Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

GALLEYCHATTER, November 2015, Winter Reading for 2016 Titles

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The following post is from our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower:

As the winter weather descends on most of us, settle in for some absorbing books so you’ll be prepared to order those late winter/spring titles. Check the titles on Edelweiss and NetGalley to fill your reader for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Click here for the complete list of titles mentioned during the chat.

Thanks for the Memoirs

November was a big month for celebrity “tell-all” releases (Leah Remini, Carly Simon, Burt Reynolds) so it’s refreshing to see a few lesser-known people telling their own inspiring or fascinating stories.

9781501112461_cb3d8Quickly gaining “much love” on Edelweiss is My Father, the Pornographer, Chris Offutt (S&S/Atria, February). Jennifer Dayton from Darien Library recommends it saying it is “blowing her away,” and Vicki Nesting loved it saying, “How does your understanding of your father change when you learn that he wrote more than 400 books in his lifetime — most of them pornography?  This is spare and incisive, and occasionally heartbreaking.”

9780393249095_2554eDiana Abu-Jaber’s also focuses on family and incorporates her love of food into Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Family and Food (Norton, April). Jennifer Dayton is a fan, saying, “Life is like what we crave to eat, sometimes we want savory and sometimes sweet. Abu-Jaber shows us the conflicting messages she received as a girl from the two people she loved the most, from her German grandmother, who loved sweet, the need to remain independent and from her Arab father, who was all about the savory and  the fervent hope for her to be married and settled.”

9781101875551_92053Pulitzer prize winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri’s goal to become fluent in Italian is showcased in her beautifully written memoir, In Other Words (RH/Knopf, February). P. J. Gardiner (Wakefield Co Library, NC) enjoyed it saying, “A primarily English speaker, Lahiri studied Italian for years before deciding to move to Rome and immerse herself. What follows is a dual language (Italian translated to English) memoir sharing her journey of taking risks, learning, and reflecting.”

Under the Radar Thriller Authors

9780062390486_5a494Alafair Burke is following in the bestselling footsteps of her father, James Lee Burke, with her new stand-alone thriller, The Ex (HarperCollins, January). Andrienne Cruz (Azusa City Library) thought it was terrific saying, “Olivia Randall doesn’t expect to help her ex fiancé when he is accused of murder. Burke keeps this book alive with a smart protagonist, interesting characters and a fluid story, and a clever twist will keep readers guessing till the very end.”

9781250067845_bea7bGregg Hurwitz is another author who doesn’t commonly appear on suspense thriller radars, but his new title, Orphan X (Macmillan/Minotaur, January) is receiving advance buzz from our chatters and Edelweiss members also agree with the “much love” votes rising. Elizabeth Kanouse (Denville Public Library, NJ) said his forthcoming roller-coaster of a read is perfect for fans of Jason Bourne and the Mission: Impossible franchise: “Evan Smoak is a killing machine, government trained from the his boyhood. He’s now working freelance, helping those who need his kind of help. Something goes wrong with his latest client, and he finds himself on the run, up against someone whose skills may surpass his own.”

Debut Novels

9781250077974_f2240The novel Cold Mountain and books by Cormac McCarthy first come to mind when reading Fallen Land by Taylor Brown (St. Martin/January), according to collection development specialist Janet Lockhart of Wakefield (NC) County Library. She goes on to say, “With just their wits and their trusted horse, a young couple race for the coast at the same time as Sherman’s army is burning its way across Georgia. A love story told amidst the horrors of war, this is a beautifully written and paced debut novel.”

9780062414212_2b722Ever since Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, I have hungered for another novel of fraught family dynamics (with a dash of dysfunction) with irritating yet relatable characters. I found it in Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s first novel, The Nest (HarperCollins/Ecco, March). The novel centers around the financial difficulties of three siblings after their arrogant brother’s foolish accident which drains their inheritance, known as “The Nest.” Sweeney does a masterful job of narrating the story from multiple viewpoints and having it all come to a satisfying close. I agree with a few GoodReads reviewers who are predicting this could be the surprise spring bestseller.


9780812993103_f08de“Imagine a Jane Austen novel set in WWI England!” is how Janet Lockhart describes Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War (RH, March). Her affection for this novel by the author of the book group favorite Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was echoed by Bryant Library’s (NY) Janet Schneider who said, “From it’s opening scenes, set in East Sussex in extraordinarily-beautiful August 1914, this captures the final moments of innocence before the steep costs of war deeply impacted a family, a town and a way of life. Jacqueline Winspear and Kate Morton fans will be entranced.”

