Oddly enough, part of the answer lies in reading. He says,
“we think of language as what’s on the page. That’s the real thing; speaking is just an approximation … [when] we hear new things … they’re processed as vulgar and as broken. We don’t understand that no language could ever sit still … It’s so hard to perceive this but the way Old English became this English is the same thing that’s happening to this English now. We wouldn’t have wanted those changes not to happen, so why do we want those changes not to happen now?”
In the video below McWhorter explains how reading, print books, and spoken language have evolved and challenge each other.
Proving the topic is in the air, The New York Times also reports on the use of language changing over time, specifically how it shifts based on the national mood. A new study finds evidence that the use of positive words such as “awesome,” “pretty” and “grace” “may change depending on objective circumstances, such as war and poverty, as well as subjective happiness.” The study looked at terms used in “1.3 million texts in Google Books and 14.9 million New York Times articles.”
As we have previously written, the show features an all-star cast. Shailene Woodley plays Jane, a young single mother who moves to a coastal community so her son can attend a better school. There she becomes entangled in the messy lives of the seemingly perfect mothers of her son’s classmates, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). Laura Dern plays Renata Klein, another of the mothers at the center of the story.
Kidman and Witherspoon are producing. They originally acquired the rights to the book, planning to adapt it as a feature film but finally decided on a seven episode limited series. It became a hot property which HBO won away from Netflix. Following the same model as True Detective, the format, says Variety, allows major film stars “a chance to work in the TV arena without making an open-ended commitment to an ongoing series.”
Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) is directing. He also worked with Witherspoon on the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. David E. Kelley, known for shows such as Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and Goliath is also on board.
A teaser trailer came out in October. UPDATE: First full trailer released 12/1/16:
Tie-ins, which as of yet do not have final cover art, will hit shelves in February: Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In), Liane Moriarty (PRH/Berkley trade pbk; February 7, 2017; Mass Market).
The author of the best-selling phenomenon The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, is set to publish a new suspense novel, titled Into the Water, to be released on May 2 (PRH/Riverhead, 978-0735211209; NOTE: Cover at left is not final!).
The plot, as described in a press release quoted by the AP and Entertainment Weekly, concerns “a single mother and a teenage girl [who] each turn up dead at the bottom of the river, just weeks apart … the ensuing investigation dredges up a complicated history” that delves into ” “the slipperiness of truth.”
Underlining the similarities to her pervious novel, Hawkins’ U.S. editor Sarah McGrath states, “Just as The Girl on the Trainexplored voyeurism and self-perception, so does Into the Water interrogate the deceitfulness of memory and all the dangerous ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present and future.”
In its review, PW says, “Rice exhibits tremendous skill in making the impossible seem not only possible but logical. She sets up a nail-biting dilemma involving the continued existence of vampires.” Rice just announced plans for a TV series.
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), Lauren Graham, (PRH/Ballantine; RH/BOT Audio).
If you weren’t one of the people who got up early on Friday for the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix, you may not understand the title of the memoir by one of the show’s stars, known for her fast dialog.
How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, David France, (PRH/Knopf; RH/BOT Audio).
“Charlotte crosses paths with Max, a former criminal profiler turned private investigator, at the condo of the recently deceased friend of her step sister Jocelyn. Max and Charlotte begin investigating and find themselves in the killer’s sights as they follow a twisted path into the past. Krentz is an expert at seamlessly blending suspense with romance. Her strong characters and their evolving relationship, plus a complex, twisted plot, all combine to make romantic suspense at its best.” — Karen Emery, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN
Additional Buzz: This is the leading title in holds for the week.
