Deadline reports, “From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her swinging soirees with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural speech for President Bill Clinton, we are given special access to interviews with Dr. Angelou whose indelible charm and quick wit make it easy to love her.”
Making a splash at the box office over the weekend was Disney’s heavily-promoted Queen of Katwe, in a limited run. The adaptation of a book with the same title about a chess champion, it will expand to more theaters over the coming weeks. Also expanding to more theaters is the Australian hit adaptation, The Dressmaker.
Based on Ransom Riggs’s eerie photo-fantasy hit novel, it stars Samuel L. Jackson, Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench.
Early reviews are not enthusiastic. The Hollywood Reporter says that during the first hour of the movie, it “appears Tim Burton seems well on his way to making one of his best films,” but after that special effects take over and undermine the story. Predicting the movie will “generate some robust initial business based on the built-in teen fan base as well as Burton fans, but whether it’s enough to spur sequels to the two remaining books in the trilogy is an open question.” The novel is currently #6 on The USA Today Best-Selling Book list.
Denial is a courtroom drama about the legal fight to prove the Holocaust occurred. It is based on Deborah E. Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier and is directed by Mick Jackson. Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall star.
Its debut at the Toronto Film Festival brought mixed reviews. Variety calls it “a curiously awkward and slipshod movie that winds up being about nothing so much as the perverse, confounding eccentricities of the British legal system.”
The Hollywood Reporter says it is “compelling” and “sensitively dramatized” and that “Rachel Weisz’s arresting, combative Lipstadt, a shining woman warrior, is a role she will be remembered for.”
A tie-in is out: Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, Deborah E. Lipstadt (HC/Ecco).
Comic fans can rejoice as Luke Cage, a live action series on Netfilx, finally airs. It is based on the comic superhero which first appeared in 1972’s Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.
Mike Colter plays Cage, a role he first created on the Jessica Jones series, also on Netflix.
Milton’s Secret is based on the children’s book Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman with illustrations by Frank Riccio (Red Wheel Weiser Conari/Hampton Roads).
Directed by Barnet Bain, it stars Donald Sutherland, Michelle Rodriguez, Mia Kirshner, David Sutcliffe, and William Ainscough.
So far, there are few reviews for the film about being present and aware and creating a happy family.
It will be replaced with Taking the Titanic, co-authored with Derek Nikitas. A book with the same title, but co-authored by Scott Slaven, is listed on retailer and wholesaler sites for April. The Hachette site, however, has it listed for November, but still with Slaven as the co-author.
Several other new titles in the series have been announced, including a hardcover collection of four BookShot titles, Kill or Be Killed, set for publication in October, and three mass market “ominous” editions. See our downloadable spreadsheet, BookShots Oct, 2016 thru May,2017
A string of high profile coverage has brought attention and sales to Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT), causing the book to leap to #61 on Amazon’s sales rankings.
The NYT‘s Jennifer Senior, in a review that appeared in the paper yesterday, says the book’s mix of biography, history, war, and adventure is “as involving as a popcorn thriller.”
Summarizing Millard’s career, Senior continues “Over the years Millard has made a stylish niche for herself, zooming in on a brief, pivotal chapter in the life of a historical figure and turning it into a legitimate feature-length production.”
Other reviews similarly emphasize the author’s ability to make history come alive, USA Today calls it a “a slam-bang study of Churchill’s wit and wile as he navigates the Boer War like some porto-james Bond” and The Washington Post cites her formidable storytelling skills,
In addition, the Wall Street Journal interviews the author about her “distinctive approach to writing about historical giants” by focusing “tightly on a forgotten yet riveting episode in an extremely well-documented life.”
The brief exchange focuses on the author’s writing process.
In a response to a question about the novel’s structure, including the use of fictional primary documents, Burnet talks about the personal differences in recollection and says he “wanted to present the reader with different viewpoints of the same incident, so they can … make up their own mind about what happened.”
He says he gathered some of his insider details from working his way through primary source “documents [that] still have wax seals on them. These are original, handwritten documents of post-mortem reports on victims or psychiatric evaluations of prisoners about to stand trial.”
