Archive for the ‘Literary’ Category

Colbert’s Final Guest

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

9781594204999_a7f67Appropriately, since he has  featured so authors on his show,  now that The Colbert Report is ending, Stephen Colbert’s final guest was the winner of National Book Award in fiction, Phil Klay (The Report‘s  final episode  is actually tonight, but it does not feature a human guest).

Klay’s book Redeployment, (Penguin Press; Penguin Audio; Thorndike, OverDrive Sample) is a series of short stories about serving in Iraq. He chose to portray the war through fiction, he told Colbert,  because it made him feel less constrainted than nonfiction would have, “I don’t think I could be, in a weird way, as truthful as I wanted to be in trying to chase down the experiences I was trying to articulate on the page.” To that, the master of “Truthiness” lit up and deadpanned, “You can be more truthful by making things up?”

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.

1567922813   9780520218789_0bb98  9780300198058

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).

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. “

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:

9780007549894_4b1c7  9781250064172_e247a

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.

Readers Advisory: THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH

Monday, October 27th, 2014

9780385352857_cd8abThe winner of the Booker, announced Oct 14, The Narrow Road To The Deep North, by Richard Flanagan (RH/Knopf), arrives on the 11/2/14 NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #10.

It’s the ninth Booker winner in a row to hit the list, as the NYT BR‘s “Inside the List” column notes (the most successful of those, of course is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, followed by Anne Enright’s The Gathering).

The award has had a major impact on the author’s life. Flanagan recently told the Telegraph that the prize money saved him from turning to a “life down the mines,” adding, “I’m not a wealthy man. This means I can continue to write.”

Based on reviews, it may be difficult to find a way to recommend the book. Even fan Ron Charles warned in the Washington Post that this “story about a group of Australian POWs during World War II will cast a shadow over your summer and draw you away from friends and family into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books can,” hardly a way to encourage potential readers.

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, offers another way to look at it:

If your readers engaged with Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, or are fans of the timeless love story in Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera, they will absolutely love The Narrow Road To The Deep North, one of the most readable and emotionally available Booker winners in years.

It follows the story of an Australian doctor, Dorrigo Evans, who served in WWII and was captured, surviving several years in a POW camp. Through flashbacks, we learn about Evans’ long marriage as well as his true love. The latter part of the book reveals the fates of the various people from the POW camp — the story of which is the crux of the narrative.

It’s amazing and wonderful, and your customers will thank you. Book groups who don’t mind the shifting time periods will find much to talk about here, particularly if they’ve read Unbroken.

Nobel Prize in Literature, 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Confounding odds makers once again, the Nobel Prize in literature, announced today, goes to French author Patrick Modiano, whose more than 30 novels often focus on the Nazi occupation of France. The Academy described him as “a Marcel Proust of our time.” If you’re not familiar with him, you’re in good company. The Guardian comments, “Modiano is well known in France but something of an unknown quantity for even widely read people in other countries.”

The Telegraph calls Modiano’s The Search Warrant (RH/Vintage Digital, 2012) one of his best-known books. You can read a sample via OverDrive.

Several titles by Modiano are listed in on American library catalogs, including the 1974 film Lacombe, Lucien, by director Louis Malle, for which Modiano co-wrote the script which is partially based on Malle’s own experiences during the occupation and a children’s title, Catherine Certitiude.

Publisher David R. Godine’s web site today features the three Modiano titles they have published in English (the Washington’s Post‘s Ron Charles delivered the news to Godine, who was “staking dahlias” at the time and exclaimed, “This means we’ll be ahead this year!”):

1567922813-2  HoneyMoon

Missing PersonPatrick Modiano, translated by Daniel Weissbort, 2004 — Also winner of the most prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, it was reviewed by Booklist and Library Journal. Saying it is probably his “best known novel,” The Guardian describes it as being, “about a detective who loses his memory and endeavours to find it.”

