Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Belgravia Delayed

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

BelgraviaJulian Fellowes appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition today to talk about his new project. Harking back to an old form, his book Belgravia will be released in installments, but using modern technology, it will be delivered via an app.

Unfortunately, there is a hitch. According to the Belgravia App Page on Facebook,

“Our nineteenth century story has been stalled by twenty-first century technology! … We are currently resolving an unexpected technical issue and the launch of Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA app has been delayed.”

As we noted earlier, a hardcover edition of the full series, as well as an audio, is set for July.
 

Baileys Shortlist Announced

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Six authors made the leap from the longlist to the shortlist for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK’s most prestigious award for women of all nationalities writing in English:

9780804188241_49c49 Ruby, Cynthia Bond (RH/Hogarth; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Bond’s debut novel was an Oprah pick last Feb. and made the NYT‘s bestseller list. It was also very much admired abroad with The Guardian offering: “Many will compare Ruby to the work of Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston … It may be most apt to compare Bond to Gabriel García Márquez [as] Ruby is woven with magical realism.”

9780393352801_871b8The Green Road, Anne Enright (W. W. Norton; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample).

A Man Booker Prize winner, Enright was also on the Booker’s 2015 longlist for this title. When the hardback edition came out last May, People said, “With language so vibrant it practically has a pulse, Enright makes an exquisitely drawn case for the possibility of growth, love and transformation at any age.” It was one of  New York magazine’s 8 Books You Need to Read This May and an Indie Next pick.

9780804189064_9ddaa The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney (PRH/Tim Duggan Books; Random House Audio).

Also a debut, this title is scheduled to hit shelves in the US on Aug. 9. It is set in contemporary, post-crash Ireland. On that side of the ocean McInerney has already gained considerable praise with The Irish Times writing that she is “arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today.” 

9781594206856_3b03aThe Portable Veblen, Elizabeth Mckenzie (Penguin Press; OverDrive Sample).

This was an Indie Next pick for Feb. 2016.  Bookseller Rico Lange, of Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA said: “This story of an engaged couple trying to navigate crazy family dynamics, betrayal, and professional dilemmas on their way to getting married is one of the funniest, most unique novels I’ve ever read.” Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly all gave it starred reviews.

The Improbability of Love9781101874141_9e7a9 by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) is the final of the three debuts on the list, written by the incoming chair of London’s National Art Galley. Rothschild (yes, one of THOSE Rothschilds) is the first woman to hold that position. Naturally, her first novel is inspired by one of her favorite artists, Jean-Antoine Watteau. It was both a LibraryReads and a Indie Next pick.

9780804172707_0fec7 A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample).

It is doubtful much more needs to be said about Yanagihara’s 2015 sensation. It was a National Book Award finalist and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. As we wrote when it published, it enjoyed lavish attention. The LA Times’ review began, “I’ve read a lot of emotionally taxing books in my time, but A Little Life … is the only one I’ve read as an adult that’s left me sobbing.” Vogue said the book announces “the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.” Kirkus, in a starred review, claims “The phrase ‘tour de force’ could have been invented for this audacious novel.”

The award winner will be announced on June 8th.

Best Sellers: Hitting New Highs

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Two repeat authors hit new highs on the week’s best seller lists.

9780062388148_26b12Julia Quinn’s Because of Miss Bridgerton (Harper/Avon; HarperAudio) hits #2 on the NYT‘s Paperback Mass-Market list, as many of her previous titles have, but that masks its true success.

The USA TODAY list reveals it is #2 in sales regardless of format or genres, a large jump from the author’s previous title, which debuted #48 and dropped off from there.

Because of Miss Bridgerton, a March LibraryReads pick, is the 10th in the series but a prequel to those already published. It tells the story of an aunt (on their father’s side) to all those Bridgerton siblings readers have followed for years.

9780062220608_f90b8Jacqueline Winspear can celebrate as well. Her newest, Journey to Munich (Harper/ HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), hits its highest spot on the USA TODAY list, landing at #6, which reflects library holds, as we noted in an earlier Titles to Know.

This is the 12th book in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series and USA TODAY has tracked its rise, reporting the “series has steadily been building a fan base. An Incomplete Revenge, the first to make USA TODAY’s list, peaked at No. 134 in 2008; last year’s A Dangerous Place landed at No. 13.”

