This is the first time that Ishiguro has hit the hardcover lists. As Gregory Cowles notes in the “Inside the List” column, his previous best sellers, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go became best sellers but in paperback, as a result of their movie adaptations.
Film rights have already been acquired for The Buried Giant, by “The Godfather of the Literary Adaptation,” producer Scott Rudin (Captain Philips, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Angela’s Ashes and the upcoming Jobs, among many others).
Michiko Kakutani’s review in the daily NYT last week is followed by this week’s New York Times Book Review cover. The reviewer notes that the novel begins with an excerpt from a faux review from NYT Book Review itself (the quote is a dead-on parody, although, as the reviewer says, it’s unlikely that the Book Review copy editors would have allowed “truly unique” to slide by). Echoing the faux review, this one is more mixed than Kakutani’s.
This debut has come up repeatedly on GalleyChat beginning in November. In January, The Guardian saw it as a successor to Gone Girland another book that was then on the horizon,
From Rachel Watson, the unhappy heroine of British writer Paula Hawkins’s much-anticipated debut novel The Girl on the Train, to Anna Benz, the depressed wife at the heart of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s haunting Hausfrau, this year’s most compelling reads are all about lost girls, some of whom, like Flynn’s Amy Dunne, turn out to have a core of steel in their soul.
Unlike The Girl on the Train, however, Hausfrau does not arrive to long holds lists, or the amount of advance media attention its predecessor enjoyed, but that appears to be revving up. It is reviewed in the new issues of both People magazine (“Sexy and insightful, this gorgeously written novel opens a window into one woman’s desperate soul”) and Entertainment Weekly (a strong review, but it’s undercut by a low “B” rating).
The Wall Street Journal profiles the marketing campaign behind Hausfrau, saying that Random House is “touting it as a literary 50 Shades of Grey” and already has a third printing in the works.
It is an Indie Next pick, with a recommendation from a bookseller who is a GalleyChat regular:
“In this powerful, affecting novel, Essbaum has written an ode to desire and the destructive choices we make. There is a grace in Essbaum’s writing that leads the reader to love Anna, to befriend her, and to be endlessly protective of her. Whatever it is that a poet does with words — the arranging, the building of something that is more than the sum of its parts — Essbaum, an accomplished poet, does with the emotions and the honesty in this work. It is brave, vulnerable, and filled with love, passion, and the kind of lust that one never speaks about. This is something special.” — Kenny Coble, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
If you think it’s easy to design a book jacket, take a look at the following video, which shows the many iterations this one went through. Robbin Schiff, executive art director at Random House, told Mashable, which featured it, “The final design, with its stark Swiss typography against the moody and lush floral grouping, conveys a sensual but claustrophobic atmosphere,” reflecting the atmosphere of the book.
The author of the best selling The Happiness Project will promote her new book about how to acquire positive habits and shed negative ones, in a Today Show 3 part mini-series on the subject of habits, which begins on Monday 3/16. She appears on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
Sure to appeal to parents dealing with college admissions insanity, the NYT‘s Frank Bruni asserts that it doesn’t really matter if your child gets into Harvard. In an early review, The New Republic knocks Bruni’s “repeated reassurance that the Ivies are unimportant because there are still other ways to attain wealth and status in America,” saying this is “a book that wants to dismiss the importance of status without questioning the validity of status-seeking motives.” That issue may be lost on most college-obsessed parents. UPDATE: Bruni adapts a section from the book in essay for the NYT‘s Sunday Op/Ed section. As of Saturday morning, the online version, posted late Friday, is the most emailed story with nearly 450 comments.
Frank, Barney Frank (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio)
Frank’s memoir is reviewed in this week’s NYT Book Review by Frank Bruni, who, as noted above, has his own book coming next week. A clear fan of Frank as a person, Bruni finds his chronicle of coming out as a gay politician rewarding because “the author’s odyssey to honesty perfectly tracks America’s journey to a more open-eyed, healthier, better place,” but is disappointed by the “sometimes dry manner at odds with his public personality.” Frank is scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air on Monday.
