Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

ALA BookClub Launch

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Celebrity power makes for a successful start of the new ALA BookClub Central program.

Actress and book lover Sarah Jessica Parker announced the first title, No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), on ABC’s Good Morning America, saying “there is much to praise about this very special book.” Parker also promoted the program and her role as honorary chair of the initiative on her Instagram page.

The debut novel is rising on Amazon, moving from #451 to #16 [UPDATE: as of 2 pm, ET, it’s moved to #9], within range of the just-announced Oprah pick, Behold the Dreamers, which is at #2.

Holds are building in several libraries.

Bustle also reports on the news, writing “the first book selection needs to be at the top of your summer TBR list.” Parade also writes about it.

In a press release Parker says “No One is Coming to Save Us marks the arrival of a wonderfully gifted new American writer. JJ, Ava, and Sylvia are easy characters to fall in love with, and Stephanie Powell Watts brings them to life with warmth and generosity. I can’t wait to share their story, their search for fulfillment and attempts to better understand their past and shape their future, with readers everywhere, and I’m jealous of all who will open to page one for the first time.”

The book got attention when it first published, making a number of most anticipated lists and getting reviewed by the NYT, The Washington Post, and USA Today, and being featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Parker is also launching a new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, in 2018, a project, reports Parade, that grew from her overwhelming reaction to Anthony Mara’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

Oprah Announces
New Book Club Title

Monday, June 26th, 2017

UPDATE: Click here for the official announcement, the reading group guide and Oprah’s interview with the author.

The newest Oprah Book Club selection was announced today on CBS This Morning:

The book is being released in paperback today:

Behold The Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue
Random House Trade Paperbacks, June 26, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0525509714

Below, she speaks to librarians at a Penguin Random House preview, her first time speaking to an audience about her book.

Brain Exercise from the D.O.D.O.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (HarperCollins/Morrow; HaperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list this week at #11. It is the lead feature in the paper’s “Inside the List” column, which calls it “a fat marshmallow of a fantasy novel.”

The book, “about a time-traveling intelligence officer and a Harvard linguist who discover that magic was once commonplace” is a collaboration between the noted SF writer and the historical novelist, furthering the trend of genre blending. The NYT asks “If you co-write a book about magic, is that crowd-sorcery?”

Defending the book’s length, 768 pages, Stephenson says “The practice of sustained attention is something that’s happening less and less, especially in our leisure time, so a long narrative, and one that’s this intricate, which requires that you’re always plugged in, because there are various things going on at once — I think that that’s a great exercise. I would assign this book as a brain exercise, as well as a jolly good read.”

It also debuts the USA Today list at #29 and is the #1 Indie Next pick for July. Entertainment Weekly names it one of their “20 Must-Read Books” of the summer. Booklist and Kirkus star, with the latter calling it “Immense and immensely entertaining.” The Guardian reviews it, writing that it is “big, roomy and enjoyable … The characters are lively, the plot moves along and the whole thing possesses heart and charm.” The Washington Post calls it “ambitious” and says “There’s a lot going on here — stylistic flourishes, comedic pratfalls, romance and science — but it’s handled deftly.”

Rumor Control: DOWNTON Movie

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Rumors of a Downton Abbey movie have resurfaced.

Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, said at an event in Singapore this week for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, that the company hopes “to assemble 20 cast members from the popular TV series” for a new film, currently set for 2018.

The headline of the AP story, however makes it sound much more definite, “NBC says ‘Downton Abbey’ movie production to start in 2018.”

The news seems to have taken much of the cast by surprise. A film version has been rumored for years.

Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, told the AP “Well, tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know. We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

“Oh, well, you’ve got confirmation before us. We have no idea if that’s happening,” said Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy.

Creator Julian Fellowes was hopeful, responding “I think we’ve got a film in us. I hope it happens.”

As we posted earlier, Fellowes and Elizabeth McGovern are already booked for now, working on the Masterpiece’s production of The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s 2012 novel, which is set to begin filming soon in NYC.



Monday, June 19th, 2017

After wowing in the UK, Sarah Perry’s sophomore novel, The Essex Serpent (HarperCollins/Custom House; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is earning rave reviews here. Holds are high at most libraries we checked, several topping 10:1.

It is People‘s Book of the Week in the new issue and is one of Book Mark’s “Most Talked About” titles. The Washington Post chief critic Ron Charles headlines his review with the opinion that it features “The most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet” and features it in one of his video reviews.

The NYT glows, writing it is:

“a novel of almost insolent ambition — lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate. Set in the Victorian era, it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. It’s wonderfully dense and serenely self-assured. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.”

NPR is also on board, calling it “painfully lovely” and a “gloriously alive historical novel.” All Things Considered has an interview:

As we posted earlier, it is an Indie Next pick and has done extraordinarily well in the UK. The Guardian writes it has had “an astonishing trajectory, selling more than 200,000 copies in hardback alone – 40 times more than the initial sales target – and scooping up nominations as varied as the Costa fiction award to the Wellcome prize for books about medicine and health.” Perry beat both Sebastian Barry and Paul Beatty out to win the British Book Award, both as Best Novel and the Book of the Year. It was also on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction long list and the Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist.

