An Amazon spokesman said in an email that "the big surprise" was that the edition of the book for the company's Kindle electronic-book reader outsold hardcover editions on the book's release day, excluding pre-orders.
At BookPage we’ve been gearing up for the holidays. It may seem early, but since we work 2-3 months ahead of publication dates, we’ve been happily sorting through piles of the best books to give (and receive) this season.
While doing my fiction research, I was surprised to see that Today Show personality Al Roker has a novel coming out this fall. Not so much of a stretch, I thought, since Roker has previously released cookbooks (Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue and Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook) and a memoir (Don't Make Me Stop this Car: Adventures in Fatherhood). But then I saw the title of his novel: The Morning Show Murders. Hmm.
From the publisher: Being cheerful at six in the morning can drive anyone to murder—just ask Al Roker! In his behind-the-cameras debut mystery, a celebrity TV chef has dishes to prepare, millions to entertain and a murder to solve before his show—and life—get permanently cancelled. As fact and fiction collide and the backbiting ignites, The Morning Show Murders will make you wonder: How much of this stuff is real?
Maybe it’s just me, but a thriller from sunny Al Roker is the last thing I expected to see in the mail. But now I’m intrigued . . . maybe just enough to read the first few chapters.
Will you check out The Morning Show Murders when it goes on sale November 24?
The Oscar buzz is already building for Up in the Air, the latest film by Oscar-nominated director Jason Reitman (Juno). Based on a 2001 novel by Walter Kirn, the movie debuted last weekend at the Toronto Film Festival to glowing reviews. Kirn's novel features a well-traveled "Corporate Transition Counselor" (played in the film by George Clooney), who yearns to make a break from his grueling job, but has his eyes fixed on an elusive prize: one million frequent flyer miles. Readers interested in checking out Up in the Air before the U.S. premiere of the film on November 13 will find a new movie tie-in paperback edition available next month, along with a new audio version and mass market paperback.
From USA Today comes word that Jason Reitman's next directorial project might involve a novel of particular interest here: Joyce Maynard's Labor Day. Reitman is said to be adapting a screenplay of the book, which tells the surprisingly tender tale of a mother and son in a small New Hampshire town who shelter an escaped convict during a long holiday weekend. Deb Donovan reviewed the novel in the August issue of BookPage, and I blogged about its attractive cover design a few weeks ago, a subject that elicited several interesting emails from Maynard herself. It seemed appropriate to save my own reading of the book for Labor Day weekend, when two plane flights gave me some uninterrupted reading time. Despite my initial compulsion to shake/scream at/lecture any woman who would give a ride to a smooth-talking prison escapee (do NOT let that man into your car!), I found myself drawn into the story of this poignant threesome and particularly taken with the voice of 13-year-old narrator Henry. It would be fascinating to see how a talented director like Reitman would bring this unique coming-of-age story to the screen.
On the other end of the book-to-movie spectrum is The Road, the grim Cormac McCarthy novel that has encountered a series of delays in reaching the screen. Let's be honest here, a novel that features seered earth, cannibalism and raw terror always seemed like a longshot for movie success. The Wizard of Oz, it's not. But I still believe Viggo Mortensen is an ideal choice for the lead role and despite mixed early reviews, I'm still eager to see this movie. As Mortensen said in an interview with Canadian television, McCarthy's message in The Road is ultimately a hopeful one: "This film really makes you appreciate life," Mortensen tells CTV. "Sure you can have a bad day. You can have physical ailments and problems in life. But I wouldn't trade this life or this world for any other. Life is short, you know? You've got to pay attention to that." The film is now set to debut on November 25.
In a recent column, Hollywood Reporter Editor Elizabeth Guider offers an interesting take on why we don't see as many books made into movies these days: "Much has shifted in the past quarter-century. Novels used to be the bedrock of movie adaptation because they were the basis of the culture's general education. Practically every best-seller got made into a movie, and some more high-toned works did as well." Now, Guider says, it's comic books that generate excitement among studio execs: "Comic books have emerged from kids' bedrooms into the mainstream as the coolest source material for movies. They and their snootier cousins, graphic novels, are now talked about in the same hushed tones that were once reserved for the works of Thomas Pynchon or John Barth." Point well taken.
Do you have a favorite novel that Hollywood is ignoring? What book would you most want to see made into a movie?
That was just one of the questions the Wall Street Journal asked in an interview with the Lost Symbol author, which contains a few interesting tidbits about Brown's personal life and writing routine (apparently his day starts at 4 am—yikes!). He also talked to Parade earlier this week.
The New York Times and the LA Times broke the embargo with reviews yesterday, and novelist Louis Bayard covered the book today for the Washington Post. Slate has posted a "Dan Brown Plot Generator" that should entertain "Choose Your Own Adventure" or "Mad Libs" devotees. And John Crace live-blogged about reading the novel over at the Guardian's books page.