Please join us for the next GalleyChat on Tuesday, December 1, from 4:00-5:00 (ET). Come early,for virtual cocktails at 3:30. With so many titles being sprung for spring, “friend” me on Edelweiss to keep up with what I’m anticipating.


Order Alert: For Fans of SERIAL

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

9781250087102_f6366The many fans of the podcast SERIAL may not have realized they owe thanks to Rabia Chaudry, a woman who has worked tirelessly to free her friend Adnan Sayed from prison. Believing he was wrongly accused of murdering his high school girlfriend, Chandry approached Sarah Koenig of This American Life in hopes of bringing more attention to the case. The result was the podcast, which became a huge success.

SERIAL did not arrive at a definitive conclusion on Sayed’s innocence or guilt. He is still imprisoned and Chaudry has not given up. She will publish a book  in September, Adnan’s Story: Murder, Justice, and The Case That Captivated a Nation (St. Martin’s Press). Entertainment Weekly reports  it is being written with Syed’s cooperation, quoting him from a press release, “As someone connected to me, my family, my community, my lawyers, and my investigation, there is no one better to help tell my story, and no one that I trust more to tell it, than Rabia.”

Available for pre-sale now on Amazon, it is already #17 in the True Crime Biography category.

Holds Alert: THE MARE

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

9780307379740_83832Mary Gaitskill’s latest novel, The Mare (PRH/Pantheon; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), is gaining traction in libraries where holds are soaring as high as 7:1 on light ordering.

As we noted earlier this month, The Mare has been widely reviewed. Maureen Corrigan added yet another glowing review on yesterday’s Fresh Air,

“Mary Gaitskill writes tough … You have to write tough — and brilliantly — to pull off a novel like The Mare … a raw, beautiful story about love and mutual delusion, in which the fierce erotics of mother love and romantic love and even horse fever are swirled together.”

The Roots of ISIS

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

www.randomhouse.comAuthor and reporter Joby Warrick appeared on PBS Newshour last night to discuss the Paris attacks and this history of ISIS. In September, he published Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (PRH/Doubleday; BOT; OverDrive Sample). It rose to #220 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the show.

During the interview, Warrick explained the roots of the terrorist group:

“…to a lot of people … ISIS seemed to come out of nowhere last year. And the truth is, there is a very long and complicated story behind this organization. It’s quite different from al-Qaida. It’s always been a different stripe, but its story goes back into prisons in Jordan in the 1990s and with individuals who became radicalized and became very different from this message of al-Qaida about sort of driving out their Western powers from the Middle East.”

The Washington Post selected Black Flags as one of their 10 Best Books of 2015. In libraries, holds vary widely with large local spikes in some systems and steady circulation in others.

Bill Gates Reviews

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Thing ExplainerTrade reviews skipped over Randall Munroe’s newest book, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words (HMH; OverDrive Sample), but Bill Gates steps in, posting on his blog a glowing endorsement of Munroe’s mix of illustrations and information.

Gates calls the detailed and over-sized drawings accompanied by clear explanations using common words a “brilliant concept” and “a wonderful guide for curious minds.” He goes on to say that Munroe reminds him “of Sal Khan of Khan Academy, or the novelist and Crash Course host John Green … polymaths who not only know a lot but are also good at breaking things down for other people.”

Thing Explainer is already in Amazon’s Top 100 (at #82). Munroe’s previous book, What If? (HMH, 2014) was on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list for over 40 weeks, and debuted at #1 during its first week of publication.

Holds are not strong yet for the new book. but expect them to grow. Monroe is getting attention, including a profile in the Wall Street Journal where he says that his favorite research technique is “googling a few search terms plus ‘pdf.’ It’s amazing what’s buried in old, poorly digitized PDFs hosted on some random professor’s website.”

The entire interview is likely to have readers googling – it is full of curiosities, including strange cloud formations and an odd animal that looks like be a cross between a cat and a lemur.


Monday, November 23rd, 2015

9780062294418_b5b5cJohn Grisham, Stephen King, and Michael Connelly take the top three spots on the current NYT’s Hardcover Fiction list but Mitch Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto (Harper; OverDrive Sample) has opened in the number four spot, showing surprising strength when measured against the less than strong demand in libraries (holds are well within a 3:1 ratio where we checked).

Others are clearly enthused and USA Today selected it as one of their “Weekend Picks for Book Lovers.” They also 9781400067657_373ddselected the title currently holding down the top spot on the NYT’s Hardcover Nonfiction list, Jon Meacham’s Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample).

