The first trailer for the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Sci Fi novel, Ender’s Game, debuted online today. The movie debuts on Nov. 1 and stars:
Harrison Ford … Colonel Hyrum Graff
Abigail Breslin …Valentine Wiggin
Ben Kingsley … Mazer Rackham
Asa Butterfield … Ender Wiggin
Han Soto … Colonel Graff’s aide
Hailee Steinfeld … Petra Arkanian
Viola Davis … Major Gwen Anderson
The first poster for the forthcoming movie of Orson Scott Card’s SF novel, Ender’s Game(Macmillan/Tor, first pubbed, 1985), debuted online late yesterday and already fans are piling on to identify differences from the book. The appearance also caused the book to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings
The movie, directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and Viola Davis, arrives in theaters on Nov. 11.
Netflix’s gamble on streaming original programming paid off with their first effort, House of Cards. Good thing; another series follows quickly, Hemlock Grove, based on the debut werewolf novel by screenwriter Brian McGreevy which was released as a trade paperback original (jacket above, left; tie-in jacket on the right; from Macmillan/FSG) last year to strong prepub reviews. The 13-episode series will be available on April 19.
A book that’s been called the “Sci-fi Fifty Shades of Grey” (as in, a self-published book that became such a hit that Hollywood came knocking — NOT because it takes eroticism into space), Hugh Howey’s Wool, is going to be released in paperback and hardcover by S&S, this coming March. Wool began life as short story, followed by four more titles, which are collected in Wool – Omnibus Edition (Amazon/CreateSpace; 9781469984209), available through wholesalers as print-on-demand and owned by several libraries.
Back in April, Howey told Publishers Weekly, that he had not made a deal with an American publisher (although he had one with Random House in the UK), because he found the terms being offered unattractive. On his Web site, Howey says he decided to go with S&S because, “This deal is all about the new publishing paradigm. There are no clauses limiting what I can write and how quickly I can release. I keep control over the ebooks, which means the prices will stay where they are.”
While he doesn’t mention it specifically, he has chosen to go with a publisher that does not make their ebooks available to libraries. He does mention libraries in his announcement of the deal, but makes a common erroneous assumption about the preferred library format:
And it gets better. Simon and Schuster is planning a simultaneous paperback and hardback release … It’s the best of all possible worlds. Affordable e-books published swiftly, paperbacks where anyone can find them, hardbacks for the libraries.
Big names in fiction returning next week include Barbara Kingsolver, Ellen Hopkins and Caleb Carr, along with notable novels by Lydia Millet, Whitney Otto and James Kimmel. The final volume of William Manchester‘s Churchill bio also arrives, written posthumously by Paul Reid, while Larry McMurtry weighs in on General Custer, Sean Carroll explores a new landmark in physics, and Oliver Sacks explores hallucinations.
Magnificence by Lydia Millet (Norton; Dreamscape Audio; Center Point Large Print) concludes the trilogy that began with How the Dead Dream (2008) and Ghost Lights (2011). This one is the story of a woman who comes to terms with her life and adulterous affairs when she suddenly becomes a widow. Kirkus says, “The deeply honest, beautiful meditations on love, grief and guilt give way to a curlicued comic-romantic mystery complete with a secret basement and assorted eccentrics.” The response on GalleyChat was unmitigated; “Magnificence was magnificent. What an amazing writer. Love her unsentimental style.”
Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike Large Print) fictionalizes the lives of eight women photographers as they intersect – including icons like Imogen Cunningham, Lee Miller and Sally Mann, as well as lesser known figures. By the author of How to Make an American Quilt, it was a BEA librarians’ Shout ‘n’ Share Pick. Kirkus says, “although overly schematic, Otto makes these eight women and the differing lenses through which they view the 20th century hard to forget.”
