Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Writers On The Air

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Last night two high profile authors got late night treatment.

Lauren Groff appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers. She is in countdown mode for the Nov. 18 announcement of the National Book Award and is fresh off her Morning Edition Book Club appearance.

Meyers is proving to be a deft interviewer of authors. That may be because, as he revealed last night in a throwaway aside  he thinks of himself as a writer too, having been the head writer for Saturday Night Live.

The pair discuss Groff’s process, her stereoscopic approach to Fates and Furies, and writing sex scenes.

Jonathan Franzen starred in a skit on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and sat down for a conversation as well.

The skit mocks Amazon through a bedtime story entitled “Little Read Reading Hood.” The US Department of Justice stars as the woodsman and there is a typical Colbert twist at the end.

The conversation, in which Colbert’s snark sometimes got the better of Franzen, ranged from Twitter to reading to football. Nevertheless, n the strength of his appearance, Purity rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, from 445 to 356.

Interviewer-in-Chief, Part 2

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015


The second installment of President Obama’s two-part interview with Marilynne Robinson is now online and will appear in the 11/19 issue of the New York Review of Books (also available in audio),

In it, Obama explains why novels are important to him, “when I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels.”

Robinson’s most recent novel is Lila (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio, 2014). A book of essays, The Givenness of Things, (Macmillan/FSG; Brilliance Audio) was published yesterday.

NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club Convenes

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

9781594634475_68932The third “meeting” of NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club was held today with Lauren Groff the author of  Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead; BOT Audio; Overdrive Sample) fielding inquires about the story’s origins, character construction, her ambivalence about marriage, and female rage.

Author Richard Russo selected the book for the club saying, “The secrets here are character secrets, not plot secrets, and they are revealed in ways that sometimes take your breath away. You have to wait almost until the last page of the book to get to the last of the secrets.”

Groff said the novel was in part a chance to work out her uncertainty about being a wife, but admitted, “a novel does not answer any questions, it just raises a hundred other questions.”

Groff will appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday.


Catching Up With Nancy Pearl

Monday, October 26th, 2015

In her recent weekly book chats airing on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW librarian Nancy Pearl talks Mystery and Fantasy.

9781608197088_acf81Last week she discussed Tabula Rasa (Bloomsbury USA; Tantor audio; OverDrive Sample) by Ruth Downie, the newest in Downie’s Ruso mysteries set in Roman Britain. Just released in paperback, the sixth in the series takes place while the Romans are building Hadrian’s Wall and involves the case of a missing British boy.

Nancy says that Downie “give such a picture of the time and the place” that she feels she is taking a wonderful Roman history class as she reads them.

9780763681845_f6f18On October 6, Nancy addressed Fantasy with the last book written by the late Mal Peet, The Murdstone Trilogy: A Novel (Candlewick; Candlewick on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Peet, who passed away in March, might have been best known for his YA novels, but Nancy loved this adult send-up of writing in general and Fantasy in particular.

Calling it “sui generis” she says it’s like nothing she has ever read before.

The story is about a writer urged by his agent to change his focus from YA realistic fiction to Fantasy so he can start to sell books again. Knowing nothing of the genre he makes a deal with a strange creature – the creature will write the novel in exchange for a mysterious amulet.

Nancy says the story “totally charmed” her and is full of word play, satire, and wonderfully humorous set pieces.

It is also an open question as to what the novel actually is, not a trilogy at all as the subtitle makes clear and perhaps not a Fantasy either, making it a challenge for catalogers.

Welcome to the Spotlight,

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

9780062351425_a339dWelcome to Night Vale (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) is having its weird, subversive, addictive moment.

It is currently occupying the #59 spot on Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are growing at several libraries we checked.

As we reported, authors Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor were guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week (time mark 36:24).

This week they are the subjects of a Books section feature in The New York Times., which summarizes their “show’s eerie existential themes” as “Don’t panic, but we’re all going to die,” and says “With its uncanny blend of the macabre and the mundane, the news out of Night Vale sounds like what might occur if Stephen King or David Lynch was a guest producer at your local public radio station.”

The feature details the history of the podcast and its move to print books, reporting publisher Harper Perennial has three more books in the works from Fink and Cranor and that the pair found an agent through the assistance of author John Green, who is a big fan of the show.

