Archive for the ‘History’ Category

HBO’s LEWIS & CLARK
Moving Ahead

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

9780684826974The HBO series, Lewis And Clark, based on the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, (S&S, 1996) has faced some challenges, including wildfires on location and the firing of both the director and director of photography over creative differences three weeks into the production.

But HBO is still “undaunted,” declaring that filming will resume in the spring, according to Deadline, starring Casey Affleck as Meriwether Lewis and Matthias Schoenaerts as William Clark. The series is being produced by Tom Hanks’s company, Playtone, along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B. Entertainment.

On the Screen: Organized Crime, British Style

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 12.07.45 PMLegend starring Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) is set to hit theaters in early October, based on The Profession of Violence by John Pearson, a 1972 nonfiction account of the Kray twins who ran the organized crime scene of London’s East End during the 50s and 60s.

The two also owned a nightclub in the swanky West End and hobnobbed with celebrities and politicians, by all accounts living a glittering existence, enjoying the money they raked in through extortion, robbery, arson, assault, and murder. They were arrested and jailed in 1969 and sentenced to life in prison.

Brian Helgeland, a director (42, A Knight’s Tale) and screenwriter (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) directs. Hardy plays both twins. The cast also includes Emily Browning and Paul Bettany. A movie-tie in edition is due on Sept. 8.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV spreadsheet and link to our listing of tie-ins.

John Pearson
HarperCollins/William Collins; September 8, 2015; Paperback
9780008150280, 0008150281
$14.99 USD, $17.99 CAD

Filming: LOST CITY OF Z

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.42.21 PMThe convoluted path The Lost City of Z (RH/Doubleday;2009; OverDrive Sample) has taken to the big screen is finally set to deliver.

As we reported in 2013, the on-again/off-again movie adaptation has been bumpy, with everyone from Brad Pitt to Benedict Cumberbatch cited as possible stars but the project ended up shelved multiple times.

Now Deadline reports that the next actor to play Spider-Man, Tom Holland, will join the cast that already includes Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Charlie Hunnam. Flming has begun in Belfast and will continue in Colombia in the fall.

The book grew out of a New Yorker article by David Grann, (Doubleday, Feb, 2009), about British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared int the Amazon in 1935, during an attempt to prove his claim that a highly sophisticated city, which he called the City of Z, was hidden in the jungle. At the time it was published, the NYT critic Michiko Kakutani gave it a rare rave, “at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd,” adding, “it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.” It ended up topping most of the year’s best books lists.

As originally planned, James Gray (We Own the Night) is directing and Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B is overseeing the project.

Closer to Screen: THE DEVIL IN
THE WHITE CITY

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

9780375725609After years in development, the adaptation of Eric Larson’s true crime title, The Devil in the White City (RH/Crown, 2003) is set to be directed by Martin Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as the serial killer H.H. Holmes who preyed on single young women drawn to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. This will be the actor and director’s sixth project together.

Paramount won the film rights in a major auction after Warner Bros. let the them lapse last month (DiCaprio bought the rights back in 2010, with plans to star in it. Before that, in 2003, Tom Cruise acquired the rights, also planning to star).

Those who have read the book will agree with Deadline‘s assessment it presents a screen writing challenge because it  “interlac[es] the two main characters, the producer/architect of the World’s Fair and the man who works for him and turns out to be a mass murderer.” However, reports Deadline, the new script writer “[Billy] Ray cracked that, and the town flipped for it.” They don’t explain exactly what they flipped for, however.

Scorsese  is currently wrapping production on Silence, based on the 1996 novel by Japanese writer Shûsaku Endô, expected to release some time next year.

As usual, the director has several other balls in the air. In June, another of his favorite actors, Al Pacino said he’s hoping they will work together on The Irishman, based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brand (Steerforth, 2005).  Late last year, Mark Wahlberg was urging him to do a Boardwalk Empire movie. He has also announced plans direct Sinatra about the singer and to produce The Snowman based on the book by Jo Nesbø. It’s not known which project he will turn to first.

DiCaprio will next be seen in The Revenant, directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and based on the book by Michael Punke, set for release in December.

