Featured on the cover of the upcoming NYT Book Review is Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike). Not only is it a surprise to find the Book Review covering a book by a best-selling author close to publication date (likely the doing of the new editor, Pamela Paul, who began that position in May), but the name of the reviewer is also a surprise, Margaret Atwood.
Perhaps to justify that choice, a callout quotes Atwood’s review, “Some may look skeptically at ‘horror’ as a genre, but it’s one of the most literary of all forms.”
This may be the only review of Doctor Sleep that mentions Vladimir Nabokov and Salvador Dali in the first paragraph. Atwood calls it,
… a very good specimen of the quintessential King blend. According to Vladimir Nabokov, Salvador Dali was ‘really Norman Rockwell’s twin brother kidnapped by gypsies in babyhood.’ But actually there were triplets: the third one is Stephen King.”
The review is peppered with literary references. Atwood gives King respect as a writer, noting that he ”loves wordplay and puns and mirror language … The names of King’s characters are frequently appropriate: Daniel ‘Lion’s Den’ Anthony the (the tempted saint) Torrance (it never rains but it pours) is a case in point.” She also gives him respect as entertainer, “by the end of this book, your fingers will be mere stubs of their former selves.”
This may be the only review of Doctor Sleep you need to read (currently, it’s only available in print; it will be online Friday afternoon).
Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike), may be the definition of “review-proof.” It’s on multiple most anticipated list from the literary-leaning L.A. Times critic David Ulin’s to the more populist USA Today‘s and, really, what more does one need to say than “it’s the sequel to The Shining“?
But that won’t stop the reviewers. The NYT‘s Janet Maslin tackles it today, over a week before publication, saying it’s “scary enough to match the first book, though not better or scarier … Doctor Sleep is less panic-inducingly surreal.” She becomes more enthusiastic by the review’s end, saying that King “is so good at scaring that he can even raise goose bumps when he writes about the measles.”
Maslin’s isn’t the first review. Two others beat her to it yesterday. New York magazine judges the sequel as not as good or as scary as the first, but finds it, ”Funnier, slyer, and less genre-bound.” Conversely, the New York Daily News Shcrryl Connelly is a fan, saying Doctor Sleep represents “King at his best, perhaps not as shrill as in The Shining, but thoroughly terrifying.”
The Shining was published nearly forty years ago. So far, the only review to address whether the sequel stands on its own is Library Journal‘s which says it will “satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.”
The second trailer for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror story, Carrie, debuted online this week. Directed by Kimberly Peirce, it stars Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role and Julianne Moore as her fanatically religious mother. The movie arrives in theaters on Oct. 18.
Brian De Palma directed the original adaptation in 1976, with Sissy Spacek as Carrie and Piper Laurie as her mother.
Director Kimberley Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) has said on her Facebook page that her Carrie will not be a remake of De Palma’s version:
… I have gone back to the wonderful STEPHEN KING Book CARRIE; I am also modernizing the story as one has to in order to bring any great piece of work written in one era into the next and especially given how very relevant this material is right now.
Stephen King is making news this week. In an interview on Entertainment Weekly, he talks aboutDoctor Sleep, (S&S/Scribner; 9/24/13; S&S Audio), his eagerly anticipated followup to The Shining, which answers the question, “Whatever happened to Danny?”
And, a SuperBowl ad ran yesterday for a CBS series based on another of his books, Under the Dome, which begins this summer. The tie-in will be published May 14 (S&S/Gallery).
The new season of AMC’s zombie apocalypse series, The Walking Dead, beat out all other programming, including broadcast shows, to become the #1 entertainment series on TV. The first three episodes drew at least 6.5 million viewers each, stunning industry observers.
The Walking Dead began life as a comic series, written by Robert Kirkman (see our earlier story). Compilations of those series have dominated the NYT Graphic Books Best Seller list for month (Book 1, published by Image Comics, is at #3 on the o hardcover list after 67 weeks; the most recent, Book 8, at #2, took up residence 3 weeks ago).
Volume two, The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury(Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio), outdid its predecessor last week, arriving on the main list at #11 (it slips to #31 on the extended list this week). Several libraries are showing heavy holds.
The excitement in the upcoming week is in nonfiction, starting with a new collection of Beatle John Lennon‘s private letters, a new Barbra Streisand bio by William J. Mann, and a biography of photographer Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan, along witha YA adaptation of Navy Seal Eric Greitens‘s bestselling memoir. Usual suspects include James Patterson (with Marshall Karp), Robert K. Morgan and the man known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature,” R L Stein, delivers his first adult horror novel (thanks for the correction; this is actually his second book for adults, after his 1995 title, Superstitious).
