Archive for February, 2011

Adaptations Top Box Office

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The top three films at the box office on President’s Day weekend are all book adaptations. Overturning predictions, Unknown, adapted from the book Out of My Head by Didier van Cauwelaert, and starring Liam Neeson, came in at #1.

The #2 film, Gnomeo and Juliet is a very loose adaptation (we doubt that even a modern-day Shakespeare would use the line, “Tell him I’m washing my hair”); as the trailer nicely understates, it’s “Shakespeare’s legendary tale as you’ve never seen it before.”

I Am Number Four, underperformed expectations and came in  at #3. An adaptation of the book by James Frey and Jobie Hughes, under the pseudonym “Pittacus Lore,”  it was sold to Dreamworks last year before it appeared as a book.

Sales of the tie-ins are the reverse of the box office; as shown below by each title’s Amazon sales ranking.

Amazon – #110 (and #1 on the NYT Children’s Chapter Books list)

I Am Number Four Movie Tie-in Edition
Pittacus Lore
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2011-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062026240 / 9780062026248


Amazon – #10,807

When Out of My Head, a French thriller about identity theft, was published here in 2005, it received admiring reviews. Entertainment Weekly called it a “convincing little nightmare” and awarded it an A-.  The NYT presciently noted, “this is a novel that really, really wants to be a movie.” The tie-in uses the movie title.

Unknown: A Novel
Didier van Cauwelaert
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) – (2011-01-12)
ISBN / EAN: 014311901X / 9780143119012


Amazon – #15,941

Gnomeo and Juliet Junior Novelization (Disney Gnomeo and Juliet)
Molly McGuire Woods
Retail Price: $4.99
Ages: 8 to 12
Publisher: RH/Disney – (2011-01-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0736428232 / 9780736428231

On Comedy Central This Week

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Tuesday, 2/22
The Colbert Report

The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan
Bing West
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2011-02-22)
ISBN / EAN: 1400068738 / 9781400068739

Wednesday, 2/23
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Known and Unknown: A Memoir
Donald Rumsfeld
Retail Price: $36.00
Hardcover: 832 pages
Publisher: Sentinel HC – (2011-02-08)
ISBN / EAN: 159523067X / 9781595230676

Wednesday, 2/23
The Colbert Report

A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s
Stephanie Coontz
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Basic Books – (2011-01-04)
ISBN / EAN: 0465002005 / 9780465002009

OverDrive, Adobe EPUB eBook

Thursday, 2/15
The Colbert Report

A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don’t!)
Mike Huckabee
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Sentinel/Penguin- (2011-02-22)
ISBN / EAN: 1595230734 / 9781595230737

FIERY TRIAL on Colbert

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

On Thursday, Stephen Colbert grilled historian Eric Foner on the real causes of the Civil War. Foner’s book, The Fiery Trial, was also featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and is currently at #166 on Amazon sales rankings.


Monday, February 21st, 2011

Joyce Carol Oates’ memoir, A Widow’s Story, shares the cover of the new NYT BR, following on the heels of much media attention (fetures in USA Today, and Time magazine this week). More attention will be coming, including an interview with Charlie Rose and a feaure in Newsweek.

It is now at #55 on Amazon sales rankings.

A Widow’s Story: A Memoir
Joyce Carol Oates
Retail Price: $27.99
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Ecco – (2011-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0062015532 / 9780062015532

Coming Next Week; COWBOYS AND ALIENS Tie-in

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg is a graphic novel about an alien invasion of Arizona in 1873, and the basis for a big movie coming this summer. The movie trailer shown during the Super Bowl generated so much discussion that director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), fearing people didn’t get it defended it to MTV.

Our guess is that the combination of star Harrison Ford and Jon Favreau (Iron Man) will result in a hit. But whether that will make people want to read the comic is anyone’s guess. Still, libraries haven’t ordered it and may want to give it serious consideration.

Cowboys and Aliens
Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: It Books – (2011-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061646652 / 9780061646652

Fiction Worth Watching

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Ballantine), a fictionalized portrait of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage can be seen as A Moveable Feast from Hadley Richardson’s point of view. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-, saying, the “biographical and geographical research is so deep, and [McLean’s] empathy for the real Hadley Richardson so forthright (without being intrusively femme partisan), that the account reads as very real indeed.”

