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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
The movie has propelled the book back up best seller lists. It is currently #18 on the USA Today list, but is beat out the by Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron at #3 Hidden Figures at #4 and the Swedish import, A Man Called Ove,at #5. The Swedish-language adaptation was recently released on demand and DVD, Readers are anticipating upcoming adaptations, as well, sending The Shack back up USA Today’s list where it is currently at #8.
Also rising in anticipation of HBO’s adaptation is Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, Starring Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley, the series begins airing on February 19th.
The film, about the formation of the labor movement in 1930s California, has a notable ensemble cast, including Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Ed Harris, Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Sam Shepard.
Tor.com says “This evocative and lyrical book is a must read … While the stories are ancient, Gaiman makes them fresh and lively, as if the antics of the gods and giants only just happened … you’ll be hard-pressed to finish it and not feel just as inspired.”
However, the LA Times is not as enthusiastic, writing that the publication “seems oddly superfluous … it’s the equivalent of going to see a rock band you like and finding that they’re just playing a set of Chuck Berry covers that night: great material, yes, and executed nicely, but less than the inventiveness we go to him for.”
In the book trailer, Gaiman makes his own strong case:
Positioned as her breakout title Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes(Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) has fulfilled expectations by making the author a New York Times best seller for the first time. The book arrives at #15 on this week’s list.
The British author has written over 20 YA and fantasy novels, few of which have been released in the US. Her first foray into the hot genre of domestic thrillers, it was a hot commodity at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. Reviewing it her most recent NYT BR Crime column. Marilyn Stasio calls it “an eerie thriller calculated to creep you out … [a] terrifying mind game.”
The Guardian reports the much hyped plot twists deliver, “When the first of her twists is revealed, it is fantastically creepy, if not entirely unexpected. The second twist turns the creepy factor up to 11 and is a total wrong-footer. #WTFthatending indeed – the sort that makes you go back to the beginning to check if it all pans out. And it does.”
That hashtag was developed by the publisher to promote the book but has been adopted by others. It was even applied to the outcome of the Super Bowl.
Librarians were early adopters. It was a January LibraryReads pick and a GalleyChat title. Holds are strong in most libraries we checked, with some topping 4:1 ratios.
The literary world is holding its collective breath for the publication on Tuesday of George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, as we reported earlier. At that time, we were surprised to find that holds were relatively low. They have been growing since and more will come, as Saunders has several media appearances coming up, including the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday. More on the title below, under Peer Picks.
The next in the best selling series featuring child psychologist Alex Delaware series, prepub reviewers were not impressed. Publisher Weekly says, “The psychological insights Alex typically displays are few and barely relevant to the inquiry or its solution.”
“When Georgia Hunter learns that she is a descendant of large family of Holocaust survivors, she knows that she is destined to be the recorder of their story. This is the result of years of research to gather as much detail about her relatives as she possibly can. How this group of people manages to survive years of persecution and imprisonment is astounding. It is an inspiring read, and one that honors the memory and struggle of not just the author’s family, but all of the people who suffered during the war.” — Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, CT
“Welcome to a world where magic grants you access to all the benefits of wealth and power. This is the story of two families, one from magic and one not. When Abi comes up with a plan to help her family by having them serve one of the most powerful magical families, she thinks it will save them. But when her brother is sent to one of the harshest work camps, the plan seems less likely to keep them alive. Her brother must face the dangers of slavery while Abi and the others will see grandeur and wealth but also see the rotten core that is gilded in gold.” — Suzanne Christensen, Spanish Fork Public Library, Spanish Fork, UT
“The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a powerful story of both hope and despair. Told through diary entries, this is a wonderful glimpse into life in a small British town during WWII. Ryan is a skilled writer who gives each diary entry a clear voice: Mrs. Paltry is dishonest and scheming, Venetia, the self-centered young woman in love with a mysterious man, Kitty, the love struck teenager with big dreams, and Mrs. Tilling, the midwife and moral compass of the town. Through their entries, you really see them grow. The power of music brings them strength that they didn’t know that they had.” — Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Goodrich MI
Additional Buzz: Based on holds, word seems to have leaked about this debut which was a success in the UK. Prepub reviews were not positive, so libraries have ordered cautiously. Kirkus, damns it with faint praise, calling it, “Mildly entertaining, Ryan’s debut novel seems overfamiliar and too intent on warming the heart,” but nevertheless says that “readers may find themselves furiously turning pages even if they can easily predict what’s coming next.” Proving that, it is also an Indie Next selection for February.
“Saunders’ first novel has a steep entry curve. It’s not a novel that reveals itself quickly and easily, but if you give it your attention, if you burrow deep into the book, you’ll be eminently rewarded. There is a richness and depth of humanity here. There is the strange and wonderful. There is love and grief and mystery all brought together in the story of Abraham Lincoln’s dead son, the Civil War, and what may happen to us all after we leave the mortal coil. It’s a beautiful and moving book that will stay with you for a long, long while.” —Jason Vanhee, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
Additional Buzz: It is an all-star, receiving starred reviews from all four trade sources. As we wrote earlier, it is getting wide attention. On this week’s NYT Book Review Podcast, Saunders says that he originally wrote it as a play, which makes it particularly appropriate that the audio version features 166 narrators, many of them well-known Hollywood names. Saunders is scheduled to be interviewed on tomorrow’s NPR Weekend Edition Saturday and on Wednesday on the Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert.
The film stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy and is set in London during WWII. It features filmmakers creating patriotic flicks during the war.
Critics are glowing. The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “stealth charmer” and Variety says it is “a relentlessly charming romantic comedy … the sort of crowd-pleaser that knows the difference between satisfying its viewers and flattering them, all the while showcasing surprising performances from Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin, and an entirely unsurprising one from Bill Nighy — a master scene-stealer pulling off yet another brazen heist.” Entertainment Weekly says it is “Comedic, poignant, and delightful.”
The movie opens April 7.
Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel; OverDrive Sample) arriving this week ties in to the March 3 movie, Logan, the 10th X-Men film and the final Wolverine solo film. It is not a pure adaptation of the comics, but rather inspired by them.
“Meet Samuel Hawley, a man in a constant struggle with his violent past, doing the best he can to raise his daughter. Meet Loo, his daughter, a girl with an obscure past and an uncertain future, on the cusp of adulthood. And meet Lily, the dead woman who connects them both. In this finely woven novel, the past and the present gradually illuminate the story of a man’s life through the bullet wounds he carries with him and makes readers consider what it is to be both good and evil.” — Dawn Terrizzi, Denton Public Library, Denton, TX
“Three German women’s lives are abruptly changed when their husbands are executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. They band together in a crumbling estate to raise their children and keep each other standing. Rich in character development, this book is narrated by each of the women, giving us a clear understanding of their sense of loss, inner strength and the love they have for each other. This story examines the human side of war, where the lines are blurred between hero and victim.” — Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX
“A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality and none of the participants is left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing.” — Marie Byars, Sno-Isle Libraries, Oak Harbor, WA
Drawing attention to a Senate vote this week to force her to stop talking, Elizabeth Warren announces that she will publish a new book, due April 18, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (Macmillan/Metropolitan Books).
It will also include, says the publisher, “eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick.”
As Fortune points out, potential presidential candidates “often write books about their experiences to burnish their credentials prior to a presidential run. Former President Barack Obama wrote Dreams of My Fatherand The Audacity of Hope, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote Hard Choices in 2014.” All were bestsellers.
Warren has written other books, including her 2014 title, A Fighting Chance, which became a bestseller.