AMERICAN SNIPER’s Footsteps

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

9781455582297_3f737  American Sniper

Following the success of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Hollywood is mad for military movies based on books. Underscoring that, a film based on 13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff (Hachette/Twelve,2014) opens on January 15, 2016, the same weekend that its predecessor opened last year.

Retitled 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, it is directed by Michael Bay and stars John Krasinski and James Badge Dale,

The release of the trailer was enough to send the book moving up Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #88).

Tie-ins:

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi
MItchell Zuckoff
Hachette/Twelve: November 24, 2015
Trade Paperback
Mass market

Congressman As Superhero

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.21.24 AM  Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.21.39 AM

Highlighting Congressman John Lewis’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement, CBS Sunday Morning profiled the Representative and his award-winning graphic memoirs March: Book One and March: Book Two (both from Top Shelf).

Fittingly, the profile includes clips of Rep. Lewis at ComicCon, wearing, as tradition dictates, his own superhero outfit: a coat and backpack similar to those he wore as he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the Selma March in 1965.

A third March volume is expected early next year.

ASTRONAUT WIVES Arrive

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Astronaut Wives Club  AWC_Key_Art_Embed

The 10-episode series The Astronaut Wives Club, debuts on ABC tonight. Based on Lily Koppel’s book of the same title about the wives of of the first U.S. astronauts (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio and Large Print), unfortunately, it does not seem to have lift-off.

The New York Times review dismisses it saying it does the women a “disservice by sugarcoating them almost as much as NASA did some 50 years ago.” The L.A. Times damns it with faint praise, “it is not the worst way to spend an idle hour on a summer night.”

The cover of the book, above left, features the actual wives. They were profiled on CBS Sunday Morning when the book was published in 2013. Next to it, the poster for the series, featuring the wives as portrayed by JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Yvonne Strahovski, Dominique McElligott, Odette Annable, Erin Cummings, Azure Parsons and Zoe Boyle.

Extended sneak peek, below.

Holds Alert: DAUGHTERS OF THE SAMURAI

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.23.25 AMHolds are growing on Janice P. Nimura’s Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey From East to West and Back (Norton. 5/4/15) with ratios well over 3:1 in many libraries we checked.

The nonfiction account has gotten steady coverage in papers such as The Seattle Times and The Wall Street Journal‘s “Speakeasy” blog.

About a group of young Japanese girls, each the daughter of a samurai, sent to America to live, study and  try to figure out what makes America so strong and forward thinking, The New York Times Sunday Book Review calls the book “beautifully written” and says it “begins like a fairy tale, with three clueless children charged with an impossible task by an empress: They must go to the United States and return with the knowledge needed to educate the women of Japan in the ways of the modern world.”

Nimura describes the story in the book trailer.

Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson

Monday, May 25th, 2015

9780307829160Publicists are already in high gear, promoting the currently filming FX mini-series American Crime Story: The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, based on the book by Jeffrey Toobin, (Random House, 1996). Publicity stills of various characters in their roles have appeared in many publications as well as on Entertainment Tonight.

Catch glimpses in the ET video of Sarah Paulson as prosecuting attorney Marcia Clark, Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simspon, John Travolta as Simpson’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Courtney B. Vance as Simpson co-counsel Johnnie Cochran, and Billy Magnussen as Kato Kaelin.

No boadcast date yet, but the tie-in is scheduled for 9/29/15.

Inskeep’s JACKSONLAND

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 8.18.35 AMSteve Inskeep’s Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) rises to #51 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the author’s appearances on Morning Edition (where he is the co-host) and on PBS NewsHour.

Inskeep’s history explores Jackson’s role in the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation as well as the brilliant efforts of Chief John Ross to stop him, using the tools of democracy and politics to protect Cherokee land. He sought white allies, brought suit in the United States Supreme Court (and won), and published stories in newspapers. Nothing, however, could stop the relentless expansion Jackson and white farmers sought.

In recognition of this history, Inskeep argues in an OpEd piece in the New York Times, that Chief Ross’s image should replace Jackson’s  on the $20 bill.

Inskeep discusses his book with NewsHour co-host Judy Woodruff at Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant/bookstore in Washington D.C.

