Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

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.

From PP&Z To Bradbury

Friday, October 31st, 2014

9780380977277_18bf9The new Disney adaptation of  the 1962 Ray Bradbury classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1999 hardcover reissue, Harper Voyager), has just completed the next step in becoming reality, with the hiring of a screenwriter.

It is set to be directed by first-timer Seth Grahame-Smith, who, as an author, has seen other directors adapt two of his books,  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to midlling success and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which languished in  development for years until it finally began filming in September (see Entertainment Weekly‘s “first look”).

When the Bradbury project was first announced earlier this year, Grahame-Smith told Deadline, “I have been so crazy about this book, and it was such a formative title in my life that I actually wrote a piece on NPR about why it is so important for young males to read,”

Disney has adapted it before, into a 1983 movie, starring Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd and Pam Grier. Grahame-Smith said he doesn’t intend to remake that movie, “I want the haunted atmosphere that makes the book so chilling, and I want to reinstate some of the classic scenes from the book that were missing from the ’83 film.”

 

Readers Advisory: DIAMOND LANE

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

9780989360449_622e4 It’s gray and raining in Seattle, so Nancy Pearl lifts the mood by recommending on her weekly local NPR radio segment, a novel that is  “hysterically funny.”  Karen Karbot’s The Diamond Lane, one of her favorites, first published in 1991, was reissued this fall by Hawthorne books (with an introduction by Jane Smiley).

Even though some sections of the novel may show their age (people can actually smoke on airplanes!), she says it is a “totally modern satire on Hollywood, the relationships between sisters and marriage.”

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.

Readers Advisory: Nancy Pearl, From Thriller to Cozy

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

9780385536998_1e4af-2Noting a growing tend of  fast-moving but very complex thrillers that challenge the readers and are well worth the attention they require, Nancy Pearl, during her regular Tuesday appearance on Seattle’s NPR station, KUOW, recommends one of  her recent favorites, The Distance by Helen Giltrow, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio). It  features a wealthy, elegant socialite named Charlotte who lives another life as Karla, a woman who helps people in trouble disappear. Katla, Nancy emphasizes, is not a nice person, and in fact, the book is “filled with people who are not particularly good people, but whom you somehow care about. It takes skill for a writer to pull that off.” Listen here

It was a LibraryRead pick for September and a favorite on GalleyChat.

OverDrive Sample

Audio Clip:

Murder at the BrightwellThat book included scenes Nancy “had to read with my eyes closed,” but on last week’s show, she recommended a book in a quite different genre, one she doesn’t generally enjoy, a cozy mystery. Murder at the Brightwell, by Ashley Weaver, (Minotaur/Macmillan) won her over with its subtle humor and “witty repartee” between a “Nick and Nora” type of wealthy young couple in the 1930’s, making it “like armchair traveling into a rarefied world.” Listen here.

It was a LibraryReads pick, for October, as well as a GalleyChat favorite (New York librarian Janet Schneider described is as “a Dorothy L. Sayers/Downton Abbey combo”). A debut, the author is a public librarian in Louisiana.

Flanagan Wins Booker

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

9780385352857_702c0Richard Flanagan has won the Man Booker Award for his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North(RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio), described  by the judges as a “magnificent novel of love and war.” He was featured in August on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Seattle librarian David Wright praised it last month in the Seattle Times. In the Washington Post, critic Ron Charles reacted strongly to it, warning readers that it can, “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. Nothing since Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has shaken me like this — all the more so because it’s based on recorded history, rather than apocalyptic speculation.”

In the daily New York Times, however, Michiko Kakutani called it “adeeply flawed,” but appreciated Flanagan’s ability to “communicate both the abominations that men are capable of inflicting upon one another, and the resilience many display in the face of utter misery.”

Read a sample here, via OverDrive; audio sample here.

Flanagan is Australian. This was the first year that the Awards were opened to Americans. Four were on the longlist and two made the transition to the shortlist of six; Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour,  Hachette/Little,Brown) and Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, (Penguin/Putnam/Marian Wood).

Historically, Booker winners have gone on to become best sellers in the U.S. UPDATEThe Narrow Road to the Deep North, rose to #16 on Amazon’s sales rankings the day after the announcement.