The Trial of Fallen Angelsby James Kimmel, Jr. (Penguin/Amy Einhorn; Dreamscape Audio) is a debut novel about an ace lawyer who dies and becomes a defender of the souls of the dead on Judgement Day. Early reviews are mixed: Kirkus says it’s heavy on the spiritualism side, but still intriguing. PW says it fails as a page-turner, but Booklist gives it a starred review, calling it fascinating.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe) may be the first novel about the effects of climate change. It arrives with uncanny timing, the week after Hurricane Sandy. In this instance, the evidence is dramatic but not devastating. A vast flock of monarch butterflies descends on a Bible Belt community in what seems like a religious miracle, but turns out to be a more disquieting displacement. It’s a People Pick in the magazine this week, with 4 of 4 stars. Says the reviewer, Kingsolver, “brings the complexities of climate change to her characters’ doorstep, illustrating with rich compassion how they … must find their new place on shifting ground.” The author’s previous, The Lacuna, was a best seller and won the Orange Prize.
Collateralby Ellen Hopkins (S&S;Atria) is the second adult novel by this YA author, about two best friends and the military men they love, and are separated from, written in the author’s signature poetic verse style. PW says, “ clear narrative that is uplifting and heartbreaking, but also familiar and a little too easy, featuring characters grappling with the serious issues of our time.”
The Legend of Brokenby Caleb Carr (Random House; S&S Audio) finds the author of the Alienist turning his sights on the medieval era, where invaders and internal tensions roil a fortress. LJ has a wait-and-see attitude toward this one’s commercial prospects.
Infinity Ring Book 2: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan (Scholastic) is the second in a middle grade series about two fifth-grader geniuses who live in an alternate universe and travel back in time to fix various “breaks” in history. Like the 39-Clues, this planned seven-volume series, with six authors, was devised in-house at Scholastic and comes with links to an interactive Web Site. The titles will be released in quick succession, with this one arriving just three months after the first, Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny in Time, by theMaze Runner’s James Dashner. Rick Riordan, who wrote the prototype, 39-Clues, was given the unenviable task of reviewing Book 1 for thethe NYT Book Review. His reaction was mixed, concluding that it is, “vivid, intriguing, not fully realized but hinting at a larger story that feels right.” This second volume is by the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Kirkus, the only source to review it so far, doesn’t buy it, saying, “It’s hard to go wrong with Vikings. But if you asked a classroom full of students to write about a Viking and a time machine, most of them would come up with something more inventive.”
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid (Hachette/Little, Brown; Blackstone Audio) is the final volume in this biographical trilogy. The New York Times Magazine heralds it this Sunday by calling its release, “one of the longest waits in publishing history” and explains how the little-known Paul Reid, who had never written a book before, ended up tackling this project, based on Manchester’s sketchy and often illegible notes. It ended up taking so long that Reid was forced to sell his house, use up his savings and live on credit cards. It may have been worth it. Says the NYT Magazine, it is “more of a stand-alone book than a continuation of the first and second volumes.” PW says it “matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris.” 200,000 copies.
Custer by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster) is not quite a biography, more of an “informed commentary” on one of American history’s great military blunderers by this respected novelist, according to Kirkus, which also calls it “distilled perceptions of a lifetime of study, beautifully illustrated.” USA Today puts it simply, “This ‘Custer’ cuts through all the Bull.”
The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by Sean Carroll (RH/Dutton) is the story of how science history was made with the search for the Higgs Boson, part of the Higgs field that gives atomic particles their mass – finally discovered earlier this year. PW says, “whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carrollas clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts.” UPDATE: We jumped the gun; this title is actually coming out on Nov. 13.
Hallucinationsby Oliver Sacks (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT Audio) finds this bestselling neurologist revealing that hallucinations are actually normal aspects of human experience during illness or injury, intoxication or sensory deprivation, or simply falling asleep. Kirkus says, “A riveting look inside the human brain and its quirks.”
Jack Reacher’s Rules, with introduction by Lee Child (RH/Delacorte) is a 160-page hardcover compilation of Reacher wisdom and lore; a single quote printed on each page. It arrives, as the publisher puts it, “just in time for [Reacher's] first movie,” starring Tom Cruise, which lands in theaters on 12/21. It was a drop-in title that hasn’t been reviewed and thus, most libraries have not ordered it. Those that have it are showing holds (Hennepin County has 50 on 9 copies). The tie-in of One Shot, which the movie is based on, also arrives next week, in both mass market and large print.