“It’s been fascinating to watch the Tearling saga evolve into a riveting blend of fantasy and dystopian fiction with characters developing in unexpected but satisfying ways into people I really care about. With the introduction of new characters in the town, a third timeline is woven into the story, leading to a plot twist that I did not see coming at all. This book has given me lots to think about–community, leadership, the use and abuse of power–and makes me want to reread all three books.” — Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
“Adam Dearden has been ferried to Normal Head, an asylum dedicated to treating only futurists. Shortly after Adam arrives at Normal, a patient disappears from his locked room, leaving only a huge pile of insects behind. Adam unearths a conspiracy that will have readers flipping pages quickly, reminding us that ‘we are now in a place where we will never again have a private conversation.’ Witty and insightful, Ellis’s writing has much to say about technology and gives readers much to think about in this brief novel. Highly recommended.” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX
“This book will leave you nostalgic for simpler times and craving a homemade piece of pie! Flagg offers an absolutely lovely story about a small Missouri town from its founding in 1889 through the present and beyond, told through narrative, letters, and a gossip column. I will be joyfully recommending this charming and wonderful story to all readers!” —Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
“Societal constraints and expectations of the time impede the love affair of Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier from the moment they meet in a hot air balloon above the Champ de Mars in 1886. Émile’s ailing mother is pressuring him to marry, start a family, and take over the family business even as he is facing both public and professional stress as co-designer of the Eiffel Tower. Cait is a young Scottish widow forced to work as a chaperone to a wealthy brother and sister. Cait’s and Émile’s paths cross and crisscross as Colin vividly captures the sights and sounds of La Belle Epoque in this quiet, atmospheric novel.” —Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
“Moran is a British journalist whose columns are known for covering a broad range of topics, from feminism and politics to fashion and TV. Some of those columns are reprinted in Moranifesto, a hilarious collection of opinion pieces that are Moran’s personal manifesto for changing the world. The collection covers topics as diverse as the Syrian refugee crisis, cystitis, David Bowie, and why she no longer wears heels. As dissimilar as these themes may be, they are all tackled with the blunt humor for which Moran is known. Moranifesto is gloriously funny, feminist, and timely.” —Agnes Galvin, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY
The second season of Syfy’s The Magicians begins on Jan. 25, 2017. There is a new tie-in edition of the second novel in Lev Grossman’s bestselling fantasy series out this week to push the show.
As IGN reports, season one offered a moderately successful beginning, writing “It had a bumpy start in its first few episodes, but it showed from the beginning that it knows how to have a good hook, and it wasn’t afraid to go big … There’s definitely room for growth going forward. Season 1 worked out the storytelling kinks as it went along, and as long as the writers have learned from those experiences and experiments moving ahead, we’re in for an amazing Season 2.”
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition, Margot Lee Shetterly (HC/HarperCollins; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample; also in paperback). While not an actual tie-in, this edition specially written for young readers offers a different text tied to the expected popularity (and teaching opportunity) of the upcoming film of the same name.
As we have written previously, it stars Taraji P. Henson, 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.
The paperback edition of the current hardback (adult) edition, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (HarperCollins/William Morrow), comes out on December 6. The film comes out on Jan. 6, 2017.
The book got a boost beyond her own built-in audience with the news that she writes about Donald Trump’s bribery attempt to bribe her as well as others in the press. As we have written previously, Vanity Fair‘s headline on the story asserts, that, by holding this information until after the election, Kelly “Blew The Goodwill She’s Built,” as an “improbable feminist icon” and one of the strongest voices standing up to Trump during the election.
On Kelly’s heels is the new political call to arms from Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Macmillan Thomas Dunne Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample). It debuts at #3.
The Wall Street Journal writes that both books are selling, reporting that “In the first six days on bookstore shelves, Ms. Kelly’s memoir sold 64,000 copies, while former Democratic presidential contender Sen. Sanders’s book sold 45,000 copies.” The article goes on quote Sanders’s publisher as saying “He’s been waiting nearly his entire life to give this message to huge audiences … Happily, they’re buying books.” As for Kelly, one independent book store owner told the paper, “People are interested in her book because she was right in the middle of everything.”
The panel discuses each book on its own and then compares them in a wide ranging conversation that dips into the roots of hard-boiled genre fiction, the history of slavery, and segments of the history of the abolitionist movement.
Martin Sheen stars as Matthew Cuthbert, part of the family who cares for the central character Anne Shirley, played by Ella Ballentine.
