Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, (Harper, 2012) appeared on most of the best books lists last year. The audio was also picked as one of the year’s best and a film is in the works.
Imogen Poots has signed on to star, reports Deadline. Directed by Todd Field, who won acclaim for the film version of Tom Perotta’s Little Children, production is set to begin in Italy in May. Author Walter and director Field are co-writing the screenplay.
It’s a week of mourning for the book world. Among the greats who died are Doris Lessing, whose The Golden Notebook was embraced by the 70′s feminist movement (she told NPR that she found that notion “stupid”), Louis Rubin, who as founder of Algonquin Press (acquired in 1989 by Workman) nurtured a generation of southern writers and published several titles himself and Barbara Park, who fulfilled her seemingly modest goal of giving readers “nothing more than a smile or two” through her many books for children, including the Junie B. Jones series.
The computer-generated Paddington is voiced by Colin Firth. Featured in live roles are Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Julie Walters. Directed by Paul Smith, it is being produced by David Heyman, who also produced Gravity and Harry Potter.
Reflecting a diversity of tastes, a total of 35 titles get nods and no title appears on all or even three of the lists.
Two titles received two picks each. Anthony Marra’s debut A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, (RH/Hogarth) is a top ten for both LJ and PW (it was on the NBA long list, but is not a finalist). James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike) is a PW Top Ten and a National Book Award Award finalist.
Author Rainbow Rowell is having quite a year. Her Y.A. debut, Eleanor & Park, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), which came out in February, is a Top Ten pick for both PW and Amazon (as a YA title, it is ineligible for LJ‘s list). Her second book, Fangirl, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s), which followed in September was chosen as the #1 LibraryReads title for the inaugural September list. UPDATE: Thanks to Sarah for pointing out in the comments that Elearnor & Park is Rowell’s debut YA title. Her first novel, published as an adult title, wasAttachments, (Penguin/Dutton, 2011). We’ve corrected the post to reflect that. We should also note that Rowell’s next book, Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press), coming in July, is also an adult title (or, as the author says on her blog, it’s adult “To the extent that it’s about people in their 30s“).
Ellen Burstyn looks like she’s enjoying her role in the trailer, below, of the evil matriarch who abuses her four grandchildren hidden in the attic of her mansion, but Entertainment Weekly reports that she found it exhausting.
Heather Graham plays the childrens’ mother. The older daughter Cathy is played by Kiernan Shipka, who got her start in acting as Sally Draper on AMC’s Mad Men.
Entertainment Weekly dares to ask the question that will be on many minds; “Will there be incest?” Mason Dye, who plays the older brother Chris says they will go there, “We stay very true to the book.”
That subject was only hinted at in the earlier 1987 adaptation, starring Louise Fletcher as the grandmother, Kristy Swanson as Cathy, and Victoria Tennant as the mother. Universally regarded as a flop in its time, it has gone on to become a camp favorite.
The first “official trailer” for the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s YA novel Divergent was released at a live event on studio Summit’s YouTube channel yesterday. While remarkably similar to the “exclusive first look” trailer shown during the MTV Video awards in August, this one adds several new scenes.The movie releases on March 21.
Summit has also released is a featurette, “Factions,” that explains an important element of the story.
The tie-in editions will be published in February:
Divergent Movie Tie-in Edition
HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books
On Sale Date: February 11, 2014
Hardcover: 9780062289841, 0062289845
$17.99 US / $21.00 Can.
Paperback: 9780062289858, 0062289853
$9.99 US / $11.99 Can
As we’ve come to expect, there’s little agreement between the lists. Just 5 nonfiction titles and 10 fiction titles were picked by both.
The National Book Awards winners will be announced next week. Only one nonfiction NBA finalist is on either best books list, George Packer’s The Unwinding, (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio), which is on both.
Among the NBA fiction finalists, just two titles get nods. George Saunders’ book of short stories, The Tenth of December, (Random House; BOT; Thorndike) is #7 on the Amazon editors list and on the PW list, but not in the Top Ten. On the other hand, McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; Thorndike) is on the PW Top Ten, but comes in at a middling #44 on Amazon’s list.
What about the Booker? Amazon picked all but one of the titles on the short list, while PW didn’t pick any of them, not even the winner, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio).
As we have for several years, we will compile all the major lists into spreadsheets, convenient for checking against your collections, for creating displays, virtual and actual, and for placing end-of-the-year orders. You can dowload the adult lists below (and from the links at the right, under “Best Books, Spreadsheet”:
As part of the full-court press to promote Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, “based on the untold true story” of the making of the movie, Mary Poppins, a video has been released with commentary by Tom Hanks, who plays Walt Disney, and Emma Thomspon, who plays PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, the book.
