenlighted a pilot based on his supernatural 1980 novella Nightflyers.

A team is “setting up a writers room to generate backup scripts in preparation for a potential series pickup,” reports Deadline Hollywood. The pilot script is being written by Jeff Buhler, known for the horror films The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming remake of Jacob’s Ladder.

Variety describes the story as following “eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system in the hopes of contacting alien life. They travel aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other, and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.”

The Nerdist adds “After all, if the night is dark and full of terrors, just imagine what untold horrors lie in the inky blackness of space.”

On his blog, Martin says it is “one of my SF/ horror hybrids … a favorite of mine (especially the longer version that I did for BINARY STARS), and I think the show could have a lot of potential… especially if you like a little horror in your SF.”

The novella was adapted into what Den of Geek calls “a schlocky, limited-releasefilm in 1987. The novella itself is collected in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers, now out of print.

Martin, who has an exclusive contract with HBO, is not involved with this new project.

More on ORIGIN

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Announced last October, some details emerged today about Dan Brown’s upcoming book, Origin (PRH/Doubleday; Random House Large Print; Random House/BOT Audio; 10/3/17), the fifth in his Robert Langdon series.

The cover has been revealed, along with a trailer. The few hints about that the book is set in four cities in Spain has brought speculation. The LA Times writes, “Bilbao is home to a Guggenheim Museum, which seems certain to play a role in the novel — [Brown’s] Langdon character is a Harvard professor of symbology, and previous books have taken him to the Louvre (The Da Vinci Code) and the Museum of Palazzo Vecchio (Inferno).” Cue the hordes of tourists.

Entertainment Weekly adds that this book will offer a new twist on Brown’s usual mix of codes, religion and art. This time the art “will be modern, and the science will focus on cutting-edge technology.”

ALA BookClub Launch

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Celebrity power makes for a successful start of the new ALA BookClub Central program.

Actress and book lover Sarah Jessica Parker announced the first title, No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), on ABC’s Good Morning America, saying “there is much to praise about this very special book.” Parker also promoted the program and her role as honorary chair of the initiative on her Instagram page.

The debut novel is rising on Amazon, moving from #451 to #16 [UPDATE: as of 2 pm, ET, it’s moved to #9], within range of the just-announced Oprah pick, Behold the Dreamers, which is at #2.

Holds are building in several libraries.

Bustle also reports on the news, writing “the first book selection needs to be at the top of your summer TBR list.” Parade also writes about it.

In a press release Parker says “No One is Coming to Save Us marks the arrival of a wonderfully gifted new American writer. JJ, Ava, and Sylvia are easy characters to fall in love with, and Stephanie Powell Watts brings them to life with warmth and generosity. I can’t wait to share their story, their search for fulfillment and attempts to better understand their past and shape their future, with readers everywhere, and I’m jealous of all who will open to page one for the first time.”

The book got attention when it first published, making a number of most anticipated lists and getting reviewed by the NYT, The Washington Post, and USA Today, and being featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Parker is also launching a new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, in 2018, a project, reports Parade, that grew from her overwhelming reaction to Anthony Mara’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

Oprah Announces
New Book Club Title

Monday, June 26th, 2017

UPDATE: Click here for the official announcement, the reading group guide and Oprah’s interview with the author.

The newest Oprah Book Club selection was announced today on CBS This Morning:

The book is being released in paperback today:

Behold The Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue
Random House Trade Paperbacks, June 26, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0525509714

Below, she speaks to librarians at a Penguin Random House preview, her first time speaking to an audience about her book.

Brain Exercise from the D.O.D.O.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (HarperCollins/Morrow; HaperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list this week at #11. It is the lead feature in the paper’s “Inside the List” column, which calls it “a fat marshmallow of a fantasy novel.”

The book, “about a time-traveling intelligence officer and a Harvard linguist who discover that magic was once commonplace” is a collaboration between the noted SF writer and the historical novelist, furthering the trend of genre blending. The NYT asks “If you co-write a book about magic, is that crowd-sorcery?”

Defending the book’s length, 768 pages, Stephenson says “The practice of sustained attention is something that’s happening less and less, especially in our leisure time, so a long narrative, and one that’s this intricate, which requires that you’re always plugged in, because there are various things going on at once — I think that that’s a great exercise. I would assign this book as a brain exercise, as well as a jolly good read.”

It also debuts the USA Today list at #29 and is the #1 Indie Next pick for July. Entertainment Weekly names it one of their “20 Must-Read Books” of the summer. Booklist and Kirkus star, with the latter calling it “Immense and immensely entertaining.” The Guardian reviews it, writing that it is “big, roomy and enjoyable … The characters are lively, the plot moves along and the whole thing possesses heart and charm.” The Washington Post calls it “ambitious” and says “There’s a lot going on here — stylistic flourishes, comedic pratfalls, romance and science — but it’s handled deftly.”

Rumor Control: DOWNTON Movie

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Rumors of a Downton Abbey movie have resurfaced.

Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, said at an event in Singapore this week for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, that the company hopes “to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series” for a new film, currently set for 2018.

The headline of the AP story, however makes it sound much more definite, “NBC says ‘Downton Abbey’ movie production to start in 2018.”

The news seems to have taken much of the cast by surprise. A film version has been rumored for years.

Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, told the AP “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

“Oh, well, you’ve got confirmation before us. We have no idea if that’s happening,” said Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy.

Creator Julian Fellowes was hopeful, responding “I think we’ve got a film in us. I hope it happens.”

As we posted earlier, Fellowes and Elizabeth McGovern are already booked for now, working on the Masterpiece’s production of The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s 2012 novel, which is set to begin filming soon in NYC.

 

Holds Alert: THE ESSEX SERPENT

Monday, June 19th, 2017

After wowing in the UK, Sarah Perry’s sophomore novel, The Essex Serpent (HarperCollins/Custom House; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is earning rave reviews here. Holds are high at most libraries we checked, several topping 10:1.

It is People‘s Book of the Week in the new issue and is one of Book Mark’s “Most Talked About” titles. The Washington Post chief critic Ron Charles headlines his review with the opinion that it features “The most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet” and features it in one of his video reviews.

The NYT glows, writing it is:

“a novel of almost insolent ambition — lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate. Set in the Victorian era, it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. It’s wonderfully dense and serenely self-assured. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.”

NPR is also on board, calling it “painfully lovely” and a “gloriously alive historical novel.” All Things Considered has an interview:

As we posted earlier, it is an Indie Next pick and has done extraordinarily well in the UK. The Guardian writes it has had “an astonishing trajectory, selling more than 200,000 copies in hardback alone – 40 times more than the initial sales target – and scooping up nominations as varied as the Costa fiction award to the Wellcome prize for books about medicine and health.” Perry beat both Sebastian Barry and Paul Beatty out to win the British Book Award, both as Best Novel and the Book of the Year. It was also on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction long list and the Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist.