Last week saw the premiere of "Resurrection," a TV series based on author Jason Mott's popular debut novel, The Returned. Fan of the book and the TV show will get another treat from Mott this on September 30, with the release of The Wonder of All Things (MIRA).
Though Wonder isn't a sequel to The Returned, it features a similar magical "what if" premise. After a devastating plane crash, 13-year-old Ava uses her healing powers to save the life of her best friend, Wash—only to find that she has exposed her talent to the world. But taking on the world's pain has serious consequences for Ava, and she must decide how much of herself she can sacrifice for others.
Will you read it?
Author photo by Randy Skidmore
The internationally best-selling novel has been adapted by Ben York Jones (Like Crazy, winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize), and it's set to be directed by Marius Markevicius, who directed The Other Dream Team (a documentary of the 1992 Lithuania national basketball team) and produced Like Crazy. Filming will begin in Lithuania this year.
Between Shades of Gray is a Carnegie Medal-nominated tale of a 15-year-old girl's fight for survival during World War II. Set during the little-known yet shockingly true events of the Baltic deportation, Sepetys' debut shocked readers with its brutal honesty, and her heroine won our hearts with her resolve and her refusal to let go of hope. Check out our interview with Sepetys, where she shared her reasons for telling this moving story.
How exciting! And considering the inevitable hilarity of parents trying to hunt down the titles on their children's school reading lists and confusing Between Shades of Gray and Fifty Shades of Grey, what are the chances that a few feisty Redbox users will end up accidentally renting a heartrending tale about Siberian mass deportation? Probably pretty good, I'd say . . . .
The movie version of Heaven Is for Real, starring Greg Kinnear, will hit theaters on April 16. For those who don't know, Heaven Is for Real is a 2010 memoir by Todd Burpo, whose son, Colton, had a vision of heaven while undergoing lifesaving surgery. The book has spent more than 150 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and with a movie in the works it will no doubt stay there for at least a few dozen more. Check out the tear-jerker of a trailer below.
With its themes of family and faith, I'm surprised they didn't slot this one for a holiday release. Do you plan to see Heaven Is for Real?
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Read our review of the Burpos' follow up, Heaven Changes Everything.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I'm a serious fan of Robert K. Massie. Especially his Romanov books. So when he came to Nashville recently to accept the Nashville Public Library Literary Award, I made sure to attend his talk at the University School of Nashville.
Massie said he was pleased with the choices made for the adaptation so far, especially the selection of a mature female producer (Debra Martin Chase, known for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). "I care a great deal about how my books appear," he said, especially because of the importance of historical accuracy. "As Voltaire would say, by that I mean they agree with me," he quipped.
Much of Massie's talk focused on his admiration for Catherine and her intelligence, curiosity and ambition—qualities that are not always appreciated in women, even today. He told the story of meeting a German official at a party in New York who thanked him for reminding the world that Catherine the Great was, in fact, German—and revealed that Angela Merkel, the world's most powerful female leader, keeps a portrait of Catherine on her desk. In his interview with me, he mentioned that one of his reasons for wanting to write about Catherine was to share the story of a woman who wasn't afraid to be smart and powerful with today's women, including his four daughters. Portraying this legendary leader will be quite a responsibility—let's hope they choose wisely.
Swedish production company Yellow Bird Entertainment, which produced the 2011 film based on the novel, sold the English-language movie rights to Summit Entertainment in 2011. The rights were then acquired by Lionsgate, and the project downsized to TV. "True Blood" executive producer Alexander Woo will write and executive produce the show.
I liked the movie adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I didn't care for "The Killing," so my expectations aren't high for Scandinavian suspense on American screens. What do you think, readers? Plan to check it out?
CBS has given the green light to the production of a pilot based on Koethi Zan's spine-tingling debut, The Never List, which was published in July. Zan will be a consultant on the project—but her novel will be adapted by the author A.M. Homes.
