Archive for September, 2011

New Title Radar; Week of 10/3

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Next week holds many riches: Michael Lewis‘s follow up to The Big ShortSusan Orlean‘s much anticipated Rin Tin Tin bio, a new novel from Michael Ondaatje that’s said to be his most engaging since The English Patient, and Jose Saramago‘s final work, plus a new novel from Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright.

Watch List

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton, Thorndike Large Print) is the story of an ill-fated affair that leads to the collapse of two marriages, set in Ireland as the Celtic Tiger wanes into recession. It follows Gathering, Enright’s Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller (for more than five months). Kirkus says Enright “once again brings melancholy lyricism to a domestic scenario and lifts it into another dimension.” It was also a pick on our own Galley Chat.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410445063) is a dystopian take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, in which Hannah Payne wakes up after having been injected with a virus to turn her skin red, punishment for aborting her unborn child. Library Journal says, “Jordan offers no middle ground: she insists that readers question their own assumptions regarding freedom, religion, and risk. Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it.” It was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA, in which one reader called it a “brilliant, disturbing, unexpected turn. Much more than 1984 meets The Scarlet Letter.”

Eagerly Awaited

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the author’s “best novel since his Booker Prizewinning The English Patient,” according to Publishers Weekly. It starts with an 11 year-old boy’s voyage from Ceylon to London to live with his divorced mother, getting up to all sorts of mischief with two other children on the ship, in adventures that color his life for years to come.

Night Strangers by Christopher Bohjalian (Crown; Random House Audio; Books on TapeRandom House Large Print) is the story of a traumatized pilot – one of nine plane crash survivors – who retreates with his family to a New Hampshire town, but doesn’t find much peace. Library Journal calls it a “genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. The story’s more gothic elements are introduced gradually, so the reader is only slightly ahead of the characters in discerning, with growing horror, what is going on.”  It was also got some enthusiastic mentions on GalleyChat last July.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Scribner) is historical fiction centering on four powerful women, set during the Roman siege of the Judean fortress on Masada. It’s a librarian favorite.

Cain by Jose Saramago (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Center Point Large Print) is the Nobel Prize-winner’s final novel, following his death in 2010, in which he reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain, who wanders forever through time and space after he kills Abel. Booklist says, “an iconoclastic, imaginative roller-coaster ride as Cain whisks about through all the time levels of the Old Testament, witnessing the major events in those books of the Bible, from the fall of Sodom to the Flood, through his own perspective of God as cruel and vengeful.”

Young Adult

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series.

The Lost Stories (Ranger’s Apprentice Series #11) by John Flanagan (Philomel/Penguin) is a collection of “lost” tales that fill in the gaps between Ranger’s Apprentice novels, written in response to questions his fans have asked over the years.

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (S & S Books for Young Readers) is the conclusion to the Hush Hush saga, in which Patch and Nora, armed with nothing but their absolute faith in each other, enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything.



Usual Suspects

Shock Wave (Virgil Flowers Series #5) by John Sandford (Putnam; Penguin AudioCenter Point Large Print) finds Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers tracking a bomber who attacks big box chain Pyemart, after local merchants and environmentalists in a Minnesota town join forces to oppose the construction of a new mega-store. Kirkus says, “the tale drags at times, but the mystification and detection are authentic and the solution surprisingly clever.”


Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (Norton; S&S Audio) is a follow up to The Big Short, in which the bestselling author visits societies like Iceland, which transformed themselves when credit was easy between 2002 and 2008, and are paying the price. As we’ve mentioned, Michiko Kakutani has already given the book a glowing review in the New York Times, which caused the book to rise to #17 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Lewis will appear on NPR, CBS radio and TV, and on MSNBC.

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a collection of humorous musings by the afternoon talk show host, that comes eight years after her last bestseller. Kirkus says, “though DeGeneres doesn’t provide many laugh-out-loud moments, her trademark wit and openness shine through.”

