Archive for May, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Alice's Adventures In WonderlandAt their Upfront Presentations yesterday, ABC debuted a trailer for Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, a spinoff of the Once Upon a Time series. It is scheduled to begin this fall on Thursdays at 8 p.m. (Once Upon a Time begins its third season on Sundays).

This is a bit confusing since rival network NBC greenlighted a pilot in early January for another series also loosely based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, called, Wonderland. Even “Curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice would say, NBC acquired that project from ABC Studios. In February, NBC announced that it was being pushed back, “because of the scale and complexity of the production, including visual effects” and would be filmed this summer for a possible mid-season pickup.

As enjoyable as rival Alice series might be, we are dubious that the NBC project will come to pass.

Below is the trailer for the ABC series:

S.H.I.E.L.D. Trailer

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a spinoff of the The Avengers film, will debut as a series on ABC this fall on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Director Joss Whedon presented the trailer yesterday to media and advertisers gathered in New York for the network’s Upfront Prsentations.

In October, Marvel will  release S.H.I.E.L.D.: Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. illus. by Paul Neary, text by Bob Harras. The publisher’s sell lines suggest anticipating “an increase in demand for S.H.I.E.L.D. product, similar to what happened to the Infinity Gauntlet coming out of the Avengers film.” and notes, this is “one of the few classic S.H.I.E.L.D. series we will have on hand for the [TV] launch.”

LONE SURVIVOR Movie Scheduled

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Lone SurvivorThe long-running 2007 bestseller, Lone Survivor (Hachette/Little, Brown), Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s memoir about how he survived a failed 2005 mission to capture a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, has been adapted as a movie that was just scheduled for release on Jan. 10, 2014.

Directed by Peter Berg (Battleship and Friday Night Lights), it stars Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell with Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster as his fellow SEALs.

Interviewed earlier in Wall Street Journal, Berg said that his research included being embedded with the military in Iraq two years ago. He commented that, after the controversy about military cooperation with filmmakers on Zero Dark Thirty and author Chris Kyle on American Sniper, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2012) that kind of access might not be possible today.

Last month, it was announced that Steven Spielberg will direct a movie based on the latter, starring Bradley Cooper. Production is expected to begin in early 2014, just as Lone Survivor hits theaters.

DOWNTON ABBEY, Season 4 Begins Jan. 5

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Downton Abbey returns to PBS for an eight-week run, beginning January 5, 2014.

American fans will again be frustrated as spoilers emerge from the UK where the series debuts in the fall.

Lady CatherineAs we wrote earlier, both Shirley MacLaine and Maggie Smith will return to the show. However, Siobhan Finneran, who played the conniving lady’s maid O’Brien, will not be back.

The author of the best selling Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey (RH/Broadway; Tantor Media), Countess Fiona Carnarvon, is publishing a new book about Highclere Castle this fall, featuring Lady Almina’s successor, Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (RH/Broadway).

ABOUT A BOY On NBC’S Fall Schedule

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Of the 5 pilots based on books that NBC had green lighted, only About a Boy, is definitely on the fall schedule (although it may be based more on the movie, starring Hugh Grant, than the book by Nick Hornby). It was included in the upfront presentations to media and advertisers on Monday. Starring Minnie Driver and David Walton (New Girl), the half-hour show will air on the midseason schedule, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

The other projects are either delayed or cancelled:

Girlfriend in a Coma – based on Douglas Coupland’s 1998 novel (HarperCollins). Christina Ricci has walked away from the lead, delaying the project.

I Am Victor – based on Jo Nesbo’s forthcoming, but not yet scheduled, book, was not mentioned in the upfront presentations, so may have been rejected.

The Sixth Gun –  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 —  Rejected

Wonderland – NBC – in which a girl named Clara wages war in Wonderland against an evil Queen once known as Alice — Production pushed back due to cost.

One of the new shows on the fall schedule is Dracula, but it appears to bear only passing acquaintance with Bram Stoker’s book. The hour-long show will air this fall on Fridays at 10 p.m.

Icabod Crane Meets Starbucks; DELIRIUM Gets a Pass

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Among the new series that FOX just announced for its fall lineup, is a loose adaptation of a classic, about a captain from the Revolutionary War named Ichabod who lands in the present day via a time warp and becomes a detective. The trailer for Sleepy Hollow has just been released.

FOX announced last week that it is passing on its other possible series based on a book, the YA dystopian novel by Lauren Oliver, Delirium.