The ARC was featured at the Random House booth at Midwinter. Cuyahoga P.L. has taken a strong stand on the book, partly because the author is local (she’s from Cleveland Heights). Cuyahoga’s Coll. Dev. Manager Wendy Bartlett read the ARC and says it’s got “book discussion group” written all over it.

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein (Norton) is a “complex and multifaceted study of children who conquer bad childhoods—and children who cannot,” according to Library Journal, which declares,”Braunstein paints gorgeous portraits of a wide variety of characters, all fully realized.” The author won the 2007 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award and was named as one of the National Book Foundations 5 under 35, which recognizes five young fiction writers chosen by National Book Award winners and finalists.

Usual Suspects

Gideon’s Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central) is the first in a new thriller series about the newly hired employee of a secretive government contractor. PW says the “tired and predictable story line isn’t helped by a protagonist lacking the quirks of the authors’ popular series hero, FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast.” Kirkus largely concurs, but adds, “Crew is a great character, and this series holds promise.”

Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam) is the 33rd novel with New York homicide detective Eve Dallas. Booklist says, this “entry in Robbs gritty, futuristic procedural series is one of the best yet: a sexy, high-stakes, high-adrenaline read that will delight series stalwarts, hook readers new to Eve Dallas, and please both mystery and romance readers.”

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager) is book nine in the supernatural Hollows series. Library Journal says, “This one features plenty of action and a strong central character, but it is a little bit lighter in tone than the last few installments in the series. Urban fantasy and paranormal romance fans will undoubtedly place plenty of holds, so purchase accordingly.”


Despite an embargo, news is already breaking about Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown’s memoir, which includes the story of his abusive childhood, Against All Odds (Harper). We will be hearing a great deal more in the coming days; he is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes this Sunday, followed by The Early Show, Today and The View the next day, plus more media attention throughout the week. As The Atlantic points out this month, politicians have only recently found political capital in writing about childhood traumas (just twenty years ago, a George Bush, Sr. spokesman famously said, “Real men don’t get on the couch”). On the other hand, the Boston Herald accuses Brown of hypocrisy.

A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don’t!) by Mike Huckabee (Sentinel) advocates a significantly smaller federal government.

Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril by King Abdullah II of Jordan (Viking) chronicles the life of the king of Jordan and possible peace plans for the region.

Family Maid Sues Kathryn Stockett

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The NYT ArtsBeat blog reports that Ablene Cooper, who works for Kathryn Stockett’s brother’s family, has filed a suit against the author on the grounds that one of the main characters in The Help, Aibileen Clark is an unauthorized use of her name and image.


Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The L.A Times calls the movie The King’s Speech, “perhaps the award season’s most extraordinary box-office tale,” overturning conventional Hollywood wisdom about American audiences (for instance, that, in some areas of the country, “James Bond is still considered too much of a foreigner.”)

The tie-in book continues on the NYT Trade Paperback Best Seller List after four weeks. It was released in audio this week from Tantor, narrated by Simon Vance (listen to a sample here). It also includes King George VI’s original speech (listen here).

The King’s Speech
How One Man Saved the British Monarchy
By Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
Narrated by Simon Vance

6 Audio CDs: $23.99

1 Mp3-CD: $15.99


Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We expected to see A Discovery of Witches on best seller lists, but we didn’t know it would land so high. You can expect to see it at #2 on the upcoming NYT Print Fiction list this week, based on the fact that it appears on the new USA Today Best Seller list at #8, making it the #2 hardcover fiction title.

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel
Deborah Harkness
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2011-02-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0670022411 / 9780670022410

Large type; Thorndike; March (9781410436337).
Audio: Recorded Books

Author Deborah Harkness, who in addition to teaching the history of science at the University of Southern California, also writes the blog Good Wine Under $20, gives advice on what to serve a vampire in the following video,

Fresh Air Loves I THINK I LOVE YOU

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

On NPR’s Fresh Air last night, Maureen Corrigan said that Allison Pearson’s I Think I Love You may be a slow build,

But, as the novel gets under way, Pearson pulls off something extraordinary…For any middle-aged woman out there (and there must be hundreds of thousands of us) who long ago cried herself to sleep because Bobby Sherman or Donny Osmond or Davy Jones of The Monkees was sooo cute and sooo out of reach, I Think I Love You is both an anguished trip back to the mad possessiveness of puppy love and a respectful acknowledgment that it mattered.