Next week, new memoirs arrive from Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo and romance author Daneille Steel, along with a posthumous essay collection from David Foster Wallace and historian Thomas E. Ricks’ critique of the American military since WWII. Booker finalist Emma Donoghue also returns with a historical story collection. Usual suspects include George R.R. Martin, Richard Paul Evans, Karen Marie Moning, Jennifer Chiaverini, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen, plus there’s a new young adult novel from Fiona Paul.
A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homelessby Danielle Steel (RH/Delacorte; Thorndike Large Print) is the perennially bestselling author’s memoir of the 11 years she has spent working anonymously with a small team to help the homeless people of San Francisco after her oldest son committed suicide. Kirkus says, “With poverty programs shutting down, while at the same time, more people are homeless, Steel has felt the need to drop her anonymity and go public. A simple but moving call for action.”
Elsewhere by Richard Russo (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s heartfelt memoir about his fraught relationship with his fascinating but difficult mother from his childhood through her death. Librarians on GalleyChat say it’s so good that they were hard-pressed to decide what to read after finishing it
Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spiritby J.R. Martinez with Alexandra Rockey Fleming (Hyperion) is an inspirational memoir by an American soldier who served in Iraq and survived burns over more than one third of his body and went on to become a beloved Dancing with the Stars contest winner.
Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends by Pippa Middleton (Penguin) is by Prince William’s sister-in-law. Her family’s business is party supplies, so she has some background. It’s already getting advance media attention.
The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Todayby Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press; Thorndike Large Print) chronicles the decline of U.S. military leadership over the last 70 years. PW says, “His faith in the ability of great generalship to redeem any misadventure can sometimes seem naive. Still, Ricks presents an incisive, hard-hitting corrective to unthinking veneration of American military prowess.” His previous titles, FiascoandThe Gamble were both best sellers.
Both Flesh and Not: Essays by David Foster Wallace (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) gathers 15 essays not published in book form, including ”Federer Both Flesh and Not,” which many consider to be the author’s nonfiction masterpiece.
Train Tracks: Holiday Stories by Michael Savage (Harper/ Morrow) is a collection of personal stories that celebrate family, home, and the holidays by the bestselling author and radio host.
Astrayby Emma Donoghue (Hachette/Little Brown; Little Brown Large Print; Hachette Audio) is a story collection by the Booker prize finalist and million-copy bestseller Room. Set in Puritan Plymouth, Civil War America, and Victorian England among other locales, the stories turn on telling historical details inspired by newspapers and other documents. LJ says, “Donoghue has created masterly pieces that show what short fiction can do. Not just for devotees of the form.”
The Lands of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (RH/Bantam) is a 16-page book of maps, intended for the gift market, but we are including it in case you get requests for the “new George R. R. Martin book.”
A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster; Simon & Schuster Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is based on the Biblical story of Joseph and the coat of many colors – only this time Joseph is a CEO ousted from the family business. LJ says, “More sparkly holiday hope from the author of the outrageously best-selling The Christmas Box, soon appearing in a 20th-anniversary edition.”
Iced by Karen Marie Moning (RH/Delacorte) begins a much-anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy, set in the world of the author’s bestselling Fever series.
The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini (Penguin/Dutton; Thorndike Large Print) finds the quilters at Elm Manor working on a Thanksgiving quilt to benefit a real charity that’s a favorite of the author. This one has been climbing in Amazon’s sales rankings, to #65 in contemporary women’s fiction.
Victory at Yorktownby Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio) is this duo’s third novel about George Washington during the Revolution. Kirkus says, “Augmented with character sketches of lesser-known patriots, the book brings Washington to life as a resolute and bold general.”
Venom by Fiona Paul (Penguin/Philomel) starts a romantic trilogy about a 15 year-old Contessa in Renaissance Venice who’s on the path to an arranged marriage when she falls in love with an artist who helps her investigate the murder of a friend. PW calls it “a steamy but fairly predictable romance.”
Les Miserablesby Victor Hugo, translated by Norman Denny (Penguin Trade Paperback) ties into the film of the musical which arrives in theaters on Christmas Day. It stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and amanda Seyfried.