As to the eloquence of his murderer he says “it goes against one’s expectations of how somebody who has committed a violent act will behave.”
Very interested in the interior workings of a character, Burnet concludes the interview by saying his favorite crime writer is Georges Simenon, author of the Inspector Jules Maigret series because he “is a brilliant writer on the psychology of his characters, and he’s brilliant at setting a scene in very simple language. You’re completely transported to whatever place he’s writing about.”
Burnet talks more about his research in a video created by his Scottish publisher:
A gazetteer to the “the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious” places of the planet, from a 40-year old sound instillation still humming away in Times Square to a tree in South Africa with a pub inside, is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings and in holds as a result of a round of media attention.
The coverage helped launch the atlas into Amazon’s top 10 sellers.
Public radio is big on the book. In an earlier story for NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos & Culture, a blog about science and culture, an essayist writes,
“The human brain seems to love lists and, at its core, Atlas Obscura is a text-rich, prettily illustrated, brick of a list. It invites us to compose fantasy travel lists of our own, or seek places we’ve already traveled to that have made the cut … Fair warning: It’s addictive.”
Back in 2015, PRI’s The Takeaway featured the website’s creation of a detailed literary map of road trips across America and discusses the ways different authors over time have described the same landscapes.
The book was published in the U.S. for the first time last year, when it was expected that the film would get its U.S. release, The Dressmaker, Rosalie Ham (PRH/Penguin; Penguin Audio; Thorndike Large Print; OverDrive Sample).
Disney’s big movie, Queen of Katwe opens in limited release Sept. 23rd, expanding to more theaters the next week. Starring Lupita Wyong’o, who won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, David Oyelowo (Selma), and newcomer Madina Nalwanga, it is directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding).
Goat also opens on the 23rd. Directed by Andrew Neel, starring Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and Gus Halper, it is a college fraternity film that traces a series of brutal induction rituals and the strain they place on two brothers. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “A harsh but gripping study in uncontrolled male aggression.”
The series stars Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, and Geena Davis. A tie-in has not been released but 2011 marked the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition (HC).
On the 25th Poldark, Season 2, begins airing on PBS Masterpiece, starring Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Heida Reed. Of season one, The New York Times wrote:
“Sweeping, stirring, rousing, lush. These are the sorts of adjectives suggested by Poldark … It’s the kind of show in which every plot twist appears to require a shot of someone pounding on horseback along the Cornish coast, close to the cliffs and outlined against the sun … Another adjective that comes to mind is shameless, in the sense of nonstop audience-pandering melodrama. But there’s good shameless and bad shameless, and Poldark is reasonably good stuff, milking the emotions and pleasing the eye without unduly insulting the intelligence.”
Host Scott Simon lyrically introduces the book as set in a Mexico City neighborhood where “The residents … each have their own stories told in different times, different stories that, in time, reveal common threads of love, loss, regret, recovery, mystery, loneliness and an undefinable richness.”
All the characters are struggling with some level of loss and Jufresa says she wanted to write a book about “grief during a [specific] period of time because I also wanted to write about the end of grief … this kind of grief where you’re already coming out.”
About the process of translation Jufresa says that “It’s such a treat to have someone translating your work because no one ever will read your work as closely as a translator does … you have the fantasy that you will have readers like this, I think, that pick up all the details.”
All but Towles are to be expected and that is a significant rise for him. His debut, Rules of Civility, never broke the top ten, rising only as high as #16 and holding that position for just one week. It is also both an Indie Next pick and a Fall Reading favorite. Holds are strong in most libraries we checked.
The paper spotlights the title in “The Story Behind This Week’s Best Sellers” quoting Shetterly on her experience growing up: “I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”
Bruce Springsteen was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning in a is wide-ranging conversation that opens with Anthony Mason asking about his drive and motivation. Springsteen replies:
“I believe every artist had someone who told them that they weren’t worth dirt and someone who told them that they were the second coming of the baby Jesus, and they believed ‘em both … that’s the fuel that starts the fire.”
