Archive for the ‘Literary’ Category

Karen Russell’s Lastest: e-Book Only

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sleep DonationIf you heard the promo for Karen Russell’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, and thought, “I didn’t know she had a new book out,” you are not alone.

Her new book is actually an eBook-only novella titled Sleep Donation. Dozens of writers have released eBook-only short fiction, many of them “bridge” stories between titles in a series, to tide fans over between books, (such as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novella, High Heat, RH/Delacorte). But when an author with Russell’s literary cred does it, it gets attention.

Adding further to the media allure, this is the first release from Atavist Books, a joint venture between media mogul Barry Diller and movie producer Scott Rudin, run by former Picador USA publisher Frances Coady (more on the company here, but fair warning, this story buys the Kool Aid that it is “revolutionary,” even though there are many others in this business). Adding even more media-worthy names, it comes with an audio read by indie actress Greta Gerwig, and even has an interactive cover designed by that oxymoron, a famous book designer, Chip Kidd. Plus, it has its own website.

Unfortunately, however, it does not seem to be available to libraries.

Appropriately, the novella is about an insomnia epidemic ravaging America, the result of people paying too much attention to electronic devices (take note, Arianna Huffington; this could be a cross-promotional opportunity for your book).

Gone McCann   New Year's

In addition to the attention from Fresh Air, the novella was also the lead title in Entertainment Weekly’s book section last week, in a story titled “Let’s Get Digital” that includes Joe Hill’s short story Wolverton Station (from HarperCollins/Morrow and available to libraries), Greg Iles’s novella, The Death Factory (also HarperCollins/Morrow and available to libraries) plus upcoming titles by two other literary darlings, Column McCann’s Gone (released March 18 by another ebook-only publisher Byliner and apparently not available to libraries) and Adelle Waldman’s New Year’s, a companion story to her The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., coming in May, from the old world publisher where Francis Coady used to work, Macmillan/Picador (presumably one of those places she refers to as “print originators [who] tend to see digital as a slightly embarrassing offshoot of print.”)

Early Attention for FROG MUSIC

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Frog MusicAfter the huge success of Room, it’s no surprise that critics are vying to be the first to review author Emma Donoghue’s next book, Frog Music, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio and Large Print), which arrives this coming Tuesday (although some libraries are showing that it is in process).

The Washington Post‘s is among the first of the consumer reviews, with Ron Charles noting, “The millions of readers who know Donoghue only from the harrowing tale of that little boy [in Room] will discover in Frog Music just how expansive and boisterous this Irish Canadian author can be … Donoghue has created a full-throated murder mystery, spiced with song and forbidden love.”

The Wall Street Journal profiles the author’s background research, in which she came up with a solution to a real-life murder that took place in San Francisco in 1876.

The film rights for Room were acquired in 2013. It is still in development as of January, according to a story in Deadline.

Backlist Best Seller: GEEK LOVE

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Geek LoveA former Paris Reviw editor pays tribute in Wired this week to the “dazzling oddball masterpiece,” Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn (Knopf, 1989), on the 25th anniversary of its release, citing its many well-known fans. Author Karen Russell recalls discovering it at 15, “I felt electrocuted when I read that first page with Crystal Lil and her freak brood. I stood there in the bookstore and my jaw came unhinged. No book I’ve read, before or since, has given me that specific jolt.”

Although it had success in its day (it was a National Book Award finalist), the novel brought in more royalties for Dunn last year than in any year before.

The piece also includes some lore for publishing geeks; it was legendary editor Sonny Mehta’s first acquisition for Knopf and was designed by the then little-known Chip Kidd’s.

All copies are out in circulation at the libraries we checked.

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, Trailer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The U.K. trailer for Half Of A Yellow Sun has just been released, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave). As yet, it has not been scheduled for release in the U.S.

When it premiered at the Toronto International Film festival, Variety damned it with faint praise, calling it an “attractive adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestseller … a diverting but surface-level saga that, true to its title, feels less than whole.”

The novel it is based on, Half Of A Yellow Sun, (RH/Knopf, 2006), fared much better with the critics. It won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (then called the Orange Prize) and the author was selected as one of the best writers under 40 by The New Yorker.

In a live interview in the Huffington Post last week, Adichie says her most recent novel, Americanah, (Knopf, 2013), is quite different from her earlier works, calling it her “middle finger” book, the one in which she does not “follow the rules.” It was just released in paperback and in audio (Recorded Books). UPDATE, 3/13/14: The book has won the NBCC prize for fiction

From HUNGER GAMES To THE GOLDFINCH

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The GoldfinchThe producers behind The Hunger Games announced that they have acquired the option to adapt Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, possibly as a TV mini-series. According to The Wrap, the producers are currently looking for a director and no stars have been named.