 

DELICIOUS FOODS Wins PEN/Faulkner

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

9780316284943_96ec5James Hannaham has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Delicious Foods (Hachette/Little, Brown, March 2015). It is his second novel, after God Says No.

An associate professor of writing at the Pratt Institute in New York, Hannaham told The Washington Post that winning one of the most literary of awards is a surprise for a book he terms as “visceral … It’s also nasty, and it’s not at all genteel.”

Indeed not, as the paper summarizes, it tells the story “of an African American boy who, despite losing his hands, tries to rescue his mother from a Southern produce farm where she’s kept in virtual slavery. It’s a harrowing depiction of drug addiction and the plight of migrant workers. Among the novel’s most radical qualities is that parts of it are narrated by the voice of crack cocaine itself.”

As we reported earlier, the short list included literary darling The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, April 2015), Luis Alberto Urrea’s short story collection The Water Museum (Hachette/Little, Brown, April 2015), and two under the radar titles, Elizabeth Tallent’s short story collection, Mendocino Fire (Harper, Sept. 2015) and Julie Iromuanya’s debut novel, Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press, May 2015).

SHARP OBJECTS To HBO

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Sharp ObjectsHBO has bought the rights to the TV adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects (PRH/ Shaye Areheart, 2006), starring Amy Adams. Deadline characterizes the deal as part of a “very competitive situation” (i.e., many others were bidding on it, indicating it’s a hot property).

The show runner is Marti Noxon (Girlfriends’ Guide To DivorceBuffy the Vampire Slayer) with Flynn writing many of the episodes. Jean-Marc Vallée will direct all the episodes. He has experience adapting books in this genre. He also directs HBO’s Big Little Lies, based on the book by Liane Moriarty, set to debut some time next year starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.

This is the third of the Flynn’s novels to be adapted, following Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris and Dark Places, starring Charlize Theron. Earlier this year, it was announced that Flynn’s short story, “The Grownup,” was sold to Universal. Originally published as “What Do You Do?” in Rogues, an anthology edited by George R. R. Martin, it was subsequently released in hardcover as The Grownup (PRH/Crown. Nov. 2015).

Summer Blooming

Monday, April 4th, 2016

9780812993103_f08deIn 2010, Helen Simonson’s debut novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand put a modern twist on the tradition of British novels about village life. The gentlemanly Major Pettigrew of the title falls for a lovely Pakistani widow who runs the local tea shop.

Critics were charmed and so were booksellers, making it a #1 Indie Next pick. It hit the lower rungs of the NYT best seller list and spent many more weeks on the paperback list.

Simonson’s new novel, The Summer Before the War (PRH/Random House; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), is taking off more quickly, arriving at #7 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list in its first week of publication.

The #1 March LibraryReads pick, USA Today sums it up as “Julian Fellowes meets E.M. Forster.” The Washington Post calls it “a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community” and says “The novel’s amusing dialogue enlivens its compelling storyline and is sure to please fans of Downton.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and offers: “within the framework of a wartime love story, Simonson captures the contradictions of small-town life perfectly: the idyllic pastimes, the overly involved neighbors, the hints at secrets and unspoken truths.” The goes on to say the novel is ” thoroughly enjoyable” and “addictively readable.”

The one nay-sayer is Miss Manners, reviewing the book for the NYT Sunday Book Review under her real name Judith Martin, carping over “an annoying caricature of Henry James” and adding that she prefers the Lucia and Mapp series by E.F. Benson, novels that are also set in the British town of Rye during the early 20th C.

Holds are growing at many libraries we checked, with some wait lists topping a 3:1 ratio.

AMERICAN PSYCHO at 25

Monday, April 4th, 2016

9780679735779The “unusual afterlife,” as Rolling Stone puts it, of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho (PRH/Vintage; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) is not simply that 25-years later it is still the most notorious book of 1990s, but that the story of a well-heeled serial killer has transcended the outrage that met its publication to become an Internet meme and a talked-about Broadway musical. Somehow its central character, Patrick Bateman, is even an action figure doll.

Flash back 25 years ago and the indignation over the book was fevered. As Rolling Stone reports, “The original publisher [S&S] dropped it and told author Bret Easton Ellis to keep the money — but to please go away.” It was then picked up and published by Knopf. Boycotts were organized and the L.A. Times ran a story defending it on the basis of  free speech.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an F, saying “The only terrifying insights American Psycho gives are into the mind of its creator and the moral incoherence of those who have published it in the name of literature.”

