Archive for February, 2013

Books Worm Their Way Into Network TV

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Cable and PBS have led the way with successful TV series based on books. The networks are  following suit this pilot season, ordering what Deadline refers to as “a slew” of projects based on books. That’s a bit of an overstatement — of the over 100 pilots that have been green lighted, only a dozen are based on books and only a handful of those are familiar to readers. The real news will be which make it to series and, for book people, which bring new readers to the books.

Among those with a built-in audience are two based on YA titles:

The Selection

The Selection —  CW — based on the first book in the best-selling dystopian trilogy by Kiera Cass (HarperTeen), in show biz speak, it is described as a “cross between The Bachelor and Hunger Games,” as young women in the future compete for the chance to marry the Prince. The pilot is finally moving ahead, after the script was sent back for a rewrite last year. UPDATE: Pilot rejected

DeliriumDelirium — FOX — based on the first book in another best selling dystopian trilogy (HarperCollins), this one by Lauren Oliver. Set in the future, a young woman defies the order that she be treated for an outlawed condition, love (“the delirium”). The two leads have been cast; Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew, Scream 4, and Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous) and Daren Kagasoff (Secret Life).

A few are based on well-known adult titles:

About a Boy — NBC — may be based more on the movie, starring Hugh Grant, than the book by Nick Hornby (Penguin/Riverhead). Minnie Driver and David Walton (New Girl) cast as leads.  UPDATE: On MidSeason schedule, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Girlfriend in a Coma — NBC — Christina Ricci has been cast in the lead of this pilot about a woman who wakes up from a coma to discover that she has a 17-year-old daughter. It is based on Douglas Coupland’s 1998 novel (HarperCollins). UPDATE: Ricci walked away from the lead, delaying the project.

Stephen King’s Under the Dome — CBS — this one skipped the pilot stage and is already scheduled to premiere on June 24. Expectations are high, as evidenced by the network’s investment in a SuperBowl ad. First look released, 4/1/13. UPDATEto premiere on CBS on Monday, June 24 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT

Cable — we’re focusing on the network pilots, but should also note the high-profile adaptations in progress for cable. A pilot has been ordered by FX for The Strain, based on the first book in the vampire trilogy by director Guillermo Del Toro and co-author Chuck Hogan (HarperCollins). HBO is moving forward with The Leftovers, based on Tom Perrota’s novel and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Two are based on books by Scandinavian writers that have not yet been published here:

I Am Victor — NBC — features a high-powered divorce lawyer, based on Jo Nesbo’s upcoming book. UPDATE: Rejected

Backstrom — CBS — based on  a series by Leif G.W. Persson about an overweight detective.   UPDATEPilot rejected by CBS — picked up by FoxDeadline, 1/7/14

Two are based on comics/graphic novels:

S.H.I.E.L.D. — ABC  —  Stands for the Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage Logistic Directorate, a secret intelligence organization that has appeared in various Marvel series, including Iron Man, Captain America and The Ultimates. Began shooting, Jan, 2013. Title changed to MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.UPDATE: Scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

The Sixth Gun — NBC — Based on the Oni Press graphic novel, a supernatural Western series that follows the story of six mythical guns, the sixth being the most powerful and dangerous. UPDATE: Rejected

Three are modern-day interpretations of classics that might not even be recognized by their original authors:

Venice — ABC — about a forbidden romance between the offspring of two rival families in Venice, California. UPDATE: Not mentioned in Upfronts, so may be rejected

Wonderland — NBC — in which a girl named Clara wages war in Wonderland against an evil Queen once known as Alice. UPDATE: Production pushed back. However, debuting on ABC is the similarly-titled Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, a spinoff of the Once Upon a Time series.

Sleepy Hollow — FOX — a time warp lands a captain from the Revolutionary War named Ichabod into the present day, where he becomes a detective. UPDATE: Series scheduled for Mondays at 9 p.m. in the fall.