Homes is no stranger to dark dramas, and her offbeat humor could be a welcome addition to Zan's grim story of two best friends held captive and tortured for years in a dreary basement room with a few other women. From our review:
"Ten years later, Sarah is trying to live with what happened, including the loss of her best friend and the fact that her former captor is up for parole in four months. He has been sending letters from jail to the three surviving girls, and Sarah believes that there is more to these letters than the mindless ramblings of a madman. She is determined to find evidence to keep her tormentor in jail and put her own mind to rest."
While there's no a shortage of crime dramas starring tortured protagonists on the small screen these days, I'm curious to see what Homes, who wrote one of my favorite books of 2012, might bring to this iteration of that somewhat tired TV trope. Will you look for this pilot next season? Who would you cast as Sarah?
Did you get swept up in The Silent Wife phenomenon this summer? A.S.A. Harrison's superbly suspenseful tale of the unraveling of a 20-year marriage had readers feverishly turning the pages 'til the very last one. If you were one of them, then you'll probably be excited to hear that a movie adaptation is in the works, with Nicole Kidman attached to star as Jodi, the Silent Wife. Frankly, I can't think of anyone more perfectly suited for the role. No word on who will play the philandering Todd. One thing's for sure: He shouldn't be skinny. Although a charismatic ladies' man, Todd is repeatedly described as a big guy. I'm thinking perhaps Mark Ruffalo. What do you think about Kidman as Jodi? Who do you think would be a good Todd?
That's what ABC executives seem to think, anyway—they've picked up Sisterland for their network's lineup.
The show will be written and produced by Fake Empire, a company headed by the creators of "The O.C." and "Gossip Girl," and they've pulled in TV veteran Rina Mimoun ("Everwood," "Privileged," "Mistresses") to adapt the book and co-produce.
ABC is billing the show as a "paranormal drama," so we can expect the psychic talents of sisters Vi and Kate to take center stage alongside their family dramas.
No air date has been announced, so you have plenty of time to read the book. For more, read our review of Sisterland.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Herman Koch's best-selling novel The Dinner is being adapted for a film, with none other than actress Cate Blanchett on board to make her directorial debut. Our reviewer deemed the book to be mesmerizing, disturbing, fast-paced and addictive—which certainly sound like the makings of a smashing movie.
No word on a release date. Will you be seeing the movie? Do you have any thoughts on whom you'd like to see in the cast?
With the film version of Shannon Hale's 2007 novel Austenland now in wide release, fans of Austen pastiches and homages may wonder what's next.
No worries; as we've noted before the steady stream of adaptations shows no sign of slowing down. Here's a look ahead at some of the more notable titles soon to hit shelves:
Longbourn by Jo Baker (Knopf, October). In her story of the Bennet servants, British novelist Baker has succeeded in creating a world that stands on its own, even as it builds on the "Austenverse" that fans have come to know and love. (read more)
Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope (Harper, November). The best-selling British author takes on the task of modernizing this Austen classic, which finds Elinor, Marianne and Margaret disinherited not for being female, but because their carefree mother didn't marry their father. The book is reported to be first in a series of "reimagined" Austen novels commissioned by HarperUK publishing director Louisa Joyner, although no other book/author matches have been announced.
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, November). This debut novel is told in epistolary format by a young woman who has recently aged out of foster care. Sam gets a scholarship to journalism school, provided she sends written updates to her benefactor, whom she knows only as "Mr. Knightley."
The Pursuit of Miss Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle (Morrow, December). Perhaps the most conventionally adapted of the novels, this continuation of Pride and Prejudice puts the most difficult Bennet sister, Mary, in the spotlight. Will she find love with quiet widower Henry Walsh? How are the married Bennet sisters faring with their husbands? Following in the footsteps of authors like Joan Aiken and P.D. James, Mingle answers these questions and more.
What's your favorite Austen homage? Have you seen Austenland yet?