It opens at #1 after continuing its rise following the juicy revelations that the senior President Bush called Dick Cheney an “iron ass” and had more to say about George W. Bush’s presidency.

9781591848066_5ff809781627792417_f19de Two other books about presidents fill the number two and three spots on the nonfiction list, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger’s Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History (Penguin/Sentinel; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing ReganThe Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency (Macmillian/Henry Holt; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Holds Alert: SPQR

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

9780871404237_71430Featured on the cover of the NYT’s Sunday Book Review, Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Norton/Liveright; OverDrive Sample) is racing ahead of copies ordered, with holds ratios raging from 6:1 on the low end to over 16:1 on the high end in libraries we checked.

Beard, perhaps better known in the UK where she is a classics professor at Cambridge University, is similar to Neil deGrasse Tyson here – a noted expert in a field many people are interested in but don’t know as much about as they would like.

Beard does for ancient Rome what Tyson does for space, offering an accessible and fascinating history that grips readers through stories, arguments, and contrary opinions (Cleopatra likely did not commit suicide via snake bite).

In the NYT’s author Ferdinand Mount heaps praise on Beard and explains the title, saying:

In SPQR, her wonderful concise history, Mary Beard unpacks the secrets of the city’s success with a crisp and merciless clarity that I have not seen equaled anywhere else. (The title comes from the Roman catchphrase Senatus Populusque Romanus — the Senate and People of Rome.)

The Guardian reviews it as well, under a headline that calls it “vastly engaging,” and The Atlantic says it is “magisterial.” Dwight Garner, reviewing for the daily NYT‘s said Beard is “charming company” and suggested this book might be her breakout moment in the US.

Both Time and Smithsonian offer interviews. Beard, rather a gadfly in the UK, answers a question from Time about in which era she would most like to live throughout history with this:

“I would not pick any. I’m a woman! It’s just about conceivable to me that a man might be able to find someplace, but it would all be a hell! There’s no political rights, death in childbirth, and no aspirin! Never. I like now.”

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of Nov. 23, 2015

Friday, November 20th, 2015

9780316407045_0e272  9780316301046_f0c29  Thing Explainer

Next week is a big Patterson week, with the arrival of the next in his Alex Cross series, Cross Justice (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) as well as book 2 in his middle grade series, House of Robots. (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). In nonfiction, Randall Munroe releases the next in his popular series, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words (HMH; OverDrive Sample).

The titles highlighted here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Nov. 16, 2015

Media Magnet

9781476752952_f7772The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters by Karl Rove (S&S; Simon & Schuster Audio).

From CBS Face the Nation to NPR’s Morning Edition and, of course, Fox News Fox & Friends, we’ll be hearing a lot from Karl Rove next week on a seemingly incongruous topic.


Peer Picks

9781250095893_9739eBoys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Not only a peer pick, Simon’s memoir is getting heavy media attention and is already rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

For the December 2015 Indie Next pick, Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA said:

“Boys in the Trees is a surprising and delightful read and more than a guilty pleasure derived from a crass and exploitative celebrity culture. Carly Simon has always been an appealing and alluring personality, and her memoir presents an honest — yet crafty — look at her life, beautifully and elegantly voiced. At times captivating, touching, and occasionally embarrassing, it is unfailingly entertaining — a sexy and romantic book with a sweet heart and soul.”


MV5BNjQzNDI2NTU1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAyMDQ5NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_The big book-to-move adaptation hitting theaters today is the final in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games series, Mockingjay Part 2. As we reported when the full trailer was released, the frenzy over the film even extends to an Entertainment Weekly “deep dive” into the preview itself.

MV5BMjA3MDIyMTE5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE3OTUyNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_Also arriving is the Oscar-buzzy Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price Of Salt. As we previously noted, it was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival.

MV5BMjE0MjkyODQ3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM1OTk1NjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Bursting on screen as well is the story of the Kray twins, Legend,  based on The Profession of Violence by John Pearson, a 1972 nonfiction account of the brothers who ran the organized crime scene of London’s East End during the 50s and 60s.

MV5BMjEwNTgxODcyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzI5ODUyNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_And on TV, Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle begins streaming today; female superhero Jessica Jones begins on Netflix; and Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery is on Hallmark.

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

Tie-ins scheduled for publication this week are:

9780812989267_9e2e2Concussion (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Random House Trade Paperbacks).

