Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

On The Move: THE GIRLS

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

9780812998603_dba8fWhether it’s word of mouth, or the multiple picks from various mid-year best books roundups, The Girls by Emma Cline (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), is moving up best seller lists.

It jumped four spots on the USA Today list (which combines all books in all formats and for all ages), rising to #8, its highest ranking to date and has moved up the NYT Combined Fiction list to #5, also its highest spot on that list. Several libraries have increased their orders to meet holds, which remain well above a 3:1 ratio at many libraries across the country.

The novel is still getting attention, yesterday BuzzFeed selected it as one of “4 Great Books to Read in July,” saying that it “will terrify you, shock you, haunt you — in all the right ways.”

Studying Steampunk

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

tumblr_o9pco5fiOT1r6tsxvo1_540In a rare documentary look at a print genre, steampunk is examined in the film Vintage Tomorrows,  that begins airing on July 19th via VOD and digital.

The film features interviews with authors, inventors, fashion designers, musicians, and artists. Highlighted authors include William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Cherie Priest, China Miéville, Cory Doctorow, and Gail Carrier. Also available is a companion, Vintage Tomorrows, published by O’Reilly.

Variety reports that the movie, which originally screened at last year’s Comic-Con, was acquired by  Samuel Goldwyn Films and the release date is set to coincide with this year’s Comic-Con.

QUEEN SUGAR Premieres This Fall

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

9780670026135An author many of you met via our Penguin First Flights Debut author program, Natalie Baszile is about to gain wider recognition. A TV series based on her novel Queen Sugar (Penguin/Pamela Dorman; Thorndike; 2014), will premiere on Oprah’s network, OWN on September 7th.

The first two episodes in the 13-part series are directed by Ava DuVernay, who worked with Oprah on the film Selma. All the rest of the episodes will also be directed by women. DuVernay told People magazine, “If Game of Thrones can have all men for the last 3 seasons, Queen Sugar can have all women and show what a fantastic show can be made from our hands and our minds.”

Set in Southern Louisiana, the novel is about three sibling who inherit their father’s sugar cane plantation, It was selected as a book of the week by Oprah’s O magazine, saying, “In Queen Sugar, two bulwarks of American literature—Southern fiction and the transformational journey—are given a fresh take by talented first-time novelist Natalie Baszile.”

Teaser is available here.

KLG Bump

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

1410470326_18235The Traitor’s Wife, Allison Pataki (S&S/Howard; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) got a big boost from Kathie Lee Gifford yesterday. The Today Show host named the novel as her “favorite thing” of the week. You can watch it here, but a warning, KLG doesn’t say much about it, just that it’s one of her favorite “historical fiction novels” and it’s about  Benedict Arnold’s wife, Peggy Shippen, who was “such a slut,” to which co-host Hoda chimes in “So juicy! So juicy!” That was enough to make it rise dramatically on Amazon, jumping from a sales rank of #9,217 to #33.

They also mention that it’s being made into a major motion picture.

It also tops the Huffington Post‘s list of “10 Books That All Hamilton Fans Must Read!” saying:

“Apparently Alexander Hamilton had success with the ladies. And you know one lady in particular who caught his eye? Peggy Shippen, the beautiful and beguiling young wife of patriot-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold … The rumors and reports were that Hamilton, who was in Arnold’s home the day the plot was thwarted, was so moved by chivalrous concern and empathy for the poor Peggy that he brought her flowers in bed.”

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS Trailer Brings New Attention to Book

Friday, July 1st, 2016

9780316278157_66d11Pop culture sites are full of excited reactions to the trailer for the Warner adaptation of The Girl With All The Gifts, a zombie novel published in 2014 by M.R. Carey (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio/Blackstone; OverDrive Sample). The book is also rising on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the attention.

io9 says “The Girl With All the Gifts looks unlike any zombie movie we’ve ever seen—and if it’s half as good as the book, it’ll be a genre standout for sure.”

ars technica says “At last, a new zombie movie that looks original and compelling … Pop culture may be reaching peak zombie, but stories like The Girl with All the Gifts prove that even the most tired tropes can feel vital again if they’re done right.”

Librarians may recall the novel was an Indie Next pick and made the USA Today bestseller list. The short story version (“Iphigenia in Aulis”) was a finalist for the 2013 Edgar Awards.