HOMEGOING, One Book Pick

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Yaa Gyasi’s debut, Homegoing (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), was a hot manuscript, attracting multiple bids from publishers. The novel went on to win an impressive array of awards. Now in paperback it is being picked up for One Book programs.

The One Book, One Region program in southeastern Connecticut selects it for their 2017 focus. Tracee Reiser, a member of the selection committee, tells the local newspaper, The Day, “A lot of people, I think, don’t understand the history of how people from this area in Africa came to the United States and then the reoccurring oppression that resulted from enslavement. Homegoing really gives the historical analysis in a very compelling way … People can look at what systems can do to people, and we can learn from that.”

Becoming a One Book pick, which can significantly boost sales and give a title lasting power over many years, is just the next on a long list of high points for Gyasi.

The book won both the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book and the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction. The author is a Five Under Thirty-five honoree by the National Book Foundation and one of Granta‘s Best of Young American Novelists, a list they issue once a decade.

Homecoming was both an Indie Next selection and a LibraryReads pick. It was also a Librarian favorite for 2016. We did a review roundup when the hardback was published.

Late Night Lit

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Seth Meyers interviewed author and S&S/Atria Books editor Rakesh Satyal during the latest episode of his informal Late Night literary salon. The two discussed Satyal’s second novel, No One Can Pronounce My Name (Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Meyers calls it “a funny, uplifting book” and Satyal says it was important to him to focus on that rather than the vein of sadness that runs through many immigrant novels. Comedy and levity, he says, is how we save ourselves. He keeps Meyers laughing with stories of his childhood and his mother’s obsession with Barbie dolls.

The novel was featured on several spring book lists including those by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed. The Millions picked it as a Most Anticipated book of the year as well as for their May Preview.


Friday, June 9th, 2017

Anthony Horowitz, the author of the #1 LibraryReads pick for June, Magpie Murders (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is profiled today in the NYT. His novel is also one of eight titles on People magazine’s list of “Summer’s Best Books” in the new issue. The book is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are growing.

Horowitz is well-known for his Sherlock Holmes novels, Moriarty and The House of Silk, his James Bond book Trigger Mortis, and the YA Alex Rider spy series (soon to be a TV show), leading the NYT to call the Magpie Murders his “first original murder mystery novel.”

“I’ve always loved the genre, and I’ve written dozens of murder mysteries on TV [among them, the Foyle’s War series], but have resisted writing one as a book until now” says Horowitz. “Writing for me has always been about pushing the envelope … I don’t think anyone has done a story within a story, with two interlinked crimes, like this, so I’m pleased.”

He also reveals that he has written a second adult mystery, writing himself in as the sidekick, “Of course, I’m the one who is constantly fooled,” he says. While it has not yet been announced for US publication, The Word is Murder is due out in the UK this August.

During the interview Horowitz also talks about his love of magic tricks and says “A book does magic without saying, ‘Pick a card.’ A whodunit is, at its best, a huge magic trick that says, ‘I’m going to tell you a story.'”

Feminist Sci Fi Wins Bailey’s Prize

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Called an “amazing dystopian novel, a brilliant meditation on ‘What if women had all the power?’,” British author Naomi Alderman’s fourth novel The Power has won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. It will be published in the US in October by Hachette/Little, Brown.

The power of the book’s title is literal. Teen aged girls are given the ability to electrify, shock and even kill, making men terrified of them. In her acceptance speech, Alderman celebrated another sort of power, “the support … of other women [which] has meant more than electricity to me.”

The cover features a blurb from Margaret Atwood, “Electrifying! Shocking! Will knock your socks off! Then you’ll think twice, about everything.” The two authors are mutual admirers. As part of mentoring program set up by Rolex, the pair co-authored a zombie novel on Wattpad titled The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home.

On the eve of the launch of the TV adaptation of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Alderman explored the history of feminist science fiction for the Guardian, dating the first example to Margaret Cavendish’s 1666 book The Blazing World.

Alderman, who was  has written online games for Penguin, the BBC and others told the Evening Standard that she would love to turn The Power into an online game.  She is already working on an adaptation of the book for television.

An adaptation of the author’s first book Disobedience, a best seller in the UK, is currently in post-production starring Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola.


Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Reviews are coming in for a book featured in many summer previews and showing heavy holds in many libraries, Maile Meloy’s Do Not Become Alarmed (PRH/Riverhead; RH Large Print; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Some are shockingly negative for such a heavily anticipated title.

Author Charles Finch provides the most unequivocal in his review for The Washington Post headlined, “Maile Meloy’s Do Not Become Alarmed: This summer’s big literary novel?” His answer is definitely no, writing “the book is essentially a write-off. To begin with, it’s a thriller without thrills.”

The NYT daily review Dwight Garner largely agrees, writing “It’s an earnest and surprisingly generic children-in-jeopardy novel, one that makes few demands on us and doesn’t deliver much, either.”

On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly must have read a different book, calling it a “taut, nervy thriller” and giving it a B+. The magazine also listed it as one of the “Summer’s 20 Must-Read Books,” writing “Every parent’s nightmare comes true in Meloy’s literary page-turner.”

