Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Jude Moves Toward Screen

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

9780804172707_0fec7One of the most talked about literary novels of 2015, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample), may be headed to the small screen.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Scott Rudin, noted for his many literary adaptations,  and Joe Mantello (the theater director behind Wicked) have optioned screen rights. Of course, that is just the first step. Many book titles get optioned without ever making it onto a screen.

Yanagihara posted the news to the book’s Facebook page (the entire page seems to have mysteriously disappeared) and said that the project will be a limited series. Yanagihara also asked followers to suggest actors to play Jude. Responses, reports Flavorwire, include “Eddie Redmayne … Ezra Miller (!), Rami Malek (!!) and Ben Whishaw (!!!)”

Recent literary novels that have followed a similar path include HBO’s adaptation of Olive Kitteridge and Showtime’s Purity.

A Little Life was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and The National Book Awards, although it didn’t win either. It did capture readers and critics, becoming, as we noted, a holds superstar and a darling of reviewers. It also made multiple best of the year lists and won the Kirkus Prize.

Live Chat with Katherine Arden, Author of THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Read our chat with Katherine, below.

Join us for the next live chat about The Most Danger Place on Earth byLindsey Lee Johnson on Setp. 28, 4 to 5 p.m., ET.

To join the program, sign up here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Katherine Arden – THE BEAR & THE NIGHTINGALE
 

More Backman On The Way

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The author of the long-running trade paperback best seller, A Man Called Ove, and two LibraryReads picksBritt-Marie Was Here and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, (also currently a best seller in trade paperback), Fredrik Backman, has signed a deal to publish three new novels and a novella with S&S/Atria. Significantly, the news is reported by Deadline Hollywood, indicating the author has caught the attention of the U.S. movie business.

9781501160486_26853Coming first, on Nov. 1, is the novella,  And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer (S&S/Atria; ISBN 9781501160486). Deadline says, like Ove, it “centers on an elderly man, who struggles to hold on to his memories, face his regrets and help his son and grandson prepare for his death.” It will be issued in a “small-format hardcover,” with illustrations.

The first of the three novels will be titled Beartown (S&S/Atria, May 2, 2017; ISBN 9781501160769). Deadline says “It concerns a depressed town whose hopes for a brighter future rest on its junior ice hockey team as it goes after the national title.”

MV5BMjE0NDUyOTc2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk2NzU3OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,679,1000_AL_Meanwhile, the Swedish-language film adaptation of A Man Called Ove will open in limited release on Sept. 30 (some sources list it for release at the end of this month, but Sept. 30 now seems to be official).

Variety reviewed it when it was shown at the Goteborg Film Festival in February, calling the subtitled film “irresistible” and “A touching comic crowdpleaser,” commenting on the “terrific” cast and cinematography that makes it “a pleasure to watch.”

Cinema Scandinavia reports that in Sweden, where it was released late last year, Ove was a hit, topping the box office there and winning awards, including Best Actor for lead Rolf Lassgård.

Variety notes that Music Box Films won US distribution rights. They have previously brought to the U.S. such Swedish imports as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

Booker Longlist Title Gets US Publishing Date

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

In addition to famous names and international publishing houses, the Booker Prize also shines a light on small presses.

9781510719217_43f40Last year Marlon James and the U.K. indie press Oneworld took top honors for A Brief History of Seven Killings (published here by Riverhead, an imprint of the much larger Penguin Random House). This year’s longlist includes a title by an even smaller press, His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, Graeme MaCrae Burnet (OverDrive Sample), published by the tiny 2-person house, Saraband.

At the time of the longlist announcement in July, the novel was not scheduled for a US release, but it is now set to be published here, also by an indie press, but one that is much larger, Skyhorse. The ship date is Sept. 13 [Correction: Ship Date is Sept. 27] , which will work well if the title makes it to the shortlist, which will be announced that very day.

Back in Scotland, the staff at Saraband fielded an endless round of inquiries after the longlist was announced. Publisher Sara Hunt told The Guardian, “It’s been crazy but fantastic … it’s hard to take in when most of the time we’re fighting to tell people about how good our books are, then suddenly everyone who hasn’t been in touch is wanting to speak to you at the same time – it’s that tricky day at work that you dream of having.”