The film staring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close, is directed by Colm McCarthy, who has run several hit British TV shows including Sherlock, Doctor Who, and The Tudors.

M.R. Carey is a lightly disguised pen name for Mike Carey who is best known in the comics world (he has worked on both Marvel and DC series) and wrote The Unwritten (PRH/Vertigo; coming in hardback in a collected edition Dec. 2016). Under the Mike Carey name he is also known for the Felix Castor novel series (The Devil You Know [Hachette/Orbit] is the first).

M.R. Carey’s “second” book, Fellside, another Indie Next pick, was published this spring (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Woodson Tops August
Indie Next List

Friday, July 1st, 2016

9780062359988_42588Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (HC/Amistad) is the #1 Indie Next pick for August.

“National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson has crafted a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel of a young girl’s coming-of-age in Brooklyn. Effortlessly weaving poetic prose, Woodson tells the story of the relationships young women form, their yearning to belong, and the bonds that are created — and broken. Brooklyn itself is a vivid character in this tale — a place at first harsh, but one that becomes home and plays a role in each character’s future. Woodson is one of the most skilled storytellers of our day, and I continue to love and devour each masterpiece she creates!” —Nicole Yasinsky, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

The novel marks Woodson’s return to adult fiction, after publishing multiple award-winning titles for young readers such as Brown Girl Dreaming and After Tupac & D Foster.

The novel, which appeared on multiple summer reading lists, also impressed trade reviewers, earning a rare All Star sweep, with starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

9781501132933_82371  9781101904220_ee938

The full list of 20 titles also includes the #1 LibraryReads pick for July, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (PRH/Crown; RH Audio) and another librarian favorite, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (S&S/Gallery/Scout Press; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Netflix Finds Their Grace

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

9780385490443The title role in Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of  Margaret Atwood’s 1996 historical crime novel, Alias Grace (PRH/Anchor; OverDrive Sample) will be played by Sarah Gadon, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the novel, Atwood explores the true story of a double murder that took place in Canada in the 1840’s. Like a 19th century version of Serial, the question of whether the poor young Irish immigrant Grace Marks was guilty of killing her employer and his housekeeper captured public attention at the time.

The novel received critical acclaim winning The Scotiabank Giller Prize, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. It was also named to the ALA Notable Book list, and picked as one of the year’s best novels by The New York Times as well as by Booklist and Library Journal.

Reading Francine Prose’s description of the plot in the NYT Sunday Book Review, you can see what attracted the producers to the story about “a pretty young woman who was either the loathsome perpetrator or another innocent victim of an infamous crime” and imagine the pitch, “Making a Murderer meets Penny Dreadful.”

Netflix has not yet set a release date for the series.

Talking Horror

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

9780062363268_df008  Front_Cover_Image_Man_With_No_Name-423x628  9780765387868_ec93e

The WSJ Speak Easy podcasts take a look at pop culture, particularly TV and movies, but the latest is devoted to horror fiction, a half hour conversation that offers a way in to the genre for anyone who is not already a fan.

Featured are author Paul Tremblay, winner of last year’s Bram Stoker Award and whose new book Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has garnered admiration. Joining him are Laird Barron, Man With No Name (JournalStone; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Each discusses how they translate their own fears into their writing as well as the influence of H.P. Lovecraft and growing awareness of his racist views.

LaValle re-worked a Lovecraft story as The Ballad of Black Tom, taking Lovecraft’s idea that the most horrific idea is a universe that doesn’t care about your existence and turning it instead to a universe set against you, intent on wiping you out. He says that Lovecraft’s prejudices “limited his understanding of the breadth and depth of his own concept.”

They close by listing what scares them most, various visions of the future.

 

More Noir TV

Monday, June 27th, 2016

9781783298839_2aedaAdding to the wave of crime series on cable, such as True Detective, comes Quarry, Cinemax‘s dark and moody adaptation of Max Allan Collins’s noir 1970s era series about a hit man. The eight-episode run will premiere on September 9th and star Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as a Marine who comes home to Memphis after the Vietnam War and gets caught in a world of violence and corruption.

Also scheduled for release is a tie-in, Quarry – TV Tie-In Edition, Max Allan Collins (RH/Hard Case Crime, Sept. 27; OverDrive Sample).