As for BookPage? Well, we took advantage of the Kindle's wireless network to get a copy of the book to reviewer Ed Morris the moment it was released (Seattle time, unfortunately). He's reading right now, and tells me that so far the book has the "same high-intensity beginning, same minute-by-minute unfolding" as The DaVinci Code. He should know: Ed interviewed Dan Brown about The Da Vinci Code before the book went on sale back in 2003. Check it out here.
Scholastic is boasting—and justifiably so—about the news that Suzanne Collins' teen novel Catching Fire is now the best-selling book in the country for any age group, according to bestseller lists just released by USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. This sequel to The Hunger Games is obviously drawing many adult readers, including several in our office who rave about this fast-paced read and its appealing young heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Though she won the Hunger Games, Katniss must face new problems in book two as she begins the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour.
Collins is working on the third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy and has done very few interviews for Catching Fire. We're happy to report that BookPage was one of the lucky few—you can read our Q&A with the author in the September issue.
And speaking of lucky: we have a copy of Catching Fire for one lucky reader. Leave a comment below no later than Monday, Sept. 14, mentioning your favorite heroine in a book, and you'll be entered in the drawing to win!
As the time for Oprah to make her 63rd book club pick draws near (September 18, if you haven't heard), we're digging deeper to try to figure out what the world's most influential reader has chosen.
The audio version of #63 offers some useful clues, if online listings can be trusted. Ingram says it's a 3-CD set. Barnes and Noble goes further, saying the audio is 2 hours and 45 minutes, unabridged. If correct, this short length limits the original Pub Lunch list somewhat—only The Man's Book: The Essential Guide for the Modern Man by Thomas Fink and Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt are anywhere close to short enough to fit on 3 CDs unabridged. We also dug up two other contenders, both published at $23.99 in hardcover by Little, Brown:
Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione
The publisher's synopsis says this guide to achieving inner peace brings an "11th-century Tibetan woman's practice to the West for the first time."
Sway by Zachary Lazar
This loosely plotted novel that chronicles of some of the biggest events in the 1960s (the early days of the Rolling Stones; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers) would certainly be a different sort of pick for Oprah. It's just 272 pages, but audio versions of novels tend to be longer so this might not be a contender after all.
Of these, my money's on The Man Book (which would be a true departure for Oprah, whose previous selections have been as female-oriented as her audience). Think the audio listing can be trusted?
In a long article, the Wall Street Journal investigates the "new" trend of Amish fiction, and the surprising popularity of romances that aren't bodice-rippers:
Publishers attribute the books' popularity to their pastoral settings and forbidden love scenarios à la Romeo and Juliet. Lately, the genre has expanded to include Amish thrillers and murder mysteries. Most of the authors are women.
Christian fiction is expanding its horizons all the time, and typical Christian fiction readers tend to be more conservative and nostalgic, so it's not that surprising that the genre has caught on. And as Sharon Marchese told us last year, perhaps readers "can imagine a 'loftier' romantic story for these people who still travel by buggy."
Any Amish fiction fans out there? Personally, the genre hasn't hooked me yet, despite my childhood love of the Little House books and the esoteric details of pioneer life they contained. Feel free to tell me what I'm missing.
News on the wire today is that James Patterson, blockbuster writer extraordinaire, has signed a multi-book deal with Hachette. How many books, you ask? An astonishing 17...and perhaps the craziest thing about that figure is that those 17 books (11 for adults, 6 for kids) will only take Patterson readers through 2012.
Patterson is one of the authors who taught publishers that putting out more than one book a year doesn't mean over-saturating the market. Writing several series in several genres helps, and I have to wonder: does anyone read everything Patterson writes? Or do you pick and choose series or genres? Patterson fans, let us know in the comments. And don't miss our Patterson reviews and interviews here!
Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger has a new novel on the list for this spring. On May 25, 2010, Weiseberger fans can enjoy the as-yet-untitled story of a woman who supports her rock-star partner until he hits the big time, only to be dumped for a Brazilian supermodel. Not content to go quietly, our heroine meets a group of other women in the same boat—women who, as the catalog copy puts it, have been "dumped for the bitch of success and are hell bent on revenge." I thought Prada was entertaining, but made a better movie than a book, mostly due to the performances of Hathaway and Streep—but this premise sounds refreshingly different from her last two novels, which followed the general girl-wants-boy chick lit formula. How about you?
Julia Steele, BookPage Associate Publisher
Just listened to Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It's a great story set during the gold rush years and takes the reader from Chile to China to the new world full of 'easy gold.' The audio is read by Blair Brown, and she does a wonderful job—I will read or listen to more books by this author. Next I'll be starting on People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks for my book club—I think it will make for great discussion.
The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs is on my bedside table —I read a chapter every once in a while when I need a laugh. Jacobs is a journalist who has made his living turning his life into an experiment. In this book he outsources his life to India, poses as a beautiful woman on match.com, tries being “radically honest” at all times, and poses nude—among other things. It’s the perfect book to read in a chunk at a time.