Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE: Anne Hathaway Set to Star

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.05.57 AMJennifer Steil’s debut novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, (RH/Doubleday; BOT; OverDrive Sample), may be heading to the small screen.

Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds) is developing the project and Anne Hathaway has agreed to both star and produce. Hathaway’s shine should help give the proposed limited series some juice but the project is not yet attached to a network.

The novel relates the story of the kidnapping of the wife of an ambassador posted in the Middle East. PW ‘s review calls it “a well-crafted, fast-paced novel, packed with ample suspense to keep the pages turning.” The Seattle Times adds it is “brilliantly drawn and deeply troubling.” Steil, a journalist, is in fact also the wife of an ambassador.

Gordon told The WrapThe Ambassador’s Wife is an incredible story that pulls you in immediately and resonates with all of us based on the images and news headlines that are pervasive in our lives today. We are so fortunate to have Anne starring in this timely, gripping, and compassionate drama. She is in a league all her own and we cannot think of anyone who can better portray Steil’s complex heroine.”

Showtime Options LOVING DAY

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.59.34 AMShowtime has optioned Mat Johnson’s novel Loving Day (RH/ Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample) as a potential comedy series. According to Deadline  talks are “underway with high-end writers to collaborate with the author on penning the adaptation.”

About a mixed race man and the daughter he never knew he had, the novel has received a fair amount of critical attention:

NPR’s reviewer, Michael Schaub, heaped praise on it, calling it a “beautiful, triumphant miracle of a book.”

Jim Ruland’s review in the Los Angeles Times was equally strong, “To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. Indeed, the subtitle to Mat Johnson’s exceptional novel could read “the whiteness of the mixed male.” [His] riff on racial identity starts as a scene, turns into an episode and morphs into a motif that never lets up. His unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor.”

Writing for The New York Times, Baz Dreisinger calls it a “ribald, incisive the novel … [that] ultimately triumphs because it is razor-sharp, sci-fi-flavored satire in the vein of George Schuyler, playfully evocative of black folklore à la Joel Chandler Harris — yet it never feels like a cold theoretical exercise. Loving Day is that rare mélange: cerebral comedy with pathos.”

Ron Charles on PURITY

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.58.49 AMRon Charles, book critic for The Washington Post, is among the first to review Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Purity (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio), which he calls a “trenchant analysis of the sins of parenting, the destruction of privacy, and the irresistible but futile pursuit of purity”.

With his trademark wit he summaries the novel over the course of the review: “[It] traces the unlikely rise of a poor, fatherless child named Pip. When we meet Pip — short for Purity — she is buried beneath $130,000 of student debt and working at a marginally fraudulent business in Oakland that sells renewable energy… For those of you sitting in the back, purity is the theme of this novel, and — spoiler alert! — it turns out that nobody is as pure as he or she claims to be: Everybody harbors secrets: shameful, disgusting, sometimes deadly secrets. If that adolescent revelation gets a bit too much emphasis in these pages, at least it’s smartly considered and reconsidered in the seven distinct but connected sections that make up the book.”

The Cliff Notes version of his long and detailed consideration is this: he thinks it is better than Freedom and not as much fun as The Corrections.

This will be, of course, one of many reviews to come. The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Telegraph, and The Independent have already weighed in. At this point, holds are in line with orders for the September 1 pub. date.

RA Alert: A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.02.03 AM2015 might be termed the year of the famous lost manuscript given that new old writings by Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and Dr. Seuss have come to light.

Now comes another twist, the reemergence of an author somewhat lost to time, Lucia Berlin.

Don’t know who she is? You are not alone. For decades only a handful of people were aware of her work, most notably championed by short story master Lydia Davis.

Berlin was born in Alaska in 1936 and lived in multiple locales, from Chile to NYC. She had a hard childhood, was an alcoholic, and lived a peripatetic, rowdy life, according to The New York Times in a Books section profile.

She wrote short stories that were thinly veiled slices of her own life. Her first was published when she was 24, in Saul Bellow’s magazine The Nobel Savage, according to the NYT. Small presses published collections of her stories at various times after that but she largely stayed below the radar, dying in 2004.

FSG is betting on her again with A Manual for Cleaning Women (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample), a collection of 43 stories that remind Elizabeth McCracken, she tells the NYT  “of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, which is the most beloved book of stories I know from the past 20 years among writers.”