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS Soar

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Causing the book ro rise to #7 on Amazon sales rankings and holds to grow, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (S&S; S&S Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample), was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

The book, which come out tomorrow, is also reviewed by Janet Maslin in today’s New York Times.

Holds Alert: THE RESIDENCE

Monday, April 27th, 2015

9780062305190_e24b8Check your copies, Kate Andersen Brower’s The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a holds superstar with wait-lists growing into triple digits and holds ratios topping 5:1 across the country.

As we reported earlier, the book is a behind-the-scenes account of the staff that the runs the White House – from the Kennedy administration through the Obamas. It recently made the news due to its Clinton connection (dishy details over the Monica fallout).

The book is only going to get hotter with the news that Kevin Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street, (responsible for House of Cards, Captain Phillips, The Social Network), has bought the TV rights.

According to Politico, the plan for the show is to create:

… a modern and fictional 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue spin on Downton Abbey, wherein the White House’s butlers, stewards, maids and the like are the stars, often more committed to the mansion and upholding its historic traditions than to the family who lives there.

The book is currently #5 on NYT Best Seller list (down from #3 last week) but is rising on Amazon and out of stock at both Ingram and B&T.

According to the NY Post the juicy gossip is not limited to the Clintons, there are plenty of other revelations about Presidential behavior (good and salacious), first wives (Nancy Regan is called “spoiled rotten”), and first kids behaving badly.

It is also full of history and context and likely to prove irresistible on TV.

Nancy Pearl Moves to Nonfiction

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 9.44.31 AMAfter months of highlighting fiction on her weekly radio segment, librarian Nancy Pearl has a cache of recent nonfiction titles to suggest, starting with Christian G. Appy’s American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Penguin/Viking; Feb. 2015; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Asserting that “we teach history in the wrong way,” Nancy describes Appy’s book as “anything but a dry tome … [it] draws on popular culture, historical facts, everything from the Pentagon Papers to novels about Vietnam … you can see the research that he’s done and yet it all rests very lightly on the prose.”

She adds it would be great book club pick, “It’s going to elicit strong emotions, and I think it’s an important book.” Listen to the segment here.

The Huffington Post agrees, calling it “required reading for anyone interested in foreign policy and America’s place in the world, showing how events influence attitudes, which in turn influence events.”

For readers who want more on the  Vietnam War Nancy suggests Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie and David Halberstam’s The Best and The Brightest.

Nancy talks about a new book each week on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW.

DEAD WAKE Times Three

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

9780307408860_3b120One of the most-anticipated books of the season, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, (RH/Crown; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print) arrives next week. Known for his skill in spinning a great narrative from dimly-remembered bits of history, Larson tackles the story of the German sinking of the luxury liner the Lusitania, an act that eventually brought the US into WW I.

It gets triple advance coverage including the cover of Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, an early review from Janet Maslin in the daily New York Times and the main review in Entertainment Weekly’s Book Section (not online yet).

Surprisingly, both the Book Review and Entertainment Weekly find most fascinating the villain of the piece, the German U-boat commander who gave the order to torpedo the luxury liner, sinking it in 18 minutes and killing 1,200.

It will hardly matter that both Maslin and the Book Review report that this is a lesser book than the author’s previous titles. As Maslin says, “Larson is one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction. In book after book, he’s proved adept at rescuing weird and wonderful gothic tales from the shadows of history.” Check your holds.

NPR also offers an “Exclusive First Read” and and interview with Larson is scheduled for the upcoming Weekend Edition Saturday.

Larson’s video, below, includes archival film of the Lusitania.

Later for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Never underestimated the importance of the Oscars to a movie’s bottom line.

Just a few months after the release of the first trailer for Ron Howard’s adaptation of  Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea and the announcement of a March 13 release, comes a change in date to, you guessed it, one that falls right in the awards season sweet spot, Dec. 11, 2015.

As a result, the tie-ins are likely to be moved to a later release date.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Movie Tie-in)
Nathaniel Philbrick
Penguin, Trade Paperback Feb. 24, 2015
9780143126812, 0143126814

Audio: Feb. 24, 2015
Nathaniel Philbrick, Scott Brick
9781611763577, 1611763576