Honeymoon, Patrick Modiano, 1995 — also reviewed by Booklist and Library Journal 

087923959xCatherine Certitude, Patrick Modiano — A children’s title, it was reviewed by several library publications. The following is the publisher’s description:

This charming book will delight any child — or adult — who appreciates ballet, Paris, New York, childhood, and mystery (not necessarily in that order). The book’s plot is deceptively simple: Catherine, the eponymous heroine, begins her story watching her own daughter demonstrate jazz steps in their ballet school on a snowy afternoon in New York. Memory takes her (and the reader) back to her childhood, spent in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. In her youth, Catherine lives with her gentle father, Georges Certitude, who runs a shipping business with his partner, a loud, failed poet named Casterade. The real partners in this story, however, are the father and daughter who share the simple pleasures of daily life: sitting in the church square, walking to school, going to her ballet class every Thursday afternoon.

As a result of the prize, Yale University Press has moved up the publication of the following title from January to November:

9780300198058Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas, Patrick Modiano, translated by Mark Polizzotti

Includes Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowers of Ruin.

BONE CLOCKS Best Seller

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

9781400065677_611e9-2Many were surprised that David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, (Random House, 9/2/14; Recorded Books) didn’t make the transition from the Booker longlist to the shortlist, but Mitchell can take solace in the fact that it debuts at #3 on the 9/21 NYT Hardcover Fiction best Seller list, the highest spot so far for any of the published longlist titles.

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, is a fan. She alerted branch staff last week,

I love it when the customers are ahead of me! David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) has come roaring back with yet another spendidly written, mind-bending read. I thought The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet was brilliant, but this book is astounding, and the customers have snatched every last copy.

The heroine — if you can call her that — is Holly Sykes (Holly, as in GoLightly? Sykes as in Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist?) David Mitchell loves nothing more than to keep you wondering, and wonder you will. He’s also one of the most evocative writers I’ve ever read, literally painting pictures with words — it’s no wonder Hollywood is tempted to make films of his books. To say he enjoys playing with the timeline, and your reality, is an understatement, and of course, that’s his plan. It’s your job to relax and enjoy the ride.

You don’t really read Mitchell, so much as experience him. If you haven’t read Mitchell, this is the perfect novel with which to start.

Happy Experiencing!

You can read the first chapter via OverDrive.

SERENA Trailer Finally Debuts

Monday, September 15th, 2014

In March 2012, right after Silver Linings Playbook wrapped, stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper joined forces again for another book adaptation, Serena, based on the novel by Ron Rash, (HarperCollins/Ecco, 2008).

Over two years later, the movie has yet to be released, even though Lawrence has since become a major star via The Hunger Games and the Lawrence/Cooper combo proved to be magic in both Silver Linings and the subsequent American Hustle.

A spokesperson for the production company has said not to worry, however, the delay is simply a result of Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier’s perfectionism. The L.A. Times takes that with a grain of salt, “Bier took a year and a half to complete the film, and protracted productions rarely bode well for the final product.”

It is finally set to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival next month and will open in the U.K. on Oct. 24. Magnolia Pictures has the U.S. distribution rights, but doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, planning to release it “sometime next year.”

At this point, a movie based on another book by Rash, The World Made Straight, (Macmillan/Holt, 2006), which was shot a year later, may beat it. It’s scheduled for release some time in February.

Meanwhile, a trailer has just been released:

Tie-in:

Serena tie-in: A Novel
Ron Rash
HarperCollins/Ecco
November 4, 2014 (publisher says this is now postponed indefinitely)
9780062292667, 0062292668

Rash’s next novel, Above the Waterfall, (HarperCollins/Ecco) is scheduled for publication next year.

First Trailer for OLIVE KITTERIDGE

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

It’s brief, but here it is:

Three clips are also available.

The 4-hour series, which was a hit with critics at the Venice Film Festival, will begin airing on HBO on Sunday, Nov. 2.

Tie-in:

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 10/28/14

Who IS Elena Ferrante?

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly challenges readers with the question, “Do YOU Know Elena Ferrante?” (story not online yet).

