She recommends one of her “all-time favorite novels,” Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie (HMH/Mariner Books; OverDrive Sample, 2005), a story of mothers and daughters and of political persecution in Pakistan, adding “More people need to read this remarkable Pakistani author,” who lives in England, and has written six novels and one book of nonfiction.
Pearl also suggests the first in a spy series that she says gets better with each book in the run: Slow Horses, Mick Herron (PRH/Soho Crime; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), saying she loves the characters and that “It’s just great fun.”
She also mentions two titles which are recent discoveries:
Revolver, Duane Swierczynski (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample) –“This is the first novel I’ve read by [him] and as soon as I finished it I went back and read three more.”
A Twist of the Knife, Becky Masterman (Macmillan/ Minotaur) — This one is set to be published in March. “The main character is a woman named Brigid Quinn, who is a former FBI agent now retired. Brigid is 60. I love that. When have we last seen the hero of a thriller age 60?”
The final two suggestions, not included in the on air discussion, are:
A book about the toxic effects of sugar is taking off in libraries, The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample). Holds queues top 5:1 ratios in most libraries we checked.
In addition to examining scientific studies that show sugar increases many health risks, the book also makes the case that powerful lobbies try to obscure that growing evidence, making sugar, as the publisher puts it, “the tobacco of the new millennium.”
Calling the book “hard-charging” and “game-changing,” NYT, in a review featured on last week’s cover, writes “Here is a book on sugar that sugarcoats nothing. The stuff kills. … [Taubes] implicates scientists, nutritionists and especially the sugar industry in what he claims amounts to a major cover-up.”
The Atlantic says it is “a prosecutor’s brief … fleshed out with four decades’ worth of extra science” and that “Taubes is a clear-eyed zealot for his cause, acknowledging his bias and pressing on for better science.”
“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
Neil Gaiman’s newest, a spry retelling of the Norse tales, also makes the list, Norse Mythology (Norton; Harper Audio).
“After reading Gaiman’s account of Norse mythology, I doubt that I will ever forget how the gods of Asgard acquired their treasures. Thor’s hammer that never misses its mark, Freya’s incredible ship that shrinks to the size of a pocketable silk scarf, Odin’s powerful spear, all came to be because of Loki’s mischief. Above all, I will not forget the ill-gotten and ill-treated children of Loki who bring about Ragnarok, the end of earth and heaven and the death of the gods. Everything feels very real and very now when told by someone who has obviously drunk of the ‘mead of the poets.’” — Catherine Stanton, Madison Library District, Rexburg, IL
Additional Buzz: The NYT featured the book back in June, quoting Gaiman as saying “I hope the scholarship is good, but much more than that, I hope that I have retold stories that read like the real thing: sometimes profound, sometimes funny, sometimes heroic, sometimes dark, and always inevitable … [the] tales have accompanied me through pretty much everything I’ve done … They ran like a vein of silver through Sandman, they were the bedrock of American Gods.”
“Mastai’s debut is a clever and funny time travel romp which turns into an, action-packed science fiction thriller. Tom Barren stumbles through life and accidentally ruins the glittering jetpack and flying car future of 2016, replacing it with the one you and I know. The world may be worse off, but Tom’s life is better than ever. That is, until his mind starts splitting between the two realities and he must track down the genius who invented the other future. Tom’s journey through the past, across realities, and inside his mind make for a thrilling conclusion.” — Dan Brooks, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC
George R.R. Martin just offered fans a bit of hope on the progress of Winds of Winter, the tenth and final book [as a reader points out in the comments section, Winds of Winter is actually the sixth volume and not the last. One more is planned after that] in his Game of Thrones series, in an exchange on the blogs comment section of his blog.
“Not done yet, but I’ve made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.
I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).”
EW says “It’s still possible Winds could be out by the time [the HBO series] Thrones returns for season 7, which isn’t expected until this summer.”
That’s probably wishful thinking. In December Martin said he has “missed several deadlines” and “Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms?’ The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?’
Jane Harper’s debut thriller, The Dry (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), has already captured the attention of librarians, making the January LibraryReads list and leading our summary of titles that interested GalleyChatters back in October.
That enthusiasm it spreading. Hold ratios well exceed 3:1, as high as 7:1, in libraries.
In a strong review for the NYT, Janet Maslin writes Harper “has jampacked her swift debut thriller with sneaky moves that the reader has to track with care … it’s hard to believe this is her first novel … [it is] a book with a secret on every page [and] threats blooming everywhere, too.”
The thriller is rising on Amazon, moving to #166 from #734.
The debut novel by O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho(PRH/Random House, Jan. 3; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) is getting glowing reviews from a wide range of sources, from major outlets to local newspapers, from print and online, and from one coast to another.
The Einstein series is based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe.
Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush stars as Einstein. Johnny Flynn (Lovesick) plays the younger Einstein while Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything) is Elsa, his second wife. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the series executive producers.
The tie-in, with new cover art not yet final, is set for release on April 4th:
The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Fransicso, with Wells on his heels (the Kirkus review gives an amusing summary of the convoluted plot).