On the Road: Movie Tie-in, by Jack Kerouac (Penguin Trade Pbk) ties into the movie arriving December 21. Directed by Walter Salles, it stars Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kirsten Stewart.
As the media frenzy heats up for the first of Peter Jackson’s projected trilogy of movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, arriving in theaters on Dec. 14, news arrives that a previously unpublished 200-page narrative poem, The Fall of Arthur will be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 23, 2013.
Tolkien, who died in 1973, appointed his son Christopher as his literary executor. In addition to the forthcoming book, the younger Tolkein has edited all of his father’s posthumous titles, from The Silmarillionin 1977 to The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrúnin 2009 (like the forthcoming title, this is a long narrative verse, which, even Christopher Tolkien admitted, was likely to “put off” fans of The Lord of the Ring).
…eviscerated [The Lord of the Rings] by making it an action movie for young people 15 to 25. And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film….The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the esthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.
Tom Wolfe and John Grisham go head to head with new novels next week – and so far, Wolfe is getting the lion’s share of media attention, but the Grisham title is showing the most holds. Meanwhile, watch out for Jami Attenberg‘s potential breakout, The Middlesteins. Usual suspects include Debbie Macomber and Karen Kingsbury, while YA authors P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter team up on a paperback original, and A.S. King and Becca Fitzpatrick deliver new hardcovers. In nonfiction, Jerry Sandusky’s accuser, “Victim One,” unmasks himself upon the publication of his book, while former Goldman Sachs honcho Greg Smith reveals why he left the company. The Onion and Thomas Bouchon provide humorous and culinary relief.
The Middlesteinsby Jami Attenberg (Hachette/Grand Central) may be the surprise hit of the season, according to our Crystal Ball. Comparisons to The Corrections are underscored by a blurb from Jonathan Franzen himself (who rarely gives blurbs), “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it wasn’t until is final pages that I fully appreciated the range of Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling.” The tale of a Jewish husband and wife in suburban Chicago whose marriage unravels after 40 years, as the attorney wife nears 350 pounds, it’s on People‘s list of ten Hot Fall Titles and described as “The sleeper hit of the fall” on CBS This Morning‘s fall book roundup (9/17). Entertainment Weeklythrows some rain on this parade, giving it just a “B” and saying, “Attenberg’s slender fourth novel is an intriguing dysfunctional-family story told from multiple, fast-shifting points of view, but it never sits still long enough to truly explore the complicated minds of its characters. It’s a deeply sympathetic novel that could use a little more insight.”
The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro (Workman/Algonquin; HighBridge Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Jan.) was a librarians Shout ‘n’ Share pick at BEA and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for November. It’s about an art world pariah who gets drawn into a forgery scheme, and has to dig into an unsolved art heist to clear her name. It gets a “B+” in the current Entertainment Weekly: “Shapiro’s plot seems rushed at times. Still, she’s done meticulous research and has such interesting things to say about authenticity — in both art and love — that her novel becomes not just emotionally involving but addictive.”
Back to Bloodby Tom Wolfe (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio, read by Lou Diamond Phillips; Hachette Large Print) has been dubbed by one critic as “Bonfire of the Miamians” and comes with a full PBS documentary, Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood, airing on Friday. As we’ve noted, major reviewers have weighed in extensively this week, ahead of the novel’s release next Tuesday, October 23, with most saying it’s got Wolfe’s usual manic prose, obsession with class and status, and wide range of characters – which is fine if you liked his other books.
The Racketeer by John Grisham (Random House; RH Audio and Large Print; BOT Audio) is the other major title going on sale on Tuesday, and somewhat overshadowed in the media by Tom Wolfe. Still, as we wrote earlier, the New York Times‘s Janet Maslin says it shows Grisham’s “rekindled vigor,” perhaps because he has “gone back to what he does best, storytelling rather than crusading.”
The Bridgeby Karen Kingsbury (S&S/Howard Books; S&S Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a Christmas story about a Tennessee bookstore named The Bridge that struggles to survive declining book sales and the rise of e-books. It’s been rising on Amazon sales rankings – at #99 as of October 18.