The novel, a historical crime thriller, got little attention prior to the Booker spotlight, which The Guardian says is an oversight,

“a psychological thriller masquerading as a slice of true crime; a collection of ‘found’ documents …The book’s pretense at veracity, as well as being a literary jeux d’esprit, brings an extraordinary historical period into focus, while the multiple unreliable perspectives are designed to keep the audience wondering …  This is a fiendishly readable tale that richly deserves the wider attention the Booker has brought it.”

THE FIFTH SEASON Wins Hugo

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

9780316229296_62f5aThe 2016 Hugo Awards winners were announced on Saturday at the World Science Fiction Convention. N.K. Jemisin won Best Novel for The Fifth Season (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample).

The first book in the Broken Earth trilogy grabbed reviewers’ attention for its scope and scale. In the NYT Sunday Book Review, multiple award-winning author Naomi Novik wrote it is a novel of “intricate and extraordinary world–building.” The NPR reviewer  also lauded the author’s world-building as being full of “sumptuous detail and dimensionality.” Wired picked it as their book club title and Smart Bitches Trashy Books gave it an A grade, writing:

The Fifth Season blew my entire weekend. I had plans. I was supposed to, at least at some point, get out of bed and take a shower. Instead I stayed in my blanket fort and devoured this book. The most I managed to accomplish was feeding the cat and tweeting about how much I loved this novel.”

We wrote about Jemisin and critical reaction to the sequel, The Obelisk Gate (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample), earlier this week.

Jemisin headlines a sweeping win for female authors, with every fiction category going to a woman.

9780765385253_40f87Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella for Binti (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). Tor.com writes “Okorafor’s stories are where the ancient cultures of Africa meet the future, where what we have been and what makes us human meets what we can be and what we may be in the future.” NPR’s All Things Considered recently aired an interview with the author.

Uncanny2Hao Jingfang won Best Novelette for “Folding Beijing,” translated by Ken Liu. Tor.com says “it’s not just that this is a smart story doing crunchy, smart things in a clever fashion—that’s just one layer of the thing. It’s also an emotionally resonant and intimately personal piece, grounded thoroughly through the life experience of the protagonist.”

Naomi Kritzer won Best Short Story for “Cat Pictures Please.” io9 includes the story in a round up of “What Are The Best Short Stories of the Year So Far?” (for 2015) and links to a review in Apex magazine.

9781401265199_7147aNeil Gaiman takes home the Best Graphic Story prize for The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition, (DC Comics/Vertigo). The Nerdist and Tor.com provide reviews. Last year, NPR’s Terry Gross interviewed Gaiman about the book on Fresh Air.

MV5BMTc2MTQ3MDA1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA3OTI4NjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_It was also a great night for Andy Weir. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (which is not a Hugo Award but is given at the same time) and the film The Martian (adapted from Weir’s debut novel) won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

An episode of Jessica Jones won Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

Once again, the “Puppy” effect could be seen. However, it seems the voting members of the Hugo are learning to both live with and ignore the alt-right wing attack on the award (see our overview of the ongoing controversy).

As The Verge put it, “The immediate takeaway from tonight is that once again, slated works [the Puppy nominees] added to the ballot through a coordinated campaign have trouble swaying voters, although they were not unanimously dismissed, but in these instances, the awards largely went  to authors and works that really didn’t need help from slated works in the first place, such as Andy Weir or Neil Gaiman. In all other instances, voters opted to give the awards to extremely deserving works.”

Amazon Loves DICK

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

9781584350347-mediumAmazon Studios introduces three new titles in their “pilot season” this month. Unlike other networks, where pilots are seen by the few who decide which will go to series, Amazon invites viewers to get in on the action and vote for their favorites, with one exception. Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes is exempt from the process and is going directly to series.

Of the three pilots released this month, one bears a title that sounds more like it came from a bathroom stall than from a book. I Love Dick is based on a cult novel by Chris Kraus, published by the indie press Semiotext(e) in 1997.

Directed by Jill Soloway, the creator of the award-winning Transparent, which begins its third season next month, it stars Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn, who also stars in Transparent.