The collection is getting strong and glowing attention. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A saying, that the stories are written “in sentences so bright and fierce and full of wild color that you’ll want to turn each one over just to see how she does it. And then go back and read them all again.”

O the Oprah magazine made it the top pick in their “16 Books to Curl Up With This Fall,” saying the collection “reilluminates a neglected talent.”

The New Yorker has a piece on Berlin by Davis who says that the “stories make you forget what you were doing, where you are, even who you are.”

John Williams, who wrote The New York Times profile, weighs in with “Her stories speak in a voice at once direct and off-kilter, sincere and wry. They are singular, but also immediately accessible to anyone raised on the comic searching of Lorrie Moore or the offbeat irony of George Saunders.”

Holds are strong and the collection has risen to #52 on Amazon sales rankings.

UPDATE: The daily NYT‘s critic Dwight Garner reviews it Aug 19. While  full of praise for the author (“Reading Ms. Berlin, I often found myself penciling curses of appreciation in the margins”), he thinks many of the lesser stories should have been left out.

CAROL, The Trailer

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, 1952 (available in trade paperback from Norton, 2004; movie tie-in coming in Oct.) the film Carol was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival and is considered a strong Oscar contender. Scheduled to debut Nov. 20, the trailer has just been released.

TV Turns to Magic, Monsters
and Myths

Monday, August 17th, 2015

It’s no surprise that the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones is spawning a whole new appreciation for the genre in the TV world. Variety trumpets that “Game of Thrones Leads Fantasy TV’s Transformation from Geek to Chic” noting,  “On tap for the 2015-16 season are no fewer than five series based on literary works that deal with magic, monsters, mythical realms or heroic quests.”

Those five series listed below:

MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles — ten episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, the first in the book series is Sword Of Shannara, but the first in the TV series will be based on the second book Elfstones Of Shannara. Tie-in — see our movie and TV tie-ins.

Syfy’s The Magicians  — twelve episode series to begin January, 2016. Based on Lev Grossman’s  The Magicians fantasy trilogy (The Magicians, 2009; The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land). No tie-ins have been announced.

ABC Family’s Shadowhunters — Early 2016. Cassandra Clare’s YA series beginning with The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, (S&S/ M.K. McElderry Books, 2007). It was also made into a movie in 2013. Plans to turn it into a franchise when it flopped at the box office. the producers think it will do better as a TV series. Tie-ins — see our movie and TV tie-ins. Web site: Shadowhunterstv.com

NBC’s Emerald City — 2016, A “modern reimagining” of Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz, with stories drawn from all 14 books in the series. No tie-in has been announced.

Starz’s American Gods — 2016. Based on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2001). No tie-in has been announced.

Holds Alert: BLACK-EYED SUSANS

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.18 AMHolds are growing for Julia Heaberlin’s third thriller and hardcover debut Black-Eyed Susans (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Trade reviews were solid but not over the top, but reviewer, reader, and librarian response has been. It is an August LibraryReads pick, one of Amazon’s August selections of the Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Books, and a Goodreads Best Books of the Month choice.

The Washington Post review all but glows, calling it “brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed [and] outstanding.” The review concludes with this million dollar endorsement:

“Heaberlin’s work calls to mind that of Gillian Flynn. Both writers published impressive early novels that were largely overlooked, and then one that couldn’t be: Flynn’s Gone Girl and now Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans. Don’t miss it.”

Need a quick summary? The Dallas Morning News offers a share-worthy take:

“16-year-old Tessie Cartwright was found buried alive in a field of black-eyed Susans with the remains of other girls who weren’t so fortunate. The story toggles between two timelines, one involving the traumatized teen’s therapy sessions, the other taking place nearly 20 years later, when mid-30s Tessa believes the wrong man was sentenced to death row — and that her “monster” is still stalking her. Never has a patch of pretty flowers blooming outside a bedroom window seemed so sinister.”

Thanks to Wendy Bartlett, collection development at Cuyahoga Public Library, for the tips!

Gaining Attention: John Scalzi

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.42.14 AMJohn Scalzi is a name to know in the world of SF, but as he wryly observes in L.A. Times, that is “exactly like being the best-known bluegrass artist in the country.”