The movie, starring Will Smith, is based on the 2009 GQ article by Laskas. It opens on Christmas Day.

CBS’s 60 Minutes featured the topic, but not the film, last Sunday (time mark 26:46).

9780399576645_c2490The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition) by Lev Grossman (Penguin/Plume).

The series stars Jason Ralph (he has appeared on TV series Madam Secretary and Gossip Girl and in films such as A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater, a new recruit at the Brakebills College, a school of magic.

The show begins Jan. 15, 2016.

9781455538393_3a2ba13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team (Hachette/Twelve; OverDrive Sample) – also in trade paperback.

As we noted earlier, the success of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, has turned Hollywood mad for military movies based on books. One of Tinsel Town’s next hopes in the genre opens 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 Empathetic Evison

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

9781616202613_bd83cOn Well READ TV this week Jonathan Evison discusses his newest book, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! (Workman/Algonquin, Aug.), the film version of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and his empathetic writing process.

Calling This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! a “coming of old age novel,” Evison reveals that he spent some of his teen years as the only person under 70 in an old folks trailer park, taking care of his grandmother and watching widows reinvent their lives.

That experience helped him craft Harriet and is an example of his empathetic writing process. He explains that as he writes he seeks to get out of his own way and inhabit the character in front of him, “jumping through an empathetic window” so their actions feel inevitable.

He also talks about the film version of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which is now in post-production and expected to open in 2016, with a script by Rob Burnett, the former executive producer of the Late Show with David Letterman, and starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez.

A movie version of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! might also make it to the screen. Deadline reported last month that Focus Features has optioned film rights.

The conversation is followed with further book suggestions to pair with Harriet, offered by Mary Ann Gwinn, the Seattle Times book editor.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! was a September LibraryReads pick:

“Harriet Chance receives word that her recently deceased husband, Bernard, has won an Alaskan cruise. Deciding to go on the trip, she is given a letter from her close friend Mildred, with instructions not to open it until she is on the cruise. The contents of this letter shatter Harriet and she begins to reevaluate her life and her relationships.” — Arleen Talley, Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation, Annapolis, MD

It is also an Indie Next pick.


Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

9781400067657_373ddAn embargo prevented pre-pub reviews for Jon Meacham’s newest Presidential biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (Random House; BOT; OverDrive Sample).The media managed to get their hands on the book, however, and the story that the elder President Bush called Dick Cheney an “iron-ass” became the talking point of last week’s 24-hour news shows. As a result, holds are generally topping 5:1 in places we checked, with local spikes running much higher.

Now that the book has been released, reviews have begun to appear. The newest daily NYT reviewer, Jennifer Senior, calls the biography “absorbing” and “artful” and says that Meacham is “clearly possessed of the same judiciousness and diplomatic skills as his subject.”

But Senior pulls no punches when Meacham “turns a blind eye to unflattering events,” offering a number of examples including the following about  the fallout after Katrina:

“Forget whether this blistering attack was justified. What’s interesting here is the incident Mr. Meacham does not mention: that the former first lady Barbara Bush, after touring the Houston Astrodome and seeing thousands of evacuees living in squalor, told NPR, “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.” How could he have left that out?”

Jim Kelly reviews the book for the NYT’s Sunday Book Review saying:

“Meacham’s access and lack of ideological fervor allow him to paint Bush the man in unusually subtle colors … Destiny and Power reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it. If Meacham is sometimes polite to a fault, Destiny and Power does not suffer for it. His kinder, gentler approach succeeds in making George H. W. Bush a more sympathetic — and more complex — figure.”

We highlighted the title in Books to Know and Recommend the week of Nov. 9.

Parisian Street Life

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

9780393242379_471a9The celebrated outdoor life in Paris, in its cafes and markets, is just one of the many victims of the recent attacks. A book about one of the quintessential areas for such activity, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs (Norton; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample), is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from #3,339 to #255, spurred by the author’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air and perhaps by a sense that buying the book is a way of showing solidarity with the people of Paris.

In what amounts to an enlightening social studies lesson, author Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, talks with Terry Gross about Paris and the terrorists’ attacks of last week, sharing insights about the political, cultural, religious, and historical landscape of her adopted city.

In her view, there are several reasons the city was attacked:

“First, [Paris] is home to the largest Muslim population and the largest Jewish population of any country in Europe. It has been very forward-leaning in terms of using military to attack Islamic extremists in Iraq, now in Syria, before that in Mali… Also, physically it is very easy to get from France to Syria. You just go to the edge of Paris, and you take a bus to Istanbul and then cross over land into Syria, so it’s like kind of like summer camp for terrorism training.”