LibraryReads — “I was hoping we’d be seeing Prudence in her own series. Baby P – Rue to you –is all grown up and absolutely delightful. First-time readers will think it’s a wonderful book on its own merits. However, it becomes spectacular when we get to revisit some of the beloved characters from the Parasol Protectorate. Gail Carriger is always a delight!” — Lisa Sprague, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT
LibraryReads — “Rose weaves a passionate tale of sensuality, heartbreak and despair, exposing readers to a side of Paris that is as haunting as its main characters. The melding of time and generations transform Sandrine and La Lune into a single force to be reckoned with. The unexpected ending will leave readers wanting more.” — Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY
LibraryReads — “How can you not be immediately intrigued by a novel that opens with a teenage boy driving from Louisiana to Minnesota after both his hands have just been cut off at the wrist? When you read this novel, you’re dropped right into a world – darkly funny and audaciously bold.” — Meghan Hall, Timberland Regional Library, Lacey, WA
LibraryReads — “Dana is a ‘pocket wife’ because her lawyer husband barely gives her the time of day. One afternoon, she drunkenly argues with her neighbor Celia, takes a nap, then wakes to find Celia dead. Could she have murdered Celia? Dana, suffering from manic episodes, tries to solve her friend’s murder before she loses all self-control. Highly recommended for fans of Gone Girl.” — Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN
The widely reported news of Terry Pratchett’s death is likely to send readers to the library. For those new to Pratchett, who wrote over 70 novels, many of which as part of the sprawling Discworld series, it can be hard to know where to start.
Readers’ advisors seeking guidance might turn to the A.V. Club’s well-considered path through Pratchett’s novels and consult BoingBoing’s posting of Krzysztof Kietzma’s handy infographic to the interrelated books in Discworld (unfortunately, it’s difficult to read. A larger version is available here). BuzzFeed offers a ranked listing of his 30 best works while USA Today and Mashablesuggest five starting titles.
At least one part of the State of Alabama’s investigation into complaints of elder abuse against author Harper Lee has been closed.
Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg tells the Associated Press that they have closed their investigation and that, in their conversations with Lee, “she was able to answer questions we asked to our satisfaction,” adding, “We don’t make competency determinations. We’re not doctors, But unless someone tells us to go back in, our file is closed on it.”
The Commission, which investigates financial crimes, interviewed Lee at the request of Alabama’s Department of Human Resources. A spokesperson for the department declined the A.P.’s request for comment on whether there will be other inquiries.
All the attention is not sitting well with Lee. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lee’s close friend, historian Wayne Flynt, said in an interview on Thursday, “All the reporters, all the controversy. At 88, in bad health, she’s wondering if it’s worth it.”
Meanwhile, holds in libraries are skyrocketing for the book that is at the center of the controversy, Go Set A Watchman(Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015).
The trailer for Paper Towns is on its way, as John Green announced on Twitter today:
I’ll be debuting the #PaperTowns trailer live on-air on The @TODAYshow next Thursday 19th March!
The movie’s release date has been changed from early June to July 24.
Nat Wolff, who had the supporting role of Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars, stars as Paper Town‘s Quentin “Q” Jacobsen, with Cara Delevingne as Margo.
On his weekly VlogBrothers video this Tuesday, Green says he has seen the film and thinks it’s great because it is “faithful to the themes of the book … learning to accept others’ complexity,” (as an executive producer on the movie, he may not be entirely unbiased). He also reassures fans that a Looking for Alaska movie “might actually happen.”
