Archive for April, 2017

Bird Song

Monday, April 24th, 2017

9780316370899_08d68Mozart owned a pet starling bird, one he bought in 1784 just after finishing his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. It could sing part of his new composition.

The story of that bird and Mozart’s relation to it is one of the subjects of Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Haupt tells NPR that in researching the book she followed suit and adopted her own pet starling, rescuing a five-day-old from a nest about to be destroyed.

Haupt tells NPR that her bird Carmen, like Mozart is smart,  mischievous and an amazing mimic, anticipating the household routine,  “I wake up in the morning … and she looks at me and says, ‘Hi Carmen,’ which is the first thing I would say to her. And then the cat comes downstairs and she says ‘Meow.’ And then I go to make the coffee, and before I grind the beans she goes, ‘Rrrrr.'”

Mozart wrote an elegy for it upon its death and more than one musical critic believes at least one of his compositions is is based on the starling’s song.

In a starred review Booklist calls the book a “hard-to-put-down, charming blend of science, biography, and memoir.”

Some libraries we checked are running 5:1 hold ratios on light orders. Several others have not ordered it.

Perhaps To Screen: LOCKE & KEY

Monday, April 24th, 2017

9781684051816_9e524Hulu has given a pilot order for an adaptation of the Eisner-winning comic Locke & Key reports Deadline Hollywood, in what they call a “very competitive situation.” The hourly drama will be based on Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s hit series.

Hill along with Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel, The Strain) are running the project, with Hill writing the script. The director of Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, is on board to direct the series if the pilot is approved.

Two earlier efforts to adapt the horror/fantasy blend have failed. The Hollywood Reporter points out that Rodriguez’s fantastic art is difficult to translate to the screen, but the group running the project this time may be able to carry if off. Hulu is ready for more ambitious content, THR maintains, and Cuse is skilled and proven in the genre, as is Derrickson. Finally Hill, more than anyone, should be able get the script right while also honoring his comic readers.

9781511367684_84fcdAlso in its favor, a hit audio adaptation was a huge success in 2016, winning an Audie as well as several nominations.

The comic, which ranges across multiple releases plus collected editions, tells the complicated story of the Locke family, the Keyhouse estate, demons, possession, and keys. offers a reread of the first volume which gives a taste of the story. The newest volume will come out in August, Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth (PRH/IDW).

Rhimes Goes Back In Time

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

9780385743501_fb17bThe next drama by Shonda Rhimes, to premiere at the end of May on ABC, is something of a departure for the hitmaker behind Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Set in the world of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, after the two doomed lovers have died, Still Star Crossed is based on the novel Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub (PRH/Delacorte, 2013 – currently listed as OP). Kirkus gave the YA novel a starred review, calling it “A perfect blend of the intimate and the epic, the story both honors its origin and works in its own right … [a] spectacular sequel.”

The date is delayed from its expected midseason launch reports Deadline Hollywood.

No tie-in has been announced.

Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of April 24, 2017

Friday, April 21st, 2017

9780399184574_ac3ba9781250075840_719c3The holds leader for the upcoming week is John Sandford’s Golden Prey (PRH/Putnam; RH Large Type; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), which has also received strong prepub reviews.

A distant second is Iris Johansen’s No Easy Target (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), in which one of the supporting characters from her best selling Eve Duncan books gets her own book.

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of April 24, 2017

Advance Attention 

9780374115241_f1ca2-2Borne, Jeff VanderMeer (Macmillan/MCD; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The new book by the author of the award-winning dystopian Southern Reach Trilogy arrives with three starred prepub reviews (Kirkus calls it an “odd, atmospheric, and decidedly dark fable for our time“) and film rights already sold to Paramount. In addition, in late March, CinemaCon attendees were treated to footage of the adaptation of Annihilation, the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy. Directed by Ex Machina‘s Alex Garland, it stars Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac, release is expected in 2018.

UPDATE: Laura Miller gives Borne a thoughtful review, in the context of the recent popularity of post-apocalyptic novels, in the New Yorker.

Media Magnets

9781524732684_e51e2  9781455596751_9aef5

Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT).