9781783298143_ff767Publisher Hard Case Crime has recently re-issued the original Quarry novels with their signature retro covers. According to GraphicNovelReporter, the publisher revived the series in 2006 (after a 20-year gap) and Collins has written seven new titles thus far. The latest is Quarry in the Black (RH/Hard Case Crime; October 4, 2016).

Collins’s graphic novel Road to Perdition was adapted as the critically acclaimed 2002 film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.

UPROOTED Wins, Again

Monday, June 27th, 2016

9780804179034_f41139780316246682_2dffbLibrarians picked it first. The number one LibraryReads pick for May 2015, Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) was announced as the winner of the 2016 Locus Award for Fantasy on Saturday, having also won the Nebula last month.

The winner in the Science Fiction category is Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) the final book in the series which began with Ancillary Justice  winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The middle novel, Ancillary Sword, also won the Locus award in 2015.

9780062429988_9a328

The late Terry Pratchett won the YA category for The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Pratchett and his fellow nominees in the YA category are all male, a choice that has raised eyebrows even as the Locus awards have avoided much of the controversy that has plagued the Hugo awards.

The Guardian reports on the story, saying that “the Locus awards were broadly representative of a sci-fi field that is continuing to grow in diversity: 18 female to 17 male writers, with many upcoming writers of colour among the voters’ top picks. Placed in that context, the way the YA category has turned out seems less like myopic sexism, and more indicative of the older demographic of readers who read Locus magazine and see the YA genre from their own preferences.”

However, YA author Gwen Katz said:

“YA, including YA fantasy, is a vastly female-dominated age category, but there’s a history of male authors being picked out for awards or heralded as champions of the age category … Yet another all-male slate reinforces the message that an art form primarily practised by women and girls only becomes noteworthy when a man gets in on it.”

9781481424271_445d99780062330260_ada2cThe Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) won best First Novel.

Neil Gaiman won twice: in the Novelette category for ‘Black Dog,’’ a piece in Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which also netted Gaiman another trophy for best Collection.

Beyond the winners, readers’ advisors looking for suggestions in SFF will find a ready list of titles in the award’s short lists.

9780765381149_d2b6bThe SF nominees read like a who’s who of the genre:

The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample)

Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/ William Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

9780765375247_060ccThe Fantasy short list is equally impressive:

Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (PRH/Roc; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample)

9780765385246_028feThe First Novel Short list points to the breadth of these two genres, their international flavor, and the range of subjects being explored:

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (PRH/Ace; OverDrive Sample)

Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris; OverDrive Sample)

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample)

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

9780804178457_d46eeThe controversial YA category included:

Half a War, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Half the World, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine; Scholastic Audio ; OverDrive Sample)

Also useful for readers advisors is the annual reading list created by Locus, a gold mine of titles and authors to know.

The full list of winners is online.

Readers’ Advisory: DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9780062363268_df008After nearly a decade of writing novels to steady but muted notice, Paul Tremblay may have broken through.

Tremblay won the Bram Stoker award this year for A Head Full of Ghosts (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample),  a novel that earned him comparisons to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House by io9, a rave in the NYT, and the attention of Stephen King.

Now Tremblay is back with Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). NPR reviewer Jason Heller, a senior writer at The A.V. Club, says is “it’s even more head-spinning” than his Stoker winner.

Heller calls the book a “dizzying emotional vortex” full of “immediacy [and] immaculate storytelling” and says Tremblay’s “characters are rendered vividly and sensitively. The ambience is all shadows.”

Terrance Rafferty, in a round-up of new horror titles in the NYT, says that Tremblay (among others he highlights) is the heir to Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and Edgar Allan Poe and that his book “is never, at any point, exactly what you expect it to be.”

Tor.com offers a rave review, concluding: “Tremblay left me speechless, breathless, deeply unsettled and impossibly impressed. I love being genuinely scared by a book, so Disappearance at Devil’s Rock left me with a giant smile, too … In a summer of great horror releases, this one is among the very best.”

Holds are over a 3:1 ratio at several libraries we checked while others have yet to order or are showing circ. about equal to copies.