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (Free Press; S&S Audio) finds the master science writer and author of The God Delusion teaming up with a master of the graphic novel to create a new genre: the graphic science book that considers the universe in all its glory, magical without creator or deity. Kirkus says, “watch for this to be mooted and bruited in school board meetings to come. And score points for Dawkins, who does a fine job of explaining earthquakes and rainbows in the midst of baiting the pious.”

The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs (Random House; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the blueprint for America’s economic recovery by the well-known economist, who argues that we must restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Kirkus says, “A lucid writer, the author is refreshingly direct—tax cuts for the wealthy are ‘immoral and counterproductive’; stimulus funding and budget cutting are ‘gimmicks’—and he offers recommendations for serious reform.” He will appear on NPR’s Morning Edition and on several TV news shows.

Movie Tie-ins

The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperback) ties into the movie starring George Clooney, which opens 11/18. A dark comedy about a dysfunctional family in Hawaii, it received raves at the Toronto Film Festival (Variety: “one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels.”) By director Alexander Payne, whose earlier movie Sideways increased tourism to Napa Valley, this may do the same for Hawaii; it is also a good opportunity to reintroduce readers to the book, the first novel by Hawaiian Kaui Hart Hemmings, which came out to strong reviews in 2007 (as exemplified by this one in the NYT Book Review). Trailer here.

The Rum Diary: A Novel by Hunter S. Thompson (S&S) is the tie-in to the film adaptation of the only published novel by the gonzo journalist, starring Johnny Depp (who played Thompson in the poorly received Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The movie, opening Oct 21, has a strong cast, but it’s based on one of Thompson’s weakest works, so it may do more for rum sales than for the book. Trailer here,


Friday, September 30th, 2011

The coming fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death in 2012 is fueling even more Marilyn Obsession (as it was described last week in the NYT Fashion & Style section).

The October Vogue cover story features a photo shoot by Annie Liebowitz of Michelle Williams as Marilyn, the role she plays in the upcoming movie My Week with Marilyn. About her performance, the article says Williams “brings Monroe to life with heartbreaking delicacy and precision without resorting to impersonation or cliché.”

The movie premieres as the centerpiece of the NY film festival and begins its theatrical release on Nov. 4. In addition to Williams as Monroe, Kenneth Branagh plays Sir Laurence Olivier, Eddie Redmayne is Colin Clark and Emma Watson appears in her first post-Harry Potter role, as a wardrobe assistant.

Based on a book that will be published for the first time in the U.S. next week, it’s about the friendship between Marilyn and Colin Clark, the son of Sir Kenneth Clark (most well-known to Americans for his 1969 BBC series, Civilization), that developed during the troubled shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl. Clark wrote two memoirs about that time, both of which caused a sensation when they were published in the UK over ten years ago.

My Week with Marilyn is also being released in audio (Dreamscape and on OverDrive), featuring Simon Prebble, one of AudioFile’s Best Voices of 2009, who takes on the challenge of reproducing Monroe’s breathy voice (listen to a clip here).

My Week with Marilyn
Colin Clark
Retail Price: $16.00
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Weinstein Books – (2011-10-04)
ISBN / EAN: 1602861498 / 9781602861497

In 2004, Colin Clark made his own, charmingly retro, documentary film based on his memoirs.

Also coming next week is a book of previously unpublished photos of Marilyn. It is featured in Vanity Fair.

Marilyn: Intimate Exposures
Susan Bernard
Retail Price: $35.00
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Sterling Signature – (2011-10-04)
ISBN / EAN: 140278001X / 9781402780011


Friday, September 30th, 2011

The science fiction news site, io9 got their hands on a casting call for the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic,  Enders Game (Tor, 1985), a strong indicator that the project is finally moving ahead, after years in development. Based on their reading of the character descriptions, the movie will stick closely to the book, “All of the book’s themes, including the brutality of warfare and the need to understand your enemy, remain intact.”

The movie will be directed by Gavin Hood (; the script is by by Star Trek‘s Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Rendition).


Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Jonathan Safran Foer was accused of opportunism when he followed his first novel, the critically acclaimed Everything is Illuminated, with one about 9/11, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (HMH, 2005).