As they point out, the movie had to be made with Disney, a company notoriously fanatic about controlling rights. Any other studio would have had to figure out how to make a movie about Mary Poppins, without using images or music from the film. Says BuzzFeed,
Consider the irony here: If [scriptwriter Kelly] Marcel wanted to see her work on the big screen, she had to sell Disney her movie about an author who didn’t want to sell her book to Disney … In a way, it was just as Travers predicted: Mary Poppins became a property of Disney, even if she created the character.
BuzzFeed goes on to applaud the movie for being honest about Disney’s vices; he drank and smoked three packs a day and eventually died of lung cancer.
What they don’t mention is that, as Caitlin Flanagan wrote in “Becoming Mary Poppins,” published in the New Yorker in 2005, far from the movie’s portrayal of Disney using his personal charm to woo Travers, the real-life person didn’t even meet with her at first. Instead, he left town, palming her off on the two songwriters he had hired for an agonizing, week-long story meeting.
When Travers confronted Disney after the movie’s premiere, to which she hadn’t even been invited, and demanded some changes, says Flanagan,
Disney looked at her coolly. “Pamela,” he replied, “the ship has sailed.” And then he strode past her, toward a throng of well-wishers, and left her alone, an aging woman in a satin gown and evening gloves, who had travelled more than five thousand miles to attend a party where she was not wanted.
That hardly sounds like the warm-hearted conclusion promised in previews.
The movie arrives in selected theaters on Dec. 13, rolling out nationwide on Dec. 20.
The tie-in is a re-release of a biography of Travers, published in Australia in 1999 and released here in 2006, Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers, by Valerie Lawson (S&S).
Lawson is quoted in Entertainment Weekly’s 11/15 “Holiday Movie Preview” issue, describing how Travers felt about the movie, “She’d written Mary Poppins as a way of healing the wounds of her own childhood, so to have [the character] turned into someone rather more sprightly and cheerful than she desired was very difficult.”
New Zealand author Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Award for The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio), is currently making appearances in the U.S.
On PBS NewsHour last night, Jeffrey Brown gave her a chance to explain her novel, which she herself calls a “publisher’s nightmare,” one that, says Brown, “all the reviewers [are] trying to figure out and explain to their readers.”
The book is currently at #19 and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings and, as we noted previously, holds are rising in libraries.
Once again, the UK’s major book award, the Man Booker, has influenced readers in the U.S. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Brilliance Audio), which was released here on the day the award was announced, has been on the NYT Fiction Best Seller list for two weeks and is showing heavy holds on modest ordering in most libraries.
Reviews appeared here shortly after the award was announced. All noted the book’s unusual length (834 pages), without calling it overlong. Said Bill Roorbach (Life Among Giants,Workman/Algonquin, 2012) in the NYT Book Review, “as for the length, surely a book this good could never be too long.”
Celebrating the beauty of illustrated books, this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review features the ten best of the year, as selected by a judging panel consisting of Brian Selznick, who has won the award twice himself, NYPL’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist Betsy Bird, and Steven Heller, art director at the NYT and author of many books on design.
Among the titles is Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson, (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).
Also in the issue is a special section of children’s book reviews.
The biggest film adaptation opening tomorrow is based on comics characters. Thor: The Dark World, is the second movie in the seriesbased on Marvel comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. Reviews of the film are not kind, withUSA Today saying, “Unlike Iron Man and Captain America, Thor is too dull a character to pin a franchise on, though Chris Hemsworth certainly looks the part and the production design is striking,” but one writer begs to differ.
The adaptation of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief debuts in a very limited Oscar-qualifying release, just four screens, with plans to roll it out more widely. How widely depends on whether it gets Oscar nods. Early reviews, which repeatedl yuse the lackluster term “earnest,” don’t bode well. The Forbes reviewer notes that it is based on a “somewhat popular novel” (guess 230 weeks on the NYT best seller fails to impress him). He’s also not impressed by the star power of Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and newcomer Sophie Nélisse as Liesel. The movie did, however, win over fellow YA novelist John Green and has brought new readers to the book, which has been moving up the USA Today best seller list to #15 as of the 11/7 list, its highest spot to date. Showtimes. Tie in: The Book Thief , (RH/Knopf YR)
In a less limited opening (over 60 theaters, as well as VOD), How I Live Now, starringSaoirse Ronan, is the adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s debut novel, a Printz Award winner published in 2004. Ronan is getting strong reviews for her performance. Showtimes. Tie-in: How I Live Now, (RH/Ember).
The indie movie, The Motel Lifeis the directorial debut of brothers Alan Polsky and Gabe Polsky. Fittingly, it is based on a novel about two brothers by Willy Vlautin. It stars Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning, and Kris Kristofferson Showtimes. Tie-in: The Motel Life Movie Tie-in Edition, (HarperPerennial).
To view the trailers of these and other upcoming film adaptations, click on links at right, under Movies & TV Based on Books — Trailers.