If you don’t, you’re in good company. It turns out the author of this “rare interview” with Ferrante (Vogue also has one this month) hadn’t heard of her either until this summer, although “the Italian author’s urgent, blistering fiction has made her something of a cult sensation here in America.”

Attesting to that cult status, the New Yorker‘s redoubtable critic James Wood profiled Ferrante last year calling her “one of Italy’s best-known least-known contemporary writers … Compared with Ferrante, Thomas Pynchon is a publicity profligate.” Just last week, the New York Times Magazine asked three authors to address the question, “Who is Elena Ferrante?

Entertainment Weekly goes on to call her Neapolitan series of novels, the third of which, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, was just released, “an intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends Lila and Elena, Bright and passionate girls from a raucous neighborhood in world-class Naples. Ferrante writes with such aggression  and unnerving psychological insight about the messy complexity of female friendship that the real world can drop away when you’re reading her,”

In the U.S., Ferrante is published by  Europa Editions.

978160945078697816094513499781609452339_09e8b

The Neapolitan series:

#1  My Brilliant Friend, 2012  — OverDrive Sample

#2 The Story of a New Name, 2013 — OverDrive Sample

#3 Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, 9/2/14 — OverDrive Sample

Other titles available in the U.S, (all also from Europa Editions):

The Days of Abandonment, 2005 — OverDrive Sample

Troubling Love,  2008 — OverDrive Sample

The Lost Daughter, 2008 — OverDrive Sample

OLIVE KITTERIDGE Premieres At The Venice Film Festival

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The first review of HBO’s four-hour mini-series based on Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, (Random House, 2008) has arrived and it’s a rave.

The series premiered at the Venice Film Festival yesterday. The Hollywood Reporter calls it, “emotionally satisfying, funny-sad …  directed with an impeccable balance of sensitivity and humor by Lisa Cholodenko [The Kids Are All Right].”

UPDATE: More reviews have appeared and it’s a hit with the critics — Variety calls it “finely crafted, wonderfully cast,” but fears it may lose audiences; IndieWire hails it as “the biggest positive surprise at Venice” and the U.K.’s Telegraph calls it simply, “brilliant.”

Three clips are now available via IndieWire. Below is Clip #3, featuring Bill Murray with Frances MacDermond as Olive, who optioned the book and produced the series with Tom Hanks, among others. Click here for Clip 1 and Clip 2.

The series will be shown on HBO beginning Sunday, Nov. 2.

Tie-in:

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 10/28/14

HBO’s OLIVE KITTERIDGE Release Dates Set

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Olive KitteridgeHBO’s miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, 2008) is scheduled to debut on Sunday, Nov. 2. The first two parts will be shown that night, followed by the final two parts the next night.

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), with Tom Hanks and Frances McDormand producing, the series stars:

Frances McDormand … Olive Kitteridge

Richard Jenkins … Henry Kitteridge (Olive’s husband)

John Gallagher Jr. … Christopher Kitteridge, (Olive and Henry’s son)

Cory Michael Smith … Kevin Coulson, (Olive’s former student)

Zoe Kazan … Denise Thibodeau, (works with Henry at the pharmacy)

Brady Corbet … Henry Thibodeau, (married to Denise)

Rosemarie DeWitt … Rachel Coulson

Unfortunately, no trailers have been released yet.

Official Web Site: HBO.com/Olive-Kitteridge

Tie-in:

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
Random House Trade Paperbacks: October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback: $15.00 USD / $15.00 CAD

Best Seller Debut:
WE ARE NOT OURSELVES

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

9781476756660_e9693Arriving at #32 on today’s USA Best-Selling Books list is a debut that has been a growing critical hit, We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas., (S&S; S&S Audio). 

The novel is also a hit in the U.K., where is on the long list for the Guardian First Book Award. The author was interviewed in that publication  yesterday.

As we noted in our earlier story, Big Books of the Fall, holds are growing in libraries.