Behind the Scenes at the Vatican

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The Vatican DiariesIn an amazing stroke of good timing, Vatican reporter John Thavis just published The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church (Penguin/Viking).

He appears on NPR’s Fresh Air today, sounding as surprised as anyone by Pope Benedict’s resignation; “most people around the Vatican, including journalists, are a little bit disoriented … It almost seems as if Benedict made his decision without necessarily scripting the entire process in advance and leaving his Vatican aides to scramble for answers. … no one here really knows what’s going to happen next.”


Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Sugar Salt FatMaking the dramatic argument that the food industry has consciously hooked consumers on junk food, much as the tobacco industry hooked people on nicotine, Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat, (Random House; RH Audio; BOT)  appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air  yesterday. Among his many stunning anecdotes, he describes how food scientists developed the “bliss point,” the precise amount of sugar to make consumers want more, without crossing the line to overly sweet.

The book is excerpted as the cover story for this week’s New York Times Magazine (the author is a NYT reporter who won a Pulitzer for reporting on E. coli in beef), as “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.“

It is currently at #3 on Amazon’s sales rankings; libraries are showing heavy holds on modest orders.

Less Sex for Next E.L. James Title

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

EL-James-for-webWhat is she thinking?  E.L. James told The New York Post that her next book will contain less sex.

The SubmissiveShe spoke to the Post at Vanity Fair‘s Oscar party and also addressed progress on filming her Fifty Shades trilogy — well, actually lack of progress. No director or actors have yet been signed.

For those who want more in the vein of the original E.L. James, read-alikes are in the works. Penguin/NAL recently acquired the rights to The Submissive trilogy, which claims to be “The Original Trilogy that Inspired a Genre” by American author Tara Sue Me (we’d love to know the origin of that pseudonym). Currently available in ebook, print editions of the first in the series will be released on June 4th (via The Guardian; Penguin press release here).

Gangster Bio on Fresh Air

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Whitey BulgerLook up “Whitey Bulger” in library catalogs and you will get multiple hits. A Boston gangster who is the stuff of legend, he is featured in books as well as movies (one of the characters in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed is based on Bulger). It was recently announced that Johnny Depp may play him in the Barry Levinson film Black Mass and two other projects are in the works.

Now 82, he was captured in 2011 and goes to trial in June, accused of 19 murders. A new book about him, Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice by Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy (Norton, 2/11/13) was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday and was described as not only a fascinating story, but “just a great read.”

Author Michael Connelly blurbed the book, saying, “As much social documentary as riveting crime story, the book is a masterwork of reporting by Cullen and Murphy. I couldn’t put it down.”

Holds Alert: Ben Carson

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

America the beautifulDr. Ben Carson has become the “New Conservative Folk Hero,” declares Atlantic magazine, since he confronted President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, a venue that isn’t known for making news (see below; as the Atlantic advises, “Things don’t get interesting for a while, so you might want to skip to about halfway through”).

The soon-to-retire head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital has even been called on to run for President in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

His latest book, America the Beautiful, published last year and now available in paperback (HarperCollins/Zondervan), has been in the top ten on Amazon for the last two weeks, rising as high as #1 and appears on the March 3 NYT Paperback Non-fiction Best Seller list at #12. Libraries are showing heavy holds.

Media attention is in the works; Carson appeared on NPR’s On Point today, he will appear on Glenn Beck’s internet TV show on Thursday and on FOX’s Lou Dobbs show.

Also on the rise are Carson’s other titles, also from Zondervan;

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson  (1992)

Gifted Hands, Kids Edition: The Ben Carson Story (ZonderKidz Biography) by Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis (2009)

Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence by Ben Carson  (2005)

Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk by Ben Carson M.D. and Gregg Lewis (2007)

The Big Picture by Ben Carson and Gregg Lewis (2000)

Mediterranean Diet Books Soar

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Mediterranean diet 9781118067789  cover-65

Reports on a new study that supports the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet caused several titles to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings. Stories appeared in multiple news sources, including the New York Times, USA Today and on TV.

