If you're wondering what films based on books will release in early 2013 (Jan-April), BookBrowse has the answer!
Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Opened: Jan 11 in USA (opens in 40+ other countries between early Jan and late Feb)
Based on Journalist Paul Lieberman's 2008 seven-part series for the Los Angeles Times', "Tales from the Gangster Squad" which chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged an anything-goes war to drive Mickey Cohen and other hoodlums from Los Angeles after WWII. The series was adapted into book form in 2012 in anticipation of the film's release.
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis
Director: Taylor Hackford
Opens: Jan 25 in USA (and in about 25 other countries between late Jan and late March)
Summary: A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.
Based on the Parker novels of Donald E. Westlake, writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark; and apparently on Flashfire in particular, the 19th volume in the series, published in 2000.
John Dies at the End
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti
Director: Don Coscarelli
Opens: Jan 25 in USA (UK in March)
Summary: A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by David Wong which, according to Booklist, "spoofs the horror genre while simultaneously offering up a genuinely horrifying story."
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Director: Jonathan Levine
Opens: Feb 1 in USA (and in about 20 other countries between late Jan - early April)
Summary: The comedic story of a star-crossed, post-apocalyptic romance starring a young zombie and his human love interest.
Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, about a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie in a post-apolcalyptic USA largely populated by zombies, who craves something more than blood and brains. Audrey Niffenger (author of The Time Traveler's Wife) describes the book as "elegantly written, touching, and fun."
In 2011, President Obama proclaimed January 2012 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month:
"With the start of each year, we commemorate the anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and submitted to the States for ratification on February 1, 1865.
These documents stand as testaments to the gains we have made in pursuit of freedom and justice for all, and they remind us of the work that remains to be done. This month, I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking. Together, and in cooperation with our partners around the world, we can work to end this terrible injustice and protect the rights to life and liberty entrusted to us by our forebears and owed to our children."
There are an estimated 20-30 million people enslaved today (believed to be more than at any point in human history). People forced to work without pay, under threat of violence and unable to walk away.
Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry; $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
Between 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked in the USA each year, according to a US State Dept. report.
A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner (2008)
As Samantha Power and Philip Gourevitch did for genocide, Skinner has done for modern-day slavery. With years of reporting in such places as Haiti, Sudan, India, Eastern Europe, The Netherlands, and, yes, even suburban America, he has produced a vivid testament and moving reportage on one of the great evils of our time.
For the last few years, when the holiday season has come around, we've looked back to previous centuries for the newsworthy events of the year. Please join me on a whistle-stop tour one hundred years back in time, to 1912:
RooseveltSaved by The Written Word
It's a Presidential election year in the USA and there's a rare 4-way race - two Republicans, one Democrat and one Socialist. The Republican Party is split between the conservative wing led by President William Howard Taft and the liberal/reform wing, led by ex-President Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt is saved from an assassination attempt by a 50 page speech in his jacket pocket which takes much of the shot's impact, but the bullet still lodges in his chest. Just a few minutes later he opens his speech saying, "Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."
He proceeds to deliver his speech in its full 90-minute glory. Later, doctors decide that the bullet is too dangerous to remove, so Roosevelt will carry it until the day he dies.
Roosevelt and Taft receive 27% and 23% of the vote, losing to Woodrow Wilson with 42%. The socialist candidate, Eugene Debs, wins 6% - the party's best presedential performance, winning over 10% of the vote in Nevada, Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona, Washington and Idaho.
Frank Baum and the Suffragettes
Frank Baum, best known for his Oz series, publishes no less than four books in 1912, (actually probably six but two have been lost to posterity), two rather unsuccessful ones under his own name and two under one of his many pseudonyms, Edith Van Dyne, in which his female protagonists take part in traditionally masculine activities. Baum's support of women's suffrage wasn't limited to a few books written under a pseudonym; he was active in the movement for many years, acquainted with Susan B. Anthony, and included strong female leads in many of his books, not least in the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, in which a female general leads the women of Oz in a successful revolt armed only with knitting needles. He will die in 1919, the same year that Congress submits the 19th Amendment to the states for ratification, giving women the right to vote.
In Britain, 54-year-old Edith Nesbit has long established herself as a household name with dozens of books for children, published as E. Nesbit, plus many lesser known poems and books for adults. In 1912 she publishes The Magic World, a collection of twelve short stories for children. Nesbit was an outspoken feminist and socialist, a follower of utopian socialist William Morris, and a founder of The Fabian Society - a socialist organization which aimed to advance socialism via reform rather than revolution.
H.G. Wells was another early member of the Fabian Society (although later became critical of the organization believing that they had a poor understanding of economics and educational reform). By 1912, most of of his best known science fiction books are long behind him, but he's no less prolific, turning his focus towards politics and social commentary, in particular on the "New Woman" and the Suffragettes.
