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.”
Over the years, we’ve learned that the most interesting aspect of best books lists are not the consensus titles, but those that are rated very highly by just one or two publications.
Now that the New York Times Book Review has released their picks of the Best Books of the Year, we can make comparisons. Unsurprisingly, in fiction, the top two titles are the National Book Award winner, The Underground Railroad and the NBA finalist Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn.
Two other titles stand out as unusual. The Kirkus Prize went to
C. E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings (Macmillan/FSG) a title that was also a Carnegie Medal longlist selection, but not a finalist. It is on the NYT BR list, but not among the Top Ten (we jumped the gun on this one. The Top Ten list wasn’t released until Dec. 1. It does not include The Sport of Kings). The other is the number two selection by the Amazon editors, Beth Lewis’s The Wolf Road (PRH/Crown), which has so far not appeared on any other list.
What makes these titles superior in the editors’s and judges’s minds? Unfortunately, we aren’t given an insight into those deliberations, so we’re left guessing.
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 force behind The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film adaptations is bringing another UK import to the big screen, the SF series by Philip Reeve known as Predator Cities. The first book is Mortal Engines (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample) and as of now, that will be the name of the new Peter Jackson film (note, in the US the series is called the Hungry City Chronicles).
The first novel, published in 2003, opens the dystopian series in which cities on caterpillar tracks move about in search of other cities to attack in a quest for a dwindling amount of resources caused by a devastating global war. It features a 15-year-old orphan named Tom Natsworthy who is flung off the moving city of London along with Hester Shaw, another orphan. The pair finds themselves lost in the wasteland of the ruined landscape hunted by a cyborg.
It was a ALA Notable Children’s Book and made SLJ‘s best books list and YALSA Best Books for Young Adult list. In their starred review, PW wrote “Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve’s debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering, a brilliant construction that offers new wonders at every turn.”
The film is set to open on Dec. 14, 2018. According to Variety, “That week of December has brought good fortune to Jackson: All six Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies staked out the same pre-Christmas week date.”
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.”
One surprising winner of the political season has been the under-the-radar Science Fiction writer, Ted Chiang. Well known to the SF fan-base but not a household name, Chiang has won an impressive number of major science fiction awards even though he has written just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines.
By far his most famous, “Story of Your Life,” is the basis for the film Arrival, a movie that got a huge boost as viewers sought escape after the election.
Now the collection that includes that story, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon, just outside the top 100 bestsellers. It is also racking up large hold ratios. Counting both the original publication and the tie-in edition, some libraries are showing holds as high as 7:1.
“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional ‘sense of wonder’ is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the ‘wonder; of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive 50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”
NPR featured Chiang on All Things Considered, reporting that three more of his stories have been optioned for adaptations. The show also quotes Chiang as saying, “Fiction writing is very hard for me and I’m a very slow writer … I don’t get that many ideas for stories … And I like to take my time when I do get an idea for a story.” “Which means,” says NPR, “that readers get to take their time, too — to chew on Chiang’s craft and carefulness.”
Over twenty years after Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt stared in the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (PRH/Ballantine Books; BOT; OverDrive Sample) the author has regained the rights and is planning a TV show.
Apparently impressed with the opportunities HBO’s Game of Thrones has demonstrated, she continues, “A television series of the highest quality is now my dream for Lestat, Louis, Armand, Marius and the entire tribe. In this the new Golden Age of television, such a series is THE way to let the entire story of the vampires unfold … Over the years you all have told me how much you want to see a Game of Thrones style faithful rendering of this material … What you want is what I want.”
The magazine points out that there is “plenty of room for vampires on TV now that True Blood has ended and the zenith of the vampire fiction heyday has come and gone. The Vampire Diaries and FX’s The Strain will air their final seasons in 2017, so now is just the right time for a new vampire show to come pick up the slack.”
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.
Born in Ireland and a long time resident of Britain, his characters were often “hanging on to the bottom rung of the lower middle class, [waging] unequal battle with capricious fate,” the NYT‘s continues.
“I’m very interested in the sadness of fate, the things that just happen to people,” Trevor told Publishers Weekly in 1983.
While he wrote novels, Trevor saw himself as a short story author. The NYT‘s reports his saying “I’m a short-story writer who writes novels when he can’t get them into short stories … [my] novels are “a lot of linked-up short stories.” He told the Paris Review that a short story was “the art of the glimpse.”
The LA Times lists his honors: “He won one of Britain’s top literary prizes, the Whitbread, three times; was short-listed four times for the Booker Prize, most recently in 2002 for “The Story of Lucy Gault”; and was a perennial object of speculation as a potential Nobel literature laureate.”
He also earned praise from fellow authors. The LA Times further reports, “Graham Greene praised Trevor’s 1973 collection Angels at the Ritz as the best set of short stories since Dubliners, James Joyce’s 1914 collection.”
Director Martin Scorsese has adapted a book he has “reread countless times,” one that has given him “a kind of sustenance” that he has “found in only a very few works of art.”
The novel is Shusaku Endo’s Silence: With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese (Peter Owen Publishers, Dec. 1; trade paperback, Macmillan/Picador Modern Classics), first published in 1966 and winner of the Tanizaki Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary honors.
Entertainment Weekly writes that the film is about “a Portuguese Jesuit priest who is persecuted along with other Christians in 17th-century Japan … the hardship inflicted upon them [the priest and two others], and especially on their fellow Christians, puts their faith to the test.” It stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver.
In addition to the quotes above, Scorsese also writes in his introduction to the tie-in, that the priest in the novel, played by Neeson, “begins on the path of Christ and … ends replaying the role of Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas.” Endo “looks at the problem of Judas more directly than any other artist I know. He understood that, in order for Christianity to live, to adapt itself to other cultures and historical moments, it needs not just the figure of Christ but the figure of Judas as well.”
At a press conference in May, held to promote the first look at the film, Scorsese told reporters that he’d been trying to adapt the book for over 25 years and that “The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very, very young … I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family. … Further reflection is how [we] want to lead our life in the Christian faith … so ultimately this book drew my attention when it was given to me in 1988.”
Silence will open Dec. 23 in a limited Oscar-qualifying run before opening in wide release in January.
The publisher describes the novel as “A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy.”
Holds lists are active at every library we checked some within a 3:1 ratio and others well over, even triggering re-ordering.
This is not the first time a somewhat forgotten work by a highly regarded author has found new readers. After 9/11, E.B. White’s Here is New York, written in 1948, became so popular the publisher issued a reprint.
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.”