Michiko Likes It!

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The NYT‘s formidable book reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, can’t hold back her enthusiasm for Mohsin Hamid’s new book, How to Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia (Penguin/Riverhead; Dreamscape Audio; March 5), publishing a glowing review well over a week before the book is released.

She describes it is both “a deeply moving and highly specific tale of love and ambition, and as a larger, metaphorical look at the mind-boggling social and economic changes sweeping ‘rising Asia’.” She ends by saying that this, Hamid’s third novel, “reaffirms his place as one of his generation’s most inventive and gifted writers.”

His second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (HMH, 2007) has been adapted for the screen by director Mira Nair and is scheduled for limited release in the US on April 26. It stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Movie Tie-In)
Mohsin Hamid
Retail Price: $14.00
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: HMH/Mariner Books – (2013-03-26)
ISBN / EAN: 0544139453 / 9780544139459

Books Get Oscar Bounce

Monday, February 25th, 2013

9780547848419-1  9780374533571  9781451688092-2

The Oscars caused several tie-ins to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings. Below are the titles that are currently in the top 100 on Amazon’s sales rankings:

#8 The Life of Pi (from #84) — Best Director, Cinematography, Music, Visual Effects

#38 The Silver Linings Playbook (from #137) — Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress

#90 Team of Rivals (from #115) — the basis for Lincoln — Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actor; Best Production Design

For some reason, movie fans are not curious about the real story of behind the Best Picture winner, Argo. The tie-in edition of the book it is based on trails at #402.

Next for Netflix; HEMLOCK GROVE

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Hemlock Grove 9780374534462

Netflix’s gamble on streaming original programming paid off with their first effort, House of Cards. Good thing; another series follows quickly, Hemlock Grove, based on the debut werewolf novel by screenwriter Brian McGreevy which was released as a trade paperback original (jacket above, left; tie-in jacket on the right; from Macmillan/FSG) last year to strong prepub reviews. The 13-episode series will be available on April 19.

Netflix is currently at work on another series based on a book, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman (RH/Spiegel & Grau, 2010). It is being directed by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.


Hemlock Grove [movie tie-in edition]
Brian McGreevy
On Sale Date: April 16, 2013
9780374534462, 0374534462
Paperback / softback
$15.00 US / $17.00 Can.


Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Promo for the  third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones is kicking into high gear in advance of the premiere on Sunday, March 31. Below is the new trailer:


A Storm of Swords (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three
George R.R. Martin
On Sale Date: March 26, 2013

Trade Pbk; 9780345543974, 0345543971
$18.00 US / $21.00 Can.

Mass Mkt. Pbk; 9780345543981, 034554398X
$9.99 US / $11.99 Can.

Literary Oscar Quiz

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

9780547848419-1 9780374533571 978-0-345-80392-4-1 9781455510177 9780143123590-2 9780007487295-1

In prep for the Oscars this evening, try “The Literary Oscar Quiz” on the L.A.Times book blog, “Jacket Copy.”

We only got 6 out of 10. Tell us your scores and, as a bonus, which of the above did NOT get an Oscar nomination.

UPDATE: We weren’t able to fool anyone — Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is the correct choice. A different Lincoln movie caught the Academy’s eye.


Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Hunger-Games-Victory-TourIn case your inbox isn’t already overflowing with news of the release of the first official poster for the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, you can view it here (via the movie’s Facebook page).

Unlike traditional movie posters, it doesn’t mention the date it debuts (Nov. 22 of this year), the names of the stars (Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence are pictured), or even the title (although the studio is listed in the fine print at the bottom).

Filming in Hawaii is currently on break for the Oscars. Two of the movie’s stars are nominated, but for their work on other movies; Lawrence for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Supporting Actor in The Master.

Hunger Games did not garner a single nomination, but then, young adult movies generally do not play well with Oscar.