 

Bestseller: THE GIRLS

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Driven by heavy media attention, 9780812998603_dba8f The Girls by Emma Cline (PRH/Random House; RH Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample),

debuts on the new USA Today best seller list, landing at the #9 spot. Since that list ranks all categories and formats of books together, we can expect to see it debut much higher on the upcoming NYT Hardcover Fiction list [UPDATE: Soon after we posted this, the new NYT list was released and The Girls is #3. That list shows sales through June 18, four days after the book was published. We’ll see in coming weeks if word of mouth works in its favor].

In libraries holds continue to be very strong, running at 5:1 ratios and higher. Many libraries have ordered additional copies  to keep up with demand.

Guy Gavriel Kay on Book Lust TV

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

9780451472960_b3e8aLibrarian Nancy Pearl interviews one of her favorite authors, Guy Gavriel Kay for Book Lust TV this month.

The pair, who have talked several times before, start by discussing Children of Earth and Sky (PRH/NAL; OverDrive Sample), Kay’s newest book, published in May and,set in the same general world as Sailing to Sarantium (a particular favorite of Nancy’s) and Lord of Emperors. It also falls within the general universe of The Last Light of the Sun and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

Kay explains that he likes to write stand-alones rather than series as endings are very important to him and he wants each book to have its own arc. He also wants readers to enjoy every book for itself, without feeling as if they are missing an insider joke but does offer long-time readers “grace notes, small, glancing allusions to the previous books.”

The two discuss Kay’s particular brand of fantasy, which he calls a “quarter turn to the fantastic” as well as the rise of popularity of the fantasy genre in pop culture. Kay believes the rush of fantasy novels rests in the fact that the “book industry is a copy-cat industry” and much “cloning” takes place. Of his own take on fantasy, he says he likes to compress time so that readers get an immediate sense of what happens over hundreds of years.

The interview concludes with Kay detailing what he is currently reading and recommending to others: Edith Grossman’s translation of Don Quixote, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.

Readers’ Advisory: Killer Women

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

9780316231077_fef1f  9780143110514_be119  9781598534313_e4d52

The currently hyper-popular psychological suspense genre is examined in depth by film critic Terrence Rafferty in the new issue of The Atlantic, declaring in the headline, “Women Are Writing the Best Crime Novels,”  

Among upcoming titles, Rafferty is particularly keen on The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood (PRH/Penguin, Aug. 30) and You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 26), calling the first “brilliant” and the second “superb.”

The genre was created by women authors, amply proved he says by the Library of America’s two-volume collection, Women Crime Writers (2015) and it now has “many more daughters than sons,” running down a global roster:

America — Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman

England — Alex Marwood, Paula Hawkins, Sophie Hannah

Scotland — Val McDermid, Denise Mina

Ireland — Tana French

Norway — Karin Fossum

Japan — Natsuo Kirino

These authors have ushered in a new order, that, says Rafferty, “is not a world Raymond Chandler would have recognized … The female writers, for whatever reason (men?), don’t much believe in heroes, which makes their kind of storytelling perhaps a better fit for these cynical times. Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence … pure noir, velvety and pitiless.”

ELIGIBLE For Book Clubs

Monday, June 20th, 2016

9781400068326_8f573Retellings of well-known books make good reading club fare. This month, Slate Audio book club reconvened  to discuss Eligible (PRH/Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample), Curtis Sittenfeld’s “modernization” of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, part of the ongoing Jane Austen Project (a similar project, that reimagines Shakespeare, recently launched with Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl).

Reviews for Eligible were mixed, but it was a #1 LibraryReads pick for April and it debuted on the NYT Hardcover Best Seller List at #5. The Slate panel calls it “pure pleasure” and “keenly observed half-satire/half-wish fulfillment” that provides a wonderful way to reconnect to Jane Austen and appreciate Sittenfeld’s earlier novels, American Wife and Prep.

They particularly appreciate the re-creation of Elizabeth Bennet as a modern character and the author’s  “feats of re-soulment” in translating an 18th century character to the modern age, cleverly incorporating reality TV as the modern equivalent of social climbing.

Dismissing critics who did not respond positively to the book, they say the NYT ‘s Michiko Kakutani  “missed the point” and was just “mean” (as we our reported, Kakutani’s NYT  Book Review colleague  presented a much different opinion).