As a result, the book rose to #165 (from #449) on Amazon. Libraries that ordered it modestly are showing heavy holds to copy ratios.

I Think I Love You
Allison Pearson
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2011-02-08)
ISBN / EAN: 1400042356 / 9781400042357

OverDrive; AdobeEPUB eBook

The book trailer features various publishing people revealing how embarrassing it is to remember their teenage crushes, but how much they mattered. Included are Judith Jones, Julia Childs editor.

Corrigan leads her review by talking about Pearson’s first book, I Don’t Know How She Does It. It opens with a scene that, she says, “was so dead-on in its depiction of the screwball anxieties fueling the mommy wars that it instantly signaled that [it] was going to be a winner.”

The movie version is now being filmed near EarlyWord headquarters in Brooklyn (here’s a reason to welcome to film crews; they cleared the lingering, and very ugly, snow from the streets). It stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Hendricks, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn, Kelsey Grammer, Greg Kinnear and Jane Curtin. No release date has been set.

A Hot Economist

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

In its current issue, Newsweek features a full-length photo of economist Dambisa Moyo in a clingy dress and heels under the headline, “The Siren of the Financial Meltdown.”

Her second book, How the West Was Lost, went on sale yesterday. In it, says Newsweek, she argues,

…we have become feckless, overborrowed, and obsessed with consumer goods. Our governments have fed our foolishness with policies that meant well but ended badly. Meanwhile China and the other emerging economies…have been catching up fast and have so far made few of the same mistakes

How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly–and the Stark Choices Ahead
Dambisa Moyo
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2011-02-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0374173257 / 9780374173258

Audio: UNABR; Tantor

This is just the beginning of the media attention; an interview has been taped for NPR’s Morning Edition, more print coverage is coming (The National Review, among others) as well as several public appearances.

Margaret McElderry

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The New York Times obituary for Margaret McElderry, who died this week at 98, not only serves as a tribute to a pioneer, but also as a capsule history of her time (she began her career by answering “the pedestal phone” at the New York Public Library).

Memoir Receives High Praise

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

In An Exclusive Love, Johanna Adjoran tries to understand her grandparents, survivors of the Holocaust, who committed double-suicide in 1991. On the NPR Web site, Heller McAlpin calls it, a “haunting, beautifully composed book” and likens it to Francine du Plessix Gray’s Them, and Edmund de Waal’s The Hare With Amber Eyes (a Nancy Pearl favorite).

An Exclusive Love: A Memoir
Johanna Adorján
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company – (2011-01-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0393080013 / 9780393080018

ONE DAY Closer

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Focus Features chose Valentine’s Day to release the poster of the adaptation of One Day, by David Nicholls. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, it is directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education) and releases on July 9th.

A huge best seller in the UK, the book was well-received here, with the announcement of a movie version starring Hathaway making it a hit. Published in trade paperback, it spent 25 weeks on the NYT Best Seller list, reaching #4 for two of those weeks.

No trailer yet, but  several stills from the movie here.


ENDER’S GAME, the Movie?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

MTV interviewed producer Roberto Orci, currently at work on a movie of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

There was great excitement among fans when it was announced that the Orci and producing partner, Alex Kurtzman, were involved with the film, but the interview is not particularly encouraging;

“The first thing is to set it up somewhere. The last 48 hours I’ve been running around trying to sell the damn thing, and someone needs to get some guts, and get in here and buy it.”

Orci and Kurtzman are behind the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens as well as Star Trek and Transformers. They are therefore seen as having the connections to make the Ender’s Game adaptation happen. Orci admits, however,

This is one of those books, since it came out in ’85, it turned into a classic, but there was always this feeling that somehow you can’t be faithful, because the audience isn’t sophisticated enough.

Why Cities Matter

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Edward Glaeser appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss his book about the importance of cities. Stewart called it a “tremendous book.” As a result, it rose to #88 on Amazon sales rankings.


Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier
Glaeser, Edward
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 353 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press – (2011-02-10)
ISBN 9781594202773