The John Lennon Lettersby John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) collects the beloved Beatles private letters to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life, with annotations by Hunter Davies, author of the authorized biography The Beatles (1968).
Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Thorndike Large Print) focuses on the singer’s breakthrough years in the Sixties, when she starred in Funny Girl on Broadway and recorded three platinum albums. PW says, “Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.”
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Dreamscape Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer’s account of 19th C portrait photographer Edward Curtis, who gave up a thriving career to chronicle more than 80 Native American tribes before their way of life disappeared. The result was Curtis’s classic 20-volume set, The North American Indian, which took 30 years to complete and left him divorced and destitute. Kirkus says, “Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.”
Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Prescence by Sarah Young (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson) is the second book from the missionary and breakout author of Jesus Calling.
There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) blends political analysis, history, and personal reminiscences of the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 in a coming of age memoir. The author best known for the novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold ten million copies worldwide since 1958. Kirkus says, “a powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.”
Nonfiction – Young Adult
The Warrior’s Heart by Eric Greitens (HMH Young Readers) adapts the author’s bestseller The Heart and the Fist for teen readers, focusing on the youthful adventures that led him to become a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL. Kirkus says Greitens retraces his coming of age “with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement,” and says it’s “as thought provoking as it is entertaining.”
Red Rain by R L Stein (S&S/Touchstone; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the first second adult horror novel by the bestselling author of the GoosebumpsandFear Streetseries, involving a hurricane and psychopath. PW says it “fails to compel.”
Lots of titles to watch next week, including librarian favorites from rising novelists Emma Straub and Tatjana Soli, Spanish sci-fi bestseller Felix J. Palma, and British debut author MorganMcCarthy. Usual suspects include Zadie Smith, James Patterson, Dale Brown and Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry – plus Elizabeth George makes her YA debut.
After dominating news all this week, No Easy Day, the eyewitness account of the killing of bin Laden is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but the Pentagon has warned that the author is in breach of the non-disclosure agreements he signed when he became a Navy SEAL and that “Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
Christopher Hitchens posthumously delivers his last words on mortality, Gretchen Rubin shares more tried and true advice on cultivated happiness, and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade reflects on his rise as a basketball player and his role as a father.
Breedby Scott Spencer writing as Chase Novak (Hachette/ Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio) is a medical thriller about an infertile couple who transform themselves into parents via reproductive technology, but it has an unexpected side effect, causing them to develop strange appetites that scare their twin children. Janet Maslin gave it an early review in Thursday’s New York Times, in which she calls Spencer the “gently literary author still best remembered for the lush prose of his 1979 Endless Love…[who has] has started writing in a pulpier and more diabolical vein.” She that, while it displays “keen antennas for sensory detail,” it is “a gruesome book, a full-bore foray into the horror genre, so literary loveliness goes only so far. It is probably best avoided by anyone not wishing to know exactly what it’s like to eat a baby pigeon.” The cover sports a blurb from Stephen King, “By turns terrifying and blackly funny, Breed is a total blast.” Entertainment Weekly, however, gives it just a “B,” saying, “Breed is being touted as a modern-day Rosemary’s Baby, but Spencer… delivers the camp better than he does the scares.” A followup, Brood, is in the works.
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (Grove Press) is a historical novel set in 17th century England about a boy who’s orphaned when his mother is accused of being a witch. He goes on to become the greatest cook of his generation. PW says, “Known for intellectual prose and complex plots, Norfolk this time out attempts to interweave time and senses, reality and myth, rewarding steadfast readers with savory recipes and a bittersweet upstairs-downstairs love story.” It was a BEA Librarian’s Shout ‘n’ Share pick, and is an Indie Next pick for September.
Norfolk offers a look at the surprising sophistication of English cooking in the 17th C:
The Map of the Sky by Felix J.Palma (S&S/Atria) is the Spanish author’s sequel to his bestselling take-off on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Here, the action begins when a New York socialite challenges her fiance to recreate Wells’ The War of the Worlds, setting off a chain reaction across time and space. LJ says, “Palma has again managed to infuse something very familiar with a new edge and life.” This one also kicked up some buzz on GalleyChat in August, where a librarian said that the novel “brings War of the Worlds to life.”