Official Web site:

Faulkner & Fitzgerald

Monday, May 13th, 2013

While F. Scott Fitzgerald is hitting it big at the box office, the hot trailer of the week is based on a book by fellow Hollywood screenwriter, William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. The movie, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this month, is directed by James Franco, who also stars. It is not yet scheduled for release in the U.S.

A Reason to Love Memoirs Again

Monday, May 13th, 2013

She Left Me the GunIn a review that will be appear in the print NYT tomorrow, Dwight Garner writes that Emma Brockes’s account of trying to piece together the mysteries of her mother’s past, She Left Me the Gun (Penguin Press), is “…one of those memoirs that remind you why you liked memoirs in the first place, back before every featherhead in your writers’ group was trying to peddle one. It has the density of a very good novel.”

That quote is only topped by a those from the book itself, such as, “Being an only child is a bit like being Spanish: you have your dinner late, you go to bed late, and, with all the grown-up parties you get dragged to, you wind up eating a lot of hors d’oeuvres.”

Live On-Line Chat with Anton DiSclafani

Monday, May 13th, 2013

First Review of INFERNO

Monday, May 13th, 2013

InfernoThe onslaught of coverage of Dan Browns Inferno, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOT Audio; RH/Vintage espanol; RH large print), releasing tomorrow, continues today with the first review, by Janet Maslin’s in the New York Times. An unabashed Dan Brown/Robert Langdon fan, she is equally enthusiastic about this new outing.

Reviewing The Da Vinci Code in 2003, she said that in this “gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection” and prophetically, that, his is “a name you will want to remember,”

Admitting that the “early sections of Inferno come so close to self-parody that Mr. Brown seems to have lost his bearings — as has Langdon, who begins the book in a hospital bed with a case of amnesia that dulls his showy wits,” she goes on to say, “Inferno is jampacked with tricks. And that shaky opening turns out to be one of them.”

The author is scheduled to appear this week on NBC’s Today Show, Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, PBS’s Charlie Rose and NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Library holds, while heavy, are not nearly as high as they were on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl at its peak, averaging 2:1 on fairly aggressive ordering.


John Green Defends THE FAULT IN OUR STARS Leads

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

The fault in our starsOn Saturday, news emerged that Ansel Elgort had been cast to play Gus, the love interest of Shailene Woodley’s Hazel in the upcoming adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, (Penguin/Dutton). Within hours, Green posted a spirited defense of the choice on his Tumblr page.

Green noted, “There seems to be some concern that Ansel and Shailene are playing siblings in a different movie [they are currently filming Divergent, based on the book by Veronica Rothin Chicago]. I guess I can understand that, but they’re actors … I mean, no one watched Silver Linings Playbook and thought, ‘When did Katniss move to the suburbs of Philadelphia?’”

A reminder: there was considerable consternation when it was announced that blonde Jennifer Lawrence would star as the dark-haired, olive-skinned Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, causing Suzanne Collins to issue a statement in support of the choice. Now it’s hard to imagine anyone else in that role.

Production on The Fault In Our Stars is set to begin in August.

VAMPIRE ACADEMY’s Latest Enrollees

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Vampire AcademySet to begin shooting in London at the end of the month, Vampire Academy: Blood Sistersthe adaptation of the first in a series by Richelle Mead (Penguin/Razorbill), is busily adding new cast members.

The leads were cast in February. Zoey Deutch, who had a supporting role in Beautiful Creatures, will star as Rose Hathaway, newcomer Lucy Fry as Rose’s best friend Lissa, and Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky as Rose’s mentor, Dimitri Belikov.

The latest additions are Sami Gayle, (Blue Bloods, CBS), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Ashley Charles (White Buffalo) and Claire Foy (White Heat).

Penguin Teen Australia has created a handy “Vampire Academy Cheat Sheet,” for those who are trying to keep track (link to the site for a larger version).

Graphic from Penguin Teen Aus

New Title Radar, Week of 5/13

Friday, May 10th, 2013

InfernoThe blockbuster of the summer, Dan Brown’s Inferno, (RH/Doubleday), arrives on Tuesday, with an announced 4 million copy first printing, forcing below the radar any other title that dares to show its cover next week. But a few other books will appear;  some publishers use the reverse logic that the increased foot traffic in stores works to other book’s advantage.

9780007344260Many librarians will be cheering the release of the 8th in Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae mystery series, Close to the Bone(HarperCollins). Beloved for his dark humor in Scotland, he is less known here. HarperCollins is in the midst of bringing all his books to the American readers. If you are not yet a convert, listen to this irresistible recommendation from HarperCollins’ MidWinter Buzz session.