The COO of Facebook, famous for her book on women in the workplace, Lean In, writes about what she learned after the sudden, unexpected death of her husband in 2015 at age 47. She will be featured on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend, in a segment that promoted today on CBS This Morning. More will follow, with appearances on Good Morning America, the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and NPR’s All Things Considered.

The Secrets of My Life, Caitlyn Jenner (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio/Blackstone Audio).

Excerpts in People magazine are making headlines in the gossip mags. It seems that Jenner’s daughters feel that the section about her gender surgery is TMI, even for them.

Peer Pick,

Two LibraryReads selections come out this week:

9780812989403_3b3daAnything Is Possible (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is the #1 Library Reads selection for April:

“Strout does not disappoint with her newest work. Her brilliant collection takes up where her novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, leaves off. The chapters read like short stories with Lucy Barton as the thread that runs between them. The characters populate Amgash, Illinois and their stories are woven together carefully and wonderfully. No one captures the inner workings of small town characters better than Strout. Written to be read and enjoyed many times, I highly recommend for readers of fine literary fiction.” — Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, TX

Additional Buzz: It is a February GalleyChat title and an Indie Next pick and has made the Spring Reading Lists of New York magazine, The Washington Post, the Amazon Editor’s Top 20 titles, and Vogue‘s “The Must-Read Books of Spring 2017.” All four prepub review sources star, with Kirkus calling it “radiant” and PW deeming it “masterful.” The Millions features it in their “Most Anticipated (The Month),” Elle says it is one of “7 Great Books to Read in April,” and InStyle calls it one of “5 Totally Brilliant Books You Need to Read in April 2017.”

9781501160769_be090Beartown, Fredrik Backman (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio).

“Backman’s most complex novel to date takes place in the small, hockey-crazed village of Beartown. He deftly weaves together the stories of the players, the coaches, the parents, and the fans as Beartown’s hockey team chases its dream of winning a championship. Weighty themes are explored. How high a price is too high for success? How deadly is silence? Who can you trust with your secrets? How far will you compromise your beliefs in the name of friendship? There are no easy answers. A great book club choice.” — Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Library, Cary, NC

Additional Buzz: It is one of our GalleyChat picks and an Indie Next selection. AARP includes it on their list of “Spring Books for Gownups.”

9781250108944_a50d1The Standard Grand, Jay Baron Nicorvo (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; OverDrive Sample) is another Indie Next pick hitting shelves:

“Jay Baron Nicorvo’s novel envelops you in a world most civilians never know, where homeless veterans gather to work on regaining their hearts and minds. The reader is a listener, learning about these characters through each of their voices, accents, idioms, and military jargon — sometimes mean and ugly, sometimes only vaguely understood. Even in their hidden Catskills retreat, there is a realization that they are not beyond the reach of a sinister corporate world waging another, more personal war for oil. The Standard Grand is sculpture, a work of art with every word, every detail, perfect.” —Diane Marie Steggerda, The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI

Additional Buzz: Booklist stars itwith reviewer Bill Kelly writing “Alongside Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2012) and Yellow Birds (2012), The Standard Grand is an important and deeply human contribution to the national conversation.” LJ counts it among its picks of the “Great First Acts: Debut Novels.”


9781338196566_12edfJust one tie-in comes out this week, Official Handbook (Captain Underpants Movie) by Kate Howard (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample). The animated film is based on the beloved book series of the same name, written by Dav Pilkey.

It stars Kevin Hart, Jordan Peele, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal and opens on June 2, just in time to delight kids looking forward to summer vacation.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.


Friday, April 21st, 2017

9781451673319_c2388The premium cable network, HBO has discovered the temperature at which paper burns, moving forward with a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 (S&S; Tantor; OverDrive Sample).

The novel, first published in 1953, depicts a future world where books are outlawed and, if found, burned by firemen. Written during the McCarthy era it has found a new readership following the 2016 election.

The movie will star Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) reports Deadline. Adds TorJordan will play “Montag, the young fireman who has a crisis of conscience when he begins to believe that burning books is wrong, and Michael Shannon as Beatty, Montag’s captain and mentor.”

Assessing the novel in 2008, over 50 years after it was first published, a writer for The Guardian attested to the novel’s continuing appeal, saying it is “often startling and poetic … almost as memorable for its imagery as its ideas … As far as ideas go, the effect was just as powerful when I read the book anew.”