Of his breakthrough song, “Born To Run,” Springsteen says he “was trying to make the greatest record you’d ever heard. The record that after you heard it, you didn’t have to hear another record …”
Beyond music, the two talk about important relationships in Springsteen’s life, his wife, father, and Clarence Clemons, the iconic sax player of the E Street Band who died in 2011. Springsteen writes, “Losing Clarence was like losing the rain.”
Of his father he says, “I felt I hadn’t been completely fair to him in my music … I think I left an image of him as sort of this very domineering character, which he could be at different times. And he could be frightening. But he was also much, much more. He had a much more complicated life.”
“I’m still in love with playing,” he says at the conversation’s end, “And my attitude at this point in my life is, this is what I love to do. I wanna do as much of it as I can.”
Both of the week’s holds leaders are by authors returning to popular series after a pause.
Harlan Coben again features sports agent Myron Bolitar in Home, (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; RH Large Type; OverDrive Sample) which gets a 2-page ad in this week’s NYT BR. Bolitar’s last outing as the main character was in 2011’s Live Wire,
After two standalone, Karin Slaughter returns to Will Trent, agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in Kept Woman, (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe) which gets a starred review from Booklist. It is also a an Indie Next bookseller pick (see “Peer Picks” below).
Library ordering is low for Atlas Obscura (Workman; OverDrive Sample). So far, holds are also minimal, but in this case we think you should ignore holds. This title is sure to do well from the new book shelves and is likely to pick up media attention. Entertainment Weekly features it on their “Must List” at #3, writing,”In this gorgeous collection, the celebrated Atlas Obscura website is condensed into 480 pages of awe-inspiring destinations. For lovers of history and exploration, the striking color photographs will spark immediate wanderlust.”
The author writes that this book about the founder of the travel site Kayak.com is “a sequel of sorts” to his 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner, The Soul of the New Machine. Jennifer Senior questions that in her advance review in Monday’s NYT, but says it is actually more fascinating as a portrayal of a man with bipolar disease. Of course, with Kidder’s reputation, it will receive more media attention, including reviews in the Washington Post and the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
It’s been 25 years since Magic Johnson revealed that he is HIV-positive. The British tabloid, the Daily Mail got its hands on this embargoed memoir by his wife and blares, “EXCLUSIVE: Wife reveals the night basketball superstar Magic Johnson locked himself in a room after HIV diagnosis to call his ex-lovers because he always had unprotected sex.” The author is scheduled to be interviewed next week by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, on The View, and Nightline.
“Phillips digs into the history of a series of events in his hometown in Georgia. After a series of crimes were blamed on some of the area’s young black men, the citizens of the town saw fit to run off the entire African American population. Phillips researches the crimes and the mob mentality that followed, and shows how certain citizens of Forsyth County continued to intimidate and assault African Americans who wandered across their border for almost eighty years. This is the type of history that is far too important ever to forget.” — Amy Hall, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO
“Flavia deLuce has returned from Canada to find her father in the hospital and her sisters distant. When she is sent to deliver a message for the vicar’s wife, she steps into another mystery – one she is determined to solve, preferably before Inspector Hewitt can do the same. Flavia is once again a fun, science-loving protagonist. Flavia arrives at a turning point in her life and how she handles what happens next will tell much about the path that she will take into adulthood. This series entry ends on a note that begs for the next story.” — Chris Andersen, Stow Munroe Falls Public Library, Stow, OH
Additional Buzz: The eighth Flavia De Luce mystery is one of the Amazon’s Editors Fall Reading picks.