The Outsider   Impossible Odds

The media will be paying attention to two quite different memoirs. Tennis legend Jimmy Connors will appear on Rock Center with Brian Williams tonight to promote his memor, called, of course, The Outsider, (Harper). This Sunday, Jessica Buchanan appears on 60 Minutes to promote her memoir, Impossible Odds, (S&S/Atria) about which recounts her harrowing kidnapping in Somalia and rescue by Navy SEALs.

9780770437411Also arriving next week are the tie-ins to the release of the summer’s next long-delayed, much-anticipated movie, World War Z, starring Brad Pitt which hits theaters on June 21.

All the titles mentioned here, plus the other notable books arriving next week, are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, 
Download the New Title Radar for May 2013

Kids New Title Radar, Week of 5/13

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Next week continues the picture book palooza we’ve experienced this apring, so we’re devoting most of this column to a few of the notables, and just one of the dozens of YA titles that will also arrive.

Our downloadable spreadsheet lists the titles mentioned here as well as dozens more, Kids New Title Radar, Week of May 13. Also listed are the tie-ins to two animated summer blockbusters, Monster’s University (Disney/Pixar, June 21) and Despicable Me 2 (July 3).

Picture Books

Cowpoke Clyde

Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, Lori Mortensen, illus. Michael Allen Austin, (HMH/Clarion)

This cumulative tale larded with old West vernacular is a soon-to be story time favorite. I agree with the Kirkus assessment, “Pitch-perfect rhyming text bounces along with peppy phrases telling the tale of a cowboy who likes to keep things clean and tidy. Clyde tries tactic after tactic to catch his dog for a scrub down, each new method adding another layer of mayhem to the scene, with a lassoed hog, wet chickens and a kicking mule adding to the hilarious hijinks.”

Little Owl's Night Out   Octopus Alone

Octopus Alone, Divya Srinivasan, (Penguin/Viking Childrens)

Srinivasan struck gold with her stunning debut Little Owl’s Night (2011) mines similar early childhood territory with a lovely quiet story about the joys of companionship and solitude.


Water in the ParkWater in the Park, Emily Jenkinss, Stephanie Graegin, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

Emily Jenkin has quietly created a shelf of read alouds, each one a jewel and an  essential purchase. That New Animal was a completely new take on how kids feel about the arrival of a younger sibling. I was blown away by Five Creatures, a very clever exercise in critical thinking skills with a subtle nod to the Venn diagram. Last year’s Lemonade in Winter was a gift to teachers who wants to incorporate math into their literature program. And now, proving once again that she can not be pigeon holed, Water in the Park  is a fresh reflection of the everyday lives of children in a neighborhood park. Jenkin’s rhythmic language ensures that this new classic will be read aloud again and again.

Toys in SpaceToys in SpaceMini Grey, (RH/Knopf)

Mini Grey’s Traction Man series is my go-to for preschoolers who are obsessed by superheroes. In this new book, Grey puts her own unique comic spin on this familiar storybook theme of talking toys that have their own  secret life.


The Might LaloucheThe Mighty Lalouche, Mathew Olshan, illus. Sophie Blackall, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

“One hundred and a few-odd years ago, in Paris, France, there lived a humble postman named Lalouche.

He was small, Lalouche, and rather bony, but his hands were nimble, his legs were fast, and his arms were strong”

And so begins this story of an underdog who became a champion.

Blackall’s paintings of the characters, boxers with nom de plumes like “Bleriot” (lighter than air, unafraid of heights) and “The Pointillist” (pinpoint accuracy, confuses the colorblind) support Olshan’s humor and wit. The illustrations are painted on paper then cutout, layered in dioramas and photographed to create a fantastical world.

Young Adult

FirecrackerFirecracker, David Iserson, (Penguin/Razorbill)

Highly recommended by librarians on YA GalleyChat, this debut by screenwriter Iserson (Fox’s New Girl, NBC’s Up All Night and SNL) features an entitled rich girl forced to face real life after being expelled from private school, it called “Quirky, fun.” Kirkus notes that part of the quirkiness is and occasional “surfeit of swearing.”

WONDER To the Movies

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Last year’s word-of-mouth debut phenomenonWonder  Wonder, R.J. Palacio, (RH/ Knopf Young Readers; Brilliance Audio), which is still a #1 NYT best seller after 23 weeks, is being adapted by Lionsgate, reports Deadline.

Hired as the screenwriter is Jack Thorne, whose credits include How I Live Now, based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, currently in pre-production and an episode of the MTV series, Skins.