Published in July, the middle-grade novel, The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Workman/Algonquin Young Readers) received rapturous reviews, including stars from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist plus the NYT Sunday Review, which wrote, “Kelly Barnhill’s wonderful fourth novel … educates about oppression, blind allegiance and challenging the status quo while immersing the reader in an exhilarating story full of magical creatures and derring-do.” It also has a large number of “Much Love” ratings from booksellers and librarians on Edelweiss.
Word has made it to Hollywood. Fox Animation has picked up the movie rights. Deadline reports, it “is expected to be a hybrid live-action/animation.”
To mark the upcoming film premiere of The Dark Tower, Stephen King has written children’s book, Charlie the Choo-Choo: From the world of The Dark Tower, Beryl Evans, illustrated by Ned Dameron (S&S/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 11/22/16).
It is written by “Beryl Evans” a character in the Dark Tower series and King uses that pseudonym on the cover of the real publication, under a blurb in his own name: “If I were ever to write a children’s book, it would be just like this!”
It is illustrated by the real life artist Ned Dameron who created some of the art in King’s The Waste Lands, including, says EW, the cover of Charlie the Choo-Choo.
The picture book, about a sentient train who is best friends with his engineer Bob, first attracted attention during Comic-Con when it was offered as a real-life Easter egg for devoted fans, who stood in line, reports EW, in hopes of getting one of 150 copies signed by an actress playing the role of Evans.
Ron Howard and Tom Hanks both return to the film series with Howard directing and Hanks starring once more as Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World, Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also star.
As Tor.com describes the story “Beren, a mortal man, falls in love with the elf Lúthien, thus inspiring legends and songs, as well as providing a model for the love of Aragorn and Arwen during the events of The Lord of the Rings.”
The Bookseller reports the story “has evolved since it was first written in 1917, and has been reworked in various forms, including poetry. To reflect this, the new book opens with Tolkien’s original text, before including passages from later texts that rework the tale.”
The book is edited by Tolkien’s son and will feature illustrations by Alan Lee, who won an Academy Award for his work on the third film of The Lord of the Rings cycle. He has also won the World Fantasy Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal.
The tale was personally important to Tolkien, reports Entertainment Weekly, so much so that the gravestone for the author and his wife refer to them as Beren and Lúthien.
There have been several books about the Notorious RBG, also known as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The first book written by her, appropriately titled, My Own Words (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on this week’s hardcover NYT nonfiction best seller list.
Ginsburg says it has been “utterly amazing” and credits a second year law student at NYU who started the Notorious RBG Tumbler blog, posting Ginsburg’s dissent to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act (that post eventually led to a book, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, HarperCollins/Dey Street Books, an unexpected hit last year).
Ifill says her reputation as a “folk hero” also has something to do with the way she writes and takes on her colleagues.
Ginsburg also says that until Jimmy Carter’s presidency it was unrealistic that a woman could ever be appointed to the Supreme Court. When she graduated there was not a single woman on any Federal bench. Carter, although he never got to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, changed that by appointing women to the Federal bench, paving the way for Ginsburg.
The latest John Grisham thriller, The Whistler (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT), arrives this week. As a result, it’s a week avoided by most other big name authors. Even James Patterson has only one title arriving and it’s for kids, Middle School: Dog’s Best Friend(Hachette/jimmy patterson; Blackstone; OverDrive Sample), which hits shelves while the film adaptation of the first book is still in theaters. Grisham will appear on the upcoming CBS Sunday Morning and, on the day of publication, on CBS This Morning.
In picture books, Nanette’s Baguette by the Caldecott-honor recipient Mo Willems (Hachette/Disney-Hyperion), is set in a French village, where a young frog is entrusted with buying bread for her mother for the first time. Expect a host of rhymes on the title, of course.
These titles, and those highlighted below, along with other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of Oct. 24.
The musician will be profiled on the upcoming CBS Sunday Morning. He is also set for appearances next week on The View, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and TheDaily Show w/ Trevor Noah as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered (date not yet set).
A collection of pieces by the author who died earlier this year, it is a Parade Pick, with an online excerpt.
It’s the big cookbook season and several titles featured in the “Best of the Rest” addendum to the NYT‘s The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016 arrive. Ina Garten will receive media attention for Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (RH/Clarkson Potter; OverDrive Sample) including appearances on the Today Show and even Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Anthony Bourdain releases his first cookbook in over ten years, Appetites (HC/Ecco) and Dorie Greenspan turns her attention to a deceptively simple delicacy in Dorie’s Cookies(HMH/Rux Martin; OverDrive Sample).
Popular food blogger Mimi Thorisson lived out many people’s fantasies by restoring a large house in the French countryside and creating a life that allows Thorisson and her husband to pursue their passions, hers for cooking, his for photography and their shared passion for restoring old houses. This book, which follows last year’sA Kitchen in France, is as much a travel book as a cookbook, will be featured in the NYT Travel section. She has already been profiled in the Wall Street Journal [subscription maybe required].