Gross and Sciolino do not spend a great deal of time on her book. For more on it, The Miami Herald reviewed it earlier this month and Sciolino adapted part of the book for a story in Travel and Leisure, complete with wonderful photographs.

It’s touching that it’s not a book about politics that is rising as a result of the attacks, but a book that celebrates daily life in Paris. Holds are strong in libraries we checked.

Holds Alert: RBG on the Rise

Monday, November 16th, 2015

A book with an unlikely beginning, as a Tumbler blog about an unlikely subject, a Supreme Court Justice, is now an unlikely hit.

9780062415837_589bf Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (Harper/Dey Street Books; OverDrive Sample), is on the rise, reaching #52 on the Amazon rankings.

Holds are well beyond a 3:1 ratio in many libraries we checked as well, with at least one spiking over 7:1.

A collection of images of Ginsberg, The New York Times describes it as “cheery curio, as if a scrapbook and the Talmud decided to have a baby,” but one with a serious start and a serious heart:

Notorious RBG began in 2013 as a saucy Tumblr blog by Shana Knizhnik, then a law student, shortly after the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder, which discarded a crucial provision of the Voting Rights Act. (For the hip-hop unlettered, Notorious RBG is a play on the Notorious B.I.G., the rapper who was murdered in 1997.) Justice Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, which in the genteel, marbled universe of the Supreme Court, is most unusual — the equivalent of shaming your spouse in front of dinner guests.”

Coverage of the title was widespread upon release and is still going strong. Sunday’s NYT featured Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem in an interview about women’s rights, starting the conversation with the book (curiouslyhe piece leads the “Fashion & Style” section) and New York Magazine listed it as one of the “9 Books We’re Reading Right Now.”

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of Nov. 16, 2015

Friday, November 13th, 2015

9780345542960_b007a  9781455586424_4c0e4  9781501108556_6aa30

Edging up into the John Grisham stratosphere, Janet Evanovich’s next Stephanie Plum novel, Tricky Twenty-Two,is the holds leader among the books coming out next week. She is closely followed by David Baldacci’s The Guilty (Hachette/Grand Central). Somewhat further behind, but still strong, is Mary Higgins Clark’s All Dressed in White: An Under Suspicion Novel, written with Alafair Burke (S&S)

The titles covered here, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Nov. 16, 2015

Media Attention

9781501116292_dac5b438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea, Jonathan Franklin (S&S/Atria).

Outside magazine recently called this “The best survival book in a decade.” It will be the subject of a CNN Special, scheduled for November 17 as well as a Univision-TV two-part story, November 17 and 18.

9780385541138_7f67fThis Old Man: All in Pieces, Roger Angell, (PRH/Doubleday)

Don’t worry, Roger Angell may be old (he’s 93), but he’s not in pieces. Instead, this is a collection of pieces he has written over the years. On Entertainment Weekly‘s Must List at #9, it is described as having “something for everyone, from profiles to haikus: the work of an inspiring life” and the author is set to be featured on:

NPR – Weekend Edition Saturday – 11/14
NPR Fresh Air – 11/17

Consumer Media Picks

9781501111679_b50bb   9780385539463_85083  9781501107832_b8888

People magazine’s picks for the week have all been released earlier.

At #1 is Stephen King’s short story collection, Bazaar of Bad Dreams. The other two picks are Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay (see our coverage here) and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker.

The latter has received fairly heavy media attention this week (check your holds) and gets a strong B+ from Entertainment Weekly (not yet online). EW also features the audio, which Parker reads, of course. Summing up the book they say, “she tells her story through a series of letters to the men in her life. Everyone from her father to her onetime cab driver. Reading between the lines, a portrait of the author emerges.” The New York Times also praises it, saying it “is written in a smart, beguiling voice.”


9781250088949_070c2Hitting theaters today is The 33, adapted from Héctor Tobar’s Deep Down Dark (released last month as a tie-in using the movie’s title). Saying, “Antonio Banderas jumps into the awards race in this account of the 2010 mine collapse,” it is the #1 People Pick of things to do this week.

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

Tie-ins scheduled for publication this week are:

9780393353150_28589The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (Norton).

As we wrote when the news broke, Deadline calls this a “Surprise Oscar Entry” saying it “adds another film to what is shaping up to be the most competitive year-end movie market in recent memory.”

