Bestseller Bowden was on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, giving the book, which has already jumped on Amazon’s sales rankings, another strong push to #28.
Calling it “a remarkable book” host Dave Davies has Bowden lead listeners through the run up to the battles of Hue and some of the bloody experience of the fight. He also talks about the strategy and individual stories that unfolded during the conflict, as well as its disastrous outcome for both sides.
The interview runs nearly 45 minutes and in conclusion he says:
“What investigating this taught me was that, in fact, I think it was right to oppose this war. It was a mistake. It reflected a triumph of ideology over reality in Washington, this anti-communist ideology which completely ignored the realities of Southeast Asia and Vietnam’s history and what actually was happening there. And I think this is kind of a periodic thing that happens in American life, where, you know, these concepts of the world and America’s role in the world lead us into conflicts that – and then we collide with reality.”
“A combination of memoir and reportage, this book gives the reader unique access behind the lines of jihad. This is a book to understand what drives people into the hands of recruiters, and the nature of the threat that is facing the West today.”
It leaped on Amazon’s rankings as a result, moving from #98 to #36.
Taking a cue from the UK election, she says what helped Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party do so well and gain so many seats was that “he came out with a bold manifesto speaking to [voters’] better selves. He lead with ideas and that gave people hope.” She says the Democrats are missing a “tangible offer of how [they] are going to fix” what is wrong.
The 71st annual Tony Awards were announced last night. It came as no surprise that Dear Evan Hansen won big, talking home Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Best Orchestrations, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score Written for a Musical.
What might be a surprise is how very bookish the evening was as many of the shows have either been published in book form, were already available as print plays, or are based on other books.
Rising on Amazon’s rankings, jumping from #1,868 to #128 is the book Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson, composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Consortium Book Sales/Theatre Communications Group).
Fans have more to look forward to. In November a book about the making of the play will be published, Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson (Hachette/Grand Central, cover not yet finalized).
Hello, Dolly!, which netted Bette Midler the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, is based on Thornton Wilder’s The Merchant of Yonkers (latter retitled The Matchmaker). It came out in a new edition this April, The Matchmaker: A Farce in Four Acts (HC/Harper Perennial; OverDrive Sample).
The Best Play winner, Oslo, has been published in book form: Oslo by J.T. Rogers (Consortium Book Sales/Theatre Communications Group), while the Best Revival of a Play, August Wilson’s Jitney, has a tie-in edition,Jitney: A Play – Broadway Tie-In Edition by August Wilson (The Overlook Press; OverDrive Sample).
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which won 2 Tony awards, is based on a section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That section is out in Ebook format: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy with a forward by the composer Dave Malloy (PRH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample). There is also a “making of” book, The Great Comet: The Journey of a New Musical to Broadway edited by Steven Suskin with notes by Dave Malloy (Sterling).
Last night’s show created a bump for a book on a far different subject, A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg (HMH; OverDrive Sample). It is soaring on Amazon’s rankings after being featured on the show.
The book moved from #1,191 into the Top 10 sellers, sitting at #10. It is the first bump Kelly has ever generated, putting aside her promotions of her own titles.
The segment focuses on one of the authors, Jennifer Doudna, a professor in the Chemistry and the Molecular and Cell Biology Departments at the University of California, Berkeley. She is one of the inventors of CRISPR, a gene editing process that allows scientists to edit DNA strings in a manner she says is similar to fixing a typo. The technology will change evolution and can be used to cure deadly illnesses and wipe out disease but could also be used to create engineered babies and super soldiers.
Doudna is the go-to expert for the invention and talks about it in multiple formats. Here she gives a TED talk explaining how CRISPR works:
The first trailer has been released for Black Panther, the next in the Marvel Comics franchise. The movie doesn’t arrive until Feb. 16 of next year, but the Hollywood Reporter notes the trailer release is timed to the success of another current super-hero movie, to show that “the studio has its own Wonder Woman in waiting.”
