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Tag: Fiction (11-20 of 299)

On The Books: Laura Hillenbrand rewrote 'Unbroken' as a YA book

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Laura Hillenbrand has rewritten her best-seller Unbroken, the life story of Olympic runner Louie Zamperini, as a YA nonfiction book that will be published on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2014). The original Unbroken tells the tale of Zamperini’s Odysseian journey from a hard-scrabble kid in Southern California during the Depression to his meteoric rise as an Olympic runner in the 1936 Berlin Games. Later he signed up as a fighter pilot during World War II and flew planes in the South Pacific. His bomber crashed 850 miles off the coast of Hawaii and he spent 47 days stranded on a raft before being captured by the Japanese and brutally abused in a POW camp until the end up the war. But it’s not a downer! He perseveres and with the same buoyant spirit that carried him to the Olympics, he recovers from his wartime experiences and finds new life for himself.

I’m not sure why this needs a “YA” version. It sounds pretty appropriate for the 12+ ages of the “young adult” genre. Surely if you can be conscripted to read Lord of the Flies at 13, you can read this amazing real-life tale of the triumph of human spirit. Hillenbrand didn’t say specifically what she changed for the younger version, only that “Louie Zamperini’s story is spellbinding to people of every age. At the urging of librarians, teachers, and parents, I’ve created this edition specifically for younger readers. I’m delighted to bring Louie’s inspiring, exhilarating story to a new generation.” Since its original publication in November 2010, Unbroken has sold nearly 4 million copies and has remained on the bestseller list for over 160 weeks, with 14 weeks at #1. Angelina Jolie is directing a film adaptation (written by the Cohen brothers no less!) which is set for release on Christmas Day 2014.

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Tina Fey and Jason Bateman to headline 'This Is Where I Leave You' BookCon panel -- EXCLUSIVE

Reasons to get excited about this spring’s first annual BookCon, which is sort of like Comic-Con, but for, uh, actual books:

1. Panel headliners include Amy Poehler, Martin Short, R.L. Stine, Stan Lee, and Cassandra Clare.

2. EW can exclusively announce that Tina Fey and Jason Bateman will also headline a panel, which will serve as BookCon’s kickoff celebration.

3. Tina Fey!!!

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On The Books: CIA used 'Dr. Zhivago' as anti-USSR propoganda

When I first read that the CIA used Dr. Zhivago to breakdown the USSR during The Cold War, I assumed that they forced Soviets to watch that movie on repeat as a form of torture. I know, I know, before you get all up in arms about “how wonderful that film is” and “what a classic,” I’m a big fan of Omar Sharif and Alec Guinness (hello, Lawrence of Arabia.) But think about Dr. Zhivago‘s torture potential. No human could watch that 3+ hour Russian downer drama twice in a row without cracking. You would have to have a will of steel not to end up in a ball crying, “The balalaika! It’s always the balalaika!”

But I guess the CIA wasn’t on the same page. According to recently declassified CIA documents, the U.S. government commissioned Russian-language editions of Boris Pasternak’s novel (which Mother Russia had banned) and distributed them to citizens in Moscow. The story largely takes place during the Bolshevik Revolution and dramatizes the casualties of the Communist rising, so the Americans thought it would make great anti-USSR propaganda. We should fight more wars with these kinds of non-lethal weapons. This plot ranks right up there with blue jeans and MTV bringing down the Berlin Wall. [Washington Post]

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On The Books: 'Gone With The Wind' prequel centers on Mammy

The Margaret Mitchell estate has authorized a prequel to Gone With The Wind which will follow the life of the house slave, Mammy. Donald McCaig is authoring the book,called Ruth’s Journey, which is slated for publication in October. McCaig also wrote Rhett Butler’s People, one of two sequels to the epic Southern tale. Gone with the Wind has sold hundreds of millions of copies since its publication in 1936 and it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937. Of course we can’t forget the Oscar-winning movie from 1939 starring Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh and the inimitable Hattie McDaniel as Mammy. Mammy captured hearts with her staunch morality, loyalty, and best of all, her harsh verbal lashings of Miss Scarlett. McCaig plans to delve into Mammy’s past, and the first order of business is to give her a real name (since Mitchell never did): Ruth. The story begins in 1804, when Ruth is brought from her birthplace, the French colony of Saint-Domingue that is now known as Haiti, to Savannah, GA where she will end up with Scarlett’s mother, Ellen. [New York Times]

The American Scholar has made a list of the “Ten Best Sentences” ever written. That’s a tall order. NPR’s All Things Considered has an interview with associate editor Margaret Foster, who explains their reasoning. No real surprises in the author’s on the list (although some of the chosen sentences are odd): Joan Didion, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Toni Morrison, Ernst Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Tim O’Brien, Vladimir Nabokov, John Hersey and Jane Austen. Austen is a bit of a surprise. I wouldn’t say her writing is the pinnacle of our craft. My choices for authors would be very different. I’d have to include Cormac McCarthy, Edward Abbey, Raymond Chandler, and David Foster Wallace. What sentences or authors would make your list? [American Scholar]