Talk about your moneyball. With Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling. The movie opens in limited release on Dec. 12, and nationwide on Christmas Day. The trailer is here. Below is a recently released video with the actors and directors talking about making the movie.

9780544817289_23384The Man in the High Castle (Tie-In) by Philip K. Dick (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner Books).

From Amazon Studios, this is their next big bet after their success with Transparent (the show’s creators says it would have been  too “expensive and dangerous” for regular networks). It begins streaming on Nov. 20.

As we noted, the series is directed by Ridley Scott, known for the 1982 movie Blade Runner based, if somewhat loosely, on another iconic book by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

David Mitchell takes on
Genre Snobbery

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

9780812976823_4747a 9780812998689_94f63David Mitchell just won the 2015 World Fantasy Awards for The Bone Clocks, (Random House; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

His most recent book, Slade House, published last month (Random House; Random House Audio and BOT; OverDrive Sample), is a blend of genres.

Few authors are in such a strong position to call out the war on genre. In Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast he does so in no uncertain terms, calling it a “bizarre act of self-mutilation” for readers to avoid certain genres, such as SF or Fantasy, or only read certain kinds of fiction.

“The book doesn’t care if it’s science fiction,” he says. “The book doesn’t give a damn about genre, it just is what it is.”

In a wide-ranging interview Mitchell also talks Dungeons & Dragons and its relation to Slade House, defends and praises Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, and extols Andy Weir’s The Martian. He is a big fan of Susan Cooper as well and discusses how Ursula K. Le Guin sparked his desire to be a writer:

“I have clear memories from way back of finishing A Wizard of Earthsea on a rainy Saturday morning, and just having this incandescent urge inside me, like a magnesium ribbon, that I badly wanted to do that as well. I wanted to make those worlds and people—those imaginary worlds—and send them on journeys, and give them quests, and make other people feel what she had made me feel.”


The Future of The Book:
Using Pickles

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Pickle Index9780996260800_f2d38

An app-based novel that aspires to be the most bonkers book ever written.”

That is how BuzzFeed begins a very long profile about the newest project by Eli Horowitz, one of the driving forces behind the indie publishing house McSweeney’s.

Horowitz wants to change how books and reading are understood. His newest effort in that undertaking is The Pickle Index.

Unlike most books that might be described with a plot summary what really matters here is what The Pickle Index is.

As reviewer Carmen Machado describes it for NPR’s Arts & Life review, it is three books and an app.

One is a paperback illustrated with small black and white images: The Pickle Index (Macmillan/FSG Originals; OverDrive Sample).

There is also a hardcover two-book slipcase set edition with illustrations by Ian Huebert, that a la Brian Selznick, have strong story-telling power: The Pickle Index (Sudden Oak Books).

As Machado puts it,

“the illustrations in each [of the hardback volumes] encourage the reader to read the books back and forth, or at the very least turn and twirl the illustrations to see how they connect with, compliment, or contradict each other.”

If that were not enough, the hardcover books are not, as Machado describes, “simply the paperback with color” but are structured differently than the paperback.

Then there is the app, of which Machado says,

“is [a] different thing entirely, while still being more of the same … Once the reader has read the necessarily elements, they can progress through the story in real time, or with the narrative accelerated. Additionally, the app has one-off jokes and minor side plots — including two soldiers trapped in a submarine together, squabbling in the Q&A section. You, the reader, are also integrated into this frustrating world, and have to (among other things) manipulate the Index’s deliberately clunky interface.”

Lost? Horowitz describes it this way to Anne Helen Petersen of BuzzFeed:

“There are all these different ways that you can read that are valid, so I wanted to fully imagine all of those formats. So: the book-iest book I could do, and the app-iest app. Even the paperback, and the Kindle version. They’ll have their own sort of thing, with different reaches and different audiences.”

It might sound overly elaborate and precious, but Horowitz knows his stuff. He has worked with big-named authors including Dave Eggers, Miranda July, Michael Chabon, and Joyce Carol Oates and, says Petersen, “every book he’s written has been optioned for film or television: The New World, published in May, was optioned by Olivia Wilde; The Silent History, a digital app turned paperback from 2012, is slated to become AMC’s new prestige drama.”

There are plenty of people thinking about the future of the book. Horowitz is one of the most creative, telling BuzzFeed, “That’s why I made The Pickle Index in so many forms … To say there’s not a future; there are futures.”

Still wondering what the book is about? Petersen describes it as featuring “a delightfully unskilled circus troupe against the backdrop of a fascist dystopia, united by a forced devotion to fermented items.”