Point by point breakdowns of the less than 2 minute teaser, which is trending on YouTube, come from io9, ScreenRant, and New York magazine, particularly noting the images of the Black Panther’s homeland, Wakanda, as well as the Dora Milaje, the all female bodyguards of the Black Panther.
The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the Black Panther, along with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.
Viewers first saw Black Panther in the hugely successful movie Captain America: Civil War,
but long before that film the comics character attracted attention thanks to his revival in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s comics, now collected in Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel). See our earlierposts for more background.
The winners of the 2017 Horn Book – Boston Globe Awards were announced on May 31 during SLJ‘s Day of Dialog. The awards will be presented aceremony on Friday, October 6, 2017, at Boston’s Simmons College. A winner and two honor books are selected in each of three categories: Fiction and Poetry, Picture Book, and Nonfiction.
“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter lives a life many African American teenagers can relate to: a life of double consciousness. Caught between her rough, predominantly black neighborhood and the “proper,” predominantly white prep school she attends, Starr has learned how to “speak with two different voices and only say certain things around certain people.” This precarious balance is broken when Starr witnesses the shooting of her (unarmed) childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. What follows is a gut-wrenching chain of events that alters all Starr holds dear … Thomas has penned a powerful, in-your-face novel.”
“After vividly setting the stage with brief sections that introduce Vincent and Theo near the end of their lives, Heiligman takes readers back to their beginnings. We learn of other siblings and of supportive parents; we gain a sense of their childhoods in their father’s parsonage. Structured as a walk through an art museum, the book proceeds through the years, each section a gallery … Heiligman mostly employs a present-tense, purposely staccato narration that effectively heightens the brothers’ emotional intensity, their sufferings and pleasures (physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual), and, most of all, Vincent’s wild and original art. The layout, which incorporates sketches, subheads, and a generous use of white space, is a calming counterpoint to the turbulent narrative … The result is a unique and riveting exploration of art, artists, and brotherly love.”
The judging panel included Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library (chair), Pauletta B. Bracy, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina; and Sheila M. Geraty, Brookwood School, Manchester, Massachusetts.
In this harrowing but ultimately triumphant story, John Aldridge falls off his boat in the early hours of the morning while fishing in the Atlantic. After surviving sharks, cold, and twelve hours in the open ocean, the Coast Guard spotted him clinging to a rope. The rescue pilot told him they never find men alive, they just find bodies.
The story was widely reported, most notably in a 2014 NYT Magazine cover story. The Weinstein company bought both the book and the film rights.
Of making best book lists there is no end. June marks the half-way point of the year, so lists of the best books so far are following the many lists of best summer titles. Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, and more already have already released their picks. Expect additional lists in the next couple of weeks.
These half-year checkups are not simply useful to track what hit big or impressed reviewers, they also highlight overlooked gems that could use a circulation boost. For readers’ advisory librarians they provide a starting list of sure bet titles from 2017 and introduce, or cement the reputation of, key authors to know.
She was filmed while breaking a long held prohibition on women driving. The video went viral, leading to her arrest and was only released after worldwide protests. She has since moved to Australia.
Saudi women are assigned to a male guardian, she says, who must give permission for almost anything, including leaving the house. As women grow older, their guardianship simply changes from one man to another. It’s no wonder she wanted to tell Ivanka Trump to “just be quiet” when she praised Saudi for their progress on equal rights, while women sit in jail for trying to further those rights.
LJ gives it a starred review, writing it is “a striking, nuanced memoir of what it means to ‘drive while female’.”
In its second week, Wonder Woman, considered “amazing,” is still at #1 in 4,165 theaters. In movie speak, it’s exhibits “a very rare hold for any superhero tentpole movie which typically ease between 50%-60% in their second weekends.” In another form of super-hero, Captain Underpants came in a distant third, but, given it’s low production costs, is still considered a relative success.
Anthony Horowitz, the author of the #1 LibraryReads pick for June, Magpie Murders (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is profiled today in the NYT. His novel is also one of eight titles on People magazine’s list of “Summer’s Best Books” in the new issue. The book is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings and holds are growing.