The tie-in has also been announced (cover, top):
Paper Towns, John Green
Penguin/Speak: May 19, 2015, Ship Date: April 14, 2015
Bettyville by George Hodgman (Penguin/Viking; Thorndyke; OverDrive Sample) is getting increased attention. The just released memoir by a former editor for Vanity Fair and book editor for Henry Holt who moves from NYC to tiny Paris, Missouri to care for his aging and ill mother, has already been featured in a profile in The New York Times, which called it,
“… a most remarkable, laugh-out-loud book … Rarely has the subject of elder care produced such droll human comedy, or a heroine quite on the mettlesome order of Betty Baker Hodgman … For as much as the book works on several levels (as a meditation on belonging, as a story of growing up gay and the psychic cost of silence, as metaphor for recovery), it is the strong-willed Betty who shines through.”
Yesterday, Terry Gross conducted a lengthy interview with Hodgman on Fresh Air. When asked about how he works to make his mother happy, Hodgman shared that they watch Dirty Dancing every week and “I started giving her books to read. We started with Nicholas Sparks. I don’t think there is anybody in this world who is more thankful for Nicholas Sparks than I am.”
The memoir is also People magazine’s “Book of the Week,” saying, “Slowly — convincingly — [Hodgman and his mother] come to terms with each other. You won’t finish their tale dry-eyed.”
Check your holds, some libraries have ratios over 5 to 1.
Grove Press announced on Wednesday that they will publish Australian author Gregory David Roberts’ second novel, The Mountain Shadow, on October 13, 2015 (ISBN 978-0802124456; not yet listed on wholesaler catalogs). A sequel to Shantaram(Macmillan/St. Martin’s), it follows Roberts’ 2004 epic about Lin, an escaped convict from Australia, and his adventures in Bombay, which was loosely based on the author’s own life after his conviction for bank robbery.
Shantaram was a success in the author’s own country, where he was already somewhat of a legend, inspired cult followings when it was published here (Johnny Depp has worked for several years to get a film adaptation off the ground) and was considered a great, although long (933 pages), yarn by The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post, which sums up the plot:
“ … the book, told in 933 readable pages, follows [Lin] from a remote Indian village in monsoon season to the Afghan mountains in winter, but mostly it takes place in Bombay: in a slum where he founds a medical clinic, in a prison where he is beaten and tortured, in meetings of a branch of the India mafia led by Abdel Khader Khan, an Afghan who becomes a father figure and employer for the fugitive.”
According to Grove press releaseThe Mountain Shadow is “set two years after the events in Shantaram, Bombay is now a different world, with different rules. Lin’s search for love and faith leads him through secret and violent intrigues to the dangerous truth.”
It’s difficult to predict if the public will be interested in a sequel that is ten years after the first success, but consider that Shantaram continues to inspire customer reviews on Amazon and copies continue to circulate from libraries.
The State of Alabama is investigating complaints of elder abuse against author Harper Lee in relation to the announced plans to publish a recently discovered manuscript by Harper Lee, Go Set A Watchman, (Harper; HarperLuxe, HarperAudio; July 14, 2015).
The ongoing investigation began last month, according to the New York Times, which broke the news late yesterday, and adds, “It remains unclear what, if anything, will come out of the investigation … One person informed of the substance of the interviews, who did not want to speak for attribution because the inquiry was ongoing, said Ms. Lee appeared capable of understanding questions and provided cogent answers to investigators.”
Last week, Entertainment Weekly Book Review editor Tina Jordan aired a Serial style investigation into the controversy, on the magazine’s Sirius Radio program “Off the Books.”
The episode sets out to “try to decide if Harper Lee is being exploited in any way.” Although the preponderance of evidence points towards exploitation, Jordan is nearly convinced by an interview with Kerry Madden author of the 2009 biography Harper Lee: A Twentieth-Century Life(part of Penguin/Viking Young Readers’s Up Close series). Madden strongly believes Harper Lee’s friend, Wayne Flynt, who says, based on his conversations with Lee, that she is excited about the book and it’s giving her something to focus on since the death of her sister last year.