Tarzan, Avonlea and A Death in Venice
There's not much sign of feminism in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World - in which an expedition finds itself knee-deep in dinosaurs somewhere in the middle of the Amazon basin and we first meet Conan Doyle's new protagonist, Professor Challenger. Apparently, like Sherlock Holmes (who first appeared in 1887), Professor Challenger is based on a real person - a Scottish physiologist by the name of William Rutherford, who one must imagine was less pleased with being immortalized in print as "a homicidal megalomaniac with a turn for science" than Scottish doctor Joseph Bell, the inspiration for the asute and logical Sherlock Holmes.
Back in the USA, manly men still rule the roost in the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs. 1912 sees the serialization of his first Tarzan book, Tarzan of the Apes; and the first in his Barsoom series, starring John Carter of Mars. The list of future authors who will be inspired by the Barsoom series reads like a who's who of 20th century science fiction. As for Tarzan, Burroughs will go on to write about two dozen sequels; and there will be many film and comic adaptations.
2012 BookBrowse Favorites We are delighted to present our annual roundup of BookBrowse's Favorite Books. As in past years these books have been selected not simply on the number of votes each book received (as is the way with most "popular awards") but by asking our members and subscribers to rate each book they've read from a shortlist of titles, so that we can gauge how good a book is rather than just counting votes - as a simple vote count tends to favor the best selling books, which as we all know, aren't always the best! Only those already on our mailing list were eligible to vote so as to minimize vote stuffing - about 5000 votes were cast.
The BookBrowse Awards
The next step was to select the 2012 BookBrowse Award Winners from among this list of favorites - the book with the highest overall rating in its category being the winner. Interestingly, all three winners are debuts; as are almost half of this year's favorites.
Below are ten of our favorite author interviews from 2012 - a collection of video Q&As, transcribed interviews, and compelling conversations that go deeper than just asking the authors about their writing schedules or what advice they'd give to budding writers. These interviews look at issues and events from around the globe and provide readers with plenty of food for thought.
I hope you enjoy them!
Davina, BookBrowse Editor
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, makes the distinction between introversion and shyness, and delves into the importance of quiet decision making.
Chris Bohjalian discusses his 2012 novel, Sandcastle Girls, which explores the Armenian Genocide - a novel which he says has been gestating since his childhood visits to the home of his Armenian grandparents.
So many books. So little time! How many times have you caught yourself saying just that? And when it comes to picking what works for your book club, it's not enough to pick just what you want to read, it has to appeal to the rest of your reading buddies as well.
We make this task-- of winnowing just the right picks -- easy for you! Many of our reviews are of books that make perfect reading choices for book clubs. Here we feature a dozen carefully selected books, all of which will publish in paperback in early 2013. To help you decide, you can browse through an excerpt and a range of review opinion for each book (and, if you're a member, BookBrowse's full review and backstory). Most also have a handy printable reading guide. I know you'll find plenty in here that will spark lively discussions in your book club.
So the only thing you have to worry about at your next discussion is -- who will bring the wine and cheese!
Davina, BookBrowse Editor
Publication dates are all for USA, and may differ elsewhere
Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift
Paperback: January 8, 2013; 336 pages. Vintage Books
In his ninth novel, Swift returns to the same motifs - broken family relationships, English landscapes, and an internal narrative based on memory - that run through nearly all of his books... Swift delivers a truly remarkable story about one very unhappy family. He is a deeply affecting writer, one who explores the murky crevices of his characters and their lives... While a reader may not emerge emotionally unscathed, they will have had a deeply felt experience in reading this dark and aching novel that will resonate with you long after the last page is read. Reviews, Excerpt & Reading Guide
Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
Paperback: January 8, 2013; 384 pages. Vintage Books
What could a UFO hippie cult, a British rock star, a Spanish Franciscan priest, the son of a Sikh and his autistic son have in common? The Mojave Desert, for one thing. A search for meaning that connects the earthbound physical plane with the spiritual, for another. In his fourth novel, Hari Kunzru confronts head-on the quandaries of modern life while walking a fine line between irony and authentic emotion, between seriousness and lightheartedness, without missing a step. Reviews, Excerpt & Reading Guide
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Paperback: January 22, 2013; 336 pages. William Morrow
A stunning debut reminiscent of the novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town. Reviews, Excerpt & Reading Guide
Quiet by Susan Cain
Paperback: January 29, 2013; 352 pages. Broadway Books
Though her research is current and substantial, the basic tenets of introvert-versus-extrovert issues that Cain explores are, for the most part, not revelatory. Rather, it is her big picture view and her unification of so many aspects of one maligned temperament that make the book an excellent read. Quiet is different from previous books on introversion because it explores the topic from so many perspectives. Other titles on this subject tend to be strictly in the self-help genre or straight memoir. Cain approaches introversion as a cultural anthropologist might, looking for all the ways it affects our society. Reviews, Excerpt & Reading Guide
Sometimes, I think, we are under the magical assumption that a writer has an idea, writes a story, then an editor at a publishing house acquires it, and it is published. Four clean, clear steps in a straight forward-moving line.