Horowitz is well-known for his Sherlock Holmes novels, Moriarty and The House of Silk, his James Bond book Trigger Mortis, and the YA Alex Rider spy series (soon to be a TV show), leading the NYT to call the Magpie Murders his “first original murder mystery novel.”
“I’ve always loved the genre, and I’ve written dozens of murder mysteries on TV [among them, the Foyle’s War series], but have resisted writing one as a book until now” says Horowitz. “Writing for me has always been about pushing the envelope … I don’t think anyone has done a story within a story, with two interlinked crimes, like this, so I’m pleased.”
He also reveals that he has written a second adult mystery, writing himself in as the sidekick, “Of course, I’m the one who is constantly fooled,” he says. While it has not yet been announced for US publication, The Word is Murder is due out in the UK this August.
During the interview Horowitz also talks about his love of magic tricks and says “A book does magic without saying, ‘Pick a card.’ A whodunit is, at its best, a huge magic trick that says, ‘I’m going to tell you a story.'”
Cornelia Funke’s middle-grade novel about a boy who joins a young dragon named Firedrake on a quest for a magical place is headed to the movies.
The animated adaptation of Dragon Rider(Scholastic/Chicken House; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample) will be created by a German studio , according to The Hollywood Reporter, and directed by an award-wining German animator (Funke is also German).
The book has seen strong success in the US. It was #1 on the NYT Children’s Best Sellers list for over twenty nonconsecutive weeks and spent two years on the list overall. Booklist‘s starred review called it “a good, old-fashioned ensemble-cast quest in the style of Lloyd Alexander, with a bit of Puff the Magic Dragon added to the mix.”
Other titles by Funke have made their way to the screen. Both Inkheart and The Thief Lord have been made into films, although neither received glowing reviews.
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown riveted the nation with his humane response to the mass police shootings in his city last July.
Brown’s memoir, Called to Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is getting strong media attention.
NPR’s All Things Considers has an interview in which he reflects on the lessons of his life and says the solution to the nation’s problems is “not yelling and screaming, but ‘let’s sit down and listen to each other and invite someone home for dinner.'” A notable touchstone from his own life occurred when a white student in his newly integrated grade school invited him home for dinner.
Nothing evokes summer like an Elin Hilderbrand cover. Says USA Today of her newest, The Identicals (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette LP; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), “Take the summer setting (The Identicals hops between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard) and the plot device of feuding sisters, and you’ve got the recipe for another Hilderbrand beach hit.”
Two heavily anticipated memoirs arrive this week, Roxane Gay’s (see below) and Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette LP; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). Entertainment Weekly says that Alexie “blends poetry and prose, and varies widely in tone as he explores old memories and new grief.” It’s one of eight books heralded by People magazine in the current issue as “Summer’s Best Books” (list not available online).
“Lydia Smith is enjoying her comfortable life. She has a job she loves at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Then one of her favorite “bookfrogs” (code word for eccentric bookstore regulars) commits suicide and leaves her his small horde of books. She discovers a strangely methodical defacement which is a kind of code. A delicate spiderweb of connections leading back to a murderous incident in Lydia’s childhood is revealed. This pushed me into reading ‘just one more chapter’ until late into the night.” — Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park, NJ
Additional Buzz: It is a June Indie Next pick too.
“Terribly depressed by the emptiness of her long marriage, Marianne decides to end it all by jumping off a Paris bridge. Her unwanted rescue and ensuing marital abandonment jolt Marianne into ditching her tour group and setting out for Finistere, the westernmost coast of Brittany. Keeping body and soul together by working at a seaside bistro, Marianne finds herself healing through the company of a diverse group of quirky locals. The Little French Bistro is merveilleux. It refreshes like the sea breeze sweeping the Breton coast.” — Sarah Nagle, Carver County Library, Chaska, MN
“In Every Heart a Doorway we met Jack and Jill, two sisters bound together yet alienated. In this installment, we learn how these two girls escape their parents when they exit the world we know for a realm of fairy-tale horror via a magic stairway, appearing in a trunk in a locked room. This is a story about two young women and the trauma that shapes them; a story about love, hate, and the thin line between. A captivating and emotional novella that irresistibly sweeps the reader along.” — Tegan Mannino, Monson Free Library, Monson, MA
Additional Buzz:Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt. Library Journal and Publishers Weekly star, with LJ writing, “Beautifully crafted and smartly written, this fairy-tale novella is everything that speculative fiction readers look for: fantastical worlds, diverse characters, and prose that hits home with its emotional truths.”