Many wonder how movie audiences will react to the film adaptation (USA Today recently explored  that question). Starring Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, with newcomer Thomas Horn as the 9-year-old lead, it opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run this Christmas, to be followed by wider distribution in January. The director, Stephen Daldry, is no stranger to Oscar buzz, he was nominated for each of his first three feature films– Billy ElliottThe Hours and The Reader.

The trailer has just appeared on the Web (warning; don’t watch if you are disturbed by 9/11 imagery):

The tie-in cover is striking variation of the original.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Movie Tie-in
Jonathan Safran Foer
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books – (2011-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0547735022 / 9780547735023


Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Russell Banks reveals the reality behind his new novel, Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco; HarperAudio; Large Type, HarperLuxe; ePub, OverDrive) in an interview on PBS News Hour last night.

Janet Maslin gives the book a heartfelt review in Monday’s NYT. About a young man who convicted as a sex offender after unwittingly becoming involved with underage girl via the internet, Maslin says Banks grippingly depicts how the character moves from “helpless innocence to enlightened dignity, from all-consuming shame to glimmering self-knowledge” and says the book is “destined to be a canonical novel of its time.”

The book rose to #140 on Amazon’s sales ranking.

Below is the extended PBS interview:

GAME OF THRONES Season Two and Beyond

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

The second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, this one based on the second book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series, A Clash of Kings, is in the midst of filming. A “teaser trailer” aired before the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire on Sunday and is available on the web. It’s really nothing more than the tagline, so we won’t waste your time with it (if you must, check it out here). It doesn’t even reveal the beginning date, which hasn’t been set (the HBO site simply indicates “Spring 2012”).

Don’t weed copies of other titles in the series yet. Back in July, HBO programing chief Michael Lombardo told TV reporters, that, in terms of how long the series will continue, he doesn’t know if all the books will be adapted, but that he “takes very seriously the passions of fans for the book series.”

So far, five books have been published and two more are expected.

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2)
George R.R. Martin
Retail Price: $17.00
Paperback: 784 pages
Publisher: Bantam – (2002-05-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0553381695 / 9780553381696

Stephen King’s Sequel to THE SHINING Is Nearly Finished

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Stephen King followed up on hints he dropped while on a book tour two years ago, by announcing that he is nearly finished writing a sequel to The Shining. He told the audience at George Mason University’s 2011 Fall for the Book festival that the book will be titled Dr. Sleep, (no pub date or ISBN has been announced yet, however).

Saying he had always wondered what happened to Danny Torrance, an idea “wormed” into his head,

I knew there were bad people in this story that were like vampires, only what they sucked out was not blood, but psychic energy from special people like Danny Torrance. I came to realize that these people are called ‘The Tribe” … and they travel around on the highways.

Below, he reads a section:

King’s next book, 11/22/63, (Scribner, 11/8; Unabridged CD, S&S Audio) was recently optioned by film director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs). It is a time-travel novel about a high school English teacher who goes through a time portal in an attempt to stop the Kennedy assassination. Booklist says King began writing this book years ago and it exhibits an “intoxicating, early-King bouquet of ambition and swagger.”

Ron Howard’s ambitious plans for a TV/film adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower series were abandoned over the summer. The eighth title in the book series, The Wind Through the Keyhole (Scribner), is scheduled for publication in April.

Mark Bowden on Fresh Air

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Terry Gross introduced her NPR Fresh Air interview with Mark Bowden, author of Worm: The First Digital World War (Atlantic Monthly Press; Brilliance Audio), by saying,

Your computer might already be infected with a worm that could command your computer to be used in [a hacker attack on anything from the Pantagon to the banking system to the power grid].

As a result of the interview, Bowden’s book rose to #57 (from #23,639) on Amazon’s sales rankings.

NIGHTWOODS Signs of a Hit

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Following a strongly negative review from Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times for Charles Frazier’s third book, Nightwoods (Random House; Audio, Random House Audio and Books on Tape; Large Print, Random House; Audio currently on OverDrive, eBooks available soon), Ron Charles in the Washington Post, offers equally strong words of praise.