It won a Retrospective Hugo in 2004 and was adapted by François Truffaut in a 1966 film starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie and was adapted as a graphic novel in 2009: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton (Macmillan/Hill and Wang).


Friday, April 21st, 2017

9780143039983_6ad77Netflix is adapting Shirley Jackson’s iconic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House into a series reports Variety. It is being described as “a modern reimagining.”

Mike Flanagan (Hush, Oculus, and Ouija: Origin of Evil) is on board to direct the planned 10-episode run. This is his second horror adaptation for Netflix. He is currently in post-production on Netflix’s movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.

GQ is excited about Flanagan’s role, saying “he knocks it out of the park every damn time … [and] has already been responsible for beloved modern horrors … The Haunting of Hill House is a tense, almost unbearable book at times. It will be great to see how the director works with dread over the course of several episodes rather than just a few hours.”

io9 says “Flanagan’s flair for making even ordinary things intensely spooky—this is a guy who made a sidewalk tunnel into a place of sheer terror in 2011’s excellent Absentia—suggests he’s an ideal choice for this project.”

Jackson’s novel is considered a classic of the genre, and has its own Penguin’s classic edition to prove it. Published in 1959, it was a finalist for the National Book Award. The story follows four people who spend time in the creepy halls of Hill House, known for its supernatural phenomena. One of the four becomes subject to the house’s menacing hold.

Stephen King wrote, in the introduction of one of the many editions of the novel, “it seems to me that [The Haunting of Hill House] and James’s The Turn of the Screw are the only two great novels of the supernatural in the last hundred years.”

Tor re-visits the novel on the 100th anniversary of Jackson’s birth, writing “It’s a masterpiece, truly, and for myriad different reasons—but above all else it’s frightening, a slow and anxious and steady sort of frightening.” The Guardian says it is “a chilling and highly accomplished piece of writing.”

It has already been adapted, twice, as feature films released in 1963 and 1999. The Netflix’s version will be another marker in the recent up swing of attention to Jackson, who also wrote the masterful short story “The Lottery.” A critically acclaimed biography of the author was published last October, Penguin is issuing Classics versions of her work with introductions by authors such as Francine Prose, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Kevin Wilson. Last year “The Lottery” was adapted into a graphic novel and Random House issued a collection of previously unpublished and uncollected works, Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.


Thursday, April 20th, 2017

A new trailer for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming movie, The Beguiled has been released in advance of the Cannes Film Festival, where it has been entered into competition. Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst, it is based on a 1966 Southern Gothic novel, A Painted Devil by Thomas Cullinan.

Set during the Civil War, the plot involves a group of women sequestered in a girls boarding school in the South, whose lives are turned upside down by the appearance of a wounded Union soldier. The movie is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 30th. Based on the trailer, IndieWire ventures that, “Coppola might just have the indie hit of the summer on her hands.”

Cullinan’s book was adapted before, also under the title The Beguiled.  Released in 1971, it starred Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. Considered a flop, it reportedly has developed a cult following since. The trailer for that movie works hard to attract audiences to the story of “a man who becomes prisoner to these man-deprived women, these man-eager girls.”

Coppola told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that hers will be quite a different movie.  She shifts the focus away from he soldier to “the dynamics between a group of women all stuck together, and then also the power shifts between men and women.”

Little information is available about the 1966 novel, which has been out of print for 30 years. For the upcoming tie-in edition, the publisher quotes Stephen King from his book on horror novels and films, Danse Macabre, calling it “[A] mad gothic tale . . . The reader is mesmerized with horror by what goes on in that forgotten school for young ladies.” There are a few, mostly positive reviews on GoodReads, from film buffs who managed to snag out-of-print copies.

The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In)
Thomas Cullinan
PRH/Penguin Books, Trade Paperback; OverDrive
On Sale Date: June 6, 2017

More Attention To WORD BY WORD

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

9781101870945_9cd32Kory Stamper has something of a following. Terry Gross, the host of NPR’s Fresh Air is one, as she makes clear in her interview with the associate editor at Merriam-Webster’s about her book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (PRH/Pantheon; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

This is the second wave of attention for the book. As we posted in March, detailed coverage by the NYT sent the book soaring on Amazon‘s sales rankings. The Fresh Air interview does that again, sending the book back up in to the Top 100.