After Moonriseby P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) is a paperback original in which two bestselling YA authors team up to deliver two paranormal love stories.
Ask the Passengersby A. S. King (Hachette/LBYR; BOT Audio) is about a character who sends messages to people in planes flying overhead, who feel “bursts of unexplainable love that prompts them to do certain things.” The author is a Printz Honor Prize Winner. It has found fans on both our August and September YA GalleyChats. One called it “phenomenal” and “by far, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. And inspiring.” Another reader commented, “Can’t wait for my teens to read it.”
Finale (Hush, Hush Saga) by Becca Fitzpatrick (S&S BYR, S&S Audio) began rising on Amazon on October 17. Previous titles in this series have hit the NYT list; Hush, Hush , Crescendo and Silence.
Silent No More: Victim 1′s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky by Victim One (RH/Ballantine) is written by the young man who testified dramatically at the child molestation trial of Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Victim One’s identity was kept a secret until late yesterday when it was revealed in promos for an interview by ABC’s Chris Cuomo, to air on ABC’s 20/20 tonight and for a People magazine interview, to appear, with excerpts from the book, in the issue on stands next Friday.
Why I Left Goldman Sachs: Or How the World’s Most Powerful Bank Made a Killing but Lost its Soul by Greg Smith (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print) grew out of the author’s eponymous op-ed in the New York Times, which went viral. The book details what the author sees as the decline of the storied investment bank, after he started at Goldman Sachs at age 21 in 2001 and left in 2011 as the head of the United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander, M.D. (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) joins the growing shelf of books about near-death experiences. It has been in the top 100 on Amazon sales rankings for the last 11 days (currently at #10). Several libraries are showing heavy holds. The author is scheduled for several TV appearances this week, including ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America as well as FOX-TV’s Fox & Friends.
The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopedia of Existing Informationby The Onion (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) is the 8th book by the award-winning humor website. With typical bravado, the authors proclaim that this comprehensive reference source is “the last book ever published.”
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Workman/Artisan) collects recipes for the French classics this famous chef loved while apprenticing in Paris.
The excitement in the upcoming week is in nonfiction, starting with a new collection of Beatle John Lennon‘s private letters, a new Barbra Streisand bio by William J. Mann, and a biography of photographer Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan, along witha YA adaptation of Navy Seal Eric Greitens‘s bestselling memoir. Usual suspects include James Patterson (with Marshall Karp), Robert K. Morgan and the man known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature,” R L Stein, delivers his first adult horror novel (thanks for the correction; this is actually his second book for adults, after his 1995 title, Superstitious).
The John Lennon Lettersby John Lennon, edited by Hunter Davies (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio) collects the beloved Beatles private letters to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life, with annotations by Hunter Davies, author of the authorized biography The Beatles (1968).
Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Thorndike Large Print) focuses on the singer’s breakthrough years in the Sixties, when she starred in Funny Girl on Broadway and recorded three platinum albums. PW says, “Combining extensive interviews (some anonymous) and exhaustive archival research, Mann balances intimate personal details with audience reactions and critical acclaim to etch an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.”
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Dreamscape Audio) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer’s account of 19th C portrait photographer Edward Curtis, who gave up a thriving career to chronicle more than 80 Native American tribes before their way of life disappeared. The result was Curtis’s classic 20-volume set, The North American Indian, which took 30 years to complete and left him divorced and destitute. Kirkus says, “Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.”
Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Prescence by Sarah Young (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson) is the second book from the missionary and breakout author of Jesus Calling.
There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) blends political analysis, history, and personal reminiscences of the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 in a coming of age memoir. The author best known for the novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold ten million copies worldwide since 1958. Kirkus says, “a powerful memoir/document of a terrible conflict and its toll on the people who endured it.”
Nonfiction – Young Adult
The Warrior’s Heart by Eric Greitens (HMH Young Readers) adapts the author’s bestseller The Heart and the Fist for teen readers, focusing on the youthful adventures that led him to become a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL. Kirkus says Greitens retraces his coming of age “with well-deserved pride but not self-aggrandizement,” and says it’s “as thought provoking as it is entertaining.”
