Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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

Holds Alert: WHEN BOOKS
WENT TO WAR

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.34.02 PM

A history about books, librarians, publishers, and war is making waves. Molly Guptill Manning’s When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; OverDrive Sample) tells the true story of how the book world helped boost morale by providing American soldiers with paperback editions of titles such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Great Gatsby.

Portable versions of these books allowed soldiers to read on their down time and reminded them of home and what they were fighting for.

Manning’s book is getting glowing coverage in an array of sources including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and the Smithsonian. Such widespread attention triggers holds. Some libraries are showing a 5:1 ratio and on light ordering. The New York Times says that Manning’s book feels like “the bibliophile’s equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life.” How can you beat that?

Best Seller Crystal Ball:
IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

9780385535373_8e8d4Expect to see In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH.Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) on this week’s best seller lists.

Based on newly-released documents, it tells the story of an ill-fated polar expedition, one that is less well-known than those of the Shackleton or Scott expeditions. Like those stories, says USA Today, “the struggles of DeLong and his crew to survive and work their way out of their dire predicament somehow make an even more compelling story than a hypothetical one of ultimate conquest.”

The book has received a string of enthusiastic reviews, including in The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. The author was interviewed on NPR’s Aug. 2nd Weekend Edition Saturday, causing it to climb Amazon’s sales rankings.

 A book trailer, gives an idea of the story, but for a taste of the writing, listen to a sample of the audio (hint: be sure to listen through to the end).

TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, Trailer

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The trailer for a new adaptation of Vera Brittain’s classic WWI memoir, Testament Of Youth (1933) was recently released.

Alicia Vikander stars as Brittain in the film which is scheduled to open in January in the U.K. (the U.S. date has not yet been set).

Book-to-movie fans will be seeing a lot of Vikander, a Swedish actress, in the future. She has a supporting role in the upcoming Seventh Son (opening Feb. 6, based on Joseph, Delaney’s Revenge of the Witch), stars in Tulip Fever (based on the book by Deborah Moggach, currently filming), and has signed to star in The Light Between Oceans (based on the 2012 best seller by M.L. Stedman), as well as The Danish Girl, (based on the 2002 book by David Ebershoff),

Co-starring is Kit Harington (the heart-throb from Game of Thrones, he will also appear with Vikander in Seventh Son) as Brittain’s fiancé, who dies in the war).

 

Tonight’s Comedy Central Bumps

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

9781451668100_c7622   9780544274150_db311

On The Daily Show tonight, Jon Stewart will feature Helen Thorpe, the author of Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War,  (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio), which follows three women soldiers’s deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and their struggles on returning home. Prepub reviews are strong, with stars from both PW and Kirkus.

The Colbert Report hosts John Dean, a key player in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. In his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, (Penguin/Viking), he reflects on what he learned by listening to Nixon’s recently-released secret tapes of White House conversations. The book has been widely covered, including in a review in the Washington Post by a person very familiar with the story, Bob Woodward. Along with Carl Bernstein, he broke the story about the Watergate coverup.

Libraries have ordered modest quantities of each.

UNBROKEN Trailer Released

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The death last week of Louis Zamperini brought renewed attention to Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book about the Olympian and WWII hero, Unbroken, causing it to rise on best seller lists (from #88 on the USA Today list to #7).

A second boost is likely to come from the just-released trailer for the movie adaptation.

The L.A. Times says it “bears many of the hallmarks of an awards-season contender, including an inspirational true story, a potential breakout performance and a pair of Oscar-winning screenwriters…The trailer provides a glimpse of what looks to be a fierce performance from newcomer Jack O’Connell as Zamperini .”

Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie opens on Dec. 25


A paperback edition, with new photos and an interview with the author, will be published later this month.

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Random House: July 29, 2014
9780812974492, 0812974492
Trade paperback

BELLE, Book And Movie

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

On Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” in the new issue, the movie Belle, opening in NY and LAs tomorrow, and expanding into more theaters through May and June, is described as, “More emotional and affecting than your typical costume drama, this story about the orphan child of an English aristocrat and a slave unfolds beautifully.” The review goes on to make some intriguing comparisons, “like a Jane Austen novel spiked with an extra shot of social conscience … like Downton Abbey but with corsets, culottes and tricorn hats, Belle subtly skewers the absurd rules and hypocrisies of class.” (official web site, with trailer, here).

Based on a true story, it is directed by black female British director Amma Asante, who, keenly aware of how difficult it is to break into the film business, has insisted on diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

The lead actress is widely regarded as on the verge of a major career, with Entertainment Tonight, declaring, “Soon Everyone Will Be Talking About Gugu Mbatha-Raw.”

The tie-in is a an original paperback:

BelleBelle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice
Paula Byrne
Harper Perennial;  April 29, 2014
9780062310774, 0062310771
Paperback / softback
$14.99 USD / $18.50 CAD