The NYT‘s called it “moronic and sadistic” and said that Ellis had a “lame and unhealthy imagination.”

LJ was one of the few places that printed a positive review, one that the publisher still uses to promote the book on Amazon.

Flash forward to today and the star of the musical, Ben Walker appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, trading favorite Southernisms with the host.

He also performs one of the show’s song.

Even more affirming to the book’s place in the cultural conversation, the very outlets that trashed it upon publication are running pieces recording its history.

Entertainment Weekly offers a time machine take on their coverage, listing key dates in the novel’s reception.

The NYT does the same in an essay that connects Bateman to today’s political race and comments:

“With time, the book itself has picked up a good deal of grudging respect … seen as a transgressive bag of broken glass that can be talked about alongside plasma-soaked trips like Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1962) and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985), even if relatively few suggest Mr. Ellis is in those novelists’ league … The culture has shifted to make room for Bateman.”

Hitting Screens, Week of April 4

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Outlander-Season-2-Image-Sam-Heughan-Catriona-BalfeThe adaptation news for the week is centered on the second season of Outlander, which is based on book 2 of Diana Gabaldon’s beloved and long running series, Dragonfly In Amber (PRH/Delacorte, 1992; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

After waiting almost a year for the return of the show, and after leaving fans divided on how well or horribly season one concluded, all eyes now focus on the politics of warfare as Jamie and Claire travel to Paris in an attempt to stop the coming Jacobite rebellion.

Based on early coverage from EOnline!, the show is set to be a lavish, visual treat with even more gorgeous costumes and sets as the time-crossed lovers enter the Royal Court of France and host their own high-powered dinner parties. The site also reports that the massive and complex plot will be told in 13 continuous episodes rather than the divided 16 of season one (no midseason Droughtlander!).

9780399177682_fbce6A new tie-in edition celebrates the show’s long awaited return, complete with a cover shot that would be at home in Game of Thrones if it were set in the 18th century: Dragonfly in Amber (Starz Tie-in Edition), Diana Gabaldon (PRH/Bantam; also in mass market).

There are few reviews yet for the second season, which starts on April 9th but the show is already a proven winner. According to Entertainment Weekly, which pushed the series 2 opener in a cover story a few weeks ago, Outlander has made Starz the second-most popular premium network behind HBO and has also helped sell 5 million more copies of Diana Gabaldon’s books, raising the total to 27 million worldwide.

The reviews that do exist, such as one from TVLine which gives it a B+, explain that “Starz has put a pretty strict gag order on discussion of certain aspects of the upcoming season.”

Below is the official trailer followed by highlights of the new setting of season two.

Costco Book Club:
THE COINCIDENCE OF
COCONUT CAKE

Friday, April 1st, 2016

9781501100710_ab64cThe Costco Book Club is back with Amy E. Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake (S&S/Gallery Books; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample), in the April issue of COSTCO Connection, summarizing the plot as “Lou (short for Louella), a fledgling restaurateur, and Al, a restaurant critic who writes under a pseudonym … meet after Al writes a mean-spirited review of Lou’s restaurant. Having agreed not to talk about work, neither realizes who the other is – until romance is already in bloom.” Publisher S&S calls it “You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake.” Costco also offers recipes by the author.

Based on circulation in libraries we checked, it should be a popular choice.  Holds are still very respectable at several systems, nearly a year after pub. date.

Also in the April issue, is the newest pick from Costco book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello. While confessing she does not often highlight a thriller, she has high praise for Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), saying, “His writing is sharp, the suspense is palpable and he laces it all with read emotion.”

The book is already a best seller, and as we mentioned earlier in the week, set to be a movie produced by and starring Julia Roberts.

THE NEST Hits Best Seller List,
Gets Film Deal

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

The NestThe heavily-anticipated debut novel The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio) fulfills expectations by hitting the number 2 spot on USA Today ‘s best seller list.

It has also landed a movie deal with Amazon Films. Deadline‘s story notes that it will hit the NYT Best Seller list, to be released tomorrow, at #3.

The movie will be produced by Jill Soloway who also produced Amazn’s hit series, Transparent. The author will write the script.

ANNIHILATION, Closer to Screen

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

AnnihilationOscar Isaac has joined the cast of the film adaptation of the Nebula Award-winning novel, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), which already includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.