Ian Fleming, the author who created James Bond, was a notorious womanizer — color me stunned. And a series of love letters and postcards that he wrote to one of his girlfriends are being auctioned off in London. The auctioneer writes that the relationship was “typically tempestuous with hints of sadomasochism.” Here’s a quote from one of the letters:

I will only buy the castle if you will live with me there. So, do you offer yourself or not, everything included, naturally. High class ninny, the dust is a meter deep in the apartment. Since the day you went away, I have not been back there again, and there must be some letters for you there. Your flowers must be there too. When will you come back and clean everything up? You can have it whenever you want to and I won’t “bother” you, and you won’t have to watch out for my lies. Please, Edith, come. I can’t use the apartment in any case, because it still stinks of you (should I have said smells), and besides no candidate is available. [Peter Harrington]

Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings, wrote a piece in The New Yorker about what cultural things she drew upon for inspiration in her novel. Wolitzer’s sharp sense of humor is a treat for the Thursday slump. She says she subscribes to the “ ‘give yourself treats’ school of writing. (Not to be confused with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.)” I subscribe to that school too.

Jonathan Schell, author of many nonfiction books on 20th century warfare, died of cancer on Tuesday at his home in Brooklyn. One of his most famous books is The Village of Ben Suc (1967), which chronicled the systematic devastation of a South Vietnamese village by American forces during the Vietnam War. [New York Times]

Listen to Kristen Bell narrate new 'Veronica Mars' novel, 'The Thousand Dollar Tan Line' -- AUDIO

Are you a diehard Marshmallow who’s seen the Veronica Mars movie five times — but still needs a fix? If so, here’s a little something that might help.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has paired up with Jennifer Graham to write a mystery series that keeps the show’s story alive. The duo also managed to snag Kristen Bell to narrate the audiobook version of the series’s first volume, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Check out Bell channeling Veronica below:

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On The Books: Jimmy Carter talks biblical misogyny and an author imagines Hitler is a comedian

It’s a weird collection of book news this Monday. To start with, Jimmy Carter has a new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, which hits shelves tomorrow. The 39th President has published more than 25 books during his career, covering everything from history to politics to “The Virtues of Aging.” But his newest book is on the subjugation of women around the world, looking closely at how religion is used as a tool of oppression. NPR interviewed the former president this weekend and you can listen to an excerpt on their website.

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On The Books: join the Beat Generation with Ferlinghetti's travel journals

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the Beat poet and co-founder of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, has sold the rights to his travel journals to Liveright Publishing. They plan to release the collection, titled Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals (1950-2013), in September 2015. It sounds like it will be a counterculture travel guide and a historical snapshot of the second half of the 20th century rolled into one. The New York Times reports:

The journal material, most of it being published for the first time, sheds as much light on Mr. Ferlinghetti’s political passions as on his relationships with the Beat writers. His itinerary takes him to Mexico, Haiti and North Africa, to Cuba in the throes of the Castro revolution, to Franco’s Spain, to Soviet Russia for the 1968 Writers’ Congress, and to Nicaragua under the Sandinistas. It also includes his frequent trips to Italy and to France, where he lived for four years while pursuing a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris. Along the way, he records his encounters with Pablo Neruda, Ezra Pound, Ernesto Cardenal, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky.

On April 18th, Haruki Murakami will publish his first collection of short stories in nine years. The title “Onna no Inai Otokotachi” translates to “Men Without Women” and will be a compilation of short novels that have previously appeared in magazines, as well as one new offering. Apparently there was some scandal around the story “Drive My Car — Men Without Women.” The town featured in the story was offended by Murakami’s portrayal. Supposedly he apologized, but then he went and named the whole collection after that story, so that’s confusing. I’ll chalk it up to “lost in translation.” [Yahoo]

Some post-grad student at Cambridge translated Lorem Ipsum, that swatch of dummy text that acts as a placeholder in the publishing biz. I love finding meaning in nonsense. It’s almost a superstition, when I walk down the street and I try to make sentences out of the snippets of words from graffiti, old posters, torn stickers–in case it’s a secret message for me. Like the little boy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In this case, it paid off. The translated paragraph reads almost like e.e. cummings. The first sentence: “Rrow itself, let it be sorrow; let him love it; let him pursue it, ishing for its acquisitiendum.” This doesn’t come as a total surprise because the text was originally pasted together by a 16th-century printer who “got there by mangling Cicero’s ‘De finibus bonorum et malorum’, an exposition of Stoicism, Epicureanism and the Platonism of Antiochus of Ascalon.” [London Review of Books]
Over at the Guardian, Adrian McKinty has written a literary jaunt through the historical and futuristic settings of fantasy novels, all in service of the question: When and where is Game of Thrones set? Read it for a full explanation because he has some very interesting examples, but his final conclusion is that Game of Thrones is set “not in some canned version of our medieval past but in the far future when the continents have shifted and some humans have evolved extraordinary physical and mental abilities which, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, are indistinguishable from magic…As the sun expands, Earth’s orbit becomes more eccentric and massive variations in climate are to be expected, resulting in stretched-out summers and long, deadly winters.”