Shot in Canada, the Canadian Global News says this rendition is “a more modern take on the story, with darker, edgier moments that take it out of the past and into the present … [even as] Montgomery’s own granddaughter, Kate MacDonald Butler, serves as an executive producer on the project, and has given the remake her blessing.”
Variety is not charmed, writing “Though the characters are somewhat recognizable and the adventures faintly ring a bell, the 90-minute made-for-TV movie truncates the plot, flattens the characters, and fumbles through the small-town sentiment that the book’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, excelled at … a dull film and a mediocre adaptation.”
Opening on Nov. 25th is Lion starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham. They join a cast of actors well-known in India, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, and Tannishtha Chatterjee. The inspirational story is directed by Garth Davis (Top of the Lake).
As we have previously written, it is based on a memoir of an amazing journey of loss and recovery originally titled A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley (PRH/Viking, 2014, trade paperback, 2015). In the book, Brierley recounts how he was separated from his family in rural India at age 4, when he climbed aboard a train and was carried over a thousand miles away to a city he did not know. He wound up in an orphanage and was adopted and relocated to Tasmania. As an adult, using Google maps, he searches for his lost family.
The film debuts in the Friday after Thanksgiving time slot, not just prime time to attract families looking for entertainment but also good timing for awards. Vanity Fair reports the film is “Already on Awards-Season Short Lists.”
Variety is not sold, writing “Lion seems awfully brazen advertising its deux ex machina right there in its logline, and though the human story is what makes it so compelling, “advertising” remains the operative word. Next up: How Siri helped you find your car keys.”
The adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s debut YA novel, Before I Fall, (HarperCollins, 2010) is scheduled for released on March 3, 2017. The first trailer has just been released.
Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), the film stars Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy), Halston Sage (Goosebumps), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word).
About a girl who dies in a car crash, but then gets to relive the last day of her life seven times, the book was a best seller.
Leading up to the traditional Black Friday, James Patterson publishes the next in his biggest-selling series, Cross the Line (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print; OverDrive Sample). Under his kids imprint, he’s publishing a book in collaboration with Bill O’Reilly, Give Please a Chance (Hachette/jimmy patterson), a title that seems out of synch with the Fox News host’s general demeanor.
In nonfiction, holds are growing for Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by the popular NYT columnist Thomas L Friedman (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio). The book offers solutions to those who feel the pace of technology is just too damned fast. His columns since the election indicate that his optimism is being put to the test.
The Daily Show (the Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests, Chris Smith, Jon Stewart, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Large Type; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Stewart has already begun the media rounds, with an appearance yesterday on CBS This Morning, where he was easily lead away from talking about the book to talking about the election.
Janet Maslin reviews it today in the New York Times. The less-than-glowing review suggests the book only works for Stewart fans. There’s obviously plenty of them, the book is already at #33 on Amazon’s sales rankings.
The long-suspected story of the affair Carrie Fisher had with the then-married Harrison Ford during the filming of Star Wars is now out. Promoting an excerpt from the book, the new issue of People magazine blares on the cover, “Carrie Fisher Exclusive My Secret Fling with Harrison Ford.” The Washington Post advises, “Move quickly over the bad jokes and the awkward writing, and you have a readable and eye-opening account of a sad but strong princess who has always been her own woman.” The title refers to the fact that Fisher wrote the book based on a diary she kept at the time.
Not allergic to media attention, Griffin began promoting this book two weeks ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live. This week, the NY Post’s “Page Six” ran a story about a run-in with Britney Spears. Let’s hope the other stories in the book have more bite.
Moonglow, Michael Chabon (HC/Harper; Harper Audio).