Red Rain by R L Stein (S&S/Touchstone; Simon & Schuster Audio) is the first second adult horror novel by the bestselling author of the GoosebumpsandFear Streetseries, involving a hurricane and psychopath. PW says it “fails to compel.”
Don’t weed those copies just yet. Reports of possible leads for Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, based on last year’s novel by Daniel H. Wilson (RH/Doubleday; BOT), indicate that the movie is on track for a planned release date of April 25, 2014.
Written as an oral history of a robot uprising against humans, the book was heavily promoted at BEA in 2011 and landed on the NYT best seller list at #13 for one week. It won a 2012 Alex Award and has been used in STEM programs, gaining it the distinction of an attempted ban, due to its use of certain colorful language.
Things just keep getting better for Jo Walton. Back in May, she won the Nebula for Best Novel with Among Others (Macmillan/Tor; pbk reprint released 1/3/12) and last night, she added the Hugo. As she writes on her blog, “I was surprised and delighted to win a Nebula, I am gobsmacked and awed to win a Hugo.”
She won against some pretty strong competition, including George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons and China Miéville’s Embassytown.
Among Others is about a 14-year-old girl, Morwenna, who recovers from a traumatic childhood with the help of a sympathetic school librarian and through books. It is heavily based on Walton’s own past, with some fantasy elements (in the book, the mother is literally a witch). As she tells Nancy Pearl in the following interview (thanks to Macmillan Library Marketer, Ali Fisher for pointing it out on Uncharted Pages), she couldn’t have published it while her mother was living, because “She would have sued.”
Walton initially wondered if it was legitimate to write an autobiographical fantasy, but characteristically decided to go ahead and do it anyway. She is a bit dismayed by the number of people who say the story reminds them of their own childhoods. Given that, of course, it has strong crossover appeal; VOYA said, ”Morwenna is a complex, quirky character who readers will quickly be drawn to as they join her on her quest of self-discovery.”
Lots of titles to watch next week, including librarian favorites from rising novelists Emma Straub and Tatjana Soli, Spanish sci-fi bestseller Felix J. Palma, and British debut author MorganMcCarthy. Usual suspects include Zadie Smith, James Patterson, Dale Brown and Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry – plus Elizabeth George makes her YA debut.
After dominating news all this week, No Easy Day, the eyewitness account of the killing of bin Laden is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, but the Pentagon has warned that the author is in breach of the non-disclosure agreements he signed when he became a Navy SEAL and that “Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
Christopher Hitchens posthumously delivers his last words on mortality, Gretchen Rubin shares more tried and true advice on cultivated happiness, and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade reflects on his rise as a basketball player and his role as a father.
Breedby Scott Spencer writing as Chase Novak (Hachette/ Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio) is a medical thriller about an infertile couple who transform themselves into parents via reproductive technology, but it has an unexpected side effect, causing them to develop strange appetites that scare their twin children. Janet Maslin gave it an early review in Thursday’s New York Times, in which she calls Spencer the “gently literary author still best remembered for the lush prose of his 1979 Endless Love…[who has] has started writing in a pulpier and more diabolical vein.” She that, while it displays “keen antennas for sensory detail,” it is “a gruesome book, a full-bore foray into the horror genre, so literary loveliness goes only so far. It is probably best avoided by anyone not wishing to know exactly what it’s like to eat a baby pigeon.” The cover sports a blurb from Stephen King, “By turns terrifying and blackly funny, Breed is a total blast.” Entertainment Weekly, however, gives it just a “B,” saying, “Breed is being touted as a modern-day Rosemary’s Baby, but Spencer… delivers the camp better than he does the scares.” A followup, Brood, is in the works.
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (Grove Press) is a historical novel set in 17th century England about a boy who’s orphaned when his mother is accused of being a witch. He goes on to become the greatest cook of his generation. PW says, “Known for intellectual prose and complex plots, Norfolk this time out attempts to interweave time and senses, reality and myth, rewarding steadfast readers with savory recipes and a bittersweet upstairs-downstairs love story.” It was a BEA Librarian’s Shout ‘n’ Share pick, and is an Indie Next pick for September.