The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin’s Press; Tantor Media; Thorndike Large Print) was a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick for Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett. Here’s her pitch: ”This book opens with a family tragedy that occurs in the first few pages. The rest of this thoughtful book is about how we heal–or don’t–after an unspeakable tragedy. It’s set on a citrus ranch in Southern California. Soli’s first book, The Lotus-Eaters, did very well with our customers, and was really good for book discussion. She reminds me of a young Barbara Kingsolver. Her language is simple but not plain, her characters are extremely well drawn, and the setting is like a movie it’s so easy to visualize.”
The Other Half of MebyMorganMcCarthy (S&S/Free Press) is a paperback original about two siblings who grow up in a dysfunctional aristocratic English family in Wales with secrets that go back for generations. Robin Beerbower, our go-to librarian for scary titles, says this one “is being compared to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, but I’m finding it more compelling than that. The pacing is a bit slow but it features a completely unreliable but fascinating narrator and the gorgeous writing kept me engrossed.”
NW by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is Smith’s first novel in seven years and one of the most anticipated titles of the early fall (it even gets an early review from BusinessWeek). It focuses on three characters who have risen above their childhoods in a Northwest London housing estate in the 1970s, with varying degrees of success. Michiko Kakutani, in the NYT, expresses disappointment, calling it a “much smaller, more meager book” than Smith’s critically acclaimed debut, White Teeth. In the Washington Post, Ron Charles expresses sympathy for the author, who, “Ever since… her dazzling debut in 2000, Zadie Smith has labored under an enviable weight of critical and popular expectations.” He acknowledges that the new novel it difficult, but worth the effort: “At times, reading NW is like running past a fence, catching only strips of light from the scene on the other side. Smith makes no accommodation for the distracted reader — or even the reader who demands a clear itinerary. But if you’re willing to let it work on you, to hear all these voices and allow the details to come into focus when Smith wants them to, you’ll be privy to an extraordinary vision of our age.” Smith spoke out this week to protest the possible closing of hundreds of local libraries in Great Britain.
Zoo by James Patterson (Hachette/Little Brown; Hachette Audio) revolves around Jackson Oz, a young biologist, who witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa that spurs him to heroic action.
The Tombs by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is the fourth outing with multi-millionaire treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo, who join an archaeologist in excavating an ancient Hungarian battlefield. PW says, “this adventure series stands as one of the crown jewels in the Cussler empire.”
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin/Viking) is the veteran mystery author’s first YA novel, the start of a series about a psychic 14 year-old girl who must fend for herself after her mother runs away from her stepfather. Booklist says, “what’s best here are the characters, both young and adult. There are no stereotypes, and their humanity keeps the story moving, even when the plot is tied in knots.”
Mortalityby Christopher Hitchens (Hachette/Twelve; Twelve; Hachette Audio) is the lauded cultural critic’s look at illness, suffering, cancer etiquette, religion and his own incipient death from esophageal cancer in December 2011. PW says, “Hitchens’ powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them.” 125,000 copies.
A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketballby Dwyane Wade (HarpreCollins/Morrow) is a memoir by the NBA superstar, Miami Heat player and divorced single dad of two sons that charts his upbringing by his drug-addicted mother on Chicago’s South Side. Kirkus says, “ A refreshing chronicle of a fervent sportsman with his head and heart in all the right places.”
Next week’s debuts to watch include Outside magazine contributing editor Peter Heller‘s post-apocalyptic literary debut, and Cambodian refugee Vaddey Ratner‘s autobiographical novel. Usual suspects include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julie Garwood, Chelsea Cain, Lisa Jackson and W.E.B. Griffin, andMichael Koryta - plus new childrens and YA novels from James Patterson, Amanda Hocking and Rebecca Stead. In nonfiction, there’s a new bio of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knopf; Random House Audio) is a literary debut about a pilot who survives a flu pandemic that wipes out 99% of the population, and then sets out to find the distant voice he hears on his radio. Booklist‘s starred review calls it a “surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor… [a novel] of spiky pleasure and signal resonance.” It is an Indie Next pick for August.
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (Simon & Schuster; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut told through the eyes of a seven-year-old survivor of Cambodia’s genocide under the Khmer Rouge, written by a woman who escaped the country as a refugee in 1981. It was a Book Expo Editor’s Buzz Panel pick, and also a People pick in last week’s issue: “Ratner’s lyrical first novel finds love and surprising humanity in a horrifying setting …Raami, the book’s 7-year-old heroine, is lame from polio (as is the author) yet she remains a tenacious dreamer.” An Indie Next pick for August, it is scheduled for media attention next week on NPR in USA Today, the NYT Book Review and several monthly magazines.
