Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

“Sensitive Storyteller” Chris Cleave On NPR

Monday, May 9th, 2016

9781501124372_102c9Rising on the Amazon charts on the strength of an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday is Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave Is Forgiven (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The Library Reads pick, GalleyChatter hit, and Indie Next selection is currently #88 on Amazon’s Top 100 and is definitely headed for the best seller lists.

NPR’s Lynn Neary talks with Cleave about his own family’s WWII history, the Blitz in London and the Siege of Malta, and the pervasive racism of the era. Of his family he says:

“One of the bravest things that people in that generation did was to trust each other and was to trust themselves to fall in love. They fell in love sort of differently from the way we do. My real-life grandparents only met nine times before they were engaged. And so my grandmother’s engagement ring had these nine tiny stones on it, one for each time. And that was one of the bravest things they did. It wasn’t just that they were very stoical and that they endured so much. It was that they had faith in each other.”

The novel is receiving conflicting reviews. In the Washington Post, David L. Ulin, former editor  of the Los Angeles Times, says the author has problems tackling the grave effects of war, “None of the characters here is truly changed, not at the deepest level, which gives the book something of a shopworn quality.” On the other hand, The Guardian says: “With Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Cleave cements his reputation as a skilful storyteller, and a sensitive chronicler of the interplay between the political and the personal.”

TULIP FEVER Arrives in July

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Tulip FeverThe adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever (PRH/Delacorte, 2000) was filmed back in 2014, so yesterday’s announcement of a July 15 release date seems sudden.

The industry news site IndieWire suggests that the Weinstein Company has held back the release for a reason, as they are known for “sitting on movies when they don’t make the grade” also citing that “American audiences are still waiting to see the WWII tale Suite Francaise starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts”

Neo trailer has been released yfor Tulip Fever, starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, along with Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench and, Zach Galafianakis and no tie-in has been announced.

UPDATE: Trailer, below:

Vikander also stars in the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, set to open on Labor Day.

Belgravia Delayed

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

BelgraviaJulian Fellowes appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition today to talk about his new project. Harking back to an old form, his book Belgravia will be released in installments, but using modern technology, it will be delivered via an app.

Unfortunately, there is a hitch. According to the Belgravia App Page on Facebook,

“Our nineteenth century story has been stalled by twenty-first century technology! … We are currently resolving an unexpected technical issue and the launch of Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA app has been delayed.”

As we noted earlier, a hardcover edition of the full series, as well as an audio, is set for July.
 

Summer Blooming

Monday, April 4th, 2016

9780812993103_f08deIn 2010, Helen Simonson’s debut novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand put a modern twist on the tradition of British novels about village life. The gentlemanly Major Pettigrew of the title falls for a lovely Pakistani widow who runs the local tea shop.

Critics were charmed and so were booksellers, making it a #1 Indie Next pick. It hit the lower rungs of the NYT best seller list and spent many more weeks on the paperback list.

Simonson’s new novel, The Summer Before the War (PRH/Random House; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), is taking off more quickly, arriving at #7 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list in its first week of publication.

The #1 March LibraryReads pick, USA Today sums it up as “Julian Fellowes meets E.M. Forster.” The Washington Post calls it “a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community” and says “The novel’s amusing dialogue enlivens its compelling storyline and is sure to please fans of Downton.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and offers: “within the framework of a wartime love story, Simonson captures the contradictions of small-town life perfectly: the idyllic pastimes, the overly involved neighbors, the hints at secrets and unspoken truths.” The goes on to say the novel is ” thoroughly enjoyable” and “addictively readable.”

The one nay-sayer is Miss Manners, reviewing the book for the NYT Sunday Book Review under her real name Judith Martin, carping over “an annoying caricature of Henry James” and adding that she prefers the Lucia and Mapp series by E.F. Benson, novels that are also set in the British town of Rye during the early 20th C.

Holds are growing at many libraries we checked, with some wait lists topping a 3:1 ratio.

Pennie Picks a Two-fer:
THE KITCHEN HOUSE

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

costco-connectionThis month Costco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello, calls attention to a sleeper hit and its follow-up.

The influential Costco buyer is well known for bringing new attention to titles re-released in trade paperback, such as The Art Forger, The Orchardist and Beautiful Ruins, resulting in each book rising or making its debut on best seller lists.

9781439153666_e5e4cThis month she mixes it up, going back in time to a book first reviewed in the trades in 2009, Kathleen Grissom’s debut, The Kitchen House (S&S/Touchstone; OverDrive Sample), also setting up the author’s forthcoming second novel.

The Kitchen House is likely already in most collections. While the sleeper languished at first it became a huge book club hit based on the PR efforts of Grissom. So remarkable was its rise that in 2012 The Wall Street Journal ran a story on its rags to riches turn around (link may require a subscription).