Final WOLF HALL Book Not Til 2016

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

The author of the Wolf Hall series, Hilary Mantel, puts the BBC on notice that she won’t appreciate it if their adaptation of her books, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, indulges in the kind of “nonsense” that the Americans brought to history in The Tudors TV series on Showtime. Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival over the weekend,  she said, “At some point, someone had decided that it was too complex for Henry VIII to have two sisters, so they rolled them into one. Then they had to find a fictitious king for her to marry, so I think they invented a king from Portugal unknown to history. It’s so shaming, and it stems from not trusting the intelligence of the viewer,”

Reporting on the session, The Telegraph notes that the author dashed hopes that the third in the book trilogy, The Mirror and The Light, will appear next year, saying it is “unlikely to be ready until 2016.

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.

WOLF HALL Coming to Broadway

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of the first two books in Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, has been a has been a hit in London and is now set to make its American debut on Broadway April 9 next year. The production is over 5 1/2 hours long, which can be viewed in two consecutive parts (with a dinner break), or on separate days.

Perhaps feeling some competition,  the executive producer of the upcoming BBC TV adaptation of Wolf Hall, commented in a recent essay in The Guardian, “I would like to clarify that the BBC commissioned the six-hour mini-series long before it was produced for the stage.” Starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis (Homeland) as Henry VIII, filming was under way in various historic British locations this summer. No release dates have been announced.

The author is at work on third book in the series, The Mirror and The Light, (she and the stage play’s producer both say they hope it will also be adapted). No publication date has been announced, but some sources say it is due next year.

The stage adaptation will be released in book form this coming February. According to the publisher, it  also”contains a substantial set of notes by Hilary Mantel on each of the principal characters, offering a unique insight into the plays and an invaluable resource to any reader looking for an even deeper understanding of Mantel’s historical creations.”

9781250064172_e247aWolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: The Stage Adaptation,  (Macmillan/Picador)
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton (adapted by)
Macmillan/Picador: February 24, 2015
9781250064172, 1250064171
Trade Paperback
$16.00 USD

Another Reason to Read Galleys

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

9780062377180_f631cCurious about how authors respond to copy edits?

The advance readers copy of Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty (Harper, 12/9/14) accidentally includes some testy exchanges. The New York Times details a few of them in yesterday’s Arts Beat blog, adding, that, although amusing, “It is no big deal: Mr. Horowitz did not use unsavory language, abuse the copy editors, or expose some fantastic dispute between himself and his publishers. At most, there is firm authorial pushback. ”

The book, the followup to the author’s popular The House of Silk,(Hachette/Mulholland, 2011) has not yet been reviewed in library review sources (it is noted in LJ‘s “Prepub Alert“).

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, got her hands on a galley. She also found the copy editing comments hilarious, but, as she says in a readers advisory to the branch staff, there are many more reasons to read it:

Anthony Horowitz has held young thriller fans in thrall with his popular Alex Rider series for a long time. He’s also turned his considerable talents to adult books and to one of my favorites — the Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes canon. If you missed it, 2011’s The House of Silk was his first effort at a Holmesian mystery, and it was first rate. It would still be a superb recommend for your traditional mystery fans.

This year, he’s back with Moriarity. I was very much hoping he’d assume Watson’s voice again, but he’s done things very differently in this book. First of all, it opens at Reichenbach Falls, and we all know what happened there. I have to admit, I felt a bit cheated by the denouement, which he seems to spring on the reader, with few clues leading up to it.  It is, nonetheless, a terrific read.

Readers Advisory: Historical Fiction and the “Ick” Factor

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

9780062335944_2516fKaty Simpson Smith has received enviable attention for her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio, 8/26/14 ). Vogue magazine profiled the author, under the headline, “Katy Simpson Smith’s Luminous Novel Is Set to Be the Debut of the Year.”

The Washington Post saw in the novel echoes of Hilary Mantel‘s Wolf Hall series, in that it “works to breathe life into history using the immediacy of the present tense. Its finely wrought (sometimes overwrought) language blends startling details of the everyday with a dreamy, aphoristic quality. The effect is to root the novel in its historical moment but to reach toward the universal in its exploration of love and grief.”

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, agrees that those details of daily life are “startling,” but not necessarily in a good way. She opened a discussion with branch staff about the book, via the following comments on the staff intranet.

Have you noticed the trend toward Realism with a capital “R” that has been hitting historical fiction? I get that living in 1793 was no picnic, but seriously, leave the ick factor to my imagination, okay?

I first noticed this with last year’s Longbourn by Jo Baker, a book I loved, but if there had been one more paragraph about chamber pots, I swear I’d have pitched it across the room. And Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Great book as a long as you aren’t depressed when you start it, because trust me, you will be when you finish it. Did I really need to know how grungy Iceland was in 1829? I have been blessed with a great imagination. Oh, Writer. Trust your readers. We could have figured it out.