Profiling the production, New York magazine writes that Soloway turns “one of the most compelling cult novels of the last 20 years into a television show with the potential to be as groundbreaking in its examination of gender politics as her first.”

The cult status of the book was explored last year in a piece in the New Yorker and the Guardian celebrated its UK debut last fall.

Amazon recently debuted two other pilots based on books, The Interestings, based on Meg Wolitzer’s novel, is not going to series, but The Last Tycoon, based on an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is planned to begin streaming this fall.

Hitting Screens, Week of Aug. 22

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

9780765322470Just one adaptation opens in the coming week but  it will not make much noise, since it opens in a limited number of theaters (also on VOD), which is unfortunate because it received strong reviews when it premiered at this year’s SXSW.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is based on the 2009 thriller of the same title by Dan Wells. The first in a series, it received a starred review from Kirkus, which called it a “gory gem …this deft mix of several genres features a completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, [and} a riveting mystery.” Other titles in the series received equally strong reviews from both Booklist and Kirkus.

The plot line is reminiscent of  another series, Dexter. In this case, the main character is a 15-year-old struggling with the realization that he exhibits the classic personality traits of a serial killer. As he fights his own tendencies, he uses his special knowledge to try to help solve a series of murders happening in his small town.

The movie stars Back to the Future‘s Christopher Lloyd and, as the main character, Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are).

From X-Men to ALIAS GRACE

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

9780385490443Anna Paquin is joining the cast of the Netflix series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (PRH/Anchor; OverDrive Sample), reports IndieWire.

The actress, best known for her roles in X-Men and HBO’s True Blood, is set for the role of Nancy Montgomery, one of the two people allegedly killed by Grace Marks in the 1800s.

As we wrote previously, the double murder rocked Canada in the 1840’s with the public avidly following every detail and debating the question of whether the poor young Irish immigrant Marks (to be played by Sarah Gadon) was guilty of killing her employer and his housekeeper/lover (Montgomery).

Mary Harron (American Psycho) is directing the six-hour series. Filming started this month. No word yet on an airdate.

This is not the only new Atwood adaption on the way. As we noted earlier, Hulu is adapting The Handmaid’s Tale.

Readers’ Advisory: OBELISK GATE

Friday, August 19th, 2016

9780316229265_28d13A rising star in the SF and fantasy world, N.K Jemisin just received a glowing review on NPR’s book site for the second in her Broken Earth trilogy, The Obelisk Gate (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample).

The new novel picks “up right where that first book left off” says NPR reviewer Amal El-Mohtart, “plunging us deep into the Evil Earth and all its machinations after the first” (The Fifth Season). She continues, it “pole-vaults over the expectations I had for what epic fantasy should be and stands in magnificent testimony to what it could be.”

The SF site, Tor.com has different take on the book, writing “The Obelisk Gate is small and safe where The Fifth Season was large and surprising.” It happens that El-Mohtart also writes for Tor.com and begins a short exchange with their reviewer in the comments section, helping RA librarians by speculating that reading both books back-to-back might affect a readers perception.

io9 sides with El-Mohtart regardless of reading order. They featured the book in their August list of “15 Must-Read” titles for the month.

The Fantasy fan world initially took note of the author when she won the Locus award in the first novel category for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Her profile rose even higher when The Fifth Season was shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. It also hit many best books lists for the year, including the New York Times and the Washington Post‘s.

Librarians new to Jemisin might want to read The Guardian‘s 2015 profile, which says her books “are about multicultural, complex worlds that stand out in a field that has been traditionally dominated by white men.”

She is known for elaborate world-building, her unique settings, far beyond the typical locales for Fantasy, and her strong point of view. As The Guardian puts it, “Stereotypical fantasy series like, say, The Lord of the Rings, usually present a virtuous status quo threatened by a dark and eventually defeated outsider. But Jemisin’s stories almost always involve a flawed order, and the efforts (also flawed) to overthrow it.”

ARRIVAL Trailer Arrives

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

+-+46961139_140 +-+881227194_140

Ted Chiang has won a remarkable number of major science fiction awards. That is even more remarkable when you realize that his output has been relatively small, just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines. A collected edition of some of his short stories, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; OverDrive Sample), is called by the publisher “the most awarded collection in history” even though, technically, it’s not the collection that was awarded, but the stories in it.