“Silver Silence is a new chapter in the Psy/Changeling series. As the world tries to adjust after a peace accord, Silver Mercant takes center stage. As head of an aid organization reacting to rampant terrorism, she’s an obvious target. But Alpha Valentin Nikolaev has already decided she’s his to protect. Valentin and Silver start tracking down deadly shadow factions that want to undermine the Trinity Accords. Diverse and fascinating world-building are on full display along with a bumped up level of humor in the face of adversity.” — Jessica Trotter, Capital District Area Libraries, Lansing, MI
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a delightful tale of old Hollywood, so full of detail, that you’ll swear Evelyn was a real actor. Monique Grant is tasked with writing an article about the famous woman, so she interviews Evelyn who tells us all about her career, starting in the 1950s — and her many marriages. This novel will enchant you, and Evelyn will stay with you long after you finish reading.” — Lauren McLaughlin, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT
“For someone who approaches such serious scientific and technological subjects, Neal Stephenson can be outrageously funny. Combine that with Nicole Galland’s storytelling ability and you have a rollicking roller coaster of a novel. The authors mix together magic, witchcraft, time travel, science, and historical figures, both real and imagined, while delightfully skewering bumbling bureaucrats, pretentious academics, a rigid military, and other bastions of the establishment to produce a work that is both thought-provoking and totally entertaining.” —Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxane Gay (HC/Harper; HarperAudio).
“This memoir is about trauma and privilege, self-loathing, and a silent fear kept secret for far too long. It’s about our obsession with body weight and body image, what happens when we internalize our pain and become self-destructive, and how very, very large people are treated in humiliating ways. The descriptions of addictive behavior and the journey to want to heal make this book more universal than I expected. When you decide that this is the day you’re going to change and you get out of bed and fail, that’s pretty normal. You’ll have another chance tomorrow — just remember to like yourself enough to overcome the fear of healing and try again. Highly recommend.” —Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI
So Much Blue, Percival Everett (Macmillan/Graywolf Press; HighBridge Audio).
“The newest release from Percival Everett provides ample proof that he is one of the most underrated writers in American literature. So Much Blue jumps among three different points in protagonist Kevin Pace’s life that have shaped his artistry as a painter and his misgivings as a man. These vignettes are sardonic, shocking, and sexy. Like life, Everett’s latest doesn’t give you an easy tie-it-up-in-a-nice-bow revelation — instead, it leaves you thinking about these characters days after you’ve closed the book, mulling over their futures as well as yours.” —Dante Bostic, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
“I approached Dungy’s book with the same feelings I had when starting Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts. I had very little in common with the writers of these two books or the experiences related in them, yet with each I found myself drawn in by the acute intelligence of the writing and pulled along by the sheer compulsion of a story well told. Not only is Dungy a more than capable storyteller, she writes like the poet she is, and, like all poets, she leads us across a boundary, expanding our worlds.” —Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA
“After a childhood in the wilds of Northern Michigan, where her rugged, brutal father was the center of her world, Helena has made a new life with a family who doesn’t know her past. Now she and her father are hunting each other and Helena must use all the skills he taught her to survive. Fascinating, dark, and disturbing, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a psychological thriller most compelling in its rich descriptions of the survivalist training of a very tough little girl.” —Patty Mullins, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY
The film is set during the Civil War and the plot involves a group of women sequestered in a girls boarding school in the South, whose lives are turned upside down by the appearance of a wounded Union soldier. Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst star.