And now along comes The Story of Land and Sea, an excellent historical novel with lots of good historical detail woven in, lots of examination of how people in 1793 North Carolina thought and believed and therefore behaved differently than we do, which is superbly done, but ugh—when you get to the part about yellow fever. Again, Oh, Writer, I can color in those details myself.

I wonder if this is part of a larger cultural change. Are people so accustomed to visual entertainment that writers have to literally give us the gory details to make it real for people used to getting their mental pictures drawn for them on Xbox and HBO?

If your customers like extremely well written historical novels with carefully crafted character development, they’ll love The Story of Land and Sea, but if they are more to the Gentle Reader side of the scale, they’d be happier with Light Between the Oceans or The Invention of Wings.

Several of Cuyahoga staff members responded that they like those details, including Susan Levinsohn, who wrote,

I think we are more tolerant than we were even 10 yrs. ago for the reasons you mentioned above. Senior ladies are not asking for cozies like they used to and don’t mind reading the more graphic fiction. I also think many people that read historical fiction (including myself) like to read background information that does represent the times. I like to get a “feel” for the times and the people of the era as well as the story woven around it. I think if part of the appeal for the reader is the history then the details, however “icky” are more likely taken in as just true to the times. I like Miss Marple but I’ll take Burial Rites too.

As Wendy says, it’s important to understand your customers preferences when making recommendations.

Read the first chapter here.

GONE GIRL Unchanged

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Gone GirlReviews of David Fincher’s film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl are arriving, in advance of its premiere on Friday at the New York Film Festival. Word is strong, with Rolling Stone calling it “shockingly good” and ” the date-night movie of the decade,” some seeing Oscars on the horizon. There are, of course, a naysayer or two (“bait too slick,” Village Voice).

One thing the reviews agree upon; the ending has not been changed. Still, New York magazine says there are reasons to read the book first.

The movie opens in theaters on Oct. 3.

Holds Alert: THE PAYING GUESTS

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

watersOn NPR’s All Things Considered today, Maureen Corrigan calls Sarah Waters’ new novel, The Paying Guests, (Penguin/Riverhead; BOT, read by Juliet Stevenson), “a knockout.”

A September LibraryReads pick, it also received a strong review in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review and the daily NYT has profiled the author.

The book #3 on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” of “The Top 10 Thing We Love This Week.” which calls it, “One of the year’s most engrossing and suspenseful novels.”

Holds are growing in the libraries we checked.

Oldboy director Park Chan-wook plans to adapt Waters’ earlier novel, Fingersmith, (Penguin/: Riverhead, 2002) as a feature film (Variety calls that one a “sexy crime story“).

OverDrive Sample

Nat’l Book Award Nominee on FRESH AIR

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

9780374292089_d4ec8The founder of the indie rock band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He is also the author of Wolf in White Van, (Macmillan/FSG), released on Monday and just announced as one of the titles on the National Book Awards longlist. The interview begins with Darnielle reading from the opening of the book. Listen here.

The book is also reviewed on NPR’s web site.

The author is also interviewed in the new issue of  New York Magazine.

OverDrive Sample

Note: Some sources say this is Darnielle’s first novel, but it’s actually his second, after Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, (2008), which is still available from Bloomsbury/Continiuum and is on several library catalogs.

NPR Loves BROKEN MONSTERS

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

9780316216821_1f1ebWe had to invent a new category, “Hard to Call,”  for Lauren Beukes’s new title, Broken Monsters, (Hachette/Mulholland Books) in our look-ahead to books arriving this week. Its graphic murder scenes and “grotesque and perpetual sense of doom,” as Entertainment Weekly says, may put off readers.

NPR’s reviewer has no such problem saying, “You could say that she’s as edgy as James Ellroy, as creepy as Stephen King and as darkly funny as Kurt Vonnegut, but Beukes is an author whose work is resistant to easy comparisons. Broken Monsters is one of the most remarkable books of the year, and one of the best suspense novels you’ll read in quite some time.” Stephen King himself tweeted that it’s “Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn’t put it down.”

Buekes’s 2013 title, The Shining Girls, (Hachette/Mulholland), was dubbed  “a strong contender for the role of this summer’s universal beach read,”  by the NYT‘s Janet Maslin. While it didn’t achieve that status, it received some strong reviews and hit #13 on the L.A. Times best seller list.

If you want to judge this one for yourself, you can read the grisly first chapter in the OverDrive Sample. Tell us what you think in the comments.