Alex Garland will direct. This project reunites Garland with Isaac, who starred in the director’s Ex Machina. Vanity Fair enthusiastically endorses the project, saying,  it “was already shaping up to be another incredible bit of original, cerebral sci-fi long before Oscar Isaac joined the cast.”

Annihilation tells the story of Area X, an isolated landscape cut off from human occupation which nature has taken back. Previous expeditions to the area have been resulted in tragedy. A new all-female group, each is known not by name, but only by her profession, is set to try again. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, the story’s narrator, and Isaac will play the ghost of her dead husband, who was a member of a previous expedition.

Annihilation is the first book in The Southern Reach trilogy, completed by Authority and Acceptance, The news sent the book rising on Amazon’s sales rankings

The movie is expected to be released in 2017.

Not the LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

9781476789644_f5ddfJessica Knoll’s 2015 debut thriller, Luckiest Girl Alive, is soaring up the Amazon charts once again due to a raw, confessional essay the author wrote for Lenny, a newsletter and website founded by Lena Dunham along with Jenni Konner, the showrunner for Girls.

Knoll discloses in the essay that the horrific rape segments of her novel are based on her own life story, events she first said were entirely fictional.

“The first person to tell me I was gang-raped was a therapist, seven years after the fact. The second was my literary agent, five years later, only she wasn’t talking about me. She was talking about Ani, the protagonist of my novel, Luckiest Girl Alive, which is a work of fiction. What I’ve kept to myself, up until today, is that its inspiration is not.”

The New York Times also reports the story, extending on the essay with an interview with Knoll who told the paper of the aftermath of the rape:

“No one was treating me like a victim; they were treating me like I was a perpetrator, like I was getting what I deserved … The message I internalized was that nothing bad happened; you did something wrong.”

Luckiest Girl Alive remains in high demand in every library we checked with holds queues still present at many. Reese Witherspoon optioned the film rights, and Knoll is hitting the road for a book tour to support the paperback edition of her novel (S&S, April 5).

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, Trailer

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Jane Austen fans, feast your eyes on the recently released trailer for the movie Love & Friendship.

Although it is based on an untitled novella published after Austen’s death as Lady Susan (available in several editions, including one from Penguin Classics), the movie uses the title of a different work by Austen, an early short story.

As we wrote earlier, the film is directed by Whit Stillman, described in an interview with Vanity Fair as “The cult director of contemporary and contemporary-ish Austen-inflected fare,” such as Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco. It stars  Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, with Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry and is set for release in theaters on May 13. followed by streaming via Amazon Prime.

The tie-in is written by the director:

Love & Friendship

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated by Whit Stillman, (Hachette/Little, Brown).

The reviews of the screening at the Sundance Film Festival this year were warm, as exemplified by those from Vanity Fair, “Love & Friendship: A Cream Puff of a Movie” and the Guardian, “Kate Beckinsale is a devious delight.”

FOOL ME ONCE, Julia Roberts to Star and Produce

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

9780525955092_9a9ceJust one week after it was published, Harlan Coben’s novel, Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on the way to the big screen with Julia Roberts set to produce, according to Deadline,  and star as a former Army helicopter pilot who discovers something unsettling on her two-year old daughter’s nanny cam, images of her recently mudered husband.

Despite their cinematic qualities, only one of Coben’s novels has been adapted, the 2006 French film, Ne le dis à person (Tell No One). The rights to several others have been acquired, but are still listed as in development.

 

ME BEFORE YOU, Trailer Bump

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

9780670026609Last month the release of the teaser trailer for Me Before You caused the novel it’s based on to rise to number one on Amazon’s sales rankings. The extended trailer has just been released, causing both Me Before You and its sequel, After You, to rise again.

The new preview gets extended coverage with Entertainment Weekly counting down the 9 moments of the trailer that made them weep and US Magazine offering a lengthy summary of the 2 minute clip.

Due out June 3, the film stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games) transitioning from worlds of dragons and death matches to life-affirming contemporary romance.

9780143130154_50bd2The novel’s author, JoJo Moyes, wrote the screenplay and a movie-tie in edition will be released on April 26: Me Before You: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) by Jojo Moyes (PRH/Penguin Books).

In every library we checked circulation remains very strong with most libraries having a long holds queue yet to be satisfied. Both titles are still on The New York Times Best Sellers list as well. Me Before You tops the Paperback Trade Fiction list and After You is no. 13 on the Hardcover Fiction list.