The novel, Tartt’s third, was named as one of the best books of the year by multiple sources and is on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Seller at #3 after 19 weeks.

Says producer Nina Jacobson: “We’ve been thinking we are more likely to make a limited series for TV. There’s so much scope to the book. At the same time, a film-maker could come in with a perspective that changes our mind.”

Eleanor Catton on PBS NewsHour

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

New Zealand author Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Award for The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio), is currently making appearances in the U.S.

On  PBS NewsHour last night, Jeffrey Brown gave her a chance to explain her novel, which she herself calls a “publisher’s nightmare,” one that, says Brown, “all the reviewers [are] trying to figure out and explain to their readers.”

The book is currently at #19 and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings and, as we noted previously, holds are rising in libraries.

Link here for a  video of the NewsHour interview. Listen to Catton read from the book here.

Holds Alert: THE LUMINARIES

Monday, November 11th, 2013

9780316074315-1Once again, the UK’s major book award, the Man Booker, has influenced readers in the U.S. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio), which was released here on the day the award was announced, has been on the NYT Fiction Best Seller list for two weeks and is showing heavy holds on modest ordering in most libraries.

Reviews appeared here shortly after the award was announced. All noted the book’s unusual length (834 pages), without calling it  overlong. Said Bill Roorbach (Life Among Giants, Workman/Algonquin, 2012) in the NYT Book Review, “as for the length, surely a book this good could never be too long.”

Arriving Tomorrow: Amy Tan’s Latest

Monday, November 4th, 2013

9780062107312_0_Cover Amy Tan talks about her research into Chinese pornography from the 1700’s for her new novel, The Valley of Amazement, (HarperCollins/Ecco; Brilliance Audio; HarperLuxe), on today’s CBS This Morning. She is also scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s NPR Morning Edition. 

This is Tan’s first book with HarperCollins. As she explains to the Wall Street Journal, the change in publishers was the result of her search for “the perfect editor.” Tan’s previous book Saving Fish From Drowning, may have disappointed some of her readers, notes the WSJ, quoting her agent, “It’s a very different book for Amy. I think people feel she’s been away.”

The Valley of Amazement is both a LibraryReads and an IndieNext pick for November.

Below is the video from CBS This Morning.

Now Filming: HBO’S OLIVE KITTERIDGE

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Olive KitteridgeLocal press in Cape Anne, MA. reports that film crews are currently shooting the HBO miniseries based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in the form of linked short stories, Olive Kitteridge (Random House).

Why Massachusetts, rather than the author’s beloved Maine? It seems it’s become a popular choice for filmmakers because of favorable tax incentives.

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), the four-part series stars Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins.

McDormand, having fallen in love with the book before it won the Pulitzer, bought the rights and has been nursing the project along. She is co-producing it with Tom Hanks’ Playtone Partners.

First U.S. Consumer Review of the Booker Winner

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The Luminaries

The first consumer review of the Man Booker Prize winner, The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, published here yesterday (Hachette/Little, Brown), coincidentally the day the award was announced, is by novelist Chris Bohjalian in The Washington PostUPDATE: We’re wrong — it’s a close tie for which publication had the first U.S. consumer review. The Barnes and Noble Review released one on Oct. 15. It is also an excellent guide to appreciating the novel.

Not only is Catton the youngest person to ever win the Booker, but at over 800 pages, her book is the longest in the award’s history. Bojalian notes that he had to create his own “Cliff Notes” to keep the characters straight and that the book is “astoundingly complicated and almost defies explanation. Moreover, I can’t recall the last time I read a novel that left me so baffled. In the end, however, I was awed…”

He goes on to offer readers a handle on this Byzantine story about a group of characters in an 1860’s  New Zealand gold-rush town; “the key to following the story is to try to follow the money.”

The book, which had a modest announced first print run of 15,000 copies, jumped to #10 on Amazon sales rankings on the news of the award. If it follows in the footsteps of previous award winners, it will continue on to other best seller lists and enjoy healthy sales here.

Many libraries are showing heavy holds on light ordering. It was only reviewed prepub after the longlist was announced by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Both publications starred it. It also appeared in the Millions preview of the  “Most Anticipated” books of the fall.

9780316074322The author’s debut, The Rehearsal (Hachette/Back Bay) received praise from author Adam Ross (“a wildly brilliant and precocious first novel”) in the NYT Sunday Book Review when it was published in 2010. It is still in print in trade paperback.