He points out, as did Kakutani, that Frazier enjoyed huge, and unexpected success with his debut, Cold Mountain, followed by lesser success for his second book Thirteen Moons (for which his new publisher paid him considerably more money than his first).

As Charles puts the question that’s on the minds of many in the publishing business,

Will Frazier’s new novel, Nightwoods, redeem his reputation (and his publisher’s faith), or will it only confirm claims that he’s a deep-fat-fried Faulkner who won the lottery on his first time out?

His answer:

Sorry, haters, but this is a fantastic book: an Appalachian Gothic with a low-level fever that runs alternately warm and chilling. Frazier has left the 19th century and the picaresque form to produce a cleverly knitted thriller about a tough young woman in the 1960s who has given up on the people of her small town and gone to live alone in the woods.

Sorry, Kakutani, this one may be a hit.

Michael Lewis’s Winning Streak

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011


It seems that Michael Lewis is everywhere. His new book, coming next week, Boomerang; Travels in the New Third World, (Norton, 10/3; S&S Audio), on the global financial crisis, gets strong praise today from Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times; “Michael Lewis possesses the rare storyteller’s ability to make virtually any subject both lucid and compelling.”

The movie based on his book about the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, Moneyball, is number 2 at the box office, right after another surprise success, the 3-D rerelease of the 17-year-old Lion King  (get ready; now Star Wars, Top Gun and Titanic are all slated for 3-D rereleases).

Last year, the film of Lewis’s The Blind Side, (Norton, 2006) was also a success. Sensing a winner, Hollywood is now giving Lewis the opportunity to write the script for the long-dormant adaptation of his first book, the best-selling Liar’s Poker (Norton, 1989) about his time working as a bond trader at Salomon Brothers.

Also in development is an adaptation of Lewis’s best seller on the U.S. fiscal crisis, The Big Short (Norton, 2010), with Brad Pitt’s company producing.

Moneyball, the movie is quite different from the book. Entertainment Weekly urges “Love the movie? Read the book” and the L.A. Times offers a guide to how the film differs from real life.

The “Lost” Dr. Seuss Stories

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Out today is a collection of “lost” Dr. Seuss stories (they weren’t exactly lost; they had been published in magazines, but never collected into a book). Below is a promotional trailer on how The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (Random House) came about:

Also being released is an unabridged CD with celebrity narrators, including Angelica Huston, Joan Cusack, and William Macy. It is also available from OverDrive (listen to excerpts here).

The Dead Walk Again

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Season two of AMC’s hugely successful The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, premieres on October 16th.

For those who just can’t get enough of the gore, The Walking Dead Chronicles: The Official Companion Book goes behind the scenes of the first season.

The Walking Dead Chronicles
Paul Ruditis, AMC
Retail Price: $19.95
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams – (2011-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1419701193 / 9781419701191

Also coming in October is a novel by Kirkman, with co-writer, horror novelist, Jay Bonansinga, the first in a projected series of original Walking Dead books (more on Kirkman here).

The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor
Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books – (2011-10-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0312547730 / 9780312547738

Also Unabridged CD, Macmillan Audio

Heigl Does Jersey

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Katherine Heigl dons dark hair and a Jersey accent to play Stephanie Plum in the movie adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money, which opens January 27th. The trailer was just released on the Web.


One for the Money (Movie Tie-in) (Stephanie Plum)
Janet Evanovich
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2011-11-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0312600739 / 9780312600730

Coming Next Week; Prohibiton

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Ken Burns three-part series on Prohibition, based on the book Last Call by Daniel Okrent (Scribner, 2010), begins this Sunday on PBS and runs through Tuesday. The series will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Oct. 2nd.

Okrent, who, in addition to being a writer, is the inventor of Rotisserie (aka “Fantasy”) Baseball. He also appeared in Burns Baseball series.

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.

Yo, Rinty!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The cry “Yo, Rinty!” rang out on CBS Sunday Morning, as the show featured Susan Orlean’s book Rin Tin TinThe Life and the Legend (S&S; Audio, S&S; Large Type, Thorndike), which arrives tomorrow.

Following the show, the book moved into the top 50 on Amazon’s sales rankings.