Sigh. Maybe I should revise that we to an I.
I am a fiction writer. And my process is - well - kind of different from the one above. I get an idea for a story. But then I write part of it, get stuck, cut half of it, write it again, give it to a critique partner to read, take her extensive notes, cut half of it again, then revise what is left. I repeat this part of the process until the story is done. Then my agent sends it out to an editor. I get a rejection. Then another editor, and I get another rejection. I repeat this until the story is sold, or put in a drawer. And if it is sold, then it has to go through the whole process of getting published...
The reasons for novels getting rejected are varied, of course. For example,it took B. A. Shapiro eight years to get The Art Forger published. She had already written and sold five novels at that point, but still, she could not find an editor who could and would acquire it. As she says in an interview with Jan Brogan on the blog Jungle Writers Red: "The support of my family and my friends as well as a driving desire to tell stories [kept me going during this dry spell.] It wasn't easy...after five published novels I wrote four more that couldn't find a home. I was thinking about a career change when The Art Forger was acquired by Algonquin Books after many, many rejections by other publishers. I immediately bagged the change idea and started writing a new novel. As far as advice goes, all I can say is that sometimes – not always – but sometimes when you want something badly enough, it can happen. You've just got to get your butt into the chair so that you're there when it strikes."
We might not see each other very often during the year but my friend Barbara and I always make it a point to go in to the Boston Book Festival together. Our kids are in the same grade in high school and Barbara and I share a love of books so the train ride in and back is a chance for us to reconnect, complain about the kids, and talk books. This year, Hurricane Sandy was a blot on the horizon but the day of the festival was a crisp fall day in Boston.
The majestic Trinity Church in Boston seemed like an incongruous setting for comedians discussing satire but the beautiful setting hosted a panel who had to watch their language to much laughter from the audience. Two of the three panelists had associations with The Daily Show: Lizz Winstead, the co-creator of the show, had the audience in stitches with riffs about her Minnesota childhood, growing up one of five kids in a Catholic family. Promoting her book, Lizz Free or Die, she recounted rebelling against established norms about what girlhood should look like. "I just didn't get convention," Lizz said. When she got a doll which she was supposed to "feed" with a bottle, she was appalled that she then had to change its diaper. One day, for fun, she tried feeding the baby from the same side that leaked. Net effect? The baby threw up and Mom was horrified. Mom, Lizz said, was "Minnesota nice." "I love your hair," her mom would say to her, "it makes you look less muscular."
At a big-name event in Minnesota, Lizz was part of a panel whose other guests were Desmond Tutu, Hillary Clinton and Jonathan Alter. Mom called Lizz and complained, "Lizz, you're the only guest I have never heard of!" Lizz recounted the singular event that turned her on to news satire. She was on a date with a sports maniac and after dinner, the two went to a bar and watched the first Iraq war unfold on television. Her date noticed the coverage and said, "This is so awesome." He was fascinated and impressed. Lizz, not so much! She thought to herself, "Are they reporting on a war or selling me the war?" That event, she says, made her look at news in a new light, and formed some of the basis for the award-winning show.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Sara Pennypacker give a talk to children's librarians, during which she mentioned a program that she and a few of her children's author friends have launched:
"Share Our Books was born from a conversation a few of us children's authors had about how much we loved Community Reads. The idea is for an entire elementary school community from the principal and teachers to the bus drivers and nurses and, of course, the students and their families to share the experience of reading the same book at the same time. It's an honor and a joy to have our books chosen to help bond a community this way. What could we do to encourage more of it, we asked each other? The answer was obvious...provide the books."
If you ever wondered about the power of a little encouragement, whether it really can make a difference, read on!
When I was young, in high school and in college, I wrote short stories. I thought they were pretty good. At age 23, with a reasonably promising career as a Coast Guard officer ahead of me, I wanted to quit and write literary stuff.
I was dissuaded from doing so by my family, who perhaps expected more from me economically. So instead of getting an MFA, I got an MBA. Instead of writing literary stuff, I ended up at Lehman Brothers.
A career in finance is all-consuming. I put my writing aside for a very long time (along with pretty much everything else), and I focused on trading and making money. I was happy, because I found this to be a worthwhile pursuit. But, in parallel fashion, I was mentally ill, seriously so. Though I didn't know it at the time, I suffered from a severe form of bipolar disorder, which may have been made worse by the stressful, almost sadistic working conditions of an investment bank.
I was hospitalized in what was an emotional and spiritual bottom. I went from a trading desk at Lehman Brothers in the middle of Times Square to a psychiatric ward, where the usual precautions against sharp objects were taken. I didn't know how long I would be there. I didn't even really care.