Most libraries are now on top of demand, but the interview is great fun for any word nerd.

O’Reilly’s Book Brand Survives

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

9781250092335_665e3Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News but not at Macmillan imprint Holt.

USA Today reports that the ex-broadcaster has the backing of his book publisher. “Our plans have not changed,” says Holt publicity director Patricia Eisemann, of the next book in the highly profitable Killing series that O’Reilly writes with co-author Martin Dugard.

The Killing books, which examine the deaths of public figures such as Killing Kennedy (2012) and  Killing Patton (2014), have made a killing for Holt. They have also been the source of money-making movies for National Geographic. The cable network has also announced that they plan to continue to develop a TV movie based on Killing Patton.

The NYT reports that “more than 17 million copies [of the series are] in print and [it] is a reliable source of annual revenue for the [publisher]. In recent years, new books in the series have sold 1.1 million copies in the first few months after release.”

9781250135797_5bf07Recent press stories about the reasons behind O’Reilly’s ouster shine an ironic light on his newest book, Old School: Life in the Sane Lane (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), which Janet Maslin described in her NYT review as “meant to set forth the code of decency, honor and determination that made O’Reilly what he is today.” It debuted at #2 on the USA Today best-seller list, moving down slightly to #5 this week.

The NYT questions whether that will continue, writing “Even if Holt sticks with Mr. O’Reilly, sales of his books will almost certainly decline without his perch at Fox, which he used to promote his books to millions of viewers.” That seems borne out by Amazon’s sales rankings where the book has slipped to #19.

The next Killing book is set for a Sept. 2017 publication. With no title, no cover art, no advance reviews and no description on the publishers site, there is no information on what subject it addresses.

default_jacket_mmUntitled O’Reilly
Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard
On Sale Date: September 19, 2017
Hardcover | 304 pages |
$30.00 USD, $38.99 CAD
ISBN 9781627790642, 1627790640



Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

American AssassinThe first trailer for the film adaptation of Vince Flynn’s thriller American Assassin carries some extra interest. It’s the first on-screen appearance of Dylan O’Brien since he suffered injuries while filming another adaptation, The Maze Runner: Death Cure. He plays the lead character, CIA operative Mitch Rapp. Michael Keaton plays the man assigned to train him as a killer.

The film is set for release on Sept. 15.

American Assassin is the eleventh title in the series, chosen because it moves back in time to depict Rapp’s first assignment. A tie-in has yet to be announced. The paperback (S&S/Pocket) experienced a bump on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the trailer’s release.

White House Insider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

9781455588220_ced4bTerry Gross interviewed Alyssa Mastromonaco yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air, sending her memoir Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House (Hachette/Twelve; OverDrive Sample) into Amazon’s Top 50, currently at $37.

President Obama’s deputy chief of staff for operations. Mastromonaco shares insider details about his administration, often in contrast with Trump’s, including how the president’s personal travel budget works, the threats that face presidents in the post-9/11 world, and the selection process for Cabinet positions.

Seemingly small details underscore that women are still newcomers in the world of politics, such as the lack of women’s bathrooms in the West Wing.

The book spent two weeks on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and got attention when it was published last month. People reviewed it, saying it is “brimming with … humorous, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, as well as up-close-and-personal moments with Obama that shed new light on who he is as a leader, man and friend.” New York Magazine ran an interview, as did USA Today.

Holds remain strong in most libraries we checked, several running at 4:1 and a few others topping 7:1.


Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

WonderstruckTodd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s middle grade novel Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) has been selected to enter the competition at the Cannes Film Festival to be held May 17-28.

Haynes, whose films to date have been for adults, won the Queer Palm at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, for Carol based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. This is Haynes’s first film based on a children’s book.

Starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Okes Fergley Wonderstruck is produced by Amazon studios. A section of the novel is set in 1927 and features a deaf child, Rose, to be played by newcomer Millicent Simmonds, a 13-year-old deaf actress. Haynes has chosen to film her section as a silent movie, using what Deadline calls “an unprecedented number of deaf actors in roles that would normally go to hearing actors.”