In a heads-up service to librarians, the paper also discusses other podcasts coming to print, “including The WTF Oral History, based on the comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, and Adnan’s Story, a book by Rabia Chaudry that is based on the murder case that inspired the wildly successful podcast Serial. It will contain new information about the case and will be published by St. Martin’s Press.”

More GIRL On The Way

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Screen-Shot-2015-08-24-at-10.24.18-AMAfter the success of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz is on tap to write two more titles for the Millennium series.

Entertainment Weekly reports that his Swedish publisher has to release a fifth in 2017, followed by a sixth in 2019. Following the precedent of the previous, we can expect those books to be released simultaneously in the U.S.

According to a publisher statement, Lagercrantz found The Girl in the Spider’s Web “so much fun to write and such a breathtaking adventure” that he “just can’t resist” writing more.

In an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lagercrantz said he found plenty of subject material for the series, sharing that he kept notes while reading the first three books by Stieg Larsson and found “lots of threads that I’m sure he would have developed.”

After hitting the NYT Best Seller list at #1 on Sept. 20, The Girl in the Spider’s Web has remained in the top three, moving back to #2 this week.

Surprise Author Interviewer

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

President Barack Obama turns his hand to book discussion, conducting an interview with Marilynne Robinson for a piece published in the 11/5 issue of The New York Review of Books.

9780312424404_9e782The President reveals that he read Robinson’s second novel, Gilead when he was on the 2004 campaign. In it, he discovered one of his  “favorite characters in fiction,” the pastor John Ames, whom he describes as “gracious and courtly and a little bit confused about how to reconcile his faith with all the various travails that his family goes through.”

The two go on to discuss faith, religion, creativity, small town values, American optimism and pessimism, and the “us versus them” tendency of politics.

In a brief segment the President asks Robinson how she developed such a wide perspective growing up in a small rural location.

how do you think you ended up thinking about democracy, writing, faith the way you do? How did that experience of growing up in a pretty small place in Idaho, which might have led you in an entirely different direction—how did you end up here, Marilynne? What happened? Was it libraries?

Robinson’s immediately answers, “It was libraries.”

The conversation takes place in two parts. The first is available now and the second will be posted in the next issue. A free audio recording of the interview is available via iTunes.

Lauren Groff Coming to NPR’s MORNING EDITION Book Club

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

9781594634475_68932Last month, NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club announced their third pick, Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead), helping to propel it on to best seller lists. In two weeks the NPR show will host a conversation with the author.

In a short tee up to the discussion, the hosts of Morning Edition say the novel as a “story of a marriage in two parts” as both the wife and the husband have their due.

Groff quickly pushes back against that summary, saying “It’s not a book about marriage.”

Rather, she explains, marriage is how she talks about larger ideas concerning creativity, sex, time, and rage. She says marriage becomes a vehicle to dig into some of the things she resisted about the institution, and did not know she resisted, until she spent five years working on the novel.

Readers are invited to submit a smartphone voice memo. Groff will answer some of the queries on Morning Edition.

Fates and Furies is on the National Book Awards longst for fiction; the shortlist will be announced tomorrow.

Slate’s AudioBook Club Features THE MARTIAN

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

9781101905005_e42deThe team at Slate are back with their next book club pick, this time it is the ongoing best seller and basis for the blockbuster movie, The Martian (Mass Market MTI; RH/Broadway; OverDrive Sample) by Andy Weir.

The discussion is wide ranging and at times persnickety as the three participants go back and forth with negative and positive responses.

Katy Waldman, Slate’s words correspondent, was “weirdly riveted” by the process of how astronaut Mark Watney works through the catastrophes involved in being abandoned on Mars, but she summarizes it as “nerd-wish fulfillment fantasy, the next wave of reality shows, like Survivor Mars” and in the end can only recommend it with reservations. However, she recommends the movie wholeheartedly.

Laura Miller, books and culture columnist for Slate, is the most positive on the book, offering some book-discussion worthy ideas, comparing it to several recent novels in which the protagonists work through complex processes to avert disasters, such as Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves.

November’s conversation will address one of the year’s most talked-about literary novels, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday), currently up for two major awards. It is the favorite among odds makers to win the Booker Prize, to be announced later today. On the National Book Awards longlist, we will learn if it makes the shortlist tomorrow.


Monday, October 12th, 2015

New trailers for several forthcoming adaptations made their debuts at at New York Comic Con over the weekend. In addition to MTV’s Shadowhunters, which we covered earlier, the following three were featured.