In a recent interview in Electric Literature, Chiang’s work is described as managing to “capture the human drama behind philosophical questions, in clear and spare prose that seduces with its simplicity.”

That doesn’t sound like the type of science fiction that generally makes it to the big screen (in an interview last year, he dismissed movies like Star Wars as “adventure stories dressed up with lasers.”)

Nevertheless, a $50 million dollar adaptation of the title story from the collection,  Story of Your Life is headed to screens this fall, with the title Arrival.

Chiang says that, after he first got the idea to write about a woman trying to communicate with aliens and having her own life profoundly changed as a result, he studied linguistics for four years as preparation.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, the movie will arrive in theaters on November 11. The first trailer was just released.

Tie-in:
Arrival (Stories of Your Life MTI)
Ted Chiang
PRH/Vintage: October 25, 2016

The Daily Show Bounce Is Back
for HOMEGOING

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

9781101947135_40918Trevor Noah took over hosting The Daily Show from Jon Stewart last year. His predecessor was beloved by publishers for the many writers he featured on the show and for the resulting bumps in sales of their books.

Noah has not followed in those footsteps. While he has featured writers, they have been the usual late show mix of well known comedians and politicians who just happen to have written books and those appearances have rarely produced noticeable sales bumps.

Last night’s guest was different. Noah interviewed novelist Yaa Gyasi and The Daily Show bump returned, sending her debut Homegoing (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample) shooting up the Amazon sales ranks, moving from #315 to #62.


Noah is passionate about the book, calling  it “one of the most fantastic books I have read in a long time,” continuing that it is a “powerful … beautiful story … hopeful while at the same time being very realistic … you cry and you laugh as you are reading it.”

Gyasi says her visit to a slave fort in Ghana spurred her to write about the “diaspora as a family … if you go back far enough in time the thing that connects us … both African immigrants and African Americans … is the fact that we were all related … I wanted to bring it down to that most elemental level … to connect the family for all of us.” She also says that the story of slavery cannot be told without including the role played by African slave traders.

Noah closed the brief interview by reminding the audience that Gyasi’s novel is being hailed as “the new Roots of our generation” and saying he expects to be hearing more from her.

The million-dollar debut has been a hot title since before it even hit shelves, getting nods from librarians and booksellers, making multiple Summer reading lists, and Entertainment Weekly‘s list of “Best Fiction of 2016 So Far..” It spent a few weeks on the NYT bestseller extend list (getting as high as #15) but did best on the American Booksellers Association list which measures indie bookstore sales, reaching #5.

Circulation continues to be strong across libraries we checked with high hold numbers and turnover rates.

The ORPHAN TRAIN House

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

9780061950704_6f669If you love real estate porn combined with the story of an author’s unexpected success, check out the cover story from Sunday’s NYT Real Estate section. In it, Christina Baker Kline writes that she had nearly given up on her dream to buy a house where her father and three siblings has been acquiring property, on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

All that changed when her novel Orphan Train, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2014) which is partially set on Mount Desert Island, became a word-of-mouth bestseller.

Taking Off Like An Express Train

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

9780385537032_9b0d7From the President to RWA’s Librarian of the Year, people are on board for Oprah’s latest pick, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOT). It debuts at #4 on the NYT Best Seller Hardback Fiction list, is the #6 best selling book on Amazon, and is #10 on the USA Today best- seller list.

Reviewers were caught off guard when the book, originally scheduled for publication in September, was published early due to the Oprah pick. A few newspapers managed to rush their reviews into print including The Washington Post and The New York Times. Since then there have been many more assessments, all of them glowing.

The book is featured on the cover of this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review. Author Juan Gabriel Vásquez  calls it “striking and imaginative … carefully built and stunningly daring; it is also, both in expected and unexpected ways, dense, substantial and important.” Whitehead himself is interviewed by NYT BR editor Pamela Paul on the weekly podcast.

NPR‘s book reviewer goes so far as to say, “With this novel, Colson Whitehead proves that he belongs on any short list of America’s greatest authors — his talent and range are beyond impressive and impossible to ignore. The Underground Railroad is an American masterpiece.”