This will be the second Selznick book adapted by a celebrated director, after Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Hugo, based on The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

Wonderstruck spent 25 weeks on the NYT Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover best seller list, won the 2012 Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book.

No news yet on a release date or a tie-in.

SHATTERED Examines the Clinton Campaign

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

9780553447088_1273bHeavy media attention is sending an account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign soaring up the Amazon’s sales rankings to #3, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

In today’s NYT, chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in ‘Shattered’— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

Most other media sources assigned they political reporter to the book.  Having been closer to the campaign on a day-by-day basis, they offer a different take. NPR’s Washington desk correspondent, Ron Elving, says “There is no Big Reveal, no shocking secret answer. Instead we get a slow-building case against the concept and execution of the Clinton campaign, with plenty of fault falling squarely on the candidate herself.”

A Washington Post piece by senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg is even less positive: “the quick-fire version proves too limiting” he says noting there will  “surely be many books about what really happened inside the 2016 campaigns. Going first has its advantages — perhaps in sales and attention.”

Will Shattered be the next Game Change, the best selling analysis of the 2008 campaign by Mark Halperin and John Heinemann? Elving does not think so, saying the personalities involved in that campaign, Obama, John Edwards, John McCain, and Sarah Palin were “more compelling and telegenic, calling out to turn themselves into the TV movie they became,” adding, “Ultimately, Allen and Parnes get inside the campaign but not inside the mind of Hillary Clinton. Much the same seems to have been true for most of her staff and, ultimately, the voters.”

Halperin and Heinemann are working on their own book on the campaign, following up on their successful Showtime series, “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” now in its third season, covering Trump’s first 100 days in office. As yet untitled, the book is expected to be published early next year. HBO has already acquired the rights to it.

Clinton will publish her own memoir in September. Described as a collection of her personal reflections on quotes and stories that have helped her “celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times,” it doesn’t sound like it will delve deeply into the campaign.

There were no prepub reviews for Shattered, indicating it was embargoed, and libraries have ordered it very lightly, with some systems facing 5:1 ratios.

Outlander Season 3, First Look

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Droughtlander is slowly coming to an end. Set to debut in September, STARZ aired a teaser for season 3 during this weekend’s premiere of The White Princess.

Fans of the fashions in season two will have more to look forward to reports Vanity Fair, quoting lead actress Caitriona Balfe who says, “Some of the 60s pieces are so cool and beautiful that I asked [the costume designer] to make me doubles.”

The actors playing Jamie and Claire were separated in the actual filming as they are in the novel. Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, tells the magazine that the experience was like “having a death in the family. Well, I don’t know. I mean, it’s just like a different show. It’s hard to separate yourself from the character. It’s always hard when we’re apart … But I think it all adds to the reunion—if there’s a reunion, or when there’s a reunion—well, you know there’s one in the books. It should be very special.” Balfe responded, “Och! He’s already killed me in his mind. Gone. Too sad.”

The third season of Outlander is based on Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s long running series.

A tie-in edition arrives in August, Voyager (Starz Tie-in Edition), Diana Gabaldon (PRH/Bantam).

MIST Trailer

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The chilling trailer for the series adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, The Mist, has been released. The 10-episode series is set to debut on Spike TV on June 22. No tie-ins have been announced.

The pace of King adaptations is picking up. Last year brought the generally well-received J.J. Abrams’ mini-series adaptation of 11.22.63 on Hulu in February, followed by the much less successful film adaptation of Cell, released in July.

Several more will follow The Mist this year.

The Dark Tower — After many delays, the film, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey is now firmly set for release on August 4th.  Fans are clamoring for the trailer, but so far, have had to content themselves with reports about the footage shown at CinemaCon in March.

It  — Starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, this film debuts on September 28th. A teaser arrived late last month. CORRECTION: As pointed out in the comments below, we incorrectly identified the actor playing Pennywise as ALEXANDER Skarsgård from Big Little Lies.

Mr. Mercedes (TV Series) — Currently filming, the release is expected this year. After visiting the set, Stephen King tweeted that it looks “awesome,” adding the same accolade for The Mist and The Dark Tower, as well as two titles in post-production, but with no release dates yet, 1922, based on his short story, and Gerald’s Game, based on his novel.