Readers’ advisory librarians will disagree. Scalzi is not only an award winner but also a reliable sure bet for recommendations. It is true, however, that he has yet to gain major name recognition outside of science fiction’s devoted circle of fans.

That is likely to change. He signed a multi-million dollar contract with Tor last spring for 13 books to be delivered over the next 10 years.

The New York Times reported the story at the time and quoted Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the executive editor for Tor, that while Scalzi has never had a “No. 1 best seller he backlists like crazy … one of the reactions of people reading a John Scalzi novel is that people go out and buy all the other Scalzi novels.”

As Scalzi told Den of Geek in a recent interview, some of the 13 new books will be YA titles (they won’t necessarily be SF or fantasy; one is a contemporary story), and will include an epic space opera outside his established Old Man’s War series.

His newest book, The End of All Things (Macmillan/Tor; Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), the sixth title in that universe, was published last week.

He also has an audio-only project in the works for Audible (unavailable to libraries, but sister Amazon company, Brilliance often publishes Audible titles as CD’s).

In addition, several of his titles have been optioned for TV series. That bluegrass analogy is likely to change.

Philip K. Dick, The Small Screen Version

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.38.59 AM  Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.40.14 AM

Philip K. Dick is having something of a moment … yet again.

Long beloved in the SF world, his novels and short stories have also long been adapted into movies including Total Recall, The Adjustment Bureau, Minority ReportBlade Runner and A Scanner Darkly.

Now Dick is poised to make a splash on the small screen with a TV version of Minority Report (actually a sequel to the movie starring Tom Cruise, which was in turn based on the 2002 short story by Dick). airing on FOX beginning Sept. 21 and an adaption of The Man in the High Castle streaming via Amazon Prime starting Nov. 20 (poster at left, above and the cover of the most recent reissue of the book, HMH, 2012. No tie-in has been announced).

The Man in the High Castle, an alternative history in which the Axis powers won WWII and are ruling America, is getting a lot of attention. We wrote about its premier at Comic-Con, Entertainment Weekly is on board with frequent coverage, and the series is getting play in both mainstream media and specialized blogs.

Jeff Jensen writing for Entertainment Weekly reviewed the entire Amazon line up under the headline “Amazon pilot reviews: The Man in the High Castle is king” and said of the opener “this well-cast, well-acted, swell-looking pilot is by far the most polished of the group. It’s engrossing despite its stately pace, and a triumph of world building. [It] could be Amazon’s first successful attempt at big saga TV.”

Amazon says it is their most-watched pilot to date, reports Newsweek, also quoting executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) “[the story] raises all kinds of questions about reality and what it means to be human in an inhuman world … The chance to dramatize it was just irresistible.”

Den of Geek has posted an interview with several of the executive producers, including Dick’s daughter Isa Dick-Hackett, David W. Zucker (The Good Wife), and Spotnitz. When asked just what it was about Dick’s writing that makes it so perennially popular his daughter replied:

He would be astounded that we’re sitting here talking about titles of 50-60 years past. Maybe people have caught up to his work. I think with every film adaptation the following grows and hopefully it brings people back to the written work. When he talked about technology it wasn’t just about the technology itself. It was about the how it impacted human beings and what it means to be human. What is reality? Those are universal questions and I think it is part of the draw.

The first episode of The Man in the High Castle is currently available free on Amazon. Trailer, below.

BIG STONE GAP, Trailer

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Author Adriana Trigiani makes her directorial debut with the movie Big Stone Gap, based on her debut novel, which was the first book in her four-part series.

Starring Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Jenna Elfman, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jane Krakowski, it is set to  open in 250 theaters on October 9. The trailer was just released.

Tie-in:

9781101967447_e4c55

Big Stone Gap (Movie Tie-in Edition) 
Adriana Trigiani
RH/Ballantine: August 18, 2015
Trade Paperback

 

 

 

Also in October, Trigiani is publishing a new novel, based on the story of actress Loretta Young (hear the HarperCollins Buzz on the book here).

9780062319197_9d54b

All the Stars in the Heavens
Adriana Trigiani
Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe
October 13, 2015
 

 

Ernest Cline: New Book Deal

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

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First came a video game Easter egg hunt in Ready Player One (RH/Crown, 2011) then an alien invasion in Armada (RH/Crown; RH & BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample) and now comes the news via the Hollywood Reporter that Ernest Cline has just signed a contract for his third book, to be published by PRH’s Crown Publishing. Details are sketchy at best but the book will be another SF title.