“In the early 1990s, a grand experiment began in the Arizona desert to determine if human life could be sustained in an engineered, sealed ecological system. The mission failed spectacularly, but fiction gives it another chance in this riveting story of eight scientists who commit to live under glass for two years. They battle hunger, fatigue, and isolation, but the real drama is personal. The story is told through the voices of three distinct narrators — two heating things up on the inside and one nursing resentments outside the glass walls. Master storyteller Boyle entertains, but never slips into schlock. He writes with wit and perspicacity on both human relations and ecology, and this novel is among his best.” —Sharon Flesher, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI
“This slender tome began as a social media viral sensation. Shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, a husband and father wrote an open letter to the perpetrators of those attacks, stating time and again that they would not have his hate, despite the fact that he lost his wife and the mother of their infant son. This memoir closely follows the hours after the attack, chronicling Leiris’ thoughts and emotions for the next several days up through the funeral for his wife. Though brief, this is a powerful meditation on grief and resilience and the importance of building a legacy of forgiveness for his son.” —Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
“This debut novel is a page-turner from the very beginning. In a story of a family filled with pain, deceit, lies, and dark secrets across generations, Everhart allows readers to feel everything her young narrator, Dixie, must endure. For me, the mark of a good book is that I find myself thinking about it after I have finished reading, and The Education of Dixie Dupree will be with me for a long while.” —Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live, Peter Orner (Catapult).
“From beloved novelist and short-story writer Peter Orner comes a collection of essays on the reading life. Orner considers Chekhov in a hospital cafeteria, Welty on a remote island. He also throws Julian Barnes out the window of a moving car — after all, who would trust a man who only talked about what he loved? Behind and around and between these meditations flit the ghosts of the author’s life: his late father, his lost marriage, his self-deprecating take on his own career. The result is a book overflowing with charm — wry, delectable, and laugh-out-loud funny. Orner is a writer’s writer, but he is also a reader’s reader. Am I Alone Here? is an absolute treasure.” —Mairead Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
The story follows a homeless man who adopts a street cat. In turn, the cat helps him turn his life around. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Bob the cat along with Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), and Anthony Head, it opens Nov. 11, 2016.
After several variations on the superhero genre, comes the latest, the grim and aging superhero.
The final in the Wolverine X-Men spinoff movies, Loganarrives on March 3rd. Entertainment Weekly unpacks 5 takeaways from the brief trailer.
Following the release of the trailer yesterday, a collection of the comics the film is based on by Mark Millar soared up Amazon’s sales rankings. Originally released in 2010, it is being reissued next year.
Marvel’s quirky 2014 superhero film, Guardians of the Galaxy, was such a surprise hit that it required a sequel so fans can be hooked on even more feelings.
The first look sneak peek debuted today:
It lit up the Internet with commentary.
E News says the second in the series “picks up two months after 2014’s original Guardians chronicled their mission to stop an intergalactic force from destroying the universe.” CinemaBlend expands on that, saying the plot features “Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) reunited with his father … [the] script will hit on important subjects regarding family, where you come from, and how that affects who you are.”
Director James Gunn makes it clear that the 90 seconds dropped today is just the start, tweeting, “To make it clear: the sneak peek just released is NOT a teaser-for-the-trailer; it’s a totally separate piece from the eventual trailer(s).”
The new movie poster also drew comments for its style, “it’s downright dripping in the kind of confident, throwback attitude audiences expect” says ScreenRant.
Expect vol. 2 to also be a moneymaker. Says Forbes, “anyone betting against Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 being one of the summer’s very biggest hits is playing a fool’s game.”
The comics series has been through many iterations and different teams of Guardians over the last 40 years. The movies are based on the 2008 series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Screenwriter Nicole Perlman, interviewed on Marvel’s Web site, recounted how, as part of Marvel Studios writer’s program, she picked the obscure series to develop because it was “more like a space opera, and a very funny, sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek version of this kind of genre.” As a result, she became the first woman to receive screenwriting credit for a Marvel movie.
Rising on Amazon’s sales rankings is Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom, Booki Vivat (HarperCollins; HC Audio; OverDrive Sample), a debut novel about middle schooler Abbie Wu who is full of worries.
Vivat tells NPR that the highly illustrated novel was born from her own daily planners which she fills with images and doodles.
Through what she calls “a series of very fortunate events” her planners ended up in the hands of a HarperCollins editor who found an “illustration that I had done in a moment of extreme crisis and very dramatic emotion that read, I live my life in a constant state of impending doom. And she pointed to the girl in that picture and said, there’s a story here; that’s our girl.”
Abbie, that very anxious girl, starts sixth grade full of doubts about what her “thing” will be, “The thing that makes her who she is, the thing that everyone knows her for, her capital-T thing.”
She does not find it in the first book, but she does manage to start an “underground lunch revolution” and set things up for a cliffhanger ending that will be followed up by a Frazzledtwo.
Journalist Beth Macy talked about her new book, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.
Macy’s previous book, Factory Man, was also admired by Maslin who said it is “in a class with other runaway debuts like Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers … Ms. Macy writes so vigorously that she hooks you instantly. You won’t be putting this book down.” The book was not quite as popular as the comparisons. It debuted at #10 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-fiction Best Sellers list during its first week on sale, remained on the main list for 3 weeks, and continued on the extended list for 4 more weeks.
“Spanning over twenty years and two continents, Smith’s new novel is a charming account of one woman’s coming-of-age. Smith’s unnamed narrator, a mixed-race child lives in one of London’s many low-end housing units. She meets Tracey and the two are bonded over the shared experience of being poor and ‘brown’ in a class that is predominantly white. As the two stumble towards womanhood, the differences become more stark and divisive, and their friendship is fractured by Tracey’s final, unforgivable act. This book will appeal to lovers of character-driven fiction.” — Jennifer Wilson, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN
This week’s NYT‘s Style Magazine T, gets a jump on the more literary media, featuring an interview with the author by fellow novelist Jeffrey Eugenides. The two have clearly been friends for some time, resulting in an interview that comes across as an intimate, personal, somewhat confessional conversation.
Smith says that therapy which has helped her write more confidently and in new ways, allowing her to use the first person voice in Swing Time, “I’ve always felt very cringe-y about myself … It did seem to me, when I was a kid and also now that I’m a grown-up writer, that a lot of male writers have a certainty that I have never been able to have. I kept on thinking I would grow into it, but I’m never sure I’m doing the right thing.”
About Swing Time Eugenides says “Like the black-and-white musicals that feature in its pages, the book is a play of light and dark — at once an assertion of physicality and an illusion … The novel cloaks existential dread beneath the brightest of intensities.”
Much of the profile is about her search for and expressions of identity. Of her own self, Smith says she aspires to be more like Darryl Pinckney, who “claims the freedom” of just being himself “in all his extreme particularity.” Eugenides responds that she “already seems that way” to him. After a pause she replies, “Oh” and the interview ends.
Accompanying the article is a video of Smith in the first person.
Actor Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1997 novel, American Pastoral. McGregor also stars along with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Connelly, Rupert Evans and Valorie Curry. After a limited release this weekend, it will open in more theaters on Oct. 28,
IndieWire‘s critical roundup reports “Critics have described the film as yet another ill-advised Roth adaptation and more proof that the writer’s work doesn’t translate well to the screen, save for James Schamus’ Indignation released earlier this year.”
But Deadline Hollywood is more positive saying, the film is “unquestionably is awards bait –a remarkable directorial debut for Scottish-born McGregor, who brings a unique outsider’s view to an especially turbulent time in America. Fanning will surprise fans with a performance that is different than anything we have seen from her before. Having gotten an early look at the film I can attest it is sure to spark talk.”
The Handmaidenan adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, transports the British Victorian setting to 1930s Korea.
It stars Ha Jung-woo, Kim Min-hee, Jo Jin-woong and Kim Tae-ri and is directed by Park Chan-wook.
Variety says it is “clever, heady and sensually lavish to a fault … Boasting more tangled plots and bodies than an octopus has tentacles, South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a bodice-ripper about a pickpocket who poses as a maid to swindle a sequestered heiress. His first Korean-language fiction feature since 2009’s Thirst, it’s sybaritic, cruel and luridly mesmerizing.”
Two TV series begin this week as well, starting with Chance, a new Hulu series based on Kem Nunn’s novel of the same title.
It has some powerhouse names attached says Slashfilm: Hugh Laurie stars. Lenny Abrahamson (Room) is the executive producer and directed some episodes. Nunn and Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives) created the series.
Laurie plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco-based forensic neuropsychiatrist, who, says Slashfilm “ventures outside of his area of expertise with a stolen identity plot, corrupt police, and a mysterious patient (Gretchen Mol).”
Originally scheduled for release in mid-January, the film adaptation Hidden Figures will arrive in theaters earlier, opening in limited release on Christmas Day indicating the producers think it has a shot at the Oscars.
As we earlier noted, the film stars Taraji P. Henson (whose newly-released memoir, Around the Way Girl, S&S/Atria, is making Hollywood news), Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a group of African American women who worked at NASA in Langley, Virginia on the mission that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), hit the NYT Nonfiction list at #7 in September with the paper featuring the author 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.”
The film was the subject of a clever bit of creative marketing during the recent Toronto International Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter, where a special concert with “Pharrell Williams and other performing artists involved with the movie’s soundtrack” accompanied a screening of “exclusive footage” and a Q&A session with the high powered stars.
Sager wrote such famous song as Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better,” Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For.”
She has been writing hits for more than 50 years and thinks a good lyric “is one that touches me, and therefore I feel it’ll touch you.” Most recently she co-wrote the song “Stronger Together” which closed the Democratic National Convention.
For all her success, which includes a hit Broadway musical, an Oscar, and a Grammy, Sager lived a rocky life, raised by “a domineering mother” and married multiple times, including to the distant Burt Bacharach.
She tells CBS’s Rita Braver that she has finally settled in to a loving marriage and has an appreciative outlook, saying “I do feel so extraordinarily grateful that I got to do what I love to do in this life, and I was rewarded for it … I would have done it for nothing.”
CBS Sunday Morning posts some web exclusives to accompany the profile, including an excerpt from the memoir describing creating the hit theme from the movie Arthur, more on her marriage to Bacharach, and her views on aging.