Add short story author to Tom Hanks’s resume. The Oscar winner will publish Uncommon Type: Some Stories (PRH/Knopf; Oct. 24, 2017; ISBN 9781101946152). He will also read the audiobook. The news caught the attention of many sources, from Deadline Hollywood to USA Today.
“A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life.”
Hanks told The New Yorker that his literary heroes are Chaim Potok, Alan Furst, Richard Ben Cramer, David McCullough and Stephen Ambrose. At that time he said he hopes to write more stories. He has already found success as a screenwriter (Larry Crowne, That Thing You Do!).
Starz’s The White Princess will premiere on April 16. The sequel to The White Queen, which aired on Starz in 2013, it is based on the first four books in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series, which chronicles the long-running War of the Roses, The adaptation won both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.
The new series adapts the fifth title and final volume in the historical fiction series. Gregory outlines the chronology of the novels on her website.
There is no tie-in but the timing is good for Carey. He is writing a prequel, The Boy on the Bridge (Hachette/Orbit), due out May 2.
It’s deja vu all over again for Tulip Fever, which was scheduled to open this weekend. Based on the historical novel by Deborah Moggach, it was suddenly pulled from its original July 2016 opening. Now, just days before it was to open on its new date, it has been postponed yet again, this time to an unspecified date [UPDATE: It has now been rescheduled to August 25, 2017].
The Playlist says it was “at one time perceived as a big-ticket project. But somewhere along the way, it seems it was a promise that couldn’t be lived up to … Tulip Fever is starting to smell like another recent star-studded Weinstein picture that mostly flamed out: last year’s restaurant drama Burnt.”
For those getting the feeling that the film will never air, IndieWire notes the studio “has a history with these kind of recurring delays. Most recently, the company also moved the release date back twice for The Founder, the Michael Keaton-starring McDonald’s origin story … The decision to push Tulip Fever comes after a tough year for virtually all independent distributors in the theatrical marketplace.”
The focus of critical attention, Margaret Drabble’s newest novel, The Dark Flood Rises (Macmillan/FSG; OverDrive Sample) explores death and old age, but is enlivened by humor and enriched by deeply dimensional characters. The central figure is 70-something Fran who spends her time examining retirement homes for those older and more infirmed than she. The novel follows her circle of friends and family, all suffering in their own ways.
NPR’s reviewer says the novel “is a beautiful rumination on what it means to grow old [populated by] an unforgettable character [Fran], steely but likable … This isn’t a sentimental book, but it’s a deeply emotional one [asking readers] to consider how sad, how funny, how genuinely absurd aging is.”
The Washington Post‘s Ron Charles says “Margaret Drabble has written a novel about aging and death, which for American readers should make it as popular as a colostomy bag. That’s a pity because Drabble, 77, is as clear-eyed and witty a guide to the undiscovered country as you’ll find.” He continues, “the novel’s humor vaccinates it from chronic bleakness.”
Perhaps fulfilling Ron Charles’s prediction, holds are light in most of the libraries we checked, but Salon points out the grimness of the topic is not the point of the novel, “A vein of black humor pulses in Margaret Drabble’s The Dark Flood Rises, which, thankfully, makes the novel’s reflections on how we age and die as entertaining as a conversation with a dear friend.”
Coming next week, James Patterson releases a dystopian thriller aimed at adults, the number one LibraryReads pick, Clare Mackintosh’s psychological thriller, I See Youis picking up holds and Christina Baker Kline follows up her long-running best seller, Orphan Train with a new title.
Humans, Bow Down, James Patterson, Emily Raymond, illus. by Alexander Ovchinnikov, (Hachette/ Little, Brown; Hachette Audio: Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample)
No reviews are available yet for this title, so we have to rely on the publisher’s breathless description, “GENRE-BENDING THRILLER … an innovative, illustrated thriller for adults … DYSTOPIAN APPEAL: Set in a future that is at once both recognizable and horrifying, the book will appeal to readers and viewers of dystopian adventure stories.”
Harare’s second book after his best selling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is reviewed in the daily NYT this week, somewhat dismissively, “I do not mean to knock the handiwork of a gifted thinker and a precocious mind. But I do mean to caution against the easy charms of potted history.” Check your holds. Easy charms have fans.
“Zoe Walker sees her picture in a personal ad for a dating website. At first she thinks there must be a mistake. She soon learns that other women whose pictures have appeared in these ads have been subjected to violent crimes. Zoe contacts the police. PC Kelly Smith, a disgraced former detective, works to find the mastermind behind the website and redeem herself. As each day passes Zoe becomes more and more paranoid and suspicious of everyone she meets. Told from three different viewpoints, the tension builds and kept me on the edge of my seat.” — Karen Zeibak, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT
Additional Buzz: The StarTribune names it one of “7 mysteries to chill your soul on a wintry night.” The author’s debut, I Let You Go, was a best seller in the UK. and won a strong review from the NYT BR Crime columnist. Several libraries are showing holds on this new one.
“Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” would immortalize a young woman. This is the story of Christina and her life. After almost dying as a child of an undiagnosed illness, her legs are twisted, making her stumble as she walks. As she ages, the effects of this illness get much worse leaving her with a shrinking world. This book immerses us in the life on her farm and into the heart of a young woman. A fantastic, and touching story by this author that brings to life the story behind a painting and the life of a young girl who always wanted more than she was given, but accomplished so much despite her handicap.” — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL
“Robert stands watching the demolition of the old paper mill that stood in the center of town and served as a constant reminder of his friend, Nathan. The reader is transported from present day to 1970s Maine, where Robbie finds his friendship with Nathan a literal escape from the bullying at school, and a figurative way of coping with his brother’s struggle with muscular dystrophy. The portrayal of family dynamics in the wake of tragedy is reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng but with an anchoring of boyhood friendship in this coming of age tale.” — Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO
“The Mother’s Promise is an emotional story of a mother’s love for her teenage daughter, who is struggling with severe social anxiety. Alice and her daughter, Zoe, cope with their problems until Alice becomes critically ill and is faced with a heartbreaking prognosis. She turns to two strangers for help with Zoe and her future. As the relationship among Zoe and these women evolves, they all confront their own personal problems and secrets. This beautifully written story will move readers to tears of grief, compassion, and, at its conclusion, hope.” —Fran Duke, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
A late edition to the Moana tie-in collection is Moana: The Mighty Maui Makes a Friend, Kalikolehua Hurley, illustrated by Mehrdad Isvandi (Hachette/Disney Press). It is a storybook for grades 1-3. Blu-ray and DVDs arrives March 7.
For two seasons viewers have learned to expect the Starz’s TV series Outlander to begin in April. Not this year. It will debut in September.
Entertainment Weekly reports season 3, based on Voyager (PRH/Delacorte, 1993), will run for 13 episodes and that shooting has moved from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa to “the former sets of the Starz series Black Sails.” For those who do not know the books, part of the action of Voyager involves pirates and takes place on ships as Jamie and Claire travel to the West Indies.
Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming at Starz, said “While Droughtlander will last just a little longer, we feel it is important to allow the production the time and number of episodes needed to tell the story of the Voyager book in its entirety … The scale of this book is immense, and we owe the fans the very best show. Returning in September will make that possible.”
A specific release date has not been announced. A tie-in edition also has not been announced.
In the 1960s Pamela Strobel was an early version of a celebrity chef. Her NYC restaurant, Little Kitchen, was a such a hit she was featured on TV and published a cookbook. NPR reports the restaurant “was basically a speakeasy. You had to know to ring the bell to be let in.” She did not let just anyone in.
Between then and now, the restaurant closed, Strobel’s fame faded, and the cookbook went out of print.
Now it is back, because Ted and Matt Lee “found a ragged copy at a vintage booksellers.” The Lee brothers are the force behind several cookbooks, including the 2007 James Beard Cook Book of the Year, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners.
They met Strobel long ago when they were starting up their business selling Southern food via mail order. Matt Lee tells NPR:
“we knocked on her door. It said please knock. It was always locked, and she peeled back the curtain and sized us up, cracked the door open. And we gave our pitch, and she was like no, thanks and closed the door. And that was our one experience with the great Princess Pamela.”
After they found her book they spent years working on her story. Where she is now and what happened to her is a mystery. Even a private detective has been unable to locate her or determine what became of her.
She is no mystery to the cooking world, however. Confirming her star power, Carla Hall, Ruth Reichl, and Marcus Samuellson offer blurbs.
The cookbook is the first of a new imprint, the Lee Brothers Library Series, and is published complete with the poetry Strobel included with nearly every recipe.
The author is also known as the singer/songwriter for the cult indie rock group Mountain Goats. His debut novel, Wolf in White Van (Macmillan/FSG, 2014), was longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction.
Set in the Midwest, his new novel opens with a horror novel premise, someone has spliced creepy footage into mainstream movies rented from the local video store. But after that, it turns into something far more subtle, filled with shifting questions, taking place over multiple time periods, and ending as the Spin reviewer puts it, “in a more tender place than I could’ve anticipated.”
Booklist says the “masterfully disturbing [novel] reads like several Twilight Zone scripts cut together by a poet.”
NPR says it is full of “knife-jab sentences” and is “a fairy tale — an old, un-Disney-fied one — filtered through the fragrant, dusty Iowan air; a ghost story that’s all too real; a detective story with no simple solution.”
