Archive for the ‘Literary’ Category

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.

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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.

Flanagan on NPR

Monday, August 11th, 2014

9780385352857_702c0Featured yesterday on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, was Richard Flanagan, the author of one of the books on the Man Booker Award long list, The Narrow Road to the Deep North (RH/Knopf).

The author is a favorite of Seattle Public Library’s David Wright who says he is, “a consummate stylist, but with a style that is in service to the realities he’s writing about, which are often deeply painful and tragic. That is certainly true in The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which depicts with a fair amount of detail the horrific experience of POWs in WWII (Flanagan’s father was a survivor of the Thai-Burma death railway) … He is so skillful in showing how these events affect mens’ lives … his writing is devastating, generous, and deeply caring.”

The book is being published tomorrow. Several libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering.

Nancy Pearl Interviews Sarah Bird

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

9780385350112_ccf64Author Sarah Bird escapes the Austin, Texas, heat to be interviewed in cooler Seattle by librarian Nancy Pearl.

She explains why her latest novel,  Above The China Sea,(RH/Knopf, 5/27/14; Recorded Books) is considered a “stunning departure” from her earlier books.

 

For more of Nancy’s favorites, listen to her on Seattle’s KUOW radio station.

Celeste Ng On ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Everything I NeverOne of our Penguin First Flights authors was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered on Saturday, Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You, (Penguin Press). Host Arun Rath says the reader is hooked from the book’s opening line, “Lydia is dead, but they don’t know it yet.”

Learn more about how the Ng structured the novel in  our online chat with the author.

Become a member of Penguin’s First Flights program here.

Small Press Title Wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

Friday, June 6th, 2014

A Girl is a Half-Formed ThingPublished by a very small press in Great Britain (it was only their second book) and coming in September from Coffee House Press in the U.S., A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride, the author’s debut novel, won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, announced in London last night.

The book, which the 37-year-old author wrote ten years ago, was initially rejected by agents and publishers who considered it too difficult to sell. The author put it away until she tried again with Galley Beggar Press, a start-up in the author’s home town of Norwich. It received glowing reviews that acknowledged the book’s unconventional language, described by the Guardian as “devoid of commas, a fractured, poetic, pre-conscious voice, pregnant with full stops and half rhymes … But it actually feels like language anyone could read and understand. Its subject matter is the real difficulty, the story of a young girl, struggling to deal with her older brother’s illness – a brain tumour – and the abuse she experiences.” It went on to win the newly-created Goldsmith’s Prize for Literature and was published in paperback by Macmillan/Faber & Faber.

McBride won over competition from several literary heavy weighs, including Donna Tartt, for The Goldfinch. She says she has “nearly finished” a second novel.

Colbert Gives Amazon the Finger

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

When Amazon began their fight with publisher Hachette, they may not have taken into account the fact that Stephen Colbert is published by Hachette.

Colbert explains the situation below and shows Bezos what he thinks of it.

Colbert brings on “fellow Amazon victim,” Sherman Alexie, who is also published by Hachette.

Since debut authors are most at risk from Amazon’s tactics, Alexie helps one of them by recommending viewers pre-order California, by Edan Lapucki, (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 8; audio from Dreamscape) via Powells.

9780316250818_1a106

The book has appeared earlier on summer reading lists, including the Pittsburgh Post Gazette‘s, with the following recommendation,

When the American economy collapses and anarchy reigns in the land, a couple from Los Angeles head for the hills where they have to forage for food and improvise shelter. They are quickly confronted by stark choices and must figure out whether reconnecting with other survivors would be worth the aggravation that comes with being a part of civilization.

To The Movies; THE GOOD LORD BIRD

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The Good Lord BirdLast year’s National Book Award winner, The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike) may be heading to the big screen. Liev Schreiber and Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, After Earth) have signed to star, with author McBride taking on a role as producer. Smith will play Henry “Onion” Shackleford with  Schreiber in the role of abolitionist John Brown.

McBride’s’ Miracle At St. Anna (Penguin/Riverhead, 2002) was adapted by Spike Lee in 2008. An FX series based on the author’s book Song Yet Sung, (Penguin/Riverhead, 2008), about Harriet Tubman, was announced last fall.

Holds Alert: FAMILY LIFE

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Family LifeAfter a glowing cover review in the New York Times Book Review, Family Life by Akhil Sharma (W.W. Norton) is getting even more attention. It is called the “year’s first great novel” by Salon. In a review on NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday, Meg Waltzer says the author, “takes a simple, emotionally difficult story and makes the reader brave the ongoing pain and become fully absorbed,” and the Huffington Post designates it as the week’s “Book We’re Talking About.”

Libraries that ordered it modestly are showing heavy holds ratios.