9781476748443_b8ed0Now Pennie is pushing it again, saying the antebellum story of a white indentured servant
has her “ready for Grissom’s follow-up novel,”
Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House,(S&S; S&S Audio; April).

The Kitchen House is still in demand with
active holds at many libraries we checked and Glory Over Everything already showing
solid demand.

THE LIGHT Appears This Fall

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The Light Between Oceans, Trade PbkA couple of months ago, we wondered what had happened to the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, based on the long-running best seller by M.L. Stedman (S&S/ Scribner).

We just got our answer. Deadline reports it is scheduled for September 2nd, to take advantage of Labor Day weekend. Deadline suggests it may have been held back to save it for next year’s awards season. Both its stars are already up for Oscars this year, Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.

Tie-ins:

The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman, 8/30/16
Trade Paperback, (S&S/Scribner)
Mass Market, (S&S/Pocket Books)

For other adaptations in the works, check our Upcoming Adaptations list. For tie-ins, Upcoming — Tie-ins

Austen Adaptation Set for Release

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

On a buying spree at the Sundance Film FestivalAmazon acquired the buzzed-about Love and Friendship, based on an unfinished early novella by Jane Austen. Originally untitled, it was published in 1871, after Austen’s death, as Lady Susan. (available in several editions, including one from Penguin Classics). To make things more confusing, the movie uses the title of a different work by Austen, an early short story.

The movie is directed by Whit Stillman, described in an interview with Vanity Fair last week as “The cult director of contemporary and contemporary-ish Austen-inflected fare” (including Metropolitan and The last Days of Disco). It stars  Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, with Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry.

It will first be released in theaters, followed a month later by streaming via Amazon Prime. One source lists the release date as May 13.

The tie-in is written by the director:

Love & Friendship

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated by Whit Stillman, (Hachette/Little, Brown).

The reviews of the screening at Sundance have been warm, as exemplified by those from Vanity Fair, “Love & Friendship: A Cream Puff of a Movie” and the Guardian, “Kate Beckinsale is a devious delight.”

OUTLANDER, Season 2,
Trailer & Tie-ins

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

The first trailer for new season of Outlander on STARZ was just released.

Based on the second novel in the book series, Dragonfly In Amber (PRH/Delacorte, 1992; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), it follows Jamie and Claire as they escape to France and try to stop the Jacobite rising. This moves the action from the Scottish Highlands to upper-class life in France.

Once again, it spans multiple time periods and also introduces new characters, including Jamie and Claire’s adult daughter Brianna, Fergus, Jamie’s spy and one-day-adopted son, and a young Lord John Grey.

Season two is slated to air some time this spring.

Tie-ins (Season 2 Cover Art to Come):

9780399177699_16a9f

Dragonfly in Amber (Starz Tie-in Edition) ,  Diana Gabaldon
PRH/Delta, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback

RA Alert: GODDESS

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

9780732298883_915c1Calling her “an Olympic gold medalist combined with Lady GaGa,” Kelly Gardiner spoke to Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about Julie d’Aubigny, the true-life subject of her novel, Goddess (HarperCollins; OverDrive Sample),

A legendary 17th century swashbuckling figure, a bisexual, cross-dressing opera singer and noted duelist who was raised in the servant side of Versailles, d’Aubigny was once sentenced to burn at the stake for her relationship with a nun.

After writing a string of historical fiction/adventure YA books, d’Aubigny Gardiner’s debut adult novel re-tells the highlights of d’Aubigny’s many adventured life, told in retrospect from her deathbed.

D’Aubigny has become somewhat of a standard barer Gardiner says, telling NPR:

“Throughout the centuries, she’s been written about … and every so often, she becomes famous all over again, and she’s famous all over again now. It’s fascinating to see — whenever society starts to think about, what does gender mean, what does sexuality mean, she’s just one of the names that comes up, and people start thinking about her, and talking about her, and portraying her all over again.”

Pennie’s October Pick

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

9780062279972_08eefCostco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello has recently featured well-known titles as her influential monthly “Pennie’s Pcks” (Me Before You, Circling The Sun, and The Girl On The Train were the July, August, and September selections).

Her October pick breaks the mold.

Brian Payton’s 2014 novel The Wind Is Not a River (Harper/Ecco; OverDrive Sample), while not exactly under the radar, did not achieve bestseller status.

It was both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads choice when it came out in hardcover. Librarian Nancy Pearl interviewed Payton in an “Author One-on-One” for Amazon, when it was picked as an Amazon Best Book of the Month.

9780062279989_27b0cThe novel explores a little-known aspect of WWII, the fierce fighting between Japanese and U.S.soldiers on Alaska’s Aleutians islands. The trade paperback edition features a cover that focuses on the relationship in the novel, underscored by a blurb from the USA Today review, “a haunting love story,” over the WWII survival story.