Kids New Title Radar, Week of Feb. 25

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Coming next week, Geisel Honoree Pete the Cat gets a new life in two easy-to-read titles … move over Wimpy, Timmy the Failure is coming to town … and, surprise, a new entry in the YA dystopian genre, Dualed, debuts. The titles below and other highlights from next week are also available on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Wk. of FEB 25

Picture Books

978-0-7636-6400-8  Princess and the Peas

Rosie’s Magic Horse, Russell Hoban, illus. by Quentin Blake, (Candlewick)

Any title from the late Russell Hoban (Bedtime for Frances) is cause for celebration. This one is illustrated by the first British Children’s Laureate, Quentin Blake, best known for his drawings in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. It is featured in the NYT Children’s Books column this week, which notes that “The story is inventive from the very first pages, when it becomes apparent that the narrator is in fact a Popsicle stick.”

The Princess and the Peas, Caryl Hart, illus by Sarah Warburton, Candlewick/Nosy Crow
In a Suessian rhyme, Caryl Hart tells the tale of Lily-Rose May whose father is determined to find a way to get her to eat peas (a sampler is available here). It comes from the independent UK press, Nosy Crow, which began publishing in 2011 and formed a partnership with Candlewick shortly after.

Easy Readers

Pete the Cat   9780062110664

Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch
Pete the Cat: PlayBall! 
both written and illus. by James Dean, (HarperCollins)

The Geisel committee nailed it this year by naming Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean, an Honor Book. Now the series is newly published in an easy-to-read format for beginning readers. Yea!

Middle Grade

Timmy FailureTimmy Failure, written and illus by Stephan Pastis, (Candlewick)

Pastis (Pearls before Swine) brings his absurdist humor to the middle grade set in this first of the Timmy Failure series, Mistakes Were Made, a Wimpy Kid read-alike that gets a not-so-wimpy launch (the cover even sports a blurb by Jeff Kinney, “Timmy Failure is a winner!”)

Runaway KindThe Runaway King, Jennifer A. Nielsen, (Scholastic; Scholastic Audio)
The first book in this series, The False Prince, was named a NYT Book Review and PW best book and is one of many YA and middle-grade series that has been optioned for a film.

Young Adult

DualedDualed, Elsie Chapman, (Random House Books for Young Readers; BOT Audio)

A new entry into the dystopian genre, which Kirkus says “kicks it up a notch.”PW calls it the “textual equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie,” but VOYA says, “Fans of the latest crop of speculative fiction, such as the Divergent trilogy, will want to read this imaginative tale.” Check out a sample of the BOT Audio.

Eleanor & parkEleanor & ParkRainbow Rowell, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin)

YA debut by author of Attachments comes with 4 pre-pub starred reviews (Booklist, SLJ, Kirkus and PW, plus a 5 for quality and 4 for potential popluarity from VOYA). It’s a bitter-sweet story of the love between two misfits which clearly has charm, and strong crossover appeal, but some librarians on GalleyChat feared it would take selling to teens who might be put off by the ’80s’ setting and pop-culture references.

Sweet Revenge of Celia DoorThe Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, Karen Finneyfrock, (Penguin/Viking)

A debut about bullying that SLJ says, because of its “articulate, funny, and brave” main character, 14-year-old Celia Door, becomes “much more than a “problem novel.”

Also known asAlso Known As, Robin Benway, (Walker Childrens; Brilliance Audio)

The author of the stunning debut YA novel, Audrey, Wait!  (Penguin/Razorbill, 2008) returns with an over-the-top teen adventure.

Goddess InheritianceThe Goddess Inheritance, Aimée Carter, (Harlequin Teen)

For the girls who have aged out of Rick Riordan’s Gods of Olympus series, here is a supernatural romance series featuring the Greek gods and goddesses.