The Magicians, Syfy channel, 12 episodes, beginning January 15

Official Web site:

Based on: Lev Grossman, The Magicians, fantasy trilogy (The Magicians, 2009; The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land)

Tie-in: Lev Grossman, The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition) (Penguin/Putnam, 11/24/15)

Shannara Chronicles,  MTV, 10 episodes beginning January 5

Official Web site:

Based on: Terry Brooks, Shannara series (first in the series is Sword Of Shannara, but the first in the TV series is based on the second book Elfstones Of Shannara)


Terry Brooks, The Elfstones of Shannara (The Shannara Chronicles) (TV Tie-in Edition), (RH/Del Rey; mass market; 12/1/15)

Terry Brooks, The Wishsong of Shannara (The Shannara Chronicles) (TV Tie-in Edition) (RH/Del Rey; 12/1/15)

Outcast, Cinemax, 10 episodes begin 2016 (no exact release date yet)

Official Web Site:

Based on: Robert Kirkman comics, Outcast

Tie-ins: the series and the comics are being created simultaneously. The first collected edition of the comics was published earlier this year. Volume 2 arrives this week.(Image Comics).

Next Stephen King Novel

Monday, October 12th, 2015

End of Watch, KingAs an indicator of the importance of  Stephen King to the Hollywood community, the movie trade site Deadline announces the title of the author’s next book, End Of Watch, (S&S/Scribner, 9781501129742, 6/7/16), the final volume in the trilogy which began with Mr. Mercedes (2014), currently being developed as a limited TV series, and Finders Keepers (2015).

In addition, Scribner has acquired the rights to King’s backlist formerly held by RH/Doubleday.

King’s short story collection The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams is set for release in print and audio on November 3.

P P & Z, the Trailer

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

After several years in development, with multiple actresses announced for the lead (Natalie Portman — who eventually switched roles to become one of the producers — Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Wasikowska and Rooney Mara), the trailer has been released  for the adaptation of the godmother of the mashup genre, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books, 2009), starring Lily James (CinderellaDownton Abbey) as Elizabeth Bennett, Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy and Bella Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister.

The movie is scheduled to open on Feb. 5, 2016.

A tie-in is scheduled for December:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith
Quirk Books: December 15, 2015
Trade Paperback; 9781594748899, 1594748896
$14.95 USD, $16.95 CAD

For more books to movies and TV, see our list of upcoming book adaptations, as well as our list of tie-ins.

YELLOW BIRDS Set to Take Off

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Yellow BirdsThere’s been some major changes on the film adaptation of Kevin Powers’ 2012 National Book Award finalistThe Yellow Birds, (Hachette/Little, Brown). Benedict Cumberbatch, originally set to play the lead, has been replaced by Jack Huston, reports Deadline. The film also has a new director, Alexandre Moors, who replaces David Lowery.

Bringing some extra star power to the production, Jennifer Anniston is joining the cast.

All this activity indicates the project is closer to becoming a reality.

In Dallas, It’s 11/22/63 Again

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Tourists at Dealy Plaza in Dallas were treated to eerie reminders of the past, as filming for the Hulu series based on Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 (S&S/Scribner, 2011) is wrapping up.

Produced by J.J. Abrams and starring James Franco, the series is expected to air next year.

Wallander Retires

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Unlike James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Lisbeth Salander, who lived on after their creators’s deaths, Kurt Wallander will not be featured in future novels.

As reported by the global news agency AFP and picked up by Yahoo! News, Henning Mankell’s publishing partner Dan Israel, who co-founded Leopard publishing with Mankell, stated that now that the writer has died, “It is out of the question that there would be other books featuring Wallander.”

Neither are there any manuscripts hiding in a vault. While Israel says Mankell was working on a book before he died, but it “is just a draft and unpublishable.”

He vowed to protect the literary property of Mankell, stressing “Nothing can be approved without my agreement.”

However, Mankell’s final book has not yet been released in the U.S. The Guardian reports that Quicksand: What It Means to be a Human Being, is about his experience dealing with his cancer diagnosis. Scheduled for release in the U.K. this coming February, the U.S. release date has not yet been announced.

In an interviews in 2012, Mankell explains that he is not interested in crime itself, but “To use the mirror of crime to look at contradictions in society, that is what interests me.”