This month’s Costco Connection interviews Payton. In a sidebar Ianniciello says the novel is “so much more than a history lesson, this is a beautiful story about the way loss can affect people.”

Keep your eye on this one; Pennie’s Picks often have a widespread effect.

Beryl Markham May Get
Her Close-Up

Friday, September 25th, 2015

9780345534187_5a2b2-2It seemed inevitable that Paul McLain’s bestseller Circling the Sun, (RH/Ballantine), with its echoes of Out of Africa, would be a candidate for film treatment. Now, The Hollywood Reporter announces that the book has been optioned.

Says producer Lauren Sanchez, “”She was a pioneer for women,” says Sanchez. “Everyone says Hollywood is looking for female-driven roles and stories — this is one of them.”

The only question: what took them so long?

Nancy Pearl Interviews Paula McLain

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.48.46 AMLibrarian Nancy Pearl, who has often recommended Beryl Markham’s West with the Night (Macmillan/North Point Press; Blackstone Audio; eBook from OpenRoad Medic; OverDrive sample), interviews author Paula McLain as part of the Book Lust series airing on the Seattle channel. McLain’s  fictional take on Markham’s life, Circling the Sun (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) has been a NYT best seller since its publication at the end of July.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.49.41 AMThe two discuss how McLain came to focus on Markham after her success writing about Hemingway’s first wife in the novel The Paris Wife (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). It turns out that McLain struggled after the publication of that breakout book, spending years searching for a subject.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 9.50.27 AMShe wrote hundreds of pages on both Georgia O’Keeffe and Marie Curie only to have both projects fail to take off. Finally, while on vacation with her sister and brother-in-law she stumbled across West with the Night, Markham’s vivid memoir (which even Hemingway, who hated Markham, praised to the skies). McLain’s brother-in-law was reading it poolside and told her it was going to be important in her life. She ignored him and it for a year longer before picking up the story and getting swept away.

Iggulden Novels to Big Screen Franchise

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9780385343428_9f032 9780385343015_8bbd8

After The Hunger Games and Divergent where do you turn for your next franchise?

Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment will move from the dystopian future to the historical past, reports Deadline, with a potential trilogy about Julius Caesar, based on Conn Iggulden’s Emperor novels.

The first film, titled Emperorwill be based on The Gates Of Rome and The Field Of Swords (both trade pbk, RH/Delta).

The series consists of five books.

The author recently began a new series about England dynastic wars. The second in the series was published this year, Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou (Penguin/Putnam, 6/16/15).

Along with his brother Hal Iggulden, he also published the surprise best seller, The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007). In the fall NBC bought the rights to a series based on the book to be produced by Bryan Cranston.

ROOTS Remake

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9781593154493Referred to as an “up-and-coming British actor” by Deadline, Malachi Kirby has just landed the lead role as Kunta Kinte in A+E Networks’ remake of the seminal 1977 TV series Roots, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alex Haley (cover of the 2007 Thirtieth Anniversary Edition, left). LeVar Burton played Kinte in the original series.

Playing author Alex Haley in the series is Laurence Fishburne. In the original, James Earl Jones played Haley, appearing in the first episode of the series.

Set to begin shooting next month in South Africa and New Orleans, it is expected to air some time next year.

Kirby is known in the U.K. for his role in the TV series East Enders. He also starred as the younger brother in the 2013 British film Gone Too Far. The trailer, below, includes an eerie foreshadowing of his future role.

COLD MOUNTAIN, The Opera

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.52.23 PMCharles Frazier’s 1997 novel Cold Mountain, a long-running best seller and National Book Award winner that was made into an equally successful movie, has recently become, wait for it, an opera.

Composed by Jennifer Higdon (who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in music) with a libretto by Genre Scheer, it premiered last week at the Santa Fe Opera.

Scheer told NPR’s Morning Edition that both he and Higdon “were convinced that [the novel] was really a great idea for an opera. That there was a way of inviting music in to really illuminate the story.”

Frazier was surprised by the request for opera rights, telling NPR “My first reaction was that Inman is such an internal character — that he hardly speaks … To see him on stage singing took a little bit of adjustment.”

That is a common response from authors of print books. But perhaps one that will have to be recalibrated as more and more titles move from the page to the stage. The adaptions are not done, the beloved Tuck Everlasting is coming to Broadway in 2016.

The New York Times reports that interest is so high in Cold Mountain that the Santa Fe Opera mounted an additional a performance and is making plans to release a recording. Until then, here is a sample

The production will move to Opera Philadelphia in Feb. 2016. The Minnesota Opera also has plans to stage it.