Negotiations for the film rights to the untitled project begin this week. The rights to Armada were sold just after the ink was dry on that book contract. In addition. the the film adaptation of Ready Player One has just been set for release on Dec. 15, 2017 with Steven Spielberg directing the Warner Bros project.

All of this has prompted Deadline Hollywood to crown Cline as the next “Hollywood Franchise Author.”

Both of Cline’s novels have hit the NYT Bestseller lists. Ready Player One continues its long run on the trade paperback list and Armada hit the hardcover Fiction list in its first week of publication.

Librarians have been supporters of the books, making Cline’s debut the number one favorite of 2011 in a Twitter poll.

Paula Hawkins Hints at Next Book

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

In the NYT “Arts Beat” blog today, publishing reporter Alexandra Alter runs down the impressive sales figures for The Girl on the Train. Noting that author Paula Hawkins is “wrestling with her next novel,” Alter adds, “Judging by a remark she posted on Twitter recently, the new book promises to be equally dark.”

Like the book that made her famous, the next one will also be a psychological thriller, this time about two sisters, states the Guardian in an interview with the author in mid-July. Hawkins adds,

The new book will have a very different feel in some ways, and similar in others. I’d like to carry over some of that air of paranoia but it’s got a much larger cast of characters, and will be a less claustrophobic book, I think.

Publication date has not yet been announced. In an interview with The Daily Beast in April, she said she plans “to finish over the summer so that it hopefully will be out summer or autumn of next year.”

Crystal Ball: IN A DARK,
DARK WOOD

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.18.09 PMWith growing word of mouth, Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) is poised to hit next week’s bestseller lists.

Featured on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday with the wonderful headline “Scream Meets Agatha Christie,” it is also rising on Amazon, currently at #150.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an A- review, writing that the novel’s “foggy atmosphere and chilling revelations will leave you breathless.” As we noted earlier, it’s a LibraryReads pick for August and was one of GalleyChat’s unexpected BEA gems.

Holds are more than respectable on fairly light ordering.

NPR’s David Greene said that he began reading the book in a secluded park and that that was “a very bad idea. Even the title sends chills up the spine.” Here is the full interview:

New Life for THE SECOND LIFE
OF NICK MASON

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.41.32 AMSteve Hamilton, the NYT bestselling author with several Edgar wins under his belt, created a bit of a publishing tempest last week when he pulled out of his contract with St. Martin’s just weeks before his new book, The Second Life of Nick Mason was due on the shelves. (Note: cover art, left, is for the now cancelled St. Martin’s/Minotaur edition).

Libraries have solid holds lists for the start of this new series, one Harlan Coben blurbs as “A gamechanger. Nick Mason is one of the best main characters I’ve read in years. An intense, moving, absolutely relentless book — it will grab you from the first line and never let go.”

Within 23 hours of news breaking that Hamilton had walked away from St. Martin’s he was fielding multiple offers from other publishers, according to Entertainment Weekly, but the fate of his forthcoming book seemed murky (you can read the backstory here).

Separately, the AP reports that Hamilton has accepted a 4-book deal with Penguin/Putnam to publish the first two books in his Nick Mason series. The first title is now due out in the middle of 2016.

Nancy Pearl Interviews
Mary Doria Russell

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Librarian Nancy Pearl, who has been a fan and follower of Mary Doria Russell since her debut title, interviews her as part of the Book Lust series airing on the Seattle channel.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.29.30 PMThey discuss her first novel, The Sparrow (RH/Ballantine; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), published nearly 25 years ago and still a favorite with book groups.

Russell originally planned The Sparrow as a short story, “It kind of got away from me,” she tells Nancy. Turned downed 31 times by 31 agents, Russell proved the doubters wrong and has gone on to write five more well received novels, including Doc (RH/Ballantine; OverDrive Sample) and A Thread of Grace.(RH/Ballantine; Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.28.54 PMBooks on Tape; OverDrive Sample).

Russell has an unusual creative process. She writes two books in the same general universe before she moves on to a different one. Her most recent is Epitaph (Harper/Ecco; OverDrive Sample; March, 2015), her second Western following Doc.

She is currently working on a book about unions and thinks the second book in that pair will be about Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa.