Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category


Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Grove Press announced on Wednesday that they will publish Australian author Gregory David Roberts’ second novel, The Mountain Shadow, on October 13, 2015 (ISBN 978-0802124456; not yet listed on wholesaler catalogs). A sequel to Shantaram (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), it follows Roberts’ 2004 epic about Lin, an escaped convict from Australia, and his adventures in Bombay, which was loosely based on the author’s own life after his conviction for bank robbery.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 2.13.24 PMShantaram was a success in the author’s own country, where he was already somewhat of a legend, inspired cult followings when it was published here (Johnny Depp has worked for several years to get a film adaptation off the ground) and was considered a great, although long (933 pages), yarn by The New York TimesUSA Today and The Washington Post, which sums up the plot:

“ … the book, told in 933 readable pages, follows [Lin] from a remote Indian village in monsoon season to the Afghan mountains in winter, but mostly it takes place in Bombay: in a slum where he founds a medical clinic, in a prison where he is beaten and tortured, in meetings of a branch of the India mafia led by Abdel Khader Khan, an Afghan who becomes a father figure and employer for the fugitive.”

According to Grove press release The Mountain Shadow is “set two years after the events in Shantaram, Bombay is now a different world, with different rules. Lin’s search for love and faith leads him through secret and violent intrigues to the dangerous truth.”

It’s difficult to predict if the public will be interested in a sequel that is ten years after the first success, but consider that Shantaram continues to inspire customer reviews on Amazon and copies continue to circulate from libraries.

Harper Lee: Elder Abuse Investigation

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The State of Alabama is investigating complaints of elder abuse against author Harper Lee in relation to the announced plans to publish a recently discovered manuscript by Harper Lee,  Go Set A Watchman, (Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015).

The ongoing investigation began last month, according to the New York Times, which broke the news late yesterday, and adds, “It remains unclear what, if anything, will come out of the investigation … One person informed of the substance of the interviews, who did not want to speak for attribution because the inquiry was ongoing, said Ms. Lee appeared capable of understanding questions and provided cogent answers to investigators.”

Last week, Entertainment Weekly Book Review editor Tina Jordan aired a Serial style investigation into the controversy, on the magazine’s Sirius Radio program “Off the Books.”

9780670010950The episode sets out to “try to decide if Harper Lee is being exploited in any way.” Although the preponderance of evidence points towards exploitation, Jordan is nearly convinced by an interview with Kerry Madden author of the 2009 biography Harper Lee: A Twentieth-Century Life (part of Penguin/Viking Young Readers’s Up Close series). Madden strongly believes Harper Lee’s friend, Wayne Flynt, who says, based on his conversations with Lee, that she is excited about the book and it’s giving her something to focus on since the death of her sister last year.

Holds Alert: Getting to Know POXL

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 7.53.21 AMThe Last Flight by Poxl West by Daniel Torday (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, 3/17/15) a debut novel about war, self-creation, and memory is getting rave attention from a variety of sources well in advance of publication date, one sign that a book is likely to take off.

Michiko Kakutani, the difficult-to-impress daily New York Times critic jumped the pub. date by eleven days in her Friday review. Saying Torday has “a keen sense of verisimilitude” and “a painterly eye for detail,” she sums up his skill as a writer with this high praise:

“It’s Mr. Torday’s ability to shift gears between sweeping historical vistas and more intimate family dramas, and between old-school theatrics and more contemporary meditations on the nature of storytelling that announces his emergence as a writer deserving of attention.”

Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it “a richly layered, beautifully told and somehow lovable story about war, revenge and loss” and offers an unexpected comparison:

“While Torday (The Sensualist: A Novella, 2012) is more likely to be compared to Philip Roth or Michael Chabon than Gillian Flynn, his debut novel has two big things in common with Gone Girl—it’s a story told in two voices, and it’s almost impossible to discuss without revealing spoilers.”

Ecstatic blurbs from a string of authors give the literary cred; Phil Klay, Karen Russell, Edan Lepucki, Gary Shteyngart, Rivka Galchen and George Saunders, who says the novel is “A wonderful accomplishment of storytelling verve: tender, lyrical, surprising, full of beautifully rendered details.” Shteyngart offers a more pithy “OMFG! What a book!”

Perhaps most influential of all, John Green took to Twitter on the 6th to talk it up:

“POXL a lovely novel sentence-to-sentence, and it gets at something deep about how we’re all frauds, and all worthy of love.”

At least one librarian is convinced. Wendy Bartlett of Cuyahoga Public Library sensing a “literary page turner,” increased her order.

RA Alert: “Comic Charm”

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.05.52 AMNina Stibbe, who wrote last year’s sleeper hit memoir and a Library Reads pick,  Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home has just published her first novel about a divorced family, a move to rural England, and the hunt for a new father, A Man At the Helm (Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk, 3/10/15; OverDrive Sample).

It is getting rave reviews. Kate Kellaway of The Guardian says “it is a brilliant find. It even trumps Love, Nina because Stibbe is more at home in it. It is full, free, outlandish. And I can’t remember a book that made me laugh more.” She goes on to compare it to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle “with its opinionated innocence.”

Aldia Becker in the NYT Book Review concurs, finding that “This densely populated ­coming-of-age story (for both mother and children) has retained and even ­expanded on ­Stibbe’s signature antic charm.” Her suggestions for read-alikes also include Smith as well as Stella Gibbons, saying “Man at the Helm, with its jauntily ­matter-of-fact social satire, wouldn’t be out of place on the same shelf as Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle.”

NPR interviewed Stibbe on Weekend Edition Sunday. Based on the delight expressed so far, expect more attention and plenty of eager readers.

Rowling Teases and Tweets

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

A new Rowling book? Maybe. While celebrating World Book Day on March 5th, J.K. Rowling offered fans a mysterious glimmer of hope, tweeting:

“Happy #WorldBookDay everyone! I’m celebrating by writing a book.”

No further information was offered, but later that day Rowling also tweeted:

“Why Has Percy Weasley got his arm around Narcissa Malfoy? Find out in my new … kidding. I”M KIDDING #NotAPrequel.

That sent followers into a tizzy. Some, including Time Magazine, did not react well, saying,  “J.K. Rowling Is Now Just Completely Trolling Fans.”

9780316369145_f8fd1Rowling does have a new book of sorts coming this year, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, (Hachette/Little, Brown, April 14), an illustrated edition of her 2008  commencement speech at Harvard University.



She continues to write HP-centered pieces for her website Pottermore and has completed the screenplay for the upcoming Warner Bros. film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on one of HP’s Hogwarts textbooks, which is set to begin shooting in August.

Hollywood Loves

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

9780307271037_b504aCalling it “ecstatically reviewed,” Deadline reports that film rights to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) have been acquired by Scott Rudin, who has been called “The Godfather of the Literary Adaptation”  (Captain Philips, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Angela’s Ashes and the upcoming Jobs, among many others).


Take the comment about the novel being “ecstatically reviewed” with a grain of salt. The daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani dismissed it as an “eccentric, ham-handed fairy tale.” Neil Gaiman had trouble nailing it down in the NYT Book Review, even after several readings and regretted his “inability to fall in love with it, much as I wanted to.” On NPR, Meg Wolitzer said she anticipated the book for months but was ultimately disappointed. The headline for her review on All Things Considered this week expresses her feeling succinctly, “Ishiguro’s Buried Giant Gets Lost In Its Own Fog.”

On the more ecstatic side is former Washington Post Book World editor, Marie Arana who calls it, “a spectacular, rousing departure from anything Ishiguro has ever written, and yet a classic Ishiguro story.”

Check your holds. Some libraries have reordered to meet demand, while others are doing well with relatively modest initial orders. Based on its rise on Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #15, the third adult fiction title on the list), we can expect to see it in the top five on the NYT Best Sellers list next week.

Several of Ishiguro’s previous novels have been adapted as films, including The Remains Of The Da(1993) starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and Never Let Me Go (2010),  Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.


Sunday, March 8th, 2015

9780670038602  9780143115625  9780670021871_01b1b

Likening Tana French’s novels to the successful HBO series True Detective, a production company has acquired the adaptation rights to In The WoodsThe Likeness and Faithful Place (all Penguin/Viking) with plans to turn it ino a series of its own (one of the comments notes what many librarians will second, “They’re being modest. This series is SO much better than True Detective“).

The announcement in Deadline notes that the book feature interconnecting characters. Coincidentally, The Millions explores that subject in depth, but their comparisons are more literary, from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, novels which, “generate vertiginous thrills as they dramatize the difficulties of understanding ourselves, other people, and the world at large.”

Release Date

Friday, March 6th, 2015

9780140298482_581f7Eddie Redmayne already has one Oscar for his startling physical transformation as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Another may be in the works.

In the upcoming film adaptation of  David Ebershoff’s first novel, The Danish Girl, (Penguin/Viking, 2000; NYT review), he will play a man who in the 1930’s had one of the earliest transgender surgeries.

The release date has just been announced for Thanksgiving weekend, making it Oscar bait.

A first look at Eddie Redmayne in the role was released on Twitter last week:


Closer to Screen:

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

9780316204279-1One of the moment’s hottest directors Richard Linklater (Boyhood) may direct the film adaptation of one of the surprise hits of 2012, Maria Semple’s debut novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike).

A script is already in place, according to The Hollywood Reporter, written by the team behind Fault in Our Stars.

UPDATE: Thanks to Misha for correcting us in the comments. Bernadette was actually Marie Semple’s second novel, a fact she wryly notes in her book trailer, which follows her as she searches for a way to pitch the book (with a few famous friends):

A Broadway Hit

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Jane Pauley takes a look at “the hit of the season on Broadway,” The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, on today’s CBS Sunday Morning, through the eyes of a group of Philadelphia students with autism.

The publisher took the unusual step of publishing a “Broadway Tie-in Edition” of Mark Haddon’s 2003 best seller:

9781101911617_4142eThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: (Broadway Tie-in Edition)
Mark Haddon
RH/Vintage: November 25, 2014
9781101911617, 1101911611
Trade Paperback; $14.95 USD



Soon to join it on Broadway is the stage adaptation of first two books in Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, set to open on March 20.

The play also has a tie-in, but in the form of the actual script along with, according to the publisher, “a substantial set of notes by Hilary Mantel on each of the principal characters, offering a unique insight into the plays and an invaluable resource to any reader looking for an even deeper understanding of Mantel’s historical creations.”

9781250064172_adad7Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: The Stage Adaptation, 
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton (adapted by)
Macmillan/Picador: February 24, 2015
9781250064172, 1250064171
Trade Paperback; $16.00 USD



The BBC six-part series adaptation begins April 5 on PBS Masterpiece. Two tie-ins are coming this month:


Wolf Hall: As Seen on PBS Masterpiece
Hilary Mantel
Macmillan/Picador: March 17, 2015
9781250077585, 1250077583
Trade Paperback, $16.00 USD

Bring Up the Bodies: The Conclusion to PBS Masterpiece’s Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel
Macmillan/Picador: March 17, 2015
9781250077608, 1250077605
Trade Paperback, $16.00 USD

A Modern Day Proust

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

NYT Mag KnausgaardLast year, the daily NYT profiled Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard claiming he “has held much of the literary establishment in thrall ever since his 3,600-page, six-part autobiographical novel, My Struggle, started appearing in English in 2012,” but admitting, “If you are a lay reader, you may not have heard of Mr. Knausgaard.” The NYT Style magazine, T even asked him  to write about his “tortured relationship with fame,”  a status confirmed by a backlash in both The Nation and Slate, with Katie Roiphe asking, “What if My Struggle Was Written By A Woman?

“Lay readers” will be let in on the secret with a two-part excerpt from the fourth book in the series, beginning with an approporatedly moody cover feature in the March 1 New York Times Magazine.

It is published by the nonprofit Archipelago Books which ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish a special hardcover edition of My Struggle: Book One last year.

9780914671176_e9ba7My Struggle: Book Four
Karl Ove Knausgaard
Archipelago: April 28, 2015
9780914671176, 0914671170



Friday, February 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 9.11.38 AMOn the heels of the massive success of Fifty Shades of Grey at the box office and the book’s return to bestseller lists, comes news that Anne Rice’s 1980s BDSM trilogy might become a television series.

The company behind Lifetime’s Devious Maids has bought the TV rights to Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy (Plume. 2012; OverDrive Sample), according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rice will executive produce with Rachel Winter (who was nominated for an Oscar for her work on Dallas Buyers Club).