More from Darnielle is on the way. Publishers Weekly reports in a profile of the author, that “FSG has already signed Darnielle for two more novels” and they plan to “release a limited vinyl edition of the Harvester audiobook, with the author narrating and providing original instrumental music.”
That is how the NYT describes “In the great green room,” the beloved opening of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon.
The classic bedtime story is in the news again because a new Brown book is forthcoming, Good Day, Good Night (HarperCollins; Oct. 3, 2017). The fresh tale follows the little bunny of the great green room as he wakes up in the morning, explores outside, and then says goodnight to all he has found.
The paper says it “can be read as part variation on, part expansion of Goodnight Moon … the theme and cadences will be instantly familiar.”
Loren Long provides the illustrations. In 2005, he worked on another iconic children’s book, creating new art for The Little Engine That Could. He is also the creator of the Otis the tractor books and illustrated president Obama’s OfThee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.
Oprah Winfrey stars as Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter and the character through whom the story is told. Rose Byrne (Damages) plays Skloot. Others in the cast include Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story). George C. Wolfe (Angels In America) wrote the adaptation and will direct.
The book recounts the sad but fascinating story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman from Baltimore who died in 1951. Johns Hopkins Hospital removed cancer cells from her body without her permission They were the first cells to live outside a human body, making them invaluable for medical research. They continue to be used today.
The story is in the news again for reasons other than the HBO series. The Lacks family is suing Johns Hopkins. Lacks’s grandson explains to The Baltimore Sun “Everyone else is making funds off of Henrietta’s cells … I am sure my grandmother is up in heaven saying, ‘Well, what about my family?‘”
A fixture on best seller lists, the book spent a year on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and over four on the Paperback Nonfiction list, falling off that list just a couple of weeks ago.
Colbert asks why, after a successful career writing short stories, Saunders wanted to write a novel. He decided to try his hand, he replies, because he had heard a story about president Lincoln holding the body of his dead son in a graveyard crypt and could not get it out of his mind.
The two also talk about the concept of the bardo, a space of transition where. Saunders explains. all the regrets, issues, and concerns one has while living are magnified and must be worked through before a soul can move on.
“It’s a very pleasing thing to watch a writer you have enjoyed for years reach an even higher level of achievement … George Saunders pulled that off with The Tenth Of December, his 2013 book of short stories. How gratifying and unexpected that he has repeated the feat with Lincoln in the Bardo, his first novel and a luminous feat of generosity and humanism.’’
Check your holds. After a slow start they are climbing in several systems.
Philip Pullman is writing a new trilogy featuring his beloved character Lyra Bevacqua, to be titled The Book of Dust. The first in the series, as yet untitled, is scheduled for release on October 19, 2017 from PRH/Knopf Books for Young Readers (ISBN 9780375815300).
The first book of the new series will take place a decade before the fist book in The Golden Compass series, His Dark Materials, when Lyra is a baby. The second and third volumes will be set ten years after the last book of the earlier series (The Amber Spyglass), when Lyra is an adult.
Pullman tells NPR that readers should think of the new trilogy as a new story: “you don’t have to read it before you read [the original trilogy] … this is another story that comes after it, so it’s not a sequel, and it’s not a prequel, it’s an equal … It’s a sort of companion book, if you like. It doesn’t stand before [His Dark Materials], it doesn’t stand after it, it stands beside it.”
While a bit cagey about the plot, he says it is “More about the nature of Dust, and consciousness, and what it means to be a human being.” It features other characters readers know from the first trilogy and will include a great flood.
Pullman has already extended the His Dark Materials universe with twonovellas and an audiobook-only spin-off, The Collectors. He tells NPR he is returning once more because “I sensed a big story. I sensed the presence, in the way that you do, of another story that hadn’t been told, and I went closer and … thought about it and lived with it for a while and discovered that yes, it was a big story, and it did deserve to be told, it deserves its own books.”
Final cover art (the image above is from the UK press release) and title will be revealed in the coming months.
The attention has already sent Pullman’s titles racing up Amazon’s sales rankings. The Book of Dust is currently ranked #285 and an omnibus edition of the full trilogy is now #302, up from yesterday’s ranking of #17,891.
A favorite dish from Vietnam has found wide press coverage in the US thanks to The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodle by Andrea Nguyen (PRH/Ten Speed Press; OverDrive Sample).
Nguyen is considered one of the foremost experts on Vietnamese cookery. In a recent interview on San Francisco’s public radio station she shared her philosophy about teaching others to cook, “There’s so much intimidation about this. I try to take a certain Home Depot approach, like ‘You can do it, and I can help!’ As a cookbook author, you’re really just there to coach people along. If they’re happy, I’m thrilled.”
Her book is getting stellar reviews. Food & Wine writes “Nguyen is a master teacher when it comes to Vietnam’s national dish, and in her new book she provides meticulously clear instructions for every imaginable variety—we recommend you cook through every chapter.”