Grisham on CBS This Morning

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

On the day of the release of his latest novel, Camino Island (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH and BOT Audio). John Grisham appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss his first “beach book.” Much is being made about Grisham departing from his usual style, but the departure is relatively small, described as a “mystery without lawyers.”

Grisham also discussed his “Do’s and Don’ts For Writing Popular Fiction,” published last week by the New York Times.

Grisham also has a new title coming in October. Reassuring fans that it will mark a return to his usual style, it’s titled at this point simply New Legal Thriller.

The Dark Tower Teasers, Video Cliff Notes

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Three new teasers for The Dark Tower have been released, sending the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, rising on Amazon.

The A.V. Club. reports that each teaser helps orient viewers to the complicated world of the novels and the film.

The first, titled “Earth,” provides story background on how Roland Deschain, a knight, played by Idris Elba, is charged with defending the two universes of the movie (ours and his) that are threatened by the Man In Black,played by Matthew McConaughey.

In the second, titled “Knight,” Roland demonstrates his skills with a gun, illustrating why he is also called the “gunslinger.”

The third, titled “Man in Black,” shows that figure holding forth about his power and his certainty that he will win.

The movie premieres on August 4.

New mass market paperback editions of the first four books in series were published in 2016, when the movie had an earlier release date. New tie-ins have been announced for The Gunslinger in several formats:

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
Stephen King, S&S
Trade Paperback , June 13, 2017
Mass Market, June 27, 2017
Hardcover, July 11, 2017

Hitting Screens, Week of June 5, 2017

Monday, June 5th, 2017

At the box office this weekend, Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins hit  a new milestone, becoming the highest ever US opening for a film by a female director.  As Deadline notes, this follows on the heels of Sofia Coppola winning as Best Director in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.

Coming in a distant second, the kids movie Captain Underpants, was considered an underperformer.

Only one adaptation opens this week, My Cousin Rachel, based on the 1951 novel by Daphne du Maurier.

Director Robert Michell (Notting Hill) tells The Telegraph that his version, starring Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) and Sam Claflin (Hunger Games), is “detailed, dark, sexy, cinematic and full of surprises.”

Reviews so far delve into that claim.

The Hollywood Reporter, while saying it lags in places, calls it “A deliciously dark mystery … Handsome and richly atmospheric … [with] a disquieting shiver of a conclusion.”

The Wrap is less enthusiastic, writing that the story “lives on the corner of Jane Austen Avenue and James M. Cain Boulevard [but] For all the will-changing and bodice-ripping and skulking about [it] lands in a bland zone better suited for Masterpiece Theatre season-filler than for the big screen.”

In addition to the trailer, a featurette examines du Maurier’s “extreme tales told subtly.”

Tie-in: My Cousin Rachel (Sourcebooks Landmark; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).


Monday, June 5th, 2017

Following the major success of Big Little Lies, HBO has signed up another series adaptation of a book, this one based on Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), Entertainment Weekly reports HBO won the project in a “competitive bidding war.”

As we posted earlier, Julia Roberts will star as Eleanor Flood in her first TV role since HBO’s The Normal Heart. Flood wakes up one morning, according the the HBO press release, “determined to be her best self, but then life happens. Taking place over a single day, it’s a rollicking portrait of one woman’s fumbling but valiant attempt to navigate the knotty perils and sly grace of modern life.”

Semple, no stranger to TV herself (she worked on Beverly Hills, 90210, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, and Arrested Development), is writing the script.

No news at this point on when the project will debut or who will join Roberts in the cast.

HBO’s newest purchase and its hit adaptations of Big Little Lies and Game of Thrones are just three of its literary projects. The network is also partnering with an Italian studio and will air the adaptation of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

HBO is, of course, just one of many outlets keen to grab book-to-screen projects. The Verge runs down why book adaptations are getting more frequent, and getting better.

Kevin Kwan Debuts on NYT List

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT OverDrive Sample) lands on the NYT Hardcover Fiction List this week at #12, marking the first time the author has hit the list.

Rich People Problems concludes Kwan’s trilogy which began with Crazy Rich Asians (in preproduction for a film adaptation). Both it and its sequel, China Rich Girlfriend (both from PRH), have been LA Times best sellers.

In this week’s “Inside the List” column, the NYT‘s writes “The aura of gaudy glamour and bling in these books may seem like the stuff of soap operas, but it’s essentially true to the world in which Kwan was raised — so much so, he has said, that his relatives have no interest in reading his work.”

That is fine Kwan, who says of his audience, “I think people who are going to pick up a book called Crazy Rich Asians or Rich People Problems are looking for the fun and the froth; they’re looking for an escape. They’re looking for it to be like a fun romp into the lifestyles of the rich and famous … They’re not looking for Cormac McCarthy.”

The novel has made a number of summer reading lists, including Janet Maslin’s list for the NYT Books To Breeze Through This Summer” and the Associated Press Summer Reading 2017 list.

Holds are topping 5:1 in some locations for the third book but they are active for the earlier two titles as well. With new readers discovering the series, it is a good time to check your holdings of the previous titles.