“Despite losing her job as a librarian who liked to put the right book into a patron’s hands, Nina continues her mission by moving to rural Scotland, purchasing a van, converting it into a bookmobile, and taking to the road. The plot revolves around the romance of the road, the romance of books and reading, and just plain old romance. Another marvelous book by Colgan! A gem of a book!” — Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA
“Another great book from Bolton! Convicted serial killer Hamish Wolfe has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning and has solicited the help of lawyer Maggie Rose who is known for her ability to get convictions overturned. The story unfolds in alternating chapters from the past to the present and keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a twist you won’t see coming! Highly recommended!” — Karen Zeibak, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT
“Lib Wright, a protégé of Florence Nightingale and a nursing veteran of the Crimean War, is dispatched from London to a remote Irish village to keep watch on Anna O’Donnell, a young girl who is rumored to have refrained from eating for four months yet continues to thrive. Miracle or hoax? Lib is determined to uncover the truth, but the truth is never simple. In this beautiful, haunting novel, Donoghue weaves a tale of misguided faith and duty, exploited innocence, and redemptive love. What is the secret behind Anna’s mysterious ability to survive? The truth is uncovered as The Wonder propels readers to a shocking conclusion.” — Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT).
“No one was more certain that he was destined for greatness than Winston Churchill and he let nothing deter or discourage him from achieving that goal. The young Churchill saw his path to prominence and power through fearless exploits in the British Army and as a war correspondent. England’s brutal war with the Boer rebels in southern Africa would prove to be his crucible. Millard’s exciting chronicle of Churchill’s experiences there, both daring and humbling, is a fitting tribute to a man whose early dreams of glory proved to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.” — Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
Additional Buzz: Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal. Fall Reading: Amazon’s Editors,WSJ, and USA Today. The Wall Street Journal offers an interview and an excerpt. (subscription may be required). Reviews are upcoming from the Washington Post, the daily New York Times and USA Today.
The Kept Woman, Karin Slaughter (HC/William Morrow; Blackstone Audio).
“The Kept Womanfeatures Georgia detective Will Trent in a compelling mystery involving a superstar sports figure, his wife, and a rape. The athlete had already been cleared of the rape allegations when a dead man is found in a building he is making into a high-end club with other wealthy investors. At the scene, blood is found that doesn’t match that of the dead man, indicating that there is a second victim — a woman — in dire trouble. Another suspenseful tour de force from Slaughter.” —Barbara Kelly, Kelly’s Books To Go, South Portland, ME
Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why, Sady Doyle (PRH/Melville House; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).
“At its best, pop culture criticism forces us to reconsider a familiar product by placing it in a new context and, in doing so, imbuing it with new meaning. Trainwreck is just that. Doyle effectively and entertainingly litigates her case: that Western culture’s fascination with ‘fallen’ female starlets — aka trainwrecks — is simply a modern form of the patriarchal silencing and marginalization of women that has been going for centuries. With sly humor and lively prose, Doyle systematically punches through all the familiar straw-man arguments and convincingly illustrates that the ‘harmless fun’ of Internet clickbait and TMZ gossip are merely modern forms of public shaming. A must-read.” — Matt Nixon, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN
Additional Buzz: Fall Reading: Amazon’s Editors. New York Times Book Review, 9/25.
“With direct and forceful narrative and a translation as smooth and peaceful as the quiet narrator himself, this book takes the reader on a days-long search for the past and the present in modern day Bogotá. A prominent political cartoonist is shaken when a forgotten uncertainty from the past resurfaces. This psychological study of the concept that what we believe makes us who we are is a masterpiece!” — Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO
Ron Howard again directs, with Tom Hanks starring as Langdon, a Harvard symbologist constantly embroiled in trouble. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also join the cast. David Koepp (Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull, Angels & Demons, Jurassic Park) wrote the screenplay.
Titles in the series, which are available to libraries, are published in quarterly groups. The first. published last April, included works by Jeffery Deaver, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay, Faye Kellerman, and Olen Steinhauer. Click through for the full list for 2016.
He tells Kelly that the new adaptation will be “super dark … it is a much darker take on the material than has been seen before” but also “fun” and “exciting.”
The older version he references is the 2004 film, starring Jim Carrey. It compressed the 13 book series into a single movie. Harris reports that the Netflix series will treat each book in 2 episodes, so the show will be much more expansive. The cast and crew have finished filming the first four titles.
The plan is to create what is called a “four-quadrant show,” one that appeals to a range of audience demographics including kids, teens, 20-somethings, and adults.
He also says the series is Netflix’s most expensive production to date.
Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) is the executive producer and directs half of the episodes.