“A grandson sits by his dying grandfather’s bedside as his grandfather slowly reveals the light and shadows of a marriage and of a family that kept secrets as a way of life. He learns of his grandmother’s life growing up during World War II; her coming to America and living with a man who kept to himself, even lying to her about his short time in prison. Chabon’s signature style includes carefully observed characters that are both new and familiar and shimmering prose that reflects and refracts light much as moonlight does.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
“I’ll Take You Thereis delightfully entertaining, funny and a bit mystical with wonderful connections to old movies and movie stars. Felix Funicello runs a Monday night film club which meets in an old theater. One evening, he is visited by the ghost of a female director from the silent film era. She takes him on a journey to his past where Felix sees scenes on the screen which help him gain an understanding of women who have been important to him throughout his life. This novel is insightful and inspirational in connecting scenes from the past with our present day society.” — Marilyn Sieb, L.D. Fargo Library, Lake Mills, WI
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire, Julia Baird (PRH/Random House
“When Victoria inherited the throne at the age of eighteen, she was still sleeping in the same bedroom as her mother. Her first act as queen was to move her bed into a different room. This headstrong deed foreshadowed the determination with which she ruled an empire. Her fierce devotion to her country and family shines in the pages of Baird’s compulsively readable biography. She becomes a warm and relatable figure through Baird’s research. Her reign saw unimaginable changes in society, science, and technology, but through it all, Victoria remained.” — Ann Cox, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC
In addition to the peer pick title above, Queen Victoria is getting attention in the form of a PBS series, to air next year. The series is created by Daisy Goodwin (The American Heiress), who wrote this novel simultaneously with the screenplay. Although it is not billed as a tie-in, the cover notes that the author is “the Creator/Writer of the Masterpiece Presentation on PBS.”
Marvel’s Doctor Strange: The Art of the Movie, Jacob Johnson (Hachette/Marvel) offers a look at the visual landscape of the superhero movie, with concept artwork and commentary. A fitting book for a film New York Magazine calls “freaking gorgeous.”
It stars Jessica Chastain who wrote in an essay in The Hollywood Reporter‘s special “Women in Entertainment” issue, that although women make up only 20% of the crew of The Zookeeper’s Wife, that’s “way more” than any film she’s ever worked on. As a result, she said, “You don’t feel a hierarchy; you don’t have anyone feeling like they are being left out or bullied or humiliated.”
A trade paperback tie-in will be released in February
The LA Times says, “Spy fans can be assured that in most respects, The Chemist functions in much the same way as a Bourne or Bond story, complete with mounting body count, cool explosions, stakeouts and betrayals. But changing the proportion of gender in the genre gives the concoction a renewed, and welcome, rush.”
The coverage is not universally warm. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B-, writing, “The Chemist’s 518-pages fly by quickly and easily. But perhaps it would have taken a sprinkle of something supernatural — or a smattering of heartbreak — to feel like Meyer’s characters were really in danger.”
The final trailer for Ben Affleck’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) has been released. The movie opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run on December 25th, followed by a nationwide release on January 13, 2017.
In addition to directing and writing the screenplay, Affleck stars with Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning. It’s Affleck’s first time in the director’s chair since his award-winning Argo.
The novel follows the rise of an Irish-American Boston gangster, Joe Coughlan, during the Prohibition era. Prophetically, Entertainment Weekly, called Live by Night a“ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.” The book won Lehane an Edgar for Best Novel. In his acceptance speech, he thanked librarians for offering “a light in the darkness for the kids from the wrong side of the tracks.”
Live by Night follows The Given Day, which was the author’s first departure into historical crime. A third book in the series, World Gone By, was published last year.
The tie-in is set for Dec. 7, in mass market and trade paperback (HarperCollins/Morrow). It will contain a preview chapter of Lehane’s forthcoming novel Since We Fell (HarperCollins/Ecco; May 16, 2017).
Grabbing media attention, They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), is a debut book by Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, part of a team who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for WP‘s coverage of police shootings.
The NYT review says it is “electric,” in part “because it is so well reported, so plainly told and so evidently the work of a man who has not grown a callus on his heart.”
It is a book, says the paper, with “a warm, human tone” that details the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray; explores racial conditions, in the wake of all the police shootings and the Barack Obama’s presidency; and introduces “a new generation of black activists” and the black reporters who cover them and the events they are protesting.
“One thing that was remarkable about the election of President Obama was that he did so with a rhetoric and with an ideal that we were not a divided America. It’s fundamental to his ideology of American exceptionalism. What’s been remarkable is that Donald Trump ran on an ideology and a platform that we are in fact a divided America, that there is an us vs. them, that we need to take something back from people who have seized it from us.”