Time Untimeby Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio) is the latest installment in the popular Dark Hunter series, in which warrior Ren Waya, must kill Kateri Avani, the one person he has always cherished, to ward off an ancient evil.
Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood (Penguin/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a romantic thriller about an IRS attorney determined to bring down her father’s shady scheme, and the FBI agent who rescues her from an assault. Kirkus says, “The evil characters lack any semblance of humanity, and the good characters, including the Fed-crossed lovers, are perfect and unbecomingly smug about it. A standard melodrama with occasional flashes of originality.”
Kill You Twiceby Chelsea Cain (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print) marks the return of Gretchen Lowell, otherwise known as “The Beauty Killer,” who appeared in Cain’s first three novels – along with police detective Archie Sheridan. Kirkus says, “Cain’s abiding determination to outdo the suspense, plot twists and gore of each previous outing is both perverse and awe-inspiring.”
You Don’t Want to Know by Lisa Jackson (Kensington; Brilliance Audio) is a standalone thriller about a woman who loses her grip on reality after her child disappears, and becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders. PW says, “Multiple red herrings and a host of sinister characters help keep the pages turning.”
The Spymasters: A Men at War Novelby W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV (Putnam Adult; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the seventh in this thriller series and the third the author has written with his son. The plot centers on threats to the Manhattan Project during WWII, Kirkus says the authors “are completely at ease mixing fact and fiction, skillfully piecing together pieces of their narrative puzzle. Their writing is straightforward to a fault, sometimes reminding you of a scholastic You Are There novel, but the book never sags, and the characters never lose our interest.”
The Prophet by Michael Koryta (Hachette/Little Brown; Little Brown Large Print) is the author’s ninth novel, about two brothers in a small Midwestern town who were divided as teenagers by the death of their sister, and clash again years later when another local teen dies. PW says, “Koryta has a gift for melding a suspenseful, twisty plot with a probing, unflinching look at his protagonistsa weaknesses.” His So Cold the River and Cypress House are being developed for movies. Adaptation rights were also sold for this new title at the end of May (Deadline).
Wake by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin, Macmillan Audio) is the first installment in the new Watersong series about three contemporary sirens. It follows Hocking’s successful self-published Trylle Trilogy (later republished by St. Martin’s). Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog features an “exclusive” trailer this week and an interview with Hocking. PW says, “While Hocking’s writing isn’t always polished (the foreshadowing can be painfully heavy), the well-structured story and strong characters carry readers over the rough spots. A cliffhanger ending sets up the next book, Lullaby, due [in] six months.”
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (RH/Wendy Lamb Books; Listening Library) is the story of two boys who become friends when one moves into the other’s Brooklyn neighborhood. PW says “chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come.” Stead’s When You Reach Mewon the 2010 Newbery Medal.
Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; also trade pbk and mass market; Macmillan Audio) is the tie-in to the movie starring Sean Penn, famously rescheduled to next year because of a scene uncomfortably close to reality (a shooting in a movie theater). That scene was created for the movie and is not in the book, which is shipping as originally planned. This will be the book’s first publication (which is the reason it arrives in hardcover, audio, as well as two tie-in editions). Both the book and the movie are based on the LA Times writer Lieberman’s research into the LAPD’s eight-man “Gangster Squad” and their efforts to trap gang leader Mickey Cohen.
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Childby Bob Spitz (RH/Knopf; Random House Audio) raises the question, do we need another book about Julia Child? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” from librarians at BEA’s Shout ‘n’ Share panel. PW says, “Released to coincide with Child’s centenary [August 13], Spitz’s delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject.” Why did Spitz, the author of major works about the Beatles and Bob Dylan turn his attention to a celebrity cook? He answers that question in an interview on the RH Library Marketing blog.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, The Woman in Black) has just signed for the lead in the film adaptation of Joe Hill’s 2010 supernatural horror novel, Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja. At the time it was published, Time magazine called Hill“one of America’s finest horror writers,” based on “the strength of two masterly thrillers – 2007′s Heart-Shaped Box and his newest, Horns.”
On his Web site, Hill expresses his excitement, saying he is ”amped beyond all rational measure. I could not be happier about the casting of Daniel Radcliffe as Ig Perrish. My fanboy feelings for the Harry Potter pictures are well-established, but aside from that, I thought Woman in Black was one of the best horror films of the last decade, and the picture worked because of Radcliffe’s quietly focused performance. I hope HORNS serves the kid just as well.”