In contrast to her reactions to some of the adaptations of her previous novels, Rice seems happy with Thania St. John as the choice of screenwriter, telling The Hollywood Reporter “Thania’s voice resonates perfectly and will keep this story true to my original vision.” St. John has written for Grimm, Buffy the Vamipre Slayer, Chicago Fire, and Covert Affairs.

Long controversial and frequently challenged in libraries, The Nerdist says the hard core trilogy, first written under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure, “makes 50 Shades of Gray look like an episode of The Brady Bunch.”

USA Today reported last November that Rice is working on a fourth book in the series.

Indie Favorite for April

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 8.31.58 AMA debut novel that is an in-house favorite at Algonquin, strongly promoted by Workman’s library marketer Mike Rockliff, tops the just-released April Indie Next List. Orhan’s Inheritance (Algonquin Books, 4/7) by Aline Ohanesian which takes place in both the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, centers upon a dark segment of Turkish history as explored through two characters, an elderly woman living in an Armenian-American nursing home and a Turkish man learning about his family’s past.

In his recent library newsletter (download it here), Rockliff extols Ohanesian’s prose, sharing an excerpt to prove his point:

Seda takes a deep breath and picks up the embroidery in her lap. She hunches over her hands, letting her fingers work the delicate stitching. Three rows of red and yellow diamonds mark the pattern as Anatolian in origin. Despite her resolve, the past is bleeding out of her fingers, staining everything it touches.

The Indie Next annotation is equally compelling:

Debut author Ohanesian’s historical novel relives the nearly forgotten tragedy of the Armenian Genocide during and after WWI. Through deportations, massacres, and executions of Christian and Jewish Armenians, the Ottoman Empire and its successors eliminated 1.5 million citizens. Ohanesian’s beautifully written book shares a tale of passionate love, unspeakable horror, incredible strength, and the hidden stories that haunt a family. Highly recommended. — Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA

Orders are light at many libraries we checked.

In the newsletter, Mike also announces he will retire in June after ALA Annual in San Francisco, which gives us one final chance to thank him for many years of unflagging enthusiasm for both books and libraries.

“Groundbreaking” AFTER BIRTH

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

9780544273733_9d7efCalled “ground breaking” by Flavorwire, this Sunday’s NYT Book Review goes even further in praising a new novel that examines issues of motherhood, After Birth by Elisa Albert (HMH, Feb 2; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), warning that it should not be consigned to the “women’s fiction” category, but should be considered, “… as essential as Red Badge Of Courage. Just because so much of mothering happens inside a house doesn’t mean it’s not a war: a battle for sovereignty over your heart, your mind, your life.”

It is also a “People Pick” in last week’s issue (not online),

Faculty wife and new mom Ari’s idea of work-life balance is being just as sick of her dissertation as she is of her maternal obligations. Then a pregnant indie-rock legend movers to town. Can commiserating with her girl crush cure Ari’s postpartum depression? Albert’s scathing send-up of modern motherhood boils with dark humor and brutal honesty.

Wendy Bartlett at Cuyahoga greatly increased the library’s order, even though holds are still light, based on a request from staff expecting it to be a hit with women under 35 as well as that rare rave from the NYT Book Review.

On a side note, we’re finding ourselves in the unusual situation of quoting the Book Review often these days, a result of their covering titles earlier and publishing reviews that make you impatient to read the books. Wendy reports the Cuyahoga staff has noticed the change and now consider it nearly as influential on generating interest as People and Entertainment Weekly.


Thursday, February 26th, 2015

635604653206302811-JojoMoyesThis September, fans can stop wondering what happened to Louisa Clark, from Jojo Moyes’ best selling novel, Me Before You, (Penguin/Pamela Dorman).

The sequel, titled of course After You, is announced today by USA Today.

The announcement comes just as production is about to begin this April on the movie version of the first book, starring Emilia Clarke as Lou, a young woman who is hired as caretaker for the paralyzed Will, to be played by Sam Claflin. Originally scheduled for release in August, according to USA Today, it won’t hit screens until 2016.

The book is currently showing as Untitled on some distributor sites:

ISBN: 0525426590 EAN: 9780525426592
Penguin/Pamela Dorman; $ 27.95
Pub Date: September 29, 2015