THE GOLDFINCH: Michiko Likes It!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The GoldfinchThe NYT‘s Pulitzer-Prize-winning critic, Michiko Kakutani, gives Donna Tartt’s new novel, The Goldfinch, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Blackstone Audio), a rare early rave, a full two weeks in advance of publication.

Calling it “deeply felt” (a phrase  she’s used for just 39 other books her more than 30 years of reviewing, according to Slate), she compares it favorably to Tartt’s 1992 debut, The Secret History; “her controlled, cerebral approach to characters in that novel has given way to a keen appreciation of the tangled complexities of the mind and heart.”

Buyers Alert: THE CIRCLE by Dave Eggers

Friday, October 4th, 2013

9780385351393Many libraries have not ordered Dave Eggers’ new book, The Circle, which is being published next week. A late drop-in to the RH/Knopf catalog, it was also reviewed late by the pre-pub sources (Kirkus and Publishers Weekly have covered it).

An excerpt is the cover story of last week’s NYT Magazine, an event considered such a “departure” that it had to be explained in an accompanying story (not that the magazine completely avoids  fiction; short story author George Saunders was featured on the cover at the beginning of the year as was the King family of writers this summer).

The Circle is also available in audio from BOT (CD, 9780804191180: Audiobook Download, 9780804191197)

UPDATE:

The Circle is being reviewed so widely that Gawker published an article titled, “Circle Jerks: Why Do Editors Love Dave Eggers?

Entertainment Weeklygives it a B+

Los Angeles Times:Trapped in the web with Dave Eggers’ The Circle: Dave Eggers’ dystopian novel The Circle follows a young woman as she gives her life over to an Internet company.” by Carolyn Kellogg

The New York Times — “Inside the World of Big Data: The Circle, Dave Eggers’s New Novel,” by Michiko Kakutani

Slate Magazine — “All That Happens Must Be Known: Dave Eggers has zero interest in the tech world. So why did he write a 500-page satire about it?”

Time Magazine — “Dave Eggers’ Scathing Attack on Social Media: The author’s new book zings our obsession with being constantly connected,” by Lev Grossman

The Wall Street JournalDave Eggers’s The Circle Takes Vengeance on Google, Facebook

The Washington Post — “Dave Eggers’s The Circle is a relentless broadside against social media overload” by Ron Charles

Nicholson Baker Coming to THE COLBERT REPORT

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

We’ve grown familiar with Stephen Colbert’s interview style, faux-challenging guests, like he did Andrew Bacevich last night about his book Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books) — (video below).

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

9780399160967Tonight, in what seems like an odd pairing, Colbert hosts a quite different author, Nicholson Baker.

Reviewing  Baker’s new novel, Traveling Sprinkler (Penguin/Blue Rider) in the NYT last week, Dwight Garner said, “Reading his novels makes your world weirdly vivid, geeked out; you feel that you’re wearing X-ray specs tucked behind a pair of Google glasses.”

Maybe it’s not such an odd pairing after all.

Prepub Buzz: NIGHT FILM

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Night FilmMarisha Pessl’s second novel, Night Film (Random House/; RH Audio) after her award-winning Special Topics in Calamity Physics, (Penguin; perhaps anticipating even greater success with this new book, the paperback cover now prominently states that Pessl is “The author of Night Film“) is enjoying red carpet treatment for its release two weeks from today:

 

NPR — Exclusive First Read (with an audio excerpt)

Author profiled in the new issue of New York magazine

Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog offers an “exclusive” of the “chilling” trailer (not all that exclusive; it’s also available on YouTube and below)

Many consumer reviews for this literary thriller are in the works. Prepub reviews are divided; Booklist stars it, LJ is strongly positive overall, but notes it “slows down a bit over its considerable length.” PW also expresses that concern and Kirkus criticizes it for being “A touch too coyly postmodern at times,” but adds it’s “a worthwhile entertainment all the same.” With all the attention, readers will want to find out for themselves; a few libraries are already showing holds in the low triple digits.

Find out for yourself; advance digital copies are currently available on Edelweiss.

David Gilbert on FRESH AIR

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

And Sons And Sons, (RH/Hogarth), is only David Gilbert’s second novel, but it arrives with great anticipation, from Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” blog, which calls it potentially “the literary novel of the summer” to the NPR reviewer who calls it “seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak” and an instant classic because it “feels deeply familiar, as though it existed for decades and I was just slow to find it.”

In his interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air today, Gilbert gives a sense of what all the fuss is about.