Laura Miller of Slate wonders “How does an ironist write about slavery?” and makes some unexpected comparisons, “The Underground Railroad makes it clear that Whitehead’s omnivorous cultural appetite has devoured narratives of every variety and made them his own. This novel, like much of his work, has the flavor of [Ralph] Ellison’s skepticism—but it’s also redolent of the propulsive, quasi-allegorical quest plot of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Think of The Underground Railroad as the novel where the spirits of two great American storytellers meet in a third.”

USA Today gives it 3.5 out of four stars, saying that the novel is “masterful, urgent,” full of “immense vitality,” and “one of the finest novels written about our country’s still unabsolved original sin.” WSJ writes “on every page of The Underground Railroad is evidence of a mature writer in full control of his talent and ambition.” People calls it “Tense, graphic, uplifting and informed, this is a story to share and remember.”

As for the President and the librarian, Mr. Obama includes the book on his just released Summer Reading List while Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian for Timberland Regional Library and the 2016 RWA Librarian of the Year, prophetically said during a podcast from the romance book site, Smart Bitches/Trashy Books, recorded before Oprah made her pick, “everyone will be talking about it when it comes out, and you’ll hear so much about it that you’ll think, it can’t be that good, [but] it’s one of those life-changing books …  I can’t shut up about that book.”

ANOTHER BROOKLYN Soars

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

9780062359988_42588Jacqueline Woodson’s first novel for adults in two decades, Another Brooklyn (HarperCollins/Amistad; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is racing up the Amazon sales ranks, moving from #1,678 to #346.

The jump is a result of Woodson’s appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air, where she talks with host Terry Gross about poetry, sex, gender, homosexuality, and how growing up in a deeply religious family fueled her creativity and instilled in her a confidence that she had “a right to say what I believe in.”

USA Today reviewed the coming of age novel Tuesday, giving it 3 out of 4 stars and writing “it’s a story about adolescence as a feat of survival … alert to the confluences of dramas that a teen absorbs all at once, from racism to sexual abuse to the loss of family members.”

It is the #1 Indie Pick for August and earned rare all-star status from the four trade review journals. As we wrote earlier, it is on the majority of the summer reading lists and is sure to be heavily reviewed.

INFERNO’s Olympic Bounce

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

MV5BMjIwMjUyODExOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE0NDM4ODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_It might not be the gold medal that Michael Phelps and the American women gymnastics earned last night, but the next Dan Brown film adaptation, Inferno, won its own Olympic competition. On the strength of a trailer played between high profile events, the novel jumped on Amazon, rising from #384 to #6.

9780804172264_02d10Inferno (PRH/Anchor; trade pbk. ISBN 9780804172264; May 6, 2014; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) spent five straight weeks at #1 on the NYT hardcover bestseller list , and an additional 13 weeks in the top five.

It’s the fourth of the Robert Langdon novels but the third film adaptation, after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & DemonsThe third novel, The Lost Symbol, was attempted, but was abandoned after the screenplay proved difficult, running through three screenwriters.

Ron Howard again directs, with Tom Hanks starring as Langdon, a Harvard symbologist who cannot seem to stay out of trouble. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also join the cast. David Koepp (Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull, Angels & Demons, Jurassic Park) wrote the screenplay.

Entertainment Weekly provides a concise summary of the action, saying Langdon “attempts to untangle a deadly mystery rooted in history, and this time, he finds himself swept up in a murderous conspiracy and plague tied to Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and the nine circles of hell.”

The first movie was a blockbuster.  Angels and Demons followed three years later. Although deemed a success, it did not do as well as its predecessor. Collider points out that the seven-year gap between the last film and the new one raises the question of whether “the audience remains all this time later.” If the book’s movement on Amazon’s rankings is an indicator, the answer to that question is yes.

The movie premieres on October 28, 2016 in the US with an international start date of October 12th.

As we pointed out when the first trailer appeared, several tie-ins arrive in September:

Inferno (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Dan Brown
Trade Paperback, (PRH/Anchor)
Mass Market, (PRH/Anchor)
Audio CD (PRH/Random House Audio)
Inferno (Movie Tie-in edition en Espanyol), (PRH/ Vintage Espanyol)