Norfolk offers a look at the surprising sophistication of English cooking in the 17th C:
The Map of the Sky by Felix J.Palma (S&S/Atria) is the Spanish author’s sequel to his bestselling take-off on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Here, the action begins when a New York socialite challenges her fiance to recreate Wells’ The War of the Worlds, setting off a chain reaction across time and space. LJ says, “Palma has again managed to infuse something very familiar with a new edge and life.” This one also kicked up some buzz on GalleyChat in August, where a librarian said that the novel “brings War of the Worlds to life.”
The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli (St. Martin’s Press; Tantor Media; Thorndike Large Print) was a BEA Shout ‘n’ Share pick for Cuyahoga’s Wendy Bartlett. Here’s her pitch: ”This book opens with a family tragedy that occurs in the first few pages. The rest of this thoughtful book is about how we heal–or don’t–after an unspeakable tragedy. It’s set on a citrus ranch in Southern California. Soli’s first book, The Lotus-Eaters, did very well with our customers, and was really good for book discussion. She reminds me of a young Barbara Kingsolver. Her language is simple but not plain, her characters are extremely well drawn, and the setting is like a movie it’s so easy to visualize.”
The Other Half of MebyMorganMcCarthy (S&S/Free Press) is a paperback original about two siblings who grow up in a dysfunctional aristocratic English family in Wales with secrets that go back for generations. Robin Beerbower, our go-to librarian for scary titles, says this one “is being compared to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, but I’m finding it more compelling than that. The pacing is a bit slow but it features a completely unreliable but fascinating narrator and the gorgeous writing kept me engrossed.”
NW by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is Smith’s first novel in seven years and one of the most anticipated titles of the early fall (it even gets an early review from BusinessWeek). It focuses on three characters who have risen above their childhoods in a Northwest London housing estate in the 1970s, with varying degrees of success. Michiko Kakutani, in the NYT, expresses disappointment, calling it a “much smaller, more meager book” than Smith’s critically acclaimed debut, White Teeth. In the Washington Post, Ron Charles expresses sympathy for the author, who, “Ever since… her dazzling debut in 2000, Zadie Smith has labored under an enviable weight of critical and popular expectations.” He acknowledges that the new novel it difficult, but worth the effort: “At times, reading NW is like running past a fence, catching only strips of light from the scene on the other side. Smith makes no accommodation for the distracted reader — or even the reader who demands a clear itinerary. But if you’re willing to let it work on you, to hear all these voices and allow the details to come into focus when Smith wants them to, you’ll be privy to an extraordinary vision of our age.” Smith spoke out this week to protest the possible closing of hundreds of local libraries in Great Britain.
Zoo by James Patterson (Hachette/Little Brown; Hachette Audio) revolves around Jackson Oz, a young biologist, who witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa that spurs him to heroic action.
The Tombs by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry (Penguin/Putnam; Thorndike Press; Penguin Audiobooks) is the fourth outing with multi-millionaire treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo, who join an archaeologist in excavating an ancient Hungarian battlefield. PW says, “this adventure series stands as one of the crown jewels in the Cussler empire.”
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George (Penguin/Viking) is the veteran mystery author’s first YA novel, the start of a series about a psychic 14 year-old girl who must fend for herself after her mother runs away from her stepfather. Booklist says, “what’s best here are the characters, both young and adult. There are no stereotypes, and their humanity keeps the story moving, even when the plot is tied in knots.”
Mortalityby Christopher Hitchens (Hachette/Twelve; Twelve; Hachette Audio) is the lauded cultural critic’s look at illness, suffering, cancer etiquette, religion and his own incipient death from esophageal cancer in December 2011. PW says, “Hitchens’ powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them.” 125,000 copies.
A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketballby Dwyane Wade (HarpreCollins/Morrow) is a memoir by the NBA superstar, Miami Heat player and divorced single dad of two sons that charts his upbringing by his drug-addicted mother on Chicago’s South Side. Kirkus says, “ A refreshing chronicle of a fervent sportsman with his head and heart in all the right places.”