For the TV series, the US location was changed to present-day New York.
A trailer for the pilot came out in May. Since then the female lead has been recast with Nicole Ari Parker as the character played by Regina Taylor.
No tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Forge Books, 978-0765326225; OverDrive Sample).
Elle won Best Motion Picture in the Foreign Language with its star Isabelle Huppert winning for best actress, drama. The film is based on Oh…by Philippe Djian (Gallimard, 2012; not published in the US).
After its limited release opening on Christmas Day, Live by Night expands nationwide this Friday. Based on Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio), starring Ben Affleck who also directs.
The first Friday the 13th of the year offers an auspicious start to a beloved series best known for its unfortunateness. The long-awaited adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket (HarperCollins, 1999 – 2006), begins streaming on Netflix.
The show stars Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith as Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire.
A.V. Club says “A fairy tale for macabre bookworms who’ve graduated from Roald Dahl but aren’t ready for Edward Gorey … This blend of tragedy and twee … [is] Kids stuff with adult sophistication, driven by two-part stories, outrageous visuals, and the scenery-chewing of big-name guest stars.”
The horror film Bye Bye Man, based on a chapter in the 2005 nonfiction book The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America by Robert Damon Schneck (Anomalist Books, 2005), also opens on the 13th.
The film stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, Lucien Laviscount, and Douglas Jones and tells the supposedly true story of three friends who get into trouble when they mess around with a Ouija board.
As NPR reported at that time, Fallada was a best selling author between WWI and II, with his books picked as book-of-the-month-club selections and adapted into Hollywood films (which got him blacklisted by the Nazis).
However, Every Man Dies Alone wasn’t published in English until 2009, after Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson heard about the book from the fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg and tracked it down.
When it finally did come out here, it was a best seller and became a NYT‘s Notable Book and one of The New Yorker‘s Favorite Fiction Books of the year.
Daniel Handler, currently in the news for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, is also getting attention for his new book, to be released this summer, All the Dirty Parts(Bloomsbury USA; ISBN 9781632868046; Aug. 29, 2017).
Featured in a “first look” by Entertainment Weekly, the main character, Cole, is described as “a sex-obsessed high school student,” who knows a bit about his favorite topic. As Handler tells EW, Cole is not the “familiar stock character — the inadequate, fumbling, inexperienced young man, often a subject of derision or humor. Meanwhile, of course, many young men are having a fantastic and fascinating time in non-virginity, and that’s where I saw an opportunity for a story that’s universally recognizable but rarely talked about, or at least not honestly.”
Handler says he wrote the book after being “asked to give a talk on encouraging reading and teenage boys, who often fall off the literary bandwagon,” Looking back towards the books he loved at that age, he realized they had one thing in common, “they had a lot of sex.” Asked whether he worries about his Lemony Snicket fans finding this book, he replies, “It’s funny, isn’t it, that we worry about young people reading about sex, instead of, say, people shooting each other with laser beams. This anxiety is precisely what led to the novel.”
The book relates his adventures while searching for a legendary lost city in the rain forests of Mosquitia, which spans Honduras and Nicaragua. Preston tells reporter Lee Cowan that on that trip, he picked up a parasite that requires a painful therapy.
The White City, or, as some call it, the City of the Monkey God, is a sacred place fabled to hold boundless treasure. “The legend is there was a great city in the mountains that was struck by a series of catastrophes, and the inhabitants thought the gods were angry at them, and [they] left, leaving all their belongings behind,” Preston says.
Using advances in laser mapping technology, explorer Steve Elkins and his team, which included Preston, found the city, braving pit vipers, mud, and foliage so thick they could not even see the site once they were upon it.
The team was jubilant, however, after they discovered rare artifacts, including carved figures left by a 16th-century citizenry who, as CBS notes, “fled the city in a desperate attempt to escape European disease and slavery.”
Noting that the program was inspired by LibraryReads in the US, the story credits Loan Stars with helping to highlight new and upcoming authors.
It’s also had an impact on library staff. Margaret Elwood of Toronto’s Fairview branch says it has encouraged her to read and recommend ARCs and eGalleys, “Before the Loan Stars program came along I knew that I had access to pre-pub books, but I never took advantage of it … I think it’s really raised the awareness to library staff that it’s something you can do and it’s really easy to do, and maybe you should do it.”
The trailer has just been released for the TV series adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s White Queen, set to air on the STARZ channel some time in 2017.
The sequel to BBC’s 2013 series The White Queen, adapted from the first novels of Philippa Gregory’s the “Cousins’ War” series, which also ran on STARZ. it features the same writer/director team and stars Jacob Collins-Levy as Henry VII, Jodie Comer as Princess Elizabeth, Essie Davis as Elizabeth Woodville, Joanne Whalley as the Duchesss of Burgundy, Michelle Fairley as Margaret Beaufort and Suki Waterhouse as Cecily of York.
The sound track features a haunting version of Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line, by Halsey (incongruously, it is also used for the new Power Rangers trailer).
Below, Gregory, who serves as executive producer on the series, describes the history behind the novel.