Publicity has already begun. ABC announced yesterday that Robin Roberts will interview Kyle on both Good Morning America and 20/20 on May 1, days before the book’s release.
The LA Times’ “Jacket Copy” reported the news as well, tying the book to Chris Kyle’s own bestselling memoir, which continues to dominate best seller lists after the release of Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film version of American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper. Taya Kyle worked with the screenwriter and consulted on the film.
During the interview Congressman Lewis described a childhood of discrimination and how his parents would tell him “don’t get in the way, don’t get in trouble.” When he met Dr. King he said he found a means to “get in the way” and to “get in good, necessary trouble.”
The graphic novels recount Mr. Lewis’s life and momentous events in the Civil Rights Movement, from sit-ins to the Freedom Riders. He told Stewart he decided to write the March books because he wanted to
“… inspire another generation of young people to get out there, push, and stand up, and speak up, and speak out, and get in the way the same way that my generation got in the way, good trouble, necessary trouble.”
March: Book One was a Coretta Scott King honor book for 2014 and appeared on a host of best of lists. March: Book Two, which came out earlier this year, got glowing reviews and wide acclaim, The Washington Post called it “a must-read monument.”
The Last Flight by Poxl West by Daniel Torday (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, 3/17/15) a debut novel about war, self-creation, and memory is getting rave attention from a variety of sources well in advance of publication date, one sign that a book is likely to take off.
Michiko Kakutani, the difficult-to-impress daily New York Timescritic jumped the pub. date by eleven days in her Friday review. Saying Torday has “a keen sense of verisimilitude” and “a painterly eye for detail,” she sums up his skill as a writer with this high praise:
“It’s Mr. Torday’s ability to shift gears between sweeping historical vistas and more intimate family dramas, and between old-school theatrics and more contemporary meditations on the nature of storytelling that announces his emergence as a writer deserving of attention.”
Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it “a richly layered, beautifully told and somehow lovable story about war, revenge and loss” and offers an unexpected comparison:
“While Torday (The Sensualist: A Novella, 2012) is more likely to be compared to Philip Roth or Michael Chabon than Gillian Flynn, his debut novel has two big things in common with Gone Girl—it’s a story told in two voices, and it’s almost impossible to discuss without revealing spoilers.”
Ecstatic blurbs from a string of authors give the literary cred; Phil Klay, Karen Russell, Edan Lepucki, Gary Shteyngart, Rivka Galchen and George Saunders, who says the novel is “A wonderful accomplishment of storytelling verve: tender, lyrical, surprising, full of beautifully rendered details.” Shteyngart offers a more pithy “OMFG! What a book!”
Perhaps most influential of all, John Green took to Twitter on the 6th to talk it up:
“POXL a lovely novel sentence-to-sentence, and it gets at something deep about how we’re all frauds, and all worthy of love.”
At least one librarian is convinced. Wendy Bartlett of Cuyahoga Public Library sensing a “literary page turner,” increased her order.
Nina Stibbe, who wrote last year’s sleeper hit memoir and a Library Reads pick, Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home has just published her first novel about a divorced family, a move to rural England, and the hunt for a new father, A Man At the Helm(Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk, 3/10/15; OverDrive Sample).
It is getting rave reviews. Kate Kellaway of The Guardian says “it is a brilliant find. It even trumps Love, Nina because Stibbe is more at home in it. It is full, free, outlandish. And I can’t remember a book that made me laugh more.” She goes on to compare it to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle “with its opinionated innocence.”
Aldia Becker in the NYT Book Review concurs, finding that “This densely populated coming-of-age story (for both mother and children) has retained and even expanded on Stibbe’s signature antic charm.” Her suggestions for read-alikes also include Smith as well as Stella Gibbons, saying “Man at the Helm, with its jauntily matter-of-fact social satire, wouldn’t be out of place on the same shelf as Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle.”
NPR interviewed Stibbe on Weekend Edition Sunday. Based on the delight expressed so far, expect more attention and plenty of eager readers.