TV Tie-in

A Story of God and All of Us Young Readers Edition Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, (Hachette/Little, Brown YR)
This tie-in to The Bible, a ten-hour mini-series which begins airing on the History Channel on Sunday, March 3, is for children 10 and up. It retells Bible stories in a simple manner from creation, to the story of Noah to God’s covenant with Abraham continuing on to the life of Jesus. Contains a full-color insert with stills from the miniseries.

New Title Radar, Week of Feb. 25

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

On our Watch List this week is a debut memoir that’s called a “bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle”… in a blast from the past, V.C. Andrews rises from the grave with the first in a new series … and Jodi Picoult’s next best seller arrives, a story that involves the Holocaust. These titles and more arriving next week are available on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar Wk. of Feb 25.

Media Magnet

Sugar Salt Fat  NYT Mag Cover Sugar Salt Fat

Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss, (Random House; RH Audio; BOT)

Publicity for this investigation into how the food industry hooks consumers begins with a cover story in the New York Times Magazine (the author is a NYT reporter who won a Pulitzer for reporting on E. coli in beef), under the compelling title, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” (above, right). The author is also scheduled to appear on NPR’s Fresh Air and The Dr. Oz Show next week. The NYT and People are expected to review it.

Watch List

With or Without YouWith or Without You, Domenica Ruta, (RH/Spiegel & Grau; RH Audio; BOT)

This debut memoir is called a “bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle … marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature,” by Entertainment Weekly, adding “As a writer, Domenica Ruta should thank her lucky stars that she was blessed with such a character for a mother …  As a daughter, not so much.” It’s an IndieNext Pick  for March, NPR offers an “Exclusive First Read” on their site, and a profile by Chip McGrath is scheduled for Tuesday’s NYT. Holds are light at this point, but we’re keeping our eye on it.

BenedictionBenediction, Kent Haruf, (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; BOT)
As the #1 IndieNext Pick for March, this one will be getting promotion in independent stores. The annotation calls this followup to Plainsong and Eventide the “answer to our literary prayers.” The Washington Post’s Ron Charles published one of the first of what will be a string of reviews this week. He points out that it’s been a decade since Eventide and a “whole new generation of readers” now have the opportunity to discover Haruf.

The Teleportation AccidentThe Teleportation Accident, Ned Beauman, (Bloomsbury USA)

Long-listed for the Booker last year, this the novel’s first appearance here. Entertainment Weekly gives it an unequivocal A, saying, “Every generation gets the hipster satire it deserves. But this one’s for every generation.”

Usual Suspects

The storytellerThe Storyteller, Jodi Picoult, (S&S/Atria/Emily Bestler; Center Point Large Print)

Unsurprisingly, Picoult’s next is in leads in number of holds for all the titles releasing next week. This one is about a woman who befriends a retired German teacher only to discover that he is a former SS officer hiding out in her small New Hampshire town.

Calculated in DeathCalculated in Death, J. D. Robb, (Penguin/Putnam; Brilliance Audio; Wheeler Large Print)

Robb, of course, is Nora Roberts writing under the pen name she uses for her futuristic In Death suspense series.

Forbidden SisterForbidden Sister, V.C. Andrews, (S&S/Gallery Books)

Flowers in the Attic and its gothic, incest-tinged successors, were best seller list staples in the 1980’s. Since the author’s death in 1986, the estate has issued more novels in her name (adding extra meaning to the term “ghost written”). This is the first in the 20th series under the franchise.

TV Tie-ins

A story of god in all of usA Story of God and All of Us: A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries “The Bible”
A Story of God and All of Us: Reflections: 100 Daily Inspirations based on the Epic TV Miniseries “The Bible”
Both by Mark Burnett, Roma Downey,  (Hachette/FaithWords; Hachette/Audio for the novel)

Companion books to The Bible, a ten-hour mini-series which begins airing on the History channel on March 3. Both the series and the tie-ins are produced by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor, The Apprentice, Shark Tank and The Voice) and Roma Downey (star of the tv series, Touched by An Angel). See Kids New Title Radar for the children’s tie-ins.