On the Books: David Nicholls takes on 'Us,' his first book after 'One Day'

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David Nicholls, the author behind the novel One Day – which sold 5 million copies worldwide and garnered a film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess — has finally announced a publication date for his next novel. After five years in the works, Us will hit shelves on September 30, 2014. This story is about a family on the brink of dissolution — a husband and wife of 21 years who are about to call it quits and their college-bound son. But before everything falls apart, the husband takes them on a grand tour of Europe in hopes of knitting their lives back together. So this is basically the flip side of One Day, which was a 20-year search for romance; Us is a 20-year breakdown of love. While ruminating on Us, Nicholls also wrote the screen adaptation of Great Expectations for the version released last year starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.  [The Guardian]

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch will also be getting a screen adaptation, although the scope of that project hasn’t been decided yet. The producers behind The Hunger Games films have optioned the book, but they’re waiting on “the right filmmaker” to determine the book’s cinematic future, which could be a television miniseries or a movie. The Goldfinch has been gaining more and more momentum since its October 2013 release. The New York Times named it one of the best books of 2013 and it has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bailey Prize. [The Wrap]

Serhiy Zhadan — Ukraine’s most famous counterculture writer according to The New Yorker – suffered a violent beating at the hands of a pro-Russian mob on Saturday. Photos of his bloody face made the rounds online, but he posted this note on his Facebook page to reassure his supporters: “Friends, with me everything is okay.” Zhadan is a national icon in Ukraine and his abuse will reverberate through the Ukrainian populace. Unfortunately The New Yorker reports that:

Now, Zhadan is back in the hospital—his jaw has not been healing properly. But, he wrote in an e-mail, the beating has not deterred him. “It’s very simple,” he wrote. “I don’t want to live in a country of corruption and injustice. I, like millions of other Ukrainians, would like to have a normal measure of power. A dictatorship is not normal, and people who don’t protest injustice, they have no future.”

Love 'Reign'? Three British princess books to dive into

Just admit it: you’re head over heels for Reign. Ratings for the racy CW drama have been steadily rising – look no further than Thursday’s lavish wedding episode, which earned its highest viewership of the season – which seem to indicate the market for edgy princess drama is holding its own.

And with good reason. The 16th century, with its corseted dresses, complicated transnational politics, torrid affairs, absurd wigs and class struggles, has long inspired period television drama and film. Hundreds of authors have been similarly inspired, penning a host of deliciously scandalous offerings meant to satisfy your craving for all things bejeweled, lusty and forbidden. So if you’re longing for more after Reign’s last episode, there are plenty of books to choose from. Here’s a look at three of our very favorite princess books, complete with epic romance, sprawling castles, the Queen’s English, and a gripping storyline revolving around a throne at stake. READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Grasshopper Jungle might be a movie

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Hollywood hasn’t finished with the story trend of teens struggling to find their identity in a post-apocalyptic dystopia yet.  The most recent YA novel to get snatched up by movie executives is Grasshopper Jungle, which was just optioned by Sony. Scott Rosenberg (Con Air, Beautiful Girls, High Fidelity) plans to adapt the script. The novel is about a 16-year-old boy who inadvertently unleashes a plague of insects that turn the populace into mindless super-soldiers looking to eat, have sex and kill things — basically a bizarre take on the Pandora’s Box myth. Apparently author Andrew Smith carries it off with some verve though because we gave it an A- in our review. Movie-wise, I’d say this would come in around Planet of the Apes mixed with 28 Days Later and multiplied by that Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Teachers Pet.” Can’t wait.

A new campaign called Let Books Be Books aims to end gender bias in the presentation of children’s books. They’re calling for publishers to remove “for boys” and “for girls” labels from kids books, as well as make the covers more gender neutral. This idea has been swirling for a long time, but it seems to be gaining more momentum recently…or maybe I’m just thinking of that amazing GoldieBox commercial for girl’s toys. [Guardian]

On that note, there’s a great essay by Anna Holmes in The New Yorker called “How to be a Good Bad American Girl.” Holmes looks at the legacy of troublesome little girls in American literature, specifically Harriet the Spy and To Kill A Mockingbird. “Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls,” she writes. “These qualities are the prerequisites for, and not the enemies of, creativity, curiosity, and insight.” [New Yorker]

The longlist of 20 nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was just announced today. Lots of great women made the cut. I don’t envy the judges’ job of narrowing this down to a winner for June, 4th. Check out the nominees below.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
  • Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam
  • Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield
  • Fatima Bhutto, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
  • Claire Cameron, The Bear
  • Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days
  • M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine
  • Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
  • Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes to the Woods
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
  • Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
  • Audrey Magee, The Undertaking
  • Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
  • Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English
  • Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs
  • Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
  • Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing

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